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Guest journal: "The New Sport"

So, Poe and I were discussing some recent frustrations I'd had on Reddit. He came up with a fantastic metaphor to explain his side to me, and then expanded it into a full essay. I present it here, and it's also on the aforementioned site.


It's a world very much like ours. The only difference being a really popular new sport.

The rules of the sport are simple: You and a reasonable number of opponents are in a dark room. You are not allowed to move from the spot you choose to start in. In that room with you are targets. The point of the game is to show you know where the targets are by saying so, and then supporting your claims by hitting said targets. You're allowed to use any tools or weapons you think of for the task as long as you trust yourself to be able to hit the right target. Anything from your bare hands to a large firearm would be suitable, and even something so crude as a tower of aluminum cans ducttaped together with a paintbrush on the end. The only restriction is that it has to give some kind of indication of the target being hit, either through sound or marking.

Now, there's a rule that a lot of the amateur and casual participants of this sport tend to get wrong. Namely, that you're able to leave a match at any point, and your score will still count. "Quitting" is not a thing in this sport, namely because the only way to actually win is by correctly guessing/hitting the targets. If you guess/hit less targets than your opponent, regardless of whether or not they've left the play area yet, then you lose. Casuals and amatuers thusly tend to have different strategies considering how much they misunderstand the point of the game. They will generally attempt to nitpick the rules, annoy, insult, distract, or confuse an opponent until they forfeit, thinking this will give them the win. Some may go so far as to threaten the person until they "concede". A rather disconcerting number of them won't even bother trying to guess where the targets are. This makes the amatuer and casual versions of this sport a very different game than the correct, professional version. Most people transitioning from the AMs to the PROs tend to get defeated handily because of this rule, and they get frustrated because they don't understand why tactics that won in amateur matches aren't sufficient anymore.

Now, you may be asking, "Wait, how does a person know where the targets are going to be in the first place?" Well, it's not terribly difficult; you just have to do research, which is where the real skill of the game begins. You're allowed to gather knowledge in any way about the locations of the targets, and then play based on that. Some casuals or amatuers will come into the game thinking they know where the targets are based only on what people have told them, or with no actual knowledge of the target locations at all, still thinking they can win via making their opponent "forfeit". This is foolish, of course, in the given context. It is highly advised that if you're going to play this game, you should do proper research ahead of time, and be at least passably good with your tool of choice. It is indeed possible to win through sheer luck, but this is not an intelligent tactic.

There IS another way to play the game, but it has no official scoring system. In this version of the game, you're still in the dark, but you can move about freely, and you make suggestions on where the targets should be put. You then prove your point by having a target put in the suggested spot and hitting the target.

It should be noted that there is no real way to win this game type, unless you count a new arena using your suggested layouts as a win condition. Generally though, no score is kept in these exhibitions as there are no pre-set targets, and that defeats the purpose of the game, which is to have pre-existing knowledge of where the targets are so you can call them out and hit them.

Also, it should be noted that it's not out of the ordinary for professionals to do this in the middle of an actual game when an idea for a target placement comes up. They will signal this by starting their turn with "In my opinion... " to signify this shot as not being worth any points.

And, as one could expect, the amatuer and casual circuits very badly wanted to do something with this game mode, so some of them have incorporated it into their normal rulesets. Thusly, players can now make suggestions on their turn to gain points by hitting the targets that they have suggested. As mentioned previously, this is not viewed well by professionals of the sport because it defeats the purpose of the game. Again, when the amatuers/casuals find out that their strategy of inventing targets and then hitting them doesn't work with the pros, they tend to get upset and revert to their standard bullying tactics.

The sport has even become so popular that politics tends to use it to decide matters. The problem there being that most government officials play by amatuer/casual rules, so it doesn't really mean anything, even though the public tend to vote based on how well they do.

This sport even has a somewhat obvious parallel in our world: debating. Or arguing, discussing, disputing, bickering, whatever. The point is, people don't understand how to play this game.

An arguement is about stating your points and then supporting or even proving them through demonstration, research, evidence or example. It's about teaching the other person something new, and about searching for truth regardless of whose side it's on. You don't win an arguement by making the other person quit. That doesn't make you right. Being Right makes you right. Even if your opponent ADMITS YOU'RE RIGHT, it doesn't mean you are. Only if you can back up your claims with actual facts can you be right. It doesn't matter how much you threten, belittle, or annoy them. You can't be right without evidence.

Arguing opinions is a different game, and is much, *much* harder to score since opinions aren't facts. You can support them with facts, research and evidence, but you can't prove them. As such, there's no real point to arguing opinions beyond recreation.

There is no point in arguing opinions in a forum where one is arguing facts. Similarly, presenting opinions as facts and attempting to argue them as such is equally pointless. People who do this generally have no idea why it's wrong, and when they don't get their way with things, they'll attempt to end the argument and claim victory.

It is also becoming painfully obvious that our government officials have no idea how to actually hold a debate. Too many of them revert to mudslinging and popularity contests. It doesn't matter to them if they're right, just as long as everyone hates their opponent.

These things need to be fixed. Too many people argue this way, and it's completely non-condusive to a proper debate environment. No one's going to learn anything if they don't know how to argue properly. Think about this next time you sit down and discuss something with someone; you may be surprised.
Viewed: 89 times
Added: 6 years, 1 month ago
6 years, 1 month ago
Wow. Nice analogy ^^
Discussion is a skill many lack.
6 years, 1 month ago
Very nice post indeed... oh hey this is completely off topic but I've been meaning to ask for a while now, how come you guys haven't done any more readings of FFF...

Woops back on topic, I always did find it interesting how many people try to "win" debates, when really your not trying to win your just trying to not lose.

If your opponent can't come up with a reasonable flaw in your argument the you've already won regardless of weather or not you proved you're idea was superior.
6 years, 1 month ago
"Very nice post indeed... oh hey this is completely off topic but I've been meaning to ask for a while now, how come you guys haven't done any more readings of FFF...""

A. computer issues which would make recording a little bit difficult.
B. nothing worthy that we haven't already seen/been amused by.
C. we're lazy ^^
That said, we've been thinking about doing another 'who's that pokemon' thing.
6 years, 1 month ago
" It is also becoming painfully obvious that our government officials have no idea how to actually hold a debate. Too many of them revert to mudslinging and popularity contests.

I've often thought that this is an unavoidable problem in democracies that last too long. A government where offices are held based on the vote of the most people who believe a person ought to hold that office, will eventually build a class of people who specialize, not in being good at the skills required for government authority, but at the skills required to OBTAIN that authority through convincing the maximum number of people that they ought to be voted for.

The gloomy conclusion to this is that we complain about the government being full of politicians instead of statesmen, because of one of the core points in our very Constitution.

What solution? I don't know. Our elected government was originally an attempt to move away from an undesirable system of monarchy, perhaps a new style of government will exist in the near future. Hell, even our own system for elections and legislation at the federal level is mired in ancient politics: smaller-population states rejected the idea of an all-encompassing popular vote because they worried they would be ignored by traveling politicians. And now we have a system where politicians tend to ignore all but the "swing states," those whose demographics indicate that it would be most valuable for them to campaign in. We no longer have the excuse against the popular vote that it would take too long to tabulate and coordinate--we have results seconds after polling stations close, we have analysts crunching through massive amounts of pre-election poll data to predict likely results.
6 years, 1 month ago
Very good analogy. I honestly blame the politicians for turning the defintion of debate into 'low-volume shouting match'.
6 years, 1 month ago
To summarize my reaction to Guest Journal: Smash Hit, how has this not always been the case? And what use could this analogy be to people who either couldn't understand, or chose to ignore, a thousand other analogies--plus plain words--describing the same thing?
6 years, 1 month ago
You never know what's gonna work on a person to get a message through. Eventually you'll find the right way to say something to make them go "oh... well fuck, I've been doing this WAY wrong". It's unlikely, of course, but it's fun to try.
6 years ago
Education might solve ignorance, but there is no effective treatment for stupidity or narcissism. And unfortunately, the later two issues tend to go hand-in-hand.
6 years ago
Know what's funny? The analogy kind of lost me, but the straight-talk made perfect sense. I guess my brain's just a lot more direct than abstract, despite my being an English major. :P
6 years ago
It's generally not wise to indulge in hypocrisy.
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