Monday, March 21, 2016

Color Me Unsurprised

Hello, folks. It's been a while since I shot some electrons at the public, but I'm here now with some rather unsettling - yet unsurprising - news.

Cue the golf clap...

OneBookShelf just dropped the other shoe in addition to dropping the ball on protecting small publisher's rights within the bounds of their adult filtering system. I was surfing the RPGSite when I came across a post about what is looking to be the sequel to the fight over Skorched 'Urf's adult material brouhaha. What's that? You didn't hear about it? Here's some links to discussion about the issue on the aforementioned site:
At any rate, there was originally talk on TheRPGSite about forming a site to compete with OBS's DriveThruRPG and RPGNow sites, talk which some publishers took to heart and acted upon, as evidenced by this announcement on EnWorld and website.

All of this seems to herald the incident behind this statement from Venger Satanis, author of the infracting material, a statement of support from the man behind Barrel Rider Games, and some talk on TheRPGSite. Before people start labeling me as being in favor of smut or other material that defames the image of our hobby and the industry, let me say this: while the material of this type is not my thing either to read or produce, I won't stand by while others seek to censor it. I am more than happy to let people know that such material is not an accurate portrayal of our hobby or of gamers in general.

At the same time, as a businessperson, I find it disheartening and disgusting that some of my fellow publishers (who will remain nameless to avoid giving them any more fame) are now in the highly unethical business of scourging and purifying our industry of what they consider "undesirable" elements. What I've seen of this fledgling witch hunt - and it is the beginning of a witch hunt - is cherry-picking of targets and facts. The material in question was, according to the author, behind the mature content filter, meaning it won't show up unless you log into OBS' sales site AND have the mature content filter turned OFF. Claiming to have "stumbled upon" material you deem offensive after you've logged in and either turned off the mature content filter - or failed to turn it on in the first place - is the same as blaming a wild animal for injuring you after you've provoked it.

That being said, I'm looking into joining up with TableTopLibrary and ending my short run with OBS. Now, my products have never been big moneymakers for OBS - heck, they aren't even that numerous or widely known - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep my head down and pray the inquisitors leave me alone. Eventually, they will come for me. All it takes is something I've said being intentionally quoted out of context or someone being "outraged" at a perceived slight or offense and I'll be tied to the stake while the Outrage Brigade dances merrily around the bonfire.

The Outrage Brigade doesn't want to discuss things in good faith. It just wants its way to be the only way, and its members don't bother to distinguish friend from foe when it comes to achieving their goals. And if you don't think it will happen to you, just you wait.

3/23/16 ADDENDUM: Venger Satanis announced that Alpha Blue has been returned to circulation on OBS. While I applaud OBS for following through and FAIRLY applying its policies this time, there's no guarantee of it in the future given the tenacious nature of some within the Outrage Brigade. I am still going to look into at the very least expanding to TableTopLibrary and possibly diversifying to other platforms such as Paizo's online store. You've won a reprieve as far as I'm concerned OBS, but as far as I'm concerned, one whitelisting does not fully undo the damage your previous gaffe did.