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Author Topic: Why Am I Not a Woman?  (Read 9797 times)
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« on: May 07, 2004, 12:54:05 PM »

Okay.

Chadu posts a thread on his Dead Inside games talking about differences he's noticed between his male players and female players.

Here's a sample:

Quote
* On the average, women spend more time on roleplaying/developing their character's character and backstory and motivations and less on (and note the emphasis) worrying about their stats, skills, and capabilities.

* Many women gamers seem slightly more amenable to intentionally exploring personal (that is, their own) psychological/sociological aspects via a PC than most men gamers. (Specifically absent from this element is the unintentional psychological displays and issues that crop up amongst both men and women gamers; the stuff that makes you go "WTF? Ick!" I'm also excluding meta-game interpersonal issues here.)

* Women gamers -- again, in my experience -- tend to require a strong in-game social or character context for character motivation; mission-based goals in the absence of such context ("clear that dungeon!" or "save that prisoner that you don't know for some money rather than personal reasons") are apparently less interesting.

* A woman's PC will tend to relate to all aspects as the setting (often socially) as characters rather than "game tokens" or "faceless obstacles." This includes scenery and equipment.

* Female gamers are often more concerned about all (or a very high majority) of a group having buy-in to what their objective is.

* A group of women gamers' PCs can sometimes seem to get sidetracked from the plot unfolding, because they tend to get caught up with the issues mentioned above (roleplaying the character, backstory, context requirements, buy-in requirement, social relation to everything). To a goal-oriented male gamer, this often appears to be "dithering": it's not. It's engine-revving.

* When a group of women's PCs "stop dithering"/"get revved up," they move like lightning and thunder, operating with strong context- or character-based drives to succeed, social/personal relation to setting (this time, it's personal), group buy-in, and remarkable amounts of teamwork.


Okay.  These and other behaviors in the post suggest What Wome are Like.  But then Mike Holmes shows up and says, "Apparently from your analysis I am a woman. But if you've ever seen or met me, you know that this is distinctly not the case - I'm about as male as one can get (I offer the lack of hair on my head as a good example)."

And, I'm thinking, "Me, too."  Bald.  Beard.  Lift weights.  Little boys without dads jump on my lap to fill on father roles.  A trailer with a guy with a gun is gonna get me to see that movie long before anything featuring a cute meet between the two leads.  I'm a guy.

But every behavior chadu has described as "female-style", distinctly opposed to "male-style" is *my* style.  And has been for years.

Now, I'm willing to believe there's a vital piece to my understanding of the *usefulness* of generalizations beteween men and women in all matters.  That is, there may be distinctions, on average, between men and women.  And there is certainly value in knowing this things.  But how often to these things really matter to What Do Men Really Want... Because according to conventional logic, I should have been living high on the hog with the RPGs available up through the year 1999, but I was, in fact, pretty much bored to tears with trying to do end runs around the rules as written.

So I'm starting this thread, really honestly, to have someone explain to me why the "average" or "typical" matters in the world of RPGs.

But let me break out my big stumbling block:

I'm not a social scientist.  I'm not a biologist.  I'm not a risk assessor.  I'm a writer and a painter.  The average is not my subject.  The average, at best, is a tool -- a stick to measure the specifics of the subject. -- This individula character, this portrait, this apple.  Look, this guys forrehead is high.  By noting that I get a better likness.  But the goal is not to squeeze all forheads toward the same dimension.  The goal is to accentuate and make clear the difference from the norm.  That's how a likeness is formed.  That's how a distinctive character is created.  He's memorable for *not* being the average.

Now, let me be clear.  This isn't a feminisit issue for me.  Give the variety of "feminism" I'd have no idea where I actually fit in. (I'm sure I do, somewhere, but that's not my flag on this thread.)  Instead, every time I see threads about, "This is how men and women behave," or "Female PCs would be better off succeeding in life using their feminine wiles than brute strength," I feel time and time again slapped accross the face by bad logic.

Because, again, my concern is the individual -- by temperament and training.  A writer writes about this character in this situation.  That's what jazzes me.

When people say, "I'm building rules so the PCs reflect society/humanity as a whole," I can only think, "Why would you do that?  What good can come of it."  Because I want to know how characters are at varience with one another, with their culture, with expectations and assumptions.  That's what produces stories, that's what produces drama.

Moreover, when people talk about men or women behaving a certain way, I'm thinking, "Well, clearly, I don't fit in with these assumptions.  This is bone headed."  I'm willing to accept I'm wrong about this.  But I'm gonna need some help seeing my way through it.

I mean, when someone says, "Guys are like this, and like this kind of game," shouldn't I argue against these assumptions if I know for a fact that what is being described has nothing whatsoever to do with what *I* like?

The only alternative seems to be to say, "Well, yeah, I don't fit the average/norm/expectation, but that's my lot in life, and I shouldn't make waves."

Yes?  No?  What?

Help humanistic liberal arts guy.  He's begging you.

Christopher
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Judd
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2004, 01:01:44 PM »

"Be careful of those kinds of generalizations," is what I'd say.

A friend of mine's wife joined our D&D game a few years ago.  She played a big strong Half-Orc Fighter.  She had a back-story and a history that was great.  She played the PC to the hilt...JUST LIKE ALL OF THE GUYS DID.

There was a Halfling Bard and a Halfing Rogue and a Halfing Sorcerer rounding out the group (don't ask...).

She got a special glint in her eye when she took out her flame tongue bastard sword and hit bad guys with it.  She liked the story, just as we ALL did in that game but she also was into the combat.  She loved hitting things.

I have been lucky to have played with a fairly sexually diverse lot of gamers and what I've heard about women gamers I don't find to be universally true at the tables I've DMed.
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rafial
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2004, 02:57:04 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik

I mean, when someone says, "Guys are like this, and like this kind of game," shouldn't I argue against these assumptions if I know for a fact that what is being described has nothing whatsoever to do with what *I* like?


Absolutely!  The only way stereotypes are overcome (or at least changed) is by someone challenging them.  Passive acceptance only reinforces the stereotype.

Quote

This isn't a feminist issue for me.


Are you sure?  To me, feminism seems to react to the discomfort indivuals experience when forced into boxes that don't fit them.  That's pretty much how I'm hearing your complaint.

Quote

Okay.  These and other behaviors in the post suggest What Women are Like.  But then Mike Holmes shows up and says, "Apparently from your analysis I am a woman. But if you've ever seen or met me, you know that this is distinctly not the case - I'm about as male as one can get (I offer the lack of hair on my head as a good example)."

And, I'm thinking, "Me, too."  Bald.  Beard.  Lift weights.  Little boys without dads jump on my lap to fill on father roles.  A trailer with a guy with a gun is gonna get me to see that movie long before anything featuring a cute meet between the two leads.  I'm a guy.


Is a person with a vulva who lifts weight, shaves her head, and likes action movies not a women?

Conversely, because you like to explore character motivation more than you like mission oriented problem solving, are you not a man?

I think part of the confusion arises from the the idea that woman and men must be polar opposites, i.e. anyone who is physically male must have no socially assigned female traits, and vice versa.

Ultimately, its just people, and people have different creative agendas.

Quote

Help humanistic liberal arts guy.  He's begging you.


I'm an atheistic computer science guy.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it :)
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2004, 03:18:13 PM »

Yikes!

Hey guys, I appreciate the posts.  But rafial, if I came across as needing comfort on this, apolgoize.  That's probably a tone inadvertantly used by trying to restrain myself.

When I asked about how I should respond to people describing the kinds of games I want as for women, the point wasn't to get permission to point out the error of the logic, but to put the people who seem (at least) ready to accuse me of being a feminist-politically-correct-kneejerk-jackass.

I don't feel boxed.  What I feel is annoyed by what I see as faulty logic.  I'm willing, on this thread, to take the boxing gloves off, sit down casually, and listen to anyone who wants to tell me why:

1) statistical data on what players of the two sexes want (if such data is even available) has anything to do with what the individual player wants

2) statistical data on the supposed limits of two sexes has anything to do with with the specifics of unique characters in any beneficial way

3) whether I'm just missing the boat here.  

The basic split seems to be people who say, "Statistical analysis is destiny, and if you're not willing to see how we must clearly differentiate arbritrary elements of player charcter definition according to the statistically average abilities of the two sexes, you're living with blinders."

And I'm say, "Look.  No one is a statistical average, so trying to nudge anyone, a real person or a character, toward the avereage (or presumed average, at best) is living with blinders."

There's a gap here.

Now, there may be a bridge to understanding, and if so, I'd like to hear about it.  And there may simply be no way around it, in which case, we say, "have a good time, see ya."   But at least, when this comes in the future we can say, "Wait.  I know this one.  We covered it."

Chrstopher
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quozl
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2004, 03:25:03 PM »

It's pretty simple, really.  Games aren't designed for individuals.  They're designed for large numbers of people.  Therefore, if you want to market your game effectively, you need to generalize about your audience.

Of course, you already know this so I'm not sure what the point of this thread is.

P.S. I totally agree with everything you said in your post.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2004, 03:50:31 PM »

Whoa.

Jonathan, if we (and I mean all) of us could avoid talking about marketing, that'd be great.  From what I've seen on this board, few of us are able to handle that discussion adequately.

Now, back to RPGs.  I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are differences in desires between players.  And that different rules cater to those different desires.  I am, howeveri, questioning the idea that the "fault line" betwen these types of games runs down between differences in genetailia.

But I've already gone too far afield.  

I want some to defend the use of statistical averages between the sexes in regard to specific players, spefic characters.  Cause I see a huge disconnect in logic -- and I'm willing to assume I've got something to learn here.

I'm here.  I'm listening.

Thanks,

Christopher
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Ben O'Neal
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Posts: 294


« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2004, 06:30:11 PM »

The disconnect in logic you are seeing stems from the fact you are not acknowledging that statistical averages are generated by individuals. Without this acknowledgement, the assumption that no statistics can be superimposed on any individual undermines the foundation of statistics. Without statistics, we would know nothing about anybody but ourselves.

See, stereotypes get a lot of bad rap for No Good Reason. People hear "stereotypes" and think "racism" and "sexism" because this is what popular media has fed them. But stereotypes are a psychological construct used to handle the incredibly vast amount of data we must process. Our minds are finite, and so any expectation that we deal with absolutely everyone as a complete individual without making any assumptions is both impractical and problematic in that it implies we can't ever predict behaviour. Stereotypes are our mind's own version of statistical analysis. Without them, how would you ever feel comfortable leaving your house? I mean, seriously, everybody is an individual, so how do you know that as soon as you step outside some crazed guy isn't gonna pull your eyes out and eat them? How? Because you have a stereotype within your mind that says that such behaviour is statistically improbable.

Now if stereotypes are a Good Thing (which they are), then how could a method which is largely free of your own personal bias and covers far more individual than you could ever meet and analyses them far more thoroughly possibly be bad or worse? This method is statistics, and I assure you, the foundations of statistics are far more scientifically sound than most people realise (being based of vector mathematics and pythagora's theorum).

We don't balk when scientists tell us they have a cure for some disease, even though statistically it is likely to only be effective on around 98% of patients (2% failure is common, but really quite large when you think about how many people will get the disease).

We also don't ignore warnings to the effect of ##% of people who do X will die. But why not? If statistics cannot be extrapolated to every individual, why wouldn't we do X?

But I feel like I'm trying to explain why 1 plus 1 equals 2 here, as the validity of statistics truly is so fundamental to all science and thus all reliable knowledge we have about the world.

If this doesn't answer your concerns, let me know and I'll try again.

-Ben
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2004, 12:30:36 AM »

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the reply.

Let me start off by saying I am more than willing to believe I'm disconnected from the logic of something.  However, this: "The disconnect in logic you are seeing stems from the fact you are not acknowledging that statistical averages are generated by individuals"...  Is not it.  I'm well aware of how statistics are generated.  So that can't be the problem.

You also seem to think I have a problem with statistics per se.  I don't.  So let that go.  I think statistics are great.  

What I'm not seeing is how statistics are applied successfully back to the individual.

Let me use a concerete example.

According to you, stereotypes are a Good Thing.  Great.

So there's this guy I meet.  A gamer.  And he sees I'm a guy, and he assumes if I GM a game for him, we're gonna have a lot of guy RPG game things in common.  After all, we all know the stereotypes of male gamer concerns: a focus on math over verbal skills, lots of manipulation of rules, not much concern for social interaction (either between characters or the players -- enough to remind us we're playing an RPG, but nothing deep), enough back story to get us to the "mission" -- but nothing too airy fairy.

So he comes to my game... And is frustrated out of his mind.  Because despite me being a guy, and he knowing the stereotype of what guys like, I'm not like the stereotype.  I expect emotional connections between the PC and NPCs.  I simply will not allow him to be the lone stanger.  I play with a rules set that has no concerns for breaking down the minutia of differences between different kinds of rifles.  What matters is the social, moral and thematic elemenst of play at the table.  Fights are dramatic, but fast.  The rules I used demand players add to the party by describing what's going on, and the better they describe it, the more bonuses they get.  To say, "I swing," again and again and depend on the dice roles to "play the battle for you" won't cut it according to the rules I'm using, and will get you penalties.  The rules I'm using are not based on concrete, object sets of values for skills, weapons and so, but vary according to the emotional investment the character brings to the scene, the other characters involved in the scene, and the stakes of the PCs life in regard to other elements in the scene.

In other words, I play according to the playing styles at the top of this thread: qualities which, aparently, are stereotypical for female players, but not me, because I'm a guy.

So, despite stereotypes being a Good Thing, they encourage this poor schmuck to come to my house expecting something like AD&D 2 or Champions.  But he's screwed.  The stereotype completely let him down because it doesn't apply to me.

You wrote, that of course statistics apply to individuals.  No.  They are a snapshot of a group, but not of an individual.

For example, let's say 95% of men fantasize of being the victim of anal rape.  So there's a strong chance the man you were just chatting to on the Forge was thinking about that.  Maybe with you as a partner who does the raping.  Maybe you're interested in pursuing this.

But there's this group of men who doesn't think this way.  Don't you think, before you can make an assumption about whether a man wants your cock up his ass, you'd want to get a bit more information?  Clearly, just the fact the he's a man isn't enough to go on.

That's what I'm talking about.  

You're assumption is that stereotypes of male gamers are going to tell me something about me.  It says a lot about the "group" of male gamers.  But about me?  Maybe, maybe not.

Christopher
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Ben O'Neal
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Posts: 294


« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2004, 01:45:42 AM »

Quote
What I'm not seeing is how statistics are applied successfully back to the individual.

The problem is that you are highlighting the outliers as being proof against the majority. Becuase this guy no doubt holds this stereotype because of his past experience generating and supporting it, and though he may have gamed hundreds of times, you don't fit the mold as his GM. But his disatisfaction does not stem from the mere fact that you are different, but that the vast weight of his experience suggests that you are uniquely different. So whilst his stereotype doesn't work for you, it does work for every other GM he's had. So are you saying that simply because you are a minority for this person that his stereotype system is faulty as a whole, despite its 99% accuracy?

You may think that this is not the point, but it is. The exceptions do not disprove the rule.

If you are instead questioning the actual process involved to apply statistics to individuals, then I don't know how I could reduce this process in a way that would answer your question (like by talking about schemata and stuff). Because when it comes down to it, using statistics is a very human process.

Quote
You wrote, that of course statistics apply to individuals. No. They are a snapshot of a group, but not of an individual.

And what is a "group"? Where can I find this mystical construct called a "group". What is a group but a collection of individuals? Statistics don't give us a snapshot of a group, statistics is what makes them a group, by identifying common aspects.


But I'm really having difficulty understanding your concern. Does it worry you that you are not part of the majority to which statistics speaks to? Why are you using isolated outliers to attack the validity of the majority?

I mean shit, in my 4 years at uni I've seen a shitload of statistical conclusions and analyses which exclude or don't apply to me, but I know they apply to the majority so I understand their value. If I learn that 90% of all men in jail want to fuck me up the ass, then when I go to jail, I'm going to be wary of EVERYBODY. Under no circumstance will I let my gaurd down on the 10% chance that some guy doesn't conform. But I am human, so I am flexible in adapting my stereotypes and creating new ones, so maybe I will meet some guy who doesn't want to rape me, so I'll create a new stereotype and lump him in it, but by golly, I'm keeping my other stereotype that protects my ass.

So yeah, we can adapt. Not really earth-shattering news though is it? But does that mean that we should abandon all preconceptions and approach every single person as a perfect isolated individual? What if they don't speak your language? Are you going to approach every from then on as though they didn't speak your language?

So maybe if you dig deep enough, the process by which statistics apply to individuals is risk assessment.

Quote
You're assumption is that stereotypes of male gamers are going to tell me something about me. It says a lot about the "group" of male gamers. But about me? Maybe, maybe not.

See this is why I can't relate to your argument in a way you need, because I don't crave to belong. I don't care if I don't fit any norms, and I don't care if someone publishes findings that say that white young males do X when I know that I don't do X, or that I do Y instead.

I don't think any answer that isn't incredibly complex and philosophical will tell you why a given statistical argument doesn't fit you.

-Ben
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Garbanzo
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Posts: 108


« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2004, 05:21:37 AM »

Hey, Christopher.

I don't have any gritty statistics, and I'm guessing that nobody does.  And I think, actually, that's the problem.

If there were, my guess is that we would see:
    [*]Clear differences in play-preference across individuals
    [*]Play-preference strongly correlated with Ron's idea of real-life, full-culture mainstream, as opposed to RPG-specific micro-mainstream
    [*]Gender not significant as a main effect, if controlling for the mainstream issue[/list:u]
    That is, my guess is that there are a lot of people who aren't all that willing to abandon their normal leisure preferences and buy into a crunchy, high-investment, weirdly stylized form of gaming.  Take on the role of gaming geeks (he says lovingly).
    Of the folks who are willing to do this, probably more than 50% are male.  Maybe a lot more.

    But I see it as all pointing back to the differing ideas of mainstream, obscured by gender.

    -Matt
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    Christopher Kubasik
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    Posts: 1153


    « Reply #10 on: May 08, 2004, 07:17:00 AM »

    Dear Ben,

    Thank you so much for your replies.  You've given me enough information to satisfy my curiosity where things fall apart in these matters.

    Thanks,

    Christopher
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    chadu
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    « Reply #11 on: May 08, 2004, 11:20:34 PM »

    Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
    But every behavior chadu has described as "female-style", distinctly opposed to "male-style" is *my* style.  And has been for years.


    Christopher -- in case you didn't notice in later responses to that thread, I share those "female-style" behaviors myself, in addition to my "male-style" behaviors.

    My starting of that thread was an attempt to:
    1. Share that the experience was quite different; and
    2. Isolate why the two styles were different, and pull those elements out for analysis, so that I could understand them the next time I write a game, in the interest of reaching a wider audience of folks who enjoy those behaviors.

    I feel that the thread got side-track into questions of generalities and sexism (amongst other issues), but some mild value was gleaned, I feel.

    Okay, all that being said, you say:

    Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
    So I'm starting this thread, really honestly, to have someone explain to me why the "average" or "typical" matters in the world of RPGs. (snip) The average is not my subject. The average, at best, is a tool -- a stick to measure the specifics of the subject. (snip)  The goal is to accentuate and make clear the difference from the norm. That's how a likeness is formed. That's how a distinctive character is created. He's memorable for *not* being the average.


    You've answered your own question, I think.

    Content-wise, the "average/typical" in an RPG matters so that memorable, distinctive, intriguing, heroic/villanous,  wonderful/terrible, and so forth settings, characters, and adventures can be developed. It's a baseline, from which the game grows.

    Publishing-wise, the "average/typical" is important when you're aiming for your market of purchasers, because really, that's all you can do. You can say, "The type of person I think will my enjoy is X," where X can be gamers, women, Republicans, punks, people into model trains, people who collect bottle caps, whatever. You want to be able to appeal to the majority of the members in your targeted group, so you construct your work such that the average member of that group can take value from it.

    I think.

    CU
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    Chad Underkoffler [chadu@yahoo.com]

    Atomic Sock Monkey Press

     Available Now: Truth & Justice
    Christopher Kubasik
    Member

    Posts: 1153


    « Reply #12 on: May 09, 2004, 12:25:33 AM »

    Hi Chadu,

    Thanks for posting.  

    I disagree completely with your point about publishing, however.  (However, I am full of rum and the memories of dancing and music as I type this -- if I seem abrupt, I apologize... it's just time to move on, as I've just gotten home, finally cracked the first act of the script on working on, and will collapse into slumber within moments.)

    You wrote: "You want to be able to appeal to the majority of the members in your targeted group."

    But what group?  That, I'm beginning to see, is part of the problem.

    The "group" for two decades in RPGs is what was considered the "the male gamer." I mean, I was in the offices of Mayfair Games, FASA and West End.  I worked wtih folks at TSR.  And the idea was always, "Well, we know what our customers like and they like X, Y, and Z, cause that's what they like."

    Well, yeah.  The people who are into X, Y, and Z are into X, Y, and Z.  No suprise, really.

    But look around here at the Forge. The fact that a lot of peope think "the Forge" is "anti-D&D has a lot less to do with negative D&D posts (there aren't that many, really) than with the fact there's a relative indiference to that style of game here.  Why?  Because for a lot of people who were looking for something else, ie, Narativism, that was lacking for 20 years, you can find a lot of chatter, ideas, and support here.

    In other words, the assumpiont about what "male gamers" wanted was correct for those male gamers who wanted that stuff.  For the male gamers who wanted something else, it wasn't around, so it was ignored, so there was no market for it.

    Sorcerer pleases 100% of the male gamers who like games like Sorcerer.

    So the question that's so seldom asked is, "Is there a target group outside the taget group we think is the target group?"  In this case, the answer was, "Yes."  Is it as large as the other group?  My answer is, "Who the hell knows?"  It's only been acknowledged as a potential market for a few years.  Only now, from what I can see on RPG.net, are assumpltions about what an RPG is, what gamers want, what fun is are opening up in ways that would have been impossible to imagine from the years of Original D&D to Vampire.

    Thus, where I see the break down is focusing on the "majority."  Because the majority... Well, let me just point out that movies may make a lot of money, but that the truth is, the "average" american sees three or less movies in a theater a year.  The movie industry actually depends on a select sampling of Americans who fucking love movies, and spend a dispropritionate amount of money on them compared to other Americans.

    See, for me, it's a matter of seeing beyond the assumptions of the "majority" or stereotypes.  Not because, despite Ben's constant assertations that I think statistical models are wholly flawed (they're not) or useless (they're not), but that because, like any tool, they must be used properly.

    To whit: we obviously make assuptions based on stereotypes to get through the day. Ben points out that I leave my apartment not worrying about getting my eyeballs eaten because I've noticed most peopel in my neighborhoos don't attack me and try to eat my eyeballs.  

    However, the whole thing breaks down once we begin using Ben's beloved stereotypes in place of actually paying attention to reality.  

    Specifically, let's use the situation with, say, serial killers.  Everyone always says once such a killer is revealed, "Things like that don't happen around here."  And using Ben's logic of stereotypes, they don't.  We all know that our neighbors don't do things like that, so we have no reason to believe anyone is killing people, fucking the corpse, and cutting up the body -- becaue in our neighborhood, that doesn't happen.  We can imagine such a thing happening, but somewhere else.  Not here, though, because, "Things like that don't happen around here."

    This becomes pernicious, however, when the "knowledge," based on Good Stereotypes, betrays us into not paying attention.   In the case of Jeffry Dahmer, for example, plenty of people had a chance to notice odd smells, strange noises from the apartment and so on.  But for months his muders and dismemberments went unnoticed because people were depending on the stereotype of the neighborhood.  Since it was impossible to concieve of something improbably horrible happening, their imaginations simply passed over the clues of reality presenting themselves time and time again.

    This is my concern with misapplying the tools of statistics to concrete individals and situations.  It is a blueprint for laziness, allowing lazy assumptions and dull-witted generalizations to over-ride the specifics of a situation.

    To return to the audience of RPGs, to assume what the audience is allowed publishers to completely miss people like me who wanted somethig different than what they knew players wanted, were writing, printing and shipping.  

    Ben seems to think I'm whining because I want games for me.  Well, fuck that.  Why the hell wouldn't I want Adept Press, Issaires to publish games like Sorcerer and HeroQuest which meet my need?  I might not represent the "Good Stereotype" of the male gamer-- but I'm real, ready to pay cash, and want the product.  The fact that Ron and others need to find new  business models to cater to my desires and still stay in the black, doesn't change the fact that Ron and others paid fucking attention to what a lot of gamers didn't want and what they really did want.

    The fact that they met the needs of those who didn't meet the conditions of the Good Stereotype has nothing to do with people "craving to belong".  It's the exact opposit.  It's recognizing a group of consumer not even recognzied, becuase sometimes people are so excited about, and focus on, only stereotypes, they stop paying attention and think they know everything already and miss something that they could see if only they took the blinders of Stereotypes off.

    (In the same way, "small" or "independent" movies do make money... Because their business model allows them to make money. So a note to all you marketting wananbees: appealing to the largest audience is not the way to make money.  Knowing how much you can spend to make what your audience wants (always a limited group of people no matter what the product) is.)

    And human beings, being very strange, demand a lot of attention.

    I'll add quickly that Ben, giving to extremes and not a man patient with shades of grey, will most likely feel the need to point out that we couldn't get through the day paying attention to everything.  He would be exactly right.  I wouldn't argue that.  My point is, statstics are a tool, to be used with care.  Like a hammer.  But we must be vigilant for those times when statistics blind us to actual reality, replacing the chance to see something out of the ordinary, what we don't expect, and even what we could have never polled for because it never occurred to us to ask the question-- because, of course, we already knew the Good Stereotype and, busy as we are, didn't have time to pay any more attention.

    To look beyond the stereotype means finding, then, markets that didn't exist (like teen girl movies) and dangers we might not otherwise notice.

    Christopher
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    "Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
    Lemonhead, The Shield
    Ben O'Neal
    Member

    Posts: 294


    « Reply #13 on: May 09, 2004, 01:56:55 AM »

    Quote
    I'll add quickly that Ben, giving to extremes and not a man patient with shades of grey, will most likely feel the need to point out that we couldn't get through the day paying attention to everything.

    Is that how I come across? I admit that I use extremes alot, but always for the purpose of defining the boundaries to illustrate the greys. I'm actually an ardent advocate for the "shades of grey" in everything. Some of my favourite topics are "How does one define life, intelligence, or reality?", and my methods there are to highlight the extremes to illuminate the greys. Once the grey's are acknowledged, I move in "for the kill" so-to-speak. It's a valid and effective method of argument.

    Quote
    Ben seems to think I'm whining because I want games for me. Well, fuck that.

    No, I asked if that was the reason. Of course you want games for you. I want games for me. That's exactly why I'm making one. Mike gave me a shitload of advice (for which I am surely grateful, despite his ascertions of not being altruistic), and one of those was "build it and they will come". This concept works because every individual fits into many, many, many different stereotypes.

    Quote
    Specifically, let's use the situation with, say, serial killers. Everyone always says once such a killer is revealed, "Things like that don't happen around here." And using Ben's logic of stereotypes, they don't.

    That's not using my logic of stereotypes. I never once claimed that any given stereotype is veridical. They are merely, as you say, very important tools, which help take the burden of our limited cognitive capacity. My logic of stereotypes says nothing about inductions made from them, only about their construction from deductions about observations. Hence they are valid because of their deductive nature, not because of their inductive power.

    In fact, I just realised that your problem was not with statistics at all, it was induction. Well, you aren't alone, as over the millenia philosophers have debated induction till their noses bled, and not one satisfactory solution has been found. The problem is quite simply "how do I know that when I walk over there, and then back to where I am now, that the floor will not fall out from underneath me". And really, that question is incredibly difficult to answer, because as we all know, exceptions do occur.

    So there you go. I suggest that in search of your answer, you look into Problems of Induction in any philosophy journal.

    -Ben
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    Christopher Kubasik
    Member

    Posts: 1153


    « Reply #14 on: May 09, 2004, 06:29:34 AM »

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the excellent reply.

    For the record, yeah.... your line of reasoning, at least seems, to depend on a picking two coordinates on a line of logic, and then extending it to infinity.

    And thanks for finally recoginizing that my concern (my "problem"[i/]?) wasn't with statstics.  I had been saying that from the first post.  I'm glad we finally cleared that up.

    I'd say, in closing, that this issue isn't just my issue.  The issue of induction seems to be a tricky one for many of the assertations and assumptions made on these boards whenever the issue of male and female behavior are mixed with RPGs -- whether for the players or the PCs.

    Thanks again,

    Christopher
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    "Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
    Lemonhead, The Shield
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