​Living in the public eye means there will always be people who hate you, whether out of jealousy, projecting, or general self-loathing. It’s unfortunate, but you ignore it and move on because ultimately, if you’re happy and doing what you want to do, it doesn’t matter.

Seeing recent conversations on such topics, and it’s curious to me. Community gate-keeping, an inability to accept that people play/love differently than you do, and judging people based on little more than their differences. How is this healthy behavior to promote your hobbies?

I am just me. Somehow stumbling through this unexpected ride of my friends and I playing D&D online, and some people caring. If ya aren’t a fan of us or those who create and display their own stories, that’s fine. However, nothing elevates it beyond being just your opinion.

@matthewmercer, 5:10pm, March 15, 2018

I don’t know what prompted this. I’m not certain I care, honestly, but it would help to better understand the context. It’s very possible that, if I knew full well what Mr Mercer’s talking about, I wouldn’t feel a need to respond as I’m about to.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Yes, conducting any business in the public eye invites criticism. Yes, a lot of that criticism ~ moreso today than ever before, thanks to our technology ~ is probably baseless and should be ignored.

Some of it, however, is not.

This is important to note because there are plenty of public figures who receive legitimate criticism, who conduct themselves in ways that are deserving of scrutiny, and who should not be allowed to dismiss their critics with a, “Haters gonna hate,” attitude.

Yes, as individuals and as members of our communities, we should be happy with what we’re doing. We should learn to be more discerning of our critics and their concerns. We should ignore anything that is intended purely to hurt or damage; anything that seeks to tear down without building up; anything that is purely destructive in nature.

We should also know the difference between good criticism and shit.

Because, ultimately, people who operate in the public sphere do have a responsibility to the community they represent. They are examples of good and right behavior, whether they want to be or not. It comes with the territory. So whenever Mr. Mercer performs his game for his audience, there are players who watch and internalize, and come away with a view that, “Well, since Matt Mercer did it, it must be okay.”

Again, I am not familiar with the context of this conversation. I have my own opinion on the concept of “gatekeeping” ~ namely that it’s a bullshit term ~ a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing ~ but my view is tempered by my experiences in the hobby. I’ve never been shut out of games before. I’ve never been told that I don’t belong at a store, in a club, or at a table.

I have been told to sit down and shut up; that my ideas aren’t welcome; that I’m wrong in my approach to the game. So in that respect, I understand the position: that this is a deeply personal hobby that only requires your group’s consent.

Except that even that statement is bullshit, if subjected to a bit of critical evaluation.

And this is where I feel it necessary to speak out: where do we draw the line?

At what point does, “Play how you want,” tip over into, “Don’t criticize and don’t analyze?”

At what point are we favoring inclusiveness at the expense of improving ourselves?

Because, while I do not know exactly what Mr. Mercer is responding to, I am certain that it’s possible to take any position to an extreme where it harms just as many people as it protects or benefits.


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