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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reflections on the Writ: Respect

The rules at the heart of who we are, that make us Vigiles, are of prime importance to every one of us. It is the concern of every Vigiles to see they are upheld, and the special duty of the officers and Council to ensure that this is so.

The official summary of the OOC rules is posted here, and was drafted to be as concise, readable, and clear as I could make it. It was also drafted to fit neatly inside a player-written book in game, so that it could be posted publicly in our guild spaces, and shared with our members easily.

The entirety of the ooc rules can be reduced down to our driving ethic: act with love and justice for your fellow players. 

Or, as Wil Wheaton so eloquently puts it, Don't be a Dick.

From time to time, it is well to expand on a matter in greater detail.
We are surrounded by a world that regularly fails to promote love or justice, and we carry with us all the many wounds from that. Within Vigiles, we strive to re-imagine the structure of our world, together. We do this through our collaborative creative fiction - our role-playing - and we also do it in the community that we have built among us, the humans behind the stories.

We are human - and we will have conflict, and we will all fail to embody the ideals we strive for.

It is not a matter of if, only "when" and "how".
Learning how to move through the tense and uncomfortable places to become better versions of ourselves is an essential, beautiful, difficult, and necessary work. It is of vital importance that we work together in this process, to check in with one another and remind each other of the ideals and friendship that bind us together.

Respect the players. 

That means you.

Every one of us, in joining the Vigiles, has sworn to uphold the Writ and Rules, without exception. You have the same right to a safe and healthy storytelling gamerspace as every other member.

Any insult or harm you suffer is our concern - and at the same time we, the officers, cannot act to resolve the situation if we do not know it exists. We are human, and Real Life comes first. Not every officer can be online and attentive to every channel at every moment, and it would be injustice to expect that from those who serve out of love.

We actively work to build a community that acknowledges the danger and injustice of structural violence. We refuse to allow anyone to seed such harm in our space.

Just as within the Amicae no character is permitted to attack another Amicae for their race/gender/religion/class, no such insults in real life will be permitted among guildmates. Swearing is permissible, but language which has its basis in denigration or oppression of any group will invoke discipline.
Likewise, no discrimination based on account level will be tolerated.

Oppressive language has some obvious examples: slurs and insults, gross generalizations and stereotypes, violence and threats.

These are the even-con, aggro monsters of our world, outlined in bright red and easily seen from a distance for what they are.

There are also subtle, insidious kinds of oppressive language, which cloak their oppression in the veneer of other things. Taken alone, one comment may seem trivial: as part of a pattern, it becomes malignant. Violence may masquerade as reason, or humor, or even concern.

It is important to remember that your inability to see or feel the harm does not erase its danger and hurt for another.

These are the quest npc's that become epic raid bosses, these are the invisible vampires that wait for you in dark corners.

We do not often see such things arise among us, and what does slip through quickly becomes an opportunity for growth. We all carry some level of privilege from our Real Life into the storytelling space, and it is our responsibility to endeavor always to check that privilege.

When we overlook some part of that, we are asking our Amicae to check it for us, so that we may grow. The officers of the Vigiles Amicae have sworn to this duty, to monitor what they hear, and to hold safe space for Amicae to bring their concerns. When that happens, an officer steps forward to remind us all about our rules, and we open a public discussion of what those rules mean in application.

We in the Vigiles believe that this public discussion is essential to the health of our community.

There is a time and place for public and private discourse: privately approaching an officer will of course remain a private discussion between you and the council. Generally, official complaints are made in private, even though frequently they concern public actions. Public reminders also frequently lead to private discussions in greater detail than is feasible in a public forum.

That manner of private discourse is good and healthy.

Reminders are delivered publicly, because we all need to know them. If even one person is unclear as to the application of the rules in practice, it is certainly true that more than one harbors similar confusion. Successful conflict resolution brings us closer together, and actively builds the world we seek.

We of the Vigiles strive to incorporate the practice of Nonviolent Communication, while at the same time working to identify and disarm any structural violence we carry with us from the outside world.

Responding to gentle reminders and critique as though it is a malicious personal attack is a terrible thing for everyone, and actively undermines the health of our community.

Lashing out with violent language at an officer - publicly or privately - for issuing a reminder is a serious transgression: it is disrespect for our rules, and our officers.

Likewise, arguing for exceptions to our rules for any reason whatsoever is an act of violence against the Vigiles, and will be handled as such.

Once, will earn a formal warning, and redirection to review our Writ and Rules for later discussion. Refusal to comply will be considered a second violation.

Twice, will earn a formal rebuke, assignment to review the Writ and Rules, and report to an officer for further discussion. Refusal to comply will be considered a third violation.

Three acts of violence against the Vigiles, IC or OOC*, will result in formal charges of treason, and may invoke a sentence of Exile.

There is a time, place, and manner in which to bring your concerns and questions to the council, and learn about our Writ and Rule. Take time to center yourself, and approach the issue with clear language, and without value judgments. We, the officers, have sworn to uphold the Writ and Rule, and also to educate the Amicae in it. Come to us with any questions or concerns you have.

Your feelings are yours, and you have the right to feel them.

Notice your fear, your anger, your sorrow: these arise within you to tell you valuable things about your experience. Respect yourself as a player, as an Amicae, and speak up. Trust that you will be heard. Your officers are there to help you process your feelings and experiences among us, and to take action in the community when necessary.

Not every character or player will feel comfortable in the space we have created. Our work is sometimes exactly that: work. We believe that even - perhaps especially - in the context of a game and storytelling space we all love, that this work is good, and right, and rewarding. We invite you to remain with us in this good work, but we accept that the difficult road is not one all souls may walk.

We, the officers, have sworn our time and our hearts to the work of holding the banner on that long and difficult road.

We welcome you among us:
stand with us, and our strength and wisdom together 
shall be greater than the sum of all we had alone.

* Yes, in-character treason and exile is a story you can write. Those plots are deeply complicated, and require excellent out of character communication to play out, while guarding the health of the players.

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