New Policy: Discord No-Contact/No-Engage

HEM

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Forum Administrator
Honoured Citizen
All —

Just over 72 hours ago, a player was temporarily banned from Discord by an administrator for a period of “pending review.” This is admittedly unusual action from our Administrative Team, as we typically only act in the most extreme situations that require breaking the IC wall into gameplay.

Many actions that have recently taken place in Europeia’s Discord server between certain individuals have strained that separation. The truth is, the nature of Discord chat has continually blurred the lines between what is administratively actionable and what is not.

Discord is a digital space that moves quickly. Topics are discussed and left behind, tempers flare and are snuffed out, and cooperative relationships built and destroyed, all in the time it takes to drive home from work. The ability to cross the IC/OOC line and back again before anyone notices can and does happen on Discord with regularity. This makes Discord a potentially dangerous place, as most of our most recent Administrative Bans have borne out. It also makes Discord a very tricky place to oversee and make moderation decisions over.

On one hand, we don’t want offensive behavior to escape unnoticed in the rapid-fire nature of Discord, often couched as “in character” attacks that don’t feel always appear to truly be “in character”. On the other hand, we have always maintained that administrators should not interfere with legitimate political gameplay (even harsh gameplay) because in doing so we are, in effect, ruining a game that by the very nature of being a political simulation will inherently include harsh politics.

Wrestling back and forth on this issue, we’ve come to the decision to implement a policy of “no-contact/no-engage” orders on Discord.

We have always believed in the validity of “no contact” orders given by players to other players. Unfortunately, the public nature of Discord channels means that blocking that individual isn’t always enough, as their harassment can continue — essentially in plain view — with their comments merely “whited out” under a “blocked message” banner.

That’s why we are implementing a comprehensive “no contact/no engage” policy for users on Europeia-owned platform.

How it will work: a complainant will be able to lodge a request to the administrative team to have a “no contact/no engage” policy implemented on the subject player they feel is acting in a harassing manner toward them. If we believe this is a justifiable request, the policy will be implemented. What that means:

+ The subject must refrain from talking to the complainant in Europeia-owned discord chat
+ The subject must absolutely, positively, refrain from talking about the complainant — even in an IC context

Any violation of the “no contact/no engage” will be seen as engaging with someone who has explicitly asked to not be engaged with by the other person and handled as a harassment case.

If the complainant is engaging on Europeia-owned Discord with the user they requested a no contact/no engage request with, that will open the entire order up for review. Any evidence that this system is being abused or misused will be met with severe consequences. To draw this out in the most explicit terms, it will be entirely unacceptable for a complainant to request a no-contact/no engage order with a user and then proceed to goad the user in public chat knowing they cannot respond.

This policy will only apply on Discord. On the forum, the very nature of threaded conversation creates passive discussion topics and guardrails around the possibility of harassment by repetition. With Discord effectively being a perpetually blended IC/OCC environment, we believe players on that platform have a right to not be forced to watch behavior they find harassing happen right in front of them.

This policy allows players to still play the political game of Nationstates, but also allows other players the ability to control who they allow to interact with them in an instant chat, IC/OOC-blurred environment.

Finally, while it is important to note that this policy only directly pertains to Europeia-owned Discord properties, we will use a flexible test of reasonableness evaluating whether harassing behavior is spreading elsewhere. Odds are, if this no contact/no engage order is in effect in our Discord server and the subject of the order is following the complainant around Nationstates continuing to force themselves onto them, that’s probably harassment and will be acted on accordingly.

In order to help us enforce this new policy, we will be beefing up the administrative team with a task force focused on Discord. More news to follow there.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and thank you --

/s/

HEM, Chief Administrator
Malashaan, Deputy Chief Administrator
Darcness, Senior Administrator for Development
Lethen, Senior Administrator for Citizenship
Sopo, Associate Administrator for Discord
Kuramia, Associate Administrator for Advocacy
 
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