Help Request Site status as of 2018

Discussion in 'Site Help and Suggestions' started by ASSEMbler, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. ASSEMbler

    ASSEMbler Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings to everyone, I hope you have been well.

    In 2017 I decided to leave the site because my interactions with the site were
    primarily negative. I let people get under my skin, and being at a stressful point
    of the year, I decided to disengage with the users by removing myself as the face
    of the site.

    What most people don't realize is I was getting constant harassment in my real life
    from people on the forum who are mentally ill or unbalanced in some way. It made
    using facebook, linkedin, or any kind of online presence impossible, even to this day.
    If I go to register for any new social app or service, someone has already added my
    info to a watch list so they can harass me the second I make an account.

    I'm unable to interact with my family as normal people do, because people on the internet can be crazy.
    That alone would make most people call it a day. But I decided to hang in there, it's been 15+ years
    and we can handle the problems as a community.

    I changed the site accounts with the intention of hiring people to run the forum (patches and such)
    for me, and disengaging personally. I was fed up with constantly being stalked and
    I wanted to vanish and just hire people to run the site. I wanted to keep the community alive, even though it actively harmed me. I reasoned that if I could vanish as the face of the site, then the harassment would stop and the community could continue on without me, and I could get that part of my life back. I had to work two jobs to keep my family financially stable and to get past several problems my family faced. Compared to that, video games are a lower priority. The site had no one to fall back on. I trusted that the mods, some who had been around for a decade would hold the fort.

    I returned to the site and it was in disarray. Some of the moderators had gone on strike because I was gone. Less than 24 hours after I returned, two moderators left. I can't address the situation in 24 hours, no one can. I wish I was at least given a chance. I fixed the spambot problem, and am trying to address issues.

    I have tried to apologize, but nothing I say will appease people. People want me to fix problems, but get angry when I come back to fix the problems. It's a mixed message, and it's sapping my motivation.

    The site costs money, $110 a month, and I have been paying that regardless of situations where I was under extreme duress, because I believe in the community.

    I think ultimately the problem is that we have no true admins available to work in my place.
    We have moderators, but they can't do the backside maintenance the site requires.

    I think people feel uncertain about the forum in it's current atmosphere. This feeling spread to the moderators, with the recent decline in traffic directly tied to "the state of the site and us mods" post.

    The forum began to harm itself without leadership.

    site.PNG

    I accept the blame for the problems; I should never have let it get to a point where the site fails or thrives by the actions of one person.

    My current status is now stable. My family is now secure, and happiness has returned.
    However this is not a time forget what caused the problems because times are better for myself. I have to deal with the immediate and then the deep rooted problems. But I can't do it alone. Currently, I am alone with these problems. The site is a job with no pay, it could be light work with many hands, but we don't have those hands helping.

    I will continue to fund the site and improve it, I owe it to the community.
    I just wished that some of the mods gave me more than a 24 hour chance to turn things around before they gave up. I understand that kind of despair and anger.

    I offer my apologies and hope we can move forward in a positive manner for the community, not for me. The community is what determines if the site thrives, and I invite you back to the discussion table.

    1. The management needs to be consistent and steady.
    a. The site should not have one admin only, it needs more help.
    b. The site needs more moderators.
    c. The site lacks competent help
    d. The site lacks funds to hire paid competent help
    e. It's unfair to harm the livelihood of the moderators whenever we have crashes or hacks.

    We've had the same moderators for years, we need to fix that by adding more people
    so there's less burden on people, and therefore less stress.

    2. The site needs to be welcoming again.
    a. People need to be respectful and polite to each other again
    b. Abusive activities like selling xbox isos to people must end
    c. Illegal content must be dealt with as it causes legal issues

    There will be slow changes in the next few days:

    The Admin account, which was intended for the paid help to use will be renamed to
    "ASSEMblergames Admin"

    This account will be merged with "ASSEMbler archived" and renamed ASSEMbler.
    The site needs a central figure to be stable.

    In summary, I am sorry about the problems. They are indeed 100% my fault.
    I accept all blame for the problems and negative feelings you have. That having been said,
    the forum can't be my life. I have responsibilities. The solution is to recruit skilled staff.
    The site painted itself into a corner with no way out by having only one person who could
    do the server side work.

    The site is ad-free, so there's no extra money to pay for competent help, and the mods suffer harm to their personal income and well being when forced into situations where desperate help is needed. It's a self sustaining problem with no easy solution. Retro suffered financial harm when we were hacked, as he declined paid work to help the site. Retro has worked for years and declined rewards. He gets no real recognition either. I am sometimes unable to dedicate the time needed to repair the site. It's a vicious cycle that sometimes goes for years without a problem until crisis comes at the worst time.

    Having said all that, please be brief and to the point in your replies. I only have 9pm to 11pm to myself every day, and in that time I have to take care of my human needs. Criticism and constructive feedback should be bullet points if possible.

    Kevin
     
  2. PixelButts

    PixelButts Site Soldier

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    The lack of ability to edit threads has been a problem, as much as I understand the "no deleting posts" concept.
    Some threads I have wanted to add or change things to better reflect information or available resources (the PS3 dumping thread for instance) but due to no ability to edit this has posed a rather hard issue as a normal user.

    The ability to edit again would be good (the ability to see what I edited would also be great because I have poor memory and it helps me personally).
    On one occasion I had to ask retro to tell me something about my sales thread because not only do I edit really insignificant things, but I didn't do a good job keeping track of things myself. Thankfully he found what I was needing from my edits and it was resolved but this is rather nice to have (say in case post nuking happens from a user, we can all see what the post history was)
     
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  3. DeChief

    DeChief Rustled.

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    Bullet points, got it. Now's not the time for tough criticism so I suggest we all hold back on that.
    • Removal of the "spam strike" and "state of the site" threads.
      • Removing these threads without a trace was not a good move, especially with it being one of the first things you did publically after returning.
      • In doing this, you've sent a message to the disgruntled moderators that basically says "I'm sweeping this under the rug". While you seem to care about the moderators and are thankful for the work they've done over the past decade plus, you're not showing it in the right way. It probably would've been better to let those threads stand while you work both publicly and behind the scenes to fix things.
    • Moderator resignations.
      • While we don't know what went down behind the scenes as we don't have moderator privileges and can't see those private threads, surely you could've made more of an effort to prevent Yakumo and Borman from stepping down. It's almost like they said they were leaving and you just accepted it, then started to frantically look around for new moderators. This is, again, not a good way to show your appreciation to them.
    • Day to day operations.
      • You don't have to be here 24/7, anyone who is expecting a single person to handle all of the problems and responsibilities associated with running and moderating an active forum like this one is, frankly, an idiot. Hell, you don't even have to be here every day at all. What you probably need to do is give others more control over the site, mainly Retro. Sure it may seem like the current level of anger and disheartenment amongst the moderators would lead them to potentially want to nuke the forum from orbit, but obviously they're not going to do that. They've proven themselves and you need to put as much trust in them as they previously put in you.
    Your apology is accepted (at least from me) and I'm excited to see some positive changes to the site that will ensure its future for years to come.

    Not to divert the topic in the way of humour, but when I read the "take care of human needs" part... I think you know where I'm going with this. Two hours is a long time to spend doing that buddy, you might need to see a doctor. :p
     
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  4. MoonTar

    MoonTar Site Supporter 2014

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    Mods are trusted. Check.

    Trusted mods can't do required maintenance because they aren't admins. Check.

    Trusted mods don't count as leadership. Check.

    Trusted mods don't help the site thrive. Check.

    Trusted mods don't count as helping hands. Check.

    Trusted mods have been trusted for years. Check.

    Trusted mods aren't skilled. Check.

    Trusted mods can't do server side work because they aren't admins. Check.

    Trusted mods are incompetent and are not an option for the easy solution which is another admin. Check.

    Maybe I am wrong.
     
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  5. speedyink

    speedyink Site Supporter 2016

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    I do believe some of the answers are putting more trust in the current mods. Giving them(or even just one) the ability to do some of the maintenance you don't have time to do could be beneficial for everyone. Obviously you do need a couple more mods with the recent events, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

    I'm pretty sure the majority of the community doesn't have a problem with you Kevin. Don't let a select few let you get down on the rest of it. Put trust more trust into the community, and more importantly the staff, and more people will trust you. You can't do this alone, let those who offer help actually help you.
     
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  6. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

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    That sort of disturbs me knowing you're getting stalked in real life thanks to this site. I feel like I can guess one individual and why they may specifically be obsessed with you. This forum has gotten some crazies over the years.

    I don't have any personal issue with you and am glad you're in a better place to be able to focus on the site more. My only criticism (to be taken constructively, I hope) is that you only mentioned Retro but failed to also point out Demon and his work he was doing during this site's worst hour at that initial hack. Despite your current differences I think his recent explanation of his experiences and the backing he got from mods shows he shouldn't be just forgotten. If we're going to be owning up to past mistakes then I don't see any reason to just ignore it at this point.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing if mod applications becomes a thing again. Hopefully this site remains for years to come.
     
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  7. mettleramiel

    mettleramiel Robust Member

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    I'm never against ads on sites, especially if they are there to help the site. I say add them and if people really hate them, they can get an ad blocker or you could offer a one time fee to remove ads.

    I don't know how much work you want to put in, but there is SO MUCH rare content on this site that it wouldn't be too hard to put together listicles and sell them to sites like Cracked. That's another source of income that can bring more traffic to the site as well.

    There's also the Somethingawful approach where there's a one time fee to use the forum. It's worked for Lowtax.
     
  8. la-li-lu-le-lo

    la-li-lu-le-lo ラリルレロ

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    Here are my thoughts. I'll try to make it as succinct as possible, but I can only condense it so much.
    1. I'm glad that you've finally taken the time to respond to what mods and users have been saying, and to acknowledge the site's problems. This makes me feel somewhat more optimistic about the site's future.
    2. You said some good things, however I think there's one thing that you should really focus on right now, which is this: the site needs more people with admin privileges. This is kind of the most important thing right now; other things are secondary.
      • retro seems like the obvious choice for this role. He's been with the site forever and I think he's someone you can definitely trust. I think the same is true of all of the mods, and I think any of them would be capable of doing this. I think you should have multiple admins. There is a slight risk to this, but I think it's totally worth it. The alternative is a bigger risk.
    3. I think it's inaccurate to say that a decline in site traffic is directly linked to the "state of the site" thread. Site traffic has had a downward trend for quite a while, owing mostly to the long downtime that happened a while ago.
      • The mods just did what they thought was necessary for the survival of the site. And it was necessary. You kind of accepted responsibility for this, but then blamed the mods at the same time. You should just accept full responsibility - no "but"s or "also"s - just take full responsibility, and leave it at that.
    4. It sucks that people have harassed you on the internet, but you should try not to take it too personally. People on the internet can and will get upset and harass people over almost anything. Look at how pissed off some people were about the recent Star Wars movies.
      • It sucks that this has made it difficult for you to have a social media presence, but have you considered using an alias on Facebook? Plenty of people do this. You could then tell only your family and friends you really trust what that alias is. Just an idea.
    5. I agree with DeChief that removing the the "state of the site" and "spam strike" threads probably wasn't a good decision. I can kind of understand why you did this, but I think it would've been better to just make it so only current members can see those threads. You could still do this if you still have the data somewhere.
    I might actually want to become a mod, if you're considering having more mods. If you start a thread about that, I'll explain it in more detail.
     
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  9. Pikkon

    Pikkon "Moving in Stereo"

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    I agree with the other members that retro should the other admin,it would be a great step in the right direction for this site.
     
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  10. DeChief

    DeChief Rustled.

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    If the site is being properly managed by multiple admins and not just Kev, then I'm completely okay with ads and a one time fee to remove them.
    I can't get behind this one, it's an exclusionary move that would probably hinder the site more than help it. Think of the countless people out there who aren't necessarily in the hobby of pre-release gaming content, but have come across something interesting and signed up + made a post on these forums. If the site has a posting paywall, it would discourage those people from posting.
     
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  11. stevo9389

    stevo9389 Plays It Loud

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    After seeing the chaos over the past year, I feel that you marginalized the plight of the staff too much for me to accept your apology as 100% sincere. Nobody is looking for heads to roll but understand your credibility took a massive hit and it will take more action than diplomacy to earn it back.
     
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  12. hiroki

    hiroki Active Member

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    Some suggestions:
    • Make Retro (and another trusted moderator) Admin - if they want the job.
    • Make Bad_Ad84 a moderator. Or even an Admin. He would be a great addition to the site.
    • Implement some of the ideas Retro mentioned - The wiki/museum etc. Or at least give them permission to do so.
    • Listen to your moderators. Don't brush what they have been saying under the carpet.
    • If you can then please reinstate the "spam strike" and "state of the site" threads, it seems silly to have deleted those.
    • Also from what has been said you maybe owe Demon and Retro a bit of an apology?
     
  13. rso

    rso Gone. See y'all elsewhere, maybe.

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    May I add:
    That should include one or two persons with OS-level access too, unless you feel up to the task of keeping the server up-to-date yourself, and on short notice if need be. The more people can do it, the better the odds of someone having the time.
    (Shoutbox too)
    That is feature creep, and additional maintenance work once they're in. Concentrate on getting things back to "normal" first.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  14. wheelaa

    wheelaa FM Towns / MD Addict Site Supporter 2010-2015

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    Talk to people you trust about the stalkers. There must be a way to reduce its impact on you, somehow. Not a way to live. (I was going to say 'name and shame' but I don't see that would help.)

    Add adverts to the site. Allow members to opt out of them for a calendar year for a fee, anywhere from $5 to $50 (well, that's what I'd stump up anyhow). Assuming this is possible.

    True. But I feel pretty certain I speak for many when I say that just because little outward recognition is shown, does not mean we do not really appreciate all his hard work, time and effort in doing all he can to maintain, guide and lead the forum over the years.

    Plus who doesn't love one of those Retro posts! (Even if you're on the receiving end!)
     
  15. MBMM

    MBMM Powered by Pied Piper

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    Didn't realize that Borman stepped down as well. That's a shame.

    I'm always up for consideration when it comes to a moderation position. Any way I can help.

    Edit: Re-evaluating
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  16. -=FamilyGuy=-

    -=FamilyGuy=- Site Supporter 2049

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    I'm glad you took the time to address the issues.

    My thoughts for now:
    • I think the deleted threads should be restored for transparency's sake, they could be locked though and the discussion redirected to this thread or another feedback one.
    • We need someone with Admin rights, ideally even two persons that could confirm with one another what they are doing before implementing them.
    • We should be able to edit old posts. The edit history could be visible too, to avoid issues.
    • You should at least put up unobtrusive ads on the site for non-members; once logged in they disappear. This would have the dual benefits of generating income and inciting lurkers (those without ad-block anyways) to join.
    I'm considering your offer to become a moderator even if I have little time to devote to it, but I want to be sure that the ambience among the leftover staff is a positive one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  17. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    I'm certain many of us would be happy to contribute to covering the financial costs. Whether it's direct donations or possibly something like Patreon.
     
  18. ASSEMbler

    ASSEMbler Administrator Staff Member

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    I will read over this tomorrow with more focus. It's 11PM already here.

    I am here because I am dedicated to you as a community, even though it harms me .
     
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  19. GoodTofuFriday

    GoodTofuFriday Site Supporter 2015,2016,2017

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    If this is truly harming you then you should hand control over of the site until a point in time where it would not harm you. No one is asking you to harm yourself, and there are plenty of trustworthy members that can handle a simple forum.
     
  20. la-li-lu-le-lo

    la-li-lu-le-lo ラリルレロ

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    I think at the very least, you should give users an option to delete all of their PMs. And it should delete them permanently. This is important for the security of the users.

    Maybe there should also be a way to save a backup of your PMs. Is that possible currently? If so, I can't find a way to do it. That's not as important, but just an idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
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