I am unclear about how to manage cross-blog commentary but there is an interesting storm brewing in game/virtual world studies over Dave Myers and his attempts to do research along the lines of Harold Garfinkel’s breaching experiments in the context of the MMO City of Heroes/Villians. There are now hundreds of comments and counter comments across a variety of issues.
Suffice it to say that a good starting point is Greg Lastowka’s thread on Terra Nova and there are plenty of game studies people weighing in on the comments there. The all important original paper can be found here. I’ve made some initial comments on the Terra Nova thread but in fact my mind wanders to Cindy’s most amazing comps paper on rules. Beyond the issue of research ethics, this debate really turns on developing a more nuanced vocabulary for talking about rules and rule-bound play.