PhD from MIT Trolls Entire Fighting Game Community with Phony Lecture and Book

By Unknown on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 with 43 comments

The Fighting Game Community is in an uproar after facing an elaborate troll from community outsider Todd Harper, an MIT Graduate with an unexplained interest in the Fighting Game Scene. Gaming community icon Maddy Myers helped to legitimize the ruse, but rest assured: FGCNN has unearthed the bigger picture surrounding this ambitious and involved social prank. The analysis follows below.

The first revelation comes in the form of hypocrisy for satire's sake.  Both Maddy and Todd claim to be acting in the interest of feminism.  Most would agree that one of the goals of feminism is to minimize the occurrence of overgeneralizing and typecasting, yet both of these individuals go out of their way to do just that, and feign surprise when people react negatively.

Readers familiar with "confirmation bias" will pick up immediately that Todd Harper only cited examples that fit his narratives, ignoring any examples of the contrary. Todd focuses on Cross Assault, a 2-year-old isolated incident involving a small handful of people, and then extrapolates this behavior to the rest of the community, professing that the behavior at this event is not only expected but encouraged, all while neglecting to mention that a much BIGGER and successful tournament has already run on his own school grounds with no issue. Apparently, he knew this all along.

One example from his "works" asserts that fighting gamers gravitated to consoles for economic reasons, ignoring the fact that, up until a few years ago, consoles were the only avenue for playing arcade-caliber ports of fighting games. Also not mentioned: the healthy PC fighting game scene stemming from when the technology was made available.  FGCNN chalks this up as the most obvious ruse.

The final(and most revealing) sign of this elaborate hoax is on twitter, where Todd Harper flat out admits that he isn't actually making a worthwhile contribution to academia, but is merely "indulging a personal issue" with the FGC. Notice that, in the same thread, he refers to himself as a scholar. Utilizing your entire dissertation to make a small jab at a niche community that may have rubbed you the wrong way is one of the following:

A. Trolling at its finest
B. Sad and unfortunate
C. A waste of both the student and school's time
D. A curiously elaborate scheme to push an overpriced book
E. B, C & D

Analysts at FGCNN strongly believe that Todd Harper is doing A. Consider this: is one to believe that a socially maladjusted man compiled a suspiciously spotty thesis(which lacks proper research) on a subject he is ignorant about, then wrote an entire book on said subject and sold it for over 7 times the average price of a hardcover? Experts at FGCNN don't believe so.

What do our readers believe? Is this the greatest bamboozle of our time? Is Mr. Harper really serious about this works? Or are Todd and Maddy strawman feminists looking to insult a community while simultaneously claiming to NOT care what they think?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Atratus said...
December 31, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Top reporting as usual, Scoop.

Dude's a douche. Also, that academia price is fucking lol. Write misinformation about a community and then have the book be so expensive that none in it can afford it on the regular. Option E all the way.

dijon said...
December 31, 2013 at 10:22 AM

is this an ironic website? i don't really have the time to keep up with everything anymore tia

Unknown said...
December 31, 2013 at 10:42 AM

dijon - The site is satirical in nature, but this whole debacle is actually real, and most unfortunate.

Excellent article. I really wish MIT made them print / present a retraction. Also, charging over 100$ for what is a sophomoric attempt at writing is a crime in itself, regardless of the nature of the content. What's worse is that this presentation and book may be used in other research projects to further slight the FGC.

Unknown said...
December 31, 2013 at 11:04 AM


Unknown said...
December 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

The book is $125.

It isn't meant for the "poor minorities" that make up the FGC (author's claim, not mine). It's meant for academics to study the FGC as a curiosity. It's like how rich English people used to import curios from places like India, China, and Africa and talk about how weird and barbaric the cultures that produced them must be.

Anonymous said...
January 1, 2014 at 4:09 AM

Who the fuck is Todd Harper...


Unknown said...
January 6, 2014 at 3:48 AM

todd harper is salty

benzo said...
January 10, 2014 at 2:27 AM

todd harper ur a nobody and ur book aint gonna make u no fuckin money u no talent hack

Sam Cha said...
January 15, 2014 at 1:01 PM

This is a joke, amirite? This is satire?

I applaud the writer.

Taking an example of a writer citing evidence in order to support his argument and calling it "over-generalization" is genius-level humor.

It's also incredibly, subtly meta. Invoking "confirmation bias" while writing in the voice of somebody eager to confirm their biases about scholars (and feminists) is--just, wow. Borgesian. CONFIRMATION BIAS-CEPTION.

Good job.

Can I just offer one little criticism? Saying that Harper's "admitting [...] he isn't making a worthwhile contribution to academia" when he's obviously only saying that he hasn't presented a "grand theory of the fighting game culture"--that such a unifying theory is, in fact, impossible--feels like you're underestimating your readers.

We're not that stupid. You gave us the screenshot, and we can read.

Maybe go a little subtler, next time?

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