Simon

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Everything posted by Simon

  1. Simon

    To the Future

    It's been 6 months since I posted a blog. It's kind of strange looking back at my old blog post from April - it was all about how much BABSCon meant to me - about the new friendships I had formed there and realizing that my life was changing. Needless to say thinking my life was changing because of BABSCon was the understatement of the century. A few months back I moved in with the delightful Nervous Stitch and SFyr. It's honestly kind of hard to describe what the last 6 months of my life have been like. We've been friends for about a year but I connected so well with Stitch at BABSCon and the trip to Las Vegas our group took aftewards that I knew right away she was someone important to me. Not long after BABSCon I took a 4 day trip out to Texas to visit with her and SFyr - I never left. I extended it once because I wasn't feeling well - then again, and again. Not long into my stay we had a chat and I decided to move in. We all moved to a larger place together, and not long after we began dating. Everything moved so fast - I'm not one to jump into relationships like that, but something was different with Stitch. We connected in a way I never had connected with another human being. It was an incredible feeling - I was living in a new state with the love of my life and only a few months earlier I didn't even know what she looked like. And things have never stopped moving fast... About 2 weeks ago we got engaged. After BABSCon I felt that my life was changing for the better, but I had no idea how true that was. It's an incredible feeling really - a few years back I joined this forum and this fandom as an escape from a relationship that had turned sour, and because of my love for something as silly as a cartoon about colorful equines my entire future has changed for the better. It's hard to imagine what my life would be like if none of the silliness of the past few years had happened. From the bottom of my heart - thank you to this site, to its members, its staff - everybody. You all have had such a positive impact on my life - not just my close friends but every person on this site, every post, everything that's happened has shaped my life and brought me to where I am, and all I can do is give my eternal gratitude to the thousands of people on MLPF who have contributed to me being the happiest I ever have been. This place will always hold an important place in my heart. Now I just need to plan a wedding, what could go wrong?
  2. Like others pointed out, the finale wasn't leaked. And really we haven't seen genuine episode "leaks" as that requires an extraordinary amount of backhanded work in Hasbro for an entire episode to be leaked early. Episodes that get released prior to their US showing have consistently been because Hasbro / the HUB / Discovery Family and the other corporations involved in release have had extremely poor planning and protection over their IP. We've seen issues with foreign release dates, episodes being programmed to release on the wrong day on sites like iTunes... that's not anybody's fault but Hasbro's. Now I totally agree I'd love to see Hasbro and the corporations behind MLP's release put in the care and effort to not have that happen, but the fandom unilaterally agreeing to close our eyes and pretend content released early doesn't exist is silly and infeasible. Few people are actively hoping or looking for episodes to get leaked, particularly a finale, for all the reasons you cited, but it's hard to say that the fandom's individual participants shouldn't participate in watching an episode that's released early for whatever reason. If they don't, they risk having the entire episode spoiled for them. Now I actually did wait for the US release date to watch it due to the quality (sure enough there were upload issues and I was with a group so we ended up watching the UK version anyway, but that's besides the point.) But while I would love for these types of things to not happen, I don't expect anybody to not watch an episode early - but ultimately making sure releases happen in a logical manner is on Hasbro, DHX, Discovery Family, and all the other networks and corporations shoulders, and the fandom will never have control over that aspect of our community.
  3. Simon

    Visual Art Jeanette

    Chipmunks art, must comment Adorable art, the forums need a little more Jeanette <3
  4. Simon

    Mods, we need to talk.

    Warnings must be acknowledged before users are able to post to make sure the user has actually read and has been made aware of the issue they were warned for. This isn't you admitting you were wrong, just you acknowledging that you read and received a warning. You are still able to file a dispute after acknowledging through the ticket system or at disputes@mlpforums.com..
  5. Since being founded in 2013, Ponyville Live has grown to be the fandom’s largest multimedia network. Ponyville Live is the pony community’s premier source for pony radio, podcasts, video streams, and much more. Like much of the fandom, Poniverse was sad to learn recently that Silver Eagle would be stepping down from his position as head of Ponyville Live. In an effort to keep this valuable service available to the community, Ponyville Live will continue to stay active as the newest member of the Poniverse network! As part of this transition, Alex “Dusk” Howard will serve as the new head of Ponyville Live. Dusk has served both as an administrator for the Ponyville Live network as well as working on several of Ponyville Live’s stations. While he’ll no longer be serving as the head of Ponyville Live, Silver Eagle will be joining the Poniverse team as one of our developers, allowing him to continue to work on the technical side of Ponyville Live and help it to thrive and grow. Ponyville Live and Poniverse will be working over the next few weeks to transition Ponyville Live into our network as seamlessly as possible. Ponyville Live joins a wide array of sites and services offered by Poniverse including MLP Forums, Pony.fm, Equestria.tv, and PoniArcade. Poniverse is the fandom’s largest supercommunity providing the fandom with a one-stop-shop for all their pony needs. We here at Poniverse are excited about the opportunities this merger will present and are looking forward to the chance to work even closer with our friends at Ponyville Live. If you’d like to read more about Ponyville Live’s merger with Poniverse, you can check out their announcement here: http://news.ponyvillelive.com/post/135213219828/ponyville-live-lives-poniverse-and-the-future-of
  6. Hey guys! We’ve received a ton of feedback asking for some new subscriber benefits, and we’re extremely happy to announce a complete revamp of the perks for our subscribers as well as the launch of our Patreon for a new way of subscribing! For as little as $5 a month you can help support your favorite Poniverse sites like MLP Forums, Ponyville Live, Pony.fm, and more! And with tons of new perks and options, there’s never been a better time to support Poniverse. Check out all the new subscriber perk levels below! $5.00/month You'll get a special thank-you message addressed to you on Poniverse.net! $10.00/month You’ll get the $5 perks and you will be placed in the special Subscribers group, which offers you the following perks: 150x200 avatars (50px longer than the normal 150x150 limit) 600x200 signature images (twice as large as the normal 600x100 limit) 500 KB file limit on profile background images (vs. 255 KB limit normally) unlimited storage for private messages the ability to use attachments in private messages the ability to change your member title 3 name changes every 15 days a golden username a heart beside your name on PoniArcade's Minecraft server $15.00/month You get all of the perks of a $10 subscription plus the following: Your OC could get cameo appearances in our comics, backgrounds, or anywhere else where we need an extra pony! Use of OC's will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be subject to approval. $20.00/month You'll get all of the perks of a $15 subscription plus the following: An invitation to a monthly Google Hangout with the staff behind Poniverse! This is a great chance to ask us questions, give feedback, or just chat with us. $25.00/month You'll get all of the perks of a $20 subscription plus the following: A 5% discount on all orders placed through MLP Forums commission shops! This discount is covered by us so your favourite artists will continue to benefit just as much from your orders. $35.00/month (Option A) You'll get all of the perks of a $20 subscription plus the following: A 10% discount on all orders placed through MLP Forums commission shops! This discount is covered by us so your favourite artists will continue to benefit just as much from your orders. $35.00/month (Option B ) You'll get all of the perks of a $20 subscription plus the following: Free web hosting for your site by Poniverse! Whether you're looking to host a small personal site or a pony fan project, this is an awesome way to get hosting while supporting Poniverse. $50.00/month You'll get all of the perks of a $20 subscription plus the following: A 10% discount on all orders placed through MLP Forums commission shops! This discount is covered by us so your favourite artists will continue to benefit just as much from your orders. Free web hosting for your site by Poniverse! Whether you're looking to host a small personal site or a pony fan project, this is an awesome way to get hosting while supporting Poniverse. Get your subscription today! Subscribe through MLP Forums here or through our Patreon!
  7. Hi there, my little ponies – it’s time for our first fandom Q&A of season 6! Who better to kick off this season than an encore performance by season 6 storyboard artist, Ward Jenkins? Join us here on MLP Forums in the Poniverse Events forum at 12:30 EST (9:30 PST) tomorrow, just a half hour after episode 4, for your chance to talk to Ward Jenkins about his experiences in creating the storyboards for tomorrow's episode! To learn some more about Ward Jenkins, be sure to check out his previous Q&A as well as his website, wardjenkins.com. While a newcomer to My Little Pony, Ward Jenkins has an extensive background in illustration. Be sure to check out some of his work! As an extra treat, during the My Little Pony season 6 episode 4 premiere, Ward Jenkins will be live tweeting from his Twitter account, @Wardomatic! Be sure to tune in and experience the premiere along with our guest. As always, please respect that because Ward Jenkins works on My Little Pony, he may be unable to answer some questions about unreleased episodes of season 6 as well as other contract limitations. Let’s not try to worm any inside information out of our guest! Aside from these topics, feel free to inquire about his storyboard work on episode 4, his previous work experience, and his personal feelings and thoughts on all things Pony. For a fantastic look into the world of storyboard creation, and into the creation of tomorrow's episode, be sure to join us in welcoming Ward Jenkins tomorrow, here on MLP Forums!
  8. Simon

    Does anyone know how much it costs to go to Babscon?

    Hey Babyyoshi! Since BABSCon is one of our partner organizations we have a dedicated forum for them, so I've moved your thread to that section. Last year, standard badges sold for $60 after early bird registration, so you save a bit by registering early, but it's definitely still affordable afterwards. The higher badges definitely will sell out before the convention once they open those up for registration (Particularly the High Society badges tend to sell out fairly quickly), but standard badges have always been available all the way up to at the door of the con.
  9. Since as far back as Episode 2 of the series when Celestia didn't drop kick her sister to the moon, people have complained about "unnecessary" villain reform. But the truth is that the consistent efforts to reform villains in the show present, perhaps, the single most important moral lesson of the entire series. No, this isn't just a stale rant where I scream "love & tolerate" and "forgive people yo". If the villain reforms seem "unnatural" or you don't understand why the ponies are so forgiving... good. You're not supposed to get it. Because what the show is actually doing is challenging thousands of years of human practices towards criminals that have gotten us nowhere. Let me explain... I've spent the past several years of my life studying, researching, and working in the field of criminal justice... I started off with 4 years volunteer work in a juvenile justice diversionary court, then went on to earn my AA in Criminal Justice followed quickly by my BA. After that I went to law school where I earned my Juris Doctorate, and I'm currently working on my Master's in Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a focus on Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention. I'm not giving my resume to sound egotistical, just to explain where the following viewpoint comes from. Let me start from the beginning. Generally the arguments cited for why villain reform are bad fall into a few categories: "Wait what?" - Character could have been reformed but it was rushed / badly written / etc; "To the Moon!" - Villain deserved to be punished! Send them to Tartarus or the moon or something; "She's gonna kill everypony" - Villain is impossible to reform what are they even doing. "I liked them bad :(" - Reform made sense, but it screws up your headcanons about Discord enslaving ponyville. I'm not going to be addressing the first of these reasons as I'm of the mindset that whether writing is good or bad is a subjective art, but what I will be addressing is why criminal justice theories explain that the other three reasons are non-issues, or at a minimum, trumped significantly by the benefits of these stories in the show. Now, to explain this, I have to explain some criminal justice theories. In criminal justice, 'punishments' are divided into two theories or categories: Retributive punishments which seek to punish a person because they deserve punishment, and utilitarian punishments which seek to punish a person to prevent additional crime either from that individual or others. Retributive punishments go back thousands of years to biblical times. This tidbit sound familiar? This is classic retributive punishment. It's entirely revenge based looking only to hurt the person who hurt you for the sake of hurting them. It's a very understandable and dare I say human way of thinking, but as a broader theory of punishment it only gets us so far. That's where the genius of MLP's tendency to reform villains starts to shine. By our very nature, humans want to seek out retributive punishments. We like to see the bad guy suffer in exchange for wrongdoing, to the point that we even start to color non-retributive punishments as retributive. How many times have you thought someone 'deserved' to be in prison instead of thinking you're glad they aren't able to hurt someone else? How often do we criticize the existence of a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity instead of looking at the mental health services that plea option opens up to the defendant? But the show doesn't allow us to color villain reforms in this way by making it painfully obvious they're not trying to take a retributive route. So let's look at utilitarian punishments. Utilitarian punishments are a broad scope of different forms of punishment that all try to in some way prevent future harm to society. Utilitarian punishments are further divided into three categories: Incapacitative punishments look to physically prevent the offender from wrongdoing like Luna being sent to the Moon or Tartarus; Deterrents look to either disincentivize crime for a single individual or a larger group such as the threat that villainizing Ponyville will land you in Tartarus; the third and far most underutilized form of punishment in the real world is Rehabilitation which of course looks to reform a specific individual to prevent them from offending later. Now of all the theories of punishment, Rehabilitation is the single most desirable outcome, the problem is its the hardest to achieve. Incapacitative punishments like prisons are very expensive and lose all effectiveness once the person is released without being combined with a deterrent or rehabilitative punishment. Deterrents do sometimes prevent future crimes without continued monitoring, but they don't remove the criminality from the individual only scare them into submission. Rehabilitative punishments on the other hand seek to actually help the defendant, and that's a powerful tool. It not only prevents re-offending but it changes the person's mindset when successful, the problem with it is that it's very hard to pull off. So Simon... if it's so hard to pull off then I'm right, it is unbelievable in MLP! To that I say pastel ponies. Nothing in the show is believable. Fantasy writing from its very core seeks to do one thing: paint a picture of a better world. MLP's universe is not our own, but a colorful playground where we can imagine what humanity can become if we try to encourage individuals to work towards a better end. What kind of picture would we be painting for our youth to strive for if the show resorted to primitive instincts of retribution in its dealings with villains? I adore each and every instance of villain reform in MLP for one very good reason: it teaches the value of taking effort towards rehabilitating any offender that is willing and open to be rehabilitated. Moreover, I'd argue that the ease in which the mane 6 accepts reforming villains in recent years paints the picture, perhaps incidentally, of a road to making people hold this sort of mentality themselves. Look at the major villain reforms in order (I'm skipping the non-Mane 6 reforms like Sunset and DT): Nightmare Moon - At this early stage the Mane 6 had no intention of rehabilitating Luna. Their only knowledge of the elements was that it was what sent her to the moon, so when they blasted Nightmare Moon with magic rainbows, they fully intended to incapacitate her, but instead we got the pleasant surprise that it allowed Luna to break free of Nightmare Moon's grip and thus we have our first reform purely by accident. Trixie - Trixie was and is very much a work in progress in my opinion as seen in the latest Trixie episode, but with her we saw a similar transformation as Nightmare Moon. She was under the influence of an element which significantly lessened her ability to make decisions for herself. She was genuinely grateful for the Mane 6 removing that elements hold on her, and thus it opened her up to rehabilitation, though not fully rehabilitating her on the spot. Discord - Here's where things get interesting. To many he was rehabilitated far too quickly in the show, but if you look, the Mane 6 minus Flutters were fully ready to incapacitate him again. It was Fluttershy standing up to them in the spirit of her element that we're left with Fluttershy planting enough of a seed of what life without wrongdoing looks like in his head that he's at least open to the idea of reforming. It isn't until Tirek's betrayal that he really understands that friendship is more valuable than harming people for the sake of harming them. This also opens up the rest of the Mane 6's minds in believing rehabilitation can actually work. Starlight Glimmer - Again, this isn't Twilight going in saying "Next time I see Starlight Glimmer I'm going to friend her butt into reform!" This is a classic tale of minor events in someone's past opening them up to a predisposition for criminality. Starlight Glimmer is not inherently an evil pony, but hardships in her life that are seemingly minor in retrospect built up hatred that consumed her. This is honestly one of the most realistic tv portrayals of the butterfly effect that happens in criminal minds every day. People aren't evil cause evil, they make bad choices because of their past. (I ranted about this more here if you'd like to check that out.) Point is, she's a prime candidate for rehabilitation. When Twilight realized during the time loop that Starlight didn't actually have an understanding of the implications of preventing Twilight's friendships, she showed her that reality in an effort to get her to stop herself, which worked. This is again, very realistic. A person who knew robbing that liquor store would result in his gun going off and killing the clerk would probably re-think it. This realization of the harm she was causing opened her up for reform in a realistic way... yes it was fast, but under the right circumstances, rehabilitation is fast. My point is - as the series went on, the Mane 6 became more open to the idea of rehabilitation, and all of those prior successes led to their willingness to try the same with Starlight Glimmer. That was arguably the first and only time the mane 6 got in a circle and agreed to attempt to reform someone who seemed willing. It wasn't by accident or demand, but a group's concerted effort to do good. That's a wonderful attitude to teach our youth. Yes, rehabilitation is hard in the real world, but it happens. And if more people went into life with the mindset that it's something we should strive to accomplish whenever possible, we'd have a better world. Do they use the reform gun too much? Maybe. But in my opinion we use prisons too much, and I'd much rather see us overuse something positive than something negative.
  10. Actually just read this case for my Juvenile Justice class about a week ago. I think the big frustration is that while the courts permit a mens rea defense for cases like this since the imitation that's happening takes out the intent from the crime, but where the observational learning causes genuine aggressive tendencies there's really no route for the defense. Yeah I could agree with that even from my own life experiences. Won't go into too much detail on that front, but needless to say the aggressiveness I experienced in my youth very much inspired me to be the opposite way. Definitely. And I think the other part of it is that for the vast majority of kids watching the show, they won't grow up to be a judge figuring out punishments for a murderer, they're figuring out whether to be a forgiving human being and that's an excellent lesson to teach people. Yes - rehabilitative approaches don't always work out, but a strictly retributive approach in criminal justice or in a day to day life is rarely a winning strategy. Influencing people to actually consider the consequences and benefits of all the potential ways to respond to a persons negative actions is a hell of a lot better lesson to give kids in their media than punishment for the sake of punishment.
  11. I am , I've always been a big proponent of social learning theories. I think particularly when you start looking at some of the demographic statistics in criminology it becomes apparent there has to be a very heavy social factor in criminology and behavior in general. I mean bias can only explain away the demographic disparities so far. I've always found the bobo doll experiment interesting. I think the biggest weakness of the experiment as a model, at least in terms of criminology, is that it doesn't demonstrate longevity which has always been the big dispute on the criminal justice end. It also was done with an age range that makes it questionable how strongly the data applies to the older age ranges that juvenile justice covers. At least in the criminology circles some level of social learning is relatively accepted, but there's a much larger dispute on how social learning impacts punishment theories. That's another tangent for another day though. On they psychology/child development fronts though it's a pretty invaluable experiment. I mean that's quite a bit out of my area of expertise, but it's always been an extremely interesting experiment from that perspective. I think the general existence of imitation is something even most lay people accept as a truth for kids, particularly in that age range, but the severity and degree that Bandura demonstrated it was quite drastic. Honestly, some of them have had a lasting impact on my life so I don't think it's much of a stretch that younger viewers who are far more prone to developmental influences are going to be impacted in a large way. Again, a bit outside my area of expertise, but personally I think in general media - and how that media is presented to the child - has a lasting impact on development. Particularly when you're talking about Bandura-esque social learning, the show takes a far more demonstrative route than other media for that age and gender range, so if you subscribe to observational learning it has a pretty strong approach in influencing children. In terms of the actual topic of villain reform, I mostly appreciate it for the perspective of exposing children to a non-retributive approach. I think as a society we have far too strong a tendency to acknowledge things like social learning, and then not apply the causal factors when we look at punishments in criminal justice. Exposing children to a system in which it's not necessary to take a retributive stance is such an invaluable thing to expose future generations to. Far too often there's an emphasis on just deserts in children's media imo. I really appreciate that :3
  12. Simon

    General Internet Friends or Real Friends?

    I'm literally sitting in another state hanging out with @@Nervous Stitch and @@SFyr after spending the weekend at their house. The best friends are the internet friends who you care enough about to talk to them any way you can
  13. Simon

    Some Clarity Please?

    It's definitely the staff. Let me take a moment to give a bit of insight on the staff process for locking threads and rule violations in general: -A staffer or Member reports a thread they feel should be locked or they see problems in. This alerts every global moderator to the report. -For what to do with the thread, we usually have a discussion in one of the forum staff skype groups (either between all the staff or the staff of a particular section) -For rule violations, the global moderators and admins discuss those in a separate skype group and/or on the report itself. Warnings don't happen without several staff (usually around 3-4) agreeing, more if there's a dissenting opinion. -Similarly, users who just need to be told 'hey don't do that' without a big formal warning will get pm's after about 2-3 mods agree they broke a rule. -Thread gets locked, all of the rule violating posts get hidden, moderator posts the reason why in the thread for the members In all, it's a fairly lengthy process. Very rarely is a thread locked without a discussion and when that happens it's because it's painfully obvious to most everybody on this forum what needs to happen with it and the types of posts the thread will get are things we don't want to expose members to (for instance - someone posting a "Which mane 6 would you want to beat to death with a stick" thread is going to have about an 8 second life expectancy with me) Greatest advice I can give on avoiding problems with abuse is discuss ideas not people. The second your post is commenting on the person who made the post you're responding to, instead of the concepts in the post it's going to be abusive. Here's what I mean: Abusive: Not abusive: That's why the rule's language focuses on the old "love and tolerate" ideas. The idea of steering clear from attacking people, and instead discussing ideas maturely and calmly. Keep in mind, the abuse rule also does extend to attacking groups of people including those not on the forum, that's why we've shut down threads on subjects like the WBC for instance. It's not that the forum loves Westboro's actions or ideals - trust me when I say that's definitely not the case, it's that this isn't the place to attack people in general regardless. I can always respect wanting clarity. I'll bring this up to the staff and see if we can further define the abuse rules. Whether we lock a thread versus taking some other action is purely a weighing mechanism of how bad its gotten. If it's 1 or 2 users causing problems in an otherwise fine thread, those users will most definitely be banned from the thread and have their posts hidden to allow everybody else to continue discussing. This happens far more often than people realize, we do hide abusive posts so it's easy to not know when these sorts of things are taking place. Chances are if you've ever seen a mod post something like 'Keep it cool guys" in a thread, a bunch of posts got hidden along with that in an attempt to keep the thread alive. When a thread gets so overrun with people causing problems of any kind, however, that the staff feels there's no reasonable way for us to keep the thread alive without spending the rest of our lives micromanaging every post, it will get hidden. Yes, it sucks that we ever have to shut down a discussion that could theoretically be appropriate for MLPF, but this is one of the sad limitations of an all volunteer staff. We have to choose our battles. Remember, the entire staff does this to allow people to discuss things. If we wanted to shut down threads and got joy out of it, this forum would be a much different place. When I joined staff I specifically requested to work in debate pit because I wanted to try to protect those sorts of discussions on MLPF, but not every thread is salvageable. What I will say is just because a thread gets shut down does not mean it's permanently barred from discussion. There are many threads that get shut down and a similar one gets made a few weeks later with a perfectly acceptable discussion going on. But when a certain topic is particularly heated and piles of abuse warnings are coming out of it, it's best for everybody if we take a short break from discussing it. Oh hey I answered this already There are a few topics that have resulted in thread locks so many times that they will likely be shut down from the beginning. Westboro threads are an example I used before. The reason we don't have an outright list of 'banned topics' is because there really isn't such a thing. Even topics we usually take down threads on we occasionally will allow one through to test the waters a bit. Fantastic example - the most blatantly 'banned' topic forever was Clop threads. Those got shut down as soon as we saw them. We occasionally tested the waters and they still never turned out. So we tried making a highly regulated and monitored thread in the debate pit and it worked extremely well. It was a lot of work for the moderators to pull that thread off and quite a few PM's reminding people of the rules have gone out in there, but we've kept it open and alive because it's a topic we want people to be able to discuss in some capacity. tl;dr: Nobody on staff likes silencing people, and we do what we can to keep threads alive whenever possible, but when the staff simply don't have the resources to keep up with the problems a thread is causing it's our only option.
  14. Like I said in the OP, whether the stories themselves were written well is a subjective thing. To me they were, to another they weren't and that's fine. Some people don't like the show at all... our taste in art is always going to be subjective. The main point I'm trying to address is those people who dislike the redemption stories altogether. I can totally agree that the ending montage kind of sucked and would have been better spent time other places, but the fact that the show is bothering to allow villains to reform instead of just permanently casting them into bad-guy land, and moreover the fact that they're willing to take a villain and bring them in as a full-on protagonist in future seasons is awesome to me. Whether a particular moment is written well is something far too subjective to really discuss as a right/wrong thing. I absolutely agree, but I think that's also one of the strengths in the show. You can't show the right way to respond to something as a moral lesson unless you show the wrong way first. They showed the city not taking the time to listen to his point of view and immediately locking him up, and then the show made it clear that those people were in the wrong for doing so. No different than the show having one of the mane 6 make a bad choice to teach a moral about their mistakes. Had the show simply ended with him sitting in a jail for something he didn't do, then I'd agree they screwed up, but that's simply not what happened.
  15. Restitution is the weird step-child of punishments. It is largely retributive on its face, though as many retributive punishments do, it has some utilitarian elements - for example, knowing if you're caught means you will have to pay back monetary damages from the loss helps to disincentivize stealing acting as a deterrent. Frankly though, that's more of a civil component that we sometimes blend into the criminal trial purely for the sake of expediency. There will always be a need to repay actual monetary losses from crime, so lumping this into the criminal trial expedites the process in a meaningful way. Larger monetary disputes that aren't as clear cut as an actual financial loss such as for loss of life are best handled in a civil setting post-conviction. That's the real-world answer. As for the pony examples you mentioned, I go back to the notion of MLP being an idyllic society. An important trope in media portraying idyllic societies is the notion of community. The idea that when bad stuff happens, the community simply gets together and fixes the damage together, whatever that damage may be. I think the society focus for Equestria is far less on monetary concerns and far more on banding together to fix wrongs. When a society is able to progress to the point that its citizens no longer have to worry about recovering monetary losses from things like this, that's a pretty magical attitude. I'd also point out that there likely is minimal monetary losses in most of these instances due to Equestrian magic. As non-magical humans, we think in terms of broke = expense. But when you have magical powers that let you un-break a wooden wheel on a taxi, for instance, suddenly it becomes much more about labor than money. So as soon as you have that society willing to band together and work to fix things, the notion of it being necessary to recoup monetary losses is significantly lessened. In terms of the moral of the show - I'm glad they're not showing reparations or restitution in the show. While I do think it's a great lesson to kids that you need to fix damage you cause, we live in a sue-happy society and frankly that's not an attitude we need to pass on from generation to generation. I'd much rather have fixing mistakes be taught in ways like it was with Diamond Tiara where she joined with her new friends to build the playground than to show Rainbow Dash being forced to work at a Hayburger stand to cover the 300,000 bits in property damage she was assessed with So while in our real world where we don't have magic unicorn powers it probably will be necessary to have a civil court system and some sort of restitution option for those who need it, I think it's a wonderful thing when we're able to not have that as a focus in MLP.
  16. In an idyllic society, the question of why would be something people would genuinely ask before punishing someone. There are a lot of people who care in the criminal justice system, but the system is so poorly designed and overloaded that it doesn't really permit people to care like they want to - that's the big reason I'm working towards teaching criminal justice to others instead of actually practicing law right now like I planned. I wasn't about to work in a system where I knew I couldn't do good. That's why I love so much that MLP isn't falling into the normal traps of how we like to handle villains. I know the staff probably aren't sitting down with criminal justice textbooks and theorizing about justifications for punishments at this level, but they are trying to teach a lesson of forgiveness and reform which is invaluable for our future generations to be taught. I don't know if I'll ever see the day where rehabilitation and understanding are forefront attitudes in the criminal justice system, but the fact that it's being taught to our youth on a show like MLP gives me some hope that we'll reach that point.
  17. Penance probably isn't the right word for this conversation to be honest. Penance speaking from a strict definition is self-inflicted, and while we see an excellent example of that happening with Luna with the Tantabus, it's not something you'd necessarily expect to have happen in most or all cases, certainly not something necessary. That's something we do to ourselves. Rehabilitation in and of itself *is* a form of 'punishment'. It just doesn't have the retributive taste that makes us feel they got what they deserved. Instead, it responds to a crime in whatever way best creates the likelihood of them reforming, whether that's confining them to the moon or inviting them to a birthday party. There's no need for someone to suffer so long as the rehabilitation is successful.
  18. Again, that's why it's so important to understand why you're punishing someone. Why do we need penance? Penance is by its very definition, retributive. It's a punishment that only exists to cause them pain, because they caused pain to others. It's a very human thing to want but it serves no realistic purpose. In modern day society, we don't - or at least we aren't supposed to - use penance as a measuring for punishment for criminals. It's not about giving them punishment they deserve, it's about preventing future crimes. Prison isn't to hurt someone, it's to keep them in a place where they can't hurt others until such a time we believe it is no longer just to confine them compared to their crime or that we believe it is no longer necessary due to them changing. In a society like Equestria, penance would serve no purpose so long as there is reason to believe the rehabilitation is genuine. In Discord's case, that proved to not really be 100% the case until after Tirek, and that's also a great lesson - sometimes people don't change as quickly as we think. But you know what? Someone changing for the better is worth the risk.
  19. Nightmare Moon was controlled by an extrinsic force created by her own emotions, once she was removed from that it made sense that she would be instantaneously open to reform. Trixie was never really a villain, she just had a moment of wanting revenge for Twilight showing her up. When she went a step too far and Twilight freed her from the Alicorn Amulet, she, again, had no reason not to reform to the degree she did. And the newest episode showed she still hadn't been 100% 'reformed', she just wasn't under the control of an evil mind control necklace Diamond Tiara spent years trying to live up to the standards of her parents, and her reform episode took place when she hit rock bottom. She didn't like or understand her cutie mark, and the CMC showed her a bit of kindness and understanding where her mother only showed contempt. That's more than enough for a child to change their ways. - Great example of this in real life: one of my best friends in elementary school was a kid who picked on me relentlessly for the first half of the year. It finally blew up when I tried to help him up in the playground after he fell, and he responded by beating me up to look like he didn't need my help. After he apologized a few days later, the two of us became genuine friends. Sometimes all it takes for a child to reform is being forgiven by someone they think can't forgive them. Starlight Glimmer never saw herself as a villain. She made a lot of bad choices because of her past, but she never had an intention to hurt someone or cause harm. She genuinely believed the world would be better in total equality without cutie marks or unique talents. The show makes it painfully obvious that she had no idea what her time travel was doing to Equestria... she was not living through or seeing the results, only causing the changes in the past. So when Twilight showed her what was happening, she initially went through denial, which is a completely normal reaction, then once she started to admit to herself that her actions truly were hurting others, she stopped herself. The point? Fast transitions in a character's behaviors don't mean they're unrealistic or badly written. There's usually a turning point... a tiny brief moment where all our experiences tell us - alright it's time to make a change right now. The fact that the show does not show us every single event in their lives that may have influenced that turning point is only because the show can only tell so much, so instead they show us the last piece of the puzzle - the big event that pushed the character over the edge into realizing they need to make a change. I'll also mention that there have only been a handful of characters that are genuinely evil for the sake of being evil - Discord, Sombra, Tirek, and maybe Chrysalis, the only one who was reformed being the one you said was fine. All of the other characters who were 'reformed' are people whose motives were such that it made perfect sense that they'd be open to reform at some point. As long as a character is not hurting people purely because they want to cause pain on a broad scale, there's no reason to believe they can't be reformed.
  20. Simon

    Blame Simon Day!

    This holiday really sneaks up on you... I still need to go get my Blame Simon Day Cards and get a scapegoat for the traditional Blame Simon Day Dinner.
  21. Simon

    Ruhisu is ready to support BABScon!

    Hey Ruhisu - I'd highly recommend shooting an email over to volunteers@babscon.com and let them know you're interested in helping out with the art side of BABSCon 2017 so that the right person gets this information. ^^ Thanks
  22. Simon

    People who commit crimes

    You're both wrong and right. The word 'criminal' has two connotations depending on use. From a legal definition, a criminal is a person who has been convicted of a crime. That means they either plead guilty or were found guilty. This is an important use of the word for things like employment applications where people are under no obligation to disclose crimes they weren't convicted of regardless of whether they committed them. From a more day to day social standpoint though, and more importantly from a psychological and criminological standpoint, a criminal is a person who commits a crime. Because the majority of usage of crime or criminal is focused on behavior rather than convictions, a person who hasn't been found guilty may very well be a criminal. The implications of the crime and psychological impacts to the offender don't go away simply because there was no conviction, so you can't simply disregard any and all offenses that aren't caught. So it's a fairly vague and undefined word, but frankly it's not a very great label anyway. Criminal could mean anybody from a guy with a speeding ticket to a serial killer. Labels like "felon", "convict" or "habitual offender" are all far more descriptive and apt terms for what most people are looking to describe as a 'criminal'.
  23. Simon

    People who commit crimes

    This is my primary area of study actually, essentially the question of why people choose to commit a crime, so I figured I'd chime in. Admittedly this is an area I've dedicated the past several years of my life to studying so that's why the post is what it is Ye be warned. My area of study is the law and criminal justice, but my primary area of interest is in crime prevention and criminal behavioral analysis. Essentially the study of why crimes take place and why people become criminals. I'm going to divide this post into two parts: why a person becomes a criminal, and why a specific crime takes place. Why a person becomes a criminal This is one of the most complex and controversial issues in criminal justice, essentially falling back on a classic nature vs nurture debate. The reality, however, is that it's a wide culmination of factors over a person's entire life that ultimately leads to a person's predisposition to commit crimes. I say predisposition because it's important to note we all are predisposed to commit crimes, just our experiences and life determine our willingness to commit each separate crime. Here's what I mean by this: most drivers at some point in their life will go faster than the speed limit or break some sort of traffic law. They're able to do this because these are offenses which have a relatively low threshold for predisposition... it doesn't take a lot to convince a person that going 30mph in a 25mph zone is probably not going to bring the world to a screeching halt. On the other hand, only a very small minority of the population is predisposed to major violent crimes like a completely random murder. What this means when we're talking about something like a robbery is that it's not just as simple as a person is poor so they steal. It's thousands of minor events and factors over their entire life that ultimately lead to their overall willingness to solve their money problems through theft. Because of this, it's just not as simple as lumping every single person who commits a crime into a bag and saying they're evil. I don't and never will condone crime, but the genuine question of why a person becomes a criminal is so convoluted and person-specific that it's not an easy subject to pre-judge en mass. It's fairly easy to create a scenario for any crime in which the offense is at least understandable, even though the offenses themselves are rarely justifiable. Let me give an example of this: studies have shown that people who were physically assaulted at a young age are several times more likely to at some point be abusive or commit a violent crime themselves. The reason for this is parents condition children with their behaviors from a young age. If a child sees a parent do something, it is perceived as they develop to be the way they should act themselves. This can create psychological conditioning that is extraordinarily difficult to break, which predisposes the individual to be violent themselves. While something like child abuse can never be truly justified, it can, at least in some instances, be understandable why the offender wound up making that horrid choice and mistake. Understanding that factors out of the control of an individual can lead to their predisposition to committing crime makes it clear that in many instances there is a mental health component at play that makes the issue more complex than demonizing all offenders in gross. Yes, child abuse is a horrid crime and the parents responsible should be punished, but taking a moment to look at why that father or mother is abusive may help to prevent further abuse when they are released. Frankly, in most instances if you delve deep enough into the individuals past and to some degree into their biology, you can generally find some level of understanding for why a person became an individual willing or predisposed to committing a certain type of crime. That's not to say there aren't people who earned this predisposition purely out of their own bad choices in life, or that the offenses themselves are justified, but as someone who studies this area in depth, it's important that you don't just outright ignore the factors that lead to people's willingness to commit crimes, as it is those factors which provide realistic solutions for reversing those behavioral trends and removing that predisposition later on in life. Why a specific crime takes place In terms of the big question of why a crime takes place, the most useful theory to look at is the rational choice theory. Essentially this theory relies on the premise that most or all crimes are essentially a cost/benefit analysis from the offender's perspective. That in his eyes, the perceived benefit of committing a crime outweighs the harms and risks. So if a person steals a car, it's likely not because they think stealing a car is worth spending time in jail, it's because they think they are able to avoid capture and thus the costs are low compared to the reward. The heavily related, and arguably more important area to discuss is the theory of crime prevention. Crime prevention theorists state that a crime takes place when three factors are present: desire, ability, and opportunity. That is, first you must have an individual who desires to commit a crime. This is where the predisposition to committing a specific crime comes into play. If a person is simply not willing to violate a certain law or act in a certain way, then you lack a motivated offender and the desire necessary to commit a crime. But, having a predisposed offender isn't enough to have desire. This is where factors like the present situation of the offender come into play... a person who is wealthy is less likely to commit a minor theft than a poor person. It's not because being poor inherently makes you more predisposed to crime or an evil person, but because that is a major factor in creating the desire to commit a crime. There are many people who are willing to commit a crime and never do because they are never put into a situation where a crime makes sense for them. Moreover, people have varying levels of predisposition for each specific crime ranging from a predisposition to commit a crime out of extreme need to an innate desire to commit a crime. Someone who is willing to commit murder to protect a loved one likely is not predisposed to go into a public place and randomly start shooting people. When the need and predisposition balance out to create a genuine desire to commit a crime, the remaining two factors become determinant on whether a crime actually happens. The remaining factors are ability and opportunity. Ability is fairly straightforward: if you can't physically commit a crime, no matter how much you want to, you won't commit a crime. A simple example of this is a person who does not know how to open a safe probably does not have the ability to steal the contents of the safe, and thus no crime can be committed. Opportunity is a seemingly straightforward, but surprisingly important factor in crime prevention. In essence, it's that a situation where a crime can take place must present itself to the offender. If a car is left open with the engine running in the middle of an abandoned parking lot a predisposed offender is nearby, a crime opportunity has been created for the offender. If a person with a strong desire to steal a car is in the middle of the desert where no cars are around for miles, then the person won't steal a car. All three of these factors are important in trying to reduce crime, as the best way to prevent crime is to do something which removes one or all of these elements. For instance, let's say a person became predisposed to becoming an abusive parent and we want to prevent that from happening. First you can remove the desire to commit the crime. This may be achievable through psychological counseling to help resolve the problems in their past which gave them a predisposition to commit the crime in the first place. Alternatively you can remove the desire to commit a crime by removing the factors which make the offender believe they need to become violent. If a person only becomes violent when a certain event occurs, preventing that event from occurring will in turn eliminate the abuse. The more common way of preventing child abuse is to remove the opportunity and ability by taking the child away entirely and revoking custody. With all that being said, there's one last question that needs to be answered... why the heck did we need to know all this theoretical mumbo jumbo? The premise of the OP in this thread is essentially twofold: why do people commit crimes, and are those people cowardly or evil. The simple truth is that there is no answer. Every crime and criminal are the culmination of thousands - even millions of variables that take place. Everything from the offender's past to the person's biology to whether you decided to walk down 5th street or 6th street to get home that day are what create the unfortunate scenario where everything lined up for a crime to take place. While crimes are rarely justified, many criminals have paths that make the end result to some degree understandable. That is to say that if another human being had been subjected to all the same experiences and choices as the criminal, they likely would have come to a similar or identical end choice and committed a crime. Because of this, it's my belief that it's important to focus on how to prevent crime and rehabilitate predisposed offenders, rather than simply demonizing people for the end result of a complex set of factors. In short, crime is a complex thing, don't be overly quick to jump to conclusions and label offenders without the full set of facts.
  24. Simon

    Simon!

    Oh God, people are figuring out I'm nice... my jackass persona D:
  25. I've never been a big fighting game person myself, probably largely because I suck at them, but that's besides the point. For me, fighting games fall into the realm of games that are very hard to get into... so much of it is about experience, knowledge of the controls, etc that unless you're playing a specific fighting game constantly, it's very hard to be decent at and that kills much of the fun for me. I get the appeal of them for sure, I just am not a big enough gamer to ever really get into something as technical as this.