On Community53

tigermom4mon 9d
+8

I wrote this based on the ideas I saw posted in d1pshit's goodbye thread which I thought were missing the mark. There's three false assumptions I noticed people make, the first two relating to the (imo dangerous) way people approach internet communities and the third one relating to d1pshit herself (though applicable to any troll on here).

The first assumption: that the presence of people like d1pshit is inherently bad for an online community. How do we define what is bad for a community as a whole, and how do we define what's bad for its individual members? Which one prevails?

I don't want to hear about how online communities are comparable to real life in any way (d1pshit's case being a great example of how things would have been handled differently irl, from all sides involved). I don't want to outright say this but I will: most of us came here because we were introverted, socially-anxious, depressed, had less than perfect rl social lives, etc. (this excluding people who only play the games and don't involve themselves in sandbox drama). Now I'm sure that amongst these people there's some who'd just like to have a nice community, and I truly hope you find those people who are looking for the same. But for the rest of us (and this now includes the people who just play the games), EM seems to be something you do only when you're too tired/bored/have some free time/etc. to do stuff in real life.

Knowing this it does not surprise me that in the many years I've been here there was never truly a time when people were investing in the community in a building rather than a destructive fashion. In other words, if, in a specific period in time, you're in the right place mentally to do something (creative/extrinsic) with your life, you're more likely to take up gardening than invest time in bettering a virtual community (god bless the mod team and whoever's hosting that singing competition but I couldn't. I say this as someone who has in the past attempted to make the community nice by hosting things and wanted to contribute to the community/better it multiple times.From an adult perspective it's just much much better to do things in real life). It's just more tangible. And if someone doesn't have the mental energy, it's most likely that they come here to just f*ck around. Which explains why, throughout all the time I've been here, there has never been a time when the community was popular + harmonious.

You see, it's not prosperity that brings about drama. It's drama that causes prosperity. It'd be interesting to see the figures and I won't attempt to claim this is factual truth, but ever since d1pshit came back to EM the community has been booming. Negativity drives engagement; even if you personally felt stressed because of her presence, your engagement with her comments increased the overall activity of the website. Does this mean we should ignore individual people's suffering over a toxic community purely because it makes the community popular? No!. But it brings us to the second assumption:

That online communities are comparable to rl communities and inherently worthy of our efforts and time. Actually, I've already spoken about this and there isn't much new to say (all the points are intermingled in the text. It's okay). I honestly just wanted to draw attention to this:

[d1pshit on her presence on EM] "I love drama. I really do. It's fun. But it's also consuming and takes away resources from much less questionable pursuits."

Because I think it's worth noting that any online community can be extremely addictive. I remember briefly visiting EM in the morning, evening and at night, and every single time I'd see d1pshit hosting games or arguing with people on the lobby wall . It seemed extremely unhealthy, which is why regardless of any political drama I'm very happy she decided to take a break and can only hope she won't fill that time up with some other social media. But I think it's worth mentioning because it applies to all of us, both the people who come here to find community and those who come here when they're too exhausted to do something else. EM is not your family. It's a time vortex. A benign one, in that there aren't measures in place to keep you coming back, but a time vortex nonetheless (just because someone isn't profiting off of you doesn't mean you aren't wasting time). If you have made friends here, stick to them. But don't mistake the sum total of sandbox for your allotment garden community whose sanctity you need to protect. It's not that and never should be. Sure, the community isn't THAT big. But it's a lot more than you can ever realistically try to unite under some abstract purpose. School spirit was a sham, so why are we trying to emulate that with Sandbox? If my high school class (a never-changing set of 25 people) managed to form into 4 inner circles within that setting, how can we expect cliques not to come about in a community as large as this? They should be celebrated. That said, nobody should gang up on anyone, but in the end I think retiring the idea of community on a Sandbox level would do us good, as well as taking care to ensure we aren't investing too much time in a place that in the end doesn't matter and never will. I understand the irony of taking the time to write this out, but I think I'm pretty aware of EM's relation to my real life and know to control myself by now. I can only hope the others know to do the same.

We've finally arrived at the most important point. Three: the assumption that d1pshit was either a horrible person, OR a helpless victim of The Circlejerk's ire. The truth is d1pshit was a troll. I'm sure she was aware of the pointless nature of internet arguments (perhaps in a time-consuming rather than an politically fruitless kind of way), while still believing every word she argued. Do you know that rush of dopamine you get in a debate? I'm confident that's what drove the fun for her (regardless of how uncomfortable the blowback she would receive). Unfortunately for us and for her, it ended up taking a significantly large proportion of her time and impacting the people who were more susceptible to it/more willing to entertain her (though I'd be surprised if they didn't get their own adrenaline from engaging in the whole affair. Anger brings about adrenaline).

Anyway I don't think there's much else to say. If some (extremely) charismatic dogooder decides to take matters into their own hands now that the d1pshit's departure has left an opening in the social hierarchy, they might actually turn things around here and shift it from its toxic ways...

But I highly doubt that (just as I doubt that any comments made by either party ever ran the risk of paving way for extremism in the community any more than their subsequent rehashing did to destroy toxicity). Just play the game; don't engage the trolls, stick to your friends, and, most importantly, plant some (real life) seeds.

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Shwartz99May 23, 2020
-2
interesting analysis but id have to disagree with your solution. factionalism is never constructive.
GolbolcoMay 23, 2020!
+1
deleted
sl0ndermanMay 23, 2020
+2
I thought this was going to be about my favorite sitcom Community but yes I agree with a lot of what you said. The internet has been around too long so we can no longer pretend that online communities exist in a vacuum. These are real people and while its easy to hide behind a username and say things that you wouldn't dare say in real life, and we should respect them. The blessing and curse with online relationships is that you meet people that you would otherwise never talk to. This is a good thing if you make a friend who lives 3000 miles away but a bad thing when you end up in a hodgepodge community so large that everyone has conflicting interests. I'm not sure if I can call mafia the glue that holds the epicmafia community together anymore.
4thNightFacinorousMay 23, 2020!
sl0nderman
I thought this was going to be about my favorite sitcom Community but yes I agree with a lot of what you said. The internet has been around too long so we can no longer pretend that online communities exist in a vacuum. These are real people and while its easy to hide behind a username and say things that you wouldn't dare say in real life, and we should respect them. The blessing and curse with online relationships is that you meet people that you would otherwise never talk to. This is a good thing if you make a friend who lives 3000 miles away but a bad thing when you end up in a hodgepodge community so large that everyone has conflicting interests. I'm not sure if I can call mafia the glue that holds the epicmafia community together anymore.
If your closing remark is true, would it really be preferable to return the days when mafia was binding everyone together?
nautaMay 23, 2020!
+2
GREAT post

" It's drama that causes prosperity. " yeah, people really be loving to argue. you right

"It's a time vortex. A benign one, in that there aren't measures in place to keep you coming back, but a time vortex nonetheless"
....yeah. i really have to get off this f#cking website
doozeMay 23, 2020
+7
FUUUCK I JUST ACCIDENTALLY DELETED GOLB'S COMMENT INSTEAD OF LIKING IT IM SO SORRY IM A CORRUPT MOD HELEPPp
bouquetMay 23, 2020
+1
dooze
FUUUCK I JUST ACCIDENTALLY DELETED GOLB'S COMMENT INSTEAD OF LIKING IT IM SO SORRY IM A CORRUPT MOD HELEPPp
somebody de-mod this monster asap pls
sl0ndermanMay 23, 2020
+1
4thNightFacinorous
sl0nderman
I snip
If your closing remark is true, would it really be preferable to return the days when mafia was binding everyone together?
hard to say. first of all we can't just tell everyone "start liking mafia" again or whatever. EM is currently made up of a bunch of groups of people that come from many different places with different ideals. if the site was more active, this would easily be solved by telling people to go to their respective lobbies and avoid lobbies of the people you disagree with (a russian language lobby would be the first thing the comes to mind). BUT because there are so few player and main is the only lobby that "matters," it doesn't make sense to split what is already a small group.
GolbolcoMay 23, 2020
dooze
FUUUCK I JUST ACCIDENTALLY DELETED GOLB'S COMMENT INSTEAD OF LIKING IT IM SO SORRY IM A CORRUPT MOD HELEPPp
It’s all good, I’ll rewrite it:

It’s funny that the responses D1p’s thread got were identical to concerns described in LastProphet’s thread, and also identical to the criticism that LastProphet received.

It is clear that the Sandbox community has a different standard for moderation than the mods themselves do. This is clear because Alyssa had to explain why D1p hadn’t yet been banned:

Alyssa
kaworu
Also, mods, how was she not banned for that?
In regards to the report? I may as well specify as I was the one who handled it(as well as any sandbox reports at that time). I've shared the report link in the mod chat and a discussion got going on it, the consensus ended up being that there was nothing that pointed towards the user being aware of the racist usage of the word. The word's history was outside of the knowledge of team who've never heard the word be used before with racist connotations, me being included in that, which led to an indecisive verdict of a note in a zero tolerance policy type rule.

Although either way, it would have been RS 1st or a note, neither would have been a ban. This was a single infraction and the only users site banned before without reaching the vio-threshold is if we suspect they're a banned user or they're a pedo
I understand and empathize with users who think the mod team is ineffective and want to police the site themselves. I used to do that a lot. At the same time, if you are someone who believes the opposite and thinks that what a select few users have been doing lately are in the wrong, I encourage you to use the report function and call it harassment. If we want to self-police we should accept that we in turn will be policed, it’s only fair.
4thNightFacinorousMay 23, 2020
sl0nderman
hard to say. first of all we can't just tell everyone "start liking mafia" again or whatever. EM is currently made up of a bunch of groups of people that come from many different places with different ideals. if the site was more active, this would easily be solved by telling people to go to their respective lobbies and avoid lobbies of the people you disagree with (a russian language lobby would be the first thing the comes to mind). BUT because there are so few player and main is the only lobby that "matters," it doesn't make sense to split what is already a small group.
Another great comment. Could this therefore be a limitation of the site itself? It's intrinsically built to favour mafia compared to a site which would be more favourable of many games.
IceBearMay 23, 2020
Dooze needs her 3rd mod abuse.
sl0ndermanMay 23, 2020
+1
4thNightFacinorous
Another great comment. Could this therefore be a limitation of the site itself? It's intrinsically built to favour mafia compared to a site which would be more favourable of many games.
yes but it's also a "mafia site" making it not about mafia would destroy its identity. if we compare EM to other, similar, sites that intend for you to pick up and play a game quickly (and were likely someone's personal project) such as https://skribbl.io/ or pretendyoure.xyz, all those games require you to enter a username and start playing. they don't a forum, a ranking system, reports, etc. but mafia NEEDS these things because it's a team game that requires meta discussions like forums and reports, so it's stuck in this state between a minigame website and a full-fledged mafia experience
GolbolcoMay 23, 2020
sl0nderman
BUT because there are so few player and main is the only lobby that "matters," it doesn't make sense to split what is already a small group.
I don’t have any numbers to officially back it up, but the website appears to be more trafficked with the pandemic going on. Sure it could be temporary depending on how long things last, but in case the population maintains an increase due to outside activities being offline shouldn’t we consider splitting up into lobbies?
sl0ndermanMay 23, 2020
+1
Golbolco
.
if that's the case then it's not hitting sandbox that hard because there's still at most 3 games running at any one time which is not enough to justify splitting the group. i'd say you would start splitting people into lobbies once the amount of open games is longer than what can be displayed on the lobby wall (yes this used to happen in sandbox back in the day).

*note that while yes this is sometimes still happens in main, splitting main is pointless because that's the people trying to play ranked and no one cares about ranking in custom lobbies
tigermomMay 23, 2020!
Shwartz99
interesting analysis but id have to disagree with your solution. factionalism is never constructive.
Constructive in what sense? If you mean it won't result in a cohesive community then that's kind of what I was saying in the op about how it's impossible to build that kind of community anyway (identity needs to exist in opposition to something and it's natural we're going to want to differentiate ourselves w i t h i n sandbox itself, as all of us play mafia and that's the only reason we're here). I actually did mean it in an accelerationist kind of way where the ultimate goal is the death of the sandbox community where we're all free, though I realise how that doesn't address the (personal) problem of the people who invest too much time into em who would then just turn to other internet communities. I mean it's not like em or sandbox are THAT toxic; the fact that we're all fighting all the time actually prevents any significant echo chambers from forming (the ones you see in say incel forums) whose dissolving would mean positive things for the people in the community. SO

In the end I think a mixed approach where we don't attempt to build some identity that doesn't exist but also shun/disengage people who we don't like while being courteous. Like it's about the perfect balance you know. There's elements of the website like the family system that I think are very clique and do nothing but to make newbies feel excluded, but I don't think removing them would even begin to address the issue.

tigermom to Golbolco
I actually had your undeleted comment saved in an unrefreshed version of the page and it was funny seeing how your word choice etc. changes in the new version of the text. What's even funnier is that I accidentally clicked f5 and had to rewrite all of this text from memory (my rewrite wasn't as close to the original as yours was)
4thNightFacinorousMay 23, 2020!
sl0nderman
]yes but it's also a "mafia site" making it not about mafia would destroy its identity. if we compare EM to other, similar, sites that intend for you to pick up and play a game quickly (and were likely someone's personal project) such as https://skribbl.io/ or pretendyoure.xyz, all those games require you to enter a username and start playing. they don't a forum, a ranking system, reports, etc. but mafia NEEDS these things because it's a team game that requires meta discussions like forums and reports, so it's stuck in this state between a minigame website and a full-fledged mafia experience
Of course it would be unthinkable to change such a core aspect of the site but I think the boundaries in which em must operate in should be acknowledged.

Again, I agree with the rest of your sentiments. Is there anything that can be done besides hoping more people play on website to try and remedy the problems you and others have described?

Or many more importantly, what can we do to make people come back to em and Sandbox or is the site and the lobby doomed to a slow death which there is no escape?
GolbolcoMay 23, 2020
sl0nderman
Golbolco
.
if that's the case then it's not hitting sandbox that hard because there's still at most 3 games running at any one time which is not enough to justify splitting the group. i'd say you would start splitting people into lobbies once the amount of open games is longer than what can be displayed on the lobby wall (yes this used to happen in sandbox back in the day).

*note that while yes this is sometimes still happens in main, splitting main is pointless because that's the people trying to play ranked and no one cares about ranking in custom lobbies
This is reasonable, although I don't see why custom lobbies are the only answer.

I also don't see why splitting the lobby needs to occur so long as the playstyle remains the same across the community. Everybody in Sandbox plays Mafia under Sandbox rules anyway, but if there were a significant number of games that didn't play like how Sandbox plays (like what happened with Survivor a long time ago) then split it.

As it stands, the only significant difference between users in Sandbox is mindset on things that don't even affect the game.
doozeMay 23, 2020
+1
IceBear
Dooze needs her 3rd mod abuse.
*4th
PissProblemsMay 23, 2020
I thought this was about the tv show community at first and then it wasn't and i'm sad now.

maybe we should try to be more like the tv show community.
Shwartz99May 23, 2020
tigermom
Shwartz99
interesting analysis but id have to disagree with your solution. factionalism is never constructive.
Constructive in what sense?
constructive in the the sense that it brings about "prosperity". it might temporarily increase engagement as people would consistently try to get people on their side but in the long run, it pulls us all further apart. im not sure why you dont believe that we have a united culture here in sandbox. maybe we overemphasize our differences, but the fact is that we all have more in common with each other than we have differences, at least as of right now. that identity isnt being "built" on purpose, but instead by the fact that ya know we're all here in this lobby right now discussing these things instead of somewhere else on the site, somewhere else on the internet, or somewhere else in the real world. nobody has to try to build our identity because that already exists; we should just not to degrade it by highlighting our differences.

(had to shorten quote due to char limit)