Forums  /  The Site  /  Felt like addressing a moderation/administration issue
  Kat_kunoichi

Hi all,
Over the last weekend I found myself being unmodded from the Batman: The Video Game (NES) leaderboard; in that same time frame, junkyard_dave had to undergo a similar treatment, getting demoted from the status of “Super Moderator” to “Moderator”. Nobody ever warned us about it, nobody ever tried to reach out to us to communicate this decision, nobody ever expressed concerns in the way we managed runs verification or any other action relative to the moderation of that leaderboard.
After strenuously trying to gather information, reaching out to people close to us, forum posts and all, we managed to find out that that measure was taken after an unmentioned group of people reached out to the moderators of this website expressing complaints regarding a rule change based on an inside joke and alleged disrespectful messages associated to rejected runs, in the light of which one of those moderators thought that taking measures was a “necessary” act. The other two Super Moderators of that leaderboard were actually preemptively warned about this measure by garadas21, Content Moderator on this website, who was the same person who forwarded the complaint of that unmentioned group of people to Full Moderators and Admins; I'd like to point out how he could have reached out to me in several different ways if he had wanted to, as we also happen to share the same native language, avoiding the risk of information getting lost in translation.
Now, not only do I consider those accusations just not enough to demote Dave and axe me, and lead me to seriously question the good faith of the moderator(s) that acted on those accusations, but I also feel extremely concerned about it all, since the entire exchange of posts on this website between Dave and the Admin kirkq was deleted today, because moderators thought it would be better to solve stuff like this in private; the problem is that in this whole exchange of posts, never once were we ever redirected to the moderator who acted on those complaints or to the people that forwarded those same complaints, so even though I fully agree on solving these issues behind closed doors, both for a matter of practicality and for personal inclinations, I would still necessarily need to know who should I go talk to so that I could address these issues more properly. I personally dislike this “code of silence” kind of logic, as there should be no reason not to be transparent about this sort of thing, and it doesn't make me feel safe either, as it looks like partiality in moderators' judgement is an actual thing, which just shouldn't exist in this context, as we're here to speedrun videogames after all, not to appease personal frustrations and generate feuds.
I wrote this post to raise awareness, not to attack anyone, as it's not the first time within the retro community that people use their “power” or other people's power to harass and create unpleasant and uncomfortable situations; I hope for a greater transparency in the resolution of future issues like this one, I believe it's possible to make it happen.

twin0mega, MESSI_82 and 2 others like this. 
  junkyard_dave

Yeah, I agree with letting it die, but there's honestly a lot to still be desired here from the Speedrun aspect and how it was handled.

Very summarized:

- Content moderator Garadas chose to forward a "complaint" made to him in private that had zero validity and someone else above him acted on it. The problem with this situation is the people that made the complaint are very socially impaired people (probably named) R or V and Garadas is heavily involved with in terms of being friends with both of them. They complained in hopes we'd get demodded, which happened, but once people kind of figured out what happened it sort of blew up back in their faces.
- No one contacted Kat or I despite the complaint being centralized about us both.
- The other moderators that were contacted instead were given a very generic excuse justifying and explaining nothing: "This was a Speedrun.com administrative decision" and were extremely confused as to what I did or why we were even targeted, and why action even took place.
- Afterward, no one was able to explain what precisely the complaint entailed.
- My posts were deleted about this earlier today, despite there nothing being offensive or anything like that being written in them. It showed from beginning to end the process of a resolution taking place and another staff member actively listening and addressing the problem.
- Prior to that, one of the site admins reverted all moderation changes made to that board, which we're thankful for, as no changes should have ever been made to begin with.

Things left/random thoughts from a public aspect:
- In the future to prevent abuse of power like this, maybe setup a place on the website where people can submit complaints, so they can be queued randomly and dispersed to different content moderators to address. Accepting complaints privately opens up the doors to this kind of personalized abuse to happen.
- No one should remain anonymous in this situation. It wasn't an accident and Garadas should have his integrity and role on this website openly and publicly questioned. I honestly don't even really know Garadas, but sadly he chooses to involve himself with some very stupid people within NES retro who equally hold a lot of power on this website and like to act in the shadows. If I chose not to speak up or question anything, he would have gotten away with this / they would have gotten away with this.
- Hopefully in the future any complaints from the people with names V or R are heavily considered to be construed or falsified like they were in my case are heavily scrutinized and examined thoroughly before ever being acted on. It would be worth going back if there's logs both also involving complaints directly from them to Garadas to examine what happened in the past and if those actions were even justified, because I'm sure I'm not the only one they've ever targeted.
- Obviously contact the people who the complaint was directly made about. There was absolutely no reason for Garadas to ever contact the other moderators instead of us.
- Likewise in that same line of thought, give non-generic answers. "This was a Speedrun.com administrative decision" also keeps everything anonymous behind receiving the complaint anonymously and allows for power abuse in this situation (and his actions) to remain anonymous. If you do reach out: provide names, provide who decided what on which action to take, provide everything up front so we're not left scratching our heads how to address a seemingly completely anonymous problem that should have never existed in the first place.
- Also, if I wasn't blocked afterward, maybe require content moderators on Twitch either to disable the setting that apparently made me think he blocked me, or require content mods to reach out in multiple different ways - or rather even, just post publicly here. Having Twitch settings restrict communication when in all reality you should be accessible to everyone on a website accessible to everyone would avoid confusion like this: https://imgur.com/a/NmIIXRg
- Maybe lastly request deleting issues like this when it comes up instead of just deleting them without any kind of forewarning to avoid complicating anything further.

I agree with letting stuff die as no one wants to drag stuff on for days, as I certainly don't, but suddenly deleting everything just protects Garadas' integrity which should be now more than ever questioned now both publicly and internally.

Likewise, it just makes me seem like a liar and essentially makes everything that happened a victimless crime.

twin0mega and Imaproshaman like this. 
  Komrade

Garadas has been the source of a number of headaches since becoming a content mod. A lot of the issues with his decisions come from the fact that he just acts, instead of talks with other people. If he is incapable of communicating on src or other platforms, maybe he shouldn't be in that position of power.

MESSI_82 likes this. 
  Liv

This whole situation has been pretty stupid overall. All we can really do is apologize for what's happened over the past couple of days and try move past it. Whatever this was, it will not happen again in future.

 
  junkyard_dave

I hope so.

I'd like to draw particular attention to maybe restructuring how accepting complaints are dealt with in the future to avoid these situations in the future; as realistically, if Garadas didn't block me and he did have that particular setting on Twitch enabled, that's basically the nail in the coffin at this point as realistically it means the people who complained personally to him follow him directly already and this was all extremely premeditated against us to begin with.

MESSI_82 likes this. 
  kirkq

To reiterate much that was discussed previously that was deleted:

A pedantic compliant was given by a group of people to a content mod. Since content mods cannot change board moderators, the complaint was forwarded to the rest of staff. A staff member who doesn't usually handle moderation interpreted this as an action item of something that needed done, and made the change without thinking much of it. Further complicating the matter, the board audit logs were broken last week, so we couldn't see board edits back in time to corroborate much of anything until recently.

From an organizational perspective, I'm not a fan of throwing specific staff members under the bus for these things. People make mistakes or bad decisions to varying degrees. Publicly blaming specific staff members that are more peripheral to the situation unfortunately puts the site at risk of higher staff attrition. We're here to be accountable for those other decisions made by staff, so that everyone on staff doesn't have to be subjected to this. I agree that specific decisions need proper reasons provided by staff, under most circumstances. The fact is, as an organization, we need to do better to ensure situations like this don't occur.

I don't agree with the decision of yet an additional staff member to delete the posts without discussing it with the user, especially in this case. This topic should've just cooled off in the moderation thread.

This has all been discussed in substantial detail internally amongst staff. Whether it's sitting out here in public or not, it is of high concern to staff that a situation like this was even able to occur. It would certainly make all of our days a lot better if incidents like this didn't slip through. Almost all of us on staff are doing this in our free time and don't get much of anything out of it.

PresJPolk and Habreno like this. 
  junkyard_dave

So, my only very public question to you would be: in which way will Garadas be reprimanded for his actions?

I agree that throwing people under the bus is generally undesirable, but this is not the case.

It's not the case he "made a mistake" or simply a "bad decision".

If you dig deep he personally knows these people (and knows of us), and this was intentional to displace us and cause annoyance by personally choosing to listen to them.

MESSI_82 likes this. 
  PresJPolk

If you're kirkq, your priority is rightfully process improvement, instead of punishment. There's no scalp to be taken here.

 
  junkyard_dave

Subjective.

I could very well likely link something from even last year where the same trio were (probably) involved again in low key harassment to us. I think this situation is unique in the sense, again, it wasn't a poor "decision" or an "honest mistake" from someone holding a position of power on this website. Someone who holds the position of staff here, intentionally abused their power in listening to some very stupid and socially impaired friends of his and and chose to forward something that should have never been forwarded or acted on, and in turn, created a public mess that should of never existed in the first place.

I think public accountability is extremely important, which is something I would have inquired about further before someone deleted all my responses without any consideration or forewarning.

How they choose to deal with this situation publicly going forward sets a precedent in itself for how the public can expect to be treated when being actually mistreated by a staff member in the future (which shouldn't ever happen, but it did here) intentionally, or in this case, through the extension of problematic individuals the staff member himself associates heavily with and enjoys the company of and associates with frequently on a personal level.

I don't particularly care if this is awkward to bring up. What's awkward is being on the end of low key harassment and having the staff passthrough protected knowing he was just as involved and guilty as the people who had the idea to bother me / us again in the first place (which this isn't the first time).

There's absolutely no coincidence he was complained privately to and approached by those group of people at that. None.

To imply that the content moderator doesn't know the people involved would be like saying ice cream has never met chocolate before.

 
  junkyard_dave

Hi @ViruseReturns,

Seems you deleted your reply, but thanks for chiming in and claiming you were "V". Funny thing is the only two people who should of known that were site staff and Garadas, and technically, I didn't even tell Garadas. I just said it was probably V or R and I never gave him any names.

So... how did you know that about Garadas then? 🤔 You're not site staff.

I guess it makes more sense to go back and assume it was someone behind a new / fake / anonymous account that reported this to him, you're right. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

MESSI_82 and Komrade like this. 
  kirkq

The site cannot be in the business of publicly reprimanding staff. No organization works like this. If you have an issue with a staff member, it needs to be handled by the staff as a whole. Public lambasting is not a solution to this problem, it is an additional problem.

Moreover, we don't want to erect a monument on the site to a day someone messed up. There's nothing good that comes out of sitting here and debating this in public for a week. Do we want to hang everyone's dirty laundry on the front of the site forums for a month? Nobody needs a sign hanging out front of their workplace that they messed up. We've spent substantial time and effort trying to mediate this situation. We messed up, we corrected the situation, and we're internally very disappointed that it happened. I feel poorly about it, the staff feels poorly about it. Nobody is sitting here thinking that circumstances that happened are acceptable. We've addressed the situation with the staff members involved. We have to move forward from this.

I feel like nothing I can say or do at this point is viewed as an improvement to the situation other than punitive actions against staff, which I've already described in detail as to why I do not view those as appropriate in this circumstance.

Staff as a whole views it as a very bad idea to keep this thread open for public commentary for a week. We're going to lock this thread later today. If you have anything else to say before then, feel free. If you want to continue the discussion privately after that, feel free. If others have private comments on the matter, feel free to forward them to me or other staff.

 
  ViruseReturns

@junkyard_dave:
I deleted my post because I realised that this is not the place to address a personal issue, or to try to defend from an unfounded accusation, but since you're trying to bait me, I guess I'm here again.
Also please don't be shameless, we do know who you're talking about, are you kidding me?
I don't care about which games you, or whoever mods here, and I know how to separate speedrunning from personal issues, just as I believe you do.

Anyways, I'm out

 
  junkyard_dave

Ok bye. 👋🚪 ^

@kirkq,

Feel free to close the thread now.

The original intent of it derailed and hopefully everyone involved can learn from this and in the future better deal with how issues are handled internally.

I feel it would be absolutely pointless to post anything else beyond this here now.