Staff Handbook

A simple reference on how Shadowlack's staff should act when faced with conflicts.

Salutations, and welcome to the Staff Handbook. This guide is intended to aid Shadowlack's (the "Site") staff in learning more about their position and duties while acting on the Site's behalf. It is available as a public document for all of our players so as to maintain transparency.

Since our environment is ever-changing, it would be foolish to think that everything written within this Handbook should be set in stone. Therefore, while all of this advice and guidelines are applicable now, they will be subject to revisions.

This Site operates on various rules and guidelines. It is these guidelines that help prevent the Site spiralling down toward chaos. As a staff member it is assumed that you are intimately familiar with all of our rules and that you adhere to them strongly.

I. Staff Member Conduct

As a staff member of this Site, you are expected to remember the following:

  1. Representative
    You are considered a representative of our Site. You must also note that as a representative this Site, that your actions, or lack of actions on other web sites may reflect your reputation here as well as our Site's image.
  2. Professionalism
    Staff members are expected to act in a professional manner. You must be courteous towards other players and your fellow staff members. If you do not respect them, they will not respect you. All staff members are expected to act with maturity.
  3. Site Rules
    Being a staff member is a privilege, not a right. Even though you are a staff member, that does not mean that you are above the Site’s regular rules. All staff members must abide by as well as enforce the Site’s rules.
  4. Favouritism
    As a staff member, you should not show favouritism towards other players. This means granting individual players special privileges or rights. This does not mean however that you cannot make friends with players. In fact, you’re encouraged to make friends. Simply try your best to treat everyone equally.
  5. Spreading Gossip and/or Negativity
    We do not permit staff members to talk negatively about any player at our Site on our public-facing or private staff boards. Problematic players should be brought to the attention of an Administrator and handled privately. We will not facilitate the airing of anyone's "dirty laundry."

II. Conflict Resolutions

All sites have their conflicts and we are no exception. It is how we deal with conflict that builds a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. All staff members are responsible for maintaining the peace and enforcing the rules. Following this are a list of possible player infractions and then the consequences for each. Please note that this is not a complete list and that some situations may be handled differently. When in doubt, please contact an Administrator.

Private Messages and the chat room are not exempt from the Rules and Regulations laid down by the Site.

A. Minor Infractions

  1. Acting as a "Mini-Moderator". When a player see another player breaking the rules, it is only natural for them to try and correct the rule-breaker's behaviour. However, that is not their job and can breed unwanted resentment if done incorrectly. If you see someone calling another person out for rule-breaking who is not an assigned staff member, please remind them that that is a staff member's duty. If they're really keen on helping out (as people tend to be), let them know that they may contact you privately about rule infractions that they find.
  2. Multiple posts caused by accidentally double posting. The board should take care of most of these automagically by itself, but in the event that they do not: merge the posts and gently remind the player that they should be editing their original post.
  3. Advertisements to other Play-by-Post games (not listed in our affiliates). Warn player and edit the post to remove the game name and link.
  4. Spamming. Warn player. Lock spammy threads and/or posts.
  5. Threads posted in the wrong areas. Move the thread to the appropriate area. Only warn the player if they are a repeat offender. Mistakes happen!
  6. Signature is too large. Ask them to please change their signature. You may edit the player's signature if you see fit.

B. Major Infractions

AKA, the things that will likely get you banned from our Site.

  1. Harassment/racial slurs/gender discrimination/etc. Immediate ban unless you believe the user is being unknowingly ignorant or insensitive. Our Site has a large LGBT+ audience and not all "muggles" know when they are being insensitive. Try to educate them nicely ( if you believe this is the case! Posts should be locked for documentation and players may be banned depending upon the severity.
  2. Illegal content in posts (ripped MP3s, hacks, cracks, etc.) Warn player. Posts should be closed and links removed. Only repeat offenders should be banned.
  3. Excessive swearing and/or swearing directed at another player. Swearing in general is allowed on the Site, so long as it is not maliciously directed toward other players. If it appears to be malicious, warn the player and lock the post. Repeat offenders should be banned.
  4. Abuse of the Private Messenger system (PMs). Report the incident immediately to an Administrator. Administrators can check the PM logs and deal with the situation as they see fit.
  5. Signature or avatar contains disagreeable or distasteful content. Warn player. Delete their avatar or signature if you feel that it is necessary. Repeat offenders will be banned.
  6. Purposely flooding/spamming the boards. Ban player. Delete posts/threads.
  7. Pornography or links to pornography in posts. Ban player. Delete posts/threads.

How to Issue a Warning

When giving a player a warning it is best to be as clear and concise as you possibly can. Clearly state which rule(s) the player is breaking and remind them that what they are doing isn't acceptable at our Site. If they are a new player, extra lenience should be given. Do not yell at the player, or be sarcastic. Your job is to maintain the peace and the rules, not start up petty fights or create an unwelcoming and/or hostile environment. If the player talks back or otherwise defies your authority, please bring the issue to an Administrator's attention.

How to Deal With Repeat Offenders

There will always be a few problematic players at any given Site. If a player has had multiple minor infractions, or several major infractions, despite giving them multiple warnings, a temporary or permanent ban may be needed. It is best to discuss the problematic player with an Administrator before proceeding with a plan of action.

Disagreements With Fellow Staff Members

Yes, us staff are all different people with different faces from different places. There may come a time when you disagree with a particular course of action that a staff member has taken. Whatever you do, do not outright confront the staff member on the public-facing boards. (Public dissension among the ranks? Yuck.) If you have a problem, either discuss it with your fellow staff member privately, discuss it in the non-public staff board, or bring it to the attention of an Administrator. You must, under all circumstances, treat fellow staff members with respect, just as you would a player.

III. Removal of Staff Members

There are several ways that you as a staff member may lose your position:

  • Consistent breaking of rules or defying authority. You broke multiple rules and despite warnings, it has been mutually felt that having you on our staff team would no longer be beneficial to us.
  • Missing in action (MIA). You took an unexplained prolonged absence. Staff members who have been inactive for over a month may be removed from their position.
  • Multiple haitus periods. It was felt that you took too much time off away from our Site. Although your time periods away were explained (life happens!), we believe that someone more active and with more time to spare would do better having your position.
  • Not performing to the Site's standards. We have reviewed your progress, informally or formally, and have felt that you just are not performing to the high expectations that we have for our staff members.

Did you find this Staff Handbook useful and want to use it on your own site or game? Learn more about how to do so here.

Jan 8, 2013
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