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SSgt. Avery Dawes PK Appeal

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Name: rosecoloredryan

Character Name: SSgt. Avery Dawes


Reason for un-PK:




During the end of @Deckers finale, after clearing out the bunker and while going up an elevator, the person above copy pasted this emote, completely failing to even properly format it, failing to give me time to react, and just instantly going to S2K. At the time, I didn't dispute it. With what little time was given to me, I just rp'ed getting shot, while Crozier sacrificed his life and got shot by almost everyone else in that room immediately after killing my character.


I think the manner this PK occurred was incredibly mingey and unserious, on a character that didn't even have the grace of having a proper physical description. Self admittedly, they said that they did not trust me to stay still, and made no attempt to ask me to stop. Instead, they just resorted to copy-pasting a big brick of emote that I interpreted as just a very OOCly spiteful way to say "/me kills you," after wards immediately s2king me until I got flow downed, and then speedily firing off emotes after to double tap my character.


There might be a few things I'm missing here, but this is probably the bulk of my main complaint with this PK. I think the way this PK was executed is pretty bogus: unserious character presentation, a copy pasted emote that wasn't even formatted, and an instant S2K that combined into a powergamey interaction where I wasn't even allowed to emote.



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This as I am sure everyone is aware has been a very messy situation. It involves two admins and two XAs (myself included). Given that, we've taken the unprecedented decision to review the appeal as an entire XA team rather than simply assigning an individual XA to arbitrate, and I'm writing this up on behalf of everyone.


I want to apologize ahead of time: this is almost legalese. The reason for this is that these appeals form a binding precedent that we use to inform decision making in the future: in other words, these set a precedent.


Here are the facts as we understand them:


1. Crozier, Archer's character, was deeply emotionally invested in Marceline Voyna, who he considered to be his protegé.

2. Crozier believed an attempt on Voyna's life (a fragging in other terms) had been orchestrated by Dawes.

3. Archer asked me and Deckers whether we agreed with the grounds for him to PK Dawes explaining that he planned to kill them if the incident was swept under the rug. We agreed, on the face of it, that it was legitimate reason to want to PK Dawes.

4. Crozier was then led to believe that the MI CO and leadership had decided to sweep the incident under the carpet.

5. At the end of Deckers' campaign, whilst surrounded by and in full view of at least 3 other troopers, Crozier raised his rifle and shot Dawes in the back of the head twice. He was quickly gunned down by the two troopers. The quality of roleplay was farcical, using a singular /me (that wasn't even /me'd).

6. There was an hour long delay whilst the admin team tried to contend with the matter at hand.

7. I eventually got ingame and asked the roleplay to be redone; once again, Dawes was killed. 

8. Archer subsequently resigned from the admin team.


There are four tests for a PvP PK to be valid:




Firstly, PvP CKs/PKs are permitted on SSTRP. There are consequences for actions IC, and this is the ultimate consequence for a character who is acting obnoxious. 


For a PvP PK to be legitimate the following tests need to be met:

  1. There is a reasonable justification for the PKers to want to murder the PKee.
  2. The manner in which the PK was conducted was plausible
  3. The PKers are not throwaway characters
  4. The PKers acted in good faith OOC

Players do not need to seek approval ahead of time for a PK and any roleplayed murder of a character should be presumed to be a PK unless there is a prima facie reason to believe it was illegitimate - to be arbitrated by an admin. But it may be wise to seek pre-approval ahead of time to reduce the chance of it being voided in an appeal like this.




Were me and Deckers right to have approved the PK?


Firstly we want to address whether it was right for me and Deckers to "approve" the PKs:


(1) as a team, we have agreed that speaking to XAs actually constitutes seeking non-binding advice ("hey do you think this would be OK"), the rules as above still apply to "approved PKs", and "approved PKs" can still be subject to a successful appeal based on the four rules not being found to have been met: this is necessary as the nature of an "approved PK" means it hasn't happened yet and how the actual PK was implemented is of material importance; 


(2) we agreed that it is reasonable for XAs to take requests at face value and that it would be an undue burden to expect XAs to proactively look into the substance of all PK requests before they have happened: an attempted PK may never happen, the situation could change drastically between seeking approval and implementing a PK, and that fits with the way our PK system is set up (in that it's designed to allow within reason anybody to PK anybody else at any time and instead determine validity afterwards).


(3) we weren't aware of the circumstances under which the PK would take place (namely Crozier effectively sacrificing himself for her).


(4) in light of this, the team agreed that me and Deckers were not at fault.



Was the PK valid?


The justification is legitimate: it would be reasonable for a X to want to kill Y if they thought Y was trying to kill X's close friend (or in this case protegé).


However, under the circumstances, we do not think it is plausible that Crozier shared a strong enough bond with Voyna to merit the sort of blind passion that it would take to warrant an attack on a superior in full view of other troopers he no doubt understood would lead to his own apprehension and/or death (the one justification we could think for this is if Crozier thought the MI were on his side, however there was nothing to suggest this, and during conversations with Archer afterwards he did not attempt to justify Crozier's decision by suggesting that this was mistakenly the case). Absent either of these, on the balance of probabilities, we think Archer likely failed to roleplay a realistic sense of self-preservation, especially as he had plenty of other opportunity to murder Dawes in a manner that wouldn't immediately earn him two shots to the back of the head. We could validate this by reviewing the roleplay between Voyna and Crozier in detail and making our own assessment as to whether a reasonable person would have formed a strong enough bond to merit this kind of reaction, but it would be an extremely arduous task involving reviewing tens of hours of roleplay and thousands of individual lines, and given we have found other faults with this PK, we found that it would be purely academic to pursue this further and thus a waste of time. 


The character in question was a Sergeant who had been played for over 20 hours over the past month and therefore we do not feel he met the traditional definition of a throwaway character. However Archer's decision to immediately leave the admin team (and quite possibly the server) adds another angle to this: the purpose of this rule is to ensure that a PKer is equally invested in their character as the PKee (and therefore have a commensurate amount to lose should the attempt fail). A strong argument could be made that Archer intended to leave the server immediately after the PK, which would mean he was not equally invested in his character, as further evidenced by his overt willingness to sacrifice him. Therefore whilst there isn't specific evidence that this was Archer's plan, and I think it likely wasn't, we think there is reason to suggest that Crozier was, for all intents and purposes, a throwaway character.


In terms of good faith, in the absence of evidence of specific bad faith, good faith must be assumed and people must be afforded the benefit of the doubt. However, the incompetent way in which it was originally implemented constituted a fundamental lack of respect for the gravity of the situation (& towards Ryan) and therefore feel it was, at best, rude, at worst, constituted genuine bad faith. 


Finally, we discussed amongst ourselves the unsafe and abuseable precedent it would set if we were to accept the PK. Per the "get out of jail clause" post put in #staff-logs on May 24th, "[...] none of [these rules] should be considered binding on the XA team who can totally disregard this or anything if they deem it to be ultimately in the community's best interests." and think this is an appropriate first time to invoke this: XAs should to reverse PKs if they feel that they are manifestly unsafe or are likely to lead to a perverse and unintended outcome.



Lessons to be learnt


Because of the delay imposed to the ordinary flow of the roleplay for the wider server, it was difficult to justify voiding the situation entirely for the XA team; instead, the PK should have been swiftly re-roleplayed (because it had already happened - and not continuing would have given Ryan an unfair advantage who would obviously by now be aware that Crozier was seeking to kill him) and arbitrated in a forum appeal. 





We've found four reasons, each of which could feasibly bring into question the validity of this PK. In light of this, the appeal is sustained and the PK is reversed. Crozier's PK is also reversed. After discussions with Ryan, we have agreed to replace Crozier with a generic trooper and to impart a temporary injury on Dawes so as to affect everyone else's roleplay and character development as little as possible. 





I'm really concerned at the behaviour of some members of the community who seemed to think this was some sort of perverse popularity contest: understand that threatening to quit made absolutely no bearing on this decision whatsoever. Losing players over this situation would be unfortunate but no where near as unfortunate as it would be surrendering our integrity to the populist ebb and flow. Players popular or otherwise should rest assured knowing should they ever feel a need to appeal a PK or anything else they can rely on the admin team to deliver a fair and just verdict regardless of who they are.


Ask yourself: do you really want to be subject to a system that worked any other way? 

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