I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Jessica Price and her impassioned, ridiculous attack on the players of a game on which she worked. I argued that most of what she said shouldn’t have resulted in her firing, but the fact that she said she disliked the people who play her game was grounds enough to fire her.  You would have thought that people would have learned from this mistake, but Daniel Z. Klein seems to be trying to top Price.

Before we dig into exactly what he said and did, I want to lay out what should be henceforth known as the “Daniel Z. Klein-Jessica Price Rule,” or the “Klein-Price Rule” for videogame companies.

The Klein-Price Rule reads: You can believe whatever you want, and you can say whatever you want, but in all interactions with fans of the game on which you work, you must be kind, or at least not rude.

If you violate the Klein-Price Rule, you should be fired.

It doesn’t matter what you were arguing for or against, merely that you couldn’t maintain civility while doing it. No one requires you to be on social media, no one requires you to respond to fans, and no one requires you to respond to things that people say that you don’t like. You choose to, and if you choose to, you must choose to also respond in a civil manner. If you can’t do that, you deserve to be fired, regardless of your industry.

Here’s a couple of tweets showing that Daniel Z. Klein is in clear violation of the Klein-Price Rule:

He retweeted this:

Even if you agree with what’s he saying, you have to admit that he’s taking a very aggressive, abrasive stance. I would also argue that he’s being incredibly nonspecific for no good reason.

I’m going to return to the following tweet later because I think it sums up the essence of his argument, but right now I want you to pay attention to how general Daniel Z. Klein is being:

Very general, right?

Let’s set the context. Riot Games had a room at PAX West, a convention, where, well, I’ll just let them tell you themselves:

But, what does this have to do with Daniel Z. Klein?

“You,” in his tweets, is referring to the people who commented in this reddit thread. While I’m not saying it’s free of misbehavior, I want to point out that two of the most upvoted comments, or the things that the largest number of people agreed with, express nothing more than mild disappointment and being excluded from what seemed to be a cool event on the sole fact that they didn’t have a particular gender.

“The worst part is it looks like there’s actually some interesting topics before 2:30 for anyone trying to get into the scene.”

“Art + Champions/Skins Design
How to be a Producer
Narrative Writing
Production Careers
Game Design
Yeah, I don’t care about the cosplay but those other topics are all really interesting to me”

That’s it! Mild disappointment.

For some reason, this makes Daniel Z. Klein irrationally angry. Or, he went digging. I’m sure he could find some stuff deeper in the thread that was more vitriolic, but he would have had to go looking for it because it’s not near the top.

If you go digging and find something you don’t like, whose fault is that?

So, I don’t think that his overwhelming rudeness is in any way justified. He’s mad because the world doesn’t completely align with this vision for it, and having that vision challenged sends him into a rage. He violates the Klein-Price Rule and should be fired for it.

But, I still want to evaluate his argument, because I don’t just think he’s rude. I also think he’s wrong.

Here’s that tweet I said I’d come back to:

Daniel Z. Klein’s plan appears to be to use inequality to fight inequality.

Apparently, by doing something that is inherently unequal, i.e. holding events that are only open to women and non-binary people, you’re increasing the total amount of equality in the world. By creating two separate classes with different levels of equality.

That’s incredibly Orwellian. Literally.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” –Animal Farm, George Orwell, 1945.

“All gamers are equal, but some gamers should be more equal than others.” –Riot Games, 2018.

Equality simply doesn’t work that way, and thankfully, I think that most people understand that.

What Klein and company don’t seem to realize is that they undermine their own crusade for equality by doing things like this. If they teach people that equality is more equal for some people than others, a lot of people who nominally believe in equality, true equality, are going to start opposing them because they see the inherent internal contradiction.

They’re creating enemies for themselves, and then fighting them. And then calling them racist, sexist, bigots, for good measure.

Riot Games, in full panicked “PR mode” has responded to the situation: https://twitter.com/riotgames/status/1036057521675329538

I still don’t think this is the right way to go about things, but it will be interesting to see if Klein is fired for being so disrespectful.


I now know exactly how Guild Wars 2 players felt when Price said what she did. Because while Daniel Z. Klein isn’t talking to me, he’s speaking derogatorily about people who have said things I believe and people who have said things kindly, in many cases.

The good news is that I don’t have to take it.

I’ve played League for about eight years. I started in Season One before the game was even a shadow of what it is today. I estimate that I’ve spent more than 1,300 hours playing the game. That’s a major part of my life. It’s something that I love.

It saddens me deeply, but if that’s the company line, I can’t play League anymore. I can’t in good faith give a company my money if it’s going to misuse it so egregiously. I can’t give my money to a company if it’s going to use it in the pursuit of a society that excludes me based on my gender.

So, I’m going to miss League. It’s been a long road, but maybe this is the place where I have to put it down, for good.