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Penny Arcade has exceeded the first $250,000 milestone in its Kickstarter experiment to go ad-free, enabling the website to remove its leaderboard advertisement. In keeping with this achievement, Mike Krahulik (Gabe) wrote a post on the Penny Arcade blog earlier today detailing some of the additional "stretchgoals" put in place two days ago. Perhaps the most interesting of these new goals is the $450,000 tier — the "Strip Search" webcomic reality show:

At some point during a PATV episode I brought up the idea of a sort of "America's next top webcomic" show. Essentially Hell's Kitchen for web cartoonists. The response to that concept was overwhelming. Well we've been working on the details and Strip Search is the result. So how does it...

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Every time I see a photo sharing app come across the transom, the same question crosses my mind: what about trolls and porn? A game we saw yesterday, Pictorious, asks you to take pictures of items in order to get likes from friends and strangers. Additionally, sites like Pinterest have to act like Soviet censors in order to prevent dirty hot porn from taking over. The threat of someone ruining a good thing is everywhere, and in a world of socially connected apps, trolling is the norm.

If you’ve played online video games recently, you’ll notice that trolling is arguably more virulent and nasty than even a Goatse pic popping up on Instagram. The folks at Penny Arcade along with some major players in the gaming industry have released a video detailing various ways to stop trolling and if you’re a community manager or programmer, it deserves a look.

In short, nastiness in games happens because there are no consequences. The folks at PA say “we’ve given the school bully access to the intercom system” and the bully gets to say whatever he wants. Although many apps are barely popular enough to warrant an audience let alone trolls, this concept is still important to keep in mind.

The solution is fairly simple: persistent muting and earned rights within the game. If a player is consistently mean, the other players can shut him during the entire game and, more important, the troll needs to know he’s being muted. Second, voice chat or commenting should be a privilege earned through play, not a default option. Freedom of speech be damned: this is a game, not parliament.

The same can be said for trolls in social networks. Pinterest, for example, did the right thing by offering accounts only through invitation. It increases the value of the account, for one, and it ensures only friends of friends end up in the mix. Arguably, I’m kind of a jerk on Pinterest but I’ve never pinned anything nasty. I’m more likely to respect a community when I see others respecting it.

Earning the right to “play” is also important. Whether you’re using Facebook or Draw Something, there should be some way to earn real control over the environment through dedication. This doesn’t mean you gamify your SoLoMo application using best-of-breed badging and Tweetstream techniques. That’s bullshit. Give people something valuable for being nice, like the ability to take part in a world-wide conversation.

Our own comments, if you’ve noticed, went from massive lists of invective and slurs against mothers all over the world to a quiet conversation. Why? Because Facebook comments ensured that people had to earn the right to talk and they also were held accountable for their words. You’re less likely to say “YOU SUCK DIE IN HELL APPLEDICK” when your picture and name are above the post. Anonymous commenting has its place but not in a place that is trying to curate a positive experience.

Give the video a look and take some of its advice to heart. It’s not just applicable to gaming. It’s applicable anywhere two or more people congregate and don’t want to be bothered by nihilists.

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Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source).

Ludum Dare: Donations and Finances
"Ludum Dare is run and supported by the community. If you'd like to help out, you can make a Paypal donation here. It's important to us that Ludum Dare stay free for all. If you'd like to help us out though, it would be much appreciated."

Gamasutra: Is XBLA Past Its Prime?
"In this opinion piece,2D Boy's Ron Carmel examines the health of Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade marketplace, and what can be done to make it more useful for developers and players."

Giant Bomb: PAX Prime 2011, The PAX 10 (video)
"The PAX 10 is a showcase of independent games held annually at the Penny Arcade Expo. The ten are selected by Penny Arcade staff and a panel of industry professionals. Did you miss this year's PAX Prime? We gather all of this year's greatest indie hits in one video."

Joystiq: Indievania doesn't want your dirty, stinkin' money
"Indie-game developer Lee Vermeulen began Indievania with a dream and a 9 percent rate for hosting indie games -- now his dream is coming true, the 9 percent rate has transformed to 0 percent. Indievania doesn't keep any of the money developers charge for their games, which is exactly how Vermeulen wanted his site to operate."

DIYgamer: Eufloria PSN, Incredipede, Reflow at SOWN 2011
"These three games featured today all celebrate life in a special way. DIYGamer has covered them all in some form, however, it's intriguing to see the games in motion and hear the developers' thoughts behind them."

DIYgamer: Colin Northway Talks Incredipede, Part 2
"Not only does Colin Northway make wow-worthy games such as Fantastic Contraption, he lives a life most of us only dare to dream. He's presently travelling the world with his wife Sarah, gathering inspiration for the current life-like physics puzzler Incredipede."

Just Press Start: Edmund McMillen Interview (audio)
"We are joined by Edmund McMillen, on the eve of the release of his new game, The Binding of Isaac. Jeff and I ask many questions about his new game. We end up getting a wealth of knowledge about how emotionally draining it can be before one of these developers launches a game."

PlayStation Blog: Sideway New York
"At last week's Fantastic Fest in Austin, I caught up with Scott Simpson, director of Canadian developing studio Playbrains. While he's answered most of the questions out there, Sideway still holds few more details yet to be revealed. I recorded our conversation as we played through some of the game's early levels."

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Thousand Knuckle Crack

Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins asked 2010 PAX East attendees to do something bizarre – to crack all their knuckles simultaneously. The sound they made is eerily… wet.

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