A response to Eugene

Earlier I wrote a post on how Eugene bashed me online, using aggressive language like “Scam” and that my work is “scientifically flawed to the point of absurdity and it must go.” I then did a full critique of his book too, just like he did mine, and he decided to call me “criminal” because of it through another post.

I was going to just post the below on his blogpost, but unfortunately there was a character limit, so I’m just posting it here. I won’t be promoting this piece on any social network (btw, even the first piece, I could be sharing it in the other dominant social media groups for gamification, but I didn’t because I didn’t want it to spread everywhere…just enough so he would recognize that he can’t just go around accusing people with names…so just shared on my own private group and personal wall) but I felt I do need to make a statement for myself in public.

Response to Eugene:

Hey Eugene, I’m not going to go on arguing the little details here in your post (maybe a couple very damaging ones). I want you to understand that you forced me to do everything I have done.

1. Out of nowhere, you aggressively write a book with the title “scam” and throw my name in the title description. You use harsh language like, “These people don’t have the first clue” among other very “killer-like activities.” I was going to let it go and just wanted to share with Andrzej and get a kick.

2. Then you started being aggressive again on Twitter, saying we were just playing our big egos and such. Needless to say, anyone would have been annoyed. If you were me, what would you do here? The fact that you told me you were a fan but then write that my stuff “has to go” and that I don’t have a clue about life makes me feel like you are just playing a very dangerous and annoying game of fame. I was very annoyed, so I wanted you to feel what it’s like when someone criticizes your work with “a bad attitude.” Then you told me to make sure I read the entire thing and not just say anything generic. So I did.

3. I wrote the piece, not at all trying to defend what you were criticizing me for (again, those are small details outside the personal attacks), but just giving a taste of the same medicine – someone criticizing your work. I might have read your work more carefully than you did mine. I did not call you names like “scam” or anything, but yes I did imply that your previous behavior was rude, aggressive and immature. I didn’t say anything bad about your school. I actually respect your school. I was implying that your writing clearly shows that you haven’t graduated college yet. (and of course, many people in college are also very mature)

4. You continued to attack me on Twitter. I honestly and sincerely asked you to stop pushing me, because I actually didn’t want you to ruin your career just because you wanted to save face. I think (before your ebook) you were doing the right things, interning at the right places, reading the right books (btw, I also read science books too. I was just saying your point was irrelevant). If you patiently did what you did for a few years and gained more experience, you would be very successful and respected. I may even work with you on my own projects too (I’ve actually mentioned this to a few people).

But you took a path that would have destroyed all the good stuff you have done. It would be a huge shame if you threw everything away like that because of it, so I was almost pleading to you not to push me more.

I know I’m competitive, and I don’t back down from people who attack me first without me doing anything wrong, but I didn’t want you to make it worse for yourself (again, your current writing does not brand you well yet, and escalating the matter and the back and forth could only hurt you, not just in the gamification world, but academically [there was a bad incident of the “UCLA Racist Girl” who publicly said some, not incorrect but politically insensitive things, and was kicked out of the University…NO ONE wants that to happen], professionally, and even legally [there are laws against publicly implying that people are scams, especially if it results in monetary/opportunity damage).

I asked you not to keep pushing, but let you know again that I don’t back down when people push. I also didn’t want everyone on the web to feel like they could copy your aggressive and rude behavior without any consequences. I really didn’t have too much of a choice if you pushed. Again, what would you do if you were me?

5. So then you write a blogpost, calling me “hypocrite” and “criminal.” All I did was write an aggressively critical piece against your work too. How is that hypocritical? Sure, I didn’t quote everything, but I quoted as much as I could based on the Kindle limits that you set.

You on the other hand, just took one blogpost of mine, one paragraph quote, and you felt comfortable labeling with all the things that you did. Don’t you think that would hurt me too? If you just politely said the “semantics” of my Left Brain/Right Brain Core Drives wasn’t scientific, I would have totally agreed and explained that it’s just symbolic and to make the tool easier for design purposes (in fact, people have asked me nicely and I have responded nicely).

But you had to take the route of calling me work “scientifically flawed to the point of absurdity and it has to go.” Again, you didn’t leave me much choice did you?

On a few points above you made:

1. You DID attack us personally, and not just our ideas. You said we “didn’t have the first clue” about things. You did not use the word “fraud” but “scam” implies the same thing. You did not specifically call ME a scam, but it was implied, just as I didn’t specifically say anything bad about your education, but you felt I applied it and declared that I did. Implying goes both ways.

2. I still don’t agree that “socailizers are losers IN THE GAME.” I think socializers just enjoy socializing, regardless of how good they are at the game. I think you are over-generalizing, which I did take the chance to point out that it goes against the anti-reductionist movement that you were very strong on.

3. I actually didn’t mention The Winner Effect was your claim to fame because of your blogpost. I did it because after saying everyone’s stuff is crap, you proposed something that you endorsed, and so I just exaggerated what was supposed to be, “What he thinks is actually good.”

I just thought the way you presented the information and the examples were pretty funny (the Winner Effect is truly there, but it’s unclear how you would use it to design a gamification campaign…make people win a lot through Core Drive 2?) I was just holding you at a higher standard since you completely bashed away everyone else’s hard work.

4. I can’t believe you think I am “lying in a criminal way” just because I did not include links to two boring videos. I basically just copy and pasted the entire quote (even included your example and names), and the Kindle copy-paste just didn’t come with it. I in no way implied (or even thought) that you were sexually deviant. I just implied that many of your examples were about sex and that does not reflect well on you. If you felt that me simply not including two video links but quoting YOUR ENTIRE STATEMENT makes you seem like a sexual deviant, you might want to change your text and sentences.

I think if I added the links to the two videos (also happy to do so if you want), that wouldn’t change anything and would still be pissed and call me a criminal liar another way. Here I just believed you should use better examples to prove your point.

And no, I completely disagree people are nice only because they fake it and want to gain social status or any extrinsic means (but I agree some do…again, humans are complex and we are very different). Some people are just nice, for good or for bad. I do however, agree that people with high status get away with things that are not acceptable by people with low status. I’m only saying you can’t just generalize peoples’ motives of why they are nice, or why they do anything.

5. See, why do you keep doing stuff like this, “Maybe if you spent more time in the real-world you’d learn how to navigate it better”? I just don’t get it. It’s like you are purposely trying to make me angry. Not even saying how good my work experience is, I truthfully have done more in the “real world” and have seen more (even if you were smarter, which I’m not against).

It’s just again, an unnecessary attitude which is plastered all over your book. Anyway, you misunderstood what I was saying. Yes, if a person does repetitive actions, and sees repetitive results, there is no flow. But my point is that because in games, people are doing repetitive actions (like “throwing out the bird” repeatedly, “matching 3 gems” repeatedly, “killing the same monsters” repeatedly) joyfully because there is a sense of growth (also Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment, which supports the Winner Effect – you do what you feel accomplished on) through good Feedback Mechanics etc etc.

My point was that “Even though the grunt work you give people have REPETITIVE ACTION, through gamification, it is possible to make people more motivated towards it.” Also, I never used the word Flow in that statement or in that talk, so your point isn’t even relevant (just like how I don’t even say how my terminologies are scientific, as I just focus on doing good designs that change behavior).

6. Again, I don’t mock your school. I respect it. I was simply saying you behaved like a person who hasn’t started working for a living yet. Harvard college students could behave the same way too (I have a friends like that). My school’s not the best either, and that’s okay.

All I ask is that we behave maturely and when you criticize someone’s work, there is no need to input a bunch of insulting crap in it (again, if you ask why I do it myself, it’s just because I was just letting you feel what you are doing to others. This is the first time I have ever done so, even though I have been criticized MANY times…I usually thank the people for pointing it out politely).

7. Finally, you said your book only criticizes me on the last part about the LB/RB stuff, and you didn’t criticize me anything about the reductionism stuff. That would be fine if you didn’t throw my name into the book description with this, “consultancy practices that have been developed in gamification inspired by his personality types and finding “players motivations,” specifically those of Andrzej Marczewski and Yu-Kai Chou Octalysis framework.”

Also, now you state that I have yet to answer your social atomism critique. What was the critique I should answer to? I thought you said you weren’t attacking me on that besides the LB/RB stuff? See stuff like that is just confusing, like you are just trying to find something to attack. This is the reason why I feel like you are just playing some game.

Also, regarding your big problem of my semantics. My honest question is, if I just stopped calling it Left Brain Core Drives and Right Brain Core Drives and called it something else like Rainbow and Stone (btw, Jill Bolte Taylor, a Neuroanatomist, in her TED talk also uses Left Brain/Right Brain generalities, but again I could care less), would you really no longer think my work is not so scientifically flawed that it has to go?

I just don’t get what’s the big problem you have with my work beyond the naming/grouping of Core Drives. I feel like you were just finding something to criticize for publicity sake, and if I chose different terminologies, you would find something else to bash.

Anyway, like I said I’m not interested in being in a fight with you, and I would still like you to be extremely successful one day if it didn’t mean I was going down because of it. I reached out on Twitter to do a live talk (publicly or privately based on your choice) to discuss it out if you are interested in peace. I also said if you want a moderator like Gabe Zichermann (whom you work/worked for), I would be fine with it too.

Let me know.

Oh ok, you responded on Twitter that I am unprofessional and you don’t want to talk. That’s fine. I don’t think you need to quit the gamification industry though. I’m happy to help you as long as you start taking back your aggressive words and act in good faith.

Again, you have been doing the right things up until now. I would recommend you keep doing it in a collaborative way in the industry.

The Winner/Effect Loser is only there partially. When we lose, we can pick ourselves back up and keep trying. I think you have great talent and a great potential in the gamification world, you just shouldn’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.

Feel free to reach out to me anytime when you feel ready, and I am happy to communicate in peaceful and non-aggressive/non-mocking terms.

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