On Monday, July 3, while away on vacation, the server crashed. I was notified by a player via discord. We had just gotten back from being out at the beach and I had a huge smile on my face. This was my first vacation with my fiance. While my fiance washed up, I decided to start the server back up and let it recover from its crash and check on discord while I’m at it. I went into generalchat and found there was chaos. A player who had been with us for years was unhappy with seniors. He had expectations of how they should be managed. A senior had responded and received quite a bit of heat as she was defending seniors. This crushed me. It ate me up, and to be brutally honest, I was so angry and heartbroken that I started just crying like a baby. My fiance calmed me down but my mood had irreversibly soured. I decided then that maybe this server was more harm than good. I sent my fiance to the weight room as I sat in the corner to declare the server’s end. I wanted it shut down permanently.
You see, I had started this server 4 years ago when a server called Player-craft died. I’m asocial and I have avoidant personality disorder. I have bad anxiety talking to people but I’m forever lonely being in a world where people enjoy things they like with other people. In Player-craft we had region poles and it allowed us to build together in the world without building together. I lived in an extreme hills biome and was working on buildings jutting out of the mountains. TheBlockMage and Xishwam0 were also busy at work on their own massive projects. We had maybe 5 people on at most there, but it was so much fun. When Player-craft died, I reached out to TheBlockMage and Xishwam0. We decided to start a server together essentially the same as Player-craft. BlockHermit was born on May 18, 2013.
The idea for the server was to create a community open to everyone to just come and play together. First few dozens of people we got, it was manageable. We didn’t have seniors. No one got kicked. We didn’t really have rules. But then we saw griefing and hostility between players even despite the claims system and so we had to kick and ban our first few players and establish some ground rules. TheBlockMage and Xishwam0 were never elected into seniorship. They just started off with the same thing I did. But we decided to create the idea of having seniors. We are players, but we ultimately get to choose how to moderate other players. The idea of being a senior was not to obligate people into having to help, but to give them the privilege of moderating should they so wish. We had no system of checks and balances.
The next few years, we saw seniors come and go. We never created a system of checks and balances for seniors because of what I saw them as. They’re players who have the power to help if they so wish. No obligations. I never wanted to put them in that situation where they are obligated to any task on the server. This should have been my burden at most to bear. The seniors were also hidden. We never publicly announced who was a senior. This was set in place so they could do their playing at leisure. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to a player, even if you’re not obligated to help them. Players found out who seniors were as ‘help me’ requests got answered by them. This forced Cob to stop playing and become an invisible senior. Others left.
As our playerbase grew, I had to slowly install a system to help seniors not get bogged down by requests. A few times over the years, myself and other seniors were told we SHOULD and we HAVE TO help players. No, I stood by my thoughts back then and still stand by it now, I don’t want to obligate seniors to do anything. They are players not because they should be seen as players but because they declare themselves to be one. Players never had any power in defining what a senior is and what their duties are. This was and still is a hobby server. One run out of pocket. It’s not a business. And quite frankly, I never had the interest back then, nor do I even now have an interest in seeing the server grow that much. I was happy with five players when we started and I wouldn’t have felt a loss if it stayed five even now.
I want to add that part of the reason we never went whitelist for this server is because people who are like me, asocial and avoidant, won’t apply to things. BlockHermit makes it very easy to get on the server and play without having to interact with people. Maybe one day when the player so chooses, they can speak up in chat. Likewise, I see a lot of servers turn down applications especially for children. This server has seen many parent-child duos play. And I love seeing them. I love being able to provide an environment where a parent and child can play without feeling nervous about exposure to foul language and adult themes.
When I declared the server would be shut down, many people spoke up in support of keeping it alive. I was honestly touched and surprised by this. I don’t want to shut down the server, I just need to keep my sanity. I already trigger my anxiety every day responding to issues and requests for the server so that others don’t have to. I don’t care about the cost of the server, I care about our players’ well-being. So to find a good balance between the two, I proposed that the players take the issue into their hands. How can we fix the server so that seniors are respected? How can we improve so that people are not stressed out? I gave it a week from the Monday July 3rd. We have 3 days to figure this out.
This post was made in hopes that maybe you will see where I stand, how this server was envisioned, and what we are up against. I want this server to be all of ours, not just mine.