Keeping PaperDemon a safe and welcoming community has always been important to us. This is why we created and continually enforce our community guidelines.
As host to multiple ARPGs on the PaperDemon website, Art RPG owners and staff who host with us are held to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. Recently, several public statements surfaced from members of our community that accused one of the owners of a hosted ARPG, who is also one of PaperDemon.com's contractors, of misconduct.
These reports were posted publicly and were not escalated through the proper channels of the hosted ARPG for resolution, nor through PaperDemon's community guidelines escalation process. These accusations also included leaked financial information which could cause harm to both the hosted ARPG and PaperDemon.
Due to the seriousness of the accusations, PaperDemon stepped in to investigate the alleged misconduct. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously. We have reviewed the claims, as well as evidence presented from both sides, and have concluded that the allegations included in the public statement were unfounded, and the accused did not violate our community guidelines.
This was not a quick process. We talked directly with both sides, asked follow up questions, and went through multiple screenshotted message interactions. We reviewed each accusation with the accused for response or additional context and clarification that may have been missing. There are always two sides to every story, and fair treatment is incredibly important to us. However, for the most egregious allegations of misconduct, we found that conversations had been snipped and taken out of context in such a way that the accused would always come out looking worse than intended.
As a result of unsubstantiated claims being posted publicly in a way that institutes harassment of involved members, we have, unfortunately, had to enact several measures to ban those involved. While instances of it are rare, our guidelines already state we reserve the right to apply mod action against people who violate our community guidelines off-platform as was done in this incident.
Those that have made these accusations are feeling very hurt. We want to recognize that their feelings are valid, but feeling strong emotions does not justify harassing others. While it's possible to feel hurt by an interaction, it's also possible that there were misinterpretations of the messages in question by those who made the accusations. By not taking the proper channels to discuss or escalate concerns, more harm was done to all parties. We expect these former members will contact people in our community to state their displeasure at these rulings. Please know that we have done our very best to remain neutral and review all evidence which was presented to us in this matter.
It's important to note that some of the accusations made by the accused are outside the scope of our community guidelines and were not up for consideration in this ruling. Some of them are legal or financial concerns and it will be up to the courts or interested parties to work out amongst themselves.
Some thoughts on future safety
Accountability is important to help ensure a healthy community. This incident could have been resolved through other channels privately. Public callouts such as the one we have mentioned are particularly harmful, and in delicate situations and disputes can be regarded as harassment. While harassment is already implicitly included in our community guidelines, we're considering revising our community guidelines to be more explicit.
This incident has also brought to light that we may need a more official channel to report misconduct from an ARPG staff member or PD staff member so that concerns like this can be resolved in private. We'll look into creating a process for this and get back to you with details at a later date. In the meantime, please see our community guidelines page for information on how to make a report of a community guidelines violation or report ARPG staff misconduct.
The issue has been raised that we don't yet have a block feature. This is an important safety feature we were planning to develop by the end of this year but hadn't gotten to yet. When we were a smaller community, we were quick to ban people who threatened community safety. But now that we've grown, it's clear we need a block feature. We will make this a priority and have this out asap. I apologize to anyone who needed this feature and didn't have it. We appreciate your patience.