URPG: Moving Forward!
I was going to hold off, but i think it's better to open up about this.


I kind of want to avoid this, but it’s been on my mind far too much. A lot has happened recently in URPG.

Weirlind120 was banned.

K’Sariya and Felly have taken over as Park Heads.

Onmyo/ Seconds before announced.

Elysia left URPG.

Seppe left URPG.

Menegoth has been kicked from the Discord server.

Hell. Nitro just left the server. Maybe it means nothing. But the timing is interesting.

Now, what I see a lot in URPG, (and it looks like it happens in the past too,) is that there is a big social URPG bubble. Somewhere along the way, it pops and activity plummets and people leave. That seems to be a normal habit. Can’t confirm since I am only a year into my stay here.

This time… well, it seems a little different. Two get banned. Two left due to the sadness of what the community became. I can say first hand it sucks to see people act in certain ways. It does. It really does.

But, there seems to be a consistency among the community and I cannot get it off of my mind:


Staff always seems to be in some sort of controversy. Whether it’s misguided blame or an actual issue, people get on staff about a lot of things.

Truth be told, probably too much. They are human just like us. Flawed individuals with feelings. On the other hand they hold immense power. And in a small dwindling community and two bans really close together, it’s hard to really trust anyone with that power.

I myself wonder:

Where is the line drawn?

How power much do they have over us? Who's allowed to do what?

Maybe it’s obvious what they can and cannot do, it’s in their job titles.

At the same time… it feels as if we do not know. Everything feels hidden from the community. Hell. No one knows why Elysia’s gone or why Weirlind120 was banned. These are small things, but they are big deals.

A major staff member doesn’t just outright leave. Winter is gone a ton of the time, but she is still here.

A member doesn’t just leave midway through reffing a battle. Especially one as active as Weirlind.

My point is; there still seems to be movement behind the stage that we don’t see. It makes it hard to trust staff. I know your job isn’t easy. It isn’t. It’s a pain to deal with all of this. I get it. But you have to. It’s a part of your job. Social aspects matter.

People want to be part of staff because they feel as if they have no control.They want to make this place better too of course, but I know a few people who have felt this way. That’s not comforting.

I don’t know the solution. I don’t. But I want to bring it to the attention of many because well, I love this place, dearly. It’s an amazing community that helps nurture creative people. It’s a shame to see such volatile things happen. But I feel like Staff should be in question a lot right now, despite me liking every single person there. Something isn’t right, and I cannot put my finger on it. Nor will I be able to because I do not see the whole story.

I think we need to find a way to stay positive and healthy among all this doom and gloom. If you have ideas regarding this, throw them around. Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to create a positive environment that nurtures the members we have, and creates an open and welcoming environment to people who stumble upon us.

For clarity, here are some questions to ponder:

-Public announcement of bans and explanations as to why. (discussed in discord.)

-What can we do to lighten up and make the community more positive?

-be more welcoming. How?

-staff. Basically answer the stuff above.

-once we can, and if we can. How can we get new members? And what can we do to make them stay?

A lot has happened recently. Let’s make the things that happen next good ones, not bad.
"Take Care of Yourself"

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I'll address a little bit of this now - please don't think I'm ignoring the rest, it just takes longer.

To clarify, this is my personal response, not a Staff response. I'm not speaking for URPG Staff as a collective.

Public announcement of bans and explanations as to why.

I could answer this, but I'm not going to regarding Weir/Mene just yet, because as I said, personal response. I do think a formal statement is the right way to go - otherwise it becomes rumours and questions asked and god knows what the "truth" passed around the community ends up being.

What can we do to lighten up and make the community more positive?

-be more welcoming. How?

It's really hard for me to have a polite response on this right now. I'm tired and frustrated with a lot of URPG as are a lot of other people.
And that's exactly your point. I don't have a positive response and if I let out more of what I'm feeling, the community isn't going to be made more positive by it. I don't blame anyone for feeling the way they do, and I don't mind that people are posting about it.

You both addressed and defended Staff in a neutral way, and your post focuses on being constructive criticism and looking for improvement. You have no idea how much I appreciate that.Biases are a huge issue in this community and it goes in every direction; Member to Staff, Staff to Members, Member to Member, Staff to Staff. The impact of this quite, bubbling hostility has finally exploded and we're suffering for it.

A more positive community is a more welcoming one.

And now my own little rant/thoughts

I try to be very open. I think a majority of this community feels comfortable coming to me with their issues and I'm glad of that. I'm open to criticism of myself too - if something I do in my position is hurting URPG, or could otherwise just generally be better, tell me so I can try to improve. No guarantees I'll get it right the next time either, but I'm always open to be told.

Having said that, you mentioned that we have "immense power". I'm not sure I feel that. I feel very powerless sometimes. In a sense, we hold the power to kick/ban people, make game decisions, theoretically I could bring down half of our resources at the drop of a hat. I won't and that isn't a threat, but there may come a day when someone needs to take over some of these things.

When I first joined URPG I felt there was a real divide between the ordinary members and Staff. We've done so much to try to close that gap. The way we engage in the Trainers Court, having open General Meetings, the Anonymous Feedback Form, plus as I said above, generally trying to always be open. Like you said, we're human and we still don't always get it right, I know.

Here's the unpopular part of what I have to say. It's going against what i said earlier about positive thoughts, its going to come across as arrogant and like I have a superiority complex or something but hey, since we're all airing grievances...

Staff has tried for a long time to be fair, reasonable and diplomatic and I am really starting to fucking HATE it. I honestly feel that by closing the gap, there's no longer any respect for Staff authority. We "hold immense power" and we get asked to make the tough decisions, but when we DO make a tough decision which OBVIOUSLY is never going to please everyone, there's mountains of salt.

I am not speaking for all staff, but I personally feel like I am unable to properly do my job for fear of upsetting the community. I feel like a politician, just without any of the sweet bribes and corruption. Its a really awful feeling. I'm not looking to become a dictator, I'll still listen to people, but at the end of the day I need to be able to make a decision and take action without worrying that I'm going to become a target.

There needs to be more respect for Staff and our authority in this community. That way, maybe we won't have to USE it too often anymore.
I'm not going to try and hide what I did. It was an immature decision I made out of pure frustration of a year of trying and seeing nothing done. I set my discord playing as message to something inappropriate for URPG and got kicked. I think it was a reasonable response. What I don't think was reasonable was the way a staff member responded to it, but I'm not going to flame them here.

I also strongly suggest weir, k'saryia or anyone else that was involved to go public with their side before everyone bases their opinion purely on Adamantium.

Public announcement of bans and explanations as to why.
I strongly agree with this. Hell, I've been one of the people trying to push staff transparency for a while now. Having a transparent team can be very helpful in getting user's opinions before rolling out a change so as to not cause a shitstorm.

I have seen countless screenshots of DMs between people gossiping about banned or punished members in the chat. I'm not going to post them here (for obvious reasons), but that kind of behavior is toxic to the URPG environment. All it does is spread rumors and false information making it even more difficult for the topic of the rumor to assimilate back into URPG properly.

Secondly, I think I can say with confidence that the most frustrating thing in URPG is the constant response we get: "we're working on it", "they do a lot of work behind the scenes", "it's coming soon but we can't say anything about it". A lot of users, myself included, feel as if we are being written off with these responses. I honestly don't see a point in keeping the solutions to some of our concerns under such secrecy, especially if they can be improved with community input.

What can we do to lighten up and make the community more positive?
I honestly have no answer for this one. I'm of the belief that you can't change how a person acts, so this is better off being discussed with someone else.

Be more welcoming. How?
I think I've said this before, but a lot of old URPG members get preferential treatment. They say and do stuff that a newer user would get punished for. Some of these members being extremely toxic people that only get a slap on the wrist, while others abuse and cheat the system and are given a free pass because of their level of activity and presence in the community.

Seeing this kind of thing when walking into the discord really puts you off, and honestly isn't a healthy way to keep members.

Staff. Basically answer the stuff above.
Everyone has problems with a staff member in a community at some point or another. But in my opinion, this goes way beyond that. There are some people on the staff team that have shown abusive behavior regarding their power, and general dismissal towards what's going on in the chat. I'm not going to name anyone, because honestly, I'm afraid they'll just delete the post or outright kick me. I'll gladly talk with a staff members about these people and the toxic members from above in DMs on discord.

Once we can, and if we can. How can we get new members? And what can we do to make them stay?
I think URPG has to fix some of its major problems before trying to recruit new members. Because there's really no point in getting new people if it's difficult to make them stay.

When I joined, URPG seemed to be a happy, and fun place. But digging even a little bit, you can see the bitter hatred between some members and the fracture in the community. And after noticing that, the chat became an extremely uncomfortable place for me. Which led to my immature outburst. So, in my opinion, URPG needs to be worked on a lot more before going on another big recruitment drive.
the bag scares me
I really need to publicly get some stuff off my chest.

I feel like URPG is a complete dumpster fire right now.

I can't tell when it started, but at some point rivalries heated up and URPG got more toxic than it used to be. A lot of decisions from staff stopped making sense. URPG stopped being fun for me, so I stopped participating in the sections I was using, though I still stuck around to talk with you guys.

As time went on, the environment started feeling more toxic and less welcoming, and I began losing faith in staff due to their actions, or sometimes lack thereof. Eventually, a couple weeks ago, I decided I needed to leave the server to take a break from the drama and toxicity. The plan was to come back after a few weeks off, but as time goes on, URPG seems to be completely falling apart and I'm starting to wonder if I have a place here anymore.

Rant's done; just some stuff that I've been keeping in for a while that I really needed to let out. As for my thoughts on Ralin's points here:

-Public announcement of bans and explanations as to why.
One of my biggest issues with Weir's ban is how it felt like staff tried (and utterly failed) to cover it up or keep it quiet. It was done sloppily and in a way that broke any remaining trust I had in the people involved.

-What can we do to lighten up and make the community more positive?
It's my opinion that something changed in the past couple months. Back when I joined and even over a year after, URPG did feel like a welcoming place. There wasn't any of the salt and toxicity I feel now. I'm not sure what changed, but it feels like URPG has slowly been going downhill fairly recently. We need to figure out what happened that changed the environment from the one I joined in to the one that's here now.

-be more welcoming. How?
My point above applies here too. Let's look back and figure out what happened to URPG.

-staff. Basically answer the stuff above.
To be brutally honest, it doesn't feel like staff has been doing much about the current environment. I get that it takes time to fix what's broken and I get that we aren't going to be able to see everything that staff is doing, but we should still be able to see some change in the toxicity if staff is doing their job.

To directly address Monbrey's point, I agree that we need to respect the staff. I feel like I try my best to give the staff the respect they deserve. But in turn the staff has to show us that they deserve the respect that we give them. Honestly, events over the past several months are making me doubt whether some people actually deserve the respect I try to give them.

I'm not saying that we should stop respecting the staff, of course, but I still think that staff needs to try harder to show us why we should respect them.

-once we can, and if we can. How can we get new members? And what can we do to make them stay?
I think this is a point that needs to be put off until we've worked out the issues within URPG. Recruiting is important, but I'm honestly worried about inviting any of my friends into URPG in the state it's in now. Once we've started working out the kinks inside, we can worry about expanding.

I still need a little more time away to unwind and relax, but I'm willing to do whatever I can to help change URPG for the better. I'll also continue to try and trust the staff to do what they can to clean up URPG.
I wouldn’t say the staff intentionally tries to hide or cover up what happens. We generally are private about punishments out of respect for the individuals involved. If you were called into the principal’s office and received disciplinary action, you might not necessarily want everyone in the school to know about it. Similarly, as staff, we would like to believe that those who break the rules are capable of learning from them. From a personal standpoint, I often find that those who are talked with privately are more willing to change and grow than those called out publicly. And of course there are incidents in which privacy is necessary to protect the victim.

I can see that in this case, the lack of information has driven members to seek out whatever facts they could from whatever source had them. This has likely led to a lot of one-sided stories being passed around. In light of this, it isn’t surprising that people question the actions of staff. And even with all the facts, the staff is not united about the ultimate decision passed on Weir, a decision, I might add, was mine and mine alone.

I won’t give out all of the details. To do so would make this post long and tedious. But I will share what I believe to be the truth and will attempt to do so in a linear fashion.

At this point, everyone is likely aware of Weir’s monetary inconsistencies that amounted to nearly $2 million. Whether this was cheating, stupidity, or simply a mistake, I honestly cannot say I know for certain. It was highly unusual and the greatest amount “gained” that I’ve seen in my 15 years here. If it were cheating, it would be ban-worthy, but we gave Weir the benefit of the doubt and penalized him with a severe fine and the warning that we’d be watching him.

Let’s fast forward a bit. While Weir is the “spark” of the incident, he is probably not the basis of the real drama. That I attribute to a divide between two groups in the Ultra RPG. I don’t know if it’s wise to really call these groups out, but if you want the truth, here it is. One the one hand you had Elysia’s group and on the other hand you had Weir’s group. And at some point, these two groups of friends became antagonistic. Whether correct or not, they believed the other to be caustic to the URPG, spreading false rumors and slander about each other. They were convinced that the members of the other group were toxic. There probably is some truth in there, but as someone who did not share in those discussions, I cannot tell you how much of any of that is truth. I can tell you what the perception was, though.

The catalyst in all of this was a simple act of poor communication. Winter, the former moderator of Art and the National Park, was becoming busier and busier with life and was unable to monitor her sections. The Park, in particular, needed attention that she wasn’t able to give. During the Applications process, Nitro and Elysia developed a new Park system. It was an interesting concept, but unfortunately one that they kept to themselves. So when Winter ultimately retired, passing on Park leadership to K’sariya and Felly, the latter two felt the former two were trying to push onto them an idea they had no say over. Had all four been involved from the get-go in developing a new Park system, I’d imagine things would have gone a lot smoother, but hindsight is 20/20. Nitro’s and Elysia’s system eventually became Onmyo while K’sariya and Felly worked on doing a different Park revamp. The four of them (and a few other staff members) had multiple discussions regarding the details of these two sections so that overlap could be avoided to an extent. Though not optimal, it was a workable solution.

Needless to say, despite it “working out”, the situation exacerbated relations between the two groups. Many hurtful things were said about the other side, oftentimes in private, but easily passed on to those targeted by such words. And words do have power and they do hurt.

Weir was ultimately the spark that set off a lot of what we’re seeing right now. In an ill-thought act, he blocked (or threatened to block) fellow members of the URPG for being associated (or believed to be associated) with the Onmyo project. This led to DP leaving the URPG and alerted the URPG moderators to the situation.

The moderators began a heated conversation that eventually concluded that Weir, still under observation from his monetary infraction, should be banned for basically harassing URPG members. The discussion expanded to include officials and there was further argument on the length of the ban. Suggested lengths ranged from no ban at all to permanent. Time lengths tended to shift depending on friendships and biases, though not all staff were affixed to one side or the other. Many had strong feelings on the matter.

Ultimately, Elysia left. Her thoughts were posted for the staff only, but unfortunately have been shared publicly. I apologize for the staff leaks, which should not occur; but despite people telling me I should do something about it, no one has actually told me (or Monbrey) who has actually leaked anything and therefore we cannot enact a punishment. Sufficient to say though, Elysia left because she felt we weren’t doing enough about the situation. In her view, we had a very toxic member, Weir, who had crossed the line and should be removed from the URPG so he can never hurt anyone again.

She may be right, but as staff, we can only act on the proof laid out before us. And based on that, it’s true that Weir harassed some members, but in my view, it wasn’t enough to permanently ban him. And so to the disappointment of nearly everyone in staff, I banned Weir from the URPG for 3 months. Some viewed my punishment as too harsh and some viewed it as too lenient. As Head, I am the ultimate authority in the URPG and that punishment was my decision. If you think I was wrong, you know who to blame.

Did the staff do everything correctly? No. Weir was supposed to be officially interviewed about the situation by a staff member, but it was done under the guise of friendship, which is dirty. There are also other members of the URPG that perhaps have done more toxic things and should be addressed, but at the time, we did not properly record things properly and let the situation pass unpunished. These are definitely problems that we’re fixing. But we are only human and we’re volunteers. We cannot dedicate our lives to the URPG.

I had hoped this would resolve things, but obviously it has not. Like I said, by not sharing all of this, it led to rumors and one-sided leaks. And ultimately led to people feeling like things were not progressing. This is why some others have left, I believe; that the underlying tension between the two groups was not resolved.

As for Menegoth, well he had changed his nickname to “yeet”, which I suppose was fine, but as per URPG rules, he needs to also have an identifying name in the nickname as well, for example “yeet | Menegoth”. The staff asked him to change his name. Instead, he changed his nickname to “urpg is gay lol”. For that, he was kicked from the Discord server.

From a staff perspective, or at least my perspective, this has been a mess. The Pokemon Ultra RPG is, ultimately, just a fan game and a community of friends. At best, we’re an after-school club, not a political organization or a district. Things should not have gotten to this point.

I do wonder if there was anything Monbrey or I could have done to prevent this. I don’t know. I suspect that no matter what decision we would have made, we would have lost members in one way or another. That was simply the reality.

There is a lot being said about this right now in various places. But for everyone who wants to know:

Seppe - http://forums.petalburgwoods.com/showthr...post132010
Ralin - http://forums.petalburgwoods.com/showthr...ng-Forward!
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Thank you for clarifying! For someone who was not a part of any of the aforementioned drama, I felt confused that this blew up suddenly (but then again, I'm also a horrible judge of emotional atmospheres). I do hope that in time the dust will settle and we will return to a good state. Leaving because of the drama might be a good thing as it might give those some breathing space because it is very easy to get trapped in the URPG bubble.

It annoys me a little that there was so much clique war drama (that apparently I'm unaware of). It all seems catty and childish and has no place in URPG. I hope the majority of the people who left because of this drama will return and learned a very good lesson about dealing with pettiness. I think the community can repair itself and I believe the tensions will ease in time.

We do have new players here and this does not set a good example!
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Img Made by Morru/Mako
I can rant for days. Watch me work.

We've festered a community that doesn't trust anyone. By the end of it, I was paranoid that even my closest pals (Elysia, Smiles) or people that I respected most (Seppe, Swift) were talking shit about me. I'm more confident now that they didn't, but like, throwing aside the point, the general issue -- and I've reiterated this over and over again -- is that no matter how someone treats you to your face in this community, they could be talking shit about you right behind your back. I could get along with most of you, but I only trusted like five of you. I would guess that of the members who left, they may have done so out of a solidarity with Ely, but they have definitely done so out of an exhaustion with this atmosphere.

Hey, I'm guilty of this too. I've given people a hard time behind their back. Sorry to Swift, Liam and Dash (among others) for that, because they're upstanding people who deserved straightforwardness. Sorry to K'sa and Felly for cutting you out of Onmyo dev, which is what sparked this particular event. I'm in favor of private chats used the same way as a casual group text, but no matter what frustrations we may air out in private, there has to be some kind of motion towards resolving them directly. I like to think that I tried this, too, by being open about my issues with some of you, even if not all.

As a pattern, though, I think that both Staff and the community at large are not willing to be forward about the interpersonal issues that they have, and I don't think that Staff has done a good job of encouraging that kind of atmosphere. The burden is on Staff to be more transparent, because they have all of the power here. In my experience, reasonable people respond well to being treated like adults.

What you can't do, though, is be either afraid or lazy of talking about difficult shit. This is where we all went wrong. Nobody likes drama, but we're straight up afraid of it, and it stays bottled up until something like this happens. Better to be transparent and allow your members to operate from a position of power, aka "knowing things." I've gone rogue and leaked to some of you before, so, you know how I feel about this.

Worse, the way we handle drama is so damn timid that we default to a neutral approach. Staff doesn't enter these conflicts thinking that a member who reports something needs to be defended by those in power. It enters these conflicts thinking about the best way to returning to (their) peace and quiet, which is no good way of erasing tension in the long-term. The thought that one person did something egregious, and that somebody else can be rightfully angry about it, is beyond our imagination.

The members of Staff are given a lot of shit, and can't really put out all of the fires because of this atmosphere that exists where you're overly compelled to listen to both sides -- even the guilty party. That's a pretty shitty version of justice. Manners and tone (diplomacy) matter for too much instead of actually being right about something and acting on it.

I've thought about this, and I'm blaming this on HKim's specific vision of leadership. Here's a pastebin (Nov 8) of him going behind the back of others to ask me to also go behind the back of those others, and, overall, perpetuate some real shady shit. This qualifies as a full-on leak, which I almost feel bad about for doing Harry dirty like this, but I’m using my best judgment towards making some good change.

I hope that by leaving everything on the table, you are also encouraged to speak openly. That, in my opinion, is the way to restore trust within the community. Let's not be afraid of an ugly convo, but instead get it over with. Choosing to hold back and instead act on hidden thoughts puts us back where we started.

Love y'all. I think I've burned too many bridges to ever come back, but feel free to contact me in any way you choose. I won't lie to your face (anymore).

edit: this post is named nitrogen, do u get the joke
For a long time (perhaps since URPG has existed), but at the very least the last 7 years I have been here, there has always been this really weird dynamic between members of the community and the staff. Maybe it is because I haven't been as active within the community for the last while, but I actually thought that things hadn't been so bad before all of this blew up. This whole rival factions with members in and out of staff, escalating tensions, and ultimately a blow up where staff information gets leaked, people get upset and leave URPG, and everything gets swept under the rug has happened very consistently throughout my time here.

This best example of this happened maybe five years or so ago when cliques, such as sso_, were formed and information was leaked by looking at BMG staff records and through the urpgleaks tumblr, which was then spread around the community. This resulted in prominent members of the community getting banned, people who had been pushed to their emotional limits leaving for good, and everything getting swept under the rug with no tangible difference happening, until everyone had forgotten.

Then, two years ago, I found myself caught up in something very similar. There was a lot of frustration felt by myself, Smores and a few other people. This lead to private groups being formed and a lot of hateful venting and tension, which again, lead to people who had the best intentions for URPG feeling dismissed, and ultimately leaving URPG for good, while everything got pushed aside and forgotten about afterwards.

It really sucks seeing your friends leave, but it's even worse seeing them stay and get so upset/distraught/frustrated by the system that exploits people and overworks them for little to no reward, often being subjected to mockery and being disrespected by the community for doing their job and trying to be fair.

It's very disappointing, but perhaps shouldn't be surprising, that the same issues that people before me, myself, and people after me have had with the community are still resurfacing. The disconnect between staff and the community, the lack of transparency and clarity, feeling dismissed and under-appreciated for trying to help, dismissal of certain people who are deemed problematic/annoying, and the thankless, over-working of staff, are just huge, systemic issues within URPG that have to be addressed.

I actually think an awful lot of these issues, if not all of them, can be solved and tensions dissolved, by simply communicating. Here are some things I think everyone should bear in mind, moving forward.

-If someone is working on a new project, they should make sure everyone in staff is aware and has the opportunity to get involved.

-If someone asks a member of staff on the progress of a certain project or issue, that issue should be addressed at the next staff meeting and an appropriate update from staff on the current status should be released after the meeting.

-If people get banned, there should be a formal announcement. This is a big deal and a statement should be issued [read: this is a great example of what not to do]. The example here is vague, speaks almost entirely in superlatives and idealisations, without actually saying what has even happened. This just makes things even more confusing and causes fear-mongering and rumours spreading.

-Don't join toxic groups and servers. This is hard to moderate or govern but it's up to each individual member to be responsible for. It's fine to have groups with your friends, and it's alright to vent about people, but if the conversation always ventures back to why x is the worst person ever, leave. You'd be saving yourself, and others, a lot of toxic drama down the line.

-No discounting members. Something that used to be a big issue, maybe not so much now, but it does happen to some extent: someone does something inappropriate, or they are annoying, or misbehave once, and then they find themselves with a big red mark against their name. I really didn't want to give examples of this but I think it has to be addressed with one. Mlouden was annoying, and he cheated, and he was made restart. This was all fair, but he was also really picked on. I can't even tell you the amount of times after he was made restart that members of staff and others would insult him behind his back and automatically assume the worst whenever he did anything, driving him to leave. Even with his flaws, he was always respectful and passionate about the game, devoting a lot of his time and energy towards it. This is one extreme example, but this sort of dismissal of people has happened a LOT over the years, and it's very unfair.

Honestly, I'm sure there are more solutions, but this post is long enough. I do however want to say thank you to Harry and Monbrey, though. They have both given an awful lot, and get repeatedly underappreciated here. Both of their posts in this thread were very open and transparent, and I hope people can see, and respect that.
Hi. I had a whole lot of disconnected thoughts when Ralin mentioned he was going to start this thread, and I think I've managed to boil them down to the most important points:

First, I want to thank Monbrey and HKim for their candor. I see and appreciate the effort Staff has been making to become more transparent on a number of issues. For example, I think an openness and a willingness to get opinions from all the right people, both on and off Staff, has resulted in a much more fair and balanced Contest pay system. The team was able to rebalance judge wages but increase the usefulness of the CC currency that often felt worthless.

I see and appreciate the agreement from members of Staff and from non-Staff players that more transparency was warranted in the case of Weir's recent banning. I want to add my assent to the conversation, and add as precedent King's punishment way back in the heyday of PE2K. A popular player was caught abusing URPG's honor system and was issued a heavy fine that put his cash reserves well into the negative, as well as, I believe, a temporary ban. The disciplinary action was announced publicly, with just enough information to explain the offense without inciting a witch-hunt. The result, if I recall correctly, was that King indeed did not return, unfortunately adding credence to Harry's concern that public call-outs sometimes burn the bridge entirely.

The priority, though, in my opinion, has to be the health of URPG as a whole. A lack of information causes non-Staff players to seek it by any means necessary and, as we've seen, can cause Staff members to act in a manner unbecoming of their position. While the fault for rumors, leaks, and in-fighting lies with the individual players who participate, it would be better, as Nitro suggests, to get it all out in the open as early as possible. Providing important context in a professional but informative manner allows the rest of our players to move on much more quickly.

I want to say thank-you, again, to those who have joined this discussion in an open and respectful way. It's helped me to put my thoughts into words and, while the whole situation still sucks, provided much-needed closure.
Hoo boy, I guess I'll toss my thoughts in here, too. I'm on my last leg before finals are over and I've been stressing for days so pls excuse if that translates in this. I'm also still thinking about quitting if things don't improve, so I might as well say what I want.

To preface this some more (sorry I have long intros), I wanna thank a lot of you for acknowledging that Staff is not solely to blame on these issues. I haven't seen much of this stance in the past year or two so I definitely appreciate it, especially from Ralin, Syn, Mene, and Elrond. Let's get down to brass tacks:

Staff Transparency

Section Development
If Staff is in the midst of developing a new section, we should be transparent. I agree with this. I wasn't around for it, but Onmyo's development happened largely in private and its creators acknowledge that it should have been more public. There was a Trainer's Court thread made, but apparently (again, I wasn't really here) it was already too late at that point.

In early stages, we keep new section development in Staff to decide if it even really needs to exist anyway. We have plenty that never saw the light of day. (RIP StArt Mart).

Section Tweaks
There are also plenty of instances where sections need minor updates such as Underground. While this is largely a case-by-case basis, often keeping these minor changes in Staff is just a hell of a lot easier for everyone and reduces tensions overall. We have seen how the smallest things can blow up in Trainer's Court (stupid Figy Berries), and the issue of "Too Many Cooks" is a very real one. We just sometimes need a smaller group of people, in a smaller private area to buckle down and focus on reaching a solution. Even just in Staff, we debate things for months. We even created pseudo-staff to give us a good focus-group of non-Staff members for ideas and feedback.

Sometimes, decisions just need to be made. We can't sit there and debate endlessly. And when decisions are made, there will always be people who dislike them. That doesn't mean we haven't considered their opinions, it means we ultimately decided to go another direction. We can't please everyone.

To some degree, I agree with the notion that we need to make bans public knowledge. It's just better for all parties involved. I disagree, though, with a lot of reasons people are giving for making all of these forms of URPG discipline public. Let's start from the bottom:

Warnings: Warnings can range from "hi lol can u just fix this real quick it's nbd" to "next time you do it, you're banned." Neither warrants transparency. I once asked Morru to add his username (before he officially changed it) to his handle on Discord. He did it, no questions asked. What would announcing that to everyone accomplish? It would just embarrass Morru (sorry I'm using u as an example lol get rekt) and ultimately just seem overly authoritative.

An example of a serious warning was the one I gave to Julio. It was his final warning, and I didn't announce it for a reason. It got out that I had issued him a final warning, and suddenly people came swarming to Staff with "Well now he did this!" and "He should be banned now, he had his final warning!" Now, some of these concerns were legitimate and honestly and truly I admit I should have done more. However, it was not hard to see that a lot of these reports were simply nitpicks that no one would have brought to our attention if they didn't think he was on his last leg before getting banned. (For the record, Julio, [and I dont mean this patronizingly] I've heard you improved a lot. This is, again, just an example.)

When someone gets kicked, it's already common knowledge as you can see that they are no longer in the server. Let's use Mene as an example for this (sorry!). I don't really see what announcing the exact reason for his kick to everyone would accomplish. With all due respect, it is not Staff's fault that some people gossip and speculate and spread falsehoods. That's just disrespectful to Mene honestly. Go ask him yourselves if it means that much to you. I understand he's a funny guy and I like him too, so it's tough to see someone you like be removed from the chats. But if he's your friend and you care about him that much, then it falls to you to ask him why he's been removed, not Staff. I'm not going to, again, risk embarrassing him and the Staff member who kicked him by announcing it. It's just not inherently anyone else's business.
Here is where I will give some concession. Bans are very serious and, you guys are right, when they occur they should be publicly announced. It was a bit trickier with Weir's ban because his is only temporary, but it is still important to announce them.

People who quit:
I have seen some members who were upset that Staff was not more transparent about this. I apologize, but we are not going to give this information out. Members have come to us in confidence about why they are quitting. They have said some very personal things. It is not our place to divulge this information, and it would be really disrespectful to. If someone came to a non-Staff about reasons they are quitting, I wouldn't force them to give out that person's personal conversations either. It's a matter of respect. Again, please do not speculate and spread rumor. If you can contact someone who quit in a way that probably would not upset them, then by all means do so. If not, it's better to just let it go.

I've left URPG several times for long periods without letting anyone but Staff know. I'll get more into why later, though.

Respecting Staff
It feels weird to ask for this. We're not your parents, we're not your teachers, we're not police. But we are in charge of enforcing the rules of this game and, yes, making them sometimes. Monbrey made a really great point about this. Staff should not have to be afraid of enforcing the rules. We shouldn't have to worry about how people are going to react and if they are going to burn down villages and go on rants and call us nazis and leave the server. I'm not interested in forcing y'all to do whatever tiny thing I want just because I can (I can't, by the way). But when a Staff members says something or asks for something, arguing with them about it just isn't necessary. I'm not here to ruin your fun. People have literally accused me of making decisions just for the purpose of taking fun away. I'm not asking our members to blindly agree with everything Staff does I'm just asking for the benefit of the doubt. We aren't plotting in Staff how we can take down popular sections or micromanage people to suit our own "agendas" (this is a really political nasty-ass term that people have used with me on here.) We literally have nothing to gain from doing that. We have your best interests at heart. You need to trust us. And PLEASE DON'T FORGET: Staff are to play the game too. We want to have fun playing this game just like all of you. It's on ALL of us to make this a place of fun and acceptance.

Syn also had a really good point about these side-chats. I was in plenty of them back on AIM. I get that they're fun, and I get that they are good places to bond with other members. I'm not saying they shouldn't exist. BUT when they turn toxic, it's time to leave. This is not an oversimplification. Occasionally venting about certain members is one thing. I was guilty of that sometimes, too. Echo-chambers of toxic hate are another thing; whether or not the hate is directed at Staff. When that starts happening, it's time to just leave. You can easily make another chat, you can easily talk about other things, you can have what you had before. But If you're exposed to this level of toxic conversation about a member or group of members for a long time, you are probably going to start believing it. And then it's just a matter of time before these toxic conversations translate into how people are treating that member(s) to their face in public. And then then it blows up and people are banned, people quit, and people leave. Just don't be a part of that.

I'm not gonna spend this entire post defending Staff. We definitely have a lot of faults to overcome. In some cases, we need to be more assertive and take harder stances regardless of how it might make some people feel. In other cases, we need to be more open to transparency and critique. I always encourage everyone to come to us about any specific issue they have so we can improve. PLEASE be specific, though. There has been a lot of very vague anon feedback that we simply cannot do anything about. When someone says "Staff have been unhelpful and inflammatory" it doesn't give us a good idea of what to change. But when someone says "Can Ash please make a decision on XYZ for contests as we've been waiting a while," or "Monbrey said this and it made me uncomfortable," those are things we can work on.

Respecting Each Other
This is a very separate issue. This is why I deleted Discord. People are taking this game Way. Too. Seriously. It's not that deep. It's Pokemon, guys. We all just want to have fun with Pikachu and Lapras and Shemmelt and Budducks and uh idk Magnemite. Stop making things so personal and lighten up. The fact that I was coming onto Discord every single day and arguing and getting yelled at and being flamed was only have of what drove me to delete Discord. The fact that this type of activity was occurring FAR MORE than any actual game play was the other half. I'm sure I'm not the only who feels this way. I see it reflected in most of the people who quit, and I see it reflected in a lot of people who are considering leaving now. This is not a Staff vs non-Staff issue. This is a URPG issue. Before you say something, step back and ask: Is this really necessary? Do I really need to phrase it this way? Is this going to start a separate personal issue? That's the main problem. People making things personal. You can disagree with me for days on banning GBA Clause I can take it. But when you say "Wow you're really just trying to kill people's fun," when you imply that something is obvious that really isn't, when you just generally shit on someone else's personal perspective without any real substance, or when you go off in a private chat about how someone is stupid or annoying or ignorant etc. because of this opinion: you are making it personal. You are making a simple conversation wayyy too deep. You are creating drama where there was once just a simple difference in opinion. We need to learn to be civil. We need to learn that we can take things seriously but also not too seriously. Balance is the key. Not everything needs to be a fierce debate just because someone disagrees with you.

Sensitivity is also an issue. I have a problem with this lol I acknowledge it. But there is also a lot of paranoia and hurt in our community that is often unfounded. People are not always out to get you or insult or hurt you. Talk to them! Ask them! Be open. We're a community, and we should be okay with bringing up issues with one another. It's the internet; sometimes actions and words are going to be misconstrued. Again, I find that the best solution for this is always: benefit of the doubt.

And that's all I really have to say. I hope people can take this to heart and not just glance over it. I do have very real hope that things are going to improve in the coming months. I wouldn't even be rejoining Discord next week if I didn't. I can say with certainty that I'm going to my part to improve things. I hope everyone else does as well.
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