The king is dead, long live the king: the demise and future of a Hermetic Discord community

The king is dead, long live the king: the demise and future of a Hermetic Discord community

Man, what a post to break a stretch of quiet around here.

No software engineer likes their name to be associated with buggy code, no civil engineer a collapsed bridge, no architect an imploded building, no mechanical engineer an exploded car.  To say that I am frustrated and dismayed would be an understatement, then, given the recent collapse of the Hermetic Agora (HA) Discord server that I have spent over a year promoting, building up a fantastic international community of over 1000 members, and in general trying to establish one of the most solid, respectful, and learned places to discuss Hermeticism and esotericism online.  And it all came crashing down today due to the actions of the server owner who wanted to nurse his injured ego over a damned politicized cartoon frog rather than continue that same work.

Here’s the TL;DR: the old server owner DanKadmos (who is was also the owner of a number of subreddits associated with Hermeticism or esotericism, but has since abandoned ship and deleted his Reddit account) decided to throw a temper-tantrum over having a Pepe the Frog emoji removed from the server emoji list while he was offline, a decision I made as an admin backed up by the rest of the other six mods, because it was requested that we stop using it due to this cartoon frog’s unfortunate politicization and appropriation by far-right, alt-right, Neonazi, or white supremacist groups to the point where even John Michael Greer wrote about it and its play in (ostensibly) getting Trump elected as the 45th president of the United States of America (it was a whole thing).  The server owner decided to throw a hissy-fit in the public chat and mocked the server member who raised the issue to the modteam.  The rest of the modteam called the server owner out on it, and we collectively tried our best to get DanKadmos to realize the problem he was causing and the hurt he was inflicting; after writing a thoughtful reply to the situation addressing him, he decided to double down in all sorts of deeply unfortunate ways.  After making further replies, the whole of the modteam trying to give him every reasonable accommodation and chance to make things right, he told us all, effectively, to get bent, and that if an exodus happens, the server would go down with him.

Seeing the cracks in the foundation, while DanKadmos was losing his shit, several of the mods messaged each other, and we collectively agreed to make a set of contingency plans: send Discord friend requests to as many people as we could to maintain connections should the server go down, make a backup Discord server to migrate to should we need to, and take backups of all non-casual discussion channel messages.  I spent a good few hours taking care of all these things, just to be prepared and to be kept in quiet reserve should anything happen.  It was my complete goal to keep anything drastic from happening and to keep the community together as best I would be able to, and I was willing to do anything that wouldn’t compromise either my own integrity or the safety of our members to keep the community I—we—had worked so hard to build up.  But…well, contingency plans are always good to have, I suppose, and it paid off for us all in the end.

Anyway, once DanKadmos gave his final reply to the mods, I immediately made the following announcement to the entire server:

Due to unfortunate and irreconcilable differences between me and the server owner/primary admin @DanKadmos#3527, I (polyphanes#0777) will be stepping down as admin and leaving the Hermetic Agora. It pains me to leave this place, but given the irresponsible and intolerable conduct of @DanKadmos#3527 with his recalcitrant refusal to recognize the problems he caused and continues to engage with, I find myself faced with a choice: to stay here and implicitly support his choices, or to leave and explicitly deny them. The only moral and ethical path I can take is the latter.

@DanKadmos#3527 wishes to hold himself above the community standards he himself laid down and enforced, and instead revert to hypocrisy and nursing his own bruised ego for being called out for immature, disrespectful behavior and the violation of a number of our rules (1, 3, 8, 11, 12). After the removal of the “Pepe the Frog” emoji, he has done nothing but remained unrepentantly and willfully unapologetic for his disrespectful, confusing public messages. Time and again @DanKadmos#3527 has doubled down upon and continued to refuse to admit error, apologize, fix the problems he started, or encourage healing from the harm he caused. For all these reasons, I find myself unable to participate further in this place of which he is the server owner/primary admin.

I have worked hard to help build this public community as one of the most solid, respectful, and learned for discussing Hermeticism and esotericism, and I am proud all the work we’ve done together as a community. I am honored to have met so many excellent people through this server, and I hope to maintain ties with many of you, whether on Discord or off. Wherever and however you plan to continue your own Great Works, I hope that the time you spent here has helped you with that, and that you find nothing but success in advancement in all your endeavors.

As my final administrative action, I (polyphanes#0777) approve this request that I submit to the modteam in accordance with our server rule #16:

I have started a separate Discord server to which I invite all members of the Hermetic Agora to join to continue the work started here with me. Though I profoundly dislike schismatic behavior and recognize that such a fine community as this deserves better than to be split apart, I would hope that many of my friends and colleagues here would consider joining me at this new server where we may continue to engage in fruitful discussions and studies regarding Hermeticism and esotericism apart and away from the unfortunate behavior and choices of the Hermetic Agora’s server owner. I assure you that you’ll already find several familiar faces there besides my own.

Needless to say, three things immediately happened:

  1. DanKadmos started trying to regain control over (what he had always wanted to be) “his” server and proclaimed:

    I am most probably going to delete the server in a few days. While @polyphanes ´s words are offensive to me, I am not easily offended like other people around here, so I will leave his message on so as many of you as possible will move to his community is you so decide. If somebody wants me to keep the server up, bear in mind that I don´t care about politically correctness, so there will changes that might potentially offend people

  2. A large number of people (many of whom had been basically holding their breath following DanKadmos’ blowup in public chat two nights earlier) immediately left, seeing what was happening.
  3. I was shortly removed from the server myself, and the above messages were removed as well shortly after that.

After that point, I don’t know what happened precisely or what was said on the old server, though I’m told that DanKadmos proceeded to go on a right-wing rant about liberals, how the server would be taking an anti-political-correctness approach, got rid of the gender/pronoun roles, and the like; immediately, the conversations veered into “swastikas are cool actually” and the server quickly devolved into another white supremacist, fascist online group, something that we tried our damnedest for so long to avoid and which we’ve called out time and time again (like with the whole ToTHO debacle).  Somehow, he didn’t anticipate that that would open up the floodgates to the stuff we had been battling against for so long, so he sent this final message before nuking the entire server (as was shared to me):

It was, in short, an awful end to a great place.  But at least the end was quick (less than 48 hours in the making), and we’ve already started to rebuild.

To make it clear, for anyone who was still there at the very end but didn’t see my messages: I do not approve of DanKadmos’ behavior, I stand as ever and as always against far-right/alt-right/Nazi bullshit, and I sincerely regret what has happened.  I tried what I could to hold the community together, but in the end, it was not in my power to do so.  I am frustrated and annoyed, not least at the loss of someone who was once a great colleague but now an obstinate asshole whom I can no longer associate myself with, but I am also determined to move on all the same.

As I mentioned before, seeing that a potential end was nigh, I and the other mods went ahead and made a new server, the Hermetic House of Life (HHoL), basically keeping the same channels, format, and style of the old server.  I’m going to go through my old posts and update any such reference to the old HA server (nobody could join even if they wanted to), and I’m also going to figure out in the near future how to make accessible the old server discussions I was able to back up; news for that will be going on the new server soon once I figure it out.  We’re already supported by a fantastic team of mods (basically all the old team), and we’ve already (as of this post) reached a quarter of the old member base (around 250 people) including virtually all of the usual faces and most well-acclaimed members, so we’re already getting by.  Hopefully we can continue growing at this new server and continuing the same Great Work we started elsewhere.  We might have changed houses, but this community is still our home, and I want to continue serving this great community as best as I can.

Plus, for those who are currently members of my Red Work Course or who are thinking of joining, I have a special channel set aside just for RWC-related discussions.  If you’re a current RWC member and have joined the new HHoL Discord above, send me an email with your Discord handle or send me a Discord PM with your email address so I can verify your membership, and I’ll grant you the role for that special channel.

Here’s hoping to see you at the Hermetic House of Life Discord server soon!

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