There will be a tl;dr Q&A at the end of this long explanation incase you don’t feel like reading every single detail, however I advise that if you are concerned about what has happened you read the full context.
The events as they unfolded:
On Monday, June 25th Goofball posted a thread concerning his belief of a conspiracy behind the Repukan appeal. On Tuesday morning, Ausops asked the headmins if they would veto a rule 0 ban from the server, he was told that we would not veto that. Then Ausops informed MSO that he would additionally be placing a forum ban on goofball (headmins have no say in forum administration except FNR and Admin subforums.) Later in the day, Ausops came forward and clarified that the ban reason was a combination of a rule 0/1 and the previous threat made by Goofball (which was not pursued four months ago due to concerns regarding the victim's safety.) Immediately, we became concerned since we know what can happen when accusations and doxxing can get out of hand, I’m sure you will all remember incidents such as the Boston Bomber where someone innocent died after Reddit “investigated” and accused them of committing the bombing.
The original threat was posted here:
A day passes while we are discussing the ramifications of this information. Due to rightful internal demands for transparency, the information was distributed to the entire administrative team via forum post by Citrus. At the time that the information was transmitted to the admins, we believed the comments made were a legitimate threat to the victim's safety so we recommended that all admins do not disclose the information in the thread out of the safety of the victim. HG then proceed to send the information to goofball the moment that he read the thread. This is troublesome for us since, at that time, we did not know whether the threat was credible and, to ensure the utmost security of the victim, the threat was treated as being credible. HG was not an admin when he released the information and he essentially took the situation into his own hands even when we requested that we keep the information secret at that time. We understand why he did it, but it directly went against the wishes of the victim who requested they be left out of the situation.
We respect the rights of the victim first most. If the victim requests that information be kept private if a ban might affect their safety outside of the game, we are obliged to withhold the information even if it makes adminbus look bad. If we believe that the information is sensitive and could lead to real life consequences then we will honor the victim’s requests. Particularly for this situation, the victim did not want the ban to occur in the first place nor did they want to be involved in the situation out of fear for their own safety.Around the same time, Arm implied that he was going to resign Wednesday morning and then later resigned Wednesday night. The official reason has nothing to do with the current situation but his resignation happened at an unfortunate time for all parties involved. It considerably slowed the discussion on the situation down and caused the delay of this response until the weekend. This leads to the reason why we were unable to comment on the legitimacy of the threat until afterwards.
Ultimately, the situation was handled poorly by all parties. A link to the thread was posted on the Hippie discord and the thread was posted to Reddit. The position to protect the information of the victim and give a sufficient ban reason is not paradoxical, but due to the high-profile nature of this ban: it turned out to be impossible since the information was released before we could comment on its legitimacy. We attempted to do something that turned out to be impossible and was unfaithful to the community since it appeared to be the shadowy admin cabal doing something with intent to sweep it under the rug. We went into this with the best intentions to protect the victim and to ensure that the situation was handled with the utmost integrity.
We apologize to the community as a whole for the actions of lead administration during this endeavor. We have no intent of lying to the community and only wished to protect the interests of all parties involved.
Why was goofball banned?
For making accusations and possible threats to someone that had real life consequences. We take a zero-tolerance stance to anyone making such threats to another member of this community. We are not accusing him of doxxing the victim, however we took the threat seriously and that is certainly permabannable.
You believed there was a threat to the victim?
Yes, at least in some capacity from the parties involved. We weren't 100% sure, so we went with the safe route and treated it as credible.
Why was HornyGranny powers removed?
He leaked adminbus. It was fine to disagree with us and to argue for the ban reasoning to be released. However leaking adminbus was an abuse when we had specifically asked not to at the time due to the ongoing discussion of the information. If we cannot trust people with powers then they cannot have them. This goes for game and forum admins.
So you fucked up?
Yes, we made bad decisions. We tried to protect the victim while also punishing what we saw as something unacceptable in the community. We could not achieve both. I can only apologise in the strongest terms for the damage this caused between players and the admin team.
What’s going to happen now?
As you’ve seen goofball’s forum ban was already been lifted. MSO announced that we are doing a review of forum administration, a change to how bans are discussed, codifying and unifying what is acceptable across our multiple communication platforms (server, discord, forums etc.) and possibly more. Watch this space, I will try to make the creation and implementation of these changes as transparent as possible from my position.
Why’d this statement take so long to come out?
Headmins and Host that live in timezones with 8 hours of difference. We only had a short time to discuss things each day, I fell asleep twice at my laptop halfway through these discussions and last night I was extremely ill. I can only apologise. Also, Arm leaving partway through discussions did cause some delay for the statement to come out.
What happened with Arm?
Exactly as you saw, it’s an unfortunate coincidence but Arm has several things to deal with irl right now. He not only stepped down as headmin but also as admin and left the community. If and when he returns he will be welcomed back. A new headmin will be announced shortly.
“But anyone who knows goof knows he’d never follow up.”
Personally, we do not know goof and cannot speak to what he would have done at that moment. Our actions in this situation would be the same for anyone else given the need for the victim’s confidentiality (which is partially our failure since goof is such a high profile individual.)
A statement from Sawrge will follow.