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Community Guidelines

Cardinal Rule: Be Excellent To Each Other

No fandom bashing or other negativity toward what others choose to role-play will be tolerated. This game is meant to be a fun place where people tell stories and have a good time. If you don't like something, then you have every right in the world not to play about it! We will always defend that right. By the same token, we will defend the rights of others to play what they want, within our rules, without being given crap for it.

Let's support each other! We want to foster a welcoming and safe environment for everyone who comes to the game in a spirit of acceptance and cooperation, and so while we respect that players may come from a variety of backgrounds and hold a variety of opinions, we do ask that the game generally not become a platform for debate, politics, or similarly divisive subjects.

We wish to be clear that it is not our intent to oppress; we consider inclusion to be a key part of our game philosophy, but we wish to keep the spirit of the place intact: This pace is a game, and we're here to play and have fun. Divisive topics or subjects that cause discomfort should be moved to a private room, channel, or paged discussion.

This includes the need, as we all well know, to try to keep personal or "RL" drama and issues separate from IC situations and decisions. We of course want to support everyone, especially in hard times, but let's try not to let OOC stuff spoil the fun of IC stuff if it can be helped. We appreciate everyone helping keep the game a friendly and low-stress place for all.

If you as a player find yourself in a situation in role play that you are no longer comfortable in. Be it a plot with 10 people, or a relationship with someone, or anything in between. You naturally have the right to leave that RP at any time. However before you make a decision using your right to consent that may be harmful to another player, tell them. Talk it out. Find a way to exit or alter the situation that allows all parties to carry on with day to day and/or plot based RP in a way that is fun and fruitful. Nobody is telling anyone they have to RP anything they dislike. Just that you do need to talk to your fellow players to potentially find a mutually acceptable exit strategy. If for any reason there is abusive behavior, harassment, arguing, or any other toxic situation that develops from or precludes it. Well staff should be aware of that anyway to deal with it as outlined in other rules here. If someone feels harassed, demeaned, or otherwise attacked in an OOC manner. Staff should be alerted immediately, so that appropriate actions may be taken.

Communication and Respect

While our expectations for courtesy are elaborated upon in the next section of this file, courtesy here is primarily defined by communication and respect.

The rule of communication is, most of us have different comfort zones and expectations. What may seem obvious to one player may be quite a surprise to another. So, each of us is responsible for communicating when we are uncomfortable with the actions of another player. This should always be a clear, direct statement but also be polite. Rudeness or undue bluntness only tends to exacerbate a situation. Also, please consider that messages may be easily misunderstood if they can be mistaken for joking or banter.

The rule of respect is, if you are informed that another player is upset by or uncomfortable with a behavior being directed at them, you must cease said behavior toward them. Similarly, if someone expresses discomfort with a general topic in the game's OOC lobby or on a Public discussion channel, we ask that said topic be moved to another venue, such as a pages or some particular other channel. We ask that all players do their best to respect the comfort zones of others to foster a welcoming and safe environment.

Non-Discrimination Clause

Pertaining to the matter of inclusion, staff wishes to state plainly that we will tolerate no discrimination on this game based on any quality such as any representation of culture, gender, race, sexuality, or similar personal properties. In OOC terms, we expect that these matters never be made issue of and that all players will be treated with equal and inclusive respect and courtesy. Obviously, in some cases we may learn our comfort zones have some flexibility, particularly as it comes to humor, but please make sure that attempts at humor come from a respectful rather than a hurtful place. Nobody, certainly not staff, wants to play the "PC police." Further, we strongly urge players to be accepting and inclusive of others in IC terms such as is reasonable. An example of this comes from Teen Wolf, where a standing "rule" of the show is that all sexualities are treated as perfectly normal and accepted. We would like to foster that attitude on the game as much as possible, too.

This can all be summed up, really, in this: Please do all you can to keep things fun, avoid stirring up drama, and just generally be excellent to one another! We thank you very much. :)



Role-Playing

Basic rules for role-playing:

  • Keep IC and OOC separate. What you know, think, and feel as a player should remain as separate as possible from what the character knows, thinks, and feels (See also: News Metagaming). This is especially important when playing Feature Characters: It is acceptable to have OOC goals for the character, but they must be worked toward within IC means and for IC motivations.
  • In-Character Actions equal In-Character Consequences (or, ICA=ICC). In other words, while you do have control over what directly happens to your character via consent, you cannot use this as a way to ignore the results of your IC actions. If your character picks a fight, for example, with a big, dangerous werewolf who can reasonably kick your character's butt, your character's butt is probably getting kicked. The werewolf can't decide to permanently maim or kill your character, though they may certainly leave them regretting the situation.
  • "Misplaying" is defined as playing the character in a way that comes across as contrary to the way they were apped or in such a way that it no longer can be called, even with allowances for personal style, a reasonable representation of the character. Misplaying is considered a breach of conduct and may result in removal from the character, per News Consequences.
  • Another form of misplaying is not respecting game continuity. Game continuity began in summer of 2015, up until that point including all the pre-cutoff continuity for each theme source in News Canon. From that time, continuity is defined by the +sheets on the game and the logs on the game wiki.

Conflict Resolution and Consent

Every good story has some form of conflict within. Hurdles and challenges that the characters must overcome in order to advance the plot. Sometimes those conflicts are physical in nature, and occasionally they involve other players as well--as either ally, or enemy.

In those instances when characters come into conflict a certain measure of judgement is required. All characters on the game have a series of traits detailing things like how strong, and fast they are. In addition most characters have powers, skills, or equipment that influence the resolution to a combat.

With this in mind, when engaging in combat with another character always remember when posing an action to only pose the attempt to accomplish something. Even if your ability is usually absolute, the character you are attempting to use it on may still have a valid counter. Some examples are below.

Character A attempts to punch Character B. The pose might read as follows: Character A swings powerfully, with a punch that could shatter granite. Using his martial arts experience and vampire speed, he attempts to connect with Character B's jaw. In this manner the results of the action are posed by the other player, as they know what their character is capable of.

This same technique applies with the use of powers as well. Even highly potent abilities can be foiled, so they too can not be posed as an automatic success. On the flip side of that are the occasions when a character has no valid defense against another character's abilities. For example, if you are attempting to harm a character who is under the active protection of a nother (such as Bella Swan being protected by Alice Cullen's foresight or Castiel acting as Dean Winchester's guardian angel), then it is only fair to try to bring that into consideration when plotting against such a character, at least as best as is possible.

As another example if you are in a scene with a mind reader, then you can not say he is unable to read your mind without something in your character sheet indicating that to be the case. Even if the character has defensive abilities of some sort, they may have to know to use them--in which case they must be careful to avoid metagaming. In general, it is a wise idea to have at least some understanding of the characters you are entering into combat with. At least in an out of character capacity. Ask questions if you have them, it will make a better role play experience for everyone included.

Content Rating

The game has a general public "rating" of R as defined by the MPAA; reasonable levels of, for instance, swearing and violence are to be expected, though players who may find some elements uncomfortable should let others know--and that comfort zone should be respected as much as possible. Basically, it's an adult game with adult themes, but we don't want to make anyone play anything they're uncomfortable playing under any circumstances.

  • Scenes may be "R-rated," but the comfort zones of players in the scenes should always be respected.
  • OOC and channel content should generally be restricted to closer to PG-13, especially on global channels, for the sake of courtesy.
  • Respect the rules in 'News TinySex'

Setting

The game is set in "present day," and we have various code in place to help give a sense of setting and ambiance. This includes date, time of day, weather, the phases of the moon, and other such "setting" information.

Please understand that, in a general sense, these contrivances are meant to serve as role-play aids, not to stand in the way of storytelling or to limit anyone's creativity or ability to play. That would be silly.

If you need to do a weekend scene, but it's Tuesday? Timewarp it. You are absolutely free to do so. If you need it to be night but it's day? Same answer. If you want a rainy scene but the code says it's clear? Cheat.

All that we ask is that within a scene, you adhere to what those who have set the scene have established, whether or not that matches what the code says, rather than altering it partway through.

The point is, the setting-related code is there to help, not to hijack, the stories we tell. Please never let the code get in the way of your ability to be creative here and have fun.

Locations

We have a fairly extensive game grid that offers quite a few different locations to play in. We encourage you to use them freely, keeping in mind the realities of News Role-Playing and News Time.

Like the story presented in the books it is assumed that occasionally scenes on the game may need to occur in locales other than those located in just the built grid region. Additionally you might need a business or a location that is simply not a part of the game grid for a scene. That is where the Multi-Purpose Rooms come in. These rooms can be desced to represent anything from an auto supply store in Podunkville to Times Square. A college classroom in Cambridge to the beach on Isle Esme. Pretty much whatever you need for a scene.

The best is you can then save your public descriptions for other people to later use, adding to the game and everyone's enjoyment. Just please try and watch the spelling and punctuation in those descriptions if you mean to save them. So any descriptions designed for public use in the Multi-Purpose Rooms should adhere to that if they are public rooms that you intend to save for others to enjoy as well.

Metagaming

Clearly many people that play here will have more than a passing knowledge of the theme and plot of the sources that the game is based upon. Others may come to the game with little or no understanding of these sources. Knowing the themes, major characters, and major plot points of a work can certainly allow a player to assimilate to the game that much better.

However there must be a clear line drawn between what the player knows and what their character knows. Unless there is something in your character's background or on their character sheet that allows you to know such lore about the setting, characters, and locales then, quite simply, your character doesn't know.

This is very important and must be maintained in character. Players that disregard this and use out of character knowledge in character will ultimately face disciplinary action from the staff, particularly if such actions are reported by other players and impact their enjoyment of the game.

Just always remember that if your character has no reasonable way to know something, then they simply do not. This is particularly important in the event that some canon events after a source's cut off may never occur, or occur differently. Just think of all the fun you will have learning the information you know OOC through the eyes and ears of your character, and carry on from there.

Example:

Most players familiar even passingly with the Twilight Saga will know that Edward Cullen is a mind reader. Very few characters in the game should know so upon just meeting him however. This is a very important distinction. Just because you know something, do not search for a reason your character would. Rather than stretch for a reason, or look for the first chance to jump to such a conclusion in character, allow it to occur naturally through role-play. It will provide a much more entertaining experience for all parties involved.

Plots

"Plots" are role-play arcs and events that have a particularly noteworthy impact on the game setting and/or specific factions, characters, or fandoms. Role-play and scenes that would not cause such a lasting impact need not be treated as plots and can be run on a casual basis without specific staff approval. However, role-play that would constitute a plot must be submitted as a +plot request (see '+help +plot-requests' on game) and approved by staff.

Plot Requests

Included in a plot request, you should explain:

  • Any potential long-term consequences of the plot, especially any that might require characters to update their +sheets, alter the grid significantly, or affect the game's setting (or fandoms within it) in a noteworthy way.
  • The general scope of the plot in terms of area affected and how long it is anticipated to run. Does this plot affect only a few characters, a whole fandom, a whole city or region? The greater the area of impact, the more detail staff is likely to ask in a plot request.
  • What level of "threat" might be anticipated, such as how dangerous the foes might be, how much fighting might be involved, and so on. Players should be able to tell from the +plot invitation how likely a fit their characters are and whether the plots content will suit their interests.
  • Any NPCs, particularly unplayed Feature Characters, who will need to be emitted by the plot-runners--in particular, be sure to include in any significant impact that will be had on those characters who are being run as NPCs and/or on their fandoms.
  • Any special considerations the plot requires: assistance from staff, special locations or rooms for the plot, or other needs that must be met for the plot to proceed.

Plot Rules

If you commit to a plot, you are expected to play in it; obviously, real life commitments and other issues may cause difficulties, and In Character reasons for leaving a plot may arise, but you should seek always to communicate with the runner of a plot you have agreed to be in and keep them informed. (Plots should not be assumed to have "revolving doors.") This is not designed to force characters into role-play but to give respect to those players who run plots, which tends to be a lot of work, without having people drop out and cause them to have to rework things extensively.

To this end, when plot scenes are scheduled or playing out, if at all possible, players should strive to attend them. Other scenes, particularly given the time rules that allow them to be "timewarped" as needed, should generally be given secondary priority. Again, while staff does not wish to micromanage anyone's role-play, if a major plot scene is taking place and your character is part of the plot, it is assumed you will join in the plot rather than meeting your character's significant other for coffee, hanging out at the mall, or running another emitted scene.

Within the context of an approved plot, the one running the plot is to be treated as the "Game Master" (or "GM") of the plot. Any particular calls that need to be made within the plot and story-level decisions should be left to them. Obviously, character consent still exists and will be respected, but it is especially important that GMs be able to enforce a degree of "In Character Actions = In Character Consequences," which may result in things happening to and around the players. Players are expected to cooperate with GMs, and GMs should likewise seek to cooperate with and satisfy their players.

If a GM makes decisions a player does not like, the player should attempt to communicate with the GM about it. If this does not work, then the player should contact staff for assistance. Any final decisions about such disagreements will be settled by staff ruling.

When a player is new, they should be given a couple of weeks to acclimate to their character if they wish before they are pressured to join in plots. However, if the player wishes to join in plots, they may do so normally. If a new player wants to be invited to plots, they can end this transitional time at any point by typing '+plot/optin' on game.

Retcons

In Character, or in game history, is vital to the game. Changes, or retcons, to any one character can often impact many others across the game. Because of this we require that any changes be discussed with all available parties that they will impact, within reason, with a staff member present. All such changes to a character's history are allowed at the staff's discretion, but major alterations that will impact several players across the game grid and potentially spread even further from there are typically out of the question. As a general rule, when in doubt game canon will usually be maintained.

TinySex

Pertaining to "TinySex" (a term for "role-playing sex on a TinyMUX"," often called "TS"), staff considers this largely a private matter. Romance and related character elements are in many ways staples of the genres we draw upon here, and we respect that players may be interested in where such play may lead to. So, generally, if players choose to engage in intimate role-play between two appropriate characters, then we take no issue with it.

However, we do have a few specific guidelines that we must insist upon to govern the proprieties of such role-play, detailed below.

  • Please ensure that such scenes are kept appropriately private. In particular, make certain that any "intimate" role-play that might appear in logs is appropriate for public consumption and rating tags are used as needed.
  • Please do not eschew or avoid public role-play, plots, or other story-driven RP, which is what the game is really here for, to lock characters away and do nothing but private, intimate, and/or TS role-play.
  • Please note that sexual activity of any sort that involves any significantly underage characters is expressly forbidden. We can look the other way if two sixteen-year-old characterS are doing what teenagers do, but if it turns out that it's two thirteen-year-olds or, worse, a thirteen-year-old and an adult, staff will take immediate steps to halt such activity however we must do so.



Consequences

Breaking the rules of the game carries specific consequences. Staff will always strive to judge any perceived rule violations as fairly as we can, and no major decisions will ever be made about such matters by any one staff member, but will instead be decided by staff consensus. Consequences for breaking rules will be applied as fairly as possible, but as the rules of the game have been established for the sake of preserving an enjoyable environment for everyone to play in, understand that we do take the game's rules seriously and expect players to follow them as best they can, both in terms of the "letter" and the "spirit" of the rules.

Upon violation of the game's rules, staff will take the following actions:

Step 1: Staff will issue a formal warning to the player via @mail, possibly accompanied by a conference with staff to ensure the problem is understood and that the player knows how to better follow the rules in the future.

Step 2: A second formal warning will be issued, followed by a mandatory meeting with staff to discuss the ongoing problem(s). After the meeting, staff will determine if additional steps are necessary. If staff determines it needed, the player will be placed on probation for two months.

Step 3: A one-week suspension from the game will be issued, and upon the player's return they will be placed on probation for six months.

Step 4: A one-month suspension from the game will be issued, and upon the player's return they will be placed on probation for one year.

Step 5: The player will be banned from the game for a minimum of one year's time, after which they may contact staff via email to request a return.

Notes:

Substantiated complaints against players on "probation" will cause the player to move to the next step of the process, even if this behavior would otherwise only result in a warning.

While suspended from the game, players are not considered "on vacation." As such, they will not be given special consideration if a suspension causes any of their Feature Character alts to idle out. (See: 'News Activity')

Therefore, players who are suspended for one month or longer will also lose control of all Feature Character alts automatically, since they would inevitably idle out, and the characters may as well be opened up for app.

In the case of certain behaviors, players may be banned without following the process above. Those behaviors are:

  • Any attempt to threaten the game's security, destabilize the database, or otherwise damage the game itself
  • Any attempts to compromise the safety or security of players on the game or serious threats against their personal safety

Complaints

If you believe that another player is guilty of violating the rules in some way, that the player represents a danger to the game's security, or that the player has given serious offense to you, such as an actual threat against your real-life person, staff should be notified.

Please note that unless one of these conditions is met, you should not submit a formal complaint. You may seek advice from staff about dealing with a player you simply dislike, but unless they are engaged in actual rule-breaking behaviors, staff will not be likely to take action. However, if the behavior is severe enough to warrant a change to the game's rules, then staff may certainly have to act, regardless.

To submit a formal complaint, please use the '+complain' command as follows: '+complain <player you're complaining about>=<explanation>, such as +complain Mary Sue=Mary Sue is violating News Consent by... Every complaint must include a log of the incident, or staff cannot do anything about it. Logs may be submitted via email or link from a site such as pastebin.com if it is preferred.

Players who are complained about are not entitled to know who made the complaint, as the issue is between them and the game rules, not with the complaining player. Similarly, players who submit a complaint will be informed when staff has dealt with the matter, but they will not be privy to the result of the complaint, as that remains between staff and the player who made the offense. This is to avoid retalliation or other undue in-fighting between players; staff prefers to be the "bad guy" when necessary to avoid escalating inter-player conflicts.

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