"A Broader World" – Kenny Wisdom on the Community and What You Can Do About It


#1

This is the companion discussion topic for this article.


#2

Well, I suppose it’s somewhat fitting that this is my first post here in SixPrizes. I find is quite saddening that the community is as toxic as it is, seeing as it is one of only a few communities I am a part of.
I am glad to see people speaking up about these kinds of issues, because it is a problem we all have to deal with.


#3

It is first and foremost that I come to Sixprizes to find deck advice and discussion on how to make my skilled play of Pokémon better. Secondarily I come here to find advice for my children. I do not come here for politics and I DO NOT want my son’s first introduction to Feminist ideology to be from a game site that I trusted to stick to the game. As a father of a son and daughter who both play and have played for now several years, I would be WELL attuned if there were concerning behavior exhibited in the community I interact with in person as well as online. There is NOTHING that has led me to have concerns.

There is always room to discuss good sportsmanship in a game. That is irregardless of gender. But to push partisan political ideology is not only uncalled for, but it detracts from the game.

If you can’t address the issues of player behavior in gender neutral terms, then I believe THAT person is the problem. THEY see gender and their ideological paradigm will naturally color their perception to see offenses and “misogyny” where none exists.

Based on this article I will have to terminate my son’s account as I can now not trust Sixprizes to be politically neutral. And I won’t be getting an account for my daughter as I had planned for her birthday.

Promoting a message of fairness and equal respect shouldn’t come wrapped in a gendered, feminist theory laden diatribe accusing the game of “toxicity” and “misogyny”.

Sixprizes, as a player I’m disappointed in your editorial choice. But make no mistake, I’m angry as a parent that this was allowed to be published where my young children could see it under the pretense of being from a trusted source about the game.

Edit note: The ending paragraph (now in italics) was written with the understanding that each writer on Sixprizes was a member of site staff. I now understand they have a framework of guest writers who may make comments and remarks not necessarily reflective of Sixprizes position. In fairness to the site staff (who have been exceedingly gracious) I wanted to edit this to reflect for future readers.

Edit note 2:

Seeing as the proponents of the article are keen to mischaracterize my objections (which I’ve clearly laid out over multiple posts), here they are up front.

  1. All evidence actually points to females having equal access to the game and respected voices in the community (when they want to be). Denise and her ilk are proof of this as are many others (including my local experiences). This is far from “prove it” as if there were no evidence in play. It’s the fact that there is evidence in play and it disproves the claim of the article.

  2. Polls aren’t proof of anything. Take for instance the nearly ubiquitous 2016 election polls projecting a Clinton win. I rest my case. Any person with a bare introduction to polling and stats knows that polls can be skewed, that self-reporting is unreliable, and that people with an agenda should NOT be believed when they release polls that “prove” their point. I have a mathematics degree. Pardon me if I don’t accept such an obvious problematic source of “proof” in light of what I professionally know and have experienced.

  3. Even if we accept the claim of gender-based discrimination as real, why is there an insistence on using politically partisan, group dividing and polarizing rhetoric to address it? This makes no sense and is actually counter-productive to the STATED goals (unless of course the stated goals are disingenuous and the real goals are left unstated - which is the case with radical feminism and I suspect here as well)

  4. Since we all want the most accepting community possible, why are the supporters of the article insisting on legitimizing it as if that approach was THE ONLY WAY - when clearly it isn’t. Again, this speaks to agenda - and not to actually making a better community.

And finally,

  1. When given the opportunity to engage on building a better community without the politically polarizing language, if a group refuses to do so, can we assume they aren’t really as interested in building a better community as they are in asserting their own brand of conversation control over the discussion?

In Post 25, I acknowledged the following (with a nod to the article author):

I invited the readers of this forum to follow in the expressed example of the article author to give examples of how they approached and addressed gaps (even opening it up beyond mere gender). I then gave three of my own examples - each addressed from a non-gendered approach that any person looking for an example to follow could emulate. No one has followed similar suite.

To date, no one else has bothered to actually post examples of bridging gaps. They have only argued for more gender studies nonsense and insistence that that is the only way to address the topic. I flatly disagree.

I’m happy to get political, but I wrote my first post feeling that the article and author were disingenuously approaching the topic not to make a better community, but to exert control over the community. It was in this feeling I took issue with Sixprizes giving this a “platform”. I feel that has been proven by the words and responses of the those who support what the author wrote.


#4

If I may say something in response to this

It is important to consider that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, regardless of whether we view them as right or wrong. It is all a matter of perspective. However, I sincerely believe that this article has some very valid points, whether they pertain to the TCG or not. All people are deserving of respect–male, female, or whatever gender you align with.

If you are worried about what political views your children hear or read, don’t be. Let them choose what they believe. If they choose to believe in the ideologies presented by feminism, nihilism, conservatism, liberalism, or whatever the heck they want, then so be it. Let them develop their own view of the world. It is their choice whether or not to accept what they read.

For those who have been a part of the Pokemon community for a while, it is fairly easy to see how toxic the community can be at times. It not always be very apparent, but it is there.


#5

Good sportsmanship and respect is not a gendered topic. Framing it in gendered terms constructs a paradigm that practically ensures the person claiming “toxicity” will find some falsely manufactured basis for it because it is not objective - It assumes an outcome.

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. But as a paying customer, this is not what I paid for and not what Sizprizes said it was delivering. This is politics.

The author started his article by thanking Sixprizes for a platform from which to say this - which is an indication that this isn’t what SixPrizes should have been releasing in the first place. The author is free to have whatever his personal beliefs are - I care not. But this platform was sold as a resource for playing the game - and ONLY a resource for playing the game. There was no indication it would include individual writer’s personal political ideology, especially in such a blatant presentation.

Whether one agrees with the views of the author or not should be irrelevant. If Sixprizes desires to become a politically active “voice” in Pokémon - they should have notified their paying client base prior to releasing an article like this and allowed us the choice to simply not renew. Even if one agrees with the author in his views, it should be an objective, non-partisan position to support the preservation the integrity of the Sixprizes platform by not venturing into political content.

Is it now ok for say - an alt-right voice - to come post an article in response? It should be, for fairness sake at least. Refusal to allow such discussion means that Sixprizes is taking an official political stance. But it also means that Sixprizes would then have to openly acknowledge they have left the premise of being a Pokémon resource, and instead embraced politics in Game playing. Should we expect to see articles written by Anita Sarkeesian next? When will you reach out to Sargon of Akkad for his views on the state of females in organized game play? PewDiePie? Or is only one view deemed worthy to be published officially - and any opposing views must stay in the comments (if it isn’t suppressed outright which is the norm for publications that start to lean left).

This article opens a door that cannot easily be closed. Frankly, I don’t feel it’s worth sticking around to see where it goes at this point

As to the comments on children, I’ll thank you to let me be the parent to my own children. There is a reason why we as a society and culture have a rating system for movies that relegates certain topics and content to age guidelines. Schools also follow a similar structure of presenting material only to specifically aged children. Your comment either examples rank ignorance or excessive dishonesty with the fact that impressionable young children are not equipped or ready to deal with all levels of ideologies and content at every age. There is an appropriate time and context to present this kind of content - and it’s not decided by you and it should NOT be decided by Sixprizes for anyone’s child. The fact that any person here would even make a negative comment about someone’s defense of their parental discretion is, for me, grounds to cancel my membership now. Consider it done.

I think it should be the bare minimum to be able to expect that a site that purports to be about the game of Pokémon would stick to that topic and only that topic sans politics. The introduction of gender politics - politically divisive politics at that - is a far greater statement about this site and what direction it is heading than anything the author had to say. I’ll take my business elsewhere to places that can focus on the game and good sportsmanship without introducing their political biases. Thanks.


#6

I’ve been pretty clear about something since @kazambolt and I took over the site: if you have an opinion on the community that you want heard, we’re easy people to find—and I’ll hear you out. There has been some controversial stuff in the past, and this won’t be the end of it. If someone wanted to write a rebuttal to this, I’d entertain it as long as it was reasoned out. I can’t guarantee any given item would be published, as I’m not about to tolerate a back and forth dissertation on Marx or musings on Spencer, or their ideological brethren, but I’d give it exactly the same amount of consideration we gave Kenny’s.

That is exactly how Kenny’s piece developed. SixPrizes, as an entity, did not solicit this subject matter, nor is it a part of Underground, nor does its appearance on the website constitute a legal statement of endorsement. He wanted to write about this, and if someone wants to convey issues of passion, I’m going to listen. This, though, is never the type of content that would be behind a “paywall,” for a number of reasons.

I do not necessarily agree with every word Kenny wrote—in fact, there are places where I believe certain arguments are made to the detriment of the overall piece. But, I do not believe it’s my place to editorialize for an agenda on either side.


With that said, SixPrizes does believe in a community where any and all players can feel welcome regardless of innate characteristics. If that itself is implicitly an issue for you, I’m sorry to hear that.


#7

I’d like to write out a longer response to this, but honestly, congrats 6p on addressing this. I doubt this issue is pronounced at all in Juniors or Seniors, but I can tell you it’s very real in Masters. Perhaps I’m geographically near an especially toxic bit of the community due to how competitive everyone needs to be to get their points, but I have no shortage of dear friends who were excised from the community due to the behaviour mentioned here. I am incredibly appreciative of those accepting this feedback graciously.

And yeah, it may boil down to “be a good people”, but that DOES require effort, it CAN be hard, but in the end you’ll be a better person for it. Be mindful, be empathetic, be cogniscient of others’ feelings. Tl;dr, being a good person is not a political agenda.


#9

This is the exact kind of thing that is killing magic right now. Don’t get into back and forths because it will just end up a dumpter fire. Any type of bad or illegal behavior (according to the rules) can be reported as it happens.

YOU LITERALLY JUST WROTE A “HOW TO INTERACT WITH A WOMAN” GUIDE FOR POKEMON PLAYERS…

Do you really think the most “toxic” of players is going to read this and refer to it the next time they come across a woman as an opponent…I’ll tell you what’s a bad experience…it’s when you sit across a douche player who doesn’t say anything, rule sharks you and doesn’t shake your hand after losing…which in your statement would be better than asking if a woman is someone’s GF…

It’s all comes down to being a decent person. We all went to school and we’ve seen how different people can be socially. But in this hobby we all have something in common. Get over petty annoyances and enjoy the game.


#10

Chris, I’m honestly not sure what I wrote that would give you (or anyone) that idea that I was advocating for discrimination. I would appreciate if you would detail that if you made this statement with that impression. I talked very plainly about good sportsmanship. If you’re somehow conflating the idea that to be against Feminist gender theory is to endorse discrimination - you’re very wrong.

All persons should be able to play Pokemon as the game itself is simply a neutral game. But Feminism and gender theory aren’t neutral. They are polarizing - in effect they are exactly what they purport to be against. Consider this article which is supposed to be about inclusion and non-discrimination - that blames men and (naturally) creates feelings of divide in the audience reading it. This is the very opposite of what it says on the surface. We could discuss at length the illogic of leftist ideology but that isn’t the point of Sixprizes - at least, not the point I was coming here for.

From my perspective this actually isn’t any better. To me it says that Sixprizes is allowing the widest possible distribution of this content - content that is political in nature and divisive in effect - from their platform. To say it’s not part of The Underground (or paid section of the site) is a bit dishonest in my view because clearly the subscription fees that members pay support the operation of the site as a whole. So yes, fees did support this content as they support all content on this site.

It also means that since it’s not behind a paywall, I don’t feel comfortable allowing my children to browse the site at all by themselves now. Imagine my son, whose favorite opponent at our local league is his friend who is a 13 year old girl, stumbling across this article that rather clumsily accuses him of being “toxic” for the innate characteristic of being male (a very easy conclusion to draw from the article for a 13 year old boy). I don’t feel that’s an appropriate role for any Pokemon site to be entering.

As I said before, if the author had concerns about how some people are treated at events and gatherings, that’s a legitimate topic to address. And I believe I’ve read articles on Sixprizes in the past that touched on or even focused on good sportsmanship. Those were good. In itself, sportsmanship is a gender neutral topic. And it should remain that way. Introducing political virtue signals in the form of feminism and gender theory is divisive and alienating - the very things the author supposedly wanted to address.

Sixprizes should be a place where all people of all characteristics should feel welcome to come and enhance their Pokemon skills. I wholeheartedly support that. I believe articles like this work against that concept and degrade the community as a whole. If one feels they have to (or that it’s ok to) degrade and/or alienate males to make females (or anyone else) feel welcome, there’s something very wrong with that logic.


#11

I suspect Jenicely and I are political opposites, but I find myself agreeing with much of what’s written here. (although I don’t think this is about leftist ideology in the slightest).


#12

To be clear: I’m not making a conscious effort to accuse you of that feeling—that last line is more a confirming question (as a statement) that you weren’t feeling that way, but I see how and why you took it as you did. I did not make the statement with that impression, nor do I endorse the final sentiment expressed in the quote.


Otherwise, I fully respect your most recently laid concerns and wish this could be about the article’s content rather than our editorial decision. Nonetheless, I understand your position on that.

As a standing offer to anyone with such concerns, I am at a pretty solid number of the larger events and am always willing to have this conversation (or, you know where to find me online). As it is, I’m going to fade back out here since my role in this thread so far has 90%+ been as SixPrizes and not me—and that position is laid out above.


#13

Thanks for reading! I find it quite saddening, as well. I do want it to be clear, though, that I think there is a lot of good in the Pokemon community (though, of course, I am not unaware that my privilege is part of what allows me to say this). I’ve met nearly all of my best friends through Pokemon (most of them women!) and it’s given me some of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life.

Thank you for being part of our community. <3


#14

There is nothing political about this article. Treating women like people is not a political stance.

I’m sorry that you are blind to the issues facing this community, and your daughter. I hope that changes, soon.


#15

Thank you for reading, and for this thoughtful response!


#16

I do not think that the most toxic of players is going to refer to this the next time they meet a woman, no. I do believe, however, that this article can give good people the tools to be better, and may encourage those in the middle to act with empathy. Incremental change is valid. Just because we can not affect the worst people around us, doesn’t mean we should do nothing.


#17

First and foremost I don’t dislike you or how you feel the community needs to act. I was actually subscribed to your YouTube channel and was pretty bummed to see it go abandoned. I also get that your pushing for something positive which a great thing but I just think the topic itself is what’s really toxic. If we get a point where we have watch everything we say because we could potentially get reported then guess what? I won’t be saying one word to my opponent. How inviting to the game is that? If you want more women in competitive Pokemon why don’t you start a competitive test group with all those female friends you’ve made during the years.


#18

Dear Jenicely,

Congratulations, your ignorant comments have angered me to such degree that I have reactivated my account just to point out how ignorant and backward they are.

First of all, your argument regarding the issue being political is absolute non-sense, this has nothing to do with politics or feminism for that matter! The topic perfectly fits the content published by SixPrizes (and other sites) as this is an intrinsic part of the Pokemon community and game as a whole. The fact you don’t like the content is a real shame, but though luck. I don’t enjoy reading about decks with Sableye as it once failed me at a regionals - does that mean I stop reading the content all together? Just please grow up, you sound like a 3-year old toddler throwing a temper tantrum because you don’t get it your way.

Turning to the real argument here, the toxic community Pokemon presents to women at times. Your denial of this is just absolutely shocking and very naive. It is exactly people like yourself that are part of the problem that women are still unfairly disadvantaged and discouraged to take part in games such as the Pokemon TCG.

Do I agree with the approach Kenny took to address the issue? Probably, not. I agree the article is very subjective and personally would have preferred a more objective article with some further background investigation as I previously did for 60Cards (http://www.60cards.net/en/expert-blog/user/610/article/264). However, that completely defeats the point. I think we are both adults and can recognise the genuine effort one put in to further the position of more vulnerable groups within the community. It is an undeniable fact that this community is not the most conducive place for women. And this is an issue that has to be addressed.

The way you approach this issue are first and foremost the cause of the problem. Not everyone is aware of impact of their actions and raising awareness is an important factor in creating a more inclusive environment. However, as long as people like yourself comment in such ignorant fashion, other will be discouraged to contribute to the debate ensuring the issue will continue to persist.

As I said, I am no longer an active member of the Pokemon community and probably won’t be checking any responses to this feed.

Denise


#19

Dear Denise,

I have to admit when I first read your response I was confused… then amused. It seems you reacted to what you thought I said… and not what I actually wrote. In short, I feel your response said a lot more about you than about me.

I think this is where you went wrong. The issue of good sportsmanship is not political. I believe I affirmed that many times and frankly I’m not sure how you missed it. The topic of advocating for community improvement was not the issue. The choice of delivering the topic through the framework of Feminist gender theory was absolutely an issue and that is what makes it political. Again, this isn’t even a subtle nuance of what I said - it was, in fact, major content of my postings (of which I had several) so I’m not sure how you overlooked this distinction. But in order to make the statement you did, you had to.

To conflate my stated objection to this article and it’s overtly political frame and tone to be anything similar to disappointment with a deck recommendation that didn’t perform as well as hoped is frankly… astoundingly puzzling. It’s two entirely different premises and thus a sensible reaction to one wouldn’t intrinsically be a sensible reaction to the other. Furthermore, I never claimed it would be. I’m really at a loss to understand why you’d even write this.

You know, I don’t know you… but I have had two 3 year old toddlers in my lifetime. If you can show me a 3 year toddler who expresses reasoned objections and analysis like this, please be my guest. I assume since you believe it’s appropriate (as in, not condescending or otherwise against the TOS of Sixprizes) to make requests like this that I’m also at liberty to ask you to please develop some ability to accurate analyze and respond to a person you’re responding to, correct? I’ll spare the reference to any appropriate age group.

If you had read my comments closer, you would have noted that my response to Chris (addressing Sixprizes’ editorial choice to publish the article on their platform) detailed that I never said Sixprizes couldn’t run such an article, just that I was surprised they did and since they did, what concerns and appropriate actions in return I felt compelled to take. And far from your characterization of a tantrum, I engaged in dialogue with Chris and the other posters (like you, for example) in reasoned discourse (not unfounded accusations and insults).

You and Kenny can make this claim, but the claim itself is not proof. Neither you nor he provide evidence of it and my own experience (as well as apparently others here) contradicts it. That doesn’t make me “part of the problem” because you haven’t provided any evidence that women either in general or in specificity are disadvantaged or discouraged from taking part in the Pokemon tcg.

It’s been my experience that no one cares about who is sitting across the table from them. They play, someone wins, someone loses, and life goes on.

So… you agree that there was room to object to the article for being subjective and not factually presented.

Yet you took me to task for objecting? I’m not sure I understand this - but I think you just validated my position. You’re right, you just defeated your point. Thank you.

First, a truth claim requires proof. I don’t consider any effort to be “genuine” if it attacks one group to “help” another. If one espouses a common respect and dignity for ALL… then I expect them to uphold that. Even the common respect and dignity of those they say they have an issue with. Accusations of “toxicity” and blanket statements against a whole group in the community based on their sex fails that standard. And I said that before as well.

You haven’t established any proof that there are “vulnerable groups” in the Pokemon TCG. In fact, your very posting here (and your 2015 article on 60 cards) would indicate that female voices in the TCG are heard and given place to speak. That alone is very troublesome for your claim.

Thus, it is a VERY deniable premise (not “fact”) that this community is not the most conducive place for women. However, to be fair, since Pokemon is gender neutral - it begs the question of why must it be “conducive” to women and not simply - equally open to all who choose to participate of their own free will and interest? (as I would argue it is)

Are you saying that women can’t feel welcome in a activity or organization unless they are catered to? That is a very interesting line of thinking to follow. I’m happy to take it to it’s logical conclusions if you can’t (or won’t).

So, you consider it “problematic” for anyone to not simply accept a claim outright and instead, insist on reasoning it out and if it doesn’t make sense, rejecting it?

Very interesting.

As I said before, if the author had penned an article on good sportsmanship, I’d have had no issues. But making a non-gender issue into a gender issue is not only unproductive, it is counter-productive.

And, laughably, you say that my objection (and thus spurring of discussion and debate) will discourage others from “contributing to the debate”. That makes no sense unless this comment was disingenuous on its face. You apparently only count “agreement” as legitimate contribution. Sorry, you’re not entitled to my agreement or silence. You have every opportunity to present your claims with reason and (actual) facts as I do. The fact that you (and Kenny) did not and have not is not my issue. It’s yours.

Well, ok, so you helicoptered into a thread to make a blasting statement devoid of fact, reason, or understanding and then helicoptered out? Ok then. I guess this is what passes for modern social bravery. This certainly didn’t build my respect of those who espouse divisive gender based politics.

You know, you’ve had an account here since Jan 25, 2015. If you had read the thread, this article wasn’t behind a paywall (a point Christopher made) and so there was no need to re-activate anything to express your point(s). But since you’ve set the precedent on calling others ignorant and backwards, I suppose I can say this: The severity of lack of attention to detail you’ve shown and (seemingly willful) sloppiness in understanding seem to indicate that you have no room to make accusations of ignorance or backwardness. Further, for a person who apparently wants to promote inclusiveness in the community, your quickness to accuse, label, and deride another member of the community indicates that your claims are suspect and you don’t practice what you preach.

Enjoy your reactivated Sixprizes account and thanks for making me aware to steer clear of subscribing to 60cards.net as well.

J.


#20

Ohh boy, time to necro this account.

First, I’d like to take a moment to thank @kwisdumb for taking time to not only write this article, but understand that his voice can carry farther than the voice of most individuals. I’d also like to commend you on echoing what women in the game have told you rather than putting words in their mouths. Kenny, it’s been amazing to watch you grow as a player, as a commentator, and as an advocate for marginalized groups within the playerbase.

Second, I’d like to thank @kazambolt and @KPiplup for allowing this article to be posted here, also understanding their voices carry quite far and giving Kenny a platform for his.

Third, I’d like to address @jenicely’s comments and similar thoughts other players may have. You could suggest sportsmanship should be gender neutral, which I agree with to an extent. However, if women in the game face inequalities more disproportionately than men do, it would be wrong to not address that aspect–as Kenny is doing in this article.

You will see that Kenny started his article by thanking SixPrizes for giving him a platform to say this. His comment is not because should not have published it, but rather because there is an understanding that some could see this topic as controversial, as proven by comments in this thread.

It has also been argued SixPrizes should not have published this article because it was sold as a resource for playing the game and only a resource for playing the game. I implore you who believe this to scour the website since Chris and Alex took over. You will find no such statement. The closest you get is Adam’s initial statement in the “About” page. However, that was Adam’s vision, and it may not fully align with a direction Chris and Alex want to take the website.

Ultimately, Pokemon in a competitive sense is a social game. You most definitely go to a tournament and only speak about the game you are playing as it is happening, but where’s the fun in that? Here is where the social aspect comes in. You go to tournaments and you interact with other players. Because competitive Pokemon is a social game, you have to consider social dynamics–which includes treating women with respect, something I hope you do for men as well. I do not believe addressing this issue, where women have expressed mistreatment from other players solely for being a woman, to be one of politics, but rather one of encouraging basic human decency.


#21

Thank you for the reminder.