Mini_HELP
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July 24th, 2017, 5:48 pm #61

Miscellaneous Rules Index
Some rules are too niche or theoretical to require placement in the Core Rules. This post serves as an index for these miscellaneous rules, which are listed below:
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Mini_HELP
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Joined: November 28th, 2010, 11:57 am

July 24th, 2017, 5:48 pm #62

Derivative Use of SOTF Mini Rules
Other sites have, from time to time, taken an interest in using rules, roleplaying guides, etc. from SOTF and SOTF Mini. We have a specific set of circumstances and rules regarding what we do and do not allow to be used freely.

The actual meat of the rules (rolls, inactivity timers, Hero and Swap Cards, and so on) can be used by anyone for any endeavor. We'd love it if you'd credit the SOTF sphere as the origin, and we ask you to put everything into your own words. Game mechanics, however, are not something that can be guarded by copyright, and most of SOTF's mechanics originate on the old V1 site, the work of members long since departed.

If you wish to use the actual text of SOTF's rules or roleplaying guides (these posts, the Core rules, or any old iterations of rules or roleplaying guides), however, we are more particular. You can always link people to the rules as hosted on our site. This gives us a boost to visibility and does not in any way represent a problem to SOTF Mini. It may, however, be a shaky solution for certain endeavors, as it does prevent most modification and leaves a user at the whim of our changes to the rules.

Really, the ideal is to rewrite what you need in your own words, but you are welcome to petition the staff for the right to rehost the text of some or all of our rules. Staff may well deny such a request, but are amenable to approving it if convinced. In all such cases, we require credit to be given to the authors of the rules and the site, a link to the site to be provided, and some iteration of this rule to be included such that any others seeking to create derivative rule sets using our actual text come back to us for permission.
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July 24th, 2017, 5:48 pm #63

Staff Rolling Errors
While notable/severe mistakes in the rolling process are vanishingly rare, staff feels it is still in the interests of the community to have an explicitly-detailed procedure for their handling publicly visible.

A mistake in rolls caught before they are posted is easily dealt with. If the error is simply in noting who was rolled (if, say, staff pasted the wrong name) then a note will be appended to the logs and they will be posted, with the character actually rolled noted as rolled and the inaccurately-noted one not.

If the error is more severe (the wrong size of die being used for the roll, say) then the rolls will be rolled back entirely to the point of the error and redone from that point. All valid rolls prior to that point will stand, but rolls after it (even if producing otherwise-valid results) will be redone, because every character rolled produces small changes to the probability of SOTF's system. All logs of all rolls will be provided in such an occurrence, unless the entire set of rolls is redone, in which case only the new set will be provided unless there is significant request for the original, in which case staff will consider the request and grant or deny it as they see fit.

In the event of the most common rolling errors (rolls made prior to the official start of rolls, multiple staff members rolling at the same time at the start, and so on) the incidents will not be logged if they occur right at the start of rolls (when they occur the vast majority of the time) and will be explained and moved past but retained in the logs if they occur later.

Mistakes in rolls caught only after the rolls are posted are more severe, and while they have not actually happened in site memory, we do have some contingency plans in place.

If a character is accidentally left off the rolling list for some reason, they will be subjected to a special set of rolls upon discovery. This will take the form of a number of rolls equal to the number of characters rolled in the last set of rolls prior to discovery, with probability increasing by one point each time the character is not rolled (to represent the bump in probability from other characters being rolled). If the character is hit by these rolls, they are in fact rolled, and go on their own set of timers as usual (three days for cards, which anyone may play to save them, and seven for a death [either theirs or that of a character sacrificed for them via card]). If a character has been left off the list for multiple rolls, they will only face the gauntlet for the most recent set. If they have been restored to the list and faced rolls since the error, they will face no further penalty and will not run the gauntlet.

This is, needless to say, an inelegant situation that does not feel good to anyone. It does, however, seem the best of a set of bad options with regard to fairness. No character can fairly get a free pass, but at the same time there's only so much revision that can be done.

If a character is erroneously declared rolled when they are not, the reaction varies based on time of discovery. If discovered during the window for cards, the change will be publicly announced. The character will be spared from rolls, and, if another character was meant to be rolled instead, they will be added to the rolled list. Any such addition will have its own full timer for cards and deaths.

If the character in question has already died, the mistake may be reversed only if less than two weeks has passed since the error in rolling. This is not timed from the death. In such cases, the death will, should the handler desire, be undone, and staff will work with those involved to smooth plotlines and writing as much as possible. No characters will be added to rolls, even if they should otherwise have been—instead, they will face the same gauntlet as faced by characters left off the rolling list, if no rolls have since been conducted, or staff will shrug and move on if rolls have happened.

If the character in question has not died but card time is over, they will be removed from the rolled list and no longer required to die, even if it has been more than two weeks since the error. They will not be replaced by any character who theoretically should have been rolled, but such characters will face the roll gauntlet unless further rolls have been conducted since.

It is worth repeating that these rules are making the best of a bad situation. They are certainly flawed, but we feel they are less flawed than the other methods considered for resolving such errors. Moreover, errors of the sort to prompt these resolutions have never in the history of SOTF Mini actually been made—this section is, by and large, and officially-sanctioned precaution.
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July 24th, 2017, 5:48 pm #64

General Staff Errors
Staff errors will, generally speaking, be corrected as quickly and cleanly as possible, with an eye towards leniency. Staff are human and make mistakes. Sometimes these affect handlers or the game. It happens. Here is how we will deal with specific situations:

If an error is made by an individual staff member, and it is in direct contradiction to these rules, and it is caught within the space of two weeks (fourteen days), staff reserve the right to require changes be made to bring the situation in line with the ruling. For example, if a staff member, acting alone, approved a character to find an old rifle left out in the woods, this would be a clear violation of the rule forbidding the scavenging of actual weapons in the arena. If this was caught quickly enough, staff would request the editing of any posts to remove the problematic element. While inconvenient, such changes made relatively quickly do little to damage overall game integrity and handler experience.

If such an error is not caught within two weeks, it will be noted but allowed to stand unless absolutely crippling to the integrity of the version (if, say, a staffer established that the collars did not actually work, and somehow this went unnoticed for a month).

If an error is made by the staff team as a collective, whether or not it is in contradiction to these rules and regardless of when it is caught, it will be noted but allowed to stand unless either an agreement with the handler can be reached or it is crippling to version integrity. The staff team may be considered to be acting as a collective either when they specifically note such, or when the shared Mini Help account is the method of communication used. Staff should not use the Mini Help account to handle queries unless they have secured the input of the team as a whole or are very sure their response falls within established rules (or note explicitly that they are making an initial judgment call that is not an official ruling).

If an error is made by an individual staffer but is an edge case not directly in contradiction to the written rules, it will usually be allowed to stand unless it is either very minor and quickly caught, it is an issue on which an agreement can be reached with the handler, or it is of critical threat to game integrity. For example, if a staffer unilaterally granted permission to violate the area thread limit in the interests of speeding a death set a day after the thread currently in the area, that would technically constitute staff approval of an exception, but would not follow the proper internal staff procedures for such and would be a situation very unlikely to gain such approval if properly discussed. Nonetheless, it would be allowed to stand unless the handler in question agreed otherwise, and staff would deal with the situation by working closely with all involved to avoid continuity snarls and by reminding the errant staff member of the proper procedures.

Note that all of the above applies only to honest mistakes. In any cases in which a staff member is found to have intentionally abused their authority for the benefit of themselves or others, the situation will be looked into very carefully. If the beneficiary was complicit, then they and the staff member will both face serious repercussions. If the staff member was acting alone, they will face serious repercussions and, depending on the severity, their actions may either be allowed to stand or be reversed. Note that these instances of intentional abuse may well lead to a staff member's removal from authority, or even their banning. While we would hope nobody selected for staff would cause such issues anyways, one's imminent departure from staff or the site does not constitute a blank check to wreak havoc.

Also note that the admins retain an executive veto on all situations under this umbrella. In all instances, however, we will do our best to fully explain the situation unless barred by matters of handler safety and privacy, and any exceptions will be clearly detailed, as will their implications for site precedent.
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July 24th, 2017, 5:49 pm #65

Conflicting Ruling Prioritization
The prioritization for conflicting rulings is as follows, from highest priority to lowest priority:
  1. Admin rulings that contradict the rules as written but explicitly note and explain such.
  2. The Mini Advanced Rules.
  3. Admin rulings that do not get into specifics (sometimes the admins forget the rules too—they only override the rules when doing so intentionally).
  4. Non-admin-sanctioned staff rulings made by the collective.
  5. The Mini Core Rules
  6. Rulings by individual staffers
  7. Unofficial community "rules" and understandings not backed by any official documentation.
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July 24th, 2017, 5:49 pm #66

Bans
Generally speaking, bans are a last resort on SOTF Mini. We do not issue temporary bans of fixed duration (one day, three weeks, etc.) from the site. To do so would be massively disruptive to the game, because taking characters out of circulation interrupts not only their stories, but also those of their thread partners. Moreover, it raises difficult questions regarding the inactivity system—would characters of a temporarily-banned handler be immune to inactivity for the duration of the ban? If so, that wouldn't feel very good as other characters go inactive in that time. If not, an inopportunely-timed or notably-lengthy ban would serve effectively as a death sentence to all of a handler's characters.

Thus, bans from the site come in two varieties: indefinite and permanent.

An indefinite ban is a ban lasting for at least sixty days. At any point after that time, the banned member may make an appeal. A successful appeal will result in the lifting of the ban, while an unsuccessful one will require a further period of at least thirty days prior to a new attempt. To be accepted, an appeal must demonstrate clear understanding of the reasons behind the initial ban, and must outline a plan of improvement that staff finds persuasive. A handler who appeals remains on final warning for at least six months following their appeal.

A permanent ban is, as the name implies, permanent. Generally speaking, no appeals on such bans will be heard—certainly not for a space of years, at a minimum. Any handler re-banned after an indefinite ban lands in this territory.

Usually, for incidents of poor behavior, jerkishness, and other noxious but non-threatening behaviors, an indefinite ban will be issued. Permanent bans are reserved for repeat offenders, for those who staff deem to pose threats to site or member safety, for those who deliberately and in organized fashion attempt to cheat, and for those staff deem so problematic that they will not be able to successfully reform in any reasonable time frame.

The Mini staff reserves the right to proactively ban members in tandem with the Main site, even if all problematic behaviors have taken place on Main. This is not, however, guaranteed—if Main staff wishes a tandem ban, they'll need to communicate such to the Mini admins and petition for it, and the Mini admins reserve the right to deny such a request.

To be instated, a ban requires either the backing of both Mini admins or of one admin and all non-admin staff who weigh in. The appeal of an indefinite ban has the same requirements. The appeal of a permanent ban must be completely unanimous.

None of this applies to obvious trolls and spam-bots, both of which are banned on sight.
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July 24th, 2017, 5:49 pm #67

Main/Mini Staff Transference
Historically, Mini has offered newly-appointed Main staff the opportunity to be instantly made staff on Mini as well. With the recent scaling back of presence within the Main staff team of the Mini admins, that process is getting adjusted slightly.

New Main staff members will no longer be approached directly in official capacity to be offered spots on the Mini staff team. They may, however, petition to be added to the Mini team at any time, bypassing the usual hiring process. This petition stands a good chance of being granted so long as the Main staff member in question has a decent record of Mini participation and behavior (every current shared staff member as of August 2017 would easily pass this bar) and as long as the admins are generally convinced of their competence. The admins reserve the right to request further materials (including Main staff applications, additional test material as designed by the Mini staff, and so forth). They also reserve the right not to request such materials.

To be confirmed, a prospective shared staff member must be cleared by both admins and must fewer than one third of the current Mini staff dissenting to their hire.

If a shared staff member steps down on Main, that does not mean they have to also step down on Mini. Once someone is Mini staff, they're in, and treated like any other Mini staff member.
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