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Suspensions & Bans
Updated by Staff When Suspensions and Bans Happen

SUSPENSIONS & BANS

This thread will be where we make public any suspensions or bans. We will provide some information, which will not include the names of players or admin, unless otherwise determined by the staff. The information provided will explain the rules violated, and the ban or suspension length.

Today we received information that a group of players were discussing the game, revealing who they play, discussing some mechanics, and In Character events, on another game’s Discord.

Simply being in another game's discord is not against the rules. However:

Discussing the IC world OOCly is against the rules (1.F).

Not notifying the admin that you are in OOC communication with other players is against the rules (4.G)

Not abiding by the requirement to stay away from RPing with players you have OOC contact with, is against the rules (4.H)

We investigated this extensively, and in doing so, uncovered a much larger group of people that have been flaunting the rules of the game, and communicating OOCly. A number of these people were sharing their Discord IDs via in-game methods (violation of 2.D) that they were claiming the admin couldn't monitor (violation of 1.E). Many of these people were sending this information out, with messages such as these (some info redacted for obvious reasons):

This is completely random and also fully OOC but I'm doing someone a favor. I know BANNED PLAYER OOC and they said you were the last person they wanted to contact from the game and since they've been banned I said I would try reaching out. GMs can't log this, it is untraceable so just play normally.

My discord info is REDACTED so if you feel like getting in contact with them just send me a request and I'll get you two in touch.

And:

This is completely OOC so sorry if it fucks with you but, I'm out and just leaving CHARACTER NAME behind. You're one of the only people I'm genuinely going to miss so I wanted to stay in touch if you're up for it. My discord is REDACTED so send me a request if you want. GMs can't track this. So delete this and you'll be fine if you want to keep playing. Whole system is a giant mess, if you don't know anyone OOC then man do I have some shit to say. If you don't feel like reaching out then I totally get it, but good luck and just know the GMs are stacked against you. Don't feel weird breaking the rule, the GMs are all in OOC chats and there is almost no one that plays that isn't in contact with someone else OOC. Hell, I've known CHARACTER's player for months now and they would love to speak to you too. Same with ANOTHER CHARACTERS's player. We are just trying to get the last few people we cared about and enjoyed interacting with IC.

And:

Follow the wondering rabbit, leads to allies of old, no longer with us, but will be again. Look for the REDACTED, in which the REDACTED of REDACTED, REDACTED. Or, perhaps a more direct route can be sought, within the songs of discord! Here is the key: DISCORDID

And:

Hey, someone has quit, but would love to stay in touch with you, passing this along. DISCORDID

Some (but not all) of the people involved in these discord chats have either already been suspended or banned prior to today. They are not included in the list below.

None of the people who received the IC messages with discord information reported the fact that they received them, meaning we didn't catch on to it until later than we would have if the players who received them had actually reported it. This is obviously extremely concerning in its own right. Players need to report this, when it occurs.

We questioned a number of people, some of whom came clean, and others who straight up lied to our faces (violation of 4.F). We have yet to actually get in contact with some people, who after being voided, just logged off, having potentially been warned about what was happening by others who we had either voided or talked with already.

In a particularly gnarly case, which I believe shows why we have rules against OOC communication, we spoke with a person (Player A), who told us they were very sorry and had made a mistake but that they had come completely clean and wanted to be forgiven because they love the game and realized they made a mistake and had already left the Discord server. We were leaning toward a lesser punishment, as it was the first offense, and the player seemed genuinely upset by the whole thing. Then another player, who was not voided, who had not been spoken with, but who (we later discovered) had previously shared discord information for themselves and on behalf of a banned player, logged into the game, and sent this IC msg to a third player:

Hey, this is PLAYER B. Sorry if this throws you off but this is going to be OOC. Don't worry, this isn't tracked by admins. So after you finish reading this you can destory it and act like it was totally IC regarding work or something. Anyway, I'm doing this as a favor to PLAYER A who is currently voided right now because the GMs for this game suck ass, which is why I quit. Player A wanted to be able to reach out OOC because Player A really really enjoyed RPing with you and wants to explain some things that are going on that you can't understand without a lot of OOC explanation. Player A is also likely going to be banned as the GMs have a personal grudge against them. If you want to reach out then Player A's discord info is REDACTED and mine is REDACTED if you can't reach Player A for some reason. There's plenty of other people that talk OOC, I actually snatched Player A's about a month or so ago whenever I quit and Player A's lovely. I hope you reach out, but if not I completely understand it and Player A will too, in which case I wish you the best of luck.

So, obviously, we were lied to, and our heartstrings were plucked, by someone who was breaking our rules, even as they were apologizing for doing so and saying it would never happen again and they had learned their lesson.

All this is extremely upsetting. No one likes being lied to. No one enjoys running a game with explicit rules, called out literally everywhere, and then having people flaunt those rules because they either don't agree with them, or simply don't give a shit.

The following is a breakdown of the bans and the rules violated. In some cases, I have presented some contextual information about the player (such as past warnings and suspensions). In almost all cases, we have taken the fact that most of the players involved were part of not only an OOC group but were also in many cases very close ICly. They RPed together on a regular basis and did not appear to engage in many conflicts with each other. It seems very likely that OOC interactions were influencing their IC actions towards each other.

Player 1 - Perma Ban

Shared discord info through IC means. Was part of the Discord group talking about the game. Not part of the larger group that RPed together heavily. Has been banned previously for metagaming, among other things but allowed back on a last chance. Violated 1.F, 2.D, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H.

Player 2 - Perma Ban

Lied when confronted with rules violations. Violated rules 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 3 - Perma Ban

Caused serious community harm by reaching out to people via IC means, attempting to get them to contact them, and as well as others on Discord, claiming the admin would not be able to find out. Admitted as much when confronted, and showed no remorse. Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 4 - Indefinite Suspension

Shared discord info through IC means to secretly get in touch with other players. Violated 1.F, 2.D, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H. Not part of the larger group, discovered the violations during the investigation of others.

Player 5 - Perma Ban

Violated rules 1.F, 2.D, 4.G, 4.F, 4.H

Player 6 - Perma Ban

Shared discord info through IC means to secretly get in touch with other players. Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 7 - Perma Ban

Warned multiple times by admin prior to this about small worlding. Shared discord info through IC means to secretly get in touch with other players. Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 8 - Perma Ban

Lied to the admin multiple times when confronted with rules violations. Recruited another player to share Discord contact information via IC means when they realized they might be suspended. Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 9 - Perma Ban

Lied to the admin when confronted with rules violations. Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 10 - Perma Ban

Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 11 - Perma Ban

Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 12 - Perma Ban

Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

Player 13 - Perma Ban

Violated rules 1.E, 1.F, 4.F, 4.G, 4.H

People are entitled to their own opinions, and you don't have to agree with our rules, but everyone agreed to abide by them when they started playing. This kind of OOC back channeling, and metagaming is harmful to our community.

Look no further than recent events, where a group of people decided to out every staff alt on OOC chat, or made a bunch of false claims about the staff or specific Staffers that they personally don't like. Why do they believe these things? In many cases, it's because someone they communicate with OOCly told 'em half of a story meant to make them look like they were in the right, and make the Sindome staff look like they were in the wrong.

I've spoken to a number of people on xhelp over the years that were upset with the Staff because of something a friend that they talked to OOCly told them happened to them. These same people will say that they haven't experienced it, but because they trusted the person who told them, their frustration with staff was bleeding over into their IC interactions with the game, and with their interactions with the staff whenever something challenging would happen ICly.

What has been the most surprising in talking to these people, is that they had often been given a story from a fellow player that was completely one-sided. And while I can't tell them the admin side of what happened, oftentimes my reassurance that there was a lot more going on than they were told, and that the situation was not nearly as cut and dry as their friend had made it sound helped people move past their worry/suspicion/frustration.

So let me say it here, again: We don't staff the game because we want to win it. We staff it because we want you to enjoy it.

The whole staff does our best to provide engaging content, stories, and atmosphere, which often results in strong feelings about the game. It's important to remember that the OOC divide was established to create a clear line between you and your character to limit (we can all agree it is impossible to completely avoid) these kinds of situations.

I'm saddened that so many players got pulled into all this. It should be obvious by now that there are people who don't like Sindome, who enjoy ripping the game, me, Johnny, and other staff, because they disagree with choices we have made, people we have suspended or banned, how we run the game, or with the fact that they themselves were removed from the community.

We implore you to keep a cautious mind and not get drawn into the negativity and rumor mill. Enjoy playing the game how it is designed to be played and report people that are attempting to cheat or undermine the game's integrity. We have a wonderful community that we want to see flourish, grow, and get the best experience possible and so the sooner we remove people who refuse to abide by our rules, the better the experience will be for everyone.

We have opted to perm ban a player for violating rule 1.F and 2.D and 4.F. This was someone whom we spoke with after they declined to report receiving Discord contact info through IC means, and whom said they had not contacted anyone OOC, and then they went on to share their own Discord contact info at least once in the game, after we had spoken with them.
We detected a previously perm banned person who was connecting on a new character, and have removed them from the game.
The staff have voted to suspend a player for sharing discord information with another player.

I'm not sure how to stress further that it is against our rules, being caught doing it will result in a suspension or perm ban. We have these rules because we believe they are best for the game and fairness. Not everyone wants to have OOC contact with others, and OOC contact and friendship leads to changing how you react to the IC world, as we have seen dozens of times of the years.

If you aren't going to follow the rules, you should find another game that is more suitable to what you are looking for. There are plenty out there that don't have this rule. Make them your home instead of agreeing to our rules and then breaking them.

The staff have voted to suspend a player for 3 months for taking part in an OOC Discord discussion about the game where IC info was shared.
A perma-banned player circumvented their ban and had been playing the game for a bit over a month. They were detected and newted.
I realized I didn't update this thread about any bans as a result of the security incident from September.

No new bans were needed, as the two IP addresses (and the two accounts used to connect to the development instance) were correlated to accounts of people who were already removed from the community at the time of the security incident.