Monday 18 February 2019

Mistakes and Community Expectations

I'm afraid this is another post completely devoid of game content, but a rare post on the state of the RPG online community. In particular, this relates to the current situation around Zak S, which has been written about in great detail by Emmy, Patrick, Arnold, and Skerples among countless others.


The accounts written by Mandy, Hanna, Jennifer, and Vivka sound genuine to me. I see no reason why they would fabricate their experiences and put themselves through this experience. 
Zak's response and those of some of his close friends haven't addressed the accusations, instead focusing on discrediting Mandy and painting Zak in a positive light.  

Since the accusations we've seen an almost unanimous renouncement of Zak, severing of contact, and re-thinking previous support of him. When the accusations came to light he was banned from the OSR Discord server.

More interestingly, this has been followed by a stream of people saying that they had avoided engaging with the community while Zak was such a central part of it, and now feel comfortable joining in. 

This post is written in the context of being admin of the OSR Discord channel (see link in the sidebar). I'm not looking to examine evidence or suggest a legal sentence to be applied. I'm posting about the mistakes I've made as a server moderator, the lessons I'm taking from this, and the actions I'll be carrying out in future.


I didn’t fully appreciate the amount to which somebody can be technically correct, but still make the community a worse place.

I didn’t trust my judgement of character. Like so many others I knew Zak behaved like a jerk but gave him far too much leeway.

I was overly hung up on the fear of Zak having his own OSR Discord channel, and the danger of him being sole moderator of the main channel of OSR communication. This made me overly cautious in my treatment of him.

I'm sorry for the harm that the above mistakes caused to other users of the server.


  • The way rules are presented can influence the perceived culture of the server.
  • Some people will push their behaviour right up to the boundaries of any rules.
  • You never know how many people are holding their voices back.

The Future

Now my focus on creating a community with positive, respectful culture rather than living by hard rules. People will still be accountable, but we will live within human limits. 

Tuesday 12 February 2019

OSR Discord Tricks

So the *OSR Discord* is undergoing some changes as we get more and more people hopping on board. We're now over 1,300 strong.

I got some useful feedback on G+ yesterday, but if there's something you'd like to see on the server then let me know and I'm always open to trialing new ideas. I'm currently trying out a slowmode of 30 seconds or more across the server to keep the pace more manageable.


  • Discord is much faster than the likes of G+, but with a little knowledge you can get used to it.
  • Go to Information Kiosk first. This has a guide to all of the channels and what purpose they serve.
  • Use Categories. There are lots of channels on the server, but I keep them divided into categories. If you click on a category it collapses the view to only show channels with unread messages.
  • Mark as Read. If you right-click the server and click "Mark as Read" then all channels will disappear into the collapsed categories. Then, when there's activity on a channel it will appear in the list, letting you focus on the channels that are actually active at that time.
  • Mention people in your replies. This helps keep the conversation a bit more orderly.
  • Don't try to read everything. There's too much. Just hop into an ongoing discussion or start talking about something you want to discuss in the appropriate channel.
  • Move into an overflow channel if needed. They're there for when things are moving too fast in one channel, so take your conversation into a quieter room if it's getting drowned.
  • Use the Suggestions Box. Seriously, if you suggest a new channel I'll probably give it a trial if it fits.

There's an invite link in the sidebar. Come and join us!