Home Forums General General Sexism in Rules?

This topic contains 100 replies, has 34 voices, and was last updated by Guy Farrish Guy Farrish 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #53745
    Kaptain Kobold
    Kaptain Kobold
    Participant

    I think one has to be realistic, that we are largely still on a journey from pretty much dinosaur attitudes to becoming enlightened in relation to not being exclusive in all its forms, not just sexism.

    It is difficult to change entrenched cultural attitudes and the fact that we have genuinely come this far in such a short space of time is quite remarkable. We are very different people now than we were just 30 years ago and I think getting better at it all of the time – no longer because of policy and such directing us, but rather because we want to and to do so is becoming second nature as the example is sub-consciously set.

    As for rules, I write in gender neutral , but that’s because I am consciously aware as I write the sentence. The issue at the heart of this post is that at this point in time, not everyone is consciously aware, but the direction of movement is at least moving in the right direction.

    If only we could be as good at getting better at having good manners, courtesy and just generally being less selfish in public.

    If there was a Like button, then I’d use it on this post.

    #53747
    craig cartmell
    craig cartmell
    Participant

    Game designers who do not phrase their rules in gender-neutral terms are just being lazy (sorry, Craig). 

    No need for apologies Robey. I think that being new to the professional writing scene we just wrote in our own voices and, we can do better.

    Cheers,
    Craig

    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    #53749
    Kaptain Kobold
    Kaptain Kobold
    Participant

    Out of interest I had a read through the delightful Barkerese of ‘Hordes of the Things’ 2.1, the current text of most of which dates from 2001, with some bits from the 1991 (?) original edition.

    As you would expect from a set of rules famous for its dry legalese, it is gender-neutral, usually referring to ‘the general’, ‘the player’, ‘the side’ or ‘they’. I found a couple of uses of ‘his/her’. Even the troop definitions manage to be non-gender specific, with the definition of Hero specifically stating that it includes both male and female. I found two places in the rules where Magicians were referred to as ‘his’ or ‘he’, one of them followed by a sentence in which ‘his/her’ was used.

    I only flicked through DBA 3.0 (the other WRG set I had to hand) and found one reference to a general as being a ‘he’, which I didn’t think was unreasonable.

    So – Barkerese: Avoiding Gender-Specific Language Since At Least 1989 😀

    Now I’m going to go and play some HOTT.

    #53764
    Cyclopeus
    Cyclopeus
    Participant

    I think I prefer the normalization of they/their as singular pronouns. They sound better than they look to me right now, but I think with more common usage, they will cut new grooves into our language.  Context should take care of number ambiguity.

    #53766
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    A few people have cited examples of games that they think handle gender well, either by being entirely gender-neutral, or by effecting a natural transition between genders or by adopting an entirely female assumed gender.

    Horizon Wars (natch), Timeline 300, Hordes of the Things and Dungeons & Dragons have been named.  I believe Malifaux 2E and Kings of War also manage it.  I’m going to have a look through my pile of rulebooks to see how I think others do on this scale.  Could others do the same and report back on the successes?  It’d be interesting to curate a list by way of example to the community at large that gender-neutral wargames don’t have to be difficult or awkward to write or to read.

    #53769
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Mine do, now that I found a few mistakes.
    I used Player, but a few his crept in due to simply not paying attention.
    Hopefully they have all been removed and all things are now gender neutral.

    (took longer than hoped to change as my machine with Adobe Acrobat on it is in storage, so had to dig it out)

    #53773
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    While TWC’s publications use “the player” or “they” as I noted, when referring to historical generals, even generically, i.e. “the Prussian corps commander” we use “he/his” as there were no female generals during the Napoleonic Wars. Often times the Prussian corps commander at the tabletop will be controlled by a player, who could be of a gender other than male, but as our rules have specific terms that refer to a player (Force Commander is a game term generally referring to the player who commands a force), we treat the two instances differently.

    If we were writing in a context where the presumption of the ‘actual’ general could be of variable gender – say a modern game, a historical period in which there were female officers, or a fantasy or Sci-Fi universe where the characters were not exclusively male, then we’d switch it up from one example to another when referring to those in-game personas.

    Something to consider is that our first intent was to use ‘he’ in some examples and ‘she’ in others throughout the text. We chose to use “the player” and “they” to exclusively refer to the player because we figured that in historical wargaming we might actually irritate some potential customers if we sometimes used “she”. In a fantasy or Sci-Fi genre game where the notion of people who aren’t men participating is less explosive, we would not have hesitated. Which I suppose does insert some irony at the comment “party lines” in this debate.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #53778

    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    If one is interested in the singular “they”, you can always go look it up on Wikipedia. It’s an utterly standard (adj) part of spoken English and has been part of well written English since the 1300’s. But it got rejected by the Victorian prescriptive grammarians (the ones that make up rules they think people should use rather than describing how people do use the language). My impression is that British education puts much more emphasis on rules than the US does. I once got razzed by Brits for using “standard” as an adjective!? Thus when Priestly and Lambshead disapprove of the singular they, they aren’t being anti-gender neutral, just repeating what they have  been taught to be the highest standard (noun) of English grammar. It’s a bit stodgy, but they are still advocating gender-neutral  prose, as an open-minded reading will reveal.

    #53785
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Patrice wrote:

    It’s even more difficult in French

    MMyes, but the French generally understand the difference between biological sex and grammatical gender, a distinction often lost on the English, who, if they have been taught any grammar at all, have probably been taught Latin. I can’t recall which of Saki’s characters complained that “French is a dreadfully unsexing language”, but most Anglophones find it very odd that un soldat becomes une sentinelle when on sentry-go.

    Thaddeus Blanchette wrote:

    What Priestly and Lambshead are saying is that you should use the generic “he” in wargames writing when you absolutely must use a pronoun because switching the gender of your pronoun every sentence is confusing.

    And that is bullshit. No one does that. Ever. I’d like to see an example if I am wrong.

    Curses, I am away from my office bookshelf, but somebody pulled this trick in a book I looked at fairly recently (this year, anyway). I have a vague idea that it was something by Bertrand Meyer; he said he was going to alternate masculine and feminine pronouns, I think because he simply could not bring himself to use “they” as a singular (an objection that even Mr. Picky has overcome). The weird thing was that you noticed it the first time the switch caused a shift of gender mid-sentence, but, recalling that the author had said that was the plan, it became entirely unconfusing practically at once. I’ll have to see if I can find the book before I start the Xmas hols.

    Norm Smith wrote:

    We are very different people now than we were just 30 years ago and I think getting better at it all of the time

    I hope you’re right; as a cantankerous old curmudgeon Mr. Picky continues to deplore such modern trends as the decline in Latin teaching and rise of the selfie stick. Even so, back in 1993 I was Deputy President (Welfare) of Exeter University Guild of Students (Exeter was far too right-wing to have a “union”). One of the things the sabbatical officers were doing was overhauling the Guild constitution to use non-sexist language, under the watchful eye of our Women’s Officer (the first ever to be appointed to an SU Executive in the UK, I believe). As an exercise for myself, and half expecting the results to be stilted and ugly, I tried to draft the documents I was responsible for — initially the Welfare Handbook and Overseas Students’ Handbook — entirely in non-sexist language. To my surprise, not only was it not very difficult, but a moment’s thought could avoid odd-sounding or infelicitous expressions in every case, without exception. There is not the least need for non-sexist language to be clumsy if you have the slightest skill in writing.

    1993 was rather more than 30 years ago; I am not at all surprised if some people are getting a little bit impatient with people who still haven’t caught up.

    All the best,

    John.

    #53789
    Kaptain Kobold
    Kaptain Kobold
    Participant

    Mr. Picky continues to deplore such modern trends as the decline in Latin teaching and rise of the selfie stick.

    Hey! Don’t diss the selfie-stick. I’m on the upside of fifty and I use one, for those family photos I’m always told I’m not taking enough of and, when I remember, for those useful aerial photos of big games which would otherwise require me to stand on a chair. And for self-portraits, of course 🙂

     

     

     

    #53790
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    1993 was rather more than 30 years ago;

     

    While we’re being picky. No it wasn’t 😉

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #53792
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    This is true.

    Brainfart on my part; my fingers should have typed 1983, but didn’t.

    All the best,

    John.

    #53795
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    This reminds me of the squabble we had in Sweden about five years back over the use of the neologism hen as a gender-neutral complement to han (“he”) and hon (“she”), modelled after the equally gender-neutral Finnish hän (the one and only correct pronoun for individual human beings in the third person in the Finnish language – there are no gender-specific pronouns in Finnish, and we Finnish-speakers have always got on perfectly well without them).

    About five years back, people on the progressive fringes in Sweden made a concerted grass-roots effort to promote the use of hen when the gender of the subject is unspecified. It’s been a successful initiative – the word has caught on in much of mainstream society. Sure enough, there was much criticism, ridicule and outright shock at first (“You can’t just make up vocabulary!”, “It’s emasculating!”, “Think of the children!”), but you know what…? People are getting used to it. Initial resistance was all the more brief for its intensity. We’re not yet at the point where the major newspapers use the word in reporting, but columnists, op-ed contributors and bloggers for those same newspapers use it often. It’s expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds. It’s now made our most authoritative glossary – governed by the same relatively stuffy institution that’s in charge of the Nobel Prize in Literature – and has been crossing over into Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic.

    Of course, we never took up the practice of using “they” in singular. So the English language may not have need for an equivalent to hen, assuming the resistance to singular “they” would just go away. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, who isn’t it good enough for?

    #53798
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    We have the exact opposite mess in Portuguese. EVERY noun must be masculine or feminine and there is no neutral pronoun. So we now have people who say we should use “elx” instead of “ele” and “ela” (“he” and “she”). How do you even pronounce that?

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #53906
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Of the discussions I’ve read on this subject, this is one of the more interesting ones, it is by far the least argumentative, headed, and distracted of them.

    Good example of TWW.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #53908
    willz
    willz
    Participant

    Of course, we never took up the practice of using “they” in singular. So the English language may not have need for an equivalent to hen, assuming the resistance to singular “they” would just go away. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, who isn’t it good enough for?

    Interesting Rhoderic however “hen” in the northern English vernacular  refers to girl / women.  So we can’t use that one.

    #53919
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Of course, we never took up the practice of using “they” in singular. So the English language may not have need for an equivalent to hen, assuming the resistance to singular “they” would just go away. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, who isn’t it good enough for?

    Interesting Rhoderic however “hen” in the northern English vernacular refers to girl / women. So we can’t use that one.

    I did say “equivalent to”. And I certainly hope you don’t refer to men by the word for the male equivalent of so said animal 

    The English meaning of hen has indeed been used by some people in Sweden to mock the word. The best retort I’ve seen to that is this: LINK. (“When a random dude posts this on Twitter” [first picture] “…and I’m like” [second picture]). The humour of it is that the regular age-old Swedish word for “child” in a gender-neutral sense is barn (cognate, you’ll no doubt have recognised, with the Scottish and northern English “bairn”).

    Of the discussions I’ve read on this subject, this is one of the more interesting ones, it is by far the least argumentative, headed, and distracted of them. Good example of TWW. Cheers, The Bandit

    It’s been an enlightening thread, too. I especially appreciate the discussion on grammatical gender in French. A bit more of the French language has clicked into place in my mind, now.

    #53920
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    And I certainly hope you don’t refer to men by the word for the male equivalent of so said animal

     

    It’s down south they do that. Wotcha me old cock. 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #53943
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    I am not trying to anger anyone here, but underlining this discussion is the presumption that writing public documents should be gender neutral. Why is that? I can understand that from a marketing stand point, a rules writer might want to make their product welcoming and accessible to the widest spectrum of the population possible. But that is their choice and if they choose to write in a gender specific style, why should they be citricised for making a different choice? A preponderance of table top gamers are still male I believe, are they not? That domination may be changing as more women and transgender players come into the hobby and that’s great for the hobby. Smart rules writers will see this trend and act accordingly to make their products as attractive as possible to this growing demographic. But that too is a choice, as valid as choosing a more traditional writing style.

    Why should more traditional writers be criticised for exercising their freedom of expression and for clinging to what is a comfortable writing style for them, even if it is viewed by some as outmoded and passé? What is so bad about the words man, men, he, his, etc. that some think they must be expunged from rule sets and others see the need for a quota system to balance the his/hers/other frequency. Rules writers are not part of a grand social engineering project and should not be conscripted into such a role unless they wish to do so. There is a long-standing tradition in our shared western values to safe-guard the freedom of expression. There is no long-standing tradition to grant freedom from being offended by what others write. If an author writes in a style which offends others the author will pay a price in popularity and profits from their writing. Why is it necessary to add more penalty in the form of public scorn or censor?

    Many wargames simulate and also celebrate conflict, combat and killing. It seems to me that we have skewed values if we embrace the thanos of such games while at the same time demanding political correctness with respect to sex/gender/self-identification. Is this not an odd disconnect?

    Cheers and good gaming to all who wish to partake.

    Rod Robertson.

     

    #53944
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I am not trying to anger anyone here, but underlining this discussion is the presumption that writing public documents should be gender neutral. Why is that? I can understand that from a marketing stand point, a rules writer might want to make their product welcoming and accessible to the widest spectrum of the population possible.

    For me you answered the question yourself.
    Though not just marketing, from a point of view of not assuming that women won’t be playing.
    If all you mention in the text is how men this and men that, then you are implying it is all about men.
    Directly it does not impact on me as I am a man, and rules written assuming I am reading them are correct, I am.

    However if you are a female, as many have said in many places, it is annoying/infuriating/other to never be considered as a player.

    One thing to be aware of I suspect, are the tweets in which people questioning this use of male terminology were insulted and belittled.
    Not only were they told they are wrong to feel as they do, they were insulted.
    Again not especially inclusionist*.

    *Have I just made that word up?

    #53946
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I am not trying to anger anyone here, but underlining this discussion is the presumption that writing public documents should be gender neutral. Why is that? I can understand that from a marketing stand point, a rules writer might want to make their product welcoming and accessible to the widest spectrum of the population possible. But that is their choice and if they choose to write in a gender specific style, why should they be citricised for making a different choice? A preponderance of table top gamers are still male I believe, are they not? That domination may be changing as more women and transgender players come into the hobby and that’s great for the hobby. Smart rules writers will see this trend and act accordingly to make their products as attractive as possible to this growing demographic. But that too is a choice, as valid as choosing a more traditional writing style. Why should more traditional writers be criticised for exercising their freedom of expression and for clinging to what is a comfortable writing style for them, even if it viewed by some as outmoded and passé? What is so bad about the words man, men, he, his, etc. that some think they must be expunged from rule sets and others see the need for a quota system to balance the his/hers/other frequency. Rules writers are not part of a grand social engineering project and should not be conscripted into such a role unless they wish to do so. There is a long-standing tradition in our shared western values to safe-guard the freedom of expression. There is no long-standing tradition to grant freedom from being offended by what others write. If an author writes in a style which offends others the author will pay a price in popularity and profits from their writing. Why is it necessary to add more penalty in the form of public scorn or censor?

    Yes, but we as members of the market have every right to speak critically of the wares that are being hawked to us, and to voice our criteria as to what we’re after in a transaction. If an author of a book wishes to disregard a certain segment of their potential customer base, then that’s fair as well, but no has claimed otherwise.

    Also, to publish is to assert statements. People are allowed to talk back to that, as Delaney from the King’s Minis blog did.

    #53948
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    OK, so this is clumsy, but we are all bright enough to see what I am getting at, which of these three seems the less sexist to you:

    INSTRUCTIONS ON BORROWING A LIBRARY BOOK

    When a man wishes to borrow a book he may choose to go to a library.
    Once there he must enter the building and use his senses to find something he likes.
    He can then approach one of the librarians and ask to borrow it.
    The librarian will give the book to the man who should then thank him.

    When a woman wishes to borrow a book she may choose to go to a library.
    Once there she must enter the building and use her senses to find something she likes.
    She can then approach one of the librarians and ask to borrow it.
    The librarian will give the book to the woman who should then thank her.

    When someone wishes to borrow a book they may choose to go to a library.
    Once there they must enter the building and use their senses to find something they like.
    They can then approach one of the librarians and ask to borrow it.
    The librarian will give the book to them who should then thank them.

    #53953
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Rob Robertson asked:

    Why should more traditional writers be criticised for exercising their freedom of expression […]?

    Freedom of expression does not entail freedom from criticism of the ideas you express. Why should people who make prejudiced assumptions not have those assumptions pointed out to them?

    What is so bad about the words man, men, he, his, etc. that some think they must be expunged from rule sets and others see the need for a quota system to balance the his/hers/other frequency. Rules writers are not part of a grand social engineering project and should not be conscripted into such a role unless they wish to do so.

    That seems a strikingly overblown response to the use of non-sexist language — or, as Mr. Picky likes to think of it, accurate language. Nobody has said that masculine pronouns are naughty words, or that they should be “expunged” — it just that some people object to using them to describe people who are not male. I have never heard of a pronoun quota system being proposed, nor of anyone being conscripted into anything, and I strongly suspect that you are just making this stuff up, or else listening uncritically to someone who does (I understand that the USA is richly supplied with professional liars who have a full time job retailing their lies by means of radio broadcasts).

    I’m a bit disappointed at the idea that inclusive writing matters principally with respect to the outlook for the wargaming market. There are things more important than money, and the bean-counting habit of reducing everything to cash terms is one I find unedifying. It’s hard to put a price on not hurting people’s feelings, but, really, all this preference for inclusive language is just an aspect of following the Golden Rule.

    Angel Barracks wrote:

    Again not especially inclusionist*.

    *Have I just made that word up?

    It’s already used in Christian doctrine (everyone goes to heaven), and in Wikipedian jargon (everything goes in Wikipedia), but you seem to have made it up with the meaning I guess it has.

    All the best,

    John.

    #53957
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    “Why should they be criticised for making a different choice?”

    Rod, seriously?

    This is a hobby that is happy to spend endless buckets of virtual ink discussing with chainsaw, sickle and broad-axe the minutae of what color was which 18th Century Bavarian regiment’s facings. This is a hobby where rules are routinely shredded over points of order that would make a Devil’s Advocate blush. This is a hobby where 60 year old men refuse to talk to other 60 year old men over imagined slights regarding the efficacy of Napoleon’s Old Guard at the Battle of Cudumundu Mirim.

    And you seriously want to know why some gamers think certain rules writers should be criticized for ignoring half the human race in their play examples?

    Go on. 😀

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #53969
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I am not trying to anger anyone here, but underlining this discussion is the presumption that writing public documents should be gender neutral. Why is that?

    It’s just simple courtesy and respect. The majority of gamers are male. A small number are not. It seems courteous and respectful to me to acknowledge those that are not male in your writing by making it include them, even though they are in the minority. Certainly writers are free to express themselves as they will, but freedom of expression does not grant freedom from criticism, nor does it grant a right of audience.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    #53995
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Person one writes wargames rules in a gender-specific style due to ignorance or indifference to those concerned with gender-neutrality. Person one pleases some traditional wargamers but distresses others with a different perspective to the hobby for making such a choice. Person two writes wargames rules in a gender-neutral style or by balancing male, female and neutral pronouns and phrases. Person two distresses some traditional wargamers but pleases others who value gender-neutrality. Which person is consciously following a sexist policy? To my mind both are.

    If a writer of rules chooses to write in a gender-neutral style, I respect such inclusivity, I do not declaim it. If a writer of wargames rules chooses to write in a gender-specific style, I respect their right to do so and do not declaim that either. The writer should be criticised for the content and efficacy of the rules which they wrote and not the style in which the rules were written. To me the content is where the criticism should be directed and the style should be secondary if considered at all. If we are really concerned about inclusivity of  as many people as we can be, we should be insisting that all rules be written in a triplicate Manderin Chinese, Arabic and English format and in pictorial form for the illiterate and for those of other languages.

    While I agree that simple, common courtesy should guide most western writers to write rules in a form that includes all in the sexual spectrum, I also acknowledge that those who don’t share this western prejudice of courtesy must comply with my delicate feelings on the matter. Is it not prejudicial to discount a mechanically good set of historical wargames rules just because they are written in a gender-specific style? After all there is no doubt that the propnderance of those who participated in military operations in the past were male. (Not the victims, but the active participants, i.e. Military personnel.) So what is wrong with referring to a wargames unit as a body of ‘men’and an individual figure as a ‘man’, if historically and by sculpture these are what the minis represent? If you are fielding Maiden-guard Indian infantry or Sarmatian Oriopata then you can say women/woman but otherwise you misrepresent the history if you call them persons (a modern legal term) or some other gender-neutral term.

    Are we not overlaying our own modern western prejudices in advocating for gender-neutrality by all, whether they share our outlook or not?

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #53999

    Just Jack
    Participant

    “It seems courteous and respectful to me to acknowledge those that are not male in your writing by making it include them, even though they are in the minority.”
    For what it’s worth, I think a lot of men (meaning that literally) don’t read an instruction booklet (which is what a set of wargame rules is) that uses male pronouns and feel like they are being personally acknowledged, as if they are part of some club, and that genders not mentioned aren’t.  Have any of the men (literal) here on TWW ever road a rulebook which used he/him and felt as if the author was addressing them specifically, but not others?

    From my perspective, there are plenty of men (literal) that don’t care what sort of pronouns the rules use, but don’t like the idea of being labeled unenlightened or even bigoted by people for whom this actually is an issue.   Rod and I chat about wargaming stuff quite happily and quite often; I’m not much on supporting/identifying with his political views, but they’re his and they’re not hurting anyone so no big deal.  It seems to me he stated writers should be able to write using whichever type of pronouns they prefer, and then is disingenuously attacked in a manner which smears him, the pundits of a politically-opposed viewpoint, and their listeners.  That stands out to a lot of folks as a bit hypocritical on the tolerance angle.  Seems a bit like ‘you need to agree that my problems are your problems, you need to agree that the solution to my problems is ‘x’ and support it, and if you don’t agree, it’s not because you have a valid viewpoint, it’s because you’re a lying idiot.

    Exhibit A:
    “…I strongly suspect that you are just making this stuff up, or else listening uncritically to someone who does (I understand that the USA is richly supplied with professional liars who have a full time job retailing their lies by means of radio broadcasts).”

    “It’s already used in Christian doctrine (everyone goes to heaven),”
    I can’t tell if that is a shot at a specific religion or not.  It’s certainly not correct, I just can’t ascertain if it was meant in a pejorative manner or not.  Which will probably make me the butt of another joke (“Christians are so dumb, they don’t even know when they’re being made fun of”).

    I can live with that; the goal of my post was to show that at least some authors that use gender specific pronouns, and at least some of the folks that read those authors don’t consider themselves part of ‘the group,’ nor do they consider those folks whose pronouns were not used as being purposefully excluded from ‘the group,’ and we shouldn’t be maligned because of it.  I can tell you that I am a male, and if I bought a set of rules that used female pronouns throughout I wouldn’t even give it a thought.  I’d be focusing on the mechanisms to accomplish the things in rules that are important to me.  Other folks can be angry about that pronoun usage if they like, but I won’t be, and I shouldn’t be considered a liar, idiot, or intolerant for not caring.

    I’m with Zippy; this feels an awful like the worst side of TMP, which seems to be doing anything to talk about anything other than wargaming.  TMP’s editor has seen a lot of derision for going off-topic; this place didn’t used to be like that.  Not only are we doing it here now too, but it’s coming from the very top.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #54000

    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    I’ve seen variations of Rod’s syllogism (in the his first post here) in various fora that runs like this:

    This is my opinion. I have a right to express it.

    If you do not agree, you have a right to voice your opinion.

    My opinion is personal. If you criticize my logic, facts, or judgements you are causing offense through personal affront.

    [Rob, of course, is not defending his own opinion, but those of a hypothetical grammar curmudgeon. ]

    Now, rightly or wrongly, I associate this with British posters. It looks to me that it is “troll’s mate in 3” and something first learned in “Intro to Pub Rhetoric” long before the advent of the internet. Does this ring any bells with anyone?

    #54001
    Don Glewwe
    Don Glewwe
    Participant

    For what it’s worth, I think a lot of men* (meaning that literally) don’t read an instruction booklet (which is what a set of wargame rules is) that uses male pronouns and feel like they are being personally acknowledged, as if they are part of some club, and that genders not mentioned aren’t. Have any of the men* (literal) here on TWW ever road a rulebook which used he/him and felt as if the author was addressing them specifically, but not others? From my perspective, there are plenty of men* (literal) that don’t care what sort of pronouns the rules use, but don’t like the idea of being labeled unenlightened or even bigoted by people for whom this actually is an issue.

    I can tell you that I am a male…

    *well, there you have your answer: None of the privilaged group feel offended, so what’s the big deal?  sad   sad   sad.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 12 months ago by Don Glewwe Don Glewwe.

    https://brawlfactory.net/

    #54003
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Speaking as a publisher / business owner, there is a practical aspect to this. I don’t know why I’d do anything that might alienate a portion of the potential market while otherwise costing nothing and bothering no one.

    I don’t think anyone can reasonably say conclude that a person who reads a rulebook which uses ‘he’ and doesn’t react is innately “unenlightened or bigoted”, though technically “unenlightened” taken in its pure meaning vs as a simple putdown is correct.

    Nor would I be willing to assume that any author who wrote ‘he’ because the author was male and it was his default should be assumed to have negative intent behind the action.

    I simply think the change of the language will improve the market and community.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #54005

    Just Jack
    Participant

    Jonathan – I understood everything but the last paragraph, no idea what ‘troll’s mate in 3’ or ‘intro to pub rhetoric’ is/means.

    Don – Yes, thank you for illustrating my point.  I’m privileged, let me check my calendar to see who I’m oppressing in the afternoon slot.

    Bandit – I find your post entirely reasonable and agree with every single word.  Which could be dangerous to you as clearly I’m a monster…

    As someone somewhere once thought about saying: “Let us not discuss that which we have in common, but let us focus on…”

    V/R,

    Jack

    #54006
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ladies and gentlemen:

    It was never my intent to offend or cause discord in this thread despite what some might think and opine. I asked a question and made a few observations from what I believed was an objective viewpoint. Clearly, I misread the situation and have provoked people here. I value the harmony and hobby-centric focus of TWW too much to let things get testy on my account. I will bow out of this conversation hereafter so as not to stir up a hornet’s nest of acrimonious bickering. You may proceed as if I don’t exist and didn’t question anything.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson

    #54009
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Speaking as a publisher / business owner, there is a practical aspect to this. I don’t know why I’d do anything that might alienate a portion of the potential market while otherwise costing nothing and bothering no one.

    I think this is a fundamental truth that cuts through much of the chaff. Using gender-neutral (and therefore gender-irrelevant) terminology costs nothing, so the cost-to-benefit is nought-to-something-greater-than-nought.

    On a side note, while it may be true that identifying the player variably (from discrete case to case) as male or female may not be technically gender-neutral, it’s a close practical approximation of gender-irrelevance. That’s what matters. That’s what makes it worthwhile.

    To always write of the player as male suggests, to some at least, that the author thinks of the hobby (perhaps unconsciously) as a boys’ club, which can be off-putting to a subset of readers – including some of us male readers for whatever that may be worth. (And by “off-putting” I mean potentially putting us off the hobby as a whole, not just the book or its author, because the author may well be taken as representative of much of the greater hobby community). Even if that inference is ultimately incorrect and the author was just being lazy, inattentive or ignorant, it’s not an unreasonable inference to make. Laziness, inattentiveness and ignorance are still mistakes. The essence of professionalism is to not make mistakes.

    Ultimately, which is the more professional thing to do? To write of the players as men, or to write of them more generally as people?

    Given that we expect a reasonable degree of professionalism from a rules author in practically all other respects (proper grammar, inoffensive attitude, instructive presentation of the rules, avoidance of overly much slang, avoidance of partisanship vis-a-vis “contested history”, etc), why not this one?

    #54010
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    no idea what ‘troll’s mate in 3’ or ‘intro to pub rhetoric’ is/means

    I think Jonathan was saying that the points he was referring to are/were commonly used in argumentative traps used by trolls online and prior to the internet it was used in other venues.

    I’m privileged, let me check my calendar to see who I’m oppressing in the afternoon slot.

    I hear statements like this from time to time from people I know. I don’t know your intent, so I won’t presume it. I do know their intent from having spoken with them, so I will address it. They have used it as a sarcastic statement to indicate that they aren’t oppressing anyone, thus, any criticism or reference to their privilege is invalid.

    The notion that a privileged person is oppressing others is a logical falsehood. Essentially a misrepresentation of the argument being opposed, i.e. a straw man argument.

    I happen to have privilege. It is a matter of happenstance. It really isn’t something I can shed, presuming I wanted to. The problem with privilege isn’t that I oppress anyone, but that other people have less, i.e. they are not privileged. It isn’t that *I* oppress anyone, it is that they are oppressed and a demonstration of that is that I don’t have to worry about their problems.

    Privilege can be practically defined in two clear ways:

    1) Privilege means that a person is more likely to be less screwed than someone without privilege, i.e. There is always someone more likely to be worse off.

    2) Privilege means that a person can deny the validity of someone else’s complain, concern, or gripe, because they themselves do not have to worry about that issue, i.e. Your problem doesn’t happen to me, so I don’t think it is really a problem.
    ______________________

    I think there are larger two issues at play:

    A) Is there an improvement to be made and are there tangible gains to be had from it in the market and community at no cost.

    Yes. And such will require community discussion to take place.

    B) Are there people who oppose discussion of any change, including that of (A) for a vaguely articulated “But what is *their* problem anyway?”

    Yes. And what is problematic is whenever anyone who doesn’t immediately voice agreement with (A) is assumed to be part of (B), that, to my mind, is not useful or practical.

    There’s a good example of someone in this thread, doing “the wrong thing” for a reason that was not wrong: [paraphrased] “We wrote in our own voice and didn’t consider it.” That isn’t malicious intent and it is important it is not conflated with malice.

    At the same time, people who actually are doing (B) have to be called out on it, else the community just participates in willful blindness and ignores positive change.

    This can be difficult and is typically messy.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #54011
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    I think this is a fundamental truth that cuts through much of the chaff. Using gender-neutral (and therefore gender-irrelevant) terminology costs nothing, so the cost-to-benefit is nought-to-something-greater-than-nought.

    Yes. (And thank you.)

    To always write of the player as male suggests, to some at least, that the author thinks of the hobby (perhaps unconsciously) as a boys’ club, which can be off-putting to a subset of readers – including some of us male readers for whatever that may be worth. (And by “off-putting” I mean potentially putting us off the hobby as a whole, not just the book or its author, because the author may well be taken as representative of much of the greater hobby community).

    Yes.

    Ultimately, which is the more professional thing to do? To write of the players as men, or to write of them more generally as people?

    Given that we expect a reasonable degree of professionalism from a rules author in practically all other respects (proper grammar, inoffensive attitude, instructive presentation of the rules, avoidance of overly much slang, avoidance of partisanship vis-a-vis “contested history”, etc), why not this one?

    Agreed.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #54019
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    Which person is consciously following a sexist policy? To my mind both are.

    Can you explain why? I find it utterly improbable that anyone would be upset by gender-neutral language in a set of wargames rules, but do please state any cases you know of. Even if such people existed, how is it “sexist” to offend them? You baffle me strangely.

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    The writer should be criticised for the content and efficacy of the rules which they wrote and not the style in which the rules were written.

    I suspect that are quite a lot of wargamers who have no intention of giving up criticisms of style, after decades of criticising the style of Phil Barker’s rules writing. And why should style be immune from criticism? OK, it’s your opinion. Why is it your opinion? What is it based on?

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    If we are really concerned about inclusivity of as many people as we can be, we should be insisting that all rules be written in a triplicate Manderin Chinese, Arabic and English format and in pictorial form for the illiterate and for those of other languages.

    Actually Mr. Picky would be quite strongly in favour of wargames rules being written in first-order predicate calculus as far as possible. It is just possible that such a move would not arouse the massive public acclaim in plainly deserves.

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    those who don’t share this western prejudice of courtesy

    What cultures are you aware of that don’t have a concept of courtesy?

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    […] but otherwise you misrepresent the history if you call them persons (a modern legal term) or some other gender-neutral term.

    “Person” may well be a term used in modern law, but it is quite false to claim that the term has not been in existence for many centuries; it comes to us from Latin via Old French. Both Latin and Greek had perfectly serviceable words for a person of unspecified sex, which, to the confusion of monoglot anglophones, are both often translated as “man” (and are both masculine in grammatical gender, but monoglot anglophones typically do not understand grammatical gender). As my Latin teacher used to explain it, “Vir” means man as opposed to woman, “Homo” means man as opposed to mouse. “Aner” and “Anthropos” are the corresponding terms in Greek.

    Rod Robertson wrote:

    Are we not overlaying our own modern western prejudices in advocating for gender-neutrality by all, whether they share our outlook or not?

    “No” would be my short answer. For a longer one, you’d have to explain what you think is being overlaid on what.

    All the best,

    John.

    #54022
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Just Jack wrote:

    From my perspective, there are plenty of men (literal) that don’t care what sort of pronouns the rules use, but don’t like the idea of being labeled unenlightened or even bigoted by people for whom this actually is an issue.

    I doubt that anyone likes the idea of being labelled as bigoted — even bigots.

    Just Jack wrote:

    It seems to me he stated writers should be able to write using whichever type of pronouns they prefer, and then is disingenuously attacked in a manner which smears him, the pundits of a politically-opposed viewpoint, and their listeners. That stands out to a lot of folks as a bit hypocritical on the tolerance angle.

    “Attacked”? My, you are sensitive little flower. But perhaps if you consider the remarks made in this thread an “attack”, you might be able to make the effort of empathy necessary to imagine how the use of inappropriate language might upset people who are not members of the privileged group you are.

    Just Jack wrote:

    Seems a bit like ‘you need to agree that my problems are your problems, you need to agree that the solution to my problems is ‘x’ and support it, and if you don’t agree, it’s not because you have a valid viewpoint, it’s because you’re a lying idiot.

    Perhaps a closer reading of the text would relieve you of that misapprehension.

    For myself, I tend to call people liars because they tell deliberate untruths with the intention to mislead, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with me otherwise.

    Further down the scale, I accuse people of making stuff up where they are making stuff up, even if there is no dishonest intent. For the specific cases in point, I am pretty sure there has never been any “quota scheme” for pronouns, nor any “conscription” of wargamers into a massive social engineering project. If this isn’t sheer invention, it will be easy to prove me wrong by citing actual cases, won’t it?

    Further up the scale, there’s bullshit, which is worse than lying because the bullshitter does not even have the liar’s regard for the truth. See Harry Frankfurt, “On Bullshit”, a very useful little booklet (of which I sent a copy as a present to the last Prime Minister — must send one to Theresa for Crimbo).

    Just Jack wrote:

    Exhibit A:
    “…I strongly suspect that you are just making this stuff up, or else listening uncritically to someone who does (I understand that the USA is richly supplied with professional liars who have a full time job retailing their lies by means of radio broadcasts).”

    To be specific, I was referring to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim and Tammy-Fae Bakker. Fortunately there seems to be no equivalent (yet) here in rightpondia on radio or TV, but the same sort of pond life infest the internet, and our newspapers are much more heavily infected with paid liars than US papers seem to be.

    Just Jack wrote:

    “It’s already used in Christian doctrine (everyone goes to heaven),”
    I can’t tell if that is a shot at a specific religion or not. It’s certainly not correct, I just can’t ascertain if it was meant in a pejorative manner or not

    It was, as is customary with Mr. Picky’s postings, meant in a factual manner. While the parenthesised summary of the doctrine may not be comprehensively accurate, the doctine of inclusivism is a variant of universalism, promoted particularly by Steve McVey and John Crowder. Google gets gummed up a bit searching for it because Google appears to be much more interested in competing Wikipedian doctrines than competing Christian ones.

    All the best,

    John.

    #54023
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I understand that the USA is richly supplied with professional liars

    Uncool.

    “Attacked”? My, you are sensitive little flower

    That’s uncool too.

    Possibly some other uncool things I have missed also.
    I am going to lock this for a short while.

    Hopefully in a few days we can revisit with less uncoolness.
    In the meantime I will see if there is anyone in particular that needs to be more cool, and have a cool chat with them.

    EDIT: Unlocked, please be cool and no insults or accounts may be locked.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Mike Mike.
    #54293

    Another Wargamer
    Participant

    Finally have some free time to catch up.  Interesting posts.

    Gripping Beast/Studio Tomahawk examples: SAGA — “player with the most impressive facial hair wins… ” and IRONMAN competition.

    Although our group chuckles at using facial hair as a criteria for winning an initiative, we know it isn’t fair for the female player in our group so we use a die roll result instead.

    #54296
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Finally have some free time to catch up. Interesting posts. Gripping Beast/Studio Tomahawk examples: SAGA — “player with the most impressive facial hair wins… ” and IRONMAN competition. Although our group chuckles at using facial hair as a criteria for winning an initiative, we know it isn’t fair for the female player in our group so we use a die roll result instead.

    I dunno. I know some Portuguese and Portuguese-descended ladies with fairly impressive facial hair. 🙂

    I don’t think this is sexist as it is obviously tongue in cheek, tweaking stereotypes about the period.

    Of course, you could just go with “most impressive hair”.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

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