Known biases of the Scrabble FAQ maintainer

Especially for those coming to the Scrabble FAQ from outside the competitive Scrabble community, knowledge of its slants may be helpful.  

Geographic

Due to my exclusive play and predominant contacts in North American Scrabble, the information and perhaps the attitudes in the FAQ are heavily slanted towards practices, methods and publications from there.

Also, I know mostly about Scrabble play in English worldwide, since my reading in other languages is limited.  

Lexicographic

I am against merging the British lexicon, OSW, into that used in North America, OSPD.

In brief, my reason is that an unabridged dictionary isn't a desirable reference for Scrabble play, and is disproportionate for merger with the union of North American collegiate dictionaries that is OSPD/OWL. Those decrying opposition as resistance to using all words available seem to me to be deceiving themselves, since almost no one suggests moving from a North American college-level to a North American unabridged dictionary.

I try to be fair to double-dictionary and its advocates, especially since it's my guess the other side will win, sooner or later. I favor allowing play under the merged dictionary to be considered official and rated in North America.  

Expurgatory

It seems amazing that this is an issue again, but I was against the proposed bowdlerization of the lexicon we use (that resulted in Hasbro and Merriam-Webster publishing an expurgated OSPD that is not for tournament play). (See a letter I wrote to those in control at the time.)

At this writing, Hasbro is planning a 24-player invitational "All-Stars" tournament cosponsored by ESPN. On the purported ground that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the Federal Communications Commission's power to ban certain words from broadcast, it is planned that a short list of specially unplayable words will be provided by ESPN.  

Monetary

While a certain amount of entry fee money needs to be paid to provide a pool from which the expenses (and in some instances, organizer profit) can disappear without making a dent, I feel that tournaments should be played for modest amounts. (This, too, seems to be a losing position in North America; but in Britain, many tournaments have small entry fees or are played for charity.)  

Promotional

Perhaps curiously, as Scrabble FAQ's maintainer I am not, like some in the community of competitive players, eager for competitive Scrabble to gain sponsorships, bring in millions of players, or otherwise "take off." (A few of the eager dream of it lining their pockets.) Rather, I wish players who'd enjoy the competitive scene would find and join it. The Scrabble FAQ has been promoting Scrabble on Usenet and (later) the World Wide Web with this in mind since 1993.


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Steven Alexander (stevena@teleport.com)