Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Open Letter to One Book Shelf: Really, censorship? REALLY?

Sent to One Book Shelf in response to pulling Postmortem Press's Gamergate Card Game, and posted here so we can emphasize how very uncool it is to engage in censorship like this:

I just wished to comment that I think this was a mistake, and that while the card game may be distasteful, censorship is much more so. Yes, you have the right to restrict what you allow through your sites, but so far this has been a sterling reputation for openness that has benefited the gaming community. Unfortunately the message here....whether intended or that Evil Hat can control what you publish on your site. Gamergate the card game may be an easy target (and from all accounts it sounds like a vicious and unpleasant satire) but I am very unhappy to know that they would consider restricting my rights to purchase it through your store; and that worse yet the end result of this controversial topic is censorship. If the gamergaters are allegedly all about an unbiased press in video game journalism, I hate to think that the opposition (the SJWs, I guess?) are somehow about censorship. This was a bad move, I think you need to reinstate the product and remain neutral. Failing that, recogonize that there are books on rpgnow that are both more insulting and troublesome, and this is the start of the slippery slope. Please don't go down it.

Also, I will not be threatening you with pulling my books from One book Shelf. Aside from the fact that my books sell pennies to every Evil Hat Dollar (ooh big market impact for Zodiac Gods Publishing!) I would like to remain ethically clean on this issue, and represent the importance of fighting censorship like this.

OneBookShelf sent out a letter to participating publishers which Tenkar was nice enough to post here.

Read about Evil Hat's part in this here and here, and Postmortem's discussion here.

It's a shame this is happening; Evil Hat does good stuff (if you like FATE), and Postmortem did the "100 Adventure Seeds" books which I purchased, liked, and have used in the past (also they have some cool clip art).

It would be one thing if One Book Shelf had a policy in place which restricted certain forms of content, but they don't. Making a decision like this in tandem with (even if allegedly by coincidence) a publisher like Evil Hat sending out yet another round of tweets (notice how all crap on the internet these days begins with a tweet?) makes them look like cronies caving in to censorship pressure. Do this once, you may find it hard....but every time thereafter gets easier to pull a product that offends someone, somewhere. OBS needs to either man up and enforce some standards (which a number of other products will suffer from) or they should stick to what has worked very, very well: crap not worth buying sinks to the bottom in obscurity. Now, thanks to OBS and Evil Hat, a game I would otherwise never have heard of or cared about is now quite well known and available for sale here (for now; maybe Evil Hat can try poking around there next?)

As an aside, I generally remain quiet on my blog about topical issues like Gamergate....and will remain so. I've got my opinions, but by and large prefer to keep my blog "lite" and focused on actual gaming....except when it comes to publishing. To hell with censorship!

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