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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Should controversial media be allowed??

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Link the Writer, Mar 1, 2015.

    OK, so this thread was created because several members (including yours truly) was taking the thread about sexual assault off on a tangent.

    Basically, video games are the new 'big bad thing' that 'poisons the minds of our young'. Some video games are thought of to be 'too controversial', almost to the point where some even think they should be removed from the shelves. Why? Because they're too violent and teach children to do bad things. Also, they're really offensive and serve no purpose to anything.

    I'm probably beating a dead horse if I say the obvious 'Freedom of Speech' thing, so here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to play Devil's Advocate and play the other side. Your task is to convince me that my line of thinking is incorrect.

    Discuss!
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I wrote in the other thread about how "confusing" correlation with causation is a form of intellectual dishonesty, and one that is often used against the video game industry. If you are going to ban video games for creating criminal behavior then you also need to ban coffee and ball-point pens and re-runs of Friends for creating criminal behavior.

    In response to your second paragraph: Parents should try parenting rather than pointing the finger of blame at the games industry. Games have ratings for a reason; if you choose to let your seven year old play an eighteen rated game then the fault is solely with you as a parent. (I would caveat this point to say that Internet Service Providers need to make it easier for parents to lock off certain content available on the web).
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
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  3. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Games have always been violent... even Minecraft is violent considering in multiplayer you're still killing other players even if there isn't blood. It's sort of a given in a game that there's going to be fighting unless we're talking about a game like "To the Moon" where the game is more like a virtual storybook.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I never said to ban coffee (heavens no!), ball-point pens or Friends. My point is that maybe we need to regulate these games somehow. Clearly the parents are not doing their job, and I highly doubt they can muster up the energy to even care. They buy their child a Grand Theft Auto game just to get him to shut up and are surprised when the kid starts trying to act like the characters? Someone's going to have to take over if the parents aren't willing to do the job themselves.

    My concern is how the industry treats the controversial material. Take, for example, Grand Theft Auto V. There's one mission where you interactively torture a man. You don't merely watch, you actively pick the tools and press buttons to inflict agony on this man and while Trevor does do the usual 'Torture is wrong, m'kay?' talk, it doesn't change the fact that you not only can physically torture, but you can get an achievement from it. Don't you think in the mind of the wrong person, they could get the wrong idea? Surely there was a way to demonstrate that lesson another way than letting you assist in the torture.

    Another example is the game's treatment of women. Not only do the main characters treat them like they're a waste of space, but they're all loud, obnoxious and offensively stereotypical. What on earth were they trying to prove? How does this help the feminist movement at all?


    This is really fun. Hope I can keep this up!
     
  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Give a man a little bit of alcohol, and you may have a violent lunatic on your hands. Give a man a LOT of alcohol, and he's out cold on the floor.

    It's the same with video games. Make sure little Jimmy never leaves the couch. And even if he does, what's he gonna do? Go grab that baseball bat he doesn't even have and beat someone over the head with it using his near non existent levels of testosterone and infantile strength?

    Keep them sedentary. Keep us safe.
     
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  6. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why green by the way? Also, I get the impression your heart isn't in this argument.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Sometimes I think some people should be banned from accessing all media, because they are not fit to deal with it. Don't ban the media, ban the people.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ah-ha! Clever tactic, dodge the issue and discuss the person.

    Seriously, dude, just roll with it. I'm pretending to be on the 'ban all offensive things' camp. The green's to show that I don't honestly believe what I'm typing.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thats because he's playing the other side. Not everyone was born to be a devil's advocate.
     
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  10. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Paragraph 1: There are already laws in place to deal with parents who aren't doing their job properly. In the UK the body that manages them is called Social Services. We don't need new laws.

    Paragraph 2: I would not want to play a torturer particularly. But that aside, if someone has a propensity to a certain sort of behavior then Tom and Jerry is just as likely to push them over the edge. As Lemex said, ban the individual from accessing the media. We cannot allow a tiny minority of people to dictate how the rest of us live.

    Paragraph 3: I am not sure if this catch all statement is correct (in fact, it isn't). In some games there are some characters who are loud, obnoxious and offensively stereotypical. In the majority of games there are actually well-developed female characters (pun not intended). In fact I would say that (ignoring a few widely publicized examples) the games industry is well ahead of Hollywood (not that this is saying much).
     
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  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    How would you suggest getting the parents to care, then? The little rating system certainly isn't going to stop Mom or Dad from buying little Jimmy Saints Row 2 to get him to shut up. The Gamestop employees can't exactly go around saying, "Don't buy this game!" or else they'd be out of a business or risk pissing off customers, which could hurt their business.

    Well yes, but the game actually give you achievements for doing violent actions to defenseless people. I don't recall an achievement popping up whenever Jerry slams a clothing iron onto Tom's face. It's the interactivity part that bothers me. It's when you invite the player to commit mass atrocity with their own hands, even if it is indeed on a TV and they're just a bunch of pixels.

    And Lemex, how on earth can you ban individuals from getting the media? Unless they lived in a police state, any mental patient could get their hands on a violent game.


    Yes, but even among the more well-known female protagonists, they're often too 'sexualized'. Lara Croft and Samus sans armor are depicted as immensely thin with large breasts. Even if they do kick ass, it's disturbing to me that the industry thinks that women must look like sex icons to be heroic while the men can look like they hadn't bathed in weeks. What is this teaching our girls? Our women? That unless they look like sex icons, they're loud and obnoxious 'save me! save me!' stereotypes?

     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    One way is an electronic tag. Kind of like a police tag so that the police can track a criminal's movements if they are under house arrest, have a tag that alerts the police if the person gets close enough to any form of culture they might dislike. The increasing digitization of our civilization means this could becoming increasingly easy to implement, and I even propose a name for it 'The MeMeMe Tag' or the 'Party-Pooper Tag'.

    Either that or just forced house arrest. :p


    Yes, vote for me. My Thoughtpolice will work FOR you. :D
     
  13. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest, getting parents to actually parent is beyond the scope of this discussion, and something I am not going to get into in detail.




    The vast majority of people can separate fantasy from reality. We should not allow the inability of a tiny, tiny minority of people who are unable to do so, to dictate everyone else's actions.

    Lemex answered his own point above.


    Both women and men are sexualized in all forms of the media. In games women are scantily dressed and rather Barbie-doll like. Men are half-dressed and muscled like the Hulk. Neither of these are realistic portrayals, but there isn't any particular gender bias here (outside of a very few well-publicized games).

    Again, you are throwing this stereotype at me without any data as to where and how often it is used. Certainly in my experience of games this stereotype is very rare.
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    @Lemex @Chinspinner @123456789
    Oi, I'm done. Playing the charade is exhausting me. :p Good posts, though. If I did have partial belief in all the stuff I was typing, you three have gotten me started on the path to reconsidering my viewpoints.

    And I, for one, support Lemex as our Grand Imperial High Chancellor. :p Gonna go play Saints Row 2 now. Bye!
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm pretty much opposed to any regulation of the media itself--games, movies, cartoons, whatever.

    However, I think that the game industry is subject to the same laws as everybody else. I DO care if game companies are enabling real-world threats and harassment. I do care if game companies are failing to take action on conditions that make it difficult or impossible for women to participate in the industry.

    Is that what's going on? I don't know. If a gamer makes a threat on an industry forum, will that gamer be instantly and permanently banned from that forum, and will the forum fully cooperate with any police investigation? If a participant at a convention harasses other participants, will the harasser be booted out of the convention and banned from future conventions?

    That's the part I care about.
     
  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To the OP: In general, games, films, books etc. shouldn't be banned because of controversial content. If something bothers you, don't play it. Don't buy it to your kids. Become part of the industry and start to contribute to making games you approve of.

    But how is that relevant to banning games? E.g. to debacles like petitions to pull GTAV off the shelves? Do you believe the game was removed from about 300 Targets as an objection towards people who buy these games because some of these people acted stupidly, or, in other words, because Target was afraid that by selling the game they appear as if they approve of the shitty behavior of some gamers? Should certain films not be distributed because some people in their possible target audience behave badly?

    I doubt game companies are any more evil than other multimillion businesses. I highly doubt they officially approve of violence and harassment. Sure, just like everywhere else, some incidents slip through the cracks -- be it harassment, corruption, or other compliance issues. Some are left unreported, some are dismissed if there's enough money at stake, some are blown out of proportion, some swept under the rug etc. But I think this is off topic.
     
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  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's not what I'm saying, no. If a person, influenced by a game or movie, wanders off and behaves badly in a space not controlled by the game/movie creator, the fact of that bad behavior not the problem or responsibility of the creator of the game or movie. Oh, it might be their moral responsibility, but I'm not interested in applying moral tests to media; as soon as you do that, freedom of expression is over. Creators of media can create whatever they darn well please. Distributors of media can distribute whatever they darn well please.

    (Now, that doesn't address the question of whether it's wrong to try to exercise private, rather than legal, influence over those decisions. Freedom of expression also extends to the writers of petitions and the organizers of boycotts. But in general, I personally dislike petitions and boycotts that are based on the content of media. Boycott a corporation for selling cigarettes or clothes made with child labor? Go for it! Boycott them for selling a horrible game? Meh...slippery slope.)

    The issue that I addressed in my previous post was related to the "not controlled by..." two paragraphs above. And I announce in advance that the following MAY BE A STRAWMAN. I haven't done the research. I don't know. I'm saying "They aren't obligated to do X, but IF the occasion comes up, they are obligated to do Y." I don't know how often the occasion comes up. I don't know how well or badly it's handled when it does come up. The "intense harassment" thread may offer some answers to those questions, when I get to it.

    Background: If some idiot kid, influenced by a game, harasses someone at his local Starbucks, it's Starbucks' responsibility--perhaps with the help of the police--to protect the victim, evict that kid, and ban the kid from the store. And if the victim is a woman and tends to be a woman on multiple occasions, Starbucks does not have the right to start discouraging women from coming to the store. (The same, of course, is true for any other class of people.) If some unbalanced adult, influenced by a movie, harasses a ticket-taker at the theater, it's the theater's responsibility to evict that adult and ban them from the theater. If it's clear that the adult harassed the ticket-tacker because she was a woman, and a man wouldn't be harassed, the theater does not have the right to stop hiring women. (Again, the same is true for any other class of people.)

    I make it Starbucks' responsibility and the theater's responsibility to deal with the situation or cooperate with the police in dealing with it, not the responsibility of the game maker or the movie producer. The responsibility belongs to whoever is in control of the space--in this case, a Starbucks and a movie theater. The world is full of unbalanced people, and we can't trace responsibility back to whatever unbalanced them. We have to assign respnosibility to protect victims at a point where it is possible to protect them.

    But if the corporate space belongs to the specific corporation that exercised their freedom of expression in creating the work, that freedom of expression doesn't REDUCE their obligation to provide proection in the corporate space.

    So if that same idiot kid gets on the corporate-sponsored forum for KillEveryoneInHorribleWays and starts harassing other users and issuing threats, the KillEveryone corporation has an obligation, just as Starbucks had an obligation, to boot that kid out and ban him from the forum.

    If that adult finds out the name of the female game designer who Oh My God Added A Strong Female Character to KillEveryone, and harasses her, the corporation has an obligation to protect its employee. And it has an obligation to NOT decide, "Y'know, having female employees really inflames the customers; let's just stop hiring them."

    If dozens or hundreds of members of a corporate-sponsored forum engage in harassment or personal attacks or threats, the corporation has an obligation to ban each. and. every. one. of. them. Even if that means that the forum is essentially empty when they're done.

    Does any of that actually happen, on either a small or a large scale? I don't know. That's why this might be a strawman.

    My point is that while the creators of media have every right to create and distribute media that may appeal to the mentally unbalanced and may increase their mentally unbalanced state, that right does not extend to taking a hands-off position when those mentally unbalanced people start to attack others in a space controlled by that same corporation.
     
  18. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak I know you identified the possibility of a strawman, so I am not having a go, just thoughts on your post: -

    So your point is that people shouldn't bow to the pressure of a few vocal bigots and exclude a particular group from a) access to and use of their service, or; b) employment in their company, as a result? Isn't this already enshrined in law in most western countries?

    If someone came into Starbucks and started some misogynistic rant (or any other rant) and threatened female (or any other) employees or customers, the police would be called, and not only would they be forcibly removed, they would probably spend a night in the cells.

    Most forums have terms and conditions which preclude the behaviour you identify. Admittedly the likes of Youtube and Twitter have been slow to actually act on the most offensive trolls, but as far as I am aware, that is largely a corporate decision not to spend money on moderators, rather than an acceptance of the behaviour.
     
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  19. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    And if a woman went into Starbucks and launched a misandric rant would the police be called? Would she spend the night in the cells?

    As for video games, why does everyone automatically assume that they are for children. The majority of gamers are adults.

    Would a parent by "I spit on you grave" or "Annie's Anal Adventures" for their kids to watch, or buy power tools for them as toys? If the answer is "Of course not" then why is a video game any different?
     
  20. Ankoku Teion
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    Ankoku Teion Active Member

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    (nice use of green ink by the way)

    people blame games for creating a more violent society, in reality its probably more like the oposite, the games are merely a reflection of society, the entertainment industry has to make money, to do that they have to produce material that appeals to societies tastes, if we said we didn't want violence and stopped buying it then they would stop producing it.

    as for GTA the entire series is one stereotype after another, thats what makes them fun. people with violent tendencies can use GTA to take out their aggression in a safe and socially acceptable(mostly) way.
     
  21. Ankoku Teion
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    Ankoku Teion Active Member

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    no offence but i do believe he said "the game" refering to the previously mentioned GTA V which is just one massive stereotype, like most GTA games
     
  22. Ankoku Teion
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    Ankoku Teion Active Member

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    this is a great idea and i love it, however i cannot agree with it.

    it isn't practical media is everywhere and now a necessary and heavily integrated part of life in western societies, it is impossible to escape so how would you separate them?

    how would you decide who you limited or banned from the media? and where would you draw the line? what about those people who use social media as an excuse to endlessly photograph their food?
     
  23. Ankoku Teion
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    Ankoku Teion Active Member

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    i watched a tv program the other day where someone hacked into a guys computer and altered google search results etc. to prevent him from seeing certain things and adding in fake results like newspaper headlines. you could use this, it would be less resource heavy in that you wouldn't have to make a load of tags. do this and tailor it to the individual to filter out stuff they shouldnt see.
     
  24. Ankoku Teion
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    Ankoku Teion Active Member

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    no but they should be.

    this is very true. sadly children get caught up in the practice and play games meant for adults.

    because of the digital immigrant/native divide. http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky - Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants - Part1.pdf (getting a bit old now but just as true as ever, technology keeps moving so each generation transitions from a native to an immigrant)

    parents likely don't fully understand what the games entail whereas movies with titles as you suggested are blatantly obvious. if you didnt know what would you assume a game referd to only by the innitials GTA involved, certainly not gang wars theft murder torture drugs sex and generally illegal behaviour anyway.

    to be clear the "adults" that play these games are adult only in terms of the law, 90% are under 25 and not fully mature anyway. (i say this only to defend my own point about digital natives)
     
  25. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Google is already tailoring the search results according to your individual profile. One person's search results can be radically different from another's even using the same parameters. They are also downrating supposedly undesirable results such as links to sex related matters.
     
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