Info Feedback Thread: The New Terms and Conditions

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Matt, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. Jooon
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    Jooon Donator

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    Suggestion for minor infraction.
    First offense - 3 day ban, Second offense - 7 day ban, Third offense - 14 day ban, Fourth offense - 30 day ban, Fifth offense - Perma
    (4 Chances is plenty tbh.)

    There are indeed a questionable bunch of players that abuses the rule in whichever manner they can with a "abuse/harrass/cyberbullying" intention.
    Even if there's leniency from here on, there should still be a strict rule to show that such attitude should not be tolerated here.

    History of these players who intentionally abused the current rules such as joking about RWT distribution / lying about account sharing.
    (I believe this "Joke" should be included in the T&C as well)

    I don't see why it should be allowed for those who actually agreed & going against the T&C to be allowed in another appeal simply due to updates of certain rules.

    Additionally in terms of doxing, as long as there is a good amount of active MapleRoyallers witness with screenshots making a similar report with ample evidence with obvious evil intent, staff should be able to easily verify the actual culprit and reward the 14 day ban.
    Especially when there is a solid in game chatlog that includes example : "My Discord is Joon#1234"
    Obviously if its too serious then permaban by staff & a police report should probably be considered by the victim.

    Information Harvesting (Stalking) - The act of collecting any information about the game or any individual associated with the game, including players, ownership, or any involved third-parties, without their expressed consent, and sharing or distributing this in any way or form within any large group (X amount of players) of MapleRoyals Discord, MapleRoyals Forum, and MapleRoyals game server.
    Please be aware that, in cases of severe cases as per discretion of Staff, we reserve the right to respond with a permanent ban regardless of whether it is your first offense.​

    Just my two cents.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 7:11 PM
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  2. syrupface127
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    syrupface127 Donator

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    I believe Matt said in one of the feedback threads (I don't remember which) that the Staff members do not condone weaponizing the game rules. ex) player(s) afking in certain spots, waiting on their enemies (in many cases) to say something in all-chat just for the purpose of reporting and getting the player banned.

    How will the newly revised (and/or improved) game rules prevent (or reduce) petty reporters from weaponizing them? I believe even with the changes, people will continue to use the rules as a weapon and take petty actions, just the banned player won't be permanently banned, if the report is made on objectional behavior.

    Since I cannot see the reports that were filed, I'll just say that I don't think it's hard to see whether players are purposely using the game rules as a weapon, since they are most likely camping on their unknown mules.

    Will there be any punishment(s) for people purposely weaponizing the game rules?

    And, lastly, I believe the controversies that were sparked a few months ago regarding the rule changes were an indirect way of asking if the newly revised rules can be applied retroactively, or else, there is really no point at all in any revision to the current rules.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 5:57 AM
  3. Joez
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    Joez Well-Known Member

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    Some food for thought.

    What are the potential disadvantages to retroactively applying the rules?
    - a lot of extra work for staff, which could be largely mitigated by Tsue’s suggestion that the responsibility is on players to reopen their appeal
    - retroactive application occurs both ways. This means scammers who were previously reported and temporarily banned may now be permanently banned. Some players may find this unfair.
    - it may not make a difference overall at the cost of substantial effort, because most players tend to move on the longer they’ve been permanently banned. Some may no longer visit the forums.

    What are the advantages to not retroactively applying the rules?
    -

    “These players deserve to stay banned because they agreed to the TnCs” is not an advantage nor a good argument because we’re really only updating the punishment for certain rules because there’s been an overwhelming push from the community and staff alike that the traditionally upheld punishments were too harsh.

    Upholding the rules for the sake of them being rules is an extremely poor approach because the only reason rules exist is to protect the community and the Royals environment to be a fun, fair and enjoyable one.

    As for reducing the amount of what people refer to as “petty reports”, “ban weaponising” or whathaveyou, I think the section regarding only allowing victims of harassment to file reports is an important step in reducing the volume of weaponry.

    Having said that, players can potentially feel very uncomfortable reporting particularly when
    - the person harassing them happens to be a friend of, a guild member of staff or a member of staff themselves
    - there is a 7day limit where they have to somehow find the courage to disclose the way they feel when filing these reports
    - players will not be permanently banned for reports related, particularly, to racial and/or sexual harassment
    - staff will not be able to do anything if players are harassing them via platforms outside of the official MapleRoyals discord / forums / game as it stands

    I think staff will need to do a lot, lot more to ensure players feel safe and protected when making these reports that they will be dealt with fairly and in confidence. As such, I’m asking again that we seriously consider the inclusion of:
    - how staff abuse should be reported and how this will be handled
    - how reports are handled by staff and what they would do to ensure the process is impartial
    - how ban appeals are dealt with, particularly when some people are waiting for weeks on a reply and are apparently not meant to bump themselves from the forgotten queue

    As a final thought, if the 7-day rule were to stay, I think there should be some consideration for inclusion of this rule related to evidence for vote abuse and account sharing from eons ago. Vote abuse is obviously a major source of RWT supply on the server but it’s not as if permanently banning someone who’s voted on two accounts for a month 5 years ago was ever going to stop that :’)
     
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  4. Rhynhardt
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    Rhynhardt Well-Known Member

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    I want to see a ToS update where staff can't handle cases of friends, or cannot be DM'd/contacted for advice regarding how to handle a report outside of "how to" guidelines that can be copy and pasted from this ToS.

    Also stronger policy on sexual harassment and body shaming. There's no age restriction on this server outside of the general 13+ year old and that can be devastating to a teenager going through puberty. Especially when social media's are weaponized, publicly or not.
     
  5. maggles
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    I also view Loopy's publicised ban as being proactively handled. Chee's response to his appeal was worded (in an attempt) to justify his 3 bans falling under a single category: hate speech. However in reality, according to the language used within the previous terms of service, his bans should fall under two separate categories: hate speech and harassment. So in my opinion the language used in his appeal, was worded in a way, to discretely merge his harassment and hate speech infractions into the now unified Objectional Behaviour infraction. (if that makes sense? could be worded better).

    I will explain why I think so below:

    Chee's justification for Shin's second ban -- "referring to a group of people as 'c*nts' shall be classified as a ban for hate speech as it has historically fallen under the hate speech rule in MapleRoyals." This argument is flawed. Just because there is precedent for so doesn't mean the initial ruling was justified. A similar case in the past does not necessarily qualify a current case to be treated in a similar manner. What is the actual justification for c*nt falling under hate speech rather than harassment?

    Sen has mentioned that, "We don't ban for the "c-word" the same way we ban for the "f-word" or the "n-word" which is absolutely prohibited regardless of context." This shows the staff does not hold the c-word to the same regard as the "f-word" or the "n-word" (maybe you realise yourselves that c-word isn't considered hate speech..?). Sen also mentioned, depending on how 'dick' and 'pussy' is used, it may fall under the harassment infraction. But then, shouldn't the c-word fall under this exact same infraction, especially if "sexism is irrelevant to the determination"? Sure the c-word -can- be perceived to be more vulgar than 'dick' or 'pussy', but the words are used within a similar context and the intent behind the insults are the same.

    Is the justification for c-word being classified as hate speech only due to the fact that the staff perceives the word as vulgar? As Joez highlighted, "When I look at a statement like “you’re a [c-word/d-word]”, I find it highly offensive not because of the exact word that is being used but because of the derogatory slur that is associated with these terms being used in that context. I don’t think it matters which word is being used here even if certain cultures and societies may have come to accept dick/pussy more casually than other profanities around." Additionally, GM Evan is allowed to reply "no need to be a dick for no reason" to a user on the forums. Would this not be considered harassment?

    As other users have mentioned: I have never heard the "c-word" used in a sexist manner; I've only heard it used as a simple pejorative. The "c-word" has never been used in the same manner that the n-word(racist) or f-word(homophobic). Is there historical context of the c-word or d-word being used to otherise a group of people, even close to the level of the n-word or f-word?

    Vulgarity isn't hate speech. There's a clear distinction between hate speech and simple vulgar words. As per the language in the terms of service, it cannot be considered hate speech unless you are discriminating due to a specific set of factors. for example, the f-word is hate speech towards people of a certain sexual orientation and the n-word is hate speech towards people of a certain race. the c-word IS NOT. If somebody is using racist or discriminatory language, aka hate speech, I understand how that wouldn't be tolerated. But I've never heard of "c word" or "d word" being anything but curse words which have no history of being hateful or prejudiced towards a group of people based on certain factors. I agree someone could use these curse words in a way that could be considered harassment, but not hate speech.

    Evan's justification was that "women have been systemically oppressed, like black people have and gay people have"... therefore making it hate speech?? As one user has mentioned: "the c-word isn't part of that systematic oppression, not in the same way that the f-word(homophobic) or the n-word(racist) have been. The f-word has been used to otherise and discriminate against the LGBTQ community during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s; perhaps I'm ignorant, but the c-word doesn't have the same cultural connotations versus women."

    I would like users to read these two rules again and ask/decide for themselves which rule makes more sense for the c-word to fall under.

    Objectionable Behavior (Harassment)
    - The act of engaging in any sort of rude, harassing, vulgar, obscene, hateful, threatening or abusive discourse with another player, or alternatively in a setting in which unintended audiences may be present such as all publically transmitted chat or serverwide messages. This includes persistent badgering, flaming, mass defamation or disruption of another player.

    Hate Speech - The act of transmitting any sort of content or acting out any scenario which could be perceived as derogatory or otherwise prejudiced towards any group of people based on their race, sex, gender, life choices, or any other division.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021 at 2:13 PM
  6. Sen
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    Sen Forum Moderator

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    Good morning everyone! Sorry it took a while to get back to y'all; the semester just started for me and I'm already falling behind lmao. But I wanted to make sure that I addressed some larger points that people have made sooner rather than later, so that this dialogue can continue before this thread reaches its end:

    1. On the removal of doxxing outside of our "jurisdiction"
    I wanted to begin by clarifying that the changes to the Information Harvesting rule does not mean that Staff will no longer consider doxxing to be punishable behavior--I mean, the rule still exists. It's literally right there. It's just that the scope in which we will enforce this rule has become much more limited. For example, if Player 1 whispers Player 2 in-game "Hey Sen you look like a fatass in your prof pic lol" in which Player 2 had never provided any personal information to Player 1 and also obtains evidence in which Player 1 had colluded with other players in a private discord to somehow access Player 2's profile picture--we would consider that private discord conversation proper evidence for Information Harvesting. And this is something that has actually happened (not to Sen). However, if Player 1 messages Player 2 through a private discord message "Hey Sen you look like a fatass in your prof pic lol" this is something we will no longer take action on--even if those players only know each other specifically and exclusively through MapleRoyals.

    This is also why the analogy between Information Harvesting and RWT isn't exactly accurate. Rather, the two rules have actually become more consistent: If it happens in Royals, we will do what we can to take action on it.

    Ultimately, the question isn't necessarily about what sort of behavior MapleRoyals Staff is willing to tolerate on a moral basis, but moreso about what sort of behavior MapleRoyals Staff is willing to burden the responsibility of moderating between players. If we should enforce this rule between private discord channels, should we also enforce this rule between personal email accounts? Between individual phone numbers? At the end of the day, we are not your parents and we are not police officers. I can completely empathize with how these changes may feel as if Staff are turning a cold shoulder to the well-being of players given recent events, but I do hope you guys can understand why we have chosen to limit the scope in which we will enforce this rule.

    I will say though, I am personally torn on this issue. And it was something that I didn't really have a particular stance on during internal conversations. Because on one hand, it really is pretty impractical for Staff to moderate doxxing on such an official, large-scale basis. But on the other hand, I do really hate the idea that this community can't always be a safe space for players to express themselves. That being said, this is the reality of the internet and I do encourage you guys to always be vigilant and careful about what sort of personal information you choose to share with others. Even if we were to punish players for doxxing as harshly as possible, your personal privacy would still always be at risk and should always be treated with utmost care.

    2. On the new punishment scheme for minor infractions
    The punishment scheme that I personally proposed was 3 > 7 > 14 > 30 > 90 > 180. I also brought up the idea that maybe we ought to consider permanent bans after a significant amount of temporary bans, because at some point players who are truly toxic in the community ought to be shown that they are no longer welcome here. But at the end of the day, none of us are political scientists so these determinations are largely arbitrary--based on what felt right to each individual person. This might be an area that is ripe for further input.

    3. On the (non-)retroactive application of minor infractions
    The majority consensus was that to allow players to retroactively appeal their permanent bans under the new "Objectionable Behavior" scheme would be unnecessary, and perhaps even inappropriate. A couple of reasons included: 1. The fact that players are typically entitled to only one ban appeal; 2. The fact that players agreed to the T&C as it was when they registered to play the game; and 3. The idea that this would be unfair to other players who received permanent bans for infractions that would not receive such punishment today. I'm sure there were more reasons, but I'm keeping it simple because I don't want to accidentally put words in other people's mouths. That being said, I'm also going to copy and paste some things I have said internally--but this is specifically because I'm too lazy to rephrase my own words, and not because I'm trying to publicize private discussions:
    These are just my personal opinions on the matter. But I wanted to share them as a way for the community to continue this conversation because right now there seems to be an overall lack of transparency. And to be clear, this is something that we had already discussed and decided on internally before publishing this thread.

    4. On the ban appeal process of Raony and Loopy
    Staff decided to overturn Raony's ban not because we wanted to proactively apply these incoming changes to Information Harvesting; we decided to overturn Raony's ban because the majority of Staff at the time believed that there was insufficient evidence to show that Information Harvesting had taken place. As for Loopy's ban, whether or not the c-word is automatically considered hate speech to the same extent as the n-word or the f-word doesn't change the fact (or rather, the belief) that there are still instances in which it is, indeed, considered hate speech. So while yes, like I said, context is relevant to the c-word, the majority of Staff at the time believed that within context the c-word as used by Loopy constituted hate speech. Fortunately for people who still disagree with Loopy's ban, the main point of the change to fold everything under an umbrella "Objectionable Behavior" rule was ultimately to eliminate ambiguities such as this.

    These are the only things I'll say on the matter, as I want to keep matters as confidential as possible. Additionally, this thread is not the place to discuss specific ban appeals.

    EDITED TO CLARIFY: People (including myself) have misspoke in discussing Raony's ban appeal as an Information Harvesting case. As we know, it was actually a Harassment case. The Information Harvesting case that some of us have been discussing was actually a subsequent report that was borne out of the public feedback thread. Sorry for any confusion, and thank you to the player who reached out to me!

    5. On the new reporting requirements for Objectionable Behavior
    The majority consensus was that the new restrictions on reporting Objectionable Behavior would be a step forward for the community as well as Staff. The obvious catalyst has been the "petty" reports that were used to target specific players for Harassment bans. And I will say those reports have been an enormous administrative headache for the entirety of Staff. Now while I do have access to the Report Abuse section and do read all of the reports (I more or less read every single post on the forums), I'm not a GM that actually has to deal with the reports. So perhaps my input isn't necessarily the most meaningful. But with that being said, like many of you I'm actually personally not a fan of these changes either. I would probably still stand by my stance in the earlier feedback thread:
    As for the requirement that reports for Objectionable Behavior be submitted by the victim themselves, I'm personally not a fan of that either. For example, take a look at a report I submitted a long time ago (I considered censoring their names out of respect for their privacy but I am extremely lazy and they said all this shit in channel one of Maple Hill anyways):

    [​IMG]

    If such actions take place in public chat, then can anyone be considered a victim? And what about cases such as Hate Speech where the context didn't matter? I just think these kind of distinctions cause the rule (that already has a history of confusing players) to become unnecessarily muddled, and all-the-more difficult for Staff to properly enforce. Like my suggestion with the 48-Hour Rule (now the 7-Day Rule) above, I just think a more sensible solution would simply be to allow GMs to ask the player why they are submitting a report when they are not the direct recipient of particular harassment and weigh that fact in their ultimate decision accordingly. Given the discretionary nature of how Staff have historically handled Harassment reports, I think such requirements would only serve as a barrier that prevents GMs from exercising the power to use their best judgment on such granular matters.

    Let me know if there is anything I missed. :3
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021 at 8:07 PM
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  7. xMightyx
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    I would suggest adding the following to Minor Infractions:
    Please be aware that, in cases of severe abuse as per discretion of Staff, we reserve the right to respond with a permanent ban after your third offense.
     
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  8. FireHeart
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    FireHeart Donator

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    can anybody give me a tldr on what changed?
     
  9. Joez
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    Joez Well-Known Member

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    Well articulated prophecy :p

    Discretion is such a misunderstood concept on this server. We use our judgement and interpretation of a preset of often-ambiguous rules to blandly punish the majority of cases that require careful consideration of contextual background. Discretion that leads to the more lenient approach are few and far between.

    And when the community is critical of such decisions, the first thing that we seem to collectively fall back on are preset rules like "people are only allowed one appeal" and "TnCs were agreed to when they signed up" applied in contexts these rules weren't initially designed for.

    Because we have traditionally executed discretion so poorly, an important step (likely in the right direction) has actually been the current revamp of the terms and conditions to try and make this more consistent and require less discretionary effort from Staff. So it comes to no surprise that the discussion around retroactive application of the rules has been such a laborious process where staff and community have weighed in on different ends of the spectrum.

    I maintain that rules should only be rules for one purpose: protecting the welfare of the community. They are not rules purely because we want to uphold rules.

    Something worth reflecting on given we're on the subject of publicised bans:
     
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  10. Aestel
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    Aestel Well-Known Member

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    Just a food for thought since the term "consistency" was brought up so many times by yourself, including but not limited to this feedback thread. I personally feel that retroactively applying rules will cause more inconsistencies. For the following context that I'll be replying in, I'm assuming that you are suggesting that we apply ALL subsequent new rulings retroactively (for the sake of consistency).

    If this ruling or any other similar rulings, particularly those that recognise an action now as an offence were to be added retroactively, how will you apply this consistently? If this rule was to be added, there will be fewer campers & less toxicity. It will be classed under "protecting the welfare of the community" in your words. From my perspective, people will start to choose which rules that they want to apply retroactively, which again, is inconsistent.

    Will punishing the recent individuals weaponising the t&c be retroactively applying the rules? Yes. What about in previous years where people weaponise the rules, do they get punish now as well? People that got perma-ed years ago, if they can be unbanned now, will they be entitled to claim any compensation since it was a "mistake/too harsh of a punishment" according to the prior T&C? If someone was jailed for 3months, and after he served his time, the ruling now changes and what he did back then was no longer considered crime. Should he be compensated for the 3months? If we are speaking from an equitable point of view and as of his right, he should be compensated.

    tldr; If what you are suggesting is to apply only the "objectionable behaviour" clause retroactively, it won't be consistent. Retroactively applying new rules is a hassle, the negative implications in the future will heavily outweigh the benefits. Like others that have already mentioned, there was a discussion about weaponising the t&c, will there be any specific ruling in place? Or are all these new rules suppose to prevent the weaponising of the t&c? With respect, I don't feel that consistency is a good argument for retroactive application in this case.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021 at 11:53 AM
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  11. Joez
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    Joez Well-Known Member

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    You quoted both of us at the same time so I don't know what or who you're referring to specifically, but presumably the note in reference to consistency is directed towards me.

    I'm going to borrow Sen's quote because I think he addresses this point very well (sorry Sen, hope you don't mind owo):
    The discussion around 1) retroactive application of the rules and 2) applying for compensation for false/prolonged bans is somewhat moot here because the best-case scenario I can see staff willing to budge on is that players would be expected to initiate these processes (with or without official endorsement from staff). This all means that subsequently any decision that's made would be discretionary regardless and would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

    As for weaponising rules and whatnot, it's somewhat ironic coming from you since it was allegedly your guild juniors that pioneered all the weaponising, but the most important step to reduce weaponising is not the change in the TnCs itself but the change in the way these are reported:
    - only victims of objectionable behaviour are now allowed to report, with a screenshot highlighting ~servertime on a 7-day time limit

    In any case, I don't know that I interpreted your post correctly so I apologise in advance if you meant something different.
     
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  12. Aestel
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    Aestel Well-Known Member

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    My reply was to you, I quoted him for whatever staff mentioned in regards to weaponising the T&C as an example, since it was highly likely that the rules might be added in the future. Anyway, my point was that staff discretion will still be needed and there will still be inconsistencies even if retroactive adjustments were made. Consistency was something that you were pushing so hard for on feedback thread(s) for the last month or so, which kind of contradicts and confuses me on why you would want retroactive adjustments (potentially more inconsistency). If your argument was for fairness, I can understand where you are coming from, but not for consistency.
     
  13. Joez
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    Joez Well-Known Member

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    To be very honest with you.. I don’t actually care that much whether retroactive application occurs or not. There are arguments for it which must be balanced with arguments against. My issues with this are that;
    - the arguments staff appear to have used to veto against retroactive application are not consistent with how I think “everyone is entitled to one appeal only” should be applied
    - retroactive or not, it needs to be clearly communicated in the TnCs itself.

    I think being consistent promotes fairness and I can ?kind of see why retroactive application can make some feel it’s being inconsistently applied to different people. It’s important not to become pedantic about the 7 -> 14 day ban duration change for moderate infractions because the main reason for invoking that change appears to be standardising the moderate infractions as one category.
    - do I think scammers should be retroactively banned? Yes, if retroactive application were to take place.

    I’m doubtful weaponising the terms and conditions will become a punishable offence. The fact that we are even thinking about this is sadly reflective of the growing toxicity within our community.
     
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