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A griefer is a player in a multiplayer video game that goes out of his or her way to annoy other players. The term griefer is derived from the idea of “giving [someone] grief”. There are many, many ways that a griefer may go about angering others, including:
Griefers are a real business concern for online games that depend on subscription fees because they can make other players dislike playing (and paying). Much like chat room users can report trolls, gamers can report griefers. Once a person is accused of griefing, they are given warnings and other due process before being removed from the game if they do not change their behavior. It is a difficult balancing act for companies because they want to encourage competition, but not abuse. For this reason, many online multiplayer gaming companies have specific employees to monitor players’ grievances and act as arbitrators and – if needed – judges.