Help with 'no-no's

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Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:29 am

So, I've decided to start working on some back story for my dark little corner of the universe, but I have some questions. At this point they are primarily 'no-no' questions, as there seem to be quite a few 'no-no's

So I have compiled a small list of thematic elements that I would like to incorporate and I would like some feedback. Not so much artistic feedback, like 'oh, that's been done before' blah, blah, blah. But more, X is a no-no and this is Y.

So here is the list, please give a shout if you see a 'no-no':

1) indentured servitude, i.e. free trip and equipment in exchange for a labor contract.

2) corporate manipulation of the populous via 'narcotic' substances, or some kind of pharmaceuticals, i.e. 'stims'. This would be in addition to other forms of manipulation, such as legal and economic.

3) crime syndicates and all of the nastiness that goes along with them.

4) terrorists and of course the nastiness that goes with them.

I'm sure that some (if not all) of these questions have been asked before, but my searching, thus far, has been rather fruitless.

Thank you for your patience and your constructive comments
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby Zero Revenge » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:34 pm

Indentured Servitude outright is a no-no, as it's a little too close to slavery for the creator's wishes. A Gilded Age style of it is better, where the workers are all supplied by the Corporation, which just does what it can to keep workers indebted into the company. The corporation ferries you to the planet [for a price], you work for the corporation, but you pay rent to the corporation for living conditions, you buy food and supplies from the corporate-run stores, etc etc. So, yes, the workers do start indebted, but outright servitude however is frowned upon; that's pseudo-slavery, and is a HUGE no-no with one of the creators.

Manipulation of the populace through drugs may also be frowned upon. That is, like Soma of "Brave New World". If you want the Corporation to have control over the planet's Healthcare system? That's an entirely different and acceptable form of control. But drugging people to make them passive is probably too far.

Don't forget, corporations have alot of power in the Solar Union, but the Transit Authority does oversee them. (Although how much is a question) Should enough of a stink be made to the Authority (or the S.U.'s Special Prosecutors), then the hammer is coming down on the Corporation.

Crime Syndicates & Terrorism are acceptable. Both are major aspects of a "Free Colony" organization. Remember, "one man's rebel is another's freedom-fighter".

Again, I can't speak for Joshua and Soren, but I hope i'm close enough to their line of thought.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:31 am

Thank you for the reply Zero (may I call you Zero?),
I very much appreciate you taking the time to explain those points. I offer the following for the sake of clarity.

Indentured Servitude outright is a no-no, as it's a little too close to slavery for the creator's wishes. A Gilded Age style of it is better, where the workers are all supplied by the Corporation, which just does what it can to keep workers indebted into the company. The corporation ferries you to the planet [for a price], you work for the corporation, but you pay rent to the corporation for living conditions, you buy food and supplies from the corporate-run stores, etc etc. So, yes, the workers do start indebted, but outright servitude however is frowned upon; that's pseudo-slavery, and is a HUGE no-no with one of the creators.


Mirriam-Webster defines indentured servitude as:
a person who signs and is bound by indentures to work for another for a specified time especially in return for payment of travel expenses and maintenance. (seems to fit the bill IMO)

This would not be outright servitude, it would be bound to terms of contract, not unconditional and not indefinite.

I find being indebted to, and utterly dependent on a single entity of power for an indeterminate amount of time sounds a lot like slavery to me.

I concede though, as it seems to me be a matter of semantics, I have no trouble not calling it "indentured servitude'

No sarcasm, just my opinion.

Moving on:

Manipulation of the populace through drugs may also be frowned upon. That is, like Soma of "Brave New World". If you want the Corporation to have control over the planet's Healthcare system? That's an entirely different and acceptable form of control. But drugging people to make them passive is probably too far.


My thought was more like a stimulant than a depressant. The corporation wants people working ten times longer and having a reduced apatite, so they don't have to supply as many rations. And, they want another form of control via addiction, equaling further dependance (making the argument of economic oppression sounds even more tempting), they don't want to turn everyone into robo-zombies, not passive, more aggressive. (I already assume that the corporation would be using healthcare manipulation as well.)

It's understandably a controversial subject, but does this perspective change the outlook?

Don't forget, corporations have alot of power in the Solar Union, but the Transit Authority does oversee them. (Although how much is a question) Should enough of a stink be made to the Authority (or the S.U.'s Special Prosecutors), then the hammer is coming down on the Corporation.


I will have to do some more research on the TTA, I'm about as far from an expert on the subject as you can get, but I got the impression that the TTA just oversaw the operations of/on the transit gates. Regardless, money talks :D

I value your insight and opinions, and again, you have my thanks.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby Zero Revenge » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:46 pm

Concerning the Indentured Servitude, you're not wrong, it's just the wording has a bit importance 'round here. The problem with the wording of Indentured Service came up a few weeks ago, and subsequently went downward here. You can see replies from Soren & Joshua (the two creators behind the setting) about the topic. It's a good read concerning the topic. The Gilded Age style Corporate-servitude is the theme, so again, you're not wrong. I guess I assumed too much, particularly with the topic below in mind.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3686

My thought was more like a stimulant than a depressant. The corporation wants people working ten times longer and having a reduced apatite, so they don't have to supply as many rations. And, they want another form of control via addiction, equaling further dependance (making the argument of economic oppression sounds even more tempting), they don't want to turn everyone into robo-zombies, not passive, more aggressive. (I already assume that the corporation would be using healthcare manipulation as well.)

It's understandably a controversial subject, but does this perspective change the outlook?

I think it's a bit too far, as you're still drugging the populace. It isn't bad enough that the corporation controls everything, but that they need to drug their workers and families? Eh. Your mileage may wary, and hell, Joshua and Soren have been okay with other morally-bankrupt things before.

I will have to do some more research on the TTA, I'm about as far from an expert on the subject as you can get, but I got the impression that the TTA just oversaw the operations of/on the transit gates. Regardless, money talks :D

Well, I believe the Special Prosecutors actually work for the Solar Union Parliament itself, as a third-party oversight of the Authority & the Corporations they empower. A search should pull up a bounty of details. :D They're a powerful Attorney-General Office. They don't get involve unless the HUTCH really hits the fan, usually the Authority handles any problems. And by "problems" I mean whatever the Authority sees as one. Complaints from a handful of citizens concerning labor problems may not be as "important" as not getting the planet's shipment of peaches off-world and back to Sol...

SciFiZombie wrote:Thank you for the reply Zero (may I call you Zero?)

Yes, yes you may. :P
Last edited by Zero Revenge on Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby mraichelson » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:01 pm

(Edit: yeah, this was exactly the same discussion as the link right above here.)

I'm pretty sure indentured servitude/slavery has been discussed as being bad-place-don't-go-thereTM on here a few times before. One of the "somewhat more tolerable but equally hutched" situations that's been discussed a few times before is also the idea of signing on to work for a company that pays in their own currency.

You work for Conglom-o-corp and get paid in Conglom-o-bucks which you can use at the Conglom-o-corp company-run markets, stores, services, utilities (and probably almost everything local would end up based on Conglom-o-bucks). But if you want off the planet you need SU credits to buy a ticket for the trip and there's no official exchange mechanism for trading Conglom-o-bucks to credits. So good luck leaving to find a new job that's not under Conglom-o-corp's thumb.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:28 pm

Zero Revenge wrote:Concerning the Indentured Servitude, you're not wrong, it's just the wording has a bit importance 'round here. The problem with the wording of Indentured Service came up a few weeks ago, and subsequently went downward here. You can see replies from Soren & Joshua (the two creators behind the setting) about the topic. It's a good read concerning the topic. The Gilded Age style Corporate-servitude is the theme, so again, you're not wrong. I guess I assumed too much, particularly with the topic below in mind.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3686


Yeah, that thread, kinda scary :?

Corporate servitude actually has a really nice ring to it, so I think I will stick with that.


I think it's a bit too far, as you're still drugging the populace. It isn't bad enough that the corporation controls everything, but that they need to drug their workers and families? Eh. Your mileage may wary, and hell, Joshua and Soren have been okay with other morally-bankrupt things before.


Good point, I think I will let the syndicate control the drugs, gives them more to do.

Well, I believe the Special Prosecutors actually work for the Solar Union Parliament itself, as a third-party oversight of the Authority & the Corporations they empower. A search should pull up a bounty of details. :D They're a powerful Attorney-General Office. They don't get involve unless the HUTCH really hits the fan, usually the Authority handles any problems. And by "problems" I mean whatever the Authority sees as one. Complaints from a handful of citizens concerning labor problems may not be as "important" as not getting the planet's shipment of peaches off-world and back to Sol...


Thanks for that information, I will have to do my homework on the TTA and the SP. But I imagine that you are right, as long as the SU are getting their loot, they probably don't give a rats boot about civil strife.

Thank you again, you are a gentleman and a scholar :)
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:56 pm

mraichelson wrote:(Edit: yeah, this was exactly the same discussion as the link right above here.)


Actually, that discussion seemed a bit more malignant to me. perhaps it is just the pot and the tea-kettle.

One of the "somewhat more tolerable but equally hutched" situations that's been discussed a few times before is also the idea of signing on to work for a company that pays in their own currency.

You work for Conglom-o-corp and get paid in Conglom-o-bucks which you can use at the Conglom-o-corp company-run markets, stores, services, utilities (and probably almost everything local would end up based on Conglom-o-bucks). But if you want off the planet you need SU credits to buy a ticket for the trip and there's no official exchange mechanism for trading Conglom-o-bucks to credits. So good luck leaving to find a new job that's not under Conglom-o-corp's thumb.


It makes tremendous sense to me that Conglom-o-bucks would be rather commonplace, similar to a mining town or such, as the corporation would be the employer and the banker and the, well, just about everything, at least for a time (or perhaps indefinitely.)

It seems to me that goods/resources would largely be the only thing of value on an interplanetary scale.

Overall, my goal is really to feel-out just how hutched things can be before objections are raised. If it were my book, nobody's opinion would really matter but my own, but it is not, and my intention is to maintain the utmost respect for the source and its creators.

Thank you for your comments :)
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby mraichelson » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:58 pm

SciFiZombie wrote:
mraichelson wrote:(Edit: yeah, this was exactly the same discussion as the link right above here.)


Actually, that discussion seemed a bit more malignant to me. perhaps it is just the pot and the tea-kettle.


As a whole it did veer into an ugly territory. I really meant in terms of the "you get paid in scrip that's worthless elsewhere" kind of discussion.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:34 pm

As a whole it did veer into an ugly territory. I really meant in terms of the "you get paid in scrip that's worthless elsewhere" kind of discussion.


Just so I'm not confused, is the getting paid in Conglom-o-bucks a no-no, being equated to indentured servitude? or is it simply the frowned-upon but not objected alternative?
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby Soren » Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:34 pm

So, I feel like one of us should weigh in on this, and since J is snowed under right now, that means me.

SciFiZombie wrote:So I have compiled a small list of thematic elements that I would like to incorporate and I would like some feedback. Not so much artistic feedback, like 'oh, that's been done before' blah, blah, blah. But more, X is a no-no and this is Y.

1) indentured servitude, i.e. free trip and equipment in exchange for a labor contract.


Think of this is terms of how it affects someone's legal status. Does it involve an alteration to their legal personhood? The air we're going for is the effective informal indenture of legally free people (company towns and railroad monopolies are the examples I like to use), not formal indenture or slavery. Workers in company towns were free to leave, they just couldn't afford to. Similarly, if a railroad wanted to build through your ranch, in theory you had the same rights as the railroad - but vastly smaller resources to enforce them.

Labor in an interstellar economy is going to be pretty valuable, and you're going to want people to emigrate in large numbers and stick around. And word would get around pretty fast, and then no more colony, once your supply of labor dries up.

SciFiZombie wrote:2) corporate manipulation of the populous via 'narcotic' substances, or some kind of pharmaceuticals, i.e. 'stims'. This would be in addition to other forms of manipulation, such as legal and economic.


This actually happened historically (factory workers in postwar Japan were given amphetamines - and for that matter, who doesn't know a college student or two abusing Adderall), but think of the way you want to frame it. Is it a formal requirement? Or are the drugs just made available, and hey, if you can keep up with your coworkers who are on it, feel free not to take it.

SciFiZombie wrote:3) crime syndicates and all of the nastiness that goes along with them.


Within reasonable limits. Don't ask us to accept that someone who'd murder a three year old is good people, for example.

SciFiZombie wrote:4) terrorists and of course the nastiness that goes with them.


Again, depends on what you're asking someone to overlook.

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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Thank you very much for weighing in Soren, I think that you have a very insightful view of what I am trying to say,

Soren wrote:Think of this is terms of how it affects someone's legal status. Does it involve an alteration to their legal personhood? The air we're going for is the effective informal indenture of legally free people (company towns and railroad monopolies are the examples I like to use), not formal indenture or slavery. Workers in company towns were free to leave, they just couldn't afford to. Similarly, if a railroad wanted to build through your ranch, in theory you had the same rights as the railroad - but vastly smaller resources to enforce them.

Labor in an interstellar economy is going to be pretty valuable, and you're going to want people to emigrate in large numbers and stick around. And word would get around pretty fast, and then no more colony, once your supply of labor dries up.


My idea: corporation says, hey come work for us on this great new world, we will pay for your trip and get you all set up with equipment and a home and all that, you just have to commit to 10 years of labor, sweat equity, what have you. once the contract is fulfilled, you are free to pursue your own endeavors. They would still have their legal rights, only a contractual obligation.

Of course this would only apply to the initial colonists that could not otherwise afford the opportunity.

again, I like the sound of corporate servitude better than indentured, as Zero mentioned.

SciFiZombie wrote:2) corporate manipulation of the populous via 'narcotic' substances, or some kind of pharmaceuticals, i.e. 'stims'. This would be in addition to other forms of manipulation, such as legal and economic.


Soren wrote:This actually happened historically (factory workers in postwar Japan were given amphetamines - and for that matter, who doesn't know a college student or two abusing Adderall), but think of the way you want to frame it. Is it a formal requirement? Or are the drugs just made available, and hey, if you can keep up with your coworkers who are on it, feel free not to take it.


This is more or less what I was going for, though I think I have changed my mind as far as the corporation supplying said narcotics, as it seems a better fit for the criminal element.

SciFiZombie wrote:3) crime syndicates and all of the nastiness that goes along with them.


Soren wrote:Within reasonable limits. Don't ask us to accept that someone who'd murder a three year old is good people, for example.


SciFiZombie wrote:4) terrorists and of course the nastiness that goes with them.


Soren wrote:Again, depends on what you're asking someone to overlook.


In all cases, I want these organizations to be despicable, but I want them all to be the good-guys in their own eyes. nothing atrocious, for sure.

Soren wrote:Don't think in terms of whether or not you can do something, but how you can do it respectfully.


Sage advice, and entirely my intention :D

again, Thank you very much
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby mraichelson » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:20 am

SciFiZombie wrote:
As a whole it did veer into an ugly territory. I really meant in terms of the "you get paid in scrip that's worthless elsewhere" kind of discussion.


Just so I'm not confused, is the getting paid in Conglom-o-bucks a no-no, being equated to indentured servitude? or is it simply the frowned-upon but not objected alternative?


I think it might actually be mentioned (or alluded to) in the rulebook (or somewhere else it seems like) as "it's not indentured servitude but an example of being on the receiving end of a corporate raw deal." I think it falls in the "it would suck to be part of" but not "don't go there" but Soren's point about "word gets out and their labor population will dry up" (and potentially face boycotts/etc costing them other business) is a good one. It's a reason for your worker population to overthrow their corporate oppressors and do fighty-robot things against each other, right?
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby Soren » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:14 am

SciFiZombie wrote:Just so I'm not confused, is the getting paid in Conglom-o-bucks a no-no, being equated to indentured servitude? or is it simply the frowned-upon but not objected alternative?


That's exactly the kind of thing we want to explore, actually - forms of unfreedom that creep in around the edges of a free society. But fundamentally, this is a (roughly) PG-13 game about cartoon robots fighting. We're trying to keep the tone at roughly that level - serious, but not too emotionally traumatic to read about.

mraichelson wrote:I think it might actually be mentioned (or alluded to) in the rulebook (or somewhere else it seems like) as "it's not indentured servitude but an example of being on the receiving end of a corporate raw deal." I think it falls in the "it would suck to be part of" but not "don't go there" but Soren's point about "word gets out and their labor population will dry up" (and potentially face boycotts/etc costing them other business) is a good one. It's a reason for your worker population to overthrow their corporate oppressors and do fighty-robot things against each other, right?


Yeah, you can think of it as being analogous to many historical societies that were starved for labor (the American West is merely one of the most famous); they weren't very nice to labor, but you had to attract people in the first place, and there were limits on the abuses you could inflict if you didn't want everyone to leave.

I don't know if I've made this clear, but I don't like playing fun police, and I think it's corrosive to the atmosphere of the forum in the long run. So I'd rather encourage, and praise people for making, things that aren't creepy, than jump on people who make creepy things with both feet.
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Re: Help with 'no-no's

Postby SciFiZombie » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:50 pm

mraichelson wrote:It's a reason for your worker population to overthrow their corporate oppressors and do fighty-robot things against each other, right?


Exactly :D

Soren wrote:But fundamentally, this is a (roughly) PG-13 game about cartoon robots fighting. We're trying to keep the tone at roughly that level - serious, but not too emotionally traumatic to read about.


Soren wrote:I don't know if I've made this clear, but I don't like playing fun police, and I think it's corrosive to the atmosphere of the forum in the long run. So I'd rather encourage, and praise people for making, things that aren't creepy, than jump on people who make creepy things with both feet.


I do want to create a dramatic atmosphere, I do not want to make a story that has people walk away feeling like they have just been through the digestive tract of the Sarlacc.

I think that keeping a PG-13 perspective is paramount, in fact, I am not a big fan of gratuity in entertainment at large. If people want that kind of thing, they can stick to the 40k universe. I have been a big fan of giant shooty robots since early childhood, and I think the genre should always maintain an appropriateness for a younger audience. (though with a little more plot than the Transformers TV series I grew up watching, lol)

Thank you guys so much for all your help, I think I have a much better perspective for how I am going to approach my story, thanks to all of your information and perspectives.

It is my goal to make a story that will fit the universe (calender?) and not make the universe bend to fit my story. You have all helped to make this possible for me and I am very grateful :D
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