What We Lose When We Eliminate Controversial Content

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Corporate entities do not have emotions like individual people do. To ascribe things like "fear" to them is misleading.

They are not "frightened" away. They are not quaking in their boots. They are not feeling anxiety, the increased heart rate, the rush of adrenaline, flight or fight, or anything like that. They are not in an emotional state over this. Larger entities are far more calculating about it. They simply see it as more profitable, for them, in their position, to not use some tropes in their works.

I don’t think the poster was speaking of the companies but of the designers and people whose names go on the cover of the books, who talk about the games in question publicly online. I am sure many have felt those things when gauging online reaction to something they want to make, abd even more sure those who have had their name dragged through the mud publicly have felt those things (who hasn’t felt a twinge if that just opening their notifications on Twitter or Facebook at times: for people putting their creative work out in public, when the stakes have raised so significantly, those are very real reactions. I am not high profile but I have opened social media and physically felt like i was having a heart attack some days. This stuff has a real impact on people who are just trying to make games in a very niche industry (often people doing it out of live as a side gig or even as a hobby. People whose livlihoods completely depend on it, probably have much stronger reactions
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
It seems to me that we're talking about slavery as an issue because of the recent Dark Sun kerfuffle. It is certainly not the only issue that people find problematic: virtually any feature of history that people find problematic has a group that wants to remove it from gaming.
I think it's less about removing it from gaming completely and more like not having to constantly encounter it all the time - because, in the case of slavery, it is pretty ubiquitous in fantasy settings. It may be one thing for it to come up occasionally or be an issue for a particular location or culture, but it tends to be way beyond that.
Can't we just get rid of this one bad thing? Of course we can, but we all know that slavery is one of many horrible things that exist in fantasy. This whole discussion makes me want to ask "why is murder okay to have in fantasy, when it affects so many people in the real world?" The answer is simple: you have things like murder in a fantasy game as something bad happening that you have to stop or somehow make right. That's the same answer for any controversial bad thing in an RPG: it's something bad guys do and we can make it better in the game world.
There are differences between violence in general, including murder, and violent institutions that have affected certain groups more than others in recent history like slavery. It isn't just a coincidence that slavery is getting heightened scrutiny at the time that publishers in the hobby are deliberately working to improve the hobby's inclusivity. When your goal is attracting a more diverse population of players, it makes sense to reevaluate elements that have traditionally hurt some of those populations including slavery, sexism, racism, sexual violence, cisgendered and heterosexual norms, and so on.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
As I've brought up elsewhere around other issues, opt-in (where something's not included but can be added) generally gets far less uptake than opt-out (where something's included but can be removed); mostly due to people simply taking the path of least effort/resistance.

If folks spent the creative energy and time used arguing about it here to add it to their own games at home, they'd already be done.

If someone cares so little about the topic that they are following the path of least resistance, then maybe it is a good thing some material isn't on that path. Maybe it is better if folks need to seek out, think carefully about, and incorporate with deliberation, rather than it be casually present without that same deliberate drive.

As an artistic choice, not enabling slapdash approaches to, say, slavery, seems a pretty solid one.
 


Bagpuss

Legend
I don’t think the poster was speaking of the companies but of the designers and people whose names go on the cover of the books, who talk about the games in question publicly online.

I know of at least one designer that has decided against revising an RPG they published and were considering a 2nd Edition because it is historical and thus has all sorts of stuff that would be seen as "problematic" content.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Exactly my point. Why was the need to discuss the treatment of the victims of slavery within game, meanwhile we don't demand the same thing from the game when sons, fathers and husbands are lost within a devastating war leaving behind a gutted society and destitute & torn apart families?

The logical fallacy here is "tu quoque", specifically the "whataboutism" variant.

You cherrypicked one issue, but once you've introduced this logic, it comes down to, "If you aren't going to address all issues, you can't address any."

Or, in other words, you are making perfect the enemy of good, and we may not selectively pick our battles.

We should not bite on this bit of bait.
 

Bagpuss

Legend
I think the poster can speak for themselves, if they wish, and I would personally not want to carry on a discussion by assumed proxy.
Nice way to avoid the issue.

Most RPGs aren't published and written by big corporate entities. The Micah didn't mention companies Micah said "frightening away high profile creators". Most RPGs have one or many two names as writer, someone easily identifiable as responsible for the content. It's them that get frightened.

As I've mentioned above I know one that has decided not to try and get interest for their game with a new edition due to the current atmosphere and content. It isn't even that contentious to most people, but being historical there are certain accepted tropes in the setting regards men and women's roles in society, one issue. Involves historical wars, an other issue. Race is most likely a third. Plus probably a number of more minor things people could get upset about. Even though the setting has been and is popular with books, films and TV, it's not one they feel is worth the hassle they might face for using it for an RPG. I don't want to go into any more detail as I don't want to drag their name into the discussion.

Still I am glad we still get things like Regency Cthulhu published, so hope is not lost. Chaosium are use to dealing with historical settings though and dealing with a contentious source material.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Please don't try to put the words "you aren't allowed to criticize it" in my mouth.

I just explicitly said that since I didn't have an answer to "what does it mean to be 'allowed'?", I chose one answer, and moved ahead with that. I am specifically and explicitly speaking to what I have seen as a commonly expressed complaint, speaking to other people's arguments, because yours isn't clear enough to address.

So, I am not putting words in your mouth. I've moved on from you.
 


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