Out of curiosity, I recently asked game designers on Facebook what they thought about RPGnet. I did so in part because I’ve had difficulty in the past getting certain authors to do Q&As due to their mistaken belief that #rpgnet (the chatroom) is still affiliated with RPGnet (the website).
Below are some of their responses. I am not going to attribute the quotes to respect the authors’ privacy and desires not to alienate potential customers, and I totally understand if doing so leads you to take said quotes with a grain of salt.
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– Rpgnet has a reputation?
– If you don’t mind the left-wing agenda there, it is quite fine.
– I’ve had disagreements with individuals on RPGnet, but I’ve never had an issue with the moderators there. I was totally unaware of any “reputation” that RPGnet might have.
– In the past I’ve attempted to engage on the forums and been torn apart by people who don’t think much of the games I’ve created or published. Felt like an insular community very partial to the indie gaming scene — at least at the time.
– The moderators are, in general, very fair and I think it is definitely one of the best places on the web to talk about RPGs. I’d imagine the whole “no personal attacks against game authors” would make it at least a bit more friendly towards authors.
– The nontalented people seem driven to say everything a certain person does is crap. I haven’t appreciated anything I have seen there.
– Because it is a popular site, there have developed several “cliques” there, and group-think infects that place rather heavily as members will parrot the opinions of the more dominant members in order to fit in.
– All in all awesome place haven’t had a negative experience at all.
– I’ve been posting on RPG.net for going on, what, thirteen years now, as both fan and publisher, I don’t feel it’s unfriendly, and support the moderators and the policies on the whole. I don’t talk politics there, nor would I, but I’ve never felt the site had a problem.
– I’ve not had specific issues, although found many posters have the usual failing of replying in anger before reading and understanding. But I’ve felt the mods can be very heavy handed and know several designers who avoid it like the plague due to the ranting and negativity.
– Honestly, the impression I’ve always gotten is that it’s a snake-pit. Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but the vast majority of forum threads I’ve seen have been both negative and hostile to newcomers. The reviews etc are, however, extremely useful.
– I’ve had nothing for love for the authors on there and have not experienced any hostility. I have discovered a great number of new games and other awesomeness from the forums.
– I’ve found their game design forum to be a little insular and judgmental on occasion, but even then I’ve realized over time that the handful of bad experiences I’ve had there were less judgment and more simply attempts at giving constructive criticism in ways I didn’t want to hear — sometimes because I was so in love with my project that I couldn’t handle anything but praise, other times because I wasn’t explaining myself clearly, often both.
– I’ve been a poster there for a long time, and I’ll be honest. There is a bias, whether intentional or not. I’ve known people who don’t fit the bias driven away from the forum.
I know there are times when I’ve reported things to no avail, watching posters continue with their ways for some time with not even a warning. Part of the problem is that many long term forum goers have gotten skilled at staying just within the rules, yet still being hostile.
I don’t know if the moderators share the forums bias, but I know I’ve seen some posters get away with things (or other posters get in trouble for things) that in some threads would have been passable–if not for the fact that of who was active in the threads in question.
– I got really tired of the edition wars on RPG.net. Basically, if you cross the line fifty times but your beliefs are silently espoused by the moderator, you’ll get a finger-wag punishment. But if you cross the line once and your beliefs are antithetical to the moderators, you will be banned. (anecdotal opinion)
– I think what it boils down to is if the games you like are also liked on rpgnet, it will be a friendly place for you. If the games you like are NOT well recieved there, it will be a hostile environment for you.
– RPGnet as a community can be a little problematic. It seems that a large part of the forum is more concerned about tearing down games they don’t like rather than discussing them, to the point that the mods created a thread tag “[+]” to dissuade hostile screeds.
In the realm of social justice, I don’t know too many forums that allow overtly racist, sexust, or homophobic posts, but RPG.net can be rather judgemental/”holier-than-thou”. One example that stands out in my mind was the flogging Numenera got for having a succubus analog.
– …..so negative. …..so many trolls who hide behind a keyboard for their safety and lack social skills. There are a few nice people on the website but they a gems in a pile of coal.
– I quite like RPGnet. It’s a good place for me to get news and read reviews. I will look at the forums every few days and comment on relevant threads, usually about specific games of interest.
– RPG.net has always done well by me. Also, I find it to be well moderated corner of the internet.
– No strong feelings either way. I’ve run into the occasional mouth-breather with a political agenda there, but since I refuse to engage with such, it’s not big.
– There are tough rooms, and then there is RPGnet.
– I’ve had one positive discussion there. The rest were rants, tirades, and bullying. So I avoid like the plague.
– I lurk there pretty regularly, and have since my earliest days online (and well before I became a “pro”). In fact, it’s the only generalized RPG forum that I frequent.
– I find it difficult to participate in, with the super long, game-like topics and such.
– …the site… seems like it brews nothing but internet toughguy politics. Personally, this is the reason I avoid forums, because its always some keyboard commando with an opinion and a PHD on everything.
My experience was simple: I thought I was going to go there, have a conversation about games, get some insight on how best to build one and make a ton of friends. 1 conversation in, I vowed never to come back. Its been over 4 years now, I built a game, self published it, had a successful KS and did it ALL without a single imput from a single person there.
– Good general RPG forums. Very purple.
– My overall impression of RPG dot net is that it’s a toxic waste dump. (The only reason I have posted there was that someone else started a topic on [game name redacted] and I felt like I had to keep up with it.)
– I don’t know enough about it to comment on its general feel and usefulness, but it seemed friendly to me. I always feel like an outside on forums and chat-room style sites as I don’t use them enough, so the feeling of not being ‘in with the cool kids’ is one I get wherever I go
– I have no issues with it. Most of the discussions don’t interest me too much.
– I have nothing but good feeling towards RPGnet
– RPGnet is a cesspit of bullies with an agenda… People in the industry are afraid of these people. Even liberals like Monte Cook and Shanna Germain.
– My feeling is the place is very messed up. I am a liberal but I find the constant nitpicking over language, the attacks on designers for any perceived transgression, and the way the mods just cater to the loudest and angriest people, really, really off-putting. I feel like all it does is create a cycle of negativity where you can only win if you stay silent or join in the mob. As an RPG writer, I stopped worrying about appealing to that crowd long ago.