Dungeon Dorks and the expat hierarchy

Monsters in Buenos Aires
So I was checking out this forum on Buenos Aires Expats and came across some guy starting up a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game.

This was apparently his second post and he wrote:

Hi all,

I’m starting a D&D group (preferably in English) to meet in about a month. If anyone is interested, I’ve set up a website at http://dnd.meetup.com/1024/ to discuss it. And if you have questions, as I’m sure some of you will, please feel free to contact me via the Contact Me link on that page.

Thanks for your interest.

D&D is a game where you play out the role of a mythical character like the elves and warriors and stuff. It’s like Lord of the Rings meets choose your own adventure except the possabilities are endless. I used to play this game with my older brothers. I always used to be a halfling thief and most of what I did was get sent upstairs to get them drinks and snacks. I was 10 years old and it was awesome.

I mean, one of the best ways you can get introduced into a place is to go with what you know. If you like to draw, find the local artists. If you like to play polo, join the local polo club. But what if what you know is something fairly unknown in where you are? A better idea would have been to try to find local gamers and access the city that way.

But even more interesting was a comment on the post. This other guy had commented 204 times so he probably sets a lot of the tone over on BA expats. He wrote:

Not sure if you’ll thank me again for my interest but I find your interest in that game rather surprising. There you are in that beautiful country and you want to play D&D.

I saw this text on your page “Also, if anyone has suggestions for a good, safe first meeting location, I’m all ears!”, if you’re looking for a safe place to meet people then I’ll go ahead and suggest Villa Lugano, it’s a beautiful part of town where you’ll feel right at home.

Best of luck

What a jerk! The tone of this comment raises the ambivilence that expats play in eachothers lives. From what I understand, this forum is for expats trying to network with other expats to share experiences, solve problems, and hang out at the monthly dinners. Why then is someone so entrenched in the community so negative? Are there levels or circles of expats and this guy somehow broke the rules? Is this newcomer not “cool” enough to comment on an expat forum? It’s funny how you can travel 10,000 miles and still feel like you’re back in high school.

20 replies
  1. Frank Almeida
    Frank Almeida says:

    Hi Nathan!

    You seemed to have found one of the negative posters on that site. In fact there is a lot of negative history over there along the lines of what you found. In fact, there is another blogger (originally from Chicago – yanqui mike) who set up a site for the sole purpose of monitoring them. You might want to have a look here .

  2. exnat
    exnat says:


    Thanks for the info. That explains a lot. Yeah, I was wondering about this site… They gotta clean up their community and start letting folks know what’s acceptable and what’s not. With freedom comes responsibility and all that…

    Portrait would be here. I’m still planning on painting it.

    You got my beer? 😀

  3. John
    John says:


    After you’ve read that forum for a while you’ll realize that many of the posters aren’t expats. In fact quite a few aren’t in Argentina, although they may have lived there sometime in the past.

    While there are some interesting posts, many show both foreigners and Argentines in a bad light. It seems more like a game to some, where culture bashing is a sport. Others are blatantly trying to sell some product or service (often at inflated prices) to unknowing new arrivals. You’ll see newbies come and go once they get the general picture.

  4. exnat
    exnat says:


    Thanks for the info. You saved me the trouble of reading the site and finding out for myself. Hard to believe people would waste their time being like that when there are so many more productive things to do…

  5. exnat
    exnat says:

    Hey Igor,

    Thanks for posting and providing your perspective. The part about the books is the most interesting. As a matter of fact, I often do have the same attitude with books. There’s a lot of books. I tend to read books that are recommended by people I trust. How do you choose which books to read?

    Full disclosure, however, I did come to your site looking to chat with you guys today to see how you were and you seem nice. So, as you knew when you posted that comment, I was in the process of checking you guys out a bit more.

    I also love it that I can get inspiration from other expats. That’s what the blog is about. I see so many things in others that I see in myself (even things I’d rather not see) and I learn a LOT. I hope I didn’t offend you, Igor. You can just say you don’t like my approach to life, you don’t have to be sarcastic.

    Lastly, I don’t know how to read that Alexa page or what it means exactly but I thought this was really interesting:

    aexpats.com users come from these countries:
    United Kingdom4.3%

    Baexpats.com traffic rank in other countries:
    United Kingdom541,054

    So while 91.3% of the users are in Argentina, almost all of the actual traffic comes from outside… To me that can only mean that the site isn’t very user driven. But, as I said, I have no idea how to really interpret this. Help?


  6. Igor
    Igor says:

    Frankly, I am glad that people find so much inspiration analyzing posts on our board.

    As to yankuimike issue, he thinks he has very good ideas about how an expat site should look like, but somehow prefers to run a hate blog instead.
    I described here my view of the situation once.

    If you want to see how many people on baexpats.com are from Argentina, according to our
    Alexa page it is 91%.
    Or you can take John’s word for it, assuming he knows it better.

    As to “You saved me the trouble of reading the site and finding out for myself.”, it is a nice approach to life, I’d say. Do you have the same attitude to books, by any chance?

  7. Igor
    Igor says:


    You are confused, sorry. It is a rank, not number of hits. We are #10,513 site in Argentina and #541,054 in UK. That means that locally we are much more popular in Argentina than in UK, not otherwise.

  8. exnat
    exnat says:

    No need to apologize for my confusion, Igor. Something I’ve learned from living in Buenos Aires is to accept a fairly permanent level of confusion. Thanks for the clarification.

    Let me also clarify. Like in all forums, no one can take responsibility for what other people choose to say. Communities can have complicated social dynamics and it can be difficult to foster healthy ones. As you said earlier today, some people take the moment to vent their frustrations.

    However, let me just say I was surprised that no one in the community chastised this established member for just being an outright jerk to a newcomer. This was the first post I read on your forum and I was very surprised at the tone. It is very intimidating to be a first time user and criticize someone with 204 posts.

    I’m very interested in your reaction to the D&D post and if you consider it an acceptable tone for your site. I’m not saying that you censor things, but it raises the issue of examples set from above. Instead of censoring you could simply say to the offending party: “Hey, _____ don’t use that tone here.” Or something like that to let people know that it’s not nice. I’m not saying you have to micromanage relationships either but if stuff like this is going on, it IS your business and it reflects very badly on the site if the problem isn’t solved.

    I’m not sure why this is such a polarized issue. It sounds like you’re happy with the site the way it is. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. To what everyone has written.

    PS: I still am very interested in how you choose what books to read.

  9. Joanne
    Joanne says:


    I too am new to the expats site as of yesterday.

    If you read some of the other forums that particular person has been chastised for some of his other posts. Which generally follow the same tone.

    I have no idea why but sometimes on these things people feel the need to contradict somebody elses opinion without sitting back and accepting that everybody is different and to live and let live. Especially about a topic like D&D.

    Having said that I chatted to some cool people yesterday and some of the posts in the womens forum (bras) helped me a lot!!!!


  10. exnat
    exnat says:

    Hey Joanne,

    There is almost an innocence about this rudeness that reminds me of something I’d expect to see in high school (or even junior high). The jerk probably doesn’t even know how other people perceive him, he/she probably thinks it’s funny. But the rudeness happens all over and isn’t particularly interesting What I thought might be interesting is that maybe there is a sense of what’s cool and what’s not among expats. Maybe there’s an inner circle of cool kids and the newcomers who ask “silly” questions about safety and role playing games. I was surprised because it’s essentially an expat support site and here’s this person not being particularly supportive.

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that everyone on this site is mean or anything. I didn’t get a chance to check out the bra forum but maybe I should… 😉

  11. Tina
    Tina says:

    🙁 I haven’t gone to that site, but it makes me sad that someone criticized a new guy for wanting to find other D&D people. So what if D&D (or anything else) isn’t necessarily an Argentine – I think the guy had a great idea for a way to make new friends.
    When I first moved to Italy, the first thing I did was look for where to dance Tango and was able to get connected with the people I met at the Tango events. Tango is not Italian at all, it has nothing to do with drinking Chianti or eating wild boar, but if I hadn’t found people who shared my hobby, I’d have felt very lonely in Italia.
    I hope the new guy succeeds and finds some D&D folks – it’s an important way to make friends in a new place.

  12. exnat
    exnat says:

    Hey Tina,

    Thanks for your reading and your compassion. It’s taken me quite a long time here to finally get around to playing to my strengths and not my weaknesses. I’m finally searching out fellow creative types.

  13. Joanne
    Joanne says:


    It is very childish and very school like…..and when I read posts like that I just feel sorry for that person if that´s all they´ve got in life to do.

    And yes as an expat over here with an Argentine boyfriend it is hard to meet others if you are not on the backpacker/party scene and any form off getting people together from all sorts of backgrounds…to do something you enjoy?? Where is the harm?

    Lol..sorry I knew you weren´t insinuating that everybody on the site is the same. I guess I can let certaing things just go over my head, but somebody else may take things to heart and or be put off by Bs As. You are right, its not nice.

    You should definetly check out the bra forum if you are thinking of buying one soon???? hahahahah

  14. Frank Almeida
    Frank Almeida says:

    Hi Nathan,

    Wow, I didn’t expect to see so many comments here after a couple of days. I have spoken with Igor in the past as well and seemed like a nice guy. Your concern is a valid one though. It is very easy for people to reach out and be mean and if we just let them do it they will go and try not to miss a single opportunity to be mean to someone.

    I am a moderator at a yahoo group called banewcomers and I see that sort of thing once in a while. As soon as I see someone getting out of hand I do jump in. Luckily, it does not happen so often. In fact, the last time that happened led me to Igor and his http://www.indextar.com site. Igor did react responsibly to my request. Unfortunately that little troublemaker has reappeared on Igor’s site, but the key word here is “little” so I am now pretty much ignoring him (the troublemaker not Igor).

  15. WynnieThePooh
    WynnieThePooh says:

    I found it very interesting to come across your blog article here. I actually participated on that forum for several months until I was permanently banned along with many of the others who regularly posted on that site. I find a few key points interesting about the site, particularly their terms of service. First of all the private messages there are noted to be the property of the website and not the individuals using them and are subject to review by the administration there. Second, you relinquish the artistic rights to any material you post there giving them the right to sell your words, etc. to others for their own profit. Third, they retain the right to edit your writings on their site while leaving your name on the postings meaning you can be made to appear to be writing anything with no rights as to preserving your own opinion as written. Fourth, as a matter of written policy you cannot question the administration of the site. If you do so they now have a post on the site referring you to their immigration attorney who works directly with the president. And lastly, although they live in Argentina and have a forum for people in Buenos Aires and claim above that over 91% of their membership is in Argentina and they hold monthly meetings here in Buenos Aires…………… they claim that the laws of Texas, USA apply to them and that you cannot take any legal action against them. When a friend of mine questioned them about this they sent an e-mail to him stating that they are not subject to Argentine law or the Argentine Constitution. Yanqui Mike has the e-mail posted on his site as noted above on an earlier comment.

    So, you might ask about my own agenda. I might be said to appear to be a disgruntled former member of the site. I would say no to all that. I loved the forum and the people there and attended many of their dinners. One of the site administrators was concerned about some private matters regarding me and I was tossed from the site. No big deal. As the Beatles say “Obladi oblada life goes on”……….

    We have started a new online forum and informational site here in Buenos Aires and I must say that while we are less than two weeks old now, we are having a fabulous and fun time. And everyone is welcome and treated with open ……. well open keyboards I suppose. And I too was a D&D player back in the day.

  16. exnat
    exnat says:

    Pooh, thanks for your disgruntled comment.

    From this posting it appears that Baexpats.com is a for profit site that seems to consist of a) people trying to make a profit from it, b) expats who’ve been here awhile who seem to be elitest and negative and c) people who are new to buenos aires and the forum and are interested in meeting other expats. It seems to me that after awhile group c tends to drift off and actually find friends or joins group b and becomes bitter while avoiding integration.

    I’m not sure if their terms of service are standard fair but, to paraphrase a high school teacher of mine, my blog is a benevolent dictatorship. In fact, if you make really good comments, I’ll just make it look like I posted it.

    I would LOVE to hear about the private matters that got you kicked off the forum. THAT is far more interesting than baexpats for sure. Perhaps you will post it on your new forum.

    That and I still want to know how Igor chooses books…

  17. WynnieThePooh
    WynnieThePooh says:

    Well I am reminded of the Orwellian concept that “all pigs are created equal but some are more equal than others”. I too would love to take credit for making posts and ideas sound as if they were my own. Alas…………. all that know me are also acutely aware that not all is as it seems.

    I would be more than happy to discuss those personal issues in more detail later, but for now I thought I might share with you the way my banning was handled and posted:


    And if you want to doubt me, here is the link to the original thread:


    And here is the threat of lawyers:


    So, in the end I leave it up to you to figure it all out.

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