Given that I am freshly the recipient of this punishment, little known to me, I felt that I should take the opportunity to do the community a service by warning you about . Hopefully, you may avoid it yourselves. I have nothing else to do but write in blank shock now that I've been banned through the rest of the year by Jinx.
Those of you who would know me would be most familiar with me on the OOC channel as Sybele. I've been playing Sindome for a while now, I was on staff very briefly, and I generally loved the game to pieces. My contributions to it in terms of descriptive work, money, and time were pretty liberal while I was there. I also made a lion's share of mistakes, dominated mostly by an inability to keep a given character for very long. However, the one I was about to give up (with one staffer wishing me luck with my suicide) was an example of a growing exception to the rule. She had lasted for several months, and sought out many opportunities before I made the choice to retire her. A staff quote:
"Getting tired of a character for OOC reasons that have nothing to do with OOCly wanting to escape IC conflicts or debts, and wanting to stop playing them and play a new one, is totally legitimate."
The retirement isn't really the point, though. Everyone knew I was going to do that and nobody was standing in my way. Where did it go wrong? Well, I had asked for a corporate immigrant at one point in time as my next PC. This was denied - fine, answer accepted - and then something else came down the line about having to switch between Mixer and corporate characters as a rule. I had never heard of this rule before, having primarily played people who immigrated and went to Gold, and I'd never had it enforced upon me. When last night finally came and my character had exhausted their reasons to stay any longer, I prepared for departure. There was just one thing to clear up.
The above mentioned rule, which I did not fully understand, remained a concern. Certain staff members who might read their emails will know that I had no plans to beg for a corporate immigrant. They'll know exactly which two concepts I had in mind.
I emailed them to inquire as to whether I clearly understood this rule on having to be a Mixer forever, so that I would make the proper character concept choices for my preferences. Forever is a long time, after all. The answer to this attempt to follow Cerberus and Johnny's ruling was not bothersome. The answer was binary: A or B, 0 or 1, yes or no. It did not attempt to argue against nor bend their opinions. It did not ask for a corporate immigrant. It did not complain.
I sent this request for clarification to the help address as I prepared to recreate, but it wasn't Cerberus or Johnny who answered me. It was Jinx. After going on a diatribe about how I was a bother to staff and how my characters didn't last for more than two weeks (again, the retiring character having lasted for some months), I was given a two week ban. Naturally, I defended myself, feeling assured that there must have been some sort of misunderstanding here. Surely, I could not have been banned or bothersome for emailing them in order to *do the right thing* by confirming my understanding of a ruling of the Head GM and Chief of Staff.
Turns out, that was exactly what was happening. No other explanation has ever been given to me as I tried to defend myself. At one point, Jinx recoiled slightly (perhaps realizing the harshness) and reduced the ban to one week so that I could "consider what my Mixer would be" - the staffers who mattered knew my fleshed out concepts already. It was just a matter of how to interpret that rule I was inquiring about. Forever Mixer, no matter what, or not? Unfortunately, as email time dating can confirm, Jinx sent this bit of mercy at the same time I forwarded my prior reply to Helpers, having forgotten to include them in my last response.
Jinx evidently took this as a chance to sweep aside that small show of mercy and make things worse, and worse, and inexplicably worse yet. Each time Jinx escalated the ban in response to my defending my attempts to email only in search of the proper ruling on creation, the ban was extended. Eventually, Jinx announced "going exponential" on me. Now, the ban time would multiply instead of simply accumulate week by week.
Why, you ask, wouldn't I simply stop at this point? Why not take the months and stop them from growing? I didn't because in this context, I had done nothing wrong and felt I had every right to defend myself. Rather than breaking the rules or bothering anyone, I was making certain that I did the *right* thing according to head staff's wishes in the creation of my next character.
So, I continued to defend myself. At this point, Jinx's dialogue has deteriorated to nothing more than citing how long the ban now is per my last message. There was apparently some desire to smash my face in with the ban hammer, and my knock at the proverbial door to ask a well-meaning question was all the invitation required to do so.
At last count, my ban was up to 32 months. After this, I'm sure it will be a full year or more, but I steadfastly maintain that the right hing to do was seek a clear answer.. My appeal for other staff members to stop this inexplicable punishment prompted a circling of the wagons. I was actually being punished because my single email, the first one which only sought clarity in policy, was bothersome. A simple 'yes' or 'no' would have peacefully resolved things on the very first reply, but instead, we get this.
This, for a long time member of the community who has admittedly made a great many mistakes, but who has also been a generous contributor in many respects and someone whose most paramount prior failing had gradually but surely improved with time.
This, for someone whose only crime in this instance was trying to make sure Cerberus and Johnny were fully understood before a new character was made, so that the character would be made properly. A year, maybe more, because I defended myself as trying to make certain I did what the head staffers wanted me to do. I literally asked nothing more than that, and now I am given an immense ban and period of separation from the community I love and with which I share my days.
The only sense I can make out of this insanity is to warn you that, evidently, trying to do the right thing is now a bannable offense. Bothering them with trying to get the correct and proper answer, even if it's a yes or no and requests nothing special, is a bannable offense. Asking for confirmation on an official level first cost me my access to the game for such a span of time. My emails seeking to ensure that I was doing as they wished mean I will not see you all again until, at best, after the holiday season.
I'm not even going to get into the exchanges I had with the few staffers who did reply. I'm outranked, I can't help you, stop emailing me (after I was able to prove more was said to me than they evidently relaized), etcetera. Nobody wanted to try and confront a $Justice who was levying a huge ban upon a player for the crime of emailing to ensure they did what was expected of them in chargen.
At last contact, I was told the rule I'd broken was now to "not email" even though emailing was the [/b]*only way*[/b] to confirm I was doing what was wanted of me in this specific instance. Being told 'no corporate immigrants' was not the only thing said to me in the past. It was implied that there was a rule about having to alternate between corporate and permanent Mixer characters, without regard to immigration method. To quote, and this was after I had abandoned a corporate immigrant concept:
"If you kill your corpie off, you will start as a mixer. It’s how we do things. You have yet to actually play a mixer (poster's note: untrue several times over). You just get out of the mix as fast as you can. Remember, I suggested your yak princess (poster's note: idea related to a concept while I was on staff) would live in the mix, not the corpie areas. I apologize if I personally misled you, I failed to think about the stance we have on ‘always a corpie’. When Cerberus asked if that was still the policy, I had to confirm it was."
That last line implies that one of my two concept options, which involved starting as a Mixer and moving up, might have been against the rules and would certainly have impacted my creation decisions. I was never aware of any 'always a corpie' policy or stance stance, having usually played corporate characters, hence my pursuit of clarity. I've fessed up to having made a lot of prior errors. Trying to ensure that I made a new character in full understanding of Cerberus/Johnny's parameters was not one of them. Emailing, the only route to understanding, was a mistake - in staff's eyes.
TLDR: My punisment is now up to 32 weeks. That's pretty much one year - 2016 - before I get to see you guys again, over a well meaning A or B answer which could've been settled in the very first reply to my very first email.
All that's left to say, I guess, is that Sybele's player will deeply miss you all.