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Why ‘noob’ is my favourite insult

‘Noob’ has its origins in the word ‘newbie’ which in turn simply means someone who is new to (usually) an online game and therefore has a fairly low skill at its gameplay. ‘Noob’ or ‘n00b’ in turn is  a slang term/insult to signify someone who is both a newbie at something, but at the same time has a very inflated sense of their prowess and capabilities at that task. Often that would be coupled with a bad-attitude as such people seem to be prime victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The reason why I like to use it as an insult in most appropriate situations is that it connotes a lack of experience with an implied false sense of superiority/knowledge in one 4-letter word. It big advantage is that it’s not relying of ableism, whereas the insult is effectively comparing the accused to people with lower mental capacity or non-neurotypicality, which is something I’ve been trying to actively avoid doing.

Rather, being a noob is something entirely within one’s control; one merely has to recognize their lack of experience/ability and act accordingly. Therefore being compared to a noob is merely a one-two hit to one’s sense of skill and their attitude, which for many immature man-babies online, can sting even further.

To make matters even better, noob is the kind of word that can easily be used both playfully towards a friend, as well a more seriously towards someone who’s feelings you might want to hurt. Of course, it’s not appropriate in all contexts, but you’d be surprised in how many it can fit.


The equivocation of ‘censorship’

There is a common discussion that I see popping up whenever activists succeed in shutting down an event from some sort of reactionary, recent example being the cancelling of talk by notorious right-wing troll Milo Yannopoulos.

Among other arguments on the morality of events, I see people bringing up the idea that shutting down such events is censorship. As soon as this happens, usually an argument starts on whether it really is such. One side claiming that it is not because it’s not a state actor that is suppressing free speech, while the other is claiming that in the absolute technical terms, it totally is:

the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
“the regulation imposes censorship on all media”

However what seems to me is happening is rather some kind of equivocation. An equivocation in fact, between two meanings which on a word that don’t appear to be formalized yet as distinct in dictionaries.

Specifically, it there’s the popular concept of censorship which takes the above definition and adds “by state actors” in the end. Not only that, but more often than not, one will imagine also brutality involved and 1984-like images might come to mind. As a concept, this is the one that makes people icky.  In fact, this is the concept one attempts to invoke when they use it as the basis of the argument: “But it’s censorship!”

What is happening specifically is that all the unwritten baggage of “censorship”- which do not belong to its official definition but are attached to it anyway due to many years or red scare propaganda – are being used to undermine an act which does not share those characteristics at all!

The actual “censorship” currently happening, let’s call it censorship-lite for reference, might be technically accurate as a term to describe the effect, but if seen without relying on defining it, is quite a mild effect. In the case above it effectively involved people exerting peer (or sometimes market) pressure on some venues to not provide a platform to known reactionaries.

One would think, if such censorship-lite is not a big deal, why does it keep coming up from such valiant defenders of free speech (/s)? There is a further unspoken argument being packed in the accusations of censorship, in the form of the slippery slope fallacy. The point being made in subtext is: “This is how it starts, today you stop Milo Yannopoulos’ speech and tomorrow a boot is stomping a human face – forever.”

Please forgive my exaggeration but I hope it makes my point clear what is actually happening and why such arguments on the definition of the word never seem to lead anywhere.


Every 4 years

When you rely on one vote every 4 years to be the epitome of all your democratic power, it’s expected to become depressed when your choice doesn’t make it.

Organize and attempt democratic control in all aspects of your life: Work, Neighborhoods, Online Communities etc. Then not only will losing that 4-year vote not make you quite so sad, but you’ll see it doesn’t matter anyway.

PS: Holy shit the drama today is overflowing.

How I got involved in the design posse of Doomtown:Reloaded

I don’t know how many remember from my posting about it in the past, but I’ve been a huge Doomtown fan ever since I first started playing it back in 1998, in episode 5 of the first cycle, using common cards gifted to me from the FLGS clerk and a starter-home (literally. It was a starter box with the home card printed on the back).

My love for Doomtown is in fact what led me to start developing an OCTGN plugin to play it online, which was my first involvement with OCTGN around 3 years ago which eventually led me to develop my most popular creation plugin for it, Android: Netrunner.

Ye Ole Snakebite - Reloaded. This is one of the cards I helped tweak to be more universally useful in the new meta.
Ye ole Snakebite – Reloaded. This is one of the cards I helped tweak to be more universally useful in the new meta.

It was that renewed interest around that time which made me try to get the original Doomtown storyline in order. Because of this effort I was approached by Tim Meyer, and invited to help implement a Doomtown revival project working under the fan label of Harrowed Entertainment Group. We worked together for a while on story and design for that project even even though ultimately that effort didn’t pan out, it was not a bad experience and we worked well together. Tim went on to continue with more Doomtown-related projects while I went to continue coding more AEG, and later on FFG, games for OCTGN.

Then, around 2 years later, at around the summer of 2013 a certain Mark Wootton contacts me out of the blue with an offer I could never refuse:  Becoming part of the rebooting of Doomtown as an ECG!

It seems Mark had heard my name from Tim from our previous work together and told him I would be an asset, so I was asked to come on board voluntarily as one of the “old faithful” players :). I couldn’t believe it! Not only was one of the best card games ever coming back to life in the format everyone had been asking for, for years, but I was being asked to part of that effort. Christmas had come early!

I cannot be sure what exactly Mark saw in me, but after the first tumultuous months of early initial design planning, there was a definite split in the roles each volunteer would take, and myself along with Eric Jome were assigned to the Design team, to work alongside Mark in figuring out which mechanical elements of the original game to keep, which to tweak and which to drop altogether1.

And thus is comes to be that a year after that, not only is Doomtown: Reloaded finally announced like a wish-come-true, but beyond my wildest dreams, I’m sitting in the actual design team of my most favourite of games, actually crafting future cards and having a say in current and new mechanics!

Who woulda thunk it!?

  1. I won’t go into details on those aspects as this is a subject for a completely different post []

“Why I am no longer a skeptic”

English: Skeptics descend on Hollywood Blvd Ma...I can’t help but agree with most of what is written on this post. Lately I do not really feel that the label of “Atheist” or “Skeptic” is enough to make me align with another person, not only because we might not be sharing any ideology, but because very often, the outspoken skeptic and atheists online are just capitalism-worshiping right-libertarians or state-praising social democrats, none of whom proposing direct action solutions that might actually help people in the here and now, which is effectively why so few people from the marginalized feel the need to take up such labels for themselves. Which in turn is why the atheist and skeptic circles are dominated by pretty much the usual young middle-class white straight cis-male demographic and too often further dominated by reactionaries such as MRAs and right-libertarians.

Most other people prefer to fly the flag of an actually progressive ideology such as feminism or anarchism, or all too often, no label at all (Because there’s shitlords everywhere and is easy to burn out.)

Some choice quotes

On failing to convert people:

To convert their followers to skepticism, there’s no use in preaching, like Dawkins and Phil Plait, about the wonders of objective reality, however eloquently they may do it. Objective reality in a liberal democracy might well be wonderful if you’re a media personality or a tenured professor in a leafy college town. But for most people, reality sucks. And if they choose to reject it, I can’t blame them. Proselytising skeptics certainly offer them no incentive to change their minds. Skeptics ask society’s castaways to leave a reality in which they are good and valued people, and enter one in which they are pieces of warm garbage. Little wonder that so few take up the offer.

on being sexist bastards:

Skepticism, of course, is only one of the many online interests which attract barely-closeted sexists. But the particular attraction of skepticism is also its particular problem: it allows the sexist to disguise his prejudice as rationality and “common sense”. You can spot guys like this easily on skeptic forums: the word “feminism” brings them crawling out, like slugs after a downpour. For them, feminism is an unscientific discipline (but how could it be otherwise?), as nonsensical as astrology or Roman Catholicism, and as ripe and essential for debunking. They’re okay with women’s lib, within reason; but now it’s gone too far, and the firm hand of reason must rein it in. Reason, weirdly enough, never seems to disrupt their own grip on power. It’s always on the side of the patriarchy.

On elitism:

About ten years ago there was a short-lived movement to rebrand skeptics as “brights”. This proposal was widely derided within the community, perhaps because it revealed too much about the skeptic mindset. Many skeptics indeed see themselves as “brights” in a world of “dims”. And rather than illuminate the world, they prefer to gather on skeptic forums and try to outshine each other.

And other good stuff. It’s a long read, but worth it.