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5E Mearls' "Firing" tweet

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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
It has been used for 700 years, but that doesn't make it grammatically correct. ..

That all said, it's changed in how it's been used (as language is wont to do), ...
Yeah, languages change. Hence, it's grammatically correct.


And for the citation-minded ParanoydStyle in Comedy of Errors, Act IV, Scene 3:

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
There’s not a man I meet but doth salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend,

The antecedent of the bolded their is singular "man".
 

Dausuul

Legend
It has been used for 700 years, but that doesn't make it grammatically correct. I recall my English professor who would go nuts at using a plural pronoun for a singular antecedent.
Who gets to say it isn't "grammatically correct?" Most of the Rules of Grammatical Correctness were arbitrary pronouncements by 19th-century grammarians who suffered from severe Latin envy and hated the fact that their native language was descended from the uncouth speech of Saxon peasants.

If something has been used for 700 years, and great writers and orators were among those using it, that's a pretty compelling case for it being grammatically correct as far as I'm concerned.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I wish you could both laugh at something and give XP to it, but, having picked XP because XP IS LIFE, I want you to know I laughed.
[MENTION=44640]bill[/MENTION]d: if you just unironically said that "they" being a plural pronoun is "JUST" a "political weapon", as opposed to how the English language works... wow. I'm sorry but...I have no words for that, just laughter and/or tears. Not everything is political.

"they has been used to refer to singular entities for centuries. It even appears in Shakespeare."

Citations please, Citations! Shakespearian AND otherwise.
Resistance to singular they is recent fad, singular they is natural to English: https://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/austheir.html
 
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Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
It has been used for 700 years, but that doesn't make it grammatically correct.
Actually... The way that language is used in everyday affairs is what is correct. Grammarians have to play catch up to actual usage... Silly notions of what they once concidered proper be damned. If language wasn't constantly evolving, we'd still be speaking whatever pre-Proto-European language that all languages (presumably) evolved from.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I wish you could both laugh at something and give XP to it, but, having picked XP because XP IS LIFE, I want you to know I laughed.
@billd: if you just unironically said that "they" being a plural pronoun is "JUST" a "political weapon", as opposed to how the English language works... wow. I'm sorry but...I have no words for that, just laughter and/or tears. Not everything is political.
1) I appreciate your willingness to accept and use a person's pronouns despite your personal misgivings. Seriously. That's a pretty big step up from a lot of human beings who would refuse out of some principle (either entirely misplaced or deliberately harmful), including on this very board. As someone who uses they/them pronouns, I do want to say thank you.
2) That said, yeah, literally everyone else has covered this, but the singular use of "they" always was and has always been "correct", in plain language if in nothing else. And not just for an individual whose gender is either undetermined or deliberately non-binary; one of the quoted examples here shows Shakespeare using it immediately following the use of singular "man". It's just a thing that always happened.
3) Hate to break this to you, but yeah, grammar is inherently political, if nothing else in the sense that grammar is literally a politic of linguistic use. The fact that self-appointed experts codified rules of "proper" grammar and then elevated that above the "common" use of language was a deliberate advancement of elitism. Even today "proper" grammar is used as a bludgeon against populations whose cultures maintain distinct dialects (most often AAVE or "ebonics" as it is commonly referred to).
3b) Calling this "political", by the way, is not to imply that it has a bias in regards to the left/right dynamics of our current day politics (and parties). Beyond racial minorities and trans/non-binary folx, those most targeted with the use of grammar as a political weapon are "uneducated" white southerners who have their own peculiar dialects (and which AAVE is, ironically, generally regarded to have originated from).
 

Gradine

Archivist
I wasn't as offended by this as I was afraid I would be. (I'm sure as hell no MRA, but I no longer support Posthuman Games because of their public statement many years ago firing fans who disagreed with them, but I somehow missed this.....BY 78 PAGES? JEEBUS ABOVE.)

This though honestly just feels like a momentary, spontaneous burst of genuine frustration, delivered off the cuff, not a deliberate crafted policy statement, and that makes a really big difference. I don't get the impression that he is actually making the declaration that D&D is so tolerant and inclusive and diverse that everyone who disagrees with him about anything can piss off forever. I did get that impression from the Posthuman's statement years ago.

For what it's worth, gatekeeping is bad (when it's based on someone's demographics: in general, if you're gatekeeping everyone equally, and the level of gatekeeping is not OBNOXIOUS, it's actually logical and socially normal, at least that's my hot take).

Gatekeeping women is especially bad because goddamnit I am so tired of this hobby being a sausage fest, you guys, but all other quote unquote minorities (I read somewhere that women are not, in fact, a minority?) should be welcome in D&D space as well. I'm going to have my first non-binary player (that I know of) soon, I think. Their pronouns are "they/them" which drives the grammarian in me :):):):)ing CRAZY because those words are meant to refer to PLURAL entities, not SINGULAR entities but respecting people's pronouns is a thing so...am I 100% comfortable with this? Heck no. I'm still not entirely sure what non-binary even MEANS exactly after having done some cursory ignorance-rinsing research (thanks Bill Nye!). But it really doesn't matter if someone is a trans-asian weregoat if they can roleplay, are fun to play D&D with, and aren't a jerkass. Different strokes, folks, etcetera. I don't like actually think there's any need to keep stating this? but I didn't want to be misunderstood.
Also, I want to clear up some other misconceptions here maybe?

1) The thing that most people are upset with Mearls about here isn't the "firing gatekeepers" thing. Rather, people were upset by the fact that when noted vile garbage person Zak Smith was brought on to consult playtest consult for D&D 5e Mearls repeatedly stood up for and defended Zak. Then insulted the people who claimed to have been hurt personally by Zak as "attention seekers". Mearls then proceeded to clear things up with Zak first, primarily by name-dropping several of his critics directly to Zak, a man who, it bears repeating because this was common knowledge even back then (with much worse stuff only coming to light later) with a history of leading harassment campaigns against his detractors. In other words, Mike Mearls did a series of bad things, some of which may or may not have been defensible given what information he was privy to at the time and some of which almost certainly are not.
2) WotC responded to (much later) revelations that Zak S was a rapist and abuser along with being an obnoxious internet bully and made a weaksauce statement insisting that Zak was only a consultantplaytesterconsultantplaytester and that his special thanks in 5e PHB credits would be removed in future prints, and people were upset because they didn't think it was enough. Mearls never apologized for his crappy behavior or even just admitted that he was wrong to defend Zak in the first place (which is almost certainly because of stupid lawyer BS and not due to Mearls being a genuinely bad person) and WotC basically swept him under the rug for half a year while refusing to engage directly with anyone calling for more serious consequences for Mearls.
3) Mearls has been more or less back in the spotlight recently due primarily to his involvement in Baldur's Gate III, and that combined with WotC rainbow-washing their logo as a show of support for Pride (which, whatever) caused a handful of people to bang the anti-Mearls drum for a third time (because we'd be remiss to not acknowledge that there were plenty of people calling out Mearls' behavior as it was happening as well; also many of Zak's victims themselves were LGBTQ+, hence why they were reacting to the rainbow ampersand tweet.). It's pretty clear that Mearls faced some consequences from WotC (even if it was just sidelining him as the face of D&D for like... half a year or so) and nobody's going to actually confuse D&D 5e with being non-inclusive in intention (if not sometimes staggeringly inept in execution) that's probably the last we'll hear about it. Which is, again, whatever.
4) As an aside, this is the first time I've heard of Posthuman Games and their stance, but I'm always down to support smaller ethical companies, so I'll definitely be giving Eclipse Phase a look. So, thanks for (backhanded) recommendation!
 
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doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
Who would have thought that a system specifically designed to encourage people to speak without thinking, that blocks you from expressing anything complex or nuanced enough to require more than 280 characters, and that gets essentially zero moderation would turn out badly?
You know you can thread multiple tweets together, right?
 

Dausuul

Legend
Then forwarded privately sent messages warning Mearls about Zak directly to Zak, a man who, it bears repeating because this was common knowledge even back then (with much worse stuff only coming to light later) with a history of leading harassment campaigns against his detractors.
That is quite an accusation. Is there evidence for it?
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Actually... The way that language is used in everyday affairs is what is correct. Grammarians have to play catch up to actual usage... Silly notions of what they once concidered proper be damned. If language wasn't constantly evolving, we'd still be speaking whatever pre-Proto-European language that all languages (presumably) evolved from.

The common statement in my circles is that grammarian nitpicking is often seen as a microagression and a form of racism, or in this case sexism.
 

HJFudge

Villager
...I read this whole thing, not realizing until halfway through that most of the posts were from a year ago. I had to finish just to finish.

I caught up to the 'recent' stuff and, well, I dunno. I have mixed feelings on all this guys. Mearls judgment of character due to the Zak S fiasco is pretty suspect. When the whole Zak S thing went down, people were 'shocked, SHOCKED' but the signs had been there for *years*. It came as no surprise to me, personally. "Yeah, that tracks" was pretty much my reaction. Still, sometimes people can be fooled...but then Mearls seemed to double down on the defense of Zakky and it just made me cringe.

His righteous outrage and indignation (well meant, in the original tweet this post was started on) seems more like posturing in hindsight.

Another takeaway from this thread: A lot of people really hate gatekeeping, because they don't realize that gatekeeping is what everyone does on a daily basis to keep them and their social circle safe. I 100% gatekeep at my tables. I vet every player to ensure they won't be an issue and that they'll play nice with my tables expectations. This is for both my benefit and the benefit of the person being 'gatekept'. I have expectations at my table that there will be a high level of respect shown to me and my players. I also have expectations for niggly things like 'I do not allow you to just pick up and roll dice willy nilly, I will tell you when to roll.'

Basically, its not a table everyone would be comfortable at. So its best that I curate who is a good fit and who is not. That is gatekeeping. It, like any tool, can be used with ill intent and for nefarious purposes. But don't knock the tool: It's too useful to get rid of.
 

the Jester

Legend
1) The thing that most people are upset with Mearls about here isn't the "firing gatekeepers" thing. Rather, people were upset by the fact that when noted vile garbage person Zak Smith was brought on to consult playtest consult for D&D 5e Mearls repeatedly stood up for and defended Zak. Then insulted the people who claimed to have been hurt personally by Zak as "attention seekers". Then forwarded privately sent messages warning Mearls about Zak directly to Zak, a man who, it bears repeating because this was common knowledge even back then (with much worse stuff only coming to light later) with a history of leading harassment campaigns against his detractors. In other words, Mike Mearls did a series of bad things, some of which may or may not have been defensible given what information he was privy to at the time and some of which almost certainly are not.
I keep seeing this allegation, but the only thing that I have seen to back it up was a poorly-worded tweet from Mearls and the same accusations running round and round the interwebz. So to be clear, this is the take on it a bunch of people online have. But I haven't seen anything to back up the accusation that Mearls forwarded emails to Zak S, despite asking repeatedly when the topic comes up.. If he did, that was awful; however, that's an accusation that is, to the best of my knowledge, lacking evidence. That's not to say this take is wrong, but rather to point out that it seems to be assuming a lot.

2) WotC responded to (much later) revelations that Zak S was a rapist and abuser along with being an obnoxious internet bully and made a weaksauce statement insisting that Zak was only a consultantplaytesterconsultantplaytester and that his special thanks in 5e PHB credits would be removed in future prints, and people were upset because they didn't think it was enough.
I'm not really sure what else people wanted them to do. He doesn't work for them.
 

Gradine

Archivist
DzQRENEVYAAUbNd.jpg

This is the evidence most people point to when making that claim, which is, admittedly, not exactly a smoking gun. The truth seems to be less "Mearls forwarded people's complaints to Zak" and more "Mearls inadvertently name-dropped two critics to a man who is notorious for launching harassment campaigns against his critics" at least as far as the evidence lies, which is definitely not the same thing, but... it's still pretty terrible. Just less intentionally so, I guess.

In case it hadn't been clear, I'm honestly largely ambivalent on this crap at this point. Fred Hicks was doing almost exactly the same awful crap at around basically the same time-frame (though at least Fred apologized for it later), back when OSR was the Big Hot Thing and bigger designers were desperate to pander to that audience in any way possible. Again, a direct apology or some indication a lesson was learned by all this would be really, really nice, but it appears to be asking for too much from WotC or Mearls at this point and it's pretty obvious the pressure for it just doesn't exist anymore.

Enabling a serial harasser and abuser is pretty awful mistake that ends up getting a lot more people hurt, and that deserves an apology, but at the end of the day, it's still just a mistake. You learn from it and do better in the future.

I just... I just hope they actually learned from it.

Edit: By the by, I apologize for my own part in perpetuating a rumor that didn't seem to have much leg to stand on. I've taken the liberty to edit the wording in my previous post to more accurately describe the bad thing Mearls did in this instance.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Another takeaway from this thread: A lot of people really hate gatekeeping, because they don't realize that gatekeeping is what everyone does on a daily basis to keep them and their social circle safe. I 100% gatekeep at my tables. I vet every player to ensure they won't be an issue and that they'll play nice with my tables expectations. This is for both my benefit and the benefit of the person being 'gatekept'. I have expectations at my table that there will be a high level of respect shown to me and my players. I also have expectations for niggly things like 'I do not allow you to just pick up and roll dice willy nilly, I will tell you when to roll.'

Basically, its not a table everyone would be comfortable at. So its best that I curate who is a good fit and who is not. That is gatekeeping. It, like any tool, can be used with ill intent and for nefarious purposes. But don't knock the tool: It's too useful to get rid of.
That’s not what people mean by ‘gatekeeping’.

It’s not about keeping problematic individuals from your home game. It’s about keeping demographics from your hobby.

Gatekeeping is about demographics, not individuals.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I'm not really sure what else people wanted them to do. He doesn't work for them.
They repeatedly publicly defended him when multiple people tried to tell them what an awful toxic person and harasser he was, and then, as if that wasn't enough, Mearls specifically was caught bad-mouthing and insulting said accusers behind their backs. You don't think that warrants, at bear minimum, a "We're sorry?" Maybe a "We should have listened, and we will do a better job of that in the future?"

They won't, of course, because corporate lawyers and culpability and yadda yadda but I think it's a little much to say that "So it's JUST NOW COME TO LIGHT that one of our many playtesters was a bad person, we'll be removing their credits in future prints, that's all we have to say on the subject" ought to be sufficient to the people Zak hurt that spent years trying to warn them, if not the broader community.
 

HJFudge

Villager
That’s not what people mean by ‘gatekeeping’.

It’s not about keeping problematic individuals from your home game. It’s about keeping demographics from your hobby.

Gatekeeping is about demographics, not individuals.
They may not MEAN that. However, then I'd kindly request they use a different word that doesn't mean that. Because that is what the word Gatekeeping refers to.

It is, by definition, the activity of controlling (and usually limiting) access to something.

I think the word/phrase that probably should be used is 'Being a Dick'. Or 'Oppressing.' They are not gatekeepers, but Oppressors. Gatekeeping has no negative context. I guess maybe it does now to some? I guess I missed the memo! But it just sounds like a bunch of people who didn't know what the word actually means decided to weaponize it and then when someone pointed out they were using the word incorrectly they decided to double down rather than admit a minor error. A common thing on the internet, to be sure, and its whatever.

Anyway, anyone who uses gatekeeping in that context is probably better off using the word Oppress/oppressor.
 

Gradine

Archivist
It would be equally easy for you to read the thread. But, since that's hard, have a link regarding his behaviour and another one. If you think that I'm being snide, it's because every time this subject comes up on ENWorld, someone inevitably calls out "where's the evidence" while not having read the whole thread. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
To be fair, I think the thing they were asking for evidence for was the "Mearls doxxed accusers to Zak S" trope, which is oft-repeated but less backed-up (to the extent that I couldn't find anyone who claims to be a victim of said doxxing, which would at least be a start). The truth, in this case, seemed to be more an inadvertent naming, which, given the things Zak S was being accused of and was frankly well-known for before this whole thing even started, was something Mearls should have never done in the first place.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
They may not MEAN that. However, then I'd kindly request they use a different word that doesn't mean that. Because that is what the word Gatekeeping refers to.

It is, by definition, the activity of controlling (and usually limiting) access to something.
I do not think that the world will acquiesce to your request. Sorry. You’ll just have to shout at the clouds. :)
 
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