Since Tefka's blog was put out for us to read and review, I put a lot of thought into things. I thought about what was said, what the reactions were, Tefka's words, my response, and my feelings. I wanted to immediately respond with my own blog as what Tefka brought up is something I feel strongly about it, but I made myself sit and think. I took a few days to just... ponder. I didn't want to go off half cocked or, worse, sound like a parrot. So... Here goes, I guess.
I came to this board from another board and before that from another, much like everyone else. I hopped from community to community and saw the best and worst of each, or so I thought. I'd never done large scale PvP until Chaos. In other words, I'd never done things like Invasions until here. Sure, there were threads like raids or brawls or fights in the past, but nothing like wars and campaigns like here.
I started writing in the star wars genre as an NFU, namely with this character you see here: Arrbi Betna. I was, almost literally, thrown into the deep end as far as PvP RPing goes. Before star wars, I wrote on a little board run by a few friends. It was more or less a kiddie pool in comparison.
I fell in with some folks on my first star wars board. They had grievances, I had a more or less 'go with the flow' mentality, and got swept up in it. We wound up mass quitting the board and, for a while, we all had a chip on our shoulder about it. I carried that chip until I came to Chaos, but I'll explain that story another day, maybe.
We moved to a new board, but it was inactive and dead. Sporadically, it'd spike up in activity, but for the most part it was deserted. I hopped from board to board and was active here and there. RPed a little on this board, RPed a little with that community, but nothing really clicked. I found my last board eventually in all this and stayed there for maybe... around six months or so.
I was once again embedded in PvP atmospheres, which was fine. I'd gotten the hang of it in some ways, in others I was still learning. Still, though, it was the land of the uber-Force Users. Demigods in one way, shape, or form. Once again, I fell in with a group of people that were more or less... Misfits, I guess. We wanted something better, something balanced. Something fair. The way the board was set up was... skewed. I won't go into it much, but needless to say it wasn't what we wanted.
We refused to leave, though. We'd all, in some way or fashion, roamed the net and were tired of constantly searching for a new place to go. We dug in our heels and pushed back. When we were targeted for pushing, we pushed harder. We stayed within the lines IC and OOC, but we pushed and pushed. They bent or went around rules IC and OOC, and we adapted. Essentially, in a lot of ways, they dialed the competitive knob to ten and broke it off. We responded in kind.
We quickly realized that we wouldn't get anywhere and saw that digging our heels in was now more a sort of... moral stance. Nothing would change, but we still refused to yield. I guess we were stubborn that way.
We first got a whiff of Chaos around that time. We prodded it and poked at it, checked it out and lurked a bit. Compared to the boards we'd been on before, it was complex and scary and big. But it had rules. It had a basic set of understandable limits we could operate in and, by extension, a check and balance system to keep things as fair as possible on the OOC level. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but to us? It was as close as we'd ever get.
We migrated here and established ourselves. The change was like walking out of a sauna and into cool water. It was shocking and refreshing and so, so enjoyable. We'd left the unfairness, the demigods, and the huge amounts of competition behind.
Unfortunately, at least for me, it kind of followed me.
I butted heads with concepts and ideas that seemed wrong or off to me. I denounced ideas and stepped on people and kind of ran rampant in a lot of ways. It wasn't quite that bad, but eventually I was basically handed the reigns of the Galactic Republic to lead. From there, things started spiraling downwards.
I started out okay, but quickly butted heads with the OS admins at the time. To me, I was right and they were wrong. Do I still feel that way? A very small part of me does, yes. I'm only human. Today, though, I realize that I was just as much of the problem as anyone else and that it all could have been avoided very easily.
At some point while leading the Republic, I got sucked into the map game. The map. The bloody map we have in the holonet. It became the focal point of my RPing and of my OOC actions. "The OS are invading? We can't lose or the blue blob gets smaller! We can't let the blue blob get smaller!" I fell into that and it showed. I lashed out at people who thought differently from me. I hit things with a hammer when it wasn't warranted. I was a wreck.
I was self destructing.
At some point I couldn't do it anymore. I sought advice, even talked to Tefka, and eventually followed it. I stepped down and handed the reigns to another. For a while after, I was inactive. I just had no muse. I was burnt out. I had spent more time arguing and fighting and raging in the OOC than I did trying to make sure I enjoyed the roleplay. Hell, not even just for me, but I didn't even try to make sure the writers within the faction I led were having fun. I was playing the map game. I was playing for keeps.
I was playing to win.
A couple of months ago I started getting active again. Not because of the stories or the desire to write, but because... eh, it might help to explain it a bit. Things went down in the Mando faction that some folks didn't agree with. Things were said and shouted and I'm pretty sure someone would have thrown something if they could. Another writer confronted me in private, which in hindsight I appreciated over having it placed on the board. They told me that I was inactive, not just with my Mandos but with ALL of my characters. If I wasn't helping the faction, if I wasn't contributing, how could I have a say?
My response was probably less than mature, but changes happened so I figured it worked. Thing is, it really didn't and it shouldn't have been done that way at all. Things did change though, and out of spite for being labeled inactive, I threw myself into RPs and relied on my friends to help guide me. It mostly worked until my muse found its footing and I was able to RP without prompting and goading.
The thing is, that was how things had always been handled. Not by immaturity, we had never seen it as such, but by pushing the envelope. By being as much of a pain in the ass as possible without breaking the rules. It was a constant game of chicken we had always played. That I had always played.
Either way, that other writer who had confronted me had a point. While he was probably not putting it in the nicest way to me, I was inactive. As much as I felt insulted that others claimed that the inactive people, including me, shouldn't have a voice, I'd done the same thing in the past. I'd created a double standard: Me and my side versus them.
It didn't come right away. The naggling thoughts hit almost immediately, though, but like I always have, I shoved them aside. I ignored them. I moved on. Thankfully, between the constant nagging of the thoughts and events on the board, eventually I was forced to face them.
Fast forward a bit. The recent Prime vs. Mando invasion of Wayland. Tempers were high on both sides, people were angry everywhere, and writers from the lowest level up to Faction Leadership were botching things up. Who started it? I don't even know anymore. I can't tell. I don't know the whole story for both sides. All I know is that someone or something triggered it and all hell broke lose. It no longer mattered who was to blame because the crap was flying in all directions. For me, as it started, I did my best to push it off. I wasn't faction leadership for either side. I was just there to shoot Primeval IC'ly. It wasn't my problem.
But as the crap rose higher and higher, I realized that it was only a matter of time. More or less right before the crap storm was lit on fire, I walked off the thread. Not out of anger or frustration, though it was frustrating, but because all of it was preventable. The trigger was preventable or, at the very least, manageable. The crap storm that followed was preventable entirely. Everything could have been resolved or, at the very least, contained. Why wasn't it? I have no clue. I don't know both sides.
I sat the invasion out after that. I chipped in with helpful ideas or tossed up concepts to help the Mandos, because the Mandalorian Protectors, the minor faction I help lead, was still in the fight and I figured it was my job to an extent. I listened to both sides as things boiled over. In general, it just seemed like utter chaos. An issue was resolved, set aside, and then picked back up the next day as neither side understood the other or the resolution. It was so crazy that it was almost funny at times.
So, I sat back and thought. Sure, I caught up on threads I owed posts to and generally distracted myself from the Invasion, but my mind kept travelling back to it. I tried to figure out where it started. I thought about how it could escalate like that. I thought about how it got out of hand and how no one seemed to know what to do.
And then... I realized those were the wrong questions, oddly enough. I had to back up, look at things from a medical point of view. I was trying to treat the symptoms without knowing the cause because I thought there was no relation. So I looked back. I rechecked my memory, I rechecked threads, and I thought more on it.
At some point down the line, the concept of fun was lost in a lot of ways. I know, I know, people are going "But I have fun with my roleplays" and that's fine, but I mean the board as a whole. To use Tefka's blog, we've resorted to using phrases like "Can you edit that?"
"Can you edit that?"
"Can you fix that?"

"Your character isn't god, edit your post."
"You can't do that, you need to edit."
"If you don't edit, I'll report you."
"The rules state this and that, so you're wrong. Fix your post."
We're so caught up with what we think should be going on in a make believe world with make believe characters in a made up universe that we've forgotten it's a game. People get so worked up over what happened in a fantasy setting that, were they to stand next to each other, I'd almost expect them to come to blows over it. Hell, I've been there, too.
The board, or at least large, visible sections of it, are in it to win it. How do I know? I was one of them. Hell, I was one of the biggest ones not too long ago. The map game, the prowess game, the win/loss ratio game, the shiny pebble game... it's a win/lose mentality on a board where winning and losing really... doesn't matter.
When did it start? Oh, it's always been there. Where there are human beings, there are mentalities geared towards being the top dog. I think I know where it started becoming prominent, though. At least, for me.
Looking back, I saw it become visible when the OS showed up. They hit the board like a freight train and started steamrolling everything that tried to stop them.
I know, I know, some are going "Popo's biased" (and if you haven't figured out I'm Popo and this is my main, you should probably get out more), but let me be clear for a second: I'm not laying the entirety of the issue on the One Sith. Hell, I'm not pointing the blame anywhere at all. What I'm getting at is that as the One Sith showed up and steamrolled, that mentality became apparent. Not just for the OS, but for the board as a whole.
The OS roflstomped the Republic and chewed up the Blue Cloud. The Republic fought as hard as they could IC and OOC to fight off the Red Cloud. Meanwhile, the Mandos sat in their Orange Cloud and treated it like a front porch in the deep south by propping their feet up in their chair and cradling a shotgun in their hands. Groups like the Vitae Alliance and Red Ravens and Rebel Alliance and Primeval and others started cropping up and taking planets and space on the map.
When the Netherworld event hit, everyone, including me, got up in arms about the loss of territory. "We RPed hard for those planets" was the general outlook. "How dare you take our worlds away from us" was another sentiment. After the event, factions campaigned to regain 'their' worlds back through dominions and land-grabs left and right. Some were more successful than others, but most took part.
Was it a good idea to reset the map a bit? I'm not sure. If asked that question I'd probably answer "Does it matter?" But.. I think I'm going off topic just a tad.
What I'm trying to get at is this: I've had my absolute worst moments on this board and my absolute best. I've self destructed while leading an entire faction and quietly pushed activity for another later down the line. I've been involved with, probably helped start, and seen how things have devolved into senseless bickering and, while I can neither make sense of it nor give 100% sure answer on what it is, I think that, at least for me, I can more or less point at it and go "this is what I think is the problem." Am I right? I have no clue. I'm just pointing at what I'm seeing and hoping for the best.
And yes, this is a long blog that has meandered around for... a while. You should listen to me in person. Ask Larraq. I do a loooot of conversation foreplay. Most of it only distantly relevant or entirely irrelevant. Case in point, this little paragraph and... most of this blog post. Anyways...
We're so caught up in being right, in winning, that we forget the main key here. The key to this board, at least from my point of view, is to have fun. Victory or defeat, we're writing stories. Those invasions where we see everything as "them" versus "us" isn't the case. Look at them again. They're joint stories. Two groups of writers from the same community are working together to write a story. Win or lose, a story is written. When we devolve into bickering and arguing and pointless edit requests or report threats... that story? It doesn't matter anymore. When the stories no longer matter, why roleplay?

So, for those of you who managed to chisel your way through Popo's Great Wall o' Text, here's the TL;DR section.
I think we need, as a community, to change our voice. We need to stop saying "Can you edit that" and change it to something else. Something productive. Something that makes sense for the board and is both simple, yet profound. Something like...
"How can we all have fun with this thread?"