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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

ibenny

Explorer
Er, just a heads-up here...the problem you might be unwittingly sailing into is that the person you're arguing with is this site's owner; and as such - like it or not - he to some extent can tell you what to do.
I know exactly who he is, and what we’re talking about (and how) is far from that said extent.
 

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darjr

I crit!
Did you literally just order me not to say something while defending your own right to say what you want? Is somebody going jump out from behind a plant pot and reveal I'm being Punked or something?
Me! It's going to be me! .... now if only I knew what to put in the pot ....
 


darjr

I crit!
It probably would have been had he (1) not marketed himself as a safe and inclusive streamer, and (2) appropriately apologized and recognized what he did.
I don't think so, he proved to be unsafe. His apology was, to me, insincere. I would NOT want anyone working with me on a project to be exposed to him. Flat out.

He does still work for Peter Adkison on the Chaldea comic doesn't he? If so he's working there.
 


Arguing for and defending an abuser to be let off the hook while at the same time arguing that people who might be working with said abuser SHOULDNT be told that they are working with said abuser is problematic.

After this comment, i went online to read what happened. Particularly, i was curious about why the term abuser was used.

Now that i have:

It would have already been a serious issue if it had happened privately, at the table.

The fact that it was done while streaming makes it even more serious.

However i think a conversation is needed about this new medium of streaming. And what boundaries/expectations need to be drawn/set befofe starting such a creative endeavour with a group.

i recently found out about what Bertolucci and Brando did in Last Tango. Instead of landing Brando and Bertolucci a prison sentence, the film won awards and got nominated for Oscars...


The reason i'm mentioning it is because there's different levels of abusive behaviour. Putting them all in the same bracket of "abuser" isn't helpful, i don't think.

Going back to AK, I'm not going to downplay what the guy did in this instance.
But if you're going to assume that particular stance that i put in a quote for his behaviour, what would you expect for someone that is on the sex offender register? Surely the severity is not the same, i mean was he convicted of a crime? Should he be, in your opinion?

I do think we should scrutinise media, and creators. The music industry, and the movie industry are big ones, who are in dire need of proper scrutiny. Media outlets. (Media ownership, and how that impacts our frail democracies. But i digress). That doesn't mean that the smaller ones should be free of scrutiny, either.

But i'm not sure that automatically assuming the position of outrage and "burn them at the stake" attirude is the right approach either. People make mistakes. We all do. We need to be able to talk about it. Demonising people isn't the answer, I don't think.
 
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darjr

I crit!
I think there were a lot of people hoping that he would see, really see, and make amends, to become a better person. His behavior after let a lot of those folks down. There are other things that have come to light after as well. As with Hollywood we only see the iceberg above the waters. It is THE reason people are so adamant and reluctant to work with him and now possibly Luke. It's because they did not seem to take what happened seriously. Almost the opposite in both cases. Anyway I'm totally on board with redemption. But there needs to be some, really be there.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Yes. It should have been a topic for like a week, not for a year (and more..).
Luke...Luke Crane? Is that you?!?
After this comment, i went online to read what happened. Particularly, i was curious about why the term abuser was used.

Now that i have:

It would have already been a serious issue if it had happened privately, at the table.

The fact that it was done while streaming makes it even more serious.

However i think a conversation is needed about this new medium of streaming. And what boundaries/expectations need to be drawn/set befofe starting such a creative endeavour with a group.

i recently found out about what Bertolucci and Brando did in Last Tango. Instead of landing Brando and Bertolucci a prison sentence, the film won awards and got nominated for Oscars...


I'm not going to downplay what the guy did.
But if you're going to assume that particular stance that i put in a quote for his behaviour, what would you expect for someone that is on the sex offender register? Surely the severity is not the same, i mean was he convicted of a crime? Should he be, in your opinion?

I do think we should scrutinise media, and creators. The music industry, and the movie industry are big ones, who are in dire need of proper scrutiny. Media outlets. (Media ownership, and how that impacts our frail democracies. But i digress). That doesn't mean that the smaller ones should be free of scrutiny, either.

But i'm not sure that automatically assuming the position of outrage and "burn them at the stake" attirude is the right approach either. People make mistakes. We all do. We need to be able to talk about it. Demonising people isn't the answer, I don't think.
I used the word abuser not because he committed a crime or should be charged with one. I used the word because this was someone who marketed himself as safe and promoted safety and inclusiveness at TTRPG tables and within the community at large.

What he did on that stream wasn't spur of the moment. There's a video out there on youtube where the young lady who was the player in that scenario states that Adam asked her about her PC's and possible story directions for her PC in the future. He knew what he was going to do before he did it and KNEW that his players if asked before hand would have objected to what he was going to do.

THAT'S why I called him an abuser. And THAT'S why he caught and still continues to catch flak for what he did. That and his non apology. And yes had it been at a private table it still would have been messed up and wrong. But this was done live on stream on a fairly popular streamed game. The faces of the other players during the stream says it all. They were stunned by what happened. Especially coming from Koebel.

And as far as "mistakes" and "forgiveness" goes?

It's my experience that people who like pushing boundaries and then do "non-apologies" are not to be trusted. AT ALL. Because for them? It's just them testing boundaries to see what they can get away with next time. Typical narc behavior.

You can usually tell the difference between them and the people who are legitimately apologetic and want to do the work not to make the same kind of mistake again.

Koebel is the FORMER. Not the Latter.
 

Er, just a heads-up here...the problem you might be unwittingly sailing into is that the person you're arguing with is this site's owner; and as such - like it or not - he to some extent can tell you what to do.

When people participate in a forum, they (quite rightly) expect moderators to keep personal opinions and moderation separate, they are different hats.

Since the moderation aspect hasn't been brought up (not even by the moderator), the fact that you suggest that he should modify his opinion, just because he is conversing with a moderator, does this forum a disservice in my opinion.
 


Luke...Luke Crane? Is that you?!?

I used the word abuser not because he committed a crime or should be charged with one. I used the word because this was someone who marketed himself as safe and promoted safety and inclusiveness at TTRPG tables and within the community at large.

What he did on that stream wasn't spur of the moment. There's a video out there on youtube where the young lady who was the player in that scenario states that Adam asked her about her PC's and possible story directions for her PC in the future. He knew what he was going to do before he did it and KNEW that his players if asked before hand would have objected to what he was going to do.

THAT'S why I called him an abuser. And THAT'S why he caught and still continues to catch flak for what he did. That and his non apology. And yes had it been at a private table it still would have been messed up and wrong. But this was done live on stream on a fairly popular streamed game. The faces of the other players during the stream says it all. They were stunned by what happened. Especially coming from Koebel.

And as far as "mistakes" and "forgiveness" goes?

It's my experience that people who like pushing boundaries and then do "non-apologies" are not to be trusted. AT ALL. Because for them? It's just them testing boundaries to see what they can get away with next time. Typical narc behavior.

You can usually tell the difference between them and the people who are legitimately apologetic and want to do the work not to make the same kind of mistake again.

Koebel is the FORMER. Not the Latter.

I actually agree with a lot of your observations about patterns of behaviour in how people like that behave. And the pre-meditated nature does make it worse.

What i was trying to get at, is that even though this is clearly reprehensible behaviour, i'm not sure it warrants saying "look this guy is participating in that project. Are you still cool to participate?"

The reason i don't think that's right is because it places the project creator in the uncomfortable position of being judge, jury and executioner.

Imagine if someone did that to me or you, without good reason. We could sue them for defamation. Because they imply i did something wrong. Based on hearsay.
 

DM Magic

Adventurer
Is it ever going to end..? It's high time to give Koebel a break, it's not like he's a war criminal or something like that and should be pushed to the ground any time he wants to do something RPG-related. He made an error, not something that warrants for an everlasting exclusion.
He emotionally abused a partner and destroyed a friendship over a job. He’s not a war criminal, nor is he owed an audience or a platform to reach said audience.
 
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ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
I actually agree with a lot of your observations about patterns of behaviour in how people like that behave. And the pre-meditated nature does make it worse.

What i was trying to get at, is that even though this is clearly reprehensible behaviour, i'm not sure it warrants saying "look this guy is participating in that project. Are you still cool to participate?"

The reason i don't think that's right is because it places the project creator in the uncomfortable position of being judge, jury and executioner.

Imagine if someone did that to me or you, without good reason. We could sue them for defamation. Because they imply i did something wrong. Based on hearsay.
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree. As the project creator / manager it's kind of my responsibility to make sure that the project team in question is okay working with other team members who's very public actions my tarnish their reputations by association. While your concern is for the offending party, I'm going to be worried about the otherwise non toxic team members who at the bare minimum should have a heads up about who they're working with.

It's not being a judge, jury or executioner.

It's called being a responsible project manager/ team leader.

And no one is going to sue me or you for warning the other team members about someone's very public reputation and allowing them to make a decision on their own. Hell, you havent even considered how this can go the other way. Someone else's reputation and brand being tarnished because they were on a project with someone like Koebel and then they turn around and sue the project leader for not telling them? That seems to be a more viable situation than the one you proposed.
 

CandyLaser

Explorer
It's worth noting that the way Crane added Koebel was quite duplicitous. Koebel wasn't in the initial publicity material, and when his name did show up, the names were listed in reverse alphabetical order by first name—you know, that perfectly ordinary way to list things that we do all the time—resulting in Koebel's name being buried at the back. And that's on top of not telling the other contributors about Koebel's involvement.

Koebel does not have to be a perpetual persona non grata in the world of RPGs. But if he's going to re-enter that space as a creator, 1) it can't be done in this underhanded way, and 2) it has to come after he's actually made amends. It's not like he can just vanish for a while and come back and say, "It's all right! I'm good now!" There needs to be evidence that he's changed his ways, and attempting to surreptitiously smuggle himself back in is in fact evidence that he has not.

Moreover, Koebel's involvement isn't the only issue. Crane also abused his position at Kickstarter to do things denied to other users. For instance, he changed his username and deleted user comments on this and other Kickstarter projects he created, which Kickstarter has said it can't do for non-employees. That results in a bunch of bad effects, such as people who've changed their name being stuck creating projects under their old name and being unable to effectively moderate their Kickstarter campaign comments. Dropping Crane is the right move for Kickstarter here, but they should go further and allow users to change their names on the site. Crane's abuse shows that it is, in fact, doable.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
He emotionally abused a partner and destroyed a friendship over a job.
I didn't know about that part...yikes.

What he did on camera was bad enough that I would have lost his phone number and never interacted with him in person again if I was in his group. But that's a level higher than that...
 

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree. As the project creator / manager it's kind of my responsibility to make sure that the project team in question is okay working with other team members who's very public actions my tarnish their reputations by association. While your concern is for the offending party, I'm going to be worried about the otherwise non toxic team members who at the bare minimum should have a heads up about who they're working with.

It's not being a judge, jury or executioner.

It's called being a responsible project manager/ team leader.

And no one is going to sue me or you for warning the other team members about someone's very public reputation and allowing them to make a decision on their own. Hell, you havent even considered how this can go the other way. Someone else's reputation and brand being tarnished because they were on a project with someone like Koebel and then they turn around and sue the project leader for not telling them? That seems to be a more viable situation than the one you proposed.
I'd be curious to find out how you feel about the Kevin Spacey situation:

"In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Other men alleged that Spacey had made unwanted advances and had sexually harassed them as well. Netflix cut ties with Spacey, shelving his film Gore and removing him from the last season of House of Cards. Spacey's role as J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott's film All the Money in the World (2017) was reshot with Christopher Plummer in his place.[4][5] In 2018, Billionaire Boys Club (which had been completed before the allegations surfaced) was released with Spacey's role unchanged and as of 2021, it remains his last film.[6]

As of March 2021, the case involving Spacey has yet to come to court and he has not been found guilty of any criminal offence."

(From Wikipedia)

That has to suck, those kind of ramifications, especially for something that you didn't do. What i'm saying is, in my opinion we should stop making snap judgements through the trial of public opinion. That's true both when we're the audience, and it's true when we're potential co-creators too - in my mind at least.

CandyLaser offered some additional context about this specific case that i wasn't aware of. And that info does change things. I was speaking about the principle earlier. With regards to the general principle: I'm undecided on whose responsibility it is, primarily. Arguably, it shouldn't matter who asks the question. If i'm transparent, i can allow people to make decisions based on their opinions/values/information.

But that's different to an expectation on the part of the project creator to inform people about x. I personally have a problem with that. Inform about what, exactly? On what basis? How much evidence would you need? It's very ok to agree to disagree, i just wanted to explain my thought process.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'd be curious to find out how you feel about the Kevin Spacey situation:

"In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Other men alleged that Spacey had made unwanted advances and had sexually harassed them as well. Netflix cut ties with Spacey, shelving his film Gore and removing him from the last season of House of Cards. Spacey's role as J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott's film All the Money in the World (2017) was reshot with Christopher Plummer in his place.[4][5] In 2018, Billionaire Boys Club (which had been completed before the allegations surfaced) was released with Spacey's role unchanged and as of 2021, it remains his last film.[6]

As of March 2021, the case involving Spacey has yet to come to court and he has not been found guilty of any criminal offence."

(From Wikipedia)

That has to suck, those kind of ramifications, especially for something that you didn't do. What i'm saying is, in my opinion we should stop making snap judgements through the trial of public opinion. That's true both when we're the audience, and it's true when we're potential co-creators too - in my mind at least.

CandyLaser offered some additional context about this specific case that i wasn't aware of. And that info does change things. I was speaking about the principle earlier. With regards to the general principle: I'm undecided on whose responsibility it is, primarily. Arguably, it shouldn't matter who asks the question. If i'm transparent, i can allow people to make decisions based on their opinions/values/information.

But that's different to an expectation on the part of the project creator to inform people about x. I personally have a problem with that. Inform about what, exactly? On what basis? How much evidence would you need? It's very ok to agree to disagree, i just wanted to explain my thought process.
Spacey is defending himself in court for his crimes, and his being cut off from the entertainment industry was appropriate, if a little too late. The reckoning should have happened sooner, as people knew what he did.
 

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