Editor's Note: The Dick Tax

matrix3509

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Sevre said:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.
I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a ******."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.
 

LordLundar

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2 major problems I see with this system just off the top of my head.

It forces online play - The only way you can get the discount is if you play online. Very few of my games on Steam are online and of those, only a few I play online anyways and very infrequently. That locks me out of it and if they replace all sales and discounts for this system, they might as well release the licenses from the steam client to allow players to bypass steam altogether.

It is way too easy to abuse - Got a vendetta on someone? Start a campaign to make them pay huge amounts for games and get a group of people to work together to give each other huge discounts. All this will do is start a reputation war that will not be pretty. Meanwhile anyone out of theses camps are easy targets.

There's a reason why prices are based on the product and not on the customer.
 

mcnally86

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Apr 23, 2008
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matrix3509 said:
mcnally86 said:
matrix3509 said:
I think you are massively missing the point here Russ. For all of your BS philosophical rambling, people are not asking for a utopian internet society. People are simply asking for an online environment wherein they are not the targets of racist and homophobic slurs.

I play with friends online all the time. Its competitive as all hell and plenty of f-bombs are dropped. There is a difference between that kind of environment and one which enables, indeed, promotes griefing.

We are not asking that people change themselves, we are simply asking for people to have some god damned self-control. You would not go to a soldier's funeral and fuck the corpse (unless you belong to the Westboro Baptist Church), so why should similar behavior online have no consequences?
I'm sorry are you familiar with the internet? Self control is damn near utopian. Also what if a little kid joins your f-bomb server and the dad walks in hearing you guys. He gets mad and the kid says its your fault, now you guys all get a bad points as the dad starts reporting you all. One of your friends is pissed so he gets in a shouting match with the dad. Now the kids account has huge bad points (that his dad got for him) and so does your buddy. Now your buddy wont play that game anymore because he objects to the dick tax and doesn't want to pay more than you guys to play that stupid game.
Geezus we aren't going to get into some damn "what-if" argument are we?...I gotta be honest that sounds like the most desperate grasping for excuses I've heard in a long time. Also, if someone stops playing a game because they are being dicks, and thus are being charged extra, thats called a plus.

Also to the rest of your weak argument, just repeat every argument regarding the ESRB ratings and disclaimers of ever heard to yourself. Problem: Solved.

Also regarding people who game the system, regardless of what you people think, trolls are in the minority in just about every online community (not counting 4chan), and the minority cannot game the system with any appreciable effect. You all seem to think that this system will be entirely without oversight, which is just irresponsibly ignorant.
I take offence to that sir I am very responsibly ignorant. You are being irresponsible with quoting ESRB to me. Children play M games this is fact. If you play online swearing sooner or later a child will join your channel. Given he may swear like a sailor too but parents will sometimes find others to blame.

Lets put it another way. If your dream team dominates another clan too much they will stop playing on your server when too many of you guys log in at once, they don't like the swearing and don't like to lose so much. Gabe's criteria for bad guy is getting people to leave the server. You are now a bad guy. Before this situation would be ok, they could just join a non-swearing server of terrible players. This is not a "what if" this is what we know of the system. If a group of people leave your sever you will have to pay more cash.
 

Sevre

Old Hands
Apr 6, 2009
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matrix3509 said:
Sevre said:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.
I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a ******."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.
I should have clarified that I was talking about those guys too. I'm saying that it's incredibly satisfying to p0wn those guys online. Yeah you're being griefed, but that just makes your revenge even sweeter. Admit it, when you manage to get that kill and people call hax, it's pretty satisfying isn't it? I take it as the highest compliment on a server to be called for hacks. Competitive games will always breed contempt, you should just embrace it.
 

mcnally86

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Apr 23, 2008
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LordLundar said:
2 major problems I see with this system just off the top of my head.

It forces online play - The only way you can get the discount is if you play online. Very few of my games on Steam are online and of those, only a few I play online anyways and very infrequently. That locks me out of it and if they replace all sales and discounts for this system, they might as well release the licenses from the steam client to allow players to bypass steam altogether.

It is way too easy to abuse - Got a vendetta on someone? Start a campaign to make them pay huge amounts for games and get a group of people to work together to give each other huge discounts. All this will do is start a reputation war that will not be pretty. Meanwhile anyone out of theses camps are easy targets.

There's a reason why prices are based on the product and not on the customer.
Ya I can foresee wallet greifing. Tricking people into losing points. But I believe valve said it was going to make everything multilayer now to some extent. No one know what this means yet though. What I'm wondering is how do they know how good you are before buying the product?
 

Psydney

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Oct 29, 2009
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Keldon888 said:
The system is a nice thought, but there is no conceivable method of judging this.

-Public popularity can be easily abused by groups.

^ This. People are notoriously good at gaming the system, and I find it hard to believe the very people Newell would like to punish wouldn't find a way to upvote each other to success somehow.

Assuming it isn't a joke. Which I kind of assumed it was.
 

mcnally86

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Apr 23, 2008
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Sevre said:
matrix3509 said:
Sevre said:
Honestly, Valve have missed one major thing here. We need bad guys.

Trying to encourage good behaviour is great, and boring. If we all played Goody-Two-Shoes the Medic who dashed across the map every time the E button is tapped we'd be playing Theme Hospital not TF2. One of the main attractions of TF2 is being a dick, look at the Spy class. There's nothing more fun than cloaking up to some complacent snipers and backstabbing them. The important word being 'backstabbing', they're encouraging this behaviour themselves.

After playing on a server for 10 minutes or so, you get a feel for who's a nice guy and who isn't. One of the most satisfying aspects of TF2 is going after the dicks. Y'know the kind, the spawn camper, that Soldier who keeps griefing you and every Scout player ever. Nailing that scout mid-jump with your sniper rifle is much more satisfying when he's dominating you.

It's only natural to bear some animosity towards people when you're playing TF2, how many times can that Pyro spy-check you before you ragequit? Valve trying to stamp out this animosity is ludicrous, how can you expect us to kill, maim and extirpate and then say 'Sorry about that, need a hand?'. This is CTF not a Jousting Tournament.

Taxing people for being dicks is ridiculous, the only reason we play online is to be dicks in the first place. We don't just need the bad guys, we are the bad guys.
I think you are mistaking "being a dick" with "playing the game."

When people say, "Don't be a dick" we mean, "stop calling me a ******."

Therein lies the difference between your description and what actually happens when dicks with anonymity have access to voice chat.
I should have clarified that I was talking about those guys too. I'm saying that it's incredibly satisfying to p0wn those guys online. Yeah you're being griefed, but that just makes your revenge even sweeter. Admit it, when you manage to get that kill and people call hax, it's pretty satisfying isn't it? I take it as the highest compliment on a server to be called for hacks. Competitive games will always breed contempt, you should just embrace it.
I think the criteria Gabe used for good/bad is how many people you can get to join/leave a server with your presence. So I guess this means making someone rage quit (satisfying to do) will cost you money. True some players want to play against good players but there will always be more ragequiters(me) than good players. I do not support back-stab tax.
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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Russ Pitts said:
Editor's Note: The Dick Tax

Valve's proposal for weeding out obnoxious players is nothing less than a tyrannical dick tax.

Read Full Article
The idea plays upon a very simplistic understanding of motivation. Basically, it assumes that people act like dicks because no one has told them it's a bad thing. Or perhaps that no one has told them hard enough yet.

In theory, it sounds great. Encourage people to be nice by offering incentives. We try this in schools, too. "If you don't have any detentions or office visits this month, you can go on this field trip!" Or maybe it's a candy bar, whatever. We would think, of course, that something like this is a fairly universal motivator... and, of course, it's not.

Think back to grade school. If yours was similar to mine, your teacher would sometimes have a "spelling bee" in class. It was a way to motivate students to practice their spelling words, because the winner would get a prize(!). In the end, students learned pretty damned quick which handful of students would be the "winners" each time. If you weren't in that group, you were just wasting time. It only motivated the top 10%. The bottom 10%? They'd make fun of everyone else for buying into the system, and they'd get their kicks intentionally screwing up and making everyone laugh.

The markers, candy bar, homework pass, or whatever prize? That wasn't anything that interested them. The attention they got for goofing off? That was far better. And in the end, they could get that attention for far less work, and not lose a thing. And the kids in the middle? It was easier for them to join the bottom 10% than to get into the upper, so that's where they tended to go.

It works the same when the goal is "being nice," rather than spelling. The kids know well enough that they're not going to last the month, and they're not going on that field trip, so they might as well really ham it up. Better the consolation prize (attention for misbehavior) than genuinely trying and failing.

To really change behavior, there are three things you need. You need to know the best motivator to use for each individual. Also, you need to have punishments that have an individual impact. And finally, you need to show them how to do the thing you're trying to motivate.

Valve's problem is that they can only have one of those things: they can provide motivators. And they're only providing a one-size-fits-all motivator, so that's not even working for them. They're not in a position to punish--that'll just lose them customers. And they're not in any position to instruct these people on how to be nice--that requires a lot of time and individualized attention (aka PARENTING) for which there is no shortcut.

Basically, the only way Valve can effectively change the customer culture is to discard customers. Being a dick? Banned. You can't play our games, and we don't get your money. That's the price of the customer culture Valve seems to want to build, and they're not willing to pay it. A utopia doesn't work unless everyone in it agrees on what utopia looks like, and that probably means killing off the handful that don't.

EDIT, because it's a dick move to bash a system without proposing an alternative:

What Valve could do, instead, is just improve each player's ability to control the environment in which he or she plays. Streamlining the banning/blocking process, providing options for age filters, and making it easier and more accessible to add friends and find games with the same group of people each time. In practice, by allowing people to exclude the dicks themselves, those people can feel as though they're living in a dick-free environment. The dicks can go be dicks with the other dicks
 

Johnson McGee

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I agree with the point about dicks being emboldened by paying an additional fee. It's the same kind of thing when someone buys a hybrid car and then drives it twice as much because it's 'greener.' Also, I can see griefers abusing the system by pegging other players with negative comments and reviews to make them pay more, based on a personal vendetta.
 

Sunder845

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Sep 9, 2009
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I like any idea that removes the dicks from online play, I dont play many multiplayer games solely because of the behavior of your average anonymous gamer.

I think a lot of people are looking at this the wrong way, I dont think of it as punishing people who act like dicks, I consider it to be rewarding the people who adhere to a set of guidelines for Valve's gaming community. It's like getting a "Good Customer" discount if you will.

However, I do see a lot of potential for abuse in this program, and if they seriously are considering it they will have to address that.

But let's face it fellow gamers, the gaming environment as it stands can be pretty toxic, if you dont believe me just go sit in the lobby for an Xbox live multiplayer game (Halo 3 is particularly good for this) your ears will bleed.
 

matrix3509

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mcnally86 said:
matrix3509 said:
mcnally86 said:
matrix3509 said:
I think you are massively missing the point here Russ. For all of your BS philosophical rambling, people are not asking for a utopian internet society. People are simply asking for an online environment wherein they are not the targets of racist and homophobic slurs.

I play with friends online all the time. Its competitive as all hell and plenty of f-bombs are dropped. There is a difference between that kind of environment and one which enables, indeed, promotes griefing.

We are not asking that people change themselves, we are simply asking for people to have some god damned self-control. You would not go to a soldier's funeral and fuck the corpse (unless you belong to the Westboro Baptist Church), so why should similar behavior online have no consequences?
I'm sorry are you familiar with the internet? Self control is damn near utopian. Also what if a little kid joins your f-bomb server and the dad walks in hearing you guys. He gets mad and the kid says its your fault, now you guys all get a bad points as the dad starts reporting you all. One of your friends is pissed so he gets in a shouting match with the dad. Now the kids account has huge bad points (that his dad got for him) and so does your buddy. Now your buddy wont play that game anymore because he objects to the dick tax and doesn't want to pay more than you guys to play that stupid game.
Geezus we aren't going to get into some damn "what-if" argument are we?...I gotta be honest that sounds like the most desperate grasping for excuses I've heard in a long time. Also, if someone stops playing a game because they are being dicks, and thus are being charged extra, thats called a plus.

Also to the rest of your weak argument, just repeat every argument regarding the ESRB ratings and disclaimers of ever heard to yourself. Problem: Solved.

Also regarding people who game the system, regardless of what you people think, trolls are in the minority in just about every online community (not counting 4chan), and the minority cannot game the system with any appreciable effect. You all seem to think that this system will be entirely without oversight, which is just irresponsibly ignorant.
I take offence to that sir I am very responsibly ignorant. You are being irresponsible with quoting ESRB to me. Children play M games this is fact. If you play online swearing sooner or later a child will join your channel. Given he may swear like a sailor too but parents will sometimes find others to blame.

Lets put it another way. If your dream team dominates another clan too much they will stop playing on your server when too many of you guys log in at once, they don't like the swearing and don't like to lose so much. Gabe's criteria for bad guy is getting people to leave the server. You are now a bad guy. Before this situation would be ok, they could just join a non-swearing server of terrible players. This is not a "what if" this is what we know of the system. If a group of people leave your sever you will have to pay more cash.
Yes, yes, "Child will play M rated games"...blah,blah,blah...sorry, but how exactly is it my responsibility now that shitty parents exist?

Also, you are assuming a lot of details about this system, especially given we know next to nothing about it yet, granted I am using arguments of a similar nature. The difference being I am using the most logical implementations (to my mind) and you are using the most incompetent implementations. I am personally imagining a system with similar oversight to Xbox Live. They system will most likely have a review based scale. With actual reviews of player behavior requiring actual thought besides "Dis guy suxs" or "I liek hiem". Similarly, if a player believes they have been unjustly accused of being a dick, they can call for a neutral (read:moderator) review of said ratings and/or events leading up to said ratings.

Honestly people, Valve isn't Sony, and is nowhere even close to Microsoft level incompetence.

In short, all problems of gaming the system are solved with proper oversight.
 

mcnally86

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Apr 23, 2008
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matrix3509 said:
"Rather than pricing a product based purely on what that product is worth, Newell talks about pricing a product based on what the customer is worth as well. 'Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them,' Newell continued. 'Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave.'" ~Gabe N.

That what I am basing my argument on. There will always be more people who don't want to play with you then there are people who want to play with you.

Edit: Don't bla bla me Mr man. A child playing an M game is your responsibility because his "shitty" parent hates you, it lowers your rating of goodness. How many people do you have to make like you before you are penalized? We do not know if this system will make you be nice to people you don't like but this is what I assume.
 

Captain_M

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Mar 1, 2011
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Often when I use online servers that rate my conduct, I always end up neutral. People don't think I'm particularly good or bad. I always hover around the 50% mark. I can't help but wonder what Valve's proposal would do for a guy like me.

Also, I can't help but wonder how long it'll be after something like this is implimented, that a congregation of dicks on 4chan will attempt to take down the Steam server.
 

BloodSquirrel

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Jun 23, 2008
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Russ Pitts said:
This should sound familiar to you, and not only if you've read Grodin's book. What Newell is espousing is the evergreen utopian ideal that goes something like this: If only everyone were different, everything would be perfect. It's a nice thought and a particularly insidious one because in spite of being simple to the point of absurdity, it's practically improvable, which to those of "the elephant deterrent is working because you can't see any elephants" school means it is therefore The Truth. Yet no evidence actually exists that this theory is, in fact, truth and for good reason: It isn't. It's just a theory. One that people in ivory towers like to throw around when they see something nasty they don't like.
Alright, this is where I realized that you were off in fantasy land. Let me explain the real world to you:

If I go into a restaurant, and scream obscenities at other patrons, I'm going to be asked to leave and not come back. The police may or may not be called as well. If I go to a theme park, get into the bumper cars, call everyone who hits me a stupid ******, and then flip off a bunch of kids, I?m not going to be allowed back on the bumper cars. If I go to a movie theater and spend the movie standing on chairs, intentionally blocking people?s views, I?m going to be banned.

I?m not going to get 10 warnings first, then put on 2-week probation four times, then finally kicked out for good.

It?s only on the internet that this kind of behavior is tolerated to such a degree. What Gabe Newell is planning is still far, far more lenient than you could expect if you behaved like some gamers behave in any other venue.

I?m particularly curious as to how you can see ?no evidence? that attaching penalties to behaviors discourages those behaviors. Civilization is built on top of using social and legal penalties to make the population conform to certain behaviors. You can see a massive difference in the way people behave once those institutions break down. There?s a book called Freakonomics that has some very interesting statistical data on how the subtleties of incentive systems change people?s behavior.

I?d really love to see an experiment on the internet where this kind of blasé acceptance of dick behavior didn?t exist, and where you were expected to treat other people like human beings or be tossed out. It would be fascinating to see.
 

Dizeazedkiller

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Feb 11, 2011
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It sounds good in theory, but it would have to be put into action with a lot more depth and thought, rather than a "the dicks pay, the good kiddies don't" approach.

Several people say the games are overpriced already. That's bullshit, unless of course here in Australia we get fancier, cheaper prices cause we are a better country or some shit (or maybe because valve pities us)

It might be a good idea to have a sort of test run. Implement the dick tax but instead of it being cash they have to cough up just give them a negative rating. There was something similar in a game i once played (Wulfram i think its called), where there is a 'kudos' system. It probably works better in that game because of the small amount of players, but all the nice kiddies had a lot of kudos and you knew they were decent people, and if they were in the negative you know they are dickheads and, after they proved that once again they are kicked from the server. Could have a negative/ positive rating system for TF2 and then admins (or whatever hey are called) could control who plays, or it could be a server setting or a server vote that starts automatically because of their rating.

Then depending on the results the actual dick tax could be implemented and, theoretically, the results would be a lot better because money is a handy motivator.
 

Aureliano

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Mar 5, 2009
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Consider this: all this plan means is that Valve now has a reason to keep around its highest-value douchebags. I can imagine the internal memos, "What? Really? N00bmolestor69 is willing to keep playing at ten times the normal rate for TF2?!?! Well keep him onboard no matter what!" And for his 10x subscription fee, Noobs over there will try to be all the douche he can be. This then becomes the old west scenario where everybody is vying for the top spot as 'most expensive douche on the TF2 servers'.

At the end of the day, we'll have teams of scientists, psychologists, etc. working for the very richest assholes on the internet to design ever-more well-targeted insults, racial epithets and threats of murders of particular family members to destroy the psyches of every peace-loving player on every server on every valve multiplayer game to improve their ranking on 'Valve's most wanted multiplayer account'.

So yeah. Great idea there, Gabe.
 

viranimus

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Nov 20, 2009
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. It will not take long for them to realize they would be shooting themselves in the foot by doing this. So it will likely be filed under that category of "Good in theory, garbage in practical application"