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Mithaniel

A Thread: Stuff

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Boy oh boy does this title not look good! I also may or may not have rewritten this thread. I do want to make it known that I love Epsilon, and this server is far above and beyond other options. I apologize to the GMs for the original version of the thread. I was trying to convey things I've heard with my own opinion, and came off wrong. I'm sorry about that, and I hope this new version is even slightly better.

Epsilon has seen a recent boom in population and popularity. This much has led to an abundance of work for the GM team on the enforcement level both in-game and in Discord. It is this very thing that initiates this conversation - alongside the word perception. It is the perception of others that the punishments do not always match up with what is said by others. One thing, by appearances, gets a heavier hand than another thing. Maybe the approach to questions is given a reply of "My mistake, it wasn't a suggestion." which creates a certain image. There's a lot going on, and certain conversations are had about what's going on. There's things seen and talked about that gives one a ponder.

Consistency, approach, and visibility are three things I want to mention. Let's start with approach - something that could maybe use some work when talking to others. From my personal experience moderating roleplayers, people do not want to see "It wasn't a suggestion." when they ask a question. Another thing is that you never want to make the other person feel attacked. This isn't to say that someone should be coddled, but there is a good way to approach and there is a bad way. Putting someone on the defensive is always going to backfire from my experience. Now, I've never had to manage a server as large as Epsilon so my perspective is a little different. However, I still believe that giving people ammunition to fire back on hostile terms serves no good. That isn't to say it is what's happening, but something I hope to convey.

The second is visibility. Not everyone cares about this, but it is something I personally care about. My experience with visibility is less about that people need to be seen doing something, and more that they should be seen as available to go to. This can be perceived as something of a problem depending on who you ask. Maybe someone has had a bad experience with one GM versus another. It should be that they have alternatives who are going to get back to them. It doesn't have to be instantly, but hopefully in enough time that it seems like they're around to talk. This also goes for reports, but I can understand that reports take time to get back on. 

Next up is consistency. It's something I've heard a little bit, but I wish I had proof to back this topic up. The gist of it is that there's a certain feeling that Epsilon GMs don't have consistency with who is punished vs who isn't. My personal take is that consistency is a thing that should be shown if possible. If someone is allowed to shitpost with a friend in start while another isn't - and they use the same sort of vocabulary, then there's something amiss. Well, at least from the public eye's view. Which also sort of leads to other topics, but we'll see if they get touched upon or not. This thread is getting pretty long! I just want to open the doors to others and close out this opening post.

Either way, the original post aside, I think there's some room to improve. It wouldn't be easy, but it would be nice to get conversation going about how to improve. That is the end goal of this thread despite the feelings it might have caused. It was not my intent to make personal call outs, and that has since been edited out. The thread is an attempt to serve as a backboard so others can post their ideas/thoughts. I know it'd be pretty easy to brush the thread off, but please don't. Give these things an honest read despite how it started. Some folks want the server to get better on the enforcement / GM side and have ideas on how.

Community engagement is a nice thing that could lead to some cool ideas. More of it would be cool.

More community stuff, yeah.
 


insert other rambling.

On the flip side, people should not react with hellfire and ruin against a GM just because they come down upon you. They're trying to keep, for example, start zone a cleaner place. Which isn't easy to do! There's a lot of horny TRPs, and a lot of different senses of humors to judge against. I, after conversations, remembered my time moderating - it was certainly unfun to get lashed out at. I am certain that having to tell someone to not make sex/cum jokes in announce / start is just not fun. Seeing people make the same crass jokes from RPH may not be the most thrilling thing, or seeing a report right as they wake up - or a thousand different messages about some horndog TRP in start.

I may add more tomorrow after I slept.

Edited by Mithaniel

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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. 

Edited by Dove
clearer points

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Thank you for your input. Your opinions are always valued as a community.

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I don't hang in the startzone often, but just from dropping in recently, seeing the quantity of mature content -still- featured there (the zone in which almost every new player -will- visit), is kind of shocking. And I don't get it myself, but the knack of being whispered, unsolicited, for ERP being common enough to be made into a -joke-, kinda spits in the face of the fact that is (or should) be rulebreaking.

For, as present as you'd imagine the mod team is (talking in discord/ann, as an example), the problem itself doesn't appear to have lessened ingame, nor do the 'new rules' ever seem to have arrived. The suggestion to implement a sort of reform could, and likely would, drive some change. Be it from people being given the chance to prove themselves or from the current team actually monitoring the community.


Another good fix would be to consider simply removing start. A point of congregation will breed this sort of behaviour, and by forcing new players to load into this dense mass of players sitting around one corner of the locale, you put them in the path of this sort of content as we see now. And since there isn't an age requirement to join Epsilon - theres' the aformentioned inclusion of minors into that, too.

Edited by gavinlad

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