Player Behavior Policies

Player Behavior Standards

The following are some more specific issues involving standards of behavior for players. These are things we don't want to see anyone doing here — staff, players, or otherwise.

Being A Jerk Because You're Right

Some people have the mistaken impression that just because you're right, it's okay to be nasty to others. That somehow, the fact that you happen to be right about an issue permits you to do just about anything in the name of 'truth' and 'justice'. I'm here to tell you that's not the case.

Let's say you're a parent. One of your kid's teachers gave the kid an undeserved failing mark in school. So you go out and get a gun and shoot the teacher. The question is no longer whether the failing mark was deserved. The failing grade is suddenly irrelevant. Suddenly, you're on charges for murder, and saying, "But he gave my kid a bad grade" isn't going to cut it for a defense.

If you are right, then be calm about it. Be nice about it. The other party may not agree with you, may not understand the rule, may not be aware of it. It may even be a matter of opinion — where you think the answer is obvious, but the other party doesn't agree it's so clear-cut. Getting angry, abusive, self-righteous, or just plain being a prick doesn't help you or your case — and the fact you might eventually be proven right won't mitigate your actions later.

Getting Caught

This is an important one to mention. Let's say you've been ignoring a rule because your first GM or staff member ignored it. Maybe you weren't even aware of it, or didn't think it was in use here. Suddenly you do a plot or submit a queue, and boom — the staff member or GM calls you on it and makes you use the right rule.

What should you do? Many people decide that the proper course of action is to protest it, claiming that the rule shouldn't apply to them because 'it's never been enforced before'. That it's not fair that it start being enforced now.

I disagree. I believe that that argument is like being pulled over for speeding and telling the cop, "But *officer*, I speed past here *every* day and I've never gotten a ticket before!" That's gonna fly, sure. It won't work there; don't try it here.

Choosing Your Battles

This is perhaps one of the hardest lessons for people to learn online. Nearly everyone on this game is pretty intelligent. We're also, on average, pretty opinionated. So this doesn't come naturally to us. We also tend to be young, and therefore idealistic. We believe that Utopia can be a reality if everybody would just do things our way.

Because of this, most of us have a tendency to pursue everything aggressively. We believe we are right, we believe in the One True Vision <tm> of everything — and anybody who disagrees is an obstacle to be removed. They must be lazy, stupid, ignorant, or just plain evil.

The sad thing is, people disagree on things. We understand that you believe 'your way' would lead to a better game. You might even be right. But the question you have to ask is this: Is this issue important enough to be worth fighting about? In other words, will the hurt feelings, chaos, disruption, players leaving, internal strife and mistrust hurt the game more than the issue I'm trying to fix? If so, then consider toning down the battle. There's such a thing as a Pyrrhic Victory — a victory that comes at too high a cost to really count.


I shouldn't have to document this, but well, here it is. Insults are the lowest form of argument. In essence, you are claiming that your opponent's arguments are wrong because he/she is flawed in some way (We should not listen to the words of a known cheater!). A variation of this is the 'Straw Man' argument, where you mischaracterize your opponent's position into something that is obviously absurd, then knock down that absurdity (Example: Republicans just want to kill all the poor. We can't allow that to happen!)

In most cases, this isn't used as a direct tactic, but instead is used in conversations later. In many cases on here for example, people have a run-in with a staffer and use one of these two variations later when they tell their friends about it. Don't fall for it — it's a logical fallacy.

An interesting note. In the Internet communities known as 'Newsgroups', there is a slightly tongue-in-cheek notion called 'Godwin's Law'. Godwin's Law states that any Internet argument will escalate until somebody characterizes their opponents as Nazis or their views as fascist. At that point, the argument is over, and the one who invoked the reference loses.

Argument to Exhaustion

Please don't do this. This is another tactic to 'win' an argument. It involves basically continuing to argue, shifting tactics and what you are saying, until finally your opponent gives up from sheer exhaustion, no longer having the will to continue to fight you on it. In essence, the opponent gives up and says, "Look, if I just give you your way, will you shut up?" It's the equivalent of a two year old continuing to whine repeatedly for something until mommy either smacks them (Unjustified aggression! Mommy is evil!) or mommy gives them what they want.

This sort of thing isn't tolerated on here, especially toward staff. Staff has the right to say that the argument is over at any point. There are then other channels you can pursue, of course, but if you persist in simply trying to wear down your opponent after they've asked you to stop, that is punishable behavior.

Staff Has Ultimate Say

Note this does not mean 'staff is always right'. What it means is that when it comes to rulings, staff members have the authority to make a decision and require you to abide by it, even if it is the wrong decision. Why do we do this? Because eventually, the argument has to end. There are some arguments that boil down to somebody's opinion or interpretation of the rules. Staff has been entrusted with the responsibility of making those judgement calls and interpretations. At some point, somebody has to make a decision — and even if it's the wrong one, it can be better than leaving the matter unresolved and continuing to obstruct the progress of a plot or queue.

One thing that is expressly NOT permitted: admin-shopping. This means that if you ask one admin, and get an answer you do not like — do not then turn around and continue asking admins in order to try to get an answer you do like. If you truly think that an answer is wrong, and that it's important that it get resolved in your favor, then use the Appeals queue (see Appeals). Ultimately, though, once the appeals process is exhausted, you will have to live with the judgment. We don't do this to harm anybody or exclude their opinions; we simply have to have a decision made and move on.

Victim Syndrome

This happens sometimes — a person believes that they are the 'victims' of staff or some other group on the game. They believe that somehow the game is 'biased' against them, or that the game is set up to oppose them. And they bemoan their fate at every possible opportunity.

My advice on this is simple: if you truly believe you are the victim of discrimination, then build your case. Document, in one queue (including queue notes if you need more space) what has happened to you, and ask that it be investigated. If a clear pattern of bias has occurred, then this should not be difficult to accomplish.

See the section later on 'trust' for an answer to the obvious response to the above, which is, "Oh, Staff won't listen. They're biased."

Focusing On One Thing

This is another pattern of behavior we have seen players and staff alike indulge in that is ultimately destructive to themselves and to the game. A player will get obsessed with a single issue — let's say, for example, that it is the samurai versus mage argument. It can be virtually anything they see as a problem. They focus tightly on this one issue, and begin agitating on the boards about it. They begin to fixate on any occurrances where the problem manifests. They talk to their friends in sniping comments about anyone who disagrees with them. The issue festers in their minds, and eventually they end up exploding over it and usually leaving the game in a fit of pique.

What happened? What happened is that the person in question lost their perspective. Even if the issue was relatively minor, it reached the point where they could no longer have fun on the game. They could not see the forest because they were staring at one tree. They could not see the good in the game, all the excellent role play that occurs, all the great people and everything else that makes this game good because of their fixation on one issue, right or wrong.

Please, maintain your perspective. There are almost no issues so severe that they are worth ruining your fun and, potentially, the fun of others. Yes, there are ways the game can improve, but try to maintain your perspective. Please. For your own sake and the sake of the other players.

Two Sides to Every Story

This is a common saying, but people forget what it means, both offline and in the real world. I ask you to always remember this, no matter who is being discussed. A common pattern is that you might hear from a friend about some incident where person 'X' mistreated your friend. Your friend talks about what happened. Of course, you trust your friend. Your friend wouldn't lie, would she? So this 'X' must be a real jerk. So you start hating 'X' as well.

This is how cliques get going, and how rumors spread. Look at the title of this section again. There are two sides to every story. Both sides can be telling the truth about the facts, yet put radically different spin on it. One lesson I have learned from my time on the 'net is: never judge someone on somebody else's say-so. Does that mean to entirely ignore hearsay? No, of course not. File it away and see if you see that same pattern of behavior. Or even ask the person in question for their side of it, if that's appropriate. Find out both sides before making a judgment. Even if your friend is trustworthy, she may lack all the facts or knowledge of what has transpired, or the motivations behind them. You can listen *and* be sympathetic and understanding and supportive without having to adopt her opinions and interpretations of what happened.


There is no topic more fundamental to relations between players or between players and staff than trust. What is trust? Trust is the firmly-held belief that someone else believes or behaves in a certain way — or will behave in a certain way.

There are varying levels of trust of course. I might trust my beloved with my heart, yet not be confident of his ability to perform open heart surgery tomorrow. Trust doesn't have to be blind.

Note that trust is a 'belief'. One of the hardest factors of trust is simple: you don't have all the facts. Ultimately, you have to trust something without firm, hard proof. And so it is with staff.

The level of trust that we are asking for is for you to believe that staff as a whole has the best interests of the game at heart. That we make the decisions that we do and take the actions we take because we believe that they are the best ones for the game. Sure, we'll make mistakes; we may have a bad day, or we may say or do things that aren't right. But this is an overall belief.

Why should you have this belief? It's the same as the argument against solipsism. Because without that belief, ultimately there is no point. If you cannot trust staff to try to act in the best interests of the game, then your experience here is doomed. It's that simple. There's no point in playing here, just as if solipsism is true, there's no point in bothering to do anything — because it's all imagined. We're not asking for blind faith about any one decision, but instead to try to realize that we, on staff, as a whole, *are* doing what we think is right. If a staffer is working against this consistently, then they will not remain on staff. If a decision is truly hurting the game, and we see that, we will do our best to find an alternative.

What we ask from you, as players, is to have faith in us that our hearts are in the right place. Because ultimately, if you don't believe that, then you need to find somewhere else to play. Because without that trust, your experiences here will never be good ones. Thanks for your time in reading this — and enjoy the game!

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