Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Whole Story on Mike Mearls

 So, I just finished up that series on what happened behind the scenes on Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition. Your response has been good.

I'm planning on doing a series on the whole saga with Mike Mearls, creative head of Dungeons and Dragons, going in to the conspiracy theories there about when I consulted on D&D 5e, the lawsuits, etc. with receipts. It, unsurprisingly, features a lot of the same characters...

As before, this comes with a big "if"--that is, if you care. To be sure I wasn't typing a research-heavy story into the empty ether, last time I asked folks who were genuinely interested to leave a comment. I'm going to ask a little more this time, as this story is going to require more work from me.

If you want the story here's what you should do: one time, using a persistent identity online, fact-check some element of a hatemob conspiracy theory. Find a place where their spreading misinformation, correct it, be complete, follow up in 48 hours or more. As always, never harass, personally attack, threaten or namecall anyone. The point is to check the spread of misinformation. If you're confused, ask a question.

When you've done that, email me: zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm and show me a link or screenchot showing you did it.

As before, if I get 100 responses, that's enough to convince me people actually care about this stuff, and I'll start putting out the piece.

Naturally, this could take a while or might not even happen--in which case, that's fine. No point in going to all the effort if it's not reaching people who want things to be better.

-Z
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29 comments:

amogus said...

do you mean respond to the person or just gather proof they're wrong?

Zak Sabbath said...

@amogus

Correct the misinformation in whatever venue where it appears.

amogus said...

okay, so if jimmy fucko is saying, I dunno, "Zak S is a neo-nazi."

you'd want us to be like, "Hey, that's false. Here's a bunch of zak's blogposts about nazis being shit, here's a list of people he denounced for being nazis or close enough, etc. Do you have any evidence that Zak is lying?"

Zak Sabbath said...

@amogus

That's a good example.

amogus said...

lol they already mad on twitter, this is gonna be fun

Zak Sabbath said...

Remember: The primary point is -not- to make people mad, it's to check the spread of misinformation. I don't condone any harassment and won't count as a "vote" anything that's harassment. I won't count anything that's dishonest, unfair or delivered with any kind of personal attack.

If someone says something not true--tell them that, drop evidence, be polite, follow up.

Travis I said...

Why did you sue Mike Mearls?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Travis I

He said things that weren't true.

ᶘ ᵒ㉨ᵒᶅ Rusty James said...

What’s your Twitter?

Rusty said...

What’s your Twitter?

ᶘ ᵒ㉨ᵒᶅ Rusty James said...

And there wasn’t anything on the leaflets that originally came with the books?

Zak Sabbath said...

@rusty

ihititwithmyaxe

Zak Sabbath said...

@rusty

Of course not, Rusty.

Simon Tsevelev said...

Are we talking about this specific hatemob?

Zak Sabbath said...

@simon

the tabletop rpg one, yes.

Zak Sabbath said...

@nwg

Erased. Misinformation is -not- allowed in the comments.

If you believed you've received this message in error, email zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm.

Pubby88 said...

So I've been pondering this post for a day now and why I'm uncomfortable with it. I think part of it is that I think this call to action will result in some behavior that actually constitutes harassment (personal attacks or worse) as opposed to what many of the "hatemob" have characterized as harassment (feeling uncomfortable with direct confrontation about public comments). I think you recognize that the risk is there, which is why you added a comment that any screenshots which contain harassment won't count as a vote.

If I'm right about that, and that you're aware of that risk and issued this call to action anyway, are you just considering any actual harassment acceptable collateral damage? Or do you see it differently?

Zak Sabbath said...

@pubby88

1. I don't think it will result in harassment and you should re-think.

Here's how I know: For over a decade of these dipshits making this same claim--that if I ask followers to fact-check online gamers lying, it secretly results in harassment. And yet in all that time not a single goddamn link or screenshot of that happening in reponse to me has ever turned up. Not one.

And people have looked. Often they've looked very hard, because it would've helped them immensely to find it.

2. The reason I put that disclaimer is simply because I knew they'd claim I asked people to harass them. Since the post explicitly decries harassment, it proves they are lying. Not just mistaken, lying.

3. Anyone who might harass them is doing the opposite of what I said and not my responsibility at all, or yours.

4. There are lots of depersonalized ways to fact-check misinformation, if you are uncomfortable doing one that requires confronting a person, do one of those instead.

Zak Sabbath said...

And, of course, the claim I asked anyone to harass anyone is one more piece of misinformation you can fact-check.

Benjamin Cusack said...

Harassment constitutes aggressive pressure or intimidation.
Persistence on the other hand is firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Never calling people anything, never making assumptions without examples cited or at hand, nothing but polite refusal to acknowledge something as counter to evidence you share, these are all hallmarks of refutation and discussion.
A lot of people try to call people out in social media by insulting and belittling them.
This is not what Zak or the community wants.
Zak wants people held accountable in a adult fashion for playground level information handling, like "I Heard", or "allegedly" as a catch-all, or people continually asserting things that can hurt people or organizations or movements without any named source or citable evidence.
In short, he wants misinformation to be addressed in our supposed community.

Zak Sabbath said...

(And: while there's no good reason to have an issue with that, if somebody has an issue with that, they can easily block you)

Pubby88 said...

@Benjamin
@zak

Yes, I agree Zak is very clear that there shouldn't be any genuine harassment. My question was whether a call like this might lead to it anyway, because there's certainly a track record for "Zak says something on the internet, and people ignore the nuance." But his point that there hasn't been any hard evidence of genuine harassment is well taken and one I'm going to spend a little time googling just to verify.

I absolutely agree that clear fact checking of misinformation is worthwhile.

Zak Sabbath said...

@pubby88

The fact that you even thought there was harassment is proof that they tricked you and that they're not being fact-checked enough.

They literally say that so that they can lie and nobody will stop them. That's the entire point of the tactic.

Benjamin Cusack said...

I hope we can represent ourselves in a manner that does our movement proud, and am glad you are asking questions like this.
This is the kind of thinking and dialogue that prevents people going out and harassing mistakenly and being as bad as why at they are trying to prevent.
There is a track record or Zak saying things to invite discussion or fact-checking, but not necessarily of those things causing or inciting harassment.
Any time there has been anything adjacent he has responded or clarified his position or intentions.
The issue is that harassment has somewhat hazy definitions to these people, and persistence and fact-checking somehow qualify as such in a large amount of cases.
Perhaps Zak could even address this with some of the examples the hatemob would use to say he invited harassment, and clarify or link his responses to them, in effect to counterargument and make his position clear. He has multiple times, but maybe some people haven't seen them.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Benjamin Cusack

You want an example of me saying "don't harass anyone" and my followers not harassing anyone and then online abusers claiming I was?

You're looking right at one. This post.

Benjamin Cusack said...

I should clarify, "The issue is that harassment has somewhat hazy definitions to these people, and persistence and fact-checking somehow qualify as such in a large amount of cases."<== According to the hatemob, they are the ones who validate and qualify these necessary tools in discourse as invalid and damaging.

This is not valid definition, but they seem to believe/hold it up as logical and correct. Fact-checking and persistence when doing so are NOT harassment.

Benjamin Cusack said...

No, I have no need for one, I simply am saying that some people are too lazy or apathetic to look for the examples the hive might bring up, things like "get at him" or other posts pointing at a particular person in the past that they attempt to Levy against you as examples ylof you inciting harassment.
These have been debunked and explained by you before, and perhaps some of the people hesitant like pubby88 need to be directed or shown these refutations.
Just a thought on a way to make this issue even clearer, and even more of a strengths position for you if people point at this post and claim it is harassment. As you said, people who do that are not only ignorant, they are willfully lying, and a response in the vein of what I suggested above is countering even more of what they might bring to the fore.
Then again, these people claim your entire announcements blog is you making fun of people you abused, when in reality, on reading your posts there, it is clear that you were the abused in that relationship.
And you have more than hearsay, you have legal witnesses and messages and emails and PROOF.

Benjamin Cusack said...

Do we have a head count of at least double digits?
Any semblance of effort from the community?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Benjamin Cusack

If the count is high, people will not fact-check because they assume other people will do it.

If the count is low, people will not fact-check because they will assume it's pointless.

So I'm not going to publish the count til it hits the target