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Michael A Stackpole Resigns from GAMA

Industry veteran Michael A Stackpole has posted an open letter of resignation to the Game Manufacturers Association, citing various examples of why the board is “broken”.




To the GAMA Board,

It is my great pleasure to have been part of the gaming industry since 1972 when I first discovered it. In 1977 I sold my first article, in 1978 I sold my first game design and in 1979 began working for Flying Buffalo, Inc.. In 1985 I was able to go freelance and since that time I have made my living through creative arts including game design and game based fiction. My work has been honored with Origins awards, and in 1993 I received the GAMA Meritorious Service award, and was a first ballot inductee into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame. I have worked long enough in this industry to have survived many of the companies for whom I worked, and have continued to enjoy fruitful associations with what companies remain.

A long time ago, to honor the industry which gave me my start, I made a personal pledge to serve it however I could. I have been a long time volunteer. I have been an advocate for gaming in perilous times. With Loren Wiseman’s help, in the late 1980s and early 1990s I successfully led the fight against the religious right and their attempts to censor and abolish the games we create, enjoy and share. I still take pride in gamers reporting to me that The Pulling Report enabled them to fight back against anti-game bigotry even to this day. Though the work is difficult, I have been pleased to continue the fight as part of the Industry Watch Committee of GAMA.

The greatest privilege I have had is to serve on the Board of Directors, initially for three years as an elected member, and the last eleven as an Emeritus member. I feel the Emeritus role on the board is a crucial one, since board turnover requires a repository of knowledge so we can avoid the pitfalls of past mistakes, and maintain the benefits of what we have learned in past times.

I regret that I must now tender my resignation from that post.

I have not reached this decision based on any political divide within the Board. I have come to it because the Board is broken. Since June, the board has had more meetings than ever before, and has done less than ever before. In one recent meeting, it took the board 45 minutes to word a resolution empowering a committee to hire a lawyer to negotiate with another lawyer. Three-quarters of an hour, in a meeting scheduled for two hours, which stretched to four.

The board is broken when the organization’s membership indicates its will; and then the board commissions a poll to second guess the membership’s will. When that poll comes back confirming what the membership wants, the board hires a lawyer to tell them they can ignore the membership.

The board is broken when it, having previously enjoyed robust and detailed discussions about GAMA harassment policies, down to the minutia of the structuring of an investigative team to be in place at our shows, chooses only to censure an officer who physically assaulted a female security guard.

The board is broken when, in wishing to discuss me in email, without my being aware of the chain, they actually send it to a list which includes me. (Thought I’d let you know about that so you didn’t think your emails were leaked to me.)

This is not a decision reached easily, and one that comes with profound sadness. During my time in the industry, I have seen incredible change for the better, and an incredible resilience to recover from all manner of disasters—economic, social and board-generated. I have great belief that the gaming industry will survive and thrive in the future. It is bigger than any one person, or a board. It can be defined only by the pleasure and joy it brings everyone it touches, and, therefore, will be eternal.

My resignation is effective 3 PM, 5 January 2019

Michael A. Stackpole
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Eltab

Hero
A BattleTech novel by Michael introduced me to that game.

I served on a local "hobby" non-profit Board for several years, where we had a 'broken Board' problem. Ours was solvable after running a slate of new candidates - myself included - specifically to break a 6-6 tie between two factions. (The new Board was split 4-4-4 and could make Yes decisions for all three factions' proposals.)
We did have some unpleasant tasks too, such as privately rebuking an individual who liked manipulating Roberts' Rules of Order more than he liked getting club business done.

I sympathize with Michael's expressed frustration that whatever is going on in GAMA seems insolvable.
 

Shasarak

First Post
Ha, first rule of talking about someone behind their back is to not cc them in on the email chain.

It sounds like he is right to leave them to it.
 

dwayne

Adventurer
When something fun become popular, and more do it, others see this as an opportunity to make money and in turn the fun thing becomes a job and industry. Then it becomes all about the money not the fun and enjoyment of those doing it, and then is a beast that may need to be put down and reminded from which it came and as to who or what it once was about. I feel this way with D&D at times as well, it has changed hands many times and lost its way more than once until it became what it is now, a watered down version of it's former self. It is not bad just making it's way back from the pits of 4th edition into it's former glory, but again has some ways to go maybe another edition or two to recapture what it was"or just some more better options to this one would be better". Anyway with anything people do something they love share it with others who do others see dollar signs and use it for such and everyone loses.
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
Hasn't Gamma been a joke for far longer, I remember Gama's 'culture' being discussed in very negative ways over the past two decades. And while I generally like Stackpole's BT novels (Battletech fan here), he's also got a history of being rather arrogant (as I understand it). These are of course all second hand recollections of others, my only personal experience with either is the end result and my wonderment if someone/something is living in another reality from our own (because what I'm seeing can't be right)...
 

Koloth

First Post
Seems the #1 goal of lawyers is to produce product that requires more lawyers. And having members of a group that enjoy the parliamentary process more then actually getting things done is far too common. Been part of such a group. Seems a common trait among gamer types.

14 years is a good run. Hope he finds productive use for his newly freed up time.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
A BattleTech novel by Michael introduced me to that game.
I came at it the other way, discovering Stackpole's novels after starting to play the game in the late '90s, reading the engrossing history of this fantastic alternate future summarized in the setting material, and after finding out that there were actual novels that followed the lives of the characters and detailed the events mentioned in the sourcebooks, I got a hold of every Stackpole BattleTech novel I could find and devoured them voraciously. I still go back and read them annually, and they never fail to re-spark fond feelings and memories (much like I do with David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean, which I discovered around the same time.) Stackpole's books have always been my favorite BattleTech novels, and I still love Kai Allard Laio and Victor Steiner-Davion.

Yes, I'm a firm FedRat. Long Live the Federated Suns!
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
And having members of a group that enjoy the parliamentary process more then actually getting things done is far too common. Been part of such a group. Seems a common trait among gamer types.
All must bow before my system mastery! :p
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And having members of a group that enjoy the parliamentary process more then actually getting things done is far too common. Been part of such a group. Seems a common trait among gamer types.
Quelle suprise! We refer to certain gamer types a s"rules lawyers" for a reason. You give people who like playing with rules a set of rules, and they will play with them!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Only read his Star Wars novels and I thought they were over rated preferring the Aaron Alston ones over Stackpoles (Wraith Squadron>Rogue).
 

basilforth

Explorer
"Recite my credentials. Criticise my successors."

What is his goal with such a tactic? Is such a hidebound group going to be influenced by this type of resignation?
 



Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
"Recite my credentials. Criticise my successors."

What is his goal with such a tactic? Is such a hidebound group going to be influenced by this type of resignation?
He doesn’t want to be associated with that body any more, I guess. So he’s resigning.
 

MGibster

Hero
"Recite my credentials. Criticise my successors."

What is his goal with such a tactic? Is such a hidebound group going to be influenced by this type of resignation?
I don't think he expects to influence the board but hopes to influence those who elect the board. His complaint is that the board doesn't represent the interests of GAMA members doesn't effectively function. And, really, if the president of GAMA physically assaulted a guard he should have been made to resign rather than received a censure.

Stackpole doesn't have many options to effect change from within the organization. He's got members of the board circulating emails about him behind his back. Or at least they tried to circulate it behind his back. He's hoping an open letter detailing the reasons for his resignation will lead members to demand change and perhaps elect a different board in the future.
 

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