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Thoughts and opinions
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This will be a copy and paste of my previous post, I'm sorry if I posted it in the wrong spot. I do however feel it is a relevent discussion, and while it's not a new "Idea" it's also not a "complaint"

With these cases of staff and temp-staff doing these things, despite there being some transparency, I think it calls back the question of "Should GM's have alts?". The argument for it is it is a game they need to enjoy too, but I believe it presents the temptation to do these things. We see the recent case, and cases in the past with GM's giving their Alts rivals stat builds of their enemies, and we see relatively meh characters go from character to alt and suddenly the world is theirs. Saying that they would just get attached to an NPC and do the same thing is also a weak argument. If you set fourth standards then you should be expected to follow them or not be on staff.

It is a simple solution, put your character into a vacation state, and focus on your GM duty when you become a GM. Enact term limits so that you have to return to the game as a normal player and not sit as a privileged moo-god your entire time in Sindome and maybe they will appreciate it a bit more or keep staff from obtaining the cerb-think mentality. Thank you for volunteering to keep the game running, but don't expect everyone to feel sorry for you and dismiss things that you do as a volunteer.

It's also noteworthy to mention that it was a SUPPORT GM who for years went unchecked, so obviously the limitations are not enough to prevent cheating. When players notice something is off, the impression that staff have something similar to the thin blue line and everyone needs to back the blue and trust that "you don't see everything " is the end all be all, is a real shitty way of driving off players who were wronged. It would be much better for the game to remove the temptation to cheat by removing alts. If a support gm can do it, imagine how many (and there have been) GM's that get away with it.

I'd like to add that I personally have been invited to GM after being passed over several times when applying. In the end I decided that enjoying the game as a player, and GM'ing were not mutually exclusive things for me and respectfully declined. While that may not be the right choice for everyone, ignoring the fact that it is definitely a thing would be neglectful at best

Most GMPCs are leading from the front, in my experience.

Yes, there are bad examples, and they're certainly glaring ones from the ramifications.

But do I want to see a Sindome without GM alts? No.

Most GMs are chosen because they understand not only the mechanics but theme well, and their alts are generally massive theme engines, putting themselves at risk to show the playerbase what's possible, generating RP, and leading the charge.

This is much more potent than say simply creating a NPC, who has zero fear or risk or failure, and doing the same stunts with them.

It says a lot when a PC will do something brazen versus when an NPC does it, and I'd hate to see some of the strongest players lose the ability to do so.

I'd think they'd be able to do that even better with a group of NPC's than an alt the are much more personally invested in. Just as a side note, this was also implimented when the playber base was 12, which made a ton more sense back then.

It still has far from the same clout.

NPCs are always far more capable of doing things than PCs. And a lot of GM PCs end up as IC faction leaders, creating RP. For them to suddenly disappear, and those day to day interactions turning into puppet requests?

No thanks.

Let them play their characters, it helps them understand the game better, gives them more context, and rewards them for what is an unrewarding volunteer job.

I don't think we should overreact to one guy cheating. The systems in place caught it , he's gone, and there will be heightened vigilance going forward. We don't need to condemn every player in this community as untrustworthy. Just my two cents :)

Folks, please read the BGBB etiquette and spend some time on your title and subtitle. It's really frustrating to have to keep asking this.

I think there is enough challenges to GMs as it is. They deal with all our BS and to tell them that they can't play, I think that's just going to push away good ones. Personally, this is the exception what happened - not the norm. And to use it as a platform for a personal view is kind of rude and disrespectful to what I imagine is an already stressful situation for the rest of the Staff that put their time, energy and efforts into positively impacting the game.

I might not have enough history with the game to understand this fully, but I would think that someone that ends up being a GM almost always enjoys the game enough that they would not want to cheat, because that makes the game less fun. If this is a super-rare occurrence, I would worry that forcing GMs to give up their characters would shrink the pool of qualified people willing to be GMs and get rid of some great characters.

Nah, no need to condemn GMs to life of no alts, they'd become bored and miserable because they can't exactly interact with others without puppeting.

While chosing either or would be an optimum outcome, I was simply asserting that not doing both at the same time would be a great idea, sacrificing nothing.

I won't really rewrite everything I said in the previous post, but HolyChrome and everyone else more or less have voiced what I wanted to say already.

I think taking GM alts away is a bad idea, and would push players from wanting to help the game. At least that's how I see it.

I don't believe putting restrictions in place due to an outlier is the correct way to go about it.

I'm pulling from experience I've had in another RPI where I was pulled into a staff position because I played a major, plot-driving character in the game for about a year.

While it is so disheartening to hear when this happens, I think it's very easy for players to get concerned and hesitant, because it begs the question, "who's next?" But I think it's also important to consider the other side of this: GMs with alts who do wonderful things for a game we love (I'm assuming) who aren't doing horrendously selfish things that hurt the playerbase and the game itself.

We don't hear about the great GMs and all that they do, put up with, drive, and create. We don't need to, either, because that's the expectation we have. Having been on the other side of this, doing any kind of staff job is exhausting and once you force staff to not be allowed to play characters, I think it's easy for them to forget why the staff work is being done in the first place, which causes burn out at the very least.

I think it's important to not let the actions of a bad egg punish those who respect the rules and this game, especially since this infraction was caught internally by other staffers and reported. While I definitely understand the concerns, based on Slither's original post, I think it's clear with auditing and access levels that this was a fluke, not a new norm.

Personally, I couldn't imagine GM'ing and playing a SD PC the way I want to play them these days. I think this changes considerably when/if you've reached a certain apex or have a certain style with your PC where they can really sit back and focus on creating conflicts with soft power to HolyChrome's point.

That said, I respect each GM's decision on whether to have an alt or not though. I just know I wouldn't GM again with one.

There's always going to bias, bleed, and all sorts of madness in this game. Like it or not the emotional investment invoked by SD for the time investment in your PC and their experiences - is a differentiator.

I don't always agree with Staff but I trust them to do the right thing.

Some points that I'll number because I have a few:

1) The game is too big for any one person or even group of people to realistically have a meaningful level of oversight over a staff member cheating. It's enough of a chore to catch players doing it and often relies on the community self-policing.

2) Staff have tended to defend each other from extremely valid accusations in the past. The lack of transparency can make people especially paranoid about this, contributing to a culture of mistrust and conflict.

3) Many of the staff alts I've knowingly dealt with were using their positions to push theme in a way that is probably good for the game. They were not to my knowledge cheating and play big, vibrant characters who help set the tone. On the other hand, I can think of six staff alts now who were actively cheating. I can't think of that many normal players who were doing that.

The people who were cheating were probably making reasonable excuses to themselves. "It's fair for me to cheat to get money because I have to do GM shit and can't play the game as much as the people I compete with." "I'm bending the rules here but it's to create a story." "It is better for theme if I control this faction or win this fight." "I'm not cheating I am just really clever." That kind of thing. It's an easy attitude to take when you're stuck with the thankless job of adminning.

My personal opinion is that staff members should not be playing solos, faction leaders, or characters who are otherwise major competitors. There's not anything intrinsically wrong with a staff member in one of those roles but a chemist or a TV producer is not in the same position to do harm to other characters as a ganger LT or Street Judge. That isn't fair to the cool GMs who don't cheat and use their powers for good instead of evil, but more than one person here has been burned by abuses of power.

That'd be a major step though. I think most of us would be happy with some assurance that staff alts and actions were being more closely logged and monitored. As was said in the announcement, Dekkard's cheating went on for years before he was caught.

I'm going to agree with Vera here. I understand that GMs are chosen from players that are 'good' at playing Sindome. I also understand that they want to enjoy the game and RP sometimes when they're not puppeting, have their own stuff to do, etc etc.

But no matter how they're good at the game as seen by Dekkard, and previously that one GM who shared mine and other players' stats with the friends of their GM alt OOCly, and a few other GM alts who were untouchable because players were afraid of messing with GM alt (and when they did immediately got an NPC puppeted to fuck them over out of the blue) it does indeed become a case of "okay, when is the next instance going to pop up?"

I think faction leader slots or high up positions shouldn't really be GM alts. I know there are already limitations on this but seeing from Dekkard there's obviously a trend here, also with when a Senior GM alt was running both topside and the Mix with two most powerful characters in the game.

I also don't understand the "GM alts push the theme" thing. They do, yes, but GMs also have other tools to push the theme. They don't have to stick to one character like us. There's a massive army of NPCs. You can also still push theme without being a gang LT or WJF or a corp exec or a syndie or whatever.

I feel like I've pretty consistently advocated for putting more power in player hands, both to make the game more dynamic as well as to reduce the staff work load.

That said I think restricting GMs from actually playing the game they're trying to build is silly. The question isn't do you want GMs to be accountable, the question is: Do you want GMs at all.

There's already staffing issues, making it less accessible or less enjoyable is simply going to make a problem into a crisis.

In my experience STAFF (as in not simply the people puppeting, who are often more plugged in) who don't play their games at all often are out of touch with the day to day realities of their game.

From there you start getting issues whereby players who are very, very obviously cheating go uncorrected, because what's obvious bottom up is not so obvious top down.

You get game balance and feature changes that don't make any sense, that weren't solicited, or are contrary what would benefit the moo.

It can also promote group think and us vs. them mentality.

That said, I'm in complete agreement with Vera & co. Let the players take leadership positions. If they fuck up, penalize accordingly them and move on. While this might be more labor-intensive from a xhelp and puppet standpoint, it will also certainly drive more aspiration and conflict in the player base. Seeing big names getting thrown out of topside, or scalped out of the mix drives huge waves in the game. Since players will forever take a #2 to NPC's in terms of power, we should definitely have more in the way of #2 players within factions and groups.

We explicitly don't put players in leadership positions because they are unreliable. There's a whole xhelp thing today about an unresponsive PC in middle management, just middle management, whose lack of presence is a problem to RP around. You're barking up the wrong tree with that notion.

To be clear,

I meant positions of power that players have the ability to hold today, not an increase in the line of the leash.

Gang Eltees,

Middle Management,

Business owners,

Etc.

Players who aren't staff already are in leadership positions. if you say staff alts shouldn't be in leadership positions or shouldn't play certain archetypes that are open to non-staff PCs, you're limiting their character progress and story for volunteering their time to the game. Which will only lead to less volunteers.

Sometimes people cheat. Players, staff, it isn't limited to one 'group'.. It's shitty but it happens. You catch it and you move on. Find new measures to put in place, suggest new guidelines of behavior to follow.

I'm generally against staff having non-NPC characters or alts. I'm definitely against them being in any position of power or authority. Even assuming cheating isn't an issue - it's not good optics and the potential for unintentional bleed is also a thing.

I think a positive effect of not allowing GMs to play a player character would be to develop the NPCs they puppet more like characters and deliver a more immersive and consistent representation of said characters.

I understand this effect may make it harder to recruit GMs but I believe it's personally necessary for the long term health of the game and player trust.

Players already hold those positions, and there's numerous top-level roles that are vacant for want of players to fill them. There are entire factions that are empty of active PCs. There is not an issue with GMPCs occupying too many top spots, there's an issue with too few GMs period.

I'm baffled anyone thinks someone would GM, for free, only to be prohibited or highly restricted from playing the actual game itself. SD could double its active GMs and still not have enough, this is serious case of turning up your nose at tap water during a drought.

People abuse power sometimes, it happens. Don't cut off the nose to spite the face.

There's a lot of problems with the "GMs will puppet more" argument.

It puts an onus on GMs to solely find gratification in puppeting, puts an expectation on them to puppet more, and they're invariably end up gravitating (like they do with their PCs already) to whatever RP they like the most, which will end up with people feeling ignored.

It's also entirely counter-intuitive to the way puppet requests work right now. Staff get over-loaded with requests. They also want to enjoy the game. This argument basically requires them to feel satisfaction solely through serving you and the other players. This isn't how people work. They are not GMs in the traditional tabletop sense.

Think of all the players in the game who are pillars of RP, who contribute as constant and consistent fixtures, that your characters go to, knowing they probably have something going on.

Now imagine them being gone. The game would seem, in my opinion, largely dead if GMPCs were cut from the picture entirely.

That's the problem though. If you're expected to GM faielythen you're generally expected to treat scenarios like you are a DnD GM. There are many games where GMs are not allowed to have alts for this reason and do have to get their hollies by storytelling through NPCs and the world.

All around I think either side of the argument has its pain points but if things like player OOC collusion and communication are game destroyers... Intentional or even unintentional GM abuse is far worse.

I don't view it as expecting anyone to serve anyone else. Just that it usually is a different type of enjoyment that gets derived from staffing and GMing versus playing. I've admined and GM'd on more than a few ocassions on other games. It is largely thankless work and there's going to be pain points no matter which policy you go with.

It's rather apparent that a "no GM alts" policy will never happen here. Because those are entirely different games.

If SD had the types of GMs that enjoyed solely GMing and not playing their alts, well we'd see that, wouldn't we?

If you're allowed to have rocket launchers and machine guns, why limit yourself to only one?

It'd likely be exceedingly difficult to implement the policy now for many of the reasons pointed out further up in the thread.

Plenty of games find GMs with those rules and I don't think you'd really know the answer until you tried it. It'd be interesting to get some current GMs to put in their two cents about what motivates them to GM.

I'm convinced there is a small subset of players that will not be satisfied until the game is so unapproachable and unrewarding to engage with for other players or staff that they're the only ones left.

There is a handful of staff, entirely volunteers, and nothing even remotely enough to support the type of gameplay and frequent plots that many players want to see.

If anyone feels like there should be dedicated pure puppeteers who have no other involvement, they're welcome to step forward to Support GM and retire their character in the bargain — but I won't hold my breath on the 'I am Spartacus' there.

The constant theme of defense for alts seems well stated by Holychrome.

"They also want to enjoy the game."

I'd posit that if you don't enjoy doing something that you shouldn't voulnteer to do it, and if you do do something you don't like, that you are certainly more likely to abuse any associated power than someonoe who does do what they do because they enjoy it.

We get told time and time again to not do auto stuff and make our own plots so that they need to be there for that, or to play an alt for that is a pretty weak excuse.

You're really mistaking the kind of drudgery that GMs go through sometimes.

It's not fun to deal with problem players. It's not fun to deal with cheaters. It's not necessarily fun to read and respond to dozens of gridmails with themely canned responses. Or to proof read content. Or to do cybernetic installs. Or to do automotive stuff. Or to do interviews for positions.

But the GMs log on, see the work that needs to be done, and they go through it.

Yeah, it's not always fun. But it's there.

It's not all pink mohawk and black trenchcoat and amazing cool plots.

I usually stay out of these posts, but I want to chime in one thing. I think the senior staff are invested and dedicated in the game enough that they are willing to give up their alts entirely (assuming they have one).

But if support staff members have to give up actually playing the game, it will cripple the game very fast. And I can definitely say with confidence that this opinion is shared by many current and ex support staff members.

It's a crude solution to a non-problem for a small community. We're not *actually* a community with seventy million different identities. Perpetration can be spotted and dealt with on case-by-case basis. No need to start a fire and burn up the whole thing.

One more thing: I've never been staff so I can't say this for certain, but from what I can tell from reading the air, you're really looking at it backwards.

You don't become a support staff so you can take high-responsibility IC leadership positions. It's more that senior staff members naturally tend to grant staff positions to trustworthy players to begin with. It's a two-for-one deal.

There's three GMs and one Support GM. When a fire starts is not the time to be quibbling over the particulars of the fire code.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

If your point is that because there isn't enough staff they should be cut some slack, then what is the number of staff where that's not the case?

Jotun, I'm going to get level with you and be real here; I'm reading hostile air in this thread, primarily directed towards the staff and a lot of unspoken and pent up stress that's being released. While I can see where those are coming from since I am a player myself, but this isn't helping anybody.

The fact that we are even talking about prohibiting passionate volunteers from playing the game entirely is outright clownish. I think it's a reasonable concern and reaction considering what happened, but punishing the entire community for a rogue staff's transgressions is outlandish.

I can almost guarantee you this thread is not going anywhere productive if we're fixated on talking about the staff in solely negative light and limiting their interaction to the game. I frankly don't see why you, or anyone in that matter, would think this is a good idea.

I'm fairly new (in the grand scheme of things), and people who have been around 5+ years surely would know there were worse incidents before that can't really be sugarcoated at all. I definitely think we are moving forward as a community. Let's not ruin that.

I don't want to make double-posting a habit, but really, some of you should check out the podcast Slither posted. There are measures being taken. Measures that I personally think is almost unreasonable to expect a volunteer to do on a regular basis because it's just so excruciatingly time consuming. No one won here. We all lost. Any farther social outrage is going to do nothing but punish us, no one else, more.

If your point is that because there isn't enough staff they should be cut some slack, then what is the number of staff where that's not the case?

The entire premise is false: It's not cutting them slack to allow GMs to play the game they're keeping alive, nor is that any player or players' slack to cut. The issue was uncovered and handled, the game is huge and the staff is tiny.

There will always be a subset of people who seek out power for exploitative reasons, but Sindome does not function without GMs. This was one person, going to lengths to conceal and obfuscate what they were doing from the rest of the staff, who was discovered by them and dealt with.

That is the best outcome of a bad situation.

I just wanted to post and say that this isn't a fun situation to be in, but I hope it is something that strengthens the game and community. Transparency has been something that I've struggled with on this game sometimes, and it can lead to feelings of frustration and anxiety. When a cheating issue like this pops up, it only exacerbates those feelings.

With that being said, I know that is the intent of the Staff. They want to make the game fun for people, and put a lot of effort into it with plots and trying to do interesting things with the tools they are given. Sometimes, a bad apple can get through and take advantage of things, but if policies are put into place to better monitor the actions of those with special powers I think that is probably enough. Especially, if they are handled in the way that Slither has been handling them.

His transparency on the issue was something that I really appreciated, and now that I know there is a podcast that goes into some of the steps they are taking to put better policies in place, I'll definitely be checking it out. That doesn't mean it's a perfect fix, but it's one that I hope will make cheating by people in trusted positions rarer and rarer as time goes on. If those policy changes are something that will be posted to the boards, then even better (if I missed them before posting this, please excuse me).

Regarding the unfun jobs that GMs have to do, I'd be happy to help if it is needed. Even tedious things like doing the installs and gridmail responses. I'm happy to help, and be put under a microscope. Having stressed out GMs isn't good, so please feel free to share the load if you think I'd be useful.

Anyways. TLDR: Thanks for being so open about this. I hope the policies implemented will resolve the issues, and I don't think restricting GMs to no alts is the way to go. More transparency on the specific policies that monitor GMs would be nice (if possible, and not already posted to the boards). I'm happy to help with the jobs that aren't fun for GMs. Thanks!

Dear lord.. I know that ISN'T the intent of the Staff. Apologies!

Regarding the unfun jobs that GMs have to do, I'd be happy to help if it is needed. Even tedious things like doing the installs and gridmail responses. I'm happy to help, and be put under a microscope. Having stressed out GMs isn't good, so please feel free to share the load if you think I'd be useful.

Admin Team Application: https://goo.gl/forms/fH0hzsrRUEi25pH52

Noone says GM's can't also play, but I think even the idea of term limits has been tossed around and mostly not hated. Usually the problem is when you play and gm at the same time. In any case I've personally told admin since my last post that I would be more than happy to give up my character on a limited basis to perform menial staff duties when I can. I don't think being a full-fledged admin is for me, but I, as I'm sure multiple other people here no matter what side of the fence you fall on on this subject are willing to help.