The Vigiles Amicae is a roleplaying guild in Everquest 2, on the Freeport and Antonia Bayle Servers.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to: Prepare and review logs for an incident report

This article is part 3 of a series on logs. Part 1 of the creation, and Part 2 on the cleaning of personal logs, are in the archives.

We in the Vigiles are very low-drama. We strongly believe drama and rumors are a thing for rp stories and intrigues, and we expect honest, honorable, and forthright behavior from our members in all ooc interactions, in and out of guild space.

That said: even the best of us have misunderstandings among ourselves, and from time to time we will all encounter people who do not live up to the virtues we expect from ourselves. It is our position that these conflicts are best resolved in a public or officer-mediated space, with transparent, documented processes and stable, clear guidelines.

Violations of the EULA are of course, best left to SOE.

For all other personal conflicts, within the guild or not, our single greatest resource for promoting justice is the keeping and reviewing of logs. 

In the heat of any rp scene or hunt, there are inevitable mistells, overlooked chatter, and unclear or misinterpreted dialogue. Running your logs through the cleaner program, in the same way you would for personal archiving often allows you to clear up simple misunderstandings and/or gain a little distance from an emotional scene.

That record can also crystallize problematic interactions and grant us the necessary perspective for discerning when a behavior is part of a larger pattern, and when an action clearly oversteps the allowance for misunderstandings and transgresses our rules.

Even if you have not yet reviewed your logs, if you feel an IC or OOC transgression has occurred, or if you the player are feeling unsafe, objectified, disrespected or in any other wise uncomfortable: Please! Do not keep silence for the sake of an imagined peace. Go to an officer as soon as you are able. We are here to guide and protect all the Amicae, both in battle and in life. Poison festers in silence and shadow: we cannot take action unless we know there is cause to act on.

As of this writing, the officers and their alts are listed below. 
Feel free to approach any of them in private, through /tell, /group, in-game mail if you are able, or to the guild email which is only accessible to the officers of the high council.

  • Praetor Ariahdnia 
    • Alts
      • Zapdash
      • Chrysopraze
      • Chevanima
      • Veset
      • Karrha
  • Legate Sytan
    • Alts
      • Folodu
      • Baarca
      • Skih
      • Marconis
      • Luddicia
  • Legate Fafnier
    • Alts
      • Andrejja
      • Urgnog
      • Edusa
      • Yorrik

Please note: If the dispute is solely an IC matter, please specify that you are wishing to have the matter handled only IC. If the issue is an IC interaction that crosses your boundaries, violates our OOC rules, or in any way is an issue outside of the story-space of role-play, please make that clear to your officer(s).

In the course of bringing an incident to the officers' attention, or as the officers investigate an open incident, you may be asked to provide logs. Further details about what logs are may be found in part 1 of this series.

  • If you do not have logs, they will be requested from the other actors in the event which has been brought to our attention.
  • If no logs exist of the incident in question, the matter will remain open, and all actors will be asked to keep logs going forward.
  • Any repeat of the offense while a matter is in open consideration will escalate the officers' analysis of the severity of the matter 
  • Any member who fails to keep and provide logs after a specific request from an officer will be reprimanded.
  • Any member involved in an investigation who fails to provide clear, undoctored logs for the timeframe requested will be subject to reprimand, and judgment based on whatever logs are available for review.
  • Screenshots of chat are an acceptable supplement to log files, but due to tabbed chat filtering, are not a substitute for logs in most cases.
  • If you have been approached by an officer for logs, you may ask about the nature of the investigation: however, bear in mind that details of matters in open consideration may be kept confidential until a judgment can be rendered. Refusal to cooperate with the officers, obstruction of process, or harassment of ANY players will be considered an admission of guilt to any and all potential offences and may result in severe reprimand or exile.
  • The officers of the Vigiles Amicae do not have jurisdiction to reprimand non-members. Documented incidents with a member of another guild may be brought to the officers' attention, and we may conference with the officers of the other player's guild if the situation warrants it, but no particular outcome can be expected from those proceedings.
  • If the actions of a player have been deemed severe enough by consensus of the High Council, all known alts of the player in question may be placed on access:none for all guild rp spaces, and an incident report will be prepared and filed for public record. Note: this is our standard process when encountering garden-variety trolls.
  • Hearsay is not admissible as evidence in conflict resolution. The report will be noted and shared with other officers, but any such rumor shall remain an unofficial notation until and unless substantiated by logs or evidence of the rumored behavior being repeated.
  • Not all requests for logs or screenshots are matters of transgression: on occasion, you may be asked to submit logs for combat analysis (for example, after a spectacular raid fight), rp event archiving, or even to harvest npc or other lore flavor-text.

If you've been keeping and organizing logs for a while, you know how big chatlogs can be. When an officer requests logs, they are NOT asking for the entirety of your chatlog archive.

So what are they looking for?

The officer you are talking with will explain in greater detail, but as a general rule, you will be asked to provide a log for roughly the 24-hour period surrounding the incident in question, from logging in to logging out. You may be asked to provide logs from more than one character, and multiple log-in periods, depending on the situation and the stability of your internet connection during the event.

This process does take time, and you will be granted a reasonable period in which to assemble your logs, and during which the incident will remain open.

The first task is to identify when the incident began.
If you are bringing the issue to the officers, you are the best judge of this. You know what was said, and what was done, but how do you isolate that from the mass of your chat? Perhaps at the time it was happening, you had a suspicion that this was going to need further attention, and you took screenshots of the chat. In a perfect world, you might have a screenshot of the problem in action, but even if you don't, you might be able to use the Find feature in any basic word processor to land in the right vicinity of your raw, uncleaned log.

For the purpose of this tutorial, let us say that the problematic lines are as follows*: 

(1385327972)[Sun Nov 24 15:19:32 2013] \aPC -1 Trollbob:Trollbob\/a tells AnOOCChannel (3), "LOL I will steal all ur loots while ur ded"(1385328273) 
[Sun Nov 24 15:19:34 2013] Trollbob looted 71 Copper from the corpse of a party crashing gnoll.(1385328274) 
[Sun Nov 24 15:19:35 2013] You cannot loot while you are dead!

You might remember the phrase "steal ur loots" and search for that, to find these lines in the raw log. Reviewing the log reveals that not only was this a transgression of need-before-greed but a disrespectful comment by Trollbob. Perhaps after this, you broke group, and the incident ended there, or perhaps Trollbob continued giving you trouble afterwards. Now you have enough information to create a preliminary "clean log".

Wait! You said I was supposed to submit raw logs!

This is true: and also, in order to identify the timeframe you need to submit, it may be more efficient for you to create a clean log next, rather than wading through thousands of lines of combat text. From the lines above, we can see that part of the incident occurred at 15:19 on November 24, and the chatter was in both the AnOOCChannel and may have had components in /group chat. In the log cleaner, you would click only the boxes for "channels", "guild", and for "group", and narrow the timeframe to 3:19 November 24 to 3:19 November 25, and name the export file something like, "Trollbob_chatter_Cleancopy.txt".

That clean file might not be very big, and when you look at it, you might decide it doesn't cover enough time. Keep refining the variables in logcleaner until you feel the entire incident is represented in the clean copy of the log. Make special note of the timestamps at the beginning and the end of the clean copy of your log.

Next, open your raw log, and find the timestamp which matches the beginning of your clean log. Remember the Find feature will make this easier! You might insert a line break or two above this timestamp, possibly with a symbol like # or * for your own reference.

Now, do the same thing for the ending timestamp from the clean log. If there is a camping sequence near this timestamp, make sure to include it, and place your linebreaks and reference symbol after it.

Now, copy the entire section between your reference marks to a new text document. Name this something like, "Joe_Trollbob_chatter_rawcut.txt." The size of this text document should be SUBSTANTIALLY bigger than your clean copy.

Now what do I do with it?

You are now ready to submit logs to your officers. You might wish to write a short letter explaining the nature of the incident you are bringing to their attention, and mention that the heart of the incident occurs around the timestamps you've identified. You may choose to submit your clean log in addition to the raw log for the officer's convenience, but the essential thing is the raw, snipped version.

DO NOT give in to the temptation to edit the raw log any further. Do not remove code, timestamps, combat or loot data, channel chat, or tells. If you are concerned about revealing private conversation in /tell which was going on during the incident but which you believe is unrelated, you may discuss this with your officer. You may be asked to identify the other player(s) involved in those /tell messages so that they may be consulted. Be assured, that all material unrelated to the incident will be kept absolutely confidential between you, the players in question, and the officers analyzing the incident. 
In some cases, you may be given permission to censor those unrelated tells by replacing the text of the tell with a specific phrase: do NOT do this without officer permission. Sometimes conversation which might seem unrelated will have bearing on the case.

Why not delete the whole line?

Tampering with logs in an attempt to sway the council's judgment is a very serious offense. Lies, obfuscation, and other gaslighting are destructive to personal relationships and to group dynamics. In order to assure your officers that the logs you have submitted are genuine and truthful, they need to see the code and the timestamps at the beginning of each line. Remember that your logs are going to be analyzed as part of a body of evidence, and any inconsistencies will draw the officers' attention.

What if the other person tampers with their log to make me look bad?

We've seen it all in the years we've served as officers, and we ask you to trust us that we'll know. Conflict resolution can be a stressful situation, even and perhaps especially when you know that you behaved honorably. It is very important that we have the evidence we need to expose wrongdoing and predation, and your cooperation is essential in maintaining our safe space here in the Vigiles.

I don't want to cause drama, but even though this person was reprimanded and/or exiled I'm worried...

We understand that anxiety. Your officers have your back, and public Council judgments are final, without appeal. Any retaliation in the wake of an incident will be treated as a serious offense. Incidents among us are few and far between: those who cannot abide our rules do not keep their welcome long.
We recommend that any players who have been officially exiled be placed on /ignore by all members, and from time to time our ooc channel will change names to ensure that our ooc space remains exclusive to those who abide by our Writ and Rule.

What if they make an alt?

If you are contacted by a stranger, and you feel anxious about this, one of the best ways to discover whether the stranger is cause for concern is this: bring an officer into group with you, and with them present, invite the stranger. Reply to the stranger that you will not respond to further tells, but only to group chat.
If they will not join the group, you may safely assume they are trouble, and place them on /ignore.
If they join the group and then complain to you in a tell that they will not speak in a public space, tell your officer, then take a screenshot, place the player on /ignore, and kick them from the group. Be prepared to file this screenshot and corresponding logs with your officer for posterity.

I think this one person might be an alt of this other person, and they did this one thing in this other guild and I'm worried it will happen here, and this other person was there when it happened too.

We understand your concern, and we will take every reasonable measure to promote a healthy, fun environment here among the Vigiles. More information is always a benefit to the officers, and even without logs to substantiate that history, the more details we have the better we will be able to watch for patterns. You do not need to roleplay or group with anyone that makes you uncomfortable, and if the person in question earns your trust, more the better. If, however, they live down to your expectation, be assured the officers will take action as soon as there is evidence to work with.

I'm not in your guild, but this person was recently kicked from/left our guild and you shouldn't let them join because...

We are always happy to talk with the leadership of other guilds, and we firmly believe that a strong community is one with open, respectful, and honest dialogue, no matter what the IC storylines may do. Forewarned is forearmed, of course, and as with internal incidents, the council will make decisions based on hard evidence as detailed above.

Okay - but where do I send the log files and stuff?

We like to keep things simple, so it's a free account with the guild name. Vigiles Amicae at gmail dot com, without the spaces, of course, rather like our little blog here. Sending spam to the guild account will earn you a reprimand, so don't do it.

* This is an example created for the purpose of this tutorial. Loot-stealing while a party member is dead is no longer an issue in game, so it works especially well as a neutral example.

No comments:

Post a Comment