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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Segev's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    "Nice" cares more about feelings, especially in the moment, than about what's right or long-term good for anybody. Good will tend towards niceness, because anybody concerned with others' feelings is liable to want the best for them, and to try to help them achieve it. However, sometimes, the nice thing isn't the good thing.

    It's not nice to call somebody fat, or even to imply that they are. However, it is not good to let them gorge on unhealthy foods and keep making themselves fatter while nicely ignoring that they're hurting themselves. Nice people can feel awkward about informing somebody that they have something stuck in their teeth, or that the clothes they chose are hideous on them, etc., but a good friend will tell them, anyway, before they go out and make a fool of themselves in public.

    A nice parent will give their kid candy and let them play whatever they want. The kid will think they're super-nice, and the parent will feel nice for how happy they make their kid. A good parent will impose limits and teach the child responsibility, which sometimes involves being less than nice.

    A nice teacher will not inflict harsh punishments on kids for misbehaving, because it's not nice to punish people. A good teacher will punish bad behavior to prevent it from causing harm to well-behaved kids.

    As others have said, being nice is more about politeness than about results. But it also is about others feeling good and being happy in the moment. If you're nice, you coddle and you uplift. Sometimes, neither is called for by goodness, because the people you're coddling and uplifting need to be thwarted or need to learn the consequences of their poor decisions.

    Now, "Good is Not Nice" as a trope applies to people who take this to an extreme: they don't care about short-term feelings, or pretend not to, but won't let evil triumph and will support the good, even if they won't be friendly about it.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    "Nice" cares more about feelings, especially at the moment, than about what's right or long-term good for anybody. Goodwill tends towards niceness because anybody concerned with others' feelings is liable to want the best for them and to try to help them achieve it. However, sometimes, the nice thing isn't a good thing.

    It's not nice to call somebody fat, or even to imply that they are. However, it is not good to let them gorge on unhealthy foods and keep making themselves fatter while nicely ignoring that they're hurting themselves. Nice people can feel awkward about informing somebody that they have something stuck in their teeth, or that the clothes they chose are hideous on them, etc., but a good friend will tell them, anyway, before they go out and make a fool of themselves in public.

    A nice parent will give their kid candy and let them play whatever they want. The kid will think they're super-nice, and the parent will feel nice for how happy they make their kid. A good parent will impose limits and teach the child responsibility, which sometimes involves being less than nice.

    A nice teacher will not inflict harsh punishments on kids for misbehaving, because it's not nice to punish people. A good teacher will punish bad behavior to prevent it from causing harm to well-behaved kids.

    As others have said, being nice is more about politeness than about results. But it also is about others feeling good and being happy at the moment. If you're nice, you coddle and you uplift. Sometimes, neither is called for by goodness, because the people you're coddling and uplifting need to be thwarted or need to learn the consequences of their poor decisions.

    Now, "Good is Not Nice" as a trope applies to people who take this to an extreme: they don't care about short-term feelings, or pretend not to, but won't let evil triumph and will support the good, even if they won't be friendly about it.
    Well, the Good Is Not Nice Trope kind of rubs me the wrong way. It's more leans toward neutral or even evil. I mean if you care for the sake of people and goodness then you should also learn to be respectful. I can fully understand that every good character is different and not everybody shares the same values for the same of goodness but at least be respectful.
    Last edited by Bartmanhomer; 2020-07-29 at 05:24 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Well, the Good Is Not Nice Trope kind of rubs me the wrong way. It's more leans toward neutral or even evil. I mean if you care for the sake of people and goodness then you should also learn to be respectful. I can fully understand that every good character is different and not everybody shares the same values for the same of goodness but at least be respectful.
    Respect is something that has to be earned, or at least not lost. There are plenty of times where good characters will be disrespectful, because the person they're being disrespectful towards genuinely does not deserve any amount of respect.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Muse View Post
    Respect is something that has to be earned, or at least not lost. There are plenty of times where good characters will be disrespectful, because the person they're being disrespectful towards genuinely does not deserve any amount of respect.
    That's definitely true. Respect has to be earned.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    That's an interesting theme. I might have to go read up on Dredd a bit more. I have seen in other fiction (and arguably IRL) the theme that freedom/democracy only really works if it's fought for by the populace. Given from outside sources doesn't work.
    The democracy storyline in Dredd is generally acclaimed as the absolute best of Judge Dredd across its entire 30 year history. Part of that might be because the key story portraying the referendum in which the judges are returned to power, Twilight's Last Gleaming, 2000 AD #754–756, 1991, was written by Garth Ennis (although the issues leading up to it are also superb). Twilight's Last Gleaming is nuanced and, more importantly, balanced in a way that modern comics simply refuse to grasp or simply can't emulate.

    Dredd in particular makes his case when he's interviewed about media about who he thinks will win the election. At that point it's more or less assumed the Judges will be thrown out. Dredd calmly says he's confident the result will be otherwise, and makes a pretty devastating counter to those who propound democracy: When some creep's holding a knife to your throat, who do you want to see riding up...me—or your elected representative? Think about it.

    The argument works mainly because Mega-City One is generally portrayed as an urban animal house, where the Judge system's ruthless brutality only exists because in general the populace are variously thick as planks and/or ruthlessly violent with one another, the judges more or less at constant war with the criminal population. But it still makes the point: democracy is the ideal, the reality is a lot more complicated. As said, it's one of the few comic books I've read that meaningfully challenges your views on democracy whether you believe in more or less of it.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Well, the Good Is Not Nice Trope kind of rubs me the wrong way. It's more leans toward neutral or even evil. I mean if you care for the sake of people and goodness then you should also learn to be respectful. I can fully understand that every good character is different and not everybody shares the same values for the same of goodness but at least be respectful.
    Respectful and nice also aren't the same thing.

    And as for good not being nice, heck we have examples of it in this comic. Many of the Azure City paladins don't qualify as nice. Miko was a paladin right up to the moment she killed Shojo. And I don't think anyone is going to try and argue that Miko was nice.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Snce we’ve talked about Dredd, let’s talk about his inspiration, Harry Calahan.

    Dirty Harry is definitely LG “Good” although closer to NG, the saw way Dredd is LG, but leans LN.

    Nice is not one of the words one would use to describe Harry Calahan. Determined, Ruthless, Cynical, yes, but he is unswerving in doing what is best to protect the people of his city.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    Respectful and nice also aren't the same thing.

    And as for good not being nice, heck we have examples of it in this comic. Many of the Azure City paladins don't qualify as nice. Miko was a paladin right up to the moment she killed Shojo. And I don't think anyone is going to try and argue that Miko was nice.
    Heck, even forgetting Miko... dunno that O-Chul could really be called 'nice', particularly, but I don't think there's any argument that he's not very firmly in the camp of good.

    Nice is... garnish. It's great to have, sometimes, but you don't really need it. If people know that you are genuinely concerned with their well-being and only want what's best for them, 'nice' is profoundly irrelevant. Nice is mostly for social lubrication- you are polite to the people you don't know, or don't know well, because they don't know your intentions and thus cannot depend on you having their best interests at heart. And that, honestly, has very little to do with good or evil- honestly, I'd almost say it fell along the law/chaos axis.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    To be honest, I have always found myself a bit critical of this particular trope. Mostly because I have seen no shortage of people who justify any sort of tyrannical or simply hurtful behavior on their part with such ideas as "It doesn't matter, I'm a good person at heart." or "It's okay, I'm ultimately doing what's right."

    At its core it is a valid idea, but one that is very easily co-opted by genuinely awful people. 'Niceness' I think is more than just politeness and social lubrication as others have claimed. It's also in part genuinely caring about the other person you are interacting with, and showing them a basic level of dignity and human respect, even if they have done nothing to 'earn' it.

    By not caring about it at all, I think it is easy to get up in an 'ends justify the means' kind of mindset, without really considering that these particular 'means' are not necessary at all and just a matter of personal comfort. If you cease to care about how another person feels, it's gonna take some effort to actually keep their best interests at heart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    You don't win people over by beating them with facts until they surrender; at best all you've got is a conversion under duress, and at worst you've actively made an enemy of your position.

    You don't convince by proving someone wrong. You convince by showing them a better way to be right. The difference may seem subtle or semantic, but I assure you it matters a lot.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    At its core it is a valid idea, but one that is very easily co-opted by genuinely awful people. 'Niceness' I think is more than just politeness and social lubrication as others have claimed. It's also in part genuinely caring about the other person you are interacting with, and showing them a basic level of dignity and human respect, even if they have done nothing to 'earn' it.
    This is conflating 'good' and 'nice'. It is important that we use language properly. Especially when we are in a thread that is entirely about these two words.

    Words are matter. Words that have different meanings - and yet can imply similar things, even more so. Because they allow us to write with nuance.

    The dictionary definition of 'nice' is posted earlier in the thread. 'Nice' is a behavior pattern, not an internal mental state. You can be nice and evil or nice and good.

    Genuinely caring about someone is a great thing. And we need more of it. But it isn't necessary for 'nice'.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    People mention Sam Vimes, but honestly the clearest example in Discworld is Esmerelda Weathewax.

    Not mincing words, Granny is an absolute ***hole. Straight up, no two ways about it - Sam is most of the time just coarse but tries to ne polite, Granny is plain a jerk. She would be absolutely infuriating to be around in any capacity. Everything she does is testing people. She will sooner cut off her own arm than admit a mistake. She's entirely convinced she knows what's best for you and she WILL make you do it. As the books say, Granny is the kind of person who believes that her job is to move in a straight line and it's up to the mountains to get out of her way. The only people who manage to stand being around her are some other witches, and part of it is probably witches inherently being used to people being ***** to them.

    She is, however, also someone who basically spares no thoughts whatsoever for herself except when it comes to her fatal flaw (that being Pride). Almost everything Granny does she does for someone else. She will do everything, from fighting vampires to massaging the pus-covered warts on a half-maddened old man, for those who can't. This is a woman who will tear off her beloved heirloom cloth to make bandages for a man she doesn't even like (though she will probably make sure the ointment stings). It is very hard to position Esmerelda Weatherwax as anything other than decisively Good, and yet if given the choice between spending an afternoon with her or with a hungry bear I would consider that a difficult decision!

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    This is conflating 'good' and 'nice'. It is important that we use language properly. Especially when we are in a thread that is entirely about these two words.

    Words are matter. Words that have different meanings - and yet can imply similar things, even more so. Because they allow us to write with nuance.

    The dictionary definition of 'nice' is posted earlier in the thread. 'Nice' is a behavior pattern, not an internal mental state. You can be nice and evil or nice and good.

    Genuinely caring about someone is a great thing. And we need more of it. But it isn't necessary for 'nice'.
    I think the idea is that a person’s external facade/behavior can very quickly become their internal state. Words DO matter, and the words you choose will, to varying degrees, influence the way that you and others feel. Niceness is merely a behavior, one that doesn’t by necessity reflect the “true self”, but niceness, or the lack thereof, frequently does stem directly from caring/not caring for others.

    “We are what we pretend to be”, is often not true, but it is a thing that very frequently happens, and is a valuable insight into personal growth and change. In most cases, changing your behavior requires some degree of pretending, acting out the motions. Because the whole reason why people try to change themselves is that, currently, they’re NOT what they want to be, or at least they think so. But eventually, by deciding to do things differently, you can learn to think differently, too.

    Can think of being a good person as like any other skill. First you learn how and experience why, and eventually it becomes a part of you.
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  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Depending on the moral theory being used, there are multiple moral considerations. For simplicity's sake I will call those virtues.

    1) Good does not require perfection. We use the term morally supererogatory to describe going above and beyond the call of moral duty. That means it is possible for something to be moral without being the ideal solution. This means it is possible for something to be moral while omitting or partially implementing a virtue.

    2) Lacking a virtue is not necessarily Good. There are multiple virtues. Lacking one of them does not mean something is moral. It is fallacious to claim:
    A) X is a virtue.
    B) Good is not necessarily X.
    C) ___ is not X.
    D) ___ is Good.

    3) Having a virtue is not necessarily Good. There are multiple virtues. Having one of them does not mean something is moral. It could be deficient is many other areas.

    As a result for any virtue (using Nice as an example):
    Something Good is not necessarily Nice
    Something Not Nice is not necessarily Good
    Something Nice is not necessarily Good

    Now you may conclude from those 3 statements that the virtue is orthogonal to morality. This would be a mistake. While a specific virtue is not equivalent to the entirety of morality, each virtue is intrinsically linked to morality. Width is not orthogonal to Volume.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-07-30 at 10:19 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Consider two people walking up to a homeless person. And let's assume they have equal means, to derail that argument.

    Person A: "Oh, you poor thing! The situation you're in is awful! How horrible it must be! I can't imagine what you've gone through to be in this state, and I'm sure it's not your fault, you poor victim!" And they walk away.

    Person B: "How could you let yourself come to this? What, did you get hooked on drugs? Just lazy? Do something with your life!" And they proceed to give that person money to help them off the street, and an opportunity at a job, and mentor them on how to improve their lives, and turn this person's life around.

    Which person was nice?

    Which person was Good?

    (Note that you could make arguments about how effective Person B's approach might be. I'd probably agree with those arguments. They're out of scope. Presume the situation goes down as described)

    (Also, no, Person A isn't evil. They're strongly neutral. They're just a very NICE neutral.)

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Now you may conclude from those 3 statements that the virtue is orthogonal to morality. This would be a mistake. While a specific virtue is not equivalent to the entirety of morality, each virtue is intrinsically linked to morality. Width is not orthogonal to Volume.
    I'm not sure that being nice is a virtue.

    Specifically, it is entirely possible to be nice while committing rather foul levels of Evil. While it's true that most really Good people will be nice (as it will be rooted in their same concern for the welfare of others), smart Evil is self-interested and will recognize that being nice removes a lot of friction and resistance to what they're doing, as well as providing a good amount of cover.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-07-30 at 10:33 AM.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Consider two people walking up to a homeless person. And let's assume they have equal means, to derail that argument.

    Person A: "Oh, you poor thing! The situation you're in is awful! How horrible it must be! I can't imagine what you've gone through to be in this state, and I'm sure it's not your fault, you poor victim!" And they walk away.

    Person B: "How could you let yourself come to this? What, did you get hooked on drugs? Just lazy? Do something with your life!" And they proceed to give that person money to help them off the street, and an opportunity at a job, and mentor them on how to improve their lives, and turn this person's life around.

    Which person was nice?

    Which person was Good?

    (Note that you could make arguments about how effective Person B's approach might be. I'd probably agree with those arguments. They're out of scope. Presume the situation goes down as described)

    (Also, no, Person A isn't evil. They're strongly neutral. They're just a very NICE neutral.)
    Both were nice and both were good. But not equally so.
    1) Both were nice. Person A is polite and pleasant. Person B is not completely abrasive. (Assuming vocal tone is equal, otherwise either could be abrasive)
    2) Many moral theories would argue Person A had no moral duty in this circumstance. They chose to offer some comfort. Do not underestimate how important mental health is. Even Person A's bad job can be a blessing. Person B also had no moral duty, but went even further above and beyond the call of duty in the opportunity they offered.
    3) However I should point out that both Person A and Person B helped with the mental health of the homeless person. Both had room for improvement (although I would say A has more room than B).

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I'm not sure that being nice is a virtue.

    Specifically, it is entirely possible to be nice while committing rather foul levels of Evil. While it's true that most really Good people will be nice (as it will be rooted in their same concern for the welfare of others), smart Evil is self-interested and will recognize that being nice removes a lot of friction and resistance to what they're doing, as well as providing a good amount of cover.
    It is possible that nice is or is not a virtue. However many moral theories would describe it in a positive light. Mostly as an implementation of avoiding unnecessary harm. However my point is more about how "Good is not necessarily ___" works.

    See point 3. A virtue is not a sufficient condition of something being moral. You can have 1 virtue amidst a lot of vice and it will be a "rather foul level of Evil".
    See point 1. Just like Good does not require perfection, Evil does not require perfection. Evil can still exhibit a virtue while being immoral. I would argue Evil usually does exhibit some virtues.
    See point 3 again. Having 1 virtue does not necessarily mean it is moral.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-07-30 at 11:25 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    This is conflating 'good' and 'nice'. It is important that we use language properly. Especially when we are in a thread that is entirely about these two words.

    Words are matter. Words that have different meanings - and yet can imply similar things, even more so. Because they allow us to write with nuance.

    The dictionary definition of 'nice' is posted earlier in the thread. 'Nice' is a behavior pattern, not an internal mental state. You can be nice and evil or nice and good.

    Genuinely caring about someone is a great thing. And we need more of it. But it isn't necessary for 'nice'.
    In the interest of not repeating things that have already been said in a less capable way, I'll just point out that I basically agree with what AdAstra said on the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Consider two people walking up to a homeless person. And let's assume they have equal means, to derail that argument.

    Person A: "Oh, you poor thing! The situation you're in is awful! How horrible it must be! I can't imagine what you've gone through to be in this state, and I'm sure it's not your fault, you poor victim!" And they walk away.

    Person B: "How could you let yourself come to this? What, did you get hooked on drugs? Just lazy? Do something with your life!" And they proceed to give that person money to help them off the street, and an opportunity at a job, and mentor them on how to improve their lives, and turn this person's life around.

    Which person was nice?

    Which person was Good?

    (Note that you could make arguments about how effective Person B's approach might be. I'd probably agree with those arguments. They're out of scope. Presume the situation goes down as described)

    (Also, no, Person A isn't evil. They're strongly neutral. They're just a very NICE neutral.)
    I would actually argue that both are neither.

    Person A certainly said 'nice' words, but did not show any actual niceness by engaging with the homeless person and then just walking away. That is not something I would call agreeable or pleasant in any way towards the person it is directed at. And of course, they did not do anything to help that person, so they have not acted morally good.

    Person B obviously isn't nice, but I would also argue they are not acting in a 'good' manner by blaming this homeless person for their circumstances, and then giving them a blanket set of solutions without actually inspecting what caused their issues. I know you deliberately said you did not want to argue about the effectiveness of their aid, but I think that the effectiveness and applicability of their aid is actually the most important factor here. Not being 'nice' in this instant seems to be the result of favoring Person B's preconceived notions of how to improve the world and their ego above actually helping the homeless person. As such, I would argue their actions are ultimately more self-serving than good.
    Last edited by Theoboldi; 2020-07-30 at 11:37 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    You don't win people over by beating them with facts until they surrender; at best all you've got is a conversion under duress, and at worst you've actively made an enemy of your position.

    You don't convince by proving someone wrong. You convince by showing them a better way to be right. The difference may seem subtle or semantic, but I assure you it matters a lot.

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    To be honest, I have always found myself a bit critical of this particular trope. Mostly because I have seen no shortage of people who justify any sort of tyrannical or simply hurtful behavior on their part with such ideas as "It doesn't matter, I'm a good person at heart." or "It's okay, I'm ultimately doing what's right."

    At its core it is a valid idea, but one that is very easily co-opted by genuinely awful people. 'Niceness' I think is more than just politeness and social lubrication as others have claimed. It's also in part genuinely caring about the other person you are interacting with, and showing them a basic level of dignity and human respect, even if they have done nothing to 'earn' it.

    By not caring about it at all, I think it is easy to get up in an 'ends justify the means' kind of mindset, without really considering that these particular 'means' are not necessary at all and just a matter of personal comfort. If you cease to care about how another person feels, it's gonna take some effort to actually keep their best interests at heart.
    While you're right, and people can and do use that kind of excuse when they're really just not very nice people AND not very good people, it doesn't change that the trope - and therefore this discussion - is about people who genuinely are good, but not very nice.

    Generally, I think, you'll find "good is not nice" applying to people who are good because they have a conscience and empathy that they resent. Not that they would change it if they could, but that they view it as a problem they can't overcome. Think how many "good is not nice" types will berate themselves for being too soft-hearted when there isn't somebody to berate for needing to be helped. Some will genuinely view good as weakness, while others know it's right and know it's not weakness but also resent being the ones who have to do it. This actually does diminish their proverbial sainthood: resenting helping others is not as good as doing so joyfully. It is, however, still helping and still doing good. Some just don't like the image of being "good." Or value an image of being "dangerous." Or in some other way have a self-identity as a not-very-nice-person and are uncomfortable being good-hearted because it's one step away from revealing there's a lie to their persona.

    "Good is not nice" rarely applies to happy characters. Granny Weatherwax is only ever questionably happy; she's barely content. And it is her pride, her great weakness, that makes her as harsh as she tends to be, as well as what makes her miserable with the way things are going.

    It is better to be nice and good. It just isn't required to be both.

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Honestly what I dislike about the good is not nice thing is that often the author sorta uses it as a way to make it so a character being a bit of a prick to everyone has a blanket excuse for their behavior? You know like when the gritty anti-hero dismisses any criticism of their behavior by saying he does things for the greater good or whatever? That being said, the archetype I really like is when a character is good and nice but sorta puts on a serious face when the villain does something truly evil, like when the bubbly optimistic character goes berserk that goes a long way at raising the stakes of any situation. Especially good when the villain is scared beyond belief cause of it.

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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    Person B obviously isn't nice, but I would also argue they are not acting in a 'good' manner by blaming this homeless person for their circumstances, and then giving them a blanket set of solutions without actually inspecting what caused their issues. I know you deliberately said you did not want to argue about the effectiveness of their aid, but I think that the effectiveness and applicability of their aid is actually the most important factor here. Not being 'nice' in this instant seems to be the result of favoring Person B's preconceived notions of how to improve the world and their ego above actually helping the homeless person. As such, I would argue their actions are ultimately more self-serving than good.
    Can we just presume that they acted in a Good way, since that was the clear intent rather than pixelbitching about me not going into sufficient detail about how they actually determined what would actually help this person?

    IOW, the point here is "this person actually helped them", not "do we agree that kyoryu's brief, off-the-cuff description of helping is actually the best course of action here?"
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  20. - Top - End - #80
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    In many RPGs good is a jersey. If you are on 'team good' then you are good.

    In some it is a fundamental force of the universe. A terrifying angel of a good god is good, even when using mass Flame Strikes to destroy a city. They are good by definition because they are made of good.

    Thus, this thread is not only in need of a common definition for 'nice'. But also a definition of 'good'.

    And that definition is very much dependent on the game/world/table/author/etc.

  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    In many RPGs good is a jersey. If you are on 'team good' then you are good.

    In some it is a fundamental force of the universe. A terrifying angel of a good god is good, even when using mass Flame Strikes to destroy a city. They are good by definition because they are made of good.

    Thus, this thread is not only in need of a common definition for 'nice'. But also a definition of 'good'.

    And that definition is very much dependent on the game/world/table/author/etc.
    I don't think we need a common definition of 'good'. You are right some authors, and even some tables, use good as a jersey. But those cases are trivial so they can be ignored. The other authors, and many tables use some variation on the moral beliefs of the participants. You accurately noted those moral beliefs are dependant on the game/world/table/author/etc, so we can recognize the definition of 'good' is going to be subjective.

    However people's usage of the word 'moral' is subjective and that has not stopped metaethics from examining its usage. A singular definition of 'good' would make things easy but less accurate. I think we are up to the challenge of discussing the topic while accommodating the broad range of moral theories.

    As evidence, see my post discussing why individual moral considerations (I called them virtues for simplistic terms) can appear largely independent of the overall verdict. Aka "Good is not necessarily <insert moral consideration> for all moral considerations." Now, I will recognize that any sufficiently broad survey of moral theories can find exceptions, but I do think this conclusion will generally hold.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-07-30 at 02:18 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    I think part of the difficulty here is that people seem to be conflating 'niceness' and 'kindness'.

    The way that I would define it is that 'nice' is inherently selfish; there is nothing about 'nice' that requires you to care about the people you're being nice to in the slightest. You are nice to ease your own way in the world, not do anything to help others. The saying 'politeness costs nothing' is kind of literally true here; being nice and polite doesn't even inconvenience you, much less cost you anything.

    Kindness, on the other hand, forces you to consider the position of the other; empathy is a necessity for true kindness, and true kindness will always leave the recipient better than when you started. And as has been stated, there are things that are kind that aren't even remotely nice; a needed intervention, for example.

    TL;DR version? 'Nice' changes nothing. 'Kind' leaves the world a better place.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Both were nice and both were good. But not equally so.
    1) Both were nice. Person A is polite and pleasant. Person B is not completely abrasive. (Assuming vocal tone is equal, otherwise either could be abrasive)
    2) Many moral theories would argue Person A had no moral duty in this circumstance. They chose to offer some comfort. Do not underestimate how important mental health is. Even Person A's bad job can be a blessing. Person B also had no moral duty, but went even further above and beyond the call of duty in the opportunity they offered.
    I'd like to disagree with this with a caveat: "it's perfectly ok to be neutral, it's not supposed to be treated like 2 steps up from evil"
    I'd argue that sticking only to what's your moral duty is a neutral act and it's going beyond what's expected of you in either solely the interests of others or at a detriment to yourselves is a good act

  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by a_flemish_guy View Post
    I'd like to disagree with this with a caveat: "it's perfectly ok to be neutral, it's not supposed to be treated like 2 steps up from evil"
    I'd argue that sticking only to what's your moral duty is a neutral act and it's going beyond what's expected of you in either solely the interests of others or at a detriment to yourselves is a good act
    Warning, I am thinking out loud. So it is more a continuation of our 2 posts rather than a reply to either.

    Hmm. I would say amoral acts are neutral acts, moral acts are good acts, and immoral acts are evil acts.
    Now to bring out some terms:
    Did it Didn't
    Morally prohibited Immoral Amoral
    Morally permissible Amoral / Moral Amoral
    Morally obligatory Moral Immoral
    Morally supererogatory Moral Amoral

    Moral duty is a mixture of abstaining from the morally prohibited and from doing the morally obligatory. Life will include more or less morally permissible acts depending on the moral theory. Strict Utilitarianism for example believes nothing is amoral. On the other hand if Moral Error theory is correct, everything is amoral.

    I would argue that if the moral duty included morally obligatory acts, then it is moral. Depending on the frequency, it might be reasonable to call the person good. On the other hand if moral duty just included abstaining from morally prohibited acts OR if the morally obligatory acts were infrequent, then it might be reasonable to call the person neutral.

    Okay, so I can see why you might describe sticking to moral duty as neutral in this scenario.

    However neither Person A nor Person B stuck to moral duty. I think both went beyond (Person B clear did several morally supererogatory actions). Person A went beyond a bit by providing comfort. Even though Person A is clumsy in providing comfort, I think we should not underestimate how much it can help (or more accurately how starvation of it can kill).
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-07-30 at 07:20 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by ebarde View Post
    Honestly what I dislike about the good is not nice thing is that often the author sorta uses it as a way to make it so a character being a bit of a prick to everyone has a blanket excuse for their behavior? You know like when the gritty anti-hero dismisses any criticism of their behavior by saying he does things for the greater good or whatever? That being said, the archetype I really like is when a character is good and nice but sorta puts on a serious face when the villain does something truly evil, like when the bubbly optimistic character goes berserk that goes a long way at raising the stakes of any situation. Especially good when the villain is scared beyond belief cause of it.
    I tend to think the author is doing it wrong when they do that. That's just a jerk who is excusing himself. "Good is not nice" types, like certain kinds of evil, make no excuses for their churlishness. In fact, the "good is not nice" type frequently is making excuses for their goodness. As if it's shameful, in the manner of a big burly man being embarrassed to wear a tutu, or a prim and proper woman being embarrassed to dress scandalously and sing and dance on stage for leering men. The characters feel it wrong, even if the audience doesn't. Usually, such characters are gruff and less than gentle, but grudgingly go back and do the right thing even after telling themselves not to. Or they do it and explain-too-much how it's totally self-interest, honest, and the beneficiary of this goodness should be grateful but not expect anything in the future. Or something along those lines.

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    To be honest, I have always found myself a bit critical of this particular trope. Mostly because I have seen no shortage of people who justify any sort of tyrannical or simply hurtful behavior on their part with such ideas as "It doesn't matter, I'm a good person at heart." or "It's okay, I'm ultimately doing what's right."
    Yes, this is one people can use as a shield. The final solution is of course to examine their actions and judge them. And if that sounds incredibly simplistic it... sort of is, determining the final moral value of a decision can be very hard or effectively impossible. But on the other hand once you have done that it is all you have to do.

    And of course I would say it is better to be nice (in general not to say universally in every moment) than otherwise so if you really are good and not nice... maybe try to be good and nice?

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Warning, I am thinking out loud. So it is more a continuation of our 2 posts rather than a reply to either.

    Hmm. I would say amoral acts are neutral acts, moral acts are good acts, and immoral acts are evil acts.
    Now to bring out some terms:
    Did it Didn't
    Morally prohibited Immoral Amoral
    Morally permissible Amoral / Moral Amoral
    Morally obligatory Moral Immoral
    Morally supererogatory Moral Amoral

    Moral duty is a mixture of abstaining from the morally prohibited and from doing the morally obligatory. Life will include more or less morally permissible acts depending on the moral theory. Strict Utilitarianism for example believes nothing is amoral. On the other hand if Moral Error theory is correct, everything is amoral.

    I would argue that if the moral duty included morally obligatory acts, then it is moral. Depending on the frequency, it might be reasonable to call the person good. On the other hand if moral duty just included abstaining from morally prohibited acts OR if the morally obligatory acts were infrequent, then it might be reasonable to call the person neutral.

    Okay, so I can see why you might describe sticking to moral duty as neutral in this scenario.

    However neither Person A nor Person B stuck to moral duty. I think both went beyond (Person B clear did several morally supererogatory actions). Person A went beyond a bit by providing comfort. Even though Person A is clumsy in providing comfort, I think we should not underestimate how much it can help (or more accurately how starvation of it can kill).
    I wasn't completely satisfied with my answer either on the grounds of what I call "passive moral" and "active moral" but you got the entire gist of it, so I agree with your analysis
    however I think you can consistently actively help someone and still be neutral, let's say I travel for a living and I take every robber victim with me on my path untill the next inn and leave them in the care of the innkeeper, I'm actively saving their lives but I'm also not going beyond of what's expected of me by for example paying for the victims food and care or following up on him

    as for what you wrote on person A: I disagree but that's a me-problem, I don't view words and gestures as worth something but clearly you and other people do and I can't argue with that

  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    To me, the difference between amoral and immoral is whether the immorality is its own motivation. Not necessarily, "I'm so EEheehEEvil!" but at the least, "I am committing this immoral act because I enjoy the act itself." Note that "amoral" doesn't mean "neutral" or "evil," and either can be amoral. Amorality is a disregard for morality entirely, with no particular morality attached to what you actually care about. Immorality is having goals which are inherently immoral.

    An amoral being can be kept from immorality by making the moral path the most effective one for them to follow. They honestly don't care. They could and would commit immoral acts if those would get them where they want to go, and thus they can be quite evil. But they can and will do good or avoid evil if morality gets them what they want with fewer complications and greater efficiency.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    To me, the difference between amoral and immoral is whether the immorality is its own motivation. Not necessarily, "I'm so EEheehEEvil!" but at the least, "I am committing this immoral act because I enjoy the act itself." Note that "amoral" doesn't mean "neutral" or "evil," and either can be amoral. Amorality is a disregard for morality entirely, with no particular morality attached to what you actually care about. Immorality is having goals which are inherently immoral.

    An amoral being can be kept from immorality by making the moral path the most effective one for them to follow. They honestly don't care. They could and would commit immoral acts if those would get them where they want to go, and thus they can be quite evil. But they can and will do good or avoid evil if morality gets them what they want with fewer complications and greater efficiency.
    Amoral has multiple definitions.
    1. (of acts) being neither moral nor immoral
    2. (of people) not believing in or caring for morality and immorality

    I am using it in the first definition. Amoral is when something (intent/action/consequence) is neither moral nor immoral. It is an absence of moral connotation rather than the disregard for morality. This is important usage because not every event is a binary between moral action and immoral inaction or vice versa.

    There are also times to use amoral in the first definition to describe a being that is not a moral agent. Not being a moral agent, they lack the capacity and opportunity to have choices with moral connotations.

    However the second definition is not really relevant to our concerns because it is orthogonal to moral character. So even if we were to judge a moral agent, that judgement would be independent of their metaethical beliefs.

    With this context I expect my posts will become clearer.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-07-31 at 03:47 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: Good Isn't Nice? Get Out Of Here!

    I mean if you care for the sake of people and goodness then you should also learn to be respectful.
    Ideally, yes. But people aren't perfect, and being not-nice in daily life is not the sort of thing that pushes a person who self-sacrifices on big things off of the Good end.

    Some things do. If you work hard for lots of orphanages while keeping a sex slave chained in the basement, I'd say you're Evil, because some things are "one strike, you're out": the good done doesn't make up for the appalling evil.

    We already talked about Miko, but Roy's father, Eugene, is also officially Lawful Good. This is more of an informed attribute from what we've seen, but he used to be an adventurer, I can believe it. But he's a pretty flawed human, distractable (according to his wife) and of course very crochety as a nagging dead guy. Not Nice. But presumably with a lot of lifetime spent on Good, and nothing that pushes him to being not-Good. Just... less Good. Certainly less pleasant.

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