Chat Moderator Manipulated into Bullying Players

I have recently returned to Hellgate, after getting an email saying that Beta is now open.

Today in the last few hours I witnessed a chat moderator publicly threaten 2 players with gagging, because of “Tomfoolery” (to use the mods own words).

It appears several private reports were made against at least one of these players, the content of these reports were not made public.

During the following public “discussion”, both the 2 players threatened with gagging, stated that they had done nothing wrong and were victims of a few players falsely reporting them. Other players joined the conversation saying that they were indifferent and had found no offensive behaviour, and if anything the reporters should be the ones being punished. There were also a few players who clearly had problems with the “style” of how the reported players chatted (one made several statements they thought one of the reported players was Wollah). However, they themselves used threats, trolling and toxic name-calling and urged the chat mod to punish Wollah.

I suspect reading the chat log of this conversation would show that:

  1. The moderator caused a major disruption to the community, by dealing with this incident publicly.
  2. There is a small group of easily offended players who have attacked and falsely reported players.
  3. The chat mod, and by default any community managers are no longer in a position of trust.

Omerta can you please look into this.

Hello, and welcome back.

I’m obviously not Omerta, but this subject I must comment on. I’d need more than some proper chat logs to be able to verify this, because at this point it’s the words of one group versus another. In this case, you seem to take the word of one group;

But that’s not proof of false reporting. I’ve personally seen proof of misconduct on the part of players who otherwise mostly appeared to be fine and inoffensive. Thus, you must understand we can’t take “I’ve seen no such behavior” as proof of innocence weighed against reports, let alone “punish reporters”. But, again, I’d need proof and context beyond summaries of the incident.

Finally, please be cautious about your own accusations;

If “tomfoolery” took place in public, said moderator seems to have had every right to respond in public. There are many among the players who actually do misbehave that can take note of the fact that we do respond in public, and that we do have such options as gagging. We’ve been accused of being too distant or lenient as well, so it’s often warranted.
Lastly, our “position of trust” is at the discretion of you and any readers of this thread. However, this is a very heavy judgment to casually throw around without proof or context. Especially guilt by association (ie “and by default”) seems extremely unfair when we’ve hopefully never shown to be malicious or unreasonable.

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for getting back to me, I think the chat logs would be the evidence you need, I’d hate to think that moderators rely purely on accusations or “tips” from players (even if they are known and have played for a considerable time) without consulting the logs.

Perhaps this can be also be done with the initial reports that drove the mod to action. I got the feeling that the mod was not forthcoming with any actual evidence, possibly because they were only reacting on “complaints” rather than evidence and the logs.

Typical policy for chat moderation would be, we are taking this action, because of this rule that was violated, and here is the evidence.

Also “Tomfoolery” is a very bad choice of terminology regarding parameters of acceptable behaviour, the fact you seem to be so at ease with it suggests you currently are unaware of this. Regarding the in-game conversation, your mod did seem unable to convey what exactly the initial problem or violation was.

As to my accusations, I clearly stated they were “suspicions”, that need verification by someone checking the chat logs. Something you seem reluctant to do.

While management may not consider themselves responsible for the action of their team members (a highly abnormal situation), the actions of your moderator and the language used did seem vindictive at first, and later after being met with what appeared to be justified resistance, softened and did some back peddling (which you will find in the chat log).

Historic failings in the chat moderation (being distant/lenient), should not directly influence the “outcome” of any future moderation actions, each case should be individually understood before any punishment is executed.

Regarding “trust”, I know I now do not trust your moderation, and that others in the conversation had a similar reaction (you will find that in the log too).

I am generally unaware of the situation, which is why I both forwarded this and asked you for proof. It’s not that I’m “reluctant” to check the logs, as you seem to want to assume, but that I’m busy and away from home. You seem to be invested in this situation, so you could likely provide some in good faith until I’m able to do so properly.

The policy you suggest is the one we have in place for enforced punishments. From what you describe it seems that a moderator engaged in casual discussion, while warning of potential punishments. You may not like it, but an adversarial tone and unjust moderation are two different accusations.

Your objections to the term “tomfoolery” honestly seem too subjective to weigh in on. I’m sorry if you found the term objectionable; you could assume we don’t all share the same sensibilities, or that English isn’t everyone’s main language so that moderator may not grasp the undertones of that term. You could choose to be lenient with your judgement in good faith, but you seem to prefer to assume the worst in bad faith. This is honestly saddening.

It’s equally saddening that you don’t trust us based on that one incident involving one moderator - the proof on which you are reluctant to share yourself. I can only say I find your judgement to be unfair, unless you can produce evidence of unjust moderation and punishments.
Still, if guilt by association is what you’d like to go by, just as I’m treating your feedback seriously and investigating it in my few spare hours, that’s your right.

You seem to be very focused on delegitimising something I and others experienced, not to mention attempting to push the ownership of the problem to me.

I think our discussion has come to an end.

Hopefully someone with a broader view will take this up, even if only internally.

You seem to not want to acknowledge that you have presented no proof beyond hearsay, or appreciate my very limited time - all while I assured you the incident is already being investigated. You assigned collective guilt over a single moderator’s alleged, unproven misconduct, ignoring our individual histories of just moderation, and refuse to be lenient in your interpretation of the events or engage in good faith.

Yes, this discussion is certainly over. Your feedback was still acknowledged, despite your personal prejudices.

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If you want to submit a report, whether against players or a mod, you’ll need to provide something useful (privately) if only for searching logs. This can include chat screenshots, timestamps, and usernames. Pointing fingers and making assumptions is unproductive and unhelpful, and you can’t hope for anything to happen in a reasonable amount of time when providing no information other than that words were exchanged between anonymous users.

We did see a chat screenshot recently showing inappropriate discussions between players, along with a complaint about such discussions. While this isn’t the full extent of the situation at hand, gagging would be justified.

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