Admin Guidelines

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As part of the Goonstation administration, there are certain standards we must hold ourselves and fellow staff to. Following is a list of guidelines for behaviors that are required, encouraged, discouraged, and forbidden.

REQUIRED:

  • Members of the administrator staff are required to also join the Goonstation Discord server, for purposes of communication. No specific level of interaction is necessarily required, but staff are expected to pay attention to at least ‘official’ channels and pings.
  • Members of the administrator staff are required to check the Goonstation forums periodically, at minimum the "Admin Discussion" subforum and the "Unban Appeals" and "Admin Feedback" section of the "Server Appeals" subforum.
  • Members of the administrator staff are required to use unique, strong passwords for all Goonstation services, including Discord, Goonstation forums, BYOND, Jenkins, Github, and Bitbucket (the latter three only relevant to developers). Two-factor authentication is strongly recommended. More information, along with a number of useful tools for storing strong passwords in a secure way, is available here (Goonstation administrator forum thread, must be logged in to view).

ENCOURAGED:

  • When speaking in public-facing channels, such as OOC or #general on Discord, please be clear when you are speaking on behalf of the entire admin team, when you are speaking as an admin (i.e. an authoritative figure in the game and community), and when you are speaking as just you, a person. Please recognize that your authority status will generally be assumed and take care when discussing sensitive topics.
    • Posts in #news reflect the views of the entire administration and should be agreed upon by the team.
  • Staff are encouraged to maintain a safe and welcoming environment on Discord and ingame. This means being considerate of how their behavior affects others, and also taking administrative action when players break the rules or get into conflicts with one another.
    • When dealing with conflicts and rule violations with players in Discord, staff are encouraged to make use of the #lets-talk channel instead of publicly telling off or punishing players; public intervention tends to put players on the defensive and complicate the situation by attracting a peanut gallery, who may also be drawn upon by the player for support, exacerbating the situation further. Additionally, staff are encouraged to communicate to others present that the issue is being handled administratively, so that tensions can be resolved and discussion can continue normally.
    • When making use of the #lets-talk channel, staff are encouraged to let each other engage in the conversation one at a time, so as to not overwhelm the player being talked to.
  • Staff are encouraged to take a step back from discussions should they find themselves unable to communicate in good faith or unduly stressed out.
  • Staff are encouraged to interact directly with players and the community via actually playing the game, conversing on the forums and Discord, and actively seeking out and listening to player feedback. This not only fosters a sense of community between players and staff, but also puts staff in the position to hear immediate feedback and otherwise learn ways to make the game and community better for everyone!
  • Staff are encouraged to hold each other accountable and let other staff know if there is an issue with someone else’s conduct. Staff are encouraged to direct conflicts that they cannot handle themselves, both internal and external, to our new mediation system.
  • Staff are encouraged to accept feedback from all sources and be willing to acknowledge their errors and strive to improve themselves whenever possible.
  • Staff are encouraged to use all the tools at their disposal - including notes, logs, and each other’s opinions - to arrive at the best way to handle a given situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for a judgment call or other input! Make heavy use of the notes function, if for no other reason than to make sure the next administrator has a chance to see any larger context that may be relevant.
  • Administrators should keep notes entries as fact-based as possible - “Advised player that they should practice more care when using bombs after they blew up the diner when other players were present. They claimed they didn’t know the other players were there, left it at a warning because this is their first offense.”
  • Administrators are encouraged to answer adminhelp requests that align with their own areas of expertise, and pay close attention to adminhelp requests outside of their own areas of expertise, to expand their knowledge base.
  • Administrators are encouraged to refer gameplay questions to mentorhelp, especially when already busy with something else. Be of as much help as you can if a mentorhelp request wasn’t answered or wasn’t answered helpfully, though - no reason to leave players hanging.

DISCOURAGED:

  • Communicating in any open Goonstation-branded context in a way that is insulting or abusive to players when your administrator status is apparent is strongly discouraged. Discord, forums, and OOC chat all clearly indicate your administrator status - and whether or not you intend it, there's the appearance of speaking from authority. Don't use that to hurt people.
  • Staff are strongly discouraged from maintaining negative or antagonistic conversational habits in Goonstation-branded spaces, even when it doesn't rise to the level of abuse - you're representing our community, please don't make us look bad.
  • Staff are strongly discouraged from punishing or extensively reprimanding players in public venues, such as OOC or a public Discord channel. Instead, staff should seek to resolve those issues in more controlled spaces, such as in adminhelps or the #lets-talk channel.
  • Staff should not play favorites when enforcing the rules. They should strive to be unbiased when interacting with players who have broken the rules and considering necessary actions.
  • Staff are discouraged from revealing or discussing the specifics of any player's punishment, talkings-to, adminhelps, or reprimands with anyone other than fellow staff members or that player. This includes but is not limited to: precise ban reasons, who they adminhelped, who adminhelped them, precise length and nature of punishments/ultimatums/agreements, logs of conversations with admins, etc. If the involved player gives consent or otherwise shares this information themselves, that is fine, but admins should work under the assumption that official admin-player interactions are the private business of the admins and that player. Admin PMs and discussions in the Discord #lets-talk corner are made with a presumption of privacy and that is to be respected.
  • Off-topic chatter in ‘business’ channels (such as #admins-business) should be avoided when actual business is being conducted - for example, when staff are discussing how to apply a rule to a situation, it’s a good idea to take a conversation about shibes to an off-topic channel.
  • Administrators are discouraged from using their ‘fun buttons’ relentlessly - a couple tweaks can make a boring round interesting, or going completely nuts with them once in a great while can make for some fun stories, but don’t run it into the ground. Try to keep player experience a higher priority in your mind than your own amusement.
  • Administrators are strongly discouraged from revealing secrets of the round - the main example being the identity of any antagonists - to any player or member of the public while that round is in session. A few exceptions are a new player who has no idea what killed them, or if you are certain the player is out of the round for good - they are dead, their body has been destroyed, and they weren’t previously scanned in the cloner - and even then, exercise care, because they might talk about it in dead chat to someone who gets cloned.

FORBIDDEN:

  • Personal or character attacks are strictly forbidden. If you can’t reword your statement so it attacks someone’s decisions, statements, or actions instead of their personality, character, or (assumed) beliefs, hold it back. If you are struggling with how best to communicate about a member of staff that you believe is a poor fit for the administration team in a way that avoids personal or character attacks, feel free to bring your concerns to our mediation system.
  • Staff are forbidden to communicate anything the admin team could consider sensitive to the general public without the clear and unambiguous consent of the involved parties. This includes, but is not limited to: internal arguments, feelings/notes on specific players/groups, and game development. Discussions in admin channels are held with a certain expectation of privacy, and staff members should use not only their best judgement, but also others’, when discussing internal matters with the public. Staff should always attempt to resolve internal issues through internal means, including via the mediation system.
  • Under no circumstances are members of staff to share the notes of any player with any non-staff member other than that player. If they choose to share their notes themselves, that is fine. Furthermore, members of staff should always use the sanitized versions of player notes when distributing those notes with non-staff.
    • You can retrieve a sanitized version of any player’s notes in Discord by using the .cleannotes <BYOND_key> command in Discord - this will strip the name of the administrator who entered the note. It would also be advisable to read over the notes and redact any other references to specific members of staff or other players.
  • Under no circumstances are members of staff to communicate PII (personally identifying information) about anyone - staff, player, or unrelated party - TO anyone else, with the exception of communicating with law enforcement and Discord’s Trust & Safety team. Some people choose to reveal some of their PII in general chat, often their nationality or gender, but unless you’re able to provide screenshots showing they freely discuss any given piece of PII (example: they talk about being from Los Angeles, or they’ve picked a gender role on Discord), it’s best to avoid talking about it entirely.
    • We use the same definition of PII as NIST does - real name, home or work address (including fragments such as city, state, postcode, and country), telephone numbers, age, date of birth, gender or sex, race or ethnicity, national identification numbers such as social security or social insurance numbers, bank account numbers, passport numbers, driver’s license or other ID numbers, and credit, debit, or ATM card numbers.
    • Also, don't give out people's email addresses unless you are one hundred percent certain you have their permission to do so.
  • Administrators are forbidden from using information gained from adminhelp conversations or any other administrator tool to influence their play during the current round. This includes antagonist status, discussion of current or future events, or anything else that would be considered meta-gaming if it were among players.
  • Administrators are forbidden from lying about game rules (or their interpretation) or otherwise communicating in bad faith to players in adminhelp conversations. A little misleading is useful if it answers the question they (strictly speaking) asked without revealing something you don’t want to reveal - for instance, another player’s antagonist status - but please don’t overdo it.
Server Rules
Basic Rules · Roleplaying Rules · Admin Guidelines · Mentor Guidelines · Metagaming · Grief · Who is and isn't human (AI laws) · Ghostdrone Laws · Ass Jam Rules
Administration Policies
Staff guidelines and expectations: Admin Guidelines · Mentor Guidelines
Community policies: Dispute Resolution