I'm done

Thanks for partaking. Stay safe in PMR.

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Sorry, but I’m also wondering what Sam Ursu was referring to. The mods here are doing ok. Sometimes they intervene too quickly, sometimes too late. Such is reality. Overall though, this place is civil and agreeable.


Deleted post because I can’t figure out how to reply to the correct person even after doing it like a million times.

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I have no intention of locking this thread, and I didn’t really want to post on it because I don’t want it to look like I’m shutting down criticism. If people have issues with how the forum is run, better to let the community discuss them than to just pretend nothing is wrong. (We really do want to know what issues people have so we can work on improving them.)

But I do want to clarify, we (the moderators of this forum) don’t run the IFComp. Our general policy is that anyone can run a competition with whatever rules they want*. Both the comp and the forum are funded by the IF Technology Foundation, but other than that we’re separate entities. We have no authority over the IFComp rules or their enforcement.

* Well, with a couple exceptions, because we’d be uncomfortable hosting a “no black people allowed” or “games glorifying child pornography” competition. But if you want to make a competition solely for the type of game you like, write your own set of rules, and ban anyone who breaks them purely at your own whims and discretion with no appeals process? Go for it. You wouldn’t be the first.


Same here. I find this place to be a little oasis of civility in the vast sewer of internet hate.

Now I’ve replied correctly, I think.


If you’d like the context for Sam’s departure, it appears to be at least in part due to the discussion in the brief Mastodon thread. I believe that discussion speaks for itself.


So your answer to the complaint is for me to make my own competition and run it the way IFComp is run? That’s seriously your answer?

A reviewer can say they had a run-in with an author and Jacq bans that author with no mediation, discussion, chance for appeal, nothing.

And you’re reply is “go make your own comp”.

Very good, Dan, let’s leave it at that. Says it all.

That was my thought too, but I hadn’t seen that he got flagged.

This isn’t a very useful post. Just throwing bombs with no context informs no one.
It sounds like someone didn’t like something IF-related you did or said, and you regard their reaction as "censorship’ and “gatekeeping”. One is left wondering what happened.
I don’t think the “wild spark and buccaneering spirit” has been “smothered to death”. Just about the only thing we have rules against around here is being mean to people.


Sam, if you’re still lurking on the thread, I’m sorry to see you go – I usually enjoyed your sometimes-contrarian contributions, even if you were occasionally more personally confrontational than was a fit for how this community rolls. But I can understand how having to tone down that kind of thing in order to participate could feel frustrating so I guess it’s for the best.

This line of complaint I don’t really get, though. Sure, you can label any form of moderation “gatekeeping”, but this applies to the lack of moderation just as forcefully – and actually usually more forcefully. I’ve seen a lot of posts over the last couple of years from newcomers here favorably impressed by how welcoming it is, which has helped lead to them participating in the community and making more games; certainly it’s a higher number than the number of people I’ve seen say they’re turned off by the moderation preventing conversation getting too edgy. Heck, I’ve been adjacent to various forms of the IF community for 20 years now, and I personally feel like right now it’s the most open and friendly it’s ever been – there’s a reason I’m participating more now than I did in the early aughts, and it’s not all down to the pandemic!

Beyond that, given that IF is uh, not exactly a dominant cultural force right now, this seems like the right orientation to me, beyond the fact that it’s the one that the community as a whole has chosen (pretty much every moderation decision I’ve seen in the last couple years has been in response to multiple user flags, and I’ve rarely seen much if any disagreement on any of those calls).

As to the IF Comp stuff, I read Daniel as saying that complaints about how it’s run don’t really have anything to do with complaints about how this board is moderated, since they’re separate projects run by separate people. In terms of starting new competitions, we actually have seen recent examples of that, with ParserComp being revived by one person (shoutout to @Adam_S!) last year and turning into a really solid, big event, so it’s not that outlandish a suggestion.


The comp organizers regularly visit this board. (Well, not Jacq, of course). So complaining about it here makes sense. I never accused the mods of this board of running the IFComp.

For reference @Sam_Ursu had a post flagged that several people responded to which contained a snarky comment aimed at a specific person. The post was hidden by community flags and Sam was privately asked to edit and change or remove three words which would automatically unhide it again. That’s the normal process.

As y’all know, the Code of Conduct we’ve established requires that all discussion on this forum remains civil. We understand people forget themselves sometimes and get heated, and that’s why there’s a procedure for the community to flag posts that need to be reviewed. Usually we do this review with the member in private. This is for the offending member’s privacy while the situation is hashed out, and to prevent the entire community from piling on them. The Staff of this forum are all experienced moderators and we expect to be able hear people out and that’s best done in a non-public thread.

Our goal is to prevent people from being unkind to others since this is a community that welcomes everyone. If we allow others in the tent who purposefully or mistakenly drive others away, this is a problem that we can correct.

Sometimes when people slip up, this requires that we ask them to edit a post. People say things inadvertently that hurt other people’s feelings and that’s fine - that’s the purpose of moderation so we can coach people that they’re doing it and hopefully they’ll change those behaviors to get along here. If members are resistant to this and become a problem then we will silence or ban them.

Sam knows this. He’s been the subject of previous moderation sessions in the past. He even takes care to spoiler-blur curse words he uses, despite there being no specific restriction on language here, except when it is used to target or bully someone else. (All general language is allowed except for a few very derogatory terms and slurs that nobody really needs to use in friendly conversation which are banned at the system level.)

With certain personalities it often reduces to “This is the way I am and the way I talk, so people should get used to it; I’m a blunt-talking buccaneer/renegade who says what they want!” That’s fine if you are that way in real life and other communities, but if you can’t exist here without making people angry, we certainly can moderate you, silence you temporarily or permanently, or remove you from the forum. Signing up for an account here implies you agree to our Code of Conduct while participating here - and off-site in extreme cases. If you can’t deal with that, there are other communities who will welcome you with that attitude.


Just as a point of fact, this is not true, and has never been true. There are no formal mechanisms for mediation/discussion/appeal, but there are now and have always been informal mechanisms for all of that, because ifcomp is, at its heart, an idea dreamed up by one guy in 1995, participating in a community. Like all human endeavors involving a community, it cannot exist without the support of that community. Jacqueline does not and has not made decisions in a vacuum, and while she obviously has final say over the thing she is running by virtue of being the person running it, the fact that she does take community opinion into account when making decisions is one of the many things that grant her that authority in the first place. So an author could find a mediator, discuss things here or elsewhere or with Jacq directly, ask for an appeal with her or here, or anything else.

If you think that the comp has grown enough that it should have a more formal process for deciding on bans, that’s reasonable. You could give the comp a board that had to vote, maybe?

But as far as this thread goes, Sam’s game wasn’t banned, and is still in the comp. It’s still in every list that I can see. So that’s not even the issue. At first I assumed he was upset about some review of his game, but all the reviews I’ve seen have been generally positive, and Sam’s even replied ‘thanks’ to them. He made a single post here on a completely different non-IF-related topic that got moderated. Maybe he’s upset about that? That’s reasonable; getting moderated is unpleasant. It doesn’t have anything to do with the comp, though. And it doesn’t have anything to do with gatekeeping, either, so I’m pretty mystified, all told.


Seeing as how this thread is open again, I have some general comments.

1.) If Sam wants to take his ball and go home, I’m sure he has his reasons. I have stomped off with my own ball on occasions when I didn’t like the playing field. But I hope he reconsiders about his game. I’m sorry I didn’t get to play it and I wish you’d put it back in the comp, Sam.

2.) It never once for one minute occurred to me that IFComp was any sort of democracy, or that I should have any say at all in whether or not my entries are accepted. I have always understood that if I ran afoul of the rules, I’d be toast. I don’t think this is unfair. Jacq (and everybody there) does a lot of work so I can have fun, and I should abide by the house rules. They’re not difficult.

3.) I don’t even know what “elitist” means anymore, it’s thrown around so much. I see members of this forum that I consider “elite” in that they’re the IFOGs, I’m here because they set me on this path long ago, and they’re really smart coders and writers that kind of leave me in awe. But I don’t mean it pejoratively, and I don’t think they behave snootily-- in fact, it’s kind of amazing that people like that will help newcomers patiently-- the opposite of what I would consider elitist behavior.

4.) I like gatekeeping. IRL, I have a filthy mouth and I’m often aggressive about my opinions. I like it that we don’t really do that here. A lot of the people I like and respect here probably have very different opinions than I do, and if we met under different circumstances, there might be conflict. Instead, there’s accord over this lovely little gaming niche that builds bridges and allows me to be a less divisive person. And that is no small thing in this angry world. I need gatekeeping to keep me from being a dick.


That’s a real shame. I can’t understand how a forum with different channels, tags, etc, can’t sustain rewarding conversations even among a very disparate group.

I’ve become aware that there are different factions on this site. I’ve seen sometimes that the lifetime of an account may record a journey, ie: the trajectory of an individual’s attraction to, education in, elaboration of and sometimes disillusion with, Interactive Fiction. But since we all experience that journey, why not accomodate it?

I am sorry that I didn’t spar with Sam when the opportunity was there. It’s sad that chance has gone now.

I’m not sure what the protocol is for this, but when Sam agreed to his account to be deleted, I guess it means his contact details may disappear.

I’ll post down below with what he published as his email address. If that breaks any rules, I guess that single entry can be obscured without destroying this whole thread.



Just for reference, I have silenced Sam Ursu’s account for the time being since he publicly told another member to perform a recursively impossible act upon themselves earlier in this thread. The message is deleted of course. Sam definitively said he was out of here in the thread title, so this should line up with his wishes.


A baseball umpire was once asked what words would cause a player or manager to be ejected from the game. Was it “motherfucker”? Was it “cocksucker”?

“No,” he replied. “The magic word is you.”