[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Wed Nov 2 05:55:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On Oct 26, 2005, at 10:07 PM, Sean Howard wrote:

>> I am, rather, saying that claiming that "is yellow better than
>> blue?"  has an objective answer is making a category error.

> I'm not claiming that yellow is better than blue - I'm claiming
> that if "yes" were more useful than "no", then the subjectivity of
> the answer is unimportant.

Ah, but now we're getting into different territory.  We're no longer
talking about philosopher-kings who define objective criteria for
"goodness", we're talking about constructing utility functions for
particular populations.  That's an entirely different thing.

And even your examples are population-specific in many cases.  Some
of them (like, "what colors and portions of the visual field attract
attention better than others?") are objective (or interobjective,
since they might be different for non-humans, but for most purposes
that's not a useful distinction).  However, others (such as
emotional responses to color) are very culturally dependent.  For
example:

  Does red mean "danger" or "good fortune"?

  Which is better for funerals, white or black?

  Do pastel colors mean "childish" or "comfortable"?

On average, Americans and Japanese would answer these questions
quite differently.

I discovered this myself when I was localizing a product (and our
associated marketing materials) for the Japanese market.  I handed
my Japanese counterpart my business card, which was in a 90s
"Internet hip" color scheme (black card, white lettering, red accent
graphic) and the guy blanched and said, "you should make different
cards for Japan."  Evidently our black-and-red corporate appearance
package had roughly the connotation of "the death company."  We made
white cards with black letters and graphics for Japan :-).

Amanda Walker
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