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I'm digressing a little here, but I'd really like to comment on this point.

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.




Agreed. To put on my white hat for a moment, vulnerabilities in a system should be documented and publicized so that they can be fixed. Exploiting those vulnerabilities for personal gain (to the detriment of society) is immoral, and in many cases, illegal.


And what do you do when the creator is not fixing the system? Astroturfed ads and PR pieces has been a problem on reddit for quite a while with no fix in sight.


What do you do when your neighbor's garage has been unlocked for a while, and a few folks have already taken advantage and stolen a few things?

Nothing, if you're honest.


If it just kept happening I think I might take a screwdriver and show it him at the next cookout. Maybe complain that his inaction was bringing bad characters to the neighborhood. Now that's obviously not the intention of this PR piece but it is the effect so I don't really see any issue.


Agreed, the saying to me comes across as a cheap way to try and absolve oneself of any personal (moral/ethical/etc)responsibility as if the mere presence of flaws in a system necessarily means they're not responsible for their own actions. A borderline childish approach to refining like reasoning in my opinion.


I agree with your sentiment, though I do think there are situations where this saying applies. You have to look at how much pressure the overall system puts on the participants.

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.


I see what you're saying (regarding your other comment). In those cases I think the platitude is more closely "Don't shoot the messenger" as it's not their motive.

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.


> 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

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.


I don't think it's too PC for these days and I actually strive to always have the same approach - never hating people, but instead hating particular aspects / behaviours.

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.


>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

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.


I have yet to encounter a system that doesn't have some dramatic set of failures. I also have yet to encounter a system whose failures were not made dramatically more painful by 'players'.

The intention is encoded in the terminology. Sometimes it's not a game.


I think when you boil it down, "don't hate the player, hate the game" is a plea for regulatory action.




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