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I’m stepping down from moderation soon and putting away my shiny diamond. Just like nitsua60 I’ll be sticking around for a bit longer post-election, so this is not immediate. (Don’t worry, this isn’t some surge of mod resignations. We both planned this in advance, only I had some delays in getting my resignation together.)

It’s been a great privilege to serve this community as a moderator. I’m proud of what the RPG.SE community has become over the past nine and a half years.(1) We’re not perfect, and being a Stack Exchange Q&A sites puts some limits on what we can be, but our community puts in serious work to continuously be open, welcoming, and safe for all kinds of people(2) both on mainsite and in chat. Given the myriad social issues we deal with and the amount of culture warring our collective hobby sees, I think that’s quite a significant achievement.

For the majority of my tenure it's also been a pleasure to be part of the network-wide moderator community. I’ve learned a lot from dozens of my moderation peers across the network—from their advice, from their mistakes, and most especially from my own mistakes—and brought all I could to benefit this site and shared as much as I could in turn. (Future moderators: all of us will make mistakes; the important part is learning from them and to not repeat them.) That said, my experience with the network moderation community is not all rosy, and the bad parts are why I'm stepping down.

(1) Our site turns ten on August 19th this year!
(2) Except for jerks.

The cause

I’m opting to leave because of some older issues within the network moderation community that have had a lasting impact on me. This resignation’s been planned for nearly a year with my co-moderators. I burned out early last year and haven’t been able to operate for this site with the same capacity since, so I want to step aside to let other capable users take charge moderating the site.

Specifically, the network moderator community is currently in a significant transition with regards to transgender individuals. I’m happy with where it’s going, but it got here via a lot of hurt. In 2019 and earlier, trans moderators would regularly have to deal with explicit transphobia and misgendering from their own moderator peers within moderator-exclusive spaces. Our support from other moderators was minimal and staff intervention and protection was nonexistent. Other trans moderators have written about this. (Such an experience is unthinkable here, and is shocking given even our at-the-time anti-bigotry clauses in the Code of Conduct should have unquestioningly prevented this.)

That issue came to a head in January 2019: the network moderator community decided to vote on how to handle trans moderators’ pronouns and overwhelmingly voted for a policy that provided no protection from misgendering and transphobia, despite trans voices unanimously and vocally opposing that policy and conveying the hurt it would cause. It even stood to wind back what little progress we'd made. But our voices changed nothing, and the hurt was severe. Staff continued to not intervene. I felt profoundly betrayed by and disconnected from the moderator community and the company I’d given my time to: I had expected these people to all help protect us from abuse, not tacitly allow it! I stepped way back, as did other trans moderators. Some of us resigned, and I very nearly did the same then.

More than a year later things have improved. Stack Exchange staff finally introduced explicit protection against misgendering into the Code of Conduct, and although I don’t like the circumstances around how those rules arrived, we have them and that’s valuable.(3) We lost many good moderators last year, but we also saw some vocally transphobic ones leave. Senior staff have recently embarked on new projects to improve things for the LGBT community and I look forward with cautious optimism to see what comes out of that. Our moderator community is becoming more accepting and supportive, and I believe they’re beginning to understand the serious human cost of transphobia and misgendering.

(Some moderators have gone to serious effort to learn and have been generous in their listening to trans moderators such as myself, even if that also meant butting heads with me from time to time. I’m deeply thankful to all of you who have put in such an effort.)

That said, the hurt and disconnect have lingered for me, and I need to step away to let myself heal. I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to change things internally for the better so that no trans user of the network, moderator or otherwise, would have to experience what we went through again.(4) The ball is now rolling in a way that doesn’t need me anymore, and there are other people who I'm happy to see are stepping in to take over pushing it further.

(3) Despite the many issues that came up in proximity to the introduction of the pronoun rules, I'm thankful to Sara Chipps for actually making those rules happen. It was the first time we saw concrete action from staff to help us.
(4) As have others, such as heather who drafted the Lavender open letter to Stack Exchange

Looking forwards toward a bright future

Despite my issues with the broader moderator community, I have none with RPG.SE nor with my co-moderators. I talked above about how you all put in serious work to make this an inclusive and kind community, and that includes that y’all have already been genuinely friendly and accepting towards trans visitors and regulars for years and have been helpful with their problems without judgement or prejudice. I can’t express enough thanks for the support I’ve seen and experienced here from the community and from my co-moderators: thank you, thank you, thank you. All of you are a treasure.

I believe you are in good hands with V2Blast and Rubiksmoose. Both of them are skilled, kind, patient, considerate, and so many things that I think are vital to being the best moderation can offer. I have been lucky to work with both of them, and nitsua60 and I have taught them everything we can. And, well, whoever joins the team next is up to all of you, but whoever they are they will be lucky to have V2Blast and Rubiksmoose beside them.

To my current co-moderators, V2Blast, Rubiksmoose, and nitsua60: You have stood up for me and provided indispensable support through the most difficult periods over the past year, and for that I cannot thank you enough. It’s been a pleasure moderating alongside you in this community and I’ve learned a lot in turn from all of you.

To BESW, thank you so much for all you’ve done in guiding the mainsite and chat communities. Watching and learning from you and speaking with you have been formative in how I interact with difficult situations and I attribute a substantial part of my ability to moderate effectively to the things I learned from you.

To the chaotic amalgam that is the community again: thanks for being such good people. Moderating for you has rocked.

With love,
doppelgreener

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm impressed you stuck it out as long as you did in the circumstances - but your determination to make things better is certainly appreciated, as is the valuable time you have spent moderating the site. I hope that we'll continue to see you participating on the site and in the chat, but of course you should take however much time and space you need to recover. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 9 at 16:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer It was pretty difficult, and some people say this figuratively but I mean it literally and sincerely: I couldn't have done it without the enormous support I've got around me, including this site and these co-moderators. (If I were dealing with a site that was also unfriendly with trans people, I surely would've said screw this, I'm outta here.) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 9 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Man, that's some super messed up stuff there. I'm glad you feel the site is moving in the right direction in terms of ensuring people are nice to all users regardless of their understanding of gender, though I've been feeling like it's going the opposite direction. It is weird to me that a community of elected moderators-- people who are supposed to be extra good at understanding and following the rules-- would be worse at maintaining a diplomatically neutral space than our collection of whoever feels like joining and can do English :( \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 10 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for helping make RPG an enduring island in the storm, and then for the heroic work of plunging back out into the storm to make it better for others. I watched with dismay from afar when SE tilted sideways, and then I saw the helpers—and there you were, with others at the front, just pushing the site back upright. I don't think you'll ever get enough credit for how much you did. On top of being an exemplary moderator. It's hard to rest when what can still be done is never-ending, but you've done more than could be asked, with grace and integrity, in daily mod work and beyond. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 16 at 0:21

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Two photos side by side. In the first photo tiny plush Kermit doll looks at an iPhone larger than it is, with an expression of sadness. In the second photo the Kermit doll has brought the iPhone in for a full-body hug.

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Extremely glad that you stepped up, and devastated that you're stepping down

I was genuinely pleased—excited, even—when you were elected moderator. Now I'm deeply saddened that your moderation experiences beyond the main site brought you in contact with jerks and led to such sorrow. I can't know what those experiences were like for you, but, if it's any consolation, even just the outline of how you were and still are being treated makes me angry enough to hit things.

You were one of the most active and encouraging voices when I started here, and I've always appreciated your advice, common sense, feedback, practicality, and writing suggestions. Please don't let not being a moderator make you a stranger here. The site would be less without you.

I'm sorry that there wasn't more joy in it, but thank you so much for an outstanding run as moderator.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, HICC. That was moving and I deeply appreciate the compassion. I'm happy I can make such a contribution. :) I love this community so I don't expect I'll just vanish—but I wrote more about that here. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 9 at 20:30
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You will have no doppelgänger

I only actively participated in this site after you, to use your own words, "burned out", and yet I've still seen you tackle numerous difficult situations with tact and kindness. You have made my experiences on this site markedly better and I'm sure countless others have experienced this as well.

Inevitably somebody will take your place but you cannot be replaced. Each and every person, let alone moderator, is unique and my unique interactions and experiences with you will be remembered fondly. Thank you for your time, effort, and everything else, it is appreciated more than you know.

I realize now what I've written makes it sounds like you're leaving the site as a whole. I didn't mean to imply that and I do hope you will stick around and still be the wonderful member of the community that I've known you to be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. That means a lot to read. This is a new step so I'm not sure what will happen regarding my activity levels on the site, but I don't think I'll be up and leaving. At this stage my activity is going to hinge on staff and moderator community progress to some extent: trans individuals have performed a lot of emotional labor in spite of an abusive environment, and now it's on staff and moderators to put in some work in turn and give us an actual supportive environment and a good reason to stay. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 9 at 20:26
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I can say without equivocation that there is not, and has never been, anyone on this site I more wanted to see with a diamond. You have long been one of the coolest and calmest heads here, and in my estimation provided the greatest leadership this site has ever had. And it seems that, even given all of the great work you did for us (RPG) that made me sad to see this thread, you have gone to even greater lengths for all of us (SE) unheralded.

I am deeply saddened by our loss, and angered that much more at the bigots who have caused you pain. I hope you find healing with time and that a less responsibility-laden role at our site can be a part of that—though I understand if not. Selfishly, I hold out hope that someday you might wish to be moderator again. But to be less selfish, I more sincerely hope that the negativity that has affected you is in SE’s past, and that we won’t lose another great moderator to it. That, at least, is the legacy your efforts deserve, and have more than earned. For your work towards that goal despite the pain—of which I was entirely unaware—I salute you and thank you.

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It's not easy being (doppel)green...

...But you did it with aplomb.

(I spent way too long trying to think of a clever header for this one.)

I hope you already know how I feel, but it's worth repeating anyway: I look up to you, both as a mod and as a person. You've provided invaluable guidance on a number of moderation-related matters, and I've sometimes referenced things you've said to guide my approach as a mod even outside of Stack Exchange. Even beyond that, you've done a great job of advocating for yourself, for the RPG.SE community, and for the LGBTQ+ community, and I hope the rest of us can (continue to) learn from your example in doing the same.

I hope you do stick around as a member of the RPG.SE community, and I hope Stack Exchange and the mod community takes the necessary steps to make that worth it.

I'll close on a pair of quotes, because they feel fitting (I found them while trying to find a fitting header quote :P). The first is by Pedro Calderón de la Barca:

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

And on a lighter note, one from Ludwig Wittgenstein:

Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.

Keep being lovely, and remember to be silly. <3

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The grass is always greener on the doppel side

I cannot greet this news with anything but disappointment, but you gotta do what your gut tells you is right.

Thanks so much for your time spent on our behalf. When you stood for election back in 2017 I knew you were a mortal lock for one of the mod spots when wax eagle stepped aside. The community chose well, and you repaid the community's vote of confidence with quality work.

Thanks again. You're a class act.

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Sad to see you go, but moving on to greener pastures

(I had to fit a "green" reference somewhere in the title right?)

Anyways, I am extremely sad to see you go. Both you and nitsua60 inspired me to be a moderator in the first place because of your professional and calm demeanor and friendly way you handled issues on the site.

You, specifically, have this uncanny way of finding a much better way of saying and wording something that others are struggling to say and you managed to talk about really complex and, at times, heated topics with class, clarity, and precision. I'd spend a long time thinking about something and you'd just... find the perfect way to say it that made things clear.

I appreciate so much the way you advised and mentored and worked with us "green" mods and brought us up to speed, but also treated us with respect and listened to us.

I'm sad to see you go, but I have no doubt that this site is left a better place for you having been here. And I hope to see you around again, if circumstances allow.

<3

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When I heard it, I was sad to know your diamond was coming to an end. It made this election feel bittersweet - as I told both you and nitsua (whose resignation I didn't write on so as not to spoil your post that I knew was coming): I'd be happy if the little while you both stuck around after the election was... 2 years? Maybe a bit more :)

Every one of the mods on RPG.SE has been nothing but helpful, welcoming, and open when I came into your chat room to do work, and I thank you all. It has been a pleasure peeking behind that screen and talking to you from work to game systems and designers I enjoy.

It saddens me greatly to see you leaving because we(SE) failed you(LGBTQ Mods) for such a long time - and for my part in it, I apologize with all my heart. It was wrong, it was hard, and it was hurtful. I am sorry you felt you had no one to have your backs and to be supportive. I am sorry that you had to fight, alone, for yourselves - but I am deeply thankful that you did. We should've acted much sooner, in a much better, more thoughtful and respectful way than we did. We failed the network and the community, in more ways than one.

But, this post is about you, not us! And so let me say: It's people like you that move our cultures forward. Thank you for making this network a better place for us all, you've been a brave trailblazer - and we are all better for it.

While I don't know enough about this site and this community to weigh in, I'd say the other users and mods here have spoken enough, bask in those compliments, take it in, and leave with that: you've been amazing, nothing short of that.

Maybe this is goodbye, maybe it is see you soon, hopefully, the latter - but you don't owe anyone anything, you've gone way beyond the call of duty and will be fondly remembered one way or the other.

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Thank you for leaving things better than you found them

At first I meant this news with sadness, I will miss your influence on this site. But after reading your reasoning I am astounded you have stayed at long as you did.

For what you went through you had every right to simply walk away, but you didn't. You stayed and fought so that no one else would ever have to experience what you did. If didn't have it already, that alone would have earned my utmost respect. Now that you see a positive future you can step away with a burden lifted, knowing you made a positive difference.

Thank you for what you've done, and thank you for your years of service. You have done a phenomenal job of maintaining the high standard of this site. Best wishes, and may this change bring the relief you want.

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As a new user I'm really reassured to see the way you address some things here. I'd caught some of the wider SE mood around pronouns, site policies and the response to communication around that, and there's a lot in there to put me on edge; seeing you talking about this from the moderator side does a lot to make me comfortable on this site, and trust that the mods will have my back if I do run into a problem. Thanks for sharing, and I hope the future treats you well!

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    \$\begingroup\$ One of the moderators elsewhere on the network even built a pronoun assistant that pulls pronouns from peoples' bios to help us all out. :) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 11 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I should take a look at that! Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – LizWeir May 11 at 11:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like to think that we keep a fairly safe space here on RPG (and we certainly try), but we can always do better. If you ever have or see an issue please don't hesitate to bring it to our attention in flags, chat, or meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 11 at 14:50
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Thanks for everything

You very much deserved being elected as a moderator and it was good serving alongside you. Thanks for all the effort you put into making RPG.SE a better place. It's a pretty thankless job really and SE central does little to make it easier and it takes a personal toll. I somewhat regret how bull-headed I was to stick with it for as many years as I did. I appreciate your service, first as a fellow mod and then as a site member!

Sometimes people complain about the rules on RPG.SE, but it's thanks to them that we never let discourse get anywhere near as ugly as some of these other places, I'm glad to hear it provided you a sanctuary from the other shenanigans. But vigilance has to be renewed - I'd like to urge current and future moderators to not put up with any skirting of anti-bigotry rules - go right to the escalating suspensions. Don't let this place fall, as nearly every other social site has, to the gross incivility of the modern age. Keep doppelgreener in mind as a sterling example to follow.

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I'm Gonna Miss You :(

I want to say that I'm saddened to see you go and thank you for your many insightful and shockingly thorough posts throughout the meta.

I had no idea that you were trans. Normally, I'd say that being trans doesn't matter, but I think in this case it very much does because I had no idea that the issues being raised with last year's CoC were affecting you in such a direct manner. I thank you for weathering that storm to bring us to where we are today. I also thank you for coming out that you are trans and helping us to see once more that issues that don't affect us directly, often affect those who are right adjacent to us.

In addition, your meta posts are often absurd in their thoroughness and I love it. I always get the impression that you must've spent several hours across multiple days writing them with extensive links, citations, and quotes. Although those posts were very long, I never felt like they were too long. And a great many times I've had my mind changed on a matter due to your extremely high quality posts. Although you're stepping down as a moderator, I sincerely hope you will continue to provide us the benefit of your insights in meta when you feel ready.

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    \$\begingroup\$ “I always get the impression that you must've spent several hours across multiple days writing them with extensive links, citations, and quotes.” Haha, that does kind of happen, although I'm letting it formulate in my head. Usually it touches on topics I've gotten to speak about before, or read excellent writing about, so it's like I've got a mental scrapbook of material that's finally being called upon to be articulated that time. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 12 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pyro you'd think she was composing them over the course of days, but given the number of times I've been ninja'ed in realtime mod-chats by greener explaining with that trademark eloquence and simplicity and thoroughness something I was stumbling through my second sentence of.... That's ^^ true, and she's a very good communicator. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 12 at 17:05

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