KSI addressing prejudice

KSI has seen quite a bit of change in the past few weeks, leading to a new Executive Director, Operations Director, a new squad, DNHs, and, in some viewpoints, an identity crisis. At the moment, members are demanding executive leadership to define and combat racism, hate-speech, harassment, and identify issues within the Code of Conduct. The biggest issue seems that KSI as a whole really doesn’t know where it stands on the situations, both personally and in large as a community.

KSI Kered 7 has taken on the role of Interim Executive Director to replace KSI Viktory 7 who both stepped down and became DNHed a few days afterward. When asking Kered how long he thinks he may be handling the position his reply is, “Two months then see if there is another candidate. If not, I serve another two months. At the end of that two months, if there is still no proposed replacement, the executive authority will fall to the Operations Director and Board, and I move back to Owner.”

KSI Airy 7 is well known in the community for mental health advocacy and personal wellbeing. She has assumed the role of Operations Director after KSI Icespot 7 vacated the position even prior to his DNH. So the question posed to her was, how do you feel or think the community as a whole could handle the situations we are dealing with now? “One day at a time, I think that’s the best way we can go about it right now. We’re taking stock of every area currently and where we can make changes if needed to ensure a safe environment for gamers. This isn’t just an executive decision either, but we’re bringing in division staff and reps, administration staff, court judges, and education in varying levels to assist with reviewing all of the policies.”

I reached out to both of our Division Reps KSI_Henry_73 (Ancient Republic) and KSI Viking (Fallen Angels) about questions they are being asked by members and the general sentiments. KSI_Henry_73 said, “That’s a good question. I want to hear the voice of the people. Everything is always member-based even in KSI; we always want the members to have an opinion. I feel like a lot of members in this community are too afraid to speak up and talk to somebody if they want something changed. When we have an open door voice chat with a bunch of people, they hope one of the other members ask their questions. That’s one thing I want to express. There’s no reason to be afraid to ask a question about anything, and that goes for everybody. No one should feel like if they ask a question they’re gonna get yelled at or whatever the case may be. I had only one person ask me a question, and it was about Vik. I hop in DIV chats and talk to other members because I wanna see if they have anything they wanna ask me or if they want anything brought to the board.”

A few members I spoke with claimed that KSI has issues with prejudiced behavior but in recent years has changed which is what surprised them when reading recent ongoings because they have not seen any recent issues. When speaking to some other members, the issues haven’t gone anywhere; they have just been dealt with faster. Though Henry has a point, it’s hard to track the issues and fix them if members feel unsafe or unable to report them.

A line in the sand?

In a recent voice chat, I asked about the chance of never coming back after removal. We consider this to be the Blacklist which was removed by leaders in the past few years. The blacklist is considered to be a controversial piece of KSI history as it was, in some opinions, abused and overused. People would have been placed on it for various types of reasons such as speaking out, minor infractions, and violations of the Code of Conduct which were deemed unjust. The blacklist itself was meant to be the line in the sand for members who were repeated offenders and violators of basic code. 

KSI Airy 7 stated she would never draw the line in the sand and that the checks and balances of KSI were here for a reason. We refer to these checks and balances as The Courts and KSI leaders. 

Some ask the question, “What about those who were the intentional and sometimes unintentional  targets of blatantly prejudiced behavior?” Well, I spoke to members in the past who suffered from this type of prejudice. One member exclaimed, “Listen it isn’t fair. You sexually harass me or a friend or attack my family. You don’t deserve to come back. I don’t care what the courts or leaders say.” 

Quite a few members share this sentiment. Claims such as racism, bigots, homophobes, and unwanted sexual advances are appropriate for permanent removal. I asked for more specific examples, and one such thing was repeat offenders that may be the first time was an accident but creating a pattern of behavior deserves zero comebacks.

Now the courts can set a precedent explaining that members who repeat said offense don’t have chances coming back. They can put restrictions on those whose appeals are approved. Some members find this comforting but still say there should be times when an appeal isn’t fair. Though checks and balances are an important and vital part of this community and should be honored.

When do we admit it?

When does a community and its leaders admit when it’s time to face the fact there is an issue? At the start and not the second or third time it happens. We admit as leaders that when it comes to facts, we at KSI have had a long history of prejudice with leaders using language unbecoming or members attacking each other with words or actions. The question I posed to Kered: KSI has a history of prejudiced behavior, as most members, especially those who have been here for years are aware. How do leaders and this community as a whole address and admit to this?

“As with all things, we have to learn from our mistakes and our past. Accepting the fact that at times in our history we’ve had controversial leaders and controversial events, and we have to be accountable for those things. Acknowledging them for what they are and showing how we learned from them. We must strive to use those lessons to erase potential prejudice in all areas of this community. We must strive to listen to the voices of the members and use that information to make the most informed decisions possible. Resulting in a community that is accepting of all accepted cultures and people from all walks of life. We ask the members to respect the community but more importantly, we must show the community respects the members. When controversy and prejudice do arise, as they inevitably will with a large collection of people in one place, we must handle it in a way that protects the members and protects the integrity of the members. We do this by, again, listening to the members and seeing their reactions. The leadership of KSI wants this community to be as safe and as fun as possible for everyone. We will never compromise that goal.”

So what do we do now?

KSI needs to address this head-on. Respecting anonymity, bringing to light the issues and at times the offenders, and taking this seriously before it gets out of hand. The members must trust the leaders; they must see that leaders are willing to say, “I’m sorry, and this is how we will fix it.” Members themselves must feel confident and report issues. When I was a kid I used to hear, “If you see something, say something” which means to me to stand together and report. So it means we must work together from here on out.