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October 28, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

The nerdiest thing you will see today.
posted by crunchland (153 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been to Dragoncon now for 4 years. Trust me when I say I've seen nerdy things at guest panels. MST3K probably was the worse. People Joel and gang will never recreate MST3K get over it.
posted by stormpooper at 7:06 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


exactly what it says on the tin.
posted by hippybear at 7:07 AM on October 28, 2010


This was great! I want to hire that kid to read Wikipedia aloud.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:08 AM on October 28, 2010 [28 favorites]


On the Itchy & Scratchy CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key?
posted by King Bee at 7:10 AM on October 28, 2010 [22 favorites]


Just a general observation here. A little more context in posts like this would be extremely helpful.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:11 AM on October 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


My people. I love them.
posted by Zed at 7:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is pretty nerdy, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm more put off by the two smug-looking jerks answering the question than I am at the nerdy guy.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:16 AM on October 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet, but linking to the full screen of some spotty kid strikes me as kind of annoying (and prevents the youtube preview from working).

Also, some context would be great. I've watched it and read the youtube page and still have no clue what this is about.
posted by Brockles at 7:17 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Haha, get it? Because the kid cares about something and is trying to ask a question, but doesn't have great public speaking skills, possibly compounded by the fact that the guys who make the thing he cares about are right in front of him. But it doesn't matter because those guys are smug and dismissive, so they pretty much ignore his question! Hilarious!
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:20 AM on October 28, 2010 [51 favorites]


A post about the nerdiest thing I will see today is, in fact, the nerdiest thing I will see today.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:21 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


A little more context in posts like this would be extremely helpful.

Post is fine - if we can have single link zero-context posts about fluffy kitties, we can sure have one about such a grave matter.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Other than looking in the mirror, yeah.
posted by tommasz at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is this getting so much play on the Internet? Is it because his voice cracks? Because he spotted a rather obscure continuity error in a game? It just comes across as making fun of someone for their interest and attention to detail, which is mean and not funny.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you limit your passions to things other people think are acceptable then you are a boring person and if you make fun of other people for following their passions then you are a jerk.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2010 [170 favorites]


Laugh it up, normals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:23 AM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


"That's all revealed in the next expansion."

Had that been the reply, they would've regained a number of lapsed subscriptions, and sold more of the existing tie-in books. But you look in the reps' eyes and you can tell it never registered. It was as if acknowledging the kid would be like bending over a dollar to pick up a dime.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:24 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I liked it because the cheering of the crowd which I took to be for the guy, which I found endearing.
posted by crunchland at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


My policy is to never make fun of someone who may possibly be building a death ray in his basement. Plus, this could have been me in 1986 talking to the guys from Infocom.

It gets better, kid. Good for you for caring about something.
posted by bondcliff at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


That is pretty damned nerdy, but you know what? Kid's evidently a fan, and the creators or whatever came off looking like smug jerks.
posted by katillathehun at 7:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I figured it would be "Red shirt guy" when I read the caption. (but why link directly to the video, rather then the yt page it's on?)

I'm more put off by the two smug-looking jerks answering the question than I am at the nerdy guy.

Seriously? At least they seemed normal. I'd much rather hang out with them then with red-shirt guy. Somehow I don't think the developers were the ones responsible for the blizzcon smell
posted by delmoi at 7:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love this kid, I am not laughing at all. Captain Creative Facial Hair and his Shiny Sidekick can fuck right off, though.
posted by padraigin at 7:29 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


It is only going to get better if we make it better, and we can do that by respecting other people.

Not saying you were not being respectful, bondcliff.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:29 AM on October 28, 2010


If you limit your passions to things other people think are acceptable then you are a boring person and if you make fun of other people for following their passions then you are a jerk.

A favorite for every beat of my heart.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Really the applause at the end speaks volumes about how geek culture treats this kind of thing. Red Shirt guy is way cool as far as I'm concerned - this is the geek equivalent of a crazy skateboard trick video.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


You deeply underestimate how nerdy my average day is, and how nerdy today is likely to be in particular.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


I dunno, Weezer covering Toni Braxton is hard to top in the nerdy department.
posted by arveale at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2010


I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this is that if he asked a similarly obscure question about, say, Pete Rose's batting average he'd be considered a sports genius and a lot of people would be in awe of him rather than making fun of him. It doesn't make sense.
posted by bondcliff at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


Btw, the kid said that his speaking voice was thrown off by a combination of nerves and hearing himself in the PA system.
posted by delmoi at 7:34 AM on October 28, 2010


Haha, get it? Because the kid cares about something and is trying to ask a question, but doesn't have great public speaking skills, possibly compounded by the fact that the guys who make the thing he cares about are right in front of him. But it doesn't matter because those guys are smug and dismissive, so they pretty much ignore his question! Hilarious!

Yeah, the first guy to answer is a total ass, but how is it ignoring his question for the second guy to be all "Thanks for pointing that out, we're going to fix that." I mean, isn't the answer to the guy's question "Yeah, we made a mistake with regards to the names"? I mean, there's no Inside Job conspiracy, it's just an error.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:34 AM on October 28, 2010


Also, was anyone else worried he's about to get phasered, blown up or otherwise inconvenienced halfway through the video?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm giving the guys on the stage the benefit of the doubt. They probably get asked questions like this every five minutes during Blizzcon. In the elevator. In the restroom. In the Q&A about game mechanics.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2010


It's weird that you guys are vibing on this video the way you are. It's clear that the devs know exactly who he is talking about as soon as he mentions Falstad and reference a novel that they imagined the character died in. And then when corrected, they seem genuinely interested in the fact that the game is mistaken about the lore. As someone pointed out on reddit, it's likely that Falstad will reappear in game with a dialog bit about being rescued by a mysterious man in a red shirt, because that's the kind of thing Metzen does.

The framing of this post is shitty, though.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [32 favorites]


I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this is that if he asked a similarly obscure question about, say, Pete Rose's batting average he'd be considered a sports genius and a lot of people would be in awe of him rather than making fun of him.

Oh, no. Baseball stats nerds are most definitely nerds. Don't doubt that for one instant.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


As I get older, I'm finding it harder and harder to fault those who mean well. This guy has a hobby he really likes and is presented with a rare opportunity to ask some of the key players about it. Good for him!

Hell, better than good for him because he avoided the normal Q&A bugaboos:

- He did not start out by thanking the panelists for their work, thus soliciting applause and wasting time.
- He did not ask a generic 'inspiration' question.
- He did not launch into a rambling personal narrative that ends pretty much with, "So what about that?"

No, he asked about some dude that seemed to have gone missing from the storyline. It's clear the panelists didn't know about it, so at worst he managed to remind them of the character's existence. If the panelists had known the reason why the character faded away, the entire audience would have then been treated to unique and previously unheard backstory to either the game's setting ("He was killed by Arthus in a failed rebellion..") or the creative process ("He was created by Jimmy, who got a job with Bethedsa, and we didn't feel like messing with his creation.").

The panelists dropped the ball here - this was a chance to talk about the creation (and summary forgetting) of minor characters in a sprawling world. The asker Queried With Righteousness, but alas, his answer was in another castle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [49 favorites]


they seem genuinely interested in the fact that the game is mistaken about the lore.

Maybe I'm just not enough in the know on this particular subject, but I didn't get "genuinely interested" from that at all.
posted by katillathehun at 7:37 AM on October 28, 2010


Bethedsa

Well, if you're not going to make a game without serious glitches, I guess I'm not going to type your name without a glitch too. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU, BETHMEDSA!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:40 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I actually don't think they were particularly smug and dismissive, and there's an understanding by the panelists and the audience that this kid knows the game better than the person who literally conceived and wrote the lore the kid is describing. It's akin to a boy correcting Homer on the Illiad, and or James Joyce on Ulysses, and those authors acknowledging the kid's insight and promising to fix it. Frankly, its a moment of embarrassment for the panel, and they could have been far more dismissive or just told the kid he was wrong or mistaken and moved on.
posted by shen1138 at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


A wizard did it.
posted by dgaicun at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm just not enough in the know on this particular subject, but I didn't get "genuinely interested" from that at all.

Well, the WoW devs love the game, love the world. It's so clear when you play through the game just how fleshed out it is. It may not all make sense all the time, and it may be cliched or whatever, but there is a terrible amount of thought that goes into generating all the storytelling bits.

Further, in the past Metzen (especially) has made some serious lore mistakes and apologized to the community about it. They want the world to be right. So when they have their giant grins on at the end, I don't see it as smarmy assholes looking down on a fanboy, I think they're genuinely pleased to have fans that fall in love with the world like they do and can point out these sorts of things.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:43 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, I find the hate for the developers in this thread pretty damn Bizzare. They are the people who created the game all these kids love so much. They are probably nerds too, but have more practice with public speaking.

The kind of banter they had seemed respectful to me, they acknowledged the mistake in a humorous way. And that kind of snarkyness is pretty common in gaming culture -- I think. (I don't really spend that much time playing video games)
posted by delmoi at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's weird that you guys are vibing on this video the way you are. It's clear that the devs know exactly who he is talking about as soon as he mentions Falstad and reference a novel that they imagined the character died in. And then when corrected, they seem genuinely interested in the fact that the game is mistaken about the lore.
Yeah, do you really think they were being dismissive of the questioner? He pointed out a mistake they'd made, they realized he was right and said they would fix it.
posted by delmoi at 7:47 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've already seen something nerdier (and WAY more educational) and I haven't even had my coffee yet.
posted by ecurtz at 7:50 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


One perfectly horrid boy came up to me at a booksigning and said, "You know in THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES where you have Phobos rising in the east?"

"Yah." I said.

"Nah." he said.

So I hit him. I'm damned if I'll be bullied by bright children.

-- Ray Bradbury.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:51 AM on October 28, 2010 [43 favorites]


Most people watching this video were directed to it to say "ha ha look at the nerd," and I agree that totally sucks. But I was heartened by the crowd's reaction and by the creators' (?) reaction. I don't think they come off as smug at all.

I think it's natural (and justifiable) for these guys to be a little bit amused by the world that they work in, where the membership of the "Council of Three Hammers" or whatever it is is so closely scrutinized. But the Simon Cowell look a like guy seemed genuine in saying "thanks for pointing that out" and I bet they really are going to fix it somehow.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:56 AM on October 28, 2010


Thank god for this guy and furries. They give nerds someone of their own to look down on.
posted by Legomancer at 8:00 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


What makes this video worth sharing isn't that the boy is awkward and a bit spotty-faced. He's a kid of indeterminate age, lacking social graces, but serious enough about his WoW-lore to ask about a rather sizable continuity error. And the red shirt? It's not a slobby-ass t-shirt. The boy is wearing a polo shirt to a 'Con, which speaks volumes about how seriously he takes his WoW. He perceives this game with all the seriousness that others save for a career.

In other words, Blizzard? You've just found your new continuity steward. Hire him.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:02 AM on October 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


It's always improper to laugh at misfortune unless that misfortunes your own.
Thousand of questions are asked everyday to which answers will never be known.
But in the end you become just a box full of bones.

posted by pianomover at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2010


I'll see your nerd and raise you a broken leg
posted by photoslob at 8:14 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ever since I found out our youngest son has Asperger's I tend to read these sorts of texts completely differently.
posted by craniac at 8:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hmm. My reaction wasn't that the kid was to be mocked OR that the developers were jerks. I saw it as a lovely, very true portrait of the love fans have for things and the sometimes vaguely overwhelmed feeling creators have when confronted with that love.

I didn't think he came off badly or they came off badly. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I got the feeling that the devs aren't being smug or smarmy - they are astonished that the most excruciating minutiae don't escape notice. They were busted, they know it, they know everyone in the audience knows it, and the one guy who doesn't know it is the guy who called them out on it. That's why they are smiling. They don't have an answer. "We made a mistake" won't satisfy anyone, and honestly probably dodn't occur to them to admit it, when they know everyone - well, almost everyone - realizes this already.

If most of our work - all of us, MeFites, human beings - were subjected to the kind of exquisite scrutiny that sci-f/fanatasy/fiction/literature/gaming, we'd...well, I don't know I lost my train of thought.

Red shirt guy was awesome. Real love for that guy. Anyone wants to dis him, meet my fists.
posted by Xoebe at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


You know that episode of the Office where Meredith looks normal and then all of a sudden she has huge red splotches all over her face and then she looks normal again and then the red splotches show up again? Whatsupwiththat?
posted by morganannie at 8:19 AM on October 28, 2010


Apparently somewhere in the comments Red Shirt Guy himself turns up to explain that the
reason he was talking so strangely was because of nerves and because he could hear his voice being broadcast over the PA while he was talking.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:26 AM on October 28, 2010


You know that episode of the Office where Meredith looks normal and then all of a sudden she has huge red splotches all over her face and then she looks normal again and then the red splotches show up again? Whatsupwiththat?

Wait, is this a real thing? I would like to see this!

(all Office-related continuity errors, in my mind, can be answered with "Creed did it as part of a larger plan, then forgot all about it")
posted by Greg Nog at 8:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wait, is this a real thing? I would like to see this!

Yes.
posted by morganannie at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2010


As far as Con Smell goes, it is always amazing to me that young male nerds seem to think that personal hygiene is something for the plebes.

Some established cons have empowered their security to order stinky people to take a shower and to eject them from the con areas until they smell better, and while I applaud the idea I still feel that there is something horribly, horribly, wrong with the fact that it even needs to be addressed. Blizzcon should do the same though, it isn't as if they're an obscure con that can't afford to annoy customers.

It does appear to be an American thing. At Tokyo Game Show I noticed no Con Smell, so apparently Japanese nerds know how to shower.
posted by sotonohito at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Btw, this is (supposedly) the guy's youtube page. He has one video where he sounds normal, except for the fact that he's trying to sound ironically nerd-ish. So it's kind of a turtles all the way down situation.

In the 'recent comments' he says he actually does have Aspergers.
posted by delmoi at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


ecurtz, thanks for the link. I had no idea the Ms. Ellsworth had a Youtube channel. That is pure awesome.

In regards to "Red Shirt Guy", good on him. He loves the game enough to stand in front of thousands of others to ask a very valid continuity question. That takes guts. Yes, he was nervous, and may not have polished social presence, but this may be a good first step for him to build such skills.

To all my fellow geeks out there. KEEP. ON. GEEKING.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 8:33 AM on October 28, 2010


At Tokyo Game Show I noticed no Con Smell, so apparently Japanese nerds know how to shower.

John Lennon has a different take on the subject.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:36 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, that guy's minute-long flash animation on his youtube page is amazing.
posted by King Bee at 8:39 AM on October 28, 2010


If this was Star Trek, that kid would be done for.
posted by mazola at 8:40 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"'Bethedsa'

Well, if you're not going to make a game without serious glitches, I guess I'm not going to type your name without a glitch too. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU, BETHMEDSA!"


Bethmedsa's a helluva drug.
posted by Eideteker at 8:44 AM on October 28, 2010


Btw, this is (supposedly) the guy's youtube page. He has one video where he sounds normal, except for the fact that he's trying to sound ironically nerd-ish. So it's kind of a turtles all the way down situation.

That digimon thing is sort of awesome!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2010


Yeah, I dunno -- those dudes don't seem smug to me so much as good-naturedly embarassed at being COLD BUSTED; the question about Falstad being dead seems to indicate that they're more than happy to engage with the kid in good faith.

Incidentally, now that I read that the kid's defending his odd cadence by saying it's because of the PA system echoing his own words back, I completely believe that. He has the same look of momentary panicky disorientation I've seen people get when they're high and surprised by the sound of their own voices.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute. What did happen to Falstad Wildhammer? Damn, I knew I had forgotten something. I spent a long time getting faction with those dudes in vanilla WoW, and they got rid of it altogether in BC, though the Wildhammers went on to Shadowmoon Valley.

What happened to Falstad? This isn't a minor question! Sure, he isn't Illidan or Archdruid Fandral Staghelm, but the Wildhammers are the primary providers of gryphon mounts to the Alliance!

It's like asking what happened to Dick Cheney after he left Halliburton to be Vice President then what? Where is he? Dammit! Undisclosed location is not an answer!
posted by Xoebe at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


I am so hot for that kid. And I'm not even gay.

WAVE YOUR GEEK FLAG HIGH.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2010


Context
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with the rest who've said similar things here—those devs love the game, and will fix it. It's OK that they were bemused and bewildered; it doesn't imply any disrespect to the kid in the red shirt; and his question will probably be rewarded with a witty in-game quest line or something.
posted by Mister_A at 8:59 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


True story. A friend of mine was the lead designer on on a Star Trek video game.

Late one night, he gets a phone call.

"Hello?"
"Hi, I'm Dave and I'd like to speak to Scott."
"This is Scott."
"Is this the Scott that's the lead designer on the Star Trek game?"
"It is."
"I noticed that in the game, the Enterprise-D has X number of phaser banks."
"Umm, yeah?"
"Well, according to the Star Trek encyclopedia, it has only Y number."
"Oh, I remember that. Yeah, we got the info from the Star Trek people, but in game balancing, we discovered that the ship was underpowered, so we added two additional phaser banks so that it was balanced against the other ships."
"Oh."
"Yeah, happens all the time in gaming. The writers on the show weren't thinking about how to make a good game, they only cared about what looked good on television."
"Got it. So, what are you going to do?"
"About what?"
"About the phaser banks. Will you release a patch that removes them?"
"A patch? Hell no. Do you know what goes into making a patch like that? We'd have to rebalance the whole game."
"Or maybe an option for players to remove it, if they want?"
"No. Wait, who are you again?"
"I'm Dave."
"How'd you get my number?"
"I looked you up in the credits. I guessed you live in the same city as your office. And you're in the white pages."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:11 AM on October 28, 2010 [72 favorites]


No, it was not, for I have a mirror. I use it to model my costumes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2010


Because he spotted a rather obscure continuity error in a game?

Yes. yes, a thousand times, yes. Shit gets overlooked in large projects, kids, and sometimes your Aspergery needs to accept this.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, it actually does take a lot to get in line and ask a question at a convention, because you're asking people who you really admire and you're just trying to keep the massive amounts of anxiety in check so you can ask the question clearly. I was asked to repeat myself, by John Carmack.
posted by hellojed at 9:22 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you limit your passions to things other people think are acceptable then you are a boring person and if you make fun of other people for following their passions then you are a jerk. --ChrisHartley

Ok, so... no I totally disagree with that statement. Screw the kid and the developers, I don't care if the kid is or is not socially graceful or if the devs are being dismissive of him or not... this statement about the proper use of human passions is misguided and dangerous.

don't believe me? I know a social misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions. He certainly wasn't boring. But then there were a bunch of Jerks from France, Britain, Russia and teh USA who first made fun of him and then tried to stop him. He got the applause of the crowds as well (maybe not later, but certainly in the 1930s)

Straw man argument? Maybe.

But it points out that I honestly don't think you want to say "follow your passions regardless of what society says" maybe "follow your niche hobbies" or "your amusing intellectually stimulative interests" or "trivial pursuits of detailed oriented obsession" ... regardless of what society says. That's probably innocuous.

But in that case I want to point out: How many man-hours of time has been devoted to writing and absorbing this totally made up lore? Lore which has no bearing or connection to the larger human community, history, myth, legend or literature? How many people have been spending time (MASSIVE swaths of time) with this trivia that they could better spent doing something to help the environment, or human culture or science? (Not to mention the server hours, computer time/parts/energy/MONEY wasted... etc etc etc)

No, following your "trivial passions" wherever they may lead because you are a beautiful and unique snowflake and should do whatever pointless thing you want to do, bar none, with no regard to the larger society or, more importantly the larger human/ecological community is not, in my humble view, viable. We are destined for more and even if we are not, we must do more to survive.

So in the end... yes, the kids a nerd, he should devote his efforts to something that might actually better himself and society and, most importantly, the grand-ecology of this earth. But the devs and the producers are assholes to because they perpetuate a system that steals time, energy, initiative and innovation from our youth and directs it towards meaningless triviality instead of something that might help lead to the sustainability of human life and human culture on this earth.

Flame away.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


When you create content, you create the chance for someone to love that content more than you do. And if they love it, if they really love it, they will find stuff like this.

There are fans of almost anything that will care about a particular aspect of that thing than the people who are making it -- because they are usually making much more than that one thing. The people onstage were caught in a continuity error, and the person saying this to them cared enough to bring it up.

Bringing it up out of a panel? Better than the way this was done -- no one likes to have mistakes in their work pointed out. But that's Asbergers - and I do not say that with disrespect. It is what it is. +1 attention to detail, -1 social timing.

I agree with the comment upthread -- hire him.
posted by andreaazure at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You deeply underestimate how nerdy my average day is, and how nerdy today is likely to be in particular.

Pretty much this.
posted by GuyZero at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flame away.

Why the hell would I flame the funniest thing I've read in weeks?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yes. yes, a thousand times, yes. Shit gets overlooked in large projects, kids, and sometimes your Aspergery needs to accept this.

... But he's asking a question about/pointing out an error in a product that right now is in beta testing prior to the December release date, and the developers are trying to get helpful feedback on.
posted by rewil at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know a social misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions.

You know who else was a misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions? That's right. The kid from BlizzCon.
posted by katillathehun at 9:31 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know a social misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions. He certainly wasn't boring. But then there were a bunch of Jerks from France, Britain, Russia and teh USA who first made fun of him and then tried to stop him. He got the applause of the crowds as well (maybe not later, but certainly in the 1930s)

are you talking about eric? that dude was awesome
posted by Greg Nog at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Did this thread just get Godwin'd?
posted by xorry at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


xorry: yes, yes it did. In a rather clumsy manner, too. Surprised all of us.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


... But he's asking a question about/pointing out an error in a product that right now is in beta testing prior to the December release date, and the developers are trying to get helpful feedback on

Maybe there's a reason bug-tracking systems are in place for things like this. Is a con the best place to address such things?

I wouldn't know; I'm too social to be a pure nerd.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:39 AM on October 28, 2010


... clearly you don't work with a bunch of programmers...
posted by ph00dz at 9:41 AM on October 28, 2010


DetonatedManiac: In 17 years on the Internet I have never personally been Godwin'd. But to respond to your argument, I believe Hitler should be critiqued because he killed people, not because he was a passionate person or a painter. I think judging people on the basis of the effects of their actions on others is valid.

And yes, people spend a great deal of time doing things that are not in the short term producing a better world. I saw an infographic awhile back that while it has taken 100 million human-hours to create Wikipedia, Americans watch 200 billion hours of television each year. This is just part of how humans work. Is time spent in WoW, LoTR, The Iliad or anything that is not bettering the grand-ecology of this earth wasted? Perhaps but it appears to be a intrinsic component of humanity - we are not machines, nor should we be.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:43 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know a social misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions. He certainly wasn't boring. But then there were a bunch of Jerks from France, Britain, Russia and teh USA who first made fun of him and then tried to stop him. He got the applause of the crowds as well (maybe not later, but certainly in the 1930s)

Geeze, I'm right here. No need to talk about me behind my back.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:44 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Maybe there's a reason bug-tracking systems are in place for things like this. Is a con the best place to address such things?

He doesn't necessarily have a beta key, which would be required for the feedback, and could have noticed the discrepancy after reading the novel and following the beta coverage provided by MMO-Champion, WowHead, etc.

And the quest and lore Q&A would seem to be the appropriate place to ask about lore, as the answer could have been that there was something planned with the Council that simply hadn't been implemented yet.
posted by rewil at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is time spent in WoW, LoTR, The Iliad or anything that is not bettering the grand-ecology of this earth wasted? --- I sometimes wonder if, on my deathbed, I will be gratified knowing that I managed to get to level 80 not once, but twice.
posted by crunchland at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


he should devote his efforts to something that might actually better himself and society and, most importantly, the grand-ecology of this earth.

Why are you posting on Metafilter when there is a homeless blind puppy in Wisconson who needs your help RIGHT NOW?
posted by bondcliff at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2010 [21 favorites]


Seriously? At least they seemed normal. I'd much rather hang out with them then with red-shirt guy. Somehow I don't think the developers were the ones responsible for the blizzcon smell

I got o gaming nights sometimes and once spoke to someone who was there, professionally, demonstrating a popular line of boardgames. He smelt so bad that after thirty seconds I was hunting for a polite way to cut the conversation short - and I've worked in a public library during the day.
posted by mippy at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


don't believe me? I know a social misfit artist in 1920's Germany who followed his non socially acceptable passions. He certainly wasn't boring. But then there were a bunch of Jerks from France, Britain, Russia and teh USA who first made fun of him and then tried to stop him. He got the applause of the crowds as well (maybe not later, but certainly in the 1930s)

What are you onning about?
posted by mippy at 10:00 AM on October 28, 2010


I sometimes wonder if, on my deathbed, I will be gratified knowing that I managed to get to level 80 not once, but twice.

In earnest, I want to ascend in Nethack before I die.
posted by Zed at 10:06 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm guessing that wireless mic was introducing some sort of delay, and the questioner was confused by the sound of his own voice coming back 1/2 second later. I've been on conference calls where that happens and it makes you talk almost exactly like this guy.
posted by jrishel at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2010


i don't know who any of these people are or what they're talking about but the joy of that clip for me was watching the faces of the two guys at the end. You could see, smell and feel the strain of their efforts not to say "Kid? A life. Get one".
posted by Decani at 10:10 AM on October 28, 2010


... clearly you don't work with a bunch of programmers...

Heh, no. I work on the support side of the building. i deal with people AND technology. The devs are very quiet, non-social, and they slip in and out without notice.
posted by Edison Carter at 10:16 AM on October 28, 2010


I'm guess we're supposed to find this kid laughable, in a NEEEERRRRRDS! sort of way; we're supposed to give him cyber wedgies and push him into the virtual girls' bathroom. If so, this post (which I am grateful for) backfired in my case. I watched it and was filled with ... love. Love mixed with sadness.

You know that line at the end of "Stand By Me"? "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?" That's how I feel about my nerdy youth. I've never since had such passions, either. And though I shudder to think of the hard times -- the yearnings for a girlfriend, the bullies who preyed on me, the general ineptitude I had in being "normal" -- I long for the joy: the sheer unbounded happiness I felt when I was immersed in re-reading "Howard the Duck," playing D&D or watching "Star Trek."

I have hobbies now, but they are much less obscure. Back then, the fact that only me and my small group of friends were into hobbits and androids was ... I don't know a better word for it ... cool. It was like we were in on a secret. We were special. At times, we were snobs. We didn't feel inferior to the normal people. We thought we were better than them. We wanted they jocks and cheerleaders to quit picking on us and go away, but we never wanted to be accepted by them. We wanted to revel in our geeky pursuits, which WE knew were wonderful, even if no one else did.

Seeing that video made me want to run away from home and go to sci-fi conventions all over the world. Thing is, I wouldn't fit in. I no longer like most of the novels, comics, shows and movies these people like. So I don't really have anything to say to them. Now, the geeky stuff I like is pretty mainstream. It's not the STUFF that I long for; it's the passion, the friendship, the adoration of details. If I went now, I'd be the nerd and kids like red-shirt would be the jocks. Though I doubt they'd give me a wedgie. They have better things to do, as red-shirt proved here.

Because he spotted a rather obscure continuity error in a game?

Yes. yes, a thousand times, yes. Shit gets overlooked in large projects, kids, and sometimes your Aspergery needs to accept this.

This comment mystifies me and makes me very, very sad. I am now a person who creates huge, complex projects. And, yes, they contain errors and always will, because, you're right, shit gets overlooked when time constraints meet complexity.

But I NEED enthusiasts to point out these errors -- even if I can't fix them. People like that make me better. They force me to never relax into mediocrity. When I am working on my projects, I am not trying to please those sorry people who say "Looks like someone has too much time on his hands." I am trying to please red-shirt. If I can please him, I win.

And I'm also always aware -- because I was a card-carrying geek myself -- that this sort of nit-picking is not aggression. It's LOVE. Jock culture (by which I mean the culture of the bullies who pick on nerds, not athletes in general) pick as a power ploy, to humiliate and best. In my experience, this isn't why nerds pick. They pick because they are true fans who want to work, as a community, to help make whatever they're into better, even if in no other way than to say to the creators, "Remember: we're watching. We're watching closely."

I'm sorry you don't value that. It's gold.
posted by grumblebee at 10:17 AM on October 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


I do value it. But folks like this kid get confused that people would allow such errors.
posted by Edison Carter at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2010


I don't understand what you mean, Edison Carter. They "get confused that people would allow such errors?"
posted by grumblebee at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2010


Flame away.

That was amazing. Not only did you un-ironically Godwin a thread about a simple video game nerd who demands some basic plot continuity but you managed to divorce interactive media from all the other fictional pursuits mankind has engaged in from cave painting to drumming on logs since before the dawn of civilization and agriculture under the bus at the same time! You're so right! It's not like imagination and visualization have had any useful place in society or culture. Oh, sure, it has nothing to do with our ability to reason, construct cities, practice our spatial reasoning skills, try on ideas for size or figure out the consequences and it never results in actions that give real form to dreams. Books are a waste of time. The Greeks were totally wasting their lives writing silly plays while they should have been inventing democracy! It's not like cell phones and communication satellites weren't first invented by science fiction authors writing "worthless" pulp stories or anything.

That's some seriously impressive gymnastics and a hell of an act! What do you call it? Wait, wait, don't tell me! Is it... the Aristocrats?
posted by loquacious at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Someday that kid will watch Galaxy Quest and say "OMG, that was me."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think he's saying that über-fans who immerse themselves deeply in [whatever] don't always fully grok the complexity of creating large-scale projects and thus are unable to grasp how errors such as the one pointed out by Redshirt can even happen in the first place. Because, you know... The creators... they should be on top of this stuff. Surely they love their creation as much as their fans do. Surely they know every detail of everything they've given birth to and can automatically keep all that straight as they continue creating.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's still real to me, dammit!
posted by sourwookie at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2010


I don't understand what you mean, Edison Carter. They "get confused that people would allow such errors?"

The kid (and people like him) seem genuinely confused when they see errors like the one he mentions. they seem to have a hard time understanding that PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. And that MISTAKES AREN'T INTENTIONAL.
posted by Edison Carter at 10:34 AM on October 28, 2010


Shoulda previewed. hippybear hit the nail on the head.
posted by Edison Carter at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2010


Do you mean that kids like this think that the errors are there because they creators don't care or that they want the errors to be there? Or that they're too stupid to fix them? I'm not sure where you get that idea (if that is your idea) but it's possible.

Form my point-of-view, as a content creator, it doesn't matter. I have a play running right now and there are some errors in it. They are there because I ran out of time and money, as I always do and as I always will. But so what. They are still errors.

It's not the audience's responsibility to know or care about WHY the errors are there. If that's what they care about, then they are caring about ME. "Oh, we understand, grumblebee. You ran out of time and money. Well, we don't blame you in that case."

I don't want them to focus on me. I want them to focus on the WORK. And that means, if the work has errors, that those errors are part of what they are going to focus on. They are fair game. I don't want them to say, "You fuckhead! You neglected X!" But I do want them to say, "X is wrong."

When they tell me that, I don't say, "Yes, but, you see... I couldn't help that, because the budget blah blah blah." That's MY problem. When an artists gives his fans the GIFT of his work, part of that gift is not burdening them with the problems of creation. I want them to receive it honestly, warts and all. The warts are the warts.
posted by grumblebee at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2010


That kid should get a job doing continuity for a game series. Seriously. That level of obsessive detail is pure gold.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:36 AM on October 28, 2010


The kid (and people like him) seem genuinely confused when they see errors like the one he mentions.

There's kind of a strain running through a lot of hardcore nerds where there is some part of them which does not comprehend that fiction is fiction and has no actual rules, no real cause-and-effect. I'm not saying that they think this stuff is real but that there's a part of the mind which treats it as though it has some sort of tangible existence somewhere. Which is admirable in a lot of ways, I think, and if you can create a world so immersive, more power to you. But in the middle of all this passion, there is sometimes the moment at which one forgets that charts and graphs do not apply, that the amount of weight Spider-Man can deadlift is not actually a set number, even if someone somewhere said it was. The same is true of games, especially one as dynamic as WoW - exactly how strong your level five elf is can change with the next patch. Sometimes one sees folks speaking from that place. That's kind of how this felt to me.

As a younger MONSTER, I read Wizard magazine now and again, and in the early nineties there was this horrifying running argument in their letters column about who would win if Iron Man fought all of the (then-current) X-Men. All kinds of folks wrote in with their proofs, citing this evidence or that, and the most satisfying moment was when a person who'd actually worked on Marvel comics said the obvious: The party which won would be whichever party the writer wanted to win, and that is that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:44 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Godwin has reminded me of "The Architects of Doom" (a fine doc, by the way, and highly recommended) that discusses the early life of some leaders of early German Socialism.

The main thesis is not that Hilter, et al, were students of art, design and architecture, but that they were /failed/ students of art, design and architecture. Failed, as in were unable to foment the art movement they so desired, and failed because they were not able to make their historical mark upon the world via their chosen artistic careers. It attempts to place much of the Nationalistic movement in the context of aesthetic choices informing the political, with the art , and personal, becoming the nationalistic and political. (As it was in many other countries around the same time.)

The doc shows how, time and again, important military and political decisions were made based on aesthetics and principles of design, even when those decisions jeopardized military or political ends. And the aesthetic choices became more fevered and grand as their newly minted Reich began to crumble.

Anyway, that's what I thought of when Godwin stuck his head in the door and yelled "HEY YOU GUYZZZZ!!!"
posted by clvrmnky at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


What is YOUR EXCUSE FOR TURNING MY BRAND NEW WHITE SHIRT YELLOW?


What is YOUR EXCUSE FOR TURNING MY BROWN EYES BLUE?
posted by stormpooper at 10:58 AM on October 28, 2010


There's kind of a strain running through a lot of hardcore nerds where there is some part of them which does not comprehend that fiction is fiction and has no actual rules, no real cause-and-effect.

I guess I'm still a hard-core nerd, because I strongly believe that there ARE actual rules and cause-and-effect in fiction. Most of my job, as a director, is working hard to get all of my staff to understand and obey those rules. "In act one, we established X, so you can't now do Y in act two."

The rules themselves can be anything the author wants them to be, but once he has started them in motion, they apply. Why? Because we can only understand fictional worlds using mental constructs that evolved to understand the real world. We evolved in a real-world that seems to have rules and causation. We can't help but apply those expectations to fiction.

One of the fun things about exploring fictional worlds is gradually learning how they tick -- how the terrain is laid out; how the populous things, etc. If rules are continually broken, it's impossible to learn.

We are used to walking into strange places where the rules we know don't apply. When I go to China, I expect to have to learn new rules. But I don't expect Chinese rules to contradict themselves. Maybe it rains a lot in England, but it doesn't rain a lot while it's also not raining.

I think pretty much EVERYONE expects fiction to follow rules: if, in episode one, our hero has a wife and two kids, most people will feel at least somewhat confused if, in episode two, he has always been a fatherless bachelor. Most people complain about this but not the fact that the ship is going at warp six when it was previously stated that it can only go at warp five because they don't remember the previous statement.

Of COURSE a rule violation isn't going to bother you if you don't remember the rules. Some minds are better at remembering complex rules than others. If you DO remember a rule -- and if you're passionate about the game -- you're naturally going to care when the rule is broken.
posted by grumblebee at 10:59 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't want them to focus on me. I want them to focus on the WORK. And that means, if the work has errors, that those errors are part of what they are going to focus on. They are fair game. I don't want them to say, "You fuckhead! You neglected X!" But I do want them to say, "X is wrong."

When they tell me that, I don't say, "Yes, but, you see... I couldn't help that, because the budget blah blah blah." That's MY problem. When an artists gives his fans the GIFT of his work, part of that gift is not burdening them with the problems of creation. I want them to receive it honestly, warts and all. The warts are the warts.


I completely understand. What I'm saying (and, btw, my son has been diagnosed with Asperge's, so I see this behavior up close) some folks like this 1) see the errors and 2) don't understand on *any* level that errors sometimes happen. This leads to furious arguments about Trek continuity (heavens). Keep in mind, I used to be that guy to an extent. Then one day, I sort of just said to myself, "it's not laziness or them being inconsiderate; sometimes details get overlooked."

hell, I don't know what I'm bitching about anymore.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:02 AM on October 28, 2010


That kid should get a job doing continuity for a game series. Seriously. That level of obsessive detail is pure gold.

It's rare for a game developer to hire a full-time continuity expert. I suppose Blizzard could use one, though. Typically the "continuity experts" are also game designers that have other skills.

The holy grail for this, of course, is being someone like Leland Chee.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this FPP while Mr. Ant and some friends were discussing the details of installing LED lighting on motorcycles with CAN-BUS electrical systems and I thought, "Nothing can out-nerd this."

I was mistaken.
posted by workerant at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some minds are better at remembering complex rules than others. If you DO remember a rule -- and if you're passionate about the game -- you're naturally going to care when the rule is broken.

Agreed -- I'm one of those folks. But, I guess as I got older, I learned to let a little bit go every once in a while.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:14 AM on October 28, 2010


I guess I'm still a hard-core nerd, because I strongly believe that there ARE actual rules and cause-and-effect in fiction. Most of my job, as a director, is working hard to get all of my staff to understand and obey those rules. "In act one, we established X, so you can't now do Y in act two."

What I'm saying is this: If you pick up a teacup and then drop it, it'll hit the ground. That is how things work (on Earth, at least). Once it leaves your hand there's external forces which get it from your hand to the ground. (There are of course situations where this doesn't apply, but you get the idea).

In fiction, nothing like this exists. There is no momentum, there is no external force. If a character drops the teacup, there's nothing but the storyteller to get that teacup from hand to ground.

The difference is between rules which are there whether we're aware of them or not, and rules which we collectively agree should be there.

What you're describing is not cause-and-effect but continuity, and I agree that continuity is very much a hallmark of good fiction, but there's no force in place which requires it to be there (although no one's going to pay attention to the story if one doesn't even try for it).

I suppose we're never going to know what the guy's intent was in asking the question, but it seems unusual to me that he used that opportunity to bring a seemingly minor continuity flaw to their attention. I've encountered the same in things I've read before, games I've played, or whatever, and my reaction has been to think "Oh, they fucked up," and then pretty much forget about it. It's made by humans, it happens - especially in a property whose story is as sprawling as I assume WoW's to be.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flame away.

Tip of the hat. 10/10. Perfect troll. There's a single tear rolling down my cheek.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:23 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I suppose we're never going to know what the guy's intent was in asking the question, but it seems unusual to me that he used that opportunity to bring a seemingly minor continuity flaw to their attention.


What I would say is that a continuity flaw is not minor if it bothers you. There's no such thing as a universally minor (or major) flaw, though there are flaws that tend to bother more people than others.

When I was a kid, I had a pet boa constrictor. Because of this, I know the markings on boas really well. Boas are not poisonous or dangerous to humans. Because of this, they are often used in movies, where they're supposed to be dangerous snakes (the actors aren't in any danger from them). The filmmakers assume that their viewers won't be able to tell one sort of snake from another. And they're generally right.

But I can't get scared by a boa. I just can't. So those scenes are completely ruined for me. I can justify. I can say, "Well, they needed to use a boa, because they couldn't put the actors at risk, so I can't really blame the filmmaker..." But the thing is, I'm completely uninterested in blaming (or praising) the filmmaker. I don't really care about him. I just want to be scared by the snake. And I'm not. It makes no difference -- at the time I'm not being scared by the snake -- whether the filmmakers used a boa by accident, out of stupidity or because they had no other choice. Whatever: the scene is supposed to scare me and I'm not scared.

I've encountered the same in things I've read before, games I've played, or whatever, and my reaction has been to think "Oh, they fucked up," and then pretty much forget about it. It's made by humans, it happens - especially in a property whose story is as sprawling as I assume WoW's to be.

Whether you can just forget about it depends on a lot of factors. One of them is how much of the fiction experience is, for you, about a relationship with a storyteller. There's nothing wrong with you if that's the case. We grew up hearing stories from our parents and friends -- and around the campfire. There was an actual storyteller there, and we DID have a relationship with him. So part of the the experience WAS about thinking "Good job, Mike! Good story" or "Well, there were a couple of problems with Amy's story, but I probably would have made the same mistakes in her shoes, so I can't really blame her..."

But not everyone experiences stories this way. If you're more the type that likes to get totally immersed in them, to the point where you forget they're stories, then "little" errors can be really jarring. They force you to remember that the whole thing is a construct. Some people don't mind thinking about that. Some people ENJOY thinking about that. Not everybody.

That thing you're talking about: Thinking "It's made by humans, it happens" is EXACTLY what I don't want to think. I want to believe it's real. And when all the stars are aligned, I CAN believe that for long periods of time.

Also, some people are more attuned to nuance than others. Some people are bothered by crooked pictures on the wall. Others can let it go. These are both personality types that have always been with us and that are here to stay.

I just heard Stephen Sondheim give a talk in which he chastised Oscar Hammerstein for writing a song in which the sky is "canary yellow." It was meant to be a romantic song about a beautiful day. Sondheim pointed out that this lyric was in error. That the sky is almost never yellow. If it is, there's probably a hurricane going on. Now you can say, "Jesus, Stephen! It was just a lyric in a musical. Don't make a federal case out of it." But the fact that he DOES make a federal case out of it is what gives us Stephen Sondheim in the first place.
posted by grumblebee at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thinking "It's made by humans, it happens" is EXACTLY what I don't want to think. I want to believe it's real. And when all the stars are aligned, I CAN believe that for long periods of time.

Um.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2010


Um.

?
posted by grumblebee at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2010


I think I get what you mean, Grumblebee. If I'm reading a book and there's suddenly this glaring typo, it yanks me out of the narrative. Or if I'm watching a movie and see a total continuity error, doing the same, yanking me out of the story, I assume you mean the same thing as that.
posted by crunchland at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2010


I sometimes wonder if, on my deathbed, I will be gratified knowing that I managed to get to level 80 not once, but twice.

My tombstone will read "Got Kingslayer during 10% buff."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:08 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I get what you mean, Grumblebee. If I'm reading a book and there's suddenly this glaring typo, it yanks me out of the narrative. Or if I'm watching a movie and see a total continuity error, doing the same, yanking me out of the story, I assume you mean the same thing as that.

Yes. And this sort of thing affects some readers way more than others because...

a) some readers can settle back into the narrative more easily than others, just as some people can fall back to sleep more easily than others, and

b) some readers enjoy being "engulfed" by a narrative more than others.

I LOVE being engulfed but, unfortunately, I have a VERY hard time relaxing back into a dream I've been yanked out of. It's largely a matter of trust. The yanking is so unpleasant that I don't want it to happen again. So once it occurs, I have to really feel like it's a one-time problem before I can relax back into a dream state.

Maybe Edison Carter wrote "um" because my claim that I could (and that I wanted to) fall into a state of belief in fiction makes me sound like a crazy person. Fear not: I'm not going to knock on your door at 3a.m. and insist that you help me rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch's dungeon. And if you tap me on the shoulder during "Planet of the Apes" and ask me if it's real (please don't), I'm not going to say, "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty ape!"

What I mean by belief is that I'm experiencing it without having any meta-thoughts about it as a construction. If you stopped me in the middle of "2001" (please don't) and say, "What is your feeling -- not your thought, your FEELING -- right now about whether or not this is real," I'd say, "I don't have any feeling one way or another. But I'm worried about that HAL9000 computer!"

Most of us believe that the world around us is real. But what does that mean when we're not being reflective? When I'm just going to work, doing laundry, talking to my wife and so on, does it make sense to say that I believe that my office, the washing machine and my wife are real? I'd say yes, but not in a propositional sense. I'm not at all thinking, "My wife is an actual person and I'm saying real words to her." I'm just having the experience of talking to my wife WITHOUT any consideration that she might not be real.

There actually are times when people work to make real-life less real, or at least less immediate. We say things like, "This too shall pass." Granted, we don't mean that reality isn't real when we say this, but we're thinking a meta-thought about it, and the purpose of such thoughts is generally to distance ourselves from immediate experience. Similarly, we say, "I'm not going to worry about what I cannot control" to realize that there are things we can't control and, so, to stop worrying about them -- to stop experiencing them so vividly.

Have you ever seen a movie -- or known anyone who has seen a movie -- that has scared them so much that that they've said, "It's just a movie!" over and over to try to distance themselves from it. That's similar. (But some of us LIKE being scared shitless by movies.)

So while I don't ever believe in stories in a pathological sense, I often believe in them in the sense that, while watching (reading, etc.) them, I'm not thinking about the fact that they're "just made up." In other words, I'm not thinking, "cool space warp effect!" I'm thinking, "The ship just went into warp!" Both of those thoughts might be enjoyable to particular kinds of people, but I WAY prefer the second one. The second one, when I'm experiencing the story as if it's real, is why I watch, read and listen to stories in the first place. I WANT that!

Just like "this too shall pass," a continuity error distances me. Any thought that makes me think about the author or filmmakers is a meta-thought. And meta-thoughts are (at least in traditional, linear narratives) necessarily distancing. Some critics think distancing is a good thing; some think it's bad; some thing it depends on the work. I'm not arguing that it's universally good or bad. Whatever floats your boat. My boat is floated by belief. Believe is DAMAGED by "it was made by humans and humans make mistakes."
posted by grumblebee at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The kid (and people like him) seem genuinely confused when they see errors like the one he mentions. they seem to have a hard time understanding that PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. And that MISTAKES AREN'T INTENTIONAL.

Ah, I get you. I guess it's just the difference in interpreting the guy's delivery as due to A. genuine confusion or B. nervousness plus not being used to the PA system. BlizzCon's Howard Dean moment, sort of.

It could well be the first, it's true; I've worked as an editor and have encountered that type. I went with the second reading mainly because he just said thank you after getting an answer, instead of pressing the issue like some of the more socially awkward folk can.

This guy was right, and he was polite about it, so on the whole: good for him.
posted by rewil at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It could well be the first, it's true;

Right.

But sometimes people like him (and me) ask questions like this because we really don't know the answer. I mean, of course I know that errors creep into works due to all kinds of factors, but is this particular glitch an error or is it something I'm not getting?

"How come the they said the ship had two torpedos but then they never fired the second one when they were being attacked?"

The answer MIGHT be...

"Because we screwed up. We're human. We forgot about the second torpedo when we were writing chapter two."

Or it might be.

"No, you weren't paying close attention. The first mate said that the second torpedo bay was jammed."

Also, it's really important (at least to me) to know whether or not the creators give a shit.

"Yeah, we screwed up. It happens. We try VERY hard to get all the details right, but sometimes something slips by us."

Okay, I'm going to keep participating, because I'm clearly dealing with artists who share my aesthetics and who are going to try their best to give me the sort of experience I crave.

"Look, it's just a work of fiction, kid. Don't sweat it."

Okay, I'm done. They are under no obligation to care in the way that I do, but I am under no obligation to go along for a ride that probably won't satisfy me.
posted by grumblebee at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


My wife the special education teacher likes to point out that one of the hallmarks of maturity is the ability to properly utilize concrete vs. abstract thinking.

From the linked article here:
Abstract thinkers are able to reflect on events and ideas, and on attributes and relationships separate from the objects that have those attributes or share those relationships.

In my experience with the gaming industry, I come across people for whom it's difficult to grok that something could even be wrong in the first place. "How could you have EVER gotten the number of phaser banks wrong? How is it even POSSIBLE for that mistake to be made???" They're not thinking abstractly -- the game is made by humans, humans make mistakes, other humans have different perspectives and goals than you do, it's a game, not a simulator, etc, etc.

This abstract vs. concrete issue is troublesome for everyone on some level, and especially young children, mainstream teenagers, people on the autism spectrum and people with traumatic brain injuries.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:52 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


'I have the best prices in all Cyrodil'



"you do not"




"I have the best prices in all Cyrodil"
posted by clavdivs at 2:00 PM on October 28, 2010


I think in the game industry there's a great rift between those who make the games and those who play them. Players complain about tiny minutiae because they notice them, and not the 1000's of lines of code that it took to put that minutiae on the screen.

Granted, it's great whenever a developer has any Q and A session, since they're typically closed about the process. You really don't know what it's like to work on a large scale game until you've done so, and until then you'll naturally have misconceptions about it.

Anyway, the only other question I've asked a developer was Valve's Robin Walker at the last game developer's conference. They were holding a seminar on what they (Valve) look for in prospective employees, plus information about the company. And at the end they were open for questions. Most of the questions regarded what the company looks for. There was one guy like the guy in this video; a sweaty, gangly nerd, standing right next to this 30-something Austrailian, asking multiple questions, enough to make them politely stop him so other people could ask.

So at this point I stop and ask them something about Crunch Time at Valve, crunch time being the tail end of the development cycle with 100+ hour weeks that cause burnout and other generally awful things. And he gave a really nice, long response about how they close the offices early so people don't overwork as a method to prevent burnout and keep morale up, and people only work late if they really want to. It was pretty insightful, and made me feel generally better about the career I had chosen for myself knowing there were some developers who treat employees like...humans.

But after that, the sweaty kid had more questions, and that went on until they kicked us out. He asks for Robin's card, and I can just read the guy's mind like "oh my God quit bothering me" (I don't ask, because the guys been hassled enough, right? plus I really didn't have a portfolio at the time, so I didn't want to waste any of his). I think at the end of his interrogation, the guy ended it with a "It'll be important...depending on where I end up" as if he was expecting multiple offers from different dev studios.

But that's the rift, and it can only be bridged with personal experience and knowing the realities of what you're dealing with. Having the opportunity to share knowledge is rare, especially at the developer level, so if you have a question it should be pretty informed. Otherwise you're kind of wasting everyone's time.
posted by hellojed at 2:32 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Curiousity about why things don't work quite the way they should has been the greatest contributor to the advancement of the human race.

Being satisfied with answers like "it must be a mistake" is not all that great a thing.

Of course it's far better to apply these skills to the real world, but he'll be there someday--if he's not there already.
posted by Zalzidrax at 2:45 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The conversation seems to have progressed well beyond the initial video at this point, but I just thought I would add my 2 cents about the video...

I don't think the guys were being that rude. The guy on the right was a bit rude, but I still think he was mocking the guy on the left more than the audience member.

I just searched and found this thread that has some more detailed info about it.

Based on that thread, that Q&A was dedicated to the lore/story behind warcraft the game, so the question wasn't out of line at all.
posted by ryanfou at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2010


If I'm reading a book and there's suddenly this glaring typo, it yanks me out of the narrative. Or if I'm watching a movie and see a total continuity error, doing the same, yanking me out of the story, I assume you mean the same thing as that.

One of my favourite parts of imdb.com is the 'Goofs' page for each movie. I enjoy that there are people who have reservations about this or that widely beloved period movie because one scene shows a sign in Helvetica two years before the font was invented or because a Chevy was depicted with incorrect hubcaps. These people must make an impression in a casual group.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2010


I knew a guy in high school who prided himself about knowing aircraft inside and out, especially helicopters. He would go on for hours about how inaccurate movies were. The movie Blue Thunder easily had him talking about it for a week. I'm sure the rest of you had a friend just like him in high school, too.
posted by crunchland at 4:20 PM on October 28, 2010


I'm sure the rest of you had a friend just like him in high school, too.

ALL of my friends are just like him.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 4:44 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The nerdy kid revealed, in a *very* minor way, a failed process at Blizzard. Managing worlds is a hard task. Part of the task's difficulty lies in convincing management that it's difficult, since they tend to care about major beats in the narrative and marketable aesthetics, and having people be around to just track events, write bible-y stuff and think about the world . . . well, let's just say that, as someone who does such jobs from time to time, this is not highly regarded stuff. You don't make the gameplay specifically *happen* and there are goons and PVP folks who just don't care -- everybody knows this, so you're stuck in a tenuous spot.

Now it's OK to ignore something after you know what it is. This makes it easier for everybody and what makes a guy like Leland Chee such an asset. You may not like Star Wars, but things like Boba Fett surviving multiple retcons as well as he has can be credited to good tracking and control of the property.
posted by mobunited at 4:54 PM on October 28, 2010


bondcliff: "I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this is that if he asked a similarly obscure question about, say, Pete Rose's batting average he'd be considered a sports genius and a lot of people would be in awe of him rather than making fun of him. It doesn't make sense."

Walking Sports Database Scorns Walking Sci-Fi Database
Scott Moreland, a walking database of sports facts and figures, scorned Tim Dansby, a walking database of science-fiction anecdotes and trivia, Monday afternoon.

"God, what a friggin' geek," said Moreland, eyeing Dansby in the food court of Willowbrook Mall. "Saturday nights, I bet he gets together with his other geek buddies and whacks off to Star Wars on video. He's probably never even gotten laid."

Moreland, a 27-year-old bachelor who spends most Saturday nights watching ESPN and checking for injury updates on CNNSI.com, then left the food court and headed to The Fan Zone, where he browsed a rack of extra-large New York Giants jerseys.

"Back in high school, there were a bunch of guys like that in my study hall. They'd spend the entire period talking about Alien Nation. I swear, they knew every line from every episode by heart," said Moreland, who can recite the batting average and on-base percentage of every member of the '86 Mets. "Who needs to memorize that kind of stuff? How useless is that?"
posted by Rhaomi at 5:28 PM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


As a younger MONSTER, I read Wizard magazine now and again, and in the early nineties there was this horrifying running argument in their letters column about who would win if Iron Man fought all of the (then-current) X-Men. All kinds of folks wrote in with their proofs, citing this evidence or that, and the most satisfying moment was when a person who'd actually worked on Marvel comics said the obvious: The party which won would be whichever party the writer wanted to win, and that is that.

X-Men. Clearly.
posted by Bonzai at 6:35 PM on October 28, 2010


I didn't watch the video (I have a real hard time watching potentially cringy things), but the comments here - endearing and funny and compassionate - make me think I can handle it. Also, I miss WoW. Some day, when I finish this pesky PhD, I'm going to spend like, 2 days*, nerding out on WoW like I'm 26, 27, and 28 again. I can't wait to see everything I've missed. And I am grateful for kids like that one, who are ensuring my game is still awesome and completely error free, so I don't have to suspend my disbelief for a single keyboard mashing second.

*2 days? Am I fooling anybody but myself here?
posted by iamkimiam at 11:24 PM on October 28, 2010


This kid should just be pleased he's not a Doctor Who fan. He'd never stop talking:

UNIT dating controversy
posted by feelinglistless at 12:32 AM on October 29, 2010


I've been playing WoW for awhile, but I can't tell you a lick about the story. I just like questing. I also didn't know the novels were canon. There's a ton of them, the Blizzard continuity people must never sleep.

Also, if I got to talk to the devs, I'd ask "Hey! Why'd you go & fuck up my talent tree? I worked hard on that!"
posted by broken wheelchair at 1:41 AM on October 29, 2010


We should set up a fund to pay Samuel L Jackson to drop out of the ceiling and stick up for people like this.

"The man has a question! Answer him!"
"Wha..."
"SAY 'WHAT' AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKERS!"
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:54 AM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know that episode of the Office where Meredith looks normal and then all of a sudden she has huge red splotches all over her face and then she looks normal again and then the red splotches show up again?

So I just watched Weight Loss again last night, and you were completely right! That was weird.

I'd forgotten, also, how good Mindy Kaling is in that episode, and how much I loved Oscar's description of "Michael Klump". What a good episode.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:15 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The cracked.com overview of the Q&A touches on this, as well as 7 other types of recurring questions.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 8:33 AM on October 29, 2010


Ah, for the days when Simpsons episodes were memorable.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 10:29 AM on October 29, 2010


I'm guess we're supposed to find this kid laughable, in a NEEEERRRRRDS! sort of way

I don't know whether we're supposed to, but I have to admit I certainly do.
posted by Decani at 11:09 AM on October 29, 2010


I don't like to reduce the sum total of a life to just the bad parts, personally. It seems inconsiderate.
posted by crunchland at 12:12 PM on October 29, 2010


I don't know whether we're supposed to, but I have to admit I certainly do.

What were your teen years like? I find him funny, too, but my laughs are laced with a great deal of self-recognition. I find myself (and the teen me) pretty funny. It's much more laughing with than laughing at.
posted by grumblebee at 12:47 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


response video from "red shirt guy"
posted by delmoi at 6:37 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dang! Would that all responses to tauntery could be so even-measured. This guy is tops.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Terrific response!
posted by grumblebee at 8:32 PM on October 29, 2010


Ok, I got the courage to watch the original video, and his follow-up response. I didn't cringe at all. He's charming and endearing and I love him.

Also, this video and community response is so overhyped that finally seeing it was kind of meh, which was actually nice.

I like that he said that he has Asperger's. It really shuts down the negativity in an honest and sincere way. Because really, now what? Awesome.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:57 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


a sweaty, gangly nerd, standing right next to this 30-something Austrailian, asking multiple questions, enough to make them politely stop him so other people could ask.

I can't be the only one who wished the Australian was Saxton Hale.

Sort of on topic: I was at a TimesTalk this past Wednesday with Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) and Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) in conversation with a theatre critic from the NYT.

When Q&A started, and it was a shitshow. The first kid stammered so much it took 30 seconds to get a question out. At least two 20-something geeks used their Q&A time to ask Wes if he would sign something for them. You could tell from his response (a weary "I'll sign anything you want after we're done") that he would rather have been asked real questions.

Then a kid who couldn't have been more than 13 got up and asked two very intelligent questions about how they shot their movies, including one about the blocking on Paranormal Activity and if it was an intentional choice to leave empty space or just a reality of filming.

As the kid went to sit down, the critic from the Times said that if he wanted a job as a film critic for the Times, he should come talk to him. I hope he was serious.
posted by Remy at 6:06 AM on October 30, 2010


=} Update {=

Falstad Wildhammer will re-appear in Ironforge. (Posts from Blizzard reps are coloured blue)

Scarlet Blouse Gentleman receives NPC for fact checking efforts.
According to a post on Reddit, the popularity of his question and answer have not gone unnoticed by Blizzard staff, as Falstad has made his return to his rightful seat on the Council of Three Hammers, accompanied by ... a gentleman in a scarlet blouse. This NPC, named Wildhammer Fact Checker, is an obvious tribute to the man who was clever enough to catch the error and confront Blizzard on it. While the NPC does not appear to be on the beta servers as of yet, blue poster Valnoth confirmed the existence of the NPC on the official forums. Hopefully Falstad's loyal Fact Checker will continue to keep the record straight as far as who should be where, and who definitely isn't deceased, in the future.
Good on him.
posted by Decimask at 5:35 PM on October 30, 2010


They actually featured this video on E!'s The Soup as this week's Clip of the Week, though they completely removed the audience cheering, and cut a little bit of the Dev's banter. Needless to say, it wasn't very kind to Red Shirt Guy.
posted by crunchland at 6:23 PM on October 30, 2010


If you'd like to see Wildhammer Fact Checker, check him out at Buzzfeed.
posted by harperpitt at 2:59 PM on November 1, 2010


I love his response video. It kind of makes me wish he was running for some sort of office.
posted by edbles at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2010


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