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  • Team Rules TF2

    Team Basics

    Team Name: Team Interrobang
    Team Tag: [!?]
    Team Website: TeamInterrobang.com

    Statement of Principles

    Team Goal

    Provide an enjoyable gaming experience to the gaming public through community engagement.
    The team members are members of the gaming public and member preferences and interests are not to be ignored. Team Interrobang members have participated in a value exchange of receiving broad server powers and guaranteed access in exchange for actively improving the quality of the play experience and community.

    Team Values

    "Fun" is implicit in all team activities and noting such would be redundant. The team operates game servers on which games are played and to ignore the irreducible goal of pursuing enjoyment would be to operate a team for the sake of operating a team, wasting everyone's time. A more detailed explanation of Team Interrobang's version of "fun" is enumerated by the team values outlined below.

    Fairness

    Players who show no prior malice are entitled to a quality game experience on our servers and our extra abilities should be used to enforce a consistent high quality of gaming. Responses to infractions should be consistent and reasonable. Preferential access to team resources must be based on merit and ability.

    Empowerment

    The influence of team members should be both high and diffuse. Where possible, the abilities and responsibilities of members should be expanded as well as the membership who has access to non-public information and game options. Members should have avenues to express grievances and air ideas and these avenues must be easy to access. In no case should a player be expected to show deference due to age, experience, skill, team standing or some other attribute.

    Community

    While the game itself is fun, exceptional value is derived from connecting with other people. The team provides non-game avenues for people to connect and allow the free discussion of appropriate topics. The game is not an end unto itself and the people involved should be of primary concern.

    Funmanship

    Ideas provide the energy that keep gaming exciting and novel gameplay is a key way to engage membership and maintain the technical competence of the team. Innovating competitions remove the traditional emphasis on serious action and focus activities on the community rather than the game.

    Server Infractions

    The intent of the infraction penalties are to achieve our Team Goal while preserving our Team Values.
    An action is broadly considered an infraction if it interferes with delivering an enjoyable game experience in accordance with our team's values. Should an action not undermine fun or our values, and inflict no harms, the status of that action as a rules violation should be reconsidered.

    Determining Standards for Appropriateness and Spamming:

    Team Interrobang has no categorical standard for appropriateness; it's determined by participants in the server. If someone is genuinely offended or annoyed by another player's speech it is that player's responsibility to air this feeling and it is the responsibility of present admins to ask the player to stop the speech if found to be offensive. This floating standard may not be used to try to simply reduce the conversation on the server as this would interfere with both community and fairness. Server participants who repeatedly attempt to stifle obviously appropriate speech or attempt to use this standard to cause server discord are considered griefing.

    Broadcast Abuse (Spamming/Inappropriate Speech)

    Definition: Text, sound, or image broadcasts that unintentionally interfere with gameplay or the social environment of a server.
    Philosophy: Pursuing community is impossible in an environment that players consider hostile or where players are barred from meaningful participation. These conditions make enjoyment of the server difficult, violating both community and funmanship.
    Examples: A player plays a sound clip ever time he or she dominates a player. A player enters a long text string after each kill. A player repeatedly tells graphic jokes or uses of-color language with no obvious intention to harm ("that's gay").
    Exceptions: Topical conversation among players that is polite and appropriate is not abusive. Socially accepted terms for groups or attributes (the network TV standard) in and of themselves are not offensive content.
    Escalation: Warning - Temporary Mute/Gag - Session Mute/Gag - Long-term Mute/Gag†. A player with a history of chronic and obvious infringing speech may receive further consequences as per discussion by the Team Full and Senior Admins after a team discussion.* - If a player is broadcasting such that the they can't be asked via voice to stop, the team member may mute the player, issue the warning, then unmute the player.** - Since inappropriate avatars, player names, and weapon names cannot be dealt with via mute/gag, the escalation for infractions involving these should be Warning - Kick - Ban - Long-term Ban† - An appropriately warned player who regularly fails to meet the acceptable standard for server broadcasts may be barred from broadcasting across sessions.

    Griefing

    Definition: Activities intended to harm the intended server experience or a repeated failure to meaningfully participate in the server.
    Philosophy: Players who act with the intent of impairing their team or to violate fairness. Griefing produces a hostile server environment that is not easily avoidable, which violates funmanship. Repeated exposure to griefers will make players skeptical of server play, violating the value of community.
    Example: In a server with alltalk off, a player communicates strategy to the opposing team or talks loudly when another player talks. A player builds up an ubercharge, activates it on another player and ends the uber once the ubered player engages the opponent. A player misleads his team members about novel functionality of a custom map. An engineer builds a teleporter specifically to aid enemy spies. A player actively interrupts other players' attempts to talk. A player enters several text strings quickly to bury new chat comments. A player responds to a request to tone down broadcast abuse by broadcasting more.
    Exceptions: Bad play is not griefing nor is ignorance of game functionality. Some element of mischief or ignoring requests to meaningfully participate must be identified for an incident to be considered griefing. One could claim that being kills harms one's server experience but this type of engagement is intended by the game.
    Escalation: Warning - Kick - 1+ Day Ban - 7+ Day Ban

    Harassment

    Definition: Actions that attempt to personally degrade, attack or harm a person or group of people.
    Philosophy: Video games serve as a place of separate identity for those who wish to maintain one. Harmful violations of this veil threaten the value of community. Discussions of personal details or personal attacks create a hostile server environment violating the value of funmanship.
    Example: A player repeatedly brings up embarrassing personal details about another players after being requested to not do so. A player commits hatespeech. A player singles out another player for excessive harsh criticism for in-game actions.
    Exceptions: A player claiming another player is hacking is not harassment if issued in good faith or when presented with evidence. While this is a poor way of airing the grievance, repeated claims without substantiation would be considered harassment.
    Escalation: Warning* - 1+ Day Ban - 7+ Day Ban. *- Some egregious actions like coordinated personal attacks across media or circulating compromising or highly embarrassing information may be escalated after consultation with the Admin Corps.

    Spawn Killing

    Definition: Repeatedly killing players as they exit either the doored portion of the respawn area or another exit with limited visibility. The two criteria are repetition and lack of options after exiting the respawn for the person killed. If a player puts stickies in front of the respawn as you run by with the intel that's fine as it's not repeated. Standing there and repeatedly dropping stickies as your friend runs up the spiral is spawn killing. Any doored exit must be clear as must any area to where a respawn-exiting player may make a choice of how to go forward.
    Philosophy: Spawn killing regularly creates game scenarios that players find extremely frustrating. Spawn killing negates the enjoyment intrinsic to respawning and rejoining active play.
    Example: On ctf_2fort, the area in front of the main respawn (the respawn with a single exit) must be clear but the spiral/grate, battlement exit, or courtyard may be camped as by that point the respawn-exiting player had three movement options. The battlement-area of the secondary respawn (respawn with two exits) must be clear to the point where the respawn-exiting player could continue straight across the battlement or exit to the ground. The secondary respawn exit that opens to the ground floor must be open and free of repeat fire but either exit may be camped.
    Spawn killing on payload maps or other maps with open respawns: It is not considered spawn killing to kill players emerging from an area your team does not have access to if there are at least one other exit that player may have taken from the barred area.
    Example: On Gravelpit, red may kill blue team members as they emerge from either the Point A or Point B exit as there is another exit option.
    Exceptions: Some maps change respawns based on team progress. A change of respawns for a team does not require the other team to move, destroy, or abandon their existing encampment. If the encampment is destroyed, rebuilding it would be considered spawn killing. On maps where an objective occurs immediately outside a respawn area, engagement at the respawn area is allowed. Spawn killing is defined by successfully killing players. Someone lurking in front of a spawn trying to punch people isn't killing until the player repeatedly kills other people.
    Escalation: Warning - Kick - 1+ Day Ban - 7+ Day Ban

    Exploit - Major

    Definition: Actions outside intended player ability which disrupt the stability of the server, circumventing server restrictions or prevent the participants in the server from completing the map's objectives.
    Philosophy: Players receive no positive experience from a non-functioning server and repeated server outages make players hesitant to play on team servers harming community. Asymmetric disruptions to the game violate the value of fairness.
    Example: A player executes a console command which causes the game server to crash. A player as a spectator takes the intelligence on a CTF map or as a spectator prevents the movement of the cart on a PL or PLR map. A player uses a coding error to gain access to admin commands.
    Exceptions: Players may sometimes trigger game events that result in a server crash, if unintended the action is not a major exploit. If the action is repeated, it is then considered an exploit.
    Escalation: 7+ Day Ban

    Exploit - Minor

    Definition: Actions performed by a player outside the server's intended actions, which modify the play experience.
    Philosophy: Exploits often prove disruptive to a team, which violates fairness. Players with an express interest in detracting from the enjoyment of other players or distracting from regular engagement violates the value of funmanship and community.
    Example: A player finds a way to gain access to a normally inaccessible area and uses it for strategic gain. A player finds a way to change the weapon model being displayed.
    Exceptions: Limitations in hardware can create scenarios where a player does not render properly or may see things that are intended to be unviewable, these are not exploits except when actively used by the player for strategic advantage. Game glitches are not uncommon and are not exploits unless a player purposefully tries to trigger them.
    Escalation: Warning - 1+ Day Ban* - 7+ Day Ban

    Hacking

    Definition: Modifying VAC-protected local game content or running a 3rd party program to modify the game experience to gain an in-game advantage.
    Philosophy: Hacking provides for a very asymmetrical game experience by modifying the game experience, which violates fairness.
    Example: A player uses a 3rd party tool to modify in game colors to make opposing players easier to identify. A player changes a protected game file to allow himself or herself to see through walls or barriers.
    Exceptions: Scripts and keyboard shortcuts are not considered hacks. In-game actions or scripts that provide unintended functionality are considered exploits.Escalation: Permanent Ban
    Note: If one can do it accidentally, the action is considered an Exploit - Major.

    Denial of Service

    Definition: Actions, or threats of action, that are intended to disrupt the stability of the server or a player's access to our servers by disrupting or congesting an executable process or network capabilities.
    Philosophy: Denial of service prevents us from fulfilling our overarching team goal. Players receive no positive experience from a non-functioning server. Threats to destabilise the server and deny players service must be considered serious declarations of intent until proven otherwise as the nature of an attack is such that a defense is required to allow us to continue operating. Attacks on other players with these methods constitute a deliberate attempt to prevent that player from being able to participate on our servers and constitute a denial of service.
    Example: A player floods a server with packets, generating in-game lag or crashing the server. A player utilizes bugs in Steam message functions to prevent another player from being able to meaningfully participate.
    Exceptions: It is often difficult to determine specifically which player initiated an attack when one comes and to escalate appropriately during one, as our ability to administrate in-game requires a functional server. Preference should be given to identification of attackers through server logs. It is possible to make the threat of a denial of service attack without intending to follow through; it is impossible to reliably know the intent of a player making these threats, though players may be warned not to make these threats before action is taken.
    Escalation: Permanent Ban


    Circumventing Admin Action

    Definition: Actions taken by players to bypass an admin action stemming from a previous infraction.
    Philosophy: Infraction responses attempt to correct a rules violation in a server; actions that circumvent that action reduce rules efficacy, violating fairness and empowerment. An environment where circumventing admin actions is allowed and trivial can create a hostile server environment, violating the value of community.
    Example: A player changes his or her name to untypable characters to avoid a kick or ban. A player leaves and immediately returns to avoid a mute. A player uses another account to access a server after he or she was banned.
    Exceptions: Players are often disconnected from servers for unknown reasons. A player resuming an infringing action upon return demonstrates departure with the intent to circumvent, whereas simply reconnecting should not be assumed to be circumventing.
    Escalation: Kick - 1+ Day Ban - 7+ Day Ban. Escalation for circumventing admin action should always start at a level above the original infringing action.

    Impersonation

    Definition: Claiming game attributes and abilities within a server that one doesn't possess, claiming to be a person who one isn't, or claiming to represent team Interrobang when one does not.
    Philosophy: Authentication of players in a server environment is often difficult and acting as a representative of the team or a specific person when one is not can cause significant harm to community.
    Example: A player enters the the server with the tags [?] and threatens players with admin actions. A player logs in with another player's name.
    Exceptions: There are teams which use the interrobang as their insignia, in these cases impersonation begins when the player attempts to convey that he or she is an admin on a Team Interrobang server. A player on the inactive roster is not impersonating if under the impression that he or she still has admin powers and attempts to use these powers in good faith.
    Escalation: 1+ Day Ban - 7+ Day Ban – N/A

    Admin Abuse - Minor

    Definition: Using admin abilities to explicitly impair player experience.
    Philosophy: Misuse of admin powers threatens the ability to roll out new admin powers, which harms empowerment. Admin actions that harm player trust harm the value of community.
    Example: An admin kicks a player for a fleeting expletive without warning. An admin recommends a player perform an exploit and then seeks a ban for the player for performing it. A player is repeatedly muted, gagged, or silenced without warning or reason.
    Exceptions: It is possible to accidentally execute a disruptive admin command. Immediate attempts to fix such an error will suggest whether an act was malicious or not.
    Escalation: Warning - 3-day Probation - 7-day Probation - Loss of Membership

    Admin Abuse - Major

    Definition: Using admin abilities to severely disrupt the stability or operations of a server.
    Philosophy: Admin powers grant players access to functionality vital to maintain a quality server environment. Many of these abilities can cause long lasting damage to player opinion of a server harming community. Arbitrary usage of server-altering abilities can make players averse to new game modes, harming funmanship.
    Example: An admin purposefully kicks all players. An admin changes the map without player input and without warning with the intent of angering players.
    Exceptions: It is possible to accidentally execute a disruptive admin command. Immediate attempts to fix such an error will suggest whether an act was malicious or not.
    Escalation: 7-day Probation - Loss of Membership

    Severe Negligence

    Definition: Failure to prevent repeated misconduct on a server where the intent of the player action is both malicious and obvious.
    Philosophy: Standards of behavior are often ambiguous enough that an admin could reasonably not act when another would, but some actions committed in server are sufficiently excessive that a failure to act would be to completely neglect the basic value exchange of membership. Additionally, failure to stop unambiguously harmful actions can severely harm player opinion of the team.
    Example: A player in server is using a noclip hack and is flying about with the intelligence in clear view of the admin. A player is airing soundclips which are clearly hatespeech that the admin is failing to stop even after player request and having otherwise indicated that the admin's sound is on. Aiding a player in committing an exploit which is disruptive to the game like holding spawn doors open or launching a player into a normally inaccessible location with the intent to crash or disrupt the server.
    Exceptions: Hardware issues or handicaps often prevent a player from being completely aware of the server condition. Some proof of engagement over the medium of the ignored player action must exist.
    Escalation: Warning - 7-day Probation - Loss of Membership

    Being Away from the Game (AFK)

    While not technically a rules violation there is a defined procedure for dealing with players that are away from the game while logged into a server (AFK).
    Definition: Not providing game input while on a team. Momentary diversions are always possible and the upper end of being AFK is automatically taken care of by plugins. Members may intervene if the plugin is not being triggered due to scripted input or movement caused by other players or in cases where the level of action on a server is high and even a short departure would tilt the game.
    Philosophy: Players participate in a server to play. Having members on one's team that are not participating is demoralizing and often provides the opposing team a strategic advantage in terms of active players.
    Example: A player sits in respawn for serveral minutes while trying to fix a sound issue. A player repeatedly melee attacks a wall in a non-active area of a map.
    Exceptions: Engineers who've built anything in a non-trivial area of the map are not considered AFK as long as their buildings are in use or in an area that would reasonably receive use.
    Escalation: Move to Spectator after a voice or text notification as appropriate. If a player repeatedly returns to a team only to not play, he or she is circumventing an admin action and should be kicked.

    Probation

    Members on probation lose access to admin commands as well as their reserved slot. While the player does not lose his or her tags he or she is still responsible for maintaining server order even if doing so requires contacting another admin to perform an admin command. A member may also be put on probation while under investigation for another infraction.

    Penalty Modifications

    Fairness and simplicity are often at odds and there are many cases where an admin delivering a penalty may wish to modify it. All exceptions must be posted and a majority of SAs may choose to modify the penalty at any time but must notify the team of this change. In general, an aggravating action should not escalate the penalty more than a level nor should a mitigating action reduce the penalty by more than a level. No combination of contrition, recognition and previous help to the community should totally absolve a person from being accountable for a harmful action.

    Aggravating Actions

    • Player has previously performed a similar infringing action - Performing the exact same infraction twice would result in the normal escalation of the infraction. But if a player were to be kicked for using hatespeech and then return to harass the admin who issued the infraction, the harassment penalty could be escalated.
    • Player has stated intent to cause harm - Knowing and intentional violations of the rules should have a stronger response. If a player commits a minor exploit with the expectation of crashing the server but fails to do so, the exploit - minor penalty could be escalated.
    • Player has encouraged other players to perform the infringing action - Even if one disagrees with a ruling the appropriate method of redress is the forums not inciting others to commit the same infraction. A player who committed an exploit and before being kicked told and asked other players to do the same could have the exploit minor penalty escalated.

    Mitigating Actions

    • Communication difficulties - Some players have communication difficulties caused by difference in language or personal handicaps. A player with uses English ethnic slurs but otherwise doesn't speak the language may be muted rather than kicked/banned.
    • Immediate recognition of error - Players who understands that he or she has committed a rules infraction and immediately brings this to the attention of a team admin before the infraction is otherwise revealed is showing maturity and understanding of team rules, this should be promoted. A player who admits to an admin to using a hack or exploit when there was no existing investigation may receive a non-permanent ban.
    • Longstanding positive community presence - After accumulating a large amount of play time it is possible that all players may be in-game while of unsound mind or have a momentary lapse of reason that results in an infraction. A player with an exceptional history of promoting quality play who snaps on a player and harasses a player may be kicked instead of receiving a temporary ban.

    Implementing Penalties

    Discussion of Penalties

    • Any admin at any level may deliver a penalty regardless of the other types of admin present. The team values empowerment and there are cases where another admin may not notice an infringing action due to differences in team or hardware issues. A player not comfortable to implement a penalty may ask another present admin to do so.
    • Arguments over whether an infringing action should be held out of public view where such discussions will disrupt server experience. Arguments over appropriateness may be difficult to have across a server but arguments over how exploits work or to verify hacking may be very helpful. Admins are welcome to bring up what they consider to be inappropriate actions to the team via the team forums.
    • Penalties resulting in a ban of at least 1 day must be posted to the forums in a timely fashion. A penalty post should include the infringing action, any useful context like the lead-up to the event, and the time and location of the infringing action. Penalties of less than 1 day may be posted about for discussion but this is not required.

    Delivering a Penalty

    1. Communicate to the player the infringing action and penalty for the infringing action.
      1. The admin delivering a penalty should maintain minimum standards of courtesy. Fighting inappropriate speech with inappropriate speech is rarely effective and merely creates a new server rule violation.
      2. The admin delivering the penalty must make a good faith effort to explain the penalty to a player if asked. In the case of a disagreement, the player should be directed to the team forums.
        1. Admin command comments are requested but not sufficient explanation. For instance "!mute micspamming" is not sufficient as the player may not know the team micspamming standard.
        2. Language barriers may make explaining a penalty difficult, but explaining the penalty still benefits other present players by demonstrating a commitment to fairness and warding off copycat actions.


    2. An admin may wish to state what will occur if the player performs the infringing action again.
      1. A player who does not know the escalation for repeating the action may repeat the action if he or she considers the current penalty weak.
      2. Stating the escalation also empowers other admins present to deal with the player appropriately in the future.

    3. Implement the penalty
      1. If a player receives a penalty and is still in the server after other admins have joined, please inform the other admins of the issued penalty so a repeated infringement may be appropriately escalated.
      2. Infractions that would result in ban of more than seven days require confirmation from another Full or Senior Admin in addition to the Full or Senior Admin who initiated the ban. The first Full or Senior Admin would apply the seven day ban and post appropriately requesting confirmation. It is the responsibility of the second Full or Senior Admin to post confirming the conclusions of the first Full or Senior Admin and to make the appropriate extension in the team's penalty system. The exception to this rule is in clear cases of obvious hacking. In these cases, the original Full or Senior Admin may apply a permanent ban; he or she must still create a post. If there is doubt about whether the player is hacking, this exception does not apply.
      3. Delivering Penalties to Team Members
        1. If a penalty against a team member includes suspension of admin powers, probation, or removal from the team, this must be posted to the admin forums. If appropriate, a post shall also be made to the team forums. The decision to post will be made by a majority of team Senior Admins.
        2. Some penalties take significant time to investigate and resolve. During that investigation, a Full or Senior Admin may instruct a player to not participate in Team Interrobang game activities for up to 48 hours. If such a request is made, the Admin Corps must be notified. A player who ignores this request may be temporarily banned while an investigation is performed.


    4. Multiple Penalties - If a single action violates more than one rule, the player will be penalized per the most severe consequence to the infraction. So if a player is mic-spamming hatespeech, the more severe "harassment" penalty will be applied.


    Change Procedures

    Game Server Changes

    • Trivial or necessary changes like updating plugins, fixing server issues, or correcting typos may be done by anyone with appropriate access, but must be appropriately documented.
    • Non-trivial changes to a game server with no existing player base may be done with notification to the forums in addition to the appropriate documentation of change. Admins are strongly encouraged to post changes ahead of time and to solicit team feedback via the appropriate team forums for a period of at least two days.
    • Non-trivial changes to a game server with an existing player base may be done after posting the change to the forums and allowing review for at least two days. Any team member may request a vote be called on the change and this vote must be allowed to stand for at least three days. The delay or vote may be over-ridden by 2/3rds of the team's senior admins in a thread regarding the change. Changes must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
    • Non-trivial changes to other team resources like stats, dedicated hardware, or web page may be done after posting to the forums and allowing review for at least two days or until receiving the approval of 2/3rds of Senior Admins. Changes that will strongly affect player experience shall be posted to the appropriate forum and allowed to be reviewed for at least two days. Changes must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.

    Rules Changes

    • Trivial changes such as corrected spelling or grammar may be made with no team notification and without additional documentation.
    • Non-substantive changes such as indicating a server rule applies to a new server, updating an example, or making a rules clarification may be made with no team notification but must be properly documented.
    • Substantive changes to the team rules such as adding or removing policies, must be posted for review for a period of at least one week before implementation. Any admin may request a vote on a rule change where the voting options shall be to make the change or not make the change. The majority vote will carry. Changes may made immediately with approval from all team Senior Admins in a team-viewable thread regarding the change.

    Team Resources Changes

    • Changes to team resources like chat, stats, non-standard game servers or game tools may be done if approved by 2/3rds of Senior Admins. If the resource in question is used by the team, changes should be made on consultation with the team.
    • Changes made in response to a credible threat to the team or in emergency cases may be done but the team must be notified in a timely fashion and should be allowed to review the change once the threat is contained.

    Ratification

    This document will become official team policy once reviewed and approved by the Admin Corps followed by a period of public discussion and approval by the membership at large. The document will be considered strongly endorsed if it receives at least 2/3 support from at least 1/3 of the active team membership. The review period shall be no shorter than one week.