Author Topic: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion  (Read 27229 times)

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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Sandwich? More like Bannedwich

 
Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Sandwich? More like Bannedwich

Thanks to the hard work of rev_posix and Sandwich, the HLP email system has been fixed!  All registration emails from the past few months have been re-sent.  If you still need help, please sign on to Discord and let us know.  The Discord link can be found in the top navbar under the HLP menu. ヾ(´︶`♡)ノ

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Enough with this "character killing". Even if they got demoted, the former admins have done and are still doing a lot for this community.
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Offline Sandwich

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Just to make things perfectly clear, my opinions re: the above were not intended for public consumption, and I did not authorize Sandwich to speak on my behalf.

In that case, I would like to publicly apologize for doing so, Mongoose. I am sorry for posting in public an abstract of what you voiced in private. :blah:
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"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Thanks, I appreciate that.  :) I don't mind sharing my opinions about what form this should take, I'd just rather be the one to share them myself.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
As promised, here's what happened.

1.  A PolDisc thread got out of hand and there were what can be interpreted as personal attacks.  That situation escalated, resulting in a moderator report.  Following contentious discussion on the GM board, this resulted in Axem's public judgement that what transpired was not generally actionable to any of the parties involved, and he left an open-ended request for Goober5000 to determine how to to handle his vague legal threat in the eyes of the community.

2.  Goober deleted the thread and left a select few posts.  This caused immediate outrage among a majority of the staff.  Goober steadfastly has claimed that the statements in the PolDisc thread were personal attacks and defamatory, although he did later state that he did not intend to seek legal action.  We have a clear principle of not invoking moderation powers in a dispute in which we are involved, which will be further reinforced in the coming weeks and months.

3.  During these events, a private Discord group was created to discuss matters in real-time.  To the knowledge of every staff member participating in it who is still posting on HLP, this invitation included all currently responding staff except Goober due to the nature of what had transpired and the possibility of disciplinary action against him.  We have subsequently discovered that Sandwich either was not sent an invitation, never received it, or did not see it and accept; the end result is that the group did not ultimately include Sandwich in the discord discussions.  This was through no malice or intent of the participants to exclude him; Goober's participation was intentionally excluded as his behaviour was the matter of review and remaining staff needed a channel to determine the best path forward.  This approach is normal in all disciplinary contexts in private and government organizations.

4.  A majority of staff initially called for a complete removal of Goober's moderation powers.  Subsequently, a detailed compromise was reached, and partially implemented.  That compromise broke down in the face of community reaction, an insufficient public apology by Goober, and contention over how the thread in PolDisc was to be handled based on the compromise.  It is fair to say that all parties went into the compromise with inadequate preparation for how it needed to be actually implemented, which led to further breakdown.  For that, we all owe the community an apology.

5.  A more than 2/3 majority of active staff determined they believed Goober was not going to properly apologize and that his judgement could not longer be trusted, and declared within the GM board that he needed to be removed.  Privately, those staff drafted basic contingency plans to remove Goober as an administrator which were to include a public statement and some personal messages to both Goober and Sandwich.  Unfortunately, when the vote was tallied in the thread, the removal was undertaken without the public statement OR the private messages.  Understandably, Sandwich and Goober were outraged, Axem got completely disgusted with the entire situation and left, and more conflict resulted.  We owe Goober, Sandwich, and the community at large another apology for that failure of coordination.  We especially owe Axem a public apology, which we recognize he may never read, for this failure in our collective ability to resolve this situation quickly and efficiently was clearly - based on his final post - a catalyst for his departure and is a loss to the whole community.

6.  Sandwich undertook further unilateral actions in the face of what he believed were staff members going rogue.  The remaining staff made it clear that this was a planned majority decision, clearly expressed in the GM board, that was executed poorly.  We have since learned that Sandwich was privately assisting Goober in the drafting of a second attempt at an apology.  We have to be clear, however, that Goober's admin status removal was a collective decision made by a large majority of the staff who concurred that they would resign in protest if it was not completed.  We do hope Goober continues on as a productive member of the community as he has provided significant contributions to HLP over his many years here.  Sandwich did not resign but did agree to have his status reduced to the Aide-de-Camp role, and continues to provide input to the community as well.

Staff participants in the entire situation, start to finish, are (alphabetically):

-Axem (resigned)
-Fineus (Active)
-Goober (status revoked)
-karajorma (Active)
-Mongoose (Active)
-MP-Ryan (Active)
-Sandwich (Role change to ADC)
-The E (Active)
-Zacam (Active)

The past few weeks have been contentious and difficult for everyone involved and have frankly done considerable damage to HLP's regular userbase and staff.  All staff members had a role in creating these problems, and all of us directly apologize to the entire board for the conflict this has created.  We hope this resolution will not lead to the loss of more members of the community.  None of these decisions were undertaken lightly, and we recognize the need to reform the way HLP is administered and moderated.  We have already begun to take steps to address these concerns, and welcome the constructive feedback being provided in Site Support.

Thank you.
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Offline Sandwich

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Since Goober and I were on the "other" side of things from the rest of the staff, I'll just affirm here that this is a reasonably balanced summary of events that encompassed the original thread in PolDisc and the not-publicly-accessible 9.5-page thread in GlobMod.

It does not go much into motivations, reasonings, or the like, nor should it.

Thanks to MP-Ryan for composing the bulk of this (AFAIK), and karajorma for being willing to try posting a summary in the first place.
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"...The quintessential quality of our age is that of dreams coming true. Just think of it. For centuries we have dreamt of flying; recently we made that come true: we have always hankered for speed; now we have speeds greater than we can stand: we wanted to speak to far parts of the Earth; we can: we wanted to explore the sea bottom; we have: and so  on, and so on: and, too, we wanted the power to smash our enemies utterly; we have it. If we had truly wanted peace, we should have had that as well. But true peace has never been one of the genuine dreams - we have got little further than preaching against war in order to appease our consciences. The truly wishful dreams, the many-minded dreams are now irresistible - they become facts." - 'The Outward Urge' by John Wyndham

"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
I appreciate that post, even having followed these events and discussion of them fairly closely it was illuminating in a few ways. I'm glad as well to have Sandwich's endorsement of its accuracy. My only comment is that this summary should probably be more visible, either pinned in this section for a time or edited into the first post in this thread, or something. We still have a trickle of people stumbling into this situation without complete context and reacting before getting a grasp of the whole thing, and making it more likely for this post to be among the first things they see would help. I could understand not wanting to draw more attention to the drama than it already has, but I think that ship has probably sailed.
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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Thank you, Karajorma and everyone involved in writing that. It is truly informative.

 

Offline BlackDove

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Yeah, you might want to make that more visible by making it its own thread or stickying it.

 

Offline Galemp

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Agreed. This post might be made into its own thread for those (like myself) who avoid PolDisc and are out of the loop, and just want to play with spaceships. Significant contributors walking away from a community this small is deeply significant.
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Offline Mobius

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Thanks for sharing.


I do read between the lines however that some of the admins did not formally take an active part in the discussion. rev_posix and ngld, at least. We've got Global Moderators who didn't participate, either (Black Wolf and Unknown Target, though the former hasn't been active in months). Considering the numbers involved, in a hypothetical scenario where the above mentioned staff members were sided with Goober and Sandwich, the staff would have not come to the same conclusions so easily. Or, at least, not with the net 2/3 margin mentioned in karajorma's post.

This raises another question: is it possible for a staff member not to choose a side in votes of critical importance such as this one? How should that be interpreted? Isn't the majority normally calculated by taking the total number of staff members into account?
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
We actively tried to reach everyone we could and input opportunity has been available for a month. Unlike an actual governing body we can't insist people log in or provide comment and were forced to work with what we have.  If decisions were based on majority of input from total staff rather than staff that comment, HLP would be permanently frozen. And yes, this contributes to the very valid criticism that there should be some requirement of activity to remain on staff in the first place.
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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
I want to start off my post here by saying that I apologize for making all of you continue to live, and relive, this current disaster. I'd been out of the loop for the past couple of weeks however and given the people involved here, I've got some words to say, and I can't rest easy not having said them. It is also going to be long, and I ask that you please try to bear with me until the end.

Like most of you, I am a leftist. I'm not terribly well versed in Goob's politics but I am aware that they tend to be on the other end of the spectrum. But HLP is not about politics for me, it is about space pixels.

I joined HLP in 2006 or 2007 as an edgy, isolated teenager amped up on American middle school propaganda history and yearning for a sense of duty and camaraderie. I saw good and evil everywhere and was big on the GenDisc conspiracy theory bandwagon, generally had a complete distrust of authority, and this was only amplified by the irony that Sandwich's "benevolent dictatorship" rhetoric was not considered outrageous or uncouth back in the day - it was par for the course for the site's administration at the time.

With this in mind, I made a pretty big ass out of myself, and in a community that seemed to be run by an imposing, monolithic group of others, I distinctly remember that it was Goober who was the one who actually took the time to talk with me. Who made himself available for dialogue, and generally tried to steer me in the right direction in a sea of folks who (probably rightfully) trolled me into oblivion. I even managed to get myself monkey'd, on a forum that's always been lax on the disciplinary side even in jest.

I returned on and off for awhile, but didn't seriously pick up FS modding and properly start teaching myself to FRED up until the past couple of years. Gone were the days of conspiracy theories and everything a fight to win, but one aspect remained - HLP did still largely seem to be an imposing meritocracy, and the people who knew their way around FSO's inner workings seemed unapproachable or irritable to me most of the time. Having just resigned from a four year developer/staff tenure at another gaming community, I definitely understood it. But it was still disheartening.

Re-enter Goober, and enter Axem.

Over the past year I relied on these two more than any other community members for support. People who were masters of their craft, approachable, and humble. People who didn't make me feel small, or unwelcome, or in over my head. People who didn't make me feel like an other, and provided all the resources I needed to become a proficient modder of FSO in my own right.

I returned to find them gone after attempting to drop Axem a message in private and finding I could not, as I no longer shared a server with him. That was my introduction to this, and yeah, it hurt.

As a community leader not all that long ago myself, yes, unequivocally I would have called for and pursued disciplinary action against a staff member making implied legal threats against community members. However, I think a fact lost on everyone here is that Goober, for all his responsibility and "power" here, never ceased to be a person. I find the measures undertaken by the staff to be inadequate and messy, but not in the way many others saw fit to call them out on.

There's a report button and Goober should have used it, but does his lack of a measured response befitting his role abdicate Mjn - an esteemed senior member of the community - of the accusations against him? Are we free to apply labels here to others in this forum which would, in the real world, see us potentially fired from workplaces, and ostracized by family and friends?

Another angle worth considering here is that we have all had an incredibly trying year - particularly here in the United States - and likely the most difficult of many of our lifetimes. Tensions are running incredibly high between covid, ongoing protests, and imminent elections. Should perhaps, then, some degree of leeway and understanding (I think the proposed second chance in Axem's original post was exemplary here) be extended to both Mjn and Goober? It appears that this line of thought might have been applied to one party here, but not the other.

Lastly, I can't express my disappointment enough that Sandwich was left in the dark on this, and that the ensuing confusion resulted in the loss of Axem. I think I speak for a great many when I say that that man was an infallible pillar of this community, and that we are all much poorer for the loss of him. It may not be what happened, but it's easy from an outsider perspective to read this as HLP's administration caving to a might-makes-right attitude of doubling down harder on Goober after the community called for his removal, and a convenient exclusion of staff members from discussion that may have been more sympathetic to him. Again, I don't necessarily believe this is what transpired, and I'm willing to extend some benefit of the doubt, but nobody should be under any illusion that those are not the optics on it.

Mistakes were made, and given everything I shared above, I'm not sure that the apology made is one I personally can accept at this time. I'm too invested here in certain projects to dip out now, and while I hope for some semblance of a return to normalcy, these are lasting wounds. I don't think any of us could blame Axem for not returning, or Goober for or Sandwich for leaving as well.

If I have any closing thoughts here, it would be that I have concerns about the state of HLP's staff as a bit of an echochamber, and if there is any decision that could be made which would be reassuring, it would be the hiring of new staff members who, while perhaps not as confrontational as Goober, march to the beat of their own drum.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
I wasn't involved but then, am I a real mod?

 

Offline Sandwich

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
Durandal, thanks for your input. I'd like to point out that the "echo chamber" that you and others have mentioned (myself included) is really only relevant with regard to the off-topic areas, in particular PolDisc.

When it comes to the core values of HLP, being to make awesome games (or make games awesome, take your pick), I don't think anybody's political or economic views matter too much. :)

I live in Israel. Native-born here are called "Sabras", after the cactus fruit; prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside. The culture and people here can be "rough and tumble", with a very direct, in-your-face approach... until you get to know them. People will... loudly debate with (i.e. yell at) each other over something or another, and then go grab a cuppa - no hard feelings.

I feel like HLP is - or at least should be - the same way. Even if I get into a heated debate with someone in PolDisc, I'd have no problem turning right around and working with them on a mod, site issue, or whatever.

So yes, while diversity is typically a good thing to have, and while HLP may have less diversity among its staff now than it did before, I would expect and hope that that's not something that would affect the core purpose of the site.
SERIOUSLY...! | {The Sandvich Bar} - Rhino-FS2 Tutorial | CapShip Turret Upgrade | The Complete FS2 Ship List | System Background Package

"...The quintessential quality of our age is that of dreams coming true. Just think of it. For centuries we have dreamt of flying; recently we made that come true: we have always hankered for speed; now we have speeds greater than we can stand: we wanted to speak to far parts of the Earth; we can: we wanted to explore the sea bottom; we have: and so  on, and so on: and, too, we wanted the power to smash our enemies utterly; we have it. If we had truly wanted peace, we should have had that as well. But true peace has never been one of the genuine dreams - we have got little further than preaching against war in order to appease our consciences. The truly wishful dreams, the many-minded dreams are now irresistible - they become facts." - 'The Outward Urge' by John Wyndham

"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill

 

Offline CT27

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
From what I've heard, Goober5000 was helpful in getting this site back online after the ~couple weeks outage that happened about a couple months ago.

Is he still allowed to help with the site on technical issues should they arise...would his help be accepted?

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Regarding Goober5000 & Moderation in Political Discussion
From what I've heard, Goober5000 was helpful in getting this site back online after the ~couple weeks outage that happened about a couple months ago.

Is he still allowed to help with the site on technical issues should they arise...would his help be accepted?

Goober's technical assistance was never at issue and has always been, and hopefully will continue to be, helpful.
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