A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

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A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Knux » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:26 am

A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

The history of SMBX is severely uncertain, with the bare minimal of way-back screenshots, our mistakes were doomed to be repeated. If perhaps an understanding of said past mistakes were to be recognised, SMBX may have continue to thrive.

The poor preservation of our history is more than likely to blame for the way things are, all our understandings of past staff team are based off memory and word-of-mouth. My reasons for making this manifesto is to give my own view and perspective of the community. For those who don’t know, I’ve been a part of the SMBX community since the beginning, was community leader from 2010-13, and have also been banned roughly 19 times. This is not an attempt to cause or stir drama, nor is it an attempt to alienate the community, it is merely my opinion and stance. I hope this gives a big insight into our history, our mistakes, and what we can do to fix things. I have tried to refrain from personal bias as much as possible, and have acknowledged my own wrong-doings in this manifesto. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise.

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SMBX and politics have always existed, but has never been fully addressed to a point of utilising language. We know that leaders such as Kyasarin, CaptainTrek and Joey adapted a firm and strict stance, believing that SMBX members would strongly benefit from this. With an almost non-negotiable way of leadership, ‘high-ranking’ administrators have a dominant right over its community, despite maintaining no initial right to.

Leaders with mentalities such as myself, bikcmp, reghrhre, supermarioman, believed that all members should not be banned outside of general forum rules, and that no-one is above anyone else. To these individuals, the idea of running an overtly strict message board is ultimately pointless for it lacks ‘true importance’ in comparison to a user’s personal lives.

Essentially, it is the differentiating viewpoints on strictness, leadership, user permissions, attitude, and the ‘ideal community’.

Despite these beliefs, both systems are heavily flawed. This is something I simply cannot refuse to acknowledge, and bias must be put aside.

Chapters

Chapter I: The Complicated History of SMBX Members
Chapter II: The Three Sides of SMBX
Chapter III: History of the Three Sides
Chapter IV: Why Staff Teams Fail
i. Age / Maturity / Poor Judgement
ii. Poor Co-operation
iii. The Rule System
Chapter VI: Solutions, and the Future

Chapter I: The Complicated History of SMBX Members


Most online communities have their faults, but rarely do they learn from these mistakes. SMBX’s society is riddled with problems, past and present. Members have always had strange stances on varying subjects which have never quite made sense. One of SMBX’s main features was its ability to merge multiple graphic styles together, which was pretty unique for its time, only to be dismissed as ‘clash’, seen as a negative thing. If you look into anything someone gives, one of these two things will happen.

The user’s work will get constructive criticism, but only if it’s negative it seems. This is not to ignore the positive comments, but I can hardly recall any of them going into great detail as to how they are great. A few positive remarks such as “this is cool” or “i like this part” isn’t constructive at all. This is also not to say that lengthy, positive reviews don’t exist, but they certainly are hard to find.
The user’s work is almost completely ignored, putting them off the community.

For whatever reason, the subjective stance on clashing is seen as objective. In 2012, everyone or everything was deemed biased if it didn’t sit with them well, which stemmed from a joke made during the community contents. Strange guidances like this exist which don’t really serve much purpose other than to limit its capabilities, and this is a reason why the community is so infamous.

Members also show little to no interest in staff decisions, despite many of these choices being a hindrance to them. SMBX politics wouldn’t exist without the user base, yet the overwhelming majority don’t seem to care for the decisions made for them until it’s done and is too late for change. A small sum of members do contribute, but rarely have fixed stances themselves, being easily influenced by two sides and at the same time being too young to grasp the meaning of what’s going on. This of course, does not apply to everyone. The community mentality is very easily misguided and changeable, which has often been seen as an opportunity for manipulation by many.

This is not to downplay the users in any way, but they play a far bigger role in how things are run than they seem to realise.

Chapter II: The Three Sides of SMBX


While it’s difficult to acknowledge everyone’s stance on how a community should work, mainly due to how different people are, there are two distinct sides that have existed since the original forums. Influences and personal experiences have given members, likewise with virtually any online community ever, differing views on the way things are run, and it’s not easy to document this mainly due to the poor preservation of history. For this reason, it’s easier to just focus on the three main ideologies that have existed in SMBX’s time. This would also save a ridiculous amount of your time reading this.

SMBX could be defined by three made-up terms that will hopefully now be recognised as legitimate labels for them.

REDIGIT RULE

The following;

The community should not be held under constant fear of punishment for minor wrong-doings. Rules should still be enforced, but not to a harsh degree.
COPPA was enforced.
This is considered a centrist stand-point.

KYASARIN RULE

The following;

The community should behave in an orderly fashion, otherwise punishments will be severe. This way, SMBX becomes a mature community.
The user base has very little say when it comes to big community changes.

KNUX RULE

Falling mainly in line with Redigit Rule.
Bans are rare, and users are given far more vocal access.
Generally speaking, Knux Rule has a limited forum rules setup, being under the belief that strict rules do not belong in this community bar some exceptions.
Users could not be banned for exceptional reasons outside the rules.

-

All of these systems may initially seem do-able, however all are highly flawed, and although unaware, the SMBX community is clearly still operating under Kyasarin Rule, occasionally shifting to Knux Rule. An interesting point to make is the centrist Redigit Rule system, AKA the one that actually worked, has never been implemented again.

Chapter III: History of the Three Sides


Prior to Kyasarin Rule, the SMBX community was a very neutral environment. Redigit, who was still very much involved with SMBX at the time, did not focus on his administrative duties as much as he did on his projects. The staff team, prior to Kyasarin and Luminous’ promotions, were notably lax. There were problems, like with all forums, but there was never lengthy discussions on how the place should be ran. It was a middle-ground system, making members feel at home but also making sure that everyone behaved. This could be defined as Redigit Rule.

Kyasarin’s tenure as a moderator stirred controversy rather quickly. Kyasarin came from the Revolver Games community and it would become apparent later on that Kyasarin, Luminous, JellyBones, and any other member from this site were trolls. Following Redigit’s departure to Haiti, Kyasarin and Luminous became the forum leaders. Luminous’s activity declined to a point where only Kyasarin and another staff member Kuribo, also partially inactive, would be the only ones working.

Kyasarin enforced a strict, harsh policy. Users were being banned for no legitimate reasons, and this is what caused the migration from the original forum over to Knux Forum. The poor documentation of our history has lead to strange romanticisation for the way Kyasarin believed the community should function, as indicated by members such as CaptainTrek and Joey, who believe this method of administration was highly effective. This of course does not account for the fact that the overbearing population of the community were greatly resentful towards Kyasarin’s mistreating of the forums. Being a member of the private Revolver Games myself, it became pretty obvious early on that this site took a great disliking to the SMBX community, and at times seemed to take great joy in essentially ‘bullying little kids’ as it was put back then.

Following the on-going legal troubles surrounding SMBX, and Redigit’s declining interest, the original forums shut in 2010. For a long period of time there was no official forum, just mines and a few smaller ones.
CaptainTrek took over as the community leader for the remainder of that year, continuing to operate under the now clearly flawed Kyasarin Rule. In what can only be described as an unbearable time for everyone, CaptainTrek (who, again, was romanticised) would quickly prove to be one of the most incompetent staff members the SMBX community had ever seen. Banning users for literally no reason and having public meltdowns in response to trolls.

Kyasarin and CaptainTrek were both highly influential members, there’s no doubt about it. But, they are also notorious. It is my firm belief that everything that is wrong with the moderation of the SMBX community today is almost entirely their fault. This will be explained furthermore.


-


I have never viewed the SMBX community as a place where a strict rule-set worked. For one, the majority of members at the time were aged 12-16. I was only 14 when I became the community leader myself. I abolished COPPA as well, because the law didn’t apply for the UK and there were some loopholes, so anyone under the age of 12 would be allowed to join and participate with community activities.

I thoroughly believed that nobody should be banned unless they break the simplistic rule system I had laid out. The general premise was; be nice. For a long time, this worked. Members were complementing my way of running things.

Truth is, I can’t deny the fact that this system was also flawed. By giving users far more freedom it would path the way for open-criticism, even if at times it wasn’t justified.

SORA is a particularly controversial part of this. The SORA team initially came across with the intention of bettering the community, and pointing out my errors. I can’t deny the fact that at times I was incredibly immature and childish. General silliness that was harmless was seen as a great threat to the way the forums were being run. Could they really trust me when I’m busy spamming Freeforums? Certainly doesn’t give a good impression.

Letting users criticise the staff essentially lead to anyone saying whatever they wanted, even if it was total nonsense. This is what brings me back to SORA, who had a clear vendetta against me personally, and this was obvious by most accounts. However, as to not contradict my own implemented rules, I allowed discussion and it lead to an absolute horror-show. This, on top of other outside-related issues, caused a great divide between myself and a good portion of the community - believing I was far too lenient and irresponsible for the job.

Reghrhre, who was now leading the NSMBX forums, agreed to attempt a merge. However, the after-effects of SORA and other controversies I never hid greatly damaged my credibility. This merge ended up not happening, the why and how of this will be explained later on.

in 2013, Joey had expressed interest in restoring the community to its glory days. I should point out that Joey wasn’t a member of the SMBX community until mid-2010, and never lived through the transition period of Redigit Rule to Kyasarin Rule.

And again, because of my decision to give users the right to discuss major forum decisions, Joey was able to become community leader.


The SMBX Council formed in late 2013 for the intended purpose of discussing and merging all the SMBX forums (three in total, two in which were practically identical).
This idea made a lot of sense at the time because myself, reghrhre and Cloud (of his SMBX sub-forums) were all very on-edge with one another. The truth is, all three of us believed in the same rule system, and strongly detested Kyasarin Rule, but we just didn’t get on well. This seemed highly beneficial at the time for everyone.

Joey was involved, and offered to host a new site. As he started to gain members, he started to change things. One particular change was the decision not to include Cloud as a prominent staff member, despite assurance that all the staff members would keep their administrative powers, and essentially ridding of him completely. Cloud eventually opted out but Reghrhre couldn’t by this point, and neither could I. On New Year’s Day, 2014, I deleted Joey’s forum in an attempt to undo his attempt at bringing back Kyasarin Rule, but failed and had virtually all my credibility by this point diminished.

Joey’s forums, especially in 2014-15, were entirely under the same rule system that was proven to be oppressive and unfair. Members were being banned once more for no reason other than personal preference (for instance, BTB was banned for a ridiculous amount of time purely based on the fact a moderator didn’t like him - this happened, wasn’t the only time, and still exists as evidence in the forum archives). The staff refused to listen to any user input whatsoever, including my minimal request of changing a single gif because of its seizure risk (that was a time).

Joey is now no longer as involved as he once was, and while many staff members have since shown a more relaxed view-point, there are still many issues present. I believe that Kyasarin Rule was reinforced, but has since been chipped away at slightly. The complicated ‘strict’ ideology is still very much present, which undeniably exists as a result of Kyasarin’s decision to change the community.

Chapter IV: Why Staff Teams Fail


In what can only be described as one of the most controversial topics within our community, discussing the issues of the staff team has almost never gone down well. Granted, there have been some notable exceptions to this rule, but the general attitude from the majority of team leaders is partially to blame (amongst other reasons) as to why SMBX remains in a strange cycle of repetition and lack of real effective change.

In this next part of the manifesto, I will be addressing past staff teams, why they didn’t work, what could have been done to make things better, and why it all matters.

To the current moderator team reading this; please do not see this as an attack on the current staff, as this mainly focuses on past teams, and constructive criticism should be allowed - I think we can all agree on that. I want to clarify that I have no personal vendettas with any of the staff, and the purpose of this documentation is to benefit the community.

I. Age / Maturity / Poor Judgement

The SMBX community is predominately made up of a younger audience, prior to Redigit’s ‘requirement’ to implement COPPA it became an apparent issue that anyone under the age of 12 wasn’t considered ‘mature’ enough to be on the boards. While this argument has weight to it, these judgements were passed on by members who, for the most part, were neither legal adults themselves. Although there is an obvious age gap between two generations, and while the older members are likely to behave or socialise better, they are still far too young to make serious judgement and to fully grasp the concept of running a community at their age.

Looking back, I used to think I was amongst the most adult-like forum leaders - I was the average age for admin, 14-15. Looking back, it’s quite clear that this was an issue. I certainly was not mature enough to be in charge of the community, and neither was anyone else within the same age category, i.e. most of the staff.

This presents two big problems, the first one being that SMBX has had a history of ‘kids running kids’ and second being that the staff are incapable of recognising this. SMBX forums under Kysasarin Rule were far too strict for a forum based on what is essentially a kid’s franchise. Users would complain about the high number of young folks despite the fact it was a forum rooted in the younger generation of gaming. Knux Rule attempted to tackle this, and found that this gave way for an poorly controlled environment. Should this mean users are better off babied and allowed to act silly? No, but the rules that apply on other online communities with a more mature user base don’t necessarily work here. Staff have quit mainly for the way the community is, and again, they didn’t take into consideration of the audience SMBX has acquired over the years.

The point I’m trying to make is no matter what the staff team do, whether that be enforcing stricter rules or purging, the SMBX community will always be populated by younger members. The older users get, the more likelier they are to move on to other things. The vast majority of members from 2009-13 are no longer here, and this is clearly to do with age.

Staff members also fall within the 13-18 category, but no matter how capable they think they are, they simply are not. At 14, you do not have good judgement. That is a fact of life. You are simply not clued up enough on the real world to fully grasp things. Members within this age category were too emotionally invested in their jobs, and started blurring the lines between an actual offence and personal issues. This issue is present a lot in teenage relationships.
I’m saying this as a 22-year old, and I will no doubt reflect on the age I am now in the future. The ideal solution here, in my opinion, is to put an age restriction on staff. I am not sure if this is a requirement now, but it makes sense. Anyone over the age of 18, ask yourself this; did you consider yourself mature enough at 14, only to realise that in fact, you weren’t?


I have brought this issue up before and I’ve received backlash for it, mainly by (surprise, surprise) users in their mid-teenage years.

I need to take into consideration that there are staff members well into their 20s that have acted just as ridiculous, but these types present a great difference between those and well-behaved staff members of the same age, and yet also present a great contrast between themselves and those who are much younger.

II. Poor Co-Operation

The staff, particularly those under Kysasarin Rule, have shown to be extremely hesitant to any change requested by its user base. While this doesn’t entirely relate to the current staff team as of March 2019, it was, for many years, a serious problem that caused a great disconnect between staff members, and could easily happen again if the wrong types are chosen.

The ultimate sadness in this is that poor co-operation has almost always been the main reason why the staff team has a revolving-door complex. Some staff members simply refuse to co-operate, or meet the middle ground, almost entirely due to ego or personal reasons (which plays back into the maturity argument above), and eventually turn a minor fault into a big mess, before finally ‘quitting’ the community only to return some time later. I have nothing to hide, I did this. Many, many users also did this.

Forum merges, staff changes, and other major concerns have always been dealt with by the staff themselves, and many times this has resulted in backlash. A more recent example was the private discussion in regards to moving to Reddit, to which the overwhelming majority of the user base disagreed to.
The problem here? Again, poor co-operation, and the disconnect between the user groups.

Let’s face it, staff members very quickly gain a superiority complex (third time; this is mainly an age-related matter), and begin dissociating themselves from the rest of the members. This has always been seen as a need to happen in order for control, but it just doesn’t work or make sense. Moderators, in principle, work, but the attitudes many possess (again, coupled with the way the community is and has always been) have always been proven to end up causing trouble (examples of this include; Joey, Myself, NameUser, Reghrhre, Kyasarin, Luminous, IRC staff). Should the moderator team be abolished? No, but how members interact should be heavily analysed and observed before decisions like moderator status are made. Users like Chad, who made himself a very likeable figure, ended up becoming an excellent choice for a staff member. Joey, NameUser and CaptainTrek were members heavily detested before they became staff members, and this resulted in horrific backlash. This issue of hiring staff members without thinking about it enough plays into the poor co-operation of staff members.

To clarify, this isn’t always an issue. Many current staff members are very down to earth and see themselves as equals amongst the user base. However, when the opposite happens, it’s pretty obvious to everyone including staff, but is rarely ever nipped in the bud.

Many in which, may I add, aren’t active enough to even be staff members. Valtteri never did anything as a moderator at Knux Forums, but the lack of appropriate staff resulted in limitations - and an uproar caused by Valtteri’s then-immaturity, and my then-immaturity, made everything worse.

This comes under another problem in itself, staff relationships. It is difficult to find good staff members, but we need to stop making the frequent error of putting two members, who hate each other, in staff positions. The same applies for hiring admins who have negative personal relationships with the user base. It has been noted that encourages staff to abuse their power (example; NameUser banning BTB for no concrete reason).

It’s no secret that I didn’t get on well with the Joey’s team throughout 2014-15. Any legitimate concern I had would be dismissed because of who I was (in fact, there’s a chance that this documentation won’t be around for long either). This is something that needs to be avoided again. The staff MUST push their personal conflicts aside - because it’s not fair on the user base. This also benefits everyone, because this kind of behaviour is illegal in the work place, lol.

The staff team need to fully adopt a neutral stance to *everything*, because it is so easy for bias to slip in when it comes to decision-making.

III. The Rule System

The forum rules system is one of the biggest blunders in SMBX’s entire history, and there are many reasons for this:

1. Some would argue that the forum rules are too strict for the type of community it is, and that the staff need to relax a bit.

2. Staff are guilty for breaking their own rules. There have been seemingly endless instances of this happening, most in which, again, goes entirely under the radar because of poor observation skills, mainly.

3. While mocking and bullying is taken seriously, inappropriate comments have become common-place, mainly due to the fact that the forum rules don’t actually clarify what is meant by this. It’s too vague, and the line is drawn seemingly by a staff member’s decision, despite far more comments deemed ‘inappropriate’ turning up everywhere.

4. Sexual content is regularly permitted on the site, despite this being against the rules. This is a rule that needs to be reinforced because it’s just not appropriate at all for a site like this.

5. The content rule also points out that illegal content isn’t allowed. Again, this is vague and, ironically, makes a mockery of the staff. Almost everything in a project, level, episode contains copyright materials which are being distributed illegally. Even the forum’s image-set has legal issues surrounding it - which in part, may be one of the reasons as to why the original forums got taken down. The staff have been made well-aware of this, yet nothing has been done about it. Granted, there isn’t an easy solution to this, but it’s just laughable more than anything else.

6. Joey’s points about how moderating should work regularly come across as problematic. For one, Joey thoroughly believes that SMBX should not be a democracy, and that there must be a power imbalance between moderators and members (just reading 4. Moderation in the forum rules thread should be enough to convince you that this Kyasarin Rule in effect). But why does he get to make this decision? ‘he owns the site’ is the likeliest response you’ll get, and that’s a fair enough point - but he doesn’t own the community and the people within it.

7. Backwards Moderating is a rule that only exists to hide the fact that staff members aren’t doing their job properly. There is also nothing inherently wrong with reminding fellow users about the forum rules - ‘cause that’s what they’re there for? In fact, it shouldn’t be happening in the first place. If users are doing more work than the actual moderators, then you’ve got a serious problem that doesn’t need to be written down for you.

8. One of the forum rules literally states that moderators don’t have to deal with users and their bans (justified or not) if they consider it a sensitive issues. This is nonsense, as a competent staff member should be able to deal with ALL matters, not selective ones.

9. In the Site Discussion rules topic, it quite clearly states that users are given very little to discuss regarding the state of the forum. Apparently, discussing staff actions and moderation is against the rules. If that’s the case, then how can anything be done at all? It’s already been proven time and time again that staff members do not hold the best judgement, and that they aren’t perfect themselves. Having incompetent teams totally excluded of constructive criticism (which is the ultimate irony considering the fact it’s also a forum rule) doesn’t help anything at all. Some staff members are completely oblivious to their faults (age and maturity point). If the user base can’t rationally debate topics such as their own staff team, then you’ve got another clear-as-day problem that doesn’t require an explanation.


For what it’s worth, I could be reading this all wrong, but the way the rules are written up makes little sense, and can be interoperated in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, forum rules are essential and without them there would be total chaos, but they really need to be looked at thoroughly.

In addition to all of this, many of these rules are broken on a daily basis, yet staff are strangely selective with who gets punished and who doesn’t.

Chapter V: Solutions, and the Future


It’s hard to see the SMBX community surviving without fixing the present issues. The problem with the forum activity clearly has nothing to do with SMBX itself, because it’s very much taken a complete U-Turn in recent years, from a dead project to so much potential. Remember, SMBX was very much finished in 2010 and yet its activity strived.

The solution isn’t simple, and there have been many ideas put forth. Some work, some don’t. I confess that it may take a long time before we ever reach the middle-ground again, if ever. Redigit Rule could come back, but then we’d have to ignore everything we’ve done for the past 7 years, which isn’t the solution either.

I do hope that SMBX continues, but without addressing the staff problems of the last 7-8 years, it has very little hope of staying. The information I’ve given will hopefully be taken into consideration and food-for-thought, but even then I have little hope. All my credibility as a user was stripped away, at first by SORA, and latter by simply not helping myself. If there is anything else that needs clarifying, then I shall do so.

Again, I really hope that staff do not see this as an attack. I only care about benefiting this community and making sure it has a chance of reviving itself. These problems presented in the manifesto are, as far as I’m concerned, overbearing and the main cause for all the departures and unwelcoming atmosphere. I also would like this thread to remain open for discussion, although within a civil manner. If the staff decide that this thread should be locked, which I think will only add to the list of problems, then at least allow this to exist as preservation.

-

'Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.' - George Santatyana.
Last edited by Knux on Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Aero » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:34 pm

I have some concerns that I'll PM you about, but as long as this forums rules are followed through the rest of the thread I don't see a problem with keeping the thread open. I'll make a post later on responding to this to address what you brought up, but would like to see where this thread goes first before doing so.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby LGLMAKING » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:40 pm

Amazing. Now I know what happened in the last decade before my arrival.Amazing. Now I know what happened in the last decade before my arrival.

I say:
Sticky this
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Scroll » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:42 pm

LGLMAKING wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:40 pm
I say:
Sticky this
Agreed.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Cedur » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:47 pm

almost 5,000 words, respect. I'll try to respond in detail and reflect my own views about member patterns and maturity issues ...
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Aero » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:21 pm

So I'm not going to make a point-by-point avalanche of quotes to respond to this because there's just a few general themes that need to be addressed. The first theme I've picked up on is that there's a set standard that the staff conforms to when moderating. This is basically what's covered in the "Three Sides of SMBX" part, and just isn't that accurate at least for the staff team as its existed on this forum. The moderators use what is outlined in the rules and their own judgment to make a decision about if and how a punishment would be carried out. They then must bring up the situation with the rest of the staff before a final decision is made. If a consensus can be established then an action is either carried out. The only time a user would be punished (i.e. banned) without consensus is if they're just a spam bot or a blatantly obvious troll. This has worked so far, and with the implementation of the ban appeal system there's been a fairly decent balance established with keeping punishments to a minimum while ensuring the community is moderated enough to get by without issues. Fundamentally, I believe the best punishment system is one where punishments don't need to be given in the first place but when they are it should be meaningless/unnecessary to evade it; however, this is more often than not non-applicable. The best that can be done as of now is to structure things in a way that invite positive and constructive habits and not attract non-constructive and harmful behaviour.

Regarding your statements about age they're kind of mixed. On the one hand yes an older member can be expected to be more mature than a younger one. On the other hand maturity is subjective enough that it can't be used to draw a hard line and impose restrictions based on age. To be an effective staff member I believe the person needs to be: fairly active, able to solve problems, handle matters through discussion, and participate in the community like other members do. I started moderating here when I was about 15 and do believe that I've made positive influences on the community since then, and can also agree that a significant amount of maturity can be built up over that time making it possible to recognize that I would act differently now than I would then. Ultimately it's self-moderation that is a major factor that gets overlooked in determining outcomes. Also, the idea of a responsible staff team that needs to direct a community of irresponsible kids just won't work. Everyone needs to be expected to act maturely in that they self-moderate by not participating in harmful or otherwise rule breaking behaviour while working with other members to reach solutions to a given matter.

Finally for your statements on the rules and cooperation, my point mostly ties into what I've said above. When the staff uses the rules and come to a consensus on how to respond things work out well. When that starts to break down to a lack of cooperation then that's when things get difficult. The previous version of the rules was a couple very general statements of what's expected of members and left the staff members to handle things individually. A longer set of rules with more specifications does not make them inherently more strict. Part of the motivation for the latest draft was to get everything in writing so nobody is left guessing and there's less room for interpretation for staff so that there's no selective enforcement. It's gotten us to a point where when an action is carried out all of the staff can be on the same page and everyone else can understand the decision and why it was carried out to a reasonable degree. I find the specific points made to be dubious and a bit pedantic so I don't really have anything to say about them other than that and whenever a rule is broken a report should be made even if it involves a staff member.

So it's clear, the rules of the Site Discussion forum wouldn't allow for this topic because it's an address to the community, members are individually brought up, and is about staff actions and moderation. The reason for this is that the last time the Site Discussion forum was up it invited all sorts of drama and was going in a bad direction. The rules basically fixed this because the forum now focuses on bringing new ideas to improve things rather than rehashing disputes, pointless arguing, and just making a mess of things. It certainly wasn't holding anyone accountable and there is plenty of room for constructive changes to be brought up.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Eri7 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:51 pm

What i have just read informed me about so many stuff, i noticed stuff were going odd here but this here, it opened my eyes and now i understand why and how does the smbx politics work.
I have only one thing to say and that is RESPECT, you want to make the community great again, that's why you should be elected as smbx president and i too wish stuff can get better and that we could restore some of the glorious days of this community!

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Waddle » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:08 pm

I think "restore X to its former glory" is a foolish narrative because we tend to romanticize past times. People claiming they'd love to live in Medieval Europe tend to leave out the horrible stench and bubonic plague parts of that time- so too is your take on some of this community's history probably biased, even if you've aimed to prevent such bias to the best of your ability. Your analysis of different ways to lead the community is therefore a much more useful tool, but I think you've underestimated the value we put (or at least I put) in user input. After all, if normal users constitute our community then it is only fair to listen what they have to say. Who better to judge whether we're doing a good job than the people our actions affect?
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Core » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:15 pm

At some point i get your ideas and your wishes Knux. I couldn't read all of this, so my point can be very wrong. I don't think young people is problem in community. That is the problem staff can deal with. I don't think it's that hard to deal with immature people, because they get out of controls with their actions and behavior, so they don't have a lot of chances to stay in community for a long time. And imo there's a lot of mature people compared to immature people.
And i don't think users are held under constant fear of punishment, at least now.
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Cedur » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:24 pm

Ok Knux, generally most of your words are right and relatable, and I appreciate your braveness in making this, but some of its content is a bit one-dimensional and too clichéd.

The point I disagree the most is the claim of the age structure of this community, and how the rules should be enacted in regard to this. I’ll say this one hopefully last time, putting up an age limit for staff is neither helpful (being everything else the same) nor smart. Nien said enough about this. I experienced backlash and social manipulation from both teens and adults.

I may give a bit of credit to the point of “You are simply not clued up enough on the real world to fully grasp things“. Or in similar words, „you’re prone to being gullible“. No matter how true that may be, you can offset it within a functionally working team with a diversified age structure. I get a bit where you’re coming from. But excluding people from potential staffship until they come of age is just as moronic as COPPA.

Besides, your maturity within a forum may also depend on the time you spend on forums. You can go through a process of learning insight into human nature and growing as a person at every age.

The active community is definitely not mostly in the range of 12-16 and below. Most of the short-time and unserious members may be, but these are not the ones to pay consideration to. And outside the ones who disappear after a day or week, there are many underage people who get along with the rules just well.

A “strict” (in my view, an ideal) ruleset is one where you consequently safe the forums from being infested by spammy and noobish content, almost similar to a Wiki. This involves much post deletion (more than usually happens here), but not necessarily a huge amount of (instant) bans. Justice is applied to a great amount, a balance between goodwill and enforcement is found, and ultimately you can say “this forum has good behaviour”. I could also argue that this kind of thorough organization is important to gain sincere new members.

I don’t think it’s even worth to use Kathy’s name for a pattern of “ruling”, as they were beyond asinine and completely driven by narcissism. It has nothing to do with the forums being “populated by kids” and presumably needing “less strict standards”; the Kathy twins definitely did not have any credit of trying to work towards a "mature community".

If someone shows to be a pure vandal, they’re banned of course, no need to discuss. If someone is just at the brink of being trolly or noobish, I’d say a warning is enough, and you can check if the person is sticking around and keeps up being bad.

If you do not care about “quality control” on your forums, that’s what’s shortly called “being lax”. Your forums have been given the reputation of an anarchic place where people could clown around. I’m unable to judge myself but if I had already been there, I would have most likely felt disgusted and would have expressed that accordingly (and ended up in a discord with you lol). Why is the thought of content control even met with so much resentment by some?

During the 2 and 3/4 months of my membership, I noticed that new members could be roughly classified in these tiers:
  • Makes a single post, often a project thread with just “hey look I’m working on this”, with nothing behind. Only posted for the sake of short attention. Generally that’s what’s called a “hit-and-runner”. Doesn’t pay attention to any response on his behavior either, if they even log back in after posting.
  • Hasn’t read the rules, makes several meaningless posts, lacks common sense. Either leaves soon or sticks around only to keep being a little kid. (in the latter case they’ll likely be subject of warnings and onward). Sometimes this comes also from external reasons like autism, but the rules should not make any difference (other than real life).
  • Doesn’t stay but at least posts legit content (often a help question, or a project thread that follows the rules but is abandoned nevertheless)
  • Follows the rules, may start out shallow but sticks around, participates in discussions both SMBX and outside, eventually becomes a fully active member (also joins Discord servers)
Next, here’s a plea of my own that has not been mentioned. I see so many users making goodwill replies to posts that break rules – mostly empty project threads, but sometimes even spambots. In the former case there are sometimes even bandwagons of at least three people. While this is not explicitely mentioned in the rules (frankly it should be), staff members have enforced this many times by telling people not to reply both publicly and privately. I got confirmation by Waddle that this behavior is indeed a nuisance, hence I will start reporting these posts whenever I find them. If you intend to be helpful, you’re on the completely wrong end. If you think it’s in good faith to engage with something that doesn’t deserve any reaction, you’re wrong. You can make your own opinion about the new member patterns described above but please be less gullible. I’m almost inclined to think you’re just doing this out of a misguided urge to give yourself some importantness, while you exactly know that you could just leave a report and carry on. [/end of rant]

Now, for the state of the rules: Your bottom points are good and important. Rule 4 can sound a bit daunting, and there are also according report reasons that don’t need to exist while the simple and frequent “wrong subforum” is not listed and needs to be put under “Other”. However when you talk about backseat moderating, keep in mind the cases where users obviously should not make any reply at all, see above.
Some would argue that the forum rules are too strict for the type of community it is, and that the staff need to relax a bit.

I don’t think they are at all. I argued above why the rules technically couldn’t be strict enough.
5. The content rule also points out that illegal content isn’t allowed. Again, this is vague and, ironically, makes a mockery of the staff. Almost everything in a project, level, episode contains copyright materials which are being distributed illegally. Even the forum’s image-set has legal issues surrounding it - which in part, may be one of the reasons as to why the original forums got taken down. The staff have been made well-aware of this, yet nothing has been done about it. Granted, there isn’t an easy solution to this, but it’s just laughable more than anything else.

This holds zero relevance, because otherwise we couldn’t exist as a fangame community at all. „Illegal“ definitely holds a different meaning. And literally the only case I could think where this rule would apply was Wojtek’s former malware spam.

Finally, the future … despite all the problems elaborated about the staff and users, I see some light at the end of the tunnel (I always do, lol). Yeah, the recent Reddit move turmoil has exploited many wrongs that most users weren't even able to guess, so I hope this was a significant learning experience. There have been many new members since 2016 who haven’t experienced their socialisation within such tense drama and polarizing groups as the years before. Then there’s also people who have already been a member then, but are not stuck in the past. So, what if these active members eventually become staff … I can’t say anything for sure but I’m still optimistic!
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby TheRedFox » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:45 pm

It's better if you move on, Knux.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Knux » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:39 am

TheRedFox wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:45 pm
It's better if you move on, Knux.
no second guesses as to who you are...

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Megar » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:55 pm

should've just let the hsmbxc win, smh
disgusting

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby MistakesWereMade » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:05 pm

Alright, I skipped through most of this post. But I did fully read chapter IV.III of your manifesto on smbx politics (I don't think you could've forced me to use words that are more pretentious than those), and I'm gonna have to agree. The ruleset is a disaster, it puts extremely vague guidelines on both the normal userbase and the staff, making the latter able to make as many exceptions to the rule as they feel like. This problem is made worse by the fact that there's so many rules that were implemented during Joey's administration that practically made you unable to complain, encouraging the staff's mentality of "we know what's best for the community" while also blinding themselves to any sort of needs the userbase actually had. The rules basically made the staff look more like a "cool kids club" than a group that was actively helping the forum grow.

But, to quote the mysterious person I definitely don't recognize:
TheRedFox wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:45 pm
It's better if you move on, Knux.
Writing such a long post to try and "save" a community engulfed in a trashfire can't be good for your mental health. The SMBX forums are beyond help, half of the issues that happen here are not even present in other communities. Find other groups or places to hang around in, I can tell you from personal experience that other places are infinitely better.

Right now, to reference Vinyl's statements, the staff needs to be completely changed in order for the community to have hopes of reviving itself. Main problem is that most of the great members have already noped the fuck out and left to do better things, so the userbase lacks users that are actually fit for that position. This has been the case multiple times throughout the community's lifespan, it's a vicious cycle that is beyhond repair at this point.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Waddle » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm

Great takes from users who haven't been actively participating in all the actually active and good parts of the community for a while. The discord-side of things is actually doing really quite well; the state of the forum is a terrible indicator for the state of the SMBX community as a whole. It's time to take off those rose-tinted goggles and accept that the community will probably never live up the glory it once reached in your memories. But that doesn't mean that the community itself can't still be a good one- it will simply never be as good as the one you oh so fondly remember.
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby MistakesWereMade » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:32 pm

Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
Great takes from users who haven't been actively participating in all the actually active and good parts of the community for a while
Prime example of a staff member immediately dissing people's opinions based on user credentials and being passive agressive about it. Classy.
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
The state of the forum is a terrible indicator for the state of the SMBX community as a whole.
...Isn't that a MASSIVE problem?
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
It's time to take off those rose-tinted goggles and accept that the community will probably never live up the glory it once reached in your memories. But that doesn't mean that the community itself can't still be a good one- it will simply never be as good as the one you oh so fondly remember.
I'm not sure if knux said this in his thread, but you gotta be absolutely crazy to think that the forums have ever been in a "glorious" state, asides for maybe reghrhre's administration. And if the community can't ever be as good as something that has been mostly questionable from the start, then hooh boy, that sounds like another issue on its own.

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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Waddle » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:47 pm

Nien wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:32 pm
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
Great takes from users who haven't been actively participating in all the actually active and good parts of the community for a while
Prime example of a staff member immediately dissing people's opinions based on user credentials and being passive agressive about it. Classy.
All I'm saying is that perhaps you're not in the best position to judge the state of the community as a whole.
Nien wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:32 pm
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
The state of the forum is a terrible indicator for the state of the SMBX community as a whole.
...Isn't that a MASSIVE problem?
Hardly. Communities change, and so do the media they prefer. Discord is the hottest hub for basically any gaming community right now, so it makes perfect sense for the Discord to be where more conversation happens.
Nien wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:32 pm
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
It's time to take off those rose-tinted goggles and accept that the community will probably never live up the glory it once reached in your memories. But that doesn't mean that the community itself can't still be a good one- it will simply never be as good as the one you oh so fondly remember.
I'm not sure if knux said this in his thread, but you gotta be absolutely crazy to think that the forums have ever been in a "glorious" state, asides for maybe reghrhre's administration. And if the community can't ever be as good as something that has been mostly questionable from the start, then hooh boy, that sounds like another issue on its own.
Seems you misread my argument, or perhaps I phrased it poorly: what I meant is that the forum in its prime, whenever you might think that was, was probably not as great as you might remember it being. It's unfair to project those memories onto the current state of the community; it can never live up to that ideal image.
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Oshi » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:00 pm

Hey Knux, I'm probably going to PM you a bit later (perhaps in a day or so) to discuss something in private, though I might not decide to do so if I feel that it is not something I would like to share due to the content of it.

I am going to reply to this, though. It looks like most of your points in Chapter IV are very valid and I can agree with them, but I'd like to point out a few things. For one, it's kinda unlikely that we'd get a "suitable" staff due to the fact that this wouldn't be a very interesting place for an older audience (because Mario is kind of a childish series, no offence). This is also accompanied by the fact that most (not necessarily all) will move on when they get older, leaving a huge amount of the fanbase still pretty young to be moderating, which is an issue. Also, age isn't always a determining factor in someone's maturity (there can be adults that act like complete babies), but I'd say it's definitely something that affects it.

Going a bit off track here for a second to bring up something that I don't think you covered in your manifesto: there is for sure a huge difference between someone who is suitable for moderating and someone who is going to be awful at it. I'm not going to go all in on this one, but if you really look hard at a person's actions in and out of public spaces you can see what their true colors are, and if it's not so hot then you know that there is a problem there. See, people tend to act differently based on what kind of group they are around, and I know this for a fact because I have seen people do this hundreds of times, and no matter how they might seem to you at first they could be hiding under a facade. This is especially true for teenagers.

Back to Chapter IV now. In The Rule System, point 5 is not really true. While almost all of the assets we use for both the game and here are protected by at least some form of copyright, I don't believe that was what meant to be communicated. As Cedur said, it's something completely different that is referring to actual criminal activities, such as hacking.

Nothing really to say about Chapters I-III, as it's mostly facts and history, but I was quite surprised to learn that Redigit actually had the one system that worked the best (though as you said it was flawed).
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Fuyu » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:12 am

Mona wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:21 pm
Spoiler: show
So I'm not going to make a point-by-point avalanche of quotes to respond to this because there's just a few general themes that need to be addressed. The first theme I've picked up on is that there's a set standard that the staff conforms to when moderating. This is basically what's covered in the "Three Sides of SMBX" part, and just isn't that accurate at least for the staff team as its existed on this forum. The moderators use what is outlined in the rules and their own judgment to make a decision about if and how a punishment would be carried out. They then must bring up the situation with the rest of the staff before a final decision is made. If a consensus can be established then an action is either carried out. The only time a user would be punished (i.e. banned) without consensus is if they're just a spam bot or a blatantly obvious troll. This has worked so far, and with the implementation of the ban appeal system there's been a fairly decent balance established with keeping punishments to a minimum while ensuring the community is moderated enough to get by without issues. Fundamentally, I believe the best punishment system is one where punishments don't need to be given in the first place but when they are it should be meaningless/unnecessary to evade it; however, this is more often than not non-applicable. The best that can be done as of now is to structure things in a way that invite positive and constructive habits and not attract non-constructive and harmful behaviour.

You're describing the best system right there Mona. I have been out of the loop for so long to really know if this is what the forum is, but I can 100% agree this is what it should be.

I'm going to break down one of the "hottest" topics brought up on this thread: Age = Maturity. I won't be the first one to say this, but I hope to be the one to open some eyes here. Being older is NOT the same as being mature. But wait, that is not all I want to say, so those who think otherwise stick with me a little longer. While age doesn't make someone mature, maturity coming out of experiences lived on both the internet and in real life is an undeniable truth. Experiences are events that we go through for as long as we live, so seeing age and maturity as terms that go hand-in-hand is a common misconception. Yes, if we're not old enough we are most likely not mature enough, but judging others based on that is doing them a huge disservice. That being said, I am willing to take Knux's side on this simply because many, and I mean many of us have truly seen the staff as "the cool kids club" at least once, and those that deny this need to come to terms with this. I identify myself as one of those people that felt that way and admit it is the main reason why I wanted to join the staff way back, and have also committed the same mistakes Knux point out. I can see this thanks to the experiences I have gone through, and the staff should be formed of people that have done so as well, AKA older people.

Please do not take this as a personal attack, this is anything but that. I also love this community, and I want to help it thrive.
Waddle Derp wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:08 pm
Spoiler: show
I think "restore X to its former glory" is a foolish narrative because we tend to romanticize past times. People claiming they'd love to live in Medieval Europe tend to leave out the horrible stench and bubonic plague parts of that time- so too is your take on some of this community's history probably biased, even if you've aimed to prevent such bias to the best of your ability. Your analysis of different ways to lead the community is therefore a much more useful tool, but I think you've underestimated the value we put (or at least I put) in user input. After all, if normal users constitute our community then it is only fair to listen what they have to say. Who better to judge whether we're doing a good job than the people our actions affect?
Waddle Derp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm
Spoiler: show
Great takes from users who haven't been actively participating in all the actually active and good parts of the community for a while. The discord-side of things is actually doing really quite well; the state of the forum is a terrible indicator for the state of the SMBX community as a whole. It's time to take off those rose-tinted goggles and accept that the community will probably never live up the glory it once reached in your memories. But that doesn't mean that the community itself can't still be a good one- it will simply never be as good as the one you oh so fondly remember.

But that's the thing, we shouldn't bring the forum to its former glory. What we SHOULD be doing without question is to make this forum a pleasant place for people to spend some quality time in. And for that to happen we need to stop taking criticism personally. Something that resonated with me with your original response was that you took it as if Knux was specifically talking about you when he wasn't. Yes, he did spill out some names but only that of users that have resided on this community in the past and have shaped the community with their way of thinking but take notice that no names of the current staff members have been mentioned at all. This is a constant issue that all of us as members of society have, not just on this forum. We hate being told bad things, we feel like being hit by a truck at max speed, it's aggravating. But here's the kicker: what people criticize is more often than not an entity and not a person. I apologize if this is taken into account so thoroughly when we have so much to discuss here, but I feel this is a point that has to be made for the staff as well as for future members that join.

Another thing I've noticed is that you're jumping the gun and discrediting what Nien is saying simply because of past deeds. Don't. That itself is a biased way of thinking and hence flawed proving Knux right. This is where being objective should be applied, all points brought upon the staff being taken with the seriousness it deserves instead of being shunned out because "X said it".

I want to take my time to talk about the experience I'm gaining on my job. For those who don't know I work at the state bank on Uruguay and I'm tasked with working on reception, where most of my job is spent transferring money from account to account, giving out statements, emitting bills of exchange and other boring stuff that have no real bearing on this discussion. Do you know what does have a bearing here, however? How the bank treats every client neutrally and gives each and everyone the benefit of the doubt. Sure, the bank doesn't trust a whole lot those clients that have abused our trust, but that doesn't mean we shun them for their deeds. If they come back to transfer money or open another account on a foreign currency we gladly do that, because that's our job. We don't judge, we comply. Our job is to make sure the guidelines are followed and not to judge others. We may feel uncomfortable around them, and if our position was compromised by their actions, as some of my workmates have, we may even hate that person. But we don't let that get in the way of our job, and neither should we. The moment we take the staff flag we need to treat every user as equally as any other.
Cedur wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:24 pm
Spoiler: show
A “strict” (in my view, an ideal) ruleset is one where you consequently safe the forums from being infested by spammy and noobish content, almost similar to a Wiki. This involves much post deletion (more than usually happens here), but not necessarily a huge amount of (instant) bans. Justice is applied to a great amount, a balance between goodwill and enforcement is found, and ultimately you can say “this forum has good behaviour”. I could also argue that this kind of thorough organization is important to gain sincere new members.

I don’t think it’s even worth to use Kathy’s name for a pattern of “ruling”, as they were beyond asinine and completely driven by narcissism. It has nothing to do with the forums being “populated by kids” and presumably needing “less strict standards”; the Kathy twins definitely did not have any credit of trying to work towards a "mature community".

If someone shows to be a pure vandal, they’re banned of course, no need to discuss. If someone is just at the brink of being trolly or noobish, I’d say a warning is enough, and you can check if the person is sticking around and keeps up being bad.

A strict set of rules may seem like a functional one on paper, but the problem here isn't the rules but the people that enforce them. A controllable environment is begging for someone to take it to the extreme as it was the case with Kyasarin and Luminous. It has been proven to fail not once, but twice, and I think we don't need to make it a third to realize that it's flawed.
Cedur wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:24 pm
Spoiler: show
If you do not care about “quality control” on your forums, that’s what’s shortly called “being lax”. Your forums have been given the reputation of an anarchic place where people could clown around. I’m unable to judge myself but if I had already been there, I would have most likely felt disgusted and would have expressed that accordingly (and ended up in a discord with you lol). Why is the thought of content control even met with so much resentment by some?

That's right. This is why a middle term has to be reached. We all can agree with Redigit's thought process of how the staff should behave is romanticized, but I firmly believe that's what we should strive for. No one likes being shunned but giving free will to all users won't do any good either. What's more important is that we need a good, concise and fair basis to work with here. With such a thing in place, the problems that SORA has caused won't repeat and the objectiveness helping the forum just speaks for itself.

The things I have said here, along with the points Knux has pointed out, I believe should take priority over anything else. I'd like to request everyone to take a deep look at their past actions, their thought process behind some decisions and expectations if someone wanted to be a part of the staff team. Next, rationalize it, if possible PM me your resolution as I'd love to hear more of you personally. Again, this is not an attack but rather an invitation for a healthy and fun discussion.

That is all. Cheers for a good and healthy community.
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Re: A Manifesto on SMBX Politics

Postby Waddle » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:59 pm

While I agree with most of what you said,
Natsu wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:12 am

Another thing I've noticed is that you're jumping the gun and discrediting what Nien is saying simply because of past deeds. Don't. That itself is a biased way of thinking and hence flawed proving Knux right. This is where being objective should be applied, all points brought upon the staff being taken with the seriousness it deserves instead of being shunned out because "X said it".
this is most certainly not what I am doing. Nien is not in the best position to make claims about the community as a whole for he isn't in the Discord server; therefore, his claims about the state of the entire community lose some of their validity. That is all.
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