Games Journalism 2018: We're taking it back!


#1836

Ok. Let’s start.

You (and others) read Derior’s messages and thought they were polite.

I (and others) read Derior’s messages and though they were condescending.

Text being what it is, and the large groups on either side, I think we can fairly say that a reasonable person could read it either way.

I’m going to pause for a moment though, and explain why it reads to me as condescending.

Derior is an enthusiast. Not an expert in the field. And yet, in his self-described attempt to have a discussion with an expert, he started by making an argument, rather than asking a question. Had he said something like “Can you talk about branching dialog? What are the issues with that that would keep it from addressing this problem in an MMO?” I think we would not be having this discussion at all. But what he did was exactly what she actually accused him of, being a layman lecturing a professional on their area of expertise.

The question then becomes why? Are we looking at the unfortunately common “enthusiast entitlement” which leads people (sadly especially in areas of mass media) to have an exaggerated opinion of their own expertise? Are we looking at someone who for other reasons (possibly even not at the conscious level) will try to position them-self as a peer or colleague in any discussion, even when they haven’t earned that role and do not have the knowledge to back it up? Or are we looking at misogyny (again, conscious or not, everyone has biases) where we have a male enthusiast who at some level thinks that the combination of gender and hobby implicitly makes him a peer of any female developer?

Honestly, no clue. All of them are actually possible, which is why I think that drawing the final conclusion is not inherently unreasonable.

At the core, he absolutely did what she accused him of. He, who has never made games, was in fact trying to tell someone who did it for a living how they should do their job.

Now, the next question is, is it fair to read a male enthusiast doing that as doing it because of her gender. That is, would he have done it to a male developer? While we cannot say for sure about him, we absolutely can say that this lecturing problem seems to be far more likely to be aimed at female developers than at male developers.

Moreover, communications don’t happen in a vacuum. There are plenty of phrases and patterns in English which have been used so often as micro-aggressions (or even aggression aggessions) or to signal prejuidice to like-minded people that they themselves become problematic.

So, is Derior misogynist? If you made me actually have to pick one way or another, I’d probably go with “entitled with an exaggerated self-opinion of his expertise” rather than misogynistic. I just think that reasonable people could read that pattern the other way.


#1837

It’s hard to come up with any polite reply to that and I don’t want to cause any hurt manfeels. I’ll just say, remember the post above this the next time I tell you that both sides of Gamergate are the same. You’ve got someone is objectively 100% innocent of any wrongdoing and now there’s a witchhunt against him.


#1838

So you are judging his expertise? Why do you think it’s exaggerated? And why do you characterize him as entitled? Is a fan who has played a game for – I’m guessing – hundreds and probably thousands of hours – not entitled to an opinion? I really don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had spent much more time in game, much more time doing quests and reading quest text, than Price ever did. She was at Anet for a year I believe. GW2 has been around for six years.

If you look at what both wrote, Price was the one who was very condescending and, really, a bit nasty. And this to someone who was a booster for the game.

If you have an employee who can read what this guy wrote and somehow take that and pick a fight over it and be insulting, you want that employee to shut up. Because it’s potentially doing harm to your product – the product that’s paying the salaries and benefits of all the other company employees. Management has a responsibility to squelch it. I don’t know if termination is the best response, but that’s a different issue.


#1839

Yes, I’m judging his expertise. Playing a game for hundreds of hours no more gives you expertise on how games are made than watching hundreds of hours of television qualifies you to lecture a showrunner.

And hey, anyone can have an opinion. But if I were to go lecture the England international team on fitness and conditioning on the grounds that I’d spent thousands of hours watching athletes, I’d expect to get laughed out of the room at best.


#1840

Sure, but making a game is different from playing a game. He may very well be much more of an expert about what actually works in terms of story in GW2 than Price.

Game developers take input from people playing the game all the time and make changes. Look how many interface changes have been made to WoW that started as fan mods. You’re foolish if you don’t listen to fans and you’re even more foolish when you are condescending and insulting to them. There is no winning play there.


#1841

That’s a stretch, in this case. This was a lot more about the underlying structural mechanics of narrative in games than about an appraisal of a given story. As I said, if he wanted to have a discussion with an expert (which was the claim), then asking questions rather than making arguments was a more reasonable path.

Two observations. First, what the players tell you is often at odds with what they are actually doing. The latter is far more useful information.

Second, this assumption that if developers talk about their craft in public they are required to be deferential to fans interjecting themselves into the discussion is going to lead to developers simply walking away from the fans. As I observed above, if I was in the park, and a line cook at the local fine dining restaurant was talking cooking techniques with friends, and, it being a public place, I proceeded to lecture them on cooking, and they verbally slammed me for it, would I be justified in going to the chef and demanding they be fired? I spend a lot of money there.

(Answer, they are on their time, talking about their craft, and I interjected, so no, I’d be an unreasonable jackass if I insisted they be fired for telling me to stop lecturing them on something they knew better than I did).


#1842

So, I think we all agree that Price was in the wrong. Those that side with Price seem to do so because we believe that her react, though extreme, is a result of the work environment that men have created, and made her hyper vigilant and/or believe that what she did should not be considered a firable offense.

Those that disagree either believe the fire was justified and don’t probably don’t believe reaction was justifiable.

Personally, I hate the idea of my job always being in the balance, for any reason. The more employee protections there are, the better. I like job stability.


#1843

Ok. Let’s start.

You (and others) read Derior’s messages and thought they were polite.

I (and others) read Derior’s messages and though they were condescending.

Text being what it is, and the large groups on either side, I think we can fairly say that a reasonable person could read it either way.

I’m going to pause for a moment though, and explain why it reads to me as condescending.

Derior is an enthusiast. Not an expert in the field. And yet, in his self-described attempt to have a discussion with an expert, he started by making an argument, rather than asking a question. Had he said something like “Can you talk about branching dialog? What are the issues with that that would keep it from addressing this problem in an MMO?” I think we would not be having this discussion at all. But what he did was exactly what she actually accused him of, being a layman lecturing a professional on their area of expertise.

The question then becomes why? Are we looking at the unfortunately common “enthusiast entitlement” which leads people (sadly especially in areas of mass media) to have an exaggerated opinion of their own expertise? Are we looking at someone who for other reasons (possibly even not at the conscious level) will try to position them-self as a peer or colleague in any discussion, even when they haven’t earned that role and do not have the knowledge to back it up? Or are we looking at misogyny (again, conscious or not, everyone has biases) where we have a male enthusiast who at some level thinks that the combination of gender and hobby implicitly makes him a peer of any female developer?

Honestly, no clue. All of them are actually possible, which is why I think that drawing the final conclusion is not inherently unreasonable.

At the core, he absolutely did what she accused him of. He, who has never made games, was in fact trying to tell someone who did it for a living how they should do their job.

Now, the next question is, is it fair to read a male enthusiast doing that as doing it because of her gender. That is, would he have done it to a male developer? While we cannot say for sure about him, we absolutely can say that this lecturing problem seems to be far more likely to be aimed at female developers than at male developers.

Moreover, communications don’t happen in a vacuum. There are plenty of phrases and patterns in English which have been used so often as micro-aggressions (or even aggression aggessions) or to signal prejuidice to like-minded people that they themselves become problematic.

So, is Derior misogynist? If you made me actually have to pick one way or another, I’d probably go with “entitled with an exaggerated self-opinion of his expertise” rather than misogynistic. I just think that reasonable people could read that pattern the other way.
[/quote]

Okay lets finish.

You want to dance around the issue but I am not doing the two-step. Here is Derior’s tweet.

Really interesting thread to read! 👌
However, allow me to disagree slightly. I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story’s narrative design; (1 of 3)

When you want the outcome to be the same across the board for all players’ experiences, then yes, by design you are extremely limited in how you can contruct the personality of the PC. (2 of 3)

But, if instead players were given the option to meaningfully express their character through branching dialogue options (which also aren’t just on the checklist for an achievement that forces you through all dialogue options), (3 of 4 cause I count seemingly…)

then perhaps players would be more invested in the roleplaying aspect of that particular MMORPG.
Nonetheless, I appreciate the insightful thread! (End)

Sorry Dave, I do not see it and I do not believe you at all. You are trying to make those messages condescending in order to fit a preconceived agenda. That is as polite as polite can be and your attempts to try to twist into something else is disgraceful. Truly shameful. You freely want to paint Derior as some sort of misogynist in a desperate attempt to prove something that is not evidenced in this conversation. You have absolutely no moral qualms about trying to hang him out to dry despite an entire lack of evidence in order to prove your point. How shitty of a human being are you to try to paint Derior as the villain here? Your own desperate bias is evidenced throughout your post, where you decide that the above polite post is either someone with an entitlement complex or misogynistic. Those are not the only two conclusions and in fact you have to do a lot of twisting to even get to that point.

In short, you chose this hill to die on but you chose the wrong hill.

I could have a lot of fun with your own logic. Your entire post was trying to justify preventing people from having an opinion because they are not some expert (however that is defined which seems to vary from moment to moment). Following your own logic then it logically follows that you have an exaggerated self opinion of your expertise of bigotry when speaking with someone who has dealt with it many times. I am an expert in the field. You are not and thus I should be able to deem that you are not entitled to an opinion and may only ask questions? See how well that fosters communication? Personally, I detest that type of logic that you want to apply because it does nothing but create an echo chamber and tries desperately to create a protected class when one should not exist. Ideas should have no protection beyond the merits they convey and it matters not the status of the presenter or the receiver. Only the merits of the statement itself matter.


#1844

I would reply, but you have said nothing of value.


#1845

All of us like job stability. But if someone publicly and unjustly calling a customer a bigot is not an actionable offence, neither would many social extremes be actionable either. A false accusation of sexual harassment would not be actionable. If it holds to only protected classes you have two very different forms of communication allowable depending on your race, religion, gender or creed. That will do nothing but foster major resentment and actually would be a massive step back in relations. If it holds for all company personnel, that would make the workplace far less civil. Demeaning another employee in a bigoted manner because they have less experience would not be a firing offense.

Stability is nice. Promoting incivility is not.


#1846

Is Dave right, or is he wrong but making earnest points he believes, or is he just fucking with us all, enjoying being pleasantly condescending as he watches us lose our patience?

Honestly, no clue. All of them are actually possible, which is why I think that drawing the final conclusion is not inherently unreasonable.


#1848

Isn’t that the very nature of criticism?


#1849

“Hello professional designer. Thanks for that thread, you missed this really basic technique in narrative gameplay that’s been around for decades that would solve your problem. Thanks for your opinion though.”

Yeah, nothing condescending in the content. And before someone starts to argue that I am reading that in bad faith, that’s exactly how it read to me on first read. Gosh, she’s never even considered branching dialog, I’d better jump in and explain it.

You missed the part where I said I didn’t think he was a misogynist. I just don’t think someone coming to that conclusion from this text only discussion was inherently unreasonable. I do absolutely think he’s exhibiting a problematic behavior that is common among fans of media in general. Or, to quote James S.A. Corey as they “attacked their customers” this morning: " I only wish I understood publishing and TV writing one tenth as well as this internet dude who I’ve never heard of."

It’s also again worth noting that what Price was pilloried for was a statement that is in fact entirely true. "Today in being a female game dev: ‘Allow me — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how you do your job.’” She is a female game dev, he is a person who does not work with her, and he was explaining to her how to do her job.

Well your assumption above is wrong (since I post under my real name, the reason should be obvious). But you are close. If I were to lecture you on the experiences of someone dealing with prejudice as #include <your_situation_here> then I should be called out on it.


#1850

You could not even use his own post against him so you resorted to making up a fictitious one. When you are resorting to making shit up you have lost the argument.


#1851

According to everyone on this forum, you are very brave to post under your real name. Brave Brave Sir Dave_Weinstein!


#1852

No, not really. There are discussions of the final result (“The story did not hold my attention”, or “I did not find any of the characters sympathetic”, or even detailed critiques of the plot) which don’t depend on knowledge of the process. An analogy would be if someone were to give criticism on the story itself in the game, or their experience of the core gameplay loop.

The equivalent here would be the actual development process of making a show; it’s the equivalent of my listening to a showrunner talk about what they did, and then telling them that their problems would be solved if they thought of using multiple cameras/single camera (whichever they were not using).


#1853

This whole thing is an exemplary exercise in breakdown of communication and how twitter as a medium of interpersonal communication is just the worst.


#1854

Yep. Although judging by this thread, message boards aren’t doing so hot either.


#1855

Yeah, but at least none of us will be fired… Yet.


#1856

I’ve disagreed with just about every point you’ve made on this topic, and I guess I disagree here too, but in a good way. I think we’re doing okay.