How Indie Developers Can Make Efforts Toward Sensitivity and Inclusion

Reynard

Legend
I wanted to move this to its own thread so as to let folks get back to talking about the Chains of Asmodeus.

For those just tuning in, a question about the viability of hiring sensitivity readers by indie developers came up in that thread. Doing so would certainly be an extra expense on top of already very thin margins.

So presuming a indie developer is interested in sensitivity and inclusion, what can one do in order to embrace those ideals in their work that does cause undue financial hardship and essentially make it impossible to produce some work.

Note that this discussion is centered on very small publishers, not QotC or Paizo or Kobold etc....Folks that publish on itchio, DMsGuild, DTRPG, etc, often as individuals or small teams.

Thanks for keeping it civil and on topic.
 

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There's also the classic way to handle it: beta testing. Collect enough interested users and pump them for feedback on the specifics that concern you.

But I think if you wait long enough, AI may be able to provide a solution. While I haven't used them in a long time, Ragor graphs have been around long enough to test the 'readability' of text, and without the use of AI. That sort of analysis plus whatever AI can come up with might help significantly, and processing text really shouldn't carry that big a price tag.

I think your best bet though is proactive (and availing yourself to any forthcoming AI tools), in that you set expectations on the 'tin' so that buyers are informed about what they are getting.
 

There is a glut of people on freelance platforms like Fiverr who are doing proofreading/editing for the lowest bid but decided to add "sensitivity reader" to their services description. Be warned, usually the best case scenario is that they have taken a couple of workshops on the topic and have a PoC in their thumbnail, but the 19 year old in Lagos or Hyderabad who is actually giving you feedback on your document is simply not versed enough in American culture to give you very constructive feedback.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think this is what Kickstarter is designed for. Stuff like art, editors, sensitive consultants, paying freelancers a fair wage, and all the other stuff you need does mount up--and it is unrealistic to expect very small developers to be able to afford all that out of the gate. But that's exactly why they made Kickstarter--it's to fund projects you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to make.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
On representation - one posit I've seen seems wise that is simply about choice:

When creating a work, include characters who are of diverse backgrounds. If you are not well-versed in their community, however, do not make their presence about their background.

So, if you're a white, cis-male heterosexual author, make sure there are female characters in your work. Make sure there are LGBTQ+ characters. Make sure there are characters from various racial backgrounds. But don't make their part of the work about being female, or about what it is like to be gay in a heterosexual-dominant society, or about being black.

The first (not only, but first) step in inclusion is acknowledging presence. These people exist in your world. Normalizing that they are there, as people first and foremost, is of value.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
On representation - one posit I've seen seems wise that is simply about choice:

When creating a work, include characters who are of diverse backgrounds. If you are not well-versed in their community, however, do not make their presence about their background.

So, if you're a white, cis-male heterosexual author, make sure there are female characters in your work. Make sure there are LGBTQ+ characters. Make sure there are characters from various racial backgrounds. But don't make their part of the work about being female, or about what it is like to be gay in a heterosexual-dominant society, or about being black.

The first (not only, but first) step in inclusion is acknowledging presence. These people exist in your world. Normalizing that they are there, as people first and foremost, is of value.
Tired is great advice, IMO
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I think this is what Kickstarter is designed for. Stuff like art, editors, sensitive consultants, paying freelancers a fair wage, and all the other stuff you need does mount up--and it is unrealistic to expect very small developers to be able to afford all that out of the gate. But that's exactly why they made Kickstarter--it's to fund projects you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to make.
Agreed.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
On representation - one posit I've seen seems wise that is simply about choice:

When creating a work, include characters who are of diverse backgrounds. If you are not well-versed in their community, however, do not make their presence about their background.

So, if you're a white, cis-male heterosexual author, make sure there are female characters in your work. Make sure there are LGBTQ+ characters. Make sure there are characters from various racial backgrounds. But don't make their part of the work about being female, or about what it is like to be gay in a heterosexual-dominant society, or about being black.

The first (not only, but first) step in inclusion is acknowledging presence. These people exist in your world. Normalizing that they are there, as people first and foremost, is of value.
This, 110%. It's easy, painless, and free. Also, it is not mandatory.

If a creator's product's world-building doesn't include disabled or Black or trans people in it - nothing stopping them from creating it or selling it. But my expectation is in the face of the market, that product might not sell as well as a similar product that does have an inclusive population
 

Does anyone know sensitivity readers/DEI consultants who are also knowledgeable about the TTRPG scene. Ideally, someone like that might\ be better than hiring someone that has little historical context for the tropes and know how other products ran into the same issues and how they corrected for them. On the other hand, readers like that may have some trope blindness, but they should be able to probably pick out the things that might get you into trouble on Xitter than someone who has never seen a TTRPG text in their life.
 

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