WotC’s Fan site Policy, as many have pointed out, is actually a license. It prevents you from using some images on your site, yet if you use it, you assign all your writings over to WotC. Not a fair trade, in my opinion. I will continue to write about what I want to write about, the way I want to do it. I will not use copywrited images or material to do it, so WotC has no fear from me. I do not plan to buy 4e, but would buy more PDFs of AD&D and OD&D, if they are ever made available again. If not, then I will make due with what I have, or use one or more of the retroclones.
Greywulf’s Lair [old link: http://blog.microlite20.net] has an interesting idea, about a “Happy User Policy” [old link: http://blog.microlite20.net/2009/08/07/dearest-wizards-these-are-my-terms-conditions/]. This sounds like an idea related to Net Promoter Score. NPS is the current focus where I work, and the idea is to make customers so happy with you, that they tell all their friends, such that they are a free sales force. It also requires converting disgruntled customers to ahppy ones. Basically the idea is, don’t jerk your customers around, or they will find a vendor who will treat them right.
The level of quality Greywulf is asking for, is on the same level people keep asking for from Microsfot Windows. An OS that does not crass, get viruses, or slow down with time. Like so many have turned to the OSR instead of 4e, many in the computer realm, have turned to Linux and other free alternatives. Surprisingly, in the realm of Operating Systems, free has what the fee-based Windows has not been able to do. Microsoft gives the impression that they care more about money than customers. WotC gives the same impression. I am not a lawyer, but a smart lawyer could draft a license that does not stir up a hornet’s nest. WotC needs to get a lawyer with knowledge of the internet. Look at all the fury over Facebook’s license/policy change. Facebook had media coverage, the whole D&D thing will probably not get much traction in the media.
There is also a petition to WotC to drop this new license. I do not think this will have much traction with WotC. The numbers who agree to the license will be a stronger determinant. If it is only 100 people who have low traffic websites, WotC will take notice. However, if it is 100 very high traffice sites, then WotC may see it as a win. As with everything, time will tell how this plays out.
I do not see WotC listening to fans who do not agree with them. I hope for the sake of the hobby I am right. As it is, I don’t plan to spend the money or time to learn a new rules variant, so 4e and its successors will have little direct impact on me. If I can’t find a local group to play with my rules of choice, then I won’t play. I can spend my time polishing my campaign setting, or I can go read a book. I like writing about my reminiscences and ideas. It helps me flesh things out. If no one reads this blog, I am okay with that.