Game Rules

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0. Application of rules on Cybersphere

0A. RULE ZERO

The purpose of rules on Cybersphere is to establish and sustain an open and fair roleplaying environment where all forms and styles of play are encouraged as long as they do not disrupt the game's theme, the mechanics of gameplay, or the ability of others to roleplay.

0B. Handle disputes at the lowest level

The most effective way to encourage constructive game behaviour is through a good example, and should an issue arise, players MUST attempt dispute resolution at the player level prior to escalating further. If you find that you, as a player, have a dispute with another player regarding community rules (Section 4) or OOC behaviours that are otherwise covered by these rules, you should first attempt to resolve the issue amongst yourselves. Should this fail and you wish to involve administrators to mediate the dispute you must provide full documentation of the dispute or incident(s) in question. (Logs should be provided unabridged, other than trimming unnecessary content).

NOTE: Failure to attempt to resolve the dispute prior to escalating the issue to Administrators will result in you being asked to go back and attempt to resolve it on the player level first.

0C. Documentation of player and rule disputes

Players who bring disputes to administration for mediation must provide full, unabridged logs (outside of trimming unnecessary content). Administrators who mediate disputes are required to maintain a copy of the provided logs along with documentation of discussions, warnings and any penalties imposed.

0D. Reasonable progression of corrective action

Applying corrective actions to players who violate rules must follow a reasonable progression from warnings to penalties, and finally, to restriction of gameplay. Players must be given a reasonable chance to correct themselves before (in the most severe cases) being removed from the game.

1. Game mechanics

1A. Code Bugs

Errors and loopholes that are discovered during gameplay should be reported using `@bug` at the soonest convenience. The code problems may be minor, causing no ongoing problems, or they be major, crippling the game. Generally, when a bug occurs, the MOO will provide you with a traceback (error report) of the problem such as:

(Beginning of traceback)
"get second assembler from cabinet"
#8:get take remove (this == #24684), line 4:  Verb not found
(End of traceback)

Sending this text in an `@bug` report will help the administrators fix the problem. You need only send one report for each type of bug that you see, so if you see the same bug multiple times, a single report will suffice unless you have been informed of a fix (at which point a subsequent traceback may be valid to submit)

1B. Code Loopholes

Not all errors will generate a traceback. Sometimes code malfunctions or functions in a way not intended by the programmer. For example, typing pay me 1000000000 with credstick should by all means NOT give you free money. But if it did, it would be an example of a loophole; code that does something that it should not do and should be reported as a bug.

Knowingly using a loophole or malfunctioning code to gain an advantage, information, or other benefit is abuse of game mechanics and is against the rules.

1C. Intentional circumvention of coded systems

Some game systems may seek to limit or restrict your interaction with them in some way that may seem to be more of an OOC restriction than IC. For example, some job systems are limited to a certain number of jobs per person per day, or restricted to only those characters with bank balances below a certain number of credits. Whilst it may be possible to circumvent these restrictions in a completely IC manner, please note that intentionally circumventing these OOC limits is considered taking advantage of a loophole and thus is prohibited. In this case, depending on the nature of the system being circumvented and the circumstances under which it happens, any punishment for breaking this rule may initially take the form of IC consequences before escalating to OOC punishments as detailed in section 7 of the rules.

1D. Scripting, Triggers, Bots, and command stacking and spamming

Triggers: The use of triggers to automatically send commands to the game in response to game inputs is strictly prohibited. Triggers may be used to perform actions in your own client only, such as making the window flash or playing a sound.

Using your client features to send multiple commands (stacking), quickly generate multiple commands (macros or aliases), or quickly respond to game inputs (triggers) are prohibited in all situations unless otherwise specified (ie. mundane actions such as putting on a pre-configured outfit when alone in your apartment). If in doubt, ask.

Sending multiple, redundant commands in order to slow down or overwhelm the game or its players (spamming commands) is prohibited.

2. Server Rules

Our game is generously hosted for free by Netsville on their systems. These systems also host other business and personal software and services. Attacking our MOO can cause real damage to our hosts. Doing so is one of the most serious offences that can be committed. These offences can result in immediate expulsion from the game, IP blacklisting and even criminal prosecution.

2A. Logon attacks

Sitting at the logon prompt and typing 'co Rain is an incompetent despot' a thousand times is considered an attempt to deny service. Spamming the logon prompt is a violation of the rules. Attempting to brute force passwords or log in as other players is against the rules. Allowing your MOO client to repeatedly attempt automated logons without intervention is a violation of the rules and will result in your IP being automatically blacklisted for a period of time. If you do forget your password, send a password request e-mail to help@cybersphere.net with your character name or OOC name. Passwords will only be e-mailed to the email address registered to your player account.

2B. Idling

Using scripts or allowing your client to run unattended is against the rules. The game has a disconnect timer for a reason. If you do not want to play, log off. Using a script or tick timer to perform actions for you while you are away not only takes up bandwidth and connections, it can also have unintended results that can spam the server. This falls under the category of both server problems and OOC cheating.

3. Guest and Player Account Rules

3A. Guests.

Guests are for players who do not already have characters on CS: As such, all guests and the entire guest and tutorial area are considered OOC.

3B. Player Slots

Players are allowed to have only one (1) player account. This account provides the ability to have up to two (2) characters at a time, though only one character may be active at a time. When you permanently die, your player slot will return to character generation where you can begin anew using the same player account. You may make use of the secondary slot available via in game means should you wish to send your character on a vacation (See rule 3D) which makes that character temporarily unavailable for play while you have your second slot active. (You may also vacation your second slot in order to return to your first one and vice versa if you wish to keep both characters.)

Having more than one player account (creating alternate accounts, or "alts") is a violation of the rules and may result in your restriction or expulsion from the game.

3C. IP Addresses, Freemail and Proxies / VPNs

One player slot is allowed per IP address. Multiple characters connecting via one IP address will not be allowed. Email accounts from mass hosts are easily falsified and as such should have some kind of verifiable online presence that we can connect you to. Players sharing IP addresses due to shared living conditions or close physical proximity must report this to administration and gain approval to be logged in at the same time. These players must also not play characters so closely connected that they share gear, credits etc as well as strictly abiding by section 5 (Roleplaying) of the rules.

Redirection systems, proxies, VPNs and other tunnels, which allow easy masking of your original connection, are not permitted for CS access. Exceptions to these rules may be granted by CS admin on a case-by-case basis for players who have no alternatives for connectivity.

3D. Vacation Characters.

Players are allowed to have one (1) vacation character. Vacation characters can only be acquired via the IN GAME vacation system. See help @vacation for more information. Vacation characters are to be kept separate. There should be no interaction between them, not even through other players. Vacation characters are meant to allow players to try something different without giving up their main character, not to have 'twice the resources'. (See Rule 5C)

3E. Bringing back previous characters

While the game is fantastical in that we have monofilament whips, clones, and Tally Isham, dying without a clone results in permanent death. If your character perma-dies, you cannot play that character again. Ever. You may not re-use the name, history, descriptions or any other part of the character, nor rebuild a new character that is in effect the old character in any way shape or form. The character generation system also prevents you from re-using old names. Using creative spelling to circumvent this (or using an extremely similar name) is against the rules.

4. Community Rules

4A. The Cybersphere Community

Cybersphere is a game populated by players (real people!) from all over the world who create in-game characters (virtual people!) to engage in roleplay. While the virtual people on Cybersphere are allowed to be disruptive bastards, the real people are not. OOC communication between players (the real people) must always be conducted with a reasonable amount of decorum and respect. Players (real people) who are disruptive to the atmosphere of open and respectful communication in the Cybersphere community will not be tolerated.

As part of this, all official OOC communications methods (such as the forums, Discord, etc) are to be treated as if part of the game. All rules that apply to the game also apply these places and will be treated in the same way. These places may have additional rules that apply to them as well.

4B. Player <-> Player, and Player <-> Administrator interactions

Players should treat each other with respect when interacting with each other. We understand that players can become frustrated with situations and things slip out, but we are all here to play a game. Players are to treat Administrators with respect when dealing with them and should not be abusive or highly abrasive on an ongoing basis. The administrators are volunteering their time to help make the game better in multiple ways and are not here as players personal punching bags. By the same token, Administrators should also be respectful of players in general when interacting with them, but while this is the case - please keep in mind that the player sets the tone for the conversation. In order to keep communications cohesive between administration and players, players may not mute or block administrators through their game clients or on any of the official OOC communications systems (such as forums or Discord). If there is a real issue with an administrator that requires such measures it should be officially reported through in-game channels.

4C. Threatening bodily harm / injury to characters' controllers

This is where the law steps into the MOO for a moment. It's one thing to scream across the Syndrome at someone ICly "I'm going to kill you!!", but it's another thing to OOCly write someone that you're going to rape and pillage their household. This is totally unacceptable and is completely forbidden.

4D. Sexual harassment and rape

Offering someone any IC or OOC benefits for sexual favours, repeatedly making sexual comments after being OOCly asked to stop and similar behaviours are not allowed. Forcing a character and/or player into a sexual situation against their consent is rape, and not tolerated in any way. Voluntary, graphic roleplay of rape or sexual assault is a serious issue that we do not wish to permit to play out and as such is unacceptable. If you as a player participate in such actions, even voluntarily, you are participating in a breach of these rules. In addition, sexual roleplay with a character who is (or is implied to be) under the age of eighteen is strictly forbidden. Any players involved in such roleplay are in breach of these rules.

4E. Racial / Religious / Sexual Orientation / other prejudice

Making derogatory OOC comments about a player's race, religion, sexual orientation or similar is unacceptable. This type of hate-mongering is a serious issue and will not be tolerated in any manner. While similar comments between characters are to be treated as IC and should remain in the IC world, if a player is seen to be deliberately conveying such remarks through their character in a targeted manner in order to circumvent this rule, it will be reviewed and may result in further action. Please note that in the in-game world of Cybersphere, a person's apparent race, physical sex, and other traits can change at a whim. As a result of this, In Character discrimination against these factors is likely to be rare.

4F. Spamming

Making repetitive or excessive comments or posts to the game's discussion boards will not be tolerated. Walking into a game area and shouting a page full of repetitive text is not fun or tolerated. It disrupts the player's attempts at role-playing, or even seeing what is going on. Do not do it. This includes spamming any in-game communication system (like a BBS or a complant - either your own or another player's).

4G. Unsubstantiated accusations of cheating

While players may feel or claim that other players are cheating, there are many reasons things occur within the game world that most players are not privy to. As a result of this, players occasionally get the idea that other players are cheating or 'metagaming' by using OOC methods to co-ordinate actions, gang up on people OOC'ly etc. In Cybersphere's history it has been rare that players regularly accused of such things have actually been participating in actions against the rules in such ways and we take these actions seriously to the point that on occasion guilty players have had their access to the game removed temporarily or even permanently. HOWEVER: We do NOT accept repeated unsubstantiated claims or accusations of cheating. These waste your time, our time, and depending on severity, the accused player's time. Ongoing and repeated claims without any factually backed evidence, or refusal to provide evidence that you claim to have will themselves, after time, be considered an infringement of the rules and treated accordingly.

4H. Inappropriate complaints against the game and administration

We understand everyone has their opinions and gripes, whether it's about game systems, other players, or even the administration (or specific administrators). If you have such issues there have always been avenues for you to voice them appropriately in a manner that reaches the entire administration. We may not be aware of widespread complaints from players, they may be about issues arising with changes to systems that we do not find straight away and so on. What is not acceptable is a player OOC'ly (and in some extreme circumstances, IC'ly) spewing vitriol regarding the game, and its administration because they do not agree with something or because an issue exists that has not been attended to. It is unnecessary and spreads negativity that is unwarranted. Save yourself and everyone else the time, cool off, be patient, provide us a well worded and polite complaint about the issue and we can all move forward.

5. Roleplaying Rules

5A. Roleplaying your character

Cybersphere allows many types and levels of roleplay. You are free to develop whatever type of character you wish. However, all characters must be reasonably believable as a unique personality and adhere to the theme of the game. This means not playing subsequent characters that all share the same personality or if your character was submitted through Advanced / Tier3 character generation, sticking to the personality and limitations in the biography / summary that were approved during the process. (Excepting major IC justification which can be provided).

Please note that for legal reasons all characters must be physically aged over eighteen and be a mature adult mentally, even if the controller is an immature adult. Vat Grown Ninjas are expected to have the mind of an adult.

5B. Roleplaying in a group or gang

Groups, gangs, and cartels are an important part of roleplay on Cybersphere. In all cases, groups must practice inclusive roleplay that allows as many participants and rivals as possible.

Pre-organised groups that are created between players OOC'ly should be noted to admin and approved before creation. This applies doubly so for players making new characters with shared backgrounds and making new characters to bring in as a group. These groups must be based on roleplay that is inclusive of other players. We understand that people want to play with their friends, but players should vary their experiences, and not excessively rejoin the same players / groups across characters. Players found to be doing this inappropriately will be required to take a break from their friends / groups for a period of time (after their existing character naturally dies or vacations).

Players or groups that use OOC agreements and / or out of game co-ordination between participants in any form ("Clans", "cliques" etc) will not be tolerated.

5C. Different characters, different goals

Players who use many successive characters in an attempt to beat a game challenge, a group / gang, or a specific player will not be tolerated. Players should avoid repeatedly creating the same type of character, joining the same gang / group, or pursuing the same type of game employment / role for their characters. Players who routinely dispose of their characters via simplistic suicides in order to escape the roleplaying consequences of their actions will not be tolerated, especially those using the Advanced / Tier3 character generation system.

5D. Crossover of IC/OOC knowledge.

While you (the player) may be familiar with the game environment, your character may not. Players must keep their OOC knowledge of the game and its elements from excessively influencing their character's actions. Players who use OOC knowledge (to know the identity of their previous clone's killer or find their previous clone's corpse, for example) to bypass roleplaying will not be tolerated.

Players who participate in sharing / discussing IC information OOC'ly ("metagaming") will not be tolerated. This specifically covers recent and currently relevant information, as we DO appreciate sharing a good log or telling stories about old characters.

5E. Roleplaying with automated game systems or automated game characters ("AHaBs").

Players should make every effort to treat a game system or character (an "AHaB") as if it were "real" and fully responsive. Purposefully taking advantage of an automated system's shortcomings in the game or ignoring an AHaB's possible, "real person" responses is done at the player's own risk.

If a game system or AHaB suddenly becomes alert and reacts in a reasonable, believable, but unexpected way, the player is expected to roleplay with the reaction completely.

5F. Mass disturbance of the fun of the game

While this is a conflict driven game and such things are encouraged, long term behaviours that majorly disrupt the playability of the game for large portions of the playerbase IC'ly and OOC'ly are frowned upon.

This is a game, first and foremost, and it should be fun and enjoyable (to a degree) for the greater playerbase. Should players be found to be causing, through their character(s) actions, mass degradation to the OOC enjoyment of players over a long period of time, they may find the citizens and organisations of the game world reacting to their actions.

Players found to be deliberately and systematically targeting players or groups of players in a similar way will be taken as breaches of the IC / OOC rules (See 5D).

6. Administrators

The administration of CyberSphere are responsible for the upkeep and development of Cybersphere's themed game world, its coded game mechanics, and the mediation of playerbase issues. Administrators must always act in the best interests of the game as a whole, which includes player opinions and desires as a critical element. However, final authority on game issues will always rest with the administrators, and major decisions shall always be put to a vote that includes the maximum practical amount of admin participation.

6A. Player Confidentiality

When a player comes to an administrator for help or advice, the conversation is considered private within the administration, not necessarily with the specific administrator spoken to. Discussion will be had, information will often be shared within the administration as required in most circumstances. Unless the player specifically allows it, information from the conversation cannot be passed to other players and information gained indirectly through the conversation (like a player's intention to betray a gang) must be kept confidential to avoid contaminating the game world.

6B. Administrator and Game Engine Confidentiality

Information about administrators, their characters, or OOC identities is confidential and shall not be disclosed to players unless disclosed directly by the subject and shall not be disseminated by players or other administrators at any point. This includes assumptions of 'common knowledge' or 'everyone knows' reasoning. Just do not do it. Information passed on any administrative net is to be considered confidential and shall not be disclosed to the player base unless permission is explicitly given by the administration.

Specific details on the game system's mechanics that go beyond reasonable IC knowledge (e.g. "How many damage points does shotgun X do per hit?") shall not be divulged to players, nor should it be requested.

6C. Neutrality

When two players or organisations are having a conflict, an administrator might be called in to settle the dispute OOCly. Despite working in the past with a player, or being OOC friends with a player, administrators are required to be fair and impartial. If an administrator has feelings or issues that would cloud their judgement in a matter, they should call in another administrator to judge the issue.

6D. Activity.

All administrators must be active on Cybersphere, at some level, to retain their bit. If unable to log in, provisions can be made for email forwarding of game issues so that a minimum level of participation can be maintained. If RL circumstances prevent an admin from participating in the game at all, or if an admin needs a "break" from the game or adminning, this needs to be communicated to the rest of the team so allowances can be made, rather than simply disappearing for weeks at a time.

6E. Favoritism is not allowed

Administrators must give one and only one reasonably standard and appropriate level of support to all players. Favouring individuals, groups of players, or your personal character with additional support, items, or resources will not be tolerated. By the same token, administrators are not permitted to be prejudiced against groups or players.

The appearance of favouritism / prejudice must be avoided if possible, while not letting this hinder or negatively impact with the IC worlds theme progression or OOC code progression.

6F. Interfacing with the game world

Administrators must maintain at least one degree of separation from the game world. DO NOT VISIBLY INTERACT WITH THE GAME WORLD DIRECTLY. For example, if an object must be given to a player as part of a plot, a GM must not appear and hand it over-- this breaks the game world's continuity and immersion. IC interaction with players must be through a game system, AHaB, NPC or the like. Admins should avoid appearing in the game world unless extreme circumstances require it. Work behind the curtain, not on the stage.

6G. Documentation is not optional

Any major interaction with a player (warning, punishment, or a commitment for support) must be documented and fully explained. Plots must be fully documented and explained, with updates and progress reports, especially when plot events cause a player or group to suffer or benefit.

Code must be at least minimally documented so another programmer knows where to find your additions for maintenance or bug fixes. Documentation in all cases should be sufficient such that another admin could pick up your project, figure it out, and continue it without interruption.

6H. Interacting with your personal character

Admins are encouraged to continue playing CS with their original character slot. However, any perceived or actual favouritism towards this character must be vigilantly avoided. An admin should keep at least one degree of separation from their personal character, should not sponsor a group, gang, or plot of which their character is a member, and unless absolutely necessary, recuse themselves from code works directly involving their characters, groups or known close associates.

Programmers shall not test code or troubleshoot game systems using their personal characters. Instead, an NPC should be used where required. The admin team is held together by trust, and so these interaction guidelines are not absolute rules. However, in all cases, the administrator should openly and frankly explain or document situations where the admin bit affects or influences the personal character's in-game status.

Where practical, is it preferred that administrators do not actively operate their character while performing administrative duties and vice versa.

7. Rule Enforcement

It is the duty of the administration to penalise players who cannot or will not abide by the rules that have been set forth. It is hoped in this way that everyone will be willing to play by the rules that have been set forth, and a more enjoyable environment will result for everybody.

7A. Enforcement methods

Depending on the severity of the infraction, the administration and wizards have several options available to them. Minor infractions may result in a verbal warning at that time. More serious or continued infractions have other options such as being put in an OOC cell for a period of time, access to a character being temporarily revoked through @newting, or the player being permanently removed from the game by way of @toad`ing.

Other options are available as well -- removal of equipment acquired through means that they should not be able to acquire, logical IC consequences for actions affecting the IC world, removing the ability to post to certain boards or alter the wiki, forbidding contact between certain players, and others as the administration and wizards see fit to resolve the situation if the player or players involved are unwilling to do so.

7B. Reasonable progression of punishment

Applying corrective actions to players who violate rules must follow a reasonable progression from warnings to penalties, and finally, to restriction of gameplay. Players must be given a reasonable chance to correct themselves before (in the most severe cases) being removed from the game. All punitive actions that are taken are noted on player accounts. If a problem is severe enough that it has caused a player to be removed from the game, that player will not be welcome to play here in the future without notifying staff beforehand and receiving explicit permission to return.

7C. Illegal Activity

Any and all illegal activities that are coordinated on or taken against Cybersphere or our sponsors at Netsville are expressly forbidden. Such offences can result in immediate suspension of your privilege to play on this game as well as notification of the appropriate authorities and criminal prosecution.

7D. Administrative decisions and 'Answer Shopping'

The administration discuss issues brought to them with each other, often coming to a consensus prior to providing a response (or most times, referring to a previously decision for the same situation).

Speaking privately to an individual administrator and then trying the same thing with a different one if you do not like the answer will not work because of the above, and if the admin are extremely busy and it appears that it 'does work' it will quickly be rectified once we've had time to catch up.

As a result of this, issues should be raised with the administration as a whole via the complaints system so that it can be guaranteed to be seen by all of us, and responded to by all of us, as 'shopping for the answer you want' is becoming more regular and is viewed poorly by all of us.