Controversial Figures in Fandom - Persona Non Grata Research Resources?

by Hawke Robinson published 2019/02/19 16:29:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:45:17-07:00
Once again someone has become (or apparently was for some time) persona non grata because of some terrible words or deeds. I'd never had any awareness of this person, but have seen over the past week a LOT of threads discussing. This lead me to wondering, is there anywhere someone outside of these insular community in-groups could find information about the controversial figures in various fandoms?

I have been involved with role-playing games since the mid-1970s. I began researching their effects in 1983, running programs in educational settings (in actual classes) since 1985, and in therapeutic settings since 2004. And even though I have gamed a _lot_, I did not really identify as a "gamer", and still do not think I am part of the gamer "in group" socially. I have so many other interests, hobbies, and until recently activities outside of gaming.

I have to say, as much as I spend so many days each week now engaged in the community activities using, and research projects studying the effects and use of, RPGs with many populations, I spend most of my time with non-self-identified-gamers and professionals (therapists, teachers, academics, analysts, etc.).

Most of the gamers I played with over the decades do not go to conventions and are not really part of the fandom in-group.

While I'm heavily involved with RPG, I am increasingly noticed the past year or two that I am definitely not in the in-group for the RPG fandom community. And I'm not sure that is a problem from a researcher and therapist perspective.

The only concern is if I accidentally cite, use, or associate with someone that is persona non grata and inadvertently alienate folks that would have otherwise benefited from my works.

I always seem to hear about these things months or even years after they happen. They are just generally not people I associate with or follow.

I am really not in the loop about most of the fandom rumors, and especially no idea the persona non grata of the day (or the past) might be.

This is not an area I wish to spread myself even more thinly than I already am on so many subjects, to try to become a subject matter expert about. I am hoping that various social psychology and similar professionals are spending some of their time researching these topics, and hopefully sharing the information to make some resources available to the public?

I don't even know where to even begin researching that really. I don't have time to randomly browse social networks and the webs trying to compile my own list. Has anyone out there already done so?

Prior to the threads this past week or so about the latest, this one beingsomeone referred to as "Zak S.", and only by accident I stumbled across for unrelated reasons, I hadn't any inkling about this Zak S. person (and still only vague general information at this point).

But he past week or so I have seen a lot of very long discussion threads from folks very impassioned about it.

It seems we are reverting back in many ways to the very 1950s style social censorship (sans official government censorship of that time), and increasingly McCarthyism-like and Orewellian in the deletion of existence, etc.

Another person told me to look up something about the "dick wolves" and Pax a few weeks ago, because they thought I needed to know about it. I had never heard of it before, etc. Just one of hundreds of examples over just this past 1-2 years it seems.

It seems a lot of other threads omit names with the assumption that somehow everyone knows. But I have no idea who the "they who shall not be named" actually is.

I agree a blacklist is bad news. At a general level I am already concerned about the fine line between appropriate cultural ostracization to adjust society in productive directions, but all too often that can cross the line and begin leading down the path of the whole scarlet letter style, Salem witch trial, shame storming thing, history and research repeatedly shows how dangerous group think mob mentality ignoring the rule of law becomes.

As a researcher and services professional, it would be nice to have some idea of what resources I could check from time to time that could at least put up some yellow flags "caution here". I can't possibly research every single individual I meet every day. I literally meet and speak with hundreds of new people every month, not counting public speaking to even larger numbers periodically.

Is there a site, or combination of sites, that list controversial figures that have had actual actions taken against (legal or otherwise as in the case of the pull-back of titles)? 

A research resources so that those who are so busy running programs and doing deep research, and not really involved in the fandom community, can at least have some kind of research resource list for those that have had actual actions taken?

There just aren't enough hours in the (my 100-120+ hours volunteer work-week) day to keep up with all the rumors, but if someone's works are actually being pulled down from the "shelves", or actual legal decisions have been determined in the court of law, knowing resources that keep abreast of such controversial figures would be very helpful from a researcher's perspective.

Ideally (though probably unrealistically) it shouldn't be resources that pass judgment, but simply list those that have had such actions taken (whether right or wrong).

Anyone aware of any such resources I should be aware of that I can add to my research tool belt?

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