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KernalKernal, site member age 18 Feb 2020, 01:24 (281 days ago), left a comment on another user's concept post.

Highlights include:

It didn't make me think, Huh, that's a neat SCP Idea, I just read it and grew more bored of the concept with every sentence.

Don't add shit where he's "Impossible to contain." Cause then that's going to make this entire SCP just feel like a child's piece of literature. Also how the fuck would the SCP Foundation know if a Sculpture has a consciousness?

Oh boy, this is what pissed me off the most out of your Idea

I staff posted. Looking through their posting history, they have a bit of a pattern of being on the edge of too harsh. May be worth keeping an eye on.

Wishing you the best, Ocuin! I hope everything goes well for you IRL.

Re: OCuin is being educated by Truc LinhTruc Linh, 26 Nov 2020 03:53

Maybe I should clarify, before we go further.

Based on info provided, I was led to believe that the situation was one where he knew his brother was on SSSC for most if not the entirety of his brother's lurking on SSSC. Is this not the case- did he tell his brother to leave more-or-less the moment he found out, and his brother left shortly thereafter?

This, in combination with UE's post upthread and my own thoughts from the first thread accurately summarize how I feel about the situation. I reiterate that had this event been as clear-cut of a demotion case as it is being made out to be, then I would trust the staff members responsible for determining discipline at the time of the breach to have clearly recommended it to Disc and escalated the situation as appropriate. Since it was deemed not even worthy of being mentioned to staff at large, coming back and now determining that it is removal-worthy is hypocritical; at the very minimum, should discipline be deemed worthy in this case, staff at large need to have a serious conversation about information flow.

Additionally, as has been concurred by many others, I maintain that the 001 case is not discipline-worthy, and as such, has no bearing on this conversation even in the context of an alleged pattern of behavior.

A lie by omission is a lie. Pretending otherwise is idiotic.

For clarity's sake, would you mind explaining what you meant by "they lied about their knowledge of the breach"? It is my understanding that Cerastes was negligent in not reporting the breach when he immediately had knowledge of it. It is also my understanding that when asked if he knew about the breach, later on, Cerastes fully disclosed his information concerning the breach at that time. This conversation was shown by the logs provided by taylor_itkin. When you say Cerastes lied, are you referring to the negligence of not reporting his knowledge of it immediately, or is there some info I have not been privy to showing that Cerastes lied when asked or confronted that took place before the logs I previously mentioned? I am asking for that to be clarified since I was not previously aware of Cerastes lying at any point, which might affect my stance on the subject.

So I've sat a long time to figure out what to think. In order, my thoughts are:

re: The 001 issue:

  1. Cerastes could've done more to ensure that their involvement with another series was appropriately respectful and in the spirit of a collaborative website. This is not strictly a rule issue but that we must have staff members who uphold what makes the SCP Foundation fundamentally work as a collaborative project. Taking an actively being worked upon project of an author and relegating its to-be-completed finale as a footnote for one's own work is inappropriate and against the fundamental, necessary mutual respect of authors that makes the SCP Foundation function.
  2. Cerastes did in fact listen when the author was involved, did make amends, and the draft which included the passages in question was removed prior to posting. This is good, and shows a few things here. One, that the collaborative/communication aspect of the site is working- even if there are high emotions and personal investment involved, it is working. People are cooperating. Cerastes showed cooperation and collaborative faith here, and that should be held in equal measure. Two, that ultimately the consequences that were concerned by the author didn't actually occur on the site because Cerastes was willing to compromise their vision to mesh with the visions of others.
  3. In this case- Cerastes made a misstep, but then went on to resolve this misstep before it made it to the site. Based on this alone, I would recommend no action or maximum a short-to-medium censure based on the full knowledge that there will be no subsequent positive interpretation possible if this happens a second time.

re: The breach of SSSC:

  1. Cerastes absolutely failed in informing leadership as soon as they were aware that there was a significant issue with the security of a private staff-only space. In doing so, they put at risk other staff members and exposed them to potentially malicious actors. By doing this, they also undermine the belief that Cerastes is even capable as a staff member to communicate when issues arise- that is to say, Cerastes cannot be trusted to be a communicative actor in an organization almost wholly reliant on the belief that issues will be dealt with together, decided upon together, in the collaborative spirit the site is built upon.
  2. Admins and Captains aware of the breach subsequently also failed to communicate to the Disciplinary team when this breach occurred and their knowledge that it was mishandled by a staff member. While their reasoning may have very likely been reasonable at the time, they performed the same mistakes Cerastes did, and subsequently Disciplinary staff were ill-equipped to bring up the initial concern with Cerastes to the entirety of the staff body. Admins and Captains should collaborate with staff to consider the planned positions they intend to take to rectify this error in the future, such that it is understood subsequent failures of communication must have consequences to responsible parties. (I'm aware discussions to do as such are ongoing.)
  3. However, Cerastes did eventually come clean with their involvement in the breach, apologized, and there was no malice involved. Cerastes has had no formal training in security (very few staff do); this makes their particular judgement to be quite poor but not straight up unacceptable incompetency. Finally, as in the 001 issue, the subsequent consequences were not serious. No one has been harmed in the wake of this breach. Cerastes is fully aware of what they did wrong, and I highly doubt that they will repeat this mistake given that I believe they genuinely have never wished to harm staff as a body, consider staff to be their companions, and are understandably horrified with themselves that they have put their own community at risk through this.
  4. In short, Cerastes made a serious and severe misstep, that they fully acknowledge, that had the potential but not the result of grave institutional consequences. In a complete vacuum with no further considerations for any procedural mishap or other concerns, I would advocate for a removal with explicit assumption of impermanence (that is, they are welcome back after a bit of time to work on themselves/their communication style and grow) or a medium-to-long-term censure (3-12 months) (NOTE: I understand the situation is NOT in a vacuum; I'm merely using the vacuum as a way to display my reasoning process.). If disc wants to consider the ameliorating factor that is the staff institution's mishandling of communication (I believe this an entirely reasonable course of action), a medium-to-short term censure (<3/4 months) might be appropriate.

Based of the both of these separate evaluations, the overlap is for a censure of approximately medium term(2-4 months) (The Range of Most Severe to Least Severe is Full Removal up to No Action. Most Severe is a Full Removal on the basis of failure to report in of itself a severe breach of staff security and violation of implicit staff trust. Least Severe is no action on the basis of ultimately another author's intent was not harmed by the time of posting) . If we want to consider the failure of staff as an institution in investigating this as an ameliorating factor(I believe this is an entirely reasonable course of action), then a short-to-medium (<3/4 month) censure, possibly no action is not unreasonable (with presumption that there is no further positive interpretation possible on any subsequent communication mistakes).

Please note I do not currently have a personal opinion at this time; I'm attempting to deduce what I understand to be the bounds of what I would consider reasonable action based on what I am aware of. I welcome(and encourage) questioning/criticism that adjusts the bounds of reasonable action.

(Disclaimer: I don't know if the statement of short or long term censure associated with length is universal to staff as a whole, but I did want to make clear what *I* meant when I used 'short' and 'medium' and 'long-term'. Most specifically, I believe a short censure is less than 2 months, a medium term is 3-5 months (or any length of time that would cause them to likely miss eg. promotions and other major staffwide voting actions), and a long censure is 6-12 months (or any length of time that would cause them to be considered inactive staff upon returning)).

(Another note: I don't really know if taking the overlap is an appropriate action, just noting what the overlap is. It is entirely reasonable to consider the incidents compounding instead, or to simply take the more severe incident as the basis for disc action.)

Living the dream, or dreaming the life?

Speaking as one of their captains, I have followed the evolution of this thread closely. Despite the (in my mind, extremely ill-founded) arguments in Cerastes's favor, I cannot overcome one simple fact:

I have lost all faith in Cerastes's ability to uphold our standards of honesty.

Frankly, they should have been demoted after they lied about their knowledge of the breach. I privately argued, stridently, and quite aggressively, against demotion at the time- I have come to realize that that was a grevious mistake, for which I unreservedly apologize.

My hand is forced into voting for demotion. No matter how this thread resolves, I will be removing them from my team. Licensing involves too much sensitive material for someone with such disappointing failings.

Not disc, but strongly agreeing with this.
Same with UE's original post.

But the time flies, irretrievable.

I just want to add the following to my statement.

Quoting Dexanote:

I have been informed that nobody noticed that the user had joined, hung around, and left until after the user had left. Without trying to sound overly dramatic, this is basically an unreported security breach, where the private discussions of a number of staff members were in full access of a total stranger for several hours without their knowledge or consent.

I don't think we should be conflating our outrage at a leak which we were part of the problem on, with the punishment due Cerastes for their error. What do I mean by part of the problem? Someone sat with access to our chats and nobody noticed and nobody questioned it, myself included. That is collectively our fault as a whole, not Cerastes' burden. We have to be active participants in our security if we then want to cite it as a reason to get fired up. Obviously it's not collectively our fault if a technical error allowed a stranger access but the reason this was allowed to carry on for so long is.

Specific recommendations are not the purview of this thread but the fact they are needed at all is relevant and telling.

Let's be done with this. Censure Cerastes or take no action.


I've been struggling to put my exact thoughts into words over the past few days, but this post most accurately captures what I've been thinking on the matter, more specifically regarding the lack of communication between staff.

While it is significantly upsetting to me that Kirby always finds a way to write my thoughts better than me, I will second this opinion.

know I made a post upthread about the 001, but I would like to turn to the breach and the implications therein.

Also to repeat from that post, I am not disc staff.

A lot of the reasons I've seen regarding demotion from staff mentioned upthread concerns the breach of trust between Cerastes and staff as a whole. This was caused by not disclosing the details of a security breach on their own, and instead volunteering information after being asked about it at a later time.

This constitutes a breach in trust because we assume that if something like this would happen, staff would inform the people involved and it would have been taken care of without having to explicitly pursue information.

I bring up this point because one of the fears regarding a breach has to do with privacy and security. A breach affects all people in staff chat. This is important because, while Cerastes did not inform any other staff as to the breach for 12 hours, a large percentage of staff was not informed of the breach for weeks. This means that, many, many affected persons were not told that people have had access to staff conversations that had taken place. People may have wanted to change passwords or usernames or ids based on this information, but it was not passed along.

I make a point of this because we are saying Cerastes should be demoted for breaking the trust of staff. However, I posit (and I believe others agree, as indicated in UE's post), that the staff members who were aware of the breach and did not bring it to the attention of staff in general have also lost the trust of some of the staff.

If this trust is something that is so important that losing it is grounds for demotion, then it feels like we are using a double standard. Upthread, it is cited that staff are meant to be held to a higher standard, and by virtue of that, should our moderators, admins, etc be held to a higher standard than our operational and junior staff?

Right now, it appears that a significant percentage of staff do not trust the actions of disc and adcap based on the way they handled the communication around this problem, as well as the conclusions that are being reached regarding Cerastes. The thing with trust is that, it's a two way street. If we are supposed to trust adcap/disc to make the right decision when we are not looking, then it follows that they need to demonstrate that same trust in the rest of staff, which currently does not appear to be present, both as indicated by the current barriers to communication between different groups of staff, as well as the insistence that Cerastes must be censured for this transgression.

If the response to the issues brought up about staff communication should not be dealt with at an individual level, but rather a systematic level, then I believe Cerastes' case should be dealt with also systematically by implementing more clear procedures and avenues of communication for people to go through when a breach like this happens. This way we are demonstrating to all parties involved that the trust still remains from the top down. Additionally we can build trust in each other by attempting to take long lasting changes rather than claiming the loss of trust in an individual.

I am not disc staff, but I would advocate for no action to be taken at an individual level. Rather these problems should be addressed at a systematic level.

The Alchemy Department canon currently has 6 contributors: DrMagnus, mlister, Roget, Weryllium, MalyceGraves, and EstrellaYoshte. On the Alchemy Department Canon hub, there is a section at the bottom labeled "Writing for this Setting + Characters". Within that section, it is detailed what alchemy is within the canon, mentions Director Diaghilev as a character, and then the concept of the Great Seal. At the end of the section, the following is written: "Have fun, and let me know if there's any questions! ~Magnus"

There is no mention that writing about the Great Seal or any other aspect of that canon is closed. There is no mention of "I plan to write a 001 about The Great Seal, so don't write one about that." This canon is already collaborative, not a single person series.

On the topic of the actual proposal Cerastes drafted, although the name was going to be "The Great Seal", the Great Seal itself was only a minor aspect of an overall Sarkicism related proposal. As weizhong previously stated:

this proposal has almost nothing to do with the Great Seal. The story here is a Sarkic history lesson masquerading as an 001, which, given the plot of the current alchemy department works, seems to be nowhere near where Magnus seems to be going with his own finale. I think half of the problem here is the wording from one of the reviewers stating that this proposal is "stealing [Magnus's] 001," which seems far more alarming than the textual reality of what was presented in the article."

If Weryllium had written this proposal and conducted himself the same way as Cerastes here, would this even be non-disc worthy? Would we be so quick to outright delete his proposal on the basis that he stole someone else's opportunity to write it? What does being a staff member change about this situation? Do we need to create a guide detailing the proper procedures for staff members to ask for permission to write a certain article and get their article approved before posting from the canon creator? If that was an expectation, I have never heard of it and seriously doubt most of staff have ever done so to the degree that we are asking of Cerastes here. Or is the issue that we are trying link a situation where Cerastes made a previous mistake and it was believed that he did not receive the correct punishment for it and then act like the proposal has anything to do with that previous mistake?

This is all ignoring the fact that Cerastes did attempt to reach out when he didn't have to, and when gotten back to, decided to remove the entire Great Seal reference when he didn't have to. And what happened to the idea that any one or all of the 001 proposals can be the true one or the false one? Why can't Magnus still write his own proposal which contradicts what Cerastes says about The Great Seal? This is of course all a moot point because Cerastes' posted article did not include The Great Seal anyways. The idea that an idea was "sniped" here is dishonest. Magnus never lost any opportunity here. Even if it was posted before The Great Seal was removed, Magnus still would not have lost an opportunity to write what he wanted to write. Where is the bad faith here?

Ah. Was he also aware that his brother didn't leave?

I'm admittedly still struggling to understand exactly why Cerastes failing to inform anyone for 12 hours is demotion-worthy, but a small group of staff failing to inform anyone else (the captain of disciplinary, the individual who deserves to know this the most, was among the staff not made aware) of exactly the same situation for almost fifty times as long does not justify disciplinary action. Both Cerastes and this group apologised very quickly. I apologise in advance for if this comes across as aggressive, but I'm legitimately trying to understand the point of view in which one apology is not sufficient, while another very similar one is. I'm aware that some staff have more experience with opsec & dealing with breaches than I do, and there may be a clear point that I'm missing, in which case I will reconsider my view.

I am currently recommending no action.

At the very least, he could've told his brother "You're not supposed to be there. GTFO now," and then only tell staff if his brother didn't comply, i.e. bare minimum of what we would expect any member of Staff to do in a similar situation

Minor point: he did tell his brother to leave.

the site has always been corroberative, so it's not unusual to build upon other works. This is, after all, how we can build impressive canons

If we want to state that we should make this into policy that no one can be expected to write an ongoing series for the site because the precedent is that it is entirely acceptable for other people to intervene, write the next chapter without the author's involvement even if they're actively working on it, or otherwise straight up hijack an ongoing project. The only reason why this collaborative environment can continue to exist is to presume people will be collaborating in good faith and that we enforce good faith collaboration behaviors. Staff need to be capable of collaborating with other authors in a way that shows how collaboration can work and clearly Cerastes wasn't doing that here. I don't think it should be excused that "well, we're a collaboration site, so of course it's fine for a staff member to be dickish when it comes to collaborating, this is exactly the standard we want to set to the community as to how collaboration works here".

Living the dream, or dreaming the life?

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