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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

On Outrage-Fatigue and The "High Road"

It's hilarious to hear some of the architects behind the "Boycott Zak And Pundit" thing, that sent hundreds of mass (you could say spam) emails each to Wizards to create the impression of some mass protest in order to try to get them to publicly shun us, now complaining about how 'unpleasant' and outrageous it is that people are talking about engaging in email campaigns against them.

Kind of like how you have people who were very happy to spend hours looking through my blog entries from TEN YEARS AGO to try to find stuff to (mis)quote against me, or approving and sharing the same, now complaining how "unfair" it is that Zak is using a conversation from 2.5 years ago as proof of Tracy Hurley's bad behaviour.

Hypocritical fucking liars are funny.

Meanwhile, we have some no doubt well-intentioned but naive people poo-pooing my recent efforts to fight back against the Outrage Brigade's lies, claiming that it's unseemly to "stoop to their level", and that what we regular gamers should do instead is "just not engage". Because after all, just because they're being bad it doesn't mean we can't take "the high road".

First of all: it's probably easier for you to talk about 'the high road' when its not YOUR name they're trying to associate with transphobia, homophobia, racism, and other things you utterly abhor all over the internet.   How about we wait until they make up some story about your having kicked a puppy to death or something, have it posted over and over again all over the social media you use, where your friends, gamer buddies, family, etc. can read it, and then see just how interested you are in the motherfucking 'high road'?

Second: The Swine LOVE it when the other side "takes the high road". They DEPEND on it.
They depend on the other side being far too well-behaved and well-mannered to effectively stand up to them and all their dirty-fighting tactics.
They depend on the other side saying "well, I'm not going to report you to the forum mods because I don't tattle", while they get everyone on your side banned by a flood of frivolous mod-reports and manipulation of forum rules to their own benefit.
They depend on the other side saying "well, I'm not going to hurl insults at these people or engage with them" while they take over the whole focus of the discussion.
They depend on the other side saying "I don't like the insulting jargon they use so I won't make any of my own as that would be the same bad behaviour as them" while they end up taking control of language as a way to artificially control the entire conversation.
They depend on you saying "I won't write to Wizards of the Coast to support their choice of consultants" while they write hundreds of emails each in order to create the impression of a flood of outrage.
They depend totally on your side saying "I won't stoop to say mean things or attack them because I'm above it all", while they stab you in the back and kick you when you're on the ground and destroy lives in order to meet their goal of petty power-grabbing at all costs.

So you know what? FUCK the 'high road'.

 I could be twice as shitty as I am now and still be ten times more honorable than they are:
-I don't just Make Shit Up, I tell the truth about them. And not horrific fucking lies, which is what they rely on.
-I don't send death threats.
-I don't attack or harass my opponent's seriously ill girlfriend while she's in the hospital. 
-I don't pretend I want to debate and then run away and make up lies and use cheap smear-tactics to make my opponent look bad.
-I don't ever deny any of what I actually truly did.
-I don't censor my opponent's voice.
-I don't go back and try to delete evidence of things that I wrote.
-I don't try to put pressure on people's private lives; I don't contact real-world employers or friends; I don't use people's 'real names' if they are known to be private about them.
(another little Hypocrisy Point: All the Outrage Brigade expressing how horrible and harassing it is that Zak uses SA/rpgnet-troll Ettin's 'real name', while they gleefully post and +1 articles and entries that use my civilian name ALL THE FUCKING TIME)

But within those rules of honor, I will be quite happy to use any rhetorical tactic they use against us. I will be as aggressive in my defense of the RPG Hobby as they are in their brutal assault on it.

And if they depend on our larger numbers being silent while their smaller numbers hyper-inflate their apparent significance by aggressive and repeated lobbying, then we absolutely NEED to be doing emailing campaigns.

This brings us to another point: more than a few people have commented on how "tired" they feel, even how "worn out" they are by the 'bullshit drama' about the D&D Consultants.  Some have said this to me, as if it's in my power to stop it.

Gee, I'm sorry you feel vaguely tired about an entire group of people's ongoing and concerted effort to publicly LIE about me and FALSELY paint me as a homophobe, racist and sexist to try to make sure I NEVER WORK AGAIN in the RPG field.

I'm sorry it's inconveniencing you so much.

But you know what? You're talking to the wrong person just now. I'm not the one who can end this.
No, not the Outrage Brigade either; I mean obviously they COULD end it, just by NOT LYING ANYMORE, but they've made it pretty obvious they're not going to do that.

No. The person who can end this is YOU.

If you're tired of the attacks and counter-measures, or if you don't want the Tracy Hurleys of the world getting to be the only ones who decide what D&D should look like, then you NEED to go and make clear where you stand on this. You need to tell the Outrage Brigade to fuck off. Very publicly, and very loudly, until it becomes blatantly obvious that they do not speak for the hobby.

And you need to make sure Mike Mearls hears about this. Because part of the problem here is that the Outrage Brigade are very, very good at making their numbers seem artificially inflated and bombarding people with emails and expressions of their fake-outrage. The other side is usually not so good, because the other side are (with the exception of a couple of us loudmouths), just regular gamers who think that these guys are crazy but can't imagine they'd actually need to go and tell the suits at WoTC as much.

But you do need to.  If you want to stop them in their tracks, or if you're really tired of the 'drama' of a group of people using lies to try to destroy the lives and livelihood of a pair of Old-School Gamers because they disagree with what they say about RPGs; if you understand that these have been lies (and there's been tons of evidence to that effect), then the best thing you can do is to write to Wizards of the Coast: write to and make sure he knows what you think (as a D&D gamer and past, present or potential future customer) of the hatchet job being done against Zak and I by these people, and that you support us and Wizards, and think Wizards needs to keep on supporting us, too.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario + Gawith's Squadron Leader


  1. Re: RPGPundit and Zak S. unfairly targeted


    Apparently, you have been inundated with emails accusing RPGPundit and Zak S. of harbouring unacceptable opinions and prejudices.

    Since I find these two creatives' output worthwhile and entertaining, I thought I would take the time to point out that, as far as I've seen, they have been unfairly targeted by a campaign led by people seeking to discredit them.

    I believe we are both aware that they are no angels, but I have never been under the impression that either of them might be racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, misogynist or ableist.

    I await eagerly my copy of the new Player's Handbook this Friday (I buy at a Premier store).

    Thank you for your time.

  2. That's perfect, thank you very much!

  3. you had to bring Tracy Hurley into this...

    the only one worse than her is her research assistant husband, but his social media reach is as small as he is obese.

    damn dude. I thought I was past the "Hurley Insanity" and you bring it back

  4. I didn't bring her into this so much as she brought herself in, in a very intentional and calculated way.

    Her husband's obesity is not really at issue, so much as his rampant stupidity. Seriously, he reminds me of a Disney Villain Sidekick. I half expect her to bark some order at him and him to answer "yesss mistress" with some kind of Peter Lorre accent.

  5. Every single thing I've seen him post suggests to me that he's not nearly as smart as she is, and just blurts out anything he can think of through the fog of his limited mental capability to try to please her.

  6. Do you think that you might be giving them more attention than they would get normally by keeping the flames lit? Honestly, I'd never heard about any of this stuff until you and Zak started blogging about it... I'd geuess I'm like 99.9% of the rpg public. You may be giving them more of a voice by getting in the mud with them.

    It's more likely to die out on its own if you don't engage.

  7. I think that if we don't engage and get in the mud with them, they end up being the only voice out there, and their lies get believed by more people.

    Do you think that anti-vaccination fanatics shouldn't be engaged? Creation scientists? Should people not engage homophobes when they post some dubious 'facts' about how gay marriage will lead to child abuse, or some other such slander? How about people who start movements to ban books?

    I'm sorry, but I think scum need to be constantly called on their shit. Particularly when they have an agenda that will negatively affect the lives of others. If they get to repeat their lie over and over again, uncontested, it's only a matter of time before a significant number of people start thinking it's the truth. You beat lies with truth, not silence.

    1. You are 100% right to fight back. You are 100% correct that the other side hopes you won't. If you sit back and take it, you'll be buried under a mound of lies and deceit.

      This reminds of the infamous Dale Akiki case. False allegations of child abuse...even after being acquitted, all anyone remembers is the accusations.


    Normally I don't post a link to my blog, but on this occasion I felt like making a post that shows how I really feel about this whole mess. Just thought to let you know you have my support.

    1. If you want the blog link to go off you can just tell me.

    2. No problem, I appreciate your support.

  9. Couldn't agree more. These people can only be defeated in the arena. Fight the good fight , 99% of RPGers are behind you.

    I only discovered all this just now, unaware of you or Zak S either, via a link to a long thread on RPGnet. Quite an eye opener and not in a good way. I can hardly believe that this sort of vicious inquisition exists in a hobby as essentially goofy as roleplaying. Makes me glad I'm mainly a Cthulhu and RuneQuest player!

    Very disappointed that WoC haven't made a public statement of support. Will be strongly suggesting they do so when I email them.

  10. There is some special kind of hilarious going on when, "Hypocritical fucking liars are funny," is issued forth without any sense of self awareness

  11. I'm a causal reader of this (and a few other) blogs, and the only time I see any of these brigade people are the few posts in your comment section. They really are pathetic. I wish people would spend more of their anger and outrage on real world issues like hunger or war instead of something around a game.

    I'm sending mike an email for both you and Zak. It's a small thing to do, but it's worth it. Their accusations are so wrong it's painful.

    Thank you for your work and I hope this ends so you can have more peace in your life.

  12. casual reader and very bad speller. :-)

  13. And... email sent.

    Thanks for all you do.

  14. "Do you think that anti-vaccination fanatics shouldn't be engaged?"

    With due respect (and I do respect your writing), the issues are not the same. One is a public health issue than can affect millions. The other is a war of words among a 1/2 dozen people in a niche hobby. Now, I understand this affects you in a very personal way, but these other people have no voice without you railing against them. They have no celebrity drum beater. They're just trolls who are likely getting enjoyment out of stirring you up.

    I just hope you aren't kicking up your own blood pressure unnecessarily when this might actually all go away if you ignored it.

  15. Ben: Thank you very much!

    Marty: No, it's not nearly as important in the big scheme of things as a wrong idea that could theoretically cost millions of lives, I grant you that. But within the hobby, it is something that extends to more than just a "war of words between 1/2 dozen people", and the reason for that is the real motives involved: these people are fighting for control and influence over the main RPG of the hobby. So there is the bigger question of whether those people get to decide what the hobby should do and how it should look like for all the rest of us. One of the reasons they're so so mad is that D&D 5e, which in all likelihood will be the vanguard and most influential title of the hobby, is now more aligned with the ideas of old-school gaming, and less aligned with the idea of obscure "indie" game theorists. The whole 'social justice' angle is just that, a tool they've weaponized to try to get their way; and the proof of that is just how willing they are to bash any women, people of color, trans people, etc. that get in their way or dare to question their dubious methods/motives.

    1. I will say one more thing and then leave you be.

      I think you may be crediting them more influence than they actually wield. Honestly, 98% of the RPG playing public don't know who you are, and 99.9% don't know who they are. The amount of influence is negligible and you are giving them more attention than they deserve.

      If you just keep writing good RPG related content, that is where you make your reputation. People either know who you are already and like you (or at least respect your writing), or they didn't like you before any of this, so recent events have had no impact.

      I think it may be a mistake to try to involve Mearls. You and Zak are going to clog up his work inbox when the Hasbro attorneys would likely warn him to stay out of the fray anyway. You may just end up annoying him when he and his team are in their busiest moments of their recent lives.He's trying to do his job under enough pressure as it is, I'm sure.

      But really, what it comes down to is that Hasbro couldn't give a damn about any of this. The influence lies in sales numbers. What will determine the shape of D&D going forward will be the Q4 2014 sales reports.The rest is all noise.

      So, don't put yourself on heart medication. It's really not worth it. I wish you well.

  16. I've emailed Mike as well, and even suggested their HR take a peek at this as well as their working relationship with those leading the Slander Brigade.