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Subject: The Rule Book - Politically Correct #2 rss

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Jay Sears
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Hi All,

I put up a thread about my curiosity on the politically correctness of a rule book. My first thought was; "does it matter how you refer a pawn as", and my second thought was; I wonder if people really do feel offended by rule books stating certain things". This should answer one question posted on the thread which I ignored maybe they were offended, hmmm!). Anyhow, the word 'mover' came up scepticism amongst many, or thinking wt* is this?

Anyhow, I have taken many words you posted on the thread and placed it into a poll to see the facts behind how many are offended by which word the most if they see this in a rule book.

Poll
Why words offends you the most in a rule book? Particularly using reference to something.
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Referring to "He" (more than she)
2.6% 5
Referring to "His" (more than hers)
1.6% 3
Referring to "She" (more than he)
3.2% 6
Referring to "Hers" (more than his)
0.0% 0
Referring to "they"
3.2% 6
Referring to "people"
0.0% 0
Referring to "mover"
3.2% 6
Referring to "meeples"
0.5% 1
Referring to "it"
1.1% 2
Referring to your natives incorrectly
2.1% 4
Referring to class (i.e. middle-class)
0.0% 0
Not titling your pawns with specific character names
0.0% 0
Don't care about certain words used, I care about it reading fluidly/consistency
40.5% 77
Please make this the last post on this subject!
42.1% 80
Voters 190
This poll is now closed.   190 answers
Poll created by JayProducer
Closes: Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:00 am
 
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Dave Platt
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The game I'm currently making refers to pawns as "men" in the rule book. I've actually included a line in brackets after the first mention which says that yes, they could be women but for ease they'll be referred to as "men" in the rule book. Men fits better with the game, the theme and in everyway really. Pawns just comes across as too formal in my mind.
 
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Stuart
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Yeah, I frequently worry whether my pawns are cis or transfer too.
 
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lampeter
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I am more concerned about consistent and non-jarring pronoun usage than about the specific pronouns used, but I AM bothered a lot when the names chosen in examples are all typical Anglo male names, like Tom, John, and Rick. It kind of gives me the same sense as that old mockable Battleship cover where the father and son are playing Battleship together and the mother and daughter are all cheering on from the background (probably making them snacks). It's not really offensive to me, but it does seem hokey and out-of-date, a bit eye-roll worthy, even.
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Joe Kundlak
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Voted option 14. Nuff said.
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Emma
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I don't think I've ever been offended by a rulebook. Though, if you are asking, I prefer they. It flows way better than he or she. Rulebooks that are all about he do make me sigh a little bit. But offended? Nah.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Well that would be an RSP matter.
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Pete
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All aboard the SS RSP!!!

Pete (looks from the bow to see the impending iceberg)
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CARL SKUTSCH
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First: You make the assumption that there are only two states to be worried about: Offended and Not Offended. This seems way too simple and suggests some preconceptions, maybe even an agenda, on your part. In fact, there are many other states we could describe about my feelings towards game labels (or other things).

I can be offended by something (or not offended).
I can think something is a major problem (or not a major problem) without any issue of offense coming into my thinking.
I can think something is a minor problem (or not a minor problem) without any issue of offense coming into my thinking.
I can think simply that something could be improved (or not improved) without any issue of offense coming into my thinking.

So perhaps I'm not offended by the use of "his" when referring to a player but I do think it's a problem in that it creates an assumption of maleness that would not be welcoming to some players. Or perhaps I just think it would be the best practice to use gender neutral pronouns even though I'm not offended when games don't. I wouldn't even see it as a problem, just as something which could be improved. (I think my favorite restaurants Mac n Cheese should be a bit crustier but I'm neither offended nor do I think it's a problem that it isn't--cuz I keep buying it. And no, not a hypothetical example!)

Second: You mix a lot of different elements into one survey. Namely...
1 - How are players referred to?
2 - How are game pieces referred to?
3 - How are game elements referred to? (the "native" question)
4 - How do players feel about labels that exist primarily outside of games (the very odd, how do you feel about "class" question)

This mingling of very different kinds of targets for labelling can't but lead to confusion in trying to figure out what your poll results mean, with the result being that they will mean virtually nothing. Except that the majority support for question 14 suggests, as I have been saying, that most people think you have gone adrift in your polling questions and goals.

What I think is expressed by this totally unbiased and unloaded poll:
Poll
Why has Jay been posting these polls?
He thinks political correctness in games has gone too far and wants to see if people support him in that view.
He has no absolutely no preconceptions about political correctness and simply wants to explore the subject.
He would like it if games were far more politically correct than they currently are.
Bacon.
      79 answers
Poll created by skutsch
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Boaty McBoatface
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plezercruz wrote:
All aboard the SS RSP!!!

Pete (looks from the bow to see the impending iceberg)
Except me (ironically).
 
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Darth Heisenberg
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All I care in a rulebook is that I know how to play the game after reading it.

I couldn't care less if they refer to the players/moving pieces/whatever as he, she, it, Orc, elf, unicorn or meeple.

On a side note, 90% of the rulebooks out there don't accomplish that goal. Once they do I might nitpick on the details.
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Pete
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Registrau wrote:
All I care in a rulebook is that I know how to play the game after reading it.

I couldn't care less if they refer to the players/moving pieces/whatever as he, she, it, Orc, elf, unicorn or meeple.

On a side note, 90% of the rulebooks out there don't accomplish that goal. Once they do I might nitpick on the details.
The main reason I dislike the equality-seeking use of "they" everywhere is that often introduces ambiguity as to whether the pronoun is referring to a single or multiple people. So, yes, because my primary concern is accurate conveyance of he rules, I dislike the practice.

The root cause of that problem is not the gender, but the pronouns themselves. Pronouns are nothing but trouble when crafting rules. When I draft legal documents, I often eschew pronouns altogether. It might not be quite as fun to read, but it really helps avoid ambiguities.

Pete (is perfectly willing to just repeat the noun four or five times in a sentence)




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Geoffrey Burrell
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I haven't run across any rule systems that are not politically correct except for the game Kamasutra.
 
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Keith B
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What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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texascpa wrote:
What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.

I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


I see what you're saying, but as long as you assume that anyone being differently must be not being polite, I think you will continue to never get it.

Quote:
I am more concerned about consistent and non-jarring pronoun usage than about the specific pronouns used, but I AM bothered a lot when the names chosen in examples are all typical Anglo male names, like Tom, John, and Rick.


I can see that, but I think trying to hard to avert it gets pretty jarring too. I saw that a lot as a math tutor with books where every problem seems to include one stereotypical simple English name and one stereotypical ethnic name, along the lines of....

Problem 1: Sarah and Enrique
Problem 2: Harry and Ladarius
Problem 3: Lakshmi and Rachel
Problem 4: Tim and Mohammed
etc

But then I also saw one book where almost all the "two person" problems just used ridiculous names or themes to avoid favoring or offending anyone and it was even worse. It would go something like...

Problem 1: Wonderboy and Ultragirl
Problem 2: The Gremlin and The Troll
Problem 3: Flooey and Boddlewaddle
Problem 4: Czernowitz and Marmaduke
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Pete
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Statalyzer wrote:
Quote:
I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


I see what you're saying, but as long as you assume that anyone being differently must be not being polite, I think you will continue to never get it.

Quote:
I am more concerned about consistent and non-jarring pronoun usage than about the specific pronouns used, but I AM bothered a lot when the names chosen in examples are all typical Anglo male names, like Tom, John, and Rick.


I can see that, but I think trying to hard to avert it gets pretty jarring too. I saw that a lot as a math tutor with books where every problem seems to include one stereotypical simple English name and one stereotypical ethnic name, along the lines of....

Problem 1: Sarah and Enrique
Problem 2: Harry and Ladarius
Problem 3: Lakshmi and Rachel
Problem 4: Tim and Mohammed
etc

But then I also saw one book where almost all the "two person" problems just used ridiculous names or themes to avoid favoring or offending anyone and it was even worse. It would go something like...

Problem 1: Wonderboy and Ultragirl
Problem 2: The Gremlin and The Troll
Problem 3: Flooey and Boddlewaddle
Problem 4: Czernowitz and Marmaduke
All of which are superior for specificity purposes to "he and she" which is itself far superior to "they and they" or even just "they."

Pete (sums up)
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Larry L
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Statalyzer wrote:


But then I also saw one book where almost all the "two person" problems just used ridiculous names or themes to avoid favoring or offending anyone and it was even worse. It would go something like...

Problem 1: Wonderboy and Ultragirl
Problem 2: The Gremlin and The Troll
Problem 3: Flooey and Boddlewaddle
Problem 4: Czernowitz and Marmaduke


If by "even worse" you mean "awesome"! Wonderboy and Ultragirl.
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Scott Johanson
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I think using Pronouns in a rulebook can offend some people. I also think, that there are better ways to refer to players or pieces in a rulebook than by using Personal Pronouns, unless you're using a play example with example people.

"Active/Phasing/Etc Player" and language like that I think is the most clear and accurate way to refer to a player in the rulebook, and it doesn't offend anyone. Why use anything else?

Edit: Personally, I hate the word "Meeple". Irrational, it just bugs me. Not sure if it matters, but full disclosure.
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lizzie j
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You can't win. That is the answer.

I prefer a singular pronoun because it is clearer. Having the noun repeated (or replaced) makes the sentence clunky and more confusing. Using a gender neutral plural can cause confusion as to whether multiple people need to carry out the action.

(Of course in both of the above cases the meaning can be understood but it can take more deciphering which is not desirable in a rulebook)

If I see 'he' all the time I might roll my eyes because everything can feel so male dominated. But only on sporadic occasions, which you can't predict.
If I see 'she' I think 'ugh this is just here for political correctness'.

Thus you can't win lol. The best solution is to travel back through time to rewrite history so that this issue does not exist. Then you can put whatever you like.*

*However other issues may arise. Damn you time travel!
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Keith B
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skutsch wrote:
texascpa wrote:
What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.

I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


You were raised to worry about whether the use of he or she or they or whatever in a rulebook is offensive? And yes, I think that's going out of the way.
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Larry L
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texascpa wrote:
skutsch wrote:
texascpa wrote:
What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.

I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


You were raised to worry about whether the use of he or she or they or whatever in a rulebook is offensive? And yes, I think that's going out of the way.


Why does that offend you?
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CARL SKUTSCH
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texascpa wrote:
skutsch wrote:
texascpa wrote:
What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.

I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


You were raised to worry about whether the use of he or she or they or whatever in a rulebook is offensive? And yes, I think that's going out of the way.

When did I say I worried about the use of he or she? It is annoying when people rephrase your words to create strawman points. I said I believed in being polite. Worry? I worry about bills and global calamity; I don't worry about what goes into rule books.

In an ideal world I would prefer that rules were more inclusive. I don't think it helps our world or our hobby for women (or men) to always read "when a player picks up his worker." Not because they will feel terribly offended but because they may feel ever so slightly less welcomed, because I think fixing such things is one small step towards gender equality. However, I said prefer. I deliberately chose a mild word. I don't worry about gender in rule books.

I've never chosen a game based on the gender labels used in the rule book. I research game quality or look or theme but not whether or not they use "he" or "she." A few times I have the vague memory that I may have been put off by hearing that the game used excessively sexist imagery, although I can't remember any specific moments. Clearly it doesn't always work because I own a copy of Barbarossa (partly because it's just so wrong).

In fact, it seems to be that the ones who most often get their knickers all in a bind about this are the folks who are upset to see their beloved "he" replaced by "she."

So again, what I believe in is being polite. It never seems to take me much effort. (Except for writing those damn thank you notes.)

As for rules, I'll let other people figure it out. My current feeling (which may change 5 minutes from now) is that neutral words are best. I don't think that they are confusing, if used properly. "The player moves their piece, clockwise, to the nearest transportal vortex on the amplifier track. Once there, they may pick one OR two destabilizer cubes (without paying any cost). Any other player may, if they wish, pick up ONE destabilizer cube, but at a cost of 2 energy spikes."
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Pete
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skutsch wrote:
texascpa wrote:
skutsch wrote:
texascpa wrote:
What offends me is when you go out of your way to try not to offend everyone.

I never get this. How does it ever take you out of your way to avoid offending? I just call it being polite. It's the way I was raised.


You were raised to worry about whether the use of he or she or they or whatever in a rulebook is offensive? And yes, I think that's going out of the way.

When did I say I worried about the use of he or she? It is annoying when people rephrase your words to create strawman points. I said I believed in being polite. Worry? I worry about bills and global calamity; I don't worry about what goes into rule books.

In an ideal world I would prefer that rules were more inclusive. I don't think it helps our world or our hobby for women (or men) to always read "when a player picks up his worker." Not because they will feel terribly offended but because they may feel ever so slightly less welcomed, because I think fixing such things is one small step towards gender equality. However, I said prefer. I deliberately chose a mild word. I don't worry about gender in rule books.

I've never chosen a game based on the gender labels used in the rule book. I research game quality or look or theme but not whether or not they use "he" or "she." A few times I have the vague memory that I may have been put off by hearing that the game used excessively sexist imagery, although I can't remember any specific moments. Clearly it doesn't always work because I own a copy of Barbarossa (partly because it's just so wrong).

In fact, it seems to be that the ones who most often get their knickers all in a bind about this are the folks who are upset to see their beloved "he" replaced by "she."

So again, what I believe in is being polite. It never seems to take me much effort. (Except for writing those damn thank you notes.)

As for rules, I'll let other people figure it out. My current feeling (which may change 5 minutes from now) is that neutral words are best. I don't think that they are confusing, if used properly. "The player moves their piece, clockwise, to the nearest transportal vortex on the amplifier track. Once there, they may pick one OR two destabilizer cubes (without paying any cost). Any other player may, if they wish, pick up ONE destabilizer cube, but at a cost of 2 energy spikes."
Well, yeah, it's not confusing when there is no antecedent possibility of a different selection set. Not the best example.

Consider:

"The player moves their piece, clockwise, to the nearest transportal vortex on the amplifier track. Once there, they may pick one OR two of their destabilizer cubes (without paying any cost). Any other player may, if they wish, pick up ONE of their destabilizer cubes, but at a cost of 2 energy spikes.

Whose cube does the bold "their" refer to?


Pete (thinks no matter which convention you use, you can be clear about your intent, but some are more prone to error than others)
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Pete - isn't that example just as ambiguous if you substitute "his" in instead of "their"?
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