Just a bit more commentary about the Something Awful Forums today, kids. At the beginning of May I joined those forums with the intent of learning about them and Goon culture. While there I pulled a stunt that ended with me banning myself. Afterward, though, some Goons contacted me and told me that they enjoyed the antics and would like to see me on the forums. I looked at unbanning my account, but found that this cost another $10. I personally thought that was ridiculous, but people do strange things on pay day, so while I was paying my bills and dumping money into my Eve subscriptions on the 1st of June, I went ahead and gave it a whirl. The reason for doing it would be the reaction from the Goons who enjoyed my previous two-day foray. Based on their support I thought SA would be a good place to post some really crazy stuff when I was triggered or otherwise in some nutty mood to post something that wouldn’t be appropriate in a more normative medium. In the end, though, it seems that I was simply being defrauded by SA, as hours later I would be banned again:
Notice that I was put on probation by a moderator named FactsAreUseless for six hours, and two hours and forty minutes later, while I was still on probation and unable to post anything, I was banned. I wonder what I did while I was on probation that I got banned for? While I was back on the forums, I only posted one post and made several comments on it.
If you look at the reason that I was put on probation, you will see “error.” If you look at the reason that was banned, you will see “trolled me until I cried IRL.” Now when you get banned, you are told to read the rules to see why. I don’t see “error” listed in the rules. Since I was banned for the same thing I was put on probation for, I assume that my singular crime was trolling a moderator. The thing is, I don’t see a rules violation here.
I did not fail to comply with anything a moderator told me to do. Did I harass Mr. Useless? One need only read the rules to know.
This rule specifically says that flames and insults are not harassment, rather defining harassment as the favorite tactic of our friends in the Goonswarm Federation: revealing personal information or bringing real life into things. It is obvious, however, that I was giving Mr. useless a hard time. When you follow the dialog, though, you see that Mr. Useless’ first appearance in the thread was to post some long, insane rant about how women will be the victors in divorce. Now that comment was in fact written by me, yours truly.
Mr. Useless was, apparently, using a tactic that we in Eve are familiar with from the GSF. He likely already knew who I was, as he searched my posts to find something that he thought would embarrass me or turn the other posters against me. While the latter option may well be valid, the first was ridiculous, as the notion that I would just stop posting because something that I posted elsewhere in a public medium entered the conversation is completely ludicrous. I am actually quite proud of that post. It was originally written as a response to a thread in an area of SA reserved for serious posting. The question asked was serious: It looks like I will have the upper hand in a divorce, and I want to leave my husband, will I be alright? My answer was serious as well: divorce will not be fun, even if you have the upper hand. However, I wrote the thing with a flair that only a PTSD Vet who himself had been divorced would have the ability to think up. The end result was hilarious, which is what I thought SA was about.
But that is neither here nor there. My point is that Mr. Useless entered the situation not as a neutral moderator ensuring quality posting, but to troll me, embarrass me, or turn people against me. Since it was the SA forums, I did what every good Goon would do, or so I thought, and I made Mr. Useless look like an idiot. His response was to put me on probation, and then two hours later, to ban me.
Let’s take a look at three scenarios that could have been taking place here. First, a completely uncouth poster enters a forum populated by civil, intellectual, and socially responsible members and and posts something completely out of form, to which a moderator appropriately responds with a ban. Did this happen? No, it didn’t.
The second possibility is that an uncouth poster posted in a community famous on the internet for being uncouth, at which point a moderator jumps into the fray trolling the poster, and then the moderator bans the poster when he is out-trolled. This is quite a likely option.
Third, however, is that someone from GSF manipulated a moderator into an abuse of his role in order to prevent me from being a member of the SA forums. Admittedly, after years of being Grr Goon myself, the prospect of me actually becoming a Goon and posting happily on the SA forums would be pretty frightening for Mittens and the GSF.
Lately I have learned a few things. First, Goons really don’t like Eve that much. They largely don’t like it because of Goons that are in the Goonswarm Federation. Yes, only a tiny percentage of Goons actually play Eve. Second, both on the SA forums and in Eve, there is a general perspective that if you are a Goon that plays Eve you will be associated with GSF, Mittens, and TMC. Many players are not aware of ElitistOps, Ten Dollar Bond, Groon, and hundreds of individual players that play Eve Online that aren’t in GSF. Goons from the GSF are not in line with the ethos of the majority of Goons on the SA forums that nothing should be taken too seriously, and there are a number of Goons in Eve that are not in the GSF that are more in line with this philosophy.
Now having established that the first scenario is not true, what would the significance of the second be? Well, not too good for the SA forums. The site makes you pay to be a member. If people pay money to go there and post awful stuff, and if they can be banned on a whim for not breaking any written rule, but merely for making a moderator look dumb for trying to troll them, there is at least an element of fraud here in addition to some pretty scary possibilities such as the SA forums being a place where people who post something awful really aren’t welcome, and where the way to get along is just to fellatiate the big dogs. Basically, the SA forums would just be real life.
Now I don’t know if the third possibility is more likely than the second, to be honest. It is weird that I was put on probation and then banned while on probation, almost as if Mr. Useless were talked into doing something else after his original reaction. I mean I must have REALLY gotten him good if he got so upset by my reaction to his trolling that he came back to the computer almost 3 hours later to mete out additional punishment, obliterating me forever from the site, right? Seems hardly likely from a moderator on a comedy site that sanctions insults and flame wars, exempting these terms from a definition of harassment.
As for me, I will be forwarding this post to the SA forums to see if my account will be unbanned. I’ve already sunk $20 into it, and since I still don’t know what I was banned for, I can’t be expected to pay even more, even on pay day. The reaction I get will provide some clarity concerning the site and the way it operates. Beyond that, though, to be honest, my primary interest in the SA forums in the end was merely to have a place to post awful stuff in general, not even Eve related (reference the divorce post), and beyond that, to introduce SA Goons to Eve apart from the Goonswarm Federation, and to rebuild the reputation of our game there that has been sullied by Mittens and crew. Concerning the first aim, I just think it logical that if a moderator comes into a thread and “doxxes” me by copy pasting things I have written in order to embarrass me or get posters to hate me, he should be prepared for whatever I have for him in response. If I am mistaken here, I hope the support staff at SA can clarify some things. Concerning the second aim, well, I do hope that the SA forums realize that catering to the wishes of Mittens and crew has not built a particularly strong relationship between SA and Eve Online.
So am I a Goon? I’ve paid the $20 bond. I am at this time, not a poster on the SA forums. I guess I’ll have to do some more thinking before I decide how to proceed, and the SA reaction will probably be a component of that.