Le Jardin Mystique
Page last Modified:
December 16, 2002

HelpStaff Rules, Guidelines and Policies
16.12.2002 –Thanatos rev.1.1

Document Contents
  1. Overview
  2. Tools
  3. Rules of Engagement
    1. Behavior Towards Others
    2. Greeting Characters
    3. Answering Questions
    4. Being On-Duty or Off-Duty
  4. Policies
  5. Considerations
Helpstaffers on Le Jardin Mystique (LJM) are considered to be the first tier in player and character assistance. To this end, helpstaffers are expected to greet guests and to inquire of the guest(s) as to whether they have any questions pertaining to any aspect of the MUCK. They are also to assist existing players and characters in whatever way required unless it falls outside the helpstaffers purview (see 'policies' for the limitations on helpstaff authority). In short, the idea of helpstaff is to serve the MUCK in such a capacity that it frees up the wizzes, who are usually overburdened with administrative and/or programming projects centered on improving the MUCK in whole or in part. One idea that will hopefully prove to be your overriding motive in being helpstaff is the world is ultimately for everyone, not for wizzes and not for helpstaff, but for all of us. Without our users, we are nothing, and your decision to become helpstaff reflects your willingness to help improve the world so everyone has an increasingly enjoyable and interesting experience here.

There are several tools at your disposal, some more novel than others. It is our hope you will use these to better fulfill the mission and ideas stated above.

  1. HelpStaff
    By typing 'helpstaff', you see who else is logged on as helpstaff. To see all members of the helpstaff, whether logged in or not, type 'helpstaff #all' (more information can, of course, be gleaned from typing 'helpstaff #help'.
  2. HelpNet
    HelpNet works in a similar fashion to a chat program by allowing anyone on the Helpstaff list to converse with all other logged-in members on the Helpstaff list. To use this tool, simply type, 'helpnet <message>' (although you should check 'helpstaff' to see exactly who you're sending messages to). This can be an incredibly useful tool in asking other helpstaffers questions as well as working collaboratively on projects. Where you are located on the MUCK is irrelevant, which makes it quite nice for on-the-fly necessities. Only staff members see what is said in HelpNet, making it a private chat in that regard.
  3. Help
    Using help should be old-hat by now, but it never hurts to review it from time to time. Also, accessing program help is useful in understanding how programs work here on LJM.
  4. Wizzes
    Obviously, wizzes should be used when necessary.
  5. Websites
    Here are a few links you should peruse (in order of importance) for some in-depth information about MUCKS and LJM specifically:
    1. http://www.lejardin.org
      Fairly obvious since this houses all the policies for LJM.
    2. http://www.rdwarf.com/mink/muckman/index1.html
      An excellent resource for knowing how the MUCK runs. It covers everything from installing the software to the specific commands used in MUCK administration.
    3. ftp://www.furryspace.com/fsadmin/ftp/wizprimer.doc
      This link will open up a Word document. This means you need Word or a doc coverter. If you need this in a different format (.txt ,pdf), please let Taclis know.
    4. http://www.yiff.com/stuff/content/articles/mucksuck.html
      A fairly humorous (but serious) read about good MU* service, and how to think about what it is you're doing. Good ideas for getting and keeping good users

Below you will find some guidelines to help you become better helpstaffers and prepared to deal with most types of situations. Because our users are our most important asset (without them, we would not have a world in which to staff), failure to abide by the Rules of Engagement comes with some harsh penalties. These punishments are outlined as follows:

  • First offense: verbal warning from a wiz
  • Second offense: removal from helpstaff for no less than 30 days and no longer than 6 months
  • Third offense (after reinstatement): permanently banned from being a helpstaffer

If there is also a concomitant failure to abide by any of the official LJM polices or the AUP in your failure to follow the Rules of Engagement, the following schedule of punishment is applied:

  • First offense + policy violation: permanently banned from being a helpstaffer

In certain cases and severity, punishment may proceed immediately to @toading or anything in between. Such decisions remain the discretionary fiat of the Head Player Relations Wiz in conference with a Head Wiz.

One final thought: Your actions on the MUCK not only reflect upon all helpstaff, but reflect on the entire LJM management structure.

  1. Behavior Towards Others: [top]
    This is by no means a comprehensive guide, but it should offer you some insight into how to deal with just about any member of the player base.
    1. Dealing with others:
      Always, and without question, be polite. Inevitably you will encounter a player who, for whatever reason, is not nice. The wrong way to deal with a player who is rude, brutish, nasty, obnoxious, etc. is to return the behavior, make threats, call names, and other unpleasantries. Be polite and civil in all cases, as you will invariably maintain control of the situation if you do. If the person becomes verbally or even 'physically' abusive (see below for more on what constitutes abuse), tell them OOCly (via page or whisper, and do so firmly, but politely) to cease. If they continue, make a log file and submit it to The Player Relations Head Wiz. Do not stay around and take more abuse. Submit the log file and leave. If they continue to page you, ignore them. Do not engage with persons if they continue the behavior after you have asked them to cease.
    2. Abuse:
      "Abuse" has many definitions, but on this MUCK it falls under LJM's harassment definition. Harassment here follows the legal definition: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such a person and serves no legitimate purpose. Hence a player threatening you in any way, making slurs of any kind regarding any facet of your person (i.e. sex, race, religion, sexual preference) or any obvious sexual advance (without OOC consent) is considered harassment. In this definition, the key word is "substantial". Someone calling you an 'asshole' or 'bitch' in a volatile situation is not reasonably considered to cause substantial emotional distress. Someone saying 'all fags, including you, should be killed' or 'you fucking Christians are all alike' is considered a mild form of harassment. If you're in doubt about what abuse is, contact the Player Relations Head Wiz or a Head Wiz.
    3. Further considerations to the above:
      While we respect the rights of free speech on LJM, there are limitations. Playing on this MUCK is a privilege, not a right, so the rules differ here than they would in the real world. As you can see there is a serious balancing act being performed with regard to harassment and abuse. We will not limit the freedom of expression here except in cases of policy violations, but there are exceptions. Intolerance of another's fetishes will be unacceptable and may, depending on severity, be considered a form of harassment on a case-by-case basis. The reasoning behind this change is this is a BDSM MUCK that supports the idea, "Your fetish may not be my fetish, but I respect your right to practice it.", among others.
  2. Greeting characters (exempt from punitive measures listed for this category): [top]
    1. Overview:
      Greeting guests and new characters is likely one of the more mundane, but important, aspects of being helpstaff. Helpstaff should use HelpNet to decide on who is to greet players. Helpnet will alert you to players connecting from the New Player Room as well as guest connections. You should take turns greeting guests and seeing if new players need help (or in the case of long-time dwellers of the New Player Room, how you may help them find a new home). Alternately, one helpstaff member may be in charge of all greetings for a particular night. I leave it up to you, but all guests must be greeted. Usually, the person that speaks up that, 'they have the guest' is the one who greets the guest. Acknowledgment must be made before greeting a guest so that multiple people do not page a guest needlessly. A wiz should never have to ask if a guest or new player has been greeted.
    2. Examples:
      1. Guest1 has connected. The person who is to greet this guest uses HelpNet to notify the other members of HelpStaff they have the guest then pages the guest something along the lines of (edit for your own personal style of course), "Hello, and welcome to Le Jardin Mystique. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or need any other type of assistance during your visit."
      2. Guest1 has a question regarding the building and safeword policies on LJM. Since it's far better to point them to the source than to give them a prepackaged answer, one way to address their questions is to point them to the appropriate news files, 'news building' and 'news safewords' and/or this website, which offers a little more than the news files in regards to explaining the meaning of the policies here on LJM.
  3. Answering questions: [top]
    Likely the most important aspect of your duty here is to answer questions, and to answer them correctly. Below you will find some suggestions and guidelines to help you perform your job as efficiently and correctly as possible.
    1. When you don't know an answer or don't have an answer to a question:
      We all have different areas of expertise, and a diverse group knowing different aspects of the MUCK is far superior than a few people doing/knowing everything. It is very likely, then, you will be asked questions that you cannot answer. If this should happen, you have several options available to you.
      1. Helpnet:
        Use the HelpNet messaging system to ask all the other connected helpstaff the same question and choose the most appropriate answer. If there are no helpstaff present other than yourself, this isn't much help and you should then,
      2. Page a wiz:
        If helpnet has been of little help, page a wiz, of one is available. They may or may not know the answer, but will certainly assist in helping you locate a good source of information about the question.
      3. Web search:
        Search Google (or whatever search engine you use) for the answer. Depending on the question, it may be answered on the LJM website, or the MINK MUCK Manual (http://www.rdwarf.com/mink/muckman/index1.html).
      4. It's fine to say you don't know:
        If you have exhausted the above three options, it's perfectly fine to tell the player that you do not have an answer to their question. It is far better to do this than to give an answer you think is correct, but aren't sure. Have them pmail a wiz with their question instead.
  4. Being OnDuty and OffDuty: [top]
    There is a reason 'helpstaff #on' and 'helpstaff #off' exist. If you are going to be AFK for longer than 30 minutes, you must go off-duty. If you are involved in a scene or other interpersonal situation and do not wish to be disturbed, you must go off-duty. On-duty means just that: you are ready and available to take any request that comes your way and at any time. If you idle for hours at a time and are on-duty, it is expected you are watching what is going on so as to be available should the need arise. No guest or player should ever page a helpstaffer who is on-duty and then have to wait endlessly for a response.
  1. Know the Policies of LJM
    You are expected to read, know, love, cherish and understand the policies of LJM. The policies are currently located in news, but a more thorough examination can be found on this website.
    1. Questions regarding policies:
      If a player has a question concerning a policy and the reason behind it, or any non-standard question regarding a policy, it should be referred to the Head PR Wiz or Head Wiz. If you are unclear on a policy, refer to the section on Answering Questions above. If a policy is unclear or you are not sure how to proceed, contact the Head PR Wiz first and then the Head Wiz.
  2. Conflicts Between Players et.al.
    Conflicts between players and other helpstaff or OOC conflicts between players and other players are to be handled by the wizzes (preferably a PR Wiz). Period. No exceptions. The legal ramifications that could arise from player disputes, no matter how seemingly insignificant, requires handling by a wiz. Failure to abide by this rule will lead to permanent dismissal from helpstaff or, based on severity, @toad.
  3. AUP and Other Policy Violations
    All LJM policy violations and violations regarding the AUP, or suspicion of such, should be reported to a wiz immediately, or mailed to the PR Wiz or Head Wiz. Helpstaff is not a police force, and your involvement in such violations is to report the violation.
  4. Limitations of Power
    Helpstaff are limited to their particular area(s) of expertise. They are also limited in that they may not tell another player what to do, how to behave, or in any other way intimate they have the authority to enforce or regulate policies or other provisions of the LJM government. Helpstaff may not police players or inspect buildings for fitness (unless specifically requested by a player, and a Building Wiz must still give final approval for the project).
    1. Abuse of power:
      If a helpstaffer steps beyond the scope of their powers as defined in this document, the following schedule of punishment is applied (in certain severe cases, @newpasswording the character or an @toad will be performed):
      • First offense: verbal warning from a wiz
      • Second offense: removal from helpstaff for no less than 30 days and no longer than 6 months
      • Third offense (after reinstatement): permanently banned from being a helpstaffer

        If there is also a concomitant failure to abide by any of the official LJM polices or the AUP in the abuse of power, the following schedule of punishment is applied:

      • First offense + policy violation: permanently banned from being a helpstaffer
  5. Anger Management
    As representatives of the government of LJM, you are expected to adhere rigidly to the Rules of Engagement. If you get angry or in any other way feel you cannot represent the spirit and letter of the Rules of Engagement, walk away, read the Tao, listen to some music, whatever, but do not continue to remain in the situation. We take this very seriously, and punishment for failure to adhere to this policy can be harsh.
  6. Requests and Other Items from Wizzes
    Wizzes will occasionally request your assistance in a particular matter. If you are able to do so, you should do whatever necessary to comply with the request. If you feel the request is unreasonable, inform the wiz who made the original request of your feelings. If the wiz continues to ask, you may contact the Head PR Wiz to review the situation.
  1. Responsibilities
    Being staff is, as you can see, mostly responsibility. It's often a thankless job, but can be entertaining and fun. Reasons for being helpstaff should follow along these lines: you like it here and want to be a part of making it better, you like to assist people, you understand the wizzes are overworked and want to help out where you can. If your reason for being helpstaff is to eventually become a wiz, to be important, to have a certain modicum of power, or to gain popularity, you should either resign as a member of helpstaff or decline to become a member of helpstaff.
  2. Time
    Being helpstaff requires time and patience. A helpstaffer who is off-line for weeks on end and is only here for a few hours in between these large breaks is not considered a good helpstaff member. Likewise, someone who can only connect for a few minutes every day provides insufficient coverage to be considered a good helpstaff member. Consider carefully your willingness and ability to be here regularly.
  3. Possible Wiz Position
    Helpstaff who perform their tasks with aplomb may be considered for wizbit promotion. Do not ask to be made a wiz; we will approach you. There are several factors that determine whether you will or will not be asked to be a wiz and not being asked does not necessarily reflect on your skills and abilities as a helpstaffer (i.e. the position is already filled by an existing wiz, we are not hiring wizzes, etc.). In other words, even excellent helpstaff members may not be asked to become wizzes for a variety of reasons.
  4. If You Cannot Meet the Conditions in This Document
    If you feel you cannot meet all the conditions in the document, you must resign your helpstaff position immediately.

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