Saturday, March 28, 2015

And today, I made a rule

I am a bit wound up at the moment. I'm angry. I'm disapointed. Since Fanfest there has been a miasma of negativity that I cannot escape. I would guess that some is from the fact that major changes are coming in Eve and everyone copes with change in different ways. But really, Fanfest is just the icing on the cake of long term issues and today I've had my fill.

People in Eve treat each other badly. Not everyone. Never everyone. But to often discussions turn into no more then two entrenched fighters brawling over a nonexistent win. Nether side will back down. Many players are aggressive, competitive, and ready to wage battle for what they believe in. I do it myself here. I fight sometimes for things just because someone needs to champion them. But sadly, for the first time today I had to lay down rules in my chat room.

I had to ask people to calm the fuck down when they argue because they are chasing other people away. And that makes me unhappy. I'm a firm believer in individuality and individual opinion. But there are a lot of opinions and beating other opinions up will not make them vanish. They may go away but going away is only moving out of your reach.

But my chatroom is a little chunk of Eve I put my name on and asked people to come hang out if they want to talk. I don't want it to be yet another brawling ground of endless circular debate and opinion. So, when I got a mail from someone who is both sane and articulate that they don't feel comfortable talking because they cannot express an opinion without having their spine broken I got mad.

I am disappointed in myself. I should have caught it before it became a problem. I can only thank the person who left for speaking to me about it. In that moment I realized that I've been letting people chase me out of my own room too. Oh, I've given it excuses. I'm tired. I need to go to bed anyway. I've had a full day. People are passionate. I don't like to dictate people's behaviors. As true as they are, they are excuses.

I love my chatroom members. I love their passion and their opinions. I gain so many different views on Eve. I've been willing to let myself be a punching bag for them. I know that not everyone can gently discuss the topics that they care about. I know that some people consider polite language to be extra words, weasel words, or whatever other term. I figured that it was the least I can do is to weather those rough edges and try to pick up the message they are carrying.

But I can't ask that of others. I won't ask it of others. I won't ask them to get over it. I won't ask them to ignore the nastiness. I won't tell them that I'm sorry they are uncomfortable and they can message me at any time if they want to talk I'm always ready to listen.

There was a time not to long ago when I badly wanted someone to stand up for me. not because I could not stand up on my own but because when I was in a situation where someone was being abusive and cruel, I badly wanted one of the watchers to tell the other person that they were being unacceptable. Instead, I was told that they were just explaining themselves in their normal abrasive way. I was told to take my arguments to private chat. Or, eyes were just turned. I've been told to just ignore people who are cruel. I've been told, 'that's just them and how they are. I've asked, "Why is it okay for them to be nasty? Why am I told to ignore it and they are not told to change their behavior?" I was told that I was the problem. I'm soft. It's just words. I shouldn't let things get to me. So, I left.

It is a culture of enabling and acceptance that I will not be a part of. In the past I have packed my bags and walked out of the door. In my chat room, little microorganism of socializes that it is, I have a responsibility to do something. I made a simple rule. Tone it back some. Disagree but you don't have to beat people down. And if I see it, I'll stop it.

Most of the time my chat is relaxed, friendly, and fun. I drop newbies in there. I have bittervets that will explain the most basic of things calmly. But of late the arguments have gotten darker and more passionate. I don't know if its just a side effect of the game itself or if its centered around me and the position of the CSM. I sadly, fear that it is more the later. I guess that is some of what a title can do. I cannot ignore it. I love having a free flowing open chatroom where people come and hang out. I value it deeply.
Channel rule (first one ever!) Tone yourselves back about 3 notches when you argue. The bickering is getting vicious and belittling to the point of chasing people off. It's not needed. There are enough places in Eve to be nasty for the sake of it. Skip it here. Thanks!

28 comments:

  1. It's your chatroom Sugar. You own it. Boot anyone not holding to your standards, even if it's just 24 hours to allow a cooling of tempers. Their issues are not your problem, nor they should they make it a problem for anyone else. They'll learn. Eventually.

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    1. I agree here. As the latin phrase goes: cathedra mea, regulae meae (My Chair, My Rules). Sugar's giving us a venue by which we can contact her and chat about all kinds of things. Given Sugar's broad representation of game interests, that means there are dozens of us in channel with polar opposite viewpoints. The amount of snort-worthy, head shaking feedback on this one post alone shows how "entitled" some of us feel; let's all just dial it down a bit. :)

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  2. Sugar, love the thought behind this one. If I can make a suggestion, you might have an easier time if you set firm, quantifiable standards. It'll make policing it much easier. For instance, "This chat room is not about attacking people, only debating and responding - respectfully - to ideas. Any attacks on individuals will result in being kicked."

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    1. Because sometimes its about being silly and sharing recipes.

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  3. Yeah, I think Tal's idea is a more practical way of saying the same thing. It's not semantics, either; what I might consider to be a perfectly reasonable tone, another person might not, for example.

    I experienced a bit of the same treatment in the chat room you're alluding to, Sugar, though I'm confident it wasn't intended. Still, it did have a bit of a chilling effect on my desire to get involved in the chat for a couple days.

    The reason I say I'm fairly confident that the behaviour wasn't intentional - and thus the reason I didn't follow up on it - was that it was the channel owner who made me feel thus.

    Now I'm not saying that all of the more heated/nasty statements that get said are due to legitimate, typical text-tone misunderstandings, but I think it does go to show that not all offending posts were intended that way.

    In the time I've been in the chat channel (which hasn't been all that long, I admit), I haven't really noticed a level of Jita discussion, but then again, I'm not on 24/7, either. You're probably correct that the CSM status has been a part of the cause of the uptick in nastiness insofar as it attracts people to the channel that might not normally lurk there.

    Here's hoping the nastier words and tone diminish; there's farr too few civil, adult chat channels in game as is.

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    1. I'll have to dig through my logs and see what I said to you that left you feeling personally attacked and ridiculed.

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    2. Your response to my comment posted here seems a little hostile and I'm baffled as to why? I wasn't dismissing the complaint of the person who evemailed you. But the tone of your text seems to be entirely dismissive of my comment/complaint.

      SInce you asked, it was your tone, Sugar. You were quite snarky, snappy, and more than just a little bitchy in your responses to questions I posed in your channel. The reason I didn't complain was that in your channel a couple days later you made a comment on how the more you're around people, the more crabby and cranky you become as your social meter fills up.

      I totally understand how that kind of stress frays the nerves.

      It seems, though, that every time you and I get into a discussion, we completely mis-read each other.

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    3. Yes it does. I often wonder how by you are endlessly frustrated with me here and I'm never able to solve it. I was going to dig in my logs and see what I said to you. I did for a minute before work but I may have the wrong character. Now I'm blinking that you took that as an attack.

      If yoy find me a bitch and unable to have polite discussion I'd like to know. It is not something I aspire to.

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    4. I don't normally find you bitchy, Sugar, but that particular exchange did come across that way to me. Made me feel like I should just shut up, not voice an opinion and probably just leave the channel. But then I saw you make the comment about how you'd been overloaded with people over Fanfest. You even apologized generally for being snarky and bitchy (your words). That's when I decided to just forget the issue, since when people are experiencing that level of discomfort, they aren't always nice and touchy-feely. I know I'm certainly not when I'm tired and frustrated; I tend to rip away any pretense of civility and let go with both barrels (FWIW, I usually feel bad after and make apologies, just like you did).

      The reason I'm often frustrated (and sometimes angered) by your replies here is that you tend to read into them either something I was certain I hadn't said. It's like being accused of wrongdoing when you know for a fact you haven't done anything wrong; makes one see red.

      A good example of a comment being totally mis-read was Talvorian's latest blog where he obviously took the wrong impression from your article where you posted how you hated how many in the community think that only their way of playing is valid and all the rest need to convert or die. Tal thought you were saying that EVE is a PVE-centric game. I was gobsmacked, wondering how anyone could misinterpret your post.

      That's what you and I seem to do almost every time we communicate, Sugar. I know what I'm trying to say, and of course I'm writing it perfectly, so I just don't get how you could so misinterpret :) I'm fairly sure there's a bit of that on your side, too (though I contend that my ability to inadvertently not say what I mean is more developed than yours).

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    5. Your response to my comment posted here seems a little hostile...

      Yep Sugar I see what you're talking about now. You can't win with people like this who like to find problems instead of solutions.

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  4. "But of late the arguments have gotten darker and more passionate. I don't know if its just a side effect of the game itself or if its centered around me and the position of the CSM."

    I think it's a bit of both to be honest.

    On the one side, I have seen a lot of serious arguments in many channels lately about the things talked about at Fanfest. Structures, Corp stuff, FozzieSov, Drifters, Null Revamp and what it means for the other areas... Not just your usual theorycraft debates, but friendship breaking in some cases as people realize they have different goals from each other or lose respect for those they've followed for years. In some cases, people giving away their belongings and not logging in anymore... I don't know if this is game-wide right now or not, but the idea that some serious stuff is going down is certainly in the awareness of a lot of the player base. People scared of losing their beloved game are going to up their passion levels to anyone they think can 'right the course.'

    On the other side, the fact that you are one of the most accessible CSM members is becoming more and more public knowledge. Having all the other CSM and CCP praising you for all the work last year is going to bring a lot of attention to you this term... I was honestly surprised you didn't have something like this rule up earlier, given all the new folks joining your channel this year, of which I am one of many. It has been so refreshing to have a place to chat, learn, and just socialize with people all around the eve-verse. I hope that the new rule doesn't turn it into a silent wasteland like so many other channels...

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    1. Because being polite is my default not something I do because the rules tell me so.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. The first paragraph of Anon's reply perfectly sums up the situation far more elegantly than I've been able to.

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    4. Well, Google just swallowed my probably intelligent and well thought out reply, so I shall be brief:

      Some people are scared of change, yes, but there is also hope of things to come.
      CCP has allowed us to dream of a better EVE this year.
      We players can imagine greater things.
      We do not tread softly on people's dreams.
      We are a very passionate bunch, but this does not excuse impoliteness.

      I hope that it wasn't me who made this person feel unwelcome, but I would invite him to come back and talk again, in the hope that we can have a reasonable discussion.

      Is there any hope of getting a 'Sugar's modified arguement intensity reader' any time soon? :P

      Rob K.

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    5. I still haven't figured out how Sugar's reply has anything to do with what I said...

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    6. Which in itself shows part of the problem -- the medium itself. Without endless quoting it is difficult to maintain context, a writer's "obvious" reply becoming a reader's "WTF?!?" comment. These things snowball, are repeated in all directions, everyone gets more and more crotchety and then things explode. Add in a piece of hurry-up, a chunk of non-native language and a large slice of "blunt" (or, IMO, "rude but making excuses for it") and it's a miracle we ever last five minutes...

      And FWIW, I think Sugar's comment was in response to your "I was honestly surprised you didn't have something like this rule up earlier..." -- ie. she thought she wouldn't need rules in the room because *she* doesn't need rules.

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    7. Thanks Bitter, that makes more sense now. :)

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  5. You could set up some "sensitivity" training sessions on your site. I'm sure they would be well attended.

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  6. You got more votes for the permanent seat than The Mittani on his heyday. No wonder that your chatroom exploded.

    It's no longer the socializing place of some silly newbie roleplaying a pirate. It's now a lobby of the most powerful EVE-politician, full of rent-seeking lobbyists, news-seeking bloggers, Sion who wants you to be the next corbexx and random idiots who think that if they convince you about X, CCP will implement it tomorrow.

    Maybe making rules won't be enough and you'll need moderators to keep the order when you aren't around.

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    1. Actually, he got 10058 votes out of 59109 total votes. You got 9080 out of 36983.

      Make peace with the fact Sugar, you are the most supported person in the history of EVE.

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    2. I may disagree with Gevlon on some things, but he absolutely has a point here.

      When Mittens was elected he had his whole Goonies reputation to rely on, every single Alliance and Corp in the CFC was told to put Mittens at the top of the ballot. Your support is mainly from disparate groups with no single Ideology for them to connect to, and they vote for you because you are the hardest working,most public, most approachable CSM ever and everybody knows it.

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  7. Stuff like this is why I once vowed to have something like a chatroom of my own only when it comes with the ability to send strong electrical shocks to everyone I have to kick out.

    Temper tantrums is something I only accept from children and teenagers below the age of fifteen. Everything older then that should now better and if someone thinks this is "soft", I'll shock them. Or I would do this if law and technology could allow this.

    Also afterwards I would feel bad. And get shocked to death because obviously this kind of technology would be widespread and easy to use.

    Everyone is someone's ass at some point, after all.

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  8. Outside of Eve, I do work as an admin on a religious Facebook group on a controversial religion. So I've had my share of attacks, bigotry, hatred, trolling, nastiness and crossing the line.

    We ended up with some pretty strict guidelines on trolling and after you get one or two warnings, we will mercilessly remove you from the group without further warning, or apology or remorse.

    Have we been unfair in our admin decisions? You bet we have. Have we been hypocritical or double-standard bearers? Probably. But we're the ones where the buck stops, we do the work, and at the end of the day, the group doesn't run without the admins. We need to be able to get work done each day without having to agonize over whether so-and-so really crossed the line or not.

    I used to religious blog with a guy who's philosophy as admin was "if I don't like what you say - I'll ban you."

    I always admired his guideline for its direct and unapologetic clarity. Act like a dick in his opinion, and you're off - and he won't even feel a little sorry about it. At the end of the day, I think you have to adopt this kind of ruthless attitude if you're overseeing a controversial group.

    Because it happens every time. Debates become a matter of endurance where the guy with the biggest OCD problems wins by getting the last word and wearing down all the socially well-adjusted people. Soon the only people left on the chat or group or whatever are people just as socially maladjusted as he is. This is how blogs, chatrooms, forums and so forth die.

    If a guy is using stonewalling, subject changes, personal attacks, petty contrarianism, and empty rhetoric to try and marathon his opponents to death - get rid of him. And don't apologize for it, and don't lose sleep over it.

    Believe me, after two years of hosting fights between religious liberals and conservatives, atheists and religious fundamentalists, trolls and human emotional firecrackers, I have a pretty firm grasp on how to cope with it. And hardening up and telling people not to let the door hit their butt on the way out is fairly important.

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    1. While that might make sense for a religious community, I don't think that is what is needed in Sugar's chatroom. Sure, the arguments get heated now and then, but no one is telling anyone to 'go to hell.' At least, not that I've seen.

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  9. ::Sigh::

    I hate to weigh in so late in the game, but I just discovered Sugar’s original post produced no less than 26 comments which absolutely astounds me. But first a little background. While logged into the game the alts and Dire have Sugar’s chat room loaded and we happily read the conversations scrolling by. That said, the Alt’s and Dire rarely participate in the chat room because the hands behind the Dire are exceedingly old meaning by the time my comment is typed up the chatroom has long since careened on to other topics. Even though I rarely participate, Sugar will occasionally throw me a wave when she notices my presence which absolutely makes my space day. Fortunately, Sugar also maintains an active blog – the very type of medium the hands behind the Dire can partake in.

    So with that background in place, as I read through Sugar’s original post and the comments that followed ranging from ‘your room, your rules’ affirmation to well-meaning suggestions to piqued irritation, I noticed one important thing missing. In all me experience bandying about Sugar’s rooms and occasionally chatting with Sugar herself, one thing I've noticed, is that Sugar has approached both me and everybody else in good faith. Sure I’ve managed to irritate Sugar (I keep the mocking jacket close at hand) and sure Sugar’s managed to irritate me (though as time passes I’m more inclined to say she can be refreshingly straightforward as well as wonderfully literal) and sure we’ve managed to misunderstand each other (I leave it up to you to search Tal’s blog for perhaps the most hilarious example of me sticking my foot in my mouth, ever) but on all those occasions, whatever occurred, I’ve never, ever found myself questioning Sugar’s good faith.

    I like to believe that in addition to our sparkling wit, Sugar keeps us around because we’re a wonderful resource for her CSM activities. Accordingly, I’m inclined to believe that remaining that wonderful resource is the faith we should keep with her. It’s a good deal if you ask me.

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