Day 143: Cyber Citizenship

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May 22, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

In a digitally networked world, where so high a proportion of our interactions take place online, a new code of conduct and courtesy is called for.  Open forums, discussions and comment streams prompt us to talk, and talk, and talk, often without much forethought.  Like a knee-jerk reaction, you might “lol” at, or “Like” something on a whim, even when your genuine interest is next to nothing.  Likewise, relative anonymity might get the better of you – more able to boldly criticize and question, letting your innermost outrage steam out in ALL CAPS AND GRATUITOUS PUNCTUATION!!1  There are, of course, those who recognize the power of some discussions to bring out the worst in people, coaxing them into anger, frustration, confusion and a lot of wasted time.  These people are trolls.  They’re not uncommon (enough), and chances are good that you won’t have to look hard to find one lurking in even the most innocent-looking of online discussions (those might actually draw their attention most).  In this way, as in so many others, the internet proves to be double-edged.  With freedom to communicate comes freedom to communicate badly.  What wouldn’t dare be said on the street is casual banter online.  (Maybe why online bullying has become such an issue?  It’s easier to call names to a person’s avatar than it is to their face, after all.)  Today’s project (which calls for in-the-flesh, physical, analog interaction) might provide a fun way to arm one’s self against the ignoble troll.

Flame War is a card game about running an online forum.  As an admin, you’ll face trolls creeping in from all directions, and wield your mighty admin powers in an attempt to keep the discussion cordial.  It won’t be easy – you too might fall victim to the trolls’ tricks, but you’ll come away with an appreciation for the importance of composure and civility, both online and off.

Flame War is a stand-alone card game where each player takes the roll of a forum admin. Starting threads, posting, flaming, maybe some trolling, and perhaps even bringing up a certain Pony that might in fact be little and belong to someone you know…

Becoming a more upstanding cyber citizen means keeping a wary eye out for traps and trolls.  Devil’s advocates emerge from the shadows with chaos on their mind.  Defend the internet, your dignity and perhaps even your sanity through practice and preparation.  Put out the fires and drive out the trolls by backing Flame War on Kickstarter before June 3.


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