Just to clarify some misunderstandings I may have introduced, I believe Kuliani is a staff member, and not just a volunteer mod--he's got a green name, and those usually indicate staff and contributors. The volunteer mods have some other color and are called the Red Guard. The site started off without a forum: just a comments section attached to each article in the webzine (and before my time, I don't even believe they had that). They had one staff moderator--Joe--and when he left/around the time he was leaving, they started giving some users mod status: that's the Red Guard.
I guess that's when Kuliani wound up more involved in the moderation aspects of the site, sort of in charge of the volunteer mods is my guess. Nothing was ever spelled out because, well, we never needed it when I joined: we didn't even really have 'bans' back then. The only people who would get permabanned were spammers.
That's what is causing a lot of the drama: it went from a site where not only were the owners/mods fair, but we felt like we knew them and could talk to them, to a place where permabans are given out without a second thought. The first major permaban of a popular user resulted in a thread where the users and staff had an open dialog, and now, well, you saw: people being permabanned out of the blue.
I thought maybe my experience was the result of some individual grudge some of the new mods/Kuliani in his new, more active roll had against me (my ban stems from an incident where another user accused me of highly illegal and immoral sex acts, I reported it as they ask us to, and the whole thread was closed on all of us with no visible consequence for that person, ending with Kuliani giving me a fake reason for my permaban), but, it seems the problem is a much more systemic one. I tried to warn them that their behavior was coming across as capricious and unbecoming a forum that claims to be The Internet's version of the Lighthouse of Alexandria; the worst I thought would happen is they'd continue to undercut what they used to pride themselves on in regards to the forums.
Never thought it would would lead them to making one of those missteps that winds up all over the Internet! I had a lot of good conversations with the staff there, especially the CEO Archon, so I'm sad to see it come to this; on the other hand, this seems an appropriate fate for a site that decided to stop treating its users the way it became known for.
That guy in the thread isn't the owner. The closest thing the site has to an owner from what I can tell is Archon. That Kuliani joker is just some staff member. I think I remember a conversation with the owner Archon a few years back about ad blocking software. He thanked the people who turned it off for The Escapist.
That's why you're seeing all the drama on that thread: The Escapist used to be this really welcoming place where the staff valued the community. When I joined, they didn't even really have 'bans': that's how friendly the place was.
About a year ago, maybe, they put in a middle ground between deleting/locking a thread and leaving it alone. They can leave a thread open to comment (threads can always be found by searching, even if locked, I think) but new comments will no longer bump it.
If they lock it, they'll probably delete it at some point and you'll get a 403 or 404 error when trying to access it.
I was a long-time member of the site: when I joined, they didn't even have actual forums. It was a great place. I remember a lot of good conversations with the staff and even the CEO. All started to change it seemed when the original mod--Joe--left and they got in these two new members and made them mods for some reason.
I was recently permabanned and I thought maybe it was just because of getting off on the wrong foot with the new mods. I see it isn't, that this place really is changing. What's interesting is that, despite his listed join date, I never remember this Kuliani character much involved in the forums, and now he seems to be all over the place.
He was the one that gave me the garbage explanation for my ban--thought it was just my bad luck, but it seems this is a more systemic problem with The Escapist.
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