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Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 71 — Threads: 0
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Owner Administrator

Important Announcement & New Discord

The new discord server can be found here:

Hello everyone! I know you’re probably wondering what’s going on right about now, and I hope this thread will help address some concerns as well as provide transparency for why certain decisions have been made.

TLDR: Sid, Nestle, Layla, and Griffin have been demoted and banned due to favoritism, refusal to acknowledge member complaints, staff attitude behind closed doors, and general conduct. Their bans will be up for appeal in a few months, if they wish.

For anyone who is genuinely interested/concerned, I have a document that I can provide with more in-depth details as to what transpired. Please reach out to me via DM (inkbone#9064) or site PM ♥ The post coming shortly after this one will detail "what’s coming next" as well as proposed changes to combat existing current issues.

Let me start by saying that I did not make these decisions alone. I consulted many other uninvolved administrators and site owners within the equine community, receiving their input and support. In fact, one of the people whom I most heavily discussed this decision with was Novus’ creator, Katie (Elkayell/Northgull). She weighed in on all conversations, saw direct logs (to avoid mis-interpretation that could come from me summarizing events), and provided critiques of everyone’s conduct – mine included. 

You may or may not know by now, but the decision has been made to demote and ban Sid, Nestle, Layla, and Griffin for favoritism (as well as perception of favoritism from member POV), their attitude and inappropriate conduct as staff behind closed doors, as well as them refusing to acknowledge member complaints. Their bans will be up for potential discussion after a couple months and taken on a case-by-case basis, however I feel that the separation is a necessary part to allow time for everyone to heal.

Normally, our rule is that we do not discuss situations behind bans with those not directly involved. However, with this being the staff team, I feel that you as our members deserve as much transparency. So I will mention again: for anyone who is genuinely interested/concerned, I have a document that I can provide with more in-depth details as to what transpired. Please reach out to me via DM (inkbone#9064) or site PM ♥

I understand this is a HUGE shake-up which will raise a lot of concerns itself; it was not a decision I took lightly. In fact, it was not a decision I really wanted to make at all and one that scared me more than anything. It is one that I do have the authority to make, as I am the registered domain owner of Novus and have been fronting all recurring costs alone for over two years. Sid and I’s relationship has been on rocky ground for a long time now (although I have tried not to make this known to the greater member-base), however you may have noticed the divide in recent weeks/months/etc. 

That being said, I have been aware of member concerns for approximately a year and a half now. This has been a cause for contention as each time, I have brought them up to Sid and the team as a whole – and each time they have been brushed off as a non-issue, miscommunication, or something similar and no effort made to correct the core problem. In our last anonymous survey, for example, one of the main complaints was “staff hold too many positions of IC Power,” which is something that still has not been addressed even in the two years since the survey. 

This is only one of many complaints, unfortunately. Reading the initial round of member responses within just the first hour of the survey was enough to corroborate my concerns and realize their severity, although I was certainly aware of it even before the survey.

In our most recent discussion regarding the Day Court Sovereign Auditions, there was a lot of conduct that was not appropriate for anyone, let alone staff, to exhibit. Differing opinions aside: when a member brings a valid concern to the table, especially in a respectful manner, it is not acceptable to attack who they are as a person and call them names... which is unfortunately what transpired. We must hold ourselves and our members accountable to our main rule – respecting others and treating others how you would like to be treated.

I acknowledge and greatly appreciate the time and effort Sid, Nestle, Layla, and Griffin have put into Novus, both by their commitment to staff duties and the IC content they have provided to the site. However, the unfortunate truth is the positive things that have been brought to the site do not outweigh such serious negatives.

This is not to say that Sid, Nestle, Layla, and Griffin are not kind people with great visions, characters, and commitment - just that there have been mistakes made and inappropriate things said. Ultimately staff are representatives of their community’s will and we are just as responsible for adhering to the rules as our members are.

In closure: I want to apologize to you, our members. I should not have waited this long to address the concerns, and for that I am so sorry. I would have loved for this to be addressed in a more amicable manner. Know that this decision was not made because of any one particular person or member, but rather as a result of the conduct I have personally witnessed, cumulative member complaints, and an overall divide that left the team unable to discuss issues in a productive manner. 

I expect no one to “take sides,” and I am always open to receiving your complaints, concerns, and hearing your feelings. Should you also feel that anyone (directly involved or uninvolved with the situation at hand) is harassing you, please block or mute them and come to me so I can help address.

I know it’s raw and shocking, and I’m so sorry. The depth of ache I feel in my heart is not something I can fully explain and I have shed so many tears over this. All I ask that you bear with me - I will be here through it all, even though it may be initially rough. I will work alongside you to make things as fair as they can be, and to heal any wounds. I will be on Discord 24/7 with all notifications turned on for the new channels, so I won't be far away ♥

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I love each and every one of you beyond measure, and I love the wonderful place we have and will continue building together. 

All my love,
Alexandra / Inkbone

the novus crew

the someday crew

Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 71 — Threads: 0
Signos: 15,170
Owner Administrator

What's to come...

Reading member complaints and talking with others in depth about this has helped solidify the fact that there are things that need to change. However, I understand that such a large reduction in staff will present its own challenges. I am open to input on anything and everything, so my PMs/DMs are always open for suggestions and concerns!

First and foremost: As staff previously controlled 3 of the 4 Courts, I want to get Sovereign auditions up immediately. The initial suggestion I had for the recent Day Court auditions (which was declined by rest of staff as not something they were willing to consider “for that audition”) will be implemented - out of the applicants, I will narrow it down to the “top three” and then post a poll for the members of that court to vote on who they would like to see as Sovereign. Applicants will not be able to vote for themselves.

I would like Sovereigns and you the members to help me plan and organize future IC content (Plots, IC Events, SWPs, etc) in an effort to take some weight off my shoulders, as well as get you more involved! Katie (Elkayell/Northgull) has agreed to offer input with IC planning and events whenever necessary, as well.

Additionally, I will be opening up moderator applications in the near future as well (once I've had a second to breathe!)

Your input will be needed...
Be on the lookout in the very near future for surveys on the below and more, as I want your input!

  • Staff’s eligibility to win spotlight nominations - I would like input on what members think of the idea that staff are no longer eligible to win spotlights. Personally, I would like the focus to remain on our fantastic members! If staff are part of a pair or thread voted for nomination, they can win if there is a non-staff member involved.
    • If the thread of 1 staff and 1 non-staff get picked as winner, do you think staff should still get the signos and/or OTS item?

  • How spotlight nominations are voted on - Currently, members nominate and staff choose; would you like to see that change and the nominations be suggested and voted on in a different way?

  • Staff’s ability to suggest spotlight nominations - Since this can be a cause for concern if staff are the ones voting, the idea I have is if we don't have any submissions for X,Y,Z category..... we'll roll a random generator and make someone’s day!

  • How often any character can win a spotlight nomination - A suggestion that was provided based on how another site runs nominations: a character can only win a spotlight nomination ONCE every IC year (8 IRL months).
    • If they win character OTS, for example, do you think they should be eligible to win a different spotlight nomination sooner than 8 months?

  • Staff still being able to occupy Regime positions but suggestions to make this more fair, such as there must be an IC Audition thread (“Show of interested hands”) always posted by either the acting Sovereign or staff (if the former member steps down and doesn’t want involvement).
    • Would you like to see this implemented for any Regime (Sovereign, Regent, Emissary) and Counsel (Warden, All Champions) position, versus just for Sovereigns?
    • Do you think there should be a limit on how many positions of power staff can occupy across Novus?

  • Staff’s involvement in winning contests - Staff can no longer be the only person to win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in any “tiered” contest. For example, a writing contest… if a staff member out-writes everyone and claims 1st place, the second non-staff member ‘behind’ them will also be declared 1st place and get the same reward. This way, staff are not punished for being staff and also actively ICly, but members have just as much of a chance to win and get the prizes!
    • Thoughts and concerns? Would you like to see them done in another way?

  • Allowing Regime members to be more involved in staff discussions so they can provide input, help drive change, and find better ways to have their courts interact more intimately with IC on-goings. This was suggested by the team and was in discussion. Added note: They will not be "full" staff just because they have a Regime position, and will not be doing item updates, accepting characters, etc.
    • Thoughts and concerns?

    And a lot more to come!

the novus crew

the someday crew

Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 71 — Threads: 0
Signos: 15,170
Owner Administrator

Anddd I was just notified that there may have been an issue with certain users IPs being affected who were NOT meant to be. This has been resolved, and I'm terribly, terribly sorry if anyone was caught up on that! ♥

the novus crew

the someday crew

Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 0 — Threads: 0
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OOC Account

Dear @inkbone,

I must bring before you concerns that I have having watched the events of the last 48 hours. I am bringing them before you publicly in order for clarity on the situation. This will mean that everyone can clearly see my current thoughts and position. I also wish to voice these concerns to you here to ensure they are seen and in case other players are sharing the same concerns as me. I will be speaking purely from my own concerns in this letter and will not speak on behalf of anyone else. 

For the purposes of this letter I am laying aside my friendship Griffin, Nestle, Layla and Sid. I am speaking now as someone who has been in professional positions of power and had to carefully negotiate relationships with those who work for me and with me. I have had to work with vulnerable people and been careful not to disempower others. Through my professional roles I have been upheld by my actions to government standards and regulations.I have also dealt with conflict resolutions and it is with this voice that I speak to you now. 

Firstly, and most importantly, I feel banning Sid, Layla, Griffin and Nestle without giving them a chance to show their side of the story is extremely poor management. The document you gave us for evidence (thank you) showed screenshots of conversations; these are compelling reading. However, you give us no background to them. They are taken out of context. You, personally, state the context, but you are also the one making the argument. I would have liked to see the context WITH evidence for that context. Any evidence to show the lead up to these things being said by Griffin, Nestle, Layla and Sid is absent. From what i have heard there was a good deal of discussion and hurt and frustration that preceded these comments. We see no evidence of that in the document. The fact that this came solely from you also meant that you might have picked the parts you wanted to put in there that best support your argument to the detriment of the other parties. The fact that you deleted the original Novus Discord entirely prevented the banned staff from defending themselves in any way. It also meant all evidence of conversations are now gone and the banned parties cannot build a case of defense or show the situation through their eyes. This paints a worrying and one-sided picture. I am not making accusations here but merely pointing out why I find this deeply concerning.

As a player, there was no indication that there were problems between staff. From what i have heard from staff there was also no indication they were being banned from the game. I was the one to inform Griffin that she was banned. How is that right? If you are going to ban someone there at least needs to be a warning that this was going to happen before it happens. Banning someone without explaining anything to them about why it is happening is extremely unfair and not good staff management on any scale. 

I would also like to make it abundantly clear at this point that I approached the mod team expressing my concerns with staff holding three of the four sovereign positions as I felt it showed an unfair bias toward staff and may prevent players from being able to feel like they could progress through the game without being beaten at every turn by ‘big players’ and staff no less. I shared my disagreements with the mod team (the conversation which i confess caused me much upset at the time) but i was somewhat mollified when they said that there was going to be a player survey happening so these sorts of issues, and others, regarding player happiness etc could be addressed. 

I was mollified at this point because i felt that there was going to be a fair means by which players could express their concerns and delights in the game and also staff improve their management and working according to player feedback. The survey opened literally as i went to bed. I only had time to read through it before sleep. When I wake up in the morning, the staff are banned. Where was the fair opportunity for players to express their thoughts on the staff? The staff were gone and there were players who had not even had the opportunity to see the survey let alone declare whether they supported or had concerns about staff conduct. 

Closing a survey after 1 hour on a game with players in multiple time zones across the world when hardly anyone had had a chance to reply, takes the ability of players to speak out about the current staff ENTIRELY out of their hands. I completely hear you when you say you saw negative feedback, but you cannot, and in my opinion, should not have based a decision upon 1 hour and a handful of players’ feedback. The views of so few players does not reflect a game with 40+ players.  I am hurt and annoyed I could not give feedback. I am even more hurt and annoyed that a decision on staff members was made before I could give my feedback - especially since players were specifically asked about their views on the staff and the running of the game. I had already approached the staff with concerns and I was keen to see what would come out of this. 

You also failed to show us (the players) the survey results before you made a decision that has affected and hurt the whole game. I would guess you also didn’t show the staff the results before you banned them either. You said you consulted players, but why did you only select a handful of players to consult about your concerns with Novus? Why was the whole player base not consulted after the results of the survey came in and you had an understanding of what the majority of players in the game felt? When you know how the majority of players feel, then you can make an informed decision and act accordingly toward the current staff the survey addresses. It would instill, for the players, a better level of trust if that was the case. 

You have also now banned all the staff and you are the sole person receiving the results of the survey. I think this is an extremely unwise move and I strongly caution you against it. You are the only person seeing the results. Any survey needs to be ratified by others so there can be a degree of trust in the results. You may or you may not decide to edit the results. I am sure you would not - but how can we know for sure? You put yourself on shaky ground with such a move. 

When you mentioned that you made the decision to ban the other players in consultation with the original creator of Novus, I must ask who Katie is and why her opinion is so valuable now? She may have started the game, but you own it now and have been paying for it. Katie has not been in the earlier conversations with staff as far as I am aware from your post to the Novus community (you state you consulted her but not with the staff?), so she will have only heard things from your point of view. Katie has also not been present on the game, that I have seen at least, in the 3 years I have been on Novus (and i joined not very long after it opened). How does she know what player feelings are toward staff? How does she know whether people are content or discontent with them? Has she walked through periods of ups and downs with the community and talked to players prior to this moment? Maybe she looked at the survey that had only been open for an hour and drew her conclusions from that and what you say the situation is?

I would like at this point to note from the content of your letter to Novus that you may have been in a situation where you feel like it is you against the staff. That is an awful position to feel like you are in. How can you enforce action if 4 out of the 5 staff are against you and showing favouritism to each other? I can see how it makes sense to feel like banning them all in one swift move is the way forwards, but for the reasons above, I cannot help but feel it was not. Would waiting for the results of the survey and looking through them with the other members of staff and Katie not been better? Would publishing the results for all the novus member base to see and then gathering a working party from players in order to help ascertain the direction the staff and novus should go not have been best? Then all staff and players (the whole novus community) could have seen the results and understood the situation better and worked towards a common goal for how things should be handled. 

None of this is simple. It is a deeply complex situation that has caused so much hurt to so many of our loved and valued members. I am sorry if this letter causes further hurt. I love Novus, I love the game and its players, but I have my concerns about how this situation has been handled. I do not feel there was any transparency through it. I would have liked for all of Novus to hear the banned staffs’ stories. Any person brought into court of a hearing for misconduct is given a chance before an impartial party to tell their side of the story. That did not happen here and that lack of transparency deeply worries me. 

But, at this point, please can I applaud you for working to improve player/staff relationships and reduce favouritism. I am just disappointed that this was not handled in what I feel is a manner which facilitates staff/player relationships, clarity and confidence. It has caused a lot of shock and hurt which, whilst it could never have been avoided, could have been minimalised with a greater depth of situational understanding for all the players involved. 

Can I also say that I do not write this letter or anything in its content with a view to further hurt those already hurt. Neither do I say it to cause further division. I say it to express my concerns on how a situation has been handled with the sincerest hope that lessons can be learned and better methods put in place by staff to protect everyone on this game.

Best wishes,

Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 71 — Threads: 0
Signos: 15,170
Owner Administrator

Dear @Obsidian,

First, I wanted to thank you for your well-thought out letter and being willing to bring your concerns forward. I will attempt to address all of the points and concerns in your letter but if there is anything that I miss or you'd like further clarification on, please ask!

Foremost, I want to explain that in regards to the favoritism/bullying/etc issues: there were extended conversations between staff (some dating up to 1.5 years ago, depending on which specific situation we're talking about - as there have been many) where they have explained their sides and views, however these have happened behind closed doors mostly in the staff discussion channel (but also a few side conversations in direct message as well). I understand that this presents issues when a problem arises that is so public and affects our entire community - however, discussing issues/concerns with parties involved has never been a particularly "public" affair that is openly discussed in front of the member base. This is outlined in our rules, as well as the fact that “We do not tolerate bullying or excluding others” is one of our (if not the) primary rules.

The reason being is that - no matter if it's a staff or non-staff member - situations that can result in warnings, bans, etc are very private and sensitive matters and are attempted to be handled in as respectful a manner as possible. I understand your concerns that this lends itself to non-transparency, as that was one of my concerns as well when thinking about how to move forward. In the end, I felt it would be in incredibly poor taste to "air out dirty laundry" of the current issues to the wider member-base, as it could potentially be seen as a direct attack and attempt to "smear." That being said - the fact that there was no indication there were problems between staff is not abnormal, as that's the professional approach to ensure that members are not "sandwiched" between staff, which could result in heightened tensions.

It should also be noted that their bans were neither “permanent” nor “temporary” - in my message to them (and my initial member address), they were clearly stated as being up for discussion after a couple (1-3) months. I felt this ‘break’ was necessary for all involved to be able to step back, as even if they were simply demoted vs banned, emotions and tensions would still be incredibly high. While I know the word “ban” lends itself to permanence, I did not feel it was correct or fair to call it anything other than that - no matter if it was temporary or permanent. The decision to kill off characters and delete all accounts (and lore) was one specifically requested by Sid, Nes, Layla, and Griff.

In regards to the statement about missing context: The updated link is now everything from the initial start of discussing Day Sovereign Auditions (12/06/20 at approx 1:27P) until the end (12/27/20 at approx 8:11P), in chronological order. Please note that the direct messages between Syndicate and I happened ‘alongside’ a lot of the staff discussion conversations. 

Changes and explanations:
I had originally taken (2) additional screenshots which had occurred after  "DC Sov Audition Channel #0" discussion but prior to the original "Staff Discussion Channel #2.” However, I ran into issues as the member originally asked to remain anonymous but the wording and discussion in those screenshots made it nigh-impossible to keep that confidentiality while still sharing them. I apologize that I did not mention this initially.

However, after reading your letter Syndicate approached me and advised that she was OK with her name and our conversations being shared. That being said, those screenshots are now in the link, as well as the entire direct message between Syndicate and I.

Additionally I have also added in the 5 screenshots in between the original "Staff Discussion #6" and the original "Staff Discussion #7” where the staff were only talking about the survey questions, as well as 2 in between the original  "Staff Discussion #7" and original "Staff Discussion #8 ." This was originally left out as I felt it didn't add or detract to the conversation at hand, however to paint a clearer picture (as well as account for everything chronologically) they have all been added.

There has also been a folder added (at the very beginning) titled “DC Sov Voting Discussion” that is each of our breakdowns (pros/cons) for each Sovereign candidate, which precedes the staff’s arguments.

I wholly acknowledge that I should not have deleted the staff channels in the old server. While this is certainly not an excuse on my part, I thought that immediately after I had deleted them. This was incredibly poor judgment on my part and I apologize for this, as it was wrong of me no matter how you look at it.

In regards to your remarks about the timing and notification of the banning: The notification/explanation was sent to Sid and Layla at 5:47A EST, where I also asked them to add Nes and Griff to the DM because I for some reason could not. I noticed Sid was online (mobile) within approximately 5 minutes, however she did not immediately add them to the group or respond. I also sent an invite to the group chat, directly to Nes and Griff at 6:56A EST, and by 7:20A EST Sid had added both Nes and Griff to the DM. The member address was not posted on the site until 7:49A EST, over two hours after I sent the initial DM. Due to different time zones, unfortunately, it would have been impossible to know exactly when each of the 4 would be online. The reason for their bans (as well as a very specific breakdown of the individual situations and their correlated tier warnings) were laid out in detail to them in the group DM.

For an explanation of our tier warning system and how tiers “stack,” please view the guidebook.
Sid: Deceptively worded announcement to the member base, saying the staff team as a whole gave her the choice to host auditions for Dawn or to pass it down ICly. This was not decided on by all staff and was not really a “choice” as she would not take any other answer other than what she had already chosen. Tier 1 for “respecting others/dishonesty.”

Sid: Showing favoritism towards a friend as well as levying a power dynamic (intentionally or not) so a then-Sovereign would feel uncomfortable and not demote Sid's friend's character from a Counsel position despite their inactivity/the then-Sovereign's wants. Tier 1 for “bullying or excluding others.”

Sid: Levying a power dynamic (intentionally or not) to influence a then-Sovereign decision on how they will hand down a Court Sovereign position when their character was stepping down, leaving the then-Sovereign feeling uncomfortable and outnumbered. Tier 1 for “bullying or excluding others” to Sid.

Sid, Nestle, Layla, Griffin: Showing favoritism & perception of favoritism (from member POV) towards Nestle and Sid, as well as allowing Nestle and Sid to speak in an inappropriate manner in the staff chat. Implying that even if we hosted Dawn auditions, they would still vote for Nestle/Danae, without even knowing who may apply. Tier 2 for “favoritism / respecting others.”

Sid, Nestle, Layla, Griffin: Overall disregarding member complaints and not willing to take extra measures to make sure members are comfortable with a decision, saying instead that it’s “not fair to XYZ staff members” despite all staff having shared the concern that voting for Po/etc would look like favoritism. Tier 1 for “favoritism / respecting others.”

Sid, Nestle, Layla, Griffin: Being willing to change how we vote for Sovereign Auditions, but not being willing to change it “right now” (during the Day Court voting) as it would be “unfair to X Staff.” This, in and of itself, shows favoritism as it implies staff wouldn’t want the other staff member to even have the potential of losing the vote. If members feel that X is the best fit for the Sovereign position, a member-vote will not pose any threat. Tier 1 for “favoritism / respecting others.”

Sid, Nestle, Layla: Disregarding a member's complaints (about being forced to step down from Regent and Nes' character being promoted) in favor of Nestle as the excuse was “It’s not fair to make Nes feel pressured into stepping down because of the member's feelings.” Making a member feel unwelcome on Novus, to the point where they quit then later felt they had to ask me “would I ever be welcomed back to Novus? I just feel like I've ruined my place.” Tier 1 for “excluding others.”

Nestle, Griffin, Layla: When a member brought up valid concerns in a respectful manner, they instead focused on what they perceived as negative aspects of the member themselves, calling them names and making inappropriate remarks about their IC activity/characters/etc. Also insinuating that even though the member was respectful and unbiased with their complaints, that they “simply have something against Nes or Sid” which invalidates how the member feels and their valid concerns. Tier 2 for “respecting others.”

Sid, Nestle, Layla: After reviewing the Novus Writing Contest, it appears a planned effort was made to create a loophole in the contest that allowed both Sid and Nestle to “snipe” the top poster prize within the last 30-60 minutes (which itself is not against the rules, but a deceptive tactic that staff shouldn’t be employing). In doing so, Isolt and Danae were able to both claim the most-potentially-OP and heavily restricted item in-game, Massive Bondeds. This was done without the rest of the staff team being consulted on what to do in the event of a tie and does look understandably deceptive to the member base. Tier 2 for “cheating systems/contests.”

In regards to the mention that there should have been a warning before the ban, I will interject this: for several years now, I have worked in private sector internal IT of a large company that has tens of thousands of employees across the nation. My team works directly alongside our HR department to collect equipment from off-boarding employees.

I mention this in regards to access removal practices. Novus is much like a ‘company’ (more so than a jury trial) in the fact that we are all ‘coworkers,’ ‘work’ alongside one another, and all know each other to varying degrees. When a company terminates an employee, it is standard HR practice that this is not discussed outside of those directly involved with the issue. Sometimes even those directly involved aren’t advised of someone else's termination. Likewise, it is standard security practice - both within public/government and private sectors - that when someone is being let go from a company, all access is removed adjacent (or very shortly before) to them being notified of their termination. This is not a judgment of character on anyone in particular, it is just an industry-standard practice across almost all types of companies and organizations to ensure data security.

In regards to Katie (Elkayell)’s involvement in these discussions: The reason her opinion is so valuable is because, at its core, Novus is her brain-child. She created this entire universe and its lore, as well as hired both Sid and I (along with Kay). She is one of the best judges of character in this situation because she is friends with both Sid and I and knew our dynamic long before it deteriorated. She actually knew Sid long before she knew me, as she ran Pantheon RPG which Sid was a part of. Even after Katie stepped away from Novus - Sid, Kay and I would still continue to consult her for a long time in regards to opinions, issues, etc directly related to the site. She was, and is, an invaluable source of knowledge and experience. Should she have wanted to come back to Novus: I know I wouldn’t have hesitated to hand ownership back to her, and I doubt Sid would either.

That being said... Katie saw raw logs of ALL direct messages between Sid and I, from present-day dating back to when Novus opened (June 2017). She also saw raw logs of the entire staff discussion channel starting from its creation (July 2018) to present-day. I purposefully did not “summarize” because I wanted to avoid the inevitable bias of how I personally interpreted events; she was instead allowed to read these logs of direct conversations and discussions so she could form her own opinion. She was consulted at the same time that I was already talking to the rest of the team. The opinions, suggestions, and conclusions she provided were based upon actions and things already said, not based in any part on the survey itself as she did not view the survey until after.

It should be noted that Katie did not 'just' side with me. She provided many excellent 'devil's advocate' and alternative POVs for me to consider, which helped provide insight (from her perspective) as to why things may have been said or decisions made. She also expressed her disappointment in everyone - myself included, especially for not having addressed these issues sooner.

Katie has said that if there is anyone that would like to speak to her directly on the matter, she will field your conversations, questions, and concerns through Discord. Please leave your discord handle below or mention that you would like to speak with her, and I will provide her your info so she can reach out.

In regards to the anonymous player satisfaction/opinion survey: I want to advise that the survey was not the final deciding factor in my decision, nor was it actually closed (in fact, it is still open until January 7th, 2021). This survey was my suggestion and something I insisted on after the rest of the staff team refused to budge on how to look at the Day Court Sovereign Auditions, when they had already begun calling Syndicate names, taking jabs at her activity, characters, etc and removing my discord admin privileges.

During the discussion with Sid, Nestle, Layla, and Griffin, they were indeed provided screenshots of all the current (at the time of discussion) member responses - both positive and negative.

All opinions - previous, current, and future - are very important, welcome, and appreciated, no matter whether they are positive or negative. Something can be learned from every opinion presented. That being said… it’s worth noting that our last member survey was two years ago, and shared very many of the same concerns (favoritism, mentions of too much collective power on the staff team) that have gone unaddressed.

Another thing I want to touch on: while I understand that there are plenty of positives and good relationships, this (favoritism, bullying, which fall under our primary rule of “respecting others / treat others how you would like to be treated”) is not a “majority rules” issue. Simply put, any valid member complaint means there is a problem that should be addressed - whether it’s coming from one member, five, or fifty. It is not fair to our community as a whole to discount one member’s very real issues. All the members I spoke with, came directly to me first with their complaints and issues - I did not seek them out.

A parting note from Sid in the group DM stated: “Congratulations on destroying the site to protect a handful of members.” I want to make it very clear: They had avenues to protect these ‘handful of members,’ too, and made the decision not to by disregarding their complaints. It is not fair to sacrifice any member, one or one hundred. These valid member complaints - and as I said, these issues have been active discussions since as far 1.5 years ago - were brought to the team and I attempted to offer “in-between” solutions that would help address concerns from all parties (both staff and members). If the team had given any consideration to the complaints (present-day or past) and had not instead expressed vitrol towards the members who voiced them, we would not be where we are. 

The intention was indeed to have the discussion after the survey closed. However, actions preceding it (such as the team’s decision to name-call and take personal jabs at a member, as well as remove my discord admin privileges without explanation) coupled with the fact that I have attempted to have this conversation multiple times (as the issue has affected multiple members) over the 1.5 years to no avail, made me feel like my hands were tied. These bans are not the result of one singular event, member, or situation, but rather a culmination of what has been ongoing for far too long. I should have taken action sooner when these issues initially arose long ago - and for this, I apologize.

Once the member survey closes on January 7, 2021: I will make the results available to all members. With Google Forms (and even Survey Monkey, which was used for our past 2 surveys), editing responses is not possible in any way.

In closing: I understand and hear every single concern that has been shared with me over the past several days. This was a decision I did not take lightly, as no matter how it was spun it would greatly shock and affect the wonderful, tight-knit community that we have created here at Novus. I apologize beyond all measures that I could not have provided more transparency and I will learn from this experience moving forward. 

As always, I will continue to be open to providing more context and clarification where needed and requested.

Much love,
Alexandra / Inkbone.

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