Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Irresistably

Sometimes I think English is the villain. I don't have any talent for other languages, but it seemed that Latin was clearer when I was - temporarily - familiar with it.

"Passion is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest or admiration for a proposal, cause or activity or love - to a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive affinity or love towards a subject. It is particularly used in the context of romance or sexual desire, though it generally implies a deeper or more encompassing emotion than that implied by the term lust."

Note that the term 'compelling' is used twice in the above. If I can be forgiven, I'd like to define that, also:

Compel: to drive or urge forcefully or irrestibly; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure.

I like that word 'irresistibly.' In the latter definition, it is certain to be the word that is most ignored where others consider passion, particularly when discussing the need to denounce or otherwise restrain passion. I'm going to forego defining the word 'irresistible.' I'm going to presume the reader can understand it as clearly as they understand the word 'understand.' I'll see where that gets me.

Because passion is something a person feels compelled by ... and because that compulsion is irresistible, it is actually pretty stupid to tell someone to restrain their passion. To do so is, in fact, to deny that they have passion, or to misunderstand just how intensely a passionate person feels about a particular thing. In the larger sense, it is to deny that any other individual's emotion is a driving force at all. It is to say, obtusely, that while "I" have passions that drive me, I expect all other persons to curb their passions simply because I don't share them ... and to do so smartly.

And, naturally, it is the habit of people to deride others for having passions. "It would be better for me, obviously, if all of you were merely straw figures, capable of performing the tasks that keep civilization running but, in general, obedient and consciously respectful of my personal will."

In such a world, some will say that D&D should be banned. Some will say that some forms of D&D should be banned. Some will say that D&D is fine, but only if it is played in a particular fashion. And some will impose rules about what the players are allowed to be passionate about, and will couch those rules in the decision of the majority, believing that passion can of course be restrained by a general agreement among all the players, IF they decide.

Naturally, it never works. People cannot "play nice" where it comes to something that matters to them. If it matters, they will not restrain themselves. They do not desire to restrain themselves; if they are browbeaten or threatened or frightened into doing so, the result will be resentment, maliciousness and a host of neurotic behaviors. They will crop up in your campaign and they will destroy your campaign.

There is a rather ridiculous notion that humans are really simple creatures that can be bullied into a particular behavior ... and once bullied, that's the end of it. We have a remarkable capacity to overlook another person's ability to look us in the eye and lie about their willingness to agree. "I have stated this as DM, and since I am the DM all my players recognize that the matter is closed, and we can move on."

This is a delusion.

But it is a widespread delusion. That particular sentiment, about a DM having the final word, is propagandized in almost lock-step fashion, despite that number of campaigns that collapse under the weight of all the 'final words' of a particular DM and all the matters that were 'closed.' Every one of us has had that experience of leaving a night's running and, now that we're not in the DM's presence, reiterating our opinion of that closed matter. "I can't fucking believe he said that ... I can't believe he thinks so ... Oh, he's so fucking sure of himself ... I don't think I'm coming back next week" ... and so on.

A DM does not keep players with inflexibility. Nor does a DM keep players by denying passion. A DM keeps players by rolling with the passion, by enabling it ... and by getting the hell out of passion's way. Because passion is gonna roll. If not in your campaign, then somewhere else, or in something other than D&D. If people don't get what they want because you're Mr. or Mrs. Banality, they'll find it somewhere else.

Of course, there are a host of DMs who will argue at this point, "But I make final decisions in my campaign and I've been playing with the same people for ten years."

This is intended to be proof of something. My gut tells me that it's a campaign I'd never want to play in. I am quite a passionate person. I have a number of rather violent passions which I find quite irresistible. The need to play in a fashion that doesn't bore me, for instance. The need to be unrestricted in my character's choices, or behavior. The need to examine all the elements of life and action, not just those approved by the Kindergarten Committee. The need to write these things out. The need sometimes to abuse others for being terribly thick-headed (I don't care actually that they don't have my passions, but I am quite put out when they try to invoke policies of restraint).

So when I imagine myself at a table with a bunch of people who have decided, say, that none of us are going to be pirates - because, you know, piracy is wrong - I find myself ... put out.

It isn't that I have a passionate desire to be a pirate. If I did, I doubt I would be blogging at the moment. Or, perhaps, I'd be blogging from my ship off the coast of Somalia, describing in glorious detail the manner in which the German businessman and his fat squalling wife were hacked mercilessly to death by my proud crew of vicious Somali buddies. THAT would be an interesting blog, I should think ... though probably a short-lived one.

No, it's more to the point that if matters tilted in a particular way in a campaign, and if there was every indication that NOW would be a good time to plunder this ship and kill all its crew - except, of course, for the German merchant and his fat squalling wife, who no doubt could be ransomed (it's the 15th century, after all ... you don't kill rich people six hundred years ago), then I would be quite put out by the DM suddenly saying, "Oh, no, sorry, you can't do that. We don't pirate in this campaign."

At which point, taken unawares to discover that I'm surrounded by a bunch of complete morons, I would probably exclaim, "What? Why?"

"We've agreed," would say the DM, then going on to explain how they had agreed.

Whereupon, I would look around at the other assured faces at the table, who were nodding their heads in support of their DM, having clearly drunk the same kool-aid.

Some people will find themselves in this situation saying, "Oh, well, okay." They've looked around at the other faces, they've judged the resolve of those faces and they recognize there's going to be no negotiation with that resolve. They will then measure their desire to be a pirate in that moment against their need to continue playing D&D at that time, and most often decide they'd rather play D&D with restrictions, than not play D&D at all.

It would be better for me, I suppose, if I could look at the world that way. Unfortunately, the first thing that occurs to me in that situation is that my liberty is being flagrantly curtailed. I want a better explanation than, "we agreed." There's something about that rebuttal that smacks of "Because." My mind immediately jumps to all the times in my life where this particular rebuttal was employed ... and it always seems to have been employed because others didn't actually have a good reason.

So right there we're off to bad start. I've just been told the reason is there is no reason except that it's what others want.

That puts me in this place where I'm forced to balance my wants against someone else's wants with the understanding that my wants are either secondary in their concern, or otherwise immaterial. Now, see, that really pisses me off. I'm willing to be equal and all, but this dismissal shit really gets under my skin. Nor do I really care how many people are dismissing me. In fact, if everyone at the table is prepared to veto my liberty, that only increases the discontent I feel. My ire is inversely proportional to the number of people dismissing my liberty.

And that is where the trouble starts.

I am, unfortunately, not afraid of a lot of people. I recognize that for most, where there is more than one person involved, the tendency is to push down that feeling of being dismissed because it's a bit frightening to face up to a crowd. I don't feel that way. I always presume that a significant number of the crowd feels exactly as I do ... only they haven't said so out loud because they think they're alone. I'm going to demonstrate, loudly, that they are not alone. I have generally found this an extremely positive tactic. I most often find allies who are willing to speak up once they recognize another person feels as they do.

Not always. No, I am sometimes alone. But that doesn't bother me. My liberty is being dismissed. Right is right.

NOW ... a lot of people reading this are going to miss entirely the following paragraph. They're going to comment, if at all, having never seen what I'm about to say.

IF someone in the party says, "Let's not pirate the ship because I don't think we can get away with it," then I'm more than prepared to back off and do something else. If someone says, "We've heard that they're hunting pirates in this area, and that they're setting decoys to catch pirates," then I'm definitely going to say let's not do it then. I am VERY ready to consider a reply that has in it an actual reason not to take an action. I'm being told by the other players something else: piracy isn't necessarily off the menu, just not right now. I am so in with that.

It's that whole 'because' thing. That's what pisses me off.

I would imagine that someone is going to bring up my policy against player-vs-player. That's been out there for some time, though you'd have to have read this blog regularly, because it hasn't come up for awhile. The thing is, I don't have a 'policy' against it. If players want to go head-to-head ... seriously head-to-head ... I won't stop them. Not my place. I will step up and call it idiocy. I will make an argument about how there's so much more to a campaign than duking it out. I may toss a person from the campaign if they feel compelled to do nothing else. It's boring. But in campaign, I won't actually stop them. I count on the party to do that, with swords and stuff.

It's one of the reasons I insist that everyone starts in a campaign at 1st level. It means that the noob, if he or she wants to live, has to ingratiate themselves a bit with the rest of the party. If they act all boorish and stuff, start swinging a weapon around and so on, they're generally a lower level, with less stuff, than those who are already here. And if they do reach a level where they might threaten a long standing party member, usually by then they've worked together for so long no one would ever think of it.

I wouldn't try to change a campaign that told me I couldn't be a pirate. I'd get up and leave. I wouldn't force a player who wanted to kill other players to stay in my campaign and play nice. I'd just boot them. People shouldn't have to play with people who don't share the same passions. I understand that.

But IF I'm invited to your campaign, I don't want a bunch of restrictions imposed on me when I walk in. Certainly not a bunch of moral restrictions, where no other LIVING person in the campaign is restrained in their ability to play their character (like PvP restraints). No invisible walls, please. I presume if you've invited me, you want ME to play. Not some sanitized version of ME that you think you can bear. I don't come in an expurgated version. I'm all me, all the time. People who invite me better realize that.

I realize that about others. I don't ask them to conform. I ask them to listen, I ask them to be engaged, I ask them to be clear about what they're doing and to be informed about the rules. But I don't ask them to be a different person. If they want to get 'icky' in their description of removing the bowels of an orc and spelling out strange words on the ground with the intestines, well ... I presume they've got some reason for doing it.

Doesn't bother me.


APPENDIX:

The gentle reader can find things I've written about PvP both here and here.  Make up your own mind whether or not I've contradicted myself, or if this is just a very nuanced thing that depends upon the exact circumstances involved.

13 comments:

Kismet Korkmaz said...

"So when I imagine myself at a table with a bunch of people who have decided, say, that none of us are going to be pirates - because, you know, piracy is wrong - I find myself ... put out."

This is just wrong. Piracy is almost the essence of basic DnD. Find things, kill them and take their stuff.

Also, railroading by any other name smells as much like shit. If the GM is enforcing a behavior of unconditionally NOT doing something, regardless of what the players decide they are by their nature paring down the amount of activities the players CAN do.

IF for whatever reason I come up with an activity I am not prepared for, I very specifically ask if we can not do this RIGHT NOW so I can prepare for the next time it comes up. (There's not a lot that makes this happen, but sometimes it's really something out of left field.)

Besides, even if it is not the GM enforcing it but 'the majority' that's just self inflicted railroading. Whatever idiot says they will never do something under any condition shows how much of an idiot they are. There are always exceptions...

(OMG the numbers on the captcha picture were not even in the square!)

Matt said...

I think there are reasons for some out of game limits and rules on behavior in games. I have a "no rape" rule in place in every game I run because I have at least one player who is made very uncomfortable by it. I make sure to let players know of this limit, and discuss the reasons with them. I've never had a player tell me that it was an unreasonable limit.

Mind you, that doesn't stop the game from having violence, or sex, or body-horror, we've just set out what themes we're comfortable playing with at the table. If a player felt their liberty was being infringed I'd let them know that their liberty to act beyond those limits was not as important to me as my liberty, and my other players' liberty, to feel safe and secure at the game table. That player would be free to play along, or leave.

Alexis Smolensk said...

And I would leave, Matt. Because while I appreciate that your own player has issues with rape, I have not and never will buy into this whole "the majority has rights to shut down the free thought of another person when that thought makes people uncomfortable."

The majority of people have the right not to be physically or mentally abused, that is true! But merely mentioning a thing, or roleplaying a thing, does not equal advocating or promoting a thing ... and it is the height of hubris to decide that in your judgement, or the judgement of your other players, it is.

Your "liberty" is not being challenged when I act in a particular way. My action does not restrict your action. But your presumption DOES restrict my action ... and that is where people like you always fail to understand. Because you want to pretend that being made uncomfortable is a violation of your human rights, and that is Plain Bullshit.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'm sorry, I need to say this another way.

No person has a right to feel "safe."

No person has a right to feel "secure."

These are not rights. They are wishes. And when these wishes trump actual human freedom to act, they are not wishes, they are selfish impositions against freedom.

Matt Williams said...

I don't disagree Alexis. At my table, everything is on the table, and we've had both rape and romance. The rape was handled interestingly and maturely, the romance...not so much.
At other people's tables, particularly because I game with friends, I am more pragmatic. My desire for total freedom of expression is balanced by my desires to play at all and to keep my friends.
When there have been irreconcilable disagreements, I find that the players or GM in question tend to form their own echo chamber party and carry on after I leave, like most any other group when their beliefs are challenged.

Matt said...

I don't see it as a "rights" thing, I see it more as a "My house, my table, my rules" thing.

If we were out at a coffee shop and you said something that made me or the people I was with uncomfortable, well, that's the price of living in society. You should say whatever you want in that environment.

Roleplaying is a social activity that I engage in with a group of friends. I don't really have an open table, and rarely play with people that I have not met in some other venue. It's an activity that I engage in in my home for entertainment. In that venue, I have every right to feel safe and secure. I try to make sure my players feel that way too.

Playing at a convention, or at a club or library or some such, sure, I shouldn't have the expectation that the game might go somewhere I don't want it to.



I guess what I am saying is that I agree with you. I don't think I have the right to not be offended, or uncomfortable.

I also don't think that anyone has a right to play at my table though. Part of playing at my table is getting along with the other players, and contributing to the game (even if what you contribute is a botched assassination attempt that goes against the plans of the party, but makes for a great time). If a player can't manage that, then I have a whole table full of reasons to do without that player.

I guess that falls under your "the majority has rights to shut down the free though of another person" thing that you don't buy into, but again, I have to stress, this isn't the local library or a convention or any other public place. This is my game, at my house.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You used the word "right." Then you used it again after you said you didn't consider it a right.

Yes, it's your home. But as I said in the post, if I am invited into your home, or anyone's home, I presume it's because I'm a guest there - and as a guest, I'm permitted to be myself as long as I am not deliberately rude.

And that is the issue. If I am being rude by playing a character the way I wish, then where is my trust? How am I to be certain I can roleplay without being judged? That's relevant too. For when "rudeness" is extended to cover the subject of "played his character in a way we didn't approve," then I'm not being treated with respect, am I?

Issara Booncharoen said...

Alexis, having read your blog from begining to end (accepting the campaign and some of the comments) I had thought you occassionally short and abrupt in your arguments, prefering to put people down rather than explain your positions (which I generally find convincing, though I naturally I understand some of your points differantly from the understnading you intended to convey.)

Having spent some time on that thread I've come closer to an understanding what it's like to present an argument when those who wish to discuss with you can't seem to be bothered to read.

I apologise for passing judgement without even trying to go through the experience.

Thank you for keeping up the challenging work.

JB said...

@ Alexis:

So, okay, I’m frustrated reading this.

When reading your post on Parenting/Autocracy I wanted to ask, “What if I’m the single individual interested in the smuggling operation and the rest of the table is only interested in knocking over dungeons and houses?” What if I’m the lone individual who thinks piracy might be a decent occupation but you’re sitting at a table full of “Dirk”-types, who only want to plunder the dungeon because it seems like a lot easier target than worrying about getting a ship and crew together and doing the groundwork to figure out shipping lanes and the routes of fat merchant vessels?

I’m not talking about being a PC interested in “individual adventures” (going off by myself to knock-over a shop)…I’m talking about wanting to do “group adventures” that are completely lost on the group. When the group is willing to dig for enough rumors to find the local “dungeon complex” because “hey, it’s D&D and that’s what I signed up to play, not Piracy on the High Seas.” And it’s no good saying, yeah let’s loot this dungeon for a while to finance our pirate ship because (once we’re done looting) they simply want to move onto the next ancient tomb or sunken city.

It’s all well-and-good to say, okay, I’m walking away from this particular gaming table because, apparently, I am a miscreant that can’t get on the same page with the other players’ passion. But it’s not every DM you come across who’s created a rich-sand-boxy-environment-world where piracy or smuggling or whatnot would be a real active possibility. They may not say “piracy is off the table,” but instead say “well, we’ve got this particular adventure planned for the next few sessions and then we’ll look at the pirating possibility.” Except that after This Particular Adventure is exhausted, there’s another ‘particular adventure’ to be played. And another. And another.

We ARE talking Dungeons & Dragons, after all, so if I am terribly, terribly interested in playing pirate then it’s possible I’m playing the wrong RPG. But then, if that’s the case, why (as a DM) bother creating All the Rest of the World outside the dungeon (or isolated adventure site)? As an intellectual exercise? That’s your bag, perhaps…I’ve done similar and found it completely wasted on a table full of “Dirks.”

[and, no, I’m not talking about creating a prepared “story” for players to follow, just a world for interaction]

And so then what do I end up doing? Catering to my players. Which might be fun for everyone involved but simple fosters the same Dirk-like expectation of what D&D is supposed to be…wrecking them (or at least tainting them) for the future.

I guess what I’m struggling with is A) if I don’t give them what they want (i.e. easy escapist stimulation) they’ll stop playing, yet B) if I give them only what they want, the game will get stale…for me and everyone else…after a length of time determined by our individual fortitudes for banality.

And as a player it’s worse, because I often find myself the odd man out…at least when playing D&D. With (some) other RPGs, I run into the caliber of player I’d like to game with…but these have no interest in playing D&D.

But maybe I’m just in a whiny mood right now. It was a long flight home.

Matt said...

I apologize. My first sentence about rights isn't entirely correct then.

What I meant was more that I do not see this as an issue if having the right to have my way everywhere and anywhere, as it is that I see it as my ability to choose the company I keep, and the right to set rules in my home.

When I invite guests over to my home I inform them of things that they might need to be aware of. I might ask them not to just fall on the sofa, because it is a bit old and could break. I might tell them that we don't really want animals in the house, and ask them not to bring their pet. If my girlfriend has a headache I might ask you to be more careful about how loud you are. If I do not tell you about these things, then you'd not be rude if you flopped on the couch with your pitbull and started singing at the top of your lungs. I would probably be upset with the broken couch, pet smells, and angry girlfriend though. It would be rude of me to fault you of these things if I never mentioned them to you.

Each of those restrictions that I placed on my guest above have reasons behind them. The reasons all have to do with my comfort, in my home. They didn't just spring up out of the ether to annoy guests, and I didn't just make them up because I thought they would be fun.

By the same token, the rule that I have in my D&D game is that I do not allow or present the act of rape. The reason this rule is in place is because the subject came up (off-handedly, not because a player wanted to do it) and she explained that she felt that there was no need for it to be in the game. She thought the subject was very difficult to present in a way that was not disturbing. She said that she would rather not see it in the game, and if it were in the game she might rather not play.

The other players did not disagree with the statement. To my knowledge this is not an issue that any of my players want to push. If it were an issue my players wanted to push though, they could ask me, because my rule isn't banning the discussion of rape, it is banning the presentation of it in our game, and that restriction can be excepted, or lifted, or done away with altogether depending on the whims of myself, and my players.

The respect that I would show you as a guest in my D&D game is that I would advise you of that restriction before you ever got to the table, and that I would listen if you argued about that restriction.

I suppose my original example was flawed in that I was imagining a random stranger joining the table and demanding to have his way. That guy would probably never be invited to my table in the first place. A player that is willing to argue that something that is restricted has a place in the game will be listened to. He won't just be arguing against me though, he'll be debating with the entire player base. If the player who was offended agrees that the rule should be excepted or lifted, then there is no problem. If not, then I have to make a judgement based on all the players at my table. If that means I might lose one or more players, I have to judge who is more important to my enjoyment of the game.

I'm sorry if I've been long-winded, rambling, or unclear. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my comments above.

jbeltman said...

Hi Alexis,

I was reading through your Parenting, Not Autocracy post and the one above and it seems like you have quite different attitudes when you are a DM to when you are a player. In the preceding post you talk about how you expect the entire group to work together, the player agenda and how roleplaying is a group activity. 'The person with the biggest PROBLEM is the person who thinks the entire event needs to redirect itself towards their personal needs.'

In the post above however you seem to describe yourself exactly like the Gambler, that if you couldn't do exactly what you want to then you would walk.
'I wouldn't try to change a campaign that told me I couldn't be a pirate. I'd get up and leave.'

I was wondering what you thought about that?


Parenting, Not Autocracy

How do you handle PCs who want to split up, perhaps act in manners that act against the interests of other PCs? ...

...Ever since writing the Opening Module post, ... I've been trying to distill a meaningful answer that would be helpful to everyone who finds themselves in this position, something where I DON'T call adult people at a table who can't agree a bunch of squabbling children.

...

The Gambler is far, far worse. They seem to have forgotten what they're doing in a D&D game. They'd rather play craps ... or whatever side game has emerged. They'd rather be in Vegas, but somehow they've wandered into your campaign and you've been caught unaware by someone whose either easily amused or has some sort of gambling problem. They're utterly oblivious to everyone but themselves. And when you say enough, they get upset or exhibit frustration, then pout for the rest of the night. Every time they come back into town, they ask if the gambling venue is open, and soon enough you'll find yourself saying, "No, angry townspeople burned it to the ground."

I hate these people. I hate having them at my table. At the moment, with all three of my campaigns being well-established and the participants motivated towards DOING something that they've decided on their own, it is invariably the newest person in any given campaign that creates a problem like any of the above. They come into a game with their own, personal agenda, or their own, personal bias, and they completely ignore that D&D is a game played by a lot of people, not just one person. They soon find themselves banging against the wall produced by the consensus-driven people who are already there, and either they bend or they quit.

On this blog I talk a lot about the player agenda. That agenda is, however, unfortunate for some, dependent upon the majority being serviced. This is no different from any other group activity. Sports, community service, political activism, the workspace, a holiday get-together ... it is all the same. The person with the biggest PROBLEM is the person who thinks the entire event needs to redirect itself towards their personal needs.

...

No, I'm talking about the asshole who has to PITCH, because he deigned to show up. Who has never been to one of these things before, but is ready to criticize everyone. And who wants to change rule A and rule B because they don't suit him.

jbeltman said...

Irresistably

... And some will impose rules about what the players are allowed to be passionate about, and will couch those rules in the decision of the majority, believing that passion can of course be restrained by a general agreement among all the players, IF they decide.

Naturally, it never works. People cannot "play nice" where it comes to something that matters to them. If it matters, they will not restrain themselves. They do not desire to restrain themselves; if they are browbeaten or threatened or frightened into doing so, the result will be resentment, maliciousness and a host of neurotic behaviors. They will crop up in your campaign and they will destroy your campaign.

...

The need to be unrestricted in my character's choices, or behavior. The need to examine all the elements of life and action, not just those approved by the Kindergarten Committee. ... The need sometimes to abuse others for being terribly thick-headed (I don't care actually that they don't have my passions, but I am quite put out when they try to invoke policies of restraint).

So when I imagine myself at a table with a bunch of people who have decided, say, that none of us are going to be pirates - because, you know, piracy is wrong - I find myself ... put out.

...

At which point, taken unawares to discover that I'm surrounded by a bunch of complete morons, I would probably exclaim, "What? Why?"

"We've agreed," would say the DM, then going on to explain how they had agreed.

Whereupon, I would look around at the other assured faces at the table, who were nodding their heads in support of their DM, having clearly drunk the same kool-aid.

Some people will find themselves in this situation saying, "Oh, well, okay." They've looked around at the other faces, they've judged the resolve of those faces and they recognize there's going to be no negotiation with that resolve. They will then measure their desire to be a pirate in that moment against their need to continue playing D&D at that time, and most often decide they'd rather play D&D with restrictions, than not play D&D at all.

...

I want a better explanation than, "we agreed."

...

So right there we're off to bad start. I've just been told the reason is there is no reason except that it's what others want.

...

That puts me in this place where I'm forced to balance my wants against someone else's wants with the understanding that my wants are either secondary in their concern, or otherwise immaterial. Now, see, that really pisses me off. I'm willing to be equal and all, but this dismissal shit really gets under my skin. Nor do I really care how many people are dismissing me. In fact, if everyone at the table is prepared to veto my liberty, that only increases the discontent I feel. My ire is inversely proportional to the number of people dismissing my liberty.

...

I wouldn't try to change a campaign that told me I couldn't be a pirate. I'd get up and leave.


Regards,

John.

Alexis Smolensk said...

John,

It's always precious when people try to compare things I say and find where I've contridicted myself.

In both cases, as a DM and as a Player, the one thing I am opposed to is ad hoc, jurisdictional policy that says I can, or cannot do this or that.

As a player, I feel as long as I'm being listened to, and my arguments considered, no, I don't have to have my own way. The reference at the end was to a DM/Player policy that says, "No, this shall not be discussed."

As a DM, I wish to reason with players to encourage them to change their minds - but once again, if I find that there are players who absolutely will not listen to argument, yes, I will boot them.

Either playing or DMing demands a free exchange of ideas. People try to circumvent that by making absolutist policy, then stultifying negotiation by claiming it has already been negotiated and therefore the subject is now dead.

No subject is ever dead.

I won't try to change people who think this way. I will, as I said, walk out. Or I will, as I said, boot people.

I don't want to play with anyone who does not have an open mind.

I think you already understood this. I think you just wanted to hear me say it.