[UPDATE] Empire Minecraft Rules Re-Write May 2016

Discussion in 'Empire News' started by Krysyy, May 15, 2016.

  1. With all due respect, the recent rewrite took many days to analyze different aspects of the rules and find the appropriate places to make changes, per player input but we aren't going to rid of the rules entirely. We can enforce that any directions given by Staff are unwritten addendum because they are. If a Staff member tells you to leave someone alone, you leave them alone. It's simple as that. Our staff ARE trained by a guidebook that we will not make public, as it would allow players to know certain confidential aspects of staff investigations. The only players that have seen that guidebook are the Staff and it will remain that way.

    The limitations we have in effect are there only for those that try to break them. For the most part, play by a common sense ideal and you'll be fine. The rest of it is there to keep players from arguing about loopholes in the rules. Your changes would present further loopholes that these players would then exploit.

    I'll look at your rewording suggestions, but we're keeping the limitations put in place at current because they are necessary limitations for those few players that live for bending the rules to fit their needs.
    ShelLuser likes this.
  2. Do not spam .... :)
  3. What I am suggesting is not that you necessarily change what and how you are doing it,

    but to improve wording of the rules to improve quality and attract more (quality) players to EMC.

    E.g. I'm not saying you have to publish internal guidelines - just don't mention them in the rules.

    Again, what counts in the end is how you make people feel.

    It's about how you would like to make people feel about EMC?
  4. A certain situation as of late had a player arguing about the existence of this training/Staff Guide. It's now written in the rules to establish its existence officially because of this argument that I made it up.

    There are many little things that you may not see as a 'good player' because you don't attempt to scam, grief, etc and fight staff on technicalities to get away with it. Trust me, that's a good thing that you don't see that. However, the Rules are a point where we have to put in black and white the limitations for the players that aren't good. Rules are supposed to be direct and on point. They aren't meant to coddle the public or make you feel good. They are something to quote when someone messes up; something that specifically shows a justification for taking action when we unfortunately have to.
    KatieKittyWitch, Slvr, 607 and 3 others like this.
  5. There's a reason you're the community manager! Thumbs up, very well explained!
    ShelLuser and Krysyy like this.
  6. must hav ebeen fun to make that video! getting to break the rules without consiquences (although admittedly it was mocked and n one else saw.)
  7. Preach! I am a good player and understand said rules. (at first i didnt want to read them because I figured nothing I owuld do would break them but them I considered that it would be negative not to.) But i still see the loop holes other players may see.
    ShelLuser likes this.
  8. About the loopholes and trying to close them.
    Mission impossible.
    One just can't think of all possible (future) development and resulting situations.
    One also can not (and should not try to) take responsibility away from the people.
    Because doing so has long-term negative consequences overall.
    Besides that, it just won't work.

    That's why it is better
    not to try to write "exact" rules that describe what and how something is allowed and what and how it's not allowed,
    but to try to write rules that reflect the general intention - and require people to think and understand.
    Instead of being very specific and precise, the (good) rules actually need to be more general.
    Good, general rules don't have loopholes.
    Contrary to that, too specific rules will not only have loopholes, but will prevent legitimate situations and hinder development.

    Good rule: "Do not abuse substances."
    Not a good rule: "Do not use substance XY."
    (What about people with specific illness who need it, even if we don't yet know about it?)

    We like when rules don't change frequently,
    because we feel safe and protected when rules are stable and not arbitrary.
    General rules that reflect (good) intentions in a good way
    won't need to be changed even if specific circumstances change.

    Along with good rules, there go 2 things:
    • for any rule that is not trivial and obvious: a clear, reasonable and easily comprehensible explanation of intentions (and it's not wrong to, as well, do it for rules that seem trivial and obvious)
    • guidelines for (current) interpretation of the rule with examples
    This way, the rules don't need to be changed when new circumstances arise and when the rules need to be applied in new situations. What is needed is just addition to the "interpretation and examples."

    Good rule:"Do not harm players."
    Not a good rule: "Do not shoot arrows at players."
    (What about healing arrows etc?)

    A "school example" of how not to make rules and why,
    are the specific item and quantity rules within the EMC auction rules.
    I hope I'm not the only one in the community that feels uneasy about that and hopes for better.
    If not for any other reason, then for the reason of sanity / mental wellness.
    FoxyRavenger likes this.
  9. Love the re-write on the rules. They are now much clearer and leave very little "wiggle" room for some to intentionally find and exploit the loop holes.
  10. I agree that clear and concise wording can go a long way. There are laws and there are rules. Laws are written in great detail in order to provide the most complete clarity, because convictions based on those laws can have long-lasting adverse effects on people's lives. Rules, on the other hand might be broader in scope and open to some interpretation. Sometimes when unnecessary details are placed into rules, they start to seem petty or childish when compared to the rest of "The Rules" that they are a part of.

    If I might use a common situation for an analogy: An airline has rules that you are expected to follow. They are clear and simple, but in most developed countries of the world, they are also backed up by complex laws that have detailed explanations of unacceptable behavior and the punishments that can be inflicted. Most people are unaware of all the specifics of the law, but the simple rules work just fine to disuade them from engaging in actions that would be unlawful. For example, I believe all airlines have a rule that you must follow all directions given to you by flight attendants. There are laws to back that up, but depending upon the circumstances, the available evidence, and the severity of the behavior, a person might be punished in varying degrees, by different methods, or even not at all.
    I disagree. Try thinking of them as "confidential" instead of "secret." An airline may give their flight attendants hours of specialized training on how to handle complex situations, including training manuals, which are not available to the general public.

    The wording does make it sound like the Staff are there to punish bad behaviour, which is technically true since it's part of their duties, but could be worded differently to sound more positive:
    "Each report or incident will be fully assessed by Staff to ensure that appropriate action is taken based on the rules, available information, and the specific circumstances."

    I agree it sounds childish. Try rewording:
    "Staff should never tell or ask you to do something unreasonable. If you feel this is the case, please report such behavior to Senior Staff immediately."

    The real problem with this statement is that it's redundant and sounds childish. In the same sentence you are saying not only that Staff directions must be followed but also that whatever they say becomes a rule. The second half is uneccesary and also blatently screams out to players, "Staff are infallable. Do as we say!" Simple rewording works well, no need to explain further:
    "Staff directions are to be followed at all times."
    From what I've seen in further comments after this OP, it's already been acknowledged that this could be reworded for clarity.
    I really agree with this. I think it's obvious when players are advertising other servers. Other chat that is idle discussion of other games, servers, etc. should be allowed. Creating a rule about this does make it seem like you are insecure about keeping your player base, which you really shouldn't be, because I think people either really enjoy EMC or find it's not for them. They are not going to leave EMC to play another game/server just because another player on EMC discussed it with them.

    I didn't quite get the "oppressive" feeling from that, but I have always felt that the wording "public drama" sounded silly and vague. I believe I was even personally told by Staff once that I shouldn't "cause drama" when there was a lively Forum discussion where I and others were expressing very different opinions. I didn't and still don't think the diagnosis was correct. Simply because people disagree with each other and express themselves in strong but civilized language doesn't mean that it's a bad thing. But people typically know what types of actions are meant simply to get others riled up or cause a commotion. What might be more appropriate is something like:
    "Actions which "disturb the peace" are not allowed. This includes (but is not limited to) actions that are clearly meant to cause other players to be uncomfortable, aggravated, or fearful, and those which are offensive, abusive, or violent in nature."

    When it comes down to though is, EMC is the airline. They don't need to have complex laws to spell everything out in detail and Krysyy shouldn't feel obligated to make a detailed explanation for every decision Staff makes. If they find that you've broken their rules, they can kick you off the airplane and tell you never to come back. Fortunately Hopefully, you won't end up in prison because of it.
  11. There is a difference, as we have two areas here - one area are the "server rules" (in the narrower sense) that may be compared to "airline rules", the other are the "community rules". Obviously, not only that there is no sharp border between the two, but they have a significant common part. It needs two sides - the server and the community.

    Reducing the EMC to a service provider like an airline is, would mean throwing away the community.
    It would then need a "Server Manager" - no need for a "Community Manager".

    It's not about decisions here, but about written rules that affect community life.
    I'm suggesting to clearly explain intentions and reasoning behind any written rules and to word the rules to reflect this intentions, as far as possible in a simple and general way, avoiding negative connotations.

    Would there be anything wrong in doing so?

    If for no other reason, then for the members to feel more safe, feel that they participate in a healthy community.
    I believe that healthy rules are a magnet for quality players / members.

    Of course there is no obligation.
    The thing is - if the people are confronted with what seem arbitrary or childish or harsh or inconsiderate rules (or decisions, actions), they really won't be encouraged to invest their time and effort into this community.

    Why do I care? Because I've invested quite some time and effort, and because I like the community - because I'd like to have (even) more community.

    BTW, this EMC dilemma between "their game" (*) and "community" is also visible in the oxymoron "Community Manager".
    (* In the past discussions, one of the standard answers to community related questions was "it's their game, they can make what they want, and you can leave if you don't like it." Connotations in direction of "restriction" and "oppression" come from the past attempts to suppress discussion and criticism of rules / customs / staff actions and from "moderating" by locking threads - by stopping discussions instead of investing effort and making possible that discussions continue in a productive way - and from patronizing the community.)

  12. "I'm not abusing that substance when killing that other player, it's what the substance was meant for in the first place."

    "No PVP? Then why do you give me substances which can kill other players?"

    "Oh, so you say that substance was meant to kill hostile mobs? I disagree, it was clearly meant to kill players so I am not abusing it.".

    In other words: what you call abuse I'd describe as common use and protest against any given penalties.

    My take on your examples is that I can't help wonder if you kept the target audience in mind. It's extremely broad, so what may seem childish to you can actually be very well picked up by another player. A less childish version could be very hard to understand for them.

    As to the new rules... There's one way to find out for sure (IMO) and that's see what happens next. So far the only caveats I found weren't based on opinion but merely on what I noticed in-game (and on the forums). When I (politely!) pointed people to a rule which they broke after which they told me that they weren't even aware of that. And I'm positive they didn't meant to because soon after they realized their mistake they also immediately fixed it.

    In a community the size of the Empire there really isn't one perfect fitting solution when it comes to topics as these.
    607 and M4ster_M1ner like this.
  13. There's the answer, that's a very good rule.

    Try this when stopped by police because of speeding: "But I have a sports car, this car is made for high speeds!" :)

    This is a level of understanding and responsibility that we just have to require. Looking at kids in my surrounding, most of the 6 year old and all 8 year old or above understand that.

    Imagine what would happen if such "excuses" would be valid and would need to be respected. Chaos.
    Also, everyone can say "I didn't know" or "I didn't understand", but our whole ("western?") civilization, at least starting from roman law, is based on "You have to be and act responsible and considerate, you have to know the rules. If you break the rules and you claim that you didn't know or didn't understand, then it's an aggravating circumstance."

    I see there are some cultural differences between US and Europe here, but not (or shouldn't be?) significant when it comes to culture of rule making.
    (What just came in mind, many (most?) of denominations in the US read the Bible literally, while the vast majority in Europe (and South America?), including both Orthodox and Roman Catholics, don't - but rather in-depth study, put it into historical, cultural and language context and interpret it. So perhaps that plays some role in the question if a person is satisfied just with having a rule, or if a rule alone is not enough, but needs the why and the how.)

    I think this "have to know and understand" is necessary, it just doesn't work otherwise.

    People, and not only kids, will come up with all sorts of silly excuses and protests - but, you know what an (educated and trained) judge will say. :)

    Absolutely - we need to take into account that it happens to quite some percentage of kids, from my experience mostly to 10-13 years old, that their cognitive, empathic and responsibility level can drop by 5-7 years the moment they go online.

    Also, it happens even to older new players that they are effectively "not sure" which rules apply to them and how, because they don't immediately recognize the (EMC) online community as "their tribe" or "their nation". This is a natural human trait, and I think it's best to just help them speed up that process - perhaps by explicitly stating it in the server introduction.

    Both moderators and players do need a reference for applying rules and that's what goes into the "interpretation", i.e. the "rule help" section. There one can enumerate the most common examples and explain how the rule is applied. Have that IRL too.

    Just the rule itself and the intention should, IMO, stay clean.
  14. I'm sure there are weird laws in about any country, just these are easy to find :)
    I didn't check those, if YT is lying so am I. :)

    Australia: Taxi drivers are required to carry a bale of hay in the trunk.
    Australia: it's unlawful to wear hot pink pants on Sunday after midday.
    Canada: it is illegal to pretend to be practicing witchcraft.
    UK: it is illegal to die in the houses of parliament.
    Liverpool, England: it is illegal to appear topless in public unless you're a clerk in a tropical fish store.
    UK: a pregnant woman may relief herself anyway she likes, including a policeman's hat.
    UK: it is illegal to enter the houses of parliament in a full suite of armor.
    UK: it is illegal to shoot a welsh with bow and arrow on Sunday.
    NK: you're allowed to choose one of 28 government approved haircuts - 18 for woman and 10 for men.
    Russia: it is illegal to explain to children that gay people exist.
    Thailand: it is illegal to leave the house if not wearing underwear.
    Greece: all video games are bad.
    Alaska: it is illegal to bring your pet flamingo into a barber shop.
    Arkansas: it is strictly prohibited to pronounce 'Arkansas' incorrectly when in the state.
    California: it is illegal to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle unless it's a whale.
    Chico, California: there is a $500 fine for anyone who detonates a nuclear device.
    Chicago: it is forbidden to have a meal in a place that is on fire.
    Denver, Colorado: it is illegal to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor.
    Delaware: it is not allowed to server alcohol beverages in a nightclub if anyone within the premise is dancing.
    Georgia: it is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body.
    Hawaii: it is illegal to have more than one alcoholic beverage in front of you at a time.
    Boise City, Idaho: it is illegal to fish while riding a giraffe.
    Indiana in 1950's: is illegal to show any Robin Hood movies, because he's a communist.
    Kansas: it is illegal to hunt ducks while riding a mule.
    Kentucky: it is illegal to sell blue dyed ducklings in quantity less than 6.
    Massachusetts: it is illegal for gorillas to sit in the back seat of any car.
    Massachusetts: mourners are allowed at most 3 sandwiches from the buffet.
    Minnesota: it is illegal to hang male and female underwear on the washing line at the same time.
    Tylertown, Mississippi: it is not allowed to shave in the middle of the main street.
    Louisiana: if you bite someone with natural teeth then it's a "simple assault", if you do it with false teeth then it's a "aggravated assault."
    Nebraska: it is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they're also brewing a kettle of soup at the same time.
    Nevada: it is legal to hang someone for shooting your dog on your property.
    New Hampshire: it is not allowed to tap your feet, nod your head or keep time with music in any way while in a tavern, restaurant or cafe.
    New Jersey: it is illegal for men to knit during the fishing season.
    North Dakota: it is forbidden and unlawful to lie down and fall asleep whilst wearing shoes.
    Ohio: it is illegal to get a fish drunk.
    Oklahoma: it is illegal to make ugly faces at a dog.
    Oklahoma: it is illegal to have a donkey fell asleep in a bathtub.
    Marion, Oregon: it is forbidden to eat doughnut while walking backwards on a city street.
    Rhode Island: it is not legal to sell both toothbrush and toothpaste to the same customer on Sunday.
    Pennsylvania: it is illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
    Pennsylvania: it is illegal to tie a string to a banknote and pull it away from a person trying to reach it.
    Denver, Pennsylvania: all fire hydrants have to be checked 1 hour before outbreak of a fire.
    Salt Lake County: it is illegal to walk down the street carrying a violone in a paper bag.
    South Dakota: it is forbidden to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory.
    Utah: it is a legal requirement to drink milk.
    Virginia: it is illegal to tickle woman.
    Washington: any motorist with criminal intentions is required to stop and call the chief of police before entering the town.
    West Virginia: it is illegal to whistle while underwater.
    Wisconsin: all yellow butter substitutes are banned.

    Now really a good one:
    Wyoming: all new buildings costing over $100k must have at least 1% of the budget spent on art work for the building.

    Rule making?
    Not easy. :)
  15. The UK is best with stupid rules :p In the Metropolitan Police District, you aren't allowed to beat or shake a carpet rug or mat, except if it's a doormat and it's before 8 AM :confused:
    ShelLuser likes this.
  16. "Rules said: Staff directions are to be followed at all times and are noted as unwritten addendum to the following listed Rules."

    I Agree...

    When I first read that rule in the update I immediately felt uncomfortable. I'm not chiming in to stir the pot, or to jump on any band-wagons, but any reasonable person can see the inherent problem with that statement.

    It sounds very abrasive from the outside looking in. Even while working under the assumption that staff would not request anything "unreasonable". The rule as it is written is overly vague and subjective, and displays a tone of "Obey any order without question or face the consequences. Do not bother to appeal or ask questions - what our enforcers say is law". This concept only works in real life when enforced violently, or with very large walls... Let's be honest. I'll only add to that thought the fact that it is obviously ripe for abuse. As they say - power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Now myself being the type that mostly minds my own business and doesn't become involved in the day-to-day drama in the community, I mostly shrugged my discomfort off because it's unlikely to be relevant to me any time soon. Now because it has become a conversation I'll chime in.

    By all means - yes edit that rule for clarity.
    M4ster_M1ner likes this.
  17. People have pet flamingos in Alaska? :eek:
    *books plane ticket to Alaska*

    I love the 500$ fine for detonating a nuke... obviously if you detonate a nuke you dont care about $500 or jail for that matter.

    I didnt know Idaho had Giraffes.

    And how does one get a fish drunk? I must know.
  18. You fill the fish bowl with beer! Duh! :p
  19. So I'd like to add my opinion about the above mentioned "fail save rule" also.

    First of all I think this section is desperately needed. They can't do without it because they need a fail save whenever the rules don't meet the situation. Could it have been reworded? Perhaps. But I also think you guys are overlooking a very important thing here...

    How many new players are going to read this? My take: not that many, only a select few who, by doing so, already show a stronger desire to follow the rules in the first place. This rule is kinda burried in the intro, and it is my experience so far that people who want to know the rules more than often skim over them and only read the headers. They'll only start reading a section more thoroughly when a rule doesn't make sense to them at first.

    I think most will miss this one in its entirety. And the fun thing is that this rule is actually added twice (more or less). Because in the additional rules section you'll find this:

    But I don't agree that the particular rule about staff having the last say will scare (new) people off. If any the amount of rules may startle them first, because every time you enter a new server there is no telling how those rules are going to be enforced. Do you get warned, do you get kicked or do they start banning right away? That is the question which most new players I met wondered about (those who actually cared about the rules up front, and that wasn't that many).

    But even if it does worry them; would that really be such a bad thing?

    Like it or not but in the end the staff is still the staff. They run the place, they make and enforce the rules so they also get to say what you can and cannot do. It's how the game is played. You can make things look as nice and friendly as you want but it does not change this simple fact.

    Now, for the record, I do understand your concerns and even appreciate you sharing a little bit of cynicism (not in a bad way!) by pointing this out.

    Can things go wrong? Sure. Theoretically speaking it is possible that a moderator could overstep his/her authority or do things wrong by making an honest mistake. And that's why every one of us, even those who are banned in-game, have been provided with the ultimate failsave (as I seriously tend to call it):

    The option to PM Krysyy and explain your problem with the staff and why it is so.

    A small detour in my comment (sorry)...

    Has any of you never wondered about that mod training? Every single time new staff gets added Krysyy speaks specifically about training and how the mods still need to learn the ropes. Heck, even when previous mods came back Krysyy still explicitly mentioned (publically!) that those would be "re-trained".

    You don't seriously think she's merely joking about all that, do you?

    Now, this is the fun part. I honestly don't know what I'm talking about, I only base my next comments on bits and pieces which I've heard from various staff and players alike. But I am convinced that us players aren't the only ones who need to play by the rules, the very same thing applies to the staff. What rules? Yeah, obviously those would never be shared because it would be the ultimate guide to EMC abuse.

    But unless you also know those rules then, and only then, can you made a truly educated guess on how bad the rule about staff having the last say actually is.

    And, uhm, so back to those new players. We talk about the rules here in a nice and civil manner. I don't mean to rub it in but any new player spotting this thread will most likely realize that things work "differently" around here (assuming they're familiar with other servers). There are plenty of servers out there where threads such as these either get locked up front or where any comment even slightly criticizing the rules gets removed.

    Now... Just like you I also had my doubts a few times about staff enforcing their authoritah (sorry, watched too much South Park ;)). I even went a bit further and stuck my nose into some affairs where it totally didn't belong. Like trying to get some banned players to talk to staff by starting a PM which included the banned player, some staff, and people who shouldn't have been part of it in the first place (like myself). It doesn't happen often, but still...

    Instead of ignoring the whole thing or repeating the obvious ("let the banned player contact me in private") staff actually tried to reach out as well. Even though it went totally against their own rules and regulations in the first place.

    Here's food for thought for you: wouldn't you agree that one of the reasons they were able to do that is that same rule which is mentioned above? It can work against us, sure, just like it can be used to work for us.

    So now back to the initial topic... Most of all I think you guys should also consider PM'ing Krysyy about your ideas and share them with her. That is pretty much the best way to do this. This forum is a good place to talk about the rules and share our opinions, just like it is a bad place to talk about them. Simply because of the target audience: most readers will want the best for EMC, but not everyone.

    And well; rules shouldn't be formed based on popularity in the first place. Their eventual goal is to make sure that we can all enjoy a good time here.
    SirTah likes this.