Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Perspective (What Really Matters)...

I remember my first day posting on  The original poster requested OPINIONS on something (I believe it had to do with in-game decision-making) and I found myself VICIOUSLY ATTACKED by a total stranger that lasted through several angry exchanges.  We ended up agreeing to avoid one another's threads (like the plague) because it clearly wasn't going anywhere good.  Not the best intro...

A year later, I'm enjoying MY FIRST DAY on Google+, when someone decided to attack our post about a P&P character sheet.  This quickly devolved into an angry exchange, and I accept more than a little responsibility because I took the bait.

Welcome to the internet, right?  I mean, I totally get that and understand what the anonymity of the web can do to people when they think they can hide behind their avatars.  And I TOOK THE BAIT.

But I ended up feeling bad for both of them, especially on the receiving end of my own anger.  I was a military officer for a good decade of my life and can rip ass with the best of them (and won't hesitate to do so, which ISN'T to my credit here).

I'd like to think I'm doing better.  But what really bothers me is what set these people off in the FIRST PLACE...

I had a DIFFERENT OPINION ABOUT GAMES.  That's right.  My personal opinions about GAMES were seen as a terrible personal flaw and an affront to all right-minded people, which suggests a disturbing lack of perspective about what's really important in this life.

Now obviously, I LOVE gaming and game design.  But if I were told that I had to give it up to save Robyn's life, I'd do so in a heartbeat and feel happy for the privilege, because while gaming is fun, people are ALWAYS more important, which is to say:


Heated, enthusiastic debate?  Sure.  I'll happily offer my own preferences for simple, open-ended game systems.  But I'll never say that people are STUPID or DEFICIENT for thinking otherwise...

I'll debate IDEAS while not attacking PEOPLE, and not just because mere civility demands it.  No, not liking your favorite system doesn't make me (or anyone else) the equivalent of Hitler marching into Poland and doesn't merit ANY KIND of hateful rebuke.    

Gaming is great, but it doesn't define my own character or the character of anyone I care about or respect.  It's creamy icing on the cake, obviously, but that's all.  And when people can attack each other over what amounts to subjective personal preference, they can attack for just about ANYTHING, which is scary... 

For a full year (between 2014-15), Robyn cared for her dying mother and helped her through her final days.  Full-time nursing care is very expensive, and putting her in a home would have been out of the question even if we could have managed it.  So Robyn bravely fought grief and lack of sleep learning (and providing) this care around the clock for an indigent parent who was utterly dependent on others for EVERYTHING.  I'm PHYSICALLY DISABLED and of LIMITED help.

Robyn is a cancer survivor.  I almost lost her.  People everywhere have SIMILAR stories, and they're ALL more important than whether or not we prefer class or skill-based systems.  And given what all of us struggle with at all times, gaming is one hell of a stupid reason for attacking or denigrating others when we should recognize the basic humanity in one another and act on it always...

Luckily, the online community is OVERWHELMINGLY positive, and Robyn and I appreciate the friendship and awesome ideas for everything from food to role-playing.  And, sometimes, it's help for each other when life happens, because life DOES happen to everyone, and human contact (and civility) is our BEST weapon against the online trolls!


  1. Civil discourse is becoming a lost art. Common decency and consideration in everyday behavior is also disappearing. Not sure why. Add the anonymity of individuals on internet needing to create a stir - not good mix. Maybe it's because we can't say these things in real life? Very frustrating.

    1. Indeed! Luckily, there are MANY fine people online...

  2. The internet is not a sterile environment. I can't tell you how many times I've seen seemingly intelligent and caring people write stupid and hateful garbage. I will admit to playing devils advocate from time to time, but I will also admit that it is very disheartening when nobody stands up to yell at your, or worse, agrees with the evil views which you wrote.

    I did a lot of trolling when I was younger, to me it was a kind of protest. The establishment wants you to believe that it controls the web, not the people. Sometimes you just have to make a point by posting porn in strange places, the sicker the better.

    In regards to trolling individuals, that is a form of protest too. I was angry about a lot of stuff, and I really didn't understand why nobody else was freaking out. How can people spend their lives with their heads up their butts? I know that answer now, I had driven myself pretty insane. People need to vent and look away from the violence and horror that surrounds us, but that is the deal. The troll isn't truly attacking you as an individual, he is screaming at you because the world is a horrible place and you only appear to think about D&D. It is a challenge, he is sounding you and seeing how deep you are. It is frightening, but many people aren't all that complex. They really are just as ignorant, self-obsessed, and utterly empty as they project. To a troll, those people are the slaves of the establishment. Thinking what they are told to think, saying what they are told to say, being what they are told to be and never questioning anything. They are the enemy of mankind, and must be woken up.

    I don't know if you've found this post helpful or not, but I hope that it does give you some insight into the motivations of others. Not to say that you ever had to deal with a troll, because honestly, most of the people who say stupid and offensive garbage truly are stupid and offensive.