Questions about the Price of Freedom and CYS

Hi Alex!

Thanks so much for reaching out. Yes, now I have your email. If something like this comes up in the future, I’d be happy to cook up a release so authors can publish their games with us.

I really appreciate you stopping by!

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I’m not certain why leaders are answering for Jason, but I gotta say I find it a little sketch.

I’d also still like to know what CoG plans to do to prevent harassment of authors by brigades of people who heard through a game of telephone that something was bad.

I’d also like to know the protections in place against things just being deleted. Will warnings be provided for things such as “grossly offensive material” that may not actually be grossly offensive and may be just a poor choice of wording?

The WIP, Broken Lenses, is far more offensive tha what was written by Avery. By leaps and bounds. Just as a for instance. In fact, if I recall correctly there are actually scenes of sexual acts committed against minors. I may be misremembering, though, to be fair. I just know it was so grossly offensive, I couldn’t read it anymore.

Her trigger warning was just poorly written.

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As Sviyagin says, no, no one “quality” checks HGs, beyond a minimum of intelligible English. Then there is a content review. But that content review is not done by me. That task belongs to other people.

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Yes, but taking an initiative to NOT check if a story actually contains the ‘offensive material’ described, instead just going off the descriptions, seems rather underhanded. Why can’t the description just be re-worded if it is an inaccurate representation of the content in the story? What it sounds like is if the trigger warnings and descriptions weren’t there for her story, or were worded differently, this issue going on wouldn’t have happened.

So, I guess my question is, what’s the point of trigger-warnings if they’re just gonna end up getting someone’s post deleted?

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Just a reminder to everyone, that it’s a good idea to take a few breaths and reread a post, to make sure you are seeing what they are actually saying, before responding to it.

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Just to say, I’m not “answering for Jason” in what follows, nor do I think other people were. We’re offering our own responses to questions raised on the thread. I also don’t think the fact that we answered some posts while Jason was focusing on replying to others is “sketch”. Nor should anyone expect CoG staff to drop everything and answer big questions like “how are you going to reduce the likelihood that people will spread rumors on bits of the Internet you don’t control?” within an hour or two of the question being asked.

As someone with no authority but who’s been here a while, I’d say a lot of that is on us forum members (and in this particular case the CYSers… though as omnidirectional vitriol-spewing is a foundational part of their forum culture I don’t think we can expect too much help on this one).

When people who have less than half the story start speculating destructively about what they don’t know, why is that on CoG and not on them? Jason’s written extensively about how negative conjecture breaks forums and asked us to refrain from it.

“What steps will be taken to nip rumors in the bud?” is a great question, but it’s also one where we need to keep our expectations of CoG reasonable and take responsibility ourselves. We’re the front line of defense against rumors. We need to be the ones to say, “Slow your roll and don’t get riled up without knowing the facts.”

This is perhaps especially true of forum members who chat on Discord as well as here. I’m not on the CoG Discord, and I’m sure most of what goes on there is great…but it does also seem to have fed most of the uglier panics and pile-ons that have recently spilled over onto this forum (and occasionally onto CYS).

CoG has as far as I’m aware not taken any responsibility for policing any Discord servers, all of which were set up by fans (i.e. there’s no “official” CoG channel). That’s the only choice they can make; they’re a small company with very little resource to put into community management, even when it comes to this their own forum, let alone other fansites. Even more than here, the Discord channels rely on self-moderation.

As a non-Discordian, all I can do is appeal to those of you who are highly active on the CoG Discord to keep it from becoming a toxic community. Don’t pile on your least favorite authors, and don’t stay quiet while others do. Don’t speculate about negative things without knowing the facts, and don’t stay quiet while others do.

As for transparency: in all the CoG-author disputes that I’ve seen on the forums, the justification for non-publication, reclassification as Adult, etc. was stated publicly but briefly by CoG, and seemed clear enough to me. I’ve seen other rumors and slanted perspectives festering…but I don’t believe additional “transparency” by CoG would have done much to nip them in the bud. The rationale had already been stated transparently.

In every case I’ve seen, there’s also whataboutism-- “what about this game that did the same thing?” – and to that, too, we have repeatedly had CoG’s answer: they look at games in response to specific complaints or questions raised by us. They don’t systematically police WiPs, or review HGs for grossly offensive content until the verge of publication. If anyone wants to flag up a particular section of any WiP (not a vague memory requiring a mod to dig around the whole thing, please) that merits staff action, I’m sure action will be taken. If not, please don’t expect it to be.

On the broader point of:

volunteer mods have often been the ones making the calls, falling back on CoG staff where things are unclear. Gower’s done a commendable job of writing up the moderation norms. If you think there’s an issue that needs further clarification, why don’t we take it over to that thread?

Finally,

Let’s remember what we’re talking about here. It was an announcement for a game that’s been published off-site–not a HG.

If someone were to post in the Other Interactive Fiction section about “Extra Super Rape Game” just published on Steam, whether or not they phrased any of it in terms of a “trigger warning,” CoG would be under no obligation to read through the game before deleting the post, and there would be nothing “underhanded” about its upholding forum standards.

I didn’t see Avery’s actual post, so can’t speak to Jason’s account of its contents. But the content of the post, not of the game, is what’s at issue when we’re talking about anything published outside of CoG.

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Legend. :raised_hands::sob:

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I can’t say much on the intricate details behind everything that’s happened between Avery, CYS, and COG, but I will say that I hope all of this can be resolved peacefully.

I think multiple people made mistakes in all this chaos, but I think it’d be really nice if the two communities could be united in a love for Interactive Fiction rather than being divided by hatred inspired by rumors and misinformation.

I just think it’s a shame that people on both sides have been attacking and badmouthing each other.

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The whole thing sound like a mess TBH.

Which is too bad since Price of Freedom was cool.

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Uh…why was my post calling Havenstone a legend flagged? I can’t possibly imagine what could be wrong with that. FFS.

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@Havenstone, very well put, from my limited perspective. I know Jason is done for the night and will probably have time to respond more thoroughly tomorrow. (I can’t sleep and it’s not too late where I am, so wheeeeee!)

For me, who’s pretty much completely unaware of what goes on on Discord let alone about people harassing HG/WIP writers, there’s an element in the question which kind of feels like… “So, when did you stop beating your wife?” I don’t know about this stuff going on, and have very little ability to do anything about it. When I see a demand for that we do something and also be transparent about it has a kind of underlying implication that we’re 1) purposely doing nothing and 2) also acting covertly or withholding information.

I’ll observe that we’re getting more and more frequent requests to police people’s behavior online and specifically not on our forums, and these requests have taken a lot of different forms, not just complaints about Discord or CYS. And, I’m personally not in favor of policing off-forum. I know it’s hard to believe but everything we do to publish COG titles is a 40+ hour a week job for five people. I think it’s fantastic that we have this community and I wish people bought more games. If they did, we could hire a community manager. There’s extremely limited bandwidth here.

But, I’m sure Jason will have more to say tomorrow.

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I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said, @Havenstone–you put it more articulately and reasonably than most! The only thing I would add on to is this:

While it’s true that there’s no “official” COG Discord that the staff polices, though many are a part of, there is a fan-made unofficial server that I would argue is the “main” COG one. From personal experience, I would say that the moderation there is very similar in culture and efficiency to the forums: toxic or hurtful speech is not allowed to fester, multiple mods are online to, well, moderate, and piling on is redirected or deleted, as is negativity and unwarranted speculation. Even today there were attempts to talk about this very thread, which were gently but firmly shut down.

As someone who keeps an eye on both arenas, I would argue that toxicity isn’t spilling over from Discord to the forums, but people do go there first to complain because it’s seen as more private or less moderated. When they’re proven wrong (i.e. asked to stop or leave the server by mods), then it’s taken here, dragging drama between both platforms and giving the appearance of having started exclusively in the server.

Everything you said in general is correct, and that we shouldn’t tolerate that kind of negativity or toxicity. I’ve just seen complaints that the COG Fan Discord is too committed to eliminating that kind of talk and nipping it in the bud, so I just wanted to give my two cents on that. I think moderation there is just as dedicated and vigilant as it is here on Discourse.

But yes, we as a community need to be the ones who combat rumor-mongering and assumptions: we are the frontline while COG is busy creating the content that brought us all together in the first place.

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It’s short and has 2 emojis, maybe it was misstook for spam ?

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I hope people on a publisher’s forum are better readers than that. :man_shrugging:

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Then I apologize for my negative conjecture. (Aaagh! I’m part of the problem!) :slight_smile:

Thanks for the very helpful note.

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My guess would be this part of the FAQ, but I don’t know.

Rather than posting “+1" or “Agreed”, use the Like button.

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Yeah but it was important that Havenstone be called a legend specifically.

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I actually am going to close the topic for the (Western Hemisphere) night.

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