1) And yet people seemed to be dicks to Winter pretty damn frequently without punishment. Or if punishment comes, it comes well after it's due.
2) Consitency; If being a pest for two fucking years (Or however long it's been) wasn't a cause for banning up till now, something had to change in order to validate the choice now. Either a new mod bringing a changing attitude and standards, or as it reads currently 'If they can't get with the program, there's only one inevitable conclusion anyway. Best not waste our time any further.'
And I am outright calling for Winter's ban to be undone, he be given an apology, and by whatever measure is possible for the team you get your shit together. You establish a proceedure, you make it known, and you follow it. Any mod who steps outside that procedure should be punished.
I can't testify for the others, but I know there's been more than one occassion where I've gone on fairly pointed rants that are just 'fuck you Winter' without ever having any form of punishment for it. In the form of verbal punishment or warning points. I'm reluctant to believe the same would be true in reverse. Free reign may be hyperbolic, but it feels like I'm get given more lienecy than Winter does, despite not actually having much more of a leg to stand on than him.
I'll say I'm not accussing you specifically of bias, you are more than fair the majority of the time, and usually aware after the fact when you aren't. But it feels like, there is an overall mod bias, and that Winter is the person this forms a crux against.
I don't think it's Winter himself who makes the site worse, so I phrased that poorly. Winter just happens to be a dissenting voice with god-awful phrasing, and people try to rip into him for it. It's just as fair to blame people (Like myself) who can't let his poor phrasing go, and always insist on pressing the point against him. He has his faults as a debater and a victim complex, but it feels like he is being assigned all the blame for the problems on the site that he has even tangential relation to. And I don't think he is.
And what about the other side of this? That maybe the people reporting Winter so frequently are the ones with the problem, not him? If Winter would get reported, multiple times a week, by presumably the same group of people ever week, why is it not possible they are the problem? Winter's manner is poor, but until now that has never been an outright bannable offensive. According to him, he hasn't been officially warned in a long time. Why if his manner was still poor to the same extent as usual, was he outright banned for it instead of being given further formal final warnings?
Like don't we have an example of someone outright stalking Winter for evidence of wrong doing, and then his findings were actually considered by the mod team instead of treated like one should treat it?
So Winter and everyone in a debate thread acted like Winter and everyone usually acts in a debate thread. Why was in a bannable offense in this instance compared to every prior instance? What was fundamentally different about the thread in this case that warranted a ban, several hours after the fact I might add, (Like Winter didn't even escalate the situation, or attempt to, after the thread got locked, I did)? Because whilst I'm not privy to the inner details of the site very often, the only thing that seemed different about it this time was that it was a thread against the mod team. And that looks really bad.
Winter posted 3 times in that thread. An instance of gloating against liberals, a legitimate point of discussion, and something that could very fringely be classed as hate speech, but is more likely just him being trollish about it. What's bannable there?
More so, why if the Chechnya thread was a bannable offense did it take nearly two weeks to ban him for it? And furthermore, why the fuck is Shard still here if the conesus is that Shard did post a 'Hate-speech' rant? How on earth is Winter the one who gets the harsher punishment from that thread?
I mean given my confusion I clearly don't know the procedure. That might just be on me not being that involved here, but I don't see what procedure this fits (And if it does fit one, I think whatever procedured it fits is fundamentally flawed).
No, I don't want unrestricted access to the mod forum. But if the mod team thinks it has better judgment than the memberbase here (Which I think is how you act at times), then why can't you do the self policing I ask for yourselves? We don't need to know the details, so long as the mods keep themselves in line for our sake.
But I have outright attacked Winter before. I've not been given a verbal warning for it even. And I can list examples of other people doing the same thing, arguably not on as frequent basis, but arguably more directly than Winter has done in turn to people not called Roxas.
I also want to adress a few things, since A. I'm supposed to be the one communicating, and B. I was also a part of the process that led to Winter's ban.
Also, Apologies for the formatting, i'm at work and on my phone and I don't have time to proofread or format this post, and it might be long.
First thing's first. I want to apologize for that quote above. It was something I said in the midst of being very frustrated yesterday. For those who don't know what i'm talking about:
"If they can't get with the program, then there's one one inevitable conclusion anyway. Best to not waste any more of our time."
You guys might take that to mean that i'm pushing some kind of "program" or that I myself had some sort of bias against Winter (and by extension those on YCM who share his political/social/YCM-related views). I don't. Nor do I plan on trying to force the staff and the site to conform to my views or something along those lines. I was just venting my frustration. It was not constructive in any way and I will try to avoid doing so in the future. My comment no doubt contributed to the misgivings you're all voicing, and for that I am sorry.
Now that that's out of the way, lets adress some things.
First, echoing Dad here. There's next-to-no chance that Winter's ban will be undone. The entire team (sans Smear, who was MIA yesterday) agreed that it was what should be done, and in time I hope you'll come to see that what we did was for the best.
Secondly, i'll make it clear that it was me who was among the most vocal in pushing for Winter's ban. I made a thread about it in the mod forum, which was why we finally acted and pulled the trigger yesterday. That being said, it was something that we had been discussing regularly for several weeks, and while I can't point to one specific offense that caused our attitudes to change, I can attempt to corroborate Evilfusion's explanation, and provide details of my own, since I was present for the majority of these discussions and the events that precipitated them.
So, why did we decide now was the time? Well, a few reasons.
Firstly, the obvious one. The past week or so (since the chechnya thread) was the straw that broke the camel's back. This has been stewing for a long time (before I was even promoted, in fact). Collectively, we'd all had enough of his antics, and between that and my broaching the subject with the intent to act, we acted.
There's more to it than that, though, but before I get into it I want to stress that I personally hold no ill will toward winter (or anyone on YCM, for that matter). I've been doing what i'm doing because I feel it is for the best. We as a team may not have conducted this in the best of ways, but we'll get to that.
Now, why did we want winter gone, other than being fed up with the frequent infractions? Its hard to articulate, and a large chunk of this explanation is coming from my perspective (though I think the team will for the most part agree with me), so bear with me.
1. He actively interferes with our ability to do our jobs.
Holding us accountable is great, don't get me wrong, but frankly, calling into question every action we take (and i'm not really exaggerating, he's contested basically everything myself and Dad have done in policing debates of late, up to and including reporting me for "mod abuse" regarding shard's post in the chechnya thread, which i remind you guys should have been a bannable offense) publically and privatelty, negatively impacts our ability to do our jobs. Put more simply, he was actively trying to erode your trust in us. For what reason I cannot say, but I suspect it was in an effort to push his agenda (something i'll get to) or simply because he didn't like us. There's a line between keeping tabs on us and trying to sabotage the staff, and from my perspective, he crossed it. Lots.
2. He influences other members to act out in similar ways
I'm going to point to Shard as the prime example, and granted, this is largely speculative, but i'm not the only one who read into things this way, so I feel it has some merit. Put simply, the more Shard associated with winter, the more her content started to reflect his opinions. When it comes to discussions of islam especially, she seemed to be echoing his views, when frankly she haddn't been doing so to any significant degree prior. She and I came to an understanding regarding her anti-semitic statements (i'm jewish, for the record), and so i think she's simply shifting her targets based on the people she's been associating with.
I can't cite other examples that are as drastic, but a member who is making a concerted effort to create dissent among the userbase and enlist other users in voicing some of his more toxic opinions (be as conservative as you want, but being racist against arabs and as venomously derisive against the religion of islam is str8 up not ok here and the same goes for presjudice against any group) is something I don't think we want here. Again, why? That brings me to point 3.
3. Winter had an agenda to push.
The left is evil, and Winter is a crusader trying to right the wrongs of the PC/SJW leftie YCM mod team. Perhaps he wanted a place where he could voice his (controversial) opinions and be coddled for them, perhaps he had other reasons, but at the end of the day, I can safely say that he wanted us (the mod team, moreso than the userbase but both nontheless) to agree with him, to say "yes, your views are correct. Good job." As such, he saw those who disagreed (especially those in authority) with him as having an agenda of their own to push. We were biased, not representative of our generation, out of touch, whatever you wanna call it. The point is, from his perspective, most of us (the staff) were out to get him. Roxas's legitimate vendetta gave him ammunition in this regard, yes, but when he left the team winter switched targets to me as the primary purveyor of the leftie agenda. I was elected by the corrupt staff regime over other members who "should" have been promoted, I wasn't doing my job as a PR mod, i was biased, i'm using my position as a soapbox and censoring those who disagree with me, etc. While i fully admit i wasn't super proactive when I was promoted, and that the election was poorly handled in hindsight,I hope you can all see how baseless the above accusations are, and how what it all really boils down to is this:
Winter wanted YCM and its community to cater to him and his views, and was actively trying to make that happen to the detriment of the site.
4. He was a shithead
Blunt, but fairly accurate. Winter was flippant, antagonistic, and had obvious contempt for the site's rules and the staff (not to mention he was permabanned for similar behavior once before). He played the victim card whenever possible, and as dad has said he was a frequent thorn in the side of basically the entire moderating team, as well as several users whom he had gripes with. He frequently flooded topics, shitposted, was passive agressive or outright agressive against those who disagreed with him, and had a very annoying habit of posting baity statuses and deleting them as soon as they recieved too much attention. Etc, etc, etc.
The above is our reasoning to the best of my ability to articulate, and from largely my own observations, though like I said above I believe the team and the userbase will agree with my assesment.
Now, on to the next thing: how we handled the ban itself.
There was no clean way to handle this. There really wasn't.
If we were completely public with it, it would certainly have turned into a fight or a witchhunt against winter, and probably shard, and want to stress again that that is not what this is. We made this decision (and again this was a consensus that almost all of the site's staff members agreed on) for the good of the community, and it has been a long time coming.
How we actually went about it was also not great. None of us really like having to go behind the back of a user and kick them out of the community. Its a shitty move, and I don't mind admitting that this whole process has left a sour taste in my mouth.
But we did it. Why? Because in addition to the reasons Evilfusion mentioned, I feel this was the only way we could have done this efficiently and cleanly. Again, entirely public would have been a disaster, and giving winter an advance warning would have been doing the same thing the mod team has been doing: warning and not acting.
Frankly, this should have happened months ago, but we as a team are both lenient and indecisive. We want to not have to step in, and we want everyone who uses YCM to be at ease, and so a lot of us (myself included, believe it or not) let plenty of things slide. But, honestly, enough is enough. There comes a certain point where no amount of warnings will be sufficient. There's no better example of that than the chechnya thread, in which shard committed a bannable offense (Night was very, very close to banning her himself) and winter reported my fairly lax punishment as moderator abuse (his actual phrase), saying that nothing wrong was done and that I was out of line in giving any warning points at all. We let a user slide (dad and i's poor communication that morning didn't help, but that's neither here nor there) and winter attempted to use that given inch and take a mile. I have no doubt that shard posted the thread criticising the mod team in debates after some prodding on this very subject.
I think that, if you must point to some specific event, was the last straw. Was it in and of itself bannable? Certainly not, but I think it was a sign for all of us that nothing productive would come from further discourse.
So, what's the point of all this and what can we take away? A couple things.
Again, some of the following is my own personal opinion, take it as you will.
Winter is an example. Take it as a sign that the mod team is becoming more active, more proactive, and a measure more strict in our interpretation of the rules. This sort of behavior is something we do not wish to tolerate any longer, and so this is our first step toward making YCM less toxic and more friendly. Does that mean we'll be going after people? No, it doesn't. We don't want to ban (shard is still here, and personally I want her to stay), Hell, we don't really even want to warn, but we're more willing and able to do so if it means making YCM better.
We're not infallible either. We make mistakes. We DID make mistakes with Winter, both recently and in the past, and we want to learn from them and grow so that YCM can stay less toxic. I think the fact that this thread happened is wonderful, because it shows that the userbase is invested and wants the same things we do. If we fuck up, call us out on it. We'll try and own up to our mistakes (as i've hopefully done with this longass rant), and do better. This rant is also my way of doing my job. You want transparency, the above is as transparent as I can possibly be in regards to winter. I'm doing my best to communicate to all of you, and I hope you respond in kind to me, since communicating is a two-way street.
I hope this helps and clears things up. I'll be in and out of the forum, skype, and discord all day today, so please come to me if you have anything you wish to express.