Immature on the Internet



It's scary to think back. Years have passed since I became a moderator on the community forum (unpaid, mind you; people have been asking). It's a part of my life now, and that means a lot. It's also made it a lot harder for me to express personal opinions over there. Not because of any interdiction, but simply because everything I post sounds official when it comes with a moderator badge attached.

So any venting has to happen over here. Sorry about that.

There are people who think they are somehow entitled to a good spot in search results on the site. And not as in asking if we sell advertising spots (we don't, but people could ask if they had serious intentions). No, they seem to expect good placement for free. Somehow. Out of 160K projects. That's not a typo. As of this writing, there are one hundred and sixty thousand games hosted on Itch. No matter how you sort them, only a tiny fraction will ever fit in the first ten pages of results... or the first hundred pages.

Oh, we've done things to mitigate that. Our ranking algorithm is designed to make projects bob up and down in listings all the time, so that more of them get a moment in the limelight. But "more of them" can only be relative when there's so many.

There are people who take an invitation to show off their own work and keep beating a drum, much too loudly, until a staff member has to come and ask them nicely to tone it down because they're disturbing the other guests. At which point they start screaming censorship. And never mind what that word means. We have a report link on every game and every forum post. When someone uses it, we pay attention.

And when we make it clear to those people that their childish tantrums don't fly, they suddendly turn very very nice and try to butter me up. Funny how they always start by approaching someone they perceive as being lower on the totem pole. Do they think me some timid, naive intern just out of college? Because I'm over 40. I've worked in all kinds of jobs, with all kinds of people. Think again.

Sure, every place online has to deal with this sort of crap. There's an ongoing incident over on the Open Game Art forums. Boy, am I glad not to be involved in that one. Ours are seldom so bad. And we still have to ban someone roughly twice a year on average, if memory serves. Which we only do at length, after much hesitation. That's an unwritten policy we have. We think it's better than the alternative, even though it sometimes means letting abusive behavior slide, to the detriment of marginalized creators who found a home with us after long wanderings.

Some people still call us dictatorial for even raising the prospect.

Some people clearly aren't used to being told "no".

I see you. I know your tricks. And I have a duty to everyone else. So be good.


Tags: personal, meta