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Self-defense and Forge-defense -- should I?

Started by clehrich, December 04, 2004, 04:06:57 PM

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Hi gang,

So Ben Lehman pointed out to me that in the course of a discussion about RPGs and how they should be written, someone posted a small and out-of-context chunk of my recent post "On RPGs and Text" in order to trash me and my writing.  So I read the post, and the thread.  I note that another guy, Cognitive Dissident, attacks back very effectively and rationally, and that I agree with him on pretty much everything.

The thread is here

Now my immediate inclination is to ignore this, although I made some rude remarks in my LiveJournal.  But then I noticed the following:
QuoteLehrich's piece, like the "Rpgs as Ritual Discourse" and Edwards' GNS one before it, really, they're not by intellectuals. Many of the long words are used incorrectly. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Many of the people quoted are quoted out of context and what they have to say is misunderstood.
Now it's one thing to say that my prose is bad, or that the Forge and all its denizens are theory-head wankers.  It's another thing to say that I (and Ron) misuse our terms and that we are in fact intellectual frauds.

I feel as though I should call him on it.  I should say, "Please have the grace to point out, by specific quotation, instances of misuses of words or mis-quotations within the essay in question.  If you cannot do so, please have the grace to apologize publicly."

I feel as though this is not only a personal defense but one of the Forge and all it stands for.  It's one thing, as I say, to say that we're navel-gazing wankers, but it's another to say that we're frauds and liars.

I don't want to provoke a general poll; these are rightly banned.  But my sense is that this is a common situation, and something worth discussion on that basis.  So: should I call him on it?  Why or why not?

Feel free to reply by PM if that seems more appropriate.  Oh -- and Cognitive Dissident, if you're here, I'd love to hear from you.
Chris Lehrich


Hi Chris,

Let me ask you- what would you hope to accomplish?  Anyone whose opinion or view you'd need be concerned with(if that) are going to be the folks who decide to read your writings for themselves and make their own informed decisions.  Anyone who chooses to dismiss or embrace anything you, Ron, or anyone has to say without actually reading it, aren't going to understand it, and can only misrepresent it in the fashion that any over defensive zealot would.

This is the internet, not a professional organization where your career options might go up or down based on the opinions of the people here.  That said, internet credibility means nothing.  There's really nothing to defend, and there's nothing to defend it against.

The only thing that you might desire to defend is your personal ego from attacks.  In actual face to face contact, it may be possible, but on the internet, people are shielded by anonymity, lack of social repercussions, as well as many have mastered the art of pushing people's buttons.  It is a no win situation, where all you can do is make yourself more frustrated and upset and at the same time provide plenty of ammunition for the trolls to take out of context and "prove" whatever form of clown they want to make you out to be.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is, you cannot hold a reasonable discussion or debate, with an unreasonable person.  And once you get personal attacks from someone who doesn't even know you- you know what kind of person you're dealing with.



Chris (Bankuei) is right, to an extent, and with his words in mind, my thought would be that it is one thing to attack someone's theory, it is another altogether to attack the person themselves.

I would point out this immature and anti-intellectual* behavior in a politely worded refutation of the act itself (NOT of any of his points), note that you do not engage in debate hinging on such a premise as nothing good can come of discourse with such as the base, and then simply ignore the individual from that point on.

So, why even do the response post? To provide a clear record, and establish the methods of proper discourse to which you will respond for those who actually want to talk about it with you. It helps to set down the social rules that we have sadly lost the ability to percieve or abide by on the internet.

Yes, you will be accused of running off (but of course!), but you would be accused of the exact same if you were to just ignore the individual, as well as being accused of just ignoring any who disagree with you.

Remember, just one post to note that you do not appreciate personal attacks masquerading as real criticisms. After that, you don't take the bait.

(* And yes, it is so very ironic that someone kvetching about pseudo-intellectualism and fraud should utilize the very same in their attack upon it.

It's also incredibly telling: their attack on your work is meaningless, empty words, and a lot of smoke-and-mirrors. As such, you can no more refute it than you can refute the crazy homeless man on the corner hollering about government conspiracies; nor can you take it seriously or personally, (again) considering the source.)
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Matt Wilson

QuoteI feel as though this is not only a personal defense but one of the Forge and all it stands for. It's one thing, as I say, to say that we're navel-gazing wankers, but it's another to say that we're frauds and liars.

Doesn't shit like that go on every week at rpgnet? You've got regular threads of "my incorrect opinion of this previously defined term shall in my mind be fact," coupled with "I don't really understand it, therefore I must mock it." Same old fucking same old.

Here's my point, though: The Forge doesn't need defending. It's a thriving community. I owe a large part of my success as a game publisher to it. Anyone who calls the Forge a bunch of frauds and liars can kiss my profit-making ass.

As for the personal attack, man, there are enough angry and indignant people on the Internet. Be exceedingly pleasant and confuse the hell out of everyone.

Trevis Martin

Hey Chris,

I agree with Matt

Well there isn't a good way to answer these things.  The forge needs no defending.  We know what it is really like.  We know why we like it.  And anybody worth having here will investigate on their own and like as much as we.  So don't respond on the Forge's part.

And everyone here (I'm sure) realizes what a valuable contributer you are. The personal attack of some random guy on the internet is nothing to sweat. I know it hurts you to be called dishonest but in this medium, there is no good response that will make a lick of difference to the offender.




Quote from: Matt Wilson
QuoteI feel as though this is not only a personal defense but one of the Forge and all it stands for. It's one thing, as I say, to say that we're navel-gazing wankers, but it's another to say that we're frauds and liars.

Doesn't shit like that go on every week at rpgnet?

No. Not really.

Edited to add: depending on what your threshold is for qualifying a post as 'shit like that.'

JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
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Ron Edwards


Hey Chris (Lehrich), what's happening here is that he pushed your button.

You've got buttons, I have them, everyone has them. He found yours, mainly by pushing a ton of different buttons at random.

It's up to you to decide whether all the alarms and buzzers are going to go off now. I can only tell you that many people post for absolutely no other reason than to see this reaction, regardless of their vocabulary or their skill at seeming reasonable.


P.S. Marco's right - there's no reason at this forum to expand criticism to as a website.


Many thanks, everyone.

I think probably the right thing to do is to forget it, or anyway not do anything about it on  As Chris said, there's nothing I could gain by participating in this.  There's really no hope of convincing this guy, and there doesn't seem to be any serious possibility of forcing, by general peer pressure, an apology.  It would be nice, of course, if this person were actually willing to debate the issues in a moderated forum, such as the Forge, but I'll wait for that.  And frankly, it would probably not be a lot of fun anyway.

I remain extremely angry, because I do think (with Raven) that there is a very big difference between jabs and jibes about writing and claiming that someone is a liar and a fraud.  But I suppose sucking it up is probably the best thing.

In the shower this morning, I walked through in my mind potential posts from me and the likely responses.  I couldn't imagine any of them going in a positive or constructive direction.  So I'm going to try to forget the whole thing ever happened.

Oh well.  To use this guy's favorite epithet, he's a banana-head.
Chris Lehrich