Originally posted June 2007

Based on the latest 20 sided blog post, and having dipped my toes in the murky waters of the real-world Looking For Group channel a lot lately, I have a theory.

Good Gamer: Any roleplaying gamer with a minimum level of social skills and hygiene that is fun to game with.
Bad Gamer: Any roleplaying gamer that, through dint of poor social skills, poor hygiene, or other factors is simply not fun to game with for a large portion of the gaming population.

Good gamers will tend to stay in their gaming groups until outside forces make that impossible (e.g., have to move, group disbands due to family pressures, group can’t meet often enough to sate one person’s gaming need, etc.).

Bad gamers will only join a group for a few sessions until they help the group tear itself apart or simply cease to be invited to games while the group carries on. Bad gamers only stay in a group long term when the rest of the group simply has no other option but to keep the gamer or be unable to game at all (sometimes, the latter is preferable). In this case of extreme scarcity, there probably isn’t a local gamer pool to speak of anyway.

When good gamers look for a group, they will either:
A) Join an incompatible group (possibly with bad players) that is likely to tear apart, or
B) Join a compatible group of other good gamers

When B happens, the good gamer will be off the “gaming market,” possibly for years.

Given an equal mix of good and bad gamers, grouped at random, breaking up if there are too many bad gamers in the mix, chance alone will eventually result in most good gamers being grouped with other good gamers. The number of ungrouped bad gamers will stay consistent.

Therefore: In any pool of gamers looking for a new gaming group, bad gamers will be drastically over-represented at any given time, even if they make up a small fraction of the total ungrouped gamers over the course of a longer period.

Conclusion: For any organized attempt to match gamers, the chance that you will wind up gaming with bad gamers will rise dramatically in relation to the chance that you will wind up gaming with good gamers.

In other words: Game matching services are doomed from the start to only really be useful to cat pee men that you’d never let into your house otherwise 😀 .