Monday, July 30, 2007

Massively-Multiplayer Science

It's always been that way, hasn't it? Still, an article appearing in the latest issue of Science left me with curiosity, though not much more respect for the usefulness, for the work of sociologists.

A researcher has taken to studying virtual worlds, including such popular destinations as Second Life and World of Warcraft, where in the latter he has 11 characters. Having always carried a bit of skepticism for the work of sociology, I take this to be somewhat of an excuse to play MMOs all day on the NSF's dime. His research assistants must be pleased as punch to have him as their advisor.

Still, as much as he talks of finding interesting things to study about social interaction and the reproduction of social elements in the virtual worlds, I can't help but wonder whether the 14-35 year old, basement-dwelling male population has that much to offer.

But then, science can be funny like that.

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