IF Community


#23

the clear turning point in the thread

I think people (not everyone, obviously) were already seeing misogynist implications–from the very first post in the thread–but iirc Porpentine was the first to say it (type it?) out loud. So, yeah, it was a turning point for everyone who didn’t see said implications.

But I, personally, don’t really want to argue about who deserves what portion of the blame. There were so many people involved in that whole thread, and lots of angry posts, and you could as easily argue that if the very first post weren’t so inflammatory, the rest wouldn’t have blown up the way it did.


#24

Well, one possible difference is that your criticism of homebrew parsers wasn’t a moral judgment (I hope), whereas criticism of that description in Darkiss was. “You should change this because it’ll make your game more fun and accessible” is very different – and less manipulative – than “You should change this because it’s hurting people, and you aren’t a villain who hurts people, are you?”

More generally, it’s OK to believe some complaints are merited but others aren’t, based on the facts at hand. There’s no general obligation to treat all objections and demands as equally valid, even when claims of offense or harm are involved. We need not declare that a request like “This description is offensive, please change it” must always or never be heeded, much less all requests of the form “Please change X because Y.” Whether the request is reasonable or not depends on context.

The first invocation of identity politics (judging games by the demographics of their authors/players) in that thread was on page 2 (this or maybe this). I think the only way to read that sort of implication into the first post would’ve been to assume the worst possible motives: author doesn’t like a certain style of game => a certain group of people tends to write more of those games => author must hate those people. But that’s such a malicious interpretation that I think it had to be a symptom of antipathy between posters that already existed before the thread, not a cause.


#25

Well, I don’t know for sure what people got from the first post–I’m guessing. I was going by Emily Short’s post here: http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16752&p=81278&hilit=quinn#p81278

She says, among other things,

there is a broader context to this conversation that I suppose some people here may be unaware of.

which I interpret to mean that she (and probably others) were surprised that there were people who didn’t see misogynist implications in earlier posts. They thought these implications were obvious, so the possibility that the comments might not have been meant in a misogynistic way did not, at first, occur to them. EDIT: In retrospect, it looks like I may have been wrong about this?

And this:

for those of us aware of the GamerGate situation, there’s something very uncomfortably reminiscent of that in a group of people denouncing choice games as not real IF when the large majority of the choice games submitted this year are in Twine.

leads me to believe that implying that “choice games are not real IF” was enough to earn the misogyny label. EDIT: Emily specifically said, even at the time of the blow-up, that she doesn’t like using these types of labels on people. I didn’t mean that Emily herself was trying to throw labels around–I meant that “choice games are not real IF” was felt (probably by more than one person) to be misogynist in the sense of “something that could result in problematic effects.”

And this:

even if no conscious misogyny is involved, the practical effect of the parser IF community excluding an influx of Twine authors is, among other things, to exclude people whose presence would make our community more balanced and diverse, people who have faced a lot of previous exclusion.

hints at what I’ve read elsewhere about this way of thinking: that, for them, intention isn’t what matters (at least, not much). Effect is what matters. How people react or feel is what matters. Whether or not someone had good intentions is barely relevant, when it comes to determining what constitutes an -ism.


#26

I’m probably not presenting this POV perfectly, but I think the different ways people are looking at these issues complicate communication a lot. When person A says “You’re being misogynist,” person B might hear this as something like “You’re the sort of evil person who hangs around in parking garages, looking for women to assault” while in fact, person A may have meant something more long the lines of “You are human, and make mistakes, like all of us do, and you just said something that was not 100% sensitive to women.” I’m exaggerating to make a point, but I do think there’s a big difference in the way these terms are understood.


#27

I’m going to want to add to this when I get home, but something I had to add now -

When person A says “You’re being misogynist,” person B might hear this as something like “You’re the sort of evil person who hangs around in parking garages, looking for women to assault” while in fact, person A may have meant something more long the lines of “You are human, and make mistakes, like all of us do, and you just said something that was not 100% sensitive to women.”

You did just say that effect is more important than intent in this way of thinking. :wink: It can’t be a double-standard.


#28

What I’m trying to get across is that, as I understand this way of thinking, person A saying “You’re being whatever-ist” isn’t necessarily (although it could be) meant as a reflection on person B’s character. I don’t think it’s necessarily meant as a claim that person B has bad intentions (since bad intentions aren’t necessary to make the act whatever-ist.) Hence the misunderstanding when person B interprets this to mean “You are a bad person.” Person B is seeing intent and character as important, while person A is seeing those things as less relevant.

Again, this is just my interpretation.


#29

But it’s not necessarily meant that I’m being mysogninous or sexist either - and yet I’ll be told that people felt offended, so it’s the effect that matters, so I’m expected to apologise or withdraw or whatever,

Yet I’m also expected to ignore the effect that accusations like that have on me.

So, what? They’re like children with tantrums who are always right because they felt wronged, and the rest of us are adults who have to put up with?

Double standard… I’ve been thinking about it and I think this is exactly what most riles me up. And the person who cries WOLF the loudest wins the argument.

Person B is seeing intent and character as important, while person A is seeing those things as less relevant.

That’s probably the crux of the matter, yes. But the way to get past that is by talking things through, not to cry wolf or to get everyone to conform to person A or person B’s POV (100% of either would be a bad idea).


#30

Re the Monty Python thing: that was hilarious. I remember reading it and thinking “is this for real? Is this guy actually claiming I’m advocating violence against women because I said someone needed a slap in the face with a fish?” I
think a lot of that came down to a simple mistake on his part: he genuinely didn’t recognise the Monty Python reference and by the time it was explained to him, he either had to admit his mistake and look like a fool or simply carry on as he had done and hope the discussion ended without anyone making a big deal out it.

Saying that, it highlighted a lot of what’s wrong with the IntFiction forum these days: namely people seizing any opportunity to complain about something and seeing insults and personal attacks everywhere. If someone criticises your
game, the most likely explanation for it is that they didn’t like it, not because they’re some closet racist or homophobe.

The problem with people like Porpentine is that it’s very difficult to have any kind of critical discussion with them because while they can say whatever they like, the moment you say anything back to them, they hide behind some illness /
disability / ethnic shield / whatever and everyone jumps up and defends them. I get the feeling that half the people who defend them don’t even really agree with their viewpoint, but simply feel like they have to give the appearance of
defending them because the alternative – being labelled as someone against them (i.e. racist / homophobic etc) – worries them greatly.

In a way, it reminds me of some guy on the ADRIFT forum years ago who claimed he was dying of mercury poisoning. He’d often make very personal attacks on other forum members, tearing apart their posts, making fun of their ideas and
basically just insulting them for kicks, but the moment anyone said anything back to him, he’d hide behind his illness and half the forum would jump up to defend him. I can remember a few times when he’d make a completely unprovoked
attack on someone, they’d respond with an insult of their own, and someone else would then give them hell about it. It was a bit like the school bully beating up some little kid, then the one time the little kid fought back, the teacher stepped in and gave the little kid detention for it.

Not that I’ve really seen Porpentine make the kind of personal attacks the guy from the ADRIFT forum did, but the manner in which she’d post in threads reminded me a great deal of him. Throwing misogyny allegations around is never going to make you friends, especially if the people you’re accusing of misogyny have no idea they’ve done anything wrong.


#31

Footnote: there is a long and recent history of prominent people in the IF community maintaining that “choice games are not real IF” (or, less pejoratively, “the definition of IF doesn’t include choice games”). I can dig up citations of this sentiment from Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre, Nick Montfort, even Emily herself. It’s really only in the last 5 years or so that there’s been a sea change towards including choice games into the definition of IF. And it seems pretty likely that there are a lot of people who still use the old definition and hadn’t even noticed that the consensus had changed yet.


#32

To be honest, I like choice games and I’ve written a few of my own over the years, but even I don’t consider them to be “real IF”. To me, real IF is a parser game. Choice games aren’t real IF but I don’t see that as a bad thing.


#33

[quote=“dougo, post:31, topic:250, full:true”]Footnote: there is a long and recent history of prominent people in the IF community maintaining that “choice games are not real IF” (or, less pejoratively, “the definition of IF doesn’t include choice games”). I can dig up citations of this sentiment from Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre, Nick Montfort, even Emily herself. It’s really only in the last 5 years or so that there’s been a sea change towards including choice games into the definition of IF. And it seems pretty likely that there are a lot of people who still use the old definition and hadn’t even noticed that the consensus had changed yet.
[/quote]

Yeah, in general I like to give people the benefit of the doubt until discovering otherwise. So on the one hand, I’m not inclined to assume someone is misogynist simply for using an older definition of IF. But I also don’t think it’s fair to assume every person who says “I’ve been discriminated against” is insincere, or manipulative, or throwing a childish tantrum. The principle of charity goes both ways.


#34

Wow! This thread exploded–and I hope this post doesn’t overlap or dig up something that should be dead.

Because the circumstances around it appearing left me a bit upset. I imagine it’s not a big deal now. But I’m concerned that it’s more used as something to hang over people’s heads then, “Yeah, we know these rules, it should be ok most of the time.” I haven’t really felt that way there since Merk resigned. I mean, he was going to anyway, but he should have on his own terms. And when that happens–I don’t like it. And I think any forum can do better.

I suppose the distinction for me is, I want to be careful not to insult people. I don’t want people watching over me when I better be careful not to insult them. And I think that happened, when the one person took a swipe at Merk with a very serious accusation and everyone defended that person and said, well, understand how THEY have felt all these years! (Disclaimer: I’ll give this person their relative anonymity, but I’ve disliked and mistrusted them for a long time.)


#35

Me too–and I must say, I like the mods over on intfiction.org, too. Zarf is way helpful, and it’s good to see new people there.

I just think there are some people, people who don’t even contribute that much, who (and I’ve seen the chat on euphoria) referred to this place as GamerGate, etc., and who are glad that there’s little activity on both of these sites. This sort of jealousy and self-centeredness happens anywhere. And it’s hard to fight back against, and I think topics like this are good, because there is honest discussion, and people check themselves against really awful mistakes but aren’t scared to make one.

Oh wow. I didn’t realize this. The thing is–I’m heavy on parser because it’s where I feel my (relative) strength as a coder/game designer lie. It clicks with what I’d use. So this is what I’m best at. Similarly, I test more parser games because I know they need more testing, and I know what can go wrong.

I also think that part of the appeal of the community is you don’t have to be cutting edge. So now if I have to be at the cutting edge of certain people’s thoughts, I don’t like that.

Having been nicked for being anti-choice games, I think in my case it’s just–I have only so much time, and I have the greatest enthusiasm and focus for parser games. And I think I’ve written games that would be tough to write as choice games, and if they don’t have Literary Worth, they are unique, and the sort of thing I’d hoped to do when I first discovered the community 5 years ago and started thinking what I wanted to do.

I enjoy being able to leave comments as I play them, and I feel like it’s the best way to trade ideas, and I think testing should be about more than just “YOU MADE A BUG THERE.” So parser games allow me to do that, and choice–don’t, yet. But I bet it’d be possible to add that sort of testing hook.


#36

The thing with Merk bothered me a lot.

I think topics like this are good, because there is honest discussion

Well, it makes me feel a little better that people find it useful. This isn’t the sort of topic I discuss for fun. So many times with politically oriented discussions I feel like, “WILL YOU ALL PLEASE STOP DEMONIZING THE PEOPLE YOU DISAGREE WITH.”


#37

Ok, got home. :slight_smile: I just want to say a couple of things (EDIT - “A couple”? Sheesh!), but generally I’m enjoying the way this thread is going.

And this is why I like talking about things. I totally didn’t get that people were seeing that. From his post after yours, vaporware doesn’t seem to either, because whatever it was wasn’t overt. So there was probably some reason for feeling that way, but it had less to do with the actual content of the thread and more with the people involved, emotions being raw, backstory… In my eyes, yes, Porpentine was the first to throw the stone - but if lots of other people were already sharpening their knives, that is interesting and adds to my perception.

Thank you for that post. I’ll still keep a closer eye on my future feedback on similar issues, but it’s a bit of a relief to know that I’m (probably) not being guilty of what I point at in others. Hipocrisy doesn’t suit me, I hope!

So they felt that effect and acted on it, regardless of the intent behind it - sensing a pattern here! I really can’t see how any progress can be made this way.

Again, if people would only talk about things, there’d be a chance.

The person who accused you on the fish incident did seem, in later threads and posts, to adopt a somewhat diferent stance. He’s a good person to talk to, and to swap viewpoints with. His participation in the racism thread was useful to me, and even when I didn’t agree I did manage to see it through his eyes.

But I think that by that point he was willing to explain his point without forcing it, and so was I, and that willingness on both parties is always what makes the difference.

Well, this discussion is going around in circles, because the conclusion is always the same: if only more people would engage in civilized discussion respecting other people!

Wow, I didn’t know! From a perspective of seeing how the tides of opinion change, it’s absolutely fascinating!

Bingo. Try explaining that in some places, though…

Agreed. All we need is the middle ground. And an unbiased CoC.

Oh, that was ugly. That was just plain wrong.

I remember a user whom I never ever saw in any other context make a point of posting to call us BroFic. Heh. Ah well, it’s a reflection on them who pass that judgement. I made my own judgement on euphoria after seeing how they treated vaporware - it may have been just a small part of the whole, but at least I’m not going around flaming Euphoria or thinking ill of it. Let them have fun, say I, just keep me out of it.

Very. Thank you for having the courage to bring it up.


#38

Yes, they’re used in contradictory ways, sometimes by the same people. This is the motte-and-bailey doctrine.

Even in the most innocent cases, this still ends up using equivocation to invoke the moral connotations of one definition while hiding behind the other. The effect – and, presumably, the purpose – of calling criticism of Twine “misogyny” isn’t just to save a few words, it’s to forcefully condemn that criticism and get people to distance themselves from it, by taking advantage of the fact that “misogyny” typically refers to something horrible.

No one ever follows that kind of accusation up by saying “…but it’s OK, this is the kind of ‘misogyny’ that’s not a big deal, I just wanted to make sure you were aware of it, we can call it something less inflammatory if you want.” The goal is always to argue that what someone said was bad because it’s misogyny and we all know misogyny is bad, and the new definition is simply a way to paint more things with that brush.

I’ll go a step further: it had everything to do with the people involved, and nothing to do with the content of the thread. If anyone read bigotry into the first post there, it’s because they had already taken sides in a separate conflict, in which the people whose side they took happened to be CYOA authors, and so even in a completely different context, they were unable to perceive criticism of CYOA games as anything but an attack.

This may be understandable, in the way that it’s understandable when someone comes home from war and perceives a loud noise as an attack. But “intent vs. effect” isn’t really the right framing; they’re imagining something that’s just not there.


#40

Yeah…thing is, I like almost all of the people on Euphoria. But the remaining may be blockers. Of course, there’s the fear that I may be a blocker to some people and don’t know it.

Still, it’s nice the discussions are organized so I can avoid the ones where I just won’t fit in.

Also, as a semi-random aside, after reading this topic, I took a look at a tough-to-test puzzle in Problems Compound (the jerks)–and I sat down and calmly wrote out test commands and plans for it in-depth, so I can hopefully push a button and test all the ways available to solve it, with a log to follow.

I felt at-ease enough to do so, and I just felt there was less to fight against, and that much less “why bother.” So, thanks all, again.


#41

[quote=“vaporware, post:38, topic:250, full:true”]
Yes, they’re used in contradictory ways, sometimes by the same people.[/quote]

I do think this is a real danger, yeah.

That depends how objective you want to be, I think. If they’re defining misogyny as “something that is perceived as making a woman feel discriminated against,” there’s basically no limit to what that “something” could be. The feeling bad is the effect. (Do they actually believe this? I’m not entirely sure what they think. I’m just fumbling around trying to figure this out. And worrying I’m misrepresenting them.)

Based on some things that were said at intfiction, I got the impression that some people believed that, in a case where a member of underprivileged group accuses a member of privileged group of an -ism, whether that accusation is true or false is not really important. Not relevant. The accuser’s feelings are what matters.

Anyway, here’s where I got the intent vs. effect idea. I don’t know how well it applies in this particular case, but it’s under the “unintentional sexism” heading: https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/


#42

I should cool off a bit about this, too. I mean, if what you are saying is 100% accurate, then it’s a hard position to reason with - but if I take it to BE 100% accurate, when I don’t know for a fact that it is (and so far I’ve been assuming that it is, based on my experiences as well), then I’m not contributing anything; I’m immediately assuming the other party will use that defense and excuse to run me over. And that may be true in some cases, because there’s all sorts of people, but expecting it shouldn’t be my default stance. The extremists are the most vocal ones, but they’re also the minority. I’d do well to remember that…

Thanks for bringing it up again,


#43

I’m probably phrasing (what I see as) this position too strongly. Or mixing it up with versions of it I’ve seen elsewhere, off the forum. But yeah, I think there’s a range of views on this–it’s not all one extreme or another.