Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 30, 2012
 
Identity and personality

Tobold Stoutfoot was the name of my first AD&D character, a halfling rogue, from about 30 years ago. For the blog I had shortened that to Tobold, but with the forced integration of Blogger into Google+, the family name now appears on the blog too. Tobold is an identity I took, not the name on my passport. And having used it so long, and fought battles over identity with Google and Facebook, I'd say I have some experience with living multiple identities. What I have more problems to understand is the concept of multiple personalities, which was cited as a defense in the Mittanigate scandal. "Hey, I'm not an evil guy in real life, I'm just playing one!" Is that even possible?

Obviously I am not talking about the kind of "virtual evil" we might get pushed into in games with some sort of alignment system. I do not believe that whether you choose Horde or Alliance in WoW, Sith or Jedi in SWTOR, allows any conclusion about your personality. Playing black in chess isn't evil. Even "killing" in games isn't necessarily evil, sometimes that is simply what the game is about.

But this "it's just a game" excuse only holds up as long as we are talking about avatars doing in-game action against other avatars, with no deeper emotion involved between the players behind the avatars. That is not always the case. If you read the stated goals and announcements of the Goons, they do not just want to achieve in-game goals; they *say* they want to cause emotional damage to the opposing players. A "win" is not shooting down the enemy spaceship, a "win" is making another player ragequit in frustration.

I believe that such behavior is evil. I believe that Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco is evil. I believe that the real person blogging under the name of Syncaine is evil. I believe that wanting to win over the opposing avatar is okay, but deliberately wanting the player behind the opposing avatar to be emotionally or physically hurt is evil. And because this wanting to hurt the *real* person behind the screen is a motivation of the *real* person committing those acts of ganking, harassment, and bullying, I do not believe in the excuse that somebody is just "playing evil". You can have multiple identities, but not multiple sets of moral, unless you suffer from dissociative identity disorder.

Comments:
Well said, I applaud your sentiment.

The casually calous are deserving of our pity.
 
I would be cautious about using the word "evil".

For some this can be considered a badge of honour etc. To invest them with a title simply further plays to their ego.

In the case of such guilds as you describe, why not refer to them as dysfunctional or some other text book term. Label them in such a way that it does not play into their hands.

Such individuals have a specific agenda and motivations. By not responding in the manner that they expect, denies them a modicum of what they are hoping to gain. A bit like not feeding a troll
 
why not refer to them as dysfunctional or some other text book term

I think "dysfunctional" is far from a correct description of an organization like the Goons. In fact their organization functions extremely well. It is just that their purpose is a deliberately evil one.

In the end it is a matter of calling a spade a spade. If these people agree that they are evil and see it as a badge of honor, then so be it. At least we'd agree on something then.
 
I couldn't agree more. What I find equally disturbing about this whole Mittani affair is the amount of people defending him.
 
You forgot me from the list, am I evil too?

I'm not trolling here, I'm really interested about your opinion of evil. While my aims are clearly not to cause pain to anyone, I also clearly don't bother if it happens and dismiss it as "he was a moron or slacker, that's why he got it".
 
@ Gevlon We all have to ignore a lot of the world's pain. Anyone could easily prevent a child from dying by giving a small amount to a charity for vaccines but the world is too big and the problem too large for us to consider that neglecting to do so is evil.

There's a line and it becomes evil when you try to mess someone up. If you decided to sell ice cold milk at the AH for 6 copper at Christmas just to screw with the goblins reselling it that's fine. If you decided to do it to upset someone that's maybe a little nasty although perfectly permissible in a game. If you decided to do it to a suicidal person in the hope that they might kill themself that's evil.
 
@Gevlon: I have nothing to add to Stabs' excellent response. Indifference to the welfare of others isn't the same as actively trying to harm them.
 
This is an interesting topic. I've been a gamer for going on 35 years now, and I've never done anything to anyone in real life that would be considered evil.

However, as a gaming forum community manager for close to 3 years I've encountered my share of people who gloat, brag, belittle and keyboard commando their way into the psyche's of other players. In one example I watched from the sidelines as a very narcissistic community member went to great lengths to demean a player who I knew personally in real life. The big difference here, is that this personal acquaintance was bipolar and suffered from wild mood swings. No one in the community knew this, and far be it from me to make his condition known to the rest of the community. However, in an exchange that started in-game and ended up spilling over onto the forums, my acquaintance made the mistake of making a post hinting that he suffered from mood swings. The resulting attacks from the narcissist and others in the community caused my acquaintance to rage-quit the game and disband his #1 ranked clan, which resulted in the narcissist's clan moving into the #1 spot.

A lot of people put personal details about themselves on the internet that they should not be divulging. Some people are too thin skinned, unbalanced and/or get too wrapped up in the competition of a game for their own good I think. I saw one case where a wheelchair bound player made it known that his "wheelchair battery died" in in-game chat...well...you can guess what happened next. The opposing players used this to their advantage and got him so upset by making rude comments about his disability that he lost all ability to concentrate in the game and wound up losing badly. Was this "evil" by your definition, Tobold?

I'm of the opinion that psycholgical warfare is just as much a part of many games as is the in-game mechanics themselves. I'm also of the opinion that if you put personal details about yourself in the community, there is someone who will use that information to their advantage if they possibly can.

If you allow the virtual space to spill over into your own personal meatspace, and you had the ability to prevent it from happening, then all bets are off in my opinion and you become fair game for the above mentioned psychological warfare.

Tobold, I would ask you: Where does the line get drawn in regards to the psychological component of gaming/competition?
 
This is completely wrong and absurd. Sorry, but roleplaying an evil guild or player in a game and acting out the actions of said evil do not make you a bad person.

You are just wrong.
 
Where does the line get drawn in regards to the psychological component of gaming/competition?

Unlike you I don't think that if somebody mentions his wheelchair, it is his own responsibility if he gets insulted afterwards. Maybe the notion has become diluted in some games, but there was a time where playing with your guild mates was considered as "playing with friends". If you spend a lot of time together with friends, it is only natural that some personal information is passed. My guild even held real-life meetings, in which it would have been difficult to disguise if you are in a wheelchair, or black, or whatever people could attack you with.

Thus I think that psychological warfare that uses real-life facts and situations is crossing the line. Simply imagine yourself as being your character, as "the general planning to crush the enemy". That general could use purely in-game psychological warfare like threats from character to character, alliance to alliance. But he couldn't use any knowledge he had about the player behind the screen, because that is out of game.

Question back to you: You and a colleague are both vying for the same promotion. Your colleague is in a wheelchair. Would you consider it correct to use that fact that he is handicapped to point out how he is a less good candidate for the position? Would you do psychological warfare against him, call him a "worthless cripple", and all that? And if you wouldn't do that in real life, why would you think it would be okay in the context of winning a game?
 
Sorry, but roleplaying an evil guild or player in a game and acting out the actions of said evil do not make you a bad person.

I hear your opinion, but find that you just state what you think, without giving any supporting argument. Note that I make a distinction between acting evil purely in-game and in-character, and acting evil using out-of-game channels and knowledge.

If somebody writes on a blog which is outside a game "Killing off the weak is not always a bad thing", in the context of the discussion of a real-world suicide and not of a pixel death, how is that not evil? Would you want to live in a society where "killing off the weak" is an official policy?
 
@Cash Flow
Roleplaying is character vs character. Evil is human vs human.

Killing a character in-game is one thing. Insulting that avatar is another. Going after the person behind the screen is the line. If the real-life abuse of a person in-game has no real-life consequences, then there's a disconnect and the abuser feels powerful.

That fact is changing though.

Google "Jessi Slaughter" for a story about come-upance and "Liam Stacey" for legal consequences of online behavior.
 
I think the question is where you draw the line and stop applying real world moral and ethical principles to a virtual world. Can you judge Goons in EVE for their in-game actions with RL moral principles? Is it evil to boast your latest gank on the kill board? Is it just grownup kids having in-game fun?

But what if sandbox game mechanics allowed to roleplay lynching black avatars and boast about it on the lynch boards? What about molesting Minmatar slave children you buy in bulk? Or roleplaying in the prison star systems where you can turn other player avatars into "the roosters" i.e. lower layer of inmates who are subject of constant humiliation and gang rape? Is it still about having in-game fun?
 
Eve Online has always had this creepy spillover into real life, so much so that when I played it I took serious efforts to hide my real world identity. It can be unhealthy and Gianturco's drunken stupidity is contemptible.

It's interesting to me why Eve is like this; you don't see nearly the same real world drama in other MMOs. I think it's because of the game design; the combination of persistent world, PvP with consequences, and a 24 hour world. Serious players are often engaged in the game all the time so that the game and the real world blend together. It's natural to then extend the fight into real world stuff.

This level of immersion can be unhealthy, but it's also a measure of Eve's success. Players take the game so seriously it spills over into their real lives. It'd be neat if someone could make a game where that kind of seriousness was positive, where good players were lauded for their creativity and community. Unfortunately most player interactions in a game like Eve are destructive.
 
@Asmiroth Didn't Tobold go after the avatar of SynCaine in his post?

Ergo, Tobold is evil?
 
"If somebody writes on a blog which is outside a game "Killing off the weak is not always a bad thing", in the context of the discussion of a real-world suicide and not of a pixel death, how is that not evil? Would you want to live in a society where "killing off the weak" is an official policy?"

@Tobold Did Syncaine espouse an offical societal policy, or sis he suggest that natural selection has merit?

I think you read into what he writes and editorialize to meet your own preconcieved notions of him.
 
Link back: You don't know evil.

http://gankalicious.blogspot.ca/2012/03/fortuitious-friday-fuck-yall-you-dont.html
 
Evil is too strong a word in my opinion. But I, too, dislike people who want to affect me negatively and outside of the game.
 
I agree with everything you've written here except for using the word "evil".

Perhaps it's just semantics, but the word evil to me suggests an objective condition that is essentially static. If its there, it always was there and always will be there. One doesn't "do" evil, he "is" evil.

And I just don't believ in evil as an absolute.

To me, what we're talking about here are immature, thoughtless actions that are morally justified by mob mentality. Morally repugnant behavior is remarkably easily justified by individuals in even small groups,.

An interesting echo I've noticed from those defending all this (including Syncaine), is that the rest of us just don't understand. They are part of an exclusive group, and if you're not in the club, you just can't get it.

And yeah, they're right, because it's being invested in the group, and preserving it, that motivates the justification.
 
As a female gamer, I loathe to talk about myself in any way possible, knowing it will open up all kinds of comments and remarks based on my gender alone.

While I have sympathy for those who are hurt when admitting mood swings and disabilities (from commenter above), I can't help but think that the door WAS opened.

However, this does not excuse the person tormented those who they deem lower in status than their bullies. I play the "evil" side in video games regularly and I am not an evil person. I truly think that there are people who are just evil in this world and like to torment others in any way possible, hiding behind any excuse.
 
The anonymity our virtual identities provide us with have given us all great freedom to be whomever we wish.

I believe "The Mittani" ran into trouble because he was so used to not existing he had forgotten the responsibilities inherent in being a part of a real society.

As the lines continue to blur between the real and the virtual, many will die or be driven mad by the transition. People will be killed in RL over it.

The sooner we acknowledge that morality transcends the social framework that it is supposedly built upon, the sooner our transition from a real to virtual society can begin.
 
Hmm, a topic that I know first hand about.

There are people in this world that you will never understand. You can't really empathize or sympathize with them either. For all intents and purposes, they are alien to you.

When you are on the phone with your boss, do you act the same as when you are on the phone with your wife? Do you talk to your wife the same as your best friend from college? Of course not. Well, for some of us in the world, this is much, much more pronounced.

This is where I understand The Mittani a bit more than others. I believe his apology, as it was from Alex. He, just as I, take great care in how we sign things. If you see an apology from Alex, it's most likely genuine. If you see an apology from 'The Mittani', it's fake. You will also very, very rarely if at all see he or I put more than one name on something. Mittens, The Mittani, and Alex may well be three seperate people. However, this isn't DID or some form of disorder.

The easiest way to say it to someone with some psychology knowledge is it's like a sociopath with feelings. Something happened in our childhood that made us able to compartmentalize something other people cant, Morals. Our kind go through life mostly undetected. Our morals match what we do. At work, I am cordial, nice, and very empathetic. At home, nice and helpful. In standard PVE settings, nice and helpful. In Raid settings, very competitive and not so nice. However, I seamlessly go between each part.

While each outside facing personality seems different, the internal is the same. We are logic driven, and we do what is necessary. We lack a moral compass, so we borrow that of who we are around. If we are in a place that is filled with goons, we fit right in. You could be in a room with The Mittani, and you'd never know it. You could discuss D&D campaign settingss for hours and never know you are talking to the head goon.

How does this happen? It's rather easy. Imagine someone with no ego. I'm talking psych ego here, not the boasting of idiots. I'm convinced like me, he probably doesn't have one. This situation simply creates another challenge to beat. If he truly cared about reputation, he'd have stepped down long ago from the CSM.

He's already written the end-game here as well, and turned it into one of two out things as I'd expect. Either the Jita Burn campaign will end with him having a perfect out in which he can leave the goons cleanly, or they will come back two-fold and prove that they are the power in both high sec and null sec. There won't be a between.

Oh, and good and evil really don't apply to the practitioner of Freethought. We don't really put stock in probably most of what defines most peoples moral code. Just call us what everyone else calls us, cold-hearted and calculating. It's the easiest way to fit us into a category, and some of us wear it proudly.
 
Where is the line where someone goes from role playing a bad guy to actually being one? I think there are two ways this line is crossed:

1) You use tools outside of the "game" to play the part.

2) Your aim to intentionally hurt another player outside of the "game."

If you do either of the above, you're destructive to society (my definition of evil).
 
Games are like forums in that you can hide behind the avatar and do things you cannot do in real life without repercussions. It is like letting your dark side out. One reason I like racing games is I can drive like a maniac and do terrible things to cars around me knowing I am harming nothing but pixels. But to actually play a game and try to bring harm to the person behind the avatar, now that is something I could not bring myself to do. I feel that if someone has the morals to purposely goes after the real person behind the avatar then to me they could also do that in real life.
 
Yeah, not much to add, just saying that I play Eve-online, have for years, and I agree. Blowing up someone's spaceship, even spying on their out-of-game forums; may be done in a manner of a total jackass, but there's a big step up to purposefully driving someone to suicide, and that line could be labeled evil.
 
Evil is probably too strong a word. Alex AKA The Mittani is an asshole without a doubt, the Goons are dedicated to being jerks, but personally I reserve the term "evil" for a greater level of malice than that displayed in either case. Don't ask me to define exactly where the dividing line is - as a judge once said about pornography, I know it when I see it, and while I find The Mittani's conduct thoughtless, contemptible and immature it doesn't feel like real "evil" to me.
 
Question back to you: You and a colleague are both vying for the same promotion. Your colleague is in a wheelchair. Would you consider it correct to use that fact that he is handicapped to point out how he is a less good candidate for the position? Would you do psychological warfare against him, call him a "worthless cripple", and all that? And if you wouldn't do that in real life, why would you think it would be okay in the context of winning a game?

This isnt about Real Life™ supposition, this is about Real Life™ becoming a component of the virtual existence, especially since it can be controlled by the player.

There is a reason you keep your personal identity and the Tobold moniker seperate and distinct, and I would assume that you know all too well the -possible- repercussions of putting any of your personal details online.

I used to play D&D years ago, but I got to pick and choose -who- I played and interacted with based on the use of my five senses. However, I dont have the luxury of employing all five of these senses in a virtual online existence. I am forced to make my choices based on the parameters of said online existence, which is VERY limiting, so I chose a long time ago to keep my personal details seperate and distinct from my avatar's existence.

[sarcasm]
Maybe a ratings system could be employed that rated games based on the strength of the psychological component, with a warning to those who are mentally impaired?
[/sarcasm]

Dont want virtual avatars to know you have Real Life™ suicidal tendencies? Dont put it out there.

Dont want people knowing your Real Life™ personal details? Dont join sites such as Facebook...ect.

It's a sad indicator, but the first person to poison the virtual kool-aid, wins.
 
Sorry, evil is such a wide open topic that I am going to have to ask you to define your terms.

I am fine with the concept of being careful who you pretend to be, lest people believe that is really you. If you cultivate a "bad person" persona in public, you don't get to cry when people think you really are that person.

So SynCaine, The Mittani, or anybody else with an online persona that some find noxious... say Totalbiscuit for example, or Gevlon, since he wants to be on the list... are stuck with what they have created. Hey, even you and I are, since I am sure neither of us are 100% the same in person as we are on our blogs.

But evil?

Evil is a very flexible term... it is almost evil in and of itself.

You can find points of view where evil means unredeemable in the sight of God, worthy only of death.

Look at who we generally associate with evil. Hitler, Vlad the Impaler, Satan. Are you suggesting we need to add SynCaine to that list?

So when you start declaring people evil for being mean to others on the internet, I really want to know where your threshold for evil is and what it means, because it sounds like to you have trivialized the word.
 
I remember a book called Octagon by Fred Saberhagen (1981). The book had a plot where an online game was played and players ended up dying under mysterious circumstances.

I read this in the 90s as I remember but the idea stuck with me. I personally don't see as much difference between Cyber-life and Real-life dual lives.

Both worlds have real implications to the people who we come in contact with.

Sure I am known as another identity online because I choose to be. But mostly in play and discourse it's me. I yes "I" choose to be ethical and upright in my play because "I" am ethical.

I wear a white hat proudly. It is said that true Righteousness is what you do when no one is looking.

I can only wonder who was looking over Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco when he was learning to have no compassion for someone confiding a personal tragedy. I fear for him evil did influence him.

"Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on. "
 
@arcturus --"Sorry, evil is such a wide open topic that I am going to have to ask you to define your terms. "

Said like someone who does not believe in absolutes or someone from California. (Just kidding)

We know what evil is and how to define it:

"“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

But a few passages above this he says:
"“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

So who am I to judge The Mittani?
 
Is a lion evil for eating a gazelle, is the hunter evil for killing a deer.

There must always be a predator, there must always be prey.

It's the way of the world. If you are weak...then you are the prey.

If you let an online game affect your real life so much where you have to take your own life. Perhaps you were to weak to cope with life?
 
I think what happens is when someone suddenly promotes themselves to decide what is evil, soon enough they also start writing themselves a blank cheque on what they can do to evil people.

Which is exactly why Mittani was called evil to begin with. Because he wrote himself a blank cheque on how he could treat other people.

Don't go slinging names then latter using them as an excuse to treat someone however you want. Just stomach how your going to deal with them, rather than hiding behind the 'evil' excuse.

Further, from what I understand, Syncaine is fine with people who aren't good at a game, them ceasing to play it.

That's another thing when someone promotes themselves to the position of evil spotter. They start spreading the definition to anyone that peeved them. They don't bother writing up a metric of how to determine evil, they just make sure they are the authority and thus no one can prove that they are actually being petty and vengeful.

You somehow know evil and somehow you are beyond being petty and vengeful like every other human is?
 
highlatencylife.com, the very idea of society/civilisation is to attempt some sort of barrier to a preditor/prey lifestyle.

I have to wonder if you think everything you have is because your such a badass preditor, when no doubt actually you have benefited multiple times from societal structures that stop men preying upon men.

Preditor/prey ultimately fails - especially in the same species. Otherwise no one would have babies, because that's birthing another preditor. How long would that species last? It'd be a fail species.
 
"Indifference to the welfare of others isn't the same as actively trying to harm them."
What if the indifference to their welfare causes the individual to actively promote a system which harms those who are suffering? The goal isn't directly to harm them, but if they were not indifferent, then they would likely choose a plan which does not worsen their situation. In that case, the indifference has the same effect as malice: causing avoidable harm to others.
 
Now I am just a little baffled how almost the entirety of Tobold's argument was reduced to a debate on semantics. word picking is usually a sign that there are no other arguments around - but somehow one cannot admit to fully agreeing with Tobold.

on another note - natural selection analogies? LOL really? ahahahahaha.....among gamers and geeks of all places, enjoying the soft life, warmth and medical care of a modern, civilized society that couldn't be further removed from the harsh laws of nature.
you wouldn't last a day, but still quite priceless! I knew EVE had some special geeks fond of calculators but not badass predators and pinnacles of evolution!
 
@jimr9999us: The anonymity our virtual identities provide us with have given us all great freedom to be whomever we wish.

True, but I think the flip side has not been pointed out enough in these discussions. We tend to forget online that the people we play against are also human beings. It is difficult to empathize with another person when there are barriers between each of us that distance ourselves from one another, especially in an arena which pits us against each other.

That's why I think it's so simple for someone like the Mittani to issue what is essentially a license to harass to his fellow goons.
 
While I don't want to cite scripture like the Angry Gamer, he got the concept right of evil being a term of either religion or ethics. And basically all religions and ethics have their own definition of it.

I reject the notion that there is only one "level" of evil, and that we need to reserve the word for the genocide level of it. The English language uses the term of petty evil, and that is more like it in this case. But as an ethical term, evil is clearly in the intention, and not in how many people you actually manage to kill or harm.

And I agree with Syl, that the semantics discussion is just a straw man to derail the thread. If you would believe in absolutes, black & white, good & evil, would you still say that people promoting emotionally hurting people over a video game belong on the good side of that division? Or is your argument just that "oh, he isn't quite as bad as a murderer".
 
If you equate a hardcore gamer to a professional athlete (its a big stretch, I know, hehe), then its quite common in professional sports for players to exploit weaknesses of opponents in order to win. All kinds of mind games, intimidation, and bullying go on.

It makes me sick to my stomach, these kinds of tactics. I'm just trying to explore what is going on in the minds of some gamers that believe hurting others is justified.
 
Apathy and indifference to the welfare of others is in my mind nearly as bad as being actively evil. Turning a blind eye means you aren't there to step up when things get out of hand.

"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing"

or, to sadly Godwin myself,

" First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Of course, with today's level of communications and connectedness, it's likely impossible to be completely proactive, but even standing by as others emotionally distress or attack others is enough to qualify as terrible, if not actually evil.

Now, as far as Tobold's argument, I think its possible to roleplay evil without being evil oneself. In fact, good luck DMing without actually being able to manage this fact. But sitting by as someone like The Mittani effectively attacks and potentially destroys another player's life, self worth, etc? You're contributing to the problem almost as assuredly as someone egging him on.
 
And I agree with Syl, that the semantics discussion is just a straw man to derail the thread. If you would believe in absolutes, black & white, good & evil, would you still say that people promoting emotionally hurting people over a video game belong on the good side of that division? Or is your argument just that "oh, he isn't quite as bad as a murderer".

No, I'd say he probably thinks he's 'good' and 'white' (or whatever the heck black and white means).

Which all shows how twisted someone who is convinced they are 'good' can become.

But hey, it's only ever the other guy who has a twisted sense of what's 'good', right? Few, that's lucky - always the other guy! Never oneself!

I'm just advocating that no one think they are a blues brother - you are not on a mission from god.
 
When you use socially and culturally charged words like "evil", and then blithely consider protestations about that word to be semantics, you derail your own point.
 
Are you afraid I might emotionally hurt some of these people by using "socially and culturally charged words"? Or are you just looking for whatever apology for them you can find?
 
I think "dysfunctional" is far from a correct description of an organization like the Goons. In fact their organization functions extremely well. It is just that their purpose is a deliberately evil one.

In the end it is a matter of calling a spade a spade. If these people agree that they are evil and see it as a badge of honor, then so be it. At least we'd agree on something then.


Firstly, I meant emotionally dysfunctional. A lack of empathy etc. Standard borderline sociopathic traits.

I made no reference to their organisational skills, which I would agree are functional and efficient.

Secondly, as for calling a spade a spade, you haven't. You didn't use a universally accepted term that the majority of people would agree on. You chose very particular word that comes with religious connotations and thus a load of associated ideological baggage, which is not universally agreed upon by all.

So this does to a degree become a debate about semantics and that will derail the discussion.

Now if you had said, the Goons behaviour is unpleasant, mean spirited, bullying, odious or any other similar such words, most folks would more than likely agree with you.

Furthermore, if you had simply said, people who behave in this manner are [insert profanity of choice here] you would have nailed it. The point would have been made and we could all be home in time for Corn Flakes.

But you didn’t.

It’s that word evil. I never use it myself. It is shaped by wider set of ideas and concepts. Notions of inherent evil or people who are born evil.

Notions I reject.

Monsters are made. By us.
 
I disagree with people who are disagreeing with Tobold's use of the word evil. Yes, I understand that not everyone has the same definition of evil, and it is an emotionally charged term.

But you know what? There really isn't ANY universally agreed upon term for what these people who try and damage people in the real world are, and even if there was, it sure as hell wouldn't be emotionally neutral. Face it, describing someone as bad in ANY way is going to be emotionally charged, even if you only intend it as descriptive and not an insult or an attack.

Everyone quibbling over what to call these people seemed to understand exactly how bad these people are based on what they do and just want to use a different description.
 
@Sine Nomine: But... but... how else are we going to celebrate the lifting of the Tobold filter except by arguing over a senseless point like semantics?!
 
Face it, describing someone as bad in ANY way is going to be emotionally charged, even if you only intend it as descriptive and not an insult or an attack.

It's the lack of personal responsibility that's the issue. Tobold isn't recognising that he's describing someone as his own idea of bad - he just thinks he's pointing out they are evil, as if in some emperical way. The lack of responsibility coming from his inability to see he's using a subjective evaluation.
 
@Callen S: Since when is causing harm to others a subjective interpretation of evil? That's pretty much the simplest shared concept. Any system of morality starts with "don't cause harm to others" and adds on from there. Tobold isn't suggesting that that is the entirety of morality, but that it is a universal concept within morality. If you can find a system of morality which does not include some variation of "don't cause harm to others", then I will be amazed.
 
@Klepsacovic
While any system of morality does say "do no harm" people rarely think outside of their sphere of influence.

Company A lowers its prices to the point that they have driven Company B out of business. Company B lays off all it's employees. Former company B employees lose their homes while company A employees get to buy new homes and put their children through college.

Yes, sometimes doing what is good for ones self can cause harm to others even if it is unintentional.
 
In this case company A firebombed company B, and started an add campaign on TV asking everybody to drive company B employees into suicide through harassment. I don't think "unintentional" is a correct description of what The Mittani and the Goons did there.
 
I guess I won the blog war against Syncaine. He wrote a post full of insults without even coming up with the tiniest argument for his side. If that is all he and his friends are left with, I kind of pity them.
 
@Me: Company A did not cause direct harm, nor did it establish a harmful system. If you're looking for a harmful system, you could look at the actions of Company A beyond its pricing, such as manipulating regulations to its benefit (establishing a harmful system) or using harmful labor practices (in which case it did harm, but not to Company B)

Companies are meant to compete as that is the mechanism which drives innovation. As for losing their homes, I'd blame that on a mix of personal factors such as overborrowing and system factors such as a lack of a safety net for the usual, and necessary, economic ups and downs.
 
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