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I don't think it needs to take until V7 for this to be fixed. In fact, the system as established has prevented such problems for at least six years.

I'm giving this a poke because of a few reasons. First off, I have yet to receive an official response of any sort to my concerns, as expressed either in this thread or through PM (I've received several polite and professional unofficial ones, but this is something that really does require an official response). I understand that these things can take time to discuss and deal with, but I strongly believe such things must take precedence over plowing ahead in ways that serve to compromise the potential for fair decision-making. This leads to the second factor in my renewed discussion of the matter: the posting of rolls using a list excluding the character in question. I contacted two staffers within ten minutes of the rolling list being updated to strongly suggest that any characters in contention remain on the list in the short term. This has been policy for a very long time because it prevents some pretty unfair situations, and I'm disappointed that such preventative measures were not taken, especially since doing so in no way compels staff to change their minds, merely leaves a window open for it to be less of a problem should they choose to do so. The roll system is key to SOTF's functioning, and its integrity really needs to be beyond question.

In this case, if a character is excluded from the list but later restored to good standing, a huge procedural problem emerges. It's unfair to every other handler in the game to wave a restored character through even a single set of rolls, especially so late in the game; getting a free pass represents a huge advantage. It's unfair to the targeted handler to roll ahead in such a way as to put them into this situation, especially if in so doing staff makes it harder to hold a discussion on the situation. Likely the fairest option should an appeal be granted afterwards would be to hold a special set of rolls based on the probability the character in question would have been rolled had they been included in the first place, followed by a separate set of card and death timers as needed should it unfold that they are rolled. Needless to say, this is inelegant and messy in the extreme.

I bring this up primarily because it represents what I feel has been staff's inexplicable and damaging philosophy throughout this issue: a full-speed charge ahead followed by a bullheaded defense of the actions taken sans acknowledgement that they might have been incorrect.

This has manifested further in my private, unofficial communications with staff. I was repeatedly led to believe that a factor in the rescinding of the appeal was that the initial action had been in some fashion coerced or guilt-tripped. I came to suspect, however, that the bulk of staff was not actually particularly aware of the incident prompting this, since my discussions on the matter with various parties produced markedly different summaries of what transpired. This led to the following exchange (also featuring my suggestion about the rolling list--in the interests of full disclosure, the staffer in question stated they were not involved in the rolls, leading me to seek out a second staffer who informed me that it was too late to make any adjustments, and I have no complaints whatsoever with the staffer in question or any aspect of our communications--indeed I greatly valued a chance to bounce ideas and thoughts off a member of the team). I'm the one doing the majority of the talking in this excerpt:

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So I went and got the logs myself. Here they are (with the staffer in question masked for anonymity):

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Note that the only direct request made in the conversation is to check Help's PMs. The staffer in question politely and professionally suggests calm, notes that they are going to talk to other staff, and makes no promises of either resolution or timeframe of response. This is, bluntly, a pretty perfect reply to the situation... except that the staffer in question apparently then made the decision without actually consulting all of staff.

Everything in this exchange suggests that all avenues being pursued are the official ones. There are no untoward requests whatsoever. Indeed, the recent post detailing manners of staff contact agrees:

Emphasis Mine
Attention handlers,

Recently we've had a series of instances where handlers have approached individual staffers in regards to appeals, matters of dispute, and other sensitive discussions. We would like to take this moment to direct people towards messaging the SOTF_Help account instead.

Approaching individual staffers for matters that require input from the entire staff team is awkward for the staffer in question, as it puts them on the spot and comes across as pressing them for a speedy answer. It can also cause issues where personal relationships are involved, as whilst we wish to have pleasant interactions with handlers on the site, we also have responsibility to maintain fairness and keep the rules enforced, which can naturally lead to some disappointment. Utilising the impersonal channel of SOTF_Help allows us to avoid awkward conversations between staffers and handlers, and keeps relationships out of the decision-making process.

Please keep this in mind when considering approaching a staffer for matters. Whilst things like questions and requests for information are fine in most instances, sensitive matters or appeals should go through SOTF_Help. It is fine to approach one of us to ask us to check the SOTF_Help mailbox, but please leave it at that.

Thanks and kind regards,
The SOTF Staff team

At no point in the logs is any request made other than to check Help's PM box.

So, having secured these logs and permission from the handler involved to see to it that staff received them, I PMed them to staff with the following note:

Me to staff
Heya, staff!

In the interests of full disclosure, I did get hold of the logs of Ciel's initial contact with staff. I think it will pretty well verify that he did not request specific treatment or intervention, was led to believe that his decision was the result of staff team consideration, and at no stage behaved inappropriately. I was pretty disappointed to receive these, honestly, because I'd been hoping there was a lot more going on that I was unaware of.

I received the following reply signed by a single staffer:

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I replied as follows:
Pronouns Changed for Anonymity
That requires a willful misreading. He approached [them] to check and bring the matter to staff attention. [They] notified her (should be "him"--what can I say? It was late) that [they] had done so. He thanked [them] for [their] assistance. Individual staffers are thanked for collective actions often.

More than that, what's material here is that there is no inappropriate behavior on his part. I was told there was some pretty major emotional manipulation. That appears to not be the case.

So we are back to square one, and my complaint and request for reply stands. A handler followed every rule, was specifically told that their appeal came as a result of staff consultation, and then had it rescinded after posting.

For all intents and purposes, staff did this:

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I really do think this needs to be addressed and discussed as a matter of serious concern and site health. Mistakes are natural. To grant a mediocre or poor appeal is a minor mistake. To do so without staff discussion is a moderate to severe one. But to then retroactively move the goalposts and steam ahead without proper discussion is the single biggest non-member-safety-related mistake I've seen in my time on the site. Endless V3 Endgame delays coupled with unfulfilled promises? This is worse. That affected everyone evenly and staff by and large owned and apologized for their mistake and did their best to see things handled as fairly as possible given the circumstances. Hero Deal enforcement? This is worse. That was a horrible rule that undermined the very spirit of Hero Cards, but it was one applied evenly and in which there was at least a clear good faith rationale behind it, however misguided. To selectively call backsies on an issue affecting a single handler, one in which the stakes are so lopsided, shows that staff are willing to make exceptions to over a decade of policy and written rule in favor of punishing one member for unclear reasons.
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