Outpost Eden Group Rules
All members are bound to abide by the following rules as part and parcel of their membership with Outpost Eden.
1. What is Outpost Eden?
Outpost Eden is a Star Trek play-by-email role playing group that consists of a ‘home base’ (Outpost Eden) and affiliated ships and bases. The term ‘Outpost Eden’ in this document refers to all role playing groups maintained through the Outpost Eden website, in whatever form they may take.
2. Not for Profit, Free to Play
Outpost Eden is, and always will be, free to play. At no point shall the owner, any staff member or any general member attempt to impose charges for the service that the group provides. Donations are also to be avoided wherever possible, unless it becomes financially non-viable for the owner to pay the hosting fees.
First and foremost to the success of any organisation is respect among its members. As such, all members of Outpost Eden must make every effort to treat all other members with respect and consideration at all times. Should a dispute arise, whatever the source, mediation should be sought from a staff member if things begin to get out of hand. However, disputes should be few and far between if members are tolerant and patient with one another.
2. Group Age Restriction
Due to the nature of the content of Outpost Eden and the fact that members will usually have the ability to post unmoderated emails to our lists, it is recommended that no-one below the age of 16 should apply to join. However, it is the responsibility of each member to ensure that their posts do not regularly contain bad language, strong sexual content or any other material that could be deemed offensive. Potentially controversial storylines and adult themes should be always be handled sensitively and in consultation with your group’s commanding officer.
3. Antidiscrimination Policy
Other than the group age restriction above, Outpost Eden does not tolerate discriminative behaviour of any kind towards its membership. This is a safe space for all members. If you believe you are the victim of discrimination, or if you see discriminative behaviour towards another member, you should contact your commanding officer immediately.
All members are expected to meet the minimum posting requirements for their respective group. Usually, this will involve submitting a post on three different days in a week. In some cases, there may be slower moving vessels where the requirement is to post on two different days in a week, in which case this will be clearly noted. Members can, of course, post more than the minimum, and are encouraged to write as much as they would like. If, for any reason, you feel you cannot meet the minimum posting requirements of your ship for an extended period of time (more than 2 weeks), contact your commanding officer to let them know.
The reason for this rule is to guarantee that other members are not regularly ‘blocked’ (left waiting to post) by characters on their ship rather than to force members into being active. Everyone has busy spells in real life, but an email or IM to your commanding officer to let them know that you’re tied up means that they can arrange for the other writers in your current scene to move on without being left at a loose end.
5. “God Modding”
It is not permitted to move another player’s character in any way. This is known as “God Modding”. You will receive guidance on how to avoid this from your mentor the first time it happens. Repeatedly doing this may result in a sanction from your commanding officer. This will most likely take the form of being placed on moderated status.
Deliberate God Modding will be taken more seriously, and may result in a ban.
6. “Power Playing”
Just as God Modding is discouraged, so is “Power Playing”. This is defined as twisting the story to always suit your character. Examples include escaping from impossible situations in one sentence, having the answer to every problem, writing your character as having super powers, or introducing an external element that has absolutely nothing to do with the group’s current storyline and derailing the plot.
Guidance on avoiding Power Playing will be provided in the first instance. Repeated instances may result in a sanction from your commanding officer. This will most likely take the form of being placed on moderated status.
Deliberate Power Playing will be taken more seriously, and may result in a ban.
7. Content from Other Franchises
It is important to note that Outpost Eden is a Star Trek RPG. While there is inevitably similarity between the technologies in different science fiction franchises, members may not include technology, character or concepts from other series (for example light sabers or sonic screwdrivers) may not be used in this group.
8. Use of Canon Characters
Using characters from the Star Trek films and TV series is tempting - everyone has their favourite characters, and the idea of including them as a part of our characters’ stories is often appealing. Unfortunately, doing so can cause clashes with the ideas of other players (we can't all be Riker's brother or distant relatives of James T. Kirk, for example) and takes the focus away from the original characters in the group.
As such, the use of characters from the TV shows is restricted to staff and should be used exceptionally sparingly.
9. Use of Intelligence Agencies
The use of non-Starfleet intelligence agencies such as the Obsidian Order or Tal Shiar is restricted to commanding officers or any players who have been granted permission by their commanding officers to play such a character over the course of a mission.
Should you wish to develop a personal storyline involving an intelligence agency belonging to a non-Starfleet power, you should request permission from your commanding officer.
This rule is intended to prevent the derailing of missions through plot twists that demand an immediate response from the entire crew (imagine being five weeks into a scientific mission that the crew are involved in and a new arrival posts and introduces Tal Shiar agents who have the crew in an inescapable situation – either the mission would never reach its resolution, or the new player would have to retract their post... unless someone power plays themselves and the crew out of the situation).
Section 31 characters may be played by staff members only.
10. Character Identity
Players will always be identified by the name of their main character in any official documentation. During discussion with other members of the group, you may choose to share your real name - this is entirely up to you.
All players will always have one main character. They may apply for a secondary character once they have achieved the appropriate rank, if they are meeting their group’s minimum posting requirements and the responsibilities of their rank.
Tertiary characters are not permitted.
Players are entitled to create “minor characters” (effectively NPCs that are only written by one player) on their ship, subject to permission from their commanding officer.
Creating “Sock Puppets” (making a second main character by creating a new email address and concealing your identity) is not permitted.
Any characters that breach this section of the rules are liable to be deleted.
2. Rank and Promotions
1. Assignment of Rank
Every member of Outpost Eden will be assigned a rank at all times. New members begin at Ensign. Where a player wishes to play a civilian or non-commissioned character, they will still begin at Ensign, but their progress through the ranks will be charted purely out of character. At all times, a player is assumed to have the privileges and responsibilities of their out of character rank, irrespective of the current rank in character.
No player may roleplay a character ranked higher than their out of character rank.
There is no requirement for a player’s main character to be at their out of character rank. They may hold a lower rank at the writer’s discretion. This should be recorded on their wiki profile. In a situation where a player has chosen to roleplay a main character at a lower rank than the one they hold out of character, they may still write a secondary character or personal non-player character at a rank up to the one that they hold OOC.
2. Privileges and Responsibilities of Rank
Each rank in Outpost Eden brings with it new privileges, but also new responsibilities. These responsibilities will generally involve a commitment to helping other members of your group, up to and including your commanding officer. This is not designed to be an excessive commitment and, in most cases, will involve supporting new members who join the game. If, at any stage of your membership with Outpost Eden, you are awarded a rank and you do not feel that you are able to meet the responsibilities of that rank, you should inform your commanding officer that you are unable to accept the promotion. This will not preclude you from being awarded that rank in the future.
The reason for this rule is to ensure that commanding officers and new players are supported. For a commanding officer, taking care of the development of around ten other individuals is a major commitment that can quickly lead to burnout. With the help of the other senior officers in their group, this becomes much more manageable and allows them to divert their energy towards making sure the group’s role playing experience is fun, and guiding senior officers towards their own commands.
Promotion at the end of a mission is not automatic. The promotion guide details what you need to do to achieve each rank and, if you are focusing on your next promotion, it is advisable to discuss your progress with your mentor.
Equally, if a member is meeting promotion requirements, a commanding officer should award them the appropriate promotion. An exception to this rule is if the member in question is breaking any of the rules outlined in this document. Rewarding poor conduct should obviously be discouraged; however, failing to reward good conduct is equally unfavourable.
3. Leave of Absence
During particularly busy periods, it may become necessary for you to take a break from posting. If you need to take a break for 4 weeks or less, contact your commanding officer and let them know. They will reserve your position on your ship until you return. Once you are ready to come back, email them directly, and you can pick up where you left off.
If you need a break of longer than 4 weeks, you will need to fill out a Leave of Absence Form. Doing so will:
Guarantee that you can return at the same rank as you left
Make it more likely that you will be able to keep your current duty post in your group
We will always try to hold your position for you if you need to leave. However, if the group is short on players, it may be necessary to find someone to replace you temporarily, or on a permanent basis. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis. On your return, we will discuss your options with you if it is not possible to return you to your previous position.
In the case of first officers and commanding officers, the situation will be discussed before on a decision is made on how to proceed. It may be possible for a first officer to fill in for a commanding officer if they plan to be away for a few months, or for another senior officer to fill in for a first officer, for example. If this is not possible, alternate arrangements will be discussed with the Outpost Eden staff.
If you take leave without informing your captain or filling in a Leave of Absence Form, you will most likely find that you are replaced. In addition, you may find that you are not eligible to keep your rank once you come back. This is to discourage players from disappearing with no word, which can be very disruptive to the rest of the group. Sometimes it may not be possible to inform your commanding officer for a very good reason (such as ill health or lack of power to your home for an extended period of time). In these cases, you should contact your commanding officer at your earliest convenience to explain the situation.
In an ideal world, no member will ever have to be disciplined. It is not the intention of the staff to have to initiate disciplinary procedures on a regular basis and, wherever possible, discussion with members to resolve any issues that may arise will be a preferable course of action.
However, it is inevitable that there will be some instances where a member may need to be disciplined. Minor infringements may involve censorship of some form, such as on the forums or group role playing or out of character lists. Serious breaches of group rules will result in a ban. Any other form of discipline will be discussed by the player’s commanding officer and the Outpost Eden staff. This discussion will not be publicised, in order to protect the parties involved.
Members will be informed if they are to be disciplined, including reasons why and full details of what will happen, by their commanding officer. Should you find yourself in a position where you disagree with a disciplinary decision, you should email your commanding officer and explain why, and one further discussion will take place between commanding officer and Outpost Eden staff. Once this has taken place, further appeals will not be heard.
5. Acquiring Characters from Other Players
Writing temporarily or permanently for another player’s character is permitted, as long as written permission is provided by that character’s owner detailing how long this arrangement will last.
If you give your character to another player permanently, they are the new owner in the eyes of group rules and it will be up to them whether or not they give them back if you change your mind at a later date. Make sure you’re sure you want to give your character away before you do it!
6. Group Canon
Outpost Eden is an alternate universe that spins off from the “Prime” Star Trek Universe, which contains all five television series and movies as far as Nemesis. The events of the Hobus Supernova, depicted in J. J. Abrams’s 2009 movie are also included as part of our group history.
Content that appears in Star Trek Online and the Star Trek relaunch novels may or may not be included in the Outpost Eden universe. Original content will be included from the point of the group’s creation, and will continue to be added for as long as the group exists.
Information about the Outpost Eden universe will be detailed on the group’s wiki. All events that took place in Star Trek “Prime” Universe canon (the ==5 TV shows and films 1-10 + the Hobus Supernova) will always be part of the group’s setting.==
7. Creative Commons
Outpost Eden operates under a BY-NC-SA 3.0 unported Creative Commons License. See the Terms of Service for more details.
8. Out of Character Involvement
Involvement in group-wide out of character activity, such as promotion, the organisation of events, maintenance of wiki records and other similar endeavours, will always be voluntary. Maintaining and running our role playing groups has to be our first priority.
Volunteering for out of character work will always be looked on favourably by the Outpost Eden staff and may have a direct influence on which officers are offered command of a role playing group. However, out of character involvement alone will never outweigh the other necessary skills for taking command of a group, such as the ability to write well, write and/or administrate missions and manage the members of a group.
9. Membership in Other Organisations
Members of Outpost Eden are free to participate in other role playing groups as they see fit. However:
If you are prioritising another organisation and you believe it will affect your ability to meet your group’s minimum posting requirements, you will need to inform you commanding officer, just as you would if you were busy in real life.
“Poaching” members is not permitted and will result in a ban. “Poaching” is defined as causing players to leave Outpost Eden to join another group.
If you wish to advertise another group, contact the Outpost Eden staff using the general contact form. We will be willing to discuss displaying an advertisement on our main site in exchange for a similar arrangement on your own. We may also allow you to promote your group on our forums, provided we have a chance to do the same.
3. Group Management
1. Commanding Officers
Commanding Officers are players who have been granted the opportunity to run their own ship, outpost or other role playing group of any as yet unspecified designation as part of the Outpost Eden fleet. While they are given the responsibility of taking charge of such a group, the groups themselves belong to the fleet as a whole, and the ability to commission or decommission role playing groups lies with the Outpost Eden staff.
As representatives of the staff, it is particularly important that Commanding Officers enforce the rules in this document while adhering to them themselves. Leading by example is an important part of being a Commanding Officer.
In addition to being responsible for their own group, Commanding Officers are responsible for the development of the players under their command. They may directly input into assisting them on their journey through the rank structure, or they may delegate responsibility to a senior member of their staff.
Commanding Officers are ultimately responsible for the general state of affairs within their group. It is their responsibility to ensure that their players are engaged in character at all times, and that any potential problems, in or out of character, are dealt with appropriately. They shall be provided with any support that they require by the Outpost Eden staff. It is our wish that Commanding Officers should feel able to ask for support where it is required, rather than feeling that they have to suffer in silence if they are finding things difficult.
In rare cases where a Commanding Officer loses control of their crew, for example (but not restricted to) by losing their respect, continued failure to resolve out of character issues resulting in a hostile role playing environment, or failure to engage players resulting in the cessation (or near cessation) of posting by the majority of the crew, the Outpost Eden staff reserve the right to take steps to resolve the issue by removing the Commanding Officer from their post. However, this power should never be abused - evidence should always be reviewed and Commanding Officers should not find themselves in an environment where they are unfairly pressured without the offer of support.
2. The Outpost Eden Staff Group
The Outpost Eden Staff Group (referred to as Outpost Eden staff throughout this document) consists of all active commanding officers and the group owner, who may or may not also be serving as a commanding officer. If a commanding officer retires from service, takes leave of absence or falls below minimum posting requirements they also retire from the staff group by default. However, this does not preclude them from participating in discussions about, and votes relating to, Outpost Eden’s policies or any other group-wide decisions. (See below)
The staff group should always consists of five members or more. Should there be insufficient commanding officers to populate the group, the remaining spaces may be filled be prospective commanding officers or part time or non-active members of the group who have formerly served as commanding officers until such time as there are once again five active commanding officers to staff the group. Selection of members will be by owner’s discretion (during the establishment of the group only) or by agreement by existing members of staff (at all other times).
2. Participation in Staff Discussion by General Membership
During discussions regarding group-wide policy, there will be a chance for non-staff members to participate. Numbers will be limited (proportion of membership to staff to be decided) and the members who are chosen to participate will be rotated to ensure that everyone is involved.
To be considered for participation in such a discussion, a member must hold the rank of Lieutenant Commander or above.
Should a discussion regarding a process governed by a specific group (such as the publicity team or a body of members organising an event), all members of that group will be included in the discussion regardless of rank. This is an exception to the above rule stating that active commanding officers should hold the majority in this kind of discussion. (See below)
3. Decision Making Procedure
All decisions regarding Outpost Eden policy, including (but not restricted to) amendment of these rules will be discussed by all Outpost Eden staff. Further, a number of senior representatives from the fleet (a proportion of Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders) should also be involved in the discussion. Where possible, those members will be a part of any relevant committee (such as the publicity team if the matter regards publicity). All participants in the discussion will vote after a set period of time, set at no more than one week. No weighting will be applied to the votes but, in most cases the majority of the participants in the discussion should be commanding officers. This is designed to ensure that the group’s staff are able to exert a degree of control over the fleet, without being able to take action against the wishes of the general membership.
4. Visibility of Management Process
A brief report that summarises each discussion held by the Outpost Eden staff will be generated and posted to the forums, including the results of any applicable votes.
No information will be posted about disciplinary procedures or complaints in order to protect everyone involved from reprisal by members not involved in the incident that began the process.
5. Complaints Procedure
Any grievances against fleet staff should be filed using the Report an Issue form. The complaint will be discussed by the Outpost Eden staff, and the member who filed the form will be contacted once a way to resolve the complaint has been decided.
3. Rights of the Owner
1. Financial Issues
Any issues relating to the funding of the site will be made solely by the owner and may or may not be discussed with the Outpost Eden staff or membership.
2. Casting Vote
Should a situation arise where no decision can be made on an issue and the membership is divided to the point where a resolution cannot be reached, the current owner of the group will hold the casting vote.
Where possible, the issue concerned should be discussed again and a new vote held after one month.
3. Termination of Ownership
Should the owner decide that they no longer wish to occupy the position of owner, for example if they feel they are unable to meet the financial obligations of the site’s hosting fees, they may step down. In such a case, the Outpost Eden staff will have the period of one week to volunteer to take over the position. Should more than one candidate step forward, a vote will be held among the staff to decide a successor. All relevant accounts, including the website, forums, wiki and ownership of google documents and groups, will be handed over to the new owner once they are elected.
Stepping down as owner does not automatically cause that player to lose their status as a member, or as a staff member, or the rank of any of the characters they are actively playing in Outpost Eden.
4. Membership Fees
No owner may introduce fees of any kind for the members of Outpost Eden. It shall remain a not for profit, free to play organisation for as long as it exists.
5. Emergency Disciplinary Measures
In some extreme situations, disciplinary action may need to be taken swiftly, and there may not be time for a discussion and vote. In these circumstances, the owner may apply sanctions with immediate effect. If possible, they should discuss these sanctions briefly with any available members of the Outpost Eden staff before taking action.
However, once this action has been taken, the matter MUST be raised for discussion with the Outpost Eden staff, and evidence must be provided as to why any action was taken. Any staff members who object may then do so. If a majority of the staff disagree with the action taken, it may be revoked. If it is deemed that this power has been abused (for example, the situation was not urgent enough for direct action), the owner themself may be disciplined. This power is not to be abused.
Examples of circumstances where this section of the rules may be enforced include situations where a staff member is creating a hostile environment on their ship or commits a serious breach of group rules, or where a member is actively trolling other players on the forums or chat room. Common sense is to be used at all times.