GWJ Conference Call Episode 336

Conference Call

Starcraft II: Heart of The Swarm, Tomb Raider Finished, SimCity Update, Ridiculous Fishing, Twitter Questions, A Reading by Graham Rowat, Your Emails and more!

Join Shawn, Elysium and Cory as they talk Heart of the Swarm and answer your burning Twitter questions and emails!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.19 SC2: Heart of the Swarm
00.14.05 Ridiculous Fishing
00.17.23 SimCity Update
00.26.58 Tomb Raider Finished
00.28.25 The Leprechaun Trap; A reading by Graham Rowat
00.35.15 Twitter Questions
00.51.51 Your Emails

PAX East Schedule
Tomb Raider
SimCity
GWJ Plays Heart of The Swarm
Ridiculous Fishing
The Leprechaun Trap

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Waking Up - Dexter Britain -http://freemusicarchive.org/music/De... - 28:25

Coactive (Short Edit) - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 51:21

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Duoae wrote:

Maybe "man up" means something different where you are. To me, "man up" is equivalent to "stop complaining".

That's a pretty common interpretation of it. It's also rooted in a gendered stereotype - it's implying that, by complaining, you're less of a man (or, alternatively, more of a woman). That's where the offensiveness is coming from.

See also: "b*tch." It's flung around as an insult and that usage, in isolation, has its own connotation and history, but the term itself is rooted in implications via gender.

If Gravey seems indignant, it's because there are countless alternatives to both, many of which are actually more communicative to what someone may be trying to convey. In all of these cases, I feel like it comes down to understanding the language you're using. Think before you speak/write/tweet.

That's a great post - and part of the reason why I asked for examples (though you gave none specifically). Part of my point is that language is personal and culturally different. Bear in mind you're trying to lecture me on the finer points of the English language that is my language and is often different and abused in the US and other "English speaking" countries. Understanding is based on cultural experience and it evolves based on time and location. It is NOT a constant. Please, as I said, realise that different people have different experiences... that is part of the respect I'm talking about.

[edit] Just to point out that another interpretation of "man up" could be not being a child - not linked to women at all. Same as "becoming a man" or "growing up". Like I said: cultural and personal differences.

Duoae wrote:

Understanding is based on cultural experience and it evolves based on time and location. It is NOT a constant. Please, as I said, realise that different people have different experiences... that is part of the respect I'm talking about.

I agree that everybody's understanding is going to be informed by their own experiences, but "limited understanding" isn't a magic blanket that I can just throw over my head whenever someone points out that I've made an insensitive comment. Just like anybody else, I have to be as accountable for my words as my actions, even if they were not intended to offend.

The idea here is to be more informed, to understand more. And what makes the Conference Call's open acknowledgement of these concerns commendable is that it's public and it helps inform the experiences of the people who listen to the show so that they, in turn, might consider the implications of their own language.

As far as "respect" goes, nobody's perfect, but anybody can be forgiven. If you discover that you've said something insensitive, you can either brush it off and not give a damn...or acknowledge that you made a mistake, apologize for it, and know better for next time.

Demiurge wrote:

Hey, guys? We made a decision to change our language because it'll make us feel better. If you think we're stupid for that, I totally get it. You do what you do, and no disrespect.

"Stupid" is often considered an ableist term, for what it's worth.

My goofiest moment was also in an Elderscrolls game. Some Morrowind critter was chewing on my character's face as I frantically mashed the action button yelling "WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?!?!"

My younger brother came through the den, watched for a second, then pointed out I had a lock pick equipped instead of a weapon.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

As far as "respect" goes, nobody's perfect, but anybody can be forgiven. If you discover that you've said something insensitive, you can either brush it off and not give a damn...or acknowledge that you made a mistake, apologize for it, and know better for next time.

I think your confusing my point with something else if you think I'm making excuses.

Demiurge wrote:

Hey, guys? We made a decision to change our language because it'll make us feel better. If you think we're stupid for that, I totally get it. You do what you do, and no disrespect.

"Stupid" is often considered an ableist term, for what it's worth.

And also see my earlier point about how using the next term is offensive to more people. It's a difficult road to travel.

MyLadyGrey wrote:

My goofiest moment was also in an Elderscrolls game. Some Morrowind critter was chewing on my character's face as I frantically mashed the action button yelling "WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?!?!"

My younger brother came through the den, watched for a second, then pointed out I had a lock pick equipped instead of a weapon.

Until I understood that skills were passive in that game I was wondering how the hell I could block! I laughed a lot when I realised I had no control over some of those things... Still an awesome game though!

[edit]

OzymandiasAV wrote:

The idea here is to be more informed, to understand more. And what makes the Conference Call's open acknowledgement of these concerns commendable is that it's public and it helps inform the experiences of the people who listen to the show so that they, in turn, might consider the implications of their own language.

I think one more thing to consider is that unless they continue to state that each and every episode the point will not really be heard. In reality, hearing a lack of cognitive reinforcement will not alternatively reinforce the opposite opinion in a person. Yes, like I said, I applaud the effort and I think it's very worth the time... but it needs to be stated and reinforced. Not just said once in one show. The person who comes fresh next week will not hear that, they won't hear the lack of slurs or offensive language.... they won't realise it's missing.

Maybe we could get a psychologist or doctor to comment on this point.

Duoae wrote:

I think your confusing my point with something else if you think I'm making excuses.

I'll clarify: I'm not saying that you specifically are making excuses - when I'm saying "you" there, I mean "you, the person who is reading this" (which could be anybody). I'm not meaning to single you out specifically here, so I apologize for being unclear.

Duoae wrote:

And also see my earlier point about how using the next term is offensive to more people. It's a difficult road to travel.

Actually, as a mostly* white heterosexual male, I think I've got it pretty easy. Just today:

- Adria Richards was fired from SendGrid for having the audacity to call out people that harassed her with sexual jokes at PyCon.
- a trans woman killed herself after being publically humiliated by a Richard Littlejohn column in the Daily Mail.

If I make a sexually insensitive comment, does it directly lead to that sort of tragedy? In all likelihood, no, probably not. But it reinforces the ideas and stereotypes that lead to these sorts of incidents being accepted as "normal." It fosters an environment that encourages casual dismissal and persecution.

And I'm willing to check my language to avoid that.

[size=8]* I'm technically a Native American, but you'd never guess that if you saw me. I'm as white as a sheet.[/size]

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Just today:

- Adria Richards was fired from SendGrid for having the audacity to call out people that harassed her with sexual jokes at PyCon.

You may want to read up on that Richards thing. It's not as you explained it there.

[edit]
I'll even provide you with the link.

Nothing directed "at" her, according to the reports and she never complained about a lawsuit on facebook either.

Adria's blog wrote:

Have you ever had a group of men sitting right behind you making joke that caused you to feel uncomfortable? Well, that just happened this week but instead of shrinking down in my seat, I did something about it an here’s my story…

[edit 2] I didn't mean to ignore the rest of your post. Just that was stuck out immediately to me when I read it. I realise you weren't trying to call me out on it but it's difficult to read a rebuttal or counter-perspective of what you wrote as not applying to what you wrote specifically - if you get what I mean.

Duoae wrote:

Nothing directed "at" her, according to the reports and she never complained about a lawsuit on facebook either.

Fair enough - "harassed her and others." The overall issue with her firing still stands.

Gravey wrote:

The thing is, though, if someone takes offense at something you say, then what you said was offensive. I believe you that you didn't mean to offend, just like the GWJCC crew never meant to either, but in both cases an innocent choice of language is unfortunately offensive. Now that doesn't go both ways: you either learn from it and move on, or not and continue to offend. No one chooses to be offended, but we as speakers (or writers) can choose how we say things.

At what point does not offending anyone more than once begin to hamper my own expression though? When does this constant looking over my shoulder begin to be an unreasonable burden for myself? I think your bar is slightly too high. If I offend anyone, it is unfortunate as you say. It is literally not my problem. Just as I cannot help everyone in the world with their problems, I cannot hope to not offend everyone even if I know their trigger or can remember them all.

I refer you to this excellent treatise on the matter or its wikipedia article

edit: and a follow up since a lot of the lawsuits were based on intentional insults, and some of y'all may be dense

A comment on a different part of the podcast:

I recently played through Mirror's Edge for the first time, and there was an QT event that had a longish cinematic leading up to it. You could only control Faith in the final fraction of a second before dying, and if you missed it it then continued on to throw you off a building.

I died in that scene 10 or so times. And the worst part wasn't continually dying, but having to sit through the cinematic 10 times again and again.

On another point made, Mirror's edge also had a boss fight that I couldn't work out. The part that was confusing was that you couldn't defeat them, but had to hit them enough times in a row without dying, and then try and grab the boss' weapon in a sort of QTish event, but it wasn't obvious that the QT event had occurred and passed.

I really enjoyed the game and it's story, but these two things were so frustrating it really interrupted and impacted my enjoyment of the game.

A well designed game really should be able to avoid these kinds of issues.

Gravey wrote:

Listen to the segment again. Certis clearly explains how the language trades on stereotypes. No one calls another person a "bitch" to equate them to a female dog. It's a sexist put-down. To return to "man up", it means "act like a man", which trades on expectations of masculine behaviour, and implicitly devalues how women are expected to act. But again, Certis describes that all on the podcast.

This is one of those, I don't agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it times. Don't mean you Gravey, you're wrong. For "man up", yes, it does intimate an expectation of gender behaviour, but for that to be offensive means you can't tolerate a value system with the viewpoint that genders should behave differently. It's not my damn job to cater to your intolerances.

"Bitch" has lots of meanings depending on who's saying it to whom so I shan't cover it cause I'm hungry.

Duoae:

I've said a lot of things here that have caused people to pile on me, expressly because it was interpreted in a manner that was grossly different from what I meant. "The ToE is a theory," is just one of those things. "Please calm down," is another. I've been verbally attacked for it.

The thing here is that, I can't change the GWJer community by force, nor can I enforce change externally through other means. This is very difficult to do, and generally non-permanent when I've done it that way. It's not very effective. People who don't understand the context of a change in language often call it "politically correct," implying that they only understand the political fallout, not the true nature of it. It's not politically correct. It's just correct.

They don't understand it because the change was externally enforced.

You can choose to use language that you know will be misinterpreted on the decoding side of a conversation, or you can choose to use alternative language when that sort of distortion is made apparent to you. Frankly, I don't really see the point in insisting on offensive language just because, except as an impolite sort of cultural warfare.

RolandofGilead:

This is one of those, I don't agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it times. Don't mean you Gravey, you're wrong. For "man up", yes, it does intimate an expectation of gender behaviour, but for that to be offensive means you can't tolerate a value system with the viewpoint that genders should behave differently. It's not my damn job to cater to your intolerances.

Let's just say that without the coded spin. "Value system with the viewpoint that genders should behave differently," is sexism. We don't like sexism. We don't tolerate it as much as you would like. It is not your job to not be sexist, yes. You can be as sexist as you please, within the constraints of the law.

That said, we do not have to be sexist. We can choose to fight that culture just as you choose to fight for it. One of the ways we can fight is to politely ask people to think about what it means when they say "Man up." I've chosen to parse that question as an innocent question from an outsider who doesn't understand the idiom (even though I do), because I've found that that causes less offense, and more thinking. I'd like to think that it's been effective.

I'm glad that the Conference Call crew has chosen to fight for equality in this manner. It is very encouraging and I think it will prove to be effective.

Once again, you can choose to fight for inequality and injustice. That's your call.

posted in another thread, but relevant

gore wrote:
nel e nel wrote:
gore wrote:

It's a sort of game that will never have mass market appeal among the mouth breathers who drive console game sales

I apologize for my congenital defect that prevents me from getting enough oxygen through my nasal passages. I'll try to keep my breathing noises down. I'll pass the message along to my fellow Mirror's Edge fans.

Wait a minute, is that phrase actually offensive to people with a medical disorder?

I didn't mean to do that. I guess that's another colorful metaphor I should toss in the bin.

I think it's great that you guys took the criticism in stride and decided to examine your language use, instead of getting defensive. I don't think the 'casts will be any lesser for not having such terms thrown around.

In any event, there are more eloquent ways to taunt, abuse and chide when the suituation calls for it. Some of my favourite English comedy shows are essentially based on this premise.

LarryC wrote:

RolandofGilead:

This is one of those, I don't agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it times. Don't mean you Gravey, you're wrong.

Let's just say that without the coded spin. "Value system with the viewpoint that genders should behave differently," is sexism.

No, it isn't. See, this is my point, even if I say everything the way I'm supposed to say it, someone will still misinterpret what I said or just have an entirely different definition altogether, ergo, not a problem I should have to worry about. edit: precisely because I can't control how you think.

That said, we do not have to be sexist. We can choose to fight that culture just as you choose to fight for it.
...
Once again, you can choose to fight for inequality and injustice. That's your call.

Again, you don't read so good. If I wasn't talking about Gravey, who the f*ck was I talking about? I don't fight for inequality and injustice anymore than you claim to.

Also regards "man up", it can also come from a viewpoint that genders do behave differently based on physical differences and socialization, not that they should. Also, 'man up' implies an ideal. The point is to come close to it. I don't think I've said that expression to a woman, but supposing a similar idiom I have said or if I say that exact phrase to a woman in the future, I'm not saying it because I want her to grow a dick.

I think it's plausible to reduce the incidence of giving offense by simply not using offensive language at all. American English as a whole is remarkably rife with idioms and turns of phrase that belittle, attack, and bully; at least, it has always seemed that way to me. It's possible to be respectful and polite while still delivering a similar sentiment with equal power.

RoladofGilead:

No, it isn't. See, this is my point, even if I say everything the way I'm supposed to say it, someone will still misinterpret what I said or just have an entirely different definition altogether, ergo, not a problem I should have to worry about. edit: precisely because I can't control how you think.

I'm not trying to offend you. If you think that a value system wherein "genders SHOULD behave differently," is not sexist, then please describe such a value system that is not sexist.

Also regards "man up", it can also come from a viewpoint that genders do behave differently based on physical differences and socialization, not that they should. Also, 'man up' implies an ideal. The point is to come close to it. I don't think I've said that expression to a woman, but supposing a similar idiom I have said or if I say that exact phrase to a woman in the future, I'm not saying it because I want her to grow a dick.

Evidently not. So why not use "Woman up," instead, even to men? Genders do behave differently based on socialization. The point of avoiding gendered expressions is to reduce the socialization that, say, makes men reject manuscripts of women without even reading it, because "Women can't write."

Even when you mean it differently, the phrase "man up," subtly suggests that women are inferior. You may not mean it that way explicitly, but that's how it swirls around conversations and frames the cultural mindset. The question here is, "Do you care that women are being treated unfairly?" And "What are you going to do about it?"

Once again, let me reiterate that I am not telling you what to say. You can always choose language that perpetuates inequality.

Gravey wrote:

At no point does it begin to "hamper" your expression. It's at the point that your empathy begins, when you would not want to unintentionally offend others, that you'd respectfully change, not hamper or restrict or censor, your expression.

My empathy is irrelevant, someone will be offended at some point in time.

Each person's bar is set as high as they want, at the point where they want to try to demonstrate respect for everyone with how they express themselves.

I demonstrate respect by urging people to forgo artificial limitations.

I can't hope to know or remember everything that gives offence—but if something is pointed out to me as hurtful, then I do my best.

Same here, it's a reflex.

So in the course of this thread, I've been placed in the same camp as those who want to use slurs like "gay", and I'm intolerant.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

LarryC wrote:

Once again, let me reiterate that I am not telling you what to say. You can always choose language that perpetuates inequality.

As soon as you choose language that doesn't perpetuate bullsh*t.

LarryC wrote:

I'm not trying to offend you.

What? I don't even...
When did I say I was offended? I might totally ignore offending someone, but at least I don't imagine it happening all the time; I already have other anxieties, I don't want another one.

If you think that a value system wherein "genders SHOULD behave differently," is not sexist, then please describe such a value system that is not sexist.

I can't readily imagine a value system where genders should behave differently.

Also regards "man up", .., I'm not saying it because I want her to grow a dick.

Evidently not. So why not use "Woman up," instead, even to men?

Because it has an extra syllable and the phrase doesn't exist so no one would know what I'm talking about.
Just my pov, but early in my life the other side of the coin did exist and men were encouraged to be more 'womanly' by sharing their feelings. It seems like that doesn't happen anymore and that it's gone to just being a part of emotional health.

Genders do behave differently based on socialization. The point of avoiding gendered expressions is to reduce the socialization that, say, makes men reject manuscripts of women without even reading it, because "Women can't write."

I'll refer you to my first response in this post.
edit: That sort of crap requires a knock up side the head, subtle socialization ain't gonna cut it.

Even when you mean it differently, the phrase "man up," subtly suggests that women are inferior.

Again, not everybody sees it that way, in addition or instead of 'ideal', I might should have said, 'caricature' though it's too strong, but it's close.

I don't know how one goes about erasing history while maintaining meaning, but good luck.

RolandofGilead:

I already mentioned this. People who do not understand the underpinnings of a language change call it "politically correct," because they only understand the political fallout of that language, not why it's harmful. I might extend that to people who call these changes as "bullsh*t." They're not. That's the entire reason why it's important to make the change. We are hoping to make a difference. We're not expecting to do it with bullsh*t.

At the risk of being repetitive, let me once again say that you can choose not to participate in what you term as "bullsh*t." Perpetuate the sexism. That's totally your call.

LarryC wrote:

Perpetuate the sexism. That's totally your call.

And that's some grade-A passive-aggressive Liberal-as-a-derogatory-term guilt-trip bullsh*t you've got going on.

edit: Only understand it because of the fall-out? Oh, no, I've got way better reasons.

RolandofGilead:

Guilt-tripping? Bullsh*t? Passive-aggressive? No. I did not mean it that way. If you're perceiving it that way, then please be clear that that is not what is meant.

It seemed clear to me that the reason the podcasters (and other people) choose not to use these terms is because they think that it perpetuates sexist stereotypes through various implied meanings, whether or not those meanings were intended. Saying so is just a re-statement of that impression, neither a guilt-trip, nor passive-aggressive whatsoever. I'm just stating it a bit more baldly.

Please note that I am NOT liberal whatsoever. I'm not American at all, nor even Western very much. The idea of what a liberal is isn't very clear to me.

Some great and generally respectful discussion on gendered language here which makes me love this place -- on both sides of the argument. I do feel it's important to point out a few things.

1: Some listeners commented on something they observed, very respectfully, in our language.

2: We talked, amongst ourselves, about it.

3: I believe most of us went back and listened to some old shows, to see if there was a point.

4: We, i think collectively agreed, there was enough of a point to take notice of.

Notice that at no point in this are any of those 4 bullet points about YOU GUYS or GAMERS or any other BIG GROUP. It's about a group of about 10 of us (if you count all the regulars) who come together to talk about games once a week. We made this change because it was important, on reflection, for *us* to do it. It's not caving to some public interest group, and it's not some comment on anyone else.

If you can't deal with us making our own personal assessment of our behavior and deciding to try and be a little different (I'd argue, better), well, sorry to lose you. We love all y'all for listening, and we'll keep trying to be, above all else, honest, and ourselves.

RolandofGilead wrote:

At what point does not offending anyone more than once begin to hamper my own expression though? When does this constant looking over my shoulder begin to be an unreasonable burden for myself? I think your bar is slightly too high. If I offend anyone, it is unfortunate as you say. It is literally not my problem. Just as I cannot help everyone in the world with their problems, I cannot hope to not offend everyone even if I know their trigger or can remember them all.

At no point does it begin to "hamper" your expression. It's at the point that your empathy begins, when you would not want to unintentionally offend others, that you'd respectfully change, not hamper or restrict or censor, your expression.

Each person's bar is set as high as they want, at the point where they want to try to demonstrate respect for everyone with how they express themselves. No, it's not your problem as you say. But it could be your desire. The GWJCC publicly set their bar. I try to eschew words like "gyp", "lame", and "crippled". I can't hope to know or remember everything that gives offence—but if something is pointed out to me as hurtful, then I do my best.

[Edit 2: A Will Ferrell GIF is too good for him.]

Back to you, Ozymandias [edit: and LarryC!], you're better at this than I!

Rabbit, I think one of the strengths of this site is that you HAD that conversation. Regardless of what you decided, the thoughtfulness you guys put into the site and podcast are appreciated.

lostlobster wrote:

Rabbit, I think one of the strengths of this site is that you HAD that conversation. Regardless of what you decided, the thoughtfulness you guys put into the site and podcast are appreciated.

+1

I think there is a knee jerk reaction to language censorship in general. I understand it completely. However, the difference here is that this is a community that tries to uphold certain standards of propriety. If the architects of this community feel the need to censor their language in an effort to better reflect the values they hold and try to impart those values on the larger community through example, what is the big deal? Isn't that the point of GWJ, that we hold a slightly higher standard in our discourse than other gaming communities?

There is no law being passed and the First Amendment is not in danger.

I've occasionally thought of starting a site called ladyandgentlemangamers.com where a prerequisite to joining would strict adherence to polite, informed discourse. However starting with this podcast I think GWJ is saving me the trouble.

You guys make me a better Chairmanperson, one that rules with a little more love and smidgen less fear.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've occasionally thought of starting a site called ladyandgentlemangamers.com where a prerequisite to joining would strict adherence to polite, informed discourse. However starting with this podcast I think GWJ is saving me the trouble.

I first read that as landedgentrygamers.com, and thought "Well great, there's a site I could never join."

Gravey wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've occasionally thought of starting a site called ladyandgentlemangamers.com where a prerequisite to joining would strict adherence to polite, informed discourse. However starting with this podcast I think GWJ is saving me the trouble.

I first read that as landedgentrygamers.com, and thought "Well great, there's a site I could never join."

I tried to join the site. Under 100 acres and they don't want to know.

Loved the reading piece.