A week or so ago, Stuart Robertson, who I consider one of the cooler heads in the OSR scene and who I respect quite a bit, posted that he didn't want this OSR logo, which he designed, being used on products, blogs, or other places that supported and contained hate speech.
And of course the shit hit the fan immediately. A small number of very vocal people started bitching that somehow this was gatekeeping the OSR, and that their free speech rights were being abridged unilaterally. Another small but vocal group were complaining that they now felt compelled to use this logo or else be perceived as a hateful chud.
And so Stuart dropped off of G+ (it's dying anyway) and possibly the OSR scene in general.
Well, I feel bad because I didn't speak up right away about the issue. Life is hectic, and there are a lot of bigger concerns in my life right now than the latest round of "what is the OSR?" navel-gazing and arguments about what should or shouldn't be allowed in the OSR, and who should or shouldn't be allowed in the OSR. But now that Stuart is gone, all I can do is write this post as a better-late-than-never move to show my support for him.
First of all, let's look at the various claims. Is what Stuart posted gatekeeping? Is it abridging the free speech rights of other OSR publishers and bloggers?
I say a resounding NO. He never said you can't publish hateful content, or questionable content, or risque content, or anything of the like. He said if you do that and it might possibly be considered hate speech under Canadian law, don't use the above logo. You can publish a book on OSR Nazi baby rape if you like. Just don't use THIS logo on it. Your right to free speech is in no way affected by this, just your ability to use this symbol.
Second, is every member of the OSR who's not a hate-filled low life now required to use this logo to show that they're not a hate-filled low life? Of course not. Before this logo appeared, and after this logo appeared, there were plenty of other OSR logos to choose from. Check Google for examples. Yes, Stuart's one is at the top of the list, but there are plenty more.
Now, using the logo created by I think Benoist Poire immediately in the fallout of the above might seem to send a message like that. Hopefully not, as I don't think that was the intention of Benoist (but he'll have to speak for himself on that). But it does kinda look bad when one member of the OSR says he doesn't want his logo associated with hate speech and another member makes a new logo in response. It implies the new logo was created specifically for use by people who want to create hateful OSR products/blogs. Again, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the intention, but it does seem to send that message.
So what should you, the OSR blogger/publisher do? Well, if you're sure you're not creating hate speech products, use whatever the fuck OSR logo you like. If you think your products might contain hate speech under Canadian law, use whatever the fuck OSR logo you like EXCEPT for Stuart's one.
How is this a controversy again?
15mm Sci-Fi Paramilitary Police....
12 minutes ago