Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

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Lucifer
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Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Lucifer »

Ok, I really didn't want to have to start this thread, but talking to Light in the other thread has led me to make this post. So, you should read those posts in the other thread, but shouldn't be necessary.

The question is, what do the Player Police have to do? What can they do, and what do we expect them to do?

I believe that as a mission statement, Player Police should be there to ensure that everyone has access to the game and can play it, and have fun if that's going to be their experience.

What does this mean?

For new players, particularly those joining a team game, the Player Police would not allow other players to boot someone from a server simply because they don't know how to play the game. Instead, players should help the new players. Player Police would do whatever they can to ensure that game servers are friendly to new players, and we're obviously looking at Fortress servers as the main offender here.

Trolls would be banned, of course. They do nothing but hurt the game and the people trying to play it. But what constitutes a troll vs someone who legitimately feels what they express?

The answer is it doesn't matter. If someone comes in with racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic language, they get kicked. If they come back and insist on behaving that way, they get banned for awhile (like an hour, a slap on the wrist).

If a player cop encounters two players that hate each other and can usually play with each other, but this time they happen to be feuding, I'd expect the cop to ban both of them for a small interval, like 30 minutes, to calm down.

If someone is attacking the server (a DOS or DdoS or something like that), the cop needs to be able to contact the server admin and let them know about the attack. The server admin is the one who has to work on that problem, at that point.

If a server is found to be phishing for passwords or otherwise trying to exploit players, then anybody can, but especially a cop should, bring this up on the forums so we can consider a master server ban. We have done this in the past, and we are willing to do it again. We'll need evidence, of course.

So, these are all things that I'm pretty sure we all agree on. But there are grey areas, like what level of swearing is acceptable, what kind of jokes are really sexist/racist/whatever, etc. How do we expect our cops to behave in those situations? That's what this thread is about.
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Word »

When we reach grey areas, let there be a PM trial of all active mods?

The only thing I didn't see being asked or answered yet is this: How do we keep the cops in check? Obviously the higher ranking ones would have more authority than the lower ranks. But given that we are such a small community, wouldn't it make sense to always have a PM trial about every potential case of power abuse?

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Light »

So, not sure if this is off topic, but in my opinion, we should have this global moderator status extend a little if we're going to consider it "official". I would think that if you're a GM, you're mod on the forums and in-game. Of course, this would likely only be your top ranked mods, and I'm not sure if it would be difficult to keep up with Tank not always being around. I assume it wouldn't change very often though, so maybe something to think about?

That would also start us off with a few mods appointed by default. Luci, Tank, Z-Man, and dlh I believe. I know it's not a very active group of users (in-game), but may be willing to hop in a server and help you out, and often around on the forums or IRC.

Servers considered official (hopefully a small group of servers) I think should also be put at the top of the server list, and maybe even slightly separated by a gap so it's more of a first choice for new players. Obviously, the rest of us can just look at the list starting at the gap if we player other servers.

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Lucifer »

Word wrote:When we reach grey areas, let there be a PM trial of all active mods?

The only thing I didn't see being asked or answered yet is this: How do we keep the cops in check? Obviously the higher ranking ones would have more authority than the lower ranks. But given that we are such a small community, wouldn't it make sense to always have a PM trial about every potential case of power abuse?
In general, I'm going to be against PM trials. If it comes down to a "trial" of some sort to determine if a person has to be removed from the Player Police, I think that should be public. However, there is a distinct rank system in my proposal from the other thread that I'll go now and grab.
Lucifer wrote:
  • A Deputy has access to kick and kill commands, but cannot ban anybody. They also only have jurisdiction on the server they're in at the time, meaning they can only enforce activity they see.
  • A Sheriff has access to bans, but like the Deputy, only has jurisdiction over activity they see.
  • A Detective has full moderator access, but has jurisdiction over all servers that subscribe to the system. That means that if something is happening in a server and there's nobody around to deal with it, a player can go find a Detective anywhere they can, be it another game server, these forums, the irc channel, or even a phone call, and ask them to come into the server to deal with the problem. A Detective has investigational powers to use as needed for the cases where a problematic person manages to escape before the Detective shows up. He can ask for log files from server operators, and server operators must give them. Detectives are awesome, we want lots of them, but we want to ensure that they are good, as well.
I believe Detectives would be considered in a supervisory role over Sheriffs and Deputies, and Sheriffs would be considered in a supervisory role over Deputies. Problems that can be resolved without a trial should be resolved internally and in private. It's going to be important that the Player Police project a united front and at least appear to support each other publicly, even if they're quietly fighting in PMs.

As for accountability, I just wrote up a description of the database I thought up earlier, and one of the tables I want is an Activity Log. I think the Activity Log should be publicly viewable, although I'm not sure how much of the information should be in it. At the very least, the Cop that did the activity, the player that received it (in case of a ban), and what was done, and why. However, if it makes more sense to keep it private unless information in it is needed, the Cops themselves would still be able to read it and check on each other.

The ultimate check is that the Player Police would be under the jurisdiction of the Evil Triumvirate, and I'm pretty sure none of us three are planning on dominating everybody's game server, and if we were, I'd hope the Cops would stage a coup.
Light wrote: we should have this global moderator status extend a little if we're going to consider it "official". I would think that if you're a GM, you're mod on the forums and in-game. Of course, this would likely only be your top ranked mods, and I'm not sure if it would be difficult to keep up with Tank not always being around. I assume it wouldn't change very often though, so maybe something to think about?
Tank can usually be dug up in IRC, but the only Player Police I could see making the moderator list on the forums are the Detectives. I made Deputies and Sheriffs relatively powerless intentionally so that we would have much lower standards for who can do those rules, allowing us to make more people available in the hopes of providing more coverage on more servers. Detectives are going to be people like Light, Word, and sinewav, people we already trust to do that sort of thing, and may require both a majority community vote and triumvirate vote. But anybody who wants to help can qualify for becoming a Deputy, because all that's required is a willingness to help. Then they get out there and show they can handle the responsibility and we consider making them a Sheriff, and you can see where this is going.

If the Player Police are able to create the situations in the servers that employ them that we believe they will be able to create, then the community may very well start growing again.
Light wrote: That would also start us off with a few mods appointed by default. Luci, Tank, Z-Man, and dlh I believe. I know it's not a very active group of users (in-game), but may be willing to hop in a server and help you out, and often around on the forums or IRC.
There's also epsy, and I hope to add Light to the list at some point.
Servers considered official (hopefully a small group of servers) I think should also be put at the top of the server list, and maybe even slightly separated by a gap so it's more of a first choice for new players. Obviously, the rest of us can just look at the list starting at the gap if we player other servers.
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I'm on the fence on the right number of official servers, but I don't want there to be so many that players can't see that there are other servers. But besides that, the plan for 0.4 is to show them first and make a clear distinction between them so that unwitting new players don't wander out into the swamp unawares.
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Word »

Yes, that looks like a better idea to me as well. Thank you very much, Lucifer. :)

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by vov »

Lucifer wrote:I'm on the fence on the right number of official servers, but I don't want there to be so many that players can't see that there are other servers. But besides that, the plan for 0.4 is to show them first and make a clear distinction between them so that unwitting new players don't wander out into the swamp unawares.
Perhaps as a kind of default/additional sorting criterion for the server list? That's how I can imagine it doing pretty well.

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Ratchet »

I don't play ever, really. However, if I were still actively playing and familiar with the current playerbase, I'm inclined to believe that I would disagree with global moderation in-game. Basically, there are a lot of shitbags in the world. What's going to happen is the wrong people are going to weasel their way into power and use it to harass the people they don't like.

If this existed when I had played, I probably would've quit a lot sooner. I don't need babysitting and if I want to spew some senseless bullshit out from time to time, I don't need to be spanked. IMHO, the only thing that needs to be filtered out is the ignorant spamming and the "go kill yourself, n*gger" crap. Don't turn this into a game catered to 8 year olds
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Light »

Ratchet wrote:I don't play ever, really. However, if I were still actively playing and familiar with the current playerbase, I'm inclined to believe that I would disagree with global moderation in-game. Basically, there are a lot of shitbags in the world. What's going to happen is the wrong people are going to weasel their way into power and use it to harass the people they don't like.

If this existed when I had played, I probably would've quit a lot sooner. I don't need babysitting and if I want to spew some senseless bullshit out from time to time, I don't need to be spanked. IMHO, the only thing that needs to be filtered out is the ignorant spamming and the "go kill yourself, n*gger" crap. Don't turn this into a game catered to 8 year olds
Strangely enough, I disagree with you. I think that having official servers with some decent moderation is a good thing. It will make this game, which by design isn't aimed at any age range (in my opinion), friendly to basically everyone. Having a few official servers is not going to stop people from hosting the other 100 servers, and what ever they want to enforce in their servers is what will go (as it is now). I wouldn't personally use the global moderation in my server since shit talking and trolling isn't something I'm completely against, though if it's overly annoying or interfering with gameplay for people, then something would be done. I'm not too big into the whole PC thing, but having a place where people can play without the trolling and whatnot isn't a bad idea. Many games play this way, and I'm almost always in the user-hosted servers so the only thing that's really banned is hacking.

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Ratchet »

Sure. But, there are considerably fewer active players than in the past.

Although not explicitly claimed, the ultimate expectation of these 'official servers' is for them to become the primarily played servers. No one has outright said that, of course. As you've stated, there are already plenty of servers around. With the vast majority of them unoccupied, why did the conversation come up to create more servers? Well, the users weren't doing a good enough job at choosing which servers they wanted to play in so we need to provide them a "suggestion."


On the other thread that complains about Durf's removal, you talked about the concept of letting toxic players stick around because otherwise the playerbase is significantly smaller. So, now we're facing a situation in which a toxic player can openly choose whether they want to play in an official server and get banned or if they want to play the same ol' servers and troll away.

Which, of course, raises the question: do you really want to half what is left of the users?


And I'd still bet money that at least one appointed moderator is going to abuse his/her/its power and use it to harass someone.
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by ConVicT »

Ratchet wrote:So, now we're facing a situation in which a toxic player can openly choose whether they want to play in an official server and get banned or if they want to play the same ol' servers and troll away.
Then they'll be playing with their own kind; anyone who actually wants to play the game (not troll) will be happy these idiots are banned.

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Lucifer »

Light wrote:I wouldn't personally use the global moderation in my server since shit talking and trolling isn't something I'm completely against, though if it's overly annoying or interfering with gameplay for people, then something would be done. I'm not too big into the whole PC thing, but having a place where people can play without the trolling and whatnot isn't a bad idea. Many games play this way, and I'm almost always in the user-hosted servers so the only thing that's really banned is hacking.
Also, the system is designed to allow Light to use the system, but modify how he uses it, so he can pick up a few more moderators while limiting what they can do, and then provide his own guidelines. He could decide not to use the global banlist, and give Detectives the ability to ban in his server, for example. If there are particular Detectives he doesn't think are good for his server, he can strip their powers completely. It's his server, his choice.

It's more like the International Criminal Court, where any country can invite them in and provide guidelines on what they're going to do, but only the countries participating in the court (our official servers) are under their complete jurisdiction.
Ratchet wrote: Although not explicitly claimed, the ultimate expectation of these 'official servers' is for them to become the primarily played servers.
Actually, back when we first started talking about official servers, the expectation was that they'd be there for new players to ensure that new players have the best possible experience. Player Police and official servers are inherently linked, and are intended specifically to provide a safe space for new players. The expectation is that when a player has become reasonably acquainted with the game, they'll move out of the official servers and go look for something better.

If, as has been stated by a number of people, these measures cause the community to start growing again, you won't have to worry about whether or not you find players on non-official servers. You'll only have to worry about finding a server to play on.

So, among the topics not yet breached here, what specific behaviors are the Player Police going to target?

Personally, I think we should be lax about swearing and trash-talking, as long as it's kept friendly and competitive. If it gets personal, that's when the Police should act. Politics, religion, the usual controversial subjects, will be allowed, of course. The general approach is "If you're not hurting anybody or hurting anybody's gaming experience, you can do what you want."

Remember that the main problem being addressed is new players showing up on a Fortress server, or a high rubber server, and getting booted when they "don't play right". On the official servers, the only "right" way to play is what can be enforced by the game server. So there won't be a dogfight server, but there will be a last-man-standing server. New players play the LMS server and later, if they find they enjoy dogfight, they'll be able to manage their first contact with that group of players. New players on the official Fortress server will be expected to be mentored and not booted, and anybody trying to abuse the new players will be banned. If you want to play fortress in a more competitive server, don't play on the official server.
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Monkey »

I'm very pleased with the way this is turning out and I can't find anything Lucifer has said that I don't agree with. Certainly, I believe that having the Triumvirate at the top level is key to making this work. Even if we have PM votes (which I'm also not always that fond of), the Triumvirate should always make the final decision.

One question I have is where do we put the rules for players to see? I think we should make use of the MOTD as an introduction to the rules but also every server should have a /help or /rules or something so that people can refer to them whenever they need to. At the end of every round, there could be a quick reminder that /help or /rules exists. Is this plausable to do for every official server?

Another question I have is how skilled should new players be before joining official, multiplayer/online games? Are we ok with having someone, that has never played the game at all, coming into an official fortress server and joining in? Do we expect some basics to have been developed in local mode or by using the tutorials, or not? I'm guessing the answer will be that anyone can join in, no matter how well they know the game, however maybe we need to discuss it because if a new person comes into fort and gets their ass kicked and gets told to do lots of things they don't understand, they may well not come back, even if they are treated nicely. Maybe we could have a simple difficulty rating system that tells you the basic level of knowledge/skill *recommended* in order to play. This way, a person completely new to the game would probably start in a standard LMS server while someone who has played a good deal of local play could go straight to sumo/fortress, if they so wished.

My final question is what kind of physics are we going to allow or not allow in official servers? In my opinion, they should all be low rubber and high cycle delay because anything else is not only nonsensical but also detrimental to increasing our player base, however I'm sure some people will disagree with me. We could really do with at least one, standard, LMS server that uses fort/sumo physics (I think Armagoshdarn used to be roughly like this). This would not only provide a fantastic, standard LMS server to play on but would also give people some of the basic skills for fort/sumo.
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by ConVicT »

Monkey wrote: Another question I have is how skilled should new players be before joining official, multiplayer/online games? Are we ok with having someone, that has never played the game at all, coming into an official fortress server and joining in? Do we expect some basics to have been developed in local mode or by using the tutorials, or not?
This is one of the main reasons I decided to start hosting fortress. New players aren't given a chance, or get any help from anyone.
Everyone who knows how to play fortress seem like trolls themselves to these players.

Code: Select all

Player 1: Why was I banned to spectator???
Player 2: You're not grinding at the start.
Player 1: What is grinding?
Player 3: if you don't know, get out noob!
Now a poll is started. If this new player isn't a troll at all, they think fort is full of assholes and never return.
Result - Dead game

I've seen this happen many times, but not only that, it happened to my gf (who calls herself KezX in-game), and I was enraged by it.
I said to her "just watch for the five rounds that you're suspended and see what everyone does (mainly at the start of a round).
As soon as KezX got back in (no round even played yet), there was another poll to suspend.
This made both of us leave, and that's only my little story about fort. Most people who don't play fort probably have their own.

Everyone thinks that spectating is a good way to learn fort; It can be, but not for everyone.
Some people learn by doing. Some people wouldn't know what it is they're supposed to be watching for. There's a variety of reasons why watching something doesn't exactly teach you what you're 'supposed' to do.

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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Lucifer »

Monkey wrote:I'm very pleased with the way this is turning out and I can't find anything Lucifer has said that I don't agree with. Certainly, I believe that having the Triumvirate at the top level is key to making this work. Even if we have PM votes (which I'm also not always that fond of), the Triumvirate should always make the final decision.

One question I have is where do we put the rules for players to see? I think we should make use of the MOTD as an introduction to the rules but also every server should have a /help or /rules or something so that people can refer to them whenever they need to. At the end of every round, there could be a quick reminder that /help or /rules exists. Is this plausable to do for every official server?
That's a good question to take to the other Player Police thread. :) However, I believe we'll have an article on the wiki, prominently linked, as well as a sticky here (the official servers should get their own area, so the sticky should be there). The sticky thread should include discussion, with the first post and the wiki article being updated as the rules evolve.

If we have the capability to put the rules in-game, we should. The MOTD should at least include a summary of rules and the url for the wiki article.
Another question I have is how skilled should new players be before joining official, multiplayer/online games? Are we ok with having someone, that has never played the game at all, coming into an official fortress server and joining in?
I'm going to go with "no particular amount of experience needed", based on the number of fort players we picked up back in the day who only ever played fortress and never set foot in any other servers. It's possible for someone to start with fortress, if the environment is good and friendly.
My final question is what kind of physics are we going to allow or not allow in official servers? In my opinion, they should all be low rubber and high cycle delay because anything else is not only nonsensical but also detrimental to increasing our player base, however I'm sure some people will disagree with me. We could really do with at least one, standard, LMS server that uses fort/sumo physics (I think Armagoshdarn used to be roughly like this). This would not only provide a fantastic, standard LMS server to play on but would also give people some of the basic skills for fort/sumo.
Official servers should be chosen based on several criteria, where one of them is simply "how fun is the server?". Obviously the server also has to already exist when the admin proposes making it an official server, because you can't have a nonexistent official server. I don't see a particular problem with high rubber servers being official, but I know that I'll always vote against one.

Ironically, the fort/sumo physics came from Breakfast servers. I think Z-man told me one time that he actually went in to my server and stole the physics from there when he was setting up Bugfarm. It was either mine, or Swampland, that he tapped for those physics. Goshdarn was slower, with less rubber. But the Breakfast servers were based on it. Same game rules, same cycle trails, same grid size. Eggcozy just doubled the speed and rubber, and tweaked acceleration.

However, it's worth noting that the two periods where Armagetron had its biggest growth were when Breakfast servers dominated the server list, and when Fortress and Sumo came around. Since they all had roughly the same physics, we definitely want to have those physics prominently featured. I'll be personally offering a Breakfast in Hell reboot as an official server. You know, whenever I get around to setting it up again (I had it up for awhile, then changed out my TV's computer and haven't set it up again yet).
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Re: Player Police 2.5: Policies and procedures

Post by Monkey »

Lucifer wrote:fort players we picked up back in the day who only ever played fortress and never set foot in any other servers. It's possible for someone to start with fortress, if the environment is good and friendly.
I am one of those players. I developed some basic Arma skills by playing local games, then, as soon as I tried multiplayer/online play, I fell in love with fortress instantly. All other servers I tried, except for sumo, I didn't really like. The fortress server environments back then were friendlier than now, however, I still got kicked several times (by FoFo would you believe :P). I'm quite a tough cookie though, so I continued to come back and play and learnt the ropes.
Lucifer wrote:I don't see a particular problem with high rubber servers being official
I'm going to be controversial here and say that I do. I believe that high rubber servers (including fast track servers) and servers where you must play "loose/open" are detrimental to our user base. At the moment, these kind of servers dominate the game. I believe that many people, who try this game out, enter these kind of servers and what they experience there turns them off this game forever. I can certainly state that had this been the case when I started playing, I too would have thought a lot less of this game and I might even never have come back. I should add that I class Yellow Submarine as a server that should never be made official, despite it being not quite as bad as some of the others. I still believe it's settings are just wrong (rubber too high and cycle delay too low). I'm sure I'll get some abuse for saying this :P.
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