• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

Why are D&D discussions so angry?

Not open for further replies.


First Post
To be honest, it's certainly not nearly as bad here as it is on a political discussion board! (try visiting one and dropping the name "Hillary Clinton" or "George W. Bush" with the words "I love..." or "I hate..." in front of the name. Just get ready to put a flak jacket on over your bullet proof vest and your suit of full plate mail armor!)

That said, I think it's the nature of the internet. You can tell somebody they are an idiot or a fool or just bass ackwards if you want online a heck of a lot easier than you can in real life.

log in or register to remove this ad


First Post
no other forum I know of is anywhere near as vicious as an RPG forum. I can honestly say that the RPG forums, especially any D&D forum, are both the most vicious and the most utterly intractable and cynical in terms of peoples positions.
Try a spell in the dance music production world, then. Cubase vs Logic vs FL Studio vs Reason, analog vs digital, hardware vs software, what's the best synth/compressor/reverb/eq....and it's all so subjective that nothing can be proved, even by wave cancellation because even turning up the volume a db or two can sound higher quality yet be undetectable as being at a higher volume so folks will refute such irrefutable evidence. "Your sound is thin and digital, mine is phat and warm"...and the amount of misinformation spread is just staggering. Some folks will swear black and blue that a sound straight out of a software synthesizer will sound better than a perfectly recorded digital copy of it, and that's just the tip of the ignorance iceberg.

Just like here, people tend to accentuate what is arguably trivial and studiously ignore the craft of the pursuit....spending all their time trying to squeeze out the last 10% of sound quality or find the perfect synth or sequencer whilst ignoring songwriting; trying to find the perfect setting, rules or worldbuilding whilst ignoring adventure writing. The parallels between hobbyists are sometimes startling; writers groups prefer to talk tools too - they'd rather argue over what's the best word processor(!!!) than talk craft, even though writing is basically all craft.

You get folks who've decided that such and such has a "poor quality mixing engine" based purely on a rumour and their expectations based on the price of the software and associations with it's users, and not even statements to the contrary from the developers themselves that the mixing engine is no more able to be stuffed up than basic summing like 1+1=2 (because all it is is basic summing, and that all digital mixing is done that way) will shake this belief. People in general are intractable - one of the developers of the software studio Reason said words to the effect that marketing knows that once a belief is established, it's pointless to try and change it, so they don't even bother to play the game of pretending to fix problems that don't really exist.

It's all relative, but I think techno production has RPGs beat in those terms. The interesting thing is that, like here perhaps, those who are actually using the tools the most - and being productive - are the quietest. It's exam season for me, so that's my excuse. ;)
Last edited:


What? Me Worry?
big dummy said:
Ok I recognize all that, it comes up in all forums. But do any of you recognize the trend of even moderately proposed threads being attacked and derailed into fights of this sort because their subject[ /i] is some kind of D&D reform?


Unless you're using an alt and are a regular here, you really haven't been here long enough to know if the boards in general are that bad. Throughout the past 6 years or so I've frequented one incarnation of this board or another, I've generally found that this place is not all that bad, considering its size. I've definitely had a beef with the passive-aggressiveness that seems to manifest at times, but overall...this place is pretty tame. It really depends on how one approaches a topic, as Piratecat said.

I think a lot of people who've been here a while have seen the same old arguments put forth time and again. So it's easy for some to assume they know what will come next or what is implied by a particular post, simply because it seems to tread old ground at first. Too often, what someone might feel is just a call for simple "D&D reform" comes off condescendingly, as in "YUO 3tards don't know how to play right! MY WAY is the only right way!!!11!" I think people too often word posts in a very combative way and simply aren't aware that there are others who feel almost the total opposite. That is, what one sees as a problem may well seem like a big plus to another. I think that if people were more cognizant of that, fewer flamewars would ensue. The types of posts that kinda get under my skin often start out like "As we all know..." or "I'm sure we all agree that..." I think if people more often presented their premise like "OK, this is how I see things; does anyone else see it this way? If so, why? If not, why not?", that fewer fights would erupt.

Or maybe they would. I dunno.


First Post
I think you can point to a number of reasons for the intolerance that too often shows up in these boards (and others):

1. People act differently when they feel they're dealing with strangers. Would there be as much road rage if we knew all the other drivers? How about griping at work about someone in "that other department" for screwing things up. It's amazing to me how often this attitude changes when people meet face to face and form a connection, no matter how superficial or tenuous. There really is no substitute for meeting folks in real life, as opposed to "virtually".

2. The Internet conveys a sense of anonymity and face it, most of us simply aren't on our best behaviour when no one's watching. As PC suggested, I act differently when I'm a guest in a friend's house than I do in my own. For whatever reason, ever since boards began, there have been folks who just don't feel the need to be polite, courteous, deferential, etc.

3. As has been mentioned, some folks are awfully passionate about some subjects. Certainly there is a tendency to overreact among all of us when we feel someone else is being deliberately provocative (not in a good way). That said, I'm so tired of a poster starting a thread and the first dozen posts call him/her a troll. Folks, not everyone spends all day at EnWorld and knows that a particular subject (e.g., 4E) has been debated to death. Give them a break. If it's a real troll, the most brutal response is to completely ignore them and let the thread die of starvation.

4. Who posts matters. It is amazing to me difference in how an opinion is treated solely based on who posts it. Psion can make a statement and immediately have a dozen folks post versions of "ditto". Quasqueton can make the exact same statement and be flamed for his supposed "hatred of 3E". (I mean no offense to either Psion or Quas - they're just the first names that came to mind)

Of course, this is no different than the real world. How many times have you been in a meeting, trying to convince the powers that be, and the person no one likes speaks up...to support your idea. :eek: The kiss of death! :eek:

Seriously, there are a few individuals who have regularly crossed the line in being rude, intolerant, ignorant, whatever, that I tune out whatever they say. But I see this happening to too many posters who either don't belong to the right clique, or have a few die-hard haters who seem to enjoy raining on their parade. It gets old fast.

5. We're all opinionated jerks!!!! Ok, just kidding. (Really) But think about it: why post on a board unless you believe you have something important or original or thought-provoking or profound or funny or...to say. We're all a bit like authors, whom Asimov called the most egotistical people in the world because they actually expect people to pay to read what they have to say. I've dramatically reduced the amount I post just by reminding myself that most of what I have to say doesn't add much (if anything) to the conversation. I just wish a few others would follow that example... ;)

And in reference to point 5 above, I hope my post wasn't a complete waste of everyone's time... :)


First Post
big dummy said:
Why is it that any time any discussion about D&D comes up which could even remotely somehow be construed as some kind of criticism of D&D as-is, a select few of the forum regulars swoop down with such venomous, vicious spiteful attacks to shut it down?

See, right here in your first sentence you've already included enough fuel to start a flame-war. I'm not trying to be rude, but in this one line you:

- Generalize
- Post an opinion in the form of a factual statement
- Add qualifiers to a segment of the ENWorld population like "venomous", "vicious", and describe their attitude as "swooping down", which is usually associated with birsd of prey.

Any one of these points will cause irritation on many board members. When you include all three, the only reason I can think this thread hasn't derailed into another flamewar is that a moderator posted 3rd in the thread :p and people are been careful because of the recently closed thread in which you were involved.

Now when I started in ENworld I got caught in some minor conflicts. Most of the time it was because I did one of the three of the above. After I got called on it, I apologized and moved on. Since then I haven't been involved in a closed thread (Although my cheating thread came close a couple of times :p ).

My advice: If someone's post is causing you to respond in anger you should:

1) stop
2) Go read another 2 or 3 threads.
3) Give the other poster the benefit of the doubt
4) responfd when you'er temper has cooled.
Last edited:


Moderator Emeritus
Delta said:
Because you're a big dummy?

Thank you Delta for giving us a perfect example of the kind of thing that is posted in humor but that can totally be taken as snark and irritate someone and lead to the derailment of a thread.

If that wasn't supposed to be a joke then consider this a warning.

If that was supposed to be a joke still consider this a warning.

See folks intention does mean much when you know what the result is likely to be. . .


If I can just reiterate and emphasize some great points...

1) Use that "report a post" button -- it helps the moderators see problems that are otherwise invisible to them.

2) Keep in mind that you really can't control other people -- you can only control yourself. So do your best to set a good example and others will rise to your level.

3) If someone persistently gets on your nerves, use that Ignore list. That's what it's there for. On a forum this size there's no way everyone can get along with absolutely everyone else.

4) "Troll" is never a good word to throw around, even if you are pretty sure it's true. Give the poster the benefit of the doubt.

5) Past practice (and I believe present practice) is to close threads that are heading south; but you're right, it does kind of punish everyone who was involved in the thread, not just the one or two people who took it down. I know the mods try to keep their eyes open for purposeful thread-killing and do their best to delete individual posts rather than whole threads if it can be done. It's a tough balancing act.

As to the question "Why" ... I would say it's because people ascribe motivations to the behaviors/words of others, and then make value judgements on those motivations. Example: "You run a low-magic game because you're not a very good DM; and bad DMs should not be in the hobby." Instead of assuming -- much better to ask for clarification. But only if you want to risk seeing the other person's point of view! :D

big dummy

First Post
frankthedm said:
Because it seems to me ENworld Mods are more willing to close threads than to temporary ban / close accounts of those who willfully try to derail those threads. :\

Thats the way I see it as well.


Not open for further replies.
Remove ads