g_heinz

Statement on Pokemon Speedruns Controversy

Sep 27th, 2020 (edited)
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  1. Statement on Pokemon Speedruns Controversy
  2. 27 Sep 2020
  3.  
  4. @Etchy__'s tweet: https://twitter.com/Etchy__/status/1310030277339688960
  5. @Corvimae's blogpost: https://maybreak.com/failing-to-find-a-blue-nidoran/
  6.  
  7. I will first outline to keep things on-topic.
  8.  
  9. CORVIMAE
  10. 1. Corvimae and others have alleged that the community is unwelcoming toward minorities (women and transpeople specifically).
  11.  
  12. 2. Corvimae implies that the very small proportion of female and trans runners is a direct result of this culture.
  13.  
  14. 3. Corvimae also implies that community members have no say in community decisions. Corvimae does not specify what those decisions might be, but seems to attribute this to a power imbalance between admins and runners, as well as a lack of representation of female and trans players in community leadership.
  15.  
  16. ETCHY
  17. 1. Etchy says "Suddenly [after the recent leaderboard drama] there were many answers as to why there was a significant lack of diversity".
  18.  
  19. 2. Etchy calls me a "publicly gross transphobe and abuser apologist", and remarks that "several people [he] respected in PSR followed [me] and were undoubtedly aware of this".
  20.  
  21. 3. Etchy says: "Until I figure out how I can be a more active agent in this change and/or until steps are taken by PSR administration to acknowledge and address this, I plan on taking a step back from PSR." In this context, "this" refers to my "publicly gross transphobia and abuser apologetics" and "countless microaggressions" he has witnessed "towards the minority within the speedrunning/PSR community".
  22.  
  23. RESPONSE - CORVIMAE
  24. 1. The community does not have to accept as evidence these nameless and faceless situations. If you are going to make serious allegations of mistreatment, you should name names. It is not so much about pointing fingers as it is about actually attempting to prove your thesis.
  25.  
  26. 2. I can only say this one way: If you think there are too few women and/or transpeople in PSR or speedrunning in general, and you are deeply bothered by this, then invest in some games, consoles, recording equipment, and start teaching the girls and transpeople you know how to speedrun. I really don't appreciate this characterization of our community as a bunch of "elitist heterosexist white men" who laugh in minorities' faces when they ask "how do I set up flowtimer?" In fact, in the discord, we literally have no way of knowing the color of their skin or the shape of their genitalia, we only know they can either speak English or know how to use Google translate. I'm really not trying to be rude, I just want to be plain--and even if I wanted to be rude, your thin skin is not others' responsibility, especially over the internet.
  27.  
  28. 3. This is the one point I didn't understand, and would need Mae to clarify. In a large community, there will be some degree to which individual voices get swallowed up. But if you are really passionate about being involved, and you can gather support from your fellow runners, whether it's for the inclusion of a certain category on the leaderboards, or a rule change, or what have you, then you can make that happen. That said, you can speedrun anything you want and push for a leaderboard later. I have the world record in "Kalos Crystal", a gen 2 romhack that no one else has played, and we made a leaderboard for it after collaboration between a number of PSR members who were interested in exploring romhacks. Pretty sure I speedran it before there was a leaderboard.
  29.  
  30. Another example--the Sapphire world record was a cheated run when I first joined PSR in 2014. I insisted to admins it was illegitimate and they (mostly) rolled their eyes. It was frustrating to me, but I kept playing Sapphire, and eventually it was removed from the leaderboards because it was tacitly acknowledged to be fraudulent. This struggle is not unique to women or transpeople in our community.
  31.  
  32. RESPONSE - ETCHY
  33. 1. Etchy is implying that this "lack of diversity" has been due to unwelcoming behavior by community members. He is casting aspersions and offers no evidence. I have been in this community for 6.5 years and have seen the consistent successful integration of new runners as the old guard welcomed them and taught them. I do not recall seeing a bunch of women turned away or laughed at, and I do not recall doing so myself. If he can offer real concrete examples, I am quite interested to hear them.
  34.  
  35. 2. See my concluding personal statement for more details. What he is doing is implying that it speaks poorly of the moral character of these other runners that they would follow me, despite knowing my views. Oddly enough, many of them may not even agree with my views, or care enough to form their own opinion. Adults don't have to agree on every little petty thing, or even on monumental things. We are friendly internet associates who collaborate to beat our favorite games fast, and root for each other. It's disturbing he would imply that everyone ought to ghost me just because I have the "wrong opinion" about something.
  36.  
  37. 3. Etchy is implying that PSR should have, and should in future, deplatform and/or ban me, and that runners should boycott future marathons, or the community in general, in order to force their hand to do so. That sets a bit of a sketchy precedent, since there's no telling what it will be out-of-fashion to believe in six months' time, or two years' time, and so on. Those who throw me under the bus now may find themselves on the receiving end of this sort of social vigilantism very soon.
  38.  
  39. PERSONAL STATEMENT
  40. The reason I am so outspoken about these things, for example, why I was so outspoken a couple months back when several people were banned from PSR and werster was suspended, is not because I condone their behavior. It is because I see the pathologically victimhood-obsessed attitudes that call for their cancellation, and I know for a fact that it won't end there. My prediction is exactly what has happened--the violations will turn from actions to words. I haven't done anything, physically harmed anyone, assaulted anyone, but my words, to the extent that they represent beliefs which these people disagree with, contitute "abuse" in and of themselves. Plainly, this is a very very dangerous way to begin ascribing guilt to someone.
  41.  
  42. I had planned on explaining my "transphobic" views, but there is really no need to. I have already said: transgenderism is an ideology underlying certain beliefs, and they do not constitute a universal truth, or unassailable moral code. What's more, my rejection of that ideology *does not* mean that I hate people who call themselves transgender, or that I wish them harm, even if it might be painful for them to accept that I do not view them the way that they view themselves. It may be even harder to understand that I stick to these principles out of compassion, not hatred, but that is something I am happy to explain in private conversation with anyone who is interested to know, it's not something I am going to debate on Twitter anymore.
  43.  
  44. As much as I was a thorn in the admins' side a few weeks ago, it is for exactly this reason. These baseless gripes you are hearing now, they won't be the end of it. As soon as you pander to people who try to make you responsible for all their own negative feelings, you are agreeing in effect to continuously appease them, even as their complaints grow more baseless, and their demands grow more extreme.
  45.  
  46. ON RULES AND SANCTIONS
  47. I expressed this during the last outburst of controversy, but I will try and be more specific here for everyone to read. Obviously our rules are not a real legal system, and community leaders don't necessarily have an obligation to be fair to anyone. If they wanted, they could ban or exclude people like me indiscriminately. But they have a personal interest in clear and specific rules, because without them, there is nothing stopping the mob coming for them too, and putting their own heads on the chopping block. To be clear, what Etchy and Corvimae are suggesting, if implicitly, is truly "cancellation"--they claim to have the right moral code that they are going to impose on everyone, but these are not clear-cut principles they are applying, and there are always contradictions and inconsistencies. But if you wanted to try and write them down more narrowly, so that future new members knew what and what not to do, how would they be written? I propose:
  48.  
  49. * You shall not express, publicly or privately, any view which could be construed to be hateful toward women or minorities.
  50. * You shall not espouse, publicly or privately, any view which could be construed to be hateful toward women or minorities.
  51. * You shall sever any affiliation, past or present, to any institution whose public beliefs conflict with the lived experiences of women and/or minorities.
  52. * You shall not commit any act, make any statement which could be construed as abusive toward, or invalidate the experiences of women or minorities.
  53. * If you have engaged in any of the above at any point during your lifetime, you shall divulge this immediately, apologize profusely and exile yourself voluntarily from the community, subject to re-admittance only upon a supermajority vote by the women and minorities in the community.
  54.  
  55. I understand I am going a bit overboard, but you get the idea. You cannot pin down what rules are being broken, because there are none. We are a speedrunning community, not arbiters of morality.
  56.  
  57. ON WERSTER
  58. I will comment on this only because it is the catalyst here. I am not some kind of werster fanboi, and we never really got on too well (or at all), but give me a break. His past toxic relationship is none of your goddamn business, even if his ex wants to make it your business. If you claim you have never mistreated someone in a relationship, and you are over the age of 25, I will assume you have always been single, or you are just lying, or you genuinely think you can do no wrong.
  59.  
  60. Admins--not that you give a shit what I say--do not feed these trolls.
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