I respect your opinion. I just don’t care what it is.

When I read things like this, it upsets me. It upsets me because doubtless good and well-meaning people think that it is socially acceptable to use peer pressure to force their opinions on the will of others. That’s wrong, and we have seen a dramatic increase in this behaviour in the role-playing hobby of late.

If there’s one thing which is going to damage role-playing, it’s this self-righteous bullying. Please, stop it now. It is becoming a worse plague than any number of edition war spats on the forums. At least they are easy to ignore.

There should be one golden rule at every game table, and it’s that differences of opinion over politics, gender, race, colour and creed end as soon as you pick up the dice. You’re here to play a game – nothing more, and nothing less. If people have an objection to subject matter that arises in the game then it can be dealt with quickly and move on. In my 30-odd years of experience I have gamed with ordained ministers, muslims, highly opinionated atheists, people who are gay, black, white, rich, poor, conservatives, liberals and labour supporters, and this has rarely happened (if ever – I can’t recall an instance, though may be wrong).

Why should our interractions on the internet be any different? It’s a game, not a political manifesto.

I like to think that role-players are the among the most tolerant, creative and free-thinking people on the planet, but just of late I’m starting to have second thoughts.

I would start a petition to pressure you to stop, but that would make me just as bad as you.

Instead, I’m asking. Don’t bully others into conforming to your point of view. Starting (or signing) a petition is the lazy route to feeling like you are “doing the right thing”. I have not, and never will, sign a petition that tries to enforce a certain worldview onto the hobby. Whether I agree with that worldview or not is immaterial.

One popular GM creed is “show, don’t tell”. The same should go for opinions too. If you want to make a change, make a change. Do something positive, such as Sarah Darkmagic’s excellent Prismatic Art Collection, and help widen the hobby rather than restrict it. You can make a difference, but using peer pressure and bullying tactics is entirely the wrong way to do it.

Oh, and the people who tried to shut Monte’s Kickstarter down? They’re just c-…..

(oh dear. I seem to have run out of space)

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3 Responses

  1. Being one of the highly opinionated atheist types you mention – sadly we have not gamed together – I love a robust debate, on matters not only to do with religion, but politics and other social matters. What I don’t do is bring that to the table, and what I certainly don’t do is try to force my opinions on others away from the table. As I say, I love a debate, and if you’re not willing to accept the toing and froing, instead belligerently sticking to your guns because you think you know what’s right, then I have no time for you.

    Going back to attitudes at the table, play and let play….

  2. Chet Cox says:

    Sadly, there’s nothing which makes gamers immune to intolerance, anger, hatred, or any of the other sins which are immoral, illegal, or fattening. It’s not confined to gamers, nor to “mundane” types. SF fans think they’re above such things. Comics fans think THEY are tolerant. Even yoyologists (students of yo-yos, gyroscopes, and balance) all think that their group is tolerant of other viewpoints, religions, races, and creeds.

    They’re not. We’re not. I hope this won’t offend my atheist brother or sister in the previous post, but the fact that humans fight so much, is a testament that we’re all brothers and sisters. Really, have you ever seen brothers and sisters who DIDN’T fight?

    *jeep! & God Bless — and game on!
    –Grandpa Chet, the MormonYoYoMan

  3. breacher18 says:

    Being on the receiving end of this, I can honestly say its horrible and completely off putting. It ruined the gaming experience for me, and it took me many years to pluck up the confidence to join a roleplaying group again. Bullying is not exceptible in any circumstance and in a game that struggles to attract new players let alone females, we really should be trying to make it a fun experience for all.

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