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Staff Responsibility/Accountability
Topic Started: May 30 2017, 02:31 PM (3,008 Views)
Ciel
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I'm going to throw my two cents in here.

As you might have gathered from the logs Toben posted, staff marked my character Scout Pfeiffer as inactive. A pm was sent through SOTF_Help as I was in the middle of writing a post. I was distraught about the situation, and I sent the response without really thinking. The response was short and panicked. If I were given the chance to do it again, I would have chosen my words better, but I can't change what's in the past.

However, regardless of the circumstances or the wording, there is no requirement for what your appeal should say. It just says that you have to respond in three days, or seventy-two hours. So by the written rules of the site, my appeal is considered an 'official' appeal. So I do not understand why staff is making the distinction between my appeal and an 'official appeal'.

I also do not know what lead to the decision of accepting my appeal. I certainly have no clue how many members were involved in the decision. But the fact that staff feels they are allowed to just up and decide to repeal a decision made through SOTF_Help, the mediary that represents staff as a whole, is just plain wrong.

My big thing about this is that staff has taken the stance that the decision was made without any 'staff deliberation', effectively distancing themselves from any responsibility in the mistake. Before proceeding to lump the blame onto me by bringing up the fact that I approached a staff member asking them to check Help and insinuating that I was putting 'pressure' on them. That claim is laughable, frankly. It's been my habit to poke a staff member whenever I send help a message. I've been doing it since V4 and not once have I been reprimanded for it. In fact, staff has gone out of its way to make an announcement denouncing inappropriate conduct with staff, and yet they make the point of mentioning 'it's fine to approach us to ask us to check the SOTF_Help mailbox'.

And yet I am being punished for following the rules and expectations of the board? It's my fault that staff made a mistake?

Now you could make the argument that my opinion should not matter, not only because I am not staff but because this deals directly with one of my characters and that is a pretty biased position to be in. I can understand that line of logic. However, even if I had no part in this, if I were instead a third party who was just learning about this, I know my opinion would be the same. This sets an unfair and quite frankly scummy precedent. I do not think staff realizes the severity of this situation.
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Ciel
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Ruggahissy
May 30 2017, 05:49 PM
I think the staff is within their rights to correct an error. The notice was given in error, staff cops to it, and says that Ciel can appeal now that staff is on the same page about to handle it, that being as a group.
I would concede to your point if we were talking about a known staffer or subset of staffers making the call on their own. But this was funneled through SOTF_Help, an account that was made as an anonymous middleman between staff and the regular members.

I don't know how many people were involved in this decision and I really don't care. Names and numbers do not matter in this case. Isn't the entire point of having SOTF_Help is to avoid this sort of thing?
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Ciel
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MurderWeasel
Jun 2 2017, 12:53 AM
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... What the hell does this even mean?

I was just saying thank you. Because I was relieved to still have my character and I assumed the person I contacted was the one who broached the subject to the rest of staff. That's all.

I was fucking upset. I was frantic and scared. I thought staff would gather that from my original appeal and these logs. I thought they would understand because I have directly told them as such.

Is giving thanks and apologizing for one's behavior normally congruous with shady dealings? It must be. I don't even want to consider the alternative; that staff thinks so little of me that they could dismiss a former administrator's claim like this, and through Help of all places.

I don't know how to feel about any of this. :(
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Ciel
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Now that I have given this time to stew I have decided how to feel about this.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how staff operates or how it chooses to make decisions. That is their prerogative. So how they choose to behave out of view of the rest of the board is also their choice.

But bias and closed-mindedness should have no effect on how the game works. Because at the end of the day, we are trusting staff. We, the regular members, are told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. We aren't told how staff make decisions, we just know that the decision is made. So all we can do is trust that they do so in a timely manner and that they handle it in a professional manner.

So when staff makes a mistake? If they make a wrong judgement call or jump the gun? It is staff's fault. Not the regular member.

I shouldn't have to explain myself. I could go on and on about the circumstances that have lead to my inactivity, grounds for an appeal that I feel are more than sufficient to successfully appeal the terminal activity notice.

The burden falls squarely on staff. THEY should have to explain the real reason why they revoked my successful appeal. They have been giving both me and Toben wishy-washy answers that are either purposefully vague, do not hold up under scrutiny or both. I still have absolutely no idea why staff have not budge on their decision, and if anyone deserves an explanation, it should be the person that has been impacted my said decision.

Here is what happened:

1. Soft_Help sent me the inactive notice at 8:41 AM.
2. I sent my appeal at 8:51 AM.
3. I pop into a skype chat group at 8:52 AM asking if any staff members around.
3. I approach a staff member on skype at 8:54 AM asking to check Sotf_Help.
4. The staff member responded at 8:57 AM.
5. Sotf_Help sent me the approval of my appeal at 9:07 AM.
6. I posted at 9:25 AM.

In any other circumstance under the sun, this would be it. An open and shut case. The appeal went through and I posted soon after. According to the rules of the site my character is considered active. The opposite of inactive.

But apparently I am wrong. My character is still considered terminally inactive for reasons that have yet to be fully explained. Something tells me it is never going to be explained.

Again, I really do not care how many people were involved in granting my appeal, and I don't care about whether it is put through the right channels or not. Because it does not matter. It happened. I didn't manipulate anyone, I didn't hold a gun to anyone's head, I did everything that I was supposed to do. If the staff member I spoke to told me to wait (and they sure as hell did) I would have done just that.

I would actually more understanding if they revoked the appeal right after I posted. It would not make the revoking right, sure, but people make mistakes. I'd be bitter about it, sure. It isn't unreasonable to feel bitter about something like this. But I would deal with it. Why would I ever get petty over a stupid game? Life goes on.

It took staff nearly seven hours though. Seven hours to correct a mistake they knew full well that they had made. A mistake that I played no part in.

Staff has yet to post an official response on the matter. And I am afraid that is not going to change.

So yeah. To say that I'm feeling indignant would be putting it mildly.
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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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Ciel
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I appreciate your passion RC but yeah, I think Steve and Scout are two completely different cases and drawing a parallel between the two is misleading at best.

toben
 
This stuff takes time.


I agree with you on that Toben. Rattle shared the same sentiments in his response earlier, and it's a good thing to keep in mind.

Not directly responding to a public matter like this is probably the worst decision they could have made though. That's just my opinion but c'mon. They had a week to issue an official response. They could have avoided this implosion but chose not to.
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Ciel
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As Espi brought up, I did actually put in a second appeal. The contents of the pms are not important; I thought I had sufficient grounds to appeal the decision, a family medical emergency that I do not want to discuss further, and clearly staff thought differently.

Ultimately this thread has nothing to do with whether or not my second appeal was granted. Instead, as Riki pointed out, it is about the way staff has dealt with this entire matter. I already came into this thread knowing I probably would probably not be getting Scout back. Staff have been dragging their feet about the matter this entire time, so something in the pit of my chest told me it was going to come down to this. But that changes nothing to me. If I wanted to continue playing as Scout I would shove her into SC2. This is bigger than one character.

( ... Also Aura isn't the only one who is unhappy with the death thread. I wasn't even going to bring up my grievances about it but it feels like people are about as unhappy as I am about it. Bart doesn't even sound like Bart. I just can't imagine him strangling someone. Also, Scout does something that is completely out of character for her to do. Not only would she not go to sleep in the same building as someone else, she's been struggling with insomnia. Also, how the hell do you not reflexively let go of the death grip you have on somebody's throat after getting shot at point-blank range? I know Bart is fat but c'mon, he's not the Hulk, he's not a brick wall. And Scout's gun isn't a semi-automatic, this is a mini-machine gun at as close of a range as you can get. There should be no such thing as a locked door with a gun like that. )
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Ciel
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Staff Post
 
At this point, Ciel contacted MurderWeasel to claim that staff had unfairly declared his character inactive without giving him a chance to appeal.
I never made such a claim. I have said nothing that even remotely approaches "Staff didn't give me a chance to appeal". Not once. Not in this thread, not in public chat, not in private messages to Toben.

I explained the situation to MurderWeasel, including the events leading up to the terminal inactivity. I did this solely as a way to vent my frustrations not only about the on-site matter but also real life circumstances I've been going through over the past six months. I knew that Toben would at least understand and perhaps give me an alternative point of view on the situation.

Instead MurderWeasel took issue with the fact that staff revoked an official decision. That is why this thread exists. Honestly, even if I was willing to let things lie and not openly pursued this line of discourse, I have a feeling Toben would have gone ahead and made this thread anyway.

Staff Post
 
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.
It is troubling that staff still have not officially addressed the message I sent SOTF_Help.

Look. I only asked this staff member to check help. I have said this time and time again. I already apologized to the staff member in question on an individual basis because I was embarrassed with how I handled the matter. I was upset and frantic and nobody should have to deal with that in the morning. So I'm sorry if that made it seem like I was pressuring them but that is so not the case. If staff honestly do not believe me, if all of the staff members look at the logs that have been posted, and collectively believe I was somehow breaking the rules then I am not sure what else to tell you.

Staff Post
 
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.
My argument was mainly about the revoking of the appeal approval, as the explanation was vague and made absolutely no sense to me at the time. Staff error is grounds for immediate appeal of terminal activity. I also felt extremely uncomfortable talking about the real life emergency in question, and I saw no reason to bring it up because I thought I had a case.

Staff Post
 
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.
My grounds for appeal were due to my laptop's keyboard, which broke the evening before the inactivity notice was sent, and that I was posting as all of my characters up until that point. Here are two pictures that I submitted as evidence. As I recall, 'technical errors' are sufficient grounds to appeal. I only mentioned real life circumstances in passing at the time because I felt like I owed staff an explanation for the earlier activity warning and the inactivity leading up to the Christmas holiday. The technical problem was the crux of my argument.

Staff Post
 
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.
Because there was no medical emergency when Audrey went inactive. Why would I mention something that did not occur yet? In truth I did post as Audrey in order to get her and another handler's character out of a dangerzone, and my appeal was mainly concerning the situation Audrey was in at the time.

Staff Post
 
This pattern of consistent inactivity followed by multiple appeals from Ciel goes back to at least V5.
I was never considered terminally inactive in v5. I was warned once, that's it. You said something similar to this in your official denial of my appeal.

Staff PM
 
We received appeals in similar context dating back three years ago in V5 that were handled more leniently at your request as special exception.
I sent you a response stating that I did not recall ever receiving special leniency, let alone requesting any. Also, I do not see why something as flaccid as an activity warning that happened three years ago would matter in the grand scheme of things. Lives change in that amount of time. People marry and bear children twiceover in that amount of time.

Overall I am extremely troubled by this response by staff. This breakdown paints me as a moocher, as someone who has been breaking and bending the rules for years, and that does not sit well with me at all. It makes me more sad than mad, honestly. It makes me question everything I have ever done on this forum.

I do not want to sound petty here, or greedy, or ungrateful, posting this. On the contrary, I am extremely grateful for the offer staff is extending. It is an amazing amount of charity on staff's part, and at the very least I'm happy Aura will be able to have some creative freedom with Bart's death.

However, the tone of this post alone and the things that it implies have made me hesitant to even accept this offer on my end.

I'm sorry for being a debbie downer but all of this needed to be said.
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