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Luke Crane Resigns From Kickstarter

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Kickstarter's Head of Community (and the creator of The Burning Wheel RPG) has resigned after public criticism with the way he launched a project on the platform last month.

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Kickstarter told Polygon that "After a discussion about what is best for Kickstarter and our team, we came to the mutual decision with Luke Crane for him to leave Kickstarter. We recognize the many years of work Luke has done to help bring creative projects to life at Kickstarter and we are committed to ensure continued support for our team and for our backer and creator community through this moment of change."

Crane used to be involved with the games side of Kickstarter, but more recently has been Head of Community. The current Director of Games Outreach at Kickstarter is Anya Combs, who has been in place for over a year.


The Perfect RPG was an anthology of tabletop RPGs from a variety of creators. Amongst those creators was Dungeon World's Adam Koebel, whose livestream was cancelled in 2020 after including a non-consensual sexual assault scene. Several designers withdrew their support for The Perfect RPG when they only found out after the project was launched that Koebel was involved, and Crane cancelled the project amidst a great deal of criticism, claiming that the creators were harassed into withdrawing their support (a claim which several creators have said is untrue). The list of creators has since been removed and replaced with the words "Redacted to reduce future harassment".

His most recent update on the cancelled project is an apology to those affected.


Hello.

I apologize for such a long silence in the wake of the project launch last month. I’ve been in a lot of conservations, and doing a lot of listening. I waited to post anything because I wanted to be sure to be as thoughtful and considered as possible:

When we began the Perfect RPG project, my only goal was to launch a small collection of micro-games designed by my friends and others whose work I respect in the community. On the day it launched, while the project was falling apart, I did not fully understand what was at stake and what had happened—in the shock of the moment my communications were insensitive and desultory.

So here and now I wish to unequivocally apologize to you, and everyone affected, for the harm I’ve done to the community with this project. I am grateful for your input over the last month, and have done my best to listen with an open heart. I thank you for sharing your opinions and feelings, and know that I have violated the trust you placed in me. I am sincerely, deeply regretful.

In creating the project, I made a series of missteps and miscalculations that added up to a gross oversight on my part and, accordingly, I am fully responsible for the current situation and its effects. So I would like to add some clarification around some of the particular points raised, in the hope that it will help the community as a whole move forward in a productive way: There was no deceit, deception or bad faith in any of my actions around the project. I understand that I should have disclosed the participant list to all contributors beforehand, and I feel terrible that my poor planning placed some creators in a difficult position. Likewise with the unusual order in which contributors were listed—I was seeking to highlight the first creator on the list, who was my primary playtester for this project. In hindsight this was a poor idea that came off as duplicitous, for which I apologize.

The Indie RPG community is close-knit and passionate—it is one of the things I've loved the most about being a member. I have worked for 20 years to build and advocate for this community and expand it past its roots. It is very much my life’s work. To see it hurt through my actions has been devastating. Therefore I am now doing my best to repair the harm I have caused and make restitution to anyone negatively affected by my actions.

I recognize that this statement reflects an as-yet incomplete understanding of the impact of my actions, and only a start to making things right. I am actively looking for other ways to redress the wrong I’ve done. To begin this process, I have reached out to all the contributors of the project and I am in discussions with them, listening to their perspectives and asking them for input. I hope that with their help, and the help of this gaming community, I can demonstrate my continued commitment to building better games for all of us.

Sincerely,

—Luke
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey









The project is dead. Crane is out of his job. This particular incident seems pretty over and done. That doesn't mean that people are going to forget, mind you.
The project being dead doesn't mean it's not going to explode all over Luke's small business with Thor Olavsruud. Or at conventions.
 





Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
I wonder about what is going to happen the day when players of the Call of the Culhthu discover Lovecraft had got serious racial predjudices.
The CoC community has been dealing with that particular dilemma for quite a few years now. So I wouldn’t worry about them.

Not that I see the correlation to Luke Crane and his Kickstarter, mind you.
 
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I don't defend what that guy did. He did a wrong action and his reputation was tainted. Even if he apologies the forgive will have to await a long time. But sometimes I feel serious fear with the cancel culture if this may become too irrational. We have to report what is wrong, but also we need good sense and serenity, or we also will commit our own mistakes because we are too blinded by our proud and fury.
 

Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
Lule Crane is not cancelled. He’s still fulfilling the Torchbearer Kickstarter and is free to create other Kickstarters at will. He gets quite a lot of support from backers there as well.

He lost his job as VP of Community at Kickstarter, a position that is reliant on the trust of the community. A not illogical result of riling up that very community, I believe.
 

I don't defend what that guy did. He did a wrong action and his reputation was tainted. Even if he apologies the forgive will have to await a long time. But sometimes I feel serious fear with the cancel culture if this may become too irrational. We have to report what is wrong, but also we need good sense and serenity, or we also will commit our own mistakes because we are too blinded by our proud and fury.
I don't see anything irrational about this turn of events, other than Crane's own idea to bring Koebel onto the project in a duplicitous manner, and then defending himself by abusing Kickstarter site tools that are not available to other campaign runners, thus giving his employer a bad name.

Seriously, what was he thinking? How did he think this was going to go?
 



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