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Professor Doron Dorfman Cited in Slate Video Game Accessibility Article

Posted on Tuesday 4/20/2021
Doron Dorfman

Fake Reddit Post Starts Serious Debate About Video Game Accessibility

(Slate | April 20, 2021) The subreddit r/legaladvice is supposed to be Reddit’s space to ask simple legal questions. That’s why so many of the threads revolve around subjects like taxes, housing, employment, or family law—common issues where the legal framework has gradually developed over a long period of time. But every once in a while, somebody posts a legal question that energizes the Reddit community with its seeming pathos and originality.

That was the case recently when a user going by the name poelegalthrowaway00 posted a question describing unique challenges that they faced with the video game Path of Exile, a hugely popular action role-playing game set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. The user wrote:

I can’t use one hand and some fingers on the other after an industrial accident. I do things on the computer using mouse and 3 foot pedals. I play this game called Path of Exile, and in the game you need to refresh 4 potion buffs every 3-8 seconds. I physically can’t press 4 keys every few seconds so I use a macro that automatically does it for me ...

... One of the ironies of the poster’s false claims is that it overlaps with an actual theme of disability law discourse. Doron Dorfman of Syracuse University College of Law argues that “Fear of the Disability Con” has inspired a moral panic. According to Dorfman, there is a negative stereotype about people who are faking disabilities and abusing the law—for example, disingenuously claiming disabled parking spots, applying for public benefits, or requesting special academic accommodations—and this stigma serves to erode the overall public legitimacy of those rights ...

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