Sherian often noted to me, that the DM team was failing to serve the users. As the goal was (according to the hosting agreement) to provide a service to the community, this was not acceptable.
So more and more I became involved about issues Sherian had with the DM team. We decided to not make this publicly, as we wanted to keep this between the DMs and us.
However, now, as everything is disclosed and the hosting agreement was published, I will talk about this case openly.
Please note that I do not consider this all a fault of particuliar DMs. The problem came up because of the structure of the DM team.
We often discussed this matter. At last there was no week in which we had things to discuss. Sherian saw, that I was too busy to keep up this pace, as important things became delayed because, instead of finxing things, I had to discuss the situation in Anphillia.
The problem became immanent, as German Law requires that I make the corrections which I think are needed as soon as I hear of things which I cannot take responsibility for. If things happen, which I think must be corrected, and I don't do anything, regardless what reason I might have for that, this is considered negligent (like smoking near explosives) here. This way I might become completely liable for things which I did not. Because I am negligent, I even cannot shove the responsibility to the person who did this.
It's like Parents and Children here. If children play on a construction site and blow up the complete building, neither the parents nor the children are responsible here. The company running the construction site is responsible.
But as soon as the Parents become negligent, for example, they see their children playing with fire on the construction site, regardless if they know that there are explosives nearby or not, they have to take appropriate actions to keep their children from the site.
Exactly this happened here. I became aware of problems and had to fix them.
But how to fix these problems?
We tried to introduce host rulings. We carefully changed things and tried to influence them. The idea was:
- We tell the DMs how we decide things if we are asked.
- We do not force the DMs to follow this way. We even did not enforce that the player base was informed about this all.
- However we made clear, that in case a player complaints, we will not follow the way the DMs do.
One of this things is cybering. In Germany we have fundamentally different laws in that respect. If an adult does cybering with a minor, our law is the same as in the US. However if two minors do this, our law is completely different.
Here, minors must be protected. They must be protected even if they do wrong things. Like blowing up construction sites as noted above. As Anphillia allows minors, we cannot simply punish them if they do cybering. That's a consequence of German law.
But we did not tell this openly and left the proper treatment to the DM team. They failed miserably. However I don't think this is something to blame them, it's my fault that I was not able to communicate this correctly. Also I had no measures to enforce this all.
There were more similar issues. Unfair treatment of groups of DMs, Soloing issues, and more, Sherian did not even tell me.
We came to the conclusion, that there was no way to get things done by telling the DMs how to do it. It is very likely, that this is not the DMs fault. It's very likely, that it's just a timeline problem. I had not enough time to think about it all. I had not enough time to communicate. I had no time to write proper texts. And I had no time to defend this texts against people who ask me about German Law.
I am not a lawyer. But my profession is to provide service to others, so usually I have some idea about the laws which affect my job. Also I am not responsible to tell anybody why I think somthing is correct or wrong. I just do this out of my feeling, of my thoughts, of how I think the law might be. This might be wrong if it gets to court, but this is the only way, I can treat it. Asking me only takes more time from me, making the situation worse.
And the situation became worse.
Preparation of war
We pondered, what we could do. I did not want to terminate the service, as everyhting was running smoothly (however from behind the scenes I saw that the board's web server had too few power now).
We discussed if we shall open this problems to the community, but we decided against it. As we handled everything between the DM team and us, we hoped to find a way, how to get things settled without major harm on both sides.
We discussed if we shall close down everything and give the power just to a few people who know our concerns and rebuild Anphillia from scratch. But we feared, that this might mean a split of the Anphillia Community. As the player numbers are steadily dropping, there would be left two servers with each having not enough players to carry on.
So Sherian came up with an idea how we might get it done. That was a slight change of the hosting agreement (mostly clarifications) and the introduction of a Liason DM.
I was happy. This would solve all our problems.
As the Liason DM is the speaker of the Hosts, we, the hosts, will become free from the burden to talk to different DMs. The Liason DM is a DM who has a higher presence than we, so the result would be a better communication. And the change in the hosting terms are minimal - I thought.
As time permitted, we prepared a text. A text you perhaps know already as it was disclosed on the board. If not, have a look in the Appendix.
The text canceled the old hosting agreement and did a new one. It contained some explaination why we change all this. And it introcuded the Liason DM.
Also, as I had no time and we wanted not the emotions to strike the player base, we issued a confidentially of exactly one week after our post, such that everything can be discussed one week and then be presented to the player base.
However, the text was faulty. That's because it was done in a hurry, even after days pondering. It was prepared by people who are neiher politicians nor speakers nor lawyers. It was prepared by us, the hosts, and we are technicians.
The faults were
- It issued a change in the hosting regulations immediately.
- We did not inform anybody in advance. It just struck like a lighning.
- It was too elaborate. What we thought as explaination of telling plain facts were understand as accusations.
- It was not elaborate enough, especially it did not explain clearly enough that things nearly did not change.
- It failed to explain the background of everything, that we had no choice, as it became impossible for me to keep up the old hosting agreement, as the law required me to do things which people would not understand under the old terms, even that those terms already covered everything neccessary.