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Attention, handlers:

We feel that we have to respond as the situation has been misrepresented to the board as a whole. We do not seek to stifle civil discussion with this post, but the discussion in this thread has passed the point of civil. Additionally, there seems to be the impression that the final outcome on this particular matter hasn’t yet been reached, or that staff’s decision is going to change based on the discussion.

That isn’t the case. A decision had been reached before this thread was ever posted. While the particulars of this and other such cases generally stay between staff and the handler in question, that obviously isn’t an option here, so we have decided that it is necessary to lay out exactly what happened:

  • Ciel was sent a terminal activity notice for his character Scout Pfeiffer after she passed the 336 hour-mark, which is the official deadline for activity. While staff has, at some points, allowed a 24-hour grace period prior to sending activity notices, this was never an official rule and it is no longer in practice as it made properly keeping track of activity and keeping staffers all on the same page difficult.

  • Immediately after receiving his notice, Ciel messaged a single staffer personally to state that he had been in the process of posting when the notice was sent. In light of this, that single staffer, without allowing for deliberation from the staff team as a whole, erroneously rescinded the notice.

  • When the rest of the staff team was available to review the decision, it was ruled to be incorrect and the terminal notice was reinstated. At this point, Ciel had not made an official appeal and was now given the chance to do so through the proper channel of Help.

  • Ciel made his appeal, which did not include details of a medical emergency. The appeal was denied on the basis of consistent inactivity without an away post or other notification to staff.

  • Ciel went on to make several more appeals before bringing up the issue of a medical emergency. All were denied on the same basis and it was noted that such an emergency was the grounds for posting as away. Ciel stated that he had not felt comfortable noting his situation in the Away thread. This is not the first time that multiple appeals with an eventual claim of emergency has been made by Ciel in response to an activity notice in V6; a similar communication occurred when his character Jasmine Reed was marked terminal in December, and he was informed that he could post as Away without having to give out full details of the situation. His character Audrey Reyes was marked terminal just two weeks before Scout went terminal, and Ciel made no mention of an emergency in his appeal on Audrey. He did post in the reduced activity thread, but as noted in that thread, this does not grant activity extensions. As this was a apparently an ongoing situation which he knew about in advance and he chose not to post as Away regardless, while the situation is unfortunate, there are no official grounds on which to approve the appeal.

    This pattern of consistent inactivity followed by multiple appeals from Ciel goes back to at least V5. We can only show so much leniency to a single handler who has repeatedly had the same issue and repeatedly refused to use the official systems in place to avoid it. He got his warning, he had one character spared from getting inactive killed in this situation, and has been given the opportunity to make multiple appeals. Staff has been exceedingly lenient in this situation.

  • On these grounds, Scout was officially declared terminally inactive and scheduled to be killed as per the site activity rules.

  • At this point, Ciel contacted MurderWeasel to claim that staff had unfairly declared his character inactive without giving him a chance to appeal.

  • MurderWeasel contacted staff through Help to share his concerns about the situation. Multiple staffers spoke with him and explained the situation, but he felt that this merited public discussion and made this thread.

  • It must be reiterated now that at the time, the matter had already been settled. A decision had been officially reached almost a week prior to this thread’s creation. Staff accepts full responsibility for the initial error in handling this case and any confusion or inconvenience that it caused, but that error had no bearing on the eventual outcome.

  • Ciel is not being punished for a staff error. His character was terminally inactive and was taken care of in the same way as any other terminally inactive character would be at this point in the game. He was allowed to appeal through the proper channels, he did so, and his appeals were denied after the proper amount of staff deliberation.

  • Since this has also come up, the recent PSA about contacting staff through the proper channels was not a direct response to Ciel's actions either. It was written in response to multiple instances throughout the current version of handlers messaging individual staff members through PM, chat, or other channels with questions or concerns better sent through Help, which just makes it harder to keep all of staff on the same page.

Staff members do make errors from time to time, and we encourage anyone with concerns to approach us with them. We hope that any handler on the board can feel comfortable discussing such issues both with us and within a thread such as this one. There's nothing wrong with calmly discussing issues in a mature manner but the vitriol in this thread is unhealthy and unhelpful. Feel free to keep discussing in this thread, but please keep it civil.

Lastly, staff acknowledges that this was a murky situation in which errors were made that caused confusion among handlers. While it is important to uphold the rules of the game, it is equally important to maintain an enjoyable writing environment for handlers and to avoid complete character destruction as what may have happened with the characterization of Bart and Scout. As such, Aura and Ciel may have five days to draft a one-shot death for their respective characters and submit them to SotF_Help. Staff will work with them on any questionable details such as time, location, or any other requests they may have.

Thank you for your time and attention.
-The SOTF Staff Team
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