It seems, as of late, that there has been a lot of controversy and confusion surrounding a few topics. One topic is that of name changes. The second topic is that of PayPal donations. The third is regarding my commitment to Sythe.org. I'll address each in turn.
First, in regard to name changes. Certain staff members have decided to interpret our policy on name changes differently than we have in the past. This has resulted in some unauthorized name changes and caused quite a fuss with the general Sythe.org population. I'm here to correct this and solidify the official Sythe.org policy on name changes. I have discussed this issue with Sythe himself and we have come to a decision for our name change policy. First, I will quote the newly updated Sythe.org Official Rules:
Originally Posted by Steph
Name changes are NOT allowed except in ONE, and only ONE, case. If someone is promoted to staff and has an unprofessional username, we may allow them to change it to something more professional. If their existing username is professional enough, however, they will NOT be given a name change. Name changes are NOT a donator perk IN ANY WAY regardless of donation level. Capitalization and other "minor" changes are included in this rule regardless of how "minor" the change may seem. Asking staff members for a name change in violation of these rules may result in an infraction.
I feel like the above clause is straightforward and should alleviate any confusion regarding our policy. But, to be sure, let me explain in detail. Name changes have long been forbidden because people would use them to hide from their previous discretion. As in, people would scam or do something else unsavory and then get a name change to cover it up. Given how big a problem scamming is, we stopped allowing name changes quite some time ago. So, in summary: name changes (regardless of how minor or major) are explicitly forbidden regardless of who the user is or how much they have donated to Sythe.org. Name changes are NOT a donation perk as some would like to think.
The ONLY exception to this rule is in regard to NEW staff members. At Sythe.org, we like to maintain a professional and approachable team of staff members. So, when we promote someone to staff, we reserve the right to give them a name change so they can have a more professional name. Names like "xx Slayer Guy xx" are not what we envision for our staff. (That is a completely random example.) Someone with a name like that would most likely be given the option to pick a new, more professional name more suiting of a staff member. If someone already has a professional enough name, we will largely leave their name the way it is.
We have discussed and considered making minor and major name changes a donation perk, but at this time we have not made this change. If we do decide to make name changes a donation perk, or change the policy regarding name changes in general, we will let the community know and update the Sythe.org Official Rules as appropriate. If you have any questions about the above, let me know.
Another hot topic is always PayPal donations. While we have posted from time to time letting you all know that PayPal donations are not allowed, I don't know that we have ever offered a complete explanation of WHY they aren't allowed. So, let me explain...
First, I want to make it clear that there is not a technical issue with accepting PayPal donations. I've already written the code needed for us to use PayPal and have integrated PayPal capabilities into the donation center. Being that my specialties are tech and donations, as certain people have attempted to make very clear lately, I can assure you all we have the skills and technology necessary to accept PayPal. The issue is with PayPal and their ridiculous policies.
There are a few issues with PayPal itself. First, Sythe.org is based out of Australia. Australian PayPal accounts work differently than those in the United States and have different policies. Second, to accept the amount of transactions we want to we would need a business account. Australian PayPal business accounts tend to require verification and proof of incorporation, which we do not have. Ultimately, Sythe.org is a personally owned website and not a business. Using a personal PayPal account is incredibly difficult because it's easily susceptible to fraud and, when people file disputes or charge-backs, we always lose.
We have accepted PayPal donations in the past, but have always had to stop using PayPal within a week or two because of transaction issues. Sythe is currently in the process of trying to work some of these issues out in Australia, but that takes time. Sythe is a very busy person outside of Sythe.org and has a lot going on in his life. So, it may take some time for everything to get ironed out. Believe us, we would love to accept PayPal because of how much donation income it would bring. If we could accept PayPal we definitely would. Unfortunately, at this point, it is not a viable option. What's important for you all to know is that we are working on getting PayPal set up and will do what we can to have it available as soon as possible.
My Commitment to Sythe.org
Lately some have expressed concern over my activity levels and commitment to Sythe.org. From what I gather, this criticism has come from a variety of members, but largely from a few members of the staff. It has been suggested that I only care about Sythe.org because of things like financial gain or for the sake of having power as an administrator. Generally I welcome all criticism and try to do my best to learn and grow from said criticism as much as possible. I don't profess to be perfect nor do I claim to be the best staff member on Sythe.org; that would be arrogant and frankly untrue. What I would like to say, however, is that the criticism I've received lately is incredibly disappointing and I will tell you why.
The reason it's so disappointing is because this criticism is largely motivated by self-interest, greed, and a misconception of my role here.
Sythe.org is an incredibly vibrant and active community which I have seen evolve over the past 7+ years. I have been fortunate enough to be an administrator for quite some time and am very thankful for this opportunity. Both Sythe the person and Sythe.org the community have been good to me and while we have had our disagreements and troubles throughout the past, we have overcome them and kept Sythe.org running at its peak. This is exactly why Sythe relies on me to keep an eye on things, why I'm not going to duck into the shadows, and why I will not tolerate misguided staff members seeking to change Sythe.org for their own personal gain.
My current role is primarily as a technical admin and manager of donations but also Sythe's right hand man. What I want all of you to know is that I'm here for you, watching the site, and am happy to answer any and all questions about anything. While my activity levels fluctuate as college and real life demand my time, I am still watching and still available if you need me. Sometimes it takes me a few days to answer messages and deal with requests, but with the new donations center and request queuing system I've written, I'm hoping this will become less of an issue. That and I finally fixed my e-mail account so I get PM notifications again...
If you should have any questions regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'm happy to answer any questions, to the best of my ability, and want to ensure that you (the Sythe.org community) have a fair understanding of what's going on with the site. Keep in mind you're welcome to ask me questions about anything related to Sythe.org, not just the above. If I don't know the answer to your inquiry, I'll do my best to point you towards the person who will know.
We, the Sythe.org staff, sincerely appreciate your use of Sythe.org and want you to know we are doing our best to make Sythe.org the best it can be.
Edit: For a conclusion regarding some of the conflict mentioned above, see this thread: http://sythe.org/showthread.php?t=1225155