fable: (Default)
[personal profile] fable
An informative website on the psychology of online gaming. Found it interesting to draw parallels between MMORGs and lj-fandom, if only because I think that framework is much more applicable than that of, say, us being revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries (though not nearly as romantic *woes*). Particularly liked this study on online relationships. (I think some of it's quite brilliant, really, as I'm likely to think of anything I agree with.)


Also, this article on gifted children, and the resulting discussion here.

I feel like I'm being particularly dense, because I just don't get the logic (or, I see how it could work, but it seems like the article is missing some steps in order to make it work that way). Some of the key arguments of the article seem to be:

(1) Very gifted children aren't necessarily better than other children. They're just different. And what makes them different is that they're smarter. And we're just going to ignore that one of the main criteria society uses to classify its members (if not the main) is intelligence, even though we specifically pointed that out in the first few paragraphs. (That was the first few paragraphs and since then we've moved on.) They're not better in an absolute sense, and that is what matters, and that is what makes them not better in a relative sense, too. Even though the main criteria our academic system uses to judge who is relatively better or worse, what it is set up to try and measure and promote, is. um. Intelligence. (buh?)

(2) People feel free to say that they're disabled. Why shouldn't they feel free to say that they're gifted? (To which my reaction is - you can't be that naive. Would you consider it just as acceptable to call someone retarded as it is to call them brilliant? Ugly as it is to call them beautiful?)

And, just to be clear. I do agree with what she's advocating? I just don't think that the best way to go about advocating it is to cast gifted children on the same scale as the sick or disabled. I thought her first few paragraphs were good, in that they illustrated the problem well. But lets not mince words here - gifted kids suffer not from being a fuzzy type of different, but from being too much better than everyone else at the thing that the academic system values the most, which results in (1) teachers/their peers resenting them, and (2) them being able to master things so quickly and easily that those achievements lose any real meaning. (which leads to them not being able to value achievements the way the rest of society does and therefore being unable/choosing not to succeed in the conventional sense of the word and etc etc etc)

Or, to put things in another way - I don't think you can persist in looking at things using an "everyone is equal but different" framework when it is the blatant inequality of certain valued abilities that is causing the problems. It might be pc to put things like she did, but it doesn't seem to make for a very coherent argument. (If that is the argument at all? It seems to be in the paper, but elsewhere she indicates that that's not what she thinks? Is it even worth trying to make sense of her arguments?) And I keep on thinking that I must be missing something, because everyone else seems to think that it makes perfect sense.

(Not to mention, I disagree pretty strongly with the idea that intelligence is something that can completely and effectively be judged by IQ tests and their ilk, which is the only criteria she seems to be interested in using, though that's a rant for another day. However, it might have unfairly prejudiced me against seeing the coherency that could be there in her arguments. *trying so hard to be fair here and not really succeeding*)

Date: 2005-01-14 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] musicdiamond.livejournal.com
I liked the article on online relationships possibly being a different type of relationship that we (humans, whatever) have not had a lot of exposure to before. It's an interesting way of looking at the subject.

Date: 2005-01-14 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
ooh, glad you liked! It is interesting, isn't it? And I like that it doesn't idealize it, either - the article seems to indicate both the good & the bad points. (Though at times I can't help but think that even that view's a bit too simplistic, but that might just be because I like talking in circles around myself and think everything else should be like that, too. :b)

Date: 2005-01-14 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marej.livejournal.com
apropos of nothing in this post. thank you SOMUCH for reccing Flanders to me. I read it while away and oh.my.GOD. So good. SOGOOD!

Date: 2005-01-14 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
!!!!!!!!!

You liked it!!

Oh, I am so glad, because your opinion matters like whoa to me, and what if you had read it and not liked it? *would not have known what to do!* Was on teetherhooks the whole time!

It's a gorgeous book, isn't it? I like some of Anthony's other stuff, too, but this book. Man. I was completely incoherent when I finished it. The characters were just, so flawed and human and real, and she presented them with such compassion in the midst of all that brutality. And by the end - I don't think I've ever cried so much reading a book.

i use a lot of parentheses here.

Date: 2005-01-14 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] windsor.livejournal.com
. . .

Reading this article objectively is really difficult, man. But what you've said sounds pretty fascinating (and I agree with it, based on what I've gleaned from the article so far), and it's the kind of subject that I do think is hard to view fairly, so. I'm no longer at the point where I'm considered a gifted child (reaching high school kind of eradicates that term, I guess), but I was considered one barely two or three years ago. I don't know, I'm going to have to read more and maybe get back to you on this; it's kind of weird reading this article when it feels like I'm reading about myself as a child or a lot of my friends. Because I was in programs at school for, you know, 'gifted' kids just a few years ago and there's a very deja vu-ish sense to reading all of this. :-?

Re: i use a lot of parentheses here.

Date: 2005-01-19 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
A lot of people over on [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's journal seem to feel the same way you do. And, about having been a gifted child in the past - IQ tests aren't supposed to change, so if you believe in that (ie IQ = comprehensive measure of intelligence) that's what you'll always be, isn't it?

type central here

Date: 2005-01-20 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
IQ scores, not IQ tests.

Date: 2005-01-14 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] velvetglove.livejournal.com
I found that article very interesting, as well as the responses both there and on [livejournal.com profile] sartorias' journal. I agree with you that "equal but different" is nonsense, no matter how nice and inclusive that sounds. We value our own family members or friends higher than the general population because we have an emotional history and connection, but when it comes to strangers we like people who are pretty, or funny, or smart in certain unthreatening ways, and we prefer them above strangers who are theoretically "equal" but in actuality unexceptional.

Having an exceptional quality which allows others to feel smarter, more attractive, more socially adept, or just more benevolent is not going to have the same interpersonal repercussions as an exceptional quality that draws resentment, anger or fear. Extraordinary intelligence and mental retardation might be at opposite ends of an IQ scale, but there's no truth to the idea that they somehow balance - and thus equal - one another in any practical way.

Acknowledging the fact that a child is a pariah amongst his or her peers is not at all equivalent to understanding how that status affects the child. While both an exceptionally intelligent child and one who is mentally handicapped are like to both be socially isolated, there will be a big difference in the way they experience the way others treat them. The experience of being envied and resented is very different than that of being pitied. And if one isn't intellectually capable of understanding (or caring about) being pitied, the social reactions simply don't matter.

I wish that advocates for the gifted or the deaf or the whole rainbow of skin colors would discuss issues in terms of validity rather than equality. Being X is, by definition, not being Y. They aren't "equal," but they are both valid.

Date: 2005-01-19 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
Yes, to everything you said. It's what I was trying to get at, only you did it better and more succintly. Thank you. *g*


I wish that advocates for the gifted or the deaf or the whole rainbow of skin colors would discuss issues in terms of validity rather than equality. Being X is, by definition, not being Y. They aren't "equal," but they are both valid.

Yes! And, I really don't think that she thinks both are equal, and that's the problem? She seems to be invested in the whole high IQ = a-new-species-of-man-called-genius idea, enough to think up pretzel-y validations of why the idea isn't elitist, which is a bit disconcerting.

Date: 2005-01-14 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baby-pen.livejournal.com
XD; I didn't read all of the article because it was uh kinda something something.

I'm not sure what to say? I mean I'd feel some resentment towards a person who can do things (with considerably less effort) that I'd only dream of being capable of.

XD; but it's not like genius = isolated yanno?

and it also bothers me that a lot of parents are very concerned with giving their children intellectual advantages but not concentrating so much on supporting the emotional aspects of the child.

oooh and with the psychology of online gaming bit, I think it's quite objective, but I can't shake the idea that nick yee is one of those mmorpgs players -_-;

I think most studies aren't as thorough as they could be, or would be if sai made one XD; But then again, people lack critical thinking when it comes to understanding something they like.

ooh and <333 :D

Date: 2005-01-19 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
XD; I didn't read all of the article because it was uh kinda something something.

You didn't miss much. *g*


and it also bothers me that a lot of parents are very concerned with giving their children intellectual advantages but not concentrating so much on supporting the emotional aspects of the child.

Oh yeah, me too. And, ahaha, I kind of view both school and mmorpgs the same way? I view school as like, an elaborate mandatory mmorpg game (except for the online part :b), and if you invest enough time to learn the rules and do enough repetitive tasks so that your standardized test scores and grades go up, you rack up points! But even racking up a string of perfect scores, at the end of the day, it doesn't bring you any closer to being happy or satisfied? And it bothers me that parents (and the whole education system, actually) seem to place such value in what is a somewhat arbitrary thing.

(Not that I don't think getting good grades is a good and sometimes important thing? I just think that, like you said, there are things more important that get ignored in favor of that.)


oooh and with the psychology of online gaming bit, I think it's quite objective, but I can't shake the idea that nick yee is one of those mmorpgs players -_-;

's because he is! And somewhat hardcore too, from what I gather. XD; Somewhere on his website he said that he played both, um, everquest and some other game, and that he reached level 50 on everquest or something? Which a casual player wouldn't be able to do, I don't think.

You = so perceptive! *g*

Date: 2005-01-17 04:27 pm (UTC)
isilya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] isilya
Mmm, I read the article and I have a couple of points in response to your points.

1) Very gifted children aren't necessarily better than other children. They're just different. And what makes them different is that they're smarter. And we're just going to ignore that one of the main criteria society uses to classify its members (if not the main) is intelligence, even though we specifically pointed that out in the first few paragraphs.

I think what she's trying to get at here, is she's trying to show the difference between the perceived definition of gifted child, and the reality of a gifted child.

What I mean is that gifted children are different: they are extremely intelligent. The world *thinks* that it values intelligence, so it would seem that gifted children are better. In actuality, however, the world does not value extreme intelligence: the world values and rewards a much different mixture of hard work/effort/persistence/moderate intelligence/competitiveness.

So in actual fact a gifted child is almost always the exact opposite of what the world values/rewards. In fact, the world actively de-values the gifted child, who tends to be disorganised/unmotivated/odd/unreliable and just generally difficult.

2) "Gifted child" usually connotes all the wrong things. I think that is what she's trying to dismantle: the perception that being "gifted" is an *advantage*. There is a very real feeling that what is out there is good enough, that gifted child programs are in some way frivolous. They are seen as a reward; disabled child facilities are seen as a necessity. What is not understood is that gifted children are in many ways as needy as disabled children; it is not understood that a learning disabled child struggling with a maths test too advanced, and a gifted child struggling to deal with the isolation of giftedness are needs on a par with each other.

I think she's frustrated by the dismissal, the scoffing and the scorn that a parent (or a gifted child) experiences when trying to get help. I think she's saying "It's acceptable to ask for help for a disabled child. No one blames a disabled child for their disability. But when you ask for help for a gifted child, you get labelled a boaster, a whiner. The gifted child gets blamed for pushing themselves forward".

I mean, part of the difficulty with dealing with gifted children is that that most often, they are not the highest achievers, the straight A students. Gifted children tend to be the kids with the 70% average -- but the tests go 98%, 10%, 0%, 80%. So programs that skim off the top 5% of students often either miss them, or completely fail to cater to their needs.

Achiever-programs are tailored to the bright, the motivated, the good students. Gifted children tend to be the antithesis of a good student.

Date: 2005-01-19 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
she's trying to show the difference between the perceived definition of gifted child, and the reality of a gifted child.

I realize that? The problem I have is that I don't think she's making a good case of it, of presenting the reality a gifted child faces or of defining what a gifted child is (her definition seems to vary, in that whichever classification is most likely to promote the immediate idea she's presenting is the one she uses at that moment).

I disagree with her method of classifying a gifted child because her sole criteria is the result of an IQ test, which I view as an archaic instrument for two reasons. First, because there's a body of thought in education & psychology that refutes the idea of a general intelligence (the type discussed in books such as the bell curve) and believes instead in multiple intelligences, and so therefore a test that attempts to measures general intelligence is flawed in its assumptions. Second, because I think that whatever narrow definition of intellegence the IQ test measures, it does not measure it well, that it's a much better measure of skill (abilities acquired through practice) than intelligence (a more pervasive ability that permits transfer of skills). So I thought that her paper was based on shaky ground from the start, because it took the relationship between a person's IQ and their intelligence as gospel when it's very much contested ground.

(And as a corollary of this, I also disagree with her assumption that a gifted child is genetically/neurologically different, but that's an argument for another day. *g*)


In actuality, however, the world does not value extreme intelligence: the world values and rewards a much different mixture of hard work/effort/persistence/moderate intelligence/competitiveness.

I disagree with part of that. I don't think it rewards moderate intelligence (whatever that might be) more than exceptional intelligence. As just one example, there are numerous scholarships/tests designed to recognize and reward exceptional achievements, and I think, all those other things being equal, these will go to the people who are more intelligent relative to others. I can understand the argument that people who are exceptionally intelligent are less likely to work as hard/be as persistent/etc as those who are only moderately so, but this doesn't change the fact that they have an advantage, only highlights it, don't you think?

See, the thing is, I don't believe that intelligence in one area or another can ever be a handicap, or at least, no more of a handicap than being beautiful, or being a good sportsman, or being rich. There are people that are going to be jealous, and children in particular are cruel to anyone who isn't like them, which might lead gifted kids to become more introverted and less motivated, but that is an effect, and not a cause. And I'm not denying that there aren't drawbacks to being smarter than most others? But just like I'd rather be rich than poor, I'd rather be intelligent than not. I don't know anyone who wouldn't, and I don't think this is because people have a false perception of intelligence and what it entails. Quite the contrary, in fact.


So in actual fact a gifted child is almost always the exact opposite of what the world values/rewards. In fact, the world actively de-values the gifted child, who tends to be disorganised/unmotivated/odd/unreliable and just generally difficult.

I think that disorganized/unmotivated/odd/unreliable and just generally difficult is a description that fits the majority of children. And again, I disagree with you here - I don't think that the gifted child is more likely to be this way than the not-gifted one.

(Also, for clarification purposes - in this comment, I'm not talking about the Mozarts of the world, people who can create symphonies in their mother's womb - there are only a few hundred of these, numbers so few that they can be ignored quite easily, not even large enough together to be significant outside the error bounds. I'm talking about everyone else.)

And, god. I wrote a lot, didn't I? Sorry about that. *g*
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