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Feb 26 2018, 04:28 AM
So there's this big issue going around right now about Pens editing player page thread titles to make the format more uniform, something that is objectively helpful to the league, and being criticized for it because he didn't go to HO and make them do it instead. Now I have absolutely no personal stake in this discussion, as I'm neither Pens nor HO, so why write about it? That sweet media money, that's why. Plus I feel like leagues across the wider sim league community, including this league but not limited to it, tend to think things like "come to HO instead" are common sense for a new member when in reality it's not the case. You come into these things completely blind for the most part, and if you see a way to help, and you have the power to do so, it should be rewarded instead of punished if you take that level of initiative as a new guy, regardless of what the good old boys think is the "proper" way to do it.
For someone who's been around the block a few times - or a few real life years across multiple leagues, like I have - it's obvious that you can't so much as breathe on moderation powers without making everyone and their brother aware of it, since it's so easy for there to be nefarious intent behind it, and people have to make sure you're not doing anything wrong. For a new guy, that is not the least bit obvious, or even intuitive. The assumption, until you find out otherwise, is that helping the league in any capacity is beneficial. From where Pens stood, not only would he not have known to go to HO, the only proper line of thought is "this helps the league, so I'm going to do it" (or, "this helps the league but I can't be bothered to actually do it at the moment" which is fine as well) but the point is that at no point would he or should he have thought or been expected to think that he needed to get HO involved. It's not a logical part of the thought process for a guy in that position.
By punishing him, the message that we as a league are sending is that new guys should be incredibly careful and scared to do anything at all, for fear it might piss off the wrong guy. Sure, there are successful organizations that are run in this way - organized crime families do this all the time, where the minor guys, cousins and friends of the family, are afraid to do anything at all for fear it's the wrong thing and it will perhaps cost them their lives - but this isn't the way to do things as a respectable organization. We want new guys to come in and feel comfortable, welcomed, and respected. We want new guys to take initiative and step into places where they think their services are needed. We want new guys to come into a league and feel a strong foundation and solid footing, to stand on the shoulders of those who've come before, not walking on eggshells for fear of repercussions. To punish a guy for taking initiative creates a culture of fear, and no league should be about creating such a culture, whether intentionally or as an unintended consequence of actions.
The official ruling from HO is that he broke a rule, and regardless of intent, he should be punished uniformly with others who've broken rules. The thing is, he didn't actually break a rule. He broke HO's interpretation of a rule. Nothing in the explicit wording of the rule was broken. The wording of the rule is as follows: "Any user who abuses moderation powers in order to alter (without permission or valid reasoning) another users post, topic, or reply will be given the follow punishments" - now there are two areas in the rule where terms are not defined. What exactly constitutes abuse of power, and what is a valid reasoning for doing so? Without clear and explicit definitions, nothing can be said to violate this rule. Let's break these two areas down, to see what was violated and what was not.
Abuse, a word with a negative connotation, would logically be assumed as "using moderation powers in a way other than intended, as intent defined by the job the member holds giving them such powers, in a negative way or a way detrimental to a team or the health of the league" which is a specific and clearly defined way to state what abuse is. Based on this, did Pens abuse moderation powers? He used the powers in a way other than intended as defined by the job he held, but he did not do so in a negative way or a way detrimental to a team or the health of the league. Now if one wants to claim that the negative or detrimental part of my definition is not to be assumed as abuse, then he violated the first part by using the powers in an unintended way, but again it should be clarified. Until it's clarified, then he has done nothing wrong through this part of the rule and punishing him is following a guilty until proven innocent mentality.
Valid reasoning is even harder to define. There can't really be a consensus as to what defines valid reasoning. Some might say it's anything that works toward the greater goal of the benefit of the league, which fixing the titles of player pages absolutely does. If things are in a uniform format, that is objectively better than them being in all manner of different formats. Yes, it's incredibly minor, but at the same time it's also minorly beneficial, rather than minorly detrimental. In this sense, it seems like what Pens did was with valid reasoning. Others might define valid reasoning differently, or in ways that do not include what Pens did, and that's not to say that those definitions are wrong. What it does say though, is that terms like "valid reasoning" are always going to be impossible to define, and as such, terms of this nature have no place in a rulebook. A rulebook is supposed to clearly and explicitly define what is allowed and what is not, and a rule using a term like "valid reasoning" can by definition not clearly and explicitly define anything.
As per both of these, the conclusion at hand is that there was no clearly and explicitly defined rule in the rulebook broken by Pens and his actions. The HO is trying to define the rule after the fact, and stating that Pens broke their new definition of the rule, but if it was not the definition of the rule at the time (and explicitly stated as such) then no rule was broken and no punishment should be given. If anything, we should be applauding him for making an effort, even if in a minor way. Regardless of the punishment at hand, the rule must be rewritten as a result of this issue and defined in a more clear and explicit way going forward. In fact, the rule should have been written more clearly and explicitly in the first place. The fact that the writer of the rule was unsuccessful at defining what he wanted the rule to mean is not the fault of anyone else later deemed to have broken it.
As such, I'm calling for several actions as a result of this issue:
1. Pens can't clearly have been deemed to have broken the rule, as the rule is a gray area and has no such obvious breakage. Thus, no penalty should be given, and I'm calling for the penalty to be removed.
2. The rule must immediately be rewritten to remove any potential gray area and clearly and explicitly define what is and what is not in violation.
3. The rule should be removed from the rulebook entirely until the more clearly defined version is created and implemented, so as to remove any such errors in the meantime.
4. Going forward, the league must implement an innocent until proven guilty mentality, rather than the opposite. If in the future, an action is found to be something the league does not want to allow, but it does not explicitly violate a rule, then a rule must either be rewritten or newly added to address the issue - and also, the person doing the action at that time, when such rule was not in effect, is not guilty and should not be punished.
5. Ideally, the members of HO responsible for handing down this punishment should make a heartfelt and sincere apology to Pens for irresponsibly punishing him and for causing potentially irreparable damage to his reputation. This is not likely, of course, but in a true and just league it would happen.
In short, if an action occurs, and the league can't point to a rule and state that the action at hand violated this exact rule in this exact way with no room for interpretation, it should not be punished. If a member of HO states in their punishment that "I consider this rule to have been violated in this way" then it is not violated - there is no room for consideration. One must not consider a rule to have been violated, it must be outright violated or it is not.
1576 words. Much money. Very paid.
Feb 10 2018, 08:04 AM
Story 1: the draft experience
So on draft day, it was a roller coaster for defensive tackle Bogdan Wojcik. He'd heard some mild rumbling before the draft of a potential first round destination for him, one he didn't really feel he deserved, but that he was also one of five players up for the spot and likely wouldn't end up there. Other than that, he knew his floor was a certain late second round pick, as he'd heard all but confirmation from a team picking there that he was the target (and this pick would certainly have been a place Wojcik would have been happy with, although he's also happy at his current team). He'd intended to be there for the draft itself, but ultimately he could only watch the recorded version after the fact. The destination was a bit spoiled for him, as he had already been invited into a discord with the team that selected him, but how, when, and why were still up in the air.
So of course, the recorded version of the draft was available to all draftees. Wojcik watched it with interest, trying to figure out what went down to turn him from a Lucha into an Otter. The first round went by without much issue, and he was not selected, as he thought was fair. He did notice one interesting piece of information, however; Lucha teammate Elvin Enchant was about to be Otter teammate Elvin Enchant. Wojcik didn't know a ton of the NSFL level players on really any of the teams, so it was a pleasant surprise to have someone to figure things out with.
Picks started to go by in the second, and just a few picks before what he knew to be his floor, there was a seemingly nothing pick. The Liberty were selecting, and everyone knew that was designated to be Blessed Storm, so nothing to see here - waaaait? There's been a trade! The Otters traded up to that pick, shortly ahead of where he was basically predetermined to go, and surely that had to be it. Waiting and watching just to be sure, then the name flashed on the bottom of the screen... Bogdan Wojcik, DT. This was the spot. He was an Otter.
Story 2: Wojcik's thoughts
Wojcik had stated publicly prior to the draft that he'd have been happy with any draft location, which was certainly true, but there were teams he'd have been happier with than others. Any draftee who says they have absolutely no preference is lying. For Wojcik, this came in the form of three tiers. Tier 3 consisted of the two teams that didn't contact him at all. While the teams in the other two tiers will mostly be kept secret, it doesn't hurt anything to say that these two teams were the Liberty and Sabercats. Draft-wise, this made sense. The Liberty had already committed their second rounder, and otherwise to go to either of these two teams, Wojcik would have had to have been a top 4 pick. That just wasn't realistic.
Tier 2 consisted of three teams that contacted him, and he answered their questions and even talked extensively with some of them. There absolutely would have been nothing wrong with any of the tier 2 teams had they selected him, he'd have been happy and loyal to any of them, although one of them (the Second Line, the only tier 2 team that will be specified) dropped off just a tad with a name change he wasn't a fan of (this team probably would have been a tier 1.5 on its own prior to the name change, bordering on tier 1, he actually really enjoyed conversing with their representative). Nonetheless, he'd have happily played there or any of the tier 2 teams.
Tier 1 consisted of three teams that contacted him, talked extensively with him, and he had something in common with their representative. One was a long unending string of PMs between the two where they discussed a topic of interest to both. One was a team that had gone so far as to add him to their discord ahead of time, and he spoke to their representative often as well. Another was a team where one of their reps had seen Wojcik in the discord often, especially in the pokemon server, and that sparked a conversation as well... a conversation that would ultimately lead to a draft position, as that team was the Otters. For what it's worth, the other team that had specifically mentioned where they planned to take Wojcik had he been at that spot, only shortly after he'd actually been drafted, was another tier 1 team. Between the two, there really was no way to go wrong. One additional minor positive (such a small thing it barely matters, but is the case nonetheless) is that otters are one of Wojcik's favorite animals, behind only rhinos and seals.
Jan 21 2018, 10:51 PM
I'll be honest with you guys, I only need 16 words here. I feel like that wouldn't really be allowed, so I'll just go on for a bit and then stop when it kind of runs its course. Anyway, so I find it pretty annoying that my whole division is within half a game of each other. Seriously, 3 teams, 5-4-1, 5-4-1, and 5-5. That's not a thing that's supposed to be a thing. I'm hoping Tijuana gets in, but I'd have preferred not to have to sweat it. We don't have any games left against Kansas City, who are the worst team this year, but even they're not that bad (3-7, and in the other conference). Palm Beach has a game left against Kansas City so they're probably the favorites to get in, and otherwise it's basically whoever wins the two games between Tijuana and San Antonio. In an ideal world both the bot teams would miss and all the actives could get to experience the playoffs, but one bot team (Norfolk) is pretty much a lock and the other (Palm Beach) has a pretty good shot to get in.
191 words, which is much more than 16.
Dec 24 2017, 09:03 PM
There's a controversy brewing in Tijuana, Mexico tonight, and no, it has nothing to do with tequila or hookers - well, yet anyway. It's about the the contracts of the Tijuana Luchadores of the DSFL, the minor league that feeds into the NSFL, and a perceived injustice on behalf of a player who was signed to them, with the benefactor going elsewhere. By now, the clip has surely made the rounds on Youtube, Facebook Live, Twitter - the interview with Tijuana player Antonio Legion where he goes off on the reporter about the contract situation of new teammate Bogdan Wojcik, who was only offered a 1 million dollar contract, in comparison to a fellow Legion member Blessed Storm who was offered a much more substantial 6 million. It's starting to look like the new generation's "I'm just here so I won't get fined" but the interesting part is that it's not even Wojcik who is arguing for it, nor is it Storm the beneficiary of such a deal. Legion's passion over the issue is admirable, and shows he wants what's best for his teammate. That begs the question though: what is best for Wojcik, and what is best for the Tijuana Luchadores?
It's no secret that players from the HFFO agency tend to go for larger money deals, and this was the case for Blessed Storm here. Some may see that as a drawback, some may see it as his clients getting what works for them, and if a team is willing to oblige, it's not an issue. Storm wanted 6 million, the Luchadores gave him 6 million, and all that's left now is to play some football. As long as it doesn't hurt the Luchadores' cap, there's nothing inherently wrong with taking a larger deal, and even if it did hurt their cap, the money is theirs to do with as they see fit. They considered it wise, at the time of offering, to give Storm 6 million. Whether that will prove true remains to be seen.
The other issue Legion brought up in the brief yet viral response is that of Wojcik getting 1 million, a perceived small amount to a new player who would typically be given more. However, we've received the other side of the story from Wojcik himself, and it all seems to fall into place a lot more after hearing it from him.
"I came to them. The same night I was drafted, I was obviously introduced to the team and many of us talked at the post-draft event over drinks and a fine array of hors d'oeuvres. I met a lot of the players, and I met one of the guys in charge, Jaskins. He seemed like a great guy, really wanted what was best for his players, so that very night I pulled him aside and talked contract with him, before he'd even really brought anything up with the rest of the Luchadores head office. I expressed interest in a small deal. I have other ways of earning money, and the less I make, the more the team can spend on other players, which in theory should make us more successful. He hadn't even brought up the idea of contracts - if anything, it might have been poor form on my part to bring the business side of the game into things at such a lighthearted, fun event - but it was very important to me to instill in them right from the get go that I wanted a smaller dollar amount to my contract. Something like 2 million or even 3 million might have been fine, but honestly, the 5 million type of deals that it seems like most of the team got, I don't think I'd have accepted it, at least not with some discussion from the team beforehand as to why. Instead, I got the single million, which is honestly just about perfect. I can't express enough how happy I am to have landed on a team that understands the desires of its players and tries to meet them, especially in instances such as this where that desire ultimately falls in line with what's best for the team as well. If I'm happy and the team is happy, who else matters? I have to say though, I definitely appreciate where Legion is coming from on this, he wanted to help me out, he really did. He just didn't have all the information at his disposal when he went off at that reporter. It's an unfortunate case of timing, and it could have been avoided had I made it clear to the league on the whole where I stood on the issue rather than just in private to Jaskins. That said, contract negotiations are private by their very nature, so the onus shouldn't have been on me to try to prevent things like this from happening. I negotiated with the team the contract I was given. It was posted, I accepted. That's all anyone really needs to know."
There you have it, folks. It's rare this day and age, and perhaps a bit unorthodox, for a player to actively negotiate his deal in reverse. It's just standard practice to try to push for more money, not less money, and Wojcik is clearly a rather unusual football player to have done this. Still though, we don't fault people for being odd. If he performs on the field, that's all that matters, so we'll see if Wojcik's season in the DSFL is worthy of this contract, or if perhaps the downward negotiations take the pressure off to such an extent that he fails as a player as well. So far though, all signs point to a strong opening campaign for the rookie. At the same time, if Wojcik can live up to the hype, and along with Legion and Storm, the three can put this mess behind them and focus on some football, perhaps they'll develop chemistry as teammates and take the league by storm - that was, after all, the point to taking a smaller deal in the first place.
On behalf of the Tijuana Luchadores, this has been Quilha Agante, for ESPN Deportes.