Here’s Why Non-consensual PvP is Wrong

The previous posts I’ve written about non-consensual PvP are probably overly complex and don’t really make my point well. This morning, while playing some other games, I struck upon what I feel is the perfect illustration.

Let’s say that you’re tasked with designing a park. You can design and build it however you want, with a nearly unlimited budget. You do a wonderful job with large nature spaces, basketball courts, tennis courts, an area with tables where people can play chess or go against each other, even places specially designed for people who want to cooperate to build things, and more. The entire neighborhood comes to your park and really enjoys it.

That is until someone decides they want to play dodgeball. There’s a dodgeball group that comes in every so often and plays with each other. But when one of them shows up and none of the others are there, they just go around the park hitting people in the head to “start impromptu games of dodgeball”. People tell them to stop, they’re not there to play dodgeball, but rather want to play basketball or chess, or just want to have a pleasant walk in the park. In response, the dodgeball people yell, “Git gud!” or “Stop being such a carebear!” while continuing to pelt the non-dodgeball players as painfully as they’re able.

So the people who don’t want to play dodgeball but still want to enjoy your park come to you and ask you to fix things. What is the correct answer?

  1. Do nothing
  2. Create an elaborate system where if someone hits others with a dodgeball who doesn’t want to be, third parties are given bribes to hit the original offender with dodgeballs
  3. Create a special place in the park where dodgeball can be played and prevent it from being played anywhere else

Option one, obviously, does absolutely nothing for the people that just want to enjoy your park without the risk of being hit in the head with a ball. Eventually, the only people who can enjoy your park are the people who want to play dodgeball.

Option two creates a system where the person who bothers people and hurts people is rewarded by helping them to achieve their goal, in other words it helps the harasser to find people to play dodgeball with them. This does nothing to solve the problem for the people who want to enjoy your park without being forced to dodge balls. Eventually, the only people who can enjoy your park are the people who want to play dodgeball.

Option three makes it so that everyone can reliably enjoy your park, no matter what they want to do there. Well, except for the people that just want to go around hitting random passersby in the head with dodgeballs.

But, please, let’s stop claiming that options one and two are valid choices for park designers to create parks that everyone can enjoy, even the ones that don’t want to play dodgeball. Just put up a sign that says, “Dodgeball Park” and be done with it.


Copyright © 2010-2018 by Lee Dohm