Tournament News: Coronavirus Fears and Dunning Kruger


Hello, competitive Warhammer fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio here to bring you my take on how current events are or should be, effecting Competitive 40k.

As you are no doubt aware the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has become more and more of an issue as the weeks go by. The 40k Tournament Organizers are having to face the same tough decisions that organizers of vastly larger events and organizations have already had to grapple with. As I look through threads about possible event cancellations, such as Adepticon, I can’t help but notice the cavalier attitude some vocal members of the community have in regards to the health of fellow event attendees. Even some Tournament Organizers themselves have taken vocal stances that all of this is simply blown out of proportion and people need to not panic, keep their events in place and if individuals don’t want to come it’s up to them. That sort of attitude really isn’t appropriate, the health of the attendees of your events is more important than your bottom line, which it seems is what a lot of this is about. Losing money.

I can understand someone who runs an event being uncomfortable, perhaps even panicked, about losing money due to canceling their event, or attendance dropping, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, being nonchalant about the affair and even full-bore dismissive of recommendations from experts is not productive. While disappointing, this response by people isn’t wholly surprising. For years now the world has been suffering from a worsening case of Dunning-Kruger taking hold, and the 40k community certainly isn’t immune to this.

If you’ve never heard of it before here is a quick rundown of Dunning-Kruger.

Besides Dunning-Kruger there has also been a steady erosion of people’s faith in expertise and professionals. Particularly in the United States. There is an exceptional article written about this phenomenon from Foreign Affairs. The internet has given a lot of people access to two things, information and a bullhorn for their opinions, even if that bullhorn is sometimes directed to the void, or worse, an echo chamber. With access to information comes a greater sense of understanding, while not necessarily increasing actual understanding. It is no coincidence that the increase in access to information, and internet soapboxes, has seen an increase in misinformation and full-blown movements based on faulty information. Just look at the anti-vaxx movement, flat-earthers, the list goes on and on. What is most disturbing is this has led people to disregard the truth, facts, and evidence, presented by experts in their fields in favor of the opinions of the ill-informed. While this is often good for a laugh, such as making memes making fun of people for believing stupid things; the erosion of faith in expertise spreads outside of these groups of people believing the ridiculous and seeps into the general population making it more likely people will disregard what experts tell them in favor of opinions that fit their preconceived notions and personal biases.

I find it hard to understand how seemingly otherwise intelligent individuals can be so dismissive about the current situation. If you’re of the opinion that all of this is just being blown out of proportion and it’s no big deal, that your event should still be held and people should still come to your event because the risk is minimal than here is a shortlist of organizations run by people who are either experts or are basing their decision on the experts advice, who disagree with you.

  • The World Health Organization- has declared a Pandemic.
  • The Italian Government- has shut down the country.
  • The United States Government- has stopped travel from Europe, among other regions.
  • The CDC (Center for Disease Control)
  • NBA- has put the season on hiatus.
  • Numerous Universities have taken their classes online.
  • NCAA- announced games would be played without spectators.
  • Epidemiologists the world over.
  • E3 canceled.
  • SXSW conference canceled.

That’s just to name a few. There was an excellent article written about the responses of countries so far and their effectiveness at stemming the spread of the disease. I suggest giving it a read. One of the most commonly pointed to reasons that everyone is “freaking out over nothing” is the fact that the outbreak in China is already on the decline. It’s on the decline because of the measures that country took to contain it. Massive quarantines of people in the millions, building hospitals specifically for this outbreak in days, shutting down huge swathes of industry and public life. Those extraordinary measures are the reason the virus is on the decline so quickly there. It makes no logical sense to argue that we don’t need to follow suit

The outbreak of Coronavirus may indeed end up not being as big of a deal as it could be, but that will only come to pass because of the preventative measures taken, not in spite of it. The data clearly shows that countries that take the outbreak seriously have a lot fewer cases than those that do not, the 40k community should be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. It is ok to accept the advice of experts, and although it may cause harm to the economy and your event’s bottom line, it is important to remember that people and the health of the population are more important than money, or your pride. No matter how hard that may be to accept.