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5E Mike Mearls is back on the D&D RPG Team

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Three weeks ago, WotC's Jeremy Crawford told us that Mike Mearls was no longer working on the tabletop RPG, and hadn't since some time in 2019. Today, the (newish) D&D head Ray Winninger said on the company's Twitch livestream that Mearls is now back full-time on the tabletop game.

Mike Mearls is back full time on the RPG again. He was splitting his time working on some computer game stuff for us, but he’s back.

He still doesn't appear to be back on social media since his final tweet back in 2019.

mearls2.jpg
 
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Russ Morrissey

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Mistwell

Legend
That's because he would be considered a public figure (regular or limited) for the purposes of this suit and the defense would merely have to say that, based on what they were shown/knew about him, that they were within their rights to make statements that they thought he was an abuser/etc.
No. I do not think Zak qualifies as a public figure under U.S. defamation laws.

But again, most states in the US have anti-SLAPP statutes, which are designed to prevent frivolous lawsuits and even if it didn't get summarily dismissed before a trial hearing, at the hearing all the defense would have to do is present his long and sordid reputation and history and say "based on this, I sincerely believed he was an abuser" and the lawsuit would be tossed and he would be on the hook to pay the legal fees of the defense. If it gets tossed during the anti-SLAPP, he'd be on the hook for even more money as they usually assess additional penalties as a way of saying "Yeah you knew you weren't supposed to do this but you tried anyway."
No. I do not think such a lawsuit would be dismissed under anti-SLAPP lawsuits. It's actually rather difficult to use those laws.
 
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Unfortunately, most of the big-name RPG companies have similar stories. Zak S. is all over the industry, he’s worked with White Wolf, WotC, Paizo, and plenty of others. Most large developers are content to claim ignorance until directly confronted, conduct a cursory investigation, and try to sweep it under the rug with noncommittal statements like Mearls’ tweet, though internally pretty much everyone agrees Zak’s a horrible piece of work. At this point a lot of companies have finally cut ties with Zak thanks to the business with his ex-wife making it impossible to keep feigning ignorance. But he’s a symptom of a bigger problem in the industry as a whole.
Yeah, honestly if you try to avoid stuff that POS's have worked on, you're not gonna have a lot of things.

What's that quote? Love is an illusion and happiness is fleeting, there's no such thing as God and all your favorite musicians beat their wives…ALLEGEDLY.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I have no idea what happened on social media. I don't use social media. As a result, I've never seen or seen "cyber bulling" or "cyber-stalking." But those two phenomena see only to arise when people engage in social media, which is very easy to remove one's self from. It's a personal choice to use or not to use it. I see "cyber bulling" or "cyber-stalking" one of the risk associated with using social media.
So it’s ok that people send other people death threats and disturbing images because the recipients can choose to ignore them?

Is it good? No. But it seems common enough.
It is pretty common, yes. It ought not to be. It certainly ought not to be treated as acceptable.

Also, I don't know exactly what Zak did on social media. I don't know what "stir up a mob" means or what damage it caused. Simply stirring up a mob in itself doesn't need problematic.
Wait, so when a prominent public figure incites their followers to send death threats to someone they don’t like it “doesn’t need to be problematic” but when people call said public figure out for said harassment, that’s a problem? Really?

As for pictures? Yeah. That's why I find social media a problematic technology and don't use it. I'm not sure our ape brains can handle it.
Not social media. Cell phone.

Why is victim warranted?
I figured death threats and pictures of one’s children’s school would speak for itself. If you don’t think the subject of such attacks warrants being referred to as a victim, I question your standard for application of the term,
 
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I know next to nothing about Zak, other than what I have read here, on EnWorld.
So me objecting to epistemological errors, and people conflating opinion with fact is in no way a statement of support or condemnation of Zak.

So calling people, whom raise objections with the broad brush of Zak supporters, is an error.
If your employer thinks you stole office supplies, they can presume you are guilty without proving anything
An “At Will” employment position can be terminated without cause. If that employer were to say in a reference check that “you stole” that is illegal in many jurisdictions.

If that employer stated that you were ineligible for rehire, which implies termination for cause, a reason should be provided, and maintained in HR records.

So Elfcrusher, the rash passions of a mob is justice? In USA history, mob justice tends to hurt the less powerful.

Ok, enough with this thread. Can it be moved to RPG general or Meta or a more appropriate category? There is no D&D content.
 
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So it’s ok that people send other people death threats and disturbing images because the sendees can choose to ignore them?
It's not ok to send, but everyone knows social media is a cesspool. Anyone who chooses to engage with it does so as his or her own peril.

It is pretty common, yes. It ought not to be. It certainly ought not to be treated as acceptable.
Is anyone treating it as acceptable. I'm just not seeing where complete social ostracism with apology is warranted here.

Wait, so when a prominent public figure incites their followers to send death threats to someone they don’t like it “doesn’t need to be problematic” but when people call said public figure out for said harassment, that’s a problem? Really?
Is Zak really a public figure? He seems pretty niche.

I figured death threats and pictures of one’s children’s school would speak for itself. If you don’t think the subject of such attacks warrants being referred to as a victim, I question your standard for application of the term,
If that were true, Zak should be prosecuted in criminal court, no?
 

Mecheon

Explorer
Also, I don't know exactly what Zak did on social media.
So you're defending him, not knowing what he did, not knowing about how he got people together to harass people to the point they had to leave the industry, and then also surrounded himself with people to believe his side of the story to ignore those trying to raise these issues?

Well, hey, guess what buddy-o? My pals include some of those who Zak forced out of the industry.
I'm not sure our ape brains can handle it.
Oh come off it. We're social animals with brains wired to communicate with each other. Social media is merely another forum of conversation. If the idea of typing via computers is that scary, well, video conferencing is the way of the day at the moment (Mind I wouldn't go with Zoom given all of the issues)
 

No. I do not think Zak qualifies as a public figure under U.S. defamation laws.



No. I do not think such a lawsuit would be dismissed under anti-SLAPP lawsuits. It's actually rather difficult to use those laws.
He is an author, game developer, painter who has had his work in galleries, former porn actor. He almost definitely counts as at least a "limited public figure" for these purposes.

This is also my last reply to you on this too, as I have spent too much time engaging with his bad faith defenders. Have a nice day.
 

So Elfcrusher, the rash passions of a mob is justice? In USA history, mob justice tends to hurt the less powerful.
True, when the mobs are defending privilege. Especially when the authorities wink at them while they’re doing it.

And also in USA (and World) history, the high bar of proof has meant that most perpetrators of harassment and assault get away with it, which in turn leads to more harassment and assault.
 

Anti-Semitic comments like this are utterly unacceptable.
So you're defending him, not knowing what he did, not knowing about how he got people together to harass people to the point they had to leave the industry, and then also surrounded himself with people to believe his side of the story to ignore those trying to raise these issues?
Of course I'll defend Zak. I'm a sinner. I've done things wrong. If I were in Nazi Germany in WII, I probably would have gone along with the Holocaust.

I'm not saying he didn't do something ugly. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe he did part of it. Maybe we have proof for part of it. But isn't much easier to spoil someone's or one's own reputation than recover from it?

I'm in favor of better, more universal paths to redemption.

Personally, I find Zak, on the whole, to be a good guy. I wouldn't have a problem bringing my daughter over to his house. I'm not sure I'd be happy if my daughter dated him, but I'm not sure I'd be happy if she dated anyone.

Well, hey, guess what buddy-o? My pals include some of those who Zak forced out of the industry.
That is very sad and unfortunate. How were they "forced out of the industry."

Oh come off it. We're social animals with brains wired to communicate with each other. Social media is merely another forum of conversation. If the idea of typing via computers is that scary, well, video conferencing is the way of the day at the moment (Mind I wouldn't go with Zoom given all of the issues)
I never denied humans were social animals. Conversation is also scary. Any conversation that matters is, anyway. It's the same way that reading history or psychological research is terrifying. Ugly truths are always going to be exposed.

We're all imperfect. We all make mistakes. I don't see Zak's mistakes as being more problematic than other stories I've heard, where livelihoods weren't ruined. The only difference is that Zak's mistakes were public.

Which is why I'm not sure we're ready for social media. I don't know if we all have the wisdom to handle it. I know I don't, so I stay away.

Zak, like other public figures, put his life on display. That is a dangerous choice. In some ways, he got what was coming to him for doing so. But I also don't believe that two wrongs make a right. And I don't believe in accusing someone without evidence. As I said above, it's much easier to spoil someone's or one's own reputation than recover from it.

I don't have the wisdom to foresee the consequences of all my actions. I don't know someone who does. I think we all need a little more humility, and instead of point fingers and casting blame, we should try to find a path to recovery.
 
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True, when the mobs are defending privilege. Especially when the authorities wink at them while they’re doing it.

And also in USA (and World) history, the high bar of proof has meant that most perpetrators of harassment and assault get away with it, which in turn leads to more harassment and assault.
Wait, wait, wait. Let's clarify our terms here.

Privilege: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Can you point out which "special right, advantage, or immunity" we're discussing here?
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's not ok to send, but everyone knows social media is a cesspool. Anyone who chooses to engage with it does so as his or her own peril.
Social media is practically a necessity to find work in modern job markets. People who work on a freelance basis literally cannot afford to avoid social media.

Is anyone treating it as acceptable. I'm just not seeing where complete social ostracism with apology is warranted here.
A lot of folks don’t want to support people who weaponize such behavior.

Is Zak really a public figure? He seems pretty niche.
He’s niche, sure, but even a niche platform is a bigger platform than the vast majority of people have. What matters is that he has (or had, anyway) enough of a following to be able to weaponize against people he personally didn’t like and retain a degree of plausible deniability. That he has largely lost this following is a good thing.

If that were true, Zak should be prosecuted in criminal court, no?
He didn’t do it personally. He encouraged his fans to harass people for him so he could keep his own hands clean.
 


Social media is practically a necessity to find work in modern job markets. People who work on a freelance basis literally cannot afford to avoid social media.
I work just fine, thank you very much, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Life is a structure. One can structure it how one desires. All actions must be balanced carefully. Sometimes we even make the wrong choice, as result of strong emotions, logical facilities, and partial information.

I know whole communities without social media accounts. I have also work in communities where internet was not available at all. Everyone lived fine and seemed happy.

A lot of folks don’t want to support people who weaponize such behavior.
I'm advocating support. I'm advocating mercy, forgiveness, and humility.

He’s niche, sure, but even a niche platform is a bigger platform than the vast majority of people have. What matters is that he has (or had, anyway) enough of a following to be able to weaponize against people he personally didn’t like and retain a degree of plausible deniability. That he has largely lost this following is a good thing.
As I've said. Social media provides great temptations. All people have the potential for evil. Zak, his followers, and me, too.

We should all be hesitant to cast our rocks.

He didn’t do it personally. He encouraged his fans to harass people for him so he could keep his own hands clean.
Yes. People act irrationally and emotionally. We do bad things. I fail to see how social ostracism is warranted. Social ostracism only encourages people to do more harm.
 


Mistwell

Legend
He is an author, game developer, painter who has had his work in galleries, former porn actor. He almost definitely counts as at least a "limited public figure" for these purposes.

This is also my last reply to you on this too, as I have spent too much time engaging with his bad faith defenders. Have a nice day.
You're calling me a bad faith defender because I corrected you on two legal claims you made (and just the legal claims themselves), about the law in my own state and city by the way (Zak lives here), though I am an attorney of 25 years and you are not an attorney by your own admission?

You're a piece of work OblivionDrive.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I work just fine, thank you very much, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Life is a structure. One can structure it how one desires. All actions must be balanced carefully. Sometimes we even make the wrong choice, as result of strong emotions, logical facilities, and partial information.
I work too, and I don’t engage with social media much beyond gaming forums like this. But I’m fortunate enough to have very stable employment, and I’d be willing to bet you do too. Jobs don’t necessarily require social media engagement; job markets do. Careers in which one must consistently market one’s self, such as freelance work and most creative work do not generally afford one the luxury of foregoing social media. If I wanted to start doing theater work again, for example, I would need to engage with social media to at least a cursory extent to be able to find auditions, as that’s where they’re advertised these days.

I know whole communities without social media accounts. I have also work in communities where internet was not available at all. Everyone lived fine and seemed happy.
Anyone in those communities write or develop RPGs?
I'm advocating support. I'm advocating mercy, forgiveness, and humility.
That’s your prerogative. Personally, I advocate support for folks in need of it and consequences for those who use what influence they have to harm others, especially those with less power than them.

As I've said. Social media provides great temptations. All people have the potential for evil. Zak, his followers, and me, too.

We should all be hesitant to cast our rocks.
Such reservation tends to benefit those with power at the expense of those without.

Yes. People act irrationally and emotionally. We do bad things. I fail to see how social ostracism is warranted. Social ostracism only encourages people to do more harm.
Social consequences are often the only consequences people in power face.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yes. That's one way to think about it.
Well, ok then... At least you’re honest about it, I guess? I’m surprised, but glad to know that’s where you stand.

But I think that those who believe themselves to be infallible are those most capable of the most harm. If one can (supposedly) do no wrong, then all unethical acts are done for the greater good.
Did someone claim infallibility?
 

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