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Do WoW players make better citizens?

James Egan

With all the negativity that mainstream media (sometimes) dishes out on video games, we always like to see when the positive stories get picked up. That's the case with today's article at The Capital Times that focuses on MMOs and their impact on society. Reporting for The Capital Times, Jeff Richgels asks, "Can massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft produce better citizens?" His article covers the work of Constance Steinkuehler, a University of Wisconsin-Madison education professor who's been studying the social dynamics inherent to MMOs, namely World of Warcraft.

Her work focuses on how massively multiplayer online games expose players to a wide range of diversity. Steinkuehler's recent presentation at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences was ultimately about how navigating that diversity makes players into better citizens, and more open to discussion with their peers.

Richgels writes: "Her works included analysis of message boards where World of Warcraft players get together. She found 86 percent of the talk was 'productive', featuring very detailed questions and serious discussion, with players exchanging ideas and making counter-arguments using data and reasoning and building on each others' ideas."

Her presentation was for an audience largely uninitiated into the social dimensions of massively multiplayer online games and virtual worlds, but from what was reported by The Capital Times, Steinkuehler represented the culture surrounding MMOs in a very positive way.

[Via GamePolitics]

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