In response to earnest concerns, on my own game this morning I have done the following.
- Verified that the page log history spans interactions back to the first pages exchanged on game.
- Verified that the option has been set on our system to keep unshared scenes indefinitely, an option already included in the standard code suite for Ares.
- Verified that every conceivable form of on-game communication is tracked and monitored (but available to look at only with the permission of you, the player).
- Urged players to "archive" mail rather than delete it, in case they need it later.
- Added all of the reporting commands to our "safety" policy after testing each and every one of them to make sure they did what I said they did in the descriptions, as I offered an expanded help to what was already available on-game.
- Urged individuals, both in the policy documents and in a forum post, to allow us to take a look at any communication that happens in game any time they feel uneasy, either to allow us to take disciplinary action or to begin a paper trail.
- Added a note to our off-game communication policy which clarifies that we do communicate with the admin of other games re: problems that could indicate stalking behavior or other abusive behavior and will, whenever that admin will consent to share information with us, use that information in our deliberations. We also clarified we reserve the right to use interactions we already personally were aware of from our contact with other games to ensure there is no doubt that we are paying attention to this information.
- Clarified why we do not feel qualified to evaluate Discord, Facebook, and similar evidence by pointing out we do not know the Discord handles of every player, or their RL names. Offered a link to HTML instructions posted by people who Discord spoof as (I hope) a mere hobby. A gentle reminder that already existed but which is now reiterated has been offered that urges people to keep their conversations in-game where they can be reported at a button touch unless they are very sure the other person can be trusted.
- Reiterated that we do not integrate our Chat with Discord nor do we have an official game Discord server precisely because we want to give players the ability to limit interactions to an environment where they can, at any time, report the interaction to actual people they talk to instead of faceless Discord admin. As this is posted right on policies, those who come to play know before they choose to gen and before they take the risk of using our site that this is a part of our ToS and they are agreeing to and accepting those terms, which we offer to ensure that they can make informed decisions about whether to communicate off-game or not.
- Added a line to our safety policy which made it clear that they can ask staff to issue DNCs on their behalf if they do not feel comfortable doing so. Language existed already which indicated that DNCs may be issued for any reason without need for proof: I don't want to talk to you is considered ample reason. Players are not required to provision us with any reason other than "I would like a DNC."
- Hopefully put abusers on notice that this is an environment where their every move is ultimately watched and reportable, and that we are trying to foster a culture wherein people feel a-okay reporting either to allow us to take disciplinary action or to create a paper trail that will allow us to corroborate multiple reports from multiple witnesses later, thus allowing us to take disciplinary action eventually if the nature of the interaction is not, on its own, enough to prompt disciplinary action, but was nevertheless sufficient to make a player uneasy. We want it clear that the probability of being seen and caught is very high in this specific space where we have offered to provide volunteer services as game runners, despite the fact that we have indicated that we do not feel adequately equipped to provide protection on other spaces or to evaluate off-site evidence.
- Added a line to our Removal policy which clarifies our standard of proof is "more likely to have happened than not," and not "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Hopefully this makes our commitment to stopping harassment or abuse clear, and gives some insight into how an evidence-based system could still be committed to protecting every player that walks through our doors, without requiring us to know all of them personally.