Are you proud to be a member of the Magic community? Pride weekend isn’t about the Magic community. It’s about something far greater and vastly more important, but I spent most of this weekend thinking about how we all felt about the Magic community.

Am I proud that Wizards couldn’t update their logo without negative feedback? Am I proud that Mark Rosewater couldn’t blog about gender diversity in Magic without negative feedback? Am I proud that Cassius Marsh couldn’t show up to play at Grand Prix Las Vegas without Kotaku deciding to belittle his performance?

No, but I’m still proud to be a member of this community. For every negative reaction to the above stories, the community had unfiltered love and support and anger and a full spectrum of emotions. That’s something to be proud of. Seeing your community come together and support one another in the face of negativity is what Pride is about.

Let’s elaborate on each story just a little bit. First, if you want to see the feedback Wizards got on the change to their FB logo you can check out the discussions on both the Magic: the Gathering and the Dungeons and Dragons pages. One thing worth noting is that while the top comments on D&D tend to be positive, the top comments on the MtG change are fairly negative.

It’s a veritable cornucopia of offensive responses including such classic hits like, “You’re just trying to exploit LGBT people for profits,” and “I’m okay with LGBT people as long as I get to watch attractive women engage in lesbianism purely for my enjoyment,” and last but certainly not least, “Keep your hobby out of my bedroom.”

But, let’s move on to the next story of the week, Mark Rosewater’s amazing back-and-forth on his Tumblr about gender diversity among Planeswalkers in Magic. Let’s take a look at the initial exchange…

I’m sure you can imagine the kind of discourse that emerged from this. Thankfully you can find everything you need to know from this locked thread on Reddit, the safest of safe spaces. I’m just joking of course, we all know Reddit’s Magic forum is a cesspool of humanity and that Wizards has long since disavowed any connection. Thankfully the mod team there has mostly removed the garbage from the thread so it no longer represents the initial reaction.

You can see what remains however is a lot of positive messages and that brings us to our final story of the weekend: Kotaku’s hot take on Cassius Marsh’s very mundane performance in the Modern main event of Grand Prix Las Vegas. Ah yes, the hottest of takes. Pro football player can’t keep up intellectually with us vastly smarter nerds.

Clickbait is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a funny title like “Pro Football Player Gets Crushed in Magic Tournament” can generate a lot of traffic. On the other hand, it means a whole lot of people are going to read your content and it turns out a lot of nerds weren’t into the whole “big brawny football player’s puny mind can’t handle ubernerd card game!”

In fact, the nerd community at large, within and without the Magic community, was outraged. You see, here’s the thing, a lot of us, though perhaps not the editors of Kotaku, are also big fans of sports and a large number of us happen to be athletes at various levels. But there still remains a stigma that nerds and jocks can’t coexist.

Here’s a fun anecdote. I play ice hockey in a local adult league and have done so for about eight years now. One day I went into my LGS and one of my hockey teammates was there buying singles for a new deck. He never plays competitively so I’d never seen him before at the store but here I happened to run into him. Now, we spend time during warm-ups discussing previews more often than discussing wrist shots.

But, because of the stigmas around both communities, I never would have opened up about Magic while playing hockey, and I rarely talk about hockey while playing Magic, but I’m deeply rooted in both communities. Kotaku saw an opportunity to further drive the wedge between those communities, in exchange for some pageviews, but the nerd community was not having any of it.

I hope you’re proud to be a member of a community that is willing to stick up for those who are regularly the victims of bullying, of ridicule, and of negativity. Yes, this community has many, many things to not be proud of, but in the end I can assure you that the good outweighs the bad and hopefully if you find yourself on the receiving end of the negativity that’s out there you will also find yourself welcome by the warm embrace the rest of us are willing to send forth.

Recently I’ve been concluding my columns with ten more thoughts from around the community, but this week I want to let this sit in for a while. My random musings will be back next week.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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