So, this is something that a lot of people have been asking about over the past few months, and apparently a lot of people have gotten the wrong idea and apparently there's been a lot of rumours flying around, so I figured I should set the record straight.
Strap yourselves in guys, it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride. (Note that I'm only including the parts of the story that I think are relevant, so if you want the whole story, feel free to check out the links so you can see everyone's POV and not just mine.)
(Also, disclaimer: This is in no way an attempt to cause animosity between the two sites, or harassment of the site or any individual. Like mizal so aptly put it, “The idea is to look, but don't touch. Treat their threads respectfully, like an exhibit at a zoo.”)
So, it all started back in January on a thread called “Censorship in Interactive Fiction” https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/censorship-in-interactive-fiction/47760/86
On this thread, I gave my two cents and basically said that I think it's fine if readers avoid topics that they find triggering, but they shouldn't try to dictate what the author writes. The thread eventually got locked, but the discussion continued in a thread called “Dark Themes, Controversy and Why Meaning Matters” https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/dark-themes-controversy-and-why-meaning-matters/47861
Here, I said the following:
To this comment, Jason Hill, the founder of CoG, responded with this:
The discussion went on from there:
At this point, I muted the topic so that I wouldn’t get any more notifications if people replied to my posts. Would’ve been nice if it all ended there, but unfortunately, it didn’t. At this point, Jason split the topic and created a new thread called “Being Better Internet/Forum Citizens” (https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/being-better-internet-forum-citizens/47971/11) In which my first post was the starting point. He then followed up with this:
Since the topic was split, I started getting notifications again, and after reading the thread, I responded with:
Now, at this point I had been getting some support from some of the members of CoG. Here are some of the private messages I received (names have been blurred out incase they want to stay anonymous.)
Also, Moxie, another member of CoG, made a new thread in the CYS forums called “To Hell with COG” (http://chooseyourstory.com/forums/the-lounge/message/24816). This is what she said:
Eventually, both Mizal and Bucky also said that they would no longer be buying any games… Now, a LOT of stuff was said on the CoG threads, and on the CYS threads, and I generally tried to persuade people that Jason wasn’t as bad as he was coming across, that CoG was a good company to write for, and to convince people not to boycott the site/company... That said, I did it with my usual inappropriate CYS humour (as I have warned many people on CoG, we’re all a bunch of immature edge-lords over here.) It ended with me saying the following:
... To be fair, saying that Jason "sounds like a twat" probably wasn't the smartest thing to say, considering I was still writing for Hosted Games at that point, but honestly, I figured it was a pretty tame insult (especially by CYS standards) and I didn't think anything would come of it... ... ... Judging by what followed, I don't think Jason was impressed.
So, shortly after all this happened, I sent CoG a couple of emails. One asking questions about what was and wasn't acceptable content for a Hosted Game, and another regarding a game called "Gladiator: Road to the Colosseum", which I approached because at least part of that game appeared to be plagiarising the original Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost, which was written back in 2014. Here’s the link for details: https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/gladiator-road-to-the-colosseum/26462/785
I just want to make it especially clear to everybody that I do not (and have never) had any problem with the author. As soon as I contacted him about it, he agreed to edit all the scenes that I thought were too similar. As the game is now, I’m sure that everyone who plays it will agree that his game doesn’t bare that much of a resemblance to Price of Freedom anymore (with the exception of them being the same genre). It’s a really good game from what I’ve seen so far, and I really hope it does well.
With all that out of the way, I didn’t get a response to my emails after a few days, so I sent this message to Mary.
Mary then added Jason and RETowers to the conversation and responded. This is the conversation that followed:
I’ll be honest, I found the instant dismissal of my concerns really surprising, especially considering the fact that I spent hours trying to convince people that Choice of Games was a professional company. I mean, I understand that the job is stressful and all, but… Still.
Either way, that conversation wasn't really the problem. The problem is what happened next.
Almost immediately after this conversation, I found that my WIP thread for The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost had been locked for copyright reasons, and that the game had been removed from the Hosted Games publishing queue.
Road to the Colosseum was not locked or removed from the publishing queue. (I certainly didn’t want it to be, just pointing out the fact that when two issues of copyright were brought up to staff, one game was locked and removed from the publishing queue, and the other wasn’t.)
I also received these three emails, all at the same time. (Blurring out email addresses for obvious reasons. Also, blurring some words for spoilers):
I've got to say I find it a bit ironic that he told me, "the accusation of plagiarism is a serious business" for expressing genuine and reasonable concerns, right after locking my thread and declaring my own game unpublishable because I plagiarized... Well... Myself? (Just want to clarify that I did explain about the original game to another member of staff, and showed her the rules of the Spring Thing competition, and she said that the game was expanded enough that there shouldn't be a problem... But Jason said that didn't apply to the CYS terms and conditions.)
At this point, after thinking it over a lot, I decided that it wasn't in my best interests to write for the Hosted Games label anymore since, firstly, Jason had told me that it was unlikely they would be willing to publish the sequels and, more importantly, I got the impression that Jason had a personal grudge against me and was going to make things difficult for me if I continued writing for HG. So, instead I decided to publish the expanded game here on CYS... I finished the game, published it and everything was good. I was quite happy to leave the whole unfortunate mess behind me and not talk about it anymore... But then came the icing on the cake. ^_^
Since a lot of my fan-base is over on CoG, and since the original thread about Price of Freedom is still locked, I decided to make a new thread on CYS, just to let people know that the game was finished and give them the link to it. The thread contained the following trigger warning:
Warning: Before you guys read on, I want to let you all know that this game may not be suitable for younger players. It contains extreme violence, strong language and distressing themes, including; Slavery, Child Abuse, Physical and Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Racism and Sexism. Please do not play if any of these subjects might distress you.
Literally within seconds, the threads was deleted. I asked one of the mods about it, and they said that the thread was deleted by Jason. Since I didn't see anything that could've possibly been wrong with the thread, I messaged Jason about it and this is how the conversation went:
... So yeah, that pretty much brings my story to an end. Definitely made the right call in deciding not to write for CoG anymore, since apparently, having a trigger warning is a good enough reason to delete someone's thread and refuse to let them promote their games on the forums.
Either way, everything worked out fine for me. I'm very happy being back on CYS. Still planning on using CoG, since I've got quite a few friends and fans over there. Will probably keep updating the Lawless Ones thread (assuming that one doesn't also get locked or deleted.) But all in all... It's been a very interesting little adventure. Will keep you all updated if anything else happens.
Oh wait, I forgot... Over in this thread: https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/questions-about-the-price-of-freedom-and-cys/54799
... I don't remember there being any child rape in the game... But nevermind.
Those trigger warnings actually match up almost perfectly to another WIP that has been up on CoG since early 2016. I'd say that Jason was just getting the stories mixed up but then I would be almost as disingenuous as him. Either way, I'm happy you decided to post this. Hopefully some people from CoG will read this and hear from a more reasonable and mature voice than Jason's.
Also, the open beta thread had the EXACT same trigger warnings as the one that got deleted.
Price of Freedom must be one of the first stories I read here. It's real shitty that you received the treatment you received when judging by the linked threads and screenshots you were excessively nice at all times. From several years of lurking in CoG, I can say pretty confidently that some admins over there suffer severe cases of perceived internet importance. I'm glad you've put all of this behind and managed to publish your game and get some money for it..
Yep, it took ages... There were actually more, but I ended up leaving half the screenshots out, because it was SO BLOODY LONG! ... All the important stuff's there anyway.
I can send you a typed out version, if you like. ^_^
Or to translate all this in the beautiful CYStian language:
Jason's a lying douchebag faggot.
Well, Mary just closed the thread again after throwing a tantrum. The staff over there have proven themselves to be very immature and unprofessional many times over. This is just another example of it. Oh and if you want to see where Jason changed the name click on the little pencil next to the original post in that thread and it will show when he editied it with his picture next to it.
"More broadly, though, the core rule of this forum is to behave like a compassionate, empathetic, self-aware human being;" ... ... ... It really is too bad that we can't all be as compassionate, empathetic and self-aware as Jason.
LMAO! I did not see that.
You still want an image archive of the thread?
I used Nimbus which has a "selected & scroll" option that lets you capture large segments of the page. I got the first two that way, but even then it broke after that. I ended up having to open up developer tools and completely hide the earlier posts to (glitchily) get the third.
Well, you can see in the thread that somebody mentioned a game with similar content to the stuff Jason mentions in my game (some of which my game doesn't even have) and he basically tells them, "If you come across a game that has grossly offensive content, then you have to send me an email explaining why the game is grossly offensive, and I'll consider deleting it."
... So yeah, every game needs a formal complaint against it... Except mine, which is deleted straight away by someone who hasn't even played it, because the content may or may not be grossly offensive... Despite the fact that nobody who's played it has ever found it offensive.
I shouldn't really be pissed off by this but I am. Hosted Games had been the home of a LOT of good stories as far I could remember, but of course, there was always going to be that fucked up other side of the coin.
It was predictable.
Bigger community plus bigger ego equals to highly intoxicating judgment stupidity.
"Despite the fact nobody has found it offensive."
I am very offended that I was forced to play as a cis dyadic binary individual. I expect a full rewrite with adequate representation for omnisexual trans wolfkin like myself. I also expect a written and signed apology and for you to pay the fees for the therapy I needed after reading your story. Until those demands are met I am rating your story a 1/8. If those demands are met I will consider moving that rating up to a 2/8. But only if I felt your apology was sincere.
This comment has my seal of approval
His chief weapon is surprise... Surprise and fear. Fear and surprise. ^_^
Because people everywhere are going berserk the moment they receive the slightest inclination, or as Jason Shit Head called it, "microaggression" and CoG seems to be doing their utmost to pander to these people. In all honesty, I can understand guidelines to ensure actual stories are published rather shock-value games and shitty lollicon fanfic, even CYS has guidelines despite members of the community here being merciless savages on an internet forum. But when it limits artstic freedom and hinders stories from reaching their full potential, or judging some of the newer games on CoG, halfway decent, that's when it's doing more harm than good, to the detriment of the paying customers. Honestly, I'd love to see some of the more vocal members of CYS go over to a forum on Choice of Games and just start taking part in the discussions with some of their more "trigger-sensitive" members for the comedy gold
Annnnnd apparently my computer sucks ass at copying and pasting. Hope everyone can still understand the pile of linear shit I just posted above that was meant to be a criticism of CoG and their staff
Perhaps Jason should have stuck with writing articles for that online fashion magazine like he used to. His articles had such lovely titles like "PSA: Roofies still in the hiz-ouse", and "How To: Not Get Laid". Oh well.
I wasn't sure if I was allowed to post the link. Plus I figured you would have all been tired of me cluttering up Avery's thread by now. Here's a link to all his articles. I'm sure I'll mess up the link so you might have to copy and paste. Sorry. Crazy what a reverse image search will find you. He has some funny Yelp reviews too. Like the one where a Russian mover cursed at his wife and destroyed his floor so the business owner flagged his review for slander. Drama seems to follow him.
Too bad, I thought I had found something to read and laugh at.
Sorry if I messed something up. You could always just search "PSA: Roofies still in the hiz-ouse" and it should be the first link. Apologies again if I screwed something up.
Nah, I searched for it on google and got the same result when I tried to enter the site. It might be it's either down now or something in my side which probably takes more to fix than the article's worth.
The url works for me so it must be your problem.
Unrelated, but I really just have to say I keep reading the title of this thread as “Why I Don’t Care About Black People”
Chalking that up to my ever worsening Tourette’s Reading Condition where every sentence seems to be dirty or offensive in someway. Pretty sure the day will come where I’m going to just see every other sentence as “You’re all a bunch of faggots. Lol”
Fortunately I won’t notice too much of a difference if I’m on this site.
Anyway back on topic, Jason’s still a faggot.
That seems to be a bigger jump than usual. Perhaps it's a good idea to record how this progresses in a single notebook or something.
Also, Jason's a bitch.