March 2008

Prokofywatch: Richard Bartle Is An Evil Marxist Racist Roundeye

Most people on the Interweb are fairly normal. You know, they post pictures of their cats, sometimes they gossip about work, sometimes they bitch about politics. Much like people everywhere.

Some people on the net are… well, quite obviously crazy. You know the ones, it’s usually something about the patriarchy or the dangers of fundamentalist preachers or intelligent insect armies or long, disturbing fantasies about family members getting it on with each other. And that’s just science fiction writers.

Then you get the ones that are like speakers of foreign languages that you kind of sort of know. You cock your head to one side, because it sounds like they should be making sense, using words that you’re pretty sure are used by normal educated people, but put together differently. Until finally, after in-depth analysis, you realize that dear God, you just wasted your time, because this person isn’t just misunderstood, they really don’t make any sense.

As part of that, I give you Prokofy Neva, probably Second Life’s most infamous avatar and certainly one of its most interviewed by the mass media. There’s not usually much to comment about Neva’s blogs (yes, she has three now), mainly because she focuses absolutely on Second Life and treats other endeavours like MMORPGs and Wikipedia as ridiculous or evil or, usually, both. In fact, pretty much anything Neva doesn’t understand, or hasn’t heard of, she treats as dismissively unimportant. Like, say, SXSW, a live music and film festival that shuts Austin’s traffic and parking down on a yearly basis. Oh, wait, no, it’s not important!

While tekkies and geeks everywhere thinks SXSW is the epitome of culture, it isn’t really, because not only have most normal people never heard of it (it’s in Austin, Texas and a few thousand people go bar-hopping and watch movies and hear panels about games at it annually), those that have wonder privately if it has peaked.

Well, that explains it, I suppose.


However, apparently Richard Bartle made the mistake of giving an interview in Second Life, and in so doing, attracting the gaze of the lidless eye.

How *could* Richard Bartle and his MUDs and whatnot have anything to do with Metanomics when Richard Bartle, as a good British socialist and intrinsic Marxist (although he’d deny everything but the British part likely) is opposed to virtual economies. He really really hates RMT, and he wants to set up a giant commission in the sky to scold REALLY hard all those nasty smug little Chinese boys that go around gold-farming and interrupting everybody’s game! For shame! Shame, shame, little Chinese boys (and Western round-eyes who do the same thing, essentially, in Second Life or some place). Shame! Maybe if we all hold hands and chant STOP THE GOLD FARMING, KILL THE RMT really really hard, we can make Tinkerbell wake up and prevent money from leaking into and out of games! Evil money! Evil capitalism!

As I said, Prokofy looks at everything through the Second Life filter. People make money in Second Life. Therefore making money is good. Why would people be against making money anywhere else? Not that anywhere else actually matters, or that you’ve heard of. But Bartle’s said that he’s against RMT in games, and people call Second Life a game, therefore, burn the heretic! Plus, he’s English so he’s probably a Commie. Or gay. No, better go with commie. They’re all lefties there, donchanow.


But, we get some clarity as to what Neva is on about: it seems Bartle didn’t speak up when they came for the Jews, or something.

Or, he could have said, “Yes, we’ve seen such a textbook example of the dynamics of griefing in that utter savaging of you on Terra Nova in the w-hat thread, and the solution should be not banning people but enabling them speak in defense of themselves, to have good speech drive out bad eventually.”


Instead, he began this total nihilist Marxian rant about the impossiblity of ever having any sort of agreed-upon morality such as to define some minimal code of behaviour (he wasn’t even willing to concede a game-god’s TOS, it was wacky).

[Let us pause for a Moment of Reflection, and recall that when it came to RMT…evil little Chinese boys…gold…there WAS an absolute, rock-solid, non-subjective, absolutely objective moral imperative which we could all invoke, which was (*holds up Cross*): evil, evil game gold mined by evil evil kiddies disrupting the game and CHEATING *gasp*!)

But griefing? Naaah, no moral imperative. It’s anything goes. P.S. this is a good example why socialism always and inevitably turns to crime.

Note that Prokofy Neva is one of the few people actually banned from commenting on Terra Nova. Note that Richard Bartle is on Terra Nova’s masthead. AT LAST ALL IS CLEAR.


But just in case you still were confused, Prokofy Neva finally drives a stake in the Bartle Player Types!

Unfortunately, with the usual crashes and lags and idiocies, I couldn’t get more than about half of what he was saying, but he did dwell quite a bit (because unfortunately Robert Bloomfield set him up to dwell on it) on these four avatar classes in games, which were something like, um, let me think now: Asian, African, American, Middle Eastern. No wait. Man Boy Women Girl. Wait. Let me check my notes. Explorer. Doer. Uhhhh Entitlement-Happy Clueless Git Nutsack. And uh…


What was it again?

Remember kids, what we don’t understand? We mock. And I really, really don’t understand Prokofy Neva.


Gamecock: The Best PC Publisher EVAH

From Rock Paper Shotgun comes this tale of extremism:

Gamecock have announced they’ll be publishing an improved version of the Stronghold Crusader in May, going by the unbelievable name Stronghold Crusader: EXTREME. This will allow you to lob around over 10,000 (Count ‘em!) units, adds a tactical bar for firing “Super Moves” (Which I’m not entirely sure is historically accurate, at least if you discount tales of Richard the Lionheart’s Dragon Punch) and an Extreme Trail mode, linking hyperdifficult expert-only challenge missions.

Oh, Gamecock, you understand the mise en scène of strategy games so well.

J. is going to their EIEIO tradeshow apparently. Maybe he’ll kick Mike Wilson in the jimmy. For the children.

Adventures in Democracy

Last primary there were 15 people from our precinct to turn out for the primary caucus (the second step of the now-legendary Texas Two-Step… apparently, Texas is too big a state to limit you to voting just once). The state party warned of an expected 150%-200% additional turnout.

There were easily over 300 people tonight.

The local party organization was literally nonexistent – there was one (ONE) Democratic Party guy there who I don’t even think was an elected official but just a local lawyer, and who kept saying that he had never seen so many people voting Democrat in a single room (we were taking up an entire church). So the first order of business was literally to elect enough party officials to make the caucus legal – like, a precinct party chairperson (previous to tonight the position didn’t exist). Then we had to sign up and prove that we had voted in the primary already.

The Obama campaign. in its instructions on, instructed people that once you signed up with your preference, you could leave. Clearly they were basing this on state caucuses that had, well, any experience at all. Most of us looked at each other and said “Yeah, we probably better hang around”.

During this process after we signed off, we went to pew sections cordoned off in Obama sections and Clinton sections for 2 precincts (they were both meeting in the same church and both in equal states of organizational disrepair). The Obama sections immediately started cheering every time someone came and “joined the family”. One Clinton supporter came over and asked, simply, “Can you give one good reason why you’re supporting Barack Obama?” I responded with a verbal version of a post I’ve made on many Internet forums in the past year or so, about politics of the past 16 years being divisive instead of inclusive, and Obama’s core promise to change that and work together for all Americans. Another man, an old black man wearing a Vietnam Veterans ball cap, stood up and said simply that in his lifetime he never thought that he would see white people supporting a black man for President, and there was no way anyone could convince him to support anything else.

As we waited for the interminable signin process, the debates continued between the Clinton supporters and the Obama faction, fairly good-natured for the most part and actually made me feel really good about what this election is doing for just inspiring ordinary folks to get involved. The ethnic breakdown of our precinct, in my rough guesstimate was about 50% white, 25% black, and 25% Latino – most of the Latinos went for Clinton, all but one of the blacks for Obama, and the whites seemed about 60/40 for Obama. Finally the votes were tallied, and our precinct sent 2 delegates for Ms. Clinton and 5 for Mr. Obama (to loud raucous cheers). We then had to choose said delegates; the 8 or so candidates for the 5 slots stood up and said a few words, then we voted for each ones (having to vote 5 times total). It was about as complex as it sounds. The new precinct chairwoman and the Vietnam Veteran were both voted in as Obama delegates.

Finally, it was asked if we had any resolutions to propose to the state convention. One guy promptly stood up and said that we should make it so that instead of the candidate choosing a vice-president, they had to select the person who came in second. Despite the head shaking “is that even legal?” reaction from myself and most others, we voted… and the motion passed. Watch out, Constitution! OK, we’re finally done, 2 and half hours later. NOPE! As we were heading out the door someone else stood up and read a pre-prepared statement, in legalese, that amounted to a motion to impeach the Republican Governor of Texas. That passed too.

Democracy: it’s a messy business.

Unclear On The Concept Of The Election Thing

As we go into ELECTORAL FRENZY here in Texas (not that I would tell you who to vote for or anything) I noticed this election poster on another blog:


I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that the candidate (Gennady Zyuganov, last of the Commies) looks painfully like he’d rather be somewhere else, or the text: translated from Russian, it reads ‘BUY YOUR FOOD FOR THE LAST TIME’. Well, that certainly can’t be taken the wrong way.

Russian posters tend to be unintentionally (maybe intentionally) scary as hell. DAOC team veterans can attest that I had this one above my desk for the longest time:


I’m pretty sure it didn’t really do a very good job of motivating people to run out and join the army.