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Martin Ralya
2,619 followers -
60% coffee. Mostly harmless.
60% coffee. Mostly harmless.

2,619 followers
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This year's weirdo. Happy Halloween!
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I haven't used my RPGnet account in about five years, but this principled stand -- carefully considered, including the nuances around it, and clearly and unequivocally presented -- prompted me to dust off my account and give the site another look.

Supporting Trump is supporting white supremacy and other forms of bigotry.
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I'm going to make a concerted effort to try Mastodon as my RPG social network (https://dice.camp/@martinralya).

I've had a dice.camp account for a few months, but "Twitter-like" posting doesn't come naturally to me and I generally found that I still preferred G+. But with the impending shutdown, and having ruled out MeWe, it's time to give it another go.

There are at least two other TTRPG-focused instances, tabletop.social and d20hero.club, but given federation I don't see any reason to migrate away from dice.camp. All three instances have deeply progressive codes of conduct, which is one of the things I want from my "next G+."

It hit me today that despite MeWe emerging as the current consensus candidate, which means I'll be missing out on a concentration of gamers I enjoy hearing from, "go where everyone is" has never been my #1 priority. I came to G+ because everyone was here, but stayed because it worked for me.

By contrast, there are lots of gamers (many of whom I'm sure I'd enjoy interacting with) on Facebook, Twitter, and RPGnet, and I don't use/am not active there because those places don't work for me.

Maybe Mastodon won't either, who knows. But I'm optimistic.
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After mulling over MeWe's non-response response to my concerns about the alt-right, Nazis, and other hate groups on the platform (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MartinRalya/posts/a2JPQCNa8cR), I deleted my account there.

Still noodling over where to land post-G+, but currently leaning towards Mastodon or diaspora*.
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The only Deck of Many Things I've ever owned was the tear-out cardstock version from Dragon #148, with the perforated edges. This version, created by my FLGS, Outside Comics & Geek Boutique, and featuring gorgeous artwork by Stasia Burrington, is a substantial upgrade!

It also functions as a 22-card Tarot deck of the major arcana, which would also be handy for Tarot-based character backgrounds and story generation (https://gnomestew.com/game-mastering/gming-advice/deep-as-a-puddle-questionnaires-and-tarot/).
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Getting ready to try a Halloween game of Ten Candles for the first time. I've been wanting to play this for a couple years. Pumped!
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Hooooly crap, Art & Arcana is gorgeous!
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I sent MeWe a question about their policy on hate speech and hate groups (https://plus.google.com/+MartinRalya/posts/6p5KwvaFjPB), and the thread sparked some good discussion. I received an official response from MeWe, which I've posted below. Spoiler alert: it's a non-answer answer, which is really disappointing.

Here's my original question for context:

Howdy! I'm a tabletop gamer who is part of the "great G+ exodus," and MeWe is emerging as a consensus social network for many people in my circles. One concern that I have, and which I keep seeing raised by others, is MeWe's policy on hate speech and hate groups.

I know you have a policy, and it's admirably clear and direct. But do you ban hate groups on MeWe? Do you have examples of groups you've banned? Or of specific types of hate speech that have resulted in official action?

I'm not talking about specific political affiliations in the sense of mainstream political parties or ideologies, but actual hate groups: the alt-right, white supremacists and nationalists, anti-LBGTQ religious groups, and the like.

I like everything I see about MeWe except this -- the absence of evidence that your policies apply to these folks, and have been applied to them. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and to share your response with other G+ folks who have similar concerns. Thanks in advance!

Here's MeWe's response:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us and thank you for using MeWe. MeWe has a built in self-reporting system for all members to block and report members and groups believed to be breaking our Terms. MeWe has no political bias as a company and no algorithms that could perform any kind of bias censorship whatsoever. Our CEO is a Libertarian and well known for his opposition to political censorship, political bias, and shadow banning on social media. 

We are continuously building new moderation tools for MeWe group owners and members. Group owners can already assign as many admins to their groups as they want - and all group owners and their admins can block and remove any group member, as well as change group member permissions individually if necessary.

When it comes to tolerance of different political viewpoints - MeWe stands out from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google. MeWe doesn't shadow ban, has no political bias, doesn't manipulate your newsfeed, has no facial recognition, no spyware, no boosted anything, and NO BS. MeWe members and their data are #Not4Sale.

All social media sites have ongoing daily issues with disruptive trolls and bots, and MeWe is no different. We take on those challenges every day to make MeWe delightful and safe for all members. We're not a haven for violence inciters or porno - there are other sites for those people to go to - not MeWe. We like to say "MeWe is for the good guys." We're not perfect - and we're working on making MeWe better and better every single day.

Bottom line: MeWe is for law-abiding citizens worldwide regardless of their politics, religion, sexuality, and other traits. Of course due to our privacy guidelines we cannot provide examples of any persons or groups that have been reported, and understandably we do not provide examples of any actions the company takes to remove violators. We stand by our Terms and our principles"
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I submitted a request to MeWe for a statement about their policy against hate speech and hate groups. I submitted a feedback comment the other day (about something technical) and got a prompt reply via email from an actual person, so fingers crossed that will happen here too.

I've seen several folks I respect voicing concerns about this topic, and after watching the relevant section of the YouTube interview I found the official line pretty unconvincing.

I don't know if this is worded as well as it could be -- and if you have suggestions for other things to ask, I'd love to hear them -- but here's what I submitted:

Howdy! I'm a tabletop gamer who is part of the "great G+ exodus," and MeWe is emerging as a consensus social network for many people in my circles. One concern that I have, and which I keep seeing raised by others, is MeWe's policy on hate speech and hate groups.

I know you have a policy, and it's admirably clear and direct. But do you ban hate groups on MeWe? Do you have examples of groups you've banned? Or of specific types of hate speech that have resulted in official action?

I'm not talking about specific political affiliations in the sense of mainstream political parties or ideologies, but actual hate groups: the alt-right, white supremacists and nationalists, anti-LBGTQ religious groups, and the like.

I like everything I see about MeWe except this -- the absence of evidence that your policies apply to these folks, and have been applied to them. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and to share your response with other G+ folks who have similar concerns. Thanks in advance!
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Greg Stafford has died.

The founder of Chaosium, Greg was the designer and co-designer of a host of influential RPGs including RuneQuest, BRP, Pendragon, Ghostbusters, as well as the creator of Glorantha. Along with Sandy Petersen, he was also responsible for turning Chaosium around in 2015.

Rest in peace, Greg. You touched many, many lives, including mine.
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