Global guidelines for all staff members
Foreword: Since we have experience with being staff ourselves as well as
hiring staff, we know about the confusion new staff can sometimes go through.
That doesn't only apply to new staff, sometimes all one needs is a refresher.
So below are some things we are looking staff to be doing and not doing to clarify without a doubt what we want the server to be
as a whole.
- Have mercy
Meet a sincere apology with forgiveness. Sometimes you must get off your high horse and meet someone half way in order to truly achieve peace.
Player Zeromaniac tried to speak but is muted! Message: "I'm sorry, I didn't know any better!" You: "Zero, you're muted for a reason, just sit it out and swallow the bitter pill." Player Zeromaniac tried to speak but is muted! Message: "What do I need to do to get an unmute? This is unfair! I said I'm sorry!" You: "No, now be quiet."
Here, the player feels like the staff member is a heartless bitch who is trigger happy and enjoys 'being above' someone else.
Player Zeromaniac tried to speak but is muted! Message: "I'm sorry, I didn't know any better!" You: "Okay, I'll unmute you, but don't do it again. That's the condition. Deal?" Player Zeromaniac tried to speak but is muted! Message: "I promise!" You: "Thank you :)" - Player Zeromaniac was unmuted -
Everyone came out happy in this scenario. There is no drama, no discussions, a very simple thing.
Make clear statements towards players as well as team members. Avoid statements such as "I think...", "I believe...", "I guess" or "Maybe..." as much as possible. There is nothing worse than taking guesses that mislead someone else.
Player: "Hey You. What's the best way to make money here?" You: "Maybe iron golem farms or perhaps slimefun trading with other players."
Here, the player has no idea which route to go with their plans. The answer is very spongy and doesn't help anyone.
Player: "Hey You. What's the best way to make money here?" You: "You should ask someone else. Making money isn't really important to me so I wouldn't know."
This is clear advice even with a reason that is understandable for the player, which almost guarantees that this particular player won't bother 'You' with any further questions about the economy.
It is absolutely vital to properly communicate in a way that doesn't leave questions open. For example sending a screenshot to a fellow staff member without any text is bad practice. Communicate what you want who to look at and for what reason, include a question if you have one. Jumping to conclusions or taking guesses will in most cases lead the conversation into a direction the initial messenger did not intend to go, eventually causing people to 'talk past each other'. This just prolongs conversations to countless messages unnecessarily, which is also very energy consuming on both sides.
- Say Sorry
There is nothing wrong with admitting to be wrong. Everyone makes mistakes.
Here it's clear that 'You' make excuses to avoid the simple sorry-sentence. On top of that, the Admin probably just opened the gate to hell.
Admin: "I told you that you shouldn't do that. Why did you anyway?" You: "There's no valid reason not to. The situation was special so your advice doesn't stick here."
Giving an understandable reason can go a long way. It allows for the Admin in this case to learn how he/she can reword things to avoid exactly this situation to happen again in the future. If both parties adapt just a little bit, there is less tension and the overall health of the entire team stays in green levels.
Admin: "I told you that you shouldn't do that. Why did you anyway?" You: "I'm sorry, I must have misunderstood you. How can I fix this?" Admin: "No worries, I'll help you. Let's do..."
- Use the tools given to you
Most importantly, all staff members get access to a plugin Midnight made for us: Staffduty. This plugin lets you toggle your staff prefix off by using /toggleduty. This is your official way to play like any other player for any time you don't feel like being on duty.
- Think ahead
As staff member you represent the server. Anything you do or don't do will contribute to shape how the public sees the server as a whole. How you talk to players and what punishments you issue are just two examples. Also remember that, no matter whether you issue punishments with or without the silent flag, any and all of them are publicly visible on this very website. Try to see this from a players' perspective. Would you like to join a server where the first and only punishment for a player in the list shows a permanent mute with no previous warnings or smaller temp mutes to give them a chance to adapt their behavior, which perhaps also includes a reason on it that has typos in it and/or makes no sense or straight out just contains a rude sentence like "Shut up!"? Yes, we all have feelings and we need to vent sometimes, however, don't vent in the reason field of punishments. This should be common sense but apparently isn't judging by some servers' ban lists.
- Don't expose other staff members
When another staff joins the server, whether vanished or unvanished, don't publicly expose them. They may or may not joined to take care of something that you do not know of where it is better player(s) do not know about their presence. Although a "WB" in chat never means harm, think of this first, let the joined staff say hello first as indication they don't need to be hidden.
- Be mindful of players' privacy regardless of spy tools available to you
Most players these days are aware that servers use plugins to spy on them, however that is no reason to act on it. Whether you see a funny command fail, a hilarious dm from one player to another or if someone placed a sign with a hell of a lot typos in it: Restrain yourself. There is no reason to comment on these things other than amusing yourself and dragging the player through the dirt. This includes teleportation; only because you can tp to players without sending a tpa request doesn't mean you should use it. This feature is intended for vanished observation when needed, not to be abused as a shortcut, not to players nor other staff.
- Avoid ping pong dm's
The efficiency of a team depends heavily on the organization skills of each member and their ability to use a uniform way of communication. So what are ping pong dm's and why are they the most terrible thing one can do? Here, I would like to introduce a simple example.
- DM's of Echo and grossly- 14:48 - Echo: "Hey grossly, do you know what the command for ... was again?" 15:51 - grossly: "Hey, sorry I was at the store. I'm not sure about it anymore. Maybe ask mohkamfer?" - DM's of Echo and mohkamfer- 15:55 - Echo: "Hey moh, do you know what's the command to..... ?" 17:01 - mohkamfer: "Sorry for the late reply. I actually forgot, maybe grossly knows."
Seeing something like this is absolutely mortifying as owner. 'Echo' lost 2 hours in this process and hasn't gotten anywhere. If only 'Echo' had asked in staff-chat, he would have known that Zero and Midnight were online at that very time and could've answered that question very much instantly. More often than not, especially new staff are cautious, if not afraid of the people with the owner tag. They may think that asking such things in staff-chats will expose their non existent knowledge, making them look bad in the eyes of the leading people. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. If a leader gets mad at someone for asking questions and being curious, trying to get better at their job, it's the leader who should resign, not the new staff. It is unrealistic to expect a new member to know everything from day one just as much as expecting someone to remember everything after being told once. We know that practice makes a good staff member.
- 'Helping a fellow staff member' vs. 'Ganging up against a player'
Be mindful of the fact that if you bump into an ongoing case between another staff and a player, it can easily be perceived as 'ganging up' by the player and the other staff thinking you might not believe they can handle the situation. For this reason, you should stay out of it. There is not valid reason to comment on a conversation between a player and staff member. You may, however, ask the staff member handling the situation in game-staff-chat or via dm if they need assistance, in which case you should take over the full conversation instead of pairing with them against the player.
This post may be altered in the future without notice.