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Observations & Thoughts - Skull's Version


Skull132

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I'll post this before I pass out for the night.


I don't enjoy playing this card. But, I've been here since the start, initially as a player. Through progression and effort, I am now the Head Developer. Through circumstance, the Interim Head Administrator. I've had the pleasure of working alongside 4 wonderful leaders (Subdigital & Sphere, YeahChris, FFrances). And with Chris, we set Aurora ticking the way it has been, on the surface, been ticking up until this point. We accepted that it'd change, we rolled with it and actively sought it, with regards to a few issues.


I have held that, generally speaking, Aurora has been the same eversince YeahChris and I established the core principles. But, take note of the tense. I no longer believe that, and it's puzzling to a degree. And ultimately, I am disappointed in myself for letting it end up here.


Beyond the semantics. Beyond the people. Beyond the tickrate of gamemodes. What has changed? And why does any of that change even matter?


What has changed is the current preference of a "no-exceptions" methodology. There exist rules, policies which frame everyone. Limit everyone.

  • A character with an acknowledged criminal past is taken immediate note of.
  • A character with an active, but undercover, criminal presence is taken immediate note of.
  • A character in a curious position is, more often than not, taken immediate note of.

 

The enforcement of blanket policy has become the norm. In a very crude fashion. Why is it an issue? Because, and I'm sure others have their own ways of thinking about it, but this is my own: there is no more reward in it. For anyone.


You could create the most intricate character with the most active criminal presence, find all the loopholes and bribe people, create a situation where you can maintain a reasonable cover while doing your thing as the antag status ticks over or even without (smaller things). But the moment someone catches wind of this: "No, NT doesn't hire criminals." The effort, legitimate effort, is not rewarded anymore. And if this is the case, why should you even bother? Simple, you shouldn't. The station becomes a boring mix of minor-league fucknut #n, the shy medical expect #pi and the war grizzled detective #tau. Hyperbole, but you understand the point, I hope?


The argument that Tainavaa is partially getting at, at least was yesterday, is that the approach should not be: "People are creating shit undercover syndicates, so let's just make it so no one can have undercover syndicates." And yet it is.

The approach should be: "Okay, that's your character? That's reasonable, carry on." And yet it isn't.

And the stupid fear of everyone having hardened criminals as characters? Or of every other person being some sort of syndicate agent that actively and poorly flaunts their butt? Those people can be managed. Either nudged and guided, or very simply nixed. But the fear of abuse should not lead to tightening the screws on everyone. Not like this. Obviously, characters like that will be kept to appropriate standards. Namely, if they get screwed over ICly, then that's their consequence to deal with. If they don't, and just null or constantly rewrite the character to avoid these consequences in a manner unfair to the others involved, then we can step in, tap'em on the shoulder and advise otherwise.


People keep thinking "What ifs". It actually irritated me rather greatly today, during a discussion about the same topic. I raised these points, and folks immediately jump to the points of, "What if X, Y, and Z?" It felt as if they needed an entire book, with exactly outlined possibilities and molds that you can use. Instead of simply keeping to the idea of, "Is it reasonable?" Instead of writing an entire sodding book, or arguing an infinite amount of "What ifs", the initial situation should simply be assessed on its validity, and any damage afterwards curbed as it appears. Not because we're afraid of someone being a shit.


Examples from the recently most active topics:

  • multidisciplinary characters should be assessed on individual validity. Instead of writing up an entire agenda on what exactly we allow and don't allow. Guidelines which already exist.
  • Engineering armsrace should not be defined by some visible line. The current guidelines of powergaming are already applicable enough: arming without a legitimate reason is powergaming, ergo, punish the ones that do that, and let the rest toil away, respond and die.
  • The hardsuit removal bullscheisse should fall in line with the same guidelines already established for acquiring genetic copies of yourself and other folks as genetics: if SOP for character, then consider passable, until deemed objectively detrimental to gameplay.

 

And yet, some folks are pushing these to be general policies. Which is the issue: framing and molding.


This will potentially bring more folks yelling, "Favourtism!" and so forth. But as long as staff are kept accountable, and reasonable approaches are the ones opted, it won't be an issue. Because, we've had people like that in the past, back on the old forums. And we managed it then. We just have more folks to deal with now, but we also can get more staff to compensate. And there will always be folks like that, it's just a matter of ensuring that you maintain your standard and don't discard valid charges, no matter how horribly misphrased.


Erm. I think that concludes this... What is it? Rant? List of observations? Platter of cupcakes? I have no clue, it's like 0150hrs at night, and I have a verbal exam tomorrow. Weeee. I'm going to regret everything. Oh. There is a thing.

 

"Per Ardua Ad Astra"



*nids*

 

EDIT: Apparently it's staff-introspect night. Kids: this is what happens when the server is down. K? K.

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As I've stated in my own sister-thread, I definitely think that players nowadays have to face much heavier restrictions than they should. And part of it can be attributed to blanket policies.


We shouldn't have to worry about if something has potential to be bad. For example, discouraging or disallowing ex-military characters because "they might want to go rambo constantly" - the former does not precede the latter without a fault, and a good roleplayer should be capable of playing an ex-mil character without becoming a frustrating powergamer that foils all the antagonists every round.


If issues arise, they can be dealt with then. But I am irked by the idea that a player should be told they can't have something "because it might cause problems", not simply because it is or is certain to.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

It has been and will be for my tenure as loremaster to never deny an application based on a hypothetical precedence it can set. Rather than deny and restrict, I want to foster those that use creative means to do something unique or hasn't been done before, and in a fun way.


Enough roleplay and care for whatever is being written/RP'd can justify almost anything for me. The loreside of this discussion is more lax than it used to be, which so far hasn't developed any major issues.


The cusp of the matter is, I suppose, one of trust.

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It has been and will be for my tenure as loremaster to never deny an application based on a hypothetical precedence it can set. Rather than deny and restrict, I want to foster those that use creative means to do something unique or hasn't been done before, and in a fun way.


Enough roleplay and care for whatever is being written/RP'd can justify almost anything for me. The loreside of this discussion is more lax than it used to be, which so far hasn't developed any major issues.


The cusp of the matter is, I suppose, one of trust.

I want to hug you.

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So if I understand this correctly I very much agree with it. I’ve been personally denied several lore related things I wanted to apply to my character on the grounds of “NT wouldn’t hire criminals” or “it’s impossible to duel major”. In fact I’m still /really/ sore about having to bump my characters age up to a point that makes me feel really uncomfortable, simply because my character couldn’t duel major. Like, still pretty pissed about it. especially when I see other players who do the exact same thing. No player should be forced to make a change to their character that makes them that uncomfortable considering it would have only been a foot note at best.


I remember I wanted to give Travis a slight security record so I would have a reason in game to calm his telescience shenanigans down. The idea was that if he knew he was being watched then he would behave better (I thought everyone who hated Travis would love that idea). But instead I got reamed by people because “NT wouldn't hire a criminal” no matter how minor the offence is. go figure.


One thing I expect, someone is going to bring up snowflakyness. So I will just voice my thoughts on that as well. You can have a criminal record and still not be a snow flake. We have gotten so stuck on this notion of blanket policies that if we ease up just slightly we will not be going anywhere near snowflakyness.


Guess I’m just going on a little rant too because this topic does piss me off and has made me dislike the character I play. Understand, It's gotten to the point that I dislike playing travis davis. why don't I make another character? whats the point, anything remotely out side of policies will be stricken down and I dont want to put in all that effort just for that to happen again. I don’t know if you guys remember but travis was pretty well developed with an in depth background. He had likes and dislikes, I had habits, mood swings, different dispositions. Now, not so much. Now I just play telescience to fuck with people. I stopped caring for two reasons, one is the constant hostilities on the server (there will be characters I’ve never even met that will randomly treat me like shit (I also understand that topic is being handled on another forum)), and two is because of this exact topic. I’ve had to dumb down my character because of the flack I’ve gotten for doing anything remotely outside of the strictest policies. Much of the flack came from admins, but plenty from other characters as well.

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So if I understand this correctly I very much agree with it. I’ve been personally denied several lore related things I wanted to apply to my character on the grounds of “NT wouldn’t hire criminals” or “it’s impossible to duel major”. In fact I’m still /really/ sore about having to bump my characters age up to a point that makes me feel really uncomfortable, simply because my character couldn’t duel major. Like, still pretty pissed about it. especially when I see other players who do the exact same thing. No player should be forced to make a change to their character that makes them that uncomfortable considering it would have only been a foot note at best.


I remember I wanted to give Travis a slight security record so I would have a reason in game to calm his telescience shenanigans down. The idea was that if he knew he was being watched then he would behave better (I thought everyone who hated Travis would love that idea). But instead I got reamed by people because “NT wouldn't hire a criminal” no matter how minor the offence is. go figure.


One thing I expect, someone is going to bring up snowflakyness. So I will just voice my thoughts on that as well. You can have a criminal record and still not be a snow flake. We have gotten so stuck on this notion of blanket policies that if we ease up just slightly we will not be going anywhere near snowflakyness.


Guess I’m just going on a little rant too because this topic does piss me off and has made me dislike the character I play. Understand, It's gotten to the point that I dislike playing travis davis. why don't I make another character? whats the point, anything remotely out side of policies will be stricken down and I dont want to put in all that effort just for that to happen again. I don’t know if you guys remember but travis was pretty well developed with an in depth background. He had likes and dislikes, I had habits, mood swings, different dispositions. Now, not so much. Now I just play telescience to fuck with people. I stopped caring for two reasons, one is the constant hostilities on the server (there will be characters I’ve never even met that will randomly treat me like shit (I also understand that topic is being handled on another forum)), and two is because of this exact topic. I’ve had to dumb down my character because of the flack I’ve gotten for doing anything remotely outside of the strictest policies. Much of the flack came from admins, but plenty from other characters as well.

 

There's a strange thing about this, though. I have a few characters that are cross department/dual major. I have a few characters that have some security records. I still have it noted in Sairis records about the shuttle incident in the military. Nobody's ever said a word to me about 'NT wouldnt hire a criminal', I cant dual major, or anything about being snowflakey. Why are some people getting this flak, and others like myself aren't?


If people don't believe me about these characters, here's some records for you:

Rasine Ha'kim: http://sierrabrown.me/aurorarecords/index.php?uid=sierrakomodo_rasineha%27kim

PRIOR RECORDS:



2457 - Minor assault. Struck another crew member (Travis Davis) with her claws after leaving the crew-transfer shuttle at the end of a shift. Action was in response to unwanted physical contact, after verbal warning.

2457 - Contraband. Had a small explosive, which she attempted to give to the science department, stating she found it on the asteroid and thought they might want it for research. She does not appear to have been aware it was an explosive.




NOTES:



Dislikes physical contact of any sort, and may react violently if touched by other crew members, including for arrest. Extra force may be required for arrests/detainment if not cooperative.

 

Miraj Zi'Ad, literally a dual-major (Xenobiology and Chemistry) - At one point, she was also EMT, but I have OOC issues with the emotes that come up during certain medical actions that make me really uncomfortable:

http://sierrabrown.me/aurorarecords/index.php?uid=sierrakomodo_mirajzi%27ad


Kylan Hadyara - Granted, mining doesnt require any kind of 'major', and he is 52 years old.. He's still cross department. Also, he's color blind and recently has had PTSD symptoms

http://sierrabrown.me/aurorarecords/index.php?uid=sierrakomodo_kylanhadyara


Sairis Helosi - It's still canon to me about the 'true story' of Sairis shuttle crash, where it was shot down by by hijacked defensive systems instead of just randomly crashing (Even though the records don't hint toward it). Oh, also, she has a record for contraband. The only comments I've ever received about this character are when she used to have that 'command clearance only' section of the record that detailed the shuttle incident.

http://sierrabrown.me/aurorarecords/index.php?uid=sierrakomodo_sairishelosi


Katana - Since someone might say 'But Atmos requires a lot more than chemistry/xenobiology/emt'.. Katana is currently Security and Atmos. Which I spoke with admins and cleared before going through with it.



So how can I have all these characters and not get any flak or anything from people - Even permission from admins regarding Katana - and someone else who only has one character that's cross department/has slight records is getting all of these problems? What makes any of my characters different from their character?

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Isn't Jaylour remaue a former pirate or some shit? If they really don't hire criminals, they're doing a piss poor job of it, and if you really wanted to make it so NT didn't hire criminals, you'd get rid of the ability to modify security records in character creation. There's a detective who was accused of war crimes for crying out loud. Hooliganism with telescience is a speckle compared to these things. And as someone who frequently plays head of security, there are characters who have no security records and are suddenly master criminal minds when it comes to being an antag, granted that could be an ooc roleplaying problem/meta/power gaming, but wouldn't they have received a psychilocal screening before being allowed on the station? Someone would've picked up on it, at least I think. Also, when people go to uni, don't people pick subjects to major and minor in? I don't see why a character, let's use Travis for example, can't excell in scienxe, his major, where all telescince is just a basic understanding of trig, or a basic knowledge on how to program something to do it for you, then he goes to atmos on his off days, more often than not accompanied by someone else, only having a basic understanding of atmospherics, basically being an assistant.


I'm on my phone rn, sorry for mistakes

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The definition of criminality is very easy to warp and interpret in different ways. My interpretation is that, NanoTrasen doesn't hire criminally active thugs, operatives or terrorists if they're very clearly the latter. However, nothing is stopping a reformed ex-pirate from attempting to meld back into society and ask their employers to give them a chance. Nor is anything stopping NanoTrasen from, while tentative, hiring an ex-pirate as an employee onboard the station. It really depends on what Rameau's background is and how criminal he was. Ex-Smugglers might be held under tighter scrutiny than other comparative, clean personnel.


It's also not unbelievable to have someone who was accused of war crimes yet wasn't convicted due to the charges being dropped due to circumstance or whatever other reason. Obviously, if it becomes an issue when they start saying shit like "I should treat you like I treated those children in the war", they're going to get smacked, suspended and an incident report will be filed to Internal Affairs regarding a war criminal being able to climb the ranks of a corporation, which is bad PR.


I dislike attempting to justify with either logic/lore/realism/practicality when it comes to why antags are antags and are so fucking robust/amazingly strategic. Sleeper agents/indoctrination (in a context such as militaristic indoctrination and brainwashing) is a thing. It's not stupidly unbelievable. But it's up to the antag themselves on how they're going to meld their story.


And there are people who can pass psych evals and still have compromising mental issues. There are very manipulative sociopaths that exist in this world and are able to bypass most scrutiny and screening. They just have to be not stupid, essentially.


I've an OOC issue with the Travis Davis character because they happen to know xenobiology to an extent where they know the slime path to get dem bluespess slimes, happen to know the intricacies of slime anatomy to be able to extract their slime cores, as well as recognizing what reagents work with what slime core and are able to recognize the reaction that comes from the reagent mixing. In addition, the character is able to perform head-calculus/trig and is able to perform pinpoint telescience warping in and out, stealing boxes of donuts and generally being annoying. And then he's an atmos tech, which even at entry-level requires knowledge regarding how air distribution and etcetschiesse works? That annoys me, greatly.


But that's another thread for another time. Regardless, the circumstances for what makes a valid character and what does not are pretty clear. It's up to the community to identify it themselves and take it up to the general public as well as the administration.

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Nano puts it pretty exact on what my original thoughts were with Travis. I was not trying to become some criminal mastermind I wanted to put something simple such as trespassing or minor theft. Last I heard trespassing and minor theft were decently minor offences. But no I was told I would be arrested and permabriged every shift if I did that. He also paints exactly what I was thinking with the jobs. My character majored in bluespace xenology, which would be a major specifically focused on how bluespace slimes(and any other bluespace creatures) work in conjunction with blue space. If you see me in xeno you would see that I usually default to other xenobiologists as knowing more and infact it’s cannon that Travis does not know a lot of other combinations. Same is true with his knowledge of atmos, the only thing he has mastered under his belt is telescience which requires advance math.


I’ve been asked way to many times why I am in telescience as a xenobiologist, or told that I don’t belong in there because I’m a xenobiologst; when I put this stuff in my employment record from the beginning). I asked everyone and no one had a problem with it. Then suddenly it becomes a problem and just to avoid being job banned I had to bump my characters age up another 5 years which made me /very/ uncomfortable to play.


Honestly, I think people who dislike Travis/me as a character just look for reasons to get him in trouble. 1138 why is Travis a problem when other characters can know advance triage, medicine and chemistry and also have a crossover of advance law to become HOS; not just a security officer but a god damn HOS? There are plenty of examples of this sort of cross over. I mean look at sierra with all the cross overs shes done. I think she even has like a 25 year old xenobiologst. I love sierra to death but seeing that hypocrisy is deeply upsetting and has nearly lead me to just up and quitting the game (I know it’s not her fault). So yeah, when my character gets so much flack and nearly banned while other characters get showered with love just screams favoritism and has made me pretty damn resentful.


I feel really vindicated with sierras and nanos comments. You guys are putting forth the exact same arguments\examples I did when this was an issue; I was shut down harshly and nearly banned. That’s why I’m pretty comfortable calling this favoritism/hypocritical bullshit; and why I’ve been so upset by it for so long. Thank you guys.


Edit**


What’s really upsetting is I had a lot of major plans to develop travis to much more than he is right now. I had a whole story arch on how he is lonely and looking for a family to belong to, while excelling in a career and decide whether he wants to use telescience for the good or bad. With all the flack I’ve gotten over him and how I get mistreated for deviating just slightly, it makes this development not worth the effort. So I’ve stopped developing him, which since then has made for some pretty mediocre Rp. Anyone who’s actually sat down and RP’ed with travis before knows I had a lot more with him. Now he’s pretty reduced down to that annoying tajara lover.


Edit edit** (always more to say)


This conversation is perfect for now actually. 1138 what you've just said at the very end is a major issue and source of resentment, “It's up to the community to identify it themselves and take it up to the general public”. The way it works out, characters that are disliked will be dissected and picked apart, having blanket policies applied to them until that player can’t play their character; While leaving characters that are loved by all alone so they can ignore policies all they want. That is exactly what playing favoritism and being hypocritical is. it’s severally up setting when I have to dismantle my character and play it exactly by the books because someone doesn't like it. While other characters gets to ignore the policies all they want.


We can break this down two ways, either stop the favoritism (which is extremely difficult) or remove the ammo from the people who want to play favoritism (the blanket policies that are applied so arbitrarily).

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I don't mean to sound condescending. I do not mean to offend. But I feel like I need to say out something. The amount of offences Travis made ICly should have warranted self-moderating action. Most notably, he chucked a telecrystal at someone as a non-antagonist during the end of a round, and that someone died. We didn't hop onto it OOCly, at least I don't think we did. But the singular fact is that your character just committed murder. And from where I stood, you did nothing but shrug. Not even an effect on the character, not to mention a report on their records.


Several cases of monkeybombing to the point of the gag getting old, as well. Same spiel.


In the eyes of the administration, this is effectively running around as a character, and not allowing consequence into your game. If your intent is to have a respectable and successful telescientist, then that's in your hands to do. We have never stopped you from doing it, not outright, while I do admit that some steps taken were not conduct with the proper respects having been paid. From our perspective, you paid no mind to consequences of your character's actions, much to the point where it started irking another member of the community (non-staff).


The other cases I will nod my head to and accept as being questionable, but I will stand behind this singular choice of clipping your wings in Telescience. And before contesting this specific action as favourtism, I will have you know that actions similar were taken against characters from a myriad of different players, over a period spanning more than a year back. This list of individuals also includes members of present staff, and ex-staff.

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Skull as long as you explain your reasoning (and allow me reasonable reply) I won’t take offence to it. The point you brought up is a direct result of the situation I framed. That murder/bullshiting I do to the extent that it is a problem; that was squarely after I invested so much time in developing my character only to be told I would be perma brigged if I had a minor offence of theft in my record. I admit myself; I started just fucking with people with telescience. At which point I fully recognize why moderating action had to take place. However, my point is, all that could have been avoided if blanket policies weren’t used to play favorites and suppress my character. I was trying to develop my character and give him a reason not to do anything bad with telescience, but because I already rubbed a few people the wrong way I was threatened with permabrig every time I stepped on station on the grounds that “NT don’t hire criminals” even if it’s minor crime. The crime in question was minor theft; the murder took place after I stopped giving a shit. I stopped giving a shit because of the way favoritism and blanket policies were applied.


So yes, I understand that since then me and my character became a problem, the actions I took before that incident were minor/annoying but not to the extent that required administrative action. I only started acting out because I was forced to do things with my character I was not comfortable with (up his age, erase his reports). I was forced to do that because of the way these blanket policies where being applied so unfairly. Any actions I did after that likely justified administrative action because I stopped caring about what line to cross because the line was drawn so arbitrarily and obviously biased to favorite characters.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

Nanotrasen isn't beholden to the Sol Alliance or some rosy do-gooder corporation. Unless your criminality would actively cost them in time, prestige, or money, they don't give a shit if you're a former ex pirate. Be creative! If it becomes a problem, we have two layers of policing (Duty Officers and Moderators) to nip it in the bud if it becomes a problem.


It's when you have ACTIVE criminal stuff on it, or it goes beyond the realms of believability. "Has a warrant for 12 murders in New New New York" or an SCP level list of a bunch of [REDACTED] crimes.


Basically, if it's not something you would reasonably be put in your job for even for rehabilitation, it's not acceptable, but otherwise it should be fine.


Just disable L/OOC if people are bitching. I started ignoring/stopped caring 70% of the comments in these two channels and my enjoyment of rounds has improved immensely.

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