Keeping everyone welcome

In light of a recent thread, we’ve done some reflection on the kind of enviroment we’d like to foster on this forum. We’d like to take a moment to reiterate the importance of rules 3 and 4.

  1. No slurs or other expressions of bigotry. This includes, but is not limited to, racial, religious, gendered, sexual, homophobic, and/or transphobic slurs.
  2. No flaming, baiting, or bullying. This applies regardless of whether a specific member of the community is targeted.

Specifically, we’d like to address some feedback that projects with diverse casts tend to attract. As a rule of thumb, if your first reaction is to claim that it’s “unrealistic” for such a character to exist, or that other characters “should” react to them in some specific way, you should keep it to yourself. While we understand these posts are usually not made with the intent to be hurtful, they can make diverse creators feel excluded and unwelcome. Sometimes people make projects for escapism, or to explore a utopian society, and suggesting that they introduce discrimination into their story universe for the sake of realism or character development sours the story they were looking to tell. It may mirror discrimination that the creator has faced in their own life and does not want to relive. Diverse characters are allowed to just exist in a world that accepts them, and the suggestion of adding discrimination is very rarely posed to a cast comprised mostly of your typical canon FE cast archetypes.

We recognize that this is a delicate, nuanced issue with lots of legitimate “what if” borderline cases. It is indeed possible to criticise the writing of non-typical characters without necessarily criticising their premise. However, it is easy to accidentally cross from one to the other without realizing, so we’d like to ask that everyone err on the side of caution in these cases.

We realize the romhacking community skews heavily young, male, and heterosexual. There’s no inherent issue with that. However, in light of some incidents that have recently been reported to us, we want to remind the community that this is not the only demographic present here, and that behavior that is designed to push out, devalue, or tear down others who exist outside of this demographic is absolutely not tolerated. This is a hobby that people use for a bit of escapism from the harsh reality we all live in; for some it’s harsher than others, and that harshness does not need to extend into their experience participating in our common hobby.

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Thanks, Cam. This is an important reminder.

To clarify, I think we can get caught up in “realism” when providing feedback to creators. It’s one thing to say “It isn’t realistic that X character would react in Y way given what happened in the previous chapter”, pointing out the lack of “realism” in their response given what happened in context.

It is another thing to say “It seems unrealistic that X exists at all in this world, or that Y is totally absent”, pointing towards our own reality as “realism”, and how the work is inconsistent with the real world, which isn’t fair feedback to give - it’s the writer’s world and they can craft it in their own vision - that’s part of the fun of this hobby.

A lack of discrimination in a fictional world isn’t the absence of “realism”. It’s important to remember that when providing feedback.

One of those funny things about words and how we can conflate their meaning. Felt this may be a good place to tack on to Cam’s note.

This is a key reminder and I’m glad we are taking a firmer stance in these areas to help make the community safer and more welcoming for everyone. Thanks.

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It’s weird too that rascism and discrimination have been themes in previous FEgames like the tellius series. I suppose the best way to discuss these things would be on a more one on one basis. To be fair, commenting on any of these issues online is hard because of how much the internet lacks context and complexity. Personally I stay away from it entirely.

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cam coming in with a w

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While we’re doing community posts and PSA’s, what’s the reason behind leaving a vicious slanderous message on Tambo’s post? It would be one thing to say you banned him and to list the behavior and reasons why. On the other hand…

I don’t think anyone can say banning someone, then leaving an undeletable message of defamation is a good look for the moderator team.

STAFF EDIT: The creator of this project has been permanently suspended from FEU for a long-standing and repeated pattern of harassing other users on the basis of race, gender, and sexuality, and for making threats of doxxing against site admins. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and we can no longer in good faith let it go unchallenged.

In the interest of allowing players to make informed choices about the projects they choose to play, we are leaving the original OP, including download links, intact in the below spoilertag. We are prefacing it with this warning as we feel the community deserves to know about this creator’s bigoted behavior as it may affect their experience of the project.

I guess now that Tambo’s banned, he can’t offer any words in his defense, so we just have to take your word for it. I’m not saying the accusations are wrong, since I don’t know… but this is pretty fucked up. Do you also sucker punch people who annoy you and then run away while they’re in pain? Is this the way the site is going to continue declining?

“In the name of tolerance, we now slander people who cannot defend themselves!”

You’ll notice I haven’t called out Gamma, even though he’s the person who posted the message. That’s because I don’t believe Gamma would stoop to such lengths of his own volition, as he’s one of the three most respectable mods on this site. This has “backroom discord dealings” written all over it. I don’t know (and don’t care) who put Gamma up to this, but I do know I’m very disappointed in them.

Edit: And then I got a message stating you did the same slimey thing to two other people, too.


Wow! Incredible! So this is the new MO of FEU! You ban people then leave slandering messages for them. Who’s next? Me? Some other prominent people? Maybe just ‘a little guy’ with no platform to speak up for themselves? It’s like looking at a kid laughing while he lasers an ant to death. Truly top-tier staff behavior.

  1. No flaming, baiting, or bullying. This applies regardless of whether a specific member of the community is targeted.

The hypocrisy.

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When you don’t lock the announcement thread!

EquatorialDependentHammerkop-size_restricted

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Defending and ginning up outrage in support of people who have been serially harassing LGBTQ members of the community is a new low. Even for you. But I’m definitely not shocked. They have been given leniency time and time again.

They can defend themselves somewhere else. This isn’t a courtroom, it isn’t our responsibility to give them a platform.

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“As for the army, that’s not a concern. All they need to know is the king has fallen ill. They’ve no reason to doubt my word. To them, I am still the king’s loyal aide.”

image

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I woke up this morning, saw what’d happened, and you know what? I support Cam and the team.

“True mastermind.” I can’t stop laughing. You’re too funny, man.

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Regardless of who you think is “behind” this announcement is irrelevant, this is our collective stance and how we will respond to similar situations in the future.
If you have an actual issue with it, you can message the staff instead of trying to garner public approval in this thread.

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What a great idea. Then I can get silently banned and have my threads filled with slander. Mmm, top tier giga brain IQ plays.

Nah, this is something the community needs to see. Don’t get mad just because I caught you stomping a puppy when you thought nobody was looking.

Edit: Mods replying to the thread to reply to me while making it impossible for me to reply back… kind of reminds me of something else. Like banning people and targeting them so they can’t fight back. Getting some familiar vibes.

If you’re going to lock the thread, lock it. Don’t lock it and then cowardly keep replying while others can’t. It’s pathetic.

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this is incredibly embarrassing lmao

“the true mastermind reveals himself”

I know you two have this feud or whatever but listen to yourself

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This situation tires me out so much.
I’ll lock this. I don’t accept no as an answer.

Klok, if you have complains, please message directly to the staff instead of garnering public attention.

… I’m just. Ugh.

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I should have expected someone to come air some dirty laundry when I left the thread open.

For the record, the impetus for this announcement was a different project thread that has since been deleted at the creator’s request, not the users whose bans have ended up taking over the conversation.

But at the end of the day, since the “I don’t trust the mods!!!” shtick keeps coming up… (this is an adaptation of a post I made on discord when the same topic came up earlier today)

  • No, you are not, in general, entitled to know why any particular user is or is not banned. Rule-breaking posts don’t tend to remain public because, you know, they’re rule-breaking – I’m not about to leave a bunch of slurs lying around. In the particular cases brought up in this thread, there are also several private conversations that I’m not about to publicize.
  • If you’d like to go find these people and hear their side of the story, that’s between you and them. As it stands, they have come to defend themselves to us. I am under no obligation to allow them to continue to spew the vitriol that they have on my site in the name of letting them “defend themselves in public”. Take it to SF or reddit, if you really want, but I imagine that you’ll get a similar response (because surprise, mods of large FE communities talk to each other).
  • While I wish I could assuage people’s concerns about getting banned in the dead of the night or whatever, at the end of the day:
    • feuniverse.us is my website (and I mean that in the most literal sense, because ultimately, I’m paying for it).
    • If you really can’t bring yourself to trust me and my staff, at this point, all I can really say is “deal with it or leave”.

I’d like to think that I’m a reasonable enough person that you can come to me if you think there’s an issue, and that you can approach any of the other staff and ask them to talk to me if you have a problem with me personally, but ultimately if you don’t trust any of us, then you should find somewhere else to host your project.

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Perhaps you should review the definition of “slander”.
dictionary

It is inextricable from the definition of “slander” that the statements in question must be false. Multiple people came forward with stories about these same three people harassing them in a targeted manner. And while I’m not about to go posting people’s DMs or putting victims at risk by pulling them out of the closet without their consent, these are all on record as part of the (public) associated Discord:

Warning for racial and homophobic slurs.

tambo1_redaction

tambo3_redaction

jackbox2

Is this really the sort of behavior you want to publicly defend, Klok? Do you think having this person around posting these kind of statements in a public forum is acceptable and fostering to a welcoming environment? What kind of context could possibly make any of this acceptable, and what defense would this person even offer for their actions? All I’m seeing is someone intentionally antagonizing people in public by using bigoted language. And in the interest of full disclosure, this user was banned from the forums in December 2020 for posting homophobic slurs on these very forums. So if there’s recent evidence of change in their behavior, I’d be happy to reconsider, but otherwise this constitutes a long-standing pattern.

You speak of making the hobby more accessible to newcomers by offering lenience to young creators and maintaining a fantastic asset resource, and then you turn around and take issue with bullies and bigots getting the public shaming they’ve earned for themselves, defending those who push to exclude people from the hobby based not on their actions (and the harm those actions have caused) but on aspects of their immutable self. I am severely disappointed in you and I expected better.

I’m not the sort to make these decisions lightly. I’ve been dealing firsthand with homophobia in this community for longer than some members of this forum have been alive, and while I’ve developed a thick skin, younger users who didn’t grow up in the “wild west” of the mid-2000s internet shouldn’t have to be subjected to behavior like these people’s. I think the option of not censoring their works from our platform entirely, but including context that may significantly impact a player’s experience of the project, is the far more reasonable action than just saying “you can’t play this because they’re a bad person”.

*EDIT: if by “defend themselves” you mean “the opportunity to apologize and show proof they’ve changed”, that isn’t off the table. I believe in forgiveness when someone has truly grown and changed and wants to make amends.

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I’m open to hearing your reasoning for why giving someone who’s been posting slurs in public community spaces for literal years on end a chance to “fight back” is worth anyone’s time, and I’m also open to giving you a chance to explain why you feel it’s more important to keep serial harassers’ names clean at the expense of the vulnerable groups they’ve targeted, and how this contributes to the safety and comfort of people who are just here to engage in a hobby.

Again, if there’s hard evidence that they’re willing to apologize to those they’ve hurt, make amends, and change their behavior, we are open to putting it on the table. People change. But there’s no such thing as forgiving and forgetting without accountability.

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We should probably try to make discussion concise and healthy because I’m fairly sure no one here is protesting “bloopy did nothing wrong”.

Personally, I feel it’s a little excessive to publicly humiliate these users with a long disclaimer about their actions. There is a ban reason listed when you select their profile. If forum threads are being edited, the most reasonable disclaimer imo is “This user has been banned and cannot respond to any queries about this project”, or something like that.

I wholeheartedly appreciate leaving the projects up, but honestly the behavior of the creators should not impact players’ experience unless there is any such content within the project.

Those are just my thoughts, anyhow. I’m not that terribly impassioned and frankly, aside from my nitpicking up to this point, I’m fine with the current course of actions.

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I’d like to thank you for providing evidence that proves that their ban was deserved.

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