ethics and standards

Our full list of ethics and standards–which includes our disclosure policies, are laid out below. A lot of this information is repeated in our FAQ. If you have any questions about our ethics, standards, and disclosures, you can contact us at

These policies were approved Feb 5, 2024. If we update these policies, we will note it here.

I. What Is Rascal’s Mission?

Rascal is a tabletop roleplaying game and culture outlet striving to sustainably publish voicey journalism that is compelling, deeply reported, and fearlessly honest. We’re also a little cheeky.

We care deeply about the communities that comprise the tabletop industry. Thus, Rascal views our work as a public service. Journalism plays an essential role in the sustainability of the industry by uplifting good, medium-pushing work, creating an ecosystem of respectful critique, and holding bad actors in the industry accountable. Our responsibility is always to the people - not to corporations.

However, to maintain that mission, the foundation of our work must always be radical honesty and transparency. You, dear reader, must trust that we have an unshakable dedication to our ethics and to representing the truth - as nuanced and uncomfortable as those truths may be. Without that trust, our work as journalists is meaningless.

Rascal is a news organization. To quote the ethics policy of The Colorado Sun (whose thorough ethics policy functioned as the template for our own),

As a news organization, we promise readers that our journalists always seek the truth earnestly and with integrity, independence, compassion and accountability.

We’ve constructed this code of ethics to create a foundation of actionable ways we intend to maintain our integrity and commitment to sustainable, ethical journalism.

We are rascals, but we are also human. We exist within our community, not outside of it. With that comes the understanding of our own biases (positive, negative, or otherwise) and limited perspectives. We promise to write authentically, but not cathartically. With our long-standing connections to the deeply interconnected TTRPG industry, we will strive to avoid any potential conflicts of interest that might pull our integrity into question. When conflicts of interest do arise, we will disclose them to our fellow rascals and our readers. Our disclosure police is outlined below.

If at any point we deviate from these guidelines, we hope that you, our community, will hold us accountable. We believe in the values of restorative justice. No one is above committing harm and the path towards restoration can only be done collectively.

II. Acknowledgments

In drafting this code, we referenced the ethical guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists, along with other independent newsrooms like The Colorado Sun, Defector, Aftermath, and Hell Gate.

III. To Whom This Code Applies

This code of ethics applies to every person employed by Rascal, and all work published by us. Though this baseline code does apply to freelance and contract workers as well, you can read our full Freelancer Policy here.

IV. Authentic Reporting

Everything published by Rascal follows the journalistic missions of truth-telling, accountability, and dedication to minimizing harm toward individuals. We wish to uplift the tabletop industry and the craft of the artists who comprise it, while truthfully conveying the context of their business operations.

Leave The Storytelling At The Table

Rascal is a news outlet. Everything we publish will derive from verifiable facts, expert opinions, or deeply explored analysis. Any potential speculation will be clearly stated as such. If we ever decide to publish a work of fiction in part or whole, it will be clearly labeled as such and will be made distinct from any reporting or opinion-based work.

Work Outside of Rascal

All individuals reporting for Rascal are free to work on personal projects outside of Rascal including game design, actual play production, and non-competitive reporting. However, collaborations must be considered as conflicts of interest in reporting and must be disclosed. Rascals will not report on their personal projects, nor will they leverage their position at Rascal for personal work. This includes exchanging coverage for labor, creating private financial partnerships with subjects of coverage, or any other quid-pro-quo deals that may jeopardize the integrity of their reporting.

Cheeky Journalism, Not Alternative Facts

Let’s not lie here, rascals are very good at what we do. As writers, we will utilize every element of our literary craft to effectively tell the stories of our community. However, these artistic talents will not be used to prioritize crafting a narrative over fair and accurate reporting. We will not convey false information by creating compelling scenes or characters that do not exist, alter a story’s chronology, omit relevant significant details, or alter the identities of relevant individuals.

In the event we must protect the identity of a source or subject, we will clearly and explicitly state the alteration or anonymization of their name for this purpose.

We Don’t Pay For Stories

We do not pay sources for information, access, or interviews.

We may receive or exchange nominal purchases such as coffee or a meal when speaking in-person with a source, but these purchases will only be done as a courtesy and never as a tactic to extort or bribe a source for information. Any gratis purchase of over $75 will be disclosed at the end of any article.

We Are Who We Are

Rascals will never lie about their identity in an attempt to gain information. We identify ourselves to sources or subjects, and clearly state how we intend to utilize the information we are provided with in good faith.

We are also all chronically online. Any information made publicly available is free to be used by our reporters without previous disclaimers. This is not a pass for rascals to take posts out of context, and we will do our best to ask for comments from sources who post or are the subject of said posts.

Anonymous sources

We will avoid quoting anonymous sources as much as possible. There may be exceptions when the news value of a quote from an unnamed source outweighs the lack of transparency that anonymity creates. In those instances, and only with the approval of two out of three rascals, an anonymous source may be quoted or cited.

When presenting information from an anonymous source, we include a reason why the source needs their name withheld. Greater value is placed on requests for anonymity from whistleblowers, people who are victims of crimes or trauma and people who would be in danger if their names were linked to their quotes. We understand that the tabletop industry is very insular. We will work to protect our sources at every opportunity, and we will work to grant anonymity to those whose livelihoods might be affected if they are linked to their quotes. We want people to be able to talk about their lives and their experiences.

Always, but especially in stories about police action, politics, or the government, we examine requests for anonymity for possible ulterior motives. We also do not grant government spokespeople anonymity in quotes when they are providing an official comment.

Any time an anonymous quote is used, the journalist reporting the story must know the true name of the source and how to contact them. Another rascal acting as editor must review these sources.

We treat all our sources with confidentiality, and if we report on any information given to us in confidence, we will make every attempt to alert the source pre-publication, and publish our articles with the full knowledge of everyone involved.

What Is On The Record?

Rascals will always be explicit with subjects about what is and is not on the record when communicating with a source. Sources will be informed during the course of any meeting or interview, and before pertinent information is shared, as to their level of attribution.

For clarity, in order of anonymity, from least anonymous to most anonymous:

To be “On the record” is to understand that any information shared with our journalists can be used and attributed to the source by name.

On the record, not for attribution” is information that can be used to inform and expand an article, but any direct quotes can only be used anonymously. For example “a source close to the subject,” or “a local teacher,” are non attributed, on the record sources.

On background” is contextual information that is publishable, but cannot be quoted or attributed to a source. We might make declarative or clarifying statements using this information.

Off the record” is any information that cannot be included in our reporting. It will be used to inform our research and pursue other avenues of information. Rascals will never publish any information that is provided off the record.

During an interview, the level of anonymity or state of record can be changed at any time, as long as both parties agree to the change. For example, if during an interview a source would like to go from “on the record” to “on background,” they just have to say so. When they are ready to go back “on the record,” they will say so.

Rascals must abide by these boundaries, but it is within the rights of a journalist to ask to have any part of any interview moved to a less anonymous record level. For example, if an entire interview is “on background,” but there are some quotes that the journalist identifies as particularly pertinent, they reserve the right to ask the source if they can publish the quote anonymously. The source must agree to any retroactive adjustment of record either verbally or in writing.

While outreach is confidential, all information provided to a journalist at Rascal through email, signal, or personal DMs, will be considered on the record unless otherwise negotiated. If you want to preserve your anonymity from the start of the conversation with a Rascal, message us and request to be off the record.

It Says What’s On The Tin


Headlines will accurately convey the contents of an article. In an attempt to work against the enshittification of the internet, we will try to avoid SEO-focused headlines—but that doesn’t mean our headlines won’t be eye-catching. We also reserve the right to be a little cheeky.


The bylines of our articles will contain the names of the human beings who wrote it. We will use the publicly known names of individuals who have written, but will not force individuals to use their legal name. In the event of multiple journalists working on a story, they will be attributed in order of the weight of their contribution or, if both contributed equally, in alphabetical order. Editors will not be credited, but their names will be disclosed by request.

Photos or Videos

We will never alter an image or video to the degree that the information of the raw image is misconstrued. Cropping and color-correcting is fair game, but photoshopped, AI-generated, or otherwise fabricated imagery or video will never appear on Rascal. Illustrations or staged images will be explicitly labeled as such. We will credit the photographer as often and whenever possible.

When in doubt, visual journalists will look to the National Press Photographers Association code of ethics.


Quotations will accurately convey the subjects intention of the initial statement. Quotations will never be altered except for clarity or transcription error. The order of quotes given in articles may be rearranged for clarity of intention, but will never be used to manipulate or alter the speaker’s original meaning. [Brackets] will indicate altered language and ellipsis [...] will be used to indicate omitted language.

During longer interviews, responses might be lightly edited for legibility, length, and/or clarity, again never changing the intentions of the original quote. There will be a disclosure on any interview that undergoes this sort of editing, such as “This interview has been edited for length and clarity.”

Fuck AI, Fuck Plagiarism

Rascals, by their very nature, will never plagiarize another's work and will never utilize artificial intelligence in any capacity in our reporting.

Any journalist who commits plagiarism will be held to account for their actions - up to and including proper attribution, removal of their work from our site, and a termination of their work with Rascal.

If you, dear reader, suspect any plagiarism or AI-generated content on Rascal: tell us immediately.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

All sources of ideas will be properly cited and attributed to the best of our ability. We will focus our efforts on our original reporting, but if another publication shares pertinent information we will first verify the claims on our own, and then cite the outlet, their source, and provide a link to the aforementioned story. If we are unable to verify the claim we will not report on it, or we will make clear that the information was not able to be confirmed.

To make clear where our information is coming from, we will link to the sources of our data frequently and enthusiastically.

Journalism As Service, Not Catharsis

Rascals are all extremely opinionated and politically-minded individuals. However, we will not allow our personal biases to influence our goal of serving our community.

We will always place the value of human well-being over a story. Our reporting will always center the basic human dignity of our subjects, and when reporting on harm, will prioritize the safety of the individual, both online and in person.

Similarly, we will not blindly assume individuals or organizations are acting maliciously unless given explicit evidence to support that. While we will not provide preferential treatment to those accused of malfeasance, nor will we provide them with uncritical space to defend themselves and their alleged actions, we will show them the same journalistic integrity that we show any subject.

However, we will not blindly watch exploitation or abuse occur. We will always offer an individual or organization accused of harm to make a comment, but will not blindly accept a statement as truth without additional verification. We will not present “both-sides” journalism that ignores power dynamics or systemic prejudice.

The court of public opinion is a powerful and dangerous weapon that journalists have significant ability to influence. With this influence we understand the responsibility that comes with it. As The Colorado Sun explains in their standards and ethics:

This may seem inappropriate: Why should journalists treat accused murderers, swindlers and liars with fairness? Because history is filled with examples of journalists following public sentiment and condemning individuals who later turned out to be innocent or, at least, misrepresented.

And, even in cases where an individual is guilty, criminal trials have been overturned based on jurors’ exposure to prejudicial media coverage — thus impacting our public systems of accountability while also extending the wait for justice. This is not how we want to go down in history.

It does no one any good for journalists to rush to judgment or to lead the charge for condemnation. Even in the face of public pressure, we must adhere to our journalistic standards.

Treatment of Powerful Figures

In our industry, there are individuals who hold undue amounts of power and influence. While we will uphold our oath to treat them ethically and fairly, there may be occasions in which powerful individuals will attempt to accuse us of unethical actions to avoid accountability. In the event this occurs, we will address these accusations in a timely, respectful, and honest manner to reject or substantiate their accusations.

Treatment of naive or inexperienced sources

Similarly there are many people in our industry who may be speaking to reporters for the first time. We will give additional consideration and care to those individuals, clearly explain our intentions, what they are agreeing to with regards to being on the record, and the potential consequences of our reporting (including but not limited to online attention). We are happy to explain our methods, ethics, and standards of reporting to any source who asks.

Opinion, Critique, and Reviews

As part of Rascal’s mission, we will strive to add nuanced criticism that is necessary for any artistic medium to thrive.

Op-eds and criticism will be labeled clearly to distinguish from any news coverage or reported work. The opinions, critiques, and reviews will reflect the opinions and views of their authors.

We understand that artistic tastes are subjective, and will strive to be fair and holistic in our criticism. We will never unfairly tear down the work of a team or individual, will never make claims that the artistic work is inherently reflective of the morality of its creator. We will strive to focus on the merits of the piece as an artistic and political work.

Community-Submitted Announcements

A central element of Rascal's foundation is the public Announcements section entirely sourced from community-submitted press releases, which are submitted to us individually or to The section is free to access and free to submit to. The press releases submitted will have no influence on our editorial decisions.

These announcements are meant as a central discoverability means for everything going on in the TTRPG industry. However, what is published on Rascal is ultimately under our discretion. We withhold the right to not publish or remove any press release that does not align with Rascal's Mission.

V. Accountability

While we do our best, we are still fallible human beings. If an error in reporting or undue harm comes to a subject of our work, we will take immediate steps to rectify the harm caused, regardless of scale.


Rascals are dedicated to factual reporting, and will do our due diligence to fact check every claim made. As a small newsroom, we will operate on a peer-editing basis until otherwise stated. While editors will act as a second line of defense for non factual information, the responsibility of presenting facts lies primarily on the journalist producing the piece.


Any factual errors in our reporting that are brought to Rascal’s attention will be corrected in a timely manner, with a clear statement published on the bottom of any article with a timestamp addressing the correction and what was changed.

Retraction and take-down requests

Rascal as a general rule will not take down articles by request. If significant factual errors are present that jeopardize the piece as a whole, or if the piece is causing undue harm to the subject of the piece, we will address those instances on a case by case basis.

Restorative practices

If a journalist breaks one or more of these ethical codes, or commits an act of harm outside of the standards written in this document, Rascal is committed to practices of victim-centered restorative justice. As such, there is no set standard of response, as each case of restoration must be crafted to specifically address the harm caused.

Rascal, as individuals and as a team, will respond to these allegations in a timely manner. In significant cases, we will reach out to the affected parties and discuss the accused acts of wrongdoing, and work with them to create a process of restoration that matches the severity of harm caused.


Regardless of who brings forward credible accusations of harm, Rascal and any individual associated with Rascal will not retaliate against the accusing party.

Kill the cop in your head and remember that we are all trying our best, and sometimes our best isn’t good enough. Community accountability is what Rascal is all about. Save for a few instances, there should always be a path towards restorative justice and growth.