Can you say “disingenuous”?

(It’s pronounced: pwn)

I first saw mention of this yesterday through Massively‘s tweets (see? it’s worth being a twit! be on the cutting edge of breaking news so sharp it hurts!).

Being human, I followed a few of the links and read on for a while. Being not entirely stupid, I gave up when the drivellous nature of some of the comments on various blog posts made me fear for my sanity, and for my few remaining IQ points.

In any case, Lum the Mad Jennings does his usual elegant summing up complete with exposition, quotes, authorities and commentary, so I can just send you over there. There’s coverage elsewhere, too — can’t you see the info-tsunami cresting on the horizon? And no, I’m not paid to link to Broken Toys… but hey, that’s not a bad idea! — how about it Scott?

Carrying out sociological experiments in MMOs is nothing new, and as an MMO player I don’t find the idea strange at all. MMOs are strange little crucibles of human behaviour at its most normal and at its most extreme — many of us are asshats online, thanks to internet anonymity, but I suspect  the only thing that proves is that most of us are asshats, period.

Carrying out an experiment to see whether being an asshat will attract attention and vilification, but justifying it by saying “Oh, I never expected this to happen, honest” — that’s disingenuity for ya right there. By all means experiment with being a dick and a griefer, but don’t pretend you had no idea you were being a dick and a griefer. Especially after taking so much care to stay within the bannable boundaries so you could continue being a griefing asshat, purely for the purposes of scientific research of course.

Either the man experimented on something whose outcome was painfully obvious from the start, or the man isn’t nearly as savvy on the subject of sociology-and-MMO-playing as he claims. It’s something the “soft” sciences are really good at — claim to be studying something when, from the outside, it sure looks like you’re just giving yourself permission to be a dick. But wait, that’s probably me projecting.

It’s not the experiment I mind — it’s the “Oh dear, dear me, look at what I stirred up” expression while standing there, dripping spoon in hand. At least have the balls to admit you’re studying asshatitude; it’s not like you’ll be lacking for research material.

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7 thoughts on “Can you say “disingenuous”?

  1. “Either the man experimented on something whose outcome was painfully obvious from the start, or the man isn’t nearly as savvy on the subject of sociology-and-MMO-playing as he claims.”

    I’ve heard the next study may be on “the forest: an ideal ursine defecation area?”

  2. Yeah, his “area of study” did sound like something that’s completely obvious to anyone who’s played an MMO longer than an hour.

    Completely agree that it was really him just being a dick and trying to rationalize it.

  3. What a crock! So, the went by the rules of the game, but ignored any social manners that he would have garnered from outside the game? Sure, people are more of an asshat when they play under a alias, but some of us, still act civil. Anyone that’s an asshat in a game, is probably an asshat outside the game.

    The thing to remember is that behind the character is a real person and that person will react to any stimuli, be it niceness or being an ass like they would in real life. Just because you can be an ass doesn’t mean people who normally aren’t will if people don’t know who they really are. It’s social nature. Even a sociology professor should know that.

  4. OK, so I found it to be a very interesting paper and I was hoping that it would answer a question I’ve had forever.

    Can a person really pretend to be that much of a dick or is he that much of a dick and just pretends to be nice the rest of the time?

    OK, so I didn’t find it interesting, more obvious, but my question is serious. I don’t think I could be that much of a dick in a game if I tried. I just don’t have a knack for discovering ways to piss off my fellow gamers. I don’t think most normal people do because they aren’t spending time trying to think f ways to greif players or belittle them. The fact that this guy was so successful at it speaks more about him than about the players of the game.

    Ultimately I think it’s easier to pretend your a nice contributing member of society while secretly burning kittens with matches in your closet that the other way around.

  5. It’s like the lady on the Obsession show, who had a anxiety disorder where she would think about killing people all the time. Her mind would go wild with all these thoughts to the point where she became afraid to socialize with people. Finally the Therapist said, since she was inherently a good person down deep that no matter how much her brain would think about the act, she couldn’t do it, and when she put a knife to the therapists throat as part of her therapy, she didn’t do anything.

    All that was to say, if down deep your a dick, no matter how nice you pretend to be, you’ll eventually be a dick in game, its in that persons nature, just as it is in the nature of anyone who is nice down deep to avoid being a dick at all costs.

    I think the guy doing the study was in fact a Dick down deep and just let his own personality take over, not much scientific discovery there.

    Sorry, I don’t hold much thought to social examination or experiments such as the one in the article. People who play in a vitural world use it to escape their real ones, the problem is, they can’t escape who they are down deep, no matter what magic they wield inside a computer game.

    You can take the cook out of the kitchen, but you can’t take the kitchen out of the cook.

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