I think I am able to see the point here. I too wish the gaming environment can be such that everyone can fit in, regardless of how narrowminded or oversensitive or confused or dumb or aggressive or evil or anything they may be. But, again, I have to repeat myself as your example of someone playing offensive char in the temple doesn't really meet my suggestion:
"Filtering, polite OOCs and ability to walk away" were the three things I offered as a resolution. In the situation you described it would still be possible to filter and to "use OOC to explain what you are offended by, and explain why you are not able to stop participating in the situation".
Does this sound unreasonable?
I don't think easily offended players should be given veto concerning situations which can be easily avoided -- or indeed situations that include offensive characters in important roles, as in the funeral. I don't wish to open the emotional discussion about this specific instance again, but it is just such a fine example. If me and Kristofer would've been OOC told that our chars weren't allowed to participate in the ceremony, it would've created terrible distortion in the story. Both of the chars had waited for the ceremony eagerly -- it was a turning point for them (or at least for Korpela who had been organising it). They would finally be able to gather their parish! If they hadn't been allowed to act according to their own personalities, the whole future contact with the so-called parishioners would've been completely warped. The funeral was irreplaceable for Korpela.
If someone wishes to censor certain character/player away from an occasion that is highly important in that character's story, I think it is exaggerating to claim that the player should in that situation yield. Of course it is possible to discuss about it -- and that is the thing that I have always tried to summon. By sincere discussion it is possible to try and find alternatives which cause the least harm.
Honestly, I really don't _feel_ like bringing my own characters' stories to TC if I know that no matter how important certain situation is for certain char's story it can be destroyed by arbitrary OOC-attitudes. Of course it is ok to "spoil" the situation IC.
I would like you to verify if this is true: In the context of TC it is ok to be offended about anything at all. In your opinion in TC-context a negative obsession concerning in-game should always be counted as more important and dominant characteristic than tolerance towards in-game or dedication to the story, because it is practical.
Interesting thoughts, Colin. If I haven?t interpreted them right, please do correct me.
I think Rawls' theories and that specific suggestion of his you pointed out are indeed useful on societal level.
However, as I have seen this discussion so far, we are not talking about political contracts here. As you too noted, it is hard to apply Rawls' views correctly on this situation. IMO this has more to do with theories of literacy and art in general, than theories of social philosophy.
Earnest fiction doesn't repress anyone or support repressive social structures -- conscious propaganda is of course a different thing. Art itself doesn't support inequality. Actually, quite the opposite. By being allowed to handle difficult subjects, fiction can work to dismantle real unfair social structures.
For example a realistic war film is always a pacifistic statement for anyone in their right mind -- by showing how violent and meaningless war is it reminds people how it should never happen again.
As you probably guess I do not promote e.g. racism IRL -- under the 3rd topic of this forum I actually wrote a comment disapproving one racistically inclined remark. This whole discussion, as I have seen it, is not about RL offenses. It is about fiction individually interpreted as offensive. It is about what people are able to confront and handle in a fictitious environment, and how to protect those who are more sensitive.
We cannot compare players, whose characters offend other players, to dominant social classes. Of course we can always theorize if that is an appropriate interpretation inside the game world, inside the story. Only when a player fails or is unwilling to recognise the difference between his/her world of experience and his/her character?s, problems arise. An innocent co-player becomes instantly a criminal. I don?t think it is at all obvious who in the end is the one worst repressed.
Your thoughts concerning social alienation are proper. I hope players will not have to become alienated of the collective story-telling experience. As Steve and Kristofer have pointed out, a filter could at least partly solve the problem of alienation from the collective game. It would still allow players to take part in the game that would offend them if unfiltered. Also players willing to play all kinds of characters wouldn't be forced to withdraw to periphery of the game world. This would promote players? mutual acceptance, as it would still be possible to play together, even if there were some disagreements on the nature and functions of roleplaying or art.
Hope I didn?t completely miss your points with alienation or Rawls.
Previously I was in the process of trying to support an argument similar to Mark's message two parent-levels up. However, I think that Juha has offered a wide range of options that are ALL reasonable and I am unconvinced that one of them should not be implemented further.
I think everyone has accepted that chars should have the option to OOC their distaste for a particular RP situation and to walk away as a last resort. What we are debating is whether or not chars should also hold a veto power to end RP situations they find offensive and whether there should be an <ignore> command or some such thing.
These two options seem to offer the most robust solution to the offensive RP situation, so they should be considered seriously for their relative worth.
The veto option has the value of allowing oppressed or persecuted characters an automatic 'out' (which, unfortunately, such oppressed or persecuted RL people do possess). It also offers a conservative and efficient resolution to problematic situations that is very practical. Finally, as any such extreme punitive measures may provide, it offers a deterent to such offensive behaviors that might produce alienation in the community.
The <ignore> command offers a solution that is fairly tidy, but in some ways less efficient than the veto option. However, it maximmizes the freedom of players to express themselves through their characters since there is no restriction imposed on first-person experience through this filter (I mean that if A <ignores> B, then the experience of B and what B can say or do remains the same as far as B is aware or concerned). One of the beautiful things about TC is that it allows for such freedom of expression in such a rich and unique environment. For this reason alone I prefer the filter over the veto.
Interestingly, both of these options have a greater potential of alienating the offender than the offended. Consider: if A vetoes the actions of B repeatedly then B will either stop playing or just stop showing up when A is around. Similarly, if A ignores B then B will not have as much fun trying to RP the offensive behavior because A will not hear or see what B is doing.
Furthermore, if A represents the majority of people in either the veto or filter situation, then it is B who will alienated from the community. The potential for this to happen will hopefully foster a sense of communication and adaptabililty amongst characters so that no one will have to face this consequence.
I do not wish to open up a can of worms here, but I can not help but wonder what behavior, statement, words, etc. happened in the game to start this thread? Was there a specific incident? That's a separate, tangential question.
My suggestion is the creation of a kind of "Hyde Park" or several versions of such in the game. These would be places where anyone could "say" anything. A Munich beer hall in the evil third would be interesting. We just have to be sure the mobiles there do not violate Godwin's law .
I would tend to support Mark's suggestion about barring offensive/undesired behavior from places such as temples, but that would be the extent of it. I am very wary of the veto solution extending beyond the 4 temples.
The idea of an <ignore> command appeals to me. I like having an element of the game that transcends real-life rather than imitates it. I play games to escape idiots, not to confront them, but that's just me. People who wish to confront offensive characters in rp should be able to do so. But a magical way to shut-out someone I do not wish to deal with sounds good to me, and does not constitute censorship.
I realize this is a very tricky issue. In online discussions I have seen forums ruined by a relatively small group who have as their goal the ruin of the forum. I would not want to see anything like that happen in TC. The rules of discourse I thought were pretty well spelled out in the pages one sees when creating a character. IRL I am a major free-speech fanactic and in the present context I see no problem with an <ignore> command and throwing obnoxious characters out of temples.
August, a character of mine, called a deceased woman a 'cunt' on her own funeral. This offended not just the characters, which you might have expected, but also players, which you might not have expected.