Roleplaying Video Games Entertainment & Media Politics & Religion General
Worldbuilding Creative Forum The Sports Center Science, Math, & Technology The Nostalgia Forum
Community feedback needed: Free Speech add_comment New Discussion add_comment New request

Community Decisions

Should GTX0 have mediators?

Posted 2 Weeks ago by Riven

One of the things that's abundantly clear after talking to more people is just how much more information can come out when people open up more. There's one particular story that I've heard four times now, with each retelling making the situation more clear from both sides.

In the past, I've tried to mediate myself, make decisions, and also build whatever infrastructure needs to be built, and this has led to not doing any of the three effectively. Mediating also doesn't work when you're personally involved or have personally chosen a side, which is a big issue for me this time. I'm willing to believe that I'm personally biased and operating under limited information (from all sides evidently). I believe a lot of people in this mess are.

So, my proposal is something like this:

  • Have some people in an official mediator role. Their job is to settle the community's interpersonal disputes by talking to both and getting them to come to some kind of mutual understanding.

  • Wherever there's no community consensus on some issue, instead of me making a random choice, a mediator will step in instead.

  • The mediators should be chosen by the community directly, not by me (though I get my one vote).

    I know some people that have reached out for no reason other than to tell me I have someone to talk to if I need it. With their permission, I'd nominate them. I'd also nominate cetasaurus. I don't want to be a mediator myself.

    I'll respect whatever the community decides here.

  • There are 76 Replies


    I'm wondering what if one side in an issue refuses to work with the mediator or just lies? Will there be any consequence for not cooperating, or do they just get to run amok while everything goes chaotic again? There isn't gonna be any person *everyone* respects. I feel like it'll be trying to hire a babysitter for a bunch of teenagers.

    2 Weeks ago
    ravenspirit
     

    There isn't gonna be any person *everyone* respects.


    This is something I'm a little concerned about as well. Even having a majority vote for someone can still alienate others, depending on the exact personal experiences.

    2 Weeks ago
    CZM
     

    I should have specified it, but this is why there needs to be more than one -- mediators can also have biases or be personally involved, and in those cases they should turn to a different one.

    Will there be any consequence for not cooperating


    Chaos, division and drama.

    There isn't gonna be any person *everyone* respects.


    Cetasaurus comes to mind. There are others with similar traits to him as well.

    2 Weeks ago
    Riven
     

    I think that we should also be careful to communicate with whoever is a potential mediator to see if they actually want to take on these responsibilities. They would not be inheriting the cleanest slate, especially right now. There would be much demand placed on them almost immediately.

    2 Weeks ago
    CZM
     

    We shouldn't ask them to work on this unless they wanted to. Additionally, I see the role as more of a means of easing tension and opening communication rather than a role that's responsible for "fixing" problems. The involved people fix their problems, the mediator just helps them get there.

    2 Weeks ago
    Riven
     

    Additionally, I see the role as more of a means of easing tension and opening communication rather than a role that's responsible for "fixing" problems.


    I like the idea of having someone like that around. As far as I am aware, this kind of interaction has been split among the greater number of general staff, which has its own complications. I'm interested to see what more people have to say about the concept overall and if it would get at the core issues that have arisen, though.

    2 Weeks ago
    CZM
     

    I have seen a similarish role before when I was young on a teen help/teen support forum kinda like this though. Basically I started out as like a "buddy". I welcomed newcomers and if they had questions I'd help them out as best as I could. You could apply to different positions as you remained on staff on good terms etc. One role did include working out issues within the community. This could be staff disputes amongst each other, member issues, and other things. I also would like to see the community vote, but the final say should always be the Admins and/or Mods at the end of the day. I do agree that these people should be unbiased and be able to set their differences aside if it's with a user they may dislike or not get along with well.

    I feel like it'll be trying to hire a babysitter for a bunch of teenagers.


    Also yeah, exactly. A moderator already is a babysitter of sorts as is on most other forums. I mean the modding isn't strict or anything here so... I could legit see this work out? We just need to ensure the right people are voted/chosen.

    2 Weeks ago
    RikaxNipah
     

    Cetasaurus comes to mind. There are others with similar traits to him as well.


    No, lets not emotionally destroy one of the only people holding what is left of the community together.

    Also what is the point of a mediator if certain peoples wont apologize because they have an ego larger than life? Also what is stopping Riven from just saying "LOL NO" to the mediator and fucking things up? (As we have seen throughout the history of gametalk?)

    I dont understand why there should be mediators now. The general consensus among those that left is that they are not coming back.

    Also some of us are 30+ and some of us are about to turn 30. Why do we still have teenage drama.

    It is worth noting that the super top secret GTERS IN EXILE discord has not had any drama now that certain elements of the site have been booted. Just saying.

    2 Weeks ago
    S.O.H.
     

    You realize a large chunk of people problems are directly with you yourself right? Secondly as far as I can tell half or more of the remaining people here are site staff and that's not enough? So what you need mediators to try and clean up the messes yourself made and want to dress it up and sell it as trying to do something to benefit the community in the long run?

    A few real questions I feel need an answer.

    1. Are you you going to allow mediators to do the job assigned to them? You obviously have a huge issue with getting to involved and making things worse.

    2. With the GT community as small as it is wouldn't just banning the small handful of people constantly causing problems and moving on have not only prevented all this drama but stop any need for a large staff let alone mediators?

    3. Whose going to do the job? I watched you say and I'm quoting you "I'm going to take a few days to think and talk it over with people." then you sent Locke on a ban spree on the discord and created a literal shit storm that fractured a already almost dead community even more. Is that what your mediation looks like?

    Just quit while you're ahead.

    2 Weeks ago
    Elite
     

    Sounds like a decent idea to me.

    2 Weeks ago
    tnu
     

    I'm not against this, but I do share Ravenspirit and CZM's concerns. I also think that SOH (even if for the wrong reasons) has a point that since the community is so split now and a certain side has chosen to never come back, it may be mostly pointless to have this at this point as I don't see much particular fighting even remotely on this scale to require a mediator ever happening again if things remain split. I don't think they're coming back (even if ideally we could all just get along) and I think the next move should be to focus on bringing new people in. Maybe this would be more useful then.

    I also think Ceta is a very good choice, however like SOH I'm concerned that it might weigh on Ceta and I don't want that for Ceta.

    2 Weeks ago
    Grey Echelon
     

    Also some of us are 30+ and some of us are about to turn 30. Why do we still have teenage drama.


    Because some people from this site just cannot let their teenage years go.

    A lot of drama here reminds me of what me and most of my friends I've met online went through. We argued with people, got into fights, and then would have been warned/banned. I feel like airing your dirty laundry on the forum shouldn't be allowed. Maybe not a warn/ban, but just a deletion of the threads/posts themselves. As this poster said, a lot of members are adults in their 20's/30's. MOST people are mature and grown.

    You realize a large chunk of people problems are directly with you yourself right?


    I even suggested just having community Admins and Mods running this forum and the Discord. Riven doesn't have to run this forum or official Discord if he doesn't want. He could do behind the scenes updates to the site and make changes. Perhaps do a GTOX feedback thread before doing so.

    2 Weeks ago
    RikaxNipah
     

    Also what is the point of a mediator if certain peoples won't apologize?


    That is the *exact* point of the mediator, to get both sides to change their perspective enough for things like that to happen.

    Also what is stopping Riven from just saying "LOL NO" to the mediator and fucking things up?


    The mediator doesn't actually decide anything, the affected parties decide something. The mediator just gets them there.

    Are you you going to allow mediators to do the job assigned to them?


    Yes. I don't know what that job is -- that's the point of this post -- but yes, I'll respect whatever decision is made here on that, as well as whatever decisions the community comes to with mediator help. Unless it breaks site principles I guess, but that's unlikely. I'm probably going to revamp that document a bit to focus power more on the community itself and the decisions made in this forum.

    not only prevented all this drama but stop any need for a large staff let alone mediators?


    I think mediators would be useful in this particular community. Banning people who have been active and have a lot of close friendships in this kind of community can be hurtful. Other communities not so much. Ideally with something like this we'd get to a place where people just compromise or leave on their own instead of being lorded over by staff.

    Whose going to do the job?


    Whichever set of people the community decides (in this forum) is best fit for it. If they want to.

    2 Weeks ago
    Riven
     

    I will be truthful. The recent events have soured me significantly. Right now, seeing how huge of a problem has been tended from the smallest seeds, I fail to see how mediation or similar kid-glove options will create the substantial changes necessary for GameTalk to become what it would need to be in order to foster a healthy community. Mediators are a nice idea, but you don't need a bandage when you're still on fire.

    I can't give my full thoughts right now for multiple reasons, not least of which is the fact that I'm living through a literal disaster and my power has been off for an entire day, leaving me to poke out my thoughts on a phone and hope for the best.

    2 Weeks ago
    CZM
     

    This post was made in good faith. Anyone who doesn't want to contribute to the discussion shouldn't be here.

    I'll get back to the actually valuable replies (and anything new) in here tomorrow, I have a bunch of other things I need to do on the site for the rest of tonight.

    2 Weeks ago
    Riven
     

    @Riven:
    I think mediators/moderators are a good idea.

    The key thing is in each case have a mediator or moderator who can understand and be understood by both sides, and whom neither side has anything against and who has nothing against either side.
    That probably means we’d need several of them.

    I haven’t read the rest of this thread. I don’t know who took offense at what.

    2 Weeks ago
    chiarizio
     

    The mediator doesn't actually decide anything, the affected parties decide something. The mediator just gets them there.


    I hear you on this, I do. But...what's the plan for when the mediator can't get the affected parties to mutually agree on something? (I don't think I'm being particularly pessimistic with assuming there will be a fair number of occasions in which there isn't a "there" parties will actually even get to.) Will the mediator then become responsible for figuring out a solution, or would you then intervene?

    I'm also admittedly a tad confused because this was generally what I thought the role of moderators was supposed to be (on top of simply ensuring site and forum rules were followed). I know there's no going backwards, but I think my inclination is to echo the sentiments shared by folks wondering what really changes with this plan?

    2 Weeks ago
    Jet Presto
     

    I think mediators/moderators are a good idea The key thing is in each case have a mediator or moderator who can understand and be understood by both sides, and whom neither side has anything against and who has nothing against either side. That probably means we’d need several of them. I haven’t read the rest of this thread. I don’t know who took offense at what.


    I agree with you. Moderators are technically already like this suggested role IMO. I feel like Moderators should enforce the GTX0 rules and solve any forum/Discord drama.

    I admit I may have at one point not agreed/liked someone who was involved in the drama, but I started to think for myself and said I'd be neutral between this person.

    I'm also admittedly a tad confused because this was generally what I thought the role of moderators was supposed to be (on top of simply ensuring site and forum rules were followed).


    Yes, this is basically exactly what a Moderator is. Moderators could actually perhaps help with this instead of creating a whole new role/position.

    2 Weeks ago
    RikaxNipah
     

    @Jet Presto:

    As I I understand it the difference is this:

    A moderator’s job is to keep things from escalating into a flame war. Tools such as imposed cooling-off periods might be in their toolkit, in case gentler persuasions didn't work out. A moderator would have some jurisdiction for some length of time. We might want two moderators per section of board. (In case one needs to recuse themself.)

    A mediator’s job is to help two (or more) people who are (or seem to be) “talking past” each other communicate and understand each other. They would be assigned on a case-by-case basis; perhaps by the relevant moderator? Their goal would be to 1) try to make sure neither party took anything the other said the wrong way and 2) produce agreement, or at least peace with no one intending to renew hostilities.

    Finally in case the mediators and moderators can’t get everyone to get along we might need arbitration. Ideally everyone under a particular moderator and mediator would have agreed ahead of time that if mediation and moderation don’t work they’ll submit to binding arbitration. The job of the arbitrating entity is to come up with a solution that seems fair and just impose it.

    Riven doesn’t seem to want to be an arbitrator, even with mediators and moderators to keep the arbitration case-load low. He seems to favor having the membership vote on what solution to impose if the mediators and moderators declare they can’t solve some problem.

    .....

    So we’d need maybe twenty moderators (two for each of the ten sections) appointed long term, then a bench of mediators most of whom wouldn’t usually have duties, and then some means of arbitration if need be; perhaps a means of employing the whole membership to arbitrate.

    The chief requirement to be on the bench of mediators would be that at least 71% of the members have never pissed you off and have never gotten pissed off at you. I guess! Seems like a low bar, but I don’t know.
    Might be easier if there’s a possibility separate (or partially separate) bench for each section? There are people here who are my good friends if we’re talking about music but don’t want to hear from me (or vice versa) if we’re talking about politics — I think?

    .....

    I don’t have the energy to be an arbitrator nor a mediator nor a moderator, except maybe in the one section I post almost everything in.

    If we come up with an all-members-jury system for arbitration I guess I could be part of that!

    2 Weeks ago
    chiarizio
     

    @RikaxNipah:

    I agree with you. Moderators are technically already like this suggested role IMO. I feel like Moderators should enforce the GTX0 rules and solve any forum/Discord drama.


    Enforcing rules and solving drama are different duties.
    Moderators would prioritize enforcing rules, and maybe solve drama when and if they could provided they had time and energy left over from enforcing rules.
    Mediators would prioritize solving drama. They probably wouldn’t enforce rules themselves, although they might invoke moderation if someone was prolonging or worsening some drama by breaking rules.

    At least that’s the way I see it; the difference in duties is mostly a difference in priorities. Moderators would have more clout and should exercise it with a light hand, usually staying out of it unless some rule was violated. Mediators should always be in the middle as long as the parties agree they need and accept the mediation, until the issue is solved or all parties drop it.

    ....

    Am I making any sense?

    I used to read professional literature on moderation and arbitration, although I never had any ambition to be such a thing. My late ex-wife was one of Texas’s two leading experts on out-of-court settlements in the 50 US states.
    Sometimes you just want something to read — anything!

    2 Weeks ago
    chiarizio
     

    I would largely echo Jet here. This seems like a role that moderators should be filling. Arguably one they already had in the past. The Jedi Sith mods were always having to mediate disputes, with the understanding that they would ultimately make a decision that would be binding.

    But I'm also curious what situation demands a moderator vs a mediator. If a moderator takes action based on a clear violation of a site rule, does the user get to drag them to a mediator to try to get a more favorable outcome?

    I'm worried this will just be an extra layer of bureaucracy that doesn't actually solve the underlying issues.

    2 Weeks ago
    Count Dooku
     

    Let people sort out their own problems. Moderators make sure no rules are violated and should only act when necessary.

    2 Weeks ago
    Cutter Creighton
     

    I've been lurking on this post for a bit, but I'm going to voice my thoughts, now.

    I agree making sure people follow rules and settling debates are different duties...

    But I also think proper moderating prevents the need for a mediator.
    You're always going to have cliques and some degree of toxicity and conflict. No one's ever going to be at perfect peace. And I think after 10+ years of knowing people, everyone here is capable of deciding whether they want to get along or not, even if the other party doesn't want it. It's how these things work.

    If a mod needs to step in to say certain escalating behavior is inappropriate and issue a warning of action, that's their job to prevent something from escalating until a blow-up.

    It's a community. With rules. Like any community.
    And we're not 13 anymore. We're adult enough to be capable of choosing how we interact with each other, for better or worse. And adult enough to accept consequences for our actions.
    Policing is more effective for adults than sitting everyone down like children to talk things out.

    Essentially... mediating seems condescending and a great way of off-loading accountability for people who've acted wrongly.
    If someone has concerns, they can approach a mod.
    If a mod needs help, they can consult other mods.
    Riven, as much as you may not want to arbitrate, if your mods can't figure out a problem, you, as a community leader, may need to, but the mods should be left to do much of the heavy-lifting and only come to you for a final say if they can't arbitrate / handle a situation on their own.

    The safety of this community should be your highest priority. People should not feel threatened here, and people should not have to "talk things out" with others who've made them feel threatened. Action should be taken to prevent them from needing to interact with this problem. You're not going to solve every problem peacefully by making everyone talk it out because, right now, as adults, with fully solidified personalities, pasts, triggers, etc - we should be fully capable of deciding how to treat each other respectfully - and who we want to interact with - and those who act irresponsibly should face consequences.

    It's just the way it is.

    1 Week ago
    Weird Occurance
     

    Mediators? Why do you need those? We never needed them in the original GT and I guarantee you, we had it a lot worse.
    Mediators are a bandage to fix what your moderators couldn't!

    A moderator's duty SHOULD entail this, or they aren't suited for moderating...

    ¤Ð£ŋįd@¤

    1 Week ago
    Denida
     

    I'd take this a step further..

    A mod who can't stop a problem from escalating shouldn't a mod.
    A mod who isn't approachable when there's a problem shouldn't be a mod.

    And Riven, you have a decision. Your choices are the following:
    1) be an active part of the community with friends here etc
    2) be a developer
    3) own the community

    You can do 1 AND 2 OR 2 AND 3 - but NOT 1 and 3.
    From everything I'm gleaming, you want moderators and mediators so you can take the biggest step back imaginable. That's fine, that's up to you. It's your site and YOU get to decide what role you want to take in it.
    But if you want NOTHING to do with arbitration, nuke the site or pass all the arbitration tools responsibilities to someone else who's willing to take it on.

    It's like parenting - you can be a parent or a friend, you can't be both.
    You can be a leader or a friend, you can't be both. It doesn't work. That's nothing against YOU as a person or a leader or anything - it's just a part of responsibility. Choose your role for the good of the community, or nuke the community.

    1 Week ago
    Weird Occurance
     

    Agree with Elite.
    As adults, mediating is useless and toxic.

    One user experienced rape threats in the latest blow-up - what do you want to do, put her in a conversation with the person accused of sending those threats so they could "talk it out"? It's insane. It should've never escalated to that level.
    Bans / warnings have their place.
    Moderators prevent a need for mediators.

    Can't stress this enough.

    1 Week ago
    Weird Occurance
     

    The safety of this community should be your highest priority. People should not feel threatened here, and people should not have to "talk things out" with others who've made them feel threatened. Action should be taken to prevent them from needing to interact with this problem.

    Ya I mean it's called blocking which turns out I guess would still be useful (if those people were still here), but otherwise how can you possibly take action in a situation like that, that doesn't potentially result in someone who didn't actually do anything wrong getting banned or something? That doesn't seem like a solution to me and I know I have my own bias here but surely you see the problem this can present if this goes beyond blocking. Anyone could use any account they want and with enough observation/knowledge and luck could get that person banned or something for something they didn't do with random accounts.

    The mediators are also not necessarily for situations like this, Xhin didn't specify.

    1 Week ago
    Grey Echelon
     

    And? If a mod fucks up by banning the wrong party, they should be accountable and apologize privately and sincerely.

    Denida used to do this.
    Any leader should.

    1 Week ago
    Weird Occurance
     

    Just confused at what you're getting at since as far as we know the only known guilty parties were already banned in the first place. Going beyond their random accounts though is where things get tricky. Should the accused be banned or should it simply be the only accounts/IPs we know did do it?

    1 Week ago
    Grey Echelon
     

    All bad accounts should be banned, first and foremost, or barred from entering the discord without vetting.

    But like you pointed out yourself, VPNs exist. So anyone could be anyone.
    If you have 30 people saying someone’s prolly causing the attacks, and 1 saying they’re not, then what? Is that what you’re asking? I’m not a mod, but I’d say arbitration, even in the form of a cool down ban could help.

    It’s not the end of the world is it?

    1 Week ago
    Weird Occurance
     

    if you really want to try to fix things, a good start would be apologizing to the people who you wronged (a real apology) and acknowledging where you messed up.


    Very true.

    The consensus does seem to be against implementing this idea, for one reason or another. I have a few points to respond to, but after that I'll tally the decision more officially and lock the thread.

    As I pointed out before, anyone who isn't interested in participating in the discussion shouldn't be here. Unfortunately for the person who continued to start problems even after a cooldown ban, there are some new tools in place that I've been looking for a good opportunity to use. I recommend taking your 1-day ban with dignity instead.

    1 Week ago
    Riven
     

    All bad accounts should be banned, first and foremost, or barred from entering the discord without vetting.

    But like you pointed out yourself, VPNs exist. So anyone could be anyone.

    If you have 30 people saying someone’s prolly causing the attacks, and 1 saying they’re not, then what? Is that what you’re asking? I’m not a mod, but I’d say arbitration, even in the form of a cool down ban could help.

    Fine that much is agreeable, just trying to find out where the line is drawn.

    However, in this case there are more people that are either neutral or don't believe I did it than there appears to be. They just don't want to say it publicly for obvious reasons. Probably doesn't matter at the end of the day but just saying.

    The consensus does seem to be against implementing this idea, for one reason or another.

    Idk if it is. Seemed like people may be okay with it and not necessarily against it but I can only speak for myself. Personally, I like this idea more than I dislike it despite my skepticism I just don't think it can or possibly even should be used in regards to the current issues. So I mean if it wasn't clear I'm in favor of this at the end of the day. Probably should have made that a bit clearer I guess.

    1 Week ago
    Grey Echelon
     

    Yeah the consensus is definitely against using it to solve the current set of issues.

    1 Week ago
    Riven
     

    Oh, I didn't know this was actually intended to just solve the current issues and not just general issues going forward.

    1 Week ago
    Grey Echelon
     

    Guess I don't know what ya all are trying to do other than get to Xhin considering he listed Ceta as an ideal mediator. But like, the entire point of that would be Ceta is good at getting along with everyone. It's kind of... ideal for what Xhin wanted?


    I don't think that this plan is actually going to fix what I think are the underlying problems and also I am not sure if It would be good or even make sense for Ceta to accept this responsibility.

    1 Week ago
    CZM
     

    I have no interest in asking Ceta to take on this kind of responsibility with the old community in the state it's in. Just wanted to throw his name out as being someone that everyone respected.

    1 Week ago
    Riven
     

    The consensus at this time is that GTX0 shouldn't have mediators, with 3 supporting the idea, 7 rejecting it and 5 people mostly rejecting it.

    Given the circumstances of this period of time (and the fact that mediators were acceptable to the community 5 years ago, with two of them even being hired), this question might come up again later.

    1 Week ago
    Decision
     

    This thread is locked