Drama, Politics, and Culture Clashes

Posted: March 5, 2013 in General Shit-Shooting

Greetings, Dredditors, Subdredditors and TESTicles at large!

I’m going to break from standard operating procedures this morning and talk about something I normally try not to get involved in.

Politics.

Internal politics, to be exact. There has been some recent drama among the folks of TEST that has played out on the TEST boards and rippled through alliance leadership.

Allow me to preface this post by saying that my ultimate goal here is to state my opinions on the issues without rustling any jimmies. Despite being in TEST, believe it or not, rustling jimmies is among my least favorite activities. I am not in alliance leadership. I’m not in NOS squad. The views and opinions in this post do no reflect the views of Dreddit, TEST or the HBC. They are mine alone. I am a simple grunt, a line member with no sway or influence what-so-ever.

I am not, however, a J4G. I am nearing my three month mark as a member of Dreddit (allowing me to soon join some of the more… active squads), and in my short time here I have come to grow very attached to our community, and I would like nothing more than to see us grow and prosper even larger than we already have. I think it’s possible to do that, despite some nay-saying on the forums about TEST growing too large, and that growth being blamed for the state of our membership.

So here’s the problem. Fras Siabi took over as head of TEST while Montolio went on vacation (an understandable leave, seeing as what transpired beforehand with the CFC, which I’m sure you’re all aware of). By the end of Fras’s one month tenure as TEST head dictator, he was ready to quit. In fact, he has taken a whole hiatus from TEST, and gone off into the deserts of Low-Sec to do some soul searching, but not before leaving a letter to the membership stating why he was leaving. The short of it is, he blames TEST culture (the message boards, specifically) and the propensity we as an alliance have to troll, even our own members.

He’s not the only one, either. There have been a few long time members who’ve recently gone on hiatus who describe our culture as an alliance as toxic.

Toxic.

That’s a very strong word to use to describe a culture.

And I don’t think they’re wrong.

I am not the most active member of our community by a long shot. Despite my sometimes extroverted nature, I am at heart, a shy boy. Jumping in to a community and presenting my words for all to see is a difficult first step for me, and I can never seem to do it “just because,” but always have to somehow convince myself that it will be good for me in the long run to go out and make some internet friends to do stuff with that we all enjoy.

With that said, you can often find my posts on r/eve, r/evedreddit, r/subdreddit, or the Subdreddit corp forums of the official Dust 514 board. I’ve got a lot of karma on Reddit, and a whole bunch of likes on the official Dust board.

I have only a little over 30 posts on our official TEST boards.

Why?

I post often, or at least whenever I have anything to say on a subject on these other boards, but the TEST boards I just find a hard time wanting to contribute anything. My fear is not getting into a long, drawn out discussion with someone who disagrees with me (this happens enough on Reddit for it not to be a thing that phases me). My fear is that I will put time into something, something I care about, and once presented, it will only get buried in a mass of witty (well, generally not so) one-liners, or jokes, or just “GTFOs.”

I worry about asking dumb questions, or presenting dumb ideas (which I’ll fully admit, are most of my ideas), and then reading a thread that consists of nothing but one-liners telling me how dumb I am, which is something I already know. The posts are there trying to remedy that issue.

I am also prone to hyperbole, and am socially paranoid in general, so all these points I bring up are most certainly not nearly as problematic as I make them out to be. They are fixable issues. They do not require us to “drop sov,” forget about the HBC, and restart from scratch. These are solutions I’ve heard popping up on the forums, and I can only imagine that people are getting these ideas from history, from when the Goons were disbanded and took their 40 days in the desert of Syndicate to rebuild themselves stronger, and more powerful.

We are not the Goons. We do not have to follow their history.

We can make our own history.

This “toxic” culture people are complaining about is not the culture of TEST. It is not the culture of Dreddit. Dreddit comes from Reddit, we recruit from Reddit, and only Redditors and their RL bros will find a place in our corp. There is a reason for this. Reddit has had issues in the past with their own cultural failings, but it has also made headlines for amazing displays of philanthropic kindness. Yes, there is trolling on Reddit, but it is hardly all you will find there. In fact, I’d say most of it is relegated to the larger subreddits, and it’s in the smaller ones where you find the real discussion and interesting factoids that drew us all there in the first place.

Dreddit “only” has 6000 members, which would put us in one of the smaller subreddit categories. We should be more like those hidden gems that have not attracted the attentions of the userbase at large.

And I think we are, for the most part. The newbro experience in TEST has to be, hands down, one of the best experiences a new EVE player can have. Never, since I began playing in 2009, have I ever been so involved with my EVE community. I’ve played this game off and on since then, at first being a part of a no-name renter alliance before taking my first leave of absence, then Cascade Imminent when I came back, then my corp moved to Fatal Ascension after Cascade cascaded, where I spent another month or two before I started to win at EVE again. None of these experiences last more than a month or two. I had no real desire to build what I had become a part of, because I never made any real connections with the people there.

This time, it’s been different. TEST offers such a great opportunity for those who are shy or have no idea what they want to do. There are no CTAs. There are no skill requirements. There are no killboard requirements. You are free to explore to your heart’s content until you find your own subgroup you feel comfortable with. I think this is a great system, and one that few other alliances in the game can really offer.

Which brings me to my “example” section of this post. I had commented earlier that I do not readily participate in many of the TEST squads. The forums have scared me off a bit from readily exposing myself, and I won’t even comment on the fear of jumping into a mumble with 20 or 30 other dudes who know each other and saying “Hey, dudes! I’m new!”

But for some reason, I did not experience any of this fear or reluctance with Subdreddit.

Oh, Subdreddit, how I am growing more and more attached to you every day, even though I’ve found myself getting bored with our 4 maps and not logging in as much over the past few weeks. Yes, I’ve spent most of my time in EVE, yet I long to communicate with our brethren on the ground.

Perhaps it was because I joined Subdreddit right after the merge to Tranquility, when our numbers were barely at 200. Perhaps it was easier to approach my fellows when we were all new and learning ourselves. It could also be the mechanics of the game. In Dust, we’re forced into 4 person squads, and generally once you get a squad for the evening, you’re palling around with the same 3 guys until one of them logs off. There’s also the necessity for comms, and with only 4 of us in a room, it’s no surprise we get to know each other a bit more than the pod pilots flying above us. It’s one thing to jump into corp chat on Dust, and see 10 to 20 dudes you’ve saved (logibro) countless times and say “What’s up, guys?” But jumping into a fleet on mumble with close to 300 people…well, not so much.

But it’s not just that. I know many of you have formed EVE friendships because of the trials and tribulations you’ve faced, and I can only imagine the bonds formed as you fleet up with the same people, night after night, to defend your space, or attack an enemy.

It’s also the Subdreddit culture, which I’ve noticed is quite different from the TEST culture at large. Unless you’ve got a character in Subdreddit, it’s difficult to provide examples, as our culture has pretty much formed on our internal message boards. But if you have a chance to see them, you’ll notice an incredible lack of trolling. Our ability to troll is still quite potent (we are from Reddit, after all), but our trolling is directed at our frenemies on the main boards, while our own personal ones are bastions of civility and cooperation.

And I don’t want to hear the excuse “TEST has no enemies to fight, so without a diversion, our members start turning on each other.”

I’ve heard this a bit, and I don’t buy it.

We’ve got 4 maps in Dust, and 2 different game modes (the maps don’t change between the two, the fighting zone just gets smaller). That’s it. We’ve been fighting on the same 4 maps for the last 6 months. We’ve had the same 4 suits (imagine having access to only 4 different ships) since the beginning. While there are tons of different fitting options available, truth be told it does not take long to gobble up all the content Dust has to offer. Shoot, even I’m getting a little bored with it.

And I’m not the only one. There are plenty of us just itching for new content. Yet, we do not resort to trolling each other to death in our boredom.

I can’t tell you why this is. In fact, I find it pretty surprising myself. I figured with the introduction of FPS players to New Eden, we were going to have a drop in maturity levels. That has not happened.

Perhaps it has to do with our leadership. I think Dent308 is an awesome warlord, and has done a lot to lead the gibbering masses of Subdreddit in a very focused direction. We’ve also got some great people leading squads and teaching newbros about the basics of the game like Outlaw OneZero and Rynx Sinfar. These guys are incredibly active, and very disciplined in their approach. Not only do I feel confident palling around with them, but I have never worried about asking anyone a stupid question on our corp boards.

Basically, the point here is that lack of content is no excuse to troll our alliance brethren. The Dust boys have lacked content for a long time, and I’ve yet to see one person ragequit over a “toxic culture.”

I do not portend to have all the answers. Or, any answers at all for that matter. There seems to be a lot of soul searching going on within TEST at the moment, and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s important that we question ourselves, and our motives from time to time.

Perhaps it is time for TEST to have a “project” of sorts, though. I have little confidence that the war games Shadoo has proposed will offer any real content to our members. There are few who do, it seems. At least in TEST.

There is no one way to fix these problems I’ve mentioned in this post, but I think if our line members (especially those prone to troll their alliance-mates) put some thought into the community they’re a part of, while also being directed towards a larger goal of some sort, it would go a long way to curing the “toxic elements” we’ve been dealing with recently. Everyone should be doing a little soul searching on what we are, and what we want to become.

The HBC could move New Eden. We could shake it down to its foundations. Burn Jita was an example of what one alliance with a focused mission could accomplish.

Let’s figure out what we want to accomplish.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

– JRD

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s