Mass Mother Murderer and Off Forum Harassment

Yikes, seems like a poor time to miss a few days of lurking. I liked the stories of both authors (in the interest of not adding fuel to the fire, I’ll skew toward anonymity), despite the huge tonal rift between the two.

I will say, from what I gleaned of the situation, the reaction to the scene in Mass Mother brings up an interesting question about authorial intent. I dunno how well I’m remembering this, but the author of Worm once mentioned how important the relationship between Author/Audience/Text was when writing Web Novels. Here, game/book demos are released and “constantly” updated by authors while forum-goers read and provide feedback, so the paradigm’s the same.

“Authorial Intent” is usually brought up as “curtains represent the author’s battle with depression”, but it also encompasses things like scenes being used to highlight an element of the story(not all “monsters” are “monsters”), or outright rejecting a possibility (gender-locking as male in historical game 1 because you want to explore certain themes, then gender-locking as female in HistGame2 to fully explore how women were treated during the era you drew inspiration from).

Tried to be vague to avoid fanning any flames, sorry if it came at the cost of clarity. Overall I’d say one of the lessons to take from this is: Readers, be mindful of why an author writes something. Authors, be mindful of how you write something, because there are dozens/hundreds/thousands/millions of people interpreting a different meaning from the same 5 words. This doesn’t address the nuances of the Mass Mother situation and isn’t intended to, but I think it’s useful info going forward for the community at large, especially with all the aspiring authors eager to learn from our skilled & successful peers.

Or I’m wrong and none of this is relevant. I have missed a few days of lurking. :thinking:


The fact of the matter is simpler than that @Kiteleesi.

MMM had a WiP in order to receive enough feedback that @RETowers and others involved with HG publication were confident enough to publish the game if it was submitted by Samuel.

MMM was a gray area game, meaning that its publication was not a sure thing. Rachel did receive enough feedback to determine that it needed to be considered under the Mature Content Rules and therefore was moved to the Adult Content section of the forum.

Samuel was resentful of this for some reason.

In addition, going against the advise of several of the best testers in this community, Samuel decided to write a graphical scene involving corrosion and forced sex - something that can be easily interpreted as rape by many.

Once he received further feedback, this time in public, he reacted poorly to it. The tester giving this feedback fed off this poor reaction and a negative loop was created.

I personally intervened about 30 minutes into the public sniping and closed the thread down waiting for moderation for everyone involved.

Samuel decided to circumvent this and escalated the negatively-charged discussion and this led to active moderator intervention.

Samuel decided to delete his account here.

Samuel knows the process needed to get his game published through HG.

The relevance here for authors is to take whatever feedback is given, use it or discard it but do not attack the tester providing the feedback.

The relevance for testers here is to provide feedback, accept the author’s decision on the actionability of that feedback and then move on.

Speaking from experience with quite a few AAA games, developers sometimes reject the best feedback that they receive. When/if that is done, it is the responsibility of the tester to either accept the decision and continue testing other aspects of the game or to sever ties with that author and leave that game’s testing.

I’ve done both. It is the developer’s right to develop their game the way that they desire but it is the tester’s right to leave a game in disagreement with the way it is being developed.

Both the tester and the author have a responsibility to respect each other’s role in the process and to keep things from becoming personal.

This is the relevance of this incident - both authors and testers need to learn its lessons or this will just repeat time and again.

CoG tries their best to make this community a safe place but no one should blame them our the other community members for actions taken outside of the community.

Again I am going to repeat two concepts that need to be adhered to in WiP threads.

1: It is often not so much what ones opinion is that causes friction, but how one chooses to express that opinion. Using negatively-charged value words are a good way to start friction, as is generalisation and sniping.

2: Discussions can devolve into circular arguments. To avoid that: if you have already stated your position, please take a short break and allow others to share their perspective too. Please avoid repetitively hammering a single view without adding anything new.

Honestly, @RETowers really should close this thread at this point because there is nothing more to say.


The only thing I’d note, is we (I) don’t read WiPs unless someone brings it to my attention, and we don’t ever go in and determine if they meet the “grossly offensive” category until they are submitted. There simply isn’t enough time and resources to do so. The only way I see things in WiPs is if someone brings it up to me.