Perhaps this is an oudated concern, considering these posts were made back in March of this year, but it's still something I feel needs to be addressed.
My concern is regarding this post:
Down under Section 16: Sysop Privileges
Now, I, personally, have no issue with having my sysop privileges revoked. However, since my name was blatantly mentioned in this post, I feel the need to come to my own defense. In the few months I was a moderator of the Story section of the ERwiki, I put in a -lot- of work tracking down various stories off the web, contacting various guilds for permission to copy things from their forums. I did my best to keep up with the Weekly Feature, even though I was almost constantly busy at that point trying to keep my personal life in order. This was all explained to Lilithia when I signed on to help; she said she understood and had no issue with it.
NEVER in my time as a moderator did I ever feature a story that did not have merit. And nine times out of ten, they were NOT people I was familiar with. I read every story that I featured, if it was well-written and I got actual enjoyment out of it as a reader, it got featured. I didn't -care- who wrote it or what guild they were in, my focus was on the writing, as a Story Feature should have been. So, I'm not sure out of what left field that accusation is coming out of.
As for me being a "defunct" account, yes, I went underground for a while. Shortly after I took up the Story Moderator mantle, I started getting harassing emails, someone defaced Gospel's page on the wiki, I started getting harassing tells in-game. After a few months of that, yeah, I got fed up. No one from the ERwiki made any attempt to contact me once I went on hiatus. Not once.
In closing, I'm not sure who or what the original post was about, but seeing as how my name was was the only one brought into it, I felt it necessary to explain why I've been away for so long. The ERwiki, however, is more than welcome to revoke my sysop privileges, as was obviously discussed by the looks of the original post.
Gospel Lightfaith 13:14, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
- While I'm generally going to keep my nose out of this one, I do think it should be clarified that I don't believe there was any accusation made against you regarding your selections. The chart that was referenced in that message referred to features during a period after you were no longer active. Your name was mentioned, as far as I can tell, just as a mod who was no longer active and still had privileges due to Wikia staff repeatedly ignoring requests to remove inactive moderators and admins.--Eupheria 18:57, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
- Eupheria is correct. The request for de-sysop of your account was only because of an extended period of inactivity, and for no other reason. As I remember, the post on the talk page was regarding multiple issues about several accounts in a single correspondence. Yes, we did try communications through IM, e-mail, and so forth, but the majority of activity was shifted to the wikis for transparency, so I can see how you wouldn't have heard much. As for the other issues that were mentioned there, those were taken care of a week or so after the post, and our transition to the wiki’s new setup was eased. We changed the appearance of the front page, other layout aspects, and, in time, we will use a new voting system which should allow us to sidestep some old issues and allow for greater community involvement.
- I got word just a few days ago that you had returned to operations on the wiki, Gospel, and we're glad to see you back! --TarrVetus 17:55, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that wasn't about you, G. This:
the featured content on the front page is frequently only that from friends/good acquaintances of the moderators in charge of choosing features
Was referring to me and Tai, I'm thinking. I have no particular problem with the new system but I do deny favoratism. It would imply deliberately ignoring good articles for worse ones by buddies, which I never did (the pages I featured were all awesomely wicked), or plotting with buddies to post their articles, which I also never did.
I didn't favour certain people so much as fail to actively avoid them. I will admit to being lazy, I guess: I tended to feature pages that had been updated recently, with the thoughts that a) it would encourage that author to post more and b) looking through completely random archives for a feature worthy page bored me. (I know, I know, but I'm being honest here.) I may also have been out of the loop, since I never heard or saw any complaints about favoratism from the community. In retrospect, I was clearly not on-board with the post-other-people initiative so my position got reorganized out of existence (which was in my opinion very politic, for the internet).
I still think that chart is meaningless, out of context. If I saw a second pie chart that showed "contributions to the wiki based on group" then I could compare it to the "wiki awards based on group" chart to see if there was a real discrepancy. IMO groups like the tears / tong / whoever get more awards because they post more articles and update more often. Alas, that is my statistics background talking. It is perhaps very true that the perception of fairness is more important than the reality of it. (... see how unconvinced I still am? Gawd. I'm probably wrong, too.)
Either way, I already know I won't change anyone's opinion on the internet. I disagreed with a policy but I'm not in charge, and that's ok with me. Others have put way more effort into this puppy than I have - like you, for instance! (Seriously. I remember you hunting up stories on the ER boards. It was epic.) I'm happy enough to help out. It's a neat site and deserves lovin'. Lots of lovin'.
I'm glad you're back and wiking again. Don't let the spammers get ya down! They're like naked night elves dancing on mailboxes. Best to ignore them.
--Krelle 00:57, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
- I'm going to chime in here. I know I'm a bit late to the party, but it seems I've only just discovered now that I've evidently been the pawn in some broad nepotistic conspiracy plot to "stack the deck" as it were in the matter of Featured Articles here on this Wiki. A few things:
- I'm not here to "redeem" anyone, just to speak my piece and have my thoughts about this known. To be honest, I'm not terribly pleased with being the subject of controversy without my knowing it, and especially when I appear to be the pawn on more than just one field of play, as it seems.
- I'm not here to defend the "legitimacy" of the accolades I've received a whopping two times for articles I wrote and evidently have had Featured as the purported nefarious result of said "conspiracy". In fact I'd rather happily concede my right to all honors such as they are since I honestly didn't write any of those things for "brownie points" with anyone anyway. I certainly didn't write them to ruffle the feathers of any other sensitive egos who happen by as seems to have occur here. I wrote them for me. If others found them entertaining, then so be it.
- That out of the way, it's my understanding that the accusation seems to be one of garden variety Favoritism, with a general vote of "conflict of interest" on the part of those who reccomended my two articles as Featured. I'm not going to debate that charge. Yes, Krelle and Tai know me. And although the two featured articles are on Sharael and Cualgne- neither of whom are members of the Tong, and to my knowledge neither Tai nor Krelle really knew those articles to be mine until this debacle occured, plausible deniability still sounds like something of a cop-out here.
- What I will say is this- "Conflict of Interest" is an interesting charge within the context of this particular case as it can be viewed in at least two ways:
- You might say, as it seems to be charged herein, that Krelle and Tai had a conflict of interest when they voted these two articles in as Featured Pages for this Wiki- because, yeah, they may have had reason to favor my writing over that of others.
- And/Or, you might say the person who raised this concern in the first place had his own conflict of interest when he raised a stink about it- because he himself had once been a member of the Grey Tiger Tong, and left under what some might term, "less than favorable circumstances" and thus may have his own proverbial axe to grind with his former guildmates- two of which he just happens to know have (now 'had') admin privileges here on the Wiki.
- To me, you can't charge the one without holding the validity of the other, else you're somewhat of a hypocrite yourself for being willfully blind to what is at least as obvious in the latter case as it is in the former.
- As for me, I'm fairly sure I am not unique on this Wiki to have had two of his articles held up as Featured work, and why this individual has some particular interest in my case- as an individual who just happens to have been in the same guild as me and just happens to seem like he's got a grudge in the first place- seems... well, fishy, to be perfectly honest. In either case as I said, I don't particularly appreciate being the pawn in some favoritist conspiracy at least as much as I don't appreciate being the pawn in someone else's quest for self-aggrandizement by way of besmirching his peers by any means possible.
- I also am quite sincere when I say: if it bothers the complainant that much that I've received a whole two accolades for my efforts, then I ask you to please strip me of them. If I knew how to do so myself I would gladly do so this instant for all the trouble such small things seem to have caused. Because as Krelle has rightly said, the purpose of such honors is to encourage writers, not engender this sort of insipid, catty jealousy, and by way of doing so: encourage people to play this stupid little game of taking potshots at one another over their own imagined bruised egos, and still worse, using community property (and personnel) to conduct these petty little sorties. It really troubles me deeply that what seems to be the self-centered tantrum of a single person can evidently be allowed to strain the bonds of a community effort such as this one.
- It's especially poignant to me as it seems that I am the tool by which one person is seeking to elevate himself by "bringing everyone else down". I don't take kindly to being used in this way, and if by giving up my "ill-gotten gains" in this matter I can in some small way heal that hurt, I would be more than happy to do so.
- Be that as it may, I've said my piece: if you're going to accuse two people of "favoritism" and "conflict of interest" then you might want to extend those charges to others who are equally guilty in such matters, or else be seen yourself as "playing favorites". Otherwise, it's probably sound advice not to take up the torches and pitchforks for the sake of an individual who clearly has agendas other than fair play in mind.
- --SkunkWerks 00:28, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
- I don't really think there has been an accusation regarding the pages that were featured being not up to snuff (though I personally think and take issue with a few being featured that didn't fit the criteria beyond being well written), so much as, just as Krele said above, that the moderators were only reading a limited sampling and choosing from only those articles. I believe the heart of the issue is that part of the article moderator's job is to read over the majority of the articles on the wiki and the reason they were asked to choose features in the first place is because it was assumed that after a certain point they would have read the majority of articles in their section in the process of checking over and editng them as needed. As far as I can see, the issue comes down to having read mainly a certain group of articles and choosen the best accordingly. Those chosen were not bad articles, but that process still excludes anyone who didn't happen to get their articles added to the pool in the first place.
- And if you would like to have names named as to who had issue with the way things were going, let me start with my own. In fact, it was not even Tong pages that caught my attention, but having two of my own featured in a very short period of time. While I'm flattered that my writing apparently is not as horrid as I had thought, it immediatly put me on my guard as I saw myself and my guildmates repeatedly featured while articles outside the moderator guilds, some that I will not compare to others, but were certainly better than my own, went ignored. --Eupheria
- Well, that didn't seem to be the tone of talk on the page Gospel linked. It had a rather concise and accusatory tone to it, that I think is rather baseless and hardly equitable:
- Previous to that post, the situation had been mentioned in private on several occasions. Though untracked after December, members of the groups and friends of those members continue to get more spotlight attention despite new content continuing to come in that is not related to the groups on that chart. Furthermore, the favoritism is huring the wiki's community perception, making it appear more like the domain of those groups in 'control.' We're getting tired of being all talk and no action on this issue.
- If you can't bother to apply the concept of "fair play" (odd as this may seem) fairly, it doesn't seem worthwhile to me to apply it at all. I've seen this sort of insipidness in amateur art communities many, many times. It goes a little something like this:
- The Community tries- in earnest- to establish a program in which certain persons are recognized for exceptional effort above others. The problem is, being a community in which obviously many people know one another, total impartiality is, of course, impossible.
- This eventually leads to some small isolated group of well, we'll call them "malcontents" who make the inevitable charge of favoritism- less because of lack of equity in the matter of who gets picked for such programs and more for who didn't get picked: namely themselves.
- The charge, while quite obviously biased from both perspectives cannot wholly be denied, neither should it be wholly taken seriously- as the premise and context on which it is founded is invariably flawed in the first place and you either need to accept that or not have it at all. And thus the reward program either dies or lives on in infamy.
- What angers me most is: if you want to abolish the Featured Pages section, fine. Honestly if I were in the position of administrating this wiki, I'd be very leery of adding such content, and precisely because of the inevitability of the scenario I just mentioned above. What shouldn't be happening here is letting this sort stupidity divide a perfectly good community on the grounds of pointless accusations.
- I noticed two of my articles chosen as well, months ago. I was also wondering, like yourself if there could be some favoritist element to it. But I also knew two things:
- I was pretty darn sure at that time that neither Krelle, nor Tai knew those articles were by me when they picked them. I have many alts, and only fairly recently have I bothered to gather them under one category tag. The complainant (whom as I mentioned, has plenty of his own reasons for picking on this case in particular) I'd wager had a far better idea of what was what there than the people whom have been accused of playing favorites.
- I know I am FAR from unique as an individual contributor to this Wiki in having a supposed "ace in the hole" when it comes to favorable consideration. If we were to sit here and pick on everyone who "knows someone" we may as well not have the "Featured Pages" section in the first place. Furthermore, it' isn't just GTT members I know. I have an alleged "ace in the hole" with just about EVERY guild represented on that graph. Should all my articles just be cart blanche excluded from consideration because of who I know? Or is there a point at which considering "who knows who" a problem in this set of circumstances reaches a level of ridiculous neurosis?
- All that having been said, is this the ideal solution to "favoritism" then?
- Because if it is, I find the solution sadly ironic, and far more unfortunate than the "problem" that precipitated it.
- --SkunkWerks 12:16, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
- The solution, as far as I know it to be, has been to consolidate (which, at the time of the decision being made, was very necessary due to new contributions having trickled off, creating concerns regarding the sustainability of the old system) and to move towards choosing articles based on votes, which has also turned out to be a flawed system and, as a result, has us now heading towards a system we use on other wikis where the community nominates its features. Also not a perfect system, but at least it will be a more inclusive one. I also don't see where anyone has been punished. The main job of a moderator is to moderate their section, not pick weekly features, and, as Krelle said above, she didn't have time to read everything in her section before. Everyone has always had the option to nominate a feature, moderator or not, it's just rare that anyone does with the current system. The only thing that's really been lost is the responsibility of actually switching it over each week. --Eupheria 21:14, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
- I see two moderators not only accused, but- summarily and without opportunity to defend themselves- demoted over this. Do I mispercieve?
- Whatever the case, I have, myself, removed all my "Weekly Features" tags- from the articles themselves as well as the category page, as it seems pretty clear at least to me that certain people are using the Weekly Features to besmirch and divide people- to degrade rather than elevate. And this isn't the way I care to have my work remembered, if it is to be remembered at all.
- This doesn't seem to be any one person's fault, I suppose, so much as it seems to be the result of the worst parts of human nature doing what they do best in people. But whether it's one person's fault or one-hundred I'd rather not take part in it. I'd love to see a program where people are recognized for their efforts (even if I am not the direct beneficiary of such a program), but it just doesn't seem possible with the way some people will treat it.
- --SkunkWerks 16:57, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
- If it pleases the plaintiffs, defendants, and everyone else hopping onto one side of the line, I must say thing. As a relatively new member of the ER Roleplaying community (Started in late June, wiki'd up in August I believe), I believe I can safely say that favoritism is definately not at work, if at all else not anymore. Why, may you ask? Because not only do I not have a freakin clue who the Admins all are, I most likely haven't really RPed or talked with any of them. Ever. And yet, voila, I got a feature article. Amazing isn't it? That amoung all this conspiracy about "favoritsm this" and "favoritism that" that some random new-guy, who spent a good amount of time writing, revising, editting, spell checking, and then browsing other articles to see what else I could do to make mine better, is amazingly up as a featured article, and I didn't even notice until I checked my emails. In fact, when I saw that "Your page has been editted" notice, I thought someone had gone through and defaced it.
- Now then, I have no idea what's going on here. Really, if the event is as old as some say, I won't spend the time to learn every detail down to font type. However, I will give my non-judgemental views on the topic.
- Let's assume that instead of the SysOp's running around and featuring their friends every week, that the SysOps, like everyone else here on the ERWiki, likes to check up on any of their friends, acquaintances, or nemeses every now and then to see if they have new works out. Now, let's assume that they really liked the article, and it was a well written article that meets all traditional qualifications. Honestly, while it would have been nice for the SysOp's to maybe browse for other articles to compare, I hardly think it's favoritism to see a good article and tag it if it's the first one you see. Tag-without-thinking yes. Tag-because-I-want-this-person-to-get-awards, no.
- Let's assume that the charts are correct. Here let me push out an idea. Um. Maybe the Tong and Tears groups are posting more or better quality items than the other people. I mean, let's be honest. A good deal of even the character pages are hardly nothing more than just a biosheet. No literary works at all. Perhaps Tong and Tears had enough people outclassing everyone else, or maybe (as the aforementioned "whopping two") someone outclassed a bunch of others. It's not too hard to compare a biosheet to a twenty eight paragraph article and say "Hm, which one to feature." I mean, Tharion Greyseer's got 2 featured articles, Taldarion Shatterbound's been featured, I've been featured. That brings the Netherbane guild to 4 featured articles, with Tharion at 2 by himself. Are you going to tell me that the Netherbane guild is the target of favoritism as well, or is it that Myself, Taldarion, and Tharion especially take great care when we right our works? Cause if you add us to the chart, we're just 1 shy of Tears, 2 of Tong, and that brings your Others down to 9. Wanna make a logical arguement as to why we've gotten featured so often that isn't skill related? Didn't think so.
- In short, I do not think, personally, it was a vendetta against Tong by a "I hate Tong" person. It might have been, we may never know. However, whoever decided to begin this pettiless debate did not take an intelligent approach to it, given so many similar circumstances that are obviously NOT favoritism.
- And one last edit in: As a former JAG (Judge Advocate General) of a multi-thousand member online gaming clan, I must agree with Skunk that the defendants were unjustly stripped of their SysOp privileges. Just because someone points a finger does not mean that they get what they want. I believe a thorough investigation by the Administration is to call for as to whether or not it was that the Articles are worthy, or if they were indeed favoritism. Regardless of whether the Administration views it as a democratic way of handling things or a 'my word is final' sort of thing, if all else those who lost their SysOp over this null claim of favoritism need to have some sort of honor brought back to them after being so thoroughly humiliated in front of the entire ERWiki community. ((Edit: Fethas Ravenmoon as a picture that was featured as well. Brings Netherbane to 5, others to 8. Yep. Favoritism))
- - Alakthul 13:02, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
- Just to clarify, no one had moderator privileges removed in punishment or anything like that. The only moderators who lost privileges are those that became inactive for extended periods of time without explanation (as far as I know at least). You can check the Moderators page if you doubt this. As for those tags, Skunk, keep in mind in removing them that they are as much a marker of what has been featured and a record as they are a type of award. Please don't remove them.
- As for your argument, Alakthul, keep in mind that the majority of the features from your group have been featured since the change to the features system was made. In fact, it appears that the majority of features from you group come from after the change. It has actually been changed for many months now. In fact, it appears that in the section in question and during the time in question, only one anything related to Netherbane was featured. And the issue was never (to my knowledge) a willful desire by the mods to only feature certain groups, but as Krelle even said above, that they weren't reading everything, and were therefore only choosing from a limited pool. Most of a moderators job is to moderate their whole section.
- And, just to say it one more time to be clear since there seems to be a ton of confusion, neither Tai, nor Krelle EVER had their moderator privs revoked.--Eupheria 04:31, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
- I'll also chime in here as I think that there are a lot of folks trying hard to be fair - and somehow, in the confusion that is the internet, we've ended up with folks thinking that there's a huge problem. If it helps at all, I don't think that there is a huge problem. There's been some miscommunication and some bumps along the road, but nothing that should I have taken personally.
- I maintain that Krelle and I both worked hard to not feature our guildmates or close friends because we were sensitive to the perception of being biased. Looking at characters that were in the guild, I come up with 3 out of 20 featured articles, counting Krelle's alt Akindi who was in Broken Horn Warband at the time. I did award the weekly featured character/guild to Cualgne, Pellinor and Sharael - but that was because they were updated articles that looked really good to me and were characters I hadn't heard of before. The author was not a consideration (and I truly consider those two players to be members of the RP community and not guildmates first). If you don't count those 3, then the graph shown changes quite a bit - to the point that the Tong percentage of awards would drop to just under 10%, which is dead on the mark for the percent contributions.
- Also, Eupheria, I might be reading it wrong, but to Alakthul's point, there are 4 awards given to Netherbane folks (of which I'm aware). Two were awarded prior to any changes, one by Lil (Taldarion_Shatterbound back in Jan. 2007 and one by me (Tharion back in Nov. 2007). The other two were awarded by you subsequently (Lessons and Alakthul - and all well deserved in my opinion! But it's safe to say that Netherbane has neither suffered or benefited from the changes (which is a good thing!).
- Despite what I view as trying very hard to be even-handed and spread out awards, there was a change in how awards were chosen. That responsibility was moved to Lil and Eupheria, as best as I can tell - and was done, to their credit, to promote fairness! (See? No one was trying to be a jackass; we just differ on what's fair and how people perceive fair. Tarr did seem to think that a clique (http://www.wikia.com/wiki/User_talk:Kirkburn/Archive_2#Sysop_Privileges) was being formed - and we will continue to disagree on that.) So neither Krelle nor I were stripped of moderator status, but we were removed from the process. I was not offended by that but I did take it as an indication that you did not want me as a decision-maker here. And, that's not my call to make since others took on the burden of launching this wiki. I still encourage folks to use this wonderful database and will try harder to contribute articles. --Tai 00:45, 16 September 2008 (UTC)