D&D 5E D&D Beyond Self-Censorship: Pride Month Digital Dice Blocked In Some Countries

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Ondath

Hero
For what it's worth, I think WotC would face just as much flack domestically, if not more, if people heard they changed it to a "colour festival" rather than self-censoring.
Riot did, admittedly, but I think serving your content under a different name to make it available is more preferable than not serving it at all. Also, LoL is bigger than D&D is in Turkey by several orders of magnitude, and they also have offices in Turkey that would be liable for the game, so they're probably being much more careful. D&D Beyond has no offices in Turkey, but doesn't allow its Turkish users to reach content on its American website, when it was extremely unlikely for simple rainbow-coloured dice offered in their American website to be noticed by any regulators.
 

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Ondath

Hero
Also, while I'm mostly concerned with the situation in Turkey (what with it being where I live), I do think this kind of playing it safe in "backwards" countries in general is in itself incongruent with the values these companies claim they defend. I had earlier said that Netflix removes LGBT content in countries like Saudi Arabia, but even that isn't true! Netflix actually shows LGBT shows in Saudi Arabia, and though doing so required them to enact a "troubling compromise" by removing shows critical of the Saudi monarchy, this shows that companies can actively show support for the LGBT communities in countries where LGBT rights are nonexistent. To defend WotC's decision, which was an overly prudent one that they did not need to take given how unlikely it was to cause problem for them, seems weird to me.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
@Ondath , are you able to verify if they are self-censoring less front-and-center LGBTQ+ content as well? For instance, there are same-sex marriages and relationships, as well as some trans and non-binary characters, in Curse of Strahd, Wild Beyond the Witchlight, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos, and other adventures - have those been self-censored (I guess you can only check if you own them)?
 

Ondath

Hero
@Ondath , are you able to verify if they are self-censoring less front-and-center LGBTQ+ content as well? For instance, there are same-sex marriages and relationships, as well as some trans and non-binary characters, in Curse of Strahd, Wild Beyond the Witchlight, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos, and other adventures - have those been self-censored (I guess you can only check if you own them)?
I can reach that content without any issue on D&D Beyond. I can also buy these books from Amazon (who have TR offices) with no +18 warning (Amazon also doesn't have a +18 warning for any pride or LGBT-themed products). Since the announcement for the content restriction policy was made in tandem with the announcement for the virtual dice, I'd wager they decided to pre-emptively restrict these dice (and any future LGBT-related products) then in order to avoid further hassle.

I just checked to be extra sure, and I can definitely access the part Dragon Heist with the nonbinary NPC (in Chapter 2).
 

TheSword

Legend
Except, it is for me because I live in the country where they made this risk assesment. I know examples of other companies that took a similar "risk" and did not face any major consequences. While the 18+ warning for rainbow products e-commerce clause seems scary, D&D Beyond doesn't even have a proper marketplace for Turkey, we just use the same interface as the American one, and many other countries would just continue servicing the same thing they do worldwide in this situation. Here's Riot's "colour festival" announcement in Turkish where they are able to provide pride-themed emotes and cosmetic choices for free with no 18+ requirement for LoL. WotC decided to actively make the situation worse when they didn't need to.

Expressing resentment towards companies for what we think to be actions taken in bad regard is a pretty common practice. There are even papers in social ontology that use such cases to prove that collectives can be held responsible (Deborah Tollefsen has a whole book on it called Groups as Agents). To dismiss this by saying that my anger is displaced and that I should actually deal with the Other Actor (with whom I'm already dealing to the best of my political ability) feels condescending, because it actually shows that you'd rather explain away my anger instead of listening to the salient reasons I'm giving for my resentment.
Okay but while you may know the law of your land from the perspective of a citizen, you don’t know that from the perspective on an international online distributor.

How many times have WOC been berated for not being sensitive to other cultures. What, you only thought that only mattered when it was something you agreed with? WotC can sometimes be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Doing nothing in those circumstances is not an unreasonable position.

The coloured dice don’t mean anything if they’re just color festival dice. If they’re not pride dice, they don’t represent standing up for yourself and being counted... You’re criticizing the company for making a token gesture (not truly representing pride in all countries) because they haven’t made a token gesture (releasing color festival dice).

Look I’m the first one to criticize WOC for releasing crappy product. I just don’t think it’s fair to accuse them of being regressive because they’re playing it safe in this regard.

Netflix by the way have substantially more negotiating power and content embedded in a TV program is less overt than an an express political statement like releasing something specifically in support of pride.

As I said. I understand why you’re pissed, I just don’t think it’s WotC’s fault.
 

Ondath

Hero
How many times have WOC been berated for not being sensitive to other cultures. What, you only thought that only mattered when it was something you agreed with? WotC can sometimes be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Doing nothing in those circumstances is not an unreasonable position.
To conflate the kind of cultural sensitivity people demand from WotC when representing certain cultures (or fantasy races inspired by said cultures) with not opposing a parochial disregard of fundamental rights to a sexual and gender minority in a "backward" country is exactly the kind of racism that pisses me off. Nothing about disregarding the rights of LGBT people is "sensitivity to other cultures", on the contrary LGBT people live in these cultures and have done so for ages. LGBT people in Turkey are appalled when our government says "it is not in our culture to be LGBT", and it is no less appalling when the same idea is repeated by supposedly progressive people in Western countries. You're simply being insensitive.

To say WotC is "being sensitive" by defending the fundamental rights of oppressed groups in one country and not do so when regressive politicians rule another is exactly the kind of essentialist, "clash of cultures" kind of narrative that makes life worse for my LGBT friends and progressive people like me.
 

TheSword

Legend
To conflate the kind of cultural sensitivity people demand from WotC when representing certain cultures (or fantasy races inspired by said cultures) with not opposing a parochial disregard of fundamental rights to a sexual and gender minority in a "backward" country is exactly the kind of racism that pisses me off. Nothing about disregarding the rights of LGBT people is "sensitivity to other cultures", on the contrary LGBT people live in these cultures and have done so for ages. LGBT people in Turkey are appalled when our government says "it is not in our culture to be LGBT", and it is no less appalling when the same idea is repeated by supposedly progressive people in Western countries. You're simply being insensitive.

To say WotC is "being sensitive" by defending the fundamental rights of oppressed groups in one country and not do so when regressive politicians rule another is exactly the kind of essentialist, "clash of cultures" kind of narrative that makes life worse for my LGBT friends and progressive people like me.
I’m not saying I agree with the idea… I’m a gay man. I support Gay rights everywhere.

I’m saying I don’t blame WotC for not stepping in with size 12 boots in haste.

It is your fundamental right to freedom of expression and equality. It’s not your fundamental right to demand WotC campaign for you against the Turkish government. It’s just not a reasonable expectation.
 

Oblivnow

Villager
How many times have WOC been berated for not being sensitive to other cultures. What, you only thought that only mattered when it was something you agreed with? WotC can sometimes be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Doing nothing in those circumstances is not an unreasonable position.
To me, this reads as, all at the same time, strangely dismissive of criticisms that have been made about cultural representations in the game, very condescending, and as @Ondath expressed, posits Turkey in an essentialist anti-queer place.
 

TheSword

Legend
To me, this reads as, all at the same time, strangely dismissive of criticisms that have been made about cultural representations in the game, very condescending, and as @Ondath expressed, posits Turkey in an essentialist anti-queer place.
I’m sorry if it seems condescending. I’m in the privileged position of living in a country with equality protection. So I am very lucky. I wish it were the case everywhere.

Until it is, I don’t blame companies for protecting themselves through being cautious in overtly political statements.
 
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Ondath

Hero
I’m not saying I agree with the idea… I’m a gay man. I support Gay rights everywhere.

I’m saying I don’t blame WotC for not stepping in with size 12 boots in haste.

It is your fundamental right to freedom of expression and equality. It’s not your fundamental right to demand WotC campaign for you against the Turkish government. It’s just not a reasonable expectation.
I think reasonable people can disagree about things, so I understand if what I demand does seem excessive. But demanding that companies do better is a pretty fundamental aspect of activism in our current societies, and I'm hoping that WotC can change their stance if they see that they were overly cautious in their planning. Whether they listen to that or not is absolutely up to WotC, but it will obviously change the ways in which I engage with them as well.
 

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