chiefbozx


October 2020 ISM Results

We did it! We successfully speedran a staff meeting – today’s ISM was open and closed in 1 minute, 4 seconds! In that time we approved:

  • An inactive town bypass for Fred Rail at the town of Toshi Town.
  • An extension to the B287 between Malosa and Turtle City.
  • An inactive asset transfer of C92 Station to Cynra_.
  • Renaming Lake Victoria to the Victorian Sea.
  • Renaming Lake 53 to Piccolo Lake.

Looking ahead to the next few meetings, which we will not speedrun:

  • Moderator nominations for the November GSM will close at 19:00 UTC on Saturday, November 7. Because of how the weekends line up, you’ve got a couple weeks to submit them this time around. Thank you to everyone who has submitted them so far – we’ve received several already, and one person submitted nine nominations in one email, so we’re certainly looking forward to the new process!
  • As more countries will be switching to or from Daylight Saving Time over the coming weeks, please double check what time the meeting will be in your local time zone. The meeting and all deadlines are at 19:00 UTC on the appropriate days.
  • We will have an ISM on November 28, however our December ISM (which was scheduled for December 27) has been cancelled. Our final staff meeting of the year will be the December General meeting on December 13. Please plan ahead if you have any year-end events or projects you’d like us to review.

<3, Chief


Community & Staff Updates October 2020

Important update: We reviewed additional evidence about these events at the GSM on October 11, and at that meeting we retracted _Kastle’s double warning and associated charges, which were incorrectly issued as a result of allegations of doxxing against _Kastle. The complete sum of evidence we reviewed has since been ruled “inconclusive” as to who was involved and to what extent. We are keeping _Kastle’s termination from the staff team in place due to other unrelated complaints that we received during our investigation. This post has been updated to reflect these retractions; more information is available in the October 2020 GSM Results. We sincerely apologize to _Kastle for how we handled this situation, as we should not have jumped to conclusions so soon.


The MRT celebrated the sixth anniversary of the New World’s opening over the weekend. Six years ago, what was a single (albeit cluttered) Minecraft world split into five, which introduced the rank structure we have today and a significant increase in available terrain. We as a community have built quite a lot since then, both in terms of in-game construction, and in the intangible social aspects that have been vital to our collective well-being in 2020.

Recently we have become increasingly aware of a sizable group within our community who have felt excluded or otherwise treated as second-class community members, often because they either infrequently or never join our Mumble voice chat server. These community members have long believed that, because they are not in this group of regular Mumble participants, they are therefore less important when it comes to event participation or in-game requests like WorldEdits – or they are less qualified when it comes to being nominated for a moderator position. Furthermore, several community members have historically hesitated in either intervening in or reporting potential rule violations to staff, especially when it has been staff members committing the infraction in question, either out of fear of retribution or out of fear of being ignored. This same hesitation comes up in all sorts of other areas of feedback to staff. These beliefs and the hesitation in coming forward do not reflect how we intend our community to work, and they are now widespread enough that we as a staff team can no longer ignore them.

These are things that we, collectively as a community, need to change. We need to put in the work to actively reach out and listen to each other and build a more inclusive and welcoming community. We need to reform some of our processes so that access to staff assistance and staff positions does not depend on how comfortable someone is participating in voice chat. We need to open upward lines of communication to ensure that ideas and complaints can be heard and acted upon. And we need to rebuild trust in each other so that when something happens, calling it out won’t bring any negative consequences to the person who noticed that something is wrong. All of us have an important role to play in facilitating these changes, from prospective guests to senior staff members and everyone in between. These changes will be hard, and they won’t come easily.

Most of the need for this change was brought to our attention through an investigation we’ve been conducting over the past month to gauge general community sentiment and feedback on some specific areas. When we asked participants if they had suggestions or complaints about processes and even individual staff members, we heard several recurring themes, and several repeated complaints about a few particular incidents and staff members. Even though many of these complaints were brought to us under the condition of anonymity, the fact that multiple people have complained about the same things – some with more concrete evidence and allegations than others – is enough to suggest a worrying pattern that we need to act on.

As a result of this investigation and an emergency Administrative Staff Meeting that was held on October 4, we have taken some specific actions and issued sanctions against a few specific individuals. These are:

  • woorich999 has been issued a double warning, charged under Most Important Rule One (“Be kind and respectful to other players”) and General Rule 9 (“Do not reveal personally identifiable information about others”). We received complaints and evidence to suggest that woorich999 was involved in finding, spreading, and using personal information of another MRT member to mock them behind their back (and, specifically, using personal information beyond what this MRT member had previously released to the public). We typically don’t post double warnings on the website, but because this was decided at the ASM and is in response to the complaints we received, we feel the need to post it here. (Update: At the October 2020 GSM, this was upgraded to an indefinite ban due to the extremely egregious nature of this harassment.)
  • _Kastle has been terminated from Moderator and issued a double warning. This decision arises from the multiple complaints that we received from community members about _Kastle’s attitude towards members and general performance as a moderator. Several of these complaints alleged incidents where _Kastle had made belittling comments in voice channels about members while they were offline, including some members who have mental illnesses. The evidence we received is also enough to suggest that _Kastle was online during the incident that woorich999 received a double warning for, and that _Kastle either actively participated in the incident, or at the very least did not intervene as we expect moderators to do. (Update: The evidence that we were presented was not conclusive enough to warrant a double warning, and so the double warning has been retracted. We have kept _Kastle’s termination from Moderator in place as a result of other unrelated complaints we received during our investigation. More information is available in the October 2020 GSM Results.)
  • Echohue has been suspended from Moderator for 3 months. We received complaints and concrete evidence to confirm that Echohue actively sought out moderator nominations back in July and August 2019. As our policy has long been that nominations should be earned organically, this casts doubts on the authenticity of the nominations, and therefore we need to suspend Echohue’s staff position. Echohue will be eligible to return to the staff at or after the January 2021 GSM, and will need to go through the moderator nomination process to be reinstated.
  • _Mossie has been suspended from Moderator for 3 months. We received information to confirm that, during the September GSM, _Mossie provided live updates to a non-staff member while a moderator candidate was under consideration. We interpret this as a serious breach of trust as private portion topics are generally assumed to be sealed until announced through existing processes. _Mossie, like Echohue, will be eligible to return to the staff as of the January 2021 GSM and will need to go through the nomination process.
  • We will be introducing a new moderator nomination process at the October GSM, effective at the November GSM, and scrubbing all current and deferred moderator candidates. One of the most common and actionable complaints we received was that our current system of moderator nominations is not working. We are therefore proposing changing the system entirely and replacing it with a much more open forum where all community opinions, nominations, and even the vote itself are held publicly (though only staff will be able to cast votes). The text of the proposal itself can be found here.
  • Separately from the actions taken at the ASM, cal76 has been demoted from Moderator due to inactivity. This action was taken the day before the ASM, and was done as cal76’s Minecraft activity levels have decreased significantly over the past several months even though he remains active in Discord. However, if he chooses to become more active in the future, we will certainly welcome his consideration as a moderator again.

More information about each of these actions is available in the #announcements channel in Discord.

Additionally, we have three voluntary departures from the staff team that we need to announce: daltdisneyland, hvt2011, and Valkorion314 have all stepped down from their moderator positions. For Dalt specifically, we received several complaints that called his moderator nominations and the underlying process into question, and Dalt has agreed to step down for the time being and be re-evaluated by the community under our new process when the time is right.

In response to some of the most common complaints and suggestions we received, we want to reiterate our stance on two key items, which will not be changing:

  • Mumble will remain an option for voice chat, and will not be shutting down. Discord and Mumble each have their pros and cons that make them great in some circumstances and unreliable or difficult in others. We also know that everyone has different opinions about the stability, features, and even some of the privacy and legal implications of using these platforms, so we want to accommodate those preferences.
  • WorldEdit will never be available to anyone other than active staff members. The primary reason for this is the need for community stewardship and service. Providing WorldEdit to other players opens the door for abuse (even with low block limits), permanent damage beyond what admins can repair, and staff members enjoying the perks of WorldEdit without providing the service or assistance to the rest of the community that a staff position requires. Additional information is on the FAQ page here.

We do acknowledge that the investigation that we conducted and process that we went about with handing out punishments was not perfect by any means. We the admins can say that Vulpicula was the lead person in reaching out to several current and former “disillusioned” MRT members, and we did make efforts to ensure that his approach was as objective as possible. This included adjusting his initial questions to be less biased and leading, and having 1-on-1 conversations with some of those he interviewed and independently verifying their information. There were certainly more things we could’ve improved here here, but we do think that the overall outcome (at least in terms of demotions) would’ve still have been the same regardless. We also have to acknowledge that the only likely way we would’ve been able to get this information from these disillusioned members is by guaranteeing their anonymity, and having someone like Vulpicula to conduct those interviews. Keep in mind that many of these members simply did not feel comfortable bringing up these issues with other staff, admins, or even Frumple, because of the social atmosphere described previously. There have been calls from some members for us to reveal the evidence that led us to our decision, but we will not violate our promise to protect the anonymity of those who submitted this information. Suffice to say, we hope that from this process that our community can learn to be more open and honest with each other about their concerns, and we hope that we do not have to employ the use of anonymous feedback in this manner ever again.

In closing, we want to acknowledge the impact these changes will have on the community. For many of you, your social web has been significantly altered, perhaps permanently, by these changes and the ripple effects they have had. For some of you, this may change how and how much you decide to play on the server, if at all. We hope, however, that the community as a whole is able to work together to rebuild trust in each other and reopen lines of communication that have historically been closed (whether intentionally or not). Conducting this investigation and hearing this critical feedback was something we needed to do, albeit not the way we would have liked to hear this feedback; we would much rather everyone be open and honest with each other and with us in addressing problems. We believe that many of these issues could have had less severe sanctions or less of a community impact had we known about them and addressed them earlier. We apologize for not doing so sooner.

Please take the time you need to take care of yourself and process all of this information, and know that things will continue to change in the coming months. For those who plan to stay active or increase their activity, please be patient when working with staff in-game, as there are several fewer of us than there were a week ago. For those taking a break, the community will be here with open arms if and when you choose to return.

<3,
chiefbozx
Head Administrator


September 2020 ISM Results

The September 2020 ISM has come and gone, and here’s what happened!

  • A TuxCart tournament, organized by underscorepie, has been funded in full. This is the first entirely non-Minecraft event we’ve approved funding for, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it goes.
  • The town of Chestwick (A18) has been transferred to ModernArt.
  • The town of Grafton has been split: the eastern segment has been transferred to PaintedBlue, and the western segment has been transferred to EtihadMan.
  • Siletz Central Airlines has been transferred to frogggggg.
  • The Taiga Line Extension 2 (TLX2) from T50 to T58 has been opened. Station applications for T55 and T57 were awarded to SansNotLuigi and moose_52, respectively.
  • The community town of Jimbo has been granted permission to build facilities for up to two helicopter-class vehicles to land (these could be helicopters, airships, blimps, etc).
  • A request to rename Lake 32 to “Neobaltic Sea” was denied.
  • VickiTori_ has been granted permission to start building the Western North Extension 1 (WNX1) from WN30 to Aston. The route map is included below.
Western Line North Extension 1

That’s all for now, we’ll see you around!

<3, Chief


September GSM Results

With the first session of TAR 11 behind us, the September GSM has come and gone. Thanks to Frumple and MBS for live-streaming the public portion!

We have no new moderators to announce, and the public portion was fairly short. Here’s what we discussed.

Ban appeal policy updates

We are making some changes to our Warning and Ban Policy to make the procedures surrounding bans clearer and better aligned with how we handle bans in practice. The changes can be summarized as:

  • We are officially distinguishing between “indefinite” and “permanent” bans, with most bans being issued as “indefinite”. Indefinite bans carry appeal privileges while permanent bans do not. Generally speaking, permanent bans will be reserved for those players who have committed particularly heinous offenses against the community as a whole (and will be extremely rare).
  • Indefinitely banned players can now appeal once every six months. This removes the previous limitation of only one appeal. This adjustment is retroactive to previously banned players: those who have submitted their last ban appeal more than six months ago may now make another attempt by following the same process. Players who abuse this system may have their bans made permanent. Low-effort appeal attempts do count against this rule, so any player wishing to submit a ban appeal should carefully read the instructions on the rules page and take time writing an appeal out.
  • Bans issued due to unauthorized VPN usage (and the resulting appeals) do not count against you.

These changes are effective immediately. Please contact the admins with questions.

4K rule process updates

We have made a fairly major change to “pure” 4K rail waivers (that is, requests to build a rail line with tracks over 4km long between consecutive stations, without needing any other requests such as IATs to be approved alongside it): while they will continue to be handled by email, staff now have 48 hours to veto them, otherwise they will be considered approved.

DO NOT begin building the rail line until you receive an approval email. Just like Trustee nominations, this is a manual process that staff will need to check on our end. If you submitted a 4K waiver request before the GSM, we should have responded to our backlog by now; if we haven’t, please respond to your original email.

Staff will be rejecting waiver requests if they are missing information. We need to know, from the original email:

  • Where the proposed line is (with either coordinates, MRT stations, Premier cities, or labels on the map), and
  • For ALL towns that are within 300/500 blocks of the rail line, whether or not permission to build the line has been given.

If you are proposing a rail line that does include items such as IATs, don’t worry: we’ll put it onto the appropriate meeting agenda for you, and we’ll bundle the requests together.

Smaller community issues

  • Hovercraft (explainer Tom Scott video, for those unfamiliar) are treated as boats within the rules. Hovercraft docking stations are permitted to be inland, but should be fairly close to the water.
  • The 300 and 500 block rules have been expanded: all new construction within 300 and 500 blocks (chessboard distance) of a town need permission or communication before starting. We did discuss at length what constitutes a “town” for these rules, and that’s a hard distinction to make because everyone’s town is different. We hope that everyone will be able to judge whether something counts or not based on examples around the server. If in doubt, get permission or talk to the town’s mayor. Staff are happy to mediate or arbitrate if necessary.

Events

We approved all five events requesting funding at this meeting:

  • MGA Champion’s League: Full funding
  • MRT Video Contest 2020: Full funding
  • London’s Pub Quiz: Reduced funding (prize amounts for places 1-4 halved, top prize now $500; participation prize $25; rule change requested to allow participants to DM answers)
  • 2020 MRT Sumotori Championship: Full funding
  • Millville S.P.L.E.E.F. Tournament: Full funding

That’s all!

Keep an eye on #events and the Events Calendar to see when the next TAR session is, as well as other things happening in the community! Our next meeting will be an Infrastructure meeting (sections 6-10 only), at 7pm UTC on Sunday, September 27.

<3, Chief


CoreProtect Purge Complete, August ISM, New Admin, and September Events Update

Welcome to September! We’ve got a bunch of announcements to share to start the month off, so we’ll just jump into it without any additional prelude.

New Admin

We are pleased to announce that sesese9 has been promoted to the rank of Administrator! Sese has served the community as a moderator since June 2018, and we’ve been really impressed by his leadership and ability to handle a variety of situations since he joined the staff team. We’re excited to welcome him aboard as an admin!

The decision to shortlist Sese was made at the July ASM, the same one where we announced Narnia17’s demotion and godzilltrain’s re-promotion. However, we chose to wait for a few things to settle before taking the final vote and offering the position.

CoreProtect purge done

All CoreProtect logs have been dumped as the time-specific purge was proving to be a little less than cooperative. The server is now back open to the public, though rollbacks to anything before September 1 are no longer possible.

This does mean that we won’t be easily able to verify active building status or perform rollbacks for a couple weeks. However, we now have another 100 GB of disk space to start filling up with more log data.

As always, thank you for your patience during our purge attempts. Hopefully we shouldn’t have to do this more than twice a year.

August ISM results

We held a relatively smooth ISM on August 30, and here are the results!

  • A road proposed by PaintedBlue in ward 9 was approved under the condition that it is downgraded to a B road and numbered B920.
  • The B65 between Savannah and New Southport has been approved.
  • A road in the Nansei-Gunto region has been partially approved and upgraded to an A road (numbered A63). The segment west of Wenyanga to Shahai has been approved, and the eastern segment has been denied for now. We are also reminding players to label your maps and choose a road number when submitting.
  • The “Building on Cypress” event, proposed by Avaneesh2008, was denied for now due to unclear rules and concerns about attendance statistics. Avaneesh may re-propose this event by submitting a clear and concise proposal, with a copy of the rules, and details about judging procedures.
  • The town of West Vermilion (XW16) has been IAT’d to chiefbozx.
  • The town of Birch Forest City (C114) was not IAT’d to Avaneesh2008 due to concerns over reasoning; neighboring cities would have priority in the transfer process, and Avaneesh’s town is quite far away from C114.
  • An IAT for the town at XW36 Station was requested by __Darth_Vader___, however it was denied as this player has just returned from a long period of inactivity and there wasn’t a convincing reason why this town should be transferred.
  • The Expo East Extension 2 to East Mesa has been approved.
  • The Arctic Line Extension 1 has been approved.

September GSM dates changed

To accommodate TAR 11, we have pushed the September GSM dates to Sundays. The events calendar is already up to date:

  • The September GSM is Sunday, September 13.
  • The September ISM is Sunday, September 27.

As usual, these meetings are at 7pm UTC, and agenda items are due 48 hours prior to the start of each meeting.

We’ll see you around!

<3, Chief