Rules question: personal attacks on game designers

Sacrosanct

Legend
Question for possible discussion. Just tossing ideas out there. There have been relatively frequent attacks on game designers who may or may not be active members of the forum. I'm not talking about criticisms of games (which I think should never be quashed), but actual personal attacks on the designers themselves. For example, Mearls and Crawford have frequently been called liars, lazy, incompetent, stupid, intentionally sabotaging the game because they want it to fail, etc. I'm assuming Mearls and Crawford aren't members of this forum, because otherwise I'd expect moderation of said personal attacks just like any other poster, and they aren't, ever.

There is another forum I won't name, but one of the rules there was that game designers were afforded the same protections as posters. One of the reasons given was because when you have a community that has frequent name calling and attacks on designers themselves, no game designer will want to be part of that community and put themselves in the line of fire with that kind of aggressive behavior. And wouldn't we want the people who actually design the games be part of the community to answer questions? It also just gives a bad impression of the community when members can just sling out personal attacks whenever without recourse.

I am not saying instituting a rule where public figure game designers are afforded same protection as active posters is the answer. I just think we should have a discussion, and see if it is, or if there's a better solution.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Yeah. Those guys put alot of hard work producing something they love and really want millions of people to just have fun and enjoy themselves. We really shouldn’t personally attack them.

every product ever made was someone’s baby.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I can see what you're getting at, but there are times when it would be tricky. I think ad hominem attacks and insults should be moderated. But we have to allow for criticism of their work and make sure that won't necessarily be modded down. For example, I think someone should be able to say "I think xx really doesn't understand what impact his words will have" or "I don't know what yy was thinking with this" without expecting to be moderated.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I can see what you're getting at, but there are times when it would be tricky. I think ad hominem attacks and insults should be moderated. But we have to allow for criticism of their work and make sure that won't necessarily be modded down. For example, I think someone should be able to say "I think xx really doesn't understand what impact his words will have" or "I don't know what yy was thinking with this" without expecting to be moderated.
I think it could be handled just like it's handled now with active posters. Criticism of the content vs criticism of the person. I'm not arguing they should get special treatment, only to get the same treatment as if they were active posters.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
game designers were afforded the same protections as posters.
This is fair. Sounds like it should go without saying.

One of the reasons given was because when you have a community that has frequent name calling and attacks on designers themselves, no game designer will want to be part of that community and put themselves in the line of fire with that kind of aggressive behavior. . . It also just gives a bad impression of the community when members can just sling out personal attacks whenever without recourse.
But now you have Twitter's new problem: how do you fairly and generally define a type of speech? What's an "attack" and how is it different from an "opinion?" Cmad has the right idea: skip the post if you don't like the poster, but just in case, I think the forum has Ignore User capabilities as well.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
This is fair. Sounds like it should go without saying.


But now you have Twitter's new problem: how do you fairly and generally define a type of speech? What's an "attack" and how is it different from an "opinion?" Cmad has the right idea: skip the post if you don't like the poster, but just in case, I think the forum has Ignore User capabilities as well.
I'm not just talking about me, or my interpretation, but as a forum culture as a whole. If you host large groups of people, and one of them smears feces on the wall, you wouldn't tell people who complain just to ignore it. You'd probably not want feces smearing going on, because by ignoring it, you're sending a message to others that's what kind of behavior you allow, and why would people want to join your events?

As far as defining speech, see my answer above. We already have those rules here. But for some reason, when someone personally attacks a designer, they are allowed to without recourse. And if Mearls or Crawford also happen to be members here (I don't know, haven't seen them post), then we've also set a standard that it's OK to make personal attacks on fellow posters as long as they are designers. I don't think that's a good policy (indirectly or not) to have, especially if you'd like to have designers also be part of the community.

Again, not asking for special treatment, only the same treatment every other poster gets.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm assuming Mearls and Crawford aren't members of this forum
Some time ago, we knew that Mearls was reading EN World, but did not post. At this time, I don't know that they engage wit the site in any way... or not. Lurking is easy.

... because otherwise I'd expect moderation of said personal attacks just like any other poster, and they aren't, ever.
With respect, this isn't true. We don't come down on them like a ton of bricks all the time, but I recall just recently taking someone to task for calling designers lazy.

There is another forum I won't name, but one of the rules there was that game designers were afforded the same protections as posters.
We did that for quite some time, and for the same reasons. But, designers didn't stick around a whole lot.

While we would like it for designers to come and answer questions and such... I think it turns out that activity isn't of much value to the designers.

There's also a major issue - being active in such a forum can produce a major issue for a designer - if a designer is known to be active here, and someone mentions an idea, and something similar ends up in the designer's work, accusations of "stealing ideas" come fast and furious. Whatever value contact with fans and detractors may be for them, this it probably is not worth dealing with this.

I am not saying instituting a rule where public figure game designers are afforded same protection as active posters is the answer.
If the question is, "How do we get designers to interact with us?" such moderation rules would be required, yes, but past experience says that would not be sufficient.

If I had to hazard a guess, a designer can use feedback, but for it to be valuable it needs to be rather more structured and focused than a messageboard discussion thread with hundreds or thousands of potential posters can or will provide.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I would like to add one caveat to this whole idea - people shouldn't be insulting a designer when discussing their work. But as the whole ZakS issue teaches us, we have to be able to freely discuss them as a topic when appropriate - such as when their problematic behavior is exposed.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I personally find describing designers who did something in a way you didn't want them to as "lazy" or "stupid" to be pretty obnoxious; I think it's important to try to criticise the work, not personally insult the creator. Generally speaking, as always, if you see a problematic post, report it so we can look at it.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Question for possible discussion. Just tossing ideas out there. There have been relatively frequent attacks on game designers who may or may not be active members of the forum. I'm not talking about criticisms of games (which I think should never be quashed), but actual personal attacks on the designers themselves. For example, Mearls and Crawford have frequently been called liars, lazy, incompetent, stupid, intentionally sabotaging the game because they want it to fail, etc. I'm assuming Mearls and Crawford aren't members of this forum, because otherwise I'd expect moderation of said personal attacks just like any other poster, and they aren't, ever.

There is another forum I won't name, but one of the rules there was that game designers were afforded the same protections as posters. One of the reasons given was because when you have a community that has frequent name calling and attacks on designers themselves, no game designer will want to be part of that community and put themselves in the line of fire with that kind of aggressive behavior. And wouldn't we want the people who actually design the games be part of the community to answer questions? It also just gives a bad impression of the community when members can just sling out personal attacks whenever without recourse.

I am not saying instituting a rule where public figure game designers are afforded same protection as active posters is the answer. I just think we should have a discussion, and see if it is, or if there's a better solution.
I'm not saying you're talking about the same forum, but I can tell you RPG.net has such a rule. In theory they might have the best of intentions; in practice it becomes impossible to criticize various games or discuss rules systems in a frank, blunt matter.

In short, the ceiling over there is awfully low. Honestly, unless you're sharing something that's only positive, the discussion atmosphere is outright stifling.

(And no, this is not code for right-wing conspiracy theories. I'm talking about role-playing games and role-playing games only)

I wholeheartedly hope enworld does not go that route. Apparently, there is such a thing as too heavy moderation.

Cheers
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I'm not saying you're talking about the same forum, but I can tell you RPG.net has such a rule. In theory they might have the best of intentions; in practice it becomes impossible to criticize various games or discuss rules systems in a frank, blunt matter.

In short, the ceiling over there is awfully low. Honestly, unless you're sharing something that's only positive, the discussion atmosphere is outright stifling.

(And no, this is not code for right-wing conspiracy theories. I'm talking about role-playing games and role-playing games only)

I wholeheartedly hope enworld does not go that route. Apparently, there is such a thing as too heavy moderation.

Cheers
Considering you're one of those people who frequently have attacked designers directly and personally (not just criticism of the game) over the years, I can't say I'm surprised you'd be against such a rule.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
sniffs, sniffs, "do I smell a personal attack on @CapnZapp"? Hmmm..? @Sacrosanct?
Huh? It's not a personal attack. It's a well known observational fact. Over the past few years, Cap'n Zapp has frequently made direct attacks on the designers, calling them lazy, incompetent, liars, and other things. This is hardly a secret, because he's done it with regularity. I'm not insulting or attacking him. I'm simply pointing out what he has said in the past.
 

Aebir-Toril

std::cout << "Hi" << '\n';
Huh? It's not a personal attack. It's a well known observational fact. Over the past few years, Cap'n Zapp has frequently made direct attacks on the designers, calling them lazy, incompetent, liars, and other things. This is hardly a secret, because he's done it with regularity. I'm not insulting or attacking him. I'm simply pointing out what he has said in the past.
You don't consider it a personal attack to say, in response to what another poster said, "you do "X", so I don't trust you on this"?

For example:

"Considering that you, Sacrosanct, have shown that you don't care for the Psion, and behave rudely to others, I don't feel like your input in this thread is valid, because you're biased."

Does that not feel like an attack?

Edit: Dang autocorrect making my grammar incorrect!
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
You don't consider it a personal attack to say, in response to what another poster said, "you do "X", so I don't trust you on this"?

For example:

"Considering that you, Sacrosanct, have shown that you don't care for the Psion, and behave rudely to others, I don't feel like your input in this thread is valid, because your biased."

Does that not feel like an attack?

For one, that's not remotely the same thing. The topic of this thread is personal attacks. So when someone who repeated makes personal attacks says that they wouldn't like a rule where they would be moderated for saying personal attacks, that seems unsurprising and is directly related to the topic. Not "we're talking about topic X, but you did topic Y as well, so..." like you're trying to infer.

Now, if I called CapnZapp any of the names he called Mearls or Crawford, then yeah, that would be a personal attack. But pointing out what a person had said is not a personal attack.

Despite your best efforts to start something, I'm not going to continue with you on this.
 

Aebir-Toril

std::cout << "Hi" << '\n';
For one, that's not remotely the same thing. The topic of this thread is personal attacks. So when someone who repeated makes personal attacks says that they wouldn't like a rule where they would be moderated for saying personal attacks, that seems unsurprising and is directly related to the topic. Not "we're talking about topic X, but you did topic Y as well, so..." like you're trying to infer.

Now, if I called CapnZapp any of the names he called Mearls or Crawford, then yeah, that would be a personal attack. But pointing out what a person had said is not a personal attack.

Despite your best efforts to start something, I'm not going to continue with you on this.
I'm not trying to start anything, but I respectfully disagree with your conception of what constitutes a personal attack here.
 

Gradine

Polymorphed Self
The thing is, you need to be within range to make an attack on a game designer, and even then, they typically have pretty high AC's so unless you're crit-fishing you're not likely to land many hits.
 

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