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SandsS

SandsS

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PostSubject: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 4:35 am

Greetings, fellow RiG'ers! I have a problem. Or, rather, a friend of mine does. He posted in this thread (Females joining SWTOR) and was subsequently banned for "sexual harassment" -- permanently. Without warning.

What, you might ask, did he say that warranted an immediate permaban?

"I've played with (no pun intended) many female gamers in the past."

Was it in poor taste? Yes. Do I believe it was meant to harass or otherwise degrade female gamers? No. Why should my opinion count?

Well, this person is "OdiumRiddle," the leader of the guild I recently applied to join. I'm also female. Not many, if any, of you knew this, because I like to keep to myself and I've experienced harassment in the past. I'd like to take this opportunity to vouch personally for Riddle. This permaban means that he can't edit our guild recruitment thread in the Republic Guild Hall section of the forums, nor be a full member of the SWTOR community.

I believe this permaban represents a Community Team breach of BWA's own Terms of Service, wherein they mention that suspensions will be graduated (24-hour, three day, seven day, and THEN permanent).

Riddle has been emailing BWA community support about his suspension every day since he was banned, and has received no response or acknowledgment of his emails. If an immediate, permanent suspension can happen to Riddle, it can happen to any one of us or our friends as well.

How can you help? I've written a letter you can copy/paste as written, or edit, and sign your forum name to.

You can either email the BioWare community team (suggested): bwacommunitysupport@bioware.com (Subject: Concerns About Forum Moderation and Account Suspension Policy) or use the Support tab on their website and send them a message (http://www.swtor.com/support). I recommend classifying your concerns as "Account Issues" in the dropdown menu.

The text of the letter:

Quote :
To the BioWare Community Team,

I am writing on behalf of a fellow SWTOR.com community member who received a permanent ban from the Community Team without sufficient prior warning. “OdiumRiddle” is a guild leader and an upstanding member of the forums. Although his comments in the “Females joining SWTOR” thread may have been in poor taste, I do not believe they constituted sexual harassment or necessitated a permanent ban. I am concerned that a lack of sufficient warning before a permanent ban may happen to me or my friends in similarly innocuous and unpredictable circumstances.

I believe “OdiumRiddle” was banned according to this clause in the SWTOR.com Rules of Conduct:

It violates BioWare's Terms of Service (ToS) if you (or others using your Account) engage in any of the following behavior:
Harass, threaten, embarrass, or do anything else to another Member or guest that is unwanted. This includes: saying bad things about Members or guests, repeatedly sending them unwanted messages, attacking their race, sexual orientation, religion, heritage, etc. Remember: if you disagree with someone, keep your response targeted at the subject, not the person.

I do not believe that “OdiumRiddle” engaged in harassing or insulting behavior of any kind. According to the ToS, all such suspensions are reviewed and “step up” in severity:

If you are suspended, it is not proper to get back to the forums on an alternate account. If your account is suspended, and you use an alternate account to post, the alternate account will be permanently suspended, and not only will you receive another official warning, but your suspension will be lengthened. Usually, suspensions will step from 24 hours, to 3 days, to 7 days and then Permanent. All suspensions are documented by the Community Team. You do not need to contact us to review a suspension, as they are all reviewed by the rest of the Community Team. If we feel there is an issue with your suspension, we will gladly reverse it, or shorten its length and you will be notified with a Private Message.

“OdiumRiddle” was not given any kind of warning other than basic infractions in the past. He was immediately and permanently suspended for “sexual harassment,” which does not reflect the graduated suspension procedures outlined in the BWA ToS. I am concerned that this could also happen to me, or someone else I know, without sufficient review or oversight.

“OdiumRiddle” is a guild leader, and banning him without proper warning also punishes the members of his guild. He is now unable to edit his guild’s recruitment post in the Galactic Republic Guild Hall forums, and unable to fully participate in the community. This would be disastrous for any guild leader or community member. I feel that his permanent suspension was improper and I would like the Community Team to review the case and consider shortening the suspension in accordance with the graduated steps outlined in the ToS.

Although I agree that sometimes suspensions are necessary, I believe an immediate and permanent suspension was unwarranted in this case.

Sincerely,
YOUR SWTOR FORUM ACCOUNT NAME, Member of the SWTOR Community

Any support the RiG community can offer would be welcome. If you choose to send this email, please be polite and send it to BWA community support no more than once a day. Either I or Riddle will keep the RiG updated on our progress.
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SandsS

SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 4:37 am

Note that I'm traveling cross-country at the moment, so I may not always respond promptly to the thread! I know that the RiG community is helpful and supportive, so when I heard about this I thought I might try here, first.
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Schwendo

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 7:32 am

I understand your anger in this subject.

I do ask one thing, can you plz contact Ty and Selv off list. You can get with them on a course of action via RiG. Then, they can have a "say" in this. I have no problem helping you at all, but, I'd like the "okay" from our RiG founders...also...their take on this. Is that ok Sands?

Lastly, did you or anyone from your guild try to actually call up BW on the subject? Do they have a customer service/ community call number up yet? Just an idea.

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Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend Rigbycrazies2
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Grome
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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 12:42 pm

Wouldn't it be better to send it once with a /signed from all of us than to spam them with it? Then again, there's no real way to prove we "signed" it and you could just pretend.

Of course, I'm willing to help. I'm very surprised the support does not answer.

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SandsS

SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 1:23 pm

Let me be clear,"anger" has no part of my response to this problem. "Consternation," yes. "Surprise," yes.

I came to RiG because I believe improper moderation and banning on the SWTOR forum is a proper RiG community concern. Riddle's ban was an immediate perma-hammer. He got no benefit of the doubt, nor did he get a warning beyond the basic infractions some of us (looking at you, Darka Smile ) receive all the time.

Would one of you mind PM'ing Ty-Odi about this thread? I'm confident he'll be able to vouch for my personal character and the quality of my motivations, if that's your concern. I honestly didn't think there'd be a need for RiG moderators to get involved. I'm speaking to the community as individuals -- if you agree with me, as an individual, I'd like you to send an email as well. Ty-Odi or Selven's "official" approval is a poor substitute for the personal choice I'd like community members to make.

Schwen: The forums tell members to email bwacommunitysupport@bioware.com with any concerns. I don't believe there's an active call center assigned to deal with currently non-paying members.

Unfortunately, that also means that it's really difficult to get your case reviewed. I'm hoping that many people emailing about this issue will result in action (a reduction of Riddle's perma-ban) or a response (no, we won't unban him). It's action either way.

Please forgive me for not sticking around longer! I need to go try to outrun some snow...
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Ty-Odi
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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 1:28 pm

Hi Sandss,

I will take a look at this when I get home, but may be tomorrow as I have a staff Xmas do tonight. I have a number of moderators on my friendslist, and who I talk to fairly regularly, I can try some of them and see if I can get any justifiable reasoning as to why a fairly by the by post was dealt with so harshly?

I find the ban unbelievable, I really do? If this really was a one off then this is severe in the extreme.

I was also wondering if anyone had tried to ring bioware? this may be the best course of action?

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SandsS

SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 1:52 pm

Ty-Odi wrote:
I was also wondering if anyone had tried to ring bioware? this may be the best course of action?

I was unable to find a contact phone number, and I don't believe BW:A are encouraging people to call them to resolve issues. The only contact procedure I could find on the SWTOR forums was that email address (bwacommunitysupport@bioware.com).

Take your time, Ty! And happy holidays, in case I get stuck on the side of the road today... Smile
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azarhal

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeFri Dec 17, 2010 3:56 pm

I find the whole thing rather strange myself...unfortunately...I'm not in the "know" of the mod on the SWTOR forum and I'm not sure if "spamming" the community support will be that much helpful either.

Your friend can always come here for the time being...

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SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 2:47 pm

Well, I sent an email myself to BW:A community support. I'm pushing for a review.

As far as I know, that was the only line in Riddle's post that could have been taken offensively. He knew the people he was speaking to in the thread, was friends with them, and was chatting in their TS when he posted. I don't know what else to do other than "spam" community support until I get a response.

I'm open to suggestions for alternative methods of contact. So far, I've been ignored, too. I'm going to be sending this message once a day over the holidays, personally.
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Variable
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Variable

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 3:41 pm

I've been in lurk mode for the past few weeks due to changing shifts and the usual Holiday ratrace, but this got my dander up.

Here we see the issue with the type of "zero tolerance" enforcement that most businesses have against perceived intolerance and harassment. It a product of our hyper-sensitive, Purell generation and it leads to overreaction and a guilty until proven innocent scenario. I'm truly sorry your guild leader was caught at the business end of this. I sent an email on his behalf as well for the simple matter that rules are rules. If you set your policies down in writing, you'd damned well better follow them otherwise you set up an environment conducive to lawyering what is and isn't acceptable, which is a very slippery slope to find oneself on.
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Lanius

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 8:59 pm

SandsS wrote:
Greetings, fellow RiG'ers! I have a problem. Or, rather, a friend of mine does. He posted in this thread (Females joining SWTOR) and was subsequently banned for "sexual harassment" -- permanently. Without warning.

What, you might ask, did he say that warranted an immediate permaban?

"I've played with (no pun intended) many female gamers in the past."

Was it in poor taste? Yes. Do I believe it was meant to harass or otherwise degrade female gamers? No. Why should my opinion count?

I don't see why he would even get a warning... a permanent ban is just wrong. :\ It was just a joke and I don't see any bad taste in it.
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Darka

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 9:38 pm

Someone must have done a hell of a complaint over it to get it that far
Id suggest being cautious over mailing, it might not help his cause with a massive mail bomb
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Darka

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 9:39 pm

Also any action and issues on that person are between Bioware and him you wont hear anything from Bioware if its not you involved
Tried the new community dev?
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Coldhart

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 12:15 am

I think what Schwen meant by getting Ty and Selv on board was to try to get the official site behind the movement since what we're doing with R.I.G. has been noticed by many and if R.I.G. was behind this it may move mountains compared to what we could do on our own. The devs and mods know about R.I.G. and if R.I.G. comes forward, maybe they'll listen.

Personaly, IMO what he said shouldn't have offended anyone. If that was word for word, I would have taken it as a joke and nothing more. But regardless of how bad it was or could have been the main problem lies with not following the TOS that they themselves have outlined...they broke their own terms.

I'm all for writing them, however, like I stated above, if R.I.G. could somehow get involved, it may be received on a whole new playing field and they may actually listen. And although we may not know Riddle, this harsh treatment needs to be nipped in the ars! As you said, if they do it to one, they could do it to anyone.
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SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 3:03 am

I'm open to suggestions about how to proceed, everyone. Either revising the 'form email' I wrote up, or doing something else to have a better chance at getting a response.

Darka, I doubt this will end up as a "massive" mail campaign, at least at first!

My intent is to approach this as politely as possible. I want to know what the Community Team found so offensive that it warranted a knee-jerk permaban. The other issue is how difficult it is to appeal their decision! The only sanctioned method of contact that I've found is through directly emailing the team at bwacommunitysupport@bioware.com, or using a support ticket from inside the forums, themselves. I'm open to other options if they can be found.

About making this a RiG issue: yes, it could work, if we as the community decided it was a worthwhile issue to pursue. By and large I think the BW Community Team does an excellent job at keeping the trolls out and at being fair to everyone who uses the forums ... unfair general "infractions" or no.

If I understand correctly, the infractions disappear over time. A permaban, however, is on a whole different level of "moderation."

Ty-Odi PM'd a community moderator for me, and what caught my attention in the response was that there was "more to" the post than the bit Ty had quoted -- and the bit I reproduced for everyone here. I read Riddle's original post in that thread. I laughed, shook my head a bit, and applied to Odium a few days later. So! Yeah, that was the only line in the whole post that either I or Riddle could remember as being even slightly "offensive." Now that they've deleted Riddle's post, there's not even a way for me to adequately defend the whole text.

They've made it very difficult to argue a point. AND Riddle has been sending them emails every day without a response. So much for an appeals process ... I really don't know what else to do, other than this.

--

Edit: I sent a PM to the new Guild Senior Community Manager. We'll see what happens, eh? It's the holidays and a weekend, so I'm expecting there might be a delay in any response to this...
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Ty-Odi
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Ty-Odi

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 3:54 am

Well, I hope you manage to get something sorted SandsS,

Sorry I was not able to get something looked into for you though, I did try Smile

I have sent a mail also, but I don't know if that will get anything more done than you can manage as well?

One other thing you could try perhaps?

Corporate Contact Details
Mailing Address:
BioWare Edmonton
200, 4445 Calgary Trail
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6H 5R7

Or

E-mail: contact@bioware.com
Phone: 780-430-0164
Fax: 780-439-6374

I actually think ringing them may be your best option to be honest, especially if no one is responding?

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SandsS

SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 4:28 am

Ty-Odi wrote:
E-mail: contact@bioware.com
Phone: 780-430-0164
Fax: 780-439-6374

I actually think ringing them may be your best option to be honest, especially if no one is responding?

The Austin studio is the one developing SWTOR, so the Edmonton studio would look at me as if I were nuts. I think ringing them up is the riskier option, personally. The nice thing about email is that they get to look at it, review it, and decide whether or not to respond. Calling the studio would make me feel a little like a crazy person.
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Coldhart

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 7:15 am

Well, they could give you the number for the Austin studio. And at least make sure Riddle has it and tries to call for himself. I would tend to agree with you about you personally trying to call. They'll probably just tell you that they can't discuss anyone else's account or any information asociated with that account. But if he calls for himself, then maybe he can get some answers at least.
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Schwendo

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 7:21 am

Sry Sands,

I was out of town Fri-Sat. I'm back now. Cold is correct, the RiG leaders initially might hopefully be able to get a "community channel" open to the Com-Mgr/BW. I feel that if you first get Ty, Selv' involved, then we can add the "RiG affiliated" guild leaders to the mix, and lastly, add the active RiG members in a "bulk" RiG send. As far as "proving" the names...I don't mind you adding my personal e-mail backing my name up. Once again, this is once Ty/ Selv are on board. I don't want you to misunderstand my intentions, just use the proper "chain of leadership" to hopefully resolve this situation.

Sry, Cold was posting as I was. I agree Cold, I was hoping for that in my original post. There has to be a generic Bio-Ware customer service number. I would have him try that avenue. Calling and griping would prolly be the worse thing he could do. I'd just be apologetic, and ask kindly for them to review the incident. If they play dumb about a "TOR contact line", then you could goto plan b (RiG leadership backing..etc..). I really think there has to be a BW/TOR call line somewhere. Can anyone birddog it for Sands??

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Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend Rigbycrazies2
CHRIS SCHWEN / GUILD CO-LEADER- CRAZIES of KORRIBAN <-CoK-> (dark) CRAZIES of the REPUBLIC <-CoR-> (light)
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Godric_Barbarosa

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 2:18 pm

Coldhart wrote:
And although we may not know Riddle, this harsh treatment needs to be nipped in the ars! As you said, if they do it to one, they could do it to anyone.

I find your misspelling of a profane word very offensive. You've been reported.

Sorry to joke during such a serious matter. My biggest problem getting behind anything here is that I lack context. I didn't read the original post in the original thread and I don't know what infractions Riddle has previously committed. Even Sandss last post seems to suggest that there is more to it than we know. On the other hand, I do find Bioware apparently breaking their own TOS disturbing but I haven't read it fully and I don't know if they are exploiting a loophole here. Either way it is a bad business move for them.
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SandsS

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 6:12 pm

Godric_Barbarosa wrote:
Coldhart wrote:
And although we may not know Riddle, this harsh treatment needs to be nipped in the ars! As you said, if they do it to one, they could do it to anyone.

I find your misspelling of a profane word very offensive. You've been reported.

Sorry to joke during such a serious matter. My biggest problem getting behind anything here is that I lack context. I didn't read the original post in the original thread and I don't know what infractions Riddle has previously committed. Even Sandss last post seems to suggest that there is more to it than we know. On the other hand, I do find Bioware apparently breaking their own TOS disturbing but I haven't read it fully and I don't know if they are exploiting a loophole here. Either way it is a bad business move for them.

I'd love to give you context and have more evidence, myself! The problem is that the original post was moderated. I can tell you that I read it before it was deleted, and that I, personally didn't find it offensive -- mostly funny. Me using the words "poor taste" is a concession to light moderator action. The BW:A Community Team is well within their rights to exercise their own judgment regarding what is and what is not "offensive."

From what Ty-Odi told me, BW are most likely to claim that Riddle was an "exceptional case" and therefore warranted an immediate permaban.

From everything I've read (Riddle's posts), this is extraordinarily unlikely. We could all understand extreme moderation in extreme circumstances, but Riddle's post was just sort of an average joke, the kind you make between friends (in poor taste or no).

Having no set "appeal" process to permabans is then a real problem, if you feel you were genuinely banhammered in error and not in accordance with the BW ToS.
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Grome
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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 7:24 pm

Maybe you could get Riddle on here? It would make coordination of things and advice easier.

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Redriot

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Age : 43
Location : Indianapolis/Indiana

Ingame Characters
Character Name: Draven
Class: Sith Warrior
Guild: Reign

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 8:02 pm

Agree with Darka someone really must of tore them up with a huge complaint for them to ban him perm without no warning. All they would of had to do is send him mail, bump thread, and be done with it. Have a feeling someone went the mile and sent emails to Bioware threating all kinds of stuff. Its a kind of world we live in, some people cant take a joke, or are offended by someone right off the bat. Im really said to here this news for you, and if you need any help just let holla Very Happy
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Coldhart

Coldhart

Posts : 363
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 46
Location : St. Louis (Illinois side)

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 10:37 pm

Or...Hate to say it but whoever got so mad about the post could actually know one or more mods which could have lead to the ban. It would be totally wrong to abuse your powers in such a way but we know stuff like this happens all the time.

Even in this case, there is no proof of what was said. The evidence has been removed and now becomes a he said/she said scenario. But even with litigation where it could be proved that they did break their own terms, it's not like you would take them to court over such a matter. Therefor the ability to missuse your power comes into play. They could have the mindset that noone will do anything about it.

I say if you can prove it, take em to court, have them pay your attourney fees/court fees and win a lifetime free sub to SWTOR! WOOT! ok just joking about this, but honestly not much can be done if they're not willing to work with him on it.

Did they ban his account or IP? If account create a new account and don't let on who he is to anyone except the guild members. If IP was banned, then have him purchase and use a router. It will be set up with a different IP. Then create a new account and continue on as above. And no, I've never been banned before >.< Or he could probably reconfigure his PC for a new IP.
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http://www.craziesoftor.guildportal.com
Godric_Barbarosa

Godric_Barbarosa

Posts : 293
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 43
Location : Pittsburgh, PA

Ingame Characters
Character Name:
Class: Jedi Consular
Guild: Looking for

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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitimeSun Dec 19, 2010 11:24 pm

None of this situation makes any sense to me. It seems like nothing short constannt harrasment/stalking deserves a permaban unless the person has not responded to shorter duration bans. Bioware has not only risked losing Riddle's business for swttor but any other game they ever make in the future, and the risk losinng the business of anyone he complainns to about it. The offended party would likewise would have had to have threatened a likewise lose of business and additional legal action. But even then I think any offended party would have been satisfied with a week ban unless there had been issues with the offender in the past.

Likewise, Bioware's unresponsiveness doesn't make sense. I can understand why they might not wish to discuss the caase of another user with Sandss, at least tell him as much. Heck, they promptly responded to my complaint about having a thread locked and were willing to escalate it to a review. This unresponsiveness doesn't fit with my previous experience with Bioware.

As Cold pointed out the ban is easily circumvented uch that it isn't worth Bioware'spotential lose of revenue for n easily circumvented punishment.
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PostSubject: Re: Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend   Request for RiG Community Action on Behalf of a Friend I_icon_minitime

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