Results 21 to 40 of 42
08-11-2011, 10:50 PM #21
08-11-2011, 11:20 PM #22
. . .
You're absolutely right in this case, though.
Best way to deal with that Baroness Greenback character would be to attack her credibility over and over, and to keep throwing mud while we're at it to see what sticks.
We're already halfway there, as her complete lack of scientific method and the fact she's clearly only in it to sell books make her an easy target. Just gotta keep repeating that over and over.
Also, Amazon-Bomb the living f**k out of her book when it's released with articulate, intelligent and fair, one-star reviews. The classics are always the best.
08-11-2011, 11:28 PM #23
09-11-2011, 12:26 AM #24
On a lighter note, I agree with John's support of research into the danger's of gaming. The methods used in making online games more addictive for example (lose something if you don't log on often, small but frequent rewards, etc), can be insidious and downright creepy.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with Gandalf.
09-11-2011, 01:01 AM #25
09-11-2011, 02:06 AM #26
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09-11-2011, 03:21 AM #27
09-11-2011, 10:00 AM #28
09-11-2011, 01:54 PM #29
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Also, we are not the center of the universe, If we ignore her that dosent mean everyone else will.
I say it again, no wrong idea was ever destroyed by people just ignoring it. If no one disagrees with an opinion the people who dont know any better will just assume that its right.
09-11-2011, 02:49 PM #30
09-11-2011, 04:38 PM #31
I wonder if this strawmanning, on both sides, doesn't rather miss the point?
Certain games DO contain hugely violent material that is inappropriate for children. So inappropriate is this material that it is not incorrect to say that children should not play them.
That's not to say that these games will make a child pathologically violent, any more than movies, comic books or that new fangled rock and roll will. We should be insuring that children do not play 18 certificate games for the same reasons that we don't show them Cannibal Holocaust or call them "cunts".
I'm a teacher and I frequently endure eleven year olds, who have discovered that I am a gamer, telling me about their kill streaks and, after MW2 came out, about "this great level where it's really easy to shoot the baddies because they don't have guns". Not that these games shouldn't exist but that age certificates ought to be taken far more seriously.
The problem is that a lot of parents do not appreciate the fact that these games are 18s for a reason. Instead of investigating what the game is and playing it first, they don't because "games are for children, what could possibly be so terrible?". This was certainly the case when I was young and my mother bought me Soldier of Fortune, despite the large red circle on the box cover.
Stemming from this problem is another, far greater one: that more parents than would ever admit to it treat their child's console as a childminder.
These are the issues of the debate, as I see it. It's easy for those who are deliberately ill informed to point at a few ghastly cases of individuals that have done terrible things and have played games, and vilify the medium. It's equally easy for gamers to scorn those who have the audience to be stupid at high volume. What is far harder is to encourage parents to pay attention to their kids, what they're playing and getting them to take games seriously.
Last edited by Tom OBedlam; 09-11-2011 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Typo“Technology is a bad thing, people”
09-11-2011, 06:54 PM #32
So, I ran it, joined their game, kicked their asses with a 30:2 kill ratio using the sniper rifle, and then proceeded to boot them all off, log their accounts, and hash ban on the installer file. Ten minutes later, I walked into the computer lab where they were bewildered about who 'Rott635' was, and told them that clearly they were Xbox gamers because they couldn't aim for shit.
So awed were they that I've never had problems with them since.
09-11-2011, 09:22 PM #33
Yeah, I think you've got some way to go with that.
Also, showing that her research was incorrect is the way to murder her academic reputation.
An interesting aside: I was discussing this with a colleague. She works on biomimetic robots which use a neurotransmitter-like feedback mechanism, and is very interested in neuroscience. (She's also a keen BFBC player who's been eagerly awaiting the release of BF3). Anyway, she had a brief read of the original article, and is of the opinion that it's not totally batty -- as in, the actual science seems to make sense; the problem might not be with the research, but the media interpretation of and spin on the research.
09-11-2011, 10:20 PM #34
Fer chrissakes, have you a single hour of cable news? So many level-headed, accolade-infused experts who speak with the facts on their side are destroyed by spectacle. Facts don't work. This isn't about who's right, this is about who's seen as right.
10-11-2011, 12:06 AM #35
Now we, as gamers, just have to make the rest of the world see that. By fair means or by foul, it matters not.
I - Don't like your tweed, sir!
Will - Teach you the professor's ready!
Not - Let's see who strikes the loudest!
Lose - Put on my fighting trousers!
10-11-2011, 09:35 AM #36
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10-11-2011, 11:56 AM #37
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- Sep 2011
I think that the problem of paying attention to people like Greenfield is far more insidious. It increasingly radicalises those who don't believer that games have the capacity to cause harm, drawing them into the world of the ideologue. I don't think our own John Walker escapes this. Turning to this recent article, he does tackle Greenfield and her point of view perfectly well - barrel, fish, blam, blam. But early on in the article he says something which I found profoundly worrying.
I have said this before, and I will likely say it every time: Neither I, nor RPS, are dismissive nor hostile toward research into the dangers of gaming. In fact, we enthusiastically encourage it, because as gamers, we have a heavily invested interest in being informed about such matters.
If gaming is proven as harmful (which will admittedly come as something of a surprise, what with the ubiquity of gaming and the lack of demonstrated widespread harm)
The effects are likely to differ enormously from game to game. Acknowledging this, it's clear that to make any real headway, we have to produce some kind of taxonomy of games (at least in principle, by having some kind of valid criteria). This is difficult - even for the common distinction of 'violent' and 'non-violent'. If you don't believe me, consider the unending arguments on here and elsewhere about where games fit into the genre taxonomy (and indeed what the genre taxonomy looks like!). Given that difficulty, even if we can bring out that some games do cause harm, we're still going to struggle to type them in such a way that a clear causal process can be suggested.
The effects are likely to differ enormously from person to person. Individual differences - personality - is more than likely to interact very strongly with any kind of 'harmful' process. It seems highly unlikely that any harmful effect is going to be ubiquitous.
Even where a harmful change in cognition has been brought about in a number of people, it's liable to be expressed in a great variety of behaviour from individual to individual with that group. Trivially, we can point to schizophrenia - where we can point to common neurological and cognitive differences - and see that the expression of the disorder varies enormously, from situation to situation, from individual to individual, and arguably from culture to culture.
So. It's going to be difficult to demonstrate any kind of link. We're going to have decide what games to look at. We're going to have examine personality variables; indeed if we're doing to study in the wild, we're liable to faced with issues of direction of causality - do certain types of people prefer violent games, or do violent games nudge (some?!) individuals towards being of a certain type. We're going to have to deal with proximal effects - the environment of gameplay, and the subsequent environments in which we're trying to examine any behavioural changes. We're going to have to tie any observed behavioural changes together by adverting to cognition.
What the sensible psychologist is looking for is very subtle indeed. I'm certain that John knows this. That's why I find that phrase worrying, and even a little upsetting. Because he's set himself up against people like Baroness Greenfield and, yes, her ill-informed rhetoric does need to be tackled publicly - but I fear that's producing a false view of the real, reasonable issue. Even if it's not, it seems to have lead him to say something quite lacking in thought.
I'd add to this that there very much is evidence out there for the capacity of violent media to cause harm. But there's also a decent load of evidence against that. Combined with the points I've made above, I don't think anyone should be surprised at the claim that some games might be 'harmful'. Particularly not someone who recognises the power of games to affect us emotionally and change the way we think about the world.
Sad though this is, I'm still a bit disappointed in John, for reasons relating to an article he wrote in May 2010. Originally the article included this parenthetical claim:
(There is scant evidence, and no direct studies have been performed, that extreme sports can lead to the release of endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrin that may lead to some form of addiction – the notion that gaming releases an equivalent amount of such chemicals as jumping out of an aeroplane seems deeply implausible, but again, there’s no data.)
Which is at best incorrect and at worst misleading. There most certainly is data on dopamine's relationship with gaming, either directly (e.g. Koepp et al. (1998). Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game. Nature, 393, 266-268) or indirectly (e.g Han et al. (2008) Dopamine Genes and Reward Dependence in Adolescents with Excessive Internet Video Game Play. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 1, 133-138). I found these articles with very little difficulty in a very short period of time.
There are good reasons to criticise such studies in themselves (e.g. Koepp et al.'s involved a monetary reward for performance in-game), and the demonstration of the involvement of dopaminergic reward systems certainly isn't ground for decrying gaming as a widespread addictive hazard to global youth; nevertheless, it's a bit off for you to claim that there's no investigation and no data on the issue.
That John didn't find these papers isn't a huge failing by anybody's measure. And giving any kind of useful review to them - although I did pick papers from eminently reputable journals on purpose - isn't trivial. Still, at the time and today I don't think that a deletion in the name of simplicity was the answer - I realise that the journalist writes to an audience, and that a narrative is required, but if the science is complicated then I believe you should admit that. You decry fools like Steve Pope in part precisely by showing that the real work is nuanced and hard.
I didn't talk to him at the time about this, and I should have done.
Some kind of conclusion and why I'm picking on John
I don't want to pick on John, but I feel I have to. There's one reason behind all of that sentence - I think John Walker is a good man and a good journalist. He writes well and, it seems to me, almost without exception with utter integrity. I think that he's genuinely concerned with the truth, even though he has a great attachment to gaming and letting kids game. I know I'm being a bit over-sensitive, but I feel a little like he needs to step back a bit from the abyss of ignorance occupied by those like Greenfield and Pope. We shouldn't have to lose him to this shouty nonsense.
There's a secondary issue for me as well, and that's freedom of expression. Personally, I worry that a defence of gaming predicated on the basis that it doesn't cause harm is a troublesome one. Practically, it might one day come to bite us in the ass; arguably it is already doing so, in places like Germany and Australia, although these are fairly untroubling in themselves.
I don't think we should ignore the "Baroness Greenfield"s. When they put themselves out there, it does need to be made clear that they're not arguing from an evidential basis but instead from their own speculation and biases. What I would like to see happen is a shift in the basis of the 'pro-gaming' argument and perhaps an acknowledgement that the data is certainly not conclusive either way (and the conclusion being reached for isn't that clear either!), but that this isn't the core of the issue of distribution. But, I appreciate that's an argument from my own commitments to freedom of expression. There are plenty who'd disagree with me for that alone.
Last edited by Zetetic; 10-11-2011 at 12:04 PM.
10-11-2011, 12:10 PM #38
10-11-2011, 08:02 PM #39
10-11-2011, 08:19 PM #40
@Zetetic - I don't blame John for stepping back from it. I hadn't realised the subject was that dense, so your point about "if the science is complicated then I believe you should admit that" is an important one.
But what's the best way - given the complexity - to make that clear? It's no good asking John to catch up with the research. Nor is it any good that he just says "Actually I'm quite ignorant about this topic" (because that could easily be misread as "I am more ignorant than Baroness Greenfield on this topic").