Staff:Codex

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This codex exists for the sake of both the player base and the staff. Everything within helps to ensure that the players will find MassiveCraft's staff to be populated with honest, competent, and helpful individuals who work together to run a professional and fun server. As staff, and as players ourselves, we agree to adhere to these rules and guidelines for the betterment of the server.

Staff Expectations

The sections that follow offer not only a set of rules to follow, they present a set of positive goals. Other staff will make every effort to work with you to help improve conduct and performance. However, in some cases, failure to meet these expectation may result in demotion or removal from staff. Always ask Direction if you're concerned you're not meeting the high standards expected of a MassiveCraft staff member.

Communication

Voice Chat

It is essential that staff members speak to one another on TeamSpeak often and regularly—chat is a poor substitute for actual spoken conversation. Using voice chat we can collaborate quickly and with more understanding, all while keeping our hands free to play or work together in-game.

  • Try talking to all team members, not only your department members or closest friends. Obviously there will be project work that demands frequent conversations among a few, but it's important for everyone to try their best to expand their circle and be inclusive.
  • Aim for at least four hours on TeamSpeak per week, but try for ten or even more. It can be useful to get in the habit of leaving TeamSpeak open while you're at your computer, even if doing other things. You never know when an opportunity for fun or work might come up.

Text Chat

We use Skype extensively as a collaboration and messaging platform. Team members are encouraged to use Skype daily and read through the non-chatter messages within their various staff groups. Many times important messages will be marked with a star emoticon. Pay close attention to those, but be sure to sift through all messages to avoid missing out on something important. Until something better comes along, Skype is our most important team-wide collaboration tool and all staff members are expected to read the chats.

Professionalism and Competency

Public Conduct

We ask a lot from our staff members, and never is that so obvious than it is with our expectations related to public conduct. Provided they stay within the rules, non-staff players enjoy a gift that staff members are denied—they are able to speak entirely freely. When we speak publicly, we must conduct ourselves in a way that positively represents MassiveCraft as a whole.

  • This doesn't mean you can't have an opinion, but it does mean that you should communicate those opinions in way that reflects positively on the staff, particularly in those cases where we are wearing a badge so to speak, be that by speaking from a position of authority or actively doing staff work.
  • Avoid trashing other staff or their ideas. Whenever possible, present a united front to the players. This isn't solely a matter of presentation, we're better off as a server if staff sort conflicts out internally and then proceed towards a common goal.
  • Set an example by treating other players in a civil and helpful manner. Your words are going to carry more weight than ever. You're leading by example and you can do more damage than you may realize by speaking harshly to or otherwise negatively interacting with non-staff. Never underestimate how common it is for a player to leave a conversation with staff and internalize it as “Staff said X” instead of “SoAndSo said X.”

In-Game Rule Breaking

Staff are leading by example, whether they embrace that idea or not. Players notice when staff break the rules, and while they will quickly learn that staff punishes their own for in-game rule breaks by the same standards that they use with players, it sets an awful example. Staff are not supposed to be trying to work around or skirt the rules. Don’t concern yourself with what you can get away with, instead push past that to play on a whole new level. Make the game awesome for everyone and avoid the kinds of petty, greedy, and evasive actions that get players caught up in rule breaks.

Avoid Sabotage

Never sabotage the work of others or the progress of the server. It's completely unacceptable to, for example, prevent others who are ready from working on a task just in case you may have time in the future and you want the points. Likewise, once a decision has been made, if you disagree with the direction the server is heading, get on board anyway. To do otherwise is only to provide the kind of resistance that wastes everyone else's time and ultimately hurts the players. Staff members must accept the limits of their own ability and authority and recognize that others have higher authority born out of merit--there's no room for useless squabbles or power-grabs when we're all doing our best to work together towards a goal.

Keep Up to Date

Things change, sometimes quickly, within any given department. It's partly your job to make sure that you get all the training and updates you need. Follow the Skype chats and ask questions when something is unfamiliar. It's not always the responsibility of the parties making changes to ensure that everyone in the department knows about the change.

Do More Than the Bare Minimum

Don't just take on the easy tasks or find ways to earn quick points when you find your hours are dropping too low. You are expected to look for work when it is not handed to you—remember that officers and Direction staff often have their own hands full. Rely on them, but help yourself. Be proactive and look for the opportunity to work and then get to it.

Keep Official Communications Professional and Effective

Whether you are writing a forum response, issuing a warn, drafting a PR post, or handing out a punishment reason, keep things professional and communicate effectively. You never know when things will be scrutinized by the players or when we will need to refer to some past communication to resolve some future issue.

  • All our punishment commands take a reason argument. Always write a proper reason there, providing as much detail as possible. The reason is important both for the offender and the team members. If someone is getting punished for something it's fair they know why right? The reason is also broadcasted to the other team members and can be seen later using the /whois command. It's important for us to look back and remember the reason in order to handle unban appeals properly. Ensure that staff members and players reviewing this punishment reason instantly understand what the person has been punished for.

Communicate with Direction Staff

Staff are expected to communicate regularly with their department leaders and Direction staff. Whether it's a question related to codex issues or a general how-to for your department, ask! Just as Tech staff is there to code or Quest staff is there to write quests, Direction staff exists to provide direction and guidance to the rest of the team. Make them work for it.

  • Communicate long absences to direction staff. Life gets in the way sometimes. We know that and experience it ourselves, but it's always better to talk about it openly than to drift away or disappear. We can work together to figure something out, so long as it's out in the open.
  • Let Direction staff know if someone is not living up to the standards set in the codex. Don't assume they're necessarily going to get in trouble. Much of what Direction does is all about training and cooperation.
  • The ultimate goal is to reform, teach, improve, and avoid punishment. Punishments are a last resort.

Provide Good Feedback

There’s an art to giving quality feedback and providing the kind of criticism that motivates people to do better work. Try to internalize these suggestions and practice giving good feedback every time you have a chance.

Choose Carefully

Think before you speak. Even if you mean well, it's easy to casually say the first thing that comes to mind and send someone off in the wrong direction or otherwise ruin their day.

Provide Feedback Often

Staff ask for or need feedback all the time. When someone links you to a recent World build or a PR post, it's safe to assume they will welcome high quality constructive feedback. If you're not sure, ask. Helping out by providing good feedback is a sure way to make MassiveCraft better.

Be Specific

It's not enough to say you like or don't like something. Tell them exactly why. If you're not sure yourself, think about it before you speak. Less useful feedback: “I like the trees.” Effective feedback: “I like how you varied the spacing of the trees to match the wind cover on that mountain side.” The same applies to constructive, negative feedback, even moreso.

Be a Coach

Accept their goals as your own if you can. Instead of just dropping off a load of negativity, build a pep talk into your feedback. Motivate them. It's not just something Direction needs to do. We can all deliver feedback with a little cheerleading: “I agree with SoandSo about how you handled that, but you're not far off. Let me know if you want a hand and I'll head to TeamSpeak.”

Give Goal-Oriented Feedback

We're not working for the sake of churning out point-worthy activity or only to keep the lights on. We're trying to reach new and better goals all the time. Figure out what those are before you give feedback. Does it matter if something is one way or another. What does matter? Concentrate on those areas.

Rank and the Meritocracy

Here on MassiveCraft you are working within a meritocracy, where individuals are judged by the quality of their work and their dedication to success. There are so many other servers out there that do not adhere to a system like ours. Through points, ranks, and ratings we ensure that the right individuals have the tools they need to make this server a better place, but in order for this system to work, everyone in the staff has to place their trust in the meritocracy. This means that if someone has achieved a rank higher than another in a given area, they have that rank because they are competent and have proven that they are worthy of that rank.

Demonstrate trust in the system by respecting decisions made by ranking staff members. We intentionally enable them to make final decisions that end debates and help us get work done faster and more accurately. Present evidence and explain your position when there is a disagreement, but please respect their power to end arguments. They're not pulling rank, they are doing their job. MassiveCraft is in the minority when it comes to having a functional meritocracy, and we're better for it. Many organizations have talented individuals, but without a proper framework, they may find their work ignored or undervalued. Respect what we have in place here and it will see us through as we continue to grow.

  • Do not accuse staff members of pulling rank.
  • Do not disrespect the hierarchy by engaging in activities you were asked not to do.
  • Do not drag out conversations into an argument when a ranking member has already heard your feedback and made a decision.
  • Do not undermine the meritocracy itself by promoting or demoting individuals based on personal relationships or preference. This is especially true of the ranking members themselves, who have to hold themselves to a very high standard if we are to make this system work.

Anti-Corruption

Anti-Corruption Minimalism

Team members exist for the player base. We are here to support them. We are supposed to be seen as their friendly equals. We seek that old school, hard to obtain respect that is acquired through being a down-to-earth person. We must thus avoid being seen as powerful and cool. Each time a regular player sees you using an item or ability they cannot, you risk being interpreted as a power abuser. If you find yourself interested in such items or abilities you may, perhaps unknowingly, be hungering for power and fame.

  • It is not enough to eliminate and avoid corruption. We must avoid the accusations of corruption all together. We must work to avoid a situation where that accusation will ever be made, even if unfounded.

Using Staff Status to Gain an Advantage

Players should not be made to feel like they are second class citizens. Do not intentionally flaunt your status as staff or otherwise show off. It's fine to be proud or discuss your accomplishments, but do not intentionally use staff status as a tool to help you sell your items in the marketplace or to gain special permissions or social standing. Bringing up your status as staff unnecessarily may even be perceived as a threat in some situations.

Command Usage

Do not use staff commands or privileges in a way that has the potential to make it appear as if staff are granted tools they can use for their own personal benefit, outside of staff work. Doing so may cause irreparable harm to relations between staff and players. Think of how players would feel about their own time and effort spent doing a task if they thought they played on a server where staff could simply issue a command to accomplish the same thing. Violating this not only creates a divide between staff and player, it can devalue their investment of time and energy spent on the server.

  • Do not spawn items for your own personal possession or use.
  • Command usage covered by the statement above includes teleportation, special effects, flying, and status effects.
  • Do not use warns or or other punishment tools as toys, even when you know players cannot see it. It's a bad practice that can encourage other abuses.

Self-insertion

When doing creative work on the server, do not attempt to write yourself, your characters, or your friends into lore, quests, or builds unless otherwise given special permission by direction. As has been said before, a desire to do this may indicate that you are looking for some kind of special prestige and status, something we go out of our way to avoid on this server.

Recuse Yourself

Do not handle your own, or your non-staff friend’s, ticket-worthy staff work. This means that if you need something done that would normally require you to seek staff help, such as removing LWC locks from a faction or cleaning up a forum thread, you have to ask another staff to help you, even if you know the commands, handle similar tickets all day long, and the matter is time sensitive—there’s almost always someone available on Skype. The same sometimes extends to other tasks, such as character applications or special permissions for very close friends.

Anti Corruption Transparency

It is important that the team members trust each other. We need that trust to work together and improve MassiveCraft. In order to be able to trust each other, there needs to be transparency. Friendly, non-intrusive investigation is not only permitted, it is actually encouraged.

Team members may check the inventories of other team members. No one should have anything to hide in their inventory (such as unobtainable, hacked items). If they do, it's an opportunity for you to help correct their moral compass. If your suspicions were wrong then you do not need to suspect anymore and no trust is lost. For example, this may include the following:

  • Derp thinks he sees Herp holding an illegal item for a moment. He checks using “/invsee Herp” and Herp does indeed have an illegal item. A discussion can then be held resulting in a rewarding adjustment of Herp's moral compass.
  • A player tells Derp about a rumor. According to the rumor Herp insulted a player in the in-game chat last night. Derp investigates the chat logs and finds nothing there. Since Derp now knows it was indeed just a rumor, no trust is lost.

Staff confidentiality

Staff members must maintain full confidentiality with regards to materials and communications shared between staff members in any official channel, or external tools when communicated in some staff-related capacity. This includes in-game chat, TeamSpeak, Skype, or any private communications on the forums or elsewhere.

Reasoning

There are a number of reasons for this confidentiality, and every one of them helps us better serve the players and enjoy our time working as staff members.

  • Staff members should feel safe discussing matters which should not be spread to players, without the fear of one staff member handing out the information to players.
  • Staff confidentiality also protects the privacy of players who share confidential information with staff. It is crucial that we do not lose that trust.
  • In-Development work is very often intentionally withheld from players. We sometimes do this to avoid giving some players an unfair advantage over another, but at other times it's done simply to allow us to surprise and wow the players with a new release. Whatever the reason, do not share information about such work with non-staff unless there is evidence that the information has already intentionally been shared. When in doubt, you must ask.

Notes on Confidentiality

  • This covers even casual conversation made in the official chats. Staff should be able to relax and have fun without worrying about something they said privately becoming public.
  • Sometimes information that appears to already be released is merely rumor or a good guess. Be sure it was released intentionally with the consent of Direction staff before you confirm, deny, or comment.
  • Direction staff should not share information provided to them in confidence with other staff members.