Saturday, October 24, 2015

Villainy, Hyperbole and William Arthur Ward- Redux

Progress continues.

Before I go dark as I must for the next two and a half weeks or so, I thought I would present this partially rewritten old removed blog post. It's entirely too simple, but advocates some worthwhile habits all the same.


In this post I would like you to consider the folly of internet villainy. Or rather, the folly of indicating an individual or group as being a villain or villainous on the flimsiest of evidence- if any at all.

Now, to be clear I am not saying villains do not exist. There are all too many people who, via grotesque narcissism or compulsive deception certainly qualify, however they are- I believe- vastly rarer than many would believe. Instead I note that most vilification in the media and internet has been not only horrible, but horribly ineffective to the point of being outright counterproductive.

Why? Because as a society- I speak of the internet especially- we do need to collectively learn that there is nothing to be gained from getting incredibly angry about people being wrong on the internet. There is nothing to be gained from trying to paint people we disagree with as irredeemable human beings unworthy of basic dignity (I believe some exceptions apply, but are- I would insist- most rare indeed and not to be casually identified).

When you paint someone as a villain you oversimplify and exclude the possibility that they are simply mistaken. Worse, by painting them as an irredeemable villain you effectively exclude yourself from being taken seriously by them. Very few people on the internet, when faced with abuse and vitriol, become more likely to change their opinion as a result.

On the contrary, they are more likely to buckle down in defense of their point of view and may even stop considering whatever the given subject is objectively at all.

Who is right becomes more important that what is right and when that happens- everyone loses.

To avoid this, I would put forth that it would serve any reader well to be more aware of hyperbole. A.K.A. jingo, rhetoric, drama, or fishnozzle.

Now, hyperbole is not something commonly effective on someone who disagrees with you. Instead it is something you must be wary of in your allies. It will most often be used in an echo chamber, or closed circle of like-minded individuals to reinforce a siege mentality and discourage any disagreement with the consensus.

It is the megaphone by which the loudest idiot ensures they are heard over the others.

It needs to stop, yet it can only be stopped internally. You, dear reader, need to be able to stop and ask yourself 'is what I am saying accurate or dramatically exaggerated?' if the latter, you will need to be the one to then re-evaluate and back down.

If you do not, YOU run the risk of becoming the loudest idiot or a minion thereof. Worse still, hyperbole works on the user as, or even more effectively than it does on anyone else.

This is how Men's Right Activists convince themselves they are oppressed by women. This is how wishful special omniqueer you-can't-prove-I'm-NOT-an-oppressed-minority types come to genuinely believe they are as well.

These people are not the enemy though. Their backwards thinking is. The enemy is a problem, not a person.

When you attack a person rather than a problem as if they are the enemy, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy in most cases. It turns out that when you attack the average person, they tend to react to it as if YOU were the enemy. Imagine that.

Finally, spare yourself considerable grief. Do not bother trying to harass MRAs or Social Justice Warriors out of existence. It's not going to work and each of them will just take it as confirmation of their existing biases. Effectively using it as encouragement.

Instead I would encourage you to take this quote to heart.

"It is wise to direct your anger toward problems - not people; to focus your energies on answers - not excuses." - William Arthur Ward

If you solve the problems that give rise to these people, you set the stage for everyone to move on to something more worthwhile.

Or, failing that, donate to a worthwhile charity to spite your enemy I guess. That's better at least. You know we've got a lot of room for improvement when 4chan shows us a better way.

Progress continues.

Perhaps most comically of all is the fact that this Jesus is still far too improbably Caucasian to be a proper representative of the Middle Eastern Jewish Son of God.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Binary Thoughts

Progress continues.

Someone I greatly respect noted that however well-intentioned my previous post was, I was actually falling into a rather nasty trap of thought. In fact, worse than that, I actively enticed any readers (mercifully few) into falling into it as well.

Binary thinking.

For my part I believe my partiality to it is aggravated from my extensive exposure to American Culture. Americans especially are trained into Binary Thinking, it's very useful for manipulating the populace.

Do you vote Democrat or Republican? Is one good and the other bad? Is one Friend and the other Foe? What do you do then, when both choices are terrible?

This is where I steered people wrong, and this is a shame. Binary thinking cripples thought terribly.

Humanity in general is very prone to thinking in black or white. Good or bad. Friend or Foe- and the temptation is easy to understand as it provides one with a relatively simple world in which they are always 'good' or 'right'.

But it's profoundly illusory.

Now, don't misunderstand me, extremes do exist. Good and evil  do exist. I would advise being wary of anyone who insists there are no such things. That said, finding such things in their pure forms is roughly as likely as finding a true-to-myth living unicorn.

We do not live in a binary world, so binary thinking- though convenient- leaves you critically vulnerable to manipulation as stated before and prone to, even entirely left to your own devices, horrible mistakes.

Binary thinking works for a binary world where it is Day or Night and not, in fact, evening or morning or Brunch. Ever.

Which I suppose we all know, but tend to selectively forget when we're provoked to outrage against 'Others'.

Progress contines!

Friday, October 16, 2015

I.F.F. Systems

Progress continues.

Not, perhaps, where I would prefer it to... Still, progress is progress and the vital bits are taking priority as they should.

Events have prompted me to wax philosophical however.

Have you ever considered what makes someone your foe or your friend?

I've spent entirely too much time pondering this question in years past, and I find myself revisiting it.

Is it dictated by how you react to people? Is it dictated by how people react to you?

In what measure?

How many of your present friends would have been foes had you met initially in a different context?

How many of your foes could have been steadfast friends?

Who do you want to be your friends?

Who do you want to be your foes?


The answers to these questions, if you can answer them honestly, will tell you much about who you are and where you are going.

Not that you should necessarily share your answers. Assuming you are self-aware to the point of being able to answer such questions, spreading that around will likely tempt someone to test you- if your answers hold true they can then manipulate you based on them.

Knowing the answers yourself though... That is important.

Hopefully they don't mark you as some variety of sociopath, but so long as your sole answer to the last question is 'because it is advantageous to me' you're probably fine.


This is of course definitively navel-gazing philosophy, so don't get carried away with it. It does nothing in itself, but simply serves as a tool for self-calibration to the ends you wish. Choose those ends wisely.

For my part, and I suspect that of most of Arketer Labs, those can be largely boiled down to leaving the world better off than we found it.

Do the locals badmouthing the Shepard justify his actions or do his actions prove the accuracy of the badmouthing? I err towards the latter in this scenario. Still, however questionable the logic at play- if you think about it the supremely powerful tyrants do seem to have been generally miserable bastards.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Progress continues.

I have been a bit underwhelming as a guild leader as of late, in Guild Wars 2 that is. Rather slacking off I think, not fully applying myself. No more!

I have it in mind to do things a bit differently with future jobs. As it was I was hoping to build fun outings out of in-world events and combat, but rather doubt it can be sold to people. Instead, I have something a bit more complicated I intend to launch.

Fully DM'd combat in which the hateful Random Number Generator determines the fate of the party. A location is chosen, ideally at an easy jumping puzzle, the party enters and plays as usual to a certain point at which they either are attacked by a big bad or attack such a thing on orders. Their characters will be limited to what their Proxies can do, each with set stats loosely patterned after their chosen profession.

From there, the digital dice decide with an expected relatively high failure rate.

Failure that should be utterly shameless for anyone, after all- their actual character might have done a bit better. Plenty of excuses and uncertainty. Glitches, hardware malfunctions or limitations...

Indeed, I have a 'glitch' system in mind that will allow players to attack twice on their turn, at the risk of debilitating malfunction.

Meanwhile "Dr." Retekra Rotcerid continues to be a babbling lunatic. Their therapist informs me that they're making great progress however as they recently came to understand that the name they have is a bastardization of mine and my title.

So they've announced their name is now "Dr." Retekra Rocerid... Frod. Or, in short, Dr. Frod.

That's Frod as in Clod, by the way. Not Frood or Frow-d. Frod. Dr. Frod.

I really don't know what to make of that. It seems apt and yet somehow too honest while still being technically meaningless. I cannot believe they knew the Old English term. This has to be some sort of self-awareness peeking through.

I'm officially endorsing this, in any case. I'm even willing to tolerate them being called Dr. Frod without complaint. It's self-disclaiming!

Progress continues.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Introductory Mass Deception

Progress continues!

Here, at least. Hopefully at Stage 2 as well.

Elsewhere there are... problems.

America bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital.

The U.S. is investigating, but apparently needn't worry as CNN's Mairi Mackay informs us in their article "Is bombing a hospital a war crime?", because apparently it isn't by virtue of the U.S. being too powerful to answer for a crime because it's just collateral damage. Yep. U.S. couldn't have responded to a report of terrorists at a massive MSF hospital ANY OTHER WAY but by bombing it for an hour and a half or so.

It's like when you find a spider in an apartment, so you quietly set up some demolition charges and bring the complex down.

Sure, you've murdered every family in that complex, men women children and family pets alike, but it was the only way to be sure.

Hopefully your jail cell will be clean, or you're a well-connected wealthy commanding officer who will be 'protected by your own'.

In times like these it often pays to look at news sources rather removed from the American power system.

Right now the best thing the U.S. can say is that "They are investigating". Please note that the death toll from this strike keeps growing. As of this writing it's 22 dead and 33 missing, with the odds of the majority of those 33 turning up in one or perhaps even two peices in which one part is still alive- rather slim.

If the U.S. does not hold it's own accountable... Well, suffice it to say you can't be the good guys and cover for a fool in your ranks who ordered a lengthy airstrike on a Médecins sans Frontières hospital. However much they are worth, whatever friends they have, they just acquired negative value as a human being, as has every person who obeyed that order.

You aren't going to get out of that sort of red easily, but if you don't have them start trying you'll stain the entire country instead.

Already the blame is getting juggled. They want to say it was 'some afghans' who ordered it, but that is understandably unacceptable to competent commanders who don't want people thinking any idiot with a cell phone and the right number can have the Air Force solve their problems for them explosively.

This isn't really a question, so long as the latter are then held accountable- it's the latter. Clearly. Yet...

Here comes the juggling of which is better- looking incompetent, or holding the person/people who is/are accountable.

But this is all very serious and happening in a far away land of people not like us- except for the doctors and whatnot. I mean, they were probably like us, only better. Well, nevermind, let's move on to something that is depressing in a different way.

Star Citizen is fucked.

Who knew that a man fired for never knowing how to focus and just make a game would blow 90 million dollars and fail to make a game. Chris Roberts is going to ride that nuke all the way down.

If you are inclined to read that first link, which has greatly offended the sunk-cost-fallacy victims, what is most damning in it is perhaps not even the allegations that are made- it's the reaction Chris Roberts himself has to each of them.

They allowed Chris Roberts to basically put in his own objections to every allegation.

In fact, you could make an article out of those responses alone.

Meanwhile people already invested in this game that does not exist have started calling the author of this article a hack and saying things like how clearly Cloud Imperium is not running out of money because they keep going back and improving things you see.

Actually, if you keep going back instead of going forward- that's a really good way to run out of money.

Also I found that Mr. Gio Getmoney (the fellow in the link above) has the nerve to call other people hacks and frauds to be shut down by common sense... rather adorable. He's impartial, you can trust him, join his star org!

When this starship titanic finally realizes it has hit an asteroid, it's going to be a fascinating show.

Even better? After 90 million in development costs, it already should take your virginity on command in a polite and enjoyable way, as opposed to the present figurative barrel it has you over.
I don't know if this game will ever see the light of day, but I cannot see it being anything other than Squadron 42 Forever.

Star Citizens may keep the faith, but ultimately that will only serve to needlessly create far greater cynicism in the world when reality prevails over directionless vision.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Stage 2 Labs

Progress Continues.

I think Donald Trump has me depressed.

"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game." - Donald Trump

Well, obviously.

And yet an alarming amount of the U.S. Population believes he can be trusted not to bump up that high score with the power that would be at his disposal in the Oval Office.

Fortunately he is not the only Billionaire in existence, and others that exist- albeit all too few- have a purpose higher than that of a child in an arcade.

So, aside from us working in obscurity, here are people applying their minds and resources to things that matter more than high scores.

Created by the man who made his fortune with Five Hour Energy, he's applying the absurd wealth gained from an absurd product to something vastly more useful. Improving the global quality of life.

It's quite inspiring. If you have an hour to burn, the video is well worth the watching. This is genius.

I admit, I am a bit jealous of how they have pulled this off, but as they are not especially clandestine I do rather fear for their future. There are an alarming number of powerful people in the world who would happily keep half the world in misery and poverty than risk seeing their high scores drop.

I think we can expect great things from Stage 2 Labs, assuming they are not destroyed.

Meanwhile I find my focus waning personally. A side effect perhaps from an ongoing project... Productivity remains through the roof, but how much I am getting done causes all that I am not having much success with to seem that much more of a waste of time- even if I have the time to spare.

Still, I can be quite stubborn if I put my mind to it. We shall see how it pans out.

Progress continues.