Hey guys, my name is Electro Tweak and i own/moderate the official oddworld speedrunning discord.
I'm not a very active member on the forums myself, but do like to lurk and keep up to speed with the posts and what is happening, although I've been meaning to make an account for a while
Ideally I'd hoped that my first post would have been something more upbeat and positive but under the circumstances that has sadly not come to pass.
The Oddworld Speedrunning community has been under some heavy fire lately, many of the members have been personally harassed by an individual, who, after every ban, would bypass the integrated discord IP ban and send friend requests and messages directly to other members of the server, each time under a different alias. The majority of usernames which were used were quite clearly personal to one of our members, who lives with autism, and were specifically used to insult and humiliate this user, bringing up his disability in a negative light, which for someone like myself who works with people with autism, is completely unacceptable. This targeted harassment has also moved across to myself and other members through several avenues such as the discord itself, twitch pages and even smear videos on YouTube and Facebook. These have been done in a very highly edited and cherry-picked way, to make it look like the speedrunning community is closed and unwelcoming. This video, for reference, is available here:
Myself and other runners have attempted to comment on this video, and other videos to try and explain the situation, however our comments have been moderated and held.
I consider myself a reasonable person, who believes everyone has the right to express opinions and speak their mind, but i also believe that when somebody hides half the facts, and doesn't give the entire picture, this gives an unfair impression of the community and what we try to achieve. I have had to ban another member previously for similar reasons of insults, disruption and harassment and the person in this instance was no different, although the tales they are spinning would suggest otherwise.
The individual responsible on this occasion was part of the speedrunning discord for a while, even though this person was a little quiet, he contributed to helping other members with personal projects and he was fully welcomed. Sadly though, this relaxed relationship was broken, when the above incidents took place, and I myself acted as any moderator would do, to keep the peace in the community and the discord members content - Giving them several chances through active communication that such behaviors would not be tolerated, but they did not stop. Eventually, after a very thorough investigation, the individual was banned permanently from the server, offering the choice that the individual could PM me directly, if they felt my actions weren't justified. I myself engaged in conversation with the individual afterwards, and although he seemed reasonable to talk to, there was just some issues that he failed to grasp, things turned offensive, and I had no choice but to personally block him from contacting me.
The individual then proceeded to also message other users in the server again, trying to defame other members without their prior knowledge, and so I personally urged all the people in the server to be wary about this individual. I was also told to tell people in the server not to post about races on the OWF, which he did not explain why, but it was my understanding that OWF and the Speedrunning community had no issues between them and I am to this day convinced that we are working to the same goal - Celebrating Oddworld and all the games. The same day this individual joined my twitch chat and seemed to be content just watching the stream and chatting with the other viewers. Unfortunately however, during my run, I received numerous whispers that don't appear on my stream output attempting to cause distractions and lost my patience, posting the carefully selected comments the video referenced at the same time.
But alas, i digress. The main reason I'm here, posting this essay now, is to debunk the myth that seems to have been created, that the speedrunning community is one of malice and negativity. I can honestly say, that i have never been part of a community that is so close, supportive to others, welcoming to be around and just down right amazing to spend time with. I personally don't believe it fair that they are all being slandered and defamed, just because somebody who wanted to cause malevolence and misery was cut down in their prime. The majority of the members are also regular members on this forum, and will be known to you, but I won't mention names (HeyGuys to you though). I'm mainly here because I am aware that the member is also a member of the Oddworld Forums and just wanted to be clear that if there is any word going around about unfair and unjust punishments by malicious people, that we have a lot of screenshots/text and the like to clarify that the banning was with clear and just reason. I can see why the user may have felt hurt at my tired and stressed response to them harassing me within the chat, but I hope they can understand why I might have had little patience after being clear with my reasons, transparent with my communications and them persisting in attempting to disrupt me in every way they could. Everyone loses their patience at some points and after two bans, with adequately explained reasons, I'm sure it's clear why they would have gotten under my skin!
That is all i have to say on the matter, I don't wish to name names because I am not here to slander the person in particular, it is more to ensure that OWF and the Speedrunning community will still maintain a positive and supportive attitude to each other, rather than run the risk of word of mouth damaging these relations. It is important to me to stay transparent and honest, so I simply wanted to explain what had happened before any potential issues arose. I will give a huge thank you to all the people currently in the server, for being so awesome, and also my apologies that they have had to put up with this disruptive behavior for the past week. I do just want to assure everyone again - The Oddworld Speedrunning discord is always open to fans of the Oddworld community that are supportive and civil, but as with any community, we have to actively take a stance to protect the activities and reputations of our members. Particularly when we have a community so like ours that some of our members share.
Thanks for reading!