Author Topic: Attain vs. Obtain  (Read 9795 times)

Blondeshell

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Attain vs. Obtain
« on: July 16, 2011, 08:58:26 PM »
This is something I've struggled with for a while, but I've not made any effort to change it because it was so ingrained in articles before I started working on the Wiki.

Are badges attained or obtained?

Using Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary as a guide:
  • To attain is to accomplish or achieve (something), or to succeed in getting or doing (something)
  • To obtain is to gain or get (something) usually by effort

Examples of these would be as follows:
  • to attain enlightenment or a goal
  • to obtain documents or information

To me, this boils down to a difference between attaining intangible concepts and obtaining (usually) physical objects.  In that regard, I think it would be more appropriate to say that one obtains badges because they are a (digitally) physical reward of an accomplishment or achievement.  To put it in a personal example, "I hope to one day attain my goal of obtaining all badges that are available to my main character."

Thoughts? Comments?

GuyPerfect

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2011, 01:19:02 AM »
Badges are tangible entities, even if only in concept. They exist, they are collectible, and people who don't have them want them. "I have only 12 more badges to get." These characteristics suggest that one "obtains" badges.

On the other hand, badges are also merely symbols that represent some kind of behavior on part of the player. "I beat 333 Cabal." "I completed all of the Freedom Phalanx's task forces." "I spent 1,000 Architect Tickets." These characteristics suggest that one "attains" badges.

From a strictly semantic point of view, I think the fact that we "earn" badges rather than "acquire" them would favor the "attain" side of the argument. However, since they are physical to the point of having a graphical representation, I wouldn't say that "obtaining" is incorrect.

eabrace

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 01:19:55 AM »
I vote "obtain".
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Blondeshell

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 04:05:24 AM »
A couple more examples could be "I attained completion of the Keyes Island Incarnate Trial and, as a reward, obtained the Keyes Technician Badge," or "I attained a status of 78 months subscribed to City of Heroes and obtained the Purposeful Badge as a result."

TonyV

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 05:12:29 AM »
I'd go with obtain.  While it's true that a lot of badges can be attained, they all can be obtained.  Plus, the word attain isn't really in common use.  I can't really remember the last time I used it in normal conversation, and I do use a larger vocabulary than most average schmoes out there.

GuyPerfect

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2011, 02:14:02 PM »
Many people use the word "alot" too, but that doesn't exactly count as a reason for us to adopt it.

"Attain" versus "obtain" has a clear distinction, and we should make our decisions for intelligent reasons as to which we would rather use.

Personally, I use "earn" in conversation when talking about badges, so I guess it's a "moot" point.

Sekoia

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2011, 05:30:05 PM »
I think it's most natural to say you've "earned" a badge. I've never said I've obtained or attained a badge, but I frequently say I've earned them.

Using Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary as a guide:
  • To earn is to deserve or get something because of something you have done
It's very similar to "obtain" in meaning. I would pick "obtain" over "attain", but I think "earn" is the best word for the job. Is there a reason we can't just use that?

Blondeshell

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 09:18:35 PM »
I can fully support using "earn."  I was basing my original comparison on the language that existed before I got here, but I think this is a better solution.  In fact, the on-line reference for the ultimate Real Life badge hunters (Boy Scouts of America) uses "earn" instead of either of the other words.

eabrace

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 10:11:48 PM »
You have a point.  I was badge hunting long before CoH (and have the silver palm to prove it.)
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Sekoia

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2011, 11:25:34 PM »
Good enough for me. I'll see if I can't convince my bot to ferret out some of the obtain/attain usages and update to earn.

Sekoia

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Re: Attain vs. Obtain
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 12:37:18 AM »
I replaced 350 to 400 instances of obtain with earn.

I also noticed that all of the exploration accolades are worded thusly:

You've obtained this Accolade by earning every Exploration badge within _______.

So apparently the devs use both obtain and earn themselves.