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St8 of Bay #3

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Virgil, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Virgil

    Virgil Senior Administrator Game Administrator

    Hello everyone,

    Last May I wrote a little news announcement detailing the latest state of the server, how we're doing, what we're doing, so on and so forth. I think it's about time we do it again.

    The Developer Thing
    Oh no.

    I'm still not 100% sure on why all of our devs left, though I've picked up scraps of (conflicting) things from various people and not very cohesive things from the devs themselves. A majority of it seems to stem from poor treatment of the developers, not wanting to bear the brunt of the blame for things merged, or from conflicts within the staff team. Or at least that's what I've been told and currently have as the story.

    Unfortunately, we currently have one Developer remaining (PsiOmegaDelta) who is currently merging things. We're currently looking out for new devs, but this is a long drawn out process handled by Mloc and Xales (our two hosts) due to a lack of a Head Developer.

    It's a topic that needs to be revisited and revised to make things better going forward, but it's going to take a fair bit of time to accomplish, partly because we can't really just conjure developers out of thin air and partly because it's not something that involves me or the senior admins - any resolutions to these issues needs to be handled by Mloc and Xales due to our structure (myself and the senior admins only handle management of the administration side of things, with very little crossover when it comes to the developer side).

    The Admin Staff Punishments Thing
    Recently there's been a bit of criticism that administrative staff are given special treatment over players regarding being punished for breaking rules. I've personally not been presented any evidence of this and none of the senior admins have reported anything even remotely in this vein occuring, and the few cases referenced have been handled impartially by the staff member dealing with it with appropriate punishments.

    Staff members are not exempt from the server rules and are handled identically to players, with the exception that the discussion typically takes place in our msay chat (basically our general staff chat in-game between all staff members) rather than adminhelps for expediency. To make this slightly easier to understand and outline how these few cases were handled, I'll outline how exactly we deal with administrative cases.

    Let's say a player goes around killing people as an antagonist but does not have a good reason for it. That player will inevitably be PM'd by an admin or mod asking why they're doing what they're doing. Whilst this is occuring, the admins or mods handling it are typically taking a look at the players notes, which details the account's age, and outlines previous instances of bad behavior a staff member has noted down on that player. From there, considerations on how to handle the issue are made based on
    • How long that person has played on the server - are they new, or are they a veteran?
    • How the situation unfolded - was it logical? Did it make sense? Would a real person in the same shoes be likely to do the same things?
    • Whether the situation as concluded by the staff member broke any rules.
    • If a rule was broken, the tone of the player - are they remorseful? Do they understand after an explanation (if needed) that what they've done is wrong?
    • Previous offences and history regarding their behavior- notes beyond six months after disregarded as "out of date" and no longer reliable information on how the player acts. We still keep them for record-keeping's sake however.
    • Rule knowledge - does the player know the rules? If so, did they break a rule anyway? If they did not know the rules, were they punished and told to read the rules previously?
    So, let's say the same player mentioned is new (1 day old), no previous offences, seems unaware their actions are wrong, are remorseful when explained that what they've done is wrong. Chances are that player may be left off with a simple warning or a week-long antag ban (to get used to playing on the server) based on those factors.

    Let's say the player is 387 days old, 2 previous occurences of similar behavior within the last six months, argumentative when approached by staff, zero willingness to concede that the actions were wrong in accordance with our server rules. It's more than likely the player will recieve an antagonist ban of up to a couple of months, or a server ban for a month if they've had multiple bans previously.

    This exact approach applies to staff being punished as well. In such cases staff typically do not have a history of recent (six months, remember) offences so they are fairly likely to get a warning unless the case was extreme, in which case senior staff will likely strip the staff member of their rank and boot them from the team. There has been cases of staff members breaking the rules multiple times and their punishments tend to scale the same way. In one case an administrator was barred from security play for weeks after multiple occurences of terrible security play. In the case of the same administrator, the administrator came very close to recieving a server ban. Their behavior stopped however and poor behavior hasn't occured for over a year.

    Then there's staff abuse of powers which are handled very differently but using similar factors. If a staff member is found to be abusing their powers the first offence will typically recieve a warning. The second will usually involve either a demotion or a suspension. Third will typically involve complete removal. There's always the caveat that extreme abuses of staff powers will result in removal and a blacklist from the staff team regardless of previous offences - in these cases bans are also strongly considered if the damage caused to the server or players during the abuse was substantial.

    Minor staff changes
    In our most recent staff meeting moderators expressed a desire to be able to help administrators run events or to be able to run events on their own. I think it's a decent idea as long as there's with proper administrator supervision. A new rank (EventHelper) has been added with administrator privileges that moderators can be temporarily promoted to by admins to run events, or just to help admins with their own. This will hopefully result in more events being ran that are fun and interesting.

    In around November of last year I began enforcing lesser punishments for server offences as for the most part we were being overly reliant on bans until appeals. A lot of this came from staff members becoming jaded, and having a tendency to assume malice where there were often none.

    The current spirit of these changes is that players should always be given multiple opportunities to improve their behavior, with punishments escalating over time and being started off at a very minimal level.

    Since those changes were made bans until appeal have typically been reserved for those who log out to avoid punishment or harass staff or other players excessively, or for those who have been given a rediculous amount of opportunities to improve. A vast majority of our bans now temporary (1 day to 1 week) and only being applied if the player is a repeat offender. New players are often given a simple warning in most cases, with few cases of day bans being applied if the new player is trolling, commited a fairly severe offence, or were being overly combative (read: refusing to acknowledge wrong-doing or read the rules) when talked to by staff.

    I'm continuing to keep an eye on this and ensure the senior staff are working to keep this enforced.

    The population
    This has been a big concern for me. I've been assured by the senior staff that this is likely a result of the combination of newer, more interesting things being available, and our typical seasonal population changes now that vacations have ended. But I'm still very concerned and keeping a close eye on it. We're looking at what we can do to make things more fun, encourage more roleplay and make things interesting, and we strongly encourage you to provide your input and help us with that.

    I think that more or less covers everything in my recent memory. Thanks for reading if you somehow got this far.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020