Why are D&D discussions so angry?




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  1. #1

    Why are D&D discussions so angry?

    Why is it that any time any discussion about D&D comes up which could even remotely somehow be construed as some kind of criticism of D&D as-is, a select few of the forum regulars swoop down with such venomous, vicious spiteful attacks to shut it down?

    I've been on every kind of forum, I currently spend time on historical, technical, and even political forums. On some of these, peoples entire professional reputations can be at stake based on the credibility of say an article they wrote which is under discussion. And yet, while you can always get the odd forum crazy and find a certain amount of intractibility in discussions, no other forum I know of is anywhere near as vicious as an RPG forum. I can honestly say that the RPG forums, especially any D&D forum, are both the most vicious and the most utterly intractable and cynical in terms of peoples positions.

    Anyone who knows these forums knows that unless you are ready for a big fight, to avoid a WIDE swath of subjects, or else face the near certainty that your thread will be hijacked (as mine recently was) into a completely off-topic diatribe of insults and vicious demands to "love it or leave it" until the temperature of the "debate" inevitably gets hot enough that the moderators shut the thread down, which is exactly what the attackers want from the start.

    The net result is a de-facto censorship. This is in many ways a great forum, but there cannot be any rational discussion about anything real about D&D in here in terms of improving it in any way or addressing anything but techincal or balance problems. Anything else will instantly turn into an all-or-nothing debate about D&D.


    Why does a role playing game bring out such intense feelings of hostility? What is it about D&D that makes people to devote hours to willing to insult and ridicule complete strangers? What is the ultimate effect of this self-censorship and passive aggression on the game itself?

    BD
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    Ah, tell me about fanboys!

    I remember a review I wrote about a rpg book, and that provoked the ire of one of the author's fanboys... ::Rolleyes::
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    I just wanted to add that I think there should be a little more Forgotten Realms and Eberron material in Dungeon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by takasi
    I just wanted to add that I think there should be a little more Forgotten Realms and Eberron material in Dungeon.
    I Disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by big dummy
    Why does a role playing game bring out such intense feelings of hostility?
    Like many such things (politics/religion), people are very passionate about their gaming. If they believe their way is the "right" way of doing things, then they will criticize the near-sightedness of others who cannot see with their clarity. Who is right and who is wrong becomes a matter of affirming ones beliefs in a public forum. However, I really like Piratecat's perspective on the matter. This place is not really a public forum; it's Morrus's place where we are guests. I like it here! Morrus is a fantastic host.

    Quote Originally Posted by big dummy
    What is it about D&D that makes people to devote hours to willing to insult and ridicule complete strangers?
    I think this just comes down to manners. However, I think it's worth mentioning a spectacular piece of recent moderation, that perhaps some could learn from. In a recent thread, a poster who had had their thread closed started up a new thread with the purpose of inflaming the board. It was an obvious piece of trolling which people called out as such. However, the moderator said the following:

    Why don't we drop the discussion on whether or not this is a "troll".

    Either speak to the premise and content of the OP (or some reasonable tangent it suggests) and leave the speculation and accusations out of this or don't post to it.

    If the thread has merit it will continue, if it serves no purpose it will drop away soon enough.

    This means everyone. Thanks.

    (and thank you el-remmen).

    And so the criticisms dropped away as did the thread. Not posting is better than posting something that will just heat up a thread. It's difficult when sometimes a poster can be so one-eyed, so inflammatory and so ridiculous in the sanctity of their opinions but in the end, I think el-remmen has pulled the right rein and shown the simple result that the civility of not saying anything actually works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by takasi
    I just wanted to add that I think there should be a little more Forgotten Realms and Eberron material in Dungeon.
    Now, this was funny. I hope it was meant to be!
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  6. #6
    no other forum I know of is anywhere near as vicious as an RPG forum. I can honestly say that the RPG forums, especially any D&D forum, are both the most vicious and the most utterly intractable and cynical in terms of peoples positions.
    Try a spell in the dance music production world, then. Cubase vs Logic vs FL Studio vs Reason, analog vs digital, hardware vs software, what's the best synth/compressor/reverb/eq....and it's all so subjective that nothing can be proved, even by wave cancellation because even turning up the volume a db or two can sound higher quality yet be undetectable as being at a higher volume so folks will refute such irrefutable evidence. "Your sound is thin and digital, mine is phat and warm"...and the amount of misinformation spread is just staggering. Some folks will swear black and blue that a sound straight out of a software synthesizer will sound better than a perfectly recorded digital copy of it, and that's just the tip of the ignorance iceberg.

    Just like here, people tend to accentuate what is arguably trivial and studiously ignore the craft of the pursuit....spending all their time trying to squeeze out the last 10% of sound quality or find the perfect synth or sequencer whilst ignoring songwriting; trying to find the perfect setting, rules or worldbuilding whilst ignoring adventure writing. The parallels between hobbyists are sometimes startling; writers groups prefer to talk tools too - they'd rather argue over what's the best word processor(!!!) than talk craft, even though writing is basically all craft.

    You get folks who've decided that such and such has a "poor quality mixing engine" based purely on a rumour and their expectations based on the price of the software and associations with it's users, and not even statements to the contrary from the developers themselves that the mixing engine is no more able to be stuffed up than basic summing like 1+1=2 (because all it is is basic summing, and that all digital mixing is done that way) will shake this belief. People in general are intractable - one of the developers of the software studio Reason said words to the effect that marketing knows that once a belief is established, it's pointless to try and change it, so they don't even bother to play the game of pretending to fix problems that don't really exist.

    It's all relative, but I think techno production has RPGs beat in those terms. The interesting thing is that, like here perhaps, those who are actually using the tools the most - and being productive - are the quietest. It's exam season for me, so that's my excuse.
    Last edited by rounser; Wednesday, 7th June, 2006 at 01:18 AM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rounser
    It's all relative, but I think techno production has RPGs beat in those terms. The interesting thing is that, like here perhaps, those who are actually using the tools the most - and being productive - are the quietest. It's exam season for me, so that's my excuse.
    Ok, youve convinced me. I'm going to stay the hell away from techno production forums!!!

    BD
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    Quote Originally Posted by takasi
    I just wanted to add that I think there should be a little more Forgotten Realms and Eberron material in Dungeon.
    I wish we had modding like slashdot.org I'd love to mod that funny...or flamebait


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    The whole baby analogy is also a good example of "debate within the debate". What does it bring to the original discussion, besides an example of what posters should not do? Nothing.

    It's just another petty argument on a detail to know "who's right" and "who's to blame". That sucks.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Odhanan
    The whole baby analogy is also a good example of "debate within the debate". What does it bring to the original discussion, besides an example of what posters should not do? Nothing.

    It's just another petty argument on a detail to know "who's right" and "who's to blame". That sucks.
    Agreed!!!!!!!

    BD
    "I don't know many crack addicts' political views, and it's not because I don't think they have opinions -"

    James Heard

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