OT: categories of motivation in a forum

By: hobold (hobold.delete@this.vectorizer.org), September 29, 2009 5:01 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
someone (someone@somewhere.com) on 9/28/09 wrote:
---------------------------
[...]
>Point out anywhere I used unqualified present tense to
>describe the competitive attributes of an Itanium device
>that hadn't reached silicon.
[...]
I don't need to, because "that particular line of reasoning" I wrote above refers to the general idea of comparing actual present and potential future. I know what those words refer to, because I wrote them myself.

Narrowing it down to your liking might save you from the letter of the law but not from the spirit of the law. But that's no surprise when we allow you to decide the exact letters of the law, is it?


Let me take the opportunity to explain to the general audience why I single out "someone" the way I do. It will eventually boil down to the fact that "someone" and "hobold" are extreme antagonist personas in the virtual world that is this forum. The ideas presented here are revolving around an old study of player motivations in text based multi user dungeons (you may google for "Players who suit MUDs" by Richard A. Bartle).

It has been noticed (but not in a source suitable to qualified citation, sorry), that the same categorization of motivations is more widely applicable beyond just the context of MUDs. The realization is actually quite simple: if you take away all the material necessities of life (safety, food, reproduction, etc.) but retain people's identities and their ability to communicate with each other, and place them in a shared context (a world), then - even though all their basic needs are covered - they don't lean back and doze off, but still remain active. They have inherent motivations even when there is no environmental pressure whatsoever.

A forum with persistent user "identities" and focused topics matches this most abstract concept of a virtual world.


Okay, so what are these intrinsic motivations? The categorization briefly mentioned above is very coarse, very abstract, and very general. It partitions participants of a virtual world along three orthogonal axes into eight octants. Any one participant can be described by a three dimensional position within a cube as follows:

Axis number one is labelled Players vs. World. This coordinate displays if the participant is mostly interested in other participants, or in the world (in case of this forum, that would be the topics discussed). This axis represents a balance more than a dichotomy.

Axis number two is labelled Acting vs. Interacting. Actors would want to control their subject of interest, while Interactors would want to react and adapt to it.

The third and final axis is labelled Explicit vs. Implicit. Explicit participants go out and do what they want to do. Implicit participants organize other participants to do it.


The resulting eight coarse categories have been given catchy names: Friend, Griefer, Hacker, Networker, Opportunist, Planner, Politician, Scientist, but I won't use these names here, because they are overloaded with emotional subtext.

Instead I will just tell you in which octant I see "hobold" and "someone". When I am posting here, I am interested almost exclusively in the topic. I could praise good ideas even if they are from a nobody. I could attack a bad idea in less than respectful ways even if it was uttered by a highly revered participant. I can, and sometimes do, make ad hominem attacks, but I reserve them for rare and special occasions. I see "someone" in the other half space with respect to axis one.

I see myself more interested in learning than in teaching. When I am posting here, good questions excite me more than good answers. It can happen that I feel compelled to try and answer such a good question, even if I don't really have an answer. I don't usually shy away from asking a dumb question, and even if I were to be the victim of a bit of ridicule, that would not discourage me too quickly. I see "someone" in the other half space of axis two; motivated more by "being right" than by finding "truth".

Finally, I put myself on the Explicit side of axis three. I am actually a lazy guy, but I don't expect others to do the arguing for me. I do not ask followers to come over to my "side", nor will I be easily recruited for fighting somebody else's war. I see "someone" in the opposite half space.


Okay, so why do I bore you all with this lengthy wall of text? There is one important aspect that I completely left out: the influence that these motivations have on the community of participants. I do hope that (some of) you find this theory interesting. Maybe you can learn something about your own role here, and the roles of others.

Then again, maybe all you learn is how warped my image is of myself and of "someone". :-)
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TopicPosted ByDate
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                    Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?anon2009/09/28 06:25 PM
                  Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?AM2009/09/30 02:32 AM
                    Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?baxeel2009/09/30 07:25 AM
                      Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?AM2009/09/30 10:12 PM
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                      Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?AM2009/10/01 04:08 AM
                        Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?anonymous2009/10/01 04:33 AM
                          Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?AM2009/10/03 06:24 AM
                        Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?Pun Zu2009/10/02 12:30 AM
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                                          Do you?AM2009/10/06 10:30 PM
                                            Of course I do!anonymous2009/10/07 04:58 AM
                                              Thanks :-)AM2009/10/08 02:17 AM
                                                Thanks :-)anonymous2009/10/08 04:52 AM
                                                  Thanks :-)AM2009/10/09 02:13 AM
                                                    Thanks :-)anonymous2009/10/09 05:03 AM
                                                    Thanks :-)Foo_2009/10/09 05:47 AM
                                                      Thanks :-)AM2009/10/10 12:15 AM
                                            That's what I thought...David Kanter2009/10/07 08:00 AM
                                              That's what I thought...AM2009/10/08 02:26 AM
                                                That's what I thought...anonymous2009/10/08 05:02 AM
                                                  let's see...AM2009/10/09 02:09 AM
                                                    let's see...anonymous2009/10/09 04:43 AM
                                                      let's see...AM2009/10/09 04:52 AM
                                                        let's see...anonymous2009/10/09 05:15 AM
                                                          let's see...AM2009/10/10 12:18 AM
                Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?someone2009/09/28 05:09 AM
          I call Trollhobold2009/09/28 03:51 AM
            I call Trollsomeone2009/09/28 05:15 AM
              OT: categories of motivation in a forumhobold2009/09/29 05:01 AM
          Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Michael S2009/09/28 09:43 AM
            Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9a reader2009/09/28 03:12 PM
              Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9someone else2009/09/28 11:25 PM
                Why Cortex A9?hobold2009/09/29 06:20 AM
                  Why Cortex A9?someone else2009/09/29 09:57 AM
                    Why Cortex A9?Richard Cownie2009/09/29 05:09 PM
                      Why Cortex A9?hobold2009/09/29 11:38 PM
                        Why Cortex A9?Richard Cownie2009/09/30 05:49 AM
                          Why Cortex A9?hobold2009/09/30 06:46 AM
                            Why Cortex A9?none2009/09/30 06:56 AM
                              Marvell Sheeva and plug computingRichard Cownie2009/09/30 08:03 AM
                              Why Cortex A9?Michael S2009/09/30 09:07 AM
                                Why Cortex A9?none2009/09/30 09:40 AM
                                Why Cortex A9?Gabriele Svelto2009/09/30 11:43 AM
                                  ARM architectural licenseDavid Kanter2009/09/30 04:57 PM
                                    ARM architectural licensea reader2009/10/01 06:25 AM
                                      ARM architectural licenseRichard Cownie2009/10/01 07:21 AM
                                Why Cortex A9?slacker2009/09/30 06:12 PM
                                  ARM architectural licenseDavid Kanter2009/09/30 06:16 PM
                                  Why Cortex A9?Michael S2009/10/01 06:45 AM
                                    Why Cortex A9?slacker2009/10/02 01:41 AM
                                      Why Cortex A9?Richard Cownie2009/10/02 09:28 AM
                                        Questions...David Kanter2009/10/02 09:56 AM
                                          Questions...Richard Cownie2009/10/02 10:29 AM
                                            Questions...Wilco2009/10/02 12:05 PM
                                          Questions...slacker2009/10/02 07:51 PM
                                        Why Cortex A9?slacker2009/10/02 07:44 PM
                            Why Cortex A9?David W. Hess2009/09/30 07:42 AM
    Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Gabriele Svelto2009/09/28 12:28 AM
  Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Wilco2009/09/26 06:38 AM
    Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Gabriele Svelto2009/09/28 12:38 AM
      Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Costanza2009/10/01 02:45 PM
    Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9sylt2009/09/28 04:54 AM
      Thoughts and questions on the Cortex A9Wilco2009/09/29 12:15 AM
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