"EVE Online sits on the frontier of social gaming, providing an entertainment environment like no other. The vibrant society of interacting and conflicting communities, both within the EVE client and without, is the driving force behind EVE's success. However, the anonymity of internet culture combined with a competitive gaming environment encourages in-game behaviour to spread beyond the confines of the sandbox. Where is the line?"
The internet is full of idiots who are all wrong. EVE is a game played on the internet and, therefore, everyone who plays EVE is an idiot who is wrong. What the hell am I talking about? I'm talking about differences in opinion and how everyone is wrong to at least one other person. If everyone in the world agreed with each other we would be in a pretty dull place, particularly when talking about politics (hmm, if we all agreed would be need politicians? Maybe there is an upside, but I digress).
In 'Real Life' we are subject to social checks and balances which do not exist on the internet or in EVE. This means where we would simply nod and smile in a face to face discussion or maybe have a polite debate, on the internet there is a tendency to call each other a whole range of insults invariable leading to 'Nazi' and some then start to threaten others with violence.
In EVE it is widely recognised that the game spreads beyond the restrictive confines of the client itself. There are blogs and forums to read; a whole host of Twitter users to chat with; I can also chat with many members of my alliance in Jabber or TeamSpeak. Generally speaking, I do try and maintain a semblance of a boundary in my life with EVE. That boundary means I and only me should be the instigator of any interaction with EVE and EVE shouldn't be able to intrude on my life unbidden. Sure there are a (vanishingly) small number of people who know my email address but they also know that is for urgent things only and generally not for idle EVE stuff. EVE has a mail client and that is where I expect EVE mail to be. If someone starts to pollute my inbox with EVE stuff I don't want to see then I am perfectly happy to tell them to stop and I expect them to honour that request.
Now, if I upset an idiot in New Eden they are perfectly within their rights to bombard me with EVEmails and convos threatening the safety of my character in-game. Maybe some smack sent to my character's Twitter account will follow talking about in-game punishment coming my way. Comments on this blog may be starting to push that boundry a bit but are possibly still okay as long as it refers to in-game actions. I would hope to not upset someone to that level but, as I imply at the top, to some other people I am also an idiot. In the end I can always choose to block them from contacting me or stop logging in to that character. If the idiot works out who all my characters are I can always roll new ones. And if it all becomes too much then I can stop playing EVE.
What I do consider unacceptable is if I upset someone in game and I start receiving any communication threatening my personal safety, especially in a way that indicated they knew details of how to actually reach my physically. I would also consider any intrusion into my personal email as over the line (sending to it or breaking into it). Should servers I run come under attack just because I run them then that is unacceptable as would be any communication with my facebook account or personal twitter account. Basically, any part of my life I do not expect EVE to feature.
There are grey areas of course. Is it acceptable for one powerbloc to ddos another's TeamSpeak server during a war? Personally, I would say no. That is an illegal activity taking place in the Real World where a different set of laws apply. As a direct result of that activity, some real person is really getting hurt be it with downed servers or bandwidth charges or simply have an account somewhere suspended.
Sadly there is a minority of people who think it is acceptable to ddos servers, threaten personal safety, hound people by any and all known contact methods. These people are truly scum and are probably sub-minimum intelligence to play our glorious game. These people should be removed from (life?) the game and CCP can and does make this possible. The important thing is for idiots such as ourselves to realise the vast majority of idiotic things other idiots say or threaten to do has no basis in reality and should rarely be taken at face value.
So there is a line, and that line is already defined by the letter and spirit of the laws we embrace in the countries we live in.