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Harassment Policy

Discussion in 'Rules & Announcements' started by ObiWan506, Aug 9, 2008.

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  1. ObiWan506

    ObiWan506 Former Head Admin star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 5, 2003
    The Jedi Council and Fan Force Harassment Policy
    Updated: September 3rd, 2008

    The current administration has seen the need to spring into action very swiftly on this topic and produce a new initiative sooner rather than later. A policy that invites users to come to the administration through whatever means they feel comfortable with. A policy that better emphasizes the steps users can take. We want to make ourselves open to everyone. Every single moderator was elected because they are believed to be trustworthy. When Mod Squad is united behind an objective, it's quite a force. Every moderator is part of Mod Squad and is available to you. Harassment (sexual or otherwise) that occurs in posts should be dealt with immediately by forum moderators. If it is not resolved satisfactorily at that level, follow the procedure below for Private Messages. Any harassment that occurs in Private Messages should be dealt with as follows:

    1. The basic question is, if you are being harassed in PMs, what should you do? Well if you feel harassed via PM, you should choose one of the following courses of action:
      1. Send a reply that says something like "Please stop sending me private messages." or "Your last message made me uncomfortable. Please don't go there again." Then contact a staff member.
      2. Do not reply to the offensive PM. Contact a staff member.
      (We advise discontinuing any kind of a conversation that can be misunderstood.)
    2. Users won't be restricted to just an exclusive group of moderators. Users should know they have the opportunity to approach any moderator at any time.The problem in the past may have been that users were afraid to use past policies because the person at the top was unresponsive and a problem. In these cases it seems a more expanded policy is better rather then a more restrictive one. A simple policy similar to the one below can work.
      1. Issue happens.
      2. User brings this to the attention of any Mod/RSA/Admin he or she trusts. If you do not know which moderator or administrator to go to, here are the suggestedpoints of contact:
        • JC Head Admin or FF Head Admin (depending on the context of where the harassment occurred).
        • One of the other JC or FF Admins.
        • A moderator you trust. They will set up a confidential contact with an appropriate administrator.
        • Another user you trust who can help you find a staff member to contact:
          JC Staff List

          Fan Force Staff List
      3. That person can become the point for the investigation, if s/he feels comfortable doing that, otherwise s/he finds someone else that the user trusts to become point. It doesn't have to be an administrator.
      4. Point person would talk to the user through PMs, coordinate any PM checks with a user approved administrator (either FF or JC) and just flesh out the situation.
      5. Other (user approved) mods/admins are brought in to look at the case and decide what to do from there if necessary. The number of mods/admins coming into the investigation depends on how comfortable the user is.
    3. If a legitimate complaint is discovered and resolved, any action taken against that user will be documented in that user's notes. That usernote does not have to include the name of the user who complained. Instead, it can just explain the situation in a basic way. What happened, what was done, etc. It is also there as documented behavior.
    4. All harassment complaints, sexual or otherwise, can and will be confidential if you request it. Any moderator who receives a complaint should make sure not to post any details from it without asking the user first. If you request nothing be posted about your situation in any public or private forum, that will be honored. If you request that certain moderators and administrators not be included in any action, that will be honored. If you request that you would just rather keep it between yourself and the moderator you go to, that will be honored. Now, only administrators can verify PMs, so if you want a complaint kept between you and a moderator, PMs can't be checked. If you would like PMs verified, a user approved administrator can be brought in to assist. Confidentiality is key with situations like this and it should be properly emphasized. Moderators are at the discretion of your command. You tell them what you would like them to do and they will do it. No moderator will turn down a user that comes to them with a legitimate complaint of harassment.
    5. All legitimate complaints will be acted on. Sometimes it takes time to resolve a complaint, but you are entitled to a timely response and may query if actions are underway if you do not feel you have received one. Understand that sometimes these things take time to fully investigate. If they are not acted on and you have not heard anything back from the moderator you complained to, then that moderator or administrator has failed. If no action, which includes no warnings, usernotes or any sort of investigation, was seen from a complaint that you submitted to a moderator or administrator, it's highly suggested that you find another moderator or administrator to report to, not only for your original complaint but also for the inaction of the moderator or administrator you previously talked to. Complaints should never be dismissed out of hand. That is not policy and if it happens, you know something was done incorrectly. Actions taken against complaints can and should always be disclosed to the user who sent in the complaint.
    6. If you are concerned because someone at the top (i.e. Head Admin) is either involved, or dismissive, to your complaint, a structure is in place that allows you to go to two other JC administrators. If not, even Fan Force administrators will hear you. The same rings true for the Fan Force side of things. If you are concerned because you don't trust someone at the top, there are two other Fan Force administrators in place. If not, JC administrators will hear you as well. Anyone and everyone is available. Whatever it takes. We just want you to know so we can help.
    Here are some examples to help you better identify harassment:
    • One-sided conversations in which the other person asks or demands a lot of information about you, but never says much about himself. Real friendship is reciprocal--people exchange information; they don't interrogate each other. The attention can seem flattering at first, but if you give away too much info about yourself, you could find yourself faced with an obsessed guy who can find you any time he wants, whether you want him to or not.
    • Somebody who always wants to know where you're going, where you've been, or demands an explanation if you can't talk to him. Unless you're under 18 and it's your mom asking, the other person has no right even to ask.
    • Somebody who continually tries to nag/beg/flatter you into doing something you've already said you don't want to do. Even if they're charming and funny about it, and you wonder if it might be a joke, you don't have to listen to someone continually asking for your phone number, or n00dz, or to describe what you're wearing, or anything else. If the guy really is charming and harmless, he'll stop asking the first time you say "No."
    • Somebody who's sweet and fun until you give him an answer he doesn't want to hear--then he turns ugly. Just because you said or did something that made him mad does not mean you owe him anything. A genuine friend can accept "No, I don't like/want that" without feeling the need to punish you with accusations or insulting little jabs over PM or on the boards.
    • Patterns of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
    • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent, including but not limited to real names, photographs, etc.
    • Threats of violence, and the incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
    • Stalking or following, including but not limited to a sustained pattern of personal comments or attacks resulting in disruptions of discussion.
    • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease under any circumstances.
    • Basically, anything that makes you feel like a first grader whose 5th grade "friend" is "asking" for your lunch money. Exploitation can be done with a smile, and one of the easiest ways to keep using people is to be nice to them in between taking stuff from them. This is not friendship, no matter how fun the other person is when he's not after you for something.
    • It can even be as simple as someone making comments about your appearance or personal life that you feel are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable.
    So, the policy outlined above is now in effect. It starts now. Mod Squad doesn't want the status quo anymore. Actually, this place might not even have a status quo. We're either moving forward or we're falling backwards. We're never still. We all want moderators who push forward. To push for a better place that is not stagnant. To push for a place that does not dismiss complaints. As moderators our first priority should be helping the users. Our job is to make you guys comfortable. This starts at the most fundamental level. Moderators know their userbase better than anyone and the userbase knows their forum moderators better than other mods. The Head Admin is here and should be honored to help every single person, but moderators know their users the best. Moderators should let you know that you can go to them.

    We want complaints. We want concerns. We want to help and both our ears are waiting for someone to speak. Someone say go and we'll be there for them. That's what Mod Squad will be about now. No one should feel scared to come to us or feel a sense of distrust as long as we make ourselves approachable. Moderators should be out there helping you understand that we are ready to help. So, our point is, task forces are great. Specific policy is nice and we can do all this great stuff, but a focus on the basics should be applied to all moderators at all times. When there is a problem, users should go to who they feel comfortable with; go to who they know. If moderators perform their jobs at the most basic level, there should hopefully be no question in a your mind. Beyond those basics, an outline of the current policy has been provided above.
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