Dealing with the Negativity in the Community

Currently, a suggestion went up asking for a salt/rant channel, which split off into another discussion that I thought I would bring up: the negativity within the community.

In the time I’ve been around PMU, there’s always been some sort of drama that arises, whether it be because of players against players, staff against players, or even staff against staff. Sometimes it’s big. Sometimes small. But no matter what, there’s never a day where I come onto PMU without feeling like some sort of problem will happen, demotivating me from participating within the community or game.

Now, there’s multitude of reasons why this happens. I’ll make a list of my own observations. The problems within the community comes from either betrayal, hatred, annoyance, or misunderstanding. The biggest problem I feel though is annoyance. With current events, it’s easy to lose oneself in these troublesome times, and we may have get annoyed easier. We already have had a lot of tensions in the past, but I feel like they’re adding on due to everything that’s going on. Some players are quick to call someone out for their misdeeds instead of trying to keep calm. Some players ignore what others say to them and continue to cause problems because they want to ignore what’s going on. A lot of players are ready to attack each other for just the smallest things, and it keeps growing more unsettled each and every day.

So let me ask a question. How, as a PMU Community, help lessen the negativity against each other? At the moment, it’s very difficult because of how the global chat is visible for all to see, meaning that anyone can respond. If something controversial is stated, chances are that a war would break out. A main suggestion would be “ignore global”, but that’s kinda hard when you’re running a dungeon and have to look towards the sidebar on item you pick up. So what other suggestions are there? Report the troublesome user? Would be nice, but the problem is that staff is extremely small at the moment, and we haven’t had any notice of when new staff will come in, making the report slow to process. Players could also try to help staff by trying to calm the situation by asking the trouble user to stop, but sometimes they won’t listen. It’s difficult to think of any solutions when chat is heaved together, so the best suggestion I feel is just learning to “tolerate” each other. Yes, it’s hard to do, but in the state of PMU and everything else, we as a playerbase should try to lift each other up and try not to let each other get on each other’s nerves.

There are multitude of other factors, but if we work on one singular problem as a community, I feel like we’ll be able to help bring the community closer. But what do you guys think? Do you think the problem in the community is due to us getting annoyed too easily? Or are there other problems much bigger than this? Do you feel like there’s a better solution to handle the negativity abound within the community? Do these questions feel like something a Youtube theorist would ask? Feel free to post below with your thoughts!~

If you want to hear about the problems I have with PMU’s Rules, click here.

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I agree, and I personally would like to be more specific on what I think aught to be addressed in more detail.

  • Mini-modding: Players shouldn’t be publicly shamed for rule breaking, “Please don’t do/say that” is the only thing that should be said before taking it to a staff, otherwise conflict will only escalate. I know that is difficult with current staff numbers but, like I said it’s only escalating conflict most of the time and solves nothing. Players shouldn’t be judge jury, and executioners, it’s not your job, report it to staff it is their’s
  • Harassment, and Libel: Players should feel comfortable saying “Please don’t do/say that to/about me” when someone else is talking or doing things to/about them in ways that they don’t like even if it doesn’t break the rules if told to stop players shouldn’t talk about said player in the way they were upon being told to stop. (Examples: talking negatively about another player, placing items in said players house, spamming /voice ect around player.)
  • Knowing the difference between a productive conversation and a negative argument: Players should feel comfortable ending the conversation themselves, by saying “Please stop.” But also players entering a conversation that is productive and peaceful, and telling everyone to stop unwarranted, at that point they are the problem. If the conversation falls under Harassment or Libel, it’s justified and should be encouraged, otherwise, it is asking for unnecessary drama.
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That, and it’s also against the rules. Somewhat. Vaguely… Staff, please update the rules.

Publicly defaming someone’s name by saying “Beware of ____, they are a scammer!” or anything similar to it will result in you getting muted. If you have conclusive evidence, make a report about the person through the appropriate channels. This is considered harassment and will not be tolerated.

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I agree, and I know the rules, I am simply saying what I’ve seen people get away with multiple times, and what I attribute most of the drama too.

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Hello, I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. For one, I think one of the key things that has especially led to current drama is largely the result of a lack of moderators – which is of course being looked at in current staff applications. In particular, having several moderators who have experience with sitting down and being especially communicative with players is key. I do not mean to state this out loud to denigrate the current staff team or anything – they are especially limited by the fact there are only 5 of them, with many that have real life situations hampering their activity. As a result, this type of moderation is a lot less feasible than it would be in an “ideal” situation with many active staff. Having a lot of skilled moderators is key because many (but not all) drama situations are best sorted out by proactive mediation – sitting two people (with their permission depending on the situation) and discussing their issues with one another early on when you think something might be up rather than simply observing and muting once something is more egregiously breaking the rules. Of course, some situations are severe enough that this approach might not always be appropriate. I do not mean to write out this whole approach right now, however.

For now I mostly just wanna give some small stuff and reply to what I’ve read through so far. Specifically on the topic of minimodding. I think we have to be VERY careful with how we “deal” with this. I truthfully don’t see it as the “cause” of drama and I think framing it as such is largely putting the blame of the community on people who like to see the rules followed, which is very paradoxical.

It’s true, if a user swears or something, we do not need seven people talking about it or really extending the conversation to the point it becomes disruptive. And to that point, I agree we should cut down on that aspect. However, most drama on PMU really does not stem from simple, small scale issues like this. Since coming back to the game in late august/early September, I have seen examples of: bullying, telling people to defy coronavirus lockdown protocols, references to a “meme” about racist crime statistics and more. Before I move ahead I wanna quickly apologize for stating these situations out loud – I only mention them here to make a point that the severity varies through actual things that have happened. For many of these events, a staff member was around, and for many, one was not online nor would be online for many hours. For the more severe occasions, especially if a staff member is not around, these are situations which might call for a lot of pushback that might not occur at all if minimodding is treated more harshly – I’ll expand later on why I think that is a problem. I have also been in many of these events where the “stop” message was responded to with a “what’s the problem?” in bad faith or the user simply ignoring and continuing the topic/starting a fight.

In addition, there have been situations where rulebreaking behavior has occurred and a user reported it and was shamed for choosing to report the issue – being called a “snitch” among other terms. I really worry being tough on minimodding would lead to more cases like this which would be unfortunate.

Finally, this is also a topic better looked at, again, when there are many moderators on the team who are able to devote their time to every situation. In an event where staff are spread thin, I think having players largely self-moderate and letting each other talk out situations can be healthy and does not have to be a bad thing.

I wrote a lot out here but I wanna close by saying I do not think you are wrong, I just think the aim is slightly off. Rather, I would say any “issue” with minimodding and most other types of drama I see on PMU is that the response is disproportionate, not that there is a response. As I alluded to in the beginning, cursing/swearing is a relatively minor rule break that is typically treated as such by staff unless a player curses multiple times with no care. If we were to respond to that with too many messages, that’s disproportionate. I think this cuts both ways though. If we respond to the situation with too small a response, it does not discourage problematic behavior enough and really just pushes it later on for a more severe outcome when the user’s actions are now marked as a trend instead of an isolated incident. In other words, in the short run it leads to less debates but in the long run it just causes even more toxicity to boil up all around.

That’s all for now I guess.

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@Turtwig_B, I disagree with multiple things you have said, and agree with you on some points and I can provide proof in a moment. First off, I think lack of moderation is a part of the issue, but DEFINITELY not all or a majority of the problem since these issues have existed long before we arrived at this point, and I definitely don’t think the issue is that we have had bad staff/moderators either, we haven’t had “bad staff” in years, staff with bad communications skills maybe but definitely not bad staff overall. If lack of staff were major problem we also wouldn’t have had so much inner staff drama over the years, this is why I think lack of communication between staff is probably the bigger issue overall, and is absolutely one of the bigger contributing factors to how the staff team got so small. Like I said in Add a Rant/Salt Channel in PMU Discord I have said I have seen prismatic fail to handle these “explosions” and I refuse to blame him entirely, I blame the system and position he was put into, and know he was trying his hardest, if it was him who was the issue it would just have been him failing to control this “explosions” but it hasn’t just been him, it’s been several staff over the years, when it gets that far it can’t be a singular person responsible or a singular lack of people. I think vagueness of the rules, and lack of communication are the main problems in the staffs ability to proper execute punishment, and vagueness of the rules, is even a product of lack of communication, I talked with Andy years ago, back when population of staff certainly wasn’t as problematic as today, and he said if I remember correctly he was trying to issue changes and overall fix the rules, many of my suggestions fall so inline with what @shadowlucario50 says in The Problem with PMU's Rules, Andy might even read it and assume we are the same person, haha, jokes aside, I think that posting them and discussing them like Shadow did is something I regret not doing and should have done a long time ago, and I can’t agree more with. Moving on to some of the other things, Mini-moding is as

Bullying is bullying, attempting to fight fire with fire is NEVER justified, and I only brought it up as a separate thing, as it is technically harassment and also libel if it isn’t actually true or against the rules, is probably the most violated rule and not punished rule in all of PMU. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s justified, harassment and libel ILLEGAL in most states and countries, public mini-moding violates basic human rights and the fact that it goes on at all is I think due to mixture of favoritism (albeit sub-conscience) and vagueness.

Without mini-moding, and with proper staff conduct it’s impossible to find out who reports who, thus contradicting your own argument.

Mini-moding falls under bullying, once again I don’t understand your point on this, telling people to defy the coronavirus protocol is either harassment or forcing a political stance depending on context, that I understand, but referencing a “racist crime statistic” is physically impossible statistics physically can’t be racist, they aren’t sentient, or an opinion, they can be used for racist arguments sure, those are opinions, but as long as that wasn’t attached anything demeaning, and weren’t repeated after someone told them to stop, it’s not actually hurting anyone? It depends on context, and without a direct quote, I fail to understand what you are saying here.

So if it’s minor why should people be able to be bullied for it via mini-moding? we all make mistakes.

I kinda understand what you are saying Turtwig, and sympathize with your concerns but I don’t think you have fully understood the bigger picture here, or what you are saying.

Edit: That actually reminded me, context is also something that should be more specific in rules, I think, considering we have seen people get punished for stupid silly things like the use of “sexy” to simply mean stylish, (overturned), or referencing the sporting goods store in obvious context referring to the sporting goods store, also the same word different context and conversation referring to the first Robin’s real name, these ruling weren’t overturned to my knowledge.

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Tbh this problem can be solved simply.

just make block player feature

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I think that is definitely a step that can be taken, but I don’t think it can solve everything, definitely something that is important to consider though.

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As of now, I’d rather not see player ban added.
While it will solve the issue on the spot, it will also aliment grudges way more easily than now.
For how silly this might sound, there’s less consequences coming from an explosion than a straight out “block all those who don’t share your opinion”.
I’d be happy to see it added, but this “air of drama” that is constantly on the game needs to be alleviated first. With it still on, it will do more damage than good imo.
This is all my opinion of course.

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Oh, there’s something else I forgot to mention, and probably my biggest argument against making a anti-complaint rule, and allowing mini-modding the way Turtwig said. It’s VERY important to factor in that quite a lot of players in PMU fall under the autism spectrum, mainly the Asperger side, I have known a handful over my years playing PMU, I my self share my symptoms with Asperger’s although I am not on the spectrum, what I personally am diagnosed with is often misdiagnosed as Asperger’s (I am high on the Highly Sensitive Person/Highly Sensitive Individual scale) I know that a few of these people are the ones engaged in some of these discussions and inevitable explosions, and I suspect more than I know. PMU having you play as a pokemon unintentionally invites people on the autism spectrum, as it allows for a social association that isn’t a typical human, and it isn’t really fair at all to bully them when they complain, or go on rants, it’s often simply how they express idea, or appreciation, even though you might not see it that way. As long as it costs no other player anything this is why I think it shouldn’t be punish, by other players or moderation, I don’t think it will deal with the negativity, the way people think it will.
Also I agree with what Kayu said.

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I’m not really sure what you guys define as ‘‘mini-modding’’ - but I think that term by itself conveys a negative energy just like ‘‘backseat modding’’ or ‘‘backseat gaming’’.

I’m rather confused at these statements:

A healthy community is able to keep each other in check. This has nothing to do with one person ‘‘mini modding’’ another, it’s just like you would do in real life. If you see someone acting out badly towards another person, you would say something about it if your moral compass told you the behavior isn’t right. That is, in my opinion, a perfectly fine thing to do, in PMU, or in any other setting. I think it should be encouraged that people are open and straight forward with each other, as long as it is done in a respectful manner.

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Well yeah, and I said that myself, something should absolutely be said, but it should be along the lines of “please stop” “Don’t do that” not “OOOOOOOH YOU ARE GONNA GET BANNED LOL, LOOK WHAT THIS KID DID” and that’s something I’ve seen happen way to many times. I defined mini-modding as not just telling someone to stop, but making a public scene about someone’s “rule violation”

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I can see where the disagreement comes from now. I define minimodding a lot more broadly, even toward the “please stop” end of things, whereas your definition tends to only include the severe examples which I think everyone can agree is a problem, although I personally haven’t seen many examples of this (which I do wanna emphasize does not mean this doesn’t happen).

To this end and to integrate Syni’s point (which I think encapsulates what I wanted to say way better than how I said it), I guess we can really boil it down to just saying “treat others the way you want to be treated” - no one likes it when people continue even after being told to stop and this is obviously situational, but in that scenario we should likely stop at those points as well. In addition, if we make a mistake, we want it pointed out to us (so we don’t repeat it!) but we don’t want anyone constantly pestering us or telling us about how it’s gonna result in punishment.

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@Turtwig_B

I tried to give strict definitions to what I was addressing at the beginning, which is why I questioned if you knew what you were saying when you addressed them in a different way.

Thats kinda what I’ve been saying? We almost entirely agree I don’t think you’ve been reading everything I’ve been saying. I am also worried about people randomly saying “Please stop that” to everything they don’t like, which is why I included it only being justified for things that personally involve the player, and

When it comes down to it:
We all agree players should tell others to stop, and feel comfortable doing so, but not really go further as it generates more drama, and isn’t really fair, this should be handled in a respectful manner.
We all agree players should stop when told to when directly addressing another player in anyway the other player finds offensive, this should be handled in a respectful manner.

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Sadly, All we can do as a player is telling how is the situation looking, show empathy, and if it doesn’t react, report to staff. and being honest, I have to report it to staff team to prevent dramas or prevent the problem get escalated.

Also, we are old enough to follow rules and know what are we doing, and if they don’t, they’ll get what they deserve for breaking the rules. can’t empathize with that.

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