After Hours optimize

Could the online games you play affect your employability?

A woman running for state senate in Maine has been "outed" by the opposing party for being an experience WoW player. Say what?

As a blogger who writes about employment issues in the tech industry, I'm well aware of the effect one's online presence has on the search for a job. I'm not above cautioning people to watch their social media interactions and postings. But this latest news piece is just a notch above (or below?) that.

Colleen Lachowicz, a Democratic candidate running for State Senate in Maine, has recently been "outed" for her participation in World of Warcraft. Lachowicz, a level 85 orc in WOW, is "unfit for office," according to Maine's GOP. They sent out a press release titled:  "Democratic Senate Candidate Colleen Lachowicz's Disturbing Alter-Ego Revealed" and has accused Lachowicz of living a "bizarre double life."

My first reaction was, gee, the woman is not making snuff films, so what's the big deal? But apparently some people were alarmed at some of the statements she's made in regard to the game: "I can kill stuff without going to jail. There are some days when this is more necessary than others."

One of my colleagues, Bill Detwiler, said, "The fact that this person plays WoW (or any video game) is completely irrelevant to her ability to perform her duties as an elected official. However in the age of the Internet (where everything lasts forever), she should have known better than to post those kind of comments if she wanted to run for political office."

So what do you think? Is the alarm over Lachowicz playing an online, sometimes violent, game warranted? Or is it no one's business?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

98 comments
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Limo Services Raleigh NC

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san jose jumpers

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skoelkoe
skoelkoe

I would vote for her because she played WoW. She is more in tune with what is going on then most politicians.

dougej
dougej

I thought this was going to be an April Fool article that was released on the wrong day. Then I read that the press release was issued by the Maine GOP. Suddenly I realized that it had to be true. Shades of Joe McCarthy

njoy_d_ride
njoy_d_ride

This is a politics-only article, and I see enough of these with the election being less than a month away. I'm disappointed with it. I was expecting something like "this game, because of what you are required to do, makes you better able to do a certain type of work." Ms. Bowers should know that right now ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about the opposition will be called on the table. Important things like how they vote, and anything else that a politician thinks will give them an advantage. What they do for entertainment, who they are seen with... You name it. Both parties participate in this foolishness when they can. Agreed, the voters who can't see this should be first to be questioned.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

forests you can brag about it in public and they love it, shoot real people in a real war and they love it, command people to shoot real people in a real war and they love it; but go about shooting imaginary monsters in a computer game, or killing imaginary people in a computer game, or command imaginary armies in a computer game and you're a blood thirsty, evil minded person. The US media and the US public just don't seem to have any common sense at all. Just like in the old quote about there being nothing so uncommon as common sense.

Tumbleweed_Biff
Tumbleweed_Biff

... have not sinned cast the first stone. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has said things which could be used against them. This "permanence of the internet" thing and the ability to track down such things is a significant problem. A comment made in the heat of the moment, as a sarcastic comment, playing devil's advocate, the playfulness of youth, a simple jest, or a purely cathartic moment can easily be twisted into a sound byte to try to attack anyone, even years after the fact. This is a place where I believe we should have some privacy laws enacted. We should be able to say things on private forums which are not intended for public consumption which stay private and are guarded as such. At the same time, the use of such an item speaks much more about the tactics of those attempting to use this against the candidate than it does the candidate themselves. It demonstrates that those attacking the candidate are despicable and deserving of contempt. Finally, if this is the worst thing they can come up with, the candidate should run with it: "check this out folks, the worst thing the opposition can come up with against me is a comment I made about playing a game." Turn it and the attackers into a joke rather than treating it as anything to be taken seriously.

don3605
don3605

This is a politician talking, if they had the brains of your average squirrel they would get a real job and contribute to society. Making a big deal over idiots only encourages them.

yodi.collins
yodi.collins

While I do agree that her comment was in poor taste, it isn't a deal-breaker. The whole WoW issue reeks of sleight-of-hand, employed to get the populace up in arms over it so that they will fail to notice some more significant matter on the part of her opponent. Seriously, if this is the best they can come up with, then she's a shoo-in. LOL

eddieke
eddieke

These accusations and insinuations are rather mainstream in current american society, are they not? We europeans find this rather peculiar, not to say over the top and very very amusing. Relax folks, always look on the bright side of things....

cmpdr6
cmpdr6

I have to agree with 1kpugh. This should not be an issue, however, I am always talking to my kids about what they post/share online and how it can come back to bite them eventually. Just like Loggies stated, if people are dumb enough to let this dictate how they vote, then they shouldn't be allowed to vote. Politics are a sore subject for me since it is all about how bad one can make the other look. It's never going to change and it's pathetic in my opinion. What she says about a game should have absolutely no bearing on who she is as a person. Personally speaking, I'd be more willing to vote for someone that did play games because this makes them more realistic overall. Politicians always try to appear perfect in every way and people are not perfect. Someone who's willing to have fun and enjoy themselves like normal people are more likely to get my vote.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

Seems to me that if we aren't careful about the level of tabloid journalism and reactionary comment this could be the slippery slope to a BAWOW (Bothered about World of Warcraft). To answer Toni's question directly, it's none of our business that Lachowicz plays WoW, nor is it any comment on how fit for office she is. If anything, I'd vote FOR her because she's effectively been honest enough to go, "yeah, life can be stressful. I take it out on some fantasy monsters online to help be unwind. Keeps me sane" What if this had been 'The Sims'? Would the GOP have said "Lachowicz's bizaare double life revealed! Parties, ponies, puppies and inane requests for photos from complete strangers!"? If Lachowicz had been playing Battlefield 3 would it have been said that "Lachowicz's bizaare personal war obsession. Are we prepared for another warmonger in office?". gawd forbit that she'd been caught playing VIVA PINATA!! Really, certain sectors of the US need to get a grip. I'm sure existing politicians enjoy violent or disturbing movies. I'm sure some of them will listen to Rave, Heavy Metal, Punk or other forms of 'fringe' music sometimes associated with less than savoury rumours. Some of them may even play 'violent' sports (boxing, football, martial arts, Ice Hockey, faintball, hunting, fishing....er, that's sometimes considered a bloodsport, by the way). Does this make them unfit? No? Didn't think so. Videogames are just another form of recreation. They're no more harmful than any other media we consume and no more character-corrupting than any other boardgame or sport. If we're going to start choosing politicians based on the games they play or the recreations they have we're going to cement the idea that politicians and officials need to lead double-lives and instill in our political system the practices of subterfuge and lies. Given how little we all seem to trust politicians these days I think that would be a damaging path to take. I shudder to think if she'd been outed as a roleplayer or LARPer!

mhbowman
mhbowman

I'd be more concerned about her intelligence if she said that she never missed an episode of The Jersey Shore or The Kardashians.

Jaco
Jaco

Personally I think you can only comment on the matter if you never ever had a voilent though/outburst in your life, this pretty much includes everyone I know. The fact that she'd made a verbal chirp about it should differentiate her from the peeps who thinks this. Whats that comment from the movie "Anger Management" - "Let me explain something to you, Dave. There are two kinds of angry people in this world: explosive and implosive. Explosive is the kind of individual you see screaming at the cashier for not taking their coupons. Implosive is the cashier who remains quiet day after day and finally shoots everyone in the store. You're the cashier" thought I'll through in my 5cents.

ADLJD
ADLJD

As an online gamer myself, there is only one concern that I have. Online games can suck up massive amounts of one's time. A person most certainly play online games and still get their jobs done, but will that job be done well? The quality of a job is affected by the quantity of time one puts into the job, and online games do suck away one's time. I would not consider gaming a factor for disqualification, but it would be a factor in voting for that person.

wokeap
wokeap

Burning of stress is one thing but becoming insatiable is a dangerous place. Reality is a difficult thing to define these days but leaders must live predominantly in the realm of the living to represent the living. If someone spent much of their time shooting then I would have questions about the balance needed in life to avoid extreamism.

edjcox
edjcox

Been playing them for decades... Love FPS and Military Genre games. Does this make me a wierd person... Hmmm... There's ficton and there's reality... People who read murder mysteries might just be the killer next door? I think some folks need to get a grip.. Or maybe loosen up and play a Sniper game or two... Did I take a risk posting this, well if you judge a person by a video game, just PO....

JohnBHeller
JohnBHeller

She is being victimised because she plays a Horde toon. If she played namby pamby Alliance, no one would criticize her :(

Reality Bites
Reality Bites

IE: a investigation into their finances and social interactions, then out them as the political mercenaries they obviously are.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

That would prove them to be a rather cruel business person forcing others to pay exorbitant rent and taxes, sending them to jail for no good reason, and eventually declaring triumph because they've got all the cash and everyone else is broke! Talk about unfit for office!

gscratchtr
gscratchtr

I want to move to Maine just so I can vote for the WoW player which is worse: This is what they have to resort to to try to win the election? or this kind of criticizm is effective? this kind of behavior (from the opposing political party) is exactly why I have completely given up on anyone in public office ever accomplishing anything useful.

christophdavidson
christophdavidson

The GOP may have helped out this candidate. I play WoW and have a level 90 blood elf hunter. My guild has members who range from 16 year old high school boys to 62 year old grandmothers. The fact that she plays may have put her in a more favorable light with all her constituents that play video games. It shows that on some level they can connect with her, and that as a game player, she can relate to their lives and issues that might be important to them. As far as her comments go, get real, this is the 21st century and there is a new generation that is coming of age that doesn't think like those of us that grew up without the internet. If we protect the ideal that a whack-job can post videos that get our ambassadors killed, then why can't we speak out and have people understand us within the context that is being used. I've heard her comment in many different ways from so many different people. Nobody makes a big deal about them. How about the GOP get their heads on straight and concentrate on the real issues and stop being "cry-babies" about the littlest things.

LadyBastiat
LadyBastiat

...to leave the GoP. Actually I'd made the decision well before this load of nonsense. I read an article once about the "If you have nothing to hide" fallacy and the danger in allowing the government or any other organization access to your personal information as a very dangerous precedent because it has a "chilling" effect on society and diminishes our ability to trust one another and get along with one another. (or at the very least practice tolerance when we don't agree). This is a real life example of that "chilling" affect in real life. Yeah, the GoP is completely out of touch with society and I'll bet it won't be long (unless some sensible grassroots manage to take charge of the party) before the GoP will be found only in the history books. Way to go GoP!!

gates_clone
gates_clone

"I can kill stuff without going to jail". Anyone can do it legally in real life too. It's called "open season hunting". How many candidates have been seen "unfit for office" because they hunt wildlife as sport? No more comments...

wpeckham
wpeckham

If it matters, I have been voting for more than 40 years.

giovanni.augusto
giovanni.augusto

Many times a clean face just hide a tremendous corruption. Something bad is where you want to see it or where it really is?

wpeckham
wpeckham

She is running for political office, this is EVERYONE'S business! What bothers me is that her opponents seem to think this disqualifies her in some way. I would be more likely to vote for someone who knows enough to 'play' with the technology. In my opinion, this makes her MORE qualified! Considering that certain states known to me have given the voters a choice between three convicted felons running for governor. How much affect should the games you play have? To my thinking it is interesting, but not a deciding factor.

NJnewsource.com
NJnewsource.com

I took Detwiler's comment to mean that now, when things taken out of context can go viral in seconds and live forever, a person planning to run for public office should consider more carefully what to post online. If a candidate hits a punching bag in the gym, that is viewed one way. If she then tells a reporter that she puts a picture of her opponent on the punching bag, that is interpreted very differently. I agree that WoW playing does not indicate how a candidate will govern, but being able to monitor what you say in a public forum is crucial.

NJnewsource.com
NJnewsource.com

I took Detwiler/s comment to mean that now, when things taken out of context can go viral in seconds and live forever, a person planning to run for public office should consider more carefully what to post online. If a candidate hits a punching bag in the gym, that is viewed one way. If she then tells a reporter that she puts a picture of her opponent on the punching bag, that is interpreted very differently.

ChrisTheta
ChrisTheta

Warcraft is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) -- in fact it is the largest with MILLIONS of players. Note the "role playing". You play a character. The things you say are not from you, but from your character. So anything she may or may not say while playing the game is irrelevant to her job or anything else. Any murders committed in the game are fantasy - in fact they are not even permanent as the characters come back to life in a few seconds. People up in arms about this have too much time on their hands. Grow up. Pay attention to your own lives and how you are behaving and less time on what others are doing. A video game is just a game. It may take up gobs of your time, but it is harmless. If Colleen is unfit, then I guess the other 10,000,000 Warcraft players are unfit as well, yours truly included. If anything, being a Warcraft player means she is tuned in to technology and modern life, and as such perhaps she is a better choice to run for office than stodgy thechnophobes.

cjreynolds
cjreynolds

Someone please give me some duct tape to wrap around my head - not to keep it from exploding, but just so the pieces won't go anywhere...

jag022054
jag022054

The best thing that could happen is that this kind of attack backfires spectacularly. Political types will be less likely to dig this kind of stuff up if it more often than not has the opposite impact as what they want.

wdyar
wdyar

Too many levels to this article to count. However, from my perspective, Maine is a Blue state, so if this is the best argument that the GOP can bring to bear, then this Democrat candidate must be well ahead in whatever polls they have there. The GOP candidate must have no other compelling argument to offer his/her constituents and in desperation tries this tactic. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your personal ideology), actions such as this taints the Maine GOP as a bunch of fools.

Quasar Kid
Quasar Kid

Welcome to the Information Age. If you are a politician then your life is an open book. What you do in your life speaks to who you are, what you are...it defines your very essence. Good, bad, right, or wrong, anything in the public realm is fair game.

benz2
benz2

The "Takeaway" means that TR isn't spending enough resources on proof reading.

lolfml
lolfml

I'm a gamer (Unreal Tournament, Quake) and over 50. That's not the problem. Running for office and saying this: “I can kill stuff without going to jail. There are some days when this is more necessary than others.” Very, very dumb. Makes her sound like a psycho.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The only ones who have a problem with this are the Maine Republican party. Their attitude doesn't necessarily apply to the US as a whole.

Solenoid
Solenoid

Now I do shudder, for that similarity is chilling. I am old enough to remember the aftermath, fallout, and persistent ignorant social stigma associated with D&D. However, I am not old enough to have paid attention to the personalities and causes at the time. The stone thrown into that still pond created some persistent ripples. After reading Pulling's Wikipedia page, I'm incensed to think that one person had that much negative influence with so little real understanding. I never knew of her, but only of her effects. Thank you for learnin' me some good.

gscratchtr
gscratchtr

we need each candidate's full disclosure on how much time they spend/have spent playing 'freecell'

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The article says nothing about the number of hours the candidate spends on line. "Reality is a difficult thing to define these days ..." WTF? Put down the mouse, step away from the keyboard; what you're now experiencing is what the rest of us call 'reality'. That was hardly 'difficult'.

rafezetter
rafezetter

How many copies of books written about serial killers or other extreme crimes have been sold, or documentaries on TV? They could be taken as someone expressing an unnatural interest in these things, and using the same warped view as those who say gamers are automatically socially unacceptable; you could also argue that their interest in extreme crimes more than a little disturbing... The popularity of horror films of people being cut up like the Saw films, again very disturbing if that's how you get your kicks, and that's to humans; not imagined orcs and monsters. Almost everything can be twisted any way you like if you look long enough.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's the Maine Republican party that launched the criticism. They'd probably applaud that.

rafezetter
rafezetter

Brilliant point - everything can be seen in some way as outside acceptable social norms - how many of the old farts in office now used to play Cowboys and Injuns aiming their guns at REAL PEOPLE and shouting "bang you're dead!" and running off giggling... (any public office for that matter, like the Attourney General... former Presidents...to wit bush jnr was convicted of something illegal as a young man iirc) seen in the same warped context as the candiate I'd say her version far less dangerous than the childhood cowboys.

Tumbleweed_Biff
Tumbleweed_Biff

What someone says in a private forum should be kept private. What should be criminalized is the act of taking something out of context to use as an attack against someone running for office. A comment made playing a game is not an indication of how one will function in a public office. By its very nature, playing a game is NOT real and allows people to say and do things they would not do otherwise. How many times in your life have you had a cathartic moment where you said or did something in one context which applied to your public image would be more than a little embarassing or even highly disturbing? Did that moment truly define your thoughts and beliefs? Should we hold that against you for the rest of your life? This event you say is everyone's business is a very big step in the direction of Big Brother. In the next few years we are going to have people running for public office whose life from the time they were teens has been tracked on-line. How many of these people should be deemed unfit for public office because of something they said on Facebook while they were in high school or college? Or Twitter? Or an online game? If they played Unreal Tournament on line and talked about fragging that so-and-so, called someone a stupid b**ch while playing WOW, etc., should that be something for public consumption to evaluate their fitness for public office? Should society be allowed to hold that history against them for their entire public lives? That would be a truly terrifying thing and a great crime against them and against society. We need to clamp down on this stuff now and secure our privacy and that of our children or this "brave new world" is going to become a real hell on earth.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I'm going home and kill me some alien invaders." I know plenty of people who refer to 'killing a keg'.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I play Carmageddon for the same reason. Occasionally you just need to run down a few pedestrians. It's better than humanities previous pastimes, raping and pillaging unarmed villagers. Now only the politicians are raping and pillaging.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

was with those already pre-disposed to agree with her, usually by virtue of religious belief. Like many others with an agenda, she did not allow facts to interfere with her beliefs. I was still active in D&D when her book was published in the late 80s; that book provoked raucous laughter across the board. ("Parents should ask children if they have read the Necronomicon." :^0 :^0 :^0 ) The D&D crowd I hung with at the time considered her a form of entertainment and used to follow her closely just to see what she would come up with next. At no time was she [u][b]ever[/b][/u] a serious threat to RPGs or RPG players.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Where does it say her statements were made in a private forum? I agree that statements made on line by adolescents shouldn't affect their future options. I agree that statements made in games shouldn't be taken out of context, and probably not seriously. College students insist they are adults, mature enough to drive, vote, drink, have sex, and make other major life decisions. Statements made by any adults should be considered in the context of the forum or medium where they are made. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts don't come with an automatic exemption from the consequences of one's actions.

gates_clone
gates_clone

Ok. It isn't really THE ancient book. Just some published pranks and imitations based in Lovecraft Mythos (a fictional universe based on the horror books from H.P. Lovecraft). And others are from original (and still imaginary) inspiration. But none of them was written before the 20th century. If you want to see the consequences of reading forbidden books, watch the 80's Evil Dead trilogy (just be prepared for lots of senseless, and random gore, horror and comedy).