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Comment: Re:Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grad (Score 1) 213

by Dixie_Flatline (#47787065) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

I had a lot of arts students in my science classes. There was a Geology class with no lab requirement, and it picked up the name 'rocks for jocks', since PhysEd and Arts students could fit it in as an 'easy' option. At my University (the University of Alberta), you were generally forced to take a certain number of credits from other departments unless you were in Honours. I was doing a CS degree, but I took a lot of Geology. In the Arts realm, I chose Comparative Literature and took some Latin.

I'm not sure where your stats are from or if they're even Canadian. Maybe the UofA was weird--do you have a citation?

Comment: Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grads (Score 1) 213

by Dixie_Flatline (#47786087) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yo...

51% of the Canadian population has attended post-secondary education. That means most Canadians had to perform fairly well in their science classes, and in University, were probably forced to take at least a few science courses even if they were in an unrelated field.

Comment: Re:More useless statistics... (Score 2) 213

by Dixie_Flatline (#47786067) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Bilingual conversations are really common here. I'm from Alberta originally, and my spoken French isn't great (I can get by, but I don't like speaking it). That said, I have plenty of friends that speak to me in French. I answer in English. We just go with whatever's easiest. Montreallers are really easy going that way.

Usually it's just faster for them to switch to English, though. Quebec French has its own peculiarities, so I found that on the few times where I started a conversation in French, it would usually switch to English just to hurry things along.

Comment: Re:Her work (Score 1) 1219

If you watched her latest video all the way to the end, she does cover this. It's not enough to merely show suffering if there's no path to rectify the suffering. It's not really doing its job of drawing attention to the problem so much as making it a prop so that we have a reason to shoot someone. The violence that we commit becomes justified through the superficial application of the abuse of a woman in the game.

Besides, games DON'T accurately reflect what's going on. First of all, most rape and sexual assault is perpetrated by a relative or a friend or someone close to the victim. It's rarely a bad guy lurking in an alley. So that type of violence is over-represented in games. Second, in this case, there's some merit to the argument that we don't depict domestic violence against males enough. If what we're trying to do is draw attention and be accurate, we should probably include that more often.

But most importantly, there's a question as to the value of this 'realism', even if it were accurate. A lot of terrible things happen in the world that we see fit to ignore. Physics, for one thing. We also don't seem to care about going to the bathroom, cancer or getting oil changes. We're willing to suspend disbelief; this is probably an area where we could live without the casual gendered violence that we've really become accustomed to.

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 4, Insightful) 1219

Men die in the same way! And in much more gruesome and jovial manners. I think when this occasionally happens to women and it's considered more important is more of a reflection of our attitudes of men's lives being less important than women's than any negative view there is of women. You can't honestly believe that male video game characters do not die in heinous ways more than female characters. You don't think it's interesting that you find that totally normal for men and something that needs to be stopped for women? Women cannot be the same part of a narrative as a men unless they can actually be put in the same part. Which according to Sarkeesian and yourself they cannot be because *reasons*.

So if you watch the latest video, she does touch on that somewhat. I'm going to assume you haven't (or at least, that someone reading our discussion hasn't) and point out the salient bits.

First, that when men die in these games, they're generally an antagonist or actor that actually has a measure of agency. They're killed because they were involved in a conflict that revolved around more than just their gender or their victimhood.

Second, part of why you're gruesomely killing the men in these games is often justified by the violence that the men are (arbitrarily) enacting against women. The women die as props to show off how bad someone is in a wild caricature of evil. She's right in pointing out that violence against women is most often perpetrated by 'normal' men. A woman is FAR more likely to be raped by a friend or family member than a random bad man on the street.

Third, men die in ways that aren't overtly sexualised. Women die on beds in lingerie with their legs spread and their tits hanging out. They're still T&A even after brutal violence.

She's right that sexual and sexualised violence is used as a lazy shortcut to show how bad a person is. You can instantly justify murdering someone brutally (to bring it back to your complaint) if we've just shown them as hitting a woman or raping them. It's not the nicest cycle.

Given that we know men are far more likely to be murdered or die in war would it not be a good idea to hold off on this bit of violence? You can do what you want in your games. But when you're trying to tell other people they're being bad or "insensitive" based on the games they create or like to play you actually are trying to make them feel bad so that they stop.

The worst part about her criticisms is that she actually doesn't understand the tropes she's talking about. Or she just makes up new tropes. Tropes are pretty much a necessary part of storytelling. That's why we call them tropes. They've been around since the advent of storytelling. All stories are just rehashes and variations of old ones.

I don't think people have to stop doing anything. But I think they DO need to think about what they're doing, understand whether it's appropriate narratively, and make those decisions with open eyes. Speaking personally, for the first ten years of my career, I definitely didn't think about this stuff as much. Maybe I would've spoken up more about certain things if I had.

I understand that the word 'trope' actually has several meanings, but in this context, she's using the word 'trope' as 'cliché'. You DON'T need to write something that relies heavily on clichés. At the very least, you don't need to write something that heavily relies on the sorts of tropes that may be damaging to our ideas about women.

I really can't agree with that. Using her same irrational argument style you could paint that same problems onto any media. You think playwriting needs to respond to this criticism if it wants to be credible in the world? Shakespeare the misogynist! The gaming community tried to respond with the appropriate "you're going to have to do better" and explained why to her. She chose instead to focus on people making fun of her for saying stupid things. Everybody with civil disagreements went on and did their own things because she chose to ignore them and make a spectacle out of crazies instead.

Every AAA title made in the past 20 years disagrees with your assertion. Every AAA movies as well. Every AAA book. Unfortunately mass appeal appears to correlate extremely strongly with mass stupid.

This is really just an appeal to tradition, and as such, it really doesn't carry much weight. Lots of things that have happened in the past don't happen any more because we've decided that they're reprehensible. "Bang, zoom, Alice! Straight to the moon!" That kind of casual domestic violence is a part of television's (and our society's!) history, but that doesn't mean we show it on TV now. It's not a joke to be laughed off, this thing where a man is threatening to hit his wife so hard he sends her to the moon. I'm not sure why we think it's okay to glorify violence against women in video games. But relatively speaking, this medium is young and hasn't borne the same scrutiny as books, film and television.

I think that playwriting HAS responded to the changing times. I think that if we saw a play with the same sort of violence that's in games we'd be horrified. And I think that we can look back at stuff done in the past and see that things WERE misogynist and the product of their time.

And, as she's repeated so often, just because you're critical of something doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Nothing is perfect. I'm just happy she's making these videos so I can recognise the bad stuff and think about it more.

Some people really aren't playing games for the story telling. Some people are. Games should not be limited to targeting only one of those groups.

You talk about trolls again like there has not been plenty attempts to discuss this in a civil manner. The reason Anita focuses on trolls is precisely so she can ignore actual criticism. She has literally ignored it all while waving her hands and screaming "look at all the hate! This is proof I'm right". A lot of us have seen this behaviour before and know that it has zero credibility.

Regardless of what you think about how she reacts to trolls (and there are lots of them, which is why we're talking about this right now at all), I also think that philosophically, her ideas have merit. She's making videos and putting her opinion out there, and it's up to us to watch the videos and make sense of her position, whether we agree or disagree. You don't have to agree. You don't even have to watch. But if you don't agree, it doesn't give you license to slag her and attack her. If you feel like your position is defensible, you don't even have to directly contend with her on it--make your own videos and put your own opinion out there.

Comment: Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (Score 2) 1219

Sarkeesian has done video series on the tropes in popular media, too. She can't cover all the bases, and she's picked games this time around because she likes playing games.

I don't think that other media have been left out of criticism at all. (The Bechedel test, for instance, was first meant to apply to movies.)

But let's pretend you're right; let's pretend that the game industry--the industry that I work in and that pays my rent--really IS being singled out.

So what? It's GOOD for the industry. We NEED this criticism. If this industry and this medium were the only one that could legitimately hold its head up and say that it was less sexist, that would be great. If you look at it purely financially, I think it would be a huge boon. It's a relatively small change in behaviour that could drive a fairly large change in market.

Economics aside, it would be amazing if this industry were on the forefront of driving cultural and social change towards a more equitable society. Sexism is a real problem everywhere I look. I've been working as a programmer in this industry for 13 years. I've worked with 3 female programmers that I can remember. THREE. They were all exceptionally good at their jobs, too, and deeply nerdy gamers. But only three. It's a sad number. It makes no sense.

I watch Sarkeesian's videos and I enjoy them a great deal. She's INCREDIBLY repetitive on the point that you can still enjoy something while seriously critiquing its flaws. (I think she's said it in every single video she's done.) She's made me really think about the things I see in the games I make as well as the games I play. Whether or not she's 100% correct, every single time is not actually the point--she's just trying to get to think about the media you consume, and that's important.

I don't really think your point has much merit. I don't think it's true, and even if the community were being singled out, I think the community will come out ahead in the end. I think you've got to go a lot further and show a lot more evidence to claim that gamers are being bullied by some vast conspiracy.

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 5, Interesting) 1219

Damnit. I was going to use some mod points, but I feel like I need to respond here.

Yes, a lot of men die in games. It's not really up for debate.

But when women die in games, they die as props or as a kind of sick joke (and it's usually a really unintentional joke, honestly). It's more a reflection of our attitudes at large about what a woman is worth than something solely limited to games per se, but that doesn't make it okay to have it in games.

I'm a (veteran--13 years, 3 companies) game developer, and I watch each of her videos with a lot of interest. She's not trying to make me feel bad, she's trying to make me pay attention to what I'm doing. I make games to entertain people, not to make a broad swathe of the population feel bad.

I'd like to stop using women as props in our games. I'd like to see more women as protagonists or just interesting characters in general. If there's a good reason to show a woman or a man dead in the game, that will still be okay. But when it happens, I'm going to be running through a little checklist in my head from now on. Was it necessary? Does it advance the game? Is it really a crucial bit of atmosphere, or could we do without it? Would it just be a good idea to hold off on showing this bit of violence given what we know about rape statistics and the deaths of sex workers?

From my perspective as a game developer (even though I'm a programmer), she's not blunting my ability to tell a story, but honing my desire to focus on the important parts of a story and make it better for everyone. This is criticism that the industry needs, and needs to respond to if it wants to be credible in the world. AAA games are huge and expensive to make. We can't afford to be sloppy with our storytelling any more. Players are interested in next generation graphics and AI and all that fancy stuff, but we need more strong critique and scrutiny to bring us up to the next generation of narrative and storytelling that I think they also desire.

(And to the trolls that seem to be lurking in the thread, do you notice how two people can have a discussion without it devolving into name calling and threats? There's zero need for any of the shit she's had to put up with. Adults can have discussions.)

Comment: Re:Getting it very wrong (Score 1) 81

by the phantom (#47682001) Attached to: Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?
You clearly took very poor math classes. The only time I ever teach calculus as "simple computation" is when I am teaching business calculus for business majors. Mathematics is about logic and, as such, should be almost nothing but problem solving (generally in the form of proofs and model construction).

Comment: Re:Why not community college rather than online? (Score 2) 81

by the phantom (#47681255) Attached to: Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?

Speaking as a guy who adjuncts at a big university, I have to second the guy who works in ed tech. In addition to the comments above, you also stand a better chance of getting more qualified instructors at a community college. I taught lower-division math classes as a graduate student. Indeed, much of the teaching load in many departments is handed over to TAs at big universities. Community colleges often teach exactly the same classes out of the same books, but the instructors will hopefully have (a) better credentials (a masters in their field, though there are a disturbing number of people at community colleges who have masters in ed) and (b) more experience teaching.

Another point in favor of community colleges is class size. At a big university, classes can be huge. A calculus class that I TAed for had over two hundred students in a lecture hall. Yes, they broke apart into smaller recitation sections once a week, but recitation time with a TA is not the same as face time with a professor. Community college classes tend to be much smaller.

Unless you are trying to finish your degree in a top-tier, private institution (Stanford, University of Chicago, Harvard, &c) or a small, residential liberal arts college, there is no reason not to finish an associates degree at a local community college then transfer to a local university (or apply to an out-of-state institution, where you probably have a pretty good chance of being accepted).

Comment: Re:Remediating American's Victimization of Indians (Score 1) 561

by the phantom (#47664439) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Why does "trying to fix this" always lead to affirmative action?

Why can't "trying to fix this" fix the root cause?

I mean, if you need more women on your team, instead of trying to give preference to women, why not do two things: 1) Study why there are few women in the field 2) Remedy that, or encourage more women to join.

You do realize that your proposal is almost exactly what affirmative action is, as codified in Executive Order 11246, right?

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