Joint Statement on protection of our fellow enthusiasts
January 12, 2019
The X-Plane Community is a great place to spend time online. Amongst us are some highly talented devs, excellent livery artists and some hugely knowledgeable people all raring to help others improve their X-Plane experience.
These people are not isolated to one group but maybe members of several of the many diverse groups and forums that we are fortunate enough to enjoy.
Like any community there is also a very small but very loud minority that like to extend their daily misery into our virtual world in the form of aggression, abuse, vilification and bullying.
Their voices tend to rise above the majority because they are loud and consistent with their abuse. This abuse is not confined to one group or forum, it’s a community wide problem and one that we as a community should not accept.
We are all here because we wish to receive or provide information, get help, tips, ideas, support or anything that might make your session of X-Plane as fun as you want it to be.
For you to do this, it is the role of us, the administrators, to set down rules of expected behavior in our groups or forums. Our rules are there, not to control the flow of information and commentary but to provide a fair environment for all to express their own constructive opinion without the afore mentioned aggression, abuse, vilification and bullying.
After holding informal conversations with fellow group admins, we have agreed that we will make a stand together, not to go on a warpath, slash/ban and seek conflict, but we WILL give you this commitment:
We will endeavour to make your stay in any X-Plane site we control a welcoming experience.
We will monitor our sites to ensure YOUR views, thoughts and creativity are not subjected to abuse or vilification.
We will enforce our ethos, maintain our integrity and give all our fellow hobbyists an impartial place to get information, news, editorials or ideas exchange with no strings attached.
We will seek to isolate the more toxic elements of the community from the mainstream groups, using the tools available to us.
At Threshold, we would like to make this commitment to you, our friends and fellow enthusiasts, so we can all enjoy our hobby with respect from other users.
The following are the thoughts of two admins from two respected X-Plane groups. We are sure that other group admins have the same thoughts and ethos and we would invite them to join us in keeping the X-Plane community the wonderful, engaging place that it currently is.
Let me ask you a question. Is flight simulation a matter of life and death?
The answer, I hope, is a resounding no.
Currently we find it so perplexing that a small but very vocal part of the community seem to act as if it is. The behaviour I refer to could be classed as bullying, it could be classed as arrogance it could also easily fall in to the realm of narcissism.
On any scale, X-Plane 11 has been a resounding success. P3D and FSX users have come over in their thousands, wowed by XP’s beautiful visuals and flight models.Along with those users, have come some big name developers, Orbx, PMDG, JustFlight, Active Sky to name a few. Its a great time to be an X-Plane user. Or is it?
You see,with great success come great expectation. That’s a natural thing, we expect X-Plane and its products to get better and better - and they are. However, there is a sub element of the community whose expectations not only do not meet reality but also believe that development is a simple matter of writing a few lines of code and publishing it. For them the tens of thousands of man hours needed to make a polished product are irrelevant, their attitude is - you said you could do it, I want it now. Now whilst that is clearly a poor and unrealistic attitude, it’s fine to think that if you want. Where that attitude crosses the line is when it becomes, vocal and unjustified attacks on not just developers but those that speak up to defend developers. Some of the abuse seen these days within certain X-Plane groups would make you think that X-Plane really is a matter of life and death.
When I co-founded XPNG, we laid down a set of values that we have doggedly adhered to to this day. We will not tolerate abuse of any individual, be they a user or a developer. We will not tolerate racism, sexism or any form of bigotry. We do not tolerate swearing. We also decided early on not to tolerate narcissism and particularly narcissism that is aimed at making money off the backs of our community. This included advertising-based YouTube videos and commercial Twitch feeds.
A lot of the ethos of XPNG come from the time I spent as an admin at Wycliffe Barrett’s X-Plane Dedicated. As one of the very first X-Plane Facebook groups, XPD was and remains one of the best run and nicest places to be in the X-Plane community. Yet, Wycliffe like many other X-Plane community leaders and devs has also come in for some vitriolic abuse. Recently he posted a live video where he was clearly very angry with a sub section of the community. No prizes for guessing which sub section he was talking about.
I have kown Wycliffe a while now and I have never seen him get angry either in written form or on video. That is a sign of just how bad things have got in the community at large. I discussed this with my colleagues at XPNG/Threshold and decided to reach out to Wycliffe and XPD to see what we can do to tackle these toxic elements from our much loved community. We have co-written this article with Wycliffe as the first part of a longer collaboration between XPD and XPNG (and in the future, other well run groups). Our aim is not to eliminate the toxicity, that would be impossible in any community but to reduce it to a point where it barely registers on a day to day basis.
At XPNG, like XPD we only allow members that have a basic understanding of what X-Plane is. That means the groups are “dedicated” to X-Plane users. Both groups have clearly defined rules of decency that are applied. At XPNG we have a significant list of people that have been banned from our group for breaking these rules. The problem is that unlike XPNG and XPD some groups allow open membership, have bigoted, racist and narcissistic moderators/admins and quite frankly do not actually care about X-Plane.
Many of the banned members, from both XPD and XPNG have migrated to these groups where they can behave pretty much with impunity.
There will always be ghetto areas in any community and we have no way of policing them and the way they behave. However, what we can do as the silent majority is to drown out the vocal minority with patient, well thought out and logical arguments. Not to rise to their petty provocations, not to get angry with their lack of logic or patience but to put our own views across with intelligence. If enough of us do that, we will not eliminate the toxicity but we will drown it out.
At XPNG/XPD we would love to hear your own ideas on how we, as a community, can tackle the growing rogue elements amongst us. X-Plane is not a matter of life and death, but it is a big part of many of our lives and that should be a happy and enjoyable thing.
A few days ago I had a rant live on Facebook, this was borne outof frustration more than anything but could have been symptomatic of a muchlarger problem that not only is of concern to me but a large body ofindividuals and groups within the community.
When I first started Xplane Dedicated some years ago it was quitepossibly the first Facebook page/group specifically focussed on Xplane 10 as itwas back in 2012. The purpose of the group was to promote Xplane to a wideraudience and also offer help to new users of Xplane 10.
The dedicated s they became to be known grew quickly and we all had a commongoal, to learn about the intricacies of Xplane and help each other, Jason Rowwas one of the early members along with Nic Garlick, Allan Squires and a hostof others. They where happy days and conversations would have the ebb and flowof excitement as we all helped and learned together.
Jason Row actually asked me if he could start a group specifically for the PMDGDc6, that’s what it was like back then we all spoke to each other and helpedeach other as much as we could. After ayear or so there seemed to be a plethora of Facebook groups for all flightsimulators FSX p3d, DCS, Fs2004 and then for specific aircraft.
This was a not a problem, there were enough fans of each of theseto go around although did become clear that the flight simulation community isnot really that big at all in comparison to say World of Warcraft or even EuroTruck Simulator.
Estimates range from 250000 users to 2 million users worldwide, it is hard toget a definitive number. Suddenly and this was noted by Froogle, Belynz andmyself that there seemed to be a split in the community and that was a sim vsim war. This became really nasty with simmers taking sides and declaring thattheir sim was better than the other one, and vice versa. It actually becamequite nasty with many influencers youtubers and streamers declaring that thekind of actions and comments taking place where doing major harm to the hobbyof flight simulation as many of the arguments and flame wars took place out inthe open so to speak, on public forums.
It reminded me very much of some of the arguments that had takenplace in the online flying community.
It got to the point that you did not dare make positive commentsabout your sim of choice as it was sure to be met by a tirade of comments fromthe other side. Many of us worked very hard to stop that, I created rules aboutsim v sim discussions as did Jason on his group XPNG and Threshold. Still tothis day I will actively delete edit or remove posts that try to go down thatroute.
So we now come to the point of this letter, another split hasstarted one that could prove to be even nastier than those mentioned above, inthe past year we have seen a huge rise in the number of users coming from theFSX/p3d arena to Xplane, this is due in large part to the success of xp11. Withthis influx of new users one can see a polarisation in attitude, there arethose that see it as their right to be rude, obnoxious even to the point ofbullying and harassment.
Applying these tactics to developers, publishers, facebook group owners,youtubers and streamers does no good at all, it drives people away from thehobby of flight simulation. I know of developers who have given up workingbecause of the bullying they have received, the perpetrators often hidingbehind the phrase “well if we are not allowed to offer criticism What’s thepoint” or “we are the customers you should give us what we want when we want it”.
It’s actually quite funny when certain individuals think they haveinfluence by using these tactics, they seem to think that we, developers,reviewers, influencers, youtubers, streamers and facebook group owners will bowdown, and kowtow to them. They think that we don’t talk to each other, howwrong you are. .
None of this is good and harms the whole community and so XPD andXPNG are entering into a collaboration by issuing this joint statement andgiving fair warning, no more, we will do whatever we can to clean up thecommunity if that means some being barred from participating in the groups theywish to be in then so be it.
We give you fair notice.
Threshold encourages informed discussion and debate - though this can only happen if all commenters remain civil when voicing their opinions.