A Rape in Cyberspace

When I first started reading “A Rape in Cyberspace”, I got the impression that Mr. Bungle actually raped person to person. As I read on in the story, you see that the rape is actually virtual and in my opinion is crazy. This entire issue presented was all conducted over an online database. It is crazy to think that something one did and said on this database had so much effect on others creating such a riot. In the database of LambdaMOO, no physical interaction actually takes place. The only interaction that really occurs according to Dibbell is the “mingling of electronic signals sent from sites spread out between New York City and Sydney, Australia” (201).

The site of LambdaMOO gives users the impression that moving in reality is only as descriptive as “data filed away on a hard drive”. The user Legba claims that she was brutally raped in her own living room and the victim to blame was Mr. Bungle. Legba is so realistically attached to the database that she truly feels that Bungle has actually raped her just for a “breach of civility”. As Legba put up an argument about how Mr. Bungle brutally raped her, other users began taking her side and suggesting that Mr.Bungle be “toaded”. Toading is when a character is completely removed or banished from a site, and to the users of LamdaMOO, this seemed to be the ultimate revenge for what Bungle did. The administrators of this site however, stated that they would not become involved in any decision-making basically telling users to solve their own problems on their own. This outrageous event-taking place actually led to users creating their own form of self-government over some stupid command that a user of the site did.

Yes, I feel that what was said and done by “Mr.Bungle” was not appropriate and should not be posted on the database, but I don’t feel that the event should have gone to such extent. Society has become so wrapped up in technology and these databases that they are taking them so literally and causing situations like the “rape” of Legba. These users have taken the use of technology to another level, and caused it to have a negative effect on them. They are the only ones to blame for the actions. If the users were not so focused on living a virtual life on LambdaMOO, and more focused on living their real life this situation could have been avoided. 

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2 responses to “A Rape in Cyberspace

  1. It seems strange that we now compare our online life to our real life, even using the same terminology. Before I read about the rape in cyberspace, I had no idea what it could possible mean, but now I understand. I think it is important to implement some form of “online government” considering many are now living their lives through their computers. Unfortunately, our use and importance of technology has come to this level.

  2. Reading this article, I was surprised how someones cyber life actions can have such an effect on a persons real life. But I mean, come ON. Who would really take the time to “rape” someone over an online database? A weirdo that should be reported and banned from the database forever. I’m surprised that the administrators from the site said that they did not want to be involved in the situation and that they are on their own. In my opinion, even though I don’t know why “Mr Bungle” had the idea to do this, it is a little harsh if a woman feels like she got raped the administrators treated her that way. I agree with you that this situation went way overboard with forming a self-government with the users. But as you said, technology is becoming another level of craziness. People needs to stop being so wrapped up in their cyber life and start focusing on what is going on in the real world.

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