Friday Feature – Interview with Alcibiades

The aim of these interviews is to allow people that don’t frequent other chat rooms to get to know mods in other areas of Kongregate and perhaps switch up their hangouts a bit. If you have any questions that you would like us to include go ahead and contact us or leave a comment.

Having Valkyrie in on the last interview worked out so well that I invited her back for this one.

Valkyrie:  Our Special guest this evening is Alcibiades, Mod of repute and history buff.
Welcome Alcibiades.

Thalarion:  So this is a question you probably hear a lot, but I’m curious about the history of your username and just how you pronounce it.

Alcibiades:  Alcibiades is pronounced like “Al See Bye-uh-deez,” and is the name of an ancient Greek admiral and politician from the time of the Peloponnesian War.

Valkyrie:  I am glad you did not choose THIS IS SPARTA!

Alcibiades:  He’s one of my favorite historical figures, and is a colorful character who helped to lead the armies and navies of Athens (until he was accused of sacrilege), then Sparta (until his affair with the queen was discovered), then Persia (really!), then Athens again.  Well, you get the idea.  He didn’t end well.

Thalarion:  He got around, all right.  So I take it you’re a history buff?

Alcibiades:  Absolutely.  If I could go back in time, I’d have majored in history.  I never get bored of it, though I do tend to jump from era to era every few years.

Thalarion:  Well that ties nicely into the next question.  What did you study in college and how are you using that now? 🙂

Alcibiades:  I studied political science, with a focus on international security issues, and I don’t think it relates directly to my profession.  I am an attorney, and the type of “security” I deal with now is the paper kind that gets people rich . . . or into trouble.

Thalarion:  Ooooh, a lawyer.  And you still have time to play on Kong?  Lucky.  Speaking of spare time, how else do you spend that?

Valkyrie:  Hope you do not stick a bill for this interview.

Alcibiades:  No billing = no talking.  Sorry.
Kidding!

Thanks to some very fortunate timing and a handful of good contacts during the dot-com boom, I am semi-retired from the practice of law, so I have more time to game than I otherwise might.  I spend most of my time, though, helping the Alcibiawife to raise the Alcibiadaughter, who is just under a year old.

Alcibiades:  I used to spend a good deal of time on the Xbox, but Kong is my addiction, now.

Thalarion:  Congrats (belated) on the kid!  So how long have you been a moderator on Kongregate now?

Alcibiades:  Roughly three months.

Valkyrie:  Kongrats Alcibiades

Thalarion:  And what do you find rewarding about the job?

Alcibiades:  I love this community.  The chatroom I frequent, “The Bleachers,” didn’t have–or even see–a moderator in the time between when I joined and when I became a mod.  We largely self-moderated, but there was a lot of troll-stomping.  Which was kind of fun, though it could be frustrating.  I like being able to help keep things focused on games and getting to know one another.  Also, I get to meet so many interesting people–people I would never encounter in everyday life.  That’s rewarding, too.

Valkyrie:  Does your legal experience in handling situations help in dealing with trolls on Kongregate?

Alcibiades:  Hah!  Great question!  I think it does help–but it also leads me into temptation.  I cross-examine a lot of the trolls I encounter, and I am certain that many users would prefer that I simply ban them, and not get down into the muck.  I try to retain a veneer of respectfulness in my disdain for, say, racism or homophobia, but I end up muted sometimes because I try to talk people out of their offensive views.

Thalarion:  I have always been tempted to interview a troll but I just can’t justify giving them the attention.  So what sort of advice would you give to people looking to get into the legal field?

Alcibiades:  Reconsider it!  Well, maybe just, “think hard.”  A lot of people get into the law for the wrong reasons, or have misconceptions about what being an attorney is all about.  I would highly recommend interning or even just asking to be allowed to “shadow” a lawyer for a day or two.  The actual practice of law can be rewarding, but you have to go into it with eyes open.  Also, learn to write well.  That’s absolutely key.

Valkyrie:  That is great advice. Does Kongregate make any difference in your life? How?

Alcibiades:  I really think it does.  It allows me to connect with people who are very different from my offline friends.  On Kongregate, I have friends from all over the world, and have been surprised to find fellow game fans of all ages.  Sometimes I am able to give advice about real-life situations, and at other times I have been fortunate enough to receive good advice from others.  That surprises me, when I think about it.  For a Flash-based game site, it is quite remarkable.

Thalarion:  Yeah, the community is what makes it great.  So on that same vein, what do you feel users could do to help out the moderators and the community at large?

Alcibiades:  As in all areas of life, a little bit of thought and empathy goes a long way.  Just putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Most moderators don’t enjoy banning people, and there are few things worse than having your judgment called into question.  But I think there are many users here who already embrace this ethic.  They make the lives of moderators easier by helping rooms to self-moderate, and the best of them do it with a light touch.  With a joke, rather than a threat.  With an appeal, rather than an order.  I respect that, and I always appreciate it.
I should just add, though, that moderators are here to help users, rather than the reverse.  So those users who behave the way I just described really are going above-and-beyond.

Valkyrie:  That is true. what do you think of the present system through which moderators are selected?

Alcibiades:  I know that there is some frustration because it is slow, and because many users would like to see more moderators in more chatrooms.  Having seen the selection process from the inside, though, I am very impressed with how seriously and carefully the decisions are made.  I am also surprised to have been asked to serve as a moderator, given some of my more “spirited” conversations with trolls.  The system is working, in that I see a high level of dedication and professionalism in other moderators.  But the Kongregate staff understands that there is a need to adapt to the site’s growth, and I am excited to see how they–as a group of bright, creative people–deal with that challenge.

Thalarion:  I can’t imagine what they have to go sift through to find the mods, even after having seen the process first-hand.  All right, any other words of wisdom before we let you go?

Alcibiades:  Just this: Kongregate is a special place, and I would urge users to be patient with one another.  When I think about the fact that we have a lot of users who are in their early-to-mid teens, I feel that it is important to be understanding when someone asks a question that seems silly, or makes a comment that isn’t appropriate.  There can be a “pack” mentality when a new user arrives, and I think it is a mistake to be anything other than welcoming.  Adolescence, from what I vaguely remember, is a tough time, and Kongregate should be a place where people can escape from their real-life stresses and find a friendly community that expands their social group.
Also, check the “Help” tab.  99% of your questions, including “how do I become a mod,” are answered there!

Thalarion:  Nice…  Thank you very much for taking time to interview with us and I’ll see you online 🙂

Alcibiades:  It’s been a pleasure.  I am a big fan of ACKK, ever since DoctorMarmalade linked me to it!

Valkyrie:  Thank you Counselor. It was a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for the bill!!

Woo-hoo, we’re always glad to have fans 🙂  You can find Alcibiades on throughout the day in The Bleachers or other rooms.

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One Comment on “Friday Feature – Interview with Alcibiades”

  1. doctormarmalade Says:

    “Or in other rooms” He leaves the bleachers? 😛


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