Friday, January 18, 2008

Space Goats?

In my daily life, I'm pretty sensitive to things that may or may not be offensive. If I'm in doubt, I err on the side of caution. But the other day I was either chatting with some people at work or reading a blog (the two run together, don't ask) and came across the term "space goats." At first I was a little concerned that this is (or could be offensive).

Then I started thinking about all the other things we call ourselves and others in game. Gnome players are often making fun of their own height. Hell, one of the Blizzard programmed jokes says something about being "short-changed." And have you even thought abuot the number of Tauren named after some beef, steak, meat pun? My favorite Tauren name of all time has to be "Eatmorchikn" from the popular Chick-Fil-A advertising. Undead guys are named after rotting, putrescence or famous deceased folks.

After I rationalized this a little more, I've come to the conclusion that this is completely non-offensive. But maybe that's just me. Does anyone else have thoughts on how offensive this may be in game? Or do you care? And more importantly, and I'm looking at Pike (and other RPers) here...is it different on an RP server?

5 comments:

Mania said...

Out of character, I don't think it's inherently offensive -- no more than calling orcs 'green skins'. It's a characterization that is almost meaningless in its connotations to the human players outside of the game. That is, there's no cultural baggage since we're not space goats.

In-character, it rather depends on the context and intent of its usage -- in other words, on the in-game baggage that's being attached by the characters involved.

However, having said that, I should also note that I believe in a person's innate right to be offended at whatever they choose. That doesn't mean that you have to change your behavior to accomodate them, but it's silly to tell someone that they aren't offended -- only they would know that. So while I have answered the question from the point of view of 'innate offensive cultural baggage' in a generic way, I wouldn't suggest applying this as a criterium for any specific individual interaction. *grin*

Pike said...

I haven't come across any of this "in character" yet, by which I mean, I haven't had the chance to roleplay being called a name or calling somebody else a name =P

My friends jokingly call me a "nelf huntard", a term which never really bothered me but which I have chosen to reclaim anyway and now wear with pride! "Darn straight I'm a Nelf Huntard. I'll catcha by surprise, too, when I out-CC and out-DPS the lot of you."

I have seen people who will roleplay their characters as having prejudices against others. Oh wait actually now I remember somebody who was roleplaying a Night Elf as a Highborne, and all other Night Elves were "lesser elves" to them. Did indeed get a couple people riled up in character.

But as for stuff like "space goats", "cows", "nelfs", and the class terms like "pally" and "huntard"... they never really bothered me at all.

K said...

I've roleplayed (not on WoW) in the past. Choosing what to be offended by and how to react to it is something that roleplayers need to figure out ahead of time! And it involves really knowing your character. :)

So saying, OOC Space Goat is kind of fitting. IC Space Goat is .. well, I guess it depends on context. If I'm a space goat and I call myself a space goat, or a good friend of mine calls me space goat, that's okay. If someone calls me 'space goat' and they MEAN it derogatively, that's entirely different. It's entirely the connotation put on a word that makes it offensive, as well as how you percieve it. Make any sense? :)

You wake it, you tank it. said...

YOU CAN'T USE THAT WORD! THAT IS OUR WORD!

K said...

But I have a space goat alt, so I can so use that word!

So shaddup, smelly dorf.