Beginner's Guide to the RPGPub

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TristramEvans

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Established in 2017, The RPG Pub was founded by Endless Flight to provide an online alternative for a number of folks who felt disenfranchised by the existing hobby forums. We started small, with a few dozen regulars, but in the years since The Pub has grown substantially, with over 2000 members as of this writing and more registering every day.

If this is your first time visiting The Pub, feel free to introduce yourself in the thread “How did you end up here?” in the Site & Community forum.

This thread is here to provide you with a general overview of The Pub's rules and acclimate new users to the board's culture.


FORUM RULES

The Pub has maintained only one hard and fast rule since it’s inception:

NO POLITICS!

This generally means that we don’t want to participate in the so-called “Culture War” that currently dominates discourse in many online hobby spaces and social media in general. The Pub was founded as a “Shrine to Escapism”, a place to focus on what unites us as Geeks, rather than the ideologies that divide us. The Pub is an oasis from the hostility, frustration, and tribalism engendered by online political discourse.

The “No Politics” rule is left intentionally broad and comprehensive to allow moderators to make common sense rulings on a case-by-case basis, taking context into consideration, and to discourage “linedancing” or attempts to “game the system” based on technicalities.

However, we recognize that for new members, especially those that come from other forums where perhaps the style of moderation is more punitive, the vagueness of the rule can be intimidating. Please understand that the last thing that we want is for our members to feel like they have to “walk on eggshells” or constantly watch what they say or face unexpected consequences. To partially alleviate such concerns, please refer to the section on “Moderation Style”, below. For more specific advice on what does and does not constitute political topics, refer to the F.A.Q.

BEYOND THE ONE RULE


“No Politics” is the only rule explicitly outlined because anything else that might get moderated is simply common sense for any intelligent adult – don’t post pr0n, don’t link to anything illegal, don’t be a complete asshat to other posters, etc.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE ONE RULE

Any form of bigotry, including racism, sexism, gender-identity based discrimination, etc. we do not consider legitimate political positions, so are not offered any consideration by our "No Politics" rule. Likewise, we don’t accept the legitimacy of any hate groups. The Pub also does not recognize the notion of “acceptable targets”, and will not tolerate any denigration of another poster or group of people based on prejudices or stereotypes.

Historical politics, especially in the context of games, are not subject to the No Politics rule, as long as they are not directly referencing modern day parallels (e.g., discussing Nazis in the context of a game taking place during WWII is okay, discussing Nazis in the context of recent political rallies in the U.S. is not).

Occasionally, we've recognized that there are "events" in the RPG community that push the boundaries of what otherwise would be acceptable discussion topics at The Pub, but they are important enough to the hobby that they are impossible (or it would be irresponsible) to ignore. We're established a specific designation (Mod+) for these threads, and they are subject to higher than normal levels of moderation (see “Thread Designations” in the section Moderation Style below for more details).

BEST PRACTICES
These are not rules per se, merely guidelines to keep in mind that prevent conversations from going in bad directions:
  • Assume good faith. If we don't start from the assumption that people's responses are made in honesty and without a secret agenda, there's no point in discourse.
  • Leave the stuff that happens off the Pub off the Pub. OK, so maybe you encountered someone who said something somewhere, or you've heard some group express some opinion and it gets your goat. We get it. But unless it's something people actually present can account for or respond to, it serves no purpose to bring up. By that same token, try not to speak in generalities or group people together. We're all individuals with our own opinions, and everyone can speak for themselves.
  • Avoid Logical Fallacies. More often than anything else, these lead to miscommunications, frustrations, and flared tempers. If you need a refresher on these look here: https://thebestschools.org/magazine/15-logical-fallacies-know/
  • Don't use specialized terminology without providing your definition. The Hobby is full of hotly debated terms with various definitions; we're talking about stuff far too nerdy and too specialized to have a common dictionary definition to fall back on, such as “Simulationism”, “Storygames”, “Railroading”, etc. Many posters develop their own definitions for these terms, then use them while assuming everyone knows their intention. What’s important is not the terms themselves, it's understanding what a person means when they use them. By that same token, part of acting in good faith is, once you know how a poster is using a term, respond to their points or arguments on those terms, not your own. In that respect, don't attack or argue with people over their definitions, which will get us nowhere and just take the conversation in circles.
  • Don’t seek validation. In other words, don't expect other posters to bend over backwards to reassure you that your PoV or your opinions are "okay". You should already know this and not need anyone to tell you this. A person expressing their opinions and preferences should not be de facto interpreted as an attack on your own.
  • Don’t take any of this too seriously. If you find yourself getting angry, or otherwise emotionally upset, step back, take a breather, and remember none of this matters - at all. It may be you cannot change anyone's mind. The point here is for everyone to have the opportunity to communicate their POV and to foster understanding; agreement isn't a necessary part of that. If you feel like you're arguing against a brick wall, just walk away. As long as you've clearly laid out your position, that's all that matters. there's no winners or losers. None of this affects your life or how you game.
 

TristramEvans

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THE STAFF

Endless Flight
is The Pub’s founder and administrator. He’s a straight shooter, with an abiding love of Larry Hama’s GI Joe, Star Wars, and the DC Heroes RPG. His Hat of 2D20 Kno No Limit.

Tristram Evans is EF’s right hand and currently The Pub’s most prolific poster, known for largely communicating in memes. He is an explorer of the further reaches of sarcasm, an asshole to some, bastard to others.

Apparition is The Pub’s technical support and advisor. Don’t bother him with your bullshit.

Baulderstone & A Fiery Flying Roll are The Pub’s super moderators, overlooking the entire forum. One is an Aussie and the other is a Brit, so they eat weird foods and refer to normal things by silly words like “tallywacky wickereedoo”.

Bunch & Raleel are The Pub’s newest moderators, a position they did not receive by bribing Endless with copious cheese wheels, despite any rumours to the contrary. They moderate the main RPG forum.

MODERATION STYLE

We prefer to moderate with as light a hand as possible, trusting the Posters here at The Pub to moderate themselves. We assume everyone here is an adult, and our approach to moderating is to treat everyone as equals, an approach that can be summed up by the phrase “mutual respect”.

One big part of mutual respect is giving the benefit of the doubt. Most of us here has seen moderation that doesn't extend the benefit of the doubt, even moderation that instead bends over backwards to try and justify suspicions well beyond any logical reading. And we don’t care for that. Thus, until irrevocably proven otherwise, or at least as far as logic can bend without breaking, we will extend everyone here in the community the benefit of the doubt and approach moderation from that basic assumption.

We are going to treat everyone here exactly the same way we'd like to be treated, and unless irrevocably proven otherwise assume by default we are all mature adults and capable of dealing with conversations, debates, and arguments. Moreover, we are pretty much for complete openness and transparency. If anyone wants to question or debate any Mod call made, we have no problem with that, and you can do so without worrying about consequence or reprisal.

As you have seen, we only have the one rule, no politics, and even that was decided as a group when the forum first got started. We have long resisted adding an ongoing list of rules, finding a combination of the one rule and common sense sufficient to smooth operation. The Mods here don't rule based on precedence and in each situation, we use our best judgement. “No Politics” is something that we will interpret as broadly or specifically as needs be depending on common sense, but no one is going to get instabanned simply for slipping up or a difference in perspective. The first resort will always be to talk it out, maybe just give a heads up.

Bannings are exceedingly rare at The Pub, with less than ten posters total banned in the 5 years since The Pub’s inception. With the exception of obvious spammers, permanently banning someone from the forum is strictly a last resort (generally requiring a consensus among the Mods) and even temporary bans are incredibly rare, mainly as we do not treat moderation actions as “punitive”.

Generally, the Mods are pretty supportive of free speech. Posters are mostly free to argue all you want, and express any opinions you hold regarding gaming, media, life, etc. that doesn’t cross the line into political statements. If a thread stops being a conversation, devolving into just a couple posters name calling, we may step in to redirect the conversation, or close the thread at some point, but that is also pretty rare.

The Mods do not see themselves as arbiters of morality or dictators of truth. Again, we are all adults, and everyone is free to define their own ethics and decide for themselves what is factual. Likewise, we don't extend our moderation considerations to any events that happen outside the forum itself, with only two exceptions in the past for the overall good of The Pub*. Our view is that The Pub should be considered a “fresh start” for everyone who comes here, and are not going to take into account things they have said or done elsewhere online (or go looking for such things) when we moderate.

*Daniel Fox (Zweihander) was banned for a harassment campaign against one of our regular members, who was no longer comfortable posting at the same forum as him with that going on, so it was a joint decision that keeping that poster was of more value to the forum than allowing Fox to continue using the forum to schill his product lines. The other example was a person denied membership at The Pub due to a series of blatantly anti-Semitic rants they’d posted at another forum where they’d just been banned before trying to come here. Both of these were extreme edge cases, and not decisions that we made lightly.

MOD VOICE

As all the Mods are also posters, when they are specifically giving a Mod ruling, they will give an obvious indication. We don’t enforce a standard on this, it’s up to the Mod themselves, but usually there will either throw in a tag like “[mod hat on]” or use light blue coloured text.

THE MOD MEME

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This gif is traditionally used by Mods to indicate a thread is heading into rough waters, and to walk it back or change the topic. It’s read as a polite cough or nudge, and is mostly all the modding that is required to avoid getting into politics.

THREAD DESIGNATIONS

Occasionally a thread will receive the moniker “Mod+”; this is most commonly applied to threads discussing controversial topics (see the FAQ). This designation indicates that the thread will receive a higher standard of moderation and greater scrutiny than is typical at The Pub.

Mod+ threads are subject to a stricter set of rules than Mods normally enforce:
  • First off, while we are not going to ignore or implicitly condone instances of racism, sexism, or any other form of bigotry, we are going to insist that people avoid editorializing . A person's words, unfortunate and ignorant as they may be, can stand on their own, and posters can come to obvious conclusions without the need for anyone here to offer interpretations, let alone dictate interpretations to others. Condemnation is fine and expected, but these shouldn't be used as an excuse to open the door to discussions of political (or politicized) issues. Though there are important conversations and debates that may need to take place, The Pub is not the appropriate venue.
  • Along those same lines, accusations of bigotry of any form, including calling someone a racist or homophobe, are serious charges in this day and age, carrying with them potential grave and long-term effects on a personal and professional level, and should be considered to carry the same weight as an accusation of criminal activity. For that reason, we are going to insist on the following rule of thumb: "proof not allegations". If the proof is sufficiently damning it will speak for itself, and this avoids the pitfalls of simply repeating accusations encountered online or making suppositions that invite arguments.
  • Additionally, a controversy revolving around one person in the hobby is not an open invitation or free-for-all to assume guilt by association or to extend the discussion to other targets. These threads should not be looked upon as an opportunity to air unrelated grievances or share dirty laundry, as this will only perpetuate and exacerbate already tense situations. It also invites more accusations without proof. Though we appreciate there is an important argument that can be made regarding the wider culture and influences that surround issues, again, The Pub is simply not the place that those debates can meaningfully or productively take place.
  • Finally, ad hominem/personal attacks are explicitly not allowed, and will often result in an instant threadban. With the thread already dealing with contentious subjects, these are regarded as unnecessary escalation and not engaging in good faith.
  • Certain Mod+ threads may contain additional rules specific to the topic that are outlined in the original post of the thread.

Another thread designation used is "NoDrift"

These are threads where off-topic posting and the usual thread-drift characterizing The Pub is not allowed, generally because the thread covers a specific important topic that is ongoing or intended to be useful as a resource.
 

TristramEvans

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FORUM CULTURE

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The Pub, since it’s inception. when it was just a handful of refugees from other forums, maintains an overall friendly and laid-back atmosphere, prioritizing good humour and fellowship over any strict adherence to gaming debates (which isn’t to say we haven’t had our fair share of debates, only that these are less important to our regulars than having a good time together).

If one wants a crash course on The Pub’s culture, this particular thread pretty much epitomizes it:

GENERATION X

Overwhelmingly, a majority of The Pub’s core posters skew towards Gen X, and as such the forum’s culture does slightly reflect the norms and style of interactions of that generation (here going by the original definition of the term as established by Douglas Coupland, referring to those born between the years 1965 to 1985). Though this does not mean that Millennials or Generation Y posters are in anyway unwelcome or frowned upon, it is handy to keep this in mind in regards to common cultural reference points.

PUB LINGO

Like any close-knit community, The Pub over time gradually developed its own running in-jokes and unique vernacular. These are not meant to ostracize new members so in an effort to acclimate newbies, here is a list and explanation of the major references one is likely to encounter here:

SWO - This is an ambiguously positive term for the spirit of The Pub, encapsulating the camaraderie, absurdity, and general good feelings of The Pub.

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origin: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/swo.2458/

Threadfall - When thread drift becomes epic and Swo is produced.

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Geedis - The unofficial mascot of The Pub and Avatar of Swo.

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origin: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/the-...spiration-by-way-of-an-internet-mystery.3258/

Airwolf – A military drama TV series originally aired from 1984 - 1987, starring Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine. It was the most scientifically accurate TV series of all time and the ultimate provider of TRUE SCIENCE FACTS!

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origin: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/tell...pg-engine-mega-damage.5212/page-2#post-207087

_Delete Thread Pls! - what happens when unsupervised Pubbers are given a blank thread to play around in.

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origin: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/_delete-thread-pls.5270/

My Hat of 2D20 Kno No Limit – an old joke originating on another forum way back in the mists of time, expressing (tongue in cheek) contempt for the Pub’s favourite scapegoat, the 2D20 game system from Modiphius.

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Eläytyminen – a term for what RPG theorists commonly refer to as "Deep-in-Character Immersion". Derived from the Finnish compound-verb eläytyä, meaning roughly "to empathize", adopted from the Turku school of L.A.R.P.ing who defines it thusly:
to eläytyä: (verb) to immerse yourself into a character; to think, experience and feel through the character
eläytyminen: (noun) character immersion, see to eläytyä

Role-playing is immersion ("eläytyminen") [into] an outside consciousness ("a character") and interacting with its surroundings
. Eläytyminen demands a first person perspective - you are not collaboratively imagining a story, you are not making decisions based on a game's narrative, rather you are literally making every decision in the game from the perspective of one's assumed persona and their limited first-person view of the gameworld.

This term has been adopted by several adherents of that particular playstyle to alleviate the confused uses of the term “immersion” on many hobby forums. Its use is not an indication of “OneTrueWayism”, nor an attempt to invalidate other playstyles, merely to foster communication (Plus, it sounds all elf-y).


GEESE

The Pub is the last line of defense against the greatest threat to mankind – the goose, a bird whose evolution left it with inherited bitterness over the time its dinosaur ancestors were the rulers of the Earth. Boosted by an arcane ritual enacted by Canadians to pour all the hate and malice of their country into the geese, these avian monsters are the opposite of Swo, a subversive horror plotting world domination and general destruction.


THOSE-WHO-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED

It’s common practice at The Pub to refer to several notorious figures in the RPG hobby by euphemisms or code names, generally as these fellows are known to habitually google themselves. Some should be obvious, if you know the person – Vornheimort and Douchehander, for example, but one in particular - Jennifer Aniston – originated from a joke made here: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/ips-that-ought-to-have-their-own-rpgs.2987/page-30#post-194147
 

TristramEvans

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F.A.Q.

What happens if I have a problem with Another Poster?

If you feel another poster is breaking the One Rule, or otherwise doing something that might call for moderator intervention, please report them instead of engaging and possibly escalating the situation. If you find that you have irreconcilable differences with another poster that are outside the scope of moderation, we highly recommend using the Ignore List feature.


I submitted a report, but nothing happened

This can happen, as the Mods will look at reports and then discuss amongst themselves the best course of action, and sometimes that means no immediate action, for a variety of reasons. This does not mean the report is pointless, as one thing we keep track of is patterns over time. Moreover, it may cause us to keep a closer eye on a thread to prevent escalation.

Also, please don’t expect immediate responses. The Mods all have different hours and are in different locations around the globe. Usually when an issue comes up, the Mods will wait for everyone (or a majority) to weigh in with their opinions.


What if I have a problem with a Moderator or Moderation Call?

Here at The Pub, you are free to criticize and disagree with the moderators, with a few important caveats:
  • First, and most importantly, we ask that any disputes with Mods either be addressed publicly in the Site and Community subforum or, if you are not comfortable discussing your grievance in public, by PMing Endless Flight or one of the other Mods. Do not attempt to argue moderation in the thread it took place, as that will just derail the original thread.
  • Second, remember that moderators are also still posters, and treating them with blatant disrespect, such as name-calling or personal attacks will neither help resolve your issue nor is it something that they are expected to tolerate.
  • Finally, sometimes posters come to the forum with certain expectations of how moderators should act or what their role should be. Understand that the moderation here may not align with those assumptions, and they are not obliged to meet your standards.
All that said, even if you may not always get the resolution that you’d like, we are always willing to listen, consider alternate points of view, and will treat any respectfully expressed opinion with fair consideration.


What's the Difference between Thread Drift & Threadcrapping?

Because Thread Drift is accepted here at The Pub as the natural flow of a conversation, it might be difficult to identify what constitutes “threadcrapping”. Generally, the type of threadcrapping that moderators pay attention to is when a thread is started for a specific purpose, and someone drops in to complain about the subject of the thread. A relevant example is if someone were to post in a thread discussing a certain game, or playstyle, and a poster then proceeds to crap on said game/playstyle, derailing the thread into a back-and-forth of the subjective virtues or flaws. This does not mean that any game or playstyle has “protected” status or criticisms are not fair, if that is the purpose of the thread (for example, a thread entitled “Sell me on/off *insert RPG title* would equally invite praise and critiques of said game).


How can the forum have the rule “No Politics” if Everything is Political?

The Short Answer:
The same way that a person cannot technically “stand still”, but if someone asks you to “stand still” everyone knows exactly what they mean.

The Long Answer: As always, our primary goal is to keep the Pub a friendly and welcoming place to everyone, and a respite from the tribalism, aggression, and fanaticism that currently dominates most online discourse, both on hobby-related forums and social media at large. This requires a degree of compromise from everyone (not of your ethics but your desire to voice your opinion) especially when issues arise that are incredibly important and deeply affect people's lives. At no point does the stricture against discussions around such topics diminish their import or carry the suggestion that they shouldn't be discussed. The Pub is simply not the venue for that; it serves a different, very specific purpose that we think is equally important.

At times we noted a shared concern among posters, insofar as what the No Politics rule might imply. On the one hand some are concerned that the desire on this forum for inclusivity means kowtowing to the shifting Overton Window of extreme ideologies represented on social media, on the other, the concern that No Politics means enforcing the "status quo" even at the expense of historically marginalized groups. In the years since The Pub's founding, I think we have done a pretty good job of walking the line between these extremes, providing a place online that is overall welcoming and friendly to people of all creeds, colours, and orientations, without following social media trends.

The foundation of this concept is the unspoken acknowledgement that the rest of the internet exists. The Pub is not an insular community, and we recognize that there are hundreds of venues and platforms available online for political discourse. Likewise, we recognize that there are many important political and sociological issues and current events that deserve to be discussed and addressed, and there are endless opportunities provided online to do so, The Pub simply isn’t the appropriate venue for those activities; it serves a different, we believe equally important, purpose.

And to make an argument for that purpose, as we said at the beginning, The Pub is a “Shrine to Escapism,” and we honestly believe that escapism is an important, valuable part of life, especially the harder and more stressful life is for someone. To be able to put aside the pressures and frustrations of everyday life and political discourse is not only good for mental health and happiness, it also helps foster fellowship and communication.


Can we discuss problematic game designers or people associated with the hobby on this forum?

Yes, with some caveats. Any such conversation is likely to get labelled a “Mod+” Thread, with all the rules that implies (see “Thread Designations” in the section Moderation Style, above).

Please be prepared to provide evidence; do not rely on internet rumours or questionable third-party accounts.

Understand that some topics may be rejected by the Mods as too overtly political to engender discussion, or not significant or relevant enough to the Hobby as a whole, or forum members. Also please understand that the forum isn’t a gossip page, and we don’t intend to turn it into one. As such, only one Mod+ thread is likely to be allowed at any given time. Not only because it’s more work for the Mods, but also because it would change the character of the forum.

Additionally, this is mentioned in the section on Thread Designations, but worth reiterating here: the point that discussion moves from factual to analytical or performative is where issues mostly arise. If someone's comments are damning, they will be so when reported factually. They shouldn't actually need to be editorialized; they can stand on their own merits (or lack thereof).


Can I Advertise my Game/Kickstarter on the forum?

Sure, as long as you aren’t obnoxious about it. As of yet, we haven’t felt the need to shunt any ads to a ghetto subforum – we let folks start threads in the appropriate main forums where they are likely to get the most exposure. We expect folks not to abuse this privilege by spamming multiple threads or artificially “bumping” their own threads. If you want more exposure, the best tactic is to actually engage with the community and answer questions, making sure each of your posts are legitimately informative.


How about a Reviews Forum?

Endless is currently working on an add-on to The Pub that will provide a page for reviews and regular columns by Pub contributors. Because of the impact on the software, this may take a while to set up, but you can look forward to it in the near future.


What's the Policy on Thread Necroing?

None. Feel free to Necro a thread if you have something to add to a prior conversation. While this practice is frowned upon on some forums, we've never seen an issue with it. If for some reason we think it becomes an issue in the future, we may simply create a "Necro" tag to add onto the thread.
 
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