Does a person's participation in an online world have any affect on their real life? How serious should we take comments left on the internet? Those are some of the questions raised by some messages sent by the Maine Republican Party.
It seems the GOP in Maine has learned that Colleen Lachowicz, a Democratic candidate for state senate in Maine's 25th district, is a committed gamer, and they suggest that her choice in online persona reflects poorly on her ability to be a leader in the real world.
Maine GOP communications director David Sorensen sent an email alerting reporters to Colleen's (totally not-hidden) alter-ego, saying she "has been living a time-consuming double life as a member of the World of Warcraft community."
Lachowicz, AKA Santiaga, is a level 85 Orc Rogue in a World of Warcraft, and she often posts on message boards about politics, gaming and other topics. Her political opponents feel this is worthy enough of consideration to have created a web-page about her hobbies, Colleensworld, where her comments are collected.
Among the shocking revelations on the page: Lachowicz posts that she "loves poisoning," likes to stab people and has an alt who is an undead warlock. This all seems pretty common for a WoW player, but out-of-context, such revelations could make non-gamers a bit nervous.
Lachowicz also apparently sometimes slacks off at work, and sometimes wishes she was gaming instead. This isn't Watergate-level stuff, of course, but it does bring up an interesting question: Can we judge anything at all about a person by the way they conduct themselves online? Is expecting a full reveal of all online alts and personas a fair question to ask of a potential public servant?
Personally, I could see it both ways. I know what it takes to run in a "serious" guild, and the kinds of organization, diplomacy and commitment needed for high level raiding seem like the kinds of traits you'd want in a leader, but on the other hand, World of Warcraft is a time-consuming hobby, and I'd really rather my leaders be thinking about public policy over epic loot.
Also, I would never vote for a paladin for anything.
What do you think?