It's been 2 months now that I have been on the PlayStation Network and Sony's PSN Home Beta. I've gotten accustomed to some of the people there, especially those at Sully's Bar. Speaking about PSN Home, I have a feeling that Sony hadn't planned on what kinds of people would be hanging out at certain places. If you've been on PSN Home, you'll know what I'm talking about. For the majority of you who don't, let me explain.
Recently, I decided to veer away from my I-am who-I associate-with String Theory. This was a double-edged sword - it was my biggest mistake and I learn something valuable. The place I was accustomed to were real people. And apparently, they hang out as I do just like in a real bar. Bar things happens, like a bit of harassment and fun banter, maybe a real drink transposed into the virtual world, it's all good.
However, when I went to this place called the Gamer's Lounge - basically a place I haven't frequented when it was busy, it was an entirely different world. In a place what was suppose to be bright, clean, modern and very friendly, the people inside this space were none of those things. At one point, I thought I had made a friend - only to find out that he was as socially inept as all of the other people in this space. The words from another person stated it all too clearly, "Oh, great! Looks like you finally made a friend!" At this point, people were starting to harrass me for no apparent reason - only because I was different in some way. I then took my last breath and left on the spot without any regrets.
The one thing I did learn, which is very personal to me, is that I shall always be grateful with the people I associate with on a frequent basis. But I digress.
I digress because I am certain that Sony had not planned on it being this way. I am certain they thought all places could be for everyone and everyone is welcome to hang out anywhere without cause of fuss or anything appauling. Well, there's this thing called human behavior where people seem to cluster around because of who they are and what they think about. That in itself is user experience - or human experience.
There was also an instance where moderators would come online thinking they'd be doing their jobs, when all of a sudden, they learn something about the human order and behavior. In fact, and especially in Sully's, there is no need for moderator because everyone there knows everyone else and police themselves accordingly. Yes, while reporting (ratting), blocking and muting tools are available and can be quite useful in some respects, the ultimate experience is self-policing.
One other example is the fact that you can decorate you personal room in any way you want. But did Sony think about putting a couch on the roof through the ceiling? Or how about placing furniture upon other furniture so they can explore or get a different vantage point of the entire 3-D space?
I guess what I'm trying to say here is:
1. Whatever you design for, there will always be someone (or group) that will use what you designed for something that wasn't intended;
2. While tools provide a means to mitigate certain pitfalls, human behavior can always do more than just the tool.
3. And of course - sometimes humans can be tools.