Ableism/Sanism

Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 26 Dec 2020, 00:11

First I must mention that I have a psychical illness. So I appreciate the attempt to avoid language discriminating us. But I have some doubts; maybe they can be cleared.

I have read a list of games which are said to be harmful:
http://onpon4.github.io/articles/reject ... games.html

My questions:
1.) Does "Difficulty level: Insane" really mean it would be difficult to deal with psychical ill people? I think it rather means that one must be insane to do that level?

2.) Is calling villains "insane" really bad? I mean people trying to rule the world are indeed insane, aren't they?

3.) Isn't the equation Insane = psychical ill wrong? l have learned that psychical ill DOESN'T mean insane.

A note at the end: The game lists on that webpage are good. Thanks.
4.) Can I suggest games to be added to the list?

EDIT: I posted in this part of the forum because it is about characterizing and listing games. But it may be better placed in off-topic?? Sorry if I posted in the wrong part.

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby ffaf » 26 Dec 2020, 08:23

Cannot answer the question, but the list is superb, thanks to whoever compiled it!
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby drummyfish » 26 Dec 2020, 11:23

LMAO that article, a game is socially harmful because it includes an "insane" difficulty level. Sorry @Onpon4, but this article is completely off :) I'm mentally ill myself, have spent many months in psychiatric hospital, I don't think this is socially harmful. Please stop this insanity!

Anyway, if you want to continue anyway, you may be interested in Xonotic/Nexuiz, the taunt voice commands include words like "retard" and "pussy" (https://gitlab.com/xonotic/xonotic-data ... ssues/1171), plus the chat on most servers is 100% uncensored and it's one of the last places on the internet where you can freely discuss anything from Eugenics, through Holocaust denial to child pornography. It's one of the reasons I love to play that game. You may want to include it on the list.

A bit offtopic but here's a fun experience: from time to time there appear some kind of kiddo who wants to "troll", spam and starts dropping the N words and Nazi ideology around the chat, then sees no one gives a shit, gets bored and disconnects. You really don't need any censorship rules, the issue solves itself.

EDIT: I've added a comment to my game to hopefully make it to this list.
Last edited by drummyfish on 26 Dec 2020, 16:02, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 26 Dec 2020, 14:02

drummyfish {l Wrote}:A bit offtopic but here's a fun experience: from time to time there appear some kind of kiddo who wants to "troll", spam and starts dropping the N words and Nazi ideology around the chat, then sees no one gives a shit, gets bored and disconnects. You really don't need any censorship rules, the issue solves itself.

In Runescape the over-filtering is not helping, too. I met a Hitler fan in Runescape, and I said to him "You are a Nazi." But the bloody Runescape chat filter gave out "You are a ****." So the filter was kind of protecting the Nazi. You certainly can overdo censorship.

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby Julius » 26 Dec 2020, 14:23

Does this thread serve any other purpose than trolling onpon4?
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 26 Dec 2020, 14:34

Yes, it does. See my three or four questions. Is that trolling?

EDIT: And we both agreed that the list is cool. So, no, not trolling.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby drummyfish » 26 Dec 2020, 16:45

I'd like to say I don't at all want to bully @Onpon4, I like her/them and all the work she is doing for libre gaming. We're not attacking people, just talking about a specific work of her, only a part of it actually, as an example of a wider idea in general. Please don't take my comments as attacks on people. I love the rest of the article and many others that @Onpon4 has written. I'm now finding it interesting to compare this strong emphasis on the usage of correct speech with another @Onpon4's articles: Actions Speak Louder than Words. I'm not saying the articles are directly contradicting themselves, just pointing out a potential bias, in a friendly way, of course. We can talk this in an abstract way from now on if you want.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby Lyberta » 28 Dec 2020, 15:00

PeterX {l Wrote}:1.) Does "Difficulty level: Insane" really mean it would be difficult to deal with psychical ill people? I think it rather means that one must be insane to do that level?


Both implications are sanist because second implication means that attempting to play hard video games is a mental disorder of some sort.

PeterX {l Wrote}:2.) Is calling villains "insane" really bad? I mean people trying to rule the world are indeed insane, aren't they?


No.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 28 Dec 2020, 17:17

Lyberta {l Wrote}:
PeterX {l Wrote}:1.) Does "Difficulty level: Insane" really mean it would be difficult to deal with psychical ill people? I think it rather means that one must be insane to do that level?


Both implications are sanist because second implication means that attempting to play hard video games is a mental disorder of some sort.

OK, I guess that's correct. (EDIT: Correct that it is sanist, not correct that gaming is a disorder ;) )

Lyberta {l Wrote}:
PeterX {l Wrote}:2.) Is calling villains "insane" really bad? I mean people trying to rule the world are indeed insane, aren't they?


No.

OK, I see your point. But how would you classify a dictator who starts war and wants to rule the world? I imagine the term "insane" but what would be a better term? "Evil"? But that ignores the fact that world domination is impossible. Perhaps "Illusionary"?

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby Lyberta » 29 Dec 2020, 01:57

PeterX {l Wrote}:OK, I see your point. But how would you classify a dictator who starts war and wants to rule the world? I imagine the term "insane" but what would be a better term? "Evil"? But that ignores the fact that world domination is impossible. Perhaps "Illusionary"?


That would depend on their motivations. I mean I want to kill all humans because I see that humans do nothing but hurt each other and the environment so the universe would be better without humans. And to kill all humans I would kinda need a world domination at some point.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby Jastiv » 15 Jan 2021, 06:02

Lyberta {l Wrote}:
PeterX {l Wrote}:1.) Does "Difficulty level: Insane" really mean it would be difficult to deal with psychical ill people? I think it rather means that one must be insane to do that level?


Both implications are sanist because second implication means that attempting to play hard video games is a mental disorder of some sort.

PeterX {l Wrote}:2.) Is calling villains "insane" really bad? I mean people trying to rule the world are indeed insane, aren't they?


No.


I LOLed at the idea of attempting to play hard video games as a mental disorder. There is just something humorous about people who like to play games that are too hard (something I did do a lot of in my younger years, because I guess I liked the game so much I wanted to get "better" at it, but of course I wasn't really achieving anything except wasting time because I already understood the basic game mechanics and had already seen all the real "content" in the game.

As to the second one about evil villains trying to rule the world, I guess yeah, they are insane, especially when they think they have actually succeeded.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 18 Jan 2021, 19:13

Just to make a note, I don't generally look at this forum, so writing publicly here wasn't exactly the best way to reach out to me. I'm surprised I even found it.

Does "Difficulty level: Insane" really mean it would be difficult to deal with psychical ill people? I think it rather means that one must be insane to do that level?

Just like how "hard" difficulty means that you must be hard to do that level?

Even if that interpretation is correct, it's rooted in sanist ideas of what mentally ill people are like. I know someone who's mentally ill and absolutely hates playing difficult games because they also happen to have some kind of physical motor control issues; the new "Super Easy" difficulty in Project: Starfighter was perfect for them as a result.

Is calling villains "insane" really bad?

Yes, because the implication that mentally ill people are evil is violently sanist.

I mean people trying to rule the world are indeed insane, aren't they?

No, neurotypical people who have power (i.e. wealth) rule the world. Mentally ill people are crushed by the very institutions that run society, up to and including taking away their basic human rights.

Isn't the equation Insane = psychical ill wrong?

No, because "mentally ill" is the original and still most prominent definition of "insane". Even if a different definition is used, what the use says about mentally ill people (again, the original demographic the term describes) is important.

Rather like how the T-slur used against transgender people... refers to transgender people. Just because some transgender people self-identify with it, or just because cis people think they're not being offensive by using it, doesn't mean it's okay, and you can't divorce it from its target.

Can I suggest games to be added to the list?

diligentcircle@riseup.net is my email address.

I'm mentally ill myself, have spent many months in psychiatric hospital, I don't think this is socially harmful. Please stop this insanity!

Right, and there are transgender people who refer to themselves with the T-slur and use themselves as a token to say that transmisia is ok. You being mentally ill doesn't give you the right to rule that putting down all mentally ill people (not just yourself) with sanist language is okay.

I'm now finding it interesting to compare this strong emphasis on the usage of correct speech with another @Onpon4's articles: Actions Speak Louder than Words. I'm not saying the articles are directly contradicting themselves, just pointing out a potential bias, in a friendly way, of course.

It's not contradictory at all, because I believe it is important for media to be especially careful with the language it uses. I apply the same standard to games that I develop now.

If you look at the Rejected Games List, you'll note that I decided that referencing the card game "Crazy Eights" was ok despite the fact that the name of said card game (which replaced its original name, "Eights") is violently sanist in origin (referring to veterans who experienced mental illnesses like PTSD), and the reason I gave is because very very few people know that etymology and without knowing that etymology, it's impossible to derive that meaning on one's own as it's specific to a former culture.

But how would you classify a dictator who starts war and wants to rule the world?

I would call them imperialist, because that's what they are. I would also call them a militaristic dictator. Neither of these things have anything to do with their personality.

I imagine the term "insane" but what would be a better term? "Evil"? But that ignores the fact that world domination is impossible. Perhaps "Illusionary"?

The term you're looking for is "delusional", but I don't believe that empires or militaristic dictatorships are driven by delusion. They're driven by ambition.

As to the second one about evil villains trying to rule the world, I guess yeah, they are insane, especially when they think they have actually succeeded.

List of villains who succeeded in taking over the world or galaxy or whatever is relevant:

* WEAPCO (Project: Starfighter)
* The Ur-Quan (Star Control I/II)
* The Empire (Naev)
* The Empire (Star Wars)
* Freeza (Dragon Ball)
* Bowser (Mario)
* Mongolia (real life)
* Britain (real life)
* United States (real life)

You may scoff at the last few, but what entails "taking over the world" is very situational. When the Mongol Empire rose up, it essentially controlled the entire known world at the time. When the British Empire rose up, it essentially controlled the whole world. Now, the United States essentially controls the whole world. So imperialist ambitions are not delusional; they have succeeded in real life multiple times. And even if you take it to its most absurd literalist version, even that has happened in various fictional works.

So no, you can't class any villain who wants to take over the world as delusional or "insane", as you call it. But in cases where the person with such ambitions is portrayed as mentally ill (as in the case of Dr. Ironstein in Flight of the Amazon Queen), that's indicative of violent sanism in the work.

Since this is referring to the fact that I explained that Freedroid RPG is violently sanist, let's take a look at that work.

What happens is that a bug causes robots around the world to go haywire. They stop functioning as they are supposed to and as a result, they start attacking people. They never had any ambitions, but they never were "insane" either, because they're machines, not people. So when the game refers to them as "insane", it implies that a robot going haywire and killing people out of nowhere is similar to mental illness, which feeds into the sanist stereotype of an "insane person" going out and killing people for no reason.

Mentally ill people are not haywire robots. They are people whose thought processes cause them some level of harm. They include people with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, BPD, bipolar disorder, and many many other variations. No described mental illness causes people to go out and just randomly kill people. But many people genuinely believe that they do. How many times have you heard of the idea that there are people who go out and kill people because they're mentally ill "psychopaths", primarily an attack on people with antisocial personality disorder? What about the portrayal of a "crazy" person who thinks everyone is an alien or something and kills them, primarily an attack on people with paranoid schizophrenia? These sanist portrayals have no basis in reality, yet they are rampant. Describing haywire robots that attack people as having "gone insane" is an example of this.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 18 Jan 2021, 19:31

onpon4 {l Wrote}:Just to make a note, I don't generally look at this forum, so writing publicly here wasn't exactly the best way to reach out to me. I'm surprised I even found it.

OK, I am new to this forum and just stumbled over your website. So I didn't know that you are not reading all of this forum all the time.

onpon4 {l Wrote}:
But how would you classify a dictator who starts war and wants to rule the world?

I would call them imperialist, because that's what they are. I would also call them a militaristic dictator. Neither of these things have anything to do with their personality.

I can (more or less) agree with all you wrote except this one. Of course it has to do with their personality. For example they have an aggressive and dominant personality (I'm not saying pathologic).

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 18 Jan 2021, 19:43

I can (more or less) agree with all you wrote except this one. Of course it has to do with their personality. For example they have an aggressive and dominant personality (I'm not saying pathologic).

I don't see any reason to assume that. The only requirement to being a dictator is a combination of luck and the skills required to run a dictatorship (which can be learned by anyone). I seriously doubt that the entirety of the Kim dynasty consists of people with the same personality type.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 18 Jan 2021, 19:53

onpon4 {l Wrote}:
I can (more or less) agree with all you wrote except this one. Of course it has to do with their personality. For example they have an aggressive and dominant personality (I'm not saying pathologic).

I don't see any reason to assume that. The only requirement to being a dictator is a combination of luck and the skills required to run a dictatorship (which can be learned by anyone). I seriously doubt that the entirety of the Kim dynasty consists of people with the same personality type.

Yeah, good point. The current North Korean ruler has grown into this dictatorship. But for people who grew up in a non-dictatorship who have ambitions to start war and to rule the world, don't they have a personality, you could call it ambitious or dominant and kind of aggressive? (Again, that doesn't mean ill form of aggression, just aggression.)
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 18 Jan 2021, 20:15

I seriously doubt it. They need ambitions, sure, but people with all kinds of personalities have ambitions. Usually they're not imperialist ambitions, but I'd wager that most of us have ambitions of some kind. Like personally, I have an ambition to make the world a better place however I can. The prerequisite for imperialist ambitions is only that you are privileged enough to even consider forming an empire a possibility. It doesn't even require selfishness; it's perfectly possible to wrongly believe that imperialism is the right thing to do.

To be perfectly clear, the idea of a single person being the driving force behind the rise of a dictatorship is largely a myth. In general, though this isn't necessarily always the case, visible figures aren't really the ones pulling the strings. Think the rich in the U.S. or the nobles in the Roman Empire.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 19 Jan 2021, 02:37

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Anyway, if you want to continue anyway, you may be interested in Xonotic/Nexuiz, the taunt voice commands include words like "retard" and "pussy" (https://gitlab.com/xonotic/xonotic-data ... ssues/1171),

You clearly meant this as a joke, but actually, yes, use of an ableist slur in voice clips is clearly a very good reason to move Xonotic to the "rejected" list for now until they sort that out, so I have done so.

plus the chat on most servers is 100% uncensored and it's one of the last places on the internet where you can freely discuss anything from Eugenics, through Holocaust denial to child pornography. It's one of the reasons I love to play that game.

It's impossible for a game to control its users and prevent them from saying unproblematic things. Even if they banned the use of terminology that's completely composed of slurs, bigots usually aren't so obvious to start chanting slurs openly anyhow, and dogwhistles evolve far too quickly to try to filter them with a machine. So this aspect would not be a reason for me to reject a game's inclusion in the list.

EDIT: I've added a comment to my game to hopefully make it to this list.

Your game isn't anywhere near notable enough or good enough to even be a candidate for this list. You recommending it to me now is nothing more than self-promotion. If an independent party recommends it to me ever, it'll be listed in the "Games Rejected for Lack of Distinction" category. The only reason you would get a mention in the "Games Rejected for Causing Social Harm" section is if the game is both incredibly harmful (e.g. violently sanist or directly promoting fascism) and very noteworthy. Even if for some reason someone recommends the game legitimately, use of a slur in a comment is nowhere near bad enough to warrant a mention of it unless it was actually a good game (which yours isn't). I didn't even bother documenting the blatant misogyny and sanism in Flight of the Amazon Queen, and that game is actually sort of notable.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby drummyfish » 19 Jan 2021, 16:46

OK. I've now thought about an alternative interpretation of the insane difficulty: it is so difficult it will make you insane. Would this interpretation be considered harmful? It's not implying anything bad about insane people, it's only saying "this is so very difficult it will break your brain", in a obviously exaggerated way of course.

Is the word "insane" itself just apriori considered harmful, or just some contexts in which it is used? Do you think it should be replaced by another word X, and if so, won't the word X just replace the old word even with the pejorative meaning?

TBH I think this is a pretty masturbatory game in which people try to find Newspeak-kind-of solutions to an issue they arbitrarily create, for various reasons, when the best solution is to simply not create the issue. Anyway, I think it's good to discuss this.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 19 Jan 2021, 18:21

OK. I've now thought about an alternative interpretation of the insane difficulty: it is so difficult it will make you insane. Would this interpretation be considered harmful?

It doesn't matter. No game is conveying a specific intent for what the name means. If just one reasonable interpretation is rooted in sanism, it's a problem.

Is the word "insane" itself just apriori considered harmful, or just some contexts in which it is used? Do you think it should be replaced by another word X, and if so, won't the word X just replace the old word even with the pejorative meaning?

In most cases, it's harmful. When used by media, the risk of harm is great enough that it should be avoided entirely unless the game is directly addressing the sanism question when using it.

There are cases of use of terms like "insane" and "crazy" which I generally give a pass: cases where the terms are appropriated for a clearly positive connotation. That said, as I said, I think if there's any ambiguity about whether the use of these kinds of terms (also includes "mad", "mental", etc) reflects badly on mentally ill people, media should avoid it unless it has a good reason not to.

As a general rule: if you're referring to a mentally ill person, terms like "mentally ill", "mental illness", "mental disorder", "psychiatric disorder", and specific terms for specific mental illnesses are the kinds of terms that should be used to refer to mentally ill people, because referring to a person as "insane" or "crazy" or "mad" or "lunatic" is always a pejorative. Now, I understand you are mentally ill yourself, so if you want people to call you "crazy" or "insane" or "mad", you do you. But don't force these terms onto others who didn't opt into that.

Also, if you refer to or portray someone as mentally ill with the implication that said mental illness makes them a villain or dangerous or what have you, that is causing social harm no matter what terms you use.

Regarding difficulty levels, there are all sorts of terms that can be used that are better than "Insane". Some examples include "Very Hard", "Nightmare", "Hellscape", "Impossible", "Unreasonable", and "Absurd".

TBH I think this is a pretty masturbatory game in which people try to find Newspeak-kind-of solutions to an issue they arbitrarily create, for various reasons, when the best solution is to simply not create the issue.

The issues I bring up with certain terminologies has to do with the etymological origins of words and what their use implies about mentally ill people. Casual sanism is very common in our society, but that doesn't mean that it's acceptable or that it isn't harmful. I believe a piece of media has a duty to set a good example rather than emboldening the use of language that marginalizes people.

There are other issues where this same sort of thing applies. For example, Naev used to have a problem where nearly all the black characters in the game were pirates, which implies a racist assumption that black people are inherently bad or criminal. It doesn't matter that the game didn't explicitly say so; creating such a connotation, or risking doing so, is something I don't think media should do. (For the record, this is generally fixed in Naev's case as there is now a much larger number of people with dark skin tones in the game, though its diversity could still use some improvement.)
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby drummyfish » 19 Jan 2021, 19:26

Thanks for the answers, it makes your points much more clear.

Still this anti-sanist effort seems extremely wrong to me -- let me try to put it in a better way, even though it's difficult to capture in words. I would say it is ridiculous, which is true and not bad really in itself, but more importantly I see it as harmful to society, which is what really concerns me. Language is not just a tool of communication, but a tool of thinking, and your efforts on language censorship are not only trying to ban certain ways of thinking in a very 1984 way, on a sole basis of a mere possibility of offending someone. As you say you should not use a word unless you're absolutely certain it won't hurt someone, you're eventually going to end up not being able to talk at all. What about criticizing someone? Making satire, comedy, research, art, ... The whole culture killed, the communication and thinking trapped in a tiny bubble of safety out of fear of getting slightly offended. All of these have a chance of hurting someone who has been taught to be hurt by a mere existence of a word.

Your great error is in addressing the symptoms of a problem in a very short sighted way. Such solutions are common in populist politics, but surprise me in someone who calls themselves an anarchist -- someone who should see beyond now and tomorrow. Banning words will probably save a few people's feelings from being hurt right now, as a dose of heroin will probably help a depressed person feel better, but in the long run both of these solutions result in a disaster. The real long-term solutions are the ones that address the root cause. And the root cause is people being TAUGHT by our culture to specifically look for offenses, to seek conflict and get offended by everything.

Yes, you have said above that me personally being immune to word offenses doesn't mean that everyone is the same. Then please, answer me this:

Many people get hurt by criticism, even if it is presented in a completely non-offensive and very constructive way. In this case, will you hold on to your premise and want to ban criticism of people, because it can hurt them? Or do you think the better solution would be to put effort into raising healthy individuals who can take criticism and maybe even take something good out of it? I am personally for the latter.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 19 Jan 2021, 19:27

onpon4 {l Wrote}:Regarding difficulty levels, there are all sorts of terms that can be used that are better than "Insane". Some examples include "Very Hard", "Nightmare", "Hellscape", "Impossible", "Unreasonable", and "Absurd".

I like those suggestions.

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 19 Jan 2021, 21:39

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Language is not just a tool of communication, but a tool of thinking, and your efforts on language censorship are not only trying to ban certain ways of thinking in a very 1984 way, on a sole basis of a mere possibility of offending someone.

We're talking about media here, not people. And the concern isn't that it'll offend someone, it's that it will propagate harmful attitudes. That's why I call it social harm, not emotional harm.

Saying that media should strive to set a good example and ensure it doesn't teach harmful values isn't at all similar to Nineteen Eighty-Four. What you're referring to in that book is the revision of facts and prohibiting expressions in opposition to an authoritarian regime. It's not even remotely comparable.

As you say you should not use a word unless you're absolutely certain it won't hurt someone, you're eventually going to end up not being able to talk at all.

No, I said you should not use language that can spread harmful attitudes unless you're using it in a way that addresses those harmful attitudes properly. In most cases, that will mean not talking about mentally ill people at all, but no representation is far better than bad representation.

What about criticizing someone?

Sanist pejoratives are never necessary for that any more than racist slurs would be necessary for criticizing a black person.
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby drummyfish » 20 Jan 2021, 16:27

You have not answered my main question. Forget sanism and racism for a while and imagine there emerges a new minority rights group of people who are offended by criticism (not racist or sanist, just any criticism) and demand criticism be banned and all words resembling criticism along with it. Will you support that?
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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby PeterX » 20 Jan 2021, 17:04

onpon4 {l Wrote}:We're talking about media here, not people. And the concern isn't that it'll offend someone, it's that it will propagate harmful attitudes. That's why I call it social harm, not emotional harm.

I personally think harming emotionally should be forbidden to some extent, too.

But, yes, there is a more dangerous aspect in certain publicly said/written words: They can put an end to human society and can propagate inhumane society: discrimnation, hatred, dictatorship, murder etc. That means they can lead to fascism and similar dictatorships/mass murder. If you publically describe a certain group in a very bad way and propagate hatred, this can lead to mass murder of that group. Like killing of Jews, killing of disabled people, killing of black people and so on. This is not just a political/philosophical theory. This is real, as it has happened. Think of the German Nazis, think of the mob unleashed by Trump who killed people, etc. There are many examples.

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Re: Ableism/Sanism

Postby onpon4 » 20 Jan 2021, 19:02

imagine there emerges a new minority rights group of people who are offended by criticism (not racist or sanist, just any criticism) and demand criticism be banned and all words resembling criticism along with it.

Ok, I've imagined it, and the idea is completely absurd, so I'm not going to entertain it. What can happen is someone in power banning criticism of them, but that's very different from the right-wing fantasy you pretend is realistic.

I personally think harming emotionally should be forbidden to some extent, too.

Yes, particularly when it's intentional and targeted (e.g. harassment). That's unlikely to come up in the case of a game, though; the only thing that's likely to come up is triggers for people with PTSD and such. Come to think of it, perhaps I should include content warnings with the recommendations to account for that.
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