I have been working on a Mediation Helper program to be a companion program to our Newbie Helpers. (Seen here and posted on 7/31 before all this began, just so it doesn't seem like I'm pulling a rabbit out of a hat to save my own butt http://vaxia.org/forums/social-department-do-list) However, given the timing of the grievance, I didn't think it was right to do all of that right now. I'll really knuckle down and work on it over the course of the two week proposal window so that by the time that is up, we can have it ready to be implemented.
I 100% agree with the two mediators at a time rule. I think the only reason this isn't in the site governance is because there hasn't been a second lead yet. But the second that there is (or the Mediation Helper Program is finished) we can have that in place. It's going to be really good to have. I think we could also make it mandatory for at least one lead to be attached to any mediation, even if one of the Mediation Helpers is the one actually handling the discussion. They can be that secondary "silent until needed" presence just in case a mediation starts to go awry. And hopefully a second set of eyes will help keep any misunderstandings from happening and spiraling like this again.
I think that there is something to take away from this situation for all the parties involved in this (Sin, Awas, and myself). If we can learn from this and use it to make the site a better place in the future, then it's worth all the stress that's happened.
Prior to the grievance I tried to contact bast and ladyk in order to appologize - bast replied saying unless its related to her position she wouldnt talk to me on vaxia and I had similarly pm'd ladyk to try to talk to her when things cooled down a little with no response at all - so I made a pm thread with bast ladyk and madius but only madius spoke at all on it and madius said he had nothing to add in such a convo and then this came up.
I tried to appologize right after speaking to madius after I posted in limbo asking for someone I could talk to - thus before I was in 'trouble'.
But I do understand what both chord and noir are saying and I do want to improve myself and will take any and all suggestions to heart.
You might want to rephrase what you just said about Bast and trying to contact her. According to her logs, she told you that ICQ wasn't a viable way to contact her and that if you wanted to talk to her in private that you were to contact using the on site private messaging system.
You are twisting what has already been proven in logs to be fact. Stop. Please. You're only hurting yourself in the long run by you keeping to post a 'defense' to whenever someone brings up your name. Now, that's not to say that you aren't permitted to defend yourself, but there is a time and a place for it. Right now, this is neither the time nor the place for it.
First I sent a message to LadyK...with no response...
Then I sent a message to Bast...and she replied as I stated...
Then I followed her request and made the mediation thread...with no response...
Then maybe you should take the hint and back off before someone explodes on you and you really do get your ass booted out the door. Leave them alone until they come talk to you. Unfortunately some of us can't just turn off our temper and upset feelings.
So, my advice: STOP POSTING ON THIS THREAD!!! Unless it is a time that Admin asks for your thoughts. Which you have already done. Or someone DIRECTLY ASKS YOU A QUESTION.
As you wish, Tanya.
I will stop coming to this thread so you can continue using excessive numbers of capslock and exclamation point to yell at me and make demands of me.
The last thing I want is MORE problems right now.
Things are escalating quickly again. So everyone stop now.
This is not about any other open social based issues. Plain and simple.
The reason why you have had no responses is that this issue, right here brought up in this grivance, is not resolved.
The one person that would be responable in helping you set things up to get through, you accused of bias and as such warranted a formal investigation for reasons already covered.
To dwell on this would be a very poor choice IMO, and you should wait until we clear this, make the nessecary adjustments and move on.
I apologize for any typos (i am on my phone) and for any toes I may have just smashed. But enough is enough.
Let this one resolve and keep any further comments in this thread abouth the relavent topics in this thread.
Ok, I've actually got a lot of suggestions here that I'm gonna toss up for review / consideration. Some of them are for Sin, some are for the site policies. I've not read anyone else's responses yet - I wanted to finish my post first in isolation before doing that. So if I'm repeating - please take that as an indication that someone else has come to the same conclusion and that's just a good indication that the idea is a good idea.
To make it clear, my goal here is to make sure this is a situation that can be caught sooner and hopefully put to rest sooner. I've little to no interest in vengeance or punishment - I just want to see results that get us where we want to be: A high fun, low drama site.
While we don't want someone on the site to constantly feel like they're under attack we also don't want everyone else to be walking on eggshells. I know that RP posting in general has tanked from last weekend. I've also noticed a distinct absence in Limbo of everyone else. A number of people have let me know that they are actively avoiding RP or Limbo for the span of this grievance to avoid triggering yet another reaction that would have to be added to this list.
It is entirely possible for someone to love a site and be incredibly unhealthy for it at the same time.
Which is why we need these behaviors to change so that the community can feel safe with this member in the room. But that also applies the other way around. If it turns out that what we need is something he can't manage right now or if we are hurting Sin by introducing too much stress in his life - then it actually would be healthier for everyone, Sin included, if he took a break until he is up to it.
I'm going to post two more here, one is to address the personal side, the other is for the site policy side.
I'm going to include cite-references with the issues I post here. Please don't take that as beating a dead-horse. I want to make sure that the things I list are backed up by evidence in the logs, and I want to make sure that Sin has specific examples to help him identify when this happens in the future. Examples help.
Please look at these in the context of that moment in time. I know not all of the exact comments are currently held beliefs, but we're trying to avoid repeating the behavior that led to them in the first place.
Based on the logs, Sin often reacts to a conflict by positioning himself as the victim. He reports the actions of others in an exaggerated way to provoke sympathy. And he attempts to provoke a chase response - bowing out of situations with provoking comments so that others will feel guilty if he leaves and chase after him.
* "Whom is being unnice?", "I was just repeating what he said -", "I was asking questions to clarify my understanding of your opinion." - http://vaxia.org/comment/108535#comment-108535, This is deflection, portraying himself as the victim being unfairly questioned.
* "AWAS responds by being insulting and treating me like an utter dumbass for answering his question...he is absolutely incapable of treating me like a human being or a member of Vaxia..." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110082#comment-110082, Portraying himself as a victim, though he was the one who escalated the conflict.
* "I am a newbie here - a valueless name -" - From PMs during mediation. Portraying self as victim.
* "In my view I have not had any issue at all with you, Boblet. You have never once attacked, insulted, or accused me of things I didnt even do or say.", "You are a good guy and im sure if YOU had problems with someone you would confront them in private and let them know your view without attacks or insults or accusations." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110901#comment-110901, Portraying self as a victim. Also a remarkable example of projecting the blame.
* "I dont LIKE having problems with people...it stresses me out which only makes me sick...I dont like being sick... When Bast started hating me for something I never even said - I started crying so hard I puked." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110901#comment-110901, Portraying self as a victim, and a rather extreme example of guilt tripping. We have had other players get called out for exactly this behavior.
* "All I ask is a chance not to be cut loose and be disposed of like the floaties in the truck stop bathroom - I can do better." - http://vaxia.org/comment/112021#comment-112021, In this thread, on the 5th. Portraying self as victim.
As it turns out - trying to get others to chase is actually it's own sub-category:
* "I guess ill just leave SAMI the way he is.", "None of what I would need for SAMI exists - so it cant be done.", "I think ill just put SAMI inactive and save the headache." - From PMs. See above re: Chase behavior. Guilt tripping. This came after receiving feedback on the changes for SAMI. Because the feedback was not to his liking, he first decides not to make changes, then within one post upgrades to deleting the character.
* "will be staying out of limbo from here on out...apparently its nothing but problematic" - http://vaxia.org/comment/108763#comment-108763. See above re: Chase behavior. This is also an example of passive aggression - the people in Limbo at the time have no context for this and cannot react to defuse the situation.
* "AWAS is a prime example of why I left Vaxia in the first place with his continual personal attacks against people OOC in limbo and the forums..." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110082#comment-110082, Implying that he will be leaving as a result of the interaction, and passive aggressive.
* "heads out because apparently I cant even play around with everyone else in limbo without doing things wrong when I didnt even say or do anything negative. I cant fucking do anything right... Hope you all have a good 3 extra months -.-" - http://vaxia.org/comment/110223#comment-110223, Passive aggressive given the implied attack regarding the money donated to the site. Also see above re: Chase behavior.
* "If the evaluation staff thinks im such a belligerant asshole that I would ever say anything negative about them at all especially when I never said anything of the sort - then go ahead and delete my account." - From PMs.
* "as I am apparently a beligerant asshole I will go ahead and walk away before anyone else gets mad at me. Thank you for rp'ing with me as jakob and letting me in sessions. I hope my donations allow vaxia to thrive for a good while." - From ICQ and PMs, See above re: Chase behavior. Maybe passive aggressive use of "letting" in sessions, could be taken as a reference to the initial misunderstanding with me. Also guilt tripping over donation money.
* "I hope I will be when I get home...but I think they want to kick me out for making a mistake..." - http://vaxia.org/comment/111997#comment-111997, Posted on the 5th. See above re: Chase behavior. Also trivializes the issue at hand, this is not about 'a' mistake - it a series of increasingly aggressive and repeated behaviors, which makes it sound like these are unfounded accusations. Playing the victim.
Passive aggression / Covert aggression
These are behaviors that though lack-of-action cause harm or through indirect actions cause harm while interacting with others. These forms of aggression are deliberately designed to be difficult to confront. In order to address the aggression the other person in the interaction has to be aggressive or offensive. After multiple exposures to passive aggressive behaviors someone who is interacting with Sin may begin to see this in every interaction with Sin - making it even more difficult to confront.
* "I do so love double standards :)" - http://vaxia.org/comment/108540#comment-108540, By not stating who is applying a double standard this an indirect attack on AWAS.
* "Orival was 'just kidding' when he was passing idle judgement against you and your character' - http://vaxia.org/comment/108548#comment-108548, By not addressing this comment to AWAS, who was in the room at the time, this is an indirect attack.
* Updating a less than a week old post, after having been told multiple times over the course of the week that the Setting department was swamped. - http://vaxia.org/node/10821/revisions/view/18749/18888
* "Did LadyK fail in performing her SOCIAL duties? No." - http://vaxia.org/comment/112142#comment-112142, In this thread. By highlighting the word 'social', the indirect attack is that she has failed in other duties unspecified. Since the attack has no material to be addressed, it cannot be countered.
* "I do not myself belive that IF she showed bias in the course of this that she did so malicious or with purpose driving her. IF she did such it wasnt an intentional action out of spite or hate." - http://vaxia.org/comment/112155#comment-112155, In this thread. The highlighting makes this an indirect attack indicating that she did show bias, but fails to accuse to avoid being confronted on it. It's also the second post in a series that attempts to avoid answering the question, evasion.
Bullying of Other Players
For someone who hates seeing bullying, Sin takes out his aggression in inappropriate ways. He often will justify the bullying he participates in by claiming the target earned with their own poor behavior. Regardless of the behavior of the person targeted, the correct response is to note the behavior to Social for them to take up with the player.
* In the initial thread with AWAS, Sin participated in the conversation as it got more heated. From here: http://vaxia.org/comment/108520#comment-108520, To here: http://vaxia.org/comment/108533#comment-108533 By his own posts, he made it more heated. He did NOT defend GE at any point leading up to AWAS bowing out at 3:52pm - posting again on the same line five minutes later at 3:57pm. It is clear this is a continuation of the conversation - not a case of multiple posts coming in at once. Sin continued the abuse until the point where AWAS intervened. At which point he redirected his abuse at AWAS until Zxe intervened.
* "Keep your snide comments to yourself, AWAS. I really dont appreciate it." - http://vaxia.org/comment/109982#comment-109982, By posting this in public instead of privately as he has stated he prefers, or taking it to Social, Sin is raising the aggression levels in the thread. He's also portraying himself as victim.
* "Dont get me started on you TGE. You are a fine one to instruct other people how to use limbo with your 'im just joking!' or 'I guess I cant joke here' while simultaneously insulting people events." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110893#comment-110893, this is a continuation of an established pattern targeting GE, escalated the interaction and drove the player out of the room.
This has a subset, lying about one player to another player in order to damage reputations:
* "You dont have to lie for her, hun. I know hatred. It bubbles up like a dark shadow...she has nothing good to say of me because she thought I was being insulting towards the eval department." - From ICQ. Covert aggression. Lying about someone else's intent. Possibly an attempt to split loyalties. And accusing LadyK of lying.
* "I wasnt being at all combative - LadyK is always accusing me of being wrong and combattive and being the cause with every issue.", "One post into the mediation and she is instantly all "its all your fault and you are being aggressive." - http://vaxia.org/comment/110891#comment-110891, A great example of the difference between passive aggression and covert aggression. This one is spreading misinformation, about a situation that no one else in Limbo at the time would be able to correct.
* " when LadyK told me that if things dont already exist via wiki or otherwise in Vaxia that I shouldnt try to create it or come up with original ideas which in my view is against Fun Freedom and Fairness but was handled in private over PM" -http://vaxia.org/comment/111936#comment-111936, That was posted in this thread on the 5th. It is a continued misrepresentation of LadyK's words and fails to mention (lying by ommission) the clarification that came after it. He does not include anything in the post about how this misunderstanding was cleared up - which makes it an attack on LadyK.
Missing the Point / Lying to Us (or Possibly Himself)
* "After having spoken to tanya, bob, zxe and madius - which the convo that brought the complaint lead to - I realize I was wrong and I am deeply appologetic to anyone who was upset by my actions or words - I promise to do anything possible to improve myself and try to cool my jets. I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for those whom spoke to me honestly."
This was posted in the thread and has been a good example of the ongoing efforts to apologize since. The problem is - the timeline doesn't actually reflect this change in behavior. There are plenty of posts I've listed that are examples of continued behavior and come after Aug 3rd.
While I would like to believe the apology and intent to correct his behavior is truthful - I am not convinced based on behaviors after those conversations that Sin actually understands what the problem is. He may be attempting to correct the wrong behaviors, or attempting to avoid getting in trouble and simply saying whatever he thinks we want to hear. I can't tell which - no one could - that's one of the problems with internet communities.
General Emotional Manipulation of Others
Normally I wouldn't put this on the list, it's a pretty serious topic. But then I remind myself that the vast majority of this occurred over the course of four days after less than a month on this site. The intensity and frequency of this was increasing exponentially. The only thing that put a stop to it short of everyone else leaving the site or giving Sin anything he asked for - was the grievance.
A lot of times emotional manipulators may not even realize that that's what they're doing. They've learned these techniques somewhere along the way and it's worked for them in their lives ever since. It comes from any number of experiences and there's usually some sort of need being filled by this behavior.
In this specific case, I don't know if Sin is aware that he's doing this. I don't know if he's doing it on purpose. It's entirely possible he's not. The only way we could tell would be to look over his shoulder and see if he's smiling while he's typing or not.
What I do know is that the behavior we're looking at is almost text book emotional manipulation.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_manipulation#How_manipulators...
In the logs presented and the behavior on this thread, here are the things I've noticed: Excessive praise, excessive apologizing, emotional blackmail, guilt tripping, sulking, playing the victim, explosive responses, verbal abuse. That's just from the first list.
From the second list: Lying, lying by omission, denial, rationalization, minimization, diversion, evasion, guilt tripping, shaming, playing the victim, vilifying the victim, playing the servant, seduction (specifically in the charm and praise modes), projecting the blame, feigning innocence, brandishing anger.
The list would be shorter if I listed the things that hadn't taken place in the logs here and this thread. Keeping in mind, I stopped reading the thread after we got to stage three so I could look over this list with a fresh mind. I am sure if I looked at all the interactions outside of the grievance, or after we got into stage 3 I could find more.
We need this to stop. Immediately.
Defensiveness / Hyper-vigilance Driven Reactions
Please understand this piece comes from a point of view of genuine concern. I am making an assumption about the underlaying cause of the manipulative behavior. I may be wrong. But please take the moment to consider if this may be what's going on.
Based on logs, when Sin experiences any negative feedback, even the mildest of push backs, it is often treated as a potential threat. This implies a fight-or-flight insecurity that needs to be handled better.
The emotional response - like any emotion - is his to feel. No one has the right to say he's not feeling it, or to question what is the very definition of a subjective experience.
The handling of that emotion is something we can take issue with. The actions taken in response are significantly disproportionate to the cause. The defensive action is immediate and extreme in many cases. The default assumption is that we are attack.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_attribution_bias#Hostile_attributio...
This seems to be a root cause in almost all of these issues.
My specific advice:
a) Take a break to cool down and let others cool down.
b) Before you may any assumption about someone else's intention - ask them and ask someone else. And listen to what they say.
c) Stay on your own plate. If you don't like something that's happening in Limbo, contact Social. (More on this in post #2.)
d) Apologize. You have not provided anything even remotely resembling a real apology at any point in this encounter. You passed the social training, which means you know what's required of a genuine apology. You cannot apologize for someone else's actions - that means you can't apologize because someone else got upset. You have to be able to name what you did to make them upset to be able to apologize for that action.
e) Accept that your understanding of these events was critically flawed at the time. Eight other people - eight of them - see no evidence of bias. In the course of two weeks you got into repeated conflicts and misunderstandings. Maybe it's you. You need to become more self-aware.
f) And just on a personal recommendation? Take up some mindfulness mediation if you haven't already? It's medically proven to assist with anxiety, depression, and other trauma related problems. I think it would really help.
All of these of course should go to debate / consideration by the related department.
* I would recommend at minimum a Yellow strike for Sin, based on the aggression of the rant in the Limbo and the ongoing efforts to misrepresent the behaviors of those involved. Social is of course the one in charge of applying strikes and they may think no strike, two Yellows, or Red - I leave that decision, and delegating it in the hands of our confirmed lead.
* This situation proves something huge: Moderation is hard. We should put together a training program for it much the same way we are looking at one for Newbie Helper. It's a completely different mindset than NH. I think that training should be open to any member of the social department to take, and they should need to regularly retrain to make sure they are consistently up-to-date with what the site needs just like we ask SH's to retrain yearly to keep their skills sharp.
I think we should make a policy to give a yellow strike for impersonating a moderator. Acting as a vigilante in Limbo seems to be where this started - if Sin (or anyone else) had an issue with what was going on then the correct* response should have been to tap a member of Social who was more familiar with the history of all involved to cool the situation down. If you're already involved in posting - you're too close to cool the situation down. Taking it on yourself to cool things off won't work and is often used as a form of bullying itself. This seems to be a common thread with previous cases prior to Sin joining the site, too. This sort of thing also undermines Social's authority in the situation - we are not living in Tombstone - we do not need to go Wild West on this stuff. A lot of trouble could be avoided if the people with problems with other players or their play would ask for Social's input sooner.
* We should consider changing the terms used for Green strikes or at least for the records of interaction. The word "strike" seems to have a lot of negative connotation, and I don't think that helped keep the situation rational from the start. Greens are literally "for the record" and serve as a protection for the player as much as for the site - records from Greens for example would be absolutely relevant to a Grievance filing. So, you can (and should) get Greens for positive behavior as well, especially for anything that indicates previous issues have improved.
* I would recommend in the future that mediation require two representatives from Social not just one. That just gives it some added perspective and allows for a bit more oversight to reassure all involved so that players involved cannot get distracted by focusing on the Social moderator.
* We may want to add a evaluation policy regarding the number of characters that can be in the submission bin at the same time from the same player. That's to keep a single player from swamping the eval team. We're a limited resource and we have to make sure not to drop any of our player requests. It can be extremely difficult to manage that time when getting swamped, and it increases the overall stress on the situation which can lead to bias in the evaluation process and temper flareups. A number of site needs and other player requests have been sidelined for the last week - and that's not cool. I'm thinking two characters from the same player in the submission bin at a time. That allows a player to get both a Vaxia and a Sirian character into evaluation simultaneously. Once one of those clears to approved or is returned to draft then they can put in a third and so on. This would need to be confirmed by all three department Leads cause it hits all three.
* It may also be worthwhile to add information on how to recognize and defuse situations involving emotional manipulation and griefing to our Social documentation and training course. It should also go into any moderation course material as well. It's the internet, we will always be at the risk of having a griefer walk in the door, and I'd rather be prepared to work with or remove that player than lock the door against them.
* And lastly: We should probably formalize the Grievance process itself in an amendment now that we've spotted the logistics error with proposals so that we have a more solid handling of any future ones.
This has sat pretty quietly for a bit now and it seems we have some clear trends in responses so far as well.
In the interests of prompt resolution so we can get back to 'normal', I move to take this to Closure. I would like a second and third on that, and of course if anyone would like to have more time to gather thoughts please speak up! We will gladly wait a little bit to give you time to get your thoughts in.
Once this is closed, I will be locking the thread and setting up the proposal to formally close this out regarding LadyK's authority in her position.
While the Proposal is running, LadyK will be remain in position. We can start work on implementing any of the recommended courses of action here in the thread through normal Proposal or site policy decisions. LadyK will be able to enact Social policies for people as they apply. Decisions will be reviewed at the end of the proposal if the voice vote on LadyK's position does not reflect the results of proposal and she is asked to step down per Gov. - but otherwise, we'll be back to mostly normal.
Like four cats chasing each other on a carousel? xD
Closure is up at http://vaxia.org/proposals/grievance-closure-08/04/2014
I've locked this thread. For the next two weeks, we should be back to business as normal with the sole exception that at the end of the two weeks should the proposal fail to reflect the results of the voice-vote we will review all decisions made during the two week window.
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