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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:11 am 
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Actually, you've got that backwards.

The mechanism by which it 'could' happen has been described and is not barred by any physical law, only the law of large numbers.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:16 am 
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    Oberon wrote:
    The problem is that when you invent your figures and call things which have a zero probability as being a non-zero probability, suddenly everything is possible. [...] But I suspect that you're just trolling me, so I'magonna let you go now.

    Funny, I was starting to think the same thing...


    But to get back off this topic which isn't going anywhere soon... When it first started, I was trying to prove a point.

    If I can prove using formal logic that the sun rising blue is in fact possible (which I did, whether you agree with said logic or not) then things such as "Maggie is Charlie" are definitely possible.

    They may be possible with 0.1% probability, but that isn't nearly low enough to consider impossible: in a sample of size 1000, an event with 0.1% probability has 63.23% chance of occurring at least once. In another sample of the same size, an event with 0.01% probability has a 9.52% chance of occurring at least once.


    Besides, other people may have good reasons to believe these theories are more likely than you think they are (and they probably do). So you shouldn't call someone an idiot just because they say a far-fetched theory is probable, let alone possible.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:55 am 
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    The problem with the "Maggie IS Charlie" theory isn't that it is 'possible' in Erfworld. Everything is 'possible' in Erfworld because it contains magic.
    The problem is that, in order for it to be true, Rob would have to be a complete and utter hack writer. THAT'S the probability that is effectively zero.
    Maggie sent an encrypted message on Thinkamancy G-Strings in order to prevent Charlie from intercepting that message.
    Maggie is actively working to assist Parson, who is believed by her group to be the only means to defeat Charlie.
    Every action Maggie has taken since the start of the story makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER if she is also Charlie.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:49 pm 
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    Still more likely than the sun looking blue.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:01 pm 
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    drachefly wrote:
    Still more likely than the sun looking blue.
    Sure. Rob could be overcome by rage after a crazed fan complains about an update schedule, end the story by scribbling "And then Maggie revealed that she was Charlie and Parson and CharlieMaggie got married and had bunnies and lived happily every after the end" in crayon on a napkin, photograph it, post it, and walk away. I'd put the current odds of that occurring at about 12%, actually. I wouldn't take that bet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it actually happened. 8-)

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:19 pm 
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    Of course; I agree the odds of Maggie even being related to Charlie in some way are very slim indeed. But that wasn't what I was trying to argue.


    This is what I was arguing against:
    Oberon wrote:
    Chance Gardener wrote:
    Ok, I just have to ask: why do so many folks say there is a tri-mancer link up in play?
    Because they are idiots. Really, it's just that simple.

    The capacity of the forumites to conjecture that almost anything which has been shown, or not shown, in the comic as being the root cause of just about anything else, well, it defies reason. And no matter how often their conjectures are dispelled, they will continue with their baseless theories. There is no stopping them.

    Someone who holds a favorable opinion of that theory, or one of any number of similar 'Epileptic Trees', is not by definition an idiot.


    I've already gone over why just bringing up wild ideas is as much if not more a sign of intelligence as idiocy, but for reference:
    Spoiler: show
    Nnelg wrote:
    Oberon wrote:
    Take Maggie being Charlie, for example. In this thread this has been speculated on by one person, and accepted by another. If it's true, so much of what we've seen in the story unravels that it'll just suck. And I don't believe the author is going to write a story which ends up in the toilet. So I reject that out of hand. As should any other person.

    Ah; so close, but so far... Yes, I (mostly) agree with your line of logic of why the author will probably not do such a thing. But the correct conclusion is not to reject the possibility, let alone without first logically refuting it. The correct response is to reject the probability: no more, no less.

    If and only if you logically prove that such a thing is not possible, at the very least within a common set of axioms such as the laws of physics, can you discredit its possibility. But it's always the logical process that's important.

    Which is why no one should be called 'stupid' for bringing up an idea, no matter how far-fetched. If far-fetched ideas are never brought up, they can never be logically disproven and -more importantly- those few far-fetched ideas which do turn out to be more correct than the leading theories would never be discovered. (Need I give an example? All right: Quantum Physics.)


    Oh, and even if they persist in their beliefs after your logically disprove them make sure your axioms match up before calling them an idiot. For instance, in the example you gave someone might disagree with you that Maggie being Charlie would make the story suck. In the absence of that axiom, your entire argument falls apart -in a completely logical and intelligent manner. If you wanted to continue the discussion at that point, you should instead persuade him that the plot holes that would erupt in the presence of such a development would ruin all enjoyment of the story. But even if they still disagree, "someone of poor taste" would be a better descriptor than "idiot".

    I'd like to clarify why I said "so close, yet so far". In my quote of Oberon, he succeeds on the first 90%: he considers the possibility, then creates a logical argument as for why it's unlikely. This is good, following the paradigm of proper logic and reasoning. But then he decides to completely discount any possibility that it could happen at all. This, by extension, discounts the possibility that he missed an important detail that upsets his argument.


    As an example, in this particular case the point of contention lies here:
    Oberon wrote:
    If it's true, so much of what we've seen in the story unravels that it'll just suck.
    MarbitChow wrote:
    Every action Maggie has taken since the start of the story makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER if she is also Charlie.

    These arguments rely on a completely subjective set of opinions, which can and do vary wildly from person to person.

    Even apparent conflicts with established canon are debatable: where one person sees an irreconcilable contradiction, another may think that it makes perfect sense. For instance, Maggie working inside a group apposed to Charlie: I for one question the purpose of a disguise that isn't used to infiltrate the enemy.

    Finally, there's the Bias Blind Spot. Now, having one is no shame: it happens to the best of us (myself included). I'm trying to be tactful here, so I'll leave it at that.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:51 pm 
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    Nnelg wrote:
    As an example, in this particular case the point of contention lies here:
    Oberon wrote:
    If it's true, so much of what we've seen in the story unravels that it'll just suck.
    MarbitChow wrote:
    Every action Maggie has taken since the start of the story makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER if she is also Charlie.

    These arguments rely on a completely subjective set of opinions, which can and do vary wildly from person to person.
    No, it just relies on looking at the facts that the story has already established. Charlie is the overlord of his own side. Maggie is a unit of Stanley's. Stanley can just LOOK at a unit and tell whether that unit is part of his side or not. How can Charlie control his own side and still part of Stanley's side?

    You can pull out the "it's magic" card at that point, but it's also crap storytelling. The 'Maggie = Charlie' theory ranks up there with the 'Moon Landing was faked' theory and the 'Earth is flat' theory. You can twist your imagination around all you want to make it seem real to you, but by any objective standards, it's nonsense.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:17 pm 
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    MarbitChow wrote:
    You can pull out the "it's magic" card at that point, but it's also crap storytelling.

    A completely subjective opinion.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:59 pm 
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    Nnelg wrote:
    A completely subjective opinion.
    Do you honestly believe that Maggie pulling off the mask and revealing herself to be Charlie would be good storytelling? I'm not trying to be snarky here; I'm actually curious. Erfworld has been shown to be a story built very carefully - all major plot twists are foreshadowed well in advance, even if the foreshadowing is subtle or pun-based. But I don't see ANY foreshadowing for this theory. What does Charlie have to gain by playing the role of Maggie? Why would Maggie use Suggestion on Stanley in order to inspire Parson to retake his role as Chief Warlord if she, as Charlie, wants him removed?

    _This_ entire update makes no sense if Maggie is Charlie. Why would she send a coded message, hidden from herself, to protect Parson from herself, 'hoping' that it would work? The tone of the passage is to establish the desperate fear and paranoia Charlie has inspired INSIDE MAGGIE'S OWN HEAD. There's no more intimate glimpse into a character than viewing their innermost thoughts.

    If you said that Maggie was Charlie's thrall, subconsciously conveying information, I'd say sure. If you claimed that she's a trojan horse with an embedded compulsion that will be triggered later, I'd have no problems with that. If you claimed that she's a conscious ally, I'd be a bit dubious, but still thematically possible. But if you still insist that the Maggie = Charlie theory actually holds merit simply because "anything is possible", then I'm going to assume you're either arguing for the sake of arguing, or that you and I have such dramatically different definitions of what good storytelling is that we will never be able to communicate ideas properly to each other, because we have no common ground.

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     Post Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:36 pm 
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    MarbitChow wrote:
    Do you honestly believe that Maggie pulling off the mask and revealing herself to be Charlie would be good storytelling?

    Well, actually, no. But that's just my opinion; those others may vary.

    As I said before, I'm playing devil's advocate with this whole "Maggie = Charlie" thing for the sake of argument. I totally agree it's thematically wrong, would raise plenty of eyebrows, and most importantly conflicts with the text update from her point of view. But I can see ways one could explain all the inconvenient details away, so I've tried to use this extreme case to show that someone can like a theory that you'd think was ridiculous without being a complete idiot.

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     Post Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:14 am 
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    The time for devil's advocacy is on issues where being right is absolutely critical.

    This is not such a time.

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