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Author Topic: IMPORTANT: New Announcement from the BC.org Admins (12/11/15)  (Read 1155 times)

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Offline Navigator

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This post is a continuation and update in response to the recent community happenings surrounding the Announcement: Community Update post.

The result of that thread and subsequent events was a very public shellacking of the site admin and moderation team by what amounted to a lynch mob in the chatroom on the night of 12/08/15.

There were many people in the chatroom that evening who came openly to our defense. Our thanks for your support cannot be adequately expressed, as that would tacitly require us to assign some value to it. In fact, it is invaluable. It is the reason we have stuck around, and the reason why the words below are so important to the admin team.

That day took everything out of Artisan and me. The two of us had an opportunity to talk about what happened and we both came to the conclusion that our current position is untenable.

Frankly speaking, we haven't really, consistently had fun in this community in a long time. There have been very many bright spots (and that cannot be overstated) but generally and as a whole, this place has taken more energy out of us than it has given back. Speaking for me - I'm at my wits end. It's affecting my ability to help run this site.

The policies that we have in place, our Community Guidelines, appear to be ineffective. They are not enforced adequately (which I play a part in, despite efforts to reform) and it is our assessment that no one cares about them. When they are violated, they are violated with abandon because, I feel, people know that little will come of it in terms of official reprisal.

This is not working. I believe it to be part of the root cause of any site drama that we experience and have been trying to combat. The internet has a way of making people to forget that on the other side of the glass live humans like themselves. We have been weak on this, and I feel that this is partly because we feel that if we start pushing, people will explode all over everything, coloring community interactions negatively for whole weeks at a time. We have seen this very thing happen many times in the past. This just happened this past week.

Artisan and I talked about it and came to this conclusion: If we were to do everything exactly right by how we have usually done things, we would nonetheless be here again in two weeks for something else of equal magnitude and similar vitriol.

This is a website that serves a community and is reliant on donations. But it is also a website that is privately run and provided by the two of us. It's not a utility service: It is not water, it is not electricity, it’s not heating or air conditioning. Nobody will die from lack of it. And we who actually run the website deserve to have fun too from something that we are holding up and keeping online.

And so, Artisan and I have decided on a new course for this site. In the coming days, we will be reforming and redefining the principles this site operates on along with the site’s terms of use. They will not be wildly different from what they are; particulars will be outlined in time. But there will be at least one critically important requirement: All members will show respect, decency, and patience to each other, or face swift official reprisal. Continued abuse of this rule without insight or remorse will be met with stricter reprisal or banning.

Now, we are not machines, we are humans and emotional beings. There is room in our roles for leniency and context. But it is not our responsibility to see that our site users act like mature adults. It is the responsibility of the site users. Those who refuse to do so will no longer be welcome in this community.

Our expectations include that our members refrain from:
  • Public denigration or insinuations
  • Bullying
  • Personal attacks and overly-heated or adversarial language

The buck is officially stopping here. We are done with being abused and we are done with watching our users be abused.

I understand that these rules may come off as harsh. But this site is run by us. This team was not elected. We are not paid wages for serving site users a certain way. This is a website for a community centered on a video game, and a storied universe. This is a hobby for us, not a prison term.

One objective with this rule change is to grow this place into an environment where public, personal attacks are not the norm, where people can openly collaborate with each other without fear of scorn or nastiness.

Another objective is to keep the two of us, who are the ones actually keeping the site online, sane.

Artisan and I, and the Arbiters, and every single one of you would not continue to pour your souls into this place – your characters, your relationships, and your wonderful and fantastic stories – if you did not want to be here. Just look at the Gratitude thread. We want gratitude and kindness to one another to be everywhere. But that must be counterbalanced with staying sane.

There will be people who object to this policy shift. Whatever their disagreements with the site admin and moderation team, or with each other, members of this site will be hereby required to treat each other with decency. If there are those that feel that this is impossible, or an imposition that they simply cannot deal with, they are invited to gather their works and their writing and leave.

If people continue to act as dramatic and abusive as they have over and over again, then we will seriously consider shutting the site down after a fair warning to all users.

Those with questions or comments may contact the admin team. We reserve the right to answer or not answer at our discretion.

Thank you for reading,

Navigator & Artisan, and the BC.org Arbiter Team
« Last Edit: 12/11/15, 12:35:26 AM by Navigator »

Offline Artisan

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As an addendum to the above noted policy, we will clarify the structure of the BC.org site staff team, as has long already been elaborated on in this help guide.

The following has been the official policy for a time now, but we have been lax in enforcing it. In order for members of the site staff to fulfill their roles as appropriate, and in order to avoid all issues heading straight for the Admins and invalidating the Arbiters, the following will be abided by strictly:

1) "Arbiters are tasked with enforcing website guidelines among community members. They are the first line in answering questions regarding the website, the community, and the forums." What this means is that all site related reports, questions, concerns etc, must go first to the Arbiters, which currently include @Aylaa, @livia, @recoveringgeek. If any questions are addressed to Administrators (@Navigator, @Artisan), we may pass them on to the Arbiter Team, or they may be ignored altogether.

2) To send a personal message to the Arbiters with your issue, follow these directions:
- Start a new PM
- Instead of putting an individual user name in the To field, select the "Send to Group" option under that field and placing a check next to the group "Arbiters"
- Write your message and click Send. Your message will be sent to all the existing Arbiters.

3) Administrators (Navigator, Artisan) are still available for those issues that Arbiters have tried to resolve but cannot. Arbiters will bring the issue to a higher level as needed.

4) All issues that require appeals may only be appealed once at each level (Arbiter, Administrator). Further appeals on issues beyond the initial appeal may be ignored.

5) Administrators will also hold office hours on an occasional basis, where we will be available to talk live with site users most likely in text. All above points (#1-4) still hold during this time. If there is an issue that you are bringing up the first time, the Admin will reserve the right to advise you to speak to the Arbiters first and the right to choose not discuss the issue any further. Office hours will also be time limited, and the time limit will be strictly enforced. For those few issues that do make it to the tier of the Administrators, office hours can also be used as a time to discuss the issue with the affected party if the Admins deem it appropriate.

6) A separate thread will be made in the announcements forums for Administrators to post times for office hours. Although we hope to make it frequent enough for concerns, they will not be every week. We are making this available based on our schedules. Latest availabilities will always be posted in that thread.

7) As noted in the Site Team guide, Administrators (Navigator, Artisan) do have personal accounts with different names. We ask you to respect our times on those personal accounts, and attempting to deal with administrative issues with us while we are on those accounts is not appreciated, and we will not respond.

It is unfortunate that what should have been happening already must be spelled out and called to light in this way! We hope you understand the reasoning for making policies stricter, as was already outlined in the original post.
« Last Edit: 12/15/15, 09:42:49 PM by Artisan »