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Thoughts on staff ethics

I see there is a lot of friction between the staff and different groups of players on the actions and policies of the staff. This article consists of fragments of thoughts and primarily serves to fix my own positions on things in a reflective manner.

a proposition of miscellanuous staff guidelines

do not drive a plot you judge

You should never become emotionally involved in an ongoing plot/scene which you are assigned to as a judge. So, you shouldn't have a PC that is actively involved in it.

If you judge a plot AND drive it, danger is that your judging will become weighted in a way that it reflects the direction you want the plot to go in, effectively taking control of the plot away from the players.

It will also make you vulnarable to accusations of this behaviour and create resent from players who feel things didn't go their way, which will happen in most plots that need to be judged.

If you are staging a plot on your own, it should purely be for enjoyment or character development of all players involved. It is dangerous if people are forced to take actions that might put their PC into physical way of harm; if this happens, the plot should purely be driven by the players, and the judge should try to behave extremely neutral.

add a grain of salt to anything

elaboration will follow.

keep PCs and admin accounts separated

Your PCs should never get any advantage from the status that you are an admin. Keep your PCs incognito, but admit that you're a staffer if people get conspcicious or somebody told them. Ask people to keep your secret for reasons of neutrality and to keep things simple and to not get buggered from other players if they recognize your admin status. Also ask them to try and forget/ignore that there's a staffer behind the PC.

explain yourself

Avoid any misunderstandings. Avoid doing things elegant if you have to fear people won't understand why you do something.

Punishment guidelines

If a player has to be reprimanded for misbehaviour, act as following:

  1. page the player with the offence you accuse him of
  2. page the player with a quote
  3. page the player with the news command to show the regulations he violated
  4. page the player with the disciplinary action you sentenced him to / you decided to be appropriate
  5. execute disciplinary action as fast as possible

Additional rule of thumb: the longer the interval between offence and punishment, the more exhaustive your quote should be, and the more exhaustive explanation of why and how disciplinary action is taken should be.

If you are personally offended or insulted, try to report to another staffer in order to ensure a neutral point of view.

make this code of conduct public

If you choose to behave according to these reflections, make it known as widely as possible. Only if people know and understand the guidelines you follow, and understand why they are needed, will they not feel intrigued and/or offended by the actions you take.

act consistently with the rest of staff, with yourself, and existing regulations

do not let your emotional state influence your evaluations and decisions. For the same offence, hand out the same punishment, no matter if you are angry or happy.

Never explain your actions with "because I'm an admin; shut up or I'll kick you again".

Work out policies that are valid for everybody on the staff. Make them known to everybody, including the players. Frequently remind yourself and the other staffers of them.

Try to think (and say) "I'll kick him because he violates policy #5, which forbids to be an asshole" instead of "I'll kick him because he's an asshole".

keep regulations consistent and accessible

regulations should be

  • consistent with each other
  • accessible very easily
  • accessbile completely
  • accessible from everywhere