It has been two weeks now since I left the clan and because daredevil hasn't released any form of statement as on why I left so far and JoeDirt resorted to calling it not seeing eye to eye on some things, I feel it is time to list a couple of the reasons why I left. A couple of the reasons, because frankly I don't want to disclose all of them and because the decision of resigning has been dragged on over the course of more than a year in the end and new reasons appeared almost every day.
I got to know daredevil via Splatterladder where he needed some assistance in 2009. We had some MSN chats and became friends over the course of the next weeks and months. After a while he asked me to join his clan, stating that it would be good to make me Leader in the future. Under the condition that I don't have to play regularly and could stay part of the Splatterladder team, I accepted the offer and joined as a trial member. I helped him out with some basic server and website related problems and went through the ladder like everybody else, becoming a full member after a while, then a Staff member, a Co-Leader and finally a Leader. By the time I was a Leader (actually most of it already before), I enjoyed a high level of trust. I had full access to every single server, every control panel there was, had been part of the Administrators forum group in =F|A= and his other forums and even had access to his credit card data. I set up new servers, maintained existing ones, took care of configuration changes, helped with his server hosting business, fixed problems, implemented website changes and wrote a couple of programs to simplify daredevil's and my work. Furthermore I provided some servers over the years. From what I still remember, a CS:S server, two TF2 servers, two Minecraft servers, one ET server, one CoD4 server, a TS3 server and a CS:GO server I will address later on.
In November 2011, daredevil faced some changes in his private life, moved and went inactive for a majority of the time. Over the following months I pretty much took over the technical side of =F|A=. I consulted daredevil whenever he was online and exchanged my views about the clan and problems that necessarily came up over the time. I naturally had some problems with a few members, or as JoeDirt would call it: didn't see eye to eye with everyone, and didn't really make bones about it when I talked to daredevil about them. Over these months I noticed that certain people have a tendency to be especially nice towards certain people, agree with everything these people say, all in all kiss asses to get up the ladder in little time and for some extra privileges. The opinion of most of the "higher-ups" is worthless, but when one of the extra nice friends says something, it's worth a mint. When I confronted daredevil about it and we talked about it, I found out that they are all apparently just trying to help and that there had suddenly been some complaints about my behavior because people wouldn't be able to deal with my sarcasm. Of course these people were never named as they had to stay anonymous. One who read the complaint threads about me might notice some similarities and tendencies here. After all, one might even say that when people are about to run out of arguments, they resort to undisclosed others who agree with them.
I have been dealing with applications for quite a while, going through them regularly and deciding about them based on the rules =F|A= had, the applicant's forum activity and the opinion members had left about them in their thread or the internal threads. Even though this system worked for months, it apparently didn't work good enough and daredevil implemented some new routines - namely spreadsheets where Co-Leaders and Leaders left their opinion on applicants and where daredevil decides about them at a supposedly regular point. Criticizing the new system didn't really work, so after a while I simply stopped caring about it. Unfortunately the spreadsheets lacked their regularity and a lot of the affected people didn't leave their opinion about the applicants in it at all. While originally only Leaders were allowed to promote people higher than level 4 and thus handle applications, over the last months both Leaders and Co-Leaders took care of them. Because =F|A= reportedly always lacked members and some people seemed to prefer noses brown, approvals were more or less random and rules regarding applications were abandoned. Forum activity and the ability to communicate in English weren't a requirement anymore and =F|A= went for quantity over quality. While it was previously impossible for trials to become full members without forum activity, it was easily possible then (and now) and according to daredevil, =F|A= even has level 12 for members who don't want to participate in forum activities.
Talking about rules, =F|A= has a lot of them, which is good. Not good on the other side is that some people simply don't give a damn about them. Some people don't have to report their bans, some people don't have to use valid ban reasons, some people don't have to use valid ban times, some people don't have to follow server rules, some people in high positions act as if they were retarded prepubescent kids and so on. What's even worse is that there are no consequences for people who don't follow rules. While even children have to face the consequences when they fail to follow rules, people who fail to follow them in =F|A= almost seem to get encouraged to do so. Some people are also too freaking lazy to do their work or do some research on their own - they prefer to ask others and let them do their work instead. There are a lot of examples, unfortunately with more following each day.
The structure of the clan is a mess. One can't run a clan of 400 members with a casual community model, but one needs to implement business structures to keep everything in order. There have to be clear rules without exceptions, precise procedures people have to follow and most importantly consequences for everyone who ignores these. Roles need to be introduced which need to stick to the rules and procedures and face consequences if they don't. Everyone should have his tasks and duties and nothing more. Especially nothing more because for example people deciding about things concerning games they don't even play should not happen. People who have been doing nothing and people who are inactive need to be removed from their positions, people who disobey the rules and literally do what they want need to be put in their place. There is no need to keep inactive staff on their position when one could assign them to their old positions as soon as they come back - after they familiarized themselves with the new rules and procedures and everything that changed while they were absent of course, or even most importantly. There is an SGA team with people who are permitted to submit screenshots and represent =F|A= on PBBans. There is one member who has access to this team, whereas a lot of Co-Leaders don't. That's simply ridiculous. Co-Leaders should be responsible for one server and should take care of the regulars and members of their server and should, in consultation with their Leader, decide about promotions of people on their server. Leaders should be responsible of a few Co-Leaders, should focus their time on them and should support them and the servers they take care of in every way. In compliance with the rules. Not as it is now, have a "best friend" in the Co-Leaders group, who gets everything he wants and decides about things he naturally shouldn't because these are Leader's decisions. Some people will always try to exploit a system by finding weaknesses and there are plenty in the current system, both people and weaknesses. A system can't work with special treatments for "especially nice people", with constant exceptions, changes and adjustments.
=F|A= has had 25 game servers. Other multi gaming clans have a fraction of that. =F|A= has that many servers and constantly complains about a lack of players. On the other hand servers aren't getting shut down. New servers appear and nobody has ever been asked if the clan actually needs more. Daredevil starts servers reportedly as ones to test new settings and these servers are kept online instead of being shut down again. There has been a struggle with PB on CoD4 servers. Due to a bug, people with an outdated PB version got kicked. Instead of keeping PB enabled, it was disabled. Thus people with an outdated version were able to connect to the server, but so were cheaters which lead to dozens of bans every day. Instead of simply enabling PB again, =F|A= was supposedly in constant need of admins, leading to quantity over quality again.
After I upgraded my operating system to OS X Mountain Lion, I wasn't able to connect to =F|A='s ET servers anymore. Without getting too technical, this was caused by =F|A='s menu file. Mountain Lion isn't able to handle file names with more than 31 characters in ET for some reason. It took a while for me and a lot of testing to figure that out and I emailed daredevil with the solution, asking him to rename the files so that Mac users are able to connect and play on our servers again. He told me that he would look into it. His problem is that if he renamed the file, =F|A='s menu might get overwritten by another clan's menu with a longer name than =F|A='s (this is caused by ET, which loads files in the order of their file names). "Is" - present tense - because now, after almost exactly six months, I am still unable to connect to the servers. After playing a game for nine years, I wasn't able to play on my own clan's servers anymore. Mind you that I was still good enough to fix problems, change rotations and whatnot. Not only I was unable to join the servers, but everyone running an up-to-date version of Mac OS X.
When there were some changes in the clan in early August last year, daredevil asked me to set up a TeamSpeak 3 server and a Counter Strike: Global Offensive server while the game was in the beta phase. Setting up that CS:GO server was a big hassle and it took me almost a whole day to set it up due to the lack of any good how-tos back then, taken that the game wasn't even released yet. I sent him the server information the same day. Exactly two weeks after I set it up and sent him the information, daredevil announced that =F|A= had a new CS:GO server. I was a bit shocked when I found out that it wasn't the one I set up. Looking for a rational explanation, I contacted him and he told me that he would first populate the announced server, which was US-based, and then start the European one I set up. The server hasn't been started in October and so I asked him again. He told me that I could close it because the game is unpopular. When asking why I had to set up that server, he added that I didn't waste a day for nothing, but that I learned how to set up a CS:GO server and that he sees nothing wrong in it.
In October I decided to rework =F|A='s PK3 cleaner, which is basically only a WinRAR SFX archive, and make it available to all operating systems instead of only Windows. I made it flexible, platform independent and even included an offline etkey generator. It has been tested by several people on several platforms, worked great and I received great response, so I asked daredevil to test it and waited for his go to release it. He postponed his review several times and when I asked him about it in an MSN chat we had, he told me he would review it the next day. Mind you that reviewing means downloading and clicking on a button, which would take around 5-10 seconds for a slow user. Four days after the chat I was tired of waiting and simply released it.
It went on and on, mostly in Emails because he couldn't get on MSN. When he came online in October, I let him know about all the points I didn't like in the clan and explained everything. It seemed to me that he didn't quite share my opinion and I let him know that I wouldn't just sit here and do nothing, that he would have to face the consequences sooner or later. When he came online in late November, I told him once again about certain issues. The chat ended with him stating that it is late and asking if we could continue the conversation the next day. Naturally, it wasn't the next day. So from that day on, everything went on in emails. Even though he updated forums, changed map rotations and posted quite a bit on the forums during that time, he was too busy to get on MSN within a month, so we had to continue the conversation in emails. Long emails. A personal highlight for me was him telling me that he wishes we weren't friends and that we would have never met on the day before Christmas, after demanding to continue the conversation. And that I have an attitude which pisses him off on Christmas Eve. According to him I was blowing things out of proportion. There have been a lot of words and he seemed to more and more ignore my emails and just write about unrelated things or assumptions as time went by. I also found out that, according to him, I never did him a favor, but that I did everything merely for the community and because I like doing technical work. Towards the end of the email series, he took longer and longer to reply to my emails. While it first took only a couple of hours for him to reply, it then took 1, 2, 4 - at the end even 15 days to reply to a single email. I loved the clan, the community, the work and the servers and so I wanted to give it a last chance. I came up with a new concept for the clan. He didn't agree with it and didn't share my opinion on some, if not all, points of it. In the end I was simply tired of it and insisted on my resignation.
It was disappointing to see that daredevil didn't give any statement as on why I left. He started my former servers the day after I quit and sent him the configuration files, without a word on why they have a new IP, were down or changed. It was even more disappointing to see that people don't seem to care enough to ask for reasons. And after all it was disappointing to see that after three years of service and dedication to =F|A=, I don't even deserve the Honored Veterans level, despite never having abused any of my rights and having always followed the rules. Besides that, I don't remember having been thanked for my services either. I don't care about my forum group or expect huge credits, but a little thank-you as appreciation would have been nice.
To conclude, it was a great time, I met some awesome people and formed a lot of new friendships. I've tried to be an example and hope I at least influenced a few people in a positive way, just like some influenced me. It wasn't always easy but I always enjoyed (most of) it. I want to thank the community for that. There are a lot of good memories connected with =F|A=, unfortunately the bad ones outweighed them in the end.
As a last point, especially after posting this, I'd like to add that people shouldn't believe everything they read. Use your common sense and think about things before believing them blindly. I'll gladly answer any questions or doubts via Xfire or email.