RP & OOC Conduct & Staff Involvement

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HollowWorld

HollowWorld's Announcer
Lately there has been an increase in players seeking staff involvement in RP/OOC disputes. Below is a detailed breakdown of when such involvement is necessary and when it is more appropriate for players to manage their own disputes. While staff is here to uphold the rules set in place and help keep the environment of Altera friendly, players are expected to do similar, and this often means taking charge of your own RP experience.


Involving Staff in RP/OOC Disputes:

When is it appropriate to involve staff in RP/OOC disputes and when isn't it? Hopefully these next section will answer this question and give players a guideline to follow when dealing with disputes.

If an argument is serious, as in there is profanity, bullying, or serious rule breaking involved, then of course contact a staff member immediately. We can check logs easily enough to verify this claim. Do know however, that we will check logs, and make sure your complaint is valid before coming to staff.

If you have an issue with another player, as in frequent disputes and conflicting RP styles or goals, then simply do not engage in RP with that person. There are plenty of players on Hollowworld in which to engage with, and sometimes people just clash. For these type of arguments, do not involve staff.

If there is proof of heavy meta gaming, or OP behavior, you may of course report it to a staff with screenshots. Once the screenshots are received, staff can investigate further into the logs if necessary. Look below for a detailed description of what constitutes meta gaming and OP behavior.

If there is an RP taking place that you are not comfortable with, and your attempts to relay this to the other player have failed. Please try to handle it yourself first by being clear about your boundaries with the other player and voicing your udiscomfort. If the behavior continues or the other player is unwilling to let you walk away then it may be appropriate to involve a staff member. These types of uncomfortable RP could include sexual RP, torture RP, death RP that has not been OOCly discussed, and OOC bullying regarding RP or in general. If these types of RP are taking place and you've tried discussing your discomfort with the other player and it's failed, then please contact a staff member immediately. Remember to provide initial screenshots with your complaints.


OOC Consent for RP

King's Law C5:
"Players may refuse to consent to character death if they believe that the roleplay basis for it is illegitimate. This includes, but is not strictly limited to: metagaming involved with the circumstance of the violence, egregious powergaming in the violent circumstance itself, and OOC motivation leading to the altercation (spontaneous murder sprees, revenge for an alt's friend, etc)."


What it means:
The intent of consent is to be a means for players to protect themselves from undue or unfair consequences in RP, namely those that seriously affect the ability to play a character (death, maiming, etc). It should be treated as a last resort, but robust enough to function when necessary. It should not be a substitute for actual moderation, but augment it if staff are unavailable.

The main clarification I'd like to make by codifying it is that consent is not applicable to violence in general, only for death or other permanent consequence (maiming, etc). I know that there are peaceful folk that don't enjoy fighting in the first place, but a line needs to be drawn at some point and consent should not be a blanket protection from conflict. That said, the shift in interpretation should not be taken as an invitation to go around mugging people. Respect is still imperative in dealing with other players, and willingness to compromise differing intentions goes a long way for smoothing RP. The modus operandi should still be to respect folk's boundaries, but for the rule to serve its intended purpose it needs restriction.

In the vein of treating consent as a moderation tool, any use of it should involve an informal report to the moderation team. Furthermore, the definition of consent rules should not discourage folk from expressing other concerns about RP that aren't mentioned here. If you think there was metagaming or powergaming involved in an RP, even if it does not lead to invoking consent, please report it to staff. The general idea is to shift conflict moderation back into the hands of staff rather than leaving a catchall rule for it, and there are plenty of options for repairing situations after the fact if need be.


When to Use Consent:
Metagaming: If the circumstances leading to a conflict are suspect (improbable appearance, immediate identification of a disguised character, etc), it may be appropriate to invoke consent to prevent escalation. If the accusation of metagaming is unclear/arguable, it's likely a good idea to get a staff opinion on it.

Powergaming: Blatant powergaming in a fight may be grounds to invoke consent. However, this is one that should have staff input in its classification unless egregiously blatant. As such, it's better to file a report and bank on a retcon if a staff member isn't available to oversee.

OOC Motivation: The catchall for several factors that may influence RP, including being targeted by several characters of the same player, characters with spontaneous murderous urges, or any IC motivation that stems from the player rather than the character.


Terms and Conditions:
-"Don't be an asshole" clause: IC motivation should be objectively reasonable if killing a character is on the table. "My character is a dangerous sociopath" is not particularly good reasoning in and of itself, and having death as a consequence should be based on appropriate action-response. Likewise, if there's reasonable motivation to kill a character, the player should recognize this and and give it a fair chance. "Don't be an asshole."

-Maiming or other permanent character debilitation always requires consent, unless the player in question was explicitly informed beforehand that it is a (reasonable, see above) consequence for an action that they proceed to do anyway.
-'Informed consequence' can also be used to clearly establish reasoning for death as well, but is not necessary for it. Rather, if you tell someone that your character would respond violently to a particular action, it may lead to less confusion if violent action is taken.

-Escalation of violence may lead to a situation where attempting to kill the other party out of self defense is reasonable. To avoid confusion of who consents and who doesn't, it's always a good idea to discuss intended outcomes before a fight starts, which are considered binding (to original participants and any that join) unless re-negotiated by the original parties.


Tl;dr
Consent is there to protect you from unfair RP before staff can get to it. It only applies to death/permanent consequences so that the rule doesn't get bloated, and if there are concerns/abuse of it please contact staff. Please treat it as a 'last resort' if no reasonable conclusion can be made through discussion.


Meta Gaming and OP Behavior:


Sometimes there is blatant meta gaming or OP behavior taking place that involves a staff's attention. If you have discussed this with the other player and they are persisting in their actions, then you may contact a staff. Please be ready to provide screenshots and any additional information that will support your claim.

Below is information that can help explain metagaming and OP/Powergaming behavior:


Most of this is general knowledge, but the following always needs to be kept in consideration when roleplaying on the server and among a large group of people, or in small private roleplays.

First and foremost is respect for the other. Whether it's respect for the other person(s) or event you're participating in, this aspect cannot be ignored. This includes a variety of things such as waiting for a response after an action, keeping roleplays realistic and reasonable, discussing vital points in OOC beforehand, and even joining into certain roleplays going on around you. Another important aspect to respectful roleplay behavior are the following two points: Being OP and Meta-gaming.



OP (Over-powered) Characters:

These are never fun...not for anyone, including the roleplayer of the OP character. Nothing will keep good RP away from you quicker than playing a character who always has to win, is the master of everything, or take center stage. While it's always a good feeling to have your character be victorious over someone or something, keep in mind that everyone generally wants that, but we don't always get it. Just like in real life, characters have limitations, and those are what make the roleplay more interesting in the end.

That doesn't mean you lose every time, but that you can take hits and damage as well as dole it out. On the opposite end, playing a none powerful character can often bring unexpectedly amazing roleplay that you would have missed out on otherwise.


Examples of Power-Gaming:

  • Having imaginary guards/followers/friends that protect or give information to you is a form of power-gaming (And Meta-gaming in some cases)
  • Using "Power" phrases, *He bashed his shield forward, flinging [Name's] sword away from them, into the grass*. This removes the other players choice of what would happen when the power-gamer thrusts his shield forward.
  • Having your character being capable of things they shouldn't be able to, such as chasing after halfling if your character is weighted down with full plate armor. Or making a new character and giving them skills unparalleled, despite not having RP'd learning these skills fairly.



Meta-gaming in Roleplay:

While it's hard to know something in OOC and not have your character know it in RP, nothing is more frustrating then a meta-gamer. This means not incorporating information you know to your characters advantage. Some people prefer to not know things OOC to prevent the temptation, and if you feel equally tempted, then we suggest the same route. If you can handle it, great! But keep the two separate in an effort to keep roleplay realistic and unspoiled.


Examples of Meta-gaming:
  • Hearing about an attack on a town, or a planned secret event over Skype, on the forums, or anything other than in Roleplay and reacting to the information in roleplay is Meta-gaming. The exception is the Organized Events section, any event posted there unless stated otherwise is common knowledge.
  • Knowing someone when their skin/appearance has changed to mask their character. Say a wanted character wears a thick cloak to hide his or herself. Calling out that character or attacking them would be meta-gaming.
  • Knowing a character by the name above their head, that name isn't there in roleplay, you need to meet the character before knowing them. An exception would be that they are famous, like royalty, a legendary warrior or someone often spoken of and described.
  • Being aware of who killed someone when no one witnessed it. The same goes for someone being murdered and knowing who their murderer was, no one would remember who kills them.
  • Knowing about a dangerous person or pathway from someone telling you over Skype or other forms is also meta-gaming. You might get attacked, or even die, but avoiding the RP is meta-gaming.
  • Got caught in a fight? Don't call on your friends to save you! This is meta-gaming and it will completely ruin the Roleplay if your friends suddenly appear for no reason to save the day.


If a player is breaking these above rules, and you can prove it with either a screenshot or information to use in searching the logs, then please contact a staff member immediately. Please remember that often people can be talked to without involving a staff, and this route should be attempted first.

Please comment below with further questions, or if clarification is needed in any area.

Credit:
mairinbaihn as the original author
Lannis for Consent section
 
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