The North Pacific is dedicated to providing a safe, welcoming, and friendly experience for all of its members. In pursuit of that goal, we have established these Community Rules, which set the standard of behavior for our community members and affirm our zero-tolerance policy toward bigotry, harassment, and abuse. The Code of Conduct section of this document lays out our policies on these topics, while the Content Guidelines provide a more general overview of what kinds of activities are welcome and unwelcome in the community. Finally, the Moderation section explains how administration and moderation staff enforce the rules and what you can expect from them. The Community Rules aim to create a positive environment for all members, regardless of background and are designed to benefit you and your experience rather than detract from them.
Access to The North Pacific platforms is conditioned on your continued good faith observance of the Community Rules. Ignorance of the Community Rules is not an excuse for failing to observe their provisions. The Community Rules may be changed without prior warning. In the interest of transparency, all changes will be announced in a thread visible to the public.
Applicability and Scope
The Community Rules apply to platforms belonging to The North Pacific. This includes the forum (public areas, private areas, and private messages) and all affiliated Discord servers (public channels, private channels, and voice chats). If The North Pacific expands into additional platforms in the future, the Community Rules will also apply to them without first requiring specific enumeration in this document. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be warned or banned from these spaces by the decision of the moderation team.
Actions that are in violation of US law are strictly prohibited. Depending on the severity, anybody engaging in such actions may be immediately and permanently banned from our platforms. As a general rule, we do not enforce the laws of other jurisdictions. However, if we are made aware that a member is breaking their own local law, we may be obligated to act.
Members of The North Pacific are also expected to abide by any applicable Terms of Service, including those of the official TNP forum, NationStates, and Discord, when participating in those areas. Violation of these may result in a warning or ban.
The North Pacific reserves the right to exclude people from the community based on their current or past behavior in other spaces and toward people who are not in the TNP community. Other spaces can include direct messages, telegrams, online platforms of other regions, online platforms entirely outside of NationStates, and even real life.
Code of Conduct
Hate and Bigotry
The North Pacific will not tolerate the promotion of hate or bigotry of any kind, nor will we permit any behavior that places other members of our community at risk. Anybody found to be engaging in such behavior may be subject to immediate and permanent removal from all community spaces. The below list of examples is not exhaustive, but provides a baseline picture:
- Disparaging comments or slurs related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, pregnancy status, veteran status, marital status, body size, age, race, national origin, ethnic origin, nationality, immigration status, language, religion or lack thereof, or other identity marker.
- Supporting, glorifying, defending, advocating, or promoting the deliberate marginalization or murder of people deemed “subhuman” or inferior. This includes, but is not limited to, ideologies of racial supremacy, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, and xenophobia.
- Deliberate misgendering, for example purposefully addressing someone with incorrect pronouns or their "dead name".
- Threats of violence, advocacy of violence, or the incitement of violence towards any individual or group, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
- This rule is not intended to stifle legitimate political debate and discussion, even about potentially violent topics. Subjects like the death penalty or military interventions are by their nature advocacy of violence against individuals or groups of people, but it is not against our rules to argue in favor of their use as long as such arguments are focused on government policy and not bigotry. If the arguments made in favor of a violent policy are based on race, religion, or other similar categories named above, they will not be allowed.
- We recognize that sometimes government policies of violence are based on race, religion, or other discriminatory categories. Examples include the Holocaust, Japanese internment in the US, and the Uyghur genocide in China. Debates over whether such policies can be justified are unlikely to be permitted, due to the very high likelihood that they will violate our rules.
- We reserve the right to remove someone from the community if they are determined to be a real-life member of an extremist group. An example list of extremist groups in the United States can be found here.
Harassment of another player, whether sexual or non-sexual, is also strictly prohibited. Harassment may be acute (a single severe offense) or chronic (multiple low-level offenses that, in aggregate, are hostile, intimidating or abusive). The following are examples of behavior we consider harassment and will be subject to warning or ban, depending on severity:
- Stalking or following another player, either online or in the physical world. This includes attempting to ascertain real life personal information about that player that they have not voluntarily shared online, as well as using information shared online to try to hunt someone down physically. It also includes following someone across multiple platforms and/or regions in order to pester them or prevent them from playing NationStates in peace.
- Stalking does not include reasonable moderation investigations into allegations of wrongdoing, nor the appropriate and sanctioned sharing of the results of such investigations with the administrators or moderators of other communities.
- Unsolicited or unwelcome sexual or romantic attention, particularly (but not only) after being asked to stop. This includes flirting, sharing or soliciting explicit photographs, and pressuring someone into a romantic or sexual encounter or relationship.
- Patterns of inappropriate social contact that cause discomfort for other players. This includes demanding real life information, repeatedly using unwanted nicknames, pushing for inappropriate levels of intimacy, simulated physical affection without consent, and other similar behavior.
- Continued attempts to force one-on-one communication with another player after requests to be left alone. This includes creating new accounts to message someone around a block, messaging them on another platform, or attempting to use a third party to pass along messages on your behalf. Anyone who assists another player with circumventing cease communication requests may also be subject to moderation action.
Sexual Conduct and Content
We recognize that at times, players may enter into consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships with one another. Sometimes these work out, sometimes they do not, and sometimes they cause moderation problems. In our judgement, outright banning such relationships between players is not only not going to be successful but would also be counterproductive to our goals of fostering a safe community. If someone is at risk of being banned if knowledge of their relationship comes out, that leaves them vulnerable to blackmail and exploitation. Additionally, it is important that someone who is trying to leave an unwanted relationship is able to seek help and protection against retaliation.
In general, we neither need nor want to know about anybody’s legal, consensual relationship. If the members of that relationship choose to publicize it, that is their prerogative - though any interaction above a PG-13 rating should not be done in the public eye. If a relationship comes to an end, we likewise expect players to continue to interact in a civil and respectful manner in public, or to voluntarily avoid one another if they cannot.
However, certain types of activities can create civil or criminal liability for us (as administrators of the forum and the discord) as well as for the respective players as individuals. For example, possession of explicit photographs of minors - even if you are the minor in question, or if the photograph was taken and provided to you by a consenting romantic partner - is illegal under child pornography laws. Sharing such photographs through our platforms cannot and will not be tolerated, and we advise anybody under 18, in the strongest possible terms, never to take explicit photographs of themselves nor share them with another person in any form.
Similarly, distributing explicit photographs of another person without their consent is already illegal in many jurisdictions under revenge pornography laws. It’s also a horrible thing to do to someone, and will likewise not be tolerated.
Finally, relationships between minors and adults is a tricky topic without a one-size-fits-all answer. There is a big difference between a 17-year-old dating an 18-year old versus dating a 35-year old, even without getting into intricacies of age of consent laws and actually verifying the age of someone you meet online. As a policy, we strongly discourage adults from getting involved with minors.
If you think you know someone in an abusive or exploitative relationship, we encourage you to bring it to our attention so that we can try to assess the situation. If you are in an abusive or exploitative relationship, or even if you are just concerned that something might not be right, there are resources available that can help you assess your situation and get out if necessary. Concerns about abuse and exploitation will be handled with strict confidentiality by the moderation team.
In addition to the above, we expect participants in our community to conduct themselves in a friendly, polite, and respectful manner in order to create an environment in which individuals from all walks of life can collaborate and interact in a positive and affirming way. The content guidelines set general expectations for community discussion and contributions, and apply on all platforms.
In order to contribute to creating this sort of environment, please act in accordance with the following:
- Use welcoming and inclusive language.
- Be civil and respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences, and in disagreements with other members of the community. Debate concepts and ideas rather than attacking individuals.
- Gracefully accept constructive criticism.
- Focus on what is best for the overall community.
- Show empathy toward other community members.
- Observe any and all guidelines posted in specific community areas (e.g., thread topics, sub-forum guidelines, channel rules, etc.)
- Ensure that all content you post is PG-13 and safe for work, unless specifically permitted otherwise.
- Understand the difference between Out Of Character (OOC), Gameplay In Character (Gameplay IC or GP IC) and Roleplay In Character (Roleplay IC or RP IC), and use the right mode of communication for the space you are in.
- Think carefully and use common sense before making jokes that resemble prohibited content. They can still be violations of the rules, even if meant satirically or ironically.
Additionally, the following actions are not permitted:
- Underage Use of the Forum: Do not join the forum if you are under 13 years old. Any user found to be under 13 will be banned until their 13th birthday.
- Making War on NS Mods: Do not agitate or incite unrest or rebellion against NS moderation on any TNP platform. No matter how funny we might think it is, such behavior can cause NS moderation to prohibit linking to TNP platforms on the NationStates website. Anybody doing so will be muted, put on post moderation, or temporarily banned until they chill out.
- Advertising: Do not solicit money for or advertise for any third party service, product, or server. The administration team can explicitly authorize exceptions to this rule upon request, but don’t get your hopes up.
- This prohibition includes inviting other members of the community to join your personal discord server, offsite forum, or other similar platform.
- Advertising for Gameplay IC platforms such as discord servers for special events or official regional forums of other regions is subject to regulation by the government of The North Pacific rather than the admin team.
- Personal Emergency: Do not use this community as a substitute for assistance in a real life emergency or circumstance. Posts indicative of a personal emergency may be locked or hidden.
- Spamming: Do not spam, except in designated spamming areas. Reasonable use of images and emojis is not spam, but excessive use can be.
- Flaming: Do not flame or make personal attacks against any member of the community, whether direct or oblique. Personal attacks which fall under the categories enumerated in the Hate and Bigotry section of this document will be treated with additional severity.
- Trolling: Do not troll or make posts that are designed to just upset people or rile them up.
- Doxxing: Do not reveal personal information about another person without their consent. This includes real life identifying information as well as generally private or confidential topics such as mental or physical health issues, sexual or gender identity, or financial situation.
- Sniping: Do not make unwelcome critical comments regarding a person's lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, relationships, drugs, and employment. If someone asks you to lay off, do so.
- Hacking: Do not hack or attempt to hack another player’s account, or attempt to guess or learn their password.
- Administrators accessing someone’s account or becoming aware of password information in the course of their normal administrative duties are not hacking.
- Stereotyping: Do not promote stereotypes or make generalizations of the type “all X are Y”. These types of comments are rarely productive. If you are trying to make a point (say, about systemic problems and systematized violence), then actually make that point. If you are trying to attack or insult a particular person or group… don’t do that.
- Logical tautologies and objectively factual statements are clearly an exception to this rule. Nobody is getting warned for saying that all dogs are mammals, or that all cats are cute.
- Posting Explicit Content: Do not post text or images that are sexually explicit or violently disturbing. Sexually or violently suggestive text and images are borderline. Do not directly link to content of this type.
- If linking to this type of content cannot be avoided (e.g., sharing an important news article which contains photographs of violence), you must provide a clear alert to other users so they can avoid it if they wish. Images of comic book violence are probably ok, though not always. Feel free to contact a moderator for judgment of an image before you post it.
- Ban Evading: Do not attempt to evade a ban or other penalty imposed by the moderation team. If you believe a penalty is unfair, you should submit an appeal according to the process below, not by making a new account.
- Sometimes, forum bans are imposed as a result of a Gameplay IC court decision rather than because of misconduct under these rules. Ban evasion is still not allowed even if all you did was commit some light treason.
- Blackmailing: Do not make any attempt to blackmail another individual, or threaten to report someone to moderation as a means of coercion.
- Blackmail that is strictly Gameplay IC in all ways is not prohibited under this rule. For example, it is allowable (if dirty) politicking to threaten to reveal that someone was involved in a regional coup unless they vote for you in a delegacy election. In such a case, both the blackmail content and the coerced behavior are Gameplay IC. Regional law, which is also Gameplay IC, would be the appropriate avenue to address IC blackmail if desired. However, it would not be allowed to threaten to report someone’s use of racial slurs if they don’t vote for you, because using racial slurs is not Gameplay IC.
- This also does not apply to attempts to stop someone from continuing to engage in prohibited behavior. If you are being harassed, it is not blackmail to tell someone you will report them to moderation if they do not cut it out.
- Attempting to blackmail someone into continuing an unwanted friendship or other personal relationship using any type of content will be treated as harassment and taken extremely seriously.
If you have questions or concerns about these issues, please feel free to message an admin or moderator and ask for an opportunity to explore the issue. In all cases, Staff has full discretion to determine what is and is not appropriate for discussion in The North Pacific community spaces.
Generally, posts or private messages on the forum that violate our rules should be reported with the Report button. When reporting a post, please include an explanation for why you believe the rules have been broken. On Discord, you should ping the moderator group or directly contact a member of the team.
If you have information regarding an individual’s off-forum behavior that violates our rules, or if you believe any member of The North Pacific staff is engaged in administrative malfeasance, please contact one of the admins via either forum private message or Discord. Allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously and will be investigated thoroughly. An individual does not need to be a current member of TNP for us to investigate their behavior, and we can and will ban people for their actions in other spaces when warranted. An individual moderator or administrator will not be involved in investigating any complaint about them, nor in determining whether a reported post of theirs violates the rules.
If you have filed a complaint, you can request an update on its status. However, please be aware that such investigations, particularly the more sensitive ones, can take some time. Additionally, while an investigation is underway, we may not be able to provide any information beyond the fact that we are still investigating.
The TNP moderation team consists of a number of roles with varying responsibilities and levels of authority. They are:
- Administrators: This role has the ultimate responsibility for the forum and its users. They have a few responsibilities, including admin check for citizenship, answering any appeals of moderation decisions and deciding if individuals need to be banned from the forum. They are admin in all TNP properties (such as forum and Discord servers).
- Global Moderators: This role serves as moderators over all areas of the forum and main Discord server. They have a few responsibilities, including admin check for citizenship and moderation on Discord. Global moderators can warn users on the forum and Discord. They may also ban users from the Discord server.
- Moderators: There are several types of moderators
- Government Officials: Government officials (both elected and non-elected) will have moderator abilities for their specific forums. This allows them to carry out the necessary thread/post management.
- Roleplay administrator(s): Roleplay admin (chosen by TNP administrators) help to oversee the roleplay community on the forum, RP server and RMB, particularly areas of RP concern that are not governed by the rules outlined in this document. They also help to determine the roleplay moderators.
- Roleplay moderators: Roleplay moderators are involved in moderation of forum, RP discord server and RMB posts that are RP related.
- Discord mods: Individuals may serve as moderators on the main TNP server. They will have the ability to warn and ban users from the Discord server as needed.
Moderation Team Changes
Recognizing that the moderation team will change over time, here are some of the ways this may happen.
- Administrators: From time to time new administrators will be chosen. Often the current admin team will choose members to invite, based on their previous service. There may also be an open application process where current administrators choose from the applicants.
- Global Moderators: Global moderators will be chosen by the admin team, often based on their previous service. There may also be an open application process where current administrators choose from the applicants.
- Government Officials: Government officials can be either elected or non-elected. Moderator roles and abilities will be determined by the government role.
- Roleplay administrator(s): Roleplay admin will be chosen by TNP administrators. There may be an application process if a new Roleplay administrator is needed.
- Roleplay moderators: Roleplay moderators will be selected by agreement among TNP admin and RP admin from applications at least once every year.
- Discord mods: TNP admin and global moderators may choose individuals to be discord moderators as needed. There may also be an application process.
- Administrators who take unannounced leave will join the Administrator Emeritus group after 4 weeks.
- Administrators who take announced leave will join the Administrator Emeritus group after 60 days.
- Administrators unavailable to assist with Citizenship checks, Admin Requests, or other Admin Control Panel tasks will join the Administrator Emeritus group.
- Administrators Emeritus who return to activity will be restored to full access unless circumstances require otherwise.
- Administrators may be removed completely after a decision of the other members of the administration team.
- Global Moderators: Global Moderators can be removed by their own choice or by the decision of the admin team.
- Government officials will be changed based on elections and appointments. Changes can be requested here.
- Roleplay admin can be removed by their own choice or by the decision of the TNP admin team. Roleplay moderators may be removed by an admin, their own choice or in the annual moderator decisions.
- Discord mods can be removed by their own choice or by the decision of the admin team.
What is considered confidential information?
- The identity of an individual filing a report, either of inappropriate conduct on the TNP forum or of unacceptable behavior in general, as well as the content of any such reports;
- The identity of any individual who has been investigated, or is being investigated, by the Moderation Team, until and unless a punishment is handed out;
- Private communications with members of the Moderation Team regarding moderation issues;
- Applications for a role as administrator or moderator, including the identity of an applicant, the contents of their application, and any denial of an application by the administrators.
- Posts in private areas visible only to members of the Moderation Team in their role as members of that team;
- Information shared with the Moderation Team by administrators of other sites or fora that is considered by those administrators to not be public;
- IP addresses, email addresses, or other information available to members of the Moderation Team that could be used to identify members of the forum.
What is not considered confidential information?
- The content of any reported post, except when that content has been hidden from view by the Moderation Team;
- Approved applicants for a role as administrator or moderator;
- The individuals banned from the forum, the duration of their bans, and the general nature of the offense(s) that led to their ban.
How is confidential information treated?
- Confidential information may be shared with all TNP administrators.
- Confidential information may be shared with TNP moderators as appropriate to reach a moderation decision.
- Confidential information may be shared with the administrators of other offsite communities following these guidelines:
- Non-TNP Administrators with whom this information is shared must agree to respect these confidentiality guidelines and to not release confidential information to the public.
- Confidential information that helps communities protect themselves from illegal content or content that contravenes forum terms of service (e.g., IP addresses used by pornspammers) may be unilaterally shared with non-TNP administrators by any TNP administrator.
- Confidential information that identifies individuals banned from the TNP forum for non-game-related reasons (i.e., those subject to an administrative ban, not a judicial ban for violating TNP law) may be shared with non-TNP administrators by the agreement of at least two TNP administrators. This type of information would include nation and/or forum/Discord account names, IP addresses, and email addresses.
- Additional confidential information (such as further RL identifying information or specific evidence for the rationale behind the ban) may only be shared by the agreement of at least three TNP administrators.
- Sharing information with non-TNP Administrators may only be agreed to by TNP Administrators who are not also administrators of that offsite property.
- Confidential information may only be shared publicly by majority agreement of all TNP administrators.
- Non-confidential information may be freely shared by any TNP administrator.
Moderation Intervention and Consequences
When the moderation team sees rulebreaking or when it is brought to our attention by filing a report, we will intervene to stop it. Members of The North Pacific who are asked by a member of the moderation team to stop any prohibited behavior are expected to comply immediately. Anyone who continues to engage in that behavior will face consequences. While we generally moderate on an escalating punishments model, sufficiently severe infractions may require an unusual punishment or could result in permanent and immediate expulsion from the community.
Contact from a member of the moderation team will generally follow one of the below approaches, though unusual cases may call for unusual responses.
- Caution: A semi-official heads up, akin to a “knock it off”.
- Cautions are generally issued when tempers are getting hot or someone is getting close to or just over the line of acceptable behavior. As long as the caution is heeded, it will not be a permanent part of someone’s moderation record, and is generally issued without accompanying penalties. If a caution is not heeded, the moderation team may escalate to a warning.
- Cautions are most often given in private, but may be given in public if multiple people are involved in an altercation. When necessary, a short-term mute (individual or group) may also be employed to cool heads.
- Because a caution is not accompanied by a penalty, there is no appeals process if you believe one was incorrectly issued (e.g., if a moderator misread a situation that was actually all in good fun). However, in that case, you may continue the conversation privately if the other party or parties also wish to do so. Concern about a moderator or admin abusing the caution power (e.g., issuing a caution anytime somebody talks about croissants, no matter how civil the conversation, out of a personal vendetta against baked goods) can be reported under the Complaints procedure.
- Warning: An official notification of unacceptable behavior. A warning may be issued in public or in private, as the situation warrants. Warnings are a permanent part of someone’s moderation record.
- Warnings on the forum may be accompanied by penalties that restrict an individual’s access to the board or their ability to post. Most penalties will be one or more of the following:
- Post moderation: Requires admin or moderator approval for any post made by the user to be visible to others.
- Post restriction: The user cannot post in a particular area of the forum, or on the forum as a whole. When under post restriction the user can still access the same areas of the forum as before and they can still read posts made by others.
- PM restriction: The user cannot send private messages to other members of the forum. Generally, the user can still receive and read private messages sent to them.
- Ban: The user cannot access the forum at all, either to read or to post, while logged in.
- Warnings on Discord may be accompanied by penalties that restrict an individual’s access to servers or their ability to post. Most penalties will be one or more of the following:
- Mute: The user can see the server but not respond.
- Channel/server restriction: The user cannot post in a particular area of the server, or on a server as a whole. When under channel restriction the user can still access the other areas of the server.
- Voice chat restriction: The user may be muted, kicked off, or banned from a voice chat.
- Kick: The user is kicked from the server.
- Ban: The user cannot access the server at all, either to read or to post. This may be applied to one or more servers at a time.
- Penalties accompanying warnings may be temporary (issued for a specified period of time, e.g., 2 days or 2 years), indefinite (issued for an unspecified period of time, with the opportunity for an individual to make amends and earn back their forum privileges), or permanent (issued without the opportunity for an individual to rejoin the community by making amends).
- If you believe a warning has been wrongly issued or that an excessive penalty has been attached, you may challenge it following the process outlined in the appeals section of this document.
- One or more of the parties involved in an incident who has received a warning or a caution may request a conversation with the moderation team to discuss the violation, clarify the rules, and determine how to avoid similar violations in the future. Moderation will try to grant these requests when possible, unless they believe the request to have been made in bad faith. To request a conversation with the team, please send a private message to a moderator or administrator.
If you believe you have been subject to an undeserved warning or an excessive penalty, you may request an admin review of your warning. Requests should be made in this subforum, and you should include all relevant information as to why you believe the warning and/or penalty was undeserved. If you are unable to access that subforum due to a forum ban, you should contact an admin on Discord to state your appeal. If you have been blocked by all of our admins and are unable to contact them on Discord, you cannot make an appeal, and should seriously reconsider your life choices. Decisions on appeals will be final.
If you have been issued an indefinite penalty, you should use the same appeals procedure when you are ready to make the case that you have redeemed yourself and your punishment should be ended. If an appeal to end an indefinite penalty is denied, clarification will be provided to you about what additional steps you need to take for the penalty to be lifted. After taking these steps, you can then file another appeal.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to circumvent your punishment in order to appeal it. Appeals made in such a manner will be summarily denied.
Penalties issued due to a Gameplay IC court decision cannot be appealed to moderation. Any appeal must be submitted according to regional law and procedures, where possible.
This Code of Conduct is adapted from the Contributor Covenant, version 2.1, available at https://www.contributor-covenant.org/version/2/1/code_of_conduct/.