Harassment & Bullying Policy for Elstree Base forums

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Harassment & Bullying Policy for Elstree Base forums

by edgejedi » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:18 pm

In order to be pro-active and supportive to our forum users and forum members (users), bearing in mind the rigours of internet life and goings on, I’d like to put in place the following initiative sooner rather than later. A policy that invites users to come to the Command Team through whatever means they feel comfortable with in the event of harassment or bullying on our UK forums. A policy that better emphasises the steps users can take in terms of harassment, bullying or generally maintaining their dignity while using our site. We want to make ourselves open to everyone. Every single moderator was chosen because they are believed to be trustworthy. Every moderator as part of the Mod Squad and is available to you.

Harassment or bullying (sexual or otherwise) that occurs in posts and/or PMs should be dealt with immediately by forum moderators. If it is not resolved satisfactorily at that level, follow the procedure below for Private Messages. Any harassment that occurs in Private Messages should be dealt with as follows:

Private Messages
The basic question is if you are being harassed in PM's, what should you do? Well if you feel harassed via PM, you should choose one of the following courses of action:
1. If you are comfortable to do so, then send a reply that says something like "Please stop sending me private messages." or "Your last message made me uncomfortable. Please don't go there again." Then contact a Moderator or Command Staff member who will either deal with it or escalate it, where necessary.
2. You do not have to reply to an offensive PM or message. We advise discontinuing any kind of a conversation that can be misunderstood.

Who to contact
Members and Forum Users won't be restricted to just an individual moderator. Users should know they have the opportunity to approach any moderator at any time. A simple policy similar to the one below can work.

1. We know that issues happen on forums that sometime spill out into emails or other forms of communication.
2. Members and Forum Users bring this to the attention of any Mod/Command Team member he or she trusts. If you do not know which person to go to, here are the suggested points of contact:

- Command Team
- Moderator Team
- Another user you trust who can help you find a command staff member to contact.

Choose a person who you know or trust that will set up a confidential contact with an appropriate Command Team member where necessary.

3. That person can become the point of contact for the complainant for the investigation if s/he feels comfortable doing that, otherwise s/he finds someone else that the user trusts to become point. It doesn't have to be a specific person.
4. Point person would talk to the user through PM’s or email and try to gain an understanding of the situation.
5. Other (user approved) mods/command team are brought in to look at the case and decide what to do from there, if necessary. The number of people coming into the investigation depends on how comfortable the user is.

Where it’s recorded
If a legitimate complaint is discovered and resolved, any action taken against that user will be documented in the private moderators section as a 'usernote'. That usernote does not have to include the name of the user who complained. Instead, it can just explain the situation in a basic way. What happened, what was done, etc. It is also there as documented behaviour.

Sexual Harassment
All sexual harassment complaints can and will be confidential if you request it. Any moderator who receives a complaint should make sure not to post any details from it without asking the user first. If you request nothing be posted about your situation in any public or private forum that will be honoured. If you request that certain moderators not be included in any action, that will be honoured. If you request that you would just rather keep it between yourself and the moderator you go to, that will be honoured. Confidentiality is key with situations like this and it should be properly emphasised. Moderators are there at the discretion of your Command team. You tell them what you would like them to do and they will do it, as far as reasonably practical. No moderator will turn down a user that comes to them with a legitimate complaint of harassment.

All legitimate complaints will be acted on. Sometimes it takes time to resolve a complaint. Understand that sometimes these things take time to fully investigate. If they are not acted on and you have not heard anything back from the moderator you complained to within at least 14 days, then you’ll need to escalate the complaint. If no action, which includes no warnings, usernotes or any sort of investigation, was seen from a complaint that you submitted to a moderator or Command Team, it's highly suggested that you contact the Commanding Officer on ukco@rebellegion.co.uk , not only for your original complaint but also for the inaction of the moderator you previously talked to.

Complaints should never be dismissed out of hand. That is not policy and if it happens, you know something was done incorrectly. Actions taken against complaints should be disclosed to the user who sent in the complaint. Whatever it takes. We just want you to know so we can help.

What is bullying/harassment?
Here are some examples to help you better identify harassment:
1. One-sided conversations in which the other person asks or demands a lot of information about you, but never says much about himself. Real friendship is reciprocal--people exchange information; they don't interrogate each other. The attention can seem flattering at first, but if you give away too much info about yourself, you could find yourself faced with an obsessed guy who can find you any time he wants, whether you want him to or not.
2. Somebody who always wants to know where you're going, where you've been, or demands an explanation if you can't talk to him. Unless you're under 18 and it's your parents asking, the other person has no right even to ask.
3. Somebody who continually tries to nag/beg/flatter you into doing something you've already said you don't want to do. Even if they're charming and funny about it, and you wonder if it might be a joke, you don't have to listen to someone continually asking for your phone number or to describe what you're wearing, or anything else. If the person really is charming and harmless, he'll stop asking the first time you say "No."
4. Somebody who's sweet and fun until you give him an answer they don't want to hear--then they turn ugly. Just because you said or did something that made them mad does not mean you owe them anything. A genuine friend can accept "No, I don't like/want that" without feeling the need to punish you with accusations or insulting little jabs over PM or on the boards.
5. Basically, anything that makes you feel belittled, unhappy or you believe that they have’ crossed the line’ in terms of what you find acceptable and what you don’t. Exploitation can be done with a smile, and one of the easiest ways to keep using people is to be nice to them in between taking stuff from them. This is not friendship, no matter how fun the other person is when he's not after you for something.
6. It can even be as simple as someone making comments about your appearance or personal life that you feel are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable.

Our job is to make you guys comfortable. This starts at the most fundamental level. We want to help and are waiting for someone to speak to and be there for them. That's what the team here is all about. No one should feel scared to come to us or feel a sense of distrust as long as we make ourselves approachable. Moderators should be out there helping you understand that we are ready to help. A focus on the basics should be applied to all moderators at all times. When there is a problem, users should go to who they feel comfortable with; go to who they know. If moderators perform their jobs at the most basic level, there should hopefully be no question in your mind. Beyond those basics, an outline of the current policy has been provided above. If you have any questions then please just ask.

The privacy and safety of any complainant is always of the highest importance. Should they choose to remain anonymous, then this will be respected throughout the process of investigation. The Command Team will be aware of the name of the person concerned and will keep this strictly private. Any action taken against a member of forum user will be recorded, but not made public on our boards.

Actions taken by UK board moderators and Command Team relating to use of the UK boards are independent of the main RL forums.

However ;

Complaints made by RL members
If and only when the UK Base moderators or Command Staff have attempted to resolve a complaint and the complainant feels that it has not been dealt with satisfactorily when an outcome is communicated to them, a member may direct their complaint further to the main RL Council. This may involve the RL Captain of the Guard in any further investigation and the person who the complaint is directed about may be investigated following the rules of the RL Charter.

Complaints made by Forum Users
Forum user complaints are dealt with by the UK Base and have no membership rights to escalate their complaint above the UK Base forums, beyond the response of the Commanding Officer (CO) who will make the final call on any situation.

If you are in doubt about any part of this policy, please PM the CO.
Jase 'edgejedi' Fox
Rebel Legion UK, North East Events Co-ordinator
Rebel Legion UK, Base Founder, Rebelling Since 2005
501st UK Garrison Events Administrator TK/ID/TA 5548...Bad Guys Doing Good
Membership Officer, Willrow Hood Detachment (Unofficial) http://www.willrowhood.com
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