Greedy Goblin

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Looking good > Being good

Social people do what the peer pressure and social norms tell them. One of the norms is to be good and nice with each other, especially with the unfortunate. The reward of such behavior is social recognition. Other people will like and respect them, which is the big goal of socials.

Of course being good is often expensive. No, I'm not talking about risking your life for a stranger, I just mean to throw the price of a pixel battleship to save some disaster victims in the charity drive of the developer of your MMO. Many players donated, all together 12726 PLEX. That's too much effort for most, as even this record-breaking number is just 0.05-0.1 PLEX/player, depending on how many EVE players we assume to be. But hey, no one but CCP knows if you donated or not! All you need is the in-game T-shirt that CCP gave to the donators. For a PLEX donation, you get 2 T-shirts, so you have to donate about 290M ISK to get one properly. However, you can get them cheaper in the second-hand market:

I received my 2x17 T-shirts, but for me they were just some junk item as I never use the walking in station feature. So I went to dump them on the market and to my surprise, they were selling pretty expensively. Finally I got more than 2B for the T-shirts, which is 20% of the ISK I donated. Seeing the market, it seems I could have sold them higher.

What does it tell about our beloved socials? That they are big, fat liars. The T-shirt is good for nothing in the game, it's only good for showing off how nice and helpful person you are to your friends. Why bother helping some disaster victim, when you can claim so for 20% price?!

No doubt that I mentioned my donation, so I harvested all the possible popularity for my action. But at least I donated. They didn't. They just bought the T-shirt and now tell stories to their friends of their generosity. Aren't they lovely?

By the way the hypocrisy of the socials can be used for good purposes. For example the above results mean that on the next donation people can rightfully assume that 20% of their donation will be "refunded" by lying socials. But I'm thinking about something much-much bigger. You'll see it on Monday.


Anonymous said...

Looking Good > Being Good is the brain's standard evolutionary programming - it was always more advantageous in regards to survival to look good than to be good. Read "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt. It'll explain basically everything about everything.

maxim said...

Since the whole "charity drive" thing is bogus to begin with, i'm not surprised at this eventuality at all.

CCP: "Hey, let's give the world the impression that our pixel economy matters IRL"
Players: "Hey, let's do the same thing CCP does, only on smaller scale".


As for Looking Good > Being Good bs, that only works when your survival is not actually threatened. The whole "being good" thing is fundamentally a responce to fear of death.

Obviously, within Eve noone's survival is ever threatened. Because, even if your alliance is losing sov, you always have the recourse of "hey, we didn't want it anyway".

Makes it a pretty good commentary on anthropology of immortal posthumans, actually :D

Lucas Kell said...

It could also be that they just like the T-shirt and want it, not because it's a status symbol.
It could also be that they are investing in one in the hopes the price will tick up.

And let's not forget that not everyone has enough to be able to donate a plex, which is why people like Chribba started up isk donation services so people could donate part of a plex.
So if someone donated 300m in isk to Chribba towards the 1T total, which then get's doubled, perhaps they then feel that they deserve a T-Shirt too, and I think they would be right.

To be honest, someone with like 500m isk that donates 300m is better than you. You have enough isk that you can pretty much throw half of it away and barely notice. So for you to donate plex just to then show off to people how much plex you donated doesn't really make me thing "what a great person". But someone that doesn't have much that donates as much as they can and does so without the need for praise, I have a lot more respect for.

If you were really being "good" you'd hold on to all those T-shirts anyway as they are yours, like charity ribbons. Instead you are selling them on to scrape back some of the money you donated.

Anonymous said...

Some people collect all the clothing.
Some people like limited edition items.
Some people donated without getting a t-shirt, due to not having enough isk for a plex.

Not everyone who donated to Chribba gets a t-shirt, not everyone who donated to VAERT gets one, not everyone who took part in the myriad events got one. The person who paid 60b+ for the Malice gets no t-shirt, the people who paid for the chars being auctioned get no t-shirt, the people who took part in the Gank4good don't get one each.

Sure, some want to e-peen their t-shirts (Wait..what...they want to show off a t-shirt that no one sees? Ok, maybe some people think that), but some just think these SoE shirts are the best looking ones in game, and way better designed than any of the previous CCP shirts.

Once again, you seem very concerned about what a group of people that you claim not to care about are doing. It must drive you crazy when young people wear Iron Maiden T-shirts that they bought at New Look or H&M, right? :p

Anonymous said...

Looking good takes a split-second to judge. That is what gets you through the first impressions. Being good requires a more detailed evaluation.
The audience has only a limited time to select too whom they should listen. Unless there is past information on the speaker the only, information they have comes from the social queues. Looking good gains an audience. Being good is retains them.
Unfortunately being good can sometimes be overwhelmed by pure numbers. Something that is bad but looks great can keep pulling in new watchers. The current audience might believe they know the speaker to full of rubbish but see the large audience numbers as evidence that the speaker is actually good and they have mis-judged the information they took for bad. This results in them staying for longer than they would if judging purely on ability.

Anonymous said...

Of course by purchasing the in game t-shirts from you it could be argued that they have in fact also contributed at some level to the good cause.

Anonymous said...

"Of course by purchasing the in game t-shirts from you it could be argued that they have in fact also contributed at some level to the good cause."

How on earth could that be argued?

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: actually, they did contribute to the next donation drive, as donators can reasonably assume that the T-shirt buyers will give them some money back, making donation cheaper.