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Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Messages: 563
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
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I wasn't playing when the incident of the offensive language happened, so I don't know the details. Just what I can gather from the bulletin boards. Based on that I'm pretty sure I would have been offended myself.

There's a pretty simple rule I'd like to propose for deciding when "offensive" behavior is really offensive, versus role-playing. The rule is: if someone tells you OOC that you're offending them, then stop what you're doing.

I'll put this more firmly. It's not up to you to decide when something is offensive or not. It's up to the people experiencing it.

There's an analogy which seems obvious to me. It's not uncommon for African-Americans to call each other "nigger". Coming from other African-Americans the term is considered banter. If a white person uses that term, it's extraordinarily offensive. The reasons are pretty obvious. But some white people who don't get it will argue, "If they can call each other that, then it doesn't make sense that I can't." But it does make sense. The point is they get to choose what's offensive to them, others don't. I propose making that the general rule. That's exactly how I feel about men calling women "cunt". Just don't. The end.

I don't think this imposes any unreasonable restriction on role playing, or implies confusion between role-playing and reality. If you want to explore offensive behaviors, do it in company with characters who appreciate your exploration. Keep it away from those who don't. To try to insist that you have the right to offend people who don't share your fascination with the offensive is not only rude, it's imperialist, in the sense that it tries to impose your personal notion of what role-playing is about on people who don't share it.

Chiensha, Moorea, Vicodin, Xanax, Zoloft.
Kristofer Tengstrom



Joined: 2001.12.02 00:00:00
Messages: 15
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I completely disagree with this. Conflicts are a natural part of life, and I don't see why the characters in Triad City should be protected from it. If they're offended, they can always walk away or do whatever fits with their personality. In any case, August never used public channels at the time he was considered to be offensive, so it would have been easy for the others to at least try to do something about it. Instead I received numerous OOC messages telling me to stop. This is not good rp.

My view on this is that whenever a player is offended by something said to their character, they're not roleplaying anymore. An actor would be regarded as very strange if they'd get personally offended by something said or done to their character.
Juha Lehtonen



Joined: 2001.12.01 00:00:00
Messages: 23
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"-- it tries to impose your personal notion of what role-playing is about on people who don't share it."

As soon as I start getting any response for my attempts of trying to understand how players here see their role-playing, it could be even _possible_ to avoid hurting those who define their roles some other way than I do.

Would you like to contribute to this and answer the questions I raised in my first topic? (And again, I am not trying to sound threatening or aggressive or insulting or anything like that, just trying to discuss *sigh*)

Juha
Lisa Chau



Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Messages: 563
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
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I respect your right to disagree with me. But not your attempt to impose your personal views on myself or others. I don't accept your view, and I've proposed a standard for evaluating what behavior is acceptable and what isn't.

This is the last I'm going to engage in this discussion with you. I think you don't hear what people (women) tell you. And I don't care what you think is good rp and what isn't.

Chiensha, Moorea, Vicodin, Xanax, Zoloft.
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 2177
Location: Watsonville, CA
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Hi Kristofer:

I think Lisa's making a different point than what you're responding to. Lisa's saying, "I don't *want* to role play being called offensive names." Your reply is, "That's bad role play." Those are really, I think, two different issues.

To my thinking, Lisa's question is of a higher order, or at least a higher priority. Is it right to force people to role play particular situations or relationships which they don't want to role play?

I've only just read her first post which started this thread, but at first sight it seems sensible to me. People should be able to opt-out of RP which they dislike. And they shouldn't have to go find some corner of the game world where they can be safe from it. That forumla seems likely to result in a very tiny player population, and also a very restricted kind of RP, which I'm sure is exactly the opposite of what interests you.

So what about her proposal? If a player is committed to RP they know is offending others, it's up to that player to find or create a space within the game world in which that behavior isn't forced on those who don't want to encounter it. To my thinking that seems very reasonable.

Anybody else have an opinion?

--Mark

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
[Email] [WWW]
Kristofer Tengstrom



Joined: 2001.12.02 00:00:00
Messages: 15
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I just thought of something. Maybe you could add some sort of "ignore" feature, so each character could effectively stop all input from anyone they choose. That would satisfy both Lisa and me, I think.
Juha Lehtonen



Joined: 2001.12.01 00:00:00
Messages: 23
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I repeat myself:

If someone feels that a character is offending him/her and he/she is not able to come over it (and this is not meant to be an insulting use of words, but analytical) by discussing about it and making sure it is perfectly IC, and his/her char can't avoid listening (by for example leaving the room without his/her game being harmed), just send the offending char's player a message of this type: "tell <other char's name> OOC Hi this is <your name> here. Please use beep instead of <that and that word> (Or: "Please use knock instead of <that and that action>", you are offending me. Thank you."

If I get a message like that I will start to censor my talk/behaviour. By stop using for example some offensive word and using <beep> instead when certain player's char is listening I make sure that the other player's emotions are not hurt, and in the same time I don't have to restrict the free dynamics of the story and my character.

Does this sound fair enough?

Juha
Kristofer Tengstrom



Joined: 2001.12.02 00:00:00
Messages: 15
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Or you could implement a personal filter for each character, where you can put in the words you dislike and then whenever someone utters them you see them as a <beep> or something like that instead. See, there are lots of possibilities to solve this without having to resort to censorship.
Steve Wojcik



Joined: 2001.01.03 00:00:00
Messages: 108
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This kind of filter could be an in-game, in-character thing, too, as those who are offended by certain language in RL tend to play characters who share this offense in game. This way we focus more on the characters in the game.
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 2177
Location: Watsonville, CA
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But this "filter" really is censorship, don't you think? Implemented programmatically by the game engine, but still.

Anyway. As I try to follow this back-and-forth, it seems to me the key point isn't in fact words, but rather players' right to not participate in RP situations they don't want to participate in. Unless I'm missing something I'm not clear how a word filter really addresses that issue.

What do y'all think?

--M

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
[Email] [WWW]
Kristofer Tengstrom



Joined: 2001.12.02 00:00:00
Messages: 15
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I think adding both an "ignore character" feature and a word filter would cover all issues. I wouldn't regard it as censorship as my characters would still be able to say and do whatever they want, only everyone can choose whether they want to listen or not.
Steve Wojcik



Joined: 2001.01.03 00:00:00
Messages: 108
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In a way, yes, this is censorship, but it would be self-imposed, echoing what people do for themeselves in RL every day. If I don't like the language in R-rated movies, I can either not see the movie, or watch an overdubbed version. I'm voluntarily censoring my experience, with the full knowledge that I'm not experiencing exactly what was intended. I see the greater issue you're talking about, and a word filter would be a small method for some people to excersize their wish not to read offensive words, while allowing them to still participate in whatever situation contains such words. Other situations might have to be dealt with on a case-to-case basis, and hopefully the players involved can be reasonable and open to both sides of any issue.
Juha Lehtonen



Joined: 2001.12.01 00:00:00
Messages: 23
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Of course players who do not wish to participate in certain roleplaying situation are free to avoid them.

But what comes to the suggestion that offended players should have a veto with which they could just like that *snap* destroy other players' story-dynamics... To me that sounds very imperialistic indeed. It is very easy to leave the room in which offensive behaviour is confronted and tell offensive player OOC not to follow. Or if for example offensive communication is public (chat-channel), to kindly ask OOC if the situation would be possible to keep private.

I think it is completely unreasonable to kind of punish players which are ready to play all kinds of characters and let more restricted attitudes control the story. People who are offended by the in-game situations should take care of themselves ? after all it is quite easy to march away.

I repeat myself again: Use OOC to explain what you are offended by, and explain why you are not able to stop participating in the situation. Take responsibility of your own game.

I think that if some players can indeed be so offended that they are not able /willing to deal with it more creatively, IC word- and action-filter is the most creative solution I can come up with. It would allow people willing to have somehow restricted world of experience keep their game reasonably clean -- especially as players also have ability to walk out of the situations which they experience too offensive even when filtered.

What if I was a passionate Finnish nationalist, and I would find it very insulting to have characters with different cultural preunderstanding than mine? What if I would want every character to love sauna and Sibelius? Should I have a veto with which I could stop characters mocking Sibelius?s symphonies? What if for me even telling that you don?t know who Sibelius was, was an insult? Should I have a veto forcing everyone in the same room with me to pretend that their characters love Sibelius and sauna, or to go away and continue their offensive game elsewhere?

What if I was a conservative wahhabite muslim?

My main point is: As people can have infinite amount of different obsessions, others which are based on their cultural background, and others which are based on their personal history, it is impossible to create an environment satisfying everyone. Letting the more restricted attitudes control the story will create a similar shallow false image of a liberal environment of entertainment as American TV-fiction: by trying so hard to tolerate everything, in reality it tolerates nothing.

Filtering, polite OOCs and ability to walk away should make it possible for sensitive players to restrict their game, without repressing the collective story too much.
Colin Caret



Joined: 2001.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 140
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As I understand your point, Juha, you mean to say that:

1) people can have many different passions in RL and IC

2) sometimes these passions are incommensurable with one another

3) to accomodate for all possible ends we should allow people completely free expression

4) anyone who is offended (or more weakly, just uninterested in the RP situation) can request a change of story dynamic or leave the room

Now it just so happens that similar arguments were made about racism in the past. Some people are racist and some are not, and since these pursuits are incommensurable we should not try to weigh them against one another. Let people express themselves freely and interact through contractual agreements. If someone does not like the situation or finds it offensive they can try to persuade others to change their ways or they can leave.

The problem is that all too often it is very easy for this situation to completely isolate those who are being offended against. Even if it doesn't come to physical or psychological harm, the social dynamic alienates those who do not 'agree' to the hegemonic ideals.

I understand where you are coming from, but as Rawls points out, even through series' of free and fair agreements between people vast injustices can manifest.

He also argues that the least well-off have a kind of veto power in the bargaining situation, which is sort of like the situation we are all in now. However, I am not sure it is at all clear who the least well-off are and what their interests are that should be maximized.

Food for thought. I'm out.
Mark Phillips


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Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Messages: 2177
Location: Watsonville, CA
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As I've thought about this I've become more persuaded by Lisa's original proposal. This doesn't mean you all should drop your opinions: just wanting to explain mine.

Here's the crux of the problem as I see it. Asking people to "leave if you don't like it" creates a dynamic in practice in which people will leave TC altogether.

Here's a scenario. Someone's in an important public space. Say, the Temple of the King, where everyone must go to level, and where lots of people like to go to regen rapidly. S/he's RP'ing some behavior which certain other players don't want to be involved with. Asking these other players to deal with their rejection of that RP by avoiding the Temple of the King seems extremely unreasonable to me. I think it'll seem so to them, too, to the point where at least some will "vote with their feet", as we say in the States.

The practical dynamic seems predictable. The RL personalities who are most aggressive will drive away those who aren't. The game world will be the worse for it.

Please understand that I'm arguing from practicality here, as I see it. Less so from principle. "Leave if you don't like it" isn't, I think, likely to work out well.

So I think the rule has to be that players are allowed to veto RP they don't want to be involved in. If that happens, those who do want to experiment with that RP are welcome to do so. They'll just have to find somewhere inside the game world where no-one objects. This might include creating spaces specifically intended for the RP that interests them. This seems reasonable to me.

Just my two cents.

--Mark

Bartle quotiet: E80, A67, S47, K7. TriadCity characters: Mark, Poobah, Occam, Abelard.
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