All posts tagged: Week 5

Are you a ̶B̶o̶y̶ or a Girl?

When a game asks what gender am I – I select female, even though I identify as a male. This is always the case in MMORPGs, and was for Runescape. A choice of gender presented as binary options doesn’t really represent gender, beyond the physical expression of movement and clothing (both of which appealed to me more in the female form). If I have difficulty relating to the gender choices in games imagine the challenge a transgender player would experience, or a female only presented with a male choice (NPR 2015). My choice of Female revealed two key relationships between my identity and the game: gender exploration, which leads on to gender exploitation. The exploration aspect of choosing a female, is exactly that: I desire to play a female instead of a male. Games allow me to transfer myself into an avatar. Moore (2011) describes this as a “tranformation onto another ego”. I’m not only representing a female, I am also actualising a performance that affects other players too. I can be a different person interacting with someone else. But alas, I’m still …

I Only Upvote

Reddit is formed by the “people formerly known as the audience”, Jay Rosen (PressThink 2006). This remark by Rosen implies that Reddit’s gatekeepers are removed, and in its place are only ‘the people’. But the gatekeepers are still ‘the people’. Reddit suffers from a conflict “between the thoughtful and the jerks” (TEDGlobal 2005), an insight observed by Jimmy Wales on the moderation of his website Wikipedia. To tackle this conflict, Reddit’s community is empowered by democratic tools to either upvote or downvote content, giving users the power to moderate conversations on Subreddits (or groups). Under Clay Shirky’s idealised model of the Internet (TED@State 2009), Reddit may be a medium that “supports groups and conversations at the same time.” But Reddit does not support conversations, it controls conversations. The issue with Reddit is its eager ability to shut down conversations, for negative or positive reasons, by only a few downvotes. While voting helps to moderate the quality of conversations, ‘quality’ is loosely defined by the subreddit’s users. The decision to ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ a conversation is left up to ‘the people’. But who …