Open Discussion about Gauntlet Community Issues

I had some more stuff I wanted to say, but I think I’d rather honor @SabineV5’s wishes and have the thread be about finding new moderators. That said, I’m happy to chat with anyone about any of this on DM or email. Please just understand that my available energy for this may be low, but I will do my best to be responsive.

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I think if this forum had confident mods they would delete much of this thread as off topic, or move the conversation elsewhere. So much of this is inside baseball most people reading likely have little context to understand. This isn’t the right space to have this discussion. What could anyone hope to accomplish? If ex-gauntlet folk have an issue with Jason or the organization there are better ways to deal with them then this (ugly) public back and forth. This isn’t how you move forward in a healthy way.

That’s what I think, anyway.

Also, I don’t want to be a mod. Good luck in your search for some.

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Lowell, you’re neglecting the portion before that quote, which said that people who did not think Jason should be readmitted to the community side of the Gauntlet or who did not trust the GCC to oversee that work should leave, and that you would wait a few months for them to finish leaving before beginning the process of trying to understand harm caused and begin restorative work. If Jason was never interested in making amends, that was not communicated to the community.

To Jason: I did not know about your diagnosis, and I am sorry about it.

All I have left to say is that when I said this is not about one or two incidents, I meant that. And when I said these are longstanding patterns, I did not mean since June. Accountability and naming abuse are necessary, not cruel. And I could not, in good conscience, leave the narrative that it must not have been bad if the details aren’t public unchallenged.

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I wish you nothing but the best. Like, seriously. I only worked with you for a bit on Codex stuff, and don’t otherwise know you very well, but my impression of you was largely a positive one. I always got the impression there were things you wanted to convey to me, but I probably never created a comfortable space for you to do that, and for that, I apologize. I definitely could have done more to reach out to you, specifically, for your advice on the community, and I regret not doing so. But, as I have said before, managing a big community with lots of strong opinions and a really loose structure was extremely difficult and taxing. I could never be everything people wanted me to be. I’m not making excuses, but rather, just saying I’m human.

@funkaoshi is correct. There is SO MUCH missing context in this conversation. I’m bailing out of it now. I hope the forums moderators are able to get everything squared away. I believe this is a good space.

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For context, here’s the full statement that is being referred to:
We have further requests for clarification about the structures and processes here in the Gauntlet Community. So I’ll try to be brief and direct.

  1. Jason is owner of The Gauntlet as a company. He is in charge of the financial (Patreon) and publishing side (Kickstarters, Codex). He handles payment for things like the developer services, server for the calendar, and other upkeep. Jason’s ownership is not going to change.

  2. Jason has access to the website and the calendar in that role. In the case of the blog side, we have editorial people managing that process. Several other people also have the same level of access. We are shifting other areas to be under community management (only Facebook, Discord I believe remain).

  3. I expect a number of people will drop their Patreon pledges over the next few months because of this. Once we have stabilized numbers I will tell Jason I’d like a) a sense of costs for operations broken down by type (calendar upkeep, developer costs, costs for supporting the website, Codex expenses, salaries, etc) and b) an idea of the budget allocation to the community side (website, podcasts, calendar, salaries, other server upkeep costs, set aside for Gauntlet Con and other projects).

  4. As stated in an earlier post (and expanded later), Jason will not be allowed to participate on the Community side (posting & playing calendar games, participating in the Slack or Discord spaces) until the GCC has worked out an understanding of harm caused, a process of ownership of that harm, and obtained an apology to the community. Some have expressed that they cannot accept or believe in an apology from Jason. They also do not believe the community leadership can manage that process. That brings us to an impasse.

That’s a fundamental rift. The destruction of G+ has made building a new community more challenging—but there are possibilities. others have begun Discord gaming spaces, the IGDN offers community tools, and others are working on new calendar systems. Hopefully those who wish to can build spaces without tying it to the monetary support and incentives some have objected to.

For those who want to participate in the Gauntlet without financially supporting us, we have the Forums, running games, and open sign-up after the Patron window.

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Some comments on the post “Seeking volunteers for moderator team” have been moved here, as they better suit this topic. We will leave comments open on this post for 24 hours, and lock it on 12/3/2019 @ 8PM (GMT -6) so that people can have their say and ask questions, after which this thread will be locked.

Edit: we walked back the decision to lock the thread on 12/3; see follow-up comment here

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Just so I am clear, this thread is where people can ask and talk about:

  1. Why folks stepped down from positions
  2. Why folks stopped supporting the Gauntlet
  3. Ask questions, and get responses, for past incidents and actions

The other thread is to ask about what being a volunteer moderator entails, what responsibilities, and what scope of effort and what time commitment is expected.

This thread will be closed shortly, stopping the current discussion, information sharing, and questions from those who want to know more.

@RedMagus77 (or any other moderator), do I have that all correct?

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Okay, I have not yet arranged words in a statement on why I no longer support the Gauntlet to put here publicly. I will not have time to do so before this thread is locked down and closed.

I do still have an account here on the forums, so if anyone has questions they can direct message me here, or with a little bit of effort you can probably find me on Twitter too.

Odds are I will likely be creating a document which, depending on when you message me, I’ll just send you the link. But, in general, I will also answer specific questions or have a conversation with you as well.

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I feel that locking this thread may be premature, as participants who may wish to contribute may not even be aware of the current state of the thread in the 24 hours, or–like @Yoshi–may not feel that 24 hours is enough time to pull a statement together. I feel like there are still unanswered questions that weigh in on the health of the forums. The events described in the other thread occurred back in July; but what happened in early November to prompt 4 mods and admins, including the primary maintainer of the forum, to step down from their positions?

I can understand not wanting to prolong this particular thread but I can’t help but feel concerned about its imminent closure. It’s clear that some members of the Gauntlet have grievances that they feel have not been properly addressed. It’s not clear to me that space will be made in the future on these forums to address these grievances. More transparency in this matter would be appreciated.

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I think every potential new moderator is wondering what kind of situation they will be stepping into before there are any actual volunteers. Perhaps, that could be cleared up before everything is locked down?

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Many of you may not know me on the forums, as most of my contributions at an institutional level were the Codex’s editor and as a member on the Gauntlet Care Team (which is a group dedicated to the stewarding the Gauntlet to a new organisational structure in Jason’s absence as the community lead).

Much like Yoshi, I will not have time to arrange a statement on why I stepped down from those roles, as I feel the issues may be related. However, this thread will soon be locked. This also marks a second instance of mods shutting down this conversation, which may be for the best at the moment.

However, I’d suggest having a new, separate thread for sharing and disclosing how we got here, as several good points have been raised regarding public knowledge (or lack thereof), transparency, and the departure of mods—so people can find the conversation easier, and the OP can also set boundaries and expectations to enable a space for discussion.

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Hey Yoshi, just to let you know, that’s not what this thread is about at all. It was an ask for help, and it turned into something that got out of hand with a lot of unmoderated chatter and some nasty comments, which are really not in the spirit of the forums. It’s why we split off the original topic to a new thread and wanted to lock this one down, I feel that we addressed a lot of the questions in the new post over here about what happened and what we’re trying to do, but if not, please let us know over there and we’ll do our best to respond.

Regarding locking this thread, we wanted this to still be available for reference and historical purposes, but also we need to make sure the conversation about what happened and how people feel and stand on it is heavily moderated and those who are marginalized and want to speak can do so without being attacked, and also to avoid what happened above with accusations of bad intent and character assassination.

@Lauren what was the first instance of this conversation being shut down, if I may ask? As far as I’m aware, the mod team of the forums, who are not part of the Slack mod team, or the GCC, have been hands off on actions in this thread while we tried to make sure we had a good response to the original three replies. If it was locked or some other action taken I’m not currently aware of it, or are you referring to things that happened in the Slack?

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This conversation has come up twice, here and here. It was prematurely shut down in that thread, with a promise to return to the discussion at a later date. Edit: there may have been a third, I recall another post where someone requested to shut down a similar conversation, but I cannot find it.

Robert referred to that thread here stating: " So… the plan after locking Shane’s post was to quickly put together a post trying to explain what happened with Shane and with everything in general, get the mods on board, and then have that discussion." (emphasis mine).

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Thank you! I didn’t see the tail end of that thread, so my failure in not knowing.
I’m checking with the other people on the Mod Team about that now that I know it’s a thing we were to already have done and up.

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Thanks heaps Ferrel, if you could also indicate when that discussion is due to happen when you’ve spoken with the mods, that would be great. Robert promised a discussion 23 days ago, and while I understand this is volunteer work and the mods live busy lives, I’m sure it would would be much appreciated from the folks here.

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I understand the original intention of the thread was not to talk about why people have left. I understand that you are unhappy with what happened in this thread. I understand the desire to start a new, clean, thread to re-ask for help.

What I don’t understand is where, or when, you are going to setup a thread where people can ask questions and share information. As @Lauren, pointed out this is the second time on the forums where the conversation has been shutdown, but there were quite a few shutdown in the Slack too.

This is a great sentiment, but, to me, it feels like this reason is being used, yet again, to silence those hurt and those trying to speak up about the hurt they have received.

This! To me, if I don’t get an answer to when this discussion will happen, that lack of discussion is itself an answer. An answer I don’t like, but honestly expect at this point.

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@RedMagus77 I definitely felt that some of Jason’s comments in this thread to be out of line, although I would not have gone so far as to call them character assassination. His comments did present a clear example of a DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Accuser), which the moderators should have picked up and flagged. Jason is not the victim here, after all.

Regarding him using his cancer to shut people up: I can only give my petty example, which clearly contradicts his statement. I’m sure others could provide more documentation if they felt it would be taken seriously.

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This is a lot of why we got where we are. Framing the issues raised like this is disingenuous at best.

I’m incredibly disappointed with the decisions that have been made here. I don’t have high hopes for good responses to questions that have been asked here, but I guess I’ll have to wait for that.

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First of all, I want to validate all the concerns expressed here. It is extremely important to the mod team that people voice their opinions about what has been going on, both on the Forums and in the Gauntlet more broadly here, and do so safely. We failed to live up to our expressed commitment to providing an explanation for recent changes and a space to discuss the recent issues in a timely manner, and we have not been effective in channeling the recent discussion into a thread intended for this conversation, so that anybody reading the forums knows to look at it, as opposed to one intended for a different purpose. What follows is an explanation for why this happened, and is not intended to serve as an excuse. We should have done better.

Historically, as some of you know, the mod team has moved pretty slowly. We discussed issues over several days, built consensus and collaborated to address the relatively small number of issues that came up in the forums. We never waited for every mod to weigh in, but generally wanted to get opinions from two or three other people before making a decision, at least if it involved something bigger than changing which category a post went in. With close to half the prior number of mods remaining, this process was slowed substantially. The amount of time necessary for each of us to spend on the forums to properly moderate them went up substantially, but none of us actually had more time in our schedule. This made our slow, consensus building method obsolete, as it often took multiple days to have a brief conversation. One of us should probably have just posted something, in hindsight. We have not adapted well to these changed circumstances. I apologize to those who were hurt because I wasn’t available to live up to my responsibilities as a mod.

The mod team is really doing our damnedest to make this a place where conversation about the recent events, both on the forums and in the Gauntlet at large, can happen. I realize that no one, especially those of you who have been wronged and shut down recently, have any reason to believe me when I say this. I hope we can demonstrate our commitment starting now. I’m happy to respond to whatever comes next, but in the interests of transparency, I’m not going to be able to check back into the forums for another 20-24 hours. I do not know the availability of the rest of the team. I am going to suggest that we not lock this thread yet, but beyond that I cannot say what next steps will be. We are trying to move faster, and I hope that we can create a solution and a space where people can be heard.

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There’s consensus to walk back the locking down of this thread, so it’ll remain open for posting and conversation.

To be honest, a lot of us are at a loss on how to handle this. We don’t want what happened up above, we don’t want to cover up what happened, but to be honest, I’m scared on how to react to any of this since it happened. So, I’m sorry for fucking up, and I’m sorry but I know i’m gonna fuck up going forward as well. No one owes me no forgiveness or patience, nor belief that I’ll do my best. If you give it, I’m thankful, if you don’t, I understand, you’ve been burned too many times.

I’m gonna try and keep an eye on this, start flagging people for personal attacks, and try to nip that DARVO stuff in the bud. The rest of the team will do their best as well, but there’s a lot of confusion, and honestly, that’s why we would love some help, even if it’s just flagging and tagging and giving us an explanation on what we’re missing.
Thank you for your patience with us.

Edit: To make it explicit and clear, since the conversation is here already, yes, this thread is for:
this thread is where people can ask and talk about:

  1. Why folks stepped down from positions
  2. Why folks stopped supporting the Gauntlet
  3. Ask questions, and get responses, for past incidents and actions
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