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Dystopian Theme
Oppression and Illusion rule here

I was hesitant about writing this given the new (and much appreciated) guidelines to posting on BgBB, but thought it appropriate in a way, so here goes.

The Theme of Sindome has always been dark, gritty and dystopian. A world where society is cruel, there is suffering and injustice. A world of 'haves' and 'have-nots'. A world where your neighbor is a nuisance and you should vote them for death to better your City and prevent over population. A world where you are rewarded for reporting your co-worker for crimes against their Corporation. A world where the Law is absolute and Corporations own you, body and soul. A world where seventy million plus people are crammed into one District that is so over-crowded, the populace as a whole fights for the most minimal of basic human rights, because, quite frankly, there is no such thing as human rights. It's a world that is built around survival of the fittest, richest or most conniving and the very fluidity that such an existence is fleeting and short-lived. It is a loss of individualism through totalitarian control. It's a world that is frightening, undesirable and the antonym of utopia.

I -feel- like that theme is becoming 'softened'. Players feeling offended about certain aspects of the game or dissatisfied with some of the 'tools' of the Theme. I have heard the argument many times that Sindome is a game and that it should be an environment that brings pleasure to the players, because, if the players aren't having fun...then the game doesn't thrive. And, I agree wholeheartedly. I've played SD for years and it's something that I get pleasure in every time I play it, even when it's dark and gritty. Actually, because it's dark and gritty.

Some of my best RP memories are being held at gunpoint and made to strip and being accosted and frightened, because that's the theme I signed up for...that's the theme I wanted when I started playing. I've had nude photos stolen and posted all over the Mix. I've been stalked, tortured, hunted, killed...I've been made to be frightened and miserable and treated cruelly and faced injustice. I've been cained by friends and lovers. I've been abused mentally and psychologically. I've reciprocated some of those same injustices and cruelty on others. And those are just a few of the memorable moments I've experienced in SD.

In the OOC arena, I've always been faced with courtesy and productive input - even if it was delivered without fluff. There is a line between the IC world and the OOC world of SD that is maintained and upheld. And, I am not trying to disrespect anyone with this posting but rather make a point of view from my perspective. And - none of this post is being applied to any rule violations. Those are unacceptable and should be dealt with. My comments and views are purely in the realm of appropriate, conforming Theme-based roleplay.

But, I do feel that lately there are those that struggle with the IC theme of the game. That fight against it and try and soften the edges, try and mold it to be 'more fun', less harsh, more balanced to benefit the Player, to the detriment of the game and it's Theme. Or, 'cherry pick' which theme they like and disregard other parts of Sindome's Theme. And, this is not a negative comment to any that are doing that on a personal level. I understand that every person has a different idea of what is fun, what is acceptable, what is enjoyable. And, if you don't find something acceptable, fun or enjoyable, then you should not be made to participate.

But, that's the key word. Participation. Because, it's the root of SD. The Theme. The dystopia. When you log in, the first thing you see is 'welcome to your nightmare where you wish you were dead'. I feel we've lost the ability to say -with absolute politeness and courtesy - don't participate then. Instead, it feels like the Theme is broken down or even ignored. And, that's unfair to players that have invested in participating. Have invested in the Theme.

This isn't going to be the game for everyone. It's not going to be the game that everyone finds enjoyment in. And, that's okay. What I think isn't okay is pushing the Theme of the game into a state that it is no longer that dystopian world in an effort to make it more what you as the Player want without regard to those that do appreciate all that SD offers.

I know that the argument has been 'Well, the answer isn't to tell players to leave'. And, I'm not saying that nor advocating that thought. But, there is a point where players have to decide if they can play the Theme. And, if they can't - then this isn't the game for them. It's not snobbery, it's not rudeness. It's not disregarding someone's emotional well-being or feelings. It's about putting the ownness of a Player's well-being back on the Player. This is a game that is built on certain styles of play. And those styles are ingrained into the very core of Sindome - violence, destruction, loss, suffering. Rising above it and then being knocked down by the person beneath you. Like I've heard so many times - Play to lose.

I have never once needed to involve someone in sexual RP against their will in order to play to theme, and every attempt I have ever seen made by another player to do so has been peurile at best.
@Vera, if that was regarding anything I said, neither have I. None of that was meant to be 'sexual' violence in any way. As I said, I am not talking about rule-breaking RP.
Great post Jade. It is definitely interesting to see the direction the game has taken over the years.
Sorry, that was in referenced to your 'forced to strip at gunpoint' line. I believe this thread is following the discussion in the corpse thread about @nakeds? In either case I apologize for misreading your argument.

I haven't seen the game get any softer in the last three years. There have been ebbs and flows in how poweful this faction or that is and how much influence everyone feels from that, but there's been no shortage of murder, torture, mayhem and terror lately. I'm not sure what specifically you mean.

In my mind the problem isn't that it's an issue of theme, it's an issue managing to keep with the times as things change OOCly, and continue to promote and advocate for good, immersive and gritty IC RP.

Some of the concerns raised lately have been issues of sexual harassment and issues raised with gender. These are very hot topics OOCly, which makes sense- but in CyberPunk, these are non-issues, right? Gender fluidity and sexual fluidity has been an integral theme in Cyberpunk since inception.

Criticizing characters for their sexuality or their sexual equipment being too large or too small or whatever else certainly breaks immersion for some people OOCly, and should break immersion for others ICly for the reason stated above. I think it's easy to say that we're being snowflakes and bringing in OOC issues to the IC world, but really, I think that's a total non-sequitur. We've been told that race, gender, and sexuality are non-issues or 'solved' issues in the setting, and yet it's constantly on SIC all day, every day. Insulting someone because they're gay IC should be called out for what it is--and thankfully usually is--poorly sticking to theme.

I don't see any lessening of theme in the general rough edges that Withmore has. Immies are still worthless punching bags, people get fucked over literally every day by their cools, and perming is a steady and regular process of the game's environment changing. Gangers are assholes, syndicates are deadly, and mixers struggle to hit their goals. I agree with you Jade, that the game is not for everyone, but that shouldn't be a free pass for people to be incredibly offensive in ways that aren't on theme and are likely to trigger the players behind the keyboard. But that's just my opinion.

That I agree on. When people hammer on issues (say, racism) that aren't really themely they wind up feeling like OOC attacks against certain members of the playerbase which causes bleed and is counter to the idea of cooperative competition.
@Vera - I should have clarified that by accosted I meant all my worldly goods stolen and me left there naked and pissed. So, that's on me for not being clearer.

And, much of this, as I said, was my perhaps limited view and to open the dialogue of other perspectives. I do believe that harassment is a part of the game and should be allowed, but there needs to be ways to make it fit in the Theme. Nor am I advocating that the game be a place for overwhelming offensive behavior but there has to be -some- of that behavior present. There needs to be a balance though that is...healthy? Themely? I'm not sure the proper way to describe it.

The Racism thing is kinda weird territory.

Yes, the issues are solved at a fundamental level. The corporation doesn't care what you like to do sexually, who you worship, or what color you are.

Individual people however may harbor somethings and they should be called out for it. It's not against the rules however.

What I have personally run into is the latter form of racism, which, fine, say what you want, but when I go on rants or campaigns to highlight you, why am I suddenly the bad guy? I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to "tone it down" when it comes to me defending myself on the matter, which is absolutely bizarre and counter to what every one preaches. I try to avoid most things that even revolve around it just to avoid the entire argument. What I will not do, however, is xhelp and complain about it.

Just wanted to touch on that subject while it's fresh.

I see lots of people making fun of each others' nationalities for things their respective countries did in the fictional timeline and that's always pretty funny and feels like it's outside of the problem zone. Brits are poor, Prussians are imperialist jerks, the Chinese are maniacs, Amazonians are probably all weird mutants or something, etc.
Right Vera, and that's fine. India started world war three, right?
Those assholes.
@Jade I see rancid stuff posted constantly on SIC, SICad and said in person and on the phone daily. I don't know how it's become less offensive over the years, maybe I simply lack context since I'm only just coming up on my third year in the moo. Maybe we've just become numb or filter it out? Shock value only gets you so far.

@Grizzly I think 'racism' within the context of the setting makes perfect sense and is themely when done right. Maybe your character was raised with a hatred of the middle-east for causing bomb day, or they died from ebola seven from infected Chinese immigrants coming to your old town or something. Just as long as it's contextualized. I think there's a bit of white-knighting going on when it comes to certain topics, but it could just be that everyone's characters tend to be more progressive on these issues, I don't know.

I think to say that bigotry and 'racism' doesn't exist in the world of SD is a falacy. It does. It's existed throughout all time and I don't think this 'world' would be any different. It's a huge driving force for societal change and upheaval. I think maybe the bigotry/racism needs to be relevant to what we would be seeing in SD. Economic bigotry is what the Corporations are built on. It's why we've got Four districts. And, racism maybe has expanded in the SD world to include splicers, parkies, Mixers, Corpies...it's not that it shouldn't exist but rather that it's expanded into more than just 'the color of my skin'. And, to remove that mindset is doing a disservice to CP. What should happen is each Player being adult and thoughtful of the Theme and working to mold it to that purpose.

@Jade

I agree, it is not a far fetched argument to make that 1960's N-word and 2087 Mixer are not much different in context.

I also have brought up the cultural quarters in arguments like these before, it is a valid point.

I think most people here have experienced racism IRL in different instances and capacity and are sensitive to the subject and that's understandable. I agree it does serve as a wedge for conflict, the scale though is subjective.

I've been told off (indirectly) by a GM for implying that racism is not uncommon in the game world, before. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, both from players and the setting.
@Grizzly - I agree fully that people experience RL racism and bigotry and it's something that is terrible and unacceptable behavior in RL life. I've experienced it as a woman and the career choices I've made. I have many friends that I've watched experience it for the color of their skin, their sexual choices and their religious views and I've fought back against those narrowed views in RL.

I guess my point, and perhaps it's going to be seen as insensitive and I apologize if it's perceived that way. This is a game, make believe. And, to a degree, a world built on those hard-hitting experiences. So, to remove them completely takes away from the Theme. I'm not advocating abuse/bigotry/racism in RL. And, I'm not advocating that they be a driving force and bombardment on everyone in the game with them 24/7. I am saying that this game is created from and by those abuses happening in an IC arena. They exist and must exist - to a degree - and shouldn't be made not to exist.

Oh I 100% agree with you Jade.

Just prepare for the counter points on it. There are some valid ones, and it's a back and fourth with no end.

And, to clarify. I'm not saying this is the only area I was referring to in my original post. I think there are softening of the lines drawn between economic status, social status in some of the playerbase. A desire to avoid conflict in favor of 'friendly' co-existence. For just a few examples.

I am not directing this at anyone in particular nor to the playerbase as a whole. It's a few pocketed things I noticed that I thought to bring here to to the boards to open up the dialogue.

I have not seen any softening whatsoever. It could be that you're not in a position to see what's really going on but I assure you it is as rough.as ever from my perspective.
@Vera - You may well be right and I accept that I may not see the full picture or even an accurate one. Which is why I appreciate hearing the views/perspectives of others. So, thank you! I was worried that I'd be given criticism for this post and I am so glad that hasn't been the case. So, props to everyone for coming at this with an open mind.
@Jade I am in COMPLETE agreement that there's not nearly enough hostility between corpies, servies and mixers. 100% with you on that one!

If you're a corpcit and you get caught having sex with mixers, you should absolutely get shamed, ridiculed, fired and cast out from corporate society.

Mixers who joy for corpies should be extensively hazed for doing so. There should be absolute paranoia present when the classes mix like that.

I feel that servies get way too much of a free pass on things. Being allowed to live topside as a service mixer should be a big no-no, just personally speaking. It's hard to generate RP and be a bad guy when the only avenue to interact with them doing so is by lev camping.

I feel that servies get way too much of a free pass on things. Being allowed to live topside as a service mixer should be a big no-no, just personally speaking. It's hard to generate RP and be a bad guy when the only avenue to interact with them doing so is by lev camping.

They're like picket line crossers that don't have to clock out in many cases.

I don't know if I like the whole Joy shaming though. Until Corporate Hookers are corporate citizens how else are frustrated juniors supposed to get their rocks off?

I don't know how to do that whole copy/paste thing, but piggy-backing Talon and Grizzly. I agree that Service Mixers are given way too much of a free pass.

I'm not against the whole 'Mixer Joy' being used for sex by a Corpie. But, it should be seen as a living sex toy being 'rented' for an hour. Devoid of any connection beyond the business aspect. That doesn't mean that said Joy can't be harassed for 'sleeping with enemy'. Or, can't go back to the Mix and joke with their friends about the 'fat, dead-fished Corpie I had to pretend to get off with'.

And, not to detract at all from the GMs, Builders and Coders. I do think there are things being put into the game that are drawing those lines more definitively, and I am enjoying the growth of it.

Kind of surprised by the thread direction, but I agree that I feel there's a little blunting of consequences sometimes and some misconception on how dark, violent and gritty the game world is meant to be.

To touch on recent points though: I have never, never ever seen any RP based around race or sexuality that I can say was interesting, compelling and not just a cheap jab that's mostly being exploited because you're OOCly allowed to. I'm in support of Staff's position that while it is not forbidden, it's also not a cyberpunk-y topic that anything interesting comes out of.

On the subject of service: definitely pretty easy, it leans more towards corpie lite than mixer lite which goes against intention. By all means, be looking down on and making fun of servies. On joys: should be controversial. They're like any other Mixers. If you're hiring them as a corpcit, that's good, but you don't get caught doing it or you're going to have a bad time.

I have to agree that some players nitpick A LOT OF stuff and then OOCly report it to staff/complain about it, especially because some of the points listed above which I'm not going into detail about.

Sindome is definitely not a game for everyone and it puts me off when people get pissy OOC over IC stuff, or get insulted over something IC (like a tattoo that even exists as a SICAD) then proceed to go to staff members to get that player in trouble over such things.

I don't want to play a game where IRL bigotry is replicated in-world. All that does is drive the people affected by it out and create room for more bigots, slowly poisoning the community until that's all that's left.
Neo-Nazi fascist paraphernalia is not themely.

Corporate fascist paraphernalia is.

Don't support the first, totally support the second for the exact reason Vera said. It immediately pops people out of IC and puts them in the OOC bitch wagon, and for good reason.

Then let's remove all of it from the game, considering as I said, it is even part of a SICAD for an organization if it's putting you off the game and getting on the OOC bitchwagon.
Ease up there. You shouldn't feel put out by players explaining that they are uncomfortable with neo nazis in a video game about cyborgs.
No, I'm put out by players assuming shit just by looking at something and then going 'oh this must be a neonazi thing'.

The same exact stuff is used in the game with things not related to Nazis or whatever at all but when it comes to players it's instantly assumed that it has to do with Nazism. I'm asking for why there's an entire difference of opinions when it comes to things that are already in the game put there by staff, which are OK and all perfect, but when a player does it it's immediately assumed to be the worst case possible and OOCly cried about.

There's tons of themely stuff to remark on without emulating IRL nonsense.

Withmore Depopulation Society? Good.

Actual IRL Neo Nazi shit? Bad.

Talking about a hatred of splicers as a sign of classism? Good.

Using IRL anti-LGBT rhetoric to do it? Bad.

Talking about how Mixers are trash? Good.

Saying you need a "final solution" for them and they're an "inferior race"? Bad.

I don't know how hard this is.

Dude.

You can't dress your character up with literal NN symbols and then play victim when people are getting bent out of shape about it OOCly. We're in the midst of a humongous rise in fascism globally right now, and it's on people's minds.

And I agree with you. Why we'd be referring to garbage from WW2 when WW3 literally blew up the planet and forever changed history towards a bleak cyberpunk future is beyond me. If they want to scrub references to it IC, I'm fine with that personally. It shouldn't be relevant at all. It's ancient history.

There's no playing victim here, dude. I think you misunderstand my point.

I'm saying that these kind of stuff has existed in Sindome for YEARS, you see the same thing on your screen everyday. I'm asking why no one has ever OOCly complained about something that has been in the game for 10 years now and shows up on the daily.

If it's such a triggering subject then why did no one ever asking staff to remove what has been in the game previously?

Nobody wants to log in to the SIC being a Call of Duty lobby with some pasty 8 year old calling everyone names and dropping racial slurs and I don't think that extreme is what anyone is talking about, nor have I seen that.

Like I said before it is all subjective. What is good/bad RP is ultimately up to the persons involved. I might think something was really fun, and you might have hated it and vice versa.

I think 90% of SD understands where the line of good taste is .

I'm either extremely ignorant, or can't read ASCII art for shit, because I've not seen Swastikas, Thunderbolts or Sonnentags ICly. If I did, I'd probably complain about it. There's one SICad with like, skulls and crossbones, but I take that to be more of a black-flag or pirate thing than a NN thing when taken out of context. Maybe that's on me.
The player base has changed substantially since the early days of the game, as I'm sure any very long-time veteran would attest and any glance through old forum threads will make abundantly clear.

The expectations, interests, and concerns have shifted, and it's natural for there to be a friction between how 'things have always been' and how things are likely to be in the future. Change is inevitable.

The core theme of Sindome is cyberpunk -- a genre that has itself grown and developed and change over the decades since its inception. No one thing defines it, and it by nature attracts a wide variety of personalities and types based on that variation. Some will be attracted to the dark grittiness, or the permissive violence, or the grey morality, or the technological themes, the transhumanism, the social exploration, or the aesthetic punk-futurist concepts.

There is no one theme and no single archetypical Sindome player.

Supporting 0x1mm's point, there's been a number of things changed, factions removed or rebuilt, minor ambient messages scrubbed, and so on as staff realized things that have been present for ages weren't kosher.
@Talon

I'd perfectly understand the complaints if there was something along the lines of swastikas going. That was what my point was about -- nitpicking.

Also that ad isn't the one I'm talking about. Anyhow, the point is that I think some people tend to get easily upset about stuff related to racism, sexual RP, genderism or whatever and straight up assume the worst about what's going down. This isn't just IC either, it has to do with OOC. OOC chat, BGBB, whatever -- whenever there is a debate (and a friendly one, not a toxic one) on an interesting topic like the ones listed above players immediately start to attack each other and get heavily upset.

Like Johnny even mentioned in OOC chat, being offended is subjective and I think lately the playerbase has been up in arms and just searching for a topic that's even a little personal or controversial to get aggressive immediately.

@Rangerkrauser

The frequency that some players/characters exhibit these elements is probably the most alarming. It's not that the pop up, but they're definitive qualities to them and it's so glaring it's impossible to ignore them as a signature part of their existence, and that the PC behind the character feels so compelled to continue expressing weird and outdated shit.

A couple of weeks ago someone named themselves Judenjager in chat and I don't know what they were expecting by calling themselves German for "jew hunter" except for people to think that they were aggressively expressing neo nazi sympathies to the OOC community. I was deeply bothered by it and so were many others.

It sucks, it's trash, get it outta here.

I will share something that hopefully gives another perspective here. It is going to be unpopular.

I like to play taboo characters. I like to be the bad guy. I once re-invented my character by having them start a biker gang that had a decent following in the game. He committed the ultimate taboo sin by getting a tattoo that is absolutely 21st century nazi.

Now let me explain it; modern day motorcycle clubs in the 1% or "outlaw" spectrum are very much influenced by race and "prison politics", but there are also many mixed race motorcycle clubs that fly questionable symbols (For example The Australian based Rebels MC flys a confederate flag and membership is open to any male) or The chingalings out of the NE USA who are largely Puerto Rican and arguably African Americans who have a swastika in their center patch. I could list a ton more examples, but the meaning is primarily shock and intimidation value because those symbols are jarring. Even IC the biker gang was not a bunch of white racists on bikes.

There were Indian and African American and I think a Hispanic member. It was a good time and great RP and I don't recall racism every being a prevalent theme in it.

What it was; gritty mix criminals doing gritty mix things on motorcycles.

Now, I get it. This is not a game reflection of modern day ism's.

Sindome was a different game back then. I agree that things can change, and evolve, and we have to consider the growing playerbase and kind of cater to the audience. I am not a Nazi or support white nationalism by any means, but I feel like ever since playing that character that OOCly people have branded me as such. I can handle that, but I am someone who subscribes to "Do why you want as long as it doesn't impede on anyone else's civil liberties or rights."

There is no great agreement on this subject because we all come from different walks of life. Ranger does bring up a valid point as well and I know exactly what ad he is talking about.

I was recently talked to about making a comment about someone, a low blow jab, based entirely on am ampop sic message. My response was "Sure, I won't say that, but maybe it is time for that Sic message to come out of circulation?"

What I am trying to illuminate here is not everything in this game is done with ooc malice, but we should also recognize that it is out there and we shouldn't sacrifice players who have deep-rooted issues with these things . Just my input and last thing I will post on it. Thanks for reading.

Something that stuck with me was my experience when I attended what is now a nearly five-hundred year-old law school. Institutional momentum is a very real thing, and I was expecting more than a little archaic cruft to abound. And there was in certain ways, old traditions do occasionally die hard, but it was nothing like the fossilized remnant of the past I had anticipated. Five-hundred years of existence required adaptation to be written into it's identity, in order to survive at all.

Sindome, of course, has nothing even remotely like that sort of historical heft, but it is in the spectrum of online communities on the older side -- and from talking to older players, and learning about older IC events, and seeing the shift in dynamics, and staff, and rules, and expectations, and interests catalogued by the cultural record of the forums, I am very much of the opinion that Sindome has reached it's venerable age not by being a fixed time-capsule of rigid identity and inflexible concepts, but by changing as the players themselves changed, as the staff changed, as the popular concept of what is cyberpunk changed.

I can only see this as a virtue.

I try to play an iconoclast myself Grizzly, and even though I take lengths to make it all IC and themely without using IRL rhetoric, people still take the caricature I've made as serious sometimes. I say this because artistic intent isn't always recognized. Which is why seemingly low-hanging fruit should be dissuaded. With how smart you and other players are, there's literally no need to use cheap IRL-issue-charged shots to be.. edgy? taboo? when we have an entire world full of elements to play off of. Maybe encourage players to find things that are taboo in the universe already, rather than play to sentiments that are clearly affecting the players more than the characters themselves.

There's a number of recent examples that "don't matter" in the current SD age, but people are still quick to utilize them as IC ammo because the players using them recognize how effective they are OOC, and are also just as quick to throw up the excuse of OH BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER IC. Well it clearly does if that's the strategy you want to use ICly to get a reaction.

And there certainly comes a point when the same elements are played on repeat, IC and OOC, that you can't help but question how much bleed is going on.

If you don't want your actions called into question by the playerbase as opposed to the character base, then pick topics that won't cause this reaction.

*this was also 10+ years ago when the edgy themes you are working with today were not really a thing yet
I agree and am not saying that Sindome need be rigid or stagnant in it's play style. I would argue that the genre of Sindome is Cyberpunk, yes. But, the theme has always been a dystopian view of CP. Dystopia is dehumanizing, unpleasant and socially stunted by it's unfairness and repressive nature. Not all CP is dystopian.

My original thought with this post is the watering down of the dystopian view in the Player's mind and how Players propagate that watering down based on their personal dislike of having to be dehumanizing, unpleasant and socially unfair to others or of being a victim of that dehumanization, unpleasantness or unfairness in the IC world. These are vague examples and not all are present currently but offered for the purpose of an example: The mixer and Corpie buddy-system openly displayed in public. The opulence and frivility of Topside being openly allowed to the lower-class masses. Signs of prestige and wealth that are obtained by some and then taken back to the Mix and openly regarded as okay. Corporations (or employees) with 'short-term' memories on their enemies or past 'troublemakers'. The belief that you are an individual and as such are afforded the 'right' to be an individual. The belief that you can 'buck' the system and no consequences offered for that action.

Now, that said, posts made so far do bring up other 'problems' that we are confronted with in the game that fit into that tyrannical view that don't necessarily have to be in the game to still create the theme. And, my point was and still is that I am not trying to have the game stay status quo or even take the game into some dark rabbit hole. I am merely wanting players to be aware that the SD-Character is going to be stressed out, paranoid, under the thumb of controlling agents beyond their ability to fight. They are going to live in a world with consequence/action-based results that are going to be heavy handed and socially stunting.

Junior riding the lev? You're going to be humiliated because you're supposed to represent something above that. Caught socializing with a Mixer, you're going to be scrutinized to see if you are a mix-sympathizer. Fallen corporate in the Mix? You're going to be targeted for what you represent to all the oppressed masses. Mixer with anti-gang sentiment? You're going to be targeted by the gangs because, the gangs rule the Mix. Talk shit, you're going to get beat down. Allied with one 'group' over another? You're going to be targeted for that alliance.

That is what I speak to about the softening of the theme - that some players don't want to be like that. They want to play a social game where they can have cat ears, hang out in a pub, toss out a few insults and be left alone if it's not in their overall view of fun (A broad generalization used for the purpose of extreme example only). And, that is not necessarily a bad game to play. I just don't know if it's necessarily SD.

My experience has been that the Internet in general, and M* culture specifically has always been a safe haven for those on the edges of society. I met my first furry at a 2600 meet in the early 1990s and he was an admin on FurryMUCK. For all I know, he still is.

The computer underground and "counter culture" groups have always been hand in hand. Needless to say, cyberpunk pulls heavily from the themes of hackers and other cyber criminals who don't fit in with mainstream society.

My perception of the current iteration of the cultural wars here on Sindome is that they are overblown. There seems to be a whole lot of RL bleed going on. I would say this is normal given the newfound "freedom" that people on the fringes of gender identity have recently found to express themselves. Online communities have always been a place to experiment and be someone other than who you "are" IRL. I spent my teens and early 20s being called Phax by all my friends because that's just how it was. Everyone used their handles, even among people who had known each other for a decade or more. Anonymity and alter egos are par for the course.

I write all of this to communicate that I get it. There are players here who are exploring their gender identity. It is normal that those players are also going to manifest some of that within their characters.

Although I have only been playing here for a year, I started reading cyberpunk literature in the late 1980s and have more or less kept up with it. Despite some examples of gender commentary making it into the literature, I think that trying to forward it as a key element of the genre is an attempt to "justify" why some players and their characters might spend the majority of their online time focused on those issues.

While those are stories that are engaging and probably worth telling, my opinion (note the word opinion here) is that those are just background noise.

The key themes of dystopian cyberpunk worlds are:

Haves and Have Nots

Corporations versus Everyone Else

Technology versus Humanity

Humans / Technology versus The Environment / Earth

Sindome is a rich roleplaying environment. There is no doubt about that.

But the core premise of the game is a PVP combat simulator. Characters are expected to pick, or be forced to join a side, or sides. They are expected to do whatever it takes to live as long as possible. They are expected to be in conflict with other characters.

While a certain player or character might place a heavy emphasis on their gender identity, or race or whatever distinguishes them from the "norm", I don't think that the player base as a whole should pay much attention to it. Let's be inclusive by not making a big deal about it. There are plenty of OTHER places to push the boundaries of acceptance and inclusiveness. Let's just be inclusive here, period, full stop.

Someone saving up for a gender reassignment biomod should get about as much attention as someone saving up for any other big purchase. eg. they're putting a big fat target on themselves to be robbed. And when they get robbed it's not because "hatred" but simply because they acquired a large supply of chy and weren't subtle enough to stay quiet about it.

As a playerbase, the large majority of us are coming here to play cyberpunk. We are here to play Corpies versus Mixers. Or Ganger versus Ganger. Syndicate versus Syndicate.

I think what other players are saying, is that within that context, race and gender and all of that doesn't matter. Be a white criminal, a black corpie, a dog-person ganger, a two cocked, three boobed syndicate assassin. Whatever.

It's not that we don't care about, or support people on the fringes of society. I have friends who have gone through sex changes. I have friends from all walks of life, and all colors of the rainbow. If I want to talk to or support those friends with what they're going through, I'm not going to log into Sindome to do it. I'm not going to invite them to come here and talk about their struggles on xooc.

As a group of roleplayers, lets make Sindome a sanctuary and refuge from the shit going on in the rest of the world. Not yet another channel with a slightly different variation of the same noise that is on Facebook, Twitter, 4chan, MSNBC and everywhere else.

I'll agree on those ends, Jade. And that the topic was a bit sidelined.

I will suggest though, that you and anyone else go after things you think are unthemely in an IC fashion. Nine times out of ten, you'll find it a rewarding and supported experience.

Those people can do that if they want but they absolutely can be (and are) regularly victimized for it, both by PCs and NPCs.
(that was in response to jade)
"But the core premise of the game is a PVP combat simulator"

It really... really isn't, Hek. There might be a lot of it, and it might be core to a lot of what players do but...

It's RP first. Combat may be heavy, frequent, and a usual outcome of disputes. But that's just one facet of the game. If it was a PVP combat simulator at its core, I wouldn't be playing SD in the first place.

Junior riding the lev? You're going to be humiliated because you're supposed to represent something above that. Caught socializing with a Mixer, you're going to be scrutinized to see if you are a mix-sympathizer. Fallen corporate in the Mix? You're going to be targeted for what you represent to all the oppressed masses. Mixer with anti-gang sentiment? You're going to be targeted by the gangs because, the gangs rule the Mix. Talk shit, you're going to get beat down. Allied with one 'group' over another? You're going to be targeted for that alliance.

Do you feel you're not able to do all these things? Do you feel you cannot target a Junior on the lev? Or marginalize a fellow CorpCit who fraternizes? Or target ex-CorpCits in the Mix? Or go after this that or whoever?

Are you being prevented in doing any of these things?

Given I see all of this all the time I have to say I don't think there's anything like any of the issues you present. If your argument is 'I like this, therefore you should like this too', then all I can say is it's every player's own decision what they choose to engage with, what they enjoy, and what they want.

Complete agreement with you Jade.

Hugbox atmosphere murders RP, and shouldn't be catered to. There's many, many other avenues out there for that. SD to me should be about a uphill struggle to 'make it' both for corporates and for mixers. More class divide is good, more cross-class crime is good, and much more consequences for actions, doublegood.

As for my comment earlier about joys- I was more saying that being a transparent mix joy and just riding the lev for a blowie in one-step-above immy depot clothing should be frowned upon. That's why I mentioned 'getting caught.' We have all these awesome tools now that it should not even be an issue with some forethought and preparation.

Those hookers better be well dressed, clean, and licensed or we are kicking you off the Key.
One Mixer joy does not a fall from grace plot make.
As HolyChrome has stated, characters who act in accordance to the desires of the staff are often rewarded with staff support in those acts, and those who act otherwise are not.

Castigating social non-combat players, who often add a considered wealth of life and culture to the Sindome role-playing tapestry, is at best short-sighted. Some of these players contribute enormous time and effort to the game.

No one player, or even staff member, can dictate how any given player must play beyond enforcing the rules, and suggesting and guiding as necessary. As with the recent thread on this same topic, just because you enjoy one aspect of Sindome does not mean everyone will, or that they need to -- very likely they enjoy elements that you do not, and there is no need for you too either.

@Vera and HolyChrome - I agree that it does happen. I think I was writing this and my other post to those that don't understand why it happens? Or...maybe more succinctly, don't agree when it happens?

I will say that I also agree the game is at it's core, RP-based PvP in a broad sense. Combat PvP is a by-product of that RP but only one of many that can be used. There's lots of really good non-combat ways to suppress the masses and gain in power and prestige. Or, just as easily take away another person's power and prestige. Without ever having to send them to the tanks.

@)x1mm - as I said in my post, those are examples that aren't necessarily in game but used to show how the mindset should be. Feel free to disagree though, because none of this has been an argument nor am I expecting anyone to agree with me. It was my perspective as I've repeated several times in every post I put in.

@Hek

You're noticeably missing one of the core tenants of Cyberpunk in your commentary: Transhumanism.

Gender and bodily expression absolutely fall within that umbrella.

While everyone reads literature differently, it's disingenuous to say that gender identity, sexual expression, body modification, and discussions of such are not part of the theme of Cyberpunk. They absolutely are. And I'll be totally honest, gender politics in media is not something that always comes across in casual reading. Usually it requires a deep, analytical reading of the subject material, even to the point of breaking things down line-by-line. Often times it's subtle, but usually present to some degree, regardless of the literature.

I say this as someone who's written extensively on these topics, having written non-conformist gender identity analysis of 14th century literature. Some things never change. :)

@HC

"But the core premise of the game is a PVP combat simulator"

It really... really isn't, Hek. There might be a lot of it, and it might be core to a lot of what players do but...

It's RP first. Combat may be heavy, frequent, and a usual outcome of disputes. But that's just one facet of the game. If it was a PVP combat simulator at its core, I wouldn't be playing SD in the first place.

I am really glad to hear that.

I think that my comment was a bit short sighted in that regard.

The more I engage in combat, the more I find staff looking over my shoulder and questioning my motives. Questioning the motives to gently guide me down the path of Sindome not being a MUD, or a murder simulator where attacking other people is done without thought, or without fear of consequences.

Like @0x1mm just said,

There are a fair number of social non-combat characters who add a lot to the game.

As my current character is splitting the line between combat and non-combat roles, I appreciate the distinction. Based on what people have said about the game when it was smaller, I don't think my character could exist in their current form 10 years ago. Their existence is only possible because of the number of non-combat characters around.

I can't really pull back the curtain too much, but if you work with the world and its themes, you will go places. If you work against them, you will probably become shark food.

I've made posts fingerwagging other peoples' RP before and what I am invariably told is to go IC and show them how I think it ought to be done. It's good advice. If you see some hugbox baka soaking up chy doing nothing, what you're really looking at is a payday.

Glad you could come around, Hek.

I know a lot of people see all the death and think murderhobos run rampant, but staff are very keenly aware of who's murdering who, how much, and asking the question of "why?"

Even things like high UE chars killing low UE chars is frequently called into question on the back end, so that it isn't just a stat comparison. There's a lot of accountability and responsibility in this side of the game, and my point in stating this is to reassure anyone who has any doubts otherwise.

You're definitely in good hands.

@TC

This is a good point...

While everyone reads literature differently, it's disingenuous to say that gender identity, sexual expression, body modification, and discussions of such are not part of the theme of Cyberpunk. They absolutely are. And I'll be totally honest, gender politics in media is not something that always comes across in casual reading. Usually it requires a deep, analytical reading of the subject material, even to the point of breaking things down line-by-line. Often times it's subtle, but usually present to some degree, regardless of the literature.

As an example from a few days ago, I wasn't even aware of the "pink tax" until I read about it earlier this week. It's one of those things that is hiding in plain view, and unless you are looking out for it, or made aware of it, it will continue to exist there just beneath the surface of awareness.

Yet having now become aware of it, I'm not going to hop on PubSIC and start ranting about it. ;) Or maybe I should start ranting about how characters with boobs should pay more for armor. And everyone can shout me down and we can have an example of how CP culture has moved past that one single issue. =)

@Hek

Nailed it with the analogy.

if someone's not playing to theme but not breaking any rules, there's not really much that can be done about that.

immersing them in theme (ie fucking them up, or trying to get them to fuck someone up) will probably just cause them to recoil. seen it happen more than a few times

not everyone likes conflict, violent or otherwise.

We are not as good at roleplaying as we think we are.

Despite that, I can say with certainty that Sindome has considerably improved the lives and outlooks of many players. They've improved as roleplayers and as people in the world. There are plenty of players who have advanced their game toward promoting theme instead of moosex. OOC bigotries have been challenged and torn down. The players who have their characters say things like, "not bad, for a mona," have seen their biases collapse. Off-theme references have dropped, such as saying a woman is being crazy because she's on her period, in a world where endometriosis etc. have clearly long been eliminated.

These same issues existed 10, 20, 50, even 500 years ago. They're not new by any means. But these issues are finally at the infancy of being addressed IRL, and that's a step forward.

Sindome is a critical examination of potential future real-world injustices (at times frighteningly near-future injustices) while eschewing the ones that exist today.

And for that I love playing Sindome and am thankful for its existence.

Ephemeralis,

The sic example isn't new. It fluctuates. It used to be different and before that it was something else too. That's a tone that has, can and should be enforced ICly, with consequences from PCs and NPCs if deemed appropriate. It's been brought up by staff before and IIRC was a topic at some point in a previous town hall.

As someone who's had a character in a position to help set that line, I encourage people to use their characters in specific situations or to put them in position to carry out those kind of reminders if they see an issue. Not all of the stuff listed in Jade1202's OP or other people's concerns can be addressed fully ICly, but there's some like the one I responded to which definitely have a history of being solved that way.

I think it's small world to assume that most corporate citizen will recall off the top of their head which SIC aliases belong to mixers and which could just be bored corpies.

Corporate citizens jumping into obviously Mix discussions or interacting with mixers they clearly know are a problem though, and Sindome seems like the kind of cyberpunk dystopia where your employers actually keep track of your Facebo- I mean SIC usage.

Only thought I have on this is whenever a person starts with the "White Knight." It relates to a context of feminism, not people trying to save other people. The relation just comes to me over as odd, as I can't see how that word would have survived or even be remembered to be put like that.

Always feels more like what a mercenary branch or justice department would be called and not a day to day person.

Am I the only one who thinks that another thread about how I should roleplay my character is the last thing we need to "fix" the theme?

Instead of blaming this perceived softening of the theme on cat-earred bar-sitters, as somebody so pointedly did (kind of messed up chum), could it be that this softening of theme you're perceiving might be better explained by the large influx in player population, resulting in a larger group of players who just don't know what they're doing? Maybe it's ignorance and not a malicious cherry-picking of the theme that's to blame.

Just roleplay, because I really feel like telling people how to enjoy their text-based game doesn't help anyone and is mostly counterproductive. If it isn't dark enough, go make Withmore a little darker. Show people how to roleplay... by roleplaying.