Monday, July 11, 2011

Defending the indefensible

I wanted to wait a bit before posting this to allow those involved a chance to get to a point of more calm reflection and to have some temporal distance for the events.

Like many of you I have read the blog "Your Dungeon is Suck" and like many of you (don't lie) I have laughed at a good skewering.

And like you I was disappointed when Christian took down his blog after a particularly scathing attack by YDIS.   I felt the attack was a little too personal, and a little too overboard.

I am glad that his blog is back now, I liked it and his point of view.

But here is something most of you did not say.

We need Your Dungeon is Suck.

Many compared the anonymous author to a troll.  This is not really true since the author does not go to blogs to post his (and I am reasonably sure I can say "he")  point of view.  He has a blog of his own, where his opinions can be posts and ignored if you want.

Satire (and this might not be the best choice of words in this case, but bare with me) is an important part of a community.  It helps keep our egos in check.  And believe me there are a lot of people in the OSR that need an occasional ego check.

I don't care who the author of YDIS is.  I have no need to know.  I also don't like purely personal attacks.  Attack people's points of view, their products, criticize their games if you must.
But it needs to keep on doing what the community needs; be the checks and balances and make sure we don't go off the deep end and think we are more than what we are.

36 comments:

James said...

Tim,

I think we're all perfectly capable of calling each other on bullshit.

Like, right now, for example.

YDIS gets off a funny line on more than a few occasions. And at times, there's a bit of truth in some of his remarks.

Truth that's taken out of context, isolated, separated from any nuance, understanding or empathy and then regurgitated with a whole lot of bile, vitriol, mis-placed anger and a rather silly, but telling focus on superficial homo-eroticism.

No, I don't need the dude at all.

Johnathan Bingham said...

I don't mind a good bit of satire. I do object to the personal attacks. It's OK to criticise projects and things like that, but a line was crossed with Christian that should not have been crossed. I'm glad that for the most part it is over. And yes, there are some rampant egos that can do with a good roast to bring them back down to earth a bit.

Trey said...

I see the point you're trying to make, except what type of "deep end" do you think the community is going to fall into? A Jonestown Massacre? Waco-style standoff?

Seems to me, the worse that will happen is it will get self-congratulatory and insular. Is that really so bad in the grand scheme of things?

YDIS gets to keep doing what he wants just like the objects of his barbs do, and that's cool, I suppose. Everybody gets what they want.

I'm just not sure how we bold-type "need" anything.

Tourq said...

I have never laughed at anything YDIS has said, but to be honest, I've only read three or four of his posts. Can't really see a reason to read more.

The one thing he does do well is provide advertising for other blogs. He always has several links to other sites, which is a good thing by itself, just not in the vehicle he uses.

Incidentally, a commenter popped up on Christian's site - by the name of yourdungeonissick His link takes you to, you guessed it, Your Dungeon Is Sick! - a nearly identical site of "Mr. Sucky."

Tim Brannan said...

I'd rather be called on my bullshit than allowing it run off unchecked.

Maybe this is good example (though not what I intended to do) of what I mean.

Before I circle back to this I'd like to hear more.

Tenkar said...

As Johnathan sates very nicely, you can do satire without making personal attacks.

YDIS is not a site I visited with any frequency, and I have less of a reason now.

Sir Timothy Of Kent said...

Have to agree with the general consensus here.

I'm not a regular reader of YDIS, but it doesn't really strike me as satire or even criticism, it's basically pointing fingers and mocking in a very crude, abusive fashion. If there was some degree of intelligent satire in there I don't think so many would be aggrieved by his writing.

But, as you say, it's on his blog and therefore it can be ignored.

However, I fear you are giving him too much credit to say the OSR "needs" him. It, maybe, needs a satirist or two, but that doesn't mean we have to accept YDIS because he's the only one claiming that role.

Tourq said...

Tim, there's nothing wrong with saying that most of us need to have our bullshit called out - opinions wouldn't be opinions with censorship.

I'm not in a position to say that YDIS needs to go away, simply because all opinions are always valid, but I can say that if I were standing face to face with a jerk, I have every right to punch him in the face.

James said...

Oh, hell. In for a penny...

"And like you I was disappointed when Christian took down his blog after a particularly scathing attack by YDIS. I felt the attack was a little too personal, and a little too overboard."

Yes, it was too scathing and too personal. Amongst other things.

But, YDIS has been a lot harder on some other folks. James Maliszewski, for example. And what's Mr. M's crime?

He's the most popular Old School blogger out there. That's it. YDIS takes every opportunity to attack him and it goes way, way beyond satire. He attempts to denigrate his targets.

What purpose is being served, there?

Tim, if you think we could use a "roasting platform," then go to it. But if it doesn't come from a place of warmth and inclusiveness, then no, I don't see where that could be a desirable thing at all.

Padre said...

"YDIS gets to keep doing what he wants just like the objects of his barbs do, and that's cool, I suppose. Everybody gets what they want.

I'm just not sure how we bold-type "need" anything."

I tend to share those sentiments. I don't waste time on that blog nor am I curious about what he has to say. From my brief exposure to looking at that one post, the blog has nothing to offer but poisonous rants and contaminated thoughts. I don't need to find those as part of my free time entertainment. Other might think differently, that’s great, they can enjoy the exercise of their time and liberty.

Bigby's Left Hand said...

Satire? THIS is satire:

Policeman to arsonist who threw gasoline on his brother-in-law then lit a match and burned his brother-in-law to death: "Citizen, why did you do that?"

Arsonist's reply: "Satire. I was frustrated by his inability to understand the difference between "its" and "it's" and this seemed the most cogent and hilarious way to express my irritation."

Policeman: "Well, Okay, then. Thanks for helping keep this community from getting too proud of itself even though its collective use of bad grammar is still depressingly widespread. Hopefully other citizens who lack basic apostrophe knowledge will take note and repair their deficiencies lest they, too, be burned by your efficacious brand of justice."

. . . Ta daaaa! Satire.

Bigby's Left Hand said...

In related news, I forgot to use a comma in the previous remark.

I was being satirical.

[eyes quickly shift back and forth.]

Yeah. That's it. Satirical.

Rhetorical Gamer said...

You mention that it's okay to attack other points of view, attack other creations, other writings, etc. I realize that you say, "if you must" which is a nice add-on, but I'm stuck on the word "attack" in that thought.

I don't want to read an attack on anything. I don't need an attack on anything to filter my own thinking through. I'd prefer, as a means of poking and prodding at what others are doing -- that the person doing the prodding is questioning instead of attacking.

I have stopped by several blogs (YDIS) is only one of them that I dislike, I won't point fingers at the others because my dislike is not really pertinent to the community at large -- but all it takes is reading, not only the posts, but the way they respond to comments and I have moved on to other reading in more friendly environments.

If I wanted to get "attacked" for what I was saying, I'd frequent any of a number of gaming forums... but for my reading (and writing) pleasure -- I'd prefer to read something that, while it might challenge my own expectations -- doesn't stoop to attacking anything.

Harald said...

"I also don't like purely personal attacks. Attack people's points of view, their products, criticize their games if you must."

I don't see how anyone "needs" to get attacked, but I think slagging someone's product is aiming above the belt. The problem with YDIS is that he seems to aim low a little too often.

I also have an issue with him naming names, as long as he himself hides behind anonymity. It speaks of low integrity, and if your game is satire, you need integrity. Without that, it becomes simple, malicious slander. Then again, this is the internet, and that particular model of behaviour is nothing but trite.

Tim Shorts said...

I have no problem taking criticism from bloggers I respect like yourself and those who have commented. But when someone like YDIS does it, it means nothing. There is nothing of value to be gained. Say if James or Johnathan or yourself called me to task on something I wrote on my blog or maybe an adventure I wrote something wasn't right I would definitely take a look. I have a certain amount of respect for those of us who have been around. And I have no doubt they would express what they felt. Nor would I.

I understand the principle of your point, but the using YDIS as an example is a poor choice. I don't need him and don't read him.

Or to break it down into the simplest terms. I've already got an asshole, no need for a second.

The one thing I do like about this blog is it get people talking.

Tim Brannan said...

Ok then.

Looks like I am WAY off the mark here.

I don't have any poser at home, so let me figure out what I want to say and have a new post ready.

Charisma said...

No Tim B! Don't recant your words, or change your mind. You said your piece (peace?)so stick to it. As Tim Shorts just said, you make a good point, and I think that most everyone can agree with your principle; it's just that YDIS is a poor choice to show that principle.

Anyone can put me in check any day of the week, as long as they don't attack my self esteem or self worth. Call bullshit when you see it, just temper the hate.

Kent said...

Sir Timothy of Kent,

I'm a Duke myself. At ease, we won't stand on ceremony.

Tim, you make a good point and a brave one considering the predictible responses. Merely recognizing that YDIS is harsh apparently makes some people kind hearted.

I think YDIS has one of the most important blogs in the scene. It has almost become a forum as a result of the habit of deluded grandiose bloggers to delete comments which offer any kind of opposition. So it is just deserts Im afraid and long may he continue.

James said...

Oh, Kent!

"Just desserts." Please explicate.

Maybe I'm way off base, but I entertain the notion that you know better than this and are just amusing yourself.

Either way, it would be a fun discussion.

austrodavicus said...

Maybe my sense of humour isn't as finely tuned as others, I have never found a single thing I've seen of YDIS to be amusing in anyway. Satire is clever, YDIS is not. Satire uses comedy to reveal truths about the subject and ourselves, YDIS is pure spite and bile delivered by a coward who thinks he's incredibly clever, but obviously not clever enough to realise how pathetically not clever he has revealed himself to be.

The OSR needs YDIS like it needs a hole in the head.

Harald said...

"You said your piece (peace?)so stick to it"

This...

"Tim, you make a good point and a brave one considering the predictible responses."

...and this.

"I think YDIS has one of the most important blogs in the scene."

This, not so much.

Constructively criticizing the work of another is good. Anonymously throwing personal attacks after anyone with a url isn't. I think calling YDIS important is to completely misunderstand the meaning of importance.

Kent said...

Sometimes the truth amuses me too.

Im on the record saying YDIS misfired at Christian but I will spit and polish bullets for YDIS for headshots to the genii lords of the osr.

I said it already. Look there is a sewing circle's worth of Blanche DuBois in this scene and when you try to let them know gently with humour it doesn't work on many of them. I think much of the inflated self-regard is undignified.

Frankly I think there is something wrong with grown men talking to each other like a bunch of preteens admiring each others hair ribbons. Very little deserves the pointless one line gushing you see on the bigger blogs and amidst all of this endless praise the equivalent of a raised eyebrow is labelled trolling.

Id prefer that there was a whole gang of Kents having fun, arguing and writing about dnd too. So if I see any Kents about the place Im going to support them.

James said...

I think some of his lines are funny, in and of themselves, if not taken seriously. He then goes way past Don Rickles territory, though and into straight up, excoriation.

James said...

@Kent - It can come off a little circle-jerkish at times, but part of that's the medium. More in-depth discussions do take place.

"amidst all of this endless praise the equivalent of a raised eyebrow is labelled trolling."

Kent. That's bullshit. I've done the raised eyebrow thing on posts. I've criticized an idea or two.

No accusations of "trolling," etc. Of course, I didn't start insulting people and calling them "Nancy Boy," either.

I would suggest that if you want something more "rough and tumble," or even "serious," then try doing just that, without disrespecting the people you're engaging.

We both know that's the issue, here and that's exactly what I would like to see you address.

Kent said...

Kent. That's bullshit. I've done the raised eyebrow thing on posts. I've criticized an idea or two.

No accusations of "trolling," etc. Of course, I didn't start insulting people and calling them "Nancy Boy," either.


You missed my point that it doesn't start that way and third parties only notice when the exchange becomes dramatic.

I think respect should be earned rather than assumed and that's probably where we differ.

James said...

"You missed my point that it doesn't start that way and third parties only notice when the exchange becomes dramatic.

"I think respect should be earned rather than assumed and that's probably where we differ."


I don't think I missed your point at all, unless you're saying that:

"and when you try to let them know gently with humour it doesn't work on many of them."

Is you playing nice, then resorting to:

"amidst all of this endless praise the equivalent of a raised eyebrow is labelled trolling.

With said "raised eyebrow," being your less than gentle comments. Hence, accusations of Trolling.

I didn't make a distinction between those two operations and frankly, if you're going to utilize such idiosyncratic nuances, you can't expect me to catch your point. I don't know you well enough. :)

Ah, that last remark. Now, there's respect and then there's respect. But, if you're not going to grant others a basic, respect as human beings, if that is what you really mean, then no, we don't agree. You can't disrespect another, at that level, without disrespecting yourself (but don't see that as being "in toto," or you'll miss it. Multiple, at times even conflicting actions are always in play in the psyche.)

Greg Christopher said...

I just want to say that I personally hold James Smith up as the standard of decency in the community. When he accused me of being Neville Chamberlain because I made a claim he disagreed with, I thought that just took classy to a whole new level. Kudos James!

James said...

Take it to my blog Greg. Bringing it up here is bad form. Unless Tim and everyone else in this discussion wants to put up with it.

Tim Brannan said...

still no power at home and phone will die soon.

please keep the conversation going! I am glad I found something that people want to talk about.

Greg Christopher said...

Sorry James, to see you try to act like you are some moral force fighting the evil YDIS just makes me want to barf.

Greg Christopher said...

However, I do want to note that you are Neville Chamberlain for claiming bad form. That is exactly the kind of thing a Nazi appeaser would do!

ROFL! :)

Cygnus said...

Putting aside the cheap laughs at the expense of others, I think YDIS has actually brought some satire-worthy things to my attention...

Carcosa dice?

Celebrity DMs?

d8+10 scores, really?

Unrealistic asking prices for OSR products?

Yes, this is the minority, and most of it is vulgar and vitriolic. But it's extreme to say there's been absolutely nothing worthwhile to see there.

Ronin78 (Gaming Ronin) said...

I have to agree. Satire is clever and funny. YDIS is just Some unhappy person getting off by being an asshole.

If I ever get to the point that all I have in the world is putting others down to make me feel better. I hope some one has the decency to put a bullet between my eyes.

Josh Hoyt said...

I agree with this it is like when I receive critiques on my work. It is good to say there are problems with certain aspects of the story or idea but when it is personalized it does nothing for me.

lordofgreendrizzleshits said...

Hey, astrodickvicus, kinda like whether there is a need for a Nancy Grace like yourself pissing and moaning about anyone who doesn't meet your OSR metric of approval?

austrodavicus said...

@lordofgreendrizzleshits - Hello yourdickissmall, I wondered when you would start to use your sock puppet account outside of your own blog. I'm just a tiddler in the pissing and moaning stakes compared to a big fish like you, but please do keep up the lessons, they're very revealing. ;-)

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