I have always detested the "don't hate the player, hate the game" ethos. It's a total shirking of responsibility that inadvertently praises being able to game any existing system regardless of the purpose for which the system exists in the first place -- that is if somebody has or discovers the opportunity to exploit a social contract of any scale for pure personal gain, then the onus isn't on the person to maintain any sort of ethical footing. It's on the system to have processes built in to deal with such a situation -- if it doesn't then it deserves to be exploited.
Maybe somebody would have some valuable input here, but I see no value in that sort of ethos. It tends to end in waste. Or at the very least, the returns are diminishing.
I guess my end point is I don't understand, and as such dislike, how nonchalantly the platitude is thrown around as if it's to just be accepted.
Nothing, if you're honest.
It's hard for me to tell a specific rule for that; it's more a case of "I'll know it when I see it". One rule of thumb I seem to follow is whether the behaviour is more about explicitly seeking gains, or avoiding expensive loss. Like I described in another comment, there's a meaningful difference between a typical person doing bad things to keep their only job (jobs are hard to come by and vital to survival), vs. an entrepreneur who choses to profit from hurting other people, even though there are alternative strategies of making money.
The saying in question I've always taken to be one where the 'player' is the motivated party, not merely to prevent loss but to distinctly gain. Rather not the employee just trying to keep their job, but the employee playing shady politics to slither their way to the top of the heap and the largest possible portion of the take -- those who see what are team efforts as zero sum games where the teams are `I vs. Everybody else`.
So while we're sorting out the rhetoric, I agree with your sentiment as well -- and it certainly needed to be said that I wouldn't condemn somebody in such a situation. Of course I generally see morality as a gradient.
Hm, I've always taken that phrase to mean, "don't be prejudiced against a whole person: people are complex and you can probably find something to agree on with anyone."
So, I often try to say I don't like certain a thing about a person rather than saying I hate them. Hating everything about a person just feels a bit too simple and wrong. Perhaps that is too PC for these days, but, that's how I take it. Even Hitler had a mom- that sort of thing.
That said, I always seen the "don't hate the player, hate the game" saying the way GP does - i.e. shifting moral responsibility away from participants. IMO it does make sense in some cases, but does not in others. I see it as a spectrum of pressure put on individuals.
For instance, I wouldn't blame a customer service employee who lies to me because their boss ordered her to, and she will lose her job if she doesn't. For most of the population, losing a job is as close to life-threatening situation as you can get without an actual medical condition. OTOH, I will blame the boss who ordered lying to people. The boss has many more ways to choose from, and telling employees to lie to people shows preference for profitting by fucking other people over.
I disagree. It is simply an acknowledgement that the system has failed the purpose for which it exists. When that system fails, attacking the people who found the flaw isn't a viable long term solution. The only real solution is to fix the system that failed in the first place.
The intention is encoded in the terminology. Sometimes it's not a game.