I haven’t been on this forum for very long and I haven’t participated in that many discussions (and none that really touch on any topics that could be contentious). I haven’t had any issues with any moderators, or any other users (that I know of). So I am coming at this topic as a relative outsider without any history, bad feeling or other bias in relation to this forum.
I have been following the thread for the past few hours and I just wanted to reflect back some of the thoughts that keep recurring in my mind as I read posts from all sides of the discussion.
I have read or posted in every thread relating to CS help since I joined the forum and don’t think I have seen a single issue flare up between users or mods. Similarly there have been plenty of discussions about designing CS games (along various topics) which have generated interesting, dynamic and positive discussions.
One of the biggest themes that pervades much of CoG and these forums is ‘inclusivity’ and a) the stated desire for this community to welcome anyone and everyone and b) that many people have found significant value in being a member of this community (at least in part) due to that stance.
My experience over the past 4 months is that more personal topics are more likely to result in, let’s say, ‘escalations of emotions and words’ - I know, shocking revelation, right? That people get more worked up over personal issues rather than their use of *goto commands.
In relation to this topic of moderation and user conduct, the trend that appears to me, is that people believe that others are deliberately acting in a negative or obtuse manner.
Whether that is the perception that individuals are flouting rules, being rude, offensive or being unconstructive in their criticsm.
Or the perception that individuals are being heavy handed in their response to issues or operating with a low(er) threshold of tolerance.
It feels to me that there is something of a negative feedback loop and that there are a few examples in this thread.
No one is perfect and everyone will make mistakes in things they say and do (I’m certain I’ll re-read this essay and cringe at some point).
For a forum centred around inclusivity, I think a central pillar for successful engagement (from any and all sides), is the recognition that the person you are communicating with is likely to be significantly different from yourself.
Not everyone realises when they’re being rude, not everyone shares the same sense of humour or tolerance for jokes. Not everyone has the same mastery of English or ability to recognise the subtleties of conversation and feedback.
When it comes to difficult topics, my personal opinion is that the most successful path forward is one where you assume that everyone is operating, fundamentally, out of good faith. That any mis-step is exactly that, a mistake or a misunderstanding - something to be discussed privately first.
After all, we’re all hear to share a fundamental love and that should firstly bind us together.