Greedy Goblin

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Harming others for "being fair"

Tamarind wrote an interesting post about 5 minutes vs principles. I would not address pointless arguments over "what to do with racists" (/ignore) or "is the 1000 DPS guy is ungeared or just a lazy idiot?" (I am in full blue gear doing 2.2K unbuffed).

But his final "problem" cries for goblinish reply. He refused to rez someone because "he was lazy not running in". He was kicked of course and was outraged over it.

Before someone gets me wrong I'm not protecting AFK-ink during group play or not accepting res because of AFK. The "everyone runs in" is often a policy used to prevent people going AFK and causing 5 extra mins lost until everyone accepts rez. I'm talking about the thing literally: people don't run in but do something else (maybe analyzing the wipe cause, maybe doing something AFK but getting back in time).

If I'm the only rez-capable, I have to run anyway. Others are running or not does not make my run shorter or less annoying. However social people have the belief that making others suffer just to be fair is good, even if no one wins. If I get influenza, let's infect everyone else too!

I gladly rez them. It's better for me if they chilled a little, maybe discussed who messed it up, than make them run, be more annoyed and mess it up again. This is another example when being "fair" cause nothing but harm without any gain to anyone.

This ape-subroutine is called "Inequity aversion", and it's literally an ape-subroutine as it is observed among monkeys. The typical test of it is the following: there are two test persons (actually it's enough if the second is the test person, the first can be researcher in disguise). The researcher put money to the table and the first guy splits it among himself and the second. The second person cannot affect the split but can reject the deal. This case the researcher takes all the money back. Most experiments show that people use to reject "unfair" splits (typically below 25%). Let's think again: they reject the gift of the researcher just to prevent the first person from getting a larger gift.

Like all ape-subroutines, it was useful once upon a time. People (and apes) lived in small groups, in both cooperation and competition with each other. Inequity aversion is obviously good in a 1v1 situation, imagine that in a PvP duel you get a small buff and your opponent a big one. You are definitely better off without the buffs.

However as the group size increases, the inequity aversion becomes more and more harmful. I mean if you are in a free for all PvP with X and Y and you reject a change that would give X 3 units of power and you 1, you gained 2 relative power to X and -1 relative power to Y. If there are n competitors, you gain 2 relative power to X and -1*(n-1) relative power "to the others".

We are in a near-infinite sized group. Inequity aversion absolutely make you no good. You can start getting rid of it by rezzing people in instances. Or, by not screwing up on glyph monopolists if you are not a camper yourself. I have one in my server. He buys out some glyphs and relists at 40G. I could easily destroy his business by listing 100 glyphs for 12-13G. But why? He buys out my 6-8 glyphs for market price (18-20g). He get better gains than me, but I still get parts from his work. If I'd destroy his monopoly, the prices would be 8-10G.

Always look at your gain, and don't envy the greater gain of others! As long as you get more than the average of the group, the deal is fine!


Daniel said...

i agree with you here - watch your gain. Now running as a healer is annoying. Lets cut the social crap - it wastes time - that is the problem. Ressing 4 ppl + buffing + toping them + drinking mana is about 2 minutes. Now I am more then willing to sacrifice a few minutes of everyone else time to save few of mine. So if we wipe on Devourer in FoS when we fly back and all run by the time we get to it - we are all buffed, healed and healer mana is toped. We just go and nuke.

Yeah I see your horror of how it is able to wipe in FoS - but it happens sometimes. Because of idiot overgeared DPS.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit I've fallen for this ape-subroutine many a time. Eventually I came to realize exactly what you said here: you're only wasting your own time by not resurrecting them. Now when I'm in a group, I look at it this way: if the wipe was a result of a terrible group, then leave. Problem solved (and the person didn't get a rez either). If the wipe was due to a mistake or something that won't likely happen again, just rez the person, finish the dungeon, and throw them on your ignore list if you don't like people who don't run back.

I know some people would criticize me for suggesting that you just leave bad groups, but I've learned from experience. I used to be the knuckle-dragging social that Gevlon describes in his posts. Countless PuGs later, I've lost faith in the common WoW player. My new perspective is that I put at least some amount of effort into improving my character and playstyle, why should I just let it slide that I'm grouped with a hunter in half greens, half blues with no enchants, pulling less than 1K DPS?

If you accept that time generally means money, then you could say these sub-par players are causing you to lose money by wasting your time. Yes, everyone has to start somewhere, but are heroics/raids really the place to be forgiving?

ZacharyPruckowski said...

The thing that bugs me about "too lazy to run back" is that I'm going to have to blow half my mana rezzing and then healing the newly-rezzed, and then I have to sit and drink my mana back.

There's also a Prisoner's Dilemma aspect to it. If the one guy refusing to run back costs everyone 30 seconds, then that increases the incentive to refuse to runback (since not only do you save yourself the runback, but you avoid much of the cost of waiting to rez the lazy). So you reach a point where the incentive to demand a rez is higher if someone else also demands one. And at that point, the group really is down to a 5-minute wipe-recovery. So it's crucial to nip that in the bud.

I also don't buy that running back and checking recount for why you wiped are mutually exclusive. I do both all the time.

But what really bugs me aren't the people who are just too lazy to run back. It's the people who are too lazy to run back, but yell at me to hurry up and rez them faster. I'm drinking to get my mana back, I don't need 4 raid warnings of "Plz rez kthx" or "hurry up and rez".

Anonymous said...

Sometimes there is no gain if you rez. Some people ask for a rez, and then go afk for unknown reasons. So I waste mana on a spell to speed things up, and then I have to wait for them anyway. No gain for me, so I prefer to let them walk to ensure they are not afk.

If everybody walks, it will also always be faster then rezzing them one by one because they will start with higher health, will regen health and mana while walking, and will be resurrected all at the around the same time, while if I rez them the time difference between the first and the latest who get rezzed will slow the group more down. So the gain is simply speed if everybody walks.

Samus said...

While I don't completely disagree with you here Gevlon, you should watch this video by Steven Pinker on the virtues of acting irrationally:

Basically, acting rationally is not always the best decision. Let's say someone bigger than you tells you he will beat you up unless you give him your lunch money (and take the money anyway). Rationally, losing your money and NOT getting beat up is better than losing your money and getting beat up. However, if he knows this, he will take your lunch money every day. Knowing you will irrationally fight him is what makes taking your lunch money too risky for him (he will probably win, but he might get hurt).

Applied to WoW, if you were the healer and someone was doing something stupid, you could say "if you do that I'm not going to heal you." Not healing him will result in a wipe, so it's a bad thing to do. But if he knows you will heal him anyway, he will keep doing the stupid thing.

Miss Medicina said...

Actually, my problem with rezzing people is usually because it is precisely a waste of time.

They could have efficiently used that time while the rest of us were running back to our bodies to run back themselves. If it is in any way apparent that they are doing anything remotely productive for the group or something that will save time later while I run (such as analyzing what went wrong, offering tips, running to the bathroom) then I have no problem rezzing them.

Otherwise, it means I'm rezzing people, then having to pause again to mana up, then rezzing, manaing up, then buffing, manaing up, so on and so forth. Whenever this is NOT the case or an issue, I certainly have no problem rezzing folks.

Of course, I cannot speak for Tam, but I suspect that for many of us, it is the same way. If the person who expects a rez is obviously doing something productive with that time, most will not have a problem with it.

Jaresh said...

I have absolutely no problem ressing in a 10 & 25 man since I know the time I save will be well used by raid leaders discussing what went wrong during that time. However when doing 5-mans and heroics I would ask everyone to run back since the problem is easier to solve (don't stand in the fire!)

Hirvox said...

The book Sway points out that the definition of fairness is cultural (and thus modifiable). That same test was performed on people from different cultural backgrounds, and some accepted even 15-85 splits, while some balked at anything but 50-50.

Curiously enough, the people most likely to propose (and accept) a 15-85 deal were Peruvian villagers, who rarely interacted with each other. Thus, the norm was getting nothing from your neighbor and anything more was a definite bonus.

Conversely, the people most averse to "unfair" deals were people from Post-Soviet Russia. Out of necessity, they had gotten used to sharing everyday items, and saw the double standards of Party officials and later oligarchs firsthand. In their (somewhat justified) view, anyone getting richer than others by orders of magnitude had to have done something illegal. Curiously enough, this phenomenon also applied to situations where they would get nothing, like assisting a contestant in Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. The audience is getting no prize money no matter what they answer, and Russian audiences were very frequently giving the wrong answer out of spite, especially when the question was seen as easy and thus the contestant was seen as unworthy of receiving the prize money.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it was only a matter of time before you would come up with the split experiment on your blog.

However, I don't feel the ressing case fits the bill here. If the healer has to run in and ress all the others he certainly isn't getting better than average gains. Au contraire, he is getting the worst of the deals. So many times I have had to deal with people calling out "ress me" minutes before I even reach my own corpse. And as soon as they're up, they're calling for heals and buffs and then when I can finally sit down to regain my wasted mana, they pull the next trash pack and call out "wtf healer wake up!".

OK, usually this doesn't happen, because most "socials" know its accepted behaviour to corpse run after a wipe, but I think that strategy is in everyone's best interest and has little to do with fairness.

Anonymous said...

In a corpserun, as soon as you enter the instance running back to where you wiped, you start regenerrating mana and heatlh. Also buffing and healing can be done while running. So if the entire group runs, and you get to the spot where you wiped you're ready to go. It takes the exact same amount of time as if only the healer was running.
Or not?
When the healer gets to his dead party, they are not ready to go. So he resses them. Needs to drink. Heals them. Needs to drink again. Then they buff. Everyone needs to drink now and only then they are ready to go.

Not running is wasting MY time. I'll put my foot down to enforce chance in behaviour of other players. Luckily most other people agree with me.

Anonymous said...

I find the split experiment a flawed one.

Let's take the situation where the experiment isn't done once but a lot of times in a row.

In an isolated case I would take my 25% and never look back.

If it involved a lot of consecutive splits, by not accepting that 25% I would also hurt the splitter who got 75% and now got nothing. Forcing a better deal. Because for the splitter 50% is better then nothing.

In this case, not accepting the split at first is my way of trying to enforce the splitter to split better. And the perfect goblin thing to do because it would yield bigger returns in the end.

Nils said...

You have to differentiate between repeating games and non-repeating games.

If a game never repeats you should act 'rational' the way it is usually understood.

If it repeats the seemingly rational strategy can turn out to be disadvantageous and therefore the true rational one. It's never called rational, though, to limit confusion.

If you go to a dungeon once with a group it doesn't make sense to not rez everybody.

If you go with the same group more often it can prove useful to bluff. Since you demonstrated once that you are willing to accept your own disadvantage, people might believe you and stop maximizing their benefit by minimizing yours. Thus they'd start running to the corps.

This is indeed an ape subroutine. Therefore it applies even to people you have never seen before and those you'll never see again.

Humans know human nature:
If you are in a random group, that is in a non-repeating game, and you wonder whether to run back to your corpse you need to consider that the healer doesn't rez you although that's a completely irrational way of acting.
The healer profits from your knowledge of human nature and the fact that some people indeed act irrational.

Thus allowing you to always act rationally without suffering the consequences.

If you are unable to act rational, because you are such a hothead, and your enemy knows it, it can turn out to be an advantage. The only effective bluff in the long run is the bluff that isn't actually a bluff.

That's why this ape subroutine evolved and why it sometimes is extremely useful - even today.

Gevlon said...

@Last anonymous: this assumes that the same split happens with the same person again and again. However in the modern world, you interact with lot of people randomly. A WoW PuG is an extreme example, where it's almost guaranteed that you'll never ever see the same guy again.

@Those who mention healer mana and regen running back: there is a gain here without doubt. What you miss is that the "rez me plz" guys can simply refuse to run. If he does that you must either rez him (this case the running time of the 3 others is wasted) or you have to kick him, waiting for a new guy queued in, accept the instance (he has like 30 secs to hesitate), appear in the instance entrance, and run to you.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Reminds me of the old joke. God came down to earth, and visited farmers in three countries, say America, Germany, Russia. (First two do not matter.) Gives each farmer a deal: I will grant you any wish, but the only condition, is that your neighbor will have twice as much.

The first two farmers wished for reasonable things like farm equipment and more livestock, and were unperturbed by the fact that their neighbor recieved even more bounty.

The Russian farmer, on the other hand, asks God to pluck out one of his eyes.

Daniel said...

That is why you initiate the kick the moment you see he is not ressed. If he is DPS he will be replaced while you get to the entrance of the instance.

I am the guy with the 7k+ DPS Tam is talking about. What is the matter with preferring competent to nice players?

Anonymous said...


If a player refuses to run, the healer also has the option to refuse to ress. Both players will be acting irrationally then, but as far as I see it, it's not like one has an advantage over the other to enforce his way.

Terra said...

Very true... I've actually stated many times ingame that I want a way to turn off auto-disenchant in pugs. Sure, them getting mats instead of vendor cost means relatively little to me... so why do I do it? Spite. Why should I be the only one who has to offer up my services to the group, every single time I pug? Why do they get free reign over any and all gathering nodes in the dungeons?

Maybe I'd like a Frost Lotus every once in a while. I give you Greater Cosmics, I don't think it's too much to There I go again.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you in principal, but the fact that one or more people does not run back is because the "expect" you to rez them - this is compounded if there are respawns and the healer could really use some help getting back. You know as a tree thorns probably won't impress many mobs. If common courtesy is Social then why isn't it used more often.

Anonymous said...

If the guy refuses to walk back he won't get a rez.
While this seems to be a loss of time for getting another member, it's not. The content I do at the moment(heroic 5 mans) is a joke. I know that there are not 3 dps needed to get the job done so he's fine to just watch at his screen waiting for a rez while we move on.

He'll miss loot and reputation. He'll either walk shortly after he realises he's not getting a rez, or he quits. No time lost, as we were already moving on.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon you are part of the "Healer Union", we have seen your Tree. Why would you support such an obviously lazy statement?

The Holy Trinity states - Tank, Healer and Dps - this does not necessarily mean “3” Dps. You run or you will be left behind because as long as I have my Tank you can go flip yourself.

There is roughly a 60% chance that the problem was caused by a Dps in the first place. Since we have now established that it is a Dps issue and I would like to throw in that it is also roughly at 70 percent chance that the Dps that refuses to run also caused the wipe. What is the big debate here?

Get your running shoes on Baby because I'm not rezzing your lazy butt.

Anonymous said...

Wow I always wondered how you made so much easy gold, but if you have a monopolist buying up all of your glyphs then you might as well be making a straight up guaranteed profit on every glyph, it's like you can vendor glyphs for 20-30g, but only a set amount at a time.

Anonymous said...

@last anom
if a wipe was caused by just one person, the odds ARE 60%.
and assuming nobody but the healer can rez, the chances that a dps isn't running IS 75%.

Gevlon talks about morals being useless. In this case feeling morally obligated to teach someone a lesson for not rezzing costs the rezzer (you) time arguing or finding a new person. There is no rational reason for not rezing someone in a random group situation. The only choices are 1)kick 2)leave 3)rez. Anything else is less efficient and thus harmful.

The most efficient use of time is rezzing that person, period.

Monsieur said...

Stupid theory this time, Gevlon. What would be a "gain" on the subject of people not running, is stating they wont get ressed if they don't run, and them learning this simple rule. To teach people this, you need to enforce it. As someone else said, all running is more efficient.

Now, what you obviously fail to understand is the concept of taking 5 mins of your time to spead the idea of healers not accepting to ress lazy players. No, there is no gain there and then, but hopefully if enough healers act this way people will remember, and run instead of laying there. Only thinking 5 mins ahead is stupid and will often hurt you more in the long run.

Aside from that, WoW is just a game and doesn't matter. Just as taking a piss at the dude still laying dead on the floor doesn't matter, but it feels good to vent if someones pissing you off.

Ball said...

The most efficient use of time is rezzing that person, period.

Unless you expect that you may wipe again before the end of the group, in which case the time lost making them run this time can be made up by the time saved by them immediately running on the next wipe(s)

Of course a stern "only this time" type warning could work as well, and lowers the initial risk.

Okrane S. said...

Great way of not seeing the forest from the trees...

As usual the posters here, argue, bash, debate the example illustrating the idea, instead of looking at the conclusion.

I believe the part that nails the problem in its head is: "As long as you get more than the average of the group"

This seems blurry to me. First of all which group are we talking about?

Now, if we are talking economics theory, we get back to the utility functions I like. In the dictator/ultimatum game, it is clear that any sum gained is better than zero. In this case the ape-subroutine is placing utility in, not necessarily hurting the other guy, but more likely teaching him a lesson. The pleasure of self-sacrifice for a point made offsets the gain whenever the gain is small enough.

This comes as obvious like: "feelings are bad for business yo"

However, building up upon this in a more complex game where a member of the group has an influence on your revenue and you have an influence on his, "envying" the gain of others could be the good thing to do. As in, actively increasing your utility damaging the utility of the other will work, as long as the utility of the other is still positive, leading thus to market equilibrium.

To illustrate this, in your monopolist example,you don't flood the market with glyphs as this will drive your monopolist away, but knowing that he is there you can post a little more glyphs to see if he is ok with buying out even more, thus increasing your profit and decreasing his.

The best strategy here should be: finding out how much harm/pain can those around me take before they start hurting me more.

Nielas said...

Inequality aversion does not fully work here because the healer must do extra actions to rez the slacker. The question is one of the extra costs this creates for the healer and whether they are small enough compares to the goal that he/she wants to reach.

Applying this problem to a raid situation:

You bring a couple stacks of flasks to a raid and find out that noone else has brought any. It turns out they have the gold to buy them and even have the skills and mats to make them but they simply prefer if you give them some of yours. They also refuse to continue the raid until you give them the flasks.

At this point it becomes a question of how much you are intent on finishing the raid and how much you are willing to give in to blackmail in order to continue.

There is also a short term vs long term risk assesment. You risk a short term loss for a potential long term gain of not beeing leeched from by the playerbase. It is a risk because your 'sacrifice' here might not actually change anything if others do not follow it.

Inequality aversion also plays a role here since refusing to rez the slacker might result in the slacker not pulling the same stunt again in the future but it will benefit some stranger and not you. Since it seems unfair that some stranger should get a big benifit from something you do, you refuse to act since it might penalize you.

sam said...

wow as a person who usually plays a healer it amazes me that people are so stuck in their "Ape subroutine" of wanting everyone to "suffer as they have to suffer" that they justify a waste of time and the inevitible friction that being an unreasonable idiot causes them as teaching the "stupid dps".

It's simply faster to rezz and not worth the effort. If they can learn they learn if they can't they won't and nothing you do or don't do as the resser will fix that.

It's simply innefficient to even care if they are getting over or being lazy.

And the sad thing is you keep justifying your emotional responses as if they are rational ones.

Just rezz the people and move on.

sam said...

Unless you expect that you may wipe again before the end of the group, in which case the time lost making them run this time can be made up by the time saved by them immediately running on the next wipe(s)

then you must determine if you'll get far enouogh fast enough to be worth kicking person and finding new group. If not kick or find new group. If yes then rezz deal with it and continue.

Its simple. gevlon is right. You leave the group or you just rezz and move on efficiently. Why waste effort even caring if they learned a lesson or are lazy.

they either help you or not. nothing else matters.

Nielas said...

I think one of the main reason why I read this blog is because Gevlon keeps suprising me everytime I have him figured out.

I never thought I would acutally see Gevlon support a 'bailout' of a slacker who is not pulling his own weight in a group situation. I guess supporting 'welfare leeches' is actually perfectly fine as long you have the hope of putting the negative effects on others.

Bristal said...

A struggle for control. Kinda like between a toddler and mother in a grocery store. "I want that toy, now!"

It takes 2 to create a struggle. Someone wants something, someone in a position of power over that want refuses or wants to make conditions.

It costs society lots of money & time to patrol the highways to make sure people are obeying fairly arbitrary speed limit laws.

Wouldn't it be easier and more efficient to just let people who want to speed, speed? Hey, they're in a hurry, after all. Isn't life just about getting there on time?

Societies and individuals have to set boundaries, sometimes mildly arbitrary, to create order. Is that an ape sub-routine?

I applaud the healer for setting a clear boundary, communicating it, and sticking with it.

Wish there were more parents/bosses/people like that out there.

Jacko said...

I'm with Samus and Miss Med on this one. I will rez a non-runner either way but I will publicly berate him/her if I sense there was not a legit reason for not running back. It could also be said that kicking this person and waiting for a new one will save time in the long run if there are multiple wipes due to this person's idiocy. I prefer to kick them because of their disrespect to the group and would not want to reward the behavior.

Great topic/rebuttal! Righteous Orbs is blocked at my work under the topic of "sex", if they only knew...I am looking forward to reading it when I get home. Thanks, Gevlon.

Kerschdje said...

There were times when I actually yelled at my mates for running in rather then let me rezz them. That was when we were attempting Vezax hard mode back in Ulduar.
As a Night Elf priest, I always tried to fade+shadowmeld when we wiped as to survive and rezz the others, saving us the time it took to run down to Vezax again.
The way down there is a pain in the ass - far longer then to any other boss in Ulduar. Sometimes it felt like we spent more time running them trying.
I couldn't get them to do it. They were too much condidtioned to run in after a wipe.

Catsevii said...

He was not "outraged", he was simply blogging on the subject.

Its not always "Time" to measure if something is worth doing.

If he ressed him he may well of had a awful feeling he just "carried a slacker" and therefore lost out.

In this case he was willing to give up a little time, even knowing he may get kicked, to feel good about not letting someone expect to be ressed.

Therefore his gain could of been higher than his loss, and your whole objection to his post is flawed.

As I said, you assume Time is his only measurement to decide whether or not its worth doing, and you assume that incorrectly.

Anonymous said...

I never rez on a wipe unless is my fault. If I have to run everyone must do the same. I'll rez some stupid DPS that cannot get away from whirlwind or other AoE damage.

There is a saying: If the tank dies its healer's fault, if healer dies its tank's fault and if dps die is their own bloody fault.

Sinespe said...

@Gevlon: Completely agreed.

@Miss Medicina: I think the point you are missing is that you are looking at what the non-releasing player "could" have done, and using that as a means to claiming that the time was wasted by them. Whether that is true or not, the act of not ressing wastes more time.

If they don't run, regardless of whether it was for a good reason or not, you're going to have to res them -- as soon as you reach their corpse, it becomes quicker for you to res them than for them to run in, unless they die on the first pull of DTK. You can complain about it, and be unhappy about it, but if you refuse to res them then you are now the one wasting time. As soon as you're in resurrect range, the responsibility for wasting or not wasting time shifts from being theirs to yours, because at that point you immediately become a 10-second alternative to a 60-to-180-second corpse run.

Whatever happened before you got into res range is completely irrelevant to whether ressing them is a smart move. They can happily accept or deny that they wasted (note the past tense) time as they like -- the fact of the matter is that you become the time-waster by delaying the group even more; i.e., it's hypocritical.

Besides which, you're not going to be the first healer they've pissed off by not corpse-running -- How are you going to convince them to change their ways when the healer before you (and the one before them, and before them, ad infinitum) couldn't?

If you're in a PuG, you're never going to see the person again: They care as much about you as you do about them. Hell, even if someone in your regular raid group refuses to run, you still can't claim they're wasting time. After a wipe, re-buffing has to be done, and people release at different times. If you're the first one on the scene, it's going to be quicker for you to res the person while everyone else arrives, since you can't rebuff until everyone's present.