[This thread was split from the original by a Mod. Thank you all for keeping the discussion rational, but let’s talk about the games in the Spring Thing thread rather than the meta of the website description text. Thank you!]
[During the split, the first 8 posts were accidentally deleted due to Mod error. I have recovered the text of the postings and put them behind a rant tag below for space.]
Spring Thing 2018 is now open!
Postby AdamSommerfield » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:53 am
It’s just a small gripe but I need to chuck this out there and see if it’s just me! Something about the Spring Thing description has always surprised me and continues to do so whenever I re-read it!
It reads … "Spring Thing especially welcomes diverse voices and populations traditionally underrepresented in gaming, including women, people of color, queer folks, and blind, neuro-diverse, or disabled creators. "
I know it’s intended as a positive sentiment but in 2018 i’m surprised to see “people of color”, “queer folks” and “disabled” in the text!? Particularly when you consider that it’s an IF event and IF is ultimately all about words! Also was this written by Adam Cadre!?
I’m really surprised no one has ever mentioned this before? Maybe it’s a culture thing; I just know I wouldn’t feel comfortable wording things like this in any of my content and if I wrote this in media content where I worked I even think it would be verbal warning territory.
Just my thoughts on it, and i’m sure it’s a great event so long may it continue, but yeah the wording feels inappropriate for this day and age.
[post by Aaronius continues below]
The text in question was not written by Adam Cadre; it was written by me, I believe added two years ago.
To the best of my knowledge, each of these terms is the preferred one of members of that group. I am reasonably well versed in issues of representation in gaming (I’ve attended and even spoken at conferences about this, for example). I am very open to suggestions about different language from a member of one of these communities; I’m less interested in speculation from those who are not.
The reason for mentioning specific groups rather than a blanket “all are welcome” statement is that members of these groups have been frequently publicly and privately attacked over the past few years for making and talking about games. In addition, research has shown that people from historically marginalized groups feel more welcomed if you specifically invite them into a space. (Again, as a queer person myself I can speak from some experience on this: My brain still looks for a phrase like “sexual orientation” whenever I see a list of welcome or protected people, and get vaguely worried if I don’t see it… “oh, they probably don’t mean me, then.”)
Anecdotally, I feel I’ve seen submissions from a broader range of people since I added that bit of text, so it feels to me as if it’s serving its purpose.
Finally, I would love to plug the Spring Thing 2018 – general discussion topic here, which hasn’t seen a lot of traffic, if you have the spare time and bandwidth to think about Spring Thing!
It’s not the end of the world, you can see that the intent is genuine, but I can assure you that it doesn’t read very well; that’s genuine observation and not speculation.
Irrespective of what “was”, reading it today really doesn’t sit well. It reads like it’s written by person or persons who are way out of touch with the world today. I know that’s not how it was intended, but it is how it reads.
Hey Aaron, well to be fair if it’s working and not putting people off then fair enough; stick with it. It’s definitely an odd one, it will read ‘uncomfortably’ to a lot of people but hey; if this is the first time anyone has mentioned it then it can’t be offending anyone I guess.
That’s what didn’t sit well for me when I read it, “queer folk” and “people of color” etc just aren’t usable terms and haven’t been for years in anything i’ve read or watched. I’m surprised it’s being debated to be honest!
If I organised an event at work and wrote in the promo material that I wanted to reach out to “queers” and “colored folk” as they have felt missed out in the past then I would get a written warning from HR for sure.
I don’t think it reads well but - look - as Aaron has said it’s been there for a good while and caused no offence to anyone so no harm done I guess.
The first, quite likely, depending on context. The second is simply not true. Please look it up. Google for it and you’ll find it on mainstream news sites, with a bias towards the liberal/progressive ones if anything. Again, here are the twitter results for it, many or most of them written by people of colour. It’s neutral, and favoured at the moment.
@Adam if it makes you feel any better, I just asked the members of my family with CMD about the term ‘disabled’ and they said they didn’t like it, and were open to suggestions for what other term to use.
Searching “person with disability” vs “disabled person” on google shows a deep divide. So I think it’s not bad to bring up!
With Aaronius, I also hope more people will comment on the games entered this year on the forum threads. I’ve been really intrigued by some of the unusual engines I’ve seen!
I was really confused by the objections at first, but now that I read the thread this just feels like a misunderstanding. The old term “colored people” is completely archaic and generally considered offensive, but it does sound similar enough to the preferred term “people of color” that I could understand why some people might be confused. Similarly, I can see how someone might find it strange that preferred term “queer folk” would be something so close to an old-fashioned slur.
But yeah, even though the phrases are similar at first blush, “people of color” and “queer folk” don’t carry the same connotations as those other terms and are, as far as I understand, the preferred nomenclature.
Being a queer fellow, let me tell you “queers” is usually offensive, “queer folk” is not. The first is commonly used by rednecks looking for a fight and the second is commonly used by queer folks ourselves and friendly folks.
As with many things, context matters. The same action from two people will have wildly different intentions, connotations, meanings, and results.
Also, “queer” itself is slowly undergoing a change in meaning in the context of sexualities. It’s become a word used to describe someone whose sexuality is difficult to define, but not straight, at least among the lgbtq community…
Back to the contest description and why it mentions specifically that these groups are welcome. Simple, in many cases, minority groups feel hedged out of common spaces. We may not be specifically banned, but our contributions will often not be received as easily as more “mainstream” majority contributions. Even if they will be, there is an… hmmm… extra step of fighting against the trepidation of entering a new space and how open we can be in that space. Specific mentions of welcome can help ameliorate this feeling.
It also makes it clear that stories/games which involve topics related to these minority groups are welcome. This should not need saying, but alas, in the age we live in, it does need saying. Someday, we’ll be beyond that.
It’s clear to anyone who’s a member of these minority groups that the admins of the contest are reaching out with a hand of friendship. It wouldn’t make sense to treat it as an attack, because it’s not, it’s clearly not.
Let’s all save our teeth and claws for the actual nazis.
All things considered it looks like it may be me and my interpretation of the wording, rather than a genuine issue of the wording itself. So fair enough, I concede the point. It still doesn’t read well to me and if I were promoting anything then there’s no way I would go near those terms.
BUT … it obviously hasn’t offended anyone and continues not to do so, so i’m probably being over sensitive to it.
I think the event is great, and i’m trying to do something similar over here in sunny UK to push the scene a bit, so let’s move on and enjoy!
As a counselor, it is best to use “people first” when talking about others. As: fos has low vsion, fos has poor hearing, …
In any case, I am enjoying the submissions in “The Spring Thing”. The entries are creative and enjoyable. I just went through The 4th Breakup. It is quick an interesting. Also, I had never experienced OHRRPGCE before. What an interesting development system. It is so much fun and retro.