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blankseplocked [psych] The Theory of the Failure Cascade: How Alliances Die
 
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The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 12:25:00 - [1]
 

http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/71300

I've been meaning to write something about this up for years now, but until recently I've lacked an actual explanation for the mechanics behind the cascade. Some recent reading in psych and behavioral economics at last offered rationales for some of the larger questions about alliance death:

Why does it not make a damned bit of difference when an alliance suffers a 'big hit' such as a titan loss or a cap fleet loss, yet 30 days of tedium is a killer?

Why did RA survive against LV/SoCo in C-J6? (hint, it's not because they're russian)

Why didn't Goonswarm cascade after months of undeniable loss against SE/ROL in Feythabolis/Esoteria between October 2008 and February 2009?

Cascades have always been a "know it when you see it" phenomenon, but the process with which to send an alliance into cascade is messy. We know if you hurt the other guy and take their ****, they eventually die. Except that sometimes they don't. A lot of times, the events which commanders assume will send someone into cascade don't appear to make an impact at all. I don't think this is a 'final' theory, since I expect I forgot some stuff that people will point out to me here and elsewhere, but I'm delighted to have delineated some of the phases at last.

There are a ****load of words here, about 4500 of them. At the end of the article are links to talks and various books describing where the relevant psychobabble comes from.

Creationists, classical economists and libertarians may also be offended.

NeoTheo
Caldari
M'8'S
Posted - 2009.07.16 12:34:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: NeoTheo on 16/07/2009 13:00:26

3rd, Looks like TTH is having intermittant issues atm.


Great read, enjoyed very much. Apart form the laughable part were "failure cascade", becomes a EvE thing that mitt's invented.

Loved the article tho, thank you for taking the time to write them, (despite the fact no thanks is needed, i am sure your ego loves this as much as we do reading).

after reading that, i was forced to think specifically of atlas, and frankly how frigging amazing it is them guys have stuck it out (specially after the whole DR/Geminate fall of a few years ago), whole new respect for them really.

/Theo


The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 12:38:00 - [3]
 

oh also this hasn't been edited properly so expect the odd missing word, once people warn me of the errors i'll have it tweaked~

Reprimander
Caldari
Perkone
Posted - 2009.07.16 12:55:00 - [4]
 

i do not approve of the lack of '~' in the OP

~

Shinma Apollo
Caldari
BURN EDEN
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:11:00 - [5]
 

Mittens, great work, but you should check out Robert Pape, Bombing to win He's really good for understanding the processes of the failure cascade, since he models the same thing in real life.

Scatim Helicon
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:12:00 - [6]
 

Which forum will this weeks thread be moved to? Spin the wheel of fortune!

Crimson11
Caldari
Unexpected Company
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:12:00 - [7]
 

Fairly interesting, I think it spent too much time on the actual psychology instead of applying it to eve situations or rather it didn't make enough of those connections.

It also doesn't address things as metagaming, emo rage quiting leaders, and hostile takeovers as alliance failures. All of which are pretty well known and documented throughout eve. Each of these I'm sure have many reasons for why they happen and what the player bases reaction to each of these would be.

overall though, worth reading

Crim

Magic Trev
Gallente
Veto.
Veto Corp
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:19:00 - [8]
 

nice, well thought out and intereting read imo. congrats.

Hachi Ironfist
Gallente
Rubbish and Garbage Removal
Atlas.
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:41:00 - [9]
 

You mentioned the Polish, Germans, Russians and Hungarians ...but not the Romanians ... tsk tsk

Mad Shade
Amarr
4S Corporation
Morsus Mihi
Posted - 2009.07.16 13:52:00 - [10]
 

Edited by: Mad Shade on 16/07/2009 13:53:04
Keep up the good work... I enjoy reading these articles, It's a nice way to kill time while at work.

Sometimes (aggro) you dont need to induce helplessness... just add a few neckbeards and lack of identification.

Berel Oham
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:22:00 - [11]
 

i don't get why libertarians are supposed to be offended

DrDevice
Gallente
Sniggerdly
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:25:00 - [12]
 

a good read :)

Absolutely right about the adversity, and its ongoing nature, however the articles vibe felt a little narrow towards the adversity being largely combat related.

From my experiences of fail cascade adversity can take many forms and be a lot more subtle.

Boredom and leadership absences can all take their toll.

It might be an interesting experiment to 'arrange' for the key FCs' for a timezone to go 'afk' for a few weeks at the same time and see what happens :)

this wouldn't need to be during any massive wars or anything that would cause any military failures, just take away the day-to-day direction.

Fuujin
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:33:00 - [13]
 

Always love these reads. Keep them coming! :)

Fuujin
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:38:00 - [14]
 

Originally by: DrDevice
a good read :)

Absolutely right about the adversity, and its ongoing nature, however the articles vibe felt a little narrow towards the adversity being largely combat related.

From my experiences of fail cascade adversity can take many forms and be a lot more subtle.

Boredom and leadership absences can all take their toll.

It might be an interesting experiment to 'arrange' for the key FCs' for a timezone to go 'afk' for a few weeks at the same time and see what happens :)

this wouldn't need to be during any massive wars or anything that would cause any military failures, just take away the day-to-day direction.


I think he was focusing on the cascade-by-external-forces (spys seeding dissent aside). Leadership gaps will always cause turmoil and a loss of cohesion--whether the damage is superficial or mortal really depends on whether your alliance/corporate culture encourages people to step up and try and lead when there's a vaccuum.

Of course, even then it could be bad if someone steps up and sucks at the job. But then, there's a reason why assassination is an effective tool when done right.

Aditia Holdem
Minmatar
Rionnag Alba
Northern Coalition.
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:49:00 - [15]
 

Edited by: Aditia Holdem on 16/07/2009 14:50:44
I was about to post that CAOD is dead. This post injected some life into it!

Good read.

thanx

Galaor
Amarr
Genos Occidere
HYDRA RELOADED
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:55:00 - [16]
 

Fun read as usual, but I think you're muddling up causes with effects a bit. This isn't any different than explaining the difference between a stock market downturn and a crash, or a military retreat vs. a rout. The common denominator is a failure (temporary or permanent) to believe in a system that requires such belief in order to work (you call it change in identification). The rest of the stuff you talk about may or may not be present.

There's all sorts of excellent analysis work on exactly how the rifleman square (think redcoats) worked, why certain armies had excellent results copying it and certain others never got it right, and how and why it failed when it did. You can get pretty much the same studies on the effect of cavalry charges on masses of footmen (and the effect of masses of footmen on cavalry charges). It's fun stuff.

For more recent examples, read any book on why World War 1 ended the way it did. If you want real life failure cascades (*lots* of them), it's hard to find better examples than that.

Captian Duffy
Gallente
Darke Aurora
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:58:00 - [17]
 

Originally by: Hachi Ironfist
You mentioned the Polish, Germans, Russians and Hungarians ...but not the Romanians ... tsk tsk


nobody cares about you
seriously, why so much nationalism?

Garia666
Amarr
T.H.U.G L.I.F.E
Xenon-Empire
Posted - 2009.07.16 14:58:00 - [18]
 

Edited by: Garia666 on 16/07/2009 15:00:32
Its time your alliance starts to die..

The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:06:00 - [19]
 

Originally by: DrDevice
a good read :)

Absolutely right about the adversity, and its ongoing nature, however the articles vibe felt a little narrow towards the adversity being largely combat related.

From my experiences of fail cascade adversity can take many forms and be a lot more subtle.

Boredom and leadership absences can all take their toll.

It might be an interesting experiment to 'arrange' for the key FCs' for a timezone to go 'afk' for a few weeks at the same time and see what happens :)

this wouldn't need to be during any massive wars or anything that would cause any military failures, just take away the day-to-day direction.


adversity can take many forms, which is why i tried to keep it in those terms rather than just combat

having your forums goonrushed and being a public laughingstock, a la aggressionperiod, is certainly adversity

leadership vanishing tends to occur in the late stages of cascade, when an individual leader is bashed into helplessness. that absolutely accelerates things, as it provides a new excuse for a pilot to stop bothering: "even though i love my alliance, why should i show up and fight when the leadership doesn't, it's not my fault, it's theirs"

the reasons why alliances like aggression and fallen souls end up cascading so quickly is because they add so many new corps so fast (in some cases doubling in size in 3 months or less) that pilots haven't shifted their identification to the alliance

so if you see an alliance 'bloat' it's not a sign of strength but weakness; the older corps who were there pre-bloat blame the newer corps for ****ing things up, the newer corps don't have any stake in the alliance, etc.

The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:08:00 - [20]
 

Originally by: Galaor

There's all sorts of excellent analysis work on exactly how the rifleman square (think redcoats) worked, why certain armies had excellent results copying it and certain others never got it right, and how and why it failed when it did. You can get pretty much the same studies on the effect of cavalry charges on masses of footmen (and the effect of masses of footmen on cavalry charges). It's fun stuff.

For more recent examples, read any book on why World War 1 ended the way it did. If you want real life failure cascades (*lots* of them), it's hard to find better examples than that.


i deliberately avoid analogies to real-life combat as eve is much more analagous to a no-contact sport than war. this is why quoting sun tzu about eve is such a laughingstock: no one gets killed or risks death and everyone can escape negative situations in eve simply by logging off

that said grossman's 'on killing' is a fascinating book

Malur Fy'Lap
Caldari
Solar Nexus.
-Mostly Harmless-
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:08:00 - [21]
 

Nice work Muffin.. i mean mittan

Very nice read

The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:14:00 - [22]
 

Originally by: Berel Oham
i don't get why libertarians are supposed to be offended


modern psychology demonstrates that the classic summum bonums of typical lolbertarians are bs

objectivists/randians worship rationality, humans aren't only irrational but in many ways it is impossible for us to force ourselves into a rational mindest

lolbertarians of the nonrandian type often espouse the joys of a self-regulating 'free market' and behavioral economics blows bloody gaping holes in that

some nonrandian lolbertarians hold 'free will' to be their highest good, justifying both smoking pot and capitalism through it, the only problem is that 'free will' doesn't exist given how irrational and easily manipulated humans are, let's not even begin to touch on the number of inherent flaws in cognition which render free will a dangerous ideal

Xtreem
Gallente
The Collective
White Noise.
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:18:00 - [23]
 

as much as i hate to, i really like these posts of yours.

good read

TimMc
Gallente
Brutal Deliverance
Gypsy Band
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:19:00 - [24]
 

Originally by: Berel Oham
i don't get why libertarians are supposed to be offended


Me neither. I am a libertarian and was not offended. Maybe I am a **** libertarian.

Le Skunk
Gallente
Low Sec Liberators
Chubby Chuppers Chubba Chups
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:30:00 - [25]
 

Edited by: Le Skunk on 16/07/2009 15:30:34
An interesting 5 min read.

Thanks

SKUNK

Dante Algermain
Gallente
Silver Snake Enterprise
Against ALL Authorities
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:33:00 - [26]
 

I've just studied this text, and whilst i went into it with an open mind, i find your typical "yank" writing style or using too many big words to explain things, detracts from what could be a well written piece of journalism.

I fully expect to get flamed for this, but opinions are like ********s, everybody's got one.

The Mittani
Caldari
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:37:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: Dante Algermain
I've just studied this text, and whilst i went into it with an open mind, i find your typical "yank" writing style or using too many big words to explain things, detracts from what could be a well written piece of journalism.

I fully expect to get flamed for this, but opinions are like ********s, everybody's got one.


it is unabashedly psych gobbledy****, i have a psych ba vOv

Dante Algermain
Gallente
Silver Snake Enterprise
Against ALL Authorities
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:38:00 - [28]
 

Originally by: The Mittani
Originally by: Berel Oham
i don't get why libertarians are supposed to be offended


modern psychology demonstrates that the classic summum bonums of typical lolbertarians are bs

objectivists/randians worship rationality, humans aren't only irrational but in many ways it is impossible for us to force ourselves into a rational mindest

lolbertarians of the nonrandian type often espouse the joys of a self-regulating 'free market' and behavioral economics blows bloody gaping holes in that

some nonrandian lolbertarians hold 'free will' to be their highest good, justifying both smoking pot and capitalism through it, the only problem is that 'free will' doesn't exist given how irrational and easily manipulated humans are, let's not even begin to touch on the number of inherent flaws in cognition which render free will a dangerous ideal


A "self regulating" free market leads to the current global economic slow down and the "boom & bust" cycle.

Individual "free will" does exist, however it is belittled by "the mob" which turns people into sheep.

Dante Algermain
Gallente
Silver Snake Enterprise
Against ALL Authorities
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:39:00 - [29]
 

Originally by: The Mittani
Originally by: Dante Algermain
I've just studied this text, and whilst i went into it with an open mind, i find your typical "yank" writing style or using too many big words to explain things, detracts from what could be a well written piece of journalism.

I fully expect to get flamed for this, but opinions are like ********s, everybody's got one.


it is unabashedly psych gobbledy****, i have a psych ba vOv


Ah, now i get it. You have a pointless degree and need to justify wasting those years of your life. Idea

Galaor
Amarr
Genos Occidere
HYDRA RELOADED
Posted - 2009.07.16 15:39:00 - [30]
 

Originally by: The Mittani
i deliberately avoid analogies to real-life combat as eve is much more analagous to a no-contact sport than war. this is why quoting sun tzu about eve is such a laughingstock: no one gets killed or risks death and everyone can escape negative situations in eve simply by logging off


I don't think you believe this for a minute. The people your skullduggery works best against are those that are emotionally involved with this game, and that care deeply about their internet spaceship assets. I don't think failure cascades are possible without this emotional involvement. Then again, it's pretty hard to build and maintain a strong 0.0-space holding alliance without it either...


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