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Stratics: The "unvarnished" events of the past few days

Discussion in 'Stratics Help and Suggestions' started by Elenni, Apr 21, 2016.

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  1. Elenni

    Elenni Stratics Sr. Leadership team member
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    As promised last evening, and with the intention of providing insight and transparency, we (the Senior Staff and acting Board members) are opening a topic regarding the events of the past few days.

    Primarily for privacy reasons, it isn't normally our policy to discuss protected/private conversations or moderator actions. However, the circumstances in this particular case are so extremely unusual that we simply don't see a more politic or appropriate way to shed light on recent events -- or to move forward with any credibility without going into this level of detail. As many of those who were affected or involved have also publicly posted on these events both here and elsewhere, we trust that they are not opposed to having those details made known.

    First off, we would like to apologize to those community members who had accounts that were temporarily suspended or banned from the site this week. Those actions were NOT approved or initiated by the Board and should never have taken place in the manner they did. Because they did not follow our internal, self-imposed procedure, each of those bans and suspensions have been revoked at this time. It was our intention to reach out to each of these community members individually to apologize prior to this post; unfortunately the actions of a few people circumvented that intent, and we determined it was more critical to make a public statement as soon as possible.

    So how and why did it happen, why was it wrong, and who did it?
    As you can imagine, those are somewhat uncomfortable questions with pretty disheartening answers in several cases. A lot of people have posted some version of the events; many more have expressed an opinion based on what they know, were told, or think they know. That's inevitable in any community, and pretty much de rigeur in an online forum.

    Taken step by step, the following is a fairly comprehensive timeline of events, warts and all:

    Even prior to day one of taking over administration of the site, the Board took the decision that all permanent or long-term bans MUST be discussed and approved as a team. This was one of our many checks and balances to address any future claims or concerns regarding favoritism or arbitrary discipline.

    Over the ensuing months since December, it became clear that a small subset of community members consistently account for the majority of RoC violations and reports on the site, and take up the vast majority of our moderators' time and effort to address. These users cause regular disruption in the community and daily operations of the site, either directly or by trolling or inciting other users to violate Stratics' RoC. While some of their behaviors and actions skirt the letter of specific rules, they blatantly violate the spirit of them and cause grief for other community members who are simply trying to use the site and interact with others. Further, these users make it extremely stressful for those in our community who are generous enough to volunteer their time and efforts to keeping the site running. As we all know, without these willing volunteers there would BE no Stratics.

    In practice, because we are so reluctant to ban community members, we often look the other way or grant leniency to many of these users on a regular basis. We've had many, many discussions about whether this is a wise policy or if it actually drives our more silent, rule-abiding users away, to the overall detriment of the community. After all, there are not a great many of us left in UO and we have been together for a very long time -- again, warts and all. But the fact remains that there sometimes comes a point when you have to re-evaluate these decisions and practices for the good of the overall community.

    With that in mind, and for the purpose of abiding by the Board's agreed-upon process for escalated disciplinary action, a discussion thread was started in the Sr. Staff Forum so that the entire Board could read and participate without all having to be online at once. To be clear: this was a private, staff-only, NDA-protected forum. All participants with access were believed to be trusted staff members. NO specific action was pre-determined prior to the discussion, although it WAS presumed that once the Board had posted, reviewed and debated the list of users and their previous or on-going infractions, certain actions (up to and including bans) might ultimately be recommended, voted on, and carried out.

    During that discussion -- but prior to the conclusion of that exercise -- a trusted staff member with access to that forum read the thread in question. That staff member, who was not a moderator and had no context regarding the origin or purpose of the thread, took a decision to violate their NDA and distribute screenshots of the discussion to community members -- several of whom were being discussed. Not surprisingly, that thread was passed on to others...and to others, and to others.

    Understandably, many people who read it were extremely upset -- particularly those who were named in the discussion. The thread was posted publicly on another forum, with more invitations to read and discuss it. The backlash was exacerbated because, in blowing off steam and frustration in what was understood to be a private space and conversation, the original thread contained an uncomplimentary memes and several snarky comments in addition to actual documentation of infractions or disruptive actions. Those comments were admittedly unprofessional and inappropriate for public consumption -- and no, they are not something any of us are proud of or would ever repeat in public, despite the grief we so often take from some of the people being reviewed. In point of fact, our desire to be certain we are fair is the main reason we often let those users get away with a great deal more than many other forums would.

    To move on: once it was realized that the privacy of the staff forum had been breached and that sensitive information had been distributed, we questioned the staff member who'd taken the screenshots. After admitting their NDA violation and apologizing, that person decided to post a public apology on the Stratics forums. Unfortunately, this had the effect of further inflaming the situation rather than making it better. The staff was besieged by accusations which escalated into an uncontrollable situation for even those staff members who are not on the Board, and we archived the thread while we debated what, if any, additional action should be taken in light such an egregious NDA violation.

    While that conversation was on-going, one specific Board member took the unilateral decision to ban the users who'd been under discussion in the original thread, in addition to several other unrelated community members. The bans were performed overnight, included no warning or follow-up documentation, and had not been agreed upon by the rest of the Board. The remainder of the Board discovered the action the next morning.

    So what now?
    From our perspective, there is no part of this scenario which is straight-forward. There is blame in any number of corners; there are actions that should never have been taken, and perhaps some that should have been taken long ago or more consistently.

    As noted at the beginning of this post, the recently-banned user accounts have been restored. Regardless of what action we might or might not have taken in some or all of the original cases under discussion, the appropriate process was not followed in this instance. This does not indicate a free pass or carte blanche in the future; we will continue to enforce the RoC as it is written and intended, for the benefit of the community.

    Captn Norrington has stepped down from the Stratics Board and from staff. There are a number of rumors, conjecture and even untruths being circulated about the reason for this. From the Board's perspective, who have accepted his resignation, we will only say that we tried very hard to avoid that scenario, but ultimately it became unavoidable. The primary reason we elected to create a Board was to protect the site from unilateral actions initiated by any one person. That is a tentant we have every intention of continuing. We do wish Captn well, and will miss him.

    Clops, who violated our NDA agreement, is also no longer on staff, and his account has been suspended from the site for 6 months. While we appreciate his contributions to the site and during the sale, a violation of our NDA that is so egregious is simply not something we take can take lightly.

    As for ourselves, we have learned some fairly hard lessons as well. They are not the first ones and we don't expect they will be the last. It is agonizing to each of us to have worked so hard for so many months to establish our credibility, only to have that effort obliterated with a few thoughtless words in an unguarded moment -- even if those words were absolutely intended to be private. We realize that some members of the community may not accept this as the extent of the situation, or still may be critical -- and that is an unfortunate consequence that can only be erased by time and our future actions.

    Insofar as further discussion on this topic and moderation of the forums in general -- the RoC of the site WILL continue to be enforced. While normally discussion about moderator action would be prohibited by the RoC, we will allow it in this purpose-created thread...as long as it remains civil and productive. While we recognize that may not sit well with some, this is still Stratics, and the rules still apply. We'll answer questions that are relative as we're able, but goading and trolling isn't going to go anywhere other than the nether-sphere.

    (And no...we are not having a trial, a grand jury, or a witch-hunt. We are also not having an election for a new Board, however much some folks wish otherwise.)
     
  2. wunhandwayne

    wunhandwayne Visitor

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    "Captn Norrington has stepped down from the Stratics Board and from staff."

    The truth is he stepped down because the people on the list got unbanned.
     
    #2 wunhandwayne, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  3. elster

    elster Journeyman

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    Please explain how banning JC would benefit the community in any way?
     
    Kylie Kinslayer likes this.
  4. Archnight

    Archnight Legendary Crusader
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    Please do not LOCK or DELETE this thread, allow the community to comment. Remove only the posts that get out of hand or that are unnecessary

    Thanks :)
     
    elster likes this.
  5. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Grand Inquisitor
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    This
     
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  6. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Elenni, could you please clarify who has the ability to edit/revise a post WITHOUT the post showing at the bottom a message indicating it has been edited? Is this option available to any user or only to users who have specific rights/permissions? I have a screen shot of someone's post made last night that I noticed was later edited (yes, wording was actually changed) without showing it was edited and that was also posted in yet another version on another forum, again without showing any message to indicate it was an edited version.

    I would really appreciate knowing who, if anyone, has the ability to change posts without any message to indicate editing occurred. It is hard to read posts in this situation and give credence to what certain people say when you see things that make you wonder if there is someone behind the scenes who is manipulating messages AND/OR if people who appear to be non-staff actually do have staff-level permissions for some reason or another and just how far those staff-level permissions actually extend.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Spartan

    Spartan Seasoned Veteran

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    Having been a moderator here in the distant past I know of some of the "backroom" workings that go on. This is one of the most complete discussions of happenings I have ever seen on Stratics. I applaud the staff and Board for the relating of the tale. It ain't easy when you have to do something like this.

    To the ones who made the mistakes. Please learn from the situations and if ever in the same position again - wherever - remember how badly it can hurt a community.

    You may now return to the regularly scheduled insanity that is UO Stratics. thanks!
     
    #7 Spartan, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  8. Elenni

    Elenni Stratics Sr. Leadership team member
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    @elster @Uriah Heep As noted, the Board did not take a decision to ban JC. One Board member initiated that action on their own. All bans that were issued this week have been reversed. The Board member who executed the bans is no longer on staff.

    @Archnight As noted, our intent is to leave the thread open -- but yes, we will remove posts that get out of hand or that are unnecessary. If, however, specific people continue their spam-war not only will those posts be deleted, but warnings will be given. Enough of them and the automated suspension will trigger.

    @Tina Small Tina, I'm not a mod so I'm not absolutely certain I can answer that question accurately. I know I do have the permission to edit posts "silently" but I believe that ability is limited...I tend to only use it to correct typos. If you can give me the example I'd be happy to either troubleshoot it or have someone else look at it. (You can PM me if you feel more comfortable.)

    @Spartan Thank you. You are correct...it's not easy to admit where you screwed up. Although it might not seem possible, the staff has spent several days beating itself up more violently than many of our community members. :-/
     
    Lord Nabin and Archnight like this.
  9. whiterabbit

    whiterabbit Stratics Legend
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  10. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    I sent a PM with the example from last night just now to you, Giggles, Oscar the Grouch, Nexus, and Riyana, as I honestly have no clue who is or is not "senior staff" at this point.
     
  11. Giggles

    Giggles Wielder of Ebil Cookies
    Moderator Professional Stratics Veteran Social Media Liaison Campaign Supporter The Squirrel Empire

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    If a post is edited within a short amount of time after it being posted, it will not show as edited. I think its 2 or 3 minutes? If a mod edits a post, it will still show as being edited.
     
  12. Lord Trollo

    Lord Trollo Adventurer

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  13. FrejaSP

    FrejaSP Queen of The Outlaws
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    Sometimes mistakes happen when things get out of hand.
    I understand the anger from the ones who got temp banned but I hope all can forgive.
    The staff do have my support and respect.
     
    Elenni, Lord Nabin and Merlin like this.
  14. JC the Builder

    JC the Builder Crazed Zealot
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    Forgive me if I missed something, but what about the whole reason this got going? Are you going to continue making a list of people to ban?

    Furthermore, one of the reasons I was added to the list was for trying to "recruit people off Stratics for UOGuide". While I don't believe I ever did such a thing as to the detriment of Stratics and after discussion I simply just stopped posting here about UOGuide; you deleted my most recent post saying I'm trying to recruit people for our guild forum. I just want to know what is the line between mentioning another website and recruiting is?
     
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  15. I Actually PVP

    I Actually PVP Adventurer

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    Regardless of who hit the ban button, @Nexus and @Riyana have shown that they can't be considered impartial moderators in any way. They need to be removed as well in my opinion.
     
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  16. elster

    elster Journeyman

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    Doesn't making lists of people to kick off of a dying site seem counterproductive ? Wouldn't resources be better spent elsewhere? I just don't understand how any of this could possibly help the community.
     
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  17. Picus at the office

    Picus at the office Certifiable
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    Same old stratics.
     
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  18. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    I don't see the problem with mentioning other sites that are resources for information and communication.

    Overmoderation has left stratics as nothing more than a collection of uninformed and ignorant to the game users, with a haphazard yet frequently visited trade forum.
     
    Odin of LS, Lord Frodo, Ox AO and 8 others like this.
  19. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    Frankly I'm just disappointed. I went to bed, having just defended the current moderation team, came back in the morning, found myself permanently banned, then browsing around found that I was on a secret list of unpeople chosen by the Party leaders.

    I've adjusted my opinions accordingly.
     
  20. I Actually PVP

    I Actually PVP Adventurer

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    This.

    And the real shame is that we had just started making some progress in bridging the gap between the two most frequented UO related websites and having players from other parts of the community post here (all in the attempt to make the game better).

    These actions have basically reversed that progress and just reminded most every pvper/frequenter of other UO boards why they don't like Stratics. Biased, drama, and over moderation.

    Hard to still have faith when the answer is just, "we're trying to return to the status quo."
     
    Lord Frodo likes this.
  21. lineman

    lineman Rares Fest Host | Ches Jan 2011
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  22. TimberWolf

    TimberWolf Babbling Loonie
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    The following things need to happen.....
    The Board answers to the shareholders and a mechanism must be put in place to monitor and oversee abuses by senior staff. The fact that any senior staff even suggested banning people without following standard procedure is abuse. The fact that senior staff still are defending this list and discussion of bans further proves over sight is needed,

    There needs to be an independent investigation of the actions that took place and the results need to be released because frankly the present board has lost the faith of a large number of the community.

    And yes if the results of the independent investigation show cause....then those involved should be sanctioned and their resignations need to be accepted/demanded,
     
    Lord Frodo and Angel of Sonoma like this.
  23. Longtooths

    Longtooths Supreme Commander
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    Will the ROC remain as is (highly subjective and open to interpretation) or will it go back to a structure where everyone is clear what is allowed and what isn't...including staff?
     
  24. Lythos-

    Lythos- Lore Keeper
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    Not initiated by the Board? It very much looked like it was being initiated in those screen saves.

    This is supposed to be a forum where gaming developers come to speak and should be run with the utmost class and professionalism. Those backroom conversations proved to be the exact opposite. Just knowing there's a secret forum where the board can trash talk it's users is enough to break my trust.

    "Those words were absolutely intended to be private" So they're only sorry they got caught. Got it.

    I refuse to support the unprofessional actions that have taken place. This will be the very last time I even click a Stratics link.
     
  25. Peekay

    Peekay Slightly Crazed

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    It took you three days to throw this crock of **** wall of text together?


    This entire wall of text is an insult to the community as it is a cop out to cover your own asses.

    None of us gave a shawarma about any breach of NDA, in fact we appreciated the honesty. What we didn't and STILL don't like is our voices being suppressed simply because a moderator has personal reasons to dislike the topic, regardless of the RoC.
     
  26. Acid Rain

    Acid Rain Lore Keeper
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    While JC's "PvP" forum is mostly the worst cheating scumbags in the game... I don't see why he should be on some hit list.
    Couple of the other folk I could see why. Its still a shame ya'll don't have other things to do then make preemptive hit lists.

    Clearly this was started by someone other than Norry yet he gets the boot. Scapegoats never go outta fashion, eh?
    Just my 2 cents. Do I have to be concerned with a mark on my account cause I voiced my opinion now?
    I'll save you the trouble, I'm done posting here for awhile. This whole deal just sickens me.
    -1 forum member.

    PS. Moderate all you need to keep Stratics from becoming the cesspool of d-bags that other 'PvP' site is.
     
    Tyrath, whiterabbit, Zalan and 2 others like this.
  27. Zappy

    Zappy Adventurer

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    You come to a forum recently proved to be unscrupulous and corrupt and insult another forum which you believe to be populated by scumbags? You're priorities need checking, pal.
     
    Aran, Cetric and Peekay like this.
  28. BrianFreud

    BrianFreud Lead Wiki Mod & Doer of Crazy Things
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    @Tina Small I can confirm that not everyone who is staff can edit, let alone edit silently. I am on staff, but I specifically chose to have my access rights limited. I cannot: access the senior staff forum, see reports, see hidden or deleted posts/threads, edit other people's posts/threads (silently or otherwise), see warning points, give warning points, ban, unban. I can access the general staff forums and work on the projects which I specifically am on staff to work on.
     
    Tina Small likes this.
  29. Eärendil

    Eärendil Legendary Mall Santa
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    Guys, just read the tons of trash talk about this topic on Hotguilds Forum. You can simply see who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

    Norrington is one of the best. Certain people should walk away in shame. Their manners are so rude and they are so false. Just read on that lovely, polite Atlantic forum. It will open your eyes. It is a shame.

    My full support for some of the bans! Not all, but some!

    Thank you, Captain - and please come back!
     
  30. Picus at the office

    Picus at the office Certifiable
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    My goodness, people need to get a life.
     
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  31. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Thanks, Brian. Nexus let me know by PM that Premium/Professional members have more time to edit their posts without it showing as being edited, so that is probably what happened with the particular post I saw.
     
  32. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey Lore Keeper
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    Can @Mesanna open up your own fourm please.

    I think it's best going forward.

    I expect this post to be removed
     
  33. Prawn

    Prawn Journeyman
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    Systems flawed, there is too much hostility between this supposed "board" and the users that frequent this site, but let the trolls troll... the wise ignore, the weak feed. Pretty simple logic. And if you must BAN ban those who post the ******** illegal external material ...
     
  34. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    Broadsword would be just as fast, or faster, to not only ban you, but remove your game account access as well, over slights perceived or actual.
     
  35. Rafman

    Rafman Seasoned Veteran
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    I still cannot comprehend the level of secrecy and cover-ups that happen on these forums.

    Constantly deleting topics, editing/deleting posts, locking threads.

    So much is "taboo". You can't talk about another website/forum without getting banned/having your post deleted? Really?

    How about a more laid back approach where you just let people discuss the happenings in UO and associated to UO, and you have impartial moderators who only interfere when needed. It shouldn't be this complicated.
     
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  36. OREOGL

    OREOGL Babbling Loonie
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    Don't let the actions of others dictate the opinion of all of those on this site

    The other forums, however, speak for themselves who could stand a little moderation.
     
    #36 OREOGL, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  37. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey Lore Keeper
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    Sounds perfect better then this mess up of biased and personal actions
     
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  38. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey Lore Keeper
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    Thats because you have reasoning and logic, something that is missed here.
     
    Lord Frodo likes this.
  39. Zappy

    Zappy Adventurer

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    We all frequent this "community" because we play an MMORPG. That's probably the only thing 90% of us have in common. Well, there's one more thing; We take this **** so seriously that people have given power of their speech and thoughts to some other people they've never met. People acting surprised and offended by e-nerds doing what e-nerds do and then having the gall to insult another forum that is a place for discussion among people who don't think UO is lyfe, that's hilarious to me. Oh well, trammies; can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em 'cos they live in Luna.
     
    Polaris75 likes this.
  40. Peekay

    Peekay Slightly Crazed

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    So don't do this?

    Hmm.
     
  41. elster

    elster Journeyman

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    This. This. This. This.
     
  42. OREOGL

    OREOGL Babbling Loonie
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    It's okay to be passionate about something, and you're right we're all part of a larger community than Stratics.

    I'm not arguing what they did was okay, I'm saying that someone else telling an individual to get in a car wreck is never appropriate.
     
    Zalan and Captn Norrington like this.
  43. OREOGL

    OREOGL Babbling Loonie
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    Everyone has their own opinion, whether you agree or disagree.

    There are more appropriate ways to convey it all I'm saying.
     
    Lord Nabin likes this.
  44. Eärendil

    Eärendil Legendary Mall Santa
    Professional Stratics Veteran The Squirrel Empire

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    People should simply be polite. But they arent. Freedom of speech has nothing to do with insulting people, suggesting conspiracies everywhere, constantly lying and so on. Therefore, bans are okay sometimes.

    And the procedure applied here is absolutely normal: At least three leading staff members collect their impressions about certain people which have shown their attitudes in MANY occasions and which still do so on other boards. The discuss their measures and try to find a way to deal with it - in order to protect the manners of this wonderful community. I read alot of posts posted by some of the people mentioned in the respective posts and I absolutely agree that some of them should have been banned - certain people should have been banned YEARS ago. There are other people on that list I dont know or I dont have an opinion...

    So, if you ask me: The mods of this site have ALL the rights to discuss bans. And I am happy that they take their job so serious. They are called Nazis and so on (just read on the other forums)... I know what Nazis are, people, I really know. They destroyed my country. As far as I can see, the Nazis are not sitting in the board of this forum. They are sitting elsewhere!
     
  45. Zappy

    Zappy Adventurer

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    You're splitting hairs. The only real question is whether or not acting like a nazi on a board and damaging a "community" that's played together for nigh on two decades is worse than some man-child, who no one really listens to anyway, vent anger on a forum.The trammies who take time to insult the lukewarm forum whilst playing in to the plans of power hungry e-nerds, even going so far as giving them "donations," are the people who really ruined this game. To back that up, you should ask a UO Virgin what he'd rather see in a MMORPG; A new decoration for his 7*7 or balanced PvP and a place to poke fun at the people he kills.
     
  46. BrianFreud

    BrianFreud Lead Wiki Mod & Doer of Crazy Things
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    I think there's a lot of anger being directed at moderators in general.

    Some people here seem to think that moderation itself is the problem, however, and seem to have taken it upon themselves over the past several months, if not longer, to attack mods without reason.

    In regards to some details in this specific case, it's deserved. But in many other respects, without moderation, I think most here would be surprised at what would otherwise be on these boards. If you look at the site at 3 am, when most mods are asleep, and response times are slower, you can sometimes get a better view of that reality, when porn and other garbage gets posted in floods. Imagine the worst of general chat many times over, but with quite graphic pictures included.

    There's also the part that's being quietly ignored by some here who themselves have abused the report system in the past, trying to silence those they disagree with, those also are selling items (ie, attempting to silence their competition), those who simply abuse reporting as one means to attack people. Hell, I've had people go beyond reports and attack me in other ways outside of this site - one such attack got my old ICQ number shut down because someone decided to attack me by submitting a large number of false reports of spamming and other abuses to ICQ corporate. The behavior of some people on this site leaves plenty to be desired.

    Does moderation go overboard? I'll agree, yes it does. But there is a need for it. There's also a need for everyone on the site - users and staff - to simply take a chill pill. I know emotions can run high, whether it's from RMT problems, in-game (and RL) theft, rampant cheating in the game, the never ending arguments about EM drops, PvP fights, wars between guilds, and so on. But maybe, just maybe, everyone needs to take 10 seconds to breath before they hit "Post Reply, "Report", or whatever the moderation buttons read. In the end, it's only a game, and we're all on this site for a reason.

    I'm seeing outright slander on some of the other sites where this is being discussed. Perhaps those sites could also use some moderation. But you know, everyone here can "moderate" themselves. If the tone here can be lowered a few steps, generally, then mods can focus on that garbage that really does have an obvious need for moderation.
     
    Tabby Kapak, Zalan, Elenni and 4 others like this.
  47. Eärendil

    Eärendil Legendary Mall Santa
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    ...and the person that betrayed his/her fellow staff members and published the internal communication is a treacherous creature and a shame for this community!
     
  48. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend -A-

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    An e-hero actually. He saw an injustice happening and told people about it.
     
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  49. OREOGL

    OREOGL Babbling Loonie
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    I completely disagree that telling someone to get in a car wreck is splitting hairs from banning someone from a game forum.

    I very familiar with the other forums opinion of all those who use the site, "other than the trade forums."

    The reason people play or use the forums are unrelated to this.
     
    Captn Norrington likes this.
  50. Eärendil

    Eärendil Legendary Mall Santa
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    You have no idea of what a Nazi is - so dont use that word. People never posting here and ruining the communication with Nazi-comments are nothing we need here. There is a place for this kind of talk - but not here!
     
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