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The Term Citizen-Soldier is Problematic


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At the moment any all non-champion, woman, or mercenary unit is called a citizen soldier, even when that is not the case.  Merely assuming that non-slaves were citizens is an oversimplified approach to demographics of most ancient societies.  In Athens, for instance, a good proportion of the population consisted of metics, who still paid taxes and served in the military but had few civil rights.  An even more egregious example is Sparta, in which ironically all represented citizen-soldiers were not citizens.  Thus, I propose that a different term be used to better reflect the social structure of these societies.  

Worker-Soldier or Soldier-Worker might be one valid approach, but I would be open to alternatives.  

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I don't remember having seen the term in-game, correct me if I'm wrong. Citizen as class is also used for woman.

As such the purpose of this change is to rename assets and create more mayhem than a24 did? ;)

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52 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

At the moment any all non-champion, woman, or mercenary unit is called a citizen soldier, even when that is not the case.

Small nitpick: healers are not, though I assume with their status they would usually be citizens.

 

55 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Worker-Soldier or Soldier-Worker might be one valid approach, but I would be open to alternatives.  

I agree that the terminology should be as correct as possible.

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It may not be that important, but either the game should work to properly establish the social class of the units it represents or not do so at all.  At the moment, I think that just removing the citizen class from units might be the simplest and and easiest option.

If we want to actually represent social class in a simple but intuitive way, I did write up a potential framework that could be used, but that is obviously beyond the scope of this topic.

 

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I'd actually be in favour of having different types of gatherers depending on civs. Might be impossible to balance though and sadly would go in favour of removing them entirely as it has been suggested a lot from Darc Reaver and others.

I wonder if adding slaves would require us to add a disclaimer on the splash screen saying we do not condone it.

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1 hour ago, Stan` said:

I wonder if adding slaves would require us to add a disclaimer on the splash screen saying we do not condone it.

While you're at it, do the same for the quotes you don't condone; some of them make me go 'What?'.

But seriously, I don't think that'd be necessary; and as mentioned before we technically already have slaves in the game.

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2 hours ago, Stan` said:

I'd actually be in favour of having different types of gatherers depending on civs. Might be impossible to balance though and sadly would go in favour of removing them entirely as it has been suggested a lot from Darc Reaver and others.

I wonder if adding slaves would require us to add a disclaimer on the splash screen saying we do not condone it.

I would say that it might be easier to balance than you might think with the current paradigm.  Women are essentially the current dedicated labourers of the game (Which in some cultural cases is a bit odd as well, but I digress).  Slaves were primarily used for mining purposes, much to the expense of the slave's quality of life.  Making slaves good at quarrying and mining while competent but not exceptional at other tasks would be the best sort of approach.  The disclaimer might not be a bad idea, but I think that maybe just giving a blanket statement to the effect of 'there are practices represented in game that we do not condone' might be simpler.  0 AD oftentimes is a game in which winning requires virtual genocide, just about as problematic as slavery to me.

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1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:
3 hours ago, Stan` said:

 

I would say that it might be easier to balance than you might think with the current paradigm.  Women are essentially the current dedicated labourers of the game (Which in some cultural cases is a bit odd as well, but I digress).  Slaves were primarily used for mining purposes, much to the expense of the slave's quality of life.  Making slaves good at quarrying and mining while competent but not exceptional at other tasks would be the best sort of approach

I meant having civs with CS civs with slaves, civs with both etc, if that makes some sense. Also making use of the "phenotype" feature which allow male and female variations. But that didn't get a good feedback at all in the balancing forums.

1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

he disclaimer might not be a bad idea, but I think that maybe just giving a blanket statement to the effect of 'there are practices represented in game that we do not condone' might be simpler.  0 AD oftentimes is a game in which winning requires virtual genocide, just about as problematic as slavery to me.

Yeah it might. Such subjects are tricky to say the least.

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I cannot post in Balancing Discussion, but I agree with removing Citizen class from units that are historically not citizens. Replacing them with appropriate classes are also welcome (Metics, Helots, Plebeian, Shudra, what have you). Worker and Soldier are already existing classes in 0 AD.

I still don't understand the backlash against depicting slave unit in a game that depicts war.

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I believe there are AIs implications to messing up with those classes. So it must be done carefully.

There is no backlash currently but if 0 A.D. continues getting some traction, we might reach that point one day and it doesn't hurt to mention it now :)

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58 minutes ago, Stan` said:

I believe there are AIs implications to messing up with those classes. So it must be done carefully.

There is no backlash currently but if 0 A.D. continues getting some traction, we might reach that point one day and it doesn't hurt to mention it now :)

stop worrying about it. it won't happen if done correctly.

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I must say that the worker class, citizen-soldier class are used explicitly in XML template files, so deleting them will break the game. 

However, I am open to changing the displayed names of things and removing the term 'citizen soldier' from tooltips. This prevents the player from seeing these misused terms without creating bugs in the code. If we want to completely remove these terms it will require quite a big makeover.

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3 hours ago, Stan` said:

if 0 A.D. continues getting some traction, we might reach that point one day

hopefully :D

I don't think there is a general problem with introducing social classes including slavery into the game. Most (if not all all) ancient civilizations used slaves to build their empires and because 0.A.D pays close attention to historic facts, this would fit to the concept.

But the problem is the specific implementation, which is why I think it is not a good idea.

For one, there are the concerns @Stan` mentioned, about how to depict and balance complex social classes for all the different civs.

There are also moral implications (which I will discuss based only on my thoughts, so the generalizations I make are only assumptions ):

0 A.D is a game of classical warfare. This means explicit depiction of violence and war is to be expected. Also the violence is used by all players, so there is the concept of resistance, counterattacks and so on. Therefore the game tells a tale of a cruel but "fair" fight for the win between equal parties, using classic motives of victory and heroism. This is why the violence is morally justifiable for many people.

The problem with depicting slaves is that it is only a one way violence relationship. And because complex sociological roles and the effects they have are hard to depict in-game (we have no concept of popularity as a commander or morale of the units as Stronghold for example), they would probably just be very weak "throw away" units. So this could change the story of the game from playing a commander fighting "honorably", which has a positive connotation in many cultures, to playing a slave owner exploiting slaves, which has a negative connotation in many cultures and will deter people from playing, even if it based on historical facts.

And just to remind everyone what effect the depiction of social roles has and how people react to it we can look at women in 0.A.D:

 

So the questions for me are: Do we have a concept for an implementation that doesn't have the inherit bad connotation of playing a slave owner? Can we really depict the historical complexity in an accurate way? How would the gameplay actually benefit from the introduction of social classes and slaves and is it worth effort to finding a good implementation?

 

Now about the naming question: I think it makes sense to stick to common terms everyone understands even without historical background or knowledge about the game. The term citizen may not be correct for all units, but it is the word that everybody understands and that is used in many RTS (I believe?). If we want to change it I would either switch to using the unit roles e.g "worker" and "soldier" ect. or use a generic term like "residents". Word combinations as "worker-solider" are really not good in user facing texts, because no one knows what is meant by that when seeing it for the first time.

Edited by maroder
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Delenda Est has slaves, I don't see why vanilla 0ad can't. However, as Genava stated, not all civs used slaves so Maurya don't get any. That is a good nerf for them compared to other civs. I would still recommend waiting until at least A27 to implement slaves as currently lobby players don't really welcome big changes such as this. 

Also I agree with Delenda Est idea of having citizens of both genders: not all men in a whole city state go to war whenever there is a skrimish; there are always men who are unsuitable for fighting. However, I don't agree with Crea's view of the game being sexist because there are female warriors and heroes in civs where appropriate. Blame the ancient Greeks for being sexist and not the devs! 

Again, I would not introduce new unit roles for now, let's just change the name to worker-soldier or something along those lines. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, maroder said:

The problem with depicting slaves is that it is only a one way violence relationship. And because complex sociological roles and the effects they have are hard to depict in-game (we have no concept of popularity as a commander or morale of the units as Stronghold for example), they would probably just be very weak "throw away" units. So this could change the story of the game from playing a commander fighting "honorably", which has a positive connotation in many cultures, to playing a slave owner exploiting slaves, which has a negative connotation in many cultures and will deter people from playing, even if it based on historical facts.

The problem is that as already mentioned, slaves are at least mentioned in a technology anyways.  Furthermore, 0 AD, like many RTSs requires players to commit virtual genocide to win, hardly an honourable course of action.  I think that it is important to recognise that slavery in the ancient times could vary a good deal in how they were treated.  There were clearly some people such as Cato the Elder who emphasised pragmatism when it came to the use of slaves over much more merciful practices.  That all said, there were oftentimes chances for social advancement for slaves, and there could certainly be other cases of non-slavery in history in which people groups were treated significantly worse.  Take for instance, the Leopold II in the Congo.  The point being, just because there is the word 'slave' does not necessarily imply one of the greatest evils.

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Maybe I should clarify: I'm not against including social roles, if there is a solid thought trough concept, that keeps these things in mind.

All I'm saying is that this is a topic that requires more thought and if such a step is taken it should be deliberate and under consideration of eventual problems and the implications it may or may not have on the perception of the game by different people. As Stan said:

On 05/07/2021 at 10:03 PM, Stan` said:

Such subjects are tricky to say the least.

Which is why I am not convinced that it is a good idea to include.  @Thorfinn the Shallow Minded yes you got good points

1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

 I think that it is important to recognise that slavery in the ancient times could vary a good deal in how they were treated.  There were clearly some people such as Cato the Elder who emphasised pragmatism when it came to the use of slaves over much more merciful practices.  That all said, there were oftentimes chances for social advancement for slaves, and there could certainly be other cases of non-slavery in history in which people groups were treated significantly worse

but my question stands, how can you display these complex historical roles in game? And also what will be the advantages gameplay wise of introducing a complex social role system (as slaves, freeman, citizen, nobles possibly different for different civs)?

1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Furthermore, 0 AD, like many RTSs requires players to commit virtual genocide to win, hardly an honourable course of action.

true and I am also not an expert in sociology and psychology so as I said, I was merely making assumptions and highlighting one viewpoint. But that is the problem. Different people think very differently about such a topic based on a variety of personal reasons.

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Classes are meant to allow certain technologies, effects, aurae, selection to be performed on a group of entities. 0ad "Classes" and historical social classes have nothing in common at all. So slaves as a unit type could and probably should also get the Class Citizen.

While the Class name Citizen isn't perfect it's not half as distorting history as depicting slaves as miners. The CEO of a global consortium like Nestle might have been a slave in Rome while the beggar living under the bridge would have been a freeman.

Anyway changing the Class name Citizen wouldn't improve historical accuracy as it has technically nothing to do with history in the first place. On the other hand it causes major issues. The suggestion to only rename it on the surface increase complexity for maintainers and new contributors alike and should be considered code rot. The opinion that it's easy and doesn't come at a major cost and just has to be done right won't ever be uttered by a seasoned developer either.

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So it seems that the Citizen class currently is kind of arbitrary, at least technically.

Looking at Templates, it seems to mean all builders and gatherers, but not really: Infantry are citizens. Cavalry, and also elephant soldiers, are citizens, but Heroes are not citizens. Women are citizens, but other support (merchant, healer, elephant worker) are not citizens. Ships, not citizens.

Women has different Classes and VisibleClasses, so their VisibleClasses are "Citizen, Worker", but under the hood their Classes is one "FemaleCitizen". For citizen-soldiers, its Classes is "CitizenSoldier" instead. So far, I haven't see VisibleClasses get used in code, Aura/Tech/AI/etc only use FemaleCitizen & CitizenSoldier, haven't seen "Citizen" used at all except in unit info.

As for social class, I agree that it has to serve gameplay purpose, like social class conflicts. For example, in my hypothetical City Building Mod update, there would be techs like Emancipated Helots (Neodamodes) that would promote all Helot soldiers but also slightly decrease Perioikoi soldiers damage. Something like that. Probably a separate class system is needed, like SocialClass, only for social class as opposed to current, more universal class system.

 

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17 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

Blame the ancient Greeks for being sexist and not the devs! 

Agreed. It's like if we made a game about modern warfare and folks insisted the Saudi faction include female soldiers. Just an example.

There are ways to include women in the game. The two-gender citizens patch is a good way. Most Athenian citizen women, for example, would have been cloistered inside, but there were likely plenty of lower class and metic women who had to tend the family shop or do some farm work, not to mention the pornoi (prostitutes) and hetaerae (companions), who were out and about. And then there were festival days when women of all classes could leave home and participate. So, as an abstraction, having a mix of female and male citizens can make sense. Mixing in female variants into the soldiery, there isn't much justification there. Though, we don't have to completely dismiss any female representation in the ranks, as there are a handful of extraordinary examples we can include in the game, especially in campaigns. And then there are a couple possible factions, such as Scythians and Xiongnu, where we can justify some significant female presence on the battlefield (or at least in some supportive roles). 

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21 hours ago, maroder said:

but my question stands, how can you display these complex historical roles in game? And also what will be the advantages gameplay wise of introducing a complex social role system (as slaves, freeman, citizen, nobles possibly different for different civs)?

As far as I seem RTS games are major abstractions, unlike city builders or grand strategy games, both of which oftentimes try to represent some of the nuances of their subject matter.  

The RTS game is far different with its approach, tending more towards simplicity.  Examples include units and buildings taking seconds to complete.  Thus, a complex system is not necessary to represent its subject matter.  That is why a simple, intuitive option can be introduced that does the job even if it does not consider my hoplite Lysimachus' views on the advantages of olive production.  

As I more or less laid out before, slaves would be good economic units, yet they would be fragile and capable of being captured (I thought for a while about the idea of them being able to potentially run away, but as I saw, a mechanic like could be frustrating.)  I would stress that slaves would in many cases be an efficient economic unit, but not necessarily that much better than other units.  

Freemen would be much like a typical unit yet only be able to advance to the second rank.

Citizens would be able to advance to the third rank.

There are exceptions to these rules: helots would behave differently, and technologies could possibly make the dynamics change.  For instance Rome to my knowledge had some of the best social mobility for slaves, and a technology to represent that could be introduced.

 

Anyways, just to reiterate the primary point of this topic, I merely think that when you look at a unit in game, it should not be called a 'citizen' if it was not historically such.  The simplest option of removing that description.  Worker does an adequate job of establishing their role outside of soldiering. 

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9 hours ago, azayrahmad said:

So it seems that the Citizen class currently is kind of arbitrary, at least technically.

Looking at Templates, it seems to mean all builders and gatherers, but not really: Infantry are citizens. Cavalry, and also elephant soldiers, are citizens, but Heroes are not citizens. Women are citizens, but other support (merchant, healer, elephant worker) are not citizens. Ships, not citizens.

Women has different Classes and VisibleClasses, so their VisibleClasses are "Citizen, Worker", but under the hood their Classes is one "FemaleCitizen". For citizen-soldiers, its Classes is "CitizenSoldier" instead. So far, I haven't see VisibleClasses get used in code, Aura/Tech/AI/etc only use FemaleCitizen & CitizenSoldier, haven't seen "Citizen" used at all except in unit info.

As for social class, I agree that it has to serve gameplay purpose, like social class conflicts. For example, in my hypothetical City Building Mod update, there would be techs like Emancipated Helots (Neodamodes) that would promote all Helot soldiers but also slightly decrease Perioikoi soldiers damage. Something like that. Probably a separate class system is needed, like SocialClass, only for social class as opposed to current, more universal class system.

 

You are saying that simply turning the "citizen" class from visible to invisible is possible and would make no damage, and that deleting it altogether may not too?

7 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Agreed. It's like if we made a game about modern warfare and folks insisted the Saudi faction include female soldiers. Just an example.

There are ways to include women in the game. The two-gender citizens patch is a good way. Most Athenian citizen women, for example, would have been cloistered inside, but there were likely plenty of lower class and metic women who had to tend the family shop or do some farm work, not to mention the pornoi (prostitutes) and hetaerae (companions), who were out and about. And then there were festival days when women of all classes could leave home and participate. So, as an abstraction, having a mix of female and male citizens can make sense. Mixing in female variants into the soldiery, there isn't much justification there. Though, we don't have to completely dismiss any female representation in the ranks, as there are a handful of extraordinary examples we can include in the game, especially in campaigns. And then there are a couple possible factions, such as Scythians and Xiongnu, where we can justify some significant female presence on the battlefield (or at least in some supportive roles). 

For factions with significant women partecipation to the military, we can make a woman phenotype to mix with the men. The proportion may be discussed by the historians. Although I wouldn't consider this to be a release breaker.

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2 hours ago, alre said:

You are saying that simply turning the "citizen" class from visible to invisible is possible and would make no damage, and that deleting it altogether may not too?

I am simply saying that turning it from visible to invisible, if possible, would probably be the easiest solution.  I am no programmer and cannot comment on the difficulty of implementing specific things, but to my understanding, typically simple solutions are simple to implement.

On 7/7/2021 at 9:27 AM, hyperion said:

While the Class name Citizen isn't perfect it's not half as distorting history as depicting slaves as miners. The CEO of a global consortium like Nestle might have been a slave in Rome while the beggar living under the bridge would have been a freeman.

Actually representing miners as slaves is not very far from the truth.  Many slaves who were given that status due to heinous crimes were sentenced to work such areas where life expectancy was quite low.  Many impoverished people became slaves as a result of debt, so the idea of a beggar becoming a slave is not entirely out of the question since although they would not necessarily expect a great life, most of their daily needs would be met.

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