Minecraft and Ethics


Our Minecraft activity sat down with Mark to discuss ethics and Minecraft and some clear principles emerged.  Students found much agreement on two principles: the golden rule and know your world. Students pointed out that the rules you follow to be a good human being are the same rules that make you a good member of a Minecraft world. The virtual world and our real one are not that different when it comes to the golden rule and to issues of respect and trust. The one exception is “knowing your world.” In Minecraft, you can create your own world and/or you often play in someone else’s world. So, know your world. Is it a peaceful world or is it a world created as a platform for PvP (player versus player combat)? If it has PvP, then do not be upset when someone attacks you. Accept the rules of the world or do not enter. But, even in a PvP world, trust and respect are the major players.

Here are some excerpts (paraphrased but as close to the original quote as possible) from the conversation:

  • You cannot expect others to just be inherently nice to you, unless you are nice to them.
  • In a world where there are no repercussions for actions, you have to be very careful.
  • I try not to do anything to anyone, unless it was done to me first.
  • A healthy paranoia is wise. Wait for them to demonstrate that they are trustworthy.
  • Minecraft is a lot like Ancient Rome. There is a general level of peace.  It is a decent place, but once you go to the Colosseum, it is going to be ugly.
  • Peaceful worlds are nice. I like the idea of not needing to watch my back.
  • I find it hard to trust people in Minecraft if I do not first trust them in real life.
  • I have opened my trust to others and they have destroyed all I built.
  • Minecraft is just a digital simulation of life that is poorly pixelated.

Thank you to Victor (Class of 2017), Kafele (Class of 2017), and Cliff (Class of 2016) for running the Minecraft activity and for having me as a guest.