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Old 08-07-2002, 12:27 PM   #1
Synozeer
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Have a look at Brody's new article in his Storyteller column, entitled "Handle With Care".

-Synozeer
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Old 08-07-2002, 02:31 PM   #2
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I completely disagree with Brady's article.  Rape violates a character in a more personal and demeaning way than any amount of fictional violence.  Comparing it to the killings on these games is an apples and oranges event.  This is clearly demonstrated in such instances as movie ratings (e.g. cartoonish violence such as what might be found in a 007 movie might still retain a PG or PG-13 rating whereas a rape scene will guarantee an R rating, maybe even a NC-17 rating).

Moreover, I would have serious concerns about any of my players who desired to simulate a rape.  While this may be idle fantasy or breaking a taboo in the name of the game, my thought is that if people have no scruples against this activity, what would they consider to be too much?  What about child molesting?  Would you allow that?

Furthermore, if you let this happen once, it will continue and grow exponentially.  Once this occurs, you cannot put the cat back in the bag, so to speak.

Again, I can not state how opposed I am to this occuring on a mud.  And, I am disheartened that Brody advocates such an activity without adequate consideration of the psychological and possible legal consequences.
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Old 08-07-2002, 03:17 PM   #3
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Mason says:
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Originally Posted by
And, I am disheartened that Brody advocates such an activity without adequate consideration of the psychological and possible legal consequences.
Whoa, nellie. Advocates isn't quite accurate. As I stated in the column, which I assume you read from beginning to end and hope that you comprehended clearly, while I don't forbid it from ever happening, I demand that it cannot happen without staff input, oversight, conversations and the possibility of avoiding it entirely by spending experience points in a +luckroll. In other words: I want it to be difficult, without being an overcontrolling admin who simply forbids it entirely.

I do demand that it be done offscreen (basically, you get a note saying 'You were raped.' ) because I recognize the out-of-character trauma that might be experienced - and I said as much in the column.

There are no RL legal liabilities involved with character rape in this context - it doesn't actually happen except in an offscreen sense. Nor are there RL legal liabilities involved in killing a character. And I think you devalue the trauma a player can experience when they lose a character to death when you say it can't be compared to in-character rape. It certainly can be just as traumatic, if not more so. Depends on the player.
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Old 08-07-2002, 03:55 PM   #4
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I don't mean advocate in the sense that you are pushing it to happen more often.  But, you clearly defend the allowance of such activity on your game.  Defending an activity is advocatory, too.

To say that there are absolutely no RL consequences for such an activity is premature.  What if you unknowingly "rape" a person who was raped in real life?  Your description of the "rape" indicates the woman was beaten into submission and then raped while others were watching.  Nowhere did you indicate whether she protested such an action against her character.  Should such an action occur against someone who took great offense to it, you could find yourself on the end of a negligent (or intentional) infliction of emotional distress suit.

If you wish to justify these "rapes" by saying that murders are traumatic, too ... well, I just think that is a pathetic justification of an inexcusable action.  Rape fantasy is a violent and sadistic action and your provision of an outlet for these occurrences is beyond my comprehension.
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Old 08-07-2002, 04:04 PM   #5
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Mason says:
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Nowhere did you indicate whether she protested such an action against her character.
Actually, yes, I did. I wrote that neither of the parties directly involved in this incident - the attacker and the victim - protested.

Had she protested - and, for the record, the *player* was a male, in the guise of a female, which is quite common in the MUDing world - we would have stepped in and given greater consideration.

That's why I call for admin involvement and discussions before such an act takes place. I don't want to forbid it, because I find it hypocritical to condemn that while not condemning other forms of violence.

If a player tells me privately OOCly that such a thing has happened to them IRL and it would cause them incredible emotional harm, then, yes, I should give that consideration. That's the entire point of requiring admin involvement.

One other thing I'll note: Unlike many games, where killing someone is as simple as hitting the fastest macro, you can neither kill, bludgeon, rape or coerce someone to do anything against their will with a macro or coded system on OtherSpace. We take seriously the investment people make in their characters, and we tend to make it difficult for anyone to do anything harmful on a whim. This cuts down significantly on twinks and it also cuts down significantly on these incidents.
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Old 08-07-2002, 04:42 PM   #6
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It appears we have differening philosophies about this situation.  Mine is that such activity is completely inappropriate.  Moreover, I have my doubts that most games will be thorough when it comes to assuring the absence of trauma.

Therefore, I would suggest banning such activity altogether, regardless of whether it is "chaperoned."

Edit:  I notice you said that you would give consideration to someone who indicated they had been raped in real life or that they would be greatly offended.  I would think to most people that would serve as an immediate indication that such activity should be halted ASAP. The fact that the victim was a male playing a female gives less credence to your argument, as a man is less likely to consider the consequences of said activity.
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Old 08-07-2002, 04:54 PM   #7
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Our "philosophies" are only different in that you would seek to forbid the activity outright and I wouldn't - although I would attach as many strings as possible and provide for the means for a potential victim to escape it.

I think it's a mistake to hamstring yourself or prove yourself a hypocrite by having a specific policy forbidding it, but I recognize it's your right - and any other MUD operator's right - to have such a policy.

The problem is this: If you forbid rape, but allow murder, then can you do so fairly? What if a player loses an IC friend or loved one to murder, and it turns out that they lost an RL friend or loved one to murder, and this causes them to re-experience that RL trauma?

That's what I meant by the slippery slope. You can't play therapist for people - that's not your job. And you also can't play parent - that's not your job, either. You can't protect everyone from everything, nor should you try. But you can put in safeguards that make it difficult for people to harm others and, if it makes you feel good, go right ahead and have a policy that forbids rape. But be ready to forbid everything else that might be deemed "traumatic" to a player. Don't be hypocritical. If you choose to protect their psyches from one trauma, be ready to protect them from all possible traumas.

I don't condone IC rape. I don't advocate rape. As I wrote in the column, I don't want to see it happening every day on OtherSpace. But I do believe that, although it can happen, it should do so only offscreen, with thorough OOC conversation in advance, and give the victim a chance to escape it.

I believe in balance. I think it's dangerous to have blanket provisions against one type of violence and not others. But I'm all for making it difficult to inflict any kind of violence on a player in a roleplaying environment.
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Old 08-07-2002, 05:28 PM   #8
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I tried to resolve this earlier by essentially saying that we just should agree to disagree. However, you now proceed to call me a hypocrite.

1. I imp on a h/s mud with restricted pk. Players who want to pk must clan. That way, players who wish to play without worrying about pk'ing can do so easily. even so, we have rules about pk.

2. you equate cartoonish violence with rape. i disagree. You try to analogize the real life loss of a friend to murder with this scenario. I believe your attempt at a misdirection is sincere, but I also believe it is incorrect.

Finally, your condescending attitute about how I should not try to play therapist for everyone is neither appreciated nor an effective argument. You attempt to belittle my approach by labeling me as a "Catcher in the Rye," which is not an appropriate way to deal with this situation. Instead of an intellectual, or at least civil, discussion, you have now turned this into a personal attack.

Since you do label me a psychiatrist, how about I play that game? It is obvious that you were upset about my remarks and now have to belittle me to satisfy yourself that my arguments are without merit. Unfortunately, this was a sensitive subject and you brought this upon yourself when you chose to author your article. Maybe you are accustomed to people blindly accepting whatever you say, and therefore feel anyone who challenges your arguments must be unable to grasp their complexity.

That is not the case here. You justify the rape fantasy on your game by playing the interloper of restrained violence. Yet you commit the same hypocrisy you accuse me of by allowing violence, then restricting it. So I am a hypocrite because I disallow some types of violence yet you are not when you merely provide oversight and make it difficult? Hyocrisy, my friend, is in the eye of the beholder, and it appears your glasses are quite foggy.

Looks like that slope is a little slippery on your end.
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Old 08-07-2002, 05:38 PM   #9
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Actually, I wasn't calling you a hypocrite. I have not once made this a personal attack. In fact, I've stated quite clearly that it is your right, and every other MUD admin's right, to have a policy forbidding rape. More power to you.

I have not once tried to belittle you. I have treated your arguments with the sensitivity and reasonability required in this kind of civil discourse.

I wasn't attempting to condescend by making the comparisons to parenting or psychotherapy. Your problem, in this case, appears to be that you think I wrote this just for you. I didn't. I wrote it for MUD admins at large who might share your opinion, which is an absolutely valid opinion.

If I didn't think your opinion was valid, or that it mattered, I wouldn't bother responding.

Sorry if you took my comments as a personal attack. I'll happily let the matter drop, but I actually found the original conversation rather constructive - even if we didn't totally agree, we weren't that far apart. That was the point I was trying to make. We merely differed in degree.
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Old 08-07-2002, 05:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Brody @ Aug. 07 2002,4:54 pm)
I think it's a mistake to hamstring yourself or prove yourself a hypocrite by having a specific policy forbidding it, but I recognize it's your right - and any other MUD operator's right - to have such a policy.
Well, when you qualify your statements by saying something like "you, and whomever else might do it," it appears that you are in fact addressing the statement directly to me.  I believe that this statement implies that I, or anyone else who forbids rape on a game, is a hypocrite.

I will accept your assertion that this is not what you meant.  And, in the interest of keeping this a civil and productive conversation, I'll address it no further.

Nevertheless, I strongly urge games to prohibit this behavior, even if it labels you as a hypocrite (a definition of which I do not agree applies).

What I am suprised about, though, is that no one else has chimed in yet.
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Old 08-07-2002, 06:11 PM   #11
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Brody originally wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think it's a mistake to hamstring yourself or prove yourself a hypocrite by having a specific policy forbidding it, but I recognize it's your right - and any other MUD operator's right - to have such a policy.
The yourself in that context was the generic anyone reading this. It's accurate enough that if you forbid IC rape but don't forbid other forms of potentially traumatic violence, a player can deem your policies hypocritical.

However, in your case, it sounds like you're forbidding rape and certainly making it difficult, although not impossible, to inflict harm of other kinds. That's a balance you're striking and it works for your game, and that's all that matters, ultimately. I would not presume to second-guess your choices.

We're both guilty of rationalizing the allowance of violence - every game operator who lets any act of violence occur must rationalize it somehow.

I don't like rape. I don't like it at all. You'd never see one of my characters doing it. Honestly, I'd like to never see it happen. But. I think you run the risk of overlegislating yourself if you create policies based on political correctness. Sure, it might feel good initially to have a policy against rape, then the next bad thing that happens with traumatic consequences will come up. Will you forbid that too?

I make it very difficult to accomplish rape. I make it easy to escape - just save a pool of XP, which is handed out like candy on OtherSpace. I don't need a policy against it, because most players won't do it, staffers have to get involved, and it can't be done through a coded means, which guarantees it will be rare.

For me to condone and encourage rape, it would take more than a failure to put words in a text file on my server saying "Don't rape people." It would require me to have a coded +rape <name> command, and perhaps even add "sexual assault" as a skill.

The column was quite clear in the closing paragraphs:

Quote:
Originally Posted by
You see it in soap operas, prime time TV dramas, movies - even literature. It's bad, but it happens. But it should be rare and it should be handled with great care.

And unlike rapes in TV shows, movies and books, sexual assaults in a MU* roleplaying environment are happening to the *viewer*, even if it is in a semi-detached way. That can be a source of out-of-character trauma.
I believe it should be policed. It should be rare. If it happens, it should be done with great care and deliberation. The victim's OOC sensibilities should absolutely be taken into account, because - as I acknowledged - it may cause harm to the player behind the character.

We really aren't that far apart on this, Mason. While I think it doesn't require a blanket statement forbidding it, I do think it needs to be extremely difficult to accomplish - discouragingly so, to the point that a potential IC rapist might not even bother.

It's also worth noting: One reason I wouldn't forbid this is that any character who commits this, or any other crime, on OtherSpace, must face the consequences of their actions. The Demarian in question will probably end up with a bounty on his head, or the Timonae will kill him herself. Who knows? If the victim and her friends had no recourse to avenge the act, then it really should be forbidden. But they do. And if they decide to rape the Demarian noble with an umbrella while extracting his vital organs and listening to him scream, I'll happily let them do that - with a referee present - whether the Demarian likes it or not.
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Old 08-07-2002, 07:16 PM   #12
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I'm not reading every last word of your little argument, but you did say that no one else has chimed in.

I believe that if its okay with all parties involved, then its an excellent ic thing to do.

Since its such a delicate subject, any small objection should be taken into HEAVY consideration. And then instead of raping, why not a torture or something, like poking with rusty spears. Ouch!

That about sums it all up. But yeah, you've nailed a couple other things that I agree on.

EDIT:
Might I direct people to my LJ? I just made a little rant that's kinda on this subject.
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Old 08-10-2002, 08:58 AM   #13
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For me it depends on what type of mud you're playing. If, as in Mason's case, it's a limited PK mud then I don't think there is any need for rape scenes to occur. If you're playing a RPI mud then the possibility that it can occur should not be outlawed in my opinion. I'd agree with Brody that permitting murder, torture, etc. while banning rape is a bit hypocritical in a mud that is striving to depict a gritty, realistic world. It happens in RL and in the minds of almost everybody it's disgusting. Similarly, torture happens in RL and again just about everybody thinks it's horrible.

I'd agree with Brody again that any graphic actions carried out by players should only occur with the consent of all the players involved. If the mud is a RPI and all players are ok with the RP about to be carried out then let them do it. However, rape is a crime that occurs more in our society than torture so special consideration should be given to all parties involved before RPing out such a scene as the possibility that it might stike too close to home is increased.

In the mud I play on we have the consent rule which I've detailed below. I think it sums up my position pretty well: If its RPI, realistic and the pbase is by and large a responsible one then let the players RP how they want within strict guidelines for certain graphic events. If the above are present the actual incidence of such events will be extremely low in my experience.

There are few restrictions on roleplay in *****. If you choose to roleplay adult situations, that is fine. However, before instigating such an act with another player, please OOC to make sure that the role play is consented to. If someone is instigating roleplay that makes you uncomfortable, please OOC that they should stop. If they continue despite being told to stop, please wish up. This rule is not meant to
be abused in order to allow characters to escape death/torture/etcetera. Perhaps a good analogy is the movie ratings system: some people may wish to see the details acted out in a way which would deserve an R rating while another, younger player might prefer that the details be communicated in an OOC fashion and left offstage.

Specifically in the case of roleplaying through a rape, the instigator takes on added responsibility. In this case, the instigator absolutely must OOC'ly ask for and must obtain explicit consent from the victim's player prior to involving their character in any emote specifically indicative of the act of rape, no matter how non-graphical you believe it to be.

If you act out a graphic sequence without first obtaining the other player's consent, and the player then complains within a reasonable amount of time (so that the runlogs can be checked and the complaint verified), you will be banned. In such cases, therefore, please use common sense and have respect for other people's sensibilities.
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:55 AM   #14
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Heya,

I actually think that prohibiting won't solve the issue. Nor do I think it's something you want. If the mud wants it prohibited people will make sure it won't happen, an administrator shouldn't have to worry about it.

If it happens, then it's good it's controled. And like Brody said it shouldn't happen often, as like irl murder happens more then rapes and are extremely nasty and painful for the victim.

BTW I play on a family mud, and it won't be approved there, although it's a pk mud. I don't think it's hypocrite to prohibited rape, but players still tell each other they 'raped' them (although this is illegal) when they killed someone. This happens rarely and with great risk of the person saying it, but it still happens. On more adult oriented muds I can imagine that rape is something could happen. It's a nasty world out there, if you want to be realistic, your world has to be as nasty. Still, if you think it's inappropiate for a game, I can agree as well. There's enough misery in the world already, why bring it to a game.

*shrug* I'm not sure myself yet

Greetings Dre
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