Editor's Note: The Dick Tax

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This mis-use of the word "theory" overshadows the fact that Newell's hypothesis, that people will at least be more cognizant of behavior that isn't acceptable to their community if there's a financial incentive, hasn't been tested.

I'd like to suggest that it does indeed deserve a test, and that until it receives one it's way too early to be foretelling its doom under the inevitable weight of a more cynical assessment of human nature or ascribing words like "tyranny" to it.

Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.

There are several flaws to this approach.

1.)people will try to bribe other people in order to get positive marks on their record, pushing game prices down, leading to lots of corruption.
2.)If a person pays $100 for a game, they have essentially bought the right to be a dick, by paying the dick tax.
3.)what's to stop people from being dicks by reporting other people as dicks.

I hope they don't think they would do something like the new League of Legends Tribunal system. That is flawed as well, from what I hear, pretty much everyone votes guilty on that, making it meaningless.

mcnally86:

matrix3509:
I think you are massively missing the point here Russ. For all of your BS philosophical rambling, people are not asking for a utopian internet society. People are simply asking for an online environment wherein they are not the targets of racist and homophobic slurs.

I play with friends online all the time. Its competitive as all hell and plenty of f-bombs are dropped. There is a difference between that kind of environment and one which enables, indeed, promotes griefing.

We are not asking that people change themselves, we are simply asking for people to have some god damned self-control. You would not go to a soldier's funeral and fuck the corpse (unless you belong to the Westboro Baptist Church), so why should similar behavior online have no consequences?

I'm sorry are you familiar with the internet? Self control is damn near utopian. Also what if a little kid joins your f-bomb server and the dad walks in hearing you guys. He gets mad and the kid says its your fault, now you guys all get a bad points as the dad starts reporting you all. One of your friends is pissed so he gets in a shouting match with the dad. Now the kids account has huge bad points (that his dad got for him) and so does your buddy. Now your buddy wont play that game anymore because he objects to the dick tax and doesn't want to pay more than you guys to play that stupid game.

Geezus we aren't going to get into some damn "what-if" argument are we?...I gotta be honest that sounds like the most desperate grasping for excuses I've heard in a long time. Also, if someone stops playing a game because they are being dicks, and thus are being charged extra, thats called a plus.

Also to the rest of your weak argument, just repeat every argument regarding the ESRB ratings and disclaimers of ever heard to yourself. Problem: Solved.

Also regarding people who game the system, regardless of what you people think, trolls are in the minority in just about every online community (not counting 4chan), and the minority cannot game the system with any appreciable effect. You all seem to think that this system will be entirely without oversight, which is just irresponsibly ignorant.

worst f*cking idea ever.

if you are good at a game and kill less good players you are a dick. thats the basic defnition that most player give. a.k.a. gamers that are good will be flagged as a dick. then there will be the players that randomly decide if some one is a dick or not.

so in summery alot of ppl that don't deserved are labbeld dicks. and the will pay alot more for something that isn't true.

the idea is nice but the methodes for making it work are broken.

SO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Sevre:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.

I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a faggot."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.

2 major problems I see with this system just off the top of my head.

It forces online play - The only way you can get the discount is if you play online. Very few of my games on Steam are online and of those, only a few I play online anyways and very infrequently. That locks me out of it and if they replace all sales and discounts for this system, they might as well release the licenses from the steam client to allow players to bypass steam altogether.

It is way too easy to abuse - Got a vendetta on someone? Start a campaign to make them pay huge amounts for games and get a group of people to work together to give each other huge discounts. All this will do is start a reputation war that will not be pretty. Meanwhile anyone out of theses camps are easy targets.

There's a reason why prices are based on the product and not on the customer.

matrix3509:

mcnally86:

matrix3509:
I think you are massively missing the point here Russ. For all of your BS philosophical rambling, people are not asking for a utopian internet society. People are simply asking for an online environment wherein they are not the targets of racist and homophobic slurs.

I play with friends online all the time. Its competitive as all hell and plenty of f-bombs are dropped. There is a difference between that kind of environment and one which enables, indeed, promotes griefing.

We are not asking that people change themselves, we are simply asking for people to have some god damned self-control. You would not go to a soldier's funeral and fuck the corpse (unless you belong to the Westboro Baptist Church), so why should similar behavior online have no consequences?

I'm sorry are you familiar with the internet? Self control is damn near utopian. Also what if a little kid joins your f-bomb server and the dad walks in hearing you guys. He gets mad and the kid says its your fault, now you guys all get a bad points as the dad starts reporting you all. One of your friends is pissed so he gets in a shouting match with the dad. Now the kids account has huge bad points (that his dad got for him) and so does your buddy. Now your buddy wont play that game anymore because he objects to the dick tax and doesn't want to pay more than you guys to play that stupid game.

Geezus we aren't going to get into some damn "what-if" argument are we?...I gotta be honest that sounds like the most desperate grasping for excuses I've heard in a long time. Also, if someone stops playing a game because they are being dicks, and thus are being charged extra, thats called a plus.

Also to the rest of your weak argument, just repeat every argument regarding the ESRB ratings and disclaimers of ever heard to yourself. Problem: Solved.

Also regarding people who game the system, regardless of what you people think, trolls are in the minority in just about every online community (not counting 4chan), and the minority cannot game the system with any appreciable effect. You all seem to think that this system will be entirely without oversight, which is just irresponsibly ignorant.

I take offence to that sir I am very responsibly ignorant. You are being irresponsible with quoting ESRB to me. Children play M games this is fact. If you play online swearing sooner or later a child will join your channel. Given he may swear like a sailor too but parents will sometimes find others to blame.

Lets put it another way. If your dream team dominates another clan too much they will stop playing on your server when too many of you guys log in at once, they don't like the swearing and don't like to lose so much. Gabe's criteria for bad guy is getting people to leave the server. You are now a bad guy. Before this situation would be ok, they could just join a non-swearing server of terrible players. This is not a "what if" this is what we know of the system. If a group of people leave your sever you will have to pay more cash.

matrix3509:

Sevre:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.

I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a faggot."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.

I should have clarified that I was talking about those guys too. I'm saying that it's incredibly satisfying to p0wn those guys online. Yeah you're being griefed, but that just makes your revenge even sweeter. Admit it, when you manage to get that kill and people call hax, it's pretty satisfying isn't it? I take it as the highest compliment on a server to be called for hacks. Competitive games will always breed contempt, you should just embrace it.

LordLundar:
2 major problems I see with this system just off the top of my head.

It forces online play - The only way you can get the discount is if you play online. Very few of my games on Steam are online and of those, only a few I play online anyways and very infrequently. That locks me out of it and if they replace all sales and discounts for this system, they might as well release the licenses from the steam client to allow players to bypass steam altogether.

It is way too easy to abuse - Got a vendetta on someone? Start a campaign to make them pay huge amounts for games and get a group of people to work together to give each other huge discounts. All this will do is start a reputation war that will not be pretty. Meanwhile anyone out of theses camps are easy targets.

There's a reason why prices are based on the product and not on the customer.

Ya I can foresee wallet greifing. Tricking people into losing points. But I believe valve said it was going to make everything multilayer now to some extent. No one know what this means yet though. What I'm wondering is how do they know how good you are before buying the product?

Keldon888:
The system is a nice thought, but there is no conceivable method of judging this.

-Public popularity can be easily abused by groups.

^ This. People are notoriously good at gaming the system, and I find it hard to believe the very people Newell would like to punish wouldn't find a way to upvote each other to success somehow.

Assuming it isn't a joke. Which I kind of assumed it was.

Sevre:

matrix3509:

Sevre:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.

I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a faggot."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.

I should have clarified that I was talking about those guys too. I'm saying that it's incredibly satisfying to p0wn those guys online. Yeah you're being griefed, but that just makes your revenge even sweeter. Admit it, when you manage to get that kill and people call hax, it's pretty satisfying isn't it? I take it as the highest compliment on a server to be called for hacks. Competitive games will always breed contempt, you should just embrace it.

I think the criteria Gabe used for good/bad is how many people you can get to join/leave a server with your presence. So I guess this means making someone rage quit (satisfying to do) will cost you money. True some players want to play against good players but there will always be more ragequiters(me) than good players. I do not support back-stab tax.

If you outlaw dicks, then only outlaws will have dicks.

Russ Pitts:
Editor's Note: The Dick Tax

Valve's proposal for weeding out obnoxious players is nothing less than a tyrannical dick tax.

Read Full Article

The idea plays upon a very simplistic understanding of motivation. Basically, it assumes that people act like dicks because no one has told them it's a bad thing. Or perhaps that no one has told them hard enough yet.

In theory, it sounds great. Encourage people to be nice by offering incentives. We try this in schools, too. "If you don't have any detentions or office visits this month, you can go on this field trip!" Or maybe it's a candy bar, whatever. We would think, of course, that something like this is a fairly universal motivator... and, of course, it's not.

Think back to grade school. If yours was similar to mine, your teacher would sometimes have a "spelling bee" in class. It was a way to motivate students to practice their spelling words, because the winner would get a prize(!). In the end, students learned pretty damned quick which handful of students would be the "winners" each time. If you weren't in that group, you were just wasting time. It only motivated the top 10%. The bottom 10%? They'd make fun of everyone else for buying into the system, and they'd get their kicks intentionally screwing up and making everyone laugh.

The markers, candy bar, homework pass, or whatever prize? That wasn't anything that interested them. The attention they got for goofing off? That was far better. And in the end, they could get that attention for far less work, and not lose a thing. And the kids in the middle? It was easier for them to join the bottom 10% than to get into the upper, so that's where they tended to go.

It works the same when the goal is "being nice," rather than spelling. The kids know well enough that they're not going to last the month, and they're not going on that field trip, so they might as well really ham it up. Better the consolation prize (attention for misbehavior) than genuinely trying and failing.

To really change behavior, there are three things you need. You need to know the best motivator to use for each individual. Also, you need to have punishments that have an individual impact. And finally, you need to show them how to do the thing you're trying to motivate.

Valve's problem is that they can only have one of those things: they can provide motivators. And they're only providing a one-size-fits-all motivator, so that's not even working for them. They're not in a position to punish--that'll just lose them customers. And they're not in any position to instruct these people on how to be nice--that requires a lot of time and individualized attention (aka PARENTING) for which there is no shortcut.

Basically, the only way Valve can effectively change the customer culture is to discard customers. Being a dick? Banned. You can't play our games, and we don't get your money. That's the price of the customer culture Valve seems to want to build, and they're not willing to pay it. A utopia doesn't work unless everyone in it agrees on what utopia looks like, and that probably means killing off the handful that don't.

EDIT, because it's a dick move to bash a system without proposing an alternative:

What Valve could do, instead, is just improve each player's ability to control the environment in which he or she plays. Streamlining the banning/blocking process, providing options for age filters, and making it easier and more accessible to add friends and find games with the same group of people each time. In practice, by allowing people to exclude the dicks themselves, those people can feel as though they're living in a dick-free environment. The dicks can go be dicks with the other dicks

Hopefully this idiotic plan will finally kill Steam.

I agree with the point about dicks being emboldened by paying an additional fee. It's the same kind of thing when someone buys a hybrid car and then drives it twice as much because it's 'greener.' Also, I can see griefers abusing the system by pegging other players with negative comments and reviews to make them pay more, based on a personal vendetta.

I like any idea that removes the dicks from online play, I dont play many multiplayer games solely because of the behavior of your average anonymous gamer.

I think a lot of people are looking at this the wrong way, I dont think of it as punishing people who act like dicks, I consider it to be rewarding the people who adhere to a set of guidelines for Valve's gaming community. It's like getting a "Good Customer" discount if you will.

However, I do see a lot of potential for abuse in this program, and if they seriously are considering it they will have to address that.

But let's face it fellow gamers, the gaming environment as it stands can be pretty toxic, if you dont believe me just go sit in the lobby for an Xbox live multiplayer game (Halo 3 is particularly good for this) your ears will bleed.

mcnally86:

matrix3509:

mcnally86:

I'm sorry are you familiar with the internet? Self control is damn near utopian. Also what if a little kid joins your f-bomb server and the dad walks in hearing you guys. He gets mad and the kid says its your fault, now you guys all get a bad points as the dad starts reporting you all. One of your friends is pissed so he gets in a shouting match with the dad. Now the kids account has huge bad points (that his dad got for him) and so does your buddy. Now your buddy wont play that game anymore because he objects to the dick tax and doesn't want to pay more than you guys to play that stupid game.

Geezus we aren't going to get into some damn "what-if" argument are we?...I gotta be honest that sounds like the most desperate grasping for excuses I've heard in a long time. Also, if someone stops playing a game because they are being dicks, and thus are being charged extra, thats called a plus.

Also to the rest of your weak argument, just repeat every argument regarding the ESRB ratings and disclaimers of ever heard to yourself. Problem: Solved.

Also regarding people who game the system, regardless of what you people think, trolls are in the minority in just about every online community (not counting 4chan), and the minority cannot game the system with any appreciable effect. You all seem to think that this system will be entirely without oversight, which is just irresponsibly ignorant.

I take offence to that sir I am very responsibly ignorant. You are being irresponsible with quoting ESRB to me. Children play M games this is fact. If you play online swearing sooner or later a child will join your channel. Given he may swear like a sailor too but parents will sometimes find others to blame.

Lets put it another way. If your dream team dominates another clan too much they will stop playing on your server when too many of you guys log in at once, they don't like the swearing and don't like to lose so much. Gabe's criteria for bad guy is getting people to leave the server. You are now a bad guy. Before this situation would be ok, they could just join a non-swearing server of terrible players. This is not a "what if" this is what we know of the system. If a group of people leave your sever you will have to pay more cash.

Yes, yes, "Child will play M rated games"...blah,blah,blah...sorry, but how exactly is it my responsibility now that shitty parents exist?

Also, you are assuming a lot of details about this system, especially given we know next to nothing about it yet, granted I am using arguments of a similar nature. The difference being I am using the most logical implementations (to my mind) and you are using the most incompetent implementations. I am personally imagining a system with similar oversight to Xbox Live. They system will most likely have a review based scale. With actual reviews of player behavior requiring actual thought besides "Dis guy suxs" or "I liek hiem". Similarly, if a player believes they have been unjustly accused of being a dick, they can call for a neutral (read:moderator) review of said ratings and/or events leading up to said ratings.

Honestly people, Valve isn't Sony, and is nowhere even close to Microsoft level incompetence.

In short, all problems of gaming the system are solved with proper oversight.

matrix3509:
Slice

"Rather than pricing a product based purely on what that product is worth, Newell talks about pricing a product based on what the customer is worth as well. 'Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them,' Newell continued. 'Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave.'" ~Gabe N.

That what I am basing my argument on. There will always be more people who don't want to play with you then there are people who want to play with you.

Edit: Don't bla bla me Mr man. A child playing an M game is your responsibility because his "shitty" parent hates you, it lowers your rating of goodness. How many people do you have to make like you before you are penalized? We do not know if this system will make you be nice to people you don't like but this is what I assume.

Often when I use online servers that rate my conduct, I always end up neutral. People don't think I'm particularly good or bad. I always hover around the 50% mark. I can't help but wonder what Valve's proposal would do for a guy like me.

Also, I can't help but wonder how long it'll be after something like this is implimented, that a congregation of dicks on 4chan will attempt to take down the Steam server.

Russ Pitts:
This should sound familiar to you, and not only if you've read Grodin's book. What Newell is espousing is the evergreen utopian ideal that goes something like this: If only everyone were different, everything would be perfect. It's a nice thought and a particularly insidious one because in spite of being simple to the point of absurdity, it's practically improvable, which to those of "the elephant deterrent is working because you can't see any elephants" school means it is therefore The Truth. Yet no evidence actually exists that this theory is, in fact, truth and for good reason: It isn't. It's just a theory. One that people in ivory towers like to throw around when they see something nasty they don't like.

Alright, this is where I realized that you were off in fantasy land. Let me explain the real world to you:

If I go into a restaurant, and scream obscenities at other patrons, I'm going to be asked to leave and not come back. The police may or may not be called as well. If I go to a theme park, get into the bumper cars, call everyone who hits me a stupid faggot, and then flip off a bunch of kids, I'm not going to be allowed back on the bumper cars. If I go to a movie theater and spend the movie standing on chairs, intentionally blocking people's views, I'm going to be banned.

I'm not going to get 10 warnings first, then put on 2-week probation four times, then finally kicked out for good.

It's only on the internet that this kind of behavior is tolerated to such a degree. What Gabe Newell is planning is still far, far more lenient than you could expect if you behaved like some gamers behave in any other venue.

I'm particularly curious as to how you can see "no evidence" that attaching penalties to behaviors discourages those behaviors. Civilization is built on top of using social and legal penalties to make the population conform to certain behaviors. You can see a massive difference in the way people behave once those institutions break down. There's a book called Freakonomics that has some very interesting statistical data on how the subtleties of incentive systems change people's behavior.

I'd really love to see an experiment on the internet where this kind of blasť acceptance of dick behavior didn't exist, and where you were expected to treat other people like human beings or be tossed out. It would be fascinating to see.

It sounds good in theory, but it would have to be put into action with a lot more depth and thought, rather than a "the dicks pay, the good kiddies don't" approach.

Several people say the games are overpriced already. That's bullshit, unless of course here in Australia we get fancier, cheaper prices cause we are a better country or some shit (or maybe because valve pities us)

It might be a good idea to have a sort of test run. Implement the dick tax but instead of it being cash they have to cough up just give them a negative rating. There was something similar in a game i once played (Wulfram i think its called), where there is a 'kudos' system. It probably works better in that game because of the small amount of players, but all the nice kiddies had a lot of kudos and you knew they were decent people, and if they were in the negative you know they are dickheads and, after they proved that once again they are kicked from the server. Could have a negative/ positive rating system for TF2 and then admins (or whatever hey are called) could control who plays, or it could be a server setting or a server vote that starts automatically because of their rating.

Then depending on the results the actual dick tax could be implemented and, theoretically, the results would be a lot better because money is a handy motivator.

Consider this: all this plan means is that Valve now has a reason to keep around its highest-value douchebags. I can imagine the internal memos, "What? Really? N00bmolestor69 is willing to keep playing at ten times the normal rate for TF2?!?! Well keep him onboard no matter what!" And for his 10x subscription fee, Noobs over there will try to be all the douche he can be. This then becomes the old west scenario where everybody is vying for the top spot as 'most expensive douche on the TF2 servers'.

At the end of the day, we'll have teams of scientists, psychologists, etc. working for the very richest assholes on the internet to design ever-more well-targeted insults, racial epithets and threats of murders of particular family members to destroy the psyches of every peace-loving player on every server on every valve multiplayer game to improve their ranking on 'Valve's most wanted multiplayer account'.

So yeah. Great idea there, Gabe.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. It will not take long for them to realize they would be shooting themselves in the foot by doing this. So it will likely be filed under that category of "Good in theory, garbage in practical application"

Better a Dick Tax than a Dick Permit imho.

as a matter of interest, is it in fact legal to charge people different rates for the exact same product depending simply on their attitude towards others/personality.
With the exception perhaps of an insurance company of course...

Good article.
Gabe's plan (or abstract musings, as they are at this point I hope) sounds horribly horribly flawed.

There's another human factor you forgot to mention Russ:
That a human will be the one deciding who is "good" and who is
"bad." (or at the very least, a human will be the one programming a system to decide that).
A Valve-employed Santa Clause if you will. But instead of some omniscient holiday spirit, they are a flawed human.
I don't trust humans to make decisions that black and white and that sweeping.

It's yet another instance of an attempt to replace the need for judgment with some sort of automatic system that does your judging *for* you. If you don't want to play with dicks, you don't have to. You boot them from your parties and don't join groups that contain the dicks. But that requires some judgment and perhaps occasional episodes of getting burned. (It also requires people who have enough sense to say, huh, one bad experience with multiplayer doesn't mean that the ENTIRE GAME is populated by nothing but dicks.)

I run across this mentality a lot on DDO, as well. People complain constantly about PUGs. Yeah, there are some really lousy players out there who are a pain to deal with, but something like 85% of the PUGS I've been in got the quest done in the end. Some of them were super-fantastic powerhouses of destruction who got me more XP in an hour than I usually get in a day. I usually get more questing done if I PUG than if I just solo. When I'm soloing, I'm inclined to dick around, visit vendors, refresh my long-term buffs more often than is necessary, wander off bored, etc. etc. etc. When there are people waiting on me, I get stuff done.

beema:

I don't trust humans to make decisions that black and white and that sweeping.

Not to mention what happens when one dick who has a lot of dick friends decides to group up and actively down-vote anyone who ever called them out for being a dick. I've seen this happen with rating systems all the time. If there really are *so many* dicks out there being a problem, how is a majority-based system going to have any effect? You'll have nice people getting down-voted because they police their server and kick off the dicks. Turds with an axe to grind rule democracies.

A more organic system works better, where the ratings don't directly rate users, but you can get a historical snapshot of their activity. This is a system which *assists* judgment, it doesn't seek to *replace* it. Instead of, say, just seeing a single number that represents an aggregation of all the up and down votes on a particular player, what if you instead got to see their "kicked" record? What if this cross-referenced with your "favorite servers" list (if you had such a thing, I don't know the current setup, but it would make sense to let you mark everything and anything in the game you like, for future reference). So if you get a new player you don't know wanting to join your server, you can look at their record and see, huh, they've been kicked dozens of times from the servers you like the most. Maybe not worth letting them join.

It takes away their anonymity, and not by releasing their "real identity". Yeah, sure, some people who are determined to be dicks will just go out and make a new identity to erase their history, but this is a much smaller group. Plus, it cuts both ways--they can't get on THEIR favorite servers that way because they're a "fucking noob".

People are more likely to be douches because there are no consequences. Valve would introduce consequence.

Communities online are far smaller than their potential source. A lot of those people are nice. Nice communities (which tend to be more profitable for everyone) have nice people in them. So if you dissuade the bad people from joining them they remain a nice community. What's more, by the definition of the restriction, the bad people joining them negatively affects the worth of the community and thus if you remove them, has a positive effect on the community.

What's more if the bad people pay more and join anyway, the status quo is the same, except that the nice people pay less. As you said "people don't change" so the bad people won't get worse (unless you want to propose that you're reasoning wasn't logically cohesive :D)

I feel your argument is invalid

oldmanscene24:
If you outlaw dicks, then only outlaws will have dicks.

Heh.

I was going to dismiss the article as pretentious waffle, but a valid point was raised about people paying the dick tax being allowed to be dicks.

I'm sure someone else has said this already, but I think this article is looking at the situation from the wrong angle. The article seems to assume that Gabe wants to create some ideal environment where everyone is nice, but if you look at his statement that just isn't the case. I think Gabe would like to implement this system counting on two facts. 1) people who are rude online will not stop being rude despite incentives, and 2) they will continue playing the games despite the increased cost. Gabe stated he's looking to this as a source of revenue.

The real flaw in this plan is not point 1, but point 2. If Valve starts charging more if a player is a dick online, that player is just going to look for a different service that offers the normal, flat rate, and continue being a dick there with no additional charge. I think this article is looking at this from the wrong point of view.

Whew! Seeing the 'Dick Tax' heading made me think it's a new ultra-feminist legislation.

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Will Escapist make me go through extra advertisement for not contributing to this thread?

The article raised good points. People don't change, or if they do change it's for their own reasons.

What disturbs me is that when discussing models for sweeping societal change there are only really two camps represented: those who think people could be better and those who think people will never change because that is their nature. We never hear from the people who think that society would be better if there were no people (yes, I understand there would be no society in such a case).

After all, no one can be a dick if no one is around. And the "good" people can never do enough good to justify their own existence.

IF Valve were to move forward with their plan, then I put forward that they just hand the reins of their new revenue model over to Skynet. Because there's no better deterrent from being a dick than a nuke aimed straight at your house.

Businesses are small tyrannies that we are free to participate in or leave alone. From an economic perspective, I think this is a fascinating experiment. I'm wondering if this will relate to some sort of thumbs-up or thumbs-down tact. The problem with that would be that said dickish people will thumb everyone and everything down in order to get them to pay more. Anyhow, this gets down to a company's desire to make their online presence as attractive as possible with the least possible effort. Particularly investigating individuals is both invasive (which makes the site less attractive) and expensive.

While gaming is certainly not known for it's civility in online interactions, it's actually not as bad as many things on the internet. If you read the comments section on a news article on a website like cbs or cnn, you get a constant stream of complete hatred being spouted. It's almost sickening. It's funny because the directions taken in politics in the US today have so little effect on our lives.

I find the vitriol and cheating associated with certain gaming sites particularly surprising. If you look at how supportive the gaming culture is, it is actually really isolated. I mean, there are whole multiple websites dedicated to letting you freely download user made additions to video games. People put up highly accurate faqs and support pages all the time. In fact, it's really only on a small subset of webpages and internet based communities where I see people acting "dickish".

I guess that's just a stream of random thoughts.

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