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This has been bothering me a lot, for a few reasons, so I wanted to post here just to give my stance and hopefully provide some reasonable solutions.

First of all, as someone just noted, I feel I have a degree of personal involvement in this, because it was in my thread that Scout and Bart went inactive and I feel responsible because I held up the thread for two weeks. Obviously that doesn't excuse Ciel and Aura entirely, but that's another matter that I'll go into later.

Also, I feel like this conflict is growing rather than being resolved, which is concerning. As a few people have said, everyone just wants the site to be a fair and fun place to write (about murder). The issue is essentially subjective, because it asks where the rules need to be drawn. If we didn't need rules, then everything would be fine, but as much as I love the people here (seriously, you're all great) unfortunately none of us are perfect, and we can't always universally agree, so consistent guidelines need to be in place.

As for the actual topic, I take the side of staff on this one, for a couple of reasons. For starters, I don't feel like staff is obliged to stay with an erroneous ruling just because it favors the member. In a perfect world, there would be no errors, but mistakes happen, and I think resolving them to be consistent is important.

The biggest thing that I think isn't being brought out to the appropriate extent is that Ciel did actually get a second appeal and made one, which was denied. I would absolutely disagree with staff saying 'well you made an appeal already' because it should've been obvious Ciel's initial message was not his proper appeal. But a staffer made a mistake, was corrected, and the system was followed appropriately afterwards. So as much as I respect Ciel as a writer and like him as a person, I don't know that I would rule differently.

That being said, I don't think this has been addressed by staff appropriately. As far as I'm aware, neither Ciel nor Murder feel that an official statement has been provided, and I think that needs to be done. This is a serious matter and it could absolutely end up a wound that never fully heals if there's no closure and the parties don't feel it was adequately resolved in either favor.

I also really disagree with the actual posting of the inactive kill. Since again, the whole discussion doesn't feel like it has been properly finalized and no staff decision was made in a public setting, it feels like staff attempting to say 'nope it's done they're dead move on'. I don't think that's the intent (I have much more faith in our staff team than that) but it's not the right way to handle this. To that end, I think the actual scene was rushed out, since it doesn't feel like it really attempted to meet the characters' desires. Aura, who admittedly is not directly involved in the primary conflict, has obviously stated that he feels the post disrupted his intents for the future (specifically meanwhile plans) and didn't feel faithful to the work he put into Bart's development.

These aren't issues that can be taken lightly, obviously, and I don't think this situation can just be brushed off. My suggestion would be to find a way to improve Ciel and Aura's feelings on the death, possibly by giving them a chance to be involved in discussing the inactive kill scenario. Obviously that's not normally how things are done, but this hasn't been normal since the beginning, and it wouldn't seem unreasonable to give some measure of involvement to an inactive character's death if that character's handler is still around and involved. The inactivity rules are important to keep things flowing and fair, but it shouldn't be at the detriment of a member who hasn't left the site and is still active themselves.

I also think this is a sign of a much larger issue, namely transparency in moderation. I think a lot of stuff has become enforced as official even though it's off the books (tangentially, the profile guidelines may need updating so that they can fully explain expectations). I think it needs to be obvious how staff will handle a situation based on precedent and rules as written, with an admitted need for some leniency when the situation can afford it. We don't need this to be a totalitarian state, but it does need to be fair and people shouldn't be able to break or even bend rules just willy-nilly.

That's basically all I have to say. I think staff has the right to change a decision when that initial decision was unfair, but I think handlers deserve some measure of understanding of what's going on at any given time.
V5: Cut Short

V6: Broken Down

V7: Unprepared
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