Hollow Earth

Revenge of the Nonsense

There is a bad paradox going on here. Posting a thread with a link to an article criticizing a terrible moderator and asking for his dismissal is considered against the forum rules. Okay, I understand that. From a common sense view, a company can’t afford to let criticism like that get distributed on an official forum because it serves to cut said company off at the knees. Here’s where the paradox comes in: It is just as detrimental, if not more so, to allow that terrible moderator to continue to moderate those official forums.

Chucker posted an excellent article a while back discussing why RAWA’s post was not productive. Similarly, 75th Trombone posted an article arguing that Cyan has done all that can be reasonably expected to avoid public humiliation. To condense my opinion, a talking to is not sufficient. True, veralun should not be “fired” by Cyan. He should resign. I renew that call now. Resign, veralun, for the good of the community you moderate for. I know it is hard and I have no doubts that you do your best and have the best of intentions, but the fact remains that you do a poor job at moderating and you should simply do the right thing and let someone else take over for you.

Some background, for those who don’t follow MOUL drama, on what happened after I posted a link to Ending the Nonsense on the MOUL forum: So Cyan could privately discuss the issue with the moderators, Tweek and Ddefreyne lost their admin rights. They (Tweek/Denis) still consider it retribution for their opinions. Based on Cyan’s actions, Tweek and Denis resigned their positions as Cyan interns.

RAWA said that Cyan was working on dealing with the moderation issues. What we got instead were the same broken rules with the blatantly obvious addition of allowing hacking of MOULa. This was also discussed in greater detail by chucker in this article.

Which brings me to my point: RAWA’s ultimatum. Now a while old, responded to without reply from RAWA. Some background before, though. My post to RAWA (April 2nd):

“I am glad to see Cyan is looking into the moderation. I do still see a problem with how it is being handled. Your public posts use indirect language (like “moving forward”) that don’t inspire confidence that you are serious about tackling the situation. You have lost Tweek, an excellent designer and a person with talent essential to the survival of Uru, because he doesn’t see serious reform taking place. Other members have already left or are considering leaving.
You have a golden opportunity to improve Cyan’s standing with the community and begin to win back trust of others which you have lost. You can take a serious step toward reform by removing veralun. I have seen that the other moderators are capable of interpreting the rules appropriately using common sense.

An important thing to realize is that a lot of people have just given up on reporting problems. If you don’t hear many complaints, that’s a bad thing because it means people have given up on you.”

And RAWA’s response (April 5th):

“On the contrary, we are all taking this very seriously. I’ve been working on this for almost two weeks now, and my work with the mods behind the scenes continues.

My use of the words “moving forward” simply means that it’s time to move out of the problem and into the solution. Both sides in this are guilty of not following the forum protocols in the past. Continuing to dwell on that does not get us anywhere. So, I have met with the mods and they have agreed to be more diligent in following the forum rules. Now it is up to the fans to do the same, rather than just following the rules that they happen to agree with.

As I understand it, your complaints are twofold. First, you do not understand what rules have been violated, causing certain posts to be being edited / removed. In light of this, the mods have agreed to ensure that edits / removals will be explained to the offenders, including which rules have been violated.

Your second complaint is that you often don’t agree with the moderators’ decisions after they have been made. In light of this, the mods are getting a second opinion from other mods in the case of a “gray” area. You are still free to ask for further explanation from a moderator through PM if you do not understand why an action was taken. (Mods’ decisions are not made lightly, and if they see that someone has trouble understanding their decision, they may try to explain more fully. However, moderators are not likely to debate their decision.)

It is my understanding that you feel that moderators unnecessarily edit innocuous threads. Sometimes in threads which initially look harmless, a moderator will stop a discussion that threatens to become inflammatory or incite strongly negative emotions in the participants or readers. Usually, this is because s/he has already received a complaint (or several) from other user(s), or because s/he anticipates problems based on the direction the discussion appears to be heading. At times, it may seem as if the moderator is overreacting, but in fact s/he is trying to avert larger problems later. This proactive approach is one of the ways we try to make the forums more pleasant for everyone.

If you do not want your posts to be edited/ removed in the future, the solution is fairly simple: adhere to the forums rules (even the ones you don’t agree with), but also avoid the “gray” areas which force the mods to make judgment calls. Getting a second opinion from other mod(s) will help “judgment calls” be more consistent than it has been in the past, but there will still be times when the mods’ collective opinion does not line up with yours… and they are the ones who will make the final decision. There is plenty of room within the forum rules for debate on topics allowed in the forums that do not require venturing into those “gray” areas in any way. Take the time to find it, and everyone benefits.

Now, since your complaints have been addressed (even if not how you wanted them to be addressed), your continued objection to the solutions makes it look as if your goal from the beginning was not to improve communication between fans and moderators, but merely to unseat a moderator who has repeatedly responded to you and others whose posts have violated the forum rules. Your letters could be interpreted as a personal vendetta to eliminate one person who stands in your way rather than a desire to resolve legitimate issues. This impression is reinforced by your insistence that Veralun be unseated in spite of viable solutions to the expressed issues of communication gaps.

Perhaps the real question here is, are you as serious about solving the problems as we are?


To summarize my reply (another huge quote would make this article unbearable):

A proactive approach gives bad moderators an excuse to abuse people.

Gray areas need to be addressed to prevent a recurring pattern (this has been done, though not in a logical manner as outlined in my introduction).

I have no vendetta against veralun. Veralun is a stumbling block for Cyan, not for me. Cyan would benefit from a stronger response to this issue than they presently have.

Today, via Twitter, Denis said he had removed Uru from his computer. Having lost his interest in the game. This from one of the people who designed and maintained the MOUL site, Urublogs.com, Mystblogs.com, and others. What made him lose his interest? Who discouraged him? How many more?


Filed under: Uru Community

4 Responses

  1. Erik says:

    I can’t believe how RAWA just waves the issues with veralun away… :/

  2. Tomala says:

    I can.

  3. Levi says:

    Venture into the gray areas at your peril basically, how is this any diffrent from actual Laws?

    Additionally “It takes two to tango” is what is been said, take it upon yourself to be responsible and all will be well …

  4. Calam says:

    The primary reason I’ve generally lost interest in the MO:UL forums (and the game in general) is because, for years now, we’ve been on a treadmill with a carrot dangling in front of us. I uninstalled Uru long before Denis did because I saw all these things coming.

    All the excuses ‘for’ and ‘against’ are useless– the point is, WE AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE, and I’ve given up believing that we ever really will.

    Cyan is in a bit of a tight spot, and I understand their circumstances… But it just feels that for years now, the quality of the relationship between Cyan and their fanbase has been slipping into oblivion. It’s quite possible that it’s going to get worse, too.

    The only reason I stick around is because I’m excited by the content the fan community is generating, and the ever-so-slight possibility that one day, that content will be in multiplayer form. That is the only reason I even care about this whole endeavor anymore.

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