policing themselves

28 08 2008

We all know that gaming for teens (or whoever) at the library is all the rage these days. And we all know that sometimes people react to gaming by proclaiming, “OMGZ! It will be WWIII at the library if we let teens play video games!  They will argue.  There will be blood.  There will be drama.”  But guess what?  Teens police themselves!

“They’re surprisingly good at policing themselves,” library assistant Charles Jean said. “They know if they hog the controller that the next person will hog it on them.” Charles Jean, Chandler Public Library

I know that my own colleagues at CML can attest to this too: teens gaming at the library = very little drama.  It’s as though the compulsion to do what we did as toddlers never leaves us.  When we catch people doing something wrong, we tattle.

Not only do teens police themselves at gaming events, but they also police the heck out of themselves on our Teens Site.  As she who moderates comments and submissions on the site, I recently dealt with a whole bunch of duplicate poem submissions.  Putting two and two together, I realized the submitter had originally submitted everything anonymously and then realized she could submit everything by username.  I made a mistake in publishing all the poems and some of them ended up on the site twice: one anonymous (Erica), one with username (Valiant).  Woo boy, the accusations via comments came almost immediately!  Here are a few:

Hold it right there! Did you copycat Erica or did Erica copycat you? I expect a answer!!! (Nice poem by the way, whoever wrote it first)

Um.. Valiant, are you and Erica the same person?

Oh my Gosh! Valiant you are Erica, are you not?

I promptly deleted the duplicates so that all panic attacks would cease.  Now, if only teens took plaigirism in the classroom as seriously.  My husband, a high school social studies teacher, has to call kids out on plaigirism ALL THE TIME.  That is a whole other post.

The lesson?  Loosen up and see what happens.  You may find that users do the dirty work for you.