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Changes to Ban Announcement Process


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#1 Russ

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 07:43 PM

In the past, the PureZC staff have adopted a policy of not discussing private matters that led to the banning of members from the site. This was done with the intent of showing mutual respect and avoiding airing other members' dirty laundry to the world at large. However, this policy was not without its pitfalls. When high profile members were banned for issues that transpired mostly in private (such as occurred with Mero, who made death threats against LinkTheMaster and legal threats against the site), the community was left with nothing to go off but "Trust us, they deserved it," which lead to some confusion and angst. This issue has been raised with the staff quite frequently in recent months by several members, most notably Avataro, and after some thought we've come to agree. While our intent was good, this policy led to several bans appearing to come out of nowhere or be for petty reasons or spite. To that end, we are officially rescinding this policy, and, at our discretion, will share some of the more private details of bans (within reason) going forward from here.

This brings me to my next point. Ironically, the champion of this new policy, Avataro, is also the first to be affected by it. Avataro has received a three month ban for several incidents which occurred in private. Because of the private nature of this making the ban seem abrupt and out of the blue, and because he has told us that he intends to decry any action as a "staff conspiracy", we have decided to be forthcoming in the reasons for this ban.

Starting near the end of last year, Avataro became obsessed with Lunaria's ban. He frequently brought it up in multiple servers, despite basically everyone (not PureZC staff, members like Orin and Dimentio) telling him he was wrong. This behaviour continued to escalate, and at some point, he got it into his head that Aevin was running some anti-Lunaria conspiracy.

Around this time, he began repeatedly harassing Aevin in DMs. These began as passive aggressive comments, but gradually grew more aggressive in time. They often occurred several times per day. He also began DMing me around the same time, though he got bored and started focusing solely on Aevin around mid February. These exchanges to me included remarks like this.
 

[3:52 PM] Avataro: you guys honestly suck as staff xD spouting lies like this


We explained to him the situation, resulting in him seeming to understand... only to come back the very next day accusing us of lying. This was the trend with all his DMs. At first, we'd seek an understanding with him, and he'd pretend to reach one, only to come back swinging the next day.

Throughout this whole ordeal, he made passive aggressive comments in other servers (The ZScript Server as an example), calling out the staff, and particularly Aevin, as awful every time he got the opportunity.

He also would periodically send a request to Aevin to remove a positive review on one of Aevin's quests. The last exchange ended as such.
 

AvataroYesterday at 9:29 AM
remove my yuurei review as well, please: https://www.purezc.n...eviews&id=21259
AevinYesterday at 9:30 AM
Done.
AevinYesterday at 9:30 AM
Any database staff can do this. Please PM Eddy or Shoshon on the forum with any further requests.
AvataroYesterday at 9:52 AM
good point, i hate interacting with you too


Following this, he gave 1-star reviews to Hero's Memory and Hitodama, and a 3-star review to Yuurei. While discussing the situation with Anthus, he admitted that this was done as rating abuse to spite Aevin.
 

i'm not trolling or anything. i wanted my reviews for aevin's quests removed because i didn't feel good about praising him anymore (i really don't like aevin personally now).


Now I should be clear here. The staff are not in the business of banning people for low reviews on quests. However, as outlined in our rules, ratings can't be done in an attempt to harass users or compensate for other reviews to adjust the net rating of a quest.
 

Database entries should be rated with your own personal opinion, not to "correct" other peoples' ratings. Do not rate things higher or lower than you normally would with the intent of undermining other members' ratings or adjusting the overall score. Ratings that do this will be removed.

Just like with other areas of the forum, harassment will not be tolerated in the reviews and comments on a submission.


In this case, by Avataro's own admission these adjustments were done because he doesn't like Aevin, rather than any change in opinion he had on the quests themselves.

Lastly, to address the potential concern that Avataro might not have known he was breaking the rules, I'd like to post this message he sent to Anthus, in which he acknowledges that he's exhibiting ban-able behaviour and expresses surprise that he hasn't been banned yet.

In short, he willingly and knowingly broke the rules to conduct a month-long campaign of harassment against a member of the site (Rule One) and ratings manipulation to further that harassment (Rule Nine and the Ratings Agreement). As such, he will be banned for three months. He has also made his intent to go down as a martyr so that he can explain "It's a conspiracy!" quite clear to us, so we've decided to lay the facts out here to pre-empt any such ridiculous claims.

 

EDIT: The ban length was reduced to two months from three, as described here.


Edited by David, 13 March 2019 - 12:18 AM.

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#2 Matthew

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 09:55 PM

Everything about this is awful. I'm sorry to everyone involved. I wish this kind of thing didn't have to happen, especially because I like all the people this incident entails, which makes it suck even more.

 

Thank you to the staff for being transparent. I'll be the first to admit that you guys don't always make the right decisions all the time. I know I was wrongfully banned once but you all, especially Russ and Aevin, were more than reasonable and resolved the issue perfectly fine. When it comes to interpersonal relationships and stuff like this, being open and honest is important and that's why I appreciate that you made this post. We can't always make the right choices or right calls, but frankly, we have a great moderating team here at Pure and we should be grateful for that. (And most of the time, you make the right call, and this seems to be one of those times.)

 

Avataro is also really cool as well, at least from my dealings with him, and I enjoy talking to him. Hopefully this ban serves as a time for him and everyone else to cool their heads so we can all get along again. We all have moments when we don't act particularly gracefully, and me of all people knows this, so if and when you come back to us, I'm eager for you to be a great part of the community, like you always have been.

 

The bottom line is that, guys, this is ultimately a Zelda game making fan site! We have a really cool community here that's pretty unlike most other places on the web. Let's just try to be better to one another, and that can start by being less harsh on our staff, who frankly, I think are quite excellent.


Edited by Matthew, 09 March 2019 - 09:55 PM.

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#3 ZoriaRPG

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:10 AM

I think you're better off with this system, now. When too much happens behind closed doors, people tend to become rather obsessed with finding out details, gossip-mongering, and of course, creating general paranoia.

 

One thing that may be worthwhile, is a system of tamp bans to specific boards, if people cause trouble only in those areas. Moosh mentioned that, and I agree that it may be a more valuable mechanic in the long-term.


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#4 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 07:00 AM

Transparency is always a good thing, I'm totally in favor of that. However I'm sure there will always be people who won't respond well to even that, especially knowing what some people are like. Some people don't like the truth. It's a shame things turned out as they did.

 

I know I was wrongfully banned once but you all, especially Russ and Aevin, were more than reasonable and resolved the issue perfectly fine. When it comes to interpersonal relationships and stuff like this, being open and honest is important and that's why I appreciate that you made this post. We can't always make the right choices or right calls, but frankly, we have a great moderating team here at Pure and we should be grateful for that. (And most of the time, you make the right call, and this seems to be one of those times.

I once got posting probation for a mean spirited joke. Then Dimentio got a two day probation for commenting on my mean spirited joke. :D Those were the good old days. lol


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#5 Shoshon the Elegant

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 07:59 AM

I'm happy to see this change coming about. I do believe that it could cause issues with some people. But I believe it's healthier for the community as a whole.
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#6 chorkle

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 10:49 AM

That's some juicy information...

I will second being able to mute people in certain areas. We use the same controls for people that cause issues in some discord servers.

Y'all bitch and whine too much about the most trival nonsense though. :P
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#7 Migokalle

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 03:43 PM

This should be a cautionary tale to all to not let manipulative people get into your head and plant crazy conspiracy theories. :P I know several people who tried to warn Avataro about the source of his information regarding this stuff, but everything sounds like a conspiracy when you're already deep in the rabbit hole.

 

Hopefully seeing you guys being open about this, and the way the community is responding to it, maybe that will mean something to them. Either way, I think this is the way to go in terms of you guys (staff) having to deal with this. Don't ever feel like you have to protect us from the bullshit thrown on you - it's better that we know, because as someone who has parroted the *exact same* conspiracy theories Avataro was going on about, about the same issue, I know all to well how easy it is to be fooled into believing you guys really were the 'bad guys' of that situation, simply for the lack of communication. That was no one's fault, but I do think doing it this way will help alleviate these kinds of problems, like you say.

 

As for anyone who's getting information from where Avataro was getting his: I urge you to consider that when someone needs to devolve down to throwing insults and inventing conspiracy theories to explain how they could possibly have been banned... maybe, just maybe that's because they're making shit up to gain your sympathy. You don't see staff demonizing them the same way, despite claims of just that. Food for thought.


Edited by Migokalle, 10 March 2019 - 03:44 PM.

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#8 Mitsukara

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:12 PM

I haven't ever been a regular around the forums per se, despite my many years since regsitering; and I generally keep my head down and try to be polite, so, I don't think I've ever gotten in trouble here. (Though I'm pretty sure I was banned as a teenager at AGN no less than 3 times, but AGN is a whole other story, especially back in the early 2000s.)

As such I don't have the same sort of stake in this that other people do (all I have is a vaguely positive experience where I've only seen one staff decision which bothered me, and I didn't get in any trouble for ranting about that one- which was about the LP forum "quality of posts" policy change back in 2016 which I feel drove various LPers away from any semblance of interacting with the forum, and made them less likely to check their PMs in a timely fashion / generally worsened their view of the site; but there were regrets expressed about that policy, and I think my concerns about it were responded to in a polite enough manner so I really can't complain.) I also haven't had any big interactions with banned members that I recall, so that doesn't weigh in for me.

 

Basically, I've never had any really significant problems around here, but I also haven't been around all that much.

 

So with that said, I definitely agree that this sounds like a good and reasonable change, and I hope it helps smooth out any further drama. Sadly, NJF is right that some people will still be aggressive and point fingers and claim you're lying, but, frankly, some people will claim anything is "fake news" and ignore Occam's Razor and discard empirical evidence (and dismiss Wikipedia out of hand without checking any of the source citations or stopping to consider that false claims were at least as rampant in academia before it existed), etc, to claim almost any sort of conspiracy, especially if they've got a grudge or a bias or are just argumentative and contrarian, so, ultimately I'd say that's their problem, not the staff's fault.

 

I also third Zoria's idea of making bans that only prevent people from going to certain sections that they're problematic in, at least in theory, but (A) I'm not sure the forum software can even work like that, and (B) there are some tradeoffs to that approach where it might be problematic, like people posting more aggressively in the ZC areas because they got banned from General and causing more trouble, etc.But I like the idea, if ti's possible, and I think it could go well if handled correctly.


Edited by Mitsukara, 10 March 2019 - 04:13 PM.


#9 SkyLizardGirl

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:18 PM

I don't want good developers to get banned in ZC, developers are not a Dime a dozen.

 

I've tried to get Many people interested into Zelda Classic so far, even family members

but it is just, so hard to find people - that want to make games.

 

But i understand if a member goes too far..


Edited by SkyLizardGirl, 10 March 2019 - 04:27 PM.

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#10 klop422

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:25 PM

I mean, getting people to play the games is likely easier. Some of us do pretty much just that, tbh :P

And some, like me, pretend to be here to both make and play them, but have completed most of one quest, and played through the entirety of one other person's quests.

 

Anyway, I like this transparency. I do worry that maybe it's a little too public, but I'd rather that than everything being hidden, because then someone could start abusing the system (not that you guys would, but someone in future might become a mod just to abuse the power or something silly like that).

 

Am somewhat surprised by Avataro, but hopefully the time off will let everyone cool down and be reasonable when things go back to normal.


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#11 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 05:14 PM


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#12 ZoriaRPG

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 07:17 PM

I mean, getting people to play the games is likely easier. Some of us do pretty much just that, tbh :P
And some, like me, pretend to be here to both make and play them, but have completed most of one quest, and played through the entirety of one other person's quests.
 
Anyway, I like this transparency. I do worry that maybe it's a little too public, but I'd rather that than everything being hidden, because then someone could start abusing the system (not that you guys would, but someone in future might become a mod just to abuse the power or something silly like that).
 
Am somewhat surprised by Avataro, but hopefully the time off will let everyone cool down and be reasonable when things go back to normal.

 
Something to think about here, is that if people know that the content of PMs can be made public after a ban, they are less likely to resort to using that mechanic to try to evade normal moderation and public awareness.
 
One thing that I would not agree with, is if the ban is issued because of messages not actually stemming from using this service. Staff can block people on Discord, and vice-versa. They can't logically ignore all PMs on the site, from a user, because that would invalidate the reporting mechanism; and users can't block staff from PMs, because they do not have that level of perms.
 
Stuff on the official Discord server should be infractions, just as if it were on the site, perhaps; but I've seen some stuff where the issue occurred over Discord DM, and carrying that over to the forum is a bit too far-reaching. Something to consider, anyway.
 
Also, ...
 
 

(Though I'm pretty sure I was banned as a teenager at AGN no less than 3 times, but AGN is a whole other story, especially back in the early 2000s.)

 
The funny, or mental, part, is that the ban policies on AGN are now too light. We invoke bans in days, where weeks or more are appropriate, and almost no ban is perpetual. It is as if the site policies somehow trades places with their very-old counterparts at some point.
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#13 Hergiswi

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 08:14 PM

LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR


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#14 a30502355

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 11:49 PM

While I am shocked and disappointed to see Avataro of all people being banned. I am glad about the rules and how future bans will be made a bit more public. I believe it's a step in the right direction. Everybody can be curious at times, and as much as we hate to admit it, we all love a little drama. It's all just human nature.


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#15 ywkls

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:31 AM

So, normally I wouldn't reply to something of this sort but I feel a comment is needed. 

This is because I felt that this development required me to make a rule for those I work with on my own projects.

In larger terms, this reflects my general behavior here and on the PureZC Discord where if something bothers me; I will either ignore it or let the matter drop since I'm accomplishing nothing by continuing the argument.

 

As I put it to the members of my own Discord server: Don't antagonize one another.

 

There is no reason for this; whether you feel an action by someone else is good or bad is irrelevant.

If you're constantly bothering someone, don't be surprised when that person wishes to avoid you.

And when it involves the site and repeated attempts to get things under control fail... this happens.

 

I hate to even make a rule among my own staff (which I consider friends) that banning is possible.

But, people can get on each other's nerves from time to time or become obsessed about something.

And when the other person doesn't want to let the argument go... 

 

Anyways, that's my 2 cents.


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