Forum Rules & Guidelines

Introduction - Read the game rules and learn how to play.

Forum Rules & Guidelines

Postby Forum Administration » 18 Nov 2007, 23:11

[SimRTK FORUM RULES]


In addition to the extensive Game Rules, there are also general rules for conduct in this community. They are all outlined below. The only way you really get banned on a gameplay level is by cheating, but through your conduct in the forum (and associated chats through IRC, instant message clients, or email) you can get warnings for other things. Planning Halls are not exempt from the rules. Before you start posting here it is strongly advised you make yourself familiar with these rules, as you will be held to them as soon as you make your first post.

There are two kinds of warnings, normal warnings and major warnings. A normal warning is generally a nod saying "shape up and don’t do this again;" if you stack up more than two or three of these in short order, you may be banned on a temporary (two-week) or permanent basis. Major warnings, on the other hand, are generally ban warnings in and of themselves stating that if you repeat a certain offense you will be removed from the game. There is no exact system for determining how you are banned: serious violations can always immediately remove you from the forum, while multiple small violations may gain more leeway.

A note on reporting rule violations that take place over Private Messages, IRC, or chat clients like AOL Instant Messenger. First, save a text copy in full of the violation and do not delete the original message (if a Private Message). Second, take a screenshot, and finally, report the incident to a Game Master or Administrator. Once you have reported it, they will ask you for the screenshot and can receive it over AOL Instant Messenger or by email. Stay in touch for future correspondence. If you feel it was handled improperly, go to an Administrator (or a different one if you went to an Administrator initially).


Plagiarism
The rules of the SIMRTK, its mechanics, its formats and any other work produced by the organisation are entirely the intellectual property and copyright of SimRTK. Any attempts to copy, or reproduce our rules in any shape or form will result in legal action, and banning of all users associated with the offense.

Likewise, plagiarism on the forum from other sources (artwork, historical documents, etc.) for any purpose may result in warnings.


Cheating
Cheating is circumventing or lying around game rules in an effort to further your character outside normal game parameters. Multiple accounts are illegal and are a primary way to get banned (please see the section on IP sharing if you are sharing a connection with another person, as we use IP addresses to determine multiple accounts). A violation will usually result in an immediate ban.


Multiple Accounts (IMPORTANT)
It is illegal for a member to have more than one account on SimRTK. If you are caught with multiple accounts, and it is determined that the action was done to cheat or get a reroll without penalty, you will be banned. Sign up a single account when you join the Sim and keep that account from the day you make it. You can, however, share an IP/computer with friends and family. To do this please read the section on IP Sharing.


Flaming (Personal Attacks)
Flaming is the act of openly attacking other players out of character (OOC), or using in character (IC) means to attack them for OOC reasons. Your characters can be hostile with others (to sensibile limits), but the moment you make that hostility toward the player and not the character, you will be given a flame warning. Exceptionally bad flames against other members will earn you a ban warning or possibly even a ban. Keep in mind that you can get flame warnings for personal attacks that take place off the forum itself as well.

Trolling (Provoking Members)
Trolling is the act of making comments or taking actions that are taken with the sole intent of angering and provoking other members. Trolling is an Out of Character offense. Doing this will earn you a troll warning (a major warning) and if serious enough maybe even a ban warning or ban. You can provoke people In Character all you want, as long as you don't break other forum rules in the process.
It is possible to get a troll warning and a flame warning from one post. Do not respond to provocations or you can get a flame warning as well. Let the administration do their job.


Language
Vulgar language is not acceptable. We are lenient about this issue depending on the forum, but don’t go overboard. If you use vulgar language frivolously you will be warned or banned. If the language filter starts editing your posts you will know you are using an unacceptable term. What is vulgar language? Anything that offends the majority. Again, this is not something for you to decide and we will not accept the excuse of “I don’t think it was a bad word”. This rule also applies to the IRC chat room, but may not be applied to instant messenger or email chats.


Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is the act of making unwanted or offensive sexual advances to another member, making sexually offensive remarks, or any sexually offensive acts you might be able to manage over the Internet. At SimRTK, a game which is designed to be a friendly atmosphere for both men and women to have fun and relax, we take this violation more seriously than any other. Proven cases of major sexual harassment will result in immediate and permanent bans. Cases with significant evidence but no solid proof may also result in immediate and permanent bans, or a sexual harassment warning. Minor offenses will also result in sexual harassment warnings. Examples will not be provided; this is a matter of common sense and we will not hesitate to remove members who cannot agree to this simple rule of respect.


Spamming (Useless Posts)
Spamming is the posting of useless content which does not contribute to the forum in any way. This includes off-topic posts (such as talking about video games in the OOC thread), generally poor role-play (e.g. most one-line posts), replies that contribute nothing to the thread in which they were posted (e.g. posting just to say yes), posts with emoticons only (:) :) :)!), or absolutely terrible English dominant in a post (e.g. lollol that was great!!!!11!11 lolololo). This also includes posting unwelcome advertising messages or OOC in audience halls or roleplay threads. Breaking this rule will get you a spam warning (a normal warning).


Avatars
Your avatar may be no wider than 64 pixels, and no taller than 80 pixels. It may not be over 6KBs in size, and must be either JPG or GIF format. Animated GIFs are allowed, as long as they are quiet (not distracting), have only a few frames, and meet the other requirements. Your avatar must not be offensive to other members of the forum. If you violate this rule you will probably be notified, at which point you must immediately remove or change your avatar. Failure to do so will result in a loss of avatar privileges.


Signatures
Use only the default colors and text sizes in your signature. You may include links in your signature, but do not include excessive vertical blank space. You may not place images of any kind in your signature. Keep your overall signature below seven lines of text. It is also required that you have a link to your current officer info, age, and your stats and skills in your signature. Yes, both. Also, since it makes it a lot easier to read and process, the skills must be in alphabetical order.

If you break this rule you will generally be notified by Private Message, and if you fail to comply with rule requests you may receive a general forum warning.
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Postby Forum Administration » 18 Nov 2007, 23:12

[PLAYER EXPECTATIONS]

In addition to the basic rules, there are certain expectations we have of all members of SimRTK. While these expectations will not earn you warnings persay, you may be reminded of them if you are not complying with them. These expectations are in place to make sure that the game runs smoothly, not to punish or limit you in any way.


Patience
Above all, the staff expects the players of SimRTK to be patient with them. That does not mean we are above reproach if we take excessively long to reply to your needs, because we do make mistakes. It simply means that we expect you to be patient enough to give us time to respond. Each of the staff members is an unpaid volunteer with a life of their own. Some of us have school, some work, some school and work; some of us have critical life issues that come up and demand our time; some of us just plain get tired out now and then and need a break. We try to inform you ahead of time if there will be a delay in our response, but some delays do come up unexpectedly.

We ask that you do not expect immediate replies; please only message us again after a few days from not hearing from us, and do not assume it is because we have some bias against you personally. If we do explain our delays, please try to be understanding with our personal situations: again, we are as human as the rest of you, and are volunteering our time and energy to keep the game running satisfactorily for you.


Communicate with Game Masters Appropriately
This point is so important, it has its own section here. Next to impatient players, this is the staff's largest concern; we ask that you please read over our guidelines before contacting us. It is not that we do not wish to communicate with you; we simply have to have some guidelines in place so that we can do so effectively while still running the game without being hampered by overloaded PM boxes, etc.


Stay Informed
Players are expected to read both all the Forum Rules, Game Rules and all the Announcements as they are posted. Please prioritize the Announcements. You should check the Announcements Thread every time you log into the forum; posts there are critical during the entire game play, and ignorance to what is posted there is not an excuse for failing to comply.

In addition to staff announcements, we ask that you please keep up on game events on your own by reading the Game Turn Information and checking on the map. While it is nearly impossible to read everything that goes on in a Sim this size, these two threads will keep you up to date on major current events and to what rulers own what territories. It is unnecessary to ask in the Game Rules forum or OOC thread who won a battle or who owns what city when you can easily check it yourself.


The Golden Rule
This shouldn't needed to be stated beyond the basic rules, but every so often we have to remind players: be respectful of and kind to other players. Belittling, harrassing, excessive teasing and bantering, or mocking players is simply unsportsmanly conduct for a game, and plain rude in a personal context. While you do not have to force a smile and be pleasant to all people at all times, we do expect that you try to refrain from being rude to other players, even if they may seem like they deserve that kind of treatment. We will not hesitate to issue appropriate warnings for acting this way, even if you claim it was provoked by someone else. This is a game, and it is meant to be here to have fun and make friendships, not find ways to satiate your ego by being cruel to others.


Keep Your Own Records
We expect that all players should keep records of their officers, roleplay, and any other special information to them on their own computers. We are not responsible for archiving all threads, and while we try to keep officer information around until the end of the game, it is your responsibility to keep it saved privately in case it is deleted.


Maintain a Proper Signature & Up to Date Officer Information
All players should have officer information in their signature that has their name, age, stats, a link to their officer information and skills in alphabetical order. If you can also insert their rank, items, or gold amount, that is also acceptable. Injuries must also be noted in the signature. An example is provided in the signup rules. Links to your biography are also quite acceptable, and actually encouraged. Additional text, if you can fit it in and wish to, is welcome so long as it is within forum rules.

Along with an up to date signature goes up to date officer information. You should keep your officer profile up to date each time you gain experience, items, gold, rank, injuries, etc. An incorrect officer profile or signature will be reminded to update if spotted and the officer is still active. You should also keep your rulers/leaders up to date on these changes, as they are essential to their success as well.

Instructions on how to make a link to your officer information: Go to your officer information, click 'edit', then 'submit' without making changes. Take the resulting URL (It's now in your address bar), and then put the following code in your signature.

Code: Select all
[url=insert the URL here]Character's Name[/url] - Stats, Skills


This will make your name in your signature into a link to your officer information.

Keep it Clean!
Finally, you should keep the forum clean. This means a great many of small things. You should keep your posts in your best English, with proper post formatting (if you need help, post in the Game Rules forum and someone will gladly assist you). You should avoid excessive smilie/emoticon usage, and bright colors or excessively large fonts (though small fonts are often used to insert little quips in posts, and are acceptable).

Also remember that this forum is a PG-13 forum, and as such, sexual innuendo and direct sexual references, along with excessive violence and gore, are not appropriate in the forums or in IRC. Please keep all posts, IC or OOC, and all links and graphics, within this age limit. While most of us are completely capable of dealing with these things, there are younger members on the forum who cannot be exposed to them, and other members who are offended or disgusted by them. Remember, the standard for the community is not what you deem is offensive, but what is deemed offensive by a majority and is within the limits of our forum's appropriateness.
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Postby Forum Administration » 18 Nov 2007, 23:12

[COMMUNICATING WITH THE STAFF]

Because the staff has many other duties, answering PMs is an extra burden that slows us down in being able to keep the game running smoothly. We are constantly plagued by unnecessary PMs, and as such, these guidelines are in place to prevent delays in the game process. You are expected to comply with these guidelines, and excessive deviation from them may earn you a spam warning.

Do Not Contact a staff member if:

:arrow: It is a Rule or Gameplay question. Such questions can be answered in the Game Rules forum, in which there is a thread devoted to that purpose. Players who are knowledgable in the rules are quick to answer these questions, and the staff also monitors the thread to give correct responses to questions. There is only one type of appropriate game play question that should be asked in private, and that is detailed later.
:arrow: It is non-game related, or casual talk. While we do like to get to know the players on a more personal level, PMs are not the way to do this. A better way to get to know us is to come see us in IRC.
:arrow: It can be answered in your Planning Hall's Admin Communication Thread. Such threads are there to aid kingdom rulers and their officers when more private questions need to be asked about rules and gameplay.
:arrow: You want a title. Custom titles are not handed out freely; they are usually given as ways to humiliate players, and not as ways to honor them. Custom titles are totally the playtoys of the admins, and asking for one, or asking for it to be changed - unless it is offensive - will not be looked upon favorably.
:arrow: To ask to become a staff member. There is an application thread in the Hall of Supremacy. If we wish to have you as a staff member, we will contact you at that time. Asking to become one, or asking if we think you would be a good one, or asking if we'd considered your application yet, are inappropriate and will not look favorably upon you getting a position in the future.
:arrow: To pester for map updates, game turn information updates, battle updates, storyline updates, etc. We update these things as we can, and sometimes we fall behind. Pestering us to get them done will not get it done faster.


DO message a staff member if:
:arrow: You have a plot or quest proposal. Details on who these should go to are below.
:arrow: You have a question that cannot be asked even in the privacy of your planning hall, or you do not have the privacy of a planning hall to ask your question in. This is mainly useful for when you want to plot against someone that has access to the planning hall but whom you have not removed.
:arrow: You think that a player is cheating.
:arrow: You see someone breaking the rules.
:arrow: You see something missing from the rules that definitely should be there, or see an error in one of the game's updates. (Try to message the appropriate person about this.)
:arrow: You have a concern with another player or staff member.

Who do I contact?

In general, you should contact RMs for most concerns. However, GMs and Admins handle special concerns that RMs cannot. A quick breakdown works like this:

Roleplay Masters can handle:
:arrow: All quest proposals.
:arrow: All forum rule issues.
:arrow: Minor plot requests.

Game Masters can handle the above, plus:
:arrow: Major plot requests.
:arrow: Most cheating issues.
:arrow: Errors in game updates.
:arrow: Portions missing from the rules.
:arrow: Private Gameplay/Rule Questions.
:arrow: Concerns with other players.

Administrators can handle the above, plus:
:arrow: Critical plot requests (e.g. ruler assassinations).
:arrow: Major cheating issues.
:arrow: Concerns with other staff members.

When choosing a staff member, err on the lower side of caution. All staff members communicate and a staff member will be quick to pass on information if they cannot handle it. Because we do communicate so well, please do not message more than one of us, unless asked to or unless you hear no response from the contacted staff member because they are absent. Sending a PM to multiple staff members only leads to confusion and may result in a spam warning.


While still following the rules pointed out above about communicating with game staff, you should also communicate clearly with the game staff. If you are going to be away while in the middle of a plot, for instance, the game master running the plot should be informed so that they do not continue the plot without your input. If you are in need of special assistance or have concerns about a crucial issue, you should communicate with the appropriate staff member as soon as possible. If you have any sorts of difficulties that cannot be addressed by the Game Rules or the open thread for questions, are having difficulties with other members of the game, are having difficulties with staff members, you should contact a Game Master or Administrator.

Likewise, if you see a rule violation or possible cheating, please inform one of the staff members immediately. This is preferred to replying to the rule violation and telling them that it's a rule violation (such as telling people not to spam, flame, etc). Contact an online staff member (there's rarely a time that one of us is not available, given the large number of our staff) so that we can deal with the issue.

We are here to help you through the game, and would be happy to assist you if problems arise that cannot be solved normally. Do not hesitate to contact any one of us.
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Postby Forum Administration » 18 Nov 2007, 23:25

[WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE RULE ABUSE]

Though the staff at all levels try to patrol the forum carefully, and the administrators especially try to watch over everyone else - including themselves - to make sure that no bias, abuse, or cheating takes place, sometimes we make mistakes, or fail to see a problem or issue that other players notice. It is not our intention to ignore these at all. We are simply overloaded with all that goes on the forum both publically and in all the planning halls, and it can be easy to miss some very important things with the bustle that goes on the forum every day.

Because of this, we rely on the players to be observant as well, and report what they find if they spot any sort of abuse on the forums. This abuse can be by players or by staff (even administrators), and can be anything from breaking the rules, to cheating, to being biased towards certain players. No one on this forum - even the administrators - is beyond the rules of this forum. And no one on this forum - even the newbie with one post - is prohibited from noticing and reporting abuse when it takes place.

Though these issues are usually rare, they are critical to address as soon as possible. If you feel that any member, roleplay master, game master, or administrator has abused the rules or their authority, take the issue directly to an administrator (to another administrator if the culprit was an admin). Present your case clearly and thoughtfully, without insult. Use constructive criticism, and provide links and examples as much as possible to present your concerns. This is far more constructive than complaining on the boards.

If you feel the issue is not properly addressed after it is responded to, please take it to another administrator, to Xiahou Mao, or to Xian Zhu Xuande (email form) if no other administrator has been able to address your concerns. When taking the issue to another administrator, please include all your correspondence with the previous administrator. Back dooring others will not be appreciated.
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