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Proposed Rules Update: Feedback Request
We're proposing some major updates to our rules

Hey Everyone,

Over the past few months the staff have been working on updates to our rules in general, and also more specifically around OOC Communication. Some of these rules have already been rolled out or updated:

- Punishments

- Discussing Old Roleplay (War-Stories)

- Reporting Rules Violations

- Failure to comply with punishment

- Community Harm

- Multiple Accounts Playing from the same IP

- Using a Proxy or VPN

We have some additional rules updates we've been work-shopping. A lot of time has gone into discussing these rules changes, both on the staff side, and by soliciting feedback from a number of different players. For something this large however, we wanted to open up discussion to the community and get feedback before we finalize the proposed rules and bring them a vote on the Staff side.

Below, I will share a Google Doc which you can read through which contains the proposed rules changes, some supplementary help file information on what is/is not allowed (so we can keep the @rules themselves lean) as well as an FAQ with questions we think will be asked or that came up when we were getting feedback from individual players.

Before I share it, a warning: The proposed rules have NOT been adopted. They still might NOT be adopted. The current rules are still in place.

Until such time as the staff votes and some or all of these rules are adopted, the current rules remain in place and you are expected to follow them.

There will be feelings

People are going to have feelings about these proposed changes. Some will think they are great, some will think it is a bad idea. Please be respectful of other people when discussing. Please read all the way through, as the FAQ explains why we are considering these changes, why we think it is important, and what we hope will improve as a result.

I firmly believe that the changes we are proposing here will be a positive for the community. It shows the staff trust our players to make good decisions. It modernizes our rules to be more in-line with what people expect from a game these days. These rules changes acknowledge that there is a large interest from our playerbase to have more tools to form lasting OOC friendships as a result of Sindome, while still maintaining the IC/OOC divide that is at the core of Sindome as a game.

Some people may wish that we had gone further with our changes. We did discuss and propose some rule changes that went further, but the staff felt that the changes proposed in the doc are already large enough. That isn't to say we won't revisit these rules in the future when we have more information.

A lot of thought has gone into what you are about to read

We have put a LOT of thought and discussion and time into the proposed changes. We've considered a lot of different variations, some that went further, some that didn't go as far. We've considered the trade-offs, the potential risks, the potential benefits, how this effects current and former players, etc. There are definitely risks involved here, and if we adopt these proposed changes and it becomes clear that this isn't working, we'll take a step back and decide how we want to move forward.

Our Ask of You

- Keep an open mind, both in reading the proposed changes, and in writing and reading feedback

- We want your feedback. Please read through the proposed changes and respond with your feedback in this thread

- Keep it cool and be respectful in your responses

- You can discuss the proposed changes, and respond to other peoples thoughts on them

- It's OK not to like a change. We are open to hearing about alternatives

- It's OK to think a change doesn't go far enough

- Please try to be constructive in your feedback. If you like/don't like something, why? What are some alternatives?

- Do you have questions that we don't answer in the rules or FAQ?

- Are there gaps in the rules that we haven't considered?

Living Document

This is a living document. And it will be updated based on feedback gathered here. So if you get in early, and then read it again later, it may not be exactly the same. We want to be as clear as possible, cover as much as possible, but also keep the rules lean enough that someone can actually read through and understand them. That's a bit of a balancing act in and of itself.

Proposed Rules Changes

I overwhelmingly support the proposed changes.

I know that this has been an extremely controversial subject that comes up semi-regularly, but I still believe that official communications platform and moderation are the easiest ways in which to acknowledge the desire for players to chat OOCly while also having the tools to administer and limit the damage caused by accidental or intentional IC/OOC information leaks. I realize that not everyone will be in favor, and as suggested, opt-in is the way to go with these things. Some RP games are fully integrated and require Discord linking as part of their account creation process. This is far less invasive, and those who wish to remain off all OOC platforms be it the BGBB, XOOC or Discord will still retain their ability to do such things.

I have a couple of suggestions.

Make a discord channel named #rules that is locked to admin-only posting but read access for everyone, and copy + paste every single in-game rules clarification into that channel. The discord server will keep a log of the most recent items, and it will backup older ones that anyone can scroll up or search through.

Community servers of any size over say, ten or so people tend to have @ pings moderated or locked to admin & mod use only. I also suggest turning off the TTS feature on public channels, as it can be used maliciously. Here's how: To disable @here and @everyone features on the Discord server and channel, go to their “Settings”, and open the “Permissions” tab. Select the “@everyone” option, and turn off the “Mention @everyone, @here, and All Roles” toggle.

I would suggest that the following be considered: OOC (Discord, but BGBB as well) community events be allowed to be posted into their own channel subject to admin review and approval. What do I mean by community event? A pre-planned time and date, usually with a theme of some sort--but not required--for which players can plan out and discuss logistics of a proposed event. Right now this happens through GMs and XHELP when it's needed, but this could go a long way to addressing some of the recent complaints of 'sleepiness' and 'lack of activity.'

Examples of RPE (RP Events or Community Events):

Name, brief non-IC info containing description, date, time.

BURN DOWN THE MIX! Civil unrest has started to peak and people have had enough. It's time to go wild and let off steam the way the mix does: UltraViolence! Saturday 05/21, 5-9PM DST

Metro Central Fine Art Gala. A collection of the latest, most talked about and most controversial art will be displayed at the PLACE. This is open to the public dome-wide, but formal wear is required to attend, and no weapons will be allowed to enter the building. Tuesday 06/14, 6-8PM DST

Party Away the Night! The latest mix beats on the loudest sound system in central, at CLUB PLACE. Fashion contest, dance battles and live DJing. FRI 07/11 9PM-4AM DST.

I don't think I would participate myself, but clearly there is some appetite for some players.

I have heard about game worlds dying because the Discord chatter became the main method of community engagement, but as long as opt-in is really opt-in, and players who don't want to opt-in are not at some permanent disadvantage in participating in the game's development and the community, then I suppose there's no holding back the ocean.

I still strongly believe the BGBB should be the central place where game and community and rules matters get discussed in a official and impactful way, because everyone can participate there regardless if they're one hour or one week late to the topic at hand, and there is much less pressure to remain constantly engaged with whatever is going on OOC in real time.

I've always felt it was strange that there are rules to keep your current character a secret. Given the sleuthing skills of others are far greater than mine, I'm sure plenty of people have pieced together the snippits of info that connect who plays what character from XOOC.

And... who cares?

If I played Joe Baka in game, knowing that I, Bubble Kangaroo, played Joe Baka shouldn't really matter. It just means you know who the actor is.

Knowing who someone currently plays can lead to different decisions being made ICly (either positive or negative). And that's what we want to avoid wherever possible. It is a bigger deal when you are privately chatting / friends with someone than it is with interactions taking place in public. Hence the conflict of interest rules if you're going to privately chat with someone and one or both of you know who the other plays. We're looking for a middle ground that gives people the opportunity to build OOC friendships without compromising on the IC/OOC divide.
How will Fomo be addressed to those players who don't want to participate in OOC discord and ooc in general. Like those players who specifically avoid xooc do now because I know there are discussions in xooc that should be seen by those who don't simply by seeing BBGB posts on occasion reference 'this was in xooc and thought it would be better in a bbgb post' and the prevalence of guided discussions which are great, but when they are coming to a close expression of going to xooc to continue.

A suggestion to engage in xooc and these new proposed ooc areas is certainly a suggestion, but there are those that chose sindome specifically because of the ooc structure.

Has this been considered, and if it has how will it function?

In general, I don't think there should be long form discussions on OOC Chat about features/functionality. There are always going to be some amount of OOC discussion of things on those channels, but we will continue to redirect those discussions to the BGBB or to Guided-Discussions. I think the Guided-Discussions have been going really well at the 1 month or so cadence. I want that to continue.

* OOC Chat / Discord / Etc remain opt-in.

* The purpose of OOC Chat / Discord is community building, not game building

* The staff aren't planning to shift discussions to Discord, Discord is just another way for the community to stay in contact

* If there are discussions that take place on Discord, they will hopefully be on channels that are also linked to the MOO like a 'Discord-Chat' channel where people on the MOO can take part, and people on Discord can take part, together. This is TBD, based on how possible it is.

I'm not sure we can totally address FOMO in terms of people who don't want to engage in OOC Chat or Discord. There won't be anything special about Discord in terms of features or added value in terms of people who just want to play the game.

Does that answer your question? If not, let me know what specifically you're looking for and give me an example so I can better understand your question(s).

I think that's a very fair and reassuring response. I am happy to hear that the intent is for community building opposed to game building.

I think that answers my questions for now, need to let it sit in my head for a bit see if anything else comes to mind.

I've finally had a chance to read over the rules and will give my feedback.

I think it's optimistic to hope people won't go into private channels and reveal who they play. I don't mock the optimism or look down on it, but I do think it's inevitable we'll have people who reveal who they play and don't come forward. I think if we're going to have an OOC discord and opening up these means, then it's probably better to dive in head first or just not go the way of the discord. But maybe this will work.

I was going to ask about staff communicating with players privately if it wasn't in the rules, but I see it's included.

So my only questions are:

1. There's a lot of expectations about players reporting violations. What's going to happen to people who make false accusations, either by being bad faith actors (which I assume falls under community harm) or by jumping to conclusions, being in a moment of anger, misinterpreting something in the ooc discord?

2. What is going to happen if there are times when people either initially report to staff but don't want to wait/feel it's being ignored? Or just don't report to staff and come out and make those accusations publicly? On the discord, on xooc, on the boards. Does this also fall under community harm? I feel like in cases where this has happened in the past, even recently, in moments of jumping to conclusions or anger that it's caused a lot of hurt to people in the community. By introducing a discord to the game and a lot more factors, intricacies in how people are communicating, even just the options for people to communicate in different ways, that people might be more prone to these situations where they jump to conclusions or are impatient.

There's a brief conversation about FOMO for game mechanic/gameplay discussion that happens for people who aren't in OOC (and now who won't be in the OOC discord), but my FOMO question is a little different.

Sometimes when big stuff is happening in-game, there's some vague allusions and wink-winks said on the xooc sometimes. Nothing to directly reveal what's going on, but just a player showing enjoyment - even when they shouldn't. People who aren't logged in might see this type of stuff happening on the ooc discord/xooc and then feel compelled to log into the game because of FOMO, which might bring them into something that's happening IC. Which could directly impact/change/influence what's happening based on that FOMO.

Will that fall strictly under meta-gaming?

I think these rules are all going in the right direction. They're not as lenient as I'd hope, but they certainly can help stave off the OOC loneliness associated with playing Sindome.

My only suggestion with the current iteration of rules would be a way for players to inform staff that they're no longer in private contact with someone they've revealed their character to, so that they can RP with someone they've previously been barred from RPing with.

For example, suppose I've reconnected with a former player during my time away from the game. If we rejoined, we'd want to play together at times, either as allies or enemies, so there should be a way to say, "Hey, we want to play with each other again, so we've ceased private contact with each other for the duration of our play in Sindome." And once again be allowed to involve the other character in plots.

As another more subtly malicious example, suppose a player who plays an enemy of my character reveals their character to me via private chat, thus prompting the rules to go into effect that we can't do significant RP together, and they can live their Sindome life knowing they're safe from my character. I should be able to say, "Hi, I blocked this person, let us RP together again."

I considered the 'we are no longer talking' piece of what you mentioned. We settled on 'you can RP again when you perm' because it's a combination of 'we know each other OOCly and have a friendship' and 'we know who each other play' that make the situation a conflict of interest. For instance, if you don't know who the person plays, then you aren't going to change your behavior toward their character intentionally or not.

I don't think we want to move any further in the direction you described at this time. It's possible in the future, when we have some data and have seen how this has gone and gathered some feedback from how it is going, we'll look at it again.

As for if someone is weaponizing the rules in the way you described, we would handle that on a case by case basis. In my opinion a player doing that would need to be suspended at a minimum for using OOC to avoid IC consequences.

There are also situations where someone is outted against their will or by accident (xooc instead of xhelp for instance). We'll handle those situations in a one-off fashion as needed, and create a policy if needed.

What we have now isn't perfect, and doesn't account for all the edge cases because we also need to keep the rules as brief as possible so people will actually read and internalize them heh.

This is so exciting!! I'm really looking forward to it. I anticipate it being pretty much like xooc but it doesn't interrupt your scroll and fill up your screen like the xooc channel does now.

alittlelonger said: "Suppose a player who plays an enemy of my character reveals their character to me via private chat, thus prompting the rules to go into effect that we can't do significant RP together, and they can live their Sindome life knowing they're safe from my character."

I am also worried about this. I worry in the heat of the moment, someone might act in bad faith by OOCly sliding into the DMs of someone who they suspect plays their IC enemy and revealing their own IC name as a way to get that character off their back. I really don't want this to happen...

Maybe there could be a 'role' we could choose on Discord that says 'Open to DMs' or 'Not open to DMs', for people who want to participate in the Discord but not risk any private conversations where character names could get revealed.

Maybe there could be a 'role' we could choose on Discord that ...

That is definitely a good suggestion and something that we could do, aye.

You can disable DMs on a per server basis in Discord. No feature necessary.
Should also be mentioned that in discord's privacy settings, you can set yourself as 'open to all DM's' 'Open to DM's from shared servers' and then 'open to DM's from friends only.'

Setting it to the last setting means that you can't accidentally get exposed to someone maliciously DMing you, regardless of server settings.

As someone who has played on and off over the years, it really seems like so much time and energy has been poured into the moo's strict IC/OOC rules for seemingly little benefit other than having vast swaths of the player base banned every 6 months.

With these new rules, it seems that while you can get to know the person sitting across from you at the D&D table, you can no longer play D&D with them, which seems contradictory. Like, you're not going to be able to be involved in plots with the player whose rp you find compelling enough to hit up on discord?

These rules seem like a step in a healthier direction, however.

Sindome isn't a tabletop roleplaying game though. It's highly competitive between players and frequently adversarial, whereas D&D everyone is pretty much de facto on the same side. Nor do TTRPGs have privileged access to information, or even restricted information of any kind: The rules are there for everyone to read, players understand their own characters and abilities at a much deeper level, and really only the DMs content is partially obfuscated from everyone else.

I don't outright oppose more OOC engagement (although I did argue XOOC should be removed entirely at one point), but I don't think the analogy to other types of games are often all that applicable, because limited communication and limited access to information are such core aspects of the game which is really unlike almost all other RPGs.

I'm on the fence about this, though not unwiling to test it out. I don't know yet if I'll opt in, though. I agree with Crashdown's concerns here, and I don't think players will be as forthcoming with violations as the staff (and I) would like to believe.

Also, I don't see the point really. If I'm chatting in discord, I'm not RPing. And if I'm RPing, I don't have time to chat in discord.

I am all for Sindome having a Discord for STRICTLY OOC and non-game related discussions.

If people want to talk about sports or politics or tech or whatever with other players that is all fine and dandy.

Please do not encourage or enable discussions about the game itself on Discord. FOMO has already been mentioned.

Since Slither asked for opinions: I don't partake in xooc because I like my immersion in game but I'd probably partake in a discord chats more just because it's not displayed in game as I'm trying to rp.
I've mostly turned around on the idea of Discord and @voted yes on it today because of what Kalii mentions. One of my long time complaints with XOOC was it being in-line with IC content. I think something a small as discussion happening in a separate window would address many of my complaints over the effect of OOC channels.

I said at one point there was no Pandora's Box that was opened, but I think in retrospect that was pretty wrong. One way or another, this is probably the best way forward now.