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Incentives

ppl find incentives very confusing.

like u say "the game design creates an incentive to do X. it punishes you with Y if you don't do X. X is bad. the game shouldn't incentivize X."

they reply "you should have done Z" or "doing X is being a jerk" or "here is a way to try to cope with the downside, Y, so you suffer less from it" or "Y is not a punishment because if you do Z then it's still possible to get a good outcome despite Y".

they get upset with you b/c you're pointing out an incentive to do something *bad***. and they read it as you advocating doing something bad.

you're actually complaining the game incentivizes doing something bad and punishes you if you don't. you don't want to do something bad and don't want to be punished either. but that's too nuanced for people.

people are also very bad about incentives when it comes to economics or laws, not just game rules. you get lots of the same problems.

say a guy is proposing a law to try to reduce pollution. you might reply, "that law you're proposing creates an incentive to pollute more because..." then people will commonly reply with things like "don't do that" or "what an asshole you are to think of responding to the law that way" or "we're trying to stop pollution here. why are you looking for ways to increase it?" or "just don't pollute anyway, you don't have to follow incentives".


Elliot Temple on July 25, 2016

Comments (9)

> say a guy is proposing a law to try to reduce pollution

How does that create an incentive to pollute more?

Rebellious industrialists?

FF at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2016 | #6288
All the other factories are not polluting so if you pollute disregarding the law you make more money?

FF at 8:33 PM on July 25, 2016 | #6290
the law could ban nuclear power out of fear of radioactive waste. it could incentivize more coal plants that create not only more pollution, but more radioactive waste.

Anonymous at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2016 | #6291
the law could punish you for one type of pollution, which you can avoid by creating a larger amount of some other type of pollution the law doesn't mention.

Anonymous at 9:07 PM on July 25, 2016 | #6292
> the law could punish you for one type of pollution, which you can avoid by creating a larger amount of some other type of pollution the law doesn't mention.

True.

> the law could ban nuclear power out of fear of radioactive waste. it could incentivize more coal plants that create not only more pollution, but more radioactive waste.

True.

FF at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2016 | #6294
> the law could ban nuclear power out of fear of radioactive waste. it could incentivize more coal plants that create not only more pollution, but more radioactive waste.

How does coal create radioactive waste?

Anonymous at 8:23 AM on July 27, 2016 | #6297
> How does coal create radioactive waste?

Good Question!! Maybe he added that to trick me..

FF at 9:18 AM on July 27, 2016 | #6298
google stuff like: coal radioactive elements

bananas are radioactive too.

also google: are human beings radioactive

Anonymous at 12:17 PM on July 27, 2016 | #6300
Some trace elements in coal are naturally radioactive. These radioactive elements include uranium (U), thorium (Th), and their numerous decay products, including radium (Ra) and radon (Rn).

FF at 7:14 PM on July 27, 2016 | #6301

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)