SunnyJ's Anti-Sexual Harassment Guide
Important: You can't always sniff out potential offenders before anything happens, and I try to treat everyone very well, even when I have a bone to pick with that person, so this is not a guide to keep sexual harassment 100% off your life, but what works with me to keep it 100% from growing past the point of 'Okay, now I am uncomfortable.' This worked out well with me so far, and I hope it helps someone out there.
When it gets to The Point where you are uncomfortable and things have taken a weird turn, do not dwell on 'did I do anything to lead us here'. The important thing is that you are clear, and polite, about stopping it. Start logging and reply the following: "Hey, dude, is it okay if we didn't talk or take things in this direction? I am not really comfortable with that and I would like it to stop. We good?" Most harassers will not take the hint, but the good people who are, maybe, overly excited, will. No, not everyone who wants to bone your character is a (total) weirdo.
If the person insists, then you have an issue, and while still logging (cannot reiterate enough, log this shit) you reply: "Look, I asked one, and pretty nicely. Nothing like this, at all, is happening, ever. If this is not the last time we ever talk about this, I am going to staff. Please stop."
If you have a harasser that goes on beyond that, LOG THE CONVERSATION and contact staff and send the logs. Be nice to staff, they are probably going to read some weird shit, but demand action.
If staff fails to do anything, and you have followed these steps, then leave the game, Hog Pit it, bring the logs, and go at it. There is no shame in doing everything right and being harassed.
i. Do not give your instant messaging information, or ANY personal information, to people you know for less than two months in a MU. That helps when the person reveals to be some psycho.
ii. If a game has a weird atmosphere you feel contributes to this sort of behavior, leave. The emotional stress is not worth playing a werewolf, your favorite hero or in some fictional universe you dig.
iii. Shed light on the subject. You are hardly going to get lambasted for trying to reason with a creep and failing. Moreover, letting the community know what is going on, with PROOF, is a good way to protect others, men or women.
iv. Do not go through steps 1 and 2, only to TS the person or have a sex-filled page talk with them. That will undermine the seriousness of your request and your case. If you made this mistake, you SHOULD still go to steps 3 and 4, but learn and do not repeat the mistake next time.
Did I say log everything?
What is the deal with logging?
Do people not know how to set up auto logging?
It takes 2 seconds to set it up on MUSHclient. I have literally logs of everything for the past 2 years on my laptop, across the 10+ MUs I've touched in that timeframe.
They don't take up much space, it's just text files, I promise.
Logging = Protecting yourself.
There could be a few reasons.
- People who primarily phoneMU*. Some of those clients don't log, or if they do, do so sloppily.
- Logging not working. There was a year or so, on my Macbook (before Sierra killed it entirely), where Potato wouldn't log. The logs would come up empty. I forget how I finally fixed it, but it wasn't in the help files, no one else could figure it out, and the bug I opened on it went ignored. If I wanted to log, I had to manually copy/paste.
- Similar to the first point... People who use web portals. Arx and Faradays' AresMUSH both have these and some people have begun using them more and more. They don't, AFAIK, export to logs at all.
I'm sure there's more situations where someone wouldn't / can't have auto-logging, but I don't have them off the top of my head.
@tempest An idea I had when I was mulling a game was to log every conversation in the game, encrypt it on the go with all the participants' passwords (*) and store it in a database.
If there is a complaint filed then any of the participants can concede to unlock the records (**). Then the full conversations can be shown in a tamper-free way, digitally signed and everything.
I don't know if this is creepy or not, but it takes away the he-said she-said as long as it happened in-game.
(*) Yes, a malignant coder can still get around the limitation in multiple ways but that's a given even now - all this ensures is they can't do it after the fact.
(**) Yes, malignant staff can still just ignore all the evidence if themselves or their friends are involved, but that's a given even now.
I don't log at work. I'm allowed to mush, but I really don't think logging would be a good idea.
Player logging isn't quite useless, but it's close. As wiz investigating complaints, I've received doctored logs more than once. Heck, I've received logs that were carefully doctored by multiple parties so they matched and the other singular side didn't.
Personal logs are good for your own reference, absolutely. As a reminder of what some asshat's behavior was like before so you can keep it in mind in following the other steps, boy-howdy. But as 'proof', they're not great. Game-logs, on the other hand, are less likely to get futzed with.
I'm still using SimpleMU tbh and it gives me tons of errors every time I try to just, like, leave it logging continuously
So if something happens and either its major or I can afford to just go silent I'll just dump everything in buffer to a log but depending on how long I've been connected can take 30+ minutes
Probably I should get a real client
In the small, dark places of my heart, I wonder if someone, on some game somewhere, has ever changed their @name in some small and unlikely to be recognized way, before paging someone that they're in the process of harassing. So that, if and when the victim ever brings it to staff as evidence, the perpetrator can then point to the log and say, "But look! My character's name is typoed at such and such points! This is clearly a doctored log and <victim's name> should be thrown off the game for trying to get me in trouble!"
Then I go mix myself a drink and play with my dog for a while, because after that I don't really want to be around people.
@autumn lol, wtf. Jeez.
@autumn I think that would require more self-awareness and forethought than most of the players (and staff) being talked about are prrrobably capable of.
Personally I have a decades-old policy; if I am ever on a game I come to feel I need to permanently log everything, I leave that game.
Fuck that noise.
I'm breaking my Hog Pit radio silence to suggest that this post be moved to the Mildly Constructive board.
I think it's too useful and should be made immediately available to any musher on this forum.
Thanks for taking the time, @SunnyJ
@Arkandel Move away if you want!
I used to work close to the intelligence community. There are metric ton of gamers in the defense and intelligence communities. A lot of the TLAs like it when you have military experience and know what a D20 is because it means you can follow a chain of command but can also think critically.
There are a fair number of gamers who have high level clearances where you are explicitly told to never log anything on the internet in terms of hobbies, activities, or the like. If your personal computer is ever compromised, you don't want to give anyone kompromat and pretending to be a werewolf ain't the same thing as pee hookers but still, best avoided.
Then they're fucked if they get harassed, I guess.
The rest of us can log without being "compromised" in any meaningful way.
@sunnyj Topic moved to a nicer neighbourhood!
@emmahsue I definitely understand where you're coming from and it's a perfectly valid point, but I'm not sure people need an additional reason to not step forward and contact staff about issues.
Staff may not (and honestly should not) take your log as gospel and absolute truth without corroborating facts/context/etc, but if you don't at least try and say something about being abused, the chances of the offending party getting away with causing harm to more people drastically increases.
Of course you can doctor logs, but in my experience most people don't. Heck, they don't even deny saying what they did. It's always just "But I didn't mean it like that..." or "But he/she led me on..." or "But I thought they were cool with it..." or something like that. Yes, there are genuine malicious harassers out there, but there are also a lot of people who just lack self-awareness. So you tell them "Well it's not cool so knock it off" and hopefully that's the end of it.
To @Auspice's point about the web portals... yeah, they don't log (though I think the Cheese WebMU does) but you don't need to capture a whole log. Just when it happens, copy/paste into a mail - either to yourself or to staff depending on severity. I would think this could work even for @GangOfDolls' scenario about not storing anything locally.
Worst case for a persistent offender is setting them SUSPECT. Not to just randomly snoop on them, which I would never do, but for the sole purpose of verifying the authenticity of a log that's in dispute. Obviously this will only help if there's a "next time" - you can't retroactively do it.
I'd think privacy concerns preclude any sort of pre-emptive log protection like @Arkandel is talking about. I'd considered a similar system where pages and OOCs were put into a temp buffer and you could generate a log automatically from that for reporting. But I think anything like that would freak MUSHers the heck out. It's a tradeoff between privacy and security.
For reference/feedback, here is the sort of command I had considered.
The suspect command helps you guard against OOC harassment. If someone is bothering you, you can set them suspect. This will start a running log of any private pages between the two of you, and any poses/OOC chatter when you're alone in a room with them. It does not log any other commands. If something inappropriate is said, you can then report them and the log of recent chatter will be automatically sent to staff.
suspect <name>=<on or off>