Danton’s Words

At the time of the split with Hogwarts Reborn, described above, Danton sent a notecard out to all players explaining why he quit. I present it here complete and unedited. Bear in mind that it is a snapshot in time. This is Danton, in his own words, just after he had quite and before World of Hogwarts had started. He may not have had the full picture on everything and might write this very differently if he wrote it today. Nevertheless there is no better source than this for understanding why Danton chose to quite Hogwarts Reborn and throw his lot in with World of Hogwarts.


I have been asked a few questions of late.

“Why did you quit?”

OK, its not an easy one to answer- but allow me say this- I was happy being part of Hogwarts Reborn, I was PROUD of being Hogwarts Reborn; I had gone on SLCN two weeks ago to talk about Hogwarts Reborn; It was my number one activity in SL and had been for 8 months.
But I did quit. And explaining why is contained here within this.

“Why are you sending this card now?”
Because my position HAS been misrepresented, and I need to set the record straight.

Understand I do this without malice and anger. But I will not allow myself be misrepresented. I do not seek my old job back nor do I expect it. But NO ONE has explained why I left.
It seems no one understands why I left. So I figured the members should know why I left.

“In what way has you position been misrepresented?”
Darcy recently said:
“It is with much regret that some leaders within the group made a hasty resignation before we could explain better the reorganization that is taking place.”

I refute totally, utterly and completely that statement. It is that statement and several others which cause me to make THIS FAQ publicly known. That statement is not an untruth- It is NOT a lie. It is just wrong.
For example- I knew EXACTLY how the reorganisation was going to go. I knew it BEFORE the reorganisers actually MADE their decisions.

OK- to task.
There is a two fold argument here- one that the role-play needed reorganisation and two- that I moved to fast to allow the reorganisation take place (aka ‘Danton over reacted’ or ‘Danton was angry’- neither is true)
I intend to PROVE that neither allegation is true.
I will not just give my opinion, I will state verifiable facts.
I will give the information openly and will ask anyone to contest anything I get wrong.
I have double checked these claims I make with to make sure my details are correct.
To the best of my knowledge what follows is the truth.

The central idea of those who attacked me was that there were a series of problems within the role-play department, which justify the changes, and PROVE that the measures taken were not motivated by personal reasons. I intend to show you all that is untrue by dealing with EACH allegation one by one.
I will list the allegation and then retort.
Allegation 1: “Many people were saying they weren’t having fun”
Point of information: with over several hundred members, MANY is a misleading term.
I myself had about six say to me they were not ‘having fun’ in the sim in the last week. Of the six who came to me, only ONE cited the role-play campaign as the main reason. What they cited was interpersonal fallings out- OOC stuff each and every time. It was the OOC arguments that prevented me from having a good time.
Please note the ‘we are not having fun’ complaint was most often heard from officers, and those linked to officers.
I am NOT saying that some people said because of the nature of the role-play, they were not having fun- I am saying MORE complained it was because of the nature of the sim management they were not having fun.

Allegation 2: “Many people were not enjoying the role-play.”
Rebuttal: The above statement is loaded- yes many were unhappy with the role-play. Some felt it was too structured. JUST AS MANY felt it was not structured enough. Some felt it was too filled with OOC rules. JUST AS MANY felt there were not enough rules.
I should know. They would tell me in equal measure.
I often said, in fact I ALWAYS was honest with the membership and explained that the sim was made up of 20% of people who wanted it to go one way or another, and 80% who were happy with the status quo. I always said that *I* stood against extremism of both factions.
Look at the forums for the last time I said that- less than two days before I quit..
I urge members to look for themselves. The ONLY people who were unhappy with the role-play were the extremist 20% of the menmbership.
This is an important and salient fact later on.

Allegation 3: “There were various comments and concerns from the conflicts IC carried over to OOC.”
The role-play faculty policy remained consistent and completely committed to punishing ANY member of our organisation who would do that.
Be they a normal member or one who was a member of the role-play faculty.
In fact I ordered a serious investigation of a member of my the drama faculty less than 48 hours before I resigned because there was evidence to suggest that they had indeed engaged in deliberately using OOC upset to fuel IC actions (I believe no evidence was found on Merlot as is often the case with such things).
There are NO substantiated cases of this ever proven. There are accusations.
Please see below for a very important clarification on accusations.

Allegation 4: “There were concerns as to the length of time it took for friends or new members were having to wait for an invite to the group.”
Each and every case has and was investigated. Each and every case involved either a- someone failing to follow the instructions (not submitting a character sheet, not attending orientation etc) or b- a well documented glitch in SL that made group invites go buggy (each and every case was chased up where this happened) of c- the OCCSIONAL oversight by a member of the NMM (which NMM systems allowed to be rectified).
EACH and EVERY case was investigated and rectified.
NO decision or ruling or action by the NMM and its members was ever made that was not posted openly for all officers to see.
In terms of transparency and efficiency this was the most successful of ALL systems within the SIM.

Allegation 5: “Some said their PCP were always rejected”
In an open question said upon the forums wherein people/members were freely invited to express their dislike of the PCP system or their feelings that PCP was ‘too rejection based’- ONE member said they had a PCP rejected (they also said they had one approved).
There are cases of Drama directors rejecting PCP- and where they did it was often part and parcel of the plot have deeper ramifications or fall out that would negatively impact upon the game. But as a whole we ran a [policy which said YES- indeed, Darcy was part of that, commenting upon the forums as to validity of plot. And more often or not I would run plot that flew in the face of the more and less canon camp.
*I will say for the record that the word NO was used in response to PCP less than 5% of all times PCP was submitted*
Read that figure.
95% of ALL PCP was allowed.
And where there was a slowness of response, I acted very quickly each and every time to speed it up.

Allegation 6:”Some have said that their ‘role-play’ was called invalid”
The term ‘invalid’ and ‘invalidate’ was only to be used in one context only.
When someone did something that had a selfish and truly negative impact upon the game.
It was used against plot run by TWO banned characters (we invalidated what they were running and later they were banned).
It was to be MOSTLY used on Drama directors by FELLOW Drama directors as a way to prevent plot that had NOT be submitted to the faculty get out there.
The terminology may have been used elsewhere in the SIM. I content that it was used in less and a half dozen cases; and let me make this clear the term was used WITHOUT my permission to do so (except in the case of two characters who have been banned and one person who suddenly decided his house elf could turn into a giant snake and attack students).
And *I* acted when the term was used without my permission to use it.

Allegation 7:”Some were told by members of the role-play department that they were unable to role-play.”
Each and every case where SUBSTABTIATED allegations were brought to me pover this, I acted and action it.
I refuse and have for some time to sustain unsubstantiated allegations.
A recent example- at a GM Council meeting I was confronted by what appeared to be a member of my team informing Harry what he could or could not say- all members who were present at the GM council meeting will remember me having it asked aggressively as to what MY staff were doing.
When I asked for the substantiated allegation it became clear that it was NOT my staff doing so.
This is why I insist upon substantiated and non anecdotal complaints.
It prevents confusion and hasty and bad decisions.

SO in response to allegation number 7- not on my shift, not on my watch and if so, no one told me.
(please note- as to what someone did BEFORE they worked for me, I take no account for)

I quote the next allegation carefully:
8: “a big one was being told they didn’t know the difference between OOC and IC. Many members were just not role-playing because of these obstacles”.

1- Define many
2- This allegation is the counter of the one I mentioned earlier. Please note I will stress this- MANY MANY MANY people use this allegation, most of whom have NOTHING to do with the drama department.
I have ALWAYS opposed the use of this statement- ALWAYS. In fact when core officers have said to me they feel they are NOT good role-players I have always tried to convince them otherwise.
The Drama department refutes said allegation that this was indicative of our departmental ethos- after all, we and the New Members Minsitry prided ourselves on the most comprehensive introduction for members in any SIM in the whole of SL.

OK, so none of the allegations were actually true.
We had one or two members of the drama faculty who were, how shall we say ‘really eager’ (grins).
For each one who wanted to help clarify things we had about three four who never did.

But we had a split in the membership you see. Look to what I said earlier.
About 80% of the members just wanted to play and just wanted things to work.
These are who I tried to cover at all times.
About 20% of the membership were very very passionate about one position or another- either they were ‘Hey lets go more like the books’ and others were ‘hey lets go LESS like the books’
Both camps made a LOT of noise.
BOTH camps represented a small minority.

How can you spot members of a camp?
One camp will ALWAYS say we did not do enough to police the role-play; the other campo that we are some kind of role-play Gestapo.
It is just someone in a camp saying the word

The 80% will always know that you need rules and that the rules here were at least consistent and fair- and while individuals could be zealous for some rules, in each and every case someone was a counter point to that zealousness.
We were a very balanced sim.

All of this was common sense. That was my trademark. Total common sense. And above all- TOTAL fairness. Anyone who knows me, worked with me and listened to me, knows that ALL I ever wanted was total fairness for all.
No favourites, no bias, just the best service for the members.

SO why did I quit?
Harry postulates that he is motivated by a desire to ‘bring the fun back’.
You get the impression that people were unhappy with a big and bad restricting role-play department that had recently gone out of control- this is untrue. Allow me to suggest a different model.

I rather posit a role-play department that had remained consistent and dedicated to running as much plot for as many people as possible; who had successfully run recently two large plots and about 14 small ones; who had never been afraid to confront that which we did not seem fair or that we were worried was not fair.
We NEVER made a ruling without clearly citing WHY we made a ruling; that we NEVER made a ruling without CLEARLY saying ‘please do not do this or else we will have to make a ruling’ (the use of emoticons ruling I gave SIX MONTHS warning on)
We never wanted to make a clarification on Werewolves- we were forced to because of complaints.
We never wanted to make a combat system- we were asked to by the majority of members that a resolution system was needed.
In ALL cases- responding to the NEEDS of the MAJORUITY of members.

NEVER allowing or standing for MINORITY views to impose themselves upon the desires of the substantive.

SO with all that in mind, what the HELL has just happened huh?
Let us look to the recent statements made by Darcy and Harry over the last few days.
The first statement made by Harry was this HUGE positive.
There will be no more ‘policing of the role-play’; no more bad Drama faculty and BAD new Members Ministry; the whole academy of role-play which will offer non compulsory lessons in roleplay but no one HAS to take will be the way to help new members come in
Above all there was the threat that anyone who complains about your appearance or the fact you wanna say you were Harry Potter’s lovechild is going to be punished by Harry (I have the verbatim note card to back all this up)

And yet NOW…

Now we have a TOTAL reversal of this policy.
The first statement says no one can “invalidate the role-play”, that no one will do that stuff and NOW we are told we cannot wear furries in the castle. First we are told there will be NO checks and balances upon membership to the list; now we are told there will be.

Or in other words-
A small minority view who believed that THEY knew better than the combined and accepted wisdom of the majority of members decided to try and impose their will upon the rest of us.
And then when there was a MASSIVE rejection of his view and they realised that their view not held by any beyond them, they backed the hell down and now have the audacity to make like THEY are the victims?!?!?!?!

And now allow me to point out the true horror of what you are about to see:
For their next trick- they will suggest a totally radical departure from what was in place and replace it with?
Something that will be identical to what existed before they did this.

There may be some name changes, there may be some small details changed here and there- but in the end- it will be the same.
I will tell you what the system they will have shall I?

It will be based upon the single principle that adults find compromise and we do not allow anyone be extremist.
That FUN is found from finding common ground
Its core value will be that people should have Fun
It will work to fulfil the needs of as many members as possible;’
It will work to prevent disruptive and unsuitable players from allowing their selfishness impose upon the majority of reasonable adults;
It will be open, honest and transparent.
How do I know this?

Because THAT was the principles of the Drama faculty and the New members Ministry. That as what every member of said group believed in.

So what will come will be more of the same- and minor issues will be made out to be HUGE things.

I also know something else they do not know but will now tell them:
I knew NO ONE actually cared about the role-play really.
NO ONE ACTUALLY CARES about the role-play really!!!

What they care about is the *community*.
What they care about is to be part of a community where the ruels are consistant. Where one rule for one is one rule for all.
And there are no favourites and ‘elites’
Where you are valued for what you do.
Where you are THANKED for what you do, NOT WITH WORDS, but with actions.
Where when someone plans a huge decision, the first words are ‘What about that person, this will impact upon them’ and that person is consulted beforehand.
They want a community where you CAN dissent and disagree and get into a HUGE row with someone and you know what?
You are not banned.
Your rights are not taken away from you.
Where it is OK to disagree and be passionate.
That when you find a group of people who disagree with you, you say ‘Gee, maybe I should listen more’ instead of ‘That is pissing me off, I want them to lose their power to disagree”
(I personally will NEVER again draw up plans to disenfranchise a council whose only sin was to ‘disagree’ again)
They want a community where the ‘leaders’ can be found IN the sim, talking, actually seeking out new players.
They want a sim were ALL members are treated fairly and by the same standards.
They want THAT to be fun.
After that- the role-play works.

So WHY did I quit?
Because either one of two things has just happened

Either this WAS about personal attacks and all of the words said are a smokescreen to cover a personal vendetta of the most childish and nastiest form.
It was a HUGE screw up- wherein some folks thought things worked one way and found to their hard earned lesson they did NOT.

Either way- I say now the reason why I quit-

Until the last moment I begged, I pleaded and I implored.
And it made me so burned out that I took 48 hours from the SIM to get my strength back.

And then Harry did it anyway.
And then Harry removed my ability to send out announcements to the group so I could not even speak to the group.
At that point knowing I was about to be fired, I resigned.

I have witnesses, people who saw not just in SL but in RL all of these events.
People who sat on MY side of the screen. Literally saw me type the words.

Please- say you disagree with me, but do not call me a liar.
I refuse to divulge the contents of many private conversations between myself Darcy and Harry and other key officers in the sim.

But if you call me a liar I will use them to prove my points.

The future?
I offer HR my love and my hopes and best wishes.
I believe now that the hopes and dreams of many people in that community were betrayed last week and that none of that need to have happened.
But I have too many friends there NOT to care about it.

Added to that- I now hope that now I no longer have to work with them, and have to agree with some of the views, that I will be able to actually get on better with Darcy and Harry.

Danton Thirroul