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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: Thomas Tamblyn on April 20, 2003, 11:59:14 AM



Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Thomas Tamblyn on April 20, 2003, 11:59:14 AM
Something I've realised recently, is I don't think I've ever seen any female posters at the forge, now I know that the forge has no intirinsic gender bias, so why on earth is this such an uneven community - rpg.net and the white-wolf forums have plenty of female posters so why is it just us men over here?

Please, prove me wrong, but this seems a bit odd to say the least.  Any theories?


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 20, 2003, 12:51:25 PM
There are definitely several female posters in the top 50.  If you haven't seen any, you either haven't been around long enough or haven't been paying attention.  

The gender imbalance at the Forge is reflected at almost every other online forum about roleplaying, simply because there's a massive gender imbalance in the hobby itself.  However, I tend to think that our percentage of female-to-male posters is actually higher than many places, because the Forge doesn't have a drolling, socially-inept fanboy population.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: clehrich on April 20, 2003, 01:41:47 PM
Actually, the only women I know of in the top 60 posters are Shreyas Sampat (I think) and Emily Care, but that particular group is not necessarily an accurate sample.  I'm sort of hoping that some women will come forth to remark on this question... ladies?


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: M. J. Young on April 20, 2003, 01:57:09 PM
I know that there are female posters on the Forge because the issue has come up before. I think you don't see it so much in part because not all of them have obviously female-sounding handles. There is a tendency to assume that a poster is male if there's nothing to indicate otherwise, but it isn't always so.

I vaguely recall a thread about gender issues not so long ago in which several posters who contributed specified that they were female; I just can't place what it was about otherwise. Emily might remember.

Anyway, the short answer is that you haven't noticed any posters whom you knew to be female; that's not the same thing.

--M. J. Young


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 20, 2003, 04:40:02 PM
Quote from: clehrich
Actually, the only women I know of in the top 60 posters are Shreyas Sampat (I think) and Emily Care...


Um, as far as I know, Shreyas is a guy :)  I thought he was female at first, back when he posted under "four willows weeping," but I've been calling him a "him" for a while and he's never corrected me...


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: jrs on April 21, 2003, 06:43:44 AM
Thomas,

Your assumption of "just us men" at the forge is incorrect.  I have no theories or anything particularly enlightening to say about the perceived lack of women at the forge.  I am a woman with a non-descript login (my initials); I do usually close my posts with my first name.  I've been a forge member for quite a while, but with only a small number of posts.  Why?  I'm not a game designer, and I've never been a prolific online participant.

I agree that the women who do post here are not in-your-face about it, which I for one appreciate.  I don't think it is necessary for gender, male or female, to be blatant in an online environment, and I find it curious whenever the issue is raised.  

I'm guessing that the topic that M.J. refers to is Sexism and Gaming (split).

Julie


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 21, 2003, 09:29:27 AM
There are female members on the Forge. For some reason they just aren't as vocal or visible. I would suggest allow avatars to make it more obvious if I didn't hate avatars. (I really hope this doesn't open up a "turn on avatars on the Forge discussion." Avatars are annoying and if there were on, I would turn off my ability to view them in the users options)
But there are women here. I don't know why they don't seem to post as much as the males. But we won't get them to post more often by drawing attention to their sex.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on April 21, 2003, 11:25:12 AM
For whatever reason, I've been seeing less of our female members than usual - Emily Care's been conspicuously quiet, Cynthia Celeste Miller mostly stays inside her game's forum, and so on.  I think M. J. covered the topic adequately with noticing and knowledge.

For the record, Jonathan's right.  I'm lucky enough to have one of those uncommon foreign names that's androgynous in its own language. (:


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Matt Wilson on April 21, 2003, 03:04:28 PM
If Forgers would like to see more women posting, my .02 is to suggest looking for women's gaming groups on the Web and telling them about the Forge, and that it's a really cool community, and that damnit, gamers of all sorts are definitely welcome here.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 21, 2003, 07:19:40 PM
Sigh,

No one is understanding Julie's post - which, at a very basic level which I'm afraid will also be misunderstood, says, So what?

I shall illustrate with a hypothetical situation. Let's say that posting above a certain amount on the Forge is a pathological behavior which tends to be observed in men. All right then, the current pattern (plenty of women but not in the top-posting category) would then represent the "best" possible situtation.

Sigh. Let me guess, people will misunderstand that too. I am not claiming that the above idea really is the case. What I'm saying is that there is no pattern of data that would alarm me into thinking something's "wrong," barring a tendency to show up, to break into a variety of clearly negative internet-style interactions, and to leave. Since I don't see that at the Forge - no problem. Even if only 1% of the posts were by women, it would still be no problem. We don't know whether 1% is "good," or if 99% is "good," and especially whether an even, perfect, constant 50% is "good."

"We do a lot of X! But women aren't doing X as often as we are! Oh, no, what are we doing wrong, to drive them away?" Bah. Maybe it's a gender-biased behavior in the first place. Maybe they have better things to do. Maybe it's sunspots. Maybe we're all unconscious sexists who send out repellent thought-waves or imply it in some ineffable way in our posts. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

It comes down to this. I don't expect anyone to want to post to the Forge as often as (say) me or Mike Holmes. Since men, obviously, are exempt from such expectations on my part, why should I place the expectation on women to do so, especially?

I am especially unhappy with singling out women posters by name with the implication that they should post more - that is frankly provocative and pushy. I'm only a little less unhappy with the idea that they would if only "we" (the guys) would do something different or right.

Guys, it's very sweet of you to want to be good to the women and make sure that they aren't "offended" or aren't being marginalized in some way. That's great. You know something, though. I think they can take care of themselves.

If such things were going on, I'd be hearing about it very directly from quite a few women who post here - some of whom I have to deal with face to face regularly, and some of whom I don't but stay in fairly regular private email contact with. None of them are shy in telling me what I do "wrong," and they like it here. So far, that's the data I'm working with, and it, unlike that which this thread is based on, is completely non-speculative as to cause.

Best,
Ron


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: greyorm on April 21, 2003, 08:20:35 PM
I was going to say much the same as Ron: why is this even remotely an issue?

There's no sexism going on, thus no problem, and no need to close this perceived (and completely artificial) gap. Gender isn't and shouldn't even be an issue in this case.

Saying, "Oh my gods, we don't have enough women!" is only important if:
a) You're trying to get laid
b) see "a"


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: talysman on April 21, 2003, 09:12:06 PM
or, to put it another way:

there are Forge members who (a) are male; and, (b) post about as much as the average female Forge member. why should we be concerned about the quantity of posts from female posters, but not those from males with a low post count? why are we treating women different than we treat men? should we include religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and political party in the profile, to make sure no other groups are left out?

even if someone isn't "trying to get laid" (as Raven suggests,) it sounds a bit sexist to treat women differently when women don't ask to be treated differently. Thomas, I don't mean to suggest you are being sexist (and I'm sure Raven isn't suggesting you're looking for romance.) you're just concerned you (or the community as a whole) are doing something wrong in relation to women. but double-guessing your behavior or the community's behavior doesn't work well and just increases stress; relax! if you spot an actual problem, report it in a private message to the moderators; otherwise, pretend everything is fine -- it probably is.

I think Ron was right before when he suggested that total number of posts should be turned off. maybe "date of last login" would be a more useful stat.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 22, 2003, 01:49:18 PM
Quote from: greyorm
I was going to say much the same as Ron: why is this even remotely an issue?

There's no sexism going on, thus no problem, and no need to close this perceived (and completely artificial) gap. Gender isn't and shouldn't even be an issue in this case.

Saying, "Oh my gods, we don't have enough women!" is only important if:
a) You're trying to get laid
b) see "a"


Congrats, "greyorm" - you managed to post one of the most sexist and offensive posts I've ever read around here.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 22, 2003, 01:55:40 PM
Jeffrey,

That's a fine example of a valid private-message, not a post. You could address it to me, as content moderator, or to Raven (greyorm) if you preferred to discuss it with him directly.

Best,
Ron


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 22, 2003, 01:59:07 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
That's a fine example of a valid private-message, not a post. You could address it to me, as content moderator, or to Raven (greyorm) if you preferred to discuss it with him directly.


Would you mind starting a thread on the validity of confronting racism, sexism, and offensive content in a public forum, and the inefectiveness of a private reply to create public discussion about community standards? Thanks.

-j-


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 22, 2003, 02:45:56 PM
Hi Jeffrey,

While you're all fired-up about the issue, ready with your weapons and eager to join battle?

Yes, I would very much mind starting such a thread and I will not do it under these circumstances.

You're talking to someone raised in a feminist environment to a significant degree, as well as someone who's organized womens' conferences, participated in female-centered self-defense training, and who's been around the block on these issues in general. I am significantly suspicious of the attitude, be it held by male or female, that someone absolutely knows what is right and wrong about gender issues and interaction and can tell us allllll about it.

As content moderator, I absolutely require threads such as you describe to be venues for discourse and coming to a shared understanding, not stumps for people to wave around their little 3x5 card ideologies. My discourse standards for a sexism (etc) thread are extremely high.

Here are a couple of other points of view, held by me, that would serve as constraints on such a thread.

1) The term "offensive" is not defined and cannot serve as a basis for any sort of meaningful discussion. Actual harm can be identified and discussed - on-line, it ranges from emotional abuse, to marginalizing, to power-theft, and to instilling fear of losing status. Sexism and similar issues should be discussed in terms of observed, actual harm, which is real, and common enough that it deserves our attention far more than inferred and vague pseudo-events such as "offensiveness."

2) Deconstructing "how we talk" is one of the big red herrings. A real issue about gender interactions, sexism, and so on is always best addressed in terms of the work at hand, in terms of a shared agenda that itself is not about "getting along better" nor any other gender-activist thing.

There is only one shared agenda at the Forge. It was discussed in the The five percent (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4464) thread, which I rank among the most important threads ever at this site.

If anyone would like to begin a thread properly centered on that agenda, and in line with my two points above, in regard to "women [or whoever or whatever] at the Forge," then please feel free.

Best,
Ron


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 22, 2003, 06:48:13 PM
Ron, I'm a little disappointed that you choose to start this conversation in this mode;  we had several messages back in forth in private that contained no trace of acrimony, anger, or passionate and righteous anger from my corner, and I had expected a thoughtful, engaging, and above all respectful response.

You seem to have what I can only see as willful misunderstanding of both what I'm saying and the manner in which I'm saying it.  In  neither my public postings nor my private messages with both you, 'greyorm', and other members of the Forge community have I proposed that I have any special license to insight, knowledge, or wisdom that I'm descending from on high to gift to the masses;  I would expect better than straw men from you, Ron.

In all of our correspondence, you've shown a decided hostility towards both this topic and myself, and I can only summise that you've bad experiences with people around this subject, a situation that I certainly dislike being made a whipping boy for.  If you can't be involved in a community discussion on this subject because it causes a negative reaction for you, I can certainly understand that, but as I hope I made clear in my private letters this afternoon, I will regret losing your insight and thoughts.

As for credentials, I firmly don't believe that we need to start bringing our CVs to the table.  Everyone who is both a participant in modern society and here at the Forge has a worthwhile perspective and experience to share.

Quote
As content moderator, I absolutely require threads such as you describe to be venues for discourse and coming to a shared understanding, not stumps for people to wave around their little 3x5 card ideologies. My discourse standards for a sexism (etc) thread are extremely high.


I agree!  Anyone who says otherwise is willfully misrepresenting me.

Whether or not I agree with the points that you propose as groundrules, and as much as I understand that for many intents and purposes, you can "take your ball and go home" I think its intellectually stifling to place straw-man constraints upon a supposed conversation that you're not willing to let happen in the first place.  Are you actually offering to start a thread on either the incident/post in question, or upon the nature/role/place of sexism and/or gender identity politics, or are your points as outline made, in the absence of any thread of rebuttal, as points in an argument? To be honest, its difficult for me to understand which.

Quote
1) The term "offensive" is not defined and cannot serve as a basis for any sort of meaningful discussion. Actual harm can be identified and discussed - on-line, it ranges from emotional abuse, to marginalizing, to power-theft, and to instilling fear of losing status. Sexism and similar issues should be discussed in terms of observed, actual harm, which is real, and common enough that it deserves our attention far more than inferred and vague pseudo-events such as "offensiveness."


While I agree with you to a certain extent that these are good ground rules for a constructive discussion, there does exists a standard for offensiveness, as defined by the community in which it exists.

In this medium we are limited only to the words at hand, so while deconstruction of those words is generally fruitless, it is useful to examine the way in which we choose to communicate, and come to a deeper understanding and comprehension in regards to the impact and implication of our word choices within a larger social context.

Quote
There is only one shared agenda at the Forge. It was discussed in the The five percent (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4464) thread, which I rank among the most important threads ever at this site.


I'm a little bothered;  you seem to imply that I have an agenda that is outside the scope of the Forge.  First off, I don't have an agenda in this area - nor, do I think, is it good form to accuse or imply that someone who is speaking up against what they perceive as either sexism, racism, or some other -ism of having any agenda other than good social behavior within a community.

Secondly, this topic is being raised in the context of a discussion about the lack of women (or perceived lack thereof) here at the Forge.  I would like to think that a discussion of gender norms within the gaming community and gender behavior is not only germain, but is wholly appropriate, and can be conducted in a respectful, honest manner.

-jeffrey-


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: greyorm on April 22, 2003, 07:24:53 PM
Quote from: talysman
even if someone isn't "trying to get laid" (as Raven suggests,) it sounds a bit sexist to treat women differently when women don't ask to be treated differently. Thomas, I don't mean to suggest you are being sexist (and I'm sure Raven isn't suggesting you're looking for romance.)

John is correct: I am not suggesting Thomas (or anyone else) is looking for romance or sex through the desire for more women at the Forge.

Like Ron, I'm sure much this may be misunderstood, but I am asking those who desire such to examine the issue they're asking about more thoroughly: what is the particularly necessary reason to refer to the sex of someone else, given that gender distinction and ratio makes absolutely no difference to the activity?

Will conversing with someone who is "a woman" mean the conversation is better? More qualitative? Of greater depth? More interesting? Result in better design? Does it even matter? No, of course not.

As a man, defining a fellow person as a woman only needs to be done when there is some importance to that fact: and the only time "being a woman" is important is as a social-sexual factor -- else please describe to me why being a woman would have any bearing on discussion, design, or conversation?

The same goes for African Americans, Russians, Queers, Christians, Bhuddists, Men, etc. It doesn't matter what you are as it has no bearing.

To paraphrase Ron paraphrasing Julie, "Gender: So what?"
Does knowing that I am a woman or a man make any real difference that my gender needs to be known or that my posts need to be viewed as "coming from a woman" or "coming from a man," or is it more of a hindrance as we begin to alter our social interactions based on gender issues?

Gender is only of social-sexual concern. It serves no other purpose in our interactions with others.
Hence my cheeky statement -- gender/race/sexuality are only a factor in social(-sexual) venues, not in discussions, not in conversations, not in communities -- it's extraneous information that has no bearing without some sort of other problem behind it.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 22, 2003, 09:12:40 PM
Hello,

Jeffrey, you see me as reasonable and then responding with anger. I see you as posting in anger and then becoming reasonable. You state that no acrimony, etc, was present in your messages/posts, and I strongly disagree. I could state there's none in mine, including the above, and you (I presume) disagree. You're disappointed with my response, and I'm disappointed in your posts. Clearly something is wrong.

So we're not getting anywhere with "who got mad." Neither of us sees ourselves as the mad one, and I doubt either is going to budge. I'll drop it if you will, he said, eyeing the other fellow warily. That's a joke. I do think we'd do well to drop it, and I'm not speaking as moderator in doing so (which would be unfair).

You wrote,

Quote
Are you actually offering to start a thread on either the incident/post in question, or upon the nature/role/place of sexism and/or gender identity politics, or are your points as outline made, in the absence of any thread of rebuttal, as points in an argument?


The former, although technically, not me starting such a thread but rather anyone who'd like to, yourself included. I've provided my criteria for it as moderator. The points are not, themselves, an argument.

I don't see them as straw men, by the way. I consider them absolutely necessary ground rules for any constructive gender-issue discussion. That's my moderator call, which I am pulling, in this case.

Here's another one. "Good social behavior" in terms of gender issues, offensiveness, sexism, and similar things remains terra incognita. No one knows what "good" means in this regard, not prescriptively. I consider surety about this to be, itself, an agenda, and highly suspect.

For instance, at work, I can hold and enforce certain standards about these issues in my classroom - to a great extent, people are paying in order to have someone do this, in a learning environment. But I can't do that at the Forge, not even as content moderator. That would be worse than suspect; it'd be arrantly wrong. It'd be wrong for anyone.

I'd like to take this post to the issue, then, of identifying what "the community" holds as its standard for good social behavior, which I maintain is a very dodgy subject, and not immediately identifiable. However, I'm both physically and emotionally exhausted and that will have to wait until tomorrow, a prospect which doesn't fill me with joy.

Best,
Ron


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: jrs on April 23, 2003, 06:19:36 AM
Jeffrey, Ron, don't do this.  Do we truly need to see a conversation about community standards here?  At the moment it only seems to be the two of you arguing the point.  Watching the two of you starting to puff up over what's appropriate is not pretty.  If nothing else, throwing down the gauntlet, "You gonna start a topic on that?", is not the way to resolve this misunderstanding.

For the record, I am in agreement with everything that greyorm has posted in this thread.  And, I was not offended by his first post, on the contrary, I thought it was spot on.  I also had Belushi running through my head, "The little girls?  How much for the little girls?"  It made me laugh.  So if you want to label me a sexist, go for it, I don't mind.  

This has gone way off topic, and I suggest that everyone go back to talking about gaming.

Julie


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 23, 2003, 06:27:32 AM
Hiya,

So it's been, since last posting, five hours of semi-stressful role-playing (new people), plus grading papers, plus a shutdown of public transportation on the way to work ...

The good news is that Jeffrey and I took it to private mail and did OK there. Julie gets the unsolicited-but-welcome moderator prize for the thread, I think.

Best,
Ron


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: clehrich on April 23, 2003, 06:41:01 AM
For what it's worth, I agree with Julie.  Here's a few points that might be worth discussion, IMO; otherwise this all seems pointless.

1. Is there any reason to think that women are actually avoiding the Forge, or avoiding posting at the Forge?  I don't know how you could find out, but certainly sheer numbers aren't useful absent exactly parallel data from other RPG fora and the statistics of the hobby in general, neither of which (I suspect) will be available.

2. Does anyone know why RPGs are perceived as a male thing?  Is there any way to analyze this intelligently (i.e. not just saying that D&D was all about killing, and women don't like that, which is sexist if perhaps generously-minded)?

3. It appears, from this thread and a few others, that some men are quite concerned that RPGs are perceived as predominantly male, and that there do seem to be fewer women players around.  Is there some way to attract more women to the hobby, and is this a worthwhile goal in itself?  Raven's point, that the only reason to do this is to increase chances of a liaison, made sense in that context but not this.  The argument made for affirmative action lately might fit: RPGs would be more fun and more rewarding if the players represented a wider spectrum of society at large.  Does this argument hold here, and is there an intelligent way to achieve such a goal?

Now I'm going back to thinking about RPGs specifically.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Thomas Tamblyn on April 23, 2003, 07:19:25 AM
Oops.

I think I'd better defend my motives for starting this thread since I don't want anybody thinking the worse of me for something I wasn't trying to do.  This wasn't supposed to be a big deal, I just saw (thought I saw) something unusual and wondered why.

It wasn't an issue of "are there enough women", I didn't want to propose any changes, I wasn't trying to be an activist for women's issues, I CERTAINLY wasn't advocating a 'woman of the forge' membership drive.  It was a perfectly selfish inquiry meant to benefit noone and nothing but me and my curiosity.

On the other hand, whether I was trying to or not, I stirred up a hornets nest and I apologise for any personal offense or disruption to the forge casued by my starting this thread.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 23, 2003, 08:04:05 AM
The following thread discussed these issues in depth:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4433

Mike


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 23, 2003, 10:57:22 AM
Quote from: jrs
Jeffrey, Ron, don't do this.  Do we truly need to see a conversation about community standards here?  At the moment it only seems to be the two of you arguing the point.  Watching the two of you starting to puff up over what's appropriate is not pretty.  If nothing else, throwing down the gauntlet, "You gonna start a topic on that?", is not the way to resolve this misunderstanding.


But HE started it! ;)

Just kidding.  Seriously. Er.. I mean, I'm serious about just kidd- oh never mind :)

We should probably spawn a new thread or just shut up all together, but real quickly I just wanted to say a little something about why I think having more women involved in gaming, and specifically the Forge, is worthwhile and important.

'Greyorm' posted something to the effect that there isn't a difference between men and women that makes an impact in this forum.  While I agree that there isn't a functional difference in capability, talent, or any measurement of output, it seems self-evident to me that women and men have far different life experiences, perspectives, and sensibilities based on differing societal pressures and roles.  Leaving aside the fodder for stand-up comedians regarding whether or not these differences are bridgable, or if women should be from Pluto and men from the Great Loopy-Loop Hoo-Haw planet, men and women are going to bring these differences with them to the gaming table (a table inclusive of both play and game design.)

The perspective that female game designers can bring to the discussion is important, its a viewpoint and experience I'd like to hear more from, and its something that we should support.

..and that's all I'm gonna say about that.

-jeffrey-

(..and no, Ron and I aren't getting all puffed up at each other. He and I have very different modes of communication that lead to difficulties in getting ideas and emotions properly communicated to each other in this medium.  We'll buy each other a diet Coke at GenCon and say "Hey.. you agree with me!" :D )


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Andy Kitkowski on April 23, 2003, 11:33:33 AM
I'm a pragmatic guy, and while I only have a tangential interest in what's being debated, I gotta ask:

It sounds like you are very interested in bringing women to the Forge. Cool.

So how are you going to go about this? What can you do to bring more women into the Forge?


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 23, 2003, 03:12:43 PM
Before the thread is closed, the original post was posted mostly because of a curiousity on where the female Forge members are. The question can be extended, and rightly so, to other groups like gays, African-Americans, Asians, etc. I don't think there is an answer to the how-to handle this, except to point of Forge precident on a similar issue, the use of one's real name.

Not to reopen that whole issue again, but to point out that it eventually settled down into "we encourage you to use your real name here. You do not have to if you do not wish to, but we encourage it."

The point here is Forge member have the right to be identified or recognized as whomever they wish. I was "pblock" when I first joined the Forge, but I started using my real name based on my own choice. I believe this should extend to whether a Forge member wishes to be identified with or by their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or whatever may also be applicable. It should be the member's choice to mention such thing. If they wish to share such things, fine so long as it is conducive to the sort of discussion the Forge was made for. If they wish to not disclose such information, that is also their right. As far as the purpose of discussion on the Forge, these matter are a non-issue in most cases.

That said, I personally encourage members to make certain their own gender is clear if only to avoid "pronoun trouble."

-White American Male of Welsh descent.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: greyorm on April 23, 2003, 04:01:51 PM
Quote from: Jeffrey Miller
The perspective that female game designers can bring to the discussion is important, its a viewpoint and experience I'd like to hear more from, and its something that we should support.

I guessed that this train of thought as a response would pop its head up and chirp, so I came prepared! Yes, I agree, having a variety of different opinions and angles to come at an issue is important.

However, all you need is one woman to get the "female perspective," though that brings to light the question of whether the "female perspective" is so different from the "male perspective" that gender is an actual issue in regards to an individual's response.

For me, the differences between people are far more important than the differences between sexes. And I say that from a training background, where as a member of a group of instructors in a traditionally male field, we noted that our female students always had very interesting questions and approaches to issues in comparison to the usual provided by male students.

No, women have as diverse ideas among themselves as a group as do men -- in fact, the "male perspective"/"female perspective" is seriously flawed as anything except a general tendency in populations, and has no actual bearing on individuals.

The differences between two individuals (regardless of sex) are enough to satisfy a variety of different perspectives, unless the perspective of gender is of actual relevance to the discussion: such as the reasons women specifically are or might be marginalized among gamers (which I note is a subject already discussed).

So, does this idea of "female perspective" have anything to do with "recruiting" more female members or encouraging them to post more? And if we consider a group of members neither feel like posting more nor is there a problem, social or otherwise preventing them from doing so if they did wish to? No; this all hearkens back to the 1% and 99% statement Ron made.

Simply, I say, find an actual problem in regards to gender or in discussion that requires a gender-based distinction, or this is all very much a useless "fact" to consider or point out in this thread's context.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 23, 2003, 04:10:19 PM
Quote from: greyorm
However, all you need is one woman to get the "female perspective," though that brings to light the question of whether the "female perspective" is so different from the "male perspective" that gender is an actual issue in regards to an individual's response.


I don't think so at all.  An individual can in no way speak towards the experience of an entire class of people.

I'm not sure if I understand you correctly; you seem to say that there is no difference between what men and women experience within the society, or that there is indeed a difference, but that different experience has little impact on the person.  Am I reading you wrong?

Quote
For me, the differences between people are far more important than the differences between sexes. And I say that from a training background, where as a member of a group of instructors in a traditionally male field, we noted that our female students always had very interesting questions and approaches to issues in comparison to the usual provided by male students.


You say that individual difference are more important than gender differences, but then lump all your female students into a single group from which spawns questions and approaches which, when compared to those of your traditional male group of students, are "interesting."  Doesn't this sort of point to the idea that the lens of gender supplies a different view and approach to the world (whether that difference is inate or socialized, we'll leave on the shelf for now.)

You go on further to "prove" that the lack of women posting is by their own choice, and that there is no problem if we as a community are erecting barriers, actual or social, to their participation.  That's not a situation I'm comfortable with leaving alone - we should be encouraging all constructive forms of participation.

-jeffrey-


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: jrs on April 23, 2003, 04:56:48 PM
Hi guys.  It's me again.  I'm just dropping by to let you know that I won't be contributing to the current discussion about the elusive "female perspective".  Honestly, I find the topic tedious and uninteresting.  And, unless Clinton devises a means to authenticate my or any other female posters xx chromosomes, there's no way to validate that a "female perspective" has come to light.

Have fun!

Julie


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: talysman on April 23, 2003, 05:25:45 PM
Quote from: Jeffrey Miller
Quote from: greyorm
However, all you need is one woman to get the "female perspective," though that brings to light the question of whether the "female perspective" is so different from the "male perspective" that gender is an actual issue in regards to an individual's response.


I don't think so at all.  An individual can in no way speak towards the experience of an entire class of people.


this is the problem right here.

there is no such thing as a "class of people". it's an abstraction, a fiction. individual human beings have experiences; classes of people don't.

and the experiences of "an entire class of people" do not matter when it comes to either designing or publishing or playing role-playing games, because "an entire class of people" does not play role-playing games. only individual people play role-playing games. you can ask as many different kinds of people why they don't play game X or why they like game Y and might be able to gain some insights from that, but you will not discover why "women as a class" play or don't play a game or how they feel about certain behaviors, because classes don't have feelings.

classes are not people. they are made up of people. and none of them agree completely on anything.

this isn't just a word-game. a class is a thing, an object. ever hear the saying "I don't want to be treated like an object"? if you were to walk up to a woman and say "you represent the class of women as a whole; how do women feel about violence in role-playing games?" she might ignore the insult and answer your question as if you were asking about her feelings, or she might laugh/get angry about the question. as would anyone else, if you lumped them in with a large group of other people based on one or two traits.

in fact, you may notice there are many role-players who object to games based on invariable character classes -- so much so that even heavily class-based  games like D&D have added extras (feats and skills) to differentiate characters ... and it still isn't enough; practically every month there's another d20 suppliment with another 10-20 prestige classes and 500 feats and skills to introduce even more variation.

on another front: I had an interesting discussion recently on another rpg forum about GNS, and some people raised the objection that GNS labels people, putting them into three classes of role-player, and they explained that they don't like that. now, I don't believe GNS actually does this, but this was the perception people reported as a reason why they don't like GNS: they don't like being lumped together in a class.

this all comes back to the same point that has already been made: you can't really find out why a "class of people" is staying away from the Forge or why they aren't posting as much as other people ... because they aren't here, or are here but not posting their feelings. any reason you make up as to what this hypothetical group of people is feeling is just that: made up. you can ask individual people "do you post to the Forge? do you read it? why not?"

I guarantee there will not be a definitive answer. it will be a collection of answers: "I'm too busy", "I don't like debating role-playing in the abstract", "I was there once and got mad at a particular person", "I never post to web forums", "I hate signing up for stuff on the web"... and so on. lots and lots of answers, for women, men, or any other "class of people". and some of those answers will be contradictory. you won't be able to fix everyone's objections; you won't even be able to ask everyone. no one has enough time to find out everyone's reasons for not participating.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on April 23, 2003, 05:30:50 PM
At this point I'm going to give up attempting this discussion in this forum.  If anyone is interested, I'm more than happy to take it offline, but I think the community has pretty firmly spoken that this is not an issue of importance.

-j-


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: greyorm on April 23, 2003, 05:31:29 PM
Jeffrey, as this discussion isn't really on-topic and you've seriously misunderstood a number of my points and discussing my statements would be even further off-topic, I'll take that to private with you.

Julie, in her last post, nicely summarizes precisely why the whole "gender perspective" issue is not only moot but useless to discussion in a community as a basis for anything. Following, John's comments about the "class of people" is precisely what I was getting at in regards to my statements about gender perspectives and individual perspectives.


EDIT: I've been informed that the first paragraph sounds like an attempt to "get the last word in." I admit it does at that. Apologies.

My hope with the scond paragraph was to quickly clarify for anyone reading my statements the same way Jeffrey did. Anyone with problems about what I said or how I said it should PM me and we can discuss it.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Matt Wilson on April 23, 2003, 07:42:38 PM
Hey, I hope this doesn't pour oil on the fire, but I just wanted to make an observation.

Julie posted to disagree that there's any big deal on the matter. More than a few posts used that as really strong evidence. Isn't that kind of like getting the female perspective on the matter?

I hope that doesn't sound pissy. I don't mean it that way. What I'm inferring with it is that there's no reason why she couldn't be in that five percent Clinton talks about, but she kind of got some special attention on this thread.

Maybe I'm making a gross exaggeration, but it sort of stood out to me. If you disagree, let me know. I kind of think it's interesting.


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: Emily Care on April 24, 2003, 09:16:32 AM
As has been pointed out, the only info I can give is why I post or don't post here--not why anybody else of my gender might do so or not.  I personally have never experienced any sexist behaviour towards myself on the Forge, and that may be part of why I continue to choose to participate here. When I don't post, it's much more about the rest of my life, rather than having anything to do with the Forge.  

There are a number of women who post on the Forge. This may be hard to tell from a casual look at the Forge roster. Julie is not the only female poster who uses an inconspicuous moniker.  I chose to use my full first name in part because I wanted my gender to be clear--because of the perception of gender imbalance in gaming.  Also, I did so because it is safe to use a female name at the Forge, unlike other online forums (I'm defintely not implying any particular ones, I simply know that it's a common situation in the online medium) where people will pester--you regardless of your real sex--if you use a female gendered name.  

Given that, the overwhelming majority of posters here are male.  Same with the industry.  The group of those who participate in the hobby altogether, if that could be measured,  probably has a less skewed gender split.  Just my impression.  If I totalled it up I believe I have gamed with more women than men.

As far as why there are no women on the top 10 posters roll, Ron pegged it.  I don't think I'd say it's pathological, but it sure ain't gonna be everybody that has that much time and energy to devote to it.  I lived with at least one woman who had did, back in the old FRPG.advocacy days, however.  As I recall, that community had several women who were top posters.  This one doesn't.  I personally don't have any cause to believe that is more than an accident of history.  If anyone has experience otherwise, I'm sure Ron & Clinton would be interested in hearing about it.  

Anyway, in my opinion, keeping the level of discourse high, and atmosphere respectful are the best things that could be done to encourage people of whatever variety to participate here at the Forge.  

Regards,
Emily Care


Title: Women at the forge
Post by: greyorm on April 24, 2003, 10:16:48 AM
Quote from: Matt Wilson
Julie posted to disagree that there's any big deal on the matter. More than a few posts used that as really strong evidence. Isn't that kind of like getting the female perspective on the matter?

Heya Matt. Good question.
I think, however, it's Julie's perspective on the matter. Very easily, I believe, you could find a woman with an opposing viewpoint on the issue. Hence my statements above about the issue and actual usefulness of "gender perspective."


Title: Women at the Forge
Post by: Meguey on April 30, 2003, 10:46:12 AM
Julie, Talysman, Jeffery Miller and greyorm all have debate-worthy albeit differing views of the relativity of the whole issue. I have to agree with Emily Care and Ron about time spent here being mostly male, and thus the major posters appear to be male. I think a better question, perhaps, is 'where are the women game writers?', which of course raises all the same points rasied by those above (where are the gay/ asian/ disabled/ etc. demographic X people).  Personally, I think there are two answers. First, we're not as likely to have the time and / or access to be on-line at the same volume as posters here seem to have (lower tech jobs, whatever), and second, we may not be designing the same sorts of games.  There's a third in there about the extreamly high level of the work around here, and plain ol' intimidation. :)  I'd have to second whoever said to troll other boards and advertize.

~Meguey