[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Wed Apr 17 21:38:43 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

At 11:00 AM 4/17/2002 +0200, Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt wrote:
> On Thu, 11 Apr 2002 holding99 at mindspring.com wrote:

>>   3) Because context is specific to each game, the socially
>>   constructed meaning of the character is game specific.
>>   4) Because the socially constructed meaning of the character is
>>   game specific, the game and the character are basically
>>   intertwined.
> However what i object to is that you presume that the characters
> meaning entertwined within the game is the _only_ valid meaning it
> may carry. I may as a player choose to assign it other meaning.
> In short you dictate the meaning to _only_ be in relation to the
> game, and that it cannot possibly have any other meaning. Some
> have argued that getting the character data and setting up your
> own game with that character data will infer a meaning to that
> character (that particular data). That meaning is philosofically
> no different than 'the car in the salesmans lot' vs. 'the car in
> some other lot'. Therefore i think you are presuming too much when
> you state that the game and the character are intertwined, because
> it _is_ possible for the character to exist elsewhere and also
> carry a meaning.

Ok, now I see. I hadn't realized that was what you were objecting
to. The character has meaning, even if it is taken in a different
context. This we agree on. Thank you very much for clarifying. :)
However, my argument doesn't hinge so much upon whether or not the
character loses meaning, but rather if that meaning changes when the
context changes.

The original argument I was building was based upon an example
someone had given of a document written in Microsoft Word. In
essence, that person argued that the only reason you "own" what you
write in MS Word was because the EULA did not specifically state
otherwise. My argument was that the meaning of that data (the
document) will not change if the medium is changed. A document
written in MS Word, when printed, has changed mediums, changed
contexts in a way, but has not lost its original meaning. A game
character, on the other hand, when moved from one game to another,
might (and, in all likelihood,) will lose it's original meaning. It
may gain another, perhaps even similar meaning, but nevertheless the
meaning has changed. Because of this, what we consider the
"character" - all of the things that make that collection of data
meaningful - depends upon what context, what game, it is considered
in. Since the game has such a large effect on the meaning and value
of the character, I consider the two inextricably intertwined. A
character's data can be carried to another game, and that character
will have a meaning, but the interaction of that data with the new
game will cause that meaning to be different that the one formed
from the original interaction.

I am not sure that was clear or not. Perhaps you could indicate if I
have missed something?

T.H. Cooke

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