Community Norms & Problematic Media

From a Slack discussion about this rpg.stackexchange thread:

Roleplaying games are vehicles for stories. If you ignore the social context and strip them down to pure mechanics, you might as well play ​any​ game - but (a) mechanics are not, themselves, morally or socially neutral, and (b) the thing Varg actually shipped is, quite consciously, laden with intent, and disregarding that wilfully enables him.

Critical analysis and remixing is a great way to defang racist literature.

I think maybe the point is “it’s not the game, it’s the players:” you’re (implicitly) arguing for a conscious, intentional restriction on the spectrum of tolerated opinions and beliefs. That’s fine, that’s ​the nature of social spaces​, but the idea of consciously excluding someone on that basis is, at least on paper, anathema to (for lack of a better term) nerd culture.

(It actually happens anyways, “on paper” and “lol these are humans” never line up. I'm talking about what we tell ourselves, and therefore how we justify our actions.)

The conversation about whether to ban discussion of ​the game​ is misguided, because it doesn’t address any of that. A bunch of folks who all agree with the prevailing opinion (that racist vehicles are a bad idea and the people who voluntarily participate in them are, at best, highly suspect) should, I think, be perfectly able to have a sensible, critical discussion of the game without violating community norms.

What you’re actually asking for, and what may be the only way to manage this, is a ​ban on having personal beliefs that align with the author's​.

I’m +1 on that, and someone in the thread explains why perfectly: nominal inclusiveness causes marginalized people to exclude themselves for their own protection, since nominal inclusiveness prevents various social safety mechanisms that might otherwise protect marginal people from functioning.

Basically, I think geek social fallacies #1 and #2 are driving that thread.

In a context where it’s unacceptable to say “if you are racist, we want you to leave,” banning discussion of racist material is a workable stopgap, but it’s considerably more expensive (more stressful, harder to enforce, harder to explain to new community members) than fixing the problem you actually care about.

I’m quite happy to ban people for having vile opinions. The “it’s just my opinion, man” stance that so, so many idiot bros (even me, sometimes) fall back on is not, basically, a good reason to tolerate people.