White Wolf have published new rules of conduct for their World of Darkness site. You may not rile up anyone with your posts, you may not troll, and you may not depict Nazi propaganda.
You’ll be forgiven for wondering if this sounds a bit vague and sweeping. After all, you don’t always know what will offend people and what they’ll get riled up about. Some people get riled up overs being hurt so easily.
But for White Wolf it makes sense. The name ‘White Wolf’ has never helped them escape the attention of the extreme right. More recently, the company has been forced to tell the alt-right to f*ck off in plain English.
The updated rules of conduct are necessarily strict to try and draw a line in the sand and get on with gaming. Good luck! I feel it won’t be such an easy thing to do.
As it happens the notion of ‘code of conduct’ is a hot talking point with publishers, especially computer game publishers, right now. Why? Guild Wars 2 publisher ArenaNet fired to developers for getting into a row with a fan/critic online. Nathan Grayson for Kotaku has a good write up about how the industry is responding. In summary, though, a code of conduct allows publishers to clearly define when a thing has been breached or when it has not. This clarity helps remove any arguments of favouritism or caving into the crowd from the equation.
As for White Wolf, they may now find themselves in the awkward space where they trust themselves to talk about dark issues like Nazi vampires (or just plain old murdering vampires) but not their fans. Only time will tell whether they’ve taken the right approach or not but Vampire: the Masquerade 5th edition is due out shortly and has had a lot of publicity as a result of the row. Let’s find out whether there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
You can study the new rules for The World of Darkness (dot-com) in your own time.