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
"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.
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.