Yet while these measures have been presented in an attempt to regulate the new medium, the experience of their strengths and weak¬nesses in other areas of media regulation has commonly been ignored. Given the characteristics of MMORPGs as a modality of cultural trans¬mission together with the conditions of reflexive modernization, some of these weaknesses have become more pronounced. It is therefore difficult to envisage how some of these mechanisms might operate effectively and durably.
However, given the nature of MMORPGs as a modality of cultural transmission and under conditions of reflexive modernization, the outrage caused by censorship has been particularly acute. This is because it stands in con¬trast to the high hopes many users entertained of it being a ‘liberating’ technology. Another aspect of censorship in relation to MMORPGs is that it has global consequences affecting many people.
Not only this, censorship decisions can be globally challenged. Moreover, with the decline of final authorities under conditions of reflexive modernization, who can legitimately claim to have the authority to censor? Many MMORPG firms affected by censor¬ship later appeared not to have contained illegal, harmful or offensive content after all. Acts of censorship cannot be said to promote the principle of regulated pluralism in any way.
The problems posed by these developments have served only to fuel the outlook of new cultural pessimists who see the internet as a threat to social order (Haas, Hettinger 2003). On the other hand, MMORPG firms claims that “binary regulatory structure in GRPMMOs must be replaced by merged and consolidated rules having the parallel stature as country club membership rules, shopping mall rules or articles of incorporation of business corporations” (Ung-gi Yoon n. d. ).
In most countries, MMORPGs should be based on online com¬munication law. However, in most countries governments have also begun to realize that the capacity for the negative regulation of communication systems has gradually been slipping away. Although lack of regulations and laws on MMORPGs may have created new risks, these techniques also offer new opportunities’. However, self-regulation and rating systems themselves also create risks.
MMORPG firms are overly enthusiastic about the possibilities of self-regulation and rating systems. They described rating systems purely in terms of having the ‘advantage of offering “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” solutions’. Regula¬tion therefore should be tended to be designed to cope with such problems in a reactive way, combating them by attempting to block flows of informa¬tion. More generative policies need to be initiated if MMORPG firms are to mobilize the internet as a means for ser¬ving diverse goals.
Based on a list of possible achievements these goals may include: representing diverse interests; establishing a forum for the reconciliation of competing claims of these interests; creating an open public sphere, in which unconstrained debate can be carried on about policy issues; providing a diversity of public goods; fostering market competition; promoting social peace; actively developing human capital; sustaining the law; providing economic infrastructure; reflecting and shaping widely held norms and values; fostering local, regional and transnational alliances and pursuing global goals (Haas, Hettinger 2003).
The nature of MMORPGs coupled with the conditions of reflexive modernity demand new kinds of control. Developing and shaping these will require policy-makers to approach MMORPGs as a modality of cultural transmission rather than simply as an alternative and dangerous channel for harmful or illegal material. Regulation of MMORPGs can be better understood if the conditions the regulator seeks to promote are properly systemized. Moreover, as MMORPGs technologies become increasingly integrated, the integration of policy measures becomes increasingly urgent.
Important lessons can be learned from the experience of regulating more ‘conventional’ forms of communication: the Internet and mass media. Self-regulation can also be industry based and involve a provider draw¬ing up codes of conduct which its members or subscribers must follow. In many cases, however, regulation has involved the setting up of broader independent supervisory bodies which claim to represent the interests and values of a wide range of different groups. Self-regulation, like censorship, has often created a host of already familiar problems (Karabinus 2005).
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