Author Topic: Community commitment to accepting complaints.  (Read 1984 times)

Calamari

  • Posts: 7
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2023, 07:34:54 PM »
[self-moderated: off-topic]
« Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 07:59:00 PM by Calamari »

DesertT

  • Posts: 1229
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2023, 12:30:50 AM »
[self-moderated: off-topic]
I saw this before you moderated it so I'm tempted to respond.   ;D

My question was serious.

The first sentence of Halaster's post regarding recent events states clearly: "Under no circumstances is abuse of any type okay."

The next sentence, "We will not, do not and never will condone it."

So they condemned the sexual harassment.

The second paragraph, Halaster acknowledged that trust was broken.  He makes it clear that actions have been taken AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE TAKEN.

The third paragraph, an apology is made.  Directly.

The fourth paragraph, he asks for the players' feedback and further: "We are asking for your help by participating in good faith in that conversation."

The second post of that thread he provides transparency which has been demanded repeatedly.  He gives it.  Shal was on the chopping block before this thing exploded.

When it exploded, before a full investigation was able to be reasonably conducted, the staffer was no longer a staffer.  No, not in the way everyone wanted to see, but Halaster ALSO apologized for that:  "I was clearly wrong, and I apologize for that."

They promise to be further transparent and have been, PLUS they've been listening.  Already, power has been disseminated from Staff to player-moderators for the GDB and Discord, A BIG STEP!!

The last part is Halaster saying, "this will not be the last word on the broader subject."

Plus, I can't seem to find it now, but there was further acknowledgement that the whole lack of a Sexual Harassment policy is being addressed.

I see a whole lot of effort on Staff's part but none of it seems to be good enough.

Halaster apologized for not being good enough in his steps!  He wasn't brought on to manage an organization.  Staff are brought on to drive stories, build, code, and be creative.

And now Halaster is stepping down.

My question is, what specific words or phrases do we as a community want to hear besides the above apologies, transparency, disseminating of power, and their promises to do better?

I know, we haven't heard yet what the full punishment against "he who shall not be named" is going to be, but it seems like everything else has been a really good start for an organization that was in no way shape or form prepared for something of this magnitude.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

BadSkeelz

  • Posts: 8772
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2023, 01:07:00 AM »
My question is, what specific words or phrases do we as a community want to hear besides the above apologies, transparency, disseminating of power, and their promises to do better?

"We are changing the rules and game so that you always know who you are playing with."

Systemic change. Not promises, not reshuffling of responsibilities and liabilities, but real change to how Armageddon players (staff and non-staff) deal with each other.
"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

DesertT

  • Posts: 1229
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2023, 01:12:21 AM »
"We are changing the rules and game so that you always know who you are playing with.”
I can get behind this on an Staff to player level, yes.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Calamari

  • Posts: 7
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2023, 07:47:55 AM »
My question was serious.
I wasn't sure. I wiped my post because I thought it was sarcasm. Since it's not, here we go. Read only the bold if you want the tldr:

So they condemned the sexual harassment.
No. They just condemned 'abuse' in general. I'm not sure if that's in reference to the abuse of sexual harassment, the abuse of banning of a player speaking out their complaint (likely the reason this thread was started), the abuse of using staff information on another character or even something else. Maybe it's about the banning of anyone saying the S-name in Discord the immediate days after the allegations were made. It is an open apology that lets the reader fill-in-the-blank with whatever assumptions they read it with. Before a small amount of clarification was given and with the context of multiple staff stepping down at the same time, it could have been Shabago eating some player's baby (as far as I'm aware that didn't happen) or almost any other notion you can conceive.

A number of the posts here at the GDB in response stated that they have no idea what occurred. I personally had no idea what it was about when I first read it and had to look at the shadowboards to get context. There were a number of allegations, some more grievous than others.

I'm still not sure. The only clarifying information we have is from the second post ("..long term, pervasive rudeness towards players"). That doesn't sound like sexual harassment to me. We'll likely never know what he meant because he has stepped down and never clarified. It could be one, any or all of the types of abuse I mentioned.

Do you have some extra information to be able to conclude it was about sexual harassment and not rude behavior in response to the submitted complaint?

The fourth paragraph, he asks for the players' feedback and further: "We are asking for your help by participating in good faith in that conversation."
This as others have noted elsewhere is cart before horse. I'd like to see that they're capable of making amends on their own volition. That would assure me they understand what happened, thought about it seriously and took actions to make amends without being provoked or instructed by others. This is very much one of the things that should not be in an apology. It's "What do you think I should do?" not "Here's what I've done to mend the damage done."

Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. Perhaps current staff could be transparent with their own thoughts on what changes they thought were necessary, as they were asked to make a list. I'd very much like to know that they are capable of responsibly handling this sort of issue in the future.

When it exploded, before a full investigation was able to be reasonably conducted, the staffer was no longer a staffer.  No, not in the way everyone wanted to see, but Halaster ALSO apologized for that:  "I was clearly wrong, and I apologize for that."
I don't think a full investigation was done. There hasn't been any statement they've were investigating or investigated it. Other than checking logs and asking the staff member for their response to the allegations, there isn't anything else that I can think of that they can investigate. That shouldn't take long and I believe we're still waiting.

Plus, I can't seem to find it now, but there was further acknowledgement that the whole lack of a Sexual Harassment policy is being addressed.
I hope that's the case. We're talking about changing a couple text files by adding a sentence or two, not an annual budget bill. I can't imagine there's a lot of partisanship politics bogging it down. Specifically what needs to be said and put into policy: "Sexual harassment of players is not acceptable in any part of our community and will be punished. This includes... This does not necessarily apply to characters, although... Don't be an obnoxious git. Also read help consent and help r."

It doesn't have to be precisely that. So far it's not said anywhere and hasn't been said anywhere to my knowledge. I'll take you at your word that you said you saw somewhere someone was intending to do that, but they still need to do it. A week ago. This shouldn't be controversial. Even the new rules posted (https://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,59147.0.html) have rules about not abusing game bugs, but nothing about harassment or even just following Discord guidelines (https://discord.com/guidelines) which includes harassment. The reluctance to include the language, especially after recent events here is inexplicable. I give them the benefit of the doubt and consider it a small mistake.

The second post of that thread he provides transparency which has been demanded repeatedly.  He gives it.  Shal was on the chopping block before this thing exploded.
That's not clear. They haven't given us a timeline of when request tool complaints were sent and when the conversations happened.

Halaster apologized for not being good enough in his steps!  He wasn't brought on to manage an organization.  Staff are brought on to drive stories, build, code, and be creative.
This might be my own personal confusion, but as I understand it, Producer is the top of the hierarchy, responsible for managing the organization. I have never heard anything else. If Producers don't manage the organization, I'm confused as to who you think does.

This part of the thread is confused at best. It's starts like it's from one person, but ends with a 'we'. The reason for the delay makes no sense. A plurality most certainly didn't write the paragraphs before. Perhaps he delayed with the intent to cover the former staff member's identity, incorrectly finding it necessary to wait until he had a consensus of staff before disclosing. That's how I read it. I can't think of many reasons he needed to ask the staff he signed on if he was allowed to clarify an apology. I'm open to other interpretations on this curious contradiction.

----

I didn't quote everything you said because you did raise some points that I agree with or where a good job was done. They understood they needed to apologize and did try. They are making changes, but I have no idea into their thoughts behind why they are making them or what they think needs done to prevent this sort of thing happening again. The current model of (Player Feedback)->(Secret Staff Deliberation)->(Changes) isn't good. How about transparency? Responses or even ideas of their own? I haven't seen any staff member say "Here's some of my ideas, what do you guys think?" Instead, mum's the word and it feels like talking to a wall that may or may not be listening. It appears they are listening now, but listening isn't the same as transparency.

This post is more negative than I'd have liked to post, but you did want to hear what needs to be heard. It's a critical look over what was said from a different perspective. Hopefully it helps you understand where I and perhaps other players are coming from.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2023, 07:59:52 AM by Calamari »

Bast

  • Posts: 1578
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2023, 10:39:22 AM »
Can I point some of the worst sexual predators on Arm were banned and hang out on the jcaters boards. Back in the day I used to get berated on this forum for daring to make the suggestion we need to ban sexually violent rp from the mud. The ban we now have is ONLY here because of a player making IG accusations their character was raped when they weren’t that resulted in two innocent PC’s getting occ harassment for something they didn’t even do. Not for IG rape and sexual harassment but over a IG false accusation.

Taking accusations seriously is something I have witnessed staff get better at. We have more woman on staff that helps. There is obvious always room for improvement. But they’re toxic people in this community that would love to someone under a bus in a heart beat. Jumping on the band wagon assuming guilt when you have heard one side of a story makes you part of the issue.

It blows my mind there are people that haven’t played this game in 15+ years and spend their free time cheering for it to fail. I can not even begin to unpack how unhealthy that is. This is game it is supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun in the game just don’t play. Can you imagine what kind of person focuses that much energy on hating something they aren’t even part of that is intended to be entertaining? Why would you ever go hang out on their boards. I have been involved in the complaints that got some of the most vocal haters over there banned. The ones I know that  were banned were so for good reasons despite whatever they claim now.

Commenting on relationships that take place away from this game. Especially when you have an ex wife and ex husband who had a nasty divorce and both have gone out of the way to wound each other is not and should not be the business of staff. Now when that trickles in to the game it should be taken seriously. In the context of the game. You shouldn’t be chatting up people on discord in private chats and expecting Arm staff to ban someone for something that didn’t happen through official game channels. It’s not their job. This is an RPG. It’s game it is meant to be fun . It’s not a soap box or a bully pulpit.

At this point I think the discord just needs to go. Forum should be restricted to clan forums and game coordination only. We all feel passionately about this game. I don’t want to see it destroyed over people’s personal drama that takes place away from tbe game. There are IRL legal channels you can pursue if you are being harrassed in the real world. Staff should only be stepping in when it’s happening in the game. Players should feel safe and comfortable playing here. But if you take your relationship with another player off Arm it’s not Arm’s staff’s responsibility. In fact it’s frequently stated they don’t want players talking ooc. It ruins plots and they are right.

All that said the world has changed a lot since the 80’s- 90’s I do think the game needs to update a little. I have never once been able to get a single one of my black friends to ever stick to arm because they don’t enjoy rping the kind of racism and oppression they get everywhere they go IRL. Having a game where pleasure and sex slaves are common for the upper class maybe doesn’t set the stage for the best player behavior.
The sound of a thunderous explosion tears through the air and blasts waves of pressure ripple through the ground.

Looking northward, the rugged, stubble-bearded templar asks you, in sirihish:
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CirclelessBard

  • Posts: 102
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2023, 11:08:44 AM »
Can I point some of the worst sexual predators on Arm were banned and hang out on the jcaters boards. Back in the day I used to get berated on this forum for daring to make the suggestion we need to ban sexually violent rp from the mud. The ban we now have is ONLY here because of a player making IG accusations their character was raped when they weren’t that resulted in two innocent PC’s getting occ harassment for something they didn’t even do. Not for IG rape and sexual harassment but over a IG false accusation.

Taking accusations seriously is something I have witnessed staff get better at. We have more woman on staff that helps. There is obvious always room for improvement. But they’re toxic people in this community that would love to someone under a bus in a heart beat. Jumping on the band wagon assuming guilt when you have heard one side of a story makes you part of the issue.

It blows my mind there are people that haven’t played this game in 15+ years and spend their free time cheering for it to fail. I can not even begin to unpack how unhealthy that is. This is game it is supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun in the game just don’t play. Can you imagine what kind of person focuses that much energy on hating something they aren’t even part of that is intended to be entertaining? Why would you ever go hang out on their boards. I have been involved in the complaints that got some of the most vocal haters over there banned. The ones I know that  were banned were so for good reasons despite whatever they claim now.

Commenting on relationships that take place away from this game. Especially when you have an ex wife and ex husband who had a nasty divorce and both have gone out of the way to wound each other is not and should not be the business of staff. Now when that trickles in to the game it should be taken seriously. In the context of the game. You shouldn’t be chatting up people on discord in private chats and expecting Arm staff to ban someone for something that didn’t happen through official game channels. It’s not their job. This is an RPG. It’s game it is meant to be fun . It’s not a soap box or a bully pulpit.

At this point I think the discord just needs to go. Forum should be restricted to clan forums and game coordination only. We all feel passionately about this game. I don’t want to see it destroyed over people’s personal drama that takes place away from tbe game. There are IRL legal channels you can pursue if you are being harrassed in the real world. Staff should only be stepping in when it’s happening in the game. Players should feel safe and comfortable playing here. But if you take your relationship with another player off Arm it’s not Arm’s staff’s responsibility. In fact it’s frequently stated they don’t want players talking ooc. It ruins plots and they are right.

All that said the world has changed a lot since the 80’s- 90’s I do think the game needs to update a little. I have never once been able to get a single one of my black friends to ever stick to arm because they don’t enjoy rping the kind of racism and oppression they get everywhere they go IRL. Having a game where pleasure and sex slaves are common for the upper class maybe doesn’t set the stage for the best player behavior.


Where we agree: The world has changed indeed, and the game should change with it. We should take complaints of in-game harassment seriously.

Where we disagree:
1) This is not just about Shalooonsh and Bebop's relationship history outside of the game and I think painting the recent situation as such is disingenuous. To review:
- there are several credible reports that Shalooonsh allegedly sexually harassed people.  Not just his ex-wife, but there were several other targets as well.
- harassment reportedly occurred both in-game and out-of-game.
- Shalooonsh also allegedly used his power as a staff member to cheat, giving advantages to his own PC.

2) The othering of those who take reports outside of the community. It is counterproductive and I would argue it's the reason why the game is in this situation in the first place. To review:
- Halaster knew as early as 2007 that Shalooonsh allegedly engaged in abusive behavior.
- There are multiple reports on Reddit's r/MUD subforum that detail abuse by players, by staff, and some mention Shalooonsh by name.
- The latest report was taken to jcarter's forum, which if it indeed was a haven for Arm's "worst sexual predators", they probably would have rejected the latest story outright.
- Had the community taken any of these reports over the last 15 years seriously, the game would not be going through what it is going today. The matter of the allegations surrounding Shalooonsh's behavior would have long since been investigated, and action would have been taken.

So I do stand by my point that complaints should be taken seriously, regardless of their source. Regardless of whether we like what they say or whether we like who is saying it.

Veselka

  • Posts: 1660
Re: Community commitment to accepting complaints.
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2023, 11:25:41 AM »
It ultimately doesn’t matter why people won’t play ArmageddonMUD. Whether it’s based on perception, reality, optics of Staff action or inaction, toxic community or perceived toxic community etc.

If the game doesn’t have an active player base, there are reasons why. You can’t hold a gun to people’s heads and force them to play.

So you can try to shame people who left or won’t play, for whatever their various reasons are, or come to terms with the writing on the wall.

“I don’t play ArmageddonMUD because XYZ Staffer supposedly did these things”

And

“I don’t play ArmageddonMUD because of the toxic community”

And

“I don’t play ArmageddonMUD”

All are the same net result. The fewer active players, the less functional the game, and ultimately, it will lead to a final denouement.

There is quite a bit remaining Staff can do to right the ship. It starts with acknowledging the existential threat it faces. It doesn’t end with player moderators. It begins with a new mission statement, roadmap, and restructuring to better collaborate with the player base. I don’t see that happening. Most players that left don’t. And so it goes.
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

--Immanuel Kant