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Games Entertainment

GLS Conference In Retrospect 2

Late last month the Games + Learning + Society conference came to town in Madison, WI. The assembled big thinkers discussed many different aspects of gaming as it interacts with education, socialization, and main-stream culture. Terra Nova has a great big breakdown thread with commentary from some of the presenters. The Shifted Librarian has a firsthand account of the conference, and PsychoChild's blog features musings on the MMO presentations. From PyschoChild's blog: "Stephen Gillett, a Senior Director at Yahoo! Inc., gave an excellent presentation at the GLS conference entitled Guild Building is Skill Building where he argues that you can learn important skills from playing online games. In his case, he says he learned important management skills from leading a guild. Stephen argued that the act of forming and running a guild is similar to what an entrepreneur does. An entrepreneur has to raise capital, incorporate, find talent, etc. Similarly, a guild master (GM) has to get together funds, form the guild, recruit good members, etc. Given Stephen's history as an entrepreneur he knows what he's talking about."
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GLS Conference In Retrospect

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  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Sunday July 03, 2005 @02:32PM (#12974515)
    Gaming has allowed many children, those typically steretyped as "geeks" or "nerds", to live a far more normal childhood. They can become celebrities in their various online gaming "clans". That can really boost a child's self esteem. I witnessed that first hand through my grandson.

    But what bothers me is the gaming community forums. I'm specifically talking about message boards, such as those found at GameSpot and GameFAQs.

    The forums at GameFAQs are well known as being, well, a hellhole. The abolishment of freedom of speech is preached there. The moderators are known to practice extreme bias. Part of the problem is that they have selected children to be moderators. You can't have a reasonable, positive community when people with the mentality of 12-year-olds are moderators. My grandson was telling me some of the horror stories from those forums, and they truly made me sick.

    The worst part is that the victims have no recourse against their abusers. At least on the playground the bullied children have the chance to fight back, or to otherwise defend themselves. But that is not the case online.

    Children need to be able to discuss their ideas freely if they want to socially develop. This often happens in unmoderated IRC channels and during gamechat while playing games like CounterStrike. They shouldn't be belittled and demeaned by fellow children who have been declared moderators, yet lack the basic concepts of respect and friendship.

    So while I believe that gaming can be socially helpful for many children, the various Internet gaming communities online are often quite terrible.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall