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Staff Responsibility/Accountability
Topic Started: May 30 2017, 02:31 PM (3,200 Views)
Aura
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Okay, since one of my characters has been brought into the conversation, I suppose that I have to put my two cents in now.

Yes, it can be argued that Bart was indirectly screwed by this situation too, but the thing is, I genuinely forgot that I was allowed to make inactivity avoidance posts. I mentioned that in my appeal, and immediately wrote up a post with Bart once it was his turn again a few minutes later because I thought that it would help my case. It didn't work. I had neglected the rules, and I wound up paying the price.

And even though I'm really, really, really unsatisfied about the way Bart's story ended, I really don't think that I have a leg to stand on to argue against it. It's my fault that he went inactive, and I have to accept it.
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dmboogie
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See, it WAS your fault, but I'm honestly not sure how the site benefits from completely eliminating a handler who's still interested in the game and would likely stay active, especially this close to endgame.

You're not happy. Nobody who was following Bart is happy.

Like, I get that additional chances have to end somewhere and both you guys already used your first warning, but I still think being more lenient in these cases would be a net good.
Edited by dmboogie, Jun 7 2017, 09:56 PM.
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VysePresident
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So I've generally kept quiet here, as I've not been very invested in V6, and lately not all that invested in SotF either. I'm also not fond of drama or controversy.

I do have to ask though - if Ciel has repeatedly pushed the activity line over the course of the game, and had in fact been inactive when Staff told him he was going terminal, how can you say the decision was unfair, except on a technicality? It seems one can only extend the benefit of the doubt for so long.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think leniency would have been a bad thing, and I wish Ciel had been able to finish as he would have wanted. (Goodness knows I had so much trouble finishing my character's death. I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't sympathize.) I can agree with the majority on this part. That said, what bothers me about this argument is that leniency is a privilege - a gift - and it's being treated as almost a right.

With the single exception of posting the inactive kills before officially responding to this thread, I don't believe this was unprofessional. (Credit to Rattle, but given the direction of the conversation, it was clear it needed something from the Staff as a whole.)

It was a clear and obvious Staff mistake to give Ciel the clear, and it was their right to correct it. I would rather it had been handled differently, particularly since he posted right away, but I can respect why they would follow the letter of the law. For what little my 02 is worth, the death post (which I haven't actually read, and am considering strictly on principle.) was a poor move.

I dunno. I've been in a position where I've had to moderate before on a much smaller scale, between a couple groups composed mostly of friends. I'm pretty familiar with how hard it is to navigate a crappy position with no truly good solution. I know emotions are high, but please let's stay civil guys. :/

I think, when it comes down to it, I'm mostly in agreement with Zetsu's well-worded first post in this thread.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

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VysePresident
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Aura
Jun 7 2017, 09:44 PM
Okay, since one of my characters has been brought into the conversation, I suppose that I have to put my two cents in now.

Yes, it can be argued that Bart was indirectly screwed by this situation too, but the thing is, I genuinely forgot that I was allowed to make inactivity avoidance posts. I mentioned that in my appeal, and immediately wrote up a post with Bart once it was his turn again a few minutes later because I thought that it would help my case. It didn't work. I had neglected the rules, and I wound up paying the price.

And even though I'm really, really, really unsatisfied about the way Bart's story ended, I really don't think that I have a leg to stand on to argue against it. It's my fault that he went inactive, and I have to accept it.
For what it's worth, I really respect you for this post mate.

I'm sorry things went poorly, but good on you for this.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



(Relationships Planning Thread #Pi)
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VysePresident
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And for reference, I've seen more than a few groups screwed over by their Staff being too lenient.

Punishment is not the first resort, but there are good reasons as to why exceptions should be exceptions. Even a general policy of lenience can only extend so far.

One of the things that drew me to this site was that the Staff was serious. It was painful at times - I went through three different moderators in the course of getting Ian approved, and they each wanted massive revisions. Staff enforced activity, realism, etc, and while it was somewhat hard, SotF was so much better for it overall.

As I said, I'm not against leniency, even a fairly open, benefit-of-the-doubt policy, and wish it had been extended in this case. However, I'm leery at how the conversation has turned to the idea that Staff owed said leniency, when honestly, I'm sorry Ciel, I think you're a pretty chill guy, but you did mess up the activity part. :/
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



(Relationships Planning Thread #Pi)
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Riki
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Oh, I don't like where the conversation is going right now - so I feel like reiterating what I think is the main problem here.

It is not about leniency. It is about the fact that once staff gives out official information, it must be true. Mistakes happen, and these mistakes must also be mended with the proper care - it is extremely questionable if this staff has acted as such in this case.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Some more questions I asked myself.

Why is a character who has not posted for a month without an away allowed to have a proper death thread written by their handler, but Jeff and Aura have a death post handled by SOTF_Help mid through a discussion? Staff has the right to declare inactive characters dead, but at least let the death be handled by their handlers when they're active. Equality, guys. A month is the double of 2 weeks.

Why was staff's immediate solution idea to change the rules? This new rule 'PM SOTF_Help' in retrospective to me seems as staff going 'oh, well, this is an unfortunate event. Whose fault it is? Not ours, blame the handlers for having contacted a single staffer about this issue, how dare.' That rule to me is redundant and unprofessional. I want it to be changed, get undo'd. There is a staff forum to communicate things and people should know that there's a team. Being able to say 'I'll give that issue to the other staffers' is how things have always worked out whenever I had a thing to tell to staff. Don't change a running system. The problem is not the handlers having PMed a staffer. The problem was a staffer on their own giving the handler an answer in the name of all staffers without informing the others. I don't see why the rule should be changed to address the handlers to tell them 'you cannot do things you used to do, you are not allowed to PM a staffer on chat.' Why not just tell staffers on the their first day as staff that they have power, responsibility and don't have the right to decide things on their own, because Staff chat and Staff forums are a thing. As a staffer you know the rules kinda better than than newbies: if a newbie or a handler approaches you in chat, and you know the answer, because you are a professional, you can give them answer, and if you're 100% sure on a subject or a rule, you can handle things on your own. If the issue is something you're either not 100% sure about it, or you need to talk about it with another staffer or the whole staff team, you simply redirect the issue to the staff forum, where everyone can debate about the solution and inform the handler in question to hold the line. Your job as staff is to handle the issues of handlers, that's why it's called staff, like real life staff (guess what? I work as staff in real life). We have a chat, we are not a forum-only community, we have the ability to use chat to call out issues. Why would you change this system?

Changing rules to get rid of responsibility in my opinion hurts the site, because it always had been helpful in the past (for me, at least). Now things got more complicated and not in favour of the handlers. My reaction when I first read this was just being confused, angered and facepalming. You say doing staff things as a staff member is awkward for the staffer in question? What? Being put on the spot is not a part of being a staffer? What? You are forced to give a speedy answer instead of just saying "I'll redirect that"? What? There is a problem of being unbiased, you cannot talk with a handler without ignoring the relationships, it's automatically unfair for the handler because of their relationship with the staffer. What the heck. Why do you care in the staff test about unbiasedness in theory when you say it's not your job to maintain exactly that in the practise? You want to impersonalise issues by telling handlers to write a letter to SOTF_Help? You really think this keeps relationships out? You realise things will never be anonymised in the staff forum and therefore you will know who PMed SOTF_Help or who approached the staffer? If you hate or love the person in question as a staffer, it will go away simply because it was written in a PM instead of it having being communicated with a staff member? You realise that it actually would be the other way around if the staffer who had been approached would anonymise the handler ('a handler approached me about issue x. How do we deal with it?') instead of using the name of the handler? You really think this is better for the handlers? Instead of approaching staff members in chat, to write a letter, because that creates such a 'fair difference', even though copypasting things to a staff forum thread would've been faster? Why would staff then have colours in chat? What's now the purpose of discord moderators? Does it even matter now? You guys know that dialogue is better to handle things, right? Communicating via PM is painful in comparison to handling it with a dialogue. Sometimes you just have to PM staff instead of chatting with. But that's always been the case, this ruled changed nothing, except that it now more things need to be handled via PM, which is not going to help staffers, nor the community.

No front at the staff, but that rule change just disappointed me hugely. Sorry to rant, but that really pissed me off when I read it. I lost some respect for staff after having read that, before even knowing what the heck is going on. But I went 'well, they have their reasons', /shrug, but now after having read Toben's topic and about the real issue as to why the rule was changed to be that way, this rule is disgusting to me. I work as staff in real life and it's really upsetting me.

Meanwhile in staff forum there's probably a thread called 'ban RC? yes or no'. I tried to word myself without insulting or fronting anybody. I just heavily criticised this whole approach of fixing this issue. Perhaps I will be heard by staff and hopefully they can agree with me. How I predict things are going to work out since Scout had been killed mid-discussion, though: Staff will say that Jeff went inactive, because he went inactive, and they have the rights to fix their errors, Scout's death post will still remain canon and that's the end of the issue. What I hope for: Staff will say that Jeff went inactive, because he went inactive, admit that killing Scout was wrong and that they did not handle the death of Scout and Bart with respect, delete the death post thread, let Jeff and Aura write a better death thread. Rewrite the "You have to PM SOTF_Help" rule into just a note that says "Hey, please PM SOTF_HELP when you have an issue, it's optional, but it helps us to handle things. We have good news for you, too and give you a reason why YOU should PM SOTF_Help instead of PMing a staffer on chat even though it's slightly slower! We aren't as slow as we used to be when it comes to replying to SOTF_Help PMs and you guys can PM staffers on chat to tell them to check the PM. We now care about SOTF_Help again! YAY!"

But I'm a dreamer.
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Primrosette
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The death thread for Scout and Bart did feel like a big 'fuck you' (Sorry for cussing) to their handlers as their deaths should have been handled after this issue had been sorted out first. But at least, Aura is being civil about it and acknowledging that he was responsible for missing the deadline. Two weeks/14 days is enough for you to actually do a post. Next time, it would be safer to do the post the day before the deadline. Two sides are at fault here and I hope that they can both sort things out because I really don't like seeing everyone falling apart like this.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Also, Espi, it's not your fault, so stop worrying about this issue. You have no fault. Giving Aura Alice is a honour move, too.
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Malloon
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I'd like to weigh in too, since everybody seems to be doing it. I'm still a newbie, so if my opinion isn't considered equal to others, I'm fine with that, and understand it. But hear me out if you can.

Now, there are two sets of rules that are relevant here - the rules for staff, and the rules for handlers. Both are argued to have been broken - by Ciel and by a staff member. The debate as is has been between which set is more important, since that would dictate which outcome would be chosen (an outcome that Staff at least now sees as decided due to Scout's death post, it seems), between whether or not Ciel or Staff actually broke the rules, and whether or not the rules should be followed at all in this case, since they don't seem conducive to the goals of this site.

I'll give my own opinion on that in a moment, but first I'll need a jumping off point:

The rules as a whole are there to give structure to this entire ordeal and make that structure consistent. Technically, staff could run this site without rules, operating on a whim based on whatever they think is fair at the moment. Practically, though, that wouldn't be fun in the long run, and people would leave. Why? Because there would not be enough consistency; one person would be treated so, and the other so; and at one point such and such a decision was reached, and the next time it was different. That breeds resentment (which we're seeing a taste of here), since people generally want to be treated equally and not feel as if decisions are arbitrary,

This is why leniency may feel like a right for some people - "Other people were granted it, why should I be denied it? What makes me less worthy of it?" etc. And you know, I sympathise (not because I've been treated unfairly, I feel, definitely not, but because I'm human). This is how leniency can cause problems - it's inconsistent and can feel unfair if there seems to be no difference between cases.

Based on what I've seen of people talking about the beginning of this site, I don't think I need to go into too much detail. Suffice to say, the rules exist for a reason.

If both side of the issue have broken the rules, however (which I would disagree with, since on a purely technical basis, only Ciel broke a rule (sorry Ciel)) and the consequences of both are inconsistent, then the only option left is inconsistency. If there were a rule in place to deal with conflicting rules, then there wouldn't be inconsistency, but there isn't, so whichever option offers the least inconsistency, it seems, would then be the best option. Murder and Riki have said that what Staff says through SOTF_Help should be considered true for fairness for the handlers on the receiving end, even it it's because of an individual member going rogue, but while that might be a good policy and perhaps a good rule, it isn't official. Since it isn't official, even though it perhaps should be, the only inconsistency is perhaps the lack of leniency. I'll get back to this later.

For Ciel's case, which might or might not be a moot point at this point, some people have said say that we can be lenient despite the importance of rules, as long as it's stated that this is a one-off thing because of the mistake made by the member of Staff or because that would be more conducive to the fun we're to have here. The counter-argument that has been made to the first point is that this is not a one-off thing and gives individual staff members too much power, whether or not they're punished afterwards, since this does set a precedent for any case in the future where a staff member makes a mistake - it's either that, or more inconsistency, which would also counter the second point, since that would impact the fun for other people in the future, among other things. In essence, if and on whatever grounds leniency is/would be granted here (since this has been thoroughly discussed and will be brought up in later cases), whatever is granted has to become a new rule.

This same counter-argument above has been used against the idea that there should be a rule that everything that Staff says in official capacity should be true - having individual staff members make a decision that can't be changed can definitely be dangerous. I don't have to say why, I think. That fact that staff members are thoroughly vetted before joining mitigates this somewhat, but staff members are people, and people can make mistakes, as demonstrated here.

Should Staff have been lenient for Ciel? Maybe, maybe not, but I agree with Riki that that's not the main issue here. I don't agree that whatever Staff gives out officially should automatically be considered true, however. Mistakes do happen, but mending it sometimes needs changing what was said before. Just having anything be subject to possible change, however, leads to, say it with me, inconsistency, and the unfairness people have been complaining about. So I propose a compromise. Give Staff a 24 hour grace period to amend any official statement, after which everyone will just have to live with it. This can include, of course, saying "This decision was not made unilaterally. Please wait while we amend and discuss this." I would also propose an extra 24 hours be added on top of any deadline in which Staff takes a hand - in Ciel's case, being in the middle of writing and having that be a reason for leniency would mean being in the middle of writing 24 hours after the first reply would also count.

This gives Staff the power to counter rogue decisions while also generally being fair to people.

*Edited for grammar and spelling.
Edited by Malloon, Jun 8 2017, 06:59 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Also, what I want to note in my wall of text, is that I don't blame the staffer for having acted that way with Jeff. In fact, the staffer handled things perfectly in the skype chat log. Like Toben said, everything was fine and the only mistake was panicking themselves.

Never change a running system. The skype convo log shows how things were perfectly handled, how things had been handled in the past, how things would work out, and how things would work out in the future. There was no problem. The only problem was the staffer deciding things on their own. Props for calming Ciel down, who was panicking. It's a good way to handle things. I see how relationships played a role in this thing. You wanted to help Ciel. And you acted professionally, as a staffer, to calm him down.

But let me tell you one thing. Pity has no place in this kind of thing. Don't let yourself be manipulated by emotions. I tell you that as a staff member myself. Pity has no place in this thing, you are not an ass for letting Jeff wait until a proper answer comes from the rest of the team, you will not be hated by Jeff for doing your job and denying the appeal if it needs to, and you don't have to panic yourself and get yourself rushy. Seriously, that's a wrong way. When a client panics, you don't panic, too, you don't have to feel it, you have to maintain near - distance, you stay calm, you wait until the issue can be solved. Things need time and having handled it on your own was the problem. It was never the problem of Jeff having approached you, you handled it perfectly. Just rushing and deciding to solve the problem immediately by yourself was unprofessional. Not the being approached. You acted mostly well. There is absolutely no reason to change the way handlers should approach staff.

Some advice, for the future. It's none of your business what staff decides, you're not the handler of Scout, you should not care if Scout dies or not, instead you should care about whether Scout is allowed die or not, you shouldn't have been rooting for Jeff to keep his character. You don't do things for a single handler, you do things for the site. You wanted to give hope, make Jeff happy, but false hope is disastrious as a staffer. But it's alright, we all learn from mistakes. Don't empathise/sympathise in such situations, stay rational. Never pity clients.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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And now I thought of a good metaphora for this situation as a social worker.

A client asks me whether he could have his candy. He really overacted and reaaaaally wanted candy from the candy box only I, as a staffer, have access to. I professionally calmed him down after he cried for candy. I sympathise with the client, give him the box, he eats some, stops crying for candy and everybody's happy. This is the first month I work there.

Wrong. That was a wrong thing. Why? Because as a new staffer I do not know that this kid was not allowed to eat the candy, because he woke up late and skipped the first lesson of school. And people who do that are not allowed to eat candy. Darn it, I should have asked my co-workers before giving him the candy, because I knew that rule exists, and I did not look in the 'ban list' properly, because I was too overwhelmed with the kid having cried at heat of the moment. That was a mistake by me. I was not experienced enough. Now, how do we fix this problem?

Well, that kid doesn't deserve the candy anymore. So me and my co-workers grabbed that kid beat him up until he pukes the candy out. JUSTICE!!!

And because of the issue of the candy my co-workers and me decide to prevent this mistake by changing the rules for the clients to have them write letters to apply to get chocolate, because letters are bureaucratic and therefore cannot be emotional. Now I have an easier job to give candy out to clients who want them.

Metaphoras are fun to write.

No seriously, don't actually make the kid puke. Just let him digest the candy. Learn from mistakes. In the future take more time to control whether you're allowed to do that or not and don't get overwhelmed by emotions of handlers. Power is a thing you have as a social worker and staff member. And this story is about power abuse.
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TwelveFourtyFive
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Also, to be fair, there are two exceptions where it's acceptable to retract the appeal. First exception is if the staffer in question is Paige. Second one is if the staffer in question is Zee. They are new staffers and unexperienced (REvo aside) and them doing mistakes and immediately trying to fix them is absolutely okay for me. However, if the staffer in question is anyone else, I don't accept the retraction of the appeal and don't accept the death of Scout, because they've been around for the whole V6 and have witnessed and experienced lots of inactivity deaths and how they are handled. Staff has to be accountable for that. Staff is responsible for their actions. They know the rules, they have the power, they used their power, they granted an appeal, Jeff posted, Jeff isn't inactive anymore. Simple. You can't go: "ehhh their power and action doesn't mean anything. It's invalid because it's a mistake." No, it was an official appeal. Official appeal approval is official appeal approval, even if it was a wrong move. Simple. Jeff posted after having an official letter. After Jeff had posted he was not inactive anymore. The retraction of the appeal was too late. You can't re-inactive a character who had posted a day ago.

No, the staffer acted, it's valid. That's what a staffer is. You don't get protected by your co-workers for doing something wrong. You get criticised and you have to stand up for it. Especially when you know the rules, know how to do stuff and have experience. You decide to do it and did it and have all the rights to do it? Then it's done. Simple. Being staff is having a job where you can't fix mistakes by ignoring them and acting like everything's fine and they did not happen. What's done is done. You are an experienced staffer and are responsible. You used your power and it was active and valid. You used your power falsely, but you used it nonetheless.
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Malloon
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In addition to what I just said, I'd also suggest extending Ciel (and maybe Aura) an olive branch and allowing them to write the death scene(s) themselves. This will be based on the uncertainty created by this incident and Ciel not knowing about my hypothetical 24 hour rule (because it wasn't a rule at that time) and therefore won't be applicable in the future, creating no unfairness by allowing it.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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TwelveFourtyFive
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@Malloon I agree re: rewriting the death scene. This site about the plot.

Also, I'm off soonish and I want to counter stuff in case somebody says, "Oooh, Narcissus, your reasoning sounds sketchyy~ Your reasoning sounds like a shitty loophole that would be unfair, because that would mean anyyy staffer could grant anyyy person an appeal! That could mean if you're friends with staff, you don't need to be active when you get an invalid/wrong appeal and get it approved."

"No, it's not a loophole reasoning, because a) it was a mistake and b) if you do that on purpose as a staffer it gets you kicked out of staff at best and banned at worst."
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