July 14th 2016
On Community, Anger, and Broken Stairs
This post is in reference to recent events on and around the Euphoria &if channel; it’s not really of interest to people who don’t have that context. Some community issues have to be addressed, but I don’t want to expand the circle of anger by supplying a recap. Chances are, if you need to read this, you have context already. This is the second post I am making on this issue, this time regarding my own personal thoughts and feelings on the community.
In the original incident that prompted this discussion, back in 2015, Vaporware was in the wrong. And Peter Piers is in the wrong now for defending him. I am not going to apologize or equivocate around the issue of transphobia.
More to the point, I am not going to treat a deliberately hurtful comment made explicitly to test boundaries as an honest mistake. The response to a boorish transphobic joke was, as far as I am concerned, entirely appropriate.
Vaporware is someone who has admitted to being a troll. He explicitly went into a community space not with the intention of participating in good faith, or even having a frank exchange of views, or even protesting what he might see as politically correct overreach, but with the intention of stirring shit.
This might be written off as a lapse in judgement, but the reality is that it’s part of a pattern of callous, disrespectful, and nasty behavior on his part, going back a couple of years now.
I don’t relish putting all this out in the open, but I have to extend my displeasure to Piers, too. Besides multiple interactions with him that I find personally slighting, I find his presence in the intfiction.org boards to be constantly detrimental, as thread after thread is derailed by boorish arguments about his pet issues, often coupled with an obdurate refusal to empathize with the viewpoint of people who are unlike him.
That forum has seen declining activity ever since 2014, and frankly a refusal to face quiet toxicity within the community is probably one of the reasons why. Multiple people I know don’t feel comfortable engaging in that space, including myself. The reality is, we have a number of people in the trad-if community whose behavior is persistently inappropriate or hateful, but which we’re used to blocking out or ignoring. I’m not comfortable with the hurtful results of trying to make a tent so big it can include unreconstructed bigots and sympathizers of hate movements; too much of that going around in the games space already.
I have already been avoiding posting on intfiction.org for some time. Whether you agree or not, I have to believe my contributions have value, and there’s not much of a point to posting if whatever contributions I have are seemingly 50/50 to be swamped by yet another Peter Piers derailing, or by yet another idiotic flame war on whether Twine authors deserve respect and consideration, or by yet another incidence of a malicious, longterm troll resurfacing. So I have to join those who already don’t feel comfortable using that forum any more. But I thought it important that I didn’t do it silently; because the reality is that the behavior on that forum silently drives a lot of people away.
July 14th, 2016
July 14th 2016
Changes to &if Policy
This post is in reference to recent events on and around the Euphoria &if channel; it’s not really of interest to people who don’t have that context. Some community issues have to be addressed, but I don’t want to expand the circle of anger by supplying a recap. Chances are, if you need to read this, you have context already. This is the first post I’m making on the issue, which is a statement as &if moderator.
Going forward, within &if, I’m going to be discouraging unalloyed vitriol towards members of the broader IF community. I don’t want to delegitimize the anger that some might express towards certain figures, but I ask that if you are going to express anger, it be your own anger rather than someone else’s. A pattern has developed where person A says something to the effect of “Bob has said some hurtful and stupid things, and I find that upsetting” and then persons B, C, and D choose to take this as an opportunity to dunk on Bob.
Ultimately, regardless of my own personal feelings or whether or not Bob actually is an asshole, this has created discomfort and a less than welcoming environment. In trying to manage the various different functions that &if performs, I need to identify things (in this case, expressing anger and disgust at certain figures) that threaten to overtake the space, and curtail them.
I don’t anticipate banning anyone over this, and this is not a request for people to police their own feelings or self-censor; rather, I want to ask people to be thoughtful of the overall tone of the room before joining in on tearing someone apart, even if that person seems to deserve it. I’m not entirely innocent in this, so this is also a necessary shift in my own behavior. Most of all, I ask that users of &if respond to venting or callouts by being supportive of the aggrieved party, not venomous towards the guilty party. Ultimately, I think that situations where someone is being publicly frustrated or upset are better served building that person up than by trying to tear their aggressor down,
If you feel like you want a space where those expressions of anger are validated, and believe me I feel you, my DMs are open.
Also, to reiterate: There is not, and never will be, any change in policy regarding hateful speech; I expect users to be considerate of others’ identities and humanity, and bigotry will never be tolerated in that space.
February 17th 2016
Yesterday, on &if, someone asked whether we were attracted to IF because of its status as "outsider art."
I don't really want to define outsider art, or get into the discussion over whether IF qualifies. But I responded that I felt I was attracted to IF because it's unsettled.
And then I had to go and write a post about what, exactly, I mean by that.
December 18th 2015
Notes on the Euphoria chat
A brief reminder, since I haven’t posted about this on the blog ever since the comp postmortem: the Euphoria IF chat (&if) is still ongoing and regularly active. It’s an open channel, so anyone can join the conversation on Euphoria.
Euphoria is a “a platform for chat rooms you care about”, developed by some friends of mine; it’s a web-friendly, modern recreation of the IRC chat environment with support for threading and other cool features. As before, it’s a public chat that anyone is welcome to join in on.
November 18th 2015
IFComp post-comp discussion this Saturday
I’m trying something new: this Saturday, I’m organising a live post-IFComp discussion on Euphoria. It’s supposed to take place on Saturday, November 21st, 4PM EST/9PM UTC (Or if you like ISO time, 2015-11-21T21:00:00-00:00). We’ll be talking about the comp’s games, organisation, past and future.
Euphoria is a new platform for chat rooms that, unlike Slack and other new solutions in that area, are designed for social conversation rather than team collaboration. It’s accessible, fun, and designed so that multiple conversations can happen in the same space without trampling one another, using threading; I’m really exciting about it, and hopefully this is just the start of using the new &if space for the interactive fiction community.