Regardless of what the facts are, to a big portion of the community, it certainly looks like a lot of people with the rank aren't even active, and for those who are it sometimes feel like they confront players about the wrong, harmless thing when they could prioritise their attention on problems that actually matter. This begs the need for transparency. Of course keeping updates & other essential talks in exclusive chats which only the Staff have access to will cause disprecancies and misinterpretation, that should be expected. You cannot expect the average player to perform background checks on what the Staff is up to, what matters is the players' experience and what they're a witness to. If a growing number of people are becoming more hesitant to contact GMs for whatever reason, then somewhere, there is a problem.
It's not just the GM team, for me it is mostly the rules. I personally don't want anyone having to babysit start zone, that is not the point. This is a volunteered responsibility, we all know that, we don't expect the Staff to treat this like a 9-5 job, but you do have a VITAL responsibility in ensuring guidelines are being concise and enforced with consistency because the server harbours plenty of vulnerable people on it, such is the part and parcel of a large community. Choosing to moderate it means ensuring the community you run is safe for all kinds of people of all sorts of backgrounds. We could make it easier for both the community and GMs by removing stressors from both parties and be more clear about certain decisions being taken and guidelines being followed. There's been supposed talk about rules being updated, some things NEED to be stricter, especially when it comes to NSFW profiles and obscene whispers.
I grow furious whenever my friends get whispered and pressured into ERP because some people have no concept of boundaries. No, the solution is NOT "just ignore & contact a GM about it". That's ignorant and honestly an offensive insult to the victim, especially when the accused doesn't know 100% it's against the rules to do that sort of thing. Most whispers don't even fall under the "harrassment" category. Just unsolicited.
The only rule regarding obscenities only point to public platforms/profiles, nothing about private messages. Some whispers can't be considered harrassment, they don't break a rule, but they are obnoxious and creepy. Just the fact that there are minors that could be receiving these messages is enough reason to find a way to moderate it more: that does NOT immediately imply tracking start zone 24/7 or increasing GM activity; it can mean as little as implementing or updating existing rules to really discourage this sort of conduct. This is a daily complaint I see in several groups. Clearer rules might not solve it but there's no downside to it. It's not -the- solution but if it discourages at least a few of them, that's progress.
As someone who works in security and deals with sexual harrassment on the DAILY, while also professionally involved with the local law-related constabulary, that shit just doesn't fly with me. There were times when I had to confront those people myself and ask them to get off my friends' whispers because they were too afraid / anxious to do much about it, because nothing else discourages them from it (lack of specific rule) besides the mention of inappropriate / obscenities in public. Can it fall under harrassment? Yes. Does it usually? No. Does the person doing the whispering acknowledge it is harrassment? No.
Common sense just doesn't function properly for some. Add it in the rules, be explicit about disallowing unsolicited whispers and be just as explicit about NSFW profiles in start. This goes for the subtle ones too.
Back on RPH my broadband service had its forums BLOCKED because it had the children safety filter on and the forums were deemed unsafe. I don't want Epsilon to turn into this just because we want to be a little too polite with people who want mature RPs and display that in their TRP. More power to them if they want it, that's not the problem. But running around in profiles which have unnecessarily sexual details while risking to be whispered in start about it is not safe for anyone who doesn't know any better.
TL;DR update the rules and be consistent about them. It's gotten to the point where people don't know what's acceptable behaviour or not anymore, because some suffer the consequences for trivial matters while others get a slap on the wrist for actions that should be deemed unacceptable.