The Sentinel Guild has provided rules enforcement on RetroMUD for many years as a meta game function additional to its gameplay features. The staff trusts them to be the front line and smooth out small issues before they escalate into something more toxic.
We have seen two threads of common complaint with this system. Players who want to help out in the community but not play sentinel feel left out. Conversely, those who wish to enjoy the sentinel guild playstyle are forced to deal with the meta-game features.
The Early Conversations
The staff wanted a way to allow more people to volunteer without also dictating their style of gameplay. We spoke to a couple of the existing sentinels and found that, in their normal working routine, they had built up a network of helpful people. The groundwork was already there, they just needed us to help formalize it.
RetroMUD is now more than just the game service and a website. We have stepped in to host RetroEQ so that it's always available. I have been working with Loktai to figure out how to do the same for the wiki. We have also had requests for a stable community roleplay forum.
We can provide stable hosting for those services, however, all of them thrive because of the community. The staff wants to empower and work more closely with the folks who are willing to step up.
Enter the Community Pillar Program
Players who want to join the community pillar program would have a variety of roles to fill. All pillars would be responsible for enforcing our Community Code of Conduct. Those with a passion for some of the community features such as RetroEQ or the Wiki may also be asked to step up and help with maintenance and content curation.
The RetroMUD staff will vet pilot program members based on their history within the community. Successful community pillars will be able to bridge the gap when dealing with differences of opinion rooted in mutual respect and kindness. They will also be expected to understand their own biases and, when necessary, collaborate with others to ensure all community members receive fair treatment.
The Next Steps
The staff has put together a vision statement that clearly defines the intent behind all of our existing rules. We will release that vision statement later this week.
We have also been roughing out a Community Code of Conduct with our current sentinel leadership. The Community Code of Conduct is meant to serve as an overview for what it means to be in our community and an index to our existing rules. We are reviewing the IDEA reports you've been sending in and will release the rough draft for comment later this week.
A Toast to the Future
I find this process exciting. We have a very strong feeling of community and the time has come to build more bridges between the players and staff. Together we can continue to grow the RetroMUD community for another twenty years of fun and camaraderie.