A Riposte to a Rebuttal to a Reply, or Something
Posted on Monday, April 16 2012 @ 12:14:14 Eastern
This is a continuation of an exchange in the comments to "Gamers Rebel Against Dirty Tactics as Capcom's BBB Rating Plummets" and is posted here due to comment-length restrictions.
"Oh please, around the entire internet[...]"
I didn't ask about the entire internet. I asked about this place, Game Revolution. Where had you seen such a thing here? You concede you have not. It's a good thing, too - it's a starting point of agreement for what's to follow.
"I got shat on for point out the fallacy of their website"
I'm sorry to hear that. We're talking about a formal topic and how it relates to a passion people share. I do wish people would be more civil. Were I the one reeling from a 'you're a tool of Bioware/EA' attack, I would demand hard evidence of a conflict of interest, on the condition that failure to produce such in the wake of such an allegation ends in a permaban on the spot. You'll watch the internet tough guys' penchant for libel disappear on the spot.
"Point is, it doesn't matter if EA/BioWare/Capcom/Square Enix do good or bad practices, because the BBB is not evidence of that, or at the very least credible. That is my point, and why I don't take them seriously. "
The BBB's credibility is not at issue in Stephens' statements. She could work for George Lincoln Rockwell, Meir Kehane or the DMV for all I care and what she said still stands or falls on its own merits.
"And yeah, I always assume what they say is a lie, because it never comes true. Hell look at other developers out there like Molyneux, Todd Howard, Gabe Newell, David Jaffe; they have been caught in "lies" time and again, but get off scott free."
Here is where you make the mistake I tried to point out by committing the same invalid extension of one of your prior statements in the exact same way you extended Stephens'. What you have identified is a problem. The right to freedom of speech ends where fraud/threat or incitement to same begin. The problem is not whether you personally do or do not trust them. The problem is whether a consumer can or cannot trust game makers. If putting blatant lies about the contents of your product on the packaging (this is where your extension of Stephens' argument became invalid, that is what she talked about, not keynote speeches, not interviews, not on-the-record informal conversations with journalists) is accepted industry practice then the industry, and its accepted practices, need to change. Objective definitions of false advertising, fraud, or abuse of consumers' rights need not change to suit it. They're doing something wrong. If EA is the first to get slapped while others also deserve it, even if EA is the only one to get slapped when others are far more deserving, they still deserve it.
"So you are not abusing any argument, but rather making a fool out of yourself due to naivety."
Yes I did abuse your argument. I abused it in the formal sense. I was strawmanning you. I was pretending that you would or were knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting outright fraud on a multi-billion dollar scale. I never thought you actually did, believed, or intended any such thing. One could not even uncharitably read that into your statements. Likewise one could not even uncharitably read your conclusions about false advertising on Skyrim's blurbs from Stephens' argument. Which was my entire point. But even if those were a valid implication of her argument, that doesn't invalidate it. 'I don't like the conclusion' is not any more a refutation of an argument than 'all those other guys are doing it too' is an affirmative defense.
"It's advertising and promotion, of course it has a slant to it. It's why it needs to be taken with a grain of salt."
Which is why advertising is (normally) filled with weasel words a PR person can later hedge and lawyers can point to in order to protect their clients from false advertising and fraud lawsuits. The problem is the use of the word 'completely'. It is an absolute statement for which no significant qualifications are possible. There are two reasonable interpretations of the indirect meaning of the word in context and neither one could possibly describe any of the Mass Effect games (or any game at all, for that matter) and it's really simple - EA hoisted themselves (and by extension, Bioware) by their own petard. If you have a physical copy of Skyrim handy, read the blurb. There's lots of weasel language. If you tried to sue them they could bog your argument down in interpretive ranges for the words you would hope to single out. It might, by some estimates, be very close to the line where hype ends and lying begins. No one could seriously argue it is on the far side of that line.
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A Critique of Reactions to Utoya
Posted on Friday, July 29 2011 @ 19:57:06 Eastern
This post began as a comment on Josh Laddin's Manifesto post - "Revolutionary Rant: Video Games Did Not Cause the Norway Shooting". My comments are too long to post there, so they go here.
To be as kind as I know how to those falling prey to a breed of political animal known as blood dancers*; this is a tragic event, and people want an answer. An answer that leads to a straightforward political-economic solution (ban violent video games, ban guns, ban Christianity, ban libertarianism, ban any ideas to the 'right' of Josef Stalin) is even better when that solution is no more conceptually sophisticated than swinging a club at shadows. The desire for this answer is very strong; so strong is the desire that the purported solution may be incoherent, it may be obnoxious and it may cause more harm than good, but it comforts a weary or even frightened mind.
Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories are still alive and well. In the wake of the Giffords shooting some on the American left were doing contortionist acts to try to blame the shooting on Palin and other conservatives while ignoring Loughner's obvious mental imbalance. Witch burnings went through a sharp uptick in the wake of the end of the medieval warm period and numerous failed harvests.
Likewise here; I've heard Brevik called a libertarian in the American sense (he was not, in fact, he explicitly rejected libertarianism because it was diametrically opposed to the ideology he claims he was advancing) and a Christian fundamentalist (he was not that either, as his manifesto - which is in part plagiarized from the Unabomber - makes clear) but a more accurate assessment - that Brevik was unhinged and thus likely to commit acts of violence whether in the name of nationalism or anything else - is not very satisfying to the desire for a clean, comfortable answer which soothes our prejudices, quiets our fears and forgives our consciences. It does not offer an easy solution or a simple 'insert Tab A into Slot B' approach to prevention of further tragedy. It does not give us leverage or ammunition to scold our political foes into silence.
Lee Harvey Oswald was a deranged loser who desperately wanted to be somebody. The Columbine killers were psychopaths whose relationship mutually fed into and reinforced their pathology. The answer, 'crazy people do crazy things and there's no easy way to predict that' doesn't admit of a simple solution. Passing a law won't stop them for one cannot legislate sanity. Blaming anyone whose ideas sound even slightly like the crazy person's won't stop them for the difference between normal people with crazy ideas and crazy people with crazy ideas is in the person and not the ideas. Banning dangerous objects from private possession will not stop them for they will find new means to commit violence.
"It's easier to pull video games off of shelves than it is to fund mental health outreach programs. " --danielrbischoff
Damn if that ain't the truth. It is always easier to wield the stick of the law in a vague and self-congratulatory manner in the wake of tragedy (how many laws in America today are named after the victims of high-profile heinous crimes?) than to carefully examine the causes, and to be humble in one's conclusions. That smacks of hard work and one cannot stop for hard work in the middle of a good blood dance.
* The Blood dancer is the political cousin to the ambulance chaser. Moving from one tragedy to the next, he does his song and dance routine about how this latest turn of events absolutely justifies his pet policy prescriptions and how 'the debate is over' on the topic. Some key traits - he will cite 'hundreds of studies' or 'thousands of studies' that 'all confirm one thing' and that one thing is, of course, his policy prescription. Rarely is a single actual study cited. If cited, no mention is made of the reception the study got in the peer-reviewed literature, criticisms made, or how they affect the weight the study lends to his thesis. If one tries to tease out the fundamental reasoning behind the policy the motives of the questioner are impugned. If he is sophisticated enough to be an ideologue he is also sophisticated enough to lie about it, and does. In Harry Frankfurt's sense of it, the blood dancer is a pathological bullshit artist whose medium of choice is human tragedy.
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Devotion and Fanaticism - A response to Squiggly
Posted on Tuesday, May 5 2009 @ 17:06:20 Eastern
Squiggly's post ("Calling the Kettle Black") inspired this post.
So, the fanboy. I find it interesting that this sort of behavior is indulged in at all. I could easily come up with a 'how everyone else is a stupid jerk but me' list of fanboy behavior. It would be highly indecent, of course, and also fraudulent; I am no better than anyone else with respect to that and I acknowledge that. I will not do this, any examples will be my own foolishness, not of others.
Before I may formally begin, I wish to point out my agreements with, and objections to, Squiggly's post.
1) "Like it or not, you're a fanboy for something." --Squiggly
I disagree with this for an essentially epistemological reason. It makes an a priori assumption about something which is only really known empirically. While I am willing to point to those who claim to have no ideology yet maintain vociferous presence in political debate as being pretentious frauds, this cuts somewhere deeper and broader into human nature and experience and I am not willing to make such an assumption.
2) "I branch out to other systems now, yeah, but I still love Nintendo, and in fact know more about the company and its history than any healthy person should."
I would add a possible additional symptom of fanboy behavior; the tendency to refer to one's subjective judgments in pseudo-objective terms. For example; instead of saying "Total Annihilation is my favorite RTS game, and I like it better than Starcraft" I would say "Total Annihilation is the best RTS game ever, certainly better than Starcraft" and of course therein lay the problem. By losing the proper context, insane claims start getting made. When it comes to subjective value judgments, this kind of behavior is easy to fall into.
More later, perhaps.
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Beginnings in Philosophy (some game-related content, I swear!)
Posted on Sunday, June 22 2008 @ 11:09:09 Eastern
This Post May Contain Spoilers
I should start by saying that my own knowledge of the body of Western philosophy is still in embryo. I'm working on the problem as best I can, using a particular set of books to correct the d... read more...
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Gaming's Political Future
Posted on Monday, May 26 2008 @ 20:24:10 Eastern
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root," --Henry David Thoreau
When I first started paying attention to the political pressure being ratchete... read more...
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Theory of Morality; a response to Sandineyes
Posted on Wednesday, May 21 2008 @ 04:39:56 Eastern
This is a response to Sandineyes' post of May 19, 2008: "Morality in video games"
I felt a blog post was necessary, rather than a comment, as I'll be going to length and depth to which a comment is not amenable.
The wh... read more...
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