The internet is giving rise to a whole new morality. Or lack of. I've noticed a pattern: things which nearly effortless are hard to see as wrong.
A few Sundays ago I wrote not so nicely about the orb speculators. Gevlon wrote a strange sort of rebuttal, boiling down to "The higher the price is, the more likely it will be used by someone worthwhile." That's actually less ridiculous than it sounds, I agree with the general concept. Others commented in my post, some quite offended by my suggestion that buying, holding, and reselling, which change absolutely nothing about the product, not making it into something more valuable, is unethical. Somehow the market has become the new morality for some people. If it's profitable it must be okay!
But that's not my point here. Instead I want to look at it from another angle: the way people could not even consider that there could be anything wrong. Why not? I believe it is because buying up 5-10g orbs is as simple as a few clicks and seems to have no effect on anyone or anything until you resell in a few weeks for massive profits. It looks like printing money but without even causing inflation.
It's easy and it benefits me, how could it be wrong?
I see a similar behavior in software and music piracy. I bet a dozen clicks and a bit of waiting could get you 95% of the music or software you'd ever want. If it was wrong, why would it be so easy? Bad things are hard, like stealing and murder and that sort of thing. Thieves have to break windows and stuff, not click a mouse a dozen times. It doesn't help that it's not theft the way we'd see it in the real world.
The internet, electronics in general, are a strange sort of world, and the words and rules of the 'real world' don't work quite right there. For another example, see Tobold try to figure out friends on Facebook. Friends that aren't friends but we call friends. Facebook friend sounds also insulting. But really anything less than friend sounds a bit mean, as if to say "Just so we're clear, we're not actually friends, so don't get any ideas." But on the easy note, think of how easy it is to friend someone. Trivial. While it's nor morally wrong, it is perhaps dishonest, but it's so easy, we don't really bother to consider: Is this person actually a friend? Actually in the past year or so I started ignoring friend requests for people I didn't see at least once a week. Then I just stopped checking Facebook at all. This process of doing nothing was assisted by my login/saved name eventually running out and it being 'too hard' (relative to benefit) to actually type in my name and password check it anymore.
I think of when Tobold experimented with anonymous, unmoderated comments, not even deleting anything. And told everyone first. Someone spammed NIGGER a few dozen times. He probably thought it was funny. And what's the harm? Just 6 letters and some copy-paste. Harmlessly easy. The trolls and spammers have it so easy. Imagine on the forums; quote, "wrong", post. Just like that you can annoy someone and potentially derail a thread. But it's so easy, why would anyone ever hold that against them?
The ninja in randoms, the person who gets the drop they want and bails, the partial guild runs that kick competition just before the boss: they're all so easy.
Click click click. It can't be wrong! It was so easy.
What it comes down to is failure to engage the mind. Trivially easy activities don't force us to take time or effort to consider them. We don't justify them because we don't have time. They are done and done.
Imagine if buying orbs required going to a buyer and explaining "Prices are going to go up, but this is a gamble, so I am willing to take on that risk to give you gold now. However keep in mind that if I am so sure of the risk to buy up not just your orbs, but those of many other people, it's probably a sure shot. Really you're an idiot to sell them to be at these prices" And you can't macro it into your trade macro, gotta say it per stack.
Or if music piracy required going all the way to the store, opening the CD, copying it to your laptop, and carefully rewrapping it.
Or if leaving an instance or kicking someone required taking the few seconds to give a reason.
Obviously these will reduce activity purely due to the added inconvenience. But I believe there will be a further effect as people think during it "What am I doing?"
Star Control 2: Half a ship, half a captain
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