Author Topic: Roguelike Radio podcast  (Read 122527 times)

Bear

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #375 on: October 14, 2014, 03:50:35 PM »
I think anyone who reacts to criticism by getting angry is being really stupid, and, yes, part of the problem.

Not just the trolls who make threats to do really stupid, illegal, violent things that would ruin lives including their own, but the whole community that makes raging the normal response to any criticism. 

Criticism, when taken in good spirit, is how people learn to make better games. Criticism, when seen only as a trigger to rage, produces a community in which those trolls and haters, as you call them, find refuge. 

So yes, a community of angry nerds is a breeding ground for all sorts of hate, and if that's a problem, maybe we should stop forming communities with angry nerds, or tell them to grow the hell up and get over their anger.



mushroom patch

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #376 on: October 14, 2014, 04:43:26 PM »
The problem with this analysis is that angry nerds create their own communities, so it's not as if any of us have the power to drain the swamp, so to speak. And indeed, that's where a lot of this stuff gets started (see the case of the video game developer whose ex-boyfriend took to 4chan to raise an army against her).

People "raging" about criticism is not a cultural phenomenon. It's a human one. The fact of the matter is not everyone is as refined or educated as we would hope. The median gamer isn't an upper middle class dude with a master's in women's studies.

I would also say that the criticism in question is not exactly designed for polite persuasion. It's a relentless, one-sided hit piece that passes very harsh judgement on popular media and those who enjoy it (not me, for the record) coming from a rigid moral perspective. Of course the response will be anger. Come on.

And now the obligatory disclaimers: Even if feminist commentary can be assertive and at times inflammatory, there is no excuse to respond with threats or intimidation. Anger is a normal response to provocative ideas, but it is important that anger be handled and expressed responsibly, remaining within the confines of civil discussion and controversy. As always, I strongly condemn all those who have made threats, engaged in other anti-social behavior directed at Sarkeesian and other feminist bloggers, or given support or encouragement to such actions.

jere

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #377 on: October 14, 2014, 06:43:49 PM »
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I would also say that the criticism in question is not exactly designed for polite persuasion. It's a relentless, one-sided hit piece that passes very harsh judgement on popular media and those who enjoy it (not me, for the record) coming from a rigid moral perspective. Of course the response will be anger. Come on.

If you're talking about Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series, she says in the first minute of the first episode:
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This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it's both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.

That's why the meme of Sarkeesian coming to "destroy games" or comparisons to Jack Thompson make so little sense. She's a gamer. She wants more games, better ones, and still enjoys playing those that she criticizes. It's not an attack on gamers. If anything, the criticism is aimed at the developers.

I argue with a friend nearly everyday about this and I still can't get the point across... there's definitely a lot of misguided rage (not from you of course).


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I'm confused. How is calling "the trolls" weirdos, creepy, etc. not condemning them? What good does it do to condemn them? And how is it the responsibility of uninvolved parties to spend their time writing condemnations as opposed to expressing their opinions on the actual substance raised by critics and Sarkeesian in particular?

To me, not really. It's like saying Boys will be boys. What are you going to do?

Well, what you could do is take ownership of your community, at least your little corner of it. Newcomers to a community don't know if it's going to the inclusive kind or the pro-harassment kind. Seems worthwhile to point out which kind are going to strive for. I thought that was the point of the disclaimer on this episode; maybe I'm wrong.
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Samildanach

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #378 on: October 14, 2014, 06:57:24 PM »
Well, what you could do is take ownership of your community, at least your little corner of it.

'Community' is an interesting word which I think causes some problems. Some people (myself included, on occasion) think "I didn't choose to be part of a community, I don't consider these awful people my peers or friends, I wouldn't be part of a community that includes them. You're just assuming I'm in their "community" because I play games." Jim Sterling has overcome this by using the word 'ecosystem'. You don't sign up for an ecosystem or deliberately participate in it, you're just there - a part of it.

And just like a biological ecosystem, everything you do or don't do contributes to how well or poorly that ecosystem functions. Just as flinging raw sewage and heaps of discarded plastic into a lake make a mess of our ecosystem for everyone, regardless of who's doing it, so do the actions of noxious harassers and bullies make a mess of the games ecosystem for everyone. We have to take responsibility for it because, like it or not, we live there and our inaction is harmful.

mushroom patch

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #379 on: October 14, 2014, 09:14:33 PM »
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I would also say that the criticism in question is not exactly designed for polite persuasion. It's a relentless, one-sided hit piece that passes very harsh judgement on popular media and those who enjoy it (not me, for the record) coming from a rigid moral perspective. Of course the response will be anger. Come on.

If you're talking about Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series, she says in the first minute of the first episode:
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This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it's both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.

Well, everyone's crazy to be upset then.

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That's why the meme of Sarkeesian coming to "destroy games" or comparisons to Jack Thompson make so little sense. She's a gamer. She wants more games, better ones, and still enjoys playing those that she criticizes. It's not an attack on gamers. If anything, the criticism is aimed at the developers.

I argue with a friend nearly everyday about this and I still can't get the point across... there's definitely a lot of misguided rage (not from you of course).

Yeah, I don't think this really washes re: developers. The real technological advances of the last two decades haven't been in computing, they've been in public relations and marketing. The people behind these games know exactly what gamers want and carefully craft their offerings to appeal to the most lucrative possible audience. It's not like you see broadly supported petitions against video game companies for any of the material in the videos, you know.

Re: the ecosystem and "boys will be boys," I think that's a bit facile. It strikes me as obviously true that no one banging the social justice drum has a real solution. The idea that we're going to fix things by talking about them and educating ourselves has not really been born out by 50 years of new left political awareness -- this works over time with the pervasive, once mainstream stuff, but not the marginal characters behind death threats.

It looks to me like the emerging argument from the social justice scene is that these problems actually are mainstream and driven by mainstream attitudes, so that what is essentially the only tool they've got, "raising awareness," will work. I don't buy it -- ranting and complaining about what someone has to say about your favorite video game is not on the same spectrum as sending death threats and drawing a line that puts the ranter on the same side as the guy writing death threats doesn't help. The idea that the problem is pervasive misogynistic attitudes that normal people hold does nothing to account for predatory behavior of a small minority. It's also a pretty offensive notion to people who are inevitably assigned to the "community" or "ecosystem" the unstable few are imagined to be part of.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 09:17:53 PM by mushroom patch »

Bear

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #380 on: October 14, 2014, 11:44:43 PM »
I wish people would stop framing this in terms of "left" and "right" as though it's a political debate.   

Honestly, this is all about "Asshole" and "Non-Asshole."

Someone who makes physical threats in response to words is an Asshole.  That's very clear.  It doesn't matter what politics the Assholes and non-Assholes have, and bringing political leftism or rightism into it simply distracts from the issue.


Darren Grey

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #381 on: October 15, 2014, 11:48:53 AM »
And now the obligatory disclaimers:

It's unfortunate that this sort of disclaimer is necessary. I mean it is necessary, but the discussion has been so coloured that it's hard to present an opinion without looking like an extremist. It's especially difficult when so much of this arises on Twitter, the absolute worst place to have a reasoned and nuanced discussion.

As for raising awareness not having an effect... well, I think it can and has done in other walks of life. Consider the whole history of the feminist movement, or the American equal rights movement. It takes time and torture but eventually things do get better. There will always be extremists, but the more normalised an idea becomes the less extremists we have that oppose it.

mushroom patch

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #382 on: October 15, 2014, 01:22:07 PM »
As for raising awareness not having an effect... well, I think it can and has done in other walks of life. Consider the whole history of the feminist movement, or the American equal rights movement. It takes time and torture but eventually things do get better. There will always be extremists, but the more normalised an idea becomes the less extremists we have that oppose it.

I say it does have an effect: An effect on prevailing attitudes. But prevailing attitudes already agree that threatening feminist bloggers is beyond the pale. On the other hand, all you have to do is go to the comment section of any local newspaper in America to find plenty of evidence that raising awareness of issues relating to sexism and racism has not eradicated marginal illiberal sentiment on those issues, even fairly stereotypical, old timey, medieval sentiment.

I wish people would stop framing this in terms of "left" and "right" as though it's a political debate.   

Honestly, this is all about "Asshole" and "Non-Asshole."

But it is political. Feminist bloggers are political activists. You're saying there's no issue here other than people issuing death threats vs. people receiving death threats. While I agree to some extent that this is the real issue, after all we wouldn't be talking about this without the death threat angle, it's not the only issue.

I don't say it's a question of left vs. right. It's more of an intra-left thing (which as someone generally sympathetic to the left, interests and somewhat dismays me). It's obviously a political debate though. Someone comes along with a controversial perspective on video games grounded in non-consensus notions about how society should be organized, a perspective evocative of a long history of political debate on video game content, even mentioning video game ratings in passing, and you say it's not political? Of course it is. Unfortunately, it's gotten attention in a way that tends to shut down political debate.

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #383 on: October 15, 2014, 02:02:50 PM »
I think a general lack of civics proliferated through the culture these past few decades has devolved the issues to the "political" morass somehow becoming the high standard as opposed to the more critical elephant in the room of it being societal outright.
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Darren Grey

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #384 on: October 15, 2014, 04:37:45 PM »
I think there are different definitions of political going on here.

Bear

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #385 on: October 15, 2014, 05:40:31 PM »

I wish people would stop framing this in terms of "left" and "right" as though it's a political debate.   

Honestly, this is all about "Asshole" and "Non-Asshole."
...
Someone comes along with a controversial perspective on video games grounded in non-consensus notions about how society should be organized, a perspective evocative of a long history of political debate on video game content, even mentioning video game ratings in passing, and you say it's not political? Of course it is. Unfortunately, it's gotten attention in a way that tends to shut down political debate.

Of course there is a political angle... but the world is big enough to allow people to disagree.  The fact that her commentary is rooted in a minority political view does *NOTHING* to justify or excuse the escalation of disagreement into violence. 

What I was reacting to, and what I will continue to react to, is anyone who's flinging  around terms like "leftist" or "fundie" or "foreigner" or whatever as though it makes escalation into violence a reasonable response or is a good reason to dismiss or devalue the person.  That is dehumanizing an individual by playing on a stereotype. And since much of my own family now dismisses me in exactly that way as an "Outlander" that's an issue I'm fairly sensitive to.

So, yes, IMO honestly it's all about how we treat people.  Individual people, with whom we may or may not agree, but whom we must evaluate as people, not as stereotypes. That doesn't make them non-people, and that doesn't make the escalation of disagreement into a threat of violence anything other than the act of a complete asshole.  So I'm standing by my initial assessment.  You may believe something else; after all the world is big enough to allow us to disagree.

mushroom patch

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #386 on: October 15, 2014, 09:53:19 PM »

I wish people would stop framing this in terms of "left" and "right" as though it's a political debate.   

Honestly, this is all about "Asshole" and "Non-Asshole."
...
Someone comes along with a controversial perspective on video games grounded in non-consensus notions about how society should be organized, a perspective evocative of a long history of political debate on video game content, even mentioning video game ratings in passing, and you say it's not political? Of course it is. Unfortunately, it's gotten attention in a way that tends to shut down political debate.

Of course there is a political angle... but the world is big enough to allow people to disagree.  The fact that her commentary is rooted in a minority political view does *NOTHING* to justify or excuse the escalation of disagreement into violence. 

Uh... I guess this is what happens when I forget to end my comment with a standard disclaimer?

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What I was reacting to, and what I will continue to react to, is anyone who's flinging  around terms like "leftist" or "fundie" or "foreigner" or whatever as though it makes escalation into violence a reasonable response or is a good reason to dismiss or devalue the person.  That is dehumanizing an individual by playing on a stereotype. And since much of my own family now dismisses me in exactly that way as an "Outlander" that's an issue I'm fairly sensitive to.

Whose actual opinions are being dismissed or devalued? I would say Anita Sarkeesian's opinion is being widely disseminated and she's on an arc to occupy a place in public discourse it took commentators like Amanda Marcotte a decade to achieve. She's the one with mainstream voices behind her. The opinion that is being dismissed and devalued is the opinion of hundreds of thousands of gamers who like smutty, violent crap but didn't and never would send threatening or harassing messages to someone just because they don't like what she has to say. Notice that you can't even voice these people's opinions in public without spending half of your time condemning the bad guys.

Maybe more to the point, doesn't it seem to you there's a lot of collateral damage involved in creating a category of "assholes" into which all dissenters re: Feminist Frequency/Women vs. Tropes are inescapably drawn? (No double entendre intended.) By insisting on categorizing people as "assholes" or "non-assholes," don't you think you're setting up exactly the kind of political binary you seem to have found yourself on the wrong side of?

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So, yes, IMO honestly it's all about how we treat people.  Individual people, with whom we may or may not agree, but whom we must evaluate as people, not as stereotypes. That doesn't make them non-people, and that doesn't make the escalation of disagreement into a threat of violence anything other than the act of a complete asshole.  So I'm standing by my initial assessment.  You may believe something else; after all the world is big enough to allow us to disagree.

You know, I'd be satisfied just evaluating the ideas people put forth, but anyway....
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 10:13:09 PM by mushroom patch »

Bear

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #387 on: October 15, 2014, 10:59:49 PM »

Maybe more to the point, doesn't it seem to you there's a lot of collateral damage involved in creating a category of "assholes" into which all dissenters re: Feminist Frequency/Women vs. Tropes are inescapably drawn? (No double entendre intended.) By insisting on categorizing people as "assholes" or "non-assholes," don't you think you're setting up exactly the kind of political binary you seem to have found yourself on the wrong side of?

Not at all.  "Asshole" is a category defined by very individual behavior.  People can dissent as loudly as they want against anything, and I will just smile and consider it healthy debate. If they hate things I care deeply about, I may seek to be elsewhere while they're spewing.  But that doesn't make them assholes. That's a clash of ideas, and the world is big enough to hold people who disagree. 

"Asshole" in this case is a title reserved for those who escalate the clash of ideas against ideas into a clash of people against people.  When someone uses threats, or violence,against human beings, it is no longer ideas they're opposing, but people.  And that is where we cross the line from "dissent" into "assholery".


mushroom patch

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #388 on: October 16, 2014, 12:38:33 PM »
I think that's a nice idea about how things should work, but it's not how these blog/twitter shitstorms actually do work. The whole thing is built around the advantageous position afforded to the anti-smut and violence side by the threats from "the other side." Without the "assholes vs. non-assholes" framing there's no chance for a discussion, because everyone intuitively understands that video games have a lot of questionable content and no one really cares. When you use a phrase like that, you've completely bought into one side of the argument.

Anyway, the whole thing is kind of sad. It's impossible to even express sympathy for the kids who just want to wear shirts with pixelated mushrooms on them and sperge out about skyrim or whatever without getting crazy denunciations. Meanwhile, you have mainstream commentators saying there's a deep connection between wearing mushroom shirts and computer hackers cyber-stalking feminists, gamers must discard the culture they identify with or forever be identified with psychopaths, etc. The sad thing is that while this whole debate will have no effect on most people, there are people in professions where this kind of commentary will be taken at face value and an associaton with "gaming" will result in dark suspicions from some quarters. But hey, it's all about "assholes vs. non-assholes."

Anyway, I've probably gone on long enough about this. I hope I'm not distracting you from anything important like writing video games.

Bear

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Re: Roguelike Radio podcast
« Reply #389 on: October 16, 2014, 05:27:47 PM »
I think part of my point was that wearing a shirt with pixelated mushrooms DOESN'T make someone an  asshole.

Maybe there are assholes who wear such shirts, but it's the threat of violence, and not the shirt, that is the defining feature of the asshole. 

And if that's buying totally into "one side of the argument" then count me in.