Does having to show how injustice affects “you” indicate a general lack of morality?

Sometimes in order to get people to act against an injustice, one needs to demonstrate how it affects them personally. I’m not talking about “what if something similar happened to you”, I’m talking about “you’ll really feel the effects of the war when petrol prices go up”.

It’s not usually something as trivial as petrol prices. You might have to say things like “the invasian of Iraq will fuel hatred and aggrevate would-be terrorists” indicating that it will ultimately make life less safe (rather than asserting that invading and occupying another country is simply wrong). Or maybe “intensive farming methods could result in contamination of our food supply” (rather than asserting that animals should not have to endure such appalling living conditions). It seems that we are more easily swayed by arguments that something is impractical or unwise, rather than simply unethical.

It’s selfish and prejudiced to make a moral decision based on how it affects you. You also shouldn’t assume an alterior motive when someone makes a moral argument (in order to deride the argument as self-serving). Arguments should be judged on their own merit, not by what someone wants to get out of it.

Are we really so immoral that injustice needs to have clear negative implications for us before we do anything about it?

On the other hand, is scare-mongering (rather than presenting an argument based on ethics) offensive to our potential for moral character?

Wikipedia corrections in motion

Wikipedia is “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit“. As a result, it has at times come under pretty heavy criticism for being very subjective compared to traditional encyclopedias. To counter this argument, many Wikipedia die-hards assert that opinions and inappropriate content are quickly removed.

I’ve collected here a few screenshots, links, and fake quotations (my guess as to the thought process behind various Wikipedia contributions) illustrating the introduction and subsequent removal of casual subjectivity on a Wikipedia article.


Hmmm. I’ll add my personal opinion to this article… is that wrong? I know I’ll add a smilie so that people aren’t offended.


What’s with that smilie? How immature. I’ll fix this article up!… that’s how you spell definitely right?


What the hell is that?! Stupid immature people screwing around with my Wikipedia! If this happens again, I’ll block their asses!

So it seems that for every person who wants to write “OMG! He is so totally awesome!” on the Wikipedia page of their favourite celebrity, there is some finger-wagger waiting to pounce! Let’s hear it for the finger-waggers! (Seriously)

“Spider” video game development

A number of the members of OneTwenty are working on a simple video game entry for next year’s Nullarbor Demo Party and Game Development Competition (which we are also helping to organise). Minh recently made a Call to Arms on her new blog.

The game is (tentatively) called “Spider” and will be a simple 2D game in which you control a spider, keeping it alive (hopefully) long enough for it to reproduce. The design document is pretty (okay, very) sparse at the moment. I have to send Minh the drawings I made for the Nullarbor Mixer last month.

Here’s a spider video for inspiration. It explains the effects of various drugs on the types of webs that spiders make… and it’s very insightful. This phenomenon is detailed on the Wikipedia spider web page. Photos of various webs are available here.

Video found via reddit.