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NISEI Real Talk™: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/nisei-real-talk-equality-diversity-and-inclusion/

Discuss the latest article here.

@bblum mod edit:

Please note this thread will be moderated in accordance with the code of conduct stated in the forum’s main diversity discussion thread, which is stricter than the forum’s normal rules. In particular, posts questioning the need for this conversation in the first place (which, I will note, the article itself justifies) will not be tolerated.

Users who have any issues with these rules are welcome to take it up in direct message with a forum moderator, NOT in this thread. Abusing this to troll the mods (i.e., anything that can be refuted by quoting parts of the article back at you) will, of course, also not be tolerated.


Fat people got no representation.
And no, Whizzard was no that fat.

While I have a very different view from the usual talks on these matters (let’s just say my frenchness leaves me in a gray area), this always stroke me : people aren’t sexualized in ANR, but most (99%) of characters are fit.

I can walk 5 minutes in Paris, which is supposed to be the slim people country, and I see more fat people, and fatter people than in the whole card pool (which is actually 0).

And pardon my french if “fat” is a bad word. I don’t know the policaly correct for this, and I really don’t like politically correctness because it hides problems (for exemple this one).
This is just sincereness from me, if not clumsyness (as usual).

Also : every handicaped people is supposed to be rich enough to get those fancy implants. I don’t think this would happen in the future. In a dystopian universe, I don’t see any reason that social security (and retirement) problems get solved.

Third thing : the rotation removed most of the ecological themes and this serie of very near problems got no coverage.


You’re absolutely right, @anon34370798. And this is why the community taking over is great: We can do even better than FFG did.

We can show people who have disabilities that are aren’t washed away by scifi magic and privilege. We can show people who are fat (I don’t know the PC word either). We can have more sensitivity to culture than they did (Let’s be real, Jinteki is sometimes culturally insensitive).

What’s more is that, as long as I (and many, many others behind the scenes) have breath and a say in this, we will do these things.


First and foremost. HELL. YEAH.

Excellent article. Thank you whomever in the Acting Staff put this together. Whether it was an individual or a group effort. Thank you.

Next: @anon34370798 You’re right. This is one area to be aware of when choosing art for future designs. Thank you for bringing it up. It coincides with a good twitter thread my friend was talking about this very same thing just a few minutes ago. So, coincidence? Or the fact that this is a thing that needs to be paid better attention to? I’ll take the later on that.

There are other areas that can be paid attention to as well, and Netrunner has done well so far but as Syntax pointed out there are gaps. Pointing out the gaps isn’t a bad thing. Some things will take time though, since new designs and especially new art is going to be a long ways off, keeping tabs on the gaps is going to be important.



What you and Syntax point out is what we want. Call out what is underserved and underrepresented. Make your voices heard. Help people who aren’t like you if you think they’re being washed out of the picture. We want to bake inclusion into this effort. That beings with all of you bringing issues to NISEI’s attention whenever they come up.


Love that you’re coming out of the gate swinging on this topic. Thank you.

I was looking at the old Increasing Diversity… thread and was noticing that the end of official support changed a lot of the issues it was discussing. Good to see the team is thinking things through past “how to keep netrunner going” but to “how to make netrunner better”.

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ANR diversity is okay-ish. I don’t place it on the best-game-ever-made on these matter. It got the merit to open talks about it.

I’m pretty tolerant irl and it never shocked or questionned me, so maybe FFG did it right in a sense that it’s ok “for everyone” to know or ignore that this character is from here or there, think this or that, etc.

I mean : this game is not close to any revendication. It just shows.
It showed people but not impose their views on the world. No character got clear revendications, FFG just scenographied the dudes.
For exemple, MaxX could really in-character have showed the middle finger. She did not and I guess this was not possible. Her ID shows the english middle finger which, to my french eyes, is more a funny and laughable gesture (sorry guys, still love-hate-love-hate-love-hate you) than an agressive gesture.

Fun, ok for FFG to put in a game. Agressive or too serious (too “pathos”), not okay.

Too wide open differences are not showed because, I think, the commercial nature of the game had to make compromises.

To me, ANR just showed differences like USA showed blacks people in 80’s movies. It was ok, but it’s just a first step.

And everyone is nice was a motto. Like in the80’s in order to be accepted by the mass, the character have to become the spectators’ buddies.

I don’t really remember where I read “there is no ugly characters in games and games can’t show irl” but this always have been true in my 41 years of gaming.

Heroes can’t be ugly.

I don’t say fat = ugly as I was as fat as Whizzard 2 years ago and I’ve got self-esteem, but this is considered by visual artists a problem : draw two drawings, a fat character, a slim character, 90% of the time the slim character get picked by the editor.
And artist needs to eat too.

I wonder if drawings would be the right way to illustrate NISEI cards. I could see photos + photoshop (for scene) to see real people on these ones. So people would be “normal” size, some fat, some slim, and show the real world.
That would be a comeback to what oldnetrunner showed.

I’m not sure if I’m clear enough, sorry for this.

Now. About religions, ANR showed no one.

The great challenge of D&I efforts in my years working on it has been that there are two types of people: people who deny D&I matter, and people who agree D&I matter but disagree how best to accomplish true inclusion. This article is great for reaching the former group, but I suspect from my experience in this community that it’s better at combatting D&I denialism than most.

So I think the implied follow-up article - how do we make this a welcoming and inclusive community? - will be quite relevant. I eagerly anticipate it.


I would like to note that for the (fairly) recent Dominaria expansion set, Magic the Gathering switched from using “him or her” and “his or her”, to the more inclusive terms they and theirs. I personally feel that this is a very good change. A lot of players were worried about multiplayer and the inclusion of both the singular and plural “they”, which has proven not to be a problem - and I don’t believe that it would be a problem for Android: Netrunner either. Now that a major TCG has already made the change and ANR is going through this phase, I believe that this is the best time to change up the language, with many reasons to do it, and very few not to.

I therefore suggest that a document with errata to more inclusive language (which I have already made, if anybody is interested) is released, and that all cards released under the NISEI initiative in the future use their instead of his or her.

e.g. Akshara Shareen; Each player has 1 additional click to spend during his or her turn -> Each player has 1 additional click to spend during their turn

Certainly they did. Referencing The Worlds of Android p. 225:

“In the year following humanity’s first venture into space, all of the world’s major world religions were in crisis.”
“Whenever a religion allied itself with the interest of a state, it only seemed to help fuel the decline of both; any short term gain was met with a greater long-term loss, and fundamentalism as it was undertsoodd at the turn of the millennium began to decline.”
“Today, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Gaiaism, and other traditions all exist in the world, on Luna, and on Mars.”
“A number of new traditions have also emerged, adding to an already-diverse mix of paths and pilgrims. Placess of worship can be found virtually anywhere; as traditions evolve, so do the places where the faithful gather. In the crushing density of New Angeles one can find a church, mosque, synagogue, or shrine huddled in a store-front, amid a shopping district, on a rooftop, or in the pristine garden of a much larger arcology.”

This is not necessarily directly reflected on many of the cards, but I do believe a few of the Runners are in fact religious. There are also some major new religions that have appeared in the game, such as The Starlight Crusade and The Order of Sol, the latter of which is incredibly interesting.
I believe that the designers and worldbuilders of Android wanted to avoid using religion as a major theme, because it quickly devolves into “major religions are outdated”, which really is just not an incredibly useful or interesting theme, while also being political in the sense that the game becomes anti-religion.

I believe that thare are more interesting topics that are useful for worldbuilding and discussion, without including any of the major world religions, such as the question of whether Clones have a soul, which includes both the anti-clone religion The Starlight Crusade, as well as clone cults that believe that clones of one DNA strand share the same soul, centering themselves around the belief that they are mutually responsible for the whole strands spiritual wellbeing, while some Jinteki-as-Creator cults worship Jinteki as a modern day God, for creating the clones and therefore a whole new form of life.


@Terrificy: I disagree with all of this, this is where “I’m gray” and when I’m strongly disagreeing with the trope “its either with us or against us on these matters”.

I don’t want to hide the differences by using “they” or saying it’s ok to hide the religions because they declined, or that esthetic chirurgy is so cheap that no one is fat (this says “fat = bad”, “don’t bother us with what you think” and “girls and boys are all the same”).

Difference are ok, and even, great. So show them. Celebrate them. Mix them. I want to see bits of carrots and ugly potatoes in my melting-pot, not an uniform mixed sauce.

I want NISEI to show them. And if this make people, who can’t bear hated images, flee from the game, I’m ok with that.

French have masculine and feminine words (and german is laughing at us because they have a neutral gender aswell). English use only neutral gender but bits of french langage put in english langage use feminine words.Think enchanter/enchanteress (enchanteur, enchanteresse in french, = the one who induce chants (chants are a media for magic in celt culture) inside people or objects).

Neutral words for lots of works and fonctions have been used for lots of terms in french because historically/ culturally, these works and fonctions have been filled by men. One of the many current feminist combat in France says “let’s feminimize everything, even if it’s ugly” (i disagree with the “even if it’s ugly” part).

For exemple : writer. It have no masculine in “by the book” french. A word was invented, but it’s ugly, and use of french as a living langage won’t let the word survive if it’s ugly.

If you say “just use +they+”, it’s typically what they are all against atm, because neutral words and uses of they hides representation. Just like before but this time with ugly words. On top of that the neutral “they” in french is… masculine of course.

There is a second trend here that use the feminine words everywhere that is possible, with the aim of deconstructing gender habits. When they talk for exemple about players (joueurs), they exclusivly use the feminine words for player (joueuses), and use “she/her” everywhere, and never “he/his” like the french grammar says (neutral = masculine, in french), even if they talk about boys. They replace the masculine words for neutral gender by feminine words for neutral gender.

It’s another solution. It have the advantage of not using ugly words, but replace it by an ugly grammar (and hide the last bits of chivalry left in our langage, that I like, that some feminist don’t like, but that’s another discussable problem).
I had real rejects of that at the begining. Now I can hear it, but I won’t use that in my life, I’m quite sure about this.

From the article:

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that we have to listen to you, give you a platform, or cater to you in our events or spaces. We will use our free speech to tell you we think you’re wrong and call you out.

Nobody’s telling you that you’re not entitled to your opinion. What is the “diversity of viewpoints” that you are not seeing represented? That being inclusive of marginalized human beings is less important than you not having to hear about marginalized human beings? If so, that’s shitty. If not, I’m not really sure what you disagree with because you never actually said it in your comment.

At any rate, this idea that a “diversity of opinion” which excludes others must be tolerated is hogwash, modulo “if you are tolerant you have to tolerate intolerance or that makes you intolerant,” which is dumb.


This emphasis on inclusivity isn’t the reason I play Netrunner but it is a reason I feel good about it. I love that the game has taken this seriously in the past and that the community will continue to do so in the future.

There are always going to be people who object, but the notion that tolerance and inclusivity is a radical ideology is absurd enough that it doesn’t really need further comment.

I’m glad that NISEI is setting down the expectations up front that this sort of thing will be important going forward because this is the time to say it, before positions start getting filled and plans start being firmed up. It’s important that the people getting on board are all clear about what direction we’re going in.


With all due respect, what is there even to debate here? Saying we’re gonna promote diversity in our community is neither specific policy nor controvertial.

When we had that problem with a cast a year or so ago, the initiative to correct bad conduct to make the community feel safer was a good one. As issues come up or are brought to NISEI’s attention by people who are affected by them, I think the best thing they can do is act like a good role model and promote proper conduct in the community at each specific instance.

As far as proactive initiatives are concerned, I am curious to hear what the plans are to increase diversity from the outset, since this is a difficult problem to solve beyond exposure and promoting an accessible, safe community. In my life I’ve conducted myself in as decent a manner as possible and I’ve tried to introduce Netrunner to all my friends, but that hasn’t been enough to increase diversity. In this anecdotal instance, I’m not gonna try to force any individual’s hand on the game, but maybe there are things I’m missing that people closer to the issues can shed light on in the future.

As far as promoting diversity in NISEI itself, one has to trust that, as in other academic communities, they’ll choose a diverse selection of candidates from among qualified applicants, which I have absolutely no problem doing. Even in cases where you might disagree with a candidate choice attacking someone as a “diversity hire” is simply not proper when any legitimate criticism of a candidate would boil down to their specific actions.

My only criticism of the article is that it phrases diversity as a political issue (however briefly). When you get into politics and political narratives both sides tend to talk past each other because they’re using shorthand from other discussions and in the worst cases resorting to tribal rhetoric. I think for the healthiest possible discussion, diversity should focus on policy, not politics.


I have added a mod edit to the top post but I will repeat it here. Posts questioning the need for action and conversation about diversity – which, in the special case of this thread, can usually be refuted simply by quoting parts of the original article – are not welcome here.

I would also like to remind everyone to please try to keep the conversation productive and avoid getting sucked into circular arguments. If you see something that doesn’t belong, just use the flag button and move on.


Loved the Australia bit. Also really liked the linked survey and strongly recommend everyone takes it. Fun to fill out and I think the data will be interesting. Also, I work in a field where people perform research or support others’ research, so I see a lot of surveys. This one handled the “gender” marker far better than many professional researchers. So kudos on that.

I generally don’t think it’s worth engaging with the anti-diversity caucus but in case any of them are reading: it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the paradox of tolerance. A tolerant society cannot tolerate intolerance, lest it become itself intolerant. The goal is not to limit your free speech or participation, it is about providing space for others that your very ideology excludes.


Long time lurker and long time player here.

I just had to create an account to tell you: I’m so very happy to read these things about diversity, inclusion and equality. It makes me happy to see that Nisei will take active action towards this. Nisei is left with a solid legacy and foundation from FFG, but as always, it can be even better.


Just to clarify, I believe the issue @Terrificy is speaking of here is that the term “his or her” is exclusive of people who do not identify with either of the traditional binary genders and so use other pronouns. It’s something that people do already unconsciously - for example when I play against a stranger on jnet, I would refer to that person as “them” seeing as I don’t have any conception of their gender, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t expand that usage to card text which needs to be inclusive of anyone who might happen to be playing the game.


Great article @shanodin! I’m sorry for all the hate in responses from some people on Reddit and Dorks. But, it’s been great to see people respond to that hate with the content of the article.

Next time we have one of these there needs to be a section on tone policing, like:

Why are you yelling at me? You’re making me uncomfortable with your tone. Wouldn’t it be better for the community if we had a civil discussion about this?


Hallo everybody. Long term casual player and long term lurker here.

Well, I have problems understanding here whether the issue is on diversity OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPANTS or OF SETTING CHARACTERS.

For the first one, I hope that everything which can be done will be done: accept low quality proxies in tournaments, accept translated cards, avoid color combination on relevant elements and, for the elderly like me, avoid tiny text on dark background. We could also avoid some potentially offensive content, but there will always be somebody disappointed about something. I do not think we should do any extra effort focused deliberately on including diverse players: c’mon, it’s a free game, if somebody wants to play, he/she does without targetet marketing.

For the latter, I have a radical controversial position. I do NOT think it is an issue at all. ANR is set in the Android universe for which we have 6 romances, several games and an entire worldbook. These define the setting very well. If something/body is suitable and believable for it, include it, if it is absurd omit it, if it can be, discuss about it. Is it probable that there would be a tech for hair replacement? I’m sorry, no bald characters unless those for whom we suppose that he/she explicitly wants to be bald.

A final comment: I have always found ridiculous that FFG takes special care in using always “he or she”, while sometimes there are some poor or ambiguous wording. I wouldn’t be offended if I were referred as “she” (I am male), so I don’t see why they couldn’t choose a pronoun and stick with it. But pleeeeease, do not introduce something such as "he or she or it or they"or similar circomlocutions… the cards would be unreadable!

My two cents, and my best wishes for this initiative!

“They” ends up working fairly well for card text in a game like netrunner because the context of rules text removes some of the potential ambiguities. The plurality or singularity in the context of a 2-player game is fairly clear. I would be very surprised if using an ungendered pronoun in card texts would cause any problems in interpreting the card’s effects, while it can address issues of gender inclusion.