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

-Mercer"
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
Well documented and also highly controversial and challenged as a legitimate theory.

Well I mean, that's true of basically any form of social theory. The part about being challenged, at least; there's a long list of social theories that don't quite meet the hyperbolic bar of "highly controversial", and and an even longer list (deindividuation included) that don't meet the even more hyperbolic bar of "challenged as a legitimate theory". Deindividuation is pretty much widely regarded as a legitimate field of study by social scientists, even those that don't necessarily agree with the conclusions it draws.

For what it's worth, the idea that freedom from social control (which is what anonymity essentially grants) leads people towards antisocial behavior (not necessarily "being a jerk" but certainly at least more self-serving or contrary to established social norms) can be fairly easily explained by pretty much every classical social theory at the foundation of social science. The only objections would be from those thinkers who thought being social was core to who we are as humans (so, Marx, basically). This is not really all that controversial; in fact, the notion that people are just as likely to be jerks to each other face-to-face as they would be anonymously has far less grounding in any kind of established social theory.
 

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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
For what it's worth, the idea that freedom from social control (which is what anonymity essentially grants) leads people towards antisocial behavior (not necessarily "being a jerk" but certainly at least more self-serving or contrary to established social norms) can be fairly easily explained by pretty much every classical social theory at the foundation of social science. The only objections would be from those thinkers who thought being social was core to who we are as humans (so, Marx, basically). This is not really all that controversial; in fact, the notion that people are just as likely to be jerks to each other face-to-face as they would be anonymously has far less grounding in any kind of established social theory.

I do think that humans are social but it is ever in conflict with our urge to be tribal. So the easier it gets to put people in a different tribe the easier it gets to be antisocial towards them. We're complicated beasts :) but civilization means we need to try and put aside our tribal urges and try and respect each others common humanity. We're just briefly on this planet spinning around in an uncaring universe - let's try and make the place better, not worse.

Edit: typo
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I do think that humans are social but it is ever in conflict with our urge to be tribal. So the easier it gets to put people in a different tribe the easier it gets to be antisocial towards them. We're complicated beasts :) but civilization means we need to try and put aside our tribal urges and try and respect each others common humanity. We're just briefly on this planet spinning around in an uncaring universe - let's try and make the place better, not worse.

Edit: typo

Oh, I completely agree with you. Sadly, there actually is still quite a bit of debate as to what would be ideal in the scope of human interactions (see: "welcome to the internet!" for example). There's quite a lot about modern culture that gets in the way of "respecting each others common humanity" unfortunately, in which tribalism plays only a piece in. We could spend quite a lot of words and energy on breaking each of these down, but at the end of the day I don't think we'd get much closer to an ideal world.
 

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