Former moderator speaks out about shutting down the No Man’s Sky subreddit: “I was concerned for my safety”

NMS subreddit drama

Yesterday, the not-exactly-calm waters of Reddit’s No Man’s Sky community at r/NoMansSkyTheGame were further rocked when one of the moderators, who went by the name r0ugew0lf, purged the subreddit and shut it down. Little warning was given and quite the outcry ensued. Reddit admins showed up and got the subreddit running again, but not before r0uge had explained his actions in a post, saying that “It's become a hate filled wastehole of no actual discussion.” To find out why he felt that way, we got in contact with him. He has requested to be referred to by his now-deleted Reddit handle out of fear of reprisal from the section of the community that has come to hate him.

Read more: our favourite PC games from 2016.

“What lead up to my decision was mostly months of build-up,” says r0uge. “What finally pulled the trigger for me was looking through our modmail, I see nothing but bans. Every single one of those ban messages had a reply from the banned user saying absolutely awful things. ‘You should kill yourselves,’ or ‘I'll make your lives living hell.’ These were over temporary (five day) bans.

“Strewn in were automoderator messages saying certain comments/posts had gotten 10+ user reports, and inspecting one linked comment was saying something along the lines of ‘I want to punch Sean Murray in his f*****y grin, the piece of s**t,’ with 200+ upvotes, but 20+ user reports.”

R0uge provided pictures of auto-moderated comments with personal attacks against Sean Murray and they were as bad as you might expect. Homophobic language and hate towards not only Hello but the rest of the community.

“[It’s] absolutely insane that this mindset was so widely accepted in a subreddit dedicated to an indie game. Sean Murray was joked about as a god just six months ago.”

Sean Murray and the Hello Games team

When r0uge realised how bad things had gotten, a meeting of the moderators was called. While they disagreed on exactly what course of action to take, there was an even split between a temporary shutdown of the sub and the full purge that occurred. This was relayed by The_Music, another ex-mod, in a now-deleted Reddit post of their own.

Once r0uge had nuked the sub - making it inaccessible to everyone and deleting all content on it - he was contacted by Reddit admins pretty quickly, as users started to notice and reports were made. Another subreddit, r/no_mans_sky, became the hub for discussion about its lost brother. Meanwhile, r0uge got into a conversation with two of Reddit’s community admins - known by Sporkicide and AchievementUnlockd.

“I stirred up quite a bit of drama. I was called some rude things, and I was concerned for my safety for a little bit there. I probably didn't handle it as well as I could have. I had the attention of the admins, which is surprisingly hard to do here on Reddit. While I had them, I wanted to bring up some moderator support issues they've been putting off for quite some time. 

“My conversation with them consisted of them trying to figure out why I did it and what they could do to pacify the masses. I'm sure you're aware, the subreddit is now in admin control. I gave them permission, though I'm sure they didn't need it and only asked as a formality. They wanted to keep me on the team to help smooth things over. I used the term 'bridge to the community' though I feel I'm the worst candidate for any sort of community relations now with that username. I suggested them to go through one of the other moderators, as they've got better relationships with the community. Odd, though, none of my team is involved on the mod team now.

“I did ask them to purge the stylesheet, as those are my and my team's assets. They haven't done that, I don't know if they intend on it. I get that it's hosted on their servers and that stuff is probably covered in the ToS, but I look at it as more of a respect kind of thing.”

E3 2016 No Man's Sky

As a glance at the subreddit will tell you, Sporkicide is now running the ship, though mostly in the capacity of finding a new mod team, keeping trolling at a minimum and dissuading the spread of misinformation and hate. While they were in conversation with r0uge, Sporkicide was attempting to control the more heavy-handed community reactions, including this rather withering put-down of one noted troll. Much more of their efforts over on their user page.

Since coming back online, one particularly hard-to-dissuade assumption has been tossed around that the previous, or even current, mod and admin team were being paid off by Hello Games to keep the subreddit positive. An odd accusation, given threads such as the list of missing NMS features have gotten huge attention from press and players alike and were only removed when the creator didn’t like the negative attention. However, it continues to be a popular assumption.

“We've gotten shill accusations since day one, weirdly enough,” points out r0uge. “I always say, ‘if I was a shill I'd have more than $1 in my bank account right now’. Our contact with Hello Games has been almost non-existent. There were tweets sent out around the time of the leaks, and there were some emails exchanged about unaffiliated merchandise being advertised on the subreddit. We did try to keep Hello Games close, as we wanted them to be part of the community but that never worked out, so we lost interest in trying to have any contact. We were just janitors who went on strike.”

As for the future of the sub, r0uge explains he has no interest in it or any gaming subreddit, saying that “other communities are much more mature, fortunately.” The community admins will remain in control until they can install a new mod team and get the sub back on track, trying to dissuade discussion of the shutdown in favour of actual content about the game. Currently, the front page is still dominated by drama and memes receiving far more upvotes than other posts.

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Nari avatarpanbient avatarm-p{3} avatarmrayner59 avatarWhiteCrow avatardevinology avatar
Nari Avatar
30
6 Months ago

Its not like they can talk about the quality of the game, all they have is the frustration of expectations being let down, and the clashing with people who refuse to see no man's sky as the disaster it is.

5
m-p{3} Avatar
1
m-p{3}(6 days 12 hours played)
6 Months ago

I understand why the mod slammed the door, but in hindsight he chose the worst possible solution to it.

Why shut down the subreddit, when you could simply make an announcement that you're fed up, and inform the userbase that he simply doesn't want to moderate it and pass the position to someone else?

It doesn't excuse the shitty responses from some users like "you should kill yourselves", but if you're not willing to be bombarded with vitriol for something you're basically doing for free, then maybe you should take a step back.

1
mrayner59 Avatar
1
6 Months ago

It’s a sad comment on the pathetic condition of our society at present that so many people can get insanely and quite violently bent out of shape over a computer game not living up to its overblown marketing hype and their own credulous and perhaps rather unrealistic expectations.

1
panbient Avatar
120
6 Months ago

I don't know what's more baffling to me. The entitlement presented by the reactions in some of those threads or the refusal of most gamers to own up to the fact that they bought into their own elevated expectations.

Anyone with half a clue about how the industry actually works knew from a long way out that NMS would likely not be able to deliver everything to the degree their marketing material provided and still launch this year. That's one of the unfortunate choice most companies who don't have EA / Blizzard money face - do we launch now or delay to implement more features?

You market with as many features as you intend to deliver but when the core technology you're using as a foundation is new and unproven it becomes a much more substantial risk. The reason for this (and it's been this way forever), is so that you don't alienate your potential customers. You don't tell the market that there will not be multiplayer while you're still working on it, you say you're working on it (if they chose to hear 'it will be there' instead that's on them). I'll admit I didn't follow much of the early hype, but I'd be far more surprised to find out Hello Games presented those early videos as 'this is what the final version WILL be' rather than 'this is early footage of what we would like the final product to be'. The difference is likely noted in fine print that most people ignored same as the majority of other pre-release marketing.

This -should- have been obvious to the majority of gamers. Incidentally, anyone I spoke with face to face about NMS all seemed to understand this (but I'm old and we're all 30 somethings).

Then you have the reactions from that community addressing the verbal abuse mods take as an expected part of the unpaid position the mod should apparently be grateful for receiving with direct comparissons to business and government leaders. It's insane.

Yet, many gamers still wonder why we're seen as childish and entitled by so many others.

0
WhiteCrow Avatar
324
WhiteCrow(7 days 11 hours played)
6 Months ago

This guy should not be the moderator of anything, ever, anywhere. I watched the entire thing unfold in real time that morning. His comments in the Discord chat were recorded and shown on the sub. He can play the victim all he wants and whine about threats, but there's no denying what he did was wrong, and childish.

If it was too much for him to handle, he could have easily stepped down and exited stage right, but that wasn't enough for him. He needed to snuff out the flame of an entire community because he disagreed with their opinions. Reddit mods often step down out of subs, often times without providing a reason and simply move on. This guy needed to stir shit up and piss on everyone. There's no excuse for that.

0
devinology Avatar
1
1 Month ago

Seriously? It's a sub Reddit, who gives a crap. Make your own Reddit sub if you want one. He doesn't owe anybody anyone, it's not a real job. Reddit is just a forum, since when did people get this serious about it? It's nobody's job to run subs. For the people who complain, get your head out of your ass and get a life. Reddit isn't real.

0
WhiteCrow Avatar
324
WhiteCrow(7 days 11 hours played)
1 Month ago

The hell is this even? A reply to something that happened 5 months ago? And not even one that makes sense. Not only are you late, but you've missed the mark completely and are attempting to argue an entirely different point (Is reddit real? Does it matter?)

It doesn't matter what it is. A website forum, a Discord, a subreddit. The fact is it was a community of thousands, who decided to gather together at the same spot on the net. It took time, hard work (From Mods and contributors), and to throw that all away on the whim of one person is the dick move of a manchild.

Argue against it all you want, you'll only convince me further that you know the Mod in question personally.

1