We are excited to announce two housekeeping updates, based on the January GSM items, subsequent testing, and some agenda items for the February GSM:
- Our first post-Zeta full-world Dynmap render is complete! Thank you to Mega and Frumple for testing this out and running it locally, to save us time and allowing WorldEdits and the like to continue. The map has been rendered based on a snapshot from January 10, so any changes made to the world since then will need to be rendered again, however we now have a full 3D render in addition to the flat render.
- We are changing the GSM and ISM agenda release schedule. We have posted links to the February GSM and January ISM agendas in Discord. Going forward we will release agendas as soon as they open for submissions. Note that this does not impact moderator nominations: those are still due at 19:00 UTC seven days before a GSM, and we’ll publish those when all candidates have confirmed or declined their interest in the position.
For those who are considering nominating someone for Moderator, please submit nominations for the February GSM by 19:00 UTC on February 7. Several players have preemptively declined the position or been vetoed in previous cycles; those names are in a pinned message in #nominations-general in Discord or in the master member list.
The final staff meeting of the year is now behind us, so let’s take a look at what happened.
New Moderator and updates to the voting procedures
At the end of the last GSM we made some tweaks to the voting procedures for new moderator candidates. Specifically, a candidate will be promoted if at least two-thirds of the cast votes are “Yes”, and the candidate is not vetoed by Frumple. Staff must be prepared to defend any vote, but especially if voting “Neutral”. Note that a veto is different than a “No” vote; Frumple can vote “No” without vetoing a candidate completely.
With those changes taking effect at this GSM, we had two candidates:
- Needn_NL, who we also reviewed back in November, was not promoted as the final vote tally was 5-5-0 (5 Yes, 5 Neutral, 0 No).
- Skelezomperman was promoted with a final vote tally of 9-1-0.
Skele’s term has now begun and he will be learning the ropes over the coming weeks, so please be patient as he gets settled to the new position. Additionally, even though the Trustee Meetings are not an official server activity, they are a beloved component of GSM days for many members, and according to Trustee Law Skele will identify and announce a replacement presiding officer for the January GSM. Congratulations to Skele and welcome aboard!
- We discussed a proposal to post project approvals in #notifications like we do with rank changes and asset transfers. We decided against this as we think this would cause too much confusion, especially with airports. Project coordinators are free to continue posting news in #media-announcements or through the existing media and wiki channels as they always have.
- We discussed a proposal to increase the “4K” rule to 6,000 blocks, but ultimately decided not to adjust the rule. Having the limit where it is provides good accountability on projects. We did make improvements to this procedure a couple months ago to limit the chance of a waiver request being delayed, and there is still no time limit when construction has to be completed.
- The “Franchise Rules” section of the rules page has been relabeled as “Private Commercial Property Rules” to better align with how the rules are applied.
- We are updating our policies surrounding asset transfers when a player is indefinitely or permanently banned, to give them an opportunity to express their wishes on asset ownership before releasing assets to the community for IAT claims. Effective immediately:
- A player who is indefinitely or permanently banned has 14 days from the date the ban is issued to email staff a list of transfer instructions for any assets they held. This is commonly called a “will” and may list desired new owners for towns and companies. In-game money cannot be transferred. Transfer instructions should be sent to the all-staff (staff@) email, not just to admins.
- Deputy mayors can immediately assume control of their respective towns through the existing Deputy Mayor Succession process. This request can be overridden if the banned player submits transfer instructions within the 14-day period after the ban is issued. As such, deputy mayors are advised to either hold off on succeeding mayorship, or at the very least waiting to start any significant projects, until the 14-day submission period has expired or they have been explicitly named as the town’s new mayor.
- If an indefinitely or permanently banned player does not submit any transfer instructions at all within two weeks of the ban being issued, or only submits instructions for some of their assets within the two-week period, any remaining assets (except for Old World towns) will become eligible for IAT.
- Players who are temporarily banned, either by request or due to accumulating three warnings, are not subject to this policy, even if their temporary ban is longer than two weeks.
- Posting a will on the wiki is not an official submission in and of itself, however if it’s up to date, a banned player can simply state that the will on the wiki is accurate and should be executed (or, even better, simply copy and paste the text of the will into the email sent to staff).
- TL;DR: Indefinitely and permanently banned players have two weeks from their ban date to email staff a will (wiki pages don’t count). After that, anything not stated in the will becomes eligible for IAT as usual. Deputy Mayors can immediately take control of towns as usual, but can be overridden by a valid will.
- We received a request to add a sub-clause under General Rule 11 (the “Belligerent Dissent” rule) or Most Important Rule 3 which would state that conversations must be taken to private messages upon request. We don’t think this is appropriate and instead urge members to contact staff if an argument is getting heated in chat or if you’re unsure about a situation. Please resist your natural urge to insert yourself into heated arguments – if you’re a bystander, your best bet is to contact staff, especially if you’re not trained in conflict resolution or de-escalation. Several staff members do have professional conflict resolution training, so please let us know how we can help.
The only transport project we reviewed was a request to update signage on the A90. This was approved without objections.
We received four event proposals this time around.
- Funding for the MRT Winter Games 2020/2021 in Dand has been approved in full pending final confirmation of dates and times.
- Funding for a new game show, Lingo, run by autobus22, has been approved in full. (Reminder to Auto and others: as you plan your events, it’s really helpful to have a note at the end of your proposals that states the maximum budget for the event – it’s okay if you give out less!)
- The AviOff Building Competition, submitted by noahrebl, has been approved with reduced funding: all prizes will be 10% of their original proposals. This funding is held until we receive, by email, a copy of the judging criteria (ideally the exact text that will be given to judges) and a final confirmation of the date and time.
- The Winter Olympics has been denied funding due to concerns over lack of communication with the host city and a history of last-minute planning at previous Olympics (this proposal was received 6 minutes before the cutoff time for the GSM). airplane320 may resubmit this event at a future meeting, provided the proposal is submitted jointly with the host city and its mayor (in this case, Vulpicula), and the event is planned out completely before submission.
We received three IAT requests and approved all of them, though each with different notes.
The IAT of Dandenong (C2) to EliteNeon was approved in full; Sese has volunteered to assist in land regeneration and integrating the town into nearby Benion.
The IAT of FreeAir has been approved in principle, though owing to the complex nature of FreeAir’s ownership structure, we are doing this in a two-step process. EliteNeon has assumed ownership of the airline, but is not cleared to merge it into Clipper just yet. Anyone else who wishes to make an ownership claim to FreeAir, and has evidence to back up their claim, should contact staff by 19:00 UTC on Thursday, January 7 (the agenda submission cutoff for the January GSM). If no such claims are received, Elite will be free to merge the airlines at that point. However, if claims are received, we will process those at the January GSM.
Finally, the town of Chalxior (L1-L2, ZN33-ZN34) has been transferred to kyyl_, voiding a Deputy Mayor Succession claim lodged by ModernArt during the meeting. This is an unusual decision, so I’ll go into our reasoning – while Modern’s Deputy Mayor Succession claim would have normally taken priority, we decided to void it for three main reasons:
- Late submission: Modern’s objection to the IAT was received well over an hour after the GSM had started, when we normally expect IAT objections and other comments to be received by the standard start time of 19:00 UTC. Modern has stated he has been experiencing technical issues with his devices, which we acknowledge is frustrating, however he had repeatedly been on the Minecraft server and has regularly had an “online” Discord status in recent weeks, especially after the agenda was published.
- False claims in email: Modern’s email claimed that kyyl_ had made no attempt to contact ModernArt to privately come to an arrangement after an Inactive Town Bypass proposal was denied at the November ISM, and that Modern had never been notified of kyyl_’s intention to do work in the area. Both of these claims were disproven with evidence submitted by kyyl_ in the original IAT request, and left us with the sense that the claim was submitted solely to block kyyl_ from receiving the town rather than an honest request.
- History of inactivity and abandoning towns: Modern has a long history of receiving or starting towns, and then either becoming inactive or abandoning the town. As Chalxior is a key transport hub (with the start of the Lakeshore Line and the main gateway to the northern portions of Wards 1, 2, 8, and 9), we preferred ensuring that the town’s mayor is an active member, so that even though kyyl_ has indicated changes to the town itself will be very minimal, transport connections can still be made and given proper oversight.
Please check the Events Calendar for information regarding community events over the holidays. While there is currently nothing official planned, there are a lot of member-organized events happening between now and the end of the year.
While they will look different this year, we know that the holidays are an important time of year for a lot of members and staff, so there is no December ISM (it would have been held on Sunday, December 27). The next staff meeting will be a General Staff Meeting on Saturday, January 9, with moderator nominations due at 19:00 UTC on Saturday, January 2.
Have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
Winter is coming! (…Well, for those in the Northern Hemisphere. And it honestly feels like it’s been winter for about 15 years at this point. And good lord why does it get dark so early?) As another month has come to a close, let’s round up what we discussed at the Infrastructure Staff Meeting on November 26. Apologies that these results are so delayed!
We had eleven transport projects to review this time around. Eleven. Y’all were busy. So here’s what we talked about and what’s been cleared.
- Modifications to the northeast corner of the A0
- The B42 from East New Brazil to Marisol
- The B209 from Encinitas to San Diego and Solana Beach
- An inactive town bypass at Lawrenceville
- The CentraLink Metro E Line in Central City (I have taken over administration of this project to ensure that stations are being built with high-quality interiors)
- Phase One of the A360 Zeta Ring Road
- The B288 from Malosa to Tulipsburg
- A BluRail inactive town bypass at Bearainstein
- A proposed addition/extension to the B22 was partially approved: while the previously-set conditions were met, we have concerns about terraforming along the existing road. We have partially approved joining the islands together in Ottia Islands and signing the segment as the B22.
- An inactive town bypass that would have allowed the A1 to tunnel under Chalxior was denied as the town currently does not have a mayor. This can be re-proposed once ownership is settled.
- The B84 from Las Playas to Ardaman was denied as frogggggg already has an active B-road project that we’d like to see finished first, the terraforming issues mentioned in the B22 project, and the road is going to an unranked town (generally this last point isn’t an issue on its own, though).
- Prize amounts for the MRT Video Contest were adjusted downwards to account for a slightly smaller participant pool.
- Prize amounts for the MRT Transit Awards, organized by PtldKnight and Skelezomperman, were increased and approved.
- LondonThameslink has been approved and received funding to hold another Pub Quiz.
- A spleef tournament in Rockham was approved with full funding.
- The MRT Taiga Line extension to the Lakeshore Line was approved, on the condition that the future T59 station will require an IAT, but will not be regenerated.
- Holiday ranks are now active and will remain so until December 31. They are:
- Guest: Mistletoe
- Member: Snow
- Citizen: Icicle
- Trustee: Bauble
- Councillor: Tinsel
- Mayor: Present
- Senator: Wreath
- Governor: Holly
- Premier: Star
- Moderator: Nutcracker
- Administrator: Candy Cane
- Owner: Socc
The next GSM is on Sunday, December 13, with topics due at 19:00 UTC on December 11. As there is no Infrastructure Staff Meeting in December, this is the final full-staff meeting of the year. The next meeting after this one will be a General meeting on Saturday, January 9, so if you have events or projects you’d like reviewed, please submit them sooner than later.
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.
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.