My take on this Vaati callout stuff

I watched the video and I have a couple of thoughts. I'm not speaking for Kole, just myself.

First, I'm not necessarily on board with it. A lot of the evidence seems a little flimsy to me and I'll go through point by point. My intention isn't to do a detailed defense (that's not my job) but to briefly touch on why they rubbed me the wrong way.

* The outright plagiarism: We're all using the same source material and most of us follow one another's work. It's very easy to get a phrase in your head from someone else and repeat it. It's very easy to have a Deep Impact/Armageddon situation as well. A lot of attention was paid to the dialog choices and scene beats in the first comparison. It doesn't seem outrageous to me that any two people would choose the most evocative dialogue from the scant dialogue Lucatiel has or have the same sort of blocking given that her backstory is essentially a sword fight. The choice of venue makes sense to me too; a nondescript arena.

So yeah, I could see it being coincidence or unconscious cribbing. The issue with the "Lore in a Minute" video taking art assets direct was initially a more egregious example but the author of the callout video makes a lot of aspirations to Vaati's motivations there. He says he only put in credit "grudgingly" etc. How do we know this? Also, it was in 2012. If you're new to youtube stuff, it's possible to learn how to accredit better or more thoroughly (Vaati does in later videos).

* About The Paleblood Hunt/Plagiarism software thing. This bit really does strike me as a beep boop logic bot appeal to objective authority. It sounds damning at first but when you find that the words in question are "secret" and both works talk about The Healing Church, et al, that doesn't seem to hold much water. Again, we're drawing from the same story. It's possible that Vaati cribbed a couple of lines but I could see him (or anyone) doing so accidentally. The Paleblood Hunt is fucking good.

* There's a lot of stuff in the video to paint him as arrogant or detached from the community in order to drum up patronage. This seems to be a pretty thin argument to me. It's up to dude if he wants to dive headlong into the community. It can be intimidating! (see also Hellkite Drake). It can be shitty! I love the Souls community but I don't project that onto anyone else. It's not something that you're part of, one way or another, because you make Souls content. It's an opt-in experience. And he's done a lot of community stuff, participated in youtube collaborations, etc. It feels like he just isn't engaging in the way that the video author wants him to.

The comments it shows of him being an actual jerk aren't really defensible but I believe they too were older. It's OK for people to grow out of shit. I'd be surprised if he hasn't apologized for those but if he hasn't, I'll acquiesce that he should.

The stuff about him dismissing Let's Plays; who gives a fuck? They're not for him and they are pretty easy to edit! I've done them. You don't edit them, for the most part. Yes, they require skill but it's not skill that Vaati is interested in which is fine, in my opinion.

* There's also a bit about how he's projecting this image of loremaster and he's actually not all that. The primary piece of evidence here was my podcast Bonfireside Chat. This part bothered me the most because it reminded me of the argument that the CEO of General Motors needs to know how to change oil in a car, that sort of thing. It doesn't allow for different skillsets. What Kole and I do on BSC requires a skill and I like to think we're good at it. But the easy flowing conjecture and experience based discussion is really different from what Vaati does on his channel. People who were expecting him to come to the show with 100% prepared Vaati style content have the wrong idea what the show is, I think.

That's what's annoying about the video to me, that part, where it almost comes off like a political smear commercial. Catching someone in a moment of inarticulateness. It's possible Vaati didn't have Illusorywall's name right in front of him. He's not used to talking off the cuff. We are. The video says it's likely to be his last podcast appearance and frames that as being because it was such a disaster. The truth is, it wasn't. We received a lot of positive feedback from the episode. It took Vaati a long time to come on the show not because he's a community elitist or because he's too busy combing the internet for stuff to steal but because he's sort of shy. And he probably knows that podcasts, extemporaneous conversation, is not really what he does.

I don't want this to come off as simply "I met the guy and this doesn't feel right" but that's part of it, for sure. Michael is a quiet, nice, quick witted guy in person. He doesn't come off like he's narrating one of his videos. He's actually a dude.

This whole thing touches a nerve with me, a little, because as I've said a million times that, for me, my Souls understanding comes from being a sponge. I come up with my own ideas but I also read what I can and watch what I can. I guarantee you I've inadvertently used someone else's phrasing without even realizing it. Shit, I've probably done it to Vaati. So it's easy for me to give him the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of the video.

Also: Vaati has dozens and dozens of videos, most of them not under any sort of fire. If he can come up with the stuff that he clearly came up with, it's easier for me to believe that these similarities are merely coincidences or slip ups because it doesn't seem like he really needs to outright plagiarize. It doesn't make sense. There's an immense amount of talent that goes into his stuff even if you buy everything this video posits. It's OK for people to like that and it's OK for people to give him money for it.

I can see the argument that Vaati should respond even if I don't buy the take that he's merely not engaging as a cynical ploy to make it go away or drive patronage. Maybe he will? The video is only ten hours old.

I want to make it clear I don't think the guy who made the video, Aegon of Astora, is malicious or bad or shitty. In fact, I'm looking forward to checking out his stuff! I just think that it's one of those situations where I can look at the facts and come to a completely different conclusion and that the video isn't nearly as much of a smoking gun as he thinks it is.

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