The forums are an unsafe place for everyone.


Website Feedback


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I had high hopes that action was being taken to protect trans people on these forums when the blog post about not tolerating transphobia was made.

Months later, I can see that it was mostly just talk and a token effort. Users who constantly make thinly veiled dog whistles about issues affecting vulnerable communities, and who are constantly antagonistic towards trans people, including making threatening lists of most of the major active openly trans people on the forums on their profile pages, are still here, and their hate speech has not been reigned in - they just have to thinly veil it.

People are still permitted to turn the thread attached to every "day of visibility" blog post into a debate on whether the relevant group of people deserve to be visible.

The list user I mention had their list removed by moderation (after I complained via email), but has re-added the list to their profile, just with my username and the context removed.

They will probably claim that it is a coincidence that the list of people they don't like overlaps almost completely with the active openly trans users on these forums.

Users that where banned for being openly transphobic or other reasons keep returning with dummy accounts, some of which are allowed to operate despite being pretty obvious about who they are.

Other users have been permitted to spend weeks fiercely debating the de-emphasis of slavery in the game, because apparently slavery being de-emphasized is something that is actually a deal-breaker for them.

Multiple trans users, and users from (or who are supportive of) various vulnerable communities have left these forums because of the toxic environment here. I am following suit. I probably won't be back, and I definitely won't be participating in pathfinder infinite (which I had been planning on releasing content on). I had thought about raising this privately in an email, but I have reason to believe anything posted privately will just be buried, because any trust I had is gone. We were told that the new Director of Community would protect certain users from moderation, and it seems that those warnings where correct.

When any minority feels like it is unsafe to be in a space, that space loses irreplaceable voices, and when bigots are permitted to get away with making one minority feel unsafe, all bigots are emboldened to make everyone else unsafe.

As a trans person, I just can't be on these forums anymore. I used to love it here, as I love talking about the game that I am so passionate about and found the discussions on how to play the game very useful. But now it is a massive drain on my energy and harmful to my mental health. Now the forums are a place that causes me anxiety attacks, and writing this final post has me on the verge of a panic attack*.

I have to fight the urge to end this with an apology for making a fuss or being dramatic - the fuss is justified, the feelings I am having valid. So instead I will just say that I hope that people at Paizo take notice of what I am trying to say, so that they can maybe stem the flight of LGBT people from the forums (and the company itself) by making the forums (and the company itself) a safer place, which can only be beneficial to Paizo and the community they claim to care about.

*Don't worry about me, I will be fine, I am resilient and have gotten very good at dealing with my mental health. Unfortunately, dealing with my mental health at this point means leaving these forums, which used to be a boon to my mental health.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That's a bummer. I hope you find peace wherever you end up.


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PM sent

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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I am deeply sorry that Tender doesn't feel safe here and am sorry to see them go. We are working with our Director of People and Culture to find classes/seminars so we can educate ourselves regarding dog whistles and other forms of problematic content. While we do welcome diverse views on our forums, we are taking active steps to remove the hate. Consider this an appeal to all our community members to help us keep an eye out. We only have so many hours and unfortunately, miss things on the forums. If you do see problematic content, please flag it. If it is active hate speech or attacking behaviors, we ask you to send an email to customer.service@paizo.com with the subject line Intolerance.

In regards to the list mentioned above, it is now gone and will not be back on our forums. Any form of targeted hate such as this list is against community guidelines and will be handled as such. In this case, we took moderation steps so that the user won't be able to attack community members again.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?

Customer Service Representative

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Cori Marie wrote:
The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?

The user has been permanently suspended.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you Logan. I really do appreciate you.


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I'm sorry to hear that this sort of harassment is taking place here.


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Not gonna lie, I'll miss the heck out of you, Tender Tendrils. A lot of us will. I hope we see you back here someday, but I totally understand this decision. I nearly started this very same thread--about the very same user--like, five times? I always held back. Now I sort of wish I'd done it sooner so you wouldn't have had to. Take care, friend.

Silver Crusade

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Logan Harper She/Her wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?
The user has been permanently suspended.

We sadly have different definitions of "permanently".

Dark Archive

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Tonya Woldridge wrote:

I am deeply sorry that Tender doesn't feel safe here and am sorry to see them go. We are working with our Director of People and Culture to find classes/seminars so we can educate ourselves regarding dog whistles and other forms of problematic content. While we do welcome diverse views on our forums, we are taking active steps to remove the hate. Consider this an appeal to all our community members to help us keep an eye out. We only have so many hours and unfortunately, miss things on the forums. If you do see problematic content, please flag it. If it is active hate speech or attacking behaviors, we ask you to send an email to customer.service@paizo.com with the subject line Intolerance.
In regards to the list mentioned above, it is now gone and will not be back on our forums. Any form of targeted hate such as this list is against community guidelines and will be handled as such. In this case, we took moderation steps so that the user won't be able to attack community members again.

A good first step that could have been taken months ago to be educated about dog whistles and similar problematic posts would have been to actually read, listen to, and act on the endless concerns raised by the very people experienced with this who called out the problematic posts time and time again, but those posts, and their posters were allowed to remain and continue... and continue, and continue. Whilst finding education is a great move at this point it's far too late for so many people who have been driven off these forums by the tacit acceptance of bigotry.

Any public venue for discussion will trend towards it's lowest common denominator if moderation is not appropriate as more and more good people leave and the bad actors flourish without any repercussions.


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Rysky wrote:
Logan Harper She/Her wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?
The user has been permanently suspended.
We sadly have different definitions of "permanently".

Can you clarify what you mean by that?

Silver Crusade

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Gisher wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Logan Harper She/Her wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?
The user has been permanently suspended.
We sadly have different definitions of "permanently".
Can you clarify what you mean by that?

Said person has not been permanently suspended.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well that's more than a little disheartening.

Contributor

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So either the community was told that a user was suspended in error, or the user was suspended by one member of the CS team and unsuspended by another. If it is the former, that is frustrating and disappointing. If it's the latter, that is inexcusable.

The user in question has gone well beyond 'dogwhistles' and has been in the territory of actively hostile for quite some time. If decisive action can't be taken in such a cut and dry case as this, then I agree with the OP's statement that these forums are an unsafe place. Leadership has proven over and over again that they aren't willing to take the necessary steps to protect the community, even when their own staff ask them to.

How many months has it been since the first "Give us a chance" message? How many chances does this make?


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Tonya Woldridge wrote:
In regards to the list mentioned above, it is now gone and will not be back on our forums. Any form of targeted hate such as this list is against community guidelines and will be handled as such. In this case, we took moderation steps so that the user won't be able to attack community members again.
Cori Marie wrote:
The biggest question is why that specific bad actor gets to continue to do these things. As Tender said, he had that list in his profile, and then it was removed, and then it was back. What's to stop him from adding it back again?

What's very funny is that yesterday, after removing his second hatelist, he did simply add a new third hatelist of users to his profile, where I saw it still remained up 12 hours ago.

It's now been removed, sometime in the 12 hours since then.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Cori Marie wrote:
Well that's more than a little disheartening.

Agreed. Seeing this suspension so quickly overturned doesn’t exactly build confidence that protecting the community is a priority.

Contributor

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Richard Lowe wrote:
Tonya Woldridge wrote:

I am deeply sorry that Tender doesn't feel safe here and am sorry to see them go. We are working with our Director of People and Culture to find classes/seminars so we can educate ourselves regarding dog whistles and other forms of problematic content. While we do welcome diverse views on our forums, we are taking active steps to remove the hate. Consider this an appeal to all our community members to help us keep an eye out. We only have so many hours and unfortunately, miss things on the forums. If you do see problematic content, please flag it. If it is active hate speech or attacking behaviors, we ask you to send an email to customer.service@paizo.com with the subject line Intolerance.
In regards to the list mentioned above, it is now gone and will not be back on our forums. Any form of targeted hate such as this list is against community guidelines and will be handled as such. In this case, we took moderation steps so that the user won't be able to attack community members again.

A good first step that could have been taken months ago to be educated about dog whistles and similar problematic posts would have been to actually read, listen to, and act on the endless concerns raised by the very people experienced with this who called out the problematic posts time and time again, but those posts, and their posters were allowed to remain and continue... and continue, and continue. Whilst finding education is a great move at this point it's far too late for so many people who have been driven off these forums by the tacit acceptance of bigotry.

Any public venue for discussion will trend towards it's lowest common denominator if moderation is not appropriate as more and more good people leave and the bad actors flourish without any repercussions.

100% this. A community that lets transphobic rhetoric slide is not a community that's welcoming to trans people, and I find it incredibly saddening that these sorts of behaviors have been allowed to continue for so long (apparently even through numerous reports from the people targeted). Whether the indication that the user was banned was in error or whether they were banned and then un-banned is the case, neither is particularly reassuring. And this is clearly a problem that extends past just one user; this one just seems to be a particularly egregious example.

The best time to act on this would have been immediately when this was reported, but the next best time is now. It might be too late for the OP (though I hope not, and I hope the forums can become a place they feel welcome again), but Paizo's trans fans, creators, and staff deserve a place free from hate speech and attacks on their existence.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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The suspension wasn't overturned at all. I am not sure what happened for it not to take in our systems. It was reprocessed this morning and verified by other staff that it took. I am actively pursuing answers as to what happened so that this situation doesn't happen again. I am also reviewing all other recent suspensions to make sure they didn't have the same issue occur.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
The suspension wasn't overturned at all. I am not sure what happened for it not to take in our systems. It was reprocessed this morning and verified by other staff that it took. I am actively pursuing answers as to what happened so that this situation doesn't happen again. I am also reviewing all other recent suspensions to make sure they didn't have the same issue occur.

That’s good to hear.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sounds like the spirit that haunts the web servers working overtime to keep this thread appropriate for the "Website Feedback" forum.


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Kendra Leigh Speedling wrote:

...

and I find it incredibly saddening that these sorts of behaviors have been allowed to continue for so long (apparently even through numerous reports from the people targeted).
...

Posting a Nixonian "Enemies List" is very disturbing behavior. I'd imagine that alone could get one banned on many sites. Reposting it after being told to take it down should have been an automatic ban. But it sounds like posting that list was just one among many of this person's inappropriate actions. For the life of me, I can't see why this was allowed to continue.


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Ha ha, some Direction of Community there.


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"Great. We're not gutless, we're incompetent."


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To be fair I've had a sneaky suspicion that somebody at Paizo with moderating/ban rights is an "all white babies lives matter" kind of person for some time, glad to see it confirmed.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tonya Woldridge wrote:

I am deeply sorry that Tender doesn't feel safe here and am sorry to see them go.

Good Afternoon,

I just wanted to follow up on this. Hopefully, this type of feedback can be helpful?

When addressing someone's stated concerns about the environment (in this case, the forums), it is useful to acknowledge the validity of the persons concerns and address the topic that's been brought up (in this case, the environment of the forums).

Stating that you are apologetic that they *feel* a certain way isn't a helpful thing. It sidesteps addressing the topic that is actually under question and instead communicates that the issue was the person's feelings.

Thank You,
Brendan aka NightTrace

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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Thank you for the feedback NightTrace. It is very helpful to hear and allows me to learn/grow.

My apologies to Tender. I should not have invalidated their feelings with my comments.

Contributor

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Glad to hear action's been taken, and I hope that all those who use hate speech on the boards will receive similar treatment as incidents are reported.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gisher wrote:
Kendra Leigh Speedling wrote:

...

and I find it incredibly saddening that these sorts of behaviors have been allowed to continue for so long (apparently even through numerous reports from the people targeted).
...
Posting a Nixonian "Enemies List" is very disturbing behavior. I'd imagine that alone could get one banned on many sites. Reposting it after being told to take it down should have been an automatic ban. But it sounds like posting that list was just one among many of this person's inappropriate actions. For the life of me, I can't see why this was allowed to continue.

It should be a permanent ban from Org Play as well — not just the forums. This is a safety issue and should not be taken lightly. It probably wouldn't be easy, but it's important.

Shadow Lodge

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I recall a point where I kept a list of people that I had bad interactions with in my profile. I realized pretty quickly that it was a mistake and removed it. It's not a good thing even as a private reminder, let alone a public one.


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Transphobia has no place on these forums and anyone who actively spreads hate speech should be permanently BANNED (not suspended) from these forums and from org play. Am I the only person who thinks that someone who puts up AN ACTUAL HATE LIST should not be invited to do business here?!

I actually can't believe this even has to be said; and I cannot highlight enough how harmful it is that someone who literally manages the community is using the forums as a space to learn and grow.


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Joan H. wrote:

Transphobia has no place on these forums and anyone who actively spreads hate speech should be permanently BANNED (not suspended) from these forums and from org play. Am I the only person who thinks that someone who puts up AN ACTUAL HATE LIST should not be invited to do business here?!

I actually can't believe this even has to be said; and I cannot highlight enough how harmful it is that someone who literally manages the community is using the forums as a space to learn and grow.

This.


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I understand it is more of legal and technical issue. Due to the way the forum is set up, a banned person loses access to the store and, more importantly, their downloads.

Unless the ban comes with a refund, I think Paizo would end up breaking some consumer laws if they were to block access to the downloads.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A certain archetype excels at festering communities from within, doesn't it?

Taking action is often messy and necessitates bravery, but it's important. These people are a huge threat to org play and he is surely not the only one.


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Ignis Fatuus wrote:

I understand it is more of legal and technical issue. Due to the way the forum is set up, a banned person loses access to the store and, more importantly, their downloads.

Unless the ban comes with a refund, I think Paizo would end up breaking some consumer laws if they were to block access to the downloads.

I think this is old information. As far as I know, they identified a way to ban without revoking store access.


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Saedar wrote:
Ignis Fatuus wrote:

I understand it is more of legal and technical issue. Due to the way the forum is set up, a banned person loses access to the store and, more importantly, their downloads.

Unless the ban comes with a refund, I think Paizo would end up breaking some consumer laws if they were to block access to the downloads.

I think this is old information. As far as I know, they identified a way to ban without revoking store access.

I thought that was called a permanent suspension, which is the action that was taken. Don't take my word for gospel though, I'm not fully abreast of moderation terminology. I'm just here to bid Ten a saddened farewell and send well-wishes her way.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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Moderation was done and a user was suspended from the community. At this point, this thread has reached its conclusion and will be locked. If you see further instances of hate speech, please email customer.service [at] paizo.com using the subject INTOLERENCE

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