Author Topic: 18+? Age requirements.  (Read 3940 times)

staggerlee

  • Posts: 2570
18+? Age requirements.
« on: November 11, 2008, 11:33:33 AM »
I've been considering the current age policies for the game, and find them somewhat troubling.  We allow all ages, though suggest the game has mature content.  I would very much like to see an age requirement of 18+ or as appropriate according to individual states.

The content of the game is at times extremely explicit, and I don't mean only the things we're expected to ask consent for.  I can only imagine the reaction of your average parent that walked in to find their 15 year old mudsexing, torturing, or just being bombarded with the more run of the mill violence and obscenities you encounter in this game. 

I realize that there are a fair number of players that are currently under 18, but that's what's troubling.  It would cover the ass of adults who don't feel comfortable interacting in this manner with minors, or who are in professions such as teaching who could find the kind of accusation that could rise from it to be extremely damaging.

I realize that people could lie about their age, but that's not something I can respond to, and would still serve to cover the ass of the adults playing.

Thoughts?  I'm not making this a poll because I don't believe statistics say much of value.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Tisiphone

  • Posts: 3629
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 11:47:15 AM »
I disagree with a minimum age mostly on the grounds of enforcement. We have no real way of proving someone's age, and putting a rule like this in place would breed contempt for the law.
There is no general doctrine which is not capable of eating out our morality if unchecked by the deep-seated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men. -George Eliot

staggerlee

  • Posts: 2570
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 11:51:02 AM »
I disagree with a minimum age mostly on the grounds of enforcement. We have no real way of proving someone's age, and putting a rule like this in place would breed contempt for the law.

I absolutely agree that it's unenforceable.  It's more about the legalities of the interaction with minors and the comfort level of adults. IE: Covering our asses.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

brytta.leofa

  • Posts: 9480
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 11:58:56 AM »
It's more about the legalities of the interaction with minors and the comfort level of adults.

I'm afraid that "she told me she was 18!" doesn't really help.
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The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

musashi

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Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 12:22:23 PM »
Yeah, I have to say I don't think it's really needed either. If getting "caught" doing something with a potentional minor is that much of a worry to a person, no one is forcing them to RP through sex/rape/torture/ect.

As for just the run of the mill violence, I think that video games get way more graphic than our combat code  ;)
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tortall

  • Posts: 2250
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2008, 12:24:59 PM »
Yeah, there's really no way to enforce this.

If this had been in effect when I started playing at 16, I wouldn't be here. I'm pretty sure a good 3/4ths of the current player base are either under 18, or started playing when they were under 18.

We've had discussions about many things and often end up blaming a low playerbase. Why would we want to lower this even more?
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manonfire

  • Posts: 4028
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2008, 01:29:20 PM »
I think the responsibility is on the parents of the minor, not the game.



Bilanthri

  • Posts: 416
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2008, 01:30:19 PM »
If this had been in effect when I started playing at 16, I wouldn't be here. I'm pretty sure a good 3/4ths of the current player base are either under 18, or started playing when they were under 18.

I feel ya here....I found Arm when I was 16 as well, now, a decade+ later I'm still loving the game. But, had I been declined as a teen, I can't see any reason why I would have ever come back.

I can see the issue of legality, but on an ethical standpoint, any teen who's savvy enough to play a text-based RP intensive game like Arm, is also savvy enough to have found out all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll from the humming terminal in front of them...I'm certainly not gonna be teaching them much new.

Or maybe I was just a good student of bad material back then.  :P
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UnderSeven

  • Posts: 1444
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2008, 01:36:45 PM »
If you consider this game to be like a book, which can be quite explicit, but read by any ages, I don't think there would be much of a leg to stand on with the content that goes on in game.  Furthermore I think it is unenforceable.  For lawsuit reasons though I could see tossing up an age requirement disclaimer.

Shalooonsh

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  • Posts: 1538
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2008, 01:38:50 PM »
Quote
I can see the issue of legality, but on an ethical standpoint, any teen who's savvy enough to play a text-based RP intensive game like Arm, is also savvy enough to have found out all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll from the humming terminal in front of them...I'm certainly not gonna be teaching them much new.

This is very much a truth.  In addition, some of our best roleplayers cut their teeth on Armageddon, and our game would be losing a lot of upcoming talent and creative minds if we slapped on a minimum age limit.  Just because you are young does not mean you are immature.  We might lose some players because they encounter things that make them uncomfortable, and that's just fine.  Many young people do understand that if something isn't for them, they should go elsewhere.  We would like to give them the chance to choose instead of arbitrarily telling them that they can't handle it.

And enforcement would be almost impossible.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/i_am_under_18_button
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And made the death of them.
I demanded human sacrifices
From the rest of them.
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Lizzie

  • Posts: 8142
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2008, 01:42:51 PM »
Instead of making a requirement, you could put up a tos (I did a search from the main arm site on "terms of service" and I guess we don't even have any - the rules link doesn't really address rights/responsibilities of players connecting to the game, only the consent stuff).

And within the tos, you could say something like: "It is -assumed- that anyone connecting to this game is at least the legal age of consent in their geographical location, whatever that age may be."

That way, the admin is clearly defining their role in responsible parenting of other peoples' children - which is, and should remain, nonexistent. Thing is, a minor child "consenting" to rape scenes is not consenting at all, because a minor child is not legally authorized to consent to anything. So you just put that disclaimer out that of COURSE no parent would allow their minor child to play this game without the parent's consent, and you've just put the responsibility right back on the parents' shoulders where it belongs.
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staggerlee

  • Posts: 2570
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2008, 01:45:14 PM »
Quote
I can see the issue of legality, but on an ethical standpoint, any teen who's savvy enough to play a text-based RP intensive game like Arm, is also savvy enough to have found out all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll from the humming terminal in front of them...I'm certainly not gonna be teaching them much new.

This is very much a truth.  In addition, some of our best roleplayers cut their teeth on Armageddon, and our game would be losing a lot of upcoming talent and creative minds if we slapped on a minimum age limit.  Just because you are young does not mean you are immature.  We might lose some players because they encounter things that make them uncomfortable, and that's just fine.  Many young people do understand that if something isn't for them, they should go elsewhere.  We would like to give them the chance to choose instead of arbitrarily telling them that they can't handle it.

And enforcement would be almost impossible.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/i_am_under_18_button

Oh I misrepresented myself as an adult to get into webpages now and then before I was 18, and I played a MUD for the first time long, long, long before I was 18.   It is unenforceable, short of a credit card check which is a bit extreme.

However.

As an adult, potentially pursuing a career that could be damaged by any kind of allegations of that sort, I find it becomes a more complicated question.  I'm surprised at the total lack of concern about it honestly.   Personally I'm extremely pragmatic about these things and share the opinions been posted in these threads, but I've noticed the rest of the world can be a bit less so.  
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

brytta.leofa

  • Posts: 9480
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2008, 01:52:52 PM »
And within the tos, you could say something like: "It is -assumed- that anyone connecting to this game is at least the legal age of consent in their geographical location, whatever that age may be."

Honestly, if you're depicting situations in a manner that isn't too self-indulgent, I'm not sure that consent should even be a legal factor.  If you were posting a log of whatever the scenario is, would it need an age disclaimer?
The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

Shiroi Tsuki

  • Posts: 1055
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2008, 01:56:55 PM »
With a TOS, you don't even have to say that you're 'assuming so and so is the age of consent'.  You just have to say that they need parental permission to play if they aren't.

At that point, it's on the shoulders of whoever the minor is to either get parental permission, or lie about having parental permission, and in either case it isn't any fault of yours.

And who usually reads terms of service, anyway?  No one that I know.  So I don't see that it'd be driving anyone away.
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fourTwenty

  • Posts: 1014
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2008, 03:02:19 PM »
Not no but Hell no. Sorry but anything that would -lower- our player base numbers is a bad idea.

Really, you should be able to tell if your RPing with someone who is immature, it can be kind of obvious. And if it's not obvious then they would seem to be mature enough for this game. Beside, age limits are stupid in all cases. If they are mature enough to find, play, and enjoy this game then I believe they are mature enough to handle the explicit content that comes with it.

That being said, I would have nothing against a TOS stating that graphic(?) violence is to be expected.

Also, it's a text game, most parents I know would just be happy to learn their child is reading.


I think the responsibility is on the parents of the minor, not the game.

This to, this like a motherfucker.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 03:03:55 PM by fourTwenty »
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FantasyWriter

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Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2008, 03:13:26 PM »
This is very much a truth.  In addition, some of our best roleplayers cut their teeth on Armageddon, and our game would be losing a lot of upcoming talent and creative minds if we slapped on a minimum age limit.  Just because you are young does not mean you are immature.
This.

Not no but Hell no. Sorry but anything that would -lower- our player base numbers is a bad idea.
This.

I think the responsibility is on the parents of the minor, not the game.
And This.
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Grebber - One who grebs.

Halcyon

  • Posts: 305
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2008, 03:13:44 PM »
Quote
I can see the issue of legality, but on an ethical standpoint, any teen who's savvy enough to play a text-based RP intensive game like Arm, is also savvy enough to have found out all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll from the humming terminal in front of them...I'm certainly not gonna be teaching them much new.

This is very much a truth.  In addition, some of our best roleplayers cut their teeth on Armageddon, and our game would be losing a lot of upcoming talent and creative minds if we slapped on a minimum age limit.  Just because you are young does not mean you are immature.  We might lose some players because they encounter things that make them uncomfortable, and that's just fine.  Many young people do understand that if something isn't for them, they should go elsewhere.  We would like to give them the chance to choose instead of arbitrarily telling them that they can't handle it.

And enforcement would be almost impossible.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/i_am_under_18_button

Oh I misrepresented myself as an adult to get into webpages now and then before I was 18, and I played a MUD for the first time long, long, long before I was 18.   It is unenforceable, short of a credit card check which is a bit extreme.

However.

As an adult, potentially pursuing a career that could be damaged by any kind of allegations of that sort, I find it becomes a more complicated question.  I'm surprised at the total lack of concern about it honestly.   Personally I'm extremely pragmatic about these things and share the opinions been posted in these threads, but I've noticed the rest of the world can be a bit less so.  

Is this concerned solved by avoiding mudex and torture alltogether?
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Marauder Moe

  • Posts: 13005
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2008, 03:17:06 PM »
I think the OP has a very valid concern.  There are, in fact, laws against disseminating explicit material (read: pornography, which can be graphical or textual) to minors.  I bet most American-based erotic fiction websites have "I agree that I am 18 or older" front pages.

FantasyWriter

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Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2008, 03:30:51 PM »
There is a big difference between pornographic videos/books/game and videos/books/games which contain sexual scenes.
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Grebber - One who grebs.

touringCompl3t3

  • Posts: 273
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2008, 03:31:40 PM »
I've been considering the current age policies for the game, and find them somewhat troubling.  We allow all ages, though suggest the game has mature content.  I would very much like to see an age requirement of 18+ or as appropriate according to individual states.

The content of the game is at times extremely explicit, and I don't mean only the things we're expected to ask consent for.  I can only imagine the reaction of your average parent that walked in to find their 15 year old mudsexing, torturing, or just being bombarded with the more run of the mill violence and obscenities you encounter in this game. 

I realize that there are a fair number of players that are currently under 18, but that's what's troubling.  It would cover the ass of adults who don't feel comfortable interacting in this manner with minors, or who are in professions such as teaching who could find the kind of accusation that could rise from it to be extremely damaging.

I realize that people could lie about their age, but that's not something I can respond to, and would still serve to cover the ass of the adults playing.

Thoughts?  I'm not making this a poll because I don't believe statistics say much of value.

This post is highly questionable.

staggerlee

  • Posts: 2570
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2008, 03:43:51 PM »
I've been considering the current age policies for the game, and find them somewhat troubling.  We allow all ages, though suggest the game has mature content.  I would very much like to see an age requirement of 18+ or as appropriate according to individual states.

The content of the game is at times extremely explicit, and I don't mean only the things we're expected to ask consent for.  I can only imagine the reaction of your average parent that walked in to find their 15 year old mudsexing, torturing, or just being bombarded with the more run of the mill violence and obscenities you encounter in this game. 

I realize that there are a fair number of players that are currently under 18, but that's what's troubling.  It would cover the ass of adults who don't feel comfortable interacting in this manner with minors, or who are in professions such as teaching who could find the kind of accusation that could rise from it to be extremely damaging.

I realize that people could lie about their age, but that's not something I can respond to, and would still serve to cover the ass of the adults playing.

Thoughts?  I'm not making this a poll because I don't believe statistics say much of value.

This post is highly questionable.

That's actually a pretty reasonable response.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Marauder Moe

  • Posts: 13005
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2008, 03:59:34 PM »
There is a big difference between pornographic videos/books/game and videos/books/games which contain sexual scenes.
Legally, I don't think there is. 

Hot coffee, anyone?

Bogre

  • Posts: 3321
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2008, 04:02:10 PM »
No. Many of the longest term players started when they were many years under 18 (Personally I started at 15). Plus lowering the playerbase is a horrid idea.
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FantasyWriter

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Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2008, 04:10:10 PM »
There is a big difference between pornographic videos/books/game and videos/books/games which contain sexual scenes.
Legally, I don't think there is. 


"Pornography" is a layperson's term, with no particular legal significance. Jones may believe that Penthouse is non-pornographic, while Smith believes that it is. Neither is incorrect.

The term of legal significance is "obscenity", which, after struggling for many years and through many cases, the U.S. Supreme Court defined in Miller v. California in 1973. It is a three-part test, as follows:

"The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
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Grebber - One who grebs.

Tisiphone

  • Posts: 3629
Re: 18+? Age requirements.
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2008, 04:24:36 PM »
"Pornography" is a layperson's term, with no particular legal significance. Jones may believe that Penthouse is non-pornographic, while Smith believes that it is. Neither is incorrect.

The term of legal significance is "obscenity", which, after struggling for many years and through many cases, the U.S. Supreme Court defined in Miller v. California in 1973. It is a three-part test, as follows:

"The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

If you mean to imply that Arm does, in fact, fulfill your third bullet, you're sadly mistaken. There is simply no comparison between Armageddon and, say, anything by William Faulkner.
There is no general doctrine which is not capable of eating out our morality if unchecked by the deep-seated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men. -George Eliot