Pinned Post: Looking at My Stats and Revisiting My #RPG #Copyright Posts

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The quarantine has me doing a bit of blogging lately, which means I’m also looking at my stats. With respect to my posts regarding copyright and RPGs:

The posts are broken into two separate issues. Part 1 and part 2 are about the copyrightability of RPG stat blocks, and part 3 (not relevant here) is about the OGL. As to the first issue, to date, part 1 represents ~30% of text by page count and has 17,037 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 17,667 hits), whereas part 2 (70%) has only 704 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 802 hits). Moreover, part 1 spends much of its text on going over basic copyright principles that don’t represent the actual argument. It’s clear by the stats and the basis of the criticism itself (often peppered with personal insults) that the vast majority of (non-lawyer) criticism I’ve received is from people that have read only 30% (at most) of that argument. I know it’s long, convoluted, and at times poorly written (mostly because it targets two very different audiences); and you’re under no obligation to read it (or even care about it). However, it’s all connected, and if you’re going to criticize it, you should probably understand it first.

Or not. Free speech and all that.

Endnotes:

  • Part 3 has only 703 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 849 hits), which is surprising. I thought it would be the most read post.
  • Part 3.5 provides necessary clarification and correction to Part 3.
  • Part 4 answers frequently ask questions and addresses frequently raised issues.
  • Over on a lawyers-only subreddit, the attorneys seemed to want to discuss only my side note on patentability of the Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative system. I guess it’s great that they all agree that my argument is trivially correct, but Rob Schwalb has seriously hijacked my glory. I let him have it when I saw him last February.

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Plausible Deniability #Caturday

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I’m sure she’s fine.

I’m just an animal.

Cats have plausible deniability.

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Ruining the #Joke

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Well, time for my second mean post in about a month.

I unfriended someone on Facebook last weekend. He kept coming onto my posts and ruining jokes by asking dumb questions, explaining the joke, or trying to change the joke’s premise so he could leapfrog off my sense of humor. That’s literally the only thing for which I have no tolerance. I don’t care if you make differing, or even objectively stupid, sociopolitical statements. People are doing the best they can in a complex world with little time on their hands to properly research. Talking with each other helps us learn (if we’re open to it). But there’s no excuse for ruining a joke. We’re all just trying to have fun, and ruining a joke kills that fun. There’s a science to comedy, but this is intended to be a short, simple, and one-sided analysis, focusing on common audience errors. Let’s start with a very basic, if antiquated, joke.

The Joke: A horse walks into a bar. Bartender asks, “Why the long face?”

Asking Dumb Questions

Do not respond: “How did the horse fit through the front door? Why didn’t they throw it out? Why did the bartender try to speak with a horse? Horses don’t speak.”

None of these questions are relevant. You shouldn’t care how we got to this point. Just roll with the joke.

Explaining the Joke

Do not respond: “That’s because horses have long faces, but having a long face is a way of saying someone is sad, and so the bartender thinks the horse is sad, but it’s really just a pun, and ….”

Explaining the joke is just your insecure way of telling everyone you were clever enough to get the joke. No one’s impressed, but they’re usually disappointed. Explaining a joke ruins it. Everyone stops in their tracks and doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

Subverting the Premise

Do not respond: “But the horse didn’t have a long face. He had a short face, which is funny because horses don’t have short faces.”

It’s okay to continue the joke with a chain of responses that build on it. That can be very useful because the initial telling of the joke shouldn’t ramble on too much. Sometimes the original joke must leave out some funny stuff because you don’t want to say too much, especially if it results in internal conflict within the joke. However, what this response does is completely changes the premise, which invalidates everything that came before it in the chain. Even if the chain at that point consists of only the original joke, invalidating it removes the humor, making your task of replacing that humor insurmountable. In other words, whatever you say will probably fail anyway because you’ve killed the vibe. If you don’t like the premise of the joke or legitimately think you can do better with your own, walk away and post your own joke on your wall. However, if you don’t understand why your redirection is going to running the original joke, don’t be surprised if what you think is funny turns out not to be.

None of these responses make you funny, and all of them ruin the joke. I know you want to be a part of something, but sometimes you’re just a spectator. Try to be satisfied by the fact that you got a good laugh. Even remarkably funny people know when to sit one out.

Bonus Point #1: The Geneva Convention

Much like the “horse in a bar” joke above, it’s never funny to say, “That line was so horrible it’s a violation of the Geneva Convention.” Some lines, even if they’re still somehow relevant decades after their creation, have worn themselves out. Unfortunately, that’s something you sometimes must learn through trial and error. It’s okay to bomb, but don’t go running in circles through known minefields.

Bonus Point #2: In-person Jokes

I was with some friends before the pandemic. I told them two of my favorite jokes, but one of them required a set up. I asked a friend a question, but because he knew he was about to be the butt of the joke, he refused to answer, bringing the entire joke to a standstill. Because everyone knew the joke was coming, it was already going to be a tough sell, but by refusing to answer and forcing me to turn to a less insecure friend and repeat the question made it even tougher to get a good laugh.

Don’t do that either. For Shatner’s sake, just roll with it.

I am a comedy god!

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Breaking News: Now We Know Why James Gunn is Abandoning Guardians of the Galaxy @JamesGunn @DaveBautista @MarvelStudios #MCU #GotG

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We were all disappointed to hear James Gunn insist that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 would be his last entry in the MCU series. As long as he includes Strawberry Letter #23 in soundtrack, I won’t hold it against him. However, we all wanted to understand why he made this decision. Well, I have breaking news for you. It turns out that he’ll be working on a spin off for Marvel Studios.

Credit unavailable.

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Star Trek Starship Orientation @davekellett @StarTrek #StarTrek

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I recently came across this comic panel on Facebook, which I found on Twitter.

I have no idea if anyone has ever discussed this before, but my uncle and I had this conversation during the Next Generation run (I’m guessing around 1991). His idea was that the shape of these ships was influenced by their need to maximize combat efficiency. As a result, the best chances a starship had of winning an encounter is to be oriented face first towards the opponents. The problem is that the opponents had the same design characteristic, and it was difficult to get either ship into a bad position when facing off before combat started. That seemed reasonable to me.

However, it was really about things not looking stupid, or more generally making sure the viewers understood what they saw. For example, there was an episode of Next Generation called Power Play in which the Enterprise approached the “southern polar region” of a moon. In space, the “south pole” is really meaningless, but okay, fine. They approached the south pole. Why did they orient themselves like this?

Look, I couldn’t find a screenshot, and all I have is MS Paint. (Dave, please let me know if you have a problem with me using this modification of your work.)

The ship was shown underneath the planet, still right side up, but up and down make no sense in space. Why isn’t the ship upside down? In the alternative, why isn’t the ship right side up but above the planet (thus reversing the y axis of the shot)? The answer, of course, is to communicate to the viewer that the ship is at the south pole without disorientating them. It’s just a TV show after all.

So yeah, it’s probably about things not looking stupid.

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Tom Holland’s Days Are Numbered @TomHolland1996 #MCU #Spiderman

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Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I acknowledge a startling revelation.

May be a meme of 2 people and text that says 'tom holland age ALL MAGES MAPS NEWS Tom sofland Age 22 years Junu1 1996 how long do spiders live ALL IMADES MAPS NEWS SPIDER Litespan 21-23 years'

I know what you’ll be thinking after some quick googling: “But he’s currently 24 years old.” Well, if the average spider lifespan of a spider is 22 years, then Tom is currently at 1.09090909% of his expected lifespan. The average British male lives to be 79.4 years old (from 2016 to 2018). What do you think when you learn about a Brit that’s over 86 years old? Q.E.D.

R.I.P. Tom Holland

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Dr. Strange 2 Is Here!!! @DrStrange #DrStrange #DoctorStrange #MCU

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Today’s the premier of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness! Who’s coming with me tonight?

Wait, what? What pandemic?

Today was supposed to be the day the Dr. Strange sequel was to be released. Despite my concerns, I’m a big fan of the original (and the superhero cinematic genre in general), so I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, as of this writing, we have another 10 months to go. If I’m cursed with this knowledge, I just wanted to make sure you guys were as well. I hope it’s worth the wait.

I’m sure Stephen Strange is happy to wait.

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