Announcing the Infrastructure Staff Meeting

As we announced at the May 2020 GSM, we will be trying out a change to the monthly General Staff Meeting cycle that we hope will shorten the monthly GSMs and provide for quicker turnaround of most projects and events. Specifically, we will hold short staff meetings in between the monthly GSMs. These shorter meetings have been colloquially called “mini-GSMs” in the past, but their official name is the Infrastructure Staff Meeting or ISM.

ISMs work just like GSMs in most aspects, but they have some special considerations:

  • ISMs only consist of GSM sections 7, 8, 9, and 10. These sections are the non-MRT transport projects, event funding, inactive asset transfer, and other project sections, respectively. MRT lines, “Section 5” community issues, and private topics (Premier city reviews and moderator nominations) are not discussed at ISMs.
  • ISMs have a hard time limit of 1 hour. Anything that isn’t decided within the hour will be forwarded to the following GSM. Of course, if we can handle everything within the hour and adjourn sooner, that’s even better. Event hosts wishing to have an event on the same day as an ISM can safely have the event begin at 8:00 PM UTC without a conflict.
  • ISMs have full decision-making authority, and a decision made at an ISM carries just as much weight as a decision at a GSM.
  • ISMs are generally scheduled 14 days prior to a GSM. There are exceptions, usually for the July, December, and January GSMs (June, November, and December ISMs) due to holidays. We will announce any modifications to the schedule well in advance.
  • We generally will handle all items in the usual order (transport projects, then events, then IATs, then other items). We may change this order if necessary; for instance, the June ISM may prioritize events due to the anniversary. Final decisions will be made when the ISM agenda closes.
  • ISMs will be public, and WorldEdits will not be permitted during the meetings. GSM Town construction will be permitted during an ISM.

The first two ISMs will be Sunday, May 31 and Saturday, June 27, both from 7:00 to 8:00 pm UTC. Please note that the July GSM is on July 18, not the 11th.

As a reminder, agenda items are due 48 hours prior to the start of the meeting. This means that any ISM-eligible items that are submitted by 7:00 pm UTC on Friday, May 29 will be considered at the ISM. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about when your proposals will be considered – once they are added to an agenda, you’ll be told which one.

We hope this process allows for much more efficient GSMs, and that projects and events can get started quicker. We certainly don’t expect the first two to go perfectly, and we’re open to suggestions for improvement. If you have any, or any questions about the process, please let us know.

<3, Chief


May 2020 GSM Results

It’s May, which means it’s time for some more GSM results! Special thanks to both MBS and MBN for streaming this month’s meeting. You can find stream archives of the meeting here (MBS) and here (MBN).

Moderator promotions

Or, to be more accurate, lack thereof. This time around we decided not to extend any offers for a Trial Moderator position, even though we discussed several candidates. Two candidates will be automatically reconsidered at GSMs in the near future.

We went into a lot of detail at the GSM about why we made this decision (it’s at about the 1 hour, 5 minute mark – right at the beginning of item 4B). In short:

  • We recognize that there are some concerns about staff presence in the Asia/Pacific time zones. Our priority is to find and offer moderator positions to quality candidates, regardless of where in the world they live. Time zones occasionally factor in if we’re promoting multiple people, or in the case of admin promotions where G Suite seats are limited, but they are not a primary factor in our consideration process for moderators.
  • We list the qualities we’re looking for (and not looking for) in potential moderators on the Ranks page. The overwhelming majority of our decision-making process is tied to these qualities. If a candidate has served on the staff team in the past, their previous service is taken into consideration as a part of our process.
  • If a candidate is not recommended for promotion and offered a position, that doesn’t mean they are a bad person, or that they are forever banned from receiving the position. It does mean that we don’t think the position is a good fit for them at that moment in time.
  • We believe that one candidate was explicitly asking community members to submit nominations. This goes against the spirit of General Rule 4 (“Do not ask to become a staff member”). Our policy going forward is that candidates who request nominations will be automatically denied promotion at the GSM involved, and repeat offenders will receive formal warnings under General Rule 4. Candidates should earn their nominations through their actions in the community.

Additionally, we want to make some clarifications regarding the nomination process itself:

  • Moderator nominations do not roll over to subsequent GSMs. If you submit a nomination but your candidate does not become a trial moderator, you can send in a new nomination if you think the candidate is still qualified for the position and want us to reconsider them. You need to send in a brand-new nomination, you can’t just resend your old one. This also applies to deferred candidates: because we won’t release candidate names, if you want us to be sure to reconsider someone, please send in a new nomination.
  • We expect nominations to be of high quality and to provide enough information for us to understand your viewpoint on why you are nominating a candidate for the position, along with how they have demonstrated their maturity and leadership. Nominations that lack specific examples, are overly broad and generalized, or are too short will be rejected and will not count towards the two-nomination requirement. (Nominations will generally be rejected if they’re less than a paragraph long.) All staff members are empowered to reject low-quality submissions, and if in doubt any staff member can use our existing communication channels to consult with other staff, or can escalate to an admin.

Above all, we want to encourage everyone to continue looking out for worthy candidates and sending them our way. We really appreciate all of the nominations that came in this time, and we had some really productive and thoughtful conversations about each candidate on our list. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations.

To clarify some of the things that nominators and candidates can and can’t do related to this process (which has been in place since 2012):

  • If you nominate someone, you can choose to privately tell them that you have submitted a nomination. We would discourage you from sharing your nomination publicly.
  • If you want to nominate someone, you can privately consult with other players or staff about your thoughts. Nominations, however, must be sent from only one person; we don’t allow joint nominations.
  • If a candidate receives an offer but chooses to decline it, they can choose to come forward and identify themselves publicly if they wish.
  • Candidates may not ask community members for nominations, or for information about a pending nomination.
  • If we announce that a candidate has declined an offer, we ask that community members refrain from trying to identify the candidate. The candidate has the choice of if they wish to identify themselves or not.
  • Staff will not confirm the authenticity or accuracy of any information regarding nominations, candidates under consideration, or candidates who decline an offer, except for non-identifying counts (for example, we can confirm how many nominations have been submitted overall, or how many candidates declined an offer, but we will not confirm how many nominations a specific candidate has).

Other private topics

  • We reviewed the cities of Chan Bay (by ManuF_moj) and Titsensaki (by frogggggg) for Premier. Neither passed the 80% majority vote required for promotion. Feedback is in the usual folder, http://bit.ly/AllBatches.
  • Yoshi has been working on some cosmetic updates to the Rules page, as well as a new “Policies” page that outlines some of the non-rule policies that we have in place. These should be going live soon.
  • We discussed the potential for having a “Mini GSM” in between “Full” GSMs to clear some of the road, event, and other proposals that are less involved and easier to process. More information will be forthcoming on how this will work and when the first one is.

Road ownership and proposal threshold changes

Effective at this GSM:

  • All A-roads, including existing A-roads, are publicly owned.
  • All B-roads, including existing B-roads, are publicly owned, except within the borders of a town where they are owned by that town’s mayor. Ownership of the appropriate road segment transfers with the town in the event of an IAT.
  • B-roads are exempt from GSM approval requirements if they are less than 500 blocks long (an increase from 300). Road builders are still encouraged to contact staff to reserve the road number and get it added to the master road spreadsheet.

Our intention with these changes is to make it easier for players to build roads and connect towns together. We view these as being fundamentally different from rails, for reasons including the fact that roads are almost always built at ground level (as opposed to rails, which are frequently built underground). If you have questions about what kinds of changes you can make to a particular road segment, please ask your nearest friendly staff member.

Other community issues

  • The uCars plugin is being removed at 05:00 UTC Monday, May 11. While the plugin has been beloved throughout its period of installation, it has become increasingly incompatible with minecart-based rail systems, especially trams and anything that uses a uCar-drivable block (think quartz) as its track base. Additionally, the plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time, and it’s unlikely it will be in the near future. We are looking into options to issue refunds for any purchased uFuel. As of right now this is a permanent removal, though if the plugin or a fork of it comes back, we could reconsider it at a later date.
  • We are considering implementing a ticketing system for requesting staff assistance during busy times. This stems from a (valid!) complaint that staff tend to forget or ignore some requests when it’s busy. While we’re still working out the details, please use /helpop to request something when it’s busy. You might not see its message, but staff certainly do, and it’s a bright red and orange message that’s much harder to miss than a typical chat message.
  • We are leaving /skull as a supporter perk. There was a proposal to allow all players to use it, however we believe it is still a valuable perk for anyone who supports us financially. Players who are not supporters can always access custom skulls either by collaborating with a supporter, by importing them from the Minecraft saved hotbar feature, or by importing them through a schematic file.
  • The July GSM is being rescheduled to Saturday, July 18 at 19:00 UTC. This means if you want to receive a funding grant for an anniversary weekend event, you need to get your request in for the June GSM.
  • Helicopters with active warps only count against a town’s limit if the warps go outside of the town. This means that once a town reaches Councillor, there is no limit to the number of helicopters that can be used for local (single-town) transit.
  • MinecraftYoshi26 will assume the majority of the responsibility of managing PVP arenas. The existing arenas (1-18 and Laclede) will be updated to use names, rather than numbers or abbreviations, and Yoshi will be the primary point of contact for building and setting up new arenas.
  • We have clarified some rules on building canals. All canals outside of a town need staff approval, and all canals within a town do not. Staff will determine on a case-by-case basis if a canal needs GSM approval or if it can be handled over email. Generally, short and simple canals will be more likely to receive approval over email, while longer canal systems will be more likely to require a GSM discussion.
  • Lake 46 from this map has been renamed Lake Gunto.
  • ModernArt sent something in about the ownership structure of NW26-T50 Stations. This didn’t ask a question, so we weren’t sure what to do with it. It’s technically eligible for an IAT if anyone wants it.

With that out of the way, here’s the whirlwind of stamps we handed out on everyone’s other projects!

MRT Lines

Four MRT line extensions were approved. As per usual, please don’t build new towns along these lines until they open.

  • The Plains Line Extension 4 runs from Richville to Hannibal.
  • The Mesa Line Extension 3 runs from Heampstead to Tembok.
  • The Taiga Line Extension 2 runs due north from its current terminus, stopping short of the Zeta border.
  • The Northern West Extension runs from its current terminus to Carnoustie.

Maps of all four routes (PLX4, MLX3, TLX2, and NWX1) are all below.

Roads

The following roads were approved:

  • The A62 from Deadbush to Savannah, by Yellowitcher
  • The B243 from Litore to Metamesa, by Foote_Chicken
  • The B365 from Richville to the A4, by _Kastle
  • The B808 Extension / B809 by autobus22

Canals

Y’all really seem to like boats, so here are some canal projects:

  • We have held approval on a pair of canals between Gray Cloud Lake and Lake Gunto (Lakes 14 and 46), pending some details from i____7d.
  • We have denied a project from FredTheTimeLord to build a series of narrow canals in the southwest, primarily due to permission issues.
  • We have approved a canal between the Estival Sea and Lake 49, though “49connect” really is a bit of a missed opportunity, given that the Estival Sea is lake 20.

Other transport projects

  • We have approved a series of inactive town bypasses by IntraRail in the northwest corner of the map.
  • We have approved an inactive town bypass for BluRail in Chestwick (A18).
  • The tunnel project proposed by i____7d to run between Harton Bay and Forest Bay has been held, because the proposal didn’t include information on whether this tunnel connects to a larger network, and whether it’s a road or rail tunnel. (Yes, this is important.)
  • The canal from Eden to Lake Takachsin proposed by shadowboarder is approved in full.

IATs

We approved two inactive asset transfers:

  • The town of Amberville, to ManuF_moj
  • The Phoenix Tail Hotel franchise, to EliteNeon

The town of Hathnes was pulled by its owner before the meeting, and so was not transferred.

Events

We’ve got some exciting events coming up:

  • The Summer Olympics, organized by airplane320, were approved with reduced funding.
  • Big Brother 5, organized by MinecraftYoshi26, was approved with full funding.
  • The MGA New Amsterdam Tournament, organized by Red_Ray and London150, was approved with split funding (as agreed, we’ll fund the first $500, with any extras coming from sponsorships).
  • The Pride Month Float Building Contest, organized by daltdisneyland to occur in Central City, has been approved with full funding. Look for signups and location information soon!

That should be everything. Wash your hands and stay home, everyone – and let us know if you have questions or if we missed something.

<3, Chief


April 2020 GSM Results

Hello everyone! We hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe among the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve certainly enjoyed seeing so many of you online, and we hope the 1.15 performance issues haven’t been too big of an issue!

You can watch the MBS livestream of today’s GSM here, or read on for the details of what’s been decided!

Two new Full Moderators

We are pleased to announce two promotions to full Moderator, though for slightly different reasons:

  • Vulpicula has been serving as a Trial Moderator since January and has passed his three-month probationary period.
  • godzilltrain is a former admin who stepped down at the August 2019 General Staff Meeting. As his real-life obligations have changed and allowed him to commit more time to the MRT, we are happy to welcome him back to the staff team. Godz has been approved by the admins to skip the Trial Moderator rank and has been reinstated directly to the rank of full Moderator.

Congratulations to both on their promotions!

Changes to city rank promotion notifications and extensions

We hate having Senator and Governor cities’ review periods extended just as much as you do. To reduce the chance of this happening, we are making some adjustments to the notification process:

  • If a city’s review period gets extended, staff who are required to vote on it will be pinged in the #staff channel daily until they vote.
  • Updates will continue to be provided every 5 days of an extension. Each update will display the total number of votes that have been cast at that point. The identity of staff selected to vote will continue to remain anonymous.
  • Cities with extended review periods will have their results posted within 24 hours of meeting the 5-vote minimum. Cities that reach the 5-vote threshold will have their results published once the 14-day voting window closes, as usual.

We considered additional options, such as publicly naming staff involved in the voting process, keeping votes private (meaning not allowing staff to see each others’ votes during the voting process), or adjusting the number of votes required or selected, but chose not to implement any of these ideas at this time. If we find that cities’ review periods are still being extended even with these changes, we may revisit this topic later.

We have temporarily disabled new Senator and Governor review requests while we implement the changes listed above. Any existing requests will continue to be reviewed on the normal schedule. We’ll post in #announcements once review requests are open again.

Republic of Epsilon

The staff also held a postmortem discussion on the events that unfolded a few days ago, which culminated in a double warning being issued and Republic of Epsilon members making the decision to remove ModernArt from the organization. We won’t go into too many details here as we believe the story is Modern’s and Vulpi’s to tell, but we do want to clarify a few things from a more official perspective, as there are some misconceptions out there on how the situation over the past week was handled.

  • We have posted the MPO rules from the July 2018 GSM onto the Rules page. We apologize that this wasn’t done back when we did the Rules Revamp.
  • We have removed the rule where MPOs need GSM approval to merge. MPOs that want to absorb other MPOs can now do so freely without an approval process.
  • We have no intention to dissolve the Republic of Epsilon or take any other punitive action against it at this time. Our policy has always been that we prefer MPOs and other player-created entities to resolve conflicts internally and reach out to staff for help, rather than creating a situation where staff need to step in and assert control from the outside. Punitive action and forced dissolution, while they do exist as response options, are a last resort and we would rather work with players as long as that option is available.
  • Whoever is next elected as president of the Republic of Epsilon will be asked to expedite the creation of a judiciary branch. The outcome of the last few days likely would have been different had a functioning judiciary been in place within the Republic of Epsilon. As a result, we are asking that a judiciary be created as soon as possible once the election concludes. This fits in with the point above: we would prefer that conflicts within the Republic of Epsilon be resolved internally, but staff are otherwise happy to assist if questions arise.
  • A friendly reminder to all: staff are here to help.

Other community issues

  • We will be unveiling a rewritten and simplified Rules page in the coming months (we’re not changing the interpretation or effects of the rules, just how they’re presented). Some items like definitions, examples, and GSM proposal guidelines will be pulled out into their own documents. More to come on this.
  • We are placing further limits on WorldEdit requests in response to further degradations in Minecraft 1.15 performance:
    • No WorldEdits will be allowed when the 1-minute ticks per second (TPS) average is below 10. The only exception to this is WorldEdits that cannot be done manually (such as placing iron trapdoors that are forced into the “open” position): these WorldEdits will continue to be allowed, so long as 1,000 blocks or fewer are modified.
    • Staff are given additional discretion to refuse large WorldEdits even when the TPS is at or above 10. Large WorldEdits that affect a large number of blocks, stack something across a large number of chunks, or cause a significant number of lighting updates will likely be refused unless the TPS is near 20.
    • Players are reminded of the 5-minute rule with WorldEdit requests: Please do not request a WorldEdit if the operation can be accomplished manually in five minutes or less. This generally means you should not request a WorldEdit if you’re modifying fewer than 500 blocks in close proximity (unless, of course, you’re trying to change things that aren’t normally possible manually).
    • Proxy WorldEdit requests are not allowed: you must request them while in-game, and after both you and a member of staff have been online for at least 10 minutes.
  • We are also instating a restriction on Dynmap renders, and staff are instructed to only perform them while the TPS is at or near 20. Because this is a much more cumbersome restriction, we are permitting players to request Dynmap renders by proxy:
    • If you would like a Dynmap render performed, please politely request it in-game if the TPS is at or near 20.
    • If requesting in-game is not possible, you can politely request a render in the #requests-to-staff Discord channel. These requests MUST include the X and Z coordinates of the center of the render, as well as the radius to be rendered. Staff will respond with a ✅ emoji when your requested render is complete.
    • Moderators are not permitted to use a radius over 300 when rendering. Admins can use a higher radius if necessary.
    • Regardless of whether you use proxy or in-game requests, please be patient. It may take a few days for us to find a time when the TPS is acceptable enough to run your render.
    • Do not request multiple renders in quick succession, or immediately after building something. Renders are only “urgent” if they are in relation to a GSM or airport proposal.
  • Trustee endorsements now expire 180 days after they are submitted. Trustee endorsements need to be valid at the time that staff open the veto period, but it’s okay if they expire before staff run the promotion. If a Trustee endorsement expires, the person who filed the endorsement will need to submit a new endorsement form in order for it to count towards the three required for promotion. Of course, once you reach Trustee, the validity of the endorsements that got you there no longer matters.
  • The “Bunker” chat channel has been removed, as it no longer serves its original purpose. Players are reminded to be mindful of the visibility of their chat messages, as this varies between channels.
  • The moratorium on multiple claims in Zeta is now lifted. Players are now permitted to have more than one claim in the Zeta region, provided the standard claim rules are observed.
  • We are maintaining the rank minimum for MRT station renames at Mayor. We can approve exceptions to this (for large community builds or other areas that don’t fit neatly within the town and rank system) on a case-by-case basis at a GSM.
  • A discussion on conditional event funding has been deferred to the next GSM.
  • Lake 52 has been named Quindici Sea. We have no idea why this name was chosen as opposed to “Cinquantadue Sea”, but since RacCort has approved of the name, so have we.

Transport Projects

A new section was introduced at this GSM, combining together two old sections. We approved all of the items in this section, which are as follows:

  • The MRT Jungle Line South, Extension 1 (“JSX-1”) from JS14 to Sunshine Coast is now open, and all stations along the line are open for claiming.
  • The A1 extension towards New Mackinaw has been approved with an adjustment in routing. The A1 will terminate in the middle of nowhere, with the B1 spurring off towards New Mackinaw and the future Republic of Epsilon capital city.
  • The B65 from Sansvikk (SW34) to New Southport (SW29) has been approved, with a bridge crossing the river between SW30 and SW31.
  • A canal from Lake 31 to the Northern Ocean will be built south of Biwabik.
  • A second canal between Lakes 52 and 53 has been approved.
  • A canal in the northwestern Zeta region between Lake 5 and Lake 42 has been approved, provided it’s built in a way that looks reasonably natural and doesn’t use extremely sharp curves.

Events and Other Projects

  • A bus terminal for services operated by the Republic of Epsilon has been approved west of Central City.
  • Funding has been conditionally approved for the following events (amounts may be adjusted depending on how the events are run):
    • An American football tournament, proposed by Skyjumper_Talon
    • The MRT FA Football League
    • A Mafia game, proposed by SansNotLuigi
  • Funding has been approved in full for:
    • The MGA Season Opener, proposed by CodyHM and London150
    • The Mole 10, proposed by MinecraftYoshi26

Miscellaneous

  • We only had one IAT this time around: the town of Benion, which has been transferred to EliteNeon. We believe MC_Dunc came online a few months ago only to reset the inactivity clock and has not done any further development of Benion, and so we have waived the inactivity period and awarded the transfer to Elite.
  • We may be adjusting the timing for our monthly reminders to vote up our server listing. Links to the official listings are in the #information channel in Discord.
  • World files for Airport World have been released to #announcements on Discord. Just like MRT world files, they are restricted to members and above, and you can’t put them on a multiplayer server without permission from chiefbozx, RacCort, and _Kastle.

That should be all. Stay safe, and we hope to see you around!

<3, Chief


Welcome to Airport Rapid Transit

Update: April Fools! Thanks to everyone who joined us for the festivities, and we hope this helped you take your mind off the mess that’s happening in the real world. Click the “Read more” link for logistical information about Airport World itself.

CENTRAL CITY — Following the conclusion of an emergency Administrative Staff Meeting on Sunday, administrators today announced that Minecart Rapid Transit has been sold to the Airport Rapid Transit Company, and is now known as the Airport Rapid Transit server.

The rules have been updated as per the terms of the sale. Notably, trains, buses, and boats are now banned and must be replaced with planes immediately. Towns below the Senator rank should use airships, seaplanes, and helicopters to connect with each other and to bigger cities. Central City Heliport has been replaced with Central City Airport to help towns facilitate connections with each other.

“This is a truly monumental occasion for the airline industry,” moderator and airline tycoon Valkorion314 said after learning of the announcement. South Weast Airlines has already announced ticket sales for flights from the new airport to somewhere in Michigana’s plane laboratory. “We hope that this will allow passengers to understand why SkyTransit is actually the best airline alliance,” said Valkorion314.

Gates at Central City Airport are now for sale at a price of $99,999 per gate. Airlines are asked to purchase gates from _Kastle, who has promised to use the money for reasonable purposes and not just to prop up BART Airlines.

The terms of the sale are not available to the public.

(more…)

Changes in automatic kick timeout

Hey everyone,

With traffic expected to increase over the coming weeks and Minecraft 1.15 still being a basket case with regards to performance, we are making a small change to our Essentials plugin configuration:

All players below the rank of Administrator will be automatically kicked after being marked as AFK for 15 minutes.

We are leaving the automatic AFK marker in place after 5 minutes of inactivity. This policy will remain in place until traffic lightens and performance improves. Please don’t ask us when that will be; admins will make the decision to revert back to a 60-minute kick when we believe we are ready to do so.

This means:

  • Players who are idle for five minutes are automatically marked as AFK. You can manually mark yourself as AFK with the /afk command. To remove your AFK marker, simply move around, say something in chat, or run a command other than /afk (the /ping command works well).
  • Players who are idle for 20 minutes will be kicked.
  • Administrators are exempt from automatic kicks, though should still disconnect themselves if they will be away from the server for more than a few minutes.
  • Remember that kicks do not count against you in terms of our warning and ban policy. This is simply being adjusted to better manage performance and traffic.

We hope that this change will help keep server resources available for longer and provide a better player experience. As always, please let an admin know if you have questions.

<3, Chief