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Code of Conduct

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  • Overview​

    Telath is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, race, nationality, or reIigion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

    We are brought together as a community through our collaborative development of a rich and fantastic world. We should be aware and courteous of the fact that we come from a range of backgrounds and live by a range of rules, ethics, politics and lifestyles. Disagreement is to be expected and is healthy, but harmful and hurtful opinions are not welcome here; those are outlined below. Never be afraid to raise concerns, challenges, or suggestions to the Staff.

    We are extremely fortunate that most members of our community already understand and embody the basic principles of inclusivity and diversity. Interpersonal conflict may be inevitable, but as a relatively small community (and as dependent as we are on volunteer efforts to keep the game alive), we must rely on each other's mutual respect and responsibility. We expect all members to hold themselves to the highest standards of communication and to engage with good intent.

    This Code of Conduct is continuously updated to reflect the changing needs of the community. The details of each update are posted as changes are made.

    Harassment​

    In OOC discussions, in private forum messages, and in Discord, harassment includes but is not limited to:
    1. Ridicule of a person for asking beginner questions, for making a mistake, or for pointing out faults in the game or in the site.
    2. Discriminatory or otherwise disparaging comments about gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, reIigion, nationality, lifestyle choices, or any other aspect of a person's or people's identity.
    3. Deliberate misgendering or deadnaming, or repeated accidental instances of the same with no visible effort to improve.
    4. Outing of any aspect of a person's identity or situation without their consent. This includes a person's name, location, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, reIigion, or nationality.
    5. Unwelcome physical, sexual, and/or romantic attention (including sexually-charged insults).
    6. Discussion or posting of articles, links, or media that are insensitive or provocative, or contain graphic violence or NSFW content, without consent. For rules of consent, see the traffic lights utility.
    7. Threats of violence, or incitement thereof.
    8. Sustained disruption of discussion, including stalking, following, DMs, etc after requests to cease.
    9. Publication or sharing of private communication without prior consent. This excludes sharing private communications with Staff for purposes of a conduct violation report.
    10. Attempting to silence someone by citing the Code of Conduct or by using the traffic light utility.
    Telath prioritizes marginalized people's safety over privileged people's comfort. Therefore Harassment does not include:
    • 'Reverse'-isms, including 'reverse racism', 'reverse sexism', and 'cisphobia', defined as criticism of a person's privileged position, especially when coming from a marginalized perspective.
    • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as "leave me alone," "go away," or "I'm not discussing this with you."
    • Criticism of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.
    • Measures or assessments that favor marginalized people's safety at the cost of privileged people's comfort.
    Here is an example to demonstrate the behaviors we have in mind.

    In this scenario, Person A’s comment is harmful and would be subject to accountability. Person B calls out the problematic speech, and the Staff will support Person B’s comment:

    Person A: "I just spent the weekend at a writing convention that only allowed white people. It was so cool to see so many writers that all looked like me! I felt like I belonged, it was nice."
    Person B: "Wow, you feel like you don't fit in with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)? That sounds a bit racist."

    In the inverse situation, the Staff will allow and support Person C’s comment, but Person D’s comment would be subject to accountability:

    Person C: "I just spent the weekend at a writing convention that only allowed BIPOC. It was so cool to see so many writers that all looked like me! I felt like I belonged, it was nice."
    Person D: "Wow, you feel like you don't fit in with white people? That sounds a bit racist."

    If you still have questions, see the Further Reading section for links that discuss the concepts in more detail.

    Conduct Outside of Telath​

    Reports of misconduct outside of the Telath site and of Discord-- including conduct observed on other sites, in other Discord servers, or in reference to in-person meetups --will contribute to accountability measures where similar patterns of conduct are observed within the Telath community.

    Out-of-Character Forum and Discord Safety​

    The TRAFFIC LIGHT utility is used to indicate your level of consent to the subject matter of conversation, as protected by the Harassment section of the Code of Conduct.
    1. 🚦 add :checkin: to the end of your post in the forum or :traffic_light: in Discord to ask all participants of a conversation to react with their consent level. Color reactions may be added to any post whether or not a traffic light was initiated.

    2. 🟢 React with a GREEN light to indicate consent to the continuation of the conversation.

    3. 🟡 React with a YELLOW light to indicate that the introduced subject matter should not be taken any further. This is a call to change the
      subject.

    4. 🔴 React with a RED light to indicate a major violation of the Code of Conduct that has made you feel unsafe. The conversation must stop immediately. REPORT the post-- or send a DM to a chat moderator in Discord --to summon Staff to evaluate the situation.

    In-Character Forum Safety​

    In-character roleplaying may contain references to and instances of discriminatory behavior. We ask that players remain mindful and aware when using such behavior in-character. The following tools are in place to ensure players are able to avoid content they don't wish to read, and are able to execute their right to avoid uncomfortable subject matter in threads in which they participate.
    1. Prior Consent. Before you decide to include graphic violence, depictions of abuse, racism, graphic sexual content, or other potentially stressful or uncomfortable subjects, ensure you first have the understanding and consent of all players in the thread.

    2. Content Warnings. If you know that your thread may include content that players may find uncomfortable, utilize the Content Warnings field when posting a new thread. Example content warnings may include but are not limited to "sexual content," "gratuitous violence," or "mentions of suicide."

    3. Spoiler Tags. Individual posts with immoderately graphic descriptions of a sexual or violent nature must be contained in spoiler tags. This prevents people from stumbling upon the post through a search or link.

    4. 🚦Traffic Lights. All players and storytellers in a thread have the right to react to any post in that thread with a red, yellow, or green light to indicate their level of comfort with the included subject matter. Ignoring a RED or YELLOW reaction to your post is a violation of the code of conduct. If you feel that a post you have written may be harmful or stressful to some players, call for a check-in from all involved players: include a traffic light at the end of your post by writing :checkin:

      1. 🟢 React with a GREEN light to indicate that everything is okay and they are comfortable to continue with the thread's present trajectory.

      2. 🟡 React with a YELLOW light to indicate that the introduced subject matter should not be taken any further. This is a suggestion to fade to black or to move away from what is happening, but to continue the thread.

      3. 🔴 React with a RED light to indicate a line has been crossed and the thread should stop. Solutions may include rewriting posts to remove offensive material, inviting Staff to mediate or recommend solutions, or ending the thread entirely.

    Reporting​

    Staff will take all good-faith reports of code violations seriously and will work with you to ensure the community remains a safe space for you. This includes code violations occurring on the forum and on the Telath Discord server. If you witness harassment, antagonistic communication, or failure to adhere to the Safety Tools as described above, whether targeting you or someone else, please utilize the following available tools and methods:

    Report Link​

    • When you press the Report link on a post, you will be prompted with a popup textbox where you are encouraged to write your concerns with the post in question.
    • Upon submission of your report, all Staff accounts receive a notice that a report has been filed. The author of the reported post is not notified.
    • The Report Log shows a screenshot of the post as it was at the time of the report, with the reporter's comment beneath it.
    • Staff collaboratively evaluate the post and conversation in question. Evaluation may involve separate PM conversations with the author and reporter.
    • Using the Report Log, Staff can submit a site notification/email to the reporter to notify them of the action that was taken.
    • The Report Log entry is marked finished.
    • Reports, associated discussions, and final actions are kept in the Report Log as permanent record, viewable by all Staff.

    Red Light on the Forum​

    • When you react to a forum post with a red light 🔴 the author of the post receives the standard site notification that the Stop react was applied to their post. Staff soon receive a notification via Discord bot that the red light has been used and are prompted to investigate.
    • Staff create an Incident Log that is viewable only to Staff.
    • All Staff collaboratively discuss the situation and agree upon the best course of action.
    • Staff communicate with involved parties via the Help Desk or private message. The contents of all private message correspondence regarding an Incident are communicated to all Staff.
    • Staff notify involved parties of the action taken. The incident log is marked resolved.

    Help Desk Ticket​

    • Every post in the Help Desk is viewable to all Staff.
    • Staff create an Incident Log that is viewable only to Staff.
    • All Staff collaboratively discuss the situation and agree upon the best course of action.
    • Staff communicate with involved parties via the Help Desk or private message. The contents of all private message correspondence regarding an Incident are communicated to all Staff.
    • Staff notify involved parties of the action taken. The incident log is marked resolved.

    Private Message to a Staff Member (Discord or Forum)​

    • Any private correspondence with a member of Staff regarding a safety concern or an existing Incident Report may be communicated to all Staff. You may request redaction of personal or sensitive information before the private exchange is copied for the review of other Staff.
    • Staff create an Incident Log that is viewable only to Staff.
    • All Staff collaboratively discuss the situation and agree upon the best course of action.
      • If a Staff member is directly involved in the subject of correspondence, uninvolved Staff will discuss and record the incident via collaborative private message.
    • Staff communicate with involved parties via the Help Desk or private message. The contents of all private message correspondence regarding an Incident are communicated to all uninvolved Staff.
    • Staff notify involved parties of the action taken. The incident log is marked resolved.

    Red Light on Discord​

    A red light reaction 🔴 on a Discord post does not automatically trigger Staff action. Community members are encouraged to screenshot the message or conversation and send a private message to an online chat moderator to initiate the reporting process.

    Community Accountability​

    Participants asked to stop any behavior are expected to comply immediately. Participants discussing their behavior with Staff are expected to cease all other communication related to that behavior until the conversation with Staff is complete.

    Every infraction is discussed among multiple Staff in areas where all Staff have access to the conversation: the Moderation forum and/or the #staffstuff Discord channel. Every accountability action is a collective decision by multiple Staff. No single Staff may take individual action without consultation unless on a temporary level in emergency circumstances, after which Staff will convene to decide a final action.

    Every accountability action at level 2 or above will be logged and tracked in Incident Reports, a forum accessible only to Staff. All infractions, reports, and correspondence related to the incident are clearly documented.

    The repertoire of penalties includes the following. Staff may repeat a certain penalty before escalating, or escalate to a more severe penalty immediately, at their discretion depending on offense severity.
    1. Gentle talking-to: notify and educate the participant about the infraction
    2. Firm talking-to and/or explicit warning
    3. Short suspension from the site and from Telath Discord server (e.g. ranging from 24 hours to 3 weeks)
    4. Long suspension from the site and from Telath Discord server (e.g. 1 or several months)
    5. Permanent ban from the site and from Telath Discord server. Staff will publicly post a generalized reason for the ban, provided the consent of involved parties.
    With respect for all parties involved, the details of violations and resulting accountability actions will not be shared or publicly announced unless the community's continued safety depends upon awareness of the violations that transpired. In most circumstances, Staff will only notify individuals who are directly affected by the action (i.e. Storytellers running active threads in which the violator participates) while maintaining the confidentiality of the process and the persons involved.

    Under no circumstances should any person contact any individual involved in a violative action for more information about what transpired. Persons who require more information about the case may open a Help Desk ticket to express concerns or questions about the action. Staff will offer as much information as is possible while retaining the trust, safety, and confidence of involved parties.

    This code applies to all parts of Telath: in the forums, in DMs, and in the Discord.

    During suspension periods, the Subject will continue to have access to the Help Desk and to the appeal process. Permanently banned persons do not have access to the site in any capacity and may not submit appeal.

    Appeals​

    The Telath Staff will always strive to follow this Code of Conduct and create the best outcomes for the community. If the subject of a moderation action feels they were treated unfairly, the appeals process is as follows:
    1. Subject posts to the Help Desk with a desire to appeal a punitive action.
    2. Staff talk to the Subject about the incident, gathering all the facts from the Subject’s perspective. The Subject should keep the following questions in mind while describing the situation:
      • What was the incident that happened?
      • What was the punitive action taken?
      • Was this a first offense for the Subject or a repeat offense?
      • Does the Subject express remorse or understanding for the offense?
      • Are there any mitigating circumstances for the situation?
    3. Staff discuss the issue and comes to a consensus within 48 hours.
    4. Staff deliver decision to the Subject.

    Staff Conduct​

    Staff are human volunteers and members of the community who build and oil the gears of Telath behind the scenes in their free time. This includes maintaining the functions of the website; building in new technological features; organizing forum and Wiki hierarchies; drafting new processes and procedures for review, approvals, and accountability; maintaining the integrity and continuity of the game and of the game world; and ensuring that the site and the Discord remain a safe and comfortable place for everyone in our community. As representatives of the community's collective values, Staff are held to the same code of conduct-- and they are afforded the same opportunities to report harassment and to learn from mistakes --as the rest of the community.

    Staff will always strive to remain impartial when resolving any incident. Staff's responsibility is not to prove any one side right, nor to force people to agree with each other, but to encourage and maintain healthy communication as representatives of the Community's values.

    Staff will recuse themselves from handling incidents in which they are either the offender or the offendee, or in which they have a personal stake in the argument. If the entirety of the staff are harassed simultaneously, the decision will be made by consensus, which may include other community input. Staff will recuse themselves from enforcing the code of conduct with their personal friends, or when not possible, they will communicate explicitly to that friend when they are acting on behalf of Staff.

    Any community member dissatisfied with the conduct of a particular Staff member may appeal to the other Staff via private message. Reports against any Staff member for misconduct are treated in the same way as any other report of violation. In cases where an existing Staff member is unfit to continue in their position, they will be removed from Staff.

    Staff will always work to keep enough members to cover the needs of the Community. Upon reaching a majority vote by the Staff, nominations for additional Staff will be sought from the Community, and new Staff will be added based on Community approval.

    Further Reading​

    Information on reverse sexism (Geek Feminism)
    Information on reverse racism (Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre)
    Racism defined (Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre)
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