MMORPGS for social network research

A fascinating article from Life With Alacrity about group size research done on Ultima Online and World of Warcraft. I think this is a good example of how doing things online (whatever you are doing) provides the added side benefit of creating data. When groups hang out and game in person, you don't get to compute statistics afterwards unless you go through the tedium of tracking things. But computers love to track things.

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Social Nets in Virtual

Social Nets in Virtual Worlds
Work issues have kept me a bit slow on the posting, lately. The folks over at Catallarchy caught something before I did. Life With Alacrity posts on mapping social networks that arise in virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Ultima Online. The p...

Stefan, My thoughts on


My thoughts on Usenet (or some hypothetical replacement) tend to revolve around making a pseudonymous system where you could use any pseudonym or any number of pseudonyms, but nobody else could pretend to be you. Reader software would use a sort of scoring system (some usenet newsreaders have something like this) where you could give more points to users you'd seen before and zero points to ones you hadn't. People could also share comments and scores about various users either via some peer to peer system or in special newsgroups. You could then trust particular other users' opinions of other users. Just like real life! In fact, IMHO the most successful social networks are the ones that mimic how we do things in the real world, because a) the way we do things in the real world has evolved over centuries, and b) people understand systems that have analogs in everyday life better than they do systems that have no or obscure analogs.

But can things online

But can things online qualify as social networks? In real life, for example, you can't be rude to people and get away with it, but online you can insult anyone or type in random gibberish and no social relations are affected.

On that note, are you guys real, or all in my head? :sweat:

Stefan, If you're an asshole


If you're an asshole online in a persistent game world you can generate a reputation and people will stop dealing with you, too. If you come off as an asshole from the get go, people won't deal with you. Reputation effects happen even in PMOGs.

BTW - MMORPG is a horrible acronym. Any acronym you can't say/spell in regular conversation without stumbling over your tongue needs to be replaced. I just call 'em MOGs or PMOGs (multiplayer online games or persistent multiplayer online games). How would you even say MMORPG? "mmmorp-guh?"

Brian, ... How would you


... How would you even say MMORPG? “mmmorp-guh?”

Somewhere in comic book history (Superman?) there is quirky villain with some kind of a similar name. Dealing with him required something like tricking him into speaking his own name, or some such thing. Probably well before your time.

Regards, Don

Ahh. Not before my time.

Mark, More detail at


More detail at

"...Introduced in Superman #30 (September 1944) as "Mr. Mxyztplk", he was an imp from the fifth dimension. Not being bound by our physical laws, he could do things that seemed to be magical. In this first appearance, Mxyztplk wreaked havoc across Metropolis by using his powers to pull all manner of pranks. He soon told Superman that he was a jester in his home dimension, explaining why he used his powers to play practical jokes. Superman soon discovered he was able to send Mxy back to the fifth dimension by making him say his name backwards."

Thanks, Don

Hmm, so would UseNet have

Hmm, so would UseNet have less flaming if it had an element of persistency in it? Maybe registering a name is difficult and you get "reputation points" or something for your posts?

Sean: Sounds pretty much


Sounds pretty much like Slashdot.

RE Saying MMORPG...
I've always heard it pronounced "more-pig", but that may be the folks I know.