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Author Topic: Rock Paper Scissors hoax in today's Wall Street Journal
xyzzy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The front page of today's Wall Street Journal had an article on a supposed conflict between two different factions of the Rock Paper Scissors world, one faction represented by the World RPS Society, one by the USA RPS League. It talked about the cultural and attitude differences between the two groups, the strategy involved in Rock Paper Scissors tournaments, and so on.

All of which is completely bogus, representing a hoax that's been growing for years, created by the people at worldrps.com. I've been observing this for some time, but now that it's made front page news in the Wall Street Journal (as well as having been covered previously in Forbes magazine and by Fox Sports News), I think it's time that someone exposes this situation.

Can anyone here help me prove this is a hoax?

Here's a brief explanation, based on what I know and according to my theory as to what went on. In 1998, the website worldrps.com was first put up, called "The Offical Rock Paper Scissors Strategy Guide". It was a joke, a parody, pretending that Rock Paper Scissors was a real sport/game with strategy, with worldwide tournaments being played and famous master players and so on.

If you look through the Wayback Machines archives on worldrps.com, you can see references to competitions which were supposed to be taking place all the time, which had taken place through the decades back into the early 1900's and before.

As the site grew in popularity, with many people enjoying the joke and joining in by posting on their message board (and with many people not getting that it was a joke), the makers of the site eventually (in 2004) put out a book and decided to actually hold a "real" rock paper scissors tournament. They managed to get Fox Sports News to cover it.

With a pseudo-real tournament happening and with actual media coverage, they decided (I believe) to cover up the fact that it was all a joke, and most of the obvious jokes were removed from the site. See the following page from 2003, where we are supposed to believe that the World RPS Society was negotiating with the leaders of the Soviet Union in the 50's and involved with the leaders of the Allies in WWII http://web.archive.org/web/20030207120658/www.worldrps.com/archive/index.html

What complicates this situation is that what once was a joke is now somewhat real... somewhat. The World RPS Society now IS holding a rock paper scissors tournament once a year, although the tournament is about as real as professional wrestling from what I can tell.

So what part of it is hoax, what needs to be disproved? Well, according to news reports:

1. There is a serious organization called the World RPS Society, which has a long history, holds tournaments, negotiates with rival organizations over official rules for rock paper scissors, etc.

This is almost entirely false. The only truth is that they hold yearly pseudo tournaments. The tournaments feature players in silly costumes and are structured in such a way that no skill or strategy could possibly come into play.

2. There is a book called The Official Rock Paper Scissors Strategy Guide, which is the bible of the sport.

Completely false. The book is a humor book, an extended joke, and virtually everything in it is false.

3. There is a rivalry between the World RPS Society and the USA RPS League.

False. The "USA RPS League" (usarps.com) was started by the same people who organized the televising of the 2004 World RPS tournament, and they have a pseudo rivalry going on in order to attract media attention. The usarps website is full of pages written by the same people who run the worldrps society.

Here's a link to the article in Forbes where they were taken in by this hoax: http://www.forbes.com/execpicks/fyi/2005/0407/061.html

Posts: 2 | From: Seattle, WA | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ULGirl
Baby 100 Grand


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Things like this make me want to scream!! How can people not check their info. Last week I was at dinner with a couple of people. One of them said that his sister, a psychologist, had a seventy year old client who had a run in with an elevator, "hit the floor", and Eddie Murphy in Atlantic City! You know what I'm talking about:)

He told the story practically word for word, finishing up with flowers at their dinner table. The other person at the table, who has a Master's degree from Harvard completely fell for the story!! I thought that the guy telling the story knew it was a fake. He was so into it, I thought he was playing the other person. He didn't and was shocked that it was a UL.

This was actually the first time I heard a classic UL told as a true story. It was disappointing. People that I thought were really smart falling for a story like this one!

Posts: 4 | From: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
robbiev - singin' off key
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I had lunch with several friends a few weeks ago and one of the guys told the "Elvis motorcycle" story, and said it happened to a friend of his just a few weeks earlier (his statement was something like "About a month ago..."

I didn't even bother.

Grrr.... [Mad]

eta: I also had a cousin who said she knew someone who had his kidney stolen. However, it should be noted, this particular cousin has a huge propensity for lying, so we don't trust much of anything she says anyway.

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Every time I see a good looking woman, I think, "0oooh. There's another one I'll never have!"

Corvette. The louder you scream, the faster I'll go.

Posts: 1820 | From: Memphis, TN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
mags
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by ULGirl:
This was actually the first time I heard a classic UL told as a true story.

My mom and I had both read a few anthologies of Urban Legends. Then, a family member had her boyfriend over for a meal one day. He told the whole "rat confused for dog and brought back from Mexico" story, as though it had happened to him. My mother and I exchanged a meaningful look, and neither of us really trusted the guy after that. Luckily my relative didn't date him long.
Posts: 550 | From: Springboro, OH | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
xyzzy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The WSJ article (reprinted on the azcentral website):

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0303wsj-rock-paper03-ON.html

Posts: 2 | From: Seattle, WA | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TheBeard
I Saw Three Shipments


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What?! RSP a hoax? Never!

People'll be saying that Mornington Crescent isn't real next!

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The name flavour is rumored to have come from Murray Gell-Mann and Harald Fritzsch seeing a shop advertising a large number of flavors of ice-cream during their lunch time, thus underlining the huge importance of cold, dairy-based food in physics.

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Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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The World RPS Society versus the USA RPS League?

What about the rival British CLB (Cow, Lake, Bomb) organisation? [Wink]

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"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

Posts: 893 | From: Durham City, England | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by TheBeard:
What?! RSP a hoax? Never!

People'll be saying that Mornington Crescent isn't real next!

Ah there is nothing like a bit of Willy on radio 4.

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All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

Posts: 673 | From: Glasgow, Scotland | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kid Kilowatt
Deck the Malls


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So, is the guy I saw on Conan (or maybe Dave?) a few months ago NOT really the world Rock Paper Scissors champion? He was playing it pretty straight.
Kid "Good old rock, nothing beats rock!" Kilowatt

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The book says, "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
- Magnolia

Posts: 252 | From: East Greenwich, RI, what! | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dfresh
Deck the Malls


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Does this mean that all my Rock Paper Scissors trading cards are worthless?
Posts: 420 | From: Oxford, PA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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I wouldn't get too outraged by the assumed gullibility of this article. The reporter, Tim Martin, specializes in oddball, arcane and tongue-in-cheek topics. As I recall he had a really funny - in a quirky sort of way - column last year on small towns turning to cow-pie throwing contests to spur tourism and economic development.

Maybe you just have to know Martin's style to appreciate it, but I got a kick out of what I took to be a mock-serious examination of the RPS tom-foolery. I certainly didn't think he took any of it seriously, but that's just my impression.

--------------------
Once a Warrior Prince

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trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Rock, Paper, Scissors? Bah, that's nothing compared to extreme ironing.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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Man Wins 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' Contest

It all came down to this: Jason Wood threw a "rock," crushing Erin Smith's "scissors" and earning him a trip to Las Vegas.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060311/D8G9BKR80.html

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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