Imagine yourself in RuneScape for a second. Secluded by yourself and a few friends in a mostly empty homeworld. Surrounded only by the stillness of the nearly empty Grand Exchange or Lumbridge castle. Right clicking on an avatar and nearly always seeing a familiar name. Having such a degree of familiarity with each other that you call each other by first names instead of snippets of a twelve character username. All these factors are prone to enticing one into embracing an overwhelmingly positive image of the RuneScape community. As a community oriented player, you might even say that it can't get better than this.
While I cannot argue with that extreme, I can assure you that it can be very much worse. You need only check a more populated world to open your eyes to a darker side. Log in and you will likely be confronted by aggressive advertisements littered with symbols to buy gold. As I have argued before, although I've only heard of purchases third hand, some people must be buying gold from these sites for cash.
Lurers, fake drop parties, and item scammers are ubiquitous in the Grand Exchange. Lurers will invent an excuse for you to follow them, and lead unaware players into the wilderness and kill them, with aid of friends, and take their stuff. Fake drop parties have either the same ambition or are done solely for trolling purposes. You might see someone selling a valuable armor set for a very low price. They will encourage you to hurry up and accept it, and hope you do not notice as they substitute a similar-looking set worth much less.
Players attempting to sell their account, legitimately or with the intention of recovering it, have skyrocketed. They advertise brazenly in front of everyone without fear of retribution. Of course people always attempted this, but it was formerly a much more covert operation, practically conducted in code. Now I even see people with old holiday items shouting "Selling account!" Recently, I even observed a player with maxed combat parading through the Grand Exchange, advertising the sale of an account with 13 level 99 skills. We used to respect and admire achievements like 99s, and now we sell them. Have we no shame?
Next, there is the sea of players doubling money, and I don't use the metaphor of the ocean lightly. Usually it is easy to spot a dozen of them. They usually have a reasonably high combat level and promise to return double your money. To help convince you, they show you a large amount of money and allow you to test by giving a small fraction of their wealth, and then make off with it. Typical numbers may read "Doubling 100k test, showing 50m." The fact that all these players have been reduced to increasing their wealth by such a fractionally insignificant amount (1 part in 500 of their wealth) is, in two words, absolutely pathetic.
Some doublers even claim to be quitting due to the Squeal of Fortune update. As a matter of fact, the community in general has indicated its displeasure with micro transactions in the form of selling spins, as indicated by the accumulation of 16,000 posts on its recently deleted forum thread in Recent Updates, and a petition boasting over 10,000 signatures. Who came up with this Squeal of Fortune idea anyway? To answer that, we need to look in the mirror.
Last year, Jagex released some toys in Faruq's shop intended for amusement. But we, the community, instead flooded RuneScape with dice games. Entire websites were created for this purpose. We are responsible, not Jagex. I didn't know too many, but some of my friends became rich from hosting, and some lost a lot of their RuneScape wealth. I'm not campaigning on anyone's behalf, but there was certainly a massive flow of money thanks to the strong law of large numbers combined with a 55% or 60% chance of the host winning, created entirely by the players. When Jagex finally nerfed dice bags, the toy horsey gambit unfolded, which was also short-lived. Yet still, despite the clear signal to stop, other methods persist. Although we perpetrated the gambling idea, we are now all too eager to cleanse ourselves of it by holding our bloodstained hands under the faucet.
There is even the incessant "fight" between players based on combat level, whereby you call people with higher levels no lives, and people below your combat noobs. Usually discussion relating to each other's ancestry ensues. Is there any reason for this madness?
To return to the premise, you may not be the one luring people, hosting a fake drop party, or scamming. Selling your account or making false promises of doubling might be dead last on the list of things you might ever imagine doing, as it is on mine. You may be one of the people who adopts the novel concept of helping people instead of trolling or making fun of them. But regardless, although you may try to disassociate yourself by claiming "I'm not one of them," you are still just as much a member of the community. Community is the concept of the entire RuneScape population and their collective views and behavior.
This makes you no less a part of its community than players whose skillers tower over yours, and no more a part of it than the good-for-nothing scammer or low level you may have dismissed the other day. If you are one of the players conducting scams, I urge you to stop. It's not a worthwhile pursuit, and at some point you will most likely regret it. Criticizing Jagex, especially recently, is an easy avenue out that many have taken, but perhaps we, as players, ought to clean up our own act first. Because I know that we can do better.