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Opinion: NationStates Moderation Abdicates Moral Authority, Leaving Community Vulnerable with Latest Decision

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Opinion: NationStates Moderation Abdicates Moral Authority, Leaving Community Vulnerable with Latest Decision
By Writinglegend

 





EBC Radio Discussion with Asta, HEM, and Malashaan on the Tone-Deaf Decision

(Europeia – November 18, 2017) – The NationStates (NS) Moderation team upheld their failed policy regarding off-site evidence and defamation despite a player-led petition that has garnered over one hundred signatures in four days, abdicating moral authority within their own domain. 

"The NS Moderation simply cannot take action on the NationStates site based on something someone did on another site," said Nervun in a statement by the NS Moderation. "We are not the Internet police."

The administrators of Europeia recently banned a player after an extensive investigation revealed the individual operated multiple accounts with multiple identities within NationStates, as part of a larger scheme to initiate sexual exchanges with female members.

The petition was started by Admin of The North Pacific (TNP), and former TNP Delegate, Astarial, along with other prominent players, in an effort to persuade the NS Moderation to alter the rule. The petition demonstrated what was wrong with the current rule, why it was wrong, and what the signatories wanted. 

"The current policy states that no "off-site" behavior, meaning behavior occurring on any online location that does not fall under the nationstates.net domain, will be punished by NS moderation," the petition reads. "We, the undersigned, believe that this policy and its justification are extremely flawed and represent an abdication of responsibility to the entire NS community."

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Asta Explains the Flaws Within Current Rules (:50, YouTube)


The end-goal of the petition was to implore the NS Moderation to adopt a new policy for handling complaints of off-site harassment with a thorough investigation and on-site repercussions. Among the one-hundred and four signatories are Europeia's Delegate Aexnidaral, Grand Admiral Calvin Coolidge, Minister of Radio Cat, Vice President Darcness, and Admins Malashaan, HEM, r3n, Lethen, and NES. 

Notable global names on the signatory list are The East Pacific Delegate Yuno, Emperor of the Lands of Kings and Emperors OnderKelkia, Admin of The North Pacific Lord Ravenclaw, Admin of Kantrias Kylia Quilor, Admin of Osiris Cormac, and Admin of The East Pacific Todd McCloud. 

Founder of Europeia HEM called NS a 'dream' for predators due to the existing rule. "It is possible to infiltrate communities, cause tremendous abuse, and then fade into the night and re-emerge with a different persona."

Despite the strong support for the petition, it was futile in changing the current policy. "Anything we find that supports the information from off-site can and will be acted on here," stated the NS Moderations’ statement. "This has been standard practice for years and will remain so." Numerous case studies show that moderation has unequivocally failed to act on players who have filed a Get Help Request (GHR) to report off-site harassment by an on-site player. A continuance of this policy is a continuance of the status quo. All statements by moderation on filing GHR's so they can investigate are belie claims that hold no weight any longer.

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Asta On the Double-Standard Usage of Offsite Evidence (:25, YouTube)


Furthermore, they have also called the current defamation rule ‘sufficient’ yet have failed to give their case on its sufficiency, even in the face of overwhelming agreement that the rule is an utter failure. "We feel that the rule is sufficient as written but we would clarify it to say that stating general factual accounts of things happening off-site are allowable," the NS Moderation statement reads. 

By remaining complacent and keeping the status quo with this failed policy, NS Moderation is failing to protect community members from known sexual predators. The current failed policy allows known off-site harassers to post on the NS forums, interact with their victims, and infiltrate separate communities to search for new victims. When a concerned NS member warns these communities publicly of such an individual, they are warned for defamation due to the fact that such behavior took place on an off-site platform. Not only does this decision maintain an environment where harassers can keep their despicable behavior off-site to side-skirt rules, but victims and concerned players cannot publicly discuss such disgusting actions without being muzzled by 'defamation.'

The NS Moderation team attempted to justify their response by comparing NS and off-site forums and platforms to separate social media sites. Such an analogy is a red herring and ridiculous. Off-site forums and platforms are centered on NS, with the same player base and a mutual reliance. Off-site platforms would not exist without the game, rendering the social media analogy meaningless. There is one NS community, with its players inhabiting both off-site forums and the official NS site simultaneously. Indeed, NS officially recognizes off-site forums, and actions undertaken there such as World Assembly delegate elections and votes, as the legitimate forums of both Game Created Regions and User Created Regions. Yet, the moderation team distances itself from off-site forums and their role within the game when it comes time to protect the larger community from sexual predators. 

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HEM Discusses the Hypocrisy of the Social Media Argument (1:01, YouTube)


Furthermore, the statement maintaining the current policy states that a 'Delete-On-Sight (DOS)' is not a foolproof method that completely perfects its banning of all nations of an individual. This argument has not stopped NS Moderation from DOSing nasty players in the past. While it may not be perfect, it allows for communities to be aware and identify individuals who are deviants, predators, and nasty players. It allows for removal and identification from communities, stopping predators from damaging more victims. Surely, this is a similar reason why DOSing individuals for large-scale rule breaking exists.

Despite the NS Moderation team having a policy for ‘removing a user for any reason not outlined,' this rule goes largely unused by their own admission. Their claim that it is to defend the wider community if needed rings hollow, as the current NationStates gameside community is rampant with off-site convicted harassers who have coasted by unpunished by the NS Moderation team. 

Many other users feel similarly. Todd McCloud, Admin of The East Pacific and The World Fair, told the EBC that the decision was 'disappointing' and the petition merited a 'change in policy.' "It was a chance for players to not only outline harassers on-site, but to potentially work with administration in order to ultimately become a safer community."

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Malashaan Explains Why He Is Disappointed (:20, YouTube)


President Rach of Europeia also noted her distaste with the decision. "Rather than protect the most vulnerable, NS moderation has instead punished those who have sought to bring such issues to light."

While it is undoubted that NS Moderation cares for the players and their security, the maintenance of the status quo can only be described as a colossal blunder. The tone-deaf response is compounded by the real world discussion currently underway regarding sexual harassment. 

Rather than realizing the harm of this policy, NS Moderation has maintained it while continuing to admonish players who dare speak of it on-site. Every player in NS should be disappointed by the actions of those who are entrusted with the stewardship of our larger community. Rather than making a logical decision that would protect current and future victims, NS Moderation has decided to rely on a technicality to sidestep their responsibility. In the process, they have enabled sexual predators and left the community at risk.

Failing to take in the full evidence, allowing deviants to maintain an active status in-game, and muzzling players who dare speak of such nasty behavior is not protecting any player but the predators who utilize this outdated policy to target new victims. 

Perhaps NS Administration and Moderation will soon see the error in their ways and reverse their utterly tone-deaf decision. When those who are charged with protecting the broader community abdicate their responsibilities, it is up to grassroot administrators and the NS user-base to stand up against such policies and make our community a safer place for all.

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On 11/21/2017 at 10:43 AM, GraVandius said:

"The NS Moderation simply cannot take action on the NationStates site based on something someone did on another site," said Nervun in a statement by the NS Moderation. "We are not the Internet police."

 

But they are the NS police. Thus treaties such as COPS are needed, for offsite communities to protect themselves when NS won't.

 

*chuckles at a thought*  Could an SC Condemnation be devised against ADMIN? :P

 

Hereby Condemns Maxtopia for failure to take steps to protect and defend nations from harassment and abuse.

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On 11/23/2017 at 3:47 PM, Westwind said:

 

But they are the NS police. Thus treaties such as COPS are needed, for offsite communities to protect themselves when NS won't.

 

*chuckles at a thought*  Could an SC Condemnation be devised against ADMIN? :P

 

Hereby Condemns Maxtopia for failure to take steps to protect and defend nations from harassment and abuse.

That would be quite the amusing scenario :P

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On 11/23/2017 at 2:47 PM, Westwind said:

 

But they are the NS police. Thus treaties such as COPS are needed, for offsite communities to protect themselves when NS won't.

 

*chuckles at a thought*  Could an SC Condemnation be devised against ADMIN? :P

 

Hereby Condemns Maxtopia for failure to take steps to protect and defend nations from harassment and abuse.

 

Not a terrible idea. It might be the first interesting SC thing in ages.

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