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A few thoughts:

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.

This was not an official handler-facing rule, but it was internal policy. References:

V4 Inactivity Thread, posts 56, 126, 242, 363.

V5 Inactivity Thread, posts 21 and 23

I'm also pretty sure I posted to the same effect in the V6 activity thread, but don't have that one hanging around in my hoard. As is probably obvious by this reply, I did back up certain historical staff threads while archiving versions a while back. I did check my references before making the initial assertion.
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 In light of this, that single staffer, without allowing for deliberation from the staff team as a whole, erroneously rescinded the notice.

Logs have been posted. I respectfully disagree with the interpretation in question; Ciel requests that the staffer check Help, the staffer does so and claims to be consulting with the staff team, and then a response is issued.
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.

This has come up a few times in discussions, but what constitutes an official appeal? Where is this defined? The initial response was sent through SOTF_Help. This is logged. As I've said, it's certainly not a good appeal, but I see no evidence it's not an appeal overall, and I do think it's incorrect to frame it otherwise.
At this point, Ciel contacted MurderWeasel to claim that staff had unfairly declared his character inactive without giving him a chance to appeal.

This isn't quite correct. He contacted me to discuss the situation. I smiled and nodded and expressed condolences until the granting and rescinding came up. That became a pretty major issue for me. It remains so. I was aware of the other facets of the issue, but I don't think staff handled them inappropriately in any way and have no interest in arguing them.
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.

This is true, though all conversations were individual staffers speaking for themselves, as I've noted before. The general consensus was that I had not misunderstood the situation.
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.

Respectfully, I do not see evidence of accepting responsibility for the initial error. To accept responsibility is to admit fault and set things right within one's power. That either has not been done, or the way staff sees handling fault varies from how I see it (differing opinions are of course fair, but I'd argue the results here are unfair). In this case, I do feel that the fair way to handle things and show true acceptance of responsibility would be to honor the original appeal, then take whatever internal actions are necessary to prevent recurrences (personally, I doubt that much beyond a simple "Staff don't do this again" would be required, given that this has become such a wide topic of discussion.
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.

I mildly disagree here. Had Ciel posted at the same time without any initial warning PM being sent, would staff have marked him terminal? Clearly no--people go over two weeks all the time and get away with it by sliding under staff's radar. Retroactive enforcement has, to my recollection, been brought down on someone once in site history. It was on Mini, and it came after several explicit warnings that retroactive punishment would be applied. It still didn't feel very good.

A handler was authorized to post by SOTF Help--where he lodged his initial response--and did so. In any other situation, that marks a return to activity. It doesn't feel good for that to suddenly not count, and it doesn't feel good for Help's responses to be open to question. That's the difference, and what makes the typical response inappropriate. Otherwise, I'd be 100% on-board with this.

To say he is not being punished for staff error assumes this as the starting point: Ciel is terminally inactive. I think, however, a slight change in perspective will reveal a different situation. Consider the following starting point: Ciel has just had his appeal granted and has put up the post he was 80% through, returning to activity.

There remains no way for him to have known that this second point wasn't where he was at. Everything else comes from internal staff discussions and knowledge. I really do get that--I've been on both sides of this--but the fact remains that Help granted an appeal, the handler acted in accordance with the outlined terms, and then staff changed its mind.
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.

Thank you for the clarification. As noted, I don't think the thread in question really applies here at all since the procedure it outlines is the one Ciel followed, and if this is a recurrent issue elsewhere it's not my place to address it.
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 you on any questionable details such as time, location, or any other requests you may have.

While I still disagree with all the stuff I've noted above, I do want to pull this out as the incredible act of lenience it is. If staff are settled in the other matters, this is, as stated a few posts ago, way above and beyond and a major exception. I think it's pretty important to highlight this and give massive credit where it's due (while, of course, continuing my poking at the issues I have with other facets of this).

I'd also like to thank staff for giving me the official reply I've been asking for. While obviously I still disagree with the ruling and handling of the situation, having an active and official dialogue helps me feel much better about the whole process.
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