Rules of Conduct
- 1 1 Definitions
- 2 2 Service Agreement
- 3 3 Rules of Conduct
- 4 3.1 Code of Conduct for Players
- 5 3.2 Code of Conduct for Staff (Moderators)
- 5.1 3.2.1 General
- 5.2 3.2.2 Language Issues
- 5.3 3.2.3 Chat Room-Specific Behavior (Including In-Game Chat)
- 5.4 3.2.4 Knowledge Management
- 5.5 3.2.5 Privacy Issues
- 5.6 3.2.6 Responsibilities
- 5.7 3.2.7 Dealing with Problem Players: Warnings and Actions
- 5.8 3.2.8 Dealing with Problem Staff Members: Warnings and Actions
- 6 3.3 Current DarkSpace Game Exploits
- 7 4 Cheating, Metagaming, and Other Unsportsmanlike Conduct
The developer and publisher of the DarkSpace Game System and associated intellectual property.
DarkSpace Game System
Refers to the entirety of the DarkSpace product, including software (GCQL Lobby, DarkSpace Game Client, DarkSpace Game Server, all web applications, and all server software operating on master servers and database servers); game and web site content; and intellectual property necessary to implement the infrastructure for the DarkSpace Game.
The browser-based software component implementing the integrated user interface for the Forums, Chat Rooms, Server List, Clan List, FAQ, Profile Viewer, et al.
DarkSpace Game Client
The graphical client software component implementing the actual game on the Player's computer system.
DarkSpace Game Server
The software component implementing the game server which creates and maintains the consistent state of a particular game instance for all DarkSpace Game Clients currently connected to that particular server/instance. May also refer to a particular running instance of the game server software rather than just the software itself.
Game Server Instance
Refers to the DarkSpace Game Server software actively running on a server hardware platform, accepting connections from Players via the DarkSpace Game Client, and implementing the selected/configured game scenario set by the Server Operator. DarkSpace Communication Facilities Refers to the Forums, Chat Rooms, Web Sites, et cetera in the GCQL Lobby, and the In-Game Chat Function in the DarkSpace Game Client. Players Registered users who participate in the DarkSpace Game System for the entertainment value it provides. Used synonymously with "users".
Game Officials / Staff
Game Officials are generally Players and/or PaleStar employees who fulfill a particular functional role in the DarkSpace Community which supports the infrastructure of the DarkSpace Game System. They fall into the following general categories and basic purposes:
- PaleStar Employees - Provide for the existence, maintenance, and continued development of the DarkSpace Game System, the DarkSpace Community, and its associated infrastructure.
- Administrators - Maintain critical game functionality and integrity, as well as serve as DarkSpace Community leaders who organize and maintain the integrity of the community.
- Moderators - Aid Players, police Game Communication Facilities and Game Instances for abuse, maintain certain information sources (like the FAQ or manual), and provide help for problems encountered with the operation of the game as well as answer Player questions. Moderators may have specific areas of expertise about which they are known to provide accurate advice. However, they are not expected to be a replacement for the many information sources found in the game, including the FAQ, the Manual, and the Knowledge Base. Their presence serves to augment the existing information base and to resolve issues that Players may encounter with the game or each other.
- Server Operators - Run / maintain the hardware platform and the configuration for DarkSpace Game Instances.
The intent or act of bringing real-world knowledge, actions, and/or conflicts into the context of the game and vice-versa. Applies mainly to Role-Playing games and, though DarkSpace is not, by definition or genre, a Role-Playing game, its participants can nevertheless utilize RPG elements to enhance the overall experience for themselves and others. It is generally viewed in a negative light by both the staff and the Players and is something to be avoided as much as possible.
The simplest definition is "playing the game system instead of playing the game". Also, playing the game in ways it is not meant to be played for any form of personal gain, be it in-game resources or entertainment value.
2 Service Agreement
Updated 12th March 2010
BY ACTIVATING AN ACCOUNT AND PARTICIPATING IN THE PALESTAR DARKSPACE GAME AND USER COMMUNITY, THE APPLICANT ACKNOWLEDGES AGREEMENT, WITHOUT MODIFICATIONS, TO THE TERMS, CONDITIONS, POLICIES, AND NOTICES CONTAINED HEREIN, AND THAT THE APPLICANT WILL ADHERE TO THEM AT ALL TIMES. IN THE EVENT THE APPLICANT FAILS TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THESE PROVISIONS, PALESTAR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DEACTIVATE THE APPLICANT'S ACCOUNT, WITH NO FORM OF RECOMPENSE FROM PALESTAR. DEACTIVATION MAY RESULT IN THE PERMANENT LOSS OF ALL PRESTIGE, RANK, AND ADDITIONAL AWARDS, AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF PALESTAR. IN ADDITION, THE APPLICANT ALSO ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HE OR SHE IS AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD. MINORS MUST USE AN ACCOUNT SPONSORED BY A PARENT OR GUARDIAN WHO CONSENTS TO ABIDE BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS AGREEMENT, BOTH FOR THEMSELVES AND ON BEHALF OF THE MINOR. FURTHER, THE APPLICANT ACKNOWLEDGES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY AND ALL ACTIVITY ON THE APPLICANT'S ACCOUNT AND IS PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSEQUENCES (INCLUDING TERMINATION OF THE ACCOUNT) THAT MAY RESULT IF ANY PERSON AUTHORIZED TO USE THE APPLICANT'S ACCOUNT VIOLATES ANY PROVISION CONTAINED HEREIN. APPLICANT AGREES TO TAKE ALL REASONABLE MEASURES TO SECURE HIS OR HER ACCOUNT FROM UNAUTHORIZED USE, AND TO REPORT SUCH ABUSE IMMEDIATELY UPON DISCOVERY IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE BOTH THE APPLICANT'S LIABILITY AND THE IMPACT ON THE INTEGRITY OF THE DARKSPACE GAME ITSELF. PALESTAR MAY OCCASIONALLY FIND IT NECESSARY TO MAKE CHANGES TO, OR RESET PORTIONS OF, THE DARKSPACE GAME SYSTEM OR CONTENT. THIS MAY INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO: CHANGES IN RANK STRUCTURE, CHANGES IN SHIP OR EQUIPMENT, OR A PROFILE RESET RESULTING IN DATA LOSS. PALESTAR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO AMEND THIS AGREEMENT AT ANY TIME, GIVING THE APPLICANT REASONABLE NOTIFICATION OF SUCH AMENDMENTS AND MAKING THEM AVAILABLE TO THE APPLICANT IN THEIR ENTIRETY. APPLICANT AGREES TO MAKE ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS TO ASCERTAIN ANY SUCH AMENDMENTS AND MAY TERMINATE HIS OR HER ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME IF HE OR SHE FINDS THE AMENDMENTS UNACCEPTABLE. PALESTAR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY THE TERMS OF ANY SUBSCRIPTION AGREEMENT FOR SERVICE OR SERVICES IN RELATION TO THE DARKSPACE GAME SYSTEM OR CONTENT. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, PALESTAR IS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO OFFER ANY FORM OF COMPENSATION FOR SUCH CANCELLATION.
- The DarkSpace Communications Facility provides forums for public communications. PaleStar provides no facilities of any kind for private communications and in no way guarantees that any messages stored in and/or transmitted via any part of the DarkSpace Communications Facilities will be kept private. PaleStar guarantees only to make all reasonable efforts and take all reasonable precautions to maintain the integrity and security of all personally identifiable information for all players and staff.
- PaleStar is under no obligation to monitor or supervise the DarkSpace Communications Facilities and, as such, expressly disclaims any obligation to do so, but also expressly reserves the right to monitor or supervise them, in PaleStar's sole discretion.
- PaleStar does not control the content of any non-PaleStar postings in the DarkSpace Communications Facilities and, thus, does not guarantee their accuracy, integrity, or quality.
- PaleStar is not responsible for the content of any hypertext links ("hyperlinks", "URLs", et cetera) which link to content outside of the PaleStar-owned DarkSpace Facilities; regardless of whether the context was posted by PaleStar staff or any players. This includes, but is not limited to, information found in the Forums, FAQs, and/or Chat Rooms.
3 Rules of Conduct
The Long and Short of It
In an effort to maintain brevity, yet maintain a semblance of completeness, the various rules listed in the following sections are listed with a "short" version in bold type and then followed by more descriptive and complete explanations. This way, the gist of the rules can be gleaned from the short initial rule summary in bold and any confusion encountered due to brevity, word selection, or grammar can (hopefully) be reduced by the expanded information following the summary.
This is not to say that the "short and sweet" version of the rules defines the entirety of what is expected of each and every participant in the DarkSpace Community. Everyone is expected to know, understand, and adhere to the rules in their entirety. The summarization is there for quick verification and familiarization with concepts that a particular Player may already understand. In all cases, game officials are required to know and understand the entirety of these rules (as well as keep current with them), as they are the ones charged with their enforcement.
It is presumed that the majority of DarkSpace Players are mature enough to understand, appreciate, and adhere to these rules, so that the use of individual self-restraint will obviate the need for cumbersome and inefficient technical solutions to behavioral issues. However, between such technological measures and the constant vigilance of the DarkSpace Staff, the environment fostered by the existence of these rules will be possible to maintain.
3.1 Code of Conduct for Players
a. DarkSpace is a community. DarkSpace is more than simply a multi Player game; it is a Community of people who have come together for the purpose of mutual entertainment. As such, acknowledgement of this simple truth and its implications is of paramount importance for all to get the most enjoyment out of their participation in the Community.
b. Rules of Conduct in the DarkSpace Community are, as in any community, necessary. Rules of Conduct generally serve two purposes: to let participants know where the boundaries are (boundaries like an imaginary line, rather than a brick wall) and to serve as a guide for moderators to know when Player behavior exceeds those bounds. Once established and published, all users are expected to follow them from day one; as such, immediate reprimands are justified as no one can claim ignorance of the rules. Rules of Conduct also serve to eliminate assumptions and ambiguities in what is acceptable/unacceptable behavior in the context of the particular venue (forum, chat room, in-game, et cetera).
c. Out-of-Game, we are all human and we all still make mistakes. In all cases, both Players and Staff should realize and accept this simple truth. All participants are asked to be vigilant in policing their own conduct while giving due consideration to this simple fact of life. After all, gaming is all about entertainment. When it ceases to be entertaining, it is time to "turn it off" and do something else.
d. All Players should adhere to the Code of Sportsmanship. As a game involving more than one Player, all Players should abide by this prime rule: Be honest and fair to one another at all times; win well and lose well; and always keep in mind that it IS just a game. Have fun and share it.
3.1.2 Punishment and Appeal
a. All participants are required to adhere to the requests of the various game officials acting in such a capacity. Ignoring, mocking, or arguing with game officials is grounds for punitive action. If a Player feels that the game official's request is out-of-line, he/she should follow it for the moment and then may bring it up at a later time for discussion in the appropriate DarkSpace Communication Facility venue (there is a forum dedicated to Moderator Feedback). If the Player does not understand the request, then pertinent questions may be asked about the nature of the request, but resistance to the request will not be tolerated.
b. Players are generally warned before any specific action is taken. All game officials (moderators, admins, PaleStar employees, et cetera) adhere to strict rules in dealing with problem Players. Generally, when an infraction occurs, the offending Player will be given a warning by a game official. The game official is obligated only to specify the nature of the infraction to the offending Player and answer pertinent questions about the infraction. If the Player continues to misbehave, the official can take the necessary action to enforce the rules, usually by kicking the Player from the game (or pushing him/her from the Game Server), for example. In extreme cases, where the integrity of the DarkSpace Game System or the DarkSpace Community is at stake, drastic actions may be taken against a Player or a group of Players without any such warning and without regard to any previous history of other infractions.
c. Any Player who has been subjected to any form of punitive action may appeal the action. This can be done by either emailing the Community Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by filling out a grievance form on the DarkSpace web site. Note that any request for an appeal should be accompanied by as much information as possible supporting the Player's position. All information, warnings, punitive actions and appeals with respect to a particular Player's conduct while participating in the DarkSpace User Community are maintained in the Player's profile as history. Such information will be taken into account while considering the Player's appeal.
d. All official messages and requests made by game staff are prefixed with "[MODERATOR]" in the chat rooms and "MOD:" in the game servers. If any game official says or asks anything without the "[MODERATOR]" or "MOD:" prefix, then the message/request comes from them personally and NOT as a representative of PaleStar. This is mainly done to prevent confusion about whether the message/request is official, or if it is merely in-game banter. Also, players are asked to not use the prefix, even for another purpose, as it can cause confusion and could be considered impersonating a moderator.
e. No player subject to a punitive measure or a meeting regarding said measure is required to stay online or to attend such a meeting. This is a game, and the staff does not expect any player to go beyond that context if they don't want to, even if they've broken rules. However, when choosing to log off during a confrontation, all players should carefully consider their situation and standing with the staff, as some confrontations cannot and should not be avoided if the player wishes to continue to be a part of the community.
a. Players may not act in an overtly harassing manner towards other Players and staff. Some amount of competitive language within the context of the game is acceptable for the conflict-oriented nature of the game itself, but direct personal attacks on other Players (rather than their game personas) will not be tolerated. Stalking and harassing other Players outside the context of the game is also forbidden.
b. Any form of hate-mongering behavior outside of the context of the game will absolutely not be tolerated. PaleStar takes a dim view of those who seek to use the DarkSpace Game System and its Facilities to hurt others. As such, immediate and effective punitive measures will be taken with regard to the offender, most likely with little or no warning.
c. As in any Community, Players are expected to respect one another and the PaleStar/DarkSpace Staff at all times while participating in the game system and its facilities. Showing blatant and repeated disrespect towards other Players or Staff members is grounds for punitive action, especially right after being warned about poor conduct. Also, Players are discouraged from initiating or participating in any out-of-game-context acts that negatively impact the gaming experience for any other Player.
d. The creation, organization, and/or participation of any squad, clan, or group within the DarkSpace Game System that is based on or otherwise promotes any out-of-game-context bias against any race, gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or any other hate-mongering philosophy is expressly forbidden. Simply put, using any real-world (non-fictional) contexts for the purpose of in-or-out-of-game bigotry, of ANY kind, is forbidden.
e. The use of the DarkSpace Communication Facilities to confuse other users is forbidden. This includes using any means to "spoof" official game system messages and/or communications as well as utilizing special browser coding to make messages appear to come from another participant in the chat room or forums.
3.1.4 Proper Language
a. The use of overtly offensive, profane, sexually explicit, or abusive language, outside of any venue where it is explicitly permitted, is forbidden. This includes any form of communication that is derogatory or obscene, including but not limited to biased comments based on gender, sexuality, age, race, ethnicity, or religion. This also includes Player and Clan names and is forbidden in all venues of the DarkSpace Communication System, including Clan Pages on the DarkSpace web site, official DarkSpace and PaleStar Forums, and the Chat Rooms, EXCEPT any specific ones where it is explicitly permitted. In addition, communicating links to material outside of the DarkSpace Game System with such content outside of the proper venue is forbidden.
b. The DarkSpace Game System utilizes language filters to reduce the impact of profanity. Self censoring, character replacement, and alternate spellings are not acceptable as they may bypass the language filter. Whilst we accept that players are going to use profanity, the language filter is there to protect the young, and not to be used as an excuse to overuse profanity.
c. PaleStar will strive to maintain an environment for the general audience comprising all Players where such content is minimized. However, the risk of exposure to content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable is still possible due to the unpredictable nature of human behaviour and the fact that content is not (and, in many cases, can not be) screened prior to publishing. Repeating a statement made above: it is presumed that the majority of DarkSpace Players are mature enough to understand, appreciate, and adhere to these rules, so that the use of individual self-restraint will obviate the need for cumbersome and inefficient technical solutions to behavioural issues.
3.1.5 Venue-Specific Behavior
a. Players should refrain any form of disruptive behavior in the Chat Rooms. This includes, but is not limited to spamming or flooding, sending a large number of repeated messages in a short time period, sending unnecessarily large blocks of text, sending repeated irrelevant messages (singing song lyrics to no one in particular, for example), using repeated and/or large numbers of actions (emotes) in a short time period, complaining, whining, innane chatter, etc.
b. Players should refrain from posting spam messages in the forums. This includes things like sig tests (which can be viewed easily in your Profile). Showing them off will be accomplished by posting normally, so there is no need for exhibitions, as it unnecessarily burdens staff members who manage the forums.
c. The discussion of any controversial or otherwise inappropriate/illegal topic should be minimized. Palestar Staff try to maintain a Lobby, Forum and Game environment in which such content is avoided. Such discussions, when allowed to proliferate beyond a certain line, can only lead to a riot-like atmosphere in which contempt can run high between apposing sides of the argument. Other forms of inappopriate conversation can be damaging to minors, especially younger, impressionable ones who may be listening. If players wish to take part in discussions such as these, they should go to private forums or private password protected rooms in the GameCQ Lobby.
d. 'Any exchange that alludes to or creates sexual innuendo or implies any form of sexually explicit behavior is forbidden. It is possible to be explicit without using explicit language directly. Such conversations or suggestions are highly inappropriate and offensive in any public venue, and are likewise considered so in the DarkSpace public communication systems. The difference that they are written publicly on screen rather than spoken or whispered directly is irrelevant.
e. Debate or argument of political opinions or points of view is expressly forbidden. It is a tried and true fact that any argument over politics will unavoidably become political. Political debates, while they can be controlled by their opposing sides to a respectable, allowable degree, are often little more than flame wars between the two different points of view. This is a degrading state of the Lobby and it will be prevented. When this transformation takes place, all sides should immediately cease their discussion to avoid further degradation.
f. Debate or argument of religious opinions or points of view is expressly forbidden. Again, just like the above rule regarding politics, the result is similar when expressing ones beliefs regarding religion. As with all above taboo discussions, if you wish to participate, please take the discussion to a private password protected room where participants are on invite only access
g. Discussion or flaunting of any illegal or controlled drug or other such substances, and/or the non-medical affects of said substances are expressly forbidden. Discussions, especially prolonged, detailed ones, regarding the use (past, present or future) use of any illegal substance is very damaging to younger players, the Palestar community, and its reputation. Whether a chemically altering substance is legal in your area or not, discussions involving the effects of the drug in the context of pleasure or other non-medical contexts are likewise frowned upon. Such reminiscing is extremely inappropriate under any circumstances, in anyones presence, in any venue other than a private password protected room.
3.1.6 Accuracy / Deception / Privacy
a. Players are required to provide true and accurate personal information to PaleStar in order to register for a DarkSpace account. Failure to do so is grounds for immediate account deactivation and expulsion from all current and future PaleStar-sponsored venues. All participants may select a "handle" to be displayed to other participants in the various Communication Facilities, however real personally-identifiable information must still be supplied to PaleStar for accounting and legal requirements.
b. All personally identifiable information about other Players must be kept confidential, unless the person concerned gives explicit permission to disseminate such information. This includes, but is not limited to, real names, addresses, phone numbers, payment/financial information, passwords, et cetera. The best policy is to allow the person himself/herself to provide such information to an interested third party.
c. Impersonating any other Player, game official, or PaleStar staff member or employee is expressly forbidden. Infractions of this nature are considered a serious threat to the integrity of the DarkSpace Community and the DarkSpace game itself, and will be dealt with swiftly and effectively.
d. Likewise, using official game resource names without prior explicit permission is expressly forbidden. This includes server names.
e. Palestar will not be held responsible for any problems resulting from the selling, exchange or giving away of accounts between a pair or group of players. Put simply, Palestar discourages the practice, as it violates the Terms of Service (password privacy and personal culpability), and will not take any actions with regards to people who engage in such activities, except in terms of standard functionality as provided by the game/ToS for password resets and account/billing issues.
a. Advertising of any sort is prohibited. Under no circumstances may Players or non-employee staff utilize the DarkSpace Communication Facilities to market, promote or solicit interest in, or orders for, any product or service, including but not limited to the dissemination of advertising materials, multi-level marketing, and chain mail.
b. All potential advertising requests must be submitted to PaleStar directly. The DarkSpace Game may support advertising at some point in the future, but it will only be allowed through well-established channels.
3.1.8 Applicable Law
a. Players must adhere to all local, state, national, and international laws / regulations imposed by their current country of occupation, and the laws of the United States (as they may apply to the Player in his/her locale). Failure to abide by all applicable laws while participating in DarkSpace is grounds for immediate account termination and permanent expulsion from all PaleStar-sponsored products and venues.
b. Any attempt to utilize any part of the DarkSpace Game System or its Facilities to arrange for the transfer of pirated software or other unlawful products will be dealt with severely. Such activity is a clear and present threat to the integrity of the DarkSpace Game System and Community, and will be dealt with swiftly and severely.
c. Only original materials and content which are created by the Player, or which the Player has been granted proper rights to distribute by the author or holder of the copyright to said material, can be posted, uploaded, or transmitted via the DarkSpace Game System and Communication Facilities. The best policy is to refrain from posting materials and content which were not created by the poster. All documentation regarding granted rights must be made available on request to PaleStar; however, providing such documentation up front is the best policy in this case.
3.1.9 Cracking / System Exploitation
a. Cracking, modifying, or otherwise altering any part of the DarkSpace Game System is expressly forbidden. While it may be legal in particular locales, Community participants are required to refrain from such activities if they wish to remain participants.
b. Intercepting, interfering, deciphering, or otherwise tampering with any network traffic to or from any servers relevant to the DarkSpace Game System is forbidden. This includes using any network analysis tools to intercept/alter any data packets sent to or from a DarkSpace Game System client or server for the purposes of cheating or denying service to other Players.
c. Circumvention of any security measure controlling access and/or authentication to any DarkSpace Game System facility or resource is expressly forbidden. Violations of this and similar rules by any person may be subject to prosecution under various computer/cybercrime statutes in the United States as well as the offender's current country of occupation.
d. Exploiting any bug or weakness in the DarkSpace Game System is forbidden. This includes not only the exploits listed in section 3.3 of this document, Game Exploits, but also anything that clearly provides an advantage for some over others, and is not designed to be that way. Players are required to communicate any bugs or weaknesses they discover to PaleStar via email or any official bug-reporting facilities provided by PaleStar. Distribution and/or publication of information about any bugs or weaknesses in the DarkSpace Game System for the purposes of encouraging exploitation by any other DarkSpace Players and/or Staff is forbidden.
e. Only the official software components and game content authorized and distributed by PaleStar (or any authorized mirror) can be used to participate in the DarkSpace Game System. The creation, support, and/or use of any emulated DarkSpace software component or utility as well as participation in any unauthorized reproduction of the DarkSpace Game System is expressly forbidden. No utilities or other software tools related to the DarkSpace Game System may be created or published without the authorization and permission of PaleStar.
f. Unauthorized use of any account, security passcode, or other DarkSpace Game System facility or resource is expressly forbidden. This includes using unauthorized trusted server access codes to create faked official prestige gain servers.
g. Participation in any acts that are dangerous to Players or detrimental to PaleStar's ability to regulate, monitor, maintain, service, or update the DarkSpace Game System is forbidden. The transmission of any viruses or programs that are detrimental to the DarkSpace Game System or the DarkSpace Community is expressly forbidden.
h. Re-joining a Lobby or chat room to undo a MUTE by a Staffmember is completely unacceptable. Any member of the community has the right to leave the room at any point if they are not enjoying themselves or their circumstances. This includes logging off or leaving when one is muted for misbehavior. However, the act of immediately returning so that the mute can be undone is both an exploitation of the system and an improper means of standing up to the staff. As a mute is normally commuted after an offense has already taken place, violation of this rule will result in appropriate kick/ban measures being taken.
i. Using multiple accounts in-game to provide an advantage over a single ship is prohibited. A single player commanding multiple ships in a single game server is forbidden, as it provides that player an unfair advantage over others. Whereas DarkSpace is at its core a team game, and ships are balanced assuming that one person controls one ship, having multiple ships can provide a clear advantage for a single player. This is therefore forbidden.
3.2 Code of Conduct for Staff (Moderators)
A Moderator is one who presides over an assembly, meeting, or discussion: as
- the presiding officer of a Presbyterian governing body
- the nonpartisan presiding officer of a town meeting
- the chairman of a discussion group.
Within the Dark Space environment our Moderators are here to
- Help players with game inquiries and or problems when needed.
- To enforce the Rules of Conduct.
- For players to have a opportunity to be part of the Dark Space team.
a. At all times, Staff members should exercise fairness, patience, tolerance, and understanding when dealing with Players and each other. When dealing with problems, always attempt conversation with a Player first and help him/her understand the rules. Chances are, Players will be more amenable and cooperative with a polite request than with a terse warning. Remember, most people don't intend to offend; often, they are just ignorant of the rules or may simply not recognize that their behavior exceeds them.
b. Staff members are only human and will make mistakes. When a mistake is made, simply acknowledge it, apologize as necessary, and move on.
c. Staff members are expected to act impartially (neutral, unbiased) towards all Players while performing their duties. Avoid showing favoritism towards any specific Player or group of Players.
d. Even though most Staff positions are voluntary, Staff members must show respect for Players and other Staff members. Anything an identifiable Staff member says is taken to heart by the Players. As a Staff member, you are a so-called spokesman for the whole Community in general and the way you conduct yourself reflects on everyone.
e. The abuse of any privileges granted for the performance of a particular Staff position, or abusing Players and/or Staff as a Moderator will cause said privileges and position to be revoked. A great deal of power, trust, and responsibility are awarded to a participant who is given a Staff position. If that trust turns out to be misplaced, the power and responsibility will be revoked.
f. Staff members should take their position and responsibilities seriously. This does not mean that they are not to enjoy themselves while doing so. The entire goal of DarkSpace is entertainment for all participants. To that end, PaleStar will strive to reduce the "overhead" for Staff members so that it can be fun rather than being a "job".
g. Staff members can view the history of any DarkSpace participant at any time. In addition, they should do so before issuing any warnings or executing any punitive actions against a participant.
3.2.2 Language Issues
a. Misunderstandings due to language (and cultural) barriers are not only possible, but are very common. DarkSpace Players and Staff live in several different countries and speak different languages. This problem is aggravated when the speaker is under duress, under the effects of heightened emotions, in a hurry, or in a tense situation. Under these circumstances, if what the speaker says seems offensive, ask him or her for clarification before taking offense. Chances are, the extra time afforded will allow the speaker to clearly re-think his or her words and clarify what he or she is trying to convey. Always remember these three virtues: patience, tolerance, and understanding.
b. When faced with language constructs that you do not understand, ask other native speakers of the language in question to translate and/or explain the usage context. Sometimes colloquialisms (local idioms and other dialectic jargon) may seem to be offensive, but may not actually be so. If in doubt, ask. There is no shame in ignorance; only in remaining so.
c. Since the chat room has a profanity filter, warnings to Players (and kick/bans) need to be limited to excessive use (spamming and/or abuse directed at another Player). The chat room profanity filter protects others from seeing offending words, not the speaker. The speaker sees what he or she types as it was typed. If a Player asks what a filtered word means (who may most likely be a minor), just tell them it's a cuss word, nothing more. In other words, play it down.
d. At no time should a Staff member use harsh or vulgar language in any DarkSpace Communication facility. This is especially important while on duty and when helping other participants.
e. Lists of banned words/phrases for each language will be generated and given to PaleStar for the profanity filters in the chat room. In addition, the lists will be made available to Moderators so that they can recognize the words in the forums and in-game, neither of which are utilizing chat filters at present.
3.2.3 Chat Room-Specific Behavior (Including In-Game Chat)
a. Staff members should not quarrel with other Players or Game Staff in public. Simple disagreement may be voiced, but intense, heated debate should be kept in the proper venue, to private messages ("whispers"), or to email.
b. Staff members should not simply log into the game and sit in the public chat rooms, then go "away from keyboard" and do something else. This is called "poweridling" and is frowned upon for many reasons; not the least of which is that it gives Players the impression that they have nothing better to do than show off their status and ignore Player requests for help.
3.2.4 Knowledge Management
a. Staff members are expected to know and understand the entirety of the Rules of Conduct and adhere to them at all times. All Staff members should always try to serve as models of Community behavior.
b. Staff members should make a sincere effort to keep up-to-date with current changes in, and status of, the DarkSpace Game System and User Community. Unless it is not normally within their scope of responsibility, Staff members must keep up-to-date if they are to be effective at performing their duties.
c. In the case of Staff members who have specific areas of knowledge, and are asked a question to which they do not know the answer (i.e., is not within their specific "area of knowledge"), or are not sure of the answer, then they should (if possible) direct the Player to the best possible location/person to find the answer, or attempt to answer the question while impressing on the Player their uncertainty about the accuracy of the answer. Nothing more can be expected of any Staff member, excepting courtesy and patience in the delivery of such an answer.
3.2.5 Privacy Issues
a. Dissemination of private Game- or Player-specific information by any Staff member to anyone else without the explicit permission of PaleStar is expressly forbidden, PERIOD. Staff members may be granted access to private information contained within the DarkSpace Game System concerning the Game itself or its participants in order to perform their duties. Abuse of such a privilege is grounds for immediate revocation of all Staff privileges and responsibilities.
a. Moderators and other Staff members should try to help all participants with problems or questions to the best of their ability. Always try to show as much patience as possible while doing so. If you are not sure about a question refer them to the web site help section. It is quite possible it may contain the answer they are seeking.
b. If a Player reports witnessing what he or she believes to be another participant cheating, a Moderator should first verify the situation by investigating it further. If it can be verified that the participant is cheating, the Moderator should make the appropriate warnings and/or take the appropriate actions, based on the nature of the infraction and the participant's history. As part of any investigation into cheating, gather as much evidence as possible, including screen shots, chat logs, video, witness testimony, et cetera.
c. On-duty Moderators are expected to police the particular venue in which they are currently participating and enforce these Rules of Conduct as well as act as the voice of reason when things get out of hand. While it is a mark of a good Moderator to never have to resort to punishing users, it is a mark of a bad Moderator to not act and mete out punishments when the situation necessitates such.
d. Staff members charged with maintaining assigned game resources (the Rules of Conduct, FAQ, Knowledgebase, et cetera) should do so in a timely fashion. Stale game and community resources are of little value to the participants; no one likes visiting a dilapidated dwelling for very long. All game resources should have at least one Staff member and one backup acting to maintain the assigned resource.
3.2.7 Dealing with Problem Players: Warnings and Actions
a. Before pushing Players off a server for exploits, be sure that the behavior is a known exploit. If unsure, bring it up as soon as possible in the Moderator forum and/or email the PaleStar staff. Players should only be pushed for known exploits unless their behavior poses a critical threat to the integrity of the game.
b. Players should not be pushed/banned for in-game ignorance. However, in-game stupidity (intentional ignorance bordering on malice which negatively impacts game play for other Players) is another matter, and needs to be dealt with accordingly.
c. Never take punitive actions against anyone without due cause or a reasonable explanation. Especially avoid "impulsive" responses to Player behavior. Always mete out admonishments with an even hand. Punitive actions should only be used as a last resort when all other attempts to entice the Player to voluntarily correct his/her behavior have been exhausted.
d. Always warn a user before you take any action against them. As stated above, some users after being warned will realize their actions and stop. Then again, there are some that want to cause as much grief as possible to other participants. However, never hesitate to take action if you see a person causing repeated trouble to participants, whether it be vulgar language, racial comments, or a total disrespect for others. This is grounds for an immediate kick action.
e. For most basic infractions, Moderators should use the following formula for dealing with problem Players:
- First Offense: Polite request
- Second Offense: Issue warning
- Third Offense: Kick/Push the user for 10 minutes.
- Fourth Offense: Issue second warning
- Fifth Offense: Ban the user for 24 hours.
- Sixth Offense: Final warning
- Seventh Offense: Expulsion/Account Termination
f. Use basic escalation techniques to deal with problem participants. First, warn the offending participant. It is suggested to use a minimum of a polite request and one warning and then take action on the third offense ("three strikes" ). Use Push and Kick first after the initial warning. Ban should be reserved for repeat/chronic offenders or anything that is perceived to be a serious threat to the stability and integrity of the game. It is recommended that all "official" warnings issued be made in PRIVATE messages to the Player; publicly "dressing-down" a Player is a poor way to handle the situation. However, the initial "polite request" should be made public, so that other participants can see that the behavior in question is drawing attention and concern from Staff members; this helps others present see an exemplification of the Rules of Conduct and the consequences of continually violating them in action.
g. All official warnings should be logged and all punitive actions taken MUST be logged. Whenever a participant is banned, please inform the Community Manager or another PaleStar employee at once, so they will have a heads-up.
h. All official messages and requests MUST be sent with either /modsend or /modsay. This is to prevent confusion when staff members are either off-duty, playing the game, or are making non-official statements/requests. If any game official says or asks anything that is not specifically identified as official, or when the context of their comments has not been previously established as official, then the message/request comes from them personally and NOT as a representative of PaleStar. Once a game official establishes the context of their communication with any particular player(s) as official, subsequent messages need not be specifically identified as such, and players should assume that they still are such until the context ends, or are told otherwise.
3.2.8 Dealing with Problem Staff Members: Warnings and Actions
a. Always remember that the offender is a peer. The offender has also been given some level of responsibility and trust which, hopefully, was not misplaced when he/she was made a Staff member. Always investigate the situation fully before taking action and give the offender the benefit of a doubt.
b. If the infraction is minor, attempt to communicate with the offender and/or get him/her out of the situation. Generally, Staff members who are causing problems may be in a bad mood or may have gotten themselves in a situation where their emotions have gotten the better of them. Try to get them to leave the public eye in order to let them calm down and think about what they have done.
c. If the infraction is major and the integrity of the Game or Community is at stake, take immediate action. In these cases, it is always better to ask for forgiveness later rather than suffer the consequences of the offender's actions in the present.
d. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS report problems with other Staff members, regardless of outcome, at once to the Community Manager and/or to PaleStar directly. Failure to do so does not do the Community any favors and, since every Staff member's first duty is to the Community, this can be seen as an infraction in and of itself.
3.3 Current DarkSpace Game Exploits
Exploitation is one of the most common problems in many multiplayer games. It can take many forms, with effects upon the game ranging from very subtle to game-breakingly grandiose. Primarily, it has to do with players taking advantage of weaknesses in the game system or content in order to gain an unfair advantage over other players. Most of the time, these weaknesses are caused by bugs or poorly balanced rules.
The simplest definition of exploitation is playing the game system instead of playing the game. Also, playing the game in ways it is not meant to be played for any form of personal gain, be it in-game resources or entertainment value. Such definitions are ambiguous at best, however, so they must be further defined and exemplified. To this end, a list shall be maintained in this section of all current exploits that are actionable by the game officials. Please note that this list is subject to change from time to time as the underlying game is strengthened or other bugs/weaknesses are unintentionally introduced. It is the responsibility of all game participants to keep up with this section and, indeed, the rest of this document.
The list of all exploits currently forbidden for use by ANY participants:
Description: A member of a team intentionally firing on teammates, bombing/scrapping planet resources, and/or giving intelligence to the enemy to the detriment of the team.
Why Its an Exploit: In DarkSpace, team damage is always considered on. Thus, the ability for a player to attack his teammates for no other reason than to disrupt play (or to play saboteur) cannot be easily addressed. In addition, the game design does not provide for the elements of spying or sabotage.
Elaboration: People who do this solely to disrupt the game are the foremost targets of this rule. In other games, this is often called griefing, or is caused by grief players.
3.3.2 Safe Zone Camping
Description: Enemy vessel taking any form of hostile action against a vessel in its own safe zone or using an enemy safe zone for protection while regenerating or repairing.
Why Its an Exploit: In a vast majority of first-person games, spawn-camping is severely frowned upon, as a player in the process of spawning is generally defenseless or a sitting duck for a short period of time. This is because the game client tends to not start rendering the world/environment for the player before the server starts render the player in the world/environment, leaving his ship/character exposed and vulnerable for a short period. At present, DarkSpace has a 1000 GU no fire safe zone around the spawn gate.
As such, this area is considered a Non-Combat Area, and henceforth (spawn) Safe Zone Camping is considered an exploit tactic. In addition, enemy vessels camped within the safety zone itself regardless of the action being taken, even if they are just sitting there for protection, are considered to be exploiting the system as this is not their faction safety zone. Using an interdictor just outside the safety zone to prevent ships from entering the game is also considered part of this exploit. Enemy interdictor ships must be 2,000 GU from a home gate so their interdictor field does not extend into the safe zone
SPECIAL NOTE: This exploit applies to SPAWN (HOME) GATES, not inter-system or inter-cluster JUMP GATES. A 5000gu No-Fly zone is also in effect for players of opposing factions.
Description: Members of different teams/factions cooperating for mutual prestige gain (IE, build/bomb runs, attack/repair runs, capture/capture runs). KEEP IN MIND THAT AN ALLIANCE OF 2 SIDES TO ATTACK A 3RD IS PERFECTLY LEGAL!
Why Its an Exploit: Obviously, opposing teams are not meant to cooperate to gain prestige during war time.
SPECIAL NOTE: DUELING: Players may duel in the laddered servers at any time. All dueling will be to the Death. Dueling to only a certain % level of hull left (ie 50%, 25%, etc.) and then stopping to allow the other player to leave safely or taking a break to repair falls under this exploit for mutual pres gain.
3.3.4 Macroing / Automation
Description: ANY form of programmed or automated manipulation of DarkSpace code which allows users to gain without being present at their computer.
Why Its an Exploit: DarkSpace is a game which is meant to be played by players, not scripts or programs. Additionally, use of automated systems can provide an unfair advantage over players - in terms of credit accumulation, prestige gain, or other measures. Thus, all macros or automation measures are forbidden.
3.3.5 Revolt Bombing
Description: Removing a friendly planet's food supply so it revolts, then bombing it for easy bombing points.
Why it's an Exploit: Quite simply, this is something totally unrealistic to a space strategic simulation and can have no excuse for it within the context of the game if it happens. It is clearly intended only for personal prestige gain, hence is an exploit by definition.
3.3.6 Logging to avoid death
Description: Logging out under certain conditions will render a ship unable to take damage.
Why it's an Exploit: Forcing a scenario like this will result in you avoiding death and enhancement cost. It is clearly unintended and will be punished.
4 Cheating, Metagaming, and Other Unsportsmanlike Conduct
a. Taking vendettas and revenge on Players outside of the context of the game ("out-of-game") is prohibited. If conflicts and rivalry cannot be kept in the context of the game, then the participants in question are taking the rivalry too seriously and may be given some unscheduled "vacation time" to cool down.
b. DarkSpace is not, by definition, a Role-Playing game, but it contains some of the elements of one. Many participants take on a persona while they are playing and may do or say things that they may not otherwise do in real life. While it is not necessary for any participant to exhibit, or respond in kind to, this behavior, participants should at least recognize it for what it is and refrain from taking any perceived offense out-of-game. If a participant does not wish to partake in the Role-Playing atmosphere with others, a simple statement to that effect made to the other Role-Playing participants should suffice to have them cease and desist with respect to the requesting participant.
c. Using "shortcuts" and game "quirks" to gain unfair advantage is frowned upon. While not technically against the rules, such actions nevertheless are unsportsmanlike and unfair to other participants who are playing fair and not using them. Generally, repeated and blatant offenders may draw warnings (as well as more severe actions) from game officials. Examples of such behavior: disconnecting from the game to avoid battle or other loss of prestige; mounting an offensive on the area surrounding the enemy spawn point in Scenario Game Instances ("gate-camping").
d. Some Game Server Instances may have "house rules" in place and participants are expected to follow them. Most often, any such "house rules" will be posted prominently; however, a simple inquiry upon joining a game is very appropriate and will go far to avoid transgressions and misunderstandings.
e. Role-Playing behavior cannot be used as an excuse to break any other rule in the Game. It is generally considered very bad etiquette to attempt to gain an out-of-play advantage via breaking a game rule and covering it up with an excuse like "I was just Role-Playing; my persona/character would do that, so why can't I?".
f. Participants should report any instances of cheating or other Game exploitation at once to the "nearest" Game official. It is the responsibility of the officials to investigate the situation and take appropriate action. Participants can help them do their job by providing as much evidence and information as possible.
g. If any participant witnesses cheating by any other participant, including Moderators or other game officials, the participant should report the incident as soon as possible to a game official (or to the Community Manager or any PaleStar employee, if a game official is suspected of cheating). As part of any report about cheating, always try to gather as much evidence as possible, including screen shots, chat logs, video, witness testimony, et cetera.