Randy Farmer's short essay "The Dollhouse Mafia, or 'Don't Display Negative Karma'" explores the well-known problem in reputation systems in which users abandon accounts that get negative feedback, and shows just how bad the consequences of this design can turn out to be.
That feature was fine as far as it went, but unlike other social networks, The Sims Online allowed users to declare other users untrustworthy too. The face of an untrustworthy user appeared circled in bright red among all the trustworthy faces in a user's hub.
The Dollhouse Mafia, or "Don't Display Negative Karma"
It didn't take long for a group calling itself the Sims Mafia to figure out how to use this mechanic to shake down new users when they arrived in the game. The dialog would go something like this:
"Hi! I see from your hub that you're new to the area. Give me all your Simoleans or my friends and I will make it impossible to rent a house."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm a member of the Sims Mafia, and we will all mark you as untrustworthy, turning your hub solid red (with no more room for green), and no one will play with you. You have five minutes to comply. If you think I'm kidding, look at your hub-three of us have already marked you red. Don't worry, we'll turn it green when you pay..."
If you think this is a fun game, think again-a typical response to this shakedown was for the user to decide that the game wasn't worth $10 a month. Playing dollhouse doesn't usually involve gangsters.
Singer Bonnie Tyler will perform her 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise, a cruise ship that will be in the path of the total solar eclipse come Monday. Tyler will take time off her world tour to belt out the power ballad — just as the moon crosses […]
In honor of the great director Jonathan Demme who died yesterday, please enjoy this bloopers reel from his classic film Silence of the Lambs. More horror film blooper reels at TVOvermind.
“Quid pro quo – I tell you things, you tell me things.” Edited by Jon Tomlinson; Narration: Andy Geller; Executive Producer: Dustin McLean (CineFix)
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]