How To Be A Staff Member - Chapter 2

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How To Be A Staff Member - Chapter 2

Postby Patel » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:19 am

I will update this intermittently.

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Intro

. You don’t have to take my word for anything in here. I’m just another kid over the internet, sitting in his room typing away on a Lenovo keyboard. If you’re someone who will post “tl;dr” (so 99% of you), just leave. Do not even post. But perhaps you should heed my words, particularly if you know what this will be about, and are interested in finding out more. Where to begin? I was invited to this game many a year ago, by an old friend. He was not extraordinarily bright, interesting, or even kind, but he did manage to become a staff member on an old server of mine and a friend as well. Or was it because he was my friend that he became a staff member? I do not remember to be honest; I was 12. What I do know now, however, is that my understanding of what a staff member should be began around that time. My thoughts on that subject became expansive and encompassing exponentially after I joined PkHonor’s staff team. At the end of my time as a staff member, probably for the rest of all time, I have come to realize this: there are more facets to being a staff member than a hundred pages of typing could reveal. I have come to conclude that, despite knowing how everything that can be learned can be taught, no matter how hard we try, some of us will have an horrific time trying to become staff material. Nontheless, whether you are one of the few that “get it” or one of the many that want to, I will reveal to you as many aspects of good moderation as I can in the most rudimentary ways possible.

One – You’re Not A Player

"A respected person puts the needs of the world before their own desires."

. Let me tell you a bit about Gandhi. Everyone knows that he was a peaceful man filled to the brim with zen. His cup was neither half full nor half empty – it was probably just a cup of tea. When he was a young boy, he married; that was the tradition in India at the time. As a hormone-driven teenager, he let his lust get the better of him and went on numerous sexual escapades with his wife for years. Now, he had always been uncommonly kind and a servant to the people, but he was still a very normal person. This all changed after his father died. You see, Gandhi had decided to go home to his wife and have sex while his father was sick. Infact, he did this many times, but one occurrence happened the day his father died. Distraught, the young Gandhi vowed to take to a life of Asceticism, seeing his lust as the enemy and sacrificing a very human, normal, and almost entitled behavior for the good of others. He thought that his lust would again interfere with some of the more important things in life.

Note* Asceticism is a very restrained and spiritual lifestyle - it advocates many neutral and restrictive ideals like nonviolence, celibacy, and restrained action. It has many Southeast Asian principles behind it, ones found in Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

. The moment you get a crown, you are no longer a player. You are viewed as one in the eye of the law, but you are not viewed as one symbolically. You are someone to go to for help, someone to complain to, someone to use as a punching bag, and someone expected to do something. You are also entitled to nothing. The first thing you need to do is understand that you are actually below the community. You are a volunteer for PkHonor, and you will be rewarded very rarely for your work. This is where you see who is and who is not in it for solely the power. Being this kind of a staff member is a selfless commitment – one of nothing but genuine love for a server. Technically speaking, you have power over the players… but if you humble yourself and make yourself the servant of a server, then you will command respect and authority because of the good you will have brought from humility. It is an almost ascetic style of gameplay.

. For those of you that were around before 2013, this may ring a bell. We forced moderators to make separate accounts for their trial periods. The logic behind that was, "they can't be trusted to have full access to moderation until they've shown that they can endure the worst parts of moderation." It was an even more rigorous test - both mentally and physically taxing. You wanted to enjoy the game and play it for what it was, but you'd be looked down upon if you were having fun and not on your moderator account. It's archaic, but effective because the trials had to give up a lot, to earn more in then end. It gave them a perspective of what was to be valued when they had lost much of what made the game fun. It was something to be respected just a little bit more, and will forever be a better method of having trial mods.

Two - Being Righteous

. Herein lies the precipice of good decision-making - when you no longer take into account what the past offenses are, denounce any hidden biases, do good unto evil, aren't lazy, and can effectively ignore outside, unbiased opinion. This is when you make a decision that has in mind the better health of PkHonor itself. That doesn't mean that past offenses, biases, ignorance, etc. can't go into the decision, but the outcome must be one that has no motif other than to benefit PkHonor. Note that making decisions like this follows no rule, besides the underlying principle of, "You may not intentionally harm other people, disrupt their gameplay experience or gain an unfair advantage over others." Don't play the game of politics that this server has spiraled down into - hold your ground, but do so with a clear conscience and a good heart.

. I often hear the justification of, "Well he's a rotten apple!" I used to be able to agree with that statement whenever it was used, but now it's just a term used to describe anyone who's more than slightly annoying to the staff team/even a staff member. Yes, most "rotten apples" tend to get punished a lot, but seeing another Sam, Dead Newb, or HD Stefan is what is should take to get someone removed. Of course, the act of removal itself is up to the supers... but a lot of the time, it is catalyzed by the moderators and administrators. Now to play Devil's Advocate (yes, against myself), those decisions are often made with PkHonor's interests in mind, so how is someone not being righteous by making it? The answer is that their reasoning is inherently flawed. To be fully righetous in removing someone from PkHonor is to be free of any personal animosity when making the decision. Every recent fullban has been given with the company of annoyance by the person who gave the ban. Indeed, it is difficult not to be annoyed with certain individuals, but when being annoying is confused with being toxic/rotten to the community, self-discretion is needed. The supers, despite all they do for the game, are not known for their involvement in the community. This is why it is up to the staff team to fairly discern who needs to, and who needs not to be removed from the game. Unless a ban has been issued countless times, the person poses a real threat to the entire social integrity of the server, or the player has a means by which to harm PkHonor as a whole, they are not toxic to the community. They are merely a nuisance, and should be treated fairly.

This is only one nuance of a righteous moderator, however. The underlying principle entails the ability to differentiate between when you should and shouldn't give in to the player's wants. A conservative view would suggest that you only follow your own judgment and the judgments of your superiors. A liberal one would dictate that you only listen to the players. The best view, in terms of general tendencies, is one that takes a moderate position and carefully evaluates each situation to know whether or not to take a more liberal or conservative view. If someone can argue their side and convince you that you're wrong, then by all means, feel free to have a change of heart. It is not weakness, but true strength to change one's resolve for the greater good.

However, this does raise an important objection - what if doing this repeatedly leads to caving in to the community's desires over and over? "The crowd is fickle," says a Roman proverb, and it's difficult to disagree with that. Bangwagoning can and will occur, and holding your own against that is important. You may have your own internal, righteous resolve, but your strength can always come from your friends and peers. Be open to letting other people argue on your behalf, or atleast seek the council of those that you respect. Not one person on this server has it all - not one person on this server can do it alone.

And of course, that idea only adds to what I've been saying this entire time. Be pure of heart, but share that heart with the whole server.

Three - Being Fair

. This one is obvious. Be fair. Injustice, albeit not a concept that we are born understanding, is a sense we obtain very early on in life. It's quite simple too - someone "does you dirty". To elaborate on that concept, you are put in a situation where you feel that you have been treated immorally, wrongly, and ultimately, unjustfully. I could elaborate on what constitutes all of those ideas, but we'd be here all day. You know what it feels like to be treated unjustly, and so does everyone on this server. So when someone on PkHonor cries injustice or says they don't feel fairly treated, listen. Just because they don't articulate their feelings well (they may be very, very rude about it) doesn't mean that they should be ignored. I think that if you are to pull one thing from this entire guide (yes, the whole thing), it's that you should always, always, ALWAYS, view both sides. Because there always are two sides to every story, and no matter how sure you are of your decision, there's atleast social merit in looking at both sides. To clarify, while sometimes you may be in a case where there isn't any qualitative value to looking at both sides, (e.g., RWT. Player A is caught doing it, there's no question about it), showing that you care goes a long way both in developing how people view you, and also sets a precedent for how you'll act. If you're as fair and level-headed as you possibly can be in the situations when it matters least, then you'll be like that in situations where it really does matter.

But that's not all there is to being fair. Another important aspect is consistency. To give a rudimentary example, if Player A breaks rule X, and Player B breaks rule X in atleast a similar manner, then both Player A and Player B should get the same punishment. But of course, herein lies the problem with that - I assumed that the two players broke the rule in a similar manner. Let's stray away from abstractions so we can get a better idea of what happens when that assumption doesn't hold true.

Let's say Player A has broken that same rule many times (the value of 'many' doesn't have to be quantified, a few severe offenses outweigh dozens of tiny ones), but Player B broke it for the first time. Then it would only make sense to do something different with Player A, in hopes of giving them a more deserved punishment. If you're a moderator, this tends to be best dealt with by discussing it with a higherup or by letting a higherup handle the case by themselves. If you're the one dealing with this, I think it's important to make a decision that you can defend. I've come to realize a long time ago that all of this discussion we tend to have never sets any precedents. It's not like a court of law where a decision changes the way lawmakers everywhere handle punishments - no, people on PkHonor forget and contradict decisions all the time. We may feign in consistency, and it's good to continue doing that, but the reality is that we're too fickle as a whole. So what matters is that you've thought about your decision with a clear mind, and have thought fairly about any counterarguments that may be made. If the aggregate of your internal arguments results in you deciding that your decision was fair, then you know you've made the right decision.

Four - Doing What You Do Best

The world we live in is hardly inhabited by homogenous individuals with homogenous skillsets. I don't think that Usain Bolt would make a great swimmer just as Michael Phelps wouldn't make for a great sprinter. However, if we set the two individuals' atheleticism to be analogous to you ability as a staff member, then we've set a baseline for performance. You need to be able to atleast meet your obligations - get a certain number of hours per week, do a certain number of reports, refunds, recoveries, appeals, etc., and read the threads that you're supposed to. However, it'd be absurd to expect you to be able to do every staff job that you're obligated to just as well as other moderators. The staff system never has accomodated and never will accomodate for your talents, and it's up to you to find a way to use them as part of the job. Me personally? I hated grinding through tasks. I did the bare minimum of reports and help requests as a mod in favor of getting to know the community and having a strong hand where all other staff members fell short. Unfortunately, this is unquantifiable. You can't measure how well someone holds the community together. So I stayed a moderator for 2 years. Is it better for you to take that path? Not at all, but it certainly is better for the server.

So by no means should you neglect your duties. Do what you're told you have to do - even I didn't neglect that. But when you find yourself feeling to urge to do something that only your power grants you the ability to do, then don't hold back.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
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Re: How To Be A Staff Member - Chapter 2

Postby Patel » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:36 pm

Updated 1-10-15

Updated 11-2-15

Updated 3-21-16

Updated 5-30-16
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
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