It has come to my attention that the fact that I asked Takta to resign on Tuesday has become common knowledge amongst the pbase. My understanding is that she has left the game, but not without parting words about what happened. I also understand this is going around the pbase like wildfire.
I was hoping to allow all parties some dignity and privacy on the matter, but I've been told by multiple sources (and at least one player themselves) that the things that Takta has been saying have significantly affected their perception of the game. I've also been asked to provide an explanation. My understanding of the situation is that whatever is happening is causing severe angst amongst players. I hope to alleviate that and at least try to provide some clarity regarding what happened.
Unfortunately, to do that, I must disclose some IC information that Policy normally would not. I'm reluctant, but I suspect that a good portion of this is already known as part and parcel of the rumors going around, and at this stage being silent on the matter is probably a bad value call. To mitigate the potential damage, however, Staff will provide free renames to any characters who find their RP damaged by this post (including to Takta herself if she wishes to take advantage of the offer).
Hopefully this will put some of this to bed - if it doesn't and I've severely misjudged the right thing to do under the circumstances, please accept my apology. As it stands, I do not think it is wise to allow any misinformation on this to continue.
1. To the degree that I could, I have protected IC information and the identities of players who have not left the game. To my understanding, Takta has left the game.
2. Other staff are not responsible for this post or my thoughts. I am Policy, and I am responsible for this decision, both for asking Takta to step down and for choosing to write this post to explain it to the pbase.
3. If you continue reading beyond this point, you will be exposed to potentially damaging IC/OOC information.
Below is full disclosure about Policy Case #148, necessitated to reduce the current wave of rumors and ill-feeling going around.
To start, this is the policy board post:
Takta subsequently wrote me several emails, generally saying that she understood that she had been a long standing headache when it came to player complaints, but telling me that I was wrong about the crossover/multiplay violation and arguing her point. She also provided further information and logs in her defense - sadly I felt those logs actually further proved crossover rather than dissipating my view that she shouldn't have involved Ariel.[ #148] Policy Board
A note has been posted by: Kinaed
From room : 97
In subject of: Takta - Multiplay Crossover
Date : Tue May 24 09:49:54 2016
Edited : Tue May 24 17:58:51 2016
Expires : Sun Feb 17 08:50:07 2019
To : Staff aides staff
Dear Staff, please see the below documentation:
I got the following in my email from a player today:
Just had a brief scene with Rimilde and she was describing the Nils situation and one of my concerns is that three of Ariel's alts were mentioned connected to him in the same breath.
Leila was Nils' lover.
Eamon is currently Nils' friend apparently.
Ariel is now standing up for him and has discounted evidence against him previously.
It has a bad crossover smell to me.
<REDACTED> Can you explain how Ariel got involved?
Please refer to Point 4 under help multiplaying.
When you reply to this, please copy the above message back to me.
Ariel got involved solely when a game-wide messenger came out to summon everyone to River Square for the execution. He stood up against the execution again solely because, by my reading of the helpfiles, it's illegal.
He was in no way "standing up for Smith"; he was quick to clarify he didn't care if Smith was executed and that he didn't like or trust Smith, but that the execution needed to be legal in the interest of due process.
This is something I have done frequently in the past as Ariel at more than one scene of the sort before - he has a long-standing tradition of publicly interfering when the law or Order carries out what he sees as inappropriate forms of justice.
After Ariel raised his objections, he also agreed that he would stand by the judgment of the law, but that it seemed a further investigation of Smith's case was needed before he was sent to the hangman.
I then explicitly excused myself from further involvement in the RP through a tell to Hunapo (who was the main person I was ICly arguing with and who knew that I had also played Leila). I do have logs of having that conversation. (I did add on to the rumor about it, though - in retrospect maybe not good, I'll stay out of that in the future.)
I have zero intention of further involvement as Ariel. I'm not sure what the "has discounted information against him previously" refers to - probably I got some letter about him claiming X piece of information meant Y and replied to it thinking it wasn't a big deal. (<REDACTED>)
I also have zero intention of further involvement as Eamon; since now Ariel has stood up against the execution, Eamon will not be getting involved either in whatever happens next.
Hopefully this assuages concerns.
Takta addressed why she brought Ariel to the confrontation, but it doesn't address the crossover issue. As per our help file:
Alts may not interact with one another's RP threads. (This is treated on a first come, first serve basis, so
if Alt1 gets involved in RP, Alt2 must ICly stand down from getting involved. If there is a conflict here that absolutely
requires an alt, see a staff member to resolve the problem).
I don't think Ariel being 'summoned by a game-wide mob' negates the choice to bring Ariel into the scene because Takta knew OOCly what was going down. Otherwise, it seems like a clear-cut case of Ariel getting involved in RP to save the life of his alt's, Eamon & Leila's, friend/lover. Certainly it looks that way to players if the email is to go by.
Ultimately, I tried to judge this one by 'what would I do if it was someone other than Takta'. I decided I'd probably write up a policy board post, give them a warning not to do it again, and if they did, I'd remove their ability to play alts (as <NAME REDACTED>'s warning has been, and as I'll probably be doing soon once I'm done inspecting the logs). Based on this, I decided that an infraction had occurred.
The next complication to work through was what to do about it given that Takta is staff. Unfortunately, this is clearly going around the pbase (it was raised by a player), and here were my options:
1. Ignore it. (This isn't acceptable because players would view it as my protecting Takta and them being held to different rules).
2. Punish Takta and keep her as staff. (This seems like the worst of both worlds. We openly tell players that we have a problem with a staff member, but are keeping them in a position of power and authority over them).
3. Request Takta step down. (I went with this one because it is a punishment in itself, Takta has had on-going reputational issues and player complaints. I've had to deal with policy concerns in the past that I generally felt were poorly proven, but the frequency and continuing nature of them has left me somewhat concerned. Ultimately, this would cease and we retain staff integrity to being held to the same or higher standards as players themselves.)
This decision making pained me considerably. I did not enjoy it and wish it were different. I know that some staff members feel horror that I've asked one of us to step down for a policy breach. All I can say is that I did my best, and I'm upset too.
I don't think that Takta was thinking about the crossover implications of what she was doing when she did it - she seems severely upset because she feels her intent was pure. The fact is, however, that she had quite significant RP with Nils on Eamon & Leila. Their relationship was known to be one of friendship and love respectively. Takta then brought Ariel in to interfere with Nils' execution (she was OOCly aware that it was happening and that it was an execution because she saw Hunapo filling in the execution POLCA as staff prior to the game-wide summoning). That is severely problematic.
Takta's defense relies heavily on her expressed intent, but that's not reliable to prove or disprove a policy case. It can modify the outcome if intent is sufficiently proven, but intent is extremely subjective and easy to manipulate. It's just too easy for one to rewrite their intent when their behavior is questioned.
So, I asked Takta to resign and offered to keep the whole situation quiet to give her the benefit of dignity in the matter. She refused that offer, and from what I have been told, she's shared her very disgruntled side of the story, which is making the rounds (hence necessitating this post to balance the conversation).
As many of you may know, Takta has been a controversial staff member. I do not believe that she has broken policy before, but I've investigated multiple complaints (which I will not detail for the sake of not besmirching her further with unproven accusations). However, the point is that I have frequently dealt with accusations against her, and she is aware of it. She told me in her emails that she thought the reason I asked her to step down was solely for my own comfort so I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore.
I'd be lying if I said that dealing with complaints about Takta is how I want to spend my time on TI. That said, I feel Takta has over-emphasized this reason in self defense and anger. The truth is that this decision was a major sacrifice for the ideals of staff accountability. Takta was an intelligent, hard working staff member with multiple specialized skills and a great deal of talent, the loss of which will hurt TI. I was very, very unhappy to feel that I had to ask her to resign to maintain our integrity. If I allow even the appearance of staff cheating, it fractures the trust of the pbase, and make us all hypocrites. If we want to enforce that players don't do these sorts of things, how can we do them ourselves? How can we be worthy of having the sort of power over the pbase that we do if we go unpunished when our behavior crosses the line? I have quite literally been working on staff integrity for twelve years to turn around the notorious environment TI had when Tamara was Implementor. Should I be prepared to throw that hard work away to keep Takta? Gosh, I wanted to.
This was not a vendetta against Takta - as I told her, if she hadn't done this, no policy case would have come up, and I wouldn't have had to judge on it. I was definitely not waiting in the wings for the chance to find her guilty of a policy breach – I absolutely wish it never happened.
I am not perfect, but I did my best and made the judgment I felt was most appropriate. I understand that many players may disagree with my ruling. That said, this is my job function as Policy, and I do it to the best of my ability. To those who disagree with the decision – I acknowledge your opinion and apologize that I don’t share it. I hope that this post at least explains to everyone how and why I came to my conclusions.
I am open to questions, clarifying rumors, or any other discussions players wish to have privately in-game. However, due to the inciting nature of this issue, how it can easily devolve into people maligning one another, and not wanting people to openly take sides/get locked into defending their position, this post is a Policy Release and locked from discussion.
Parts of this post were redacted or slightly edited at Takta's request.