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Old August 10 2010, 06:56 PM   #33
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Re: Worldbuilding: New member integration in the UFP

Sci wrote: View Post
The problem with this notion is that real history defies it. The world's cultures spent most of history coming into contact with strange and alien cultures whose common humanity they did not immediately recognize. The cultures that exist today are the descendants of cultures that were routinely making first contact with cultures that they considered the equivalent to what we would call extraterrestrial today.
Eh, I'm still partly with Penta on this one. I see your point but my gut tells me meeting alien life is something qualitatively different than anything that has happened in the past.

10. Limit how much they have to take in: Don't use a transporter, use a shuttlecraft if you can, to transport personnel. Don't use a replicator when you can cook real food...
I really don't think this is an issue at all. A species that has developed warp technology is going to have already speculated about the possible existence of aliens, and they're inevitably going to have developed the idea that many different technologies far in advance of their own may exist. The only real threshold is finding out with certainty that aliens exist; everything else is just a matter of degree.
I think this is more a point of trying not to scare or wow the species you are meeting with your superior technology, of trying to meet them on a as level playing field as possible.

Surely whatever else the Federation can do, it can do the simple work of ensuring that no one on the planet is going hungry anymore.
I don't think anyone is insinuating that the Federation wouldn't try it's best to do that. Just that even with all it's awesome technology, resources will always be limited and eradicating something like poverty will take a lot of time. Just like the Federation couldn't help Bajor recover overnight.

You keep returning to this theme of "Don't tell them too much or else they'll freak out." I find that entire concept really disturbing...

...The basic problem with that entire idea is that it's built on the implicit premise that the Federation is inherently superior to the culture being contacted. More specifically, that its people are inherently to the contacted cultures' people...

...The Federation shouldn't be in the business of holding information back that doesn't itself threaten Federation security. If it isn't classified, it should be available to the Zoglians.
I still think it's sensible to limit the amount of information you give them all at once, for several reasons. People of the Federation have had decades if not centuries to adapt to and learn to live with some things. You can't get something like that overnight, you can't graft a centuries more advanced culture to the local culture just like that. Sure, give them everything with time - but not attempting to control the effects even a little is iresponsible.

It has nothing to do with 'superiority'. If an ancient Greek suddenly popped out of a time machine next to you, you wouldn't try to teach him quantum theory or give him access to a complicated modern appliance the very next day. You'd overwhelm him. And it doesn't mean he's inferior to you or any less smart than you. He just has a different starting position and you need to give him time to adapt.

One more point. If you give them everything on a platter at once, you'll be robbing them of a chance to further develop by themselves, you'll stiffle their own creativity and progress.

As for the Borg example... Honestly? I do think it's better not to tell them at once. I mean, imagine if aliens landed on Earth tomorrow and told us an unstoppable enemy is roaming around. It would be mass histeria - and it wouldn't help us deal with the Borg one bit.
What if it's a smart fungus?
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