Open Discussion about Gauntlet Community Issues

I want to take exception to this statement. It is patently untrue. In the statement referred to, I clarifyed two things about the Gauntlet going forward. One, Jason would be handling the publishing and financial side, given his role as owner and creator of the Gauntlet. I would be overseeing the community side and working to find ways to decentralize power over this year. Two, Jason would not be allowed to participate in the community spaces of the Slack or the Gauntlet Calendar. As I said there, “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.” Jason was informed of that and as of this time has opted to remain outside of those spaces.

I believe in restorative processes. They are not easy and any process has to be carefully managed and worked through. Kate’s helped give me an inside view of that. That’s the policy the GCC agreed on and set forward. Now, if people believe we’re lying about that-- that’s one reaction and one I can’t help with. But I want to make clear the position we have established. The real aim of the GCC and my management is not to bring Jason back into the community. It is to manage the community side without him and return our focus to offering a reliable gaming calendar supported by safety tools.

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In case it needs to be said, what @edige23 said is 100% correct. FWIW, I didn’t actually approach him about returning to Slack/Gauntlet Hangouts (because I don’t want to) but he explained to me what he and the GCC required if I ever intended to. When I asked him why he was even bringing it up with me since I didn’t ask about returning to Slack/Gauntlet Hangouts, he explained that he was laying down an expectation so that he could communicate it to the community. I can’t stress enough that Lowell is not conspiring with me. He occasionally checks in with me when he needs something related to finances or publishing, but otherwise I am not privy to what is going on with the community side of The Gauntlet.

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The last thing I heard was when people were upset about me participating in Gauntlet Con, at which point I immediately stepped back from participating. I had no idea that was even going to be controversial, because I have not been kept in the loop with community stuff.

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Another clarification: I am not the point on handling anything, really. I stepped up in a crisis, because someone needed to and I happened to have the time and the energy. I don’t have that all the time, and I didn’t have it the last two weeks.

But if I have the time & energy, I’m willing to give it. And I would like to move this discussion back to the topic, which is the search for people to moderate this forum. Right now, there is no formal “you have to do this or that” policy; it’s mostly organic “do what you can in good faith”.

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There seems to be a lot going on behind the scenes and behind the paywalls that I am not and still not privy to and that’s okay, I don’t have to be.

I joined this forum because I find the game design and theory conversations interesting, the people friendly and welcoming, and I feel like I’m in a safe space as a member of the LGBTQ community. I have faith this will continue to be so and promise to participate in a way that makes other marginalized communities feel the same.

@jasoncordova I’m in total shock as I had know idea you were so seriously ill. My heart is breaking right now for you. I met you on G+ and always enjoyed your contributions and encouragement there so I ended up here. I wish you nothing but peace and joy and comfort in the days ahead. Much love and positive energy to you my friend.

Everyone, sometimes you need to forgive, and learn to accept forgiveness in turn. That’s how we build communities that are welcoming and inclusive and supportive.

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Thank you for that. Very few people have offered me that basic kindness.

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You might check your privilege for telling others to forgive when you don’t know the harm or what happened. That is again erasure and supports continued bad behavior and supporting the perpretator, not those harmed.

@jasoncordova I am genuinely sorry that you have cancer. I never told anyone about your cancer, it was not my secret to tell, and I don’t appreciate your spouting negative assumptions about me. Behavior like this, such as subtweeting and lies, were some of the issues that got us to this point. My father died of cancer and a member of my family currently has cancer but they have never used their disease for manipulation to quiet criticism or for personal gain. Not a good look as a legacy.

@SabineV5 This topic is directly relevant to why the other moderators left. It should never have had to come out this way, but that would have required more transparency and action by the Gauntlet to address previously. You can shut it down, but shutting down hard conversations and decisions is why this came up here, so that will not resolve anything.

I’ve said all I plan to say on this topic unless my name is mentioned and I would appreciate not being mentioned any more: it’s not worth my time or emotional labor when I don’t feel the Gauntlet will take constructive action or consider the welfare of those harmed over those who harmed them.

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Wow, sorry my dying isn’t perfect enough for you. In fact, I have previously been limiting knowledge of my illness to a small number of people because I wasn’t sure it was the gaming internet’s business, but also I don’t want to distract from the work I have asked Lowell to do for The Gauntlet. What I have done is the exact opposite of using my sickness to silence people. When I replied here yesterday it was out of hurt and frustration at a situation I’m not even that aware of and which I don’t really have the energy to deal with in any case. I apologize for suggesting you told people about my illness. That was an assumption on my part, rooted in a suspicion that your only goal was to harm me personally.

But let me be clear: this shit is challenging. It has been challenging since back in June, when I first learned of my health problems. I’m navigating this situation alone. I have no partner and no children, and my family and I are not extremely close. My friends are not well-equipped for this (a hard lesson I have learned is people are very, VERY uncomfortable dealing with the mortality of others). I’m doing my level best to stay alive while not succumbing to complete despair. I have had to quit my job. I am deeply isolated. You can continue to be pissed off because I got angry with someone in Slack while under incredible pressure—that’s your right. But please do your best to have some empathy for my situation. I’m not going to be a stoic hero here and say I don’t need anyone’s help or understanding. I do, because I am scared. This is a miserable situation and the odds are against me.

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I’m very sorry to learn of your illness and hope you can find some measure of peace and comfort.

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Jason, I am truly sorry to hear about your cancer. I wasn’t aware, Christo (as I would expect of him) did not betray your confidence. I do understand that dying is a hard process. And I do understand that some people you think you can rely on are not equipped to help. I do a lot of work around palliative care and I’ve seen it a lot. It’s not easy. I honestly wish you all the best with your health and illness, and hope that you are able to find good care in treatment, or if not, in comfort.

You can continue to be pissed off because I got angry with someone in Slack while under incredible pressure—that’s your right.

That’s… Not what people are pissed off about. At least not me and not the many Gauntlet members who have reached out to me. Not the vocal ones that said why they were leaving in the slack. People are pissed off because you acted against your own community guidelines to remove someone from the community (incl Slack, but not exclusively) and then lied to us saying it was a mutual decision. You’ve lied to the community about this a ton, and to frame our hurt and anger as because you “got angry with someone in Slack” continues the lies. And really, at the core of it I’m so hurt that it’s more important for me to be part of your narcissistic legacy than to be part of your loving community. You keep doubling down on this fiction that frames you as the victim, and frames everyone that won’t soothe you as a monster, and it just keeps pushing me (and others) further away.

It’s okay for illness to be hard. It’s okay for it to be overwhelming. Cancer is a motherfucker and I’ve seen better people than me be almost broken by it. And that’s okay. But it’s not an excuse to hurt other people. Your cancer means that I have empathy for you, I have pain, and grief, and frustration for you. But it doesn’t mean I have unconditional forgiveness.

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I appreciate your sympathetic words, truly.

And look: I don’t disagree about how shitty I was being at the end. I was stressed out, overburdened, and paranoid about EVERYTHING. I hated the person it was turning me into. You don’t have to forgive me (I’m not asking for anyone’s forgiveness) but can you at least acknowledge that my stepping away from the community was a good move? That seemed like the right thing to do for the health of the community, and so I did it.

Anyway, I have to run. I may pick up with some more thoughts later in the evening. And again, I truly do appreciate your kind words about my cancer.

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OK, I think I see. So the other people hurt is essentially everybody due to how Jason acted with Kate. Removing her from the space without consultation, lying, etc. I appreciate the clarity. Obviously, I can only speak for myself, I had felt that acknowledgment of that when he apologized and left the community to others to run. To me, it was to assure people that that behavior would no longer be possible. Literally stopping the problematic behavior. I guess each individual at that time would gauge whether that is “good enough”, or not. I still am a bit confused about how that harm is extrapolated to Jason should not be able to interact with anybody, create any space of his own, and shouldn’t own his own company anymore. But I’m grateful for the greater context, at least.

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Apologies everyone. I was frustrated and was trying to explain what I thought I knew about events and get context around what’s happened in my absence–especially how things escalated to this point. I’m sorry I minimized events and outcomes. Part of why I’m usually silent is because I’m not good at discussing these things. I always end up doing so in a way that is offensive. I’m working on it. Sorry, yall.

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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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