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Author Topic: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal  (Read 2447 times)

William Roberts

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2023, 02:57:26 PM »
Spoiler: show
Public shaming? No. No-No. 3x no.

A detailed report of the offenses incurred, even if that risks outing the player/dm that dennounced? Yes. Yep-Yep. (Fuck yeah).

It would be nice to see that matters of concern were infact brought up and dealt with. The DM team is busy as all heck, and people over look messages by mistake due to the sheer volume.

Having something that is sent letting the player know it's been posted would go quite a long way, and going even further to post that recently there was a rule break involving X rule and the matter has been cleared would be amazing. People would then feel like there is a worth in sending reports, because like it was already mentioned, very few people currently feel it is worth their time to collect the evidence and upload images and fashion the report. A post like that would also help the team become more aware of which rules are broken most commonly and could perhaps even help them figure out how to prevent these breaks from happening again.

If the DM team is "as busy as all heck" such that they sometimes overlook messages, how does it follow that they want a greater number of reports being filed?

On the contrary, in such a situation I would want players to have to exercise judgment as to whether an incident is of sufficient gravity to require reporting.

Like Skelni, I have always received some acknowledgment of my (few) reports. Staff has asked me questions about my own behavior two or three times over the years, but I've never been punished for an in-game rulebreak.* It's always possible I have been investigated and never knew it, but the times I was asked questions, I understood why. Only once in a PvP incident did I ever feel as though the DM treated me with a presumption of guilt, and even in that case my explanation was accepted.

*I have been "chided" for forum posts. I don't agree about those, but a mature individual accepts that everyone makes bad calls--or at least calls they don't agree with--now and then and gets on with life.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 03:00:15 PM by William Roberts »


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MAB77

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2023, 02:59:49 PM »
Hi all. I have no intention to comment on any of the posts so far, nor take part in this debate again.

I simply want to let you know that we have been working for a while now on a new Player Helper position to assist the staff with a number of administrative tasks. Hopefully that will lay to rest most of the player base's concerns about our processes.

We're not ready to make further comments on this at this time. It won't be ready for a while still. There is a lot of processes to clarify and tools to build before we can go further. But it is coming and we'll let you know more in due time.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 03:04:02 PM by MAB77 »
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2023, 03:46:37 PM »
Not going to contribute to the topic but I have to say an anonymous person demanding transparency is a special kind of irony.
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Erika Tinescu

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2023, 04:00:30 PM »
I mean yes, it is ironic, but is there something to hold accountable in the OP's post?
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Skelni

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2023, 04:03:13 PM »
I mean yes, it is ironic, but is there something to hold accountable in the OP's post?

Lead by example, is what's being called out.

The post wants people to unconditionally be named and known for something they may or may not have done. The poster hides behind anonymity so as to not incite any "toxicity" or unwanted attention to themself. But they want others to be enforced to do so. So yeah, it's ironic and isn't very commanding if they don't want to do the very thing they want implemented. Fair's fair.
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2023, 04:03:25 PM »
I am so unbelievably tired of this topic. It comes up every few months with the same result. We've just had several new CCs and DMs join the team and honestly I believe they're doing a good job.

When I've had to report things to the team they handle it. I don't need a public announcement or something to feel secure that I was heard. At this point this topic is just a quick fire way for someone anonymous to stir up trouble with a strongly contested conversation. The demand for transparency doesn't feel like it comes from a need to feel heard but from a need to feel vindicated and knowing a lot of people on this server, I know people will just argue and talk nonsense.

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2023, 04:04:38 PM »
It is rather ironic on the face of it. It is also in this case irrelevant, we can and should discuss the subject, any subject, regardless of who brought it up. There's no need to diverge or worse, derail, into a separate conversation. So please take my kind suggestion and let us talk about the merits or otherwise of what is proposed, rather than other topics in this thread.

Skelni

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2023, 04:07:42 PM »
When I've had to report things to the team they handle it. I don't need a public announcement or something to feel secure that I was heard. At this point this topic is just a quick fire way for someone anonymous to stir up trouble with a strongly contested conversation. The demand for transparency doesn't feel like it comes from a need to feel heard but from a need to feel vindicated and knowing a lot of people on this server, I know people will just argue and talk nonsense.

I think my sentiments are closely aligned with this, yeah.
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2023, 04:14:45 PM »
My only thoughts on this are that transparency is a good thing and that I have never been too comfortable with the fairly extreme 'no naming and shaming' policy here, which I think encourages bad behaviour. Coupled with the inability to cite specific examples when critiquing a server policy it just speaks to a general lack of confidence on the part of decision makers.

For example, if a report was not upheld and a player had a concern about the implications of that decision and what it said about server policy, it would be almost impossible for them to raise that concern in the suggestions forum without breaking the naming and shaming policy. This can lead to policy conventions arising that players would balk at but have no real opportunity to challenge publicly.

The threads discussing a topic uncomfortable to the dev/DM team that end up closed because the aforementioned do not wish to further discuss it is really concerning to me The recent child-death thread is an interesting example. That was closed on 14th August, with the forum post locking it saying:

"However, to prevent things from spiralling out of hand, we will lock the topic, at least for now. Many important points have been made and it's time to cool off and reflect on them."

What does spiralling out of hand mean? The topic is still locked, over a month later. The subject is no longer being discussed because the community was told to stop discussing it. What reflection occurred and what changes will, or won't, be made? Why? This is the sort of thing that could actually use a thoughtful response. The only time I've seen something like this be responded to was in the big trans-character debate, after a huge amount of player unhappiness that could not be locked into submission. Is that what 'spiralling out of hand' means?

Those are my sincere thoughts on the above, and particularly server transparency.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 05:02:22 PM by Talis »

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2023, 04:39:24 PM »
I want to make this clear. Cause a lot of you that are posting ironic make it feel like you didn't even read what was posted here.

I agree with many of you about the lack of feedback on reports, it's frustrating not to know whether a reported issue was condidered a rule violation or not. This leaves us guessing about to to interpret the rules in future situations.

For example, I had an experience within the Garda Faction incident that left a lot of questions and reports, particularly concerning faction territories. The absence of feedback had only fueled ongoing issues between the garda and rebel players. This isn't just about individual reports; it's about the broader impact on community dynamics.

I echo what Talis and Erikat have said about the consquences and this lack of transparency. It either leads to an increase in reports, as people are unsure what actually counts as a rule violation, or discourages reporting altogether because it feels futile.

Bloodless and Talis, your points about the focusing on the issue rather than the anonymity of the original poster are well-taken. The key issue here is the need for some level transparency to maintain community trust and effective reporting.

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2023, 04:57:17 PM »


I simply want to let you know that we have been working for a while now on a new Player Helper position to assist the staff with a number of administrative tasks. Hopefully that will lay to rest most of the player base's concerns about our processes.

We're not ready to make further comments on this at this time. It won't be ready for a while still. There is a lot of processes to clarify and tools to build before we can go further. But it is coming and we'll let you know more in due time.

Based on this, it seems like the team is working on something to resolve such troubles.
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2023, 05:11:42 PM »
Please remember to be excellent to each other. This is obviously a topic where there will be a lot of differing views. We welcome everyone to share their opinion and perspective, but please do so without attacking your fellow community members.

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2023, 05:41:44 PM »
I've removed posts from this thread that were circling each other on the subject of irony, attacks, and so forth, below mine asking that people stop that line of conversation there. Do please refer to DM Cataclysm's post above this one. Thank you.

Madame Trousers Son

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2023, 05:45:07 PM »
I share some of the OP's concerns. I've fired off complaints only to never hear anything again. Was I wrong in my complaint? Was I right? Was anything done? Who knows? It's sort of like a secret court room: people point to the laws, and say, look, the laws are fair and just; but we don't see the actual mechanics of how things go down.

Pretendy-fun-time games aren't as important as real points of law, of course, so a full measure of transparency like we want in our court rooms is probably overkill for PotM. Still: it's not just necessary for justice to be done, but to seen to be done, for people to have confidence in the system. Right now, we see very little of the true mechanics of PotM's rules being put into place.

I always felt that the CC was an under-utilised resource that could have been leveraged to provide greater insight to the "mechanics", and I never really understood why there wasn't more discussion about how their portfolio could be expanded for that, but we'll see. Maybe the new role that MAB mentioned will make a difference.
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2023, 05:55:52 PM »
I'm curious, what level of injustice is being done to people that warrant the need for knowing the person was punished? I've reported people and been reported on, there have been confirmations and random follow ups on things I didn't know were even a concern.  But I've never felt so slighted that I felt the need to demand answers from the DM team about anything I've reported.    I knew they knew my side, and TBH never really cared if they followed up on my reports. 

At the end of the day it's a video game and real life is even less fair. 

Madame Trousers Son

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2023, 06:14:44 PM »
I don't think it's possible to discuss specifics within the server rules or good sense (since this shouldn't be a vector to re-prosecute old arguments anyway)...

In general terms: I'd like some feedback about what information I provided was deemed right, or wrong; and maybe how it was used.

This doesn't even necessarily just cut in the direction of me wondering, "Why wasn't this actioned?", either. Sometimes you might offer some information to the DM team just to cover your own ass, to say "Hey, look, I'm drawing inside the lines here", then some nugget of information you provided leads the DM team to take an action that you didn't call for or even realise might be taken, and then people via the OOC gripevine start saying, "Hey, why did you get so-and-so in trouble?"

The status quo leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding and miscommunication, even if it is just a game.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 06:36:15 PM by Madame Trousers Son »
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2023, 06:24:57 PM »
I have a potentially naive question for the Team and our collective gathering here: How hard would it be to build a designated, private location (that isn't a specific DM's forum inbox) for players to submit their reports?

I envision a generic "address" to which a player would direct a report. In return, the player would receive an automated message acknowledging their report has been received. The DMs (or a select few DMs) would also receive a message notifying them a new report is in the queue. A member of the Team can then retrieve the report from the queue and proceed and follow up as needed.

The message doesn't have to be fancy, just something like: "Your report has been received. Thank you for submitting it. The Team takes each of these seriously and reviews them individually. We aim to provide a response in X days."

I ask because my current department at work has an identical system by which customers can submit their projects to us. They fill out a web form and attach their file, and in return, they receive an automated message like the example above. A few of our staff also receive a message notifying them of the new submission. It's been a real lifesaver at the times we've received large volumes of projects at once.

The system works quite well for about 90% of the customer base. A similar one might be worth considering here if it's doable.

It also seems to me it could ameliorate some folks' concerns about silence. In some cases, a DM may have taken steps to address a report but also may have forgotten to reply to the person who originally raised the concern. It can happen from time to time. While an automated reply doesn't fully address the desire (and right) to feel seen and heard, it does at least offer a preliminary acknowledgement that the report was received--as a holdover until the team can follow up.

It could also alleviate the need for a public spot on the forums where people are named/called out. I'm not for sweeping nasty business under the rug, and yes, large, public issues can and often do warrant an acknowledgement. At the same time, if an issue is between a small group of parties, it seems far more productive to have that matter settled privately between them rather than airing it for the entire community. The latter option is rather Puritanical (in the most historical sense of the word) and risks being just as detrimental to the community as it would be helpful. If people want to feel seen and heard after making a report, automation combined with subsequent follow-up from a member of the Team seems a better way to go.


Maiyannah

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2023, 06:25:36 PM »
I'm curious, what level of injustice is being done to people that warrant the need for knowing the person was punished?

Oh the stories I could tell, if it wouldn't get me banned and the posts yeeted into the void.  Suffice to say that I've seen some considerable things I'd consider a miscarriage of such responsibilities to their community, and I don't even have to get into private stories that others have shared with me, or the ones that are the reasons several of my roleplaying partners are no longer here - we have two very highly-visible controversies of late that you can agree or disagree on the handling of, I would nonethless say that the prevailing sentiment in anyone I talk to is that it was handled poorly.  Reasons vary, but the commonality is that.

I have stated it the last time this came up and I feel that it bears reiterating here, a common system in other places I've roleplayed (FF XIV, Imperian, and some others that are now defunct) involve reporting systems where you as an accused are given a chance to respond to the allegations against you, and you as the reporter know what actions are taken.  FF XIV is fairly vague on this ("actions were taken against this account" is about the specificity you get), but that is still a far cry from "it goes into a black hole whereby I don't even know if it was received and posted."  Anecdotally, only one report I ever made got follow up.  I suspect the others were simply discarded.  Perhaps they were and perhaps they weren't, you or I will never know, and all anyone can do is to ask me to trust in an admin that I have, frankly, lost trust in.

It is easy to brush off problems that don't affect one's self, and I feel that there's a fair deal of that which happens in the replies here, but such a response is not something that contributes to improving the roleplay environment here.  It may be just a game - but for that very reason, the number of people whom are going to argue in this manner to try to present their positions is fairly low.  It's an open secret several people have just moved on elsewhere.  Perhaps that places their concerns beyond the worry of the admin, but I have seen games go down that path before, and it never ends well.

This roleplay environment relies on having people that feel they can trust in their fellow roleplayers to thrive.  Without people, this server or any other is an empty shell.  I would invite people to consider the points of view of those whom levy these complaints fairly and without that crass dismissal.

Quote
Still: it's not just necessary for justice to be done, but to seen to be done, for people to have confidence in the system. Right now, we see very little of the true mechanics of PotM's rules being put into place.

We've butt heads in the past, Madame Trousers Son, but I could not put the core issue any more succinctly than this.

[edit:]
I have a potentially naive question for the Team and our collective gathering here: How hard would it be to build a designated, private location (that isn't a specific DM's forum inbox) for players to submit their reports?

I will gladly share the code for my ticket system once it's cleaned up.  It'll be on the NWVault anyways.

Short answer: not very (NUI is a pain tho)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 06:28:59 PM by Maiyannah »
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2023, 07:58:13 PM »
To be sure, some members of the community can be trusted to obey the rules and some can be trusted to show discretion about disciplinary matters. Given, however, that an investigation presupposes someone in the player base has violated a rule (and thus trust), it is reasonable to deduce that a person who violated a rule and is found guilty has some non-zero probability of likewise sharing a report.

I don't mean to be pedantic, but shouldn't an investigation specifically not presuppose that a person has violated a rule? An investigation is done to determine if any violation has occurred and, if so, who has done so. Innocent until proven guilty and whatnot.

As to the topic itself, I agree with the sentiment of this post. Greater transparency in general would benefit this server. With that said, I would prefer that any specific mention of any player, be they victim or perpetrator or whatever-have-you, be withheld from the greater community throughout the course, and upon the conclusion of an investigation into alleged rule-breaks. Revealing this information becomes a consequence unto itself, and doing so can make it difficult or even impossible to regulate the punishments given to those found in violation of the rules. In a community, our greatest asset is our reputation, and once that is tarnished it can become exceedingly difficult to repair - and how much it is tarnished is not always proportionate to any given slight.

Punishments for misdeeds should always be tuned toward the facilitation of rehabilitation of the wrongdoer and restoration of those aggrieved. Making things public just opens the door for mob rule.

With all that said, I am not unsympathetic to concerns regarding those given the authority to issue punishments and enforce the rules. While I encourage players to extend some courtesy toward the DM Team and CC Members, I also recognize that their conversations on these topics are important for the community to see. I don't know how DM logs are made when an investigation takes place (aside from what was shown in the leak made by Inkcorvid, whom I still contend made the right call and was acting in the community's best interests), but I think it would be good to keep track of these investigations and release a short summary of each decision made (obviously omitting any reference to players involved) and why every so often (maybe like every six months?). I don't think this would add an exceptional amount of extra work for the team, and it would be enough for players to understand the nuance of specific rules and how they are enforced. This should also allow players to see for themselves if rules are being consistently enforced and how precedence is applied with each successive ruling.

Anyway, hopefully that makes sense. I'm hungy and I got distracted by an epic puppy while typing this
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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2023, 08:50:36 PM »
I personally wouldn't mind a naming and shaming board. If someone is a dick, why would I want to play with them? If I look on this board and see this person got in trouble two years ago and hasn't been in trouble since, I'm mature enough to give them a chance. If we are all adults about the board, I think it would be fine. Unfortunately it's potm though

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2023, 08:54:33 PM »
I do support a private word that the matter reported has been looked at, but nothing more. Not what decision (if any) has been taken, and certainly no public naming and shaming.

+1

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2023, 10:16:09 PM »
Public shaming reports would be toxic as all hell. No thanks amigo.

Especially when reports can be casted and judged in error. Now the person in question has a public black stain on themselves thanks to crowds assuming guilt before actually being proven guilty.

Yuck.

And aside from that. Not every report is likely to result in a ban, or a character being obliterated from existence. Keep your expectations reasonable when you think there is a lack of punishment going on.

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2023, 11:02:19 PM »
I don't like the idea of there being a public shame board for people to crow about.

I agree with this sentiment, but feel like it's a little crassly worded.  Announcing someone's punishment and rules broken is counterintuitive to reform.

I feel like the original post comes from a place of hurt, and a wish to know that a conflict was resolved.  Please understand that you're asking for more blood than honor demands and justice is entirely different than revenge.  In this instance, I feel like what you're asking for is not justice, but revenge, and the peace of mind to know that you were avenged.

I kindly ask that you take inspiration from Our Morninglord and wipe away the dark thoughts with the new day, with a sunny disposition that forgives without apology and loves without being loved in return.

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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2023, 12:09:56 AM »
To be sure, some members of the community can be trusted to obey the rules and some can be trusted to show discretion about disciplinary matters. Given, however, that an investigation presupposes someone in the player base has violated a rule (and thus trust), it is reasonable to deduce that a person who violated a rule and is found guilty has some non-zero probability of likewise sharing a report.

I don't mean to be pedantic, but shouldn't an investigation specifically not presuppose that a person has violated a rule? An investigation is done to determine if any violation has occurred and, if so, who has done so. Innocent until proven guilty and whatnot.

I am always up to the challenge if you are angling to abscond with my title of "Resident Server Pedant," but in the interest of not forcing others to endure the tedious Energy Vampire brawl that might result...

My point was only that arguing the honor and virtue of the player base in a discussion of possible/actual rule breaks begs the question. I did not intend to imply, for example, DMs should use a "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "preponderance of the evidence" standard in deciding guilt versus innocence.


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Re: Fostering a Stronger, More Transparent Community: A Thoughtful Proposal
« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2023, 01:30:58 AM »
My advice to OP is to simply stop caring. The staff are going to do things the way they are going to want to do them. If they wanted to be more transparent, they would be. Other servers and other mediums do it and it works fine for the most part. Better than rumor-mongering imo. Unfortunately, if you want to change things, you simply have to wait until people move on and positions need to be filled. Then you can try to change things from the inside. But right now, most of the time, long forum threads like this usually just get laughed at, not taken seriously and give opportunity for the same people to claim things are just 'fine'. Potm isn't perfect, the staff has their favorites, as well as the people they dislike, which is why you likely would see why some people get in trouble quicker and more often than others. I'd be wary reporting just anyone because you never know what connections and relationships they might have. Instead, just play the game, roleplay your heart out, keep your walls up and you should be fine.