Friday, April 16, 2010

Better, or "Not As Good As You Think You Are"

I might get in trouble for talking about this, but I'm going to anyway.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is summed up pretty easily -- people with low skill (or "competence") don't realize that they have low skill. They don't have the ability to understand that they're not as good as everyone else. (This can be fixed by raising their competence level, which will allow them to recognize that they were previously incompetent, but until that time they are unable to recognize skill in others or lack of skill in themselves.)

People who have high skill (or "competence") tend to think that they have average skill because they assume other people have "equivilant understanding." That is, they think other people can grasp the same things they do.

Thus, people who are utterly incompetent believe themselves to be average and people who are very competent tend to put themselves just slightly above average.

I've seen this phenomenon in raiding.

(This is the part that might get me in trouble.)

The incompetent raiders don't get rostered quite as much, especially if a raid is over-filled on a certain class (I've heard warlocks have been a rostering issue in our 10-mans). When one of the warlocks complained about not getting rostered, he quoted another warlock as saying "I guess you have to be sleeping with the guild leader to get rostered around here."

This was a pointed attack (probably misquoted, because The Big-Mouthed Warlock is famous for misrepresenting people) at my sister-in-law. My brother is standing in as guild leader and he and his wife were, at the time, rostered every raid.

Because they were healers.

Because they were the most experienced healers.

Because the guy doing the rosters only liked raiding with them because they were highly competent experienced healers.

When I praise my brother and sister-in-law for their healing abilities, I am not doing so out of favoritism or affection.

The pair can heal.

They are highly effective, communicate well with each other, and get stuff done. Either one of them can keep up idiot overpulling tanks in pugs and have, on more than one occasion, kept up a 10-man that went to crap. My sister-in-law pulls spells out of her arsenal that most people don't even know exist.

They are very VERY VERY competent.

I think it was the Dunning-Kruger effect that made the warlocks complain. They couldn't realize that their raiding competence wasn't anywhere near my brother and his wife, and that (along with additional practical reasons) that was why they didn't get rostered as much.

Yet they complained.

About healers.

Getting rostered more than them.

It's mind-boggling, isn't it? But the Dunning-Kruger effect clearly states that incompetent people will boggle your mind. Because they just don't get it. And they won't get it because they can't. Their very incompetence prevents them from recognizing their incompetence.

So. That's why incompetent raiders get cranky and don't understand why you don't roster them more. Ta da! I solve your conundrums.


  1. I've seen this before. My mage and another mage, way back during Kara, basically competed for a slot in the second group. After a couple of test runs (including one where the warlock brought her Paladin to heal so they could compare us side by side), I got selected for 'raid awareness' and better control of my aggro. He then bitched about the warlock getting to keep her spot because she was already geared from Kara (I think at this point she just needed one drop off of Prince or Nightbane. I forget).

    The guild leader had to explain to him that the warlock was a freaking monster who topped dps and new every fight. During one unfortunate encounter, the two main tanks died and she manager to save the raid using a voidwalker tank and health funneling the rest of the way.

    And he complained more.

    She eventually switched to the paladin because we lost the healer, and I don't think he ever really understood why he never got in.

  2. Since I don't really raid (not a lot of time, family constraints, the act that if I say I can, I am immediately and viciously squashed by family things), I never really run into this problem. I've raided sporadically since Naxx. When I was with them, it was a simple matter of, "dps THIS first, then move on to the next target".

    I didn't usually die, but I never topped the meters either. I'm not a skilled raider (I don't spend hours theorycrafting to get that last ounce of dps, I rarely read up on the fights, etc), but at the same time, I know a few things that you don't do in raids.

  3. I know a few things that you don't do in raids

    Lemme put it this way. One person wondered in vent about who was standing in clouds on Yogg -- it was him and he didn't know it.

    That's a special level of clueless.

  4. Luckily for me, DBM yells at me if I stray into damage zones.


  5. Hehe, I couldn't raid without DBM. And yet, there are people in my guild who do. They know it exists, they just don't run it. And thereby make things that much more difficult for the rest of us.

    I'd never heard that there was actually a name for that phenomenon, though I've seen it at work myself. Heck, it even happened to me back in BC. I never knew how bad I was, but once I found out (and got over the shock), I took steps to correct it.

    I think at some level it can be paralleled with the idea that many have that gear confers skill. Get the best gear, the cookie-cutter spec, and push a couple of buttons to make things go, and there you go, you're the best there ever was.

  6. These are also the people who, if by some miracle they do well on one fight, spam the meters to you. But if on the next fight they don't do as well, no meter spam. And after the fact, when the combat log is posted "meters don't mean crap." Meters don't mean crap except when they indicate that YOU are the best :P

  7. Zel has an excellent point

    I was in Heroic HoR, and this Rogue was saying how he was the best player because he a ton of ICC gear.

    I spent the entire dungeon out-dpsing AND out-damaging him in my Triumph badge gear. He actually ended up second-to-last, but only because the Healer doesn't generate DPS. Gearscore and meters mean nothing. It's the player behind the avatar.


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