Death of a Know-It-All

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Death of a Know-It-All

Sean Sands waves goodbye to his inner know-it-all and embraces ignorance.

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So, your opinion is that people shouldn't go off spouting their opinions?

Just seems like common sense to me.

Okay, now I'm going to go ahead and tell you why you are wrong in everything you wrote.

Just kidding.

I do believe that some people do believe themselves to be infallible and automatically dismiss other people's opinions.

My favorite philosopher, Socrates, always claimed that he knew nothing. That was why he was always walking around and asking thought provoking questions, because he was in search of the truth himself.

It might just be more common to see this attitude since the Internet is one giant hate and criticism machine. I imagine this sort of attitude has carried over for as long as humans have been around, making assumptions about the people running things. "Surely if I were in charge I'd do it better!". I can imagine a peasant wishing they were the king or queen, making things run much more smoothly.

I think what matters more is the ability to admit you were wrong. People have been pissed at me because I espouse my thoughts on games as if I believe them to be fact, but that is because I do believe them to be fact. That is, until someone can prove me wrong.

Once someone is capable of proving me wrong I am willing to concede my point. However, I see no reason not to believe strongly in what I am saying, stating it as fact.

However, I typically only try to speak on topics that I do have a lot of knowledge about. There are plenty of things where I don't have much knowledge about that I let it be known. Then there are times where I talk as if I'm an authority on the matter anyway. It's just human behavior.

As stated, the real difference is merely for anyone to say "Ok, you have sufficient proof and/or argument to prove me wrong, therefore you are right". Most people, I've found, just close their ears off and may even result to insulting you.

i don't think that quite makes sense, ccesarano: if they are opinions, how can they be proven wrong? e.g. let's say that you said something like "ico is the best game of all time!" or even "the pastel colors in yoshi's island work better than the pastel colors in paladin's quest" -- how could someone possibly prove that wrong, or right? i think the point of the post was rather that, when something can't be proven right (or wrong), we not state it as if it were right (or wrong). the only things that can be proven right or wrong are matters of measurement: e.g. that the nes outsold the game boy or vice versa. and that type of stuff is not what people usually argue about.

So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

Uncompetative:
So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

Well... it is kinda cloudy today....

(someone yells "Sod off, it's not that cloudy!")

But no. Sean isn't telling us not to discuss things- only to accept that what we BELIEVE may not be solid FACT. I could bring up the Gaming Discussion forums, close my eyes and randomly touch my monitor, and odds are good I'd be pointing at yet another "Halo sux/rulz" thread crowded with people who simply cannot accept that others feel differently about a single game than they do. It takes a certain level of mental maturity to say to yourself "Self, you know, maybe you're not totally right on this one, why don't you listen to what this guy/gal/sentient furniture has to say?"

Ah, proving oneself wrong. Something I've come to appreciate a lot over the last year.

itīs good to be a master
but itīs best to be a student.

if more people would question their self-rightiousness this earth would be a better place.
And those who do not have any questions left are not becoming good teachers - actually they are braindead.

The Rogue Wolf:

Uncompetative:
So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

Well... it is kinda cloudy today....

(someone yells "Sod off, it's not that cloudy!")

But no. Sean isn't telling us not to discuss things- only to accept that what we BELIEVE may not be solid FACT. I could bring up the Gaming Discussion forums, close my eyes and randomly touch my monitor, and odds are good I'd be pointing at yet another "Halo sux/rulz" thread crowded with people who simply cannot accept that others feel differently about a single game than they do. It takes a certain level of mental maturity to say to yourself "Self, you know, maybe you're not totally right on this one, why don't you listen to what this guy/gal/sentient furniture has to say?"

Everyone has a right to an opinion about everything. No one is right about everything. Without discussion opinions cannot change. Telling us to not express our opinions as fact, but as some wishy-washy parenthetically-qualified psuedo-statement just mires the debate in verbiage. Essentially, his recommendation is utopian and naive, stagnating arguments in "too long, didn't read" ripostes.

I am dreading the day that I have that epiphany. The day when I realize that I don't know everything (of course I know that I don't know everything, but that knowledge hasn't hit me yet). I hope it's not for a long time; I'm still 21 and I want to retain my youthful ignorance for as long as I can.

A good piece by Sean. His points I can agree with. I am very pleased that my university education has revealed just how hard it is to zero in on the truth; and know a good deal about an area.

On the topic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGDndcxH-O4

Like the quote Bloodred pixel. Being a student is great fun.

I'll be damned if I'm going to start putting something as trivial as truth before my own opinions.

Uncompetative:

The Rogue Wolf:

Uncompetative:
So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

Well... it is kinda cloudy today....

(someone yells "Sod off, it's not that cloudy!")

But no. Sean isn't telling us not to discuss things- only to accept that what we BELIEVE may not be solid FACT. I could bring up the Gaming Discussion forums, close my eyes and randomly touch my monitor, and odds are good I'd be pointing at yet another "Halo sux/rulz" thread crowded with people who simply cannot accept that others feel differently about a single game than they do. It takes a certain level of mental maturity to say to yourself "Self, you know, maybe you're not totally right on this one, why don't you listen to what this guy/gal/sentient furniture has to say?"

Everyone has a right to an opinion about everything. No one is right about everything. Without discussion opinions cannot change. Telling us to not express our opinions as fact, but as some wishy-washy parenthetically-qualified psuedo-statement just mires the debate in verbiage. Essentially, his recommendation is utopian and naive, stagnating arguments in "too long, didn't read" ripostes.

My opinion is that Uncompetative doesn't understand the point, or at least has come to a different conclusion about the subject than I have.

My understanding about the article is that most people, myself included, believe their interpretations to be correct to the degree that they will not accept other points of view. For example, I want to smack Un-whatever upside the head for being stupid, a reaction which is entirely out of place with the actual situation (merely having different opinions/interpretations).

While it is true that losing one's arrogance would likely destroy the universe and Pluto, I can't help but to sarcastically mock you simply because I'm a smug SOB feeding off of the earnings of others and becoming more and more arrogant by proclaiming my arrogance in such a way that makes me feel more humble and, therefore, superior.

PROVE. ME. WRONG.

BTW, we're currently discussing our opinions on whether or not we always assume we are in the right, not whether or not to make arguments. L2 Philosophize(sp?).

Firstly

ccesarano:
It might just be more common to see this attitude since the Internet is one giant hate and criticism machine.

Lolz.

Secondly (This is originaly by rinkuhero who is right below your original post, if you want to dicuss it further take it up with him).

i don't think that quite makes sense, ccesarano: if they are opinions, how can they be proven wrong? e.g. let's say that you said something like "ico is the best game of all time!" or even "the pastel colors in yoshi's island work better than the pastel colors in paladin's quest" -- how could someone possibly prove that wrong, or right? i think the point of the post was rather that, when something can't be proven right (or wrong), we not state it as if it were right (or wrong). the only things that can be proven right or wrong are matters of measurement: e.g. that the nes outsold the game boy or vice versa. and that type of stuff is not what people usually argue about.

When you're young you think that you're right and everyone else is wrong.

As you get older you realise that you were wrong as well.

Uncompetative:
Everyone has a right to an opinion about everything. No one is right about everything. Without discussion opinions cannot change. Telling us to not express our opinions as fact, but as some wishy-washy parenthetically-qualified psuedo-statement just mires the debate in verbiage. Essentially, his recommendation is utopian and naive, stagnating arguments in "too long, didn't read" ripostes.

Right, then. You're a moron.

Had I wished to "mire the debate in verbiage" I'd have pointed out that making absolute statements about subjective opinions is largely a waste of time and far more likely to get mired in "sux/rox" idiot-savant slapfighting than a reasoned and tempered discussion. I'd also have pointed out that at no point did Sean say people shouldn't express themselves, merely that they should consider that maybe, just possibly, the other side in a discussion of opinions and merits might have a point.

But you don't want that, so I'll stick with "you're a moron" because that's pithy and requires no effort to write.

-- Steve

Sean Sands:
snip

Sean, for you, a link.

ccesarano:
As stated, the real difference is merely for anyone to say "Ok, you have sufficient proof and/or argument to prove me wrong, therefore you are right". Most people, I've found, just close their ears off and may even result to insulting you.

And for you, ccesarano, another link (# 128)

This world would be a nicer place, maybe not better, but definitely nicer, if people didn't have to be proven wrong to accept the fact that they might be. The only problem is that you are more likely to remember what you think is true, so things that go against your beliefs and opinions are likely to be ignored or forgotten quickly.

Nice article, Sean, your on your way to becoming the next Socrates.

What an intriguing article, thank you very much for the read Mr Sands.

-Joe

i believe this article was a way to express unsettlement with having everyone rating games in numbers. Also they seem to forget that games should be about gameplay and immersivity, so graphics shouldn't count. And nobody explains why he gave the score and what/whom is it for.
it's Ockham's razor too far

ccesarano:
... the real difference is merely for anyone to say "Ok, you have sufficient proof and/or argument to prove me wrong, therefore you are right". Most people, I've found, just close their ears off and may even result to insulting you.

Thank You!

I've been having that problem with the OP on another forum. He believes that piracy is all right, but when others and I have told him otherwise, without foul language or personal attacks, and even giving examples (including a few court cases), he shouts "Troll!" and declares us "Illogical" or "Retarded." I'm no legal authority, but if you were in court (as pirates have been known to end up) pleading that case with those statements as your defense, you'd probably be held in contempt and forced to hear the verdict over CCTV.

It's like in English class, it doesn't matter if you agree or disagree, what determines your grade is how you support your opinion. You have to express your opinion responsibly, and be prepared to field any criticism that may come your way. Worst case scenario: you might have to concede that you're not in the right. And really, what huge loss is that? Whose self-esteem is completely shattered by the revelation that they don't know how to manage traffic patterns? What level of cognitive dissonance can make someone look at the gun on their table and ask, "Well, looks like my last meal is a bullet."?

Well you said it your self, it's your job to voice your opinion. It all comes down to what kind of man you want to be: you could be the type that keeps their mouth shut like a good little boy, or you could be a loud mouth challenging these all sorts of things even if your wrong. We really need more of the latter other wise people could get away with anything. Also I'm not saying that's going to make you the most popular but that comes with any opinion you make. People will disagree.

The problem is mostly that people, as a rule, generally do not like to be told they are wrong, or be made out to look like they know less about something than they thought, even if they're shown otherwise. This often leads to ad-hominem attacks in an attempt to regain credibility (which explains the GOP and Fox News), and on the Internet that unfortunately tends to work. Even if it doesn't, people can always pull some strings to get the "offending" person banned. I've seen that happen on other boards where mods are so unwilling to admit they were incorrect that they outright banned users, thus "winning" the argument. It's all very silly, but unfortunately we all fall prey to it.

If making an argument, prefacing everything with wishy-washy "I think that..." makes you sound weak. The classic "more people believe you if you state an opinion as fact" rule which I find prevalent among males that I know, and less common among women, but pervasive on the internet (maybe because there are no girls on the internet).

I'm all for recognizing that your opponent MAY have a good point, and that I may be wrong, but the one thing to watch out for is the Fox-style of "Fair and Balanced", meaning, providing equal time to opposing viewpoints, no matter how a**-backwards one of the viewpoints may be. You'll always be in a stronger position if you start off assuming that your opponent might be a sane, reasonable person, with a perspective/background which is offering them a better vantage on the subject than you may have, but there's no need to stay in that position once they start telling you that the entire universe is made out of yarn. Or spaghetti. Or string. Or whatever. Nutjobs.

randommaster:

Sean Sands:
snip

Sean, for you, a link.

Damn, you beat me to it.

On topic: I have found myself guilty of doing this more than I like to admit. In an argument where one person (alright, sometimes it's me) acts on arbitrary knowledge and clouded reason, it always goes down the drain. When two people engage in this kind of argument it descends into an infinite downward spiral. That's why I ask myself one question every time I plan on making myself heard in an argument: What do I really know? In a lot of cases, the answer is: Nothing. I don't know enough about this particular subject to form an educated opinion and defend it with honour. So therefore I don't. It saves me from looking like a complete ass a lot of times. That's why I like philosophic discussions over all the other kinds: In that situation everyone knows as little as everyone else.

LTK_70:

randommaster:

Sean Sands:
snip

Sean, for you, a link.

Damn, you beat me to it.

On topic: I have found myself guilty of doing this more than I like to admit. In an argument where one person (alright, sometimes it's me) acts on arbitrary knowledge and clouded reason, it always goes down the drain. When two people engage in this kind of argument it descends into an infinite downward spiral. That's why I ask myself one question every time I plan on making myself heard in an argument: What do I really know? In a lot of cases, the answer is: Nothing. I don't know enough about this particular subject to form an educated opinion and defend it with honour. So therefore I don't. It saves me from looking like a complete ass a lot of times. That's why I like philosophic discussions over all the other kinds: In that situation everyone knows as little as everyone else.

If you haven't read Happyness and Sarcasm, check out that second link, it's pretty awesome.

I actually have an example where the planners were idiots. About two miles from my house is an intersection that was built a few years ago. To turn left, you have to wait for a light to specifically tell you that you can turn. The only problem was that it only turned green every other cycle, so there would be oncoming waiting at a red light while you also waited at a red light. Normally this is when you would turn, but you had to wait because the light was red. Just to prove they made a mistake, however, the turn lane had two sets of traffic lights. This meant that they miscalculated the size of the road.

They recently fixed this, though, so no more griping for me.

If you're smart you should already know that you don't know everything. Which is why I have my standard set of opinions, I'll give my opinion when it's called for and argue my point(not in a "you're wrong, I'm right" kind of way though)but if you don't want to take my opinion aboard then I don't care, it's called an opinion for a reason, you have yours, I have mine, it's when others force theirs on me(like the religious nuts that I have to deal with all too often on a daily basis)that I'll tell you to go fuck yourself. You don't respect my opinion, I'll happily take pleasure in not respecting yours:)

i surounded by inferior people all day, and this isnt fiction, im surrounded by people who thinks im a smartass for using words whit more than three sylapils, so im used to having my opinion meaning more than everyone elses.

but when i join the internet i see the ugly face of people thinking the same thing so i always tone it down a bit, online and in death we are all equal.

I absolutely agree with your sentiment. One thing that can help is for people to check their sources. Don't believe anything you read on the internet. Check the original sources. It happens so much when you come across an article that it's already based on an article about a blog post about an article about an interview. If you want to state your opinion, base it upon the original interview and not upon the article you first read.

randommaster:
This world would be a nicer place, maybe not better, but definitely nicer, if people didn't have to be proven wrong to accept the fact that they might be. The only problem is that you are more likely to remember what you think is true, so things that go against your beliefs and opinions are likely to be ignored or forgotten quickly.

On the contrary, I think that someone should indeed need to be proven wrong. There are too many folks out there with a silver tongue that manage to fool people into believing that it is, in fact, their opinion that is correct.

Of course, there are merely some things that aren't necessarily about fact, but I'll argue to death as if they are. When I was at College one of my roommates loved to irritate me by insulting the quality of the Halo franchise, but he only did it because when the two of us first met I was able to argue why (the first two) Halo games were actually well designed titles with an interesting setting and Half-Life 2 wasn't better, just a different sort of game looking to accomplish a different style.

He still lives by Valve and Gabe Newall and such, praising Half-Life in all of its glory, but because I believe in my assessments of Halo as a well designed game I was basically capable of "proving" him wrong.

My friend from back home that says Fable 2 "sucks", though, he's impossible for me to argue with. He won't insult or anything, but no matter how much reasoning you provide (which is all an argument on subjective things can rely on), he'll still in the end say "but it still sucks".

Ah, another point: people should be able to admit when they like something bad. The One is not really a good film by any means, but I still love it. Similarly, I enjoyed Turok for the good ideas it brought to the table, but overall it wasn't a very good game because it also made too many mistakes or was simply bland. The WORST part about opinions is people cannot accept that what they like is complete drek, and then hide behind "everyone is entitled to their opinion".

It's the worst cop-out ever.

Uncompetative:
So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

You're missing the point, though it is of no surprise considering your tone.

The article can be summed up as "I have matured today, grown up a bit, and realized that I don't always know what I'm talking about!". It's not about assuming nobody is incorrect, it's about assuming you know more than everyone else.

Having a conversation is absolutely fine if both people are not assuming they know more than the other. In fact, these are the sorts of conversations that are the best, because in the end EVERYONE is enlightened a bit more.

A good example from my own life (I have way too many of these derailings) is from a few months ago, when TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was dropped from $15 to $10. I had made the remark "if only Capcom could do that with MvC2", and it pissed a friend of mine off. I had felt that there is no way a port of a game that is near 10 years old is worth the $15, that it can't possibly be that expensive to port a game from the Dreamcast to 360 and that Capcom is just money-hogging a game they know will sell tons.

The conversation became heated, I lost a friend, and afterwards another friend came in really late to the discussion with an interview with a Capcom developer that stated just how much some of the Capcom ports have cost them. Turns out $15 is actually a reasonable enough price.

I recently spoke about a better method of getting creative game ideas in the industry in that same article from Erin, but even then I'm making all kinds of assumptions that I actually know something about the industry. "If I were in charge it would be different and better!".

What Sean's article is about is being able to accept that you can't say something like that, and having animosity towards another person under the assumption that you would do a better job is childish. After all, I don't have all the experience in the games industry or the overall numbers to see where a lot of this money goes.

I'm beginning to wonder if you don't have your mind made up before reading some of these articles, though. You seem to be aggressive for no reason but paint it with proper spelling just to set yourself apart.

ccesarano:
snip

Opinions are one thing, but requiring proof that something is or isn't true can cause people to be unnecessarily stubborn and refuse to change. Being willing to believe you are wrong doesn't mean you'll believe anything anybody tells you, or even that you'll accept any well-reasoned arguement. It means that you won't blindly ignore new ideas and opinions simply because they are not yours or not wiely accepted.

This is most evident in science, at least when you're practicing good science. What you believe to be true is based off of the data from experiments, but if someone comes and presents new data that contradicts yours, then you have to be willing to test this new idea. Practical science is more complicated with needing to verify results and whatnot, but that's how it's generally supposed to work. It's not doubting your knowledge, just questioning its absoluteness.

A good article, expressing a wisdom that I fail to bear in mind all too often (but have been trying to do better about lately).

ccesarano:

Uncompetative:
So, first we have Erin telling us all that our video game ideas suck and we shouldn't discuss them and now we have you telling us we shouldn't speculate on who will win the console war, when/if there will be a price drop, what new consoles/games will be like, what the future of games could/should be, how the global recession may affect the market, whether there will be a shift to cheaper Indie games, whether mainstream support for end-user modding (with Halo 3 Forge and Little Big Planet) will eventually put creative control in the hands of consumers and make it harder for developers to push their own content - especially, pay-through-the-nose DLC.

Thanks. You've now left us nothing to talk about except the weather.

I recently spoke about a better method of getting creative game ideas in the industry in that same article from Erin, but even then I'm making all kinds of assumptions that I actually know something about the industry. "If I were in charge it would be different and better!".

What Sean's article is about is being able to accept that you can't say something like that, and having animosity towards another person under the assumption that you would do a better job is childish. After all, I don't have all the experience in the games industry or the overall numbers to see where a lot of this money goes.

I want to hear your opinions on how you would change the Video games industry if you were in charge. I am interested in ideas, not in who has them. To me, neither Sean or Erin have any greater authority than you or me. Actually, I feel they may have less by dint of themselves claiming false authority and implying that we proles down here in the forums shouldn't talk about anything that isn't our job. That is idiocy.

The Escapist is a web-magazine that captures its traffic on the basis of Zero Punctuation and keeps it with interesting, relatively cordial, community-driven threads. Let's all do as Sean and Erin say and stop coming. Stop looking at the ads. Kill the site...

Case in point:

There is a casual comfort with declaratory statements that imply both authority and experience, often where none exists. As gamers whose only credentials are as consumers, we dissect the economies of gaming as though we were Milton Friedman. We analyze sales data as though we were Sam Walton. We judge art as though we spoke with the voice of reasonable critical analysis.

Here Sean makes fun of our 'little' opinions and "inflated" egos.

Yes, debates are polarised, but that makes them concise. Just look at politicians. They don't discuss facts, but throw factoids about as they spin statistics misrepresenting what their opponent's position is really about, but they can get caught out and the real discourse then moves forward. It is also more interesting to watch.

By the way Halo rox, but only the first one.

Uncompetative:

*snip*

...

Could you provide a link to the thread which apparently caused your undergarments to become so convoluted?

Either something happened some other time, and I'm unaware of it, or you are severely overreacting. I even took your first post as sarcasm, but your continued vitriol makes me question that initial diagnosis.

On politicians: IF ONLY being caught out on their outright lies or fabrications actually made said fabrications go away (see: "Death Panels"), politics would indeed be a lot cleaner. The polarization of debates in the political space, which magnifies differences, and minimizes commonalities, is part of why nothing ever gets accomplished: people are so busy fighting over an inch, they miss out on the rest of the mile. They miss the forest for the trees.

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