Topic B, Part 1: You got served.

Betagal and PF bring up an interesting point: the idea of manipulation. This isn't just restricted to wigged-out brides on YouTube (please excuse the hair-related pun); remember lonelygirl15? JT LeRoy? Most exposed pranks are justified as performance art or even social experiments, but those who were fooled tend to get really, really angry about the grift. They write books about it! They make widely ignored movies about those books!

So should staged clips be labelled as such? I'd like to think that I'm savvy enough to distinguish real footage from the scripted variety, or at least take it all with a grain of salt (if that expression applies), but what if the clip involved a crime? (Imagine, /a, if we had posted a clip of one of the fake kidnappings we pulled off in high school? Would the act be dismissed as low-brow entertainment, or would we have police knocking on our doors?)

If I saw footage of a crime on YouTube, my first instinct would be to assume that it was a prank. Who'd post that sort of thing on YouTube, of all places, right? Yet the site has been used to nab murder suspects and is being used to find missing persons. Will the proliferance of Internet hoaxes (and punking in general) diminish the effectiveness of measures like these, because the fakes create a "crying wolf" atmosphere in which the real victims are lost?

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