New Questions and Enduring Issues about Videogames and Violence

Extracted 21FEB2014 from

Thanks to Mike and Heads up about a relevant TED Conversation running from Feb 13 to March 13, 2014

Thank you to Mike Rose for such cogent reporting and some thought-provoking investigative journalism! He shows us that this conversation, that shouldn't slip into the shadows, is about more than the seeds of violence or about videogames in particular. It is about an honest look at the new places in which people are congregating, why, and what happens in them. The problems (and opportunities) we find there are likely to be as old as recorded history and, if so, they will be much more interesting and varied than the occasional witch hunts.

One of the many quotes that are instructive for this continuing public discussion is "It's now about moving past that, into studying it on a much more phenomenological basis -- more of a motivational basis," he tells me. "What is it about video games that attracts people? Why do they play them? What do they get out of it? How is the user a much more important part of that process?" (quoting Ferguson).

I also think a key is to become less dependent on additional "funding" for research and to find other ways to influence research programs that are likely to be funded even without additional funding and, more generally to leverage a wider body of research in the human sciences. Citizen journalism (participatory journalism) can be an instrument for doing this, and it can be particularly effective in addressing Ferguson's important questions. A different kind of blogging can help us here.

See e.g.,

This is a TED Conversation I started on Feb 13th to address issues such as those raised in the quote from Ferguson above. Instead of focusing on violence in this conversation, I wanted to understand the community context for gamers within which relationships and interpersonal behavior are visible and have meaning, why gamers play online games. I suspect that understanding the reality and potential of such online communities can be part of the solution to identifying and helping people who are troubled and potentially violent for reasons that have nothing to do with the games they play.

See also other science bloggers (e.g., Paige Brown) who seem to be creating new forms of citizen science: