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In the criminal justice system, critical thought and truth are considered exceptionally vicious. The overzealous Moderators on the Shroud of the Avatar Forum unequally target this particular group of people: non-Whales. These are their stories.
You should know by now that not log ago a member of the SotA Forum was banned from the Shroud of the Avatar Forum for an interesting and exceedingly hypocritical reason. News has now come through that this ban has been reviewed by the Shroud of the Avatar management team and will now be a permanent ban for Caliya. This is the information that Caliya received from Portalarium management:
I regret to inform you that your account has been locked for transgressions against our Forum Rules. This ban, which will continue until the SotA Leads have had a chance to review your account activity, is the result of receiving multiple warning points within a 24 hour period. In addition, it has been brought to our attention that you are sharing Founder/Dev+ information outside of the Shroud of the Avatar Community. During this time, you will be unable to post new messages, reply to existing threads, and access private forums such as the Founders and Dev+ areas.
Also, I must inform you that, based on your previous forum activity, and the previous notice you received stating that any further transgressions against the forum rules will result in the recommendation that your forum permissions be permanently suspended, your account is being reviewed for possible permanent restrictions from the Shroud of the Avatar forums.
If you have any questions about this action, please let me know. Otherwise, I will notify you of our decision regarding your forum access once our review is complete.
Shroud of the Avatar ~ Community Manager
I regret to inform you that your forum history has been reviewed by the team and it has been determined that, at this time, it is prudent to continue the restrictions on your SotA Forum Account. This decision was the result of repeated violations of our Forum Rules with no improvement or change in behavior.
These forum restrictions do not impact your in-game access, and you can still log into Shroud of the Avatar with your Adventurer pledge either through Steam or directly through the SotA Launcher. You will also continue to receive our weekly updates unless you elect to opt out of our mailing list.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can reply to this support case.
Shroud of the Avatar ~ Community Manager
The “reason” for the initial ban could almost be understood(covered in the linked blog post above), that is if three other people hadn’t have done the same exact thing right inside the SotA Forum that Caliya did while actually outside of it. Where are their permabans? Lotus?….Lotus?….Lotus?…. Oh that is right a permaban requires prior warnings and “repeated violations” so you must have been asking for it, right Caliya?
Not including the ban and going back six months, Caliya had a single warning. Prior to that you have to go back to September 2014 for the next most recent warning! Let this be a warning to all of you out there who have ever received a warning, if you’ve got one then your head is already on the block. It is clear that Portalarium management will turn back the clock on you as far as they can to manufacture any evidence they wish to support their lies and remove voices, your voice, from the community who just don’t flat out roll over and say “I love SotA and everything about it.”
Every reason Caliya received for the ban which resulted in the permaban could have legitimately be applied to other users on the same exact forum and result in enough warnings to permaban them also. Even others like Ravicus could have been permabanned by now simply by “thread derailment” alone. Themo Lock has been abusing users for weeks, knocked in the F word last week, and has continued to go after others but he is still there. But they/he wasn’t and never have been and that makes this permaban completely and utterly illegitimate.
Myself, Joviex, Caliya, others. All buried under a stack of lies in order for Portalarium to permaban them. The truth is a very dangerous thing indeed when you are surrounded by lies.
Themo continues his acts of defiance against the community rules set out by Portalarium after his awesome display of maturity last week.. He is upset, and he is making sure the entire SotA forum is watching him as he throws his toys out of the cot.
Here is yet another perfect example of not just a community member, not just a Dev+ community member, but a high pledging Shroud of the Avatar Whale personally selected to test special combat mechanics outside the full knowledge of the community as a whole getting away with everything:
How much of this will you as the community need to be subjected to? You could be Themo’s next target, all that I can advise is that you report the post and don’t let him get away with this as he has been!
Molenix Claims Latest Victim – Caliya
Not long ago in forum right smack in our face, there was a discussion about Player Owned Towns started from a Poll by Spoon. This was one of the better discussions out there to take place on that forum, but that means it was getting a little bit hot in Portalarium’s chair. When we turn up the heat, they tend to just lock the thread in question, remove all of the posts within said thread cos “troll,” and just pretend it never took place. That is what was done here, and if you would like to read as much as the tread as you can at this point before Portalarium started to clean it up, you can download the PDF here.
Ok, so enough about the Trolling from the SotA Forum-Norm you can read about that in the article linked. What is this post about? Well mainly the unfair banning of Caliya from the Shroud of the Avatar Forum. But first, lets have a very short history lesson. I was perma-banned twice(lulz), and the second time I was perma-banned it was for asking Portalarium what they planned on doing about the Dev+ leaks from the MGT470 guild, and others.
Now we can move forward! But first. This:
oh yeah, click this puppy to enlarge or get higher res pdf here
Blues = Thread Commenter | Greens with Blue border = New Topic Branch
Reds = Rule Violators | Greens with Orange border = New Interesting Branch(imo)
Yellow = Thread Derail Troll | Greens with Red border = Topic Violation
Purple = Banned User | Yellow With Blue border = Thread Derail Branch
Small Red Dash = Comment to Topic
Large Green Dash = New Branch Starter
Large Red Dots = Comment to Violation
As human beings, social animals, and people able to read and write, you should be familiar with the idea of a conversation tree. Hell you’re an Ultima player probably, you’re VERY familiar with a conversation tree. This is an attempt for me to visually map out that POT Poll thread started by Spoon. I was curious to see how a Poll can be started and end up resulting in the ban of a player for something totally unrelated and the answer is going to surprise the hell out of you. So I began and I will help you to understand what is in the picture.
You start with people. The first few posts were on topic(I couldn’t always place direct topic comments where they cropped up and moved them to the front due to size of this conversation). But of course it is a Forum, right, so even the initial posters are going to make a comment that is going to branch the conversation out from the root. It is natural, and nothing to be afraid of. Great examples of this early on were posts produced at the very start by Ashlynn, Kendric, and Xandra7, this too is to be expected as it would have been the first related thing to the poll discussed.
As the conversation continues, more posters reference the current branch and start new branches of their own. It really is all at the mercy of the community what is brought up and what is discussed. One of the most interesting topics brought up for example, by unicornslady, was the simple fact that developers underestimate the demand for Virtual Property. I agree, but really the only person to talk about that was Blake Blackstone.
Lets not get bogged down, as I said it was an interesting conversation and it was painful but enjoyable to map out like this. Moving on to all the red stuff which is standing out in there, but just before that now is a good time to mention what Caliya was banned for. Caliya was banned for disclosing information about the “Dev Standup” from the Founder Forum. There are three levels of access. Pleb, where you post. Founder, where you have access to the Dev Standup. Dev+, where Whales compare the sizes of their…POTs.
What is the Developer Standup? Well, it is a “Scrum.” In short, you get whoever is available at whatever time you can get them and stick them into a room. Go around the room and simply ask everyone “hey what are you doing today” and expect a one line ten second response like “I’m working on Player Owned Towns.” This isn’t anything special, it takes five minutes, and is strictly high level with no drill down to any detail. In any case, you aren’t allowed to discuss the information in the Founder or Dev+ blogs in the main Pleb forum. Despite Portalarium not requiring anyone to sign a NDA, and people leak stuff from both the Founder and Dev+ all the time both on the SotA forum and their own fan sites.
RED. The first name you’ll see half way through the conversation is Sean Silverfoot. He was the first SotA forum user to reference the Dev Standup Comments from the Founder Forum directly. Further on in you can see that cartodude joined in with his own direct disclosure of information from the Founder Forum, not only that but he continued to do it three more times. Next up forum favourite Duchess Wyldemane had to be sure to include her insider knowledge also, a couple of times. So there you go, count them: seven rule violations across three people.
So Caliya was banned. No wait, what? But she doesn’t have any big red dotted violation lines! She did reference what others mentioned and discussed the Dev Standup Comments Insane! Yeah she did, but she was addressing what was already disclosed to her by the other users. She didn’t go to the Founder Forum and start nor continue the conversation on the SotA forum with any “insider” information at all. So then how did this conversation lead to her banning!?
After the thread was locked, Caliya came over to the Shroud Unlimited forum to discuss the topic out in the open. There while in discussion on the matter some information from the Founder Forum did make its way onto Shroud Unlimited in a round-about way. So Caliya was banned, after the POT topic was locked, after three other people violated the same thing that got her banned, seven times before her… And, it is still there:
So what can we possibly take away from such a heavy-handed moderator & community response like that? Was that fair to everyone involved?
Not by a long shot! Message to Caliya is:
Why are you guys still here? Oh! All the yellow stuff down at the end? Totally nobody you need to worry about guys, so inconsequential!
Austin; We have a problem. Themo Lock. You may not know this, but just as enderandrew is chatty, so too is Themo Lock. Themo Lock has been hand picked by Portalarium to assist in “top secret” Developer combat testing. So top secret, the development build isn’t even running the stuff Themo and company are testing and the results are kept very closely to Chris, Dev+ gets no access to this.
Again the same questions persist with this, why Themo Lock? What qualifies him, how was he selected, why wasn’t the community at large given an opportunity to ante up their skills? Well I think we’re playing onto the Whale Card now.
Themo Lock is beyond question a Whale. Themo Lock is a multiple Player Town buy in Whale, and he is running a guild with at least one other multiple Player Town buy in Whale; “Duchess” Wyldemane. So, that is one guild, two people, four Player Towns at the very minimum so you can now see what we’re dealing with is Whaling at its finest.
So, with the full backing of Portalarium behind himself, Themo Lock is growing quite a big ego. He is the man of the hour, he has Chris’ ear, he knows a lot more due to that about the combat system than any other backer. I can understand it, but I cannot agree with it. Have a look at some of the recent quotes from Themo Lock on the Shroud of the Avatar forum where he taunts his insider combat system knowledge:
“Wow… you seriously have never tested anything.”
“What he have to understand is that Drocis does not play and has no idea what is going on.”
“It’s not an insult it is a fact followed by an opinion. Go back to spamming your backseat play testing or actually log in and do something yourself.”
“I actually don’t care, i am so disgusted with you at the moment that it is worth a ban to tell you to go fuck yourself.”
– Themo Lock
There you have it folks. At least four personal attacks on a single forum user, Baron Drocis Fondorlatos, in the span of just a few hours and including language far in excess of what that forum rules allow for. I don’t think I will bother linking the treads, they are sure to be cleaned up or deleted(EDIT: Yes it was moderated download the un-moderated version in the Shroud Unlimited Vault). I’ll upload the PDFs when they are. Here are a few pics:
Themo Lock is not alone in his Whaling, he and other high level backer Whales are constantly trolling and chasing others out of the forum still. How will Portalarium deal with this problem? How will they deal with their hand picked combat tester now that he has gone off the reservation? Do you think they will treat someone like him with the same offhanded disrespect they show the rest of us?
History says, no, they will not. Some of my alternates were banned for less than that. Reports on the Shroud Unlimited Forum from others have said the F word got them banned instantly. We are not all equal on the Shroud of the Avatar forum in the eyes of Portalarium and other backers a like, we are the sum of only what we have donated.
If Portalarium wish to succeed they WILL have to deal with this Whale problem, they are chasing away the smaller fish and they are going to lose money if they don’t. The only question is, does that actually bother them and is that a roadblock to their goals?
Today, a topic has been locked. The topic was created by Shroud of the Avatar pledger Spoon on the Shroud of the Avatar Forum.
Backup of the Topic before posts were deleted: http://shroudunlimited.boards.net/thread/309/put-hard-sales-pots-moderated
Now I don’t usually write a page on threads that get deleted, but due to the recent topics here on this blog and in my forum, Player Towns are at the top of the list. Not only that, but this is also another black mark against Shroud of the Avatar’s moderators and Portalarium for letting the topic get so out of hand that it needed to be locked down in the first place.
I will break down that map for you a little. The source is obvious and no surprise. People in red have been marked as having over the top comments against others, mostly Caliya. Blue = dudes. Purple = dudettes. Connecting lines show various levels of support in which these trolls showed one another in this specific thread. The bigger the line, the more support between the connected trolls.
Aside from the initial Troll, Baron Drocis Fondorlatos, one name stands out; Koldar. Not only did Koldar, and all the other moderators, not engage with users to keep them in line in this thread… Koldar deemed it necessary to make a snide trolling comment of his own as he locked up the thread:
“This thread seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I can’t say I’m surprised. :/”
Do you know why Koldar wasn’t surprised? Because he and the other mods read through this topic as it played out, and did absolutely nothing positive to it in order to keep discussion civil. They have used this tactic in the past and it allows them to lock up topics and delete posts which don’t adhere to Portalarium’s wishes, that is, posts with critical thought in them about how Portalarium are doing things.
Moving on. Here is the event which kicked off Baron Drocis Fondorlatos’s initial troll and created the basis for this thread to be killed, in a quote to another forum user he insinuated that the person was either ignorant or foolish and recomended a book to read in form of a snide trolling comment:
“I have a book recommendation for you. Marketing and Sales 101, by people that understand marketing and sales.
I love that we have a forum where people can voice their opinions. But I dislike it when people state opinions as fact. (i.e. everything quoted above) The idea that somehow not having limited housing or POTs is some kind of “magic formula” that would ensure the success of this game is either ignorant or foolish, in MY opinion.”
– Baron Drocis Fondorlatos
So that was a top notch reply, violating several forum rules at once. If I was to have posted this as InsaneMembrane they could have justifiably used it to ban me on the spot for breaking more than three forum rules. But they didn’t ban, or even seemingly warn/moderate Baron Drocis Fondorlatos. Why? Not only did they not moderate that comment, they didn’t moderate the following comments either:
“@Spoon ……. really isn’t worth the time responding.”
‘People disagree with you because you are argumentative, self contradicting and quite often wrong and not because you are the martyred champion of the people. Also that load of tripe really wasn’t worth clicking “show ignored content”. “
– Thermo Lock
“I often disagree with you, and it is not because it is you saying it. It is because I often believe you are wrong.”
– Thermo Lock
“Sorry but you’ve twisted the logic wrong.”
“this is all water under the bridge and non constructive as its already implemented.”
– Ravicus Domdred
“there is no list, she is just fear mongering. Message me if you want more information.”
– Ravicus Domdred
Oh please…lol. What I don’t like is personal opinions based on speculation masquerading as fact.
– Duchess Wyldemane
“Yeah I already pointed that out pages ago, but to no avail. :D Which is why I think that beating a dead horse is pointless.”
– Duchess Wyldemane
Wow. That is a lot of trolling done. Wait, that isn’t all. In addition to all of the comments above, including a few of his own there, further comments made by Ravicus Domdred are far beyond obvious trolling and border the toxicity levels of myself. Ravicus you see, seems to be a big fan of popping out lines of text into threads asking basically “why hasn’t this thread been locked yet?” I was banned a couple of times, for quoting the rules to someone… So the conclusion is that the Shroud of the Avatar Moderators don’t enforce the rules, unless you quote someone breaking the rules and then they punish you for that? What bizzaro world are we in over there on that forum?
Ravicus Domdred not once… not twice…but three times in that same thread did the above:
So there you have it. The Shroud of the Avatar “Forum Norm” and Portalarium wins again, by trolling. A thread with very few critical thinking individuals have been trolled, belittled, and has resulted in exactly what most of them wanted; to lock and delete elements of the thread which do not agree with their views and investments in Shroud of the Avatar.
Really takes me back to how I got started doing this, thanks for the memories Mods.
It has come to my attention that some people were a bit miffed at my last article on enderandrew’s writing practices. I could ask, why put oneself in a position where if what you were doing got out it might hurt you in the eyes of your pledgers in the first place? That is just silly though.
enderandrew is no quiet little mouse. Most of the information I come by is read and stored in memory for later. I don’t always record things when I see them because I’m lazy, but I should. I will try to be better at this in the future. Here is some screenies of enderandrew, both in SotA and other forums/internet places of frequent where he is always going on about his writing.
This information is out there folks.
Remember that one time, at SotA camp, Portalarium got caught changing the text of their Kickstarter pledge tiers after the fact to help them walk back certain things? You can read about that HERE if you do not. That event was what turned me from calling out people in the community for being less than reputable to expanding my horizons and looking at everything including the company and Devs. If you walk through a pile of dog crap, there is sure to be dog around there somewhere who put it there.
I went on to declare NPC Companions “dead” on November 9th, 2014. Now that you are all caught up, you are aware that even if you have pledged as Developer tier or above, you know that Portalarium have no intention of giving you access to information, tools, or opportunities required to fulfil this kick start promise. In fact, even if you took it upon yourself to create your NPC and sent it to them, it would imply fall onto deaf ears.
Unless. Unless your name is enderandrew.
So, have you ever been to Ardoris? Ever talk to an NPC there? If you have, then you’ve actually been reading enderandrew’s work. Astonishingly the Portalarium Devs, for the most part Lum, have ignored everyone else’s pleas for action on this matter while at the same time accepting and implementing a very large body of work from enderandrew. 95,000 words just for Ardoris NPCs alone by enderandrew’s own admissions.
How did enderandrew leverage his work to be put into the game? There was no announcement on this, there was no community competition or interview process for this. How did Portalarium take that body of work, review it, edit it, and input it into Shroud of the Avatar? Is enderandrew’s writing flawless and perfectly formatted always? No. The answers are, it doesn’t matter! It was done, it is in the game, and purely from a crazy place in my head I can simply come to one conclusion: enderandrew did it, that means I can too. But wait… Can I? Because Lum is not accepting writing from anyone else, and nobody really knows why.
There are other writers out there. No, not me. Go have a look at the Writer Round Table. There is more than one person there, they have some convincingly skilled people doing certain tasks, and the work is good. So again, why only enderandrew? As usual the answers from Portalarium here have been non-existent, transparency is not something Portalarium have been very good at in the past and it just continues to get worse. Their only course of action seems to be to ignore problems and when poked hard enough the answer is? Yes: “We’re too busy.”
The phrase Situation Normal needs to be changed to Situation Portalarium.