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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Defending the Offensive, One Bleeding Cool Article at a Time



I give some major props to +Christopher Helton for his latest article over at Bleeding Cool. It isn't easy defending people who are, by their online personalities at least, pretty much assholes. That doesn't make it right to spread lies about them, especially viscous allegations that they are homophobic and transphobic. Although neither Zak or The Pundit are my favorite people, offensive slander such as this for no other reason than to push an agenda is bullshit and should be called out. Because if we don't call the bullshit when we see it, the next accused could be you...

As Chris says in his article:
It is hard to defend people who have done wrong. But, despite saying or doing these things, that doesn’t mean that they deserved to have lies made up about them either. Gaming needs new blood, it needs to be more inclusive. However, it doesn’t need gatekeepers. It doesn’t need to be told who are the “right” people to be involved in the hobby and who are the wrong ones. And it certainly doesn’t need liars and bullies.
Well said and well done.

27 comments:

  1. Wizards' Gen Con booth is gonna be very interesting as people line up to air their grievances and "Here's what's bad-wrong with 5e." Mearles is probably popping aspirin like Chicklets at this point.

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    1. He might need something stronger than Aspirin. ;)

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    2. They're moving Gen Con to Colorado for that reason. :)

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  2. TIm has a great point, I don't envy who ever is working that booth.

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  3. Whilst I under no circumstances agree with slander, I find it no surprise that if you go around being an asshole, people will eventually return the favour.

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  4. The truth is 90% of the people buying D&D5 have never heard of Zak, RPGPundit or even know what the hell the "OSR" is. And they don't care.

    Ok, to be fair, more people have heard of Zak, but I still the vast majority care more about getting more copies of character sheets than some internet drama.

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    1. I'd like to think a hell of a lot more people know what the OSR is than RPGPundit or Zak S.

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    2. I think 90% is low, but I agree with your point. Vocal minority etc.

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    3. You'd be wrong there Venger.

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  5. Zak has been trenchant with me. We have disagreed. It doesn't make him an asshole. It makes him trenchant and disagreeable.

    I really don't get these people who make it a point to constantly rub sand in their own manginas, so I avoid them. They must have horrible, empty souls to be motivated to be such whiners honestly.

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  6. Who the hell is Andri, and why should any of us care?

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    1. Nobody and we shouldn't, respectively.

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  8. I poked around a bit because I always hate to assume anything in cases like this, but there does seem to be something weird going on...Andri links to a snapshot of a quote where Zak used the word morphodite, for example, a word I had never known existed until this whole issue arose (yay learning new stuff on the interwebz). A quick google search of Zak S and morphodite led to the source of that quote, a somethingawful forum post where Zak was eventually banned, but reading through that revealed that it was less a case of Zak specifcally going after the LGBT community and much more a case of Zak being his usual abrasize, assinine self and getting into more shennanigans. Did he use the word? Yes. Was it his proclamation that he hated the LGBT community? Hell if I know, it's painful reading through his weirdness.

    Honestly, trying to drag down D&D 5E just because these two guys got a consulting credit for coming in two years ago and providing feedback on the opening playtest is a crass move. However, if people like Andri really did have a beef with Zak (or pundit) but didn't know how to get heard, this was the most convenient way they could have done it, by timing their accusations with a bit of press for something these two are peripherally tied to. I know I wouldn't have heard of it but for all this press.

    Whether or not these guys really did any of the stuff they're being accused of it's tough because the two of them are such vitriolic, disagreeable entities that it's hard to imagine them not being capable of this. At the very least they're both fully capable of being callous and arbitrary in their use of slurs and epitaphs against an easily targeted minority in our society, so honestly I can't say there's any side to this fight I want to sit on right now, except for the one which will point out that despite these two being in 5E's credits the game is damned good and also seems to be very inclusive to me (although apparently hermaphrodite is considered a slur now according to rpg.net so whadda I know).

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    1. "Morphodite"? Are you sure Zak is even OLD enough to appear in adult films? That's like a junior high school term.

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    2. Until all this garbage stirred up I would have sworn Morphodite was a transformer. Showing my age I guess.

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    3. I am, of course, completely innocent.

      Proof and a half:
      http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-internet-is-screaming.html

      I said "morphodite" b/c I was making fun of how the people on grognards.txt turned everything I said into an insult, like so:

      Dickhead: "Play D&D instead of posting here, dipshit"
      Nondickhead on forum: "Zak plays more games online than anyone I know"
      Zak: (satirically) I quote "Zak plays more games online than anyone I know"…because he'd too much of a grog morphodite to play in person!"

      I just knew "morphodite" from that movie Stand By Me. I had no idea it had anything to do with anything else, apparently neither did this transgender writer:

      https://twitter.com/nataliereed84/status/486647062545436672

      And, y'know what? Anybody who even believed this for a second without IMMEDIATELY coming to me and asking is a drama-hungry piece of shit who's pretty much just helping these assholes.

      It's not like I'm hard to find.

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  9. As much as I dislike Zak S., (and no, not because of what he does for a living) I don't buy that he's anti-LGBT. I just don't buy it.

    Still, what does the OP have to gain by linking this to D&D 5E? I've known a lot of assholes, including anti-LGBT assholes, in my life who have played D&D and their assholeness* and bignotedness* have had nothing to do with their playing of any roleplaying game.


    *I know these aren't real words. I do what I want.

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    1. I'm just going to point out that I've noticed that for some reason poking around the people involved in this seems to lead to a lot of Dungeon World blogs. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but I thought it was a little....odd.

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    2. Story gamers are often on the end of Pundits hatred. He goes so far as to ban story games from therpgsite forum. No surprise they should want to attack him.

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    3. Pretty sure he just bans them from the RPG forum and says they have to go in the Other Games forum.

      That Andri/Ettin seems a truly vile piece of work.

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    4. @Nicholas, I for one enjoy Dungeon World *and* Zak's DIY D&D stuff. When it comes to fun games, honing skills as a GM and player, and creative content, I'm all for it, regardless of the brand. I think there are plenty of DW enthusiasts like me—people who love OSR gaming *and* "story games". It's certainly an attitude shared by Dungeon World's creators; one of them frequently reports about his wild and crazy DCC campaign.

      Scott Anderson wrote: "Zak has been trenchant with me. We have disagreed. It doesn't make him an asshole. It makes him trenchant and disagreeable." That's my experience too: I don't always agree with Zak's conclusions, but I notice and appreciate that he maintains high standards of intellectual accountability in the discussions I've read and been part of.

      I'd like to know what DW blogs you found in your investigation, especially if they are making the same or similar dodgy claims without proof. I don't have time for that, and I don't want to mistakenly support people like that. I notice that Andri is connected to several products on RPGNow, and now I know not to buy them.

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  11. I've managed to miss this entire spat and after doing some preliminary link-chasing and scanning, am going to go back to ignoring it.

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    1. @Nathan: Pretty much, I formed opinions of Zak and The Pundit long ago (I still have both blogs in my reader and I've got games by both of them...still think they're acerbic SOBs but no worse than a lot of guys I dealt with in the service).

      However, lying about people and using accusations of homophobia/transphobia/etc to disqualify people is about as dishonest as one can get. I'm starting to understand what the video gamers I know are complaining about when they say the perpetually butt hurt are making it so you can't talk about games and making good games without soothing the perpetually butt hurt's cause of the day first. So now we can't have two very outspoken and creative people who have a lot to say about D&D consulting on D&D because of what they supposedly believe because people get butt hurt and are "scarred" by conversations online? People better be damned careful jumping on the bandwagon. What was the social norm when 3rd edition came out is anathema today. What that is a social norm that you support will be anathema if WotC calls you about 7th?

      And really, Zak S., a guy who even today you could easily say has an alternative lifestyle is supposed to be homophobic/transphobic/etc. First, he does in fact work in the porn industry. Can you work in porn and be what he's accused of being? Possibly but I suspect you'd have a hard time because two girl sex is pretty common in mainstream porn and once you move out of the mainstream then you're into gay porn, trans porn, S&M, etc anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if the female players he has who have been in porn have done two girl or more scenes. So, I'm supposed to believe he hates his players and wants them to die despite his clearly enjoying their company and defending them online with such ferocity? Second, if I read some prior posts on his blog at some point he and his girlfriend had another girlfriend living with him. Helpful hint from someone who is in a social circle more poly than mono, stable triads usually mean bisexuality on the part of at least two of the members. So, here we have two pieces of evidence that the homophobic part cannot be true because Zak appears to be living in direct contradiction.

      Yet when asked for evidence the accusers can't be bothered. I am supposed to trust them. What have they done to earn my trust before claiming something that goes against the evidence I have seen. Zak, meanwhile, for all his acerbic tone, has never lied about anything or anyone that I've seen. When he makes claims about people he backs it up with links and other evidence. In doing that he establishes trust.

      So I have to choose being believing a very gruff but very honest pair of SOBs or people who make wild claims that go against public evidence while refusing to provide evidence to support their case. Add in many of those people come from situations that not only don't develop trust but create suspicion (Big Purple, I'm looking at your moderators and bs about why the sex ads when banning Zak for his comments). In addition most of the people who are flinging shit have no products I can identify as contributions to the hobby (with one exception who I have autographed books by them, but that person has not said more than Zak is an asshole in a coversation Zak linked...I'm not considering that a lie) while both SOBs have books I paid good money to buy and which I enjoyed on my shelf/hard drive. Finally, based on patterns of behavior I don't see either of them trying to run me out of the hobby online even if they might find my games stupid and not want to play with me. I cannot say that about those attacking them.

      I know who I consider 'toxic' and who I'm going to continue to read (at least when they're writing about RPGs). Zak and The Pundit are clearly in category two.

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    2. I woke up between two blondes the morning the accusations started rolling in

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  12. Well, the good thing is that we haven't had an idiotic dustup of this sort in the realm of games in awhile, and if this is bad as it gets, awesome. Geez people we live in an age where it is easier to contact anyone on earth than it has ever been, yet people cannot take the time to ask someone a simple question of someone online before character assassinating them.

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