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Administration Manual

Date added: 04 March 2012 - 05:02 AM
Date updated: 15 March 2016 - 04:51 AM

Administration Handbook


Important policies

Always be courteous whilst on duty or dueling, and interact with players in a polite manner, without compromising your authority and integrity as an administrator. You are representing DN’s administration team regardless of whether or not you are on-duty. This means that there is a higher expectation of how you act in-game than there is for a regular user.
Never act as an administrator or judge in your own duels.
Power abuse will not be tolerated, and WILL result in a demotion and possible ban depending on the severity of the offence. The policies set out in these documents are to be followed at all times.
When issuing bans or warnings, always provide DN screenshots in that ban/warning note that show the infraction that has been committed.
The only details regarding a ban that are to be disclosed to a user are the reason for their own ban, the number of strikes against their account, and the duration of the ban. Never provide details regarding the proof provided, the administrator logs, the name of the administrator who placed the ban, etc.
Never share information regarding, show screenshots of, nor copy/paste information from, the administrator logs, nor share any other administrative information with non-admins. EVER.
Never overturn bans from an administrator in an equal or higher position without permission from the administrator who issued the ban, or an administrator of higher rank.
The priority for on-duty administrators is to take admin calls from the rated pool. Do not remain on-duty if you are not actively handling calls or appeals/reports on the forum. As the call list is the priority, you should not handle appeals/reports when there are few administrators on duty in relation to the number of admin calls, and instead prioritise the call list to limit the wait time for users, especially as your presence will inflate the call list.
Do not watch duels whilst on-duty. Once you have finished handling an admin call, and the players are continuing their duel, inform the players that they can PM you if they encounter another issue in that duel, and proceed to the next call. Even if the call count is 0, you should moderate the public chat and the duel room until the call count rises again.
If you are watching a duel whilst off-duty, and a dispute arises between the players, you may intervene in admin mode to handle the dispute. Furthermore, if an error occurs whilst you are watching the duel that is not caught by the players, you should step-in in admin mode.

Philosphy

This policy document is expected to be followed in full by all administrators. Whilst administrators are expected to exercise judgement when handling each unique scenario, the practices set out in this document should be followed to maintain consistency and impartiality, unless explicit permission is obtained to the contrary from a Head Administrator.


Account Security & Policies

Your DN password should be at least 12 characters long, and contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
Do NOT use the same password you use on other sites or applications. You will be held responsible if your password on another website is compromised and used to access your admin account.
Your password should be both complex and easy for you to remember. E.g., iLove3Economics#
Always log-off your account or lock your computer if you have to step away from your computer.
Never allow others on your account, nor show them administrator only sections of DN.
Do not let anyone besides yourself access your own account. As any other users, you will be held responsible for all activity on your account. For security reasons, the password reset function is disabled for administrators. You will be held responsible if your password is compromised due to poor security or because you have a simple password.

Forum accounts

Once your forum account has been promoted to In-game Administrator status, you will be able to access Ban Appeals & Abuse Reports sections, as well as participate in staff-only forums. These forums contain discussions regarding administrative matters and also contain helpful resources to assist administrators, particularly new administrators, in their duties, so you should make it a habit to actively check these sections. If your forum account does not have In-game Administrator status on the forums, please contact a Head Administrator.

Administration Ranks & Responsibilities

In-game Administrator - In-game Administrators are the face of DN staff. Their priority task is to handle the call list, resolving disputes in DN’s rated pool. In-game Administrators are also responsible for moderating the public chat & duel notes, resolving disputes in War Duels or official tournament matches, and handling ban appeals and abuse reports.
Senior Administrator - Senior Administrators are a rank higher than In-game Administrators. Their main role is to mentor and assist In-game Administrators with their duties. For calls purposes, Senior Admins act in the capacity of a Head Judge, and will handle appeals from In-game Administrators. Their decisions are final and cannot be appealed.
Head Administrator - Head Administrators are responsible for day-to-day management of Dueling Network, its policies, and staff management, including hiring. They are a rank above Senior Administrators, and are also Head Judges for calls purposes.

Admin Calls

Admin Calls are to always be taken from the top of the call list. The call list is a queue of duels in DN’s Rated Pool that requires assistance from an administrator, and the duel at the top of the list has been waiting the longest. There are three exceptions to this rule.

1. You receive a PM from a user stating that his opponent is cancelling and recalling an administrator. This will put the duel at the bottom of the call list every time the call is replaced, and so will never reach the top of the call list in a timely manner, and so you should skip to the call.
2. You receive a PM from an off-duty administrator who requires an administrator in their rated duel, and is willing to assist with the call list once that duel is completed. If the off-duty administrator cannot assist with calls once their duel is complete, the call cannot be skipped to, and he/she should wait their turn in line.
3.You receive a PM from a user who has already had an administrator in his duel earlier, and who again requires administrator assistance. As these two players have already waited for an administrator previously, you may skip to their new call. This exception applies only for the same duel; if the player enters a new duel and requires an administrator, they must wait their turn in line again.

Under no other circumstances is any call other than the one on the top of the call list to be answered.
Due to the volume of admin calls from the rated pool, administrators do not respond to disputes in unrated duels, except via PM if time permits, unless the duel is an official war or DN tournament match. In the event you are asked to join a war or tournament duel by a user, you should ask for a link to the war/tournament thread to verify that the match is for that event (this is not required if a Tournament Organizer or War Adjudicator asks you to enter that match).

Private Messages

As an administrator, you will receive a large volume of PMs from users requesting some form of assistance. You are required to respond to PMs from other administrators, as well as those from users requesting assistance in their duel due to misuse of the Call Admin button. Because of this, you will need to be actively checking your PMs whilst on-duty. You are not obliged to respond to other PMs; however, should time permit, you should respond to direct questions from users where possible in order to reduce the number of admin calls placed.

If a direct ruling question is asked, you may provide an answer so long as the question is not a coaching question, as you are not permitted to assist a player with their plays (see the section on “Coaching” for more detail). If a user is requesting assistance in their duel, inform them to use the Call Admin button, and that an administrator will answer their call in due course once their turn in line is reached. You are not required to respond to such a PM; however, if time permits, you should respond as a courtesy to the user.

Coaching

As an administrator, your role is one of impartiality. This means that you should not answer questions that are phrased in a manner that could be construed as coaching. This includes when you are sent questions via PM.
Administrators may always answer questions as they pertain solely to:
1. Legality of an activation or action.
2.Individual Card Information
3.Game mechanics

Administrators should avoid answering questions pertaining to:
1. “What if...” or “if I do this…” scenarios
2. Questions that if an answer were provided, would dictate how the player would best play his/her cards.
3. Questions which are not clear, or worded in such a way that is open to interpretation. The player should be informed what component of their question is ambiguous, and asked to rephrase their question.


Call Solving Manual


Philosphy

A. Administrators should always investigate the unique game state that they are presented with each call by using all the resources at their disposal, including, but not limited to, the players and the administrator log. Administrators should engage with the players and use the administrator log to verify that the players’ statements are truthful.

B. An administrator should never reverse engineer a penalty, that is, never determine the penalty first, and then determine the infraction. An administrator must first investigate, then determine the infraction, and then apply the appropriate penalty. Both the infraction and the associated penalty must be explained to both players before the penalty is enforced, so that both players are given the opportunity to appeal your decision.

C. An administrator should engage with the players throughout an investigation. Furthermore, an administrator should listen to and consider a player’s reasoning and logic before beginning non-compliance procedures; they may be correct, and you may have to revise your decision.

D. Players may not appeal an In-game Administrator until that administrator has finished issuing his/her decision. Failure to do so may result in penalties for unsporting conduct.

E. Once an administrator, or appellate administrator, has issued their final decision, after hearing from all involved parties, players must continue the duel and abide by the issued decision. If a player refuses, they should be informed that they have thirty seconds to continue the duel or otherwise comply with the administrator’s instructions, else they will receive a game loss for non-compliance.


Warnings

Verbal warnings:
Verbal warnings may be issued to a user for conduct which, whilst not strictly constituting a minor infraction, is not appropriate behaviour, as a friendly reminder. Generally, verbal warnings are not added to the admin panel, but may be added at the discretion of the administrator issuing them for behavioural tracking purposes
Official warnings:
Official warnings are an upgrade from verbal warnings, or issued in accordance with the Rules & Punishments table. These are recorded in the admin panel with screenshot evidence.
Upgrades:
Warnings for repeated offences may be upgraded in accordance with the Rules & Punishments table, generally when the same infraction is committed after a warning has been issued. That the penalty is an upgraded should be noted when adding the penalty to the admin manual (e.g., Harassment (Major) - upgrade - screenshot)

Away From Keyboard (AFK)

:
If an AFK is deemed unintentional:
If a player has been unresponsive for less than 6 minutes, give them 30 seconds to respond and continue with the duel. If they return, issue a warning for slow play and have the duel continue. If they do not respond, issue a match loss.
If a player has been unresponsive for longer than 6 minutes, and has not returned, issue that player a match loss.
If a player was unresponsive earlier in the duel for greater than 6 minutes, but has since returned and the duel has continued, issue that player a match loss.
If both players are unresponsive when you arrive in the duel, let the players know to PM you if they get back, then leave. If there is an obvious Cheating or Malicious AFK issue present, take care of it before leaving.
If an AFK is deemed intentional:
If the player is maliciously (intentionally) unresponsive, issue a loss and ban in accordance with the rules and punishments table. Refer to the Rules and Punishments Table for more details.

Make sure to check if it is a Single or Match when giving a loss for AFK by expanding the Loss dropdown menu and to award a Match Loss for Matches. If you accidentally award a Game Loss for AFK during a Match, you must kick the player before the duel can end.


Glitch

Glitches are incredibly rare. A player who is glitched must provide proof of the glitch in the form of a DN screenshot. If the glitch is verified, it can usually be corrected by returning the affected card(s) to where the glitched player sees them, and then re-activating them or returning them to the field. If this fails, cancel the match.
If the player cannot provide this proof, issue them a match loss (exception: see lying to an administrator).

A useful method to ensure that the glitch is real is to ask the player without problems to summon a token, and then have the glitched player take a screenshot that shows the latest messages in the chat.


Harassment

Determine the infraction in accordance with the Rules & Punishments table.
If one player commits a major or severe harassment infraction, issue that player the loss and a ban for the appropriate duration.
If both players committed major or severe infractions, cancel the match and ban both players for the appropriate duration.

Game states


Game state:
It is very important to be able to determine who is at fault when dealing with a possible irreparable game state scenario in any type of admin calls. Whether or not a game state can be repaired can mean the difference between a warning and a game loss. Note that the following applies only in the event the infraction is unintentional. Actions committed intentionally fall under the cheating infraction
Irreparable game states:
If an irreparable game state issue is found during a call, it is appropriate to give a game loss to the player at fault.
  • A player returns a face-down monster to the Deck to Special Summon "Gladiator Beast Heraklinos" from the Extra Deck, without revealing the set cards to the opponent and shuffles the Deck. There is no way to tell if the face-down cards were “Gladiator Beast” monsters, so the action is irreparable. It is appropriate to give the player a Game Loss.
  • A player illegally draws a card(s) from the top of the deck and then shuffles the hand. There is no way to know which card(s) was the last one drawn, so the game state cannot be repaired by returning it to the top of the deck, and it is thus appropriate to give the player a Game Loss.
  • A player forgets to discard down to the legal hand limit at the end of their turn. The hand is shuffled afterwards due to an effect. There is no way to know which cards the player had in his hand prior to drawing the card. This is not a missed mandatory effect, rather, a missed mandatory game mechanic. This action is irreparable and it is appropriate to give the player a Game Loss.
An irreparable game state caused by a single game play error NEVER results in a double game loss, except as an upgrade. In the event of a single error creating an irreparable game state, determine which player is most at fault, and issue that player a game loss, and the opponent a warning.
If both players individually are at fault for separate infractions that would result in both players receiving a game loss, cancel the game to emulate a double game loss penalty. Do NOT cancel a game as a result of a single Game-play Procedural Error.
  • Both players forget to discard down to the legal hand limit during the course of the duel.
  • Both players individually commit separate major procedural errors that causes an irreparable game state.
  • Both players have committed Slow Play (Major).
Repairable game states:
A game loss should never be given if the game state can be repaired. If the players can provide enough information to do so, the game should be repaired and play continue.
Note: Do not use the administrator log to repair a game state that would otherwise be irreparable.
  • A player accidentally draws when not allowed to. The drawn card is revealed to the opponent by placing it on the field or discarding it to the Graveyard, and then it is returned to the top of the deck without shuffling. The player's deck order is restored, and the player continues the duel with a warning.
  • A player shuffles the deck without the allowance of any effect to do so The order of the deck is still randomized, so the player receives a warning and continues the duel. If a card(s) has been specifically placed on the top/bottom of the Deck (e.g., by the effect of “Lightning Chidori”), isolate those cards before randomising the deck, then return them to their original positions.
  • A player sends cards from the top of the deck to the Graveyard when not allowed to do so. The cards are returned to the deck in the reverse order they were sent, so that they are returned to their original positions. The deck is not shuffled, and the duel is continued. It is appropriate to give the player a warning.
  • A player accidentally draws a card when not allowed to do so. The player then places this card on the field, then shuffles it into the Deck. The card should be returned to the top of the Deck, and the player issued a warning.
  • A player accidentally draws a card when not allowed to do so. The player then puts it to the bottom of the deck by accident. The player should view his deck, screenshot the part of it that shows the last card in it (scroll all the way down and screenshot the part that includes the card to the bottom, far right) and then reveal that screenshot to his opponent. This screenshot should be unobstructed by any chat/users windows and unedited. Then the player takes that card out of his deck and then puts it to the top of the deck and resumes play with a warning.
Accepted game states:
Oftentimes, a game play error that would have been repairable will have been made, but not noticed by either player until after the duel has progressed, beyond the point where play can be rewinded. It is appropriate to declare a game state as accepted and allow play to continue if the player who committed the infraction has not gained significant advantage.
  • Both players have forgotten to resolve a mandatory effect and the error is not caught until play has significantly advanced. If neither player gained significant advantage at that moment, then it is appropriate to issue both players a warning, as it is the equal responsibility of both players to maintain the integrity of the game state, and play should continue.
  • A player illegally activates a continuous S/T card which is not noticed until after play has significanty advanced, and it is determined that play cannot be rewinded. If the player has not gained significant advantage, the game state is accepted, both players should receive a warning, and play should continue.

Misclick/Misplay Disputes

1. Upon entering the duel, ask both players to explain the situation separately.
  • If a player claims a missclick, conduct an investigation to determine the card(s) that was supposedly played by accident and approach the misclick logically; take all relevant factors of the game state into consideration, including the players’ testimony.
  • If a player misclicks, they should communicate this fact immediately to the opponent. If the player makes subsequent plays after the alleged misclick, it is not a misclick.
  • An administrator should consider the entire context of the specific and unique game state he/she is investigating and use his/her best judgement to determine whether or not the action was a misclick.

Rulings

1.TCG rulings are enforced in all duels.
2.For cards not released in the TCG, the relevant OCG ruling should be applied for card based interactions.

Appeals

Once an administrator has completed issuing their decision/ruling, a user may request to appeal that decision to a higher administrator. Decisions of Senior and Head Administrators cannot be appealed.
If the decision being appealed is a ruling of relative simplicity, you are one hundred per cent sure your ruling is correct, and have explained the ruling in sufficient detail, you may politely deny the appeal. However, if you issue an incorrect ruling, and deny an appeal, you will be held responsible. If that is not a chance you are willing to take, do not deny the appeal.
Appeals for more complicated ruling scenarios, policy, player management, judgement calls, or any other scenario should always be granted. When an appeal is requested, you should always first attempt to contact a Senior or Head Administrator to enter the duel.
If all possible methods of establishing contact with a Senior or Head Administrator have been exhausted, you may ask a more experienced In-game Administrator to enter the duel to issue a second opinion.
New In-game Administrators may not answer nor deny appeals.
When the appellate administrator enters your duel, you should provide them with the specifics of the situation via PM, including a quick explanation of the dispute, your decision and reasoning for that decision, and point them to the relevant parts of the administrator log. The appellate administrator should then review the call, and discuss the matter with the administrator who first answered the call, before reaching a decision.
The decision of a Senior or Head Administrator is final. In the event an appellate administrator cannot be sought and an administrator is brought in for a second opinion: if that opinion concurs with the original administrator, the decision is final. In the event of a deadlock, a third administrator must be sought to break the deadlock, unless the original administrator also reverses their original decision in light of new information.
In the event a player disagrees with your decision, and provides reasoning and/or a link to support their claim, you should consider their explanation as well as the proof they provide and determine whether or not you should amend your decision. Keep in mind that nobody is perfect, and the player may be correct. If you still believe that your original decision is correct, and the player is adamant that their proof is valid, you should inform the player that they have thirty seconds to either continue the duel with your ruling, or appeal.

Ban Evasion

If a user is online on Dueling Network whilst one of their accounts is under a temporary ban, they are to be issued with the following caution, or a caution to this effect, informing them that continued evasion may result in the enforcement of an IP ban:
  • You are evading a temporary ban on an alternate account. You are not permitted to be online on Dueling Network until your ban expires. Log out immediately and do not return until your ban expires, else penalties for evasion, including a potential IP ban, will be enforced.
If the user complies with this request, you should place a screenshot of this warning on their main account (the one under the temporary ban). No punitive action is required on the alternate account used for evasion unless the warning is ignored by the user, both when it is issued and after it has been issued.
If the user fails to comply with the request, penalties for evasion should be enforced.
If the user is committing another infraction whilst also evading a temporary ban, the evasion warning should still be issued; however, that account should be subject to evasion penalties as an additional punitive measure.
If a user has already been issued an evasion warning in the past, the courtesy of the warning may be foregone, and the appropriate penalties for ban evasion enforced.
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