I think that we, as a community, have reached a point where the use of language is (once again) preventing us from having constructive discussions about important design issues which will have a significant affect on the game which D&D Next turns into.
One of the key issues with the terms “dissonant” and “dissociative” is their prior usage as pejorative edition warring language. This shouldn’t be dismissed as an issue because it is clear that despite the best efforts of many a good deal of our discussions are derailed by edition warring even today.
But much more significantly despite the best efforts of their supporters both of these terms are inherently negative. This makes it difficult to take them seriously as neutral terms for mechanics which might subjectively be good or bad depending on the opinion of the viewer as even applying the term implies negativity.
Further to this it is clear that the application of both terms has become highly subjective, whatever the intentions of the original bloggers. The objective application of the definitions has been consistently rejected where the subjective opinions of those individuals have been “wrong” according to that application.
Additionally it has proven very difficult to apply the terms dissonant or dissociative in degrees. They have largely become binary and this stifles constructive discussion of the extent to which they can be tolerated or not by individuals.
But I do agree that there ARE mechanics of a certain type which are an issue for a significant group of D&D players.
This group of players do deserve to have their opinions included in the design phase of the game and the optional and modular opportunity to play D&D the way they want to.
Thus we need a term which we can use to objectively measure mechanics so that they can be more usefully discussed and their real merit attributed.
I suggest that we start using the term “abstract”.
This term applies to all the mechanics which the words dissonant and dissociative have been assigned to, does not have the edition war baggage, is not inherently negative, can be applied objectively and is applicable in degrees.
The application of the term abstract to mechanics will allow us to discuss the same issues as the concepts of dissonance and disassociation but without the inevitable arguments about the language which have characterised these threads recently.
We can say “good abstraction” and “bad abstraction” to talk about abstract mechanics we like and don’t like (HP and Martial Dailies for example).
We can say “small abstraction” and “large abstraction” or “not very abstract” and “very abstract” to talk about degrees of abstraction (turn based combat or dice for resolution for example).
I think that this one small change could do a lot to help improve the level of discussion which is happening on some very important topics on this forum.