|Date||Wednesday 21 March 2001|
|Plaintiff||Artemis and BlueVelvet|
The complaints related to two separate incidents. On Monday 5 March 2001 a complaint was sent in by Artemis regarding a comment made to her by AnimalLover. On Tuesday 20 March 2001 a complaint was sent in by BlueVelvet regarding a comment made to her by AnimalLover. Both complaints were passed back to AnimalLover for his comment on the event. AnimalLover did not dispute that he had made either remark, both of which related to sexual activity. He did make a number of comments in his defence being as follows:
This case is based on the activities of players and as such we must draw any basis for action from the Turf Rules. Beyond that we should look for guidance from the normal way in which the rules have been applied over the years.
Foul and offensive language is not permitted under rule 1, but this rule states that it applies to public messages and a tell is not public. The original intention in covering only public messages was to exempt private conversations between consenting players and prevent them being restricted in their content.
Probably more pertinent is rule 3, which states that 'Non game related harassment of players will not be tolerated'. This rule is more obviously relevent and the comments made could be viewed as offensive and a form of harassment.
It is my view that the basis of any action must lie under rule 3 and rule 1 can't be applied as this would indicate that offensive language on a friends channel which happened to stray into the view of a player who objected is not permitted. As such applying rule 1 would also go against the accepted practice.
It is my view that making sexual comments can be an act of harassment. Whilst it was claimed by AnimalLover that the comments made were part of an ongoing discussion I believe that to be unlikely and by AnimalLover's own comments we know that he was attempting to pk Artemis which makes it somewhat unlikely that they were engaging in a conversation.
As stated by AnimalLover it is possible for players to block people who they deem to be offensive. It is also true to say that it is normal immortal policy not to intervene between two players conducting their business in private over tells, even if at some stage one person makes a complaint. Such cases are normally best dealt with by use of the block command as it is often difficult to determine which party is in the right as it is often an issue of personal differences. We chose to take no action when the first complaint was made by Artemis even though it appeared to be a reasonably clear case of harassment and in this respect we were reasonably lenient at that time.
Given the details which are available at this time I conclude that these were not issues of personal differences or an ongoing argument and he has provided no evidence to the contrary either in the form of a context or otherwise. Instead I can only conclude they aimed to offend and as a consequence were a form of harassment of the players concerned.
It is my view that action must be taken in this case because it forms a part of a continuing trend on the part of AnimalLover. Prior to these complaints a number of complaints were made about his use of public channels as a forum for similar comments and from that I must conclude that he is largely indiscriminate in his choice of audience. Whilst it can be said that we only have evidence of comments made directly to two people it is my view that it is quite likely that other people have merely chosen not to complain.
I was informed by Zartid that he has seen similar comments from AnimalLover in the past, although he had not chosen to report them and he was unable to provide any real detail. Given his close friendship with BlueVelvet I do not feel this constitutes particularly good evidence, but I believe it can be taken as a pointer towards what I suspect to be the reality of the case.
As to AnimalLover's views on the issue:
It is my opinion that action must be taken to discourage these activities as they can discourage people from playing the game, are unnecessary, undesirable and unacceptable.
The only facility available to us that would be effective is that of 'notell' which prevents the player from using 'tell' or 'remote'. This tool is extremely crude and rarely used as it makes communication with other players somewhat difficult. I believe that in its current form the 'notell' option is extremely harsh. As a result of this the gods are currently taking action to allow a player who has had 'notell' applied to communicate with other players if the other player has set the 'noisy' flag for them. In making this change it will reverse the assumption that all players wish to hear from AnimalLover. Reversing the assumption fits this case particularly well and will allow individuals to come to their own conclusion.
As to the duration of the 'notell' it is my opinion that the following factors must be taken into account:
Action will not be taken the first time that a complaint is made about offensive comments made directly to a player. The player will be encouraged to make use of the block command. The player making the offensive comments should however be warned that such activity is unacceptable. If the comment is extremely offensive then it may be acceptable to ignore this concession.
Should another complaint be made about offensive comments at a later date (by a different player) then other factors should be taken into account to determine if this probably indicates a general trend.
Complaints should be ignored if they are likely to be a part of a dispute over personal differences where it is difficult to determine who is genuinely to blame. In such cases the player complaining should be pointed to the 'block' command.
If it is believed that this does form a part of a general trend then action should be taken for a limited period of time. With longer term action taken if the problem continues at a later date.