Edit: The Fair Play Policy has been updated as a result of community feedback; please have another look!
Prismata is quickly approaching its public Steam Beta, and we’ll soon be expecting a large amount of growth in the size of our community. Accordingly, we feel that it’s time to introduce some official policies and procedures to help manage our community and maintain the integrity of our competitive ladder and events. These policies revise and supplement our previous sportsmanship guidelines.
During Prismata’s alpha, our policy has been to listen closely to player feedback, deal with problems on a case-by-case basis, and respond to the needs of our community by figuring things out as we go. This approach was incredibly useful as we learned to adapt to the wide variety of player behaviours and community management challenges that arise when running a competitive online game. Now that we’ve learned a bit more about what types of behavioural guidelines players expect from the Prismata community, it’s time to codify these guidelines into an official Fair Play Policy.
This is a work in progress, but please let us know if you have any feedback!
The Prismata Fair Play Policy
As Prismata is a competitive online game, we require all players to respect other players and exhibit good sportsmanship. In particular, the following behaviour will not be tolerated:
- Harassment. Players must not employ abusive, profane, hateful, or belligerent language directed toward other players in global or private chats, or perform any other action to deliberately harass, grief, intimidate, or threaten other players.
- Hacking, botting, or cheating. Players must not exploit Prismata through the use of any hacks, bots, cheats, scripts, or automation.
- Intentional or repeated disconnects. Players may not intentionally disconnect from Prismata during games for any reason, including to conceal their moves from an opponent. Excessive and repeated disconnects irritate other players and may result in the loss of account privileges.
- Spam. Egregious advertisements within the Prismata client are forbidden, including spammy chat messages, solicitation of Prismata players, or advertising of products or services not related to Prismata.
- Pointless stalling. Players are not permitted to use Prismata’s clock system to grief other players through unnecessary stalling. In particular, players are not permitted to annoy their opponents by needlessly running out their clocks or going AFK in positions where it is absolutely clear that they have no hope of winning.
- Exploitation of game bugs. Bugs may be discovered in Prismata from time to time, and we thank all players who discover and report them. However, we will be punishing any players who intentionally and repeatedly abuse bugs to grief their opponents or obtain rewards unfairly.
- Intentional or frivolous losses. Players may not frivolously resign or intentionally lose games for any reason, including to deliberately lower their rating (sand-bagging), boost an opponent’s rating (win-trading), or achieve a preferred start-of-game configuration (scumming).
- Exploitation of multiple accounts. Players are expected to play on a single Prismata account. Account swapping or exploitative uses of multiple accounts may result in account restrictions or bans. In particular, players must not use multiple accounts to obtain rewards unfairly, harass other players, occupy multiple spaces on leaderboards, or undermine the integrity of tournaments or events.
As per our Terms of Service, we reserve the right to take disciplinary action against players who deliberately harm Prismata or its community, including those who violate the Fair Play guidelines above. Possible disciplinary actions may include:
- Warnings from mods or our community management team.
- Temporary or permanent loss of chat privileges.
- Temporary or permanent loss of access to matchmaking queues.
- Removal of accounts from leaderboards.
- Revocation of rewards obtained unfairly.
- Temporary or permanent loss of account access or account creation privileges.
Players may report violations of our Fair Play Policy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting Prismata support. Players may also appeal any account bans or restrictions lasting longer than 24 hours via the same contact email.
Q: Who are the mods? Can I become one?
A: Prismata community managers and some trusted Prismata players have been given moderator status, which grants them the ability to issue temporary chat bans to players who are misbehaving in the global chat. If you’ve been around for a while and think you would like to become a mod, please get in touch with us.
Q: Is there an exact definition for what type of behaviour constitutes harassment?
A: Any intentionally harmful behaviour that would cause distress to a reasonable person could be considered harassment, but moderators may consider a number of factors when responding to harassment complaints, such as apparent intent, frequency, severity, and whether remarks are directed specifically at a victim. Simple disagreement or profanity use does not constitute harassment, but could if escalated. In questionable cases, moderators have been asked to give a warning before enacting chat timeouts or bans.
Q: My opponent is being really annoying with emotes. Is that harassment?
A: Players are permitted to use emotes freely as allowed by the game. You can use the /mute command if a player is being particularly annoying with them.
Q: Can I say “gg” to my opponents?
A: Many players like to congratulate their opponent or say “gg” before resigning or after a game is over, and this is acceptable. However, many players find the so-called “offensive gg”—in which the winning player initiates the exchange before the game is over—to be rude. Players are advised to avoid it.
Q: Am I spamming if I advertise my Prismata tournament, clan, or stream in the global chat?
A: Limited, tasteful advertisements of this form are acceptable and not considered spam; in fact, we encourage them (contact us if you’d like us to advertise or tweet about your tourney!) That said, our mods may ask you to tone it down if you do it too much (please don’t fill the global chat with links; stick to a few messages per day at most).
Q: My opponent is taking a long time! Can I report them?
A: Beyond our restrictions on pointless stalling, players are entitled to take the full amount of their allotted time to think of all turns, including the first few turns. If you find that your opponents are taking too long in Ranked Play games, we recommend that you select faster time controls.
Q: Can I stall during a blitz brawl?
A: Stalling is only permitted in blitz brawls in the extremely rare situations where it is strategically beneficial for the player doing the stalling (for example, if players A and B are tied for the lead, but A is losing to B during the final few seconds of the brawl). Stalling for any other reason, including to harm other players for no benefit, will be considered pointless stalling and regarded as a violation of our Fair Play Policy.
Q: Does the stalling rule mean that it mandatory to resign if I can’t win? What if I’m not sure whether I’ve lost yet?
A: The stalling rule is aimed at players who deliberately annoy their opponents by wasting time in games. This type of behaviour is usually easy to identify from game replays and commonly manifests as a player going AFK in a losing position. If you’re just playing normally, you have nothing to worry about. That said, as a courtesy to your opponent, it’s usually a good idea to resign or play quickly when you feel you have absolutely no chance of winning.
Q: What if there’s a fire in my kitchen and I have to go AFK?
A: Real life happens! It’s fine, and our community management team will exercise common sense in dealing with occasional unintentional violations of the Fair Play Policy (as long as there isn’t a fire in your kitchen every time you lose to a specific player that you don’t like…).
Q: I lost to somebody who was being coached by another player in Ranked Play mode. Is that a violation of the Fair Play Policy?
A: This issue has ruffled a few feathers, but our policy for the time being is to allow it. Many players have learned to play competitive Prismata by being coached by others, and we feel that a ban on coaching would be unenforceable and ultimately do more harm than good (if you’d like to find somebody to coach you, check out our subreddit). In future tournaments and official Ranked Play seasons, we plan to implement an ‘honour code’ that forbids any form of coaching or player assistance.
Q: I think a player is smurfing (playing Ranked Play on a secondary account). Why haven’t they been banned?
A: Smurfing is a violation of our Terms of Service, but our server does not automatically issue punishments for using multiple accounts as there are several legitimate uses (such as two people sharing a single computer). However, we aggressively pursue instances where players employ alternate accounts for exploitation or harassment; if you have evidence of such activity, please report it by emailing email@example.com.
Q: Will you ever make changes to the Fair Play Policy?
A: Yes. We will amend it as necessary if new things come up. Ultimately, our goal is to have a clear set of enforceable community guidelines so that all players know what kind of behaviour is expected of them, and we’re always open to suggestions for improvement.
Q: Could I get retroactively banned if the Fair Play Policy is changed in the future?
A: We would absolutely never betray the trust of our community by banning players for infractions of rules that were not clarified or communicated beforehand. For example, if we observed a new type of pathological/toxic behaviour or exploit whose legality under the existing Fair Play Policy was not clear, we would amend the rules, provide a notification to players, and only start issuing disciplinary actions for rules violations that occurred after players were notified.
Q: Will I get a warning before being banned?
A: Usually, misbehaving players receive a verbal warning and/or a short chat timeout before harsher penalties are applied. That said, we reserve the right to employ a ban-first-and-ask-questions-later approach in egregious cases where we observe obvious cheating or clearly deliberate, malicious actions directly intended to harm Prismata or its community.
Q: Will I know why I received a ban?
A: All moderators will provide a “reason for ban” any time they revoke any in-game privileges.
Q: Can I appeal a ban?
A: For bans of longer than 24 hours, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to appeal a ban. Appeal requests are not guaranteed to lead to a decrease in ban length, and could lead to an increase in ban length if new information is discovered while investigating an appeal.
Q: What if I discover an exploit?
A: In many online games, players discover exploits that lie in a grey area between being legitimate and being the exploitation of a game bug. In such cases, it might be unclear whether abuse of the exploit constitutes a violation of the Fair Play Policy. Accordingly, players are unlikely to receive bans for abusing grey-area exploits until a change to the Fair Play Policy is made or a clarification is provided to the community at large. Regardless, we may retroactively revoke rewards obtained via an exploit if we feel that they put others at an unfair disadvantage. Your best bet is always to contact us if you discover an exploit; we’ll probably reward you with a bugfinder badge!
As usual, please let us know if you have any suggestions! Cheers.