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EU Commission & Restricting YouTube for the Public Good

Today at 12:35:14 AM by kat

Under the newly established (legislatively proposed) regulatory group, the "European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA)"[1], the European Commission is to grant itself oversight over 'audio-visual' service like YouTube, or those capable of providing similar/comparable services (social media sites like Facebook, Twitter et al), such that content can be restricted "in the public interest" in a way that would otherwise be contrary to the protections previously afforded them through the EU's equivalent of US 'safe harbor' laws. In the European Commission doing this, YouTube & Co. are essentially released from the incumbent liabilities that might otherwise be applicable to the provision of service were content not restricted; the European Commission is essentially saying "you can have your precious 'freeze peach' but you will liable for the content served (you American/English pig-dog)!".

In other words, YouTube et al can have their 'freedom of speech' to provide content to consumers as they see fit (subject to User ToS compliance), but they will be wholly liable for content deemed 'offensive' and 'objectionable'. Or... they can allow the EU Commission regulative authority over content/their respective services and as a result (essentially) be granted a liability exemption. In either case Service Providers are still obligated with addressing complaints, especially where they concern "hate speech"[2].

Video-sharing platform services provide audiovisual content which is increasingly accessed by the general public and in particular by young people. This also applies to social media services that have become an important medium to share information, entertain and educate, including by providing access to programmes and user-generated videos ... Furthermore they also have a considerable impact in that they facilitate the possibility for users to shape and influence the opinions of other users. Therefore, in order to protect minors from harmful content and all citizens from incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism, it is reasonable to require that these services should be covered by this Directive (emphasis added). [pg.5]

[1] The European Commission ostensibly self-authors the establishment of regulatory bodies that are, as in this instance, typically only accountable to the Commission itself (they are not specifically accountable to EU member Countries although the Commission is, in principle, supposed to be representative).

[2] The Directive proposal appears to the consequence of an earlier ERGA report on "Protection of Minors in the Audiovisual Media Services: Trends & Practices" - "The report focuses on the tools currently being used by the audiovisual media service providers to help parents to protect children from content that may be unsuitable or potentially harmful to their development or overall well-being. By outlining the types of measures with concrete examples from the representative sample of the audiovisual media providers active in various EU member states, it is laying the foundations for further ERGA activities with the aim of fostering cooperation among stakeholders to protect children in the audiovisual media environment".

The complicated Ethics of VR/AR/MR

May 06, 2017, 01:40:44 AM by kat

Subtitle: "the toxic infiltration of politicised "Code of Conduct" documents in open source communities - one 'covenant' to rule them all".
The following should not be construed as legal or otherwise formal advice. Where appropriate consult a suitably qualified contract, business or legal representative for assistance.
Keeping Users 'safe' in VR isn't a new issue, the games, interactive and social media industries have long wrestled with the problem to varying degrees of success which, at the end of the day, ostensibly hinge on Terms of Service violations rather than perceived behavioural transgressions. In other words when an individual is reported for harassing or abusing another, they are not reprimanded for the actual abuse or harassment, but instead for the terms of service violation this constitutes[1]

It's important to understand the distinction here, developers are bound by service agreements unless there are broader violations of societal law involving the service itself, trafficking credit-card information for example. In this sense internet harassment or abuse are not 'crimes' from a service providers point of view (despite media rhetoric on the matter), as such this makes perceived abuses and harassment of the individual the domain of the individual, it is they who are obliged to prosecute in the absolutist legal sense[2], subpoenaing the provider for records[3] where necessary. Essentially outside service agreement violations service providers cannot offer, provide or imply remedial punishments for subjectively perceived criminal behaviour, they can only record incidents and reprimand Users based on what's defined by the User Agreements.

Where potentially 'criminal' or 'offensive' activities do occur, the service providers obligation is typically to the security of the service rather than the User, at least to the degree the provider ensures 'offensive' (in the criminal sense of an 'offense' having occurred), illegal or criminal activities don't affect Users as a direct consequence of service provision. Even then if the service somehow facilitates the theft of personal data for example, they are generally indemnified, another binding term typically included in their respective service agreements. In totality this means it's important Users read them.

With all this in mind, the current pathologically anxiety about who to blame for bad in-game, in-VR experiences, has advocates, activists, acolytes and supporters fronting politicised Codes of Conduct[4] policies as a solution to VR's "ethics" problems and the general toxicity of gaming and the internet, missing the point entirely; Codes of Conduct's are not politicised manifestos or the domain of thinly disguised progressive politics, they are functional, binding documents backed by the force of (contract) law[5].

For business this means these generic documents are not worth the trouble they represent, more so when their respective authors are rarely if ever held to account or can be found responsible for fall-out from such ill-conceived, poorly defined, politically driven policies[6]. The use of boiler plate Terms of Service agreements, User Agreements, Code of Conducts, or other generic, third-party 'rule' or 'policy' documents should be avoided because there are just too many statutory risks involved and unintended legal consequences to not being in full ownership of a given service and any accompanying legal documents[7].

Further Reading
- 50% of women are misogynists.
- Consultation on Interim Revised CPS Guidelines on Prosecuting Social Media Cases.
- Harassment of women now a "hate crime".
- More Police interested in harassment as hate.
- Violence against males in games doesn't count... another study that 'proves' it.

[1] there's a reason why "by clicking "submit" you indicate agreement to our Terms of Service" exists.

[2] barring the obvious, it's up to the individual to determine whether another's behaviour is actionable. Once that has been determined, and law enforcement is involved, pursuit is up to the individual. This is notwithstanding the fact that there are strict evidentiary tests in place to determine whether the accused is 'shit-posting' versus being genuinely harassing. In the UK for example the Crown Prosecution has this to say; "[a] communication sent has to be more than simply offensive to be contrary to the criminal law. Just because the content expressed in the communication is in bad taste, controversial or unpopular, and may cause offence to individuals or a specific community, this is not in itself sufficient reason to engage the criminal law".

[3] this is why its crucial the first port of call is to report any incidents of harassment or abuse so there is a record, irrespective as to whether anything being done about the incident - these records form the basis upon which a criminal case can be built. Unfortunately too many advocacy and activist groups advise victim to not waste their time doing this, wholly missing the point why victims should make or file reports. Anyone advocating this should be resoundingly ignored.

[4] the most popular Code of Conduct used in FoSS and OSS communities is the "Contributor Covenant". It is a political document whose author(s) appears to have little or  no grounding in Law, Business or respective Contracting.

[5] the code of conduct documents at the heart of this discussion are not community aids, their point is exactly political leverage, to gather "allies", "advocate" and "activists", collateral and agents willing to spread of the politics the documents espoused and/or endorsed. They are not intended to be used in any formal binding sense, which is why their authors won't allow themselves to be held accountable for the fallout from their use (cf. 6 below).

[6] on the (thankfully) rare occasions something does happen, the Code of Conduct authors either disappear, become unreachable, or in rare instances issue pithy Twitter tweets or Facebook messages absolving themselves of any wrong-doing, insisting the project or business wasn't forced to adopt the Code of Conduct - glossing over the social-ostracising and shaming tactics typically employed by acolytes and supporters in the press and across social media to (almost universally passive-aggressively) coerce compliance. In other words they never, if very rarely admit fault. This puts all the onus and legal consequences of a problem squarely in the hands of the project or business that employed someone else's conduct policies whilst having little inkling as to the authors intent behind the language used.

[7] for business the danger of using third-party user agreements, be they the types of Codes discussed in the above or not, that have not been specifically drawn up by legal council to match the service provided is ostensibly two-fold; 1) is the implied transfer of liability (real or not) and 2) it presents a lack of ownership over whatever service is being provided. Both have potentially actionable consequences for business owners.

MarkMonitor, AWS and site scanning abuse

April 22, 2017, 10:36:26 PM by kat

[image courtesy Amazon]

The last time MarkMonitor was mentioned here on KatsBits was back in 2011 when their aggressive BOT was discovered to be consuming a disproportionate amount of bandwidth to scour the entire server KatsBits ran from. Scrapers, snoopers and other types of BOT that intentionally ignore robots.txt whilst mooching around a website aren't normally a problem because they are often indexing content for custom built search engine products (the fact they do this is for another conversation). What's special about MarkMonitor's BOT however, is its offensive (meaning "preemptive", "active") aggressiveness; it simply does not care how much bandwidth is consumed as it move through a target website like a bull in a china shop, to the extent that bandwidth averages can be significantly different after their BOT has paid a visit. Especially troubling for image heavy websites.
Long story short, MarkMonitor are a "global leader in brand protection". Big brands task them to paparazzi their way around the internet looking for brand infringement ("paparazzi" because like that particular beast, they intentionally ignore common protocols to do what they do). They're not specifically looking for Copyright violations so much as broader 'brand' abuse they can take action against.

Back then MarkMonitor used to serve their brand tracking/investigation BOT from their own IP address making it relatively straightforward to block its bandwidth abuses. Now however, MarkMonitor uses Amazon Web Services as a third-party content distribution system to offset their own bandwidth use, and more importantly, obfuscate their presence in the scanning and network abuse the bot is engaged in. The nefarious nature of this latter point cannot be stressed enough regardless as to how it might be argued (justified).

What this now means for webmasters versus perhaps five or so years ago, is that abuse logs simply reference IP addresses associated with AWS server instances instead of MarkMonitors own domain name/IP (e.g., markmonitor.com/209.200.xxx.xxx). In other words, at face value it's slightly more difficult to trace the abuse back to the abuser, a fact that for them, reduces their liabilities.

What's more, whilst these abuse instances can be reported to Amazon using their EC2/AWS abuse reporting system (or directly mailing ec2-abuse@amazon.com), there is little assistance for those caught in Saurons MarkMonitors glare (their network abuse has been an ongoing problem for KatsBits for the better part of 10 years). Even then if abuse is found to have occurred, Amazon simply reiterates privacy policies prohibitions preventing the revelation of pertinent information about the abuser and what they were/are doing. Fortunately they don't need to as there are plenty of other ways to find this out. But that's by-the-by.

To get an idea of the extent of the abuse perpetrated by MarkMonitor, below is a list of the most recent instances of AWS abuse traced back to MarkMonitor, a few from a list of hundreds reported to Amazon this month (caveat: the nature of AWS means that whilst the addresses listed below currently resolve to MarkMonitor, they may be  dynamically reassigned to another entity at some point in the future - when in doubt perform a "reverse lookup" to see what's at the end of the rainbow before then reporting the suspicious activity to Amazon so a record exists);
  • ec2-34-209-69-182.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-34-209-175-241.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-70-139-144.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-39-89-248.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-34-209-98-91.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-148-122-132.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-35-141-43.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-68-155-195.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-154-207-210.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-27-158-160.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
Discovering all this is one thing. Knowing what to do with it is another. At the very least some pointed and pertinent questions need to be asked of MarkMonitor:
- Why do they ignore robots.txt  (beyond "bad people can block our bots").
- Why are they so aggressive in pursuit of protecting managed brands.
- Why do they persist when no evidence of brand infringement is discovered.
- Why do they not have an ABUSE policy in place.
- Why do they obfuscate their scraper/scanner/bot.
- and more...

YouTube (Google), demonetization and censorship

April 06, 2017, 07:09:51 PM by kat
YouTube demonetization isn't censorship

Googles latest video demonetizing and account safeguard updates to YouTube isn't censorship so much as the consequence of a long-standing, and arguably perhaps, poorly realised business decision to make the platform as secure (in the sense of being 'verified') and "advertiser friendly" as possible, especially in light of big money threatening the potential loss of billions of dollars. Google has to pay attention, whether the users like it or not, more so when some of the names associated with the projected loss are part of new services YouTube instigates, like YouTube TV.

YouTube has always reserved the right to demonetize content it deems inappropriate or simply just because the video is not a good fit for the advertisers using their platforms. This has always meant the more generic and 'harmless' the content, the better the monetization opportunity because a much broader spectrum of advertising can be run alongside or associated with the material. YouTube has more or less always operated this way, certainly since the Partner program was opened up; YouTube creators and publishers have always uploaded content with full knowledge their videos can be demonetized, and/or pulled in extreme cases. It says as much in the Creator/Uploader Agreement (§7 and 8).

With that said, damage control with regards to the demands of Big Brands in the short-term does make easy pickings of controversial content, actions that don't specifically mean YouTube itself is targeting 'right' (politically 'right') leaning content due to its directional bias, rather as a result of the contents nature, its subjective sensitivity, something YouTube has always been jittery about (KatsBits for example has a couple of demonetized videos dating back to 2008, almost ten years ago, because the videos didn't fit contextually the adverts being displayed at the time; annoying, yes; censorship, no).

This is not to say however, that a certain clique of busybodies aren't using the opportunity, scurrying around YouTube using and abusing the reporting system as a means to 'harass' ("it's not harassment when we do it") and 'deplatform' ("it's not censorship if its 'hate'")[1] people they don't like, the controversial nature of whom/which make this type of petty behaviour pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel.

To be clear, this cohort of malicious miscreants are politically motivated, are engaged in censorship[2], and often successful not because they are correct but as an indirect consequence of the controversial nature of content being flagged; as Content Creators have little recourse to dispute the claims or reports made against them in this context (notwithstanding Copyright claims), there's little they can do at present to counter the witch-hunters extraordinaire. And that only emboldens them further, winning, not through better arguments, but by being vociferously belligerent with their subjective claims (this is perhaps one area that YouTube could improve the system - if content is taken down the person making the claim has to verify their claim in some way, similar to the requirements of making Copyright Claims).

[Edit] It should be noted that in spite of the above, that YouTube aren't engaged in censorship, the consequences of demonetization are very real, many a popular YouTuber that's gained ground over the last few years is loosing significant income, often to the extent that it obligates a serious rethinking, or their having to shut their channels down. This fact further emboldens bad-faith actors abuse of YouTubes reporting system as a tool in their misguided political activism.

For YouTube Creators and Publishers there are, as yet, no comparably viable solutions to income generation from video publishing because few platforms have advertising in place let alone a monetary reward or sharing system (even where advertising is available, revenue share is not). For fans and viewers it becomes increasingly impractical to support all the authors previously engaged with on YouTube through crowd-funding outlets or directly through the likes of PayPal et al.

It is perhaps not without a good dose of irony that a move to help 'diversify' YouTube as a platform, one that makes it more 'open' and 'family friendly' is doing the opposite to some of the more popular channels.

Further Reading
- Illegal Hate Speech, the EU and Tech.
- Freedom of speech ends where threats abound.
- Developers and self, voluntary, censorship.
- Being ignored: silencing at SXSW.
- Twitters Trust & Safety Council and "free expression".
- Twitters "Ministry of Truth" Trust & Safety Council.
- Free Speech & Expectations of Privacy on Social Media

[1] "deplatforming" (sometimes referred to as the lesser "disinvitation", or "no platforming" in the more grammatically correct UK) is a tactic often used by special-interest individuals and groups that denies those subject to such calls to action the ability to freely engage with others. As such it fundamentally interferes with the principles of freedom to speak, to freely pass unmolested, etc. It also denies others freely exercising their will (agency) to listen to someone else, even those with whom they may disagree. In this context "denying the right...", to listen, or the "right to not hear" have no bearing on the Individual Right to Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Expression; Individuals cannot deny someone their Right to speak/express simply because they don't like, or don't want to hear, what they might have to say. Furthermore, the "Right to Speak", the "Right to be heard" and the "right to listen" are not synonymous, they have different meanings and importance in Law, for example;

[1a] The "Right to Speak" is a protected Human, or 'great', Right (e.g. Article I Bill of Rights [info], Article 10 [alt] of European Convention on Human Rights [alt], UK Human Rights Act §12 etc.).

[1b] The "right to be heard" is generally considered either a "procedural guarantee" often associated with Government or Institutional service provision (e.g. Article 41 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which might in practice mean a disabled person being heard with respect to services they receipt or are entitled to). Or a 'minor right' typically associated with the "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child" that guarantees minors the 'right' to express opinions and views on matters that affect them.

[1c] The "right to listen", or rather the "right not to listen" is a argument often cited by those in social science circles rather than Law professionals (where it is, its typically argued as a 'negative right'). In that sense it is a pseudo-intellectualism rather than a principle in law. As it is neither a capitalised 'Right', lower-case 'right', an entitlement or privilege in any sense, legally, legislatively or procedurally. It cannot be considered anything other than a 'thought exercise', one that perhaps seems based upon misinterpreting current Law, the Rights of Individuals, and the circumstances around which it might be used argumentatively - whilst the Individual is not obliged to listen when others speak, they cannot impinge the speakers Right whilst attempting not to listen. Conversely the speaker cannot force, coerce, obligate or otherwise compel others to listen unless that person does so voluntarily, and without infringing the listeners Right(s), ostensibly to be free from harm and able to freely go about their business unmolested (recognised typically as the right 'to peacefully assemble', to do otherwise risks infringing the Rights of others).

[2] In this context using YouTubes content flagging system constitutes the "deplatforming" ("de-platforming"), "no platforming", "disinvitation" et al of others and are all means though which a person may directly or indirectly behave or move against individuals using threats, abuse, harassment, intimidation of any kind etc., implied or otherwise, that interferes with their free expression as a Right. As recognised in Law our Rights do not grant us permission to act against others in any way that might impinge their "Life, Liberty and the[ir] pursuit of Happiness", to borrow from the Declaration of Independence.

Boom Headshot, perpetuating the 'murder-simulator' narrative through bad science

March 17, 2017, 11:23:12 PM by kat

The recent retraction of “Boom, Headshot!”: Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy[1] from the Journal of Communication Research ended a protracted five year controversy over the papers findings, not because they were wrong, but as a consequence of the data necessary to refute or verify such claims essentially going missing. This is significant given the studies purpose was to inform the debate on violent FPS 'shooter' style games being "murder simulators"[2], essentially asserting violent video games are effective tools to train people to kill through "opperant conditioning" (learning through rote or repetition), a claim that's not actually debunked by virtue of the paper having been retracted.

The situation is worthy of note for a number of reasons; it speaks to longstanding concerns over an apparent 'soft science' bias in academia[3]; the 'Jerry-mandered' of Journal Publishing[4]; the veracity of the results and their meaning relative to the approach used to test the papers hypothesis/assertions. It's this latter point that's particularly interesting given the narrative if feeds in to (see above) and the fundamentally flawed approach to discovery taken; in a nut-shell participants fired an airsoft pistol at a fixed (man-shaped) target after a 'conditioning' period playing specific video games using mouse/keyboard or 'gun' shaped controllers, but were not required to do so beforehand. Individual baselines were instead established though Q&A surveys that built a psychological profile of each persons general attitude towards firearms etc., not their raw live-fire ability[5].

In other words, the participants thoughts and feelings towards firearms and related usage were the initial gauge, that when added to the conditioning period, allowed a correlation to be established; the more favorable the attitude, and the greater the conditioning exposure, the greater and accuracy predicted and measured, the follow-through then being that first-person shooters do indeed 'train' people be be killers, an extraordinary extrapolation of implied cause and affect that has greater implications for society, not for any corollary aspects towards violence per se, but rather because the paper is actually an attempt to establish a universal psychological test that can determine a persons state of being based on a series of theoretical reference points, that 8 year old Charlotte's crude "L" shaped crayon sketch of a gun predicts her to be a killer[6].

The problem with this is that the leap to conclusion is so grossly over-compensatory (for want of a better word) it can be used as a predictive measure of just about any outcome plugged in to it; a person with a favorable attitude towards bassoons, who played hours of "Bassoon & You too", is predicted to be an "accurate" Bassoon player. Replace "firearm" with "baseball", "cricket", "bow and arrow", "tiddlywinks" and the formulas prediction is the same; [positive attitude] + [increased virtual/fictional exposure] = [increasing real-world outcome], not the hours and hours of hands-on live-fire (in this instance) instruction, training[7], practice and dedication.

That "Boom Headshot['s]" failings were not spotted or commented on at inception or any other point during research and publication[8], perhaps speaks just as much to the concerns mentioned in the opening paragraph as it does to simply poor science and the propensity towards 'celebrity publication bias' to court controversy as a means of garnering corporate/business/financial interest, problems not easily solved for subjects with such low efficacy/high output rates[9].

P.S. The articles full heading/title should be "Boom Headshot! Perpetuating the "violent video games are murder simulators" narrative through bad science" but it doesn't fit.

[1] “Boom, Headshot!”: Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy [researchgate]. "Abstract: Video games are excellent training tools. Some writers have called violent video games “murder simulators.” [Jack Thompson] Can violent games “train” a person to shoot a gun? There are theoretical reasons to believe they can. Participants (N = 151) played a violent shooting game with humanoid targets that rewarded headshots, a nonviolent shooting game with bull’s-eye targets, or a nonviolent nonshooting game. Those who played a shooting game used either a pistol-shaped or a standard controller. Next, participants shot a realistic gun at a mannequin. Participants who played a violent shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller had 99% more headshots and 33% more other shots than did other participants. These results remained significant even after controlling for firearm experience, gun attitudes, habitual exposure to violent shooting games, and trait aggressiveness. Habitual exposure to violent shooting games also predicted shooting accuracy. Thus, playing violent shooting video games can improve firing accuracy and can influence players to aim for the head." (emphasis added).

[2] Although the term "murder simulators" was popularised through Jack Thompson's efforts in the late 1990's to restrict the availability of video games to minors. it originates with author David Grossman who used the phrase to describe the overall effect he asserted playing violent video games had on players (minors in particular). It has since been used variously by other critics of violent video games.

[3] The soft science bias is essential a symptom of the publication of subjective topics of research that prove difficult to properly or reliably replicate or prove one way or the other. This raises further concerns over such research being given platforms and published because it essentially falls into the realms of being subjective op-ed and non-falsifiable in nature, a position more typical of advocacy, politicised or propaganda research conducted by a stake-holders or vested interests as a means to push a supportive or favourable narrative - 'soft' subjects like political science, gender studies, the arts & humanities generally, exhibit greater propensity to towards bias than hard sciences like physics, biology etc.
Search terms "publication bias soft sciences"
 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "US studies may overestimate effect sizes in softer research".
 - Public Library of Science: "“Positive” Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences".
 - Department of Education, University of Chicago: "How Hard Is Hard Science, How Soft Is Soft Science? The Empirical Cumulativeness of Research".
 - International Council for Science: "Advisory Note "Bias in science publishing"".
 - et cetera, et cetera.

[4] Gerrymandering research is not so much cherry picking but selective filtering, data that supports a predefined conclusion is allowed though the filter even though it may not be fully supportive of the goal, whereas cherry-picking deals exclusive with selective bias. The difference between the two is that the former can give a greater appearance of veracity because conclusions aren't quite so easily refuted. In addition to this, journals giving voice to such 'soft-science' research are notorious for courting controversy for sake of notoriety or interest in their publications, often publishing controversial subjects that may or may not be backed by thorough research and/or exhibit preference towards fashionable political topics of discussion. In other words "Boom, Headshot...", 1) should not have been published in the first place if the data was not available at the time, and what should have been a glaring problems with their approach, and 2) was published because the subject is politically topical (as are the papers authors) which brings in interest to the Journal, not because the topic had any greater 'truth' to tell or merit than other research in the field.

[5] The determining factor using this approach is 'exposure', the prediction being essentially the greater the exposure the better the persons transferable accuracy (they are predicted to be better with the real(ish) thing). This allows for the establishment of a non-falsifiable correlation because the baseline is theoretical predictive assertion, not contextually measured objective observation - control variable (the baseline) was established by having "[p]articipants ... [complete] a number of control variables, including the Aggression Questionnaire, the Attitudes Toward Guns Scale, and the Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire [that were] combined to form a composite measure of attitudes toward guns. [They were also asked] whether they had received firearms training and ... their three favorite video games ... used to measure habitual exposure to shooting video games. With the exception of a deer-hunting video game, all shooting games involved killing humanoid targets and all were rated “M” (for mature players 17 and older)".

[6] An interesting throw-away from the paper reveals there to have been no difference in outcome based on the individuals sex/gender, female participants were as likely to perform as males "[t]here were no main or interactive effects involving participant sex for headshots or other shots, so the data from men and women were combined.". In addition to this, the live-fire section of the research was conducted in a way that replicated the game environment, not real-world usage, i.e., the distance between shooter and target was sufficient to allow WYAIWYH (Where You Aim Is Where You Hit), rather than demanding the shooter involve more complex motor skills to compensate for ballistics etc., "... the firing distance selected for this experiment (20 ft; 6.1 m) was determined during pretesting to be an optimal distance for most successfully landing a hit where one aimed on the target". In other words the test was designed not to fail.

[7] It's important to note "[p]articipants were instructed in the use of the pistol and wore safety goggles while shooting. A post-test-only design was employed to eliminate pistol-firing practice effects" (the compensatory factors are not disclosed). This fact should have repudiated the papers central premise, that violent video games train people to use firearm, especially without any live-fire comparative baseline.

[8] The paper does not appear to have been peer-reviewed.

[9] Perhaps a more objective way to have conducted the test might have been to have a control group that were not asked any questions, were not conditioned and only shot at targets. This could be expanding to have been done several time at fixed intervals, or interval matching the start/end of each phase other participants were involved with. For example, baseline shoot, Q&A end shoot, conditioning end shoot, final shoot. Same for the other participants, a shoot after each phase. Without any of this there is no historical comparative test to be made, which makes the research not much more than vanity publishing and one more disingenuous step towards the litany of 'pre' tests to determine potential 'pre' crime as it were.
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