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Julian Dibbell

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Dibbell in 2009

Julian Dibbell (/dɪˈbɛl/; born February 23, 1963) is an American author and technology journalist with a focus on social systems within online communities.[1]

Life and career


Dibbell was born in New York City. He grew up in Claremont, California and resides in Chicago, Illinois. His uncle is rock critic Robert Christgau, and Dibbell has also published music criticism.[2] He is a non-resident fellow of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society[3] and he previously served as George A. Miller Visiting Professor of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[4] He is also a founder of the academic gaming research blog Terra Nova.

His 1993 article "A Rape in Cyberspace"[5] detailed attempts of LambdaMOO, an online community, to quantify and deal with lawbreaking in its midst. The article was later included in his first book, My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. Dibbell has also written about Chinese gold farmers for The New York Times Magazine[6] and about griefer culture for "Wired" Magazine.[7] He chronicled his attempt to make a living playing MMORPGs in his second book, Play Money: or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot.[8][9]

Dibbell graduated from Yale University, summa cum laude, in 1986. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School (where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review)[10] in 2014. Dibbell now practices law as an associate in the Business and Technology Sourcing practice of the global law firm Mayer Brown.[11]


  • Dibbell, Julian. My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. Owl Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8050-3626-1
  • Dibbell, Julian. Play Money: or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot. Basic Books, 2006. ISBN 0-465-01535-2
  • Dibbell, Julian and Clarisse Thorn. Violation: Rape In Gaming. Amazon CreateSpace, 2012. ISBN 1480077453


  1. ^ Leonard, Andrew (January 22, 1999). The unbearable realness of virtual being. Archived 2011-02-16 at the Wayback Machine Salon.com
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1991). Classic Rock.
  3. ^ "People: Julian Dibbell". Center for Internet and Society. Stanford University. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  4. ^ Gudeman, Kim (25 Feb 2010). "Noted technology journalist to help bridge gap between engineers, technology users". Coordinated Science Laboratory News. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  5. ^ Dibbell, Julian. "A Rape in Cyberspace." The Village Voice 21 Dec 1993.
  6. ^ Dibbell, Julian. "The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer." The New York Times Magazine 17 June 2007.
  7. ^ Dibbell, Julian. "Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World." Wired Magazine 18 Jan 2008.
  8. ^ Stamper, Dustin (19 January 2007). "Taxing Ones and Zeros: Can the IRS Ignore Virtual Economies?". Tax Analysts. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  9. ^ MONTAGNE, RENEE (February 10, 2006). "Online Gaming, Money and Tax Law". NPR. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  10. ^ "The University of Chicago Law Review Vol. 81 Masthead" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Mayer Brown Law Firm PRofile".