... now with 35% more arrogance!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Here's my short commentary on the commentary about "edition wars" that's been dominating the blogosphere for at least a week now: Criticism is not a crime. Neither is sarcasm. They aren't even rude, in most cases: critical, sarcastic, and satirical works have been around for ages, and some of them are my favorites.

What isn't so good is criticism or sarcasm in the wrong place or time, or with the wrong intensity, or when repeated endlessly. When someone creates a blog or a forum post on one topic and you come riding in on your favorite hobby horse, shooting guns in the air like Yosemite Sam, that is rude. It's not even a sign of an "edition war", but more like personal narcissism. I made a comment elsewhere that I may in fact post "I don't like 3e or 4e" on my blog, or may explain why I don't like them on a forum when asked, but I will make a solemn promise not to show up at your house, bust down your front door, and start ranting in your face about why I hate 3e or 4e. Which, metaphorically, is the kind of behavior I've seen on some RPGNet threads.

Legitimate criticism, even sarcastic criticism, is welcome. You can even bitch about me on your blog, or post a comment on one of my posts about why you think my rules suggestion is wrong (some have.) Just don't turn into Yosemite Sam when you find out I'm unconvinced.


  1. Which is why I read blogs like yours, and avoid rpg.net. Seriously? "edition-wars?" why? or more to the point, who cares? I hate all the editions more or less equally, there are some good things about each. What I hate is the concept that "complexity=realism;" not true. The more complex the rules, the slower the game, and that does nothing to enhance realism. My two cents, anyway.


  2. Very nicely said and pretty much my feelings on the subject. I don't think it's a surprise that the phenomenon of trolling seems to have arisen hand in hand with the phenomenon of seeing criticism or a statement of preference as beyond the pale. I frequently encounter people online who speak as though the mere fact that I like something they do not and can articulate why or that I dislike something they do and can articulate why is somehow the height of rudeness. It's bizarre and yet it's one of many oddities about the culture that's grown up around the Net.

  3. I think an awful lot of dead horse flogging and nursing aggrievement goes on--on both sides, unfortunately. Criticism and sarcasm are certainly allowed. Hell, I'm even tolerant of bad argumentation (straw men and what not) to a degree--particularly on somebody's own blog. But constant repetition of the same points is boorish, I think. It smacks of facepainting and foam-fingers.

    I don't like 4e. Therefore, I mostly just don't talk about it. I would hope a 4e fan can do the same in regard to older D&D.

  4. @DaveL: I hear ya on the complexity vs. realism issue.

    @James: I don't think it's connected to the internet. For example, there are a couple political groups that behave the same way, and have since the '80s.

  5. Damn those Zoroastrians and their infantile dualism! Srsly, it's like they don't even know what fun is!

    Anyway, this problem will soon pass, when 5e fixes everything and we all live in harmony again. Like back when we played Chainmail.