You recall my recent post about the “D&D With Porn Stars” blog? Even WotC covered it! Well, apparently there’s some OSR group called “TARGA” out there. One of their weekly link roundups linked to the blog. Apparently this twisted the nipples of two guys mainly, this guy (who apparently was also sad his latest brilliant blog posts weren’t included in the links) and this guy.
This had a lot of fallout, including Chgowiz pulling his blog down off the Internet totally in a fit of pique. And the guy who was doing the link roundups left the organization. And primary complainy guy left the organization. And lo did Joesky speak out upon the subject.
My point isn’t that some of those involved are douchey. It’s that organizations like this are inevitably douchey.
Some of the worst times of my gaming life have been as a result of my involvement with nonprofit gaming organizations. I was involved with the RPGA as a Living Greyhawk Triad – that sucked. I started a Memphis gaming group (the FORGE – still going strong! No, I hadn’t heard of the Ron Edwards thing at the time.). That was horrific in its early stages, when my roommate and I had endless conflicts with the demented wife of an RPGA staffer; she even raised her hand to hit my roommate once during one of her psychotic rants. (Once we said “screw you guys” and got it going on our own it worked out fine.) I was a officer of the Christian Gamers Guild, until the neverending power plays and schizophrenic threats drove me away.
Politics are never so vicious as when the spoils are pathetic. It’s why bosses at nonprofits are about 25% more sleazy and awful on average (a made up but completely true statistic). Organizations like that (and to a similar extent, the cabals “in charge” of things like RPG forum sites) inevitably devolve into a self-serving nest of narcissists and empowering cowards.
I refuse to participate in such “organizations” (a strong word for random mailing lists with self-proclaimed “Boards” of 5 or so random people that decide to waste hundreds of man-hours of time working out policies that can only alienate and never help anyone) anymore. And I’m a lot happier.
Heck, even the RPG Blogger Network went through some of that. Let me tell you what you need in terms of detailed power structure, unless there’s real money changing hands.
1. One moderator/owner guy, who will be very tolerant, and generally tell everyone to just calm down and ignore it if someone’s twisting their knickers, but in extreme cases warn or ban people who are being total asshats on the forum, mailing list, or whatever.
2. One person per real initiative (like an e-zine or whatever) who organizes/runs the initiative and includes submissions based on their sole prerogative. Other people can step up to do another “whatever” if they disagree with that person’s vision.
That’s it. You don’t need a “constitution.” You don’t need a “board.” Every single one of those you’re doing is a bunch of jacking off that will look pretty stupid to you in ten years when you’re wondering where your youth went.
On a similar note, if someone says something on a blog or mailing list or forum you don’t like – do feel free to ignore it. Some people act like every post is a missive solely directed at them. Unless it begins with “Dear X, you are a loser” it is not, and you can safely ignore it, let it go by, and life will go on.
This has been a public service message. Wise up.