As you may know, I started this forum back in January of 2003. It was meant to be just a small board dedicated to discussions of my game projects. Back then, people here were close-knit, courteous, and well-meaning. I will always look back upon those days with members like mikey, Jerails, monele, some high school friends of mine, and some others very fondly. The beginning years were the golden era of the Lemma Soft Forums, in my nostalgic opinion.
The forum has grown over time, and has somehow become one of the primary destinations (if not THE primary destination) for discussing original English-language visual novels and their development. It gave me a sense of pride that a little game and website I made helped act as a catalyst for the creation of Ren'Py and a community that creates some very neat games. All of you make this forum what it is: a generally nice and positive place where people express their creative ideas. For that I give you my sincere gratitude.
Unfortunately, as the forum has grown, the number of "incidents" has grown as well. These are usually brought to admin attention through PMs or thread flagging, and they usually involve Member A complaining that Member B is being rude, or that he/she said something unconstructive. Often times very petty issues, to be completely honest. I and the other admins have dealt with them as we've best could to our ability. Of course, any time there is a conflict, there's a strong chance that Member A and/or Member B won't be happy with the outcome, and so besides calmly discussing their issue with us privately they:
* email us lengthy diatribes
* gripe about us in random locations on the internet (usually involves swearing, name-calling, and general slander)
* PM and/or email other forum members complaining about the "horrible injustices" they perceive the forum staff to have perpetrated
* any combination of the above
Let me be clear: The vast majority of the members here do NOT engage in this ridiculousness. However, when you have thousands of members, even a small percentage of people being a headache means we're dealing with these sorts of issues on a regular basis. It has been particularly bad this year, and life is too short for me to be mired in the online dramas of other people: People who do not follow basic online etiquette. People who troll. People who exploit the forum for their own personal monetary gain and then turn around and negatively misrepresent it and its administration. People who lie and deceive. People who have a chip on their shoulder and are here to push their own self-righteous agendas.
Therefore, though it is with a heavy heart, I am resigning as an administrator effective today.
As I will no longer have responsibility towards the maintenance of this community, I think it's a good time to have a nice little mental cleansing and get some things off of my chest that I've been holding in for several years. I have been VERY patient towards people who create issues on the forum for the last nine years. Do you know how many bans I have issued (that were not for spamming?) Zero. In nine years. And yet some people like to compare LSF to a police state when I lock a thread, and me to some cruel dictator. To each his or her own, I guess.
I give you Lemma's Lessons for Forum Administrators and Members:
1. One percent of the people create 99% of the issues.
2. Bigger is not always better.
3. If you have nothing better to do than troll a forum or whine about it incessantly, please get a life.
4. If someone offers an apology for an incident, that does not mean everything the other person did is okay. An apology is taking responsibility for the things you did, not a statement that all other actions by the other party, before and after, are justified.
5. I should have closed this community off years ago and made it by invitation only, with the possible exception of the Ren'Py forum. When you let anyone join, any moron with a keyboard and internet connection can come in and stir up trouble.
6. If you participate on a forum, you are agreeing to abide by moderator actions. Stop whining, especially if we didn't even "warn" or "ban" you.
7. If you are convinced you can administer a forum better than we can, and that all issues that arise are so black and white, by all means - go make your own forum. Seriously, I encourage it. And when it gets big enough, and you have to deal with enough difficult people, you will realize how wrong you were.
8. You cannot reason with unreasonable people, and you will only be the worse for trying.
9. I don't receive revenue for the forum. Don't say you are "supporting" me, the other admins, or the forum when you post, like you are doing us some big favor - especially when you are engaging in self-promotion. You are posting because you want to.
So yes, I'm fully aware that from many people's perspective this is coming out of nowhere and sounds petty. For me, though, I've been living it for nearly a decade. Virtually all these things happen behind the scenes. I am tired.
To lordcloudx: I used to respect you quite a bit. I never told you this, but I had at one point seriously considered offering you an admin role. (Thankfully I did not, as that would have obviously been a mistake.) If my recent exchange with you and your subsequent actions were in isolation, I wouldn't be leaving the forum. But they were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. You will be the first and last person I ban for non-spambot reasons (cursing at an admin, threatening the forum, and spamming PMs.) You have helped to push me over the edge and have made this forum a place I no longer wish to be around. Congratulations. Step up and claim your Anti-Lemma Prize.... whatever it is. Be proud. Delight in whatever perverse joy you may derive from me giving you so much airtime. No one can ever take that away from you.
I was intending to keep our conversation private out of respect to you, but you have already posted parts of it in several places. Since you have decided unilaterally to make our communication public, I am happy to help it get the exposure it deserves. In the interest of people knowing exactly what we wrote to each other, I am including our full exchange here so that people can make up their own minds:
I have also included your twitter posts from multiple occasions in the past where you claim to be a certain member of the forum. This makes your claim - that my belief that there was some connection between you and this member offended you - disingenuous, to say the least. Whether you were joking or not with those posts, who knows. But it raises a very reasonable suspicion, along with the "circumstantial evidence." Note I did not claim to think you WERE this person (though I said it was a possibility in my mind.) Just that there was a connection. And apparently that's all it took for your true colors to come out and for you to start lashing at me, PyTom, and the forum.
lordcloudx has given his commentary and argument on another thread, so even though I practically never do this, I am going to give mine here and call him out for his unacceptably poor behavior. I have let these things slide over the years way too often and let people use me as a doormat. That ends here. All emphasis in the following quotes is mine:
Blue Lemma wrote:Are you NewMember, and/or have you ever encouraged NewMember to troll this forum or expressed pleasure at him having done so? Honestly. You get the meaning of what I am asking, and I request a truthful answer - not a "look for loopholes" type answer like some people give.
lordcloudx wrote:No, I happened to become associated with him when I offered to do some of his sprites on a whim, coincidentally after a disagreement with PyTom.
My offer for a compromise in the form of an unconditional apology stands.
My demands are simple, but if they are not met, I AM going to take action -- and I can guarantee that the outcome won't be pretty.
Blue Lemma wrote:I was inclined to offer an apology, but threats are unacceptable.
lordcloudx wrote:Suit yourself. I'll be taking action within 3 days from this final PM.
Blue Lemma wrote:I'm curious as to what sort of "action" you think is justified from me telling you in private that I believe you had a connection to NewMember. No one will win from escalating things.
lordcloudx wrote:. Let's just say that it's pretty easy to bring down a forum.
Blue Lemma wrote:And what would that accomplish? That would make you better than a troll?
lordcloudx wrote:Vengeance, BL. Plain and simple vengeance.
And nothing had. I had issued no warning, no ban, and I had kept our conversation private. (He, on the other hand, had been attacking LSF publicly for months.)Blue Lemma wrote:Vengeance for...? Nothing has happened to you.
I offered this, but it was not good enough to satisfy cloud, apparently:lordcloudx wrote:But something is certainly going to happen to your forum. My offer stands.
Then again, looking at the tweets he made, cloud made a connection himself, so now that I look at everything again, that was an unwarranted apology. If you don't want me to tell you I think you have a connection with a person, don't publicly state you are that person.Blue Lemma wrote:In the interest of being fair and adhering to something I said to someone a while back, I do apologize to you for offense I caused by saying I was convinced there was a connection between you and NewMember regarding trolling. False accusations are not good, and whether they are based on evidence or not, it feels the same to the person accused. So for this I am sorry. An apology should not be conditionally based on something else, because you either did something wrong or didn't - regardless of what else goes on.
That is what I owe you, and I do mean that apology, even if I have issue with your threats and believe you are wrong in issuing them.
Drivel as it is, if you are curious, I encourage you to read the entire PM thread so you do not unfairly judge me or lordcloudx. And if you believe I was in the wrong in my messages, I would like to hear that. I don't claim to be perfect after all, but I do take responsibility for what I write. I have nothing to hide here. And people, don't harass cloud. That's not what this is about. He is banned, and he and the forum will go their separate ways.
Ah, forum drama. Nothing like it. Anyway, this is the kind of ridiculousness and headache I've had to deal with for years now. In the past, I have just taken the abuse and largely bitten my tongue. But you can see why it's hard and hopefully understand why it is no longer something I can do. Therefore, I ask for and appreciate the forum members' understanding about why I feel the need to leave already. Despite all the good things I've seen and been a part of over the years, such incidents make this just no longer worth it.
May you all create great games and treat each other, PyTom, and sake-bento well. I will be following your efforts and cheering you on in my own way.
- Blue Lemma