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An anonymous reader sends this news from Al-Jazeera:
"BP has been accused of hiring internet 'trolls' to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened. ... BP's 'astroturfing' efforts and use of 'trolls' have been reported as pursuing users' personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics' family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP."

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Technology companies used to condemn what critics call “patent trolls,” ventures that profit from innovations they themselves often had no hand in creating. Now, some of those companies are taking pages from the trolls’ playbooks. To bring in extra cash, some big names in the tech industry are spinning off their patents into separate entities, with the aim of pressuring other companies to license the technology and suing when they can’t reach deals.

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fun-games-36

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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A long-lost version of The Hobbit by animation legend Gene Deitch has resurfaced online in the past few days. Why did Gene produce this 12-minute “animatic” version instead of the feature-length version he’d originally planned with Jiří Trnka? Why did he have just one month to produce it? Why has nobody ever seen it? The crazy circumstances that led to the production are revealed in this piece that Gene wrote on his website. In short, the film was a financial ploy by Deitch’s producer William L. Snyder to earn himself a nice chunk of change. Deitch writes:

The Tolkien estate had now been offered a fabulous sum for the rights, and [William] Snyder’s rights would expire in one month. They were already rubbing their hands together. But Snyder played his ace: to fulfill just the letter of the contract – to deliver a “full-color film” of THE HOBBIT by June 30th. All he had to do was to order me to destroy my own screenplay – all my previous year’s work, and hoke up a super-condensed scenario on the order of a movie preview, (but still tell the entire basic story from beginning to end), and all within 12 minutes running time – one 35mm reel of film. Cheap. I had to get the artwork done, record voice and music, shoot it, edit it, and get it to a New York projection room on or before June 30th, 1966! I should have told him to shove it, but I was basically his slave at the time. It suddenly became an insane challenge.

The rest of the story can be read on Gene’s website. And just for the record, the delightful illustrations in the film were created by Czech illustrator Adolf Born.

(Thanks, Stephen Persing, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)

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With Frightfest coming up in the next few couple of weeks, what better time to showcase some of the horror creeping towards the big screens in the second half of the year. First up is British horror with a big reputation Kill List, something from horror stalwart Melissa George with A Lonely Place to Die, Scandanavian hunting with Troll Hunter, and a reimagining of The Wicker Man with orginal director Robin Hardy's The Wicker Tree… Enjoy!

Kill List - Released 2nd September
Directed by Ben Wheatley

A Lonely Way to Die - Released 9th September
Directed by Julian Gilbey

Troll Hunter - Released 9th September
Directed by Andre Ovredal

The Wicker Tree - Released Late 2011
Directed by Robin Hardy


Previous Trailer Tuesdays.

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Trailers this week include the re-release of classic black and white Ice Cold in Alex, Dominic Cooper and Ludivine Sagnier in The Devil's Double, more cult movie making from Norway with Troll Hunter, and another rerelease from Park Circus with a newly cleaned up West Side Story. Enjoy!

Ice Cold in Alex - Released 17th June
Directed by J.Lee Thompson

The Devil's Double Released 12th August
Directed by Lee Tamahori

Troll Hunter - Released 9th September
Directed by Andre Ovredal

West Side Story - Released 12th September
Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise


Previous Trailer Tuesdays.

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