Information Theory, Part 1

Monday, February 8, 2010

Disclaimer: Svenn lifted this from the comments section of a recent post on The Greedy Goblin. It was posted anonymously, so credit goes to anon. Whomever you are, thanks for the fodder!

While the post itself was just another weekly instalment of a feature called "Mean Guys of the Week", the comment section held some pearls of wisdom. (Most of the comments had to deal with someone trying to help out a DK with Spell Power gems socketed.) I highlighted the some of the parts that stuck out to me as relevant for performance enhancement regardless of venue, that is to say with application to any endeavor, WoW related or not.

A person either wants to learn or doesn't want to learn.There is no such thing as 'wants to learn but doesn't want to learn if bad words are used'. That's not an excuse, that's idiocy.
I'd rather be in a group with 4 other elitist jerks that know how to play, or at least aren't afraid to learn when help is given, than 4 friendly nice pplz who behave like they're level 15 in Deadmines and go ballistic when you even closely suggest that anything they do is suboptimal.

You know why elitist jerks are so competent at the game? It's because they have thick skin, are not afraid to ask for advice, and when advice is given they are willing to get to the heart of the issue instead of tiptoe around it, despite it being put in less than pleasant terms.

No one wants to hear: "Bloody noob, don't stay in the flame patch." A good player will recognize that he is a noob and will not sit in the flame patch. A bad player will go "WAH ELITIST BASTARD" and ignore the advice.

Thus, from this point of view it's better to be an 'eternal noob' and recognize your predilection to failure....

Also, I fail to see where helpful=nice equivalency comes from.

In information theory, information is defined as a quantity that reduces entropy of a system when introduced in that system.

Helpful=informative. (carries information that helps reduce entropy).

Nice or mean = non-informative. (I can talk in a nice way and beat around the bush all day without adding a single byte of information in the system: See: politicians, lawyers.)

Thus nice (or mean for that matter) is neither necessarily nor sufficiently equivalent to informative.

While I don't necessarily agree 100% with the whole rant, it was a pretty good start to unpacking learning systems in an MMO context. Tomorrow, Svenn will dig further into how to affect skill progression positively, while avoiding negative effects socially (ie. how to help people be better versions of themselves without coming off as a total jerk).


One response to “Information Theory, Part 1”
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Inno said...

I've found that if I mention myself as having failed at something so that people won't have their feelings hurt they seem to ignore the situation since it doesn't pertain to them. They probably just think "look at that noob Inno and the mistakes he's making", when they should analyze the situation and think "I will pay attention and avoid that situation so I'm not a noob like Inno". Tell them what they're doing wrong, let them get over their hurt feelings and then after they evaluate themselves hopefully they'll be better for it.

...But NEVER EVER EVER tell me that I've done something wrong. I will ragequit so fast and go play EQ2 because when it's all said and done you can't improve on perfection.

February 8, 2010 at 3:57 PM

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