Pillars Of Eternity Fan Text Changed After Player Complaints

Pillars Of Eternity Fan Text Changed After Player Complaints

Letting fans add their own little stories to a game is really cool, but there’s always a chance it might go… awry.

Obsidian’s ode to PC RPGs of yore, Pillars of Eternity, recently found itself at the heart of one of the Internet’s many eternal shouting matches when people uncovered this piece of fan-submitted text in the game:

It was written by a Kickstarter backer, and it reads: “Here lies Firedorn, a hero in bed. He once was alive, but now he’s dead. The last woman he bedded, turned out a man. And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.”

The image quickly circulated on Twitter, prompting hurt responses from people who saw the joke as transmisogynistic.

Predictably, others disagreed, but in the end Obsidian decided to alter the text. As part of a recent patch, they changed it to read:

In a statement released shortly after, Obsidian explained that they decided to do this because the original text “didn’t strike the right tone” for their game, so they worked with the fan to write something new:

“It’s come to our attention that a piece of backer-created content has made it into Pillars of Eternity that was not vetted. Once it was brought to our attention, it followed the same vetting process as all of our other content. Prior to release, we worked with many of our backers to iterate on content they asked to be put into the game that didn’t strike the right tone.”

“In the case of this specific content, we checked with the backer who wrote it and asked them about changing it. We respect our backers greatly, and felt it was our duty to include them in the process. They gave us new content which we have used to replace what is in the game. To be clear, we followed the process we would have followed had this content been vetted prior to the release of the product.”

So that’s that, more or less. Pillars of Eternity is still the same game it was always meant to be, minus one gag that Obsidian didn’t love and wouldn’t have let slip through the cracks if they’d properly vetted it. Meanwhile, those who felt pushed away by the text’s inclusion are thankful that their voices were heard.

This stuff’s important, too, given that media — while not normally something that directly causes us to think or act certain ways — does subtly shape the way we view the world. It’s a reflection, a mirror in which we often see ourselves and those around us. Exploring, discussing, and even having fun with these issues is all well and good, but when it’s done cheaply or thoughtlessly, nobody really wins.

People argue and get hurt, and some even seek to hurt others — as they did (and some are still doing) here. That’s a damn shame. Fortunately, in this case fans spoke to Obsidian, Obsidian spoke with their backer and everybody reached a compromise. This isn’t the first time something like this has come up in games, and I doubt it will be the last, but it’s good to see people communicating to try and make things better.


  • I wonder if these people actually play the games, or just merely respond to criticism.

    • Fuck me…. I hope all companies have a bunch of transgender whining QA teams on board now…

      EDIT: It’s time to ask “What would transgender Jesus do?”

  • Boo!
    It was a joke. I also can’t believe that terms like transmisogyny exist. This is getting crazy, right?

    To me it reads like the guy had too much to drink, slept with a man and freaked out.

    Sometimes it seems like people are looking for ways to be offended.

    • I can see how this could be offensive. Considering it adds nothing of value to the game it should be removed if people voice concerns about it, which clearly they did.

      If you don’t find it offensive personally, then so what. Doesn’t mean it’s not offensive to others.

    • A lot of the comments here are surreal.

      You point out the people getting offended over transmisogyny – which is an entirely real thing – and ignore the hypocrisy in defending a lacklustre joke. When I use the word “defend”, it carries the connotation of being offended on the backer’s behalf. And in case you missed the article’s conclusion, everything was dealt with civilly, with no bad blood between Obsidian and the backer whatsoever.

      Jokes such as the above are harmful in the same way we contextualise racist humour. And referring back to transmisogyny, try googling the number of trans women killed for being who they are, be it via police brutality, spousal abuse, or socialised violence against xyz relevant stereotype.

      • Racist jokes are only funny when made around friends and are just that “jokes”

        This was in public and most people over react to jokes so it was a shitty move by the dev’s to let this pass.

      • Are you honestly suggesting that there would be just as much outrage if the joke was about a homosexual who was duped into having heterosexual sex? There’s absolutely nothing harmful about this joke except that it’s talks about how someone was deceived into having sex with someone that they wouldn’t normally have had sex with.

      • Serious question: When you say ‘trans women’ are you referring to a woman who was born in a man’s body, or a man in a woman’s? I’m so terribly confused.

    • While I don’t feel the pain in this case myself, being the butt of a joke is never fun.

      Put yourself into the shoes of a TG and what this would be saying is that somebody would be so traumatised by discovering your sexuality that they would commit suicide.

      In that light, the humour disappears.

    • I will not touch the issue of transmisogyny with a ten foot pole, but I completely agree that the source of this controversy sounded like a joke, and regardless of how funny people found it, there was no malice behind it. If such a thing were written in Game of Thrones I would not have given it a second glance, and I doubt anyone else would either. Huge difference between sexism and period related humor. Perhaps this was more provocative than much of the games other content, but so it is in life, this entire controversy being an excellent example. Sometimes less shocking and less than progressive elements can help emulate reality, and if people feel shocked, happy, or angry, that is up to them, not necessarily a statement made by the developers or even this particular backer, but a small piece of the world that potentially causes people to feel uncomfortable. No one is comfortable with everything, and blatant messages perpetuating hate should not be taken lightly, but I would think this is clearly an instance where no harm was meant.

  • This whole thing was the most infuriating non-story. The mental gymnastics required to turn this into something offensive are worthy of OIympic gold: The subject of the epitaph paid for his prejudices with death, and the (presumably) trans person suffers no harm whatsoever. But what’s the Internet without a little outrage.

  • So you’re not going to quote the responses from the person who allowed Obsidian to change the text? You know the person who paid to have it in there – the quotes are easily accessible.

    Also Stephen Fry said it best.
    “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

    • Well now I’m going to associate this story by how much I like Stephen Fry and his often apt and witty comments.

      That works out pretty well for me actually.

  • My favourite part is that the new text actually seems like a pretty clear shot at those who took issue with the first version…

    The fact that last tweet talking about how the ‘offensive’ text was removed and showed a screenshot quoting the WRONG section as if it was proof is also highly amusing.

  • I’ve also been following this bullshit non-story.
    There is nothing about trans people in the poem. It’s all up to the interpretation of the reader.

    And if a READER gets offended over something THEY interpret, why should it be changed?
    I’d understand if it was right there saying “dude slept with a transexual and he killed himself because of that exact reason” then that would be wrong and the complaints valid. But as it stands, it’s all in this girl’s head.

    It’s not all bad, I suppose. I’ve read that the offending text wasn’t removed, just moved to another location in game. And instead there’s a snarky zinger in place of the original poem.

    But really we should just nuke twitter, nothing good comes out of it.

    • You’d have to be an idiot to miss the trans connotation. “The last woman he bedded, turned out a man. And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.”

      For a moment I considered schooling you on basic comprehension skills, but no. I have better things to do than deal with operator bias.

      • Could have been a guy with long hair.
        Could have been a guy with just genuinely more feminine features.
        Could have (and given the fantasy genre the one I see most likely) just been a case of the beer goggles.
        Or all of the above.

        None of those say “well the person he slept with IDENTIFIES as a woman.
        Hell, it doesn’t even say he killed himself because he was sicked that he slept with man who identifies as a woman. He killed himself because he slept with a man.

        I’d say it’s homophobia at worst, though the comments on the forum thread had a good post about the whole thing is actually a joke at the guy’s machismo.

  • I don’t get it. I mean, it’s just a funny little bit of dialogue. Big deal. I’ve seen and heard things a hundred times worse in video games.

  • Obsidian actually contacted the backer who wrote it and asked if he wanted to change it or not, he agreed to change it to save Obsidian from having to put up with more bullshit.

    The most hilarious part is the new epitaph he wrote is a direct jab at the professionally offended, top form I say.

  • I know what the word Misogyny means, I’m confused as to what TransMisogyny means and I find this word offensive.

    Surely a man who went to the trouble of becoming a woman would be victimised by Misogyny because she identifies as a woman. There is no need for a word like TransMisogyny. Isn’t that word actually discriminatory. I find that Political Correctness has run amok, while I do think everybody should be treated with respect and fairness no matter what their gender, sexual persuasion. But you also have to understand that when presented with something people are not used to you need to give them a little bit of time to get their head around things.

    There is a difference between confusion, and lack of respect.

    The people who seem to be complaining about this don’t appear to be in the group who play the game or the group who this is meant to be offensive to. Perhaps if one of them said something it would have a deeper meaning.

    • Trans women use the word “transmisogyny” because it describes a unique set of circumstances that wouldn’t be adequately communicated with “misogyny” alone. Note that they also use the term within their own community circles, and encourage its use on a broader level.

      Likewise, much of this is beside the point. I find it curious as to how you’re concerned about their welfare re: possible “miss-labelling” rather than the crux of the article: jokes perpetuating transmisogyny. If your earlier statements of respect and fairness were sincere I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you read up on the topic and took a stand against situations similar to the above.

      And for all we know, they probably voiced their concerns in the first place. Kotaku can’t possibly fit every related tweet into the article, can they?

  • What a joke. I’m sick of hearing about ludicrously thin-skinned professionally-offended political correctness battlers. Why does anyone pay attention to these people?

    It was a silly joke. Maybe you didn’t find it funny. Maybe you had (ridiculously) thin skin and it deeply offended you. That’s not the writers fault or Obsidian’s fault and the claim that this somehow contributes to something that’s actually socially harmful is a load of crap. A light-hearted joke is not hate speech.

    Besides, a dude not wanting to sleep with somebody else with a penis (regardless of their sexuality or gender identity) is not transmisogny. It’s a person’s sexual preference. Obviously suicide is probably an over-the-top reaction… which makes sense, since the piece of text was a gag, not a serious social commentary.

    It pains me to see developers having to bow to these ridiculous demands less they incur the wrath of a massive social media horde of people who think that you should never say anything that might possibly mildly offend someone in any context for any reason.

  • I would like this increasingly idiotic site to actually engage in a discussion for once. Clearly, people don’t understand why or how this is offensive. I don’t understand why it’s offensive and one of my close friends whom I’ve known for nearly seven years now and identifies as transgender also doesn’t understand how it’s offensive. (she actually asked why someone SHOULDN’T react passionately to someone who has tricked them into sex, regardless of their sexual identity – which was my first reaction as well)

    I’m also curious as to why generalised statements with no clear indication of comprehension of the topic of writing narrative is given a moment. Anything people rationalise into a socially divisive act immediately becomes generalised with rubbish statements like “there’s a difference between…” or “lazy writing” in an attempt to justify whatever cognitive bias they’re feeling at the time. We acknowledge this almost only when it disagrees with our position and is noticeably absent when Kotaku sets its sights on a pointless moral crusade for clicks.

    Prejudice is entirely possible to commit against anyone at all, ANYONE. We all know this, what a group of critical people who are NOT prejudiced DON’T like is the constant simplification and generalisation of these scenarios. We are asked to deconstruct the offending text and whilst some will still react in anger, many people here are simply asking what is actually offensive in the text to the point where some are in disbelief at how patronizing the article and author is being despite failing to explain the basic situation and how we could empathize. Is there some sort of information we don’t know? Did I miss units at Uni? Are ALL of my friends lying? Is there something in the English language we missed that every offended party got? (we aren’t geniuses but many of us are educated by university and professional experience and also do social work)

    I consider myself progressive, I work in the social sector, have several transgender friends (who don’t actually know eachother) and cannot even remember if a single conversation about their preference has even taken place. I understand that as a cis male, there are many things I find hard to empathise with but I rarely find it impossible. Here, I do. I’m not sure that’ll change, either. I’m not sure if Grayson and Kotaku will paint all of us as misogynistic and ignorant like they usually do but I’m starting to really lose a lot of motivation to be a part of progress, at least as Kotaku envisions it, any more. I feel like a lot of the world wants to move on – which I’m all for – but everyone else is being treated with contempt and outright dismissed. There are many people who refuse to be a part of progress, there are many people who try to flat-out halt progress but I never felt like we’d all be treated the same like this. I never expected a “say” but I expected the opportunity to have the voice that everyone, everywhere deserves. Unfortunately Kotaku has chosen to sit atop their cushy, white-light throne and completely fabricate narratives with no opportunity for healthy, necessary, holistic discussion. We’re all just garbage to them, misogynistic, ignorant garbage. I’m definitely not with this one, does that mean I’m now against you?

    Guess only Kotaku can decide.

    EDIT: punctuation

    • I don’t claim to be an expert or primary source on the matter, but the offense may stem from the treatment of trans women as a punchline. In doing so, it serves to perpetuate the mindset of us vs. them, rather than respecting their dignity as human beings. This is especially important considering their daily experiences of discrimination, be it in social or political contexts.

      TL;DR: The joke in and of itself is mild, but it represents a symptom of a larger issue. Honestly, I don’t see the harm in changing it. A lot of the vitriol and controversy seems to stem from unrelated gamers being extraordinarily offended on the backer’s behalf.

    • What kind of discussion do you want?

      It is a flat out discriminatory joke. Pretending otherwise is just a flailing attempt to distract. This doesn’t need explanation to anyone with even vague comprehension skills.

      The issue is not simply OMG DISCRIMINATION as you seem to be focused on, it’s the effect of the discrimination. A discriminatory joke about straight white guys has little effect as straight white guys don’t feel bad about being straight, white, or guys.

      But many people carry scars and wounds from being treated badly by others and these ‘jokes’ can seriously hurt them – and contribute to actual real life issues such as suicide.

      On one hand we have Libertarians who don’t care about this due to the principle of ‘free speech’ – mainly because they are middle class CIS males to on whom these issue have no personal impact.

      On the other hand, other people understand that crappy jokes aren’t WORTH the damage they MAY cause to someone, especially when they are topics that illustrate how horribly humans can treat each other.

      How about jokes about molesting 5 year old children? Jokes where the punchline is ‘because he’s a dirty n*gger, lol!’? How about some puns about Jewish children screaming as they burn alive? Or a zinger about pulling a woman off the street, ramming her face into the wall and raping her while laughing?

      Sure, if YOU have no experience of these things, or have experience but for some reason don’t have trauma, the worst that may happen is that you feel uncomfortable.

      But do you need to ‘discuss’ the fact that to someone who was molested as a child, someone who is black, someone who lost family in the holocaust or someone who was brutally raped that these ‘jokes’ could cause immense psychological – and possibly physical trauma?

      ‘Oh but I know a trans person who isn’t fussed by this so why must these things be banned?’

      Sure, many will shrug it off. But we know this IS a serious, historical discriminatory issue that DOES impact on the mental health of many trans people to the point of suicide. What percentage of risk that someone will be pushed closer to self harm/suicide are you comfortable with? 10%? 9%? 0.1%?

      Some things are serious enough that maybe you just don’t want to make that crappy joke.

      And if you think defending an abstract principle on very, very weak philosophical grounding is more important than the risk of another person taking their life then you probably rate highly on the sociopathy scale.

  • If we really wanted to dig deep into the story, then we find out that this fictional transwoman allowed a man to believe she was a biological woman without coming out clear until the moment when they were intimate. Isn’t that reprehensible behaviour as well? But nooo, the fictional man was the wrongdoer and a ‘phobe for reacting in shock.

    Also, who said that the “woman” in question was actually “trans”? It could have been just a man in drag. This is why jokes should not be squeezed for meaning. What an humourless society this is becoming. People from small minorities actually hunt for reasons to be offended and make a public racket until everybody has to be careful of every little word and be ready to apologise over misinterpretations that other people project over them.

  • An act of suicide is equal to misogyny? Wow.

    The only message in this article is that your sexual preferences are completely okay, provided that you’re not a heterosexual. Would there be such an uproar if the person who killed themselves was a gay man who thought they were having sex with a transgender only to find out that she was in fact a woman?

  • jesus christ get some thicker skin this is absolutely ridiculous this is even news. also grayson stop posting this crap

  • Here’s the thing. While a large number of straight white dudes hammer their keyboards in OUTRAGE, the actual issue here is very serious.

    Trans people have a sky high chance of suicide because they are so roundly rejected by society. At best, they are a joke (see above). At worst, objects of vile disgust. Unless they can ‘pass’ perfectly, EVERYWHERE they go they are subject to constant discrimination and repulsion based on the simple fact of their essential identity.

    Now some of you fatter dudes may understand this – but times what you deal with by 100 or so and realise that a diet and exercise program isn’t an option for these people.

    So your huffing and puffing about OMG WHAT A NON STORY this is and LOL WHAT WE NEED TO HAVE TRANSGENDER HIV POSITIVE NEGRO MIDGET AWARENESS CLASSES NOW like a bunch of edgy Jeremy Clarksons is simply indicative of your lack of empathy and understanding.

    The only comment here that is valid is ‘jesus christ get some thicker skin’.

    Because when a trans person has had enough of being rejected instinctively by everyone they meet and tired of living a life as freak ostracised by a majority whose biggest concerns are how ‘PC’ everything is, then thicker skin may be the only thing that stops the razor blades slicing into their arteries.

    I’m not trans. Hell, I don’t think I’ve even met a trans person.

    But I’m sick of watching disconnected people heap on subjects that have real, fatal results to other human beings and then flounce off in smug satisfaction utterly ignorant of their contribution to the misery of others.

    • Except trans people aren’t being used as a joke in this case.

      The butt of the joke is a straight man who’s so insecure that after accidentally sleeping with another man (…since in the joke the person is identified not as trans or anything of the sort but simply as a man who was mistaken for a woman, for which there could be many explanations that aren’t gone into since that person is not the subject of the joke…) that he kills himself.

      A certain sub-culture of PC warriors have become so entrenched in the idea that everyone who isn’t part of their club are hatred-filled, ignorant jerks with no empathy for those around them (see your own comment for an example of this) that they see reasons to get offended in every small joke or offhand comment that can be misconstrued to relate, no matter how tenuously, to some cause or another.

      I understand that apparently when you look at the original text in the game you see something that’s contributing to a systemic condition of hostility towards trans people that has a tragic real-world cost.

      That? The idea that this stupid joke is actually hate speech? That’s in your head.

      The discrimination and hatred trans people face in real-life, and the cost that has is absolutely tragic. Nobody here is denying that. And nobody here is ignorant of it. There are probably a few people here who don’t care because there are jerks everywhere, but the rest of us? It makes us just as depressed and angry as it does you to think of people being cast out by their families or driven to suicide by the people around them because of their identity. It makes me fucking sick when I actually think about it.

      This joke didn’t do that. I know it didn’t do that because I know people who struggle with this shit in real life every day and I’d bet my life savings that they’d find this outrage over a (misinterpreted) dumb joke as silly as I do. Maybe it did offend a few people but, although you have a right not to be subjected to hate speech, this isn’t that and you don’t have a right not to be offended.

      • “are hatred-filled, ignorant jerks with no empathy for those around them (see your own comment for an example of this)” – Bub, I ain’t filled with hatred and I’m far from ignorant.

        But you’re right. I have no empathy for white middle class dudes whining about how OPPRESSED they are by POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD. If I wanted to see that level of reality-denying irony I would watch Top Gear re-runs.

        I’ll spell it out for you really simply, Daily Telegraph reader-level.



        It’s not about it being offensive so much as pointlessly risking hurt to someone for no reason.

        I didn’t say it was hate speech and it doesn’t offend me at all, other than the fact that crap jokes offend me.

        What offends me is all the middle class white guys screeching that their crappy little treehouse is being shaken mildly.

        As a middle class white guy I don’t like that people might assume I’m also a socially disconnected pseudo intellectual with libertarian leanings, as those people make up the most vocal commenters on these articles.

        So I speak up and try not to let the cognitive dissonance on show here affect my digestion.

        • You misread that part of my comment. I was saying that your comment was an example of people blindly accusing others of being hatred-filled, ignorant, and lacking in empathy, not saying that YOU had those qualities.

          There actually is a problem with removing crap jokes (and I agree it’s a crap joke… as old as the stones and I’m pretty sure it was never funny, but whatever) just because they offend someone. That’s the reason I choose to speak up about this stuff.

          In this particular case it’s not really a big deal, I’ll grant that.

          The reason this kind of stuff gets such impassioned responses (and you should really stop assuming that it’s only from middle-class white males, because that’s really not true) is that it’s symptomatic of a larger problem where language and discourse is becoming more and more restricted. There’s a very wide discussion on sexuality and gender identity going on right now. There are a lot of communities where if you don’t spend hours agonising over every sentence of anything you write to make sure that there’s nothing in there that any group can possibly interpret as a slight against them, you’d better not say anything, no matter how innocent. This attitude is becoming more and more widespread and it’s oppressive not to ME but to the discussion itself and ANYONE involved in it who wants to state and honest opinion.

          There are also many cases where you simply cannot state a point of view, not even respectfully, without being worried about a horde of extremely pissed off people making your online life a living hell. The problem isn’t people disagreeing with your point of view, it’s that people completely flip out. If you want examples of this, take a look at the reaction women who speak in opposition to modern first-world feminism get. It’s not generally a reasoned attempt to refute their argument. Also note that women are not middle-class white men.

          In that greater context of what’s going on right now in our culture, the removal of a crappy joke from a video game because it might offend some people (who, I’ll state again, I really think are misinterpreting said joke anyway) takes on more importance than it otherwise would. Because it’s one more example of both of those things. Nobody went over every line of text with a fine-toothed comb to see if anything could possibly be read in a way that might upset someone (nor should they have to) and the result is that they’re essentially forced to change something that shouldn’t be a big deal because if they hadn’t they would’ve risked a massive shitstorm.

          I guess ultimately it’s a philosophical disagreement. I don’t think that’s the way our society should work. If this had happened in a vacuum everyone would’ve shrugged their shoulders and gone on with their lives. Companies change things at the request of consumers all the time. What people are sick of is having to check themselves every time they open their mouths in a way that goes faaaar beyond the conventional wisdom of “think before you speak, and try not to be a dick” and more into the realm of “get a degree in a social science and extensively research what is the most recent ‘correct’ terminology before you speak (this changes frequently). After you speak go over what you just said with a fine-tooth comb to make sure nothing in it can possibly be misinterpreted by any party that might possibly exist into something that may be borderline offensive.” THAT is what gets people riled up.

          It’s what this represents in the current climate surrounding the discussion of topics like this that people like me actually see as a problem, not this incident in-and-of-itself. If you think that’s all okay (or at least better than the alternative) I guess that’s where this conversation ends.

          But hey at least we can agree that it was a crappy joke anyway. And that this particular case of something being changed at an offended party’s request is, by itself, not really worth being upset about.

          • ” it’s symptomatic of a larger problem where language and discourse is becoming more and more restricted.”

            Well, no.

            In fact, HELL NO.

            What is actually happening is dominant discourses are being challenged. That whole ‘political correctness’ nonsense is, well, nonsense. Those of us lucky to be at the top of the social pyramid are not having our lives messed with in even a tiny fraction of the way all the current rules of society mess with others to our (supposed) benefit.

            I’ll put it down straight for you.

            All of this – and #gamergate, and Sad Puppies and all the rest – is privileged people getting freaked out by having the dominance challenged.

            It really is.


            (and this is a big BUT)

            That’s fair enough.

            It would be amazing if they DIDN’T freak.

            Because the most apparent challengers of their discourse aren’t doing it very nicely.

            They – and I include myself happily in this – throw shade on these people who get OUTRAGED that anyone dare challenge ‘their’ status quo.

            And that is kind of sucky. Most of these dudes (and they are mostly dudes) don’t quite understand that they *are* privileged and certainly don’t see themselves that way. Because they are often people who aren’t at the top of the social pyramid either. They’re nerds, freaks and geeks and have also suffered discrimination.

            And gaming – and other areas – have been THEIR ‘safe space’.

            So when you have these – sigh – *SJWs* coming into these spaces and kicking off, of course they get threatened and start defending ‘their’ territory,

            This is the issue. Nerd hobbies have been almost exclusively the domain of middle/upper class white males for a large part of their existence. I should know – I’m a middle/upper class white male old enough to have been around for the majority of their existence. And the rules of these cultures – from language to visual representation, from content choice to delivery – all were written for us, originally.

            But now we have women, LGBT folks, people of colour and all other kinds of persons in these areas.

            And they are asking for these rules to be re-written to include them.

            That’s fair enough, I think. There’s more than enough here to share.

            But it will mean letting go of things that we have become used to, and that’s confronting for many people.

            And often they aren’t asking nicely.

            Thing is, the reason they often ask in ways we find upsetting is because they are driven by things we don’t understand. We simply have no context to grasp the kind of harassment or suffering that drives them and when it’s described, we defensively downplay it as that’s the easiest thing to do.

            It’s not a right/wrong thing.

            We all have perfectly valid reasons.

            Thing is, us people at the top have a lot more on our side.

            And that means we can afford to give a lot more – and when we do, we see that our small sacrifice can mean a huge deal to others.

            But overcoming that kneejerk selfishness is the problem and you do it through perspective.

            You realise that when you feel upset that you have to check something before you say it, you may be dealing with someone who is forced to feel the pain and shame of say, sexual abuse, simply because your choice of words brings it all back to them.

            How do you know? You don’t. So what you do is accept the small cost of changing the way you do things to prevent someone else suffering pain you can’t even imagine.

            You don’t have to do this. Not doing so doesn’t make you evil.

            But it does make you part of the problem as opposed to the solution.

          • I think that’s a good summation of what’s happening in the culture right now, and I really want to see more inclusion because a more diverse space is a more interesting one – one of the reasons I bother getting involved in these conversations is that I like hearing opinions that aren’t coming from the same place as my own.

            I think the disagreement falls on where, exactly, we should put the goalposts for what’s acceptable conduct and what’s not. Obviously everyone except for really vile assholes is going to agree that actual threats and blatant degradation should never be acceptable. Beyond that people seem to have different ideas. It’s a question of balancing people’s freedom of speech (even to speak crappy jokes) without too much fear of reprisal (disagreement is fair game, border-line or actual harassment isn’t) with the needs of people to feel safe and welcome in a community. An issue of… “censorship” is probably a word with overly strong connotations, but you get the idea… versus more freedom expression, even if that expression makes people (potentially very) uncomfortable. I think this is more-or-less where we disagree re: where to draw the line.

            I don’t really have much else to add, so, thanks for the conversation.

          • No, thank you. Normally I get goaded into being snarky by people unwilling to engage critical thought processes so it’s a seriously delightful change.

            You’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is, you need to have a conversation that is ‘equal’ to hash out where those goalposts should be, creating a catch-22 situation.

            Reality is, things WILL change. This will all calm down a bit and you will find that the ‘new’ people just create and carve out a larger space for themselves and many of the ‘old’ guard just generally retreat into a corner, screaming impotently like Jeremy Clarkson when someone gets his coffee order wrong.

            But what is cool is that over time many of the ‘old’ guard will come play in these new spaces and create some very cool synergies when they realise they have more in common than they realised with these ‘others’.

          • I want to argue against this. I want to be upset.

            I can’t do it. You are pretty much right and I consider myself one of those middle/upper class white males who are resisting change.

            My issue is that I can not get a grasp of why people get so offended. I’ll admit, I have not had a hardknock life, but I’ve faced my share of bullying and alike but it has never bothered me consciously. I laugh it off or (attempt) a witty retort. Because of my blasé look on such things people often find offensive, I find it difficult – if not impossible – to sympathise with people who are easily offended, no matter their reasons.

            Middle-Class White Guy

          • Wow, that’s awesome man. Kudos to you.

            OK, try this. You find it hard to sympathise with people who are easily offended?

            Let’s pick one. Let’s pick a ‘SJW Tumblrina’. You know the person. Young female, aggressively ‘feminist’, subscribes to a number of ’causes’.

            You got to ask yourself ‘why’? Well, I’ve known a lot of people like that. And one thing that was the most common unifying factor – though not universal – was sexual or physical abuse.

            So as a rule of thumb, I assume that to be the case from now on. And given the statistics on abuse against women being sky-high, it’s a pretty good bet that this vocal minority has a very high incidence within it, so it’s a safe assumption to make.

            It sure explains why they are angry – they are externalising their trauma into a related issue. Sure, #gamergaters didn’t personally abuse them. But the shield of male privilege that means sexual abuse is such a commonplace thing in our society is what #gamergate is really about (what, you thought it was about ethics in game journalism?).

            But why do they do this? Why not go after the real issue?

            Because it’s a damn sight easier to rail at some dude on the internet than it is to deal with the fact your uncle raped you when you were six years old and NO ONE DID ANYTHING.

            This is an extreme example but unfortunately a common one. And it extends across plenty of other areas in which these people have suffered at the hands of dominant social paradigms.

            That’s why they ‘easily offend’. Because in the smug ranting of some middle class white dude, safe and secure and totally oblivious to his privilege, they are having their face rubbed in the fact that the world is set up to heap crap on them.

            Think about it. Somebody can ‘trigger’ memories of your bullying quite easily – but since you’ve moved on and dealt with it, you can shrug it off.

            What’s being ‘triggered’ for many, many of these people is stuff so much blacker, darker and dirtier than you can imagine. They haven’t dealt with it and they externalise it.

            While you may argue that’s not the ‘best’ thing to do, well, there’s no other easy option.

            And they are right in connecting their personal abuse to these social issues – while individually it’s a long bow to draw, collectively it’s what the problem boils down to.

            Us middle class white guys rig the system. That sucks, and it allows some people to do some truly awful things.

            That’s why I’m in favour of these things being brought out in the open. I’d like to see those people stopped.

      • I’d say you nailed it pretty damn well, here.
        At the very least you’ve summarized how I feel better than I ever could.

  • Let’s see:

    – Kotaku posts article about how something may be OFFENSIVE
    – Bunch of the usual dudes start whining about how OFFENDED they are that other people GET OFFENDED SO EASILY

    Must be a weekday ending in the letter ‘Y’.

    Can’t we just stick to discussing important issues, like ethics in video game journalism?

  • The fact is, something that does not affect you (just going by a lot of the commentary above about people not having any experience with Trans peoples, or not even knowing what Transphobia or Transphobic misandry is– and that’s a mighty segue away from this particular topic anyway) has been removed from the game which doesn’t in any way alter the game for you. So what’s the problem with the company saying “Hey, of the people playing our game, only this small group of people have an issue with it, but we can alter it slightly, there will be no effect on the core game, so we can get them on side too. Bam, everybody wins.”? There’s no bigger picture to this other than the company wanting to be inclusive, and catering to it’s customers in a way that caters to as many people as possible without a marked change to the product. And I’m assuming that includes the backer, too, since they were asked to change it and did so willingly. So what’s wrong with that?

    This is what businesses do every single day. The implication of an objection to that seems to be an argument for exclusionary behaviour: ie “These people have an issue with part of our product, but who cares, they’re statistically insignificant anyway”. For a developer like Obsidian, with their client base and the tendency for internet dialogue to become extremely hyperbolic, extremely quickly these days, that’s just bad business practice and a looming pain in the PR backside. It’s not hard to see that this was a minor problem with a reasonable solution. The response might have a social inclusion element to it by default, even if it is for the purposes of self-interest, but it doesn’t make this some kind of hyperbolic crusade because they acceded to a group of people who had a problem with this limerick, as some ideologically driven ‘SJW’ types (such a loathsome term) or anti-PC rage warrior rhetoric would have you believe. Look at what actually happened and ignore the hotheads and you’ll see nothing unreasonable with this at all.

  • Society being so overly-sensitive and politically correct is just going way too far; it’s like something out of some crazy far fatched sci-fi novel; *cough* 1984 *cough*.

    I do love how the replacement poem is a dig at all the people who asked for this to be removed.
    “A poem he wrote in jest was misread.
    They asked for blood, so no he’s just dead.”

  • I don’t support any kind of transphobia or whatever, but I don’t see why we have to sanitise everything in a work of fiction to pretend it doesn’t exist.

  • If anyone’s seen the IT Crowd it’s exactly the same as the joke at the end of the first season. There’s nothing wrong with the joke it’s just that people are overreacting and taking it the wrong way, which is to be expected because there are 7 billion different opinions out there.

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