OK, the context is a bit removed from the gaming world and the D&D edition wars, but I have been on the ‘Dilbert’ side of exchanges like this all too often.
Two recent dialogues I’ve been involved in were very much like this. In the first, I was defending the old-style rust monster and those DMs who sometimes chose to use them, and (despite me not even mentioning 4e) it was interpreted as an attack on the entire 4e D&D system. I found myself on the receiving end of a very, er, robust and vigorous defence of something I’d never set out to attack, from someone who seemed to take my comments very personally. (Even more bizarrely, this person started waving bits of artwork of their 4e character’s loot at me, and proclaimed they couldn’t imagine anyone being inspired by previous editions to create depictions of their character’s stuff. I was, frankly, incredulous).
The other one was a comment I made about my preference for a play style that didn’t assume the players would win every encounter – saying that if (note the use of the word *if* there, because it’s a very important word despite being only two letters long) ‘modern’ gaming was about the players never having to run away then I wanted nothing to do with it. I was really talking about player attitudes here. I was accused of ‘fuelling the edition wars’ with my ‘ignorant’ comment and that ‘modern’ gaming had no such requirements for the players always winning built in – a claim I had never made in the first place. And I never said anything about any edition.
I don’t intend to embarass anyone by linking to these exchanges. But like Dilbert, I really find this behaviour baffling. People, if you really want the edition wars to stop – then don’t be the Sales Guy in that cartoon.