Monday, November 12, 2012

Meritocracy vs elitism

Many alliances are clearly elitist. They claim that they only take the best, that "pets don't talk back", that they are "pure PvP" and so on. Many commenters are surprised that I did not join such place, but to TEST who are "noobs". I've always preached against morons and slackers, I should be with the best, not with "n00bs".

To their surprise the TEST lead HBC (and the similarly "n00b" Goons) are winning against the "elite". This is indeed where meritocracy and elitism separate. Meritocracy is valuing the results. If you do better, you deserve rewards, if you fail, you deserve no help. Winning is winning. If TEST is doing better than -A- then TEST is better than -A-.

"But TEST blobs" say the elitists, claiming that an -A- pilot is better than a TEST pilot and would win 1v1 but TEST just has more. This is a non-answer. Nothing stops -A- to recruit more pilots. Even if they are the best of the best, the top 2%, then by accepting the top 5% they could get enough pilots and still remain the elite. Why don't they do that?

Because elitism isn't what its name says. Elitism is not collecting the best performing people. Elitism is collecting a bunch of guys who has some "proof" to be the best without actually performing. For example 60M skillpoints that anyone can have if he AFKs enough. Or "great killboard" that is also grindable: you keep running from opponents who shoot back and keep hunting miners/ratters. Alternatively people who did perform once. I did get 50B in a month. However it doesn't mean that I can repeat it in a changing business environment, as my income fell to 36B/month due to FW. But even more importantly I couldn't get a single ISK without making effort. Having me sitting in a station blabbing about the good old times when I made 50B would create much less income to your alliance than having an active veldspar miner. Times change, what was once great can be lame today. Measurement systems can be inaccurate or trickable (like killboards).

Meritocracy is seeking optimal ways. Elitism is believing that you have the optimal way just because you are great. You are not great, even if you do great things. My income is repeatable by anyone who follows my blog, it's the way that is great, not the guy walking it. Elitism, even if starts from meritocracy, even if it was created by the best performers once upon a time, will unavoidably leads to a bunch of non-performing jerks preaching how awesome they are. When their awesomeness is put to the test, their 2 years obsolete RRBS fleet is obliterated by a drunken-roaming, newbie-friendly fun-alliance.

Since both elitists and performers claim to value performance, it's not trivial how can you tell one from other. Some signs to separate the two:
  • Hard to get in, easy to stay in: typical elitist sign. In a meritocracy everyone must perform, not just newcomers. If you fall behind, you are fired. In an elitist bunch, once you are in, you are in forever and can only be kicked if you make some scandal.
  • Open recruitment: a meritocracy is always open to new performers. There is a high bar, but if you pass it, you are in. Elitists can be "full", meaning they don't want more internal competition that might make the old members look bad.
  • Objective recruitment: the things you have to do to earn your place in a meritocracy are measured and objective. If you need referals or your performance is judged by people and not numbers, it's an elitist bunch.
  • "You don't understand...": objective performance is objective. Faster, larger, cheaper, stronger, whatever. You don't have to be good to see that it's good. I suck in basketball and still can see which team is better: the one that wins. If you need to have "taste" or have to know "internal stuff" to "understand" what is great and what is bad, it's an elitist crap.
  • "Experience", seniority: since the performance itself is measurable, it should be measured itself. Any reference to the performer is actually an ad hominem attack. Also, experience and seniority is unmeasurable, so perfect hiding place for elitists.

PS: yes, it's an augmented repost of an old post. The changes deserve it, I believe it's an important topic.

Also, I mentioned NC. in the post as example of elitism. They recently joined a coalition that has non-elitist goals. I wish them luck, but it's a long way from "mate" to "Respect the Alliances in the Coalition". I hope they make it. But I wouldn't bet money on it.

Saturday morning report: 166.6B (8.6 spent on main accounts, 7.1 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.8 on Ragnarok, 5.3 on Rorqual, 3.4 on Nyx, 3.4 on Dread, 37.4+20 sent as gift)
Sunday morning report: 168.0B (8.6 spent on main accounts, 7.1 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.8 on Ragnarok, 5.3+0.1 on Rorqual, 3.4 on Nyx, 3.4 on Dread, 37.4+20 sent as gift)
Monday morning report: 169.0B (8.6 spent on main accounts, 7.1 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.8 on Ragnarok, 5.3+0.1 on Rorqual, 3.4 on Nyx, 3.4 on Dread, 37.4+20 sent as gift)


Anonymous said...

By my count PL checks at least 3 of your 5 checkboxes for elitist organizations:

(4) They generally do value objective performance (and have the resources to choose the best tool for each job)

(3), (2) but their recruitment is hardly based around objective criteria and mostly closed to people who are not friends with existing members (expect to spend at least a year in waffles if you want to get into SNIGG based on your performance alone, expect to spend at least 6 months in waffles if you want to join SNIGG or another PL corp based on your performance and your considerable ability to kiss a**, expect to spend 4-12 weeks in waffles if you have a PL vouch but are so bad at EVE that nobody can pretend to ignore the glaring mistakes in your application),

(1) PL's low rate of activity is legendary (interestingly enough it's especially the people who worked really hard to get into PL who go inactive after the first month in the alliance),

(5) and while PL does a decent job at listening to reason over seniority when it comes to purely factual discussions, their social structure resembles fraternity life (more recent or less connected members are considered fair game for hazing by senior members).

I wonder how you justify flying under such leadership.

Gevlon said...

Since when PL declared themselves the "king of EVE"?

To be elitist you need to declare/believe that you are better than the rest.

Being closed and friend-based is true for all social groups. The guys who play bowling together and let no one else in are not elitists, just a bunch of friends.

Debra Tao said...

You cannot easily recruit 5% of EVE or any large amount of pilots... Test and Goons aren't really the "best" at recruiting, they are using an out-of-game community to recruit many pilots so it's not really an in-game skill. Now it's easier for HBC and CFC to recruit of course as they are the most vocal community, for each pilot in NC. or N3 that says it's a new pilot friendly coallition there will be 10 pilots of HBC or CFC to argue about how "elite" NC. is. Like you.

mxatone said...

Reading it, it felt similar (until I read it was reposted/updated). It would be great if you come back on more game driven post like on the implant market.

It is an important topic that you already raised. The elitist won't get it because they won't listen to you. The people used to rely more on talent than status will get it and approve most of it.

If you go beyond the point that this blog is just about sharing your EvE experience and opinion. I think it would be better to demonstrate your point with clear examples.

Did NC refused to use certain fits or tactics (beyond blobs) because it was too easy?

Your experience in trading can also highlights other examples. The approach taken on developing a market. The benefit of seeing the game with an open-mind.

Why morons and slackers are more likely to become elitist? (that one is easy).

Anonymous said...

Replying to the Anonymous at the top of the thread.

Hi friend. Waffle here. Your complete lack of understanding of PL is pretty hilarious. Please continue to post your analysis of the Legion. Don't leave out any details your insight is important and your voice is incredibly, uniquely special.

Now that that's done:

'Open recruitment: a meritocracy is always open to new performers. There is a high bar, but if you pass it, you are in. Elitists can be "full", meaning they don't want more internal competition that might make the old members look bad.'

This is actually kind of misleading/ignoring another factor. Like it or not, most MMO groups are teams and communities, so you have to take into account the cost of talking to the new recruit, teaching him/her how you do things, finding out if he/she is actually mature and actually good, working them into the ops and dealing with their needs etc. Additionally, the new recruit could turn out to b a spy.

You recruit what you need for your corp to accomplish its goals. If your goal is to PvP, you recruit PvPers who won't mind moving to another region for better fights or spending time setting up blackops jump points so they can get kills. If your goal is industry, you recruit dudes that will help defend space to mine/rat/build supers/whatever and get guys are interested in the individual roles along the production chain so you can create a finished product. If your goal is strictly making isk, you don't recruit because you're one guy sitting in Jita with a holding corp (or you recruit a bunch of Chinese farmers, get them ratting rights somewhere, and set the tax to 15%).

If you recruit to replace your Scimitar pilot with a 5% better Scimitar pilot the effort to verify the new guy is good/not a spy/not a dbag isn't worth the difference. It's not strictly player quality but a combination of factors. If your infrastructure cannot support additional players (not enough FC's, not enough logistics guys) you close general recruiting and look to develop FC's or logistics guys. This stuff is more subtle than just a catch all rule.

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