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Small Problems that Escalate
@Rules and unlisted policy

First off this is in game problems and complaints because ultimately it is a complaint, about how policy is structured in the game. And distributed. Along with a suggestion and idea of how to fix it. But here we go.

Can we get an @policy command that lists everything we're supposed to xhelp for in specific before we do it. That GM's are free to add too in a sane manner. Listing basic things you should XHELP before, or just absolutely not do. And basically anything a GM tells a player that they in general would not want another player doing.

I'm not going to list all the "fun" things I've heard done that people publicly have been told to xhelp before they do it next time. Because that's not my job honestly, I'm a player and I'm bound to get something wrong in a list like that... Which would be the point of having a staff maintained list like that.

But there is so much CRUFT policy that has built up over the years that people who come into the game are basically expected to learn via a sort of gestalt metaknowledge. Some of it entirely unoffical, or the equivelent of "Cerb/Senior Staff members shouted this one time, so it's the law."

A command that GM's could relatively freely add too, with a reminder each week or so, to players to review @policy for changes or new policies that have been added, would give a free and healthy way that doesn't feel exclusionary or monodirected aggressively at a player, to correct them with only a moderate amount of direction.

A syntax I'd suggest would be @policy #-# with @policy displaying a message like, "There are ### policies in effect. You have ### unread policies."

I believe this would enhance play experience and prevent issues and complaints that crop up here and elsewhere. About these unstated policies that Sindome has. Having policy be public would also prevent any kind of favoritism from having the appearance of occurring.

Any time you're doing something you don't have standing permission from the faction in control of the area to do, except in areas where there's no ambpop (like a bathroom or an apartment) or except when committing crimes directly against player characters in the Mix that don't involve things like blowing up businesses or stealing cars or installing/removing security equipment.

There's no possible way to cover every use case so think instead about whatever passes for law enforcement (corpsec, gangs, wjf, npc security, TERRA/SCF, bouncers) would care enough about to intervene on, especially if your target is an NPC, a building, or a piece of property like a car or a StreetTerm. If you're not in the Mix, always xhelp.

If you're mugging Joe the PC on Knife Street, staff doesn't need to puppet anyone to make that immersive, fair, and believable. They might, but Joe should be able to provide enough of a reaction to be believable in that locale. If you're rigging a time bomb in Joe's bar, staff needs to know about that so that ambpop and any relevant NPCs react accordingly.

I think Vera summed it up pretty well.

I don't believe we need a new command for this.

We can update 'Help Xhelp' to include information on what you need to xhelp about. I'll get around to that sometime soon™.

There's also exceptions to every rule as well. I've xhelped about things that I thought I might need permission before, and have been told as much, but was also told that due to X/Y/Z factors, it wasn't necessary in that instance.

It's part of the learning curve to the game, but there's no real way to document it all, and it's really best to just err on the side of caution. GMs will almost always thank you for checking even when it's not needed.

That title...

Not really getting it. OK, I see the small problem but I don't see the escalation or the consequences of escalation.

If it's a big problem can you show how?

This seems to suggest we should be xhelping before tagging any rival gang’s territory or mugging any tourist. Is that the intention?
This is a long post as it tries to address everything brought up in the thread so far.

@bean_dip: Small problems that escalate is a way to describe what happens when these unofficial policies come into play. It's also possible that small mistakes that escalate would describe it.

What seems like a small problem to the user, when escalated(Using a technical support term here), and taken up by staff oocly, can become massive issues for the users.

@Souricelle: As an example, Souri, you've complained about this type of thing before. On reddit. Of how you thought you were on the up and up robbing something from somewhere, and Cerberus escalated the issue, was frustrated as he did so, OOCly, and you felt singled out because of it. I can this post.

If there was an impetus for -EVERYONE- to review these small policies, and stop RP and wait for xhelp before they take action. You can prevent a lot of those issues, and a lot of staff having to intervene in problems.

Hell you could structure it like a Skippy's list for RP.

1. Joe Baka must not boost cars without talking to XHELP.

2. Joe Baka must not do obvious crime topside without checking with XHELP.

3. Joe Baka should still check with xhelp for non-obvious crime if it involves NPCs.

4. Joe Baka Must not tag rival ganger turf when NPC's to puppet are around without 5, checking with XHELP.

6. Joe Baka shouldn't attack lone gangers undisguised, and expect repercussions without talking to xhelp.

7. Joe Baka should take it up with xhelp before he tosses large objects like Televisions off the skywalk.

8. Joe Baka should never kill people on Green without talking to xhelp.

9. Joe Baka may be a badass, but he should negotiate his attempted escape with XHELP and get clearance to do so before breaking that grapple.

10. Joe Baka should negotiate with xhelp before tossing live or dead people off of skywalks.

11. Joe Baka should negotiate with xhelp before dragging a body through Green.

I think having a list of things, maybe not as acerbic or sarcastic as that one above, or even a solid rule listed to xhelp before for things, would prevent the feelings of unfairness or being singled out.

As another example and continuing on the feeling singled out angel, and also the one that inspired this thread. I have people I've talked to who literally don't know the policies surrounding vehicles after YEARS of gameplay, it's never come up for them. It didn't matter to them, so when it did come up, they didn't xhelp, they hired someone to boost a ride, from where it was parked in what appeared to be a really secluded location, and then that person, being inexperienced, made a mistake, didn't xhelp themselves before they started, and caught flak for that mistake. Only realizing and xhelping after they had got started. Then later, because the scene was moving and they didn't want to stop it, not being assertive enough. They got yanked to OOC to explain themselves, stopping 2 other players RP for about an hour, because they were relying on that person to continue, and didn't know how to proceed, said person being yanked out mid sentence. As well they were apprehensive not even knowing when that person would be back.

All of this could have been solved if there was a listed policy for when to XHELP in this regard. That first person could have checked if there was a GM to respond. That next person could check with that person to make sure they were on the up and up. And then point to the policies if they were confused.

Yes there is a degree of learning curve, however, if you are pulled into OOC by staff, and forced to explain yourself, basically cross examined. And told you have broken rules that are unstated anywhere but random forum threads, or from one member of staff to you/shouting. How would you feel?

It would also prevent conversations like, very briefly paraphrased,

"You just violated the rules!"

"But that's not in the rules?"

"It's in the rules because I say it's in the rules."

And provide GM's with an out to avoid coming off as too frustrated.

Having these in a place they are READILY visible, would essentially prevent a LOT of tenseness surrounding these situations OOCly. As well as provide an impetus for people to point to it, anyone in a situation, and say "Stop, we need to wait for xhelp before we do this, because it's on the policies list.

TL:dr, the learning curve is already pretty fucking high for this game, don't force people to learn and communicate what are essentially unstated meta-rules without having exact knowledge of what those rules entail, that's asking for mistakes to happen.

Further, this is one of the most complained about aspects of gameplay in Sindome. Having it around would prevent the need to escalate heavy handedly in some cases. Which is a good thing.

Finally, it benefits staff and players for it to be a thing, because it adds a level of transparency to ALL parties, not just those initiated into the rules.

In general, it sounds like an FAQ is being suggested here and I never think those are a bad thing, especially for new players who aren't going to get the depth of this game for a while. I've been here for several months and I'm still just figuring out how deep the rabbit hole goes. I don't think an FAQ such as this is a bad thing to put in a helpfile. It would certainly help prevent accidental rule breaking and save staff a whole bunch of time educating folks on xhelp rules.
I agree that this would be useful. A FAQ format might be a good way to distribute it. The FAQ could be included in @newbie.

My experience with the staff has been that they are patient and willing to educate me when I unknowingly do something without xhelping first. But it would be great to know ahead of time.

Staff has offered me some general guidelines that while intended to be helpful, are meaningless to me because I do not have the context to understand them. For example, I have been told, "Treat this situation as if you were doing crime topside."

Doing "crime topside" is a great guideline.... for people who have done crime topside and know the expectations that come along with that. For people who haven't done crime topside, it's meaningless.

To @Vera's point, it is impossible to get ALL of the cases that a player should xhelp in. That is an unreasonable expectation. But, a list of the major or common situations would be great.

Even @Vera's helpful post assumes knowledge that new players are not going to have. For example, I didn't know what a syndicate was until I had been playing for a few weeks. And I didn't know which syndicates roughly claimed which parts of the Dome for a couple of months.

For the record, I still hate that we do this, but we'd need a lot more GMs otherwise. :(
You can tag rival turf without xhelping, you just can't do it in front of non-ambient enemy NPCs, as logically they would try to stop you. If you didn't know that it's because this information is usually shared with you when you start doing gang things. It's not relevant to 99% of players.

My issue with former staff was not that I failed to xhelp, it was about his conduct. It's in poor taste to keep bringing it up as it has long since been resolved.

There's no way to account for every use case. Any list you made would be both too long and incomplete. Just try to use your head and when in doubt, xhelp. Worst that'll come of it is someone telling you you're in the clear.