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Wow So Meta: The Power of Outrage

HM Solomon I

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This will be the first in the Wow So Meta series of entries. Wow So Meta will talk about the talk that occurs all the time on the CN forums. This entry will be on why outrage is so alluring.

One thing that really struck me is how much crap gets a great deal of attention, views, and comments. Of course, it's no secret that controversy breeds interest, but many topics and blog posts on these forums aren't particularly controversial but also aren't particularly well written, important, or interesting on the basis of their content alone. They are the reality TV of the CN world: the outrage posts.

Outrage posts, as I'm calling them here purely out of convenience, are posts characterized by drivel, nonsense, and/or outright stupidity, but which nonetheless provoke (sometimes even thoughtful) debate and interest. I'm thinking about such posts as those by Tywin, Loki, Buckaroo, Tom Riddle, etc., etc.

We as humans (except for the robot players, I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE DAMN IT!) are naturally drawn to that which is different from the rest. Being different can generate interest regardless of whether the thing in question is actually marked by any sort of quality. What's most interesting though is that despite the seemingly clear fact that these posts are, not to put too fine a point on it, !@#$, they actually do contribute in a positive way to the CN forums as they generate interest and activity that others can feed off of. Others can take that interest and activity and use it to garner interest in their much more high quality posts and content, in much the same way as viewers drawn to a particular channel for a reality TV program might end up watching something more high quality that comes on right after or before. They may even come to like the channel as a whole and end up watching other content that it produces on the basis of their liking one particular program initially. Even if this never happens, the ad dollars the channel gains from its reality TV programs can often end up funding more high quality program that might not otherwise be produced due to the risk associated with airing programs that aren't appealing to the masses. And that's how a seemingly annoying phenomenon such as outrage posts garnering more views, comments, and general interest than the more high quality ones can inadvertently help rather than hurt the forums on which they are all posted.



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If you actually bothered to read the post above, you would've seen that my definition of "outrage post" is not actually posts characterized by outrage. It's more about the reaction the viewer has than the content of the posts themselves. And my claim is that they actually do more good than harm, despite appearances and what many think.

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I don't think it's fair to lump Tywin in with the junk posts though. He generates political discussion from a strong IC perspective and even goes so far as to enrich the RP context of CN by adding new institutions like a news channel and a foreign affairs university. Even if people are annoyed at some of the content of these postings, this type of thing is (imho) extremely rare and precious in our game. If you remove the OOC/RP aspect from the forums, then the actual game gets stripped of any significance beyond a pixel generator.

The other posters that you mentioned seem to have no OOC boundary and can't keep their childish drama from spilling over into the nation simulation. There's nothing good that comes from that.

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Thanks Prodigal, but the entire article targets me as per the usual, throwing in those other names is just another shot in the post lol.

Not sure why I still merit this attention since Im semi-retired now and havent posted anything major in a while.

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Thanks Prodigal, but the entire article targets me as per the usual, throwing in those other names is just another shot in the post lol. Not sure why I still merit this attention since Im semi-retired now and havent posted anything major in a while.

Your ego is strong as always.

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Now now, I don't think he was insulting you, Tywin.

More along the lines of "The crap this guy puts out gets people interested in the more decent stuff."

Know your role, do your job.

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Pretty much what WarriorSoul said.

And ProdigalMoon, what you mean is he attempts to do all of those things, he just doesn't succeed most of the time. And even though the others I mentioned barely even try to put anything decent out (so they can't fail), they do contribute because it's nigh impossible for any activity to be worse than no activity at all.

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Also, Tywin, you and the others were only used as examples, this article isn't solely or even mainly about you. You would do well to recognize that every mention of your name isn't an attempt to lambast you or cater to your, clearly quite large, ego.

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Basically you're inefficiently using the word "outrage" in place of "troll." It is sort of clever since it allows you to group me with those others (I actually provoke outrage, the others tend to express outrage). Of course, directly calling me a troll is probably against the rules and also doesn't let you lump me in with those other guys who are not very effective at trolling.

Doesn't mean I'm saying I'm a troll, just dissecting your methodology. Trolling is good, Tywin is still bad, etc. Actually, despite your true intentions here, I thank you for your hard work in keeping me relevant while I am busy with other concerns.

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Basically you're inefficiently using the word "outrage" in place of "troll." It is sort of clever since it allows you to group me with those others (I actually provoke outrage, the others tend to express outrage). Of course, directly calling me a troll is probably against the rules and also doesn't let you lump me in with those other guys who are not very effective at trolling.

Doesn't mean I'm saying I'm a troll, just dissecting your methodology. Trolling is good, Tywin is still bad, etc. Actually, despite your true intentions here, I thank you for your hard work in keeping me relevant while I am busy with other concerns.

If you actually bothered to read the post above, you would've seen that my definition of "outrage post" is not actually posts characterized by outrage. It's more about the reaction the viewer has than the content of the posts themselves. And my claim is that they actually do more good than harm, despite appearances and what many think.

Guess again.

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Tywin, Tom Riddle, Loki, I'm sensing a pattern of disservice to characters here.

Characters who are cunning are lessened to being just annoying.

Buckaroo actually fits because buckaroo is all over the place with crap.

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I don't think any of the people I mentioned in my post are trolls, as trolls are those that intentionally try to provoke a negative emotional response, but inherent in my main claim is that the reactions are ultimately positive and that those making the posts aren't trying to provoke negative responses.

Furthermore, claiming that you are the only one who provokes outrage around these parts is disingenuous at best. Once again, you are attempting to make this all about you because there is no way you could possibly be one of many to do something, you must be a special flower.

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Commander shepard, my claim isn't that they are annoying per se, just that their posts are not nearly as high quality as others, but that they ultimately help the more high quality posts garner interest and attention.

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Yes, but it's not solely or even mainly about you, yet you seem to be claiming that it is. You and the others were examples, which I could recall off the top of my head, there are many others, and they, by and large, equally fit the role described in my OP.

You are, of course, free to contribute, as is anyone, but I'd ask that you stop trying to warp what I said to fit the needs of your ego or try to deflect some perceived but imaginary slight (which is another manifestation of the aforementioned ego).

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The only one doing the warping is yourself. You chose to categorize me with people very unlike myself in an attempt to marginalize the impact of my words. I'm sure you can get a bunch of people who lost the Disorder War to cheer you on (and maybe even some reactionaries on this side!), but let's not pretend this is anything other than a hit piece.

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It really isn't a hit piece, but I'm obviously not ever going to convince you of that. And no, this is actually not about the Disorder War or some attempt to put you and your views down, as I'm commenting mainly on the reactions to your posts, not the content of the posts themselves.

I will grant you that the content of your posts is very different from the content of the others I mentioned (though not necessarily different from all that actually fit the category I established above), but my point is it isn't about the content of the posts per se, it's about the reactions those posts generate. I actually like some of your posts, not very many granted but some, but that doesn't stop the overall reaction to almost everything you and the others post being generally characterized by outrage (using the definition prescribed above, not whichever one one might normally use).

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Whether or not a post generates a negative or positive response is subjective. I speak my mind, and I honestly couldn't care less if you like it or not. You can't just group all posters whose opinions are different from the majority into the "!@#$" category, while everyone else is good.

In my opinion, this is a !@#$ post. That's just my opinion though. and while the majority of people for whatever reason think my posting is bad, there are a number of people who like my posts. Hell, there are a lot worse posters than me, Tywin, Buckaroo, etc but no one ever gets on their case.

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It's not really that subjective, as I'm not claiming that the response is negative or positive, merely that it provokes outrage, which means that the responses, in general, are characterized by intense interest irrespective of the quality of the initial post. That quality will vary, but the responses will still be characterized by outrage.

And actually, your apathy for the viewers' responses is a hallmark of outrage posts, as it's one of the main factors that distinguishes them from outright trolling. Outrage posters (those whose posts provoke outrage) do not necessarily intend to provoke such outrage and they certainly are not intending to provoke any negative response (an outrage response, within the context of this article, is much more neutral than negative, despite the, now that I think about it, unfortunate term), they are merely putting their content out there and they either do not know what the responses will likely be or do not care.

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It's not really that subjective, as I'm not claiming that the response is negative or positive, merely that it provokes outrage, which means that the responses, in general, are characterized by intense interest irrespective of the quality of the initial post. That quality will vary, but the responses will still be characterized by outrage.

And actually, your apathy for the viewers' responses is a hallmark of outrage posts, as it's one of the main factors that distinguishes them from outright trolling. Outrage posters (those whose posts provoke outrage) do not necessarily intend to provoke such outrage and they certainly are not intending to provoke any negative response (an outrage response, within the context of this article, is much more neutral than negative, despite the, now that I think about it, unfortunate term), they are merely putting their content out there and they either do not know what the responses will likely be or do not care.

Outrage usually means a negative response, something that is subjective. Especially considering the fact that you started the OP off by saying my posts, Tywin's posts, and the posts of other so called "outrage" posters are !@#$.

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Actually, you were all used as examples, I know for a fact that there are many, many more that would fit into this category.

I admit that this line: "Outrage posts, as I'm calling them here purely out of convenience, are posts characterized by drivel, nonsense, and/or outright stupidity, but which nonetheless provoke (sometimes even thoughtful) debate and interest" was not the right way to word it. It put too much emphasis on the content of the posts themselves and not as much on the reactions, which is what really matters. For that I apologize.

‚ÄčAnd actually, for the purposes of this analysis, a majority responding in a particular way is enough since it's about the general reaction to a given post, not so much the content. The people give it weight because if they weren't drawn to such posts so intensely, it wouldn't accomplish the end result of outrage posts, which is to provoke so much intense interest that such interest inevitably spills into other content on these forums.

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Also, I fear you are misusing the term "subjective." If you polled a number of forum members and found that most react to a particular post in a certain way, you could quantify their responses, which means you could turn something that on the surface seems subjective into something much more concrete and thus more objective. Objective and subjective are not binaries, they are extreme points on a continuum, there is a vast sea between that is entirely grey.

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Also, I fear you are misusing the term "subjective." If you polled a number of forum members and found that most react to a particular post in a certain way, you could quantify their responses, which means you could turn something that on the surface seems subjective into something much more concrete and thus more objective. Objective and subjective are not binaries, they are extreme points on a continuum, there is a vast sea between that is entirely grey.

Even if most respond a certain way, it is still subjective because it is not every single person but a majority.

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