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Non-gendered Shortdescs

I think it might be worthwhile to add a couple of ambiguous / non-gendered shortdesc options to be available to both male and female characters - I.E. "person" or "kid". Aside from providing options for more androgynous characters, it does help provide a little bit more wiggle room in terms of characters with alternative gender identities as well - it'd be a lot less labor-intensive than providing expanded pronoun options, anyway. Not much, but a start.

Interesting. I'm all for this but it should involve the disguise skill or some sort of cyberware.

We actually removed the non-gendered pronouns. We found them distracting from the core of the game. We also considered them for short descriptions, but again chose the gender specific notions. Embrace the lack of an inbetween state the same way you do in real life. 99% of us are one or the other or appear to be one or the other. We give no fucks how your character self identifies. Pick one, let others be confused.

Not everyone in real life embraces the lack of an inbetween, for one (both my roommates included, as well as many in my immediate social circle and more of my online friends); for another, I don't really see the justification for not including the non-gendered shortdesc options, here. I read your post a couple of times, and couldn't really find a reason given. I can see the clunkiness reasons involved with regards to pronouns, but I don't see any reason why the shortdesc additions can't be added, with the exception of some sort of bias against the idea of people appearing to be androgynous. I don't see what confusion can be caused or unfair advantage is to be gained, especially if gendered pronouns are still the norm.

Really, I'd wager that fucking around with gender concepts is pretty damned cyberpunk. Working against and dismantling a rigid social structure, primarily ones tied to the morphology of near-obsolesced meat bodies, is way cyberpunk.

Also, something I feel I should iterate here - the primary concern is not in terms of how your character identifies, but how they appear, which is the primary function of shortdescs - that is, to give players a quick mental image of a character. Given the option, I'd change the male-identifying but androgynous-looking Michel to something like "kid" or "waif" rather than "boy" were it available, but his shortdesc being filled with "he" pronouns would eliminate any doubt were someone to look at him.

Gender identity and actual gender are two very different things. I can identify as being a sexless robot but when people look at me they'll have a some idea of what sex I am.

No one's stopping you from making a tranny or wearing clothes of the opposite sex but when people see you - it's one or the other.

I've seen plenty of people where you can't tell one or the other at first glance, and I know the system as-is currently does allow for male-to-female and female-to-male transgender people (for the record, the term you used to refer to them is actually a fairly nasty slur, though you probably didn't know) - and I recognize that support for alternative gender identity pronouns and the like is fairly niche, which is why I'm not really expecting that to be implemented - but I thought having some non-gendered shortdesc options would decrease the rigidity just a little bit. It wasn't supposed to be some huge thing, just a couple more options to pick from than just "man", "guy", "bloke", etc.

Sorry I was as clear I could of been. We expressly did not include the non-gendered short descriptions to force you into being perceived as one or the other by others regardless of how you try and appear. Our goal being to reinforce the uncomfortable feeling of 'being different'.

What if like to see are more subjective adjectives added, but they may already be there and I haven't noticed!

Things like muscled, beautiful, Gaza Gaza, that would be chosable and not forced, as long as you have reasonable stats for such things.

If you have a crap ton of charisma, for example, you could, in fact, be what is considered beautiful to the norm, or a beef house if your strength is through the roof.

Keep them optional, in case your charisma is meant as smooth talking, or if you're strong but have a sleek body type.

And ignore my phones auto corrections, please!

I'm not prepared to argue this point from a position of experience, but my gut tells me that trying to intentionally invoke dysphoria using the mechanism of the normally impartial game system narrative is not a good thing to do. In any case, it's clear that the intent isn't there to change this. I do hope you'll reconsider at some point in the future, perhaps after getting some more familiarity with more of the subtleties of gender as a social construct (recommended reading: "Delusions of Gender" by Cordelia Fine - snag it on Amazon and give it a look-through if you are so inclined).

The point is, though, that this thing is a game. And, as a game, it doesn't care one lick about how your character acts, dresses, or thinks. As far as the game is concerned, biologically, your character is male or female, as a human being. The game doesn't have a medical degree.

As far as real life goes, there are medical conditions which can cause you to be both, or psychologically feel that you ended up with the wrong body, or any other number of things.

But this is a game, and programming in things like that is largely unimportant. Its not even a game you pay for, or that you can even pay for. Its here because someone out there wants us to have what they have created, and at no cost.

Also, as someone that has worked on a game before, there is always the List. The List never ends, and is rarely static. As new ideas show up, things end up on the list or don't, depending on what the admin wants, and are given a priority. Things on the bottom of List rarely get done because they're mostly flavor and don't make vast improvements, and things near the top of the list don't always get done in order because they tend to be hard to implement. The List is always there, though. I, for one, would rather get new features done on the list than worry about a butt hurt feeling or two - Especially since this game doesn't seem any bit worried about butt hurt feelings.

That's kind of a shitty attitude to have. Using terms like "butthurt" to legitimize the concerns of people who are different from them is quite a red flag and a terrible habit, and I suggest dropping it.

As long as we're dropping credentials, I can say as someone who has a game finished and another one coming down the pipeline that I understand that features need to be prioritized and a lot of them, even ones that might be considered valuable or essential, need to be dropped or deferred indefinitely in the spirit of getting something out there. I also understand that trying to accommodate for every possible gender identity is a logistical nightmare (Randall Munroe covers this issue quite extensively here: http://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/06/sex-and-gender/ - my favorite quote being "The role of gender in society is the most complicated thing I’ve ever spent a lot of time learning about, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning about quantum mechanics.") and I had no reasonable expectation that Sindome (or indeed any MOO) is lesser for not including a vast swath of options in this regard.

However, Sindome is of the sort of game that it is constantly under development and never really "finished" - with a practically infinite development cycle, very little is completely out of the question in terms of new features. Furthermore, the specific feature that I requested - a few more options for shortdescs to better suit characters that don't immediately appear to be identifiable as solidly male or female at first glance - would take almost no time at all to implement, were there the will to implement it. All of the coding work for shortdescs are in place, and while I'm not terribly familiar with the specifics of MOO development on the backend, I can say with a pretty good degree of confidence that implementing more choosable shortdesc options wouldn't take more than, say, about a half hour at the very most, and more likely just a few minutes at the least - a negligible effort. The only thing that's keeping this feature from being implemented seems to be the admins' lack of will to do so, not any issue with the prioritization of new features, and I do not have the will nor the energy to exhaust trying to convince them of the value of the change.

That's kind of a shitty attitude to have. Using terms like "butthurt" to de-legitimize the concerns of people who are different from them is quite a red flag and a terrible habit, and I suggest dropping it.

As long as we're dropping credentials, I can say as someone who has a game finished and another one coming down the pipeline that I understand that features need to be prioritized and a lot of them, even ones that might be considered valuable or essential, need to be dropped or deferred indefinitely in the spirit of getting something out there. I also understand that trying to accommodate for every possible gender identity is a logistical nightmare (Randall Munroe covers this issue quite extensively here: http://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/06/sex-and-gender/ - my favorite quote being "The role of gender in society is the most complicated thing I’ve ever spent a lot of time learning about, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning about quantum mechanics.") and I had no reasonable expectation that Sindome (or indeed any MOO) is lesser for not including a vast swath of options in this regard.

However, Sindome is of the sort of game that it is constantly under development and never really "finished" - with a practically infinite development cycle, very little is completely out of the question in terms of new features. Furthermore, the specific feature that I requested - a few more options for shortdescs to better suit characters that don't immediately appear to be identifiable as solidly male or female at first glance - would take almost no time at all to implement, were there the will to implement it. All of the coding work for shortdescs are in place, and while I'm not terribly familiar with the specifics of MOO development on the backend, I can say with a pretty good degree of confidence that implementing more choosable shortdesc options wouldn't take more than, say, about a half hour at the very most, and more likely just a few minutes at the least - a negligible effort. The only thing that's keeping this feature from being implemented seems to be the admins' lack of will to do so, not any issue with the prioritization of new features, and I do not have the will nor the energy to exhaust trying to convince them of the value of the change.

Well, trying to go back and fix a typo turned into a double post. So it goes.

You're not the first to ask for non-gendered short desc options and forum warriors notwithstanding, your input is certainly welcome on it.

I don't think I am particularly unaware of the various dynamics of gender. I look at the myriad of tools we have as a complete set to let you express this wide variety. As the short description is about how others perceive you, we've taken away a lot of your control with it and I felt this was an important part. It indeed would not take long to add additional short description options, just entries in a list. And yes, things are never really finished. :)

What the admins are trying to say is, it's not a big deal to add non-gendered short descs. They would rather you choose a gender to select as a person and use your RP and long desc if you wish to play the androgynous role. Most people in life.. 99.5% upon seeing them, you have a pretty good idea which gender they belong to. You aren't always right, but hey, shit happens. That's the point.

Say you want to play a male character that looks like a woman. Choose the female gender, but set your long description as he, your @nakeds with male pronouns and RP like you are a male, shake it up, cause the confusion that way.

I do appreciate that my input is considered! I definitely see how taking shortdescs out of control of the player makes sense from that standpoint, as nobody has complete control over how they look; that does give me a new idea, though: perhaps having a sufficiently high charisma opens up more options or more control over your shortdesc? This does significantly complicate things, but it might be worth considering.The idea of very charismatic people having a high amount of control over the way others see them does have precedent in real life (Examples: google "Marylin Monroe - do you want to see me become her", or image search "Andrej Pejic"). This does, however, turn this into a relatively complex feature that would be justifiably put lower down in the priority list, were it decided that it was worthwhile to implement.

Apologies for my use of a slur...but in my time with various members of the LGBT community - it's never been a touch point.

That said, this thread is turning into a bit of a soapbox. As it's been suggested - I think pursuing this path would best be roleplayed out.

My two cents on this has nothing to do with shortdesc when non-disguised. I think when disguised your shortdesc should be gender neutral all the time. I've seen RP ruined because someone was disguised and 'standing in' for someone else, IE: an actor playing the part of another person, but because they were FEMALE it showed a short girl instead of a short man, or short person. There-by ruining the RP because the people RPing immediately knew it was not a man. I can't really blame them for using what was given to the ICly by the game. That's why gender neutral shortdesc when disguised is needed.

@ReeferMadness - No worries; education on transgender issues is woefully sparse, and a lot of LGBT organizations have kind of dropped the ball with regards to the "T", from what I've heard from some of my transgender friends.

@Slither - Things like this are actually one of the reasons that I'm kind of baffled that shortdescs are drawn so rigidly on gender lines - generally the simple solution to a lot of problems like these is to avoid implying gender wherever it is feasible not to, which is why I find it a little odd that shortdescs are so strictly gendered when they don't have to be.

I was actually jumping on here to say something along the same lines as what Slither said.

If anything, I think disguise (Or significantly high skill) should mask your gender, or build.

I'm sure most experienced players can remember a certain 'tall woman' who's RP was a little stunted because there was only one active tall woman in the game at that time.

I think it would be cool if certain disguises like shrouds, robes etc should mask gender and to some small extent size.

But others like masks, helmets and hoodies wouldn't offer the same level of anonymity.

I'm a bit confused by the reasons for not including non-gendered shortdesc options, since at least from what J-man says, it's to increase the sense of discomfort for the character? If that is truly the goal (and not just an official reason to calm an obviously delicate subject) then not allowing ambiguous shortdesc options works completely contrary to that goal, as I see it. Shortdescs only affect someone's immediate, first glance impression of someone, and if it's of an obvious gender, then unless they read the character's description more closely, or RP is done to specifically draw their attention to it, they aren't likely to notice anything out of the norm.

But if their first glance is ambiguous... is that a guy, or a girl? Is that just a kid or some really small adult? These kind of questions draw more attention to the character, making the player look for more details about their appearance if they want to know more. If they just show up as a 'chick' or a 'dude' on first glance, most people won't even notice that the character actually looks quite different. You want chars to be uncomfortable being different in those ways? Then don't actively mask that they are different.

@ReeferMadness: Most people aren't aware it's an offensive thing to say, and generally is automatically forgiven. There are unfortunately quite a number of people who do know the weight it carries when used as a slur, but still choose to use it anyways. So for some people, like me and BattleJenkins, encountering it sort of automatically causes a reaction like that, and as such there's really no apology necessary when it's done innocently.

Also as a small but relevant aside, the LGBTQ community is one of the most intolerant 'communities' around ;), anything besides strictly L or G is pretty much thrown under the bus by the vast majority of the actual people involved.

Many, many props to Xenode for making me feel like I'm not alone, hehe. Much agreement with all the points you made; you put them rather more eloquently than I could have.

I'll also add that I encounter the ostentible 'slur' nowhere more frequently than out of the mouths of 'G' people. In my own experience, non-LGBTQOMGBBQ people tend to use more descriptive, if still slightly misinformed and potentially insensitive, words, like "he-she" or "crossdresser". That's my own experience, YMMV.

On point, I also support a gender neutral shortdesc name being available to both male and female characters. Child characters is one of the best use cases I can point to, as this is one which doesn't *even* intersect with the other delicacies we're discussing. Disguised characters too. Finally, it just makes sense. Someone's character might have no "unusual" gender-identity at all, but still be androgynous by nature or by choice. This does't have to be a sociopolitical request at all - I'll just restate what others have: Gaming would be enhanced by this trivial change, and it would not take away from the fact that every character has an actual gender which can be both discovered by others and obscured by the owner in various ways.

From the discussion here, it seems that the consensus reached about the scope of this change would be:

1. Add a few more shortdesc options - at least "person", "kid", "child", probably - to both the male and female shortdesc lists, and

2. Make any disguised character appear as "person" by default

Does that sound about right?

Nah. Disguise shouldn't default to something the player didn't choose. But if neuter options become available, they'd be available, just like how it works now: a well-known "bloke" of a character can change to "man" when they hood-up, already.

Ah! I didn't know how disguise worked before, so that's good to hear. That's even less implementation work, then!

Related to this, even if non-gendered shortdesc options don't become a thing, I would love to see more variance in the options to allow for age to be shown more obviously. Because as it is, unless someone explicitly points it out in their desc and nakeds (and it is unfortunately fairly uncommon from my observations), there's no easy way to tell the difference between someone who's 14 or 50. And although there are the exceptions who confuse the matter, most people do appear to be within a given age group. Particularly when prepubescent children are involved, it seems odd not to be able to immediately distinguish them from the regular adult crowd of people, especially in a friggin night club.

I don't know which words or descriptors would be optimal to achieve this though, but perhaps some people with a more extensive vocabulary could come up with ideas?

I think you're all sorta going about this wrong.

Gender-neutral for the sake of name calling or title, or whatehaveyou is fine and great and dandy.

But what if the character looks male but is not? or looks female but is not? Isn't using one of the descriptors that designates one or the other sorta metagame if one can't or shouldn't be able to actually tell IC?

Just my two cents.

I'll post this on the original thread as well.