Viper: Now I'm not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your ass, Lieutenant. A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned.The other day, I was pointed a the following two kill-mails, both from EVE University. Here's one:
Here's the other:
Ignore the ships involved and focus on the comments. The first one is a direct order from a senior EVE University member demanding an explanation for a ship loss. The second is the pilot losing the ship immediately explaining what happened. I was asked what I thought about this. It's an easy question.
I approve of it completely, in both cases.
Almost exactly a year ago now, I wrote a "kill of the week" post that nevertheless focused on this issue. I concluded that post:
A key lesson to be learned from EVE is that every engagement, even a minor inconclusive one like this, is a good opportunity to self-analyze. Judge how you did. Decide how you could have done better. Learn from your mistakes.The point to that post was that after a fight in EVE, it's critical to sit down and evaluate your own performance. What did you do right? What could you have done better? If you lose the ship, trace the cause of the loss back to the root: why did you lose the ship? Every ship loss can be traced back to something you yourself did, and maybe that something was a conscious choice. But it always comes back to your actions and not anyone else's.
In the U.S. these days, it's fashionable to give kids in competitions certificates, ribbons, or even trophies for participation. "Nobody's a loser" is the hidden message here. Even worse, a critical emotion is being lost: shame. Kids are often discouraged away from feeling shame for mistakes or poor performance. But, in my opinion, shame and self-evaluation after a loss are a critical part of the long-term success of the human race. There are very few successful people in life that haven't had to stare failure in the face, not once, but many times. If you expect to be successful, you'd better do the same: learn from failure.
But hell, learn from success as well. After every fight, sit down and evaluate your own performance. It's the rare engagement where you'll conclude you did everything right.
So, yes, I thoroughly approve of this kind of self-evaluation. I also approve of others jumping in to offer suggestions and advice. And I approve of demanding explanations when someone does something they clearly should not have done. "Nobody's a loser" clearly doesn't apply in EVE. And being ashamed of yourself will often prevent you from making the same mistake twice.
Think your alliance is tough about this? Rote Kapelle is famously vicious about attacking bad fittings, bad decisions, and bad piloting. And if you try to defend actions that are clearly dumb, you can sometimes find yourself hounded right out of the alliance as a result. After nearly every roam, either an "after-action" discussion on Teamspeak immediately follows, or an after-action report (AAR) is posted on the Rote forums, and the judgments in these AARs are almost always quick, logical, and brutally honest. This applies to loss-mails as well. Here's a good example of this in action...
Strong emotions -- including strong negative emotions -- engage long-term memory. If someone has to shame you to get you to remember you did something dumb and make sure you never do it again... You know, it's a tough old world out there and that's the right choice. In today's business world, for instance, you're not going to get far if you're not willing to own up to your mistakes. "Learn from your mistakes" and "HTFU" are often good advice for life as well as EVE.
But in EVE, these two lessons are critical survival traits.