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Complaint Lack of harshness in bans related to racism/bigotry
#1
Pre-complaint:

I would like to start this off by saying this isn't a complaint about a single specific admin, but more addressed to the whole team for the purpose of internal discussions.

I have been listening to most ban appeals chronologically when I am driving, and at this point I am around 2019, and something that always catches me off guard, is the lack of severity/harshness in the bans of some bigots, and the amount of bans related to it get appealed; such as people using offensive and inflammatory language, casual use of slurs, and awful Ckey's.

I see Goonstation as a safe place, where I can trust that people using slurs and racists will be punished, I play entirely on the RP server, where I would feel awful if I learned that someone I put a lot of effort into roleplaying with was a racist. SS13 is a main social output of mine with the pandemic so seeing racists really bums me out and makes me want to play less. When starting to play SS13, I quickly stopped on Goonstation after seeing the pride closet, and feeling like I would be in a safe place to express myself.

This message contains a small list of ban appeals, some positive, some negative (and specifically from 2021), and in no way am I asking for the output of these to be changed retroactively, but instead for future ban appeals to be looked at with more illiberality.

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Complaint:

This complaint was sparked from one recent ban appeal in general, which I felt was a lot worse than those of the past year.

[/url]This specfic ban appeal, by wilhelvondeutshland

In this appeal, someone is appealing a ban for their previous ckey adolfhitlerofthegreatgermanrc, (Adolf Hitler of the Great German Reich).
This person is a very clear neo-nazi, with a username such as that. Even the reference to Nazi Germany as the "Great German Reich".

Within this ban appeal, there is zero shown regret or even apology for the previous ckey/rule breaking, instead they "want to play on goon, it's been a year, and i thought yea why not try to play on goon, hence the appeal request."

What really shocked me about this ban appeal, when compared with previous appeals, was the essentially copy/paste response of "Thanks for appealing, I've removed your ban! Please stick to one ckey going forward, and let me know if you have any problems getting on. Cheers!"

Within previous appeals related to rule 4 breaks, there has always been an admin requesting confirmation that the behaviors of the offending party will change (an issue I will address later)

This ban appeal allows an unreformed neo-nazi back to play on Goonservers, which I have a large issue with. I would much prefer racists/bigots as a whole to be un-allowed on Goonstation, as RP is a safe space for many people. I understand the ideals of reformation, but people hiding their intolerant beliefs, versus actively acknowledging they are wrong, is not the way to go in my opinion. In this case, Wilhelm Von Deutschland isn't even acknowledging that their neo-nazi views were wrong, and is just allowed back in.

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Another example of someone being extremely racist, and very clearly not changing their ways, is [url=this ban appeal by ass]this appeal by ass

Within this appeal, someone who used extremely harsh language (including the hard-r and other alt-right racist sayings). While this appeal may look like they have reformed and made better choices, after a year and a half of being banned, but sadly, this is not the case. A month before in their previous ban appeal about the same topic, they decided to use extremely offensive language in reference to their actions. Its best to read for yourself. Its easy to see that there has been 0 change in character, yet in the following month, their appeal was lifted with no comments...

It really makes me have my doubts, when people who say "I will get better if I am unbanned", clearly are showing themselves as non-improved in their ban appeal, and are lifted within a single word, no warnings, no last chances.

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These two are very similar, however are more positive, as these two people make an indication they will act better, however they are still worrying as to the content of what they were banned for, and the lack of time of a ban given.

This one includes someone using a slur, and being banned for less than a day, stating it was an "inside joke to a friend" and will not happen again

This one is a /TG/ player claiming their racism was "just to fit in" and that it would not happen again, the time banned is not stated, but by context, it doesnt sound like it has been too long


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An example of a positive ban appeal, that I believe shows genuine improvement, was this one from a player who said the racist phrase "we wuz kangz"

They did research into why saying that phrase is wrong, apologized for making people uncomfortable, and seemed genuinely remorseful. My issue with this ban appeal, is the admin response, which includes the saying "...as a heads up, i only banned you because you werent in game when i wanted to talk about this..."

I have an issue with this, as it implies that someone saying a racist phrase, would have had only a warning, instead of a ban for breaking rule 4.

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A personal experience I have had with this, was from a newer player, who played detective a large amount on RP. This was during the weeks following the death of George Floyd. He said to someone he was detaining, something similar to "stop resisting or I will make George Floyd look like a joke"... the news of him saying it quickly spread around the RP server as it does when someone is a bigot, and we all expected him to be banned for saying something that abhorrent.

But only a day later he was playing on goonstation again, and while I do not remember exactly what he said, I heard from others he said something much worse which led to him getting banned.

I really believe that the whole issue could have been avoided/less people exposed to racism if the initial saying of something as awful like that resulted in a ban.

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Results I wish would happen:

I really believe that a lot more of these racist sayings should go with a much harsher punishment on a ban of the first offense, to show people that racism/bigotry is truly not accepted by Goonstation. I feel as if a lot of people saying highly offensive/racist on goon do not get a severe enough punishment for what they are doing, and this is only the public ones that I am able to see. I believe that a lot more bans related to bigotry should remain as permanents, as bigots provide no benefit to the goon community, and we suffer from 0 population issues that would require us to bring in more people...

While a large side of this is on admin treatment of racists/bigots in game and on the forums, a possible way to address this issue would be splitting rule 4 up, with sexual content being listed separately from racism/homophobia/slurs. As I feel like it would show newer players that goon takes a much harsher stance on bigotry.

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This is an open letter for the purpose of constructive feedback. If others wish to comment on their experience with racism on goon, admins more lenient treatment of bigotry, or positive experiences of admins treatment of racism, please add your thoughts below.
#2
Re. your complaint:

The ckey adolfhitlerofthegreatgermanrc was banned within about a minute of them joining the server for the first time, with the instruction to change their ckey if they wanted to play. They did so - and while I'm not delighted with their selection, at least they did as asked.

Generally speaking, I'm inclined to give people a chance, and it's a very simple exercise to reapply a ban when needs be. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out.

Re. tone - yeah, fair enough, I can see how my usual practice of thanking people for appealing looks iffy in this instance. I did this in approximately two minutes between meetings and didn't think about it at all beyond procedural fairness, really.
#3
The rules aren't there to control what kind of people get to play here, they're there to safeguard everyone else's good time. If a player says something racist and I yell at him for it and he stops, then that's generally good enough. Same goes for ban appeals - it's not really about punishment or trying to change how people think.

In most cases, our response to rule violations progresses from warnings to short bans to longer and permanent bans, you're not really getting a nuclear response on your first infraction. This is the same for racism as it is for welderbombing. We only jump straight to longer or permanent bans in cases where someone's behavior is so far over the line (spamming chat with racist stuff, mass mailing TTVs all over the station, trying to cheat) that it's clear that they're not going to change their ways with a talking to and a quick time out. Someone making an off-color joke is unpleasant for everybody, but if the problem can be fixed without extreme measures it's definitely the better way to go.

This isn't an arbitrary decision on our part, either. We used to be very mean to people and had a reputation for coming down extremely hard for minor infractions for a pretty long time. We found it was making us into worse people and wasn't really reducing the number of probems we had to deal with.
#4
I’m on my phone so my syntax may not be exactly perfect but my primary issue wasn’t in the way that you handled it with the response. I’m unsure if my original message made my aim/position clear, but I would prefer if people that act bigoted in such an unapologetic way such as naming themselves Adolf hitler of the greater German reich do not receive a second chance.

I’m for the second chance of those who claim they can change/have shown they can change. And while every display of racism should be treated as a case by case basis, I believe there is a level that warrants no second chance.

(Apologies of the syntax or writing of any of this is wrong/confusing, I can elaborate accordingly)
#5
I feel the need to point out your inference that we aren’t punishing racism harshly enough is working from the fairly limited dataset that is the public appeal record.

Most instances of blatant bigotry are from people just looking to drive by grief and are never appealed after being banned. The tiny minority of these cases that do actually appeal, we, much like with other infractions, will be willing to lift them if sufficient time has elapsed (it’s usually around six months to a year but varies case by case). We’re dealing with a young enough player base that even a year can represent can represent a substantial amount of personal change.

As far as the described situation with the George Floyd comment, provided this was a one-off comment, it would likely result in an admin conversation and a warning with accompanying note. In terms of curbing behavior, it’s generally far more effective for us to speak to a player and explain why a behavior is problematic then to just slap a ban on them and forget they ever existed. The latter is for sure easier and honestly far more cathartic but the former we can confidently say with decades of experience, is the more effective solution.
#6
I myself, having at one time spoken the racist term "Dindu nuffin" and having been warned, appreciate the leniency.
Certainly, while a ban would've sufficed, with a warning my overall view of Goonstation administration team improved--and I haven't said anything along those lines again.

The Administrator, WarCrimes, concisely explained that while my intentions may not have been racist, the origin of the phrase is. Even posting a link into the admin PM.
While I wouldn't say I'm a Pillar of the community, nor have I contributed in any noteworthy way, I'm glad to have not been permanently banned over that.
Overall, I find this approach to be not only more effective, but reflect well on the team.

I won't opinionate myself further as I have no authority to speak on it, beyond relating my own experience with the matter.
#7
Not much to add here, as I agree with the administration's current approach and they've pretty much covered it. 

Regarding tone : 
As someone whose job involves speaking to lots of people, there's a saying I think is applicable here.
Never regret being a good person to the wrong people, your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.

Admins should not have to compromise their preferred behavior by becoming angry/rude when dealing with these kinds of things - it's just not very healthy in the long run for all parties involved.

In most cases, being the better person with a polite approach will achieve one of two things :
A) the other party is receptive to the approach, and it can be a positive influence on them
B) the other party gets incredibly cheesed off and starts throwing a tantrum 

Both of these outcomes should be agreeable with you, as they either learn from it or dig their holes deeper.
#8
Uhh since this is an open letter and I assume this means when I'm doing right now isn't peanut posting Ill give my two cents
I pretty much completely agree with what Souricelle said. Bans aren't really meant for punishment nor are they for trying to change peoples minds to think like us or whatever. They are just a slap to get them to understand to keep that shit off our servers. The admins aren't the spanish inquisition and aren't here to convince others they are wrong or that they are doing bad things. They are just here to keep the stuff that isn't allowed off the servers. At least that's how I've always seen it.
Of course some times there are people that just can't take the hint or keep acting up and that's when the big guns are brought out. Though I haven't really seen that much lately that can't just be responded with a No, or a Get Out.
#9
So not much has been said here that needs to be, and as someone whose majority of A helps is just sending quotes of a sexual or racist nature I know that this kind of shit can be rather uncomfortable. That said, there are some viewpoints to consider that I feel should be brought up.

Goons rules are considered noticeably strict in comparison to other servers. People sometimes come on here and will sometimes start calling Lizard men the "L" word (being the "L" word not because Loser but because it's the "N" word but hey it has the letter L as its starting word now aren't I clever). This is not a real slur. It's a slur aimed at a fictitious race oh scale skinned people that have tails and cold blood. But it's still not tolerated because it's just saying the "N" word. Most players just need to be told "Hey, just cause that shit flies on other servers doesn't mean we don't shoot it down here" and they apologize and stop.

Other considerations are that some of these people are just really edgy teens (as you might of pieced together reading through the various appeals) who will listen when some sort of authority gets involved. Or maybe they don't even know that what they said in the first place was racist (which has happened. I personally had no idea the Nazism bullshit that SS carried with it until I saw it in the Ban appeals, as I too had associated it with nothing but Naval Ships).

You get farther with people when you're understanding and willing to give them a chance. It's better, especially in a farty space man game, to give an asshole one chance too many than it is to irritate a reasonable person who might not have known any better.
#10
People touched on pretty much all the points I wanted to say, so I won't repeat them. It sounds like the OP simply has a higher standard of the types of people he wants to be in this community with, given his, "what if I'm RP-ing with a racist?" comment. And considers one-off-low-effort greif posts where someone says a slur or something offensive as proof that they are a racist through and through. Instead of them being naieve or using such terms in ignorance.

I can appreciate the feeling of being upset when a player who was banned for writing a slur gets their ban lifted, thinking that they haven't really changed and are going to do so again. But let me tell you, most people banned for that with the intention of being a hateful racist shit don't even appeal. And if they do appeal and somehow get back in, like having been banned for over a year or convince us with their appeal that they have seen their mistakr and changed. If they reveal their true colours and do it again, we just ban permaban straight away and then unbanning is very unlikely. People can change, and usually we try to give people the opportunity to prove they are better.

Really, I think that the idea that we are too lenient with ban appeals for slurs is not true and OP has convinced himself of it based on his practice of going through and listening to ban appeals. Like he said here:

"I have been listening to most ban appeals chronologically when I am driving, and at this point I am around 2019"

To be frank, that seems like one of the most unhealthy things to do in terms of interacting with this online community, and is surely going to negatively impact you. You're basically looking at some of the worst aspects of the community, and just distractedly listening to it while driving. I sure hope you had some text filters to avoid hearing slurs aloud that appear as quotes in ban messages or from text in general, cause that sounds like it would nightmarish to listen to.
#11
This has been something that has bothered me for quite some time as well. I hope this won't be considered peanut posting, and if it is, I apologize. I also apologize for how rambly this got. I worry about being misunderstood in situations like this, so I kinda tend to overdo my clarification a bit...

I wholly understand the points made by the admin team. This is just a video game, and in most instances, just telling people to cut it out is good enough to get people to actually cut it out. Low effort trolls and griefers don't tend to appeal anyways, so the system works, right? Sure, the system works like a well oiled machine, in the sense of treating Goonstation as any online server for any online game. You play online games with shitty people without knowing it all the time, it's just a fact of life and this is no different.

However, here's where my issue comes up. Goonstation... doesn't treat itself like any ordinary server for any ordinary game. As we speak, the Goonstation discord icon has the stripes of the pansexual pride flag. Every map in the game has a locker with a healthy number of free jumpsuits in most flavors of queer pride. The Discord has for most of its history had a dedicated lgbt channel, which one could argue traces even further back to IRC splinter channels. The server is clearly treated with the intention of being "safe" and "inclusive" and whatever else. This is not compatible with the earlier statements. I've been pretty on edge and cynical about Goonstation's presentation since the admin drama last year, when it turned out several of the admins were not exactly 'on board' with the whole queer acceptance thing, and where several community members came out of the woodwork to also be shitty about things like the pride locker. The admin who brought up these problems was rewarded with a (thankfully ultimately temporary, I wouldnt have come back if it wasn't) total demotion for their commitment to inclusivity. I understand this is not the whole story, and may not even be accurate due to how frantic things were, and this is not an attempt to relitigate old drama: I'm just mentioning it because it is necessary context for how I personally see Goonstation.

Between that event, the leniency on some appeals, and some older, less well remembered interactions from days in the IRC, I've had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth about Goonstation and it's presentation/aesthetic. It either is a standard video game community which cares more about if you can play nice without causing problems, which is entirely fine and completely justifiable, or a queer safe space, which is entirely fine and completely justifiable. It feels to me that Goonstation tries to straddle the line between the two, celebrating queerness while politely asking its bigots to keep the bigotry in their PMs, and I'm not sure that entirely works out in the end. I believe this is what Mushroom means by "feeling bad about roleplaying with a racist". Speaking from personal experience, it doesn't feel particularly good to find out someone you interacted with in a presumed safe space was actually a deeply shitty person, and just keeping quiet about it. The difference in presentation is the difference in expectations in who you are going to be interacting with on a regular basis, and I personally feel like Goonstation has some mixed signals about what these expectations should be for players. 

The thing about this post is I don't really have any demands, or even requests, or conclusions on what is to be done or anything. This is honestly mostly me thinking out loud: This sort of thing has been on my mind for at least over a year by this point, and this thread looked like a good spot to add my two cents. Again, sorry for the rambling,  I just hope some of it is of interest to people or useful to constructive conversation.
#12
The game and surrounding discord and forums are a safe space in so far as we take moderation action against obvious instances of bigotry we come across but, it is still at the end of the day a freely accessible public game. The expectation that every single person you could possibly interact with is not an asshole isn’t something you can really guarantee outside of a closed and vetted community, which Goonstation is decidedly not and has no plans to become one.

I would honestly suggest just playing the game and trying to have fun with fellow players. The alternative is to spend a ton of mental energy anguishing over if anyone you’re running into is secretly a bigot and to just withdraw into a self imposed cocoon of isolation which doesn’t sound terribly appealing to me.

If you run into any seemingly suspect behavior I would strongly encourage you to just report it and move on with your life. We have better tools then the general playerbase does and collective decades of experience in ferreting out bigotry so I would humbly ask you to just trust us to be working to prevent such behavior.
#13
*Admin edit*

Threads in admin feedback are specially for providing feedback around administrative staff actions while concerns about individual players are best passed along via in-game adminhelp or discord report functions.
#14
Hi, this (very belated because I wasn't around much this past month) post reflects my personal thoughts and opinions and I am not speaking for the admin team as a whole.

In terms of rulebreaking behavior for racism and bigotry and what have you, how I generally operate is that I try to determine how intentional someone is and how much harm they've caused, and base the actions I take off of that. In some cases, it's possible that someone has unintentionally said or done something bad. For instance, there are words that have different or less offensive meanings in other places, or words that are still common in popular usage, despite being against the rules here. In these cases, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. In other more egregious cases, where people are clearly and knowingly being shitty, they can get banned.

In terms of ban appeals, what I'm generally looking for is an understanding that certain things aren't okay and a resolve to not do them again. I also consider other factors as severity of someone's offense, how much time has passed, etc. While I value sincerity and would like people to reflect and change for the better, I'm not looking for someone to express their deepest apologies and regrets or complete reformation of someone as a whole. Mostly because it's impossible to tell if someone really truly changed, but also because even if they haven't totally, if we give them a chance, they may be able to (like many players have). And if they don't and continue being a bigot, we can easily ban them again. Though this isn't to say that there isn't a line, because there is (you just don't see the majority of those who've crossed it appealing).

I think a large part of your complaint is due to not having access to the inner workings of the team, so I hope this post is informative and helpful. I don't mean to argue with you, but rather just shed light on how I generally operate. Obviously this is something we all care a lot about.
#15
Posting in a complaint thread about an issue that had been extensively explained by admins, over a week ago, just to say "grow a thicker skin" is the very definition of peanut posting. Do not do this or your posting privileges will be revoked.


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