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Author Topic: In-Fiction Sexual Exploitation: blarrrrgh  (Read 6469 times)
mark2v
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2010, 09:12:06 AM »

2 quick observations:
First, I doubt this would have happened if there were an actual female player at the table.
I have been lucky to Gm several female players over the years, and I find the behavior at the table is socially much different then when they are not there.
I remember an old ADND game where a player playing a male warrior, was going to kill an NPC that had taken an interest in a female played by a female Priestess in our group. The female player turned to the other player and in character said (paraphrasing now it has been years.) “If I were going to chose you to share my time with you would already have been told. You have no reason to threaten this man beyond your own ego, be gone.”
It was classic, and no one ever stepped into that narrative territory at the table again.

Second, if I play with a new group I am on my best behavior, but some people don’t have that in them.
Some people are immature and have a hard time grasping social situations, and RPG’s in general.
 I’m not sure if at any point you said, “I am not cool with this so knock it off.”  In my opinion you should not have to.
I am also of the feeling the gm should not have to say, “Ok guys, play nice and don’t humiliate other people’s characters.” Under the circumstances the GM should have told him to stop the mind control on other players right from the start.
 There are players who play just to goof off like that, and it is their social expectation that doing goofy immature crap is how the games are played. People who like their RPG’s more mature should avoid that other clique of players as much as possible. No rule or explicit social contract is going to change some one else’s view of what an RPG is.

 Finally, some people are just turds who saddly think that sort of thing is funny.

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Mark 2 V
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 438


« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2010, 10:00:56 AM »

To the OP,

Dude, if you play RPGs at all, you're a nerd.  Plain and simple.  And we, as nerds, love to fantasize about ass we (well, maybe everyone else but me) can't get.  It's especially lulzy if we mess with you because you chose to play a female character.

If it's too juvenile, you're too old.  Start practicing checkers.

On a more fundamental level, it seems you have hangups with male group behavior. 

Also, don't be so quick to disregard a woman's propensity for vulgarity.  For example, I went to brunch two days ago with 4 women.  We drank like sailors for 7 hours, talked about fisting, strap-ons and anal sex, and made fun of people at other tables.  And then one of the girls broke her leg and cleverly used that as a way to lay on me during the car ride home and feel me up.  Honestly, I'm surprised we didn't pull out battle axes and swords and slay ogres afterwards.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that drinking is really fun.
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 17707


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« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2010, 11:47:12 AM »

This is a moderator post.

Everyone, there will be no more posts here to explain to James how he's supposed to be looking at this situation. He knows how he looks at it. This isn't an opinion-poll about how you view women, sex, tits, or actions toward female characters. What it is, and again, this is from the content moderator, is about how mismatched expectations about how to treat one another's characters arise. The sexual content is a red herring and the posts need to stop getting distracted by it; I include James in that as well as everyone else.

Ar Kayon, your post is flatly unacceptable here. Not only are you posturing about your guy-ness rather than engage with the topic, but you directly insult James as a person, twice. Posts here can be quite sexually and socially explicit because I'm a vulgar person, but posturing and insults are flat out. Do not post to reply to me.

James, let me know whether you think this thread has any reason to continue. I think there have been some (few) interesting points to follow up on, but the call is yours.

Best, Ron
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 726


« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2010, 07:18:55 PM »

Ron, your account of the in-character violence way-back-when sounds pretty similar, structurally.

We had a moment of potentially scandalous inter-character violence like that maybe a year ago in an early-edition D&D game, where one member of the party punched another one, basically for disagreeing in-character.  It was an eye-opening moment!  We knew the player pretty well and knew he didn't mean anything serious by it, but it sure sent a message (especially to my character, who was a spectator but only had 1 hit point) - "Do not fuck with the dwarf, he'll mess you up!"  So that actually became kind of a nice bit of tension in the group because we trusted each other to handle it appropriately.  (Though, come to think of it, the victim's player was relatively new to the group and I can't remember if he stopped coming after that... Hmm!)

I think this thread served its purpose (more or less), but I am genuinely curious about one thing:

There were a few people posting here who were saying (I'm paraphrasing!) "Hey, if strangers sit down at my table, I am perfectly willing to their shit up, with or without their consent, with or without prior notice.  It's on them to object."  And I guess my question is, "Really?  Are you that way in other parts of your life too?  If not, why's gaming unique in this regard?" 

I say this because - as my explanation and Ron's anecdote make plain, there are all kinds of reasons that someone might not object.  For example: if I speak up, will any of the other players back me up?  If I speak up, what if it only makes things worse?  Etc etc.  If this behavior correlates with a social power gradient, placing the entirety of the burden on the aggrieved party pretty much means that you're going to get under-reporting, because the very people likely to be victims (not saying I was a victim of much, just frustrated) are the people who will be least effective at getting redress.

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--Stack
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 438


« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2010, 08:02:37 PM »

Ok, this is something I can respond to objectively.

Normal people will respond positively to an appropriate level of objection.  It's still good to be judicious with your tone so things don't get awkward, but they'll generally realize their social faux pas and adjust accordingly.

If you object to a spectacular asshole, however, things will quickly go downhill.  They will almost certainly be goaded into harassing you further.  From my experiences, there are two effective ways to deal with this type:
1.  Since you can't completely ignore him in a gaming session without giving yourself away, give him as little feedback/reaction as you possibly can.  Fires need oxygen to burn, and he'll fuck off if you don't throw ammo at him. 
2.  Throw it back at him.  Try to outwit him, and your social experience will both be competitive and enjoyable and he'll be disinclined to antagonize you.  This is the best way to establish an invisible line of respect, and then later on, he may be more receptive and you'll have safe passage to make your objections.

In my opinion, you handled the session very well up until after you made the suggestion for him to reside in your boot (throwing it back at him; well done).  But then you exposed your emotions, changing the tone of everything (it seems like you objected much louder with your actions than you could have by just saying it), and it could have negatively affected your integrity with all of your gaming buddies.
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mark2v
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2010, 11:01:36 AM »

From a GM perspective, I feel that when new players sit down or you merge a group there are a few things that must be done.
A. make them feel welcome
B. Make sure the residing groups Social contract and limitations are explicit.
Ie "no messing with the other players, No Sexism, only Golden age comics levels of violence.

With a merged group these things must be Said or else the group is opened up to an experience where the new player might have an agenda that rubs against the groups.
I think you experiaced this effect in your last group.

That is what I was trying to say in my last post but I think I totaly dropped the ball.

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Mark 2 V
Larry L.
Member

Posts: 639

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2010, 11:31:56 AM »

The teleconferencing part actually strikes me as the key factor here. There's a ton of non-explicit social cues built into ordinary human social interaction which are undoubtedly not being transmitted via the technology. Any of which might have ordinarily mitigated the situation into something less uncool. A funny "Oh really?" raise of the eyebrows, a tensing of body posture.

Is this non-obvious? I'm finding myself working up a rant about this, and I'm not really sure why.
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Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


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« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2010, 02:08:56 PM »

Larry, as I gave an account myself, I've had something like this happen with a player who was present at the table. It could be as you say, missed cues, or it could be a dark part of the person (and omg, and none of have dark parts, of course) bubbling up to the surface because it seemed acceptable (or heck, maybe it bubbled up because it was close to what he thought was acceptable and he lost the reigns of it and it controlled him). From what I see and how I see it it is, it's non obvious. It's instead like a branching flowchart of possibles and everyone individually attaches their own weights how how possible each is and how possible it needs to be before they act as if it is the actual case.
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greyorm
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Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2010, 08:07:37 PM »

There were a few people posting here who were saying (I'm paraphrasing!) "Hey, if strangers sit down at my table, I am perfectly willing to their shit up, with or without their consent, with or without prior notice.  It's on them to object."  And I guess my question is, "Really?  Are you that way in other parts of your life too?  If not, why's gaming unique in this regard?"

James, I don't think the question is a fair one because I read it as assuming the individual messing up someone's shit is doing so willfully and with foreknowledge. So I can't really answer it, because I don't think it would be fair to characterize what I am talking about, at least, as being perfectly willing to mess up someone's shit as though it is a conscious choice and conscious dismissal of their boundaries, rather than as a clash of expectations.

We all know there are certain things that one generally avoids doing in social situations, that we all know as a cultural thing not to do around/with/to other people. Right? But I also think that's not really as obvious as it might seem (that is: what each person should do and not do -- what the "right/mature/good/fun" thing is, and what the "wrong/immature/bad/unfun" thing is -- when individuals with different social expectations interact). Which I think Ron's example, and mine in my thread, both testify to.

You are correct that there are all sorts of good and valid reasons someone might not voice an objection when their boundaries are violated, and that speaking up can be problematic...but if I don't know, and they don't say...then, yeah, really, it is up to them to object, isn't it? And if not, then...what?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
mark2v
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2010, 08:00:33 AM »

The teleconferencing part actually strikes me as the key factor here. There's a ton of non-explicit social cues built into ordinary human social interaction which are undoubtedly not being transmitted via the technology. Any of which might have ordinarily mitigated the situation into something less uncool. A funny "Oh really?" raise of the eyebrows, a tensing of body posture.

Is this non-obvious? I'm finding myself working up a rant about this, and I'm not really sure why.

I agree completely though I did not think of it myself..
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Mark 2 V
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1970


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« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2010, 08:55:32 AM »

Quote
I say this because - as my explanation and Ron's anecdote make plain, there are all kinds of reasons that someone might not object.  For example: if I speak up, will any of the other players back me up?  If I speak up, what if it only makes things worse?  Etc etc.  If this behavior correlates with a social power gradient, placing the entirety of the burden on the aggrieved party pretty much means that you're going to get under-reporting, because the very people likely to be victims (not saying I was a victim of much, just frustrated) are the people who will be least effective at getting redress.

This hit me. We're talking about a game, and fictional harassment. When underreporting is so rampant with real-world harassment and even literal assault, why does it seem at all surprising that someone might feel uncomfortable voicing an objection to harassment in a game? I mean, it's just a game, right? More, it's just a temporary situation, and if you ignore it, in many cases, it will go away. I'm not saying this is the right answer. But it's easy to understand why it'd be awkward to be the one rocking the boat.

Comparing this to a similar situation involving real people and "real" harassment makes this seem trivial, both on the side of the harassed and the harasser.

Harasser: "I'm exploring the darker, nastier side of things, things I wouldn't do in real life. We're all dudes here."

Harassed: "My discomfort isn't more important than everyone else's fun, is it? Once this is over, I can just walk away. He wouldn't do this in real life."

Both: "It's just a game. It's not me, it's my character."
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 726


« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2010, 07:28:09 PM »

Quoting from Larry L
Quote
The teleconferencing part actually strikes me as the key factor here. There's a ton of non-explicit social cues built into ordinary human social interaction which are undoubtedly not being transmitted via the technology. Any of which might have ordinarily mitigated the situation into something less uncool.

Undoubtedly - but, of all the people in the group (including the GM), I was by far the most attentive player in making sure the offensive web-cam player could see, understand, and be understood among the group - often asking the "present" players to hold it down for a second because the web-cam guy was trying to say something. 

Yes, playing with strangers via web-cam is hard, but not impossible, especially if you know that something is "lost in translation" and are consciously trying to make sure the signal is rich enough that it won't matter.  I think that's a responsibility for both sides of the camera.

Quoting Greyorm
Quote
You are correct that there are all sorts of good and valid reasons someone might not voice an objection when their boundaries are violated, and that speaking up can be problematic...but if I don't know, and they don't say...then, yeah, really, it is up to them to object, isn't it? And if not, then...what?

Well - everywhere else in life, if you're doing something which you can reasonably expect a stranger might object to, it's almost universal to check first.  Like, "Wow, that last piece of pizza is calling out to me.  Unless you want it, I'm going for it."  Or, "Mind if I smoke?"  Or, "Is this too loud?"  This is, presumably, part of your repertoire of behavior and has been since childhood, and even if we don't adhere to that standard all the time, we know it's there. 

Right?  The question is whether you might reasonably expect someone to object to it.  Where it hasn't been previously discussed, I don't think that's a crazy-high standard of courtesy.  And I'd argue that where there wasn't prior implicit consent, the principle extends to, "Hey, my character's kind of a dickhole, so maybe we could do  thing where my guy bribes this other guy to force your chick to strip for us.  Ha ha, funny right?"

FWIW, I didn't say the aggrieved party has zero obligation to object--just that they shouldn't bear the entirety of that burden.
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--Stack
Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2010, 08:35:56 PM »

Ugh! In chess, you don't go 'Wow, your knight is really calling out for me to take it...mind if I do?'. You just take it. You just play. Not playing...I'll just say it...'mother may I' style, in order to actually do something. Just play. And so on with what I said before about setting up arenas of valid moves.

Now if you've considered that direction of handling and decided against it James, cool. But it seems like it's gone back to 'what are the moral obligations here, who has to ask whom what?' as if that is the only way to handle it, probably because it's such a hot button direction it tends to make it look like the only direction. It is not the only way - but if you've decided to choose it, cool, just leaving a quick note in case the option had been forgotten.
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greyorm
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Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2010, 02:21:11 AM »

James, I think we're both saying the same thing, just having come at it from opposite angles. I think the only real difference we have on this is personal opinion on whether or not "something", whatever that might be, really is reasonably clear to those involved.

At the risk of being more wordy than necessary, I'm actually reminded of this situation from the Ask Culture vs. Guess Culture thread on Metafilter, which isn't an exact parallel, but certainly has elements in common with the situations we're discussing:
Quote
At Thanksgiving, my family and I learned that our friend who was due to pick us up at the airport could not do it, and we were suddenly without a ride home. Our plane landed at around 9 o'clock. Desperate, we compiled a list of friends who lived near the airport and us, and began calling. The first person on a list of about 10 said she could pick us up.
When we arrived, her kids were in the car, struggling to stay awake, and it was raining. She was in a pissy mood all the way home, and then the next day at work, lambasted my wife for asking her to do such a thing. My wife responded that her friend wasn't the only person on the list, and that she could have said 'no'. Friend replied that my wife should have never even asked.
This ended up causing a problem betwen my wife and her friend - my wife is a giving person and would do anything to help a friend in need, and so was deeply hurt to learn that her friend did not reciprocate, but importantly, it created a trust issue -- now my wife can't be sure when friend means what she says, because friend said "yes" when she meant "no".

Pretty clearly, the wife's friend considered her to have deliberately and willfully broken what the friend saw as an entirely obvious unspoken social agreement, and so she shouldn't have HAD to say "No" because her friend should have KNOWN not to even ask. That putting her in that situation was unreasonable of her.

I mean, we always think our own expectations are absolutely reasonable and obvious, even if they aren't and we can't see that. I think that assumption of obviousness -- that "my expectations are reasonable" -- is a regular problem in human communication, and as much of a problem as the assumption of norms -- that "my behaviors are reasonable". And the conflict between them is where I believe (and find) most of these clashes occur, both inside and outside gaming.

Nor are you wrong at all in saying there are basic social boundaries programmed into us from birth that often make clear what is expected and what isn't. Though I can certainly see situational cases where those are over-ridden: such as someone who plays in groups where intra-party dickery is well-established and expected would assume their actions to be baseline, non-objectionable behavior. Or where "everyone helps out, period" and thus someone not doing so is betraying the party and deserves a punch, or whatever, was really seen as a completely reasonable thing to do. I think certain traditional but often dysfunctional attitudes in gaming bear this idea out.

What I don't know is whether or not habitual-assumptive behavior is the case in any of the situations we've discussed here. That, IMO, is the difficult part.

I do agree with you that the aggrieved party shouldn't shoulder the entirety of the burden, and I apologize if I came across as saying so. It certainly is a two-way street.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W


« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2010, 05:23:50 AM »

Raven that is a brilliant thread, shows up some differences really nicely! I wonder whether "ask people" could learn by playing Mist Robed Gate? I've come across the "guess culture" attitude in some very extreme cases, where a friend actually feels attacked when people "put her on the spot" about having to face up to a conflict between trying to be nice and showing her actual opinion. Ironically this makes her react angrily! (I've just about got the hang of handling it, it's sort of like playing minesweeper!)

Personally I think it's something you can practice getting right, sort of like balancing the forces within you and your relationships with others so that there's nothing unresolved that could get in your way about being honest. (Sounds a bit daft really, but it's sort of about setting priorities in advance so you can just act)

But if you do this, and nicely resolve the situation, taking any kicks that come from being in a group like ArKayon's, then you are being awesome! Standing up for your principles in a productive way without offending anyone is a serious trick, and I think something to aspire to. It's pretty heroic.

But with all that aside, I agree it's better to have expectations all aligned at the start, if you can do that cleanly. I only know how to do that with friends, not when meeting a random group, so I use an impoverished version of the above strategy. Anyone got any knowledge (or old links) about how you might actually go about calibrating a new group?
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