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Staff Authority and You: A Quick Guide

This Resource aims to clear up any confusion that may exist about the status of Staff members compared to regular members, what to do when you see a Staff member doing their job in a chat or in a private message to you, and what to do in case you think a Staff member is abusing their authority.

What's the difference between Staff and regular members?

The only real difference between any random member of the site and someone on Staff is that Staff members have decided to dedicate some of their time and energy to helping keep Iwaku clean and safe for everyone. Anyone has the potential to become a staff member so long as they are active, have not gotten into trouble in the past, and have the time to spare to do some work around the place. Staff members are given some authority and moderation powers by the Admins in order to allow them to carry out these volunteer duties.

Why are there four different Staff departments?

Because we Admins like organization. Each department handles separate tasks: Roleplay handles archiving old threads and creates guides; Community greets and guides new members and runs fun events; Site Support handles issues like misplaced threads and bump spamming, and informs folks of the site rules regarding those things; and Security handles the rule breakers in regards to more serious issues like people posting porn on the site or lying about their age to write smut with people outside their age group. If you need to ask a Staff member a question, aiming for one who works in a department that relates to your inquiry will be most likely to yield useful results.

What should I do if I see a Staff member enforcing the rules or giving a warning in a thread or chat?

Stay out of their way and leave them to do their job. It can be hard to resist the urge to comment on it or throw mockery at whoever is on the receiving end of the finger wagging, but it doesn't help and might make things far worse. Consider how you would feel if you forgot or weren't aware of a rule, broke it, had a staff member sternly telling you that you messed up, and then a couple of other people started making fun of you for it. It puts folks on the defensive and can make them angry enough to lash out, which can escalate a minor issue into a huge problem. Even just agreeing with the Staff member and reiterating that so-and-so is in fact the rule can be a problem, even though you're just trying to be helpful. It's always best to just step away and let the Staff member do their job without interference so that it can go as smoothly as possible.

Then is there anything I can do to help Staff besides becoming a Staff member?

Not in active rules enforcement situations as described above. In general though, you can help by being a good example for others. Follow the site rules, be kind to others on the site, and help out newbies and confused people when you can. Regularly greeting new members, being a positive presence in General Chatting, answering questions in the Help Desk, and being active in the Content section of the forum are all great ways to make the site a shinier and happier place without causing us any headaches.

What should I do if I get a private message from a Staff member about rules or asking for information?

Depends on the situation, but generally there are three types of messages you might receive: one giving you information, one asking you to do something specific, or one asking you for information.

A message giving you information is likely to be a friendly reminder of the rules or a warning about a rule you've broken. If you get one of these you don't need to respond at all, just keep the information in mind and try to follow the rules in the future, else you may get a more serious message about it later. You can certainly ask questions for further clarification if you need to.

Messages asking you to do something can be a wide variety of things, from deleting an inflammatory profile post to putting an image into a spoiler with a NSFW content warning. All you've got to do is do as you've been asked and that can be the end of it. If you disagree with the request or have questions, you can always ask for clarification as to why it's necessary. Responding to tell the Staff member that you've done as requested is not required, but it is appreciated.

Messages asking you for information will require a response. Generally these will be about member disputes or serious security issues. They should give you a very clear explanation of what they need from you, and all you've got to do is provide them with that information. As with other types of messages, you can indeed ask questions about the situation if you feel so inclined.

Note that all of the above says, in essence, do what they say. This is a solid rule of thumb for how to get through private conversations with Staff members on official business without any problems. Arguing with them and telling them you're not going to do whatever they're asking of you tends to be a good way to get yourself into more serious trouble. There are better ways to handle such objections, described below.

What should I do if a Staff member is abusing their authority or asking me to do inappropriate things?

Report them. To see how that's done, check out this other Resource on the subject. Only the Admins and the Security Leaders see these reports. If for some reason you need to report one of those people, send a direct private message to one of the Admins about it.

Examples of things that a Staff member might do that require a report include but are not limited to harassing a member, unfairly targeting a member with repeated punitive actions, telling a member to do anything that is against the rules, encouraging or passively allowing friends/acquaintances/roleplay partners to break site rules, or demanding personal information from a member. The ONLY time a staff member ought to be asking for personal information is if you entered the wrong birth date on your account or are suspected of intentionally lying about your age, in which case a member of Security or an Admin may ask you for your birth date or, in more serious cases, confirmation of your birth date with a picture of your face and a picture of some form of identification that shows your face and date of birth but with everything else covered. We take abuse of authority very seriously and thoroughly investigate all such reports, and generally if they're found to have merit that person will be immediately removed from Staff.

Where can I ask questions about the contents of this Resource?

If it's something that you're comfortable asking in public, posting a thread in the Help Desk is fine. Alternatively, if you would prefer to ask privately, you can send a private message to one of the Admins.
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