Regarding NISEI’s Recent Community Moderation

Background

On September 17th of this year, NISEI reached out to a community member to raise a number of concerns about their conduct. In a letter to them, we outlined our reasoning and provided context for our rescinding of certain NISEI privileges. In the several weeks since we sent that letter, we’ve seen a multitude of responses. A wide range of thoughts have been shared. We take those responses seriously. We have been reviewing the situation internally and looking to learn from it. Today, we want to share our thoughts and commitments.

Apologies

First and foremost: We recognize that the length and tone of our letter were inappropriate, and we apologise for that. It simply was not appropriate for us to communicate our concerns in this fashion.

As a community organization, NISEI occupies a peculiar space. Most NISEI team members play Netrunner, take part in Netrunner social spaces, and enjoy participating in the Netrunner community outside of NISEI. We are still learning how to balance our community embeddedness with our greater organizational mission. Although we will never be able to satisfy everyone, we accept that we communicated with a formality and authority that was out of line with the community/organizational balance we strive for. 

Commitments

This incident arose in part due to an area of ambiguity within the NISEI Code of Conduct. We are committed to facilitating a safe, comfortable, and welcoming community environment, and the Code of Conduct is our main roadmap for doing so. In its present form, however, the Code of Conduct is written to address discrete, singular violations. Community spaces can also be made unwelcoming via persistent patterns of behaviours, none of which explicitly cross a line, but, when taken as a whole, violate the spirit of inclusivity we aim to foster.

We did not have the tools in our Code of Conduct to address this and we aim to fix that with an update to the CoC. At the same time, we recognize that this is, by its nature, a difficult pattern to define unambiguously, so we will also be updating our policies to better outline how we, alongside community moderators, can proactively address this behavior. No one should feel scrutinized and on-edge in a community space, so by communicating proactively, we hope we can address issues as they arise. Our priority is to address it in the moment as best we can, and approach patterns of boundary-testing behavior in a more clear and respectful way.

In general, if something happens that merits an interaction beyond the initial resolution, the appropriate way to handle it is by a direct, personal interaction with the person involved, not a long impersonal letter.

We are aware that the impression the letter gave was that NISEI in some way ‘keeps track’ of perceived slights or behaviours. This is not the case. This was very much a one-off situation. 

One of the most difficult parts in such a large community as ours is sorting through feedback and criticism. An organisation like NISEI needs to have broad shoulders, to accept that not all actions will please everyone, and that criticism will be couched in many different ways. While NISEI is unlikely to agree with all the criticisms that are made, we will endeavor to make sure they are being heard and given our full consideration. 

―NISEI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team

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