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What Facts Do We Know About The Devs Leaving?


Mycroft
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So, recently, on the KSP forums and Reddit, there has been considerable kerfuffle over a post that 8 developers made stating that they are leaving the KSP dev team. Many rumors and opinions have been tossed around, but not many know the facts. In this thread, I will attempt to separate fact from fiction (oh gosh that's gonna be hard) and hopefully people will comment on what they see the facts as. This is in approximately chronological order. I am defining facts as something I have seen happen myself, or saw pretty darn conclusive evidence for. I call things 'authoritative rumors' if I saw a lot of people agreeing, but no solid evidence either way, or evidence on both sides. It's a rumor if some agree, and some don't, but neither side has conclusive evidence. I think it's high time we got to the bottom of this in a civilized manner. 

Fact: 8 developers of KSP posted an announcement on Reddit on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016, announcing that each of them was leaving the dev team. 

Fact: Their names were: Mu, Taniwha, NathanKell, Sarbian, Romfarer, Arsonide, Porkjet, and Claw. 

Fact: They spoke highly of the development team they were with.

Fact: They did not explicitly state a reason for departure. 

Fact: They did not mention working conditions as a reason.

Fact: Some of the Devs who left had been working on KSP for a long time.

Fact: Some of the Devs who left were relatively new hires.

Fact: 1.3 is confirmed, there are already Devs working on it.

Fact: Squad has been looking for new Devs since June, new people are coming in.

Fact: RoverDude (or any other team member) was not forced to make any comment about this topic.

Authoritative Rumor: It has recently been posited that the team actually grew in comparison to the beginning of the year, even after these departures.

Highly Authoritative Rumor: It was stated by a few staff members that each had left at different times, they just announced it all at once.

Rumor: It is alleged that these developers left because of poor working conditions, low pay, and long hours.

Rumor: It has been theorized that the developers were merely contractors, and left because their contracts expired.

Disputed Fact: Very few of these developers, if any, work or live anywhere near SQUAD headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico.

Authoritative Rumor: Many people claim that SQUAD has often required 12+ hour workdays from the devs. No proof was offered, though.

Fact: The post was on Reddit, not the KSP forums.

Rumor: It has been rumored that SQUAD has been actively deleting comments on this topic.

Fact: Several moderators have said they would resign if asked to delete posts for reasons other than rule violations. 

Rumor: It has also been said that the reason the original post was on Reddit was due to the fact that the forums are under SQUAD control, and Reddit is not.

Fact: The KSP forums are controlled by SQUAD. Reddit is not. 

Fact: SQUAD, in the rules, reserved the right to delete any posts they deem necessary, without prior notice.

Fact: It has been stated by a few forum moderators that they had nothing to do with the alleged deletions.

Fact: SQUAD released a hype dev note on the official release date of 1.2 very soon after the announcement.

Rumor: Some speculated that this post was an attempt to draw attention away from the viral departure of the devs.

Fact. The departure of the Devs remains viral, regardless of whether or not SQUAD intended to draw attention away from it.

Fact: Later, SQUAD posted on the forums, confirming the departure of the Devs, thanking them for their hard work and wishing them luck in their new endeavors.

Fact: An anonymous person posted on Reddit, confirmed that the 8 developers left because of unreasonable demands, unbelievable working conditions, and terrible upper management. He claimed that Felipe (Harvester) left not because he was tired of KSP, but because he was tired of SQUAD. He also claimed that SQUAD was actively censoring the forums from any mention of the above.

Rumor: He asserted that RoverDude's work would be released as a separate mod.

Rumor: He claimed that SQUAD was introducing paid DLCs as a part of the game. 

Rumor: From this, many people believed that he asserted that RoverDude's work would become a paid DLC.

Fact: RoverDude, a recently hired KSP developer and former modder, posted, strenuously disagreeing with this theory that SQUAD is mistreating their workers, and claiming that his own good experience meant that it was not true.

Rumor: Many accused RoverDude of being SQUADs puppet.

Fact: RoverDude said that he owned the IP for his stuff, and he would never allow it to be offered as a paid feature. 

Authoritative Rumor: It surfaced that apparently the new Devs who had only recently joined were apparently enthusiastic about developing KSP.

Trend: Enthusiasts do not tend to leave the development of something they are enthusiastic about mere weeks after joining it without good reason.

Fact: Many reasons can lead to any employee leaving any given job.

Fact: An old employee of SQUAD, who left under negative circumstances, posted on Reddit, flaming SQUAD for bad working conditions, censorship of workers, lying and covering up the Devs departure, and low pay. He also implied that SQUAD would attempt retribution on his career for badmouthing them. 

Fact: He presented no evidence of this, except personal experience.

Authoritative Rumor: General consensus seems to be that his perspective is based on outdated information.

Fact: He did retire a long time ago.

Fact: He retired under negative circumstances.

Authoritative Rumor: Many claimed that the negative circumstances under which he left are much the same as those he complained about in this post.

Authoritative Rumor: Several forum members believe that this former employee is the same as the anonymous user above who flamed the Devs with very serious accusations.

Authoritative Rumor: The above forum members believe that this employee's bitterness is motivating him to spread these harmful rumors.

Rumor: It was alleged that SQUAD promised these eight Devs something, then reneged.

Fact: SQUAD posted a reply on Reddit, claiming that everything was just fine, and that SQUAD would no longer respond to badmouthing. 

Fact: SQUAD guaranteed that KSP development will continue.

Rumor: Many have speculated on the number of developers there are, claiming, overall, between two and six developers working on KSP.

Authoritative Rumor: A SQUAD staff member said that from the remaining 6 Devs, 2 were working part time on KSP.

Authoritative Rumor: It was recently claimed that SQUAD had other developers not listed on the forums.

Fact: The staff tab list only lists those SQUAD employees who have a forum account.

Rumor: The fact that developers need to be fluent in Spanish has been posited as the reason for the exodus.

Fact: No developer who left, as far as we know, except Sarbian, have posted anywhere for a few weeks to a month after the incident, although all were online at one point or another in that time since said incident.

Fact: Sarbian posted a new version of MechJeb very soon after the departure.

Rumor: It has been suggested that the reason for the devs' silence is due to NDAs signed with SQUAD.

Rumor: It has been suggested that the Devs who left were merely offered better jobs elsewhere.

Fact: Features like multiplayer have previously been guaranteed in future versions. 

Fact: These are not added to the stock game, although they are mods.

Rumor: It is rumored that these features are no longer planned.

Rumor: It is rumored that 1.2 will be the final, authoritative version released.

Rumor: Many speculated that KSP would no longer be developed in the 1.x direction, but in the 2.0 direction.

Fact: People have the right to ask 'why' about the developers leaving.

Fact: SQUAD has the right to withhold any answer.

Fact: SQUAD has not withheld an answer, they provided a clear answer.

Trend: The sequence of events leading up to the announcement do not seem to match those of a well coordinated information release.

Fact: SQUAD issued official confirmation that 1.3 is in fact in the works.

Fact: Each developer negotiated their own compensation.

Fact: They negotiated the hours they were willing to commit to the work.

Fact:  On numerous occasions, they were told to rest, to not work weekends, to take it easy, and told that certain timeframes were adjustable.

Authoritative Rumor:  It has been stated that there were regular enquiries made to make sure that developers were happy, not burnt out, asked if there was anything the business could provide that they needed, etc. - in other words, a pretty genuine concern for the welfare of the team.

Spoiler

Scott Manley discussed this a bit in his Kerbal helicopters livestream: 

If you want to see when he actually discusses it, then fast foward until you hit 0:39:00 minutes. I included this for reference purposes.

 

Overall, it seems that the developers' departure is ambiguous as far as statements towards its cause. If nobody makes an effort to debunk rumors, the discussion could get out of hand, hence my post attempting to discern between fact and rumor.

DISCLAIMER, PLEASE NOTE: I do not, under any circumstances, represent SQUAD or anyone else besides myself. I'm just one guy trying to make sense of an extremely sticky situation. In fact, I have it on good authority that some of the things I listed as facts are not true, the person just could not elaborate on what information was in error. So please take this post with a grain of salt, understanding that I have an external perspective. If you have any errors you see, and can tell me about, then please do tell me, since the aim of this thread is to debunk lies with facts. 

Edited by Mycroft
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3 minutes ago, Nerfclasher said:

 It's good to see someone that is trying to separate the facts from the rumors I would be horrified if the working conditions rumor is true

You are only allowed to give 25 likes a day. You cannot give any more likes today.

 

Somebody should add more.

#cliche

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Fact: Internal issues of private companies are the business of that company and the employees involved.

Fact: The above fact won't change a damn thing regarding wild speculation about the inner workings of said company.

 

20 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

I think it's high time we got to the bottom of this in a civilized manner.

The "civilized manner" is not to expect details of matters that are not yours to delve into.

Edited by razark
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Just now, razark said:

Fact: Internal issues of private companies are the business of that company and the employees involved.

Fact: The above fact won't change a damn thing regarding wild speculation about the inner workings of said company.

True words. That's why I posted this, to differentiate between fact and legend, and to dampen speculation.

3 minutes ago, razark said:

The "civilized manner" is not to expect details of matters that are not yours to delve into.

Perhaps could you have mentioned this on the original thread? Then maybe you could have nipped rumor in the bud.

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4 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

That's why I posted this... to dampen speculation.

"No, really!  I poured the gasoline on the fire to try and lessen the flames!"

 

 

"I just wanted to make sure no one was bothering that girl.  That's why I was keep such a close watch through her window.  Now, I'd like to get back to protecting her, so I'm going to go read her diary while she's out of the house."

Edited by razark
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First, lol!!!!

Second, You can ignore it, you know. And I was very careful about what I posted. What did I miss?

Also, I'm not asking for details, that I know.

Anyway, I don't want to debate this. You are welcome to your opinion.

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1 minute ago, Mycroft said:

What did I miss?

That it's none of our damn business, maybe?

That there's already plenty of threads on the subject?

<shrug>  That it's an internal company matter between an employer and employees that really doesn't involve the lot of us?

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37 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

Rumor: Many accused RoverDude of being SQUADs puppet.

Probably because when people asked for confirmation of horrible working conditions, but instead got an honest accounting of my interactions, it did not fit the torches and pitchforks narrative.

I work reasonable hours.  I get reasonable, agreed to compensation for that time.  I have been doing dev a long time, not the first rodeo.  I find the management reasonable, and they have repeatedly expressed that we were not to work ridiculous hours or weekends, etc. and have been reasonable when adjusting priorities, offering additional time as needed and only dictating the order of the business needs.  i.e. rational, reasonable stuff that I would expect from an employer.

I have seen teams flee from horrible employers.  I have seen teams move from reasonable ones for better opportunities.  I've lost engineers because the fit was not right, and I've walked away from jobs that were handing me sacks of cash with dollar signs on them.  People move on, and they usually do so in waves.  I've been the leader on more than one of those waves myself (one company lost their entire IT and engineering staff in less than three months... they rehired, and are fine now), and have had to mitigate damage from mutinies and make sure the business was solid because one guy got grouchy and took half a dozen buddies with him to a new job.

But one common thread in all of that - I respected the wishes of my coworkers and employer, and respected people's privacy. 

I am speaking for myself, so take that how you will.  Though the implication that I am some kind of 'puppet' is kinda nuts.  I do this because it's fun and I enjoy the folks I work with (by the way, there are more than two developers left, so that fact is incorrect).  And I respect the folks that moved on to other things (or back to modding).  I also respect that their views and experiences may be very different than mine.  Or exactly the same, but their great grand uncle left them all a sack of solid gold ingots.  Or that what I find reasonable they find unreasonable.  Or any number of reasons that they alone know.  But given how much grief I've gotten today (being called a liar and worse), I don't blame them one bit for sitting this one out.

 

Edited by RoverDude
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" Fact: Enthusiasts do not tend to leave the development of something they are enthusiastic about mere weeks after joining it. "

This would be opinion.  While the likelihood is good that it could be fact, it is not in fact, fact. :)

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@RoverDude, I fully sympathize with your position. I've been in your spot before, and it's no fun. That's why I listed that as a rumor, because I watched doomsday advocates get carried away, and when you tried to politely restrain them and point out that they don't really know what's going on, they tore you down, called you a bribed traitor, and worse. I want you to know, that no matter what, I do not believe the rumor that you are lying.

1 minute ago, Papa_Joe said:

" Fact: Enthusiasts do not tend to leave the development of something they are enthusiastic about mere weeks after joining it. "

This would be opinion.  While the likelihood is good that it could be fact, it is not in fact, fact. :)

Changed.

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It is fair to say that everyone's experience at a given employer can be very different - I enjoy my job but many people have quit there claiming it was the worst place they have ever been. *shrug*

That being said, there's a reason eight people all left and it raises a lot of questions.

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7 minutes ago, Caelib said:

It is fair to say that everyone's experience at a given employer can be very different - I enjoy my job but many people have quit there claiming it was the worst place they have ever been. *shrug*

That being said, there's a reason eight people all left and it raises a lot of questions.

 True because many employers sometimes give employees special benefits  and others don't  sadly it is the way of life

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7 minutes ago, Caelib said:

That being said, there's a reason eight people all left and it raises a lot of questions.

And yet that reason can be benign. Consider the scenario that the "old timers" indicate they want to leave. They're offered a bag of money to stay on to 1.2 which, because most experienced coders will leave, will really have to be the "final stable version." So, to accomplish that, a whole bunch of talented modders get hired with a similar incentive. The goal: push out 1.2 as "the best release ever" with a focus on fixing bugs, not adding new content. The goal is reached, hundreds of bugs are squashed, premiums are paid out and the team is abandoned; everybody splits in good spirits.

I'm not saying that's what happened but it's a scenario that is not an "OMG it's falling apart" scenario, for a change.

And it perfectly aligns with Squad's history of not saying anything. It's open for discussion if total silence is a smart thing to do, but together with everything else it's a perfectly reasonable scenario without any gaping holes in it.

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I run a team of seven people in my personal life and have for the past almost four years. We've had a couple of positions change many times during that time, but a core of four of us hadn't changed in over two years. Recently, the one that was with us the longest (five years), left for a better paying opportunity with better career advancement options. The second longest (three years) suffered a major morale hit because of it and decided to insist on better benefits. It resulted in her quitting to find a better position elsewhere (unlike the first guy that already had an offer when he left. Completely unrelated, within a month, another employee had to move out of the area and also left us (not quite two years with us.) We're back to full staff, but now aside from one person that has a year, everyone else I have has less than just a couple of months with us. Prior to this, our core four person team had not seen any change in almost two years.

Why do I tell this? To show that sometimes when a cornerstone employee leaves on their own accord to seek better opportunities (even though had they not received the offer they would have remained and been perfectly happy) it can cause others to decide to see what else is out there, while still some may leave for reasons out of their control at the same time, leading to what might "appear" to be a bad work setting, but in actuality is just life. There is a season for everything.

I don't know why these devs left. Frankly, I don't care as I am confident there were valid reasons on the side of whoever made the decision, whether it was the individuals or the company. The important part is that we still have a game that from the sound of the weekly devnotes is only going to continue to grow. I'm stoked to see what the future holds.

Thanks to the devs that have given us KSP, your work is appreciated and enjoyed.

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7 minutes ago, metl said:

I run a team of seven people in my personal life and have for the past almost four years. We've had a couple of positions change many times during that time, but a core of four of us hadn't changed in over two years. Recently, the one that was with us the longest (five years), left for a better paying opportunity with better career advancement options. The second longest (three years) suffered a major morale hit because of it and decided to insist on better benefits. It resulted in her quitting to find a better position elsewhere (unlike the first guy that already had an offer when he left. Completely unrelated, within a month, another employee had to move out of the area and also left us (not quite two years with us.) We're back to full staff, but now aside from one person that has a year, everyone else I have has less than just a couple of months with us. Prior to this, our core four person team had not seen any change in almost two years.

Why do I tell this? To show that sometimes when a cornerstone employee leaves on their own accord to seek better opportunities (even though had they not received the offer they would have remained and been perfectly happy) it can cause others to decide to see what else is out there, while still some may leave for reasons out of their control at the same time, leading to what might "appear" to be a bad work setting, but in actuality is just life. There is a season for everything.

I don't know why these devs left. Frankly, I don't care as I am confident there were valid reasons on the side of whoever made the decision, whether it was the individuals or the company. The important part is that we still have a game that from the sound of the weekly devnotes is only going to continue to grow. I'm stoked to see what the future holds.

Thanks to the devs that have given us KSP, your work is appreciated and enjoyed.

So HarvestR and the other staff members leaving could be th root of this mass exodus now?

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1 hour ago, razark said:

"No, really!  I poured the gasoline on the fire to try and lessen the flames!"

 

 

"I just wanted to make sure no one was bothering that girl.  That's why I was keep such a close watch through her window.  Now, I'd like to get back to protecting her, so I'm going to go read her diary while she's out of the house."

Wow! I just read this edit, and I just started laughing and couldn't stop. Whatever your opinion, you have a hilarious sense of humor!

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