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The Data Hound Hypothesis


#1

The Data Hound Hypothesis states: “The amount of time that shall be wasted trying to teach people how strong a card is, is inversely proportional to that card’s strength”.


How does this work in examples?

Example 1: Jackson Howard. Jackson Howard is very strong, therefore, the Data Hound Hypothesis asserts that not much time is required in order to teach people how strong it is. This seems to fit the hypothesis! People become convinced that Jackson is strong pretty quickly.

Example 2: Data Hound. Data Hound is weak. Therefore, the Data Hound hypothesis predicts a significant amount of effort to convince people that it is weak! This is definitely the case.

Example 3: Hard at Work. Hard at Work is EVEN WEAKER than Data Hound! Therefore, the Data Hound Hypothesis predicts that it will require EVEN MORE effort to convince people that it is weak, than Data Hound! This thread on BGG: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1068312/hard-at-work-is-underrated is well on its way to confirming that hypothesis! However, it will only be shown to follow it if debate over the card’s strength continues.

Counterexample 1: Salvage. Salvage appears to not follow the Data Hound Hypothesis. It is incredibly weak, and yet not much effort was required to teach people that it is weak. This seems to indicate that the Data Hound Hypothesis is not a strict rule, that the correlation between time wasted trying to teach people how strong a card is, and the card’s strength, is not a perfect correlation.


Rationale for The Data Hound Hypothesis:


The Data Hound Hypothesis seems to indicate a positive bias in people’s evaluations of netrunner cards, that is, that they often overrate a card’s strength.

When a card is actually strong, this aligns with people’s bias, and therefore they accept the fact easily. However, when a card is weak, this seems to contradict people’s bias, and thus they fight against it very hard, and struggle to align their opinion of the card’s strength to reality.

Perhaps this positive bias stems from feeling compassion towards those cards deemed ‘weak’, a desire to give them a chance, a opportunity in life? To treat them as if they were people, deserving a trophy on ‘everybody-gets-a-trophy-day’?

While the causes of the Data Hound Hypothesis are unknown, the effect can be seen throughout netrunner discussions. Any time you see a post, blog, podcast, or article claim things like ‘no cards are bad’, you are witnessing the Data Hound Hypothesis, hard at work!


#2

how dare you pan the hard counter to double city surveillance!


#3

using a kroen thread to prove any hypothesis is INVALID


#4

I’m guilty of this, but the tendency for me is to try to assume that the designers and play-testers know what they’re doing so that if I see a card I don’t like, I give it a chance in a few real games before I decide a card completely sucks. That’s a conscious decision on my part, because while the assumption “This person has no idea what they’re talking about” generally serves me well when I’m doing software development, I don’t think that applies to Lukas, Damon, and company.

What’s it hurt anyway if people want to try out some cards that you, or I, or anyone else thinks are duds? Every now and then one is going to surprise us, and I’m frankly glad someone else is out tinkering with them. I barely have time to keep up w/ NBN at a deep level, let alone any of the rest of the factions!


#5

The designers do know what they are doing. Thats why they make bad cards that seem good to some people, to test our evaluation skills. :slight_smile:

Its generally worth giving things a try for a few games, in most cases. Though sometimes you can save time and not have to do that.

For unique cards that do very different things, its more important to try them out. For cards that are very similar to existing cards, like Hard at Work, if you can do a mathematical analysis that shows that the card is simply much worse than an existing card that already isnt amazing, then you can rule it out. Hard at Work is like a bad, expensive Armitage, and Armitage already only goes into certain decks nowadays, so we should be able to discard it easily.

Something like City Surveillance is far harder to evaluate. As a pure economy war card, its not efficient. But if you rez it after a closed accounts or somehting when they have $0, it might be backbreaking. So it deserves some play to determine how realistic that scenario is.