So you *do* want off-topic discussions...just only ones that you personally feel comfortable with and not ones that you don't personally care about. You like threads that are about forum members and invite discussion..but not if it invites discussion of the forum members' identity (which usually only results in the suppression of discussion of non-normative identities).* Well...it is your message board, you can run it however you please.PyTom wrote: In general, I'm fine with threads that are about the members of this forum, as long as they're not open-ended without meaningful interaction ("what did you have for breakfast today?" is not a question that invites discussion.) The "Get that thing off your chest" thread is one of my favorites, since many times I see forum members helping each other there. I want to have more of that.
I don't want to have an open-ended general forum - one that allows politics and identity discussions outside of the context of visual novel development - since it's been my experience that those threads upset people without accomplishing anything meaningful. When the discussion is restricted to visual novel development, we often get a meaningful discussion - but when it leaves that area, the threads cease to be influential and wind up just causing problems.
As to the Anime forum, I'll just point out that about half the people in this thread have either an Anime or Anime-style avatar. Given that the visual novel form originated in Japan as something associated with Anime and Games, it doesn't seem like an absurd section to have. And since it's been around since 2003 without causing problems, I don't think simple consistency is a good reason to shutter it.
One of the reasons I think there are so many anime avatars is because this site (including the presence of the anime board) gives the impression that copying JVNs is what EVNs are all about and so if you wanted to do something else, it isn't all that clear this place will be welcoming for you as a community (as a place to get coding tips sure, as a community? Not so sure). It helps limit the sort of people who are seen as belonging. It creates "anime fan" as a norm and marginalized non-anime fans...creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. As a non-JVN person who comes to what is now the EVN through Western traditions of Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, IF, and Adventure games, I often feel like this is not a place for me socially...one of the reasons why the board I participate in most frequently I'd the Ren'Py Questions thread despite having only learned Python by learning Ren'py and by no means being any kind of expert.
Now, I'm a big kid, and I don't mind being in a place where I'm a social outsider if I can get good coding tips. And I enjoy helping people out with their coding questions. And I'll still give back in the cookbook section...but note, one of the reasons I do participate in the social discussions on identity, is because those threads are some of the few threads where I do feel welcome...and where I get to meet some of the few other people who make me feel less alienated here.
Now, I may be the only person like me in this community, which means further alienating one outlier through an inconsistent policy of allowing off topic threads that are anime related or "about the forum members" but not about who their identity, is probably no big deal, especially considering that I can take it. I'm not a delicate flower. And maybe that is the end goal of the policies, I don't know. My feelings of not feeling like I belong here as not a modern anime otaku...exacerbated by there being no space allowed to have off-topic discussions about non-anime things (which would allow me to see that there are others who share my interest here that I could collaborate with, be friends with, have community with) has a parallel with the identity discussion.
*I want to go back to the thread that spawned this thread and say why I think the suppression of identity can be damaging. I said not talking about identity usually results in the suppression of minority identities. Why do I say this? Because majority identities are always assumed to be here. If you are part of a majority identity you get to assume that in a generic place where no one is "talking about identity" that most (maybe all) of the people are like you.
The thread that spawned this one had two points: I am non-binary and want to make a game with a non-binary character but I'm afraid no one would like it...I'm afraid I'm the only one here. 1) Am I alone here? 2) Would anyone play a game with a non-binary character (i.e. would something that speaks to my experience be rejected by the members of this community). A person who has a binary gender never has to ask those questions. So what is the result if we never discuss off-topic controversial topics like gender identity? The binary normatively gendered person feels comfortable and represented, the non-binary person doesn't know if they are safe, doesn't feel represented, and feels isolated. If we never "talk about race"--then what we end up doing is only talking about whiteness by default. Identities are attached to people--words are attached to people. Suppressing discussing of identity is a move that doesn't suppress those identities that are always assumed to be there: (in this case, American, heterosexual, white..etc) it just suppresses the identities (and the people attached to them) who don't fit the norm and makes it harder for them to actually feel seen and part of the community.
We have a spot in out profile to give our location...so people who are not based in the US can see...oh hey! there is someone else from the Philippines here--this place doesn't seem like it will be covertly hostile to folks from the Philippines...and I have someone I can ask about local Philippine VN related stuff...like how to deal with payments if Pay Pal isn't in the Philippines. (I have learned from Uncle Mugen the answer is Western Union). But if your identity flag is not location of gender/sexuality/race/religion/etc...there is no flag for that to let people know they aren't alone (not that there should be)...but people often flag in those identity discussions. Taking those out...takes out a space for people who aren't in the majority to know they aren't alone.
In other words, being "neutral" isn't neutral is reinforces the status quo and alienates those people who are already marginal. RotGiE has expressed feelings of being a alone because he is libertarian/conservative. But he might not be alone. There might be a bunch of people he could find community with and make an Ayn Rand VN with...but we can't talk about politics so he feels marginal and like an outsider. And this is not unrelated to creating games or feeling like this is a home and a community rather than just a place to grab a coding tip and leave.