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Mikael Hasselstein

How can we be more gender inclusive in X-Wing?

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Alright, it's time for the Soc major to fess up about the continuance of this thread. Whoever you are, you're getting some 24karat sound bites for your next term paper.

 

As much as I do enjoy watching the gamer community try to reinvent the wheel here I think the real core concepts need to be studied. Check this out if you're truly interested in the solution to this problem or just keep ranting away: Contact Theory

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Ah, in which case yes, there may well be issues with those studies - I was trying to stress that I wasn't necessarily stating those specific studies as fact, but rather using them as examples that men and women can be different, and how that can be without necessarily being discrimination.

 

That said, I really don't think that the gaming community itself is the major source of such stereotype threats, but rather parents and other guardians, followed by the person's peer group as they grow older.

 

You're absolutely right - stereotype threat happens completely in the mind of the person experiencing the threat. It exists regardless of what the people around her (or him) are feeling or believing. However, making it explicit that the stereotype does not apply does alleviate the situation. That means that the community can influence matters if it chooses to do so.

 

 

The other factors you mention were also the case with other competitive-sausage-fest gaming hobbies, which have since opened up.

Have they?

Do more women play video games now, then in the 1980's or 90's? Sure there's no question. But what types of games are they playing?

 

Yes, women are being included more and more into all levels and aspects of society where there are no artificial barriers keeping them out. There's no reason to believe that our game should be any different.

 

 

Alright, it's time for the Soc major to fess up about the continuance of this thread. Whoever you are, you're getting some 24karat sound bites for your next term paper.

 

As much as I do enjoy watching the gamer community try to reinvent the wheel here I think the real core concepts need to be studied. Check this out if you're truly interested in the solution to this problem or just keep ranting away: Contact Theory

 

Bro', I already have my Ph.D. Just like Walt White being 'the one who knocks', I'm the one who grades. :P

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@Vorpal About physical intimination, most men have suffered that in their lives too. If you meant sexual harassment, yes, that's true, and words as **** can be a big deterrent for women (i had met a few that felt that way, and while gaming i had to re-learn how to express myself even tho i didn't meant it that way). Of course this has nothing to do with the game, and society. We as a community can embrace being more inclusive, but we would only accept it if societal rules deems it is acceptable first.

Breaking my self-imposed silence because I was addressed directly: the incident I'm thinking about was a Magic league night, where a relative newcomer blew up at an established female player when she beat him with a control/mill deck. (I haven't been a Magic player for a long time, but that's how it was explained to me afterward.) No one was hurt, but the scene was a big guy leaning across a table and screaming at a smaller, seated woman; it wasn't assault, but it was obviously intimidation.

As far as "men can be intimidated, too", of course that guy could have blown up at anyone, regardless of gender presentation. But it wasn't the first time he'd lost at that store, and not even the first time that night. So I don't think it was a coincidence that the person on whom he decided to take out his frustration happened to be the only woman around (as well as the smallest person around who wasn't a child), and he expressed his anger in explicitly gendered language. (Basically: real players play like this, but women play like that, so her win was illegitimate.)

I also don't mean to suggest that this behavior is typical of tabletop gamers in general, let alone of X-wing players. But if you were a woman and saw that scene, would it make you more or less inclined to come to that space for a competitive game?

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Yes, women are being included more and more into all levels and aspects of society where there are no artificial barriers keeping them out.

Sorry but you kinda dodged the question there.

The question isn't if there's more women playing video games, it's is there more women playing competitive video games?

All the studies on women gamers, seems to lump anything that is some sort of game some sort of electronic device into the same group. That's a mostly worthless thing, because there's a rather large difference between someone who plays bejeweled on their phone and someone playing in a CoD tournament. As X-Wing is inherently competitive in nature, you have to look at the % of women playing competitive games, and not just games in general.

In general my wife, even my mother or other women I know can be every bit as competitive as any guy I know, so IME at least I don't think it's as simple as women don't value competition.

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Yes, women are being included more and more into all levels and aspects of society where there are no artificial barriers keeping them out.

Sorry but you kinda dodged the question there.

 

Yeah, I kinda did. Too bad you caught me. <_<

 

 

The question isn't if there's more women playing video games, it's is there more women playing competitive video games?

All the studies on women gamers, seems to lump anything that is some sort of game some sort of electronic device into the same group. That's a mostly worthless thing, because there's a rather large difference between someone who plays bejeweled on their phone and someone playing in a CoD tournament. As X-Wing is inherently competitive in nature, you have to look at the % of women playing competitive games, and not just games in general.

In general my wife, even my mother or other women I know can be every bit as competitive as any guy I know, so IME at least I don't think it's as simple as women don't value competition.

 

I honestly can't speak to video games. I don't play or study them. You may have a point that the natures of the activities that women are included into change as women are included (or they force themselves in, as is frequently the case). I really don't have a problem with that.

 

Also, the competitive nature of X-Wing is not inherent. Just as I've already mentioned, the competitive 6-asteroid-100-point-Death-Match is a very popular way of playing X-Wing, but it's not the only one. There are story-based forms of play that I would MUCH prefer, and I think that many women might prefer that too. That's no less X-Wing than the 6a100pntDM that so many people like to play.

 

So, I think the point about competitiveness is moot. Maybe women shy away from the competition that is in exhibition in X-WIng, but the level of competitiveness is not inherent in X-Wing and therefore shouldn't be held up as a reason. Also, the idea that women are less competitive is absurd.

Edited by Mikael Hasselstein

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I have an idea. Treat each other with respect. be welcoming and helpful. Invite people to play, then let those who want to play, play, and accept that, for the most part, this just is not a game that women have an interest in. I like women who can shoot, ride motorcycles, do things that are traditionally "male" sports, I think tomboys, as we grew up calling them, are awesome. I also except that most women I know have little interest in driving a motorcycle, though many enjoy riding one when someone else is driving. we probably need more female input on this, I just don't think that most of them are that into this. (xwing)

To me, it's a lot like the discussion about diversity in the tech sector. who is surprised that it's predominatley white and asian? Now we have to run out and hire non-white men and women and drag them into an area where they may not have the interest, education or aptitude to "balance things" don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that other sectors don't have the ability, but that, at least historically, you don't see nearly as many minorities and women graduating with computer science degrees or pursuing a career in game design. In short, I am a free market kind of guy, I don't think we have to make everything equal, let's make things fair, give the job to the most qualified or deserving, rather than wringing our hands over diversity. I don't think diversity in and of itself is bad, but when diversity trumps ability or merit, it can become a bad thing.

Sorry, guess I hijacked this thread a little. I am going to pull the ripcord on this discussion because I think it is pointless and will not result in more women playing this game. I am sure that some of you will be glad to be rid of my commentary on the subject anyway.

P.S. I don't mean this to come off as mean spirited, I just thing, as a whole, this is tilting at windmills

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Alright, it's time for the Soc major to fess up about the continuance of this thread. Whoever you are, you're getting some 24karat sound bites for your next term paper.

 

As much as I do enjoy watching the gamer community try to reinvent the wheel here I think the real core concepts need to be studied. Check this out if you're truly interested in the solution to this problem or just keep ranting away: Contact Theory

 

Bro', I already have my Ph.D. Just like Walt White being 'the one who knocks', I'm the one who grades. :P

 

 

I see. This must be like zapping ants with a magnifying glass then. Shame on you!

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Also, the competitive nature of X-Wing is not inherent. Just as I've already mentioned, the competitive 6-asteroid-100-point-Death-Match is a very popular way of playing X-Wing, but it's not the only one. There are story-based forms of play that I would MUCH prefer, and I think that many women might prefer that too. That's no less X-Wing than the 6a100pntDM that so many people like to play.

 

So, I think the point about competitiveness is moot. Maybe women shy away from the competition that is in exhibition in X-WIng, but the level of competitiveness is not inherent in X-Wing and therefore shouldn't be held up as a reason. 

 

 

Blarg! Everytime I think I've pulled away you go and say something I have to disagree with ;)

 

Fluff or no, X-Wing is at it's core a game about shooting at space ships. And I don't do the tournament scene because I have no care or inclination towards that level of 'competition' but it is still a competition of skill and strategy ultimately, like just about any game short of games of chance.

 

So are we now generalizing that the majority of players are into the tournament or competitive scene and that is what is partly what is excluding potential gamers? Do we really think that is the case? I would think the shortages of ships are indicative that there is a much wider population of players than those that would attend a tournament or even a game store. 

Edited by nathankc

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but the level of competitiveness is not inherent in X-Wing and therefore shouldn't be held up as a reason.

There may be ways to play X-Wing that aren't competitive, but that's not the nature of the game at it's core. Everything in the rules is setup to be a competition between the two sides, to see who can beat the other one. Once you get into tournament play, that's all there is, competitive games. Even if they're friendly and casual they're still competitive in nature.

I mean I remember you first coming to this form and looking for a more narrative driven way to play the game, but there really isn't much out there towards that end, and even then it's still at least semi-competitive in nature.

So no, without a lot of work you can not take the competitive nature out of X-Wing. This is especially true for pick up games at the LGS or something.

Also, the idea that women are less competitive is absurd.

I agree and said as much. But the fact is that when it comes to competitive video games, such as FPS', something that like X-Wing often offers nothing but pure competition, with no narrative and often with at best simple goals, women are by and large not much interested.

I happened to run across a quote somewhere that said that if you look at FPS only 1 in 6 are women. At the same time these studies that show women playing games, include things like Solitaire and Bejeweled. So if we want to actually compare apples to apples, when we look at video games, we really need to narrow the field down to only those games similar in nature to X-Wing.

Those would be things like FPS, RTS and MOBA, all of which are still very much a boys only club with few women involved in them. I'm not attempting to say why that is, only that's it's generally true that women tend to be a much smaller % of those types of games.

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I have an idea. Treat each other with respect. be welcoming and helpful. Invite people to play, then let those who want to play, play, and accept that, for the most part, this just is not a game that women have an interest in. I like women who can shoot, ride motorcycles, do things that are traditionally "male" sports, I think tomboys, as we grew up calling them, are awesome. I also except that most women I know have little interest in driving a motorcycle, though many enjoy riding one when someone else is driving. we probably need more female input on this, I just don't think that most of them are that into this. (xwing)

To me, it's a lot like the discussion about diversity in the tech sector. who is surprised that it's predominatley white and asian? Now we have to run out and hire non-white men and women and drag them into an area where they may not have the interest, education or aptitude to "balance things" don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that other sectors don't have the ability, but that, at least historically, you don't see nearly as many minorities and women graduating with computer science degrees or pursuing a career in game design. In short, I am a free market kind of guy, I don't think we have to make everything equal, let's make things fair, give the job to the most qualified or deserving, rather than wringing our hands over diversity. I don't think diversity in and of itself is bad, but when diversity trumps ability or merit, it can become a bad thing.

Sorry, guess I hijacked this thread a little. I am going to pull the ripcord on this discussion because I think it is pointless and will not result in more women playing this game. I am sure that some of you will be glad to be rid of my commentary on the subject anyway.

P.S. I don't mean this to come off as mean spirited, I just thing, as a whole, this is tilting at windmills

 

Dude, I'm Dutch - I'm offended by your windmills statement! :P

 

(Yes, I know it's referring to a Spanish novel.)

 

I also appreciate your treat eachother with respect point.

 

Where I think we differ is the idea that - just like diversity in the tech sector - that the playing field is fair. If things were fair, I would entirely agree with you - at that point, let the free market run things. However, let's make sure that it approaches being fair to begin with.

 

To bring the analogy back, I see more than ample reasons to suspect that there are subtle barriers to women's inclusion into X-Wing. Maybe you don't see them, but it's clear to the rest of us that they're there. What are the reasons that you have to doubt their existence? Also, if you want the playing field to be fair, why are you arguing against me. I'm not trying to make the game different or advantageous to women player by giving them a leg up in the gameplay.

 

 

I see. This must be like zapping ants with a magnifying glass then. Shame on you!

 

More like flies. They're much harder to zap.

 

 

Just a question, do we really need a 3rd thread about this??

 

Dude. I started this thread just a few hours ago, and we're on the fifth page already. Clearly this thread is resonating. Also, the other threads were locked/disappeared.

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Here's what I think:

What can and should FFG do? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with making a product for a specific group of people they know will buy it. The presence of women players has no effect on the quality of the game.

With conversations like these, we need to be clear what we're talking about. What are we talking about? So far, everyone seems to have a different opinion.

To directly address the topic of the thread, I'd say keep asking women to play. My girlfriend and her friends like the game, but would never participate on their own. They just don't care enough.

If the goal is to get more women into Xwing, well, that's not going to happen. Not without some society-level changes happening first.

I'm going to get REAL general for a moment...women aren't conditioned to crave combat and violence, but men are. The idea of a man destroying his opponent, or dying gloriously, is prevalent in our society. Not to say women aren't shown as violent, but it is usually without vulnerability. They are shown as deceitful and manipulative, attacking their enemies through proxies and not directly putting themselves at risk.

Like I said, that is a generalization, but an image repeated so often you'd be lying if you said it hasn't influenced you.

I think that's the main obstacle. Women aren't conditioned to crave the sort of conflict that X-Wing provides: Direct vulnerability from your enemies, disclosure of all weapons, and the only spoil of victory is the blood of your enemy. That's the baseline of X-Wing to me, but maybe you feel differently.

This may be anecdotal, but I play lots of boardgames with girls. They like games that(in no particular order): are funny, facilitate social interaction above gameplay, allow deceit or manipulation, allow non-aggressive actions, or have narrative flair. Combat simulators (involving tactics, statistics, etc) are usually out because they find the tactics are narrative uninteresting.

Hmmm...I guess I'm starting to ramble. Long story short, I embrace our female community and would love to see it grow, but I don't think women at large have the itch this game scratches.

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To bring the analogy back, I see more than ample reasons to suspect that there are subtle barriers to women's inclusion into X-Wing.

Then, in a what may very well be a vain attempt... Lets hear some more ideas on what we can do to remove those barriers.

I listed a number of ones I thought of, so perhaps more of that would be constructive rather than a debate about why.

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but the level of competitiveness is not inherent in X-Wing and therefore shouldn't be held up as a reason.

There may be ways to play X-Wing that aren't competitive, but that's not the nature of the game at it's core. Everything in the rules is setup to be a competition between the two sides, to see who can beat the other one. Once you get into tournament play, that's all there is, competitive games. Even if they're friendly and casual they're still competitive in nature.

I mean I remember you first coming to this form and looking for a more narrative driven way to play the game, but there really isn't much out there towards that end, and even then it's still at least semi-competitive in nature.

So no, without a lot of work you can not take the competitive nature out of X-Wing. This is especially true for pick up games at the LGS or something.

 

Yes, there is competition in X-Wing, but that's not the same as the competitiveness. By adding narrative stakes, and a good story, you increase the positive-sum nature of the experience. As it currently stands there is positive-sum enjoyment - I can have a great time even if I lose a game - but I think sharing a narrative experience reduces the share of the enjoyment that is won or lost with the winning or losing of the game.

 

So, that means that a narrative game is less competitive than a 6a100pntDM, even if the competition is still there.

 

Does that make sense?

 

 

I agree and said as much. But the fact is that when it comes to competitive video games, such as FPS', something that like X-Wing often offers nothing but pure competition, with no narrative and often with at best simple goals, women are by and large not much interested.

I happened to run across a quote somewhere that said that if you look at FPS only 1 in 6 are women. At the same time these studies that show women playing games, include things like Solitaire and Bejeweled. So if we want to actually compare apples to apples, when we look at video games, we really need to narrow the field down to only those games similar in nature to X-Wing.

Those would be things like FPS, RTS and MOBA, all of which are still very much a boys only club with few women involved in them. I'm not attempting to say why that is, only that's it's generally true that women tend to be a much smaller % of those types of games.

 

I'm having a tough time reading through all the acronyms at this point. However, again, I think the point is rather moot.

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And here I go derailing the thread after trying to change the direction... Mikael I wrote up a long response to your above post. But then realized I was doing exactly what I said we shouldn't do, debating the why...

So lets for the moment put aside the question of why, because in a lot of ways it's not important.

If we could only get a .05% increase in women gamers playing X-Wing, by making some simple changes then I'd say it's worth it. Naturally that doesn't mean change like "women get 110 points" or something...

But changes to how we act, or as I said above a more welcoming environment in the venue with wide open, clean and well lit spaces.

Edited by VanorDM

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Here's what I think:

What can and should FFG do? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with making a product for a specific group of people they know will buy it. The presence of women players has no effect on the quality of the game.

 

I do think that the presence of women players has the potential to enrich the game. Also, accessing the other half of the population has the potential to add to FFG's bottom line.

 

 

And here I go derailing the thread after trying to change the direction...

 

Huh... you must have edited what you wrote. I still have the original on my screen, but I'm happy to let it go since you are. ;)

 

 

 

To bring the analogy back, I see more than ample reasons to suspect that there are subtle barriers to women's inclusion into X-Wing.

Then, in a what may very well be a vain attempt... Lets hear some more ideas on what we can do to remove those barriers.

I listed a number of ones I thought of, so perhaps more of that would be constructive rather than a debate about why.

 

Yes, please!

 

I suggested adding narrative stakes to the game so as to include more of the SWU that we all - men and women - love. Of course, that's my natural preference anyway, so take that for what it's worth.

 

I also think it's worthwhile to make more men aware of the subtle barriers, which is what this thread is about. Sure, the naysayers may dig in, but there may be people on the edge who can recognize and address those subtle barriers.

 

One of those is stereotype threat. Maybe we can alleviate that by creating the self-fulfilling prophesy that X-Wing is different from most tabletop miniatures games that it is just as accessible to women as it is to men and that X-Wing players are much more inviting of women players than the neckbeards of Warhammer are. :D

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 Blarg! Everytime I think I've pulled away you go and say something I have to disagree with ;)

 

Fluff or no, X-Wing is at it's core a game about shooting at space ships. 

 

 

And it is. The problem here is that the majority of posters are being outflanked by some rather specious social science arguments. The main idea is that the game space is male-centric and intentionally non-inclusive of women-folkses.

 

The thing is, it's really simpler than that. Gamers, once upon a time, were a shunned society. They had very little power in mainstream culture and as a result of that they (or we) created our own society of oddball outcasts. But this society, though comprised of nerds, spazzes, and losers, was really no different than the society that cast them out.

 

The things that had cachet in this culture was things like, erudite knowledge (comics, star trek, et al), impressive computational/engineering skills, and being a master of games. My chess club in grade school eventually evolved into a D&D/Wargaming club.

 

The gamer kids were slightly different from the other wastrels. They came from all ethnic backgrounds and levels of schooling. The thing that they all had in common was a desire the power that could be attained and expressed in these games. Being unbeatable in Battletech was pretty hot shot status, and we all vied for that kind of fame at school. We played all kinds of games, but the goal was always the same, not just beat your opponent, but dominate and humiliate him too.

 

It was us transferring our frustration with society at large humiliating us upon each other. We mocked each other's builds and strategies and in the end were perpetuating the cycle of victimization.

 

That culture still exists to a lesser degree even with the success that nerd culture has enjoyed in the mainstream. But in the culture of gaming (mini's gaming especially) where the object is power (or might), this phenomena of hostility and dominance of the weak still exists. Why wouldn't it? This is true of any competitive sport. 

 

Is this hostility is gender specific? Maybe. But anyone with this kinda of hyper-competitive mindset will use any sort of psychological edge to their advantage including intimidation. Some people might not even realize that they are doing it...Like on Warseer...many posters there show their win loss ratio in their Sigs. I'm not saying that doing that is automatic guilt of intimidation, but it does promote the idea that gamers are constantly comparing size of their ePeens.

 

And ePeen pride is most certainly a barrier in the game space to women. 

Edited by Radzap

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Or could you possibly imagine that there is something bigger at the background in our society that makes women not as competitive ? (And by competitive i don't mean that they can't compete, but that is a trait which is regarded negatively for women in our society for the most part)

 

I think one only has to look at the participation numbers of females in all levels of athletics and sports to see that this might be conflating the issue a bit. We should not be asking 'are women not as competitive' but - 'why aren't women as "apparently" interested in competitive table top war games with tiny toy spaceships?"

 

I am not saying they are not as competitive. I am saying they are not impulsed to be as competitive by our societal system, which works as a deterrent for them because it is seen as a bad and menacing attribute on women. 

 

I see Mikael also posted taking that as an interpretation of what i said, so i guess my between () explanation wasn't good enough (most probably, my english).

 

And no, i don't think we should be thinking about "why women aren't interested into table top war games" if we are not being exclusive, ergo, we are not pushing away women by our attitude towards them or the game has that kind of flaws. If ain't broke, why fix it ?

 

The question you should be doing is "why do you feel like you need to do something else if you are not excluding women?"

 

The answer is normally because it gives a feeling of legitimicy, like people who try to make games, esports, etc... more mainstream.

 

On the hygiene topic...

 

I don't know where you are, but i haven't seen any hygiene troubles in my fellow nerds since a long time ago, but thank you for the discrimination. It is always welcome to read threads about inclusion while being discriminatory and fueling steorotypes. Ahhh the irony.

 

@Vorpal 

 

I had seen men shouting in menacing manners to each other at tournaments too. It is not something that only happens to women. You just had the anecdotical evidence that it happened to a women, and you think it wouldn't had happened to a guy who he felt he could physically intimidate,so you made it a gender issue by speculation, not by facts. You may be right, but the possibility doesn't make you right. 

Edited by DreadStar

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So I guess the question presumes then that female gamers are excluded because of the game store or tournament culture? 

For my situation I would have to disagree. I could ask every single female I personally know and not a single one will want to play this game and it will have nothing to do with a game store or a tournament because not even I attend either of those kinds of locations / events, etc....

 

So, my opinion on why more females (children not included) aren't playing X-Wing is not relating to anything other than it just isn't the kind of game experience that the females I know would be interested in playing. And there is no amount of narrative, card art, or any other thing you could do to change that and it has nothing to do with subtle societal barriers that are repressing some inner, nascent desire to play. They just don't like it. They will play Catan, Trivial Pursuit, any number of things but table top war, RISK, etc... nope.

 

We can all get a little myopic in our experiences informing our perception of bias. I get the sense that most people on the board are tournament, game store players and communicate / perceive from that perspective but as one who has generally zero interest in that world, I approach / see things differently I guess. But I'm sure my perception on that is biased as well ;)

Edited by nathankc

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Nothing anybody is ever going to post in these (troll) threads will change anything ... anybody with an IQ above 20 knows what the "problem" is and also knows what real life action everyone can do to remedy this ...

 

this is a bad thread and you should feel bad about it

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The problem here is that the majority of posters are being outflanked by some rather specious social science arguments. The main idea is that the game space is male-centric and intentionally non-inclusive of women-folkses.

 

The thing is, it's really simpler than that. Gamers, once upon a time, were a shunned society. They had very little power in mainstream culture and as a result of that they (or we) created our own society of oddball outcasts. But this society, though comprised of nerds, spazzes, and losers, was really no different than the society that cast them out.

 

Oh, please. This post of your is no less specious social-sciency than mine, so get off the low horse and acknowledge that you agree with me. :P

 

Nothing anybody is ever going to post in these (troll) threads will change anything ... anybody with an IQ above 20 knows what the "problem" is and also knows what real life action everyone can do to remedy this ...

 

this is a bad thread and you should feel bad about it

 

Sorry, I don't feel bad in the slightest. I'm getting a lot of support.

 

Also, societies do change one conversation at a time, and that includes "troll threads".

Edited by Mikael Hasselstein

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Nothing anybody is ever going to post in these (troll) threads will change anything ... anybody with an IQ above 20 knows what the "problem" is and also knows what real life action everyone can do to remedy this ...

 

this is a bad thread and you should feel bad about it

One man's escapist divertment is another woman's chauvinist male fantasy world.

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The problem here is that the majority of posters are being outflanked by some rather specious social science arguments. The main idea is that the game space is male-centric and intentionally non-inclusive of women-folkses.

 

The thing is, it's really simpler than that. Gamers, once upon a time, were a shunned society. They had very little power in mainstream culture and as a result of that they (or we) created our own society of oddball outcasts. But this society, though comprised of nerds, spazzes, and losers, was really no different than the society that cast them out.

 

Oh, please. This post of your is no less specious social-sciency than mine, so get off the low horse and acknowledge that you agree with me. :P

Whoa Silver!

 

Ok...now that I've dismounted I'd like to say that I agree with the spirit of your position but I really can't get into my thesis without going deep into Marx...and that would just be wildly inappropriate here.   :D

Edited by Radzap

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