Wanting to be Offended

12 October 2018

Talking over the Internet isn't as effective and equivalent to real-world communication. Most of the time, we communicate using only text, with nothing to describe our tone of speech, expression, and other non-verbal forms of communication. But what about video chat? Tinychat.com provides a public video chatroom. It's still nothing like reality, but let me tell you a story.

One of my very first experiences with Tinychat is actually with a stranger who makes racist remarks and insults with video and speech. At first, it was too dark to see his face but he eventually revealed himself anyway. The thing is, he isn't afraid in the slightest bit to talk shit about others.

Most of his insults were directed to a black guy in the chatroom. I thought it was pretty insulting and hurtful and it went on for about half an hour. But why do we always assume that these insults are offensive to a group that we don't even belong to? At the end of the day, the black guy found it funny. To be honest, we have to be immature to find it funny... but is it mature to take offence on someone's free speech?

Eventually his insults reached me, a Chinese guy. He was mocking about how I would sound like if I actually spoke, "ching chong ling long" and the sort. With his poker face and serious tone, you can't really tell if he's joking or not, but I could only laugh. Even if he was serious about it, I'd laugh. The black guy got it worse in my opinion, but he still laughed.

After all that, we still engage each other in a conversation. To me, it would be much duller and not so enjoyable without him. I actually look forward to be in this chatroom, simply because I find it funny. Unfortunately, the chatroom no longer exists.

It is these kind of experiences that make me think about what people actually consider as bullying or harassment on the Internet. If I really did get offended, I could block the user or even join another chatroom. This sort of functionality to simply ignore what you don't like to hear - doesn't exist in real life. In the computer however, you as the user have control of that. Internet is the pinnacle of free speech and information, it is the greatest invention ever made. It allows people to speak freely without fear of being punched in the face.

Does cyberbullying really exist, or is it just some people who simply WANT to be offended?

Why do people troll?

14 July 2014

What is trolling?
Trolling is the act of provoking or inciting arguments with the deliberate intent to obtain an emotional response and to disrupt genuine discussion on the Internet. Trolling by definition, is to be a disingenuous bastard on the Internet. Trolling seeks to attack people emotionally through a screen but not real-life. It is a psychology on human-computer interaction and virtual worlds. Comparing human to human interaction in real-life (e.g. bullying, playing pranks) to trolling is incorrect, because the user can choose to simply ignore, filter, block, delete, scroll or even move to the next page. The user has full control over what he/she wants to see and how he/she wants to respond through anonymity, privacy settings and so on.

So why troll?
There is no definitive answer as to the reason for trolling; however, trolling usually poses a question to you, your existence or your life. Usually, it's one of the following:

1. Why so serious?
2. What fun is there in poker if you cannot see the reactions of the players?
3. Do you truly understand and respect what freedom of speech is?
4. Are you aware of the concept of "ignore", "block", "delete", "scroll down" and "move to the next comment/page"?
5. How would you and the people here actually react to this?

The very existence of these questions is the very reason why people troll - to see you become clueless to these questions through your angered response. It's funny in the same way children make fun of one another through words like "your mother" where mature adults don't find it funny. In essence, trolling is childish.

If trolling is a problem for you, think about this example. Why do you simply ignore those 200 junk mails you get everyday? Why don't you report each and every one of them for harassing you over and over again, even when some of them are phishing scams? Well, because they're anonymous so you don't know how to get to them, and they're in your Junk folder. Problem solved. So why should trolling be a problem for you? The user has control over what he/she wants to see, and how he/she wants to respond. Remember that.

What about trolling with threats?
Some trolls target people with threats, like Justin Bieber for example. Some even go to the extent to blur the line between a real death-threat and trolling for fun. If no real threat is observable, then it is not wrong thanks to freedom of speech and expression. Of course, that itself is a hotly debated topic. There is a concern where even satirical comments can be regarded as a threat. One shouldn't be so sure to regard trolling as an ultimately wrong thing to do. It's just not as simple as one would like to think of it.

How to Setup RUST Server with Plugins?

15 May 2014

A short guide on how to setup a RUST server, with mods and plugins to enhance the game.

This guide shows you how to start a RUST server for other players to join, as well as to show you how to install plugins. A normal RUST server without any mods or plugins is difficult to play because of its early development stage; for example, there will be no welcome message for new players and killing somebody does not display anything. Adding plugins helps make the game better such as by announcing server messages, protect and reserve in-game names, spawning NPCs, allowing admins to manage and destroy buildings easily, change most of the gameplay and so on!

Note: This guide is for setting up the SERVER, not for playing the game as a CLIENT. To see how to install and play the game, refer to this guide.


1. Get RUST Client and Server
Currently, most people are playing on version v25, which you can get here.

2. Install RUST server and start the server once.
Run the RUST Server Installer and install the server (if you installed RUST Client, do not overwrite the client files, make sure your server is installed in a separate folder). Once that is done, go to the folder where you installed it and run "Run Server.bat" to start the server, which brings up a console. Type in "config.save" in the console, then close it. This creates initial server files needed in future. If you do not wish to add mods or plugins to your server, you can stop here. Any commands to set the server name and rcon password can be configured in /serverdata/cfg/server.cfg. A list of server commands can be seen here. As a minimum, the server.cfg should contain something like this:

rcon.password mypassword
server.hostname "My Server"
server.maxplayers 24

3. Download and install Magma.
There are other popular mods such as Oxide, but Magma is an excellent framework which allows users to create plugins using JavaScript, which is easy as pie if you have any knowledge on programming, giving you a great deal of control and modification for your plugins. It is important to note that newer versions of Magma do not support the current v25 RUST, so I provided a download link for the correct Magma version here. At the top-left corner of Google Drive, click File > Download. Then, extract its contents to where you installed your RUST server.

4. Configure Magma.
Go to /save/Magma/Rust++/Rust++.cfg and configure important settings such as sleepers. If sleepers = true, then the server spawns a sleeping body whenever a player disconnects. These bodies can still be killed, so it forces players to find a safe place to disconnect. Other settings such as message of the day and notices can be configured here.

5. Make yourself the master admin of the server.
If you're going to play in your own server, you should make yourself the master admin. There are two ways you can try, or you can just do both. The first method is to join your server, bring up the console with F1 and type "rcon.login [password]", replacing [password] with your rcon password set in server.cfg as mentioned in Step 2. Then, type "/setmasteradmin" in chat (NOT CONSOLE).

The second method is the best method, which is to go to /save/Magma/Rust++ folder and edit the admins.xml. It should contain this code, but make sure you replace DisplayName with your nickname and UserID with your player ID number (this can be seen in the server console when you join the server as a client):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ArrayOfAdministrator xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">

To make other players as admin, you can just use the "/addadmin [playername]" chat command, but if you want to manage your admins better, you should edit the admins.xml file manually. You can add new admins by copy-and-pasting the whole Administrator element. See the number of things the admin can do under the Flags list, such as CanGodMode? This means that this admin can use the "/god" chat command to make himself invulnerable. So, when copying this admin code for other admins in your server, you may want to remove some of these flags so that they do not have full access.

6. Adding Plugins
Adding plugins is very simple in Magma. To install plugins, simply extract the plugin folder to /save/Magma. You can find plugins for Magma in their forums here, but you may need to register for an account. For your convenience, I have compiled a bunch of useful plugins that should be used on most servers. Some of the plugins have been modified by me to prevent same names and have some funny death messages, so this is a little extra that could not be found in the forums. Extract the plugins to /save/Magma.


Common Questions

Why can't people can't join my server?
Make sure they are using RUST v25. Also, make sure your firewall allows the connection between the server and clients, make sure the ports are forwarded.

How do I detect hackers?
There is no real way to detect hackers, but you can reduce it. If you used the plugins pack that I provided here, it should include a HackAutoBan plugin which will automatically kick anyone suspected of hacking (it checks for players killing people farther than the weapon's effective range). There is also a Vanish plugin which allows admins to use the "/vanish" chat command to turn invisible. This, along with the "/tpto [playername]" command, admins can teleport and check on players, but the admin's name will still show even if invisible, so I suggest admins to use a hard-to-see name like "." or something.

Can I create my own plugins? How?
Magma works by simply reading the JavaScript file in the plugin folder you put in /save/Magma. You can take a look at the plugins created by others as an example. THIS LIST provides a documentation on classes, events and hooks which you can use to program the game's behaviour.