rules and guidelines

The official rules are a detailed set of guidelines for ALL users and administrators of The Chatting Zone (TCZ), implemented and intended to maintain order amongst both its users and administrators.

These rules help keep TCZ a friendly and enjoyable environment for all of its users by helping keep it free from abusive and malicious people, and users who misuse privileges with which they have been entrusted (this includes Builders and administrators).

As a user of TCZ, you are expected to thoroughly read, understand and abide by these rules at all times. If you fail to do so, and break rules intentionally or unintentionally, you will receive appropriate punishment. This will initially be in the form of a verbal warning and possible removal of abused privileges, but if you continue to ignore and break rules, you could be banned from TCZ completely.

Each rule may be preceeded by a rating (e.g: '<<<1>>>'). The number, on a scale of 1 (not too serious) to 5 (very serious), indicates how serious breaking that particular rule will be treated. The ratings are intended as a guideline, and will be used to help decide on suitable punishment when a rule is broken.

PLEASE NOTE: If a rule has a low rating, this does not mean that it is acceptable to purposely break it or ignore the fact that it has been broken. If a rule is broken, suitable punishment must be issued promptly.

All rules can be reviewed in game by typing 'help rules'. The administrators of TCZ reserve the right to change, ammend or add to these rules at any time without prior notice. Any significant additions or ammendments will be announced on The Chatting Zone BBS in the News topic.

The Administrators of TCZ must take a conservative view towards certain forms of language and behaviour in public locations such as The Chatting Zone BBS and the Swan Pub/Spodbucks, regardless of their personal opinions about such things.

The CENSOR flag was incorporated into TCZ to protect both younger users and TCZ itself from any complaints made to its host and/or server administrators.

However, not all forms of slang/vulgarity are caught by the automatic bad language censor which is active in public locations, and the following guidelines are a companion to the auto-censor and guide for the user for acceptable language and behaviour in the public areas of TCZ.

Public Rooms
Public discussions of a sexual nature must use proper, clinical terminology in its correct context. If you use vulgarities/slang at all in public areas (this includes attempts to get around the auto-censor by using different spellings or ASCII characters), you will be asked to stop or take it to a private room or chat channel.

Failure to comply with the Administrator's request will result in an official warning and/or further punishment.

The BBS (Bulletin Board System)
Due to the nature of some BBS topics, sexual discussions take place. Their purpose is to inform and help users with sexual problems or questions. This does not give license to use improper, vulgar terminology in these discussions. You must use the proper, clinical terms in their correct context.

Any malicious BBS post done merely to provoke a slagging match, 'spam' (excessive posting), or to attack another user, will be censored or removed depending on the content and the user will be warned to stop.

Any BBS post found to contain vulgar words and/or phrases (this also includes attempts to get around the auto-censor by using different spellings or ASCII characters) will be censored or removed by the Administrators, and if necessary an official warning will be given.

Failure to comply with this may result in the loss of your BBS flag and an entry on your rapsheet.

Final Words
The Admin have no wish to inhibit the users of TCZ. Certain forms of discussions are not being prohibited, we merely ask that if you are going to be in a public location, such as The Swan Pub or Spodbucks, you exercise caution when using terminology that might be considered offensive.

What you do or say in private rooms is your business and no Admin will ever interfere with that. However, public areas such as the BBS, The Swan Pub or Spodbucks MUST BE KEPT CLEAN to protect younger users.

As a general (Mortal) user of The Chatting Zone, you are free to do and say whatever you like within reason, providing it is not prohibited by the rules or disclaimer of TCZ.

If any complaints are received from other users about you, they will be fully investigated and appropriate action will be taken if you refuse to stop. Depending on the severity, this could involve imposing a ban on your site and/or sending a complaint to your system Adminstrator(s) which could result in you losing your access to the Internet.

<<<4>>> You must not 'spam' (send large quantities of output), abuse, harrass, offend or invade the privacy of other users.

<<<5>>> The distribution/sharing of illegal or pornographic material is STRICTLY prohibited.

<<<3>>> You must not create more than ONE character for your own use. If we discover that you are using more than one character, the additional character(s) will be destroyed and the Internet site you connect from could receive a ban on creating new characters.

<<<3>>> Do not advertise any other MUD which can be accessed via the Internet, on a public channel, via TCZ internal mail or in a title/description. This includes saying the address in a room. You can give out the address of another MUD over a private channel to another user (providing they have asked you for it via 'page', 'tell' or 'mail').

As a Builder, the rules for General Users (See 'help general rules' in game) apply as well as the additional details below.

Before you can be given building privileges, you must at least set your PRIVATE e-mail address to your REAL e-mail address, by typing '@email private <EMAIL ADDRESS>'. An anonymous or forwarding e-mail address can't be accepted. Your private e-mail address is only visible to yourself and the administrators of TCZ, and will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

As a Builder, you may have up to a maximum of ONE permanent puppet, providing you can fully justify the need for it. Temporary puppets can be obtained by Builders for the purpose of testing building work from the point of view of another user (type 'puppet bank' while in game).

<<<4>>> You must not use your building privileges to purposely annoy, spam (send large quanities of output), abuse, offend or invade the privacy of other users.

<<<4>>> You must not use your building privileges to hack or purposely 'lag' TCZ.

<<<5>>> You must not create compound commands which will inconvenience, confuse or attempt to use the privileges of another user. This also includes making compound commands which shadow built-in commands (E.g: '@command say;emote;page;tell', etc.)

<<<5>>> You must not use your building privileges to try and obtain Apprentice Wizard/Druid or above powers, or commands which allow you to execute commands under the ID or privileges of another character.

As an Assistant or Experienced Builder, the rules for both General Users (see 'help general rules' in game) and Builders (see 'help builder rules' in game) apply as well as the additional details below.

The Assistant and Experienced Builder ranks are NOT part of the administration team, and do not have any administrative rights or privileges (with the exception of the use of the 'assist' and 'welcome' commands).

<<<3>>> As an Assistant, you must be prepared to help any users who ask you for it. If you are unable to help them, you should direct them to either a member of Admin or another Assistant/Experienced Builder who can. Providing help and assistance is a requirement of the Assistant rank, but optional for Experienced Builders, who are given the rank as recognition for their building skills and to help them to improve and extend their skills further. However, Experienced Builders must not outrightly refuse to give help and assistance. If you do not wish to help the user, you must redirect them to another Assistant, Experienced Builder or member of Admin who can.

<<<3>>> If there are only a few members of Admin connected, or no Admin connected at all, you should use the 'assist' command to check for and provide assistance to users who require it, and welcome new users.

<<<5>>> Experienced Builders must not use their extra privileges to hack or obtain privileges to which they are not entitled. Experienced Builder privileges are entrusted to the users to whom they are given. Any abuse of these extra privileges will result in removal of Experienced Builder status.

<<<4>>> As an Experienced Builder or Assistant, you must behave reasonably and responsibly at all times. This is because you will be looked up to and approached for help by both existing and new users. Although giving help and assistance is not a requirement of the Experienced Builder status (it is a requirement of the Assistant status, however), you must not outrightly refuse or be offensive to the user asking. If you do not wish to help them or are unable to, please refer them to another Assistant, Experienced Builder or administrator.

NOTE: If an Experienced Builder has their HELP flag set, all rules which apply to Assistants also apply to them (in addition to Experienced Builder rules.)

As an Apprentice Wizard/Druid or above, it's important that you act responsibly and fairly at all times, and give help and assistance to users as and when they need it to the best of your ability. It's important that you bear in mind that anything you do or say in public reflects not only on yourself, but the entire Admin team and TCZ as a whole, both of which you are a part of and representing.

These rules are designed as basic guidelines to what you should and shouldn't do as an administrator, and must be followed at all times. Violating the rules will result in appropriate punishment and official warnings being issued. Failure to comply with the rules after official warnings have been issued could ultimately result in your demotion.

General rules for administrators
<<<5>>> Do not do anything which could degrade the credibility of TCZ, its Admin team, or the provider of its Internet connection.

<<<5>>> Do not harrass any user, or do anything which may cause users to leave TCZ, and use another MUD instead. If there are personal problems with a certain user, then avoid contact with them. If necessary, use the friend flags to block all messages from them. Type 'fadd <NAME>' and 'fset <NAME> = enemy !fchat !link !mail !pagetell !pagetellfriends' (see 'help fadd' and 'help fset' while in game.)

<<<4>>> Do not connect to TCZ if you are likely to act irresponsibly and abuse your powers. This includes when impaired by drugs, alcohol or other conditions.

<<<3>>> Do not advertise any other MUD which can be accessed via the Internet, on a public channel, via TCZ internal mail or in a title/description. This includes saying the address in a room. You can give out the address of another MUD over a private channel to another user (providing they have asked you for it via 'page', 'tell' or 'mail' (See 'help page', 'help tell' and 'help mail' while in game)).

<<<4>>> Do not act irresponsibly elsewhere on the Internet, where you can be recognised as a member of the TCZ Admin team. This means do not go to other MUD's and be abusive, or advertise TCZ on them.

<<<5>>> Do not 'hack' to obtain privileges higher than your level. If you need a certain privilege, ask someone of a higher level than you to help you with it.

<<<1>>> Do not boot a dead connection unless it's absolutely necessary - The '@bootdead' command (See 'help @bootdead') can be used by a user to boot any dead connections they might have. Connections that are 'stuck' can also be revived by logging in again and taking them over.

<<<1>>> Mortal users are only allowed a maximum of ONE puppet, providing the need for it can be fully justified. Temporary puppets can be obtained by Mortals from the Puppet Bank (this can be reached by typing 'puppet bank'.) The use of a permanent puppet in a building project as a shopkeeper is not a suitable use. A suitably named object would give the desired effect.

Rules for dealing with other users
<<<4>>> Answer all assists and welcomes when you can (see 'help assist' and 'help welcome'), especially if there are few Admin connected or you are the only member of Admin connected. If there is a sufficient number of Admin connected, try to take it in turns to do them. New Admin or Assistants have priority over assists and welcomes. Remember that higher ranking members of Admin may not see assist/welcome messages if a sufficient number of lower ranking Admin are connected.

<<<4>>> If a user asks you for help, help them to the best of your ability. This is a priority over building or chatting to your friends. If you are not able to help them, ask someone who can. It's important to stay and see what the answer to the problem is, and to try and learn from it. If no other administrators are available to help, then TCZ mail someone who you know is able to solve the problem, or direct them to an Experienced Builder (if one is connected).

<<<4>>> Do not summon users or teleport (see 'help summon' and 'help @teleport') them around against their will.

<<<2>>> Feel free to teleport to other users locations to examine them and their contents, but if the owner or other characters are connected and in the location, then ask permission to visit first.

<<<3>>> If you find a room or thing that acts as a jail (holds you there), ask the user to remove it or disable it. If they do not comply, use an appropriate punishment. If all else fails, remove their BUILDER flag (see 'help builder flag'.) If you find yourself stuck in a jail, use the 'escape' command (see 'help escape') to get out.

Rules for dealing with abusive/problem users
General abuse - <<<4>>> If a user is abusive to you or other users deal with them appropriately. The order of punishment is generally an official warning (type 'help warn' in game), jail (type 'help jail'), a moron flag (see 'help moron'), booting (see 'help @boot') and banning (see 'help @ban').

Site bans - <<<3>>> If a user keeps creating new duplicate characters and/or Guest characters, then a site ban may be necessary. To ban a site from creating characters, use: '@site set <ADDRESS> = !create = <REASON>' (see 'help @site set'). Likewise, to stop Guest character being created from a site, use: '@site set <ADDRESS> = !guest = <REASON>'. The flags can be combined: '@site set <ADDRESS> = !create !guest = <REASON>'.If you set a site to be create or guest banned, you should post the details in the BBS under Admin/Site Problems.

Mail abuse - <<<5>>> If a user is abusing the internal mail system, reset their MAIL flag (see 'help mail flag') using '@set *<NAME> = !mail = <REASON>'. This prevents them from sending or receiving any mail whatsoever. If they're just harrasing one particular user, get that user to add them as a friend (or enemy), and type 'fset <NAME> = !mail' (see 'help fadd' and 'help fset'). This prevents them sending mail to that one person.

BBS abuse - <<<4>>> If someone continually abuses the BBS by posting rude, offensive or degrading messages, then reset their BBS flag (see 'help bbs flag') using '@set *<NAME> = !bbs = <REASON>'.

Rap sheets - <<<2>>> Log any abuse onto a user's rapsheet with the 'addrap' command. The usage is 'addrap <NAME> = <ABUSE>'. To see what they've done in the past, use 'checkrap <NAME>'. This helps to identify consistent problem users.

Monitoring users - <<<4>>> If a user is suspected of hacking or abuse, and needs to be watched, use the '@monitor' command (See 'help @monitor'.) The basic use is '@monitor <NAME> = commands = <REASON>'. Do not use '@monitor' unless it's strictly necessary, as it breaches on the user's privacy. Use '@monitor <NAME> = off' to stop monitoring.

Rules for administrative privileges
<<<1>>> Use the 'shout' command (see 'help shout') only for important messages which ALL users connected need to see. '@with connected ...' (see 'help @with') in conjunction with 'page', 'tell' or '@notify' is treated as a 'shout' (see 'help page', 'help tell' and 'help @notify'.) Please remember that you are representing the Admin team as a whole, and every connected user will see your message.

<<<1>>> Do not use 'page', 'tell' or '@notify' in conjunction with '@with friends' or '@with connected' (see 'help @with') as an alternative or substitute for the 'page friends', 'tell friends' or 'shout' command. This rule is for two simple reasons:
(1) It causes extra and unnecessary work for the server, especially if you have a large friends list or there are a good number of users connected. 'Page friends', 'tell friends' or 'shout' will only take a few milliseconds to execute, whereas '@with friends' or '@with connected' can take upto several seconds, causing unnecessary 'lag'.
(2) If '@notify' (see 'help @notify') is used with these commands, the recipients have no easy means of selectively blocking the messages if they do not wish to receive them. With 'page friends' and 'tell friends' they can simply reset the PAGETELLFRIENDS friend flag (see 'help pagetellfriends') on you if they do not wish to receive the messages. If 'page'/'tell' is used (i.e: '@with friends me do tell $6 = hello'), this can be extremely confusing for the recipients, as to them it appears as though you have specifically and individually sent the message to them, rather than your entire list of friends.

<<<5>>> Do not give out your privileges to other characters, by giving out your password or giving them a compound command with your '@chpid' in it (see 'help @chpid'.)

<<<4>>> Do not use your privileges for your own personal gain, benefit or pleasure.

<<<4>>> Do not use '@force' (see 'help @force') to force another character (excluding your own puppets) to execute a command or say something against their will.

<<<4>>> Do not use fuses (see 'help @fuse') to monitor rooms or characters. This is a serious breach of privacy.

<<<1>>> Do not destroy a character on user request under any circumstances. If a character is left unused they will eventually be destroyed by the automatic maintainence system.

<<<1>>> Do destroy characters when they are found to be duplicates, but only if you are certain that they're duplicates. Remember that some users will connect from the same account and might have the same e-mail address.

<<<1>>> Be very judicious in creating alarms, for your own or any other character's use. Several alarms going off at the same time, or on a regular basis (i.e: More than once every 5 minutes) can cause unnecessary 'lag'. The same effect can often be achieved using a fuse and the '{@?time}' query command (see 'help @?time'), and should always be done as an alternative, if possible. The ownership of an alarm should never be changed to a Mortal character.

<<<3>>> Do not use the '@areawrite', '@oecho' or '@write' commands (See 'help ;', 'help @oecho' and 'help @write') in #2, #4, or a public area. Likewise do not use these and similar commands (i.e: '@notify' - see 'help @notify') to fake messages, or fake another user's actions or speech.

<<<1>>> When adding Internet sites, use the rules for site adding as stated in the Apprentice Manual (type 'appymanual' in game).

<<<3>>> Do not set an execution time limit greater than 3 seconds, unless it's absolutely necessary for the compound command to function. In most cases, if not all, it will usually be possible to re-write the compound command more efficiently, so that it doesn't need an execution time limit greater than 3 seconds. An execution time limit greater than 5 seconds should never be used, as this will cause noticeable lag.

<<<1>>> Do not teleport a Mortal owned command to a module in #4 (Or to #4 itself), if it's not set READONLY. If the READONLY flag stops the compound command working correctly, then it either needs to be re-written or Admin owned instead. A Mortal's compound command should never be changed to Admin ownership without first extensive checking for hacks, 'backdoors' or flaws which could be taken advantage of by Mortals. An easy way to teleport commands into #4 is to use the 'telglobal' command, which takes those rules into account. Type 'telglobal <COMMAND>' to use it. The 'checkmodule' command can be used to examine the modules in #4 for any commands which breach the rules. Any global commands also need to be coded efficiently, and use good grammar, spelling, and presentation.

<<<5>>> Do not disclose any information which is only readable/accessible by Admin to non-Admin users. This includes the 'natter' channel, restricted BBS topics (such as the Admin only topics), contents of log files, rap sheets, and any other information/commands which a lower level user couldn't access themselves.

<<<4>>> Do not destroy or modify objects which belong to other users (both Mortal and Admin owned), unless you have the permission from the owner to do so. An exception to this rule is if the object is being used to 'spam' users/areas, is abusive/offensive in some way, or is being used to lag/hack TCZ.

<<<3>>> Do not adjust the bank account or credit in pocket of a user without good reason (i.e: The user has obtained credit by unfair means or is in severe debt.) This is important, because improper use of the '@credit' command (i.e: Injecting excessive money into the system or taking it out) could ruin the entire monetry system and make it worthless.

Rules for building and Building Quota limits
<<<1>>> To obtain a BUILDER flag, a character must have a valid and unique e-mail address. This ensures that they are not duplicates. To see if anyone else on TCZ has the same e-mail address, use the 'checkb' command. If so, enquire as to why their address is not unique. To see if the address is valid and not fake, the easiest way is to send an e-mail to it, and get them to reply. Do not set a BUILDER flag until you are sure that the e-mail address is valid and the character isn't a duplicate.

<<<2>>> Do not raise a characters Building Quota limit above 500, unless they really need it, and they are building something of good quality that is beneficial to users of TCZ other than themselves and just a few friends. This is IMPORTANT - 'Good quality' means good, well written descriptions, fields of exits are set ('@osucc', '@odrop' and '@drop' - see 'help @osucc', 'help @odrop' and 'help @drop'), compound commands are well used and written, no objects are used that could be placed in a description instead. Be very stringent about giving out Building Quota limits greater than 500. It's irrelevant that many other users may already have more than 500 - that's the limit for Builders unless they are building something exceptional.

Rules for promotions and demotions
<<<5>>> Do not promote a character to Assistant, Experienced Builder or Apprentice Wizard/Druid or higher. Promotions are carried out when there is an Admin review (or for Experienced Builders and Assistants, as the result of a vote in favour between all administrators on The Chatting Zone BBS). The exception to this is promoting your puppet to Experienced Builder or Apprentice Wizard/Druid, if you are able. If you're an Apprentice Wizard/Druid yourself, you can still have your puppet promoted to the same level - just ask someone of a higher level to do it for you. Assistants and Experienced Builders may be promoted after a votable message on The Chatting Zone BBS gives them a 60% or more majority in favour. The message must be on the BBS for at least a week before a promotion is given, and the voting must use the majority factor ('vote <NUMBER> = majority'.)

<<<4>>> Only users who are of 16 years of age or over may be promoted to the rank of Apprentice Wizard/Druid or above. This is because material Admin may be subject to and situations they may need to deal with are unsuitable for users below this age. If a member of Admin is discovered at a later date to be under the age of 16, they will be immediately demoted.

<<<4>>> Administrators on TCZ may not be administrators on any other MUD. The main reason for this rule is that someone who is Admin on more than one MUD will not be able to be fully dedicated to administrating TCZ, to which they should be fully dedicated. It's also unfair on other people who are not administrators on any MUD, who's chances are reduced by people who are administrators on more than one MUD.

<<<4>>> Administrators must be able to connect on a regular basis, as one of their primary tasks is giving help and assistance to both existing and new users and dealing with abusive/problem users. Of course, allowances are made for holidays and other periods where a member of Admin will be away for a short period of time. If you are going to be away for a period of time, you must announce when and how long you will be away in the Admin/Absences topic of The Chatting Zone BBS. If you fail to do this, your demotion may occur. A member of Admin should ideally connect for 24 hours or more each month. If a member's connect time is considered insufficient in a period of 3 consecutive months, their status will be subject to review.

<<<4>>> The returning of a flag (Experienced Builder/Assistant and above) should first go to an Admin vote, unless predefined by a time period elapsing (i.e: Their flag was taken away for one week and one week has elapsed since its removal). The vote should be held in the BBS 'Admin/Voting' topic, where ALL Admin may vote.

<<<2>>> If a member of Admin wishes to resign, then demote them, but be sure to remind them that they have a period of 2 weeks in which to change their mind. After this period has passed, they will need to go through the review process again to re-join the Admin team. If an Experienced Builder or Builder abuses their building privileges, take their flag away. If you are not sure about doing this, discuss it on the 'natter' channel and have a vote if necessary.

If a member of Admin starts maliciously abusing their power/privileges, and refuses to stop, everything within the power of the administrators connected at the time should be done to stop them, including demotion, if necessary.


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