[Request] Policy Template



  • Way back when I was lurking on WORA (as opposed to lurking here), there was a thread wherein a very reasonable sounding mu* policy template was worked out. Does anybody still have that, by any chance?



  • Are you looking for boilerplate policies pre-written for a game, or for a wiki template?

    I can't help on the former but could probably paste you code for the latter if you want.


  • Coder

    And if you're looking for the latter, I can probably find it if you give something more to go on, such as a title or a snippet. The Wora database is huge and hard to go through by hand.



  • @surreality said in [Request] Policy Template:

    Are you looking for boilerplate policies pre-written for a game, or for a wiki template?

    I can't help on the former but could probably paste you code for the latter if you want.

    @Thenomain said in [Request] Policy Template:

    And if you're looking for the latter, I can probably find it if you give something more to go on, such as a title or a snippet. The Wora database is huge and hard to go through by hand.

    Both please. I'm basically looking for a common sense policy that covers the important stuff like:

    Don't be an ooc jerk.
    No, the staff isn't going to spy on your TS. (And dude, what was up with that thing with the duck?)
    Don't cheat or break the mush, please.

    And whatever other rules need to be there to encourage civilized behavior in our feral little tribe. Searching through said database sounds like a pain, so advice from those of you with experience would be a nice substitute.


  • Coder

    @Collective

    Possibly a part of Brus' "Don't Be a Dick" thread?



  • @Thenomain That sounds familiar. I suspect that may be the thread I'm thinking of.


  • Pitcrew

    @Collective said in [Request] Policy Template:

    @surreality said in [Request] Policy Template:

    Are you looking for boilerplate policies pre-written for a game, or for a wiki template?

    I can't help on the former but could probably paste you code for the latter if you want.

    @Thenomain said in [Request] Policy Template:

    And if you're looking for the latter, I can probably find it if you give something more to go on, such as a title or a snippet. The Wora database is huge and hard to go through by hand.

    Both please. I'm basically looking for a common sense policy that covers the important stuff like:

    Don't be an ooc jerk.
    No, the staff isn't going to spy on your TS. (And dude, what was up with that thing with the duck?)
    Don't cheat or break the mush, please.

    And whatever other rules need to be there to encourage civilized behavior in our feral little tribe. Searching through said database sounds like a pain, so advice from those of you with experience would be a nice substitute.

    Feel free to borrow or adopt any of the policies on the BITN wiki or use them as a baseline.



  • @tragedyjones Thanks! I deeply appreciate it.


  • Admin

    @Collective said in [Request] Policy Template:

    I'm basically looking for a common sense policy that covers the important stuff like:

    Don't be an ooc jerk.
    No, the staff isn't going to spy on your TS. (And dude, what was up with that thing with the duck?)
    Don't cheat or break the mush, please.

    And whatever other rules need to be there to encourage civilized behavior in our feral little tribe. Searching through said database sounds like a pain, so advice from those of you with experience would be a nice substitute.

    Not to cheapen your effort here since you obviously mean well, but to borrow a page from Gany's book here - do you think having such rules is important, regardless of the exact wording?

    What I mean is, if staff aren't assholes they are not going to do any of those things, and if they are then it doesn't really matter what the rules are since they can be unmade, ignored or obeyed only when it's convenient with little oversight by their players or usually even the ability to tell they've been violated at all.

    I do still think it's nice to give your playerbase a taste of your intentions and mindset.



  • At the risk of getting philosophical, all laws depend on the good will and ethics of the people in charge. But as you say, I want to make that part of the social contract explicit so people will know what to expect. And also so any staff I end up bringing on will understand what is and isn't acceptable.

    I want to be able to strike a balance between concise and clear rules and having enough structure there so everybody has a clear idea of what is okay and what's not.



  • @Arkandel I always like to think of it this way:

    The people I want to hire as staff generally do not need to be told any of <things in policy>, because they know what's OK and what is not OK because they're ethical people and think before they act.

    I'm not hand-selecting and hiring and screening the players. Players can come from anywhere, be known or unknown, be oldbies or brand new to the hobby, and will have different expectations based on their experiences, lack of experiences, and so on.

    The latter are going to need guidelines to make sure they are all on the same page and understand the expectations. While this is helpful for staff as well, it's not as necessary, because players aren't selected and screened in the same way.


  • Pitcrew

    Rules provide people with a framework of expectations and help define the social contract. Having rules doesn't keep people from breaking them, just gives you a good litmus test for your staff. Do they follow their own rules? If yes, yay, good staff, good game. If not, it's time to start looking elsewhere.

    I know that one of my primary design questions for putting policy together for a current project is 'am I willing to enforce this, and if so, how?'

    It's helped me yank out a whole lot of subjective BS to be replaced with easily enforced black and white policies, and made it so those things that are subjective are clearly called out as such.

    None of it is a behavior framework, though -- it's all an expectation framework.



  • If you wanna poke around my policy and such files, feel free as well.

    http://hotbmush.com/wiki/News



  • After poking around a bit, looking at various wikis, I think I have a simple, workable policy list. Feel free to critique and suggest, please!


    Like any game, CitD has both mechanical rules and social rules. The mechanical rules are covered on the Systems page. These are the social rules for the MUSH. We aren’t going to set out a penal code for offenses, but be aware that we reserve the right to temporary or permanently site ban anybody who violates these rules at our discretion. Honestly, we’d rather spend time working on the game or playing it than rules lawyering.

    Everything else we’ll play by ear. Over time, we expect to add more rules to the list as players present us with new challenges and situations. Staff will adjudicate one off rulings as required and if a given topic comes up more than once or twice, we’ll work out a rule for it and add it to this list.

    Final rulings on any of the rules rests with the admin, who will strive to be as transparent, fair and consistent as possible.


    • Rule 0: We are all here to have fun.

    Players, staff and even the admin. If you are playing CitD, we want you to have fun. And we want you to have fun together. Everything in these rules is designed to facilitate Rule 0 for as many people as possible for as much of the time as possible while still keeping the MUSH playable.

    • Rule 1: Be an adult.

    Both literally and figuratively. City in the Dark is likely to contain occasional scenes of graphic violence, supernatural horror, themes of alcohol, tobacco and drug use, criminal activity and the occasional sex scene in private areas. For those reasons, we must demand that the players be 18+, the characters be 18+ (as well as looking 18+ and being mentally capable of consent) and the OOC standard of behavior be at least marginally mature.

    • Rule 2: Don’t do anything to screw with the smooth operation of the game.

    Which is to say, even if you do know how to bog down the soft code, screw up the wiki or otherwise cause harm and frustration to the game and its players, don’t do that, please. This also includes OOC behavior that is problematic but doesn’t rise to the level of individual harassment, like parking a character in the OOC area to complain about the game and/or other players. See Rule 0. If you’re not having fun with the game, then CitD is probably not a good fit for you.

    • Rule 3: Respect one another's privacy.

    Staff isn’t going to spy on you or reveal other player’s (or staff) alts to you or engage in doxing and we expect you to extend the same courtesy to other players and staff. That having been said, we’re not the internet secret police. If you feel the need to complain about us on other games and sites, we’re not not going to try to moderate your behavior elsewhere.

    • Rule 4: This is a collaborative game. Talk to each other to work things out OOCly.

    Try to communicate with one another. If a simple OOC conversation would clear up a potentially OOCly unpleasant situation, please make an attempt to work it out among yourselves and/or bring in staff to try to help facilitate conversation.

    However, when one or more parties feels like communication is no longer useful, see Rule 5.

    • Rule 5: Don’t harass, stalk or abuse other players or staff OOCly.

    If somebody tells you not to bother them with OOC communications, stop. If they ask you to stop page them, stop paging them. If a staff member makes a decision you don’t like, kick it up the line to the admin, if you must, but once that staffer indicates they are done discussing the ruling, stop. Don’t use alts to do this. Don’t use your wiki page to send snarky messages. Don’t continue the dispute on channels. Just don’t.

    • Rule 6: Don’t cheat.

    Even if you a know way to fudge the dice rollers, a way to modify your +sheet or otherwise skirt the intention of fair play, please don’t do this. This includes staff giving preferential treatment, mechanical advantage or privileged information to other players or using it for their own alts. And for our purposes, anything a staffer knows that the players generally don’t is privileged information.

    • Rule 7: Keep it Rated R in public.

    No sex scenes in public areas, no posting logs with sexually explicit material to the wiki, no sexually explicit links on MUSH channels or boards or on the wiki and no unsolicited pages or messages with links to that content. Graphic violence is something that is going to happen occasionally, but try to keep it on the side of an action movie or mainstream American horror movie if the scene is in public.

    • Rule 8: No rape.

    Not as a plot element. Not as a background element. We get that this is among the wide spectrum of bad things that happen in the world, but in terms of online gaming, the baggage that comes with this particular bad thing far, far outweighs the story value.

    • Rule 9: ICA=ICC.

    In character actions equal in character consequences. Or, to put it more simply, by having your character step on the grid, you agree that they will participate in the ongoing story of the MUSH and that any actions they may take and/or scenes in which they participate may have story consequences for that character.

    That could be as severe as character death or picking up stress and/or consequences, developing IC rivalries and hatreds or ending up on the wrong side of City Hall or other powerful NPCs. If your character gets into a situation that is over her head, you’ll be expected to RP your way out of it, unless you decide to drop that character and work with staff to end their story.

    In the case of character death or permanent unviability (which requires player consent in FAE), we’ll work with the player to transfer over earned Milestone perks to a new character.

    • Rule 10: Plots are great. But in the interest of keeping the MUSH viable, we have the following guidelines:

    If a plot only impacts a single or small group of characters in a way that is temporary, no staff interaction is required. (Examples include a mistrunning adventure that doesn’t include a game-changing artifact discovery, a private battle between mystery men and gangsters, a murder mystery involving an NPC victim, etc.) We strongly encourage logs of these kinds of plots, as they can often lead to ongoing stories run by staff for your characters.

    If a plot impacts a single or small group of characters in a way that is permanent (and may require +sheet adjustments), please make sure to submit a summary of the plot and the effects thereof via +request, so we can both stay abreast of goings on.

    If a plot impacts the game at large (Tesla’s wall comes down, the Shadow Council goes to war with City Hall, the nature of magic or science changes in the city, etc.) we require intimate involvement and approval from the staff. Please submit a plot +request and we’ll work with you, if possible. If not, we’ll explain why that plot won’t work. These plots must always be logged and overseen by staff.


  • Admin

    @Collective My only comment is... you are preaching to the choir. This is too long.

    The people you'll reach are those who'd already adhere to it. The rest won't read it because, well, it is too long. So it's likely to become more of an after-the-fact link to point someone to as you're chastising them ("we SAID don't cheat, look at rule #6!") than something that acts as a deterrent.

    Except for the sex stuff, those may need to be explicitly said and players may legitimately not know they are or aren't supposed to do it.


  • Coder

    @Collective

    I could put on my 1998 Musher hat and tear your ICA=ICC rule to so many ribbons that even a stripper would question putting them on. I say this because it's a peeve, because as recently as The Reach have I seen people defend their OOC vendettas with that tired phrase.

    I know you mean well, I just never see that going well.

    To me,what you're going for is "be loyal to the setting, theme, and other characters, be loyal to the story, play the game as a living world". Apocalypse World phrases this better, but I don't have it on hand at the moment.



  • @Arkandel

    That makes sense!

    I can probably drop Rule 0 and Rule 5 entirely.



  • @Thenomain

    Another good point. Hm. I'll see if I can reword that to something more modern and less stark.


  • Admin

    @Collective While you're at it, one more piece of advice - although @Sunny already mentioned it among other things.

    Only have rules you can enforce. Since you won't snoop, for instance, how would you know what happens behind closed doors? And if it's reported how can you tell who's telling the truth about what happened since logs are incredibly easy to forge?



  • Ok, I removed rules 0, 2, 4 and 6 and I'm rewording the ICC rule to this:

    Rule 7: Bad things happen to characters sometimes.

    They make the occasional bad decision, circumstances turn against them and death or permanent disability happens (though this is always with player consent in Fate Accelerated). When this comes up, staff will work with the player to transfer over any earned Milestone benefits to a new character.


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