On the 13th of October 2004 (2004-10-13) I was banned from GTAForums for 24 hours. The ban took effect whilst I was assembling the Resuming Fahrenheit 9/11 topic and I lost over an hour of work forever. Additionally, I was researching specific parameter values used with the
paths.ipl file for GTAVC as I am writing a comprehensive paths.ipl definition in conjunction with Paths: Manual Editing and Paths: Using Editor guides. Being banned meant I was not able to see what information was already known, which has delayed my progress on these texts as it is compounded by very limited internet PC time.
When the ban ended I found I had a few new PMs. One was someone I had never heard of before asking about the progress of my paths tutorials, one was asking about MultiSlayer v4.1 and another was pointing out some broken links on my site. I responded to the first two, fixed the links discovered by the third and responded to that. Business as usual you might think - but there was another message, which I then opened.
It was a Verbal Warning, from Demarest. There was no message which explained why I had been suspended so I was understandably confused. How could I have done something to require a verbal warning whilst I was already banned? After patiently responding to Demarests flippant and dismissive responses I eventually discovered that not only had he given me the verbal warning, but he had issued the temporary ban as well.
I have included the PM conversation in full with dates and times here:
Demarest, Oct 13 2004, 13:23
The following reason was given for this verbal warning:
repeated harrassment of staff. let it go man
Related post: HTML Question
Cerbera, Oct 14 2004, 18:44
You have locked topics being used by staff which I have created. You erased one helpful topic I made without giving any warning for me to save the hours of work which went into it...and then locked the topic where I asked for an explanation without giving any. You now lock any topic which becomes at all critical of you and respond to my every post with insults and derision.
You used to openly admire my thorough attempts to indentify problems and aid their resolution. Remember those endless posts you made defending the signature policy I created with Illspirit? I used to think you were as concerned about truth and improvement as I still am.
When did you decide that my efforts to improve the lives of those around me was somehow malicious? Have you forgotten about all the suggestions I have made which then became policy after I was demoted from the global staff? Has your own life become so unpleasent that even I, whose only aim is to help others, is now somehow an enemy?
I'm totally at a loss. How, when I spend every waking hour considering ways to improve peoples lives, can I be met with such aggression, with demotion, with temporary banning and with seemingly endless derision - even from those whom I respected? :(
regards, Ben "Cerbera" Millard
Demarest, Oct 14 2004, 19:41
Twice I started replying to this. Twice I found myself asking... Why am I wasting my time? Nothing you mentioned has anything to do with your suspension. You have a grudge, an obsession, a fixation. You need to drop it. It’s causing you to go off topic anywhere and everywhere. If you had genuine gripes about me, you've always been able to address them with me. Instead, you go off topic in threads, lay out a heap of information about me that is also off topic, unsubstantiated, simply made up, etc. You need to stop it.
Cerbera, Oct 15 2004, 12:18
Please, try replying to this again when in a calmer mood. If my statements here are false, then you will easily be able to prove them false. Otherwise you must accept them true. Additionally, you must answer my questions else I will have to take this issues to other members of staff, or address it publicly.
What was the reason for my suspension, if it was not as I stated above? Additionally, my reply was to your verbal warning, not about the suspension. That’s why the suject was along the lines "Re: Verbal Warning" and not "Re: Suspension" - so please, I beg you, take this seriously.
regards, Ben "Cerbera" Millard
P.S. I edited the auto-generated HTML to BBcode. You should mention that error to Az, Illspirit, Jevon or one of the other technical team.
Demarest, Oct 15 2004, 12:45
What was the reason for my suspension?
The best example of how disconnected from reality you are. As you are aware having been staff yourself, each suspension is accompanied with a reason. THAT is why you are not worth my time. I speak to those living in the real world. It makes conversations flow easier.
Cerbera, Oct 21 2004, 17:08
I would really appreciate a sensible reply from you to address my honest confusion about this. If you know what the reason for the suspension was then tell me. The only contact I received from the staff was the verbal warning from you, which is why I thought you could give me answers about what was going on?
Piecing together these quotes is hardly my idea of riveting exercise. If you continue refusing to answer me sensible and in detail then I'm really not looking forward to having to research and assemble the facts required for a topic in the GTANet team! :p
regards, Ben "Cerbera" Millard
Demarest, Oct 21 2004, 17:19
As for you honest and sensible whatever, I am the one who issued your long-since-passed suspension. It was MY decision. And the actual reason was given. Click on your own karma log.
Cerbera, Oct 21 2004, 15:37
There is no mention of a suspension in my karma log. That’s why I said that I have had no reason given for my suspension. Now that you've finally revealed the fact that you gave the temporary ban, that you also gave the verbal warning and that both these things were given because of a reason you made up by yourself I am starting to get a better picture of what actually took place. Thank you for your honesty.
Do you have any more details to add before I start assembling the GTANetwork Team topic? It will probably take a few days because as I am stickler for truth and detail. But you already know that. :)
regards, Ben "Cerbera" Millard.
P.S. I managed to find all the dates of our correspondance and have added them into the quotes correctly.
Demarest, Oct 21 2004, 17:49
Congratulations. Have fun.
Perhpas now would be a relevant time to mention that you have limited access to internet and a lot of worthwhile endeavors you are involved with.
Demarest gave another member of staff a verbal warning, he also gave that member of staff a 24-hour ban from the forums. The staff policy has always been that members of staff do not use their staff reprimands against each other. It is not surprising that Demarest is not aware of this as he does not even know what a double post is. Indeed, Demarest has a consistent record of volatile overreaction to anyone remotely critical of him, often resulting in helpful and well-meaning members getting temporarily banned, or useful topics getting locked.
He once binned (deleted) a topic I made in the Improvements and Suggestions area without so much as sending the lost code to me via PM, or giving me any warning beforehand. He did not even inform me in any way afterward: I had to make another topic to ask what happened to my original topic, only for him to lock that one as well without giving a full explanation to either and without allowing any response from anyone whatsoever.
Not only does Demarest demonstrate a vindictive attitude towards anyone who finds any fault with him, he uses his priveledged staff position to deal out acts of retribution. His routine locking of helpful threads I create is a matter of public record, as is his indiscriminate trolling of members whenever he is in a bad mood.
With such overwhelming evidence proving Demarest’s utter contempt for and ignorance of staff policy he cannot remain. Let us not forget that he is also a convicted criminal, who violated his terms of probation and went on a banning rampage through good GTAForums members to hide this fact.
On 2005-01-09 Demarest was banned from GTAForums after an investigation involving all the active administrators revealed corroborating evidence. They found Demarest mis-used his powers. As his contributions to GTA modding dimished over the last few months he was there, his thirst for control grew. He conned the rest of the staff any a lot of the members into thinking he was behaving with the utmost disgression.
Illspirit created the topic in the Super Administrators area after I (and probably others) kept urging him that the staff take Demarest’s power abuses seriously, such as the one I have written about at length here. I am relieved that my confidence in him and the rest of the staff was not misplaced; and that they took my complaints seriously and rid the GTAForums community from the corruption of Demarest.
On 2005-06-20, Demarest was unbanned by illspirit. There quickly ensued a Welcome Back Demarest! in the General Chat. After I made my reply I talked briefly with illspirit over MSN. I told him he better have a good reason and he said that after reading my post, he didn’t. On 2005-06-21, Demarest was re-banned and the administrator "MyMothersMySister" locked the topic.
Until this the forums had seemed distinctly undramatic, much unlike the old days when there was always some dispute or other. After the April 1st prank and the subsequent “Voice of the people ™” jole backfired, the staff seem to have stopped trying to micro-manage and dominate the forum members.
This had led to a much healthier community, although some staff initiatives still don’t seem that smart. Creating loads more similar areas for modding so even more topics are in the wrong area is one such scheme. There should be fewer modding areas which are better focused to prevent them from overlapping and causing confusion. Maybe that’s just me, though.
Anyway, this saga seems to be closed. Until the next time...
No Rest for the Wicked
Not sure exactly when but fairly soon after the above Demarest was quietly unbanned again. He immediately (2005-08-25) started trying to make people put him in the staff so that he, “a highly karma-worthy member” could sort out this “one begrudged staffer‘’s personal issue”.
It doesn’t take much to see the subplot here: he’s trying to get back on the staff to resume the sick games he used to play. By portraying the staff as powercrazed and vindictive (how ironic!) he thinks the members will support him and the staff will have to let him back into the fold.
I threw in my two penneyworth and earnt 5 karma stars for my efforts. Clearly the staff can understand what a disaster Demarest and recognise his deceit. Yet they haven’t reinstated his permanent ban. Plenty of people (hundreds, in fact) have been permenantly banned for things not even close to what Demarest has done.