[MUD-Dev] Re:

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Wed Aug 27 13:09:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <33FC7352.FA22963F at darklock.com>, on 08/21/97 
   at 10:05 AM, Caliban Tiresias Darklock <caliban at darklock.com> said:

>> Here are some random thoughts/questions on the matter.  Would liasons
>> be possible between PCs only or combination of PC/NPC?  

>Do NOT under ANY circumstances build rape code into your game. It's
>just not an amusing option, and can have some serious repercussions
>for survivors of such incidents.

Initial background.  My first GF's entire family was sexually molested
by their father (full intercourse from age 5 until majority).  A close
friend was raped twice upon returning from work at night, followed by
having her boss at her new job require blow jobs if she was to keep
her job.  My wife's family has other non-savoury experiences in the
area.  I have my own personal exposures to the area which I'll leave
by the bye (implicit confidences of others are involved).

These facts are all fairly uninteresting, and actually meaningless
except to the individuals involved.  I give them only to assure the
more ticklish here that I have some exposure to the area, and thus
prevent gastric flashbacks.

Basic philosophy #1: A person is responsible for the condition they
find themselves in.  

Basic philosophy #2: A person is responsible for the effects they

Those are deliberately unconditional statements.  That given, I define
offense as a choice of the offended.  

I am not offended by rape, molestation etc yada yada.  Pehaps this
means that I am an insensitive unfeeling rock, or that I'm merely
built of sterner stuff than many others.  I won't argue either point
on lack of interest.  I will argue that the mere fact of that
difference defines that it is a __choice__.

Mechanically, rape, sexual assault, and the various forms of
(non-)demonic possession and compulsion present interesting fodder for
a game designer with pretensions of cultural or social evolution (ie
creating an evolving society or culture, not an attempt to evolve or
modify RL society or culture, tho that can also apply).  Its very
volatility and emotional charge makes it attractive fodder.  Emotional
involvment is a real key.  There are few (no?) other keys as instantly
effective as emotional involvement.

It is also worth distinguishing between mechanical reproductions of
rape (forced sex), and the MUD-derived extensions (identity rape). 
Back when there was significant discussion of the LambdaMOO rape case
here.  My conclusions:

From: "Chris Lawrence" <clawrenc at xsvr1.cup.hp.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:42:40 -0700
Subject: The handling of identity

> From: Nathan Yospe <yospe at hawaii.edu>

> the only problem I have with adding this feature is that you can run
> into some very serious RL problems.  A while back some friends and I
> were thinking about a disguise spell and we went through this topic.
> should we let people assume the description of another PC?  eventually
> we decided that, as silly as it sounds, such things could result in an
> invasion of privacy and/or harassment. A name is just a name, but when
> it's all you have to go by, it becomes something much more than it is
> in RL.  Yes, it would be neet ot watch as people people become confused
> as to who they are talking about, but I think it's too much of a
> double-edged sword for my tastes.

The classic example used in these cases is the Lambda MOO rape.  In
highly simplistic terms, a rogue user manufactured robots which looked
and operated exactly as if they were real players in the game.  He
then, via remote control of those robots, made them commit various,
err, unnatural(?) acts, much to the displeasure of the players they
were pretending to be.


  1) The LambdaMOO rape case was dependant on the fact that the ID's
manipulated in the "crime" had no reasonable expectation that they
might be opaquely mis-represented or forged.

  2) Most (all?) MUDs currently define names are unique and
inextricably bound to their owners.  The fact of this equation leads
to strong identification and symbolisms wrapped on the name alone. 
Simple evidence of this can be seen in the players who use the same
ID's on every game they play, and are disgruntled if they find another
player has already taken the name.


For the mechical interpretations of rape, the case seems a lot
foggier, sufficiently foggy to become questionable.  Consider:

  Bubba is a devout, even fanatical (?) <name_your_religion>.

  MUD XXX has a mobile named
<name_your_diety/prophet/holyman_of_religion> which is respented as a
a drunk/druggie/wimp/homosexual/dope

  Bubba plays MUD XXX, and discovers said mobile.

  Bubba is offended, even outright disgusted/etc.


  MUD YYY has slavery.  

  The slaves are effectively described as negroes.  Slaves are freely
bounght and sold, and commonly used for menial labour, target
practice, prostitution, concubines, etc within the MUD.

  Racism and general demeanment of the slave races is predominant
throughout the game.  Slaves are regularly described as being of mean
intelligence, closely related to dumb animals, etc.

  You are/are not offended by this active protrayal of effective
slavery and racism.

  Bubba is a negro/chinese/WASP/mullato/whatever and is/is not
similarly offended.


  Exactly the same scenario as the last scenario, except that now the
subjugation is sexual where women are valueless and men rule.


  Exactly the same scenario as the last scenario, except that now the
subjugation is sexual where men are valueless and women rule.


  MUD ZZZ has rape.  

  NPCs and player characters are able to force other NPCs or
characters (not limits) to have in-game heterosexual or homosexual sex
(or even bestiality).

  Bubba is/is not a rape victim...

Is there *really* an effective difference between any of these other
than the fact that rape has a currency of emotional charge that (we
like to think) racism, sexual discrimination, and sexual orientation
discrimination don't?

My argument: The only reason to not implement rape or any other
similarly socially or emotionally charged item in a game is that the
brunt or core of the game is not affected by those points, or that it
is not mechanically implied or inferred by the rest of the game's
mechanics.  Not implementing rape or <item_of_choice> where those
conditions are not true, is tantamount to crafting an artifially
sanitised environment.  I won't argue with the validity of crafting
Barney/My little Pony/Care Bear/Smurfs/Pee Wee Herman world, but I
will argue that the fact and presence of the choice should be
recognised and concious.

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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