For older players, you may be very familiar with the concept of "Seeing". The newer, are not. So first, a quick overview: In "Seeing", the A/SH doesn't consider himself as much of a creator or a "god", deciding who lives and who dies and what happens next, but more of an "observer" impartially communicating the consequences of actions. And the players are generally considered to be doing the same, impartially communicating the actions of their characters.
It may have started out as a method to try and explain what the difference was between "In Character" and "Out Of Character" and possibly even as a means to introduce people to what role-playing is in general. In truth over time many people became confused on what exactly the philosophy was and there were several versions running around.
However over the years the concept has changed and has become a source of confusion and abuse. It was removed from the A/SH course since we moved to the Drupal site in 2013, but lacking a formal announcement many of our older players have brought the concept back into play or made it clear they were still operating under the "Seeing" concept.
In short the old philosophy of "Seeing" will no longer be used as far as Setting is concerned on Vaxia.org and will not be accepted as a valid argument in decisions made by the Setting department from this moment forward.
Some more details on why we've made this decision:
Over time, "Seeing" became a go-to excuse that allowed people to separate themselves from the consequences of their character's actions. It was used all too often in the form of 'I couldn't stop my character, I have no control over them, I just saw them do it.' This allowed players, or A/SHs to duck any responsibility for their own choices so that they could avoid blame, or blame others for the decision made.
It was also used to justify decisions made in the Setting that made no sense whatever in the context and allowed for the arbitrary approval (or disapproval) of setting elements so long as someone could make a convincing argument on how they 'saw' it. Worse, it was often the fallback to justify favoritism and biased decision making, even if the game system said otherwise.
It even leaked into the A/SH Course there were A/SHs that didn't have a very good grasp on the game system and would instead invoke the philosophy of "Seeing" as a way to perform their rulings. I.E. having someone succeed even though by the dice and numbers they failed or having someone fail a task even though they succeeded. While 'fudging' the dice happens in sessions, it should be an exception not the standard by which an A/SH operates.
It quickly became a tool used to remove agency from players and A/SHs who were not in the "in crowd", and to avoid responsibility on the part of those invoking "Seeing". It became a tool used by those in power to secure that power.
This is a problematic philosophy to have at the center of any game and setting development because the truth is we DO have control over our characters, our settings, and our decisions. And we DON'T have the right to take the agency of others away from them.
To simply say "I see it happening like this, so it must happen like this" tends to violate the settings we have and often the game system as well. This use of seeing has led to some content being added that was not very thought out, some that made no sense, or some that has been changed so much the original concept has been lost over time.
In matters of adding IC content, we simply cannot arbitrarily add content. It must fit within the flavor and intended genres of the setting as well as within the guidelines of the game system. It must make sense and we must have a way in place to ensure we have a protocol for people to be able to add in well thought out content. Ideally, submitted material that is rejected should be rejected with clear guidance on why it failed to be approved, and what could be done to make it more fitting for a later submission. This is why we are steadily working towards detailed Pitch requirements for content, so that our Setting department has a way to judge if a new element is ready and fits the setting.
While in play, we do keep to what is "In Character"- but there are limits! Especially in situations where not all the players may be comfortable in continuing. There are always consequences to deal with in regards to the character's action that may also have an OOC effect. How we deal with those consequences is how we manage our expectations and disappointments in regards to what happen "In Character".
In addition, we must respect other player's boundaries. Some forms of role-play some players will have no interest or comfort in participating in. To use the excuse 'I can't stop my character' violates those boundaries and is disrespectful to other players. This is why we request that players get consent, enthusiastically, before hand. The Social Department may want to go into more detail on that in the future to provide guidelines on situations where you may want to check in with your fellow players to make sure they're on board with the scene.
In regards to the game system we simply just cannot have people eyeballing the numbers or flat out ignoring them, especially in matters that can affect the Settings. In casual RP this a lesser issue, but even still a habit we would like to try and avoid in general, as it is in effect cheating in most situations. It isn't fair to the players in a session to develop these habits either. The System Department may have more to say on that matter as well.
No major additions from a System side, just to reemphasize that a character's abilities from a system standpoint are reflected only by their numbers and the descriptions of their skills, and should be used according to the rules of the site. For instance, Elves do not automatically get keen senses or an affinity for magic just because a given player sees elves that way. Those are abilities which have to be paid for and written into a skill just like any other. Someone who sees their character's magic as being natural and automatic still needs to roll it to use it, etc.
Similarly, we encourage SHs to run sessions for the enjoyment of the players, not out of a sense of obligation to the metaphysical characters and NPCs involved. Any fudging of numbers or choice not to call for a roll at any given time should be done out of a sense of fun for the players only, not out of courtesy to the characters themselves, and should follow the same guidelines outlined in the SH Course
System wholeheartedly supports dropping 'seeing' as a basis for site decisions. Individuals are welcome to whatever philosophy they find harmony with, but in terms of a basis for site decisions, 'seeing' is simply not an appropriate approach.