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Old 3 Days Ago   #341
Tatsuru
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The AGZ/bee topic seems to be picking up some steam, so I advise maybe creating a separate thread for AGZ discussion, or even for the unlockable levels in general in order to keep this thread focused.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #342
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Not sure what to say that hasn't really already been said better by other people. I frequented #srb2fun in the 2.0 and and early kart era of SRB2 and am ashamed to say that I fell in with the toxic attitude pretty quickly and easily. I can't even say that it was because of Mystic, but because that was just the common thing to do at the time if you wanted to be liked and I didn't really have any other community to be a part of at the time. To anyone who I've needlessly antagonized over the years or have been hurt from something that I've said or done, I'm truly sorry. I like to think I've gotten better but I know that that's not my call to make.

I'm glad that the community has taken a turnaround from that time and has been producing more content, I think between that and the newer dev team that the game is in a stronger position now than it has been in years and I'm really happy to admit that.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #343
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I for one, am also glad that Mystic is no longer in the presence of this community.

It’s become pretty clear that over the years, the levels of toxicity were at the point of hindering the opportunity for not only the game to further expand, but also for the community to grow as a whole. Although I’m moreso of a lurker nowadays, I have been about since the very early 1.09 era, so I have noticed a fair amount of changes. Some good, some not so good.

It felt like I was treading on eggshells a lot, and this is why I originally left the community in the first place. One reason especially was the ridiculous rule enforcement within the old system. A good example is with Rule 3 as Cyan Ryan stated earlier. It’s actually counterproductive to why it’s actually trying to achieve. Striking down users when a slight grammar error is detected, (especially when you’re dealing with a community of different ages and experience of writing) is ridiculous. If anything we should try and give helpful pointers to the right direction that will help them improve over time. I for one had trouble of this when I joined way back in April 2006. Thanks to a few of the original people, they helped me go towards the right direction.

After catching up with 18 pages worth of discussion it’s become clear this had to be done for the entire community’s sake and end this kind of tyranny. I hope with the new leaders that they can not only help expand the game’s development without any restraints, but help the community to further develop as well. I’d be willing to return as a regular if it ends up going in that direction.
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Old 17 Hours Ago   #344
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(I'm not keeping up with this thread in realtime, so I'm responding to some old stuff)
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Originally Posted by Ice View Post
But for the ability to get good scores on my essays in school, and some trivial respect I had from my tiny group of friends, I traded in a fundamental lack of self-awareness: that being a bottomless well of criticism doesn't make anybody like you, and it doesn't make you better than anybody else
In real-life and chat contexts, I've grown to like affirmative comments like "Thank you for mentioning that" or "That's a good point." However, on a message board, that feels... harder.

On Jeck Jims's models thread, I wanted to say, "I really like these, thank you for making them!" But, in such a large thread, with so many other comments, a single positive comment feels like unnecessary noise. I don't like creating extra distractions for other users, and each new post requiring more attention.

I don't like posting unless I can be insightful (like now); and I find that negative, critical, or disagreeing comments seem more insightful to me. "Yes, I agree with that" feels like noise to me; but "I disagree, here's why" doesn't feel like noise.

I don't mean to justify any of the old culture from past years. Simply, as I'm returning to the forums here (modestly), I'm trying to re-establish my relationship with the message board. This is just a thought that I've had about myself.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If I gave individual thanks to each post here, this thread would be really hard to read. But to everyone in this thread, thank you for taking the time to post. I enjoy reading all your posts, even though we're talking about rough stuff here.
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Old 4 Hours Ago   #345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4 View Post
On Jeck Jims's models thread, I wanted to say, "I really like these, thank you for making them!" But, in such a large thread, with so many other comments, a single positive comment feels like unnecessary noise. I don't like creating extra distractions for other users, and each new post requiring more attention.
In fairness, I think something like that would be more welcome in that thread than another batch of "why haven't you made a model for <character wad I've never heard of> yet???" comments.
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Old 2 Hours Ago   #346
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I am posting on behalf of the banned user Spazzo. Just to be clear, his permaban still stands with the new guard and this is just to give more context on the situation from someone who was affected heavily by the old guard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazzo
Hey everyone. Before I give my sentiments regarding my experiences with the ‘old guard’, I’d like to note that I am making this post with the explicit permission of the SRB2 Staff team, and I’d like to thank them for granting this request.

--------------------

For those who don’t know me personally: I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of interesting stories about “Spazzo” over the last decade (mostly from the likes of Mystic, Rob, and Prime 2.0). You might have heard that I tried breaking up the dev team, I stole some developers from the project or convinced them to leave, or anything else along those lines. Well, like most teenagers, I did make mistakes - some big ones, in fact! - but none of these claims are actually true.

Now, if you’d rather skip the history lesson and jump right into my feelings overall, here’s a TL;DR: Mystic and I got in a spat, he didn’t think I was being serious, I was, I got mad, he went nuclear, he made my name a sin, and he (alongside the old guard) are the reason you might have a preconceived notion of who I really am. You can skip ahead to the next line break for my general thoughts and feelings.

To get a proper backstory, I’m going to refer to Mystic’s objective viewpoint of the situation, found here:

https://mb.srb2.org/showpost.php?p=780364&postcount=20

Let me be clear: I’d say ~75% of his write-up is accurate. A lot of what Mystic accuses me of doing is true. I am not here to deny my wrongdoing. I brought those frustrations to public locations where they didn’t belong, and I found my own hill to die on, ten years ago. I do not question the ban. That being said, the full story was never actually told.

The remaining ~25% is what’s important. As many people have noted in this thread, Mystic has a very black-or-white view on things, and once his mind is made up, there’s no changing it. Once he was convinced you were an asshole, there was no undoing that image.

Our dispute stemmed from a suggestion I made after v2.0.5 released, the last release I was part of STJr. for. The suggestion I made: We should take our combined assets, skill-sets, and resources, and move to a modern engine where they can be leveraged to their fullest extent. We would sunset SRB2, and work on something bigger and better. Perhaps even a commercial release! (Note: I was not yet affiliated with Spaddlewit/Roly Poly Putt when I made this suggestion, nor was I aware of it)

Mystic thought I was downright trolling him. I was not. I had that much faith in the team, and was so passionate about the project that I wanted to see what we could pull off when unshackled from the Doom Engine. I genuinely thought we could do it, and projects like SRB2 Kart and Roly Poly Putt have since proven that you can start from ground level and make something new and interesting from SRB2’s building blocks.

Mystic hard-deleted the thread - a moderation mindset being improperly applied to a development conversation - and banned the discussion from continuing. For those who aren’t aware, when a thread is typically deleted by a mod or admin, it is still visible to them. A hard-delete literally removes all traces of the thread from the forum database, preventing any ability to archive its contents. It is very unusual for anything to be hard-deleted by staff.

Where I erred was continuing to push this suggestion after Mystic shut down the conversation. Due to the manner in which he dismissed it, I boiled over.

I deeply regret the bridges I burned in those moments. I knew there was a good chunk of the team who silently supported moving towards a more “open” and “community-driven” effort, but were too intimidated by Mystic to ever voice it publicly. The evidence of my post, and other threads in solidarity of my post (like CobaltBW’s) were also hard-deleted so that Mystic could control the narrative. The actions weren’t questioned; no oversight existed. People took his word verbatim and mine was silenced. To quote Mystic, “some things are swept under the rug for good reason”.

I don’t deny that I handled that situation poorly. That said, Mystic turned it into a full-out blood-feud. He vilified me to the extent that SRB2 users who I’ve never even spoken to are foaming at the mouth at the mention of my name. It was paranoia and fear-mongering dialed up to 11. He confessed to having installed a plug-in that allowed admins to read the private messages between anyone on the forums, just so he could keep tabs on my conversations.

Furthermore, when Mystic gave his objective testimony, he neglected to mention that he publicly threatened to “googlebomb” me, ie. make it so searching my name would return terrible results, effectively making it near-impossible for prospective employers to hire me. That was the degree of vitriol that he had towards the situation, and the sheer lack of oversight Mystic had when it came to administration. There are staff members who were given a stern talking to simply for associating with me, even if that meant following me on Twitter. To make a long story short: It was ridiculous, it was petty, and it was personal.

I came across this old AIM log the other day of a conversation I had with Mystic, right when things were coming to a head...you could change my name out with any staff member and you can see the parallels in the conversation immediately. https://web.archive.org/web/20110220...es/mystic.html

While I cannot remember the full context of the conversation (it appears I joined #srb2fun incognito pretending to be a newbie sometime around 2010-2011?), there are other bits that are worth noting. I really tried hard to talk to him about how PR was terrible, our strategy with new users was toxic, and the apathy he had for development. He even acknowledged the aforementioned apathy, but in a “yeah, stop telling us over and over” mentality rather than understanding that I was trying to help him out of this rut. I was once credited as the “Official Mascot” right in the SRB2 Credits - this was more than a symbolic nod to my ego. The mascot is the individual who keeps everyone else happy and productive while working on a project, and I had the personality to fit that description.

In spite of all the bad blood, I actually agree with SSNTails: If it’s your thing, pray for the guy. I am sympathetic towards Mystic - not for his reprehensible behaviour in the last few months - but because he has let all this hate consume him for over a decade. He already brought up the many attempts I have made to reconcile with him in his write-up. I have reconciled with other members of staff (such as Rob and JEV3), but Mystic’s mind was set, so that was that. It is for this reason - and this reason only - that I sympathize with him.

--------------------

Now, it wasn’t ALWAYS like this. SSNTails mentioned that Mystic was picked for dev lead after he left the team, and he was the logical and only viable choice at the time. Nobody else on the team had the experience or understanding of Sonikku/SSNTails’ initial vision, as well as having exposure to multiple aspects of the development process. I do have positive memories of Mystic - we balanced Knuckles for v2.0 multiplayer based off of how he would fare in a 1v1 with me, he put the finishing touches on my CTF level, and there are some moments that I do look back on fondly when things were more relaxed and we were friends.

That all being said, being a developer 10 years ago wasn’t a cakewalk. There were a lot of times when Mystic flat-out rejected weeks worth of hard work and never looked back, which angered a lot of content creators. It got to the point where I was appointed “Middle Manager” - developers would send me their completed work, I would screen and send them to Mystic and SSNTails, and I would spin their replies to the developers so that they wouldn’t get burned if their work was not suitable for release. With SSNTails, this was more of a necessity because he had very limited bandwidth, what with a wedding coming up and his focus needing to be on coding. With Mystic, it was done to insulate the dev team from what Mystic really thought about a creation, and so that the team could vent their frustrations directly to me instead. I was happy to be a “punching bag” if it meant the overall morale would stay in an upwards trend.

I’d like to travel back in time even further, back to 2005...I was thirteen years old, and was a newbie in #srb2fun. Suffice to say, I was like any other kid - hyperactive, immature, a prime target for harassment/tempbans, and someone who could easily get on the team’s nerves. I was met with the cynicism, discontent, and malice that so many other people have explained better than I can. Like everyone else, I was bashed for being a newbie.

After reading this thread and having some old IRC logs shared with me, it is clear that I emulated this newbie-bashing behaviour when I became part of the “inner circle”. I’d like to take this moment to sincerely apologize to all those who I have antagonized, especially to Monster Iestyn. I am incredibly remorseful for my actions as a young disciple of the gospel according to Mystic. It does not justify my behaviour, that is simply the “edgelord” (as Ritz put it) mentality that was in place. I am ashamed and mortified that I ever acted in this manner, towards anyone. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

One thing that people in this “inner clique” liked to complain about was hangout servers, or people playing SRB2 in any manner that wasn’t consistent with what the game was “designed” for. This drove me bonkers as a staff member. I recall SSNTails trying to push back against this mentality as well. It’s a game, so what if they want to chill out while playing? Designing the master server room system and removing the vast majority of rules is by far my proudest accomplishment during my tenure with STJr. It took several months of back-and-forth debate to get Mystic to sign off on the idea. I spun it by suggesting he wouldn’t have to moderate it nearly as much, as by that point, there were users who would join netgames just to find roleplayers/rulebreakers. Seriously?

In addition to Mystic being a very “static” force, he was also a bit old-fashioned, especially when it came to website design. That’s fine for your own personal website - who am I to judge there? - but not when dealing with srb2.org, which gets a staggering amount of views a month. You might be surprised to hear that SRB2.org runs off WordPress instead of static HTML. This change was made in 2008-2009 by Cue and I. We actually took things a step further and pitched a complete redesign of the site aesthetic that was more Web 2.0-friendly, and spent about a week refining it. Mystic dismissed it, and made it clear his intentions were not to deviate from the existing design at all...so Cue created a custom theme that replicated that Web 1.0 feel. To our surprise, Mystic was still upset when the migration was completed, over the fact that he could no longer edit the raw HTML files to make website changes. The silver lining is that because this WordPress migration did happen, the groundwork has been laid if the staff ever wishes to redesign the website without disrupting content!

I could go on about Mystic, but there were incidents with others that I would like to bring up as well.

In regards to the Saph/JTE situations: I should take this time to note that I was never groomed, nor was I ever aware of any grooming. The events involving Saph and JTE were beyond my time, and I am disgusted by the stories I have heard.

Okay, so with regards to Rob: He perpetuated a lot of rumours about me, including a baseless one that I caused developers to leave SRB2. They had their own reasons for leaving; some of them have already posted about it in this thread. In any case, Rob and I reached a truce around 2018. We had friendly conversations every now and then. I do not condone the behaviour which sparked his removal from the team at all, but I also feel that he may have been in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Mystic was genuinely looking for an exit, but Rob defending Mystic’s accusations removed his ability to choose whether to stay or go. Speaking as someone who has struggled with leaving SRB2 for a decade now, it is very difficult to leave a project that was such a big part of your life, in terms of length, impact, and relationships. I believe him to be a good person who made a terrible mistake, not unlike my predicament 10 years ago.

With regards to Prime: I’ll be honest here...he always creeped me out. I found out through colleagues that he was trying to dox not just me, but one of my parents. I was livid (to say the least!), and went to Mystic privately to demand serious action. Citing the Streisand effect, he refused to do anything about his reprehensible behaviour. I never really trusted Prime after that. He was sharing some early v2.0 dev material in his IRC channel, and when this information came to light, I used it to help SSNTails remove him from the dev team.

Here’s a fun little side note...That “they're/their/there” CAPTCHA test was suggested as a joke by SSNTails, in response to Mystic’s issues with the influx of uneducated users. He took it at face value and had it programmed in. Suffice to say, we too thought it was absolutely ridiculous.

We were all influenced by Mystic to a degree, be it negatively or positively. SSN already glossed over this, but we could see people emulating his toxicity within his ranks, as well as those who turned their back to the project because of it. As someone who has gone from User->Moderator->Developer->Administrator->Banned...I’ve seen all sides of this coin first-hand over the span of 15 years. I’ve seen how toxic people can be to newcomers; I myself have been toxic to newcomers, and Mystic’s static nature only made it worse when my ban fractured a lot of the community, as CobaltBW mentioned.

This mentality got to the point where any time I spoke, suspicion was drawn over my actions. Nobody could ever say a word about “Spazzo”, as the mention of my name was enough to cause “drama” to Mystic. Of course, all this “drama” consisted of was mere conversation, but even that wasn’t kosher. This resulted in this stigma of being a rabble-rouser, a guy who would entrust new users and then send them off to do my deeds for them. This can make it very tough to keep in contact with old friends, as you might imagine. If the co-founder of Sonic Robo Blast 2 can implicitly trust me, I can’t see why anyone else shouldn’t be allowed to converse with me, if they so choose.

I’m not going to deny all the accusations - as I have said before, I am certainly not innocent either. That said, over the last ~3 years, I have made a concerted effort to stay out of the hair of the administration, and I have kept in touch with the SRB2 community members who I grew up with.

It seems that this thread has been somewhat cathartic for those who experienced (or even perpetuated) the problems in the SRB2 community. I hope that more people continue to speak out and share their feelings. I can’t properly explain just how much closure this has given me.

SRB2 was my life for half a decade, and had continued relevance for a full decade after that, despite being banned. I would play netgames regularly with Ritz, LXShadow, FuriousFox, Cue, and Jazz, just to name a few. While I share SSNTails’ perspective on v2.0.4 being the “completed version” of SRB2, it’s been a treat to see SRB2 taking on a life of its own over the last decade, especially with Kart’s exploding popularity. The amount of passion and work done in v2.2 is staggering; I could never have conceived SRB2 being capable of all that’s been accomplished.

Thank you again for the opportunity to finally close the book on this.
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Old 1 Hour Ago   #347
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some remarks on his post:

one of the few things I can 100% agree with Mystic on is his opinion about the kind of person Spazzo is. he is a manipulator who constantly pretends to be this saccharine caricature he's created for himself, as a cover to hide his true intentions. you need to be careful when interacting with anything he says, because his "embellishments" are never an accident.

for reference: he was the primary person involved with hijacking my account to use it for the April Fools' event. would troll and harass people constantly in typical belittling SRB2 flavor. when he was permanently banned, he randomly added me on Steam acting as if we were friends (I'd already been long gone from SRB2 at this point, doing college junk) and being all like "haha hey dude! I just joined the permaban club! wanna be friends?". who DOES this? lmao. when Mystic was removed, he gave me an invite to his private Discord server, like almost a decade later, never interacting with me once in between this period of time.

his demeanor is exactly the same as I remember from long ago, and just as people called Mystic stagnant, I'd be similarly weary about Spazzo. dude's just an all around strange guy who I sincerely hope can find closure in this and move on, but I really kinda doubt he will, lol

i want to point out:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazzo
He confessed to having installed a plug-in that allowed admins to read the private messages between anyone on the forums, just so he could keep tabs on my conversations.
this shit's craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy like what the hell? i can believe it, but i also can't be sure which parts of his posts are exaggerated, and there's no proof to accompany a lot of his accusations, here. can anyone confirm if this plugin is still installed on the boards? it's *massively* disconcerting tbh

also, wordpress sucks. let me rebuild the site in react 😔
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