Friday, June 17, 2011

WotC-Fail - Girls & D&D

I generally stay away from bashing WotC and their generally moronic decisions, but this goes beyond the pale.

Republished from Kynn's LiveJournal:

As part of their inexplicable series about D&D and kids, Wizards of the Coast has posted an official tutorial about girls & gaming, which starts with a disclaimer:

I am a man.

Despite living a rich and fulfilling life, one thing I never got to be is a woman. Therefore, some readers are likely to ask, “What gives you the right, as a man, to talk about women?”

First of all, this article is not about women, but about children of the female persuasion. Children rarely write pedagogic articles (and thank goodness for that!) and so this ungrateful task falls upon my hairy adult shoulders. So while I may not be female, you, my hypothetical accuser, are not a child, hence we’re both in equal violation of authenticity.

[blah blah blah]

Lastly, and this is my main point, it’s all about fun and games. So please, for the aforementioned goodness’ sake, don’t take anything I write too seriously. My aim as I embarked on this monumental project was to help DMs avoid some of the pitfalls into which I had stumbled in the beginning of my career and to tell some amusing anecdotes while at it, not to expose all the intricacies of the human spirit.

This is the same guy who wrote the tutorial about punishing kids.

At the time of that article, Uri had a public Google buzz feed. He's taken it private now; I made a screencap at the time.

Let's take a look at the guy who Wizards of the Coast thinks is the correct person to write about girls in gaming:

Uri: Feminism 2011: we got our rights. now we want yours! Lord Havoc: painfully true. I say outlaw the bitches. Uri: I say send to Gaza for re-education.

This guy has ideas worth sharing about girls in gaming:

Uri: Feminazis look for sexual harassment like witch hunters used to look for witchcraft. Their proposed treatment is also the same...

Here's the guy who features in their "D&D Kids: Girls at the Table" article, talking about the causes of domestic violence:

Uri: Instead of blaming men for violence, blame the wives who leave the men with no choice but being violent.

Annnnd here's Uri's idea of the perfect RPG, presumably for adults only and not for the immature:

Uri describes a game about raping and killing women. Someone says he should write it. Uri answers, 'Write? Hell... I want to live it!'

Now, I'm not saying that Wizards of the Coast should be in the business of censuring any of their contributors for their personal views. Uri's odious views on domestic violence, on feminism, on rape shouldn't automatically disqualify him from writing for Hasbro.

But I'm just thinking that maybe, just maybe, Wizards of the Coast should have hired a female gamer to write the article -- I know plenty of them who could write well about the topic and not just regurgitate a bunch of tired gender stereotypes such as the character statistically [sic] most likely to be attractive to girls is a female eladrin ranger -- instead of an openly misogynist apologist for domestic violence.

Just sayin'.

PS: As you might expect, the article itself is shitty.

Update: This post originally contained a sentence that cast doubt on other people working at Wizards of the Coast. That was inappropriate and I apologize for writing it, and hereby retract it. The sentence was:
I'm sure there are plenty of men at WotC who might agree that women who are victims of violent abuse from their spouses deserved it for forcing their husbands to physically assault them.
I apologize to anyone I hurt by saying that.

Update 2: Wizards of the Coast has removed the post, and posted a statement on Twitter:

We've removed the article. The opinions of the author don't reflect the views of Wizards of the Coast.

Here is the Google cache of the post (hat tip [info]yendi), and a very large screenshot of that cache (Google caches eventually expire).

There is just so much wrong with this...


  1. Holy cow, that article would have been a crappy blog post and it was a D&D insider piece? So they have no brand manager or editors at WOTC these days?

  2. Tip for companies in the modern world - Google your prospective employee's name - just to see what you're letting yourself in for.

  3. There is a time and place to rave against PC but this isn't one of them.

    A person holding such decidedly non mainstream opinions really should not be the public representative of a toy company. Doesn't mean they should fire him, freedom requires a a degree of tolerance, only that he should not be writing for under the same name he uses for those opinions.

    If he'd called himself TrollGuy 40101 or something that would be another matter but as it is he casts a bad light on Hasbro.

    Now in fairness his opinions are not uncommon, gaming after all represents a broad spectrum of its demographic but that doesn't make them less offensive.

    Most importantly though his articles suck.

  4. To answer JD's question, I suspect that the brand manager may be rather busy with filling in for the guys who were laid off.

    And Matt, good tip. If you are an employer, there is a lot of info out there for the taking. I suspect that this will not be the case in a few years. Once people realize that somebody will want to impose negative consequences for almost anything however innocuous said in a public forum I suspect that everyone will become rather privacy minded and will learn to clam up unless they are willing to tribe up. Whether this is good or bad is a matter for another forum of course.

  5. There's context here you're missing and someone's personal opinions expressed elsewhere shouldn't have anything to do with the content of the article which should be measured on its own merits. Not to your taste =/= terrible.

    Kynn is a drama-raker, to the point of creating it. His behaviour is stalkerish, strange and frankly pathological and I wouldn't trust a thing he says. Having been a target of him in the past, and again now, I'm all too familiar with his lies, misrepresentations and witch-hunts.

    Why not actually talk to people involved rather than blindly repeating the latest manufactured outrage?

  6. ...yeaaah, apresvie, I totally believe there is "context" that would make this guy's remarks oh so funny and oh so light-hearted and oh so irrelevant to his ability to write about how girls should relate to RPGs.

    Except, wait. Even if you take the article on its own merits, he falls down utterly. He states that women have no business thinking a woman should've written that article, because they don't know any more about being little girls than he does! And then in the article itself, it's non-stop "girls want fluff", "girls want to express themselves in artistic ways", "girls do this but they don't do that", as though "girls" were this totally monolithic entity... fail.

  7. Completely leaving aside the fact the guys a punk, that was a truly shitty article.

  8. To answer JD's question, I suspect that the brand manager may be rather busy with filling in for the guys who were laid off.

    WoTC laid off people? Again? *shocker*!! :)

  9. This is a PR f*cking disaster. I don't think the article was over the top. I do think it generalized playstyles of boys and girls a bit. It would have been nice if he had tips to make sure girls were not excluded at the table. I think he hamfistedly tried to do this but ended up pigeon-holing girls into this idea of, 'girls play games like X.'

    But clearly this guy has some pretty chauvinistic opinions. Not the guy you want representing a major game company. I expect a lot of backpedaling from WotC over this.

  10. The real question is, who's the fucking loser running around screenshotting stuff this random dude no one cares about says online? I feel most sorry for that guy.

  11. I've chatted with Uri K. online a few times. I wouldn't say that I know him well, but I'm definitely a friend.

    He's not at all the sort of person that Kynn's criticism makes him look like. His sense of humor may sometimes be lame, but the quotes Kynn chose were all extremely sarcastic and not serious at all. Rapist orcs as the "best RPG ever"? Give me a break!

    Kynn deliberately misrepresented Uri to make him look like a gynophobic jackass.