R: 681 / I: 95
Background to the split, what happened, what is coming next
This board is a successor to https://bunkerchan.xyz/
which will continue to operate under the management of Space and their remaining/new moderators. We wish them the best of luck for the future despite our differences.BRIEF RUNDOWN
In short, /leftypol/ has split due to drama which essentially boils down to a dispute over server access on Bunkerchan. We, the /leftypol/ moderation team, have been forced to leave by Space, who removed our moderator rights due to our decision to stand together in solidarity rather than allow Space to demand the removal of certain mods who he viewed as primarily responsible for behind the scenes efforts to try to force him to give us the power to keep the site running and to improve it beyond its current state. Therefore, we have decided to activate our own clone of /leftypol/ which we have been preparing in case of this eventuality. We do not welcome this split or take it lightly but from our perspective it has been forced upon us. We are now working to make this site feature complete and to progress ever further.
A full outline of the history of the dispute and current events (as well as our next steps) is below if you would like to do the extra reading.BACKGROUND
To briefly outline the problems that we have been having, they most importantly concern access to the server side of the side. At present, nobody other than Space has ultimate control over the site and Space is still required to approve any serious code changes (IE ones other than those that can be made by site staff). This is a relatively normal state of affairs of course, but the problem is that Space is not always available when we need him and has intermittent periods of what I can only call disinterest in the site.
Often, it has been difficult to get him to approve simple fixes to the site which are urgently needed to keep it running or else bring it back when it does break. Many of the technical issues (not all, but some) that we have had to deal with since the migration of /leftypol/ to Bunkerchan have been due to Space not taking the time to implement fixes which have been suggested by our tech team. When the changes do not directly affect the stability of the site, it is often even harder to get Space’s attention.
For example, Space’s approval was needed to make changes to the board headers to add new boards which has led to long delays in adding new boards to the topbar, and other changes. Often, when we the mod team have seemed to dally in adding new features it is because of the difficulty with getting approval for changes. This can often take weeks, which sadly makes us look unreliable and hampers our flexibility as a board.
The clear solution to this issue was for Space to share his server access with the highest members of our technical staff so that they could push through changes themselves. For months, Space promised to do so but would never deliver, or would add on unreasonable demands to his original agreement. For example, when Comrade King, former admin of /GETchan/, agreed to merge his site with Bunkerchan, it was agreed that Space would give him server access, but this was never done. Later on Space demanded that King share a scan of his driver’s licence as ‘verification’ which he found unacceptable. The tension between /GET/’s staff and Space has contributed to their decision to try to once again leave the site, unfortunately.
In addition, Space agreed to give server access to Comrade_Rat who has been the main technical contributor on our staff and is someone Space knows personally. Rat was part of the Bunkerchan staff before /leftypol/ moved to the site in the wake of 8chan’s demise. Due to Rat’s presence and willingness to work with us since the migration we would have been happy with this, but as stated, Space stonewalled this and promised it would be done while never doing so. I (Caballo) eventually personally pressed Space on this matter as can be seen in the attached screenshots but he refused to back down.
One of the key issues regarding server access was our dissatisfaction with our board’s software, Lynxchan. This software is difficult in many ways and our technical staff ultimately decided that it would be better to switch to new board software rather than try to fix something they felt was fundamentally an inferior option. Many of the peculiar issues of the site which we have been asked to fix have been caused by Lynxchan’s deficiencies. To that end, our technical staff have been working on custom software, Gochan, but in the interim, we wanted to switch to the more established Lainchan software. However, this process would be realistically impossible to complete without server access.
As a side issue, Space used his status as site owner to override our decisions about the site, telling us what we could and could not do and ignoring our own voting when he disagreed. Of particular concern was the question of funding the site and of monetisation. We of course recognised that Space was bearing the financial burden of hosting the site, and we are still grateful for him doing so, but our suggestions for collecting donations in an organised manner to make the ownership of the site more ‘community based’ or democratic were brushed off.THE CONSPIRACY
Eventually, we decided that we had no other option than to create a backup plan as trust in Space had dropped so low. We felt that we could not continue to put in so much work when our efforts were undone by Space’s inaction. At the time we embarked on this plan, it was common to not be able to talk to Space for weeks at a time. We knew that ultimately Space could not be forced to hand over control of the site to anyone, so we endeavoured to make our own site which we had control over, both as a contingency plan in case we were removed from moderating /leftypol/ by Space, and as a bargaining chip to show Space that we were serious about our demands.
This site will be hosted at leftypol.org , a domain which was given to us by the former owner of the /leftypol/ splinter site at that address. Our technical staff have worked hard to enable us to import the content of bunkerchan.xyz to that site at the moment of our potential departure, so that our board’s topics and discussions are not lost as was the case when 8chan closed. In effect, we have set up a contingency so that our tenure as the mod team of /leftypol/, and the experience of the users of /leftypol/ and related boards, can continue without much disruption. We have also changed the board software to Lainchan to enable a smoother experience for the users.
It took us months to set up this site, during which time we hid it from Space, as we feared his potential reaction. We knew that Space could, if he so chose, remove us as moderators of /leftypol/ and install others, which we felt would be potentially ruinous. That sounds a bit egocentric, I admit, but the drama involving the rogue admin Pyongyang, who Space initially supported over all of us, convinced us that if we were removed, /leftypol/ would likely be taken in an ideological direction we would find unacceptable.
To emphasise, Pyongyang was not merely part of a different leftist sect, as our mod team comprises a wide range of tendencies, but was arguably a full blown reactionary that reverted our actions in secret while creating a /troon/ board that was set to become a haven for idpol and stupidpol-esque rhetoric. Pyongyang eventually stepped down on his own when it became clear that he was not enjoying the support of the users, with Space refusing to take action to remove him.
During these last months we have run the site as usual and attempted to hide the tension between us and Space (though it has been noticed occasionally by some users). In the past month or so, Space has become more involved with the site for personal reasons, which we viewed as a welcome development. We always hoped that we would eventually we able to reason with Space and convince him to hand over access to the site to us, and it made solving routine issues much easier for him to be involved. That said, we continued work on the backup site.THE SPLIT
Recently, Space was approached by a person on Twitter who asked if he could be given ownership over the hidden board, /dead/. Space agreed to this without consulting us, which we viewed as an overreach. While it is true that /dead/ was on the site before /leftypol/ was, we the /leftypol/ mods have taken over 95% of the day to day running of the site in the time since migration. The vast majority of activity on Bunkerchan has taken place in the relatively short time since we have moved here.
To make a long story short, our opposition made Space suspicious and led to him discovering the existence of our conspiracy. Space had arranged a closed meeting between the admins of the site, and was stonewalling communications with us. This led to a group of the moderators deciding to make the split public with the original version of this post. We originally predicted that following this meeting there was a possibility that the board could be taken out of our hands and given to outside actors, which turned out to be the case. Space was not interested in negotiation and demanded the removal of four mods who had been involved in the conspiracy including an admin. In addition, he would only give server access to a ‘loyalist’ admin who was rarely involved with /leftypol/ since the migration.
We, the moderators of /leftypol/, decided we would not be divided and conquered by Space and stood together in solidarity. Therefore, Space removed around 20 moderators who were members of the conspiracy, along with a few new mods who were not aware of it. Therefore, we have decided to continue our tenure at leftypol.org and we hope that you will join us on this journey, though it will ultimately be up to you. This was not the outcome that anyone wanted and it is not the one that we wanted. This site is not ready for use in many ways and we are aware of its current limitations, but our hand was forced by an infiltrator revealing the full extent of our planning to Space. Perhaps there will be some reconciliation in future but at present we have to assume that will not happen.MOVING FORWARD
Our first priority will be to bring this site up to feature parity with bunkerchan and to make the user experience similar. We still have a long way to go in this respect and we are aware of the many missing features and conveniences that have not been carried over. The technical team is working hard to improve the site as quickly as they can while the other mods work on non-coding tasks. Eventually we will try to surpass bunkerchan by adding features which have been requested for many months.
Secondly, we will determine the status of /GET/ and /ref/. Their administration is currently convening to decide whether they will remain on Bunkerchan, move to this board, or move to their own bunker at GETchan.net. They have unfortunately been suffering their own split which is partly attributable to the situation on Bunkerchan, and we hope it will come to an amicable conclusion for everyone. We wish the /GET/ community success wherever they choose to reside.
Thirdly, we want to create a more open and community-centred style of moderation and decision making. We will host a public monthly discussion with each other and the userbase where we discuss the running of the board, what is working well and what might not be, changes we wish to see, new priorities and plans, and so on. The first of these should happen soon so that we can gather feedback about the current situation.
Fourth, we need to consider our current situation and what we could do differently in the future. As I outlined above, this outcome was not what anyone wanted and we need to try to make more harmonious decisions in future. We should never allow ourselves to be put into the situation which occurred on Bunkerchan again, where we are at the mercy of one person. To that end, we are going to explore the best ways to share power and responsibility among the administration/moderation team and perhaps even the users as we experiment with direct democracy.
Fifth, we will try to explore ways to end the current split. We know it is not a positive development and we understand that it hurts our community. To this end, we will attempt to retain positive relations with Bunkerchan as part of a unified webring, and examine possible diplomatic solutions to the split. We are open to a reconciliation but of course there are terms that we would expect to be met and of course Space and the new administration of Bunkerchan is likely to have their own conditions. For now, we have both agreed to leave a sticky advertising each other’s boards in our respective /leftypol/s.
Finally, we will update our manifesto and rules to reflect the new situation. This will be a relatively simple but time consuming effort and is not a priority. For now we would ask users to simply use their common sense, rules that refer to ‘bunkerchan’ should be read as applying to ‘leftypol.org’, and so on.
I would like to once again thank you all for your patience in the current times. We will try to modify this topic to keep updated with current events.
With love, the moderation team