The Slow Self-Strangulation of the RPC Authority, a breakdown
by Harmony B
Since 2018 the RPC Authority has been defying the odds by continuing to exist in spite of mounting hostility from mainstream containment fiction writers, massive internal instability and multiple faction-based schisms. But with the recent departure of long term administrator Coupon, it can be said that any chance RPC had to rehabilitate itself in the long-term has finally departed. There is no future for the Authority. What began as a movement protesting the heavy-handed tactics of the Anglo-American SCP Wiki’s staff became a naval-gazing venture into debauchery. The nature of what heavy-handedness was being resisted, the method chosen for representing queer folks during the designated gay pride month, invited in reactionary cultural elements who ensured that there would be no pivoting to respectability.
The RPC Authority’s defenders, and they do exist, will largely cite the same trio of rationales to deflect criticism of the RPC Authority: claiming criticisms of bigotry are overblown, that they have counterfactual arguments that disprove the criticism, or that none of the negative aspects of their community are important because the parts of the community engaging in the behavior aren’t participating in the writing. This breakdown will show in detail how the first claim is absurd, the second irrelevant, and the third is the core of why the RPC Authority’s death is coming sooner rather than later.
The existence of trans folks, or other minority groups, does not excuse the intolerance which is extant within the RPC Authority’s community. The fact that one of their top writers identifies as transgender doesn’t mean anything when the community is overall hostile towards all transgender people who aren’t okay with the highly toxic transphobic rhetoric espoused in the RPC Authority’s community on a daily basis. The argument of “we’re not transphobic, we just choose to not take transphobia seriously and only indulge trans people who swallow it without being bothered” is just a long-winded way of expressing explicit transphobia. The same goes for just about every other type of bigotry one can imagine.
Searching the RPC Authority’s Discord server chat space reveals that there are hundreds of thousands of individual slur uses which have been logged dating since the June 2018 founding of the community. This article will not go into specific detail, but this data is available for research purposes. It is not being included in this article so as to avoid belaboring the point ad nauseum. There can be any individual justification for any individuals saying these, but their collective weight shows a pattern of casual slurring of minority identity which are calling-cards of the bigots, the intolerant, and their hateful ilk.
The Anglo-American SCP Wiki is indirectly responsible for creating the RPC Authority, the fact that it continues to exist is their direct fault. Caro, the only competent head admin the community has ever had, served in that position at the pleasure of the SCP Wiki staff as she was engaged to one of their administrators. At any point, if the SCP Wiki staff had put pressure on her by using that personal connection, the entire RPC project would have been foundered. Instead, the SCP staff were bemused by the situation and collectively chose to sit on their hands. Their lack of action during the most critical period of the RPC Authority’s early history is what allowed it to continue existing to this day. This use of hateful language was apparent even then, but when given the opportunity the SCP staff chose to do nothing but watch and judge. They could have stopped it but they chose to stand by and wait for events to play out, as a result the RPC Authority was able to consolidate and set up the basis under which its community still operates.
That community is operating on two different tracks. There is the always-shrinking pool of writers and the general population, generally interested in a neverending edgy humor arms race seeing who can go the furthest without losing plausible deniability in case an outsider ever challenges them within their safe space (for racism). This cultivation of a side of the community entirely uninterested in writing has been seen as an expedient to keep the community alive in the face of overwhelming apathy towards the interconnected whole universe they’ve put so much effort into creating, curating, updating, and maintaining. This incredible effort will almost certainly never be appreciated as much as it otherwise may have because of how off putting and toxic the community around it is, combined with how disinterested most of those folks are in reading or contributing to the creative endeavors of RPC at all.
As of December 11th 2022, 96 standing pages have been created on the RPC Wiki. Of those...
11 are fragment pages to supplement a main article.
10 are hub pages or writers' guides.
8 are themes or administrative pages.
3 are translations from other branches.
1 is an author page.
3 are placeholder pages that remain incomplete.
This means that only 60 original RPC articles, tales, and character documents combined have been submitted in 2022. Of those...
6 were written by BetterMyButter
4 were written by 8ismo
3 were written by Tsnophaljakarax
3 were written by Big Mark
3 were written by Capitano Nox
2 were written by Superspambot
2 were written by Dattop
2 were written by SovereignAuthority
2 were written by H F Dummie
2 were written by Unknown_Chan
2 were written by House Opera Glass
1 was written by DoubleDenial
1 was written by TheGreatTarbolin69
1 was written by ICFD
1 was written by Almarduk
1 was written by DrXOUBLE D
1 was written by Jokezm
1 was written by The Son of Man
1 was written by ThatUnknownVoid
1 was written by Superphenomena
1 was written by 24ayn5
1 was written by CptCornCake
1 was written by Von Pincier
1 was written by Hellsverg
1 was written by BBTBaphomet
1 was written by rotifer
1 was written by Bro dude
1 was written by Vizlox
1 was written by BallYT
1 was written by OkayPJ
1 was written by Prototype_Toaster
1 was written by TTPY
1 was written by DonnyFox
1 was written by thatowldude
1 was written by mew xd
1 was written by KarmaKarmy
1 was written by antdem0n
3 were collabs or collaborative lore pages
Worth noting is that of the above individual authors, 14 joined in 2018, 7 joined in 2019, 4 joined in 2020, 7 joined in 2021, and 5 joined in 2022.
Only a third of content produced in 2022 was written by authors who joined the wiki in the past 2 years. By contrast, around the same amount was contributed by those who joined within the first 6 months of the wiki's creation.
The RPC Wiki remains heavily reliant on the efforts of its oldest members to function and receive content. Most of the authors who joined the wiki in the past 2 years contributed a single page this year before seemingly losing interest. It is undeniable that the RPC Wiki is stagnating and experiencing severe difficulty retaining new members. The outlier is BetterMyButter, who joined in 2021 and has contributed an unusually high level of new works and critique.
Furthermore, the number of people interacting with RPC articles is quite low. The page from 2022 which has so far received the highest number of individual ratings is RPC-470, with 22 ratings. Many receive less than half of that. This is strange for a wiki with 2423 registered users and 261 total authors according to the statistics page.
Those who are familiar with the RPC community know that there is a stark contrast between the small writer base and those who exclusively chat in the discord server. Though there is overlap, both groups are functionally their own entities. Many members of the official discord server have little interest in the site itself, and stick around only to keep in touch with old friends, soak up drama, or discuss current events.
Evidence of the above issue can be found in the lack of community interest in official contests, which are publicly announced on all platforms and social media. "Broader Horizons", which was open from March 6th through April 3rd, received 8 entries. "Caribbean Deep", which was open from July 25th through September 21st, received a mere 3 entries, even after an extension.
Additional insight can be found by examining trends in the data. It's worth noting that 292 standing pages were created in 2021 - over 3 times more than this year. The number of pages created in 2022 is also uneven when examined month to month. About 64% were created from the start of January through the end of June. Only two pages were created in November, both by the same author. Nothing has been added in December yet.
This year, RPC was rocked by multiple scandals, the biggest of which was the angry exodus of Croal and KaiserXI, two old and previously respected staff members. The impact on morale has been impossible to ignore, and it remains unclear if the RPC Wiki will be able to recover its prior momentum.
From the outside looking in, the RPC Authority appears to be a mess; a closer inspection of its operations will do nothing to disprove that assumption. Most of the instability and incoherence is coming directly from the top. Specifically, the long-serving leader Blairin. This man is demonstrably incompetent, incredibly insecure, intolerant, and idiotic. He is the unchallenged leader of the RPC Authority, a position from which he has spent most of his time either making egregious mistakes that cost him politically or alienating key community members.
But his political instincts for survival are a saving grace, for Blairin is a political escape artist. By courting the reactionary elements within his community Blairin has carved out a permanent spot for him at the top and has the ability to nip any attempts to unseat him in the bud. Blairin is a poster child for the “ironic” use of bigoted rhetoric which debases his entire community. Some examples are as following:
In addition to enabling his community to behave like racist children, Blairin has also allowed for known abusers to operate in his community without telling his staff. A former RPC Authority community member, Liberonscien, had been using that community as their hunting ground and this was discovered by Blairin, who did nothing to stop it until the rest of the RPC staff noticed in early 2021. The action he did take, doxxing Liberonscien and telling him to stop, did not actually incentivize ceasing the abusive behavior and in fact only served to make Liberonscien appear to be more sympathetic, muddying the waters of an easy clear-cut abuse case. Instead of taking decisive action, Blairin made a choice that was both incorrect and ineffective. This is typical of his decision-making as the head of the RPC Authority.
Another example would be the recent departure of long-time administrator Coupon, along with her partner and fellow staff member Kaiser. The beginning of the incident was Blairin making disrespectful jokes at Coupon’s expense, which was confirmed by those who heard it. Kaiser called Blairin a weasel for denying it, which escalated to Kaiser and Coupon being hounded into quitting the community.
While the RPC Authority staff put out a statement which downplayed the personality-driven nature of the incident that doesn’t change the fact that Blairin alienated the two most competent people who were serving his community, one of whom is easily the most competent and driven staff member at his disposal, for absolutely nothing. For readers familiar with the SCP Wiki’s staff, imagine if Dr. Gears had called Zyn a slur and then denied it which caused Zyn to quit the site. But still, Blairin managed to hang on in spite of his demonstrable incompetence damaging his community. Blairin is a political escape artist, a consummate fail-son.
So what makes all this a slow, public self-strangulation? All of these unforced errors, the toxic community, incoherent staff incompetence, the disconnect between the writers and their wider community, the excessive hatred, it all adds up to make a community not many people are interested in participating in. Of those, even fewer stick around. A third of all articles written in 2022 were written by old-guard authors who joined within the first months of the RPC Authority’s existence. Five articles were written by first-time authors, and of those five, not one wrote a second article. There is a cadre of hardcore contributors keeping the lights on. When they are gone, there is nobody coming to replace them. They will leave, one by one, until the center is entirely gone. When that happens, the gravitational pull of other communities or obligations will peel people away until only the hardest of the die-hard remain. When they are gone, it will be nothing. They could have been anything, instead they became RPC and upon their demise shall be swept from our memory and into the dustbin of history. Deprived of all oxygen, with its nose cut off to spite its face, the Authority will die a monument to missed opportunities.