Most games rely on a sense of community to maintain its health and stability. This is especially true for MMOs and even truer for Eve. The sandbox nature of the game compels players to develop relationships and those grow into communities. Without community no game “stays fun” forever. Eventually you figure out all of the little things you can do, check off all of your accomplishments and you move on. This is true for every game out there. MMOs have the advantage that they can extend the lifespan of a game through these community relationships. It is in CCP’s own interest to develop viable and attractive player platforms for these communities to flourish and develop.
Eve Forums fulfill some of these requirements as they allow players to have a platform to convene and discuss things. Different sections fulfil different roles and CCP members are present in some of the discussions. The communication between players and CCP developers has also been something that’s been attractive to the player base about Eve. It feels nice to be able to talk to developers and encourages a sort of brand loyalty. Other MMOs have their developers rather hidden or distant and that same connection simply isn’t there. Although the official forums provide some of the community elements needed to foster these relationships, in other ways the forums can seem limited and even dated. The “PG-13” style moderation does not fully allow the “cut-throat nature” of Eve to be expressed.
Reddit plays another large role in the Eve community. The limitations of the forum are done away with in favor of something much faster paced and freeform. It truly gives it a “wild west feel” akin to the gameplay in Eve Online itself. The problem arises with the up vote/down vote mechanic and the mass use of brigading intentional or not. Often topics discussed and the direction of the discussion can get exposure and attention simply depending on how many people brigade things one way or another. Objectivity is not a concern. Simply ensuring your side “gets the votes” becomes the priority. With that come issues regarding moderation. Reddit invites the same kind of meta gameplay that Eve does as well. And in a way this limits the viability and authenticity of the discussion over Eve.
Eve Reddit tends to bleed over into Eve Discord with most of the moderators/admins of one group fulfilling the same duties across platforms. At one point Eve discord hosted the presence of some of the CCP devs which skyrocketed the platform’s popularity. However the CCP team presence had declined to the point where now it’s more or less non-existent. There are many rumored reasons which have been proposed but likely it has to do with the quality of the discord. Perhaps we can understand the situation a bit more with an example of the moderation style of some of the mods there.
The Eve Discord is divided into multiple channels. There’s general chat, recruitment, newbie help, wormhole, lowsec and so on. There is also a channel specifically made for political discussion. In that channel the topic of migrants coming into Europe and some of the consequences of such policies was discussed. I posted an article regarding sexual assault statistics in Sweden and how per capita the increase is largely due to the influx of migrants. This is not to disparage anyone but this is just a statistical fact that warranted discussion in this context. Another individual in the channel by the name of Lugia referred to me as a “Nazi” as well as a “Romanian Nigger.” The mod/admin known as “BongoCat” or “Zibrish” (not to be confused with Jibrish) then banned me off of the channel. I discussed the matter with said moderator who unbanned me after warning me “not to do it again.” When asking what I did he said that I shouldn’t discuss said statistics “without context.” But also the racial slur leveled at me was “pretty funny.” My goal in this article isn’t to debate the real life political merits of our arguments but simply to point out the poor moderation of the channel.
Not only were these slurs used, but then you also had a mod/admin actually change my name in the server to the previously mentioned racial slur. Every time I changed it, it was changed back for weeks and weeks until I simply allowed for it to stay as it was.
When I managed to bring the issue to the attention of another admin/mod Jibrish (again different from Bongocat/Zibrish) he gave informed me that I “must have pissed someone off” but that he could not confirm who was doing it. To his credit he changed my name back and said he would look into the issue.
The issue didn’t stay solved however and currently the racial slur name change has occurred again and prior to that I was once again banned. The reason? In the words of the DurrHurrDurr the admin himself:
So in short I presented statistical facts that did not jive with some moderators’ politics who then proceeded to abuse their moderation powers, directly or indirectly level/allowed racial slurs and then at least one mod admitted to simply doing it out of spite. With this kind of “professionalism” it’s not hard to see why CCP wanted to distance itself from the server. But at this point in its current form, the Eve discord which is still presenting itself as an Eve related entity, is dragging the entire game’s name through the mud. If it was just one moderator we could say it was a bad apple. But it seems to be a cultural thing over all. The same moderation team is also the people in charge of reddit.
Am I posting this to whine about some video game discord mods being mean? No. I’m not mad or “offended” even at the racial stuff. I think it’s unintelligent but I don’t even want CCP to punish anyone in game for such a thing. I’m not a victim here and I know these are things are done by people who have no outlet to express much power or control in their actual lives so they do it in inconsequential places like a video game community. What I do care about is the fact that this poorly run platform that had the potential to be something great for everyone is being run into the ground. Even worse, it could further alienate potential players from the game. CCP could have had the discord (and even the reddit) properly managed and being a stable and useful community platform where players and developers could interact.
What can be done to solve the situation? Ideally there could be some kind of reform. Considering how large the Eve community is as a whole, the discord server has relatively few of those people involved in discussions there. Reform would entail moderation actually being based around certain rules rather than personal whims and an understanding of the importance the server could play in bettering community interaction. Jibirsh has attempted to enforce some kind of moderation standard but clearly it has not been enough. Another idea is simply have CCP push some kind of “Cease and desist” request where the server would continue to exists but not advertise itself as “The Eve Discord.” Sadly at that point it’ll continue to spiral into irrelevancy all on its own. Lastly CCP could simply make its own Official Eve Discord with respectable moderation with the understanding that a level of freeform and 18+ banter might be required. Maybe somewhere between “make the walls out of bubble wrap” and “have moderators repeatedly changing member’s names into racial slurs.”
Ultimately my hope is that we do something that can be good for all Eve players as a group. So often we get wrapped up in personal squabbles and tribal loyalty that we forget we’re all in this together. Despite being “hur jaded bitter vet getting too old for this shit” this is a place that we choose to put our time into so why not work to make it as good as we can? CCP should recognize this potential as well and not let this opportunity go to waste. Eve can be much more successful with viable community platforms that draw people in.