RPGNow

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sex Offenders and the Gaming Youth - Wherein I Comment on the Current Story

You can't miss the headline - Magic: The Gathering Has a Pedophile Problem That No One Wants to Acknowledge. Now, I know it's Milo's website, so I expect sensationalism, but the reality is there is NOTHING in the article that surprises me.

Where underage children are hanging out, those that prey on underage children will be hunting. When I was a kid, pedophiles hung out in arcades. Heck, some worked in arcades. These days, its gaming stores.

Some common sense would help store owners and Hasbro and the gaming communities they serve.

First, every state has a sex offender registry. Whether its a new employee or some volunteer organizer, get their basic info and check your state's sex offender registry. Ground ball. Its not going to catch all, but it will catch many.

Do a google search for news stories using the basic info you've already gathered. Need to be careful with this one, as you may get false hits, especially with more common names.

Most states allow you to check their correctional system records online for those that have served prior time. Personally, I wouldnt want a convicted felon interacting with children, but if the time was served for a sexual or violent offense you really can't allow it IMHO.

If children are the future of our hobby, we need to do all that we can to protect them from those that will use the hobby to abuse them.




34 comments:

  1. So it's on Yiannopoulos's website, and the focus ISN'T about how the relationships between young men and older boys can be beneficial?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not a reliable site....and can't find any links to real sites with better (read: any) journalism standards. Among other things the article's first link is to Jeremy Hambly, who is neither journalistic nor impartial. I'd research this one very carefully before assuming everything the article asserts is actually true, because most of what I just read is yet more highly biased "reporting."

    Locally like...I've never seen any kids playing this game at tournaments. The average playing age seems to be at least high school but most 20-somethings, so frankly the idea of so many kids playing Magic surprised me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To clarify though....totally agree with your assessment, Erik....but question whether this is any more factually accurate about Magic as a hobby than...say...Pokemon, Yugioh, or a Lego convention or something. The article's real aim isn't the well being of kids playing this game, but for Hambly and co. to damage what they think is an SJW friendly hobby.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I've been watching the lunatic right fringe, and their current push is to try to paint anyone to the left of Franco as a pedophile. No evidence is being presented, of course, other than the usual claim that anyone who is not a radical right "Christian" is immoral by definition (the Calvinist doctrine of "total depravity"). The highest profile op in this push was the "Pizzagate" debacle, but they're still going in that direction.

      Delete
  3. This isn't a "story". It's a disinfo op. Don't fall for the bullshit. If you read something on a site like that or Breitbart or whatever other agitprop source, either verify it from a legitimate news source first or just dismiss it for the nonsense that it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for the idea that we should be being careful of people who are trying to get at our kids, how is that something that needs a special story? That's something that parents are already overprepared for to the point that people who advocate "free range parenting" have been investigated by child services. It's not like there need to be more false reports to make that situation any worse.

      Delete
  4. The point here isn’t the linked article it is that as a business or activity organizer you should be vetting the people you allow to interaction with children. Tenkar is not advocating anything more stringent than what many churches do to vet Sunday school teachers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharing an article that is a lie and propaganda undercuts that by associating the practice with people who actively lie and present propaganda for political purposes.

      The "Sunday school" thing also overlooks that a disproportionate number of sexual assaults of minors are perpetrated by Sunday school teachers - implying that there is more rigor in that situation has helped cause too many parents to just assume that their kids are safe.

      So, yeah, it is about the particular linked article. The article is a lie and should be avoided by anyone with half a brain. I'm frankly angry that Tenkar chose to share it. If he needed an actual news story to kick off talking about the subject, he should have picked a legitimate one like this one (5 seconds on Google, no problem). But I guess that a true story isn't as enticing as a false propaganda piece by an attention-seeking failed writer, not least because it shows just how rare this sort of thing actually is.

      Oh, and in the real story, as opposed to the made-up propaganda piece, it's the business owner who allegedly did it, so who is supposed to vet him? As usual, the better answer than alarmism and falling for agitprop is sex ed - teach the kids what isn't acceptable, that things done to them aren't their fault, how to report it, and then believe them enough to seriously investigate it when they do report it.

      So, yeah. Facts are important. Political agitators who spread false rumors for gain should be shunned and ignored.

      Delete
    2. As a victim of sexual abuse when I was a child, and a gamer now, I see nothing wrong with Erik’s position.

      You went from “lunatic fringe right” to “lie and propaganda” awfully fast.

      There is nothing in Erik’s opinion here that should even be debatable, politics and Milo’s website aside: Do background checks, check the registries, be vigilant.

      One would think it’s a No-Brainer and shouldn’t be political.

      Delete
    3. The article is a lie? Are you denying the facts presented or do you believe the accusations made against the people named in the article are false?

      Numerous judges and TOs that should have been vetted by WotC were accused or convicted of inappropriate activity with children. Did you follow any of the links (the ones to, as you put it, legitimate news sources)? The fact that you linked one of the exact same articles (stating that you looked it up on Google) used in the OP as a source makes me think you didn't bother.

      In case you are unaware, WotC has full control over who is and is not allowed to run various official tournaments, including the incredibly popular DCI FNM events, and to whom they sell their product and provide promos. So shops owned or managed by convicted child predators should be easily cut off from official support and listings. Yet shops like Snap Keep Games (owned by a registered sex offender) are still running FNM and passing out WotC supplied promos. Multiple judges with sexual predator convictions still have valid DCI numbers despite WotC being informed of those members criminal backgrounds, yet WotC was quick to ban someone that was accused of harassing a popular cosplayer (which was well within their rights).

      So where are the lies?

      Delete
    4. The lunatic fringe right (and the similar left) operate through lies and propaganda. I didn't mention the lunatic fringe left because their websites aren't being promoted in a place I thought could be free from that nonsense in favor of just gaming.

      Also, you seem to have missed the part where I mention that talking about the issue from a position of fact instead of lunatic propaganda is better. Do you care about protecting kids, or do you just care about getting Milo's agitprop more hits? If you want to protect kids, it would seem to me that doing so using facts would be more effective than doing so using lies and politicized rumor-mongering.

      So, yeah, I completely agree that this shouldn't be political, so why is a thoroughly political propaganda website being pointed to here?

      Delete
    5. This story popped up in my social media feed and email from sources that I consider to be apolitical. Notice, I don't address the specifics of the story and I acknowledge the nature of its source- I offer ideas on how to protect our children in a public gaming environment.

      Whether the specifics of the linked story are valid or not, there is no denying that gaming is an environment that leaves our young vulnerable. There are steps that can be taken to lower the risk to them. That was the point of the post.

      Delete
    6. Tenkar: I've come here in the past to a great extent because I could be reasonably certain that, unlike say RPGPundit or John Wick or whomever, I wouldn't have to deal with the messed-up politics of idiocy muddying the discussion unexpectedly. Seeing that crap come here is infuriating. Now I have to add the Tavern to my list of places where that sort of bull can show up without warning. I'm just a little bit less likely to click on an article here now. Which, I'm just one guy, I know that my increased discomfort doesn't matter in this sea of Taverners, but I have to speak for me since no one else can. You've brought increased search engine visibility and clickthroughs to a politically partisan site that has no love for gamers. That's a violation of my trust.

      I mean, I apologize for spewing all over the comments, but it's really shocking to me that you'd do this, since you've never shown any tendency toward it before. You've always been (with a few exceptions, mostly to do with police issues and therefore understandable) scrupulously non-political. Offering the internet's main currency, attention, to a political propaganda site is a seemingly sudden and baffling change.

      Whatever, I really should just let this all go. I'm going to shut off notifications for this post so I don't come back to it. If you want to discuss any of this with me, you have my email address.

      Delete
    7. What lies though? You keep using that word without any evidence that what was presented in the article was false or misleading. You are attacking a source based solely on your own political bias and opinion rather than looking at the reported material and supporting citations and making your own judgement.

      Delete
    8. I'm glad you realize the effort I go through to avoid politics. So, you must also realize, my intention with this post WAS NOT political, it was protective. My post was a reaction to what I read, source be damned.

      I could have vague-booked and not linked to the source of the story that was making the rounds this weekend, but I believe in linking to sources whenever possible.

      Delete
  5. Some people are so obsessed with their hate they can't see past it.

    Even if someone doesn't feel the need to protect the children this is simple risk control that any competent administrator of an event should see is prudent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow. WotC gets rid of some alt-right douchebag from their M:TG judges roster and now dangerous.com has a hit piece on Magic and WotC.
    I am shocked. SHOCKED I tell you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's unfortunate that we live in such a polarized political climate that protecting children from predators gets lost in the debate between warring factions. Let's do our best to keep Tenkar's Tavern free from partisan extremism.

    That being said, game companies should do more to keep those with a history of child abuse away from kids' entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Point: the article targets WotC but note that these judges are not, to the best I can determine, WotC employees and are actually local staff or participants in specific regions. WotC might be able to do better at screening these volunteers, but if the article was serious about stopping risk of pedophiles then the article would focus on the stores that are hiring (or being run by) the individuals in question. They don't go away just because they aren't judging a tournament if they still work at the store and continue to participate because the local business owners permit it.

      Delete
  8. so pokemon totally legit and problem free, phew

    ReplyDelete
  9. If the source of the article is more important to you than the message I was trying to share about how to better protect our children from predators in the hobby at large, I can't help that. The source is irrelevant to me - the message shared trumps all IMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is the two different messages.

      Yours is a good one about how to protect children from predators in the hobby industries.

      Whereas the linked article is a bad message about how WotC is failing to protect children and is a hub of paedophiles.

      The article uses misleading statements (such as claiming that judges were still working based on fan websites that don't have access to up-to-date information) and by pursuing an agenda that involves attacking WotC rather than a concern for children.

      I have nothing against anything in your post, but the article itself is crap.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Cameron. Tenkar brought up reasonable things that probably need to be discussed and implemented. But taking any advice from Milo about pedophilia is like taking advice on population control from Pol Pot. Let's remember that he's the guy who said that 13 year olds can have consensual sex with adults.

      Delete
  10. I see children at my lgs Friday night magic all the time. I’m talking kids like 10-12 years old. I do think that stores and publishers need to do some due dilligance before putting people into a position of authority.

    BTW - someone mentioned Pokemon. They do check against the sex registry before approving somebody as a judge. I am sure it’s not perfect but it’s something every companies should try to do. Especially with all the money magic makes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Magic the gather and the Pokemon card game are both published by wizards of the coast.I know that wizards has banned people before for sexual harrassment issues, but it looks like reporting a judge has to go through a side website specfcally for judges. I think because the low level judges are less formalized (at collage clubs and stuff) they are not screened to the same extent.

      Delete
  11. The BSA has resources for youth protection that are freely available from their website here: https://www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection.aspx

    While that isn’t a perfect fit for store and con events it’s got a lot of solid information that store owners/event managers could put into place very easily.

    My guess is that eventually liability insurance will begin requesting felony background checks before too long on volunteers. Anyone in the BSA that works with youth goes through one before being around kids, no exceptions. That background check is then performed every 2-3 years if they continue to volunteer.

    I haven’t followed the link to the initial story but the underlying message, some adults are actively seeking to do harm to children and they can be everywhere, is a valid one. This weekend at my son’s hockey tournament an accusation was made that is going to have some hard repercussions before this week is over.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Let me add that the BSA put these rules into place after horrible experiences. The seriousness with which Youth Protection is taken is absolute.

    I volunteered at a District level and while there’s a lot of joking and fun to Scouts when it came to Youth Protection there wasn’t any humor at all. I’ve walked adults out of meeting who hadn’t completed their training or their felony background checks and in one case saw someone who lied on their background form referred for a parole violation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The challenge here is the decentralisation. They're not volunteers of WotC, they're volunteers of the store or tournament. WotC only administers the certification program (and even that is through a third-party).

      WotC could take over the tournament program more directly, but I believe at this stage it would requite dismantling the existing program and replacing it with a completely new one. I'm hoping that's something they're considering now, but it's not a simple quick fix.

      Delete
    2. It's like going after Cisco for certifying a network engineer that ends up working at a school and is a predator.

      Delete
  13. I play with a lot of convicted felons, and many of them went down for non-violent crimes. Stupid crimes, honestly (cannabis, mostly). I think a little compassion for some ex cons would be advised depending on the severity of the offenses that landed them on the wrong side of the law. That being said.

    Child sex offenders, or sex offenders of any sort shouldn't be allowed to gaming events. While I don't think it'd be practical to scan every patron who comes in for a pick-up game of MTG, I would say it'd be the responsible thing to do in the event of any organized play. Everyone that signs up, look up. Besides, businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone usually.

    That's my opinion anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fact: sex offenders have some of the lowest recidivism rates of all offenders.

    Where's the drug dealer registry? Or the wife beater registry? Or the drunk driving registry? Children should be much more afraid of these types offenders than sex offenders that are never going to even think of offending again.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Contrary to the opinions of Stranger Danger, Satanic Panic and other baseless moral hysterias there is a minimal chance that anyone you ever encounter is actually a sex offender.

    ReplyDelete

Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow, and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the lights on and the taps flowing - Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server Events - link - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition