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What to do about Adult servers?



  • ProlericProleric Member Posts: 817
    So if we're looking for an action in answer to the OP, "do nothing" would satisfy most of the comments here.

    Servers have content warnings, there's no evidence of any harm coming to anyone there, so let's leave it at that.

  • TheBarbarianTheBarbarian Member Posts: 58

    I appreciate the opportunity for debate. :-)

    For what it's worth, I'm mostly just taking up the turn of phrase, far as the "erotophiles versus erotophobes" thing goes. I've found splitting concepts into their extreme opposites to be a fairly reliable method to construct opposing "poles" with equal weight, which can then be brought into balance over the course of the argument. Cast any thought far enough into it's extreme form, and it will be clear even to people who feel strongly about their personal allegiance to "their side" that "exterminating the other side" is not a solution, which makes it easier to see and sympathize with the generally much more moderate and reconcilable positions of the actual people involved in the discussion.

    Moving forwards from that point, you can bring people together so that they become able to set aside insistence on the superiority of their personal opinions, and discuss with aim of seeking solutions that satisfy the underlying needs of both parties - which, frequently enough, seems to mostly be that they want to be treated respectfully by the "opposing" party. Note how both Proleric and rapsam2003 have explicitly expressed desire for respect for their positions on this matter.

    In the "Pursuit of sexuality should not be censored or policed to any degree!"-direction, you get obvious problems of uninhibited and unapologetic harm done towards 'combat-balancing'-disadvantaged parties, including but not limited to human trafficking, child pornography production and consumption (which causes demand, which tends to cause supply), and lawmaking and -keeping that does not extend protection towards victims of sexual assault. Somewhere down the extremes of this road lies a terrible dystopian reality in which the very continuation of life relies upon violence being done upon the defenseless. It is necessary to apply some degree of restraint to pursuit of personal sexual gratification, if we do not wish to live in a reality where it will be considered perfectly acceptable for larger, stronger, or more numerous entities to pursue theirs at our personal expense.

    Comparatively, go far enough into the "Pursuit of sexuality should be censored and policed strictly!", and you eventually reach a point where genital mutilation, electroshock therapy for 'sexual deviance', execution or banishment for engaging in sexual activity at all (including for involuntarily being on the receiving end thereof, shockingly enough), and the literal extinction of the species via cessation of reproduction are on the 'negotiating table'. In a similar way as in the above example, somewhere down this road lies a terrible dystopian reality where life itself is something horrid, to be resented and obstructed and mutilated for suffering and outrage over it's very nature. It is necessary to maintain some degree of benevolence towards pursuit of personal sexual gratification, if we do not wish to live in a reality where we resent and reject the evolved traits of our species, struggling against the very things that we are, perhaps outright to the point of extinction.

    With those extremes in view, it's quite irrelevant which direction one personally veers towards. Take either sentiment to it's pure form, and it stands to cause more damage than pleasure, as well as more damage than protection. Our species has a history of both sexual exploitation and sexual repression, and both of them have caused untold suffering.

    While I'd personally prefer this to not be the case, child sexual abuse, including but not limited to via the internet (see grooming, pornography production/distribution/consumption), is a problem our species has right now (... if not always has had). I personally sympathize greatly with everyone who has found themselves living a life in which that fact plays a significant role, and I understand if they would prefer to see it eradicated from the face of the world. Argumentation in favor of lack of sexual inhibition and trust in human decency and resilience can look horribly, horribly cynical viewed from that kind of perspective. I've previously touched upon the negative impact stigmatization of sexuality can have on people who have been negatively impacted within a sexual context, so I'd readily agree that places where the taboo is lifted can offer a kind of solace that places that uphold the taboo cannot. But that is not the only way to cope, and it is not a way that works for everyone.

    On the internet, you will meet people from all walks of life, who have made all kinds of experiences. You cannot reliably tell them apart. Taking on a serious, "worst case scenario", viewpoint when responding to grievances voiced on this topic (or, heck, pretty much any other, too) is much more likely to make you respond with the respect the other party is likely to want, regardless of whether or not the underlying motivation of that particular person is a need to uphold cultural standards rather than acute distress over personal experience.

    In that, I'd say that making a habit of assuming that the other party is sincere and taking the needs and fears they voice seriously, is overall more likely to lead to a diplomatic solution than assuming their objections to be invalid and disregarding them. If we assume by default that the people voicing needs and fears that differ from our own are being insincere or hypocritical, then that is what we will be addressing in our response to them, and that is, thus, likely to be the message that they receive.

    Culturally speaking, we are currently at a point in time where many different groups throughout the world have been very suddenly put into contact with one another and must learn to get along. This is a process. It will not happen instantly; it will happen via multitudes of small interactions between individual actors, such as the one we are having here. I'd endorse using the opportunity for destigmatization of sexuality, keeping in mind the dangers that lie down the "erotophobic" road. Solemnly: Sexuality is not evil. Unsubverted, untwisted, it is probably one of the most profoundly joyful experiences of human existence; a veritable celebration of what it means to be alive. It is for each individual to choose with whom and in what way to practice it, and it is not any of our places to tell another that they may not take pleasure in their own bodies, or in those of others, provided that we are mindful of the damage we can do if we do not do so responsibly.

    But I'd also endorse keeping in mind the dangers that lie down the "erotophilic" road, and using any opportunity to build a more stable network of collective efficacy, including but not limited to aiming to further the reduction of sexual exploitation, of minors or otherwise. Frankly, exploitation and the resulting damage is not limited by age or gender, and even spans across more fields than 'only' sexuality. Considerate, respectful treatment of one another rests on painstakingly building mutual trust, for which the willingness to extend caring towards people with differing needs from one's own is crucial.

    (Funnily, this is also a good guideline to use when having intimate encounters in general, on the internet or otherwise: "The other person having a good time matters, too".)

    With that in mind; solemnly, at the side we've coined "erotophobic", here, and also specifically at @rapsam2003 at this particular point in time:

    You cannot extend protection into an environment that you reject, or that rejects you. If you do not build alliances with the people who frequent these environments, you and your cause will be left standing outside, rebuffed as a hostile force that must be defended against. If you want to affect change for the better; it is your "opponents" who are capable of giving that to you. Don't make interacting with you, listening to you, something that makes them miserable, or they won't be willing to listen at all. In that, you too must be willing to offer respect in order to receive respect.

    And, grimly, you cannot protect everyone, either. Never. No matter what you do. The world is big, and complicated, and damnably full of people who are also damnably complicated.

    Sometimes the best you will be able to do is be there for people after something negative has already happened. By the very laws of nature, this world will never be a perfect place, and neither you nor I nor any other human being can make it so.

    It is, however, possible to hold one's head higher in the wake of having been hurt, gaining strength and wisdom and pride from facing adversity. Know that the mark of shame does not lie with the targeted, but with those who continuously choose targets that they believe come with low risk of retaliation. That is the act that truly expresses cowardice and weakness.

    TL;DR and with less dramatic flair - if implementing a "register account" page including age input isn't a terrible bother, I think it wouldn't be the absolute worst idea ever hatched. Social servers could simply not appear in the servers list for users whose accounts state that they are underage. I think that that is pretty much the extent of what a game developer can do to protect minors at all. You can't prevent kids from lying about their age on the internet. Not without implementing Total Worldwide IRL Surveillance, anyway, which comes with it's own possibly much worse set of problems.

    This problem (both the issue of people inadvertently or deliberately causing one another grief in matters of the heart or the body, and the issue of how (and whether) to keep people out of situations that they are not yet ready to fully comprehend and make informed choices on (which would be a terribly difficult problem to solve in itself; how do we decide who is or isn't ready for something, hey?)) is quite simply not one we can be rid of, as it is a problem of the world at large and not simply one of game development, and telling the users of social servers that they should feel miserable about being themselves will not improve the situation in the least.

    I think this is just one of those problems we're going to have to continually deal with simply by being gracious and patient when dissent arises, which it will continue to do every once in a while.


  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    You cannot extend protection into an environment that you reject, or that rejects you. If you do not build alliances with the people who frequent these environments, you and your cause will be left standing outside, rebuffed as a hostile force that must be defended against. If you want to affect change for the better; it is your "opponents" who are capable of giving that to you. Don't make interacting with you, listening to you, something that makes them miserable, or they won't be willing to listen at all. In that, you too must be willing to offer respect in order to receive respect.
    That's great, except... you know, respect doesn't actually work that way. Respect is given or not given, from the beginning. This is the same reason that producers of XXX videos are required to post a warning that you must be 18 to use their website. They are forced to give that basic warning, as a matter of respect and protection.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,133
    One's fellow forumites are not acceptable targets of criticism. Please review the Site Guidelines and stay on topic.

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  • Shia_LuckShia_Luck Member Posts: 38
    In general I agree with what you're saying but lets point out the obvious a few more times. First thing is that while players might play on a server that is called "social" or "adult" that does not mean they are interested in erp either. The main difference is that on an adult server and more so on a social server you let other people do as they please so long it is (1) legal, (2) consensual, (3) not disruptive. So yes while you can be sexually healthy in real life and not engage in erp you can also play on those servers and not engage in erp. All of these things are completely independent of each other.

    I think this is a point that is being undervalued. I have played on a server that self described itself as Social and warned of adult content and there were 30-50 players, doing nothing but playing NWN. Quite a few players were just hanging out in the town square, talking, roleplaying. They took social to mean social. (What happened behind closed doors I have no idea, no one ever asked me out! Playing a sorceress too! *grin*)

    The other point I think needs making is that the real worry is of a sexual predator. No teenager is going to be shocked by NWN graphics. If the server is tagged clearly in the server list as 18+ I think Beamdog has done all it needs to, and all it should do. And while my experience is obviously not exhaustive, all the social servers already tag themselves as 18+. 18+ is their selling point so they tag themselves and they dont want kids.

    The main reason I say that is while I did play on 2 social servers (not Sinfar BTW, I only heard of them a little while ago) and one was a normal server but you knew you were playing with adults, events every month, well DM'd/moderated, great questing, a normal server, except you knew you might get chatted up or someone might swear or tell a dirty joke. One was, well, a bit odd, and I didn;t stay long, but that's ok too, no? It just wasn't for me. The point is in both cases I didn't ever feel sexually threatened. Consent is the norm else the servers wouldn't survive and it's easy to log out. The concern is over a sexual predator, no? I have been harrassed and stalked by two people I met thru NWN and neither of those unpleasant experiences came about because of a social server.

    If you hide the adult/social/erp servers then you will just move players who want to play that onto PG13 servers which is good for no one. Nev's suggestion is the best I can see. The ideal, I would suggest, is a tag system like Nexus Mods. The default is that adult mods are turned off. If you choose you can turn them on or show only adult mods. That's the best system for getting the right people to the right places and avoiding accidents. Servers would have to opt in I guess but why wouldn't they?

    It won't stop determined teenagers but nothing will do that barring getting Steam GoG and the Beamdog client to use credit card verification at the point of sale to tag a game at a particular age rating for MP and then the games themselves could use that info for it's servers. That would work well for all MP games and keep the adult in control. As far as the predator goes, the unfortunate truth is he's likely to be on the PG13 servers anyway.

    I think it is a great idea to have this discussion.

    Have fun :)

  • RabbitRabbit Member Posts: 1
    I kinda just want to weigh in on this and make a few points. Adult servers have been around since this game came out in the early 2000s. I know times have changed and keeping kids safe in important. With that said a few measures could be in place that will continue to allow people to make the worlds they want as they want while providing people with a way to keep content away from people who don't want that.

    1) Standard disclaimer: All MMO's for as long as I remember do have it that online experiences are not rated. That alone does absolve a lot of the problem. As multiplayer servers are not made by the developer and not moderated.

    2) Parental controls: This is very simple. and can be done a few ways.

    1) Age lock on installation: During installation, you can ask if the user is under the age of 18. If they are then when they connect to the server list it will block out any server with adult tags. Easy enough to do and to implement.

    2) Parental Password: For those who share accounts with their kids or whatever. You can also add a parental password. As well as a menu for it. Allowing different presets (No blood Access to Multiplayer, adult servers Etc) unless accessed by the password. Meaning that if you want to use any of those functions or to see the adult filter you need to enter the password for the parental control. This is also done on a few games and sites as well.

    3) Community-based controls: You can also require any server wishing to use adult content or have adult content to have a security component to it as well in order to be listed on the server. Such as a verification done though Beamdogs servers that would check to see if a user is under the age of 18 (Again this could be done via asking the user for their age upon registering the account or through the Beamdog site itself* This would be easy enough for both server owners and the dev team as well.

    these are just a few ideas that are easy enough, either alone or in combination that would resolve this problem with little to no issue and would no restrict content that if i am being honest, are a part of the reason this game has been kept going for so long. Mind you. I dont always play on adult servers. And not all adult servers mean nudity. But i dont feel restricting a part of the community just because of a lack of simple parental controls is the right way of doing things. Just need to think how to work it out in a way that will work for everyone.

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