Friday, January 13, 2012

Bad arguments for the 6th ed. "leak"

Time for more logical fallacies.  This one pertaining to the 6th ed. rules "leak".

The primary argument I've heard for the leaked rule book being real follows:

A real 40K rule book takea a lot of effort to write.
This leaked rule book took a lot of effort to write.
Therefor This leaked rule book is a real rule book.

Or abstractly:

All A is a B
C is a B
Therefore C is an A

To make it clear, lets Venn it out

Just because something takes effort does not mean that it is real, only that it could be.  Yet, this is a common argument in support of it,

Another fallacy I see in relation to the leak is wishful thinking.  Since the leak matches what people want the next edition to be like, they are more inclined to believe it.  

Then there's this gem from a guy by the name of Stucarius:
“The work that has gone into this set of rules is legion. There are not that many designers in this community who could do it and I cannot imagine anyone who would and then not take credit.” 

To be honest there is absolutely no evidence I have seen so far that points to this not being a leaked copy or a near final draft of the rules. Very much the opposite actually. All the circumstantial and logical evidence, not to mention history (see the leak of 5th ed) point to this being the rules.
Since there is no evidence that is is not true, it must be true.  That does not logically follow.  This is what is known as an argument from ignorance(not trying to be mean, that's really the name of the fallacy).  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There's also a false dilemma.  It presents the choice that its real or its being done by someone who would intentionally not take credit for it.  This is denying the possibility of other reasonable assumptions, like the author is unavailable to take credit or doesn't want to be sued by GW.  The whole argument right now is being presented as a false dilemma.  Either it's real or a hoax.  It's denying the very real possibility that it is someones pet project; not something done to intentionally deceive.

There's some correlation is not causation action going on too.  Just because the 5th edition leak turned out to be real, does not mean that the 6th edition leak will turn out to be real.

The leak could very well be true.  Tearing apart the arguments, does not change the truth of the matter.  But if the arguments for the potion are bad, and the evidence for the position is bad, it is most likely that the position should not be affirmed.  The evidence against the hoax is just about as bad as the evidence for.  To me that's a push.  I'll wait and see what happens.

I do think it's interesting that with equaly poor evidence for and against most people seam to believe the leak is real.  I think that's because most people want to believe what they are reading is really 6th edition.  Unfortunately wanting something cannot change reality.


  1. Ok, let's work it out logically then.

    It's unarguable that the rules in this set of PDFs took a lot of work. So it's either GW's work, or it isn't.

    If it isn't, it's either the work of a group of fakers, or one lone faker. The polish on the rules we see (from testing) in the PDF makes a group the more likely source. There are multiple writing styles evident, and to my trained eye it looks like one person wrote it all, someone else modified it, and a 3rd person wrote most of the last third (missions, strategems, and Apoc bits).

    A group requires communication, which increases the risk of discovery. To get anything done in a decent amount of time, a group also requires funding. Else the project would take longer than the 2 months they've had since the Necron codex was released and their rules became known to the general public.

    Funding requires a source of funds. Who? An individual? What's their benefit? A competitor? Funding also increases the legal risks of discovery. A competitor funding this would be destroyed by being discovered.

    So as we work our way through this, our speculations get more tenuous. At some point, you have to ask yourself what is more likely? That a group of anonymous gamers got together with a secret funding source to kick out a set of fake rules for 40K? Or that someone in GW's testing program simply lost or leaked an early test copy of the rules?

    And what's the motive? A competitor would put out fake rules that are much worse than these, that would damage the 40K brand and boost their own sales. A fan would much more tempted to chuck old rules that they didn't like and to drastically favor one army they like over all others. This, this is exactly the sort of good and bad hodge-podge that I expected to see.

    So to me it's more likely than not that it's a leak of a real document.

    1. I agree that there was a lot of work put into the PDF. Degree of effort can be argued. There are people that can output staggering amounts of coherent text in short amounts of time, but we can't say for certain if that is the case here.

      I'll accept your position that three people is likely. I doesn't have to have been completed in two months though. Much or even all of the document could have been written before the Necron release and modified after the fact. Three people is also a small enough number that risk of discovery would be low, especially if the group where all local to each other and collaborated off line.

      I disagree that you would need funding for this. Any technology used could have been originally used for some other purpose. If you subtract a 30-40 hour work week from the lives of 3 people, there is still plenty of time in the week. There are other possibilities to provide for adequate time to work on this. Students, unemployment, or just people who are left in a cube all day with no supervision and feel no guilt for designing games on the company dime. I don't think funding would be necessary, and I don't think time would be that much of a problem for a single gamer(or even 3 single gamers).

      And the competitor thing is a red herring argument. It's not something anybody is asserting except for people arguing that the rules are authentic.

      We're both assuming facts not in evidence here. We're assuming amount of effort and motives. There are lots of possibilities, but none of it is proof of anything. You could very well be correct in all or your assertions, but for me more evidence is required.

      My post is mainly about showing that people are using bad arguments, and that arguments (good or bad) is no substitute for evidence.

  2. Ha! I just had that competitor thing brought up yesterday by someone who thought that it was fake. :P

    Logically, we're at an impasse. As we have no concrete evidence either way. But experience and intuition does count for something. My experience tells me how difficult something like this is to pull off, how different from the usual fan-wank it is, and how boring most of it would be to write without pay (like all of those Blood Angel clarifications that are essentially the exact same rules with slightly different wordings).

    That experience tells me that it's more likely than not that this document either is, or was based on, a real alpha-version of the 6th Ed rules. The actual release rules may be different in a hundred different ways, but that doesn't make these rules fake, only outdated.

    We'll just have to see. :)

    1. You do make the best pro argument I've seen. We will have to wait and see.