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Regional FlagGriefers - Some questions needing answers.Source
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Wanderspirit
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#0 - 2006/10/14 07:38:34 AM
Greetings customer service forum and hopefully someone who can help.

I come from the roleplay server - Steamwheedle Cartel - and we have ourselves a bit of a situation with a core group of people intent on 'griefing' a good number of us at every opportunity. In fact, for the past two nights, these people have gone out of their way to attempt to ruin two player run events. One of which has been going on monthly for five months with nary a disruption until tonight.

Several of these individuals have been reported for their actions on numerous ocassions, yet they are still in game and even flagrantly boasting about how 'nothing will happen' for their actions. One claims to be an ex-gm and therefore is immune from action due to his previous standing with Blizzard, another claims to be paid to play his account.

I pose to this forum a series of questions in hopes that you can provide us answers - and hopefully solutions to this group:

1. Is is legal for players to use cross faction communication to yell a racially derrogatory term that starts with N?
a. Can this be traced back to the person doing it via the logs the gm's have access to?
b. Is this a bannable offense if it happens at player run events?

2. When a certain group of players continually attempt to betlittle and impede the work of player run events with verbal, physical and visual means - what is the point at which the GM's will actually do something? There has been at least three 'huge' events on our server in the past two weeks these - and ONLY these people have come to and attempted to ruin it with:
a. infernals being released in town
b. cross faction racial slurs
c. spamming the same phrase repeatedly
d. jumping around the 'event' area and doing other emotes to intentionally disrupt

3. How many strikes on an account before the people are 'banned' for good?

4. Is there any way to facilitate an observer at one of these scheduled events so that the GM's can see for themselves what this group is doing? Of course - observed on the 'down low'..

This is a serious issue that is not only affecting the Horde, from which these players are, but the Alliance as well. It has come down them literally making a show of every single event that is public and even those that are not. Restore the faith in us, please. Answer these questions or at least forward them to someone who can.

I thank you for looking at these and hopefully providing some insight for us. I can safely say, many of us are standing beside ourselves after the 'n' thing tonight and are very seriously doubting the credibilty of harrassment enforcement policies on our server.

We are following the rules of the server, but to be honest, when people like this intentionally and continually go out of their way to ruin the world we are trying to create - it becomes very easy to just give up and stop playing.

We don't want to let them win.

I look forward to your replies and thanks for your time.
___________________________________________

If I may direct your attention to these relevant threads:

Druid Gathering: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=29926142&sid=1
Subsequent griefing boast thread for their actions: [removed]

The Trial thread - more boasting: [removed]
Topic of these griefers on the SwC archive: [removed]


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Blue Poster
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#3 - 2006/10/14 08:34:55 PM
I'd like to commend you on the cogency with which you have expressed your concerns, Wanderspirit, as well as the composure you have maintained in the face of what must be a frustrating situation for you. I also wish to apologise for the distress you appear to have been caused by these players' actions -- I understand completely your desire to ensure that Azeroth is free from ne'er-do-wells, and can assure you that we take such matters very seriously. I shall do what I can to address your questions to the best of my ability, but please feel free to ask for clarification. :)

Before all else, you have my word that former Game Masters -- or any other individuals associated with Blizzard Entertainment -- are offered no impunity whatsoever with regard to the repercussions that befall one's account due to violations of our policies. Justice, as always, is blind.

Q u o t e:
1. Is is legal for players to use cross faction communication to yell a racially derrogatory term that starts with N?
a. Can this be traced back to the person doing it via the logs the gm's have access to?
b. Is this a bannable offense if it happens at player run events?

2. When a certain group of players continually attempt to betlittle and impede the work of player run events with verbal, physical and visual means - what is the point at which the GM's will actually do something? There has been at least three 'huge' events on our server in the past two weeks these - and ONLY these people have come to and attempted to ruin it with:
a. infernals being released in town
b. cross faction racial slurs
c. spamming the same phrase repeatedly
d. jumping around the 'event' area and doing other emotes to intentionally disrupt

3. How many strikes on an account before the people are 'banned' for good?

4. Is there any way to facilitate an observer at one of these scheduled events so that the GM's can see for themselves what this group is doing? Of course - observed on the 'down low'..


1. No, any attempts to circumvent game mechanics in order to convey inappropriate language in a public channel so that the opposite faction can read it shall be considered a violation of our Harassment Policy, and acted on accordingly when we conduct our investigation of the matter.

a. Yes, we have the ability to verify this conduct if given the offending character's name, as well as a timeframe during which it was said.

b. The term "bannable offense" is generally a misnomer; while repercussions can certainly (and often do) follow suit as a result of such behaviour, one's account shall likely not be closed for harassment alone unless one has already accrued a number of previous policy violations.

2. There is not a point at which the Game Master Department "opts" to step in to address issues of in-game harassment; we work reactively in response to players' reports. Thus, if you observe players attempting to disrupt roleplaying events through the use of verbal, physical, or visual harassment, I would encourage you to submit an in-game petition with the character name(s), a brief description of the activities that led you to bring them to our attention, and an approximate timeframe during which they occurred. We shall conduct further investigation from there.

Please bear in mind, however, that -- while we shall make every effort to address the harassment you have reported -- many forms of physical or visual harassment must be personally verified by a Game Master in order for action to be taken, as screenshots or videos (or even personal admission on a forum or website) may not be accepted as sufficient evidence of inappropriate behaviour if it cannot be witnessed accordingly.

3. This is not a question that has any definitive answer, I'm afraid, as the repercussions for an individual breach of policy depend in part on the number, and severity, of prior infractions. This is reflected by the concept of our "Penalty Volcano," which depicts how players may receive varying consequences based on the penalties they have already received, thereby "moving up" until eventually account closure becomes necessary.

4. I'm sorry to say that it is not possible to arrange for a Game Master to "watch over" a given roleplaying event, partly because it is contrary to our stance of not "policing" realms in search of policy violations -- which is, again, in line with the reactive nature of our investigation -- and partly because it is simply not logistically feasible to offer such a service, given the resources it would require. We urge you, however, to report any wrongdoing you observe, so that we may review the situation in more detail and take any and all appropriate actions in light of our findings.

I hope this has been of some clarification, Wanderspirit, as my only desire is to ensure that our stance in regards to harassment in all its myriad forms is understood. I realise that you believe to have reason to doubt the efficacy of reporting other players, but I would merely ask that you remember that not all instances of harassment are met with a suspension of gameplay -- some warrant warnings, in our efforts to allow players to learn from, and hopefully avoid, their mistakes -- and thus the results of our investigation may not be readily apparent to outside observers.

If these players repeatedly disrupt or otherwise diminish your gameplay, however, you would be best served by continuing to bring each instance of harassment to our attention for further perusal, as you have my utmost assurance that justice shall be met if any violations of policy are found. We appreciate your diligence, as well as your ceaseless efforts to improve the land of Azeroth around you; the griefers shall not win. :)

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Blue Poster
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#109 - 2006/10/15 01:17:26 AM
My word, I leave this thread alone for a few hours -- unfortunately, they won't let me work all the time -- and it regresses into personal attacks, public accusations, and petty arguments. Please bear in mind that I shall lock this thread should it become any further derailed; I would ask that you leave any future reports to in-game petitions, rather than the forums, as this is not the avenue through which they may be conveyed. :)

Q u o t e:
If numerous (say 20-40 or more) reports are filed for harassment by the player community, does a GM actually come to the location of the point of report whent that clump appears in your queue?

What I am trying to determine is the procedure you all follow when you receive a HUGE amount of tickets for this group of people - my last event with them there were over 40 people who filed. During the event many of us received a 'form letter' response from a GM stating that it was being investigated but were never able to further clarify our problem with a GM in 'person'.


First and foremost, it is completely unnecessary to have over 40 people submit petitions regarding the same instance of harassment; that accomplishes naught but cluttering the queue with a number of superfluous reports, and the nature of our investigation is the same whether we receive one or one hundred tickets about a specific group of players -- we go in-game to verify harassment as becomes necessary. Designate one person to offer a cogent description of the harassment via in-game petition, and we shall look into the matter with all due diligence.

The reason many of you received a "form letter" response to your claims of harassment is that we have a system by which multiple reports regarding the same issue are addressed by way of mass broadcast. The Game Masters assigned to these large blocks of petitions generally speak with only a couple players to get an idea of the situation, and send automated messages to the rest -- the purpose of this is to assure all the players who submitted petitions that their reports have been received, and that a full investigation shall be conducted, and avoid the redundancy of speaking individually to each player regarding 40 identical reports, as that shall generally offer no particular advantage.

Q u o t e:
If people get reported for harassment - does their account get marked as a report being filed against them?
a. is it per report or per 'time frame'?
b. if the answer is yes, does this mark stay on their account forever while they 'live' on that server or decay?
c. does the mark only go on the account if the GM deems there was indeed harassment?


a. If you're asking what I believe you to be, account actions are based on each instance of harassment, rather than each individual report. Thus, 40 reports of the same instance of harassment shall result in one account action if a violation of our policies is found to have occurred.

b. While we are not at liberty to discuss the inner machinations of our department in much detail, I will say that -- when determining the judgment for a given breach of policy -- the frequency and recency of prior infractions play a factor in deciding the severity of the most recent repercussions.

c. Yes, account actions only result if the Game Master Department determines that our policies have been violated; all consequences are entirely at Blizzard's discretion, based on our interpretation of the situation, rather than those of the players reporting the harassment in question.

If you have any further questions, please do let me know. I shall be heavily moderating this thread, however, so it would behoove you to consider that any attempts to disrupt or otherwise derail the discussion shall likely be deleted. Thank you for your cooperation, ladies and gentlemen. :)

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Blue Poster
Target Source
#113 - 2006/10/15 01:41:23 AM
Q u o t e:
You know, I'm not trying to be disruptive, but I have to say, first of all, you are not a GM. Secondly, it does barrage the queue but effectively makes a GM pay more attention to a problem and he is more likely to expidite the process.


First of all, Narcossus, the moderators of the Customer Service Forum have, in fact, worked as Game Masters in the past, and still work closely with the department as a whole in our work on the forums. We all have extensive firsthand experience with investigating and addressing such issues of harassment, and therefore are more than amply qualified to speak on the subject. Assumptions are dangerous things, friend. :)

Secondly, speaking from over a year of personal experience as a Game Master, I can tell you that barraging the queue is not effective in the slightest. We "pay attention" to issues of harassment regardless of the number of players who report them; a massive number of petitions does not "expedite the process," and may in fact prove counter-productive. While I appreciate your desire to express your opinions, I would recommend against suggesting that they are accurate -- you do not have any knowledge of our internal processes, and should not pretend as such.