Author Topic: Staff Complaints should be anonymous  (Read 888 times)

UnderSeven

  • Posts: 1444
Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« on: October 03, 2019, 09:42:18 PM »
As the topic suggests.

The whole concept of complaining about someone To the person whose conduct you are complaining about is absurd.  It isn't realistic to expect the players to feel comfortable doing that and it doesn't increase the accountability of the staff, and if anything it hurts the perception there of.  You can say that only administrators and above respond to complaints, but are they the only ones who see the complaints and even if the admins + are the only ones who see them what if the player isn't comfortable coming forward to them?

Of course one could point out that if you don't trust the staff to handle complaints then you probably won't bother even if it was anonymous, but certainly having to open yourself up to possible staff reprisal makes the prospect of voicing your concerns highly unlikely. 

Anyway, if the Armageddon staff were at all serious about accountability and giving players a way to voice concerns of staff conduct, they would make it possible to send anonymous reports.

Namino

  • Posts: 474
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 09:46:13 PM »
Staff complaint outcomes should also be disclosed to the complainer. Even internal investigations done by police departments, a notoriously controversial process, reveal their conclusions to the public as an accountability [sic] metric. The fact that complaint outcomes are not detailed to the player means there is never any evidence that those complaints are being handled with a single iota of seriousness. It makes it feel like the request tool is a means by which for the narrative to be controlled rather than a means for problems to be resolved.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 07:45:02 AM by Namino »

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1973
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2019, 09:48:16 PM »
Absolutely, they should be an option.

There should also be an option to tag a staff member in the complaint so that that specific staff member just cannot see the complaint about them, entirely removing their ability to read it and get mad they got a complaint by taking it out on the player.

Dar

  • Posts: 1526
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2019, 09:57:18 PM »
While, it'll probably be moot in 95% of situations. Easily deducible from context and all that.  But I think Hauwke's idea has merit.

It's a little complicated, considering how many fake trolls we've got around lately. But I dont think the option to obscure would hurt anything and maybe help someone come forward with a legitimate complaint that they wouldnt otherwise.

I like the idea. The request tool is Morgenes baby, right? Is it even possible to make such a significant alteration to it?


Where the hell is Morgenes anyway? He's missing out on all the cool stuff.

Bebop

  • Posts: 4058
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 10:19:56 PM »
Yes.  Please make this a thing.  Most of the time people do not complain because they do not want to face IG repercussions.  I would also like to see  a staff standards of conduct if one does not exist.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 10:22:10 PM by Bebop »

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8056
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 07:35:55 AM »
On the other hand...

when a player announces that they're going to complain about a specific staff member, or when they actually complain about a specific staff member, here or elsewhere, all bets are off. You want to be anonymous, then don't tell a friend, don't tell a frienemy, don't post it on the GDB, don't post a review on the mudconnector, etc. etc. etc.

Nothing reeks more than a social justice warrior who airs out their gripes mostly because they want attention and they want to rile up the masses, rather than the person who feels they have a valid, and very specific complaint, that they express through the proper channels.

Sort of like an employee complaining about their pay in front of the customers to other employees. If YOUR pay is not satisfactory to you, then your gripe isn't with the customers or the other employees. It's with the boss. If the boss sees that you are taking up the other employees' paid work time by whining about your pay, they can fire you. Yes, you're legally allowed to talk about your pay to other employees. But you're not entitled to do it while you and they are on the clock.

Got a gripe about the management of the game? Take it to management. If it's legit, it will stand on its own. You don't need a group consensus of an entire gathering of people who are trying to relax and enjoy an evening. Especially if you're not even engaging everyone else to ask them if THEY have any similar experiences. If all you're doing is spewing our your complaint in the hopes that others will sympathize and join your rage-fit, then you've already lost the battle.

As for the act of complaining: if you're complaining about a specific incident, you'll need to be specific about which characters are involved. As soon as you do that it ceases to be anonymous. If you're complaining about a "general issue" that has caused a problem with your character, specifically, then it will also cease to be anonymous because the staff will check to see if the issue has occurred recently and voila - there you are, right smack dab in the middle of it.

Be anonymous to each other. But don't expect the staff to respond to anonymous complaints about specific problems.



Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8056
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2019, 07:39:58 AM »
Absolutely, they should be an option.

There should also be an option to tag a staff member in the complaint so that that specific staff member just cannot see the complaint about them, entirely removing their ability to read it and get mad they got a complaint by taking it out on the player.

What would be the point of that?

Admin to underling: "Hey we got a complaint about you so we need to ask you a bunch of questions about what happened."
Underling: "What event do you need me to tell you about?"
Admin: I can't tell you because then you'd know who made the complaint, and it has to be anonymous."
Underling: Oh. Well thanks for the head's up. Hey wanna see this new trog mob I made? It has a kung-fu kick!
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Cowboy

  • Posts: 574
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2019, 08:10:52 AM »
If it's that big a deal that you are making a complaint...put your name on it!
I'd rather be lucky than good.

Riev

  • Posts: 5611
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 09:15:29 AM »
Admittedly, as a group of volunteers and people who have been playing this game for a long time, there is a very small chance that your complaint against Shalooonsh for being too Ginger isn't going to get back to him when Shabago is reading it.

I'm 50/50 on being anonymous. You have a real complaint? Put your name on it.
That said, I'd be wary of any staff complaint with my name on it because there is nothing that prevents retaliation. There is no "internal" bureau, there is no method of policing. If I complain about Brokkr, and something I staff-complain about is taken personally, who makes sure he doesn't give me a year ban next time I'm salty about something he says on the GDB?
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

Shabago

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Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 09:55:09 AM »
I take complaints seriously. I take action on complaints. Some of you are aware of this already by previous engagements with me.

Guess what? So does Rathustra, Draugr, Nessalin, Brokkr and Nathvaan. There are six of us that review staff complaints (5 if it's against one of us). This 'fearing reprisal' claim has zero merit. Sorry, but not one ounce of merit. What, we're going to kill your PC because you had the audacity to say 'Hey, storyteller X or Admin Y was rude in this request reply.'? Not going to happen.

To put a finer point on the above, if a player is killed by a staff member, there is a PK report staff have to fill out - something that generates onto the weekly update page that any of you can see for transparency sake. Staff further have a set in stone rule that absolutely NO plot/action can be started with the sole purpose of killing a PC. Has that rule been broken in the past? Yes. Where are those staff members? Fired.

As for turning complaints anonymous - I have zero interest in seeing our request tool turned into Reddit/TMS reviews. Of any/all claims put forth on these 3rd party sites over the past X amount of time, guess how many have proven factual in their claims of approaching staff to have the issue rectified? A nice, big, fat goose-egg. Zero. None. I would rather spend my time working on bettering the game, creating stories, facilitating plots, building additions and updating what is already in place for all of you to enjoy over chasing down ghost stories.

If there is a factual complaint, it'll be addressed. No, we're not going to disclose actions taken against staff members same as we do not disclose what action is taken on player complaints. People will make mistakes, so shaming them forever more with discussing outcomes serves what purpose beyond some personal gratification of knowing how someone else was punished? It's ghoulish. None of us, brand new player on up to longest serving producer are here to be punching bags.

TL:DR; If there is a valid complaint, put it in. It'll be addressed and you won't be 'punished' for it. That simple.
Nessalin: At night, I stand there and watch you sleep.  With a hammer in one hand and a candy cane in the other.  Judging.

Haunt

  • Posts: 24
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 11:03:48 AM »
While I have no doubt in my mind what you said is true, I can definitely see still a level of mistrust there from past precedent that might be a little harder to break down rather than a promise of "We're different now." I can't fault someone for feeling like they have far more to lose as a player for dropping in a complaint, than a staffer receiving it. It would be nice to see an extending of the hand from the other side, though ultimately it would be best for everyone to go into things optimistically.

I see no harm arising from at least the option of anonymity. If something doesn't add up, then hopefully it would be detected quite easily with the amount of record keeping in the game.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 11:06:51 AM by Haunt »
Sometimes the shit breaks you

roughneck

  • Posts: 848
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2019, 11:21:32 AM »
I see no harm arising from at least the option of anonymity. If something doesn't add up, then hopefully it would be detected quite easily with the amount of record keeping in the game.

Except when there's anonymity, there's no balance, and it will be used more freely. Why is that bad? Because more complaints means higher staff turnover (because being complained about feels shitty) and it means more time doing investigations and filling out feelings reports than time spent on fun shit.

Keep the focus on fun shit! Sometimes you might feel like you got a raw deal. Take 24 hours to think about. If you still feel that way, put together a complaint report that's reasonable and objective. Respect goes both ways, and if you want respect as a complainant, and to be taken seriously, then be respectable and serious enough to put your name on it.

If I was a staff member, I'd treat anonymous complaints the same way as I treat every other anonymous opinion on the internet.

We should all be better than that. Anonymity provides fertile ground for pettiness and bigotry (the internet is proof). What if we went the other way? Imagine we all had photos of ourselves with addresses and phone numbers, and had to see each other IRL, how much better would we all be treating each other?

Draugr

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 122
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2019, 11:53:52 AM »
To add on to what Shabago posted.

There has to be a level of trust between staff and the playerbase related to complaint resolution.  Having been on the other side of the curtain not too terribly long ago, I understand the concern that exists both in respect to even raising a complaint because (a) you're worried someone is going to off on you because you raised a complaint about them and (b) there's a real sense of not wanting to complain about someone doing something in their spare time because it's "not that bad".

I would advise, in both cases, raise your concern.  Staff are people too, feelings can get hurt, but no one is going to tolerate a retaliatory act as a result of a player complaint.  On the other side, we would honestly rather hear about a potential problem and look into it than not hear about it and have someone fade off out of play. 

On the resolution side, one of the things that could appear frustrating is the seeming lack of movement or discussion on Player Complaints visible to the player submitting the complaint.  As a player I had no idea how much like a duck the request tool is.  There is a LOT of conversation going in notes back and forth between the staff on these sorts of requests.  Notes from ST that might have been present, thoughts and guesses on what might have happened, log dumps, all kinds of things that would be unfair to share, much like why juries meet behind closed doors.

That brings us to the last part:  Sharing resolution.  I've been on both sides of this one.  Transparency can be great.  Too much sharing can also make for even more hurt feelings.  Too much disclosure can also result in the IC/OOC divide being cracked intentionally or unintentionally.  In the end, it comes down to trust again.   If that level of trust can't exist that when one of the admins or producers responds with "we've reviewed your matter and taken any steps appropriate to resolve" than, any amount of backing documentation, short of account names and direct actions taken with screen prints of the communications to those accounts with email addresses isn't going to be enough.

So I think, after seeing both sides and participating in the process from both sides, where we are at is pretty much the best possible compromise.  Yes it takes trust to voice your concern.  I want you all to know we honor that trust, even when the outcome of your request is not, necessarily, the outcome you were hoping for.


Draugr

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  • Posts: 122
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 12:06:55 PM »
I see no harm arising from at least the option of anonymity. If something doesn't add up, then hopefully it would be detected quite easily with the amount of record keeping in the game.

I enter into every Staff Complaint review with the assumption that something significant enough happened that a player was able to get over the hump of "geez, do I really want to go to the request tool and open a request" for whatever the complaint is about.  For some, that is compounded with "... and have some staffer know I complained about something / them".  Not a problem for everyone, but a concern for some. 

With an anonymous complaint system, we might as well just have someone sit on Discord all day and review everytime anyone with a spoofed discord account hits
Quote
@staff - Draugr stole my lunch money!


There will be no way of knowing if an incident actually occurred.  No way of knowing if the account opening the complaint is even playing the game at all.  No way of looking in the logs for an event because there's no timestamp or players to ask for clarifying information.  Nothing but a complaint from someone that may or may not actually exist.  If we took complaints in from anything other than the internet?  I'd be onboard.  Handwritten complaints, spoken complaints, anything.  Except - I have an account and a keyboard and a potential axe to grind.  No thank you.

Brokkr

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  • Posts: 898
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2019, 12:47:11 PM »
That said, I'd be wary of any staff complaint with my name on it because there is nothing that prevents retaliation. There is no "internal" bureau, there is no method of policing. If I complain about Brokkr, and something I staff-complain about is taken personally, who makes sure he doesn't give me a year ban next time I'm salty about something he says on the GDB?

I've seen something come in once that specifically said they didn't want Brokkr dealing with the issue, because Brokkr doesn't like them.  After a little digging, they believed that I was biased against them because of something that happened in the past that I wasn't even involved in, and really had no feelings one way or another about them. So I understand the desire for anonymity because beyond even a trust factor....paranoia tends to run high sometimes in our community.

So Riev might be paranoid that I might ban him on the GDB, when in fact I haven't banned anyone on the GDB in my entire tenure as staff, as far as I can remember.

That said, the biggest problem with anonymous complaints is that in order to make them truly anonymous, you have to make it such that you can't back into who sent them, ever, at all.  And if you do that, you open a door for someone to anonymously flood our request tool. Which is not a position we are going to put ourselves into.


Namino

  • Posts: 474
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2019, 12:50:07 PM »
That said, I'd be wary of any staff complaint with my name on it because there is nothing that prevents retaliation. There is no "internal" bureau, there is no method of policing. If I complain about Brokkr, and something I staff-complain about is taken personally, who makes sure he doesn't give me a year ban next time I'm salty about something he says on the GDB?

I've seen something come in once that specifically said they didn't want Brokkr dealing with the issue, because Brokkr doesn't like them.  After a little digging, they believed that I was biased against them because of something that happened in the past that I wasn't even involved in, and really had no feelings one way or another about them. So I understand the desire for anonymity because beyond even a trust factor....paranoia tends to run high sometimes in our community.

Lol, that one was my fault too!

Dar

  • Posts: 1526
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2019, 12:59:51 PM »
As a suggestion.

Just to give people a glimpse on how request tool works. Do you want to find some requests. Be it character reports, or complaints, or whatever really. And just show a few images of the sheer amount of conversation that happens under those requests, unseen to the players? 

Pick something that's very very old that would not have an impact on anything in current gameplay.

This would fix a lot of things. Definitely would assuage impatience for character report resolutions, etc.




edit for the post below: Make sure to kill DeserT's character before you display his. So it doesnt affect gameplay.  "eyeshift"
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 01:10:23 PM by Dar »

DesertT

  • Posts: 613
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2019, 01:08:33 PM »
I volunteer any of the staff notes or complaints I have filed.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Veselka

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2019, 01:34:06 PM »
Accountability is a two way street. Staff hold themselves accountable (believe it or not) as detailed above. A Staff Member can't retaliate against your PC without it being logged. In theory, sure, they could load a bunch of NPCs around your PC and insta-gib them. And you could theoretically not file a Staff Complaint, and it would fly under the radar. Just because I haven't seen that to be true doesn't mean it couldn't theoretically happen. Even then, Administrators can (and likely will) run checks on Storytellers, and all of their actions are logged. Just as well, they have to file PK reports (much more required than with Players) and explain what went down. And like Shabago said, they can't create a plot for the sole purpose of killing or even harming PCs. That can be extraneous to the plot, but not the focus of the plot. So as an example, they might have an escaped slave run amok in the Labyrinth and task the AoD with hunting them down. AoD PCs may die in the process, but that isn't the sole intent of the plot.

When I say accountability is a two way street, it goes for players too. Part of the problem with Reddit Gripe #102 is they are quickly disproven when you ask them to post a picture of their request with Staff. It's typically met with resistance, even though they claim they'll never play the game again. More than likely, this is because it doesn't exist. Anonymity can be helpful, and also harmful. I imagine that taking a Complaint request seriously requires time/investigation on Staff's behalf, and creating a way to file requests such as those without any accountability (filed from your account, you're putting your name/veracity/game history behind it) will water down those complaints that are real, and can be verified.

I would say that filing a complaint with the worry you will have reprisal from Staff depends on the nature of the complaint. If the complaint is based in reality, and a Staff member did something to you egregiously wrong, and it can be verified by logs or correspondence -- Why would Staff plan reprisal against you? More specifically, against your PC, because they can't really plan reprisal against you, the player, beyond doing things like docking your karma or banning your account. I've never heard of someone having their karma docked, or the account banned, because they filed a Staff Complaint.

I would also say there is likely a fear of being a stick in the mud with Staff. Filing a complaint theoretically puts you on their radar, makes them more cautious to animate around you, or makes them pull the trigger more forcefully than they might with someone who never filed a complaint before. While I do believe Staff are human beings and make mistakes, I don't think they would be so calculating, cold, and even have enough of a good memory to pull off that sort of action on a consistent enough basis to warrant a fear of it.

I'm very much against anonymously filed Staff Complaints, just as I am against anonymously resolved Staff Requests with Players. The game used to be facilitated through Email, and you could get responses from the 'General Mud Account' without a signature of who responded to your email. It was endlessly frustrating to maintain a correspondence, or to report illicit responses to Staff. The Request Tool (though I dislike it for some reasons, as it takes away focus for IC happenings from the actual game) has created a system of accountability. Any Staff who notes a request has their name put on it. Any Staff who respond or resolve a request have their name put on it. They can't shrug and say "I dunno who did that". Players need to be held to the same standards.
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

--Immanuel Kant

Bebop

  • Posts: 4058
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2019, 01:56:49 PM »
Lizzie, players are not underlings.  We are adults and staff are volunteers of the game.  If any thing they're akin to buddies DMing at your house.  This is a mutual relationship requisite on the participation of both staff and player.  I appreciate staff, and I genuinely like and have had good experiences with a lot of current staff but I'm not an underling here.  No one should come from that place on either side of the veil in this discourse.  Bad staff are just as likely to destroy the game as bad player morale.  The staff/player culture is why I left last time.  You need to stop proliferating the idea that staff are some how above players and not player's themselves who have volunteered willingly to DM.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 01:59:29 PM by Bebop »

Bebop

  • Posts: 4058
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2019, 02:18:44 PM »
Also shout out to the three staff that posted here and Aromit.  I have had good experiences with you all.  You are loved and appreciated for all you do.  I still think this convo is valid.

cnemus

  • Posts: 212
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2019, 03:01:02 PM »
Lizzie, players are not underlings. 

While I don't want to speak for Lizzie, my take away from that post was that a Storyteller (underling) would have a hard time responding to Admin+ about an anonymous complaint if it was completely anonymous. Not calling the player submitting an underling.
Quote from: Shalooonsh
Armageddon isn't about closure.  It's about Murder, Corruption, and Betrayal.  It's about Mystery, it's about Passion, it's about Brutality.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8056
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2019, 04:16:14 PM »
Lizzie, players are not underlings. 

While I don't want to speak for Lizzie, my take away from that post was that a Storyteller (underling) would have a hard time responding to Admin+ about an anonymous complaint if it was completely anonymous. Not calling the player submitting an underling.

Yes, that was why I started as "Admin" and not "Staff." Storytellers are underlings. And in fact, Admin are underlings to Producers. If a player makes a complaint about a storyteller, and Admin asked the storyteller what was up, and the storyteller said "what's up with WHAT, precisely" and the Admin said "no can say, pal - it's anonymous" then Storyteller would rightly respond "well then there's nothing up I guess?" and that would be the end of the discussion.

Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Dar

  • Posts: 1526
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2019, 04:19:18 PM »
This thread seems finished. Interesting proposal. Good responses from staff.  Can there be anything new that's of interest coming out of the topic?

Heade

  • Posts: 837
Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2019, 05:06:51 PM »
This thread seems finished. Interesting proposal. Good responses from staff.

Agreed.
I used to have a funny signature, but I felt like no one took me seriously, so it's time to put on my serious face.

Nile

  • Posts: 602
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Re: Staff Complaints should be anonymous
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2019, 10:23:44 PM »
The main issue has already been pointed out: the account in question would still be known given the context and nature of the complaint. I'm not against the idea for having the option but people should be aware they probably aren't totally anonymous.
Free your hate.