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Author Topic: The Importance of Prejudice  (Read 14586 times)

Dozeb˘m Lolumzalýs

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #105 on: November 25, 2017, 02:34:56 pm »

I basically play Dwarf Fortress because I want to see dwarves do cute things that are totally inhumane, like stabbing a chicken because they think it killed the mayor. I guess I see prejudice as at least two features?

One is for creatures to not like each other because of cultural assumptions. I think there's some potential for this stuff to emerge from the existing group alliance stuff. Each civ currently has cultural knowledge of every other civ for the purpose of starting wars -- adding mechanics that make it possible for a civ to have wrong cultural knowledge would encourage holy wars, but it'd be tempered by the mitigating factors already built in.

The side I don't want: in the human world cultures develop symbolic ways to express hate and convince bystanders to agree: fake science like phrenology and The Bell Curve, slurs like "nigger" and "kike," de jure discrimination like separate buses and bathrooms and prisons and schools, ritualistic acts like lynching, cutting off hands, shaving heads, photographing, sterilizing. Prejudiced aggressors like inventing crimes or blaming the victims for the nasty things they did, and they get away with it even if it doesn't make sense.

I think this feature is actually really important. In the real world, whenever you're not actually the target of the prejudice, it's the more visible one, because if you're not the victim, you won't experience the violence and you don't need to know if if it's justified, but you can still see how the aggressor is talking. The lies are usually obvious and ridiculous, but the hate continues to spread because humans are weak to lies that appeal to their prejudices. Watching people you like fall into this stuff is like watching them develop cancer or something. I don't want my dwarves to do this because it will remind me of people I knew who became entrenched in this.

If any of the stuff I mentioned, including the language I used, makes you uncomfortable, then I don't think you want this stuff in a game like Dwarf Fortress. For many of you it doesn't seem like the topic has any sting. Most of the worst things humans ever did are related to prejudice, and many of you explicitly want dwarves to repeat those things. If they do, it should make you feel sick, or else it's not a good simulation.

So your main point is that prejudice is inhumane but not cute, so doesn't add to the appeal of DF? Sort of like how mermaid farms were effectively banned by Toady? I can see your point, but there are other parts of the game that aren't cute and yet still add to the game. Starvation isn't cute, but it drives you to grow food, adding tension and requiring you to develop some form of food industry. If prejudice drives tension in a positive way, it could thus positively impact the game.

I think that having prejudice be toggleable would solve most of your complaints, right? I understand if people don't want certain realistic content in the game... but we have untoggleable suicide (from failed mood or high stress), which can be drowning or starvation or death-by-cop goblin. That seems likely to turn away some people, too, but at some point we have to include things that could trigger people, or else there is no tension. (I have no disrespect for people with triggers, and I'm not sure if there's a New and Better Term, I'm using it with as much good will as I can. Just so nobody thinks I'm doing the "lol TRIGGERED SJW" thing.)

OTOH, I can't really see racial slurs adding much to the game except for Flavour, so unless a significant positive impact comes up I think it'd be a net-negative addition.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #106 on: November 25, 2017, 02:42:28 pm »

On variation:

Not knowing whether you'll ever see a goblin after having some hostile goblins as neighbours would be bit more interesting in a twitch game, adding tension, but in DF I see stuff like "I feel like 'why even build defences' if nothing's going to show up" and "sieges gave something more to do".

(Also, running out of bodies is more of a deescalation.)

Well with more realistic mechanics in general you should be very much kept occupied by more peaceful things, like acquiring the necessary tools/materials to make or build the things you want to build.  The unrealistic simplicity of certain mechanics means the game does come to a halt around the fourth year and we really have nothing to do but pile up treasure.  If all we could do for the first ten years was eke out a living, that would both be more realistic and give us plenty to do that would not involve violence in the long run.  Violence should be erratic rather than predictable, increasing replayability as it were. 

This reminds me of the sociobiological delusions I had to contend with earlier in this thread, summarized as the evolution favours those who are paranoid because reasons.  Reality is, like a more realistic version of dwarf fortress you are implicitly complaining about the development of in your apparent wish for a siege button.  The windmills usually really are windmills, the shadows on the wall usually really are shadows; that is to say evolving to see threats where they probably are not means a very stressed out creature that easily gets ill.

An increase in realism means a reduction in violence and conflict.  Games in general (and other media) tend to ramp up the violence and conflict to unrealistic degrees because that makes things interesting, or so they think.  People naturally project this consciousness on to the real-world, so they see the world as a far more dangerous place than it really is. 

I think this feature is actually really important. In the real world, whenever you're not actually the target of the prejudice, it's the more visible one, because if you're not the victim, you won't experience the violence and you don't need to know if if it's justified, but you can still see how the aggressor is talking. The lies are usually obvious and ridiculous, but the hate continues to spread because humans are weak to lies that appeal to their prejudices. Watching people you like fall into this stuff is like watching them develop cancer or something. I don't want my dwarves to do this because it will remind me of people I knew who became entrenched in this.

If any of the stuff I mentioned, including the language I used, makes you uncomfortable, then I don't think you want this stuff in a game like Dwarf Fortress. For many of you it doesn't seem like the topic has any sting. Most of the worst things humans ever did are related to prejudice, and many of you explicitly want dwarves to repeat those things. If they do, it should make you feel sick, or else it's not a good simulation.

Dwarves should develop cancer, so by that analogy dwarves should fall into prejudice.   ???

However it is a particularly sinister move to make prejudice mechanics.  The reason is that realistically the easiest and most profitable thing to do is simply to go along with whatever prejudices there are against those who are weak, because it is a costly thing to do to challenge prejudices.  Unless the player's actual main goal is to challenge prejudice, becoming a bigot is the easiest way to succeed in a bigoted society and challenging prejudice will get in the way of what they player considers their own main goals.
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Untrustedlife

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #107 on: November 25, 2017, 02:46:55 pm »

Personally, I'm for prejudice. Although this comes from the guy who found the supposedly "horrifying" DF stories such as Obok Meatgod... rather "meh"-inducing.
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Wait, really?
... I guess it's just the "Kitty" thing, but I didn't see that coming. :P

Males can like cats too, you know.
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I'll admit, i was taken by surprise aswell, i thought you were female for the longest time. :P But that hardly matters.

I've thought about this before, but yeah, it doesnt feel right for me to play as a goblin and get no negative reaction in a civilization that has always fought goblins, it could create necessity for hiding your face, maybe a place doesnt like strangers, that sort of thing. You can get good stories out of that.  Even if it is just "such and such a town isnt friendly to strangers". Or specifically towards goblins/other "evil" creatures. We already have the [Evil] tag.

There is, for exmaple a VERY good podcast called "Dungeons and randomness" the DMplays with prejudice a lot, but he uses it as a vector for GREAT stories. I feel like my fantasy world would be missing something if people DID always trust goblins. They simply shouldn't. Especially if they know they are "Chaotic evil aligned" [EVIL] [SAVAGE] or whatever.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 02:54:21 pm by Untrustedlife »
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VislarRn

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #108 on: November 25, 2017, 07:36:43 pm »

I think the prejudice in game should serve first and foremost purpose - the simulation, which means it is useless when it is isolated from complex social simulation.
One of the examples of complexity could be like that:

Imagine you just became the member of some religious order, who bear some kind of distinct visible feature, (maybe you are tattooed same way, maybe wear same types of robes or whatever). Let's call it The Red Order.

Your order has enough martial and political power in the city and is also involved in disputes with its rival - The White Order. Everything has been calm so far and conflict has been subtle, but in one morning you discover that at night, the leader of The Red Order has used its power committing mass murder and destruction against people of The White Order and it's communities. Citizens are shocked and everyone are expecting greater conflict to escalate.

Now ask yourself - After those events, if you go outside in the streets bearing those distinct features of the Red Order, does it make sense when people don't react to it? Absolutely not, you'd better run away from all these grieving family members who seek revenge against the Red Order because this prejudice is probably staying for a long time.

And what's cool in this situation? It perfectly demonstrates that you can't take things lightly when joining or being a member of some group. If you serve notorious master be prepared to take some consequences of his fame. This also applies to positive prejudice, when former convict who bears social stigmas because of his past, joins a group that grants him higher and more trustworthy standing among citizens.

And we can't forget that in medieval times - your family, specially when you are noble, holds one of the biggest influences in regulating positive or negative stigmas. When you bear name that belongs to royal family, then you probably get positively misjudged by lot of people. This also becomes a powerful political tool because if you manage to cause enough shame to one member of the noble family, you might bring the whole family down. This is how prejudice should work in larger social context, it should become part of the narrative.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #109 on: November 26, 2017, 07:15:26 am »

Now ask yourself - After those events, if you go outside in the streets bearing those distinct features of the Red Order, does it make sense when people don't react to it? Absolutely not, you'd better run away from all these grieving family members who seek revenge against the Red Order because this prejudice is probably staying for a long time.

But that is not a prejudice.  They simply conclude that you are in the Red Order because you bear it's insignia. 
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VislarRn

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #110 on: November 27, 2017, 08:41:44 am »

Now ask yourself - After those events, if you go outside in the streets bearing those distinct features of the Red Order, does it make sense when people don't react to it? Absolutely not, you'd better run away from all these grieving family members who seek revenge against the Red Order because this prejudice is probably staying for a long time.

But that is not a prejudice.  They simply conclude that you are in the Red Order because you bear it's insignia.
And then they conclude that you had something to do with the happenings at night.
False syllogism is: I have a proof that some members of the Red Order are perpetrators therefore all members of the Red Order are perpetrators.

More peaceful members of the Red Order (since there is at least one according to the example) might have been voting against such actions, but are now bound to be misjudged anyway.
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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #111 on: November 27, 2017, 10:36:58 am »

If any of the stuff I mentioned, including the language I used, makes you uncomfortable
Not in the least. Also, I think you should actually read The Bell Curve because it doesn't make the argument you've been told it does.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #112 on: November 27, 2017, 01:01:48 pm »

And then they conclude that you had something to do with the happenings at night.
False syllogism is: I have a proof that some members of the Red Order are perpetrators therefore all members of the Red Order are perpetrators.

More peaceful members of the Red Order (since there is at least one according to the example) might have been voting against such actions, but are now bound to be misjudged anyway.

The Red Order is doing it, not it's individual members.  It does not matter what you personally did, if anything; equally it does not matter if you personally voted in favor of whatever bad thing it was that the Red Order did.  The conflict is a group-level conflict between the White Order and the Red Order which both have clear leadership and a united policy (that is they are groups rather than fashion classifications), this means we have a collective enmity rather than an individual one.  The tricky thing here is when members of a group do something that the group itself does not approve of to members of the other group, but in your example this does not apply because it is the leader of the group that is doing the killing.

Group-level conflicts are not the same thing as prejudice.  We do not in a war have to interview every single soldier to make sure they personally are in favor of the continuation of the war against our country in order to justify killing them.  Personal opinions are simply irrelevant in a group-level conflict, you will kill the invading goblins irrespective of what their personal opinions regarding the war and their civilizations leadership are. 

Prejudice is when the classifications (people who wear red clothing) become confused with groups (the red order).  So any person who wears run clothing is automatically part of the evil Red Order, irrespective of whether we know full well that they are probably not.  This is different from a situation where red clothing (classification) is the insignia of a group and we then conclude anything that wears red clothing is evil because the Red Order are our enemies. 

If any of the stuff I mentioned, including the language I used, makes you uncomfortable
Not in the least. Also, I think you should actually read The Bell Curve because it doesn't make the argument you've been told it does.

The Bell Curve :P :P :P!

If we read books we have to buy books.  Buying books gives money to the people who made the books, which are the people we don't approve of.  The more racist books there are, the more racists are published because that is how markets work.  Do we want racists to get published and get an impressionable audience to turn into more racists?
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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #113 on: November 27, 2017, 01:10:41 pm »

Group-level conflicts are not the same thing as prejudice.  We do not in a war have to interview every single soldier to make sure they personally are in favor of the continuation of the war against our country in order to justify killing them.  Personal opinions are simply irrelevant in a group-level conflict, you will kill the invading goblins irrespective of what their personal opinions regarding the war and their civilizations leadership are.
Sorry, you're just using a made-up definition of prejudice. In the actual definition of prejudice, yes, group-level conflicts invariably require prejudice, because you presume the motives of an individual from that individual's group affiliation.
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The Bell Curve :P :P :P!

If we read books we have to buy books.  Buying books gives money to the people who made the books, which are the people we don't approve of.  The more racist books there are, the more racists are published because that is how markets work.  Do we want racists to get published and get an impressionable audience to turn into more racists?
you could just download them from the internet but yes, we do want that. Everyone is allowed to publish their opinions. That is how freedom works.

... More importantly, though, none of that applies to The Bell Curve because the idea that it's "a racist book" is a myth.
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #114 on: November 27, 2017, 01:28:55 pm »

I feel like I should point out that GoblinCookie never actually questioned the right to freedom of speech. In my opinion it's still entirely ethical to criticize an opinion and argue against adding fuel to it as long as you're not outright censoring it.
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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #115 on: November 27, 2017, 02:58:09 pm »

I feel like I should point out that GoblinCookie never actually questioned the right to freedom of speech.
I just said "freedom"...
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #116 on: November 27, 2017, 03:52:11 pm »

Either way, it doesn't really change my basic point much.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #117 on: November 28, 2017, 07:39:07 am »

Sorry, you're just using a made-up definition of prejudice. In the actual definition of prejudice, yes, group-level conflicts invariably require prejudice, because you presume the motives of an individual from that individual's group affiliation.

I am not using a definition of prejudice there at all, I am taking the definition of prejudice and attempting to actually comprehend what prejudice actually *is* as opposed to simply what it does.  Or to put it the other way round, I am trying to understand the underlying mechanics behind what makes prejudice. 

To my understanding, the core of prejudice is the confusion between two kinds of groups, integral groups which are groups that constitute compound objects and classification groups which are a number of things that are grouped together because they share a given set of traits.  The reason these things become conflated is because traits can in many contexts imply a membership of a integral group, which makes it possible to forget the two things are actually not the same thing.  No prejudiced person will ever comprehend what I am saying, because to actually comprehend the difference is to cease to be prejudiced.

In VislarRn's earlier example the Red Order and White Order are examples of integral groups, groups with leaderships which carry out particular unified policies, like massacring people in the former case; things to which they may be held collectively accountable.  They wear red and white clothes respectively, 'people who wear red clothes' on the other hand is a classification group not an integral group, the mere fact that two people wear red clothes does not in itself imply any common relationship to anything else. 

The thing here is it is entirely possible to be hostile to a classification without being prejudiced, provided that what you are hostile to is part of the classification and you have a rational basis to be against it.  While vampires in DF are a classification not a integral group, but it is not prejudiced to be against them automatically because them drinking your blood is part of the classification ITSELF. 

you could just download them from the internet but yes, we do want that. Everyone is allowed to publish their opinions. That is how freedom works.

... More importantly, though, none of that applies to The Bell Curve because the idea that it's "a racist book" is a myth.

If the Bell Curve is not a racist book, then I am rather wondering what a racist book actually is.  ;)

In freedom people are allowed to write stuff and say stuff.  They are however not necessarily allowed to publish stuff, because publishers are not compelled to turn any particular person's work into a published book, that being because also being free *they* also have the freedom to *not* do so.  Equally, once published we are quite allowed to rely upon the general word of mouth regarding the book in question to criticise it, when reading the book will support those societal elements which we do not approve of; those who have read the book can always correct any inaccuracies there are provided that freedom exists (as you put it). 

Aside from actually stealing a book, there is very few ways to actually read a book without at least promoting it.  If the book is downloadable online for free, which is not the case with the Bell Curve (a copywrited work), then by downloading it you are still increasing the profile of the book relative to rival printed works by giving the book more downloads and views. 
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Untrustedlife

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #118 on: November 28, 2017, 02:03:02 pm »

I have to say by the way, im glad this thread hasn't devolved into people yelling at each other given the amount of baggage attached to the topic.
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #119 on: November 28, 2017, 06:17:07 pm »

This is the DF forum, we're far too civilized for that. :P
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