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Really interesting article, but you ignore the Gatekeepers - political, cultural, and, increasingly, technical entities who seek to define the rules. The paths to success in the game have narrowed in the last few years as discourse has been ever more tightly controlled. I don't know how you can possibly argue there are small downsides. For most people with a 9-to-5, the Game is a way to lose everything offline simply by making a mistake online.

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+1 chasetruant as well. There are HUGE downsides to playing this game wrong and they are written into source code algorithms the players can't see. I'd read a followup essay titled "The Great Game: Rules and Gatekeepers" in a heartbeat. The Gatekeepers for the game aren't even PEOPLE much of the time: they are software models, and crude ones. Simple example with a big downside: recently many LinkedIn recruiters kept contacting me about jobs below my current level. I then read an article that said "LinkedIn's Search Engine actually only cares about your tagline, not your actual work experience, resume, or profile." 'That can't be true!' I thought. "I spent so much time on my resume and entering in good data in my profile to cover my real-life work history!" But sure enough, I changed my 100 word tagline to use buzzwords (leader, innovator) instead of my job title, did NOT change any of the actual work history in my profile, and the next day 6 recruiters reached out with jobs at/above my current level (probably because I now showed up in their search results). Conclusion: the rewards don't go to the most generous creators, they go to those with the cheat codes to get around NPC Gatekeepers.

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how about yall get some bitches

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Pseudonymous participation, multiple aliases, and selectivity over what you share on what network seem like viable solutions. I've avoided participating in social media because I don't want to share my views in public. Seeing more and more success for psuedonymous accounts is changing my mind. I'm also just slowly warming up to the idea that no one is watching/listening to me anyways, so I may as well have fun and say what I believe in.

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+1 chasetruant. You might be my new hero. Sorry to sound like the dour eldest child of Ann Landers and Captain Obvious, but “for most people with a 9-5, the Game is a way to lose everything offline simply by making a mistake online” may possibly be the most intelligent, rational, non-deranged thing I have read in the last 5 years.

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How? You can make a social media page and start posting, join discord’s + telegram etc. I agree that ultra powerful/influential people want to control the game (I.e. zuckerburg) but they can’t stop you from stating. Plus decentralized crypto projects/ social medias like theta and audius are on the rise.

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I just wanted to give this excellent essay its 200th like :)

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author

Thank you 🙏

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"dont be an asshole" is how to win at so much...

... and is also impossibly-difficult; an infinite game.

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I used to be absolutely positive about it as well but... We run into problems when it's expected of everyone to have this job-on-top-of-the-job. Also gaming Twitter by presenting a certain way and avoiding all the pitfalls as all of us become public figures is soul-corrosive to some. The downsides of failure (and even success) are way worse than you present.

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This was a great read, thanks for clearing a couple of things for me that I wasn't sure off. I'm ready to play now 😉

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I couldn't but help see the title as an allusion to "The Great Game" referred to in the 19th century by British elites. The Carse citation seems more apt, yet Carse concludes his work by stating there is only one infinite game. Yet, you state the Great Online Game is *an* infinite game. This is to misread Carse who wanted to throw a wrench into Wittgenstein's language theory of games - plural - by concluding that there is only one game. That said, this is a very eye opening article on the embarrassment of riches available to those who try the Great Online Game!

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Another great article as usual Packy. I was actually thinking of this essay and "life as a video game" while reading the news the day after the Mayweather vs. Logan Paul which happened yesterday (June 6th 2021). Here you have two people that are playing the video game of life very well.

The ideas explored in your article also remind me of Robin Hanson's "How to Win a Simulation" and Shawn Wang's "Learn in Public".

Keep up the excellent work!

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Started this article trying to figure out if we've reached Peak Musk yet (like in the 90s we attained Peak Gates, on the hard edged techie side of Tech, just as, on the soft, commercial side we went from Peak Jobs to Peak Bezos). Didn't find an answer to that, of course, but thanks for the graphic explaining the appeal of crypto. If ever a picture was worth a thousand words . . .

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This was such a fascinating (and inspiring) read, Packy. Thank you for sharing! Unknowingly, this is exactly what I have been needing to read for a while.

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*Turning off lurkmode* Another awesome article out of many. Saw that tweet of the "retarded" comment that's conveniently below this. Not that you need to be reminded but Fuck the haterz. And if you're ever short on confidence. Return to this.

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I re-read this article weekly. Can I buy the NFT? :)

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Very thought-provoking, powerful central insight. Thanks for writing, man! 💚🥃

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Excellent article, thank you! I've been thinking separately about some of the things you described, but you have put them in a beautiful structure. I've also just realized that essentially I have been playing the game for the last year... I started discussing investment ideas with someone I knew which then evolved into a small discussion group which may now lead to me managing OPM. In parallel I increased my personal capital multi-fold through public markets (a large contributor was GME which I first noticed in Michael Burry's portfolio and then followed via Seeking Alpha, Reddit and Twitter) and crypto (just plain BTC in an algo fund managed by someone I knew). As a result I quit my job in private equity and now manage my portfolio full time. It was all quite stressful and not easy, but definitely fun! Planning to continue playing the game :)

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Interesting analogy of likening our daily lives to games and how crypto has the components of a great game. However, I feel like there are a couple of loopholes in the argument.

Firstly, while the network effect / video game analogy could explain the rise in crypto, it does not explain why value stocks are growing as well (I dont see how that could be seen as 'fun' or containing the community incentives that should also be shared with growth tech stocks).

Furthermore, the notion that the Great Online Game thrives on "community and cooperation over individualism and competition. You get points for being curious, sharing, and helping with no expectation of reciprocation" does not apply only to crypto, but could very well be applied across all types of investments (ala wallstreetbets and gamestop) - and the 'rewards' people get would be in the form of recognition, stock, returns. Tokens in terms of crypto is just simply another form of 'stock' in which people can gain returns, not necessarily because they believe in the project.

Nonetheless, thank you for kicking off a great thought experiment with this article, it would be interesting to see how the overall tech and crypto market develops over time.

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This is retarded.

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Thank you for shedding light on the profound impact of online gaming. It's an exciting time to be a gamer, and your insights have only deepened my appreciation for this vibrant and ever-growing community. Looking forward to more of your posts!

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