The Spirit of WOLF
August 01, 2020, 05:43 PM
Approved Members

For those of you that may not know me, I am Melee. Seven years ago, I created WOLF to be a home for players displaced by the closure of Wild Wolf Society; not everyone from WWS came to WOLF, but the initial community here was made up of adult players that had grown up writing together and were now navigating adulthood, parenthood, careers, home ownership, and the many other things that come with adulthood. WOLF's initial design and guiding principles had all of this context in mind; simple with no complicated systems or unnecessary frills so we could focus on the writing, casual to support busy schedules and shrinking free time around other obligations, and fun with limited rules and limited oversight/interference from management.

It is with that third principle in mind that we called WOLF a member-driven community, meaning the players were always meant to have the freedom to take the stories of their characters and the game where they wanted. For example, board-wide plot have generally always been initiated by member discussion and then facilitated by the community managers, mainly for the purpose of guiding organization and continuity. Being that our initial player base was made up of adults that knew each other, we trusted our players to respect each other, communicate with each other, and resolve conflict among themselves. This is still a core principle for community management of WOLF today, and guides our approach towards policy changes as well as community concerns.

Of course, every community experiences growing pains; WOLF has experienced many over the past seven years. While community managers continue to stay as hands off as possible to give members as much creative freedom as possible, the game has certainly seen changes based on changing community needs — policies and features both have been added, removed, adjusted — and there does need to be structure around certain elements like pack creation, breeding seasons, and what level of realism is "canon" for the Teekon Wilds. However, these changes have always been made with the founding principles in mind: simple, casual, fun.

Whenever possible, we poll the community (and encourage the community to create polls of their own) to inform changes to processes and policies, and we strive to meet the needs of the majority. This, however, is always balanced with the acceptable "cost" in terms of time and effort it requires from community management. Our goal with any new or adjusted policy is to minimize the complexity of tracking requirements, and to keep decisions as efficient and objective as possible. When suggestions or complaints are raised to the team, they are often discussed at length to determine if we can find that balance (as with recent breeding season changes), or if it is better left as a grassroots community initiative ("hardcore" mode is one such example)!

Our policies are intentionally kept lean to give packs more freedom to create policies of their own and promote a wide range of play styles. Because WOLF strives to support as much creative freedom and autonomy as possible, the community management team decided several years ago that they would no longer mediate player-to-player conflicts. Instead, the community managers operate from a core, objective rulebook when player disputes arise. To clarify, this simply means we are not litigators that will negotiate peace between conflicting parties and we are not therapists equipped to mediate the emotions of players. As a game intended for mature audiences, we expect members to display courtesy and respect for one another, and resolve personal disagreements and conflicts on their own.

We will enforce the Site Policies all members agreed to adhere to by participating in the game. However, we can only enforce these policies in official WOLF spaces: all posts and private messages contained within this forum's database, and all messages contained within public or private channels of the official Discord server. We cannot address interactions outside of these systems (meaning, we cannot address DMs on Discord or interactions on private Discord servers or other social media platforms) except as proof a player is circumventing a block or directly harassing another player.

Our most important rule is to be courteous and respectful of one another. Courtesy is remembering we are all humans with different lived experiences, and making space for those differences. Courtesy is respecting personal boundaries and limits. Someone is not being discourteous when they disagree with you, express a difference of opinion, or vent privately to a friend. Discourtesy is flaming, insulting, attacking and/or attempting to control another player or their character; it is intentionally seeking to offend or upset someone. It is natural to feel disappointed in certain outcomes or situations that arise within play-by-post roleplay, but as a collaborative writing community we only have control over our own characters. When you find yourself in a disappointing situation, we recommend treating it as an opportunity for improv and think outside the box to take your story in an exciting new direction.

I would also like to take this opportunity to reintroduce WOLF's OOC "management model". Generally speaking, these responsibilities are secondary to being a player of WOLF.

Community Managers embody the spirit in which WOLF was founded; they work towards the common goals of simple (no complicated systems or unnecessary frills; a focus on the writing), casual (support differing play styles and activity levels), and fun (limited rules and limited oversight/interference from management).

Each CM has different areas of responsibility, and these may change over time depending on the skill set and availability of individuals on the team. CM is a permanent position in most cases; breaks, hiatuses, and reduction of responsibilities are allowed. In these situations, the remaining team will determine how to provide coverage for the CM and if additional support is necessary. CMs are not elected by and cannot be fired by the larger community. Additional CMs are selected unanimously by the existing team at their discretion.

Rotating ACM
Each quarter, an assistant community manager is selected from eligible community volunteers. The primary purpose of this rotating role is to grant community members the opportunity to share outside/community perspectives on issues being discussed by the core CM team. Diversity of thought is important to the health of any community, and ACMs often provide invaluable insights while working alongside the CM team. Although not an expectation, ACMs also have the opportunity to assist the CM team with certain board maintenance tasks.

As a group of volunteers that are players first and foremost, WOLF's management team members are under no financial or contractual obligations. While we strive to address player concerns, reports, and maintenance requests as efficiently as we can, we cannot and will not offer an service-level agreement or guarantee. It is normal to wait between 48 hours and 2 weeks for requests like these to be completed, and certain circumstances may mean an even longer waiting period.

This is what everyone agrees to by choosing to join and participate in the WOLF community. You may not always see eye-to-eye with management or other members, but you are expected to respect and abide by game policies regardless.

While we are open to feedback and suggestions to improve efficiency, clarity, and reduction of subjective conflict, the fundamental principles — simple (no complicated systems or unnecessary frills; a focus on the writing), casual (support differing play styles and activity levels), and fun (limited rules and limited oversight/interference from management) — that inform WOLF's management style and decisions will not change.
August 24, 2020, 03:37 PM
Approved Members

Adding some additional clarifications based on recent discussion, as it relates to what the CM team means by member-driven.

The CMs do prioritize member feedback, especially when it relates to the in character environment or when policies impacting the in character environment need adjustment. However, prioritization does not mean WOLF is a democracy or that all decisions will be discussed with and reviewed by the membership.

We use feedback to inform our decisions, but the decisions are ultimately up to the CM team.
  • CMs have the right to enact changes we feel are for the good of membership and staff at any time, without prior notice.
  • Members can (and should!) suggest ways those changes can be improved on, or reasons why they think those changes are detrimental to the majority of the community.*
  • Members do not have the right to be informed of changes before they happen, nor do they have the right to explanations behind the changes.
  • Members do not have the right to be a deciding factor on site policy. We try our best to take member opinion into account in all things where needed, but sometimes, we need to change something for our own sake (running the site) or to meet compliance standards.

* When pointing out issues, please be courteous and constructive. Also be aware that there may be decisions or certain aspects of a change that are not up for discussion; if a CM communicates this is the case, please respect that and provide suggestions to work within the constraints.