The Disney Company is always so good at accessing one's inner child. The hope, the joy, the glory of absolute love, family goodness, and everything that sails in it.
So I am thrown a little off course when I hear that Disney may have falsely accused an 11-year-old boy of hacking the Pirates of the Caribbean video game and disabled his account.
The account I have read comes from the boy's dad, Brian Guy. Guy is a manager of MySQL's hardy pirates at Sun Microsystems. He also has a blog, which was positively fulminating with frustration Tuesday, as Guy told the story of his son's video game review site.
The site, Carsonreviews.com, seems to this untrained eye to be a rather fine construction, full of wit and wisdom. For example: "While my parents are busy cleaning the house for Thanksgiving, I am busy checking out free online games.= )"
Yet Carson's dad says: "Disney has falsely accused my 11-year-old son of hacking the online game, and Disney temporarily banned his account. They sent him a curt e-mail lecturing him about something he didn't even do."
Dad does seem like a fair and remarkably balanced chap as he explained: "I can see how at first glance, they might have misinterpreted his chat logs. Another user had made my son aware of a "glitch" (that's what they called it) that allowed users to rapid fire their cannons."
We are all insecure in this currently crazy world and any opportunity to rapid fire one's cannons at least deserves some attention. However, Carson quickly realized that speeding up his firing might require some file-changing. Which is a bad, bad thing to contemplate.
Dad posted the logs from his son's site to show that Carson was merely asking questions. I post them here for your perusal and edification:
* November 27, 2009 9:35:16 PM PST : when i searched it on the internet it said that i had to hack into some files, is this true?
* November 27, 2009 9:37:33 PM PST : so when i looked it up it said i had to hack into some files to do it, is this true?
* November 27, 2009 9:38:45 PM PST : i searched the glitch up on the internet
* November 27, 2009 9:39:06 PM PST : it said i had to hack into some files to do the glitch, is this true?
* November 27, 2009 9:41:22 PM PST : like i have to go in some files and change them?
However, he says Disney rapid-fired an e-mail that showed the darker side of its piratical nature.
Dad says Disney espied the logs, reached for its rum, muttered yo-ho-ho, and declared this was proof of "the use of third-party software, shown in the logs." The company also froze his son's account.
Dad entreated Disney by e-mail. Someone called Tony from Disney's Online Member Services apparently replied: "As a family-friendly company, all in-game chat is moderated equally for everyone regardless of age to maintain a friendly and safe online environment for all to enjoy. In regards to your account, the use or distribution of any software or device that allows automated or other manipulation of gameplay is not allowed. Such use may result in the termination of your account."
Dad didn't feel this answered the question, so he adorned his blog with his feelings. He would like Disney to apologize and, as of writing, he says he has not received such an apology.
I do not sense Pinocchio's lengthening nose in any part of Guy's story, so I, too, have attempted to contact Disney and will update should I receive a reply. I do hope that everyone can become BFFs again.
Perhaps this is an instance of careless customer service. But when your customer is 11 years old, perhaps you should pause and ask yourself: What would Johnny Depp do?"