"For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, at the old ball game."
- --Jack Norworth
It is the sincere hope of staff that everyone who wants to play at Dream Chasers MUSH will be able to enjoy their time here, without any major incidents. But, as responsible administrators, we have to be prepared to address behavior issues or rule violations if and when they arise. This news file is designed to provide players with some understanding of how discipline issues will generally be handled.
There is, however, one caveat. The primary responsibility of Dream Chasers staff is to protect the game and its players. The reason for creating a process is to help with that goal, not to create a judicial system. As such, should staff encounter the rare situation they judge severe enough to warrant it:
Dream Chasers admin reserve the right to levy harsher punishments than those described below -- up to and including permanent bans -- in order to protect the game or its players.
The Golden Rule
We have one rule that we expect players to follow. We offer it in lieu of a long, detailed list of rules about how to behave:
Treat people politely and with respect.
We could offer a hundred different examples, qualifications, and statements on how to behave. We expect our players to be rational, reasonably informed adults. We expect you to not use language demeaning of any gender identities and sexual preferences, racial identities, ethnicities, and the like knowingly -- and to adjust your behavior with a sincere apology, if done unknowingly. We also expect you to state your wishes and ask your questions in a respectful, polite way. We expect you to understand how this philosophy can extend outward from these examples.
We aren't babysitters, and if you don't know how to be respectful and polite, we won't be detailing the rules to you. We're happy to discuss our reasoning behind the rules. We aren't interested, and won't entertain, trying to dissect precisely what good behavior means in an effort to circumvent being thoughtful, respectful, and polite.
Warnings are when staff ask you to do something or, more often, not to do something. It may be as simple as "tone down the profanity" or "this argument is ridiculous, please take it off public channels." Warnings can be given to individuals, to everyone at a scene, or even to everyone on the MUSH. Individual warnings do not constitute a disciplinary issue, and are not formally tracked. Warnings can be accompanied by a temporary revocation of channel privileges to stop a heated and inappropriate argument.
If players ignore warnings, or are warned repeatedly over the same issue, then they will be subject to further discipline as described below.
Dream Chasers employs a three-strike system for discipline. Strikes are given in response to major infractions, or to a history of uncorrected behaviour.
Strikes operate under four general principles:
- Players will always be informed when they have earned a strike. This prevents any uncertainty over whether players are being warned or disciplined.
- Strikes are recorded centrally to files that all admin can access. This ensures all Dream Chasers staff are aware of disciplinary matters at all times, preventing confusion or misunderstandings over how a player's case has been handled.
- Players can earn multiple strikes for the same incident. Two or even three strikes may be given for particularly egregious conduct.
- Once received, strikes do not "time out." If you earn a strike, and then six months later receive another strike, you are subject to two-strike discipline. Strikes may be removed by staff after a year of clean behaviour, but this is not guaranteed.
As players receive strikes, they are subject to additional conditions as follows:
One strike: Additional discipline at the discretion of the admin. This can include a twenty-four hour ban or losing access to channels temporarily.
Two strikes: The player receives a three-day ban from Dream Chasers MUSH. This applies to all characters, including Guests. If a temporarily banned player logs on, even as a Guest, that player will lose all of his or her characters permanently. In the event a player needs to contact the admin, they should email the application box at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three strikes: The player receives a one-week ban from Dream Chasers MUSH, subject to the same conditions as the 72-hour ban. The player is also added to the probationary list.
Players who receive three strikes are added to a probationary list for a set period of time (minimum three months). During a player's probationary period, an infraction can result in either a loss of character or a permanent ban at the discretion of the admin.
Dream Chasers staff has also subjected a number of players to pre-emptive probationary periods. This list, which numbers fewer than a half-dozen individuals, is generally restricted to people who are fine roleplayers but have a history of behavioural issues. Rather than ban these players outright, we will give them a chance to prove they are committed to conducting themselves in a manner conducive to behaving well and treating others with respect.
Loss of Character ("pfiring")
Loss of a character is intended to be rare at Dream Chasers MUSH; if a player reaches the point where they have received three strikes and violated their probation, they have demonstrated a lack of willingness to change their behaviour. Staff are more likely to issue a permanent ban than simply fire them from a particular character.
Situations where pfiring may be used as a disciplinary measure include but are not limited to:
- Inappropriate or inaccurate portrayal of feature characters. Some variation from canon is to be expected, but if a player suddenly decides Billy Lee Black is an abuser of altar boys, that player will be replaced.
- Lying or misleading admin on your application. This is also a good way to get banned.
- Exploitation of the Digger or Gunslinger systems. Dream Chasers staff have seen players at previous MUSHes attempt to reverse-engineer combat systems through repeated and entirely OOC use. In designing the Gunslinger and Digger systems, admin have made considerable effort to balance stats and abilities so that no choices are inherently more valuable than others. However, if admin determine applications have been written to exploit unintended bugs in these systems, those characters will be removed, and the errors will be corrected. The Digger and Gunslinger systems are intended to facilitate roleplay; they are not challenges to be "won."
Permanent bans are our last resort; they are reserved for players who have demonstrated through their actions that they are a detriment to the game. If permanent bans are issued, admin will explain why they were issued to the remaining playerbase.
Dream Chasers staff has also subjected a number of players to pre-emptive permanent bans. This list, which numbers fewer than a dozen individuals, is restricted to people with a long history of grossly unacceptable behaviour, or a single, extremely heinous act. In many cases, they have been banned from several other MUSHes for the same behavioural or disciplinary problems, despite repeatedly having promised to change their ways. We see no reason to trust them.
We will not be publishing this list (honestly, most of the people on it should already know who they are). If players from the pre-ban list apply, they will be informed of their bans at that time.