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Author Topic: Self-image (split from Gay / Gamer)  (Read 19461 times)
Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2002, 08:27:13 AM »

And therein, perhaps, lies the central issue about Gamers' self-image. None of the people I have ever gamed with were less than above-average in mentation.

Gamers are smart. What else do we need? I'll point out that two of my gamer friends are high-functioning autists (Asperger's Syndrome, for those who care), with emphasis on high-functioning. As long as you're smart, you don't even need to understand that those around you are human. You can still play.

But, and here's where trouble starts, because the limiting factor is intelligence linked with creativity, we make demands on people who won't be able to follow our leaps. How patient is a gaming group likely to be with someone who has difficulty putting a coherent sentence together?

Once again, I feel like I've just pitched a curve ball, in a game of quoits.
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Mark Eddy
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2002, 08:44:12 AM »

The "gamers are smarter than normal" argument is one I see a lot - and one with no empirical proof behind it. (If one wanted to be especially snarky first thing in the morning, they might say that Pyron's post was a good argument against it.)

It's an easy defensive argument to make when people have issues though - to identify themselves with a group that is somehow superior to others. The problems are:

a) Gamers aren't a unified group.
b) There's no evidence outside anecdotal that they're smarter than anyone else. In fact, this argument brings up the box of wild cats that is the definition of intelligence. If intelligence includes in any way the ability to adapt for life's changes, anecdotal evidence points in the opposite direction.

Quote from: Mark D. Eddy

But, and here's where trouble starts, because the limiting factor is intelligence linked with creativity, we make demands on people who won't be able to follow our leaps. How patient is a gaming group likely to be with someone who has difficulty putting a coherent sentence together?


First, I honestly doubt you'll be gaming with anyone who can't put a coherent sentence together. People do tend to socialize with people of similar social and mental skills. Second, this argument smacks of elitism in the worst way - the idea that you'll be able to be more creative than others.

The "we're smarter than others" argument in no way answers the question of "why do some gamers have such low self-image?" It does, however, reinforce the question, pointing out the problem in stark relief.

Best,
Clinton

P.S. Pyron - you've been a member of the Forge long enough to know that your post was inappropriate. However, you made one of the best points in this thread: "Are gamers more likely to be eccentric, or unstable? I don't think so, but they'd probably like to think that they are." I agree whole-heartedly, and find this to be one of the primary sources of the self-image problem.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2002, 08:49:52 AM »

Hello,

I hate to be a rainy cloud in this self-congratulatory festival of smartness, but I see no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that "gamers" are "smarter" than others. I put the two terms in quotes because they are undefined.

I am not presenting "the other side" of a debate; you'll notice that I am not posing the counter-claim ("are not!"). Therefore, please don't attempt to provide evidence to support one side or the other. I think that conflict-of-interest (perceiving oneself or an activity that one loves as "smart") is unavoidable and will pollute any attempt at a reasonable debate.

I suggest that this line of discussion relies on several realms of highly controversial debates, mainly over terms, and furthermore utterly misses one of my most basic points in the Infamous Five: that the world is not divided into Gamers and Non-Gamers, but rather into imaginative/neat people who game or might be interested in gaming, and others (regardless of whether they do or do not game).

A note to Mark specifically: I suggest considering issues like definition of terms before posting what amounts to flame-bait rhetoric. That sort of thing is fun & spunky at some sites, but not this one.

Best,
Ron
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Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2002, 09:07:25 AM »

Ok. maybe I went over the top there, but I stand by my experience, which I'm not sure how many others share. I ran a 'drop-in' gaming group Friday nights for several years at the original WotC game center (in the U District of Seattle). Of the people who joined/dropped by the game, all but a handful were either in college or college graduates. Of those who were not, all but one or two were (or had been) in 'gifted student' programs at their high school. Including the high school dropouts/runaways/street kids. This was out of a sample size of at least fifty.

I stand by my comment that role playing games demand a higher level of creativity than many other hobbys. 'Sports fan' springs immediately to mind, as do 'amateur athelete' and 'counted cross-stitch.'
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Mark Eddy
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if wyrd is not against him."
greyorm
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2002, 11:29:08 AM »

Two of my regular high school players were in Special Education because of learning disabilities, most of my (large) group were not of above average intelligence, though a few of us were.

Considering this, and other factors, I think the position of gamer intelligence is unquestionably unsupportable (without further evidence gained via study), but does serve to highlight something I've been mulling over since Mike and MJ posted about the issue of their "proud geekness."

Something had been bugging me about Mike and MJ's responses to this thread, but I hadn't been able to put my finger on what that was without some thought. Mike and MJ are gamer geeks, they admit it, in fact, they savagely defend their geekness with pride.

I believe it was Anthony who said something about the "asshole queer" phase (move along, folks, no pun intended) that just out-of-the-closet gay men often go through. As much as I like them both, I think Mike and MJ could be examples of "asshole geeks," in that "I'm so comfortable being a geek, screw you if you can't deal with it!" translates directly to "I'm so comfortable being queer, screw you if you can't deal with it!"

Which I think is the problem.
When we're talking about pride, we have issues of social ostracization behind the pride movement, because when you are made to feel less-than-worthwhile, you want whatever it is you have been ostracized about to feel worthwhile instead.

This is accomplished in a number of ways, notably the "We're gamers, we're smarter than everyone else" statements and other such self-fulfilling circular truisms, coupled with the bashing of other 'inferior' groups by the 'better' group. All appear to be endemic of the pride idea across multiple groups...

I believe this is done without the individual necessarily realizing it, as a way of reinforcing the ostracized subject/behavior as something positive and better than average to compensate for the valuing of such as worthless or the rejection of such with a supplied logic that provides a distinct counter-claim, along with attempts to reverse the positions of the ostracized individual and their persecutors (ie: let's see how they like it; or see how they're hypocrites). Simply, an attempt to dilute, if not outright destroy, the 'power' of the persecutor and thus their judgements.
Case in point, new Pagans often foolishly engage in Christian-bashing.

I also find correlation among Pagans and witches who come out of the closet, whom display this exact behavior: banding together to shout to the world that they're there, they're intelligent, this is what they believe and they're proud of it...and usually to make complete asses of themselves in the process, while bashing "the man" and other groups.

A clear anecdotal example of this is a story I know about a Wiccan priestess at a solstice gathering, who, while in the parking lot on her way home happened to glance over and read some of the choice bumper stickers of a fellow Pagan...only to be met with shouts from that individual, quick to defend and proclaim her beliefs, "That's right! I'm a PAGAN! I'm a WITCH! Does that BOTHER you? Go home, Christian!"

(Said proud pagan was quickly chagrined when something occurred that alerted her to the fact the woman she was shouting her pride rhetoric at was a high priestess)

In short, we're talking about the whole "don't oppress me, man!" attitude.
I suggest that people who stand up "proud" of what they are are actually still IN the closet, psychologically, with who/what they are or do. That is, they're still uncomfortable on some level with it -- or with the world knowing it -- and are responding to this internal lack by trying to give the finger to the world to make themseleves feel better and correct, regardless of whether they already are correct (and hence the "asshole queer" stage).

Here's the issue in a nutshell: how does a heterosexual pride parade sound to you?
Yeah, I think it's perhaps the dumbest mother****ing idea I've ever heard, too.

I believe what we are talking about here when we discuss being "proud of your hobby" is the same kind of "pride" middle-class, suburban white guys have in that they play poker. This kind of pride isn't about shouting it to the world to hear...frankly, being proud of the fact that you're a gamer or a geek or poker player or whatever is just frickin' weird, as weird as being proud of the fact you're heterosexual (or gay).

Pride, in this discussion, I think needs to be replaced with "comfort."
That is, don't be proud of who/what you are, be comfortable with it.

You're gay. Great.
You're heterosexual. Great.
You're a gamer. Great.
Nobody needs to have a frickin' parade about it.

(And now that I've offended half the queer community, I will launch into a round of jokes about not wanting to be cornered by a bunch of angry gay men and bitch slapped...ba-dum-bum!)

In all seriousness, however, I realize this is a slight oversimplification of the issue, but as it stands, let us not pick at the minutia (ie: standing up to be counted and such is necessary in gaining rights and acceptance in the political/cultural power structure...also completely off-topic) but discuss the idea.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Bankuei
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2002, 02:43:11 PM »

Let's step back and look at the basic point of the discussion;

Gamers have a bad self image about gaming (notice that they may feel great about everything else in their life).

There is a certain level of shame or fear of ostracization that goes with gaming and talking about it with folks who don't game.  Corelations have been brought up with sexuality, religion, and could easily done so with politics.  All of the commonalities boil down to, "Can I be open about this, in front of this person(s), and what sort of reactions can I expect?"

The expected range of reactions go from, "Hey! I game too!", to, "D&D is the work of the devil and you're fired!".  That's a pretty wide range, but of course, the latter example is exceedingly rare compared to the sorts of positive/negative responses one can get with politics, religion or sexuality.

To bring up a more universal comparison, it would make more sense to compare gaming to mastrubation, in that there's a high level of shame associated with it(for a lot of people, anyway), and occassionally the response to admitting you do it could be being damned to hell or other social ostracization.

The first part of the pride issue, is simply getting to the point of "There is nothing wrong or bad about this", which is a reasonable attitude devoid of shame.  The part of the asshole whatever portion kicks in when folks go, "This is the greatest thing and you're not shit!" or "Hey! Hey! Look at me! I DO THIS!".

The second part of self esteem/social issue, that of validation or at least basic respect by other folks comes in when they say, "Well, they're having fun and they're not bothering anyone, so its fine by me."

I'd say gaming suffers a great deal by the amount of well adjusted, socially competant people who simply stay in the closet out of shame.  The only folks that we see representative are the weirdos who only hang out at the game shop every day or the folks the media pulls up to blame for the newest satanic D&D murder spree.  We don't have a celebrity or mainstream figurehead that validates gaming in the eyes of the mainstream.  

Which isn't to say that one is needed, but that if most gamers simply came out of the closest, unapologetic about their hobby, people would probably see that gamers come from all walks of life, and you can find intelligent, sane, socially capable individuals, along with the freaks and media stereotypes.

Is this a call for a mass coming out?  By no means, the only thing I'd like to see on part of gamers is to not be ashamed, whether you choose to discuss your hobby or not.  Feeling bad is usually detrimental to having fun, which is really the point of any hobby.

Chris
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2002, 10:05:18 AM »

Hello,

I agree with both Raven and Chris (Bankuei) in all particulars. Thanks, guys.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2002, 11:26:53 AM »

Hmmm.

First, Raven, how can I say this without sounding defensive? I find it odd that you would associate me with the "assholes" as, well, I identified that group in my post well before you did, and, in said post pointed out that I was not that guy.

Doth I protest o'ermuch? You've met me in person. Could you clear my name here? Or am I much more on an asshole than I think I am? Let me know it that's the case, because it would be nice to know.

This is all tongue-in-cheek. I'm not angry or anything. I just want eveyone to know that I've never worn a Sailor Moon outfit. And that I've seen Raven (and most of the other posters here who I've met) act in similarly geeky ways. Oh, I'm probably not as well presented as Ron and Jake, quite, but I'm also not a raving lunatic. None of us are.

My point has been, in fact, that while I'd confess to being apprehensive at times about others reception of my "gamerness" that I am personally very satisfied with who I am.

That is, I think it's OK to be enthusiastic about my hobby. Not for the purpose of "Freaking the Mundanes" at all. My post should have made clear that I think that the way things are going is just fine by me, and I have no need to be militant about my "gamerness". But I also don't want to have to worry about freaking anybody out accidentally. So I don't.

To further stretch the analogy, I think that I am like the Gay guy who has gotten past the annoying phase (or never had one, really). But I'll be damned if I was gay that I wouldn't be gay in public. Not to annoy anyone, or change any opinions, but just because I want to be able to be myself wherever I go. As such, if I mention Cthulhu in casual conversation a lot, you'll have to excuse me - I like H.P. Lovecraft and all Cthulhuania.

Do I have a hidden agenda, or some deep seated neurosis that makes me do these things? I dunno. You wanna pay for a therapist for me so we can find out?

Or wouldn't it be cheaper to just say, oh, that's just Mike, he's a little wierd but the woudn't hurt anyone. That's all I'm looking for.

Now, I've made this all very personal. Which was not really my intent. WHile we are all individuals, when looking at a group, it's good to have a practical sample. I think I fit the bill. So please try to extend my points to all the folks who may be like me. I think we constitute a large portion of Geekdom. Just like there is a large number of Gay people who aren't militant about it, but still act gay in public, there is a similar group of Gamers.

I wonder if the "Sailor Moon" guys wore that stuff to the bars across he street?

As I think we're seeing here, it's not so much the reaction of the public that I'm railing against; they don't seem to give me too much trouble, really. But of a subset of geeks who seem to think that they're so "normal" that they are put out by the rest of us geeks. Again, I think it's their squeamishness that's the problem, not mine.

Mike
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damion
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« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2002, 02:53:08 PM »

Various comments:
1)While the whole 'gamers are smarter' thing is debatable, I do think gaming requires a different personality type, one that is not common in the poplulation at large. As mike mentioned, there is a considerable overlap with SciFi fandom, possibly due to them being enjoyed by similar types of people.
Even IF gamers are smarter (as defined, by say IQ tests) that definatly does not equate to better. In fact, if you include 'ability to get along in the world' the 'optimal' ,i.e. will cause you the least trouble in your life, IQ range is about 115-130 or so.
(My apolgies, my fiance is a psych student studying gifteness, so I've assimilate ALOT of info on this topic.)

Gamer culture seems to follow the trends of most 'minority' cultures.
I think there are a couple reasons for it being one though:
Compared to most other hobbies, gaming requires a larger commitment of time. This is because your group has to get together at some sort of regular interval for a fairly long time. Also, a peron not being able to make it has a larger impact than on most other such social hobbies. (So a poker player can't come, who cares.  Gaming is different in that each person is more integral to the result. This is different from falling below a threshold, i.e. losing a bridge player.  You can just bring in someone else. In gaming, the new person will have a new charachter, which is more disturbing to the game.)  

There is a social issue though. If the general perception of gamers was better, people can say 'I'm a gamer.' and the other person would know what that is, and not worry that they don't understand it. You can say 'I'm a rugby player.' to me and I can know approximatly what that is ( a sport and it's rough) and not worry that I don't know anything about the game.

Part of it is gaming falls into the gray area between a social activity and
'game'. I can bring a new player to a sport and they can replace a another person pretty easily. Gaming requires a social contract, because it's to complex for rules to legislate all behavior, so bring a new person in is more complex.  I may know system X, but with a new group, there is still a learning curve.
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James
Irmo
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« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2002, 03:25:35 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
The "gamers are smarter than normal" argument is one I see a lot - and one with no empirical proof behind it. (If one wanted to be especially snarky first thing in the morning, they might say that Pyron's post was a good argument against it.)

It's an easy defensive argument to make when people have issues though - to identify themselves with a group that is somehow superior to others. The problems are:

a) Gamers aren't a unified group.
b) There's no evidence outside anecdotal that they're smarter than anyone else. In fact, this argument brings up the box of wild cats that is the definition of intelligence. If intelligence includes in any way the ability to adapt for life's changes, anecdotal evidence points in the opposite direction.


I think this discussion really has to be qualified further, although most of you already do that involuntarily.
Are we talking about gamers in general? Gamers in a specific country? Due to interaction with the society "gamers" live in, there can be quite some differences in self-esteem, too, I think.

In any case, Dr. Jeannette Schmid, at the time at the Institute for psychology of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, who was herself a roleplayer, IIRC, did a survey using an established questionary distributed at a roleplaying con and at several local game stores in southern Germany in 1995. (There is also an older study, by now considered somewhat flawed, and due to its age also of questionable relevance today, given the changes in roleplaying itself: Simón, Armando, “Emotional Stability Pertaining to the Game of Dungeons & Dragons”, in: Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 24, October 1987, 329-332) The purpose of Schmid's study was to verify several common prejudices of outsiders towards gamers:


    Roleplayers are in danger of confusing game and reality and let themselves be influenced by the GM outside the game, they are more emotionally labile, i.e. unstable (Factor Neuroticism)
    Roleplayers tend to violent behavior (Factor compatibility/tolerance)
    Roleplayers are less achievement-oriented/ less diligent (Factor diligence)
    Roleplayers are more creative, or more open to new things (Factor openness to new experiences) [/list:u]

    77 questionaries were returned, 74 from male players, 1 from a female roleplayer, 1 without information on the gender. The average time the people were gaming was 7.2 years, the average age 21.8

    The questionaries were analysed according to five factors:

    Neuroticism (emotional stability/lability, how people deal with emotions, especially negative ones, etc.)
    extroverty (How comfortable people are in groups, how secure they are in their bearing, how active, energetic and optimistic they are)
    Openness for new experiences (Interest in, and degree of dealing with new things, desire to learn, curiosity, intellectuality, creativeness, artistic interest etc Higher interest in questioning norms and greater readiness to accept new social, ethical or political paradigms. Tend to be independent and unconvential)
    Compatibility/Tolerance (A high degree here often signifies altruism, empathy and benevolence)
    Diligence (Focus, purposefulness, discipline, willpower, reliable.)
    [/list:u]

    Since an established questionary was used, it was easy to compare with the average population. Results of 2112 questionaires were availble in the literature.

    Of course, the 77 samples of roleplayers analysed are small compared to that, and can only show a tendency.

    Significant differences were found in the neuroticism factor, in which roleplayers were lower, i.e. they actually have a HIGHER emotional stability, and openness for new experiences in which roleplayers were higher than the population at large.

    The suggestion that this is merely based on people trying to flatter themselves is unlikely in light of the fact that the result for diligence, a factor generally seen favorable by society, showed a lower result for roleplayers than for the population average.

    The small number of samples made it of course difficult to postulate any further correlations as significant. That being said, there seemed to be a slightly lower extroverty among long-time gamers than among those who had started only recently,  and at the same time a positive correlation with openness for new experiences, i.e. long-time gamers were more open to such experiences. That could not be found to be solely based on a higher age.
    -----------------------------------

    Dr. Schmid also held a talk on roleplaying games including possible reactions by parents and teachers on learning about their offspring's activity on an invitation of a teacher's association.
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contracycle
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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2002, 05:31:29 AM »

Quote

I suggest that people who stand up "proud" of what they are are actually still IN the closet, psychologically, with who/what they are or do. That is, they're still uncomfortable on some level with it -- or with the world knowing it -- and are responding to this internal lack by trying to give the finger to the world to make themseleves feel better and correct, regardless of whether they already are correct (and hence the "asshole queer" stage).


This argument strongly irks me.  I dislike speculation as to someone elses motivations with little to back it up; and it becomes even more unreliable when projected onto thousands, maybe millions of people.  It is however a very nice excuse to ignore the parade; after all, you understand it better than the people ON the parade, don't you?  And hence you can put them back in the closet, out of sight and out of mind.

The "arsehole" phase may not be the most persuasive of political techniques, but equally ther only way that a concept gains credibiklity and normality is to be visible and public.  Hence, freaking the mundanes is a useful technique, because eventually you become so normal that the mundanes are no longer freaked; you have become mundane too, part of the colourful backdrop.  Keeping your head down only validates the hostile opinion; after all are you not cowering in shame?  Well, such an ostentatious demonstration of your proclivities makes it quite clear you are not.

That said, I don't particularly think this explains what is going on with the Sailor Moon outfits; after all that strictly speaking has little to do with gaming.  Anime freaks can go to their own Con, AFAIAC.  Now if they dressed up in some sort of gaming related way, I think the whole thing would be much more explicable, taken in better spirit, and not leave the RPG community lookuing as outright weird as it can do at the moment.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2002, 10:27:23 PM »

Hello,

It is clear, I think, that various different takes have been arrived at by different people. Mike, Gareth, and Raven represent three very different decisions about how to handle the issue.

The entire point of the Social Context thread and its daughter threads, most especially this one, is simply to get that issue on the table. We don't have to arrive at a given "what to do" policy. We most especially do not have to defend our individual chosen policies up to this point in time. But the issue is on the table; it always has been, and I'm merely pointing to it. Whether you shrug, like Jake, or give a cry of pain, like b_bankhead, or step back and look wary, like Mike or Gareth ... it doesn't matter.

Let's give one another some credit. In expressing a personal take on how to handle something very touchy, very emotional, and which in some few cases does indeed have significant consequences, no one can point fingers and say "You shoulda handled it like I say," or worse, "Live your life as I say you should." No need for refutation at this time - we are sharing.

Final point: Mike wrote,
"Doth I protest o'ermuch? You've met me in person. Could you clear my name here?"

He's referring to Raven's "arsehole gamer" portrait, but I'm going to extend it in an interesting way. Mike described himself earlier in this thread as a "fat, sloppy gamer," and added some details. This is weird to me, because I have met Mike and hung out with him on numerous occasions ... and the man is cool. He's big - but not chubby/pasty; in fact, he's a pretty good-looking guy with definite presence. He's assertive when he feels he's been run over, verbally - without getting querulous or angry. He's nice to people and listens to them. He plays a hell of an electric guitar and could, I think, hold his own at any open mike night in any club. None of this is intended to reassure him. It's merely how I would have described him to anyone who wanted to know.

I bring this up to point to the contrast between self-image and perceived-image.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2002, 08:53:41 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I bring this up to point to the contrast between self-image and perceived-image.


Well, to be truthful, I overstated the case to bring up the point. That is I don't really have a huge amount of "Sloppy Gamer Cred", but felt we needed someone to defend that corner.

My point was that many, many of the gamers that are pointed out as being the "problem" types are capable of being quite normal when they want to. In fact, most of them are only that geely around other gamers where they feel comforatble doing so (I assume that the Sailor Moon crew only does that at conventions, and not, say, for Halloween).

As such, what problem are they causing with public perception? Rather little, I think. Instead the problem is with Gamer perception. No geek wants to be outgeeked. And I think we all here know that the Salior Moon guys have us by quite a measure in their level of geekery boldness.

Then we worry that "somebody normal" will see these guys, assume that these "normies" will judge them badly, and then assume that we will somehow be judged via association.

OK, that's just a theory, but does it ring true for anybody? It's what I do. Just before I get a grip on myself, and realize that it's a long chain of efvents that's unlikely to ever effect me personally. But everyone makes kneejerk reactions at times. Especially when visually assaulted by guys my size dressed as "Magic Girl" type anime characters. An act that could only have been performed with that assault in mind. The question is, do they really constitute a threat to me somehow? Given that I can comport myself well, when neccessary, I realize no.

It's that sort term psychology that makes us all concerned with each other's behavior. I've personally chosen to take to appreciating the geeky behavior of others as much as possible. Is there a munchkin in the game? Well, either I'll just try to adjust the game around him, or just play something else. I'm not going to kvetch about a personality that I'm not going to be able to change. Fortunately there are other games to play; with players who don't have such opposed modes to mine.

And at the end of the day, I build my own self-esteem not on the actions of munchkins and Large Male Sailor Moon Enthusiasts, but on my own merits. And I find that I have no problem with my hobby. I'm OK; you're OK.

I imagine that most Male Accountants at Accountant conventions all wish that more Accountants were sexy females. But, in general, we cannot pick and choose who will be members of our chosen activities, and will have to focus on those who do appeal to us as companions. Fortunately that's what's great about such associations; we all have at least one thing in common.

And I have to say that I love my gamers! What other group of people can I count on to be as obsessed with gaming as I am?

Mike
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greyorm
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« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2002, 12:26:37 PM »

Mike,

No, you specifically aren't an "asshole"...the response you gave, ie: "Whatchagonnadoaboutit?" and etc. bothered me because (I eventually realized) I associated it with the whole newly-out-of-the-closet behavior I've seen elsewhere -- as stated, giving the finger to the world if they don't like who you are or how you act -- and as such, with the "asshole" stage of coming out that Anthony mentioned.

It was definitely NOT to say you, or MJ, are assholes -- ie: big jerks and purveyors of rudeness and hostility. It was the response, the phrasing, the nature of the defense, the specific behvaior that was asshole-like, not you yourself. Like Ron, I recall you're a pretty cool guy.

I know quite a few "asshole pagans," and "asshole Christians" for that matter, and what's more, I'm good friends with these people. On the other hand, I know quite a few assholes, and I'm not friends with them at all. I hope that clarifies the difference for you. Don't focus on the adjective...the adjective doesn't carry the meaning of the term.

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I am like the Gay guy who has gotten past the annoying phase (or never had one, really). But I'll be damned if I was gay that I wouldn't be gay in public. Not to annoy anyone, or change any opinions, but just because I want to be able to be myself wherever I go.

Or wouldn't it be cheaper to just say, oh, that's just Mike, he's a little wierd but the woudn't hurt anyone. That's all I'm looking for.


And that's the perception we should all be looking to foster. Here's the thing, though: I read your post and MJ's and what I saw was, "This is Bob. Bob doesn't care what we think." When it is obvious to others that you don't care what they think, you've already lost the acceptance battle, because the immediate response (right or wrong) is "Fine, we don't care what you think, either."

Does this mean you become a patsy for the mainstream? No.
You can care what other people think and still be yourself.

Anecdote time:

I went through a "screw the world" phase in regards to my geekness and religious beliefs and etc. After some time of this, I realized it wasn't working (ie: making both others and myself happy) any better than conforming would have. I was still on the outside, and while I was comfortable with that (or believed I was), I was still on the outside.

The trick, I've found, is caring what other people think, even if it means you aren't going to change for them. It is the difference between saying, "Too bad if this bothers you" and "I'm sorry this bothers you."

Take my hair for example, I wear it abnormally long for a male, down to my mid-back. For years I've had to put up with crap from my family about the length, polite ribbing about being a hippie, threats to cut it when I slept and so forth (including being bribed with a large sum of money to cut it short)?

I used glare and scowl and tell them, "I'm not cutting and I'm tired of listening to this." And, of course, it never worked because I was paying as much attention to their feelings on the issue as they were to mine.

When I started saying, "I know you don't like it and think it looks bad, but I don't, and I really don't want to cut it. And I don't like being teased about it, either, it really hurts my feelings. I wear it this way for personal, religious reasons." Then I started getting results, and I hear far less about it these days.

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a subset of geeks who seem to think that they're so "normal" that they are put out by the rest of us geeks. Again, I think it's their squeamishness that's the problem, not mine.


That's a valid point, and quite possibly correct...but I also think its a cop-out for the reasons above.

Then again, what's the definition of a geek? Someone who is socially incompetent and possibly differs from the main culture in behavior/hobbies? (I don't know, but that seems to fit.)

Or is it just the latter (differing from the main), or possibly the latter to geeks (who seek to swell their ranks by association) and the former to others (who use the latter to define why they think the person is a geek, right or wrong)?

In the first case, if you're a "normal" geek, you aren't a geek at all, because your peer group doesn't peg you as one due your hobbies. Instead, they would have to peg you as a geek and then use your hobbies to support the label. Anecdote: at my high school, a few of the most popular guys played D&D in my group...however, even though this was known, they never recieved the 'geek' label for doing so. Though anecdotal, this seems to support the first case as the usual way to obtain the 'geek' label, rather than by mere association.

Regardless, it's another label to seperate "us" and the dreaded "them."

Now, IMO, this all ties into Gareth's response as well.


Gareth,

I thought I had explained the reasoning behind my speculation adequately in that post, as I dislike and attempt to avoid creating such theory without some solid support, even if it is based solely on personal experience with folks who fit the profile (in this case, pagans, not gays) and some pop-psychology.

But I find you're taking my argument places it never went. I am in no way advocating use of the theory posited to allow anyone to say, "Oh, I know why they're doing it, so now I can just ignore it." Nor does my post in any way indicate this as a course of action for anyone, so as far as I am concerned this is not an issue I can even remotely address, as it has nothing to do with my post.

(In fact, I find the modern concept that the understanding of an issue or item somehow cheapens that thing or leads to ignoring it 'peculiar' to say the least.)

So, though it deals with them, the reactions of the mainstream to the "parade" is a side issue to the reasons for the parade in the first place, or more correctly, the possible motivations for the "asshole Xer" behavior Anthony pointed out and others have also noted.

(And yes, "asshole" isn't the best term here, but let's get past the wording, shall we? We're all adults, we can think and not react. And if you can suggest a better term, please do so, I'm more than willing to change terminology.)

You do bring up an interesting point: Will folks ignore it when you flaunt it? (thus putting you right back into the closet) Will doing so in fact have the reverse of the intended effect?

Your group might become a part of the "colorful backdrop" through "flaunting it," but it is doubtful they will gain actual acceptance through such a method...the group will still be seen as the odd-man-out & weird (and hence 'dangerous') by the very people who they're trying to convince they aren't so weird and different from.

Your statements about "freaking the mundanes" strike me as exactly the problem, in fact. The whole "mundane vs. special person" dichotomy is dangerous and unhealthy, both from a position of gaining social respect and being heard, and from a social/ethical viewpoint.


So what do we end up with? Is the real discovery in this thread that the whole "us" vs. "them" attitude ("gamer" vs. "non-gamer") is the actual culprit in regards to the public perception of gamers and (more importantly) gaming as a hobby?

Because we choose to distinctly identify ourselves as "not-part" of the mainstream due our hobby, thus chasing away anyone comfortable with being a part of the mainstream who might also otherwise be interested in it?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2002, 05:44:47 PM »

So, basically you're saying, "Don't be an asshole gamer. Care what other people think."

So, does that mean that if I want to play an RPG in public that I have to explain what we're doing to every passerby that gives me an askance glance? Or do I have to play in non-public areas?

Or is it, as I've suggested, a non-issue? Now that it's been revealed that I'm not the "asshole gamer".

Does anyone here consider themselves an actual bona-fide Asshole Geek? I'm going to guess not. And I'm going to guess that they are actually very rare. Further, if we assume that there are some, what are we going to do about them? As I've tried to point out (unsuccessfully), though I am not an Asshole Geek, let's assume for argument's sake that I was. What would you do? What could you say to change me into a "normal" geek (BTW, defined as still in the geek set, but not an asshole about it)? Would you drag me out of a public playing area, and put me where the "mundanes" coudn't see me? Are we talking about some sort of asshole gamer outreach here?

Hi, "I'm Mike, and I'm an asshole gamer."

Does anybody else think this is getting absurd?

What I'm saying is that we're more OK than we think we are. And we aren't going to be able to change those who may constitute a problem. If they even do constitute a problem. Given all this, is there really some sort of action that needs to be taken by anyone?

As I've said, we're already winning. The staus quo is just fine by me.

Mike
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