A few words from me, as this was my decision and I basically told the moderator team that if they didn't do it, I would. Least you forget I am also the admin for this forum, for all intents and purposes, and it is my duty to try to lead this site in a direction that jives with its members, its audience, and most of all its community. The forums are but a small part of the community that makes up the UESP site, and we must make sure it is a welcoming and warm place to be, which, historically, it has been. In fact, the one often repeated line about the forums is that it is so unlike other places due to the friendly and warm atmosphere maintained by the members here. For that – kudos!
Now, granted, moderating is not an exact science, and I myself have wavered in my efforts and position to keep the forums running smoothly and without issues, as I am likely to do again. Of course, I think anyone who knows me knows I aspire to build the forums into the greatest they can be, and I cannot do it without your feedback.
I also cannot do it when I am getting buried in complaints about your behavior. Contrary to the popular belief, being a member of the site staff does not mean we get to sit back and lord over everyone else. A good staff member is active behind the scenes and is trying to not only maintain law and order but to endorse, create, and embrace ways to build the site for everyone. It is rather difficult to do this when I am reduced to babysitter because a lot of people on the internet do not know the difference between a debate and an argument, or because they are busy making issues out of things that are misconstrued nonissues. When subjects poised to expand your mind, introduce you to contrary and different ways of thinking, and challenge you to think outside of your own comfort zone and see a different worldview become nothing more than a thin veil for you to attack others, it becomes downright unacceptable.
When these topics were directly introduced, as a direct result of staff discussions with the group of UESPF members known as The Dissidents – the same movement that spawned ex-moderator Cactus’ Cactopia forums - it was intended that they would be first approved by our so-appointed “debate moderators,” as noted here
. This was not properly followed through both by members and the staff, and for the latter we alone are accountable. It was also intended to be on a trial basis, with one or two threads at a time. While UESP is a positively delightful and polite forum, it is easy to forget your manners and maturity when you feel you are being attacked, and sadly that was happening much too often with these threads.
You can blame we moderators because we are responsible, particularly those of us who are not as active as we should be. However, on UESPF, we also believe and frequently promote the idea of “self-moderation.” If you are not mature enough to step back and say, “Am I really having a discussion here, or am I stepping over the line?”, and then to reply with silly replies such as "Lulz, guess someone's feelings got hurt!", then you are not mature enough to partake in these conversations and are not demonstrating taking these topics seriously in the first place, or at least that is the impression I am given. People who were curious about that took the time to PM me and ask their opinion, and I have always given it to them. But on more than one occasion I have even participated in a thread just to calmly state my opinion, why I believe it, and even ask other people about how and why they believe what they believe, in order to gain more insight. That is a discussion. And, sadly, even when I have said that I think some of you are being rude and this is not how discussions are carried out, you chose to ignore my tone and continue on as if you had either not read or simply ignored what I wrote. I am not sure what message you wanted me to get from that other than the one that you do not listen to moderators anyhow.
That being said, I have not ruled out the possibility of making a strictly moderated and limited debate subforum where we might be able to properly discuss these things, but quite frankly it is very low on my to-do list - do you want a better staff in which to moderate these forums, or a subforum let loose first, for instance? - and it is something I would like to debate together, as a site, before it is implemented. You are more than welcome, at any point in time, to demonstrate to me that as a community at large we are mature enough to have these conversations in the first place, but so far you have a failing grade…but you are so close to passing.
Furthermore, I would like to remind you all that you are more than welcome to go elsewhere for your daily dose of political, religious, nonsensical, and otherwise insane debates, such as the often referenced Cactopia. I will even give you the invite code to the site. Remember that your registration here is not a binding contract to force your attendance if you desire to go elsewhere. Our only request is that, in your time here, you have fun, be respectful, and follow the rules. However, UESP is not, and will never be, any other internet site. It is UESP. We are a site intended for two audiences: people who play and enjoy The Elder Scrolls games, and the niche of people, like myself, for whom games like Morrowind and Oblivion never get old. Everything else that we partake in, particularly here in the General Discussion subforums, is a gift to help strengthen the camaraderie between posters outside of the game subforums.
The downside to camaraderie is that sometimes we get so comfortable with each other that we forget how easily we can wound people or be overprotective of our own views and emotions. We all make mistakes. What we ought to do is step back, look at why people feel this isn’t working, and combine that with the ideas of people who think it does work to find the happiest medium without losing sight both of UESP’s goal as a site and the forums as a community. We should all enjoy the wonderful things that happen when people from all over the world come together in a place like this, because predominantly wonderful things do
I apologize for the textwall, but I felt the need to explain myself adequately and wished to do so in a timely manner. Yes, I apologize for going on break and not being here to properly discuss things with you, but sometimes real life comes first, and I would hope you all understand this. I will be back, full time and well rested with many good ideas, shortly.
Additionally…come talk to us. We accept your advice and ideas, your complaints and your hatred, at any time – not just when the going gets tough.