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The Class Divide
Thoughts and Takeaways

I only caught the first fifteen minutes or so of the Town Hall last week, but I've gone over the logs and have some thoughts on class divide I'd like to offer for discussion. It will be long. You've been warned.

Notion: Working for corporations makes you a cain.

This seems to be the general belief among vocal characters in the mix, and is one that's been fostered by characters that played to it as a theme, and had some ability to spread it around in the last 1-2 years. I bring this up because mine was one of those characters. At the time I was doing this rp, it was very fun and very wild and very much me wondering if I'd be rerolling before each time I logged out. That said, Ratchet the player, had the ooc mentality that this was the theme at the time. Now that I've got more Withmore time under my belt, and my character has moved away from that kind of loud, youthful, idealist rp, I found myself falling victim to this shift in theme I feel I helped perpetuate. OOCly, I was wary of initiating any biz with topside assets because of the consequences that I knew would come with being caught. Consequences I actively unleashed on players in the past. Worse than outside forces acting on my character, I was fighting with myself over who he would be. Private thought experiments while I was logged in - conversations in his own head about if he'd still be a mixer if he crossed this line or that. Etc.

And I realized with great rp comes great responsibility. We have the ability to shape cultural and public perception in the game space - especially for newer players. This issue is a clear example. Anyway, here's a query.

Q. Does working for a corporation necessarily make you a cain?

A. Hard no.

Characters like to use rat and cain to label anyone found to, or thought to be working with any topside entity, regardless of the work's nature. Furthermore, in my experience, when a character is found to be working with topside in any way, or Anor forbid, goes up to work themselves, very frequently their chums left in the mix get handed the bag of shit for working with a 'cain'.

Am I saying we shouldn't lynch cains? No. What I 'am' saying is that I don't want to lynch bakas unless I got some kind of data or notion that they 'are' a cain other than, "NLM gave him a job, and he botched it or talked to the wrong loud mouthed chum, and now I know he did some job for NLM so he must be a cain."

There are people hustling for flash with topsiders, and there are cains. I think this is a good angle to look at if you're staring into the mix/corporate dichotomy as a black and white canvas. You don't have to hate mixers who get themselves a slice of the pie. Hate them for getting a slice of the pie at another mixer's expense.

But wait, not even at ANOTHER mixer's expense. YOUR expense. Your CHUM'S expense. Cause what do you care about Joe Baka getting ratted on when life over here is good for you and yours? Unless you have a cause/manifesto/ideal/movement etc. that dictates you should, why is it your business as a mixer, and why should your character care or waste their precarious assets dealing with something you shouldn't necessarily focus on thematically as a player?

Look at it from another angle. Keeping cyberpunk theme in mind, why would any...any ONE. True or not, why would ANYONE go out of their way to hunt down an alleged cain or topside 'helper' unless there was a. something personal about it, or b. something to be gained?

Now, I know I'm making some assumptions about what theme should be, and I've grabbed that partially from last weekend's TH log. I'm not trying to tell you what YOUR theme should be within the scope of cyberpunk/withmore/blue,green,gold,red. What I AM trying to do, is implore us as players to ask ourselves what reason we have for hunting alleged cains or mixside corporate help other than, "Someone said this person did a bad thing to the mix, and I love the mix so I'm going to do something about it just for the sake of it." You aren't being paid? Your chum wasn't arrested? You didn't lose flash over it? Anything?

Two thoughts pop into my head if I gather that notion from someone in game. You (the character) sound like you're trying to be a white knight, or a mix Jake. Maybe you are, and that's cool. I've been in both of those places across the few characters I've played. It's just good to ask why you're making a decision, because just like in real life, people can fall into the herd mentality of listening to a few relatively influential voices, and get pulled into a theme they never intended or wanted to play, and that's where I feel we are right now in the Dome.

Life is shades of grey. So is Withmore. It's only black and white if you want it to be, but I think we all agree that we'll get richer, more diverse rp if we weren't all color blind.

Yeah, this has been a topic rattling around in my brain for a while that I've felt pretty discontented about. I was disappointed I ended up missing Town Hall because I wanted to weigh in, but I think a lot of other players touched on a lot of what I wanted to bring up anyway.

Anyway, hard agree. I think it's important to keep friction going and a sense of conflict. We want elements in the Mix that are actively working against Topside. I think thematically, though, there's an intentional asymmetry between Topside and the Mix that's meant to encourage corps to spread their chyen around getting people to do their dirty work and Mixers to take on that work. Over time, what started as a campaign to crack down on people working against various factions in the Mix kind of ran away and now I think it's been a stifling influence.

I think there's a certain atmosphere to cyberpunk works like the Sprawl Trilogy and Transmetropolitan that kind of play up a sense of nihilism to things. Shitty things happen and most people in the setting are so inured to it all that they just kind of ignore it because if it's not making them any chyen, why's it their problem? I think some of this spreads to subjects like crime too- why do you care about a pickpocket or a mugger working a street unless they're hitting you? And if they are, why expect anyone else to care that much? I think culturing in a kind of blase attitude about corp affairs goes a long way in a world where the corps are kind of the norm and have been for as long as anyone can remember.

I was in and out of the Town Hall, but I want to reiterate what I think one of the biggest contributors is:

The lack of easy opportunity for the corps to compete.

Right now, if a corporate player is hiring a Mixer, it is probably to target other Mixers. While it's possible to target rival corps, it requires creativity and often GM interaction, and so it is much harder than 'smack that shit-talking Mixer down for me.' I'm still mulling over ideas, but I think the lack of easy opportunities to regularly hire Mixers to target other corporations substantially contributes to the problem.

If most Mixers doing corporate work are targeting other corporate types, I think the stigma in general would be a lot less than it is now -- hell, even if it were a substantial plurality. Instead, I would guess that less 10 percent of Mixers on corporate payroll are targeting rivals, and the overwhelming majority are targeting other Mixers.

^ Much of this is due to player willingness compared to in game factors.

But I do agree that as this divide hopefully breaks down and more people embrace the grey, even while preaching the black and white, that more people see this as a reason to hire or be hired to do more jobs of varying levels of legality.

I find playing those both morally grey and various levels of freelance red sector jobs that interact with corporate players in a variety of ways very satisfying and would love to see more people do so.

Hard agree; I'd love to see Mixers taking on work from corporations, and perhaps for it to not be so stigmatized in every case by the rest of the Mix.

I play tabletop CP2077 with a group of friends, and it's notable (in the context of Night City), that it isn't uncommon for lower-class citizens to be seen in corporate sectors, or even going into corporate apartments (in a limited capacity). Sindome is certainly a different beast and shouldn't always be compared to other cyberpunk systems, but I think we've perhaps gone too hard-line on the Mixer-corporate distinction in the past years. I'd like to see this softened up a little and allow for less scorched-earth cross-class communication and reciprocity.

Even in Sindome there are Mixers on Blue and suits in Red, by the room descriptions. It would be nice to tack closer to that. Needless to say I agree the divide became apartheid and I'm very happy to hear there is interest in dialing it back.

I've always felt cyberpunk was a genre were the class war already happened and everyone lost and it wasn't about who was right anymore, only who is left.

I would like to discuss the practical aspect of how one would dial down the stigma. I've started a discussion on OOC-chat and the picture I have been given is that a few "powerful and influential" PCs were previously the cause of this fear of repercussions for mixers working with topside, as they were trusted by others enough when they call out someone for working with topside to not be questioned when they go about ruining someone's life over it.

After the town hall when people broke into rooms I've asked Storm over what he thinks the GM is able to do about the issue with PCs doing this (well, paraphrasing more be different) and his opinion seems to be that this is a player-policing issue rather than something that staff can feasibly correct, so I would like some opinions on what the players could do to tone-correct other PCs who may unintentionally or intentionally smothering RP.

I think GMs could do a lot with thoughts. I know there are a number of times where my characters have expressed untimely things, and a GM thought has helped me pull back onto course. I think if routinely people got 'You know all of your neighbors are doing work for the corps, right?' or 'You know all your tolls come from service mixers, right?' or whatever thoughts that might help tamp down a lot.

I also think a single 'help divide' file might help, something people could point to regularly. In some ways, part of the issue with the 'divide' RP is like too much sex RP -- it cuts off avenues of play.

*(paraphrased differently)

wtf brain

A simple way to do this is just to be a fan of certain corps and their products.

I love that media star!

That's my favorite producer, this show is awesome!

VS mutate me PLEASE, I wanna EVOLVE!

If there were more of this around, it would normalize the fact that mixers are ultimately the people the corps are selling their stuff to, and we'll get much more of a provider/consumer dynamic rather than the mutual hate boners we have right now.

This also goes two ways. It's themely for corpies to rag on and flaunt at mixers, but at the end of the day those are your customers you're talking about. That's where your money ultimately comes from. Act more like it and play to the Mix while still being undeniably above them. Be like Juicy Vee.

I think one of the issues players sometimes run into is that (as far as I am aware) corporate PCs came in after the city was conceptually designed and written and there is some cognitive dissonance involved in making everything fit.

From the perspective of just just PCs, you could almost see topside as an entirely different city with it's own separate population, because it often is in practice as far as players are concerned. But as described by the world itself, the vast majority of ambient roles and characters are non-corporate, on every sector, even in the Arcologies. Millions and millions of jobs, in service to megacorporations but not in employ of those megacorporations. There are corporate buildings and corporate housing, but there are no corporate sectors. Non-corporate citizens are everywhere, always. They are an exploited, but necessary, part of society.

Further I understand almost all corporate PCs to really only be a single rung higher than non-corporate citizens in the grand scheme, still at the effective bottom of the pile on first approximation as far as the ultrawealthy powerbrokers of solar society are concerned; where even the most high-powered CEO is regarded as a bit quaint for still having to work for a living. From this perspective I think the close proximity and intercontact between everyone at the bottom (or closer to it) makes a lot more thematic sense.

I think I'm in rough agreement with 0x1mm.

However, most of the issue I take with the class divide is that I often don't find it very nuanced; there's only so many times you can hear "Mixers are animals/trash/disgusting" before it feels less like systematic discrimination and more like just-the-same-old.

On the flip side, hearing "rat" and "snitch" thrown around ad nauseum, accompanied by public shaming/ostracizing can feel repetitive and uninteresting.

It'd be nice to throw some colour in there; to allow for more dynamic and multi-faceted class interactions and relationships. There are always going to be "social extremists", but the current situation as-is feels like too much.

Though just to be clear: That is just the internal worldview I formed, that informed my roleplay and how I treated the divide. I'm not saying everyone should see it that way, I think things are sufficiently vague that many different interpretations can (and do) happily co-exist.

I think any interpretation that brings players into direct cooperation or conflict is a good one.

Another thought struck me on this topic: while I believe Slither said that staff is not pushing the divide, that doesn't seem to be what I have noticed NPCs doing. Just within the last couple weeks, I have heard of prominent faction NPCs both topside and in the mix advocating to deepen the divide. I don't want to give mamas away because of IC info, but I'm happy to share those observations via XHELP -- I think there may be some benefit in having topside NPCs start pushing "Mixers are our customers" more and Mix NPCs start pushing "topside is where our income comes from" more.
Long thoughts incoming:

The Divide:

This is a terrible idea that’s still fostered by NPC’s and faction ads and policies. The implication has been, as long as I’ve been in the game, “if you cross the divide you will be fired”. While there’s been a softening of that attitude, it’s still there and I can point to characters who have lost power/money/positions because they crossed over and either another faction pushed to make it an issue, or Players/NPC’s allowed the transgressor to be fired. So it still exists to a large degree.

Why was the Divide there?:

If I understand the reason for the Divide it was to foster conflict top to bottom side. However, to me it does the opposite. Instead of driving conflict, it cuts it off at the knees on so many levels. Think about if the divide wasn’t there. Right now, CorpSec players don’t really have to protect all that much. Topside is relatively safe and my guess is that people playing in those roles might see actual action a handful of times in a year. Consider how utilizes they’d be if Topsiders could go down to the Mix. When Senior PR person wants to hawk a product in the Rads or some Gridworks jockey wants to get their jollies off in the O. Each of those trips would require a security detail and open up the characters to all kinds of potential conflict.

Interaction breeds conflict. Cut of interaction and you stifle conflict. The divide kills more conflict than it ever has driven.

So if there’s no Divide, “What’s the Conflict?”:

I’m glad you asked! One of the other issues in the game, from a theme standpoint is that there is no reason for Corporations to fight each other. If VS launches a product, why would NLM want to ruin it? Does it make more people use the Grid? Do more people watch their Media Star? No. There’s no interest in NLM to ruin VS’s product launch because it’s a totally different sphere of influence. Should VS blow up or disrupt NeoTrans shuttle service? No. There’s no reason to because nothing NeoTrans does affects the business interests of VS.

The theme of a Cyberpunk game should usually be REALLY BIG CORPORATIONS fighting it out. Everyone else gets caught up in that central struggle. You might just be a customer who is forcibly wooed to use X product. You might be some muscle hired on the cheap to keep a party private. You might be in on the actual plot, but the conflict drives top down because the big entities are fighting it out for your chy… every one of them.

Additionally, there should be a lot of incentives for Corporate players to screw over mixers in general. The NPCs and faction goals should be very clear. If you work for VS… get more people to use X drug. Distribute this virus so we can sell a cure. If you’re NLM… ruin indie star X so Media star Y gets more views. Additionally, if there were cross corp interests it might be; stop shipment X so our product Y gets there first. Or something so that the players in corps have a continual need to scheme and hire people to be in on those schemes.

Does that mean Mixers should automatically hate Corpies?:

No. You shouldn’t hate anyone that you don’t have a reason too. Perhaps a little envy. Jealousy for being a have vs. a have not. Corpies should be incentivized to both make deals with Mixers and also to break them. Your promotion should be based on goals that are likely to screw a lot of people over. That drives conflict. That drives actual resentment other than, “us” “them” which we have now. I’d rather try to go after someone that did something to me… even inadvertently, rather than, they’re the enemy because… we say so?

Final Thoughts:

I think we really need to get reasons for Corporations to compete with each other. I think they need goals that require subjugation, intimidation, and coercion of mixers. Money and resources should be provided to make that happen. Promotions should be geared to how much you pushed your corporate agenda… which should be something every corporate player knows. As it stands, I would bet most have no idea what their Corp wants.

I think we need Corps and Mixers mingling and coach Corporate players to “feel superior.” Mechanically, they should make more flash and allowing them to go to Red and have more interactions with Mixers will make their lives less safe to boot. Characters and PLAYERS, should want Corpie jobs because they offer more resources and flash to do things. Right now, there is little game incentive to want a Corpie position other than an angle on a story or you like flavor A of RP over flavor B. Make the jobs desirable and people will compete to get them.

Start to dismantle the divide. Get rid of the ads that say, report to your HR unsavory contact (which might have happened). Use NPCs to enforce that there is nothing wrong to talk to mixers. When it’s reported, NPC’ should say, “so what? They talked to Joe Baka? Spend more time preening up Media Star and oh, break the leg of Indie Star please.” There should be nothing wrong to go to Red, other than you’ll likely die if you don’t have sec with you... not because you’re a Corpie, but because you’re likely rich and soft and a mark to be mugged/attacked. That’s a good reason for a beatdown. Let Mixers beat up Corpies and we can stop worrying about topside crime so much to give Corpies something to play for 😊

One other comment. Allowing Corporations to buy up Mixers from the Hall. That was a brilliant idea. That's something that allows themely interaction, fosters resentment and has so many avenues for RP and conflict. Kudos on that idea! Again, people get mad when there are things actually done to them. This is such a good way to get people to hate Corp X or Y.

Everything BlazingCoconut said is -so spot on-.

I want to particularly emphasize the need for inter-corp competition in some fashion.

We don't really have traditional cyberpunk 'zaibatsu' style conglomerates, where VS would also be putting out a TV station and NLM would also be putting out out drugs -- and there's some good RP reasons for that, so that archetypes don't get stretched too thin.

All the same, I think that having inter-corp competition in a more prominent fashion, -especially- if it involves the Mix in some way, would do a lot for RP. It should be some highly visible and easily accessible, with low GM interaction so that players can engage in these sorts of plots on their own. Let me chew on some ideas and I'll post them on the board, perhaps.

I'm the newcomer here, so I don't know that my opinion on things counts for much just yet, but I'll give my perspective and you can take it for what it's worth.

The existence of the "divide" was very obvious as I came into the game, as each faction was constantly ridiculing/shouting down/threatening the other over public IC channels, so right off the bat I was learning that this was part of the Sindome setting. While I accepted that, it felt off to me, though I couldn't put my finger on why until it was discussed in the town hall.

I'm still getting a feel for Sindome, but drawing on my experience with other cyberpunk settings (mostly drawing on Shadowrun here), hatred was rarely the typical feeling between the lower class (Mixers in this case) and the corporate citizens. Normally it was envy, pity, or a combination of both. Envy because the lower class wanted the better living conditions of the corporates, and pity because the corporate employees are beholden to the rules, conditions, and whims of their employers ("wage slave" is not a term of hatred, but of derision). To be clear, I'm referring to the lower class' opinion towards the typical corporate employee, not the corporations themselves; hatred towards the corps and their executives was not as uncommon. But transferring that hatred to every employee of the corp to the point that anyone working for a corp is a kill-on-sight target seems wildly out of place; at least for the average Mixer.

So I'm glad to see that there is interest in changing this direction; as others have noted I think that it would foster more and better RP opportunities. As some have pointed out, Mixers taking money from Corpies and Corpies using Mixers to get what they want feels much more in line with a typical cyberpunk setting, and I think fostering that sort of interaction is a good way to go. I'll echo the sentiments that their needs to be more inter-corporation rivalry for this to happen. My limited observation has been that the corporations in Withmore are very siloed, more or less holding monopolies over their own spheres with little to no overlap. That makes for a very static and stale setting, and I feel strongly it should change. The nature of corporations is that they are always pushing to grow. If they can't expand the customer base of their existing products (such as when there is a limited and confined population who are already their customers because there aren't other options), then they spread out into new product areas. This brings them into conflict with other corporations that are either already in those areas or that are similarly trying to expand. This is where you get the conflict, and this is where you get the opportunity for more corporate-mixer cross-play as the corporations try to undercut or outdo each other.

So far as characters crossing sectors, it's already been noted that many mixers should want the opportunity of jobs outside of Red. In the other direction, somewhere in all the documentation I've read in the last few weeks (I couldn't tell you where off the top of my head, there has been a lot of reading!), I remember seeing something about how there are some things that even corpies have to come down to Red to get; illicit goods, adult entertainment, maybe even hiring a mixer or two to screw over a rival. So this sort of thing seems to be established in the Sindome setting, but apparently it has been forgotten/discarded by a significant (or at least vocal) part of the players. Some reminders of this would probably be warranted.

One thing that concerns me was the mention in this discussion that a GM thinks this is an issue to be solved by players, rather than something the staff can or should be involved in correcting. Maybe I'm off-base, but I would think a key role of GMs would be to nudge the tone of the setting in the right direction when it needs it. GMs have tools that players don't that can be crucial in creating this sort of change. As has been mentioned, this includes IC means such as thoughts, SICADs, NPC dialog, etc., but can also include some OOC reminders about the overall setting and the role each type of person plays in it. Also, unless the CEOs are played by characters (are they? I wouldn't know), it will take GMs to expand corporate interests to create the sort of conflict that can drive more corporate-mixer interaction and interdependence.

So, the tl;dr:

1. The divide should be brought down as it is antithetical to both the setting and the generation of RP among players.

2. Average Corpies and Mixers should not hate each other. They can look down on each other, envy each other, use each other, whatever; but without a personal motivation, utter hatred is out of place.

3. There are plenty of reasons why Corpies and Mixers can and should be moving through all sectors of the city, and no blanket reason to prevent them from doing so. This statement is true for both IC and OOC.

3. More inter-corporate rivalry and competition can foster more mixer-corporate interactions and interdependency, resulting in more opportunities for RP.

4. GM action and support is needed to make this happen. Not to the exclusion of player actions and responsibility, but in addition to them.

What about creating subsidiaries for the parent companies, and offer positions for service mixers 'looking to advance' into corporate society? It becomes the testing ground for potential corporate recruits. Kind of like Terra seems to be for the Hall sometimes.

It allows players to try out topside life without going straight to corporate security etc, and offers a bit of a different experience from bartending or other 'basic' service work.

It gives them a better base paycheck than they (likely) can find in the mix.

It opens an avenue of communication between corp and mixer play by...

Giving corporate characters in the parent towers some access to mixers that are actually company assets.

And by virtue of being mixers (in a Withmore where this whole thing would be themely) can recommend or suggest their own chums for additional work if they want. "I can't do this task, but I know a chum that might." Service mixers in these positions can actively lift their chums up by getting them a cut of the pie, or use their position as official in between to fuck someone over on either end of the divide - adding another layer to the deception and data game. And, of course, corp players would now have an in for extending their fingers into the gen pop of red.

As for what these intermediaries do? They're the major corps' attempts to expand into other markets. NLM has a medical subsidiary called Panacea, for example. Slap one of these under each of the major company umbrellas, and you now have legitimate reason for inter-corp conflict. AND you have the ability to play cloak and dagger games using a secondary company and its player assets to do it with.

If you're careful, dirty laundry that gets aired from a subsidiary can be written off as "Oh, we can't believe that happened. But who's really surprised? We try giving these mixers a chance to show they belong here, and they get us involved in scandals?" Something like that. The major towers can pass blame to mixers in their subsidiaries to cover their own asses.

Maybe even have an LT type position at each of them that is governed by a corporate PC. Or make it promotable from the service position so mixers can move to a corporate position in the same company, so his chums around him can see he can still be one of them even if he moves up. Something like that.

And of course, this all makes the towers look like what they actually are and should look like - massive conglomerates.

Think of it like proxy wars. Using subsidiaries operated by mixers to do the dirty work the parent company doesn't want on its hands.
@blackbird71

The staff do attempt to alter perception of the theme when they can, as far as I've seen, but they do it ICly, so it might be harder to notice sometimes. For example, prominent criminal NPC mixer might say something in pubsic about how they get drinks at KMB every other day, and that mixers talking anti sentiment rhetoric are bakas.

You have to keep in mind though that there's what? Less than twenty staff members? I think I saw the number is like fifteen recently. They simply can't dedicate that kind of time to forcefully course correct the game, in my opinion. They're busy keeping it running and developing it.

There's hundreds of us vs. a few handfuls of them. And if we're all in agreement that we can shape public perception in the game space, then it's our responsibility to take IC steps toward changing it.

@RatchetEffect

First, I want to say that I really like the corporate subsidiaries idea. This would be a great way for the corporations to branch out, and the proxy war method seems very on-theme.

With regards to the GMs, I was mostly referring to this comment by Cinder:

"After the town hall when people broke into rooms I've asked Storm over what he thinks the GM is able to do about the issue with PCs doing this (well, paraphrasing more be different) and his opinion seems to be that this is a player-policing issue rather than something that staff can feasibly correct..."

While I agree that it's not something the GMs can do on their own and that players do need to make an effort for change to happen, I do think that some of the tools available only to staff will be necessary to push things in the right direction. And I don't think that it has to take a massive effort on their part; a few key bits of info dropped here and there, and a few adjustments to the existing ads and NPC dialog that are currently pointing in the wrong direction would go a long way towards tipping the scales. Setting up whatever is needed for players to run with the corporate rivalry angle would likely be the larger effort, but could also make the biggest difference.

I believe everyone has more or less come to the same conclusion. It has stalemated the game. You could be a suit and still want to go to the bad part of town to catch UMC, make a deal, etc... It feels limiting that you will be punished by your peers and boss for doing so.
Let me clarify: I don't think that the divide should be eased so much that corporate citizens should feel it is safe or reasonable to go to Red Sector. The Mix is already dangerous enough for Mixers; the "haves" essentially visiting/hanging out in a slum should be deeply contentious.

However, (in my opinion) I think that Gold Sector is a great setting for cross-class interactions. I think it should be reasonable that (for example) a corporate citizen and Mixer should be able to have a sit-down at a cafe about a potential job, or that corporate citizens and Mixers should mingle freely at its bars/clubs.

Many of the descriptions in the game have suits and Mixers in both Red and topside sectors. I've long thought the disconnect between the ambience and actual play odd.
I think the reality is the majority of you have been deceived or otherwise influenced by the rhetoric pushed by various factions into believing there is only black and white. This is by no means a unique situation, it has happened many times over the course of the game when influential players aligned others' perceptions into believing the conditions said individuals favor to be status quo. Slither has a great story around this when he pushed a particular scheme with the Snakes which had to be ultimately abandoned because too many bought it.

Take more risks and explore the seemingly forbidden. You'll find the reality of things to be much murkier than the black and white picture so many people love to paint.

I agree with most of what's being said here, but I'll also note that suit = / = corpie all the time. Suits you see in the mix ambience aren't necessarily corporate citizens. They likely are not.
I agree with a lot of the sentiments here on breaking down the harsh divide, but have a question. If work between corpies and mixers is welcomed, then would the act of actually -going topside-, as in becoming a corpcit, still be a "betrayal" to the mix, or at least friends who are mixers (not equating this to being a cain btw)? I believe to a degree becoming a corpcit requires breaking off close ties with mixers, as inter-class relationships are frowned upon. Does bridging the divide mean softening these rules as well, or are these perfectly themely boundaries to maintain?
@reefermadness

I am not sure what the difference is. Right now, you can and will be fired for associating with unsavory individuals. It happens. Often. It might be factions pushing the story instead of a "rule", but it hardly matters when that story has the exact same repercussions as if it were policy.

Yes, you can skulk around. You can probably even evade some repercussions for a short bit, but in the end as long as NPCs who control factions "listen" to these stories and act on them, it's the same thing.

The point is that regardless of whether it's a culture or a rule it's enforced by NPCs who control the destinies of those factions to a large degree. That makes it policy or close enough to not matter. Again, I've been first hand to enough of these interactions to know it's not just player perception and actions driving it. It's a combination of culture continually reinforced by the actions of NPCs.

I'd argue that it's bad policy. Culture or rule, it stifles interaction and causes many of the issues which are brought up on the boards a lot.

Reading all this made me want to check the stats on this.

I did an audit of all corporate firings done over the last year and also included characters leaving corporations non-amicably.

We don't fire many corporate citizens to begin with. The assertion that players are fired or forced to quit for Mixer-related things often is also untrue. The vast majority of firings have nothing to do with this.

While I was making the list, I also thought of something that I think needs to be addressed with regards to this debate:

What does allowing corporate citizens to consort with mixers mean to you? Hiring them for solo work? Using them as snitches? Doing business with them (buy/sell)? Bantering with them on SIC? Drinking with them at Grunen's? Playing Riot Gear with them (when SHFL is open)? Drinking with them at the Drome? Being friends with them? Sleeping with them or having relationships with them? Living with them?

Interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

Trading with them should not be bad at all, as it fuels the mix economy.

Same with running, It's no different than running for the other things that we know.

The rest I have no clue as I'm still quite new.

Anything at the friends with them and past that probably would be more consorting in my eyes. Even then, it might be a front to work an angle. Short of knowing what's going on in @notes other people have to judge by what they see.
For me... if I could wave a magic theme wand.

Consorting with Mixers should at best be a similar crime as hanging out with your Uncle Joe. Most everyone has one. He's the kind of guy who thinks he is the life of the party in his 50's and just makes questionable life decisions. He's a lot of fun, but when you are with him, your friends probably find excuses to leave. They don't try to report you to HR and get your fired for it. At worst, they gossip about your bad taste for hanging out with him.

So my point is that why would any corporation care that you slept with a Mixer? Hung out in a dive bar? As long as your performance is good, then it seems like such an artificial barrier. Corporations care about money and they need Mixers for their money and labor. That changes if there it's found out you were feeding info to the Mixer. Now it's an actual concern and Security can handle treason or whatever they want to call it. But until it's an actual security concern, I can't see anyone in a company caring.

I think having a drink could get an eye roll if it stands out, but for the most part no one should care. The job of a wage slave is to make money, yes you are expected to behave and follow the law, but what you do off the clock isn't the corporation's problem. Right now it's treated more like aristocracy. If you're an exec, maybe, a wage slave? You're an an asset, a tally on a spreadsheet, no one gives a shit about your social standing. You might try and act like you're important, but that's just posing for your own ego.

So, go to Red's or Carnal Desires after you finish a day of punching numbers. When you get mugged heading home, you just better not lose corporate property, because your office provided Liteterm is likely worth more than you are. Just update your clone and make sure you're in your cubicle by 8am sharp.

I mean, it's varying degrees. Mixer-Corporate 'hustle dependency' is always gonna be and should be a thing, but I doubt getting caught talking to either as the other should automatically merit a scarlet letter. Let's look at sex as an example - lovey-dovey horny sex between lines and randoms that gets exposed is super fair game for ridicule and consequences depending on the sitch. But joying? It's just biz and makes the world go round. There's also the fact joys are sparse topside to consider.

yet in BOTH cases, it would make sense to HIDE it, since they are both morally unsound to both parties. Up to the players to enforce the morals there but some space should be given for the biz aspects. I suppose my point is it should be embraced and yet kept fully under the hood in an unspoken rule sort of thing. I mean if there are official corporate reasons to be seen talking to a Mixer then why not right? Why should the Mixer be stigmatized for doing their job?

Corpies drinking in the Drome is totally outta frame though lol

My two cents to the questions asked:

Corporate citizens interact with mixers (how else do they get their toilets cleaned? Who will serve them food and drinks?). However, it's a necessary evil. This world is all about appearances and image. If you're hanging out with your gardener all the time instead of the peers in your caste group, it's not a good look. Your coworkers are going to talk smack on you. You could be Junior McJunior and #1032525342 on the employee spreadsheet, but you're should still care about appearances because that's all there is in this world. Maybe you're nice to your gardener behind closed doors instead.

Where consorting between Mixers and Corpies gets into the IC frowned upon territory is when the two groups are treated as equals in public (or discovered to be interacting as such).

I'm curious what the results of Storm's audit were. Are they something that can be shared?
It's not just corporate NPCs allowing employees to interact with mixers, but the Mix allowing mixers to interact with corpies.
So, I've played this game off and on for over two decades, and this is definitely a topic that has come up often. I've found myself on may sides of the argument through-out the years, but here's where I land on these ideas today..

I think a key point to this is looking at it through the scope of the society in question, and not our own. While today there are still many hangups about vices like violence and drugs and sex, in the world of Sindome these things are celebrated, at all levels, from top to bottom. The majority of media gravitates towards these things, music, ads, tv shows, movies.. It is a hyper violent, hyper sexual, hyper hedonistic society, for the most part. Not -just- in the Mix.

That being said, I think we need to gear our ideas of normal interaction towards that view. Corporate citizens of all rank should be hiring Mixer joys and having them in and out of their apartments or other housing, not exclusively, but certainly not under cover or fear of reprimand or a hit to their rep. Having full-on relationships would be a concern though, I would think, to the higher ups. "Using" the Mixers is one thing, but living with one..? Marrying one..? At the very least suspicious behavior, if not down-right consorting. Certainly worth investigating.

Same thing with friendships and workplace rivalries.. In a super competitive rat-race of one-upsmanship I think a Corporate citizen might openly brag about their Mix insiders who give them the tips to win all the UMC or Deathball bets, their market diver who finds them the craziest memorabilia, their Lana dealer who cooks it gourmet just the way they like it, or the fact that they get VIP treatment whenever they go down to Red's Finest or The O because of the loads of chyen they drop.

Now, once you get into more serious biz, having folks whacked or whatnot, frame-ups, data-theft, kidnappings and ransoms, obviously some more tact is required. You want to avoid embarrassing your Corp, so you try to operate within the WJF's guidelines. The new Corp buyouts of overdue fines is a clutch move here, if you ask me.

The game thrives on conflict, and for that we need to bring people together so they can butt heads, make chums, conspire, love, hate, be annoyed by, betray, lie about, and steal from one another. Especially with more Mixer presence on topside sectors mingling with Corpies and Jakes, in the bars and stores and streets more frequently, meaning more interaction and opportunities for conflict, but not in the lazy 'Oh you're a dirty Mixer, I'm gonna kick you back to Red where you belong' way. Social intrigue is the bread and butter of this game and it shouldn't be restricted between classes.

Anyways, I think I've rambled enough for now. Just my thoughts, by the way. Certainly not a gospel on anything.

With regard to what Storm said, I feel like the big thing for all of us to remember is just to think critically about what acts the character we play would personally consider unsavory. A lot of players, especially new ones, seem to take at face value what they hear on SIC as themely, and since they're still trying to conform their character to the theme of the city, they can get in the habit of parroting whatever they hear. But the truth is that an accusation against someone might be motivated by more than meets the eye, and might not be grounded in anything real. A certain moral standard or code might be presented as prevailing when it is really, really not.

Maybe I decide that my character thinks complaining about servies and topside runners is silly. You're hustling topside chums for their paychecks! Even if you're really class-conscious, you may recognize that this is a great way to give yourself power in the form of money or information. On the other hand, that same hypothetical character might find it immoral to set a friend up, or sell data on them without their knowledge. Maybe someone else is a mercenary willing to do jobs for corporations, but they think working with the Hall is a bridge too far. Think consciously about your character's standards with regard to this, if you have any at all. Then apply those to the situations you get into.

Public SIC is about outward images. Do not rely on it to guide your character's moral code. It's full of people who want to make you think like them. Think for yourself.

ReeferMadness:

I think the reality is the majority of you have been deceived or otherwise influenced by the rhetoric pushed by various factions into believing there is only black and white. This is by no means a unique situation, it has happened many times over the course of the game when influential players aligned others' perceptions into believing the conditions said individuals favor to be status quo.

This is both something that I think is hard to hear but needs to be heard and understood on an exclusively OOC level. In my time playing, I've seen a number of people who regard "the divide" as something strictly black and white because, truthfully, they have been conned into seeing it that way. While it's most often an IC thing, there have also been times when it's been apparent that a character has been duped and is frustrated on an OOC level. Remember: cyberpunk is full of shades of grey.

When a character with an agenda and clout has played for long enough in any setting, it only stands to reason that those who follow after that character will eventually drink the kool-aid. After enough time passes by, it's up to other characters to shift things in another direction (or not), and it's up to the major PCs to monitor themselves from a step beyond the game and ask, "is the affect of my outlook on the divide convincing a disproportionate number of PCs?" To me, it's not any different than veteran combat PCs being expected to keep from murdering half the player pop of the game. Just because you can in the relatively small player population of SD doesn't mean that you COULD in the much larger scheme of the Mix or Withmore as a whole.

That's not to say that the current state of the Divide is a negative consequence of unconcerned players, but instead to make it clear that DOING things to actively combat the "state" of the Divide is how the Divide became what it is.

If anything, Storm's fact checking on the numbers makes me believe even more that change will come when those with influence and currency (practically the same thing) stop profiting from a culture where it's most profitable to pit Mixers against corpcits and vice versa.

Thanks, free market.

Storm:

What does allowing corporate citizens to consort with mixers mean to you? Hiring them for solo work? Using them as snitches? Doing business with them (buy/sell)? Bantering with them on SIC? Drinking with them at Grunen's? Playing Riot Gear with them (when SHFL is open)? Drinking with them at the Drome? Being friends with them? Sleeping with them or having relationships with them? Living with them?

I think there's two forms of "corporate citizens consorting with Mixers:"

1) A corporate citizen choosing to socialize or interact with Mixers in any positive way. I don't think this is how most understand "consorting" and I think that those concerned citizens who do are welcome to bring it up to their bosses and see if they are right to think of it as being so.

2) The nuanced and actionable meaning, which is a corporate citizen interacting with Mixers in such a way that it shines a negative light on the citizen's corporation. If someone has reason to believe that a coworker's job performance leans negative because they're sleeping with Jessica Chicken in the Mix and that maybe the work key keeps getting leaked because Johnny Corpo would do anything for that sweet ass, then I believe they might get a different result when approaching HR.

Can a corporate citizen justify why they are talking to a known criminal CI if a coworker decides to report them? If their reason seems justifiably profitable in the present or near future, then the corporation has no need to worry. Especially if said employee is vetted and known for achieving solutions.

Can a Mixer justify to their chum why they're speaking to that cute bata at NeoTrans? Then let it roll. Can a Mixer justify to the local Snake why they're buying candy from that cute bata at NeoTrans and selling on gang turf? That could be a different story.

My last thought on all of this is just food for thought on gangs in general and their affect on "the divide." In a world like SD, there are likely gangers breaking the Code and getting away with it, but what decides if the ganger's broken the Code in what they've done? Their boss. The rivals who bring the ganger's actions to light. It's no different from a corporation in that, really, if the ends justify the means? The people who aren't happy are those who are on the losing side, not necessarily the people who have done anything wrong. To me, this is already themely, and it's in the results of this that we've come to find the current divide.

To me, Rhicora nails what I've failed to put down in a concise post. Think critically on how your character would process all of the info they receive, because it's never going to be fair. A good alibi and results will always take you further than no alibi and nothing to show for it.

It's also better to stop thinking of Sindome as a team game. No one is on your side, but you. Just because Joebaka is a mixer, he's not on team mixer. He's on team Joebaka.

Of course once you join a faction you can play for that team, but in the end to's you at the top and no one else should be benefiting more from your actions than yourself.

Sure if someone's selling data to corps about someone else, it's not your business to holler about it and rally 'team mix', because there is no 'team mix'. Instead maybe think about blackmailing the snitch and threatening to inform the people who they're taking info from for a fat wad of cash.

Just some messy thoughts, might have worded some of it weirdly but let me know if I do.

NyanChicken:

It's also better to stop thinking of Sindome as a team game. No one is on your side, but you. Just because Joebaka is a mixer, he's not on team mixer. He's on team Joebaka.

Of course once you join a faction you can play for that team, but in the end to's you at the top and no one else should be benefiting more from your actions than yourself.

Sure if someone's selling data to corps about someone else, it's not your business to holler about it and rally 'team mix', because there is no 'team mix'. Instead maybe think about blackmailing the snitch and threatening to inform the people who they're taking info from for a fat wad of cash.

Just some messy thoughts, might have worded some of it weirdly but let me know if I do.

That's a nice addition and another one that reads way better than my post. We can always play to the team we're given or choose not to. We can play to the team until it doesn't suit us. We can even ATTEMPT to rally for Mixside or Corporate Pride out of authenticity or pure duplicity, and success will likely be gauged not by the status quo but instead how our characters handle the RP associated. It's a big and scary risk to confront these things and to know the consequences, but it's the result of successful risk that has established some of the current anti-corp, pro-corp, anti-Mix, and pro-Mix movements that we have today.

So many of the things said here are great for a player playing in the world. I would never argue that players can't and shouldn't work to whatever reality makes sense for them. Some characters, as we know, are nasty bakas and other more altruistic.

If your a noted terrorist and make flash and get power from anti corp sentiment, that's great!

If you're a HR Rep who wants to fire people because they associate with dirty mixers, go for it.

The difference is when there is NPC and theme support that comes from beyond you. Or there is no push back as to your actions. The NPC in charge of terminating Joe Baka should very much question you, "tell me again why we are getting rid of Joe Baka? Because he had a mixer living in his place? So? Did he give up Corp InfoSec? Get out of my office and come back when you have something more."

That's the part that we as players can not change. Now Storm did an audit and if it happens less than we think, that's good. However, the point still stands that while players can shape attitude, NPCs enforce it and can either redirect it or kill it dead.

So if the GMs see that a course correction is needed or want to change the theme, they have the tools to do it. Most severe actions need some kind of puppet approval either in planning or execution. That is the time and place to slowly start to change the nature of the divide... If it's decided it needs to be done.

Also, Storm, that's a good question you asked. I think it does mean different things to different people and that's important to recognize. Lots of people might be for reducing the divide, but their meaning and severity of that does seem to be across the spectrum.

I'm going to have to agree with BlazingCoconut (as rare as that is ;) ). For a change like this, GM action is needed. Which is why I specifically found the comment Cinder referenced to be so concerning. Assuming the statement was accurately represented, it sounded almost like GMs were abdicating any ability to make these sorts of changes, putting it all on the players. But players cannot change NPCs and other information present in the game, and as long as those things reinforce the divide, any progress toward changing the divide that players can make on their own will be hampered and limited.

Now, as to Storm's question, here's what I envision as "allowing corporate citizens to consort with mixers:"

"Hiring them for solo work?" - Absolutely. It needs to be done discreetly, as such actions likely have an illegal goal, and a corporation would not want the actions of their employee to reflect negatively on the company. But so long as any transactions are handled in a manner that they are not publicly traced back to the employee and their employer, there is sufficient plausible deniability, and the actions either further the corp's goals or at least do not hinder them, I feel like corporations would take an approach of silently allowing/encouraging such behavior. Of course they'd deny it publicly, even though they all know that every corp does it, and if any of their employees got caught or evidence linking the corp to the criminal activity became public the employee who slipped up would be hung out to dry. But corpies hiring mixers for illicit work should be a mainstay of the genre.

"Using them as snitches?" - Yes, similar to the above.

" Doing business with them (buy/sell)?" - Of course! Mixers make up the vast majority of Withmore's residents; they should be the prime targets for corporate marketing, and their labor should be the source of many materials/components for corporate products and projects. Corporate representatives should regularly be doing business with mixers and mixer organizations. Now, if we're talking about business transactions on a personal level, then yes that should be allowed as well. I see no reason why who a corporate citizen buys and sells from should get them in trouble with their corp (understanding of course that if they're caught buying illegal contraband, they will be dealt with under Withmore's justice system). Likewise from the mixer perspective, corporations are often the only place to get certain goods and services, and chyen from selling to corps spends the same as chyen from anywhere else. I think that mixers by and large would be pragmatists out of necessity. Sure you'll have the occasional mixer who bears a grudge against this corp or that, but having the whole Mix united against any one of their own who so much as takes 2 chy from a corpie is ludicrous.

"Bantering with them on SIC?" - This probably needs a little more clarification. I think there should definitely be something of a class disparity between corpies and mixers, and I don't expect a lot of friendly public conversation, if that's what you mean by "banter." But if we're talking about exchanging a few insults, slurs, etc., sure, i could see that. I just don't think there's justification for it to consistently rise to the level of "death to corpies and any mixer who associates with them," which is what I've seen a lot of in my short time here.

"Drinking with them at Grunen's? Playing Riot Gear with them (when SHFL is open)? Drinking with them at the Drome?" - These get into another grey area. Again, I expect some class disparity/rivalry, just not to lethal/job-ending levels. So in general, I think cross-socialization would be frowned on, but I don't think it would or should generate a detrimental response beyond maybe some fellow corpies looking askance at their colleague. Of course, such socialization could easily be cover for more shady dealings, so it's likely that such encounters would draw at least some suspicion. Still not enough for a "kill on sight" order though.

"Being friends with them? Sleeping with them or having relationships with them? Living with them?" - For corporate citizens, I don't think these should be a fireable offense, though it might get the corpie stuck with a social stigma. But unless there is some reason to believe the corpie is leaking company information through their relationship with a mixer, they at most might get some derisive comments about the company they keep (which could affect some promotion opportunities at worst).

I don't have much to add in regards to most of what's being discussed so I'll just +1 BlazingCoconut's sentiments.

I did want to mention though, I think expecting a modicum of moderation from players is not and should not be unreasonable. I don't think it's a universal case that if a corpie gets identified in Red, they'll immediately always be killed. Or if a mixer is openly chumming it up with a corpie in KMB, that they'll become an instant pariah, even if that's the current mood of things and it does happen. With some wide IC policy changes (Corporate Pride Initiative is a perfect example of this) I honestly think it would be easy to see corpies in Red and Mixers doing more drek on Gold, etc. And I think that could be attained WITHOUT turning into a fluffy bunny world of friendship. Moderation. Some PCs/NPCs are always going to be more classist than others, regardless of the current atmosphere. I've seen mixers that hate gangers. I've seen corpies that like gangers. I've not seen a ganger that acts like a corpie, but I bet you someone could play one easily and it would probably be hilarious.

Varolokkur's little bit about a wageslave is so perfect, I want to repost it.

So, go to Red's or Carnal Desires after you finish a day of punching numbers. When you get mugged heading home, you just better not lose corporate property, because your office provided Liteterm is likely worth more than you are. Just update your clone and make sure you're in your cubicle by 8am sharp.

This right here, is infinitely more interesting and conductive to RP and theme as a whole than the current 'get caught in the mix and get fired/killed' ambience. I have played both sides of the divide and (I've only played a few years though) every single interaction between either side has always been boring, shadowy, messenger type stuff. It's never interactive or with space for nuance and creativity. Just this person getting killed, this person having rumors spread about them, it always feels... Uninteractive. Just the same old forced insults on SIC.

Let a corporate higher up have a pet joy publicly. Let a mixer come up and suck up to everyone trying to fleece them for chy and favors. Let NSEC go down one night and buy out the O for an evening after a successful op. Killing the people involved in these is absolutely low hanging fruit and not RP. Not saying you can't do it, just... Have a reason other than 'i hate mixers because I'm a corpie' and vice versa. And other people, react to it. If someone starts shooting up the O after NSEC bought it out, what is O's management going to think about it? What about the Sinners? There's so much good RP there beyond just 'kill them all' and also lets people actually play together, god forbid, instead of just insulting each other on pubSIC all day.