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Volunteers needed (Teamspeak moderation)


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Preliminary report on the investigation

  1. One of the teamspeak users used an avatar image from a meme generator.
    Friday evening around 21:14 (GMT-6), another user complained about said avatar image on grounds of racism.
    Moderator contacted the offending user to remove his avatar image.
    The user did not react to the moderator's request.
    15 minutes later the other user insisted on the images' removal, which the moderator then did within one minute.
  2. At that point the user moved the discussion to the point that "playing the game was more important" to the moderator than "stamping out racism", and felt attacked by moderator's statement "There, I removed it. Acceptable?"
  3. Moderator asked him to step back and calm down, which the complaining user considered "disrespectful". Moderator offered a conversation "after this game [TGIF] is over".
    The user replied
    It is 3:36 a.m . It is unlikely i will be here. Especially when you treat me the way you do.
  4. Moderator then tried to engage in a voice chat, for which no recording could be obtained.
    According to moderator's statement he was cut short in every sentence he tried to say, and the conversation quickly escalated into a shouting match.
  5. The user's submission of his counter-point to the events is in near-perfect alignment with what the moderator reported to me (see below), which this investigation considers undisputed.
    Likewise, the shouting is not disputed by any party.
    However, user asserts that moderator's chat response was "aggressive and sarcastic"; moderator later admitted that he was "testy" but insists that he threatened to ban the user only because he caused disruption of the TGIF community event, not because he complained about the offensive avatar image.
  6. One hour later moderator contacted me about the incident, submitted the chat log and his recollection of the incident, then offered his resignation.
  7. Two hours after the incident the user sent me an email reporting that "a serious incident took place in the Steel Beasts TeamSpeak channel" involving members of eSim Games, and announced a full complaint at a later point.
  8. I received that email 45 minutes later at 08:23 (GMT+2).
    After a first review of the submitted material I decided that as a temporary measure to prevent further escalation the TeamSpeak server had to be shut down, and notified the webmaster about it.
  9. Our team member (the former moderator) sent an email of apology to the user less than three hours after the incident. To date we haven't received a reply.
  10. We then waited for the announced "full complaint", which reached me only late, yesterday evening (July 13).
  11. Around 22:11 (GMT+2) I received an email reading, full quote:
    Why has the server license been removed?
    Thank you
    As it turned out, I had issued a ticket for a PE Server license to the user in August 2014. Unused tickets are often passed on to other users after nine to twelve months, and as it happened, another user activated it on June 15 this year - according to the server log.
    In my response to the user I explained what happened and sent out a fresh ticket to fulfill his need for a PE Server license (presumably to support the DOW community).
    In his reponse the user however claimed that the ticket had still been good on the night of July 11th, and came to the conclusion that its activation had been performed in retaliation for the original incident - despite the fact that I sent a fresh ticket in the same email.
  12. The user then shifted the discussion to the fact that he could no longer use the PE Server of SteelBeasts.com and alleged that it was no coincidence.
  13. This allegation was also investigated.
    According to the webmaster, a previous user whose virtual unit was removed from the TeamSpeak server a while ago for general jackassery and artificial drama seems to access the SteelBeasts.com PE Server license by drawing it from various IP addresses (for whatever reason; in a recent post he claimed incompetence). Therefore regular updates of blocked IP addresses are required for uninterrupted service to the community at large. While it may not be that said user seized the opportunity of the incident to capitalize on a rapidly evolving chaotic situation and sow more strife and disruption, some other user had apparently nothing better to do than to run to him and tell him about this report because my findings somehow caused hurt feelings, and now more drama.


  1. While the offending avatar image was removed by moderator action in less than twenty minutes after the first complaint was filed, it could have been quicker (but not much).
  2. In order to achieve quicker response times eSim staff cannot moderate the voice chat due to too many other job related obligations.
    Our ability to moderate a voice chat is limited, and always will be. We neither have the staff to give a 24/7 surveillance of all channels (let alone private text chat), nor an inclination to eavesdrop on each and every conversation among our customers.
    This also means that in the future, as no eSim staff will be among the moderators, all conflict must be resolved within the community or else this community has no future.
  3. Given that we cannot accomplish the kind of totalitarian surveillance that would be required to detect every transgression we decided to shut down the Teamspeak server until we have found a way to deal with this situation.
    Even with the encouraging response from the community where many users expressed their wish to support eSim Games with moderating the voice chat we can only hope to increase the chances to intervene in a more timely fashion
    The search for more moderators is done in the hope to re-open the TeamSpeak service to the community.
    eSim Games is currently deliberating which practical solutions remain to find a balance between the degree of "policing" the voice channels and a reasonable workload for those volunteers who now may spend a considerable time of their life hanging out in the various voice channels.
    Most likely this means that we have to curb the service by opening the server only for previously announced game sessions (+/- one hour), and by eliminating the channels that were previously kept open for the virtual units 24/7 as a free service.
    We should probably also disable the ability to use avatar images to reduce the moderator workload.

The entire eSim Games team hopes that our attempts to rectify the situation are seen as what they are intended to be, an honest approach to the problem of limited manpower (which we acknowledge), within the limitations of practicality given that the voice chat server is a free service.

We cannot provide a world without interpersonal conflicts.

The uniting factor for every visitor here is the interest in a common product, Steel Beasts, and the playful study of contemporary combined arms combat tactics at the company team level (+/- one tactical level). We have people from all over the world with different background - in culture, history, personal circumstances, in short:

The full spectrum of human personalities.

It is almost guaranteed that every user will sooner or later be confronted with other personalities that are at odds with his own ideals. It is essential that tolerance is offered from both sides.

eSim Games stands for the responsible use of free speech and personal freedom, equality before the law, and justice. A part of that "being responsible" credo are our forum rules to avoide political or religious debate because they have the potential to quickly escalate, as our experiments with a less restrictive policy have shown in the past (some old hands may still remember).

In short: Don't be an asshole, and don't be a sissy.

This forum doesn't need more rules.

We need more responsible user behavior.

In short, we need users capable of self-reflection. I will advise future moderators to look for signs that a person is incapable of putting himself into the shoes of the other, and generally, for a lack of humor (remember though that not every joke is funny).

We will not tolerate racism or homophobia. Narcissists shall have no place at SteelBeasts.com, nor joyless warriors of political correctness.

If you think that you're perfect and that the community here consists exclusively of hostile idiots, chances are this forum is not made for you. Move on to greener pastures please, rather than trying to engineer this society to your personal ideals.

Edited by Ssnake
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