“Humans can resist temptations by exerting willpower, the effortful inhibition of impulses. But willpower can be disrupted by emotions and depleted over time. Luckily, humans can deploy alternative self-control strategies like precommitment, the voluntary restriction of access to temptations.”

—Molly Crockett et al., “Restricting Temptations: Neural Mechanisms of Commitment”

Poker Machine Pre-commitment Is Bunk

In a fit of righteousness, Australian politicians are set to force the club industry into a corner by instituting a precommitment limit to their poker machines.

While the “hows” have not been fully ironed out the “whys” are out in the open. In a nutshell a few “holier than thous” are looking out for the unfortunates.

All well and good, but there are grand issues with this:

  • Why are the few dictating to the many. This is not representative of the majority as it should be in an elected system. Why do one or two politicians wield so much power?
  • Do we really need to have our gambling habits recorded. Pre-commitment would require tracking via some sort of identity card. There are issues of privacy. Should we also submit to the government our drinking and smoking habits?
  • Will the club itself be forced to carry the cost of upgrading poker machines and maintaining the tracking systems? Clubs in Victoria have already paid exorbitant sums for their poker machines and this could be too much for some clubs.
  • Will the casinos be enforcing pre-commitment? What about the roulette tables? Although a large proportion of problem gamblers are losing too much to poker machines there is an undeniable contribution made by alternative gambling - casinos, online, the tote.
  • Are we not responsible for ourselves? If the government is forced to hold our hands when it comes to gambling surely they should force us to pre-commit to exercise, maximum calorie intakes and booze quotas.

In a nutshell this pre-commitment cannot occur. It violates our free will. It will cost jobs and increase government expense. It will send gamblers to online sites that cannot be made safe. Let’s all get a little real.

A Good Ask-Meme Rule For Awkward Communities

For ask memes where people pick questions to ask you, and you answer them, send some questions before reblogging.
If it’s some other kind, always err on the side of giving people things to interact with. Yes, we’re awkward and might feel like we’re intruding or being overly forward, but nothing works if we just give people opportunities to interact with us and never take them.

If you intend to follow this rule, let everyone know.