You are joining a community meant for independent collaboration in the creative writing that is role-playing. We expect everyone who joins an open collaborative community like this to be cooperative, community-minded, and be a contributor to the positive atmosphere we aim to achieve. This is a large community, and we need those who enjoy our community to understand and respect that no one individual person’s position is more important than the collective whole of the community. In return for the open role-play settings, features, and everything our community offers to the public, we expect community members to adhere to the following rules:
- Negative Disruptive Behaviors. We do not tolerate negative or disruptive behaviors in our community, including but not limited to any spam, hate speech, harassment, bullying, instigating and inciting arguments. This includes behaviors like ignoring and disrespecting moderation, making attention-seeking posts, bandwagoning negativity, call-outs, and other behaviors that divide rather than unite the community. We consider ourselves a safe space for diversity, and we aspire to provide opportunities for social betterment, not exclusion and division. While positive constructive collaboration is encouraged, we ask that you keep negativity and pessimism out.
- Controversial Discussion Topics. While we are a liberal-leaning community and support many liberal causes, we discourage discussion of potentially controversial topics in public channels, including but not limited to politics, movements, and current events, as we would like to avoid a community with the purpose of collaborative creativity from being pitted against divisive discourse. We have a moderated private opt-in channel for serious discussion; however, we have zero tolerance for divisive arguing in all cases. We define controversial topics as any topic that may give rise to public disagreement.
- Self Promotion Guidelines. We do not permit unsolicited messaging to community members, and we do not permit posts for personal fundraisers; however, we do allow community members to post links to public third-party professional websites and platforms when sharing goods or services, including art portfolios and stream channels. Any transactions between community members for goods or services should occur outside the server as our team does not take responsibility for any problems that arise with transactions between community members.
- Spoiler Warnings. Please be cognizant of spoilers relevant to community members. While we consider spoilers any new content that has just been released subsequent to prior content, for example, the current patch of Final Fantasy XIV, if someone in the community is new, avoid spoiling the content they’ve yet to experience. Keep all content like this in the spoiler channel. It is good practice to use spoiler features on potential spoilers including a brief description of the spoiler users will uncover if they click the blocked image or text. For example, you might post “Crystal Exarch’s Identity” and spoiler an image that if clicked will show Crystal Exarch’s identity.
- Freedom of Muse. We are a community that promotes appropriate degrees of cooperative plausibility, flexibility, and even disregard of lore to allow players to focus on the collaborative creative writing of role-playing. Everyone has their own creative writing interests and approach on role-playing that must be respected. We ask everyone to respect these rules of engagement to help keep a healthy balance that promotes personal creativity and growth as an author.
- a. Use Disclaimers. Not everyone shares the same preference in how the lore of the role-playing environment is handled, so it is important to communicate how you are using the setting and the lore in your scene to players that may join you in your storytelling.
- b. Obtain Permission. Consent is imperative when having an impact on other characters or settings. Any time you intend to write a scene that impacts another player’s character, explain what you plan to do, your intentions, and obtain that player’s permission beforehand. Role-playing is a team activity. Godmodding and powergaming are generally not acceptable in role-playing scenes without consent, so play it safe and always collaborate with your scene partners, even if it means spoiling some surprises.
- c. Respect Scenes. Just as you should not stand up and make a scene when exiting a movie theater if you decide you do not wish to watch the rest of a movie, you should respectfully, quietly, and privately withdraw from any scene you no longer wish to participate in, and do so in the least disruptive manner possible to respect those remaining in the scene.
- d. OOC Bleed. Separating the fantasy of role-playing from reality is both healthy and important to us on a community level. While we encourage players to write what inspires them, this does not mean it is okay to treat and perceive your in-character interactions in out-of-character ways. There are a large variety of themes that may invoke various feelings both positive and negative; however, it’s imperative that all in-character interactions are presumed to be in-character only. Role-playing might appear to be an escape from reality; however, we’re all authors writing a fictional story in a fictional world, so please remember that. This also means you should never assume something in-character is meant out-of-character, and vice-versa.
- e. Resolve Problems. Address issues immediately. If a problem arises in role-playing, we ask that you immediately stop the scene, go out-of-character, and seek clarity by discussing the situation with everyone involved in the scene in a civil and respectful manner. Clear communication is key. Do not carry assumptions through and after a scene, and do not wait until the scene is over to address the issue.
- a. Addressing Personal Disputes. The first step to resolving any problem is communication. If someone is doing something you don’t like, you need to communicate with them about it. People can’t be expected to know that something is bothering you if you don’t talk to them. If you have made a clear attempt to discuss the issue, and the issue still persists or can’t be resolved, you have every right not to interact with them; however, please be aware that unless it involves a breach of our rules and you have direct objective documented proof beyond a “he said she said” scenario, moderation team is not going to take any action.
- b. Addressing Rule Breaking. Moderation follows an objective process of equity, fairness. Our moderators are part of our community, but are required to take an objective and rule-adhering position when handling matters with the community meaning they must set aside any biases and act uniformly when taking action. When you report a rule violation to moderation, we will ask if you’ve followed the steps outlined by the rules, we will ask for proof in the form of logs, and we will share logs with both the moderation team and the individuals involved. Individuals will be given an opportunity to provide further logs and answer questions if asked by moderation to understand the situation before making a determination. Moderation actions have different tiers of outcomes depending on the issue at hand and moderation history. Understand that there is a process, and when moderation is contacted, you do not get to choose how the report is handled or the outcome.
- I. Informal Warning. The player will receive a direct message with details of the rule that was broken, or caution regarding a rule that may be broken, if certain action or behavior continues. An informal warning is advisory but may still be logged and noted as such if so.
- II. Formal Warning (No PIP). The player will receive a direct message with details of the rule that was broken, how to comply going forward, and the warning will be logged on our database. This does not include a Plan in Place (PIP) to follow.
- IV. Final Warning. The player will receive a direct message individually or via a group discussion channel with one or more of the community team. The final warning will be logged, including a recommended action if unresolved, usually a temporary removal or ban depending on the situation. The final warning will also include an updated or new PIP that will be mandatory. Further infractions generally result in instant action without further warning or notice.
- V. Removal. Generally reserved for special situations requiring removal, or moderation for egregious acts. The player will receive a direct message individually regarding the decision and reasoning by the community team. Removals are generally either a kick or a ban, temporary or permanent, and are logged in our database.
Active Visible Participation. We require team members to be active on a regular basis which is achieved through meaningful social engagement and event participation with the community. We ask team members to make a concerted effort together to interact with members who are not as active in the community to encourage more broad engagement. We expect team members to be active at least weekly in chat, provide positive and constructive contributions to team decision-making, and participate or lead in at least 2 social activities per month (chatting with the community or being involved at community events) to keep ties with the community and make sure the community gets to know you.
Contributing Community Growth. We expect team members to actively perform recruitment efforts on a regular basis, preferably weekly, either independently or together as a group. Joint recruitment efforts between team members will fulfil this expectation. The minimum expectation is that the total collective effort between all team members will result in weekly growth equal to the total size of the team, and that we will retain 20% of those players over a 10 week period, rounded up. (For example, if we have 10 total team members, we should recruit at least 10 players weekly, and at least 2 of those players should still be around after 10 weeks.)
Objective Neutral Moderation. We require team members to address all issues objectively and take a neutral position, meaning any personal biases or feelings about the situation are set aside and your focus remains with objectively applying the community rules and procedure to all community management activities. We make neither exceptions nor changes to rules or procedure unilaterally without an objective and democratic team decision, and we hold everyone to the same standards, meaning we must take in account historic application of the moderation process in each situation. Part of the role is moderation. You must also be willing and able to view all messages by the players in our community. We do not require unblocking, but we do discourage blocking players unless they are outside our community, to ensure that all team members can see and interact equally with all content being posted for purposes of performing moderator duties as part of being on the team.
Personal Health Management. We ask our team to put their health first, and we’re willing to make whatever reasonable accommodations we are able to make to help you perform the duties of a team member if you have health issues that present challenges when working in community management. Community management is a difficult job both physically, mentally, and requires the ability to manage both consistent workload as well as high-stress situations. We encourage our team members to prioritize and take care of their health. We understand access to healthcare is an ongoing challenge for many. Our community has experience with social services and can direct you to resources.
Engaging Outside Occupations.We believe focusing on real-life endeavors is important to leadership, and so we ask our community team to seek and maintain good standing with any of the following: employment, education, or training, including volunteering. Our community can be a fun and engaging activity, but we do not want to distract from your well-being and life outside the community. If you are having difficulty finding something, our community is connected to employment opportunities, higher education, and charitable causes, and is willing to direct you to resources.
If you have been banned from Astral & Umbral and wish to appeal your ban, please email email@example.com with your Discord ID, player name when banned, current player name if different, and the details of your request.