Greedy Goblin

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Irrationals and socials

Yesterday I repaid half of my long-lasting debt of properly defining "social", by defining "irrational-emotional person". He is driven by mental subroutines that he is unaware of and cannot control. He can easily be controlled by other people who are aware of these subroutines and giving the proper imput.

Today I'd like to focus on my long-time enemies, the socials. First we must recognize that the subroutines of the irrational-emotional people are not random. 95-98% of these people have the very same subroutines regardless age, sex, nationality and such:
  • He prefers others to have positive opinion about his person, even if this opinion has no effect on his life.
  • He believes that the bad opinion of others have serious impact on his life
  • There are social norms that must be kept even if there is no direct punishment for their violation
  • He believes that act must be judged according to its "morality"
Those irrational-emotionals who have these (and similar) subroutines are the socials. They prefer "the moral" or "the approved" actions and finds activities that leads to positive opinion of others "fun".

These subroutines are not randomly created, they were effective in an ape-horde or in a prehistoric tribe. While they are completely ineffective now, they remained in the head of the newborns and also promoted by the society.

Maybe I was wrong defining myself as anti-social as there are irrational-emotional anti-socials, for example the serial killers or arsonists who derive their fun from these - quite irrational and pointless - activities. Being anti-social does not automatically make someone rational, as there are countless way to be stupid. So I'll stick to "goblin" or "rational" from now.

There are other irrational types, like the ones who are "forced" to wash their hands 100x times (or to collect 75 pets as Tina from yesterday's comments) or those who can't step into an elevator. While these schemes are no less stupid than "I must impress random guys", since they are rare, they are considered pathological and cured (or at least attempted to). If your schemes are not rare, they are considered normal, despite their obvious pointlessness.

It's important to note that not everything that involves other people is "social". Information can come from people in opinions, so ignoring all opinions is stupid. The "haste is better than crit" opinion is not social. The opinion is social if it's about someone's person. Of course there can be mixed cases like "X sucks at tanking, don't group with him" that can mean that X have low skills and that the speaker doesn't like him.

Why is it important in WoW and why WoW itself is important? Because WoW is much simpler than life. The actions in the real life are complicated and inter-connected to each other. It's pretty hard to disprove someone who claim "I bought this dog not because it's cute but to guard my home". However "lilKT is completely useless" can not be questioned. The "real" value of actions in WoW can be mathematically described objectively. Everything else is irrational, therefore observing WoW is a perfect place to observe irrational (mostly social) behavior and to correct one's own irrationality watching his own steps in WoW.

Also, in WoW everything has low cost. I can easily find out if X sucks at tanking or not by grouping him to daily HC. If he really sucks, I can quit after the first wipe, losing only 30G repair money and 15 mins.

And finally, because WoW and everything related with it is an unquestionable proof that our subroutines are programmable by our conscious mind. No apes ever played WoW (granted, every time I'm in a PuG I have doubts about that). Our parents did not played WoW. It's not something that our society planted into us. We decided to do it and it became "fun" only because we did it enough time to get used to it and because we find it rewarding for some reason. Granted, this reward is maybe social, but still, the "WoW is fun" statement is not automatic or obvious. Either ourselves or something else programmed us to find it fun.

Example: I wanted to start a blog to interact with people, because I was aware that reading psychology books are not enough to understand them, I need a real experience. It was a "not fun" work to start it and maintain it. As the rewards started to came in, I automatically connected them to "blogging", so blogging became "fun". Now I don't have to remind myself that "you need information about the social people so go and blog", because I like it, it's rewarding for itself, "blogging is fun" became a subroutine in my mind. Yet it's not an "ape-subroutine" as I created it myself.

Another example: I inherited the love for chocolate from the ape-age since sugar was a valuable and rare resource. I'm consciously aware that I have this ape-subroutine and since it's not that harmful, I don't fight to eliminate it. I keep it under control by the conscious rule: "I never pay money for chocolate, I only eat if someone gifts me".

  • We have subroutines in our mind, that's not something we can or should change. Subroutines are pretty effective, just think of writing: you don't have to take care how to shape the letters, you just decide what words to write it and subroutines shape the letters automatically.
  • If something is evaluated "good" by our subroutines, it became "fun".
  • We can program our own subroutines, just like we did with writing.
  • Those subroutines that were not programmed by us, or at least not consciously evaluated and approved by us, can (and usually do) harm us. Other people can use these subroutines to control us.
  • 99% of the unapproved subroutines are similar in everyone and were created in the age of apes or prehistoric man (ape-subroutines).
  • Those who have these ape-subroutines are the "socials", they can be controlled by social interaction partners. The only reason why they are not exploited to the point of fatal fatigue is that vast majority of their interaction partners are also socials. However they are easy targets of media, marketing and RMT petsellers.
Tomorrow I'll be back with a very closely WoW-related thing.

PS: I don't know how many times I explained why did I gained goldcap but people still keep asking. I'm fully aware that anything over 10K is useless. No, it wasn't fun at all to grind that money. I did it as a proof that my goldmaking tricks work. Imagine that I'd say "this and this would work, though I never tried it as I don't need more gold". Yes, by saying this I also mean that others who gained lot of gold without any plan how to use it did something irrational.


Anonymous said...

Seems like a rather harsh way to limit chocolate intake. It actually demonstrates a poor method of controlling a craving. Instead of being able to consume in moderation, you set a hard rule that you wouldn't get it for yourself. It's essentially the same as people that buy something, solely so they'll stick to their plans to purchase something else. (i.e. a boat trailer purchased before an actual boat)

Townes said...

I don't know about the social-psychology theories, but thank you for giving me a good laugh about wondering about apes in PUGs.

debussy said...

What Gevlon is trying to say in his broken English is that Introverts are better than Extroverts.

These are just two types of personalities, and saying one is superior over the other is somewhat stupid.

Moving on to his arguments about why people do certain things. I'll use yesterday's example of buying the 'fake' pet. I could have spent $10 buying a rake for gardening, but I'm not interested in gardening, I'm interested in playing WOW. I spend an average of 3 hours a day doing different things in WOW. For me, a fake pet is much more real than the stupid rake.

PS: Blogging is just as irrational as collecting gold/pets so in a way, you are doubly irrational, by your very own definition.

Anonymous said...

@debussy: it seems to me that you don't really understand what Gevlon, and thus has mistakenly simplified it to a point where you think you can simply dismiss his opinion out of hand.

It is actually more accurate to state that Gevlon is saying that if you don't understand yourself, then you are much more likely to do something stupid or harmful to yourself. This has nothing to do with being an introvert or extrovert, but rather, with your own personal understanding of why you do what you do, which means you have a much greater chance of stopping yourself from doing something stupid or harmful, regardless of whether it's your own subroutines or someone else's manipulations of them trying to get you to do it.

"Because it's fun" is not a good justification for doing things, simply because it is merely scratching the surface of your motivations. There is a difference between, say, "I raid because it's fun" and "I raid because I like to challenge myself on the hardest content WoW has to offer."

Finally, while there might not be much difference between a person who mindlessly buys a $10 pet and a person who understands his subroutines yet still buys the $10 pet, the truth is that the person who is aware of his subroutines is in a much better position to stop himself if he actually needs that $10 for something else. For example, yes, there are people out there who have gotten into debt through no fault of their own, but there are also people who have gotten into debt because they can't control themselves and are assisted in this by credit card companies (who understand perfectly well how your subroutines work and try to manipulate them to get more money out of you).

debussy said...

I’d like to think I understand what Gevlon is trying to say.
He’s trying to say that he’s not a slave to his own genetics and can make rational decisions as opposed to the rest of us. He’s not a goblin, he’s a Vulcan!

The truth is, we are all bound by our ‘ape subroutines’. Just because I think I can make a rational decision, doesn’t mean it actually is. Neither my decision to buy the pet, nor his decision to not buy it are fully independent.

debussy said...

“I don't know how many times I explained why did I gained goldcap but people still keep asking. I'm fully aware that anything over 10K is useless. No, it wasn't fun at all to grind that money. I did it as a proof that my goldmaking tricks work. Imagine that I'd say "this and this would work, though I never tried it as I don't need more gold". Yes, by saying this I also mean that others who gained lot of gold without any plan how to use it did something irrational.”

First, you did an activity that you did not find enjoyable at all just so you could get approval from strangers online. Doesn’t that seem hypocritical?

Second, making gold is a challenge. Think of hitting the goldcap as my version of defeating Anub in TOGC. If one is useless then so is the other.

Anonymous said...

Don't look too hard into this, folks. That's just Gevlon justifying his likes and dislikes expressed in the previous post as well as in other posts in this blog. He would surely like you to think there's more to it than that, and he may even believe so himself, but, well, that's just him following his own ape-subroutine for a very social reason.

Gevlon, you are being irrational for spending your time reinventing the meaning of words (the word 'social', for one, does not have a negative let's-all-be-dumb connotation that you assign to it) and restating trivialities that are, well, trivial (yes, 'anti-social' does not equal 'rational', doh). You'd get a better ROI by taking a class in philosophy or, gasp, sociology.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. For me there are two keys to life: Being independent of the good opinion of other people and retaining my own personal power to decide and choose. The first of these you have covered. The second is best summed up by the blame mentality in society. It is always someone elses fault; the other driver, the government, the guild officers. But if you blame people or institutions for what happens to you it means that you had no choice or power in the event, and thus you are not free to choose.

Socials do this a lot. When they become really powerless they try and pull as many people in with them as they can. Better to be powerless with lots of other people than alone and powerless.

Anonymous said...

Would hitting goldcap just to show off gold making skills be a social activity?

Its no different from someone collecting 75 pets. In both cases it is pretty useless.

Leeho said...

There's just one mistake in your post. These subroutines are not ineffective now. They still serve the same purpose, keeping people together to allow them do something that requires more than one human to be done. Yes, world has changed and someone can even have a child without help of an other person, but it's still more effective to learn, work, grow up children in groups.
There's even a discipline to learn about it, sociology. During my study of it i became curious what for do we need this subroutines, as our lecturer described more and more harmfull examples of their work. But without them you'll have all ppl acting like autists.
The thing is that without this subroutines you don't need other ppl to have fun. But you don't need anything to have fun, cause you can't have fun at all. It's just cause there's no objective reasons to feel fun and pleasure. This feelings are produced by our social subroutines, are immersed in us by our family, by our instincts, by our phisiology.
Ask yourself, why do you think that your reasons of feeling something like fun to you are better? Why learning and getting information is better than something you feel pointless? Why do you think that there's something that has a sense, while you will die eventually leaving nothing? Again, there were alot of work to find that sense in human living, still they found none. So there're subroutines to keep us live, make children and be happy.

Zeran said...

I believe gevlon's goals and intentions are on the mark. IMO he only slightly off base. His point seems to be that being controllable by your nature is a risky and unacceptable way to live. This I will grant. Gevlon also seems to say rationals (in the Myers-Briggs sense) tend to have an easier time discovering the influences of nature as opposed to the feelers. Again here I think he's correct, I Ind that rationals (myself included) tend to be much more cold and calculating than our more empathetic friends.
Where I think he looses focus is his insistence that this nature no longer works. I would argue that many of these natural tendancies are beneficial (such as trying to find a mate of higher status than you are). The other issue I see in much of his work is that he focuses on this natural instinct argument to the exclusion of clearly demonstrable facts (love of chocolate has more to do with brain chemistry than insinct).
The short answer is that all of his teaching has been done by Myers, Briggs, Jung, and sociobiologists (I don't remember the exact researchers in that field). Their work on classifying human personalities and defining human behavior is the exact same (though more insulated from personal experiences) as what gevlon was discussing here.
All in all, great post gevlon(not that my praise means much) but in science (even psychology) try to avoid personal speculation (especially stating it as fact).

Bones said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, and while your harsh appraisals often annoy me, and I sometimes find you put yourself on a bit of a pedestal, there is something in your vulcan-like style of thinking that I find interesting, so I come back and read more.
I'd really like you to expand on a point you touched on in this topic.EXACTLY why do we (and you) play WoW.
You see, I've been playing WoW for 3-4 yrs now, and aside form working and time with my family I don't really do much more with my free time (ie my "play" time), WoW has to an extent replaced watching TV, which I suppose is the major non-productive time filler for most Westerners.I play WoW mostly solo, enjoy the AH and live a mostly "BoE" WoW life, I find grouping with ppl too big a demand on my time and is a commitment to too much a chunk of time for it to interest me (I know many instances are fast, but filling groups often isn't)
Now, I've seen myself spend much too much time on WoW on occassion and judging by what I read I'm not alone, I'm old enough to know better (alomst 40!), and I work for myself (I can make my own wage and I employ others), but FFS WHY do I spend and WANT to spend so much time playing WoW (about 20hrs a week), I'd happily spend more time playing too.
I have an opinion/view/psudo-theory.
That WoW and other MMO's today are a bit like cocaine and opium were when they first hit mass market, widley available, addictive and originally percieved as harmless.We wised up and the law steped in to stop us happily self-harming.Now please don't think I'm saying that WoW is as deadly as heroine, but it is something which can and does absorb alot of time/effort/focus and enery from those who play it.
Maybe thats whats good about it (WoW) , we have those thing in excess atm and no outlet for them.I really am not sure.Am I like an addict justifying his habit? (its just a bit of fun, I can stop anytime,I'm not hurting anyone, its my own life mind ur own business etc.)
I'd really love to read the Goblins, vulcanish view on why we (and he) plays WoW at all and to such an extent, however can you really be honest on this one Gevlon? I mean can you step back and crow-bar yourself away form your own subroutines, and can you strip away the self-image you have created for your self and really be honest/objective.
Whatever your analysis, I sure it will be worth reading.
Now just a teaser, come now, be honest, strip the goblin self image away and be frank, if not to us then to yourself.
You do spend money on chocolate occasionally, don't you?, maybe not often or regularly, but you eat more chocolate than is gifted to you :p


Aelos said...

Gevlon, I am curious, have you read the Society of Mind by Marvin Minsky?

He proposes that intelligence or consciousness is actually made up of a limited set of simple agents. The agents themselves are mindless, but each has its own goals, controls and criteria. Deep enough layering of these agents creates what we call intelligence.

I think the concepts that he presents appear to be very close to what you call ape sub-routines.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point of view but, I am going to have to disagree. the other side of this would be that "Socials" or to be more to your point emotional apes don't derive pleasure from the game in raw data. Unfortunately, we can't all be hard-wired machines. We are all slaves to our "sub-routines" regardless of the pedestal we put our selves on. Even you in all of your might give in to your chocolate craving, gift or not, giving in is giving in... ask an alcoholic. If being "social" or "emotional" were really a disadvantage to humans it would have been bred out of our species long ago via natural selection.
I am an emotional and social person and I am kind and nice to players because I feel good not because of what others think. I am not in the habit of doing things for proverbial pat on the head... I couldn't care less about what others think of me. All that matters is what I think of me. Honestly in reading your post. Seems like it is you who is seeking attention. So gratz on being leet... Hope you get that self-esteem boost you are looking for. HINT: stop looking to those you view on your level and start at the bottom.

Gevlon said...

@Olga: cooperation does not need me being social. At first I can abuse THEIR social subroutines to support me. Also there can be fair trading between us for mutual benefit.

@Bones: and why or how is they addictive?

Mike said...

As an independent observer, you must realise there is always (at least) two sides to a story. People generally do things for a reason. Just because you don't understand that reason doesn't make it invalid.

Perhaps x sucks at tanking because the complainant sucks at dps, and persistently nukes the one mob that the tank hasn't yet built up threat on.

Perhaps people like me get the Loremaster achievement because we aren't interested in downing Yogg or farming ToC. Afterall, it's JUST a game.

This might sound trollish, but if rapidly collecting pixels and entries in a database gives you a sense of achievement, maybe you're just as bad as the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I think you should put your definition of 'ape-subroutine' on the About page - I know you already explained it in a comment (, but it's hard to find and you use the phrase often.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon: "cooperation does not need me being social."

That's untrue. Certain things, like attaining a top 10 worldwide arena rating, are simply impossible without getting at least a bit social. There's just too much stress and teams whose members don't support each other as human beings collapse way before getting into top 100.

Being social (as usual, within reason, we are not talking extremities here) would also have guaranteed you a spot in a raiding guild, which you otherwise had to buy. If you think making money and buying your raiding spot was more effective timewise, show me the numbers.

Tina said...

For the record, I don't wash my hands 100 times ;-). However, I won't deny irrational and slightly obsessive - that is, after all, how you get good at things.

Quicksilver said...

I find myself in disagreement with a big part of your post. I believe you have reached an interesting point by bringing to the table the new term "rational" as a more accurate definition of what goblin-ism is about. However, explaining the difference between goblins and socials(or just as well, the rest of the world) by invoking (ape-)subroutines I believe is flawed.

We all have ape-subroutines and be it that we acknowledge them or not, we all act in the same basis. Imposing silly rules like I dont buy chocolate, I just eat it when it is offered is just an obsessive-compulsive behaviour (or well, explanation as I do not believe you follow your own rule). Furthermore science still has much to learn about these routines until they are vulgarized enough for them to be used in a personal blog as valid facts.

So what is a better distinction between a "rational" and a "social"? The answer is simple: optimization.

Intrinsically we all have at our disposition a single resource: TIME. I was going to say two resources (TIME and MONEY) but we all know they are equivalent, and by the means of our jobs we constantly trade between them.

Similarly, we all have a single defining goal of our lives which is PLEASURE. Some call it happiness, others call it fulfillment or success but its mainly the same thing. From eating chocolate (which btw causes our glands to release endorphins which give us a sense of pleasure), to making ourselves socially attractive so we can attract partners of the opposite sex for intercourse, to the guy who takes pleasure into overcoming big challenges, to the scientist or business man who wants his name remembered 100 years from now, we are all looking for pleasure.

So simply put: be it rational or social we all have time(and money) and we want pleasure.

This is why people are so easily throwing in your face arguements like: "you gather gold, I gather pets". Or "you are blogging that's a social thing". Because ultimately for all of us, resources and the target goal are the same.

Now: the essential difference between the two stereotypes is the PATH they take between their resource and their target. And this is where the paradigm rational/irrational is best proved.

The socials are playing an instant gratification game. Pleasure in life has to be NOW. Their optimal way of living has to always include small pleasures. They are constantly maximizing their small universe trying to get the best our of the present. you can include here the people who take credit from the bank to buy clothes, or those who cant afford going out to expensive restaurants but still do because its "fun" to be with friends. These people care less about what will happen in the future as long as they get their fix of little happiness right now.

The rational, on the other hand, lives in the long term. He knows that the ultimate pleasure is a long term one. Basically an activity or item is considered useful (as in pleasurable) if the pleasure derived (with also the long term in mind) is sufficient. They are the ones that are optimizing their lives so that after a period of effort or other unpleasant activity the resulting pleasure is even greater than the sum of all small nice things he deprived himself of. This is the kind of guy who studies and works hard when he is young and ends up with lots of money when he is older. He knows that eventually he will get there and derives pleasure from this perspective. Even more, once the long term goal is obtained he will be having a greater quality of life than the socials.

To sum it up: optimization is everything here. The social optimize their lives by connecting the dots. Going from one state of happiness to the next, whereas the rational is aiming for that big leap which will take him higher.

Quicksilver said...


With all these considerations set up, lets take a look at our case: Minipets.

We all believe pets are cute. I do, Gevlon does too (he stated he could watch them in dalaran at someone else), and of course all socials who bought them also think so.

So the resource spent here is the 10$ and the goal is the little smile that it gave you. So from a social point of view, this represents the little happiness fix to keep a goal-less life going. From a rational point of view, the cost of an item is equal to the cost of all other things you could have bought with those 10 dollars. Obviously, there are dozens of ways those 10 dollars can get you more if you decide to invest them into something that lasts.

Why are rationals(and the rational way of life) superior to socials(and the social/irrational way of life)?

I can think of 2 arguements mostly:

1) From a global point of view: Rationals are generally more useful to the socials than socials are to the rationals.

Lets see: the guy who spends his life to invent things, to design software or to build buildings is most likely a rational and he's much more useful than the "cool" store salesman or wellfare beneficiary who hangs out with his friends all day.
In wow: the no lifer who knows tactics, is more likely to carry the raid than the "omg, panda is so cute" ungemmed dude.

2) From a personal point of view:
The rationals, even if unhappy at first, will eventually find a greater level of happiness and accomplishment than the others. Socials usually spend their resourses (read time or money) on superflous things and with the passage of time they end up with nothing while a rational will constantly accumulate to the point where he will have enough to be happy.

Usually socials, towards their mid-life age, start envying the rational, even if in their young age looked at them like they were losers.
In wow: well, easy, hardcore raider leaves the fail guild, gets to a better one gets his gear and achievs, while the social, still stuck in his guild /drools in dalaran at the shiny epix.

Anyway, I hope this will shed some light in this matter, for you Gevlon and all others which are trying to differentiate between the two.

Dàchéng said...

Okrane, well argued, but there was one thing in your argument that is fallacious: the dichotomy you set up between rational and social.

These aren't opposites, they are orthogonal. I can be rational and social or irrational and unsociable, as well as rational and unsociable or social and irrational. Social does not mean irrational. Social does not meen unable to plan, or defer enjoyment. Being sociable usually involves more planning and deferment than being unsociable. Sitting in your room alone, playing WoW, takes less organization than meeting your friends in the pub, for instance.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good comment from Okrane.

Now, every single one of us is rational at some things and irrational at others. I might have gotten a wrong impression, but it sure looks like Gevlon is trying to be rational at everything, including every small aspect of WoW, and that's where his feeling of superiority over many others come from. However, why it is so obvious that trying to be rational at everything will produce better results *overall* than trying to be rational at things that "matter" and relaxing a bit and being irrational at things that "don't matter", like WoW? A human brain functions better after a rest. I am sure you can extrapolate from there.

Dr. Scepticu said...

So, if i create a blog called "Vanity Goblin" and write about several ways of gaining pets i won't be a social, right? Also, if i don't enjoy doing it, i won't be a social elevated to the square. Also, if i write several posts about the conditioned behavior of the people who must collect money just to show how good they are and how disconnected, but still connected with each other, from the society they are i won't be a social. Ok, i got it.

Bones said...

Further to my previous and in reply to your question.
Maybe "addictive" was the wrong word, in so much as MMO's are not addictive like chemical substances, you do not build-up a physical tolerance and need higher doses, develope a dependancy etc. etc.
What I was trying to get at is that they do cause players to tend towards a certain complusiveness in their behaviour (you stopped Ikram when this behaviour manifested itself to you).
Taken as a whole, this entertainment genre is new and it is rapidly growing.Now I suppose you could of said the same about TV in the 50's and 60's, but there is a difference.
You yourself point to it.
The people behind these MMO's are skilled manipuilators, the konw the ape sub-routines and how to trigger them, they are marketing men and they have a what seems to be a very powerfull tool for retaining peoples attention and generating repeat business.
Is it a bit like putting cocaine in a consumer drink back in the early days of coca-cola ?

Wooly said...

There's a much simpler way to show what's the risk about these routines. It's simply explained as being predictable.

Any fisherman or hunter can explain to you how he uses the simple instincts (subroutines) of his prey to catch it. It's usually as simple as luring it with it's favorite/easy food. Perhaps a few weeks of pre-feeding it same spot/location to make it feel safe first. Nevertheless, it generally always works.

Pet's play on our subroutine's because our deeply rooted instinct to care for kids, like all mammals have. It's one of our basic instincts, with the simple purpose for keeping the species going. IRL nearly everyone will sooner or later want/take kids. This is a primal urge, and has good reasons from nature's point of view. A lot of people have/start with pets, as they fill the same role. As long as it's small and is/shows dependence it's fits the role. Big head and big eyes make it even better.

Goth said...

This is a stereotypical response to an individual’s belief and value system. I really don't care to place a label on every organization, group, or individual that I meet. A discussion on why people value certain things that I do not is irrelevant and has nothing to do with inbreed behaviors or instincts.

If a cat rubs against you and you developed an emotional connection with said cat because you "feel" loved by its display of affection. Does it really matter that in reality the cat is merely placing his scent on you due to an instinctive process common to felines? Since I paid 10 dollars for said cat and he frequently pisses on my couch will my feelings suddenly change to dislike of the cat. Does the cat love me more or less? Will the cats’ feelings change if I buy him chocolate?

What came first the chicken or the egg?

GeorgeBailey said...

Gev said: "I'm fully aware that anything over 10K is useless. No, it wasn't fun at all to grind that money. I did it as a proof that my goldmaking tricks work."

Gev also said: From your post 'My Pricing' on Friday, October 30, 2009. "Well, no. What I wrote in this post is my pricing strategy. And I don't have QA2 installed. And I've reached goldcap again and again because (and not despite) of this. "

@Gevlon. How much gold do you have in game now? Better not be > $10k, 'cause that would be useless - right? Let me guess, you want to prove your techniques work on Mondays, or you want to prove your techniques work when your toon is wearing a pink festival dress - or when there is an odd number of toons in the Auction House. You've reached the cap 'again and again' - why?

Gev - you are deluded. You are driven to collect pixels as much as any what you call 'social'. You just prefer in game gold over pets. Accept this for your reader's sake so you can focus on explaining your gold making techniques.

Brian said...

Gevlon has some interesting points, but I think he's missing two key points here.

1) People don't neatly fit completely into any one category. With few exceptions, I'd say that most people are probably both emotional AND rational. What makes us better than our ape ancestors isn't that we don't do things based on emotion, but that we don't do things based ONLY on emotion.

2) Which leads me to the second point...if something wasn't bad to begin with, doing it for emotional reasons doesn't make it bad. Or to put it another way, there is no value in the ability to rationalize every decision you make. With the last two posts, Gevlon has offered up a number of examples of behaviors that could be emotionally driven (blogging about gold-making, living with a long term girlfriend) and proving that he did those things for rational reasons, as if that makes them better decisions. Certainly being rational can lead to better decisions, but by itself it doesn't mean EVERY decision you make is automatically better...especially if it's the same decision.

Consider the example of the mini-pets. Gevlon is right in that they serve no practical purpose in-game, but if someone paid $10 because they find that mini-pet to be "cute" or "fun", why is that bad? Saying it's bad because they did it because of emotions, and emotions are bad, is a circular argument. Decisions that negative affect your life are bad, but if you can afford it, how is it inherently bad to buy a mini-pet because you think it's fun?

The whole point of the rational part of our brain is to make sure our emotions don't force us to do things that are bad for us. Beyond that, there is no obvious value in forcing yourself to abandon emotions completely.

What's my main Again? said...

Your whole chocolate argument is bullshit. People like chocolate because it is sweet. Your tongue detects different qualities such as bitterness, sweetness and saltiness. The sweet sense stimulates the brain to release endorphins which make you feel good.

There is no subroutine here at all. It is a purely biological and chemical reaction that can sometimes vary between people.

The other thing you mentioned which really threw me off was that Subroutines can determine that something is good. Subroutines by very definition are just subsets of code that perform a set action. They don't determine anything. Forming letters from words or breathing are subroutines but whether you prefer chocolate or Vanilla is a conscious decision.

Your aversion to chocolate is simply a method for you to "separate" yourself from "socials". You feel superior somehow thinking that you have beaten the others because you don't buy chocolate. The reality is you are just depriving yourself of something that gives pleasure for the sake of feeling superior.

You went from blogging about making money in wow to blogging about M&S to now blogging about socials because each one gives you more comments. Seeing more comments makes you feel better so you write more and more bullshit to get more readers.

Your "rational" thinking is just a way to make you feel better for yourself... just like a "social" person buying a 10$ pet. If you can't be the popular one then isolating yourself and feeling superior because you isolated yourself is only a natural response.

You haven’t reached some higher plane of being. Everyone justifies their own actions… just not everyone needs to lie to themselves about blogging or eating chocolate.

Unknown said...

Well actually 10k+ is not useless. You yourself proved it with goblin way of raiding. :) Also top boe eg can cost about 5k for an item.

Anonymous said...

I don't collect pets in WoW. I do have a few, but I rarely take them out. They might be fun for a few minutes, then life goes on. I have a decent income and $10 isn't even a drop in the bucket to me...yet I'd never spend $10 on WoW pet....UNLESS $9 out $10 went to charity. Then I could atleast say I was donating to a good cause....but I'd also need to spend hours researching the charity before I did this. I don't want $8 out of my $9 charity dollars going to "operational costs".

With that out of the way I feel a lot of people are really missing the point on this. Blizzard made a game that exploits the desire for advancement. Advancing in level, in gear, in gold, in pets. Our minds register all of this as moving foward, and our human brain, and even ape brains reward this type of behavior. "It is fun" is actually "Dopeamine is release in my head".

Why would our brains reward us for progressing in an artificial environment? Well the unconscience mind can't really distinguish between real or virtual, and our conscience mind isn't helping to register that this is all fake. Why would our conscience mind be okay with living a lie? Because of reward, dopeamine.

The same thing happens with drugs. People know drugs aren't healthy, yet they do them anyways because it yields plessure, fun, etc....the only difference with drugs vs. WoW is that drugs directly result in the pleasure, rather then our brain rewarding us for what our brain percieves to be worthy of reward.

Worthy of reward is really anything our brain relates to being essential for survival or breeding. Progress may do nothing in regards to survival, but it sure as hell helps with mating, and bearing young. Our ancesters who most likely resembled chimps were rewarded with mating when they learned to walk on their hind legs. They were rewarded by female chimps with sex. Female chimps rewarded the "upright" chimps because walking on two legs free'd up hands to carry more fruit. Mating rewarded the upright chimp with dopeamine.

Progress in WoW is fake, but it is something we are buying into because we are rewarded for it, as our brain doesn't know it is fake. Blizzard has exploited this trait, and is exploiting it even more while earning $10 per pet. Also lets remember that "socials" are always rewarded with a better chance to survive, and this evolutionary trait allows us to sometimes be taken advatage of by others. In our day and age we no longer need to be social to survive, but being social sure helps us mate. I wouldn't trade my social "Ape sub-routines" for all the lil' kt's in Azeroth.

Jeff said...

The foundation of all morals is an ape subroutine and absolutely mandatory. The most moral person is the one whose actions lead to the survival and progression of the species as a whole. For example in a troop of baboons there are always a few who don't eat when the rest do, instead they watch for danger. This duty rotates so every one misses a meal now and then and the troop stays safe.

The highest and most important moral is "women and children first!" Any morality that does not use this as a foundation is bass ackwards and that society is doomed to failure.

Supporting society is social by definition, and the highest morality as it improves the survival of the species. You are not important, your genes are.

Unknown said...

Just like to say that I'm really enjoying the comments and agree with what a lot of you have to say. I was about to write one myself, but what @What's my main again? and @Brian has said above pretty much summarises what I was going to say. Don't see the point in repeating it.

I would like to see more posts related to gold making though, and less talk about ideology. While it makes for interesting discussion, my main reason for reading is the bit about the yellow pixels and how to make the number preceeding them grow.

I'm interested in your gold-making techniques, but I don't really care about your ideological/philosophical beliefs. I do understand that to be able to manipulate the market to my advantage I'll need to have an understanding of how people work, however, I think I've got that one down already.

Dr. Scepticu said...

From the About post of this blog:

"There are two focuses on the blog: making money in WoW and proving that altruism is a waste of time and effort as everyone can make money by his own work"


Anonymous said...

Our parents never played WoW*

Anonymous said...

The comment debussy made about "Vulcans" is interesting. Stoic philosophy is just that, don't let any material thing or person be what you place value in because these things will either die, deteriorate or leave you-hence you put value in things that will never bring you true "happiness" in the most virtuous use of the term.

Also, two things about Stoics.

1. Stoics believed "businessmen"(or you can call it Goblins, etc) are a necessary evil. They promote a more stable society, but in terms of morals and virtue are below pedophiles and prostitutes.

2. Stoics also believed that when you have lived a "full life", you shouldn't live anymore because you are simply wasting your virtue. If demonstrating that gold cap can be reached with such methods, the purpose of this blog is complete(don't make up a new purpose, the complete end of the this blog was claimed to be the gold making part of it - similar to the way happiness would be the complete end of human life). Since the purpose of this blog is fulfilled, why has you not commited suicide yet?(not as a person, but as a blogger?).

If Gevlon is a real stoic(getting rid of all ape-subroutines, and being virtuous in your task-explaining and demonstrating business), this blog would be shut down long ago. Gevlon just continues, and thus puts himself in a place where his virtue and goodness no longer benefit him but harm him. His purpose is no longer well.

And FYI, I'm not a stoic, and this is not a personal attack or anything on the blog or Gevlon. I do enjoy to read it daily. However, it's a criticism that I thought of while reading some of the comments.

The Gnome of Zurich said...

"@Olga: cooperation does not need me being social. At first I can abuse THEIR social subroutines to support me. Also there can be fair trading between us for mutual benefit."

In real world economics, trust has a huge value in trading efficiency. It is no secret that societies where people and organizations trust courts and law enforcement to apply property law and enforce contracts fairly are far wealthier in the long run than where they do not. And since enforcement has a cost, societies in which most people and organizations can be trusted to be bound by their word and the law even in cases where the chance of punishment is very small are far wealthier in the long run.

If you think ethics and morals have no value whatsoever, you should study the indefinitely repeated prisoner's dilemma. Tit for tat (assume goodwill and cooperate first, always punish non-cooperation with non-cooperation on the next round, and reward cooperation with cooperation on the next round) is a very strong strategy, both individually and for creating stable populations. Well, tit-for-tat is basically our ape-subroutine friendly "eye for an eye" morality, and it works in a game model that is not unlike many common trading situations in real life (or in wow).

Of course, not every moral rule is grounded in utilitarian consequences of game theory, but some of the codes you denounce as foolish *are*, and it appears to me that you are the foolish one in these cases. Even in situations where you are correct in the instance about anonymity meaning that the game is effective never repeated, there is significant social value destroyed by failing to cooperate anyway, or value created by finding ways to penalize those who do not follow the rule.

Quicksilver said...

arent u all missing the main point here by clinging on to technicalities of Gevlon's arguementation or by taking to the letter his posts?

csdx said...

* He prefers others to have positive opinion about his person, even if this opinion has no effect on his life.
Gevlon writes a blog 'for fun' and tries to convince people that he is right and to follow his way. Yet all the readers and commenter cannot possibly affect his life.

* He believes that the bad opinion of others have serious impact on his life
This is actually true, if your boss doesn't like you, don't expect a nice raise. If you can't work with your coworkers you'll look unproductive, and out you go. You might argue that's only because they themselves are social and can't separate work from social interaction. But it's one of those truths that's true because everyone believes it is.

* There are social norms that must be kept even if there is no direct punishment for their violation
Again it may not break any laws, but getting 20 piercings in your head is not going to help you get hired to a executive office. So breaking social norms does have consequences, even if not explicit or direct. Acting like a pervert isn't likely to get you a girlfriend anytime soon.

* He believes that act must be judged according to its "morality"
Morality is just really again playing into the above ideas. What's accepted by society is important because you'll be punished for it. Even real morality is just social. We don't kill people because the punishment for it outweighs the benefit of doing so (usually since murders still do happen).

Gevlon you fit your criteria for social people. Perhaps you have a bit more self introspection than average, but you still follow these invisible rules. Even your thinking that you're breaking out of them is actually a social feeling as well. Think about it, modern society's big mantra has been independence and freedom. Your self control desires fall exactly into that.

It's like how teenagers think being rebellious is new, but in reality it's just part of the giant meta-narrative of society. Their rebellion is not actually breaking anything, but rather anticipated and expected. Just in the same way your ideas of scientific truth and independence of thought fall directly in line with the values of current society.

It's like the whole Matrix, even if you've escaped it, that was still part of the plan.

Michael Young said...

Hey Gevlon,

I would suggest a modification to your ideas. Something for you to ponder.

What I'm getting from your post is the idea that people start in a neutral/stoic state and pursue 'fun' activities they are pre-disposed to enjoy from genetic/societal programming.

What I'd suggest instead, is the idea that people have needs, determined by both biology and sentience that demand fulfillment. When these needs are not filled, a man suffers from unhappiness or damage/harm. It is rational to seek to fill these needs.

Certainly, there are people who are bad at satisfying their needs and who engage in stupid, self-destructive behavior, and these are absolutely worthy of our disdain. But merely seeking to avoid suffering is not a shameful act.

Anyone with needs is vulnerable to manipulation, and everyone has needs. Greater awareness and understanding can aid in your self-reliance, but never completely free yourself from dependence on others.

'However "lilKT is completely useless" can not be questioned'
Come now, that's just bad economics. If it were useless, there'd be no demand for it, and it wouldn't sell. Having demand is sufficient to conclude it has value. Even to someone like you who doesn't want one. If I gave the code for a free one, you could sell it to someone else and make a profit.

Playing WoW satisfies various needs, and people seek different things from it. I play for a feeling of accomplishment. For the joy of knowing that I've done something I've set out to do. Other 'social' needs are satisfied elsewhere, through other mediums, and so I don't emphasize the more social aspects of WoW. Someone else might find the companionship and community with the game very fulfilling, and spend their time on that. Two people, both seeking to be happy, to fulfill their needs, approaching the game from very different directions. Why is one better than the other?

Anonymous said...

And I quote: "Mr. Gevlon, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought.
Everyone reading this blog is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

csdx said...

Also: WoW is nothing new. Just because it isn't around, doesn't mean that it's anything new. It just transports our normal behaviors to a new location. Just as going to a new village or settling the frontier was just an expansion of society, not a strange (brave) new world. WoW is just akin to us colonizing a piece of virtual space and bringing with us any social baggage, likes and dislikes, etc with us. So these aren't self developed likes.

Take glitter, before it was invented, you can't claim no one had a like for it. Rather it just capitalized on our existing desires (like of shiny things), and that made it successful. WoW does the same, if it had to convince everyone to like it without having any initial comparison, it would not have had any financial success

dozenz said...


A simple question. Why do you consider socials to be your enemy?

Also just because you choose to play WoW does exclude it from being an ape-subroutine.

You choose it because you are looking for recreation plan and simple. Basic ape-subroutine. If Apes had a WoW equivalent back in the day they'd probably take a chance at it as well.

I know how hard you try to deny that you one of those you constantly despise, as its all part of your "be controversial to get reactions/hits" persona but the more you try to explain it in detail you will fall short, as I'm sure anybody who does have a Psychoogy degree reading this blog can easily point out over and over.

dozenz said...

whoops...should say "does not exclude" above.

Tonus said...

"Because it's fun" is not a good justification for doing things, simply because it is merely scratching the surface of your motivations.

I think it's conditional. "It's fun" can be all the justification that you need, barring any other factors that would indicate otherwise.

Example: I watch sports because I enjoy it. There's nothing else that needs to be added, even if there are other motivations (such as wanting to live vicariously through your favorite athletes).

Example: You pay rent/mortgage/upkeep on an expensive home or condo. You probably enjoy living there, but you don't spend the money because it's fun. You spend it because you want to have a place to live, and you want to give yourself a level of comfort that you can afford.

In any event, this whole thread is going in circles now. Gevlon posts very narrowly defined definitions and makes sure to use wording that is unflattering, and people argue right back that he fits more closely into his definition of socials than he does into that of goblins. It's gotten boring now, I was hoping for something that would move the topic along. Ah well...

Unknown said...

Gevlon, I fully agree with today's post!

And that's strange because I'm always against your right-wing approach to economics. I'm all for welfare state and think that nobody should be left behind (as long as they pull their own weight in return).

Well I'm going off-topic so I'll just say: Ape PuGs FTW!

I believe that pugging with an ape might be better than pugging with the regular WoW dumb player. (at least the ape won't complain if I /kick him).

csdx said...

A simple question. Why do you consider socials to be your enemy?

I think it's because Gevlon doesn't like some of the restrictions society places on him that he considers arbitrary. E.g. it's immoral to make money in particular ways, he needs to care about things in order to be accepted.

However, as he's implied 'social' is also a synonym for 'client'. But since he hasn't had that money making venture to take advantage of these 'ape-subroutines' (unlike say our friends at Blizzard), he'd rather wish for their elimination, since that possibility has a better payoff for him.

Though this implies that either

1) He thinks himself unable to make enough money from socials to be worth it. Since if he could make millions from their stupidity he would, as enough money easily can put you in a position to not have to deal with the social restrictions, possibly above the law even. OR
2) He's actually a really altruistic guy and just wants everyone to have the most fulfilled life they can. He wants to spread the word because he thinks goblin thinking is better for society as a whole even though it would be a detriment to him personally, since there are no M&S to make easy money off.

Which version you believe is an exercise left to the reader.

Anonymous said...

Nah, he just likes being "different" and "controversial", and likes to assert his superiority over others. The fact that a lot of his readers seem unphased by his coolness (he is gold capped, how dare they) adds fuel.

Anonymous said...

Alright, OK, you guys finally broke me down....I can't read all of your comments due to lack of interest.

GJ Gev in getting what you desired by your postings. I'd be surprised if you weren't smiling.

Oh, you probably are aware, but most aren't. Googling d.i.s.c might take away some of your fun, but perhaps not.

Vedomir said...

1. So I'll stick to "goblin" or "rational" from now.

It looks like that your "socials" are simple morons.

If there are only one difference - controlling your subroutines, than it is the difference between morons and clever, intelligent people.

Intelligent people understand how their mind and body works, and they can control it.

Is there any other difference between wise people and rational/goblin?

I do not see any.

So why are you using word socials to describe simple morons?

2. I'm fully aware that anything over 10K is useless. No, it wasn't fun at all to grind that money. I did it as a proof that my goldmaking tricks work.

So you grind it because you want to prove your ideas to other people? Because you want tham to believe that you are right?

Perfect social move, Gevlon! )))

3. Why are you doing anything?

Why are you learn new things (about people for example)? Why are you control your subroutines?

Why are your work? Because you need money to buy food and need food for life? Than why are your want to live?

Because there is a subroutine that make you getting fun from being alive.

We are doing something because we have different subroutines that gives us fun.

I think that subroutines that give fun from learning and creating are much better because they can give unlimited amount of fun, much more than any other in long terms.

So I try to control my subroutines and make that two stronger.

But it is still the same subroutines.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I think this whole critism of socials on the basis of their need of approval from others is ridiculous.

Esteem is a basic human need. If you look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, its second from the top. Respect of others and respect by others is a key part of esteem, and we cannot get rid of it. I understand that certain "chasing of the Joneses" is like maybe an unnecessary overworking of esteem, but some mutual respect is a key part of being human.

So suck it, nonsocials.

Sven said...

I estimate that Gevlon must have spent at least 4 hours on his last two posts (including reading and reviewing the comments). The cost of
the pets he is calling people fools for buying is $10. A typical hourly rate for a non-manual worker in the business sector in Hungary (IIRC that's where Gevlon is based) is around $9-10. So the total opportunity cost of ranting about how dumb people are to buy $10 pets works out as about $35-40. Even once you've taken tax into account, that's considerably more than the pet would cost.

Who's the greater fool here?

Dresek said...

I wouldn't say anything over 10k gold is useless. You can easily go through 20-30k in a GDKP run in TOC 25!

Anonymous said...

Gevlon is a baller. Don't hate.

Unknown said...

Another daily dose of Gevlon truth, good reading.

N said...

Being a social gets you just as far in this life as being a "goblin."

I sell a product which is worth the price it costs. Do I sell it on its merits? Not really. The hard part is getting people to want to keep talking to me long enough to get to the sale.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but social behavior has measurable, meaningful value. Do I wish things were otherwise? Sometimes. But it's easier to change yourself than to change the world.

supracom said...

After reading this post, I realized why enjoy this blog so much. First, of course, is morons of the week. Very entertaining stuff. But mostly, I love Gevlon's pet phrase "ape sub-routines." Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

To prefend subroutines....allways act dont react and you allready won.

Nice read.

Oliver said...

You forgot to define "pretentious bloggers" while you were at it. What are their subroutines?

Anonymous said...

The Goblin must love this: 60 comments.

I think what was written, in all, was an encouragement to be "aware" of our ape-sub-routines (herd mentality, pecking order) so that we can rise above it.

Thanks for increased awareness, Gev.

Unknown said...

If we had a society without socials, goblins would have noone to make their money off.

Unknown said...

"I never pay money for chocolate, I only eat if someone gifts me".

You got given it so it is free? Basic economics...

MomentEye said...

Two of the earliest ape subroutines are the drives to acquire and to dominate.

That would have to include getting goldcap to prove your theories are superior.

Scottie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eaten by a Grue said...

OK all you "gifted chocolate is free" people. That is not the same thing. If the goal was to derive profit from the chocolate, Gevlon surely would not sell it below market price, just because he got it for free.

He is just saying that as long as he buys no chocolate, he is assured of not eating too much of it, as he is then forced to rely on gifts, which I assume are infrequent.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon (and all interested) , I recomend you to read a great book

"Predictably irrational -
The Hidden Forces That Shape
Our Decisions" by Dan Ariely.

Guess you can find it free on

See for yourself , with examples, what perfect sheeps/Pavlov dogs we are.