Response to gserv.me’s Moderating with Empathy

This is a response to a post on gserv.me called Moderating with Empathy. I focus a bit more on my own experiences but it still should be generally applicable. Gserv.ME is owned by gdude, one of the staff at QuiltMC.

We recommend you read the original article here.

https://gserv.me/blog/2022/06/03/moderating-with-empathy/

This is pretty interesting. I partly agree and partly disagree with part of this. I am not sure which group you are referring to whether it is jacks, MMG, or Felt., Firstly, I think about the pissing people off there can be 2 sides of the coin. 1 is yes moderating strictly, and the other is protecting freedoms to the point where silencers cant silence people and spread BS, I would think everyone would want to be in the latter. But Quilt has taken the former approach which I think is very concerning, while you help Curle and Modrinth spread their BS instead of stopping it and pissing them off. Some people, me especially take bans in most cases very seriously, i often want to be in servers and being kicked out of them is exclusionary and just makes me very sad and limits my ability to communicate with people, especially when you think you did little wrong and especially when it is spread where people are banned in multiple places from some conflict in 1 place, that is way to far and far out of the scope of “consequences” which are often rarely defined. You mention doxxing as the result of banning someone, and say that said bans were within the QDMP (Quilt Defensive Moderation Policies), but couldn’t this also show that mass bans can also create more conflict thus breaking the point? You say the exact details are not important, I would need to disagree and this in almost all cases the exact details are important to take into consideration as they could mean something or be laughed off at to hide something and exact details should always be used just-in-case. I think the quick ban hammer is quite daunting for some people(it was for me) especially when appeals are less than accessible (more on that in a bit). I do not see how formalising a ban warning network would really protect you from being doxxed in servers which would likely not comply with the QCC anyhow, and if they were already wiling to dox you how would you know they would not be willing to go farther? You admit you are not perfect which is good, but when you are not perfect in an instance like the QCC, which can be a real hassle for the defendant to deal with especially when much of what is being said is false and much of the QCC operates in out-scurts of unrelated communities just being warned where the QCC has almost no hard power and reversing the ban can be hard even for the QCC itself, or if it is community which the QCC claims to no longer work with, like they claim with MCModDev (though Curle is still there but there could be other communities which have left the sphere of the QCC that never removed the bans and it would be hard to reverse said bans). While I have witnessed 1st hand some of the bigotry by the people against Quilt and really do not like it and agree that it is unhealthy, I think the QCC and allies in ModriMMDian alliance with how far they stretch their influence to science people is a bit worse, and part of what gets people into anti-Quilt groups. It was not Felt who radicalised me, it was being banned from many places and then realising from Felt that Quilt had a much bigger role than I though causing me to dig deeper and learn about the horrible moderation and extra territorial jurisdiction policies and working with Curle to do her mass bans and a bunch of other stuff which disgusted me (think of the Who Radicalised You meme with Porky). I myself identify as a progressive and while I like the pro LGBTQIA+ stuff and general progressiveness of Quilt and some of their affiliated communities, something I reckon many Felt related communities really struggle with and I really don’t like it, but I think alienating people are just going to make you look bad in the eyes of many unaware people. Getting people banned all over large-discord for which could in some cases could have been a minor fraction or even worse false allegations is not really progressive when you could just ask people to chill out and provide prior warnings. Sure if someone is doing something really bad it may be worth keeping a greater eye on them, but not every one is such a threat, and even then Mass bans are probably not a solution. Even worse if you work with people who spread misinformation and break the other things you talk about here. You talk about deep and strongly worked discussions and how politically defined some people were, I think I was probably a big influence for this sentence, and Yes, I am very political, I am just a political person so bring my general political mindset everywhere I go, including Minecraft, which I see itself as a pretty political game. And in terms of communities I think it is especially important that we bring politics, as moderation can determine the experience for many people, if moderators are too tyrannical and extra territorial, it can ruin all of Minecraft modding for them, but if you go too far into the freedom extreme that can also cause some issues for people, which is why we must look at the freedom vs tyranny scale at a reasonable level and look at the effect of the rules passed and make sure they do not infringe on freedom and equality and do not give the staff too much power and if preferably not pushed elsewhere. I do not think it is important that people are removed as it is up for the moderators there to do something when said event happens there. In many cases people peacefully exist in many servers for months and get banned from a ban network despite having done little or no bad in a server before hand. While yes there were many people dissatisfied with the toxicity in Felt related communities, including me, but some were far more discontent with the QCC related toxicity and many even if they wanted to could not join your side, you often provide little to no solution to fix the issues, do not emphasise with the fact that others may have had different interpretations (despite this article being named Moderating with Empathy), don’t respect context, and just don’t want to take small gambles with people and continue and your collab members still have continued to keep getting me banned places, I would love to be closer to neutral, especially after arguing with Felt people, but being banned for ModriMMDian things and talking with you about moderation still moves me right back to a more moderate position every time. I am not in Felt because I am some extremist who thinks Quilt is unredeemable and needs to be destroyed no questions asked, while there may or may not be some Felt people who have these beliefs (I am not fully sure), I am mostly into Felt because 1) I do not like the actions of Quilt’s Moderation and want to fight against them until they change and work with people better, 2) I support the idea of an abstraction layer for compatibility and think it is a good idea and is something I would support. 3) Solidarity is stronger than individuals in many cases, 4) I have little other choice, I am banned from most Pro-Quilt places, but still welcomed in Felt, so there is little reason to not stay In felt especially when the QCC still despise me so much. While some people seem to have improved, you are often not too transparent and not everyone who got punished is even really that bad and could have done with a simple reminder of the rules or could have just been told not to do something, and while I do not know who this irredeemable racist is, I think you should in general just be far more open on ways to improve and more direct, less figure it out on your own, as if someone is banned, it was likely for a different interpretation of the rules, that is very hard to change and cant be figured out on their own, you need to be far more direct when dealing with this and tell people exactly what they need to do and show and do to get unbanned and give them a realistic time frame. And yes Quilt has improved recently, before they would just ban people from the appeals server and cut off contact with the people, only recently have you gone out of the dark and started to be more open, this is probably why you are getting many of these transformations. Also, what Minecraft Server has the community been built off of? I have not heard of it and do not see why it is too relevant here. And the being banned from Quilt Spaces is bad enough, but wider community is just unacceptable. I honestly agree and support the narrative used by that server and is the same Narrative I am using in the FeatureCreep server and think it is a narrative that should be more common I am not too aware of how Jack’s server operated, but know Felt does have some issues with that and need to work on that, but I would not say It is a complete fabrication, though Felts implementation was heavily flawed claiming for it to be for the protection of members against QCC agents though their protection plan had many issues and was kinda a violation of freedom itself (it was having a watchlist of bad people and then a Chaos Awakens style verification system where people are isolated before joining to be verified and also a jail system for sus users). You also mention how many banned people will not simply not exist or become nonbigoted, and that I strongly agree with and I think banning them will just hurt them and radicalise them more, and if someone is banned from 1 network they will just find other places to hang out and spread their even more extreme bigoted ideology, which is why I try to avoid banning bigots, I would simply be moving (If that) the issue, not fixing it, and even then if the person retaliates they could simply attack the server with bigoted ideas making the original issue worse. I think it is just better to try to ask people to avoid doing bigoted things rather than take immediate extreme action. And since these people are still human, kicking them out of places and excluding them can have a big impact on their health and happiness and well being and really take a toll on their life, It did for me and still haunts me. I think yes many people will disagree with their ban reason, and rarely do I reckon its in bad faith unless they are just trolling, in many cases “bad faith” has simply been used to refer to people who rule lawyer or have different or more literal interpretations of the rules who think they did not do anything wrong or do not think their actions were worth a ban, rarely is it someone with malicious intentions (which Is I reckon what the term “bad faith” normally means). I think the term “bad faith” in many cases should be reduced. You talk about in 1 instance a person not having room for improvement, but when you take action so fast you often have no way to find out, I was not contacted before Quilt before being banned, so there is no reason to believe this one is that common. The one about the no interest with dealing with the people or entertaining their presence in the community is just bad, not having interest just means not doing anything, not banning them and then using your network against them, this is just bad, and even if you have do not like someone you should not try to hurt them or be a jerk to them. Additionally, ifyou are a moderator,that is your job to deal with those kind of people, if those kind of people did not exist, there would be less of a need for moderators. The removing people to curate viewpoints is just like political purges and is not something which should be viewed positively, even if they claim it is for progressive purposes, they still should not try to remove people simply for having and spreading different beliefs, as this can be abused and is just thought police in general, especially if they are not doing bad things with those beliefs. I am not entirely sure what you mean by detriment to community, but unless someone is doing really bad things, you should probably just let them be, just like if any of the staff from Modrinth, MCModDev, or QuiltMC were to join my server, I would let them stay, even if I did not necessarily like them as individuals and even though I think many of them are detriments to the community in general with their ban sharing, I would still welcome or at least tolerate their presence especially if they were doing little to no wrong in the server. And yes, in many cases the staff who banned you are to blame to at least some extent, if someone banned you for an incorrect reason, that is on them, if someone took something to an extreme, it is ok to be critical of their choice of action. If someone if providing false or misattributed evidence, then they are to blame, there are many cases where the defendant has little to no blame and the staff may have been a worse part of it, as I said before, it is important that with such a ban network being imperfect can have dire consequences, and in some cases the admins are not just “not perfect” or making mistakes, but sometimes it seems like they are almost malicious. Yes if you do something wrong it is good to take responsibility for it, but you should not have to take responsibility for things that, you did not do, were not against the rules, were considerations or half truths of what happened, things that are admins faults, and other instances. Taking responsibility and compensating victims is a good thing to do, but you should not need to for things in which are not the bad guy in. People cant learn from bans when they are not fully at fault, in many cases a full investigation with the person is needed to find out what they are actually at fault for, and they need to know the full list of accusations and proof for those accusations, or else little can be done, Quilt has been known to not be fully transparent with this. And knowing that this pushes people into these radicle groups, they should be partly to blame for the existence of these radicle groups. We need appeals to be accessible, you include this, but this is not actually how it is in practise, many of the servers, including ones directly in the QCC and Even for some time Quilt itself in the past, do not have accessible appeals. No place to go to dispute your ban, such as Modded MC does not have an official appeal form made public which people can go to, many places when they ban you do not even notify you that you were banned, the server just mysteriously disappears from your server list with out you knowing, sometimes, like with LatvianModder, they even say nah when asked if a fair appeal would happen, even if much of what you were being banned for was BS and/or exaggerations (such as me being behind the Diamond Dimension mod, I was later unbanned from CF despite that being a reason in the ban message (which failed to send and I did not get until much later) and Curle claimed that mod got 200k downloads in 3 days, when a screenshot from MCModDev shows it only got about 27k, Curle also claimed I was the most popular mod on the entire site of Modrinth, which is verifiably untrue, my mod only got around 10k and the most popular at the time had over 150k and I was at the bottom of the 1st page, she also said a bunch of other nonsense while getting me banned from Modded MC and people just believed her, I never got to see the full accusations she brought and she hid the evidence, and I never got to say my side of the story or even hear hers). In general, Discord servers, including ones in Minecraft Modding, have really bad appeal systems so it is near impossible to do anything when you were wrongly banned. In many cases Quilt works with people with absolutely no empathy whatsoever, such as Curle, who has even joked about being a Sadist in MCModDev and simply blocks people for trying to come up with a solution or say sorry and who does not care if people are willing to change and goes out of her way to maliciously get people banned all over the place and views it as almost some mission it seems like that she needs to take care of. I have had plans for a while to cover my experiences with the ModriMMDian alliance in a blog post for some time, but the uncovered information keeps changing prospective and they are just so cryptic that it would have been hard in the past and even now there is a lot I would need to uncover. For a group which claims to value transparency, QuiltMC is quite quiet about their connections related to moderation. Sharing intel related to banning users I generally view as distasteful and more of something you would do if you just want to deplatform someone you do not like rather than prevent issues. No one should want to be a big part of a collaboration of moderation. But while in some cases it may be ok to have something a bit like a moderation group if there actually is little to no power, that is not have it has proven to be, people often blindly belive what the QCC and Curle say, they often even appear to expect Curle to have some kind of context whenever she points to a user as if that is something she normally does not seem to be an unbias view of the user, such as how I was banned in communities despite being little-to-no issue until Curle decided to show up and try to ban me, and yes, she DOES encourage people to ban, she tags the staff and says they may want to do something or ban or get rid of, it is just her goal and the goal of KiriCattus (who also openly worked with gdude). She not only does it but appears happy when she does it. She clearly wants to put people down, she is not neutral, I feel she has some weird irrational bias towards me and I am not sure why, she only really had that big of involvement with me while getting me banned, before the only people I really had any contact with with Jriwanek and KiriCattus, I do not see why Curle needed to be involved at all, she was not even being the one supposedly being harassed, despite pushing the info that I was doing harassment. Curle is far from some neutral person doing her job, she is someone trying to get rid of people. While she is not a QuiltMC Moderator directly, she is cofounder of the Quilt Community Collab and one of the most aggressive members, QuiltMC work with her and help her do this, and they don’t seem to push these things on her and just let her do her stuff unconfined. Yes we need neutrality and even extreme hesitation to ban people, but QuiltMC works with people who are the opposite. In most cases bans are not absolutely required but just done out of disliking the person. Yes it is good for neutral places to exist and to try to rectify mistakes with people, Quilt has started improving in this regard, but it is still not perfect and could be much more detailed and even then it is a small isolated amount of people such as gdude and Akarys, not the majority of people, who in many cases just block the person, e.g. Geomitically, Mezz, Curle, and in the past Gdude. I honestly doubt the few people in neutral spaces will actually have the power to completely undo the bans and damage they have caused, They mention framing, and in many cases people are framed or other stuff, misattributions seem very common in their ban network with them making outrageous claims about people that they did not even do and say It in public with what appears like absolute certainty. Yes we need to sit with the people and get a prospective on them, but with the Quilt Community collab, that almost never happens with the communities, which as I explained before have really bad appeal systems. Sometimes people are just not empathetic to the defendant and are not direct enough with what has to be done for reacceptance. Sometimes history of a person can influence their personality and lead them to have had different views or to interpret words differently or have naturally different ways of thinking that require rules to be more specific. These people need to be taken into consideration, as the Safety of the minority is more important than the comfort of the majority, and even if there were just a small number of people who required more specific rules, the rules should be more specific for those individuals. You even admit most people think they were doing the right thing, rule lawyering is not bad faith, just a different view of the rules and for some just the natural way of thinking. In order for moderation to be a better place, the moderators need to work more with defendants to try to find a solution to the issue, and should never ever make a ban unappealable or make the ban hard to appeal, there should always be reappeals, and multiple appeals, and ways to work with the user over time to rehabilitate them, not punish them, that is how progressive moderation works, you want to make the situation better, not worse, if someone is retaliating, there is a change you did something wrong, and they should not be punished for that retaliation if their points are valid and if they are truly not doing it in bad faith and everyone should always have a chance to get back into the communities and have their punal records wiped and be completely pardoned. Sometimes, an agreement to just not do something should be trusted, not everyone is bad, and if someone says they will not do something, you should give them the benefit of the doubt. You should not also punish people for the actions based on being banned in other servers, as I said before, many servers have serious issues in their moderation and do not have empathy in their moderation, MCModDev was a huge example of this, and a decent look at the situation would have lead you to know that unless you were some horrible moderator doing the same stuff they are, you would have not too much to worry about, even if you were to ban someone, and even then that would not be too likely if you were really an empathetic moderator, and sometimes it is just better to take the risk of them doing that to you then to ban them instantly with the feat that they may in the future, because if they are retaliating against someone for unfair moderation and you do unfair moderation, they will likely come to you next. O/7