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Staff Responsibility/Accountability
Topic Started: May 30 2017, 02:31 PM (3,187 Views)
MurderWeasel
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Zetsumodernista
Jun 5 2017, 03:27 PM
MurderWeasel
 
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.


This is the main thing, for me. If the original notification was sent erroneously (gah, that doesn't even look like a word anymore), then the appeal should be granted, no questions asked. Staff has to comply with appeals in cases where the original inactivity warning was mistakenly sent.
That's true, but it's complicated. In this case, there's official-public-rule (which is "one second past deadline = inactive") and there's private-staff-protocol (which was, at least until my departure, "wait 24 hours minimum"). I actually only bring that point up to note that there are already exceptions to the internal system being made here, so I find the statement that it must be protected at all costs questionable. Staff are 100% within their rights to enforce to the second, and the rules very specifically say so... it's just not the established internal procedure that held for the past six years or, which was in part specifically designed to avoid incidents like this.
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Grim Wolf
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I'm not sure I'm qualified to weigh in on this discussion in the slightest, but nevertheless, here I am.

(pretty sure that's what they're going to write on my epitaph)

This is in way a full view of my thoughts, just what I had time to write before I had to go

This is actually one of those things where I don't think it matters whether or not the letter of the law has been violated or upheld. I'm obviously unaware of the full situation--has Ciel filed another appeal that has not been granted? Is there an appeal currently under debate, and we're just debating a point of policy?--and clearly Ciel had received previous warnings about their activity. I completely understand that staff may feel obligated to enforce their disciplinary measures here or risk seeming toothless in the face of other kinds of disruptive behavior, be it inactivity or inappropriate comments or any number of potential problems.

But the fact is that none of us would even be aware of the problems at play here if there wasn't someone bringing them to our attention who was aware of the internal rules and policies that govern staff behavior, having written them, and that's a very precarious position to put non-staffers in. We have to have trust in staff, just like Murder says. It's great that Murder is here to point out the issue with this particular circumstance and explain and elaborate, but really, even without his presence pointing out all the little issues, this would still be a frustrating move on staff's part. Within their rights? Possibly, since they make the rules. Within the spirit of fair play and building a solid community of handlers all playing by the same rules and working together to tell stories? I don't think so.

Ultimately, the rules of the site are designed to produce the most positive and effective play of the central game as possible. Now, I confess that I've always been of the opinion that rules should be bent and broken as needed to deal with unusual circumstances. I'd rather err on the side of leniency than stringency across the board (little pun for you guys there). Now, obviously if you erred on the side of leniency here, it would only be fair for Ciel to be warned that there would be no additional leniency--that any activity warnings, even ones sent in mid-post, would be full and binding and subject only to the most rigorous of appeals. But it's my opinion that, even without the points of procedure and fairness Murder brings up, cutting Ciel a little slack here is the only action that makes SOTF a better community. The rules should always serve the site, not the other way around.
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Ciel
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It's nice to know staff have their priorities in check.

Thank you everyone who reached out. It was nice to get different thoughts on this dispute. The matter isn't settled, however. This problem is bigger than just a 'character' and it isn't just going to go away.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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MurderWeasel
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Yeah, I'm pretty darn disappointed right now. Still no official response to any of my queries or concerns.
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General Goose
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Alright, so, I may well be wrong on my understanding of the particulars of this dispute, but if my understanding is correct, the two main arguments (or two of the major arguments) are 1) that handlers should not be punished for staff errors and should be able to trust the responses they receive from appeals, but 2) that reversing the reversal of the appeal "means that individual staffers from now on will have the power to arbitrarily and unilaterally grant appeals without staff discussion, and the remainder of staff won't be able to do anything about it" (I quite like zetsu's summaries of this whole business).

So, there's two principles that I find quite compelling that seem to be in conflict. We all want the site to be fair and the rules to be understandable and all of that, but both seem to me to be quite pertinent. I tend to think the first one should be given the priority in this particular case, as it seems to me the threat posed by the latter is, at the moment, more a hypothetical. I tend to, as Grim Wolf said, err on the side of leniency rather than stringency.

But, and again I do not know how the appeals work, but maybe a way to mitigate the risk of erroneous appeals in future would be to implement a kind of, I dunno, "stamping system" or something? So if an appeal, or similarly important staff decision, has been signed off by the requisite number of staff members, there can be an official signature or stamp or something included. So members can treat those decisions as binding, and know every other message from HELP on the subject is provisional or tentative or unofficial.
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MurderWeasel
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See, I think there are a few things at play here.

First off, if there's a problem with staffers acting unilaterally, that's an internal issue. Staff can very much self-police such problems. If it's a recurrent or major deal, staff have loads of options for individual action or removal of offending parties. If it doesn't merit such drastic measures, then clearly it's not a huge issue.

Beyond Goose's point, though, I feel like staff are trying to have it both ways on this issue. They've moved forward at every step without acknowledging concerns in any official capacity. There have been personal statements, and I greatly respect the risk and initiative those staffers who made them took, but at the same time anything prefaced with "this is only my opinion," is not an official statement. This needs one. One has been directly requested multiple times. The only reason this is getting any attention is because folks are persistently prodding over it, and that's a sorry state of affairs.
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MurderWeasel
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Moving it here since it wasn't addressed in the appropriate venue:

Posted Image
Posted Image
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All extraneous stuff has been trimmed. Apologies to the bystanders; the initial statement got my hackles up.

To be clear: I, personally, have never received official statement from staff on this matter. My communications have been as follows:

1. immediately after hearing about the situation, I drafted this thread. I reconsidered because I specifically did not want it to be publicly messy unless necessary, and instead PMed it to Help with the following note:
Quote:
 
Heya, staff. I was all about to fire this off in a righteous rage but after taking an hour to proof it and reconsider and muse a bit on how past disagreements played out, I decided to send it by PM instead as a first attempt at resolving the issue. I am not looking to start a massive public ordeal, but rather to deal with an issue that I feel is extremely pressing and serious. That said, I'm very intent about this being addressed and may well bring it back to the Support board if I feel that doing so is in the interests of site health and full transparency. I'm in a somewhat difficult position here in that I'd much rather be having this as a conversation involving the site as a whole, but fear that my history on staff and the rather extreme nature of my current disapproval of staff actions would risk cultivating an atmosphere of hostility, which I really do not want to do.

I also don't really want to rewrite the post to account for the change in audience, since it took long enough as-is, so here are my concerns laid out:

<snip OP>


2. I had the aforementioned Skype call with a couple of staffers, who were hoping to correct what they thought was a misunderstanding of the situation. It was established that I did not misunderstand, and both sides acknowledged the unfortunate inevitability of further discussion on the matter. I think "Voice call during video games at 2 am" is pretty clearly not official staff communication.

3. When staff moved forward with rolls without responding to my PM, I posted this thread. At around the same time (starting shortly beforehand), I was chatting privately with the above-quoted staffer on the situation. It was, I felt, a productive discussion. That said, it was an unofficial discussion with a single staffer, and one in which both sides again acknowledged where this was headed.

4. All other exchanges are logged in this thread already. I don't speak for Ciel. I've seen some of his communications with staff, but I'm not sure if I've seen all of them. But no official communications have come my way, unless that one response to the PMed logs signed by a single staffer counts.

I'm totally down for anything proving me wrong to be posted. Maybe I've somehow forgotten. Maybe in some weird twist of fate I missed a PM or something. I double checked to the degree I can, but hey, I've been wrong on very silly stuff before, and I'd actually feel a lot better to discover that I'd done something foolish. But here's the gauntlet: if staff has officially communicated with me, I'd really like to see some evidence of it.
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MurderWeasel
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Actually, in fairness, I failed to note one exchange:

Posted Image

Reads bottom to top. I'd censored only staff names from my initial log, and after this removed all other names too.

While sent by a single staffer, I do believe this is official staff communication. It is not, however, addressing my concerns.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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0 versions since dramafree SOTF.

Seriously, this and the Steve debate is terrible. Deadlines are a thing, it's simple. The staff forum is a thing, there staff things can be discussed.

I really wanted to read more of Bart and Scout. Aura and Ciel are both active handlers and them not being able to finish their stories is fucking ruining it for me. I despise that death post. Things were not concluded yet in this discussion. If they had been killed after the discussion, fine. But they're killed before there was a conclusion. It felt forced, and like a power sign.

This site about the story, and it looks like me that currently it's more like a power game than about the plot of Scout and Bart. I really find this staff vs. member vibe that this thread and the chat is developing disgusting. This topic is something I want to rant about, but I have to hold back, because it's none of my business. I don't want to be involved in it, but this is the biggest topic right now on this site and all relevant chats.

That death post is non-canon to me until this problem has been solved.
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CrossbowPig
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I was going to wait to throw my two cents in on this whole thing. I was going to let myself exit the game and wait and see what happened next. I was under the impression that, on some level, SOTF_HELP taking Scout was going to lead to the inactivity death, but I was also hoping, somewhat foolishly, that it would keep Scout in limbo - SOTF_HELP is a neutral entity inofitself, and placing Scout under its jurisdiction seems like the most neutral place to put her - until this dispute was solved, or, at least, an understanding was reached. I am under the impression that an understanding has not been reached, and Scout was killed anyway.

Now what I'm about to say might not come as a shock to some people, but I side with Ciel and MW on this one. That's primarily a matter of their argument being more persuasive for me personally, and because of my opinion that, like Grim_Wolf, the rules work for the site and not the other way around. As far as I can tell, leniency seems to be the majority opinion of this thread, as I can count MW, Ciel, RC, Grim_Wolf, Goose (roughly) and myself on one side of the debate, Zetsu somewhere in the middle, and Rattle on the other. This is by no means any indication of the general consensus on this forum, only a tally of who has participated. Rugga popped in and asked a question, but as far as I can tell, and please correct me if it turns out I'm blind and wrong, that that was her only participation in the thread and not an affirmation of stance on this. If anything, I'd really want to see more opinions from those siding with staff on this issue, because as it stands the lack of real communication, official or otherwise, between sides of the debate, gives me a bad feeling about the whole thing.

As far as my own personal involvement, I have, essentially, none. I'm just a concerned handler, and I don't have my own horse in the race. The implications of whatever decision or culminating opinion this results in affects the whole site and site culture, but as it stands, nothing affects me directly. However, these implications, whatever they may be, worry me greatly.

I merely wished to voice my concerned at some point, but the decision to kill off Scout before an official staff statement was made troubled me greatly, and I felt like I needed to get something off of my chest, something that has been plaguing my mind and burning in the embers of my thoughts for too long.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Lesson of the day: Don't go inactive, kids, or people will kill off your kids with no respect.

Seriously, this is early SOTF behaviour. We took a step backwards. I was glad in TV2 when things were handled respectful, but this? Jesus Christ, this reminds me of V1 inactive kills.

Killing Scout is against the rules. Simple.

Also, now in retrospective I finally know why a new rule was introduced. But that new rule was redundant, was not a solution, does not fix this problem and feels like an excuse.

Jeff, prepare some more Scout posts. I want to read how she and Clarice meet again, goddammit. You have my permission. I'm the birthday kid and the most important person on this site (see my name). You have all the rights to continue writing her. Steve was granted, Scout should also be granted. And if staff doesn't accept it? Fuck it, Jeff, Aura, we have an Other Roleplaying forum. I invite you two to roleplay with me in a AU thread where I play Alessio and you play Scout and Bart in an AU island where both of them are still alive. This is no joke, I mean it. I haven't roleplayed with you two in V6 enough and I want to.

I want to post a funny meme to lighten the mood in my post, but I can't find one fitting.

This thread is enfuriating, it could be a stupid romantic-comedy from Germany.
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CrossbowPig
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While I do think that response is a bit heated, RC, I do understand your sentiment. There are so many things I wish I felt more comfortable saying about this whole situation and I really appreciate your courage in saying them. It's probably what's been on a lot of people's minds anyway, including mine, in a sense.

This whole thing saddens me, too. I just request that we keep it civil, at the very least. Please. What you suggest, RC, is drastic measures, and I'm not entirely sure that it's time for those to be taken yet, if ever.
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General Goose
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Not a helpful post at all, RC. You can't bemoan drama and then say to just ignore staff rulings. If you want to set up an AU RP, fine, but please don't do that in this thread.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Jeff posted after an official appeal of staff. Where's the problem? That's exactly the opposite of breaking rules.
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