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Monday, August 31, 2015

How Not to Handle an Upset Customer Base via Twitter (and other observations)

Apparently I wasn't the only one offended by the Tournament of Rapists release over the weekend. The author knew what he was doing with both his release time and description of the product - released on a Friday to ensure reactions would be over the weekend when the OBS staff are off and a description that was meant to troll as evidenced by his "just download the free preview to see what it's really about" line.

Now, if OBS couldn't address the issue right away (they first removed the Pathfinder tag and put it behind the Mature virtual wall at OBS) they probably should have avoided social media. Remember, every social media post or comment has been saved by someone, somewhere.

Jessica Price (a project manager at Paizo - her post on this matter is linked and is worthwhile reading) reached out to OBS via, of all things, Twitter. OBS's owner should never have stepped into the conversation which was, up to now, the usual customer service non answer.

Steve, you don't mock your customers. It leave a very bad taste in their mouth. (there's more to this conversation here)

The whole situation was poorly handled by OBS, although the product in question is no longer hosted at OBS.

BTW, none of this is a free speech issue. It's a business / consumer issue. OBS can host / sell whatever they want with whatever publishers they desire. Publishers can deal with them or not (although they are the PDF / POD gorilla, and avoiding OBS is likely avoiding sales.) Consumers can shop there or not.

See, it's a free MARKET. In the end, dollars talk. I suspect it's in the best interest of OBS to get a handle on issues like this to prevent the walking away of dollars, as they gained nothing from this fiasco.

As an aside, I'm not saying Tournament of Rapists should be banned. Self publish and self distribute all you want. I personally don't feel it belongs on the OBS site.

The thing is, instances like this are bad for OBS's reputation. And the social media response? Someone should cancel Steve's Twitter account.


  1. I'm not too surprised to see that coming from Steve Wieck. Back in the 90s when he was at White Wolf, WW and SJG had a dispute about GURPS Mage. Wieck took to usenet to address the matter, and he was condescending and nasty.

  2. As usual there's a ton of provocative content on OBS's sites but it's all walled in as adult content. The problem seems to be that they have too much volume to review daily and no good filter in place that stops a product with "rape" in the title from getting out in the wild.

    Twitter manners are hard to criticize, as it seems like that site is dedicated to the most knee-jerk infantile comments by all users, ever. It's the worst thing to exude from the internet (imho). That said, his initial response was...missing the point. Badly. So yes, nothing let setting yourself up for a fall there.

  3. The odd thing about the game blurb is "Inhumanly misogynistic mean, and even some women, step into impromptu fighting arenas, killing and raping the weaker..."

    So the fighters (mostly men) are raping each other? Weird.

    1. That's the part you find weird?

    2. I'm sorry but I seriously LOLed at that.

    3. I also went WTF at this point. I want my exploitation to make sense goddamit !

    4. Let's face it, this game is probably a trigger for large swathes of the US prison population.

  4. Steve, I'm available for advice on customer relations, I mean I only took one class of it at college but I'm much, much better at it than you are. I'm going to just give you a few pieces of free advice before you cut me my first check, they are: 1, Hire someone to engage in customer relations so you have a fall guy when you fire them for saying something stupid like the above, and 2. STFU so you aren't the one saying something stupid like the above.

  5. Where is the mythical blog that will set all things right once they get around to actually writing it . . . which they couldn't do over the weekend because apparently you aren't allowed to blog over the weekend.

    I never knew there was a One Book Shelf blog anywhere, and every disclaimer I see mentioning that this will all be addressed in the blog fails to point out where said blog is located.

  6. Since Erik Mona decided to get all self righteous about that product, someone he will respond to should ask him how it differs from Living Greyhawk adventures about Xvarts raping little human girls after kidnapping them and dressing them in wedding gowns.

    Yes, he wrote that.

  7. In fairness, Erik Mona replied to me on twitter, saying that he learned his lesson from the LG adventure I was speaking of. Ok, fair enough. Still comes off a little hypocritical, Pathfinder adventures often deal with some edgy topics, it was strange to see them be the ones to jump on the bandwagon against this.