Author Topic: Recent Events, Next Steps  (Read 984 times)

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Offline MP-Ryan

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Recent Events, Next Steps
There is a condition to posting in this thread.  If you respond, you commit to having read this entire post and reflected on your role on this board and in interpersonal conflict relating to HLP.

In the last few weeks, we have seen some prominent interpersonal issues on display and what we can charitably characterize as 'drama' emerge.  The Internet does not lend itself to dealing well with interpersonal conflict.  Not only is a substantial part of communication via tone and body language lost, but people often feel the need to entrench themselves in a position and defend it long past the point of necessity or reason.  When we throw in a global pandemic on top of that, and a number of users with admitted mental health challenges, we have a recipe for disaster.

The disaster is in many ways in a form of slow ongoing burn right now, and without decisively confronting these issues now, it will continue to burn.  We have lost three admins and a global moderator from their roles, and several valued contributors to the community entirely as long-standing UNADDRESSED issues have boiled to the surface.  We have other community members who are now limiting their participation; whether this is permanent or temporary remains to be seen and largely depends on where we go from here.

We have all, intentionally or unintentionally, played a role in allowing frankly toxic behaviour to persist, interpersonal differences of opinion to become interpersonal conflicts and vendettas, and creating an atmosphere that is less about mutual creation, joy, and respect for each other than it is about grievance-peddling.  On a personal note, I am not immune to this.  Less than a week ago, I got in an argument with a member of the community that I let get to me and decided "Oh **** off" was a reasonable response.  It wasn't.  I owe General Battuta an apology for that, and I do, genuinely, apologize.

This divisiveness ends today.  If you cannot commit to ending it today and moving on from these issues, you need to take a break.  Take as long as you need.  When you're ready to rejoin us, we will be here.  We are done bleeding people from the community over festering problems.  Going forward, moderators will take a more proactive role in keeping discussion from devolving into a mud-flinging exercise.  Community members will be expected to uphold community values and resolve their differences in constructive ways.  Peddling in grievance, dogpiling, and generally harassing people to their breaking point will not be tolerated, and we will start handing out bans to those who refuse to recognize their role in ALL of the recent issues and reform their future behaviour.

On more general news, the moderation/admin staff have been working on draft community standards for a little while (predating this most recent drama).  They will be posted for public comment and input this weekend in Site Support.  Comment will be left open for a month; constructive feedback is welcome, while rehashing old grievances is not.  Any significant contentious issues will be open to vote.

This post has been reviewed and approved by multiple members of the moderation team prior to posting and reflects our collective views.
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
I mean I do think it was a pretty reasonable response. Apology rejected!

  

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
I have MORE and BETTER words than that and should have used them.  As should we all.  Noted, though =)
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

 
Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
I see no issues with terminating all prior grievances, offering hands to one another, and moving forward as a community at this point in time - particularly if such outreach could bring said members who have left back.

 

Offline DefCynodont119

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
I don't think i have any grievances with anyone here, but if i do, then i hereby drop them.
My gift from Freespace to Cities Skylines:  http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=639891299

 

Offline Androgeos Exeunt

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
I trust that you don't mind me quoting your post in multiple segments, Ryan; seems appropriate considering the red text. :nervous:

We have other community members who are now limiting their participation; whether this is permanent or temporary remains to be seen and largely depends on where we go from here.

The first part of this sentence is pretty sweeping. People limit their participation for all sorts of reasons. A single incident cannot ever be the source; it is the trigger that creates the result.

My reduced activity on HLP is largely the result of the following:
  • "knowing my place" (most call it "maturing")
  • involvement in other online communities
  • real-life commitments (mainly studies as of the time of this post, with employment being the next thing to tackle once studies are dealt with)

I think Point 1 requires fleshing out.

Keep in mind that I've been mooching about on HLP for the best part of the last 14 years and made around 9800 posts. In making those posts, I've occasionally elicited certain responses from others, be it a ban, sharp response, or whatever. This extends to the old IRC, the FS Wiki, and current Discord server. In receiving these responses, I adapt accordingly. I might counter, I might stand down, I might give a weird face. The point is: in doing so, I become "more efficient" in the way I do things; a string of posts I made in 2007 can be reduced to just one post, certain posts I made in 2008 wouldn't exist if I were in the same situation now as I was back then, and so on.

This so-called "increased efficiency" results in me seemingly becoming less active and, ironically, it also means I tend to be oblivious towards certain things. Your message on Discord about "cleaning up site support and posting a thread on alllllll the recent mess" (which resulted in this thread, I guess) caught me by surprise at first, but when I skimmed through the recent posts on the forum and (more or less) got a slight gist of exactly why you sent that message on Discord, I decided not to pour oil on the fire - a side-effect of me being "more efficient" in my approach. If I was half my current age, I'd dive right in. I no longer do that.

None of this has any direct relation with the recent string of disputes that arose over the past six months - starting with the furore over Goober's moderation actions, which resulted in Axem's thread, which I felt warranted a response - but my response to the disputes (or lack thereof) and resulting obliviousness is a result of Point 1.

We have all, intentionally or unintentionally, played a role in allowing frankly toxic behaviour to persist, interpersonal differences of opinion to become interpersonal conflicts and vendettas, and creating an atmosphere that is less about mutual creation, joy, and respect for each other than it is about grievance-peddling.

Over the past few years, the phrase "HLP is not a democracy" sticks to the back of my mind for some reason. A Google search shows that only Goober and Sandwich mentioned it in forum posts, but the fact that I remember this phrase really well implies it is mentioned a lot more often (perhaps on the old IRC). It could be a reference to the way HLP was run when Goober was admin, which begs the question of whether preventing this was the point of running HLP the way it was.

If so, it's probably not working as intended, which brings HLP to where it is today.

If you cannot commit to ending it today and moving on from these issues, you need to take a break.

I let my hatchets decompose because I don't have to do anything, even though it takes a really long time. Why should I take the effort to bury it? I'll just feel that it's a waste to let it rot and pick it up again, and that wouldn't end nicely for anyone involved.

...Of course, if the other party wants to bury their hatchet, I'm not stopping them; they're burying their own hatchet while I'm (happily) letting mine decompose. Different strokes for different folks.

On more general news, the moderation/admin staff have been working on draft community standards for a little while (predating this most recent drama).  They will be posted for public comment and input this weekend in Site Support.  Comment will be left open for a month; constructive feedback is welcome, while rehashing old grievances is not.  Any significant contentious issues will be open to vote.

Didn't we have a set of forum rules somewhere? Maybe I'm confusing this forum with another one, but I vaguely recall seeing something like that when I first joined (and it certainly isn't this).
My blog

Quote: Thursday, 14 January 2021, 1958 hrs UTC, #general
Dobbsylondon
Nobody's allowed out over here anyway.   I nominate E (as a fair and just overlord) to arrange a Zoom HLP Social.

The_E
wait what

 

Offline Galemp

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
THANK YOU. I sent a message to the admins just today to this effect. I've been here a long time and I've never seen things happen the way they have these last few months.

Some things I think are very important:
  • Mutual forgiveness. Everyone
    needs to let bygones be bygones. Extend personal invitations to Goober, Sandwich, Axem, MJN, and others to rejoin, conditional that they also release any grievences. Lift any restrictions (that doesn't mean reinstating priveleges.)
  • Establish clear and firm community standards of purpose and conduct. Affirm what is encouraged, what is tolerated, and what is forbidden.
  • Have boundaries around where these standards apply; just on the forums? On Discord? On the HLP YouTube, Facebook, Twitter accounts? Outside of HLP entirely? If a member is perfectly behaved on the forums, and is misbehaving elsewhere on the Internet, what is actionable?
  • Have a clear and transparent moderation policy. Consider what constitutes a formal warning. Use muting generously, not as punishment per se, but as a time out to allow emotionally charged members time to cool off and get perspective. Then, when the mute is over, have a moderator listen to the offender's remaining grievences, if any. Do not leave the situation unresolved.
  • This pandemic has granted us an opportunity to talk more face-to-face. Remember that regular person + anonymity + audience = total f*ckwad. Have a monthly "convention" on Google Meet or something where we can all actually see and hear each other, put faces to the names. It's a LOT harder to lash out at someone you feel you know personally.
  • Recruit staff (global mods or admins) who are tangibly invested in the community and its survival. Folks who are contributing to the server fund. Those who maintain the SVN and code repositories. Those who run our most high-profile and content-rich projects: the SCP, FSU, Blue Planet,  FSPort (:nervous:), BTA, Inferno. People who have sunk countless hours into making HLP what it is. Twenty years ago, I didn't join a democracy or a dictatorship; I joined a meritocracy.

I'd like to volunteer as HLP "human resources" as it were to provide a neutral third party for dispute resolution. I'm rarely on Discord and don't do much playing these days, but this community is an important part of my life and I take threats to its existence very seriously.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 10:31:41 pm by Galemp »
"Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he's supposed to be doing at that moment." -- Robert Benchley

Members I've personally met: RedStreblo, Goober5000, Sandwich, Splinter, Su-tehp, Hippo, CP5670, Terran Emperor, Karajorma, Dekker, McCall, Admiral Wolf, mxlm, RedSniper, Stealth, Black Wolf...

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
How are you doing dude? Things sounded pretty rough last time we talked.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
We certainty aren't going to require everyone to publicly post that they plan to let past issues slide, and whether you let those hatchets decompose or bury them is irrelevant so long as we, as my daughter's favourite character says...


As for the rules - there used to be rules.  They didn't work because of rules-lawyering.  The Guidelines were a second attempt which have worked better, but still not terribly well.  We're going to try moving onto something more proactive.  I'll post it up on Saturday.

EDIT:  Galemp that is a great post, and please keep an eye on things over the next couple weeks because that is exactly the kind of input we want on the Community Standards.
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

 

Offline Galemp

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Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
How are you doing dude? Things sounded pretty rough last time we talked.

IRL I am sick and tired of arguing and emotionally exhausted. I just want to come somewhere familiar and comfortable and enjoyable, play with spaceships and admire artwork and hear stories.

So I am taking all of this drama on HLP pretty goddamned personally because I need a place of stability right now.

And if I have to get assertive and throw my weight around HERE to make that happen then I will.
"Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he's supposed to be doing at that moment." -- Robert Benchley

Members I've personally met: RedStreblo, Goober5000, Sandwich, Splinter, Su-tehp, Hippo, CP5670, Terran Emperor, Karajorma, Dekker, McCall, Admiral Wolf, mxlm, RedSniper, Stealth, Black Wolf...

 
Re: Recent Events, Next Steps
How are you doing dude? Things sounded pretty rough last time we talked.

IRL I am sick and tired of arguing and emotionally exhausted. I just want to come somewhere familiar and comfortable and enjoyable, play with spaceships and admire artwork and hear stories.

So I am taking all of this drama on HLP pretty goddamned personally because I need a place of stability right now.

And if I have to get assertive and throw my weight around HERE to make that happen then I will.

Using seniority for the greater good is never a bad thing