Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 21, 2014
 
Multi-cultural gamers for a multi-cultural community

There is a discussion ongoing in the blogosphere, of which I'll just link to one post, Better Gamers for a Better Community. Quote: "We all like to think that bigots and trolls are a loud minority, but what can we say about that silent majority? Are they not facilitators and complicit in the abuse due to their silence?". The idea basically is that gamers and especially gamers who write, should strive to create a better community in strict adherence with better cultural values.

Wait a minute.

The cultural values of whom? If you scratch the surface off these wonderful words (who wouldn't want to be a better gamer for a better community?), you'll find out that the underlying conflict in which one side is accused of being bigots, trolls, and abusers, is the discussion of political correctness, with the people pushing us towards "better" cultural values are very much on the ultra-liberal side.

The problem with that is that not everybody is ultra-liberal. For many of us more moderate human beings, some of the extreme political correctness appears hard to understand, if not borderline fascist. For example the politically correct Apple app store has a policy that a game should not depict "people from a specific race, culture, government, corporation, or other real entity as the enemies in the context of the game". And thus proceeded to reject the game "Tank Battle 1942", because it showed Germans and Russians as enemies. They then backpedaled after people pointed out to them how ridiculous that was.

If you know your history, and then watch modern films or TV shows, you will frequently find that history has been "corrected" by ultra-liberal people to rather show events in a way that fits the ultra-liberal world view better, rather than how it really was, for example on gender roles or with respect to slavery. To me that is very George Orwell 1984, "He who controls the past controls the future."

The "silent majority" that often fails to speak out when these ultra-liberals complain about something silly, like a video game character with high heels, are NOT "facilitators and complicit in the abuse". They simply do not share the cultural values of the person complaining. That does not make them "indecent people". There simply isn't just one "decent" set of cultural values. Certainly not over the whole length of history, but not even if you just look at today, not even in one country among people who are nominally of the same religion. And sometimes there are simply no easy answers to a problem, for example if you have to decide between the value of granting religious freedom, and the value of gender equality. Is it okay to forbid a muslim woman to wear a veil? I don't think that there is an easy answer to that question based on a "better" cultural value shared by everybody.

I reject the fascism of ultra-liberal correctness. I would consider myself a liberal (in the European sense, not the US American one), but I abhor zealots of any flavor. The world is full of many cultures, and there is no such thing as one set of cultural values that is inherently superior to all others. We need multi-cultural gamers for a multi-cultural community, not 1984-style groupthink aligning everybody to a single set of cultural values and dismissing every other culture as "indecent".

Comments:

I can totally relate to that. It can be very frustrating being condemned for refusing to condemn behavior I find totally innocuous. I've come to the view that there are people who just never will be happy, and so it's better for my own peace of mind to simply not talk to them.

It's wearing and tiring to deal with such hateful talk all the time in certain communities. It's like when the radio talks about how terrible the weather is just because it's raining, and when can we leave such terrible weather and get back to too-bright, too-hot days. I like rainy days.

From the linked article:
"I’d say it’s been 50/50 split between men being decent human beings to indecent."
And... I'm done reading. If someone honestly believes that a quarter of society is indecent, more likely he just has very distorted views of what constitutes decent behavior. It's almost an outright declaration of 'I hate people'.

It almost doesn't matter what the subgroup is. Half of Europeans are horrible human beings. Half of Saudis are horrible human beings. Half of white people are horrible human beings. Half of the wealthy are horrible human beings. Half the poor are horrible human beings. I'm sure there is a vocal minority of people ready to leap behind each and every one of these points, and I want nothing to do with any of those people.
 
Tobold, I love reading your insightful articles, keep up the great work!
 
Nonsense. "Political correctness" is, very simply, what I was brought up to call "Good Manners". In the supposedly dark days of the 1960s and 1970s, when sexism, racism, homophobia and the rest were rife, when the term "Political Correctness" had never been heard of, there were still Polite people and Rude people.

Political Correctness is nothing more than a new codification of the same set of behaviors that my grandparents would have recognized as "manners". As we were told as children, "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all" and "good manners cost nothing".

Try it and see.
 
Political correctness was invented by the Left - however after decades of being justly mocked and parodied by the Right, it is a term that few find comfortable nowadays, although Bhagpuss seems to be okay with it.

Many people find it difficult to remain silent even when they know others will not be very pleased with the worldview they tend to express; this feeling is intensified when those with opposing worldviews are often very happy to express their own worldviews quite shrilly.

Is it bad manners to take the view that, say, evolution as well as culture impacts differences in roles and motivation between men and women? Because in some quarters, such a view would definitely be considered politically incorrect.

If someone expresses an opposite view, is it rude to disagree?

 
If you scratch the surface off these wonderful words [...] you'll find out that the underlying conflict [...] is the discussion of political correctness, with the people pushing us towards "better" cultural values are very much on the ultra-liberal side.

While I imagine that's true in many cases, I think this is the problem with your premise. The assumption that all the people doing the pushing are ultra-liberals with an agenda of political correctness.

The central problem in your argument is this statement "[The "silent majority"] simply do not share the cultural values of the person complaining."

But what if they DO and they STILL remain silent? What if the message is secretly what the person thinks or feels but they just don't speak out? Are they not facilitators and complicit in the abuse due to their silence?

The actual idea (that more people should be vocal) certainly has merit if the person agrees with the sentiment.

In this particular instance, you don't agree (or least feel it's silly), so the accusation rings as fascist to you.

But is it really fascist? No one is forcing you to read those blogs. And blogs are, in and of themselves, an expression of our opinions. So where better for a blogger to blog about those things that THEY feel passionately about.
 
@Gerry Quinn
Is it bad manners to take the view that, say, evolution as well as culture impacts differences in roles and motivation between men and women?

It is not bad manners to state that men and women are different but it would be bad manners to state than a man/woman is incapable or always better at something purely because of a specific group of which they happen to be a member.

Political correctness and Feminism has been strawmanned to such an etreme that they are assumed to be that extreme.
They are not about saying that all subgroups are equally capable of performing everything, people are individuals and some will be better than others at different activities no matter what group they are in.

I like using obvious physical attributes to counter PC-strawmen to think in terms of physical attributes. On average men are materially taller than women.

The PC-strawman says that we must not consider height when considering which is best at screwing in a lightbulb.

A bigot says that this is stupid and you should always pick the man because 9 times out of 10 he'd be taller and therefore better able to change the light bulb.

A moderate says that a woman might be taller than a man, so it is the height that matters, not the gender.

A promoter of diversity would say that anyone wishing to change a lightbulb safely should be using a ladder so height is a non-issue once the correct tools used and dexterity, common sense and being unafraid of heights would be better criteria for choosing.
 
...and a realist changes the lightbulb while everyone is arguing.
 
+1. No, offense, but after reading the title (and knowing who's writing it is that I'm about to read), I didn't expect such insight, reason and ACTUAL unbiased tolerance. Great job!
 
“The cultural values of whom? If you scratch the surface off these wonderful words (who wouldn't want to be a better gamer for a better community?), you'll find out that the underlying conflict in which one side is accused of being bigots, trolls, and abusers, is the discussion of political correctness, with the people pushing us towards "better" cultural values are very much on the ultra-liberal side.”

Seems like a completely false dichotomy. So everyone who speaks out about trolls, bigots and abusers is a politically correct utlra-liberal? Who are these 'people' pushing us? How are they pushing us?

Are you talking about the original blog posts? Are they 'ultra-? Is a blog entry really pushing?

"For many of us more moderate human beings, some of the extreme political correctness appears hard to understand, if not borderline fascist.
For example the politically correct Apple app store has a policy that a game should not depict "people from a specific race, culture, government, corporation, or other real entity as the enemies in the context of the game". And thus proceeded to reject the game "Tank Battle 1942"..."


So your example to demonstrate (borderline) fascism is that a private company, not a government or political body, refused an app and when confronted with a counter argument reasonably quickly changed their minds. Wow look and learn dictators everywhere. I think you used the word borderline because you really knew this was a terrible example.

“If you know your history, and then watch modern films or TV shows, you will frequently find that history has been "corrected" by ultra-liberal people to rather show events in a way that fits the ultra-liberal world view better, rather than how it really was, for example on gender roles or with respect to slavery. To me that is very George Orwell 1984, "He who controls the past controls the future."

Umh assertion with no data, could be assfax. I know my Western history reasonably well so can you come up with anything to back this ?

“The "silent majority" that often fails to speak out when these ultra-liberals complain about something silly, like a video game character with high heels..”

Can you show me that people have complained about characters in high heels, where their complaint was only about the heels and wasn't tied to some larger point. It seems that you are either ignorantly or knowingly trivialising this to try to make a point.

“There simply isn't just one "decent" set of cultural values”

Ok so do racism\sexism\homophobia\transphobia fall within any "decent" set of cultural values.

“And sometimes there are simply no easy answers to a problem, for example if you have to decide between the value of granting religious freedom, and the value of gender equality. Is it okay to forbid a Muslim woman to wear a veil? I don't think that there is an easy answer to that question based on a "better" cultural value shared by everybody…”

I agree that some questions are tricky, but I don't think many people would want to stop you asking that question (after all you just have). The statements "Muslim women shouldn't wear the veil" and "I hate Muslims" are a long way apart (even though the underlying reason beneath the statement maybe the same)
 
"I reject the fascism of ultra-liberal correctness. I would consider myself a liberal (in the European sense, not the US American one),”

And liberals can be bigots too. It can often be used as an easy way out of having to examine yourself. 'Hey I'm a liberal I'm one of the good guys'. (Please note I'm not calling you a bigot).

“The world is full of many cultures, and there is no such thing as one set of cultural values that is inherently superior to all others. We need multi-cultural gamers for a multi-cultural community, not 1984-style groupthink aligning everybody to a single set of cultural values and dismissing every other culture as "indecent""

Okay that fine if very hyperbolic. But this is a relatively simple topic. If you see someone saying something bigoted in an online game speak out in protest. Its doesn't have to be much or a political manifesto. Obviously if you agree with what the person says you won't be doing this. No one is asking for group think.

“The "silent majority" that often fails to speak out when these ultra-liberals complain about something silly, like a video game character with high heels, are NOT "facilitators and complicit in the abuse". They simply do not share the cultural values of the person complaining.”

I think this really lies at the heart of this. I think you are swimming in an ocean of justification here. A lot of people recognise bigotry at one easy glance, but often don't speak out. In onlines games some players will let racist, sexist and homophobic comments go unchallenged.

When their inaction is challenged they get a little angry, they can't believe that they could be in the wrong, after all they are rational, intelligent, liberal etc. So it must be the fault of feminazis, utlra-liberals (fill in your favourite bogey person here). After all it’s so much easier to blame someone else rather that have a good look at yourself and perhaps have to change.
 
I am not politically correct IRL, although having spent a decade in the People's Republic of California, I am at least somewhat conversant. Yet I tend to be more PC in videogames just because the other side is so egregious.

Let me give you my "complicit" argument. When [US] people (usually in the left back when they were losing) decry negative political ads, my response is they will stop within milliseconds of the candidates deciding they do not work. As long as a racist, homophobic culture does not cost the game company money, they are not going to stop it. When it does, they will. So when a female editor at Massively still gives the same amount of free coverage to a game with "rape trains", what message does that send to the game company? When people still give the game company money, what does that say? Does any one think the game companies are such bastions of free expression that they would let it go on if it cost them money?

Trying to force orthodox or atheist views, or capitalist or socialist or politics, or USA or not-USA, or even skimpy armor vs full plate (at least if for both genders) do not lend to universal trans-cultural values. But IMO in this day and time, racist, sexist and homophobic comments are beyond the pale. And if you support companies that support those communities, then I can see an argument for complicity.

Disclosure: I am unsure how much of my attitude is driven by the nobility of my spirit :-) and how much by my selfish desires to the extent at which these standards would improve my gaming experience both the experience itself and the people it would exclude. How much am I morally outraged at racism and homophobia and how much just wanting the better gaming experience of not having racists and homophobes in it?




 
But IMO in this day and time, racist, sexist and homophobic comments are beyond the pale.

But who gets to decide what is racist, sexist, or homophobic?

See for example the guy who was fired for racism when he called a budget niggardly.

Or the complaint that the announcement poster for Warlords of Draenor is sexist because there are no women on it.

In the case of the Warlords of Draenor poster I am pretty certain that the silent majority simply considered it reasonable enough that a poster showing "warlords of somewhere" had only guys on them. Would you expect gender equality on a photo showing the warlords of Somalia or Afghanistan? Would such a photo be "sexist" or would it depict a reality? Would we even WANT more female warlords?
 
"Would we even WANT more female warlords?"

I know I do!

"Political Correctness is nothing more than a new codification of the same set of behaviors that my grandparents would have recognized as "manners"

Uh, Lol? Your grandparents, 80 years ago, would have recognized 50 different gender identifications, and all of the other new terminology that exists today as "the same set of behaviors" that existed in their time? My grandfather just turned 101, and he still calls Americans from East Asian countries "orientals"; which is awkward, because my uncle married someone from Taiwan. Luckily they are understanding of the fact that it is basically medically impossible for him to learn anything new at this point. Political Correctness is not the same as manners; Political Correctness is the idea that neologistic euphemism, applied in a top down way, can somehow replace the intricate complexities of good manners. This is obviously false. Without good manners, endless waves of neologia only results in a proliferation of newly insulting terms; with good manners, the entire exercise is unneeded.
 
Your "Warlords of Draenor" comment only makes sense if this was a historical game. You are saying that draenor is like Somalia. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's sexist, but in a fantasy game, why can't there be a female warlord? Would Sylvannus not count as a warlord (she definately is)? As much as I don't think Warlords is sexist, mainly because the warlords are based on existing lore characters, saying that draenor should have the same "gender equality" as somolia is utter nonsense (since all signs point to women being prominant warriors in the orc race).
 
I am not saying that you can't have the opinion that there should be more women on the Warlords of Draenor poster. What I am saying is that it would be unjust to call somebody facilitators and complicit in the abuse due to their silence and "indecent" just because he isn't outraged by the lack of women on that picture.
 
Also, your disdain for political correctness is the same excuse for people who wants to go around shouting racial slurs at everyone (Hey, you shouldnt be mad at me for using the nword or the cword! Stop being politically correct!). Not saying you are doing this, but complaining about political correctness is not the right way to go about this.
 
Okay the complicit part is obviously subjective. Say you are standing around someone who is trying to rape/murder someone else. Should you do something? Are you a facilitator and complicit in the abuse due to your silence? If the answer is yes, then you are also complicit in allowing the act of other people saying that thing. However, if you do not find that other thing offensive, that means you are complicit in an inoffensive thing. For instance, if you saw someone encourage someone even if they are a poor performer and did nothing, you do not disapprove of such an action. However, if you speak up and say, "Stop covering the n00b and being a stupid carebear!" then you discourage that act. Same for the inverse.

So you are right in that cultural norms affect this. Be the critics are also right that what you do encourages or discourages these actions.
 
There simply often isn't anything to "encourage" or "discourage".

Do you not think that it would be a reasonable opinion to be not too worried whether a picture shows equal numbers of men and women, heterosexual and homosexual people, able-bodied and handicapped people, as well as an equal number of persons from each race? Being for equal rights in the real world does not necessitate that you need to be for equal representation in every picture of a fantasy world.
 
Well, that's why I don't have a particular problem about Warlords since I don't really mind the status quo. Warlords is a product of our culture (Almost all our historical warlords are evil men! So our fantasy world must also feature evil men!).

I mean there are other things that I have annoyance in that is less to do with Warlords but warcraft in general. Like how for some reason, races have the same basic humanistic biology (all females must have 2 breasts because humans do! Why don't the tauren have 6? All males in the races must be more muscular than the women! Many animals have the reverse! Child rearing are only for women! Male seahorses beg to differ. Why is no one wearing helmets? Do they want to die?). To me it just shows lack of creativity. Though they have a bigger problem to solve for now (the story...).
 
I give warlords a pass because it is based on past characters which just happen to be men. I don't really think he was sexist either to write mostly about men because I assume he just writes about men better because he is one. I know if I wrote about a woman it would just be a like writing about a guy except I replaced all the pronouns.
 
I certainly recognize the slippery slope of enforcing manners and standards where you end up with people insisting it be spelled womyn.

All I can fall back on is Justice Stewart http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

I interpreted the question as "are we the consumers complicit in financially supporting places where quite unenlightened conversations happen" and I am leaning towards yes. Can anything be done about it and are the cures worse than the disease are interesting but different questions. Besides the pressing concern is not over a lack of affirmative action (51% of Warlords should be female, 10% gay,..) or lack of positive role models (need short, female warriors who are good at math) but what is called, when the moral outrage is flowing, hate speech.

P.S. @Michael nearly half of all people are below average :-)
 
@vinciblegod: Don't let reality sto you man. If you really want to bash WoD for being sexist, you can use the exact same argument you did against "Warlord of Somalia". After all it is a fantasy game, Blizzard could always retcon 10-20 female characters into the role to please the concern trolls. It also helps that the expansion is about A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TIMELINE. Nobody's preventing Durotan from getting killed and succeeded by Draka because TIME TRAVEL. Gul'dan could always create Garona earlier but f*ck up the spell and get killed by her when the mind control doesn't work. My point is, artistic integrity was never a reason not to bow political correctness. They could work as much of that shit in as they had to, if they gave a shit about such complaints in the first place.
 
'Womblords of Draenor'
 
Unfortunately, being someone that is subject to the abuse of others at times for no other fact then existing in their space I don't have the luxury of not being "politically correct". Oh how I would love not to be wrapped up in this quagmire of social issues but it is a lived experience I can't ignore.

And well done taking the argument to its illogical extreme. Sure some people are going a nit stupid with pressing imaginary issues and slights, but some are real and just because you don't see them or don't acknowledge them doesn't make there impact any less important. Personally, I think the main debate is just acting cordial towards each other in this space, a basic right we are still fighting for.

Maybe step down from your ivory tower once in a while
 
but some are real

I am all for protesting against social issues that are real. But the post I linked to didn't even mention any issue. It just heaped insults on everybody who wasn't out there protesting. Thank you very much, but I would like to know what the issue is before I join the protest. And honestly, calling everybody who doesn't speak out against an undefined social issue an indecent person isn't the best recruiting tool.

Womblords of Draenor

Not quite sure what the actual female form of warlord is. Warlady maybe, like in lords and ladies?
 
@Tobold

Uh, I didn't know Lord had a gender connotation. I just thought it meant someone in a position of power like Governor. And Womblord would be the most illogical version of a female version of that word because it replaces the most important part of the meaning of the word with a female organ.
 
Yeah, wikipedia definately agrees with me on the genderless definition of lord.
 
I think the poster depicts warlords from Blizzard lore. The guy at the front is probably Grom Hellscream (he holds the same axe I've got from Prince in Kara), the guy in the right is probably Gul'Dan etc.

This means the poster can't be sexist as it depicts "factual" warlords. Likewise, the poster "Manchester United" would also contain no women without being sexist, because there are only men on the team.
 
Stop making excuses for the Patriarchy!
 
It's less about not sharing the values of others, and more about not really caring? Most people are probably not wasting their gaming time to run disputes on cultural values.

The silent mojority are people who don't care a bit for what anyone else has to say AND the people that understand, that all these emotions and opinions, positive or negative, do not exist outside the context of the game.

There are things, sometimes controversial, that make people dream the same dreams and colaborate on wondrous things. And sharing *things* over a game that allow that is good. Sharing your opinion and enforcing it on others without litening back is not, and most people who speak up do exactly that. It's the silent majority that has the decency to remain just silent, when there's nothing really important or meaningful to be said.
 
Reading the comments and...
Womblords? Really?

I mean, Putin took over Ukraine with the world pretending to be concerned and actually not moving a finger. I don't see n oone making it a discussion in the blogosphere, and that's a real, factual, existing invasion on human rights, right there.

I love games. I write about games. I play them. And I know a little secret about games that some of you seem to be unfamiliar with: Games are 'games'. Not 'just games' because they are amazing. But they are 'games'. Period. Unless your life pivots around gaming in way you cannot survive, feed you family or function without gaming, I will not understand the magnitude of animosity and negativity related to all this? Nor does the 'silent majority' understand it. I mean, why even waste my precious gaming time on reading a forum, if 'Womblords' discussions is what I will find?

The silent majority is the decent party here. They know that whatever the loud minority fights for is not really worth it. Because, while some companies let us believe that player feedback is important, you cannot overprice the actual impact you have on a publisher's/developer's work. They have to earn money. The artist who made the poster is upset, because he tried and he got paid. Blizzard makes a call to the PR department to add the other poster, with Sylvanas on it. But all of it really doesn't matter to anyone but a few.

It's a game of bait and switch, all of it. I'm tired.
 
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