Valid Report against Ethan

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j3kawesome

thick in the thighs, but thicker in the head
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This forum report by Me and @Swiffe. on Ethan/Jabba will consist of 4 major failures he has committed as a Director: Ineffectiveness, Inactivity, Inability to Work as a Team, and a Hyper Fixation on Monetization and Metrics.

Ineffectiveness
  • Ineffectiveness in handling GSU cases
    • Ethan was put in charge of handling the GSU cases here on AHG. He had the all the information needed to report the accused person to the police and failed to act on it. He blamed it on one website not working on the two occasions he attempted to fill out the form while there are other websites and places that he could have used to report the user to the police or higher authority. Instead of owning up to his mistake, he decided to defend his handling of the situation for hours until he finally gave in and reported the user to the police after being pressured from several leads and a director.
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  • Provided no guidance for the Community Relations team
    • Ethan had an idea for a Community Relations team which would be led by an admin. We implemented this team and from the start, Muffin was set up to fail. Ethan provided no guidance to Muffin or Ryan on what the Community Relations team should do. He also shot down Muffin's ideas/initiatives, but then failed to give him any direction. Ethan also dumped many personal projects onto the Community Relations team and admin which were not proper tasks to be handled by this team.
Inactivity
  • Ethan's activity as the Director in charge of the staff team
    • Ethan has been the Director that is in charge of the staff team since the inception of AHG, but has barely acted in that role this whole time. Most of the leadership of the staff team has fallen on the leads and Pierogi. When it comes to pings for Leadership, he very rarely answers or partakes in the staff team.
  • Not answering the questions from the community
    • On multiple occasions, Ethan has been contacted via DM's about bans he placed on users in certain channels in Discord, such as #friendly-space. When the users DM Ethan, he ghosts them and provides them with no answer.
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Inability to Work as a Team
  • Disboard Situation
    • Ethan added a bot that exposed our Discord to the public without any heads up or consultation from the Leadership, let alone the Directors. This bot posed a security risk for our Discord as he left us vulnerable to attacks from spam bots, something which did end up occuring. After this and a lot of arguing amongst the Leadership, he removed our invite link from the Disboard site, but did not disable the bot. Once he finally disabled the bot, he did not announce it to the public -- only to the administration team. Since August 8th, your bumps in the channel were doing nothing for our server. (That means that a total of 145 bumps were useless). He finally archived the channel on September 13th
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  • Disturbing Content announcement to the staff team
    • We decided as an administration that Disturbing Content was an admin+ punishment, so if a moderator wanted to punish for it they would have to go to an admin. On September 4th, Ethan announced to the staff team that Disturbing Content was not an admin+ punishment and how that was the case on SGM and has been the case here the whole time. In the staff channel we have a message from an admin that has been pinned outlining that Disturbing Content is an admin+ punishment, a fact that was well known throughout the admin team. This protocol change/announcement is very detrimental because he is going against the decision that was already made and announced to the staff team.
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  • Staff Meeting Scheduling and Agenda
    • Ethan decided, without consulting anyone else, on the timing of our first full staff team meeting as AHG. This led him to schedule a staff meeting at 12pm CDT on a weekday. This is a severe planning move as he did not talk to anyone, did not take into consideration that people are working, in school, and just the fact that it is a work day. We know that that time was chosen to be considerate to the EU staff, but again there is the critical flaw of making it during a weekday in which people have school and jobs. Making the meeting on a weekend highly boosts the availability of staff members to attend the meeting so that we are able to have as many staff there to have a complete staff meeting. He also promised an agenda for the meeting was to be posted prior to the meeting, but when we went to attend the meeting he opened it up by saying that he had not put together an agenda. This ties back into the idea of planning and team work as we did not have a guide for this meeting which led it to be unstructured and chaotic which is detrimental to our cohesion as the staff team.
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  • MC Developer Situation
    • Earlier this month, Ethan reached out to say that you wanted to invite a person who you knew to be a developer for the Minecraft server. The way that you described this to the Minecraft staff team is that he would come into the community brand new and play around a bit and then subsequently get a development position in October. This had a lot of consequences. Firstly, it was decided that a developer needs to have the trust of a Lead Admin as they would have server access. I can confidently say along with the people who support us that a person who we just brought into the community like that does not have the trust of a Lead Admin. This also follows a discussion about how we would not allow staff members that have been working on Minecraft since the start that they would not get access to the server. Secondly, Ethan did not discuss this with any of the other Directors as this has a direct impact on our operations. As stated above we would be bringing on someone and putting them in a very high position of trust and also, this has financial implications because it is highly unethical to not pay developers for their work and code which we use. This would be a decision that would need to be discussed with the governing board of Directors here at AHG before any sort of mention or promise or inkling of hope should be spread down to the MC Staff Team.
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Hyper-fixation on Monetization and Metrics
  • Introduction of Forum Ranks
    • One of Ethan's plans was to introduce Forum Ranks which would provide at most, some cosmetic features that we could roll into other donation ranks like VIP or even the Global Ranks. This idea is just a cash grab and looks bad for our community because this is a community, not a for-profit business with margins to the moon. AHG is a group of people who love to game. If we go on to monetize everything it will cause a failure for this to feel like a community.
  • Prioritizes AHG Profits over pretty much everything
    • As stated above, AHG is a community. Though we do need money to further our servers and keep us afloat, making a massive profit is not the end goal with the community. A lot of Ethan's ideas seem to come from the desire to make more money from AHG instead of furthering the community feeling and development of our current and upcoming servers
  • Wanting to make Staff take a Personality Assessment
    • During our last staff meeting, Ethan pushed strongly for the staff team to take a personality assessment and he still supports this idea. Here is the problem with those tests, most are pseudo-science. To use these type of tests as an actual measure of performance or to determine deficits in your personality relies on self-reporting of behavior- in which we are the worst judges of. There are personality tests that have validity to them, however they are supposed to be done with the assistance, and presence of a licensed professional in order to provide accuracy and counseling to the results. By using some online test to determine this, this causes problems in several areas including 1) Taking the responsibility from admins and leadership from evaluating their own staff members and placing it on to a silly test. 2) Relying that the test be accurate and based on science, which any online test is not going to be, and asking someone to actually change themselves based upon it. 3) In this specific case, Ethan was doing this based on a recommendation of the mod without even looking at the test. Staff argued that in order for it to be instituted that it should be based on peer-reviewed science, but Ethan seemed to brush off this request.
  • Sacrificing the Soul of the Community for Money and Metrics
    • One major thing Ethan largely focuses on is the metrics especially for Discord. Instead of talking about how as a staff team we can further our involvement within the community, Ethan went on a 15 minute tangent about our Discord metrics and how we need to post more within the #memes channel in order to boost the metrics there because he said that our views to post ratio was very off. This obsession with metrics would be warranted if we were a community of 10 thousand players and looking at how we interact and what channels are good, but we have less than a thousand users within our Discord. With these low numbers we should be focused on just interacting and growing our community, not boasting our metrics.
Conclusion

Overall with all of this evidence, we conclude that the community is not sustainable with Ethan as a Director. It is not just his inactivity, ineffectiveness, or belligerence, he has actively threatened our operations and credibility of the staff team. He is no longer the lead admin that he used to be because the power has gotten to him. We are calling for his resignation.



Everyone that has signed this document:
Swiffe
J3kawesome
Lordy
Ryan

Nuno
Danstorm
TragicMagic
Aawolly
Titan
Panda With a Gun
Helix
Spitefulvenom
The Muffinman

FrogDoggo
SavannahBanana
martinandrew970
Kythol

Ainoyu Yunomi
Azaelus
Acnologia
Syn
Chewie
ParkRangerMoon
LadyCloudia
Moleman
Sera
BARTHOLOMEW
Pauly
CodingMachine
Pacifist
Ahalan
Kamoflajh
alex_


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Any of the responses that were too hard to read will be uploaded here
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This is not a personal attack on Ethan, anyone harassing him will be taken very seriously and will be taken care of quickly.
 

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Ted

The cuddly bear
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Tagging @Ethan to let them know about this.

Also tagging @Pierogi and @Temar to let them know about it.
 

Pierogi

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Here's my statement:
After scrutinizing every word of this report, I believe that this report is valid. I distinctly remember my frustration with the GSU situation, because it was the most frustrated I've ever been with something AHG-related.

Tensions in leadership have been boiling since late May, and I myself tried to come to Jabba with some of these concerns after several people - including my own lead administrator - had given up trying to communicate these issues with Ethan. To his credit, Ethan did a lot of good things keeping SGM together and then bringing the community to AHG, and that should not be lost to history. But at the end of the day, the community is at a turning point.

The names on this document have been instrumental in AHG's success. Without the lead administrators that spent many hours guiding their teams or the moderators that kickstart the servers every day, we'd just be another generic TTT server at the bottom of the server list. The sheer number of people in staff alone who have signed on this document shows the seriousness of the situation. It's not even a staff faction thing (and let's not pretend those exist (and work towards fixing it when this is all over)). Virtually the entire staff team has united because they do not see a future for this community with Ethan as Director. It pains me to say this, but after today's events, I agree with their assessment.

For the good of the community, @Ethan needs to resign.

~Pierogi
 

Jabba

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Alright, I will try and address each point in each section with as much detail as possible.

Ineffectiveness

GSU Case:
At the time of this case I was working two jobs and had no internet at my home. This meant that anything I needed to do for AHG during that period had to be done at work, on my work laptop, when I wasn't doing actual work. I don't mean for any of that to be an excuse, just an explanation. So when the case went down, and we had completed our investigation, I made two attempts on separate days to report the user to the NCMEC. This is pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 2258A, which dictates that as providers we must report the situation to the CyberTipline of NCMEC. Both of my attempts failed due to a error with the website that prevented the reports from going through, and wiping them each time. I did attempt to find a police report function on the user's local police department, however they had nothing for this outside of a "contact us" box on their website. As I have stated, time was not something I had much of, and following the failed reports we were thrown into another investigation just two days after, which rightfully or not, it took my attention. Since the discussion shown in evidence, I have been in contact with their local and county police departments. I absolutely should have tried harder when my initial reports failed.

Community Relations Team: I will start by saying the CR team was in no way my idea or brainchild. The CR team was proposed by Pierogi prior to AHG's existence. With the freedom of an Owner position, he was free to implement that idea. As for guidance, I gave plenty of suggestions for what the team could become. I can think of no ideas belonging to Muffinman that I shot down other than the idea that had been given to the staff team that the CR team was meant to act as a Human Relations position for staff to bring their complaints about other staff to. You say I dumped responsibilities onto the CR team/admin that were unfit for them. Other than my suggestions, which you could have easily debated at the time, the only thing I specifically sat down with Muffin to discuss him doing was managing the AHG YouTube channel. I don't see this as some horrible idea that I thrust upon him, seeing as he was asking me what he could be doing.

Inactivity:

Leading the Staff:
I fundamentally disagree with claims that I was absent from the staff or leadership. There are two functions which would fall on someone who is "in charge" of the staff team. Staff Meetings, and Staff Approval Polls. Absolutely I could host more frequent meetings, if we had things to be discussed. Unfortunately, not only is the agenda suggestions for staff meetings extremely underused, but the majority of the leadership doesn't care about involving moderators or even admins in rule and protocol changes. Generally because the mods wouldn't approve of these changes given a vote. I am notoriously bad at giving written meeting agendas prior to the actual meeting. I'll own that one all day, you don't mention it here but I was also very bad at summarizing our last meeting afterwards, though I do have plans to fix that in the future, which you capture in your evidence photos. You say I don't participate in Leadership discussion or pings, which is blatantly incorrect. I'm not only the one who generally starts discussion in our Leadership channels, I'm more active in them than some Leads and most certainly not the least active Director. The only situations where I'm absent from a leadership discussion is if I'm not physically able to join in. What might be helpful is if you outlined what duties you perceive I should be doing other than meetings/polls as the person "in charge" of the staff team. On a side note I very much dislike when people put it that way. The staff team is certainly one of my delegated focuses, but I am hardly the end-all person in charge of everything staff related.

Ignoring Questions: You say that I ignore DMs from community members, but then show no photos of me ignoring DMs from community members. I do my best to answer anyone who DMs me, especially members. In those screenshots the only person who DM'd me and asked why they were removed from the text-channel was proper, and we had a good discussion regarding it.

Team Work:

Disboard:
The bot had no security risk outside of users possibly getting DMs, which was an easy thing to combat, as I detailed in the evidence you provided. The bots you listed did not come from Disboard, which I was able to verify with those Discord metrics you mention later. I can tell how many users join us per month via what invite link. There were no uses of the Disboard invite link for days following its addition. There was a separate incident with around 30 bots joining our Discord, which you did not list, though I'll address it all the same. The bots joined, did not pass our welcome screen, were banned within five minutes. Not only were their numbers attributed to our Vanity URL, Chad took credit for the raid, likely with the same bots he fills his own Discord with. However, the event did spook me, and although I banned them all within minutes, I disabled the Disboard link while I investigated the incident. After I determined Disboard was not at fault, I left it deactivated until we had implemented my proposed security measures for dealing with bots. I will say I made a mistake of not locking the channel and putting an announcement in it that the invite was down for the time-being. I'll even go a step further and correct you on the last point there, I did not archive the channel. That was Lordy. The bot posed no real security threat, and I still do not believe I needed to run it by anyone, as such a trivial addition to our Discord. I should have made it clear the invite wasn't active so that people weren't wasting time bumping our Disboard page.

Disturbing Content: You grossly misrepresent what happened here, and you know that. I have argued this situation over, and over, and over again. I'm tired of it, so I will be brief. There was no discussion about implementing such a change, in any text channel. Not in the admin channels, nor the leadership, nor the directors. The first mention of anything about it was wubby or j3k pinging admins to "remind them" that DC was admin discretion. The proper way to implement changes to rules/protocol is to have it in a meeting, with a vote, with a period of at least 24 hours for others to debate the change and vote. This proposed change, if it happened, was in a voice channel, with no vote or consideration for members of the administration or leadership who weren't in attendance, and you will never convince me that the miscommunication falls on me for this situation. Staff members were confused, and I wasn't sure about it myself, as it was entirely possible something changed when we transitioned, or even a formal vote held, I worked 40+ hours a week at the time, it was certainly possible. So I checked our written protocol guide. There was no difference there from how it was handled in the past, so I cleared up the staff member's confusion with an announcement to the staff, having reviewed our literal written protocol. The confusion born from the entire situation falls on whoever thought it was a good idea to make a rule-change without consulting fellow staff with an official vote, and then forgot to update the actual protocol with their invalid change. That is what is detrimental to a staff team.

MC Developer: I could have been more clear with my message to the MC staff, and I said as much after that happened. I asked Spiteful and Swiffe if they had any problems if I invited a friend and potential developer to the MC server during its testing phase. From there he could assess if he was fully interested in working with us. It was not "decided" that a Developer needed a Lead Admin level of trust, unless you mean because Pierogi said so. Even then, he doesn't believe this or support that notion. In case you have forgotten we have a damn good Developer, his name is @My Dime Is Up . I recruited him too wouldn't you know it. If Pierogi, or Temar even, believed that Developers were on the same level of trust as Lead Admins, he would have access to Leadership channels. As it so happens, not only does he not have access to leadership channels, he doesn't even have access to admin channels. I also never denied any staff members from being candidates for the developer position, or admins from having console access to the MC server. You know who did determine who was and was not a candidate for developer without so much as talking to any other developer? Pierogi. I want to make it clear, I don't fault him for making those judgments, I fault him for being a hypocrite about it. My plans with MC, including the ones to involve two specific people in mind for development, was always available to the MC Dev team, long before AHG was conceived. The basic plans for the server never changed up until that point, just the name.

Hyper-fixation on Monetization and Metrics:

I find this entire last category inaccurate, though I will still address each point.

Forum Ranks: Forum Ranks were proposed by a staff member whose name is signed on as agreeing with every sentiment in this document. Just thought that was weird. My idea for implementing Forum Ranks goes well beyond cosmetic features. Not only that, but it promotes forum activity and the addition of new forum content, which is something other members of leadership seem entirely ready to write-off. It is in terms a cash grab, but a valid and optional paid rank that absolutely is incorporated to our other ranks. You are wrong here where you say AHG is not a for-profit business. We are both a community and a business. We need money to host our servers, pay for certain plugins, pay our developer(s), fund future projects, and to host event giveaways. I have a mind for monetization options that not only help us achieve our goals, but promote new content and community activity. I will end this portion, by stating no forum ranks have even been discussed in several months. We have plenty of other areas to focus on. Hardly a hyper-fixation by any stretch of your imagination.

I pretty much covered your next point already in the last one, but I'll reiterate. All of my ideas, every single one, is in the interest of adding new features and contents for our users, and promoting community growth. Not one cent of AHG paid ranks has gone to the pockets of myself, Temar, or Pierogi. All the money we have made has been put back into the community, or set aside for its future.

Personality Tests for Staff: This one is just funny to me, how you could come to any conclusion resembling this. A staff member, I believe ex-staff now, suggested for our meeting that we discuss the staff taking a personality type quiz. Pretty weird, but that's the point of staff meetings, to talk about what the staff want to talk about. So I brought up the suggestion, we talked about it. At no point did I say anything to suggest it would be anything other than optional IF we tried it, or that any staff would need to change anything about themselves. I certainly did not disagree with any points made about finding a better test. The only personal input I gave about the suggestion, was that it was something the staff could do for "brownie points" if they so desired. At no point after was this idea even brought up again. I find it extremely deceptive that you would try and portray the discussion the way you have done here.

"Sacrificing the Soul of the Community for Money, Metrics, and Memes":

The last section title was pretty outlandish, even before my addition. I absolutely take into account our Discord metrics. It is an incredibly useful tool when looking at how we can grow the Discord, our main platform for community relations. The entire point of Server Insights, is so that communities can use the information to stimulate growth. So yes, a very brief portion of our meeting involved me suggesting that staff use the #meme channel more. There was a disconnect in people viewing memes and posting memes. This has nothing to do with "boasting" metrics and everything top do with using metrics as they're intended to grow the community. Our users were looking for memes, and they weren't finding many memes. This suggests, if we want those users to be more involved, and stay in our community longer, and participate more, that we should post more memes. Truly, I have no idea how you can view the use of metrics to be some bad thing. It absolutely important for us, especially as a smaller community. They're the best tool we have for improving the Discord. You literally say that instead of bothering with those silly metrics, we should focus on community interaction and growth. You say that directly after describing how I was using metrics to further community interaction and growth.

Your Conclusion:

I fundamentally disagree with a lot of what you said here, whether it be outright incorrect information, intentionally distorted information, or a complete lack of communication. So many of these points where you take issue, not at any point did you or someone else ask, challenge, or talk to me about them. That isn't the case for every point, but a very healthy percentage of them.

I am no threat to operations or our credibility. There is certainly no amount of power that has gone to my head. If anything I have less power here at AHG than I ever had with SGM.

I'm not sure at what point we went from playing Minecraft every night for hours, to this, but it makes me sick. I have defended you, Ryan, Lordy, Pierogi, Temar, and every other person on that list time and time again. You all had to convince me to start this community, and it wasn't easy to do that. You will not convince me to leave it behind. I am here for our Forums and Discord. I am here for TTT. I am here for Minecraft. I am here for S&Box. And I am here, for SCP:SL, Rust, and any other ideas we have in the future. I am here for the long haul, and I will see AHG through to the end.

You may disagree with what I have said here today, and things I have done (or haven't done) in my position as Director. You may be right in doing so. I have a lot of flaws, and I have a lot to work on. I will however assure you, that no other staff member has more concern and love for the Soul of this community than I do, and that includes Directors. This community would not be better off without me in it. If I had any shadow of a doubt in my mind that it would be, for a second, I would resign without hesitation.

I will not be resigning today.
 

Pierogi

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Unfortunately, I need to make an addition to this thread. I was originally planning on keeping this thread concluded, no matter how tempting it was to address each inaccuracy in Ethan's response. However, during the days following this report, a few events occurred that forced me to make this addition. This couldn't be done earlier because we were still assessing the security of our codebase.

In the days after Ethan's response, the following events occurred:
1. Ethan revealed the existence of a vulnerability to the entire moderation, despite the dev team making it clear that we were keeping the vulnerability highly secret until we could verify it was fixed and no similar issues could exist in other parts of our code.
2. Ethan revealed the existence of the same vulnerability to at least one non-staff member.
3. We learned that Ethan knowingly allowed all IPs of connecting Minecraft users to be sent to a non-staff member's Discord. Although we do not believe this was for any malicious purposes, this was an egregious failure on Ethan's part. This transmission of IPs was not communicated to any of the Directors, and we only learned about it when the user themselves gave us a heads up.

Although we wanted to let the issue die out peacefully, I think we all know what needs to happen next.
 
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