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Mizhena, Social Justice and why we can't have nice things



  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 3,029
    I have been away for two months and upon my return I find that Mizhena is still causing people to choose to become upset and closing threads. Fascinating. I guess they really are always playing the same old movie on that channel.

    People who attack others online need to get a life. People who get upset by those who attack others online need to quit taking everything personally. If you aren't treating everyone with equal portions of respect and politely civil indifference then the problem is *you*, not them.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2016
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  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,700
    edited August 2016

    Just going to pop in and mention how sick I am of threads like this.

    Shut it down :u

    Seriously, I agree -- partly. I'm getting tired of seeing these threads. Yet I always hope that gradually they will become calmer and bring about more logical argument.
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  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 2,072
    I'd like to thank shawne for so passionately making Buttercheese's argument for her. I think it's very generous of you to take one for the team like that and show those of us who were doubtful of BC's words the perfect example of her poidnt. Kudos!
  • CahirCahir Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 2,798
    edited August 2016
    Oh boy, all of this because of one tiny NPC.
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 86
    edited August 2016
    shawne said:

    Well, @shawne, let me try.
    One step by at a time. I warn you though, it's gonna be repetitive and boring.

    I'm game if you are. *cracks knuckles*

    Why should I rip on the transphobes in detail, everyone knows why and how they are wrong.

    Do they? Because here you are, arguing that Beamdog courted negative backlash (claiming it might have been an "elaborate marketing stunt") by including Mizhena - that they were, to use the distasteful parlance, "asking for it".
    But they were though. Technically as soon as any person makes their presence known on the Internet, they have officially opened themselves up to death threats. The fact that Amber was getting hundreds, thousands of death threats doesn't evoke a ton of pity from me, more of a "welcome to the club" sort of response. I myself just personally recieved 2 different death threats due to comments on YouTube videos just yesterday and today. As a 33yr old gamer, I would say I've probably had thousands of death threats in my lifetime, all along the spectrum of "let's meet somewhere and fight" to "I'm going to look up your IP and real life location and kill you when you are on your way to work", etc

    Everyone understands that being trolled and receiving death threats is a part of being online, and no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. Everyone also knows which topics of these would create the MOST death threats in a given list of topics. If a person chooses to include a hot-button topic I would call them brave, but also naive if they are surprised to see a negative online response, whether that response is "fair", "unfair", "right", "wrong" or any of that
  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,700
    This is a touchy subject, so I'd expect tough disagreement.

    If ButteredCheese is interested in the topic, she'll return. I've been humbled in argument at least half a dozen times or more on these forums over the years by the likes of Dee, FinneousPJ, Shawne, and others. It may be reason to stay away from a thread for a while, but you should come back if you're interested enough.
  • MacHurtoMacHurto Member Posts: 731
    edited August 2016
    To be fair, the demographic that is most discriminated in this whole SoD thing is iPad gamers (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know what I mean)

    And to maintain the topic, This whole Mizhena issue is totally blown out of proportion. Witch hunts (whichever side/collective stirs them) should be something from a distant past. You dont like a trans in the game? Dont talk to her. If somehow "trans in gaming is wrong" is one of your core beliefs, then dont buy the game. To me, sometimes, these internet fights look like people havent realised high school happened a long time ago.
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 86
    I'm not saying it's the victims fault, you twisted those words and included examples which have nothing to do with the topic

    I'm saying that if you want to make a crusade against the fact that the Internet gives people a platform to threaten others anonymously for any reason (or no reason), then start a crusade against that reality and change it

    Or else understand it and work around it
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    edited August 2016
    I didn't mean to twist what you were saying, I only meant to caution you that that's what the phrase means to the people it's used for. Most of the people who use that phrase don't mean it literally; but that doesn't change its effect on the people who hear it.

    I would also argue that the problem of the internet isn't anonymity; there was a piece I saw somewhere recently that concluded that people who are forced to use their real name (Facebook, for instance) are more likely to double down on their position, even if that position is one of abuse. I don't recall what the source was (it was somewhere in Apple News's endless feed), but the conclusion makes sense: it's hard to acknowledge when you've made a mistake, or to apologize when that mistake offends someone else. It's much easier to embrace that mistake more fully.

    Anonymity makes it easier to change your position, especially in a text-based environment where everything you say is preserved in perpetuity.

    We are getting a little off topic, though.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
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  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,811

    Writing Depth
    Mizhena is written as detailed -- has the depth of -- as many other minor characters in the series, so quality of writing is out unless you want to complain about so many other characters.

    That is my beef with the game and its writing. The writers were not given the capacity to make deep and meaningful characters that they wanted, and when they attempted, they fell flat, one (the topic on hand) blowing up in their face.

    The mere idea of adding gay romances caused the forums to become a flaming mess even before BG1EE was released. Those flames returned with BG2EE, but were less strong. If a trans character is added to another D&D game, those flames will also be less strong than we've seen before.

    And this is another point. You have to take all the critical arguments that were applied to Mizhena and apply it to the next D&D trans character so those arguments cannot be made in the future (and also make a stronger character). The argument will then be boiled down to only "Mizhena makes me uncomfortable to some degree, so I don't want Mizhena in the game," where the critic is at fault and not the character.

    That is kinda what @Buttercheese was getting at in the OP. The writing for Mizhena wasn't that great, but no one could be critical of it unless they wanted to be branded a transaphobe.
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 86
    The problem is entirely anonymity. Have you seen the difference between the comments sections of news pages where people are able to use an anonymous username vs when they are required to log into their Facebook and post? Like night and day. Yes, people are still mean but they aren't saying things like "I'm going to kill you and your entire family" nearly as readily when it could be traced back to them in real life.

    I read news extensively during downtime at work, and therefore am very versed on both the types of comments online vs the commenting platform, and all the hot-button topics you mentioned :)
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 86
    I understand you are saying they are still "abusive", which I phrased as "mean". And I agree

    But people are going to be encouraged to be "mean" or "emotional abuse perpetrators and facilitators of including post traumatic stress" or however extravagantly we want to phrase it. It happens. In my opinion it is still partly encouraged due to the anonymity of being online, and avoiding that possibility of a real life confrontation

    And a bully is going to be a bully about anything. Sexuality and appearance are easy targets but as you know ANYTHING will become a target. Someone's name, someone's parent's income, someone's choice of friends, anything

    Bullying isn't right. Bullying anonymously isn't right. A crusade to end bullying or to end the ability to do it anonymously via the Internet would be a worthwhile cause, regardless of what the subject for bullying is about. Worthwhile, but in my opinion, ultimately fruitless :(
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 86
    edited August 2016
    I am also glad a trans character was introduced, not only does it help fantasy games but all video games in general

    No matter what, even if it is years from now, the next time a trans character is introduced in any game it has a good chance of being better received. There will be a divide, that will be inevitable, and part of that anger is adjusting to something that is new. But it won't be new anymore, and people arguing this will be able to reference where it has been done before. It won't stop the most determined bullies, but anything helps, and the "newness" novelty will be gone the next time it happens
  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,736
    I didn't quite mean to participate, but I saw the "word of god" mention :)

    everyone else who designed this game are the dungeon masters for this adventure. So in this case, their word is law.

    It's noteworthy to point out that a lot of players/readers/etc. often forget there's a fine difference between what author did and what they wanted to. I had a really fun time seeing players asking what to do with
    the human body found on altar in Cyric Temple
    even though I put it there purely for cosmetic effect, without any second thought.
    Worse yet
    originally there was also a scroll of Raise Dead in a nearby chest - as random loot, - and when one of the inside people played that part for the first time, their initial remark was "I thought there was a quest to use the scroll on the body, but I couldn't trigger it". I then had to replace the scroll with something else to reduce the player confusion :facepalm:
    Talk about author's word after this :D
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  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    @subtledoctor Re-read that post again. That's not what she was saying.
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited August 2016
    Dee said:

    @subtledoctor Re-read that post again. That's not what she was saying.


    @Dee, I get that she's your friend or whatever, but I don't see how you're pulling some alternate meaning out of "Baldur’s Gate is an old game. Baldur’s Gate is a traditional game. In fact, it prides itself on how traditional it is and the fact that it’s so traditional is the main selling point for most players today. This game was around before social issues like transgenderism were openly discussed in the media. So of course the entire topic is bound to be alien and/or off-putting to a really good chunk of the players."

    Nothing about that comment is ambiguous.
    [Deleted User]AyiekieGenderNihilismGirdle
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  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,811

    deltago said:

    That is kinda what @Buttercheese was getting at in the OP. The writing for Mizhena wasn't that great, but no one could be critical of it unless they wanted to be branded a transaphobe.

    Sorry, I call B.S. Plenty of people can and have criticized the game's writing. Of course Mizhena is a poorly-written character. No one has really argued against that.

    But it's quite a different thing to say that trans characters should not be included unless the writing is excellent. To set a higher bar for some arbitrary minority group than for others. That's not okay. And that is what is implied when you say including that poorly-written character "is why we can't have nice things."
    I wasn't saying that either.

    Go back to my first post on this thread, and read my critical take on Mizhena. If I would have posted that months ago, I would have been challenged as not liking the character because she was a transvestite, and why didn't I take a critical look to improve XX character instead.

    The criticism of the writing would have been deflected into another vile circular debate about a trans character inclusion and eventually lost and what would have been gained?

    The bar should be set higher for characters that are fleshed out more than the standard stereotypical background noise. That is what Mizhena is. You do not get deep insights of the personal lives of Rayphus or Patrescus for example. The question then is why not? What makes the cleric of Talos more important in the story than those two?

    We can't have nice things because critical stances get boiled down to for and against when it comes to controversial topics.
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