Some rather large changes I'd like to update you on. First, some rules changes.
Earlier today the staff voted on the removal of the following from our @rules:
2.G. Admin Harassment
Administrators are not to be abused, accused or harassed on-MOO or off-MOO
[email protected] is for making respectful complaints about personal problems
with specific admins or engaging in long-form communication at the request
of a specific admin. Bans will be levied against anyone that breaks these
2.H. Community Harm
Don't be a dick. Occasionally, a player's dickishness becomes so serious
that it impacts the entire game, even if they are avoiding the specifics
of other stated rules. If a player cannot de-escalate misbehavior after
repeated communications with admins, they will be removed from the game
for an extended (and exponential) period of time.
We decided that we needed to remove 2.G because we want everyone in our community to feel safe in raising concerns with our staff, and not worry that they are going to be punished for disagreeing with an admin.
2.H was removed because we have decided it was too broad and open to interpretation.
We are currently drafting new language around for dealing with situations where an admin feels harassed or where the staff feels someone is harming the community through the IC or OOC actions. This language is still being revised and I will make a new post when we have ratified it.
As many of you know, both on here and on Reddit there it a lot of debate about Cerberus. I've stated on many, many, occasions that I almost never disagree with what Cerberus is trying to say, only with how he is saying it. I think delivery is very important, especially in text, as it's so easy to assume tone that doesn't exist, or isn't intended.
I've talked with Cerberus about this many times, and he has improved dramatically in the last couple of years, but even after all that, he is still a lightning rod when it comes to criticism of Sindome.
Some of the criticism is fair, and we appreciate those of you who took the time to write out your thoughts and feedback constructively. It's obvious to us that Sindome means a lot to you, and it means a lot to us too.
Some of the feedback however, is made by people who Cerberus dealt with before he took feedback on how he says things to heart. I think the fair criticisms are just that, fair. I think the criticism by former players who are most likely banned, or former staffers who didn't like Cerberus because he was the only one around to tell them 'No' most of the time, does more harm than good for our community.
In the end though, Cerberus and I are quite tired of having to defend Sindome on Reddit, and on the BGBB. Everyone on the staff would rather be seeing feedback about game mechanics, and changes we might make to the code or theme to improve the game, and not be dealing with criticism we can't even verify is coming from real players, and often times suspect is just former players trolling us.
If you've read any of the Reddit threads you know what I mean. There are people on there (and on the BGBB) with legit criticisms of Cerberus, but even if they are the original poster of a thread, the thread is quickly hijacked by people who just wanna spend an afternoon hating on Cerberus for being a jerk, or playing a character, or being good at Sindome, or whatever else.
I can only speak for me, but I am pretty sure what I'm going to say goes for every admin, especially the Senior ones. Criticism of Sindome, the game, or the community, truly and deeply affects me. Criticism is hard to take, but when it's constructive, it's useful. It can prompt new ideas or new changes or policies or updates to code or lore or what have you.
Having to endure endless posts and xhelps and Reddit threads about how mean Cerberus is, a guy who devotes a large part of his life to this game, is fucking stressful. Cerberus is not perfect, as I've already said. And his way of talking to people, while much improved, still irks enough people that him and I both agree it's just not worth it anymore.
So he isn't going to engage with players on OOC-Chat, the BGBB, xhelp, or @shout anymore. Those things will now be done by other admin. Hopefully spreading out this burden will alleviate some of the problems we commonly hear about. Disciplinary/rule breaking issues that require we talk with players will be handled primarily by me, with support from other Senior Admin. And as always, any disciplinary actions (temp and perm bans for example) will continue to be voted on by the staff.
The downside is that one of the most active senior admin will not longer be doing this heavy lifting. It's unfair of us to continue to ask him to fill a role he is vilified for filling. This also means I will be spending less time coding, and anyone who we suspect has broken the rules, or needs to be spoken with by a senior admin will be spending more time in the $void until such time as I am available. My apologies in advance, but I am not a GM anymore. I don't know the day to day of what is going on, and thus, when issues arise it's going to involve a lot more questions & answers from players involved, for me to get up to speed on a situation. This will also slow down the entire process of getting whatever has happened, squared away.
In the end, we get it, we heard the feedback, we internalized it, and it's become clear that this is how we need to do things, because it's just going to cause less issues and less stress on our end. It sucks for the staff who individually now have more work to do, and it sucks for anyone who has to sit in the $void for half a day while they wait for me to have time to sign in and figure out whatever issue has cropped up, but we simply do not want to deal with all the negative criticism about someone who, regardless of what some people think, is doing the best they can.
I hope this post while far from concise, has been clear, and that after reading it, everyone has a good understanding of these changes. If you have questions, please feel free to respond with them.