The End of an Era

By Shamus
on Apr 25, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

I’ve been collaborating with Josh Viel since 2010. We’ve done Spoiler Warning for seven years, and The Diecast for Four. But as of now we’re going our separate ways. While I haven’t personally spoken to Chris yet, I’ve been told he’s leaving too.

We’ve had disagreements over how I run this site. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but at the same time I need to explain the disagreement or I’ll end up buried in questions, rumors, and speculation. So here’s the short version: He’s been unhappy with how I run this community and he couldn’t in good conscience continue to participate. The most recent Spoiler Warning post was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I didn’t step in when he thought I should, and I allowed comments to stand unchallenged that he thought deserved censure. (In my own reckoning, I should simply have closed the comments when people got angry. I didn’t feel the need to personally weigh in.) This was only the latest in a long series of disagreements over this sort of thing. This has been a long time coming.

It should be noted that I respect this decision, and I’d urge all of you to do the same. Far too many collaborations end in an explosion of he said / she said drama, or in letting issues fester and grow into grudges over time. Josh has taken a principled stance and I can’t criticize him for that.

Lots of other (successful) sites are run the way Josh wants: Certain viewpoints are deleted, and often the site makes some kind of official position statement on various Important Issues so the audience knows where the hosts stand. But that feels alien to me and it’s not how I want to do things. Right or wrong, after 12 years I’ve developed my own approach to managing a community and it’s the only thing that feels natural to me. As the outside culture war has increased in intensity, I’ve become more adamant that I don’t want this place to fly a particular ideological flag, even if it’s a flag I agree with.

Image (mostly) unrelated. Having said that, I wonder whatever happened to the Grumpy Old Men Movies? The world seems to have forgotten them.

Image (mostly) unrelated. Having said that, I wonder whatever happened to the Grumpy Old Men Movies? The world seems to have forgotten them.

On a personal level, I’ve got people I love all over the political spectrum. My circle of close friends and relatives includes bleeding heart social justice types and FOX news-watching Trump supporters. (And also several that would defy the classical left / right classifications and stereotypes.) I don’t always agree with them, but I always want this site to be a place where they can feel welcome and not judgedEven though, ironically, none of them ever show up. My family and friends aren’t much into videogames and don’t really follow my site..

This site is not perfect, and I am not a perfect moderator. I’m sure if you dig around in the archives you can find spots where I came down a little too hard on one person or went a little too easy on another. I’m as prone to bias as anyone. But I do what I can.

According to Josh, Spoiler Warning will continue. I won’t be on it and it won’t appear on my site, but you’ll be able to see new episodes on the Spoiler Warning YouTube channel. The Diecast will continue on this site, although it looks like I’m going to need to replenish the ranks.

So that’s the story. Again, there’s no hard feelings on my end and I hope Spoiler Warning fans will continue to enjoy the show without me.

EDIT: Josh responded here.

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Footnotes:

[1] Even though, ironically, none of them ever show up. My family and friends aren’t much into videogames and don’t really follow my site.


A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!20208448 comments. Keep commenting and you're liable to break the internet.

From the Archives:

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  1. kikito says:

    I’m so sorry about this :(

    • Me too. I liked Josh’s site contributions even though Spoiler Warning isn’t really my thing (I’m not that in to long-form videos).

      Well, I wish everyone all the success ever with their various pursuits.

      • Echo Tango says:

        Anyone know where I can get podcasts about videogames + algorithms + hardware? That was a unique combination that I got, when it was Chris, Josh, and Shamus.* A lot of the people I know IRL don’t care about these topics, so the podcasts and/or sections of Spoiler Warning were the closest thing I got to having conversations about these topics. Some quick Googling seems to indicate that I’ll only get old podcasts, hyper-focused podcasts**. The tech-guy-trio here on this website was a good mix of news, indie stuff, big stuff, game-dev, and complaining about games. :)

        * They all write software for a living and/or have some kind of Comp Sci background and/or some close equivalent. i.e. All very knowledgeable and well-spoken on those topics.

        ** e.g. Something like “how to make indie games your job”, or a podcast that focuses on trending games to buy, or focuses on news in the AAA space.

        • Shinan says:

          Idle Thumbs I think might have something somewhat close to this. There are several shows in the “network”. But the main Idle Thumbs show and maybe Idle Weekend might be something somewhat similar to this.

  2. Durican says:

    I’m uncomfortable with all this behaving like mature responsible adults on the internet. I won’t feel right until I see some hyperbole.

  3. William says:

    Damn. I hoped it would last forever. Seems silly to end something so great over what happens in the comment section. Best of luck to all of you, and thank you for the great entertainment you’ve produced.

    Oh, and Rutskarns stays at least? Please?

    • Pete_Volmen says:

      I don’t think it’s so much the comment section itself, as how certain viewpoints are handled. It looks like a principled thing as to how Shamus runs this place; which comments he allows to remain (and possibly which he removes?).
      Imagine some idiot spouting racist sentiment, commenting on creative work you have made, and your partner choosing not to remove it. Not difficult to imagine leaving that collaboration and (hopefully) create stuff elsewhere.
      Of course this is massive hyperbole (You’re welcome Durican), and I’m NOT equating anything in the comments being like this, but it’s an easier example.
      I doubt it’s because Shamus agreed with some/any comments that Josh could not accept either. It’s not what Shamus believes or what anyone said, it’s what is allowed to be said or not in general.
      At least, that’s how I read the situation. I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong.

      • Durican says:

        That’s me sated.

        In seriousness, while this is an unfortunate outcome, the reasons presented are, well, fairly reasonable. With all parts involved being both honest with themselves and with each other, this feels like the healthiest course to take.

    • Rutskarn says:

      This whole thing has felt pretty grim, but this comment did make me smile.

      My LP series is going to continue. I probably won’t appear on a podcast on Twenty Sided, and I will continue to appear on Spoiler Warning with Josh and Chris. This is my immediate plan.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Aww,shit.Can you just ban me instead and have the two of them stay?

    • Jokerman says:

      That would be like putting a bandage on a scar…

      You might have sparked off this disagreement, but it sounds like deep down the disagreement is on the moderation philosophy itself… banning you, well… another “you” could easily pop up next week and say something else that causes the exact same issue…

    • Kathryn says:

      DL, I agree with Jokerman, and also, having gone back and read the thread, it seems like you and the others were talking past each other. That happens sometimes. (If it happens to you specifically a lot, it’s worth considering why…)

      Best wishes to all. Glad you are parting amicably rather than with a public and drawn-out disagreement.

    • Twisted_Ellipses says:

      I don’t how I feel about the comment exchange on the Spoiler Warning episode, but you’re almost as much of a piece of this site as them at his point. You’re normally one of the first commenters and your comments are normally very constructive or insightful. This incident gives us all pause for thought next time we want to respond to content, but I also don’t think you should beat yourself up about it too much.

    • DTor214 says:

      Seconded

    • Skyy_high says:

      Maybe just take it as a lesson to let some arguments go after a couple of back and forths…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You want to know something weird?Looking back,it seems to me as the opposite was the problem.I was called out on something I wrote,but instead of clarifying that statement,I simply wrote the flippant “I clarified it elsewhere,read it there”,then left the discussion completely(save for a silly joke about an unrelated thing later).I gathered that because some people understood what I was talking about,others would too if “only they read the whole conversation”.I guess I was wrong.

      • FelBlood says:

        Or at least to check and see if your word choice is conveying something other than what you intended.

        In this case Chris was definitely reading something into your use of the word “justified” that you didn’t intend, and rephrasing your position another way might have resolved the situation before it metastasized.

        • sardfg says:

          if it hadn’t been that comment thread then the next controversy would have caused this, too many conflicting opinions over the way comments are moderated in this webpage

          • Viktor says:

            I will agree with that. DL is the source of a lot of problems, but someone is going to take a horrible stance at some point. If Shamus wants to leave horrible stuff up on this site, then other people have to decide whether or not to be associated with it. Josh and Chris have made their stance clear, as is their choice.

            • mechaninja says:

              I would contend that I’ve never seen a comment by DL that was horrible. Coming from a viewpoint I find strange and even contentious, yes, often, but horrible?

              Even the comment chain in question was ultimately about sympathy for a video game devil, and disagreeing where an …. antagonist? (is there an antagonist in that game?) is a flawed human being as opposed to an actual monster.

              I’ve already spent 200 words on DL’s use of the word justifiable, so I won’t reiterate it here, but I’ll tell you I’m having trouble replacing the word.

    • mechaninja says:

      If I were in Chris’ shoes, I could never have had this argument with you because I would have done 500 words on how you’re using “justifiable” wrong, particularly since you keep saying “it’s not right, but it’s justifiable”…

      able to be shown to be right or reasonable; defensible.
      “it is not financially justifiable”

      Even while I try to read through that (I haven’t ever kept up on the let’s plays, but have an incontrovertible need to understand where things go wrong), I just keep wanting to figure out where you got that word wrong in your head, DL.

      But the worst part? I’m trying to figure out what the right word is, and justifiable may be the closest one. Defensible? I mean it’s not quite defensible. Understandable? Maybe to some people? Explainable? Maybe. I’m sure there is a word for it – in German if no where else, but I can’t find it.

      But then I remember the show Justified, and that a “justified shooting” in cop terms isn’t always the same as a “good” shooting, just one that the cop isn’t going to be in trouble for, because in the circumstances the shooting took place, it was… justified.

      Ugh.

      Edit: Well, I lied. Only 200 words.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        See!Its not easy to find a right word,even now.So its not just me who struggles with it.For a language that has borrowed so much from other languages,and that can make boxing sound like a perverted sport full of nothing but sex,english can be such a sparse language at times.

        • mechaninja says:

          Context, yes, but even realizing what (I think) DL was trying to say, I found “justifiable” jarring to read in that context.

          • I’m saying that’s the word he should have used ‘stead of justified. I was actually going to add that addendum to my post, but I think I got in just before the place got locked down, because the edit option was gone. Anyway…yeah.

      • Sebastian says:

        In german it would be “nachvollziehbar” I guess… (basically one word for “I see where it came from”) When I read DLs use of the word justifiable I actually wondered if english is his first language or if he’s german, because that seemed to be the source of all misunderstandings.

      • Soylent Dave says:

        ‘understandable’ is the one I’d go for, if we’re aiming for neutrality.

        It doesn’t have the “this is right and/or defensible” baggage of ‘justifiable’.

        (it’s also the turn of phrase Dr. Manhattan uses at the end of Watchmen, which may explain my fondness for it (although he does qualify it with “without condoning or condemning”))

      • JakeyKakey says:

        I said it way further down, but it was “justifiable” as in “I understand the circumstances that led to this outcome” not “justifiable” as in “domestic abuse is a morally right thing to do”.

        It would have been more correct to say one’s ’empathised’ with David, but this is really not the kind of word you want to use in conjuction with someone who slaps their stepdaughter. “Understandable” might be it.

        Chloe stole a gun from him (I feel as though everyone is overlooking how much of a MASSIVE DEAL this is) then proceeded to antagonize and push his buttons until he finally snapped and lashed out. The slap itself is inexcusable, but once she pulls out the gun you realise everything leading up to that moment had been actively instigated and escalated by Chloe and she comes out looking just a shitty if not more so.

        I thought it was a nice twist on the ‘abusive dickhead stepdad’ trope where yeah he’s an abusive dickhead and there’s some lines you just don’t cross but you also get the impression he wouldn’t be as much of a prick if Chloe was less…Chloe and let up a little and basically didn’t make the worst possible choices at any given time.

        It’s one of those situation where she was playing a stupid game and won a stupid prize, but you’re also really starting to skid the victim blaming territory.

  5. ToastyVirus says:

    Wow.

    Not the news I was expecting to wake up to today.

    I’ve been a regular here since about 2009, and while I’ve never been one for leaving comments, I’ve read the site near enough daily for the past 8 years. Spoiler warning has been a big part of that.

    So while I’m sad and a little shocked that this has happened, I’m glad that you guys have parted somewhat amicably.

    I hope that the guys can guest on the Diecast sometime in the future when tempers have settled somewhat. I’m gonna miss them on it, and you on Spoiler Warning.

    • CraigM says:

      Seconded. I used to comment more frequently, even participated on the forums a ton (including the CKII legacy game that Josh took forever on), but only really pipe in once a month or so anymore. Not because I don’t read daily, but because I’m a busy guy.

      But this saddens me. Josh in particular on the Diecast because he tends to be much closer to my gaming tastes than anyone else on the show. Love you too Chris, but I’m a strategy grognard at heart.

      I hope that the guys can guest on the Diecast sometime in the future

      Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Pete_Volmen says:

    Wow. Both sides are understandable. Sucks that it has to end this way though.
    I hope your friendship doesn’t leave with this professional (even if ideological) disagreement.
    Best of luck to all involved.
    Will Rutskarn remain on Twenty Sided? Will he remain on Spoiler Warning?
    While I really enjoy nearly all of the comment section, I definitely get (even maybe agree) with Josh’ standpoint. This is the second time now one of the hosts leaves over the comments here, too. At least it’s a better end than with Mumbles.

    • Ivellius says:

      Not that Shamus is saying as much here, but I suspect what happened with Mumbles played a role in Josh’s decision.

      • I’ve actually been wondering what happened to Mumbles. I love Bay, but I missed her and I had been unable to find anything saying why she left.

        Nevermind. I kept on scrolling and someone else asked the same question and was answered. that is unfortunate.

  7. Jokerman says:

    Damn… i don’t even know what to say… i really hope at some point this gets worked it out, although right now i am sure the feeling is that won’t happen.

  8. Jack V says:

    Oh dear. Best wishes to both of you.

  9. Alex says:

    This is very very sad. I would say more, but an outsider’s uninformed opinion probably won’t help. Let’s just say, I hope that both sides of the split will continue their respective good work and over time fill the hole the other side will inevitably leave. And Josh, if you are reading this, please ask Mumbles if she is willing to return under the new conditions.

  10. Redrock says:

    A very sad example of politics and ideology working to divide people that have no good reason to stand divided. For what it’s worth, I wish everyone the very best.

  11. Chris says:

    So that’s two hosts leaving the site now over the comments section, both over the same commenter (if memory serves).
    Its cool, the site suffers and all the non-dickhead readers lose out but as long as nobody gets “censored” I guess it’s fine.
    I can see you not wanting to be one of “those people” the Tim Buckleys, the aggrieved Greenlight devs, the Scott Adamses – but your moderation policy clearly has some not inconsiderable costs which are being borne by the majority to the benefit of a shitty minority.
    Daemian Lucifer’s sparkling insight is not worth losing Josh Viel, not by any measure, and the whole sodding comments section isn’t worth losing Mumbles.

    • Shamus says:

      For the record, DL was not related to the Mumbles situation.

      • Zak McKracken says:

        I feel a little stupid for asking but … what is the Mumbles situation? I haven’t seen or heard much of her lately around here but that wouldn’t have been the first time and I don’t remember any explicit “situation”… (I’m a bit behind on the Diecasts, though — did I miss something important?).

        I’m sad now, proper sad :(

        This is a bit like one of my favourite bands splitting up. One day it all looks like sunshine and next day they’re no more. Of course you wouldn’t have your disagreements in public but that makes it so much harder to make sense of it in the end …

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Mumbles said something,the armchair psychologists took that to mean that she is a sadist,she unfortunately read it and was hurt by it.Then when she came back,someone else called her a rapist because she dared to say that she should be able to romance whoever she wanted in games.She decided not to come back after that.

          You can search the archives to read for yourself if you are curious,but that wont change the past so you shouldnt really bother.

      • Arkady says:

        I’ve said it before, but I really miss Mumbles on spoiler warning. Where everyone else could tend to cynicism she tended to come along with a somewhat child-like sense of joy and fun to something totally ridiculous.

        While the main cast could gripe about bad writing and unengaging mechanics she would start egging you on to ride horses into crowds of pedestrians, to see them go flying, and find the FUN of things.

        And she often came with a different angle to appreciate games from, I felt, so that viewpoint was lost too.

        • Ivellius says:

          Until Dawn really suffered from her leaving halfway through, partly because she was one of two people who hadn’t played the game, and partly because she couldn’t stand up for the cannibal demographic.

          (Hoping a bit of levity makes the departure easier to stomach.)

          • Jokerman says:

            I might be wrong… but i thought she actually played the game in between a two week break in the season. It would have been interesting to see here return i think.

        • Tom says:

          Agreed. I propose that in years hence, we mark the sad day of her departure with a minute’s silence, at the end of which everyone simultaneously goes “BEEES!”

        • Paul Spooner says:

          Well, now that Spoiler Warning is moving away from TwentySided, maybe Mumbles would be interesting in joining it again?

          • MrGuy says:

            I think the problem is not Mumbles – it’s us. If the same audience continues to follow the show, what has changed, fundamentally?

            I support everyone’s right to make their own decisions – Shamus’ as how he runs his site, Mumbles and now Josh on not wanting to continue to be part of it, and everyone being respectful about all those decisions.

            But the whole Soma situation called for some serious soul searching on the behalf of both the audience and the creators on what we wanted this community to be like, and what sort of topics it made sense for this site to cover. That never really happened – we sort of all wanted to forget that it happened and “move on.” Nothing really changed.

            IMO this game was a bad choice because it invites exactly the kind of conversations that have been uncomfortable for this site in the past. And we collectively (the problem is WAY bigger than 2-3 people) didn’t handle it well. Shamus’ moderation style didn’t deal with it in a way that made me (and many others) comfortable.

            I don’t put this on any one person. But this community has become increasingly one that’s less fun to be a part of. I’ll read occasionally (especially if Shamus does another programming series, which is my favorite part of the site), but it’s days as a daily must-read are gone.

            • Paul Spooner says:

              That’s just my point though. The Spoiler Warning audiance and the TwentySided community are now distinct entities. There will be some overlap certainly, but it’s not “the same audience” any more.

    • Redrock says:

      I don’t think this comment is exactly warranted. As far as I can tell, DL wasn’t being openly hostile, didn’t post personal attacks directed at Chris or Josh or anyone else beyond some videogame characters. No death threats, no racial slurs, no profanity. Hindsight is 20/20, but I’m thinking that a lot of people, if they were the site’s moderator at the time, wouldn’t feel the need to censor that particular conversation. While it was getting heated towards the end, interesting and meaningful game-related things were getting posted. I think that striving towards at least a semblance of objectivity in moderating is quite commendable.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        More importantly, you can’t have open discussion without things going over the line sometimes. Open discussion is how you figure out where the line is.

        I feel it’s particularly pertinent to emphasize that this wasn’t a discussion that started with someone throwing an obvious bomb. I don’t generally subscribe to DL’s viewpoint on things, but what about that conversation would you pick out and say “here is where he broke the rules”? Shutting it down after the fact was fine, but once you decide that a discussion ever becoming uncomfortable is intolerable that it can never be risked then all you can do is start whitelisting the ideas and viewpoints that are allowed to be expressed, at which point discussion becomes redundant.

        • Idonteveknow says:

          yeah, I’m not sure I understand. I feel like DL and Chris both made some pretty decent arguments, even when they wound up arguing mostly different topics. I can’t say that I generally agree with DL’s viewpoint when I read his comments. Mostly, it seemed to me that DL was trying to get a specific point across (that Life is Strange is supposed to have a lot of moral ambiguity). Chris, though, seemed to completely fail to apply the principle of charity to anything DL said. As the discussion went on, Chris sort of just started going full-tilt into the “you must be a terrible person” argument, which isn’t exactly conducive to rational discussion.

          Sometimes when talking about things, people are going to feel uncomfortable. Odd things are gong to be brought up, and misunderstandings will abound. This uncomfortable jostling is how we reach consensus and move forward. Immediately painting someone as being evil for arguing a Devil’s Advocate point of view on a piece of media is not a good look, in my opinion.

    • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

      I just now saw the argument. I don’t agree with DL but I can say after this long that I think his/her heart is generally in the right place and that I feel like there’s maybe some life circumstances with him/her that you should consider before judging.

      He/she has alluded to a life that is rougher than most if not all Americans live. A life that involves or involved things exploding near where he/she lives on a semi-regular basis (I’m sorry if I’m mixing you up with someone else DL). Given some of the experiences he/she has related, I can understand why the stuff that happens in this video game would seem tame by comparison.

      DL, if I’ve revealed too much or gotten the details wrong, I’m sorry.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Nah,the bombardment was almost 20 years ago.The corruption and the protests….Well to say they are recent would imply that I remember a time when that wasnt a thing.But personally,Im well off(for the standards of my country,that is).So theres no need to worry about me existentially.

        Culturally,yeah there are some differences.Its not a factor often though.

  12. Dannu says:

    I’m not going to be all sanctimonious and lecture people, but I will point out that this the second time this has happened now. If I was the one making the decisions, I’d seriously consider whether my moderation policy, however well-intentioned it might be, is actually achieving the goals I want it to. Because the cost seems high indeed. At some point, you have you ask yourself whether your policies match with the reality of the internet we live in.

    We like to say this community is special, but I think that kind of exceptionalism might blind us to some needed changes. Either way, I don’t usually comment on here myself but I’ve been reading since 2008. I think it’s a real crying shame what happened here.

    • sab says:

      I concur with this viewpoint. I come here for the content, not the comments. I’d much rather have the team stay as-is, and disable the comments than this. But I suppose it’s too late for that now.

      Shamus and Josh had a great way of being catalysts for one another, especially on technical issues. I’ll miss Shamus’ gameplay insights on Spoiler Warning, and I’ll miss Joshes kitchen sink stories on the Diecast.

      It’s a shame.

      • Daimbert says:

        And I don’t care about Spoiler Warning and the Diecast, but like the comments … and, in fact, even enjoyed the comments ON those even though I didn’t watch or listen to them. And I’m sure there are people who want both and can’t decide between the two. So pretty much all Shamus can do is run the site the way he wants to and allow the others to move on if they can’t work with that.

      • I would definitely rather have no comments and have the other hosts back that an open comment section without them.

        No offense to all you scrubs out here with me, but I didn’t come here for you :)

    • Daimbert says:

      Perhaps, but the question might also be if the hosts are overreacting. Should Shamus change his policies because some or even most people that might want to host with him want certain ideas shut down or completely and vocally dismissed by the person in authority, which is Shamus? Re-reading the comment thread that broke the camel’s back, I don’t see that being left as being serious enough to warrant that sort of reaction at all. They were free to either ignore what was being said or argue against it, and for the most part it sounds like DL — in his typical way — expressed a not entirely unreasonable idea — that the guy wasn’t a bad person who hated Chloe because he hit her even though he was, in fact, absolutely wrong to do so — in a muddled fashion that engendered more controversy than it was intended to. So Shamus might have a point in saying that it is better for these things to be worked out in the comments or quietly dropped after everyone vents their spleen than to have the mod step in with the banhammer and insist the conversation is wrong. As for Mumbles, there was definitely an undercurrent there of “The guys don’t get comments like this!”, which is another matter entirely.

      The issue is to what extent you will regulate against views that you find horrific. To use a philosophical example, I find Utilitarianism and especially the new “Reduce suffering” model horrifically immoral and selfish, especially when justified by “Care for others because in the long run it benefits you”. It strikes me as being an Egoism that tries to hide that it’s Egoism. But I lean towards Kant and especially the Stoics, and the Stoics specifically say that if you are given the choice of stealing $5 from the wealthiest person in the world or someone will kill your wife, you ought to say “Go ahead and kill my wife”, which I’m sure most people will find a horrific decision … but I SUPPORT that reasoning. But there are reasons for each side to argue for or prefer the side they argue, and if I shut down Utilitarians for being Utilitarians or Stoics are shut down for being Stoics we never get to see what those are. And, on top of that, the banhammer approach often ends up judging PEOPLE rather than the VIEWS. There always seems to be an undercurrent of “This is a totally unacceptable position and you are a terrible person for holding it!” whenever we do those sorts of things.

      Add in that this may be a misunderstanding and the banhammer approach makes it so that both Shamus and his commenters end up having to walk on eggshells, wondering what criticism might set one of the hosts off and then get them to walk out, even if none of the hosts are being that sensitive. And that would impede the community, and run into the issue of some people being so careful that they never criticize and some people even defiantly not caring at all about those things because they feel it unreasonable to ask for that sort of censorship/self-censorship in the first place. Everyone suffers.

      Even if the entire internet generally gets into the “Don’t tolerate ideas that I strongly oppose” mindset, sometimes there is value in someone standing up and telling the mountain “No, YOU move!”

      • Redrock says:

        This. I didn’t want to be the first to suggest there has been an overreaction, but from the outside it certainly looks like one. Getting personally offended by something someone says on the Internet and seeking to silence them is … not a good look, generally. I live in a country where the government tends to do that a lot, so it really pains me to see similar behavior in geeky guys and gals whose work I so thoroughly enjoy.

        • Jared C says:

          Keep in mind Josh’s actual full-time job is being a moderator. He likely has some pretty strong beliefs about the subject.

        • Greg says:

          Yeah. This is bad news, and I’ll definitely miss the same old Spoiler Warning, but … this seems like a rather massive overreaction. The Mumbles situation, I could understand why that got so personal and damaging, but to have a disagreement over mod philosophy so vehement that it not only results in taking the show off its home website, but also in basically splitting up a band? Seems like simply not hosting it here anymore would have solved everyone’s problem.

          Though, at the risk of jumping on a bandwagon, again, yeah. If you (the generic you) can’t handle morality debates, don’t write posts standing on a moral soapbox. The whole point of morality it that it’s changing and constantly evolving to adapt the needs and wants of society, and it needs debate in order for it and society as a whole to move forward. Simply silencing comments you don’t like, not because they’re insulting or trolling or inciting to violence, but because you don’t care for the moral view being espoused or even a frank discussion of why someone might disagree on a moral issue, is not conducive at all to societal change; it simply forces all those people you disagree with elsewhere, and everyone gets stuck in their own bubble where they believe everyone already thinks like they do.

          • Syal says:

            I agree with the current commenting policy, but hosts are also here to have fun, and it’s not an overreaction to stop when it’s no longer fun.

            • Daimbert says:

              There’s a question, though, over whether they were having fun with doing the show but just didn’t like wading through the comments at times. Because if it was the latter one idea would be for them to explicitly and directly say that they aren’t going to do that, and even redirect people who wanted to talk to them over to a forum that was moderated more to their liking.

              • Syal says:

                It sounds to me like that’s the path they’re taking here; part of the enjoyment is seeing people’s reactions in the comments, but they don’t want to deal with major schisms so they’re moving the comment section somewhere else.

        • JakeyKakey says:

          I’d like to third this.

          I’ve been reading the site for close to ten years and this is probably the biggest shitstorm I have ever seen on here.

          But compared to your average internet arguments I see daily? 2/10 at best.

          • Abnaxis says:

            Did you miss LOLRAPEGate?

            Wait, that was ten years ago.

            …holy crap, I’m old now.

            • JakeyKakey says:

              Tbf I’m a big fat liar, I remember the Mass Effect 1 Season back when they used some horrible video site because YouTube had a ten minute limit and I’ve read Experience Points and Stolen Pixels on TheEscapist which gradually got me onto this site so it was probably 2009-2010ish I started lurking around here?

              I dread to even hear about what LOLRAPEGate was, even bloody Gamergate managed to get civil discussion on this site.

              • The Rocketeer says:

                TL;DR: Back in the old defunct Chainmail Bikini comic, one male player’s male character took the piss by in-character squeezing a different male player’s female character’s tit. Cue an undying shitstorm about rape culture.

      • Warclam says:

        “The straw that broke the camel’s back” refers to something that, added to a number of other problems, is enough to be unacceptable, despite not being unacceptable when considered in isolation. To look at the straw and say “it’s not that heavy, the camel must be over-reacting” is to completely miss the point.

        The point is that it’s an unpleasant pattern. It’s probably an inevitable consequence of letting people talk: they will say hideously unpleasant things. And if people are saying things you find appalling, and the person in charge of deciding when enough is enough is saying, nope, this isn’t enough yet, what can you do but leave?

        I’m in the difficult position of agreeing with Josh and also agreeing with Shamus. I think it’s good to shut down the assholes before they ruin your day, because people are terrible. I have also had very interesting conversations that started as angry arguments, because everyone involved felt very passionate about their positions, but were able to talk about the parts where their views overlapped and chisel away at some of the outlying certainties not part of the core idea, and be able to each at least put one foot on common ground.

        I have the wonderful luxury of being able to have both. I can keep watching Spoiler Warning, and I can keep reading Twenty Sided. But I can only do that because of distance. It’s different to sit back and agree to disagree when your name is right there, implying that in some way what’s happening is yours.

        You can’t be at your best and most reasonable all the time. You can’t care, earnestly and honestly, about everything and everyone all the time. Sometimes you just need to be comfortable. And if you’re in a place that makes you feel like you can’t be comfortable, it’s time to leave.

        • Ninety-Three says:

          I can understand Chris and Josh wanting to avoid this comments section. I can even understand them pulling the show from Twenty-Sided, if they want to cultivate a comments section of their own. But I can’t frame this in a way where Shamus leaving the show is not an overreaction.

          If the problem is the comments section, that problem has been solved by relocating the show. The only reasons I can imagine for Shamus to stay off the show are A: To protest Josh’s stance on comment moderation, or B: This is one of those “if we disagree then we can’t hang out any more” situations between the hosts. And both of those seem like overreactions.

          Jeez, I hope this hasn’t led to bad blood between Shamus and the rest of the crew.

          • Miguk says:

            When Shamus of all people is getting purged for political reasons you know things are getting nuts.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            You forgot C:This blog is Shamus’s job.Him appearing in spoiler warning regularly eats a lot of his time that he could use to do something for his job.So while I can see him appearing there once in a while,doing it regularly would be him continuing to work for no money.

            • Daimbert says:

              Yeah, that was kinda my impression of it as well, when I thought about it: if Spoiler Warning isn’t here, then that’s a lot of time Shamus has to put in for something that doesn’t generate content for this site and so doesn’t directly help his readership/Patreon. He then has to decide if it’s worth that effort or if something else is more worth his time.

            • Paul Spooner says:

              Oh man. Are we going to start seeing the Reset Button drop again? That would be amazing!

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            Well, I’ve considered that Shamus’ position may be that the blog is what actually financially supports him, and that he doesn’t feel like he can afford to spend time on things that he can’t post about here.

            Or maybe this is just an exscuse, and they’re really leaving because of how the comments section refuses to display correctly under the new theme.

        • DeadlyDark says:

          The thing is, sometimes it’s an eye of the beholder, how comment will be perceived, will it be acceptable for a reader, or not. I find some things acceptable, some things – not, you can have an opposite view. And I can’t say in advance how you perceive my choice of words or point of view. I saw that discussion on last SW episode as kinda (well, for a videogame discussion) thought provoking and just fascinating to read. Someone else can read it and felt offended by opinions expressed there. Only way to know it, is making know each other and after that, we can work out our differences and borders of what acceptable and what is not. And listening the gang all these years can make an false impression that we knew them good enough, but that’s really an one side interaction. I didn’t know* that Josh and Chris felt in a way that was uncomfortable to them (I still don’t understand). I respect their feelings, but if we as a community didn’t know, how could we change our behavior to help them stay. And even then, it’s a deeper philosophical question – should’ve? Wouldn’t that be a form of self censorship? Would be that healthy not for community, but for our minds? I don’t have an answer, personally. And you can ask me a good question, why Chris and Josh should show us how they are uncomfortable with community’s discussions. That’s personal. They are not our friends. And it’s (was) their rightful place, why they should adapt for us. And I again won’t have an answer for you. Overall, I have an opinion, that Shamus has a) good intentions and b) I tend to agree with his moderation policy (it feels very right to me). I moderate a bit smallish gaming forum (not a whole, just couple of branches) and I just let discussion flow, until someone goes out of place.

          *I’m not an active participant, rarely just post opinions I felt somewhat strong, or I feel I have a more or less interesting point of view or fact. I’m bad at arguing or making an conversation, my personal flaws,just like over explaining things that don’t need to be explained. But still, I read discussions constantly

          P.S. In any case. Good luck Josh and Chris. Hopefully it will lead to something better

        • Daimbert says:

          I think the question here though, at least from the perspective when I wrote it, was a debate over whether or not this was, in fact, even a STRAW. For example, a lot of the comments are about it defending abuse politely, with a lot of people — and even Shamus himself — thinking that it didn’t defend abuse at all.

          • newplan says:

            Person 1 – “This is abuse!”

            Person 2 – “It’s not abuse, it’s …”

            Person 1 – “Saying that it isn’t abuse is defending abuse!”

        • Coming_Second says:

          Was scrolling down to make this point.

          I’m a moderator on another site, and all too often users will go “Wait, you banned him for that?” after it’s been done. And all too often the temporarily banned will come back and resolutely defend themselves upon the basis of that single post. The truth is that members almost always get banned for patterns of behaviour – an endless string of niggling pieces of nastiness that builds up and builds up until you aren’t willing to take it anymore. But people invariably seize upon single spent matches to explain infernos, either because they aren’t aware of the context or to deliberately obfuscate.

          This isn’t what’s happening here, really. There’s no real maliciousness involved. But I was nodding along when Shamus was talking about a slow build-up of issues that finally broke with this extremely minor incident. I think it’s almost inevitable if you run the site as he’s determined to do. And I agree that losing some of your best contributors is way too high a price to pay to attempt to enshrine the concept of free speech, as noble a goal as that is. I think this all could have been avoided with a very slightly more hands-on approach to moderation.

      • Duoae says:

        I just want to say thanks for being so eloquent. My thoughts align pretty much with the content of your post.

        Shamus, Josh and Chris – I’m sorry to see you part professional ways. Sometimes it happens and you seem to have handled it admirably. I’ll miss spoiler warning but I originally came here for game analysis and interesting dev. Thoughts so that is still present.
        I wish you all the best going forward!

    • Leonardo Herrera says:

      I’m with Shamus on this.

      People seems to be very sensitive these days. They want dissenting opinions shut. They want uniform thinking. If there are different opinions and points of view, I prefer to know about instead of sweep them under the carpet.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I respectfully disagree.
      This community is one I want to be part of because of the core philosophy, and if others feel differently, that’s fine. Changing policies to retain people who aren’t on-board with the core principles isn’t going to help anything.

    • swimom says:

      I don’t think this community is all that special anymore. A couple of years back it was but it has steadily become murkier and murkier, reading through the comments is often exhausting. Maybe it’s just that the site has grown larger but the community seem to have transitioned from “whiny pedantic nerds” (which I love) to “nasty sniping, edgelording and hostility hidden behind a veneer of politeness and neutrality”. The community used to add something to the site (beyond momentarily amusing puns), now it only removes from it.

      As I wrote this I realized that I’m writing a farewell, I might check in on rutskarns let’s plays from time to time but otherwise I’m just done. This place is exhausting to deal with.

    • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

      Because the cost seems high indeed.

      Not when the commodity is so precious.

      So many sites have leaned in a particular direction. Usually the best I can get out of a gaming site is neutrality. The only sites that seem to lean towards my politics are the ones specifically about my politics.

      So I sincerely hope this place remains as is. If Josh wants to run off that’s his deal. I’m here for Shamus. Spoiler Warning may have pulled me to this site, but it was the third thing that pulled me back here which made me realize I should probably be reading all the site content.

      And besides, when Mumbles left, it was already starting to not feel like Spoiler Warning. If Shamus’s departure means that the others are going to be less guarded and start getting preachy, forget it.

      • Doug O says:

        Except that it was DotR that brought me here, otherwise this is precisely how I feel. I wish the rest of the SW crew well, but I’m not going out of my way to find it again. “The only solution to ‘bad’ speech is MORE speech.”

  13. Mr Compassionate says:

    Important question: Is Rutskarn going to still be on Spoiler Warning? Cause for a second I thought “what IS Spoiler Warning without Shamus? I refuse to watch it!” until I slowly realised I watch or listen to literally anything with Ruts in.
    But hey maybe you can get the elusive Mr Btoung? What happened to Mumbles? How can something so comforting and consistent as Spoiler Warning end?

    Either way no matter what I always consider myself a Shamus loyalist. My favourites were always Ruts, Mumbles and Shamus. I always felt like Chris and Josh were always on a different wavelength (although I massively respect Josh for all the work he puts into the series).

    • ToastyVirus says:

      Mumbles left due to another comment section incident.

      • Mr Compassionate says:

        Oh yeah I just remembered why Mumbles left. It’s weird how many people are leaving because of the (fairly chill) comments section.

        Their logic towards blaming Shamus is a completely crazy. Essentially it goes
        -I have a strongly held opinion that I defended vehemently, so did the guy I got into a heated discussion with. I spent all night writing massive responses and refreshing the page so that I could argue with this guy more. Why didn’t you stop us Shamus?!

        And I understand the perspective of Chris and Mumbles. They don’t want to just let what they see as comments with horrible implications go unchecked and they resent Shamus for letting his site inhabit such people.

        However the alternative is a safe space that only inhabits their own worldviews at the expense of the comfort of other people joining the site. Shamus’s policy prioritises free speech that theoretically allows anybody to feel comfortable here. In my view if you get flustered and angry here it is your own fault for not remaining zen and open minded. Maybe that’s harsh but somestimes people need to hear the truth, remain chill and zen or you’ll end up like the hordes of raving extremists inhabiting both sides of politics these days.

        • Shamus says:

          I promised myself I wouldn’t get too tangled up in this discussion, but I can’t help but clarify one point here:

          I feel there’s a big difference with what happened to Mumbles. In her case, the comments were about her specifically. I find her getting upset to be perfectly reasonable, and if I were to moderate those threads over again I’d be much quicker to debate / delete. I did change my mod policy because of what happened with her. (Although the problem hasn’t come up again.) I feel like I failed her.

          In this more recent case, I feel like I’m doing the only thing I can do.

          • happycakes says:

            You could run a poll to see if people would rather the comments section be shut down or left as is. Though, the damage may already be done at this point. Or, perhaps, just having comments off for certain posts; which probably comes with its own problems. I think there were options on the table but I understand why you wouldn’t change your stance.

            • Redrock says:

              Seems impossible to foresee, which particular post should have the comments switched off. These things seem to be quite random and get out of hand rapidly.

              • happycakes says:

                Well, clearly josh had views on the moderation, they could have done as another commentator mentioned and allowed the people who contributed to that material guide the discussion and decide what was appropriate. It is also clear most of the drama revolves around spoiler warning, so perhaps just disable comments on spoiler warning, but I did say that may come with other problems, such as youtube being the refuge for commenters, where Shamus would essentially be relinquishing the powers of moderation to Josh (I think josh runs the channel?).

                I think it’s just a little ridiculous on the part of both parties. There were ways of dealing and they chose to end it instead. It does seem that it wasn’t a snap decision though, so at least there were attempts to make it work, I assume.

                However, having said all that, we don’t have the full story and what the problems were, how discussions went, and likely we will never fully understand how this ending came about, and thus my position is to just accept it and see what comes out of it.

                • Christopher says:

                  I was really surprised to read this but then I don’t read your comment sections and to be honest I haven’t watched spoiler warning in a while.

                  I’ve been visiting the site since mr. young worked on The Escapist and he linked his blog in his comics and articles.

                  I kind of understood there was some tension I think from a long time ago regarding Josh’s viewpoints on moderation and for my part I have to stand with mr. Young on this you know I don’t always agree with people but I had there’s a big threshold before I block them or ban them or moderate their comments.

                  Honestly since I don’t read the comments I don’t really understand what was going on to cause this but I find everybody on the crew to be really interesting people to read and listen to and I think it’s just going to be a shame that that’s going away.

                  But some issues are irreconcilable and I guess this is just one of those things. And the fact is I follow campster and rutskarne on Twitter and I don’t always agree with their political points but I still enjoy reading them and I respect them as intellectuals and kind of academics in their way.

                  And frankly I think we just need more of that so I’m glad to see that all else aside this has been done in an adult reasonable way.

                  And I want to thank them all for years of not only laughter but also insightful commentary on video games and the culture of video games.

                  This has been Bob Bifford.

                  And Jim Johnson.

                  Wishing you best of luck!

                  And to keep playing.

            • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

              You could run a poll to see if people would rather the comments section be shut down or left as is.

              Or you could not scroll down. The comments here aren’t hard to avoid. There’s plenty at the bottom of each article to warn you before you scroll that low.

              I do not feel like shutting down the comments and not shutting down the comments should be regarded on level ground.

              • Coming_Second says:

                “Don’t want to be offended? Then don’t read what other people have said about this content!” is the first step towards creating a really unpleasant community.

                The solution isn’t to shut the comment section down, nor is it to pretend a completely unregulated one isn’t going to develop problems. It’s just better moderation.

            • drnlmza says:

              That poll would suffer from terrible selection bias though, which would make results somewhat pointless.

              People who regularly read and mostly enjoy in the discussions would largely want the comments to stay, while people who already usually avoid the comments (of which, as comments on this post have shown, there are a fair number) probably won’t bother to vote as it doesn’t actually impact them.

              It’s only those people who read the comments often, but frequently encounter things that make them uncomfortable, that seem likely to choose to vote “close”. I don’t imagine that there are many people in that situation, since I’d expect them to either switch to ignoring the comments or move elsewhere.

          • Mr Compassionate says:

            Ah yeah sorry I’ve never seen the discussion that made Mumbles leave but I’m glad to hear her reasons were good ’cause as mentioned she was always one of my favourite hosts.

            As for the current situation I’d say it’s symptomatic of our time.

          • Paul Spooner says:

            I feel like I’m doing the only thing I can do.

            Absolutely. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that. This is your house.

          • Abnaxis says:

            For what it’s worth, I’m very much aligned with you on your evaluations in those two cases–Mumbles could have been handled better, the discussion in the LiS should have gotten a free pass.

            Even if DL was advocating for abusers (don’t think he was), I’m much more of a fan of those ideas being shot down by others in open debate versus getting banhammered, and I’m very much in favor of building a community where the former is encouraged. It’s only when things get personal that the mods should step in.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I’m staying on Spoiler Warning. My text LP series will all continue to update normally.

      • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

        I’m glad you will continue to be in both places. The best people can keep these things separate and so get along with lots of people.

        I am not the best people as one of my other comments shows. But in my defense, this is about where I get my entertainment from vs who I associate with.

  14. Phill says:

    Well, that is some very disappointing news.

  15. lurkey says:

    I’m a big fan of Shamus’s moderation and in favour of his decision. And who knows, the split might actually be a good thing, now with two quality creators evolving further their content the way they want to.

    (Wanted to wish DL strength to hold against the inevitable incoming demands for his head, but he’s tough and can take it)

  16. happycakes says:

    That really sucks. I didn’t realise DL’s comments were such an affront. I actually enjoyed the back and forth as a passive observer. Good luck to all, will be interesting to see the changes that come as a result.

  17. Jared C says:

    Wow that sucks. When I first started reading this post I had to double check that I hadn’t lost track of time and it wasn’t April Fools Day. Welp, best of luck to all involved, and I hope no actual friendships were broken from this.

  18. Fizban says:

    While they’ve all had their respective personal pages, I’ve considered the the spoiler warning/diecast/etc group as the twentysided crew. The group has been a rock among a sea of fleeting personalities with just the right combination of screwing around and taking things seriously that meant it was okay that other stuff didn’t last, since this crew kept chugging along. Mumbles joined late enough that her leaving didn’t hit me so hard, but this is the root pair from before I even showed up.

    Diecast the last couple weeks felt pretty empty without Josh, and now the group is formally ended. Even if he starts up a spoilercast, that and spoiler warning will be missing Shamus at the least.

    Call me too invested, but I is what I is. A couple years ago the group of friends I thought would be there forever broke up (or maybe just kicked me out) over something stupid, but the twentysided crew was still there. Even if you’re all still friends and even hang out and game behind the scenes, the visible portion of that is gone. No more hearing everyone get together at the diecast, no more having the whole gang in for spoiler warning. Never again the same even if something remains. For the viewer, it’s done.

    I’m tired of seeing friends split over stupid shit, and no matter how much anyone says there’s no hard feelings, that’s what it looks like to me. Cancel the regular meetup and what’s left? And I know well enough the sting of having the person nominally in charge of moderating a debate simply refuse to address issues. It feels like a really poor choice of principles upon which to end a good thing.

    Yeah, I’m projecting, and apparently too reliant on some internet people’s content in place of having my own social life. But still, if I could go back and tell myself to stop and think and maybe do something a bit different, maybe I’d still have those friends. And with the twentysided crew fully split and scattered, I’ve got one less thing to prop me up. So I’m pretty sad now.

    • Gilfareth says:

      Believe you me, I’ve been in similar straits all too recently. The Spoiler Warning/Twenty Sided content has been a consistently entertaining, welcoming group that I’ve leaned on probably too much myself. You’re not alone in feeling that way, this sucks and hurts all around.

    • Alex says:

      Yes, you are no alone.

    • Mr Compassionate says:

      Same happened to me recently. Group of D&D friends, all was good. The trouble came when we got a text based chat service and started talking about Star Wars and whether you should rate a movie well based purely on how progressive it is. Naturally it became a disaster of misunderstandings and my attempt to fix it was met with chilly, insulting reception.

      Although I will admit a strange sensation of a weight being lifted after they cut me off. I think being turned on by what I used to consider “my kind” (the far left) pushed me into the free speech based middleground that I now consider to be more healthy.

      • Daimbert says:

        This sort of story makes me feel so much better for not having all that many friends, and not talking anything like that with the friends I have …

    • Rutskarn says:

      While I certainly have an ideological stake in this, and may feel one way rationally, I feel quite the other emotionally.

      It’s been a pretty rough year for me. Losing my mother was quite obviously the worst of it. Losing Mumbles from the crew was an ugly reminder that these things aren’t permanent. Losing the core crew caps it.

      (For the record, as I’ve said elsewhere, I will be following Josh and Chris. My text LP will continue to update here.)

      • Kronopath says:

        Hugs, Ruts. I know you’ve been having a tough time. No matter what kind of rough situation might be going on, both on this site and outside of it, people care about you and want you to do well, myself included.

  19. CliveHowlitzer says:

    Being able to have a free exchange of ideas and conversation without someone pushing some ideology on you is a rare thing on the internet nowadays. Kudos to you, I say.

    • Alex says:

      However, there are several places on the internet where such an exchange can be had and there was only one place that hosted a show with Shamus Young and Josh Viel. So I think having the show was more valuable because it is not as easily replaced.

      Also (and this is already more than I wanted to say), Shamus seems to make part of his living off this site and I think he made a serious economic mistake here.

      • Daimbert says:

        Then again, when he ran the poll on what people wanted to see more of, streams finished at the bottom of the list. I suspect that the fan base is pretty general, and that most of those who are attached to the site itself rather than to a specific show care more about the long form analyses and comics that Shamus is more known for than about the streams, so if this frees up some time for Shamus to add more of those there might not be much of a loss.

        Or, there might be. We’ll have to wait and see.

        • Alex says:

          I think the “more of” is important here.

          • Daimbert says:

            I concede the possibility, but I personally know someone who doesn’t care one whit for those streams and enjoys the comments and other content, so it isn’t really clear that if forced to choose between the two most people will automatically choose the streams, especially if dropping a stream gives Shamus more time to work on the other content. As I said, we’ll have to wait and see.

            • Joshua says:

              I don’t care a bit about the streams. Won’t watch them or listen to them. I will, however, read the comments occasionally to see a good discussion. I’d much rather see the long-form analysis, because that means it’s something I’ll actually get a benefit out of.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        There’s actually an amazing dearth of places on the internet where civil, open discussion can be had, because moderation on the internet is awful in general. Discussion forums have a bad habit of either become places where criticism isn’t welcome or a constant fistfight.

        It’s especially bad when the moderators start focusing on which viewpoints are allowed. You wind up with people getting used to being allowed to throw punches at other posters because they’re on the ‘right’ side, and pretty soon you wind up with constant flamewars because of the examples you’re allowing to be set.

        Just look at the Escapist, and the disaster that forum turned into. Every time you’d look at a thread half of the posters would be banned, and it still wasn’t stopping people from fighting.

        • Henson says:

          My God, Escapist forums. The number of times I saw that damn ‘boo hoo’ crying kid replacement image over banned users. Mod policy seemed so petulant.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            What always amazed me was that you *still* had certain long-time posters around, even though it seemed like they’d start something in every thread they showed up in. You’d have the staff wringing their hands about how nothing they tried was working, but they’d still let some people get away with murder while banning other people for almost nothing.

          • Rutskarn says:

            The weird thing was how the mod policy seemed so simultaneously overzealous and absolutely pathetically inadequate.

            You got people banned over trifles in one thread and lawless vile rolling wastelands running hundreds of posts one board over.

            • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

              Based on the direction of the rest of the site, I think they just didn’t know what to do, what audience to appeal to after the community started to split.

      • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

        However, there are several places on the internet where such an exchange can be had

        Fewer and fewer gaming sites. The ones I know of are locked down to a specific ideological slant, or locked down entirely or they attract a much younger and less stimulating audience.

  20. Daimbert says:

    For the record, I generally neither watch Spoiler Warning nor listen to the Diecast, so the shake-up doesn’t really impact me. Them breaking up over this, though, is kinda tragic and worrying.

  21. Twisted_Ellipses says:

    There’s a certain irony in leaving comments after it being the catalyst for what went down (even more so when you realise Lucifer was making a Devil’s advocate argument). Buuuut it would feel weird after all this time not to say something.

    I hope this isn’t the end, you guys & gals can patch stuff up and at the very least have one-off collaborations and still figuratively hang-out. If this is the end then I want to thank you for years of quality content and whatever the Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Season was.

    When it comes to comments, it helps that the commenters here are MUCH better than on Youtube. It’s tough to moderate comments fairly, without shutting down all discussions that vere into controversial ground. There are some better ways to do it, but no definitive right way. I know in the past Shamus has given guidelines: i.e. try to stay away from politics or religion, please. However, I can’t work out how you would even phrase a guideline to cover the inciting comment or if you should prohibit it….

    • Scampi says:

      I know in the past Shamus has given guidelines: i.e. try to stay away from politics or religion, please.

      Well, I for one believe that there lies the real irony in the current case. Without delving too deep into the matter, but the discussion Chris and DL had sounded an awful lot like many discussions I had over time about intelligence agencies and why I would (just for an example; I don’t want to actually discuss this here) not support Edward Snowden or why IAs need to be granted some degree of legal leeway to be able to perform their duties.
      Some passages in their debate could have been lifted from MY debates almost 1:1 (replace some names for political entities and you might barely see a difference) and I now wonder if the real problem was as simple as picking a game unsuited for Spoiler Warning due to being too close to everyday life by its very design and thereby inviting a very different kind of comment than the previous seasons.

      Imho, the discussion between DL and Chris was immensely political by its nature and, sorry to say, as I usually would encourage Shamus’ general approach to moderation, maybe Shamus should have stepped in to remind both to rest the discussion.

      Now excuse me while I go to officially change my name to Captain Hindsight for making observations that by now are of absolutely no use to anyone anymore.:-/

      • Alex says:

        I remember picking up that the cast knew that this game was going to be controversial from the outset. Maybe I’m wrong but if they did I wonder what they expected to happen.

  22. Lee says:

    I will miss Josh. I’ll miss Chris, too. I come here for the content (mostly from Shamus, though), not the comments. It’s fairly rare for me to bother to read the comments, so the comment section probably doesn’t really affect my reading of this site.

    All of that said, I like your philosophy on moderation, Shamus. While it isn’t particularly popular these days, free speech as an ideal is something that I agree with. Your moderation seems to only really censor those who aren’t interested in participating (spammers), while allowing those who want to participate to continue to do so, regardless of the merit of their views.

    To be honest, this tarnishes my view of Josh more than anything else. I’d like to see his side of the story, but it doesn’t look good from here. Looking at the linked thread from an outsider’s view, Josh had the least effective comment period. Tom and Henson did a good job of dealing with the more onerous parts of DL’s comments. Locking down the comments before those two waded in would have been a real shame, actually.

    • Daimbert says:

      I agree that it would be nice to see Chris or Josh’s take on the issue somewhere, so hopefully they’ll do something with that, and not just in Spoiler Warning, and then Shamus can link to it. I feel that Shamus is being pretty fair here, but it would be nice to hear it from them, and also would hopefully ensure that they ALSO have no hard feelings and feel that Shamus didn’t throw them under the bus either.

    • The Nick says:

      Agreed.

      I like Spoiler Warning, but I’m pretty sure I was on 20 Sided long before I got into that, and if they’re kicking Shamus off there because of a random comment section (that doesn’t even seem to be that heated. A quick look through doesn’t reveal any death threats or hate speech… did somebody sign up somebody’s e-mails to a million spammer sites or something?)… well, I want to say I’m principled enough not to ever watch it.

      Then again, I really liked the Life Is Strange eps. I *want* to watch them, even though that feels like a blatant betrayal.

      This is just sad to hear. :(

      • Alex says:

        You have interesting standards for what makes a discussion “heated”.

      • Eldiran says:

        It’s not a betrayal, feel free to keep supporting both Josh and Shamus’ stuff. I think they’d both want you to support the other.

        Shamus said this was a long time coming, so we can’t judge their disagreement based on the one thread. If it really was a long time coming then we should be glad it happened over something small rather than something traumatic.

        • BigTiki says:

          I concur – I plan to continue supporting both creators, and might re-factor my patreon amounts to spread the support around to Chris and Ruts, too. It’s OK (and even healthy) to seek out things that aren’t ideologically-, or even policy-identical.

  23. Spurdo Sparde says:

    There can be no neutrals in this culture war because one side has declared that you’re either with them or against them. Merely by not censoring opinions they find objectionable, by allowing the other side the opportunity to speak, you become their enemy.

    You don’t join Gamergate. The opposition throws you in the pit with the rest of us. Welcome to the alligator pits, Shamus. May you find out who your friends are.

    • happycakes says:

      To be honest I can’t tell how the culture wars or politics fits into this break up. I agreed with DL in the comments section, but politically I am probably closer to where Chris is. I also understood Chris’ opinion that the game framed David as an asshole, but disagreed with it because just because something is framed a certain way, doesn’t mean that should be as far as you look into the situation, seems like an oversimplification of reality. I sympathised/empathised with David once I understood more about him during my playthrough, even though I do not condone hitting your child (as much as you may want to sometimes!).

      To me it just seems like a case of ego’s being hurt and the viewers being thrown under a bus as a result. I will continue to enjoy this website and whatever becomes of spoiler warning post-breakup. If I still enjoy those activities, anyway.

      • JakeyKakey says:

        What makes it infuriating to me is that Chris really did jump onto the wrong definition of justified at first.

        There’s “justified” as in “this was morally the right thing to do” and “justifiable” as in “you can understand why he did what he did”.

        What DL was arguing was that at the end of the day the entire incident took place because Chloe stole one of his guns then deliberately did everything she could to antagonize and bait him into lashing out against her. Lashing out was still absolutely inexcusable on his behalf, but Chris took the argument as explicitly condoning domestic abuse when it was more “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.

    • Somniorum says:

      Wow. : /

    • Phill says:

      That seems like an impressively dumb flame bait way to try and turn this into a culture war rage fest when it is about nothing of the sort…

    • Shamus says:

      Please let’s not open up the Gamegate can of worms today. Especially not in this thread. Thanks.

      • stratigo says:

        Honestly, I’m shocked this is still a thing. The internet usually has short memory, gamersgate happened years ago. Why are people still throwing it up into discussion like there’s a coherent thing there?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Gamergate,no S.I wouldnt be this pedantic,but poor people of gamerSgate never asked for this.

        • Mersadeon says:

          Not to make this into rant, but the people of that movement are still around. They were never corrected and haven’t grown out of it yet, partly because most of them got sucked in so hard they believe in a gigantic “us vs. them” narrative spanning everything. When you think you’re one of the only people saving the world, you can’t just quit.

          Thdn there’s the fact that basically the entire movement has turned over to the alt-right.

        • kunedog says:

          These days it’s more of a constant watchdog for the kind of media corruption it exposed in the first place. But yeah, since the long-running smear campaign against gamers never really ended, why should the long-running response to it (Gamergate) end? If Jack Thompson were still active and prominent then we wouldn’t be surprised to see an anti-Jack-Thompson movement again (especially he if he were suddenly, unaccountably taken seriously by the (proven corrupt) video game press).

          • Shamus says:

            Like I said above, this topic is WAY too hot, this thread is WAY too long, and this isn’t the time or context for a GG debate. (And there’s no way this won’t turn into a debate.)

            Thanks.

    • Tse says:

      True as it might be in other cases, I don’t think anyone has made Shamus a pariah.
      You seem to think too poorly of Josh and Chris.

      • Rutskarn says:

        Seriously. This idea that we beat him with branches crying “shame” is fucking ridiculous. The decision was just not to do the show here anymore, which, it’s pretty hard to argue that Shamus should come along if it’s not even getting hosted on his website.

        • Phrozenflame500 says:

          As long as it was amicable I suppose. There’s no reason to create a villain if there isn’t one.

        • Paul Spooner says:

          The decision was just not to do the show here anymore, which, it’s pretty hard to argue that Shamus should come along if it’s not even getting hosted on his website.

          But did Shamus want to come along? He’s too polite to say so, but the absence of “they invited me, but I decided to make a clean break of it” seems to indicate that this isn’t just about the moderation policy.

          In favor of thinking well of everyone, I’m going to assume Shamus’ stance is “I’m not interested in participating outside of my own website” which is completely understandable, and doesn’t leave anyone with uncomfortable questions about who kicked whom out of where.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            To you and Ninety-Three below: maybe drop this. As much as it is a creative decision, it’s also their private, personal interactions. We are not owed an explanation, as strong as your feelings may be about the shows or the hosts.

            Also: an open invitation to let die speculation about how each party feels, what precisely they are and aren’t comfortable sharing with or asking of us or among themselves, or why. While our confirmation bias is able and eager to fill any hole we present to it, this is a pointless and arrogantly presumptuous endeavor. Authorial intent is, as always, a pretty thing to know and an ugly thing to assume. Reconciling yourself with not knowing is probably the most productive and polite recourse.

        • Ninety-Three says:

          The decision was just not to do the show here anymore, which, it’s pretty hard to argue that Shamus should come along if it’s not even getting hosted on his website.

          Why? The show’s not getting hosted on your website, and you’re coming along. I assume Shamus was doing the show because it was fun for him, and I assume it hasn’t suddenly stopped being fun for him, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t come along?

    • kunedog says:

      I’d be surprised if that weren’t part of the “long time coming.” Countless sites/forums claimed to ban Gamergate discussion, but somehow always seemed to allow limitless anti-GG comments. Here, though, the ban on the subject truly was applied to BOTH sides, and the one time Gamergate discussion did happen, both pro- and anti-GG comments were allowed (so if you didn’t like what someone said, you had to present an argument instead of simply having a third party censor the other guy for you).

      • Shoeboxjeddy says:

        I would simply point out that you’re assuming Gamergate is a controversial moment in need of serious discussion. Whereas the vast majority of communities consider it something akin to Pizzagate, where believing in the “movement” inherently outs you as an unreasonable person.

  24. CrushU says:

    Hm.

    So, I started following this site because of Free Radical. I don’t really keep track of dates, but that means I’ve been here for a while.

    I don’t watch Spoiler Warning generally, mostly because I haven’t played the games they do. I do listen to the Diecast and generally enjoy it. I’d wondered why Josh wasn’t in the recent ones, guess this explains why.

    I follow *Shamus*, not the others. I’m also a programmer, so hearing that side of things interests me, especially as my career path has so far taken me down into the ‘pleasant’ world of business programming. (Working on Point of Sale systems atm.)

    I also agree with the moderation style. It’s generally better to counter ‘bad’ speech with more speech than to try and remove the ‘bad’ speech. Besides the fact that deciding what’s ‘bad’ and isn’t is a thorny problem, allowing the conversation shows *why* the speech is ‘bad’ and wrong. I also think it’s silly to get angry over internet comments.

    So… where’s this going from here?

  25. Eichengard says:

    I am sad now. :(

    I have nothing else in this. Just boo.

  26. Ringwraith says:

    Well, this is where I unwisely dip my hand in and say as much as it’s a nice idea the free discussion ideas should be promoted or preserved, some things aren’t worth it.
    They only hurt people.
    That’s not a discussion of ideas, that’s having yet another thing that puts a damper on your mood at best.
    It’s a noble goal to have a place for “open” discussion without judgement, but it’s not always so clear-cut, and if only it was so simple.

    Having something that’s hurtful to people archived only seeks as reminder, not to mention any point made tends to be undermined by the fact it’s harmed someone in some way.
    Also you need to fair on everyone, regardless of the amount of contribution, so irrespective of the source, something which is clearly a very sore topic for people should be treated similarly, and not preserved for more people to stumble into, as that’s not welcoming at all.

    • happycakes says:

      I understand where you’re coming from but judging by the catalyst of the break-up it’s hard to say that anyone is in the wrong and shouldn’t have said x. It never appeared as if there was truly malice behind the conversation, just a desire for the other to come around to their point of view, which can obviously get ridiculous and repetitive, but it remained incredibly civil, especially by internet standards.

      • Ringwraith says:

        It didn’t happen overnight.
        There have been indicators of issues of a similar nature before, which were reacted to rather similarly, really.

    • Moridin says:

      Being fair to everyone doesn’t mean shutting down the conversation just because one person doesn’t like the direction it’s taking, it means upholding your rules even if they DO cause someone to get hurt.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I don’t think you can apply that when either someone has been singled out by something, or it’s actually just something that’s easily just a considered massively inconsiderate viewpoint by a bunch of people.

        Though Josh has actually put down something which is a much more comprehensive write up of a similar sort of viewpoint. So I don’t think I need to add much else.

  27. ooli says:

    You did well Shamus. I may be biased because I never watched spoiler warning (while being an avid listener of the diecast)

    I’m french. With the latest election I had to talk to friends ending up in very opposite political spectrum (far right to far left). They still were very nice people. I begin to suspect that politics opinions are invalids to judge a character.

    Your decision to keep the site open to your friends and family diverse opinions is a very wholesome approach for community management

    • Kylroy says:

      I think that folks who want to remain genially apolitical in the coming years are going to find that it will take as much dedication as any directed political stance.

  28. Bloodsquirrel says:

    To be honest, this really confuses me. The stuff on that thread got weird by this site’s standards, but this place still does a massively better job in general than any other internet forum of keeping things civil. Unless they’re going to shut off comments altogether, which is bad for trying to build a community, I don’t see how they’re going to do any better.

    It almost sounds like they’ve decided that they want to wade straight into the war, in which case I’d rather they do split instead of dragging this place along with them. Killing the comments here would massively reduce the value of the site, so I’m glad they don’t do that.

  29. ehlijen says:

    Very sad news :(

    My condolences.

  30. Christopher says:

    One of the reasons I like this blog(and certainly comment on it more than anywhere else on the internet) is that I felt good about the community. I could post here and read the comments of others and the worst I would run into would usually be a thread of puns or someone being very pedantic. Starting with people calling Mumbles a textbook sadist during the SOMA season that wasn’t always the case anymore, but I was still surprised when she left for youtube. And now Josh and Chris leave too, presumably to be followed by Rutskarn.

    All because of a few unpunished jerks in the comment section that made the hosts I like not feel as safe as me, a random commenter? Man, that’s not worth it. I appreciate that you’re not trying to promote anyone’s particular political views, as I mentioned the environment here made me feel welcome, but I don’t think psychoanalyzing hosts for paragraphs or trolling about hitting women are related to any party’s agenda. It’s just not nice.

    Just get some decent people to be mods next time, or allow the collaborators to moderate the comment section of the work they made at least, if they didn’t have that ability. I’ve certainly followed people on youtube who left for Twitch because they felt powerless to do anything about jerks in the youtube comment section with the tools they were given.

    It’s a shame this happened, and definitely that it happened this way. Giant Bomb split up because of deaths and family and still collaborate cross-country between two studios now, although two people left for Waypoint. Spoiler Warning split up over a moderation policy and won’t be seeing the primary host in content anymore. What a bummer.

    • Scampi says:

      Starting with people calling Mumbles a textbook sadist during the SOMA season that wasn’t always the case anymore, but I was still surprised when she left for youtube.

      No offense meant towards Mumbles, but personally I wonder if that was only under the impression of SOMA. Mumbles has for a long time been the one on SW to advertise taking the meanest and most sadist way of action possible. I decided to take it as kind of a chosen online-persona, as many online personalities tend to cultivate, but I’m not actually surprised by people calling her a sadist. It comes with the way she appeared to behave, though it may be actually totally undeserved.

      All because of a few unpunished jerks in the comment section that made the hosts I like not feel as safe as me, a random commenter?

      Excuse me, but this is ridiculous. I don’t believe even for one second that Chris or Josh felt honestly “not safe” and “left” due to some kind of imminent threat.
      Also, despite believing (and having stated in another comment) that the discussion in question might have been stopped due to being too political (in a way), I would NOT ascribe this to either commenter in question being “an unpunished jerk”. Both discussed a point of view both of which I could sympathize with and understand perfectly. In theory, taking one side on a moral issue does NOT necessarily mean the other side is evil, just that one believes the side chosen has better arguments, and I for one choose to believe the side I did NOT agree with just presented an argument that should have been considered as an alternative perspective, but who am I to push this view of mine upon you, right?
      I can see their justification for deciding to quit their collaboration, even if I don’t think it’s an especially good one.

      Just get some decent people to be mods next time, or allow the collaborators to moderate the comment section of the work they made at least

      Actually, THIS is exactly one of the worst ideas you could present. Again, of course, in my opinion.
      Especially the idea of allowing the collaborators to be mods.
      The discussion might not have taken place due to say, Chris stepping in deleting the initial comment in question and suppressing any discussion on the topic. But this way you may foster spite, mistrust and resentment towards the collaborators, which may result in more hostilities towards them in the first place, increasing the need for moderation again. It might be different for this board, but would you take it on blind faith, especially considering Chris is right now SPECIFICALLY “leaving” over not being able to determine which opinions should be allowed? (Sorry for any offense, but that one was on himself)
      Choosing moderators also requires them to be reasonable people, what rarely is the case once you get to topics that are political or personal. The collaborator who takes part in a discussion himself being able to decide which ideas are a good idea to present (what apparently would have been the issue here) is definitely not a good idea. You don’t choose a moderator who wants to push a side of a discussion. If you want to mod something like this, you need not mod only the guy who brought up the topic, you also need to mod the other side who keeps the argument running. Who, in the current case, would hypothetically have been the mod himself.

      Spoiler Warning split up over a moderation policy

      Well, yes. And the pettiness of deciding to quit cooperation with a long term colleague and, I assume after the time spent, friend, over his policy of running the comment section on his personal website should be an indicator of how good a justification can actually be presented.
      I just don’t see how the current case would have been avoided if Shamus’ moderation policy had been any different. Maybe Shamus should have stepped in earlier, but Chris might as well have decided to calm down the discussion by himself, à la “You stated an opinion, I believe you’re wrong. I state a counterclaim, but let’s rest the topic lest it may become personal.”
      He did not, so I’m not ready to claim he’s the victim of another commenter here.

      • Christopher says:

        You do you. Personally I think a split that happened over moderation policy probably wouldn’t have happened if the moderation policy was different. It’s Shamus’ site, but it hasn’t been just Shamus for as long as I’ve been here. Giving the people involved a say in how the moderation is handled might not result in a The Escapist style exodus of the people behind the content on the site. I don’t give a crap about the comment section compared to people who actually make let’s plays for me to watch, and I fail to see how strangling that discussion would have made for a worse comment section.

        Like thanks guys, we’re down here talking about cool music in games and you’re up there talking about how okay it is to hit or not hit your step-daughter. Real surprise that Chris didn’t just end that one with “let’s agree to disagree”.

        • Scampi says:

          Thanks for answering, first. I generally don’t care especially much about comment sections, either, as most sections diminish the experience due to an immense audience overload, resulting in a lot of white noise and unenjoyable comments. This is actually one of the very few comment sections I frequently(?) take part in.
          Second: As I said before: I think it would have been totally fine and maybe even a good move by Shamus to step in and say: “This is getting political/personal w/e, let’s not continue this thread.”
          It would have been equally fine for Chris to do the exact same thing, even without the authority of deleting comments.
          What instead happened was Chris taking up the discussion and inserting himself into it. For the record: I did not post on the entire thread at all.
          Third: Personally I think it’s totally fine for both Chris and DL to lead a discussion on the topic, as I found both points of view understandable. I also don’t have any issue with Chris not “agreeing to disagree” on the issue. My issue is with the hypocrisy of taking up the discussion, taking part in it, from my perspective obviously misunderstanding the other person and then complaining about the discussion not being prevented in the first place due to the other person’s horrible opinions, which only appear so due to what I assume to be a misunderstanding.
          Finally: At no point during the discussion did DL claim that it’s “okay” to hit one’s stepchild, only that it is “understandable”, if you get what I want to say. Shamus clarified that he also thinks this arose mostly from a semantic misunderstanding of the word “justified” (or was it justification?). I believe so, too, and I don’t feel guilty for at least being understanding of a viewpoint that I personally don’t espouse.

          Just to have quoted DL himself from below:

          I admit,I used a poor choice of words when I said “justifiable”.But I never intended it to be interpreted as “morally justifiable”.Maybe “understandable” wouldve been a better term?I have no idea.Its too late to ponder that now.

          Edit: I’ll at this point take my own advice and quit posting on this topic. You can answer any way you wish. I would prefer not to take this any further from here. Thanks for understanding.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      Starting with people calling Mumbles a textbook sadist during the SOMA season

      One person said “taking pleasure in listening to someone scream in pain… is the textbook definition of sadistic”.

      It is a constant source of frustration to me that people keep misrembering or misrepresenting the details of that situation. We’re never going to be able to have a productive discussion if we can’t get easily verifiable facts right.

      • Christopher says:

        Fine, my bad. It was evidently enough, and there were other cases of both harassment and psychoanalyzing. One person wrote like a full article about her in the comments.

        These comment sections are never as full of outright garbage as what you can get in a huge Twitch stream, but if they are bad enough to make three contributors leave then they are more than bad enough. They have in fact done harm. The comment section can’t suss this out amongst ourselves and make it a better environment, because the moderation policy is based on leaving it to Shamus to ban the bad apples and otherwise leave it mostly alone.

  31. Nonesuch says:

    0/10 would rather there not be a comments section.

  32. Leviathan902 says:

    I’ve been reading this site almost daily since probably 2007 and I have to say I am extremely disappointed by this.

    Chris and Shamus are probably my two favorite game critics in the industry and the main reason I listen to the diecast every week.

    That said, apparently 2-3 hosts have left over the comment section, which I find absurd. I love Chris, and I liked Josh and Mumbles, but I don’t understand how an argument with a stranger on the internet ends a fruitful collaboration between 2 (3, 4?) people and potentially damages a friendship and honestly I can’t support the position of Josh (and possibly Chris?) here at all. So you find something someone said in a comment section repugnant, welcome to the internet. Why do you feel the need to have someone come in and remove all opinions you find distasteful? I read the thread, there were no personal attacks, it was just 2 people talking past each other. Happens all the time

    At the end of the day, if you’re internalizing internet arguments, that’s on you, not the person who runs the website. Who do you blame next? Your ISP for providing you the internet connection that allows you to argue with people on it?

    • Echo Tango says:

      I too, would have liked to have the crew-members just stop reading the comments, if they found them offensive. The perspective I take is that, like it or not, the crew is somewhat famous. Famousness brings with it adoring fans, and also people who hate you.* It’s best to interact with the people who you like, and just ignore the rest. :)

      * For example, all movie stars have to learn to deal with loyal fans and rabid haters. Or is it rabid fans and loyal haters? :P

      • Trix2000 says:

        It’s harder to ignore comments when they are posted under/about content you are a part of. Could you really ignore what people might be saying about you and your work, if it was posted?

        Maybe, but a lot of people probably wouldn’t. It’s really difficult not to get involved when a topic of conversation involves yourself in some form, and one’s work often gets bundled in with that. Doubly so if it’s something that you disagree with.

        It’s easy to say “eh, it’s the internet, famous people get crap all the time” or “just don’t pay attention to the noise”, but it’s another thing entirely to be in the middle of that situation. Most of us just don’t have that perspective, so I’d be hesitant to make assumptions.

        • Echo Tango says:

          I’m not assuming that anyone has that perspective; I’m hoping that they have it, or that they develop it. “I too, would have liked” was supposed to convey that it’s a philosphy I aspire to, and also want other people to gain. Perhaps that was not clear enough word choice.

          As for being able to walk away from, or ignore the comment section – yes, I can do this (or at least try to). I had to do it recently (-ish) when I got into a non-debate with somebody in the comments. I was trying to defend my viewpoint, but failing badly, because it came across like a completely different viewpoint.* To wit, we were, as others so aptly put it, “arguing past each other”. I always try to keep an open mind, improve myself, and perhaps most importantly, lead by example. I would not want to demand something of someone, which I were unwilling or unable to do myself. :)

          * The details aren’t important, but the gist was that I was arguing to not use certain small/short phrases/word-choices in a very strict way, because those qualities make them ambiguous. It came across however, as “Your choice of Short Phrase X is wrong, I think you should use Short Phrase Y.”

  33. Turambar29 says:

    As a long time reader, I’m sorry for the difficulty of this for you, Shamus. At the same time, I genuinely appreciate your approach to civility – allowing for a breadth of views and expression while keeping the main thing the main thing. It’s one reason why I keep following your posts (and keep Ad Blocker off on your site, for what good that my do), and even read the comments from time to time :)

  34. Darren says:

    Fascinating. Gives credence to my growing opinion that unfettered free speech on the internet mostly just serves to draw divisive people who wouldn’t be tolerated in other settings. It’s easy to say “ignore comments you don’t like,” but when the most engaged viewers of your work set out to insult you or share opinions you view as monstrous…well, would you spend time with people like that in real life? Why should you have to stand and take it in your online work? In the real world we are bound by various rules of etiquette, whether that’s at home, in public, or at the office, and there are usually arbiters–like an HR department–that can step in to resolve disputes. But on the internet, the only recourse is either disengagement or a merciless cultivation of unacceptable comments.

    I understand your principle, Shamus, but I hope you understand that upholding it may well continue to isolate you from people you want to work with.

    • Echo Tango says:

      I disagree with your implication that Shamus has made a forum for unfettered speech. In fact, he has rules that we all must follow. Just because the rules happen to be not strict enough for your tastes does not mean that there are no rules. It’s a fine line that Shamus walks, and I do not envy his duties.

  35. Nathan says:

    I’m sad to hear this, but I have a lot of respect for your decision. Everyone has principles when it’s convenient, but it’s not easy to stick to them at times like this. People who value free expression will always have to defend jackasses.

  36. Simon Boots says:

    This makes me sad. I don’t have anything else to add.

  37. Vermander says:

    In my experience this site has one of the most polite, reasonable, and friendly comments sections I’ve encountered anywhere on the internet. In the last few years I’ve gradually stopped visiting many of my regular internet hangouts as they’ve gotten dragged into the “culture wars” and become filled with rambling hyperbolic articles and aggressive, angry commentators (and moderators) waging verbal warfare on each other. This is one of the few remaining places where I actually still enjoy sharing my opinions and hearing other people’s.

    On the other hand, I’ll confess that I rarely listen to the podcasts or watch the videos. I’m mainly here for the long-form articles (and the comments section).

    • Echo Tango says:

      After reading your thoughts and others, I get the feeling that there may have been, broadly speaking, two sets of people who came to the site. Those who wanted the videos / contributions from Chris, Josh, etc, and those who came for Shamus / long-form work. The differences in content-type could be more easily ignored by people who wanted the different type of content, but I think there was also a difference of opinion in what etiquette to follow / where to draw the line in our discourse. That is unfortunately, very difficult to reconcile or deal with. The only solution I can think of, that could possibly have kept the crew working together, would be to have different clearly-delineated sub-sections of the site/forums, or different websites altogether. To make a broad simile, it’s like TV or movies – we’ve got PG-13, R, and X-rated things. As long as they’re clearly delineated, the people watching can choose what they’re comfortable with*, and the actors can do whichever roles they themselves are comfortable with.

      * I’m assuming adults here. Children need to be supervised.

      • Michael says:

        I don’t think its that easy to delineate here; just as a personal example i fall under the “those who came for Shamus / long-form work.” side of things, but i also generally agree more with the Josh/Chris/etc PoV on moderation. …Of course, i also generally don’t follow the comments at all, since i have a couple forums that i usually prefer to go to for my debate needs, while this site fills my need for nerdy analysis of sites or discussion of programming :-P

  38. Moonlup says:

    Josh will be missed. I went back and read the thread in question (I don’t usually read comments) and I’m disappointed, in general, that even civilized discussion can cause people to leave. Though it is the internet; if you’re not happy here there are plenty of other places to go.

    I wish Josh all the best and I’ll continue to see him on Spoiler Warning.

  39. Canthros says:

    Well, that’s unfortunate. I haven’t kept up with Spoiler Warning (I don’t watch Let’s Play videos, generally, though I’ve enjoyed being able to throw popcorn at the screen during a few of the livestreams), but will definitely miss Josh And Chris on the Diecast.

    I don’t hang out in the comments here, much, but I do appreciate that the moderation has been more about behavior than worldview. I didn’t see anything in the other discussion that looked particularly troubling, but I’m hardly familiar with the goings on.

    I hope any ill feelings over this are something you’ll all be able to work out, personally, even if it means you can’t work together, professionally, and I’m sorry that, whatever the disagreement is, this is what it’s come to.

    • Kazork says:

      You say what i wanted to say but then in much better english

      • Canthros says:

        That’s flattering, but I feel like I should take some pains to be clear that I’m not endorsing anything in the other discussion. I just am not familiar enough with the context to have much of an opinion (and, as a result, mostly refuse to have one). At a very quick glance, it doesn’t look beyond the pale, but I’ve only glanced at it, and don’t have any of the supporting context.

  40. Destrustor says:

    Aw man.

    I hate seeing fun groups of nice people break apart like that…

    Why’s everybody gotta be angry all the time?

    For the record, like every other times I’ve seen something like that happen, a part of me would like to get an “official” statement from all involved, if only to hear things straight from the source.

  41. Trym V. O. Tegler says:

    Sad to see this happening over something I personally consider to be a non-issue, chat moderation. Although I do favor the TwentySided path of moderate moderation over most. In the end, though what matters is that the split happened, not the hows or whys.

    It’s going to be weird listening to the Diecast without Chris and Josh, and watching Spoiler Warning without Shamus.
    I feel that at least initially, both shows are going to be worse off without one or several of the “oldtimers” I have become so accustomed to over the years.

    Truly the end of an era.

  42. Infinitron says:

    So just like that, a years-long partnership falls apart because of some edgelord’s interpretation of a 2deep4you interactive movie?

    Man, you guys don’t fuck around.

    • vermen says:

      we shouldn’t give too much importance to a single comment, it was the accumulation of lots of similar situations like this one, this is just conflicting opinions over how a comment section should be run and I think both shamus and josh have their justifications to do whatever they want

    • sheer_falacy says:

      That’s impressively dismissive of everything involved. Wow.

    • Leocruta says:

      I think we’ve been spoiled by the codex, where you don’t last long if you don’t have a tough skin, so this seems like an overreaction. It is possible though, that resentment can build up over time eventually culminating in a break like this. From what I recall, something similar happened with Bubbles (though you’d know more about that than I).

  43. Da Mage says:

    I can’t help but think this will be bad for spoiler warning as well, losing yet another frequent member and losing the weekly promotion that it got on this site. I only watched the occasional series, so I doubt I’ll be checking in every week to see what happening and eventually I’ll forget about it like many other youtube series I used to watch.

    Similarly with the diecast, is it really still the diecast if Josh, Chris and Mumbles are now gone from it, seems like it’s going to have to evolve now too with new people coming on.

    Bit of a bummer, I hope at least sometime in the future you guys will patch up your friendship, even if you don’t collaborate again.

  44. John says:

    Oh, that’s too bad. I haven’t followed this season of Spoiler Warning because I’m just not that interested in Life is Strange. Consequently, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. (And I think I can live with that.) But Chris and Josh have my sympathy. If doing something makes you unhappy and that something isn’t, say, the means by which you put food on the table then you should probably stop doing it. Good luck to everybody, and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.

  45. vermen says:

    now we need to form a long, incoherent and insulting debate over which side is frodo/sam and which side is aragorn/legolas/gimli

    • Warbright says:

      Well, clearly we all are hobbits and that makes Shamus Frodo/Sam. I just assumed this went without saying and stood without any argument to back it! 😉

      I don’t comment often, but LOTR stuff brings me out.

  46. Viktor says:

    I’m shocked by all the folks who say they don’t see why Josh/Chris are leaving. What the recent SW comment section showed is that it’s okay to advocate in favor of physical and emotional abuse on here as long as you remain polite about it. Some people don’t want to be associated with that, and I find that a completely reasonable reaction to have. Tone of voice doesn’t determine if something is harmful, whether it hurts people does.

    • Merlin says:

      Aye. If you show someone – a friend, a family member, a colleague, an employer, whatever – the site, the community is as much a part of the final visible product as the articles and videos. And when the comments reflect an attitude of “You can debate the minutiae of beating children, just make sure you don’t swear while you’re doing it”, I can absolutely understand why someone would want to stop being affiliated with it.

      And on that note, I’m peacing out as well. I’m grateful to have found Chris through this site, but I’m just done.

    • Shamus says:

      This is exactly how Josh saw it. But DL explicitly said physical abuse was a bad thing and you shouldn’t do it. After that point I saw the rest of the exchange as talking about character motivations. Other people saw DL defending David’s motivations, and took that as approval of his actions. Different people walked away from that debate with COMPLETELY different ideas of what they were arguing about and what DL was saying, which is probably why there was so much confusion and anger. Josh saw it as me letting a guy approve of domestic abuse, and I saw it as an analysis of why David wasn’t the cartoon villain everyone took him for.

      EDIT: I’m willing to bet an internet-cookie the cause of the confusion is when DL used the word “justified”. Some people took this to mean “this would be a justified action in the real world” and others (like me) took it to mean, “The story has justified why David’s character would behave this way.” That’s a pretty big difference, and the ambiguity is probably why some people saw it as an argument over characters and others as an argument advocating domestic violence.

      • Daimbert says:

        I’d agree with that, although not that that word had more of an impact. I’ve seen a lot of debates on moral issues where positing external causes — like PTSD would be in this case — is seen as impacting the moral status of the action, so that we argue that the action can’t be considered morally wrong because of it. It’s a stance I hate, because for me in those situations I tend to consider it a case of “I can understand why they failed there, but it was a moral failing nonetheless”. I think DL was definitely more on that angle, and so working against the idea that David was just a bad person and an abuser, but in the context of arguments in similar circumstances it came across as a “What David did was OK!”.

      • Viktor says:

        “Justified” was only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe it’s because I know several abuse survivors, but a lot of DL’s stuff in that thread sounded exactly the same as how abusers talk. “Chloe deserves it”, “It’s natural that he’s angry”, “everyone does it”, etc. Someone who’s abusive would read that thread and feel vindicated, someone who’s being abused would read it and assume that their situation is normal. That’s…really not a good thing.

        Granted, I should have just done what someone else did, post a message of support for people going through abuse, a link to resources to help them, and maybe told DL to look up warning signs and think about his life. Live and learn, I suppose.

        • Mistwraithe says:

          You make a fair point about abusive people justifying their actions using similar language to some of DL’s comments.

          But I also found some of DL’s points interesting.

          Which is entirely the point – the discussion had lots of different viewpoints and was actually quite thought provoking to read, albeit perhaps uncomfortable for some too. Shutting it down would have prevented this discussion and would have prevented some thought provoking counter comments to DL.

          I find it important to at least occasionally read things which challenge me and make me think. Too often these days it seems that people are migrating to like-minded communities where they only read/hear things which reinforce their existing world view. It strikes me that a scarily large portion of the US population is moving that way with the news channels themselves now openly biased – you can have your news left wing, right wing, whichever wing you want, don’t bother yourself with the effort of impartiality and open debate!

          Not that I’m accusing you of this at all, you clearly read DL’s comments, disagreed and debated them in an effective and interesting manner, good on you! But I am saying that I don’t want Shamus to start moderating comments more heavily.

        • Wolf says:

          The entire discussion sphere around all forms of abuse has been poisoned by abusers and abuse apologists explaining away systemic abuse as momentary overreaction or justified counteraction.
          Given that kind of double-talk as a constant backdrop for any discussion on the subject I can understand anyone who got the feeling some very dark implications were brewing right under the surface of DLs comments.
          Toms comment directing people suffering under abuse to seek help should have been the cold shower that snapped people out of the technicalities of arguing over character intent and word use.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        and I saw it as an analysis of why David wasn’t the cartoon villain everyone took him for

        Yes,thats exactly what I was going for.At least I feel better that many people understood my intended meaning.

        • stratigo says:

          As the message above you notes, abuse isn’t something that occurs in isolation. There is pretty much no one who will publicly say “Yeah abuse is cool” but there are plenty of people who think that and will indicate their support for abuse, particularly by trying to equivocate the motivations of the abuser. Which people can read your comments and easily interpret as what you are doing, even if that was not your intention.

          It is a touchy subject because abuse is not only real, it is relatively common and a lot of people have, in their lives, suffered some kind of abuse. Shamus’ own biography indicates places where he was abused by care givers.

        • Jamey says:

          I don’t often read the comments, and actually am quite a bit behind, but for what it’s worth Damien I also understood what you meant, although I do think it was a bit ambiguous. Therein lies the problem. I think a person who (Like myself, and I presume Shamus) generally gives people the benefit of the doubt, and assume people aren’t trying to be jerks/advocate terrible things until proven otherwise would perhaps assume that you weren’t advocating abuse, whereas a more cynical type of person might assume the worst. Brains can be funny that way.

          I’ve been here for a long long time, and check the site literally every weekday. I skip the comments as often as not, or skim them. I’ve posted… maybe 10 times? I wonder if there’s a way to look that up? Sorry digressing. Anyway, this is definitely sad, but I came here for Shamus and I’ll still be here as long as he’s got the door open. We’re very close in age/disposition/skillset/allergy/asthma the list goes on, and I find reading his writing very comfortable.

          Damien: Keep bringing your insight, but hopefully you get better at word choice (understandable vs. justifiable and all) in the future.

          Shamus: Your house, your rules. I also value free speech so I do happen to agree with you, but I like to think I’d be big enough to stick around if I didn’t.

      • kanodin says:

        This is simply not true. He explicitly said hitting someone once is not abuse, and people should not go to jail for it. http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=38180#comment-1102489

        That is not an anodyne discussion about character motivations. That is saying that assault is not a crime and is not abuse. I honestly do not see how you can read that any other way.

        This keeps happening, someone posts something inflammatory and you jump in to say “no guys please understand he wasn’t saying cunt in a way that’s disrespectful to women please calm down.” I agree with merlin above, your stated policy might not be that people can discuss any horrifying topic they want as long as they’re polite, but as long as it keeps happening and you keep bringing the hammer down only when others respond with anger it will be your policy in fact. In a normal thread here after posting all that I would fully expect someone to come up and explain why what he said isn’t really defending assault and is no big deal, it keeps happening.

        Finally I gotta say I find the people talking about encouraging a free environment and being against censorship ridiculous. You censor threads constantly, you censored one here because it got too explicitly political. I like the ideal of your moderating policy, but I always thought the purpose was to cut off commentary before it went too far, before it started making people explosively angry. Yet here we have a situation where a commenter made people angry or disturbed enough to quit collaborating with you, but because he’s polite about it and you can see a benign interpretation that makes it ok? What?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          That is saying that assault is not a crime and is not abuse.

          Its explicitly not that.I was discussing david and chloe,not EVERY person that has EVER hit ANY person.

          • Alex Broadhead says:

            And he is not physically abusive,he slapped her once.That is not a good thing,but it most definitely is not abuse,let alone something a person should be arrested for.

            This is explicitly saying this assault (by David on Chloe) is not abuse or a crime.

            True, it is not saying that _all_ assault is not abuse or a crime, but it is, explicitly saying that _some_ assault is not abuse or a crime, which is a difficult position to defend, and undermines the idea that _all_ assault is abuse. You may have meant to imply something different, but I don’t think it comes through what you wrote.

            This is also where the clear misunderstanding around the use of the word ‘justified’ breaks down. If you don’t consider David’s actions to be abusive, it doesn’t matter in what sense ‘justified’ is being used. Note also that this does not appear to be a ‘Devil’s Advocate’ argument – just a disagreement about what constitutes abuse.

        • Shamus says:

          “but because he’s polite about it and you can see a benign interpretation that makes it ok?”

          That’s the only interpretation I saw at first. The other comment you cited came later, and I saw it through that initial lens of trying to see the world through David’s eyes. I disagreed with it and didn’t think it made a lot of sense based on what I knew of the events in the game (remember I haven’t seen the section of the game in question) but I thought it was part of his Devil’s Advocate argument. Maybe I was wrong, but that’s how I saw it.

          And like I said in the post above, I should have halted that thread much sooner.

          • Shamus says:

            Krellen just made an important point: DL is not American and English is not his first language. Sometimes I give him latitude because I assume we’re having a communication breakdown. (Like the word “justified”.) Maybe that’s not reasonable. Certainly not everyone ELSE in the thread will know this. The blog is in English, and maybe I shouldn’t give leeway to people just because they struggle with language. Particularly when they’re often jumping into controversial topics. I don’t know. I never thought about it until now.

            Additional context: DL has been around since the dawn of the site. He’s actually made more comments here than ME. There have been times where he said something confusing, outrageous, or odd, but then it all made more sense after some clarification. So I had an expectation that this would get sorted out. Of course the other people in the thread don’t have that expectation and (quite reasonably) take things at face value.

            Again, I’m as prone to bias as anyone.

        • Abnaxis says:

          Here’s the thing: Let’s say DL actually was espousing a rationalization for abusers. Let’s say s/he or someone else came into the thread and said Chloe was totally asking for David to hit her, and she should have expected it for the way she was acting.

          The people thinking those things? They aren’t alone. I don’t think I need to tell you that there are hundreds of millions of people–both abusers and victims as well as bystanders–who think the exact same thing.

          And you know what? Those people aren’t stupid. They’re wrong but their opinion was formed on the basis of what they’ve seen and what they’ve experienced. You can ban them, shout them down, ostracize them all to your heart’s content, but ultimately there are enough people like them that the other side doen’t have to give two shits about what you think of them.

          The best thing to do, for everyone involved, is to stop trying to shut down discourse on these topics. Stop banning anyone who comes onto the internet with a rationalization for abuse, and stop flaming them. Instead, be polite and talk through with them–rationally–why they’re wrong. When you ban and when you flame, all you wind up doing is convincing the opposing side–both the people you’re talking to and the droves of people silently reading the argument as they disagree with you–that they’re right. In essence, what you’ve done is driven people who are willing to rationalize abuse further into that camp–and for all you know, one of those people was an abuse victim who you just made feel unwelcome in your forum.

          The biggest reason why I participate in the community here is because even though I disagree with Shamus and with everyone else–and believe me, Shamus and I are polar opposites in many respects–I know that when I come in here and argue my position, it will largely be civil. That’s WHAT WE NEED to make things better in this world–to actually bring all the stupid things we disagree into the light and have a respectful debate about it.

          And for Pete’s sake, it is NOT AND ENDORSEMENT to allow the debate to happen without devolving it into a flame war.

      • Kronopath says:

        One of the best strategies I’ve seen Shamus do is when, instead of swinging the banhammer hard and fast, he instead puts his dad pants on, comes in as a neutral third party and says, “You guys are getting really heated about this and are talking past each other. Things are getting ugly and this isn’t being constructive.” Usually that comes along with closing the thread.

        But in cases where Shamus doesn’t feel like it’s appropriate to close the thread, there’s something else that can be done: wade in and clarify the discussion to try to de-escalate things. Come in and say, “Look, you guys are talking past each other. This is what I think each of you are trying to say, this is how I think it’s coming across to the other person, and this is why each of you is getting so angry. This discussion is quickly going to uncivil places and if it’s going to continue I’d like it to do better,” with the implied intent that the thread will be locked if the flame war doesn’t cool down.

        In short, this would mean being a mediator, in cases where being a moderator is too strict. He already does this occasionally, but I would double down on it and make it more explicit.

        Granted, the downside is that this is a lot of work, and takes more emotional effort on Shamus’s part, particularly if heated threads start cropping up more often. But I think this would be helpful even (maybe especially!) when one of the hosts is involved with the discussion, even if it comes across as a little condescending.

        Of course, all this ends up being hindsight at best now, and it won’t fix what’s already broken. To all the hosts that have left recently: I’ll miss seeing you here. This site had acquired a good mix of personalities over the years, and it’s sad to see so many move on.

      • Tom says:

        The focus on the number of times he hits her, and the minutiae of what type of surveillance is ok and what isn’t was just too much, as were the attacks on the droves of people engaging specifically because it was such a bad look to be saying those things.

        I have professional experience working with abuse victims and this sort of misinformation and justification is intolerable. The exchange is comparable to someone excusing a rape on the basis that it isn’t- as Whoopi Goldberg put it- “rape rape”. These viewpoints cannot be allowed to stand as if they’re “legitimate debate”, one might as well host holocaust denial ignoring the fact that it completely de-legitimises the victim in the so-called debate, stripping them of their humanity before they even have a chance to engage.

        I’m extremely disappointed to see people treating moderating this sort of thing as “pushing an agenda on people”, as if refusing to moderate it-in an explicitly moderated setting- somehow isn’t. Moderation and the curation of a community is an inherently ideologial act, and pretending that any previous moderative act was done according to the ethical calculus 9000 and therefore not a product of human values is pathetic and incredibly intellectually dishonest.

        I don’t want to leave, or to see anyone else leave, but the fact that the decision has been made tells us a lot about the ideologies at work (and yes- they are being “pushed” onto people because that is what human interaction consists of). My first assumption when I read that exchange, and made the very rare decision to engage, was that Shamus was asleep or not around, and that the damage simply needed to be controlled in the short term. Seeing that this isn’t the case is deeply, deeply disappointing.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          as were the attacks on the droves of people engaging specifically because it was such a bad look to be saying those things.

          Im sorry,what?You say how misinformation and justification are intolerable in the same post in which you deliberately misinform that it was somehow me who did the attacks?Not the person who called me despicable and creepy simply because I disagreed with him,not the person who jumped in simply to call me morally repugnant jerkass who should die alone,no those are 100% a ok in your mind.Nah,it was me trying constantly to tell the other person to calm down and understand what Im saying instead of appealing to emotion that was the attack.

          I agree,deeply disappointing.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          These viewpoints cannot be allowed to stand as if they’re “legitimate debate”

          As soon as you say this then you’re no longer involved in legitimate debate. Legitimate debate and ultimatums about what viewpoints can be expressed are mutually exclusive. You’re making the decision to walk away from the table at that point to engage in one-sided proselytizing.

      • jawlz says:

        I read the thread the same way you did Shamus. Though I will admit that I generally try to be generous in my interpretations of what others write and say, and therefore can be slower to respond to truly offensive things. On the whole I think a default of generous interpretations is more helpful and condusive to good discussions, though.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I specifically wrote this:

      Never said that its right(in fact I specifically said that its wrong)

      And this:

      its wrong not only morally because she is a victim of a different crime,but also legally

      I admit,I used a poor choice of words when I said “justifiable”.But I never intended it to be interpreted as “morally justifiable”.Maybe “understandable” wouldve been a better term?I have no idea.Its too late to ponder that now.

    • swimom says:

      I agree 100%, I would’ve left too. I usually don’t comment much on this site and shit like this makes me think that’s a good policy. Doesn’t exactly make you want to join the conversation.

    • krellen says:

      I’d just like to take one second to remind people (or inform people that don’t know) that Damien Lucifer is not American; English is not his first language. This is true of many commenters here.

      This may be as much about translation error as anything else.

      • Scampi says:

        Well, thanks for telling.
        I was wondering about just that a few minutes ago.
        There are just too many potential pitfalls to undermine communication on those matters. Language, legal systems and definitions, cultural norms etc.
        One might misinterpret a word in translation, use it in another definition, have a different understanding due to common usage etc.
        All of those happen regularly and I think nobody is immune to them, not even native speakers.
        Has anyone ever taken part in translation retranslation experiments? There’s some fun hidden…

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Experiments?You mean those arent done just for laughs?

          • Scampi says:

            Nope. A professor at our university regularly makes such experiments to be able of making international opinion polls. He’s been in the business for decades and has not found a way to reliably translate his polls into other languages without incidentally changing the meaning in the process.
            Lately, he often hands short polls to multilingual students who then are asked to translate them into their second language. A few months later, he hands them their own translated versions and asks them to translate them back to the original language.
            Most polls come back with at least slight changes in phrasing that allow for different interpretations, some return with entirely different meanings for a majority of items.
            Last year I saw one where an item hat suddenly taken the opposite meaning.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Thats fascinating.Are any of those available online?

              • Scampi says:

                I’ll see if I can get my hands on some. I’m not sure I kept the ones I got last year.
                Wait…would it even be of any use to you?

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Thanks.At least something good could happen as a result of this mess.

                  • Scampi says:

                    Wait…how am I supposed to send them to you, anyway? Can Shamus send you my mail adress or sth? I would not like to post it to a public board.
                    And how good is your German? You might need it to understand how the changes come about.;)

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      The twenty sided forum has private messaging.Though if its scans,you can post them on imgur for everyone to see.

                      Im a bit rusty in german,but I know enough to get context from regular speech.Technical stuff would give me trouble.

      • Dannu says:

        A wise man might suggest that commenting on a topic that is both extremely complex and incredibly delicate and sensitive when your grasp of the language isn’t up to the task is somewhere between foolhardy and reckless. When putting forward a very controversial opinion on that sort of topic, precise and exact language isn’t just important but damn well almost necessary.

        English is my second language too. Sometimes, it’s best to abstain rather than to make a mess of your own position.

    • Tse says:

      I respectfully disagree with you. DL never advocated anything of the sort. This looks like a huge overreaction. A flawed character who tries to do right by his family and fails has a fit of rage. Yes, he was in the wrong and yes, he was way over the line.
      He is also deeper than a cartoon cutout and analyzing him is rather interesting.

    • Ivellius says:

      I’m really saddened to see people advocating for emotional abuse against a psychologically troubled individual just because it’s a personal, if estranged, friend doing it.

      • mechaninja says:

        I’m super confused by this comment, particularly coming at the end of this thread as it does.

        DL tried to analyze a literal cartoon character in the context of the world in which he exists and the actions that he took.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I think Ivellius is trying to spin things around by pointing out how chloe is treating max.Something that no one has mentioned so far,even though it too portrays….a weird dynamic.

        • Ivellius says:

          The initial comment in this chain is equating empathy with David as justifying (physical and emotional) abuse. If we are assuming consistency, empathy with Chloe is justifying emotional abuse, which she layers on…well, actually, pretty much everyone around her. As Campster noted in one of his comments, the game does frame this differently, but understanding it doesn’t make it okay (as just about everyone, including Damien Lucifer, has been saying).

          It’s understandable why she does it, sure, but she’s 19, legally an adult, and I think her character arc over the game indicates that she does know better.

  47. Wilcroft says:

    I guess we won’t ever see the end of Shogun 2 now….

    :( :(

  48. Taellosse says:

    Well. That sucks. For me, this comes completely out of left field, because I haven’t been reading the Spoiler Warning comments lately – I haven’t gotten around to playing Life is Strange, though I own it, so I’ve been skipping this season (I only watch SW when it’s a game I’ve already played myself – if it’s one I haven’t, I can’t pay attention to both the game and the cast crosstalk at the same time, and get lost with both).

    Going back and reading at least snatches of the thread that sparked this exodus…I can see where Josh and Chris are coming from. I think I get what Damien Lucifer was trying to say as well, though I think he got overly defensive of his position and aggressive in his language (and as a result crossed the line from trying to empathize with a fictional character’s poor choices into borderline-condoning violence and spying). I can also see why Shamus would be reluctant to moderate away a debate like that – it’s definitely an edge case I’d feel conflicted about in his place.

    Sucks all around. I’ve enjoyed the interplay of all your points of view on SW when I watch it, and the Diecast (which I do listen to regularly). Mumbles’ departure made me sad, too, though I can’t fault her for it. Gah.

  49. Ivellius says:

    I’ll chime in with everyone else wondering who’s getting custody of Rutskarn. (Okay, again, levity to ease the sadness.)

    More seriously, while this is really disappointing to see, I’m proud of you, Shamus, for your moderation policy. Maybe this won’t be quite as permanent as it appears right now; I’ll definitely miss Josh (and Chris, too, if he leaves), but I’ve been around since long before there was a Spoiler Warning.

    Josh, I guess we’ll never see the end of your Shogun playthrough.

    Chris, you have good content and I’ll always wish you talked more.

    • Rutskarn says:

      As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m sticking with Josh and Chris for Spoiler Warning. I don’t think I’ll appear on any podcasts or shows here, but I’m continuing to update my text LP series.

      • Phrozenflame500 says:

        That’s good to hear. Always a pleasure to read your stuff.

      • Ivellius says:

        While I appreciate the response, I was more just making a joke. (I don’t really feel like you should have answered everyone personally.)

        Your partial absence will be missed.

  50. Ilseroth says:

    As others have said, this is disappointing news; I’ll still be here, and I agree with you from an ethical standpoint. I just think it’s odd that people can be so heated from an internet argument. There were no insults or implications of moral capacity, simply an argument with two people arguing different views that were primarily divided on an understanding of the term “justified.”

    Obviously not going to get into that argument here, but it is damn shame that it ended an amazing team.

    Are you going to be doing any video content to make up for the sudden opening in the content schedule?

  51. Abnaxis says:

    Erm…

    To be clear, does that mean the Life is Strange episode 6 is the last SW to ever be posted here? Is the current season completely nixxed, or is it moving to YouTube to continue without you, or are you sticking it out for more episodes, or…?

  52. David says:

    Honestly, I think this will be good for Spoiler Warning, at least from a “what I wanted to see” perspective. The thing that originally drew me to SW was the Mumbles-Rutskarn dynamic, and I sort of put up with the grumpy old complain-man because of the grumpy old critic-man and the grumpy old troll-man.
    I sort of fell off the train around the Fallout 4 season, because I felt like I could predict exactly which of Shamus’ FO4 gripes he would dominate the conversation with at each point.

    Hopefully, Spoiler Warning will retain Ruskarn, and maybe Mumbles will be willing to come back now.

  53. anaphysik says:

    This is extremely upsetting :<

  54. The Stranger says:

    I rarely post comments, and neither Spoiler Warning nor Diecast are my cup of tea, but I wanted to add my thoughts in support of Shamus’ stance on moderation.

    Regardless of the particulars of the SW comments in question, I have issues with silencing anybody’s voice over the opinions they have (personal attacks on other people, sure). First because that requires the moderator to make a decision about the “right” opinion, and these things are inherently subjective. But also, banning people with unpopular opinions doesn’t help anything, except to make the people who are left feel vindicated. Engaging in civil debate with each other is the only thing that’s going to change anybody’s mind. Banning somebody over their opinion certainly isn’t going to encourage anybody (on either side) to consider different viewpoints and grow as a person. At worst, it feels like a judgment of the person; you’re effectively saying “you believe X, so you have nothing of value to contribute to this community.”

    Honestly, it terrifies me that we collectively have so little ability to say “I disagree with your opinions and/or how you live your life, but we can still be friends.” This is a problem that goes way beyond internet message boards, and Shamus’ moderation policy isn’t going to solve it, but I still appreciate the stance he’s taken.

  55. Duffy says:

    Shamus’ moderation stance is too integral to the quality of the site’s comments and discussions which makes up enough of the content here that I would be disappointed if Shamus changed it now.

    Looking at the incident in question the only edits I would have suggested is clipping part of one of Chris’ comments that was condescending towards another poster, Josh’s useless expletive which was an implied condemnation, and the few people towards the end that just made personal attacks. The core conversation itself was mostly fine, albeit I agree somewhat uncomfortable depending on how you interpreted it, tho I think if you were uncomfortable with the conclusions you weren’t comprehending correctly it in the end.

    I applaud Shamus for sticking to what I think is an important principle regarding his site despite what it may have cost him.

    “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

  56. Catamaran says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this is happening. I’ve been watching ever since I came over from the Escapist (long before that site started to die and turn awful) and I’ve loved the way this blog grew and took on more and more creators.

    I’ve watched Spoiler Warning for years now, while working on my own projects, and more recently with my girlfriend. The crew has always felt so solid and great, and I’m sorry to lose Mumbles, and now the crew as a whole.

    I’ve always liked the community here but it sucks to lose so many of the contributors.

    I hope things work out for all you guys, and that both halves of the group can work with their new dynamics. Damn, I think I’ve had friend groups that hurt less when they split.

  57. AndrewCC says:

    Ridiculous. While I liked Josh and Chris, I’m disapointed they fell on the “censure free speech” side of the issue. I see this is as the most problematic issue that the english speaking western world is facing right now, from a cultural standpoint. But everyone has the right to chose their own internet echo-chamber, if any.
    *shaking my head*

  58. BenD says:

    I am sad that you can no longer work together this way. I hope y’all are still friends, or that you come to be when this fades.

    The end of an era indeed.

  59. Mike Andersen says:

    Much sympathy and good will to everyone involved in this, as this has to be the very opposite of easy. I’m very grateful to Josh, Chris and Mumbles for their presence on the Diecast, and I’m really going to miss Shamus on Spoiler Warning. Best of luck to everyone in their future endeavours.

  60. Leviathan902 says:

    I think at this point we can only hope that this was a simple misunderstanding and that over time cooler heads will prevail and we can continue on as normal.

    It seems short-sighted that such a great collaboration could be torpedoed because 2 other people had an argument on the internet about, essentially, the meaning of the word “justifiable”

  61. Agammamon says:

    Well, for what its worth, *I* like your moderation policies.

    ‘No politics’ is as it should be – except for the narrow slice where politics intersects gaming, we should be focused on gaming here, there are tons of other places to bash the outgroup dujour – but if it does come up you don’t freak out about it either. Just politely remind people to leave that stuff at the door.

    And, IMO, its worked pretty well with this community.

  62. skeeto says:

    One of my other favorite blogs is Slate Star Codex by Scott Alexander. He’s got a similar, relaxed moderation policy. Given that nearly all his articles are political in nature, it’s even more important over there. He’s got readers from all over the political spectrum, which makes his annual surveys pretty interesting. Occasionally he gets flak, particularly from the social justice crowd, for not being aggressive enough with his moderation. He generally doesn’t remove unpleasant arguments so long as they’re made in good faith.

    When the question comes up publicly over whether the moderation should change, there’s an interesting, common outcry:

    A heavily polarized country of three hundred million people, split pretty evenly into two sides and obsessed with politics, blessed with the strongest free speech laws in the world, and people are complaining that I can’t change my comment policy because this one small blog is the only place they know where they can debate people from the other side.

    There are few places on the internet where you can meaningfully engage with people that disagree with you. Everything is set up to counter it. Moderating certain viewpoints creates a bubble where you’re left with just the people who agree with you, which isn’t healthy. Scott himself benefits from a comments section that’s unafraid to challenge his writing. Occasionally a comment changes his mind on some topic, and he’ll add a note to his article about how he thinks a particular argument he made is weak, or that he doesn’t quite agree with his previous statement anymore.

    I’ve been reading Twenty Sided for 9 years now, and while I usually don’t pay too much attention to the comments, I appreciate the relaxed moderation policy, even if it has this cost of losing collaborators.

    • Ivellius says:

      Thank you so much for the link to Alexander’s post. I teach communication-related subjects, and this is something I didn’t realize I needed.

    • Distec says:

      I wrote a few paragraphs in response to this. It looked like they went through, but now they’re missing/deleted?

      I just wanted to note that the reason I enjoy SSC is the same reason I like TwentySided: Long-form essays that are actually thoughtful (more so than many other self-touted “intellectual” blogs/sites) along with a hefty comment section that lends itself more to reasoned, paragraphed responses than cheap sniping. Even though certain topics here are verboten, I’ve always felt that the few discussions I have seen verging into political territory have gone much better than what I commonly encounter elsewhere.

      I’m sad if this hasn’t worked for Shamus, and he is completely in his right to adjust his stance on moderation if he feels he has to. I feel bad for the contributors who are leaving and would obviously rather not see them go. But to be honest from my perspective, I have not seen anything I would consider “right out” of the range of respectability here. And I greatly appreciate Shamus’ rationale for moderating (or not moderating) the way he does.

      I feel like this “Free Speech vs Censorship” theme running through the comments is a bit more grandiose than this need to be, and Shamus has respectfully demurred from that; “this is the only way I can/know how to moderate” he modestly responds! But he also needs to give himself some credit as well. For some people, it takes a lot more will and resolve to remain hands-off on the comments section than to give in and go comment-pruning over things you might find discomforting.

  63. Phrozenflame500 says:

    I can get not wanting to be on the site if it doesn’t fit your moderation policies, but… cutting Shamus from the show entirely? Why not just move it exclusively to YouTube at the very least? I suppose that’s between you guys though.

    I dunno. I never read the comment sections here, and I wasn’t aware it even meant anything at all to you guys. Internet comments don’t mean anything to me, so I can’t even quite say I particularly care for either viewpoint on what the comments section “should” be. It just kinda sucks.

    • AndrewCC says:

      This.
      I know Shamus probably doesn’t wanna create more bad blood so he (publicly) didn’t contest this, but this is an absolute dick move.

    • Jokerman says:

      Has it been outright stated that Shamus has been cut out? I thought it was amicable?

      It would be weird though, Id imagine there would be an ‘atmosphere’ if Spoiler warning was moved off the site, and Shamus was still there….

      • Phrozenflame500 says:

        I was operating under the assumption that Shamus wanted to continue appearing on the show even if it wasn’t on his website, but if that’s not true then fair enough. I don’t know what their internal discussions were but it does sounds like it was amicable.

      • Scampi says:

        According to Josh, Spoiler Warning will continue. I won’t be on it and it won’t appear on my site, but you’ll be able to see new episodes on the Spoiler Warning YouTube channel.

        Well, it sounds as if he had been cut out? I’m confused about that, too, since it doesn’t exactly scream “amicable” to me.

        • BenD says:

          In a breakup of any kind, it’s possible that not everyone gets what they want, or even that what everyone gets is not for the best, but it’s still an amicable breakup. We don’t know how the conversations went, but it would be perfectly possible for (say) Josh and Shamus to disagree about who will be on SW and where SW will appear, and for the only resolution to that disagreement to be not quite what anyone wants, but for everyone to decide that it’s for the best to settle on something and end the argument; that could very well be an amicable ending.

          These guys have lots of collective years of adulting under their belts and it sounds like they’ve done a fine job of adulting over this situation. Kudos to everyone.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Like Ive mentioned earlier,to me it sounds like Josh wanted to continue the show off this site,and Shamus does not want to appear full time on a show that does not bring him audience.That sounds amicable to me.

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