Monday, March 14, 2016

Calm Down, No One is Taking Your Games Away

I've been running this blog for a few years now, and I've been fortunate to attract a much bigger audience than I ever thought I'd manage. Also, because keeping my readers happy is something I like to do, I pay attention to the comments and feedback my posts generate. Especially the ones that end up with a lot of views, and which generate a lot of attention. Because while I love gaming, I also have bills to pay. There is something I've noticed, though, and I'd like to address it here. Something that I would like everyone who sees this to read, internalize, and remember the next time I say or publish something you disagree with as a player or a DM.

Now listen very, very carefully.
I am a yutz on the Internet with a blog and an opinion. I have no power over you.

So do your best Fonzie impersonation, and chill the hell out.

No One's Taking Your Games Away... Least of All Me

One of the most common negative comments left on my posts goes something like, "it's SJWs/overthinkers/politically correct/negative adjective people like you who are ruining gaming. Shut up, and stop trying to take away my fun."

Now, those kinds of comments are usually left on controversial posts like Sexuality Matters in Roleplaying Games (And Here's Why), or The 5 RPG Characters We Should All Stop Playing, but sometimes they're left on more innocuous posts. Posts which are expressly suggestions for how you could play a class, or which offer alternatives to the traditional views we've had of certain fantasy RPG mainstays. Posts which aren't telling anyone to do anything, but simply pointing out that there is often more than one way to do something, especially if you think outside the beginner box.

Like how I can rock 9 samurai levels like it ain't no thing.
Here's the truth of the matter, ladies and gentlemen; nothing I say has any authority behind it. I am not the lead designer or creator on any of the games I talk about, and I don't have the ability to force anyone to play any RPG in a certain way. I am simply writing my thoughts on gaming down on this blog, and hoping that other players and DMs find them helpful.

If you find what I have to say really helpful, then take it and run with it! If you don't find it useful, then that's fine, too. If you feel compelled to have a discussion over an article I've written, or you want to express your own opinion to me, that's what I have a contact button for. But if your breast swells with outrage, and you think that proclaiming I'm "wrong" because that's not how you do it at your table will have an effect, then please stop.

You're only making me more powerful.

The Irony of Outrage

I'm guessing most of my regular readers don't read my sister blog, The Literary Mercenary. If you have and you've already seen the post How to Make Money as a Writer (By Embracing Your Inner Troll), then you've already learned the lesson I'm about to lay out. If you haven't, and didn't click-through to get the full explanation, here's the cliff notes version of why slinging your outrage into the comments section (especially on social media) is a terrible idea.

If you want to hurt, not help, my numbers, anyway.
Here's how the process of being a blogger works. I write a blog post, edit it, and then publish it. The next day I post it up in the forums and social media pages which have proved receptive to my work in the past. People who approve of the posts will like them, share them, and leave comments on them. That last one is important, because whenever there are new comments on the Paizo forums, or on a Facebook group, my post is pushed up to the top of the order. That means more people are going to see it, and the views it gets go up. In fact, social media sites like FB will also inform the commenter's friends, which will give them a chance to see what it is that caught Ralph's attention.

Now, if you see something you don't like, the best way to make sure it doesn't get any bigger is to walk on by and ignore it. Sort of like Freddy Krueger, content creators lose their power when no one knows who they are. If, on the other hand, your first reaction is to immediately post a whole bunch of comments about how the poster is just out to steal your fun, and they're playing the game wrong, and they're pushing politics into your storytelling circles, all you're doing is making that post more visible. If you add to the mess by sharing the link on your own page, possibly with the message of, "it's assholes like this that are what's wrong with gaming," then all you've done is increased the number of people who've seen the post. And the more page views the post gets, the more money the creator gets, and the more people know about that person's blog.

It is in my best interests to court outrage at every turn, because it's good for my pocket book. But I think it would be better for us, as a community, to step back, take a breath, and ask why we feel the need to lash out when someone suggests we could play differently? Not that we have to play differently, but that we can if we want to.

As always, thanks for stopping in to see what I have to say on my Monday updates. If you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, then why not go to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron today? All it takes is $1 a month to help me keep the content flowing. Also, if you haven't already, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on my latest creations.

1 comment:

  1. You do realize you just proposed that people engage in calm and reasoned discourse on the internet. While I agree this would be a completely rational idea anywhere else....