SCP Staff Attempt to Role-Inflate Away Their Problems, Don’t Know What They’re Doing

NEWS/OPINION — SCP Staff are discussing yet another new role in their ranks: “Vice Captain”. It’s new roles all the way down.

Policy printer go brrrr. Just imagine the dollar bills are new staff roles and responsibilities, I don’t have that kind of graphic skill or abstract creativity.

“Recently in staffchat (and even more recently in the AdCap Monthly Meetings), the issue of the lack of delegation and proper responsibility succession came up. I wanted to bring up a solution I came up with during the meeting and refined slightly since then.” — Yossipossi, staff

We might recall from a while back the Town Halls, the PTSD of which has yet to experience its half-life in staff’s bloodstream. Nearly forgotten from a year prior, these were resurrected by staff because user disapproval was at an all-time-high. Why? You’d have to ask the users, and might get as many different answers as people you ask (just be sure to do it anonymously). But reasons that stand out at a high-level are an over-extension of their affluence & executive fiat power over users’ site lives and works, their poor PR representation of the site, the convoluted nature of their structure and any attempts at communication to or from it, and the bourgeoisie-like hypocrisy regarding their rules not applying to them.

The idea of a dialogue was desperately needed, but staff couldn’t recall the by-then disjunct language of their proletariat, and so they attempted to liaise translators, reinforcing in a surreptitious way the unspeakable crux that the divide was already and hopelessly complete.

What has been staff’s reaction to the lessons “learned” from their Town Halls? We’ve compiled a list of these, one that has grown in a 1:1 correspondence with the rank futility of staff’s submachine desperation (a full minute of reading added to that blog post, per Medium). Most of these involve the swift addition of new policies and new roles, in the same way one might patch a leaky dam with more and more fingers. These new overseeing roles will need oversight themselves and an assurance that they will follow through, initiating a chain reaction of further policy and role creation, of intertwined and incestuous supervision, repercussion banged louder on more and more drums, the cacophony compounding the issues that initially contributed to staff becoming deaf to all exchange with the users as it now stands.

This new role, “Vice Captain” — itself the result of another new role, that the result of a new policy, which was an attempt to correct staff’s exemption of themselves based on their prior self-given roles — nominally tries to tackle a problem perpetual and self-admitted to staff, which is that they are poor communicators and delegates. It seems as though their ability to look backwards in time to draw conclusions from is goldfish tier. The budding and fractalization of staff’s attention span regarding their shortcomings as they lie inherent and multiplying in their bloated structure brings to mind a live rendition of Zeno’s paradox of motion, with the added bonus that it fully incorporates how an infinite number of “steps in the right direction” can ultimately have zero net displacement. You might as well ask staff to tell you how long the coastline is.

The thought-experiment that places a new staff role midway between two existing ones always yields for staff the same misapplied certainty. This staffer believes that they have come up with a solution when it is one of the only tools in the box for staff, the only weapon in the arsenal, the same defensive play from the line of scrimmage in the face of a comprehensively capable and overwhelming offense. A tell-tale sign that someone is out of ideas. This is the same solution that was unimaginatively conjured in the town hall liaisons, the First Sargent, the idea of junior staff, community outreach, internet outreach, etc. There is no workmanship in their operations, no uniqueness or tailored measurements in their approach. It might as well be algorithmic and automated: Problem? Widen the space between two parties and fill it with a shiny new staff position.

Graciously, the positing staffer here does my work for me and notes explicitly the number of new problems that replace the sole, original one; that you are essentially trading one problem for a more complex set of smaller problems when you clone team Captains into mini-me versions:

“A discussion point for staff: how do we encourage/ensure Captains properly train/delegate their duties to their Vice-Captains? In the past, we’ve had issues with Captains not properly training their Vice-Captains for the role, which essentially nullified the purpose of it. Is there any way to enforce this in policy, or should it be emphasized as a cultural change in Captainship?” — Yossipossi

This brings to mind that awful but ever-present moment in near-Earth object catastrophe movies, though cliche now to the point where even Hollywood scripts are self-aware and avoidant of it, when someone suggests breaking up the very large and incoming asteroid with a big bomb, and someone smarter has to point out how counterproductive that is. Except here, there is no such line (not yet in the discussion at least), and the cue is missed, the plot suddenly improvising a worse direction. Suffice it to say, you know it is a bad idea when staff themselves recognize its poor track record. They are making progress as historians in that they actually recognize that this time prior to going through with it.

It also must be said that this quote disastrously misunderstands cultural change. Cultural changes are not mandated in a top-down manner, as part of a vote, or approval of a new policy, or fiat declaration by some senior staff. They are bottom-up and organic, hence the term “culture”… which is a verb as well as a noun, staff might recall… and applies in sequence to seeds, then roots, and only then to the fruit at the top of the stalk.

What prevents staff from understanding that the multiplication of their numbers and ranks has the opposite effect to what they aim for, that they are too occupied in pedantry with the precision of their grip on a gun pointed back at them? Is the solution to lessening the gap between staff and users the recruiting of more and more users into staff until a majority are sympathetic? This might seem hyperbolic, and I grant you that it is, but only barely; the Vice-Captain role is to be initiated for each SCP staff team.

Here are a list of the current teams:

Note: This list is subject to grow with little notice or reasoning.

That’s a minimum of 11 Vice Captains. At least 11 new spaces to fill with responsibilities, potential mess-ups, potential distance, potential power abuse, potential mission drift, etc, etc, etc. The previous round of new role creation resulted in just as many drafted into the Staffchat Recap role (or see here, but on the first comment, you’ll need to click “Show More” in the bottom right, and then on any of the past versions to see the original comment), along with the auto-christening of 4 users into staff (minus maybe one who they feel shouldn’t be included because of some mean words said to a staff member, not kidding).

By this point, staff have so established such a blind spot in their critical thinking that they, backing into it out of fear, now occupy it, looking outward from the borders and concluding from their perspective that they can see everything:

“Part of the greater driving force in burnout is highly effective staff members feeling like they are required to have their hands on almost everything from policy to discussion to PR. If you feel like there is nobody capable of picking up your slack for a week or two while you work on your own private shit or just take a small vacation, then that’s a problem.” — ManyMeats, staff

They invert the diagnosis and confuse the mouth for the anus as they stand the patient on their head.

Rightfully, this role hopes to curtail burnout — a huge problem among SCP Staff that I wouldn’t be surprised is the real motivation behind the proposal, seeing as how the supplied reasons are staffspeak… notice the thread descriptor (which I’m glad to see isn’t music emojis and some obscure lyrics… thanks for that trend, TheGreatHippo). This role is officially introduced “…in case of Captain absence. Also allows for distribution of responsibility more easily.”

But fatally, the etiology is assumed to be a lack of staff, as opposed to an overabundance of it. In a method of self-preservation, staff’s fix isn’t less work, just a healthier rotation of the ever-increasing portions. The problem isn’t that staff feel as though they are required to have their hands on almost everything, probably because that’s a cultural norm and expectation especially to climb the ranks, but that they don’t have more, smaller versions of themselves to pawn the work off to like overflow valves when they need a break from what is an ever-expanding, second, full-time, and unpaid job.

Staff burnout is not excessive because staff need more personnel and roles to be held accountable to, it’s because they have too much on their plates already. Every time staff delegate a new job to someone, that is a time and energy-sink for those individuals who fill the role, one that takes them away from other pursuits on-site, like I don’t know, writing articles... what would be their common bread and butter with the users. They see the world upside down, and decide to rotate everything 180° but their own heads.

They feel as though a given captain will be less inclined to burn out essentially by giving them more employees to manage. They only recognize the distant, faint silhouette of these people being “back-ups” and overlook the tremendous, immediate, and actual body of work, stress, and subsequent liability involved in training these Vice Captains to get to that point… nevermind the increase in drama that Captains are guaranteed to oversee due to more individuals being around, more and fresher powder in the keg.

Later in the thread, other staffers even ask how they can hold the Captains accountable and how they should proceed if a Captain doesn’t do their new job well:

“I suppose having open and honest discussions with the vice captains might be the best way? Like a HR job review after a view months, see how they’re getting on, whether they’re learning stuff. The only thing is, I don’t know what repercussions we could give if they’re not… because if we demote them, we lack a trained captain.” — flagasm

Yes, give them interrogative sit-ins quarterly with their superiors to adjudicate their progress, giving them compliment-and-admonishment sandwiches. That will help these people have less stress and burn-out.

Again, betrayed by this proposal is the close-to-insane view that staff have of themselves where if their functions aren’t padded with redundancy, any sudden leave by a high up member (wonder why that is such a concern) could be compensated for without missing a beat. The site will not collapse without staff’s helicoptering overbearance.

The rest of the conversation is unsurprisingly about the bureaucratic minutia of this proposal, which also to no surprise is accepted indiscriminately and with as little friction as a maglev train, where there is no real contact or connection with solid ground… minutia like where to put the team-tailored (I could have also put “team-Taylored”) criteria for each Vice Captain. One staffer bemoans that they don’t know all the members of their own team, and others take the opportunity to push the idea that a posted list specifying everyone’s role in a given team is the solution (again, creating more up-to-date work and demands for someone); they authorize an inert placard to deal with their lack of sociality and team-making.

A few more select moments of hilarity:

“I’m all for this idea. I also like the vice vice captain.”

“…moving folk between sub teams somewhat routinely is going to be necessary if we want folk to grow towards being a captain.”

“It should also help alleviate burnout — it’s easier to feel enthused to work on stuff if it’s not the same kind of thing for months at a time.”

“The good news is we can fix this with just a bit of elbow grease.”

Something tells me you can’t. And that’s not elbow grease. That’s an oily purulence. It’s dripping from the infected and salt-preserved canker you got on your forearm from defiantly and repeatedly punching the ocean.

Update: It turns out, after getting into the nitty gritty of the details, that staff don’t actually know what just a regular Captain is! The conversation has now turned towards defining what the heck a captain might be, so that they can then propose and define what a vice captain can be. A new thread on defining what a captain is, incoming.

Update x2: HAHAHAHAHA 🤣

😂😂 😂😂😂
😆😆😆😆😆

(Although I wasn’t going to send this to anyone initially… it’s been 6 days… this post has been sent to user and staff member Yossipossi in a PM via WikiDot. Any reply will be posted here in full.)

Jeez I only just saw the typo

Update x3: Staff don’t know what the vice captain role means now and, only after approving it, are trying to figure this out. Talk about putting the cart before the horse:

https://archive.ph/eLFxm

© Lack of Lepers, 2021

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Separation of confic and state. The SCP Foundation Wiki’s most dedicated and hated critic. Co-founder @ Confic Magazine LLC.

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Lack of Lepers

Lack of Lepers

Separation of confic and state. The SCP Foundation Wiki’s most dedicated and hated critic. Co-founder @ Confic Magazine LLC.

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