Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Regarding Zak S

Many of you are probably aware that Zak Smith aka Zak Sabbath has been outed as an abuser.


I believe Mandy.

And some of you may be aware that Zak's work on Vornheim inspired me to write and publish the Augmented Reality city kit. I asked him for his permission at the time, to ensure he was okay with an unknown such as myself taking his ideas and extrapolating them into an imagined future. He gave me the green light, for which I was very grateful. Hence why I credited him in the book - it seemed only fair.

Things have now changed.

Please do not perceive the book credit in AR as condoning or supporting his vile behaviour. I am looking at replacing the relevant text as soon as I can. I do not endorse Zak or any of his works. His behaviour is unforgivable. He has lost my respect utterly.

With that in mind, I sent him this email Tuesday morning (12/02/19):

I received this in return:

To which I reiterated:

I'll now wait and see what he comes back with.

I am making this public so that Zak cannot claim that he had my support or permission to use my tables for his Demon City project. I doubt he would have included my name in the book anyway, and no money was ever offered, but I wanted to make sure nobody mistook me for a Zak ally. I am not.

I want to thank Mandy, Hannah and Jennifer (and now Vivka Grey*) for speaking up. It was exceptionally brave of them to do so. I certainly hope that, with the truth now being known, they can all recover from this horrific episode and start to heal.


NB: Comments now disabled due to zakpuppeting.

Friday, 25 January 2019


In my newly revisited Cape Point campaign, the players have been tasked with investigating a freelance media called Jacinda Walker. And what's the best way to find out a lot of meaningless detail about someone? Stalk them on social media.

As I didn't want to deal with multiple social sites, I envisaged a point in time where a major international data player, like Infocomp, would monopolise and monetise the social media game for their own ends. I took contemporary sites, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram, and imagined a digital Frankenstein's monster of online echo chambers, vulnerable personal information, exposed net connections and virulent net advertising. I called this hideous chimera TRU.U.

TRU.U users create 'bubbles' for connections, work, hobbies, videos, and anything else they're in to. This gives lazy netrunners lots of dull, but possibly useful, information on a target. Pet names, favourite bands, family, friends, the kids, are all exposed and conveniently packaged for easy access. Probably the best way to ascertain someone's password EVAH.

Infocomp being the corporation it is, didn't go through multiple hostile takeovers and buyouts for nothing. The company uses TRU.U to monitor people; for personal data scrapes; to wage memetic warfare; to control PR; to engage in social engineering. Staging a coup and destabilising a central African nation? Contract Infocomp's analytics experts to disseminate your political message and publicly humiliate your opponents via TRU.U. Want to ensure a rapid take-up of the latest software update for this summer's Kiroshis? Talk to Infocomp's media marketing team and inundate users with targeted advertising. Control your brand message with bubbles. 

While many people acknowledge Infocomp's ownership of the TRU.U platform, the vast majority of users don't know or don't care. To keep them happy, anything goes on TRU.U; there are very few rules and only token moderation, and criminal activity is rife. Hire solos to knee-cap your boss, order a couple of grams of dorph, stalk your ex and her new partner, and swap aggressive memes about the latest season of My Two Clones, all from the comfort of your broken ass La-Z-Boy.

So, what will my players learn about Jacinda?

• Australian national
• 27 years old (born February 25th, 2003)
• Lots of self-recorded videos - mainly unimportant rants, gigs and social stuff (likes a drink) - last post was 2 days ago, missing Ellie
• Xhosa Trance fan, with a little Chip Hop and some old-school Angel Vision
• Big on social justice, has infosocialist leanings, anti-corruption, supporter of bioroid rights
• Vegetarian, anti-GMO
• Wheat intolerant
• Big fan of the Simsense & Sensibility reactive vidshow
• 83 friends, colleagues (assorted freelancers, correspondents and activists) and family members added to her bubble
• In a relationship with Eliza Myburgh, an admin/clerical worker at Biotechnica, for nearly two years
• In the care of a Trinity orphanage from 2013-2019, in Melbourne - was originally raised by parents on the family’s sheep farm

Will any of that be useful to them? Who knows? Maybe they should do some better research.

Anyone else have any thoughts on social media in Cyberpunk? Anything I've missed?

Leave me a comment below and I'll add you to my bubble.