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!
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!
So, old habits die hard. SotA mods are still pursuing personal dislikes and or vendettas against SotA backers.
Naturally, these posts were deleted by the mod in question. Mike there is right, nobody should donate to SotA until the forums are cleaned up and moderated by proper professionals. I mean shit, lets face it, if it were not for those cock holster mods over there at the SotA forum neither I nor this blog would even exist. Isn’t that something to think about?
More for you guys soon, we’ve got Dev+ backers leaking information to other players through various means but this week it happened out in the standard non-dev+ pleb forum lol. I do want to wait for the info to go public before I post about it though, because unlike those people leaking the information, I’m not a twat.
Till next time kids.