Can we learn about al-Qaeda by studying griefing in MMOs?
We’ve been talking to people in homeland security that want to know if we could simulate a terrorist network. I keep telling them they don’t have to; they just need to come study the griefers in a multi-player game, because they are exactly that. They always figure out how to get by every little loophole, they hide in the cracks, they respond very fast to whatever new policies you put in place. It is like the perfect simulator for a terrorist organization. So the answer is yes, unfortunately.
Certainly if one reads what analysis say about al-Qaeda rather than what the politicians tell us it seems that rather than being a structured organisation lead by a shadowy figure it is individuals or small groups that happen to share a similar set of dislikes i.e. their perception of western or more specifically US imperialism; and a similar set of techniques i.e. certain types attacks on civilian populations. Which behaviourally and structurally really might be like griefers in some respects, and the lack of moral equivalence (i.e. no I’m not saying griefers are terrorists and I’m not saying terrorist are game players) should not mask any potential behavioural lesions we could draw.