Admin Guidelines

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Administrators are a key part of the Goonstation team, and as such, there are certain standards we must hold ourselves to. Following is a list of guidelines for behaviors that are required, encouraged, discouraged, and forbidden.

REQUIRED:

  • Members of the administrator staff (including coders) 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 (including coders) are required to periodically check the Goonstation forums periodically, at minimum the "Admin Discussion" subforum and the "Unban Appeals" and "Admin Complaints" section of the "Server Appeals" subforum.
  • Members of the administrator staff (including coders) are required to use unique, strong passwords for all Goonstation services, including Discord, SS13 forums, BYOND, Jenkins, and Bitbucket (the latter two only relevant to coders). 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 (example: #general on the Goonstation Discord), it is best practice to mark any comment you make that is meant to represent your authority as an administrator (and conversely, mark any comment that could be interpreted as ‘official’ that isn’t intended to be). There are a number of ways of doing this such as a disclaimer statement (example: “[ADMIN NOTE] No, SephiRothIRA, you can’t behead the barkeep because you think alcohol is a sin, unless you rolled antagonist that round”; “[MY OWN OPINION] Chemistry is a gaggle of terrorists and the sooner their department is repurposed into a bee sanctuary, the better”) or emoji (example: “⚖ DetroitFraggleRockCity, hiding signaler-clown horn mechanisms places to torture the captain is not only allowed but informally encouraged”; “🤡 I will personally slay any player who torments Jones the Cat”). Pick whichever you like, as long as it’s clear.
  • 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! We’re all on the same team. Make especially heavy use of the notes function, if for no other reason than to make sure the next administrator that has to interact with that player has a chance to see any larger context that may be relevant.
  • Try to 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.”
  • Staff 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.
  • Staff are encouraged to refer gameplay questions to mentorhelp, especially when already busy with something else. That’s exactly what mentors are there for! 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.
  • Staff are encouraged to interact directly with players and the community via actually playing the game, conversing on the forums and Discord, and actively paying attention 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 better for everyone!
  • Staff are encouraged to let the wizards know if there is an issue with another person's conduct. As of the time this is being written, the best way to do this is to PM anyone with the ‘wizard’ role, but more graceful options are being considered. In no case will anyone be punished for bringing something to the attention of the wizards, no matter how the report is handled. In the absence of a system which allows a member of staff to alert the wizards as a group instead of individually, staff are encouraged to submit their report to as many wizards as they see fit if the member of staff is concerned any given wizard may be busy, unresponsive, or not inclined to respond to the report in the way the member of staff believes best.
  • Staff are encouraged to accept feedback from all sources and be willing to acknowledge their errors and strive to improve themselves whenever possible.

DISCOURAGED:

  • Off-topic chatter in ‘business’ channels (such as #admins) should be avoided when actual business is being conducted - for example, when administrators are discussing how to apply a rule to a situation, it’s a good idea to take a conversation about birds to an off-topic channel.
  • 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.
  • Administrators 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.
  • 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 communicate privately with a member of senior staff / wizard, and we’ll work with you on that or do what we can to address the issue you are trying to communicate.
  • Under no circumstances are members of staff to communicate internal issues or secrets to the players or general public. This includes, but is not limited to: Interpersonal arguments between members of staff, opinions of specific players or groups of players held by members of staff or staff in general, planned or future game functions, or information about administration structure that has been decided will be kept quiet. The sole exception is that you can talk about secrets and other game features IF AND ONLY IF you are either the sole person who created that content, or have explicit permission from the person or people who did. You probably want to screenshot that permission in case it’s challenged!
  • Under no circumstances are members of staff to share unsanitized notes of any player with players or the general public. 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 · Ass Day Rules · Admin Guidelines · Mentor Guidelines · Metagaming · Grief · Who is and isn't human (AI laws)
Administration Policies
Staff guidelines and expectations: Admin Guidelines · Mentor Guidelines
Community policies: Dispute Resolution