A thought on recognizing women and minority gamers


Pathfinder Society

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Silver Crusade 5/5

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This is a thought that’s been floating around my head for a few weeks, and recent events have made me decide that it’s a thought worth being made public.

Paizo has an award that is given out to their Volunteer of the Year at PaizoCon every year, and I think it’s great that they acknowledge their volunteer community this way. A lot of volunteers put a lot of effort into making the Paizo community the largely positive place that it is, and this deserves recognition.

What I would like to see is some kind of award that specifically calls out and recognizes women and minority gamers who have made large contributions to the Pathfinder community. We are all (or should be) aware that women and minorities face barriers to entry and advancement in the hobby. It’s not uncommon for me when I meet a new woman gamer for one of our first conversations to be about our shared adversity. I don’t know a single woman gamer who doesn’t have at least one story of someone treating her badly. I don’t know many non-white gamers at all, and I’m an active member of the Baltimore PFS community.

I can think of a number of women who are prominent on the boards and in the PFS community who I would like to see recognized for their efforts. I would like to see other minorities recognized in similar ways.

As a friend recently pointed out to me, the hobby is changing. There are more women and minorities involved in gaming than than there ever have been before. Those who stick with it bear the emotional costs of the change, but without them, it can’t happen at all.

Scarab Sages 5/5

I think this is a fantastic idea.

4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Good idea.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not sure how it could be worded, but the basic idea is a sound one, and something strongly worth considering, at the very least.

Far too often we get wrapped into preconceived notions and we don't explore better larger options that improve the community as a whole.

Silver Crusade 5/5

I think an award for women is a great idea and well worth exploring.

It is far less clear to me that an award for minority gamers would be a good idea.

You instantly get into issues of "What is a minority" (remember, PFS is an international organization and that question is going to get different answers in different geographies).

Based on local numbers (Toronto) its also far less clear to me that it is needed. While the number of women is most definitely far below 50% there are at least some visible minorities where the proportion isn't that far off from the actual percentages.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would think more issues would arise from a reward that just because your a specific Sex or a different Race (Minority?) then just creating more nonspecific Gender/racial rewards. If there is an Award I would suggest that EVERYONE has an equal chance to contribute or work for that said reward. Wouldn't be fair for White Males if they are specifically singled out do to factors they never had a choice in.

The Exchange

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Are the campaign service awards not enough to encourage and recognize anyone who goes above and beyond on behalf of the campaign?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would think Paizo deserves such an award as a company.

They not only employ a diverse group of people, but they tell diverse stories and use diverse characters that is truly a first for the industry.

I'm sure there's somewhere we could nominate them.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

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Ragoz wrote:
Are the campaign service awards not enough to encourage and recognize anyone who goes above and beyond on behalf of the campaign?
These are not specific to gender or race. If you know of someone in the community that should be recognized, please send me an email at organizedplay@paizo.com with their name, forum name, and why you think they should be recognized.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Kelvorn wrote:
I would think more issues would arise from a reward that just because your a specific Sex or a different Race (Minority?) then just creating more nonspecific Gender/racial rewards. If there is an Award I would suggest that EVERYONE has an equal chance to contribute or work for that said reward. Wouldn't be fair for White Males if they are specifically singled out do to factors they never had a choice in.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them" - Albert Einstein

Should we address issues caused by treating people of different genders/races/nationality/whatever differently, by creating awards for persons of different genders/races/nationality/whatever?... Just something to think about...


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This idea seems a bit misguided, if you want someone to feel like they belong, making a seperate special prize for them hardly seems like a way do it.


Ragoz wrote:
Are the campaign service awards not enough to encourage and recognize anyone who goes above and beyond on behalf of the campaign?

If you specifically want to encourage women and minorities, then they're not enough, because they don't serve that purpose.

They would run the risk of being seen as a consolation prize or an excuse not to give the "real" awards to women or minorities.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

While good intentioned, I think rewards like that could look like tokenism. Rather, maybe consider a reward for efforts in expanding the hobby's diversity or appeal. Then you reward people furthering the goal of building a more diverse base whether it be through outreach, inclusive design/writing, or being an influential leader within their own community (be it a community based on gender, sexuality, or race).

Scarab Sages 5/5

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So lets look at the two most prestigious awards that Paizo hands out, and look at how many women have won the awards.

2008: Tim Nightengale
2009: Liz Courts
2010: Mark Moreland
2011: Doug Miles
2012: Kyle Elliott
2013: Dave Harrison & Rob Silk
2014: Ryan Costello & Jefferson Jay Thacker

I can't find the rest... but I know the guy who does Archives of Nethys got one I think in 2015... I don't recall who got 2016 or 2017 awards but I think they were dudes.

Then the new Wayfinder award was given to Bob Jonquet and another dude I'm pretty sure.

Of all those awards, only one woman. And there are a LOT of women who volunteer for Paizo and PFS and make this engine run extremely smoothly, and they are extremely underrepresented in the awards.

Grand Lodge

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Tallow wrote:

So lets look at the two most prestigious awards that Paizo hands out, and look at how many women have won the awards.

2008: Tim Nightengale
2009: Liz Courts
2010: Mark Moreland
2011: Doug Miles
2012: Kyle Elliott
2013: Dave Harrison & Rob Silk
2014: Ryan Costello & Jefferson Jay Thacker

I can't find the rest... but I know the guy who does Archives of Nethys got one I think in 2015... I don't recall who got 2016 or 2017 awards but I think they were dudes.

Then the new Wayfinder award was given to Bob Jonquet and another dude I'm pretty sure.

Of all those awards, only one woman. And there are a LOT of women who volunteer for Paizo and PFS and make this engine run extremely smoothly, and they are extremely underrepresented in the awards.

Am I missing something here? Why should the award consider the amount of people of each sex/race/ethnicity who have won it so far? They're given out to people who have truly distinguished themselves up and above the norm. That has 0 to do with race or sex.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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so perhaps we should recommend one or more of the women who volunteer?

Until Marie Curie won hers, no woman had won a Nobel Prize. (IMHO) We would not have advanced as far as we have if we had created another Award for "Women of Science" - or given a "Gender Based" Nobel Prize - it sure wouldn't have meant as much if we had given her a "Special Gender Based Award"... (I personally think the woman had Super Powers - heck, she DEFINED Radioactive ...)

Or at least, IMHO.

Want to see more Women receiving Recognition? (or more Minorities, or more Old Fat Myopic White Guys, or more Large Scandinavian Canis lupus?) Send Tonya an email to recommend them.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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I'm going to step back on this now... some of the responses I'm seeing are not uncommon from men in suggestions like this. I'd be interested to see what the women think.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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Bill Dunn wrote:
While good intentioned, I think rewards like that could look like tokenism. Rather, maybe consider a reward for efforts in expanding the hobby's diversity or appeal. Then you reward people furthering the goal of building a more diverse base whether it be through outreach, inclusive design/writing, or being an influential leader within their own community (be it a community based on gender, sexuality, or race).

Agreed, if you want to promote diversity/inclusiveness give out a reward to someone who does that. Recognizing someone simply because they are female or a minority is nothing but a token offer. Though certainly I would love to see a more diverse player base. Unfortunately, I am not sure all of the community wants that.

Liberty's Edge

Tallow wrote:
I'm going to step back on this now... some of the responses I'm seeing are not uncommon from men in suggestions like this. I'd be interested to see what the women think.

This. I think the overall goal of increasing the amount of diverse participation in the hobby is a good one. However, I think that maybe those in the minority (women and persons of color) that ARE already involved should be the ones to get together and determine what encouraged them/would encourage them to participate more.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

talbanus wrote:
Tallow wrote:
I'm going to step back on this now... some of the responses I'm seeing are not uncommon from men in suggestions like this. I'd be interested to see what the women think.
This. I think the overall goal of increasing the amount of diverse participation in the hobby is a good one. However, I think that maybe those in the minority (women and persons of color) that ARE already involved should be the ones to get together and determine what encouraged them/would encourage them to participate more.

I'm going to need to think long and hard on my reply.

Silver Crusade 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

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As a woman, I find the suggestion some combination of insulting and distasteful. I find 'first woman to to X' a meaningless thing to discuss, and I do not support any awards given to a person because of age, race, gender, or anything other than what they have earned/done to help/achieved. Suggesting an award that is given only to women brings far too many echoes in my head of college professors who were convinced that female students needed extra 'help.'

However, I am unusual in that I don't see diversity as a goal. I don't care what the statistics are, I just want to play a game with other people who enjoy that game, whatever demographics they fall into. I don't want to be invited to play a game because of my gender, I want to be invited because people think I would be fun to play with.

2/5

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My thoughts on the matter align with Redelia's. Diversity for the sake of diversity isn't something that I give much thought to. And while I appreciate the thought, I'd personally rather receive an award/recognition for being an outstanding person who does <X> than an outstanding woman who does <X>. I would want to earn such a thing for myself legitimately and not because someone's got a quota to meet or because they see I'm a woman and feel that they have to throw me some sort of a bone out of guilt.

But I'm also well aware that this viewpoint might be unusual among women gamers and so I only speak for myself.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

TheJeff wrote:
Does that list really accurately reflect those who have truly distinguished themselves? Have 10 times as many men done so as women?

At a convention that's not that far off from the gender ratios. The top of your pyramids going to look a lot like the bottom.


Redelia wrote:

As a woman, I find the suggestion some combination of insulting and distasteful. I find 'first woman to to X' a meaningless thing to discuss, and I do not support any awards given to a person because of age, race, gender, or anything other than what they have earned/done to help/achieved. Suggesting an award that is given only to women brings far too many echoes in my head of college professors who were convinced that female students needed extra 'help.'

However, I am unusual in that I don't see diversity as a goal. I don't care what the statistics are, I just want to play a game with other people who enjoy that game, whatever demographics they fall into. I don't want to be invited to play a game because of my gender, I want to be invited because people think I would be fun to play with.

Creating special girl-awards and minority-awards does seem like some sort of repudiation against either the people who get them or the community as a whole. I don't feel up to speaking to whether a repudiation of the community based on gender or minority discrimination is deserved.

I have felt mistreated by this community on more than one occasion. I disapprove of people being mistreated. If more people speak out against mistreatment of women and minorities, I think it will lead to my being mistreated less.

It does seem appropriate to somehow use the awards as a way to encourage diversity, outreach, and cultivation of a welcoming environment.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
Does that list really accurately reflect those who have truly distinguished themselves? Have 10 times as many men done so as women?
At a convention that's not that far off from the gender ratios. The top of your pyramids going to look a lot like the bottom.

Possible, though the little experience I have with conventions suggests that the percentage of women involved with putting on the con is much higher than among the attendees. That experience is limited and dated though, so I could easily be wrong.

I did think I'd seen reports that female Con attendance was well above 10%, though nowhere near half.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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I’m proud that Paizo has a female CEO, a female OPC and many female developers. From my expererience, women are pretty heavily outnumbered in PFS, but if they stick around they’re likely to become GMs and volunteers.

As much as I’d like to see more women recognized for their efforts, I’m not sure that I want a separate award for us. If I were to win an award, I wouldn’t want it to be because people needed a woman to nominate, and there I was. I would want it to be because folks asked themselves: “Who’s made this community a better place?” and they thought of me. There’s a difference there.

That said, I would love a way to make us more visible in the wider Paizo Community. At local conventions, I see more women than I do at the big national events like PaizoCon and GenCon. Some of that may be a matter of economics, and the realities that parenting has on travel and volunteer time. Still... What can we do to break down walls, and increase visibility?

It could be an interesting question to consider going forward.

Hmm

Scarab Sages 3/5

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I'd rather we not diminish anyone's contributions by giving them another category, separate and smaller, to be recognized in.


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I think the best way to encourage 'people*' to get involved is to show them that their effort is appreciated.

If we want to encourage more 'people' to join the hobby, and get involved, we show them that it is a fun hobby, and a safe hobby, and as a player base we shun those that do not help make it a safe space.

I think the best way to get 'people' to think about coming through, is to make a fuss about discrimination, and show that we do not accept it within the hobby.
There is a fear of discrimination and outsiderism in everything.
We alleviate this by being as welcoming as we can, by making the 'new guy*' feel welcome, and by telling those who discriminate or who pick on the 'new guy' to take a long walk of a short pier.

*Being genderless, ageless, raceless, etc.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
Does that list really accurately reflect those who have truly distinguished themselves? Have 10 times as many men done so as women?
At a convention that's not that far off from the gender ratios. The top of your pyramids going to look a lot like the bottom.

Depending upon how long it takes for people to get from the bottom of the pyramid to the top, the top of the pyramid might look quite a lot different from the bottom, because instead it looks more like what the bottom used to look like. This is assuming equal retention rates, which is not a safe assumption, especially if people who don't look like most of the people in the pyramid feel unwelcome, even if for no other reason(*) than feeling out of place.

(*)Also not a safe assumption.

Although having a special award for people who look different from most of the people in the pyramid might seem at first glance like a way to welcome more different people in, it is likely to backfire in ways detailed in several posts above, so it would be better to consider some other type of outreach.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

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For me, the best nod I can give women and minority is to treat them like any other player, not to single them either positively or negatively. That would only backfire like some others already said.

Even if it takes lots of time, let the time do the job. It took me 4 years to evolve from Hack'n'slasher to someone who includes everything of what a RPG entails and as such taking time to train new players if needed. This idea is like forcing an issue, and I don't really like that. Some are too passionate on that topic when that needs to be more laid back.

4/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 aka dien

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As another woman gamer (and VO), count me in the boat of not really wanting a 'for the girls' award. By all means nominate women you feel deserve it (and minorities), but I think that has to come from fellow people in the community putting those individuals forward, and not from the top down. I know that if I were to receive a 'best FEMALE contributor' award, my response would sort of be a toothachey "...thanks?"

Just my two cents.


To add to what I posted above, as part of outreach, instead of adding special awards, work on removing obstacles.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So at the sake of turning this into a 'Bill and Ted's' Eddie Van Halen logic loop:

How can we work in our larger conventions and community to be more approachable for traditionally under-represented people WITHOUT coming off as condescending and/or insulting?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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A while back I was setting up my table to GM and was approached by a girl interested in trying out Pathfinder. I showered her the stack of pregens I'd brought with me and she was pleasantly surprised to see about half of them being women in sensible adventuring gear.

Looking at the artwork of the pregens, you also see several different ethnicities represented. (Hayato, Yoon, Quinn, Seelah to name a few.)

Scarab Sages 5/5

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I think its important to note, that the OP is a woman and suggested this idea.

However, all the other women who have commented on this thread don't want a special reward just for women. If the majority (and I realize that 3 or 4 posters does not constitute a majority) of women don't want something like this, then it would be irresponsible to force something like this into existence.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Redelia wrote:

As a woman, I find the suggestion some combination of insulting and distasteful. I find 'first woman to to X' a meaningless thing to discuss, and I do not support any awards given to a person because of age, race, gender, or anything other than what they have earned/done to help/achieved. Suggesting an award that is given only to women brings far too many echoes in my head of college professors who were convinced that female students needed extra 'help.'

The problem with this logic is that if you are at all intimate with it anyone else who isn't a white pastey cisgender male could use all the help they could get. This industry and hobby is a giant mine field to navigate.

EDIT:
Also, its not exactly like your method works any better. Last Gencon had similar grumblings of tokenism despite the fact that their list included someone who on the same level of D&D on influence.
Quote:

Of all those awards, only one woman. And there are a LOT of women who volunteer for Paizo and PFS and make this engine run extremely smoothly, and they are extremely underrepresented in the awards.

Wait what award are we talking about because I was told the Nethys person won a completely different award?

Silver Crusade 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Redelia wrote:

As a woman, I find the suggestion some combination of insulting and distasteful. I find 'first woman to to X' a meaningless thing to discuss, and I do not support any awards given to a person because of age, race, gender, or anything other than what they have earned/done to help/achieved. Suggesting an award that is given only to women brings far too many echoes in my head of college professors who were convinced that female students needed extra 'help.'

The problem with this logic is that if you are at all intimate with it anyone else who isn't a white pastey cisgender male could use all the help they could get. This industry and hobby is a giant mine field to navigate.

EDIT:
Also, its not exactly like your method works any better. Last Gencon had similar grumblings of tokenism despite the fact that their list included someone who on the same level of D&D on influence.

I'm not suggesting any method. I'm more disagreeing with the goal. I don't think diversity is a good goal. A good goal is openness to whoever wants to play. And you can never measure progress to that by counting heads.

I have in the past received some of these kind of 'gender specific' recognition in another area of endeavor, and they taste of dust and ashes. They make things I worked hard on and should be proud of instead feel like something I should be ashamed of.

Scarab Sages 5/5

MadScientistWorking wrote:


Wait what award are we talking about because I was told the Nethys person won a completely different award?

Volunteer of the Year. It was announced at Paizo Con 2015 during the Banquet. I don't recall who won in 2016 or 2017 though.

Scarab Sages 5/5

More names:

Award: Order of the Wayfinder
2016 - Bob Jonquet
2017 - Al Rigg

Award: Volunteer of the Year
2017 - David Jacobson

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

Edited

Award: Volunteer of the Year

2008 - Tim Nightengale
2009 - Liz Courts
2010 - Mark Moreland
2011 - Doug Miles
2012 - Kyle Elliott
2013 - Dave Harrison and Rob Silk
2014 - Ryan Costello and Jefferson Thacker
2015 - Blake Davis
2016 - David Jacobson

Scarab Sages 5/5

Auke Teeninga wrote:

Award: Volunteer of the Year

2015 - Ryan Costello and Jefferson Thacker (Know Direction)
2016 - Blake Davis (Archives of Nethys)

So who won in 2014 then?

The initial list that Tonya posted in a blog listed 2014 as Ryan and Jefferson.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

Tallow wrote:
Auke Teeninga wrote:

Award: Volunteer of the Year

2015 - Ryan Costello and Jefferson Thacker (Know Direction)
2016 - Blake Davis (Archives of Nethys)

So who won in 2014 then?

The initial list that Tonya posted in a blog listed 2014 as Ryan and Jefferson.

Ah! The year they reward the award is the year after! So Blake is 2015 and David is 2016

Scarab Sages 5/5

Auke Teeninga wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Auke Teeninga wrote:

Award: Volunteer of the Year

2015 - Ryan Costello and Jefferson Thacker (Know Direction)
2016 - Blake Davis (Archives of Nethys)

So who won in 2014 then?

The initial list that Tonya posted in a blog listed 2014 as Ryan and Jefferson.

Ah! The year they reward the award is the year after! So Blake is 2015 and David is 2016

Aha! Thanks Auke

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Redelia wrote:


I'm not suggesting any method. I'm more disagreeing with the goal. I don't think diversity is a good goal. A good goal is openness to whoever wants to play. And you can never measure progress to that by counting heads.

Once again though the problem with your logic is that without diversity your plan is going to fail miserably because your still going to drive people away.

Scarab Sages 5/5

MadScientistWorking wrote:
Redelia wrote:


I'm not suggesting any method. I'm more disagreeing with the goal. I don't think diversity is a good goal. A good goal is openness to whoever wants to play. And you can never measure progress to that by counting heads.
Once again though the problem with your logic is that without diversity your plan is going to fail miserably because your still going to drive people away.

You do realize that you are mansplaining right now right?

The Exchange 1/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

All I know is that I attended a small con in a small Midwestern town last weekend and I was welcome and included. I ran 3 tables and played 4 and at those tables I played with women, blacks, Asians, arabs, transgenders, gaymers and people with disabilities and guess what? We all had fun together!

Now I know your mileage my very, and in your area things may be more skewed one way or another, but what I'm getting at is that none of those people stood out to me until I read over these post and sat and thought about the diversity of who was there. I just saw GAMERS!

If you are dedicated, promote the hobby, volunteer, run games, run cons, do things that are "award worthy" you will be recognized. If not with a Major Award, then surely by the love, thanks, and admiration from your players, fellow GMs, and Venture Critters you run and organize games for.

Do things because you enjoy it and for the love of the hobby/game not looking for recognition. If you do that will shine through to people. Having people sign up for games I'm running, hearing them say they had a great time after my game, or having them say, "oh cool your playing at my table!" is the best award/reward for me. Anything else is gravy!

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

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Tallow wrote:
You do realize that you are mansplaining right now right?

I understand where you're coming from, but just because one is a he, doesn't mean he fits into the 'straight white male' category. The OP was talking about women and minorities, and telling the minorities that their opinion isn't as valid as a women's on this topic is against the grain of the topic. The problem with messageboard aliases is that one (generally) never knows who's on the other side of a post, unless you know them personally. In fact, posting as myself instead of my main alias because I do want to be recognized by anyone reading.

That said, I've finally thought about this enough to weigh in.

I would love to see more women/minorities get the volunteer of the year award Paizo gives out, but I don't want to create a separate award just for them. As others have said, it lessens the award, because you weren't being held to the same criteria as the existing award. We should measure someone by the same standard across the board, not create different standards for different subsets, or else you lose the feeling of really being recognized as above and beyond.

We have a very diverse group here in Boston, though still not as much as we would love it to be. We switch off monthly between a Ladies Night, and a LGBTQA Night, both of which are very popular, and well received by the lodge (which is why we continue to have them). Within our region, we try to recognize those who step up and contributes to making everyone feel welcome in the lodge, and I sincerely hope every player knows how much we value their participation. But we can do better, and we're constantly brainstorming ways to improve.

As to ideas towards bringing minorities into the game, visibility in advertising is a good way to do that. Having diverse pregens is awesome and a great tool, but more often than not when I see pictures of conventions, the tables are primarily made up of white men. I'm not suggesting staging a table for pictures, but focusing on tables with a more diverse group shows all those groups that they're welcome at the event. Women and minorities seeing other women and minorities already participating and having fun helps (maybe subconsciously) take away the dread of not belonging or feeling welcome, and instead turns thoughts towards 'well if they're doing well, then maybe I could, too'.

Dark Archive

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If you have to include diversity, for the sake of diversity - you've failed as a company, person, etc.

We all play and support a game we enjoy. There is an award that goes out for people who have moved mountains for Paizo. Pretty sure they look at what herculean tasks these people have done, not what they look like, or their jiggly parts.

Making an award for a specific type of people, is stupidity at it's finest.

That's all I got for this topic.

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