Author Topic: internal conflict  (Read 19706 times)

Ben Phillips

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on: October 02, 2009, 03:26:37 AM
If you're over here in metachat land I assume you've gotten bored with reading about stories and other things that actually matter, and have taken a fascination of some incomprehensible kind with things more internal to the company.  If not, then please disregard this post and proceed as you were, with my blessing and more than a little of my envy as well.

For some time, conflicts of an unsavory sort have plagued us, mainly personality conflicts between Rachel Swirsky, Russell Nash, and others.  Although I count myself lucky to have worked with each of these hard working individuals, their behavior on our forum has not always made me proud.  The incidents of which I speak are hopefully fewer and farther between than I estimate, and maybe you haven't even noticed them.  I hope not.  It is not too late to stop reading this and go play Picture Association or something fun like that.  Go on.  Go.

Okay...  The long and the short of it is that my desperate wish of the past year, that all of this would just simply get better on its own without some clumsy, heavy handed interference from above, hasn't panned out.  The first PodCastle tagline poll, as posted by Zorag/Zathras, was upstaged and eventually shut down.  The first flub was thanks to Z's own brilliant indiscretion in posting the entries, many of which were not sincere entries at all but really quite unreasonable insults aimed in PodCastle's direction -- and about which he was talked to by Bdoomed and Heradel both -- the (IMO) least offensive yet most inane of which still made it into the finalists listed in the poll...  somehow.  Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes, Zathras overreacted and trashed the entire poll, and Russell Nash criticized Rachel publicly for complaining publicly.  On the same poll thread.

Not really our proudest moment, all around.

Meanwhile, I've been laid off from my day job and I'm trying to get Pseudopod's production schedule caught back up, procure some legal documents so we can get some sponsorships underway, and generally actually accomplish things.  Not that I don't love taking breaks to deal with garbage like this.  In fact, in general editors shouldn't have to, and I've told Rachel this; but the sense of ownership and dedication she has, combined with an understandable sense of camaraderie with, and protectiveness of, the contributors just won't let her rest.  However, it would appear that in the opinion of, say, Russell Nash (whose own loyalty and protectiveness of EA is completely impeccable and beyond dispute -- albeit with the possible exception of PodCastle and its staff...), she is too heavy handed as a moderator.  And frankly, with that general assessment I tend to personally agree.  Skillful forum moderating is in no way a trivial task, and like Russell and a (thankfully small) number of other people around here, she may have too much of a tendency to post, etc., before entirely calming down first.

So, I am asking Rachel to let Heradel do the moderating.  And with great reluctance, I am also asking Russell Nash to step down as a moderator.  I take no pleasure in doing this, as I fully recognize that, like the editors, hosts, and other staff, he's spent an immense quantity of time helping shape the company -- of course, particularly the forum -- into what it is.  I sincerely appreciate his considerable past contributions and empathize completely with the zeal he has for seeing the forums run in an appropriate way; and with any luck at all he'll stick around, keep chatting, and report what needs reporting.  But I think it is reasonable of me to ask of everyone working with us that they not decry each other mercilessly in public.  It is not, and never will be, the policy of this company to suppress someone's opinion from being expressed; but we certainly do reserve the right to tell you to calm your tone, post in a more appropriate thread, or take it to private messages -- at some point there is a limit to what constitutes constructive public discourse at all.  In general, given any alternative whatsoever, I personally do not use text communication -- even private messages -- to discuss matters that are likely to be personal and emotionally charged for anyone I'm addressing.  And I am definitely going to go to great lengths to avoid having to do such things in a public forum (hence, among other reasons, my extended hesitation to get involved in this matter).

If you haven't figured it out by now, EA is a shoestring operation.  No one pays us jack to put in the kind of hours it takes to keep this thing running, and that is no small number of hours for the moderators, editors, producers, hosts -- everyone.  We are all essentially just dedicated volunteers who do this because we like it.  So let's, all of us, please do everything in our power to maintain the kind of environment that keeps it fun.

Thanks.



deflective

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Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 07:27:15 AM
as one outsider perspective, it's too bad that things came to this point but i'm glad that something has been done.

the bits that i noticed looked like everybody was put on edge after the blog comments were shut down and the moderators were braced to be more proactive & hands on.  this inevitably lead more more conflicts and things spiraled from there.  of course i only see what happens on the open forums in the areas that i read but it looked to be a result of circumstances.

i really hope that Russell sticks around as well.  i've known Russell the moderator for years, it'd be nice to meet Russell.  when you drop the blue stars it can be very liberating.  just the simple freedom to post what's on your mind without worrying about how it reflects on impartiality is a huge weight off, you may be surprised how relaxing it can be.

dunno if you're interested Ben but it could be helpful to arrange things so that moderators can cover for each other.  specifically i'm thinking of creating accounts with the names escape pod, pseudopod & pod castle (or maybe just one account named forum bot) and use these accounts to create the episode threads each week and handle appropriate announcements.  if the passwords were available to all moderators anybody could log in to create the thread when someone is running late and it allows the moderators to change avatars & signatures freely without it becoming associated with the stories themselves.

i'm sorry to hear about your day job.  if you show the same professionalism in a job search that you show here i expect people to be impressed.



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Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 08:39:48 AM
As a long time forum member, I am saddened, but not entirely surprised by these news. Russell has done an amazing job moderating over the years, and Rachel is wonderful editor and does a spectacular job running my favourite of three great podcasts, but they both are too similar in many ways - too passionate and strong-willed. This is great for getting things done, but not necessarily great for creating a good atmosphere in the forums, especially when they are in disagreement. I have immense amount of respect to both, and I hope that removing the burden of moderation from their shoulders means that they can participate in the forums more comfortably, rather than less so, in the future.

I have had experience, in the past, of being a forum moderator and volunteer in small, passionate communities, and I know how difficult a task it is, how frustrating, and how easy it is to make mistakes and make minor problems worse out of good intentions. What we, as a forum community, should find surprising is not that there were some friction and some questionable decisions along the way, but how few those were. I'd like to thank Russell and Rachel for all the work they've put in so far, and the rest of the moderating team as well. And thanks, Ben, for stepping in despite your reluctance and doing what needed to be done.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2009, 05:09:33 PM by eytanz »



Jason M

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Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 09:56:50 AM
Okay...  The long and the short of it is that my desperate wish of the past year, that all of this would just simply get better on its own without some clumsy, heavy handed interference from above, hasn't panned out.  The first PodCastle tagline poll, as posted by Zorag/Zathras, was upstaged and eventually shut down.  The first flub was thanks to Z's own brilliant indiscretion in posting the entries, many of which were not sincere entries at all but really quite unreasonable insults aimed in PodCastle's direction -- and about which he was talked to by Bdoomed and Heradel both -- the (IMO) least offensive yet most inane of which still made it into the finalists listed in the poll...  somehow.  Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes, Zathras overreacted and trashed the entire poll, and Russell Nash criticized Rachel publicly for complaining publicly.  On the same poll thread.

Not entirely accurate.  Only 1 (or 2, depending on your point of view) of the submissions was posted publicly, the one (or 2) that made it to the poll.  The others were posted after the poll had been modified.

Just setting the time line straight, as can be verified by looking at time stamps for the original Podcastle Poll and the edited posts being referenced.

There is more to it, but really, it's just details and moot now.

Z



Swamp

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Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 05:06:36 PM
NOTE: Not that anything I said below is inappropriate, I just wanted to note that I wrote this prior to becoming a moderator.

This is so unfortunate.  I do see the need for something to be said/done in general, but it is still unfortunate.  The public arguments are not good for anybody.  Disputes should be conducted behind the scenes by the EA staff.

Regarding the Podcastle taglines contest, I think the attack entries should have been eliminated upon receipt, not have even been sent on to the judges.  They were only meant to be cruel.  It was cruel of whoever entered them in the contest; and it was cruel of Zathras to air them in public.  I understand him being upset that the contest he set up was altered without any contact or requests, but the reaction was severe and only meant to hurt.

I also see why the inclusion of "me likey" upset Rachel so much due to the previous thread (which I didn't even know about until Heradel provided the link).  As editor, Rachel should not be required to use a tagline she finds offensive.  Regardless of whether the inclusion was meant as a dig or not (I'm betting it was), she had a right to object.  Taking over the poll was not the best way to go about it, however.  I hope she will be able to moderate again in the future.

I am sad to see Russell step down as well.  I have enjoyed his debates and he has been a part of these forums for so long, it seems odd that I won't see his name on the EP episode post or have him warning somebody not to sell their stuff in a story thread.  I hope he continues post as a forum member.

I think a lot of this is EA going through growing pains.  The most important thing in these forums is that we observe the founder's prime dirrective:  Have fun.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 02:39:35 PM by Swamp »

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Praxis

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Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 09:20:55 PM
Light-hearted response:  This is bringing me down, man.  Bad vibes.

Serious response: I don't think this thread, or the details of past events, are known or relevant to the majority of EA podcast listeners (the minority of which use the fora, mind) or even to the majority of EA discussion board users.

After it's been up and seen, so that all parties involved can see that this was said publicly, I think it should be removed, to be honest.

I agree with Swamp: growing pains.  This will develop and improve, I'm sure, so let's move on.



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Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 09:30:58 PM
I agree, let's move on.  I hope Russell & Rachel keep posting.

I moderate on another forum and we have a private mods' forum where we go to discuss problems, alert each other about spam, and use each other as sounding boards for difficult situations on the public board.  It has helped diffuse conflict.  Not completely, of course, but maybe this could be tried here?  Just a thought.

When will all the rhetorical questions end?


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Reply #7 on: October 03, 2009, 12:22:49 AM
I agree, let's move on.  I hope Russell & Rachel keep posting.

I moderate on another forum and we have a private mods' forum where we go to discuss problems, alert each other about spam, and use each other as sounding boards for difficult situations on the public board.  It has helped diffuse conflict.  Not completely, of course, but maybe this could be tried here?  Just a thought.
:D we have that already.  You just can't see it! :O

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


stePH

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Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 02:30:19 AM
It's all gonads and strife.


Gonads.


And strife.

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-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Heradel

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Reply #9 on: October 03, 2009, 03:11:03 AM
It's all gonads and strife.


Gonads.


And strife.

Oi, oi, oi — there are ovaries in there too.

—————

This situation, in a number of ways, sucked.

However, there is some good news out of it and is that Swamp has become the new moderator for EP. I'm sure me and Bdoomed will be helping him settle in over the next few weeks, but I can't think of a better choice, though some may have gotten close to equaling it.

So exult and fear, and be careful with the electronics, because he's a bit damp.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2009, 03:15:36 AM by Heradel »

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stePH

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Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 05:10:24 AM
It's all gonads and strife.


Gonads.


And strife.

Oi, oi, oi — there are ovaries in there too.

d00d, ovaries are gonads. 
From Merriam-Webster:

Quote
Main Entry: go·nad
Pronunciation: \ˈgō-ˌnad\
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin gonad-, gonas, from Greek gonos
Date: 1880

: a reproductive gland (as an ovary or testis) that produces gametes

— go·nad·al \gō-ˈna-dəl\ adjective

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


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Reply #11 on: October 03, 2009, 02:57:02 PM
This is Mrs. Zorag/Mrs. Zathras/Mrs. Jason M...

While I don't contribute to this forum very often I enjoy listening to the podcasts and reading the discussions on the forum.  It is unfortunate that facts have been misconstrued to protect someone who is obviously NOT open to objective thinking or allowing people to express their own opinion.
Quote from: Ben, first post in this thread
It is not, and never will be, the policy of this company to suppress someone's opinion from being expressed
  By saying "This discussion is closed" it is limiting people from freedom of expression.

I don't always agree with Zathras and he and I have had many discussions that are left as agreeing to disagree.  We both have strong opposing opinions on a few subjects.  I respect his tenacity in his beliefs and allow him to express them even if I don't agree and vice versa. 

It is one thing for a moderator to say that your tone is out of line and quite another to say this conversation is over.  When I am reading a thread that offends me I simply stop and move on.  If you don't like the direction a thread is heading, you have the choice to simply not read it instead of getting so emotionally charged and halting the open discussion.

I wasn't involved in either of the discussions that this post is referring to.  I do; however, feel that Rachel is wrong for not allowing members to voice their own opinions that differ from hers which is in direct conflict with Ben's statement quoted above.  This issue has been addressed, but I feel it is too little, too late, and terribly one sided.  Yes, Zathras over reacted, but this thread makes it appear that the blame is mostly his.

I have never seen Russell Nash act in a manner that was ascribed to him in this thread.  He has always seemed to me to be an ideal moderator, even when he and Zathras had their little blow up.

I will be leaving the forum and we will be discontinuing our support of EA in all forms.  If you have any questions, PM Zathras.

Good bye.



Heradel

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Reply #12 on: October 03, 2009, 04:00:47 PM
This is Mrs. Zorag/Mrs. Zathras/Mrs. Jason M...

While I don't contribute to this forum very often I enjoy listening to the podcasts and reading the discussions on the forum.  It is unfortunate that facts have been misconstrued to protect someone who is obviously NOT open to objective thinking or allowing people to express their own opinion.
Quote from: Ben, first post in this thread
It is not, and never will be, the policy of this company to suppress someone's opinion from being expressed
  By saying "This discussion is closed" it is limiting people from freedom of expression.

I don't always agree with Zathras and he and I have had many discussions that are left as agreeing to disagree.  We both have strong opposing opinions on a few subjects.  I respect his tenacity in his beliefs and allow him to express them even if I don't agree and vice versa. 

It is one thing for a moderator to say that your tone is out of line and quite another to say this conversation is over.  When I am reading a thread that offends me I simply stop and move on.  If you don't like the direction a thread is heading, you have the choice to simply not read it instead of getting so emotionally charged and halting the open discussion.

I wasn't involved in either of the discussions that this post is referring to.  I do; however, feel that Rachel is wrong for not allowing members to voice their own opinions that differ from hers which is in direct conflict with Ben's statement quoted above.  This issue has been addressed, but I feel it is too little, too late, and terribly one sided.  Yes, Zathras over reacted, but this thread makes it appear that the blame is mostly his.

I have never seen Russell Nash act in a manner that was ascribed to him in this thread.  He has always seemed to me to be an ideal moderator, even when he and Zathras had their little blow up.

I will be leaving the forum and we will be discontinuing our support of EA in all forms.  If you have any questions, PM Zathras.

Good bye.

I'd rather not relive events here, but I believe a response is necessary.

Actually, it's not that rare for a moderator or an editor to lock a thread and say the discussion is over. Steve did it on a number of occasions, usually after things had gotten well past the point of no return. I know I've locked a few. Anyone who has been here since the flash contest has seen their share of locked threads. 

You can say that Rachel locked the thread prematurely, but I seriously considered locking it myself overnight when I was making my last post because I felt the thread could only lead to more bad things. I have no issues whatsoever with her locking it when she did, and had I not be somewhere in REM looking at some abandoned metropolis I would have been very near clicking the lock button myself.

Zathras made a significant error in A. posting any of those taglines to the main thread, and B. actually putting them in the poll when he was posting it. Those taglines were attacks both on Rachel and Podcastle, and personal ones at that. We may have just had a linguistic discussion of 'me likey', but we had a moderator openly criticizing an editor instead of the much more normal route of using a PM or using another private channel of communication. After that, the discussion would have gone nowhere good.

We who moderate on this forum do stop discussions. It is the tool I like least, but it is a necessary one, and one that was deployed justly in this situation.

—————
It's all gonads and strife.


Gonads.


And strife.

Oi, oi, oi — there are ovaries in there too.

d00d, ovaries are gonads. 
From Merriam-Webster:

Quote
Main Entry: go·nad
Pronunciation: \ˈgō-ˌnad\
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin gonad-, gonas, from Greek gonos
Date: 1880

: a reproductive gland (as an ovary or testis) that produces gametes

— go·nad·al \gō-ˈna-dəl\ adjective

Arg, the connotative meaning overrode what I should have known was the denotation.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Jason M

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Reply #13 on: October 03, 2009, 04:48:58 PM
Clarifying for Zobmie:  As to locking threads, she wasn't talking about the recent events but the original events that were linked to, and locking threads while civil discussions are taking place.  I am being intentionally vague to keep from rehashing things.  This is her response, not mine.  People know the back story or they do not.

Any questions for her can be PMed to me.  She was very upset, and frankly doesn't care anymore and has moved on.

I'm planning on not posting for a while, but needed to reply to this.



Talia

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Reply #14 on: October 04, 2009, 01:25:38 AM
Thread needs less
 

and moar






Anarkey

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Reply #15 on: October 04, 2009, 01:34:08 AM
Talia, you made me go "awwwww", then giggle.  This is dangerous for my reputation as it may lead to someone actually thinking I have a heart and/or am occasionally sappy.  Please desist at once.

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


Bdoomed

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Reply #16 on: October 04, 2009, 04:59:51 AM
Hey, I heard Anarkey had a heart?
Can I get a confirmation of this?

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Swamp

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Reply #17 on: October 04, 2009, 02:48:28 PM
However, there is some good news out of it and is that Swamp has become the new moderator for EP. I'm sure me and Bdoomed will be helping him settle in over the next few weeks, but I can't think of a better choice, though some may have gotten close to equaling it.

So exult and fear, and be careful with the electronics, because he's a bit damp.

Yes, I am damp and a bit the color of Kermit.  But I am very glad to be more a part of the forums.  I wish it hadn't come on the wings of such a calamity, but that was not a decision in which I was involved.  I have tremendous respect for Russell and all that he has done for these forums, especially after becomeing a moderator myself.  I will just say that you have no idea what Russell, Heradel, and bDoomed have done on behalf of this forum and these podcasts.  That goes for everyone else on the staff as well.  I hope I can measure up.

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Talia

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Reply #18 on: October 04, 2009, 03:03:08 PM
I will just say that you have no idea what Russell, Heradel, and bDoomed have done on behalf of this forum and these podcasts.

Does it involve chickens, sword swallowing, a small donkey and paper mache?


I thought so. I THOUGHT SO.



Swamp

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Reply #19 on: October 04, 2009, 03:20:53 PM
I will just say that you have no idea what Russell, Heradel, and bDoomed have done on behalf of this forum and these podcasts.

Does it involve chickens, sword swallowing, a small donkey and paper mache?


I thought so. I THOUGHT SO.

I can neither confirm nor deny these reports.

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stePH

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Reply #20 on: October 04, 2009, 11:05:32 PM
... and strife.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Thaurismunths

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Reply #21 on: October 06, 2009, 03:40:57 AM
I'd rather not relive events here, but I believe a response is necessary.
Actually, this is the perfect place to rehash the events, as there are no other threads open to the forum members in which to do so. The original thread was locked, the mod thread is private, and this is perfectly on topic.
I could always start a thread called "Tharusimunths Beats Another Dead Horse", but that'd just be another thread for you volunteers to keep up on.

Quote
Actually, it's not that rare for a moderator or an editor to lock a thread and say the discussion is over. Steve did it on a number of occasions, usually after things had gotten well past the point of no return. I know I've locked a few. Anyone who has been here since the flash contest has seen their share of locked threads. 

You can say that Rachel locked the thread prematurely, but I seriously considered locking it myself overnight when I was making my last post because I felt the thread could only lead to more bad things. I have no issues whatsoever with her locking it when she did, and had I not be somewhere in REM looking at some abandoned metropolis I would have been very near clicking the lock button myself.
I don't think anyone here is saying "Me Likey" should have made the short list for the contest, if only for fear of Rachel's reaction (though I'd like to point out that she is still wrong about the phrase's origin and shut down that conversation "prematurely" after being called out for using UrbanDictionary.com as a source.). And should it have somehow made it through to win the contest, she could have easily shot it down then. It was the taking of it upon herself to change Zorag's pole that started this hubbub; not the inclusion of "Me Likey" in the contest.
In fact, the pole had been up for better than twenty hours before you made a comment about it; a full eight hours after your first post to the thread. The entry might have been irritating, but I don't see how it could have been missed for so long if it was worth such swift and dictatorial reaction on Rachel's part.

Quote
Zathras made a significant error in A. posting any of those taglines to the main thread, and B. actually putting them in the poll when he was posting it. Those taglines were attacks both on Rachel and Podcastle, and personal ones at that.
"Me Likey" was only poking fun at Rachel's dislike of conflict, especially when she's wrong. The dozen or so other entries that were submitted about her were definitely personal attacks.

Quote
We may have just had a linguistic discussion of 'me likey', but we had a moderator openly criticizing an editor instead of the much more normal route of using a PM or using another private channel of communication. After that, the discussion would have gone nowhere good.
Please don't confuse the title with the job. She is an Editor; a provider of content. Russell is a Moderator of the forums. She stepped in to his part of the world, not the other way around.
Russell did not criticize Rachel's introductions or story choices; he criticized her poor moderating style, the disrespect for the other mods (yourself included), and us forum dwellers. Russell protested Rachel's chronic overreaching in the forums, and made a public rebuttal for a public act.

Quote
We who moderate on this forum do stop discussions. It is the tool I like least, but it is a necessary one, and one that was deployed justly in this situation.
And we respect and appreciate your reticence to use it.
We do no respect Rachel for her over-eager use of it, and other tactics, to defend her indefensible actions.

edit to fix quoting.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 10:40:32 AM by Thaurismunths »

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #22 on: October 06, 2009, 03:41:16 AM
After it's been up and seen, so that all parties involved can see that this was said publicly, I think it should be removed, to be honest.

I agree with Swamp: growing pains.  This will develop and improve, I'm sure, so let's move on.
I disagree pretty strongly.
The forum, and by extension the community that makes it up, has its own history. It isn't always pretty, but it's all still there; all the fights with Mr. Tweedy, the allegations of Rachel's sexist agenda, and the commentary on Steve's social life. Going back and redacting history so you don't have to see the ugly parts is exactly what this thread is about. Rachel went through and wiped clean something she didn't like, and then all objections to it.

Growing pains? Quite possibly.
Hopefully ignoring them won't cripple the forums.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #23 on: October 06, 2009, 03:41:24 AM
This is so unfortunate.  I do see the need for something to be said/done in general, but it is still unfortunate.  The public arguments are not good for anybody.  Disputes should be conducted behind the scenes by the EA staff.
Yes. Absolutely.
And, as you are now aware, Russell tried to have that discussion in private; but in addition to having his public comment deleted, his private thread in the Moderator's Forum was deleted just as soon as it was posted.
Not locked. Not ignored. Deleted.
One of the other people with Moderator status decided that they knew best and there would simply be no discussion of their actions, even in private and among "peers", without even the courage to stand up and admit to it.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #24 on: October 06, 2009, 03:41:32 AM
I moderate on another forum and we have a private mods' forum where we go to discuss problems, alert each other about spam, and use each other as sounding boards for difficult situations on the public board.  It has helped diffuse conflict.  Not completely, of course, but maybe this could be tried here?  Just a thought.
Just wanted to reiterate that the forums have this, and some mysterious person decided to delete the Mod Only thread Russell started for discussing.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #25 on: October 06, 2009, 03:42:41 AM
Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes...
"probably Rachel"
Was the question never asked, or did you not get a straight answer?
If you didn't ask, that's cool. In the grand scheme of things, from your perspective, it really isn't a big deal.
If you did ask, and no one copped to it, it's a big damn problem.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


lowky

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Reply #26 on: October 06, 2009, 04:19:34 AM
As your suggestiong of a title of a post Thaurismunths, it is beating a dead horse.  Instead of finger pointing the blame is held by all responsible parties.  It's unfortunate.  Some of the actions by people involved show that they are not deserving of moderator privileges whether they held that title under their name or not.  Everyone involved posted out of anger without taking a bit of time to think of the repercussions of their actions.  Strong Personalities can cause strong reactions in others.  It's unfortunate, but the best thing for the community is if we can all move past this.  I hope Russel stays/comes back to the forums (said as I haven't seen any posts from him since this happened though I admittedly don't read most story threads if I have not listened to the story yet so as to avoid spoilers).  I know that Zorathas/Zorag/Jason has his own way of dealing with things when he realizes his anger is getting the better of him, which is to take some time away from the forums.  I hope that all involved can stay involved in the forums and with EA. 

So please can we move on, I am sure there is something interesting happening in one of the other forum subsections that we can start all new arguments over ;).


Heradel

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Reply #27 on: October 06, 2009, 04:36:21 AM
Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes...
"probably Rachel"
Was the question never asked, or did you not get a straight answer?
If you didn't ask, that's cool. In the grand scheme of things, from your perspective, it really isn't a big deal.
If you did ask, and no one copped to it, it's a big damn problem.

Thaur, your responses are inappropriate and needlessly incendiary. I honestly expected better of you.

I'm only responding to this one because it should probably be public record. I'm seriously considering some inline edits to take words out of your post, which is quite a lot further than I like to go with moderation.

I talked to Rachel via IM afterwards, she said she reset the poll in the thread and did remove 'me likey' at that time. She also entirely cops to removing Russell's post. She did not remove bdoomed's because it was posted a several minutes later, and at that point she had signed off the forum for the night. When someone locks a thread it's inviolate, including for those whose permissions let them override the lock, and Russell overstepped it. She did not delete large swaths of the comments attached to the thread. She was never evasive.

As lowky says, we should be moving on here. Unfortunate things happened, and we seek to move past them now.

Edit: One last thing.
This is so unfortunate.  I do see the need for something to be said/done in general, but it is still unfortunate.  The public arguments are not good for anybody.  Disputes should be conducted behind the scenes by the EA staff.
Yes. Absolutely.
And, as you are now aware, Russell tried to have that discussion in private; but in addition to having his public comment deleted, his private thread in the Moderator's Forum was deleted just as soon as it was posted.
Not locked. Not ignored. Deleted.
One of the other people with Moderator status decided that they knew best and there would simply be no discussion of their actions, even in private and among "peers", without even the courage to stand up and admit to it.

The thread he created is still there. I'm not going to move it somewhere people can look at it to prove the fact, but I hope my word is good enough here that you can believe me.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 04:45:25 AM by Heradel »

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


deflective

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Reply #28 on: October 06, 2009, 06:05:50 AM
It isn't always pretty, but it's all still there; all the fights ... and the commentary on Steve's social life.

wait, we had a chance to gossip about Steve?  how did i miss that?


i understand if you want to blow off steam and you were absolutely right, this is the place to do it.  after that though, we gotta accept that the action's been taken and any additional action will cause more problems than it fixes.  if there was something to argue for i'd be getting my hands dirty but there's a point when it's best to remember why you joined the forums and move on.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #29 on: October 06, 2009, 10:35:21 AM
Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes...
"probably Rachel"
Was the question never asked, or did you not get a straight answer?
If you didn't ask, that's cool. In the grand scheme of things, from your perspective, it really isn't a big deal.
If you did ask, and no one copped to it, it's a big damn problem.

Thaur, your responses are inappropriate and needlessly incendiary. I honestly expected better of you.

I'm only responding to this one because it should probably be public record. I'm seriously considering some inline edits to take words out of your post, which is quite a lot further than I like to go with moderation.

I talked to Rachel via IM afterwards, she said she reset the poll in the thread and did remove 'me likey' at that time. She also entirely cops to removing Russell's post. She did not remove bdoomed's because it was posted a several minutes later, and at that point she had signed off the forum for the night. When someone locks a thread it's inviolate, including for those whose permissions let them override the lock, and Russell overstepped it. She did not delete large swaths of the comments attached to the thread. She was never evasive.
Heradel, if you expected better, you should look at some of the Tweedy conversatons.

I do, however, appreciate you filling in some of the gaps of what happened; which was the intent of my post.
Rachel shouldn't have deleted Russell's post if she wasn't going to delete Bdoomed's post. But if both post were made AFTER she locked the thread, then neither post should have been made in the first place. The time-line is totally unobservable to us on this side of the curtain. And I appreciate knowing that she does admit to it, because it sounded like Ben didn't know.
As to the "big damn problem", if a mod is deleting or editing threads/posts/etc. and would lie to cover it up, I feel it shows a complete lack of morals.

Quote
As lowky says, we should be moving on here. Unfortunate things happened, and we seek to move past them now.

Edit: One last thing.
This is so unfortunate.  I do see the need for something to be said/done in general, but it is still unfortunate.  The public arguments are not good for anybody.  Disputes should be conducted behind the scenes by the EA staff.
Yes. Absolutely.
And, as you are now aware, Russell tried to have that discussion in private; but in addition to having his public comment deleted, his private thread in the Moderator's Forum was deleted just as soon as it was posted.
Not locked. Not ignored. Deleted.
One of the other people with Moderator status decided that they knew best and there would simply be no discussion of their actions, even in private and among "peers", without even the courage to stand up and admit to it.

The thread he created is still there. I'm not going to move it somewhere people can look at it to prove the fact, but I hope my word is good enough here that you can believe me.
The first thread, or the second one?
One was deleted before any of you, presumably, were able to read it.
And how would one excuse that?

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


eytanz

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Reply #30 on: October 06, 2009, 10:54:31 AM
The first thread, or the second one?
One was deleted before any of you, presumably, were able to read it.
And how would one excuse that?

What's the purpose of all of this? Both Russell and Rachel made mistakes (and I'm not just talking about the specific poll incident). As a result, both of them are no longer moderators on these forums. Any mistakes there were done in public are known to everyone who was here at the time, and uninteresting to the people who were not as they will no longer be moderated by either Russell or Rachel. Any mistakes that were done behind the scenes are the business of those people who have access to those forums and shouldn't be aired here (not that I'm against transparency, I'm just not sure what the point is).

Are you arguing that either Russell or Rachel should be re-instated? If so, can you please make that clear? Maybe you can rally more people to the cause, and maybe Ben will listen. But if all you want to do is express anger at events of the past, for which the participants already suffered rather major consequences within the context of the community - why?

I really think the best thing for the community at large, and our current cadre of moderators, is if we move on. I'm not saying that they should just forget this unfortunate sequence of events happened - lessons, I hope, have been learnt - but we should wait until we see evidence that lessons haven't been learnt before we bring it back up.



Praxis

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Reply #31 on: October 06, 2009, 08:20:02 PM
We do no respect Rachel for her over-eager use of it, and other tactics, to defend her indefensible actions.


Who are you talking about, here?  'we' as in all EP/forum users? 
'cos you ain't talking for me, that's fer sure.
Or are you royalty?

Really, this thread needs to go now.  It's been read and seen by all concerned, it's not serving any useful purpose (anymore).



eytanz

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Reply #32 on: October 06, 2009, 08:40:32 PM

Really, this thread needs to go now.  It's been read and seen by all concerned, it's not serving any useful purpose (anymore).

That's the kind of thinking that created this mess to begin with. One lesson I learnt very early (and very hard) in my own forum moderation days - people get really angry if you delete their posts, no matter why you do so. People spend time and effort composing their posts and it is unfair to request that they be deleted just because you don't see a value to them.



Praxis

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Reply #33 on: October 06, 2009, 09:37:16 PM
I don't see why.

It's pretty much a private matter (yes, it involved internet boards but most people who use those boards were none the wiser and most people who use the podcast that the boards are here to support were even less involved.

Everyone involved has seen that changes were made publicly and reasons explained publicly.

I'm not talking about particular posts being removed from a discussion (and hence distorting how the discussion reads, etc.) I'm talking about taking down a public advert, now that it has served its purpose.



Talia

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Reply #34 on: October 06, 2009, 09:43:52 PM
I don't see why.

It's pretty much a private matter (yes, it involved internet boards but most people who use those boards were none the wiser and most people who use the podcast that the boards are here to support were even less involved.

Everyone involved has seen that changes were made publicly and reasons explained publicly.

I'm not talking about particular posts being removed from a discussion (and hence distorting how the discussion reads, etc.) I'm talking about taking down a public advert, now that it has served its purpose.

You should have seen the epic mess that ensued after BoingBoing decided to delete all the posts they made about a blogger named Violet Blue. People flipped the hell out. It became a big enough controversy to make the news in a few places.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure people here aren't as insane as those people and we wouldnt have a revolt on our hands. :p



Praxis

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Reply #35 on: October 06, 2009, 09:52:40 PM
On the other hand, I'm pretty sure people here aren't as insane as those people and we wouldnt have a revolt on our hands. :p

*looks about*

Umm, yeeess, yes that would never happen

*bolts door of safety bunker*



eytanz

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Reply #36 on: October 06, 2009, 10:33:27 PM
I don't see why.

It's pretty much a private matter (yes, it involved internet boards but most people who use those boards were none the wiser and most people who use the podcast that the boards are here to support were even less involved.

I'm pretty sure that the fact that two moderators - including the most senior and active one - lost their status is of import to everyone in these boards. The events that led to that were mostly a private matter, but the consequences are public, as far as this community goes. It needed to be explained - the choice of what and how much to explain was up to Ben, but I think he chose well, explaining enough so that people don't feel confused and not much unnecessary detail.

These forums are not just here to support the podcasts. They create a community, and this community has value on its own - as Steve and Ben have both said at multiple times. This has not been a good situation, but changes in the governance of the community are very much the business of people in the community.

Quote
I'm talking about taking down a public advert, now that it has served its purpose.

I don't see how you can say it "has served its purpose" - the purpose is to inform of a change in the forums. How can you know that everyone who needs to see that has? What if someone who left several months ago decides to come back a few months from now, and they wonder what happened to Russell? Surely it's better to have a post to point them to, rather than have a new discussion restart everytime anyone asks.

Note that I do agree people should just let the matter rest - if this thread was locked, I would not be upset (though others may be, so perhaps it's wise not to). But I can't see what can be gained by deleting it, and I can see several downsides to doing so.



Praxis

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Reply #37 on: October 06, 2009, 10:39:43 PM
Everyone is entitled to an opinion that is not mine.

Partly I'd say it is better to take down this thread as, given the reasons why changes were made, it also provides a spur for past disagreements to re-surface and old arguments to be re-hashed, as has happened already on this thread.

If someone didn't use the fora for a while, came back and, noticing that some people's status had changed, could ask the people concerned, or Ben or Steve or any of the editors.  I think it would be fine in that situation.

I'd agree with locking the thread, at least.



deflective

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Reply #38 on: October 06, 2009, 11:34:38 PM
It's pretty much a private matter (yes, it involved internet boards but most people who use those boards were none the wiser and most people who use the podcast that the boards are here to support were even less involved.
)

*relieved sigh*  if you aren't a programmer then you might not know what effect an unclosed parenthesis has on us.  i was twitching a little.


the great thing about threaded forums is that you don't have to see the content you don't want to see.  close the metachat area and this all goes away.  i personally don't understand either of the extremist points of view in this topic but i do understand that there are people who have them.  if it's important enough that people want to talk about it then that's exactly what this area is for.

in forums that i've taken part in there's been a pretty consistent tell that a major meltdown is on the way: they get overly self-congratulatory.  a balanced forum seems to have everybody concentrating on the topics at hand or healthy amount of background dispute.  it's when you consistently find posts about how nice everybody is and how this is an exceptional community compared to the normal internet that you have to worry.  it's an 8-10 month warning sign.

mod powers should be used as a last resort.  any argument that's contained within a single thread and running its course without taboo offenses should be allowed to run itself down (general guideline, exceptions exist).  moderation through feedback is always preferred to locking or deletion.



Praxis

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Reply #39 on: October 06, 2009, 11:47:59 PM
(interesting point..................



Thaurismunths

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Reply #40 on: October 07, 2009, 12:12:20 AM
I'd like to apologize to Heradel. My answer this morning was flippant. I was rushed for work and didn't take the time I should have in replying.
I realize I was brusque in my string of posts, but I didn't mean for my language to be incendiary. I will take your post as a nod-from-a-mod to watch my tone.

What's the purpose of all of this?
You do, as it happens, answer your own question: "Both Russell and Rachel made mistakes (and I'm not just talking about the specific poll incident). As a result, both of them are no longer moderators on these forums." In internet terms, that's pretty serious and shouldn't be taken lightly.
In a disagreement about the overstepping boundaries we have lost the most senior mod, a handful of active forum members, and an editor has been rebuked. This was not the first, or even second run-in Russel has had with Rachel over this kind of thing, but now that he is gone it will be his last. I do not hope for Rachel's head on a platter, or for her to be removed from office, nor for Russell's reinstatement. Rachel has a queendom to run and Russell is... doing whatever a displaced god does with his free time.
I hope that by illuminating the maltreatment others have been subjected to that this won't happen again.

Quote
Any mistakes there were done in public are known to everyone who was here at the time, and uninteresting to the people who were not as they will no longer be moderated by either Russell or Rachel. Any mistakes that were done behind the scenes are the business of those people who have access to those forums and
shouldn't be aired here (not that I'm against transparency, I'm just not sure what the point is).
Quote
I really think the best thing for the community at large, and our current cadre of moderators, is if we move on. I'm not saying that they should just forget this unfortunate sequence of events happened - lessons, I hope, have been learnt - but we should wait until we see evidence that lessons haven't been learnt before we bring it back up.
I don't feel the same way.
I had been assured in the past that Rachel wouldn't be moderating outside of PodCastle, but that's what happened just a few days ago*. In a few months, it might happen again, as it has happened before. I also realize it might never happen again. And although Russell is gone, Rachel is still here, so it will effect future forum participants.
As to what happened behind the scenes; if the effects had stayed there then there wouldn't be any point in discussing them, but they did lead directly to some large changes in forum life.

*I realize that the thread was about podcastle, but the moderation should have been handled by someone else.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #41 on: October 07, 2009, 12:12:29 AM
Who are you talking about, here?  'we' as in all EP/forum users? 
'cos you ain't talking for me, that's fer sure.
Or are you royalty?
I've been speaking on behalf of the other members who have chosen to leave over this or related issues
That has been wrong of me. There is no consensus or secret counsel. Although I know of others who share some my views, I should not have presumed they would share all of my views.
I speak only for myself.

Quote
Really, this thread needs to go now.  It's been read and seen by all concerned, it's not serving any useful purpose (anymore).
I'm sorry you are uncomfortable with this thread. As with all of the threads here, you are welcome to ignore it.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Bdoomed

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Reply #42 on: October 07, 2009, 12:17:28 AM
we have lost the most senior mod
hey hey hey now, I am the most senior mod here.  If by senior you mean longest-around and not age.

anyway.  I was going to lock this thread, because personally I believe enough is enough, I've hated this whole argument from before it even started. (when I first got the damn contest submissions).  But I also believe steam does have to be blown off, so ... whatever.
If this gets totally out of hand this thread is going on lockdown, but so far it's been relatively civil.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Bdoomed

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Reply #43 on: October 07, 2009, 12:40:45 AM
PRAXIS! where'd you go?! :(

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


stePH

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Reply #44 on: October 07, 2009, 02:33:41 AM
Who are you talking about, here?  'we' as in all EP/forum users? 
'cos you ain't talking for me, that's fer sure.
Or are you royalty?

I have a mouse in my pocket.



 :P

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-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Thaurismunths

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Reply #45 on: October 07, 2009, 03:06:51 AM
we have lost the most senior mod
hey hey hey now, I am the most senior mod here.  If by senior you mean longest-around and not age.

anyway.  I was going to lock this thread, because personally I believe enough is enough, I've hated this whole argument from before it even started. (when I first got the damn contest submissions).  But I also believe steam does have to be blown off, so ... whatever.
If this gets totally out of hand this thread is going on lockdown, but so far it's been relatively civil.

While I don't see any reason to lock it, I think it's just going to die under its own weight.
I've had my say, and apparently said more than enough.
My apologies to Praxis.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Ben Phillips

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Reply #46 on: October 07, 2009, 08:12:40 PM
Rachel complained about this on the poll thread, people blasted her, someone -- probably Rachel -- edited out the entry and reset the votes...
"probably Rachel"
Was the question never asked, or did you not get a straight answer?

I didn't have a chance to ask, and that was the only reason for my qualifier there.  I simply didn't have a good chance to talk to her before the not-entirely-daylight hour I finally made myself sit down and write this very difficult announcement, in which I was already doing a lot of work to compile the results of the research I did over the previous several days just to try to get as many facts straight as I feasibly could.  I also don't particularly care who it was because personally I see the removal of a bogus contest entry as a perfectly valid action, and so wasn't that concerned about finding who was responsible.

As for this "internal conflict" thread right here, I agree it's in order so people can speak their piece the way they want instead of having all this tension simmering under the surface.  Of course the flip side of that coin is that sometimes these types of threads blow up when someone takes the opportunity to be a drama queen, which is why the mods are eying it nervously.  There is an extent beyond which public communication about such things loses its value, but for my own part:  the reason I don't like it if someone talks about me behind my back isn't just because I might not like what they have to say -- it's because they're denying me any rebuttal, which is unfair and lends itself too readily to slander.  (As an aside:  Whenever I hear people passing rumors behind someone else's back, I have the tendency to walk right up to whoever's being discussed and say, "So is this true?"  More often than not it simply isn't.  Issue resolved.)  I have asked the mods to err on the side of taking no mod-privileged action in this thread, since there seems to be controversy to the effect that we suppress opinions.  I trust you all not to abuse this, of course, though if anyone does I'll be overseeing any resulting action myself, and we'll be as clear as possible about what we moderated and why.  Hopefully, though, we've already heard most of what we're going to anyhow.  I'm just making that clear for the record.  Metachat is the place to debate forum policy and moderator actions if they need to be debated.



Talia

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Reply #47 on: October 07, 2009, 09:33:07 PM
PSST.


didja hear that thing about Bdoomed? SHOCKING, I tell you. SHOCKING.



Bdoomed

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Reply #48 on: October 08, 2009, 12:04:26 AM
ITS NOT TRUE I SWEAR! GOD YOU PEOPLE ARE MEAN!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Jason M

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Reply #49 on: October 12, 2009, 02:34:17 AM
I think I should make clear that I am being very inactive right now more due to real life issues.  I would have actually taken a complete break from the forums had I not had the names of the contestants. 

On top of that, I've had to switch lap tops.  At least I'm back to an XP machine.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #50 on: October 20, 2009, 11:44:48 PM
I've waited awile to post on this thread. It kept my inner drama diva down. I do have a few opinions on what's happned here, but I'll keep most of them to myself as they're hurtful and will help no-one. I'd simply like to state that I've enjoyed having Nash active on the forums, I hope he dosn't give it up compleatly over this.  I for one would miss Nash were he to vanish forever.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Swamp

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Reply #51 on: October 21, 2009, 12:00:35 AM
I miss him, too.  :(

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast