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In computer veritas: Flaming as a form of toxic online disinhibition and its triggers in World of Warcraft
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Being active in an online environment has become part of our day to day life. The protection of anonymity, invisibility and lack of authority on online platforms ranging from social media to gaming, allows people to act uninhibitedly in a setting often populated by foul language. Acting in an offensive manner while being online has been the subject of various studies, which range from behaviour in e-classrooms, to flaming used as means of entertainment, to cyber-bullying. This thesis examines the occurrences of offensive language usage in online gaming, specifically in World of Warcraft, and attempts to identify the triggers that lead to hostile communication within the game and to map the manner players act in flaming settings. A chat log analysis was used to comprise a list of most frequently utilized offensive words. A questionnaire was applied in order to collect data regarding players evaluation of these words, their mind set when in flaming situations and their reactions to and motivations of offensive behaviour. The research results show that, in flaming settings, players choose to either take a reactive stance and remove themselves from potentially offensive situations, or to act proactively and flame back or get the “flamers” punished. Furthermore, the results show that there are certain words, emotes and situations that are generally directly linked to volatile occurrences. In conclusion, gaming is no stranger to the shortcomings being online entails and a more balanced threshold for offensive behaviour acceptance must be re-established.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 117 p.
Keyword [en]
flaming, offensive behaviour, online gaming, World of Warcraft
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-257180OAI: diva2:838563
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Available from: 2015-07-01 Created: 2015-06-30 Last updated: 2015-07-01Bibliographically approved

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