Category Archives: Moderation

So, Gamasutra

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When I went to GDC in March I gave myself an ultimatum: I needed to find a job while I was there, or I would surely die.

Hyperbole aside, I really did need a new job. I’d been a moderator at a kids’ game for over three years, and although I’d been promoted twice, the time commitment versus the pay was terrible, and every shift left me feeling emotionally wrecked. The kids were terrible. Though my immediate superior and the coworkers I interacted with most were great, everyone else was a nightmare. And did I mention the pay?

It’s funny. I don’t consider myself particularly money-obsessed. I laugh at people who are. Look how frivolous you’re acting. But as a professor of mine might say, money is a game that’s very hard to quit playing. I had gone to GDC on others’ dime and unless I wanted to be faced with the same situation year after year, I had to improve my own take. Just a bit of breathing room would be fine. Nothing special. Just enough to live without constant anxiety attacks would be nice.

I didn’t, incidentally, come away from GDC with a job. I stopped by the career pavilion once, saw the lines of desperate fresh-faced college grads queuing at every booth, and turned around. I’m still using all the wasted resumes I printed as scratch paper.

The first few days back at home were demoralizing. I had had a great time, and met plenty of wonderful people, and Terry Cavanagh even borrowed my eyepatch. But I’d surely squandered all the hard-earned money everyone had given me through the GoFundMe campaign. I was a failure. I’d be working at this kid’s game until the studio went belly-up, which was probably soon, because for as much as I liked my manager I can’t at all sugarcoat how terribly the thing was run from the top down. I was preparing to ask my surrogate family if I could move back in with them.

Then about a week later, this happened.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to leave my moderation job and work solely for Gamasutra. It took a few weeks to get everything ironed out — at one point I was working 13 hour days working both jobs at once — but now things are laid back and happy and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like a hostage to my employer. I don’t have to worry about not making rent in a given month because I’m too sick to work one day out of seven. I don’t have to drive myself ragged for a few extra cents worth of overtime.

There are other perks too. Psychological benefits mostly — and I don’t mean in the cheap corporate sense, but the actual good the Gamasutra job seems to be doing for my emotional health. I’m not used to a work environment I look forward to coming into each day, as I do with Gama. I’m not used to all these foreign concepts like supportive coworkers and weekends off.

I know, this is the sort of stuff a lot of white collar folks take for granted. It’s no doubt becoming increasingly uncommon, though, and I will never let go of how freaking privileged I am to have a job right now, to say nothing of one I actually enjoy. I’m not here to brag. Just express my thanks.

Thanks, everyone, who sent me to GDC. I accomplished what I set out to do and more, not in the way I expected to, but totally sideways and weird and much more gratifying, in the end.

Also, I highly recommend having an editor with the same first name as you, as it allows one to say things like “Yeah, Kris is a great editor.” No, that will never stop entertaining me. If I wasn’t easily amused I wouldn’t be such a Twitter addict.

(Finally: yes, I know I still owe plenty of people donor rewards, and yes, they’re coming! Now that I’m finally adjusting to the rhythm of the Gama job, I expect I can follow up on these things soon. In the meantime, there are always photos of my cat.)

Moving Pixels Podcast: A Fireside Chat with ‘Fat, Ugly, or Slutty?’

I love the good people at Fat, Ugly, or Slutty. They’re the sort of internet vigilantism that anyone can participate in. It might not be polite, calling out trolls, stalkers and creepazoids on Xbox Live and PSN, but check out a few of their posts and I think you’ll agree they entirely deserve it.

We recently sat down with three of the four FUoS admins to talk about the site and the reception that it’s garnered. We also laugh about our respective trashtalking experiences, which is one angle where my day job as a game moderator actually comes in handy.

Please be sure to pay them a visit at their PAX Prime panel!

(And Feday, I’m pleased to report that my Gamerscore is now well over 5k. Friends again?)

‘don’t take it personally’: Identity Performance and Surveillance Culture

(wallpaper design by auro_cyanide @ deviantArt.)

Reposted from PopMatters Moving Pixels.

In my day job I moderate for an online kids’ game. I’ve written about this before, mainly in relation to knowledge toolsets and pedagogy, but if there is one aspect to my work which bears the closest resemblance to Christine Love’s lauded visual novel don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story, it’s the practice of surveillance performed by the novel’s protagonist.

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Hazard Pay

Apparently I’ve grossed some people out with out-of-context tweets about the more unpalatable aspects of my day job. The hazards of 140 characters and never being sure if someone is coming into your rants midstream, I suppose.

Let me set the record straight in one respect, at least: I have a dirty job. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite happy to be employed– my manager is understanding and cheerful, my hours are flexible, it’s very conducive to multitasking. But that image queue and the trolls and perverts who spam it is easily among my least favorite aspects of this job (the other being dealing with suicidally depressed adolescents– as someone who’s been there, I may be either the best or worst at handling them and either way I usually end up needing a stiff drink afterwards).

So today we’re going to talk about why knowledge of unsavory stuff is helpful in my line or work and in the course of that talk about some gross, disgusting things done in the name of keeping your kids safe (or just wielding a banhammer of puritanical morality; I will accept either interpretation). You may wish to skip the rest of this unless you’re particularly curious.

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