Archives for July 2010

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. Escapist Magazine (USA) – Women Beat Men in Virtual Shopping Habits. “The shopping habits of women compared to men in virtual worlds may reflect those stereotypically seen in the real world. I’m not being sexist here: Ask 100 women if they like to shop or not and I bet you’d get a lot of positive responses. At the least, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that women like to generally shop more than men. According to a new survey, the same might be true in the worlds of virtual online games.”

2. Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) – Want eternal life? It could be possible in the Internet of Things. “Would you feel hurt if your refrigerator stopped returning your emails? Would you be annoyed to have your dinner interrupted by a pot plant demanding a drink? Are you friends with your toilet on Facebook? Do you like the idea of a virtual avatar that contains your personality and memories — the essence of you — that could communicate with your descendants?”

3. Fort Leavenworth Lamp (USA) – ‘America’s Army’ game leads to NASA’s ‘Moonbase Alpha’. “Eight years after the Army Game Studio launched its initial first-person shooter video game, “America’s Army Recon,” NASA joined in with the release of its prototype game, “Moonbase Alpha,” July 6. The new NASA game was developed with the assistance of the Army Game Studio, so “Moonbase Alpha” and “America’s Army” share some DNA. But the two games have different goals. While the “America’s Army” game has morphed into more than 38 versions, each offering true-to-life Soldier experiences from training through combat missions, “Moonbase Alpha” allows gamers to step into the role of an astronaut at a futuristic 3-D lunar settlement. The mission scenario of “Moonbase Alpha” requires virtual astronauts to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a meteor strike cripples a solar array and oxygen-generating equipment on the moon. Resources available to players during the game include an interactive command center, a lunar rover, mobile robotic repair units and fully-stocked equipment. “Moonbase Alpha” is free, rated “E” for play by everyone, and can be played by a single player or with multiple players online.”

4. Cult of Mac (USA) – Pocket Metaverse iPad App Improves Life In Second Life [Review]. “Unfortunately, Second Life definitely ain’t what she used to be. There have been more than a few headline-grabbing scandals in recent years, user numbers have fallen off a bit and the newest official Linden Labs viewer software hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews. However, there is still a very large and very loyal SL contingent that is eager to access their digitized world wherever and whenever they can. Those people have been begging and pleading for a reliable Second Life viewer for the iPhone since day one. Those same people really began clamoring for something more mobile when the iPad came on the scene.”

5. Dr Dobbs (USA) – 3D Gesture-Based Interaction System Unveiled. “Touch screens such as those found on the iPhone or iPad have become a standard form of technology allowing interaction with smart phones, computers, and other devices. Now scientists at Fraunhofer FIT in Germany have developed a next-generation noncontact gesture and finger recognition system. The novel system detects hand and finger positions in real-time and translates these into appropriate interaction commands. Furthermore, the system does not require special gloves or markers and is capable of supporting multiple users.”

6. The Telegraph (UK) – Council scraps £36,000 virtual town hall in Second Life. “Tameside Council, in Greater Manchester, ‘rented’ an island in the virtual world of Second Life and built a computerised town hall, hoping it would encourage users to access local authority services. But the project has been abandoned after council chiefs admitted they could not justify the cost. Now the authority has been attacked by critics for wasting taxpayers’ money at a time when the squeeze was on public finances. John Bell, leader of the council’s Conservative oppostion, said: “They want to get in the real world, not a virtual one. “It’s absolutely barmy. They must be out of their heads. How may pavements would you be able to mend for £36,000? How many roads could you maintain?”

7. BBC News (UK) – Guide creates virtual world on Second Life after stroke. “A tour guide recovering from a stroke has created a computer-generated version of the Highlands in virtual world Second Life. Tony Hamsworth began work on the project during his year-long recuperation. Second Life users design an avatar, a computer-generated representation of themselves, to live in the online world. There are believed to be as many as 16 million users from all over the world. The virtual Highlands stretches from Inverness down Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and Loch Oich.”

8. Escapist Magazine (USA) – Gold Farmers Mimic Behavior of Drug Dealers. “The networks that sell virtual items illegally in MMORPGs behave similarly to the networks that sell actual illegal goods in the real world. Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad and Brian Keegan of Northwestern University hypothesized that the illicit activities of virtual worlds would mimic those of the real world. By studying both gold farmers and drug dealers, they found that the techniques used to keep both in business were very similar. The pair says they compared data from an EverQuest 2 gold farming network with “a drug trafficking ring obtained from a Canadian law enforcement taskforce called Project Caviar.” The data released is a bit complicated, but they found that the gold farming network “exhibits a clear pattern of dissortative mixing that resembles the dissortative pattern observed in the offline Caviar drug trafficking network,” which they say is “key evidence that behaviors in online, virtual worlds also map onto behaviors found in the offline, real world.”

9. Wall Street Journal (USA) – Digits Live Show: Virtual Goods Show High Risk of Fraud. “As sales of virtual goods on sites like Facebook, Second Life, and World of Warcraft become increasingly popular, cyber thievery is also on the rise. Online consumers spent than $2 billion on virtual goods such as songs downloaded from iTunes and gifts and currency on Facebook and gaming sites in 2009, and more than 1% of these transactions involved stolen credit cards, fake goods, and other fraudulent actions. The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Worthen and Jessica Vascellaro discuss the growing market for digital wares and the steps that social-networking and gaming sites are taking to prevent fraud in their virtual marketplaces.”

10. Boston Globe (USA) – Stuck in your online routines? Give this a shot. “Attention Second Lifers: Are you afraid, even in your fantasy worlds, of new experiences. Your avatar might be a candidate, then, for a psychotropic drug designed to treat Wanderlust Deficit Disorder — in other words, Internet addiction. The drug, Virta-Flaneurazine ( is actually a bit of downloadable code that causes Second Life avatars to rapidly and uncontrollably teleport from one Second Life location to the next and to walk and fly in circles. The idea is to get people thinking about how much time they spend stuck in the same old places, in-world and out.”

Weekend Whimsy

1. Coaching Philip Linden: Behind the Scenes of Second Life Speech Preparation

2. Underground Duck Boxing in Second Life


Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. Want to win 140-thousand Linden dollars? Then make a machinima and submit it to the University of Western Australia’s competition.

2. Veteran platform OLIVE has announced new pricing and a perpetual licensing model.

3. The dynamos at ReactionGrid have launched Jibe, a web-based world based on the increasingly popular Unity3D engine.

4. Frenzoo are now offering 3D chat rooms.

5. Kzero have an excellent summary of a piece of research conducted on children’s play in virtual worlds: do take the time to have a read. 52% of those young children surveyed used virtual worlds regularly and there’s some incisive discussion on the interaction between marketing, parents and children.

6. Relay for Life 2010 in Second Life was once again a big suspense. Get a glimpse here. 53 million Linden dollars were raised, which is 221-thousand US dollars: an amazing effort by any standard.

Golfer at the Dentist

A man and his wife walked into a dentist’s office.

The man said to the dentist, “Doc, I’m in one heck of a hurry. I have two friends sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf, so
forget about the anaesthetic, I don’t have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth, and be done with it! We have a 10:00 AM tee off time and it’s 9:30 already… I don’t have time to wait for the anesthetic to work!’

The dentist thought to himself, “My goodness, this is surely a very brave man asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain.”

So the dentist asks him, “Which tooth is it?”

The man turned to his wife and said, “Open your mouth Darling, and show him..”

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. BBC (UK) – View from the end of the world. “Taking a journey to the end of the world might not be for everyone, but in the virtual spaces of gaming and online environments, it’s not as dangerous as it might seem. Robert Overweg in the Netherlands has been capturing virtual spaces since 2007 and his latest project has produced some of the most eerie and unexpected pictures from the worlds of first-person shooter video-games. He first found the edges of a world while playing a game called Left for Dead. “I saw normal road, walls and bushes but then the road just ended – it was foggy. So I decided to capture this and go into other games and explore their aesthetics of the ends of their worlds,” Mr Overweg said.”

2. The Guardian (UK) – Internet addiction driving South Koreans into realms of fantasy. “s dusk descends on the Sinchon neighbourhood of Seoul, a wave of Saturday shoppers melts away, on cue, into restaurants and bars. But in a windowless room several floors above the throng, Ji Yu-tae is steeling himself for a very different night’s entertainment. His only companions are a bottle of vitamin drink, cigarettes and a monitor displaying a scene from Aion, one of South Korea’s most popular online games. When the hunger pangs become irresistible, he will click a box in the corner of his PC screen and order instant noodles. By Monday morning, after two days of almost non-stop gaming, Ji will make his way to work, pale and sleep-deprived, but content that he has progressed in the virtual world that has been his second home for the past two years. Seated next to him among rows of screens at this PC bang, an internet cafe in the South Korean capital, are scores of fellow obsessives whose attachment to online gaming is fast becoming a problem in the world’s most advanced internet society.”

3. Ars Technica (USA) – Gamers crave anonymity, so Blizzard scuttles Real ID plans. “Blizzard did not make many friends with its recent decision to force users to post with their real names in its official forums. The response was immediate and deafening, with pages and pages of users complaining bitterly about the new rule. One Blizzard employee posted his own name to prove the system’s safety only to have his personal information, including address and phone number, posted on the forum. The company listened to the feedback, and is now reversing course. “We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums,” Mike Morhaime, the CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, wrote. “As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.”

4. Huffington Post (USA) – Overview: Asia’s Social Media Scene. “Asia’s diverse cultures, languages and levels of economic development have always made it an exciting place to work. Now, however, Asia’s wide range of digital ecosystems have created wildly divergent virtual worlds that few people understand. These virtual worlds are, however, having a very real impact on Asias economics, politics and culture. I run Ogilvy’s team of social media specialists in Asia and created this video for an internal meeting to show some recent developments across the region. Countries in Asia with a similar level of development can have extremely different ways of approaching the Internet. In Korea, broadband connections are available virtually everywhere, while Japan’s Internet population is highly reliant on mobile.”

5. Times Higher Education (UK) – Sceptics start to see the other side of Second Life. “Hostility between academics who advocate teaching through virtual worlds and those who scorn the idea is being blamed for holding back the evolution of higher education. The warning comes despite evidence that universities are slowly embracing virtual environments such as Second Life for teaching, according to a report from the Virtual World Watch consultancy. The report, Zen and the Art of Avatar Maintenance, says that like the two characters in Robert M. Pirsig’s 1974 book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, academics hold polarised views of learning online. “Some people take to it with great enthusiasm; others recoil in dismay, horror or anger,” writes the study’s author, John Kirriemuir.”

6. Wall Street Journal (USA) – Reality Gets a Makeover. “French electronics company Parrot SA plans next month to release a toy helicopter with a twist. The AR Drone has a pair of cameras to relay video to iPhones or iPads, which function as the remote control. The device also recognizes certain objects, such as other AR Drones, and can add graphics to the video feed, creating a videogame played out in the real world. The $299 toy is the latest example of an effort to commercialize augmented reality, a technique in which extra information or graphics are added to ordinary surroundings. From virtual mirrors that superimpose a shade of lipstick on a potential buyer’s face, to restaurant reviews that pop up when a person points a camera phone at a restaurant, proponents say the technology has a range of possible uses beyond videogames that mix the real and virtual worlds.”

7. Bendigo Advertiser (Australia) – Professor nurses a real passion for regional health. “Professor Isabelle Ellis is looking forward to the challenges of her new role as professor of rural and regional nursing at the La Trobe Rural Health School. Professor Ellis was appointed by the La Trobe University board and will also head the school of nursing and midwifery. Professor Ellis was the mastermind behind a virtual online hospital course called v-Hospital, which enables nursing students studying externally to access real-life nursing in rural and remote areas. Her program was heralded a world first after it was launched at the Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory in 2007. After leaving the NT, she took up a role at the University of Western Australia, where she continued to develop her passion for helping disadvantaged communities in rural and remote areas.”

8.Marketing Vox (USA) – Cascadian Farm Becomes First Branded Crop in FarmVille. “Organic brand Cascadian Farm is becoming the first branded organic crop to be offered in Zynga’s popular online game FarmVille. Beginning July 19 through July 26, Cascadian Farm will give FarmVille players such benefits as coupon offers, organic farming and green living tips and – per the game’s philosophy – the opportunity to enhance their farm. The campaign was developed with the support of Sterling-Rice Group. The brand has recreated the real Cascadian Farm – located in the Upper Skagit Valley of Washington’s North Cascade Mountains – virtually, with the online fruits and vegetables planted in similar fashion. There’s also an avatar farmer called “Farmer Joe Cascadian,” who’ll serve as the “virtual” tender to the brand’s own FarmVille farm.”

9. Gamasutra (USA) – Virtual Fairground Launches Engine for 3D Flash-based MMO Games and Virtual Worlds. “Virtual world and MMO games specialist Virtual Fairground announced today the launch of its browser-based virtual world and MMO game development platform, The Ride. The Ride enables reliable and rapid development of advanced and scalable 3D Flash-based virtual worlds and MMO games at a fraction of the cost usually associated with these types of products and services. Virtual Fairground has spend over 2 years developing this proprietary technology and design platform after raising US 4 million in venture capital in 2008.”

10. Government Technology (USA) – Edmonton, Alberta, Replicating City in Second Life. “Second Life may be a scary, uncharted world for most local governments, but not for Edmonton, Alberta.
In the capital of Canadian province Alberta, CIO Chris Moore is on a mission to recreate his city in the virtual world, where avatars roam and interact like they would in real life. Launched in 2003 by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, Second Life is an immersive online environment and a 3-D modeling tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows users to build virtual objects. At the beginning of the year, Second Life had 18 million accounts registered. Moore is one of them. When it comes to business, he likes to plug in.”

Weekend Whimsy

1. NoR AMV – Armies Gathering

2. Anna’s day out in Second Life

3. We Love Organica

Have your say on the internet filter: it’s delayed but not forgotten

Sorry, this is really for Australian readers only: a large number of Australian media sites are running a common poll on the proposed internet filter. Sure, it’s a very simple question, and there’ll no doubt be some debate over its wording, but it really has one intention: to get a idea of wider community perceptions of the issue. The majority of the tech community are arguably against the filter, but it goes without saying that’s a specialised cohort of people.

So if you have an opinion, or have family / friends to whom tech primarily means the microwave they heat their cup of tea up in, then put in your two cents worth.

Click on the poll image above or go here to have your say.

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Guardian (UK) – Ten years of virtual worlds: Habbo hits a decade. “Virtual worlds might have been an entertaining diversion for big media a couple of years back, but for a massive swathe of web users these are a powerful and important part of their online lives. Far from being a flash in the pan, sites like Habbo Hotel can claim both longevity and profitability – both often elusive qualities for social web institutions.”

2. The Telegraph (UK) – Club Penguin: parents and the power of the penguins. “Club Penguin is an internet phenomenon like no other – this virtual world, inhabited by millions of four to 14-year-olds, is the most popular children’s website in Britain. But when Canadian Lane Merrifield founded the site in 2005, it wasn’t an attempt to cash in on pester power: “I really did start this for my kids,” he says. “There was nothing online that was fun and safe, and that took advantage of the fact that children really want a social experience.” Just two years later, Disney bought the site, with its games, chat-rooms and virtual pets, for $350 million (£230 million).”

3. VentureBeat (USA) – Playdom buys Metaplace, which forsook virtual worlds for social games. “Fast-growing social game company Playdom has acquired Metaplace, which failed in its attempt to create a site for user-generated virtual worlds. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The move is the latest in a spree of acquisitions by Playdom, which is racing to catch up with social game rivals such as Zynga in one of the hottest markets in games. Last month, Playdom said it raised $33 million to fuel its rapid acquisition pace. The outcome could be a good one for Metaplace, which did a two-step and shifted strategy earlier this year. Metaplace shut down its meta world, which consisted of 30,000 user-created virtual worlds, at the end of December. At the time, founder Raph Koster said the San Diego company was pursuing an exciting opportunity but declined to comment further on it.”

4. Technorati (USA) – Virtual Worlds Continue To Make Real-World Gains. “Opensim, the open source server platform used for hosting virtual worlds has reported growth of over 13% last month. Opensim has two modes. Standalone and grid. Standalone essentially hosts the entire virtual experience on one server which limits the number of users, whereas the grid option spreads the number of simulations across a number of different machines.”

5. Kotaku (USA) – Blizzard’s Naming Policy Is Smaller MMO Publisher’s Marketing Opportunity. “Who benefits from Blizzard’s controversial decision to use players’ real names in forum posts? War Rock publisher GamersFirst hopes it will, issuing an official press release to let gamers know it’s all still anonymous there. Blizzard’s decision to modify its forums in the near future so that players’ real names are displayed instead of their character names has caused quite a stir. While others debate the pros and cons of using your real name on the internet, others smell opportunity. Public relations folks always smell opportunity. GamersFirst is a publisher of quick and dirty online games, many of which you might never have heard of on Kotaku if not for today’s press release. You might have heard of War Rock, but Knight Online World? Sword 2? Our World? Never heard of them, until now.”

6. USA Today (USA) – NASA releases free-to-play online game. “NASA’s latest endeavor to educate people on space exploration has taken them to the world of video games. The space agency has released a new PC video game available through Valve Software’s Steam service called Moonbase Alpha. The game, which features single-player and multiplayer components, places players inside an astronaut suit, as they must rebuild a lunar base crippled by a meteor strike. To complete the objectives leading to the revival of the base, players will use a variety of tools include mobile robotic repair units and a lunar rover.”

7. Image and Data Manager (Australia) – Surveying the collaboration battleground. “In June 2009, we set out to assess the state of play in the collaborative software market in Australia. We wanted to get behind the hype of the “collaboration” buzz-word to discover how organisations are selecting and implementing these tools, and whether they are benefiting from them. We used an online survey to collect our data, and received 42 responses. In the following article, we will present some of our high-level findings. We began by asking our respondents to define the term “collaboration” in the first place. To give you some idea of the responses, we have put the text through Wordle, an online tool that creates ‘word clouds’ from text based on the frequency of words within that text.”

8. Virtual Worlds News (USA) – 3Dchat Launches Today. “New social virtual world 3Dchat officially “beta launches” today. The world is billing itself as an adults-only virtual scene that will feature an identity verification process for users who want to log in using their real name. The virtual world plans to use this process to verify user ages, as well, so it can screen out any users that are under 18. User gender will also be verifiable through the process.”

9. (USA) – ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Closed Beta Kicks Off, Invites Sent. “Even though Blizzard went back on its controversial decision to require real names in the official “WoW” forums, fans might still be sore. What better way to inflict revenge than to join another MMO? The time may soon be ripe, as “Star Wars: The Old Republic” has just entered a closed-beta phase in which outsiders will be able to test out BioWare’s biggest and most epic timesuck yet.”

10. The Drum (Australia) – This is Web 2.0, and it’s changing our world. “I’m looking at a series of pictures by the photographer Robbie Cooper and they’re making me think about computers, the cyber world and our changing relationship with reality. They’re from a book called Alter Ego – a project in which Cooper travelled the world taking pictures of people alongside their ‘avatars’ – the images they construct for themselves in cyberspace games like World of Warcraft and Everquest. Some of them are funny, like the skinny kid who appears as a superhero or the obese boy whose avatar is a Viking-like warrior – and some of them make you wonder what’s the point, such as the woman whose avatar looks exactly like her – but one pair of images really stays with me. It’s the little boy in an oxygen mask, with stick-like, atrophied arms and hands resting on foam support cushions, next to the image of a menacing figure in full space armour. It tells a story without words, and it’s a story of liberation – a child whose life has been expanded by the ability to travel to new (even if imaginary) places and experience a world outside his room.”

Weekend Whimsy

1. The Worst of Second Life Award – Endra Graves

2. Magazine July 2010 Second Life Classic Glamour Style Magazine

3. Elf Liberation Celebration 2010 (Second Life) HD

True names: identity, safety and Blizzard’s Real ID

Identity is a perennial sort of a topic, and Activision-Blizzard’s Real ID programme has brought it back into the limelight. Unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock (which would, you know, be fine – especially from a sun-protection perspective) you’ve probably heard about A-B’s programme which is the first phase of tagging your time in Blizzard games (like World of Warcraft and Starcraft II) and supporting services, with your first and last name.

It’s rolling out initially to the forums and to some in-game communications. Quite what Phase 2 is, is not yet clear. One can only speculate as to whether it might be named after the US 2005 REAL ID Act.

The main focus right now is on the Blizzard forums; a place frequented by only an infinitesimal fraction of the user-base, as is normal for most official game and virtual environment forums. After Real ID is implemented, while you will still be able to read them in complete anonymity, posting will display your name (first and last), and you will have the option of adding your character name to that information.

The apparent aim is to reduce the workload associated with moderating the forums (and certain matchmaking and communications services), while simultaneously making them a nicer place to be.

Of course, if you’re under 13, Blizzard cannot legally display your name without your parent or guardian’s consent. An option for that, I understand, is part of the parental controls.

The biggest problem I see right here is one of disambiguation.

While online services almost all insist on unique names, in practice names generally aren’t. This isn’t normally much of a problem in average-sized, geographically-bounded social groups, but does become an issue for large enterprises – and particularly online where geographical boundaries are not key factors in constraining social networks.

Just how do you disambiguate between two John Fitzpatricks or Catherine Joneses? How about ten? How about a hundred?

The Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) gets around this by requiring all members to have a unique name, one that isn’t presently used by another member and hasn’t ever been used by a previous member of the guild. This eliminates ambiguity in crediting. The “J” in Michael J. Fox stands for “Andrew” – because, quite simply, his own name was already taken by another Michael Fox (1921-1996). An increasing number of actors need to select pseudonyms or change their names to register with the SAG.

Are you going to change your name to avoid being confused with that inflammatory arse on the World of Warcraft forums? No, I didn’t think so.

If someone with the same (or a confusingly similar) name to yours starts making an idiot of themselves – and people are people, it’ll happen – you’re more likely to distance yourself from the problem by distancing yourself from the forum and anywhere else associate with the game that your name might appear, right?

Anonymity is the default offline

We don’t normally think of anonymity as the default state, but it is. There’s 6.25 or so billion people on the planet. There are numerous occasions that we hand over our identification or give our names for one reason or another, but we generally do so only to people that we trust to handle them properly or that simply don’t really care who we are.

Do you know your barista’s full name? Do they know yours? Would you have any idea what their first name was if they didn’t wear a name tag?

We routinely caution our children not to give out their full names to strangers, or indeed to anyone that they don’t have a very good reason to trust (eg: a policeman).

If you ask the person serving you at the grocery checkout or your bank teller what their last name is, they’ll probably be reluctant to tell you. For many establishments it is against policy to reveal that information.

Large and heavily trafficked call-centres and customer-support services routinely assign pseudonyms to their staff to avoid issues of harassment. In smaller outfits, it’s rarer, but still sometimes done if a staff member has a particularly memorable, distinctive or unique first name – or if another front-line staffer has the same first name.

Why do we go through all of this?

Because we know it’s safer!

Or at least we think that’s what we know. It’s not something we feel comfortable taking a lot of chances with. Some of us are certainly practiced at having our names out in the public eye all the time, and dealing with all of the rubbish that inevitably seems to come with it. Not everyone is willing to put up with it.

Ask around among your friends. In any group of twenty or so, the statistical odds are that one of them has been threatened, harassed or stalked. And that’s not counting being online. With those sorts of odds, it isn’t a risk we’re necessarily willing to take.

Activision-Blizzard would like to think that the problem people will be shamed or peer-pressured into silence, while more reasonable heads will prevail and prosper. In my experience, though, the problem people usually have no issue with being associated with their names. They’re proud of their behaviour; or they don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.

That sort of competitive/combative battlelust is thought to be common, but really it isn’t so much. It just stands out more. We’re told that the “The meek shall inherit the Earth”, but they won’t inherit online forums, that’s for sure. Not with Real ID.

And if that service really is going to be expanded to other areas, then perhaps the world really has found its WoW-killer.

Imagine if this sort of scheme was implemented on Digg, or Second Life, or Slashdot. What do you think would be the result?

UPDATE: Blizzard have now reversed their decision.

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