Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mistakes Were Made (By Me)

Further to the previous blog post, it is obvious that I could have responded to the events on EN World and Circvs Maximvs better than I have thus far.

I have to assume that the AOTHS (Admiral of the High Seas, or the Guvnor, if you prefer) is not a bad man.  I have to assume that, initially, the thread which some came to consider as glorifying rape didn’t seem so bad.  And, once that decision is made – “This isn’t so bad” – it can be awfully difficult to back down from it.  In fact, even with the extraordinary events that occurred, the AOTHS has to be commended because he did, eventually, agree that it was not only bad, but that it was very, very bad.  In fact, he may even have realized that it was as bad as his “opponents” made it out to be.

Cognitive dissonance theory tells us what happens next.  The person in charge is then faced with a conundrum.  “I am not a bad man.  Yet I didn’t see how bad this was.  How can I explain that?”

There are two possible ways to go here.  One is to realize that one has blind spots…that even a very good person can make very bad mistakes.  The other is to find someone else to blame.  In effect, I wasn’t wrong at first.  It really wasn’t so bad until “They” made it so bad.  

And once you have found someone else to blame, it is difficult to step back.  It is difficult to go back to that first possible choice.   Even a very good person can make very bad mistakes.  In fact, scientific experiments in cognitive dissonance would indicate that the more self-confident you are, and the more you feel your chosen victims are helpless to retaliate, the more cognitive dissonance you feel, and the more you convince yourself that they are really bad people in order to relieve that dissonance.

My first step into this morass based of EN World's "pro-rape" thread and the fallout that resulted wasn’t the post I made on EN World (copied into my last blog post).  It was a private email to a moderator I trust, asking what exactly had happened.  

I should have sent that email to the AOTHS instead.  And I should have taken that moderator’s advice and contact the AOTHS directly.  Instead, I discovered Piratecat’s post on EN World (also copied into my last blog), and felt a need to stand against injustice.

Doing so, first on EN World, and, then, when there was no real response to the EN World post, on my blog, has probably made it more difficult for the AOTHS to step back and reconsider.  Taking a stand against injustice is not a mistake.  Not giving the AOTHS a chance to calm down, think it over, and perhaps reconsider was.  Not contacting him directly was.  I should have sent him a personal note, and then given him a week or two to consider before pressing him farther.  We might have ended up in the same place, but, then again, we might not have.

Removing posts causes harm to individuals who were neither involved in the atrocious behavior on EN World and Circvs Maximvs, nor (in some cases) were even aware of it.  I am truly sorry for that harm, to those individuals.

But EN World is a business, and it is a business that is funded by (1) advertising revenue, (2) memberships, and (3) product sales.  Both advertising revenues and memberships are spurred by traffic, and traffic is spurred by the quality of posting.  If the posts being removed are of poor quality, they do not help to drive traffic or memberships – but neither does their removal do much harm.  If the posts being removed are of good quality, they do more harm, but leaving them there provides content to drive traffic toward a business acting in a fundamentally unethical manner.

Again, if people only read newer posts, there would be no harm in leaving them for me (as they would not be driving traffic) or removing them for anyone else (as they would not be reading them anyway).  That, however, is not the case.

My decision was to remove the posts, organize them into essays, and repost them here or elsewhere.  The goal was to minimize any involvement toward driving traffic to EN World, while minimizing harm to others by making the content (if not the form) available elsewhere.  I am aware that this is not a perfect solution, and I am willing to consider any better solution anyone might offer.  Be aware, though, that such a solution must address both of these goals.

I am far from perfect. 

If you have a better plan, I’d love to hear it.


  1. I think you've got to do what you've got to do for you.

    I'm personally opposed to removing good posts that I've put online, even if I no longer like the site where they're posted, since I did like the site when I posted them. I feel that I set those thoughts into the wild when I posted them, and they're not under my control any more.

    However, I understand your point of view. You DO still have control over those thoughts and can remove them as you see fit if you wish. You don't want to enrich a site that you oppose by leaving your thoughts there. Since they let you remove them, you've chosen to do so. I disagree with the decision, but I agree that you're free to make it.

  2. "I have to assume that the AOTHS (Admiral of the High Seas, or the Guvnor, if you prefer) is not a bad man."

    Really? Because he's mocking you even now.

    Incidentally, one of your private messages is being shared there - an act which is directly against both EN World and CM regulations, and has been decried by Morrus before as being utterly indefensible and disgusting. I eagerly await to see how fast he flips on this when one of his friends does it to make excuses for them. I suppose CM plays by different rules then...well, it's own.

  3. Considering how fast CM posters like The Jester went from "You can't moderate pro-rape posts, pawsplay! It's not in the RULES! Get the sand out of your vagina!" to "Mods, please ban pawsplay! IGNORE THE RULES if you have to! He was mean to me on the internet! ;_;" during that whole drama thing without much comment, that's hardly surprising.

    CM are being pretty thin-skinned about this whole thing considering it mostly took place in a "let's troll ENWorld!" thread.

  4. Sorry, my comments are about how I feel about the AOTHS; not how he feels about me. I assume that his mockery, at this point, is an attempt to resolve cognitive dissonance.

    I.e., "I'm not a bad man, why I am I doing this bad thing? Voila! It must be a bad man I am doing it to."

    It is easier than self-reflection, extremely common, and 100% human.

    The Jester, in particular, I find painful to consider, because I have been very much impressed by him in the past. Also, a certain Wizard who posted in the CM thread.

  5. I have long enjoyed your voice on the EN world site and feel disappointed that these events have developed this way. I do not want you to do anything versus your conscience, but I did want you to know your voice will be missed.

  6. Thank you.

    I have long advocated that a GM can run his or her table any way that person desires. However, I have also long advocated that players should sometimes vote with their feet.

    There are some responses on EN World, particularly Rel's, that I find troublesome. According to Rel, "Morrus approached an unprecedented situation the way a good leader should. He did it with caution and did not act rashly"

    It isn't that the rape threads existed. It isn't that Morrus was reluctant to remove the rape threads. It is that, had some posters not gone to such great lengths to see them removed, AFAICT, they would not have been.

    Full stop.

    There is no indication that Morrus was making a slow and careful decision -- and every indication that he had decided that the threads in question were okay.

    Full stop.

    AFAICT, he threatened to shut down Circvs Maximvs when a bunch of folks there told him they were also not okay with the rape threads. It wasn't "fun" anymore.

    Full stop.

    He was very much in support of them, AFAICT, and is abusing his power to punish those who tried (eventually successfully) to get them removed.

    Full stop.

    Morrus can run his site any way that he likes. Just as a GM can run his table any way that he likes. But when a GM, or a site owner, becomes abusive to the "players", it's time to go.

    And, again, Morrus isn't a bad man. But, again, AFAICT, what happened is all someone else's fault. Sorry, but I can't stomach that.