Handicapping: Chat transcripts with EA’s customer service

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Recently, a few chat transcripts with EA’s customer service have circulated because they apparently confirm the presence of scripting. In this post, I take my usual, skeptic approach and explain what this really is about.

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Transcript of support chat with EA customer service rep (source)

There are at least a couple of chat transcripts like the one above in circulation. Although I haven’t been able to find any screen dumps, where the supporter mentions the word handicapping directly, such transcripts are reported to exist.

Whenever these chat transcripts pop up in the community, scripting believers of course will argue that they confirm that scripting / handicapping / momentum exists, because EA themselves confirmed it.

Should we buy in to that argument? Here is why I don’t.

When something is too stupid to be true

Over the years, scripting believers have brought up a various pieces of alleged evidence, where EA or it’s employees are the sources of origin. A couple of other examples are the David Rutter interview, the GDC paper, the Madden 09 TV ad and the Aaron McHardy interview.

So, apparently these EA-guys inadvertedly revealed highly secretive information in very public places like an interviews, a presentation on a big game developers conference and a TV ad. In all these cases, we are supposed to believe that EA not only failed to conceal this information, but went full public with it. If you think this sounds too stupid to be true, I can’t blame you.

Whenever EA employees are brought up as sources allegedly confirming handicapping and the likes, my first reaction is skepticism. So far, this skepticism has been justified every single time. Over and over again, it has turned out that those so-called confirmations are nothing but thin air spiced up with a bit of cherry picking and a tiny drop of confirmation bias.

So, is it going to be a different story with these transcripts?

Some sources are more credible than others

I will ignore the obvious fact that these transcripts could be fabricated and point to a more obvious problem:

There is a concept called source criticism, and we should use it here. While it may be fair to assume that inner circle members like David Rutter and Aaron McHardy are telling the truth, EA’s customer service at best belongs to the outskirts of EA’s information circle of thrust.

The fact is that these supporters are infamous for their almost complete lack of knowledge about even the most basic aspects of the products they are supporting. These are the same guys who weren’t informed when EA extended FUT Champions Weekend League, and denied that it had happened, even if EA themselves posted it on twitter. There are many other examples showing how little information these people have: [1], [2].

When considering what other information these supporters don’t have, I find it difficult to believe that they do have such apparently highly secretive information. I mean: Why would EA in the first place provide information to it’s supporters, which they obviously aren’t supposed to pass on to the people they support? It really makes no sense.

Although I can’t reject that Nabajyoti is a real person, who really did confirm something that EA has denied a million times, I find it more likely that he was yet another misinformed EA supporter.