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Re: FYI: debian-legal is discussing the inclusion in the Debian archive of "erotic" interactive fiction depicting the sexual abuse of children

On Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 05:39:33AM +0100, Bas Wijnen wrote:
> > >> As far as I understand, we're all defining our position 2nd hand on
> > >> Bas' analysis.
> And given the responses, my analysis obviously needs some explanation.
> This game is technically very well done.  It is a visual novel, which
> like a regular novel is intended to make the reader/player think about
> some subjects.  In this case the main subject is child abuse.
> Depending on player choices, you can see different sides of it.  That
> includes the side of the abuser.  Contrary to what people seem to have
> understood, playing this side does not make the player feel like this is
> a good idea.  In fact, it made me feel so bad with "myself", that I
> stopped playing.
Everyone will have their own personal response to that role in the game.
> There are (drawn) images of child abuse included in the game.  IMO, it
> would have been better without them, but I understand why the author
> included them: she wanted to provoke the audience.  That certainly
> worked, but for an international group like Debian it goes further, as
> these images are illegal in many places.  Therefore I don't think there
> is a question that if this game would enter Debian, those images will
> not be a part of it.  That means that if there was a fear that the game
> would be used as "entertainment for pedophiles", it won't work.  (And
> even if it would, that might even decrease actual child abuse; see
> below.)
I'm taking it you mean the images will be withdrawn from the package and
whoever downloads it will have to get them from elsewhere but they will not
be able to download them within the package.  Will the package contain any
information about that or will it simply contain the ability to download
individual requirements by posing the question to the player.

Do you think the images are purely an artistic rendition or have they been
processed from real images?  (I don't want to download the game to
check it myself.)

I think they're illegal in the UK regardless.
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 05:39:14PM +0100, Mateusz Jończyk wrote:
> > A sane person tries to judge morally their actions, which often
> > includes predicting their consequences. It has been mentioned here
> > already and I find it likely that the game may trigger some people
> > sick of paedophilia and more harm may be done.
> I wrote that.  However, I was corrected:
> http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/1961to1999/1999-effects-of-pornography.html
> While not specifically about child abuse, it shows that if (regular)
> porn is more easily available, there is a lower rate of sexual crimes
> such as rape.
> From this we cannot conclude that having such games would lower the rate
> of child abuse, but it is certainly possible.  It is very unlikely that
> it will increase it.
I haven't read that paper to determine how they built their data from what
sample sets they used but I'd like to know if the experiment has been repeated
elsewhere and what the results were for those trials.  Results may be
completely different in different parts of the world or using different samples
in the same parts of the world.

> And since this was the only reason for me to say that this game
> shouldn't be in Debian, I have changed my mind on that as well (provided
> that the illegal images are removed, and ftpmasters would accept it).
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 07:40:22PM +0100, Tobias Hansen wrote:
> > there is no Debian developer who is considering to
> > package or sponsor the game. (Or is there?)
> Yes, there is.  Nils has shown to be a well-mannered person, and I'm
> happy to help him build a proper package.  Once it's done, I have no
> problem sponsoring it.
> On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 10:05:15PM +0100, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> > Many people wouldn't want to touch this with a ten foot pole.  The
> > consequences of even showing sympathy for this type of package could
> > well have personal consequences for some people well into the future,
> This game does not make the player think that child abuse is acceptable.
> Quite the contrary, it does an excellent job of making the player very
> uncomfortable when they play the role of the abuser.
I feel you're saying the game could be using aversion therapy - see the film
Clockwork Orange[1] for a cinematic comment on the effectiveness of that.
That role made you feel bad - other people may react differently and those that
are that way inclined may not like aversion therapy being used on them.  The
study you cited before was about allowing people to access pornography more
easily - it wasn't about using aversion therapy to help people feel bad about
watching pornography so I'm ambivalent about it's application here. 

Paedophiles don't see themselves as bad or mad - they don't see anything wrong
in being sexually attracted to minors or having sex with children - they think
the rest of the world just doesn't understand it.  They may well not/will not
find that role as disturbing as you did.  This argument may support the cited
pornography study but only because the interested parties are interested and
favourable to the topic. However if the role's implementation is some form of
aversion therapy the end result may be the complete opposite. 

My ambivalence to the application of the cited study to this game remains.
> While you are right that saying anything about the subject will cause
> some people to be angry, I think that is a very bad motivation for not
> saying anything.
> > Regardless of the outcome of this discussion, I find it quite annoying
> > that people seem to long for a sympathetic protagonist and get mad when
> > a game provides something that unsettles them. It seems there is a wide
> > range of game-space that cannot ever be explored if people insist that
> > games must be shallow and fun to be ever allowed.
> Haha, indeed!  I personally like one-dimensional heroic protagonists,
> but I'm entirely with you that there should be other options available.
Instinctively my reaction to including this game is a no and I'm
exhausted trying to think it through to a yes.

Obviously, with such a contentious subject, it's going to push people's
boundaries.  As far as I understand it has some technical merit as a game which
remains without the contentious and probably internationally illegal matter
included.  I have no idea what artistic merit it has other than it pushes
people's boundaries on a contentious issue.

Thanks for your reply, Bas

Kind regards


[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066921/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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