Monday, October 8, 2018

You Don't Have A Tabletop RPG Community (Probably) - Part One

Every so often a post gets shared on social media and it's something about how we need to do something on behalf of "the RPG community" - shun a harasser, yell at someone with a bad blog post or gross cover art on their $3.99 supplement for a game nobody plays, or destroy the story game pigs.  These appeals often fall on deaf ears when they come to me, often to the consternation of others. My explanation, that I don't think there's a community that tabletop RPG enthusiasts online belong to, is never welcome to any side of whatever blow-up is happening this week. So I'm going to post my thoughts on this subject, in detail, here.
"There is no such thing as society." - Margaret Thatcher,
Halloween (1978)

A quick caveat before we begin: During the controversy (?) over a couple of Magpie Games blog posts a couple of years ago, two separate people told me they considered my statement that there was no RPG community to be a direct threat to them.  More than one person has confirmed this feeling to me in other contexts as well.

Well, sure. If you're walking down a street and a guy with a butcher knife walks up and shouts "you know, the laws don't apply to me!" that can be scary. 

So if you're someone who needs there to be a tabletop RPG community to feel safe, don't read what follows. Even if I'm right, it doesn't matter. (Perhaps that should say "especially if I'm right, it doesn't matter".)  This blog only has 6 readers (including 2 dogs) so nobody is actually listening to this, and, if you hadn't already noticed, there's literally hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year trying to convince you, me and everyone on earth that I'm wrong. I don't stand a chance, and neither do you or the rest of the world.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter don't only want to convince you that buying a thing, and then talking about that thing online is sufficient to form the basis for a viable, positive community.  They are working to convince you that the "communities" formed by doing so are actually much more meaningful than participating in communities which aren't based on buying things and talking about them.   Compared to that kind of ridiculously over-funded opposition, blog posts like this one have no power and do not do anything.  Aren't you glad you read this far? "Yeah, time well spent," is what you're thinking right now. Anyway, you will be safe and happy forever if you don't read any further, and there will never be any impact to you for deciding not to read this.  So if that's what you need, then stop here.