Bridging the Schism

I’ve been involved in ingress since late 2012. I’ve been an L8 Resistance. I’m now an L15 Enlightened. I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve seen how opposition agents can be misjudged or seen an “assume the worst” approach used. I’ve been the target of much anger and hostility after my faction change. I’ve been a leader on both sides and created our local Xfaction community, and ran it (with the support of a great team) until my recent handing over to Glenn Morgan; an ingress ambassador if there ever was one. I’ve seen all manner of personal and faction disputes from the mundane to the explosive, from the trivial to the complex. I’ve seen allegations levied which far exceeded the act itself. Sometimes Hanlon’s Razor needs applying: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Sometimes simple misunderstandings occur and sometimes an agent has truly wronged others. I’m here to suggest some ways to help bridge the schism. I’m not so unrealistic as to suggest that every agent can get along with every single other agent, we’re human, that’s not how it works. I won’t be so audacious as to suggest that all agents actions can be forgiven, I know in some cases, they will not and cannot. I’ve seen the schism wax and wane and it was such a prominent part of the game that I’ve taken it as my agent name: Sch1sm.

bridging schism

I’ve observed the conditions which lead to a bridging and those which lead to a widening of this schism. It seems the longer we go, the wider the divide can become if it’s not handled by dedicated agents who are willing to put their time, their hearts and their minds toward the challenges. When the trolls are at their worst in comm, this is when people flare up, engage in nasty arguments or simply walk away. This is when in game activity suffers and everyone loses. I’ve seen an agent who was so hostile and divisive to his own faction, that upon removal from communities and excommunication/blocking, the team made a massive comeback with all the returning players and began taking a strong local lead. I’ve also seen things like Ingress First Saturday bring the factions together like never before and watched 30 agents have a fantastic day with not a single word of ill will and many smiles all day long. I know some agents have no intention of playing nice, and for a small percentage of agents, that will never change. This article isn’t for them, it’s for those who know in their hearts that overall better Xfaction relations leads to a much healthier and fun gamespace. This is for those who are willing to forgive and forget, those who are willing to put in the effort bridging the schism.

What I’m here to suggest will be scoffed at by some, rejected entirely by others, but hopefully, embraced by many.

In the spirit of the holidays, I suggest that you find it in your heart, and recognize the benefit of allowing: A #ReputationReset.

This idea came about while we were migrating both our faction and Xfaction hangouts over to Slack as it has more features and allows better administration (ever have a lifetime troll get into a hangout? The only options are that they leave voluntarily (rare) or you rebuild the entire hangout without them (not a fun proposition, we’ve had to do it a few times)). During this migration there were requests for access from agents who have caused issues over time, some more than others. While debating with the Xfaction mods who we should and should not let in to the chats, we reached a point of “well what if we let them all in with guidelines and rules about behaviour and the consequence of removal when required”. It was a difficult decision as there is a lot of history and baggage with some agents. This lead me to suggest a full #ReputationReset, meaning: All previous transgressions are forgiven (within reason, I understand that some offences do not merit forgiveness if no remorse is ever shown) and that we only judge agents on their actions going forward. Everyone gets a clean slate insofar as that can be embraced. While I acknowledged that my plan was ambitious and lofty, the team agreed that it would be worth giving it a shot. Even if people forgive all the minor transgressions, it was reasoned, we should end up with a lot less hostility and a lot more potential for positive Xfaction relations.

So here it is, a concept I hope we can spread far and wide, for the love of the game, for the love of ingress, for the benefit of all, I implore you, set your egos aside and embrace a #ReputationReset.

To those who reject this suggestion on sight in its entirety, without even putting in the effort to try this experiment I say:

Haters Gonna Hate

To close out, I’ll just leave this here:

Tool – Schism. With relevant lyrics after:


I know the pieces fit ’cause I watched them fall away.
Mildewed and smouldering. Fundamental differing.
Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers souls in motion
Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication
The light that fuelled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
We cannot seem to reach an end crippling our communication.

I know the pieces fit ’cause I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame, it doesn’t mean I don’t desire to
Point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over.
To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

The poetry that comes from the squaring off between,
And the circling is worth it.
Finding beauty in the dissonance.

There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away.
Mildewed and smouldering, strangled by our coveting
I’ve done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing.
Doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication.

Cold silence
has a tendency
to atrophy any
sense of compassion
between supposed lovers,
between supposed brothers.

I know the pieces fit