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Wednesday 27 July 2016

"Why Can't We All Just Get Along": Sure, as Soon as you Stop Trying to Censor Me

So, in the last day or so, something of a shitstorm has emerged in the hobby when a semi-Storygamer named Mark Diaz Truman posted a blog entry called "Two Minutes Hate", where he (impressively, I must say) admitted to some of the HORRIBLE behavior of the Storygaming crowd, and called for some kind of rapprochement between the OSR and Storygaming.  

This led to several people on both sides commenting on it.  I'll be fair and say that some Storygamers were expressing thankfulness for the post and feeling it reflected something they felt for a time. Others, especially the Usual Suspects of the Outrage Brigade, have already begun the process of teaching Diaz Truman the things too many of us in the OSR and regular gamers in general are already well aware of. Prepare to face a campaign of ostracism and marginalization, amigo.

On the OSR side, most of the commentators have expressed some degree of happiness with the post and begun chanting kumbayahs about how we should all just get along now and put the contentious past behind us.

Allow me to provide you with the dissenting vote.

Now, I'm not the 'boss' of the OSR and don't claim to be (unlike certain others who have tried to make the OSR their personal fiefdom). 
But for me, I have no reason to seek a rapprochement with the gang of assholes who have spent years lying about me, slandering me, trying to have me censored, trying to have me blacklisted, and, most importantly doing this to everyone else in the hobby that stands in their way of controlling it.

If the Storygamers want peace, there's a simple answer: stop trying to invade the hobby. 
Stop trying to censor games or blacklist game designers. 

Apologize for the people in your movement who have told outright lies about so many of the OSR's writers.

Nothing will be fixed as long as they keep demanding we accept their ideological agenda or be silenced. And I won't stop until they stop trying to do that. Contemptible actions demand contempt in response.

Now I know, you may be saying "can't we make peace now, instead of still fighting over ancient history"?

But the thing is, the Storygamers love-affair with censorship is NOT 'ancient history'. It is happening RIGHT NOW. There are major leaders in the Storygame movement that advocate censorship RIGHT NOW. Anyone who does not unequivocally denounce censorship and anyone who advocates it, including the pulling of games from OBS or other website, the attempted banning of dissenters from social media, or the attempted blacklisting of people from working in the hobby, will never ever see peace from me.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Bent Billiard + Image Latakia


  1. I think the things not mentioned as bad behavior on that post is more telling. Championing inclusiveness while still not calling out censorship is not ok. Inclusive means allowing all sorts of beliefs, something the outrage brigade has never stood for. I have no problems with storygames, but those who seek to attack the things I like, simply because of their misguided "beliefs". They apologize for Alpha Blue and the OBS fiasco, then we'll talk.

    1. Exactly. Though I'd add a few more to that list of things to apologize for.

    2. Efie, show me an instance of a text, which has a outlet who is willing to sell it, and who is being prevented from doing so by a law(and providing that said text does not harm anyone and no one was harmed by its production) I will be the first to work to undo that censorship.

      But, in the meantime, I will continue to defend the rights of individuals to:

      -speak about products they disagree with.
      -choose how and where they will spend their money.

      I will also defend the right of individual businesses to:

      -decide which products they will and will not stock.


      Because I don't believe I should be able to force you to buy my work, from Pundits hypothetical webstore where I am forcing him to stock my work, while you both can only say nice things about it and me.

    3. Free speech guaranteed by the government is not equivalent to consequence free speech. I get that this distinction requires some nuance to understand, and therefore it is lost on Pundit, but there you go.

    4. These Lefties just cannot abide real free speech. Look how they leap to defend oppression and suppression of anyone they don't like. Same as the collegiate socialists who've never held a job or paid their own way and twist themselves into knots defending murderers like Che Guevara, because murder is okay if you're on their side.

    5. Censorship is still censorship, the fact that Benjamin can defend it, when I gave a specific example, aka Alpha Blue means he is a proponent of bad behavior. You can "choose how and where" you "spend" your "money" but when you actively participate in trying to limit what I can spend my money on, then you are wrong, period. End of story. Go waste your money however you like, I won't object. I am only asking for the same courtesy. And so far have not gotten it.

    6. And by the way, you think that texts can harm? ("providing that said text does not harm anyone")they don't, sticks and stone my friend, even children learn that, just try to avoid getting hit by a falling book and everything will be all right. These books don't force you to read them.

    7. You'd think leftists, more than anyone, would be critically aware of the problem of how the Public Square is now "Privately Owned" through the internet.
      The internet is a utility, and social media is specifically so. Special rules have to be in place to prevent censorship in what has become the new PUBLIC SQUARE. It is NOT only governments who are capable of censorship; companies and other groups have engaged in censorship-activities throughout history. The Nazi youth who burned books at universities previous to the Nazis becoming government were still engaging in acts of censorship. They were just censorship not allegedly 'justified' by law.

      The justification for silencing your ideological elements is never legitimate anyways, whether it is backed by law or not. So the idea that because it's not the Obama administration that is trying to get Alpha Blue censored or have me silenced from G+ or whatever somehow makes it all perfectly OK for these activities to have been pushed by a tiny group of ideological fanatics intimidating and threatening corporations into taking away people's freedom speech is just LUDICROUS.

      It's laughable.
      And of course, even you fuckers don't believe it. You just use that as your excuse. The underlying reality is that you JUST DON'T BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH, but you know most people still do, so you keep having to try to find reasons to explain why you should be allowed to silence those who disagree with you.

    8. The lie has been especially proven by how the Regressive Left Outrage Brigade, which for years had been arguing "it's not censorship because we're not asking the government to do it" has now STARTED ASKING THE GOVERNMENT TO DO IT. They asked the Obama administration, they asked the EU, and they asked the UN. Not to mention events in Canada where they have in essence made disagreeing with a leftist online into a crime that could get you up to 10 years in prison.

      So fuck you and your disingenuous hair-splitting. Man up and admit that you're a motherfucking fascist who wants to take away the rights of people you don't like to even speak, and that you want to take away the rights of everyone else to DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES if they want to hear that person speak.
      If you really believe that, if you are that kind of totalitarian, stop trying to pussyfoot around it and just admit it. We all already know what kind of garbage you are anyways.

    9. Of course a text can do harm.

      Let's do a thought experiment. Imagine a significantly advanced virtual reality system, that perfectly modelled the real world, so as to allow the user to see and act normally, while being feed a sensorium. This sensorium is a media text.

      Thomas lives inside this sensorium.

      If I contrive to remove a bridge on Thomas's way home, but maintain it in Thomas sensorium, Thomas will drive off the end of the road, and be harmed. In this case, it is very clearly the simulation that is causing the Harm, for if the sensorium is absent, Thomas does not, in almost all cases, drive of the bridge and die.

      For a real world example; tobacco advertising.
      We know that even after their own scientists had demonstrated that tobacco caused cancer, exucativesnof tobacco continued to advertise their product as safe, and used doctors to do so.

      This convinced some people of the safety of tobacco and those people continued to smoke, when some of them may have otherwise successfully quit. This is an example of a real life set of texts which did harm huge harm.

    10. I have a clear, well defined, and consistant, free speech position. I cleave to a Utilitarian ethics, specifically the Harm Principle.

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. You define dissent and disagreement as "harm" and those "utilitarian ethics" of yours just become an excuse for brutality and totalitarianism.

    13. No, I do not. You may believe that, but it isn't true.

      So, question, how would you prevent the kind of campaign that led to -OBS deciding to put in place their current policy, without impeding each of the following.

      -My right to choose where to spend my money.

      -My right to not have my work sold by a vender.

      -The right of a vender NOT to sell a work.

      -My right to protest in speech and action.

    14. You always have the choice of where to spend your money. There is no right to make it impossible for others to have the same choice.

      You have a right not to have your work sold by a vendor. You don't have the right to threaten a vendor into censoring someone else's work.

      A vendor has a right not to sell a work. Others do not have the right to intimidate a vendor into withdrawing a work under threats of reprisals that they clearly wanted to sell. If this was a lesbian bookstore instead of a game store, and it was a mob of Southern Baptists instead of a mob of left-coast regressives, you would probably be the first in line to defend the rights of the bookstore to sell what they want. That's your hypocrisy.

      You can protest all you like. You can try to advocate that others not buy a product. You can't demand that you have the right to make that choice FOR others by force.

    15. I fucking dare President Obama to ban Alpha Blue!

    16. So I can choose not to buy a product from a vender or to sell with a vender, but I am not allowed to talk to them or in public about why I have made a choice, because that is "a threat".

      The OBS policy change has not deprived anyone of the right to buy anything.

      If Southern Baptists wish to withdraw their products from a lesbian book store or stop shopping at it, I have no right to stop them, and I would defend there right to do so. They are exercising a number of their rights including free speech. But I sincerely doubt they would have much effect. Not a lot of cross over in market.

    17. No, getting together with a group of your friends and DEMANDING that a vendor stop selling a specific book or they will be boycotted, slandered all over social media, accused of condoning rape, etc etc. is a threat.

      When the OBS censorship policy makes it so that many people will not even know a product exists, by censoring it from the single most important point of sale in the hobby, it very obviously does deprive them from the opportunity to choose for themselves.

      Also, claiming that you are not yet powerful enough to completely censor a book from the entire internet does not work as an excuse for your totalitarian monstrosity. It in no way makes you look better that you haven't quite figured out how to perfectly eliminate your ideological enemies or take total control of the hobby, when that is the end-goal regardless.

      So if southern baptists demanded a bookstore remove books (not THEIR books, you ass, but a book about something they happened to find objectionable) you would agree with the southern baptists about censoring that LGBT book on account of how they feel 'offended' by it? You'd agree that no harm would be done by making it much harder for an LGBT person to be able to find and buy that book, or even know it exists? Is that what you're saying?

    18. Because right now that is EXACTLY what you are arguing for. If you claim that your group has the right to demand, on the basis of "feeling offended" that a company remove a given book from sale; you no longer have any rational justification to condemn the Christian Coalition from demanding the same for books that are offensive to THEM.

      You can claim "well, we're morally superior, and we're right, because James Desborough is a disgusting rape-culture monster; while the southern baptists are obviously wrong because LGBT people are wonderful", but the southern baptists will claim exactly the same thing in reverse. If they are in a position of power, they will say "well, obviously a degenerate like Wenham and his friends are in the wrong, but we are Morally Superior, and we're right, because homosexuality is a sin". So all it comes down to is justification through POWER.

      Your way of thinking is based on really hoping that people that hate you don't end up coming to power, so that they can do to you exactly what you have been doing to others. Morally speaking, you're both equally monsters.

  2. So, I know very little about the backstory to this or if anyone commenting here has further involvement that I haven't seen. Just wanted to note that it's not hard to read Benjamin's post above as, "I'll defend anyone's right to be a dick." I don't see how that makes him a dick.

    It's also very telling about the baggage one brings into the conversation when an attitude like that in Benjamin's post is rejected as typical of either the left or the right (WeverTF those mean anymore), since depending on what you focus on, you could attribute it to either.

    1. The backstory is that OBS a while ago enacted a stupid policy where people could report games that "offended" them and in return OBS would pull the games(depending on the game, sometimes forever).Look up TOR, Alpha Blue, the pundits own thoughts on the matter. What Benjamin is neglecting to mention is the company he is associated with, Paizo, is a major factor in this policy getting enacted, despite them being a competitor in the ebook market. So bad behavior indeed, if not unethical.

    2. Thanks for summary, Efie. I'll take some time to learn a bit about this. My initial reaction was to just ignore and move on, but man, do people seem to be heated about it. (And, for someone who HAS mostly ignored it, that seems weird, since we're seemingly all part of a fairly small hobby niche.) I'm intrigued enough to try to see what's up...

    3. A more accurate description of what happened is this.

      Sometime ago, a book called the tournament of the rapist got put up on drive OBS's sites.

      It was a very unpleasant book. It included Phallus swarms, allowed you to play as part of what can be summed up as a rape/snuff cult (it also allowed you to fight against them) and much else besides. Based on what I know of it, I would however not see it banned. I am with Voltaire on this, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’

      However, lots of people didn't want to share shelf space with it, and said so.

      Lots of other people didn't want to give money to a company which profited from such work, and said so.

      Said company OBS started to look at the way the whole thing made them look and didn't like what they saw.

      OBS decided it did not want to stock said book, for a variety of reasons, such as loosing existing customers, losing stock as publishers decided not to use them, and losing future customers because of bad PR. Reasonable concerns in the midst of a PR disaster.

      They decided they needed a policy that governed how they would prevent similar instances in future.

      They had multiple options, including but not limited to:

      -They could do nothing, and potentially find themselves in the same positing in a month.

      - They could employ readers to read and approve all works before allowing them on the site. This would be hugely expensive, pushing up PDF prices significantly, and meaning that they would likely suffer significantly in financial terms. However, there was no garentee this would even stop future debacles. In fact, they could come out of future incidents even worse if they had approved such a work.

      In the end they settled on. It can all go up, but we'll act quickly on complaints. When they happen, well suspend the book briefly. Well look at it, if we think there is clearly no problem, it goes back up really quickly. If we are unsure, well give it a deeper read and make a decision within 2 weeks.

      So what happened with alpha blue?

      -Someone complained about it.
      -OBS took it down and gave it a quick read.
      -OBS decided it wanted more time to make a decision.
      - Myself, Dyson Logos and lots of other people from all over gaming said that we fully expected it to be back up relatively quickly.
      -OBS looked it over.
      -lots of people talked about it, and alpha blue got lots of free publicity.
      -OBS put it back on sale.

      As I understand it, at no point in this was it ever impossible to buy the book.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. You are a disgusting lying fascist piece of shit, Wenham. OBS stood up in DEFENSE of their free speech policy, until you and YOUR FRIENDS enacted a campaign of terrorism against them that scared them into surrendering to the demands of this one particular group's desire to CONTROL THE HOBBY.

      Fuck you. Now they have the power to shut down any game any time they want from the most prominent PDF site in the hobby.

      You and your buddies at Paizo and elsewhere have a direct profit-motive reason for pushing this censorship as well. You are eliminating competing visions of the hobby so that your products are the only products that will be available at the main marketplace.

      You are censorious fascists.

    6. My buddies at Paizo? I have one credit for Paizo. They are not my buddies. But that aside, tell me, what acts of terrorism there were. Details. How were the things that happened there anything other than free speech and the social ramifications for free speech.

    7. Your also factually wrong inclaiming that I was involved in the campaign. I wasn't.

    8. The acceptable "social ramifications" for free speech is that people are free to criticize you, to express disgust, to disagree and argue with you, and of course to refuse to read your material or purchase your products.

      It is NEVER a an acceptable 'social ramification' for people to engage in a campaign of intimidation aimed at trying to forbid OTHER PEOPLE from having the choice of whether or not to read what you write or buy what you sell.

    9. Benjamin, you "more accurate description is an equally inaccurate defense of censorship. You mentioned that TOR was an "unpleasant book", but you also mentioned "based on what I know of it". you never read the book did you? Like the fundamentalists of the eighties you decided an RPG supplement was a work of the devil without first looking at it. I saw and read TOR, it is less explicit than a typical heavy metal album, but you would be favor of removing those from retail shelves as well right? A great many people "share shelf space with products they don't agree with. However most don't actively participate in trying to remove those products they don't like. Book burning is so last century ,and most people agree that it was a bad idea. By advocating I. Favor of censoring you are active participant "in the campaign", just so you have no illusions about yourself. In America our founding fathers were so concerned with free speech that it was the first amendment they ever made. Every heard the phrase "no taxation without representation"? The colonists were tired of being silenced. By trying to remove products from the marketplace you are trying to silence those creators.Just admit that's what you are doing and move on.

    10. And by the way your thought experiment is ridiculous. What you've described is not hypothetical. We see in augmented reality games like Pokemon Go that it is dangerous to not pay attention to your surroundings. Any idiot dumb enough to get hurt negotiating the real world using a virtual reality overlay has only himself to blame. Texts will not kill you, peoples choices are the cause of damage, books are not alive, they don't make choices. Just don't read ones you deem "harmful" and let me make that same choice for myself.

    11. I appreciate the continued...debate, y'all. Thanks, Benjamin, for the details from your angle. I won't pretend to know anyone's motivations, but just so I'm clear...Efie and Pundit, you're not debating the right of OBS to sell or not sell what they choose, right? Just the character of those who would limit the options? Is there any reason that would be acceptable in your eyes for OBS to say "no" to a product?

      Not trying to bait anything here, I'm seriously interested in the views backing up these comments. Thanks.

    12. Not too many reasons would be good in my view. I am a firm believer in market forces. If a product truly is bad, it will not sell. Refusing to carts product, especially whne dealing in something like information, (which really is all that texts are) is very difficult to be acceptable. What is offensive to you might be alright to me. The only thing I would draw the line is actually depictions of real life criminal behavior, basically if some actual people are being raped and their image is on the page. hentacle clearly does not qualify there.Fictional representations are not real, and if we banned fictional raoe, we would miss out on To Kill a Mockingbird and The Kite Runner.Hentacle though not high literature it deserves our protection just as much. I still use OBS because I like to support the creators like Venger and James Desborough, but try to express my displeasure just so I feel that I am not rolling over and letting censorship happen.

    13. Yes, there's obviously many reasons why you could have OBS say no to a product. IF OBS had a clear set of rules of what can and cannot be submitted, and actually followed those rules equally and universally, and they were explicitly clear, this would be acceptable. If they wanted to be open about what is and is not allowed, and treated everyone the same in that regard, that would be fine.

      But that never works for the Regressive Left. They want one set of rules for their friends, another for their enemies, so they love for moderation rules to be unexplained so they can ban the people they hate while the people on their team commit all kinds of shitty behavior.

  3. And Hentacle is another reason why it is stupid to believe that they will ever change. The treatment of Grim Desborough is just another thing that Forgists will have to apologize for. They are messing with peoples livelihoods, and this is not ok.