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.