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State of the Community

Written by notipa


Note:

Reply to me in IRC PM if you want to state what you think. Don't take it into the public IRC channels or the forums, or you're no better than the examples I bring out here. And don't even think about replying until you read the whole thing. Maybe even twice.

~~~

It's 2016, guys. Seriously, cut the bullshit.

I've been involved with the UT2004 community for roughly a year now. A lot of the people there are truly hated by the community. Unlike the calculator community, they accept that it is not worth their time to spread hate, and they all play UT2004 together. Dozens of clans, hundreds of servers, and they all play together regardless of their affiliation. There's no real divide between them beyond their names and skills. There is only one UT2004.

That is a community that, despite tensions between individuals, is in good health. Nobody is attacking each other's servers because there is simply no gain from doing so. Bribing the administration, not a chance -- it's just a game; you don't get anything special from it. If you receive some kind of special treatment, people are going to laugh at you. If a server shuts down, you just go to a different one. Every once in a while, a new server pops up. You tell people to go there, and they do. It gives the players something to do while they wait for other servers to have activity. If they don't like a server, they just don't go to it -- end of story. They're largely mature enough to not care about why a server exists.

Take a look at the calculator community and you see an entirely different picture. It's heavily factionalized between two camps, all centered on whether they like or hate Cemetech. Communities practice favoritism based on which forums they are active on. I know there's lists of names of 'potentially problematic users' -- come on, Stalin died in 1953; let his practices die with him. The communities regularly circlejerk about how they are better than the other community, typically pulling their reasoning out of thin, hot air and ignoring the actual contributions of the community. Questionable choices of software licenses are suggested by upper level community members that are able to personally gain from that license. I could go on, but I will be specific later.

I know that it's only a minority of the community responsible for this, and I respect your stance. However, all the community's administrators (those with the power to enforce) are responsible for condoning this activity, especially if they are aware of the Stalinist practices. It's not as severe as actually promoting drama, but it is still not the correct action of trying to reduce the drama. Ignoring it won't make it go away; it'll only permit the drama to escalate.

I really hate having to keep thoughts to myself solely because I'm supposed to be afraid I can be banned for complaining about the leadership. It's not North Korea. I'm writing this at 4am because I'm just so frustrated with the diplomatic difficulties I see in project development with calculators (Ndless' presence on Cemetech, for example), whereas even a place as screwed up as UT2004's ComboWhore can self-moderate to the point where I don't even have to exercise any of my authority.

~~~


Pronoun usage from here on gets a bit weird. Second-person usually refers to a community as a whole.

On Cemetech:

What the hell. I know you have a 'potentially problematic user' list. I would not be surprised if I were on it, but I would be offended because you are letting my stance on these issues overrule my years of unique contributions to Cemetech. You (Cemetech) complain about how the drama is centered on you, but engage in a number of activities that start most of the drama in the first place.

Kerm, there is an unhealthy cult of personality around you. As flattering as it may be, you need to take actions against it. You have made some inflammatory statements on basically every other non-Cemetech-aligned community, and you have an increasingly growing group of people that will mindlessly come to your defense. At some point, you'll have to stop relying on your groupies to defend you, and admit you probably made a mistake at some point. Nobody is perfect, don't hold yourself to an exception.

In my first Cemetech paragraph, you (the reader) may have replaced my usage of 'you' mentally with Kerm. This is an unresolved complex between Cemetech and Kerm. Surely it started out as Kerm's website, so obviously he is in his own right to run the site as he pleases. However, Kerm openly and regularly states that he is not Cemetech -- yet user behavior indicates otherwise. When people are confusing Cemetech with Kerm, you have to suspect that there is something wrong with the way Kerm interacts with Cemetech, and vice-versa.

Don't let the failure of the hacking attempt against Cemetech inflate the Cemetech ego. Let it serve as a sign that community tensions are getting worse, like a bunch of teenage girls competing for TI's attention and special treatment with prom queen getting the CE signing key. If Cemetech is going to try so hard to be selfish enough to keep all its special little treatment from TI to itself, then it doesn't deserve the respect TI would be giving it.

Cemetech has a serious noob-hating problem. There is a lot of whining if some young user simply doesn't know how to do something you've been doing since you were 16 or so. This could be some 12-year-old child wanting to learn programming, but through your own insolence and selfishness you deny this curious being the knowledge they seek. I see it far too often, some new and probably young person getting frustrated because they don't know some basic bit of programming you do know, and because of this you tell them to shut up and figure it out themselves. When I was learning assembly for the first time, I didn't know jack about .org and stuff. I see people with the same question, and you laugh at them for not knowing this. This narcissism is the worst thing a budding programmer can hear, that they are a worthless failure and they should just give up. Yes, you know who you are -- chances are, you were once that kid that was learning programming. Go pay it forward instead of keeping it to yourself.

If someone has questions but is being annoying, move them into a different channel with people that can actually dedicate themselves to being useful instead of whining about their presence. OmnomIRC supports this pretty easily, so go put this type of feature in SAX if you actually want to be perceived as implementing positive change. If someone has a short attention span, remember there is something called a private message providing a persistent channel of communication without annoying everyone else in SAX or cluttering the public forum.

Frankly, I would be embarrassed if my early questions on assembly were publicly visible; there should be a thorough, effective guide to calculator programming that doesn't cost twenty dollars. Plus, you should include, with equal attribution, the communities and users that participated in producing the documentation, so people can find the best help they need.

On CodeWalrus:

PLEASE SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

CodeWalrus was entirely in its own right to form. Communities bear absolutely no binding power, and acting like it reveals community/user favoritism. They can be considered extremists of community drama, purely resulting from their reason of formation. Cemetech has some weird, strong desire to have each of their members act as subjects to some greater Cemetechian order of upper-level administrators.

The 'fuck Eeems' petition was very far out of line, and is, in fact, yet another example of community favoritism. CodeWalrus actually managed to realize this, and took actions to reduce the drama. They are moving away from calculators and more into general technology discussion, so I expect a further reduction in drama as their community diversifies and their focused significance in the calculator realm diminishes.

CodeWalrus is new and is (unfortunately, surprisingly) self-aware, so I don't have terribly much to say about them.

On Omnimaga:

Given the signs of a Cemetech merger following the formation of CodeWalrus, I don't imagine Omnimaga would last much longer as a standalone community. I'm not going to encourage or discourage a merger overall, that is up to the administration of the community to determine. I don't have any right to make this decision, but I can tell you if your actions will have positive negative consequences. Again, something to discuss in PM, as I do have opinions.

I'm told you (addressing Omnimaga as a community) practice community favoritism, tapping into what Cemetech has taught the administration to believe. If it wasn't obvious enough that this would have problems, then DJ Omnimaga leaving his own community should have been a big red flag that you're doing something really wrong. And when you have a diaspora of users headed straight to a new community, go call into question your methods of running the community. It just shouldn't happen; you should never let it get to the point where a community vanishes practically overnight.

I'm also feeling the sentiment that you were 'cheated' out of your users from CodeWalrus administration. Users are free to pick which communities they use, as ultimately it comes down to the user being most active in the community that best caters to their needs, rather than locking users into a community with smear campaigns or ego inflation. If someone wants to be a walrus, they are in their own rights of being a walrus. If they leave Omnimaga, then your community merely proved unable to cater to the needs of the user, and you should look into the reasons why this is occurring and correct them.

On BosaikNet:

This one I am certainly authoritative on, since I handled the vast majority of the public relations during its formation.

BosaikNet is practically the CodeWalrus of Cemetech gaming. It formed out of disgust for the management of the server (Cemetech Minecrafters were the subject of some serious admin-sanctioned psychological abuse, I don't want to even touch this subject so ask me or FroznFire in IRC about it if you want to know) and gained a following of people who were disfavored by Cemetech's administration and lack of representation. Cemetech was quick to try and claim a high position in BosaikNet, which for obvious reasons could not happen. I was forced to declare BosaikNet a non-calculator community as a result of these talks with Cemetech, to avoid the claim that BosaikNet was created to compete directly against Cemetech despite the massive differences in community and server style. After this attempt to subjugate BosaikNet obviously failed, they moved to trying to hide any mention of it, which continues to this day. Sympathy received from CodeWalrus led to an affiliation with the site; due to community drama between CodeWalrus and Cemetech, this indirectly prohibits any relaxation of tensions with Cemetech. I don't want your drama; I just want people to have fun and diversity in gameplay. Apparently this is too much to ask for from the calculator community.



Don't get mad at me for not mentioning TI-Planet or some other site here -- I don't speak French, and it's not worth my time to go translate everything they say (but debrouxl: stop bringing up the drama. It's one thing to point out Cemetech's flaws, it's another thing to brag about not having them). The rest I just don't find being worth my time, or are from before my time. This is my own personal take on the drama issue, and I will personally shame you if you try to attach it to the sentiments of any community.


On the calculator community in general:

The gains you get from asserting unjust power in the community cannot possibly earn you anything more than a stroke of the ego; you're a god of calculators, we get it, and we shouldn't care anything about it. Too many people are taking this way too seriously.

There's a group calling themselves sucks.fyi that claims they need anonymity to voice their opinions. Do you all really not see this as a problem with the community? You're using fear to maintain control of people who should not need control. sucks.fyi is probably scared of being banned on whichever community they came from, so they hide under that name.

I'm at least being open about my stance without needing some anonymity crap; if you ban me you will only prove my point. If I find that I'm being subjected to a different amount of community favoritism after this, you prove my point AND prove that you're Stalinist. I'm done caring about spending my time choosing what communities I post in. It's getting ridiculous. Much of this stuff is common sense, but the community mentality means I will get banned for expressing my grave concerns for the health of the community.

If you actually made efforts to stop the drama and circlejerking, imagine what kind of cross-community projects you could develop. Instead of spending time making sure you were allegiant to your primary community, you could be receiving feedback and improvement requests from the top minds in all the communities. Maybe if you didn't hate each other so much and actually spent the last seven years fostering the curiosity of new programmers, you would have your CE signing key.