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AU R18+ Rating Plans Put On Hold Due To "Interest Groups"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the grasping-at-straws dept.

Australia 139

Dexter Herbivore writes "Australian gamers are yet again left disappointed by their government's response to a lack of an R18+ rating for games. Gamespot reports that Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has blamed 'interest groups' for swamping the public consultation with pro-R18+ submissions. From the article: 'A strong response from gamer groups in the Australian Federal Government's R18+ public consultation has led Censorship Ministers to claim that more views from the community are needed before a decision into the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games can be reached.'" Reader UgLyPuNk adds that support for the new rating is coming from unexpected places.

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Like XKCD on roids! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179716)

It's a beautiful thing: http://goatkcd.com/ [goatkcd.com]

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179734)

Please. No-one click. I beg of you.

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (1)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179986)

What, were you surprised or something? You actually clicked it? Are you new here?

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182214)

Personally, I'm kinda curious. Is it just goatse, or a goatse-like xkcd clone, or what?

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182968)

My curiosity was there as well. I checked it out a few days ago from home. It is essentially a site mirror of xkcd with the addition of goatse. You can actually read xkcd comics there, plus view the bottomless hole.

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180000)

Rule 34?

Re:Like XKCD on roids! (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180614)

Meh, no witty ALT text.

Oh for the love of.. (3, Insightful)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179730)

I feel like this is never going to go through. One hurdle after another, it seems.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179770)

Maybe if all the Aussies would stop being such fucking pussies and actually stand up for themselves they might acc---crickey a stingray!

Re:Oh for the love of.. (2, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179948)

*Crikey... not crickey

Re:Oh for the love of.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179976)

Okay, obvious troll is obvious, but damn it I'm biting anyway.

58,589 people submitted their say to this thing... this ars*hole politician is proclaiming them as a "special interest group" because it doesn't fit with HIS ideas.

We only have 22 million people in this country, 60,000 people is a SIGNIFICANT portion of the population, when 98% of them say they want something and it's ignored, there's not much further we can go. (As an Australian, I'm proud of the fact that we're the only country in the world to have federated in -peace-, not by killing. I don't want to -have- to get violent to support my rights.)

[Anon-post for obvious reasons.]

Re:Oh for the love of.. (4, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180092)

58,589 people submitted their say to this thing... this ars*hole politician is proclaiming them as a "special interest group" because it doesn't fit with HIS ideas.

Not really he's proclaiming EB Games, and activist groups, including conservative Christian anti-gaming groups to be "special interest groups" and bemoaning the fact that so many individual submissions merely aped the arguments put forward by those groups.

Remember this isn't a popularity contest or a referendum. It's a process by which the government aims to garner as wide a range of views as possible from disparate sources. If one submissions says nothing different from another it's just a waste of everyone's time, and taxpayer money.

The reason to encourage people to submit prepared submissions en masse is two-fold. Firstly to drown out alternative views, which is in the interest both of the games industry and the anti-games lobby. And secondly, since theoretically each submission must be read in its entirety, to delay any decision by clogging up the system. On the face of it this would appear to be in the interests of the conservative Christian opponents only. That it is the pro-gamers who have done this seems, at least on the face of it, to be a monumental act of stupidity.

As a practical matter, if it is obvious that the vast bulk of submissions are mere dupes, I would think the bureaucrats could treat them as read. As I wrote below, if 86% of them are dupes, then really 86% if the reading has already been done. We really shouldn't let the ... ahem ... gaming of the consultation system by either side lead to inaction.

I suspect that the truth is as AC wrote below, that they want an excuse to shelve it until after the election. That the fully intend to introduce a R18+ classification, but they are worried about pissing off the Christian vote Rudd has been so careful to cultivate.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181990)

Personally I see it as a way for politicians to continue fleecing every SIG around them over a given issue as long as possible. More money in treating a disease than curing it, etc. etc.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181930)

The government response basically boils down to: "We got too many pro-R18+ responses, which makes it look like there's a lot of support for this. We know this is not representative of how we think Australians should feel, so we're going to wait till we get more anti-R18+ responses that agree with our ideas to balance it out a bit"

Of course, it's complete nonsense, but kind of expected since, so far, the Australian government has not shown any interest in actually listening to the public on censorship-related issues, including both this and the stupid internet filtering plan.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182260)

Um, math fail? 60,000 is not 98% of 22,000,000. It's not even 2%. It's 0.2%.

Personally, I find it funny that they say they are "swamped" with submissions, but still require more before a decision can be reached.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183568)

But they are swamped with responses that are for having an R18+ category. Obviously, it can't move forward with the process until more people write in saying they are against having the category. Preferably about the same number as that t are for it, then the politician can announce that he will table the discussion for a couple more years as the 'people' are undecided about the issue.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183164)

(As an Australian, I'm proud of the fact that we're the only country in the world to have federated in -peace-, not by killing. I don't want to -have- to get violent to support my rights.)

[Anon-post for obvious reasons.]

Hi, and welcome to Canada. We also federated in peace.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (5, Insightful)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180052)

Please we're the most subdued and docile population in the world. Other countries riot and go to the streets for less than what's been pulled on the Australian population in the past. Sure we'll be outraged for about 24 hours then back to business as usual.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180298)

Sure we'll be outraged for about 24 hours then back to business as usual.

However Aussies routinely break the law when they see fit. Our cultural heritage is disobedience and recalcitrance more than rebellion.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180506)

yes but not in a meaningful way.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180912)

However Aussies routinely break the law when they see fit.

Like what, importing unclassified games? A vicious cycle appears! Command?

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180498)

Glad I'm not the only one who feels the same about our populace, although I won't deny being hypocritical about it myself, even if I'm aware of it.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181214)

Please we're the most subdued and docile population in the world.

What about Canada, eh?

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183318)

With all the Canadian "angry letters" I'm sure there has to be a paper-cut in there somewhere. Bury them in paper, that's how the canucks get violent.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (2, Interesting)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179910)

One hurdle after another, it seems.

Yes it seems very difficult to understand what the hold up here is.

If the claim is true that 86% of submissions "came from retailer EB Games and the pro-R18+ organisation Grow Up Australia" as TFA states, by which I assume that many people submitted the industry's 'standard' submissions, then that should really fast-track the process. Why not simply treat all those submissions as just the two they really are? That's 86% of the reading done right away.

No matter how often the same submission has been made, either the arguments it contains stand up or they don't. This claim of swamping makes no sense at all.

If on the other hand TFA is just BS, and there are somewhere approaching 60k individual submissions, then yes, that could take a while to get through.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (3, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180044)

Unfortunately gamers aren't the right "interest groups". The christian lobby is by the seems of things...

Re:Oh for the love of.. (2, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180110)

Unfortunately gamers aren't the right "interest groups". The christian lobby is by the seems of things...

Indeed. In the Rudd vs Abbott battle for souls one suspects the Christian lobby will get a sympathetic hearing from both sides.

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1, Flamebait)

Ganthor (1693614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180766)

It just doesn't make any sense to me...

Given religion's track record, I would have thought that violence was right up their alley?

Why would they want to oppose violent games? It's nothing like the things humans have done to each other in the name of their preferred imaginary friend(s). ...and recently too!

Re:Oh for the love of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179974)

I reckon its going to go through they are just waiting till after the election...

Re:Oh for the love of.. (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180550)

It's all the same hurdle, fucktards in government.

We have the numbers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179756)

58,589 submissions with 98.2% in support and it's still not enough? For crying out loud.

Re:We have the numbers. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179840)

58,589 submissions with 98.2% in support and it's still not enough?

It's not like a 100,000 lemmings can be wrong, after all. This isn't a vote, it's the making of submissions. How do you know that 98.1% of them aren't made up of the kind of invalid arguments we've heard from games industry in recent months?

Re:We have the numbers. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179862)

Problem is, when other submissions processes for other topics yield such results there doesn't seem to be a problem but when the results of your submission process show an attitude which you don't want then it's a problem. It's hypocritical.

Re:We have the numbers. (3, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180002)

The problem is that the "yes" camp may have the raw numbers but those who are in "no" camp are a lot more politically important to the government (I dont know the views of Family First Senator Steve Fielding on this issue but given his religious views and his views on other issues, he almost certainly falls into the "no" camp)

Also, because most of the "yes" responses came from people at the extreme "yes" end of the scale (and so few came from more moderate people) the government is likely thinking that just because a bunch of gamers want R18+ doesn't mean that regular people support it.

Its an election year here in Australia, if the government goes ahead with something like R18+ without knowing which way the vast majority of the population leans on the issue, it could hit him at the next election.

Re:We have the numbers. (1)

ikono (1180291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180942)

"Extreme yes?" How can there be differing degrees of yes on this? Either you want the classification or you don't.

Re:We have the numbers. (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183736)

Easy. "Regular Yes" is saying "yes" or nodding your head. "Extreme Yes" is to do both at the same time.

Re:We have the numbers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182482)

It just seems strange. When deciding on ratings systems, what the gamers want sounds like the major concern. Why should people who don't play games care whether there's an R18+ rating or not? Why should the government care about their opinions on the matter?

Surprise!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179778)

The Australian government is surprised that a public consultation regarding controversial laws specifically pertaining to gamers received a high degree of interest from said gamers? How can this be?!?!?!

"interest Groups" (4, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179806)

  • hypocrites running a nanny state because "think of the children" usually works at the polls
  • puritan hypocrites who want to live in a "free" country but who don't want people with different tastes to really be free
  • regulators and bureaucrats who really like high-paying government jobs and the ability to push people around with the support of elected bodies
  • crooks who don't think their bribes from the game lobby are big enough yet
  • a few lazy parents who don't want to keep track of what their kids bring home for themselves

Yeah, I can imagine there are a few "interest groups" involved.

Did you read the _summary_? (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179944)

The "interest groups" they are referring to are in _support_ of the 18+ category. Reading comprehension, mate!

(I do think it amusing that the pollies have basically come out and said: "we're delaying the implementation of this policy, because the public response has been too positive" ;-)

Re:Did you read the _summary_? (1)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180010)

It reads different when viewed through a Beowulf Cluster.

Re:Did you read the _summary_? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180104)

Basically they realise it may be important to a lot of different groups for different reasons, so they now have to take the time to at least do it half right :)

Re:Did you read the _summary_? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182134)

(I do think it amusing that the pollies have basically come out and said: "we're delaying the implementation of this policy, because the public response has been too positive" ;-)

Of course. And if they'd received a high negative response, they'd shelve it for that reason. And if they received little response, they'd decide that the public didn't care that much and therefore shelve the policy for that reason. The public participation is a farce, because whatever the public does, they can come up with a justification based on that response to do what they want anyway.

Re:Did you read the _summary_? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182722)

Apparently, "heads I win, tales you lose" is almost as popular a game in Australia as knifey-spoony.

Re:Did you read the _summary_? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182742)

Should be "tails you lose," obviously...

Re:"interest Groups" (-1, Flamebait)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180042)

a few lazy parents who don't want to keep track of what their kids bring home for themselves

Yes, I'm sure those parents are such bad, lazy parents, that they can't be bothered to/don't want to keep their kids under constant surveillance, and verify that they never play such games. What awful parents! This is their parental responsibility! How apathetic of them to ask for help from the government!

I'm not in favour of the system we have now, but fuck, this scapegoating has to stop!

Re:"interest Groups" (2, Informative)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180198)

Maybe they should spend time with their children and instill in them the values and morals they want their children to have, rather than campaigning for something to be illegal. because, if they spend all their time making something illegal instead of teaching their children that it's wrong, their children will do the newly illegal thing and end up in jail.

Also, the problem with asking the govt for help is that the govt will not only help them, but all of us, and I don't goddamn want the govt to help me. Especially because someone else is whining that they can't cope with the responsibility of raising a child.

Yes, they are bad parents.

As for surveillance, It's totally unnecessary. if you don't trust your child to behave appropriately(yes, and even make mistakes and learn from them) you didn't raise him very well and no amount of surveillance will fix that.

Re:"interest Groups" (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182568)

Yes, they are bad parents.

Yes, they are. But I'm actually talking about real parents, not these strawman inventions that you people seem to stereotyping parents as. You know, parents who do spend time with their children, who do teach them why something is wrong, but who still have a lot of trouble with the concept of 24 hour surveillance of their children.

OK, the parents you mention do exist, but they are a minority. Most parents in favour of this system are not just the lazy people you want them to be.

Re:"interest Groups" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32183418)

24 hour surveillance was covered by the GP; Trusting your child is an important part of parenting, ESPECIALLY as the child grows older.

Eventually, you have to let the child go, you see. That child eventually becomes an adult.

While it is true that teenagers like to stress the limits of parental trust, and often get involved in many not-so-good things (like getting smashed and then having wild sex at a party), the solution is to forbid the child to go to the party. Not to constantly monitor them straight away.

You only monitor AFTER the child has demonstrated that they cannot be trusted, and then only intervene as needed.

The idea is to encourage correct behavior, while being able to circumvent incorrect behavior.

The issue that the GP implicitly assumes, (and rightly so,) is that what constitutes "correct behavior" is not the same for all parents. Some parents honestly think it is A-OK to let their kids go get knocked up at a teenage rave party. (for instance.)

This is the inevitable consequence of a thing that the conservative elements in many societies demonize heavily, and insist is untrue: Morality is inherently relative.

This means that attempting to "Legislate" morality will only result in oppression of one group or another. For that reason alone, it will never be good legislation.

I am not saying it is easy to be a parent, but making it easy for one flavor of moral upbringing makes it much harder to instill another, competitive form.

For an IT analogy (this IS slashdot, afterall--), think of it in terms of this hypothetical scenario:

Imagine that the system admin has decided that your system MUST be able to run shell scripts of his choosing (important here, because somebody else is choosing the morality in the realworld parenting scenario), and that these scripts are written in a very specific scripting language, in an interpreter that *ONLY* works on Caldera Unix.

The reasons given for this are:

Think of the users! By having a heterogeneous environment, we have loose cannons in the network, that could be harboring botnet infections, or worse. We simply can't trust the individual departments to manage their workstations effectively. To resolve this problem, we will mandate our remote-shellscript requirements, so that we can easily clean infections and push updates without notice.

However-- the real reason for this, is because the sysadmin wants everyone to be using Caldera Unix, but was shouted down by everyone else in the organization. (ACL wants everyone to be a good christian... but not everyone wants to be.) To get around this, he cooked up the whole "Think of the USERS!" tripe above, and concocted the farce (false choice fallacy)that the only way to solve this "Problem" is by enacting uniform remote control via shell scripts... which just so happen to only run on Caldera Unix.

The actual crux of the argument-- that a heterogeneous environment can cause problems, is indeed quite true-- but the converse also presents a unified attack surface to infiltrators, since they all run the same configuration. Additionally, the concept of universal cleanup/update scripts sounds nice, but they themselves pose a security risk if the scripts themselves can become compromised. (corrupt government.) Even more, the scripts COULD have been implemented in a cross platform scripting language, allowing them to operate in the already extant heterogeneous environment, but that is not how or why they were chosen...

In short, the Sysadmin is selling the management a bill of goods in order to get his way.

Legislating morality and moral behavior is like legislating what kind of computing environment you can use. "Moral behavior" takes as many disparate forms as does the various incarnations of package managers. They all do basically the same thing, but each is unique and different. It simply wouldnt do to mandate the use of a single one, because no single one really is "The very best in all circumstances."

Likewise, the insistence on specializing on a specific flavor of morality (like the hypothetical sysadmin who insists on caldera unix) is merely a means of de-facto forcing people to convert, in order to conform.

Therefor, at the very best, legislation that enforces moral behavior would be vague, full of holes, and largely impotent (legislation covers only the very basic parts of moral conduct, and leaves the majority up for individual interpretation)--- and at the worst, would transform society into a repressive, homogeneous environment. (legislation spells out in graphic detail what the government does and does not find acceptable, and that deviation is not tolerated.)

The basic crux of the matter is this:

Similarly to the situation where you run a custom computing configuration, you need to be competent in managing the specifics of that configuration. When parenting a child using your own flavor of morality, you have to be competent in managing the specifics of that morality in regard to your children.

By arguing for legislated morality, you are arguing against fundamental freedoms, to suit your own lack of consideration or competence; you are basically telling the government that you are unable to manage your children, and that the government needs to manage your child for you. Moreover, you are telling the government to manage your sister's children, your neighbor's children, and all other children in your country, to suit your own biases, irrespective of the actual competency or desires of these other people, or for their desires for their children's futures.

The very concept is epically inconsiderate. (but as stated, may or may not be immoral, depending on what you, yourself, find to be morally sound.)

Re:"interest Groups" (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180728)

dude, it takes HOURS to play any really good game. If your child can play a video game that you don't want him to play, given the dynamics of gaming, I feel pretty confident saying that you are pretty unplugged.

Frankly, I think that, if you are asking for a government rating to stop store owners from selling such a thing to your kid because you can't be bothered to police it yourself... given how much time is involved in playing a game to begin with, then some scapegoating is definitely going on, but its not other people who need to stop it.

-Steve

Re:"interest Groups" (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180160)

puritan hypocrites who want to live in a "free" country but who don't want people with different tastes to really be free

This group includes everyone. Go on, browse the Net; you'll eventually find something that offends you so much you want it banned. Child porn, animal porn, Dissected-chan, Pain series, snuff films, real rape films... If you can imagine something, it's there, and someone's getting off on it; that's the dark side of Rule 34. And you, no matter what you believe, will eventually find your personal limits to what kind of tastes you can tolerate.

Re:"interest Groups" (1, Flamebait)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180610)

Oh dear. Were people with mod points offended by my post? Did it hit a bit too close to home? Or did you consider it flamebait because you don't like the things mentioned so it's okay to censor them while people who want to censor GTA are just being silly puritans, and anyone who doesn't agree with this is clearly just trolling?

In any case, thank you for demonstrating my point.

Re:"interest Groups" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181136)

In any case, thank you for demonstrating my point.

What, that moderation on slashdot is highly trolled?

Re:"interest Groups" (4, Insightful)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183918)

The difference is that for some people their level of tolerance ends at exactly the point where their personal tastes are offended. A puritanical person might see gay porn and say "eww... now ban it for corrupting morals!" A reasonable person sees gay porn and says "eww... I'd better not go to that website again."

Re:"interest Groups" (3, Insightful)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180754)

Lazy parents huh?

And how, exactly, is a parent supposed to know whether a given game is safe for little Jimmy to play? Play the first two levels themselves? Perhaps it's not until the fourth level that the dismemberment and graphic porn starts.

One rather simplified example of violent BS in a kid-appealing wrapper: Happy Tree Friends.

I fail to see how anyone could regard R18+ labels as anything other than a _good_ thing. If people want gore and smut, they can hunt those labels out. The rest of us can avoid them. Sounds like win-win.

Re:"interest Groups" (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182026)

Right but without the R18+ label they can defacto ban all games that would fall into this category.

Here in the U.S. (and perhaps elsewhere) we had something kinda similar happen recently the movie Kick Ass was released with a very well earned R rating and not really marketed to children but it still received negative press because it was "targeted towards children". Even with an industry self censorship system with a very conservative track record in this country the "conservative moment" (really just fundamentalists) won't rest until they can ban anything simply by objecting to it.

When will the world realize that all religious fundamentalists (of all religions, they all want pretty much the same things) need to be fought?

Re:"interest Groups" (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183066)

And how, exactly, is a parent supposed to know whether a given game is safe for little Jimmy to play? Play the first two levels themselves?

Maybe altogether ban him from getting games less than two weeks old, giving plenty of time for full-disclosure reviews to hit the Internet? It takes less than fifteen minutes to get a good idea of the level of questionable content in a video game from piecing reviews together.

Re:"interest Groups" (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183552)

The average parent standing in (the Australian equivalent of) Walmart with little Sally begging for a copy of game X has the ability, resources and knowledge to research its suitability right then and there, standing in the store aisle?
 
What about a simple rating sticker that could be attached to the box with basic information about the content instead?

Re:"interest Groups" (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181570)

hypocrites running a nanny state

I have a question:

Here in the US, we used to have these things called "R" ratings on movies, which meant they wouldn't let anyone under 18 see the movie without a parent or guardian. These were the days before the internet, divx, or even VHS.

Yet, I doubt a single 15 year old didn't see a movie they wanted to see because it was rated R.

Do they honestly think that having a special rating which prevents 13 year-olds from buying GTA V is going to keep them from playing GTA V?

What are older brothers (or in my case, older sisters) for, anyway?

Passionate people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179820)

From the article at http://www.news.com.au/technology/r18-video-game-campaign-shoots-itself-in-foot/story-e6frfro0-1225865168815

"Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor told GameSpot more information on the issue was needed because the consultation process had been dominated by "interest groups".
"Consultations, by their nature, attract submissions from people who are passionate about the issue," Mr O'Connor said."

Huh?!? If they don’t want the views of people passionate about the issue, who the hell do they want views of?

Re:Passionate people? (1)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179850)

If I had to guess, people who feel the same way as the people consulting.

Re:Passionate people? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182126)

Well yes, companies and governments only hire consultants to tell them what they want to hear or what their employees have been telling them basically for free. Any case where consultation does not agree with the stated position needs to be thrown out and redone by a group that understands how consultation works.

Just a little bias from the minister (5, Insightful)

John Saffran (1763678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179826)

From the article this says it best:

"I’m not sure how the [Home Affairs] minister pigeonholes them as an 'interest group' because gamers cover all facets of society. If consultations, by their nature, attract submissions from people who are passionate about an issue--and I assume passionate in both opposition and support--then why bother? Surely the government asked for submissions to gauge the feeling of the wider community, of which gamers make up 68 percent,"

It sounds like the submissions didn't agree with the minister's pre-determined outcome .. just keep trying until you get what you want to hear.

Re:Just a little bias from the minister (5, Informative)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179870)

It's called policy based evidence.

the submission process != a survey (0)

noisyinstrument (1624451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180224)

Game stores (like EB, as well as anti-censorship lobby groups) had forms available in store and were actively encouraging people to complete them, the game stores would then handle the posting, etc.

It was a fairly cynical manipulation to generate nothing but numbers of responses in favour, rather than actually arguing for the R18+ rating. It was a submission process, not a survey.

Gamers should have used the process in the way it was intended and the outcomes for them would have been better. Before the submission process was announced there simply was no debate, rather than get involved in the debate process that they asked for, they've ruined it by flooding it with worthless submissions.

This was supposed to be a fact finding process, gathering evidence for and against an R18+ rating for games. There are plenty of good arguements for it, and few against. I suspect very few of those for the rating were in the ~60,000 responses pumped out. This is a missed opportunity.

Re:the submission process != a survey (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180520)

It was a fairly cynical manipulation to generate nothing but numbers of responses in favour, rather than actually arguing for the R18+ rating. It was a submission process, not a survey.

If they hadn't responded in such numbers, then they would have dismissed it as a niche issue without support. If they groups do respond, then they abuse the system. Either way, it's the gamer's fault.

Gamers should have used the process in the way it was intended and the outcomes for them would have been better. Before the submission process was announced there simply was no debate, rather than get involved in the debate process that they asked for, they've ruined it by flooding it with worthless submissions.

They demonstrated that there is a real issue. All gamers are for it and almost 70% of Australians are gamers. You say the submissions are worthless. I'm curious how many of them you read. Odd that your complaint doesn't even match the complaints of those involved. They didn't complain about the quality of the submissions one bit. They asserted that because so many came from "gamer" organizations that the process may have left out other groups. Why do your complaints not match theirs? Is the article about it wrong, and you have all the right information? How is that? Or are you making up things?

"Consultations, by their nature, attract submissions from people who are passionate about the issue. Ministers would like to consider other legitimate views from as wide a cross section of the community as possible." That doesn't sound like they didn't like the quality of the submissions. But that they are worried that the vast majority of the people liking something wouldn't properly represent the issues of the tiny minority opposed (especially when it comes close to election time).

Re:the submission process != a survey (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182848)

But... imagine how horrible Australia will be when people there are legally allowed to play Bioshock. I think the living will envy the dead!

Also, Yahtzee's reviews will start being slightly more up to date, and nobody wants that!

Re:Just a little bias from the minister (1)

TiggsPanther (611974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180554)

It sounds like the submissions didn't agree with the minister's pre-determined outcome .. just keep trying until you get what you want to hear.

Doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's the way a lot of people are, it's certainly a behaviour I see a lot in my cutsomer-facing role. People told "no" try rephrasing the quaestion or restating their side of the reasoning several times then then ask my boss, get their boss to ask me and ultimately get their boss to ask my boss. (And they then look genuinely surprised when my boss tells them exactly what I already told them...)
In very very few cases does the answer change. But people seem to be conditioned that when they ask a question there is only one "true" answer that will eventually come out.

And I'm certain that managers and politicians believe the same thing. They know what they want to hear, so that they can present it on to others. And they'll keep going until they have the stats they want.

Whaaaaaat? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179842)

Australian Catholic Bishops support R18+ rating

Well my goodness, now I have to actually read the damned article.

Hmm Hmm Hmm...

The Australian Catholic Bishops (ACB) state that their preferred position is that R 18+ material would not be available in Australia. However, as material is currently available despite its illegality, it would be preferable to introduce an R18+ classification category for computer games so that access to such material, particularly by children, can be restricted.

Yessss. If it's out there, instead of making it illegal, regulate it.

Next up, Australia legalizes pot! Come on Aussies!

Re:Whaaaaaat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32179992)

The Australian Catholic Bishops (ACB) state that their preferred position is...

Yessss. If it's out there, instead of making it illegal, regulate it.
Next up, Australia legalizes pot! Come on Aussies!

Uh, you do realize that the Catholic Bishops were talking about legalizing child pornography and homosexual statutory rape(altar boys), rather than marijuana, right?

Which would actually be kinda cool if they weren't hypocritical enough to consider defecation a sin.

Re:Whaaaaaat? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180674)

From this: [cia.gov]

Illicit drugs: Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines

We don't need the pot.

Some Pure Speculation (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179882)

Since discussing this story with a few politically aware friends, we've come to the conclusion that any decision will be held off until after the next election (which must be held on or before 16th April 2011). Nothing loses votes quicker than the inevitable headlines of "Labour Party approves selling porn and violence to our children!"

Anyone who truly understands the issues realises that this is not a greenlight to sell porn and violent material to childrenm, but "Adult gamers allowed free choice" as a headline doesn't sell newspapers.

Re:Some Pure Speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180028)

The main issue with not having an R18+ rating from games is surprisingly not because of porn/nudity, but games have been blocked due to extreme violence. Take for example the censorship in Left 4 Dead 2.

I had a friend show me what was censored, and it was only blood and guts. Instead we get a version where the zombies disappear rather than being shown dead and running around on fire.

The government only likes certain interest groups (4, Informative)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179918)

The ACL(Australian Christian Lobby) jumps up and down and pretty much every politician is falling over themselves to appease them

The lobby groups for Gaming launch an incredibly successful campaign for R18+ gaming to the point they manage to get 85 000 people to fill a survey out for the government, and the government calls it rigged.

The ACL claims to be a representative of Australian Christians, but every Christian I know thinks they are a bunch of ultra-conservative bastards who want to force the entire country to adhere to their very narrow view on what is and is not ok.

Re:The government only likes certain interest grou (1)

noisyinstrument (1624451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180248)

Absolute rubbish.

For a start this was not a survey. Numbers never mattered.

Secondly, if it was a survey, then yes it would have been rigged by this process. If churches had been handing out submission forms during mass, then there would be outrage.

It was a chance for gamers to present themselves to a government as intelligent, informed individuals with a reasoned basis for the introduction of an R18+ rating. Instead, they've ruined the process they fought to create. The governments are not at fault here.

Re:The government only likes certain interest grou (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182974)


If churches had been handing out submission forms during mass, then there would be outrage.

Don't churches in Australia do that? Because here in the U. S. I remember my church handing out postcards to get NYPD Blue taken off the air. We were to mail them in to ABC after signing them.

And that's when I finally decided I had had enough and quit the Church. Best thing that ever happened to me in retrospect...

shock at response. (3, Interesting)

enter to exit (1049190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179966)

It appears that EB Games (a popular game retailer) and the pro-R18+ organisation Grow Up Australia were responsible for the 86% of the 59,678 submissions.

I don't know what that means, does that mean that EB and "Grow up Austrlia" employees managed to pull out 51323 submissions? Or does it mean that EB was able to motivate it's customers to actually do something and the government freaked out that anybody other than the church priest and the "elderly gentlemen who thinks a remote control is a sign of the apocalypse" bothered to submit anything. The gaming community can be very vocal (10 minutes of Xbox live will prove this!)
Either way member of these organizations are very likely to the gamers anyway and are definitely entitled to their own submission

The article says that 34 community, church, and "other groups" lodged submission against the rating. Is that all the "do gooders" managed to accumate?
I just find it ironic that the organizations that systematically covers up child-rape allegations has anything to do with judging what is morally acceptable behavior.

The head of EB is arguing that they had to voice their opinion "en masse" or they would have faced the "risk of interpreting the issue as a niche problem that didn't deserve the full attention of the government." I guess that's a valid point, given the choice, politicians would rather do nothing about this and let things stay the same, it doesn't really effect them. This isn't a vote-deciding issue (with the lackluster opposition to the AU Internet filtering I'm beginning to think nothing is a vote-deciding issue for us, nothing like that great Australian apathy eh?)

Re:shock at response. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180150)

does that mean that EB and "Grow up Austrlia" employees managed to pull out 51323 submissions? Or does it mean that EB was able to motivate it's customers to actually do something

EB games put tables in their stores with a stack of submission forms, and said "Fill this out to have your views on R18+ heard!", basically raising awareness and providing a means to conveniently create and submit peoples views.
This, of course, is a radically different approach than the government expected, their expectation being that the notice for submissions would be lodged in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory, etc, and that no one would actually bother to submit anything.

Re:shock at response. (2, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180546)

They apparently had forms in their store the customers could fill out and EB would mail it in for them.

Re:shock at response. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182634)

Sounds like a case of "counter-rigging" to me;

The game was already rigged, by making it difficult/"out of the way" to fill out the forms, because you had to hunt down the form to fill out.

Naturally, the ACL and Co. would have been given knowledge of the form, if not a digital copy of the form, via email directly from the government.

All EB did was to make the form readily available, and to encourage people to fill it out.

No suprise here (5, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179972)

Let's see, the government is blaming people that are IN FAVOR of the 18+ rating for the government's lack of action regarding implementing the said rating.

The government is telling people that by voicing their opinions they are actually harming their own cause. I can't imagine a greater way of suppressing political dissent. I'd be surprised if this had anything to do with video games at all. More likely it's the government using this as an issue that many people are passionate about to try and start discouraging people from expressing their opinions.

Re:No suprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180234)

"Let's see, the government is blaming people that are IN FAVOR of the 18+ rating for the government's lack of action regarding implementing the said rating."

Well of course, the more people that express interest and approval means the gov't has to do studies on how much interest and support there is!

That makes about as much sense as any politics.

Re:No suprise here (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182876)

The government is telling people that by voicing their opinions they are actually harming their own cause. I can't imagine a greater way of suppressing political dissent.

Batons, pepper spray, guns, tear gas... Not to suggest that violence is required for a government to trample democracy, just let's not get into hyperbole here.

these are not the comments we are looking for (1)

chewy_fruit_loop (320844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179980)

so what they're saying is....

we don't want to let you have an 18+ rating at all and we're waiting for the results we want

why do governments seem surprised when they get results they don't want when trying force unpopular actions?

Democracy = Dictatorship of the majority (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181192)

Democracy is the dictatorship of the majority and the majority is not who you think it is.

You only got to read the letters page of your local newsrag to get an idea of what would happen if the people REALLY got a vote. How can you do anything in a NIMBY world? Someone is always going to be against something and demand everyone listen.

Look at the US, the voters split almost exactly in republican en democrats and that is already causing enough problems when the two parties are exactly the same. In the UK you now got three parties and the only way to rule is for two parties with different agenda's to work together. You can bet on both sides getting very upset when in order to work together, they got to agree on policies that they don't agree with.

And what unpopular action? That is the problem with voters, each and every single one of them claims that something HE doesn't like is unpopular with EVERYONE. But there are people in favor of this game ban. And on the whole they tend to argue their case better then some gamer who rants he wants to shoot people in the head for points. This is one of the reasons workers form unions, so the worker can appoint the one among them who can walk and chew gum at the same time and talk to their betters, I mean bosses.

Really, I can understand the politicians not listening to all the voters, because it would be like seeing the guests on Jerry Springer as life style advisers. Do you really want to take policy advice from someone who doesn't shit about anything but thinks his views are the only one who matters? Not unless that person can argue really well and most gamers can't.

Why do you think lobbyists exist? To have people in place who can talk the talk to get your view across. It is not enough to send in a ranting letter because there are countless ranting letters with claims for actions so extreme and weird you would be tempted to just push the big red button and nuke your own country, it is the only way to be sure.

About the best way to get your opinion ignored is to claim you represent everyone, because that is always known to be a lie if you are the first they heard from. And almost all political decisions are unpopular. If you were to create an extra public holiday with guaranteed sunny weather and a gf for every nerd to date, you would still be torn apart by people who claim they represent everyone.

Re:Democracy = Dictatorship of the majority (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183406)

...with guaranteed sunny weather and a gf for every nerd to date, you would still be torn apart...

By women's rights groups, I would think. Maybe not everybody. Just 50% of everybody.

Wow, just like with Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180070)

9 out of 20 people in the US vote against him, 11 out of 20 don't support his socialized health care scheme, but when a voice appears to spoil his midday lunch it's artificial and manufactured.

I can see the headlines now (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180090)

"Government refuses to sell pornographic violence to our children!"

Re:I can see the headlines now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180800)

Pornographic violence comes under an X rating under the rating system in Australia, and is banned in most states by the state governments.

An R18+ rating would allow for more violence in games, OR pornography, but NOT sexualised violence which would still be banned.

Interest groups? (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180094)

I think this is just another case of a government reaching a conclusion and then ignoring results that don't concur with it. Maybe gamers are an "interest group" but only in the sense they are people most affected by a draconian and silly rating systems. They still represent the opinion of a large percentage and cross section of the general public across all lines of race, gender, sexuality, age and religion.

I believe the government is fudging and it's hard to see why exactly. Grown ups should be allowed to play grown up games if they so wish.

Am I reading this correctly? (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180276)

Is that minister claiming that there will not be an R18+ rating because people want the R18+ rating?

Re:Am I reading this correctly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182542)

That's how I read it.

Seriously, this is broken:

Politician: We have to hear what the people want.
People: We want this!
Pol: Ok, we need to hear what the people that don't want this want.
People: ?!?!

It won't change anything ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180406)

It's ridiculous. If we want RC games we just buy them over the internet.

The retailers miss out on profits, and the govt misses out on tax. The gamers get screwed around but get their fun anyway.

Do it once and you find out how much cheaper it is to buy that way.

The Church (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180426)

is in general of a socialist nature. They know that they can't levy tax on something that is illegal but popular.

Keep trying (1)

countach (534280) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180452)

The govt. has got to keep tossing the coin till it gives them the answer they are looking for.

Translation: there's popular support for an R18+ (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180496)

So, hey, Moonbat Mothers Against Everything, ball's in your court. When's the last time your lobbyists took me out to lunch, in a nice dark private restaurant? I could really go for a bucket of caviare-and-non-sequential-bills right now.

The R18+ rating is inevitable (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180564)

...this just delays it a bit.

But the Government has a clear mandate here, and now that SA has a new Attorney-General (one who is on record as being a proponent of harmonising game rating with film/tv/book ratings), I think this will actually happen. Might be another year or two (the legislative process is pretty slow) but it will happen.

The govt. does have a point though. If you have a consultation where one 'side' spams you up with 50,000 individual submissions, but the other 'side' consolidates their arguments into a few submissions, it is important not to let the former drown out the latter. It's not a vote - the Government will consider all the viewpoints and their own constitutional obligations re responsible government, and come to a reasoned conclusion. I'm still pretty confident that conclusion will be pro-R18+ rating for games though. It has pretty overwhelming support.

Interest Groups (5, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180834)

A strong response from gamer groups in the Australian Federal Government's R18+ public consultation has led Censorship Ministers to claim that more views from the community are needed before a decision into the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games can be reached.

Who the fuck did the government THINK was going to respond? And what the fuck did they expect them to say?

OF COURSE gamers are an "interest group" when it comes to legislation that relates to gaming. It is in their interest. By definition.

This is like putting legislation allowing gay marriage on hold because you suspect that it is being promoted too strongly by the "special interest group" of gay people who want to get married.

interest group? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182544)

oh, you mean the gamers? they are not an interest group; they're the very people this fucking stupid law has an impact on.

Clear signs of abuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182730)

I bet that the majority of the responders were Australian, too. That's a clear abuse of the system by that "Australians" special interest group.

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