Trans Awareness Week and Forum Moderation

Thursday, November 18, 2021

On the occasion of Transgender Awareness Week, we at Paizo want to reaffirm our support for our transgender colleagues, creators, and community members. We recognize that we've not always been there for our trans community members. While things are rough now, we as a company are dedicated to improving and providing a safe space for all gamers—especially trans gamers—to play, create, and be part of a thriving community where they are not only welcomed but celebrated.

We felt that this year, we shouldn’t place additional emotional labor upon our trans staff, creators, and community to contribute to a blog for Trangender Awareness Week. Rather, we wanted to address the issue of transphobia on our forums.

Many members of the community have noted a high amount of homophobic and transphobic posts recently. Let us be clear: these hateful posts are not okay under any circumstances, and those who make them will be faced with permanent suspension from the forums. Though our customer service department is doing their best to keep watch and address moderation flags, it’s clear that the volume of moderation needed on the forums in the last few months has meant that the team sometimes takes more time than usual to moderate a thread.

Transphobia is serious and removing it from the forums should take precedence over other more routine moderation tasks. Therefore, if you need to report transphobia on the forums, please don’t hesitate to contact customer service directly by email at customer.service@paizo.com with INTOLERANCE in the subject line. Any such hate will be dealt with swiftly and incur a permanent suspension.

While we realize that combatting discrimination is an ongoing process and this is only a small step, we hope that it can begin to make our community forums a place where all members of our community feel welcome, and more importantly, safe.

Thank you to our trans community members and other allies who have pushed us to be better recently. We hear you, we value you, and we will continue to improve ourselves, our games, and our community to earn back the trust we’ve lost. It’s hard to admit that we haven’t been living up to our values, but it’s the right thing to do, and we can’t move forward without doing so.

Please also consider donating to nonprofits benefiting and supporting the trans community—members of our staff recommend TGI Justice Project and Ingersoll Gender Center, though there are many great organizations doing the work that would value your contribution.

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22 people marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, following a version of a religion that specifically condemns trans people seems like so much work to me. The Bible doesn't even mention us. At that point, it's not really about the religion. It's about finding a justification to condemn trans people, and hey, since science isn't gonna cooperate...

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

56 people marked this as a favorite.

Posts removed for baiting and transphobia. There is absolutely NOTHING "philosophical" about another human being's existence. Leaving the initial post and my response (and keftiu's and thejeff's as well) so that if anyone else has the same question, they have an answer.

There is no debate to be had about it. Zero tolerance means exactly that, and, yes, that includes bad faith arguments.

For everyone else, Fergurg has been indefinitely suspended from posting. keftiu & thejeff, I removed your responses with the quotes from their now-removed posts, but thank you! <3

... you know I should really lock threads when I'm making a mod post. :P


14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I very much appreciate this change to the moderation policy.

Thank you.

I am not much of a poster, but I frequently visit these forums as a reader. The surge in transphobic comments here took a lot of the pleasure out of that, and it's a relief to see that addressed.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Much appreciated, Raychael!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you. This is much better than it was.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Raychael, thank you. This very clear post is going to be very helpful.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

20 people marked this as a favorite.

As Tonya mentioned in a previous post, we DO have other things in the works for the forums, and we've been reading your threads on what you want to see in moderation/community/etc.

We have a lot of people helping us keep an eye on this particular thread in order to keep it a safe and transparent place, but as a caveat: We're going to mess up, we're going to miss things. I don't want our current, "email us if something is terrible" policy to be permanent (we recognize it's unfair to expose you all to it), but in the meantime, THANK YOU.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just wondering what is the difference between permanent suspension and a ban?

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I have only posted a couple of times in this forum. But this decision makes me want to be a part of the community to a larger degree.

Thank you.

Marketing & Media Manager

16 people marked this as a favorite.

The Pathfinder and Starfinder Community Content Creators (who use the Community Use Policy) are now planning a community stream event for Trans Day of Visibility next March. I plan to hype it with the Paizo accounts. Any Pathfinder 1e, 2e, Pathfinder for Savage Worlds, or Starfinder podcaster, streamer, etc who wants to get involved can join the Discord. (It occurs to me that there may be "5e" content creators playing Pathfinder once the Anniversary Edition of the Kingmaker Adventure Path comes out, but not by March. *gasp*) DM me or email press @ paizo.com for an invite. Actually, I want to hear from everyone I may have overlooked.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Azouth wrote:
Just wondering what is the difference between permanent suspension and a ban?

Suspension means that you can no longer post on the forums, but you still have your account, purchases, etc. A ban removes access to everything and you're no longer able to log into your Paizo account.


18 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a good decision, those "Oh, it's past Seattle working hours? Tee hee, let's discuss the academic topic of whether trans people are people" twerps were getting a bit long in the tooth.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Raychael wrote:
Azouth wrote:
Just wondering what is the difference between permanent suspension and a ban?
Suspension means that you can no longer post on the forums, but you still have your account, purchases, etc. A ban removes access to everything and you're no longer able to log into your Paizo account.

Oh, thanks for clearing that up.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Can I ask if you have any way to detect transphobic sock puppets, because I'm afraid this policy may just see an increase in them.

Customer Service Representative

23 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed a couple of posts that were directed at the poster who is no longer here and unable to reply.
Thank you all <3


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm delighted to hear this, I think removing some persistent negative voices will improve the community greatly. I really think stronger consequences for this kind of thing will make a nicer community and less mod work in the long run.

Spoiler for personal anecdote:
I had stepped away from the forums quite a lot after the political threads were banned a few years ago. Not because of that ban itself (I understand the mods have enough to deal with really!), but I felt like a lot of the problems with them had been caused by a small group of consistent 'bad actors' who didn't really face meaningful consequences. I really didn't like seeing people who I felt had consistently tried to shut down marginalised voices effectively 'winning'.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

My usual means of conveying approval is the nodding Robert Redford but alas, no gifs. I'm really happy to see this change, though. I want to see this community thrive, and I always rather enjoy some posters stuff, like Rysky or KC.

finger guns all around

Grand Lodge

Logan Harper She/Her wrote:

Removed a couple of posts that were directed at the poster who is no longer here and unable to reply.

Thank you all <3

Always happy to bite a transphobe and make it clear they're unwelcome!

Thank you all for cleaning out the trash :)


7 people marked this as a favorite.

If people are going to be at risk of currently losing access to their Paizo accounts, I hope we get a clearer standard of what behavior is and is not acceptable. I don't agree with a policy that seeks to silence and punish speech simply because it offends some portion of the population. In this very thread, you can find posts that are critical of religion which some people may find offensive. However, those posters are not facing suspensions or bans. I don't understand where the line is being drawn. Who is it okay to offend? What speech is protected? Am I going to lose access to my Paizo account simply for raising these types of questions?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber

Apparently not, as per Raychael's reply, bad forum behavior only means a suspension and not a ban.

I can't imagine what you'd have to do to merit a ban but it probably involves committing credit card fraud.

Silver Crusade

20 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Raychael already made that abundantly clear. If you have to ask where the line is, you're probably already pretty close to it. Defining a clear line is asking posters to skirt right up to it and then go "nana I'm not technically breaking the rules :PPPPPP" She also clearly defined the difference between a ban and a permanent suspension, in which you won't lose access to the store or things you've purchased, just the ability to post to the forums.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

38 people marked this as a favorite.
Hartan wrote:
If people are going to be at risk of currently losing access to their Paizo accounts, I hope we get a clearer standard of what behavior is and is not acceptable. I don't agree with a policy that seeks to silence and punish speech simply because it offends some portion of the population. In this very thread, you can find posts that are critical of religion which some people may find offensive. However, those posters are not facing suspensions or bans. I don't understand where the line is being drawn. Who is it okay to offend? What speech is protected? Am I going to lose access to my Paizo account simply for raising these types of questions?

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that this is a bad faith argument. However, in an effort to prevent further questions of this type, here you go.

People are NOT opinions. I struggle to understand what possible, hypothetical post someone might make about our trans community members that would erroneously get someone suspended (suspended, not banned, you still have your account, purchases, heck, you can even continue to read the forums).

I'm willing to guess that some people may be concerned that we're going to start suspending folks for actual opinions, like if magic or martial classes are best. Don't worry, we're not although sometimes..., but you will get suspended for speaking ill of someone on the basis of, hang on, let me check our community guidelines:

"Posts that contain content that endorses hatred or violence on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexuality, or for any other reason are not welcome on paizo.com."

We're very specifically calling out transphobia because it's been a recurring issue and also isn't specifically mentioned in the above. I promise, unless you go out of your way to be transphobic in your posts, you're fine. Enjoy the products, enjoy the games. But our trans community members are as valid as ANYONE else and we're not going to subject them to hate.

As for the posts about trans people and religion, it's less about religion and more about how people use religion. There's an important distinction.

Sovereign Court Director of Community

19 people marked this as a favorite.
The Inheritor wrote:
Can I ask if you have any way to detect transphobic sock puppets, because I'm afraid this policy may just see an increase in them.

We can, and will, be on the watch for just such shenanigans and they will get the full moderation salute instead of the perma-suspension variety.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Thread unlocked! Thanks for your patience! I'm around until 5:30 PST, so I'll keep this open until then to make up for the lengthy time it took me to write up my post above.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Huzzah!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Raychael wrote:
People are NOT opinions.

I'm going to remember this phrasing. It's really effective. I guess what I should say is it hits home.

Raychael wrote:
I'm willing to guess that some people may be concerned that we're going to start suspending folks for actual opinions, like if magic or martial classes are best. Don't worry, we're not although sometimes...

I giggled aloud at this and startled the cat.

*Martial classes fan voice* She's talking to you, Caster fans

:P

Silver Crusade

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Raychael, you have been an absolute rockstar tonight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber
Raychael wrote:

As for the posts about trans people and religion, it's less about religion and more about how people use religion. There's an important distinction.

This seems like hair-splitting and a niche carve out. I'm not interested in your opinions on my religion, or how it's "used" here on a tabletop gaming forum anymore than someone else might be interested in hearing someone's opinion on whether their existence is valid.


12 people marked this as a favorite.

I actually expressed a very positive attitude towards Christianity, which makes sense, considering I generally still describe myself as Christian. :)

EDIT: I guess I criticized transphobic Christianity, technically? But that shouldn't be controversial, since I'm not criticizing Christianity, I'm criticizing transphobia.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Raychael wrote:
As for the posts about trans people and religion, it's less about religion and more about how people use religion. There's an important distinction.
This seems like hair-splitting and a niche carve out. I'm not interested in your opinions on my religion, or how it's "used".

Are you using your religion to be transphobic?

That's the question. If not, then there's no problem. If so, then you're still being transphobic and it being your religion isn't an excuse.

The religion isn't really the issue. The behavior is.

Edit: Also as far as I can tell, any posts attacking religion more broadly have been deleted.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

If you can't see how religion (particularly organised religion) can be used to harm and hurt people; that it is okay to criticise that harm and hurt without spreading religious hatred / hatred of anyone of a particular religion (which is often tied to racism); and that those criticisms are different from the transphobia faced by trans people...

I don't know how else to explain it.

Sovereign Court Director of Community

25 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Raychael wrote:

As for the posts about trans people and religion, it's less about religion and more about how people use religion. There's an important distinction.

This seems like hair-splitting and a niche carve out. I'm not interested in your opinions on my religion, or how it's "used" here on a tabletop gaming forum anymore than someone else might be interested in hearing someone's opinion on whether their existence is valid.

It is the Paizo forums and we can hair-split and niche carve all we want to protect the more vulnerable members of our community. We are not offering opinions on religion, just a suggestion you follow the golden rule to do unto others. If this is not a stand you like, we will politely say goodbye at this juncture


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Raychael wrote:

As for the posts about trans people and religion, it's less about religion and more about how people use religion. There's an important distinction.

This seems like hair-splitting and a niche carve out. I'm not interested in your opinions on my religion, or how it's "used".

Frankly, if you're having trouble finding the line it may be easier for you to not discuss religion here at all. No religious opinions expressed here ought to infringe upon or invalidate the existence of others.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

19 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay folks, locking up for the evening! Thank you again for your patience! Because I haven't mentioned it yet, any concerns you have can always be emailed to us at either customer.service@paizo.com or community@paizo.com. We'll open this back up in the AM!

Customer Service Representative

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Good morning friends! Thread is unlocked. Happy Friday!

Grand Lodge

17 people marked this as a favorite.

"I need to know, explicitly, where the line is [re:transphobia] in order to decide whether or not I wish to stay."

Maybe if you need transphobia minutia defined so you can avoid stepping over the line, you should consider why you need to operate so closely to the line as to worry where it is, especially in a community who are very sensitive to where that line is and the general expectation is that we will all willingly stand well away from it.

Or, if Paizo determines your commentary is transphobic you will be banned. This isn't a math problem. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and waddles like a duck, its not a chicken, even if you insist that it is.

IMO, the issue is easy to parse. First, if you believe in something, you shouldn't be afraid to speak your mind regardless of what people think. They are your beliefs after all. If you are afraid to speak to your beliefs, then maybe you should consider why you are resistant to do so. If it is because they will not be well-received by a specific audience, then maybe you are in the wrong venue. If it is because it might not be well-received by most/all audiences, then maybe you need to reconsider your beliefs.

If you get banned from a forum or venue for speaking to the convictions of your beliefs, what's the problem? For centuries people have been shunned for their beliefs. If they are right, then it will promulgate and eventually you will be praised for your stance, or at least accepted. If not, well then you need to change your beliefs or just go away. The logic is fairly simple.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Personally I appreciate any line drawn when it comes to phobic behavior to be extremely wavy.

That way people who think toeing the line is a good idea won't know if today is the last day they will be able to post.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

"While things are rough now, we as a company are dedicated to improving and providing a safe space for all gamers—especially trans gamers—to play, create, and be part of a thriving community where they are not only welcomed but celebrated."

I may have encountered some language barrier in here as English is not my first language, nor do I live in US. Could someone elaborate on the context of this fragment, because it seems like all gamers should be welcome, but emphasis is being put on trans gamers as If they were special unlike i.e. female gamers, gamers from opressed ethnicities or poorer countries, gamers being discriminated because of their religiom (or lack of)? Thank you.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

It's not.


16 people marked this as a favorite.
Vasemir wrote:

"While things are rough now, we as a company are dedicated to improving and providing a safe space for all gamers—especially trans gamers—to play, create, and be part of a thriving community where they are not only welcomed but celebrated."

I may have encountered some language barrier in here as English is not my first language, nor do I live in US. Could someone elaborate on the context of this fragment, because it seems like all gamers should be welcome, but emphasis is being put on trans gamers as If they were special unlike i.e. female gamers, gamers from opressed ethnicities or poorer countries, gamers being discriminated because of their religiom (or lack of)? Thank you.

The emphasis is being put on trans gamers because there were allegations of discrimination against a trans employee and in the wake of that going public there has been a lot of transphobic behavior here on the boards. They're emphasizing it because it's the current issue, not because it's inherently more important that other kinds of bigotries.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vasemir wrote:

"While things are rough now, we as a company are dedicated to improving and providing a safe space for all gamers—especially trans gamers—to play, create, and be part of a thriving community where they are not only welcomed but celebrated."

I may have encountered some language barrier in here as English is not my first language, nor do I live in US. Could someone elaborate on the context of this fragment, because it seems like all gamers should be welcome, but emphasis is being put on trans gamers as If they were special unlike i.e. female gamers, gamers from opressed ethnicities or poorer countries, gamers being discriminated because of their religiom (or lack of)? Thank you.

Because one of the issues that kicked of #PaizoAccountability right before GenCon was systemic policies that were transphobic within Paizo, and ever since then trans members on these forums have been specifically attacked by a subset of posters. A metaphor we have used in English (or at least in Canada) lately is that everyone deserves healthcare, but it is the person whose leg got broken in an accident who needs immediate attention. Same thing here. All the groups identified are welcome in these forums and at time do need moderation to keep this place a safe space. But right now, the forums have a transphobia problem, so it is being specifically called to reassure our trans community members and to warn off those who would try to make this place unsafe for them.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Also because it is specifically trans awareness week. Paizo has taken the time recognize various weeks and months for dimillar groups in the past.


12 people marked this as a favorite.

Before anybody asks "so Polish People Awareness week when, #polishlivesmatter" a) Paizo doesn't have a history of ... ummm ... polonophobia at workplace that we know of and b) anti-Polish sentiment on forums was mostly limited to Gorbacz harping on his own kind, but luckily he's gone now.


12 people marked this as a favorite.

Why would anyone dis the Polish? They have such cute little fluffy-feathery heads, and they're so affectionate and goofy, I don't--

Oh. You meant the nationality, not the chicken breed.

Customer Service Representative

17 people marked this as a favorite.

We make awesome pastries too.

Dark Archive

12 people marked this as a favorite.

I struggle to comprehend the knee-jerk selfishness of "This social issue doesn't benefit me, why should it be highlighted. When's my special day?"

I applaud you folks who are answering these questions with grace and temperance. I'd be far more combative, considering I find it very difficult to view such questions as anything other than bad-faith attempts to argue for clarification in a weak attempt to demonstrate that these efforts are unnecessary.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Perogies forever!

Proud Polish-American here indeed.

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