Clarifying Posts

I received an email today from the person who runs the Online Gamers Anonymous site (about which I once posted an entry):

Please remove On-Line Gamers Anonymous from you hoax website.
Please inform me when this has been done.
This is a REAL service provided for people who are addicted to computer/video games and have no where else to go.

Their concern is that when people do a google search, they see the name of the site in question followed by "Museum of Hoaxes," which could imply that the site is a hoax. This issue has come up before, and it's a legitimate concern for people with real sites, so I think I need to do something to clarify the status of things I post about. For items that aren't a hoax, I'll add "Not a Hoax" right in the title (so that people will see the status when they do a google search). And for everything else I'm thinking of adding some kind of status line, stating exactly what I think it is (i.e. "Real picture, fake caption," "crackpot conspiracy theory," etc.).


Posted on Mon Sep 19, 2005


Boy what a grouch! I always thought MOH was a forum to discuss these things. If it turns out to be true, then fine. He could have at least asked nicely.

I like your idea of labeling each item. Perhaps it should be more like Snopes which has red or green dots beside the title that denote things TRUE or FALSE.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  01:41 PM
Don't give in to the "MAN" Alex!!!
Just say it cost money to remove the much are they willing to pay....You could also direct all complaints to me.....
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  01:59 PM
Removing posts entirely would be giving in to the MAN. But I figure that adding some clarification is just a sensible precaution to stop me from getting sued one of these days.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:10 PM
I'll add "Not a Hoax" right in the title (so that people will see the status when they do a google search

Yes, but we know that doesn't work. You only have to look at the fake doctor notes thread to see that people don't bother reading the important parts.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:14 PM
Ya know, as much as I am usually on the side of
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:41 PM
Ooh, you could have a little status bar under the title "Hoax, Not a Hoax, Undetermined".

At least until Snopes sends you a cease and desist email.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:44 PM
Then again, I do believe that all 12 step programs are a hoax, just in that they don't work and have never been proven to work. Also, I absolutely hate the fact that their principles are essentially religous principles, yet it is considered the only legitimate type of program. Where can you go if you have a gaming-addiction and are an atheist? Of course, this is a whole other argument.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:48 PM
I actually have worried about hearing from Snopes if I add some kind of status line, though they're not the only hoax-busting site to include a status line. I think they all do, except for mine. I frequently get emails from Snopes readers complaining that I've copied from Snopes if we both post about the same topic... even if I posted about it first. It's crazy.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  02:55 PM
It's called a life, tell them to get one.
Subtitling is a good idea, & if anyone thinks you're copying their idea, so what?!? Imitation is a form of flattery, and it's not like subtitling is a copyrighted idea or anything.
Posted by thephrog  in  CA USA  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  10:19 PM
You know what? Screw them. I'd argue for the right to call anyone and anything a hoax even if it isn't and you don't. I'm posting here on your website, and am I a hoax? Well, maybe, but I don't send nasty emails about it.
Posted by eriC draveS  in  Over here somewhere  on  Mon Sep 19, 2005  at  11:05 PM
There should totally be a central site for all the hoax busting websites like MOH, Snopes, Straightdope, mythbusters.. that grabs an XML feed from each site, and lets you easily persue and compare the findings of each site on each topic. A condensed view could be simply a graph with "so and so topic of the day" along with a yea/nay/maybe from each site.

Oh, and instead of a status line, how about something like this: Below each story (on its permalink and comments pages, but not on the main page), but *above* the comments, have a 'conclusions' section, separtate, and editable only by you Alex. Basically for Alex, after some comments or afterthought (or new revelations) to post the conclusions on the image, or the consensus from the comment (in situations that lack any immediate proof). This could then be changed several times, without changing any comments or stories.

Or something
Posted by Splarka  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  01:32 AM
Sorry if my above post didn't make any sense, I am trying to watch InuYasha at the same time as type.
Posted by Splarka  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  01:34 AM
I always thought the "updates" that were shown at the bottom of the post, should at least be moved to the top - mostly b/c if you read the blog, looked at the comments, and moved on, you might not come back to it later...If you saw, "UPDATE: Elephant Man Gives Birth" you'd know that was updated.

Anywho...on to the gamers addict thing..."NOT A HOAX: Online Gaming Addicts"

Puts it right into the title. Then again, people who have not been a part of this conversation might come to your website Museum of HOAXES, and see all these NOT A HOAX titles, and thing, "Geez, this guy should call his site NOT the Museum of Hoaxes".
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  05:09 AM
Or maybe you should remove their posts! You're being a real asshole on this one Alex.
Posted by Jorge  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  06:01 AM
Or Jorge could respect Alex's right to maintain this website and write on any topic he chooses in order to inform and entertain us. If anyone's post deserves removal, it's Jorge's.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  08:04 AM
It's not Alex that's being the asshole...

Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  09:54 AM
Putting the status in the title is probably the best bet; that will show up in big blue letters on Google.

Although maybe you could ask them to prove it's not a hoax and see what they come up with. You have only their word, after all.

As for the rest, I can see it would be hard to show that all the websites in hoax-UL-space don't read each other and take ideas from each other. I'm sure it's frustrating for the webmasters, and its frustrating for the readers.
Posted by cvirtue  in  deleted  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  11:46 AM
If people actually looked at your posts, they would see that the text of each one gives a balanced discussion of whether the thing is real or fake, so I don't really think you're in danger of being sued, Alex (well, anyone can sue, of course, but I don't think they'd win).

If they won't read even a few lines of the post, they probably won't read a second line saying "not a hoax," or whatever, either. You'll never please everybody.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  04:40 PM
The core of the issue is what shows up in Google searches. Because my site has a fairly high page rank, it shows up high in google searches. So the OLGA people were concerned that people searching for help with gaming addiction would do a search, see their site listed on the MOH, and think it was a hoax without reading any further. But by having NOT A HOAX show up in the title in the google search I think that resolves the issue. In fact, it may end up adding more credibility to the OLGA by having a 3rd party verify that they're real.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  08:39 PM
Isn't having this program online, sort of like have an AA meeting in a bar?
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  04:59 AM
Beyond the issue at hand, I think this is a great idea, and it's one I've wanted to see implemented for a while now. Way to go!
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  01:33 PM
Many people question the fact that the meetings and main website are held on-line.

We are sticking to the medium used by gamers, as that is what they are comfortable with.

Actually an A.A. meeting is a group of people gathered together, to improve their lives, with out Alcohol. The only difference between alcoholics at a meeting and alcoholics at a bar is one is not drinking and improving their live, and the other is drinking, period. They still are not home, and contributing to their family. They are still escaping their life, but they are doing it in a more positive way.

The same is true for O.L.G.A. The people have moved off of the gaming sites to the O.L.G.A. site where they can work on improving their lives and helping each other.

Posted by lizwool  in  Pennsylvania  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  01:24 PM
Lizwool, what if a gaming addict is an atheist? Are there programs for him/her to be a part of as well?
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  02:19 PM
Hello Razela,

Thank you for asking.

Just as most people who come into A.A., most gamers who come into O.L.G.A. are athiests or agnostics. By the time they get to the point of searching for help because they have tried everything they know of to quit, with no avail, they are usually spiritually bankrupt.

The 12-step programs are self-help programs. The two basic concepts they promote are spirituality and helping others.

I have stated, that the decision for someone to decide they want to leave gaming is the first step toward their spirituality. I believe spirituality is wanting to be better in my "real" life this year than I was last year, and to work on accomplishing that.

That is it - quite simple, and easy to grasp.

What is the group's definition of spirituality? "A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. In most cases, the change is gradual.

Most of our spiritual experiences are of the educational variety, and they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of newcomers are aware of the difference long before they are themselves. Gamers finally realize that they have undergone a profound alteration in their reaction to life and that such a change could hardly have been brought about by themselves alone. Our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. In any case, willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery."

I have found that having a spiritual life makes life on this earth worth living.

For my Higher Power, I do believe Jesus Christ is my Savior and key to heaven and I work at living the way He taught - Place no other God's before Him and Love Thy Neigbor as myself. I fall short, but I keep going.

Posted by lizwool  in  Pennsylvania  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  04:22 PM
I guess the whole need for a "higher power" just confuses me.

Liz writes:
"Our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves."

But if it's an inner resource then how could it be greater than themselves? Isn't it a part of them? Those people that do quit gaming or alcohol, or whatever they were addicted to, is it really the result of a "higher power" or did they just find the will power that already existed within themselves?

I guess it just seems to me that believing that a higher power is responsible would make a person feel more helpless than empowered.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Sat Oct 01, 2005  at  01:40 AM
Hello Razela,

How much control/power do we really have?

I cannot control things, including myself, or else I would be perfect.

Ones own will power may work for a time, (it is called controlled gaming) but the "call" becomes to great and the person just gives up and goes back to what they there gaming. It is a standing joke on the game boards. When someone announces they have quit, and are out of here, everyone laughs, and says, see you in a couple of weeks!

The 12-step programs are for people who have already tried to quit on their own, and that has failed. Their own will power in itself, did not give them the strenght to stop their compulsive gaming.

I find the less I am in control, the more peace I have. I can't do it, or I would have.....

Posted by lizwool  in  Pennsylvania  on  Sat Oct 01, 2005  at  07:34 AM
"I find the less I am in control, the more peace I have. I can't do it, or I would have"

But didn't you? Maybe you should give yourself more credit. When a person quits an addiction, it is because they found the power to do it within themselves. We are all responsible for ourselves, not at the mercy of something else.

"I cannot control things, including myself, or else I would be perfect."

How does the ability to control yourself make a person "perfect?" We are all imperfect because we have limited information on our surroundings to make decisions. However, a perfect being would have perfect information and perfect control of us, and therefore we would be perfect.

That's just the way I understand it. I just think that telling people to admit that they "were powerless over on-line gaming" is underscoring the goal (to get them to quit). Wouldn't telling them that they have the power to quit and providing support and advice be more helpful then telling them they are "powerless?"

If a person follows the 12 steps and successfully quits it is because they took the effort to put everything they had into quiting. If they were truly powerless, there wouldn't even be 12 steps, there would be 0 steps because there would be nothing they could do about their addiction anyways.

It just seems to me that 12 step programs care more about converting people to a religion then actually helping them get over their addiction.

Liz, do you have data proving the effectiveness of OLGA or 12 step programs in general?
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Sat Oct 01, 2005  at  03:26 PM
Hello Razela,
Thank you for your note.
I am answering your post in two sections, because it is too long to answer in one post.


I have experienced life on both sides of the spectrum - the side where I do acknowledge my spiritual life and pray and try to be a better person, and the other side, when I pretty much did what I wanted, and ran away from life, because it can be so ugly, and I didn't know how to live.
I know how I live, without spirituality and my program - I get bitchy, I get depressed, I drink, I want to die, I hate myself, I don't try to improve my life.
When I do acknowledge my spiritual life and live accordingly - with a program, recognizing that I have help to get through this life, and trying to do better every day, I am more peaceful and a better person.
So many of the gamers I know about have never looked at or acknowledged their spirituality and are running from life, because it can look awfuly bleak at times. I know that side. I have been there. Until you are given a choice to see another way of living, life can be awfully depressing.
I, myself, knew of no other way, until I came into A.A. I was so excited that there was a program out there to help people live a better life - and that there were actually steps showing me how. It is a great tool, to live by, to have a more satisfying life on this earth.
I want to give other people that chance.
Have you ever been on a retreat Razela? Are you in touch with your spirituality?

Go to next section - Thanks, Liz
Posted by lizwool  in  Pennsylvania  on  Mon Oct 03, 2005  at  04:41 PM

Like I stated before, what the activity of compulsive gaming is doing to thousands of people's lives is very, very sad. The games are being created by people with degress in pshychology to make them as addicting as possible, so the people will keep playing them.
A lot of people seem to go into a trance once they start playing, and it actually takes over their lives. They ARE powerless over it. They are drawn into it, and that is all they can think about, and do. They leave their real lives, their real life relationships, and just play, play, play. They say they can quit when they want to, but they never WANT to.
Getting to the first step, is when, for whatever reason, (I call it a spiritual enlightenment), the person decides he/she can't do this anymore and they want to come back to their real life. Than they start looking for guidance on how to do that. Step 1) We admitted we were powerless over on-line gaming, and that our lives have become unmanageable.
Until a person gets to that point, there is not much that can be done.
Like I said before, people do quit, a lot, and eventually go back to the gaming.
I absolutely know, that if I did not have the 12-step program, I would not be sober today.
I really don't know how this 12-step program works with gamers. So many of them come to our site spiritually bankrupt, and want to hear nothing about God. But the fact is, until a person has tried all other ways to quit, and the only way they haven't tried, is to ask God for help, and heartfully hope he/she can get it, that is when the 12-steps come in. If they have decided they want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it
Posted by lizwool  in  Pennsylvania  on  Mon Oct 03, 2005  at  04:42 PM
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