Community User Guide: Rules, Enforcement, Staff Team, & Community Feedback

Discussion in 'Community User Guide' started by Loki, Jun 7, 2014.

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  1. Loki

    Loki Consigliere Staff Member Re-Logic Administrator


    Rules, Enforcement, Staff Team, & Community Feedback

    Table of Contents

    Forum Culture & Rules

    As with any online community the Terraria Community employs a set of rules and guidelines that – along with objective, experienced staff members - help ensure that discussions held here are done in a respectful manner, free from personal attacks and vulgar content. Although there is a list of specific rules for certain circumstances, our community is driven by the “spirit” of the rules that is derived from the type of culture we seek to foster here. That means that the rules will not lay out every specific instance and scenario that could possibly occur. Given its critical importance, the Culture of ReLogic Communities is provided below.


    Culture of Re-Logic Communities

    Below we have laid out some cultural guidelines, and later some specifics for what might be the most typical situations. These are not meant to be all-encompassing, and it is important to note that if you keep to the following key themes in your discussions you are likely to be on the right track. We’ve highlighted a few parts that are of particular importance. The first two theme areas bear particular importance moving forward.
    • Mutual Respect: Our Communities approach each interaction and contribution in a manner that appreciates the fact that each of us has our own valid thoughts, feelings, and ideas. There is a difference between disagreement and disrespect. Debate the position, not the person.
    • Maturity: Regardless of age, our Communities strive to treat each other as we would like to be treated ourselves - as adults and as equals.
    • Transparency: Members of our Communities are free to express themselves openly and without fear of punishment – especially in regards to constructive criticism of how Re-Logic games and Communities can be improved. As long as this feedback is delivered in a manner consistent with the themes of Maturity and Mutual Respect outlined above, your voice will be heard.
    • Fun: Our Communities must never take themselves too seriously. There must always be room for humor, sarcasm, wit and general silliness: this keeps us from getting overly dramatic and reminds us of why we are here. However, when expressing humor, do not forget the themes of Maturity and Mutual Respect above – and remember that fun at another person’s expense is rarely funny.

      In short, there is no rule set that can be written that will cover all instances. If you are conducting yourself with the above outlines of Community Culture in mind, you will likely never have any issues with the Rules. If you are only focusing on the literal rules themselves and taking an “it's against the culture, I know I’m being extremely rude, but there is no specific rule written for what I’m doing, so I’m ok” stance, you run the risk of having problems. The four outlines of Community Culture (Mutual Respect, Maturity, Transparency & Fun) carry a heavier weight than specific rules around the Community Forums. It is expected that all members will read, understand, and adhere to the guidance given by the Culture and Rules – ignorance of these guidelines will not be an excuse.

      The full Culture & Rules can be found in the Community Resources section located HERE.

    Sectional Rules

    While the overall Culture & Rules do a great job of setting the tone and direction for discussions here, we understand and appreciate that certain areas of the Community have slight differences that require addressing. To that end, we have developed Sectional Rules & Guidelines for those areas. These should always be seen as additions to the overall Culture & Rules rather than replacing them. All rule threads are located in the Community Resources Rules section for easy access and are also permanently stickied within the sections to which they are aligned. A list of global and sectional rules is shown below:

    Rules Enforcement

    The Culture & Rules are simply an overarching guideline on how to go about interacting within our Community. The other elements are the Staff Team and you, the Community member. The Staff Team is the primary rules enforcement arm of our Community – it is their responsibility to handle member reports and deal with observed violations of the Culture/Rules with objectivity and sound judgement.

    More information on the Staff Team can be found in the Community Staff Team section, including expectations of Staff and how members can address any issues with Staff or Staff actions. Members are responsible for reporting any possible issues they encounter with posts, other members, Staff, etc. as well as providing their valuable feedback around how we can improve and evolve our Community.

    This section will help you understand how the reporting and rules enforcement systems work in our Community.


    Reporting Issues & Potential Rules Violations

    If you come across any posts or other content that you feel may be breaking the Culture & Rules as you use the forums, there are a handful of ways through which you can bring this to the attention of the Staff Team. Though the remainder of this section deals with the use of the actual Report function, you may always send a private message (see Private Messaging) to and/or leave a Profile Post (See Profile Posts) for any Staff Member.

    That said, the Report function is the preferred method for bringing issues to the attention of the Staff Team, as it is visible to all staff and aids in discussion and record keeping. Here are some instructions on how to use the Report function:

    Report Post.PNG

    Report Profile.PNG
    • When you encounter any content you believe to be breaking the rules, locate the “Report” button underneath the post or profile post in question (see images above) and click it.
    • Please note that while you can report any profile post, you can't report specific comments on those posts. To report comments, please report the profile post and then point out in your report that this is in regards to a comment below and not in regards to the actual profile post itself.
    • Once you click Report, the pop-up window shown in the image below will appear. This is where you can provide more information about why you are reporting this post/content.
    Report Window.PNG
    • Please take some time to put thought into your report. The information that you provide will set the initial stage for how staff approach the problem. Consider providing the following, where appropriate:
      • What rule(s) you feel are being broken here and why.
      • Any important context either in or off of the thread that you know of – for example, is this a spillover from a debate elsewhere or some other pre-existing issue?
      • Note that Report can also be used for non-violations. Examples include Title/Prefix Changes, requesting locks of your own threads, and similar issues.
    • Once your report is filled out to your satisfaction, click Submit. At this point, your report will be added to the Report Queue and will be addressed by Staff as quickly as possible. See the Reporting Handling Process & Possible Outcomes section for details as to how the rest of the process plays out.
    • If at any point you are curious as to the status of a report that you have made, please feel free to send a Private Message to any Staff Member with your inquiry.

    Report Handling Process & Possible Outcomes

    Once you submit your Report – either via the Report function or via other means of notifying a staff member, a standard process is followed to resolve the report. Staff are expected to use sound objective judgment without regard to personal bias in the resolution of reports – more on that in the Staff Team & Expectations section. Here is a broad overview of what takes place:

    Report Queue.PNG
    • The image above shows the Report Queue. This is where any reports made via the Report function will appear.
    • Once a Staff Member selects a report from the list, a report page appears displays the reported content, the reporting/reported member, and the comments made by the reporting member. Please note that even though the name of the reporting member will be seen by staff, the staff team is required to keep this information strictly confidential – and we ask that members not advertise that they reported someone else as well.
    • The Staff Member then self-assigns the report and begins to investigate the situation. Staff are asked to consider context (was there provocation, for example) and to take appropriate action around the issue and any related activity. A post does not have to be reported first to draw staff action.
    • For more difficult/unclear reports, the staff team is expected – and does – discuss the situation as a team in order to arrive at a more clear and consistent action that has undergone peer review and agreement.
    • Actions taken vary on the specifics and severity of the situation, and can include:
      • No action – there is no violation here
      • Editing of content in violation of the rules
      • Verbal warning – public/private and either to individuals or entire threads
      • Locking of threads to further comment
      • Removal of a user from a specific thread – temporarily or permanently
      • Temporary withdrawal of Profile posting privileges
      • “Cease & Desist” order between two members, including use of the Ignore feature. This may include the placement of a "Forced Ignore" between members, functionally this is identical to the Ignore feature any member can utilize, with the only caveat being that it can't be "turned off."
    • Any action taken must be documented by the assigned Staff Member – both in the report queue and in public – to allow for peer and community transparency/review.
    • If any member feels a Staff action is questionable and would like further discussion and/or appeal of that action, please see the Appealing Staff Actions section for how to do so.

    Warnings, Warning Points, and Implications

    Accounts found to be breaking the rules can receive a warning for those violations. The warning will be visible on both the post in question and on the account page of the member receiving the warning. The warned member will also receive an Alert in their “Alerts” tab.

    Warnings may or may not be accompanied by Warning Points, which will ultimately result in consequences (suspensions, termination) against that account. A list of those possible consequences is displayed below.

    Warning Post.PNG

    Warning Tab.PNG
    • Warnings can be given any point value, based on the severity and frequency of the violation. There are standard levels set for the most common offenses in order to promote consistency.
    • Warning Point Thresholds & Associated Account Actions
      • 5 Points – One Week Account Suspension
      • 10 Points – Two Week Account Suspension
      • 15 Points – One Month Account Suspension
      • 20 Points – Account Termination
    • Note that these levels are not necessarily sequential. Violations may be severe enough that Staff can move directly to account suspensions and/or termination.
    • Warning Points have expiry dates that correspond to the severity of the offense. More severe violations will stay on a member’s record longer than minor ones.
    • In addition to the Warning Points system, Staff have access to a few other account actions that can be used when issues arise.
      • Thread Ban: Staff may ban a user – temporarily or permanently – from any specific thread. The length of ban is determined by the Staff Member.
      • Profile Ban: Staff may ban a user from all profile activity – outside of viewing profiles – for a set period of time. The length of ban is determined by the Staff Member.
      • Time-Out: Staff may give temporary time off (minimum one week) without long-term points on a user’s account
    • As noted in the Appealing Staff Actions section, members have a number of avenues through which they can further discuss and possibly change any Staff actions that they feel to be in error. See that section for further details on that process.

    Terraria Community Staff Team & Expectations

    The Terraria Community is staffed by a group of dedicated, passionate, and talented individuals from within the Community. These people serve on an unpaid, voluntary basis and are here to improve the experience for everyone – from keeping the peace to the evolution of the Community to working on community projects (contests, features, etc). Without further ado, meet your Terraria Community Staff Team:

    Staff Team Expectations

    Staff Members for the Terraria Community are expected to abide by a more strict code of conduct than normal members – both in the execution of their duties and in their actions as a member. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action up to the loss of their position. This is intended to help ensure consistency, objectivity, and that our Staff Members are representing the very best that we have to offer. Those expectations are listed in the Rules and are laid out in the spoiler below. If at any point you feel a staff member is not living up to this standard, please see the Reporting Issues with a Staff Member section for how to resolve this issue. Please note that this should not be used to dispute/appeal individual actions themselves.

    • When posting – outside of your duties as a Staff – you must always remember your dual persona: you are free to be yourself, but you are also a representative of Re-Logic. As such, always consider that your words will carry a different weight and be viewed in a different light. Avoid “gray areas” if at all possible.
    • Staff should approach every member – regardless of the situation – under a banner of mutual respect, and treat them as peers. At times, members will act in ways that are not aligned with this. Staff, being held to a higher standard, must take the “high road” at all times.
    • Staff Members should never be found in violation of the rules of this site. This includes having the patience to avoid flaming in public or anywhere else on the site (PMs, profiles). If a situation comes to this point, get another Staff involved to help out.
    • Staff are expected to know the rules and culture in-depth and apply them consistently. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse.
    • Staff should also not be found breaking the TOS of any Re-Logic game, nor disrupting the peace of other players (in-game). If you choose to use the same IGN as you do on these forums, you are upheld to the same standards listed here in-game as well as the forums. If you feel you will hack, grief, whatever - you are required to use a different handle in-game than you do on the forums, and completely dissociate yourself from this other identity while on the forums.
    • Staff Members are trusted by the Devs and Community to exercise their responsibilities objectively, without regard to personal agendas. Pursuits of personal vendettas, using a Staff position to win debates, and/or treating members differently due to personal issues (both friend and foe) are expressly prohibited. Any Staff member whom feels that they cannot insure this in a specific situation should seek out another Staff to help out.
    • Actions taken by Staff should always have a clear reason that is grounded in the culture and rules. Be as transparent as possible in sharing the “why” behind your action as possible.
    • Take the time to find the root of any dispute you're settling; check post histories, read the entire argument, etc. Although you're meant to ensure that the culture and rules are being followed, always take into account shades of grey. Context is important. You are on Staff for a reason, trusted for your perceived ability to make good, appropriate decisions and are empowered to make them.
    • Never discuss staff actions in public, or advocate that anyone do so. Disputes should ALWAYS be private, and promptly taken care of. Please do not use public humiliation tactics to punish users, either.
    • Contact another mod if you're unsure of how to resolve a situation. Comment on reports, ask in staff chat, or send a PM. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
    • Finally, thank you for volunteering to take on what is often a frustrating task. Know that the leadership of Re-Logic trusts your judgement and is behind you at all times. If you have concerns, never hesitate to raise them.


    Staffing Process for the Team

    From time to time, the Staff team will need to appoint additional Staff members. Exactly what we will be looking for will depend on the needs of the Community at the time coupled with looking at the existing skillset and size of the team. Regardless, whenever the need arises to appoint new Staff members, we will follow the process laid out below. Any applicants should read the Staff Expectations before applying and ensure that their actions past, present and future are made with that and the Culture of ReLogic communities in mind.
    • Application Stage: Anyone wishing to apply for a position will be required to fill out a simple application that will allow them to provide more information about who they are, their skillsets, and motivations for wanting to join the Staff team.
    • Review Stage: After reading through all of the applications, the Staff team – along with the ReLogic Dev Team – will narrow down the list and then conduct a thorough review of the remaining applicants’ history within the Community.
    • Interview Stage: A final short list will be agreed upon after the applications and history reviews are completed. This will be in the form of a brief Q&A.
    • After all three stages, the Dev/Staff team will make their selections and welcome the new members into the team!

    Appealing Staff Actions

    Let’s face it, nobody’s perfect, and in an online Community – where many gray areas exist – differences in opinion/judgement can occur. We recognize this and want to be sure that everyone feels that they are being treated fairly, objectively, and in accordance with the rules.

    As such, we provide for multiple levels of appeal for our members if they feel that a Staff Member action was in error. Of course, if this goes beyond a simple mistake/difference of opinion and involves Staff misconduct, we have an avenue for members to report and resolve that as well.

    The following section will help you better understand how all of that works, and we hope it will resolve any potential issues that arise.


    Appealing a Warning

    There are several levels of appeal available to members. We ask that members follow the levels of appeal outlined below sequentially. Please note that the more calm/rational you are in resolving the dispute, the better. Appealing through angry rage-fueled rants will not help anything.
    • Staff Member Appeal: If you feel that a Moderator has warned you in error, simply open up a Private Message (PM) with that Moderator and calmly/reasonably explain your position and where you feel the error/disagreement exists. Hopefully, through a thorough discussion, you can come to an understanding – whether that means the warning is removed or stays. If this understanding cannot be reached, you may then move on to Peer Review.
    • Peer Review: At this stage, a member may choose to bring in other Moderators of their choosing to review the situation and actions taken – typically by inviting them to the ongoing PM with the initial Moderator. Similar to the first level of appeal, the additional Moderators may want to ask questions/discuss the situation before giving their opinion. In the end, the Peer Review Moderators will provide guidance as to what they would have done in the situation. The hope is that if multiple perspectives agree, this will reduce the chances for any biases. This is typically the highest level of review, as the Administrators and Devs will generally trust that the team will make smart, objective decisions. However, if you feel the Peer Review panel still did not resolve your issue, you may raise it with the Administrators.
    • Administrator Review: At this stage, a member may send a PM to an Admin – or simply invite them into the ongoing PM. The Admin(s) will look over the conversation, ask any additional questions, and either agree or disagree with the actions taken so far. Keep in mind that it will likely be very rare that Admin(s) will disagree with a Peer Review panel.

    Reporting Staff Misconduct

    In the event that a member feels that a Staff Member has broken the Staff Expectations/Creed to the extent that action against that Staff Member is needed, they may report this by sending a PM to any of the Administrators.

    Please note that this is a serious accusation with potentially serious consequences, so we ask that your complaint be accompanied by substantial evidence in support. All misconduct reports will be reviewed carefully and questions may be asked of both parties.

    If the Staff Member is found to be guilty of misconduct, the Staff member could be temporarily suspended of Staff duties or removed from the Staff team.


    The “Ignore” Feature – Blocking Problematic Members

    Sometimes it’s just impossible for two people to get along – it happens in the real world, and it happens in any online community. The Terraria Community understands this and provides an easy way for members to avoid those people with whom they simply do not care to deal with – the Ignore Feature. When you activate this, all of the posts from the user of your choice will not be displayed for you as you browse the forums.

    To use the ignore feature, simply follow the steps below:
    • Click on the member you wish to ignore – either their name or their avatar picture – and select “Ignore” when the popup window appears.
    • You can also Ignore members by clicking “Ignore” while on their profile page.
    Ignore Popup.PNG Ignore Profile.PNG
    • Once you Ignore a user, you will no longer see their content – though they can still see yours. Do note that you can still directly go to the ignored user’s profile.
    • You can “Unignore” a member by going to their profile and clicking "Unignore".

    Community Feedback & Evolution

    Ultimately, the Terraria Community is here for you, the fans of Terraria. As such, we appreciate any feedback to help our community evolve in the right way! We have several avenues through which members can provide feedback/ideas and work in tandem with the Staff Team towards everything from rule changes to contests to new features. Those options are laid out below, and we greatly encourage everyone to use them on a regular basis!
    • Forum Help & Feedback Section: Have a question or issue that is not addressed in this User Guide? Want to offer general feedback on a specific topic? This section exists for the community to be able to ask those questions and give that feedback. Feel free to make threads in this section in that regard.
    • Community Feedback Portal: This is a thread that is designed for transparent and collaborative discussions between community members and staff towards the evolution of the community on a number of fronts. There is no specific topic per se, rather we can discuss whatever the community desires.
    • You can also feel free to private message any moderator or administrator with your thoughts if you would rather they remain private. Any feedback given in this manner will be assumed to be confidential unless otherwise indicated.
    • As the community evolves, we will create threads in the Forum Help & Feedback section to judge the reaction to proposed rule changes/features/etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2017
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