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While for legal reasons I have to shy away from exposing you to the copies of direct correspondence between Portalarium and myself regarding the personal harassment I have undergone, I’m certainly going to outline it for you so that you can be armed with the proper information about how this has or has not been handled because I think you all have the right to know.
On August 22nd 2015 I found out that I was doxxed. I found this out because I was contacted initially by two Shroud of the Avatar forum personalities. Themo Lock via SotA Forum PM which went unnoticed for some time because I was busy ready to go away for the weekend at the time. After I did not respond to Themo Lock I then received a message from Kazyn Pheonixfyre on Twitter via Direct Message who said he was contacting me out of courtesy. Kazyn self admits that he has a security background so what he actually should have done immediately was to report it to Portalarium and not contact me what so ever. You will see that in the direct message linked here later, Kazin did say that “we’d contact portalarium to make them aware.” – though it was still a mistake for either of them to contact me directly. What reason could they have possibly had for giving me the information directly other than to make it known, hey bro, we have your number?
I took a month away to think about things and I waited for contact from Portalarium about this, about the information that either Themo or Kazin were going to send them. But there was nothing? I was in the dark, and I really had no idea what was going on. If they had sent that information to Portalarium, how could Portalarium not have contacted me in regards to this?
I started to think the worst, because what else is there to do when faced with these actions and lack of actions? Two Portalarium users told me they reported being sent my personal information to Portalarium. Portalarium did not contact me! So, were Themo and Kazin lying? Did they conduct the dox and troll me with information to shut me up, confirm if I was the InsaneMembrane, or both? When finding out that AvatarAcid was potentially the InsaneMembrane did Portalarium ignore it because of the InsaneMembrane’s constant grief through this Blog and forum, ignoring their responsibilities? Any way you look at this, it doesn’t look good.
Well I returned from my reflection time to begin a process of selling my account when I had the time to do so. There was no reason to keep it, clearly I was disconnected from the early community and friends in which I was involved and now both myself and my family were being harassed because of this game and my passions for it. I returned home again late in the year and organized the sale though my time off in December.
On the 30th of December 2015, after my account had been sold, handed over, and money received, I contacted Portalarium support. You know, what you are suppose to do when you have big issues like this. It was a very simple and open ended E-Mail, I asked the support staff if they could look into any knowledge of my personal information being distributed between SotA community members. I made a point to tell them to “treat this issue seriously” and to “ask anyone employed or working for you as a volunteer member like forum moderators” before returning to me with the information. Just a reminder this is 30th of December, nearly two weeks ago now and before I posted who I was on this Blog.
Someone from Portalarium wrote back to me, said they take their security seriously, told me their account data is behind a firewall, and told me that if I felt that account data had been violated, let them know. A little bit of a cold hand. Did they have the info already, know I was the Membrane? That had to be the case right? If they only thought I was AvatarAcid, then I actually believe they would have helped me out unless they really truly have no bloody idea what the frack they are doing! If however they thought I was the InsaneMembrane, they might just let me rot and not help.
I wrote back again, I told them I didn’t think that my SotA account was compromised. I then indicated to them that it doesnt seem that they are directly aware of what has taken place, which goes against what I have been told, then let them know that someone on their forum appears to have doxxed me with the intent of spreading that information to other people in the SotA forum. Lastly I reitirated the fact that I had told them to check with EVERYONE about the matter before geting back to me with the above stock standard support reply.
I got another response which seemed more sympathetic to the problem at least, but it was just asking who had the information basically.
I wrote them back again and this time I gave them the information I had. I attached the following images which are the PM from Themo and the DM from Kazin. Note, I have blocked out my personal information.
I honestly cannot believe the E-Mail in which I then got back from Portalarium next. They said that they were such a busy community and there is a lot to track, but now they had what they needed. NOW. Really? Ok… So apparently, NOW, I was told that both Dallas and the person speaking to me indeed got a PM on August 21, 2015 from Themo!!!
OHHHHHHHH REALLY NOW!
So, the person I was liaising with via these support requests for days whom I had asked, remember, to please ask around very carefully and treat this seriously, if my personal information was sent to anyone… ACTUALLY HAD MY PERSONAL INFORMATION? This whole time? Hahahahaha. Excuse me for a moment. LOLOLOLOL. This is a joke, it must be. They went on to say Wrathpheonix also contacted them later the same day and interestingly enough now only confirm that the rest of the fields from Themo/Kazin were blank when they received them. Portalarium felt it necessary to mention again at this point that since what little they got, because the fields were blank apparently, included only my full name and since my middle name wasn’t in the Portalarium account database; it proved the information wasn’t acquired from them.
Did they truly honestly think that I thought that it had? My passport number was in there for crying out loud, how or why on earth would I ever disclose my passport number to Portalarium! Wait it gets better, because the information didn’t come from their database they said that Themo and Kazin couldn’t have been the perpetrators! I…don’t…even… Forget it. It just makes no sense what so ever to say that.
Further to all of this, they claim to have advised Themo and Kazin to delete all information they received and then asked THEM to contact me! Wait a moment. This is in direct contradiction what what Kazin told me, that he was going to contact Portalarium! I don’t care who you are or what company you work for this is a ridiculous request to have made of your community members anyway, if we are to take them at their word now because, and an extremely unprofessional level of security and support. How are you suppose to sort through this total mountain of falsity?
I wasn’t very happy with this understandably. Even though they were probably not 100% sure I was InsaneMembrane or not, and even if they did you have to expect more from a company like Portalarium in form of support when things like this are taking place in the community. Typing an opinion on a Blog and committing crimes harassing people are two very different things. They didn’t take this seriously, and they really should have. I gave them an earful, said they were unwilling or unable to help me, told them to let it serve as a learning experience and a warning because if this happens a second time it will clearly show something other than incompetence for their part in all of it.
I heard nothing back from them after that. Not much at all until I posted on my blog that I was AvatarAcid. Initially I wasn’t even going to come out and tell everyone who InsaneMembrane was, I was just going to let AvatarAcid die quietly never to be heard from again. I said before you have to expect more from Portalarium, why did I, and why did I come forward at all to them? Because of this post and the Dev comments within:
To point out what is hopefully obvious, we take reports of harassment very seriously, investigate them quickly and resolve them outside of the public eye.
I could not have said it any better myself. Harassment violates our Terms of Service and should be reported through firstname.lastname@example.org along with any supporting documentation.
I wanted to believe Themo and Kazin were legit and for a fleeting single moment my trust extended outward towards Portalarium once again despite all of the mishandling we’ve all witnessed in the past two plus years in the hope that when harassment was clearly present in some manner they would indeed preform their duties as they indicated above and set aside any differences(which didn’t exist if they indeed didn’t know AA was IM) in order to help a member of the community out. They were either unwilling or unable thus casting a very bad light on the entire situation.
Only wait for it, there is actually more… If you didn’t think this was convoluted enough and just plain wacko before you read thes, you’d be mistaken. Themo came into the Shroud Unlimited forum yesterday and said that another member was doxxed too! But nobody told that member, not Themo, not Kazin, not Portalarium. Why not!? What in hell is happening here?
EMPstrike, I suppose you have your answer now on how harassment is handled.
IN CONCLUSION. AvatarAcid was summarily found guilty of running a “hate website” and sentenced to permaban. I accept. It had to be done to show the community Portalarium’s perceived strength. I do not accept that this is hate. It is very inconvenient having your actions and dirty laundry aired and to have no limits on the conversations regarding your practices, product, and community yes. But it isn’t hate. Shroud of the Avatar is getting talked about at my site, a great deal more than any other gaming sites. My Blog and Forum together when it comes to discussion about Shroud of the Avatar could be in second place to the actual game site next to the Official in terms of how much is discussed and read by unique individuals and I didn’t do it out of hate. It was done out of a sense of comradery for my fellow community members outcast by the SotA forum-norm in an environment constructed by Portalarium Glass Joes which was not conducive to honest in your face feedback. Members afraid to speak out for fear of their hundreds, thousands, some tens of thousands of dollars will be lost in an effort to give you their honest feedback. Portalarium, I gave you the chance to review this critical feedback away from your place of business and without any filter on it or any shred of attachment to yourself in any legitimate form. Were you paying attention? I know you were. If you really think about it, it isn’t hate.
Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.
– Jane Russell
I can’t go out without a piece of tinfoil now can I? I wonder if someone, soon, will be rewarded with a big fat ONBE? Tune into the winter telethon to find out everyone!
This concludes my broadcasting. Goodbye.
Hello, I’m AvatarAcid. I’m the InsaneMembrane. The above image was created by myself and tweeted out on March 8th 2013. I had been following Richard Garriott’s UltimateRPG countdown and the information around it for some time with great anticipation. You see I am quite a large fan of the Ultima Series, and always will be, and all through my childhood I could rely on the Ultima Series to provide me with new challenges and adventures. Ultima provided a chance to bond with family and friends, enjoy a great story, and challenge my younger self to think about some of the moral issues the game presented me with through Richard’s wily ways. Then in March 2013 Ultima was coming back. One UltimateRPG to rule them all!
Back then the concept of Shroud of the Avatar was still pretty much a Single Player game with very limited Multi Player options and an allowance for dynamic content, like having the same housing and crafted items across all instances of the game. The game instances were also to be hosted on individual PCs spread across as many geographical locations as there were groups of 12-50 players, which would have greatly benefited me where I am living today due to infrastructure limitations on the internet. Having a unique and rare experience that I could enjoy myself and happily share with others also, a decent way to tackle lag due to living in the internet pits of the world, and it was a brand new Ultima successor – Couldn’t be happier! So happy that I jumped in with a Citizen pledge early on which was around ten times more than I had ever spent on any game in my life of buying games for myself. Later I upgraded to Knight and now fifteen times more than I’d ever paid, and while I know that is a big thing to me it is just a drop in the sea when compared to those of you who have spent tens of thousands.
It was good for a while, but I started to notice a few pretty boisterous personalities starting to push for things early on. Ultima Online things, MultiPlayer, and MMO things. On top of that, some of the users were putting forward further processes which outlined goals to segregate community so some could rise above others based on the price point in which they themselves elected to pay for the game. At the same time several really unsavoury personalities started to arise also both in IRC and on the Forum which carried with them more than a hint of racism as well as harassment. Some even openly so! At first these things were properly reported by myself and others. Yet nothing was done and in fact some of the people whom pushed back were on the opposite side from the SotA moderators, since yes, more than one of the Moderators were persons of interest when it came to some of the issues above like racism and harassment.
The big cratering came for me came in an incident where Owain had told moderator UltimaCodex(WtF Dragon) that he can’t have an opinion. I would bet good money nobody out there, not even some of the people involved in creating the Ultima Series, know as much about Ultima as WtF Dragon and the Ultima Codex site contributors do. I had always followed Ultima Aiera then the UC and appreciated all the work they put in to keep the Ultima Series legacy alive and well. WtF Dragon has the right to his opinion and it matters not what his status in the community is and that goes for everyone else in the community as well, yet that sentiment was not seemingly accepted or encouraged. I chimed in and told Owain he could “GTFO” if he didn’t like that someone else had an opinion.
WtF being a moderator correctly informed me that speaking like that is probably going a bit too far which told me all I needed to know, and that is that the most powerful and in your face voices had already gained a beachhead in the community. This problem wasn’t going to be solved without help, but what could I do about it? Should I speak out as AvatarAcid and have my ass handed to me with my account hanging over my head if they decided to ban me? Mind you nothing quite like that had just yet happened to my knowledge but I could still envision it taking place due to how everything was starting to shape up there, the writing was on the wall. Why should I risk my account which was now linked to a thousand dollar donation in order to deal with things that already shouldn’t have been allowed to establish prominence there?
It soon became more. The game development was going astray, forum personalities including moderators were insulting and driving out the typically quiet and more non-aggressive people like me(usually!) to the point where even Developers fear posting, telling them they are useless and stupid, and then there is the question I still ask myself now; What is Shroud of the Avatar actually trying to be and how do I get my feedback out in an environment as confrontational and unguided as that which exists on the Shroud of the Avatar forum? Well I did exactly the same thing Richard Garriott did with the Avatar and created a schism in my personality, my own little personal Guardian! Meet the InsaneMembrane.
I decided to fight fire with fire and parody myself in the situation with positions which would otherwise be mutually exclusive with AvatarAcid’s. People wanted to argue from a point of privilege? PKs want to turn SotA away from an epic single player tale and into a giant MMO UO2 where they camp gathering sites? Moderators not calling nor taking care of obvious rotten apples? That is a job for the InsaneMembrane! Carving up pledges into Founder and Royal Founders, water lot restrictions, Player Owned Towns, unlimited instanced POTs, death of the Dev+ forum and all promises that come with, failing at combat and dumping it, Devs lowering themselves to InsaneMembrane’s level and abusing people on steam…after they ask for positive reviews to be instituted. Madness! There is much more, the one that hit home the most for me was ending the croudsource efforts before I could even get into it. I wanted to do more than just pay for this game, I wanted to HELP it succeed. I was told I could, so what happened to that sentiment and why could I now not? Well InsaneMembrane jumped in and tried to tackle these hard issues and I would like to think he, or I, or we did so not just with the self in mind, but with the rest of the community in mind also. Only InsaneMembrane could do this because InsaneMembrane was unknown and had no leg in the game, nothing to lose to try and get to the source of all these problems and perhaps get some answers. What I didn’t ever expect to happen though was that as time went on and more and more things came out of the woodwork, something else came into the spotlight… Portalarium itself.
I learned through Richard Garriott and Ultima both, you need to challenge yourself, challenge others, to push the envelope! And so I did. That said, I always try to keep to comments related to stuff taking place on the forum and other social media sites directly linked to SotA. I haven’t ever gone after anyone’s personal life or sought out information other than that unless was related to Ultima/SotA community in some way.
At first the warnings and bans to the InsaneMembrane account were cute. But it became clear at some point, probably right around the InsaneMembrane account getting perma-banned for the second time(lul) for pointing out leaks in the Dev+ forum, that I could no longer just blame the community personalities and moderators themselves. Why weren’t the mods moderating the forum properly? Who is looking after the moderators themselves? What policy does that person have and where did they even get it from? My comedy and opinion then turned towards Portalarium and the Devs. Most of whom on a personal level I think are great by the way so I was conflicted about even having to go down this path! But a spade is a spade and business is business, if InsaneMembrane was going to continue on the logical path of finding all Insanity and calling it out, he would need to address the core of these issues. If you aren’t upsetting some people, you aren’t really being brave. If everyone likes you, then you have never said anything true, anytime you speak the truth someone’s going to hate you.
This continued for some time and for the longest time I felt pretty alone in doing this. Statistics sure told me that people were reading here, but I didn’t know who they were a lot of the time or what they thought. Eventually comments started to come in though and I was certainly not alone. The Shroud Unlimited Forum was created by suggestion of a commenter to facilitate even more conversation with the Orphans of Shroud. More and more information was then exchanged and noticed by the many more eyes that were now on the SotA forum personalities and Developer team. Some of them, really, really, didn’t like it this.
Some of them really didn’t like it to the point of committing serious crimes to get at me, going above and beyond the call of duty. To the best of my knowledge on or around August 22nd 2015 someone paid to gather information about me and my family and began sending it to people that InsaneMembrane has “insulted.” I know of at least three people who have seen this information now and one of them indicated it was being “put out there to certain folks” and with the amount of people InsaneMembrane has parodied, you can bet there is more! This included everything from my name, my spouse’s name, our kids names, addresses, work places, phone numbers, passport numbers. I was away for the weekend and at first I pulled back to think, then after about a month of reflection I came to the conclusion that I would sell my Shroud of the Avatar account for whatever I could get for it.
Just to point one very simple thing out here now; some people say that I have been the most toxic asshole to have ever graced SotA’s sphere of influence, yet I have never and would never do anything like that to someone. But one of you in the Shroud of the Avatar community would and did, so ponder that one for a moment everyone and be warned when dealing with what is left of the Shroud of the Avatar “community” under Portalarium’s “guidance,” especially if you are posting on social media with your personal accounts. They came for me, they will come for you too.
Why did I wait until someone started to conduct personal harassment against my family to sell? Why did I put as much money in to community related projects by community members as I did into SotA itself? My love for Ultima and for those who love Ultima, and what Shroud of the Avatar could have become got the best of me. So much so that I felt the need to create the InsaneMembrane to defend the Honour of Ultima in only a way that InsaneMembrane could. But it had become very costly and too costly for many reasons; Too costly personally, through threats to my family. Too costly to play, everything you can think of is being added to the add-on store and I think a grand should have been enough to buy me some nice frigging clothes right? Too costly not to play, the game has been two years+ now and still being derailed by projects never intended to be included in the MMO it has now become, there really is no game(not that I know what kind of game it is or will be any more anyway). This… Is not the UltimateRPG that I dreamt of and it is too rich for my blood on every front. I could have spent thousands on this game also, but apparently I spotted things that others didn’t early on and it saved me a lot of money. I fold.
Not all the way out though, for like many, many, others I was silly enough to try and connect Steam to SotA and now I’m stuck with the $45 Adventurer Pledge. So it looks like I will still be able to jump in and test things out from time to time if I ever break a leg and get holed up for a month or something. Dumping the RF account is a big load off and I thank the community member who purchased it for almost what I paid for it. I still do hope Shroud of the Avatar will succeed but I really can’t understand or see how it possibly could live up to the UltimateRPG I dreamed Richard Garriott was going to produce. At this point I am not even sure if Richard Garriott is even going to like the end product, it is so far from what he described initially!
InsaneMembrane isn’t going anywhere for the moment. My blog will still be up, I will keep posting updates. Shroud Unlimited Forum will still be up and I will be there to provide a place for EVERYONE to come and talk candidly about Shroud of the Avatar and anything else on your mind while you’re there.
My blog, I can push my own crap on it yeah? Done!
UPDATE: The thread in question was deleted. You may find it in the Shroud Unlimited Vault.
The figurehead leader of the BMC today exposed in a thread on the SotA forum that he and many others do deserve the preferential treatment they get form the Portalarium and the Shroud of the Avatar developers. He also named names:
“I’m going to add one more thing… And this is directed to those that think the BMC, or Pax, or DoD, or OOV, or Weeping Seven, or @Themo Lock, or @Winfield, or @Lord Andernut, or @NBNN News, @Blake Blackstone, or @Amber Raine, or any other individual or group is given special treatment above the other by the DEVS…
You want to know why the DEVS show that appreciation? Because those names above and many many others, understand the significance of our investments, and understand the responsibility that was taken to ourselves arialone and develop this game. We endorse the idea that I’ve explained in the quote, and even though we have our differences, the main goal should never be lost… The success of the platform that we are helping to build.
I hope everyone that reads this, realizes their importance and their responsibility to what is actually going on here… And that we all line ourselves up into an equal yoke, and with the force of 1000 winds, show the corporate world, that WE, the backers, the investors, the custodians, the benefactors, the players, WILL NOT go quietly into the night. We have a voice, we have a will, we have the means, and we can achieve something that the corporations cant… Our world…”
– Duke Ezekiel Cooper
There are many contradictions in this post, even in individual paragraphs, so, good luck trying to actually figure out what he was trying to say but I think it goes like this:
By the way, to all you plebs out there that we whales push around and are bitching about us having too much influence; WE, the Whales, are the ones who get it, you simply do not. WE Whales put in a shit ton of cash son, and they love us for it, and because they love us for it we will ensure we will get exactly what we want.
So fear not lowly non-whale plebs.
*waves hand like jedi*
We’re allllll equal. We alllll stand together. The Devs cannnnnnnnn hear you.
Over the past few months we’ve seen some big names sell out from their SotA investments, today another decently high level backer in Shroud of the Avatar is leaving; Ravicus Domdred. Ravicus has a RF Duke, F Baron 3, and a Metro POT with overland map access “with all the building bonus’s.”
While not even close(just a puny $20,000 Ravi has in SotA) to someone like Blake Blackstone’s massive $60,000 investment in which he chose to close down, it is still some serious cash Ravicus had invested. I wonder what lead him to this decision? Well, I don’t really, just read this forum. Lack of direction and management have to be at the top of the list. On top of all that, this announcement from Ravicus comes hours after a thread he posted requesting help was deleted by Portalarium on their forum:
Again it seems that the heavy handed deletion of user feedback is a serious problem, in this case the fact that someone had a problem with a community member posted for help, got trolled, then had their thread deleted and probably warned due to it, was probably the straw that broke the Lich’s back.
Once more though, it doesn’t really seem to matter to Portalarium. They don’t change their practices. They don’t need to, they already have Ravi’s money so they don’t really give two shits about his problems or him selling out because that money stays with them. Ravi can only do his best to try and recover as much of his investment as possible. It will however probably end up hurting the PvP community a bit, as there are only a few PvP players out there, and there goes another.
We haven’t always seen eye to eye Ravi, but good luck with it and I hope that you don’t end up losing too much of that hard earned $$$ you gladly gave Portalarium in hopes of an epic game we’ll never see.
Former Shroud of the Avatar forum member and current Shroud Unlimited forum member Nemo Herringwary has created a couple of little video reviews with his ongoing experience into SotA to this point. And when I say little, I lie! These are packed full of logical even handed information and I think are reactions from your average every day gamer, this is probably why voluntarily left the cash heavy SotA forums long ago! Someone like you or me, the 99%, would think the same things Nemo does as he rolls through New Britannia experiencing everything he can’t afford to buy for real cash, lawl. Sorry Nemo, but your videos really do prove that human beings love to watch other human beings suffer😛
These are a great watch folks, and Nemo is quite entertaining so give them a watch if you’re a SotA newb, pro, or perspective future player!
A link has been added to the blog to his channel also so you can catch future episodes.
A user going by the forum handle Envy has indicated his intent to leave the Shroud of the Avatar Forum due to moderation. We have all either experienced the poor moderation either by being on the wrong side of it or by observation, and if you claim you haven’t actually noticed it go to TED and listen to the talk on Wilful Blindness.
Users exiting the Shroud of the Avatar Forum is not news because many do due to it’s policies and lack of protection against hostile party liners. High level backers leaving SotA Forum isn’t news either really. But from my own opinion, when a high level backer and owner of a whopping seven Player Owned Town whale trolls someone(seemingly forces Devs return $5 paywall due to this also), gets moderated, indicates he is leaving, then an executive Portalarium offers him a relaxed rules subforum? Well that is news we can all believe in😛
Let us begin. Firstly you should have a look at this backed up thread where Envy proceedes to troll the BMC:
Clearly something has taken place to allow Envy to be bold or aggravated enough to start trolling BMC in their own threads, with apparent alternate accounts to boot. One must wonder how this conflict started. Could Whale Envy have met his match elsewhere in Whale Duke Cooper, leader of the BMC? Hmm, it would seem so but there is more evidence to consider here.
Some time after that post was cleaned up, within 16hrs at least I would say, Envy posted to the Shroud of the Avatar Forum his “Bye Bye” thread. Don’t bother reading it on the SotA forum, it has been moderated and cleaned up, read it here:
I will break some of that thread down for you now because I’m sure it will be a little bit of a case where TL;DR is a major factor for all you cranked up kids out there. The Bye Bye thread is an important one, so slap yourselves in the mouf and pay attention.
Initially Katrina Berserkers called Envy for leaving the forum for the same reason I suggest, trolling BMC and getting slapped for it. However Envy did have this to say about it…
“Actually that had nothing to do with anything… Nobody wants a toxic forum for obvious reasons, equally when a forum is moulded to an extreme in the opposite direction it becomes equally as damaging but for different reasons..unfortunately that is where this forum now current is and that is why I am walking away from it.”
Despite the fact Envy claims not to be bothered by his trolling being removed from BMC’s thread, I don’t think I could fault him with the rest of his sentiment there. I almost believe him, he is such a big Whale I doubt he’d ever get more than a slap on the hand for anything he ever did there. Shroud of the Avatar’s forum has been moulded to a very extreme and opposite view through Portalarium’s heavy handed management and moderator henchmen. I don’t know if Envy is thinking the same thing I am for the same reasons, but I’ll just assume he is.
Next up is where the real beef of this story hits our plates. Dallas, long term friend and employee of Richard Garriott and COO/Co-Founder of Portalarium himself drops in and posts to Envy’s cya wouldn’t wanna be ya thread. Here it is in full:
Envy, I, too, agree that you are an asset to the community. Although your communication style often pushes the limits of the SotA forum policies, that doesn’t alter the fact that your passion for the game, and tireless energy to share your learnings, are of great value to the SotA community in general (as demonstrated by my including your latest Grand Tour Quest video in the weekly Update of the Avatar).
I am one of the primary architects of our current forum policies. It has been my experience that the vast majority of people prefer a safe, healthy, nourishing environment to hang out in. A small minority of human beings have a thick skin and are not offended by aggressive/confrontational/”bear-poking” communication styles. These can often be (but not always) the players that prefer PvP over PvE.
That being said, we are attempting to create a game that satisfies some of the needs of the PvP’rs as well as the PvE’rs. I am intrigued by the notion of experimenting with the same design philosophy within the forums. Having a special sub-forum within the main forums that was more lightly moderated might satisfy the communication needs of those that feel they are being too tightly constrained. If we were to create such a sub-forum, would you be interested in being a volunteer moderator for that area, or have recommendations for others that might be willing to moderate that area (PM me with suggestions if so)? The majority of the SotA Dev Team has expressed discomfort in hanging out in such a lightly moderated forum so they would be officially reprieved from ever having to respond to any posts there. The participants in that sub-forum would have to be accepting of that.
In general, I’m wondering if having such a sub-forum would satisfy the needs of the few without compromising the needs of the majority. I haven’t yet convinced the rest of the management team, but it sounds like a worthy experiment to me.
What can we take away from Dallas’ post?
- Dallas believes that Envy is abrasive.
- Dallas thinks Envy is a community asset anyway and put his videos in Update of the Avatar in place of The Mad Hermit’s videos.
- Dallas is one of the people who developed the forum policies.
- Dallas thinks PvP players are the small minority calling for aggressive and confrontational communication styles.
- Dallas suggests a new sub-forum which is more lightly moderated.
- Dallas offers Envy a volunteer moderation position in the new forum.
- Dallas mentions that Portalarium Staff would not be allowed to post in this new Envy forum.
Ok, what, the, actual, frack? Did that just happen? People have been complaining about moderation for YEARSSSSSS. I can’t count the number of people who have left the forum, the GAME, due to the hypocrisy on those SotA forums. But Envy leaves the forum, he gets offered his very own sub-forum where he is a moderator? Just what the hell is going on at Portalarium?
Dallas went on to say in a reply shortly after that when someone said they hoped that Devs would post in there:
I’m afraid that it would be almost completely Dev free. We have a code of communication conduct at Portalarium that we do not allow members of the team to speak to each other in any way that can be construed as disrespectful. We find that communication styles that can be perceived as disrespectful are corrosive to long-term team cohesiveness and cooperation. Because of this fundamental Portalarium principle, we only attract team members that are in alignment with that principle.
Thus, if any member of the community wished to air their grievances in such a way as to promote Dev Team responses, they would have to do so in the more normally moderated areas of the forum. All this means is they would have to be less confrontational/aggressive/”bear-poking” (or “ass ripping” as Duke Ezekial so colorfully expressed) when airing their grievances.
Oh, that is very rich Dallas. Apparently there is a code of communication at Portalarium that says your employees can’t speak to each other in any way that would be disrespectful. That is great, and of course as it should be. But clearly that same rule doesn’t apply to Portalarium staff members when they are speaking to the community does it. Indeed, we know from past Dev comments that most of them aren’t even comfortable posting in the normal forum so why in hell would they go over to Envy’s “less moderated” sub-forum and risk their asses?
Is there something wrong with me? Could I be the only person in the world, because I am a toxic sledge throwing slimeball of a troll, to think that Envy is being damage controlled here by the COO because he is a serious investor in the game? Nope. I don’t think that I am and Ashlynn, who’s comments I’m usually impressed with, had the following question about the matter:
Hold on a moment. So a high-level backer with what might be described as an abrasive personality gets moderated for trolling some other guild so announces they are leaving. This warrants a personal response from the developers and discussion of the creation of a forum just for such behaviour?
– Ashlynn [Pax]
Ashlynn, your mind to my mind, my mind to your mind, our minds are one. Dallas simply responded, quickly, with that wasn’t the case and this was just the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” But… I don’t know about that. It has been years and innumerable backers have left due to this issue, it takes a Whale to make a wave like this? Such a wave he even gets offered a sub-forum and moderator position? This is unbelievable.
I’m going to try and put all of this aside and not insult Envy here… too much. Why would I insanely do that? Because as you read in that very post, in the SotA forum, on my blog, and in my forum, the moderation there at Shroud of the Avatar Forum is truly terrible. So terrible it too could have finally “bitten the hand” that collects the cash of the totally clueless people who put it and it’s policies together. Envy could actually be a victim of this forum and it’s policies in this case and it would not be a stretch of the imagination at all to understand how!