Main Alex thread: http://05command.wikidot.com/forum/t-942000
Alex's to-do list: https://trello.com/b/HnI7gdnr/alexandra-s-todo-list [you can comment/recommend features there]
ChatOps should be familiar with the points presented in this guide, and failure/refusal to abide by them can be grounds for disciplinary action. That said: there's plenty of room for ambiguity here, and there's no need to nail people down for minor violations. These are "guidelines" for a reason.
Everything on this page has wiggle room depending on context!
- We're here to serve the users, not the other way around. This goes up front because it's probably the most important guideline. If a situation is ambiguous? Default to this principle.
- To take TroyL's phrasing: "Recognition of Duty over Eliteness:" The position of operator does not place you 'above' other users. You are not inherently better than someone without operator status, nor are you more special. You've been given the job because you've been trusted with the ability to remove threats and problems. You are not an elite, god-like user. You're a deputy. Acting like you're better than the people you're interacting with is just a good way to encourage them to regard you with contempt (and thereby, all other people in your position). Doing this is the fast track to removal, regardless of how effective you are as an OP.
- Related: We aren't here to treat people harshly. Yes, definitely, treat people harshly when it's merited. However, it is not a plus to treat people harshly by default, or to treat them harshly unless given a reason not to. If you have a short fuse, learn to step back. Rule of thumb: We don't want to terrify users.
- Examples of meriting harsh treatment: Being an asshole to other users; being creepy; directly refusing to comply with rules or op orders; ridiculous, over-the-top trolling.
- Examples of not meriting harsh treatment: Asking silly questions; being underage; having a name that violates the rules; trying to roleplay.
- We have an obligation to moderate the channel. Usually this means stepping in when you see a rule is being violated. Sometimes, it can mean booting conversations that just overwhelm the channel for hours on end.
- Avoid dogpiling. Rule of thumb: if one op clearly has the situation under control, there's no need to jump in. If two or three people are organically handling someone already, that's cool — but more people don't need to jump in. And there's usually no need for more than one or two people to handle someone.
- If an op jumps in after another op is already talking, then the first op should give the second op a quick head's up. "Hey, [OP], I've got this covered" or something similar will suffice. If you're the second op, try not to take the notification as a brush off. More often than not any updates will be forthcoming as necessary.
- As usual, none of this applies to people who are unambiguously trolling.
- Try not to undercut each other or otherwise obstruct each other. If you think an incident is being incorrectly handled, tell the op in question… but tell them in a PM or Super Secret Staff Chat. To get their attention, you can say "Hey <op>, check staff chat / PM" or whatnot. Similarly, if an an op is presently talking to someone, don't just kick them.
- Additionally: When you're on business stay on business, when you're dicking around stay that way. When an op sets a channel to +m, don't use your op to continue goofing. Don't mess around with serious bans.
- Be as clear as possible. When making official decisions or performing disciplinary actions within the chat, the operator's actions and intentions should be clear. For example, if an op wants to officially call for a stop to a particular conversation, the op should announce that their decision is an official stop order. By doing so, there is less risk of misinterpretation by users, other ops, and outside observers.
- Related: No lulzkicks. Don't kick as a joke. Only use kicks as a method of issuing a warning (or getting someone's attention — do this rarely, though, and be super clear about it when you do). or otherwise enforcing the rules of the room.
- Treat all community members in the chat fairly. Even if there are users you don't particularly care for. Don't get into petty character attacks on someone just because they have an opinion different from your opinion.
- Related: Be careful about badmouthing users. Don't talk shit about users when they aren't in the channel to defend themselves. You can talk about banned users, but try not to just shit on the departed. There's more leeway here for long-gone members, but keep it under control.
- Please don't deliberately instigate excessively disruptive discussion. We're supposed to avoid chat disruption. Especially inflammatory content can be discussed in any number of side channels. Dogpiling, overwhelming the chat, devolving into petty arguments and accusations instead of actual discussion are all things operators shouldn't encourage or participate in, in 19 at least.
- Site19's main purpose is general SCP chat. If someone comes in and wants to get a draft reviewed, or talk about a new article, an op should call attention to this discussion.
- Set up a ping list. If their client allows it, chatops should set it up so that they are pinged by "op", "ops", and optionally other similar variations. Otherwise, things get missed because nobody pinged the specific op who was online when shenanigans were going on.
- (Exception: A few ops are primarily holding their position for advisory reasons, and have no need to be pinged unless they wish. These people, however, know who they are already.)
- Do not abuse the op power for personal reasons. Yup.
- Assume good faith unless you have a reason not to. This applies especially when dealing with other ops. It's really hard to work in an environment where everyone is on edge!
Assorted Points Of Order
This is in lieu of an prettied final full guide, which has been forthcoming for months now because it's a significant expenditure of effort. This is meant to be a start.
- Be Tolerant With Newbies: Unless they really cross the line, like going on about rape/creeper shit/etc, try to be more tolerant with newbies as they try to acclimate to chat. If they roleplay a bit, be gentle. If they ask is scp real, don't call them morons.
- Roleplaying: Try to direct people to #SCProleplay instead of just telling them to stop roleplaying. (This is a suggestion, not a rule.)
- Sassing ops: Sassing or arguing with ops isn't automatically against the rules. (Which isn't to say that it's a good idea.)
- Side-channels: If someone uses 19 as a base for going and bothering other people (such as going and bothering ops in a side chat), that means they are subject to punishment in 19 too. (Pretty much that only time that's the case, except for extremely line-crossing things.)
- Otherwise, violations in side channels aren't grounds for 19 bans unless harassment or excess creepiness is going on. If it's ambiguous, discuss with other ops.
- Standard underage bans: For a 14 year old, 6 months; for a 13 year old, 1 year 6 months; for a 12 year old, 2 years 6 months, etc. You can choose to make it a full year, though. BUT: please don't use this as a punishment.
- Appealing Permabans: By default, we allow a user to appeal a permanent ban in one year. However, we aren't bound to this. We aren't obligated to allow a user to appeal ever, nor are we obligated to accept an appeal if one is given.
- However, a user can always request an appeal from the chat owner even if denied it elsewhere.
- ChatOps should be the primary posters in chat threads. In chatban threads, generally the only posters should be chatops unless someone is important enough that it merits discussion from other staff members, or unless there's something specific the other staff member has to add. This is especially important if a chatop vote is necessary on a subject.
- Ban implementation: Any op can determine that a ban is necessary, and determine the ban length. Defer to the op or ops who handled the situation directly; don't jump in and override the ban unless you're an admin or the chat owner (and even then, hesitate before doing so). A vote on a ban is ONLY necessary if there is some disagreement about how to handle the situation.
- Standardized Discipline Track: Warning (a kick always counts as a warning), 24 hours, 1 week, permanent. You can deviate from this, but that's the standard. Try not to excessively 'bargain' with users on their punishment type.
- Good reasons to be more lenient: the user's violation was out of character; the user regrets their behavior / apologizes.
- Good reasons to be more harsh: the user is consistently disruptive (line-toeing) or excessively disruptive (flamboyant assholery, trolling); the user has received multiple warnings.
- Dealing With Trolls: Many of our op behavioral guidelines do not apply to people who are unambiguously trolling. If you have a troll in the dungeon, and messing with them isn't being excessively disruptive, then go for it. So long as you are 100% sure it's not just someone being clueless.
- Note: This is typically more okay in #Site17, because 17 is a help channel and very often completely empty. Fucking around with trolls in 19, however, is usually disruptive, so try not to do it too much. Also, don't ignore people who need actual help.
- Questioning Age: Try not to use "how old are you" as a coded message for "you're being immature". If a user is acting immaturely, don't expect them to infer subtext, just tell them what immature thing they're doing and ask them to stop.
- By extension: if someone claims to be 15, but isn't 15, sure, you can question it, but if they stick to their story, dodge the pissing match and switch to pointing it's about what age you can act like. In the wise words of Bouncl: "it's not about being literally over 12. it's about not acting like a fucking 12 year old."
- Remember that questioning a user's age essentially leaves few ways out for a user who is actually stating the truth about their age, and is merely being immature. Instead of directly attacking the age, tell them that they're not acting the age they claim to be.
- Ask for an age only if needed. Operators shouldn't immediately ask someone's age unless they have a reason to do so. A reason that isn't "they just came into the chat room". Pretty much all standard reasons are fine (doofy name, is scp real, incoherence, etc). Whether to ask, or not, is otherwise up to op discretion.
- Also, users are only obligated to answer ops, and they can PM us if they wish. There is no reason any user should have to tell a non-op member of chat their age.
- Backseat Modding: You can let this slide if you think it's helpful. It's your call. If it's not being helpful, or undercutting us in some way, or otherwise being irritating, feel free to smack it down. People aren't supposed to do this unless they can both know what they're talking about AND not mess with ops doing their jobs; otherwise, it's subject to discipline.
- The Site Passcode: People are welcome to talk about the site passcode so long as they don't say what it currently is. They are free to tell people it exists and that it's in the Guide to Newbies.
- Handling Bad Newbie Names: Don't kick them before they start talking unless they have a flagrantly bad name. If they actively refuse to change their name and act stupid, then you can kick them, but cut them slack first. Make sure you tell them how to change their name if they seem confused. If they aren't understanding what you are asking, don't kick them for that.
- If they're extremely clue-free, then that tends to be a maturity issue, which overrides the name issue anyway, because being excessively immature is banworthy.
- What Names Do We Disallow? Obviously, anything with slurs. Anything with SPC, SCP, D-Class, anything that's the name of an established character or SCP. Agent and Doctor names are okay. Anything that's a constantly used word, because it fucks up clients with all the pings ("Light" and "Bright" are obviously okay, but "a", "and", and "the" are not). People with excessively long names can also be asked to change at op discretion, for the same reason (client fuckery).
- Note that any non-terrible names can be used on a temporary basis if people are just having fun and it's not becoming excessively disruptive.
- Language: General foul language is not a problem. We haven't officially flatly banned slurs, but any operator is welcome to use their best judgement on whether saying a word that is a slur is okay in a given conversation, or whether it's disruptive. Calling someone a slur which is applicable to them is never okay; and most slurs shouldn't be used to target anyone, because it's both disruptive and a sign of immaturity.
- Op Activity Requirements: If you can't be active as an op, you will likely be removed. Hopefully with no hard feelings. This doesn't disqualify you from holding an op position afterward.
- Exceptions: A very small number of ops aren't required to do anything directly with their op while they are online. The reason is that they are in advisory roles. This is usually only done for a few wiki admins who also weigh in a lot on chat, and either way this is never a very large group.
- Appeals: The person who handles an appeal should not be the person who implemented the ban in the first place. If no one is available, direct them to PM another chat operator and provide a link to the chat guide.
- Here's how appeals should work in practice:
- Appeal to an operator (who is not the operator who handled the ban).
- If there's no other op around, link them to the Chat Guide and tell them they can send a Wikidot PM to any other operator.
- Appeal to a chat admin. This is only for issues that are non-trivial.
- Appeal to the chat owner. This should almost never need to happen.
- Appeal to an operator (who is not the operator who handled the ban).
- Here's how appeals should work in practice:
- Owner: Has final say on chat issues.
- The owner CAN override anyone, but generally does not (and should not) unless necessary.
- Super-Op/Admin: If the owner is the highest court, or the president, or whatever, and ops keep the peace directly, admins fill the role in between. (Thank you to TroyL for that metaphor.)
- Admins will assist/advise the chat owner directly in creating policy and dealing with ambiguous situations.
- Admins will deal directly with issues involving chat operators.
- This also includes the chat owner, and individual admins. If there's a problem with the chat owner, go to a chat admin. If there's a problem with an admin, go to another admin or the chat owner.
- Admins can quickly, by "fiat", promote permanent half-operators (subject to review by other ops and the owner).
- Presently, this will work like this:
- Admin promotes half-operator
- Admins and ops together conduct initial review of the new half-operator after 2 weeks
- Admins and ops together conduct a final review of the new half-operator after another 2 weeks, at which time the half-operator can be promoted to full operator.
- Admins will take higher-level appeals for serious or ambiguous chat issues.
- Note: There's no need to go to admins for appeals if things are clear-cut; e.g. a newbie who explicitly trolled. If it's clear-cut and an appeal is obviously not warranted, it should not be referred to admins.
- If chat policy needs adjudication on the fly, please go to admins first. Admins will let other admins (and the owner) know. This is a shift in policy from the standard of "hang tight until you can talk to the owner".
- Note: It's still perfectly valid to simply discuss amongst two or three chatops and come to a situational consensus.
- Operator: Primarily responsible for handling chat issues. The assumed default audience for this guide.
- Half-Operator: Either an op in training, or someone who consistently and reliably helps out and is therefore granted power. Half-ops don't directly determine chat policy and can be overridden if necessary without it being a big deal.
- It's generally okay if an op steps in to handle a situation if a half-op is handling it (though not required).
- Half-ops need their bans confirmed by full ops.
- Half-ops do not automatically have access to O5 Command. There will usually be a person who can be asked to grant O5 access for logging purposes; currently this is TroyL.
- Temporary "Deputy" Half-Operator: Any op can temporarily deputize a half-operator. These deputizations can be as short as 'until an op gets active again', and shouldn't be left in place for more than a day on the outside.
The chat owner has final authority in the chat, and has final say over the application and usage of these guidelines. The current chat owner is thedeadlymoose.