Let me begin by saying I have no dog in this fight. MOTA is not a game I'm interested in at all, but the fact that I've spent a fair amount of time commenting favorably on Jeremy's games should not be construed as evidence of anything other than that I like his ideas, and he and I have had fruitful dialogue from consumer to developer. I feel I've been able to contribute to the success of his games, if only by a few suggested tweaks here and there that may have made play easier for some. But I have no dog in this fight.
What I have is a lot of experience in community building. I am a part of several distinct and often stormy communities, and I've learned a thing or two about traumatic events, which the discussions leading to Thomas' departure and return to this list qualifies as. So, I'm going to speak from a deal of experience, as a former programmer, as a man with a wife and family whom I adore more than anything else in this world, as a game consumer, and as someone who lives out in the real world of professionalism, and as someone who has been on email lists since their beginnings. The claim has been made by several people that the medium, i.e. email makes misunderstandings more prevalent as we miss tone and other clues to context. This is true to a point, but it is all too often used as a crutch, an excuse or a mitigating circumstance for appalling behavior. Remember, as blind folk, we are supposed to be really good at pulling meaning out of incomplete information; I make my living doing this, so do many of you, at least indirectly. The sighted world doesn't give a toss that its visual information and even body language cues aren't available to us, you learn to adapt, or you become a socially damaged person who fails at interaction. To put all the onus on the reader of an email is a misdirection of responsibility. That holds true for everyone here, and I'm not aiming that comment only at Thomas, though he may rightly take himself as an exemplar of this phenomenon. Let me go out of my way to live up to my own standard here by saying that I do not mean to say that Thomas is a social failure; I don't know him in personal life, and all my interactions with him have been cordial, even on the subject of Python, which sparked a recent iteration of the programming debate. Now, the moment I saw the thread comparing Jeremy's programming speed to others, (which I stopped reading quickly) I knew something awful was going to happen. It truly isn't fair comparing Thomas' and Jeremy's projects, love Jeremy's programs though I do. It might be that others could learn by Jeremy's example to create a more rapid time line for development, but that's not relevant or constructive in this community. I don't remember exactly how things got started, and I frankly ignored most of the kerfuffle, being too busy trying to survive to worry about the programming religious wars. I may have missed some of the nuances. What I have not missed is some extremely unprofessional behavior on the part of a list moderator, someone who voluntarily took on the health of this community as one of his goals. Forgive my seeming coldness, but Thomas' family problems have no bearing on his behavior on list, any more than would my own stresses about where my August rent is coming from would be an acceptable excuse for me to behave in an unseemly fashion. To other members of this community, there is a difference between genuine forgiveness and a simple papering over of differences in the interests of conflict avoidance. For one thing, forgiveness does not equal forgetfulness. I believe Thomas is genuinely contrite, but the community must honor the feelings of those he has offended as much as his contrition in order for genuine, community-wide healing to proceed. Telling someone to be quiet because Thomas has apologized is (forgive the pun) short-sighted and won't address the opportunity this community has to consciously choose how to heal itself from the breach. It also tells people that, in a community of equals, some people are more equal than others. That is not a state of affairs that can be productive. I urge the following steps be taken. Thomas should immediately resign from his position as moderator. Thomas should not be banned or sanctioned in any other way at this point, allow him to move forward with his life, with the production of MOTA and Raceway, and any other projects catch his interest. Let us proceed as though he had asked us for our patience, citing his family problems as a reason, something no compassionate person could fail to give him. Any future moderators of this group must be ready to step on any discussions of programming practices that depart from purely technical matters. Finally, and most importantly, this community has to make a conscious decision. Are we a bunch of consumers in a forum with a few developers, or are we a single community with the goals of mutual support with the idea of creating an environment where the best games can be produced for the widest markets possible? This is a question, the answer to which greatly affects how this community can proceed. If we are consumers, than this should become a professional-quality list where personal issues are left at the door. If instead, we are something like an extended family, supporting our developers with our enthusiasm, money where possible, and human interaction for, what is often, a lone effort, then all of us, developers and consumers alike have to remember to be human, and to see each other as human, to give the benefit of the doubt where possible, to assume the best until disproven, to ask when clarification is needed, and above all to hope for, pray for (for those that do this) and work for the best outcome for *everyone*. I have treated this community mostly as the first option, a forum for consumers to contact developers, rather than as anything more personal. I see now that others see it much more personally, and that we need to have this discussion, to as someone put it, make sure that something good comes out of what happened. We all co-create the world of this list and its surrounding community. What world shall we make? Who are we at the end of the day? Would we help one another in a pinch, lend the shirt off our backs, feed one another, love one another as Jesus and a lot of other wonderful teachers have taught us? That's not a foregone conclusion, and may not be appropriate, but it's time we chose our way. You stand at an intersection of many roads. Some lead to dissolution and death. Some lead to uncomfortable reminders of the continual search for our own perfection, some lead to other unknown lands. A fog of confusion and indecision surrounds you; sounds of combat coming out of the mist from directional impossible to tell. Possible exits: too many to count. Command? Christopher Bartlett --- Gamers mailing list __ Gamers@audyssey.org If you want to leave the list, send E-mail to gamers-unsubscr...@audyssey.org. You can make changes or update your subscription via the web, at http://audyssey.org/mailman/listinfo/gamers_audyssey.org. All messages are archived and can be searched and read at http://email@example.com. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the management of the list, please send E-mail to gamers-ow...@audyssey.org.