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For reference: http://avengersalliance.wikia.com/wiki/Thread:261113

I dislike GBCW diaries. What are intended to be the "last great acts of grand defiance" usually devolve into finger-pointing whinefests. This is my last contribution to this wiki, but I don't intend to go down the GBCW road. Instead, I would like to briefly set a few facts into public view and issue a final caution to the wiki admins. They can take it or leave it as they like. They can ban me (and I imagine they will), but that will be irrelevant.

Prelim: Playdom has the full rights and power to do anything they like with the game. They can turn the VTK into a lightsaber or a turnip if they choose. We could wake up tomorrow and find ourselves playing, not Avengers Alliance, but Peter Pan and His Happy Little Faeries. If some dolt is trying to sue PD for "fraud" for changing the game around, he has no legal leg to stand on. It is never a question of "can they," but "should they."

I won't restate the principle upon which I argued that these catastrophic nerfs of gear, heroes etc are wrong. Yes, PD has the right and the power to make those changes. My position has never been that they can't, but that they shouldn't. In my view, it is ethically compromised. The wiki admins, and a large number of contributors, argue that PD has done it before, they will do it again, and we need to just suck it up and adapt. They are right, of course, but that doesn't change the principle behind the disagreement.

I challenged Xobai's position as the admin to issue a warning and then a ban against me. I wrote: "There are better people to critique my behavior than you, given your recent history. Not trying to start a spitting match, just pointing out the state of affairs." Neither he nor the other admins liked that, and I understand their reaction. The facts behind my position are simple. I recently blasted Xobai and another admin for what I considered to be a cruel, publicly viewable session of shaming and taunting a contributor after banning that contributor for a day. As such, Xobai's responses to me have to be considered questionable. He (she? no insult, I just don't know) disagrees. So does at least one other admin. That's their prerogative. It's another instance of "yes, they can, but should they?" I don't question Xobai's right as a mod to do what he did. I don't question his game skills or his status as a decent human being in real life. I question his judgment as a mod.

Final caution: Some (not all, by any means) of the admins/mods/crats/whatever seem to be hunkered down in a bunker mentality. Every criticism must be met with a sharper response, every dissent must be stifled, warnings, threats and bans must be used without hesitation. The admins can certainly do this. It is their wiki, their sandbox, and we just get to play in it if we choose. But should they? I think not. I understand how quickly forums can devolve into flame pits. I know a family whose house was burned to the ground because of a flame war in a forum. That same flame war resulted in someone painting Nazi symbols on my living room window and sidewalk (and I wasn't even involved in the festivities...). I know several people whose mental and physical health was destabilized and ruined because of 'net wars. I know one woman who lost her job because her name was the same as a flame war participant, and the others mistakently targeted her and filed false complaints against her with her employer. It's sad and stupid, but it happens. I understand that mods must retain some control to keep a lid on things. But there are levels of control, and criticism of a PD decision, or even of an individual mod, does not always necessitate DefCon 5 (or even 1, sometimes) response levels.

The wiki mods have the power to handle things as they choose. That is not in dispute. They have to decide what is and is not appropriate. Some mods seem to be entirely on edge, waiting for someone to say something untoward so they can unleash the virtual hounds. That is not the way to mod a forum. Any forum mod has to understand: your judgment is ALWAYS in question. Your actions and motivations are ALWAYS in question. They should be. You have a modicum of power (even if it is in a single, relatively obscure net forum and not, say, the White House), and others will always assess and question your responses far more than they would a "mere" contributor. You operate in a fishbowl. Everybody assesses everything you do and say. That is not a reflection on you as a mod, it is the state of affairs for everyone everywhere in a position of responsibility and power, no matter how narrowly focused or minor that position might be. You have to take the chip off your shoulder, you have to abandon the Travis Bickel "You talkin' to me?" stance, and you have to govern with a light (but firm) hand. I've seen several admins apologize for things they have said (PKB and Scarlett come to mind.) I appreciate that. It takes a big person to unbend from the "I'm a MOD, I cannot be seen to be wrong!" stance and apologize for going over the line.

Some of the mods are allowing people to vent their displeasure at this or that situation with the game, and only take action when it becomes personally driven ("I can't win PVP now that Ares has been nerfed! PD sucks!!!") or when it becomes personal between commenters ("You're complaining because you were relying on Ares to win, and you aren't good enough to adapt. You suck!!!"). In my judgment (as prone to flaws as anyone else's), that is the right way to handle things. Others are stifling and muzzling criticism. That mentality, in the long run, will bleed the life out of this forum. You will end up with a small number of contributors who do their impression of a group of English horsey set members at high tea, exchanging congratulations on how much they all think alike. Not everyone complains about an aspect of the game because they are losers or whiners or can't win without this or that OP item. Some people have legitimate criticisms that are based in principle, not personal desire. You guys need to recognize that. If you're a mod who is so insecure in his position that he feels it incumbent to throw warnings and bans just to ensure that everyone knows you're a big, bad, rompin' stompin mod who is not to be trifled with, then you are worse for the forum than the idiots who whine, moan, and stalk. My advice to those would be to step away, for the good of the forum.

I'll be interested to see where things go. Forum notwithstanding, this is the best set of data points and info on the web for MAA info, and I will still use that info for my own gaming. I wish this forum well.

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