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The Cost of Moderation

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Mito [PL]:
I was considering putting this off a bit until I myself cooled down and looked at the situation with maybe some more objectivity, but.

Yesterday, as soon as I closed my eyes, I've lost control of my body. The closest description I can provide is that it was as if it tried to suffocate me from the inside at every thought of this situation. Which, given that it was the only thing on my mind, resulted in about two hours of fighting myself for every single breath, shaking uncontrollably and trying not to bite down on my lips to blood before I could somehow collect myself.

With this, I cannot continue myself, either. I need to make this post as soon as I can, not only to not repeat the last night, but also because my line of work is very capable of seeing me mutilated in various ways if I lose my focus, and the distraction has been a major concern of mine for weeks already. Which is why I have to fully let all of this go before tomorrow.

Now, onto the reply itself.

--- Quote from: The E on February 06, 2021, 02:54:54 pm ---One of them, the most pernicious and in many ways the most hurtful one, was that I harboured a personal animus against certain members based on my personal political leanings.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: The E on February 06, 2021, 02:54:54 pm ---Second, the Fusion/Andreas Rybak thing - Again, an issue where I feel I made the right decision for the right reasons. And yet, as the inevitable controversy around that erupted, suddenly I was framed as the person who unilaterally banned someone purely because I chose to respond to the topic.

--- End quote ---

I am going to say this loud and clear, for everyone to know: I am responsible for all of this. This is all me. While I have always believed - and still do - that my disagreement with these opinions and some specific actions was in good intentions and for good reasons, the key word is disagreement.

And what I have done and said in the recent threads is everything that I can imagine going beyond a simple disagreement. I have conducted the most hideous attack I was capable of against the most vulnerable person in the community, completely ignoring all of the signs of fatigue and stress they were showing prior. I have not - and will not - edit or remove any of my posts that this behaviour has taken place in, for everyone to see. This is me.

I was thinking of writing a sort of an apology post for some time now. An apology to every member of the community who witnessed my behaviour, and doubly so to moderators who had to put up with me. However, this topic has since made me realize that the situation is far beyond the point where an apology is at best adding an insult to injury. I have assaulted and, to the best of my knowledge, irreversibly damaged a person and the community around them. This is definitely the most harm I ever did to anyone over the Internet, and most likely the most hurtful thing I have ever done to a person in my entire life.

Lately, I have come to regret many things I have done here. Weighing in on decisions without waiting for a clear picture and important information to emerge. Making personal decisions in the spur of a moment, biased with emotion, never standing back to cool off and think calmly before acting. Ignoring the signs of stress of community members, never taking a moment to comfort them. And even if I tried to defend someone from unjust action or harrassment, I have done it in utterly hideous ways.
Everything related to this is just a culmination of all these faults combined. My crown achievement in this community turns out to be to cause pain and suffering to others.

I am too ashamed to be able to address The E directly and that most likely will continue for a long time. However, I do hope he does not block communication from me, because I'm planning to checking up on him once I... become responsible enough to do so. Probably in a month or two. If he will not want to speak to me after this ever again, I will fully accept this and will not question it.

However, before I move on to the closing part, I need to reply.

General Battuta.

I will state this here publicly and openly: yes, I have severe grievances with him and yes, I understand this is absolutely not the place to air them, but I believe there are things that need to be said here for the health of this community.

I have told you to not speak to me. Not only because I have a grudge, but also because I have come to find your replies severely hurtful. That is the exact case with your post here, as it is nothing more than pure pain for me.

If it was any other member saying exactly that, it would have been comforting. If it was The E saying this himself, I would have wanted to burn in shame, but it wouldn't hurt as much as this. Given your previous involvement, I think that any reasonable person in your place would find the understanding to either just... fall silent for a time and let the emotions fall, or reach out and at least whisper the slightest word of apology, or indicate in any way that you regret something.

However, there's... this instead. Receiving understanding and comfort, being told that it isn't my fault for reacting to being hurt emotionally... From the exact person who was doing their best to hurt me emotionally. Not only that, but without any prior indication that the person might consider that behaviour as a mistake, and in the form of an arrogant and patronising post. It just... hurts.

I am absolutely not perfect, if I were, this topic and many other ones wouldn't exist. But it would be against whatever remains of conscience I still have if I did not say this: please, learn how to not do this. I believe it is harmful for the community, and I know for a fact that people have distanced themselves from it because of this. I can only speculate whether there were any who fully left for that reason. This is also my plea to the community as a whole: please, help this man learn. Teach him how to change ever so slightly.

Returning to the important part...

I find this situation to be far beyond any apology, and also definitely beyond my capacity to atone for it in any way I am capable of. This is why, to limit any further damage, I am leaving this community. I have seen the amount of harm and issues I brought to the community as rapidly outweighing my scarce contributions to it (if any; I generally did not contribute anything meaningful here) for a certain time now. Now I understand that I should have either severely distanced myself, or moved to actually contributing instead of blowing up issues and grievances.

This is a thing I've been meaning to do for some time now. Within the last month, I've forced myself away for a couple times, as I was getting unnecessarily riled up and wanted to avoid this exact situation happening. Then, I have decided that I cannot stay here in good faith any longer due to seeing the repeating personal attacks carried out against innocent people and what I presumed to be injustice in handling this situation, and the further interaction pushing me into a very unhealthy state of mind. I have settled whatever matters I had left in here and did all the personal "housework" I was supposed to do, to the best of my knowledge. I planned to create a new topic, in which I explained the reasoning behind my decision and touched upon a couple important things I wanted to leave for the community to consider, then requesting an immediate lock of the thread, fully knowing that I would be pulled back if there was any more discussion. I also considered that me publicly leaving was not a very encouraging thing for people here, and I wanted the thread to disappear quickly.

Out of pure chance, I have stumbled upon the Andreas Rybak/Fusion thread when I wanted to check the unread topics for one final time before creating the aforementioned message and disappearing. I had the rough draft of it mentally prepared, and have finally become at peace with my decision. That point is when I said what I said, and that causes my reason for leaving to change - from being afraid of things I might eventually do, to an absolute disgust over myself for what I have done.
If there is anything positive to come out of it, it is the fact that the... visibility of this post is going to be lower, due to me not creating a topic just specifically for it.

I am not sure when - or if - I will ever return to this place. There are some things that need to change in my life before I will allow myself to even consider engaging with you all, and I won't hide that there are also things I wish would change over time in this community. For now however, I'm not going to be considering any of this, as I just need to be away.

Now, to finish off, the things I wanted to leave over here.

Firstly, the matter of Andreas Rybak (Fusion on Discord). Given my aggressive defense of him, there is a great deal of personal responsibility for his further actions weighing down on me, and I do not plan on shying away from it. However, the first thing I want to approach is that, given how people around here have been acting recently, I find it very likely that he will experience harassment and mockery from prominent users, even if he doesn't ever give any reason for it. While I think that the new community guidelines would be perfectly able to stop any of it from happening in HLP public spaces (the forum and the Discord server), I am still worried about the possibility of personal attacks taking place in communities adjacent or even unrelated to HLP, also including malicious personal messages. I would like to think that I've left the matter in good hands who could step carefully with the problem at hand, instead of imagining him to be alone surrounded by metaphorical sharks who are waiting for his slightest mistake.

However, if word gets to me that he - supported by some evidence indicating it beyond a reasonable doubt - has broken the promise made to everyone here, I will absolutely not hold myself back in private, and will try to take reasonable action against him. For the record, I am not going to consider events that have been triggered by harassment of his person. The moderation staff has given him a chance, and you, people within the community, should too.

Also I need to mention that at the point of me writing this post, the matter of unbanning him on Discord was not fully resolved yet, but given the formal apology and the fact that he is still able to post on the forum, I have no reason to believe this is going to make a turnaround.

Secondly, my contact information.

If there is anything anyone might be interested in talking with me, or if there is any matter I need to be present for, you have two options. One is the forum's private message system - while I will not visit the forum itself anymore unless specifically prompted, the system will send me an e-mail to my personal address, although it might take me weeks to notice it, as I don't check that inbox particularily often.

My preferred way of contact would be via Discord: there are multiple community members who either have me on their friends list, or have a history of direct messages with me. To anyone who does not, just ask around a bit, there surely are active people around who could send you my DM handle, so you could send me an invite.

That said I want to make it clear: if possible, I do not allow my contact information to be shared outside of private messages. I am unsure whether it is possible to just see my Discord tag by just looking up my previous messages on the HLP Discord - if it is, please just disregard this entire paragraph. I would also suggest to the moderation staff that if any of past screenshots with my Discord tag resurface, please do remove them or, if there is any other valuable content in them, ask their authors to edit the tag out of them. This is not a demand, just a request, given the current lack of staff I don't want to be forcing you to work even more. Do it only if it's a non-issue for you.
While I initially wanted to say it just because I did not somehow feel comfortable with people being able to contact me without just the tiniest amount of effort on their side, the recent event related to MjnMixael is giving me a remotely practical reason for it.

As you can see, I am not burning the bridges behind me. I am unsure whether I would be able to muster the strength to do se even if I wanted. There's been a great deal of friendships I have found here that I can't just break... and after yesterday I would really appreciate some company later on. Also, I am quite positive I can safely keep myself together inside private conversations.

That said, while I'm not sure whether I'm doing the right thing right now, a massive weight is falling from my chest as I'm writing this. I'm pretty sure I might have forgotten something important I had to say, but this post is massive enough already and can't really wait too much, so I'm leaving myself the option to just say whatever I feel is important, if it reminds itself to me.

That said, stay safe, keep yourself together... And don't make the same mistakes I did.

General Battuta:
If I didn't have regrets I wouldn't have already banned myself for six months.

The E:
Mito, my heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery.

Stress and burnout are real issues. None of us are immune to it, and we are living in extraordinarily stressful times. Take care of yourself, find your balance and your safe space, and take as long as you need to get back to the world. There is light at the end of the tunnel, things will get better.


--- Quote ---I am going to say this loud and clear, for everyone to know: I am responsible for all of this. This is all me.
--- End quote ---


You really aren't. It says something about the level of general toxicity in this community that I don't know of a single moderator or admin who hasn't at some point wondered why they don't step down and be done with it.

It's one of the major reasons why we're trying to make some changes.


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