I'd like to take a step back, as it seems the other posts in this BBS are all relating to the same specific instance in one way or another (despite what it seems Juha's intentions were). I'll take a couple concepts, though, and open them up here, and hopefully avoid any parry/thrust dialogue.
First, the idea has been put out that when roleplaying, people ought not impose their own views of roleplaying on others. The idea is sound, in general, but when brought into TC, it seems to me to lose all possibility of actual execution. TriadCity is an open roleplaying environment. Playing such tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons, there is a DM/GM, and a physical community wherein there has to be a common moral, ethical, and especially social-acceptibilty understanding between players. In TC, however, none of this is express. It's just as likely for one player to agree on a moral issue with another as it is for them to disagree. Bringing this back to RP imposition, this means that each player could possibly (and it is likely) carry with them a unique idea of what 'good' or 'correct' roleplaying is. Without a GM to dictate which actions are appropriate or not, and to reward/punish accordingly, TriadCity is, in this way as with others, subjective. As a result of this, if any player claims that another player is roleplaying 'badly' or 'incorrectly,' then (s)he is immediately guilty of imposing an individual interpretation of the concept on another. Obviously, for any game like this to work, there must be some agreement on what is or is not appropriate. The question is, then, how do we decide this? Do we do what is represented in the game, and physically divide ourselves into different 'Thirds?' Or can there be a compromise, involving gain and sacrifice on all sides, resulting in a 'grownup' atmosphere?
Second, what is it that drives us to roleplay anyways? What individual reasons do we have for attempting (successfully or not) to take on an imaginary persona, and pretend it is real? The answer to this question is, I think, not easily come by, and requires quite a bit of self-evaluation, and possibly the observation of another indivdual. Therefore, might it not be accurate to assume that, when it comes to any issue, such as one of social acceptibility, we ought to look deeper, and see exactly why certain things offend us? There is a sad tendency for many people to fall back on offense as a crutch: "I don't like it; it offends me; it is wrong." I think this attitude is remarkably detrimental to an environment such as TriadCity, where many people from different backgrounds, Beliefs, etc. are coming together to PLAY. Seeing as the game is geared towards smart grownups, I would hope we can all at least try to realize why we think the way we do. With even an inkling of a reason, we can then re-evaluate current actions based not on what 'offends' us, but why it does. If the nazi swastika offends you, it could be that it represents torture, and you Believe torture is wrong. If, however, you noted that the same symbol is a germanic rune representing the sun, you could begin to understand that it's not necessarily the medium which offends, but what's behind it. To sum up, what players may interpret as someone being offensive may, in fact, be misinterpretaton or failed communication. I Believe, personally, that it's best not to run away or condemn that which offends you.
Just a couple general thoughts that tie into what's been happening, but, to reiterate, I hope we can discuss these ideas without needing to fall back into the specifics of late. And, personally, it's pretty hard to offend me, so feel free to tear my ideas apart, if you feel that that's the best thing to do.
Well we can easily resolve any differences of normative belief if we can trace our claims back to common origins. For instance, players A and B may disagree about some roleplaying ettiquette, but they may also find out that they both agree that mutual respect is a good thing. If they cannot resolve their difference of opinion about ettiquette then they can, at least, agree to each practice their own form of roleplaying to the extent that it does not infringe on the other person's roleplaying. We only run into truly irreconcilable conflicts when there is absolutely no common, normative beliefs that the conflicting parties hold in common. These cases are, fortunately, rare in human experience.
Regarding 'why we roleplay'? I haven't the foggiest idea, but is it really important why? The fruitful inquiry will probably spring from assuming that there are people that roleplay, and questioning what the implications of this are. There may even be some grounds on this line of inquiry to develop asophisticated aesthetic theory of roleplaying activity.
I miss TC, but this discussion is great fun!! Hope to see it develop further.
Joined: 1969.12.31 00:00:00
Location: Watsonville, CA
Interesting thread Steve, thanks.
Just super briefly, one thing I encourage everyone to keep sight of is that many people role play for the same reason they play any other kind of game: fun.
I've had a couple of long talks with Lisa the last couple days, and, without wanting to put words in her mouth, I can see her point that one person's idea of fun might be another person's idea of abuse.
So for me she's raised the key question. If there's a conflict over two visions of what to RP, who wins?
I don't think this has to do with censorship, but rather with trying to collaboratively evolve an RP culture which gives people room to have fun in. I'm thinking that if someone is very emphatically not enjoying an experience and wants it to stop, it's reasonable to give them the right to that veto.
Lastly the DM question seems quite apt. TC has the concept of "administrators" -- I'm one. Is that something we should seek to emphasize? Until now there hasn't been much need for it, but, maybe now there is!
Just wanted to thank you Steve for trying to clear things up a bit. Indeed the questions I asked in my first topic were meant to begin a neutral discussion and exchange of opinions on the subject of concepts and principles of roleplaying -- and I hope that more people will answer (or critically evaluate) the questions asked.