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Author Topic: The Importance of Prejudice  (Read 15315 times)

Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #90 on: November 11, 2017, 01:27:59 pm »

No. For me, hostility towards a group is the same as prejudice: "an unfavourable feeling regarding an ethnic/racial/social/religious group".

Almost all impersonal kind of inter-group hostility counts as prejudice to me, regardless of how much sense it makes. Basically, I don't accept "it's totally rational, here's proof" to make something not prejudice.

As far as I grok the posts, you do, though.



It's an interesting point you make regarding groups, though it seems to work best for social and maybe religious ones; not so much racial or ethnic ones.

"All red balls form a red ball group", or "All goblins come from Dungeons of Menace" fallacy - well now, this gives me idea:

First, how accurate is that fallacy? I've seen worldgens where such idea can range from nigh-delusional (0% to 5%) to near 1:1 prediction (95% to 100%).

Second, at what point should a given creature, law-giver or civ become prejudiced?

Proposal for mechanic: if over TOLERANCE% of X impact prejudicer in Y way, the prejudicer will become prejudiced towards X expecting Y.

Ideally, that be for each and every creature, buuut that's just not possible to simulate with current hardware. Alas.


Using a law-giver or monarch, one could indeed produce civ-wide prejudices via edicts or laws. Which does raise another issue above: individual entities are kind of too... ethics-abiding, currently (closest things we have to laws).

If a goblin is in a situation to follow their KILL_NEUTRAL:REQUIRED ethic, they'll not decide to not follow it because they might die without killing any neutrals, for instance.

Thus, while we do have rebellions, there's no laws that are not reasonably enforcable.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 01:30:20 pm by Fleeting Frames »
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VislarRn

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #91 on: November 11, 2017, 02:57:10 pm »

Obviously the key issue is that survival [via natural selection etc] is more likely to breed examples of over-reaction rather than the reverse.
In other words, the default setting for our disgust sensitivity being highly discriminatory towards strangers & those categorized as "other" had minimal negative side-effects...
 when compared to the opposite setting which could potentially have side-effect of you and your entire tribe being killed by a plague or some such.

This made me think about prejudicial attitudes in culture. And how this type of culture could evolve.

I'm thinking about that more and less prejudicial cultures should have specific history that would shape all these attitudes through cultural evolutionary and not explicit manner. What I mean is that single historical events can shape specific types of prejudice (eye color, clothing, etc..) and overall historical narrative of civilization shapes the proneness of creating these kinds of prejudicial attitudes.

Discrete events = what kind of prejudice
Overall historical memory = how much prejudice

I made some parallels with chimpanzees and bonobos here, since their behaviour reflects perfectly their historical evolutionary heritages. Chimpanzees have high dominance hierachy, they are more concerned about threats and more protective to territory, they have more discrete social roles. Bonobo behaviour in contrast is conversed. Why is that so? - since chimpanzees evolved in lower resource environment, they had to create stronger, more rigid social system to survive the competition.

Behavioural patterns of those higher apes also reflect different kinds of cultural attitudes in human world and that would make it logical to simulate some kind of cultural evolution similar to biological evolution. When civilization lies in competitive, constantly warring environment it would influence specific personality traits that would lead higher prejudice.

In psychology, prejudice is correlated to social dominance orientation, which is simply bunch of attitudes that are more hierarchical and anti-egalitarian. In Big Five model it is tied with low agreeableness and openness.

According to DF cultural beliefs when trying to find some parallels to psychological models, prejudicial culture should generally have:
Higher values: POWER; DECORUM; TRADITION; STOICISM; MARTIAL_PROWESS; COMPETITION;
Lower values: FRIENDSHIP; ELEQUENCE; ARTWORK; COOPERATION; TRANQUILITY; HARMONY; PEACE;

Achetypal Athens and Spartans :P

So, I think it would make sense when prejudice is somehow tied to these kind of facets and cultural overall would change depending on how much conflict that civ takes part in.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 04:28:24 pm by VislarRn »
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SmileyMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #92 on: November 12, 2017, 03:59:16 am »

Honestly I think this discussion has been surprisingly civil thus far (I actually expected it to go downhill much faster than it did). It's been somewhat heated, true, but only a few posts resorted to using actual insults (and fairly mild ones, at that). Not defending it, just saying I've seen FAR worse.
Just the sort of mealy-mouthed liberal garbage a Plump Helmet Man would spit out!
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In a fat-fingered moment while setting up another military squad I accidentally created a captain of the guard rather than a militia captain.  His squad of near-legendary hammerdwarves equipped with high quality silver hammers then took it upon themselves to dispense justice to all the mandate breakers in the fortress.  It was quite messy.

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #93 on: November 12, 2017, 04:16:12 am »

No. For me, hostility towards a group is the same as prejudice: "an unfavourable feeling regarding an ethnic/racial/social/religious group"
Well you're semantically incorrect then.

"pre-" = before, "-judice" = judge. In other words, a prejudice is an opinion that you hold about an individual BEFORE you actually find out their nature. It's a very useful evolutionary trait - "I am prejudiced against lions because they are big cats and I saw a tiger kill one of my tribe."

Like a lot of evolutionary survival mechanisms, it doesn't help us much in modern safe societies. But it's a fact that people from a particular group TEND to behave in a particular way. The key thing is that it is a tendency, not a certainty.

So we end up with a few distinct facets of prejudice:

Normal Prejudice: assuming that someone you are about to meet has certain views/habits/behaviours based on their culture/ethnicity/gender. Probably a useful starting point for an initial meeting, if you are open minded.

Extreme Prejudice: (or Bigotry) maintaining that same point of view after meeting someone and having it disproved by words and deeds. Basically you are a jerk.

Incorrect Prejudice: (or Sterotyping) where the assumption is in fact at odds with the actual tendency that can be measured through statistics. Can be repaired through education, but sadly seldom is. Not really a problem if you are able to still be open minded about the actual individuals you meet, although it may be exasperating for them

Incorrect Extreme Prejudice: (or Extremism) where you maintain the point of view that doesn't even follow the trend. Basically you are a liability to humanity
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In a fat-fingered moment while setting up another military squad I accidentally created a captain of the guard rather than a militia captain.  His squad of near-legendary hammerdwarves equipped with high quality silver hammers then took it upon themselves to dispense justice to all the mandate breakers in the fortress.  It was quite messy.

Paxiecrunchle

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #94 on: November 12, 2017, 09:35:31 am »

Honestly I think this discussion has been surprisingly civil thus far (I actually expected it to go downhill much faster than it did). It's been somewhat heated, true, but only a few posts resorted to using actual insults (and fairly mild ones, at that). Not defending it, just saying I've seen FAR worse.
Just the sort of mealy-mouthed liberal garbage a Plump Helmet Man would spit out!
Going into my signature list.

Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #95 on: November 12, 2017, 10:21:29 am »

@SmileyMan: Based it on summing dictionary.com definition, but fair enough. If you know all members of a group, and base hostility on who they actually are, I don't think I'd call it prejudice indeed.

In the context of DF, hm. Can suspected agents even disprove they're not actual agents? Or is that going to be a persistent cloud...Time to FotF it.

SmileyMan

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #96 on: November 12, 2017, 11:30:29 am »

@SmileyMan: Based it on summing dictionary.com definition, but fair enough. If you know all members of a group, and base hostility on who they actually are, I don't think I'd call it prejudice indeed.

In the context of DF, hm. Can suspected agents even disprove they're not actual agents? Or is that going to be a persistent cloud...Time to FotF it.
Don't forget it's possible to have positive prejudices as well - all girls are kind-natured, all men are brave, all French people are great lovers etc.

It's also possible to have personal prejudices based on personal experience that don't come from either the standard 'distrust of difference' regarding physical attributes, or cultural knowledge.

So for a gameplay point of view, you could have:

Code: [Select]
initial disposition = sum(physical characteristic * (personal experience + cultural knowledge + differences) for all characteristics)
and so a dwarf who dealt with kind elves regularly would soon have the 'personal experience' overwhelming the cultural and difference factors.
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In a fat-fingered moment while setting up another military squad I accidentally created a captain of the guard rather than a militia captain.  His squad of near-legendary hammerdwarves equipped with high quality silver hammers then took it upon themselves to dispense justice to all the mandate breakers in the fortress.  It was quite messy.

GoblinCookie

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #97 on: November 13, 2017, 02:03:13 pm »

No. For me, hostility towards a group is the same as prejudice: "an unfavourable feeling regarding an ethnic/racial/social/religious group".

Almost all impersonal kind of inter-group hostility counts as prejudice to me, regardless of how much sense it makes. Basically, I don't accept "it's totally rational, here's proof" to make something not prejudice.

As far as I grok the posts, you do, though.

It does not matter what it you think prejudice is, prejudice is not any hostility in general that involves groups; at least not in the English language, something that I am rather thankful for. 

It's an interesting point you make regarding groups, though it seems to work best for social and maybe religious ones; not so much racial or ethnic ones.
Yes it works for social groups and (some) religious groups but it does not work well for racial and ethnic ones.  That is quite what I am talking about, that the racial and ethnic groups are only groups along the lines of the red ball group fallacy. 

What they actually are is classifications.  Classifications are *not* groups, but the language (the much maligned semantics) is basically set up to make us confuse us two things because group can also be used to mean classification; similar semantic confusion as the confusion between equality and uniformity much beloved in certain circles.  The language we speak is 'designed' to make us confuse certain things which in fact are not the same thing; prejudice does not arise because it is rational but because the language we speak is set up to make us think in general in a prejudiced manner. 

Think about George Orwell's 1984 and it's Newspeak.  The ruling party of Oceania is engaged in a great reduction of the number of words in the English language along the lines of the above, in order to ensure that certain dissident idea are very difficult to think and very difficult to spread.  An example given by Orwell is how in newspeak why you could express the phrase "all men are created equal", it would mean pretty much the same as saying that "all people have red hair", which means that any person you had ideas about equality would immediately be talking complete nonsense and hence his heretical thoughts would get nowhere.

Now consider the possibility that instead of it being in the future, it all happened in the past.  We already speak a language in a large number of quite seperate words are all different senses of the same word, this usage help to create confusion between things in a manner that is very useful to those in power.  The usage of the Equality = Uniformity word-merger is pretty obvious, it is a pure instance of Oldspeak (;)) being used to ensure the serfs keep themselves in their proper place.  However the Group = Classification word-merger works pretty fine for the instance of holding together groups that would otherwise collapse due to their own internal instability. 

The most common targets of this are location and language.  If you are king of England and all the people there speak English, the thing you do is convince them all that the classification (people who speak English) is the same thing as actually being part of England.  The best way to do this is to simply merge the word classification (speaking England) with the word group (England) together so as to result in a situation where nobody can ever decide to leave your England-group, because they know that they speak English.  A similar situation can be done with location, everybody born in England territory (a classification) is hence English (a group) and therefore do what the King of England decides England is going to do. 

"All red balls form a red ball group", or "All goblins come from Dungeons of Menace" fallacy - well now, this gives me idea:

First, how accurate is that fallacy? I've seen worldgens where such idea can range from nigh-delusional (0% to 5%) to near 1:1 prediction (95% to 100%).

Second, at what point should a given creature, law-giver or civ become prejudiced?

It doesn't matter how accurate the fallacy is.  All civilizations in a world where all goblins belong to a single entity should infer that any goblin they encounter belong to that entity; that has nothing to do with prejudice as such.  A situation where something one is prejudiced against is divided into many *might* arguably undermine prejudice, the problem is that in RL prejudiced people tend to lump all groups made up of the target classification together into an imaginary super-group rather than actually recognize any internal differences there might be.

They do not become prejudiced as such.  They start off as prejudiced in their thinking but without any specific prejudices in existence except towards themselves; that is they start on the premise that classification = group.  Prejudiced groups could be identified by their use of names though, rather than a regular random name they could instead call themselves things like the "kingdom of dwarves" or the "dwarven kingdom".  Non-prejudiced groups would use their race-name only with something else suitable , so a non-prejudiced dwarf civilization might call itself the "Dwarves of Stoking". 

Proposal for mechanic: if over TOLERANCE% of X impact prejudicer in Y way, the prejudicer will become prejudiced towards X expecting Y.

Ideally, that be for each and every creature, buuut that's just not possible to simulate with current hardware. Alas.

Lack of [TOLERANCE] and [TRUST] would increase the effect of the prejudice mechanic but it should only exist at a group level.  The actual implementation is simply a number, so the entity records that 70% of it's members adhere to a given prejudice.

Using a law-giver or monarch, one could indeed produce civ-wide prejudices via edicts or laws. Which does raise another issue above: individual entities are kind of too... ethics-abiding, currently (closest things we have to laws).

If a goblin is in a situation to follow their KILL_NEUTRAL:REQUIRED ethic, they'll not decide to not follow it because they might die without killing any neutrals, for instance.

Thus, while we do have rebellions, there's no laws that are not reasonably enforcable.

Prejudices are never implemented deliberately by anyone through explicit edicts or laws.  The edicts and laws always follow from the pre-existing prejudices rather than the reverse, whether they follow them or reject them.
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Paxiecrunchle

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #98 on: November 22, 2017, 05:17:58 pm »

Awesome thread so far.

ArmokGoB

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #99 on: November 22, 2017, 07:27:34 pm »

I'm for it. The worse the crimes committed, the more heroic one feels when they deliver justice.
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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #100 on: November 24, 2017, 08:31:31 pm »

I see some people arguing "because realism." Here's the thing: DF is a game. It is not a perfect simulation of reality. Some things are left out. Ferex: The instruction-giving is abstracted away. You don't have to have a dwarf tell something to the overseer for you to know it; your dwarves can react to an ambush as soon as any one of them notices it, even if some are too far away to have heard by then. This is ignored for the sake of ease of gameplay.

Similarly, if something would just be tedious and realistic without adding anything to the game... why include it? Why take Toady's developing time and the players' patience to include a gameplay mechanic that does not make the game better? Realism alone does not justify anything.

(I don't know if I support prejudice or no-prejudice; don't take this as saying that prejudice should not be included in the game. I am simply responding to a bad argument. Personally, I think it should be toggleable if included, thus removing the complaints of "but I don't want to think about prejudice" and "it doesn't sound fun to me" [which are otherwise perfectly valid!], but not the counter-argument of "this adds nothing to the game for most people, and is beaten out by other additions in terms of what would be the best use of Toady's time.")
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Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #101 on: November 24, 2017, 09:14:19 pm »

The goal of DF is to be a fantasy world generator, for Toady.

Being a game one finds fun is second priority.

Classic example: Wouldn't it be more enjoyable that if you embarked in range of goblins you'd be guaranteed sieges? Used to be case, but was changed in .40 to be more 'realistic' in requiring them to be interested enough, most interested and have enough numbers, with no toggle to change it back to how it used to be.

Novel counter to above: You can now aggro the goblins anyway by raiding them, even if they find you boring. But that too has 'realism'.

Still, this is why we have unofficial "summon a siege" buttons instead of official ones.

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #102 on: November 25, 2017, 01:53:51 am »

The goal of DF is to be a fantasy world generator, for Toady.

Being a game one finds fun is second priority.
Yes, and a "fantasy world" is a world that contains stories. Stories are simplified, embellished, details left out or included, to make them [better]. This is close but not exactly the same to what makes the fantasy world fun. This is also close but not exactly the same to what makes the fantasy world realistic. There's a kind of realism that means "complicated in a way that drives the plot and makes it seem plausible," and in that sense realism is always [good], but there is also "complications that are tedious and do not add anything to the plot or world", such as, ferex, needing to channel all information through a single dwarf. Would that make everything more realistic? Yes. Do you think that Toady will require the world to adhere to realistic communications on a dwarf-to-dwarf level? I don't. Similarly, some complications do not add anything to the story or world. These are a waste of time.

On the other hand, one could argue that statistically speaking, most realistic improvements are positive, so prejudice is likely to be positive. And the existing forms of rudimentary prejudice that exist are fine, so why not continue? This is a good argument and I have nothing to say against it. (However, this general argument can be overcome by a more specific counterargument; compare artifacts in Significant Digits.)

I mean, "average office worker goes about their day and works on boring and impenetrably specific trivialities" is realistic, but that doesn't make it a good story. It needs something else, and without that thing, additions aren't improvements.

TL;DR: good world is one that makes good stories, good story is close but not equal to realistic story

Quote
Classic example: Wouldn't it be more enjoyable that if you embarked in range of goblins you'd be guaranteed sieges? Used to be case, but was changed in .40 to be more 'realistic' in requiring them to be interested enough, most interested and have enough numbers, with no toggle to change it back to how it used to be.

Variation is part of a good world. 'Goblins throwing themselves at your axe ad infinitum' is interesting for the first few fortresses, but eventually the sieges get boring without some form of escalation. If they're rarer, they're more important. (every day can't be christmas, elmo)

Our world varies greatly. Thus, realistic improvements tend to increase variation. [similar for "challenge of finding enemy" etc.] I do not see that realism itself is inherently positive.

Quote
Novel counter to above: You can now aggro the goblins anyway by raiding them, even if they find you boring. But that too has 'realism'.

If you choose something, and have to put effort into getting it, you value it more. Very little in real life comes without you working for it. Insert parallel argument from above regarding correlations.

Quote
Still, this is why we have unofficial "summon a siege" buttons instead of official ones.

In real life, we don't have labeled buttons for everything. Having to understand a complex world where you have to do certain things to trigger others is part of a good story, in a way that "Frodo pushes the 'destroy ring' button" is not. Ditto.
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Quote from: King James Programming
...Simplification leaves us with the black extra-cosmic gulfs it throws open before our frenzied eyes...
Quote from: SalvanÚ Descocrates
The only difference between me and a fool is that I know that I know only that I think, therefore I am.
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Fleeting Frames

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #103 on: November 25, 2017, 04:57:52 am »

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.)


Rarity can be nice; forts that have 0-1 metals locally available make imports matter. More things to do, rather than less. We'd want 'duplicate Sauron', not 'destroy ring' button.

"Other neighbouring settlements were destroyed by goblins" or "we killed the goblins before they could hurt you" are neat.
"We made a frontier fortress but nobody wanted it" can make a good short subversion story for one-off reading as well (but not every fortress).

From a storyline perspective, one could argue that the first outweights the boredom of second.

In practice, "worldgen+embark as to ensure goblins will attack you" constraints actual variation of geopolitical layout to fraction of what was possible previously.
Alternatively, if you're not that good at worldgen, "absently run sealed embark for five years to check for goblins with a macro while working, then kill game process and start actual fortress" is also just tedium padding.



This is why I used it as an example: It's a change that boosted the simulationist aspect of DF by a bit (even DF2016 sieges had non-historical invaders arrive on map) while plummeting the gamist aspect of DF. Unlike with no minerals, I've seen nobody request a world where goblins only have a chance to show up.

Zekka

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Re: The Importance of Prejudice
« Reply #104 on: November 25, 2017, 01:47:24 pm »

Can we please try to avoid the multiple-page walls of text and the "if you *didn't* like this feature I would think less of you?" It's really smug and for some of you I really can't understand what you're saying. It's way easier to write a long post than a short one: please edit. (ex: this post was originally three times longer.)

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.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 01:50:04 pm by Zekka »
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