Monday, September 20, 2021

Incident

A random fan met me and Stokely at the bar and asked me to run a game for him and his friends at GenCon a few years ago. He as nice, so I did.

Then, like basically everybody else, he joined the hatemob.


Then he asked me for a game thing last week--he wanted to buy a pdf.

We talked on the phone after he texted--I was like "Sure, after you publicly apologize for being part of the hatemob that destroyed my life".

He pretended like he didn't do anything. Like he forgot that he picked up a torch, lit it and chased an innocent person with a pitchfork just like all his shitty friends.

I reminded him--I have screenshots.

He was like "Ok, man, but you blocked me"

And I was like "Yes, I blocked you. You assumed the accusations were true without proof and I asked you a direct question, you didn't answer. Both of those things will get you blocked by any sane person immediately."

He admitted that yeah he'd done the wrong thing.

He said ok, yeah, maybe it's a thing, maybe he'll make an apology. Sorry, man.

It's been 20 days, he's done nothing.

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This kind of thing happens all the time. Here's one from April:


People contact me, I tell them if they want to make public accusations they need to make public apologies--they always agree that that makes sense. They say they'll do something. And then they do nothing.

The reflexive thing a troll is thinking to write right now is "Well this won't help, dude, duh". Fuck that. People have an obligation to do the right thing especially when their victim won't be nice to them.

Accusations were made: I'm not in jail, I'm not even charged with anything after over two years. I'm not losing in civil court, after over two years of discovery there have been no terrifying revelations of a secret conspiracy. And for all the complaining that I was supposedly a terror on the internet nobody in court or out who has accused me of even internet wrongdoing has come up with a single screencap of me doing anything bad. Every adult who's investigated has come to the conclusion I'm innocent, none of Mandy's friends from when we were together are backing her up, women she asked to testify told her to fuck off and at least one even testifed for me instead. It is most definitely not her word against mine--all of what she's said has been contradicted by eyewitnesses and documents, and anyone who doubts that can just ask for the records. Two years, seven months and two days.

There's an online network for game designers that get harassed. I've repeatedly asked them for help, they talked to me, the case offficer (or whatever its called) didn't take my case--then she herself got cancelled last week.

Are you all doing what this dude did? Are you all just pretending you weren't a part of this? Are you going to keep doing it when I win and then I gotta go through the whole media thing of pointing out why it happened?

What exactly is everyone's plan for when it's a matter of legal and public record that all of this was a farce and you helped? Buy a fake moustache and move to Guam?

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There's new stuff in The Store:

#44 is full of traps


#45 has warmutants

#46 has goblins
#47 has THE PENTAMORPH

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42 comments:

Simon Tsevelev said...

I'd like to pat myself on the back for never being a part of it.
Now I'm off to buy something.

Matrox Lusch said...

I would like to not pat myself on the back for being too silent.

Right after G+ shutdown in April 2019 (really by February G+ was deadzone) there was a concerted effort on the new OSR Discord servers to silence anyone even questioning the accusations. I got my hand slapped right away and instead of pushing back I was quiet.

On Reddit/OSR there were small spaces to argue on Zak's behalf after Zak's litigation resulted in Ettin's April 2020 apology, but then those spaces were slowly closed off - First with the rule that Zak's litigation couldn't be discussed because it wasn't "game related;" and second with the final "No Zak Content" rule. (This was kind of sophomoric because the rule was ostensibly because Zak discussions devolved into flame wars, but the folks doing the flaming were Zak detractors, not people supporting Zak or questioning the common narrative.)

So while I didn't jump on any bandwagon and pushed back in the limited spaces I could, I acquiesced to the rules the hatemob used to set the theatre for discussion until I got feed up and split. Public apology for that is in order too, sorry Zak.

Kyle T said...

An online network with case officers? Is this one of those whisper networks I keep hearing about?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Kyle T

No, it's an official organization, publicly discussed.

Benjamin Cusack said...

Right now the hardest thing for me is constantly pushing and prodding and worrying at several close family members. I look at a cool new book they show me, and I see Fiona Geist, so Emmy Allen, Or Patrick Stuart, and I have to tell them "this is written by someone who lied or lies."
And it really sucks.
They get to the point where they say "You can separate art from artist"
And I say "no"
They say "If I have to judge all the work by the artist I lose everything, and anyways Gary Gygax was a MORMON"
And I just keep discussing how this Zak vs the world thing is a clear case, and one side has proof, and how the other side immediately says " Does your son know Zak is a RAPIST" when you ask what to do, or how to go forward. No resolution, just accusation and rumormongering.
It is so hard to support you when rabid detractors scare these people afraid to publicly apologize into keeping quiet.
Anyone who does like Zak has to either be small and not have any kind of audience, or remain silent and love you from afar, while denying or remaining aloof on the subject.
Every platform causes friction, or threatens to kick me, or worse, says some reason so didn't expect, and I look at when that precedent was set and it was set by ETTIN, or some other historically bad moderator or content creator or public voice.
It really is like no-one fact-checks or cares about investigating a product, and the ones who do use the investigation and research to lie and push their agenda.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Benjamin

You're basically describing problems that happen because you're acting alone.

You should contact Simon and Matrox up there--and other people. Start there. Coordinate. Never work alone.

Simon Tsevelev said...

I don't like it, but Zak is right. I remember people talked about making something to connect and coordinate, a discord channel or something like that. If we're doing that, I'd appreciate anyone letting me know, tsevelevsl at gmail.

Benjamin Cusack said...

I want to act with my family more than anyone else, because they are not already onboard and it kills me.
Simon and Matrox are great and all, but I need to be more shelf stable before I organize. When I do, I will not half-ass it like the people in the email group Jwalkaway started. ALL of them stopped talking or working, myself included, because one by one people stopped conversing except me and Trent.
I think after that terrible LotFP reddit thing, I finally have enough fire at my back morally to just create it, few people or not it is a start.
The main thing is that I do not want one moderator, and I want good rules.
Today, after my exam and fourth pour on my mold, when I get home, I will begin the process and research how to be safe and effective with discord moderation.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Banjamin

You don't need a discord to start (with all the organizational things that entails) just start with an email chain.

Benjamin Cusack said...

I did, and it died/went to two people left, and Trent didn't want to spearhead it.
I am busy, but nothing is more important than trying to make some change here in the RPG space.
I want to inhabit it for a long time, and it is getting uninhabitable.
Discord has voice, and that will help communication immensely.
Email and other text based things to let people know is fine, but as a medium for the whole conversation, it will fail in the few experiences I have with it at the moment.
And so I will let people know where ai can, and create something they can go to and create a better conversation, somewhere where the rules are concrete and concise, and something can actually be done to collectively make some change.

trentb said...

I mean arguably there are a few things more important to you than trying to make some change here in the RPG space, since you're doing those things and not that.

But obviously I understand your points and am similarly troubled. Like fundamentally what's stopping me from doing it is that there ARE a few things more important to me than trying to make some change here in the RPG space. Which like... At some point if someone wants something that bucks the trend you need leadership and cooperation and a fight... but I'm just spending that time and energy elsewhere.

I honestly think, given the history of these kinds of uh.. opinions that end up tied to identity, that even once the courts finish up (assuming they finish in your favour) no-one will do anything differently. People become so tightly linked to their personal and group identity as supporters or haters of X or Y that they double down even in the face of overwhelming evidence. It's so extreme that hundreds of people are literally dying from it re covid.

Zak Sabbath said...

@trentb

I understand that whether I live or die is nobody's #1 priority except mine, but the idea that "nothing can change" is objectively false:

All these same dynamics were in place in 2018 and this wasn't happening.

Change is possible, but people have a tendency to believe whatever lets them keep on doing what they're already doing.

Zak Sabbath said...

@trentb

Also, obviously (and I shouldn't have to say this after 10 years) the point isn't to change the minds of people who aren't rational--it's to create a situation where they have no influence over their victims

Trentb said...

Yeah, true and true. I didn't say the right thing there - It's not that "no-one" will do anything differently, it's that "your antagonists" won't do anything differently. That was me being lazy and imprecise, sorry.

I didn't mean to imply that it's pointless and we should all give up.

I hope that it will give us some more leverage to help the silent majority see that the vocal minority aren't correct or honest, and hopefully tidy up the nature of the uh, online space I guess.

Zak Sabbath said...

@trentb

The person who cares most wins.

For me it's life or death. I don't know how important it is to, say, Patrick.

Zak Sabbath said...

@principios

Erased. No anonymous comments--use a persistent identity.

Principios said...

this IS my persistent identity

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

Please link to your other comments online under this name, then.

Principios said...

Can't. You keep erasing them for being anonymous.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

I've only erased one. So you're saying that these three comments are the only ones you've ever made online?

Principios said...

The only RPG related ones, yes.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

Ok, link to your non-RPG related ones

Principios said...

Not only are those of no concern to the RPG community, but also I don't want to be doxxed by the people who are after you, so no.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

Ok, then just email them to me:
zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm

Principios said...

Done. Now answer my original question.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

I haven't gotten the email.

To answer your question: It's a lie. The people responsible are: everyone who spread it (so: whatever your source is, plus anyone else you ever saw repeating it).

Zak Sabbath said...

@Principios

Or just being in one.

Your further comments will be published after your email is received.

ZCE said...

"Buy a fake moustache and move to Guam?"

The vast majority of people involved were americans and it's not like you can do anything but bitch and complain about them

Jeremy Hambly got decked in the back of the head, unprovoked, and was banned from Gen Con. he successfully sued the guy for assaulting him. the guy issued a public apology and Adkinson didn't repeal his ban. He's done. You winning a lawsuit probably isn't going to change much, sad to say. It's not like Ettin losing effected his life - he isn't banned from any conventions and has a highly successful kickstarter - after your lawsuit.

I'm not trying to be a dick here but true and honest man, I don't think you winning a bunch of lawsuits and complaining a shitload is going to help in the long run. At best you'll get a prince of nothing style thing where he calls you a dick without calling you a dick.

Zak Sabbath said...

@ZCE

Suing Ettin has successfully made Ettin stop hurting people.

I understand my chances overall may seem slim to someone like you, but the only alternative for me is: die. So anything is better than that.

Also, at a certain number of cases, it becomes obvious there's literally no way for these people to win a case because I didn't do anything wrong, at which point attacking me is basically signing up to lose everything they have.

They can keep going, and get sued. Or apologize, and that changes the narrative.

Zak Sabbath said...

@ZCE

And of course it doesn't matter they're Americans: I know there's a claim circulating that somehow you can't be sued for defamation in the US because the less intelligent people in the indie scene try to take any detail of my case (like I'm suing Mandy in Canada) as some kind of hopeful sign for-them-. This is objectively false.

Try to vet the information you spread more carefully.

ZCE said...

You -can- be sued for defamation, but it's very hard to do so, even harder if you're a public figure, you have to sometimes prove damages, it's a bit of a mess in the states - we take our freedom of speech very seriously here. It's less important up in Canada, but I suspect thats where those people get their politeness. You can't call someone a drunkard in Canada and expect zero consequences like you can in America. And it's on and off. There's cases in Canada where people have won lawsuits for making evidence-free accusations, but you know that legal shit isn't cut and dry, "works the same each time", otherwise you wouldn't have bothered trying to take action against Adkinson, I know you're not dumb enough to just hire a lawyer and hope that you magically win.

What did you mean in the other comment thread that you can't speak to people with paying them? I'm not clear on what that entailed. Is your social life wrecked completely or?

Zak Sabbath said...

@ZCE

Please realize:

I have been doing -nothing- for the last 2 1/2 years but dealing with defamation cases here and abroad. I know a lot more about different defamation laws in different jurisdictions than you think I do, considering the really elementary points you're raising as if I never heard of them.

"Is your social life wrecked completely or?"

Of -course- it is. For about the hundredth time: My entire life is destroyed.

Have you thought this out at all?

Have you thought "Gee what happens if a person is a painter and their job is on the internet and a bunch of gamers smear all their google hits with fake felony accusations?"

------

Please, I understand on some level you may be trying to be helpful, but please realistically imagine the situation the person you are talking to is in before leaving comments.

Or at least lead with a question instead of just an outright uninformed judgement.

ZCE said...

I dunno, its just depressing. I have no real things to add but my condolences. I dont know what the fuck i'd do without my DnD group.

Zak Sabbath said...

@ZCE

I still have my dnd group--all the people who were my real friends before this started still are (because they were our real friends they know Mandy's crazy), it's simply impossible to make new ones.

As for what you can add:

This was caused by two things:

-Mostly anonymous gamers having this lie go viral

-No-one kicking back.

So here's what you can add: kick back. Help fix the problem.

It was caused by anonymous gamers, it can be fixed by anonymous gamers.

Sean Whittaker said...

Here are two sites that are continuing to spread lies. I've posted a request for an apology and a correction on each. I recommend everyone else who wants to stop this nonsense do the same. Make some noise, people!

https://zedecksiew.tumblr.com/post/661198838065922049/sentimental-thoughts-about-the-osr

http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.com/2021/09/you-werent-there-man-on-exclusion-in.html#comment-form

Sean Whittaker said...

My comments got posted to M&M, but were taken down at Zedeck's (didn't make it 24 hours). Again, I encourage everyone to post your thoughts on both sites. Start fighting back.

Zak Sabbath said...

@W.S.

Erased. No personal attacks, no misinformation.

If you believed you did not make a personal attack or did not spread misinformation, send a message with proof.

Zak Sabbath said...

@M.T.

Erased. Burden of proof is on the accuser.

Zak Sabbath said...

@VV

Erased. Misinformation is not allowed on the page.

While it's important to ask questions, if you ask a question -while spreading misinformation- that's called a question that "lacks foundation", like asking "Are you still a troll?" to someone who hasn't claimed to be one.

Zak Sabbath said...

@same guy

Erased. Misinformation is not allowed on the page.

Sean has posted comments on
1/6/21
1/20/21
2/24/21
2/26/21
3/30/21
3/31/21
4/12/21
4/14/21
5/24/21
and
8/13/21

Marquis said...

Can you link me or provide proof that the women Mandy originally had backing her up later retracted their support, as well as her father has specifically claimed that Mandy's allegations were not true?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Marquis

1. Mandy's father claimed her allegations were not true almost immediately: read here under "statements from witnesses" https://officialzsannouncements.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-statement.html

2. While it is true that nearly every woman Mandy knew did NOT support her, the three women Mandy -could- find to support her in her original accusations never retracted their support--that's not a claim anyone's made.