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My thoughts:

First off, while sixteen minutes is quick, it is absolutely not unheard of. The inactivity system also works a little bit differently than most parts of staff work, unless something has changed since my time on staff without notification. It used to be that activity enforcement was delegated to certain staffers, and appeals were often handled by that small subcommittee, or required a simple majority (as in, waiting for everyone to be online/weigh in was not required, given that a notable chunk of staff never checked or responded to the list). At several points in V4, appeals were granted within minutes, and that was before the advent of staff Skype and Discord groups, which streamline communication immensely. There has never been any particular formula for drafting positive responses to appeals unless the appeal in question was a prickly issue, since it's not something that requires much PR oversight.

More than that, much of this requires pretty intimate knowledge of the staff team's inner workings. When it's staffers and ex-staffers chatting, that's fine. When it affects members, however, it is not.

You state that the PM was unofficial. I disagree. It was unauthorized, but it was sent from an official account in compliance with the official rules.

On that note, activity enforcement has always been a bit of a grey area. I don't particularly think that a dredging of all the little foibles and exceptions is necessary, but as the person who handled it most directly for the duration of V4 and V5 and who wrote the rules being cited, I think I have a pretty good understanding of them. Among other things, if we really want to get into closed-doors policy, the initial notification was a violation of the twenty-four-hours buffer period designed to account for timezone differences and specifically to neutralize complaints about being warned mid-post... a protocol placed in V4 after the granting of an appeal basically just like this one, and one which I believe I reminded staff about following the sending of an inaccurate terminal notification near the beginning of V6.

Failing to grant legitimacy to the communication is the arbitrary betrayal here, and not merely of procedure (which to any handler view was followed) but of site trust in the handling of such matters. Because, let me be clear, the rules as written have not been followed. The rules are that you reply to the PM to appeal, then staff replies to let you know how it shakes out. There is no rule involving rescinding an appeal. This is because it has never happened, in the history of the site.

If staff screwed up, it is on staff to eat that and fix the issue. It has always been.

I think a more apt metaphor here might be double jeopardy. If the jury lets you off, you can't be dragged back in just because they find more evidence later that you did it.

To Zetsu: Not exactly. My argument is this:

If an appeal is granted, it is granted. This is especially the case when the handler did everything correctly. There is nothing in the rules about rescinding appeals because it is so alien a concept nobody ever thought it might happen. There is no justification for rescinding an appeal short of handler deception. If the appeal itself was invalid, yeah, yank it. If it was merely mediocre, tough beans.

Every mistake in this process besides waiting too long to post rests on the shoulders of staff as a unit or a subsection of staff in particular. And a fair administration does not punish others for its mistakes.

More than that, in all cases it is admitted that a handler would have no way to know how the inner workings of the system play out. CHanging the rules and pulling the rug out from under someone is unacceptable.

To pull a recent example I became aware of not too long ago, now that all involved are dead:

In V6, an illegitimate Hero Card was played. By the adoption rules, a character may not be Heroed until three rolls have passed. In this case, since the characters in question had only been offered after the first rolls, that means there's no way three rolls could have passed post-adoption but pre-fourth rolls.

Now, this is clearly not on any of the handlers involved--the rule in question, IIRC, never needed invoking during V5 and was somewhat obscure (though it is actually what prevented Kaitlyn from being eligible to be saved by Swap the next time she was rolled). It's mostly on staff for forgetting to vet cards, but it's an understandable and fairly minor mistake. The question, however, becomes what should've been done were it caught before all involved were dead.

Were it caught during card time, the fix could be a pretty easy "Sorry, can't Hero yet." Were it caught after card time ended but before anyone died, things would get pricklier. Would staff revoke the Card (causing disruptions to deaths in planning)? If so, would they give an opportunity for someone else to Hero Kaitlyn? After all, the first Hero likely moved her off the lists of everyone else considering Heroing. What if a later handler who Heroed someone else would've instead saved Kaitlyn? It's a huge can of worms.

Now imagine the issue were discovered only after Oskar's death. What's the course of action then? How might rescinding the card work? Would Oskar come back to life? Would both characters have to die (making Oskar's death unrolled)? Would someone else get a chance to Hero instead?

I bring this up mostly to make the point that, once an error is introduced and a handler moves on with the understanding that everything has been dealt with, changing course is messy, complicated, and feels bad. The issue currently in question happens to be one where the damage is fairly limited in scope... but the inciting error, I feel, is much less understandable and ambiguous than the error regarding card usage. And yet, I struggle to imagine that staff's stance on the former would be anything other than lenience, assuming it was caught after the fact (much as this error was caught only after a post had been made, bringing the character back to active status).
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