Thursday, February 26, 2015

The dead concept of cyberbullying

The terms "harrassment" and "bullying" when used for online activity are now dead and Marc Merrill, CEO of Riot Games, was the last one seen kicking their twitching bodies before they expired.

Here's the backstory: Sanghyuk “Faker” Lee plays video games competitively for a living and is paid by a company, Azubu to stream live videos of him playing the game League of Legends. Another person, referred to by the online name StarLordLucian, started streaming Lee's live feed as well without permission to profit off of someone else's work.

Azubu tried to get him to take it down, claiming copyright, but StarLordLucian said they don't actually have the legal rights to Lee's feed. Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends does. That turned out to be true.

So when someone asked Merill, who runs Riot Games, what he thinks, his response was a little nutty:

You are rationalizing and trying to justify the fact that you have singled out a player against their will and broadcasting their games in a way that he can do nothing about. That reeks of harassment and bullying.


Someone is trying to make easy money off of someone else's work. Their motive is personal profit, not to hurt Lee's feelings. I don't know why Merill would say such a strange thing, but I suspect it's because those two words, "harassment" and "bullying" are tossed about so loosely these days that they come out automatically, like duckspeak in 1984.

Which is too bad, because the real examples are pretty horrible, but now it's not just mild criticism that's being labeled as harassment and bullying, but pretty much any unwanted presence.

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