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How Riot's Social Scientists Fight League of Legends Trolling

Dread_ed Re:Misery loves company (116 comments)

Playing aggressively is OK. Being offensive is counterproductive for the team, period. Apparently Riot tracks game outcomes and correlates the win loss percentage with reports of offensive behavior toward teammates. Games that have good team dynamics (no trolling/flaming of teammates, etc.) result in a higher percentage of wins.

And from what Riot is saying, what I think you are calling "playing aggressively" is an anomaly, relegated to infrequent outbursts on a "bad day" potentially by any player. A profile system wouldn't account for this one-off behavior because it is so intermittent and rare. That being said, if you did implement a profile system, would a flamethrower wielding troll with a hair temper want to play with 9 other similarly foul tempered combustonauts? That is an interesting question, and I think the answer is no. I can even imagine the game devolving into a chat room, with everyone so busy insulting each other they hardly even play the game.

I have played LoL for quite a while and the efforts they have made toward improving player conduct have had an undeniably positive effect on the game experience. Are there times I would like to unload with both barrels on a teammate? Sure there are, and I actually have. However, with the reward system, the player-run Tribunal punishment system (I have never been banned or even reprimanded BTW), and Riot's conveyance of the idea that cohesive teams result in better game outcomes, the knee-jerk reaction to flame someone is tempered and delayed enough to permit a different decision tree to be considered.

So instead of the usual flame related decisions ("Hmm which would be better to use? Talk about their mom, insult their sexual prowess or orientation, or go for the nuclear option and blast them with n-bombs?") the thought process is subverted to "Should I encourage them, provide positive constructive criticism, make suggestions on team oriented strategies to prevent the same problem, or just let them and the team know its OK and we will recover." This is good thing.

In some ways, their efforts to use social engineering with a reward and punishment system have made me into a social engineer as well. I look for ways to elicit positive responses from other players that will result in Honor rewards for myself. I also look for opportunities to make bad situations better, make good situations great, and generally help my team with the words I use. Does the team need a leader? Well then I step up and with positive encouragement and proper deference assume that role. Is there a possible conflict developing on the team between players? OK, what can I do to put myself in a position to neutralize that conflict to ensure the health of the team dynamic?

In summary I will say that their in-game controls have resulted in a much better gaming experience for me and many others. I commend them for their efforts and as a direct result of these efforts I will continue to spend my hard earned coin on frivolous skins, buying champions, and other assorted digital trinkets they offer in endless profusion and permutations. Looks like Riot has revealed in this story the step just before 3) PROFIT!

about 7 months ago
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Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion

Dread_ed Re:It won't work! (218 comments)

I think "c" will be the biggest roadblock. The cell companies make a killing off of the replacement phones and insurance, and possibly other charges.

Here is an example of how T-Mobile tried to make money off of a stolen phone. My stolen phone that is. Unfortunately this was just slightly before the days of iPhones so no remote wipe was possible:

1) Phone is stolen.
2) Thief uses it to call Guatemala and Honduras, runs up a ~$900 bill.
3) I report phone stolen
4) They inform me of the charges.
5) I remind them that when I signed up for their service I said I would only do it if they DEACTIVATED international calling. So how did these calls go through in the first place?
6) "Oh, I see that right here in the notes Mr. Ed. We will give you $50 off as a valued customer. How do you want to pay the remaining $850?"
7) I decline to pay and refer back to #5.
8) Proceed to accuse me of orchestrating the theft myself and charging someone to use the phone.
9) Call my wife a liar and a thief when she talks to them.

I obviously haven't paid them a cent in spite of their repeated efforts to collect this over the years. I bet their are people that do though, presented with the same scenario. Regardless, I wont trust a cell company to act in a rational way when there is a dollar to be made, extorted, or stolen from their clients. If remote bricking cuts into their bottom line it will never happen.

about 8 months ago
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Hacking Charisma

Dread_ed Re:"hacking charisma" (242 comments)

The real trick to charisma is to manipulate yourself with falsehoods, to the benefit of others. Well, maybe not falsehoods, but untested and unproven assertions.

Anyways, just try this for a while and see if it doesn't work. Every time you meet someone new, before you have a chance to say something and hopefully before you even make eye contact, try to find at least one thing about them that you like, admire, or want to be more like yourself. Make something up if you have to, but be consistent about it. You might be amazed at the results.

about 8 months ago
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Tesla's Fight With Car Dealers Could Help Decide the Next Presidential Election

Dread_ed Re:To be fair (282 comments)

I think the conversation, and the resulting political tie-in, is more about US franchise law and auto dealers dependence on said laws, than they are about an electric car, conservative ideology, or any particular politician.

Auto dealer groups comprise a powerful lobby with massive dollars to spend on politicians and long standing relationships with our governing bodies. These dealer groups are by and large threatened by Tesla's "direct to customer" model because it cuts them right out of the picture. Their greatest fear is once Tesla has cemented this as a viable and legal distribution method for their cars, what will stop other manufacturers from following suit and putting the franchise auto dealers out of business?

Thus, state and national auto dealer groups have been exerting whatever influence they can to maintain the status quo concerning franchise law, and this means standing in opposition to Tesla's business model. It really has nothing to do with the car, nor does it have anything to do with conservative thinking, or even that the car is electric. It is merely about the fact that lots of people who have been making lots of money for a very long time under current franchise law don't want to see that change. If it does you might begin to see manufacturers buying out their franchise dealers and running their own operations for sales and service in the US.

If all manufacturers go to this distribution model, or have it as an available choice, what does that mean for us?

1) Does that mean some of the prohibitive barriers to successfully producing and marketing a new car make have suddenly disappeared? I think that may be a yes, and that's possibly a good thing. More choice, more avenues for innovation and economic opportunity. On the downside, a lack of required infrastructure, like service facilities, dealerships where they have staff on hand to take care of the customers, etc. can make the ownership experience particularly daunting. I think Tesla has handled this right, however another company coming along after them might not. This is a major point of contention in the franchise law battle. Currently manufacturers are required to have a certain number of service facilities and sales floors.

2) Would widespread adoption of Tesla's business model by other manufacturers adversely affect prices? I think it *could* result in lower prices for cars and related services as you could cut out a middleman. However, imagine if every Ford dealer in your state was owned by the same company. That would reduce or even eliminate competition, and make it very easy to have institutionalized price fixing that would be very difficult to detect and prosecute. Less competition is bad for customers in general, and bad for companies as well as there is no drive to perform better, work harder, give better customer service than the other guy.

3) How will this affect jobs? The economy, etc.?

This really needs a lot of thought put in to it. Its not as simple as just saying, "Hey, its Tesla, its an awesome car, and an awesome idea, lets just let them do it." Its about all of the other manufacturers that are eying this exchange and getting ready to start pushing boundaries themselves. Where that will lead is really uncertain.

about 8 months ago
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L.A. Police: All Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation

Dread_ed Re:Big Government (405 comments)

You think this is just the "Republican" way? Democrats are all about redistributing wealth, but not of the 1%. Methinks your "hate-tinted" glasses need to be cleaned. Everything you said in your post after that may be true, but the Democrtats are just as complicit and guilty of pandering to the top 1% and ensuring their position at the expense of the rest of us.

I dont know the rest of your posting history, but whenever I see anyone with that strong of feeling towards either one of the parties foisted upon the US electorate I have the same response you did: "You are a slave. They won, you lost." Even worse, you're a house slave. You're defending them and attacking their supposed enemies. Good slave, keep up the good work.

about 7 months ago
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Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

Dread_ed Re:It's just a tool I guess (294 comments)

Very true. However, in addition to the obvious harm caused by ridiculous prison sentences, court costs, fines, and the inevitable medical problems from tainted and impure illicit chemicals, there are negative repercussions from the stigma and mental attitudes towards individuals with substance abuse problems. These attitudes are perpetuated and heavily reinforced by criminalization. The feelings of "they deserve what they get" and "well they shouldn't be doing drugs" when someone with substance abuse issues meets an untimely fate or experiences catastrophic problems is insufficient to fostering individual and societal health. These attitudes cause harm to addicted individuals and society alike.

Bear in mind that many of the addicted have untreated mental health issues that prevent them from interfacing with society normally. They "cope" with their mental problems, which could be easily addressed by any number of widely available pharmaceuticals, with illicit drug use. Many of these individuals could be returned to happy, healthy, productive members of society if they were able to interface with medical professionals that could not only help them with their addiction, but also address the underlying problems that led them down the path to addiction initially. The main roadblock to identifying, treating, and ultimately healing these people is directly traceable to the criminalization of drugs.

The irony is that criminalization doesn't stop them from acquiring and using drugs, it just stops them from getting off of drugs.

about 9 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

Dread_ed Re:In otherwards (664 comments)

Exactly right. There are two political parties in the US, but their not the republicans and democrats. They are those who are elected to office and those that elect them. Forgetting this is the root of just about every political woe we face in the US.

about 10 months ago
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Cartels Are Using Firetruck-Sized Drillers To Make Drug Pipelines

Dread_ed Re:Any drones yet? (323 comments)

Damn right! Not only would we reduce violent crime and incarceration rates, we would also give uncounted masses of chronic drug usesr that are in desperate need of mental health assistance a chance to interface with medical personnel. Removing the perjorative aspects of drug use is the first step to removing the stigma. It is the stigma (well and fear of prosecution) that keeps underpriveledged and dispossesed addicts from seeking mental health assistance that could get them off of drugs and into real treatment of the underlying causes of addiction. Namely, untreated psychological disorders.

But what to do with all of the infrastructure, ingenuity, business acumen, and cut throat (literally!) tacticians that have made the drug trade so profitable and effective? I say we harness the power of prohibition! Since prohibition is so great at forcing the development of low cost methods of acquisition, production, and distribution it would be a shame and great disservice to just let it collapse on itself and atrophy. Let's outlaw alternate fuels and green energy. Lets outlaw cybernetic implants. Lets outlaw safe sex! Then we will be certain to have a constant supply of these newly banned services at unheard of low prices and without even a the faintest hint of elitist bias in distribution. And why should this work? Because, well, that's just the nature of prohibition, and man for that matter.

about 10 months ago
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First Survey of Commercially Viable Asteroids Estimates Only 10 Are Worth Mining

Dread_ed Re:Baseballs... (265 comments)

All we need is automated mining and smelting equipment, some fancy 3d printers, and programmable assembly robots. Then we can Von Neumann the shit out of the moon and asteroids!

Most of their mass is not worthwhile to transport back to Earth, but would make fantastic raw materials for more robots, spare parts, spacecraft hulls, etc. Building a massive iron spacecraft is not a thing we would do on earth due to the expense of getting it out of ye olde gravity well. However, if its assembled in space who cares!

The valuable "trace" elements could be accumulated and sent back to earth or used in-situ for electronics, catalysts to process CHON into chemical propellant, or whatever is neded.

Pie in the sky bootstrapping, I know. But let a boy dream, eh?

about 10 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

Dread_ed Re:Skynet (514 comments)

My axiom for scary situations is: "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!"

Any chace this behavior fits their target exclusion profile?

about 10 months ago
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The True Color of Ancient Sea Creatures

Dread_ed What other color? (44 comments)

Dark coloring makes perfect sense. Think about it. If you created a prehistoric sea beast that was half shark/half alligator I bet you would paint them black too. It just looks more awesomer! Now, if they could only find a test to see if any of them had frickin lazer beams strapped to their heads...

about 10 months ago
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Chinese Icebreaker Is Stuck In Ice After Antarctic Research Vessel Rescue

Dread_ed Re:It's still there? (361 comments)

Worse, Consensus != Correct Response.

And even worse than that, Fact != Correct Response.

I have not heard one single suggestion from those that associate themselves favorably with the idea of "climate change" that wasn't foolish, irrelevant, or even outright destructive. So what if they are right, it just means we are all fucking doomed. They are wasting all of their vast media exposure, grassroots support, and political clout on things that won't make a damn bit of difference if the Earth's future is anything like its past. We will just be another species in the 98% column.

I am not a "believer", nor am I a "denier". I am a realist. As a realist all of the causes, predictions, models, and wild empassioned gesticulations around the subject of "climate change" are inconsequential. I will say this again, the causes, at our current level of preparation, are irrelevant. What is relevant is the Earth has been both hotter and colder than it currently is, intolerably so, and innumerable times in repeating cycles. We are living in a generouosly temperate era, a fortunate anomoly that has given us the ability to cover this planet with people. Regardless of what we do, this Elysian comfort we are so dependent on will eventually end. A realist knows that the only logical result of these facts is to prepare for the worst our planet has to offer, or suffer extinction.

Of course a realist also knows that a species that uses the spectre of global climate change to manipulate markets, expand taxation, circumvent rights and priviledges previously guaranteed, and as a political power grab deserves whatever it gets. Stupid humans.

about a year ago
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New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

Dread_ed Re:I believe it (1010 comments)

As a self-admitted deist, I have come to the conclusion that both atheism and deism are intellectually inferior to agnosticism. There is insufficient provable evidence for both the existence and non-existence of any supernatural, universe creating entity. And, while that may lead some on the path of least resistance to atheism, I dont think it is intellectually superior to agnosticism.

Oddly, I came to this conclusion by reading "The hero with a thousand faces" by Joseph Campbell. His attempt to distill and illuminate the coincidences and commonalities in religious mythos got me thinking of this as well. I noticed that a common thread throughot most religions is the concept of "free will" coupled with decisions or actions. Whether that is exemplified by the call to believe or to excercise some ritual, the core is that deities respect free will and demand people use it to confirm thier acquiescence to their diety.

It is then no strech to say that a deity that respects free will cannot "stack the deck" in their favor by creating a universe where their existence is undeniable without invalidating that free will. To take this thought even further experimentally, consider that if we existed in a universe where god was provable, choosing to believe or have faith in a deity would be meaningless, which would invalidate all this effort on the part of the deity to make human decisions so eternally important. Your choice would be to either acknowledge a fact or to wilfully ignore the evidence.

Not much of a choice, which brings us back to the idea of free will. I posit that if a universe creating deity exists, and specifically creates beings designed to make free decisions for or against that deity, it must create a universe for those beings to live in that is identical to one where god does not exist. So, in order to preserve the freedom of choice that a diety will ostensibly use to determine our eternal future, that deity has to remove any irrefutable proof of their existence from the universe.

Again, this is just a deists perspective on why I think agnostics hold an intellectually superior position to both deists and atheists. YMMV.

about a year ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Dread_ed Re:Vasectomy? (903 comments)

Because men were not the subject of a political hype media campaign by the name of the "War on Women." No one cared tremendously about universal contraception coverage for women before that particular meme was spread by the media in their new role as the servants of certain political agendas. All men need to do is get the attention of a certain political party and convince them to create a "War on Men" flame campaign. Then, after a few months of hardcore media repetetion and perjorative demagoguery, we can ride the resulting social inertia to the promised land of insurance covered condoms, vasectomies, viagra, and penis enlargement surgery!

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

Dread_ed Re:Thoughts on the Koran (796 comments)

There are significant direct references to Biblical, Arab, and Islamist events that are frequently made and referenced throughout its passages. Even more difficult are the indirect references. Many messages and commands require background knowledge in order to construct what is being said.

You just described the term "isagogics", which is an important part of any valid scholarly attempt to understand a theological manuscript. Oddly, most people that undertake an attempt to understand the bible do so without it, and therefore misconstrue, misapply, or even miss completely the meaning of the text.

about a year ago
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Out of Egypt Censorship, US Tech Export Under Fire

Dread_ed Re:The USG Wants Two Things From You, Narus (217 comments)

3. Instead of this highly suspect and unporven technology how about some good old fashioned guns, tanks, and planes?

more than 3 years ago
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Fox News Brings Video Game Violence Debate To a New Low

Dread_ed Re:Follow the money. (421 comments)

I think the bird needs some changes. Draw on an expensive suit, shove a $1000-wrapped-cigar in its beak, plump up the proportions until the visual connotation of "mother" is replaced with "diseased corpulent glutton," then slap a haughty self-satisfied grimace on its jowled and jaundiced face. Finally, you need to turn it around 180 degrees so the food the birds are consuming is properly represented.

more than 3 years ago
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Geek Culture Will Never Die...or Be Popular

Dread_ed Re:Hipsters (320 comments)

Reminds me of high school and the music scene. I listened to music you didn't hear on the radio. It was called "alternative" and sometimes "new wave" by the uninitiated. These no-name, underground, and marginalized bands were The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, REM, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Janes Addiction, Souxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths/Morrisey, Bjork/Sugarcubes, 10,000 Maniacs/Natalie Merchant, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Butthole Surfers.

Now everyone recognizes these bands. Their music, both old and new, is considered mainstream. I have heard early Cure elevator music. Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction is on a damn reality show. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) may win an Oscar this year for the score of The Social Club. The examples are too numerous to list. Needless to say, these musical analogues of the archetypal basement dwelling geek are now industry leaders and serve as seminal inspiration for the young, fresh , hot new things that will form the mainstream of tomorrow.

This interaction and evolution is relfected in the rise of geek culture in the mainstream. However, the main difference I see is that geek culture is directly shaping our society and catalyzing our future merely by the expression of its core identity. Sepcifically I am referring to the inexorable link between geeks and the technology they not only love, but create. Generous helpings of new, unavoidably ubiquitous, geek-made technology like smart phones, file sharing/P2P, game consoles, social network services (facebook), Bluetooth, navigation systems, WiFi, laptops, everything Apple, and so on (ad nauseam!) not only change the way we interact, relax, work, and play but also, in an almost insidiously seductive way, mold everyone who uses them into and effigy of geek-ness.

The geekification of America is inevitable, and I, for one, welcome our new geeky overlords.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

Dread_ed Re:Sagan on religiosity gene (729 comments)

Poor nerdy Sagan. Apparently he never had the pleasure of tasting the the heavenly sins of a debauched 16 year old preacher's daughter. From my experience the only things preacher's kids were "fanatical" about was Boone's Farm, a bag of good hydro for the weekend, and indiscriminate sexual encounters (especially on school property.)

Further proof of my theory: Don't take social advice from basement dwellers.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

Dread_ed Re:Where is there proof of a "religious" gene? (729 comments)

I have never met a human who is not susceptible to suggestion and who does not posess some level of superstitious fallability. If you have I am betting you just don't know them well enough. I think you are creating a distinction without a difference with regard to the humanity in general and this supposed gene.

The irony here is also notable. There is no known "religious gene." However, if one exists you may well have it, as your skepticism about its existence is curiously nonexistent.

more than 3 years ago

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