That incel nonsense…

At some point I will write a lengthy explanation why prohibiting private cars in inner cities will become an inevitability. All the green folks will rejoice over all the newfound clean air and all and will conveniently ignore that it was the dreaded fear of terror that finally brought this to us.

This is not that explanation, it’s about something else: „Incels“ — People, specifically men who blame their lack of romantic involvement, specifically the lack of sex, on women. And then maybe drive trucks into people.

Matthew Graybosch on Google+ put my general opinion of those into pretty clear words:

As such, I’m about to lay some harsh fucking truth on you: if you’re truly involuntarily celibate, you deserve it.

But that is only my general opinion. Because, as usual, I also have a more specific one:

Every cluster of teenage kids will have a few kids that sit on the sides, not truly belonging to the main group. That happens, it’s highly regrettable, but it just happens. And if the broader culture where these kids live in puts a high value on being sporty, good looking, attractive, the kids on the sides will be what we commonly refer to as „the nerds“

I was one of those as a kid. Not truly outcast, but a bit on the fringe. Enough so that when a former classmate was talking to her kid about bullying she decided to contact me to get some „inside info“, because after 30 years, I was still stuck in her head as „the (slightly) outside one“.

I also distinctly remember a time when puberty acne, being awkward and ‚the computer nerd‘ while also seeing the surfer guy getting the attraction from all the right girls, let me briefly believe I might end up that way.


In my own head.

Without having a word for it. Because, frankly, there was no 4chan or reddit or whatever where I could safely express that stupid idea and then end up in an echo chamber where I would reinforce that rough idea into a solid belief system.

Instead, after a few months of teenage angst and wallowing in private self-pity, I eventually worked up the courage and asked that girl I fancied out for a movie. A few weeks later, the concept of me staying a virgin forever involuntarily was thrown to the ash heap of history.

Enough confession time, what is the point I want to make here?

I think that „incels“ are truly a creation of the internet, combined with the toxic concept of maleness . Without having that place to mutually reassure themselves in that stupid concept, looking at what they see „how things should be“ in media, they wouldn’t be able to construct that bubble for themselves. And without that bubble they would have a chance to get happier.

Brotopia, which I’m currently reading, points the very same thing out, although in a different frame:

When minorities are forced to self-identify as minorities, their performance suffers. Sociologists even have a name for this: stereotype threat.

Incels“ are a very tragic example of a group of people that wished themselves into being a minority and then reaped all the negative effects that came with that.

The frightening thought is that a lot of those of us who nowadays look at them with scorn might have fallen into the same trap, if the tools of today would have been available to us.

Crowdfunding and me…

For a bit over 5 years, I’m more or less regularly participating in Crowdfunding campaigns. Most of the stuff is geeky technology or gaming things, but there were also art, music or fashion projects.

Kickstarter alone counts 89 successfully backed projects. Of those, these actually failed to deliver anything to me so far. (By that, I mean that I have actually given up any hope of receiving any useable product, to the point where I don’t expect to get anything at all):

  • "Pulse" Fudge dice ($15) The concept looked nifty enough. Alas, the creator apparently misjudged the difficulties of dealing with overseas manufacturers and eventually just gave up and disappeared. Sad, but really a not much of a loss. I kinda feel bad for the chap as I got the impression that he really tried.
  • Spinward Traveller TV Pilot ($15) Another fifteen bucks I won’t see again. The campaign spammed me with adverts to buy model space ships for further financing, showed me some badly edited scenes (apparently all actual filming got finished at last) and then amused me with links to pages where someone really got a hate-boner for the creator about allegedly constantly scamming potential TV production investors. I don’t know about that, at least something got done as far as I know…
  • MagNeo Adapter ($59) I am a bit upset about this one. It was supposed to deliver a mag-safe like USB‑C adapter, but nothing has arrived so far at my doorstep and those who did receive something report that it’s shoddy and useless. The after-campaign updates suggest that the creators just ran into way more manufacturing problems than they expected, so instead of bad faith, I just ran into a bit of incompetency — which is always a risk with crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Intelligent Security Camera Cover (35 CHF) Ah.. this looked so easy and foolproof, but it got endlessly delayed and is now being shipped at an agonisingly slow rate — if at all. Hope Xavier had a nice time skiing. Yes, I strongly suspect a scam here, especially as there was an companion Indiegogo campaign and the creator netted half a million in all and now keeps complaining about lack of funds…

So… that is about 130 loss out of over 6.000 Euro I sank into crowdfunding over the years. About 2%, not too bad if I look at it that way.

Of course, there were also a few campaigns that only sort of delivered. I got the product, and it does what it says on the tin, but not well enough to be actually useable. (I'm looking at you, Lima.)

All in all, I’m pretty relaxed about crowdfunding by now though. There are a few projects that just take way longer than I ever expected, but the creators keep updating, explaining and communicating with their backers, so I’m not really worried. And projects like Matter, Secret Hitler, Scythe, Kung Fury and wonders like The Wrylon Robotical Illustrated Catalog of Botanical 'Bots really made the whole crowdfunding experience fun and rewarding for me. And how else would a project like the IT Barrier Tape come to life?

Bob and the Internet

This is the story of Bob: Bob is active in her chosen field, which exposes her to some wider audience. As Bob does things that people value, she has a podium on which to speak and she uses it to some effect.

Alas, Bob has a problem. For some reason, some folks don’t like her. Where she posts, there are often arguments, accusations of some kind, to the point where people publicly get into (verbal) fights about the perceived innocence or guilt of Bob and others.

Bob of course defends herself, and friends of hers join in, calling those out who deal in reprehensible behaviour. She makes a convincing case that she is the victim here, and gets increasingly vocal about it over time.

Eventually, friends become enemies, communities splinter and sometimes even the police needs to get involved when some people cross lines into doxxing, actual death threats or worse.

Poor Bob, you probably think.

But maybe we should take a dispassionate look at Bob. We may find that sometimes, she is either completely on the defence. Mostly though, Bob is doing full-on attacks on those who have slighted her.

For her, people are apparently either useful, background noise or, well, enemies. And once you are her enemy, or are not immediately distancing yourself from those enemies, Bob will remember you forever.

Occasionally, Bob will admit to err on factual things, but she certainly is always right in her assessment of interpersonal relations. And yes, she is the undoubtedly the victim here, because, have you seen what Steve did?

If a situation escalates, it is never Bobs fault. If people cry foul, they are harassers. If they want to have no part of the drama, they are enablers. If someone on her side oversteps some line, it is their fault, certainly not Bobs for inciting them.

Still poor Bob?

Look up the vocabulary that describes an Abuser. You will find terms like Gaslighting. Victim Playing, DARVO, Stalking, Belittling, Controlling who is allowed to talk with whom.. If you’re online, you will also find all the rhetoric tricks too: Hiding behind technicalities, ad hominem attacks, Whataboutism and so on.

Bob portrays all the quality of a narcissistic, highly abusive person.

There are many Bobs online, and I am often not sure if they are simply broken persons or just plain evil.

Before I get to know a Bob, I usually assume that she simply has problems parsing emotions through text, that I didn’t make my point or argument clear enough. Because I have that problem myself: Often enough, I don’t know how the other person wanted me to perceive them, what they really wanted to say.

Online interactions are often fleeting or brief. That means that I miss a half-sentence or misread things. English isn’t my first language, and often enough, I converse with people who are also non native english speakers. So I allow for a wide range of misinterpretations, attribute to human error what could also be malice.

Sadly enough, that plays right into Bobs hand, reinforcing the notion that she is blameless, and everyone else is wrong. Bob sits secure in her perfect perch, and laps up the attention she receives, slowly ruining the online life of others.

Don’t give in to the Bobs. Resist that. Stop interacting with them, even when they bait you to it. It is hard. It can be very painful. And you do not have to stay in an online place where a Bob resides. We don’t owe a Bob anything at all.

But we do owe the community we want to live in. Identify the Bobs in there and then make it clear that they need to demonstrate a willingness and effort to be civil, to be polite and to be mindful of how others perceive their voice — or they will be shunned and shut out.

Do not ask Alice to “make up with Bob, for the sake of the community”. This will allow Bob to further mess with Alice. In the end, Alice will have only the option of more suffering from Bob, or to leave the community that continues to allow Bobs presence.

And above all: Don’t give any attention to the Bobs. It’s what they want, what feeds their ego. It should of course be positive attention, but they don’t actually care if it is negative, so long as it keeps their ego fed.

So don’t.

Identify the Bobs. Explain them the rules. And shun them (and only them) when it becomes apparent that they won’t change.

Kampagne als Speedrun?

Wer in den 90ern Egoshooter gespielt hat, hat bestimmt genau wie ich irgendwann staunend vor den Speedrun Videos gesessen. Da spielt ein unbekannter Held Quake in der absolut kürzesten Zeit durch. Klar, der Großteil der Monster wird dabei ignoriert, einen perfekten Score gibt es dabei auch nicht, und meistens sieht man nur gehetztes Herumgerenne. Aber irgendwie ist sowas dennoch faszinierend, zumal bis dahin ungekannte Abkürzungen auftauchen, clevere Tricks um Zwischengegner zu umgehen, oder einfach wirklich kunstfertige Beherrschung der Steuerung.

Neulich saß ich mit dem guten Blechpirat bei Pizza & Bier zusammen, und er erzählte davon, wie ein Spielleiter ihn durch Die Sieben Gezeichneten an einem einzigen langen Wochenende, also 10 Stunden reine Spielzeit durchlaufen hat lassen. Beeindruckend, immerhin sprechen wir hier über ein Kampagne, die selbst im Minimalfall 7 nicht allzu kurze Abenteuer lang ist.

Das geht auch an einem einzelnen Abend“ hörte ich mich als Reaktion darauf sagen. (Hier sollte ich auf die durchaus vorzügliche Bierauswahl des Salami Social Clubs verweisen, ansonsten wäre mir das bestimmt nicht über die Lippen gekommen.) „Das ist doch DSA, das geht bestimmt!“ legte ich nach. Karsten schaute mich skeptisch, aber auch herausfordernd an, und so riss mein innerer Barney Stintson den Arm hoch und rief: „Challenge.... accepted!" Ich sollte weniger Bier trinken…

Zum Glück habe ich genügend Freunde mit DSA Abenteuern im Schrank, insofern habe ich zumindest schon den ersten Band gelesen. Und alle meine Vorurteile über DSA belegt gefunden! :)

Versteht mich nicht falsch: „Albtraum ohne Ende“ ist kein schlechtes Abenteuer. Es legt einen soliden Grundstein. Ich habe da viele gute Ideen gefunden, und es hat zahlreiche Querverbindungen zu anderen Abenteuer- und Quellenbändern. Gerade der erste Abschnitt hat zahlreiche NSCs und Ortsbeschreibungen, die für sich schon ein schöner Ideensteinbruch sind. Aber es ist eben auch aus seiner Zeit. Schnurgerade, moralisiert an vielen Stellen und voller Zäune, welche widersinnigen Helden unbedingt den Weg versperren sollen. (Fliegende Helden? Werden von plötzlich auftretenden Dämonen auf jeden Fall am Boden gehalten!)

Sehr viel beißt sich ungeheuer mit meinem eigenen Stil zu spielen, da immer wieder darauf verwiesen wird, dass die Spieler und die Helden gefälligst so oder so zu denken oder zu agieren haben — anstatt offen zu schauen, wo man landet, und dann mit den Konsequenzen lebt. Ein Teil ist dabei natürlich der sehr aktiven Götterwelt von DSA geschuldet: Diese merken sich halt, wer borongefällig respektvoll mit Toten umgeht, und wer ein gemeiner Fiesling ist. Aber dennoch kommt mir das alles zu oberlehrerhaft vor.

Anderes finde ich unnötig restriktiv: Da gibt es einen Showdown, der innerweltlich nach einem ganz festen Zeitplan stattfindet. Und es gibt die sehr konkrete Aufforderung, dass man mit dem genauen Datum und Zeitplan schummeln soll, damit das alles dramatisch passt. Gleichzeitig soll man aber auch tunlichst verhindern, dass die Helden den Weg abkürzen oder anders zurücklegen, weil das ja sonst nicht in den Zeitplan passe! (Ømel, wenn schon schummeln, dann doch auch richtig! ;) ) Zuletzt gibt es dann auch noch den ernsten Ratschlag, die Spieler die Schienen auf keinen Fall spüren zu lassen…

Jetzt gilt es erst einmal noch die restlichen 6 Bände zu lesen, und dann kann ich schauen, was wo für meinen Speedrun eingedampft wird. Von Band 1 wird wahrscheinlich fast nur noch der Showdown übrigbleiben, ggfs. noch Teile der Anreise. Dem momentanen Stand nach habe ich ja pro Band maximal eine Stunde zur Verfügung, eher weniger. Das wird also eine ziemliche Hetzjagd, aber das kann ja auch ein Feature sein. Mal schauen, wie ich diese Hetze ins Spiel hieven kann..