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  • Staff Policy: Punitive Action from StoryGuides

    Consequences for our OOC actions

    The Marrach Story Guides are hoping to be able to deal with incidents more efficiently, and in doing so we want to explain the process of how we intend to deal with problems as they arise. What follows is very close to the process and practice followed by the Story Guides to date, but it has not been laid out in this manner before. We are also going to be more formal and consistent with our use of certain terminology so there is less confusion, as well as making minor adjustments in how we deal with assists, and or problem players. The intent of this is to inform everyone how the process works.

    We often have problems come about because of TOS (Terms of Service) violations, especially but not limited to, when OOC (out of character) exchanges between players occur. They range in size from minor misunderstandings to stalking, to name calling, and even more outright harassment. You name it and we have more than likely dealt with it at one time or another.

    When disputes between players occur there is often a distinct lack of clarity, an abundance of accusations and recriminations, and very few ways to sort out truth from perception. Very often, incidents spiral out of control because the individuals involved allowed it to. We cannot say often enough that if another player is interacting with you in a manner that you do not desire, be it attempting to OOCly influence your character's IC actions or OOCly harassing you for IC actions, and you have asked them to stop and they have not, do not respond in kind but rather file an Assist "immediately". Inevitably, the worst situations generate because either the player being harassed does not involve the Story Guides as soon as the situation begins, or chooses to respond in kind which serves only to worsen the problem.

    The Story Guide staff tries to be as fair as it can be in all situations and it is our belief that if the player base understands what occurs as a result of undesired behavior, then perhaps we can not only educate them as to the process, but possibly even divert problems before they begin. Following is the method that everyone should be familiar with so that when you are involved in the situation you understand what occurs.

    Understand also that the ultimate goal is not to punish but to correct undesired behavior. We want everyone who plays Castle Marrach to enjoy their time here, and we will not allow abusive or domineering players to ruin the fun of others. The choice, however, is ultimately up to them. If they cannot or will not correct their behavior, harsh steps will be taken.

    --------------------------------

    First:
    CAUTION: When we initially speak to a player about a problem that has been brought to our attention, we first caution them. What this means is that we aren't particularly interested in laying blame on one individual or another for whatever the situation is, but rather in getting the circumstances to stop. Situations are very rarely one-sided, so all the individuals involved in the situation will be cautioned to stop the behavior. If you are cautioned, but are blameless, then you have nothing to worry about. If the behavior continues, and we continue to hear reports about the behavior, there will be additional consequences. Cautions are, in many ways, a formality. Cautions are added to the player's permanent account notes. When you receive a caution you are told via direct contact with a Story Guide or an in-game page as well as via email.

    We would strongly suggest to players that in the event they find themselves having problems with others, to the point that they are filing assists, that they log any interactions with the individual(s) they are having problems with, religiously.

    Second:
    WARNING: After a player has been cautioned about improper actions and or behavior, and it is brought to our attention a second time, we conduct an inquiry into the situation and obtain even more information if possible. We ask for information from all the parties who are involved directly or perhaps indirectly. We also attempt to analyze the information available to us in as fair a manner as possible.

    If the results of the inquiry tell us that a player chose to ignore a caution and continue the behavior, we formally warn that player that the behavior has to stop. The inquiry may also result in an additional caution instead. Failure to heed a warning results in suspension. When you receive a warning you are told via direct contact with a Story Guide or an in-game page as well as via email.

    In some cases, such as if it is determined that one or more of the players involved is deliberately misleading the Story Guides involved, the decision may be to go directly to a suspension.

    Third:
    SUSPENSION: At this point the player has been cautioned the first time their actions were brought to our attention and they have chosen to ignore being cautioned. They have also been warned after repeating the offense they were initially cautioned about, and have chosen to ignore the warning also. Depending on the severity of the action, the player will be suspended from Castle Marrach for a set period of time, giving them the opportunity to reflect upon their behavior before being allowed to return to the game. Suspension length is determined by the severity of the offense, ranging from days to weeks. When you receive a suspension you will be told via direct contact with a Story Guide or an in-game page as well as via email.

    Suspensions occur only following due consideration. They are not taken lightly by the Story Staff, and have in the history of Castle Marrach only been occasionally imposed. The criticism that we have perhaps been too kind in the past is one that we accept and hope that these guidelines will serve to assist both you and us in being more consistent and prepared to protect the majority of our players from those who are more abusive.

    Fourth:
    BAN: Once we reach this point it is readily apparent to us that the player in question has no desire to reform, or change their errant behavior. They were cautioned when the issue was first brought to our attention. They were warned when they chose to ignore our cautioning them, and then repeated the behavior that resulted in their initial cautioning. They returned after being suspended for a set period of time and repeated the offense that they had been suspended for, and or chose to commit another inappropriate act. This clearly states to us that extreme measures need to be taken, and the staff will review whether to impose an additional, longer suspension or institute a permanent ban without the option of returning to Castle Marrach. They are however able to play the other Skotos games (assuming they haven't been banned from them as well).

    Frankly, the decision to ban is an easier one than the decision to Suspend. At that point it is clear, as stated above, that the player in question is unable to or has no desire to correct their behavior and has not. The player in question can either choose to play fairly in a non-abusive manner or they can choose to not play at all.

    --------------------------------

    Cautions, warnings, suspensions, and bans are given to players who choose to perform the following actions:
    • * Violate the Skotos Terms of Service, as presented here.
      * Engage in repeated, significant alt interaction for the purposes of avoiding repercussions or consequences of one of the alt's actions or for the purposes of significantly promoting or advancing the rank, position, status, or favor of one of the alts.
      * Actively exploiting a known code loophole or bug.
      * Deliberately using OOC information or circumstances in and IC manner for the purposes of promoting or advancing the rank, position, status, or favor of one of his/her own characters or for harming, defaming, demoting, or disfavoring another's character(s).
      * Behaving in a manner ICly or OOCly that the Staff believes to be harmful to the overall integrity or presentation of the Castle Marrach game or environment, or to the enjoyment of Castle Marrach's players.
    Note that depending on the precise nature of the action, Marrach Staff may elect to, at its discretion, caution, warn, suspend, or ban directly, as appropriate. Meaning that if the offense warrants any of these actions, the previous steps may be ignored in order to remedy the situation for the betterment of the gaming community.

    We are certain this posting will generate a few questions, so please feel free to ask here and we'll be more than happy to answer. The ultimate goal of our efforts is to provide and maintain a fun and positive environment for our players.

    To recap:
    1. Cautioned via direct contact with an SG or in-game page, and emailed.

    2. Warned via direct contact with an SG or in-game page, and emailed.

    3. Suspension via direct contact with an SG or in-game page, and emailed.

    4. Banned via direct contact with an SG or in-game page, and emailed.

    *OPTIONAL: We reserve the right to modify this process depending on the severity of any instance.

    Thank you,
    Story Guide Dathan - Castle Marrach Staff

    EDIT: Please see further down for Issues with Forum use.
    Last edited by Kurzon; 06-18-2016, 09:58 AM.
    While I may not always agree with you, I will always listen to you. I will always give my best effort to be fair with the individuals involved, no matter what my prior associations with them may have been. I enjoy this duty, and while everyone is not always pleased with the outcome, we must remember that there are two sides to every issue and in as much, fair may not always seem fair to everyone involved. Nevertheless, I will do my best.

    Thank you,
    SG Dathan

  • #2
    I'm glad to see a set, formalized, all-player-encompassing set of established methods for dealing with repeating issues in the community.
    "If you don't like something, change it.
    If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    Don't complain."
    -Maya Angelou

    "Listen to Age. Age smart." - LSP Geist

    Comment


    • #3
      2 things.
      1st, this needs to be made a sticky, so it doesnt get lost.

      2nd "Cautions are, in many ways, a formality. Cautions are added to the player's permanent account notes. When you receive a caution you are told via direct contact with a Story Guide or an in-game page as well as via email. "
      Players should be allowed to see their permanent account notes on request. As it stands, we have no way to see what has been said/leveled against us. SG x can say "Well you were warned back in 2003" And you have no leg to defend yourself with. In addition players should have the abiltiy to review and have review anything on the perminent record. (I figure I will be ignored on this last part again, but I have to try.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by John
        2 things.
        1st, this needs to be made a sticky, so it doesnt get lost.

        2nd "Cautions are, in many ways, a formality. Cautions are added to the player's permanent account notes. When you receive a caution you are told via direct contact with a Story Guide or an in-game page as well as via email. "
        Players should be allowed to see their permanent account notes on request. As it stands, we have no way to see what has been said/leveled against us. SG x can say "Well you were warned back in 2003" And you have no leg to defend yourself with. In addition players should have the abiltiy to review and have review anything on the perminent record. (I figure I will be ignored on this last part again, but I have to try.)
        I believe That makes this a perfect endin to this thread. Couldn't agree with any of this more. With all the threads about OOC this or that in the last week, the fact that noone, -at all- responded to this in a negative way, was impressive. I know it's kinda cheesy, but I thought that was nice to mention. Makes me wanna start tellin people about CM again......

        Johnny@-};----

        Comment


        • #5
          I will be honest, there is a level of hate to OOC interaction that I am beginning to dislike here in the castle.

          Sometimes I don't have the best of memories in the world, so it can be nice if someone hopes on an IM program and sends me a tell "Oh by the way there is a Seekers/Rememberers/ect meeting tonight , hope you can show up."

          But because of the hate toward OOC interaction that is seen as bad forum.

          It's also seen as bad forum for a teacher to page one of their students and say "I hope you remember that tonight there is a lecture on northern just about to start in a few minutes" even though the teacher may have told the student quiet a few times IC already.

          I didn't realy read over SG Dathan's post, but I just felt I should mention that as a Castle we tend to frown on to much OOC.
          Xewe Golianor

          ((ooc: The cake is a lie))

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A Notice For All Players

            Originally posted by SG Dathan

            * Deliberately using OOC information or circumstances in and IC manner for the purposes of promoting or advancing the rank, position, status, or favor of one of his/her own characters or for harming, defaming, demoting, or disfavoring another's character(s).
            On this, I have a comment because the wording seems to separate it to where it is a problem only if:
            a) Someone advances their own character.
            OR
            b) Someone hurts anothers character.

            I think that it should specifically include advancing anothers character based on OOC things.

            For example: You have two players who talk OOC. One of them is in a position to hire people, and they hire one of the characters of the other player based on their OOC player connection, rather than on any sensical IC reasoning / experience / qualifications.

            Granted, the above quote may have meant that by inference, but it seemed to separate them.

            Originally posted by Xewe
            It's also seen as bad forum for a teacher to page one of their students and say "I hope you remember that tonight there is a lecture on northern just about to start in a few minutes" even though the teacher may have told the student quiet a few times IC already.
            Done that plenty of times, particularly if I know its the player who has a problem remembering. That, I see more as a courtesy, and plenty of people have done the same for me. I don't mind that at all. I think the problem is mostly on more serious issues.

            ~Nicole
            "A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of."- Bacharach
            "Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."- Trevelyan
            "There is nobody so irritating as somebody with less intelligence and more sense than we have."- Herold
            "I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."- McLuhan
            "There was never a great genius without a tincture of madness." - Aristotle
            Get Firefox -- My Blog

            Comment


            • #7
              Most likely we should put a copy of this on the staff news forum rather than make it sticky in this forum.
              -StoryHost Xios

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by John
                Players should be allowed to see their permanent account notes on request. As it stands, we have no way to see what has been said/leveled against us. SG x can say "Well you were warned back in 2003" And you have no leg to defend yourself with. In addition players should have the abiltiy to review and have review anything on the perminent record. (I figure I will be ignored on this last part again, but I have to try.)
                Despite what some may believe, there may be no notes on accounts directly as many of the notes kept are made in the assists that have been filed. Giving direct access to those would be time consuming to say the least, as characters can be associated with dozens and dozens of assists.

                At this point players will be emailed, as is noted above, and so they will have their own notes from those emails to refer back to as needed.
                While I may not always agree with you, I will always listen to you. I will always give my best effort to be fair with the individuals involved, no matter what my prior associations with them may have been. I enjoy this duty, and while everyone is not always pleased with the outcome, we must remember that there are two sides to every issue and in as much, fair may not always seem fair to everyone involved. Nevertheless, I will do my best.

                Thank you,
                SG Dathan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Diedra
                  I think that it should specifically include advancing anothers character based on OOC things.
                  Yes, this would be covered. Unfortunately we aren't going to be able to list out each and every instance, but I think we've covered things as best we can without having to have a thirty page document.

                  Originally posted by Xewe
                  I didn't realy read over SG Dathan's post, but I just felt I should mention that as a Castle we tend to frown on to much OOC.
                  What you are talking about doesn't exactly cover what the initial post is about. We definitely frown on inappropriate OOC, but giving players reminders about rp situations isn't exactly inappropriate. Guiding players to scenes that their characters wouldn't have been involved in is what would be inappropriate. You should read the initial post so that you understand what will occur when assists are filed.

                  Thanks.
                  While I may not always agree with you, I will always listen to you. I will always give my best effort to be fair with the individuals involved, no matter what my prior associations with them may have been. I enjoy this duty, and while everyone is not always pleased with the outcome, we must remember that there are two sides to every issue and in as much, fair may not always seem fair to everyone involved. Nevertheless, I will do my best.

                  Thank you,
                  SG Dathan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Of course and I will be sure to do such, however I had just wished to mention my gut responce.
                    Xewe Golianor

                    ((ooc: The cake is a lie))

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SG Dathan
                      Despite what some may believe, there may be no notes on accounts directly as many of the notes kept are made in the assists that have been filed. Giving direct access to those would be time consuming to say the least, as characters can be associated with dozens and dozens of assists.

                      At this point players will be emailed, as is noted above, and so they will have their own notes from those emails to refer back to as needed.
                      Then you really should say this: "Cautions are added to the player's permanent account notes."
                      should you?
                      In addition, tho the e-mails do contain the information, that do not contain it in the format with details. And often dont tell all the details.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John
                        Then you really should say this: "Cautions are added to the player's permanent account notes."
                        should you?
                        In addition, tho the e-mails do contain the information, that do not contain it in the format with details. And often dont tell all the details.
                        I doubt the staff CAN give all the details. The details probably include a whole lot of "he said she said" back and forth, as well as personal opinions, comments, witnessing etc. - and while you may be entitled to know what reports are against you, the people giving witness to staff should be equally entitle to keep their identities private, unless there is a direct need to refute their evidence.
                        Woah, TonyD's like Roadstrom on crack. - Andrew's Ghost

                        I mean, how hilarious isn't the thought of a guard who gets off on animalistic behavior? - Kalle

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The KGB is watching you. Don't **** up
                          Belziel + Sameer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ha, Big Brother's watching too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ISSUES WITH FORUM USE:

                              General post edit:

                              Edited by Forum Moderator. TOS Violation

                              ^
                              You may see this were inappropriate language or sayings were posted.




                              Post edit, 1st warning:

                              Edited by Forum Moderator. TOS Violation. FIRST WARNING

                              ^
                              You will see this when you have blatantly violated the TOS. Especially if you attack another player. A member of staff may contact you depending on how offensive your post was.




                              Post edit, 2nd warning:

                              Edited by Forum Moderator. TOS Violation. SECOND WARNING Please refer to the link provided to the Terms of Service. A third warning will result in loss of forum privileges.

                              ^
                              If you see this, a member of staff will most likely be contacting you to speak directly to you. Please avoid having to see this.

                              Everyone had the opportunity to debate the issues of the forums. SH Xios even held gatherings were people could come and speak. The fact of the matter is that there are many people who find certain violations of TOS to be very offensive.

                              Those same people are not the vocal type, but they are the ones who report the threads which are offensive. We tend to see the vocal minority crying out against censorship, and thus people tend to believe they are the majority. This is not always the case.

                              Presently there have only been edits done when people decide they do not wish to expand their vocabulary and would rather just swear, that could turn into warnings and eventually forum priveleges being removed. I personally don't see that as necessary, as I know people will always swear, but the fact remains, many other players do not wish to be exposed to the vulgarity. Try being courteous to your fellow players - you expect it from them, why should they not be able to expect the same in return?

                              As for the warnings, do not take them lightly. Attacks on players like the one some few saw a few days ago will not be tolerated. You might think you are being cute or funny, but understand that the use of these forums is a privelege, not a right, and that can and will be removed if abused further.

                              Not everyone wants to get along. Fine. Rage against "the man" or "the system", do whatever you like, but when you violate the Terms of Service that you agreed to upon signing up for this game, then we will enforce them as needed.

                              It's not a matter of favorites, or anything of the sort. If you see a staff member abusing TOS on these forums (or anyone else for that matter), report them, and they will receive the same treatment as anyone else, with the addition of having to speak to their Lead and explain themselves.

                              Addition:

                              Some posts may have the opportunity to be reworded and posted after corrections are made. In those events you will see this:

                              Post temporarily unavailable

                              In those instances, instructions will be left for the player.

                              Thank you.
                              While I may not always agree with you, I will always listen to you. I will always give my best effort to be fair with the individuals involved, no matter what my prior associations with them may have been. I enjoy this duty, and while everyone is not always pleased with the outcome, we must remember that there are two sides to every issue and in as much, fair may not always seem fair to everyone involved. Nevertheless, I will do my best.

                              Thank you,
                              SG Dathan

                              Comment

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