The rules, almost every rule, are enforced far too harshly

I’m going to preface this by saying I’ll include a TL;DR at the bottom.

My point of view on this topic comes from someone who has been playing RP games and servers for many years. GMOD, a game capable of similar RP levels, and requiring similar rules, is a game I have over 9,000 hours on, and have staffed many servers for in both low and high positions. I hope that this can give some credibility to my words as you read forward. 

Firstly I want to talk about the lengths of bans, then I’ll talk about the types of bans that can happen, and finally I’ll talk about some of the requirements to get unbanned. I’ll also talk a bit about staff accountability.

Going through the ban appeals page on the forums, it’s clear to see the default type of ban is a permeant one. Easily the majority of appeals are for permanent bans, often for seemingly insignificant rule breaks. For a first time offender, unless they break a rule that is zero tolerance, or they catastrophically derailed a round for the whole station or a department, a perma ban should NEVER be used. I’m not only talking about game bans, but role bans as well. To make the default ban a perma ban only serves to drive players away from the server, and thus the game. Bans shouldn’t even be the first thing an admin thinks to give out when a player breaks the rules. Admins should instead opt to leave warnings on a players account, leaving a record of if they break a rule and had to speak to an admin, and then if the player has warns, escalate to a ban, and then if the player has bans escalate to a perma ban. Making the default type of punishment a ban makes the players feel frustrated and like they’ve been treated unfairly.

That basically covers bans in general, next I want to talk a bit about role banning. It’s one thing if someone is intentionally causing trouble on a role, to ban them immediately, maybe even permanently from the role.  That being said, if a player genuinely makes a mistake that doesn’t affect the rest of the station or their department, they shouldn’t be immediately banned, or perma banned from the role. They should be talked to, and warned not to do it again.

Quick side note on the rules regarding IC things like heads not being able to give away or trade high risk items. While I agree that they shouldn’t just be giving their stuff out, I think it’s counter productive for the server to say they can NEVER do it. In real life there are plenty of corrupt officials out there. Who is to say you can’t buy off a head for some of their gear IC? It’s a LOW RP server not a NO RP server. Even if something like this does happen and it breaks the rules, the player shouldn’t get banned, much less perma banned for doing something IC that caused no harm to the station. They should be warned by staff first to not do it again.

Moving on, let’s talk about the way staff use bans. Staff seem to like to use perma bans as a way to force players onto the forums to talk to them if they broke a rule and left before staff could talk to them. While I think that with the way the game is set up this is a necessary evil, even then the ban shouldn’t be permanant. It should only be as long as the rule broken and the players punishment history reasonably allow.

That is basically my rant on ban lengths finished. You may argue that the server doesn’t have the staff to give leeway when a player breaks the rules, but my response to that is that that is BS. The staffs job is to make the game fun and enjoyable for the players, all the players. That includes players who may have broken a rule. It’s unfair and unreasonable to perma ban a player by default because it’s too much trouble to deal with otherwise.

Next I want to talk about one of the requirements I have seen commonly used for a player to be unbanned. Regularly, a requirement to get unbanned is “a voucher of good behavior from another server”. Firstly, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, unless you speak Russian you wont be getting that voucher. There are no regularly active English speaking servers outside of the official servers. Secondly, let’s look at this from the players point of view. Say you go play another server long enough to be decently well known, and known to have “good behavior”. Why would you want to come back to this server in the first place once you achieve that on another server? Thirdly lets look at this from the point of view from a server giving this voucher. As soon as you give this voucher you will be losing what is probably a regular player to another server. Who would want to do that? Even if a player has good behavior no server would want to give them the voucher for fear of losing them as a player. This requirement seems to be arbitrarily placed as a requirement to be unbanned based on an admins discretion for no good reason.

Today, a ban appeal was posted on the forums for a ban that took place a year ago. This ban was permanent. You know what unforgiveable crime this player committed? A player in his round had been shrunk, and while the round was in progress he posted a photo of it to the forums. This picture contained no useful information about the round, or potentially game altering information. Despite this, the player was banned permanently, for a crime that literally hurt nobody and caused no damage to the server. Within an hour of him posting it, the admin who banned him denied the appeal for the reason he didn’t have a voucher of good behavior from another server. Utterly ridiculous.

This unusual addition to being unbanned is completely cruel and unnecessary. The point of a ban is to remove a player from the game so they can think about what they did wrong. It’s essentially a time out. Having a requirement that forces the player to play other servers does two things. Currently when there ARE NO OTHER SERVERS, it just makes the player stop playing the game. I shouldn’t need to explain how for a game in alpha that isn’t well known this is not a good outcome. Secondly, once the game gets popular enough to have other servers it will simply drive players to those other servers. This punishment is a great way to get people to stop playing on your server. If that is what the server management and staff team wish for then don’t change it.

Finally, I want to talk a bit about staff accountability. There is none. It seems staff are regularly handing out punishments without talking to the one being punished according to a number of ban appeals on the forums. Now, it’s one thing if a player leaves before a staff member has the chance to talk to them. In that case there is nothing the staff can do but punish them without talking to them. That being said, I know from personal experience staff will ban a player, either game or role ban, without talking to them, even if they have the chance to. 

If a staff chooses to punish a player without talking to them even if they have the chance, unless that player needs to be removed from the game immediately for a valid reason, the punishment should always be removed. Staff have a responsibility to talk to and make a punished player know what they did wrong. Imagine if you could be arrested in real life and the police never told you why.

Next, a banning staff should never have the ability to deny a ban appeal. It doesn’t matter why a person was banned, a banning staff member will always have bias against them even if unintentional. It should be left to the rest of the staff to determine if the player should be unbanned or not.

The point of these complaints isn’t to shit on the staff. It’s to make a more fair and reliable form for the servers rules to be governed. 

That’s the end of my long rant, I hope you take some time to consider what I’ve said here, and I hope even more the staff seriously reconsider how harsh they punish players on the server.

Permanent bans are far to overused by the staff and should be cut down as much as possible. Rules regarding in character actions should be changed or taken on a case by case basis in order to allow for more fluid IC gameplay. Remember it’s a LOW RP server not a NO RP. Requiring a player to get a voucher from another server in order to get unbanned not only serves no real purpose, but is cruel and actively pushes players away from the server/game. Finally, staff should be more accountable with talking to rule breakers in game and should not interfere with ban appeals regarding those they banned.

I’ll also be posting this to the discord for a more liquid discussion.


there are a lot of points to address so apologies if I miss any, discord isn’t the best for handling conversations like this as you can tell by the fact that you had to make multiple posts to get around their character limit. Some of what I have to say has already been pointed out by emisse, and some of it might also be brought up by other people while I’m typing , so apologies for any repetitiveness.

By perma bans, I’m going to assume you mean bans that need to be appealed to be removed. We refer to bans that cannot be appealed as permanent bans, and those are very rare. We refer to bans that require a voucher to be appealed as “voucher bans” and we refer to bans that don’t expire automatically as “appeal bans”. It’s not super clear that we make these distinctions to people who aren’t familiar with our bans, even staff sometimes mess up the exact terminology, I just wanted to bring it up so that it was clear which bans I’m referring to when I discuss them.

We don’t currently have a system that lets us contact players who are offline. Someone is working on one as part of PR #14228, but no one can force anyone else to work on a feature for free. Very few people bother to develop features for game administration, meaning the tools can be extremely lacking in some cases. The whole admin team would likely appreciate more people volunteering to spend some of their time developing features to improve game adminning.

While there are many offenses which we’d like to simply warn people for, in cases where the player is offline, our best option right now is to appeal ban them so they can be notified of the issue. These bans are often accepted and are often lifted quickly because their only purpose is to ensure that they player recognizes that there was an issue.
In cases where players are online, we have a series of escalation that is typically followed:

  • Zero tolerance rules almost always receive an immediate appeal ban
  • Other rules often start with a 12-48hr ban, depending on the offense, if the admin handling the situation determines that a ban should be placed rather than just giving a warning or something
  • People with a recent history of bans often receive longer bans
  • Someone’s 3rd ban within 6 months becomes an appeal ban

Here are a few cases where that isn’t followed:

  • People who commit severe rule violations, or who appear to not be breaking a rule with the knowledge that it will result in a ban often receive longer bans
  • People who knowingly lie to admins in ahelp often receive longer bans

We do often leave notes on accounts before considering applying bans, these notes are almost always paired with warnings given via ahelp. There are cases where a player with no notes can get banned without breaking a zero tolerance rule, these are typically situations where a player demonstrates that they haven’t read the rules by doing something like randomly killing people and typically result in a 12 hr ban.
Voucher bans are typically only applied in cases where a player has appealed an appeal ban in the last 6 months, excluding appeal bans that were only placed because the player wasn’t online, and has then been subsequently banned. A player having been voucher banned is typically an indicator that they’re unable to follow the rules despite multiple warnings and bans. Voucher bans are also placed in instances of ban evasion due to the implications of a player attempting to evade a ban. We do not place voucher bans with the intention that they will be appealed, so we are not concerned that a player may find it difficult to get a voucher, or that they may decide to not return even if they’re able to get one. Voucher bans are a way to get a problematic player, who has had multiple opportunities to not be problematic, off the servers while still leaving the possibility for them to return if they’re motivated enough and able to provide some way to reassure us that they won’t be an issue in the future. There is a wide variety of SS14 and SS13 servers, someone who gets a voucher from mining station won’t necessarily never play on mining station again.

I’d encourage you to not speculate on the reasons a ban was placed with no more information than what they posted in their own appeals. If you have concerns about a specific ban, I’d recommend you contact the head admin or a project manager directly. Project managers are likely to redirect you to the head admin unless there’s a good reason not to. In most cases, our policy does not allow admins that placed bans to close the appeal for that ban. If you see that happen and are concerned, I’d again encourage you to contact the head admin or a project manager directly.

I’d also recommend not looking at past appeals to determine how common different ban types are. People often do not appeal temporary bans, regardless of length.
Typically admins should contact players before placing role bans, since role bans currently do not notify players. In some cases this is not possible, or is not done for other reasons. If you have concerns about this I’d encourage you to contact the head admin or a project manager directly. If this is something that was brought up in an appeal, it’ll likely be looked into by whoever handles the appeal, but if you’d like to ensure it is looked into, feel free to contact the head admin or a project manager directly.

As far as what you’ve brought up about the rules, we attempt to constantly evaluate our rules and changes that would be beneficial. Starting discussion when you notice a problem is probably the best way to communicate that players want a change, though I’d recommend doing it in a separate thread so it doesn’t risk getting drowned out by everything else you’ve brought up. The reason our rules often don’t allow for things that could be considered realistic, like corrupt officials, is because it can cause severe game balance issues. Unfortunately, if allowed, players will typically not balance how often they allow themselves to be corrupt well enough for games to be enjoyable. A major factor in this is that players don’t have a very good idea of the state of the round while playing, can may have absolutely no idea what happened in prior rounds. A HOP who can be bribed into giving AA by someone in one round may be interesting once, but it becomes a lot less interesting if 90% of rounds have a HOP who can  be bribed into getting AA. Allowing non-antags to be bribed opens a massive grey area about how far they’re allowed to go that then has to be defined to ensure the game remains fun for others and to avoid players becoming frustrated at inconsistent enforcement of things in that area.

feel free to ping me in your forum post

repost of my response on discord

I was the guy who posted that appeal you mentioned. I agree that it definitely felt unfair and ridiculous, especially for the crime, but I had been banned once or twice before, and I did talk about the ban in the discord, and that wasn’t allowed, causing the ban to become voucher only. I also believe the admin in question didn’t like me very much, which is understandable based on how I acted at the time. In my case, the admins decided to accept my appeal, removing the need for a voucher based on the circumstances of the ban. The punishment system here isn’t without flaws, but compared to some of the ss13 admin teams I’ve seen, It’s pretty good.

I was appeal banned awhile ago for something fairly insignificant. I was unbanned after a few days.

While appeal-only bans seem like perm bans & do have flaws; clearly they do seem to work to make sure Lizard isn’t just anarchy.

average ss14 admin: appeal ban shitter that welderbombs then leaves when bwoinked
average darkrp admin: threatens to ban ic as epic roleplay, bans for a month for using grav gun, sends your ip in chat if you upset him

Wait till you hear about admin notes and how there’s no real oversight and end up resulting in smaller things being misconstrued as something bigger than they really are, especially with no context for previous notes. Unless that’s changed?

Honestly, some admins seemed pretty eager to ban and remove a player from the game when I played on Lizard, and that was prior to my appeal ban- Which is sad considering how far you can really push things as long as you’re “within” the rules. Playing on RU servers (If you want a community with the  SS13 spirit, give it a shot, great way to learn another language) really sort of cemented that view for me, unfortunately.

Being messaged over an admin shouldn’t feel personal, outside of trying to come to an understanding for both sides.
If there’s a misunderstanding, it should be talked out, regardless of assumption… Unless it’s blatant and completely disruptive.
And while I get the idea of “trusting the admins put in power”, I think appeal/perm. bans should be something handled by the more experienced and level-headed admins, and yeah this comment comes from a bit of personal experience lol. This of course just makes things complicated, and annoying for the more experienced ones. But for a time, reading the ban appeals for some people felt like some individuals were trying to build a kill count lol.

I do agree, at the moment, perm. or even appeal bans can really push people from playing due to the lack of variety in servers. There’s probably a better system, but it takes effort & communication… Most people don’t want to do that over stuff such as administration, bans, and dealing with people who’s intention is to ruin rounds or the shift for others…
It’s been months since I’ve been appeal banned and I’m not even interested in appealing it because of how some spiteful or vengeful? (Vengeful seems a bit dramatic, but, eager to punish someone they see as being a “shitter” to quote the admin.)
-s_idenote_-> The irony of the community jumping on the meme of 24/7 calling security shitsec, while some administrators actively call people shitters and reply in snarky or passive-aggressive ways to “win” discussions…

If you’re coming from RP games where the point, regardless of if it’s LRP or not, is fun and creating an interesting story- the community on Lizard seems to have been guided in a different direction –Stanford Prison Type Vibes– rather than that. I guess some of that has just become accepted and expected, rather than shamed or even enforced in rules 11, 12, or even 18. (Meta-assumptions based on knowledge of the game & antags were always ignored- While avoiding meta-gaming/power gaming individuals could leave you with meta grudge notes.)
That’s my own take though from my own experience, and several hundred hours (Thousands? Can’t tell as it’s not on my steam list anymore) playing on Lizard- It might differ from yours, and that’s cool but mine is still valid and should be considered as feedback for improvement, regardless of snarky, passive-aggressive, or snide remarks.

Admins shouldn’t act like security punishing a staffie being a twerp, but as a mediator from both sides (Or from what they observe themselves) and the player, they’re talking to.
If players can handle others without the power to instagib someone, an admin should be able to calmly discuss an issue without jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. 

Lighten up a little, I guess. 

reach out to mirrorcult if you have clear, articulable examples of administrator misconduct or how we can do better