The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

"RPG"net's Death-spiral: Now You Must be Literally Re-Educated in 3rd Wave Tumblr Feminism to Post (Plus: RPGnet Mods Sea-Lion a Sexual Assault Victim, in a thread against Sea-lioning)

It's been fun to watch, in the sense that disaster movies about sinking ships or that documentary about Scientology were fun to watch.   RPGnet has been hemorrhaging members for a long time, and in this past month it seems that the Modclique there has gotten nervous enough to start up a thread about "how do we make RPGnet better"?

But there's a problem.  They want to make things better without actually changing the fundamental situation.  Its like the Titanic crew looking for iceberg-avoiding advice, just as long as you don't suggest they actually change course, or even slow down.

In the thread, they ended up getting hordes of posts from the usual suspects, the fawning pseudo-activists admirers of the Modclique celebrities, that were praising how everything was just fine as it is.  Meanwhile, anyone who posted anything more radical than "we might want to change the colour scheme" was seen as a hostile force.  Anyone who suggested the REAL problem: that the fundamental culture of RPGnet is flawed and has been flawed for years, and that the Moderation policies and the very people chosen to moderate are to blame, were (predictably) banned for committing the stupidity of actually believing they meant what they said. Eventually, Cessna closed the thread.

More apt than the Titanic comparison is the comparison to getting involved in a failing business, which is what RPGnet is gradually becoming.  You actually see this in the gaming hobby with a lot of FLGSes: people who start a gaming store thinking they're going to somehow make serious bank while getting to shoot the shit about games with their buddies, open and close whenever they feel like, and get to bring in only the merchandise they like or only be inviting to the 'right people'.  Then they start to tank, and try to solve it by upping their credit card debt, bringing in more GURPS products, or whatever it is they were already doing, only moreso.  They double down.  And as things get worse, they often double-down again; and then they go broke.  All because while they say they want to save their business, what they really want is not to have a business, but their own little kingdom from their dreams; they're willing to do anything they need to that they actually want to do, rather than having to deviate from their personal fantasy.  They'd rather fail.

And that's exactly what happened here.  So after closing the "what can we do to make rpgnet better" thread, what did the Modclique do? They doubled down.

They opened a new thread, started by one mod (Darren) presenting an essay by another mod (Wyzard) where they make clear RPGnet's stance on feminism.  I quote:
"If you do not have a working knowledge of what derailing and sea-lioning is, if you don't know what privilege is, if you don't grasp how subaltern narratives are excluded from the discourse and the experiences of marginalized groups are made invisible, then I heartily encourage you to LOOK UP THOSE THINGS before you post in a thread about women or sexism or GBLT issues or racism or anything like that, because YOU ARE DRAMATICALLY INCREASING THE LIKELIHOOD THAT YOU WILL GET RED TEXT IF YOU WALK IN AND START TALKING WITHOUT A GROUNDING IN THE BASIC REALITIES OF THE SITUATION."

Is this really a suggestion?  Well, after 3 solid pages or so of almost constant "congratulations"/"I totally agree"/"the modclique is so awesome" posts by the usual suspects that you see in any 'trouble tickets' thread so as to make clear that they are accepting the officially mandated thought-control and that any dissent will be dogpiled on, we end up getting some people questioning whether the tone of this statement doesn't seem distasteful, like something out of totalitarian 're-education' thinking.  The response is "yes, what we want is literally to re-educate people".  Or to quote directly "yeah, a certain amount of feminism is mandatory".
This comes coupled with the plan that "We are literally going to have a Tangency thread where people can come to get educated on this stuff".

Of course, one particularly brave naive poster, thinking that this was an open discussion with an open spirit of debate, pointed out how this new doubling-down of board-culture explicitly means that RPGnet is no longer a generally-welcoming RPG-website, but rather ought to "openly proclaim that is a 3rd Wave Feminist / Social Justice Oriented RPG site, and establish it's demographics accordingly, instead of paying lip service to the idea that it's about open discussion so long as everyone is payed a measure of respect. Because lets be blunt here. Social Justice is pretty actively disrespectful to a whole lot of people that they feel are a problem".  Cue the absurdities of RPGnet admin Cessna (seeing visions of even more gamer bleeding away, and indeed several on that very thread voluntarily quit RPGnet over the manifesto) desperately trying to claim "no no!! this forum is still welcoming to EVERYBODY! Only that if people don't accept those ideas they won't be welcome to stay".  There's some flagrant Orwellian-doubletalk for you right there.

Oh, and the guy who posted the truth? He got threadbanned.  I'm surprised he didn't just get a general ban, as several others did in the first thread.

So tragedy has evolved into farce now.  Note that when I say "death spiral", I'm not suggesting that rpgnet is going to disappear tomorrow.  It will keep being a thing for a while, some sort of thing, maybe for quite a while.  But its relevance (or rather, it's reward-vs-risk ratio) has already vanished with designers:  in the "what can we do to make things better thread", many of the modclique and their bootlickers expressed shock and anger at Dan Davenport pointing out the factual truth that he has often had RPG-design celebrities turn him down when he was trying to get them  to do interviews on his (great) "#rpgnet-chat IRC channel in the (mistaken) assumption that it was connected to the RPGnet forum (it's not).  It's losing more and more of its regular-gamer audience at an ever faster pace too: the same modclique-and-lickspittles were equally bothered by the suggestion that people are now afraid to post actual-play accounts on the rpg forums for fear of using the wrong word by accident (from a constantly-changing list of words) and getting banned for it.

But they'll still have Tangency. Which is really what they are now.  That will be their rump: the hangout for barely-gaming, ex-gaming or non-gaming Tumblr-Feminists Fashionable-College-Progressives and Twitter Pseudo-activists to have their 'safe space' to create a reality-bubble around.  The only "Rpg" they'll really be involved with is the fantasy-world they've created in that forum where they're perfect and right and wonderful and everyone who disagrees with them even a little are just evil people who don't belong in the hobby (and if you don't like them, personally, or the asshole things they do, it must mean that you "hate" the causes or minorities they claim to represent).

One final sad irony to the Feminist-Re-education-Manifesto Thread: in the early part of the thread, people praise and defend the idea that any demand for 'proof' to back up pseudo-activist claims would be a clear case of "sea-lioning" (a supposed tactic of 'demanding proof' as a rhetorical-weapon of the patriarchy against minorities' personal-anecdotes, which should never actually be questioned or require proof, as a recent Rolling Stone article proved so well..).  Several of the Modclique jumped in about how totally AWFUL "sealioning" is and that it should never be permitted on rpgnet.

A few pages later, one poster responded to claims that everyone on RPGnet gets a fair shake by pointing out how not very long ago, he'd reported several people who were demeaning, downplaying and even attacking a post he made (in a Tangency thread about sexual assault) about his traumatic personal story of being a survivor of male-rape, and how he'd received a notice back from the moderator staff saying that "this mockery was regrettable, but a necessary price to pay to give women the tools they needed to mock and dismiss bad men", and how this directly proved that rpgnet is not a place where 'everyone is welcome' equally, but where they literally reserve special privileges for women that they don't for men; where if his name had been "Roberta" and not "robert" the people attacking his personal anecdote would have been banned, but because he's "robert" they're allowed to carry on with impunity.

The response from the moderators? In fact, from the two instigators of the "Feminist Re-Education" Policy?

Darren McClennan: "Can you please link to the thread where this happened?"

The Wyzard:  "Do you think it would be possible for you to track down some of the statements and stuff you are complaining of, put the links together, and either post them or send them to some member of the mod staff?"
(he also says that while he 'thinks' that this poster hasn't just "hallucinate" it, the mods have no memory or record of such an event)

That's right: THEY FUCKING SEA-LIONED HIM.  In that thread. After several pages of talking about how awful a tactic 'sea-lioning' is.  The mods, not just any mods but the ones who posted the manifesto which included sea-lioning in its list of crimes had the unmitigated hypocrisy to make the first two IMMEDIATE responses (within 15 minutes of his post and both mods' post being one minute after the other) to his story about having had his story of sexual assault minimized and mocked and having the mods tell him nothing would be done about it because of his gender be to demand that he prove it.

So there we are.  The band is playing with the water up to their knees, and plan to play on.

Meanwhile, theRPGsite is getting more new posters than ever.  We've banned less people in the last 9 years than tangency has in the last 9 weeks, you can call the mods wrong to their face (or goat-fuckers, if you really want) without fear of being punished for it, and most importantly, we overwhelmingly spend our time talking about RPGs.  All kinds: OSR stuff, sure, but also 5e D&D, Mutant: Year Zero, the 40K RPGs,  Star Wars d6, the WoD games, we even have a forum for Storygames.

Also, unlike RPGnet, we at theRPGsite don't discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender or gender identity.

So if RPGnet has disappointed you, please come check theRPGsite out!


RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Stanwell Deluxe + Image Latakia


19 comments:

  1. Holy crap that's hilarious. If I didn't know rpgnet was real and this stuff really happens I would think you were writing a fantastic satire in the vein of Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut.

    But sadly it's real. I like to tell people (and this is true): I was once banned for quoting the dictionary to show that someone was wrong--what I didn't know was that there was an in-crowd where if you disagree for any reason their buddies will ban you. Even for quoting the dictionary to prove a word means something other than they apparently thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's because you probably quoted one of those evil patriarchal dictionaries...

      Delete
    2. Now I'm curious, what was the word?

      Delete
    3. The word was "persecution."

      Delete
    4. I was banned a few years back, never did learn why either.

      One day my log-in just didn't work any more and repeated emails to the Mod's over the course of a year resulted in Crickets.

      I hardly ever posted their either and was still thinking of myself at that time politically as a centrist. Guess the Middle is to far to the right for the mods now.

      Delete
    5. I was banned a few years back, never did learn why either.

      One day my log-in just didn't work any more and repeated emails to the Mod's over the course of a year resulted in Crickets.

      I hardly ever posted their either and was still thinking of myself at that time politically as a centrist. Guess the Middle is to far to the right for the mods now.

      Delete
    6. Never mind the "middle", it's getting where certain views that would be thought of as very well to the left would still be seen as not politically radical enough.

      Delete
  2. These days, Vonnegut would have nothing to write about. He'd also be blacklisted, of course.

    ReplyDelete

  3. I believe in freedom of speech over Political Correctness any day of the week. Seems to me that there's some people around who want very much to be able to control what other people talk about. I think we called that Totalitarianism back in the day. And if memory serves correctly, the Totalitarians were the ones who got the tar smacked out of them when they went too far with their ideology. Just a hint for those who think it's a good idea to legislate (or Mod) what people can and can not say. I won't be visiting forums that have "disallowed speech policies". Thanks, but no thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They want to control what you think and punish you for wrong thing. Thats their real goal.

      But for now they settle with punishing the online speech
      of those they do not agree with.

      Delete
    2. They want to control what you think and punish you for wrong thing. Thats their real goal.

      But for now they settle with punishing the online speech
      of those they do not agree with.

      Delete
  4. Seriously they remind me of Soviet Russia or present day North Korea with their inability to tolerate any deviation from the Party line or anyone who dares question their rigidity. Ironically I'm sure they think they're "tolerant," like so many liberal types I have known who can tolerate anything but dissent or disagreement or facts that disprove their beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People call ya a kook when you refer to what they are doing as "Cultural Marxism" but that is exactly what it is.

      The msg of Marxism applied to all aspects of life. You'd think they would have far bigger fish to fry then Dungeons & Dragons but thats because they've more or less gained control of the Mass Media and Education both Grade School and Higher Ed.

      Gawd I know folks think thats crazy talk but tiss the truth. Now they can go after low hanging fruit like Video Games, Comics, RPG's and such.

      "Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever."
      ~ Vladimir Lenin

      Delete
    2. People call ya a kook when you refer to what they are doing as "Cultural Marxism" but that is exactly what it is.

      The msg of Marxism applied to all aspects of life. You'd think they would have far bigger fish to fry then Dungeons & Dragons but thats because they've more or less gained control of the Mass Media and Education both Grade School and Higher Ed.

      Gawd I know folks think thats crazy talk but tiss the truth. Now they can go after low hanging fruit like Video Games, Comics, RPG's and such.

      "Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever."
      ~ Vladimir Lenin

      Delete
  5. The thread ends, as many do, with a Mod throwing a fit and closing it.

    Boards, in general, are too cliquey for my tastes. But that is due more to me than anything else. I would rather spend the time learning the rules of a new game than the rules of a message board.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. theRPGsite has very few rules that need to be remembered. Mostly, stay on topic, don't post anything illegal, don't intentionally sabotage threads.

      Delete
    2. You can even make nasty remarks about the owner without being banned.

      Delete
  6. I have a theory and that is that the thread was closed because it had done exactly what it was intended to do; weed out those who aren't part of the hivemind.

    It's no secret that they have a small list of banned topics, but they have a bigger list of banned opinions on topics that are allowed (e.g., any view of GamerGate that is not "We need to silence those misogynist bastards!!!"). It is also no secret that they wish to expand their reach to encompass the entire RPG world. But what happens when "those people" are part of the forum but aren't getting involved with discussions of third wave feminism? Even a show trial has to have something to show, or else it loses its effectiveness; after all, the key to dictatorships is to display how the people being punished are "badwrongevil".

    So instead, create a new forum topic encouraging people to come forward with their complaints, issues, and things they don't like; this would certainly bring out people who are not happy with the moderators' blatant vice grip of what is considered accepted conversation.

    And it worked. Many people have been banned from the site for voicing their complaints that "social justice trumps all". People who have been staying out of the debates because they wanted to discuss gaming, but not be banned because they don't agree that there is no such thing as a false accusation of sexism. These are the people that RPG.net has been trying to weed out for years, and they found a clever way to do it.

    ReplyDelete