Friday, April 26, 2013

[Rant] Dart tip code skepticism gets hostile.

Jump if you want to read this.

Back a long while (almost 2 years ago), I made this post:,3646.0

Ah, HvZ Forums Thread 3646.

That is the Nerf dart tip code reference I helped to build, with input from many HvZ players and nerfers on the forums.

It was an effort to make sense of the sometimes radical differences in the dart tips and foam Nerf was putting out. That included observations that all of Nerf's dart tips have a one-letter identification molded in - as do Vortex discs - and that the line or plant codes had a perfect and undeniable relation to the differences in the darts.

However, lurking around the other forums recently I came across this fiery nonsense from a moderator of a certain nerf forum:

Do the codes actually mean anything, or is this just unverified bullshit that is being gobbled up by gullible people?

...How about not insulting a massive part of the NIC along with the person who raised awareness of this dart code thing IN THE INTEREST OF HELPING OTHER NERFERS for absolutely no good reason?

Skepticism is desirable. I am often the skeptic myself - but that right there is not skepticism, it is flaming. Calling other nerfers' established and widely agreed upon contributions "unverified bullshit" and their community "gullible" is uncalled for. There is no justification for that.

You, Sir, who posted that are a disgrace to the NIC.

Then another mod chimes in with this:

Obviously different production runs will have variations, but there will be variations within a single run as well. The bigger question is whether there is any actual discernible difference, i.e. if the difference are statistically significant in a blind randomized study.

My hunch is that this is all voodoo made up by people looking for patterns where none are found, being fooled by randomness.

That was at least a bit more objective and reserved. I like that the idea that production lines can change their characteristics over time was brought up - that is a good point, and in fact holds some validity in the fact that the codes nowadays do not correlate to the same differences in dart materials that they used to. In fact, code shopping is more or less obsolete - because Elite darts are all very similar to the point that code variations may in fact be affected or overshadowed by experimental noise.

However, that post is still inordinately hostile and reflects a desire to attack what is not understood. The mentions of statistical methods only makes it clear this poster is inexperienced with the subject.

The differences were extravagantly clear, particularly the old W, K and T code Streamlines and W sonics which were 90% of the reason for the existence of that thread. It's the magnitude of the difference between a slug dart made with Frost King foam and felt from Ace, and one made with a top-notch heat resistant FBR and Mcmaster felt pads. There was no need for statistical analysis - the conclusions in terms of the existence of the physical differences were very clear cut, just as a 13" barrel is shorter than a 14" barrel.

The correlation of this difference to codes was not and has not found to falter even once by anyone who posted about dart codes, aside from recent Elite foam being found on glow streamlines from China, which was promptly documented - note that the project remains receptive to changes and new discoveries, past mistakes, etc. and will do nothing but promptly and accurately report them in the interest of providing the most accurate guide to Nerf's darts.

Neither I nor anyone else have any reason to attempt to deceive anyone about nerf darts. There is no gain in that.

And you know what I think here? This would all be astoundingly clear if both of these posters had looked at the darts before getting all Keyboard Warrior.

The one exception is that this thread does pull some questionable information in ONE instance - namely, regarding stability and accuracy - from responses and others' observations. YES, THAT IS SUBJECT TO ERROR. NO CLAIM OTHERWISE WAS MADE. It was presented as an agglomeration of what people reported and nothing more or less, and as the author of the post I consider it the least significant element. This matter of streamline external ballistics is a VERY complex subject. Frankly, it's not worth trying to analyze. However, I don't think any flames are justified for me taking note of word of mouth on this matter. There are far bigger fish to fry than whether a bunch of HvZ players think code X streamlines are more accurate than code Y. Streamlines are still Streamlines and they are all pretty damn inaccurate anyway, so I don't even know what's worth flipping out over.

So there it is, members of the NIC taking skepticism too far. I have never been able to comprehend hostility like this. It is one thing to be aggressive in the name of getting your point across or calling attention to a problem, but this is neither.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, that's horrible. I can't believe people are so stupid...

    That was a MOD?!?! What board was HE from?!?!

    I bet it was NH...