Friday, 11 December 2015

(SATIRE) Are ethics in LOLS the next logical frontier for GamerGate?

Moments of internet-induced mirth, known as LOLs, are being falsely reported in record numbers according to the Royal Objective Foundation for Laughter (ROFL).

In recent years the abbreviation, LOL, which is derived from an old Norse word, LULZ, meaning 'to laugh at the glorious occasion of one's impending death in battle', has re-entered the common vernacular. It is frequently used by those surfing the internet to indicate that they are laughing out loud, often at an amusing picture of a cat.

The online-based nature of these claims can make them difficult to verify. A problem confirmed in research conducted by ROFL in 2015: The study, which drew its findings from a sample of 1200 Bristol University students, divided into two groups, reported that 98% of cases where a person claimed to have LOLed were without merit, with participants reportedly engaging in a wide variety of other activities at the time they claimed to be laughing out loud.

Max Marcel – Executive Director of ROFL – says: “The cold, hard reality is that when somebody online tells you that they are LOLing hard, you are more likely to find them mired in ennui, slouched unresponsively in the listless monitor glow of a computer screen or tablet device, with one hand crammed down the front of their underwear as they half-heartedly masturbate to furry porn.”

Marcel has spent the past decade studying the evolution of LOLing, which has fallen victim to the irresistible force of online one-upmanship and given rise to extreme variations, including one in which an internet user will claim to be literally rolling around on the floor laughing.

This almost never happens outside of mid-20th century cartoons populated by anthropomorphic animals. Can you imagine if people really did this every time they found something funny?” he remarks incredulously.

Another claim commonly made by internet users is that they have been caught off-guard by a humorous image or comment, and this has caused them to involuntarily eject a mouthful of coffee, or some other beverage, such as Mountain Dew, over their computer keyboard or monitor. In extreme cases the claimant will suggest that the author of the humorous material now owes them for a replacement keyboard, their current model having been irreparably damaged in the deluge.

These claims have not gone unnoticed by hardware manufacturers, among them Intel who have recently patented a processor that can survive unharmed for 8 hours while submerged in Coca Cola.

Snailshell – an English company specialising in computer peripherals - now employs a team of 70 at its Woking-based quality control division to spit on keyboards prior to shipping.

At the time of writing, an online campaign, aimed at forcing a UK parliamentary debate on the possible inclusion of LOL insurance in the retail price of all technology, has gathered over 84,000 signatures.

The hardware market isn't the only commercial sector paying attention: Cicada Coffee Importers are said to be developing an Internet blend, infused with chemicals that will suppress the laughter response and reduce the risk of sprayed beverages damaging valuable technology.

The mass false-reporting of LOLs has not gone unnoticed by proponents of GamerGate – a consumer movement that campaigns for ethics in gaming journalism, but is already showing signs of expansion into other principle-starved areas. Supporters canvased by MODE 5 expressed an interest in tackling the issue after they “get this social justice warrior bullshit sorted out once and for all.”

One GamerGater, who did not wished to be named, told our reporter:

I do find it disturbing that people who I trust are probably lying about those occasions when they are laughing out loud. It does lead me to question what else they might be lying about; the role of the Illuminati in 9/11, for example.

This could easily be resolved if people who claim to have LOLed were required to provide sources, such as a time-stamped video, or a signed witness statement. Those who claim to have damaged hardware as a result of LOLing could be compelled to submit evidence of their claims, such as insurance forms.

We also need to tackle the escalation in the details of unethical LOL claims, which are becoming increasingly far-fetched. For example, it was once commonplace and entirely believable for a person to say that their sides were aching from laughing too hard. Sadly it is now far more common for such a statement to be laced with hyperbole and assertions that their sides are now in orbit around the earth, or some other celestial body, or have even departed our solar system altogether.

Website-based ethical LOLing policies would be require internet users to support their outlandish statements with corroborating images taken by space telescopes, and confirmation from NASA, or from other reputable space exploration agencies.”

Marcel fears that those who make frequent use of this modern shorthand for unfettered laughter may be masking their true emotions:

A person can easily get into the habit of typing 'LOL' when what they really mean is 'MEH' – another old Norse word expressing disappointment that an opponent's axe has missed its mark, and that you will not be be dining with the gods in Valhalla tonight.'”

You should not take anything that you are told online at face value,” says MODE 5 Mail Sorter, Peter Gungan.

I was once informed that a wry comment I made on an online bulletin board had won me the internet. When I visited Internet Headquarters, which are apparently located in an MOT centre on an industrial estate, just outside Basildon, and asked to pick up the keys, nobody there had ever heard of me. I am currently pursuing the matter in the courts.”

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