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Why I left MEE6

I leave MEE6, and here is why


To make a long story short: due to some internal problems in the MEE6 organization, which were identified and recognized years ago but never considered important by the bot administration, it is time for me to officially step down from my volunteer role along with a number of my mates and friends.

MEE6: The beginning

I started my journey with MEE6 almost as soon as I arrived on Discord, in 2017. It was then the only Discord bot I knew, and I loved its then all-white and very simplistic dashboard, its small and very welcoming community (there was even a French-only channel!), and the general atmosphere of the bot. It was not uncommon to chat with Anis, the founder of MEE6, about many things. I especially remember the day when he leaked what was going to become the xp leaderboard page, now known by all. I have really good memories of that time.

Over time, I became more and more active on Discord, and also in the MEE6 community. With my growing experience with the bot, I came to regularly help new users on their servers, unofficially of course, as so many people still do today. I even got one or two warnings for interrupting the staff in their work.

One day, Jet (who was for a short time the Community Manager of MEE6, running the Twitter account and a Medium blog) offered me a place in the official support team. It was probably one of the best days of my life: I was going to be able to help other people in an even better way, and without being reprimanded by the rest of the team!
Jet got fired (or quit, we never got to the bottom of it) just before he could officially accept me, so it was Sil who introduced me and guided me through my first steps. Brendan having already joined Anis to develop the bot, they were both less available than before (but much more than today). Thus, I officially joined the MEE6 support team on October 26, 2018.

MEE6: A rising staff

Anyway, I really enjoyed this beginning of my "career", the team of the time was very nice, I finally saw the staff under another angle, warmer, closer in a way. I was honored to have access to the support tools that were presented to me, the most famous of them being the read-only access to our users' configurations. I take this as a nice vote of confidence, and I am grateful to Anis and Brendan for allowing this. As well as the possible gifts offered to active volunteers. At the time MEE6 Inc. was in a pretty bad financial situation, but they didn't hide it, and that was the primary reason given for moving the most used feature (roles rewards) to premium.

During these few years of activity, I have learned to know MEE6 better than any other bot or platform, so I could answer any question of the growing number of users. We have had some difficulties during our activity, that's obvious. I'm thinking in particular of the time when the XP plugin roles-rewards became paid, which frustrated a lot of regular users, even some who were already paying. In my opinion, this event marked the beginning of the bad reputation of MEE6.

Fortunately, we were a team that could face this wave of discontent. We were there to calmly explain the reasons for this change, to repeat it tirelessly for two years to all those who asked, to do everything to maintain a nice image to our bot, while moderating the raids against the server and the free insults. This is the public part of what happened.

MEE6: a growing frustration

In reality, behind the curtain, no one understood the decision made by the two administrators-developers of the bot. They never consulted us about it, or even warned us, and almost never listened to our comments or complaints. The excuse that was most often used: the unhappy users you see every day are a very small part of our user base, and according to the statistics, everything is going well. People are still inviting MEE6, more people are paying for its unbridled features, life is good. And we just have to deal with it, after all, that's what we're here for. Statistics don't lie, contrary to our biased view.

For me, this was the beginning of the break between the administration and the support team. Until then, I loved Anis and Brendan's people, I almost adulated them; as a computer engineering student, I dreamed of being able to do like them later, ideally even to help them develop MEE6 to make it even better. But they took even more distance with us, we had to wait several days to get an answer from them when it didn't concern an urgent bot issue. And spoiler, it didn't get better with time.

Then things evolved. In April 2020, Seto joined us, as a new developer for MEE6. It felt really good, to see some new blood in the team, with the hope that things would turn around. And for a while it did, Seto was always there to answer us, always nice, solving bugs that had been lingering for months. In particular, she brought the translation system to the bot, which I think is one of the best improvements we got after the V2 dashboard (and when I say V2, I mean the first one to be dark, not the one released in 2021).

Unfortunately after a while, Seto started to communicate with us less and less, as Anis and Brendan did before. We had no reason or justification for this, I guess it was natural in a way. And the same thing happened with the following developers... all very nice people, who I really enjoyed talking to, even when communications were strained due to questionable decisions. But nowadays, you only see them to make announcements and occasionally talk about bug fixes. And with a user base that was growing incredibly fast and more and more "burrs" between teams, the situation was increasingly unstable.

MEE6: The evil plan

Until a few days ago, I still had hope that the situation would turn around, I was in a denial phase, I didn't want to see the situation as it was. I continued to write and update tutorials, to translate the bot into French, to regularly help users on the server when I had free time. I was happy to be part of the history of the 3rd most used Discord bot in the world (now first, after Rythm and Groovy had to stop their activities), and even happier to do it within a team of volunteers that I appreciate and respect.

Then Jorge arrived.

He was introduced to us by Brendan as our new "Lead of Customer Support", in charge of redesigning customer support, in order to improve our support services, documentation and the like. We all obviously started to sweat when it came to professionalizing support, but Brendan and Jorge assured us that it was only a matter of paying employees to help us with our task, and that our duties would remain unchanged, except for having less pressure.
In fact, two days after its introduction, a job offer was opened at MEE6 for a "Customer Support Product Specialist" position. It was shared with us internally a few hours before the official publication in the MEE6 job board, so that we could apply if we felt capable.

A month later, about a week ago, a new internal announcement was made to announce the arrival of two new, paid support members who have only recently begun their mission. So far, nothing abnormal, we had been warned.

Please note by the way that one of us, one of the oldest volunteers of the support team still active, applied for the above-mentioned job, and that he was passed over without his experience being taken into account, and without any real explanation, in favor of a person who didn't even know the bot. But I'll come back to this later.

MEE6: The darkest times

What we were not warned about, and what shocked us all, was the announcement made on a certain September 23 around noon French time. Jorge informed us that Majick, one of our volunteer teammates, had just left our team immediately by mutual agreement between him and Jorge. Majick had had a somewhat troubled past a few years ago, the details of which I didn't know, but which apparently prejudiced him. But above all he is an excellent member of the support team, who has from what I know always been professional and friendly with our users and server members, always ready to help when needed. And he was the one who applied for the paid job mentioned above, and was turned down.

Of course, being turned down so promptly without justification did not do him any good, especially since he has been trying for years to get more involved with our users. He had often expressed his wish to become a developer, a paid job that was given to other unknowns, or to help with email support, a paid job that was given to another of our volunteers.
And this umpteenth disappointment was detrimental to him, according to Jorge. He was considered a danger to the rest of the team and to our community, and Jorge reportedly contacted him privately to suggest that he take a break from his work with MEE6. This meant immediately removing all his customer support roles and privileges, without further thanks. All of this was done with the express purpose of maintaining a healthy space for both employees and the community.

I guess some people are starting to see the problem, I've never been very good at maintaining suspense. But let me get to that.

I was surprised that Majick left the team so abruptly without even saying goodbye. Not a word, nothing. So I immediately sent him a PM to check up on him and thank him for the years spent together. And then, the drama began.
In reality, Majick had not given his consent to leave the team. He had been informed of this decision only three minutes before us, and since Jorge informed him of his expulsion around noon French time... he was sleeping deeply at that time, and could not react. It was only 4 hours after Jorge's message that he sent me his first message, making me realize step by step what was happening.

So Majick was kicked out in the night, without warning or thanks. Just a long note to explain why his presence was no longer desired within the team. And as a bonus, a nice lie to the rest of the team, supposedly to leave "his credibility intact". This further confirms the communication problems between the managers and our team.

Of course, we immediately asked Jorge, as well as Anis and Brendan, the "Founders", for an explanation. The latter two have not yet responded, but Jorge has used very pompous language to state that this is what had to be done, that he does not regret his action but that indeed the communication could have been better, and that he refuses to discuss it further until the administration has something substantial to add.

We could have stopped there, told ourselves that this episode was another blunder of this "administration", but that our job (to help the MEE6 community) remained unchanged even after the painful loss of one of our oldest members. The problem is that it didn't stop there.

During a voice conversation with one of us, Jorge confessed without too much embarrassment that the goal was to fire all of us, to replace us by employees paid and selected by him. Very clearly, our team had no value in his eyes, and contrary to what he claimed from the beginning, no door will be left open to us, unless we are part of the elite and accept to be done without saying anything.
I got further confirmation of this this Sunday (September 26th, the day I'm writing this paragraph), when the new customer support employee started to contradict me while I was helping one of the bot users. He answered as if I had never said anything, and didn't bother to answer when I asked him to explain his behavior. Worse, when one of my teammates mentioned him to make sure he saw my question, his message was deleted. We are ghosts from the past.

It was then clear that our days in the MEE6 team were numbered, at least for the ten or so active members who had been following the situation for the past few months.

MEE6: The final chapter

In the days that followed, we gradually lost all our rights and privileges. No more mentionable roles, no more moderation rights, no more internal team channels (edit: we still have 1 private channel with the paid support team), no more specific permissions on the Discord, no more access to the bot's API apart from basic access like any other user.

Jorge organized a private voice chat with the team, to talk with us about all these recent changes. By the way, the discussion took place after said changes. He explained to us for 20min that our team was no longer useful, that MEE6 had higher ambitions, that what was going on with us until then was unprofessional and that it had to stop at some point. Then he gave us 40min of Q&A, but the message was the same: we had been demoted to mere community members, whose only distinction was the Contributors role obtained before we were "fired". He also made it clear that we should cut ties with the staff, that Anis and Brendan wouldn't take the time to answer us, so in short, back to square one and thanks for stopping by.


So that's where my story stands, and how I am forced to leave the MEE6 team after almost 3 years of volunteer activity. I hope this document has helped you to understand why I have reached this point, and how I have felt during these last months. I am sincerely sorry to have come to this conclusion, as I explained my story with MEE6 meant a lot to me, it was a real turning point in my life, and I don't regret accepting this offer in 2018 at all.
But you have to know how to mourn, to recognize that this time is over, and to turn the page. I will now take advantage of this free time to concentrate on my studies, perhaps progress on my other development projects, and who knows, maybe I will stay a little while to observe the development of this bot that I cherished so much.

I would like to thank Anis and Brendan, for accepting me in their great company and for giving me the taste for Discord bots development. I sincerely enjoyed our IRL meetings, and I even forgive you for not keeping me a MEE6 T-shirt. A special thanks to Anis for all those cool conversations we had in 2017 and 2018.
I also have to thank Jet, who gave me the opportunity to join the team and give a second wind to my desire to help people. And sorry you had to put up with my terrible English at the time.
As well as Sil, our great model, always mysterious for probably very good reasons but who always knew how to listen to us and support us, without you this team would not be as united as it is today.
Thanks also to Klauz, Hugo, Seto and all the other MEE6 employees with whom I had a friendly chat, your participation in this story is precious, but do not forget the users.
A word also for the MEE6 community, on average very warm and welcoming, thank you for all your little words of thanks and encouragement that I have read over the years. Thanks also to the regulars of the server who continue to help people lost when the support is not available.

And finally, a huge heart on the whole team of volunteers of which I was part. You have contributed immensely to make this story happy and nice, always listening to each other, united even in the turmoil. You all mean a lot to me. See you later.

Ex-MEE6 volunteer (2018-2021)

PS: I started writting this letter on September 25, and finished it on October 8

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Part about regulars of the server could be updated, as we've all been banned now

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It seems like MEE6 Founders/Higher-ups don't really respect or care about Volunteer Staff! It's sad to hear it :/

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Ninjabka commented Nov 9, 2021


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