PAX is soon

Sorry this newsletter is a day late, and somewhat short. It seems like we're in perpetual convention season, but PAX Prime is in two weeks. I wouldn't hold your breath for another newsletter until well into September. 

Speaking of PAX Prime, we had a contest where we gave away two tickets. The lucky winner, chosen by, is @thunderduck360. Congratulations! Sorry to everyone else, you can blame This may happen again, as I'm sure we will almost definitely be in possession of additional convention badge at some point in the future.

For anyone who is going to be at PAX, we are doing a panel as usual. How to Win Every Game is on the schedule for 12pm on Monday. See you there? If not, we'll almost definitely be recording it for posterity on our YouTube channel.

Digital Pony Express

Got a nice amount of responses to the last newsletter. If you want to respond to this newsletter, it's easy. Just reply to this e-mail just like any other e-mail. I will see it!


I mostly agree on the source of drama, but I think there is yet another reason: some people just like the drama. As media has proven with "reality" TV, some people just like to watch the meaningless drama go on and on.
Trolls love it and usually sparks the drama themselves.

On leading:
Do you feel like a community leader?
As a younger Geek I look to you as a role models, do you get that a lot?
Was that part of the GN idea, to lead a geek group/community?

Tiago Ferreira Bonetti

There are some people who just like drama, but doesn't that make them drama geeks?!? Heyoooo!

As for your other questions, yes I sometimes feel like a community leader. When I am in that role I try to use as light a touch as possible. Taking firm control is not my style, as I do not like restricting the freedom of others. You are not alone in looking to us as role models. We have heard that multiple times in the past. My response is that you could have worse role models, but you could also have much better. Imaging having my life. Is that really your goal? Aim higher kid.

Leading a geek community was never the goal of GeekNights, but it is the best available means to achieve our goals. We started GeekNights because when we lived in the sticks we missed the geek community we had in college. The only way to reconnect with such a community was to form one and lead it. Our other goals are to spread our message of enjoying a wide variety of geekeries. Lastly, we wanted to retain the small level of fame required to get into conventions for free.
Leadership in the form of moderators can and does exist in online geek communities.  If a member is causing problems in a online community. Moderators can suspend or permanently band the offender.  This can work the same way in a real life club as well. Not so much in a circle of friends.  Also geeks that split off into a smaller circles due to their niche tastes of  a fandom.  Can be handled, online at least by dedicating a subforum for that group.  Of course it would be more difficult in real life.  A club isn't going to want give up their time in a club room to cater to a subset of fans for their geekery. 

- Josh
Moderators are not leaders, at least not usually. Moderation tools like kicking, banning, and categorizing are a band aid. They cover up the wound, but do not solve the underlying problem or prevent it from happening in the future. In the history of the GeekNights forum we have banned maybe three people ever? In almost a decade we have almost never had to use the moderation tools.

Instead, by setting a strong example for behavioral expectations we created an environment where trolls do not flourish. Heavy moderation is a strong signal that leadership is lacking. The community has already been lead right into the wilderness, and has to fight trolls with ban hammers. Good leadership brings your community to the promised land where evil beasts dare not roam.

Selling it Short

Whenever we interact with listeners, there is a particular scenario that repeats itself. A fan will introduce themselves, and tell us how they enjoy our work. Rym will thank them and be fake-nice to gain admiration and boost his ego. I will assure the fan that they must have something better to do than listen to our podcast. In the end, Rym is the nice guy and I'm a jerk.

The thing is, I'm just being honest. If someone else made GeekNights, I would not listen to it. I personally don't feel it's all that good. I will always choose honesty, even if it means being the bad guy. I also have a complex where I  have to do things my own way, and not according to someone else's wishes or expectations.

It all stems from the fact that I really don't like it when I see people self promoting. The more someone talks about their accomplishments, even if they are all true and not exaggerated at all, the less I like them. Hence, I follow the golden rule and avoid talking about anything I do whenever possible. If I meet someone new, I won't tell them I make a podcast or speak at conventions. If I'm forced to spill the beans, I will downplay it as much as I can. Saying how cool you are is the opposite of cool, right?

Up until now this hasn't really been a problem. I have followed this path for years, and things have all gone according to plan. Then something weird happened. You may know that I post videos of Netrunner games. For reasons already stated, I do not even mention GeekNights in those videos. Well, someone commented on one of our convention panel videos, and they said "Is that Netrunner Scott?"

Uh oh.

Upon reading that comment, I realized I took it too far. It was one thing to avoid shameless self promotion, but I totally screwed up branding. Imagine if you went to the movies and someone said, "Hey, isn't that Vin Diesel the dungeon master?" While D&D is a thing he very much enjoys, I'm pretty he self identifies as an actor. I fucked up. 

To fix this, I guess I have to change the plan. There will have to be some sort of balance between telling people what I do so they know who I am without bragging. The real question is going to be how much advertising I can tolerate before I start to hate myself.