General / Off-Topic We may need to rethink Colonia

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Lets set some ground rules for this discussion.

Politics is a No, no in the forums as it is simply a minefield. If this turns political it WILL be closed per forum guidelines.

The basic idea of language pre-conditioning us is an interesting subject but not best fitted in the exploration forum.

We'll see how it goes and make a moderation decision as needed, so please keep it civil and stay away from minefields and this could be a good discussion.

Thanks for your consideration.

In that spirit please refrain from name calling. (sjw, snowflake, idiot, etc)

Introduction:

I read this article recently called We need to change the way we talk about space exploration by National Geographic

Then I started following the links and started reading The Racist Language of Space Exploration by the outline

and Event Horizon by Reallifemag
And then How decolonization could reshape South African science by Nature

I'm usually feel like I have a good grasp on most things space but these the points forwarded by these articles have left me struggling because of the complexity of these issues.

To me, these articles collectively state:
"The terminology and vocabulary we use when we talk about space exploration is problematic because they put forward a narrative that is harmful to minorities"

What does that mean?
For example, let's take the term "colonization".
Be it setting up a colony on Mars or the Moon or Achenar, space colonization is always framed in a positive light despite the negative impact that colonization has and still continues to have.Practically every western colony resulted in the exploitation and subjugation of humans enmasse.
There's never been a case in history where a colony hasn't resulted in harm to the indigenous population.
and those effects are still felt by those marginalized groups of folks.

According to Lucianne Walkowicz who studyies the ethics of Mars exploration as the Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress:
Even if words like “colonization” have a different context off-world, on somewhere like Mars, it’s still not OK to use those narratives, because it erases the history of colonization here on our own planet. There’s this dual effect where it both frames our future and, in some sense, edits the past.
What does this have to do with Elite: Dangerous and the exploration community?
I like Elite: Dangerous. I like playing in this huge sandbox. I like the player-led communities and all that we can accomplish together.
But after reading this article I realised that the term Colonization has came up in Elite: Dangerous. and it's one we as a community had put forward without realizing the implications.
I'm speaking of course about Colonia.

From EDSM via the Galactic Mapping Project:
July 3302 - Birth of a Colony


Colonia was humanities first independently established colony beyond the frontier borders of the old worlds. Its inception began in late June 3302 when calls from the exploration community to ship meta alloys out to the stricken starport were made, and this lead to an initiative to establish a working colony in and around EOL PROU RS-T D3-94 - an initiative instigated by Olivia Vespera, and built upon via the Jaunt to Jaques - August Exodus expedition, set up by Jonus Treesong, Unrealization, and Erimus Kamzel. The expedition became one of largest in human history with close to 600 starships in two giant convoys venturing out to the region and helping establish the colony.
Colonia was built on the idea of creating a new colony. And it was done in a positive light.

Now let me first say that I nor should anyone harbour any ill will to the CMDR who coined the name for the system and region. This isn't about individual members of the communities this is about us as a whole.
I think it may be possible that the name we chose for the second bubble is problematic because by doing so, we as a community helped "[erase] the history of colonization here on our own planet.

And that's disconcerting to me. One because it's already done. and two because I don't know if there'd be any support to change the name. I'm worried that perhaps the devs would not be willing to do so.
A lot of our in game lore and stories in the region are tied to the name Colonia, and what it represents.
Still... I feel like we've collectively done a disservice to those who continued to be affected by the legacy colonization and that maybe, just maybe,

"We should try and suggest to frontier as that same community again to change the name."

I don't know what we should change it to. But I think we should do it. Like correcting incorrect science, we should correct problematic terminology. or at the very least, recognize and present that what we had done was problematic and harmful to others outside of the game.

Now I understand to some of you folks that:

  • This is just a game
  • This is set in the far future and maybe those narratives aren't as important (because in 3300, racism is cured)
  • This game has slavery what about that huh? Do you want it to be removed?

To you I say, games have always been political and have always reflected our understanding of the world. They do not exist separate from it and because of that we could do our best to ensure the game is inclusive to everyone.
We as the exploration community should talk about the effect we have and whether that effect can be damaging to others in the real world.
Slavery is problemtic but we as players are given that ethical choice by the game to choose to engage in it or not and that is beneficial to understanding the slave trade out of game. The narrative of Colonization is one that we can't not choose to engage in.

So please, comment, discuss, argue and be polite. This is not as easy topic but I think everyone here has a stake in it but as always, if this isn't something you're interested in, there are plenty of other threads.

I've written some clarification in a comment here: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/457907-We-may-need-to-rethink-Colonia?p=7165209&viewfull=1#post7165209
 
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Realworld politics should be left in the real world, and ingame politics should be left ingame. The game is an escape from the worlds narrative not a conduit for it. I'm sorry, if people are going to be damaged by the word Colonia in a game, they should simply not play it. Until now nobody has said anything about the word "Colonia" damaging them. Why would it be an issue now. Words that arn't meant to be hateful, can and should not be made that way. This is all I will say of the matter as it's my stance and I'll leave with a quote from Stephen Fry.

“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so <nope> what."
 
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You have got to be kidding. What kind of idiot believes that space colonisation is inherently bad just because it's had a bad history (for some at least) on Earth? Especially when you're colonising a dead rock or space around a planet where nobody's being oppressed or harmed.

Put as politely as possible... please go away and take your SJW garbage with you.
 
Colonizing isnt the bad part as in the action or name. If anything its the colonists that gave the name a bad rap.
 
After wikipedia: The term is derived from the Latin word colere, which means "to inhabit".

So, maybe we should think about renaming historical colonization on Earth, because instead of taking land that's uninhabited it often refered to settlement of people in other's people's land, therefore terminology used was obviously flawed.

I mean, we shouldn't stop using words just because some people used them for their own agenda. We would need to think of some alternatives for "justice" for example, because every bloody tyrant refered to his rule as just.
 
Mods; does this thread REALLY belong in the exploration forum? Isn't there a fiction thread where forum members can post or link to this kind of stuff? ;)

EDIT: added ;) to reduce the potential for anyone taking offense
 
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Thanks for posting the links to the article - they make fascinating reading and articulate the deep connection between language and its underlying myths and narratives we sometimes elide or ignore. Personally, I think it would be interesting to have a debate around these issues and their historicity if only to reinvigorate the language (and subtexts) used unconsciously in science fiction and also this game. While some may argue that ED is set far in the future where these issues are perhaps no longer relevant, we as gamers are not. We are here and now and as such caught up in these issues and sometimes perpetuating them without even realising it.
 
I'm seeing way too much "faux offended" type folk as it is. Humanity needs to take a spoon full of concrete powder in their breakfast cereal and harden up a bit.

All it does is stop people saying what they actually mean, which is way worse than taking some offence to a differing view point. I lump the whole "saving face above all else" that some cultures seem to embrace as just as big an issue.

Z...
 
We are here and now and as such caught up in these issues and sometimes perpetuating them without even realising it.
We're not perpetuating anything. OP's arguments may apply to real world colonialism (but it's not like making everyone of european descent feel guilty about what their ancestors did is actually going to help anyone or rectify anything, so it's a completely pointless endeavour), the fact is that (a) the idea that colony, colonise, and colonisation are inherently bad words that should be excised from the english language is patently ridiculous, and (b) it's utterly irrelevant to space colonisation because we wouldn't be moving into anyone else's lands, displacing or killing people who are already there, or doing any of the other things that have a negative association with colonisation on Earth. It's completely specious argument in a planetary context (unless of course there *were* previous inhabitants on a planet we were moving into).

But either way, we're still going to say we're colonising a planet or colonising space. We're going out there to live there. That's what the word means and no amount of SJW hand-wringing is going to change that.
 
Offence is taken not given. I'm playing a video game, I frankly don't care beyond socially accepted/rejected items. Games shouldn't be the forerunners of PC, see how that worked out for Battlefield V recently..


Steve Hughes did a great comedy skit that's very close to the truth and represents my feelings quite accurately.



[Edited for clarity]
 
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Que es mas macho, staircase... or smoke rings?

You can't just pass a perfectly good word like "colony" to the racists just because it's gotten a little dirty. Clean it up by using it in an honest and wholesome way. If you keep giving words to the baddies soon there won't be any words left for us goodies to use.

Language is always evolving. The best way to reduce the darker connotations of words is to be better people and to distance ourselves from those darker meanings through the passage of time.

As for the gender of words.. what about just getting rid of all genders? Because we've come from a patriarchal society, the shorter words tend to be male. I understand that it would put women at an imposition, but why can't we just forget about the male domination bit of words and all just use the nicer words that were once considered tainted with chauvinism? "Mankind" is quicker to type and/or say than "Personkind".

This ungendering of words has already started. The word "actress" is used less in Holywood now. Male and female stars are both referred to as "actors".
 
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You can't just pass a perfectly good word like "colony" to the racists just because it's gotten a little dirty. Clean it up by using it in an honest and wholesome way. If you keep giving words to the baddies soon there won't be any words left for us goodies to use.

Language is always evolving. The best way to reduce the darker connotations of words is to be better people and to distance ourselves from those darker meanings through the passage of time.
Amen.

I'm interested to know what FD were going to call it as they already had a name set aside, but decided to go with Colonia since it had become part of the players' lexicon pretty quickly. And the only reason it became Colonia is because it was added to the GMP as a temporary placeholder name in lieu of EOL PROU RS-T D3-94 as we waited for FD to name it! Catch-22!

It could easily have been called the Pagus Nebula or the Diostar Nebula as they were the other names suggested at the same time.

But lets not get wrapped up in RL politics in ED. No sentient beings or indigenous people's were living out in the the Eol Prou nebula when it was colonized. If there were, and humans came along and planted our flag there and wiped them out & took over their systems, then that would have made for a really interesting political story in the ED universe, but even then this discussion would be hard pressed to hold a tad more merit as we're dealing with pixels in a fantasy setting.

Realworld politics should be left in the real world, and ingame politics should be left ingame. The game is an escape from the worlds narrative not a conduit for it. I'm sorry, if people are going to be damaged by the word Colonia in a game, they should simply not play it. Until now nobody has said anything about the word "Colonia" damaging them. Why would it be an issue now. Words that arn't meant to be hateful, can and should not be made that way. This is all I will say of the matter as it's my stance and I'll leave with a quote from Stephen Fry.

“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so <nope> what."
+1

I can't add any more to what Fractal Shard wrote, he sums it up perfectly imho.
 
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"There's never been a case in history where a colony hasn't resulted in harm to the indigenous population."

Well yes, but in our case the Romans did bring peace. And the roads. And it would be safe to walk at night if they were still here.

I like Colonia and wouldn't want to change its name. Even if it was changed it would still be called that by many people.
 
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