Monday, 9 December 2019

DriveThruRPG.com Bans Publisher for Slander

ATLANTA, VANCOUVER, Dec. 9, 2019 -- DriveThruRPG -- Last week, while most of our staff were heading to the PAX show, a customer reported a title on our store, citing inappropriate content. The title was a short RPG wherein players are meant to assume the role of police officers who harass innocent victims such as “person of color” and “queer person.” 

The work in question was arguably satirical, its author perhaps attempting to make a statement against police corruption; however, our initial review determined that the work warranted a more considered review. A game that has players take the role of police oppressing minorities simply warranted more than a quick look. So, as is our policy in such a situation, we suspended the title from public sale until all of our staff could return from PAX and we could then review the work more carefully. In the interim, we notified the publisher that the title was being temporarily suspended for internal review. 

Over the weekend during the PAX show, the publisher then undertook a number of questionable actions, including deactivating their other titles and then using DriveThruRPG tools to email prior customers messages falsely blaming DriveThruRPG for having removed those titles. 

The publisher also made use of a tool that allows publishers to customize the appearance of their storefront page on DriveThruRPG; with this tool, the publisher created a false version of events, making it seem as though DriveThruRPG had banned the publisher, and then posted a screenclip of that falsified message in several places online. The clear intent of the publisher was to create outrage against DriveThruRPG. It is difficult to see this series of actions as anything but slander. 

Screenshot of the error message created by the publisher that spread on social media

Screenshot of publisher's category header tool (through Manage Publisher Page) showing the message in an editable text box.

We do not want to work with any creator who uses our platform to falsify reports against others, nor do we want to maintain a relationship with anyone who undermines the integrity of public discussion in the hobby. As a result of this publisher’s slanderous actions against us, we have decided to stop doing any business with the publisher.  
 DriveThruRPG celebrates and supports difference. We believe that a variety of opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles, as expressed both among our customers and publishers and within the titles we carry, is the sign of a healthy hobby and a healthy society.

5 comments:

  1. I would have liked to have known whether the game would have ended up being put back in place or not upon review -- further proving the author was over-reacting -- before taking this step, but then, your review would probably have been tainted by this. And I *definitely* can't blame y'all for taking this step in this case.

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  2. It's worth noting that the same individual has been conducting a systematic campaign of vandalism against the RPG.net wiki in retaliation for having been banned there.

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    1. They really need to get over themselves and post their games elsewhere.

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  3. Thank you for the explanation, and your actions are one hundred percent understandable given the circumstances.

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  4. I would love to argue that a game that so closely mirrors real life has a responsibility to spread that message, but I understand how that same content could ultimately radicalize certain impressionable people in the wrong direction.

    That being said I also understand how easy it is to be so proud of your work that you personally are incapable of seeing how your creation could foster the wrong feelings or actions in others.

    As someone who frequently creates content, but has never tried to make money from said content; the clearly petty actions of the creator in this instance does create a certain amount of concern and skepticism concerning their motivations, not just with the title in question but with their entire way of life.

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