I am posting this in woodscraps because although it is entirely about wurm and communication and socializing on Wurm, it'd be moved here anyway. This is more of a discussion on the core rules of the game that are easily taken out of context, are too broad to be super agreeable and are the bane of a multicultural platform such as our own. This probably goes against the rules of the forums itself, I mean it doesn't when I review the rules but as we'll see below if the thread is closed. I made sure to read over them extensively to avoid trolling any players, there's no intent to cause a negative reaction, there is no doxxing or name calling, purely a discussion on these rules and a look for some feedback from those that often find themselves in the three positions. 1. The person submitting a ticket or contacting staff for these rule violations. 2. The staff handling the situation (Although you cannot discuss personal cases, which is understandable, a broad statement on how you tackle each ruling would be lovely. Theres so many different staff and you all interpret these rules vastly differently.) and 3. Those that have been slapped for one of these violations, whether its true or not, and what your take on these rules are. A bonus 4th for anyone that would just like to chime in with their take on the broadness of these rulings would be fine too.
I will start off with a small comment about the game also. Wurm went through a drastically toxic period of time last year, with a few well known names, some banned, some now inactive, going out of their way to bully staff, bully other players, manipulate players and threaten players both on and off the platform. I endorse none of these actions, in fact, you will often find me in global chat speaking against those that bully staff, but also just as importantly, speaking up when I feel staff have taken it too far in a ruling. Even if it'll get me banned one day for challenging moderation. The absolute broadness the following things allow situations where people can break rules without even meaning to, people can use the broadness of rules to send punishment down on others, and those that wish to hurt others can find an easy time slinking in and out, toeing the line as they please.
As per the game rules, trolling is defined by the following;
Definition: Inflammatory or off-topic messages intended to provoke other members into a desired emotional response or to otherwise disrupt chat.
A ) You may not post to purposely disrupt chat in any way or by using such actions as excessive trolling or derailing.
- Excessive is defined as more than one instance in a short period of time, or in such a way to be annoying to most players.
B ) You may not post with the sole intent of upsetting other players or staff, or to cause unrest.
C ) You may not post excessive shouting(caps) or Ascii art.
D ) Do not post to defame or discredit Code Club AB, its products, developers, or Wurm Online team members.
Harassment is defined by the following;
Harassment Definition: Systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions, including threats and demands.
A ) You may not harass (sexually or otherwise), verbally abuse, threaten, berate, flame, or cause unwanted distress to anyone.
If you were to look over the rulings above - you will see points that at first glance, give you a direct and easy guideline: Do not purposefully do anything to upset other players - do not spam in capitals, do not insult staff or the company. Keep any and all sexual comments to yourself, do not threaten or target other players.
Those guidelines are pretty easy to follow - however, once you start interacting on the game, this is where it gets tricky.
Point A, for example, is so broad that its entirely plausible that anytime someone attempts to change a topic (someone outside of staff, of course, its their job to move topics on if they subjectively, by their own will, feel the conversation shouldn't be there - which is a problem in itself, but that can't be discussed in any format as it violates rule D, which in its own a drastically ridiculous concept.) that they are trolling, by purposely disrupting the chat or attempting to derail it. If three people are discussing their favourite colour, and someone pipes up with "This is Wurm chat, talk about Wurm." then by this own definition, this person is trolling. Not only is that a little ridiculous, both the person expecting Wurm only conversation, but because someone wishing the chat should move on doesn't mean they intend to cause offense or are attempting to harass the players actively in the conversation. A player who posts something as simple as 'I kind of think this topic is not fit for Wurm' is also disrupting and attempting to derail the conversation, no matter how considerate they are of other peoples feelings. Logically, you would not punish that person if you were looking at it - but there'd be a case that this player is indeed, trolling the conversation. By the rules, they are.
Trolling in most broad attempt at explaining it, is actively going out of your way to cause a negative reaction from the subject you are trolling. Off topic messages by the games description. during a conversation, are trolling. I think literally everyone in the game that has ever spoken in GL is a troll, by Wurms defined standard. People are talking about their favourite food, someone pipes up 'Pizza is the best food, I think.' and another user yells out. "Pizza is trash!' - no-one would ever actually take offense to that, but the person trying to confirm that pizza is indeed not the best food has spoken in such a way that you could form a case against them. Personally I wouldn't, but ive seen it happen, we all have. This also means that players who are excited to discuss something and derail the conversation to what they want to talk about, are trolling. Players who want to add a joke in that directs the conversation elsewhere are trolling...now, of course you will look at the rule and point out that it says 'intended to provoke other members into a desired emotional response.' and that is where a lot of this gets sticky. Intentions are hard to see when you're online, and Wurm is a rather personal game, people put their heart and soul on the line at times - and honestly, the amount of times people decide others intentions for them is ridiculously large. So besides players being judge, jury and executioners of peoples intention behind their actions, the major rule break here really comes from 'to otherwise disrupt chat'. Some players may feel a change of chat is in order and don't find that abrupt interruption as disrupting, but a welcome change - others won't - some won't care, generally no-one cares, its a free flowing system - but when someone cares enough to complain, or someone watching takes the broad stance and thinks its worth punishing, then we have the odd situations that I am here to ask about. I want to know peoples opinions and meters on where disrupting chat actually lies. At what point is something disruptive, at what point is it just a change of topic, at what point is it the general flow of conversation elsewhere? For those that have been in any of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or just a bonus 4th position, where do you draw the line and has it been changed due to interactions on the game? Personally, I feel chat is free flowing and if someone changes my conversation about the glory of bricks, to todays news event, or to a natural disaster going on somewhere else in the world, I am okay with that. I've never been warned or muted personally for 'disrupting chat' outside of a few times where we were posting our favourite song lyrics and it was deemed as 'spamming' for the two lines that were posted.
Point B ties directly into Point A in many different ways, including the fact that the intent to upset is nearly never present when a player is upset. Examples are seen in the chat channels of this game daily, such as someone being upset when someone else uses a curse word, despite the game coming under T for Teen, or PG13 if you were to compare it to most other games rating by the standard rating systems across the gaming world. Mainly due to its violence with combat and its ability to engage in player vs player battles using swords and resulting in a player death. Also now that Wurm meets steam guidelines, the youngest age to subscribe for a steam account is 13 also. Wurm of course, has attempted, attempted being a big key word due its older playerbase, to make the game child friendly. That is up to the parents to handle the content their children can see of course. The game also includes a language filter, to help those that couldn't bare witness to a curse word avoid this - yet, a player will still be punished, or warned and forced to avoid it by a member of staff, even though the content rules do not state that using a curse word is against the rules. In fact, the entirety of Content Point A is already rather crazy.
A ) You may not use sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive language.
- This includes workarounds, symbols, links, misspelling, and text within images.
This is a point that I can't wrap my head around at times, and its a point I've discussed before with a varied group of players. These words are almost entirely subjective and depending on your cultural background, will change your opinion on this. What is sexually explicit? Well, that one is super simple, thankfully...on the surface. Keep the discussion of the sexual organs out of the game, do not speak of anyone sexually - its not hard to grasp....unless, you have maybe, been brought up in the US, the UK, Australia etc - where certain words are engrained into your vocabulary, joking about someone like that is not deemed explicit...or maybe in some places across the world where nudity is not considered obscene or explicit - I think most of us have seen a piece or two from the French film festival growing up. The mentioning of certain things, because it is a global game from different cultures and what may be defamatory in one area is harmless in another, makes drawing the line at explicit really hard. The definition of explicit being - 'Stated clearly and in detail.' The best example of how this rule is so often utilized in an astound broad sense is the use of the term Bugger, as it does in the game also, that happens to have a rather not safe for work variation of the word in one of the cultures that a portion of players belong to. To some, Bugger is an explicit term, people may report you for saying it, people may utilize the block feature because they think you're vulgar, others may ignore it because its minor - however, the word carries two definitions - one utilized by a section of the world to describe something tough, hard to budge, challenging - another, as something that is very much so, obscene and sexually explicit. Here, I ask, is where do most of you draw the line between something that is a passing mention of an organ, compared to something that is sexually explicit. Personally, a mention of the organs found on the chest is not explicit, however if you were to start to go into detail over them, or make comments about someone elses, then you've not even toed the line, you've directly crossed it. What is everyone elses thoughts? Personally ive seen plenty of complaints from people in group 3 that have complained because of the word Boob and Breast. The context, again going back to how broad these rules are, ignored even whether they were talking about chicken or a female.
Harmful, Threatening, Abusive, Obscene and Hateful are all in situations such as the one above. What is harmful? Telling someone to eat a pizza for dinner, or order takeway can be harmful, afterall, its unsolicited health advice delivered from a non professional...or, its a friendly suggestion for dinner tonight. Threatning can be seen in many ways too. "Hey, if I see you on Chaos, your affinities are mine." - this could either be seen as an in game threat you will kill a player in the PvP section, or it could be seen as a targeted attack. Personally ive been on the recieving end of this a lot but never once have I thought "Oh, that is not allowed, I don't want to go there anymore because I will be killed." partially because, you know, its a part of the game. Of course, if the threats are off the game, then thats something entirely different - but these threats are also seen in other places. I've seen a multitude of 'I dare you to break the rules' from staff, ive seen others that say 'I want you to mess with my perimeter, so I can report you.' when dealing with land feuds. These are in game threats that are quite clearly against the rules, but where does one stand on these? I am interested in these ones most of all. At what point does provoking someone to get a response, then having them punished for their response, not include trolling? At what point is it no longer just provocation, but actually harassment? What are everyone's opinions on this?
Defamatory, Racially or ethnically offensive language are black and white. Intent aside, if you say something racist, sexist or that is entirely untrue, there is no debate. Yes, intention is important, and I think punishment should not be handed out if the comment has come from ignorance in the regard that the player was not aware of the connotation behind a word - especially when we are working with a globally inclusive game, however once you are aware of your ignorance, there are no excuses. Everyone can be the victim of sexism or racism, regardless of your gender, sex or cultural background.
Continuing on the Trolling rule points;
Point C) is pretty straight forward. You can throw a full cap sentence in the chat now and then, sometimes its humorous, not really much to talk about here. In fact, you can't take this one out of context at all. See multiple lines, thats that. Everyone can agree on that one.
Point D) Pretty simple to understand, I mean we can't even discuss this point due to the existence of this point, and the terming is so broad that even if you were in an argument with a member of staff and you were to both call each other an idiot, this point can be dropped on your head.
Continuing on to harassment;
Systematic or continued. This is one that I have thought about for a long time. Personally, I have been involved in plenty of land dramas for a long time over my 12+ years of playing Wurm. I've had my lands hunted, my perimiters sanded, deeds made to block to me in - and I have done it all back in return - over the many years I have played. A lot of this has happened during the earlier years of Indy, but also during the sprouting years of Deli and so on. When players compete for land, compete for resources - overall go out of their way to prevent others from enjoying their time on wurm, that is obviously, targeted harassment, one would think...but what about when its not? What about when these situations extend into years, staff start their time and finish their time on Wurm before a matters settled, years of context get lost - but one thing remains - two or more players actively fighting against each other. Is it deemed a spat? Are both harassing others? Just each other? Do we hunt through the thousands of tickets and logs over the years to find the very first to find who complained first? How is harassment when multiple players are involved and have acted against each other, defined by the general population of the game? There are obvious examples, we've seen them through the past year. Players only speaking in Freedom chat to insult another player, players doing the same in GL - players attacking other players and staff off the platform - but what about the less obvious ones? Finally for this one, I have 'unwanted distress'. How is distress even described? You can cause distress to someone just by sharing a different opinion, whether you two argue or not - you can cause distress to someone by wishing to deed nearby them, even if you don't know them, because they wish to have an excluded deed by themselves. What about the highway systems that are continually expanded to reach deeds of players that do not wish to be on the highway? That causes unwanted distress, but at what point is connecting the community by a highway more important than their wishes not to have a highway within their local? Deed it or lose it, some may say, its not on deed so you can't complain, others will say - but what about their natural landscape thats just been shaved to put in a cobblestone road thats now protected by the game rules purely because someone didn't like the alternate route and wanted a different path? Whats everyones thoughts on how distress can even be measured, and when distress is even a rational response to what is happening?
Personally, again, I want to know peoples experiences (no names, please.) stories, their thoughts and opinions - I want to know how they have handled these situations, what they've thought of the handling of these situations and what they think about when they are the ones to ask for help in these situations. Remember that everyone here comes from different portions of the world, we're all different ages and we all share different experiences. The only experience in Wurm that everyone has shared is logging in for the first time. One of the things id like to come from this thread, if it isn't instantly closed or filled with flaming, is to see where exactly wurmians stand on these specific things, where the lines are drawn in the sand, where the outliers exist - and most of all - where we can find just and unjust punishment, whether that be staff or community punishment.
Pst my formatting sucks because I don't use forums often and this type of thing confuses me. I have no clue how to get rid of the white parts after I copy pasted the rule sections because I am not that smart a man.