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Simplifying complicated topics

QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common

I've been following the circus that is called "politics" and I saw the same tactics there that are quite common on these forums aswell. That is, mainly, making a complicated topic seem like a simple one and presenting it as a binary issue with either-or solutions. Topics I've seen this happen include:

  • Pay to Win discussions
  • Free to Play versus Pay to Play discussions
  • Sandbox versus themepark
  • Instances and other issues touching the "purity" of MMOs
  • ...and many others

Have you seen this happen? Do you think simplifying the matter helps finding the answer if there is one? Does the person doing the simplification doing it for some agenda?

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

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Comments

  • PsiKahnPsiKahn Woodside, NYPosts: 126Member

    I think you have correctly identified a trend, and one that goes far beyond discussion of computer games.  I think creating a dichotomy gives the feeling of simplifying the issue: black and white, good and bad.  That said, most of these are false dichotomies in that they ignore a viable middle ground.  So while we are simplifying the discussion, we are also severely limiting the terms of it and the possible solutions.

    EDIT: you'll notice this in play in the simple act of voting in a legislative body.  You either vote for or against.  What if you would vote a percentage, or on a scale of 5?  Would that change the discussion?  In these forums I do think that a number of people actively try to stake out the middle ground, even if the thread starts off trying to create a binary.

  • muffins89muffins89 Yakima, WAPosts: 1,306Member Uncommon
    i think you're over complicating simple topics.

    I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by Quirhid   Does the person doing the simplification doing it for some agenda?

    I dont think they have an agenda - they just wear "black or white" glasses

    when everything is shades of grey

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by PsiKahn

    I think you have correctly identified a trend, and one that goes far beyond discussion of computer games.  I think creating a dichotomy gives the feeling of simplifying the issue: black and white, good and bad.  That said, most of these are false dichotomies in that they ignore a viable middle ground.  So while we are simplifying the discussion, we are also severely limiting the terms of it and the possible solutions

    I don't think they simply "ignore a viable middle ground", I don't think there's even a dilemma for them. Often it seems they create threads solely for the purpose of reaffirming their own belief. For example "P2P is good, P2W is bad. Discuss" is how I would resume much of the discussion on this forum regarding P2P vs. F2P. Those thread starters already have a preconception against one or the other, so in essence there is no 'dilemma' for the thread starter, only his view is the 'right one'.

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    Breaking down a large task into smaller pieces is the foundation of problem solving.

    Some things are black and white. There are no reports of people "sort of playing games", they either do or don't and that comes with reasons behind it.

    They have polls on the site to try to discover answers, not say everything is grey. A poll with every answer not having a side wouldn't lead to much discussion  - would it.

    The topics that you see repeated - good. That means that someone is passionate about them. Which means they are passionate about gaming, which means your games aren't going to be empty, which would inevitably lead to more complaints.

    Do we need to get personal about it and call names - no. I'll admit though that if someone attempts to sideline conversation with me and quotes me on an opposing side without reading my type or digesting it, that can quickly turn sour. They knew that though didn't they. In the real world can you have a conversation with someone and ignore everything they say then expect them to continue or perhaps to say, excuse me, I'm going over there now.

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon

    The popular logical fallacies, such as the False Dilemma, are used a lot because they're effective.  They leave an impression on the audience.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid

    I've been following the circus that is called "politics" and I saw the same tactics there that are quite common on these forums aswell. That is, mainly, making a complicated topic seem like a simple one and presenting it as a binary issue with either-or solutions. Topics I've seen this happen include:

    • Pay to Win discussions
    • Free to Play versus Pay to Play discussions
    • Sandbox versus themepark
    • Instances and other issues touching the "purity" of MMOs
    • ...and many others

    Have you seen this happen? Do you think simplifying the matter helps finding the answer if there is one? Does the person doing the simplification doing it for some agenda?

    You should always state the premises of the argument explicitly; this is the principle of audiatur et altera pars.

    The premises of an argument are often introduced with words such as "Assume," "Since," "Obviously," and "Because."

    "True" is one of my personal favorites. "Everyone knows" means it just isn't so, by at least 10000 to 1. A hundred types of gamer slang. "Hardcore"-what do YOU mean when you say that? "Sandbox", what do YOU mean when you say that? "Classic MMOs"-which title (specifically) do you envision when you say that?

    People, I believe, just find it difficult to grasp that what's omgobvious to them may not be true, or the least bit obvious, to other readers.

    Why do people seek simple arguments? The same reason they seek binary answers.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Even the most "simple" Themepark MMO is a collection of systems that interact and intertwine in exceedingly complex ways.

    I'm often reminded of the GW2 arguement of "just make a PvP server" as a good vessel for portraying how so many people on this site actually understand so very little.

     

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    Great thread. I agree with you and I think that this is something worth noting. I think that there is an agenda, even if it's as simple as just engaging in sophistry for the sport of it.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member

    Good thread.

    I agree with ya OP.

    But I will say this can go either way, people around here also like to take a simple topic and make a 4 paragraph post about something that could be summed up in one sentence.

     

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Great thread. I agree with you and I think that this is something worth noting. I think that there is an agenda, even if it's as simple as just engaging in sophistry for the sport of it.

    Wouldn't simplification be anti-sophistry? Not necesssarily, I suppose. Just informality. :shrug:

    We know why politicians do it. Cynical belief that Americans can't digest anything longer than a sound bite.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Great thread. I agree with you and I think that this is something worth noting. I think that there is an agenda, even if it's as simple as just engaging in sophistry for the sport of it.

    Wouldn't simplification be anti-sophistry? Not necesssarily, I suppose. Just informality. :shrug:

    We know why politicians do it. Cynical belief that Americans can't digest anything longer than a sound bite.

    Is it really cynical?  We live in a country where 75% of Americans can name the Three Stooges but only 42% could name the three branches of our government.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Even the most "simple" Themepark MMO is a collection of systems that interact and intertwine in exceedingly complex ways.

    I'm often reminded of the GW2 arguement of "just make a PvP server" as a good vessel for portraying how so many people on this site actually understand so very little.

    Make a "Skyrim MMO" would be another.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,476Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nadia
    Originally posted by Quirhid   Does the person doing the simplification doing it for some agenda?

    I dont think they have an agenda - they just wear "black or white" glasses

    when everything is shades of grey

     I agree with this.  A lot of asperger/nerdie types tend to have black and white thinking.  It makes it hard to deal with those people. 

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Perhaps simple things bring comfort to some people. Do we have varying tolerance of uncertainty?

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Great thread. I agree with you and I think that this is something worth noting. I think that there is an agenda, even if it's as simple as just engaging in sophistry for the sport of it.

    Wouldn't simplification be anti-sophistry? Not necesssarily, I suppose. Just informality. :shrug:

    We know why politicians do it. Cynical belief that Americans can't digest anything longer than a sound bite.

    Hmm, I was going off of the definition I remembered, sophistry being the art of making the lesser argument sound like the greater argument independent of veracity. That could be wrong though :)

    As for the second part, it seems accurate to say that they can understand more than a sound bite, but don't spare the attention for anything greater.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member

    Nice thead.  Yeah one reason people simplify things is to hide problems because they have an agenda.  For instance, star trek always had some simplified explaination to the nonsense technobabble.

    Fox news <3 simplification of issues.

    But sometimes its necessary for obvious reasons...

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    Came back to read other posts. I can't understand why people don't claim to see things black and white.

    My concern is that if you can't see purely good or bad that you are susceptible to fence straddling which could lead to being swayed according to personal gain since your world is all grey.

    Example - Stealing is bad, but if I steal for me, it's not bad if I can't get caught and no one gets hurt. The person you stole from gets hurt. Oh no, I stole from a business, they don't need the money. They have employees that need the money. But they can write it off on taxes as a loss and still pay their employees with other funds. Now, you just gave yourself the justification to steal because you don't see stealing as wrong no matter the situation. If you don't have black and white, you have an eraser and a pencil at the same time in your head, you erase what is low risk and draw lines towards what is attainable. Let someone in management embezzle funds then I'll bet you see black and white when you don't get paid and the company shuts down.

    Then you get the people complaining about when we give people the death penalty. Oh boohoo, you are killing people and giving them a date to die. Hey, that was usually more than their victims got, why all the boohoo after they did something worse is shocking to me. Tell me people don't have good and bad thoughts when it comes to actions like pedophiles. Anyone ever say what they did is ok or that it's a grey area.

    The pitch forks are black and white all the time, why expect gaming views to not be. It's still humans behind the keyboard or in your face during conversations. Every one of you see some black and white though you aren't admitting it.

    Fence straddling isn't an enlightened view, it's being mutable and wavering per moment. Reminds me of this song. Pick a side :P

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    I feel that deep down, most people here have a fairly sophisticated understanding of the issues.  It's just that when a large number of people all try to talk to each other at once, simplications happen.  We don't have an unlimited amount of each others' attention in which to make our points.   When regulars get involved in the same discussions over and over, they get tired of going through all the details (both while writing and while reading) - eventually dropping everything down to buzzwords. 

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by greenreen

    Came back to read other posts. I can't understand why people don't claim to see things black and white.

    My concern is that if you can't see purely good or bad that you are susceptible to fence straddling which could lead to being swayed according to personal gain since your world is all grey.

    Example - Stealing is bad, but if I steal for me, it's not bad if I can't get caught and no one gets hurt. The person you stole from gets hurt. Oh no, I stole from a business, they don't need the money. They have employees that need the money. But they can write it off on taxes as a loss and still pay their employees with other funds. Now, you just gave yourself the justification to steal because you don't see stealing as wrong no matter the situation. If you don't have black and white, you have an eraser and a pencil at the same time in your head, you erase what is low risk and draw lines towards what is attainable. Let someone in management embezzle funds then I'll bet you see black and white when you don't get paid and the company shuts down.

    Then you get the people complaining about when we give people the death penalty. Oh boohoo, you are killing people and giving them a date to die. Hey, that was usually more than their victims got, why all the boohoo after they did something worse is shocking to me. Tell me people don't have good and bad thoughts when it comes to actions like pedophiles. Anyone ever say what they did is ok or that it's a grey area.

    The pitch forks are black and white all the time, why expect gaming views to not be. It's still humans behind the keyboard or in your face during conversations. Every one of you see some black and white though you aren't admitting it.

    Fence straddling isn't an enlightened view, it's being mutable and wavering per moment. Reminds me of this song. Pick a side :P

    Stealing, in general, is bad. However, stealing food to feed you family is not (that is if you have exhausted all other options). To be able to steal with no chance of getting caught, is the fault of the system. See piracy for example: Its been reduced to stealing in the media, when it is very different from that. Many people wouldn't buy the product they've obtained illegaly.

    So the astronomical compensations for the "victims" (the companies) are ridiculous. And remember, Pirate bay had over 14 million users at one time. You can't find prisons large enough to put all of those people away or demand millions of dollars from all of them whether they just shared one song or ten thousand songs.

    Clearly there's a difference what is legal and illegal and what is right and wrong. Take for example to provoke someone to commit suicide. Not assist, only encourage. Out of malice. You'd have hard time convicting that person atleast in my country. It is clearly wrong, but for what crimes should we convict him/her?

    Death penalty is wrong, because the system which exacts this punishment is not infallible. If you kill just one innocent, you are a murderer yourself. But it saves money, no? No... its not justice, its revenge.

    Clearly the executions are inhumane: the amount of anesthetic in the syringe barely puts you to sleep: higher dozes are used in surgery. The electric chair is not a sure way to die: people have been known to fry for several minutes before dying. Even surviving the first few jolts. If the fall in hanging doesn't break your neck, you'll slowly strangle to death. Hell, even in guillotine the head survives a 14 seconds or so after being dismembered. Who knows if they feel pain? Aside from the one in the electric chair, they can't scream. Do you think this is right?

    Then there's euthanasia. Euthanasia is illegal in many countries! I think it should be legal. If the patient is capable of making an informed decision to end his/her suffering, I'm all for it.

    What is legal may be still wrong and what is illegal may be right. We do not live in a simple black and white world. Things may be easier to talk about as black and white issues, but you should never thinkits the true nature of things. You should always remember the shades of gray in your decisionmaking. Those details are important.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    You just proved all of what I typed as true. Thanks for the honesty. You do take sides and grey turns to personal gain. See, that wasn't hard to admit. No lightning came down and struck you. I knew all I needed was something to be evoke a feeling in you. That feeling is the same thing some experience some have talks about games. Again, the passion is working.

    Only thing you didn't admit was that people play games for reasons maybe you really think that is grey too and none of the reasons you listed are ever a factor in their mind saying all good or all bad. If only you had included graphics in your original post, then you know that wouldn't hold true, another black and white for many. There are legions that won't touch 2d games because they consider the developers amateurs. It has been the number one thing I could quote time and time again for people shrugging off games with decent gameplay inside complaining about how it doesn't look modern. This game looks old... next. 

    If you don't believe in black and white then you don't believe in preference.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preference

    Surely you have sometimes thought or typed. I "prefer" x over y, that again is black and white.

    I know I'm simplifying it and you probably don't like that but it's truth. Things are only grey until you take a side, then they stop being grey. If you never take a side on anything THEN you can claim complete grey thoughts but that doesn't happen in humans. We do take sides and we do stand on them. I don't care if it's true from a philosophical standpoint of what we should or shouldn't be in theory, I only seek to speak it as truth because it is what we do. We are all animals. Have you heard the monkey poem, it speaks better than me on this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJM4EBuL82o

    I'm not saying we aren't black and white and totally open to everything and have no morals. I'm standing on the side that we come into the party with pre-conceived notions from nurture and nature and will harbor those and use them to decide what greys become white and black to us. Tigers aren't bad in a zoo. Tigers in my living room are bad. Those are black and white things I have deduced. Quest games are linear, Sandbox games let me move in any direction. Another black and white thing that I have embedded from gaming experience. If a game wants to prove otherwise, nothing is stopping them.

    Until they do, I, like others, have my sides and don't pretend that I don't to stand on a higher moral ground of understanding. We could all sit on a yogi fence for our lifetimes pondering mans' ills while saying nothing is in stone, the universe will right the wrong but who is going to play these games.  Someone has to, that starts with a narrowing down of the game with preferences, black and white wants and desires, then the installation. If your mindset was grey I suppose you would have to try every game on the planet, nay, I don't have that much time.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Never trust a philosophy, it's just using you to propagate itself.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Nadia

    Originally posted by Quirhid
    Does the person doing the simplification doing it for some agenda?
    I dont think they have an agenda - they just wear "black or white" glasses when everything is shades of grey
    Sometimes, one needs to simplify a topic to keep the discussion narrowed down and not get too far off track.

    I know Quirhid made this comment on my topic of "New MMO" vs "Old MMO" and the longevity of the two. The reason I did this is because there are soooooo many variables. I just wanted to focus on just a couple of things.

    Look at the simple topics that get made very complicated because of anecdotal data that we all expand on and share as fact.

    PS: Not everything is "shades of grey".

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by greenreen

    You just proved all of what I typed as true. Thanks for the honesty. You do take sides and grey turns to personal gain. See, that wasn't hard to admit. No lightning came down and struck you. I knew all I needed was something to be evoke a feeling in you. That feeling is the same thing some experience some have talks about games. Again, the passion is working.

    Only thing you didn't admit was that people play games for reasons maybe you really think that is grey too and none of the reasons you listed are ever a factor in their mind saying all good or all bad. If only you had included graphics in your original post, then you know that wouldn't hold true, another black and white for many. There are legions that won't touch 2d games because they consider the developers amateurs. It has been the number one thing I could quote time and time again for people shrugging off games with decent gameplay inside complaining about how it doesn't look modern. This game looks old... next. 

    If you don't believe in black and white then you don't believe in preference.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preference

    Surely you have sometimes thought or typed. I "prefer" x over y, that again is black and white.

    I know I'm simplifying it and you probably don't like that but it's truth. Things are only grey until you take a side, then they stop being grey. If you never take a side on anything THEN you can claim complete grey thoughts but that doesn't happen in humans. We do take sides and we do stand on them. I don't care if it's true from a philosophical standpoint of what we should or shouldn't be in theory, I only seek to speak it as truth because it is what we do. We are all animals. Have you heard the monkey poem, it speaks better than me on this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJM4EBuL82o

    I'm not saying we aren't black and white and totally open to everything and have no morals. I'm standing on the side that we come into the party with pre-conceived notions from nurture and nature and will harbor those and use them to decide what greys become white and black to us. Tigers aren't bad in a zoo. Tigers in my living room are bad. Those are black and white things I have deduced. Quest games are linear, Sandbox games let me move in any direction. Another black and white thing that I have embedded from gaming experience. If a game wants to prove otherwise, nothing is stopping them.

    Until they do, I, like others, have my sides and don't pretend that I don't to stand on a higher moral ground of understanding. We could all sit on a yogi fence for our lifetimes pondering mans' ills while saying nothing is in stone, the universe will right the wrong but who is going to play these games.  Someone has to, that starts with a narrowing down of the game with preferences, black and white wants and desires, then the installation. If your mindset was grey I suppose you would have to try every game on the planet, nay, I don't have that much time.

    Capital punishment is wrong because it is inhumane, immoral and nearly all the arguments for it are false. Only thing for it is that its cheap. If we can't reform someone, we might as well save a penny and end the poor bastard. Just because I have chosen a side doesn't mean I am all for it. And just because it is black and white in the voting booth, doesn't make the issue black and white. Surely you can understand that.

    It is like the few past political elections I feel I've not voted for the "best candidate" but rather the "lesser evil" so to speak. It is like many polls here. Actually, how I felt about AIBQuirky's thread was that there were no good choices in the poll. Firstly, a complicated topic was reduced to just two options - binary. Second, both options had assetions which could not be proven true. As much as I dislike old-school MMOs, naturally I refused to answer the poll and voiced my opinion about it.

    Much of the nonlinear-linear discussion is a matter of perception. It is not a black and white issue. Many threads have discussed about what makes a sandbox and what makes a themepark. I believe, In truth there is only a handful, if any, features that make of either one. It is more in the how those features are made and how they interact with other features. Still, its very difficult to put a definition on it what combination makes a themepark and what makes a sandbox.

    I can give you two examples of games which stand firmly in the gray area: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto IV. I challenge you to put them into one or the other camp and tell me why.

    It is pointless to even try to draw a clear line between the two, since most of the games are more or less somewhere in between. But I bet discussing whether game X is a sandbox or not is an endless source of argument. Atleast as long as you insist on seeing things as black and white. I'm sort of freed of that. I can refuse to put a jersey on if neither team suits me.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    PS: Not everything is "shades of grey".

    Everything is a shade of gray. image

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

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