Facing/face time for one's accuser?

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nezumi
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11 months 3 weeks ago
Facing/face time for one's accuser?

This is following up on the new grievance here: http://vaxia.org/proposals/grievance-09/12/2014-closure-part-2 and the twenty pages of back story.

One topic that came up is that Sin is not available to present his side of the story. But I notice the issue was submitted against an administrator via the anonymous emailer, which seems to present a conflict in my mind. (From here on, I'm speaking only in general terms, with the Sin/Bast case being a particular example only.)

In the US court system, you have a right to face your accuser and witnesses, which permits you time to ask questions and avoid hearsay. It also gives the witness an opportunity to share the whole truth, and for an accuser to properly articulate her concerns and the evidence collected.

In the case of Vaxia, things are a little different. Anonymous emails let people be whistleblowers, and to speak out against moderators in power without fear of retaliation. Hopefully site management properly represents that person, but it seems there is potential for misrepresenting the accuser (who cannot correct the error without voiding anonymity).

I'd argue the other half, that the moderator cannot confront his accuser, is partially ameliorated by the availability of logs. If you're speaking anonymously, you need to provide the logs to speak for you, as just hearsay won't hold any water (I assume). But the whistleblowers 'losing control' of a case is still an issue, especially with the new double jeopardy rule.

A specific example I could see is if Bastlynn picks on me, then Zxe submits an anonymous claim on that item which presents only half the case, and Bastlynn defends herself successfully. Should I, after the fact, decide to bring the item up, under double jeopardy it needs to be approved by two individuals in a row to go forward. If Zxe is also the tech lead for instance, the case would never move forward, and no one would even know it. Note, this could be a misunderstanding on my point on the process, so if I'm incorrect, it could invalidate everything that follows.

I think this is a case where I agree with all of the tools, but I could see them possibly working together in an undesired manner, and you can't resolve it easily without breaking one of the (good) methods currently in place.

I think the one solution I might recommend would be to split the anonymous mailer in two; you can send a message either to the current lead, or you can send it to the entire community. If you feel your item is being mishandled, you can present your evidence to every voter without outing yourself specifically, or opening up grievance discussion threads to the users without accounts during the voting period. (After voting is done, it could be closed and any spam deleted, if necessary.) A third option is to split 'grievances against moderators', which is just a review by everyone of the logs to determine if this is the sort of moderation we want to see on the page, from 'grievances against individuals', which would require the individual represent herself directly. This might be an exception to the 'double jeopardy' rule, where for instance if Bastlynn was mean to me, I might file for her to get a strike, but also to have a vote of confidence regarding her management capabilities.

I know I may be overthinking this. I just can't quite grok this situation, where a person may or may not be offended, but Bast is defending herself against an anonymous email, who may not be the offended party, while the offended party is not able to represent himself.

Bastlynn
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Aye, this particular

Aye, this particular grievance was complicated as hell. :-/ The mailer didn't actually state any requested result and scatter-shot the issues to the point where they were almost impossible to figure out. I'm honestly not entirely sure Sin actually is the offended party in this case as opposed to a 3rd party offended on his behalf? Much of it was confused halfway through when the thread slipped over into retrial territory for Sin and the issues he had had on the site, had already been covered in detail. So the double jeopardy thing didn't help either.

If you've not seen the first grievance - go ahead and look it over - it's long too: link here http://vaxia.org/forums/grievance-posting-mon-08/04/2014-1037pm

SO! Originally Sin did actually get plenty of time on his first grievance which was a call out of LadyK as a bad Social lead. Those doubts had been raised loudly in Limbo, and the mailer felt they needed to be addressed or put down once and for all else we'd leave LadyK's ability in doubt for the rest of her tenure. In the course of that grievance a distinct pattern of behavior was openly revealed in the logs. That grievance ended with LadyK being confirmed for her position.

As part of her duties in that position - LadyK gave strikes to Sin for the pattern of bad behavior that was showing up to that date no signs of stopping up to the mailer being posted and throughout it. Strikes had already been discussed before the first grievance went up, but with LadyK's ability as a lead in question - that meant there was a reluctance to put the strikes out there until the question of her abilities had at least been addressed informally. While a number of posters recommended strikes in the grievance thread - the actual determination of strikes for actions was handled under standard Social lead duties not in the grievance.

The mailer is actually split like that.

The regular mailings just go straight to the Leads with a notice here on the boards that one was received. The leads can then handle it in the best way fit. That might be as simple as answering a question, it may be a call for mediation - whatever the issue is. The post will eventually be live at the mailer for review but it's a 2 week span to give plenty of time to hopefully resolve the issue. If something just needs to be brought to the leads attention to be handled - that's the way to go. For example, overlooked behavior or a series of abusive PMs or whatnot.

A grievance - is much closer to a call for an impeachment than anything else and is actually pretty new to the site. That's the one that opens a thread to the site and calls for all logs. New accounts can post to the forums without having a character so the mailer could present stuff that way if they wanted to avoid too much personal stuff - but at the grievance level, you're likely to lose the anonymity fast because of the logs presented. I think the mailer documentation on opening a grievance actually does give a warning about that. Grievances are meant as an impeachment style tool so we may just need to get some better documentation around that so that people know they really shouldn't be the standard mailer you get.

Apologies if I've missed something here, I'm just now waking up so skimming over the post at first here. Also you and Zxe should totally chatter sometime about legal stuffs cause I know you're both pretty much fascinated by this kind of stuff. ;)

Important note:
We are all the way over in the reform/re-integrate side of the justice philosophy for our moderation here. We aim for the behavior we want to see - not punishments. So Strikes on the site aren't a tool of justice, they're a tool of training. If someone is misbehaving, they get talked to, offered training, mediation, all of that - in an effort to get them to adjust course. If they don't adjust course - or we have zero feedback from them indicating they plan to stop - that's when a strike comes in. At any point in that line of action, the player can opt to change the behavior and avoid the next step.

That's why you may see two people do something and one gets a strike - it's because that's the one that doubled down on his behavior instead of going "... yeah. That was dumb. Here's how I'm gonna fix that to not do that again." That's also why we make notes of all of those instances even if they don't result in a strike - so we can see the pattern! Cause if you don't back your words with actions then that's not fixing it either.

Madius
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Addressing the double-jeopardy issue

Bast, forgive me if I missed this in your reply, I think one particular potential hiccup went unanswered, and that is whether a third party can (knowingly or otherwise) submit a strawman grievance to void a later legitimate claim due to double jeopardy (Nez's example using Bast as the target and Zxe as the submitter of the poorer version of the grievance).

I believe it's written into our proposed Double Jeopardy policy (and should be added, if it's not) that new evidence can reopen an old matter. In this case, if Zxe presents a half-assed case against Bast which gets shot down, Nez can still submit a new case with the evidence missing from (or misrepresented in) the first grievance, and double jeopardy will NOT block the second grievance due to the entry of new evidence.

Hopefully that's already covered in the Double Jeopardy policy - I'll double-check when I have the brainspace, if someone else doesn't beat me to it.

Again, sorry if Bast already addressed that, I didn't see it specifically called out and wanted to make sure that was covered, since it was a concern of mine when we first discussed double jeopardy with regard to grievances. Short version, I think we're protected against strawman lockouts :)

Bastlynn
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I think his example does

I think his example does actually cover this with the grievance presentation... but there is a wrinkle here that applies.

"A specific example I could see is if Bastlynn picks on me, then Zxe submits an anonymous claim on that item which presents only half the case, and Bastlynn defends herself successfully. Should I, after the fact, decide to bring the item up, under double jeopardy it needs to be approved by two individuals in a row to go forward. If Zxe is also the tech lead for instance, the case would never move forward, and no one would even know it. Note, this could be a misunderstanding on my point on the process, so if I'm incorrect, it could invalidate everything that follows."

If Nez brought forward new and verifiable information, then it should be reopened. If it's not reopened because the Social lead or tech-admin are misrepresenting the information given as invalid...

Then you have a whole new case (and a much bigger problem!) that can go into grievance processing for misconduct while performing their duties. Assuming misconduct is then proven - log tampering, etc, the relevant decisions go up for review by the department and that can address the original issue.

In the case of a tech-admin abusing the position specifically: This is why we encourage onsite communication and have available site backups for review. The available backups also mean the site as a whole can just say 'f-this' and pick up everything and leave the server (and bad admin) behind if need be without losing any of their material. Which is perhaps a less obvious feature of having the backups - but one with a lot of power behind it in an extreme case. The site is - as a community - absolutely free to walk off and rebuild elsewhere.

LadyKirsten
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Not to derail

I'm gonna put up a post on the social forums to explain the differences between an anonymous mailer and a grievance. Right now, unless people are reading the grievance threads (which are very long) or they actually click on the form to submit it, they aren't seeing all of the information. So I think that will help a lot when people are worried about the way they've been treated.

I think Bast and Maddy have covered a lot of the points on the original post. Nezumi brought up a lot of very well thought out possibilities, but luckily it seems as though most/all of them have protocol in place to prevent misconduct or silencing. I'm just going to touch on one little one. You mentioned three options for how mailers work, and Bast had explained that the mailers are actually split up like that. And the reason that a grievance is public (Leadership based), but an anonymous mailer stays private (generally a simpler solution that can be private) was touched on so I'm not going to rehash that.

But what I would like to cover is the reason we don't have a way for someone to mail the entire site at once. The reason for this is touched on briefly in the COC changes we're looking to implement. We want to prevent misuse of the mailer when we can. So having a way to basically put one player in the hot seat to the entire site at once should be avoided unless it's done with the structure and seriousness of a mailer or a grievance. Chances are the person who was bothered would have legitimate evidence and wouldn't make an accusation lightly. But it could also become a tool for bullying and shaming if someone decided that they would just carpet bomb the site with cruel words about another player. Of course that would get the mailer in trouble, but avoiding the possibility of misuse is what we're trying to do if we can.

nezumi
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Wow, strong responses. Seems

Wow, strong responses. Seems like a lot of thought has already gone into this, and my concerns have already been addressed.

Thank you for taking the time for very thorough responses.

Bastlynn
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Hey man - when we do this

Hey man - when we do this kinda thing... we do it well. ;) Probably over-engineered really....