How to Use the Report System Responsibly and Effectively

A guide to handling on-site problems as a member of the community.

  1. Jorick
    Greetings, people of Iwaku.

    I'm Jorick, one of Iwaku's Administrators, and this resource is intended to clear up some confusion in the community about how to properly make use of the report system. The site staff is here to help make Iwaku a fun and safe place for everyone to roleplay, and the Security department of staff in particular relies on some cooperation from the community to make sure we can catch and deal with anyone that is ruining the fun or safety of other members of the site. The best way to help this effort is to use the report system in a responsible manner, so hopefully this resource will make that clearer and easier for everyone.

    If you're currently confused as to how reporting someone even works, check the relevant sections of this previous PSA for details before continuing on with this one. Or read this one and go back to the older one afterward. Whatever floats your boat.

    When To Report Something

    One of the most common questions a security staff member gets from random folks messaging them is "should I report...?" The answer is almost always yes, go ahead and report it. The reason for this is that we like to follow a simple maxim for reporting: better safe than sorry. If you think something or someone is breaking site rules, or even if you're not sure they're breaking rules but you think it might be a problem, go ahead and send in a report. We would rather get some reports that don't lead to any security action than miss actual problems because people aren't sure about reporting it. The only reports we don't want are joke or troll reports. I know it's funny to report Grumpy for being a turd, but please stop, tell him to his face rather than going through back channels.

    On a more serious note, staff members are not exempt from any of the rules that apply to normal members. If you think a staff member is breaking rules or otherwise being a problem for Iwaku, please check this other resource to learn how to report staff members. It's a different process done to protect the reporter from any potential backlash from the staff member they are reporting.

    What If It's An Emergency Situation?

    If the thing you're reporting requires immediate intervention, such as cybering going on in a chat room, then you can instead try messaging a Security staff member directly. If you're not sure who all are Security staff members, you can check the security staff page of the members list. That page also conveniently has a list of which staff members are currently online, so you can use it to easily pick one of the Security staff people to message. Getting hold of them via messenger programs or social media or whatever is also acceptable if you have such avenues available to you. Directly contacting a Security staff member rather than filing a report for rule breaking issues should only be done if it's something that can't wait a few hours to be handled.

    Never Use The Report System For Spite Or Personal Gain

    The report system exists to make sure those who break the rules are dealt with, not to punish people you dislike or to win you brownie points with the security staff of Iwaku. This probably sounds obvious to most people, but it still needs to be said.

    We notice it when someone repeatedly sends in reports about petty crap against people they don't get along with, and it does not end well for the spite reporter. We do investigative work for reports that get sent in, and in a lot of cases that means looking into the interactions between the reporter and reported party. What usually happens when someone is trying the spite report game is we'll get two or three nonsense reports from one person and see that they're having some kind of argument with the person they're reporting, so instead of going and slapping the reported person we have a stern talk with the one abusing the report system. Fun fact: trying to get Security staff to hassle someone who isn't actually breaking any rules constitutes attempted harassment by proxy, and we don't take kindly to any form of harassment here on Iwaku.

    The personal gain side of things is less obvious and far less common, but it's worth mentioning in the context of misusing the report system. There is quite literally nothing to be gained from sending in tons of reports. Some people seem to get the idea in their minds that they'll curry some kind of favor with the Security staff or admins if they report lots of things, but that just isn't the case. We have never gone to investigate someone for potential rule breaking and let them off the hook because they report a lot of stuff. When it comes time to hire new staff members and interns we don't give people a shot because they sent in a bunch of reports. We strive to be as objective as possible in these matters, up to the point that we reject, punish, or ban friends and roleplay partners sometimes, so hopefully you can why I am so firmly confident in saying that reporting a lot of things will gain you no special protection or favors.

    In short, don't screw around with reports. Only report things that you think are actual problems that may break rules. Knowingly wasting our time with frivolous nonsense is not going to end well for you, so please don't do it.

    What To Do Once You've Decided To Report Something

    Aside from the obvious step of filling out the report and sending it in, there are a couple other things you should make sure to do. They're best presented in the forms of things not to do though, so forgive the misleading section title above.

    Don't remain involved in whatever situation you are reporting. If someone is harassing you and you're reporting them, stop talking to them and block them if you can't ignore them in the conventional way of simply paying no attention to them. If there is an argument going on that has gone too far, step back and leave it alone until Security handles it. If there are inappropriate images posted in a thread, don't go yelling at the person to take them down, just relax and let staff do their job. Whatever is going on, you staying involved in it after you decide it's worth reporting will only cause problems. This also means you should not get one last pot shot into an argument before reporting and walking away; trust me, we'll notice and we won't be happy about that sort of nonsense.

    Don't go asking friends to send in reports too. One report is enough. The only thing that happens when we get multiple reports on a single issue is that they are all merged into one report thread in our little security area, and if we think it's necessary we might message everyone who sent in a report to get more details. We do not handle cases any differently or any more quickly based on the number of reports received. We do not view it as a protest/petition action that voices the will of the people of Iwaku. For every case we look at the issue at hand, ask ourselves if it is breaking the rules or not, and proceed accordingly whether it's one report or one hundred reports.

    Don't tell the reported person/people about the fact that you've sent in a report. This will very likely cause problems and it violates our site rule against creating drama and probably also the rule against airing your grievances against other people in public. There is no good reason to tell someone you've reported them other than to cause drama of one sort or another, and you'll probably just end up in trouble yourself if you do it.

    Don't tell other people that you've sent in a report about some issue. Just like telling the reported person/people about the report can cause drama, so too can telling other people cause problems. Generally speaking, the best course of action once you've sent a report is to just stay quiet about it until it's handled by the Security staff. The only exception to this principle is if somebody else who saw or is involved in the reported incident comes to talk to you about it and is considering doing something about it; in that case you should tell the concerned person to leave the situation alone because you've already reported it. Seriously, there is no other good reason to go around talking about the fact that you reported something, so don't do it.

    Asking Security Staff About Reports Is Allowed

    After you've sent your report and stepped away from the situation like the responsible individual that you are, sometimes you're not going to see any obvious results. It's easy to come to the conclusion that nothing at all was done, but you don't need to sit there and wonder forever. It is perfectly fine to message a Security staff member and ask what happened to that thing you reported. Sometimes we won't give you any specific details for the sake of privacy or not stirring drama, but we will always let you know the general status of the case. Perhaps we're still investigating, or maybe the person who was assigned to the case got busy and it's just taking a while, or maybe we talked to the reported party and it's already settled, or perhaps we decided that there was no rule breaking going on so nothing needed to be done. You're always welcome to shoot one of us a message to ask about a case, but please keep such messages to Security staff members only; the Community and Maintenance staff teams don't have access to security threads to see what's going on, so messaging them would be a waste of your time and theirs.


    That should cover everything. If you've got questions about when or how to use the report system even after reading this resource and the other related ones linked up above, feel free to message a Security Staff Member.