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Study of MMOG Proves Human Interaction Theory

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the real-science-in-a-made-up-world dept.

Games 119

An anonymous reader writes "A new study analyzing interactions among 300,000+ players in an online game universe, called Pardus, has for the first time provided large-scale evidence to prove an 80-year-old psychological theory called Structural Balance Theory. The research, published in PNAS, shows that individuals tend to avoid stress-causing relationships when they develop a society, resulting in more stable social networks."

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Correlary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026236)

So that means people try to avoid interacting with trolls who try to get a FIRST POST?

If you can call that a "society". (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026244)

I'd describe it more as a "social group" and then it is obvious that, given the option, people will gravitate towards groups that cause them the least social stress / most social support.

Re:If you can call that a "society". (0, Troll)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026292)

Thank you for describing the main premise of the theory... seeing as it was stated in the summary I would never have noticed it.

Also, maybe look up what a word means before saying it's not something:

Definitions of society on the Web:

an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization
club: a formal association of people with similar interests; "he joined a golf club"; "they formed a small lunch society"; "men from the fraternal order will staff the soup kitchen today"
company: the state of being with someone; "he missed their company"; "he enjoyed the society of his friends"
the fashionable elite

I'd say that covers MMOs, an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization.

So what is "distinctive" about those "societies"? (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026424)

So what is distinctive about Group A that is not the same in Group B in that MMO?

Other than the name and colours they choose, they are exactly the same as almost every other grouping in those MMO's.

So what makes them "distinctive"?

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (3, Funny)

takev (214836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026464)

They are purple we are green.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

Sehnsucht (17643) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026474)

If it's red, it's dead.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028614)

They are purple we are green.

Hulk is both! Green man, purple pants! Hulk lead you to new way. Hulk Messiah! HULK SMASH!

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

Hidyman (225308) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029844)

They are purple we are green.

He who has green sash is green leader.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026490)

The thing that makes Group A distinctive is that they all think that they one person that everyone in Group B can't stand is funny.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (4, Informative)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026658)

Group A prefers the company of individuals with high standards for gameplay output, and take their game very seriously, possibly more so than their actual paying occupations; they are obsessive, not only regarding gear, but also in quality of strategy and tactics, right down to the sequence in which they deploy their special attacks. Being with each other, they can feel superior to others in the game. Group B, on the other hand, prefers a much more casual game experience, and though they are a bit rag-tag, they nevertheless help each other out here and there, but gravitate to each other mostly for the company. Group B understands that real people have real jobs, real families, and real life obligations. Group B just wants a group of friends that they can talk to while they grind, and maybe even do a little bit of RPing, and regard Group A as a bunch of fascist nut jobs.

In short, the difference between Group A and Group B is priorities. Both groups seek to enjoy the game, but neither group has the same concept of how the game should be enjoyed. One group is elitist, the other is very casual. There are likely several other groups between Group A and Group B, as well as groups that vary on completely different axises. A member of Group B would never be welcome in Group A, because he is not interested in maximizing the potential of his character. Meanwhile, a member of Group A would never be satisfied with the level of organization of group activities in Group B.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027528)

He wasn't talking about personality types, he was asking what really makes any one group/clan/whatever different from another in any of these games. I think his point was that many of them may dislike each other simply because they are in a different group, when really they are all the same.

However in space games like this there will be groups and valid reasons to like or dislike them depending on your style of play. Everyone but pirates will hate pirates, whereas not many people will have an issue with guys who just trade for a living or work as mercenaries for hire.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029702)

Lolwut? He actually gave a contextually valid, well-thought explanation of what would legitimately differentiate 2 groups of players in the same MMOG, to which your response was some BS about game mechanics.

Maybe people don't like the pirates because their way of enjoying the game is attacking and annoying other players (AKA griefing). Group A hates Group C because they are a distraction from their progress toward perfection, and Group B hates Group C because "seriously dude, leave me alone, what's your problem, just let me play the game!"

People from Group A or Group B might enjoy themselves in Group C, depending on how that group operates internally.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#33030132)

Actually, he was talking about this [wikipedia.org] .

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33030622)

I think his point was that many of them may dislike each other simply because they are in a different group, when really they are all the same.

So, just like in real life then?

Really, this is the perfect testing ground for these kinds of theories, because there is no physical difficulties associated with cultural change, the importance of physical appearances is lessened, and a wide variety of personalities and people from different cultures are mixed together without any means of identifying eachother without interraction.
In real life people dislike each other because of group attachement to a much greater degree then they do there. In the real world you are who you are until you die, and thus dissasociating yourself with certain groups can in some cases be impossible. In the virtual world, you type /gquit or reroll.

Re:So what is "distinctive" about those "societies (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027504)

Some of these guys will be traders, others will be pirates, possibly bounty hunters and so on. It seems rather obvious the regular traders would not be trading, making alliances with or having positive interactions and communication with pirates, though pirates probably have some of their own traders who sell stolen goods back to the real market, if the game mechanics are that advanced.

But really all the conclusions they drew here shouldn't surprise anyone. Not that such tests are not worth conducting in case they show any interesting deviations from your expectations, but I think that a few more tests need to be carried out in less extreme environments - like a workplace or a marketplace where killing and outright stealing are frowned upon - to actually draw any useful conclusions.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026250)

This theory says that people try to reduce cognitive dissonance, not stressful relationships. But they hardly needed to study games to figure this out. Go talk to people who are politically extreme and the validity of this theory will be obvious (Marxists and neo-cons, for example).

Re:No (5, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026328)

The only problem with that approach is that it doesn't prove that the theory holds for a general population. It's very possible that the theory holds true for those groups of people, but it doesn't really prove anything useful. We can't tell if membership of these groups results in the behavior or if the behavior results in people becoming members of these groups.

At first glance this seems obvious, but if you think about it enough you'll probably be able to remember a few successful relationships you've had with various people who did not share your beliefs at all. Anecdotal evidence of course, but perhaps some humans seek a certain amount of disruption in their lives. The real question is whether people who play online games are a good representation of the general population.

Re:No (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026454)

I took the person to whom you responded as saying that it held for the general population, who therefore avoid political extremists.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026470)

The real question is whether people who play online games are a good representation of the general population.

When I look at the online population, I see a lot of 18 year old bi-sexual nymphomaniac miss-universe winners. I would believe a very much higher percentage then you would expect when looking at the general real world population.

Re:No (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027472)

When I look at the online population, I see a lot of people claiming to be 18 year old bi-sexual nymphomaniac miss-universe winners.

FTFY

Re:No (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028542)

Yes, because it's important to make sure the joke is lost by spelling it out.

Re:No (1)

wanax (46819) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026496)

Indeed, but until we get a decent picture of the correlations, we can't create a robust procedure to tease out more elusive, possibly causal issues...

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026548)

We can't tell if membership of these groups results in the behavior or if the behavior results in people becoming members of these groups.

Or if people behave differently online... or when playing games. One might even think that people actually play games to relax and get away from the usual problems they are facing, and therefore try to avoid stressful situations when gaming. Hard to believe, I know.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027628)

You say that but hardcore raiding on PvP in an MMO, or a competitive FPS team, or a pro RTS match - are all stressful as fuck. People intentionally engage in these activities in games, often needing to work together and criticize one another without holding back in the slightest - to achieve success. You might almost say that the team who is most sensitive in their criticism loses: that it is a competition of who can engage in higher-stress environments. Friction is the intent in these circumstances, and while the top end might represent only 5% of less of the total gaming population - they are certainly a strong argument against it. Some people play video games to de-stress - these people play peggle and bejeweled and desktop defender - others play higher skill-cap games with both teammates and opponents, in highly competitive, high stress communities.

That being said - I'm pretty much a 'pro' gamer - but I don't make money off it - I'd be in the top 5% (pro), of the top 5% (hardcore) community - and I've NEVER heard of this 300 000 person MMO they tested on - so for all I know it might be some sort of advanced Peggle-like game, and I suspect picking a single MMO is not representative of even the gaming community - let alone people at large. It's interesting they managed to prove Structural Balance in any environment - I'm not sure how I would go about applying that to any other community with scientific rigor - but I also don't see how this is a useful discovery apart from using it to extrapolate to larger populations, or taking it out of context to infer it proves it in larger populations: both of which seem foolhardy.

Re:No (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028890)

Here's the kicker: Most people don't do hardcore raiding, participate in a FPS team, or play RTS as pros.

Re:No (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029672)

Pardus is a bit of a niche MMO, but it is a pretty well established one. It has a similar player base to games like CCP's EVE. Quite a few people I have known over the years have cycled though it.

Re:No (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026626)

it's still relevant to the population of people who play online games while their interactions with humans are limited to people who play online games.

so really this is more rehashed game theory... which is more rehashed logic and statistics... it boils down to hypocritical conundrums in games of the human equation, such as poker... after the theory is taught and applied, the theory is no longer valid as it changes the population of players in an exploitable way, sometimes suggesting the original theory was couldn't possibly be correct.

that IS the human equation. people picking sides and why.

Re:No (3, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026602)

But they hardly needed to study games to figure this out. Go talk to people who are politically extreme and the validity of this theory will be obvious (Marxists and neo-cons, for example).

They aren't looking at extremely polar relationships like between a rabbi and a Nazi. It looks like it's more of a "once removed" relationship -- for example, "the friend of my enemy is my enemy". It is these kinds of relationships that have long been expected to be more stable when you consider a large social system. As they say in TFA:

Structural Balance Theory is an 80 year old psychological theory that suggests some networks of relationships are more stable than others in a society. Specifically, the theory deals with positive and negative links between three individuals, where 'the friend of my enemy is my enemy' is more stable (and therefore more common) than 'the friend of my friend is my enemy'

They have an interesting picture as well but I wonder what a much larger picture showing various groups would look like. I'd almost expect it to be a kind of fractal with small groups linking to other groups by only a relatively few links, and then the superset of those groups linking to other supersets...

It makes sense, but it's always nice to see some evidence, even for "common sense" things. I suppose that's at least one good thing that's come from MMOs -- they consist of huge social networks which exist in a medium which allows for easy analysis of player inter-relationships and anything else of statistical interest.

Re:No (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33030610)

They didn't have to study games to figure this out. Even the summary mentions that the theory is 80 years old. As another poster points out, one of the problems with testing the theory has to do with determining if people are members of a perticular group because they behave and think a certain way or if they behave and think a certain way because they are a member of a pericular group.
This study sheds interesting new light on the thery because membership in virtual world groups (especially in MMOGs) is much less dependent on external factors than real world groups.

The study (4, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026300)

For those wanting to read the complete study you can get it here [pnas.org]

Re:The study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028624)

P-Nas dot Org? Seriously?

Bias (4, Interesting)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026310)

Aren't the statistics inherently biased by being comprised of people who would be inclined to play an MMO? Just off the top of my head, maybe people could be gravitating away from stressful relationships in an MMO because they have so many stressful relationships in real life that they could be trying to "escape from" by creating an online persona.

Of course (4, Insightful)

wanax (46819) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026478)

Yes, they are 'biased' in the sense that they ask a 'within population' rather than 'whole population' question. There seems to be this idea percolating around /. that 'perfect studies' are possible (demanding TOTAL explanation of the variance). They are not. This study, analyzes the sample: Players of the game "Pardus" on "Artemis" who have interacted with at least one other player during the first 445 days of the game's existence. They make no claim about the general population, but merely remark upon the social interactions measurable within the population of their data set. The specious speculation you provide is outside of the purview of the study.

Re:Of course (4, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026692)

Nobody expects a study to be perfect. They do expect, that, if general conclusions are being drawn, some effort has gone into trying to create a representative population.

The Slashdot crowd is generally anlytical, and critical. Give them a conclusion, and they will try to falsify it, not because they delight in tearing things down, but because that's the only way to test its robustness.

Re:Of course (4, Informative)

wanax (46819) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026804)

Where are the "general" conclusions mentioned? One great thing about PNAS is that it's free, so no issues with the pdf (which hasn't stopped strange speculation).

The study makes limited claims which are consistent with the experimental approach, which is "within population."

Re:Of course (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026888)

All throughout the summary. This is Slashdot. While there may be an actual article link in the summary, what we're generally discussing is the summary itself. The summary makes a whole lot of general claims, which Ceraphis was debunking.

Re:Of course (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027334)

This is also Slashdot: where the summary is often bullshit. Assume it is bullshit by default. It's only a vehicle for the links anyway.

Re:Of course (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027554)

I don't know if this logical fallacy has been named, but a common way of being unscientific without dismissing science - even taking on the mantle of protecting science - is that all the science I agree with is right, and all the science I disagree with is flawed. Greatly exaggerating the flaws is a very common way of dismissing evidence contradicting your beliefs and opinions, and slashdot is not an exception...

Re:Of course (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029682)

The Slashdot crowd is generally anlytical, and critical.

Somewhat. They're also [in]famous for not actually reading the article or study. And for acting as though they (without any experience) have found problems that scientists/engineers (with experience) hadn't thought of (but did if you read the article/study). Etc... etc...

Re:Bias (2, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026706)

It still holds a lot of wisdom for social science in general. For example, you might have to interact with people that stress you (in laws, bosses, etc) in real life, but just as 'vacation' usually entails getting away from all of them, it says that people would love to be away from people that constantly stress them, at least while they're trying to relax.

Re:Bias (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026884)

Aren't the statistics inherently biased by being comprised of people who would be inclined to play an MMO?

It's pretty well mainstream to the point that I was treated as a weirdo in World of Warcraft when I mentioned I'd played AD&D. Quite surreal since it's inspired by it and similar roleplaying game.

Obvious (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026330)

It's nice that the obvious is sometimes confirmed by science.

Re:Obvious (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026444)

It's obvious that the earth is flat -- how else would we stay on it? -- but science seems to deny that.

Re:Obvious (-1, Offtopic)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026506)

What's your point?

Re:Obvious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026544)

Your bluntness is freaking me out a little. I might go find another story to hang out at.

PNAS (4, Funny)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026332)

I can only pronounce it one way.

Re:PNAS (0, Redundant)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026708)

PNAS... PEE-NAS... PENAS...

I don't get it.

Sincerely,
Mike Oxlong

Re:PNAS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027172)

I can only pronounce it one way.

"goatse"? (peen + ass)

Re:PNAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33030162)

And that sums up the entirety of my enjoyment of grad-school.

kdawson sucks (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026346)

"studies" like this and the people that post them are the reason the internet needs to be burnt.

I played wow for a few years (2, Insightful)

TheRealRainFall (1464687) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026352)

And i seem to recall most people absolutely loving drama and being controlled by irrational desires. This sounds stressful to me.

Re:I played wow for a few years (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026362)

It's not really. The only one stressed by drama is usually the person with responsibility to hold stuff together, i.e. guild master, raid leader. The participants themselves are usually venting, and letting out steam.

Re:I played wow for a few years (1)

TheRealRainFall (1464687) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026414)

Which generally consists of acting irrational ->drama.

Re:I played wow for a few years (2, Funny)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026410)

And i seem to recall most people absolutely loving drama and being controlled by irrational desires. This sounds stressful to me.

Sounds like you spent too much time in Barrens chat...

Re:I played wow for a few years (2, Funny)

troc (3606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027066)

aaah, maybe you can tell me where Mankrik's wife is?

I tried asking Chuck Norris but he just killed me with a tray.

Re:I played wow for a few years (2, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028672)

And i seem to recall most people absolutely loving drama and being controlled by irrational desires.

Desires can never be irrational, for irrationality simply means that you're behaving in a way that is unlikely - as far as you know - to get you what you want. Alternatively, one could say that playing WoW at all is irrational, since it is unlikely to advance any of your real-life goals, and actually sucks up resources. For the same reason, however, no behavior in-game is likely to be irrational; after all, the goings-on in the gameworld don't affect your real-life status, so why not do whatever you want there? No point in worrying about efficiency or long-term consequences when there are no long-term consequences.

This sounds stressful to me.

What really stresses me is how some people begin a post in the subject and continue it in message body. It's annoying and it's wrong; such people are the SCUM OF THE EARTH, and should be banished from Slashdot and HUNTED DOWN and EXTERMINATED like the RABID DOGS THEY ARE !!!

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. I'll go play now...

Amazing insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026366)

I also have a theory about the brontosaurus.

For those who haven't RTFA (5, Informative)

NPerez (930539) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026378)

I scanned through it quickly & my understanding is that this is more specifically studying the avoidance of friendships with friends of enemies. That's a little more complicated & interesting than simply 'avoiding stressful relationships'. It is a little obvious, but it says a lot about the formation of social groups & how they become divided.

Summed up in one simple cliche.... (4, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026396)

Birds of a feather flock together.

This study no more proves the theory than the decades or hundreds of years of observation that led to the coining of that cliche. I'm glad MY tax dollars weren't wasted on this... I attached a note to the IRS asking them not to put it in that kitty, and I'm sure they heeded my request.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026498)

And I can list other similarly long lived simple cliches that have been found to be completely false.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026536)

I can list scientific Theories that have been proven false; what's your point, exactly? If a cliche was based on empirical evidence and so are scientific theories and laws, what exactly makes them so very different? Do the people involved have to be wearing white lab coats and be government funded before their conclusions are legitimate?

Go smack yourself with your CRC Handbook.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026620)

My point is that is why studies are required and done. How do you know the cliche is actually based on (correctly interpreted) empirical evidence and isn't incorrect?

I don't care about white coats or funding (barring bias), but on methodology. The cliche has no known methodology for how it was deduced and thus is suspect.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (1)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026510)

Opposites attract.

We can do this all day long, but it won't get us any closer to the truth, scientifically. Science depends on empirical evidence to form theories, not just generalized and often conflicting aphorisms.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026518)

That cliche WAS based on empirical evidence.

Re:Summed up in one simple cliche.... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027238)

I attached a note to the IRS asking them not to put it in that kitty

I think the IRS loves kitty way too much:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-6104259-7.html [cnet.com]

Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026400)

Individuals tend to avoid stress-causing relationships when they develop a society, resulting in more stable social networks

If you apply the theory of evolution to societies, you may find that low stress relationships are a successful trait.

Title Proves... you sure about that?? (1)

special_agent (88338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026420)

Title Proves a misunderstanding of scientific method.

Mod parent up (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029894)

News flash for kdawson: in science (not counting math), positives cannot be proven. Evidence for them can be provided, they can be "illustrated", "supported",... but not proven, only disproven. That's why even the most respected "laws of physics" formally have the status of "theory" (Note the difference between "theory" and "hypothesis" here: a hypothesis becomes a theory after it has been extensively tested and widely accepted by the scientific community.)

It is ironic that a majority of science stories on slashdot are posted by someone who has an incomplete understanding of science. Though it does explain why the average quality of science-related posts is so low.

Avoiding stress causes social network stability? (4, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026468)

Setting the study results aside, I'm dubious at the idea that avoiding stress at the interpersonal level results in a more stable social network. I'd argue that it simply pushes the conflict up the social scale, making large-scale conflict more likely.

For instance, suppose I'm a liberal Democrat. I find it stressful to live in areas where I'm surrounded by conservative Republicans, so I tend to live in neighborhoods full of like-minded people. If everyone behaves this way, eventually the country polarizes into homogeneous districts, and I never have to get into lengthy bitter arguments about abortion or global warming or whatever.

Is this a recipe for a stable social network? No, it's a recipe for civil war!

We can take a useful analogy from materials science. Small-scale stress in materials is relieved by the formation of microfractures. These cracks tend to propagate, relieving more and more stress on the small scale, but eventually leading to total large-scale failure of the material. In contrast, if we heat the material up, forcing the molecules to interact with one another to recrystallize and eliminate small-scale dislocations, the material as a whole becomes annealed, and tends to bend rather than break.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026516)

this isn't the real world its an mmo. You get to assume stuff like unlimited space. Hence no civil war. The only time it happens is when opposing groups are forced together like trade chat or forums.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

akanouras (1431981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026546)

When the country polarises in such an extent, perhaps it's time two new countries are formed consisting of the polarised groups.
Oh wait, I forgot your constitution precludes that...

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (2, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026570)

This isn't an issue of something written on paper. The problem is that despite polarisation, these two faction would be living all across the country side by side. Geographical division is impossible in those circumstances, hence it results in civil war where sides battle for supremacy. In the end, it may end with victory of one side and unification (i.e. US, Russia), or it can end up in two-sided ethnic cleansing and division into two countries (i.e. Cyprus).

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

akanouras (1431981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026624)

Regarding the American Civil War, IIRC there were two groups of states (North & South) battling it out with the original reason being slavery abolishment. Couldn't they have divided into two federations?

In Russia's case I'm not sure what you're referring to; the Czars had already "unified" it long before.

As for Cyprus, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots had very friendly relations after the country was formed. There had been some cases of hostility between individuals in some cases (which I think were to be expected in a newly formed country) and Turkey used that as an excuse to invade and "protect" the Turkish-Cypriots.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (2, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026728)

US: there were plenty of supporters of southern regime in the north and vice versa. These were suppressed, often violently, especially in the south.

Russia: White vs Red civil war that started in 1917. It was the pinnacle of WW1 in many regards, as it forced GB and France to adapt as Russia pulled out of war, and it was one of the nastiest civil wars in the world - we're looking at huge death toll and classic "brother vs brother" action where even families would end up split and go against each other. This was caused by the fact that there were more then two sides to the conflict, all with different (often foreign) benefactors.

Cyrpus: I'm not sure what relations you're talking about, I've been to the place (Greek side), and there is very little friendliness towards Turks who are viewed as conquerors. Greeks also voted against reunification. Perhaps you're referring to sentiments in Turkish part, which is much poorer and would love a reunion to raise the quality of life. Greeks don't want that, and this is confirmed by a vote on reunification which largely killed any attempt of Turkish side to be able to become an EU member.

All in all, modern reactions don't really matter, as we're talking about wartime, not peacetime after the tension has boiled out. Cyprus is a textbook case scenario of ethnic cleansing in relation to civil war - Greek side has been ethnically cleansed of Turks, and Turkish part ethnically cleansed of Greeks. After this occurred, the refugee Turks from Greek side were housed in housing that used to belong to Greeks that lived on Turkish side and vice versa. As it stand now, there are almost no Turks living on Greek side and almost no Greeks living on Turk side.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (4, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026800)

When the country polarises in such an extent, perhaps it's time two new countries are formed consisting of the polarised groups.

You're just passing the problem one more step up the social ladder. You've averted a civil war, but created two hostile countries with nothing in common but resource conflicts and a huge hostile border, setting yourself up for a possible continental-scale international war. It's an India/Pakistan situation, but with more nukes.

Learning to deal with people you disagree with one-on-one rather than avoiding them really is the best option.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028794)

Yes because country v country wars are much better than civil wars.

And the constitution is irrelevant since almost the entire problem goes away if it was followed in the first place. It reserves an amazing amount of power for the States, which has been gobbled up by the Federal Government.

If the Federal Government would stop expanding and let the States do what they want with respect to pollution, carbon taxes, abortion, etc, etc. Then the conflict would be reduced.

The pro-abortion folk can move to states in which abortion is a mandated by state law and every woman has to have at least one state funded abortion per 2 children they do have.

The pro-pollution folk can move to states in which an acre of old growth forest is part of the requirements to get a driving license and there's a carbon rebate for industry's service in stocking up CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Everyone can be happy in their little States, and the rest of us will actually get to see what works and what doesn't as the crazies try everything out.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33029184)

Sorry, we already tried that. And the idiots banning things like sodomy proved they didn't have the necessary brain cells.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 4 years ago | (#33030598)

What happens when one state works really hard an eliminates all pollution only to have all the neighboring state's pollution blow over onto them?

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026648)

Or perhaps we should just accept our limitations as a human race. We started out as hunter-gatherers and quickly learned that by working together, we as a whole can accomplish far more than the sum of its people. Unfortunately, there are limitations as to how well social interaction scales. Eventually, we start to segment each other into groups. It's not because we actively seek it, but because it's a path of least resistance when running up against this social barrier of expandability. Take for example the following path as to how we organize. Individual --> Family --> Neighborhoods --> Towns --> Cities --> Counties --> States --> Nations --> Earth.

This partitioning spans all levels of human through in multiple social dimensions. I'm not sure you can force change to prevent unrest. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027018)

For instance, suppose I'm a liberal Democrat. I find it stressful to live in areas where I'm surrounded by conservative Republicans, so I tend to live in neighborhoods full of like-minded people. If everyone behaves this way, eventually the country polarizes into homogeneous districts, and I never have to get into lengthy bitter arguments about abortion or global warming or whatever.

Bad example, most people don't care what their neighbours believe (within reason - I don't suppose a Jewish family would move in next door to a house decorated in swastikas).
It's more like at work, unless you are pretty fanatical, you don't go around having intense political discussions with your colleagues, you tend to gloss over any differences, talk about the weather or football or something.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027092)

...eventually the country polarizes into homogeneous districts, and I never have to get into lengthy bitter arguments about abortion or global warming or whatever.

Is this a recipe for a stable social network? No, it's a recipe for civil war!

We can take a useful analogy from materials science. ... if we heat the material up, ...tends to bend rather than break.

So, in summary, you are proposing we burn the witch ?

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027218)

We can take a useful analogy from materials science. Small-scale stress in materials is relieved by the formation of microfractures. These cracks tend to propagate, relieving more and more stress on the small scale, but eventually leading to total large-scale failure of the material. In contrast, if we heat the material up, forcing the molecules to interact with one another to recrystallize and eliminate small-scale dislocations, the material as a whole becomes annealed, and tends to bend rather than break.

So, I should buy a flamethrower?

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027720)

Pfft, why go to all the bother cross the tracks to kick off the civil war, when you can fall out with your neighbor from the comfort of your own back yard?

Credit to Emo Phillips [guardian.co.uk] :

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

Re:Avoiding stress causes social network stability (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027824)

In regards to polarization..

But any rational observer has to see that the Left and Right in America are screaming the most vile accusations at each other all the time. We are fully polarized -- if you accept one idea that sounds like it belongs to either the blue or the red, you are assumed -- nay, required -- to espouse the entire rest of the package, even though there is no reason why supporting the war against terrorism should imply you're in favor of banning all abortions and against restricting the availability of firearms; no reason why being in favor of keeping government-imposed limits on the free market should imply you also are in favor of giving legal status to homosexual couples and against building nuclear reactors. These issues are not remotely related, and yet if you hold any of one group's views, you are hated by the other group as if you believed them all; and if you hold most of one group's views, but not all, you are treated as if you were a traitor for deviating even slightly from the party line.
  - Orson Scott Card.

http://www.politicalforum.com/political-opinions-beliefs/22519-most-profound-thing-ive-ever-read.html [politicalforum.com]

Once if people are ALL polarised (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33027944)

But as we know there are undecided people, there are some which dislike both reps and dems, and thee are people which find good stuff in both. Those people will be the glue between those polarized zone. It takes much more than what you cited to have a civil war.

Re:Once if people are ALL polarised (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029360)

Yes, but your society-saving moderates are a *product* of a mixed society. If you live in a homogenous world, going against the norm is much more difficult.

Or to put it another way: you only get a Breakfast Club if you lock the jock, the nerd, the princess, the delinquent, and the freak in the library together. If they can hang out with their own cliques, they never change.

Hari Seldon will be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026492)

Does our knowledge that psychohistory is coming alter its theories?

Will the Digital Jesus be Martyred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026502)

The trouble makers are always removed unless they're popular trouble makers.

/.'ers Vindicated (2, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026522)

..shows that individuals tend to avoid stress-causing relationships..

You see, this is the real reason why slashdoters don't have wives and girl friends. It's natural to avoid stress causing relationships. :)

In other words: (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026584)

E Pluribus Echo

For what it's worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33026588)

The game is actually very good.

In a later update... (4, Funny)

the roAm (827323) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026600)

4chan's existence completely invalidates this study.

Re:In a later update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33027416)

4Chan has no friends, everybody is the enemy.

Pardus! (2, Interesting)

DragonDru (984185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026612)

Pardus is an entertaining game. One could play for long stretches avoiding most other players.
If one joined a strong faction, one could stay within their territory, working for the "man" and have a good time. Unfortunately, it is a game with a limited number of "moves" per day.

Anyone else get all excited to see games they used to play in scientific papers? If I had known I could have published on it, I would have played more during grad school.

MMOGs And Me (4, Interesting)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026674)

I guess it began back in the Walmart when I was much younger...a sale was on: 'Hand-exercising kits' and weights of 0.5, 1, and 2.5 kilos were all extremely low priced as if Arnie Schwarz had had a yard sale in which Sam Walton's ghost had apparated and instantaniously snapped up most of the stuff. So I got back in my parent's Corolla with my thin, wimpy arms straining to carry roughly 15kg in squeezy torsion handles and weights. I wasn't unattractive, infact later in life I became pretty popular with the la...that's another story.

It was around that time that a now-old MMOG was out - I remember sitting on the lawn listening to that cool English band Oasis on my Walkman with those raspily melodic vocals as electric in my ear canal when a large shape eclipsed the sunlight, causing me to instinctivly look up. It was Brandon, an extremely obese but affable and eccentric nerd who lived two doors down from us in our leafy suburban middle-class mediocrity-filled neighbourhood. 'Peter' he began, his face lighting up with a proud smile 'I have PK'ed eight people in Fel today and I plan on reaching a dozen by midnight...coffee permitting.'

Back then I was naive to it all...it could have meant anything. Being a guy who didn't miss much Brendon cut off my predictable question with: "PK is player killing - you chase down some guy and ice him and then take all his stuff! I have 56k and they're all on 28.8k so the connection to the UO server is so, so much better dude. Evisceration with my indy/fort double axe!"

I still didn't comprehend, but I knew it was a long haul explanatory time so my hand flicked instinctively to the Walkman, turning it off. It was then that Brandon and I went into his home, where his PC with its new fangled Pentium and Win 95 with Weezer playing Buddy Holly on the CD. That was special then...Buddy Holly; I could pull that up on youtube in seconds now, but seeing that cheesy vid was such a novelty then - yet I digress.

I learnt UO, and fast became a PK master with Brandon and I training intensely - it was here that the weights and hand-exercise came in. For awhile my fitness in real life and my avatar UO life balanced out so well. My arms became more toned with time, and this actually helped with reflexes as I zipped around those pixelated trees on the Brit path hunting down people. It was merciless because you could destroy hours of work in a few swings of an axe plus deft lootage...yet bizarrely I felt no regret over it all. This academic theory has to be hopeless when it comes to UO; which was toned down bit by bit until people could stay in a 'safe' realm and a 'danger' realm where murder was possible. The nostalgia that haunted me for nearly a decade after I quit in late 1998 was the worst; you wanted to recapture these 'good old days', but it was just frigid within an hour of play when you tried to.

Brandon went to some new-fangled MMOG called 'Everquest' - and I never saw him after that...except for one time in 2004 at a Taco Bell. He was at the counter anxiously enquiring about freezing the products - he sounded different, on edge, and I actually thought I heard him say he wanted 100 tacos and a burrito 'for the road'. Gone was his whimsy and charm and his breathing was heavier...I quietly slinked out of the place to avoid talking to him and soon after moved to Europe.

I guess there's something spurious about taking an interaction study and using it with games where anonymity and cartoonish avatars are the 'interactable' things rather than flesh, flab, blood and bone humans. But when you think about it...the greatest 'interactors' in MMOGs can also be the poorest interactors in life. It's in life where you are a human not an avatar, so this theory is kind of stupid since I could go at pains to achieve 'human stress' that leads to community in a videogame...but be a complete flat-out stunted 'human' nowhere near the theory's assertions in life - I mean getting to the point where you live on welfare and try to get three full bags of Taco Bell? That is too far. Too far.

If Brandon had worked as hard in life as he did in that timesink game he wouldn't have become like that; he'd be some high flying tech wizard with a geek asian girl as a partner with a penchant for waxing maybe. Living the dream and chilling out, and...in the end I look back with my rosy specs firmly off my nose and it doesn't really seem magical - simple sprites on a screen moving with cheap effects, but it could just be I'm getting old.

In other words: (0, Redundant)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 4 years ago | (#33026738)

"E Pluribus Echo"

Not a psychological theory (2, Interesting)

pinkj (521155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028054)

This is a sociological theory.

Now prove the GIFT (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028896)

So, as long as you're studying social interactions online, can you prove or disprove the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com] ?

avoid stress (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33029818)

avoiding stress might mean killing the source of stress, I think it is rather presumptive to say stable societies are the only possible result of stress avoidance.

yes, we know (1)

playcat (1723020) | more than 4 years ago | (#33030506)

we are sheep, we like to herd and look with anger or even hate at those outside of our herds.

man, sociology would really give anything to become a recognized science :)

stating obvious for example. i know that i've been kicked from some fb groups just for trying to explain to people that they aren't right. one should never do that, no matter how wrong are ppl.
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