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So, I see RPG Stack Exchange has a MYFAROG tag, and MYFAROG questions in that tag.

MYFAROG is a game by Varg Vikernes, an infamous Norwegian murderer/arsonist who espouses white-nationalist and "Heathen Front" (racist pagan) beliefs.

The game's blurb (currently quoted uncritically in our tag wiki) talks around the whole white-nationalist part, but it's pretty transparent about the goal of using the game as a vehicle for Varg's concept of "European values:"

MYFAROG is a role-playing game based on European values, geography, (pre-) history, mythology, traditions and morals.

I believe part of the original shtick was to teach his kids white nationalism.

You can read plenty about Vikernes by googling him. You can find information about the game and its content as well, but these days it's obscured somewhat by the sheer volume of stuff Vikernes himself posts about it. (Check web archives from last year?) The point is, you don't have to take my word for it, but I don't have a time to do some kind of preemptive deep-dive about this.

The game is undoubtedly more staid than "RaHoWa" (the fecklessly awful neo-Nazi RPG, for neo-Nazis), but it's still very much a product of — and vehicle for — this dude's racial-hate-movement ideology.

So, my question to you all is:

  • Should RPG SE recognize roleplaying games created by a hate-movement figure and inspired by hate-movement ideology as a valid part of the RPG ecosystem, or treat them as something beyond the pale?

  • If RPG SE is going to host discussion about such games, what's an appropriate way to at communicate to users that an RPG is by and for white nationalists?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for bringing this bit of context to the site. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 23 '16 at 2:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wait, so are you guys saying this isn't the time to introduce a FATAL tag? \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Jul 23 '16 at 3:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Metal Sucks did a breakdown of the racism embedded in the game through races & organisations analogous to ones in real life. It has Norse-analogy noble pale blonde-haired individuals who are extremely virtuous and good, and copper men who are described with extreme prejudice and disdain. The author alleges there's similarly unflattering analogies to real-world religions in there. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 23 '16 at 4:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ This does put an interesting spin on the "I don't want my player reading the rulebook" question we have on that tag. \$\endgroup\$ – lisardggY Jul 23 '16 at 5:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @A_S00 Just so others know, that FATAL game is EXTREMELY NSFW and should not be visited at work. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Jul 25 '16 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nzall Or at home. Or in the park. Or just ever, really. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Jul 25 '16 at 16:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry i just wanted to say a thing because i'm the only one that posts in the myfarog tag (even if i didnt create it), i just wanted to say that none of my questions were flagged as offensive as i don't associate with Varg views on politics or anything else, I dont see why i shouldnt be able to ask questions on the myfarog game if they're not harmful or offensive in any way (the questions that i posted could've been system agnostic i guess). \$\endgroup\$ – user30267 Jul 26 '16 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomGuy13421 How did you even get into a white nationalist's self-produced indie fantasy RPG in the first place?? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 26 '16 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP found it cheap online, so i decided to try, if you ignore Vargs blog posts and all of that the book in itself is not THAT bad (it's still pretty straight-forward with his ideals), we just ignore all the politics behind it, make up our own rule (i made it so you can play every race instead of only nordic, also rebalanced a lot of stuff and made up a lot of gods/plot/character wich would not make it into the base game given the setting) and go on our way, we don't care if the book is bad, we just modify it to how we see fit if something doesnt sound fun. \$\endgroup\$ – user30267 Jul 26 '16 at 13:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a great question. I'm worried there doesn't appear to be an answer that addresses how to develop a bright-line rule as to what games or discussion of games is acceptable. Presumably SE doesn't believe in the advocation of violence, yet this is core to virtually every rpg. There are lots of adult themes that fall in this category. How does one clearly distinguish between these two categories? \$\endgroup\$ – Nathaniel Ford Jul 26 '16 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanielFord Well, there's a big line between "depict" and "advocate." \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 26 '16 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanielFord We're not talking about an ambiguous case here, in case you missed it. When you say “it's not as easy to tell if the subject material is”, it seems like you might not be familiar with the game, which literally advocates real-world ethnic cleansing. We're not talking about a game in the fuzzy grey area you're bringing up; the only grey area involved here is what it means to have discussion of this (overtly real-world racist hate speech) document hosted on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 26 '16 at 16:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I'm fully aware, but the rationale must hold up in both cases, or it becomes hard to apply. In particular, if discussion of any sort of the game is allowed, you must recognize that some people who become exposed to it will not know the background. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathaniel Ford Jul 26 '16 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanielFord I think I've lost your train of thought. We have no problem identifying the categories—MYFAROG, FATAL, and RaHoWa are very clearly a distinct category, and abhorrent in their content. We're not disputing that here, and telling them apart from, say, the objectionable content in AD&D's DMG is not the crux of the issue. The issue is, knowing these contain real distilled human evil and intend the promotion of evil action in the real world, do we permit discussion of them at all at RPG.se; and if so what kinds of discussion, and if not what should be our practical course of action? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 27 '16 at 3:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I created the tag. I had no freaking idea that the game was a toxic piece of rotting faecal matter. Please accept my sincere apology. I should have done a little more research on the matter. My only consideration was to tag the question with a system tag as the OP did mention it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion Aug 4 '16 at 14:43

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I'm going to write with a basic premise:

  • MYFAROG's content is unquestionably horrible and neither this question nor its answer are concerned with whether that's the case — we can consider that settled. So far the only defenses we've seen here of the game's content itself have been based on defending it sight-unseen, and we all know that arriving at a conclusion by starting with assuming it's true is just noise.

You don't have to accept that premise. That's just square one based on what I know about the game and it's not possible for me to write as if that's not fundamental to the game.

Free speech is a bugbear — it is not relevant

There's another premise, actually. This one takes more words, because so many people misunderstand how this stuff works and how it relates to a site like RPG.se. This is here because we've already seen some reflexive defenses of MYFAROG based on no knowledge of the game; it's also here because inevitably someone brings up free speech as if it's the only thing that matters in discussions about whether a kind of content should be permitted.

Free speech 101: if you're not the government and control people's lives — in a literal 24/7 life-and-death way — you are not responsible for granting the ability for people to exercise free speech rights. Free speech is between a citizen and their government, not some website among billions and the troll (or whatever) who wants to write there.

There is no free speech principle to stand up for here. It doesn't apply and doesn't compel us to permit things, when faced with a weight of reasons not to. It doesn't apply because RPG.se is not an exclusive platform, and we cannot compel people to silence — we don't control all communication methods or speaker's bodies in a way that could take away their ability to speak their views. Having no absolute power over people, we cannot violate their free speech rights.

And no, we're not going to locally champion free speech anyway and import it into the site's working principles, for some undefined “but free speech is good” reason. We're not a public utility — posting here is a privilege that people earn by contributing constructively and not behaving badly. Nobody is owed our cooperation with using this site to say or do whatever they want. We regularly prevent people from doing whatever they want, because the site would be crushed under the weight of that burden otherwise. The site is too small and too not-the-whole-darn-world to support or be required to support anything and everything someone might want to post on it.

In other words, just because what you want to say is not literally illegal doesn't mean you get to say it here.

So that's not really touching on MYFAROG's current impact on our site at the moment, but it's a fundamental piece that needs to be laid down, otherwise “but my free speech!” is going to keep (irrelevantly) being brought up as if it's the end of any possible discussion of what we should do about games like it. It's not the final word here, and isn't even a minimally relevant word here.

The problem of association

You know the quality of a person by the friends they keep. That's true too of a community. What a community accepts into itself speaks very loudly about what the community is.

There are good people who will have nothing to do with RPG.se if RPG.se has questions about a game that actively calls for the death of themselves, their family, or their friends. There are other good people who are not personally targeted by MYFAROG who will have nothing to do with a site that visibly welcomes questions about a game that calls for real-world genocide.

Do we want to look and be welcoming to

  1. revolting bigots who like everything in MYFAROG

  2. the vanishingly rare person who plays MYFAROG but subverts it (there are only like 200 copies in existence, so we're talking on the order of ones or low tens of “good” MYFAROG “fans”)

… in exchange for encouraging

  1. a large number of people who have problems being anywhere near group (1)

to stay away from or leave RPG.se?

In straight exchange, that seems like a really bad trade. Considering we're custodians of a privately-offered service and not only not obliged to host all speech, but actually required to reject all kinds of innocuous speech (too-chatty comments, off topic questions, etc.), let alone bigoted speech, that seems like a really bad trade. Standing up for inapplicable principles of free speech just to make our site worse is not what SE handed all of us, the community, self-rule for.

The problem of the actual questions

The actual questions here have a side problem: they're not actually about MYFAROG. MYFAROG is just background context, provided so that people know what kind of game the actual problems are operating within. One is a question about recovering from messing up a campaign development and the other is about a player wanting to know things that might not be their business. Neither is a problem with any part of MYFAROG — which is what tags are supposed to be for.

Ironically, it looks like part of the community's indecision about this game's presence on our site (I know it has been part of mine) is that the questions are themselves not even about MYFAROG — no part of MYFAROG is actually in them, and the game is just mentioned in passing. They're relatively innocuous, generally-applicable questions.

Not being about the game, we don't actually have any obvious case of the game's awfulness coming to RPG.se. We're concerned about its presence, but its presence is mostly an artifact of not cleaning up the questions in the first place.

What I'm doing right now

I'm not banning the game (that would be rather unilateral, anyway). I'm not closing the questions.

  • I am going to remove the tag from both questions, though — by normal principles of how to use tags, they don't belong there.

  • I'm going to blank its wiki too, so that it decays and is removed from the site. We have no questions about MYFAROG here yet, and therefore we have no tag for it either.

  • I am also going to unlink the MYFAROG site from the questions, because even the questions' author says you should ignore the official web presence of the game and its author if you want to subvert it and extract anything decent from the text itself. We have no need to gratuitously link to hate speech, so let's not, eh? The link didn't even help educate answerers, who just assumed what they wanted about the game anyway when forming their advice. We'll be better without it.

  • The name of the game is also not super relevant to the questions, so I'm removing it too. Normally we like system-agnostic questions to mention the game being played at least in passing, so that we have that context, but in this case not being associated with White Nationalist Calls To Real Violence is probably enough of an upside to balance removing that bit of convenience. (Not that it was actually a meaningful convenience! Nobody answering has apparently used that information to inform their question anyway, based on the numerous comments I had to leave explaining that their answer's assumption about how the book is organised were mistaken.) In the first question the game is super not relevant, because it's entirely about a homebrew setting. In the second question the game is only slightly relevant because of the way the book is organised, but see the recent parenthetical.

Effectively, I am kicking the can down the road: MYFAROG has't really yet come to RPG.se in a way that RPG.se inherently doesn't tolerate, so we're working (badly) with a hypothetical. If MYFAROG itself got some questions, we'd have more to work with and we'd probably have an easier time coming to a consensus about how to handle it, based on real MYFAROG game and content questions. We might not even need a conversation — if the awful MYFAROG content came here, normal procedures of “nope, this post violates our code of conduct and has been fired into the sun” would take care of it without any need for discussion.

Let's discuss the situation when it's less hypothetical, and pray that it never is.

I'm still not super happy with the game even being asked about without the name or link or tag, because of the Problem of Association, but getting rid of gratuitous connections between us and it is still a big improvement in the Not Associating With a White Nationalist Teaching Game metric.

(I'm also not super happy with having just… expunged… a game from the site. The different responsibilities and perspectives of the moderation role are often in tension with each other. I think that I'm only OK with it — on balance — because they're not irreversible or nuclear actions, and they're reasonable on their own to do. Still, wary discomfort is my companion from both ends of this thing.)

Yes, this is a half measure. This answer is less “this is what we should do” as, “this is why it's a problem”, and a note that I'm making some overdue corrections to the posts in a way that almost incidentally significantly remove MYFAROG's real presence here. Most of this should have been done as a routine question-cleanup when I saw the first one, but I didn't because I was too busy being alarmed by the appearance of MYFAROG — so, my bad.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 As half-measures go, this is a pretty good one. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 27 '16 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be improved (1) if it got rid of the bilge about free speech. You say it is irrelevant (agreed) and they you give it standing by wasting considerable text on it. It detracts from the focus, and to me looks like the formation of a straw man argument. (2) The problem of association point was a good one to raise, given the viral and context free nature of how things spread on the internet. (3) The what I'm doing now part, since you are a diamond mod, is welcome as it explains actions taken ... but could use some liposuction. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 27 '16 at 21:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ (1) is based on experience that it's unfortunately necessary in such issues; better to dispense with the objection before it inevitably shows up in comments. (3) is because too little explanation is worse than too much. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 27 '16 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie some judicious application of bold text or bullet points may remedy the "this is quite long" complaint without gutting content \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 27 '16 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Naught to do with free speech. Plenty to do with what "we" as a community are interested in and in how "we" are to be perceived. Less is more. (As one with a propensity for too many words, I also know how to cut out the fat). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 1:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have to agree there's naught to do with it, but based on experience disagree that it's unnecessary to proactively address. I did a small edit to explain the section's necessity. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 28 '16 at 1:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Let us agree to disagree. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 2:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ (fyi, folks, this one's accepted because AFAIK it's the one that describes what the moderators have decided to actually do, for the moment) \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 28 '16 at 3:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with leaving this til later to fully decide upon, when the problem may take a clearer form for us to better judge what to do. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 30 '16 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I basically agree with this particular case, but I think freedom of speech needs to recognize degrees of power to infringe upon freedom. For example, when a person was fired for making a rude gesture at Trump's motorcade, many people felt that violated principles of freedom of speech. One's employer doesn't have as much control as the government, but they can force one to choose between speaking one's mind and being homeless or starving. \$\endgroup\$ – Obie 2.0 May 6 '18 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Applying this principle to Internet services, I think there's a hierarchy. We're on the low end: comparatively little monopolization of means of expression, with plenty of options for dissenters to go elsewhere. But ascending up the line: Facebook or Twitter, huge semi-monopolies of certain forms of networking. Google, almost the only way to find certain things. Comcast, Charter, or other service providers, local monopolies on effective Internet access. Domain name hosts abd other infrastructure providers. \$\endgroup\$ – Obie 2.0 May 6 '18 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ None of these are governments, and (arguably) none have the power of governments. But they have great power, especially at the higher levels, to restrict people's communication. We're not them, not even close - but I think it's important to recognize that the power to restrict people's freedoms comes in degrees, and isn't always limited to government. Most people recognize, to some extent in any case, the ability of non-governmental entities to restrict people's rights. \$\endgroup\$ – Obie 2.0 May 6 '18 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ That does illuminate a type error I didn’t notice before: SE isn’t even a communication medium in the first place. As a curated knowledge base, free expression isn’t even a thing that applies to its use and purpose. Rather, successful curation inherently requires culling on a utilitarian basis, orthogonal entirely to the concepts of free expression and censorship. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 6 '18 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Free speech is between a citizen and their government" That is simply not the case. You may be confusing the First Amendment (a US-only piece of legislature) and the concept of free speech. In itself, free speech is an ideal and does not need a government to exist. Saying "legally we can do whatever we want" does not absolve you of criticism. \$\endgroup\$ – Hugo Zink Sep 19 at 9:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HugoZink Avoiding criticism isn’t the object, choosing a policy consistent with our Code of Conduct is. If people want to criticise RPG.se for specifically refusing to host questions about hate speech disguised as games, they can go ahead and criticise. It’ll just save time before needing to ban them for a worse CoC violation. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 19 at 22:15
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First, we do have a Be Nice policy, and no racist or otherwise offensive content will be allowed here.

Furthermore, we don't want links to places where offensive content is prominent, like 4chan/8chan. So links to any MYFAROG sites with racist or white nationalist content is inappropriate.

However, we don't blacklist discussion of specific games or authors outside that boundary.

The Author

In the RPG space, a lot of people object to a lot of game authors. I've read similar passionate screeds about how Vincent Baker, or Zak Sabbath, or H.P. Lovecraft, or whoever is bad and they and their games should be shunned. "But that author is a bad person" - including "they were convicted of a crime" - is not a reason for anything on this site.

To be clear, I am not interested in any of the Gamergate-style arguments that infect other sites. If a game's author is a convicted criminal, or you think they are a homophobe, or a pervert, or a rip-off artist, or a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Republican, or a racist, or whatever other thing you and maybe most of us object to - it's not relevant, and as long as I'm a mod I will give any argument along those lines extremely short shrift.

The Game

If a game's content is offensive, then we should not discuss that content here. Of course, different content is objectionable to those of different backgrounds, but I think it's fair to say SO generally abides by "generally accepted enlightened civilized rules", which everyone knows even if they sometimes pretend they don't. We do want to be able to frankly discuss sex, sexism, racism, murder-hoboism, etc. in games and we have questions here already on those topics. Games like Call of Cthulhu are based on writings that can fairly be described to have previous-century racism embedded in them, but we discuss those just fine without having offensive content on site.

If someone asks "How do I calculate AC in MYFAROG" - I don't have a problem with that. IMO worrying about the "problem of association" on the public Internet is a pointless pursuit. People use D&D to act out rape fantasies, or in this case use MYFAROG to play an apparently non-racist game. We don't need to get into deep dialectical analysis of "which games we decree bad," we just need to not allow offensive content on this site, period.

Conclusion

@SevenSidedDie brought up the issue of the pedigree of this game in mod chat when the question was first posted, but we discussed and agreed that the question itself was inoffensive and so there was no grounds for doing anything about it.

I would certainly support putting a warning in the tag wiki to the effect "Warning: This is a 'white power' game and Web sites about it are likely to contain racist content" or similar, so that people have fair warning about it if they go to learn more.

Actions beyond that open our site up to the same factionalism that infests most every other social media site, with the flavor of the month inciting its members to decide which authors and works are currently allowed vs disallowed based on their real or perceived beliefs. Take it to Reddit, we don't want it here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Apparently "white nationalists exist" is a "passionate screed" now? :/ \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 24 '16 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP This answer is one of two objective responses in this entire discussion. It earned an up vote (as did O.S. 's take both side gambit). You are the one injecting emotion here. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 2:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Hi there. You seem to be using "objective" to mean "the one I like." \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 28 '16 at 3:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP Nope, it is objective and unemotional. That is what sets it apart from a great deal else that has bee posted in the answers and comments. It also recommends a change to the tag that contains a warning, which others have mentioned as well. To be clear, I am glad you raised the question here on Meta, as when I took a look at one of the questions regarding the game in question, in a review, my reaction by following the link as "WTF" mostly. Given the thousands of RPG's out there, my instinct was that there's a game for everyone, I guess. Not my cuppa tea. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 3:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast You seem to be unhappy that I object to my question being labeled a "passionate screed." \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 28 '16 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP I have read every word on this page. Your impression is wrong. As mxy has said to a number of folks on meta, don't get all butt hurt if you don't care for his response. If you have not yet gotten used to mxy's dry and terse style, you will eventually. It took me a while to get used to it. Sometimes it grates, and sometimes it is a breath of fresh air. What I think you and I will agree on is that none of us would care to support that game with our gaming dollars, nor with an endorsement. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 3:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I know shade when I see it. And Mxy doesn't need an apologist. If he thinks I'm misreading his tone and cares enough to correct me, he can easily do so himself. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 28 '16 at 3:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel that my answer is pretty clear and direct, and its characterizations are accurate. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jul 28 '16 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP "I know shade when I see it." OK, what do you mean by the word shade? In that comment. That's a turn of phrase I am not familiar with. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 11:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast It's hard to google for the definition, but gets easier once you know the phrase "throwing shade", e.g. What is the correct usage of "throwing shade"? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 28 '16 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexP Whatever. For SSD, thank you for the enlightenment. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 28 '16 at 14:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast (RE: "throwing shade." Wow. You know, I honestly don't go one single day without learning something new from this site. However, today's lesson was a bit unusual.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 28 '16 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Good point. AlexP, thank you for increasing my vocabulary. 8^D \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 29 '16 at 0:01
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Should RPG SE recognize roleplaying games created by a hate-movement figure and inspired by hate-movement ideology as a valid part of the RPG ecosystem, or treat them as something beyond the pale?

Yes, we should recognise hate-inspired RPGs as RPGs (and as hate-inspired). They may be completely awful RPGs embodying abhorrent ideologies, some of which enjoy presence in RPGnet Wiki's Worst RPGs Ever list, but they're still RPGs. Our hobby does have bad stuff in it the world would be better off without.

I think what you're really going for here is whether we should allow them topically. Whether we recognise them as valid RPGs and parts of our hobby or whatever can be totally separate to whether we allow talking about them.

Personally I'm interested in being able to talk about these games academically, since they represent the worst parts of the genre and things not to do that I can learn from — it's for similar reasons historians will discuss the worst parts of history to learn from them.

If RPG SE is going to host discussion about such games, what's an appropriate way to at communicate to users that an RPG is by and for white nationalists?

I'll rather go and consider: what should we do about these?

I agree with warning people the game appears to be full of racist analogies and push a Norse white supremacy agenda. I agree with BESW's notion to warn people in the tag wiki summary itself, wording TBD.

I'm also keenly aware of something else: allowing the game as a general topic of play is tacitly endorsing it as a reasonable companion to the various more decent games play, despite it and its ideologies being distinctly concerning. Part of me wants to say "let's ban it" for not letting a racist game really gain much traction, but I'm not sure how to reconcile that with "we should probably still be able to learn from this junk", or other games we'd ban for offending our sensitivities. Even D&D has concerning features such as its primary nomadic races being bloodthirsty savages who everyone else would be better off without.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not "Is it a real RPG?" but "Is it something we recognize as part of the same hobby/community as most other RPGs?" That's not a "No True Scotsman" thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Jul 23 '16 at 5:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. There are super racist bits in our hobby. There are racist, sexist, transphobic, and homophobic people in our hobby too. It's not all hunky-dory. By definition, by participating in our hobby, they are in it. Yes, we should recognise that, rather than try to say they're not valid. But I think that's all separate to how we handle questions about this as a topic on this site, which is a question which doesn't even need to begin with "do we recognize this as a part of our hobby/community?". We can recognise it and simultaneously ban the hell out of it, for example. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 23 '16 at 5:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast That doesn't seem to have anything to do with chainmail bikinis, so it doesn't explain anything. All the off topic comments were cleaned up, so I'm not sure why you think they were targeted for content (as opposed to lack thereof). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 27 '16 at 22:56
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Thoughts. Here, have some thoughts.

I support SSD's decision to burn down the tag and kick the can down the road

Why twist yourself into a pretzel coming up with ways to discuss a committedly racist game non-racistly when you could just… not do it?

Any link-back, however negative, is still a bit of unnecessary free advertising.

Any discussion that actually fits the parameters of this site — which tends to be rules questions and play advice (not game reviews, critical reading, or abject mockery) — would be de-facto normalizing.

Tag wiki stuff: be honest, be clear

The author's ideas about "European values" are the game's raison d'être, as well as by far the most notable thing that sets it apart from other RPGs.

There's no reason not to label MYFAROG as white-nationalist. It would be deceptive not to.

"Be nice" and hate groups

Big communities always involve a bit of a compromise, wherein folks agree to overlook and talk around some of their fundamental differences to avoid butting heads. Call it "civility" or whatever.

Now consider hate groups, such as neo-Nazis and their fellow travelers. These are folks who've built an entire identity around wishing harm, or death, or industrialized genocide on you, or your family, or your friends.

Why would you want to be around those people, ever, at all, if you can avoid it? I certainly don't want to, even if a site has rules that partially force them into "stealth mode."

Folks make the mistake of assuming that a space that doesn't explicitly exclude anyone is the most neutral and accepting and inclusive, but in reality plenty of people self-select out when they notice who else is floating around. That's not "factionalism," it's "Why the hell should I bother being here?"

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Questions about RPGs are on-topic. MYFAROG is an RPG. Therefore questions about MYFAROG and answers to those questions should be allowed so long as the content of the question or answer is not in and of itself offensive. This will render some questions un-askable, and other questions un-answerable, but that's not the RPG.SE community's problem.


Devil's Advocate Post: I am posting this specifically so that people have it available as an option to vote on. It does not necessarily reflect my own feelings on the matter.

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    \$\begingroup\$ False premise: questions about RPGs are not categorically on topic, or we'd allow brainstorming, setting questions about non-RPG-specific worlds, game recommendations, etc. Also, "not our problem" is a false claim of neutrality. Helping people play MYFAROG is not a neutral act even if we don't let them talk explicitly about the nastiest bits of it. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 24 '16 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used this option and downvoted an answer as a noise that does not add anything to discussion on how real people really feel about the issue. If someone really supports this option they can post it themselves, no devil advocacy is necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – Sejanus Aug 9 '16 at 8:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sejanus The number of votes it has received suggests people found voting on it to be useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Aug 9 '16 at 13:01
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It is clear that this kind of game goes directly against the Be Nice policy.

Now, whilst you can argue that all RPG's have maligned/evil races in them, I doubt any of them make it very clear that they are based on real world races.

Would we feel comfortable hosting questions about a RPG for ISIS fan-boys that has them as the 'good guys'?

We shouldn't give any space for racist and bigoted views on this site, even if they are just part of a 'game' - allowing people like this to build a small community on our site goes against everything that stackoverflow stands for

Disclaimer: I am not 'white' and my cultural background is often the target of white supremacists and other neo-nazi hate groups

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A game, film, book or any other creative product which endorses or promotes racism should be banned (and often is).

Of course, since it is a collective imaginative past-time, a roleplaying game session will inherently consist of the biases, preferences and ideologies of the players, be they in America, Saudi Arabia, Northern Korea or the Amazon Basin.

It's also true that nearly any RPG can be accused of some racist tones (such as the caricature of nomadic races as barbaric).

However, the vast majority of RPGs do not actively promote or endorse racism in their text. Rather, they provide an imaginative sandbox in which to create stories about the tensions such difference causes.

While a forum should be open to as many people and ideas as possible, it is easy to get confused and assume that it needs to have no agenda of its own.

That's not true. A forum can be forthright and upfront about the fact that it is for people who are not racist, or sexist or anti-social etc.

Racists and sexists have the right to start their own forums.

There is nothing wrong with standing up and saying what the forum is against. There is something wrong with allowing liberal ideology to lead you to paralysis and inaction (which is as bad as tacit agreement), and potentially dangerous.

Moderators of this forum are not obliged to tolerate all content, or to give air to all products.

Moderators can choose to be activists against dangerous ideologies (for reference, they're the ones which promote division, fear, hate, abuse, violence, murder and war, and are identifiable by historical precedent).

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Questions asking about gameplay imply racist gameplay, as the game itself is built to teach racism. This isn't a game that contains racism, it is a teaching tool.

Questions about what ways is racist isn't intrinsicly racist, or how its mechanics and setting do/do not encourage/teach racism.

I would propose this for the tag wiki:

This tag is for questions about the white power survivalist game MYFAROG. MYFAROG embodies real-world racism, religious prejudices, and other forms of bigotry, and was designed to teach these concepts to the well-known racist author's children. Questions about actual gameplay of MYFAROG imply racism, bigotry, and other offensive conduct, as such content is embedded in the game itself, and are not tolerated on Stack Exchange websites. Questions not about playing the game are permitted. Don't take that as an invitation to say "hypothetically", then ask a gameplay question.

and for it to be enforced as written.

This game is different than most RPGs about violent or other objectionable content, because the game is designed and intended to say "this is what you should do", not "you should only do this in the game". An RPG that was actually designed to teach you how to rape or murder would be no different than this case.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Questions about not actually playing the game that are not excuses to ask about gameplay are permitted." Can you unpack that a little? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 25 '16 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Unpacked. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Jul 25 '16 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not that I desperately want the site to be able to do this, but is even the dice mechanic in MYFAROG so fundamentally racist that a question along the lines of, "how does this translate into percentages" implies bigotry and offensive conduct? Not a great question, granted. The person who actually asked the MYFAROG questions claims to have subverted the game's intent by playing the "other" races sympathetically, are you confident that they are (however honestly) mistaken and in fact are in the process of teaching themself to hate black people? \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Jul 26 '16 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said of course I do take your general point, and certainly a question like, "how should I portray black NPCs in the game to make them as offensively despicable to the players as possible?" or "how should I portray the white folk as closely as possible to the superiority they're described as having?" is in effect "please help me be racist" regardless of the fact it happens to relate to a game. I just wonder if the issue can be captured more precisely than "actual gameplay". \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Jul 26 '16 at 18:26
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Regardless of whether there's racism involved, even superficial examination of most games shows some pretty unpleasant themes, so this is either a double standard or one which ends with essentially all RPGs tarred. Unless MYFAROG has Dark Dungeons-style play (unlikely), it's still just fictional depictions of objectionable behavior.

Some people believe games with Devils and magic are vile, corrupting influences; some people believe games with explicit racism are vile, corrupting influences. In all cases, trying to enforce a community standard on which RPGs are and are not okay will get ugly fast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Asking questions about a system attracts experts in that system to the site; there is no realistically useful state of "can't get any answerers here" because the presence of the question creates answerers. The problem will not "solve itself" that way. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 23 '16 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW so in that case, the problem would be that we have experts on an RPG answering questions on that RPG at the RPG stack exchange? It's... hard to see that as a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Jul 23 '16 at 2:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not arguing with your concern about inaugurating an overly policing culture, but (just like with setting research questions and game recommendation questions) not all questions about RPGs are topical for this particular site. That particular line of argument --like the argument that answerers will not appear so the issue will die-- is specious. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 23 '16 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a difference between a Satanic Panic objecting to a game based on lies fabricated to make a grieving mother feel better about her son's unrelated suicide, and objecting to a game that contains hate speech that has actually been acted on by the author (he's a convicted murderer and arsonist) and used to promote more real-world violence. Imagined badness in a game isn't the same as real badness in a game. Saying MYFAROG's content situation is at all like other RPGs is either sight-unseen woefully underestimating MYFAROG or making a specious equivalence that isn't supported by facts. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 23 '16 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie alright. So is the game bad because it's inherently bad, or because the author is bad? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Jul 23 '16 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. The game is horrific because it's indelibly steeped in the abhorrent beliefs of its creator, who sprinkles the text with editorial justifications of his design choices (e.g. how a good motive for an adventuring PC is ethnic cleansing of dark-skinned or red-headed people, how the proletarians in modern pop culture are committing libel and slander against the inherently superior character of "(pre-) historical European nobles," or how vaccinations cause tooth decay). If I knew nothing about the author except through reading that book, I would be repulsed by both. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 23 '16 at 23:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ But you don't feel similarly about games promoting murder of green skinned people? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Jul 24 '16 at 2:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Many of our games engage in thoughtless bigotry by adopting unexamined tropes and rhetoric that has become nearly invisible through cultural saturation. This is a problem which needs to be talked about more, but it's not what we're talking about here. MYFAROG is consciously, deliberately, explicitly, and proudly bigoted about real-world peoples. Its text is not ambiguous, we don't have to read between the lines to recognise its themes, and we don't need to research the author's philosophies; the book literally has sidebars proudly endorsing these concepts as valuable real-world attitudes. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 24 '16 at 2:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ And of course I'm unsettled by the more veiled racism that's practically institutionalised in some of the medium's favourite genres. I direct you to my answer on this page. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 24 '16 at 2:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is murder somehow better without the racism? Fundamentally, most RPGs are about breaking into people's homes, murdering them, and taking their stuff. Regardless of whether there's racism involved, even superficial examination of most games shows some pretty unpleasant themes. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Jul 24 '16 at 4:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW My point is that this is either a double standard or one which ends with essentially all RPGs tarred. Unless MYFAROG has Dark Dungeons-style play (unlikely), it's still just fictional depictions of objectionable behavior. I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that it was somehow promoting objectionable behavior in real life if it weren't equally applicable to Vampire (or shadowrun, or Kult, or Apocalypse World, or In Nomine, or any number of other games). \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Jul 24 '16 at 5:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are levels of degree and intentionality which I think make some instances of problematic game design okay for us to work with, and some which cross the line and become untenable. Sounds like you don't feel the same way. You might consider editing your answer to more clearly reflect your underlying concerns and assumptions as you've laid them out in these comments. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 24 '16 at 5:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think defending a hypothetical has gone far enough—more won't be useful or productive. Those of us with some familiarity with the game are not giving this "but maybe" argument any weight because it's obviously woefully uninformed. I would say do some research, but I wouldn't suggest anyone inflict this on themself. The game is really that bad. It stands in a class that contains only three games: FATAL, RAHOWA, and MYFAROG. The slippery slope you're worrying about is not relevant—we're talking about a game that is consciously and deliberately off the cliff. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 24 '16 at 5:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or again, if we had a game in front of us that realistically portrayed, say, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and explicitly stated that the torture in Abu Ghraib is exactly the sort of thing that American players should be doing to Iraqi people in real life, then we might say that's not exactly the same as a Bond-themed game, for all that Bond is problematic since he has shown some pretty shoddy attitudes in respect of nationality/race/gender/you-name-it in both films and books. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Jul 26 '16 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Conversely, I'm reading Victoriana at the moment, and it specifically says, "we've put in all this stuff into the game about racism and sexism in Victorian England because we want the players to have something really objectionable to kick against, and play characters who want to change it". Now I'm not saying Victoriana is unproblematic (I haven't finished reading it aside from anything else), but you do seem to be saying that this is all the same as MYFAROG, it's all just games that depict fiction in which some people are racist. But that is not what the objectors object to. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Jul 26 '16 at 19:00
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Racism is bad. Racists are bad. Racist games are bad. We should ban the MYFAROG tag and any questions about the MYFAROG game. We don't want people who are experts on the game as part of our community.


Devil's Advocate Post: I am posting this specifically so that people have it available as an option to vote on. It does not necessarily reflect my own feelings on the matter.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It feels weird to disagree with a position that includes the statements Racism is bad and Racist games are bad because I agree that both are bad. But, while I understand it's a naive, vain hope, I'm an optimist who thinks that by showing such folks that anyone can help them with their hobby, maybe they'll become more tolerant. Change doesn't come from isolation and exclusion. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 24 '16 at 2:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan There's a distinction between tolerance and permissiveness, and exactly where that line gets drawn seems to be the issue at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 24 '16 at 8:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do really like these devil's advocate post things. Having well-articulated atomic positions makes meta easier, better, and less contentious (you don't get involved in comment arguments so much). Have you considered nominating yourself for moderator? \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Apr 17 '17 at 21:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I have. I know I can put in enough time and I think I could alleviate some of the... contentiousness between our mods and certain elements of the community. But I also know that I'm less welcoming to newcomers than average (I flag a lot of answers as NAA that end up not getting deleted, and vote to close a fair amount of questions that don't get closed), which is fine for a member of the community but not such a good trait in a mod. If we ever have an election and nobody I trust to do the job better than me nominates themself, then I'll run, but that hasn't happened yet. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Apr 18 '17 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I do think devil's advocate answers with clearly described recommendations for courses of actions are something the community could benefit from in some cases. I mentioned to SSD in the "should we have 3 or 4 mods" question that some of our meta questions have tons of great, insightful discussion covering all the aspects of an issue but don't have any straightforward "we should do X" answers to vote on. Which actually might be a contributing factor for why some people think mods ignore the community consensus; there wasn't a clear vote on options. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Apr 18 '17 at 0:36

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