Yes, I could be nicer. I could be less unnecessarily vitriolic. I could couch my discourse in softer, kinder, gentler tones, and make a better first impression. There are other choices than to behave rudely or insult people. There are ways that people can “share ideas” in a civil manner.
I’ve discovered through experience that people who counsel such an approach usually do so from a fairly pretentious position: “In this community (where I am respected and unquestioned), we don’t raise our voices except in an appropriate manner.” For appropriate, please read as, “acceptable;” “agreeable,” “acquiescent.”
When taking a contrary position to anything, particularly something as established as the religious fervor that has become some tenets of D&D, the more kindly your rhetoric, the more easily you can be ignored. Or if you will, the more easily your opponents can hedge and “politely” agree with your opinion without, in fact, changing their behavior or their propaganda. This is a marvelous sort of inclusion; as a manipulative technique it works wonders.
In fact, I have no interest in being included. I feel rather sickened by what I’m reading and seeing on various websites about the game, and I believe firmly that I am not alone. Oh, I may be the most vocal, the most vitriolic, the least respectful and so on. I may be the dancing monkey in this particular performance. I may represent the methods of shock value. But I assure you, my gentle reader, that despite my ungentle approach I sincerely believe everything I’m writing.
Now, I don’t propose that there are a great many who would agree with me. I think, honestly, there are very, very few. But that doesn’t matter. This very few and I have similar emotional reactions to what we’re seeing and what we’re feeling with regards to this game. We love the game. We love playing it, we love working on it, we love the design aspects and the free, unrestricted possibilities in what can and cannot be changed.
I suspect I am not the only person to view the interior of a games shop with a pervasive sense of disgust—at the cheap materials, at the obvious attempts to obfuscate the potential aspects of the game, at the contrived, exploitive nature of the products and so on. I don’t believe I’m the only person to have players arriving in my world saying, geez, you wouldn’t believe the shit out there and the way people are playing. I don’t believe I’m alone in finding 4e laughable.
So I rant. I foam at the mouth, I swear a lot, I act inappropriately, I disturb the lovingly built blogs of other RPG players. I don’t bother to discuss, I eschew dignity and I embarrass the crap out of myself. I do it for that small minority who feels uncomfortable doing the same, though they might want to. I do it to help me sleep at night, knowing I’ve pushed the occasional miserable grandmother with her talk of polite and appropriate behavior down the stairs. It brings me a tremendous sense of peace.
Whatever message that’s lost in my methods, that’s fine with me. I’m really only writing to one in a hundred of the readers who pass me by, because I only expect to be understood that often.
Yes, I know, I'm deluded. I've created a little fantasy justification that allows me the freedom to write what I wish without guilt. It's a paper world all of my own.
Or it would be, if you weren't reading this. Or if you weren't going to come back and read me tomorrow and the day after.