[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

Jon Lambert tychomud at ix.netcom.com
Wed May 9 12:39:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

John Buehler wrote:
> Travis Nixon writes:
>> John Buehler wrote:

>>> I mentioned elsewhere that I believe that we are all responsible
>>> for our interactions with children.  If a child is paying
>>> attention to what I'm doing, I should be mindful of my actions.
>>> If I am writing a book that children will read, I should be
>>> mindful of my words.  And so on.

>> Let me just clarify a little here, because in a sense I agree with
>> you.  If I'm writing a book that's INTENDED for children, I should
>> be mindful of my words.


>> But I think it's rather silly to say that if I'm a Clive Barker or
>> a Stephen King writing a new horror novel that I should be mindful
>> of my words because a child might read it.

True. Very silly indeed.  Leaving aside horror for a minute, consider
that an enormous body of great fictional work presents moral dilemmas
not quite all suitable for children, "Of Mice and Men", "Tropic of
Cancer", "Catcher in the Rye", ad infinitum.  Of course I think Barker
and King do have very interesting things to say about humanity beyond
the obvious shock value for entertainment. :-P

>> I am not interested in making games for children.  I'm interested
>> in making games for adults.  And yes, children might play them.
>> Sorry, but that's a fact of life.  But to say that I should limit
>> the sorts of things I allow in the game just because some parent is
>> not parenting is patently silly.

I agree.

However if you make an adult game, and you provide nothing in the way
of warnings, ratings, or make any attempt at age verification; then
that is irresponsible.  If you advertise the game to children, say on
the Nickelodeon or Disney web pages, children's magazine, etc. then
you are blatantly irresponsible.  To my mind the latter is like
opening up a porn shop, putting candy and hanging posters of Barney in
the front windows; then turning around and saying, well if you were
doing your job as a parent you'd know (?somehow?) that you shouldn't
have let your kid walk in there.

>> It sounds to me like you're saying that ALL games should be mindful
>> of their actions because children might (and in reality probably
>> will) play them, and that would be the point where I vehemently
>> disagree. :)

> Disagree away.  It sounds to me like you're saying that authors get
> to turn a blind eye to the damage that their works will do.

I'm all for protecting children within reason and practicality.  The
trouble is you seem to be suggesting that the possibility that a child
can gain access to something is reason enough for it never to be
created at all.

Polarizing positions aren't they? ;-)

> They know it will happen, but they comfort themselves with the idea
> that the good is outweighing the bad by a couple orders of
> magnitude.  Unfortunately, I'd argue that there isn't much that's
> inherently 'good' about these games.

It's not an either/or good/bad proposition.  It is just as absurd to
suggest that one shouldn't create a game for adults, as it is to
suggest they bear no responsibility at all in attempting to keep
children out of a game created for adults.

On the one hand, I think it's disturbing when someone is well aware
their _commercial_ venture would be rated NC-17, or X if it were a
movie, AND they are also aware that more than half of their target
audience ranges from 10-17, but performing any actions or attempts at
age verification might hurt their revenue stream; so they revert to
free speech uber alles arguments.

On the other hand don't tell me that it's inherently irresponsible to
do adult subject matter on the internet.  Many of us consider moral
dilemmas and situations entertaining and mentally stimulating enough
to role-play and/or reenact.  Whether it fits ones definition of game
or not is unimportant in that the activity is certainly one that is
done on muds.

There is whole range of middle ground here regarding whether or not
one is responsible for the effects one creates.

--* Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD        Email:jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com *--
--* Mud Server Developer's Page <http://tychomud.home.netcom.com> *--
--* If I had known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.*--
"In a civilized modern society, majorities owe a debt of tolerance 
to harmless minorities.  But minorities also owe something to the 
majority: a decent respect for its tastes and opinions, and careful 
restraint in challenging them." - author unknown

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