Who is Afraid of the Big Bad RPC?
Most people reading this are at least somewhat familiar with the June Days, the 2018 Pride Month Crisis. Cliffs Notes version: Serious backlash from a vocal minority against a gay pride header logo and a botched official response made chaos the order of the day.
No raid close to that scale ever occurred thereafter, despite annual staff expectation of backlash. Staff expect a backlash every year because they think the only reason the protest was able to wash over them was because it was a bigoted attack and not a reaction to tone-deaf moralizing.
I am transgender. I support LGBTQ+ causes, because they are my causes. But it is irresponsible to place a spotlight on a targeted minority when your audience is primarily young white men interested in hardcore gaming in a post-gamergate world. The consequences were not considered and idealistic and naivety allowed members of the site to come under attack for the traits ostensibly being celebrated.
This is not a failure of any individual. It was a collective failure of the hierarchical system of self-selecting and well-meaning elites operating a machine that can only ever impose and punch down to enforce its decrees.
Little thought went into putting it up, and once the backlash began Staff decided to treat all opposition as morally indefensible regardless of actual veracity. This massively escalated things and the genuine outrage at the arbitrary and capricious actions of staff made them an easy target for the right wing outrage machine.
There is nothing inherently fascist about the RPC Authority. They do not have a moral high ground over SCP, casual racism and extremists still endemic problems for them but the community would not have survived as long as it has without providing something for its members beyond rage. It is closer to mainstream culture than some may like to admit.
The June Days were briefly destabilizing for the wider community but did not slow its growth one bit. Barring some major blunder, the chances of another raiding wave like that seen in 2018 are slim to none. Yet bringing it up today will still result in official sanction and grief. I’m putting my reputation on the line just bringing it up which is why it has to be everything at once. Inconvenient truths are for whispering behind closed doors, with solidarity to the party line in public unless you want to be ostracized forever.
The chilling effect on discussing the July Crisis is a tool the Staff system uses to maintain its grip on power. Treating every conversation like it’s in bad faith forever leads to lingering wounds that never heal properly. None of the individuals involved made the decision, but they are nonetheless instruments of a machine that exists to monopolize gatekeeper authority.
Haters dealing in drama-stirring can easily find out that pressing the LGBTSCP button will quickly summon a cadre of staff, curious new people wondering what it’s all about, and jaded veterans tiring of the same drama seemingly happening over and over.
Why fixate on the voices of a tiny minority with opposition based on wild imagined conspiracies? It may seem strange to let fringe conspiracy theorists live inside your head rent free until you realize how much of Staff legitimacy stems from prestige and gravitas. Ridicule, even a tiny voice from the fringe, is an existential threat.
This is a mob mentality and none of the participants are cognoscente in their participation. It’s impossible to see the inherent failures of hierarchy while you are a part of it.
Senior Staff has been successful in cultivating their creative space to be welcoming to most perspectives and even moderately successful at drumming bad actors out of their ranks, as far as hierarchical institutions go. Every individual is a good person trying to do their best. But despite their best intentions Senior Staff have repeatedly given their opposition ample ammunition to shell them until they are unrecognizable compared to who they were before. And those operating inside won’t notice a thing, because they buy into the system that does not have meaningful space for individual agency.
The Senior Staff’s influence has been tipping towards the tyrannical as they have grown larger. They will endlessly absorb new responsibilities and make their fate and the concepts of SCP intertwined forever. But SCP is bigger than Senior staff. As long as they claim everything they will always make enemies with nothing to lose.
This was originally written in 2018 as an editorial for the site news about not being reactionary in the face of bigotry or risk playing into their hands. It was quashed. The theme has been expanded since then, but the message is the same and everything that was true two years ago will probably be true two years from now unless drastic changes are made.
It is useless to assail the Senior staff directly, their oppressive institutions are inside a closed system. This makes the only way to express opposition be disrupting community spaces or lining up single file to be abused, unless you are bend-over-backwards levels of deferential and behave with sufficient awe. Chat operator power trips are a far cry from how they used to be, now consisting mostly of just not taking anyone seriously instead of actively seeking to abuse them. The result is the same almost every time. Ban appeals are almost never successful.
So, what is to be done? Press continuously until there is an admission of guilt, before that reconciliation of the problem cannot be accomplished. The fact that the staff changed the logo for the first time since 2018 to virtually no blowback shows it was only crass craven cowardice keeping them from trying again. They don’t care about standing up for their users. They want to look good but they don’t stand up for anything they claim to believe in. LGBT rights. Author autonomy. Creative freedom. These things are obstacles for the staff and as much as they might like to pretend otherwise, they are all to aware of their own flaws. This is their weakness, and exploiting it is the only recourse for those who want to make the SCP community free from fear and coercion.