Reset Password
Existing players used to logging in with their character name and moo password must signup for a website account.
- RedProtokoll 12m
- deskoft 50s
- Amiga 16s
- Slyter 37m
- Hivemind 16m
- Melonly 17s
- BigLammo 1m https://youtu.be/fE53m3N1WSc
- Veleth 1m
a Mench 1h Doing a bit of everything.
- fopsy 1m
- Baphomei 5h
- Euclid 3s
- ReeferMadness 9h May the bridges I burn light the way.
And 20 more hiding and/or disguised
Connect to Sindome @ moo.sindome.org:5555 or just Play Now

Moving Forward: OOC Communication

Moving Forward: Or one players opinion on what's wrong with Sindome.

So apparently there was a lot of drama, both on OOC and now in Reddit. I missed the OOC, but have pieced enough together through these threads and through what's said on Reddit to have a good idea on what happened. I have read and understand both the complaints and also what staff is saying. My take on this comes from another angle.

OOC communication.

I understand the reasoning behind the OOC communication ban. I understand why the desire for it to take place exists. Yet... I do feel that it causes more problems than it's worth. Significant problems. I will go over my reasons and why I think it contributes to a lot of the issues and bad feelings that seem to permeate reddit and other places about this game.

Fairness:

First, lets dispel the notion that people don't talk OOC. They do. From the various bans that are handed out, to the call out in Storm's post that his accusation was made over Discord. To think that people don't talk OOCly is ludicrous. It has been insinuated, and I have no way to prove it, that even Staff talk to various players they are friends with. The implication is that build help, tips, and other meta info DOES get bantered about. Even if Staff do not do this, it would be the height of folly to assume that no one else talks.

I recall a Bug note talking about players who were abusing the trust system to find out who was shrouded. At the time I was dumfounded. Who would do that? Aren't we all playing a game where collaborative cooperation is the rule? That answer is most definitely no. Players in XOOC shattered that myth long ago talking about how they live to mess up people's character and day. Fine, this is a PvP game in a harsh world, but to think that those same players will not take every advantage they can is sticking your head in the sand.

So while I have no direct proof of OOC communication going on, there is enough allegorical information out there to assume that it happens VERY regularly. Human nature tells us that people will talk. They always will talk.

Staff Trust:

The second reason falls on staff trust. A list of who plays which character was released and while I had kind of pieced together a some of that same list over my years of playing, the confirmation does sit a little ill with me. Let me start by saying that being Staff or an Admin IS a thankless job and I'd have no issue if there were rewards for being staff. However, if that's the case, that should be transparent.

Because I have been XHELPed that I'm getting upset over losing in the past and that's a little hard to take when I look at that list and realize that many, if not all, of those characters have not seemed to have the same hardships that mine or others have had. Perhaps they are better players, perhaps there is, unintentional favoritism, perhaps they are put in favorable positions so they can concentrate on plots and puppets. All of those could be true and yet, since we can't know or talk about any of this OOCly, we are left to conclude that staff gets these advantages all while telling us that losing is fun and good RP. I look at that list and I wonder about how fun losing really is, when most are very successful over long periods of time.

Again, it could be 100% above board. It could just as easily be unconscious bias, and it could of course be outright favoritism (which I would be fine with if it was just disclosed that Staff are going to get an easier ride because they work their asses off in other areas).

At the least, there are violations of 4.H because staff clearly knows each other IRL and yet there are relationships among staff players. This hits me close to home as there was a player who had joined that announced they knew me as a player. I had no idea who they were, or their character was; only to be told a month or two into RPing with their character that I know this person IRL and find a way to stop. It was jarring and terrible and I felt horrible since I could not tell this person why I could not RP with them and had to come up with lame excuses why I could no longer RP with them. Having suspected, but never confirmed that Staff can void this rule is... upsetting having gone through it. Had it been disclosed that this is a Staff perk, it would not be nearly as upsetting.

When this sort of thing is revealed, it causes a breach of that trust, which as Slither put in his post recently, trust is all we have to think that we are playing a fair game. When staff tells people "you need to risk more" but are playing a game where their risks are insulated, players are going to see that. When it's not disclosed that perks exist it just looks disingenuous. If Perks are not given, and people look at that list of characters, they naturally are going to wonder about COI, favoritism, and other issues EVEN if nothing has happened and they are all fantastic players.

Mental Health:

My character has been a punching bag for a lot of people for a long time. Basically, of the negative events that have happened to my character only a couple felt like a collaborative story. Those were some of the highlights of my SD career. These were bad things that have happened that caused my character to lose RP, power, position, etc. After thinking on it a lot, part of the reason I felt they were so great was during the scene, the character actually apologized OOCly for what they were doing. It was great. I loved it. Immediately it went from, this person is a dick and trying to screw me, to something fun that I played into hard.

The months of getting pounded for reasons I've never been able to discern, not nearly as fun. Faceless people spreading sex rumors and being an unintended "media star" was bad enough that I've taken multiple breaks because for something that is supposed to be entertainment, I should not have had Real Life anxiety and depression over a game. Yet, these things happened. In part because I didn't get that same feeling of collaborative story. I got the feeling that people were "out to get me" OOCly. Was it true? I have no idea. Having a player call me out in everything but name in Guided Discussions and XOOC did not help either when I couldn't talk to people for any kind of support. That bit where you can talk with friends and get some OOC confirmation that, "ooooh, that sucks, but you'll make it." is really important for mental health and we just lack that as a community.

Since Sindome is a slow burn long term game, you make relationships with people that become, at least to me and I am sure others, friends. You can't RP with someone for over a year and not have some feelings for them. I have been chided by GMs in the past about fear of losing. No. I could care less about position, money, power, deaths, or any of that stuff. Yet, I have woken up with cold sweats at the thought of having connections with people in this game cut off. I don't know them IRL, I don't know their player names, if I perm, fall, etc. will I just lose this person that's been a part of my life for over a year? That's a tangible fear of mine and I'm sure others.

This third reason is perhaps the most compelling reason that this strict OOC ban should be gotten rid of. Often times, when you have lost, a simple laugh or word about it with the person you lost too could make that feeling that "they had to have cheated" or "this isn't fair" into something that actually resembles collaborative competition. More important, the fear of losing people would be lessened and perhaps people might be more inclined to take risks that Staff encourages us to take. Or simply just some words of encouragement and the knowledge that, "yeah, I've been there too." or "hey, maybe look at it this way" would be a massive boon to a lot of people's mental states.

Conclusion:

What happened over the past day or so is hard to read. It's a lot of intertwined drama and things that have been swept under the rug of OOC communication. It is difficult because it challenges some of the basic premises of the game: everyone is treated equal.

I know that the answer to this is likely going to be, "No. This is how we do things" and so be it. But I really feel that Sindome should have both more OOC means of communication and also more transparency. I've listed my reasons above and I think they are very compelling and important reasons. Yes, trust is a good thing, but there have been a lot of reasons to make me want to question that trust. Which, that sucks,. I would rather know that, "yes, staff get some perks for putting in hundreds of hours of thankless work" rather than be told, "you should enjoy losing more." I would rather risk that a player will use some OOC knowledge to protect themselves, because they are already likely doing it, just in a an unmonitored manner. I would rather have my plans spoiled and know that people are getting the support they need to not make this a mental health issue.

Please, seriously discuss and consider offering up a more transparent ways of OOC communication; both on how staff acts and how players can communicate with each other. Other games, even RPI games, manage this. They have Discord channels and more transparent methods of communication. They don't try to silo players away from each other and realize that these are social games and the benefits of social communication outweigh the gamification of the system.

If you want to engender trust, if you want players to feel good about playing this game, this is a simple step to do so. Be more transparent. Trust your players to be able to separate OOC and IC. Open up a Discord server. Let people communicate and know each other.

I think you will find the benefits to the community and the perception of the game far outweigh the instances where people use OOC knowledge to thwart some scheme or plan... and those people who do... are likely the same ones who would use @trust to identify shrouds and will always find a way to cheat the system.

Leaving aside the proposal to make a Discord channel for Sindome, the only comment I have is:

realize that many, if not all, of those characters have not seemed to have the same hardships that mine or others have had

This is objectively false and just because you don't hear about it on pubsic or the TV doesn't mean it's not happening. I know for a fact that most of the GM alts have also been robbed, killed, and ridiculed at some point. Some of them are nobody mixers, juniors, and washed out has-beens. They're as good as you, and as me.

On the other hand there's also non-GM alts that are extraordinarily successful without any of the tools that GMs have. Are they being subject to favoritism too? I have done everything in this game but I've never asked for favors, and I'm not a GM.

I keep hearing how the "GM alts" are always better than the rest, but the players behind these characters are skilled players who understand the theme and mechanics. And I see a lot of them actively playing to lose and getting into shit just for the sake of moving the story forward, but nobody talks about that. Seems that people who say this are just blindly following the narrative and making assumptions while having never interacted with these characters at all.

That could be and I tried very hard to state that it might be a total possibility.

However, this post is not really about perks. It's about trust and communication. Given what happened, there is clearly some issues there. Given the continual complaints on Reddit it's a perception issue for a fair number of people.

I can't tell you if it's real. I have things that have happened to me that I question. I have sent commination to GMs about it in the past and won't air my own laundry any more so than I did in my post.

The point of this is not that GMs get perks or not. The point is that there is a problem (at least in my eyes) that is caused by the blanket OOC ban. That's a trust issue. That's a mental health issue. That's a fairness issue. All of these things I think were major drivers to the boil up that happened. We can't discuss anything because it's against the rules.

As for whether they play on the same field, I don't really care. They put in a lot of work and I've had to do that job and get it, if that's "payment" I'd be totally fine. All I really care about is that people are open and forthright about it. There is certainly a perception that is in play that could easily be dispelled or justified with a loosening of the OOC ban.

There are many valid points I agree to this. Not all of them, but most. I have grown attached to my character, their friends, the people they speak to on a constant. The fear of losing them in a flash. I will say I've seen and been witness to people in OOC, admitting they're upset, or they can't take the game because all the things they've worked for, and the people they've grown conntected to is lost.

I myself have suffered the same issues, worrying about the people I've known to just be gone. Anxiety, sadness, depression, I've experienced all of it in my time playing.

I agree and disagree with a lot of this, but what hits closest to home is the point "You can't RP with someone for over a year and not have some feelings for them."

Some people play this game nearly every day. Interact with the same people or person nearly every day. It seems like an unfit conclusion about the human condition to deny that there's a totally reasonable desire to make a connection beyond the game. Call it bleed. Yeah, we're gonna bleed in this regard. Silly to assume otherwise. Yet I understand 100% the floodgates that would be opened were there a rule change, and I 100% understand staff sentiments to deny it regardless of the sad truths for that reason alone. Though you pit that against the fact those who get to circumvent this depressing reality are the ones who break the rules.

As a player I have no interest in OOC channels, no interest in meta, no interest having my immersion messed with by interacting with the community on a large scale. Though I cannot deny the desire to know someone I have played a game with nearly every day for a year or potentially years. I would have to break the rules to do so, but don't want to and won't, yet those who have found the workarounds (which there presumably always will be) are spared that pain of not knowing.

Is there a solution as easy as popping up Discord? Absolutely not. Would opening those floodgates cause more problems than not? Probably. Is asking staff to just police meta instead of the preventative measures fair? Considering the grueling strings of investigation that goes into these sort of things, no, it wouldn't be fair to their time. Though the principles seem off when we're aware that sort of meta exists (people finding one another through OOC means) to the point it even our staff isn't immune to the desire, and those who follow the rules are told to just deal with it.

Conclusion? I don't f*cking know! It sucks on all sides. I would say that the concept of extra strict rules equaling a worse culture around whatever those rules are for is owed some thought though. Seen this in other MUDs and MOOs regarding PKing and sexual consent rules, having to seek express permission to off a certain character, or where showing a single boob requires OOC consent, but somehow the culture surrounding those subjects is like doubly weird/predatory as it is anywhere else. We may be seeing this in regards to our OOC communication rules.

between bgbb threads or posts disappearing into the ether with no comment, or drama leaking onto r/mud *constantly* among other places, i think its gotten to the point where there really should just be a place for transparent ooc communication - such as a discord. other communities have them, and its obvious that people here use them already - i think the way sindome handles ooc communication often works to its own detriment (especially the ooc chat that goes unarchived and where frequent discussion happens that ppl who dont use it just miss out on???), and is just kinda archaic

Hi.

I haven't played in awhile and have no plans on returning but I feel compelled to chime in and mention some of the recent experiences that made me quit on this particular subject.

Awhile back, maybe a month or two now, I remained positive about the direction of the game despite recent controversies. A part of me largely blamed a certain player's ails on that player, thinking their claims and their feelings of victimization were overblown.

I decided to conduct, myself, a small test.

I went on a small spree of "trash-talking" IC in means and mediums through which ONLY staff could have possibly overheard. I'm referring largely to THINKS in an entirely private, entirely silent room with no one logged on even adjacently, in an environment in which no one could have possibly hid or snuck in or been around at all. My PC had access to every toy and means through which to detect stealth, bugs, etc etc in an place in which multiple PCs would have and did actively attempt to detect these things.

I then went on a small rampage of thinks regarding major PCs, even including my own PC's closest allies. I criticized them in the harshest possible terms Every nasty thought I could think of I typed into a think. I communicated these thoughts nowhere else.

At least one of the major PCs I mentioned immediately began to behave opposite to my criticisms of them. Later on, a PC closely related to that one CCom'd my PC almost directly quoting and spitting back that criticism back at my PC: notably, this PC used ALMOST THE EXACT WORDING I USED in response. It was close enough and of obscure enough wording that it could not have even possibly been a coincidence. An exact metaphor was used and repeated, echoed back at my PC.

This meant, sadly, that my experiment had been a success. Staff was openly leaking IC information to PCs of a certain faction. One PC was being subtle about receiving this information. Another was being really obvious and even attempting to throw it in my PC's face. These were just two of the PCs that were obvious about it. Very simply put: where there's smoke, there's fire. Those were almost certainly not the only ones receiving leaked information directly from staff, just the only ones showing it.

After this, I changed my tune. I had believed in the staff and the general sanctity of the game, of the separation of IC and OOC, of staff not having an agenda with which to target certain player factions. But I was wrong. Despite my positive experiences with Sindome, I quit and have not returned.

I'm going to be very blunt here: Sindome has a problem and it isn't with players. It's with staff corruption and it's trickling down. Staff is leaking to their favorites to fulfill their own agendas.

Nothing staff can see at this juncture is sacred or can expect to be kept to themselves. If you are playing at this time, CComs and thinks should be treated as though you're speaking in public. Information and communication that staff can see can and will be leaked to your PC's opposition. I learned this live when previously I had been doubtful of staff corruption. I was proven wrong.

Until a serious overhaul and investigation of staff corruption occurs on Sindome, the game is, for me, unplayable.

In reply to worstperson, I think this is a case of miscommunication, not maliciousness. In-game thinks go to staff almost the same way as xhelps I have been told, in that they pop into their feed and clutter things up. If I had to guess, if you were going to all this effort thinking up all this really incendiary stuff, some staffmember probably got these paragraphs and was like "Oh, this person is probably trying to drop hooks to get things going, let me help out." I don't think they realized this was some sort of secrecy experiment, unless you communicated that in your thinks.

Generally every time I have used thinks and had anything come of it, I was trying to drop hooks for staff to make things happen, and they also do the same when they drop thinks into your head.

I have to emphasize, Bogrin, that EXACT WORDING was used and repeated back at my PC.

Someone on staff had literally copy and pasted what I'd sent in a think to another PC. An exact metaphor was used and repeated from my think to another PC that repeated it back at my PC.

I'm sorry but that's not really a coincidence or something that could have had good intent. It was a copy/paste.

Any indication or evidence of cheating should be reported to [email protected] and [email protected] - posting your experience here is fine but if you want something investigated: start there.
@worstperson I would expect it to be exact or similar wording so that things don't end up as a game of telephone. What I am saying is that some staff member most likely ASSUMED you wanted these things to be discretely spread around, since you were going to the effort of notifying the staff of all this stuff directly.

I am not saying it was a coincidence at all, I am saying it was a misunderstanding. I tend to think of using the think command almost like the pray command in SS13, because it goes directly to staff. I am saying the staff member who did something thought that was what you wanted, because of how the think command is most often used.

It is not a private monologue, it goes to staff often with the assumption that you are asking for it to result in something. I was told this myself once when I went on a think monologue that very clearly was not looking for the world to react, and was told that it was cluttering GM's feeds, and that it was better suited to notes.

If you had written all that stuff into an @add-note, and then it was leaked, there would be a problem. But it was likely just a misunderstanding and a staff member trying to be helpful, thinking they were aiding in starting a plotline for you.

I want to go back to the point of this thread.

If people want to talk about staff issues, fine. But please, leave this thread for the idea of OOC communication and transparency please so it doesn't get locked.

However, the exact thing that worstperson said is another reason WHY we need more OOC communication. I don't know if there were reasons for it, or what Borgin said, or anything else. There may be totally VALID reasons for many things and I have argued in the past that many times what we assume is not always the case and even times when I have felt "wronged" I have tried very hard to see the other side.

All of these issues would be helped by MORE OOC communication. Yes, even at the expense of Meta knowledge. Which, I am certain, is already being passed around anyway.

I am going to go against what seems like popular opinion to me and say that I agree with DancingRoo to some extent, though likely from a different angle.

TLDR:

In all I feel that the way @rules 1.F & 2.D seem to be interpreted and the addition of @rules 4.G &4.H don't actually change player behavior (though it my LOOK like it does), they make SIndome look bad (in my opinion) and they preemptively punish/restrict players who have yet to do anything worng. Further, I think the truly bad behavior is already covered in a variety of other @rules (1.B, 1.C, 1.D, 4.B, 4.F, 5.B, 5.C, and others). I would prefer to see staff focus more on people actively cheating and engaging in harmful behavior than to see the try and track, monitor and control my OOC connections.

To Expand on That:

For me it's about what I feel is 'fair' and 'consistent'.

To start with, the @rules (2.D) only prohibit sharing of OOC contact info on the BBGB and discourage it in general. Also, the @rules (1.F) say that the sharing of IC information over OOC channels is prohibited and that changing how your character acts towards others based on OOC relationships are against the rules (Among some other bits).

What I consider to be a very literal reading of the rules doesn't prohibit exchanging contact info with Player B in local OOC then talking about your dogs. But you can't talk about IC events or change your characters behavior based on this OOC communication.

So this feels quite contrary with the I perceive as the popularly held idea that it's against the rules to have OOC contact with other players. Either the rules need to be rewritten or the community needs to respect the rules as written.

When it comes to rewriting the rules to be more a blanket ban, I feel that it's one of those situations where you need to seriously ask yourself if these are things that you can actually enforce and.or are worth the effort. Also, will they actually result in change or will they just result in people hiding it better. Because they can and do.

Second, I have never been a fan of @rules 4.G and 4.H. I used to be a huge fan of these rules but things changed over the years. Even when they were not official rules but still enforced by staff.

Why my change of heart? Experience, my concept of 'fairness' and a bit of an 'ick' factor.

My experience (without going into details) is that I have never seen or heard of people disclosing this information being the thing that allowed staff to uncover OOC collusion or whatever you want to call it. It was suspicions being followed up on. Watching behavior and collecting data. Noticing things happening that didn't make IC sense (or technical red flags) and digging.

On the 'fairness' side, I am not a fan of proactive punishment/restrictions. When we tell people who know each other OOC that they can't play the game fully (have to avoid each other IC) we are, in my mind punishing/restricting someone who hasn't even done anything wrong aside from play the game and possibly bring more players to the game.

Is it possible that this OOC relationship could result in cheating? Sure. But it's also very possibly it won't. I don't see why we just don't let them play, be vigilant for IC behavior that doesn't make sense or other rule breaks and THEN deal with those who have actually cheated.

And then comes the 'ick' factor. This comes in two parts. First, it forces people to know who their friends/relatives are playing when, were I in that situation, I would not want to know. I can't not know and still follow the rules. So in order to follow the rules I have to talk about or know at least SOME IC information about any potential friends/family I play with.

The second part is that it simply feels invasive. I have never played any other game that has a rule requiring me to give them (the people operating the game) personal information about my OOC life. Honestly, I don't think it's any of their business and it's questionable to even ask. I think it is a bad look for Sindome.

And, as I mentioned before, I honestly think that most people will just try harder to hide their OOC contacts, not disclose or end them and I feel the focus should be on what someone actually does (metagaming, cheating, harmful behavior) instead of on what they MIGHT do.

These rules have not always existed and that OOC communication leads to cheating, breakdowns in the community, forcing players into cliques and IC conflicts being fought through OOC bullying is not suspected as being the outcome. It has already happened.

I believe any relaxation of these rules would be a mistake, especially in response to the unhinged axe-grinding of embittered former players who are a toxic influence on every community they enter.

No, the OOC comms rules cannot ensure players follow them, anymore that sporting authorities can totally ensure a level playing field for all competitors, but the standard and baseline expectation means that players are not forced into OOC cliques and favoritism and off-game communication simply to play at all and expect any success.

The suggestion that all successful players secretly are doing this anyway is completely false, and should not at all engender a view that we would simply be allowing what is already happening.

We are talking about a player base that has already proven that it will do things to "win" the game. Look back in the bug fixes threads and see what the GMs have closed. The @trust bug is probably the most egregious one, but not the only bug closed of this type. Most people will always do what they can to get a leg up and this is LOGGED information from the GMs. It happens.

To think that people are not communicating OOCly is ludicrous. Read reddit and you'll hear about players who talked about talking to each other. If we saw ban information my guess is a lot of them would be for OOC communication. Game cliques already happen, OOC communication is happening as well.

The difference is that the enforced nature of the OOC communication leads to very unhealthy trends for people who do follow the rules. I will outright admit, as I did in my post, that many of my IC behaviors were to protect the RP space I had managed for multiple years. The fear of loss of people is HUGE. I don't care about your virtual widgets or little toys. I don't care that my character isn't massively powerful. But the people and story that I've worked at maintain is something I do deeply care about.

The second thing you are seeing is the reputation of the game. r/Mud hates Sindome. There is a lot of incorrect and some correct rants about the game there. However, the veil of secrecy just feeds into that. Makes it really easy to believe the worst things could be true. This costs the game players. There is no doubt of that. I have tried to convince some people to come play and they reiterate the common perception of Sindome to me.

So the rules, as it stands, don't seen to prevent the behavior you are trying to prevent and cause issues to both the reputation of the game and to the health of the community. I can't speak for others, but at least a few people have spoken out about the fears that I have expressed here (and to staff via notes and XHELPS in the past). so I am not alone in this.

Yes. People will use OOC channels to meta and the cheat. But... they likely do that already. If they're willing to abuse the @trust system, they're certainly not going to think twice about OOC meta behavior. So the people you are worried about are the ones who are likely already doing the things you are worried will happen.

If a player is driven by the OOC need to maintain their character's life as their own, and isn't interested in the game or it's rewards but is driven by fear of disconnection from others, then that player isn't after Sindome; they're after an OOC social circle. Which an intense RPI game is not a substitute for. That can only lead to the type of bleed and toxic codependency that drove players to make wild and false accusations in the first place.

The rhetoric of everyone is just cheating anyway so let me do too is based on false pretenses, false intent, and false evidence. Some players do cheat, and do metagame, but to say this is basis to have no rules for cheating at all is absurd. A race to the bottom to see what an anarchic free-for-all it can be is already available in other games, and if players want that they can seek it there; but their lack of population speaks for itself.

"If a player is driven by the OOC need to maintain their character's life as their own, and isn't interested in the game or it's rewards but is driven by fear of disconnection from others, then that player isn't after Sindome."

What a funky way to pose someone's argument, that they are not interested in the game or its other rewards. The connections are a byproduct of a game, played exactly how it is meant to be played. I do not go to work to make friends, I make friends at work.

Sindome is the only RPI game I know of, that has as strict OOC rules full stop. I cannot think of ANY other MUD or... RP game that has these kind of rules in effect. Sindome is in a weird position that out of every other game, this is the only one that just has a full stop on any kind OOC communication outside of the game.

I agree with DancingRoo here. Without the whole OOC social connection bit included, we're all here to have fun.

Hey everyone. This thread can continue and everyone can weigh in about what they think but I wanted to weigh in from the senior staff perspective.

Our rules exist for many reasons that have been outlined extensively in other posts on this forum and in explanations by admin in past Town Halls.

This topic comes up every year or so and the response is roughly the same each time.

We are not going to race to the bottom just because some people choose to ignore the rules of the game they willingly play. Those people upon being caught breaking the rules will be suspended or banned. As has happened a number of times. We are not planning to change our ooc communication rules. The separation of IC and ooc information is a core tenant of this game and one of the things that we think makes it great.

There are plenty of games that do not have these rules and if you find that they chafe you or that they reduce your enjoyment of the game to the point where you don't want to be a part of this game anymore, we understand.

We have always been clear about what our rules are and what our expectations are and they are outlined in many places and reinforced in many others.

I debated for a good while about whether or not I wanted to contribute to this topic, as I do fully see both sides to this argument. I've been roleplaying for ten years. I have seen every little issue that stems from ooc communication under the sun. Bleed. Meta. I've seen people getting oocly stalked and harassed over ic conflict. I knew someone that an old roleplaying community believes died by suicide over rp bleed from an ic relationship that ended. One community I played in years ago actually had two people meet and marry after meeting each other ic. Take that how you will.

Bleed happens, its impossible to be fully immune from, what matters is what you do with it when you realise you are bleeding.

At the same time. To blanket assume that people in this game have not and are not aware of each other oocly and potentially talking to each other behind the scenes is absurd and incredibly naive. But I don't think that means we should open Pandora's box.

I ultimately fall into the camp of this. I truly believe that most, if not all things that staff have these ooc rules in place to begin with would happen. It would get very ugly. And I think it would seriously sour the experience of many people here.

The rules have not always been there as far as I know. Two of the rules I referenced were created during my time here and are rather new, though they were enforced before becoming official rules. And I know that OOC communication was not always limited as staff tries to limit it now. I have also seen rules changed and reworded during my time here. As far as I know at least. Maybe someone can prove to me that the rules have always been there? I am happy to listen.

More importantly, I think it's a bad idea to look at the actions of a small percentage of the community and to decide that the behavior of those few recent the community as a whole. I and most players are not the questionable choices made by a select few others.

@grey0

You're the best.

Also, I am not suggesting a free for all. I am suggesting that we focus on the parts that, in my mind, really matter. Metagaming, OOC collision, to things that people DO that are bad for the game. And to focus less on the things people might do.

I also want to stress that I very much believe that staff here is will intentioned and does their best to do right by the game and the community as they see it. I may not always agree with the methods but I do not doubt their motives. :)

My two chyen. I think this discussion is kind of moot as Slither has stated it's a core part of the game and will not be changed.

That aside, I hate OOC with a passion (to the point I even write my notes from a first person POV) and even I think almost every single issue in the game eventually can be boiled down to the lack of OOC. It ultimately created Sindome's infamy and even a lot of these naysayers and bitter people who complain after being banned or whatever wouldn't exist if there was transparency.

And for what? So people don't collude, when it's been proven time and time again that people do anyway? So new players don't know about X NPC in their little hidey hole, or how a certain mechanic works? It seems like it's a tradeoff where the game loses a whole lot, and gains more or less nothing. Even not being able to discuss IC events until it's been X amount of years is incredibly damaging. There's so much cool stuff going on that tons of people don't know about. Why? Legitimately, why? Because X person is going to find out about Y thing OOC and act about it IC? That already happens. Because we want people to get invested and witness these events personally or better yet, make them happen? Illogical. Every event is going to only involve a select amount of people, and that's not even going into playtime and scheduling issues, or the divide, or UE issues.

And not knowing about the cool shit happening doesn't make people want to make cool shit happen. It does the opposite, it makes them bored. It's the stick instead of the carrot.

I really do wonder what people think would happen if your OOC name and character name were linked and visible, and people could freely talk about IC stuff OOC. I think all that would happen is stuff that already happens. Cliques, dramas, betrayals, etc.

Going to put my two chyen in here from the perspective of someone who has been on the wrong side of this debate and learned the difficult lessons the hard way. I served a ban for it and any character who could have benefited from the behaviour I am going to describe no longer exists.

If you start communicating via OOC means with someone whom your common interest is Sindome, you will start talking about Sindome. Your intentions may be benign but the results can be disastrous for you and the rest of the community. This was the case for me quite some time back.

I first started playing in 2014 when the rules regarding sharing of contact details were more lax. People gave me their contact details and we got chatting. I perceived these people to be friends. Eventually after a modicum of trust was built conversation drifted to the events going on around our characters because hey it was nice to be able to talk about our shared interest. For a time this seemed fine. Later it became sinister.

As a result of my communications with other players I experienced:

- Direct and dangerous meta against my character, ultimately resulting in multiple clone deaths and various other punishments. I couldn't even report these because -I- was at fault for having shared details dangerous to my character in good faith they would not be abused.

- My mind was poisoned against aspects of the game by individuals with personal grievances against staff or particular characters. I no longer enjoyed the game because I was constantly looking for meta factors impacting my character or others.

- Fairweather friends who became incredibly hateful the moment our characters entered conflict with one another. Honestly this one hurt the most because I thought I had made a connection with these people, whereas it turns out they only saw me as an extension of my character.

- Ultimately I was banned! I thought communicating like that would stay a secret, but the moment it suited someone's purposes to throw me under the bus they did. And to further compound issues they did so to target yet another player who ultimately got caught in the crossfire of the conversation, damaging the wider community.

Again, I've learned my lessons from this and paid my prices. Please don't send hate my way. I'm not proud it happened as it is and only bring it up to try and avoid the same cycles repeating and hurting other people.

Opening additional channels of OOC conversation with players WILL result in more of the negative consequences I listed happening and people being hurt. I am sure there is still a subset of players out there who do flaunt the rules and chat about Sindome OOC, but the rules exist to minimise the damage they cause. Please don't ruin your own experience and become one of them or endorse it here.

Thank you for reading.

@Mong: First of all: Thank you for the honesty and for sharing that experience. It probably wasn't easy exposing it all to the eye of the public like that. But I think you come to the wrong conclusion.

After your experiences, would you ever talk OOC about the game again if the ban on OOC contact were to be lifted? I am guessing your answer would be a resounding "No". And that goes to show that ultimately not the threat of a ban keeps people from talking, but bad experiences/ruined fun and the foresight of that ruined fun is what keeps people from it.

@Slither: Implicitly that rule is saying to the players: "We don't trust you. We have to keep you on a very tight leash, all of you, because if we don't we just know you would immediately rush to cheat!" Of course that is not your intention to say, but every time this topic comes up it is the (likely unintented) implication. Ultimately this is a trust issue and this fosters mistrust between staff and players and players and staff and we all see the fallout from that right now.

Nobody who values the RP and the immersiveness this game provides wants OOC contact to metagame. I totally get where people are coming from when they say they have a desire to get to know the people they spent months or years RPing with daily. That is just normal. That is human nature. And I myself have bleed about the thought to lose people that way too.

People who want to cheat on the other hand are always going to find a way and are not going to be stopped by threats of being banned.

Q: Are there thriving RP communities out there who provide a deep level of immersion and still allow moderated OOC contact?

A: Yes. Many.

Q: Are those RP communities plagued by drama that sometimes also arises from that OOC contact?

A: Yes. Unfortunately.

Q: Is Sindome suffering less from drama surrounding OOC and OOC contact because it is banned here?

A: (cue laugh track)

@Loreley

I think your three Q&As are a brilliant summary of the situation. If I may, let me add one more that I think is critical to assessing the effectiveness of the OOC communication ban:

Q: Does the Sindome community suffer damage, and trust issues with Sindome staff, as a result of the limits on OOC communication?

A: Absolutely (as proven by recent events)!

I'm fairly certain that my own trust and relationship with the Sindome staff would likely be significantly improved with greater transparency and OOC communication. I doubt it could be worse.

And now the big question that really matters:

Q: Has the ban on OOC communication between players had a net positive or net negative impact on Sindome as a whole?

A: ???

I can't answer this one; I don't have the information necessary. There are a lot of factors to consider here: Is player cheating/metagaming in Sindome better or worse with the OOC ban in place? Does the existence of the OOC ban create more or less work for the Sindome staff? Are player-staff relations and trust better or worse with the OOC ban? Does Sindome lose greater or fewer players (and potential players) with the OOC ban than it would without?

As I said, I can't answer these, and I'm not sure that anyone definitively could. If someone were truly interested in discovering the truth here, the best way to approach it would likely be to do a comparative study of the overall game and community health of Sindome and similar games that don't have this rule.

What I can do is offer my purely subjective opinion: Bleed is a frequent part of Sindome play. I believe the ban on OOC communications exacerbates this bleed, magnifying what should be minor issues into major problems that can impact players' mental health, emotional well-being, and desire to continue in this game. Without the OOC communication, it's easy to (OOCly) assume ill intent of other players who are in reality just playing their role, and this breeds resentment and animosity. Likewise, it is easy for players to mistrust staff when so many facts are hidden and information unknown. I feel that much drama could be avoided with proper communication, both between players and between players and staff. Case in point: the recent drama of the past few days in XOOC, the BGBB, and Reddit that has led to the banning of some players and the departure of others - all of this could likely have been avoided or at least greatly reduced had there been a better level of OOC communication before things came to a head.

There are other benefits to such communication that others in this thread have cited, so I won't repeat those. Whether these benefits in total would outweigh the drawbacks of having such communication, I don't know. I only know that there are plenty of other games that manage to function just fine without such an rule. Yes, they have their share of OOC drama, but I don't think it can be said that drama is any greater than the issues that come up in Sindome. At the very least, it's probably a wash either way, but it would probably take significant research to find out for certain.

You all who think it's bad now and think abolishing the "no OOC about IC" rule would help, I can't even begin to follow this logic. White is black, black is white to you.

And without naming names, I'm utterly convinced that we're seeing some of the same bad faith in this thread which we've seen before and will see again.

This is why there are players I don't trust. Is it most-of-them? Hell no, not even close. Are any of them staff? Hell no.

Bad faith isn't about making the game better,. Bad faith is about fuckyou'ing us all.

Take it back to Reddit.

@beandip

Bad faith isn't having civil criticisms about how the game is run,

Bad faith is starting a rant, accusing everyone in the thread of being trolls from reddit, making no constructive arguments, and simply calling everyone who agrees with them to be nonsensical.

By... the actual, literal definition of a bad faith argument.

I'm too new here to Sindome to have a strong opinion on this topic, but cmon.

@beandip

I think there are two different points being discussed here:

1) OOC communication about (relevant/current/critical) IC information, such as active plots (i.e., metagaming).

2) OOC communication with other players in general (potentially including non-critical IC information, e.g., knowing who the player behind a character is, etc.), for socialization purposes, community-building, bleed reduction, etc.

For the record, I'm more concerned about the second one here, and I don't want to conflate the two. As others here have said, even were OOC communication allowed, rules against metagaming should remain in place and be enforced. I don't think that's in dispute at all (unless I've misunderstood someone's argument, in which case I apologize for the error).

I also believe that thinking such OOC metagaming is not already taking place on a significant scale is pure naivety. Those who desire to cheat will find ways to do it; no rule will stop them, and I have every reason to believe there are a significant number of players who already engage in OOC communications for metagaming purposes (nothing I can prove). What we're talking about here is allowing those to whom the rules matter and who aren't metagaming to communicate benignly, and for the potential benefit of the overall health of the Sindome community (I'd argue that such a community barely exists in the current state, as it's difficult to form connections without a good level of honest communication).

Misrepresenting people's positions and intentions, and then resorting to attacks on those strawmen is not helpful, and is in the essence of bad faith. As for where we should have this conversation, a GM has specifically stated it will be allowed to continue here, so here it will remain until they decide otherwise.

I feel like people have read my message, the warning I put out there and gone "That doesn't apply to me. I won't talk about Sindome.", then promptly ignored actual experience. I'll re-iterate.

If you talk with other players who share Sindome as a common interest via OOC means, you will near inevitably gravitate towards talking ABOUT Sindome.

It was not my intention when I started talking with other players to talk about the game. It's what ended up happening. Harsh as it sounds other Sindome players are NOT your friends, they are someone who happens to share a common interest. You have ONLY spoken to their characters in any real capacity, and it is their characters you are perceiving a friendship with. By reaching out ooc you almost guarantee breaking an IC/OOC wall placed there to avoid bleed and protect your experience of the game.

Would you like to know how many of the old Sindome connections I still talk with from back in the day? None, and I knew 10+ players. That is how real your connection is. There are other places to make real friendships.

I do hope others will heed MOTW's thoughts here and take them to heart.

The premise or claim that these rules are responsible to anything that has happened recently are false. When the game miserable, toxic players cheat and melt down only to beg forgiveness and return only to repeat the cycle again and again for years, the take away is not that the rules are the problem. If anything this episode should demonstrate what a harmful influence OOC collusion is on players, creating paranoia and projections that everyone does the same, and how it allows for the spread of false information and harmful personal attacks and stalking and bullying and dangerous personal threats.

Regarding 0x1mm's latest:

The level of apologism, brown-nosing or simple misdirection here is at or near comedic levels.

This entire affair pretty obviously started from inter-staff conflict centered around corruption being called out between them and continues to be just that. There are some others chiming in to agree, but delving into your crystal ball of the future where former players have left and begged to come back (lol) is the most hilarious of strawmen I've witnessed on these boards, ever. Not that many people speak up about these problems - which of course plague many of these kinds of games and continue to do so unabated when discussion of this nature is repressed or dismissed.

Sindome's broader reputation speaks for itself. Plug your ears and sing loudly to yourself if you like but you're not bettering your game with it.

Flimsily trying to re-center discussion, blame, and fingerpointing at players and former players, accusations of the playerbase at large of being toxic or unable to adhere to the standards of IC/OOC separation that clearly the staff (and their favorites) themselves cannot is in itself toxic.

Oh please, genuine critics of the game are just tools to these people, who have wallowed and festered for years about the game, unable to stay, unable to move on.

If the argument is that there was a staff conflict, and that therefore players should be allowed to make discord channels so they can gossip about it more effectively? Then go watch Succession, because what you're craving is drama.

Oh please, genuine critics of the game are just tools to these people, who have wallowed and festered for years about the game, unable to stay, unable to move on.

If the argument is that there was a staff conflict, and that therefore players should be allowed to make discord channels so they can gossip about it more effectively? Then go watch Succession, because what you're craving is drama.

@MongOfTheWeek

I do not mean to dismiss your experience, but let's please be honest about events. You claim you did not initially intend to discuss IC details and metagame. Fair enough, I have no reason to doubt or challenge that. But the fact is that before you discussed those details, you made a conscious decision to break a rule, and breaking that rule led to breaking another rule.

First, this goes to prove one of my points: those who would break the rule on any OOC communication outside the game can and do already do so. The means are there, and the rule does not stop them.

Second, insinuating that those who currently follow the rule would begin breaking other rules if this rule were removed is projecting your own rule-breaking actions onto those who have not done the same.

Would there be additional metagaming were OOC communication allowed? Perhaps. Would preventing that outweigh the benefits? That is the question that should be addressed; it's a balance of pros and cons, and really the only way to make an effective decision on the matter: do the benefits outweigh the costs? Metagaming would still be against the rules, and staff would still have just as much ability to crack down on it as they do now. And while I can't prove it, I believe there is already significant metagaming going on, and that the rule against any OOC communication does little if anything to prevent this. It didn't stop you; why should we believe that it stops others?

As to keeping contact with former players, I've been engaged in online gaming for over two decades, and there are a number of friends I've made along the way whom I've kept in touch with for years after we stopped playing the same games. I'm sorry you haven't had the same experiences.

I do applaud you for being honest about your past actions, and coming forward. They are definitely worth considering. I just don't believe that your experience should be projected onto all players, nor that it is the only factor that should be considered in this situation.

As for some of the ideas raised elsewhere in this discussion, my experience has shown me that in every case where a game's staff limits discussion and controls information, it breeds player distrust of staff and fuels accusations of staff misconduct. Conversely, transparency through open and frank communication between players and staff, as well as among players, creates a greater sense of trust and community, and reduces the animosity that would fuel drama (the bad kind, not the RP kind). I don't see how anyone can objectively look at all that is going on currently and not understand the crucial bearing this has on the situation in Sindome.

Lastly, I want to say this to persons on both sides of the conversation: this thread started as a civil discussion of ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. Let's try to keep it that way, please. We can share our viewpoints without resorting to personal attacks and vitriol. Sarcasm, likewise, is not helpful to a genuine discussion. So let's please try to tone it down and get back to a reasonable exchange of thoughts on the matter without the insults, or the mischaracterization and misrepresentation of others.

Proponents are rather pointedly ignoring the fact that these rules are a comparatively recent addition that improved things for the better. Hypothesizing that not having them would be totally fine or better is not supported by what actually occurred.

I completely understand the urge to form more connective ties with players, share common issues, to reach across the divide. I have felt this many times. But the niche community of text gaming is highly dysfunctional, and moderating community interaction is a major protective asset for players who may not wish to engage in it, but might feel forced to if it was the norm. People will claim it's just to cover up wrong-doing, but they will (and do) say that no matter what; for evidence you can look to every other RPI.

Can you provide a demonstrable metric that the rule has "improved things"? I'm asking honestly, as that's one of the points I outlined earlier that needs to be considered in this discussion. Does the rule make things better, and if so, at what cost does that improvement come? Whether or not it is an improvement, or simply a clean coat of paint hiding the dry rot underneath, should be established before this argument is used (in either direction).

If it can be shown that it is in fact an improvement in one aspect (I presume you mean in the reduction of metagaming), then we would need to quantify the negative consequences and weigh those in contrast to determine whether the rule is a net improvement, or whether the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

I don't like resorting to anecdotal evidence ("every other RPI"), but if we're going to go down that route, then as a counterpoint I would cite the reputation Sindome has in the text game community. From the outside perspective, it would certainly seem that Sindome has a disproportionate amount of player drama and staff-player conflicts. I'm not saying that other games are free of these issues, not by any means; but Sindome certainly has a reputation of being one of the worst (if not the worst). Is this rule a contributing factor? I can't say for certain, but as I noted before, I do believe it plays a part in such issues.

@Blackbird71,

Well reasoned points, but I wouldn't really base your outside perspective off of the narrative that 3-4 very dedicated people who do not even play the game have been posting on reddit. The recent post has enough obviously laughable lies in it that it's clear they do not play the game.

Clearly there was a staff issue that resulted in a departure, and these types are always chomping at the bit to get a hint of something like this so they can blow it up, cause drama, and get BGBB arguments going as a result of it.

They've been at it for years, it comes up once or twice a year. The recent staff departure gave them the ammunition they needed to have another go at it.

I'm not denying there are issues, but I would really encourage everyone to not buy in to the crap that non-players with an axe to grind fabricate to rile you up.

Discussions around OOC communications would probably best be had outside of the context of this reddit drama and the others who keep posting in this thread about staff cheating, for whatever reason. I'm not sure what the connection between the two are.

Thanks for hearing me out! You all rock!

I'm not understanding a lot of these posts because OOC communication is already allowed in the ooc chat that we have on moo. This has been deemed okay since you're ideally not sharing or cluing people in to who you play. I still hate OOC chat and think it sucks the fun out of the game anyway with all the discussion about IC events that happens that, in my view, crosses the line. I don't use OOC chat much myself for that reason and because I just really enjoy dumping myself entirely into character while I'm logged into my character. I understand not everyone feels that way, which is fine.

Are you wanting to form OOC bonds with players while you're rping with them?

As in, while you're RPing with someone in character, you're having a conversation about your life outside of the game, what you did that day, what you plan to do, your hopes and dreams, etc?

Because that will, 9000% cause millions more problems with bleed. Why would you want destroy friend guy who you know had a hard day? Why would you not want to help friend guy against those assholes want to hurt friend guy? Why would you not want to gather a clique of people to form strong friendships with across characters and just play it safe, sticking with friend guy and friends and pushing other people away? If these kinds of things already happen with what we do have, why would adding more help?

I guess I'm just really unclear as to what kind of OOC communication people are looking for. Are we wanting discussions before every scene?

"Hey guy, I'm gonna try to kill you. Is that gonna be okay? I don't mean it really, kek it's just my character and like you're a really great guy and I'll make it up to you later. Or hey, maybe we can just agree that I win this time and I'll let you win next time?"

And don't think I'm totally crazy, because this kind of OOC bargaining absolutely happens in other games. I came from a game that did just that and the RP was so unbearably boring. Nothing exciting ever ever happened.

@Papertiger

I think the opposite is also true.

It's much easier to take a loss to another character if afterwards I can laugh about it OOCly with them and ensure that there is no ill will. If a friend's character pulls off a heist against mine, or kills my character, etc., I can congratulate them on their success instead of mourning my loss (with some good-natured "threats" to get them next time, of course ;) ).

Contrast that with what happens when one's opponent is a nameless, faceless entity hiding behind a character. It's much easier to suppose the other player has ill intent towards you, to assume that they are petty, vindictive, mean, and just out to ruin your game. In this scenario, bad feelings fester with no outlet, no pressure-release valve, and bleed grows. When you're losing, it becomes easy to assume that the game is full of awful, terrible people who take pleasure from others' misery, and to believe that other players are the worst sort of human beings. Players turn bitter, burn out, and leave the game.

I know which experience I'd rather have.

Except when someone actually pushes a story, someone will get upset. You will have stories that stall entirely because you, the player, are an awful person for not consulting with everyone effected by the actions you take.

You want to steal something from a Megacorp. You get in with a partner. Well I work for that megacorp and your theft just cost me my job. You didn't clear this with me first and now I'm upset. You, the player - not just your character - are an awful person because you didn't consider that. Bleed everywhere.

I left the game I'm talking about before because the stories told were entirely inorganic, unsurprising, and uncreative. Because everything was behind red tape. You hate xhelping for crime now, but try messaging every player who might remotely be involved.

If you want to start a game where everyone wins, it's not Sindome. That's not how it's built and not how it's advertised. People get so upset because the game engages them and the characters engage them. The problem lies when they forget that their characters are not themselves. There are places you can go to get that experience. People use VR, second life, and I'm sure there are other text based games that do that too.

I'm really new, so my opinion probably doesn't super matter. But as someone who's roleplayed for well over a decade, the: above reply is pretty goofy.

It takes on a: "well, this once happened to me, so it must always be true."

First of all, this punishes people it doesn't do much to actually stop OOC communication. People are savvy, if they really want to, they'll find a way. What it does actually do is make it harder to monitor. If people are more openly allowed to communicate OOCly, it's a *lot* easier for people to see others breaking the metagame rule and reporting it. In the current scenario, it's impossible.

It punishes people that want to OOCly communicate for benign reasons -- I've made tons of online friends over the years, some of which I've become IRL friends with, in online communities. It also ignores the fact that it doesn't in any capacity force you to engage OOCly with people. Nothing stops you from ignoring that element.

Furthermore, it ignores the fact that some IC emotions will translate OOCly. If you like a character a lot, engage with that character a lot IC, guess what: that person is not likely to screw them over because I don't want to lose contact forever with the character and player.

It's a really distrustful attitude to have. Not only distrustful, but also weirdly arrogant. You're not just distrusting that your community will play within the given rules, but also arrogantly assume all the systems in place are so fool proof that actual bad actors won't find a way around them.

To add to my top reply: as there is no edit system. You can allow OOC, exchange of OOC contact information, etc. and still *ban* discussion of metagame information. I think what @papertiger seems to be interpreting this as is people wanting IC stuff to be allowed to be discussed OOCly, which is not at all what it seems like people are discussing.
This is all incredibly disheartening but nothing more than the level of inaction to obvious staff collusion with players.

I would encourage anyone to review r/mud discord and search for 'Sindome'. You will find someone advertising themselves as a Sindome GM, elaborating on various topics which are not supposed to be discussed, and expressing opinions which reflect poorly on us all.

I am certainly not the only Sindome player on the r/mud discord but I'm the only one who seems to have brought this too light. This is why I took such a grievance with Celestial on OOC-Chat and why I really cannot find the wherewithal to continue playing after reporting the issue seems to go unaddressed.

Maybe I'm overreacting and this isn't a huge breach of trust but I can't sit idly by and ignore it anymore.

https://imgur.com/a/Q1HkQKb

So, I took a look and even from a quick glance I could tell that what you showed here wasn't even half of it and not even the worst of it.

You are not overreacting, Reefer.

I feel gaslighted by staff. Lied to.

'Rules for thee, but not for me.'

A GM doing this kind of thing only lends weight to the idea that maybe we should just throw the whole OOC thing wide open to keep a level playing field.

People doing the right thing are being punished for it at the moment if even 5% of all the drama going around lately is true...

Reefer you cannot just post cherrypicked images. Anyone with a brain could tell whoever took those images pulled standard mainstream Media tactics and cherrypicked the worst things on what was said. Without further context of what was said I don't think anyone should take that picture as gospel.
Instead of baselessly accusing Reefer of manipulation, you could have just taken a look at the source yourself, CookieJarvis.
I cannot look at the source. It's an image album of images taken from discord.
And Reefer posted where you can find it in full. The official, public r/Mud discord server.
I wrote this big, structured essay filled with numerous points, evidence, historical information and the like to support my thesis. I edited it, proofread it, redacted some material, enhanced and expanded on other bits. But then I realized that I'd put five or six hours of effort into this essay, and cried a little.

I've done my best to be positive with what I'm saying here, but I feel like there's some particularly hard-to-swallow objective truths in here that might not go down smoothly. I'm sorry it sucks.

I'll just say this bulleted list instead:

-Staff: Your players aren't simply your biggest problem. They're also your greatest ally and resource. We want the game to succeed. We want to grow it and see it flourish. We want to help build community and enforce rules. Yes there's disingenuous shitheads and trolls. But they are by far the minority. Put us in, coach.

-The rules right now, as they are, prevent players from reporting the vast majority of rules violations that are going on every single day because the way some of the rules are written and structured, frankly, is childish.

-Anyone who has some wits about them, has been around more than a few months, or knows how to google knows that there's inconsistencies all over the place with rules enforcement. This isn't a criticism, it's an observation. We can do better.

-Stop punishing the children for the sins of the father.

-Please put an end to 'do as I say, not as I do.' There's numerous instances of rules violations being glossed over, including infractions both by players as well as current and former staff. We're not asking for forgiveness, and we're not rolling out the gallows. We're trying to change the culture of things so that the game, and all parties involved, improve.

-The rules as they are written (for OOC communication) are patronizing and present the issue of judging the mass by the actions of the single lowest common denominator. This is harsh, cynical take on things, and judging by many responses here, in other bgbb threads, and elsewhere on the internet, unwelcome.

-The cat's out of the bag. Pandora's box is open. It's been open. It's been open for a long, long time. Social media and intensive networking is simply the state of life for people in 2022. It's not good. It's not bad. It just is. So too is cross-game play. Cross-game communities. Chattering about the game, players and staff in all corners of the internet. Can we please stop trying to live like it's yesteryear? We are, literally, one of the only RP communities left on the landscape that has these archaic rules. Every other game has transitioned at some point. Sometimes it's rocky and a mess. Those games that are, at their core, good games? They got through it just fine, and are doing great. This isn't an argument for Armageddon, it asking that we stop being the bullheaded ostrich.

-It feels like we're very tenaciously clinging to the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law is going totally unheeded. I know staff not going as hard on cooperative people is *technically* spirit of the law, but it's missing the forest for the trees in it's scope.

-Things that are rules violations now (excluding OOC comms) are STILL rules violations WITH OOC comms. Banning OOC comms intensely obfuscates cheating, exploits, favoritism & etc. while having minimal impact on successfully preventing it in the first place.

-Players and staff alike go on years-long metagaming and exploiting sprees before getting caught when they could be called out by the first tom, dick, or harry who witnesses it because of how you, the managers of the game, have structured your rules.You are, quite literally, shooting yourselves in the foot on this one.

If there's a single point that rises above all others, it's the following:

-Instead of assuming, and attempting to punish the worst of us, consider highlighting the both the player and staff stars of the game. The very best RP, the events that are the most fun, things that bond in our memories of the game: these are things that often would, and could have nothing to do with OOC communications. Filter out the negativity and put forth positivity. This is a big ask, but truthfully, it's what I feel matters the most.

We have a lot of negative feedback loops both in the game and OOC. We remember cheaters, bigots, toxic players. All too often we're laser focused on preventing these things, while great characters, players, positive influences and good stories pass by in the distance. I've said this in basically every OOC format the game has at this point. The stick is very clearly not working to the benefit of the game, the community, or the stressed and burnt out staffers. Can we please try the carrot?

We have a better, more mature playerbase than we've ever had. We have great metrics. The game runs far better. We have awesome staff. I'm willing to bet there's a decent number of people that could be pulled aside for community management. There's so much stuff that could be offloaded and managed by proven players that staff gets mired down in. With substantial, meaningful changes to how we handle the community at large, Staff might actually be able to do the things they'd like to do, get inspiration, and kickstart the game square in the ass in the ways it needs to be.

We could tell the person we fuck/murder/betrayed "Hey, truly, no hard feelings." and they could honest to god realize that instead of some mega meta-grudge, it was purely IC RP all along. Then what happens? Boom, bleed numbers are down. Players give kudos to their rivals when they get caught and done in. OOC karma systems actually work and are meaningful. You can mentor people who are frustrated and struggling OOC. You can sympathize with someone having a rough streak, and share similar experiences. You can do all of these things without OOCly colluding, rigging events, or doing rules infractions otherwise. And you can punish people who do, and often with better insight, clarity and reactivity because instead of holding a big stick over the community's head, you're letting them help you help us. Does all of this sound like some pie in the sky land of make-believe shit where there is sparkle unicorn kittens and quadruple rainbows? I can absolutely assure you it isn't when it's done correctly.There's literally dozens or hundreds of other RP games out there that do this very thing, every. Single. Day.

The best part of all of this is, it's entirely optional. You wanna say 'buh-buh-buh, muh immersionssss!!!' don't do it. Simple as. Put yourself in a muted channel and only take IM's you can filter at your leisure. Or totally ignore. Throw up a flag that you don't want to to know. Put it in your tag or signature, or status. This is really, truly, basic stuff to figure out. Have a pow wow with the masses. Ask people how they want things to look, feel, and handle. This is all in line with the theme of everything above. Positive reinforcement, trust in the wider player base, and community building. These concepts shouldn't be banned books. It's silly.

There are very few senior staff, and Johnny and I have real life stuff going on right now with our jobs that is taking up a lot of our time. Sadly, that must come first for us. I would appreciate it if people could take a breath and not assume we are not addressing issues raised, just because it isn't happening at the pace some people would like.

Thanks.

People think OOC/IC bleed is tempered down if you know who someone is and if you understand that person means no ill will, it's just a game.

It isn't always the case and I don't know if any of you actually want to a taste of the reality you're begging to come into existence.

Some people pick up on who I play through XOOC because of how I write, and despite knowing I've got no ill will, a couple months ago one of these people went on a ninety minute rant against my character in a private setting in-game which was an obvious bleed and referenced several OOC sentiments on behalf of that player. After it was ended, after the player had made accusations about staff through this IC interaction (which I noted), the player of the character gave me a hug in xooc like that was suppose to somehow make the whole exchange better.

Bleed exists despite knowing who people play, it isn't made better by OOC communication. A lot of the examples written by MOTW, papertiger, others, etc are legitimate. I can tell you from personal experience in the game I grew up in, which had no OOC filters or restrictions, resentment builds regardless. Drama exists regardless. By having some semblance of rules in place, it helps negate and hold back the tide. It isn't a perfect system by any means, people will cheat in any type of structure, but Sindome's isn't a bad one.

I have had lots of thoughts about this, read everything. Even opened the pandora's box a little as I am curious by nature and find it hard not to.

I wrote and re-wrote a hole slew of things, but boiled it down to one fine point from my personal view, as that is what is being expressed here.

I play Sindome, because there is no or very little OOC.

If that changes I will move on.

I had some incredibly damaging experiences in other RP games due to OOC drama. The rules here about OOC was the allure and I came to love everything else about the game after that.

I did not even like the idea of a purely text based RP game.

I have done table top seriously for around twenty years, online RP in various games for maybe ten to twelve years.

This has been the most consistent and best RP Experience I have ever had in that time because until now there was a bastion between OOC and IC. For all the issues it has caused, I still stand by it being (for me at least) a fantastic alternative to soooooooooo many other places that have those walls broken down.

I did not proof read or spell check this, it was a splurge of thought because after several days and maybe fourty hours of rewriting and rewriting i am done.

If you search for Johnny on the r/mud discord. I joined after reefer shared with me what was said about mirage on there so I could investigate the matter. Our staff meetings are held on Saturdays and we will be discussing matters then. Please don’t take our ‘inaction’ this week as us doing nothing. These matters take a little time to do right.
I personally am neutral on whether the rule should be abolished or not, but one thing I've noted so far is that I think this rule, in it's current state, diminishes the entire 'cooperative competition' nature of Sindome. How?

First of all, I think we all acknowledge that people do talk outside of the game. This is hard to enforce, yes, but this confers quite the unfair advantage to players who do decide to 'play by the rules'. It's hard to catch the cheaters in action, and by the time something happens to have them caught, the characters most likely have had enjoyed the perks of said unfair advantage for a lengthy amount of time.

Two, this rule has the capability to be used as an OOC tool by many players who do 'talk', thus turning this game from an IC roleplaying PvP game to a Game of Thrones-esque OOC one where you not only betray each other IC, but also OOC. I love communities. I've met people, and my SO, through roleplaying. I've met long time friends. With this rule in place, this ensures that the community stays hostile to one another where players not only seek to win IC, but also OOC. I don't think that's a healthy mindset for the game and even though you can opt out by just not 'cheating', it still prevents a community from forming. This in turn leads to drama that we all hate, as well as sometimes players taking IC actions as OOC dislike. As this cannot be addressed, it festers and festers, rumors develop, and the player begins to form their own narrative in their head.

Onto the above point, I believe this also prevents people from betraying each other IC. Once you're in talks with someone OOC, you're basically at each other's mercy. One can easily just shoot an xhelp to report the offending player if they were to betray them ICly, and thus this leads to long term IC alliances within the game, diminishing the IC conflict until the bubble bursts and people started reporting on each other. This leads to players being suspended, and once again reduces the amount of players involved in the game, harming the game in the process.

I do not know personally how the Senior Staff want the game to be played. I'm under the assumption they want an OOCly friendly community but an ICly violent one where conflict is always the case, but with the current rules and mindset of the playerbase, I don't think that's possible. Is the solution to remove the OOC communications rule altogether? I don't know, but the cons and pros of the current situation should definitely be weighed and considered in my opinion. This is a game, we're all here to have fun and make a collaborative story and RP with each other, not to necessarily use any and every advantage to 'win'. I think as long as that mentality stays, Sindome will be suffering from this kind of drama on occasion.

Of course it isn't always the case, Crashdown.

People being shitty over OOC bleed issues ICly is a rules enforcement and community management issue. Sometimes people get salty after taking a L and need a breather. Sometimes people let shit fester for weeks or months and then blow up about it.

The fact that this happens even with the rules as we have them right now is illustrative of how these problems aren't actually all that impeded by the OOC communications rules we have on the books today.

I just want to reiterate, because I think I didn't fully spell it out in my wall of text above:

Bleed will forever be an issue, it's endemic to RP, be it tabletop, LARP, MU*, whatever. My suggestion was that communicating about it helps reduce the problem, not cure it. Sorry if I gave the impression otherwise.

OOCly stalking and/or harassing people is against the rules. The answer to it right now is to get on XHELP and report it. I've personally been a victim of both stalking and harassment specific to this game. I've been doxxed across numerous games by fuckhead banned players from here. I've had my accounts hacked on other games and media platforms by the same people. I've been slandered to fuck and back an absolutely untold number of times. Unless the person plays SD, there isn't much staff can do about it. If they ARE playing the game, the person gets a corrective action. It's usually pretty severe.

OOCly going 'HALP HALP UNDAR ATTAKZ at bob x tom!' And your choombs come running or log in to save you- against the rules now, and would be after.

People trolling, being toxic, assholes in PM's, eluding to shit OOC ICly, so on and so forth- again, these are against the rules. Right now 'community harm' doesn't seem to get invoked very much, and that might largely be because we can't actually talk about... community... I think these things get brought to light faster, and more blatantly in games that allow OOC comms. All you need to do is screencap the log, staff can verify the account is actually one of the other player accounts, and boom, whammo. Enforcement. When OOC comms are banned, you have to go through numerous steps just proving that billybob#1234 on discord who's saying they're going to stab you IRL is who you are claiming they are in-game. It's not always easy, or possible to do so.

I disagree. The rules we have in place absolutely help temper the bleed and the issues. Does it erase them completely? Not at all, but it does temper them.

We had a person suspended for community harm two months ago, it's in the townhall log. Screen caps don't prove anything. If someone goes and creates a crashdown account in some random social media, says a bunch of stuff that can loosely be tied to my character or my behavior, that doesn't prove it's me. Staff has in fact said prior that they can't go only by screenshots or logs, because both can be doctored.

Your previous paragraph about being stalked and harassed, which is awful, is testament to the lengths people will go to tear down and destroy something they claim they love (the game) because they're upset and having a meltdown because they didn't get their way. That's going to happen with OOC communication, except it's going to pull in more unsuspecting people who want to communicate with their fellow players only to get swept up in bitter revenge antics.

I'm in my late 30s. I've been playing text games since '97. Twenty-five years. My first game I played for a decade and was part of the community even after the game ended up until two years ago. The game has been offline since 2007, and people still hold grudges and get snippy with people from a game that's been dead for fifteen years. People who know each other, grew up with each other, watched others grow up, know these people and have actually met these people OOCly. It's not a good environment.

I don't think staff is treating players here like children. I think staff here are doing their best to protect their game environment and the enjoyment of all players. People break the rules regardless, yeah, it happens. And yeah it bites some of us in the ass. But overall it pretty much works. The type of stuff that's going on now? It'd happen regardless of the rules, the only difference is we'd be able to post unfiltered to deconstruct the lies being said. In theory I guess we could, in a way, by mailing the truths to senior staff and putting it in their hands whether to refute the false claims.

I think of it in a way like how staff used to more actively handle accusations of smallworlding and meta'ing. And how much time that took up for staff and stole that time from them and the time they could've been using on IC plots or IC interactions through pupets, etc. Now blow that up if we allow OOC communication beyond xooc. People bringing in social interactions out of the game with in-game people and they get angry at each other for some offense, something taken the wrong way, so they try to get revenge on a player or a group of player by saying they broke these rules within a group of rules that is allowed (breaking rules about what type of information is shared but in a now freeform, open OOC communication). Imagine all the time needed spent on these frivolous, petty grudges. Even moreso than now.

How is that going to wear on the mental health of staff? How will that take away from the rest of the game? Staff are people just like us. They aren't our therapists, they aren't our counselors, they shouldn't have 'be prepared to deal with implosions of OOC cliques' on their list of activities related to Sindome. People get nasty. You know they get nasty from your own experiences, we all know they get nasty from the behavior of people on reddit right now. I don't want to open that up more to staff or players.

I agree there are some players who will always cheat and collude. They will try to justify this in many ways, that it should be permitted anyway, they were mad at staff that one time, that everyone is totally doing it. These premises are of course mainly self-justifying. Worse still there are still other players who will go to any length to cheat and collude: They will cajole and harass and bully other players through OOC communication, they will attack and spread false rumors about players to fight IC battles and to act on petty grievances, they will invent whole false identities for themselves to manipulate other players.

And it is true that simply having rules does not make this impossible, any more so than any competitive authority can prevent cheating simply by disallowing it. And this is very much a competitive venue. But the rules do establish that this is not normal and it is not acceptable, and more is expected of the community. And I believe having these rules does protect the community, does discourage and defang the worst of these types of cheating, and does generally instill a feeling among players of adhering to it. I know there are players who would rather these rules do not exist, but still follow them though they have an option to do otherwise, not out of fear but out of respect to what is expected of them.

These rules make the game better and the community safer for all players, and if some player finds it intolerable, they have the option to ignore them and cheat; but they have no prerogative to drag the rest of the community along with them so they may feel more justified.

I hear you and respect your opinion and experience, Crashdown.

I think we both agree that some level of pettiness, petulant behavior and general asshole-ery is inescapable with these kinds of games. And well, the same goes for life, as well :). We talk about people who still bitch about video game crap from 15 years ago, but being of a similar age to you, I can say the same thing happens with the people who can't seem to ever get over their high school crush or teenage drama. I think it's just human behavior, overall.

Regarding the drama, stress and strain staff is being put through back when metagaming enforcement was a thing: this is precisely why I suggested that some notable, responsible players be earmarked for community management roles. Take former SGM's, GM's who've retired to play the game, SGM's who are off rotation, even, if you're really, truly paranoid about things and make them community managers for an OOC communications platform.

You need barely any experience with the software, and really, very basic coaching on how the community should be directed and fostered. You stick those people in as OOC comms administrators. I am willing to bet you could pull 15-20 people who'd be great at it. Give them their own channel to discuss, set their permissions for things like channel moderation, temporary muting and various other access rights and set them loose. There will be kinks that need ironing, but I would much, much prefer we have a managed and actively moderated community for these things, where there *is* actual oversight for the shit that's going on. These people don't need game admin rights. They don't need privileged information or a huge amount of training. What's the worst that happens? Someone's a dickhead mod and mutes someone for 4-6 hours until a staffer is able to check the ticket? Maybe they are being and asshole and get corrective action. Or not. Big whoop. Little ventured, almost nothing lost.

People are still going to have backchannel talks with backchannel communities on backchannel networks.They're going to cheat. I recognize and acknowledge this. Thus is the way of things. But generally speaking, with FOMO being the spiteful bastard that he is, most of the 'sus' players are going to be on and interacting with the main channel/app/group because that's where shit is the most bangin'. And by having them there, you get provided with lots more tools to be able to effectively police game policy and rules. If they're toxic, they'll slip up and make mistakes like anyone else, and reveal themselves. If they're cheating, people will point out incongruities and they'll start doing the stammer act and back peddling.

My point here is just this: We used to have anonymity on XOOC. It was a toxic cesspool and made people quit the game. I suggested we get rid of that anonymity in lieu of transparency and responsible ownership. People bitched and cried and did the doomsayer thing. Now XOOC is 10 times better than it ever was before. However, we still have structural issues there. Staff have to be on and babysitting the shit, Johnny's got it up on his 11th laptop at work just to whip the bans out for really bad behavior if need be, but largely we need a limited number of people who have high training and trust requirements to moderate it. Oh, and those same people are ALSO trying to do 50x other things at the same damn time to keep the game running.

When someone in a chatroom is able to say something (obfuscating details- which is an important thing) along the lines of "Huh, that's weird." and then 3 other people who have seen it go "Oh, you know what, I've seen that too." you quickly come to find out that actual sus shit is going on. Right now, only a minority of people use XOOC, and for good reason. And there's a Sword of Damocles looming over the heads of the people who notice sus shit and can OOCly corroborate it with others because guess what? They get fucking banned for reporting it.

I'll part with this anecdote I've never said publicly before, because I think it's relevant and I'm *absolutely positive* others have had similar experiences. Dekkard was banned from the game as staff with extreme prejudice for doing some seriously nasty shit. But the awful truth of the matter? I could have gotten him banned 4-6 months before he actually was banned for doing also super illegal, but slightly less repugnant shit. Instead, what happened? The game suffered. People suffered. I suspect one or two players left the game and never looked back over the things that happened because of him.

Why didn't I report it?

1) I didn't recognize the cheating for cheating. I thought it was a game bug. I filed a bug report or a note or some shit about it as a bug. I couldn't casually talk with other players about X oddity because the culture we have right now. I used to ask if X thing was a bug in XHELP regularly and would get tisked at for it.

2) I was, at the time, coming back from a long duration suspension and I was actually OOCly afraid to XHELP about anything that wasn't strictly game-breaking. Because I thought staff hated my fucking guts, and it would be just another reason for them to resent me. Because I actually care a lot about the game and my reputation with the custodians.

I have seen so much goddamn cheating, exploiting, cheesing, code abuse and other say, less savory behaviors that for awhile, I'd log on and just be fucking angry the entire time. Tons of it went unreported. Actually, the vast majority of it went unreported. Why? Because again, the asinine rules we have about OOC communications, the no statute of limitations rule, the lack of any kind of whistleblower immunity, and so forth. I've mustered my ass up and put my money where my mouth is and have taken bans for reporting cheating in the past.

I took a ban to the face for reporting one of the most toxic, awful and spiteful player and GM I've EVER seen in 30 years of gaming for being a cheating piece of shit. I'm willing to do that. But something I'm no longer willing to do is to ruin someone else's enjoyment of the game, and getting them banned merely because they were required to provide the evidence of cheating, and to expose the source would result in more harm coming to the community, the sources, and myself via blanket bans all because some chimpra was exploiting a code loophole.

I hope you can empathize as to why I have such strong feelings on the matter. In my mind, OOC communications policy and being able to actually get shit done that helps the game overall are inexorably linked. But that's just my take on things.

I'm peacing out of keyboard warrior mode for the day with this last post. Good discussion happening here, I'm glad it is very civil, and I think it's super important for anyone with an opinion to voice it.

@0x1mm

Thank you for your statement on the other thread. I, like many others, have been pretty heavily stressed out by these events. I took what you said personally the other night, when it wasn't intended to be taken as such. I'd thank you directly but OOC is down (and for good reason.)

These rules make the game better and the community safer for all players,

This is an opinion, framing it as factual is conjecture. Pllllllllenty of other games and RP communities allow OOC communication and maintain safe, civil OOC communities. Framing it as you have, you are in essence saying that the SD community can't be trusted and safe. I think that's a perfectly valid opinion to have, I just have a much more positive take on things. I think it will take blood, sweat and tears (and more than a few people getting talks) to fix, but that it will lead to a healthier relationship between staff and the players, and possibly the players amongst one another.

and if some player finds it intolerable, they have the option to ignore them and cheat;

No dispute here, I think everyone is in agreement that OOC comms being allowed is NOT a magic silver bullet. I just think the positives outweigh the negatives.

but they have no prerogative to drag the rest of the community along with them so they may feel more justified.

Nobody has suggest OR told the players that they have to opt in to chatting with others OOCly if the ban is lifted. If it'll ruin your immersion of the game, or give you the heebie jeebies or whatever, by all means, don't join.

The tail part where you feel that cheaters are trying to get the rule removed so they somehow feel better about themselves cheating... c'mon, dogg. Really? That's some super sour grapes and a really bad take on the community. I want to restate what I said earlier. Sins of the father, and stop judging the whole by the actions of a few.

We do not need to cater the entire game policy to the lowest common denominator. I know that's a pretty rude term to use, but it's accurate. There's always going to be that one really awful shithead out there. But please don't lump everyone in a sack and call it a day. It's unfair to the (whatever) majority percentage of the game that wants to play the game and have a good time.

@TalonCzar

stands and applauds after each and every post

Very well said. Thank you. You've clearly put a lot of thought and work into this, and I just wanted you to know that it is appreciated.

Qewy at Sep 15, 2022 9:37 PM:

To add to my top reply: as there is no edit system. You can allow OOC, exchange of OOC contact information, etc. and still *ban* discussion of metagame information. I think what @papertiger seems to be interpreting this as is people wanting IC stuff to be allowed to be discussed OOCly, which is not at all what it seems like people are discussing.

I don't see how to read the following any other way than people do actually want to discuss in game information oocly. So maybe I'm missing the point here?

Blackbird71 at Sep 15, 2022 4:58 PM:

It's much easier to take a loss to another character if afterwards I can laugh about it OOCly with them and ensure that there is no ill will. If a friend's character pulls off a heist against mine, or kills my character, etc., I can congratulate them on their success instead of mourning my loss (with some good-natured "threats" to get them next time, of course ;) ).

Contrast that with what happens when one's opponent is a nameless, faceless entity hiding behind a character. It's much easier to suppose the other player has ill intent towards you, to assume that they are petty, vindictive, mean, and just out to ruin your game. In this scenario, bad feelings fester with no outlet, no pressure-release valve, and bleed grows. When you're losing, it becomes easy to assume that the game is full of awful, terrible people who take pleasure from others' misery, and to believe that other players are the worst sort of human beings. Players turn bitter, burn out, and leave the game.

DancingRoo Sep 14, 2022 8:26 AM:

Since Sindome is a slow burn long term game, you make relationships with people that become, at least to me and I am sure others, friends. You can't RP with someone for over a year and not have some feelings for them. I have been chided by GMs in the past about fear of losing. No. I could care less about position, money, power, deaths, or any of that stuff. Yet, I have woken up with cold sweats at the thought of having connections with people in this game cut off. I don't know them IRL, I don't know their player names, if I perm, fall, etc. will I just lose this person that's been a part of my life for over a year? That's a tangible fear of mine and I'm sure others.

This third reason is perhaps the most compelling reason that this strict OOC ban should be gotten rid of. Often times, when you have lost, a simple laugh or word about it with the person you lost too could make that feeling that "they had to have cheated" or "this isn't fair" into something that actually resembles collaborative competition. More important, the fear of losing people would be lessened and perhaps people might be more inclined to take risks that Staff encourages us to take. Or simply just some words of encouragement and the knowledge that, "yeah, I've been there too." or "hey, maybe look at it this way" would be a massive boon to a lot of people's mental states.

Blackbird and I disagree it seems. I don't think it's a positive for the game for OOC discussion about IC events to take place. I disagree with DancingRoo's justification too, which seems pretty similar.

The idea that mental health would be improved overall is a valid one, but I'm trying to point out that it might be oversimplifying the issue and taking away from the actual issue - confusing yourself with your character to the point where the line between your character and you disappears. We read books all the time. It's okay to be upset at events that happen in a book to your favorite character. The best books are like that, actually. Sindome is amazing that way.

Having gone through OOC collaboration for roleplay myself I think is still a valid thing to mention, even if you feel my experience is an outlier. I've learned from that experience. Rather than bringing completely theoretical ideas, I brought forward my experience to illustrate my point. MongOfTheWeek did the same, showing how things can slip, even if you start with good intentions.

I find recent events evidence that the breaches of OOC sharing severely harm the community.

Players and staff are being harassed and attacked right now because of false rumors and half-remembered data spread among these groups, fed to them by cheating players. Just throwing up our hands and giving up to condone and normalize that state of affairs is counter-productive to the extreme.

There is zero evidence that abolishing these rules would improve anything like what is being claimed, and a lot of evidence that off-game channels are toxic to the community and harmful to the game. If there was some similar game that was flourishing at the expense of us there might be, but there isn't. Whatever trolls claim, throughout the worst of the old drama the game's population went up and basically has stayed there ever since.

No other game offers so much immersion, or so much in-character discovery process, and the junk data that ends up 'leaked' by cheaters and how terrible most of them remain at the game is sterling evidence that keeping the IC world mostly IC is possible. I think it is clear that at least in some ways Sindome succeeds where others because of the hardline stance senior staff has taken towards the theme and structure and community and enforcement.

Rule 4.H as relates to admin alts.

Alts have a number of restrictions on them (see here). Admin have to communicate OOCly in order to run the game (weekly staff meeting on google meet, slack chat, in game admin chat, etc). Admin have to communicate OOCly with players to run the game (email, xhelp, etc). We have policies on the admin side that govern how many admin alts can be in a specific faction / sub faction, because we don't want a bunch of alts grouped up if we can help it, and because alts tend to be driving RP forward in their own way. Alts are not restricted from interacting with each other, but the staff have on a number of occasions decided that alts in a larger group need to find IC reasons to stay away from each other, or find an IC reason to break up a group that has too many alts in it, if it is in the best interest of RP or the health of the game.

Every command an admin types is logged. Every command their alt types is also logged. These logs are available to Johnny/Me to review if there is ever a need to investigate a specific person or persons behavior or if they are accused of cheating.

We have a very long and very detailed admin policy that is required reading for all admin that I'm looking at turning from an admin only doc on the website into a public doc, since it goes into way more detail and with way better formatting than I can go into on the BGBB. Will post a link when I've converted it.

(Edited by Slither at 1:22 pm on 9/16/2022)

@0x1mm

There is zero evidence that abolishing these rules would improve anything like what is being claimed, and a lot of evidence that off-game channels are toxic to the community and harmful to the game.

I would dispute that claim, as I don't think there is definitive evidence either way - at best it is anecdotal and subject to personal perspective and opinion. What I will point to is that, at least in my observation, drama and community damage in Sindome is at least comparable to that in other games, if not more so. Sindome just seems to hide it most of the time until things bubble to the surface and suddenly erupt at once.

Admin Policy

Also linked in 'help staff'.

I have read through every single post in this thread and I understand both sides, though I have some very strong opinions on these things here, but I am afraid to voice them as they may mean the end of my time in Sindome. That is the fear that controls me because of the rules in place in this game.

I've always enjoyed acting, and writing. I've always enjoyed the more story-heavy RPG games. I joined serious RP communities around 2014-2015 so I can not say I am as seasoned as some of you, but I think my experience counts nonetheless.

I spent several years in Half Life 2: Roleplay. Most of this time, in one community that then died and a different one was born from it. I can't remember the exact amount of years, but it was five or so. Perhaps six. Things got a bit stale for a while and I hopped off and on. Only at the end of it did I realize everything became very unserious, unoriginal and it wasn't fun anymore. For most of it? We always had anti-metagaming rules in place. And sure, some things were overlooked. Because if you turn a real life meme into an innocent IC reference, it's not going to kill your fucking day. If someone is actively going after your characters, you can actually identify who they are and guess what? They will likely be banned by the end of the week if they didn't seriously curb their behavior. Not to mention, most characters I played were losers. Severe ones. They were beaten and worse, as well as perma-killed. They were stripped of all dignity, betrayed and loathed. But 99% of the time? I never had a grudge with any of the players. Because most of the time, I knew it was all IC. I was able to separate OOC and IC because I knew it was part of the game. Some of these people, I was close friends with. Some of them, I barely knew. But only a rare few did I feel had a serious grudge against me, and did everything they could to ruin my character's life and even worse - kill them. Half Life 2 RP, in its more serious forms, does not tend to void (undo) deaths. I was fine with losing all the time, as long as they didn't take my character's life as that killed all the roleplay I had. I was known as a character that you didn't have to be afraid would exploit every time you broke the IC law (and in HL2RP, the IC laws are so strict that you're likely to be killed if caught). In fact, I'd often let you do it just so that we could have good roleplay at the expense of my own character. I never feared these situations. And the toxic players who went after me or someone else, usually ended up banned or leaving the game because of all the complaints. Was it perfect? No. It was a toxic clusterfuck and I felt like I was a 13 year old again, getting bullied, when I was older than most people in the game. It was absolutely fucking dreadful on the forums at times. But you know what kept me staying? The roleplay I had and the friends I made along the way. I still keep in touch with some friends from there, friends I feel incredibly grateful for having.

Now, as to why I play Sindome. It in part took over around the time HL2RP started going stale for me. What I loved about Sindome is it had all that HL2RP lacked; coded functionality and skills that mattered. They gameified the roleplay and made it more interesting. Made you actually able to do things without writing a shit-ton of long /me's (emotes/poses) and imagining it happen with very few animations (if any at all). What it didn't have, was the visual satisfaction and much, much worse; it lacked a community. In HL2RP, certain events and sometimes even certain characters became server mascots. There were forum memes about events in the game, but this didn't mean people actually pretended to know this shit IC. Sure, there were bad eggs who did these things. It was still against the rules. You could report these things with their usernames to back it up. But most people didn't actively go around talking about things without learning about them IC. Just like most people in Sindome don't pretend to know the character names that are actually displayed in the game, not hidden whatsoever (the coded short name we choose at cgen). Even when most of the time, these short names are actual IC information or based on IC information. In a sense, we already have a bit of a leak there.

I have quit Sindome a few times, for different reasons. Sometimes, I tried going back to old communities. Sometimes, because I felt Sindome actually worsened my roleplaying skill, or quality as a writer. In the end, why do I play Sindome now? There is a general, big reason for it. Convenience and practicality. From all the text RP moo's I know about, Sindome has the sexiest fucking mudclient I've ever seen. I love the webclient. And what I almost love even more? Are all the systems in it. The @naked system, the @stats system, the everyfuckingthing system! Most other text moo's have SOME good things but lack everything else Sindome has. These reasons are the main reasons I stay, because I love customizing everything about my characters and being able to move around as conveniently and easily as the game lets me.

What hold me back from the game? That question is hard to answer, as there are so many factors I don't even know which one matters the most. The first time I quit for real and decided to stay gone simply because of ethical reasons, I didn't come back for a long time and I didn't expect to. When I did, I decided I'd avoid staff and players as much as I could and pretend everyone else wasn't a real person because that was the only way I could go back to the game with my conscience intact. To explain what happened, I have to get into some other details.

A few months after I started playing the game (by the way, I started playing it in November 2017), I was contacted by a friend on Steam who realized I was playing Sindome too. They had seen me in forum posts and seen so many similarities that they were certain I was a person on their friendslist. Despite this, we never had much IC contact. We met a few times, sometimes they shared bits of things that happened, sometimes I did. But in general, this didn't affect one bit because our characters had little to do with each other and were often in different factions or parts of the city completely. What I did learn from this friend though, was how fucked up the "community" really was. This friend of mine, I don't have contact with anymore. Not because of Sindome, but because we simply don't share enough interests. I also believe they cut contacts with a lot of people as they were going into a high level education that required their focus and they claimed they weren't going to roleplay for much longer because of it. This person who I will not mention, is probably still ill reputed by the "community", such as it is. In part because some of the persons behind their departure are still here or were still here, and slandered this player and their character(s) after they were permanently banned and unable to say their piece. This person was often in trouble with staff because they weren't an obedient little bunny, but rather criticized and rebelled. I am sure they went too far at times, but all they managed to prove to me? Was that both the playerbase and the staffbase is so full of corruption and ill intent, circle jerking and protecting people who do not deserve protecting, that I couldn't with good faith stay in the game anymore. This friend along with several people were permanently banned for something I don't know much about. But what I saw from logs upon logs from Discord groups and pastebins that this friend and other people around them saved so as to be able to defend their side of things against the tidewave of favorized players and toxic staff. At least one of these players who broke these roles with my friend and other people in these discord chats, is still around. Actively. I know they are favorized by staff, and I've in the past learned that they were in fact a GM and that is part of why they are still well liked. This person, should've been banned with the rest of the group. But got away. Even if they leaked a lot of data behind how the stats and skills co-work. Even if there were logs on it. Most got banned, but this person got away and it bothers me incredibly that I still actively see this player in the game. IC. I try to act like it doesn't get to me, but it does.

Now as to staff protecting people that shouldn't be protected? I have to say, some of the staff I absolutely adore. Slither/Fengshui is the best staff member I've seen here, and reminds me of the Head Staff back in my old HL2RP communities. Nice, fair but also strict in needed measures. I've been told off by this staff member before, but I believe they had the right to do so. They had fair arguments. The only thing I have to say about Slither/Fengshui is that they're too nice at times, and perhaps even a bit protective of staff members even when they abuse the rules. I haven't seen this personally, so if I am wrong, I am deeply sorry for airing gossip. But the awful things I've found out about some of the older staff, one especially who is not around and has done some things IRL that were... terrible. Illegal and disgusting and evil. One in particular, was still being covered and protected by others of the senior staff.

And before you tell me to lodge my complaints to Johnny, Johnny has openly insulted and provoked and made fun of me both in the XOOC chat as well as on the Forums. Both in regards to my faith, intellect or possible quirks that he found it interesting to poke fun at. But he is the owner, so he gets away with it, even when staff once had to intervene to comfort me and calm me down during such an event over XOOC. This is why I never use XOOC. Because the playerbase is toxic and because I can't go to the staff as the head honcho himself has been a dickbag to me on multiple occasions.

I know staff have real lives. I know they are volunteers. I expect them to not be perfect. I expect them to not be unbiased. This is a sad fact and it will always be thus, wherever you go in the roleplay community world, staff will abuse their powers and staff will favorize. The question is how bad it is, and how much it is noticed. I don't know how bad it is in Sindome, because it is almost impossible to tell when it happens. This leaves things incredibly unfair for a whole lot of people. And I have some really amazing roleplaying friends I adore that I've tried to get to join the game, but you know what holds them back? It's not the learning curve, it's not the massive amount of lore to read, it's none of that. It's the incredibly strict OOC rules and elitism of staff that sometimes, honestly, drove me fucking insane. When I was a few months old as a player in Sindome, I made a joking comment about an animal noise on the public SIC network. All of a sudden, I'm told by staff not to say what I said as it can be related to a meme on Youtube that I didn't even remotely reference. In fact, I don't really know a lot of memes and usually find out about memes months after their expiration date. I got a bit pissy with staff about this, and had a few irritable moments and eventually Slither put me in the void and asked me why he had so many complaints from staff about me where they felt berated, et cetera. I admit my faults. But what I didn't know? Was that these staff members told me how to explicitly roleplay my character was BECAUSE other players had complained about comments I made IC that they took as REAL LIFE REFERENCES that I didn't give a fucking thought about. This is how elitist this community is, this is how butthurt sensitive this community is. So eventually, the only way I've been able to play Sindome? Is absolutely ignore who anyone playing anyone is. It's the only way I can stay sane. I don't know who is a cheating asshole, I don't want to know who is backing me up or being understanding. And I will not expect anyone to play fair. But when they do sometimes end up in OOC going like 'hey, just want you to know, it's all IC and stuff no hard feelings'.. I'm pleasantly surprised. This is usually with characters who may involve torture or other unpleasant things and they actually make an attempt to show that it's all in good roleplay. This, I appreciate. What I do NOT appreciate is angry motherfuckers killing you instead of sending a message in a bajillion other ways just because you said 'YO MAMA' to them and they wanna show everyone how easy they can kill this pacifistic, loudmouthed immigrant. As if that somehow proves how powerful they are. I really would actually enjoy it a lot more if they cut off my character's hand, or slapped them around and made them remember their error. But 90% of the time, I don't dare provoke anyone for fun because I know I'm gonna die and just lose what could've been valuable roleplay. You know what we called that sort of thing in HL2RP? What we called negative roleplay that you could evolve with? Even if it was traumatizing? We called it character development. It was part of the dystopia that is Half Life 2, and it made your characters real, without the spite and the hate that you usually connect certain characters IC. Because let's face it, we all know a few characters in the game that we think are probably assholes IRL as well, because we've never had a hint that they weren't.

Now I remember another point. Again, to protect myself, I will not mention who this is or was. I haven't seen them around for a while so I don't know if they are a GM anymore or if they are a player, but this person who I knew as staff, also turned out to be heavily metagaming my character throughout the game. This specific character I had, they had a lot of interest in. I realized I had even sexmoo'd them and they were probably the GM sending me thinks from the day I created it. They constantly tried to keep me from suiciding and while all of this was encouraging? All the pieces were puzzled together once I found out from the friend I earlier mentioned (who is banned and not coming back ever), what character this GM was playing. This explained everything, and I actually accidentally asked staff if this character was meta-ing me betraying them, only to have the GM say that the player had their reasons. It was their character. No wonder I couldn't get away with anything I did to this character. Eventually, I think this character's permanent death was caused because of all the OOC complaints about them. Complaints that were only rumored because let's face it, nothing here stays forever. There is no community. There is a forum void where things go to die. Especially when you say things staff don't want you to say.

Despite all my complaining, I will say this; staff are a LOT better now than they were when I first started. When I started playing Sindome, criticizing staff was a doom sentence. Basically 'do it this way or don't play :)'. Now you are somewhat allowed to criticize, but you can still not really discuss or try to change their mind on things on how you want to roleplay your character. Though admittedly, I haven't been told off for how I roleplay for a few years. There are some limitations in character design choices, but all in all, staff have become a lot more trusting and people care less when someone references something in an IC manner that could be interpreted as a real life meme or whatnot.

There is another issue though. The issue with being able to separate yourself from your character? It is sometimes outright fucking impossible when some characters, whether GM alts or just well informed or good at figuring out who plays who, outright assumes everything about you from the moment you enter the city, in such a way that it forces your character to become one of your old characters because of the bleed all of the mentions contain. It becomes impossible to separate yourself from your character because all these comments and accusations puts you in the place of a previous character. This has happened to me several times, and sometimes it happens still. I keep hearing weird-ass references by certain types of characters that absolutely makes it impossible to give people a different opinion. Not to mention, the unnamed GM of before who also had said GM alt, tended to passive aggressively tell me what they thought I was doing and was incapable of doing simply because they acted like I was everything they had seen in the game. As if they actually knew who I was IRL. This also made me more self-destructively ruin my own characters as I could never hope to live up to what I was trying to create.

If I get told off for this, which I imagine I will in some form or another, or even banned for having had contact with people in the past who haven't played the game for months or years, I will accept that. I can't hold this in any longer. I am so fucking sick of people thinking all of the ones complaining are just reddit trolls. I never go onto reddit. Ever. I have put up with so much shit, and I've learned so many things I wish I had never known about the community/players/staff. The sooner we become transparent and open, the sooner we can actually become a fucking community where you can fix issues. What we're doing now? Is burying them. And bullying whistleblowers.

If you read this far, thanks from the bottom of my heart. And I'm sorry if anything in this post offended or aggitated you in any way, as it may have been written with some emotion. It is hard to remove all emotion when you've held all of this information inside you for this many years, fearing that if you say anything you will lose what little you have left in the game.

Context: I have had to hide a number of shit posts, either from current or former players who've come on here to proverbially rip us a new one for running this game. Some of these are so filled with hate and vitriol that I can't even finish reading the entire post.

If you have a contrary opinion to me, or other staff, that's okay, if you want to argue your points. But If you don't follow the rules of the BGBB, your post is being removed, and if you are an asshole, you are being banned from the BGBB, and if you are posting conjecture and bullshit and trolling, about the volunteer staff, for this game you voluntarily play or voluntarily decided not to play, you're being newted.



Edit: My initial post was a knee jerk reaction that involved more cursing and frustration. I have cleaned it up.

(Edited by Slither at 2:49 pm on 9/16/2022)

In the last 30 Years nothing has changed

I wish that I could find an internet wayback machine to resurrect the thoughts I posted about this subject in the late 1990s. Despite it being ~30 years later, NOTHING about human behavior and online roleplaying has fundamentally changed.

The crux of the issue is 'bleed'.

In an ideal world where everyone involved is fully enlightened, evolved and able to own their emotions in healthy ways, we would not be having THIS conversation.

The reality is that we as people, players, end up associating ourselves (our ego in the Freudian sense) with our characters. Psychologically, subconsciously, we either lose the ability (perhaps temporarily) to separate what is happening to our characters from ourselves. Or we never had that ability in the first place.

I am intentionally using our here because I have personally struggled with this as well. I am not throwing stones while living in my own glass house.

Expanded out a level, we also fail to separate the IC actions of another CHARACTER from the intention of the PLAYER being that character. Just as we associate our character with ourselves, we associate other characters with the person playing the other character.

Now pause.

Now go back and re-read what I just wrote.

Seriously. Scroll back up and re-read what I just wrote.

EVERYTHING being discussed around OOC communication, staff trust, player trust, community toxicity is because PLAYERS are incapable (temporarily or permanently) of disassociating themselves from their CHARACTERS.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I wrote paragraphs about this ~30 years ago. This is endemic to online roleplaying. It always has been and likely always will be.

What Sindome is doing RIGHT with ooc communication , bleed , and human behaviors

This is just my opinion based on life experience.

Sindome and the staff are doing a number of things that help acknowledge and reduce bleed.

Despite what many have said in this topic, I do not agree that staff or the player base are ignoring the issue. Nobody is ignoring the reality of human behavior and the desire the form bonds. Nobody is saying that this is not an issue.

Here are some specific examples of how the issue is being acknowledged and addressed.

1. The community has coined the term 'bleed'. It is widely referenced and available in game via 'help bleed'. The first step to acknowledging a problem is being able to talk about the problem. We all need a way to discuss it. Bleed is that way.

2. The community has gone to great lengths to reduce / attempt to eliminate OOC between PLAYERS. The effectiveness of these measures are subject of ongoing debate. Yet nobody can say that the staff and community have not made attempts.

Another way to look at 2. is to state, "The community and staff have gone to great lengths to force PLAYERS remain IC and in the mindset of their CHARACTER."

Again, go back to the beginning of this post. The ENTIRE seed and core of this issue is people's inability to separate themselves from their character.

@Blackbird71 summed it up the best. (paraphrasing) "Because of the lack of OOC communication, I assume that 'everyone' is out to get me / screw me over / abuse me / deceive me / etc."

At the risk of coming off as flippant. (This is not directed at Blackbird71.)

Duh. That is Sindome. Our characters are here to fuck each other over in a dystopian themed environment where there are not enough resources to go around, and personal 'success' is only achievable at the expense of others. Also, any measure of 'success' or advantage is only temporary.

It is not personal. It is not about US as players. Nobody is here to fuck US over personally. If WE as players take something personally, WE as players need to take a step back from the game and remember that WE are ROLEPLAYING. We are pretending to be someone else.

3. Staff has an abuse policy in place and they enforce it with measures up to and including permanent bans from the game.

The wheels of justice might turn slowly. They might not turn the way people want them to in every situation. But the reality is that there are many documented instances of the policies being enforced and problematic players being removed from the game.

4. Staff has systems in place to reduce the ability of cheating staffers to impact the game.

(I am going to add another reply that details my personal experiences with flagrant admin abuse. It will touch upon some of these specific items. I do not want to clutter this specific response with the examples.)

The daily UE cap is a key element of eliminating a common avenue for staff favoritism.

Staff bit and staff-alt command logging is a major deterrent to abuse.

Transparency / Reporting Cheating

@TalonCzar brought up some good points on this subject.

My only suggestion here is increased transparency. When someone cheats and abuses the system, the "only" way to level the playing fielding for everyone is to make it clear exactly what was done. That way the knowledge does not remain in the realm of the cheaters.

For example, I got a stern talking to by staff for trying to disarm unresponsive tokens. There was / is a bug where tokens will not notice a disarm attempt. I didn't figure this out on my own. It was shown to me ICly by another character. I also observed other characters, besides the one who demonstrated it to me, doing the same thing.

Along the lines of exactly what TalonCzar explained, I did not know that it was an abuse / exploit until I either xhelped or @bugged it as not working. The response from staff was that I should have known it was abuse. Yet there was no way for me to KNOW that. I was shown it ICly. I saw other, very long term characters doing it. I rightly assumed that it was legit.

If there was a sticky BgBB post of "known exploits" , I would have never done it. Also, every other player would know about it and it would have been fixed.

The same goes for what TalonCzar suggested. If there was a public acknowledgement detailing exactly what Dekkard did, then there would be zero hesitation for players to call out similar behavior if we see it in the future.

Given the theme of the game and the meta around keeping "IC knowledge" secret, a natural assumption when finding out some "cool new secret trick / technique" is that the new technique is obscure / arcane knowledge. Not that the new technique is cheating, or an exploit, or whatever.

I think a case can be made that some increased transparency around specific exploits / game abuse would be a detriment to having characters discover knowledge ICly.

I believe that a stronger case can be made that the benefits of transparency outweigh the damage done to the discovery and learning process. It would go a long way to restoring trust. Trust in the players of each other. Trust that the staff are not privy to exclusive knowledge.

Summary

I will end with a personal anecdote that I have shared in one form or another over the last year.

I had to take a break from Sindome for mental health reasons. I had recently moved ~1500 miles to a new state where I did not have any close relationships with anyone. I was going through a divorce. I was a new parent to an infant. For all intents and purposes, Sindome WAS my only form of socialization and contact with other people.

The themes of Sindome involving a lack of safety, betrayal, gaslighting, deception, etc. were practically 100% aligned with my own personal issues that I was dealing with in therapy.

I left the game with the intention of not returning. It was simply unhealthy and not a 'safe place' for me, mentally and emotionally.

After about a year I came back.

I was only able to come back because I accepted that Sindome is a game. It is a game where people, via their characters, act out some of the worst impulses human beings have.

It is a game set in a theme that only "works" when people are able to keep a healthy separation between themselves as a person, and a character projected into a make believe world where other characters are intent on doing Bad Things(tm) to them.

The restrictions on OOC communication are in place to help us maintain that separation. They are there to help us reduce bleed.

Sindome is not a healthy place to form OOC relationships with other players.

I do not know how much more succinctly I can put that.

If you are playing Sindome and wanting to establish OOC relationships with the people behind the characters you are interacting it with, take that as a major red flag. You are bleeding. You need to step away from the game. Get outside. Talk to people face to face. Or go play in another RP community for a bit. Or go play a different type of game (FPS, RTS, JRPG, whatever) for a bit.

I know the staff will disagree with this, but I think the best possible way forward for Sindome from here would be to open up a moderated OOC Discord which is basically just OOC-Chat (maybe even mirror OOC-Chat and Discord to each other?) and have it as basically the BGBB but in a live medium.

Like other players in this post have said, the box is open now. People are going to find each other and from the sounds of things, they're going to find each other via hostile actors who want to see the game fail first.

Having a place of our own is going to cut down on that "back channel" proliferation and will be much healthier for the game in the long run, I think.

First, I'd like to apologise for my initial post, if it was noticed. I was ill informed, or simply didn't have proof and after clearing up things with Slither/FengShui, I feel more up for braving these things and actually bringing them up to staff rather than carry the concerns with me for years. I still feel like these issues and rumors could be avoided with more open communication, however. I have massively edited my original post, just to contain the experiences I've wanted to share, to explain why I think we need less OOC restrictions. You the reader don't have to agree with me, but these are my thoughts. I've read through every single post on the thread and I feel more confident in voicing my view on this matter.

I've always enjoyed acting, and writing. I've always enjoyed the more story-heavy RPG games. I joined serious RP communities around 2014-2015 so I can not say I am as seasoned as some of you, but I think my experience counts nonetheless.

I spent several years in Half Life 2: Roleplay. Most of this time, in one community that then died and a different one was born from it. I can't remember the exact amount of years, but it was five or so. Perhaps six. Things got a bit stale for a while and I hopped off and on. Only at the end of it did I realize everything became very unserious, unoriginal and it wasn't fun anymore. For most of it? We always had anti-metagaming rules in place. And sure, some things were overlooked. Because if you turn a real life meme into an innocent IC reference, it's not going to ruin your life. Though we always had 'minges' we called them (people who jumped around and acted out-of-character and they were mostly ignored until staff could get to them, eventually corrected or if they had to be; kicked/banned. If someone is actively going after your characters, you can actually identify who they are and guess what? They will likely be banned by the end of the week if they didn't seriously curb their behavior. Not to mention, most characters I played were losers. Severe ones. They were beaten and worse, as well as perma-killed. They were stripped of all dignity, betrayed and loathed. But 99% of the time? I never had a grudge with any of the players. Because most of the time, I knew it was all IC. I was able to separate OOC and IC because I knew it was part of the game. Some of these people, I was close friends with. Some of them, I barely knew. But only a rare few did I feel had a serious grudge against me, and did everything they could to ruin my character's life and even worse - kill them. Half Life 2 RP, in its more serious forms, does not tend to void (undo) deaths. I was fine with losing all the time, as long as they didn't take my character's life as that killed all the roleplay I had. I was known as a character that you didn't have to be afraid would snitch every time you broke the IC law (and in HL2RP, the IC laws are so strict that you're likely to be killed if caught). In fact, I'd often let you do it just so that we could have good roleplay at the expense of my own character. I never feared these situations. And the toxic players who went after me or someone else with obsessive OOC reasons, usually ended up banned or leaving the game because of all the complaints. Was it perfect? No. It was a toxic clusterfuck and I felt like I was a 13 year old again, getting bullied, when I was older than most people in the game. It was absolutely dreadful on the forums at times. But you know what kept me staying? The roleplay I had and the friends I made along the way. I still keep in touch with some friends from there, friends I feel incredibly grateful for having.

Now, as to why I play Sindome. It in part took over around the time HL2RP started going stale for me. What I loved about Sindome is it had all that HL2RP lacked; coded functionality and skills that mattered. They gameified the roleplay and made it more interesting. Made you actually able to do things without writing a shit-ton of long /me's (emotes/poses) and imagining it happen with very few animations (if any at all). What it didn't have, was the visual satisfaction and much, much worse; it lacked a community, this has always given me a bit of a lonesome vibe. In HL2RP, certain events and sometimes even certain characters became server mascots. There were forum memes about events in the game, but this didn't mean people actually pretended to know this shit IC. Sure, there were bad eggs who did these things. It was still against the rules. You could report these things with their usernames to back it up. But most people didn't actively go around talking about things without learning about them IC. Just like most people in Sindome don't pretend to know the character names that are actually displayed in the game, not hidden whatsoever (the coded short name we choose at cgen). Even when most of the time, these short names are actual IC information or based on IC information. In a sense, we already have a bit of a leak there.

I have quit Sindome a few times, for different reasons. Sometimes, I tried going back to old communities. Sometimes, because I felt Sindome made me a lazier roleplayer due to many conveniences and I felt my ability to write became poor, or of lower quality. In the end, why do I play Sindome now? There is a general, big reason for it. Convenience and practicality. From all the text RP moo's I know about, Sindome has the damn SEXIEST mudclient I've ever seen. I love the webclient. And what I almost love even more? Are all the systems in it. The @naked system, the @stats system, the everyfuckingthing system! Most other text moo's have SOME good things but lack everything else Sindome has. These reasons are the main reasons I stay, because I love customizing everything about my characters and being able to move around as conveniently and easily as the game lets me.

What holds me back from the game? That question is hard to answer, as there are so many factors I don't even know which one matters the most. But a lot of it is misinformation and not feeling like I had a right to speak up, as well as the feeling I didn't belong with a community. The first time I quit for real and decided to stay gone simply because of ethical reasons, I didn't come back for a long time and I didn't expect to. When I did, I decided I'd avoid staff and players as much as I could and pretend everyone else wasn't a real person because that was the only way I could go back to the game with my conscience intact. After being corrected, I've decided not to go into details as many of these things haven't been proven and I've been reassured many of the mentioned concerns were actually dealt with, that things that happened weren't as accepted as I thought they were.

A few months after I started playing the game (by the way, I started playing it in November 2017), I was contacted by a friend on Steam who realized I was playing Sindome too. They had seen me in forum posts and seen so many similarities that they were certain I was a person on their friendslist. Despite this, we never had much IC contact. We met a few times, sometimes they shared bits of things that happened, sometimes I did. But in general, this didn't affect one bit because our characters had little to do with each other and were often in different factions or parts of the city completely. This friend had a lot of criticism about the community that I can't say for certain if all was true or not, but they caused me to seriously doubt the integrity of people within it. That's all I'm going to say about it, as a lot of these doubts have been cleared out and I don't want to spread gossip further. This friend of mine, I don't have contact with anymore. Not because of Sindome, but because we simply don't share enough interests. I also believe they cut contact with a lot of people as they were going into a high level education that required their focus and they claimed they weren't going to roleplay for much longer because of it. This tends to happen with most roleplay friends of mine, people move on with their lives and spend less time with their hobbies. This person who I will not mention, is probably still ill reputed by people here, for better or worse. I still feel that there should be some form of notice when someone is banned, or at least a chance to let them explain their side, would be preferable over removing them from the game and leaving people guessing what they did or if staff just ran them over. It hurts the community, and causes unnecessary gossip - in my opinion. This old friend was often in trouble with staff and I am sure they probably had it coming at least some of the time, though I didn't realize this back then and therefore all the things they told me made me feel like quitting because I felt good people were being run over by the staff. It has bothered me until now and I seriously wish that Sindome could've had a more open community so that these things never had to hold me back. That the lonely, isolated feeling I get from not really having a community within a community, and hearing all these bad things about what is going on behind the curtains (whether true or false) and never have the chance to have them cleared up or resolved, really messed with my enjoyment of the game.

I have to say, some of the staff I absolutely adore. Slither/Fengshui is the best staff member I've seen here, and reminds me of the Head Staff back in my old HL2RP communities. Nice, fair but also strict in needed measures. I've been told off by this staff member before, but I believe they had the right to do so. They had fair arguments. Sometimes I felt they were too lenient on some of the other staff members, but I don't know all the goings-on so I won't speculate anymore here. I realize I may have been completely wrong, and I hold a great deal of respect for this person.

Another major issue I've had is that I haven't felt I could lodge my complaints with staff, as the owner (Johnny) has made me feel insulted a few times in the past. This has become a roadblock for me at times, which has been hard for me to get past and has caused me to distrust the staff, at times - perhaps in vain.

I know staff have real lives. I know they are volunteers. I expect them to not be perfect. I expect them to not be without bias. This is a sad fact and it will always be thus, wherever you go in any roleplaying community, staff will abuse their powers and staff will favorize. If you have been in several different communities, you'll know this very well. The question is how bad it is, and how much it can be made clear as well as corrected. I don't know how bad it is in Sindome, because it is almost impossible to tell when it happens. This leaves things incredibly unfair for a whole lot of people, and most won't even know if their possible issues with staff have been resolved.

I have some really amazing roleplaying friends I adore that I've tried to get to join the game, but can you guess what seemed to hold them back? It's not the learning curve, it's not the massive amount of lore to read, it's none of that. It's the incredibly strict OOC rules and the feeling of elitism that sometimes even drove me a bit insane. When I was a few months old as a player in Sindome, I made a joking comment about an animal noise on the public SIC network. All of a sudden, I'm told by staff not to say what I said as it can be related to a meme on Youtube that I didn't even remotely reference. In fact, I don't really know a lot of memes and usually find out about memes months after their expiration date. I got irritable with staff about this, without knowing everything behind their reasons for calling me out on it. I was put in the void and spoken to about this. Staff had felt I berated them, and I found out that staff had called me out because several other players had complained about the thing I said in-game, which they reacted to as being a real-life meme reference. It turned out, it was the players policing me, not the staff. They were simply the messengers. The community has gotten better since then, so has staff, I believe. Things are less policed when it isn't necessary, and you won't be told off by staff for an innocent comment or a real life reference that is themely covered to fit the lore, like a TV show made into a holoseries with a similar (but different) name.

Though back when it was like this, it only further estranged me to the community and its staff, and none of it lead to me enjoying Sindome better. If anything, my spite just grew more and more when it could've been discussed had I felt like I had the right to talk about my concerns. After a couple of years of my time in Sindome, they actually changed some of the rules so that players can more openly discuss and criticize staff decisions (without being unfair, of course). But for a long time, I didn't dare discuss any of the problems and I felt like I had to simply accept my place or not play the game. Maybe I was wrong to feel this way, but I believe I had no way of seeing it different at the time. I also remember other people acted similarly. For instance; in xgame, some people used to be so careful about answering questions about simple mechanics that they'd mistake them for IC information and say 'find out IC' even if it didn't make sense to say that. Stuff like what commands to use. Some people were about as paranoid as me discussing things over OOC channels, even if it was about game-related matters that were okay to discuss. There's been major improvement since then. But for the longest time, I felt like the only way I could come back to play Sindome was to avoid staff and other players in OOC means as much as possible, because a lot of things I believed was going on or wasn't going on made me feel I couldn't trust anyone had any good intent whatsoever. That the more I gave my heart and soul to people, the more they'd carve out of me. Whether I was wrong or right, I can't be sure, because of the restrictions on OOC communication.

I have also had negative experiences with characters I then found out to be GM alts, and I felt that they metagamed me. I still can't know for sure if I was right, but this did keep my spite growing rather than going down as I felt I couldn't complain about it without getting myself banned or set up by the GM's I believed was doing this to me. I was afraid that the staff member would be protected instead of investigated.

Again, to clarify; I am a LOT more positive to staff now than I was, in part because I feel they police themselves a lot more and more openly, but also because the rules about players voicing their opinions have become more loose over the years. In the past, I felt that you basically had to accept your lot or 'not play the game'. Which isn't an incredibly wonderful thing to hear and usually demotivates, look at Dice when they told their players 'don't buy the game if you don't like it'. I felt like I was being policed in how I roleplayed my character(s). Not saying this was the case, but it certainly felt it at the time. I haven't felt like this in a few years though, so I'd say that's a major improvement.

There is another issue that some people have mentioned in this thread. The issue with being able to separate yourself from your character? It is sometimes outright impossible when some characters (by well informed players or just good at guessing?) outright assumes everything about you from the moment you enter the city, in such a way that it forces your character to become one of your old characters because of the bleed all of the mentions contain. It becomes impossible to separate yourself from your character because all these comments and accusations puts you in the place of a previous character. This has happened to me several times, and sometimes it happens still. I keep hearing really out-of-place, nonsensical references by certain types of characters about these past individuals that really shouldn't even have been remarkable enough to mention, that absolutely makes it impossible to give people a different opinion of a new character when you feel you REALLY tried to bring a brand new concept to the table. Sometimes, I felt perhaps certain staff members perceived me as incapable of not repeating certain patterns, which only fueled my anxiety and inability to play a new thing. Whether rightfully or not, I've often felt I could never live up to what I was trying to create, because of what people told me IC or OOC. Many times, this has lead to me killing off my characters, because it simply wasn't fun anymore. And another attempt we go.

If you read all of this, I appreciate you a lot. I also want to clarify I don't use reddit and haven't really followed up on what's been going on, I have no idea what the discussions about Mirage are but a few mentions here and there? I'm not trying to be toxic or ruin the game for anyone, but I am trying to explain why I think having more open communication can help the game. Though I don't believe staff will make such a huge change anytime soon, I wanted to shed light on the matter with my own experience(s). Thanks again.

"The box is open now.

What box exactly has been opened? That players were ignorant they had the physical tools to cheat and collude with one another, and now they know? That sometimes other players cheat and spread harmful lies and transmit bad data through back channels?

I suppose these things could be news to some, but it has always been an option, and nothing has happened now that has not happened many times before. Some players are (perhaps in ignorance) vaguely alluding to irreparable wrong doing but nothing at all like that has happened. There have been staff disputes that were seized on to grind the same old axes of every bugbear ex- or current players might have about the game.

Yeah there are clearly a lot of intense emotions in this thread, but ultimately, all this changes is some shuffling of the staff. All of this seems to have really been blown out of proportion, and I know for a fact my experience will not change drastically from this (outside of maybe missing the staff that have left).
"All" the wrongs of unchecked OOC communication

Background

(This post is kind of ironic given recent comments about people holding grudges 15 years later. More on that later...)

c.1993-1998

Shadowrun Seattle MUSH is a great case study in most of the challenges that have been raised around OOC communication, staff cheating / abuse / favoritism and cliques.

It was essentially a PVP environment based on Shadowrun tabletop RPG rules. While there were PVE elements, those PVE elements were totally reliant on staff to run. Absent active PVE events, PVP was the only thing available to characters.

Unlike Sindome, combat was not automated. Combat required an admin to oversee / judge the interaction. Skill checks were not automated. Players and admins had to use coded commands to roll dice and then interpret the results based on their understanding of the rules.

There was a game wide OOC communication system (paging). One player could freely communicate with any other player, no matter where they were located in the game via pages. Group pages were also available where groups of people could freely communicate.

Staff Favoritism / Abuse

Character Progression

Character progression was based on "karma" (equivalent to Sindome UE).

Karma awards were based on a combination of nominations (given by players to each other, reset every week) and direct karma awards from admins.

There was never a daily cap on karma.

Karma was one of the cruxes of the clique issue. Cliques with an admin were essentially like a TTRPG group online. They were mostly insular. Nominated each other every week. Got frequent rewards in the form of karma and gear from the admin(s). Effectively had a great time.

This dynamic would have been fine in a purely PVE game. It became a major problem when ~50% of the game had admin support, and the other 50% didn't.

Information Leakage / Abuse

Admins could view the stats of any character in the game.

It was common place where "everyone" knew everyone else's stats because they had been given that information by admins. The information was passed along OOCly via the page system.

Sindome Improvements

Sindome has addressed these issues in a few ways.

There is a daily UE cap. Everyone is limited to the same UE gain.

Combat is coded. It is not subject to rules lawyering and different interpretations of the rules.

Admin commands are logged.

(I believe, but do not know this) The ability of staff to arbitrarily view characters' @stats is curtailed / locked behind more senior staff bits.

Meta Knowledge / Awareness

Being in public was a huge risk to take. As soon as a character appeared in a public place with other characters, OOC pages would go out. Within a minute or two, your enemies would show up in force. There was zero IC indication that any communication was taking place. Nobody would bother to use the ICly coded cell phones.

Sindome Improvements

The limitation on OOC communication. How much more is there to say?

The fact that this mostly works as intended is evident by the amount of time characters spend trying to track down other characters.

OOC Grudges / Cross Character Feuds / Cliques

This was a big issue. If a player lost a character, their next character would hop right back into the game and instantly associate with their former associates. The circle remains unbroken.

The new character would conveniently show up with a hatred of the character that killed them. This was re-enforced and further enabled by the clique. "It isn't that the new character hates that person. It's that the faction hates that person, and the new character just happens to join the same faction that their old character was in."

Conversely, a player who had a character in the opposing faction might want to create a new character. That new character would be OOCly excluded from joining the opposing faction. People would go to great lengths to conceal their identities to get a character into an opposing faction. They would then use that character to "spy" on the faction and feed information back to their friends in their "real" faction.

Sindome Improvements

Limits on OOC communication. Specifically limits on knowledge of the player behind the character.

This is not perfect and we've all seen it break down. The SIC comments about "New character A reminds me old character B." The way that new character A makes an IC beeline directly to their old group (hangs out in "the bar / club" , talks about "the subjects" ICly, etc.)

Limits on staff-alts / same characters in a faction.

I have seen this first hand. I had to OOCly get right with it and acknowledge that it was a game balance mechanic.

From the perspective of my character A, there was no reason why my character, plus character B and C couldn't all work together. Character B and C on the other hand came up with a reason. It barely made any IC sense for B and C not to work together. But OOCly I understood.

Personal Experience with OOC Grudges

My longest lived character started as a ganger and eventually became a faction enforcer. The character was probably alive for 3-4 years.

My idea of playing the game was waiting on public streets to attack and kill other characters. (I was in my angsty, anti-social teen years. Give me a break. =) )

My characters' time came to a violent end during a faction plot. The faction plot was run by the faction admin dedicated to the faction.

The plot itself didn't make any IC sense. The NPC opponents that were the antagonists didn't really have a valid IC reason to be opposed to our faction. The way they got access to / bypassed all of the security measures of the faction compound didn't make any sense / weren't ICly valid. The way that the final scene came down with the main NPC bad guy ignoring the rest of the faction PCs and focusing on my PC really stretched the limits of imagined reality.

The end result was that my PC died. It was upsetting on a lot of levels. Mostly it was upsetting because it felt so personal and so intentionally directed at me as a player.

Plot Twist

The faction admin who ran the plot was a player whose character my character had killed two years earlier.

That person went through the trouble of creating a PC. Roleplaying that PC to a high level in the faction. Getting an admin position to help the faction. Running plots for the faction for a few months. Then finally revealing their true plan to kill my character.

They spent two years of their life working with OOC intent to get into an OOCly advantageous position (as a member of the staff) to kill off a character.

Keep in mind that was the "only" way that they were able to conceive of "winning" , despite all of the OOC mechanisms available to them.

Now granted, my situation is a pretty extreme example. Most people will not ruminate on something that long. They will not dedicate that much of their life to getting revenge.

Yet as others have said, we cannot ignore human nature. We cannot be naive. We cannot pretend that people will not cheat and do other things for the most petty of reasons.

What we can do is try to enable a culture of transparency and accountability to address the behavior of those individuals when it is discovered. We can do our best to design coded systems to mitigate the known ways in which people cheat. And finally we can continue the dialogue and continue to evolve.

@0x1mm and @Bogrin

I respect your views, but really think you should consider that not everyone is bitter or misinformed. That there are and have been issues because of the OOC restrictions. Are there more cons than pros? Or vice versa? That's less easy to say. I know my post is long but I write a lot about my own RP experiences in it, from different communities. And an issue I've had with Sindome because of the lack of communication.

I suppose I'm not following your logic Veleth. That if you felt there was a lack of communication from staff about expectations, or if there were communication problems you felt you had with staff, or that if you had difficult experiences with your characters in that you were unhappy about, then how exactly allowing for off-game unmoderated comms with other players would have addressed any of that?

It reads to be more having communications issues with staff and other players, something that isn't fixed by a personal Discord server.

And just to underscore this point, cheating isn't binary: If players once ended up in Discord channels together, then the cat is not suddenly and entirely out of the proverbial bag. It becomes obvious over time that, while the rules don't make cheating impossible, they do make effective cheating extremely difficult. The restrictions and threat of banning limits:

+ The number of players who are likely to collude together in total, because over time three people can only keep a secret if two of them are dead.

+ Access to new players to include in the collusion, since they must be solicited in-game unless already in social media contact.

+ Access to quality data, since players who decide to cheat to gain inside data are less likely to have it to begin with.

+ And access to expert and knowledgeable players in major character roles, as these players are less likely to need to collude at all.

There is a reason that, within a game where mechanical system's information is perhaps the most guarded and precious, the past 'leaks' have amounted to little more than public gossip and subjective opinion to systems that anyone could get IC anyway.

@Veleth

"It is sometimes outright impossible when some characters (by well informed players or just good at guessing?) outright assumes everything about you from the moment you enter the city, in such a way that it forces your character to become one of your old characters because of the bleed all of the mentions contain."

I know I did this once, accidentally. I didn't know it was you when I had my character remark about a certain behavior. Once I realized it was you, I felt bad. I police myself on stuff like this. I actually thought you were some other character at the time. What a mistake. I'm sorry!

I'll have some ideas for OOC rule changes at the end of this. Skip to the end if you're feeling TLDR vibes

A few thoughts to start (Opinions really)

Greed is the fatal human flaw

People naturally distrust what is hidden from them

The majority are naturally untrusting anyway

Play to lose is an unachievable concept for most

Play to lose is a fundamentally flawed concept

For there to be a loser, there has to be a winner

We are hardwired to win

Why do these ideas matter?

In general, a desire to win invariably leads some to seek any possible leg up, despite the spirit of SD's themes/rules. And when they find it works, they'll want more of it. So when we discuss cheating, this should be expected as a matter of rote. I think we should also approach this topic with the expectation that the issue is unfixable.

That said, I find it hard to choose a side between trusting everyone to play by the rules with OOC access, and agreeing with the GMs' big brother/censorship approach. Ironically similar to IC if you consider Mix v NLM.

I really only say I'm on the fence because I trust myself not to use crossover in an unthemely manner. I -want- to trust everyone, but I'm among that naturally untrusting majority.

I know the rules are meant to improve game experience. While I don't ever think about OOC cliques or groups metagaming against me in terms of my own IC experience, it seems clear to me that there's more than enough data to corroborate at least some of the concerns in this thread.

That being said, I imagine anyone sharing IC data OOCly with intent to gain IC advantage is already treating that data as IC. The difference is that it can't be overheard by other characters/staff. But really, that same data could be shared ICly to largely similar effect. Characters take advantage of places they can't be eavesdropped on (they think - or know depending on lvl of SD experience). Refraining from writing notes on your interactions could achieve the same affect to some extent, seeing as GMs are so swamped with staff tasks/outnumbered by players to track conversations across the mud. So I don't see too too much difference in the first place even when players are doing it.

The exception is staff, and the only solution I really have for that is to ban staff from having PCs. I played tabletop with an ST that creates his own PCs, and makes them all knowing, all powerful beings. It isn't fun, and I quit that table after some time trying to deal with it. I understand the dissatisfaction that comes from storytellers playing for their own gratification.

Considering from the position these problem are unfixable, my suggestion to some players (which by all means you can ignore) is this:

1. Stop playing the game to lose. Start playing it to win, and expect that you're going to lose a lot. The how or why of it is irrelevant. That's how I do it, and it's made losses of any kind much easier to manage. I don't even care if I'm being metad against 99% of the time. People say you can't win Sindome, but you can. For a little while anyway. I hardly consider myself a deeply knowledgeable player, and I've never felt like I'm winning the game, but I do have attainable goals I qualify as winning. Examples are out there, and I can't imagine every one of those examples is metagaming. The only real bleed I get anymore is from chain vatting with minimal/no rp, and from not having enough time to handle all the rp I'm trying to engage in, due to real life demands/interests/friends

2. Recognize that staff are not just staff. They're GMs, and in case we've forgotten what that means? It's game master. It's their world to create, their world to manage, their world to cultivate and grow as they like. That's the contract you agreed to when you brought that character through the gates.

I know it's harsh, but I'm approaching this as logically/unemotionally as possible. Staff is and always have been very transparent with the notion that, "if you don't like it, don't play". The police don't catch every criminal that exists, but some try. It's unrealistic to expect our GMs to catch this every time, and you aren't omnipotent anyway. They have so much more data than us, and that's just the way it is. The story teller ALWAYS knows everything, and you don't. What I -do- trust is that we have enough staff invested in the spirit of SD to adequately handle metagaming issues when there's sufficient data/when they have time.

When it leads to abuse, all we can do is wait for them to handle it, but it's been mentioned enough times in this thread alone - they have lives and tasks of their own. It seems they do remove toxic peers when they have ample reason to.

3. Join the staff yourself if you want to see change or help ease their workload. Someone mentioned OOC monitors as an idea, which I wouldn't be opposed to on a trial basis, but I mean support GMs as well.

P.S. Revealing your account name/character association is a grey area at best. The character portrait threads literally match account names to a physical image of their corresponding character. Another contradiction in the metagaming rules, which are discussed in depth below.

________

Staff:

I'm not really for or against removing OOC rules as they stand. But as Slither noted the law of IC/OOC separation won't change, I suggest some revisions.

Rules 2.D, 4.G and 4.H are contradictory with regard to 1.F. Someone else mentioned this above.

2.D. Why allow contact data to be shared at all if the goal is to prevent OOC/IC cross of any kind? Create an outright ban of contact info if we're staying this route because...

4.G. As soon as players share info, they fall under this rule - IRL connections with other players. If staff/players can come up with a way to track this, staff can step in before it ever leads to crossover. Players that fail to xhelp it can face punishment immediately. And that means...

Maybe a database that pings staff when keywords are used: Email addys that aren't related to IC entities, Discord, Reddit, etc.

4.H. Staff can ensure RP between these IRL connects don't RP too closely, breaking up OOC cliques, etc.

7.D. Conflict neutrality. Expand this rule to cover abuse of the IC/OOC barrier, noting that staff found guilty of it will be permanently banned from the game on the first infraction. This seems like a solid middle ground to maintain that IC data we don't want bleeding into everyone monitor, while also working to mend the trust issues so many seem to have with staff.

With great power comes great responsibility. If you volunteer to grip this power and ignore the responsibility it comes with? No second chances.

I forgot to check back on this after it all blew over, but @0x1mm, I never said a personal discord. I meant more open communication between staff and the players. This could either be through a public discord that is somewhat monitored, or some kind of active OOC chat on the forums without the need of posting things in a very archaic manner, not even able to edit your posts or other such modern conveniences. That, or just staff updating people more often on major issues with people having been banned or staff abuse or anything that has shaken the community. Basically, turn the community into a community rather than separate cells that devour and spit one another out.
The very first thread in Anything Really is called "Bans and Suspensions". Slither updates it when someone is kicked.
Very late to the party here, but I was wondering if anything has been considered in regards to operating a discord in the same manner as ArmageddonMUD? They have the same rules in place of discussing any IC information being against the rules, and have staff curating the Discord to ensure no IC info is spread. The only exception to this is if the character or characters being discussed have been dead for over 1 IRL year.

This would of course place extra burdens on the staff team thougg: I'm just wondering whether it has been considered or not.

Appreciate the question. We've definitely had this question before. We don't allow sharing of OOC contact info. Having a discord opens the door for anyone on there to PM anyone else on there and start communicating OOCly without any visibility to the staff. This runs counter to our asking people to keep their OOC convos in the game (OOC Chat, BGBB, Free chat) and not sharing their OOC contact info. I think this just makes the rules that much harder to enforce and sends the mixed message. Couple that with staff already beening super busy and the amount of moderation this would take. We don't plan to ever have a discord.

I get that people enjoy that and some games do it, but it isn't for us.

Also worth mentioning that Armageddon tends to have a roster of no less than a dozen very active staff at any given time. And a handful of non-staff trusted assistants to manage things. Point being they have pretty posh staff to player ratio.