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Ramblings: A Circular Opinion

I learned a new skill called minimizing local recently. I've put a lot of training time into it and I feel that the results of my efforts are really starting to show. It has eliminated my moodiness and general irritation over smack talk. However, I can't completely shed myself of my musings over the insults that people throw at each other and why.

One that I have seen lately is coward. I don't mean the general insults thrown around between friends in social channels. It is an insult that appears both in public and in private. At first it seemed like a general piece of smack talk. One tossed out in the pool of insults and slurs that often seems to define communication between two hostile parties. Urban dictionary even lists it as the most insulting word known to man.

I found the Urban Dictionary definition the most interesting because Urban Dictionary, while at times silly, is also a Representative of a lot of current thoughts in comparison to the older dictionaries that have kept our dialect in some sort of order.

Coward is a strong word to those affected by such words. Yet, it is a flexible term. What is a coward? Does the coward define himself or do others define the coward? And is the defines of the coward true or are they only a reflection of the frustrated, deprived want.

I very often hear coward applied to a group that does not engage in a fight. The person that wants the fight calls the other side cowards for not engaging in the fight. With no other information given, is this cowardice  Is there an assumption that one will fight or is there a presumption that one will make a choice and do, as they sometimes say, 'pick their battles?'

I really shouldn't mull over the reasons behind insults and derogatory language. But I do, anyway. I do because it is not just the smack in local. It is the conversation where someone goes, "They are cowards and will not fight me!" to which I point out that to fight would be to throw themselves stupidly into a superior force.

Caution and cowardice are not the same things. But frustration often causes them to be crammed together  It is easy to let other people take the risk while chiding them from the sideline. 

"Running away so soon?"

Yes. Yes, I am.  Our fleet has seven people in it. Yours has seventy. Everything is in your favor. Why should I stay? If I make any comments I am 'crying' and they are drinking my tears. My tears of cowardice because I did not run my ship into their fleet to die. The loss of the ship is somehow glorious instead of stupid? No. It will still be dumb. No respect will be had when someone makes an obviously stupid decision such as that.

Or why rage out when the solo mission runners and ratters safe up when the fleet comes in. Or complain that a group is a coward when it does not face a superior, roaming T3 fleet with 4-6 Guardians in support. Or kiters are cowards and everyone should come in and brawl because brawling is manly. As defined by who? In a game of options and counters, just because someone picked what you cannot respond to does not make them a coward.

I understand that the use of cowardice is only a taunt. It is used to anger people and cause them to make mistakes  It is used in frustration. It is an insult, like any other. There is no winning in the situation. To leave is to be a coward. To stay is to be an idiot. To win is because you are a slur and did not 'face them like a man' and to lose is to be trolled. It is not as if there are not times where a fleet bails on a fight and I go, "Really?" Or times when a fight is taken and no thought is given to anything but the moment.

But, I like to pay attention to words and I am often interested in what people think. I'd like to know what is really running through their minds when they use these words. I've listened to enough people insult groups that would not fight them, calling them names for deciding against the odds. I've listened to someone complain that people will not feed themselves to their fleet because they want PvP. 

I'm sure that everyone has their situations where they feel that the other group is a coward. The hot button I can press at this moment is warp core stabilizers  The people that fit them do so to increase their chances of escape. One could call them cowards for not fighting. But, if they were never there to fight in the first place and their entire plan hinged on escape, is that cowardice? Does intent need to be proven before the label is applied?

It is a circular subject where each instance is defined differently by every party that interacts with it and knows of it. It is not a win or lose situation or one with clearly defined rights and wrongs. Its a personal response and an emotional response and one that often sounds more based off of frustration than actual opinion.

Just as this opinion is filtered through my own perceptions  I play Eve like a game of survival. Death is everywhere. I must navigate through it to be successful. I may live. I may die. I don't chose Death. It is why suicide roams do not have a large appeal to me. To have a goal of loss at the end doesn't make a lot of sense  to me as I play because survival seems to be the end point.

So, I believe, by how I see people defined, that I am a coward as well.


  1. The reason behind smacktalk is "I am better than you". It doesn't matter what you do and what actually happens, the point is to create words that reflects this basic belief:
    - you don't fight: you are coward
    - you fight against odds: you are an idiot
    - you turn the odds: you are an unhonorable blobber

    They give you no option to win. Yet you did. By minimizing local.

    1. Yup, the Goblin nailed it.

      You dishonorable local-minimiser!

    2. Not "dishonorable", there is nothing dishonorable about minimising local. It's "anti-social, no-lifer who has no friends to chat with while playing this terrible game"

    3. Indeed, it's not dishonorable. No offence intended.

  2. I'm a cynic but I find smack a very useful tool in pvp and cheerfully and laughingly use it. Win win for me - if I call you a coward and you retreat from my blob, well I was right! If I call you a coward and you get cross and attack 7 v 70 we get free kills and I'm a **puppetmasta**

    It's also a great weapon against elite pvpers. Part of why Test beat -A- was the demoralisation caused by being taunted. Many of -A-'s best players left the alliance or even the game.

    Personally I also enjoy being smacked. Call me a coward and I'll call you a dishonorable blobber, offer a 1v1 at the sun in the next system then gank you with 5 mates if you take me up on the offer.

    All's fair in love and war!

    1. I know it works. I've watched normally intelligent people fall for it. Its just another form of bait. But I'm not someone who can smack talk like that. I sound ridiculous to myself.

      I'm not a name caller. It is not a way I'd think to communicate. I don't pull value from someone calling me names. But I am the boring face value type that tends to mean what they say and say what they mean. It makes me a cautious speaker and disconnected from the casual use of vicious language.

    2. It's the language of the playground. I called a mate's kid a silly sausage the other day and he got quite indignant. "I am NOT a sausage." I had to back down.

      People falling for it are acting like 7 year olds which is why it's funny although I'll certainly concede that it's classier to take the higher road.

    3. Aye. I do know that it is just my view. The play of friendly insults is not one that I engage in. I've learned thou that in this my confusion and disinterest are minority opinions. Therefore I learned to close local and not even send myself down the path of questions.

    4. The TEST vs. -A- comparison only holds in SOV 0.0 though, where making the other guys not want to log in anymore is the surest path to victory.

      In lowsec you can't really win that way as there are no assets you effectively deny.

      Personally when I get smacked, I just feel vaguely amused.

  3. In Larry Niven's Ringworld universe, there is a race called the Puppeteers, which is described as very paranoid and careful, and which all other races consider 'cowardly' - a label the Puppeteers happily accept.

    However, in one story the protagonist in the end comes to this realization: "I never heard of a Puppeteer refusing to face a problem. He may merely be deciding how fast to run, but he'll never pretend the problem isn't there."

  4. In Larry Niven's Ringworld universe, there is a race called the Puppeteers, which is described as very paranoid and careful, and which all other races consider 'cowardly' - a label the Puppeteers happily accept.

    However, in one story the protagonist in the end comes to this realization: "I never heard of a Puppeteer refusing to face a problem. He may merely be deciding how fast to run, but he'll never pretend the problem isn't there."

  5. So you have decided not to follow their space bushido? That is good, because the path to e-honor often is the path to defeat.


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