Critical Role Critical Role's Matt Mercer On Civility

Critical Role's Matt Mercer posted about behaviour within the Critical Role fanbase. It very much reflects conversations we've had here on EN World about the RPG fanbase as a whole, and the D&D fanbase specifically. Whether you're talking about Critical Role specifically, or your thoughts about any tabletop gaming rule or product, I'm sure you understand what Matt is talking about.

"I want to, first off, express our appreciation for this community. [Both Reddit,] and overall. While talk does get thrown around regarding "toxicity", I can be confident in saying this is a serious minority, and the term doesn't aptly apply to most situations. For the most part, everyone has been thoughtful and as invested as we are (Well, maybe not Twitch-Chat, but such is the nature of the beast, hehe). Regardless, I wanted to let you know that the positive majority never goes unheard, and every smiling statement or message only brings us joy. Thank you guys.

I want to discuss and clarify that discussion is always promoted and appreciated! Differing opinions make for interesting discussion, and disagreements on our game, plays, and ideas are part of that discussion. Every D&D game is different, and every play style is different. We aren't going to tailor our game to fit the audience's wishes or expectation, nor would we ask you to alter your home game to match our play style. There will be differing ideas, and that's both healthy and encouraged!

I would ask that people that feel the need to "defend" or shoot down counter-opinions to our game's play or story to restrain from furthering any conflict or downvoting based on disagreement. You can offer your counter to theirs, but do so with civility and as a way to continue the conversation, not demonize.

Example: Preferred Response - "I don't agree with you, necessarily. Here are my thoughts on the topic, and why I enjoyed this element, or agreed with how it was handled."
Unwanted Response - "It's their game, shut up. 'Your fun is wrong'." down-vote

When you DO present a disagreement with our game, please do so from a constructive stand point. There are many ways to convey your thoughts without seemingly unnecessary vitriol or intensity.
Example: Preferred Response - "I probably wouldn't have done it that way, were it my game. I get the reasoning, but my instinct would have been this maneuver instead."

Unwanted Response - "I really hate this character because they do this, when they SHOULD do this. Its so stupid."

I myself firmly believe in transparency and honesty as much as possible, and we genuinely keep ourselves open to the community as a whole as best we can. I feel a genuine kinship and patronly responsibility to this corner of the internet we've created together. I want to facilitate a good place not only for you folks to talk and enjoy, but for us to be able to engage when we are able without feeling threatened or ridiculed. I am aware the internet comes with its share of negativity, and I fully accept those elements as given. However, that won't stop me from trying to improve this space in any way I can. Civility and mutual appreciation of the tabletop gaming culture (and our little place in it) is the hallmark of this community, and I wish to keep it that way.

My players and myself are people with very hectic lives. CR has become a second (or third) career for all of us, and while the joy and excitement we derive from our game far outweighs any downside, it does have its downsides. We have our stresses, our off-nights, and our bouts of confusion/forgotten rules and abilities. Our own personal lives, like anyone's, can be fraught with challenges and low points, and that can affect us within our game as well (even should we wish it otherwise). We are prone to mistakes, inconsistency, and failure time to time... and that's kind of the beauty of Roleplaying games is it allows a safe space to do all of that and learn from it. I only ask that you fight the knee-jerk judgement on anything in our game to consider the unknown elements, and write your thoughts from a place of genuine intent to banter, share varying ideas and thoughts, and present your own perspective in a way that is respectful of the cast, and your fellow community members.
Much love to you all, and let's all be the best geeks we can. <3


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

From our POV here at EN World, moderation is not punishment. Mods aren't police officers or judges; they can't take away anybody's property or liberty. They're bouncers. It's just peacekeeping. Nobody gets banned as a punishment, just like nobody gets refused entry to a nightclub as a punishment; they get banned because that makes the site a better place to be and more conducive to the atmosphere we foster here. When you ask a troublemaker to leave your party, you're not punishing them - you're just keeping the peace at your party.
Unrelated to the actual subject of the post... but that's somewhat ironic given your current "I am the law" icon. :D

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I could dig it up if I thought it was worth it to win snark points on an internet. This stuff isn't exactly unstudied, and dealing with online abuse is part of my job. But no, I'm not going to.

How is that snark? You made a sweeping generalised comment with an assumed scientific stance to lend it credence. I asked for evidence to support your claim. If you'd stated it as an opinion, I wouldn't have said anything, but you stated it as a fact, so I'm asking for evidence. I feel that's entirely reasonable and not even close to being snark.

How is that snark? You made a sweeping generalised comment with an assumed scientific stance to lend it credence. I asked for evidence to support your claim. If you'd stated it as an opinion, I wouldn't have said anything, but you stated it as a fact, so I'm asking for evidence. I feel that's entirely reasonable and not even close to being snark.

Literally 10 seconds on Google:


This is such a completely opposite view point from what I've experienced in the "real world" I almost feel like you're just pulling my leg. I know that's not the case, so I'm not criticizing your opinion, I just don't share it... not by a long shot.

Anecdotal as it might be, in my line of work I've frequently had instances where my office staff are treated abysmally over the phone when fielding calls from our customers. Yelling, swearing, and just generally poor behavior is thrown their way. Yet, when I show up at the customers door? At worst I get to deal with people offering an even-keeled complaint... but more often than not it's all smiles and pleasantries because they don't have it in them to be that rude to someone's face. And that's just the barely passable "anonymity" of the telephone.

Having dealt with a number of contractors, why would you be rude when they finally turn up to do the work? Honestly it is having to deal with the "help" desk that is the most unpleasant part.


I enjoy watching Critical Role (when I have the time) and I appreciate what Mercer says about civility too. I try very hard to post constructvely and disagree with others respectfully mostly because I want others to respect me. I want to keep my forum name unsullied. I hope others who don't use respect and civil discourse will evolve eventually, but even in a quagmire, I'll still try to keep clean.

As for Mercer and co. It is truly amazing that he and his voice actor friends can keep producing quality gaming sessions week in and week out for 100 odd episodes. My longest running campaign probably only lasted 50 or so sessions and I did them every other week and didn't tape or record them for an audience. Playing for themselves and playing to an audience is work. I marvel at their dedication and passion and often learn a lot about roleplaying and storytelling by watching them.



After reading through these, none of them address the issue I was asking about. Specifically that there is empirical evidence that people are more likely to be abusive online than they are offline. The data you've provided only says, through a self-reported survey, that online harassment exists and of what types to whom. It's little better than a forum poll.

Personally I've found that anyone who I've met who is nasty online, tends to be just as nasty offline. And having worked in customer service positions, from security guarding, bouncing, hospitality, retail and management to name a few, I think the anonymity doesn't really change much. If anything, close-proximity peer behaviour can exacerbate such issues. What I think we see online is the concentration of behaviours that in offline life we don't see simply because we don't gather in such large numbers from such diverse backgrounds. And that in turn creates the perception that anonymity gives rise to aberrant behaviours that people normally wouldn't exhibit.

But since I only have my anecdotal experiences to go by and no actual proof, I won't claim to have anything other than an opinion on the matter. Maybe ten second google searches aren't an adequate measure of an issue?


First Post
Sad that this even has to be a discussion. Treat people the way you want to be treated should be the rule of the land. Wishful thinking I guess.


I don't have any hard evidence or research. I work for a living, and I don't know anyone who works for a living analyzing online comments so I can't give you any hard data.
I will just say this, when ever I have met some one who could make a comment with out it being directly linked to them, they are much more brutal then, when the comment is linked to them.
So obviously this is not a concrete data point but from my observations the interwebs allows more brutal attacks because you need not answer for what you say.

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