The Rookery

Madeline's thoughts on social deduction games, forum/community meta, and any other philosophical musings
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E for Effort

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No mountains, no valleys
Never argue with idiots; they'll drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience.
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(I've said some of this before in person at CabinCon, and in the Mental Health thread, but here with a longer philosophical preamble.)

Playing a game is morally neutral. Nobody should force you to join a game, whether in real life or on a forum. It's not ethically praiseworthy if you do so, and it's not morally bad either. (Except maybe if you're one of the ultra-utilitarians who's like "EVERYTHING is morally bad if you're enjoying it, because you could be killing yourself by inches to help someone worse off than you!!" But I feel like that's a hard standard to enforce on, like, actual humans, so we're going to ignore that mindset here.)

However, if you choose to play a game, then you've sort of signed up for a social contract in which some of the things you have to do aren't, in that context, optional. What are you committing to by playing a game? I would say this includes:

-Playing fair (not cheating)
-Respecting others
-Trying your best to succeed (particularly in team games, but also in general)
--in my philosophy at least, not being an extreme mountain/valley/slope by expecting you or others to have special treatment applied to them that isn't applied to everybody

None of this is praiseworthy, because that's the bare minimum of playing the game! If you're over the age of five, you don't really need backpats for remembering to take your turn.

Every once in a while, someone will come up with a really cool strategy and execute it successfully. When that happens, yeah, it's great to praise them for doing well, and going above and beyond. Because that's a hard thing to do! It doesn't always happen.

But I don't want praise for "trying my best" or "not ruining the game for others by dumping my emotions on them." To me, praise implies that those are optional, and praising people means that others can get away with not trying. (And I do think that is an issue at times, too!)

So in particular, if I lose a game, I don't want people to say "it's okay Madeline, you did well and we value and like you!"

In team games, I can't respond to that by saying "no, actually we played terribly, so bleep off," because that might hurt the feelings of my teammates, and I don't want that! (Especially if my teammates put in effort themselves; if some of them really didn't, then we have another problem.)

And in general, it's have no proof I did well, because the only objective proof comes from the results, and obviously I didn't. I'm autistic, and I often I feel that, in terms of social skills and empathy-magic, I started way behind the line compared to most people. But in "exchange," I feel like I have a relative aptitude at some kinds of logically puzzling things out. (These may or may not be true, but they are assumptions I take for granted.)

So when it feels like I've failed on my terms (the latter), and can never compete an equal on others' terms (the former), to be told I did well feels very fake and patronizing. Especially from people who are topographical extremes/have made it clear that we don't really have the same principles in common, game wise.
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