Talk:No-win situation

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I think it is misleading or perhaps just incorrect to include a Catch-22 under this topic. The Catch-22 is not distinguished as being a no-win situation but rather as being an example of a logical loop. It's a small point but one that could mislead someone who was looking for this distinction. ~Preston

I agree with Preston. A Catch-22 is a no-win situation, but a no-win situation is not necessarily a Catch-22. I will change the wording to make this clear. Le poulet noir 20:28, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

For a previous debate over the deletion of this article see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/No-win situation.

tic tac toe....

Lose-Lose.... There is a game named Lose-Lose where killing the enemy randomly deletes a file from your computer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:07, 21 March 2016 (UTC)


"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia,' but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!'" --Vizzini

My apologies for any ignorance, but is the original author of this article confusing no-win situation with lose-lose situation? GRider 07:03, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Moved from main:

Captain James T. Kirk on the television program Star Trek had a unique approach to the very concept of a no-win situation. While at Starfleet Academy, Kirk had to pass the infamous Kobayashi Maru simulation, in which the cadet is placed in command of a ship answering the distress call of the game's eponymous freighter, which is damaged and stricken in a no-fly Neutral Zone. Aiding it, regardless of humanitarian motives, incurs the wrath of Klingon ships whose parameters, abilities and numbers far outstretch their real-world counterparts; the scenario, in other words, cheats to ensure that the cadet will lose, as the whole point is to assess the cadet's response to the very real possibilty that their actions might lead the loss of their ship, their crew and themselves. (The cadet is aware that the scenario is rigged, but knows little else.) Kirk's solution to the game was to counter-cheat: after failing the scenario several times, he snuck into the simulator complex after hours and surreptitiously reprogrammed the entire war game. The next time he went up, the simulated Klingons retreated upon hearing that they were facing the "legendary Kirk." Thus Kirk became the only cadet ever to beat the no-win scenario and was actually commended by the Academy for his ingenuity. As Kirk put it, "I don't believe in the 'no-win' scenario."

This is far too detailed and obsessive-fanish. Basically he got tired of playing a no-win game and decided to play a different game instead. That's all. Evercat 23:32, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Is there an excellent reason to spoil the ending to WarGames in this article? -- 09:13, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Witch trials[edit]

The account of the witch trial is disputed - see Trial by drowning and the talk page. Although there is a source cited it's just an internet article on H2G2. I will leave it there until I can find a real source to confirm my contention that the "no-win" witch trial is just an urban legend. Ellsworth 17:16, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Entertaining but mostly fluff[edit]

I enjoyed reading the article because it made me think of WarGames, but that's not really the point of an encyclopedia is it? In short a no win situation seems like something best addressed at Wiktionary if there is nothing to discuss besides its basic definition and then unrelated examples. Before I nominated it for deletion I thought I'd see if anyone had any compelling points I hadn't thought of. Anynobody 07:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

I removed this section as it looks like original research and is pretty pointless anyway:
"Some cognitive biases such as anchoring and framing, or emotional biases, such as greed, fear, and herding, are reasons why people create no-win situations which may be potentially avoidable."

doubtful example[edit]

Carl von Clausewitz's advice never to launch a war ...

how can an example of such no-win situation be Pyrrhic victory, when it is state after war. should there be a distinguishing between "nobody won" and "no one is going to win", that is past and future ? ca1 (talk) 10:28, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

This quote is not a good example, I agree. What he appears to be saying is that you can win a war, but with the right preparation. This is not a no-win situation. Coincidentally, this is exactly the same thing said by Sun Tzu in The Art of War, many years previously. (talk) 22:10, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

ship off to wiktionary?[edit]

I just flagged this article for OR. I'm not sure exactly how to fix it myself, but I thought I'd explain here the problems I'm seeing.
First, the Clausewitz example is badly mangled, as mentioned by another editor above. It seems to me that someone tried to force the quotation to fit the concept of a "no-win situation", but it's weakly argued, which is doubleplusungood because articles here aren't supposed to be trying to make arguments! It also suffers where it tries to use a Pyrrhic victory as a supporting example- the problem there is that a Pyrrhic victory (a victory, usually in battle, won at a very high cost to the victor) isn't the same thing as a no-win (a dilemma where no outcome is "good"). By definition, they're mutually exclusive- how can a "victory" be "no-win"?
The other examples given are weak too. There must be some examples somewhere in history, of actual no-win situations that don't involve vegetarians eating ham sandwiches, or the dubious trial by drowning. The two examples given from films (Star Trek II and WarGames)seem good, although should probably be streamlined (I could probably do that myself, and may give it a shot after I finish this).
I'm no expert on game theory, so I really can't comment on the section regarding that. But that section, too, seems thin.
As for the sources, one is an article about students reading Heller- it really isn't all that relevant to this article. The other, as mentioned elsewhere in the talk, is just an article on H2G2. So actual sources are going to be needed.
As it is, this article seems, in my opinion, to be an attempt to make an article out of too little. Another editor mentioned it, and I completely agree- this should probably be condensed and shipped off to Wiktionary. As it is, it reads more like it's trying to convince you that the examples it gives are actually examples, and does little to actually define "no-win situation". --DarthBinky (talk) 21:52, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Carthage and the 3rd Punic War[edit]

  • The peace treaty set by Rome at the end of the 2nd Punic War dictates that Carthage was not allowed to make war without Rome's consent and that all Carthaginian border disputes had to be taken to the Roman Senate.
  • Rome allows Numidian encroachments into Carthaginian territory.
  • Carthage is forced into violating the treaty by defending themselves against the Numidians.
  • Rome declares war on Carthage and sends an army to Africa.
  • Weakened by the peace terms of the 2nd Punic War, the Army of Carthage could not meet the Roman Army in open combat and instead organized a defense of their capital city.
  • Eventually, after a three-year siege, the City and Civilization of Carthage is destroyed and its territories are annexed by Rome and reorganized as the Roman Province of Africa.

--Arima (talk) 07:18, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The choices presented to Carthage were either to concede whatever remaining territories they had to Numidia or be destroyed by Rome. --Arima (talk) 00:29, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Kobayashi Maru[edit]

I removed "citation needed" on the Kobayashi Maru example. To be frank, do we really need to "reference" this claim to one of the films #2, 6 or 11? It's such a core element of those stories, and not the least bit contentious, nor is it a difficult claim to examine if one wanted to (for all of the 5 minutes it would take). I just have to believe that, say, if someone added to a Wikipedia article that "Star Trek is a television and film series depicting starship exploration in the distant future," we wouldn't be compelled to clutter Wikipedia up by "citing" all of the four claims therein. WallyCuddeford (talk) 01:38, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

To clarify, I suppose a citation as to the relevance of Kobayashi Maru to the subject of No-win situations would be worth inclusion. (Why is KM included as opposed to a reference to one of the myriad other "no-win situation" examples from society's total body of fiction, which would not be so memorable or relevant?) But I'm pretty sure "relevance" is its own tag, different from "citation needed," and I'm in support of the inclusion of KM, so I'm not inclined to add it. WallyCuddeford (talk) 01:46, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Having appeared in two highly notable films, and being directly referred to as a "no-win scenario," it seems relevant and well known to me. The entry does not have to be lengthy and can point to the main article on the Kabayashi Maru. If the movie "War Games" is included under in other media, I see no reason why the notable Star Trek reference can not be included.PghNews (talk) 18:02, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Lose lose situation?[edit]

I am not sure if it is correct to equate no-win with lose-lose.

Lose lose seems to me to be an analogous expression to win win, and win win does NOT mean, that no matter what you do, you will win. It is a situation where everybody (even your opponent) wins.

So a lose lose situation should be a situation where everybody (even yourself) loses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:36, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

It is correct. "Win" and "lose" are not absolute values in game theory. This article refers to net gain and net loss that depends on your evaluation method during a certain time period. No-win and lose-lose are equivalent in the sense that all parties suffer net loss and no one has any net gain. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 12:12, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

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