[migrated] [Rant] Legal threats from What Pumpkin

Hey all, Tech here.

What follows is a pretty much unedited discord rant (I only spaced some stuff out for formatting and cleaned up a small bit in the intro) I made upon watching this recent video by Sarah Z about the legal threats she received from What Pumpkin, the company involved with Homestuck, and the subsequent email exchange between her and Andrew Hussie about the game development of Hiveswap. Consider it a set of comments about that specific situation.

I will also link Gio's response to said video here, because I mention his work in the thread below. Also consider checking out his posts about the development of Hiveswap. If you're interested in how poor communication leads to fans digging stuff up for themselves, I would greatly encourage reading both of those.

As for Homestuck itself, I can genuinely say that I am pretty much burned out on anything WP will produce from now on. This entire thing is a really souring experience and the best thing I can give it is pointing out that Andrew has as far as I'm concerned gone from no goodwill to negative goodwill.

Finally, there's a website redesign probably coming up... soon-ish? I kinda have a look for this site in mind and I'll need to rework the CSS to do it. Might also add some spicy new features so look forward to those! Anyway, catch you on the flipside. Peace!

The rant

What I will give is my comment which is that if I'm being honest, this is in no way for anyone to behave when they're in charge of a company and that Hussie needs to take classes about professionally communicating with people because dear god he's bad at it

oh and that hes not a boss you should ever consider working for because discrediting people purely because they had a bad experience with your company and then complained about being laid off for no apparent reason and not being given severance pay or healthcare (which like... no offense but that's a really FUCKING VALID REASON TO COMPLAIN)

is... well, frankly

it's probably the second worst undeserved thing you can do to someone's professional carreer besides spreading outright defamatory lies about them(edited)

oh and then legally intimidate them into shutting up.

ill put it mildly: this is something that's pissing me off quite a bit the more i think about it.

not to mention the constant chiding and haughtiness apparent in the written text of these messages, the constant reaffirmations and subtle attempts to change or flip the truth, admitting to not even looking at what is being complained about until near the end, at that point still not even attempting to elaborate and so on and so forth

oh and not to mention sidetracking into a completely pointless argument about two ex-employees who committed many HR violations while at the company (which hrm... i wonder how that environment was created? oh here's an idea: Andrew's own unprofessionalism might end up cultivating that kind of environment)

which ultimately go nowhere and serves as frankly nothing more than an unsubstantiated character assassination attempt of Gio, that Andrew then subsequently basically confirmed were true over email so one onders why the fuck the character assasination attempt had to come before saying "yeah these two abusive people were abusive, but the statements they put out that Gio put in the blogpost that only came from their source were also true" which just leaves me wondering(edited)

why wasn't this told to Gio? because Andrew is afraid he'll spin the story in a more negative way?

Gio has consistently attempted to reach out to what pumpkin to corroborate, deny, or provide extra context for claims.

I tried looking into this because there seemed to be controversy about them back when the Sarah Z video came out, but they seem to really care about due diligence in their writing and have pretty much consistently amended their posts when new information came to light, including from What Pumpkin themselves.

like, that's why I'm saying that Andrew comes across as a gaslighter here: he constantly tries to say that Gio's post is lying about what happened because the people doing it were awful, before then turning around and basically confirming that yes, what Gio said pretty much actually happened verbatim.

so, I'm wondering what purpose does this all serve? right now I only have two possible answers that don't veer into some lunatic reptilian space lizard conspiracy (which i am not seriously considering for obvious reasons):

  1. Hussie is extremely professionally incompetent and has no idea on how other people think or work or even remotely behave as anything besides acting like puppets to him and when that goes sour he clamps up and says nothing. (This is the best faith interpretation I can have.)
  2. Hussie is trying to run a cult of personality around himself from the fumes of popularity that Homestuck caused for him. Possible evidence for this argument includes gaslighting tactics that I've seen employed twice now (first during the HSD debacle), a poorly defined set of Others to hate with little to no concrete evidence presented so far as to how they're actually obsessive liars (the ex-employees), the rapid bleeding of employees that most Homestuck-related projects undergo before they hit completion, unwillingness to look into serious issues (or pretending to be unwilling), seemingly being intolerating of people critical of his work, putting his employees into the firing line and afterwards trying to not take responsibility and chiding everyone except for questioning what he himself could have done in that entire thing to prevent anything (because this is a position Andrew could and frankly should have taken when he's working with this many minority creators that may not have all the resilience of ~13 years of making popular content on the internet). This is a very negative interpretation and one I genuinely hope is not true because it would make Andrew one of the most exploitative creators in any fandom ever.