OGL I think I know how the morality clause acceptable(+)

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I was thinking how the morality clause could be made acceptable.

1) Have a third party like the antidefamation league make the call, with the publisher/creator bring given a chance to make their case. Edit: After some arguments, I change this idea to having a panel (with at most one representative of WotC and at least one member of each of the harmed or potentially harmed groups) make that determination.

2) Have it apply to works( not creators), and only to the extent of the actual hateful content. Content deemed hateful can be removed from the work to make it acceptable. Parts not being deemed hateful can still be salvaged

Edit: and lets make this a plus thread. I don't like that clause anymore than you. But for the argument's sake...
 
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MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I like the clause fine because nuTSR really is a thing and what if we get another group like that but who know what they are doing? I think the only issue is having WotC in sole control. I would have any cases arbitrated by a three member panel of OGL stakeholders, only one of them from WotC, and one from a neutral third party.
This might be new to you, but the griefers at nuTSR didn't need nor used the OGL for their purposes. This clause doesn't stop any future similar hate group from griefing in the future. It doesn't even slows them down.

That said, there is a point to the panel idea. It could also work. But still I'd be more at peace if it applied to works instead of creators.
 



MGibster

Legend
Many organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, have a mission statement. The ADL's mission statement is to "Stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all." The ADL, like most tax exempt organizations, have to budget their resources in a responsible manner, including hours worked and funds, in order to accomplish their mission. Assuming monitoring the OGL is within their mission, are they the best choice for the job? Will this take away precious resources from other more important projects? I don't think they'd be interested. If I were a donor, I'd be upset if they decided to monitor the OGL because that's not what I give them money for.

If you're going to have a third party manage the OGL, it's going to have to be some sort of gaming trade association like the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association, or the National Cotton Council. These are non-profit organizations made up of various businesses in the same industry. Hell, I suppose the Game Manufacturers Association qualifies as well. You can't rely on other organizations, you need one specifically made for gaming.
 

Thinking about it, i'm actually legitimately surprised that, in the 20+ years the OGL has been in operation, that there HASN'T really been much awful content created under it. Or at least not much that I've heard of. Book of Erotic Fantasy was, to the best of my knowledge, certainly crass and juvenile, and there's certainly been plenty of probably-unconscious stereotyping re 'savage natives' etc, and way back in the early d20 days Avalanche Press and their cover art made everyone embarrassed, but if there's been a really nakedly racist OGL product then I've missed seeing the furore. Nobody's tried to kickstart Rahowa 5e (and KS would boot the campaign if someone did), nobody's done a d20 Modern game where you play square-jawed Nazis fighting eeevil Jewish cults, nobody's published any equivalent to the worst bottom-feeding consent-lacking sexually exploitative stuff that you can find in the sordid depths of the video game industry. Not even really as a troll. And I can easily guess the community response if something like this did happen. The RPG sector as a whole has its share of notorious ick of course, but despite D&D and the D&D-adjacent ecosystem seems to have missed most of it. Even FATAL used a homebrew system (using the word 'system' generously), and there's been loads more offensive or unpleasant stuff published by White Wolf or even Onyx Path than the whole 5e industry which is many times larger.

Is it possible under the current OGL that something awful could get published at any moment? Yeah, sure, though the content policies at DTRPG, Kickstarter, and DMsGuild act as a pretty reasonable set of gatekeepers. Is it possible that WotC is genuinely trying to close that particular stable door before the horse bolts? Maaaybe. Does it seem like this clause is an attempt to address a problem which doesn't actually exist in any concrete form right now? Yeppers.
 

MGibster

Legend
Is it possible under the current OGL that something awful could get published at any moment? Yeah, sure, though the content policies at DTRPG, Kickstarter, and DMsGuild act as a pretty reasonable set of gatekeepers. Is it possible that WotC is genuinely trying to close that particular stable door before the horse bolts? Maaaybe. Does it seem like this clause is an attempt to address a problem which doesn't actually exist in any concrete form right now? Yeppers.
Combatting racist/sexist content was just a weak justification WotC used to justify their motives behind changing the OGL. It's not a problem, and truthfully I worry about how such a clause might be enforced.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
I can't see any way this could ever work. No matter the person or group that is "in charge" of deciding what is wrong: it will always be that random. Except for the most vile stuff, you'd be hard pressed to even get two people to agree.

I guess WotC is worried a publisher might use a wrong word and then everyone will put that on D&D?

But has that ever even happened?

Maybe that would be a way to could work: Have WotC look at all the 3PP from the last 23 years and point out the things, that if published under OGL 2, that they would immediately dump. This would let us know what WotC is thinking.

Or maybe add an "Adult Audience Tag" too: Content can be tagged as "potentially offensive and not in anyway approved or endorsed by WotC. Then a publisher can use the word 'race' and won't have to worry about WotC.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I thinkntheybneed to tie it to a strong existing standard (EU regulations seem plausible?), so that WotC doesn't have to make a subjective call, with an option for arbitration. Otherwise doing business under the OGL seems dicey.
 

MGibster

Legend
I thinkntheybneed to tie it to a strong existing standard (EU regulations seem plausible?), so that WotC doesn't have to make a subjective call, with an option for arbitration. Otherwise doing business under the OGL seems dicey.
When Numenera was released, there were some complains regarding the Nibovian Wife, a biological construct whose sole function is to seduce men, get pregnant, and give bith to some abomination. Is this an example of misogyny that shouldnt' see the light of day in an OGL product? Are attribute score increases linked to race/lineage an example of biological essentialism or racism? Is a succubus/incubus in a fantasy game okay? These are all rhetorical questions, I don't expect that to be hashed out in this thread, I only want to illustrate that there might be varied opinions on these topics. It's not cut and dried because there are no objective standards here. We can all point to cases we can almost universally agree on, but there's a lot of edge cases out there that aren't so cut and dried.
 


I was thinking how the morality clause could be made acceptable.

1) Have a third party like the antidefamation league make the call, with the publisher/creator bring given a chance to make their case.

2) Have it apply to works( not creators), and only to the extent of the actual hateful content. Content deemed hateful can be removed from the work to make it acceptable. Parts not being deemed hateful can still be salvaged

Edit: and lets make this a plus thread. I don't like that clause anymore than you. But for the argument's sake...
At a dead minimum the determination needs to be made by a third party, not by WotC (not the ADL lol, they're okay but they have moments where they flip out and decide to be the Israeli government's propaganda wing - then return to normal. It's very disconcerting lol. But someone like the SPLC maybe.)

This is an absolute requirement because WotC have form here - they classed something that was "anti-capitalist" as "hateful" on DM's Guild and force the creators to change the language to like "anti-imperialist" or something, which is deeply messed up.

Secondly, they need to have some kind of transparent right of appeal, with minute'd sessions and findings and so on (tiny charities manage this, note, before anyone tries to claim that's impossible or something). Arbitration would probably be good as default, and I don't think they should be able to rule out legal action so casually.
 

When Numenera was released, there were some complains regarding the Nibovian Wife, a biological construct whose sole function is to seduce men, get pregnant, and give bith to some abomination. Is this an example of misogyny that shouldnt' see the light of day in an OGL product? Are attribute score increases linked to race/lineage an example of biological essentialism or racism? Is a succubus/incubus in a fantasy game okay? These are all rhetorical questions, I don't expect that to be hashed out in this thread, I only want to illustrate that there might be varied opinions on these topics. It's not cut and dried because there are no objective standards here. We can all point to cases we can almost universally agree on, but there's a lot of edge cases out there that aren't so cut and dried.
WotC will make subjective calls, and it will make them wrong, in both directions. It's already made them wrong in both directions, c.f. racist monkey-people and "being against capitalism is a hate crime".

So there needs to be a way to appeal, and it needs to be transparent, and really it needs to be third party.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
WotC will make subjective calls, and it will make them wrong, in both directions. It's already made them wrong in both directions, c.f. racist monkey-people and "being against capitalism is a hate crime".

So there needs to be a way to appeal, and it needs to be transparent, and really it needs to be third party.
And it needs to be limited to a work, not to the creator.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I was thinking how the morality clause could be made acceptable.

1) Have a third party like the antidefamation league make the call, with the publisher/creator bring given a chance to make their case.

2) Have it apply to works( not creators), and only to the extent of the actual hateful content. Content deemed hateful can be removed from the work to make it acceptable. Parts not being deemed hateful can still be salvaged

Edit: and lets make this a plus thread. I don't like that clause anymore than you. But for the argument's sake...
I would be against a 3rd party and WOTC is one of the last organizations that should do this.

The fact that they published Volos Guide to Monsters and Spelljammer show factually that they are not positioned to effectively police content for offensive material. In addition to those factual examples, there are also many unproven allegations of mistreatment of creators of color and non-cis creators that work for them.

If they are really serious about stomping out hate join the OCR and let a panel decide and based on past history WOTC should not be permitted to be a voting member on that panel.
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I think a 3rd party arbitrator isn't a terrible idea, although if the actionable clause is "against WotC's values" then I'm not sure who would be a better judge of that than WotC.

Objective standards are fine on paper, but they are always going to be too soft for some, too hard for others, and fail to account for everything. Not to mention inviting loopholes and tip-toeing of lines on sheer principle. In practice, such standards are dicey at best, and horrifically arbitrary at worst (lookin' at you, MPAA).

That's the thing I think most people are missing about this. These are Wizards' toys. And their "morality clause" is really about their values. It's not about whether a work measures up to any objective or subjective measure of "appropriate" or "inoffensive". It's about whether the work (or the primary activities of the person behind it) promoting, existing alongside neutrally, or actively working against said values. If it's their values, why shouldn't they be the judge of who measures up?

I think there's a tendency to view this as analogous to the Hayes Code, but that's absolutely the wrong analogy. The actual analogy is a politician you hate playing your song at their rallies.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I like the OP's consideration. It keeps the clause from being used as an arbitrary cudgel while making sure it is enforced in the way it was presented to us.

The only issue would be finding a general human rights group with the bandwidth to do this. Sadly, most major groups are focused on specific disenfranchised groups, not just a blanket group.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think a 3rd party arbitrator isn't a terrible idea, although if the actionable clause is "against WotC's values" then I'm not sure who would be a better judge of that than WotC.

Objective standards are fine on paper, but they are always going to be too soft for some, too hard for others, and fail to account for everything. Not to mention inviting loopholes and tip-toeing of lines on sheer principle. In practice, such standards are dicey at best, and horrifically arbitrary at worst (lookin' at you, MPAA).

That's the thing I think most people are missing about this. These are Wizards' toys. And their "morality clause" is really about their values. It's not about whether a work measures up to any objective or subjective measure of "appropriate" or "inoffensive". It's about whether the work (or the primary activities of the person behind it) promoting, existing alongside neutrally, or actively working against said values. If it's their values, why shouldn't they be the judge of who measures up?

I think there's a tendency to view this as analogous to the Hayes Code, but that's absolutely the wrong analogy. The actual analogy is a politician you hate playing your song at their rallies.
The Hayes code was also voluntary and multipolar: Universal couldn't use it to strong-arm Fox, say.

I have no problem with a morality or taste clause: but it needs to be more concrete if done.
 

Langy

Explorer
That's the thing I think most people are missing about this. These are Wizards' toys. And their "morality clause" is really about their values. It's not about whether a work measures up to any objective or subjective measure of "appropriate" or "inoffensive". It's about whether the work (or the primary activities of the person behind it) promoting, existing alongside neutrally, or actively working against said values. If it's their values, why shouldn't they be the judge of who measures up?

That's why I'm fine with WOTC making the initial decision, but as-is the morality clause means WOTC can terminate any license for any reason at any time. Just because they put that bit under a heading labeled 'Hateful content' doesn't mean it's restricted to being about WOTC's values or hateful content or anything like that - it gives WOTC ultimate veto control over anything published under the license.

Under the morality clause as-is the OGL v1.2 effectively gives the licensees no rights whatsoever.
 

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