Saturday, June 03, 2006

chinavenging!

I have coined a new mobile social term: chinavenging. I've even created a logo for it.

Derivation: a combination of China and avenging.

Definition: a particular brand of evil smart mobs emerging out of Chinese BBS culture.

Variations: chinavengers (the people who go chinavenging)

Example, courtesy of The New York Times:

It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most
popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student he
suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the
attack.

"Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one person wrote, "to chop off the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband."

Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his
university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their home.

See also: Chinese Web Vigalantes stalk British "Sex-Pat".

More on this phenomenon in the LA Times: Chinese log on for retribution

Why am I interested in the chinavenging phenomenon? Ever since I started working in the area of massively collaborative gaming, people have warned me that one day my smart mobs of gamers might turn from a benevolent collective intelligence to malevolent, out-of-control crazy people. I can't tell you how often I hear that concern voiced. What if they become so enamored of their in-game power that they attempt to harness it, uninvited for real-world interventions?

The thing about alternate reality games and other similar projects is that so far they don't have the moralizing component that seems to be the driving force of the new chinavenging. I want to write more on this topic, and will, post-dissertation.

By the way, in case you're wondering, coining the term does NOT mean I think chinavenging is a good thing. I think it's dreadful and I want to make games for these people so they can channel their mob mentality into a more virtual scenario, and maybe one with more progressive social values.

20 comments:

Geroge W. Bush said...

I've coined my own word as well.

IQARINSURGENCY

I have a logo for it as well.

QBKooky said...

As much as that article when I read it this morning was strange and kinda frightening, I can definitely see how this happens.

I have been awestruck the times (yes, more than once) when on a messageboard or something, some honest, simple, nice person will rant "I got ripped off by this-and-such ebay scammer! *sad*" and people will respond with "Let's HARNESS the power of the 'net! *finds his real name, address, other aliases, leaves him angry messages, calls police, rants* "

Scary, but true... I'm trying to find a metafilter example of this.... agh can't find it. Well, you get the idea.

Malcolm said...

Isn't it a bit inappropriate to choose a word which makes deliberate reference to the race of the people involved when the phenomenon is more universal?

There is already a name for this anyway, it's "lynch mob".

Jane said...

Hi Malcolm-- I don't think it' inappropriate at all to name the nation -- not the "race" -- when this is a distinctly national phenomenon. If you look into it further, you will see there is absolutely something unique happening on the Chinese BBS. The thing is, online culture really does have boundaries and different countries are developing their own net cultures. This is especially true in China, of course, where government has so much control over net access. So it's actually quite important to recognize place when talking about some trends, and this is one of those trends. And it most certainly is a different kind of lynch mob. You would be wrong to say this is the same kind of thing as lynch mobs of the south in the U.S. of the 50s for instance. Sometimes it's nice to mark difference.

Fuck You Google said...

That's pretty weird, Jane. But cool!

ken said...

Fascintating.
Hey blatant plug here for a workshop at ubicomp on Exurban Noir. In part the idea is get people to understand the dark side of tech design/applications.
http://drzaius.ics.uci.edu/meta/exurban-noir/index.html

ken said...

BTW
Get back to writing!!!

WriTerGuy said...

"Chinavenging"? How about -- "trash mobs"?

Jane said...

hmmm... or maybe slash mobs? But I hate to corrupt the benevolence of flash mobs by associating this kind of practice with them. Anyway chinavenging is way more fun to say with an exclamation point at the end. Try shouting it out loud like a battle cry!

Anonymous said...

using GONIGVENGING or BERKVENGING or CALIFVENGING for something people in that place do, is NOT appropriate. i think.

AMEROTRASHING for something AMERICA do in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN.. appropriate?

Anonymous said...

Hm, interesting - actually i read a really good article a while back about Koreavenging (just made that word up to go w/ yours) and how it can be pretty brutal to have an online hate campaign against you in South Korea.

This online vengence stuff is definitely something that appears to be happening in the rapid tech-advanced societies in Southeast Asia. High population density + a lot of blogs/websites = some really fast-spreading internet rumors I guess.

Sean said...

Jane,

As you mention, “different countries are developing their own net cultures” and you point out the government’s control over the Internet as one of China’s defining characteristics. However, in this case, I would argue that the “chinavenging!” phenomenon is largely rooted in the fact that the Internet is one of least controlled outlets for expression in China.

As is widely publicized, outlets for expressing personal opinion in a public forum in China are severely lacking. Political leaders are not directly responsible to voters, traditional media is largely a government mouthpiece and protesting in the streets is the quickest route to a Chinese prison. So, what venue is left for the average Chinese youth to release their frustrations and vent anger?

This is where the Internet, by virtue of its inherent difficulty to control, has provided a public forum for personal expression and often in the negative, “chinavenging!” manifestation that you observe. The Chinese government simply cannot control the Internet as much as the other, more “traditional” public forums. As in many other areas of society, the government has to walk a fine line between allowing the public to vent their frustrations and avoiding a situation which spirals out of control.

Anonymous said...

Note the date of this post.
Some thoughtful comments on the dangers of the mob and some support for the mob by the mob.

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2004/03/22/pictures_of_my_robbers.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2004/03/22/pictures_of_my_robbers.html

Anonymous said...

http://tinyurl.com/23suv

This should work

Alexa Joyce said...

I think these phenomena are particularly strong in Asia, due to the cultural concepts surrounding 'loss of face'. It's really difficult in Asian societies to say anything critical, for fear of someone losing face. I suspect doing it online - rather than f2f - makes it easier for Asians to express negative sentiment, and as it is so suppressed in daily life, it comes out even more strongly. Although actually I heard an example of it in Belgium, on music communities, where a person was hounded and criticised for having stolen some equipment.

Anonymous said...

.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
................................................................

hollywooder said...

.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
..............
................................................
............................

gellia said...

.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
...................................................

Anonymous said...

you can also visit wow power level here.
to buy the wow powerleveling and
wow power leveling service.
world of warcraft powerleveling
don't wait. world of warcraft power leveling is waiting for you here.
start it now. wow powerleveln and
wow power level at once!
wow power level
maple story hacks
maple story hacks
FFxi gil
FFxi powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow gold