D&D General The Art and the Artist: Discussing Problematic Issues in D&D

If so, can’t you see why people might balk at the need for another person to come along and tell them that something they’re feeling isn’t harmful but is just upsetting? That it may seem like an attempt to downplay the importance of what they feel.

We use language to communicate.
Communication can break down when emotions affect the language one uses to communicate, and that is true for all of us. We all do it whether it be in an argument with a spouse/love one, watching sports, retelling of a story and yes even on Enworld.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
You're not representing the example accurately. The hypothetical situation is that elves are persecuting orcs using what they read in a book as an excuse, not that orcs are persecuted by reading a book or playing games.
right, (for the most part) people who persecute are going to be jerks in one way or another no matter way. We still don't want to give them excuses.

There is a game called World of Darkness. they have a book that one of my buddies loves. However it also pretty much took a racists' stereotype used by bigots' and used it as an origin for a super power... he didn't know this (neither did I at the time) so he repeated that idea out loud and got weird looks form some and got others to tell him how right he was... want to guess what group of those people we DIDN"T want to be associated with?
Now when a big "stop publishing this" was made back in the 90s I started looking into it. He didn't, he didn't follow this sort of thing (I mean politics of the back end of gaming). It took MONTHS for me to get the whole story on the fact that the story in the book had these roots. I then joined the "Well I did like the book but now that I know it has to go" crowd. He didn't right away it took over a year from when I found out until when he finally sat and listened. When he listened he changed his tune, but was sad (something he really liked was taken from him, even if it was for a good reason)
(remember we are talking late 90's early 2000's here) I then made the mistake of thinking the book was a dog whistle... until about 5 or 6 years ago I got to meet someone that worked with White Wolf and wrote some (but not that) books... and he told me the story about how that book got written and green lit. basically a really bad story went through the telephone game and the writer didn't know where it came form, and they didn't think about it at all.
see that book wasn't an evil dog whistle. It was a dumb mistake because someone didn't ask enough questions and do enough research, or do enough thought into those scale "can this cause harm and if so what likely hood will it and on what level?" It then caused a bunch of dumb goth kids to latch onto the foundation of a VERY bad thing...without knowing it.
 


HammerMan

Legend
Yes, different people have different perspectives on whether and what things are unwelcoming or exclusionary. And, for example, some women gamers have apparently never had the experience of walking into a gaming store and being stared, sniggered, sneered at and condescended to.
really? this is the first I have heard of this. (as I said before the person I sat down with and read my book as a teen was a woman and she still plays) even the woman who have been the most outliers on this I have ever talked to have said "I deal with it everyone is jerks to everyone sometimes"

I'm not even sure I know any guys who can say they have never in a gaming store/con been sneered at and condescended to.

this is a new point of view for me. Do we have anyone here who can share a first or second hand experience where this is true? I am especially Wonder as to how long those people have been gaming (things are WAY better today then in 90's and 2000's)
 

You're not representing the example accurately. The hypothetical situation is that elves are persecuting orcs using what they read in a book as an excuse, not that orcs are persecuted by reading a book or playing games.
I take your point, but more to my point the word persecution is still an exaggeration because the attempt is to get to "significant harm" which was what was questioned.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I take your point, but more to my point the word persecution is still an exaggeration because the attempt is to get to "significant harm" which was what was questioned.
okay then since it was my example let me (try) to bring this right down to earth.

If a jerk is going to make fun of someone and call them bad words, nothing the writers can do will stop them... after all they are the jerk.
If the writers make an excuse for the jerk he (I don't even feel bad not useing a neutral gender for this example) will feel emboldened.

the trick is not "gota make jerks into nice people" its "Don't make jerks feel like they are justified for being jerks"

edit: the WoD book I talk about above did HARM. SIGNIFICANT HARM. It didn't mean to. It wasn't some evil guy trying to do evil. It was a mistake. It was a guy trying to write a fun book that didn't do enough thought.
Now what am I counting as significant harm... it brought a pretty smart (not smartest) good guy I know right up to the edge of falling into a hateful a dangerous group. It was not easy to get him to see why "those people" were not good people. and by "those people" I include people who in the many years since have been arrested multi times. Now would he have become one of the violant and dangerous ones, I doubt it... but he would have swelled there numbers. and what was the minor push in that direction... a gaming book. an idea. because some ideas when not prefaced correctly are dangerous in and of themselves.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I would argue it’s use is a kind of semantic argument. “This causes harm” is a common refrain of online critiques of RPGs and, I believe, it has a lot more potency than it otherwise would because if the physical and serious connotations it has. If someone clarified, or doesn’t use That kind of phrasing, I tend to be less critical.

Whether or not you are less critical, the empirical, broadly observed behavior is that if the speaker uses soft wording... nothing happens. If people keep their tone such that you are not critical, then their words are dismissed as unimportant. To be blunt - folks don't get off their butts and do something about it until the language gets through their thick skulls. Until we collectively demonstrate that we will actually act on softer wording, you are asking for them to allow the status quo to continue.

Systemic biases (racism, sexism, and others) are not built out of the single dramatic events that put you in the hospital. They are built out of the hundred little cuts. If you get to ignore your little cut as "insignificant", then everyone else gets to ignore the little cuts they make, and then... there's still a hundred little cuts and the person still bleeds. Context matters - If you are not subject to this phenomenon, your idea of what is "significant" is not scaled to the situation. When we suffer one little cut, we can blow it off, because we are mostly whole. When you already have 99 cuts, that extra little cut becomes more significant.

So, it does cause harm. It might not cause harm TO YOU, because you are in a better place. But the harm is there, and ought to be dealt with.
 

So, it does cause harm. It might not cause harm TO YOU, because you are in a better place. But the harm is there, and ought to be dealt with.
You don’t know anything about what place I am in, what advantages of disadvantages I have. My position on this isn’t from a lack of experience with that kind of suffering. Painting disagreements about these things as a lack of understanding, a lack of empathy, or as something where you assume people are incapable of comprehending the issue because of their life experience (or what you assume their life experience is not helpful). And this is why I invoked proselytizing in my previous remark: if your sim is to pursuade me: lecturing and talking down to me, isn’t going to achieve that. Not is making assumptions about what I have experienced.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Systemic biases (racism, sexism, and others) are not built out of the single dramatic events that put you in the hospital. They are built out of the hundred little cuts. If you get to ignore your little cut as "insignificant", then everyone else gets to ignore the little cuts they make, and then... there's still a hundred little cuts and the person still bleeds. Context matters - If you are not subject to this phenomenon, your idea of what is "significant" is not scaled to the situation. When we suffer one little cut, we can blow it off, because we are mostly whole. When you already have 99 cuts, that extra little cut becomes more significant.
as par for the course with you Umbran this is perfectly said.

Systemic biases (racism, sexism, and others) are not built out of the single dramatic events that put you in the hospital. They are built out of the hundred little cuts.
the goal then (IMO) should be to minimize cuts... not just against one person but against everyone. (and again weighted if you on average get 3 cuts per week and someone else gets 3 per day 1 extra cut almost has to go to you if the choice is you or them)

The trouble is (from my point of view) when 2 people who want to dismantle the Systemic biases disagree. This is 100% inevitable to happen (cause we are human) when an outside force that can and wants to mitigate the cuts, is looking at 2 people being cut one who says "Stop doing this and that is one less cut" and the other is saying "If you stop doing that it is one more cut"

Ethics and being human is complex and dirty and hard. Sometimes you get to where I am on many social issues (including how D&D should move forward) where you have a concept and are working towards it... but sometimes you end up with this... paralysed not knowing how to help and not being smart enough to find a way NOT to cut one of them.
 

HammerMan

Legend
You don’t know anything about what place I am in, what advantages of disadvantages I have.
man that is a topic all in and of itself... how many of us really know more then a handful of others? We can make broad speculation based on color creed and geography... but doing so risks us creating the sterotypes and prejudices we want to avoid.
But how do you get to know everyone without large broad speculations? how much time would it take for you and me to really know each other? What if we add a 3rd and a 4th person... how many people CAN we know about in that way?

how many miles can you walk in how many peoples shoes? how many times SHOULD we expect someone to walk in ours...

man this is getting deep.
 

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