I am asking this because I was just banned from chat and I have no idea why.

Maybe someone can explain this to me? These are all my statements in the chat.

@BESW You mentioned legal digital tools to search 5e spells for keywords. What did you refer to?

@BESW ? No, I am wondering what tool you refer to. Like, the name of the tool, so I can buy it and search spells in there.

@BESW What are you talking about? I don't want to discuss all this stuff, this will only get seven mad again. I am looking for the name of the tools you mentioned so I can check them out. If you have a personal problem with me, sure, air whatever you want, but I really would like to know what you were referring to.

... Seriously? I asked a question to find out how to search spells. This is obviously a problem I have. Sure, you don't have to help me, but .. well. Too bad, thanks anyway.

I will read what you say, but I won't respond on topic to avoid further mod punishments.

@Trish It's about 5e

@Trish only PHB

The original question clearly stated that I am interested in all 5e materials produced by WotC, but I was forced to change it multiple times.

I own FantasyGrounds and it does not have useful functionality for that It allows to search for Monster Names etc only

That's SRD only, and you know as well that the question would be tool-rec

Ok, not answering to this one.

@Trish Yeah I know, what's why I got into all this trouble. Because I did not want to support piracy.

@Trish I know!

They seem pretty incompetent when it comes to digital tools :( They could have offered a 4e SRD, let people develop open source tools for that, and then put the full 4e behind a paywall using the open source code with private data

Well I paid for the 4e tools until they didn't want my money anymore sigh

The reason stated I was banned for this:

@Mala, you just got off a site suspension for creating a mess in a crusade against a specific user, and you're right back at it in this chat room the next day. I'm suspending you from chat for a week. You can still use the main site right now; that allows you the opportunity to show that you can turn over a new leaf and leave off from the compulsive witch-hunting.

How am I in a crusade? I multiple times explicitly changed the topic when people tried to talk about 'the mess'. I inquired about stuff related to digital tools, because I was told not to comment any more on that question and I still need to find something so I can do queries like 'spells with lighting/thunder' easily.

Please explain to me what I did wrong here. The whole text is here, and I cannot see where I went wrong. Which statements of mine caused this ban? I just don't understand, and unfortunately I cannot ask anywhere else.


First off, I'd like to acknowledge that you've asked this question quite nicely, presenting the situation as you see it and asking for an explanation rather than casting aspersions on the integrity of anyone else (if you really think somebody's acting out of line, flag it for site mod attention or report it to the community mods instead of making a public post asking us to judge them). Thank you for that effort!

I agree that in isolation from the things other people were saying, and from recent events in chat, mainsite, and meta, none of your actions in chat earlier today seem quite ban-worthy. But week-long bans don't happen on first offenses, so that context is important.

You engaged in minor forms of several behaviours that citizens and mods have informally and officially asked you to stop doing, some of which you'd already received small bans for continuing to do, so I can certainly see how a mod might feel that at this point a ban without discussion is preferable to another fruitless talk. I'm not sure what could have been said that hasn't already been said more than once. And because it's not the first chat ban you've received recently, the duration is automatically increased by the system.

I'm sorry I may have contributed to this chat ban, as I'm the one who first introduced some of the troublesome topics to the conversation--your responses, however, I can't take credit for. The tenor of this meta post indicates to me that you're working on changing those problem patterns, which I'm happy to see. I hope to see you in chat in the future for less fraught discussions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you point me to the offending line in my chat? I tried to be on best behavior and I cannot see what I did that was so wrong, even in the context of the past days... \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 8:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ (1) Badgering someone to respond after they said they didn't want to. (2) Casting yourself as a blameless person persecuted by people who actually bent over backwards to patiently explain how you can get what you want with a few changes to presentation. (3) Being condescending and dismissive of anyone who broached an alternate way to look at things. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 8:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect it's the second that's the most egregious; not wanting to support piracy has nothing to do with your suspensions; a pattern of insults, badgering, and appeals to crowd justice does. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ So in what line in my chat transcript do you see me engaged in that behavior? \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've linked to a few of those instances in my comment, where it's not just a general atmosphere. If you'd like to have some sincere talk about exactly where your interactions tend to fall into those problems, so you can try to avoid such miscommunications in the future, I'd be happy to spend some time in chat with you on it next week. It's nothing you haven't already heard though. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ And please remember, I'm not an elected moderator. I'm not privy to their thoughts and motives, I can only speculate based on what I've seen of your history and theirs. (It's not easy to get SSD into a suspending mood--when he uses words like "official" and "warning" it's a good idea to pay attention.) \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is 3 condescending? You switched the topic from digitals tools to the past, I assured I would listen to your point and tried to get back to the tools... Anyway, thanks for trying to explain, at least. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 8:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Assuming my issue is a personal grievance is de-legitimizing rhetoric: you're dismissing what I have to say as important to no one but myself. And interjecting phrases like "sure" when you're saying things that might be conciliatory makes them come off as condescending instead. These tactics let you say things that are superficially defensible as polite or supportive, while actually telling the other person you don't respect them. If this isn't your intention, it's certainly the effect and it's what people are responding to. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also I too do not understand (honestly) what you find condescending and dismissive about 3. I think it's probably a language/hidden meaning thing. That "sure" can be read in different way, depending on how you intone it. Written word and spoken word differences. \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Aug 10 '16 at 11:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Simanos On its own as a single line, it's a little eyebrow-raising but not inflammatory. In the context of the user's recent history with myself and others, it takes on a different colour--it's not just "sure" but the whole framing of my attempt to answer a question he asked as instead my need to air some personal grievance. And I'm not the one who made the call anyway, so I feel no need to further defend an impression which may be utterly irrelephant to the subject. I provided some examples as a courtesy to the querent in speculating about the suspension, not as an invitation to debate. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW What recent history do we have except for yesterdays chat? Also, the Irrelephant is cool ;) would be a funny monster... \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Your responses in chat in this conversation appear to be significantly more inflammatory and unrelated to OP's in chat question, at least to an outside observer. \$\endgroup\$ – user5834 Aug 10 '16 at 23:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WrongOnTheInternet You're absolutely right. I wasn't as kind I could've been, and I'm (again) sorry to Mala for that. While I think it would be disingenuous to pretend his chat topic didn't relate directly to the ongoing fraught discussion on mainsite and meta, I acted impatiently and shouldn't have done that. I can't take responsibility for his responses, though; even when I violate the Be Nice code, that's not an excuse for others to ignore it or the repeated warnings given them by multiple moderators. If you'd like to flag my chat as offensive, I wouldn't say you're wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Aug 10 '16 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW No worries. While I'm not aware of any previous history we might have, I can see how 'the past' might facilitate a reaction like yours, and I am sorry for that, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 11 '16 at 20:26

I Can Tell You What You've Done Wrong in General: Time Management

  • Why time management?
    By applying the amount of time that you did on

    • posting and editing questions
    • typing and responding to comments
    • arguing about question holds
    • various chat efforts
    • comments on meta
    • questions on meta
    • now more arguing

    to time spent building the tool / list you were looking for, you'd have been able to come up with the list of spells that you wanted by manually typing them into a spread sheet, with the columns and rows necessary to fill in the blanks for the features that you need to uses. And you'd have had time to spare.

  • How do I know this?

    When D&D 5e first came out, I spent a little time building a table in Word (like a spread sheet) will all of the cleric spells (by copying and pasting from the basic rules into the blocks) with the key information I needed.
    I also did that for the Elemental Spells when the players companion for the first season came out.

    Later, I took the PHB and (because I can type) added the spells to my from the PHB. A little bit at a time, low level to high. All I need to add now is anything I want from any further publications that come out. (For use at home, only. No piracy involved.)

    You type a lot. I am sure that you can type as well and as fast as I can, possibly better and faster (I have a high error rate).

Assessment as of today:

  • Time spent building a useful tool that you were looking for. Not much.
  • Time spent arguing with a host of folks on this site. Quite a bit.
  • Conclusion: a case of bad time management when looking for a labor/time saving device.

    There's cruel irony in that, and it's something that happened to me IRL.

I've Walked a Mile In Your Shoes

A few years ago at work we pursued a "labor saving process" intended to save us both time and money. When all was said and done, and when we accounted for all of the man hours we spent on that project to get it running, it would take us no less than 3 and a half years to see a break even point -- providing nothing bad happens between implementation and then. Let's say the projected savings and what we saw actually being saved did not match up. No points for time management for us. (And no bonus).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure how a custom, self-maintained solution would not be way inferior to something official and supported. I did look at the WotC-advertised solution, but Fantasy Grounds does not seem to offer what I am looking for - and it already was quite expensive. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 11 '16 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Optimization, or perceived optimization, isn't the only way to approach a problem solving event. It solved the desire/need I had to the point that for me it never became a problem and I got what I wanted as well as what I needed. Sometimes, doing your own work has that satisfying result. It is too bad that Wizards of the Coast doesn't have a chart like you refer to, but there it is, they don't. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 11 '16 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure what a chart has to do with this. The other question asked for techniques, but comments (e.g. BESW's) to the question suggested that there are existing tools that do that work. Turns out there aren't, but I (and seemingly others here) didn't know that. Anyway, I feel that your answer doesn't answer my questions, but goes off on a tangent instead. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 12 '16 at 5:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mala Alternatively, it doesn't answer your question, but it does provide the solution to your problem. (Generally considered more important anyway.) \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Aug 12 '16 at 6:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman This 'solution' this answer provides is a solution to a very different question I asked that was closed. It's only loosely related to this question at all. It was my understanding that on SE, the focus is on providing good answers to the question asked, not others...You could argue it answers to the title, but not the content of the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 12 '16 at 6:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ The solution here, and which Miniman is meaning, isn't "create your own spreadsheet". That would indeed be off topic. But that's just an example of how to exercise better time management, which is the solution presented here. "What did I do wrong?" "Made poor time management choices." \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 12 '16 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie An old dwarven saying You can lead an orc to buttermilk, but you can't force him to drink it. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 12 '16 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Indeed. There is only so much that can be done, and way too much has already been tried without obvious effect. If the assertion didn't touch on site policy and the implication that mods might be being negligent by not removing it (“It was my understanding that on SE, the focus is on providing good answers to the question asked, not others”), I would have kept my peace, but that kind of implication (whether intended or not) left unanswered can just fuel a fire. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 12 '16 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, after all the fracas I started up, cleaning up my desktop today I found a spreadsheet I'd made over a year ago exactly as you described. I so rarely play casters (or care about optimizing them) that I'd forgotten I even had it. Guess the yolk's on me! [groan] \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 17 '16 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Eggzactly what happens to me, far to frequently. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 19 '16 at 19:45

You got banned from chat because you've already been told to lay off on the topic by mods.

First of all, all this "I'm being discriminated against because I won't support piracy!" is a ridiculous twisting of what's going on. We - meaning not only the mods but a large number of site users - have spent a lot of main site comment time, meta time, chat time, and private message time trying to explain things to you about this issue and you have proven completely unable or unwilling to understand. That's fine, but as a result we have said "we're not going to spend more site time on the topic."

When you violate a topic ban, you get a further ban. Period, end of story. You've been given clear warnings, have decided to go ahead anyway with continuing to rehash it in every possible venue at any opportunity, and so yes, you're chat banned for a while so you can perhaps get over your internal processing of the event before continuing to participate.

Is any "one line" of your chat per se inherently offensive? No. But that's not the gauge we're using, so it's irrelevant.

As with our other site rules, you can like this or not like this, but in the end that's not relevant either. While you're here you will abide by our rules. Many man-hours have already been expended in trying to explain those rules to you, so if you still don't understand them, then that's where it's going to have to lie.

To be further clear, any additional traffic on this topic from you on the main site or chat will be met with further disciplinary action. Is that clear enough? You can ask questions on meta like this, and you can go complain to a Community Manager if you think there is some reason they'd have a different perspective than all the mods and high-rep users here (IMO unlikely).

  • \$\begingroup\$ So what would have been the ok way to ask BESW about which tools he referred to? \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Hey, do you have links to any of those tools, I could use them? Thanks." <nothing else>. No more badgering, no more whining about being "forced" to do things and "support piracy" and "oh the mods will punish me" and "personal drama" and "this site is so unfairs..." Your primary problem is just not knowing when to shut up. Ask your question and avoid all the grousing and editorializing, and you'd be fine. The real bad effect of this isn't annoying the mods. It's annoying everyone on the site who tries to help you with your communication style. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 10 '16 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Read the transcript, that exactly what I did, even after others tried to change the topic to the past. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Aug 10 '16 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have, and also read it while it was happening. Believe it or not, someone other than you has reading comprehension. I'm just going to tell you one last time, you need to figure out what you're doing wrong and change it. But I'm done trying to explain it with someone who's this argumentative. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 10 '16 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mala one of the resources open to you that mxy indicates is a "Community Manager." If you don't know, these are Stack employees who sit "above" the elected moderators (mxy, SSD, and WaxEagle on this site) and can intervene when necessary. You can reach them using the "contact us" link at the bottom of any mainsite or meta page. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 10 '16 at 15:43

This is what you did wrong:

"Non-verbal communication" pie chart from http://www.dennisgingerich.com/

The words we use account for only 7% of the communication when we are talking face-to-face. When we communicate in writing we lose 93% of the information so we need to take great care that those words cannot be misinterpreted. This is hard enough to do when writing answers but it is even harder in a chat room where posts are flying thick and fast.

The receiver of the communication should be aware of this limitation of the medium and make allowances that posts that appear terse, aggressive or argumentative may not have been intended that way, however, the onus is on the sender to pause before sending, re-read the post and think "How could this be misinterpreted?" and edit if necessary.

At face value, your posts seem to me (as a disinterested observer) to be terse and aggressive. People with knowledge of your history may be even more inclined to think so - this may seem like a case of "Give a dog a bad name ..." and that's because it is. Its unfair but so is life.

You have a lot of good things to say and a lot to contribute to the site. I speak as one who has myself been warned when flippant remarks that I thought of as humorous were being read as overly sarcastic and insulting. Learn your lessons and understand that what you think you are saying may not be what the other party is hearing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Whence came the chart? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 12 '16 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan seen it before. Googled it. Voila. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 12 '16 at 10:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd gathered that the chart was available on the Internet somewhere. :-) I was just wondering how it was developed and by whom. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 12 '16 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan well, everything is. It's possible I heard of it in my MBA or during mediator training or maybe I stumbled over it. Get as old as I am and the events of your life blur together :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 12 '16 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I hope your using this chart does not constitute piracy. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 12 '16 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's no nice way to say it, but I suspect this chart is based on the 10% of statistics that are made up. How would you measure the proportion of meaning carried by spoken words in a way that would be usefully comparable to tone of voice and non-verbal cues? (That said, the point you make is valid - I just think this chart is dragging it down.) \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Aug 13 '16 at 9:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe social scientists measure this stuff all the time \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 13 '16 at 12:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe it would appear that breakdown comes from psych work done by a UCLA professor; that said, it would appear that the reference above falls into what the original researcher calls an application of the equation in an inapplicable situation. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 13 '16 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM That may be the case - but without a reference, I've no way of knowing that a social scientist was involved in the creation of this chart. Nitsua60 seems to have cleared up that issue, though. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Aug 17 '16 at 6:16

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