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Thread: PWN Staff Statenent

  1. #1
    ♥Fiction♥ Smiles's Avatar
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    Default PWN Staff Statenent

    Hi PWNers,

    I’m sad to say that at this time, Petalburg Woods Network as a forum will be closing. The boards have transformed into a URPG-only forum, and PWN staff have crafted a lovely new home at The Pokémon Plaza (TPP) that those still interested in community building, writing and roleplaying, and foruming are more than welcome to. We’ve had quite a few announcement posts that have gone buried, and we also needed time to reflect about what’s all happened here to give you the most comprehensive account of it all. I’m here to do that for you all now. As the conveyer of this information, I struggled with voice, asking myself if I should write from the perspective of the admin of PWN or of a player of the URPG. Friend, judgement, confidant. At the end of the day, I am all of these roles and thought you deserved the full picture. I also struggled with timing. There’s no right time to say goodbye. So here it is now.

    The closure of PWN reflects a problematic history beginning with HKim, or Harry, owner of both PWN and then-URPG. For those unaware of the URPG, it’s a text-based Pokemon battle simulator and role-playing system hosted on PWN and (then) two other forums. When Bulbagarden Forums decided to boot URPG off entirely due to a pronounced history of unaddressed sexual harassment towards minors, PWN staff closely followed suit to question what we should do as well in response to the situation. We do not tolerate sexual harassment, in any way, shape, or form, and it was always agreed upon that the URPG would uphold these same values of basic human decency and respect for its, and our, members.In our contemplation, Harry approached me to let me know that, should PWN Staff decide to close the URPG on our side, I would need to buy the forums from him or find a buyer for the forums.

    When Harry purchased PWN in 2014, we were never under the impression as a staff team that he was only interested in the wellbeing of URPG. We had, a week prior to this event, confirmed with Harry that we were transitioning the forums into a new direction. He had always wanted to be involved with non-URPG PWN, so for him to say this to me, and thus the whole staff, was the biggest insult he could give to our years of service to the forums we once called home.

    The next few days, around Christmastime, a circuitous path follows for PWN and Harry, in which Harry will not reveal the price of PWN to us. I try to convince him that I will not hold the URPG hostage if he does not hold our home hostage. At the conclusion of this baffling psychological emulation of cat and mouse, Harry finally reveals the price of the forums to us. The asking quote was in the neighborhood of hundreds of dollars, with a $30 monthly server fee attached. Even as a full-time graduate student attending my university only by scholarship, I was fully willing to pay for the forums. It was not the price that mattered to me as much as the principle.

    And no: I was not planning on shutting down the URPG once I had owner privileges to PWN. I just wanted to own this cozy Pokemon forum I committed myself to years, and that I planned to commit myself to for the foreseeable future. Five years and a few months’ break in-between as a member of an amazing foruming staff team will do that to you. I like to think purchasing PWN from Harry would be something that happened down the line naturally, a dream opportunity realized once I finished my graduate studies and finally worked full time. It became clear that perhaps that dream was never actually on the table.

    It took a few really close irl people who love me a lot to explain to me why I should never have considered accepting his financial threat steeped in manipulation and facade friendship. Karina and Verzerrung, current PWN Staff, confirmed that reality and promised to build the next steps together to walk away from this tragedy. Looking back, I’m not sure if Harry was being ironic when he reassured me that he wasn’t “bullying” me through that interaction. Before I knew Harry had been directly complicit in allowing sexual harassment in the URPG, I looked up to him as not just a role model but also a friend. The broken trust was profound and irreparable.

    By that time, the damage and disrespect had already been dealt plenty. We knew where we stood in relation to what Harry truly valued on PWN. PWN Staff had already begun to set up The Pokémon Plaza to pursue the dream of a supportive friendship community without these violent levels of harassment. Originally, TPP and PWN were to be sister forums while I still considered purchasing the forums; however, it became apparent through reflection and observation that many truths would still come to light. For one, our relationship had not only soured with Harry in that past week. It soured with URPG as a whole over the past few years.

    Even as PWN became the URPG’s main host forum in lieu of the BMG decision, members carried out aggressions against it. PWN inferiority as a host forum had been a rampant problem in the URPG for years, and even with the erasure of its biggest forum, members immediately called out the possibility of expanding away from PWN. A staff member of the URPG asked me soon after why all URPG moderators would not automatically become PWN administrators. The ex-second of the game, the one who perhaps perpetuated the most apathy and resentment against PWN as a forum, had the audacity to express his supposed frustration with the loss of a forum he never cared about. To date, PWN is the only forum to have ever collaborated so deliberately with the URPG spirit. Outside of new members, PWN gave URPG the most and had the most taken away from it. Currently, URPG staff scramble to correct years of apathy demonstrated to its last host forum.

    At the end of it all, nothing changed. There was no healing to be found here. Upon my announced resignation from the forums and from the game of URPG, Harry asked for my replacement admin. He also sent me two sentences thanking me for my “service and dedication” to the forums. TPP Staff decided upon Liam as a replacement admin, with my recommendation. Liam is dedicated, active, resource-savvy, and more than responsible enough to handle permissions and URPG forum constructions from here. I trust him dearly and am so grateful for his sacrifice to take up this mantle.

    As for the rest of us, it became clear that this was a violent space, a space PWN staff never imagined for our members. Quite frankly, we will never consider hosting URPG on our forums. If consulted by other forums, we will do our best to inform them of the violence lurking in URPG. This comes with the heaviest heart. It comes from a place of concern for good people who never signed up for these levels of emotional abuse when selecting their starter. It comes from witnessing, first hand as a player and a staff member of the game, what this game does to people. Since my notice of resignation a few weeks ago, three other staff members have left or announced their soon-departures from the game. If you’re a member of the game who’s taken time off or who has left permanently, my heart is here for you.

    As a player, I had hope. Even when I mentally committed to leaving, I attended the URPG staff meetings, forced myself to grade and write, thought that if I committed myself to the competitions that gave me so much fulfillment, then my revulsion for this game would go away. It would take foolish time for me to see that no amount of hope erases harassment. When I think of the dozen people who’ve left this game upset and outraged, my only apology now to them is that I did not leave sooner in solidarity with them. Every minute I spend here makes me complicit to the system that caused them so much pain. Before you say that URPG is your outlet to release depression, anguish, and sadness from real live traumas: I get it. No, I get it. The 500k to get me to Story legend was truth thinly veiled in fiction.

    The trouble comes when that place of healing becomes a place of trauma. For those URPG members who were in it for the people, and not for the game, thank you.Thank you to those amazing ones who who wanted to split the cost of PWN with me or even take care of the cost fully themselves. That support and immense generosity and respect for all that I’ve done for this place, means more than words can really describe. Thank you to those URPG members who participated in parts of the forum outside of the URPG. To those who threaded, who reached out to non-URPG members, to those who showed they cared. To those members, I apologize deeply. For those members, our mercy is hoping you enjoy what’s left of the forums.

    For PWNers, I apologize immensely that this all happened like so. I write this fondly now remembering events to troll April Fools, relationships that changed my life, novel-length VM’s and PM’s I will always carry in my heart. I write this remembering Dave, Aeralis, Sheep, CJ, Ray, Sam, Tom, Rosie, Matt, Aperso, Owl, Zombie Thunder, Lovecraft, Person Man, linkandzelda, countless others. Our wonderful PWN staff team who also shared the burden and love of URPG: Felly, Proto, Comm. Special shout outs to Felly - you have more dedication, patience, and creativity than many cultivate in their lifetime. You all are among the many who made these past five years an extraordinary time for me. We wrote history together! One last time, for us.

    At this point in time, URPG has been kicked off from one of its host forums and has disrespected the entire staff team of another so much they decided to leave.

    Moving on is sometimes not just possible, but necessary.

    Much love,
    Smiles ♥️


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  3. #2
    Head of the URPG URPG StaffAdministrator HKim's Avatar
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    Perhaps this is strange of me to say this after such a post, but I truly do wish success for Smiles and the staff of The Pokemon Plaza. I would like to encourage anyone to join their community if they are interested in "community building, writing and roleplaying, and foruming." Pokemon is an amazing saga and these are good people. I imagine they will find much prosperity in their future.

    In regards to Petalburg Woods Network, the decision on where to take the community rest on the shoulders of Ace Trainer Liam. He is a capable leader and an excellent person. I put my trust in his vision and expertise.

    For everyone here, I do apologize if I have hurt or inconvenienced you through my actions or inactions. I did not intend to cause problems, but I have clearly done so and I'm sorry about that. I ask for your forgiveness and understanding.

    I hope you might indulge me in allowing me to clarify a few of the above points. But if not, it's okay. We all have busy lives and drama can be tiring. I too, am worn out by it.

    I never demanded that Smiles buy PWN, though I did request it of her. This was based on my feelings at the time. On December 22, when I became aware that I might have accidentally miscommunicated to Smiles, I tried to elaborate further. I attempted to clarify my thoughts to her (which you can read in the log). Additionally I created a thread in the Staff forum so that the staff could understand what I was trying to say. I have quoted my post here for everyone. There were no replies to the thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by HKim View Post
    I realize now that there has been some confusion and I apologize for that. I realize that I probably should have addressed the Petalburg Woods staff a long time ago and I'm sorry for not properly communicating. I'm also sorry that through my action and inaction, I've given you guys a lot of trouble through the URPG.

    I want to go ahead and say that I love the URPG and I love PWN. I've been a member of the URPG for nearly 15 years and it has always been a sort of home for me. I helped saved PWN from Arun (and whatever crazy thing he was going to do with it) in 2014 and have happily hosted the community since then. I don't have an exact audit, but I estimate I've paid maybe $2500 during that time to host both Pokemon Crossroads and Petalburg Woods Network. I believe in what you guys are doing and am willing to put money on it.

    I mentioned to Smiles that I would be interested in selling PWN to her if PWN had removed the URPG from the forum. This wasn't an ultimatum or blackmail, I simply was being honest about my feelings. For example, before these last few weeks, I've was a supporter of Bulbagarden. I thought they were a great community. I even played a game with Archaic once. But when they removed the URPG, it felt like betrayal. And my feelings on them turned negative. Regardless of whether they were justified or not, I was hurt and my feelings on them turned negative.

    PWN is different, of course. I view this community much more favorably than BMG, both now and in the past. I think Petalburg is willing to grow and adapt to the changing interests of the world, while Bulbagarden has remained stagnant. I think you guys have a good plan and the will to carry it out. However, a removal of the URPG would have still felt like a betrayal to me, even if justified. It would have hurt me. And though I would still have those positive feelings about PWN, it would also leave me with negative ones.

    I don't know if I would have wanted to remain owner with those mixed feelings. And reasonably, the PWN community might not have wanted an owner with mixed feelings either. So it was only natural of me to tell Smiles I'd sell PWN in that situation. I think my sadness would be the determining factor for me.

    As for any other scenario, well, at the time I was pretty embattled and tired from everything. I honestly couldn't work through PWN ownership decisions. So I couldn't given an answer.

    I appreciate that PWN has decided to keep the URPG around, despite my failure leading it. And I understand if the PWN staff is not comfortable with me being owner and is concerned that my presence would serve as a negative influence to its health and future. I want to do what the staff feels is right to move the community forward and if that means that I should no longer be owner, than I can accept that.

    I'm willing to sell PWN to Smiles so that you guys can forge your own destiny without me holding you back. I'm okay if you want me to stay on too, but I think I can read the room here. And that's fine. You're allowed to choose what you guys think is best.

    To summarize though: I would have felt betrayed by PWN if the staff had decided to remove the URPG, even if justified. This would have given me a lot mixed feelings. I also wondered if the staff considered me a black mark on the community. If so, it might have been best if Smiles took ownership of PWN so that the community would not have to deal with me anymore.

    I did take some time putting together a price. My mind was not in the right place with all of the BMG fallout and figuring it out was, to me, lower in priority than trying to recover URPG data and other challenges. Eventually I just decided to quote the price Kristian charged me for PWN ($265) and add $35 to pay Ray, the technical lead on PWN, for help in transferring the forum data over to Smiles. She also asked me about my hosting costs; I told her that I pay about $72 to $92 per month to Amazon in order to host both Pokemon Crossroads and Petalburg Woods Network. I could not inform her of what her hosting costs would be as I do not know what her host would charge her.

    Perhaps that was too much. I honestly don't know, but I think that if Smiles wanted to negotiate the price, I would have been willing. To be fair, there really is no way to know for sure what could have been. I was not aware of her financial status.

    I don't think that I intentionally broke Smiles's trust and still believe it to be a miscommunication. Perhaps I am wrong though. I have been wrong many times in my life and this would be neither the first nor last. But I wanted to provide some more information to everyone here. You deserve it and more.

    This is a complete log of my conversation with Smiles from December 17 to January 29. I have not spoken with her since then. (Note: I might have confused LaZ and Arun during various conversations. It has been awhile.)

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