Integrity at Freethought Blogs

Having integrity means that you take action to enforce rules that are indeed based on clear standards of right and wrong even if doing so seems hurtful at times to certain individuals that otherwise are of value to a certain group. A clear example of this in my life is when I caught a  member of my World of Warcraft guild Stormchasers stealing from the guild’s bank to profit himself, causing me to expel him from the guild as punishment. This after he had offered to teach me and other members how to do better at player vs. player events. Sorry, but that does not allow you to ROB us!

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/lothar/Anide/simple

Rules1Rules2Theft3Theft2TheftNow a network of bloggers has had to do the same to one of their own:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/01/03/avicenna-has-been-removed-from-freethought-blogs/

It is with great sadness that I announce that Avicenna Last of the A Million Gods blog has been removed from Freethought Blogs as a result of a long track record of plagiarism that we just became aware of. That sadness is brought on primarily by the fact that I consider Avi a friend and hold him in very high esteem (yes, even after this ethical lapse). Let me explain why.

Here’s what I know about Avi. More than anyone else on this network, and more than almost anyone else I know, he really gives of himself to those who need it most. This is a guy who has spent the last few years living in rural India, working in a clinic treating the desperately poor people of the area while making very little money. He has been away from his family and his fiance and living in conditions that he did not need to live in to do put his talent and training as a doctor to help people. During that time, he has also been sent around the world to trouble spots where the need is more immediate and acute, treating refugees after violent attacks and natural disasters. During that time, he has contracted malaria and several other nasty ailments as a result of his work. He’s a good man. A very good man. And I consider him a personal friend, which I strongly hope will not end with this action.

But facts are facts. The first I heard of this was about 15 hours ago. I pay no attention whatsoever to the slymepit as I prefer to avoid cesspools full of raging assholes. My initial response, given my affinity for Avi and the source of the accusations, was to dismiss it as much ado about nothing. I believed, with very little thought or effort to confirm, the initial speculation that someone had either gotten his password or that it was the result of some sort of technical glitch.

Then I got an email from Hemant Mehta, someone I also hold in high esteem and consider a friend, and he told me that he’d been looking into the evidence and found a powerful case for plagiarism, whether a result of intention or lack of concern for attribution. I emailed Avi and said, in essence, that you have to address this publicly and you have to tell the truth, whatever that is. I’m glad to see that he has now done so. Hemant also published the evidence he had found and he’s right, the case is pretty unassailable. All of this happened while I slept. When I woke up this morning, I looked at both Hemant and Avi’s posts about it and immediately decided to take the matter to the executive committee and recommend his expulsion from the network. The committee agreed.

And so do I.

Corruption and Betrayal in a WoW Guild

This is a sequel to

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/some-thoughts-on-world-of-warcraft/

Last night, my faith in one of the oldest and largest guilds in all of World of Warcraft, Order of Knights Templar (OKT) of Lothar realm, was destroyed after several of its officers conspired to kick my main character, Bichorak, from the guild, claiming I caused “drama” in it.  My actual crime: Reporting to Blizzard cheating activities by one of the members, Kibblenbits, and discussing it privately with at least two of those same officers, one of whom dismissed it with the comment “Who cares?”. The actual officer who kicked me from the guild, with no warning whatsoever, was Kymophobia.

This was after I had been a member of the guild for many months and worked hard to help make the guild one of the best and most popular in Lothar realm. I’d had many, many great experiences with the guild and its members and thought nothing would ever end that. But another member, who had first alerted me to the cheating, also warned me that the corruption of the guild was not limited to that one member. I should have listened to her! Continue reading

Some thoughts on World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Image via Wikipedia

In August of this year, I was looking into Facebook like I did almost every day, and I saw this ad that said “World of Warcraft – Free to play up to level 20”. Up until this time, I’d had no interest in any MMO games, thinking they were just for teens. I’d read about Everquest, but my reluctance to pay for games like that made me miss out on what could have been some great experiences.

Prior to seeing that ad, I saw these videos:

Even though World of Warcraft was never mentioned, they sparked my interest in the game. The Facebook ad only pushed me to take the plunge I otherwise never would have.

Once I was in the game, I proceeded to experiment with different races and classes of characters, but the one I came to love playing with the most was a Gnome warrior I named Bichorak.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/lothar/Bichorak/simple

Then in October, I paid for an upgrade to the game and played it more than ever. The limited exposure to the game from the trial account had only made me eagar to get more from it.

Some critical thoughts on the game and concepts related to it:

  1. This game IS addictive, but so can anything be that triggers pleasure to the body and mind, so to be consistent we would have to ban literally everything, including things that are essential to life, like sex and food. The “Drug Wars” waged by law enforcement over several decades have been a total waste of time, money, and lives and should be ended. Possession and use of a substance shouldn’t be banned; only if its use actually leads to harm of another person should legal action be taken.
  2. At first glance, the game seems to be all about violence and hatred between races. But in fact the actual theme of the World of Warcraft storylines is redemption from the mistakes of the past. ALL races have potential for both good and evil.
  3. Likewise, there is no point to stereotyping game players. I met some sweet people there who were very helpful to me, often asking nothing in return. And I also met some real jerks too. Inspired by the help I got as a new player, I in turn began helping others that were of lower levels once I reached the higher levels with my main character.
  4. Children who play the game soon learn the value of discipline, cooperation, and following orders. While playing solo is perfectly doable, the greatest rewards are for those who are willing to join groups and fight in dungeons, which provide richer loot and experience.
  5. Nothing lasts forever. A decade ago, Everquest was the greatest MMO ever. But it was overthrown by World of Warcraft, which is very simular in concept to Everquest. Perhaps a decade from now, something will overthrow WoW.
  6. The storylines of WoW are as rich and compelling as those of any other mythology….including those of the ancient Greeks and of modern religions like Judaism and Christianity. I can’t help but wonder if most of the stories in the Bible began merely as tales told for entertaiment, but hundreds of years later were mistaken for literal truth.