In a nutshell, the AUP can be described in one sentence…
“Be a nice person, give other folks a fair shake, don’t be a jerk, realize that a wizard is never merely *suggesting* that you knock it off.”
Every now and then it’s a good idea to remind folks that we do, in fact, have an Acceptable Use Policy on this MUCK. Generally, it’s fairly relaxed, but occasionally there needs to be some interpretation on the part of the wizards about how it applies to everyday life on the MUCK.
One such area where problems of interpretation occur is what is and is not considered suitable behaviour for a public area. The AUP reads, “Be a nice person, give other folks a fair shake, don’t be a jerk, realize that a wizard is never merely *suggesting* that you knock it off.”
So what behaviour would go beyond the bounds of the AUP? In simple terms, anything that is upsetting to another person. If you’re in a public place, and it becomes clear that what you’re doing or saying is upsetting someone else in the room, then clearly you should stop.
But what if you think that person is being overly sensitive about what’s happening? Well, it really makes no difference. You’re in a -public- area, and are obliged to modify your behaviour according to the people around you. Why? Well, consider how you’d behave if you were out to dinner with a bunch of your close friends compared to if it were your grandmother. Depending on your grandmother, I’d suspect it’d be quite different. Something that your friends would laugh at, might very well be offensive to your grandmother.
So how do we ‘be a nice person, and give other folks a fair shake?’ Simply, if you’re upsetting someone, you must stop, no matter whether you think they’re being thin-skinned or not. From the other point of view, if someone is upsetting you, you should politely tell them this and ask them to stop. Asking someone (or being asked) like this is -not- a cue to start an argument about what is and isn’t OK for a public place. If someone asks you to stop, there -is- no further argument. If you feel they’re asking frivolously or maliciously, then take that up with a wizard, not with them.
Of course, what you do or say in private is your own affair – people can always leave if they don’t like what’s happening. But in a public place, everyone has as much right to be there as you do. If you want to carry on a conversation that someone objects to, you have lots of options. You can take it to another room, moves to whispers or pages, or just drop it and pick it up later.
Given SpinDizzy culture and player expectations, some issues do not depend on who is in a public area with you, such as sexually explicit descriptions and behaviour. You should automatically expect someone to be uncomfortable with either. There are other, age-restricted MUCKs that allow such things, so please keep them there, as the Spindizzy staff has little desire to police ‘adult behaviour’ on the MUCK. Whether in a private or public sphere, if an administrator must get involved in such an issue, whether because they’re hearing about it from players or an argument has come up about what ‘adult behaviour’ is, you may assume you’ve gone too far, and that your behaviour is unacceptable.
So, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in public is really a sliding scale. What might be funny to one group on one day, might be offensive to others on the following day. Everyone expects to be treated with respect. Nobody should feel forced to leave a public area because they find themselves upset by the actions of others. Conversely, no one should feel they can’t discuss a reasonable topic in a public place. So please make sure you extend this same respect to those around you, and be on the look-out for when your behaviour crosses the line from being just off-colour and becomes offensive.
This policy document has been written to allow people to understand how the wizards will interpret the AUP with respect to behaviour. It does not lay out any new ‘rules’ nor ‘rights.’ The AUP is the basic criteria by which the wizards make their judgements.
– The SpinDizzy Wizards