Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Question For You

Online, in the RPG community, there's a conversation. In general, I mean--people talk about one thing, then another, then another.

People learn about new games and game ideas from this conversation, get GMing tips from it, find resources through it, get game design ideas from this conversation, etc. Most of the developments in mainstream RPGs since 2000 have been influenced by the conversation, almost all of the developments in independent RPGs have been and most of the new talent in the indstry comes ot of this conversation.  It has been going on for as long as there's been an internet.

Do you, personally, care if this conversation is good or bad?
-
-
-

82 comments:

Saci said...

In my view, there is no such thing as bad conversation. The bad is not to talk at all, or just write something as if it was nothing or everything and just let it like that . Conversations are always good, even if the topic is not the best. The great thing comes from the unending conversations about various topics, even if we need to go back to the awful ones. But the conversations can't be stopped.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Saci

If there's no such thing as a bad conversation, why contribute? Why, in effect, try to change the course of that conversation?

Like someone goes "All Jews kill babies, we should exterminate them!" then someone else goes "Oh yes, let's get on that" is that not a "bad conversation"?

Saci said...

My point is that the action of conversation is not bad, maybe some topics or opinions are not reasonable. like this extreme you cited. The act of talk about stuff itself that is good, that's what I was trying to say.

Zak Sabbath said...

@saci

Sure but that isn't the question.

The question is: Do you care if the conversation is a good one or a bad one?

Saci said...

And the fact that everyone agrees with something, don't makes the topic obsolete either. Everything can and should be discussed again in another time and with new perspectives.

Saci said...

@zak

Sure, If I agree with it is good, if I do not agree, it is bad. And if it is bad, in my view, I'll care enough to try and understand why someone would think of it in that way.

Zak Sabbath said...

thanks for answering the question @saci

Saci said...

@zak

You're welcome. I hope you keep posting cool stuff, I miss your posts.

Zak Sabbath said...

I post less because the harassment campaign starting in February suggested powerfully that, despite the number of hits these entries get, nobody actually absorbed anything they read, since a lot of what I posted was about, like, fact-checking and not falling for viral bullshit.

People who wrote "Yeah, good post!" for years immediately fell for the next online-gamer hoax without lifting a finger to fact-check.

If the RPG audience demonstrates it can actually read I might post more.

Семен Цевелев said...

I care, and I don't want to participate if it's bad.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Семен Цевелев

So: When it's bad do you try to make it good or just give up?

TabelleCasuali said...

I've never participated in these conversations, and I don't even know them, so they never interested me. I started to follow blogs recently and I haven't seen any interesting ones yet. I think this is my second comment ever to a blog post.

Семен Цевелев said...

I try to make it better for some time. Usually it turns out pointless, so I leave.

Reason said...

There's also the possibility that the rpg audience can read, but they are just not picking up what you are laying down. .

Meta said...

Please, post more. Conversation and articles are getting worse these days, because of inclusiveness policies and moral topics. We don't need recommandations for getting better human beeings (according to dangerous ideologies), we don't need biggots and priests. We need art critics and conversations about how to build interesting worlds and contexts. Looking forward to see Demon city released and some of your art views concerning rpgs on this blog. Glad to see you back here !

Zak Sabbath said...

@Reason

No that's not possible because otherwise the questions they leave, actions they take and comments they make don't make sense.

Like if I go "don't buy pickles from Dave he's crooked"
and Ed goes "Great article" and then buys pickles from dave, that means Ed can't read.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Meta

Urging me to post more won't result in me posting more.

Only demonstrating that what I write is being read and acted on will.

Anonymous said...

The internet in general (despite bringing a lot of positive things to the table) is a rather toxic place and while I do want to contribute and do want to make it a better place, I am very selective with what I ingest. There are some conversations that I do not bother to participate in, simply because I know that arguing with some people is pointless and I would just end up being frustrated and exhausted. I am fully open to discuss things, to share and to even change my views if needed, but some people are not like this and their stance is all that matters to them, fact or fiction... and this is painfully obvious in many "underground" groups.

Meta said...

@Zak

We don't urge you to post, we are (or I am) simply saying that your texts matter, and so, you are read, indeed. Your question was about good or bad conversation : yes, I think it matters too : I prefer good conversations even if we post less. And good conversation often suppose less posts and more time to improve. We need quality.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Meta

Ok so first: thanks for answering the question.

Second: I'm not sure my posts do matter, at least not in a way that I care about. I get that people take game ideas from this blog, but they don't seem to have gotten any smarter in how they handle interacting with the larger community, at least when I'm not around. At best it seems like people have read what I've written--thanked me-- and then done the opposite.

Meta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meta said...

@Zak

"At best it seems like people have read what I've written--thanked me-- and then done the opposite." : do you have some examples in mind ? Do you mean : people who play in an opposite way to your recommandations in your books (like in the beginning of R&PL or your comments in Frostbitten) ? Are you refeering to conversations on forums, or RPG books, or some Podcasts ?

I think iconoclastic positions tend to be considered (since they are provocative for some, and progressive for others), but rarely integrated in ways of playing (living) except at the other iconoclastics attitudes (a minority of people).

I understand, in your last comment, that your ambition is not only to give some ideas or some advices, but to contribute to a mutation in the ways of thinking in the rpg community. If I'm right, how do you think one could achieve such a purpose ?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Meta

I repeatedly told people to make decisions based on facts and evidence and to create accountability for bad actors. They don't.

nori said...

Yes, I care about the quality of tabletop rpg discourse. When the conversation is, for long enough, poor-quality, I feel my effort isn't being respected, and I see bad actors or plain immature and thoughtless folks trample the field, my response is to remove myself from that group of people.

The fact is that the internet was built by individualists. Some spaces like Discord or Reddit are more authoritarian where a number of folks govern a group of individuals by their own laws, some spaces like Twitter are more libertarian where each person cultivates a network for their avatar, presents their dissenting opinion through qts, and governs their space with blocks.

On Twitter, for instance, our ability to hold people accountable or innocent or present evidence as worth consideration & contemplation is a factor of the size of their network, the influence they wield over it, and the willingness and individual power of the individuals within their network (& critically those in those individuals' networks) to engage with the narrative being wielded.

Every day on twitter I see people trying to reduce the reputability & network size of other people. My critical, fact-based engagement with these people's arguments and accusations is a stone in a sandstorm of shock and excited anger. If the OP notices it, I'll more often than not earn a block for bothering their emotional moment of truth-telling. While sometimes their arguments are in proximity to or in the image of some recognizable conflict in the zeitgeist, other times they take the form of simultaneously public and personal proclamations on a self-developed moral stricture against associating oneself with certain words, phrases, products, works of art, opinions, facts, living persons both public and private, intellectuals' bodies of work, and absences of speaking on a particular conversation topic. Alongside these naturally are demands for compliance and preemptive mockery of dissenters.

Some of the issues raised are valid and some are not. Some of the facts which are provided are evidence of genuine wrongdoing and some are not. Some of the demands made are reasonable and some are not. When I find that though the issues are valid, the facts are not evidence of genuine wrong-doing and the demands are unreasonable, I have found I can make some headway. When I find that the issues are invalid because the facts are not evidence of genuine wrong-doing and the demands are thus unreasonable, I have found that I meet contempt, defensiveness, and, most often of all, stonewalling.

I don't understand how to hold people accountable as a person with a tiny network and little social power at all. Even speaking to those I consider close on issues I think amount to the social excommunication or slandering of public figures on ingenuine and insufficient evidence I find stonewalling and indifference. Negative reward is rarely noticed and positive punishment drives further conflict. I don't know what there is to do about this besides play the same game everyone else is and gain power. I can as an individual stop associating with people acting this way and I do. The only way I can see my individual views ever being enforced as community standard is to myself be rarefied... but that's what drives this whole thing.

I do value a good conversation, I do. I'm willing to give quite a lot of time and energy to participate in one, even. I hope to have a blog up by the end of the month for whatever that's worth. I don't know what to do about bad conversation in this particular configuration of tubes.

-cat f

Anonymous said...

I care if the conversation is good. I think the structure of the conversation is bad in ways that will ensure it cannot be made good again through the accountability practices you frequently describe. I think the conversation not only needs to be more decentralized but more isolated - that engaging with communities outside of your specific part of the conversation needs to require a kind of active effort to ensure good faith communication.

As it stands, I don't anticipate the conversation in RPGs improving until both a large number of the current participants are out of it, and it is held in a very different place than across scattered social media sites.

Rayj said...

I certainly value what I think are good elements of the conversation regarding rpg's that I've absorbed in the last few years. I have gotten back into gaming as a result of said, after a couple decades' hiatus.

That being said, I do not spend a lot of time following this generalized conversation. I am a pre-social media type, and typically view a lot of the conversation as this avalanche of information that I am not likely to end up using, and that by sheer volume often defies my attempts to evaluate it. I have a folder full of pdf's and saved webpages that I couldn't really effectively used if I gamed daily.

That's why I like books. While it seems like the techniques are becoming more sophisticated regarding gaming the online discussions regarding good books, an exceptionally well-written book usually rises above the overwhelming susurrus of opinion and lackluster content.

Anonymous said...

It's been like, almost a year since the OSR booted you out and all I can say, is why the fuck didn't you just do something else? You don't -need- this fucking garbage industry. According to Raggi, you're going to get the rights to your stuff back so I implore you: sell your incredible ideas to movie producers and video game companies. I'd rather play a Voivodja game than see this idiotic and shitty and worthless hobby mistreat one of its stars this way. You are the fucking man, Zak. These fucking people do not deserve you.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anonymous

A strange question making strange assumptions--I am doing many other things, as always.

But the perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable.

Someone kills your dog you don't just shrug and buy a new one.

Zak Sabbath said...

And if fans want a Voivodja anything, ever, @anon then they need to be at least as energetic and vocal in undoing this bullshit as the chuds who started it were when they started it.

Anonymous said...

yeah im with reason, i want more voivodja stuff but Im not really willing to stan for you to get it. I'll throw the cash down for a book, I'm not permanently having the somethingawful crowd or the reddit team hate me until the end of time for it

Zak Sabbath said...

@Reason

You're
-not allowed to lie in the comments-
so comment deleted

"Ed can buy pickles from Dave because he doesn't believe you."

That makes no sense: Ed just said the article pointing out Dave was crooked was a good article.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

I'm gonna rephrase the comment I left and ask a question:

Why do you suppose the RPG community so much more eager to risk an argument in order to support something bad and fake than they are to support something good that they actually want?

Anonymous said...

"
Why do you suppose the RPG community so much more eager to risk an argument in order to support something bad and fake than they are to support something good that they actually want?"

I don't know what you're referring to

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

If you're -not- the same Anon who left the comment before: Ok. Then you can't answer that question.

If you are: Something good you actually want would be new game stuff (Voivodja for example) and something bad and fake would be all the reasons folks on SomethingAwful or Reddit would harass you for advocating for that stuff.

Apparently you at least are less willing to argue for "Hey I want this, stop harassing the creator" than they are willing to argue for "We should invent reasons to harass the creator"

Anonymous said...



You're basically telling me I should pay money to go on SomethingAwful(for example) and paint a big target on my back and subject myself to all the same bullshit that you go through on the basis that I will one day have the chance (maybe) to give you money. I got a wife, two kids. I am not going to get called a bunch of false bullshit like Nazi and such for no real tangible benefit other than maybe seeing another Voivodja book 5-10 years down the line.

I'm not saying what you're going through is right, personally I wish you had to get a license to use the internet and weren't allowed to post anything without having a real name attached to it, but sadly harassment mobs are too strong.

Unknown said...

Do you have an email address where you can be reached about an art purchase?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Unknown

same as always: zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

1. I'm not because Twitter and Reddit and all the other RPG forums are free (and the Something Awful goons occupy them as well)

and

2. I'm asking: Why do you think -they- are willing to do that and better people aren't?

Anonymous said...

man i dont know, im not an expert on harassing dipshits, how about you tell me

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

Since I don't know you, I can't guess why you are or are not motivated.

Anonymous said...


No, why are they motivated

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

It's a question about _relative_ commitment.

Being relative, therefore, it involves TWO terms:

One: How much you care about doing the right thing.

Two: How much they care about doing the wrong thing.

They are not here--only you are. So only the first part of the question can be answered for certain by those of us here in this conversation.

Jason Knepper said...

I care about the conversation and I engaged in defense of a fair review of the facts, claims, and perspectives that were made in February. I want to see more content from you. I want to see more content from any creator that puts the effort in to break molds and make interesting new ideas come to the page.

That said, I think that, as in any war or battle with a broad front line, it takes a critical mass to affect an outcome and the perceptions of many of the members of the gamer community are based in a deep seated insecurity regarding social interactions. It's not even about gamers as a group specifically; people in general are hesitant to expose themselves to ridicule and negative opinion for their own friends and acquaintances, let alone a celebrity stranger. Multiply that by the additional factors of a larger proportion of social insecurities among gamers and the relative comfort of flaming people from the protection of a secure internet connection without significant risk of retribution and the front line of that "battle" becomes much more likely to tilt towards the worst aspects of human behavior and psychology.

I think it really comes down to a question between whether your desire to create is for the material you create or the opinion of the most vocal parts of our community. Heidegger argued that art for the "sake of the work" art can do, to explore and discuss our politics, our philosophy, and our perceptions of truth, is important. Your work in games has been a discussion of this sort, exploring many areas that seem taboo or dangerous to other creators despite their relevance in the lives of many members of the community and pushing boundaries that have heretofore been accepted for the sake of dogma in the gaming community.

I don't know what happened between you and Mandy. I don't believe gender is a valid premise for proving truth, and if it is, then there are a lot more women that came to your defense (with a great deal more convincing evidence and corroborated testimony)... but it is difficult to convince a mob to quiet down and listen to logic when it doesn't fit neatly with their narrative or predispositions. So while some of us may prefer a more logic based conversation, it takes a greater number than are currently present to be heard above the din of the mob, to say nothing of the short attention span at work; a consensus was perceived to have been reached and now they've left the body to swing... a handful of people shouting, "Wait! Wait! We might have hung someone without a fair trial... come back...!" is unlikely to be heard or attended to. Despite the efforts of some of us in that direction...

So, my question is - do you create for the "sake of the work" and is that enough to overcome the resistance from the mob you can't control and produce for those that still want it? I respect your decision either way, but I hope you continue to produce the interesting and boundary shattering work you've always made, including the posts on this blog and the books you've had published.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Jason Knepper

If you "don't know what happened" contact the witnesses. Their contact info has been available since at least March.

As for me making RPG stuff, you missed something pretty obvious:

I always make game stuff in order to keep running my games at home and I always make art (it's my job)--the actual question you might want to raise is whether I -publish- those game materials I make for the online (or online-adjacent) RPG audience.

Anonymous said...

Honestly seeing how James Raggi has suffered because he stuck to his guns - partially - has been very upsetting to me. I don't like reading about a dude who has lost all of his friends and professional relationships, who wakes up crying every night and shits himself due to the horrendous amount of stress and suffering he's going through. I especially don't like seeing this shit because of a gleeful pack of dung beetle shitheads who always hated Zak and don't actually care about Mandy or her well-being in the slightest. If Mandy had accused Zak of being one of the Boys from Brazil that'd have been enough. I tried to speak up a whole bunch on reddit and got buttfucked by downvotes. Enough that, well, I gave up on RPG discussion online. Seeing people like fucking Cavegirl cheering on censorship (thanking DTRPG for banning ZHNtdwtB)and watching them get fawning acceptance from the RPG community....I'm done. Fuck it.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

James is one example of the many many people closely and tangentially connected to Mandy that she's fucked over--and there are people who are in even worse shape because of it.

But all Cavey & co's talk of "compassion" and "empathy" doesn't ever seem to translate into "Take three seconds to make sure you aimed that gun at the right person".

Jason Knepper said...

@Zak

I read their written statements and you put me in contact with one of them directly. You and I interacted directly. Even if I spoke to every individual that made a statement in defense of Mandy's accusation or in your defense I still can't know what happened. I can only trust in a preponderance of evidence and corroborating testimony and hope that I understand the situation accurately. But I still can't call any of that guarantees for truth... You know this. But, again, I did identify the strong testimony and corroborating statements as reason for a more fair and logic based discussion.

I amend my second question - Will you continue to publish (make publicly available) the material you make for your home table, or will you allow the mob that denounces you to persuade you to quit publishing?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Jason Knepper

You can go way beyond that. You can contact all the witnesses, collect their stories, then contact Mandy & co and ask them to explain the discrepancies. You will, I 100% guarantee, walk away as sure of what happened as you are sure of your own name or that the earth is round. If you "aren't sure" it can only be for the same reasons you might doubt the earth is round: lack of research.

I don't have a choice about publishing: Demon City has to come out since it's been Kickstarted and I'm working on another project already.

As for anything in the future: "The mob" is going to have to face accountability for their crimes in the coming months.

If I decide not to publish anything else besides my upcoming projects it won't be because of the mob--it'll be because the lack of -resistance- to the mob suggests there's not a lot of people in the RPG community worth publishing -for- .

Jason Knepper said...

Zak,

You seem to presume a responsibility on the part of all others who think you've been unfairly maligned by the mob to be zealous in their pursuit of your defense. I agree that you have been unfairly maligned, but I am in no way inclined to undertake the effort (at the expense of time and effort for my own familial, personal, and professional obligations) to engage in a zealous pursuit of that belief. I have my own problems and struggles. I defended you on reddit (the only social media platform I use now that G+ is gone) and I am willing to continue my patronage of your work should you choose to publish it. If that is insufficient to meet your standard for a community worth publishing for, we will have to accept that. You are not the first creator to be denounced by a mob and you won't be the last, in any media form. What you choose to do in the face of that mob is only your decision to make.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Jason

I don't presume a responsibility, I simply describe the price of my wares--as any creator does.

I don't want to make a job of selling things to assholes. Or to "Jason Knepper, who seems nice, and 4000 assholes"

Zak Sabbath said...

@erased Anon

You're not allowed to lie in the comments.

Jason Knepper said...

I respect that. Your efforts are yours to put a price on. For what it's worth, my friends and kids adore Maze of the Blue Medusa and Red and Pleasant Land. I'm saving Frostbitten and Mutilated for a future campaign. I hope that you keep publishing work for those of us that aren't assholes, but, again, if you don't I respect the reasons you've cited.

Zak Sabbath said...

thanks

i'd also point out: this "price" doesn't just go for me

when nerds do this to any creator, then creators who have a choice go do something else: the environment that allows this to happen is poisonous to anyone trying to do anything interesting in games --not just me. I know, I've been at the meetings and in the email chains and I've talked to outside-the-industry talent whose names you know.

Anonymous said...

kind of interesting seeing how you were really confident the OSR mafia was going to pay and you seem less confident now

its the problem, isn't it? Nobody wants to be the RPG Cop, but the complete lack of accountability shows why we need one. I'm sorry to see how beaten down you are are by this. fuck the rpg community man, go work in video games

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

Oh no no no, you are very confused. I am still certain the people in the RPG industry (OSR and otherwise) responsible for this will face accountability.

The only thing I am not certain about (and never have been certain about) is whether there is anyone in the game community worth creating for. Those are separate issues.

And working in video games is a silly suggestion. That won't address any of the problems on the table here. I don't understand why you'd bring that up,

Whoever you are:

Don't do "Seems". Don't make statements based on "seems"--if you can read:

Ask. Questions. Instead. Of making. Assumptions.

It will make you a better person.

Anonymous said...

" I am still certain the people in the RPG industry (OSR and otherwise) responsible for this will face accountability."

Yeah I don't see it

how the fuck is someone like..I dunno, Paul Ettin going to face jack-fucking-shit since he has a position of power on several sites and a huge fanbase that like his fuckstick trolling antics. How the hell is someone like, I dunno, Skerples, who is anonymous as fuck and has his own little circle going to face anything? The way these fucking children just stick their fingers in their ears and scream isn't something you can beat. I mean, lawsuits, yeah, but those are expensive, time consuming, etc. Its fucking tiresome. I told you I left RPGs forever because end of the day, you can't actually make it stop, and I mean, the shit you're getting isn't even as bad as some women creators get. Zoe quinn is basically going to be called a murderous whore for the rest of her life until the end of time and I just???? sigh

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

In ten years I've never promised the RPG community something I didn't deliver.

Give me a second.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. Your "witnesses" aren't. You proceed from a false premise. Half these comments are your sock puppets and the ones that poke holes in your false premises, you delete.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

Ok: pick any one of those statements and prove it.

Zak Sabbath said...

Whenever you're ready, @Anon ...

Nitrous Gold said...

@zak Do I care about the conversation? Yes in an abstract way, but I am also only very tangentially aware of it. I get glimpses of it mainly when I read your blog posts. I read r/dnd occasionally but see little actual conversation there.

Regarding you and Mandy, I saw a post at the beginning of the year, spent some time looking into it and said, "This is incredibly complicated, I could spend all day and I'd still suspect any conclusion." I felt that I did not need to come to a conclusion - this is a situation I did not witness and for which I am not being called upon to render judgment. So, my answer is ultimately I don't know. Her claims seem unlikely but I've never met either of you. I've read your writing but that doesn't mean I know you.

I recently saw an exchange between you and Justin Alexander on Twitter ... and I should have defended you there when he called you an "accused rapist." I thought of saying that he shouldn't treat you any differently until the accusation is established by due process ... in the same way that he wouldn't want an accusation against him treated that way. But I didn't. AITA? Yes. I'm sorry.

Now it seems (reading the above comments) that you no longer have control of your creations? That's awful! (Though it would make an interesting item: a wand that summons creatures but if you are accused of a crime, they turn on you. Its command phrase is "Help me for I am above reproach.") Mob professional destruction is the lynching of our age. I am trying to work with legislators to fix some of this problem but even if I'm successful, you won't benefit from the solution since it will come years too late.

I'm not a good DM. Having pre-written content I can just pull out is great. Two weeks ago I had 5 minutes to start an adventure (I was told I wouldn't be DM-ing ... then the DM bailed at the last minute), so I pulled out Deep Carbon Observatory and ran the group (3 10-year olds playing D&D versions of Hedwig, Harry, and Dobby) through part of the opening scene. Everyone had a blast. I can't do that with MOTBM but I'm waiting for the day (when the kids are a bit more mature) that a patron hires them on a 60/40 commission to steal a painting of a chained woman and hang it in their room.

If you publish great adventures, you make the world a better place. If you choose not to do so because the people in the world are awful and flawed, I can understand that. But I wish you wouldn't.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Nitrous Gold

It's less that "I don't want to make RPG stuff bc people are awful and flawed" (I knew that long ago) it's more "It's not fun to spend time trying to sell things to-, share things with-, or trade ideas with-, people who wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire--and probably wouldn't do the same for each other or anyone else"

As for the rest:

I actually think the accusations are fairly simple and even simpler to disprove (as I said: the witnesses have their contact info available, all the docs back up what I say) but I do think that

" I did not need to come to a conclusion - this is a situation I did not witness and for which I am not being called upon to render judgment"

...is a basically respectable position and it's very weird to me how few people had enough perspective to take it.

Thank you for the completeness of your reply.

Anonymous said...

yeah let me just come clean

i'm your dicksucker anon, and i was basically trying to use your brain-damaged ego against you. really hate you and wish you would get out of rpgs, there's nothing for you here. the house will not be rebuilt and OSE ate LotFP's market share.

tears in the rain, white boy

Zak Sabbath said...

It is very strange that you think writing these things would affect an actual adult old enough to read and write.

But I guess--this is what scares you? Anonymous randos typing things that don't make sense?

Is this how your life is? Someone you don't even know says "I don't like you" and you're like "Oh well, I'd better give up"?

Anonymous said...

It is very odd how hard you go after people that are obviously trying to agree with you. Try to interpret things in a positive light before you act like every comment is from a lawyer building a conversation trap for you

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

You’ve made a mistake bc you misunderstand my goals.

I am not concerned with making random nerds like me or be on “my side”—i am concerned with having as much of what’s written here as possible be accurate.

Fact-checking is not “going after” people, it’s fact-checking.

Ask questions before making negative assumptions.

josh said...

I wouldn't make anything for these people but that never changed. i would answer the question but fuck that community. I say have fun with cool people. You are brilliant, the fun should be pretty potent.

Anonymous said...

Ok, here's a question. Do you think you can accomplish your goals while being less inflammatory? Whether or not you think that's irrelevant, it affects the way people percieve you and immensely affects how willing some a fan is going to be to defend you.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

Whether tone policing CAN work is an untested hypothesis, here's how we know:

Jeff Rients and I say basically the same things all the time and share most opinions on games, politics, controversial nerd things, etc.

Jeff is nonconfrontational

Jeff has -not- attracted a sea of practically-speaking-sociopaths to attack him, but...

...on the other hand Jeff was blogging for years and didn't manage to force many of the issues or changes that I managed to push along.

People are talking about Evil Hat and Green Ronin's pay rates finally, lots of bad-faith actors admitted they -did less stuff- because of me, bad actors say they avoided forums where useful work was getting done because of me, and sometimes, even, people making defamatory claims get asked if they -have evidence-. These are all good outcomes.

So if there's some tone policing angel that can dance on the pin head between Jeff adopting a nonconfrontational tone and the community keeping on being barely-disguised-4chan and me being confrontational and being attacked by every basement baby on the internet, nobody's discovered where that angel lives.

So far as I'm aware, change and improvement inevitably leads to the people preventing change and improvement getting pissed off.

p.s.

And, of course, everyone on Story Games has tried to phrase their critiques of each other in such a way as to not be blunt for 2 decades and they've never managed to change -anything- about the bad actors in that community.

Anonymous said...

The difference between the two of you is a lot more than efficacy. Its like the difference between biden and bernie. Definitely similar affiliations but only someone simplifying things for spin would say that.

Not to mention several good people have said they stayed off of forums because of the way you interacted with those spaces.

Do you think youve ever been too harsh?

If not, will the ends justify the means?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

That is inaccurate. No good people have said they stayed off forums bc of me. If there were any, someone somewhere would’ve been able to name even one by now.

Have I been too harsh? No. But clearly I have not been not harsh enough—I shouldve started suing people years ago. And many people who I gave opportunities and second chances I shouldnt have.

The means have been 100% acceptable in all cases—so theres no need for an ends-justify defense:

When theres a conflict I try to contact the person and resolve it. If they refuse then I warn other people of the danger they pose. No-one has ever posed an effective and acceptable other option. Ever.

And the difference us is not like the one between a pair of candidates with different views—the difference is like the difference between two ppl with the same view only one is running and the other isnt.

Zak Sabbath said...

More globally @Anon ...

..a lot of the less-intelligent OSR people see the situation as me being overly-zealous in defense of basically ok ideas and if only I could manage to dial back the rhetoric and be more like Arnold or Patrick or Gus or whoever then things would've been fine.

And that's ass-backwards, because those kinds of creators who just sprinkle urbane disapproval over a controversy like a shot of pixie dust and don't really care if they get heard or whether anything actually changes are part of the norms that keep the industry so fucked-up.

Anonymous said...

honestly man if you didn't feel like every single fight on the internet needed to be fought tooth and nail you'd not be in this situation either

its so weird that you honestly think its a good idea

Zak Sabbath said...

@anon

if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right

without me, the shitty people would still be there, preying on every new talent that comes up, unchallenged

Zak Sabbath said...

@anon

harassment gets erased

if you wanna make a point, make it

Anonymous said...

is that screencap of you calling Blades in the Dark a nazi game real? please tell me its not real

Zak Sabbath said...

i don’t know the ‘cap you’re talking about but, like i said, anyone who supported the fake accusations is as bad as a nazi so anyone who doesn’t call out John Harper is either a jerk or not paying attention.

Zak Sabbath said...

@anon

erased. You’re not allowed to lie in the comments

Zak Sabbath said...

@anon

erased: you’re not allowed to lie in the comments .

If you Believe what you’re saying then you have to do what adults do in real life and back-up what you say, not just go ”nuh-uh”.

If you don’t want to do that but still want to leave comments you should seek therapy and not get back on the Internet until it is finished and you realize that you have done something wrong.

Zak Sabbath said...

@anon

erased. you’re not allowed to lie in the comments.

if your mental illness is so severe you can’t interact in a fair, compassionate, empathetic way with other people no matter how much therapy you get, then it’s best to stay off the internet and do not interact with other people outside a therapeutic or penal environment

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zak Sabbath said...

@Anon

Harassment gets erased.

Also, new rule--no more anon comments. If you want to leave a message you need a persistent identity that links to something with a track record.