Thursday, November 29, 2018

So it comes to this...

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.

He politely asked that if you want to post content or publish content which might be considered hate speech under Canadian law (where he lives), to not use this particular logo.

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?


  1. It's a shame, really. I like Stuart's work. I also like his logo, but I've never used it. What I find extremely stupid is that some people immediately jumped to the conclusion that not using the logo (or worse, using a different one) now somehow means that you're a hatemonger.

    1. That's exactly what prompted me to write this. It's not the "free speech" crowd (I think we all know who they are), it's the reactionaries who think Stuart's logo is now a necessary virtue signal.

      Use it for that if you like, but don't go assuming every person who uses another logo is a chud.

  2. I like Stuart's logo and I have used it in the past. I will continue to use since it a. has recognition, b. gives me a good old-school vibe and c. I have not put out offensive material and I don't plan on starting.

  3. As one of the people who asked whether or not non-use of Stuart's logo would immediately lead to being tarred with the same brush as people publish hateful material, I feel like I should point out this was in response to people suggesting that very thing in various communities.

    At the end of the day--as with most arguments--small numbers of vocal extremists one both sides scream the loudest and more considered approaches do not get the same airing because the purveyors don't feel the need to screech so loudly about them.

  4. Huh. I've never used Stuart's label on my blog. Wonder if folks are going to figure me for some kind of hate-monger (more likely they'll just figure I'm not very "old school").

  5. I don't consider someone a subhuman chud just because they don't use Stuart's logo. Maybe they like the look of another logo better, or, like me, they feel weird about using a logo designed by someone else.

    But everyone who raised a stink about Stuart changing his license? Yeah, I consider them to be subhuman chuds. Because, as I've said elsewhere, even a virulent racist, sexist, or homophobe can still use Stuart's logo as long as they keep their spasms of hate speech out of any blog, forum or product that uses the logo. Seriously, if someone can't exercise that minimal level of self-control, I can't really feel sorry for them.

    I've been tempted to start using the logo just to piss people off, but I can't be bothered.