Warrior Cats
 of the Forest

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Rule Infractions & Penalties

Posted by Ember on October 9, 2017 at 9:10 PM

The goal of the many rules of this website can be sorted into two broad categories: atmosphere and website organization. Atmosphere includes issues like ensuring the community stays positive, cohesive and appropriate for all ages, and maintaining the general “feel” of our Warriors universe in terms of realism and continuity. Website organization includes issues like ensuring that there are clear divisions between in-character and out of character actions and spaces, keeping our various informational and interactive pages clean, up-to-date, and on topic.

Of course, I don’t expect members to follow every single rule all of the time. The rules are complicated and sometimes overwhelming for new members. Most of the rules that are broken are minor ones regarding forum organization, such as double posting or the requirement that all forum posts have some roleplaying, and that rule breaking is a result of new members uncertainty with the rules or older members forgetfulness. It would be absurd to harshly punish these infractions and as such the most common “punishment”- if it can even be called that- is a simple reminder. This is often sufficient to stop the rule breaking.

However, if the member continues to break minor rules or a more serious rule is broken (such as going over the character limit or mild swearing) that member may be issued a formal warning, with the threat of further disciplinary action if the member breaks the rule again.

If rule-breaking behavior persists or if a member breaks a serious rule, they could be given a penalty. Potential penalties include a lowered character limit, being blocked from certain aspects of the website, a temporary suspension, or a permanent ban. The moderators are only authorized to give reminders, all other disciplinary actions are decided upon by me. Instead, moderators’ main role is in helping with the administrative work of running the website and helping members with any confusion surrounding the rules or the website as a whole, and helping me monitor the atmosphere of the website. One rule that is never punished is the rule requiring that all members be active. Members who go inactive without warning are removed from the member page, but this is merely for the sake of organization and is not in any way a ban or penalty. Members who have been removed for inactivity are welcome to rejoin at any point.

Lowered character limits are the most common penalty and are usually given to members who have proved incapable of maintaining their characters, either by failing to post to the Character Updates Page when required or repeatedly breaking their base character limit. The lowered character limit is only enacted for a set amount of time (usually one month) and when that time has passed, the member’s character limit will return to 20 in the hopes that they will have learned to effectively manage their characters.

Being blocked from certain aspects of the website, usually the art or video pages, results when a member has repeatedly or seriously broken rules that only pertain to that part of the website. For example, if a member attempts to pass off other’s artwork as their own or repeatedly fails to cite their references on the art page. This penalty also is only in effect for a certain amount of time, ranging from two weeks to two months depending on the severity of the infraction.

Entering the territory of more severe rule infractions, suspensions are implemented when a member continues to breaks a serious rule (such as appropriateness, clear powerplaying, or bullying) or continues to break less-serious rules after previous disciplinary action. Suspensions range from one day to one month in length, depending on the severity of the rule infraction.

The most serious, and most rare, penalty is a total ban. Only in instances where a member has repeatedly or seriously broken a serious rule of the website (multi-accounting or bullying, for instance) are members asked to permanently leave the website.

I explain these penalties not to scare you, but in the hopes that it will ease some fear or confusion about the repercussions of rule-breaking. There really is no need to panic if a moderator reminds you about citing your doll-maker source, or if you get a message asking about discrepancies between your clan lists and the official clan pages. The moderators and I aren’t out to get you, rather, we are trying to maintain the atmosphere and organization of the website. All rule infractions are handled with the goal of creating a positive community and considered in the context of a member’s prior behavior, as well, the time between rule infractions is also considered. For example, if you accidentally went over your character limit for the first time five months ago, and then accidentally did so again, the space between these two rule infractions will result in a more lenient response than if the two infractions occurred a week apart. We also aren’t personally upset with you, most of the time we handle rule infractions it’s a routine encounter or we’re upset with ourselves for not catching a problem before it came to fruition.

Neither should there be fear about reporting other members’ rule breaking to the website staff. It’s likely that nothing more than a warning will be issued, and if there is any potential for hurt feelings, it’s best that the moderators and I be able to step in and facilitate conversation before whatever is happening gets out of hand. We do our best to keep tabs on what is going on, but we can’t be everywhere at once and members are an invaluable resource in helping us ensure the rules are enforced. If you ever notice rule-breaking-be it major or minor, something very clear or even just a suspicion of something fishy going on- please tell one of the moderators or myself. If you would like to report anonymously, you can use the “Contact Us” box on the Help Page and simply leave the name and email address fields blank.

If you do end up receiving a penalty that you feel was decided upon without full or was otherwise unfair, you are always free to respectfully explain what happened and why you believe your actions were misconstrued. There is no guarantee that the penalty will be lightened, but we understand that we don’t always get things right and your concerns will be taken into account.

Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the moderators and I are here to help you and make certain that everyone’s having a good time. We don’t like to have to handle rule infractions and if it were up to us, everyone on the website would always be having fun and tensions would never arise. Unfortunately, where there are people, there are going to be disagreements and mistakes made, and thus we have to enact and enforce guidelines for the community.

 

Categories: Other

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4 Comments

Reply Kingfish
2:08 PM on October 13, 2017 
Very informative; thank you for this post, Ember!
I have a quick question about citing images: I recall at one point you saying that the citation must be in the description, even though it was stated in the image. For my own knowledge (and so I don't make the same mistake again), why does it have to be in the description even if it is in the image (not as a water mark, but as an inserted text)?

Also, this is actually more of a site thing than a rule thing, why is the life span of a character 1 year instead of 2? Based on the IRL time and the site time, characters are only living to 4 years when they die of old age, when real feral cats usually live to the age of 8, or for well cared for cats, even 10-12. I'm wondering if it might help with the character limits (or, maybe it would be a detriment) if members knew they would have their characters longer. Then again, just food for thought. :)
Reply Ember
2:58 AM on October 15, 2017 
Happy to help :)

It's mostly a matter of anticipating problems before they arise. In that case, I was worried that there could be some grey area in regards to signatures or text styles that are difficult to read. Requiring the source to be in the description avoids that problem entirely and didn't seem like a huge burden to ask of members.

The system for dealing with character aging and the system for passing seasons were created at seperate times and with different goals in mind, so they aren't meant to line up together. While I know that can be confusing, they both accomplish their goals fairly well. Seasons don't seem to change too far to be confusing or too slowly to be boring, and the one-year maximum character age keeps high ranking positions turning over every few months. I don't see much reason to extend the maximum age, as so few characters even make it to elderhood, and the average age has hovered around 3-4 months for as long as I've been doing demographics analysis. Most members also don't have trouble with the character limit and naturally settle below it, and usually those who do are making batches of kits they don't end up playing much-- a change in the maximum character age wouldn't affect them.
Reply Litten (Red)
8:39 PM on October 15, 2017 
Makes me want to be more active.
Reply Kingfish
10:30 PM on October 15, 2017 
Ah, that makes sense. :)