Monday, December 14, 2020

Sacred Crackpots

Sacred Crackpots 

There's a kind of person who causes a lot of problems in all kinds of communities that I call the sacred crackpot.

The sacred crackpot has three main characteristics:

1. The sacred crackpot talks about their emotions online all the time.

2. The sacred crackpot inspires protective feelings in other people in their scene online because of this.

3. The sacred crackpot says things that aren't true, a lot. They either lie all the time or are too emotional to fact-check anything.

This is how hippie gamers describe them.


(Concrete Examples in the Online Game Scene)

OSR: Paolo Greco, Goatmansgoblet/Brian Yaksha, Jensen Toperzer, Terra F, Evlyn Moreau

Story-Games: Ash Kreider, Robert Bohl, Fred Hicks


Pathology

Here's the typical course of the sacred crackpot hurting people:

1. The sacred crackpot gets emotional on some subject and says some wildly untrue thing about a victim.

2. Instead of responding properly ("That's a bold claim, do you have evidence ?") the people watching just smile and pretend it isn't happening and that a false accusation hasn't just been injected into the Googleable world.

3. The victim or someone else who has a conscience, then, is stuck calling them out all alone. They call out the crackpot because that legit is the only reasonable thing to do.

4. The crackpot just gets emotional and lies more and performs pain more and harasses their victims more.


Crackpot Allies

The super-unusual thing about this kind of aggression is: nearly everyone watching agrees exactly about what happened. I've never had a frank one-on-one conversation with even the storiest storygamer or dreamiest sworddreamer where the person pretended Ash Kreider or Brian Goatgoblet actually had a point. They know their friend got emotional and said something that wasn't true.

There's an obvious right thing to do: get the crackpot off the internet and into therapy--or at least have their friends swarm them with "Hey please stop, you do not have the emotional resources to finish the fight you're starting" every time the crackpost gears up into attack mode. And, of course, nobody does it.

The allies of the crackpot have, and create, a curious position:

1. The sacred crackpot is viewed as somehow the community's responsibility and not the community's responsibility.

2. The allies view the online community as like food or water or medicine to their crackpot. To deny the liar the community would somehow be like denying them a basic resource they need to survive and so cruel. Nobody goes "Wow maybe an internet environment where people launch false accusations and try to cancel each other for money and clicks all day isn't the best place for my emotionally fragile friend?"

3. Allies are totally unwilling to even try to stop the crackpot from harming innocent people when they make shit up.

4. Everybody acts like the whole "making shit up" is essentially victimless and there's no reason not to keep the crackpot around, in the warm Web-based bosom of the community they lie to.

5. The crackpot continues to crack, never reforms, never improves, keeps lying in community after community, keeps creating real problems for more and more people.

6. Eventually, the crackpot's rewrite of history is even believed by people who come in later whose only source of information is the crackpot, and who aren't sophisticated enough to ask victims or anyone else for a record of the original attack.

7. The crackpot continues to harass their victims forever with fake accusations and nobody wants to stop them because they Have Feelings and therefore can't be criticized.


Question for you, reader

What do you do?

Please answer in the comments.

-

-

-

42 comments:

Zak Sabbath said...

@SAp

Deleted--Misinformation is not allowed on the page.

If you believe your statement was true: present proof.

Zak Sabbath said...

@MM

Deleted--No personal attacks.

As for proof that the people named are crackpots: simply ask, by name, and I will post the evidence.

However, you'll have to ask someone else to ask -for- you since making a personal attack renders you banned (unless you'd like to apologize--which you won't, because you are emotionally instead of rationally driven and do not like to apologize to your targets).

Also all this is moot:

You will not ask for evidence, since you know it exists and your goal was not to seek the truth but to act out.

------

If someone reading doubts any of my claims, they can ask for evidence and if they can manage to get the request off their keyboard without breaking the rules, be my guest.

MikeApplecline said...

Ok ok I'm sorry for irrationally calling you a shitgoblin. Now post proof for Paolo Greco, Goatmansgoblet/bryan yaksha, Jensen Toperzer, Terra F, Evlyn Moreau, Ash Kreider, Robert Bohl, and Fred Hicks. Also you keep not allowing my comments to show, yet replying to them nonetheless. So what difference does it make whether someone is banned or not from the comment section of this blog?

Zak Sabbath said...

@MA

What difference does it make? Simple: a person can not use the authority of their persistent online identity.

So, evidence:

Evlyn--

Evlyn--who, along with lots of other people, recommended everyone block me, said " no one should ever be entitled to suggest to other people to block someone else. "

That is obviously totally irrational to say "no one should ever be entitled to suggest to other people to block someone else" and then do exactly that.

Evlyn also:

1, Made a criticism
2. Made it public
3. Then blocked her victim before they could reply

...which is not a rational way to resolve a conflict.


Screenshot here https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/164275750023/terra-franks-lying

Maybe hard to read--transcript:

Evlyn M's profile photo
Evlyn M
Seriously no one should ever be entitled to suggest to other people to block someone else.

Zak often critic storygamers for not calling out shitty attitudes. Ok so I am calling these suggestions to block people really shitty and unacceptable.

People have enough judgment to decide by themselves if they want to block someone or not.

This behavior is really hurtful.

And asking someone to nuance his or her comment to better understand them and to discuss is one thing. Calling them like they have committed somekind of major offense is a other thing. This don't encourage discussion at all.

Note: I have blocked Zak and he can't answer to this. (Just for the info)
4m
Zak Sabbath's profile photo
Zak Sabbath
Why would you ever NOT suggest people block broken stairs and harassers? . That is how you detox a community.
Communities must always recommend steps to protect themselves form abusers. When they stop doing that, they cease to be safe.
This isn't a minor thing. Terra has been harassing creators for YEARS.
3m

Семен Цевелев said...

In many cases I must admit it's "not my circus, not my monkeys" for me. I'm not a very social person. Sometimes, when it gets personal (either I know the victim or the whole thing is just too absurd), it goes the route of "are you sure about that?" "actually, this isn't true" "okay, one more time, let's go over the facts" "dammit, you know it isn't true because I gave you the proof already" "okay, you know what, I'm out of here, you disgust me".

Zak Sabbath said...

Fred Hicks:

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/163485592858/fred-hicks-harassment-rap-sheet

Robert Bohl:

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/148473470243/robert-bohl-is-not-a-victim

Paolo Greco:

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/165798669093/paolo-greco

Jensen Toperzer:

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/637555088358064128/jensen-toperzer-lying

Kreider (apologies, this was written back when they had another name. In the interest of historical accuracy, this is the doc as it read when I wrote it):

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/148469806573/anna-kreider-wundergeek

Goatman's Goblet / Bryan (Brian?) Yaksha (Richmond ?):

https://armsinthewronghands.tumblr.com/post/637555556581834752/goatmans-goblet-lying-about-me-being-asked-for

Zak Sabbath said...

Some of these posts are old, please let me know if there are any that no longer have the necessary evidence. It is easy to replace.

GCM said...

Nothing. To argue on the web is a waste of time, a fucking black hole.

Zak Sabbath said...

So

@GCM

Someone says you're a child molester. It spreads all over the internet. you lose your job.

Your answer is: do nothing.

GCM said...

No. You can do – you must do – something. But not on the web. (but I don't know how works justice in USA so...)

Benjamin Cusack said...

My stance is to avoid established communities.
Work for a group and/or operate in a group and all the ills manifest unless the group is carefully constructed.
If you have to operate in the group, the best way to avoid a situation like this is to establish places where discourse that is purely emotional is alright, and places where emotion is discouraged.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Benjamin Cusack

While a lot of what you say might be the best practice to keep safe it also seems to create a situation that -really-limits what you can do.

And even if there are spaces where purely emotional communication is all right unless they’re not public then basically you’re just saying “you’re allowed to live here as long as you do it while crying” —Which is why the story games community cause so much trouble for other creators for so many years.

Zak Sabbath said...

@benjamin

Excuse me I meant to say “lie” not “live”—Though I do think it’s a bit of a Freudian slip because people living in those spaces rather than their real lives is also a big part of the problem

Zak Sabbath said...

simple example:

if you completely avoid communities you can’t really talent-spot or help anyone coming up behind you.

Zak Sabbath said...

@GCM

So what do you do?

Benjamin Cusack said...

Exactly, for now that is my approach, because to jump headfirst into a community would be dangerous for me.
I am not good at communicating without verbal face to face, and so trying to separate emotion from actual actionable or reasonable claims or opinion from fact can be challenging.
I agree that cutting yourself off is limiting to a severe extent, and also acknowledge that almost every great artist had a great scene or culture backing them, but with the way public discourse is today, I might be better limited in my scope than in constant drama.
I think, and that is the problem, the key word is I. Trying to come to equal terms with one person on many fronts is hard, but against a group is even harder, and more prone to inter-personal issues and infighting.

Zak Sabbath said...

@benjamin cusack

I think it’s fair to say then you’re leaning a lot more towards I think it’s fair to say then you’re leaning a lot more towards “ I don’t know what to do“

Kyle T said...

Within the current, non-tabletop hobbies I'm in wherein this is a problem? People document conversations with varying degrees of thoroughness because the nature of the hobby lends itself to opportunities for predatory behavior. Call-out and notification posts are common. In the case of serious repeat offenders there are people on permanent watch for them in case they try to pop up in the community again under new identities. There are lots of records of Discords and private chats.

These hobbies are far more decentralized than OSR and storygame communities, which helps a lot. There is much less money involved as well (inasmuch as there's money outside of 5e), which also helps. I don't know what you can do until, in addition to call outs and blocking, you can break the ways in which the online design communities have fossilized.

Zak Sabbath said...



I notice whoever MA was asking for evidence at the top shut right up.

It's very weird that after 11 years there's anyone left who thinks I'd call someone out without receipts.

BecauseYouTubeIsWhereThePoopIs said...

You seem to have forgotten cavegirl, who has had one hell of a 2020, burning bridge after bridge for the last 12 months.

Zak Sabbath said...


@Because

(Of course any post about community drama will bring out the 4channers, who are obsessed with Cavegirl.)

But I think not all bad actors are Sacred Crackpots--

Cavegirl is not seen as a victim in need of protection. Nobody goes "Oh, what you did to Cavegirl". She doesn't trade in vulnerability.

Cavegirl is more like Paul Matijevic/ Ettin-- She is a troll and appears to be sociopathic, who has a following (his is on Something Awful, hers is the OSR discord, the self-consciously lefty/arty OSR people.)

Like Ettin, people's identification with Cavegirl is Trumpy--it excites them to see someone being transparently dishonest on -their- team. They feel so sure they are right that the ends must justify these means. Nobody considers her earnest or reliable, yet her word is taken as gospel, almost as a defiance. She is open about being evil and a troll and lying.

For example, she once said (and publicized that she said one her blog) that if someone claimed to be hurt by her, she would behave as if the person -must- have a point and she would apologize. (This is why, she claimed, she wanted me to apologize for crimes I hadn't committed.)

Meanwhile she's openly lied and attacked me and others, doing tons of harm, and never apologized:

She gratutously--and completely knowingly--made up shit about Demon City and posted it on Reddit as if it were true.

She trashed Fiona Geist and Shoe Skogen (effectively, to her audience) after teaming up with them to cancel me.

She helped change the rules of the OSR discord to allow lying and intentionally ignore evidence.

She even teamed up with the lyingest of liars--Erika Muse/IceQueenErika-- http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2020/07/dear-chris-mcdowall-and-osr-discord.html .

She's not in emotional turmoil and doesn't advertise herself that way. She's 4channer, through and through. Simply: evil and lacking all empathy, sense of fairness or sense that the other persons she's talking to is a human being.

I would say it's not sustainable--but only thing that kept Ettin from keeping on and hurting more innocent peopel was me suing him. So idk. I don't think the community can do anything about her on its own.

Matrox Lusch said...

The European Union at least is moving more expeditiously than the United States on formally prohibiting, removing, and restricting the dissemination of online defamatory speech and disinformation.

Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, ruled Thursday (12/17/2020) that Facebook could be ordered to track down and remove content globally if it was found to be illegal in one EU country. Thursday’s ruling resulted from an Austrian lawmaker's lawsuit filed in 2016 who requested Facebook delete defamatory posts by an anonymous user.

This is coming on heels of The European Commission Tuesday releasing draft Digital Services Act legislation "... giving regulators powers to force very large social media companies and e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook to change their business practices and face new obligations to removing illegal and harmful content from their platforms." The basic principle is that what is illegal offline is illegal online.

The proposed regulations relatedly seek transparency and accountability from tech companies in content ranking and moderation "...to limit the reach of harmful content without endangering free speech by implementing new rules in coordination with key stakeholders such as digital platforms, research communities, civil society, and technology specialists."

The Act envisions novel legal instruments "...to help disrupt the economy of disinformation and illegal speech..." by prohibiting ad agencies from placing ads on sites spreading disinformation, hate speech, conspiracy theories, etc.

The court ruling clarified that nothing in existing e-commerce directives prevent global application when limited to court orders. Global application doesn’t apply to other forms of notice by users alleging content are illegal, so under the current EU rules an aggrieved person would still need to litigate a showing that certain speech was illegal. But once certain speech receives a determination of being illegal, that triggers the requirement that the same speech would be taken down across all of tech companies’ platforms (global application).

The court addressed concerns that this would require monitoring of individuals speech only by suggesting that any monitoring of potentially harmful material "... would be linked to an existing ruling from courts and be limited to specific cases of harmful material such as social media posts that defamed individuals..." The court believed online tech companies have the ability to narrowly monitor for specifically illegal speech and that restrictions to specific illegal speech would ensure people’s freedom of expression without widespread monitoring of individual's online activities outside of the specific illegal speech.

Digital Services Act rules for the EU would formalize obligations that large social media companies and e-commerce sites remove illegal and harmful conduct, and also prevent profiting and dissemination of illegal and harmful content even outside the large tech platforms by prohibiting ads adjacent to illegal and harmful content and driving down the content’s ranking in online searches.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Matrox Lusch

Very good to know.

BecauseYouTubeIsWhereThePoopIs said...

hey now, being a 4channer doesnt make you evil
it means you're addicted to ironic posting and probably have brain damage. i'm not really obsessed with her, but brian yaksha seems small potatoes compared to her. anyway, im gonna go shit up /v/ some more, hope you sue them all into destitution zaaak

Zak Sabbath said...

@Becaues

being a 4channer means—And I mean this and it’s based on everything I know about people who do that from talking to them and from reading and from the small research that’s been done, and I wouldn’t be saying this if it wasn’t so consistent and if I had ever seen even a single exception:

it means that your real life sucks, That real relationships and Whatever else you have going on in the real world is not entertaining to such a degree you not only spend tons of time on the Internet, But that just using it to read and learn about things you’re interested in or meet people you like (ie using it like a utility) isn’t enough, you have to make it into its own video game.

Which doesn’t sound horrible it just sounds lonely but the thing is at a certain point the perceived entertainment value of other human beings overcomes and awareness of their humanity. ironic poster start to treat other people like animals in a zoo.

because that’s more comfortable: Instead of telling yourself you’re on the Internet so much because you’re real life is shit, you can focus on the fact that you’re very good at the Internet compared to people who are earnest and just using it for things that are connected to their real life.

There are no good reasons to weigh what is happening in your victims real lives and real questions as less than what entertainment value you can get from hurting them.

The highest level if moral reflection I’ve ever seen of such a person, when faced with harm theyve done is “ I never thought about that“

its evil. And it’s a perfectly gratuitous evil too, it’s not like stealing to help your starving family— there’s no possible justification. it’s lashing out at people because it’s all you have.

and I’ve never seen any of them improve either. better to be the funniest shitposter in moms basement than just one more human caring about things and doing it imperfectly in a real world where you’re undeniably losing.

Zak Sabbath said...

If you are or know an exception: great, say hi. I'd be happy to meet one.

You can help undo the damage caused by all the others.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Because

Oh, also:

This business of "more dangerous" and "less dangerous" is stupid.

It's a system:

People like Ettin and Emmy Allen / Cavegirl can't play victim, so it's hard for them to start conflict on their own--and they (like you) want conflict so they can be sadistic to someone.

They need someone to play victim for them-- like Jensen or Paolo or Brian etc. -- the same way Trump needs the victims of imaginary immigrant criminals. Trump's appeal to his followers is to be a charmingly strong person defending adorably weak people.

And both of them need idiots like yourself (since you're a 4channer) who are relatively inactive but will carry the signal all over the web as if it's real information. A mob is not a mob without pitchfork-wavers, Trump is nothing without an army, Cavegirl is pointless without all the NPCs who retweet and repeat her.

There's no "better" or "worse" here: they all do the same offense and broke the same laws-- they lies or failed to fact-check in a way that hurts innocent people.

Creating a hierarchy of goodness to badness suggests something they could do could mitigate that bad action--and that's how the internet thinks but its not how the law works or any kind of real model of morality or harm reduction--if you don't go "Look, there's a hard line here (as there is with hate speech or kicking a sleeping puppy) so don't do it" then you get into stupid subjective argumenta about who -deserves- to get a pass, which nobody will ever agree on, because all bad actors have friends who will do some pretzel logic to find an excuse.

And, more than that, the entire benefit of having a community it undermined if every transgression is subject to these arguments. It's just a formula for endless sniping and suffering. Just draw a hard line about things everyone can agree are bad things int he abstract--like not telling the truth--and treat everyone equally.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Because

Deleted. Misinformatiom is not allowed in the comments.

You're banned until you can apologize and return to reality-based speech.

Also:

The 4chan obsession with "good look" vs "not a good look" is indicative of your pathology: you actually have to do the right thing -even if- it looks bad to 4chan.

Zak Sabbath said...

One time in Paris, my girlfriend went "Hey that guy just picked your pocket!"

I caught him immediately and he gave me my phone back then went "C'est bon!" and tried to just back away and smile. I chased him until the undercovers caught him.

The self-delusion there in his eyes--as if somehow he isn't going to just keep picking pockets if you let him go--or as if you couldn't possibly care about all the future victims.

Nah, dude, you got caught.

teamslope said...

So I just noticed that there's a subforum on Somethingawful (I only use the site for the PC builds thread on the technology forum, I've never used any other part of the site) that straight up defames you. Can't you get that taken down?

Zak Sabbath said...

@teamslope

Why are you focusing on that, specifically?

There are dozens of OSR blogs that defame me, hundreds of twitter accounts, reddits, RPG forums, multinational corporations that defame me.

Why, specifically, are you concerned with that forum?

As for can I get it taken down? Only if I sue.

Teamslope said...

You havent published a list. I just noticed it today.

Also what MNC? Hasbro?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Teamslope

GenCon most obviously.

Hasbro and Polygon joined in the harassment, but the companies specifically made no statement.

Is GenCon not a multinational? Idk. Anyway: a big fucking company.

GCM said...

My English is not good enough to go deeper but... Don't you have laws in USA about diffamatory and public injure? And justice to enforce these laws?

Zak Sabbath said...

@GCM

Yes and I am suing. However, once I win it will not matter to any important stakeholder unless the win is reported online and then acted upon by fans, who take action to spread the news and debunk people when they say it didn't happen or didn't matter.

So: what do you do?

GCM said...

What I do ?

I guess I stop discussing topics that are too sensitive, or hurtful, for some people in a language I am not fluent.

Zak Sabbath said...

@GCM

It's not "sensitive" or "hurtful". It is important, though:

You said

"Nothing. To argue on the web is a waste of time, a fucking black hole."

So: if your reputation depends on what happens online--what do you do?

If you don;'t know, you can say that.

GCM said...

OK, je te la fais en français.
Je pense que tu te retrouves dans une belle situation de merde. De celles où une solution idéale c'est juste une vue de l'esprit,ça n'existe pas.
Un. Il faut porter ça sur le terrain de la justice. Tu l'as fait, cool.
Deux. Concernant les torrents de merde qui charrient sur le Web, je t'ai déjà répondu mais ma réponse ne t'a pas satisfait. Elle ne t'a pas satisfait car elle est imparfaite et solutionne pas, pas tout de suite et pas entièrement, les conséquences directes et palpables qu'ont ces torrents de merde pour toi. Bien qu'imparfaite, j'insiste : il ne faut pas faire consister.
Tu peux parler avec un gars en face de toi pour le raisonner/convaincre mais, sur internet, ça ne fonctionne pas. Pas comme ça. C'est horrible ce que je dis mais tu te retrouves dans une situation chiatique et (j'espère) injuste. Sans pouvoir y faire grand chose. Du coup garde tes forces, ton énergie, tes envies et ton aspiration pour l'essentiel. Il y a quantité de personnes, ou de places publiques virtuelles, où tu sais que ça ne servira à rien de discuter. Économise toi. Défend là où c'est possible, utile, pertinent.
Et garde des forces pour ce que tu fais le mieux. De l'art ? Du jeu de rôle ? Fais de l'Art et du jeu de rôle.
Si tu as l'impression que ma réponse ne résoud rien, c'est vrai. Mais, même si c'est dégueulasse, tu te retrouves dans une situation injuste où tout n'est pas solutionnable. Alors protège l'essentiel.

GCM said...

P...n,même en français, j'ai pas l'impression d'avoir été très clair, et encore moins convaincant...

Zak Sabbath said...

@GCM

Your answer assumes that there is something worth doing without my reputation. There is not.

"And keep your strength for what you do best. " What I do best requires my reputation.

You are saying: "You have no food? Eat dirt!"

You see the problem?

GCM said...

Je vois le problème. Et je ne t'ai pas dit de laisser tomber. Surtout pas.
Je ne te disais pas de jeter ta "réputation" par dessus bord. Je disais que pour améliorer celle-ci il te fallait 1/ aller en justice 2/ ne pas répondre quand ça ne sert à rien (et il y a des personnes et des sites où tu sais que ça ne servira à Rien) 3/ continuer à faire les VRAIS trucs qui sont censés faire ta "réputation" : tes œuvres d'art et ton matériel de jeu de rôle.
Ça ne résoudra pas tout, ça ne te satisfait pas mais ce sont pour moi les fondamentaux pour te refaire (retrouver à manger).

Zak Sabbath said...

@GCM

These VRAIS things will not "remake" my reputation. If I sit and draw and no-one cares, this solves nothing.