I wanted to address the community around lizardinlaw, and actions I’ve taken as the business entity of E2 to remove them from the platform. My day to day work here tends to stay out of content matters, individual issues, and I focus on the things even a smaller number of people can do: the business and technical health of the site. However, as the operator of the business, it is ultimately my responsibility for community health.

Over the last few months, we’ve had a very healthy debate around the role and place of moderation practice, content policy, and community guidelines. We have some tools and structures in place but they certainly could use a fresh coat of paint and holistic re-look. During those conversations many of the examples around bad behavior centered around one individual. After taking a long look through the history of moderation, interviewing staff, and long history of volunteers working with them it was clear there were patterns of behavior that were largely toxic to the health of the overall community. We don't have enough in place codifying what our expectations were and what our promises to each other should be in order to keep a community healthy.

Lizardinlaw had spent a decade as a contributor, and communication during that time made it clear that discussions around behavior were not going to be fruitful and the best thing was to simply part ways. Though their actions did not explicitly violate currently codified community guidelines, I made the business decision to separate them from the platform, including alternate accounts. Their writeups as well as many others are getting a relook as a part of a recommitment to low-reputation pruning but the site removal was not due to content standards, content legality, or any quality concerns. We take copyright very seriously here, and they have been provided a copy of all of their data, and we will remove any content from publication that they desire, separated or not.

While this decision was made in consultation with the staff, it was my decision, and any concerns can skip them and come directly to me.

This was not an easy decision nor one that I made lightly. It highlighted that we needed to apply that coat of paint to community guidelines sooner, and it is something that we are going to address in the upcoming months. The longterm health of this community is my priority, it is incredibly important that we don’t lose track of that.

Some thoughts on returning to the editorial fold

"Whack! Yer an Editor!"
--dannye to me, all those years ago.

I'm happy to be back as a Content Editor, having fallen away to apostasy (partly through depression and partly for personal reasons). I've been back for a while, writing. A week ago I was once again handed the Editorial Broom, and have since been getting up to speed with what's changed and what still needs to change.

I was on the admin team for many years before my collapse off the site. I'd spent an awful lot of time doing my best to improve things here, not just the janitorial stuff of cleaning up messes, nor the task of keeping the community safe and happy, but trying to improve how things worked. I wanted the place to thrive, not just as a collection of bits of writing, but as a connected whole, with people giving support to one another.

In particular, I had a piece of advice on my homenode from before I was kicked up to editorhood:

Feedback is intended to help you to improve both in your writing and in understanding E2. Behaviour breeds behaviour - if you respond to feedback with hostility you will [likely] be met with hostility, but if you respond with appreciation, you will get a better response in the future.

That sentence is still there, has been for probably almost twenty years. I believed in feedback to the community then, and I believe in it now. I think it's everyone's responsibility to provide it, whether it's a response to the content, the style or behaviours.

My Feedback

Conversations with many here, both community and staff suggest that we do need some new things. One of the new things is a Code of Conduct that clearly sets out the responsibilities we all share, and what should happen when things go wrong. There has been some back-end discussion about this for a while, but we need to actually write it, get it out there and make certain that everyone understands that bad behaviour has consequences on this site. (I'm assured that work is in serious progress on the CoC.)

There's been a lot of discussion amongst the staff about what to do. It's clear that the time for discussion is over and it's time for action. We need to adhere to our standards of content and we need to address some of the behavioural issues. We need a clear and transparent process to follow If Things Go Wrong.

Something else that still needs addressing is the state of site documentation and help. There is a lot of fragmented stuff scattered across the site. Some of it is out of date, some of it is needlessly complex. Some of it is seemingly written for established users, not newcomers to the site. I take some responsibility for this (I headed up E2Docs when I had 'god' status and then left).

There has been talk of reintroducing the mentorship program. I've suggested having each new user receive a message (or messages) with links to help. I believe there's a need for more transparency and accountability from the staff.

There's much, much more we could all do as an entire community. I believe in us, and I think we've a bright future.

Addendum: The Everything2 Code of Conduct is now live.

Let's go to work.

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