This page probably doesn’t make a lot of sense by itself, read this story from the beginning. Come on, you’ll like it. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

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I talked previously about the stupidity of gate-keeping. Now I want to talk about the other side of the coin, and with it another inspiration for this storyline: The Five Geek Social Fallacies. Us geeks have this deeply-held belief that Ostracisers Are Evil, and it gets us into all kinds of trouble. Most of the time it means including someone in a group activity that nobody else wants to be there. Sometimes it can lead to The Helvetica Scenario.

Michael wants to include everybody. He can remember a time when he wasn’t allowed to sit at the cool kid’s table, and now the last thing he wants to do is leave anyone out in the cold, even if that means letting Amy of all people join the game. Charlotte wants to keep the group small and intimate because that’s closer to her comfort level.

You know, human beings have a real problem differentiating between good advice for an individual and good general advice. Film Crit Hulk pointed this out and I’ve never forgotten it. We take something that makes sense for a group in general and narrow it down to an individual level, sometimes with awful results.

Generally, it’s a good idea to look both ways before crossing the road. But if you as an individual don’t do that and you get hit by a drunk car, that’s not your fault, it’s the driver’s. Generally, when you’re working your day job it’s a good idea to work hard and apply yourself. But if you as an individual get passed up for a promotion it’s not necessarily your fault for being lazy.

If you live in a city you come to know about certain neighbourhoods that you should avoid, especially at night. In Leeds, Chapeltown was that neighbourhood. I shared a flat with three girls, who all got mugged walking through Chapeltown. A few months later I found myself in Chapeltown one night, mostly by mistake. I phoned for a cab and asked them to pick me up, to rescue me in other words, and the taxi company refused on the grounds that it wasn’t safe. That was how I learnt they could just do that.

Whilst it was generally considered a bad idea to go to Chapeltown at night if you didn’t want to get mugged, that doesn’t mean it was my flatmates’ fault individually that they were mugged. I am firmly of the belief that it’s still the mugger’s fault for mugging you. Call me old fashioned.

It’s a good idea in general to believe people, or at least not automatically disbelieve people. That doesn’t mean that we as individuals should always believe all individuals, especially known liars. It’s still good advice in general, but can’t be applied to every individual. Something not unlike the fallacy of division. You get the idea.

So I absolutely 100% stand by my previous words about gate-keeping. Communities in general should not exclude people. Excluding people is bad…

But the inverse, inclusivity, can be taken too far. I’m talking about bad actors. Okay, I need to clarify further that I’m not talking about Jaden Smith. I’m talking about people acting in bad faith. People who start talking to you about Star Wars or anime but only to get a foot in the door so they can talk to you about… the Jews.

Yes, actual honest-to-God neo-Nazis, using our friendliness and our mutual love of pop culture and games against us, infiltrating our fandoms on the sly and digging in like ticks. And then when people try to dig them out the Nazis point the finger at those people and invoke Ostracisers Are Evil.

“So much for the tolerant left,” they crow, because they can’t tell the difference between picking on people because of their race or sex, which they can’t help, and picking on people because of their shitty opinions, which they can. Or else they pretend they can’t tell the difference.

But, no matter how they complain, you have to recognise and dig out the bad actors. No, sweaty fanboys shouldn’t appoint themselves the ultimate judges of who is allowed in any community, but every community needs to have robust tools in place to identify and remove genuinely evil people, and a robust understanding of radicalisation and recruitment language to detect when evil people are trying to sneak in. It transpires there are such things as fake geeks, but they’re not pretty female cosplayers who you secretly suspect aren’t as enthusiastic about your hobby as you are, the real fake geeks are the guys using geek culture to sweeten the pill of their politics. That’s why these alt-right creeps aren’t just flying their swastikas and burning their tiki torches, they’re also making YouTube commentary videos about Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Wonder Woman.

So, coming back to the comic. Charlotte is a lifelong geek. Michael doesn’t want to exclude people and thinks that means he has to include everybody. Bob does want to exclude people, even if it’s from a group he’s only just joined, and is just the kind of guy to suspect Charlotte of being a fake geek. Then we have Amy, who Charlotte suspects is a real fake geek — no, not a Nazi, yikes, Fourth Floor would be a very different comic if that was the case — but acting in bad faith to persue an ulterior motive. But we lack the language to describe good exclusion. So when she finally makes her case to Michael, it doesn’t go well.

Whether Charlotte is right or wrong about Amy and what she’s really up to, and where the next twist in the tale lies… Well, for that you’ll have to keep reading.