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The Disciplinary Process
#91
If I recall correctly too, for the sake of not creating drama and privacy, if a GM has a warning thread it's set in a different forum that they cannot access or see -because- they don't want to create drama. This isn't just something that's done for the player's benefit, but for everyone. I doubt anyone has seen their own warning thread, because it's a hard thing to handle seeing.

It doesn't mean there's bad things in there. It's just difficult to know that information. Knowing that some of the people previously that wanted me banned are my best friends now? Why in hell would I want to see that? I wouldn't ever want to, as a player, as a GM, and as a -person- with feelings.
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#92
(03-23-2013, 10:20 AM)Rensin Wrote: If I recall correctly too, for the sake of not creating drama and privacy, if a GM has a warning thread it's set in a different forum that they cannot access or see -because- they don't want to create drama. This isn't just something that's done for the player's benefit, but for everyone. I doubt anyone has seen their own warning thread, because it's a hard thing to handle seeing.

It doesn't mean there's bad things in there. It's just difficult to know that information. Knowing that some of the people previously that wanted me banned are my best friends now? Why in hell would I want to see that? I wouldn't ever want to, as a player, as a GM, and as a -person- with feelings.

To clarify, GMs can see their own warning threads, there's nothing stopping them.
Quote:[8:53AM] Cassius: Xigo is the best guy ever. he doesn't afraid of anything.
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#93
(03-23-2013, 10:32 AM)Xigo Wrote:
(03-23-2013, 10:20 AM)Rensin Wrote: If I recall correctly too, for the sake of not creating drama and privacy, if a GM has a warning thread it's set in a different forum that they cannot access or see -because- they don't want to create drama. This isn't just something that's done for the player's benefit, but for everyone. I doubt anyone has seen their own warning thread, because it's a hard thing to handle seeing.

It doesn't mean there's bad things in there. It's just difficult to know that information. Knowing that some of the people previously that wanted me banned are my best friends now? Why in hell would I want to see that? I wouldn't ever want to, as a player, as a GM, and as a -person- with feelings.

To clarify, GMs can see their own warning threads, there's nothing stopping them.

Gotcha, that's changed then. Sorry about that, disregard my statement!
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#94
(03-23-2013, 08:02 AM)Zhaei Wrote: I think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding. I didn't mean to imply the GM should take a picture, edit it to remove names, then send it the player; I meant that players should be free to ask what they have done wrong, so they can not do it again. Just the name of the offence.

To note, both I and Grakor (at least) have stated that we'll run through your thread and give you a notation of what offenses were noted on your request.

@Etmosril
Regarding your post-- first off, I find the examples given a bit troublesome, as they seem automatically slanted towards 'so if the GMs -were- being evil, then...'

The matter of secrecy is -not- for our benefit, and we've stated this in this thread before. People already have an incentive not to be banned-- not being able to play on CotH anymore. Now, to me? It -would- be outright morally bankrupt of us to post their offenses for the world to see. Let me elaborate why.

We have some people who have said -bad- things. They have made comments wishing death upon the children of other people on the site. They have attempted to break up IRL relationships for the sake of ERP. I've had to look through people spreading nasty rumors, saying terrible things about their friends.

We are not the people who should reveal this information. We are administrators, we are here to remove people causing trouble, not publicly shame them and damn their reputation. Do I think some of them deserve it? Yes. But I wouldn't consider myself any better a person if I think I can decide who's dirty laundry should be seen and who's should not. We're here to remove problems when they come up, but that doesn't mean we have to kick someone who's already likely a bit down.

I try to be 'businesslike' when I work as a GM, as silly as a notion as that might seem with some of the more humorous things we do. I try to be professional, and I believe that extends to others as well. In a work environment a superior doesn't spew about what a worker did to his friends when he's fired. They don't air out a list of reasons as to why they booted someone, and I feel that we shouldn't either.

From my own perspective this is a double-edged blade. Either we withhold the information and are possibly viewed in a poor light because of it, or we view ourselves in a poor light for sharing the information. Lose-lose. But I prefer the route that means I an at least feel a bit better about myself, heh.
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#95
Looking back, this is really all quite long and something of a dreadful wall of text, so I've separated the text into sections that I hope will be more easily read, and spoilered them so they needn't be scrolled past over and over while attempting to get to whatever comes after my post.

Please do keep in mind that while the issue does anger me, I bear none of you any ill will, and simply feel very strongly about these issues. But, having already raised your guard by beginning this with a disclaimer, let's get started!

In which I address the issue of listed offenses:
Spoiler:
(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote:
Quote:So, why can't we list every single thing a person did which counted towards a ban? Put the facts of the case up with the ban entry in Account Management? All of them.
Privacy. Seriously, there's a lot of stuff before someone's banned. We're not going to make that public information. It's bloody rude. Could a compiled list be given to the person being banned of -everything- they did? I suppose. But we're really not making it public information. I don't think there's a single GM or Ex-GM that agrees on this spot.

This is what we refer to when we're talking about the "unified GM front." It's not the disagreements on minor issues that are terribly important to the playerbase at large.

And further along the path of bluntness, privacy doesn't matter. It's going to get out. Everyone is going to know, because everyone is going to hear gossip and hearsay. "Why was X banned?" "Oh, they were stalking Y." Not a single ban that mattered to me has occurred without me knowing at least some of the reasons why - the only difference is that I have no proof in most of these cases, and am operating purely on hearsay.

As for a compiled list being given the person being banned, how could you not? I am genuinely horrified that it's considered acceptable to do this without giving an explanation.

In which I address, at great length and with a degree of frustration, the issue of trust:
Spoiler:
(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote:
Quote:This would give people an incentive to avoid being banned. It would also make the GMs actions more transparent, and therefore, diminish the usual fear and lies (which have this nasty way of cropping up when everything important is hearsay.. and that's all bannings are around here). And ultimately, it does not divulge any private information. The only information it shares is that which the person gave of their own free will in the first place.
-GMs take logs before issuing bans. We take screenshots. We don't just go by hearsay. I've frequently told people 'I understand where you're coming from, but there's nothing we can do unless we have logs. Please, the next time something happens with this individual, use elephant or take screenshots so we have evidence'. We don't do things without evidence. We don't ban without evidence. This isn't just 'Oh I don't like this person let's ban him/her'. We really try to take personal feelings away from it all when we ban someone.

Again, not to be rude, but how does the playerbase at large know this? The GMs are right and trustworthy because the GMs say they're right and trustworthy, despite this historically being verifiably untrue. Personal feelings decidedly do play a role in bannings, besides; legitimate or not, many offenses are going to have both sides feeling passionately.

(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote: I don't understand why transparency is this coveted holy word. I think the GM team's pretty trustworthy, but I'm biased being an ex-GM. Is there no faith in them?

No. Of course not. Trust is earned. Faith isn't free, and while the staff tends to be fair in my opinion, they're certainly not always, and it's nearly impossible in so many cases to tell when they are because of the level of secrecy.

(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote:
Quote:This amount of disclosure is something we need for this server, and its rules. Why? Because the rules are so, incredibly broad that one can be banned for anything they do.

Let me give an example. Take Respect and Knowing when to quit for example. Both of those are rules. They were meant well, but they are too broad.

Questioning someone's character choice for any reason? Disrespect. Banned.

Standing up for yourself when you've been wronged? You don't know when to quit. Banned.

These are such extreme and unrealistic examples that only one with absolutely zero faith in the GM team would have. Are they a bit broad, sure. But seriously, we don't ban people for that stuff. Otherwise I would have been banned long before I became a GM. I don't think anyone's been banned for anything like these existing examples in my time.

Has that happened in the past? Yes

Has it happened in the past two or three years? I really don't think so.

Why is having absolutely zero faith in the GM team unfair at all? It's happened in the past, and it's still threatened if disagreements crop up. The difference between then and now appears to be that the GM team at large believes the incidents now are justified, just as the team two years ago did.

(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote:
Quote:Consider all the times you've heard about a ban, and yet the reasons were all covered up. Or you hear enough people complain that you start to worry. Or, you were a friend of the banned person. Everything is concealed, and you're told it's private. And you know that under the rules, anything can be unacceptable - that feasibly, anyone can be banned for anything. Even personal reasons. Would you, as a player, continue to trust the GMs?

I totally would trust the GMs. If I didn't, I'd leave the server.

Many friends of mine have left or taken hiatus from this server because they don't trust the staff. I don't trust all of the staff, and have no reason to. I don't play on this server because I think all the rules and policies are great; I play on this server because I like a fair number of the policies and have friends here. A great deal of my RP is on Skype simply because of this, and I'm far from the only person. To expect everyone who plays here to unconditionally trust the staff is naive.

(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote: In America, arrest information is not public knowledge. We're not making our ban information public knowledge either, unless it's something we feel people should seriously be worried about.

Quote:If you don't want to have people fear and distrust GMs, remove the secrecy. Let the cause and effect be known. And show them that no nasty secrets are hiding behind that figurative curtain of yours.
No. Because there are 'nasty secrets' because we need to keep a lot of information so every GM's on the same page when it comes to people who have broken rules. Would they be willing to disclose a general synopsis of roughly what's in your warning thread and what you've done wrong lately? Sure. But to just lay the warning threads bare would be an absolutely foolish thing that would just splinter the community.

In America, when someone is convicted of a crime, you know why. If someone is sent to prison or executed, everyone knows why it's being done. There is a list of charges, the trial is kept on record, the press interviews everyone of any importance, and the accused give an accounting for themselves. There are witnesses, and people to come to the defense of the accused or the support of the accuser.

If people simply vanished and a very vague public statement about why was issued by the police, and there were numerous records of illegitimate or unfair punishment on record, nobody would trust the authorities. Regardless of whether or not they assured us that they were not corrupt like they once were, they would be regarded with fear and mistrust, and people would be justified in that.

Quote:I implore that everyone trust the GM team to know what they're doing. People do get banned sometimes, yes. Sometimes they're friends. But it's not done without reason these days, at least. The GM team has significantly improved as far as being fair to players is concerned.

No. Prove it to me, first. There have been almost no bans in recent history that I've known enough about to explicitly disapprove of, but nearly every one has left a sour taste in my mouth because of how it was done. We deserve to know why, and those banned certainly deserve to know why.

In which I briefly discuss concerns regarding the openness of warning threads:
Spoiler:
(03-23-2013, 08:52 AM)Xigo Wrote: And really, no one wants to see their own thread.

I do. If I stand accused for anything, no matter how small, I am justified in expecting at the very least to be able to stand up for myself, and not be judged in private without representation. It's morally and ethically bankrupt to do this; it dehumanizes anyone subject to it and deprives them of due process.

I've spoken with people that try this server and leave, or ex-members who refuse to return because of CotH's specific flavor of drama - the secrecy, and everything being discussed behind the backs of others and discussion being quashed whenever any GM decides it violates a subjective interpretation of a subjective rule.

I'll end this with something a friend said to me a short while ago:

Quote:CotH is so afraid of drama they've effectively become an Orwellian example of it.
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#96
So I just want to make a shy little comment in this blown up thread:

On the note of reforming the disciplinary system, I don't see much more that can be done in terms of how it works systematically. What I can say (to the GMs) is this:

The best way to give out a warning is to have a comprehensive talk with the player about the behavioral issue at hand. Regardless of whether or not the player is an adult, talking to them as an adult will encourage mature behavior and prevent a ban from happening. I say this because I've seen a GM do this before, and the players that were arguing vehemently suddenly came to a mutual understanding. The GM could have just handed out some temporary bans to resolve the issue, but that probably wouldn't have resolved the drama in the way that adult-to-adult chat did. Having such a discussion is a far better method than giving out blunt or emotionless warnings. It's an informal component of the disciplinary system that I want to highlight.

Despite this, there will be cases where an outright ban is necessary, and when that's the situation, having a talk with the player is usually a lost cause anyways. Doesn't happen all that often though.
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#97
Quote:CotH is so afraid of drama they've effectively become an Orwellian example of it.


I am growing terribly sickened with this phrase. We've been compared to Nazi Germany. If people truly believe that we are so corrupt and tyrannical, then I would just advise it best to leave. If its come to the point where you view us this poorly, then we will honestly likely never fully repair that image. When you wish to compare us to:

Quote:...being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments.

Then we are pretty much done. We have struck the bottom of the barrel. We are monsters, and we cannot do anything that will make that viewpoint better. If you feel it is -that bad-, then I honestly don't know what we can do past... ending it.

Does this not sound a bit extreme to anyone else? I realize I'm not even trying to address the other points, yes. But I feel that as long as this sort of attitude is held about us, then there's no real point in attempting to plead our case.
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#98
Right. I'm going to ask that people kindly avoid sensationalist or overly dramatic dialogue or word choice. CotH is not "Orwellian" (and if you believe that, I would suggest that you actually read 1984 so you know what the word actually means.) If the idea here is to find solutions to diminish drama, it makes no sense to use words that will instead further incite it.

This thread has, so far, been quite decent until this point, so let's try to keep it positive.

I also know that some folks are throwing defeatist attitudes by proclaiming that this thread serves no purpose. This is a situation where we apparently can't win. Post threads like this, it's pointless and just incites drama. Don't ever post threads like this, we don't let the community have a say in anything. Oi vey.
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#99
Spoiler:
(03-23-2013, 12:35 PM)Rigley Wrote:
Quote:CotH is so afraid of drama they've effectively become an Orwellian example of it.


I am growing terribly sickened with this phrase. We've been compared to Nazi Germany. If people truly believe that we are so corrupt and tyrannical, then I would just advise it best to leave. If its come to the point where you view us this poorly, then we will honestly likely never fully repair that image. When you wish to compare us to:

Quote:...being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments.

Then we are pretty much done. We have struck the bottom of the barrel. We are monsters, and we cannot do anything that will make that viewpoint better. If you feel it is -that bad-, then I honestly don't know what we can do past... ending it.

Does this not sound a bit extreme to anyone else? I realize I'm not even trying to address the other points, yes. But I feel that as long as this sort of attitude is held about us, then there's no real point in attempting to plead our case.

I'm not comparing you to Nazi Germany. I don't hate the staff, and while I don't categorically trust them as a whole, I don't actively mistrust them, either. I don't think they're evil, I don't think they're malicious or malevolent, and if I implied as much I am sorry.

I do think that they're naive if they can't see why they're not trusted by so many, and that's primarily the point of my post. Even if secrecy is benign, it will never be perceived as such. "We can't tell you this, because you'd react poorly to this." It's easily inferred from this that the secrets are not benign.

I understand that, from your perspective, everything makes sense and has a logical explanation. I understand that there's nothing special behind the curtain - yet I implore you to understand that from the collective perspectives of us outside, things often do not look this way.

I apologize for having caused offense, nevertheless.
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They are going off of past experiences---where people have reacted poorly.

Edit: Plus, the reactions from people -before seeing anything- is so poor that I don't know what seeing it would do -other- than exacerbate things.
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For what it's worth, I hope your friend decides to word themselves better in the future, because that is pretty damn condemning, to say the least. No hard feelings on my part, at least not anymore.
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(03-23-2013, 01:19 PM)hiddengecko Wrote: I do think that they're naive if they can't see why they're not trusted by so many, and that's primarily the point of my post. Even if secrecy is benign, it will never be perceived as such. "We can't tell you this, because you'd react poorly to this." It's easily inferred from this that the secrets are not benign.

I understand that, from your perspective, everything makes sense and has a logical explanation. I understand that there's nothing special behind the curtain - yet I implore you to understand that from the collective perspectives of us outside, things often do not look this way.

I apologize for having caused offense, nevertheless.

We are not naive. I have stated already in this thread that we fully understand why people will not perceive the secrecy as benign. But I have already covered why we (or at least I) remain firm regarding it:

Quote:From my own perspective this is a double-edged blade. Either we withhold the information and are possibly viewed in a poor light because of it, or we view ourselves in a poor light for sharing the information. Lose-lose. But I prefer the route that means I an at least feel a bit better about myself, heh.

The matter is that we do understand; the best we can do is to try to explain why we act as we do, and attempt to make what peace we can there.
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Okay. I've been avoiding this thread. I really, really have. As it goes on I've been getting more and more passionate and frankly it's gotten to a point where I feel I need to place my two cents in for the sake of posterity and my own peace of mind, if nothing else.

(03-23-2013, 12:56 PM)Grakor456 Wrote: Right. I'm going to ask that people kindly avoid sensationalist or overly dramatic dialogue or word choice. CotH is not "Orwellian" (and if you believe that, I would suggest that you actually read 1984 so you know what the word actually means.)

I said it and I stand by it. To those who have said I worded it poorly, I partially agree but I said it outside of this thread and while I would've chosen my words better to imply it, the sentiment remains the same.

The largest argument against transparency thus far has been that if we told everyone their records, it could cause drama or could embarrass or cause harassment of someone. To the effect of avoiding that, it's gotten to the point in the past and has been pushing back towards it recently that you can't really say anything bad about anyone without it going on your record and having the powers that be “gunning for you” because you caused a disturbance since.

I really do want to believe that I can trust the GM team, but because of this lack of transparency, because of how every argument, every discussion and every offense is kept so secret from us, we have no reason to trust the team. I'll put up with them. I'll follow the rules to the best of my ability and I'll operate under the assumption that they aren't outright sinister and corrupt, even, but trust them? You're joking if you expect me to trust them given their record.

(03-23-2013, 12:56 PM)Grakor456 Wrote: Post threads like this, it's pointless and just incites drama. Don't ever post threads like this, we don't let the community have a say in anything. Oi vey.

See, this is what I always take issue with. This is the “fear of drama” popping up that I've always taken issue with in regards to discourse on any topic. It's the buzzword that has, on CotH been used to quash opposition before. Now it's entirely fair to want to avoid drama, but being drama doesn't completely disqualify its merit and that's always been a massive problem with the disciplinary process, because anything can be taken as drama and from there it's not hard to exacerbate it into a “disrespect” issue or any other of the more open-to-interpretation rules. Threads have been closed down for “drama” or lines are drawn in the sand and we act like the other side has no actual merit because they're being “dramatic and silly” or whatnot.

Xigo Wrote:These are such extreme and unrealistic examples that only one with absolutely zero faith in the GM team would have. Are they a bit broad, sure. But seriously, we don't ban people for that stuff. Otherwise I would have been banned long before I became a GM. I don't think anyone's been banned for anything like these existing examples in my time.

Has that happened in the past? Yes

Has it happened in the past two or three years? I really don't think so.

That's a fallacy right there, though. The examples are hardly unrealistic if exactly those examples have been used before and I do assure you they have been used to lead to bans before. I've been almost banned (or at least it was an implied factor) because of at least the latter example, though that was a long time ago and I acknowledge that my perception may have been skewed.

My point in all of this is that the team in '09 wasn't exactly sterling in how they ran things, and while there are a few notable changes the current team and most teams since have been so swathed in secrecy that to expect us to trust them is like telling me to trust a complete stranger to arbitrate my case for crimes I wasn't told I committed in a courtroom I'm not allowed to be present in.

We deserve to know what we stand accused of. Even if you hide the proof, hide the exact logs, hide anything in relation to the why we're being accused of any anything, we deserve to know it's on record.

As an aside, if you're so worried about protecting identities, why not just add that to part of the query process?

“Hey, X wanted to see the logs you sent us related to that thing he did. Mind if we share them? No? Okay then! Sorry X, but Y wishes to remain anonymous so for their safety we have to keep the logs under wraps.”

“We can't share those logs with you because we received them anonymously but they were an example of when you broke this rule.”


Telling us to trust you when you won't even tell us that much is disrespectful to the community. It's downright insulting, really. I'm willing to believe you're doing your jobs to the best of your ability. I'm willing to have that much faith.
As someone wise once said, the important thing is never to be fearless or confident. Most people have more than enough trouble with both. The trick is to fake it, because if you learn to fake it properly, it's the same thing as actually having confidence.
Spoiler:
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Very, very, very few are banned for one particular instance. If every little mean word mattered, then those banlists would be a lot longer.

P.S.: I edited my post because I felt I'd worded myself harshly. Consider it some sort of apology.
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I'm a bit confused why coth in particular needs transparency. I have never been part of a community, rp or other, that had 100% transparency. There has always been a secretive component to how people were dealt with, whether it was a big site like deviantart, or a small livejournal community. And I don't think we are all too tight-knit that we could feasibly be different than any of these. If we were a group of 5 people I could sort of understand but we're at least more than 50.

I'm also uncomfortable.. because we've had threads before for victim blaming. We had people attacked for "getting someone" banned, and sometimes it surrounded issues like sexual harassment. This isn't just for the privacy of the people being disciplined, but also those they had hurt or wronged. There have already been times where I was afraid to speak up when someone hurt me because I was ashamed, and the idea that what I could talk about regarding sexual harassment or any other issue could be seen by others makes me even more uncomfortable. I think if things were somewhat public or transparent there would be even less protection and people coming forward on their problems.
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