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Dec 02, 2010



I suggest a Part VI which makes all the badness of Part V better again.

Then a couple of years later just flood the market with Parts 'VII-IX', cheap spin offs of Parts IV and V which to be honest weren't that great in the first place.


"Although hundreds of articles and studies examine virtual worlds, none has addressed the interplay between the law and best practices of human subjects research in those worlds. This article fills that gap."

Well actually, this is true till the next edition of the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics come out which should have a paper by me and Melissa de Zwart:
The Duty To ‘Play’: Ethics, EULAs and MMOs.

Which looks exactly at the relationship between research practice and law in the context of MMOs

Abstract: In the last ten years there has been a steady increase in the attention paid to Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Games (MMOs) as a site of academic research. A number of large and influential academic studies have been undertaken in a range of disciplines inside MMOs such as EverQuest (Taylor 2006), Star Wars Galaxies (Ducheneaut and Moore 2004), Lineage I and II (Steinkeuhler 2004) and EverQuestII (Castronova et al 2009). Generally these studies require the researcher to be embedded in-world, participating as a player in the game. In this paper we ask: what bounds on research, if any, are ostensibly set by the contractual terms of service of MMOs by which all participants are bound– in particular the duty to ‘play’; whether this has any problematic bearing on the practice of research; and, if so, whether there are solutions to these problems? This paper will consider the contractual terms used in the End User Licence Agreements (EULAs) of two MMOs, EvE Online and City of Heroes, in order to further explore the practical implications of those terms, This paper concludes that researchers need to consider whether their research is ethical, both in terms of formal compliance with Institutional Research Board (IRB) requirements and how it may impact upon or disrupt the player community. If it does have a disruptive impact, this may take the research not only outside the notion of ethical research but also outside of the concept of ‘play’ authorised by the EULA itself.

- great minds and all that :)


Gah, OECD internet just ate my last comment.
So, again – in the context of the Association of Internet Researchers recent debate on research ethics, I’ve been arguing two things:

First - IRB’s frame actors as ‘subjects’ and often state that they should be anonymous. However, it seems to me that IP law would often frame the same actors as Authors and thus there would be a legal requirement to respect their Moral Rights. What’s more in many cases the actors want to be identified as the creators of a given work. Thus in supposedly protecting people, it seems to me, that IRB’s may be guiding researchers to breach IP law and individuals legitimate wishes.

Second – it also seems to me that IRB’s tend to adopt local ethical norms of the IRB / Researchers. However given the geographical spread of actors it’s arguable that local ethical norms should be given at lest consideration and probably primacy in many cases.


Well actually

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