itsamoose

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  1. Star Wars Episode 8

    Not to harp on this point too much, it's just that this structure is to me perhaps the most interesting thing about the film. If you look at the typical blockbuster framework it goes 1) Introduce characters and conflict 2) Blow up death star 3) Big party In the last Jedi however, the universe's equivalent to the death star is blown up in the first 10 minutes, only for the film to make the point that the first order isn't just one massive ship that can be blown up. I hope that, if anything, big budget action movies going forward will have an example that proves you don't need to follow the same old structure and can try some new things.
  2. Star Wars Episode 8

    The point I was trying to make is that the movie takes a very specific view of people's actions, and to simply say it was about failure generally is to me a misreading. The action of the film in my view doesn't support the idea of it being about failure broadly and is instead about a specific mode of action. It has more in common with an argument about the lives of innocent private contractors on the death star than it does any mainline star wars film. I get Ben's comment was made jokingly--I contend that the distinction the film makes between costly victory and failure is more profound than a matter of semantics. The actions the movie frames as heroic are the ones made in the service of others without burdening them with the consequences, and the ones it frames as villainous or unheroic are those made for others where the decision maker isn't made to shoulder the responsibility.
  3. Star Wars Episode 8

    I wouldn't agree here. As Ben X points out, a Pyrrhic victory still results in a net benefit, but I think the argument of the film is that this benefit is short lived. If a football team wins a game, but in the process their star quarterback and running back are injured, that is still a win for the team. As an example, let's contrast a major action point in The Last Jedi with The Empire Strikes Back and beyond:
  4. Star Wars Episode 8

    I really think we need to stop putting so much stock in what people with stupid premises think about things. There are plenty of things to criticize about the film, but for fuck's sake it's the premise for the criticism that matters not the result.
  5. Monster Hunter World

    This is my first Monster Hunter, and after only a few hours playing it I find myself wishing I had tried the series out sooner. The world is absolutely charming, and so far I really can't say enough good things about the community. There is a ton of depth in this game, most of which is still a mystery to me, but for the first time in a while I'm incredibly excited about sinking my teeth into this one. There are a few oddities when it comes to matchmaking and online play as well as a few structural issues that are really not beginner friendly. In many ways it feels like this game has one foot in the modern era and one foot in game design from 10 years ago, which can be a bit frustrating after becoming used to AAA games that are polished to a mirror sheen. For anyone who might be interested in this game but hasn't played one before, I'd recommend choosing the sword and shield as your starting weapon. I made the mistake of picking a more technical weapon at the start which was ultimately an exercise in frustration. Thankfully however there are a number of youtube videos, wikis and the like that are definitely worth checking out before jumping in to this one.
  6. I just finished the first season of the Orville and really enjoyed it. I was expecting only to watch a couple episodes, mainly because the marketing makes it sound like decidedly bad comedy that I could only stomach for so long, but after about the third episode the show makes a more serious transition and starts to find it's groove. The show remains lighthearted for the most part but in many other respects it felt like a love letter to the next generation, where many of the episodes end on a question. I agree the tone can be all over the place, but I don't see this as a negative necessarily. Each episode stands on it's own and there doesn't seem to be an overarching goal of the series, which admittedly messes with the pacing but allows the show to have a broad range of topics to explore. I've only seen the first two episodes of discovery, and it's a bit so-so for me at the moment. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the season though, the plot is interesting enough and from what I'm hearing it picks up at about the midway point. I get why the comparisons are made between the two shows, but to me they don't seem like they're trying to be competitors. The Orville both structurally and tonally seems born out of classic star trek, while discovery is more in line with the JJ Abrams version of star trek which feels like it's own thing entirely. I really don't see the reason why these two shows are pitted against one another (maybe they were in the same timeslot?) as it seems to me like they aren't really comparable on more than a surface level. Personally I'm just happy that there are 2 star trek style things on tv now that I can watch.
  7. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    This is something I was getting at in my responses, mainly that a lot of the complaints against the current systems of moderation. There does seem to be a good deal of moderation going on in social spaces, it's just that the moderators don't hold whatever standard the complainant does, and any system of moderation is inherently reactionary. With regards to the latter concern, if a central authority is to be created as a means of pre-empting the organization of bad actors, that same authority would have to act as a middleman in each and every communication, effectively eliminating privacy of any sort. This is the basic justification behind espionage, particularly in the case of programs like PRISM in the US, and as I argued before assumes a sort of omniscience on the part of the authority. Not to mention it can be entirely subverted by even the most basic of cryptographic techniques like code words or communication cyphers. I'm not sure what sort of central authority is being imagined here, but to me it sounds like that authority would require a system of absolute surveillance to perform the stated function. More likely than not, this surveillance system would then have to be integrated with, or a simply a part of, a broader system of surveillance run by a state authority.
  8. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    I think we're not on the same page here. I am not saying that "a system which has human oversight is extreme", I am saying "a system designed to deal only with extremes will only be able to categorize things in terms of extremes". I am not against human oversight, I am against human oversight in the case where the people engaging in that oversight are paid employees of the platform holder, beholden to their business interests first and foremost. I am in favor of something like Riot's Tribunal system, where players are able to vote on the behavior of others, coming as close as possible in my view to an objective third party, and has built into it both benefits and penalties in an attempt to ensure those making those decisions remain objective. The point being that the tribunal system was designed from the ground up as a means of ensuring objectivity, and not just as a means of assigning authority. Do these services not allow you to block users? make your accounts private? Do they require you to view things you find objectionable? I admit my comment was a bit extreme, and I apologize for that, I only meant to say that not every sleight online deserves the same sort of response. Of course this only ever gets talked about in terms of actual nazis harassing people, so I suppose it's not worth discussing here. This was not my intention, I apologize if this came off as aggressive like with the previous comment. What I am trying to convey is that the design of a system, the minute to minute decisions that users involved in it are meant to make will have a significant impact on it's result. For example, the suggestion that thousands of people will be able to oversee each other in a social space. How would this work, in an explicit sense? As in, if you had to map out a decision tree or write it as a computer program, what would it look like? What needs to happen differently, in an if-then sense, in order for this to solve the stated problem? How would a system like this not just be majority rule, as you describe? Perhaps I'm not saying this right, but I don't mean to suggest people are incapable of responsibility.
  9. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    I'm not concerned with the idea so much as I am concerned with the method. It seems self evident to me, perhaps as a result of my profession, that you can predict quite reliably how people will interact with a thing based on how it works more so than the intention behind it. To say that there should be a singular authority present on a social media platform with the power to ban, edit, censor and generally monitor the behavior of others is the problem in my view, at least as a solution to hate groups on a platform. It relies on a specific context to be present within that authority, namely one sympathetic to a particular belief structure, and grants them explicit moral authority on opinion. The argument here isn't that a platform should accept this kind of behavior, only that the mere existence of such an authority creates a one sided power dynamic. It is not the empowering of an entity that is the problem, it is the way in which that entity is empowered. There can be no system of checks and balances when all authority ultimately resides with a single entity, in this case the platform holder, and all other entities are subordinate and subject to it's decisions. I have no checks over facebook or steam's decisions made with regard to my accounts on their platforms, and must sign over absolute authority to them in order to participate in those services. Fairness can only be achieved so long as the stated goal of the entity holding all the cards decides fairness is a goal. Social networks are certainly, I think it can be argued, a breeding ground for bad ideas but that doesn't mean that excessive monitoring or approval systems will diminish them in any real way. Gaming content, sexual content (sex ed, sexuality, lgbtq and the like), and many types of other content are all seeing their videos demonetized as a means of appeasing advertisers and to prevent the company from running afoul of any governmental authorities. Here we have, happening in real time, a perfect example of what happens when there is a central authority responsible for determining value in a social space. At some point it has to be the responsibility of the users of a platform, particularly as they become more and more like online town squares, to police themselves. We don't get to shirk the responsibilities of a free society just because it's hard and we have to keep repeating ourselves. So yes, by all means, shut down the nazi groups and ones like them, but that's not a real solution for anything that isn't so black and white. It's easy to propose these sorts of systems in the most extreme cases, but a system designed to deal with extremes can't help but see everything in those terms.
  10. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    I wasn't intending to make any value judgement, only to say that a compnay that effectively dominates their respective industry, be it games, social media, streaming or a search engine, can only really be hurt when they are maligning or annoying their customers in a direct way. It's the reason why we see massive online backlash to Netflix raising it's subscription fee, or youtube demonetizing videos, meanwhile there is relative silence when similar things are done by third parties on those services. This might be a little off topic, but I'm curious as to what sort of form you believe content policing as described would take on a social platform. Going by the example provided, if facebook took 1000 people and paid them 1000 dollars a day to monitor feeds, and given that roughly 1.37 billion people sign into facebook a day, that means each person would be responsible for 1.37 million messages to look over per person per day assuming each person makes an average of 1 post a day. What sort of approval or monitoring process would this entail in your view? Would everything need to be approved before it was made public? what should the penalty be for posting hateful content? Who should be the judge, and what responsibility should they bear? I don't mean to be dismissive here, it's just that this is a pretty common theme I've found in discussing topics like this with my more liberal friends. They tend to be so completely convinced that they are right, generally by comparing their positions to some extreme like naziism, and then associating everything that isn't what they believe with such extremes, to the point where even positions largely aligned with theirs are seen as corrupted in some way because they aren't exactly the same. Should just having certain opinions be grounds for removal from a service, or does there need to be some call to action to justify that? what role does popularity play? I understand this is a rather broad inquiry, as it is a broad topic, but that sort of monitoring strikes me as the sort of thing could just as easily be used in the service of hateful rhetoric as against it. I just don't see how such a structure could prevent hate groups from getting together online, but I can see quite clearly how it could become the machinery by which those very same hateful ideals achieve prominence. I can see how it would lead otherwise reasonable people toward such ideas for no other reason than they're upset that they aren't able to speak their mind (See the 2016 presidential election). To me it sounds like you're willing to hand over the reigns to a strict monitoring system in the hope that people who think and act like you would always be in control of it.
  11. Net Neutrality

    I've followed up on state level net neutrality stuff recently, since I was wondering how a lot of these sorts of protections would be implemented in the event only certain states maintain them. This article does a decent job of outlining how states would intend to do that. I'm a bit skeptical of the implementation here, mainly I'm not optimistic this will be anything more than a temporary victory at best. Recently comcast has shown a willingness to spend incredible amounts of money on even local government efforts to construct community broadband networks, not to mention how a lack of net neutrality could potentially make these networks walled off from Tier 1 services owned by or in exclusivity deals with bigger ISPs. The state could refuse to issue future contracts to violators of net neutrality, but the ISPs could just go to the federal level and get a law passed outlawing such a practice. The same is true with any legal challenge to state net neutrality laws, where the conflict would inevitably get elevated to the federal level which the likes of Comcast are willing to spend infinite amounts of money to maintain control of. Also, if a state successfully adopts net neutrality laws in a regulatory sense, it is notoriously difficult to prove the slowdown to that site was intentional, and there are no apparent regulatory bodies at the state level that would be able to enforce any penalties. I suppose net neutrality isn't officially dead yet, but there are enough wealthy people out there who want to kill it that I don't think it will be around in any sense for very long. Also, before you put your faith in democratic leadership to make this change, it's important to remember that they were some of the biggest recipients for Comcast's lobbying efforts in 2016. Personally I'm putting my hope in wireless, and a decentralized data network running on a blockchain as the thing that will settle this question once and for all, but who knows when that will come around. In the meantime everything is fucked, nothing you do matters and we all die alone.
  12. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    Isn't this the case with most online services? Most people and businesses use Facebook because it's the biggest service, and iTunes is still the most popular online music store largely because of it's legacy. Plenty of people have problems with these services, some of the most popular groups on social media are those protesting the given social media platform, and it's an open secret that all these services sell our info to advertisers. It's like the saying goes, "if you aren't paying for it, you're the product" and people have shown a pretty high tolerance in recent years to letting this sort of gray market exist so long as a direct through line can't be drawn from them to something that happens in their life. This is likely where I break with the general consensus here, and where I think Valve's libertarian leanings are a benefit. The more hands on a company gets when it comes to online services the more exploitative they tend to become of their user base generally. To me the benefit of steam is that they just provide tools and an accessible storefront, but are generally pretty hands off otherwise, not trying to make money on advertising, selling user data, and so on. I haven't looked into the steam APIs all that much, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a way to create a program that integrated the parts of steam you wanted, but cut out anything you didn't. Most of the complaints here seem to be with steam's handling of the social aspect of the service, and to a lesser extent the storefront.
  13. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    I agree about the sexual content, and I hope in the future they become more willing to engage with it. However this response also illustrates an important point. Until you mentioned "having 1488 in their username" I would not have known that was a neo nazi thing. The swastika sure, that's a pretty common one, but just because you're aware of something or see a particular thing in it doesn't mean everyone else does. Also, it doesn't mean that just because someone has 1488 in their username it doesn't mean they have it in for the reasons you describe. My e-mail address comprises my initials and birth date, but to anyone who doesn't know that it looks like it says "Male One", something I didn't even notice until a friend of mine started angrily berating me for being an MRA (I'm not), even after having that address for over a decade. This is why it's so difficult to maintain services like these, things are often not as they appear and the context is sometimes impossible to predict, especially given the passage of time. It's one thing to knowingly profit from this sort of thing, it's entirely another to not realize what is going on or not wanting to jump to conclusions because of your personal biases.
  14. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    I agree with the criticisms here, and yes I'm as disgusted with the youtube kids' videos as anyone else. I still don't think it's fair to attribute every bad thing that happens in a space with the people who operate it, any more than it is OK to hold a landlord responsible for the things their tenants do without their knowledge or consent. People use baseball bats to commit murders, but we don't hold the company that makes the bat responsible because it didn't do anything wrong. There seems to be a lot of conflating between valve, libertarianism, and naziism to give the arguments more punch, which I guess is par for the course on the internet today. Valve doesn't run the gambling sites, has actively discouraged their use and even caused a couple to shut down. Valve's presence on steam is massive, and just because something happens on their platform doesn't mean they are immediately aware of it or how best to respond to it. It is impossible to know everything that is happening, and even in the case where a company implements a top down approach to allowing content on their services (what I assume is being advocated for here) there are just as many, equally unnerving consequences. I don't want to get too far afield here, or sound like I'm being contrarian for the hell of it, as I do agree that valve has seemingly been unwilling or unable to take steps in some cases. However a lot of the criticisms I've seen assume an omnipotence that doesn't really exist. As though the entire scope of one decision's consequences can be known, corrected for, and controlled simply. Even something like world of warcraft, that doesn't have a real money economy, has gambling sites, gold farmers, item sellers and the like without any explicit or incidental support from Blizzard. I see this at work all the time, we find a site that has been using our material to sell it's products, and we shut it down only to have 3 more spring up in it's place. People make mods for games that espouse hateful ideologies, but I don't see how it's possible to stop this sort of thing without implementing some restrictive policy that would be unpopular to say the least.
  15. Is Steam (Valve) Good? If not, what then?

    so I've ready over the responses here and I'm not sure I'm really getting the reasoning behind the idea that steam is an immoral initiative. Amoral, sure, I buy that argument, but in saying that the service and therefore valve are immoral what principle are they directly violating? They create social tools, and hate groups can use these social tools to organize but the creation of those tools isn't violating some ethical principle as far as I can tell, and they have taken steps to remove these groups. If the criticism is that valve is too big, and smaller companies can't compete I don't see how then it is Valve's responsibility to create space for it's competitors to flourish--this is the job of regulation. If the trading system leads to abuses (moral abuses here, I assume valve does it's best to keep to the law in various countries) then it's the government's job to define what those abuses are and outlaw or regulate them. There are some criticisms to be made when it comes to ownership of digital media, but here valve isn't at all different from other companies--you own the things you buy until they say you don't. On the note about refunds I can't think of another digital service who has ever even offered me a refund, so while 2 hours is an odd bar I'm not sure how this somehow counts against them. Valve makes an incredible amount of money, and valve employees are extraordinarily well paid compared to the rest of the industry, but again it's the government's job to tax this wealth accordingly. To me it seems like the complaints about valve are really complaints about the government not effecting appropriate regulation for services like this, and I don't see how we can make moral distinction about valve itself on these bases. I don't want to sound like I'm apologizing for valve's practices generally, but from my reading of the comments up to this point it sounds like the expectation is either that valve has a moral obligation to act against it's own interests, or that it should be replaced by something injected into a game's executable run by a company that will more likely than not sell your usage data. Again I'm not saying that any of this makes valve moral or ethical, just that I don't see how things happening on their platform that we'd rather not constitutes an immoral action on their part. To me a lot of this is down to valve's decidedly libertarian leanings as mentioned here, and unfortunately many people on this forum seem to associate libertarian ideals with evil, therefore valve can be seen as evil. However it is that sort of libertarian thinking that causes valve to not require their games to have achievements, go through anything more than a basic cert process, not require games to have title screens, and generally create a space for games to exist that would otherwise never have seen the light of day. You'd be surprised just how much about games are down to these cert requirements, and this can have potentially large impacts on the design. Having shipped games (and therefore worked with the devkits of) Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and Vita, I can say confidently that steam's tools are far and away the best because they are so hands off. I't sort of hard to relate this aspect of steam, because the industry is so shrouded in secrecy and diverse, but a lot of the proposed ideas here valve already supports, but don't require their developers to implement. Just as an example, steam already gives developers the ability to generate a CD key for any game their service supports, regardless of where it was sold, it's just that most devs don't bother doing this. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think a number of these problems are oversimplified, which is more a problem of the economy of information in game dev than anything, and in more than a few cases what seem like obvious fixes are either supported or have been tried and failed in the past. I think it's important to remember that after a product like steam has been around as long as it has, we aren't necessarily seeing what is best, ideal, or even intended so much as we are seeing what has worked over the long term.