Given the most recent announce post and what is currently going on with Duiran, I feel honestly compelled to give an opinion regarding the organization. I don't feel compelled because I think I was somehow instrumental in what made Duiran good before because that isn't in the case. In fact, what made Duiran so successful was Sibatti, Kiyotan, myself, Pilar, Xavin, Lin, Kerryn, Arbre, and the countless names that put time and effort into making Duiran not only just a welcoming community but also a place that broke the typical forestal stereotype that has plagued both the organization and other forestal organizations across IRE.
However, with the most recent announce and from what I've observed and been told by countless people, I can honestly say that despite a desire to come back, I'm honestly both terrified and horrified to do so. I also feel that while Razmael's post did a good job of giving a minimal view of what is going on, I want to elaborate on the specifics of what I've both seen and heard via logs and outside means of communication.
Firstly, Razmael stated that Duiran is by far currently the most toxic organization he has ever seen and I agree with this statement. In the thirteen (almost fourteen) years I have been playing in IRE, I have never seen an organization so utterly toxic and plagued by metagaming. Unfortunately, none of this is new with Duiran. In fact, many of the old names that perpetuated this very atmosphere in the past have done it again. What caused so much ire this time was the pushback from certain individuals who either experienced the "old" Duiran or knew enough of it and saw the warning signs of what was happening yet again.
While Duiran has been in decline for awhile now because these players saw the warning signs of what was to come, certain players decided to stick it out. One prominent example of a player who did a lot for Duiran was Arbre. Arbre helped cultivate a lot of the savage atmosphere in Duiran that made it great, she established a pack of Duirani werewolves that almost outnumbered the Rout in terms of numbers at one point, she served productively and admirably as a Benandanti, and has done many other things that made Duiran thriving for the first time in its history. However, certain players that did not like her on a personal level decided to not only conspire against her via metagaming, they also tried to create "laws" that Duiran does not have and a few quite literally took to the practice of stalking her. They did this in an effort to find anything they could use as ammo to remove her from the Council or harass her enough to make playing there an abysmal experience. Eventually, it worked. Arbre, whose interactions with Toz that caused these certain individuals to rant for days, were in an effort to bring Toz to Duiran. Arbre's character has a long history of interacting with those from Shadow, either providing them with a means to seek the cure or helping bring them to Duiran. As a result of certain players and their actions, we lost both of them and that was but one example of the atmosphere that has been cultivated. Despite Arbre's attempts to also run for ministries and do more within the Council to help improve it, she was shunned, harassed, and eventually chased out of Duiran. Unfortunately, she is not the only one that this behavior has been levied against recently.
I have watched a nasty clique develop in Duiran that has been perpetuated by slander, lies, mudslinging, mudsex, and outright manipulation that borders on the behaviors of a sociopath. I have seen near constant election contestations on the grounds of personal OOC dislike and organized via metagaming. If you were not in the clique of these problematic individuals, they will stalk you or contest you repeatedly until they could remove you. After which, they'd blackball you from obtaining any ministry positions and stalk/harass you enough to make your playing experience in Duiran a nightmare until you eventually left. This has most recently happened with Pilar as well. What's worse? One of the problematic players even tried to defend stalking/harassing within the Benandanti channel, stating that it was perfectly acceptable behavior and that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Firstly, it's never acceptable for you to harass and stalk a player. This is a game and if you believe that is acceptable behavior at all and that you'd rather spend your time harassing someone rather than actually playing the game, there's a problem.
I have seen logs of Sen being stalked/harassed, Kerryn being harassed, Mariena, Elwyn, Pilar, Arbre, and countless others that the current clique views as a threat because of their ties to the successful Duiran. Out of ego and paranoia, they've done all that they can in order to uproot and harass these individuals to get them to leave. More recently, I had to hear a player from Duiran talk to me about how they were literally reduced to tears out of the game because of just how bad the harassment has gotten.
Now, I could go into further detail as to what is going on, but I believe that exposure of these issues on a surface level is sufficient and explaining what has been going on to the rest of the playerbase is important. I believe it is important because it is critical, as a community, that we don't allow stuff like this to happen. That it is utterly reprehensible that some of us can take a game so seriously that we would resort to OOC harassment, metagaming, and abuse.
I feel that Razmael's solution is a step in the right direction, but I have fears that the current clique causing these issues are going to position themselves in each of the guilds and harass the current leaders or those going for the positions until they've managed to put their own Speakers in. Personally, I feel that short of shrubbing/removing the players that started this to begin with (of which they have a history of doing it), Duiran will likely not improve.
In any event, I personally want to apologize to those who played in Duiran before. I'm sorry, as a player, that you got harassed, bullied, and that people conspired to make your playing experience truly awful as a means of perpetuating their own enjoyment. Additionally, I'm sad that all of the work that once went into making Duiran great has been reduced to a point to where it's even worse than how it was before we worked on it as a project. My hope is that, if Duiran improves, that many of you will give it a chance again in the future.