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In early January 2001, I was suspended from FurryMUCK for the duration of one year. After being on suspension for approximately one month I submitted the following appeal-
Date sent: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 10:36:25 -0500
From: Andy Corvin
Copies to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Letter of Appeal
I am writing to you to appeal the suspension of my characters on
FurryMUCK several weeks ago. In short, I believe this suspension was
unjustified both in its being issued in the first place, and in the
degree to which it has been issued (one year).
This suspension occurred after a situation I had with a fur named
Valrejn, whom I met the same day as my suspension. After Valrejn and I
had a disagreement, he placed me on ignore with a message that read
'Some friend you turned out to be :(', or something very similar.
Now, ordinarily when I am placed on ignore I at most try to contact the
person one more time, and I make it explicitly clear that I will leave
them alone if that is what they wish. I do this because in the past
furs _have_ forgotten that they had me on ignore, and because I don't
believe in destroying a friendship if it can be prevented, I try to
maintain contact unless they assure me that they have no interest in
doing so. Obviously if an ignore message said something amounting to
'Go the hell away!' I would not attempt to contact the person in
However, Valrejn's message, to me, indicated _regret_ about the
situation, not a desire to never speak to me again. The presence of the
:( especially suggested to me that he felt it was unfortunate that our
argument had occurred. Perhaps I should have simply let things go at
that point, but as I said, I try to keep friendships alive if I can.
To that effect I tried to send a meet request. Now I was at work and
idling a bit, but I don't believe he ever responded to that. I
therefore assumed that he might not have seen my message and entered a
room he was in. He promptly left without addressing me, and in fact
before I could make any attempt to contact him. Shortly after this I
was contacted by Frang.
I would remind you at this point that the FurryMUCK harassment policy
explictly states that the person who feels they are being harassed MUST
tell the person to stop, AND warn the person that they will contact a
Valrejn NEVER responded to my attempts to contact him. He _certainly_
never said anything to the effect of 'Go the hell away.' And he
similarly NEVER warned me that he was planning to contact a wiz. I give
you my word that if he had said anything to that effect, I would have
gotten the hint and stayed as far away from him as humanly possible.
That would be the only intelligent thing to do.
Instead, Valrejn apparently spoke to Frang and lodged a complaint
without any warning whatsoever aside from the regretful-sounding ignore
If this was all that had occurred, I would still feel my suspension was
unjustified. But in addition to this, I feel that I was not given a
fair hearing, or even treated objectively.
First of all, Frang never identified himself as a wiz to me. I figured
it out for myself pretty quickly, but initially I thought he was a
friend of Valrejn's who was concerned, or something similar. I don't
believe it's very professional to conceal your identity (and authority)
from someone that way, especially if you plan on taking punitive action
Secondly, Frang was clearly biased in favor of Valrejn. Rather than ask
me for my perspective on the situation, he bombarded me with questions
more quickly than I could possibly answer them, especially since I was
still at work (which I told him), and even at one point _yelled_ at me.
I find it difficult to believe he was ever open to hearing my side of
the matter when he was so clearly neither listening to what I said, nor
apparently caring. The fact that, as I found out later, he and Valrejn
knew each other before this incident suggests to me that Valrejn may
have gone to him because they were already friends. At any rate,
clearly I was not treated either professionally or courteously.
At the end, Frang claimed that he'd asked the wizzes to vote on my
suspension, and that I was being suspended for a year. I was given 15
minutes to try to wrap things up as best I could, and then booted from
Now, I have been told indirectly that at least one wiz was never given
the details of the matter he was being asked to vote on. However, as I
feel this letter illustrates, the details of the matter were _extremely_
relevant. Furthermore, as this entire situation occurred within 30
mins., it seems unlikely to me that all of the wizzes were contacted,
much less briefed on the nature of the situation. I may be mistaken. I
will say that my only contact with the wizzes was through Frang, and I
was certainly never given a chance to plead my case to a more objective
authority (although I guess that's what I'm doing now). I must question
the fairness of these proceedings, especially since I wasn't being given
a fair hearing to begin with. In fact, since I was booted so quickly,
the only way I was able to obtain a copy of the harassment policy that
Valrejn failed to follow was via one of my friends on the muck.
To recap, I am appealling because my suspension occurred not through any
deliberate actions of my own, but because Valrejn could not find it
within himself to ask me to leave him alone, but instead, in effect,
entrapped me by not telling me explicitly to leave him alone, and then
talking to a wiz when I did not immediately assume that was what he
wanted. If he _had_ spoken to me, this suspension never would have
occurred because I would have known what he wanted. In addition, the
wiz who _did_ speak to me treated me both discourteously and unfairly.
Lastly, if none of these facts changes your opinions, then I _would_ ask
that you reconsider the sentence. I have been suspended for one _year_
because of this situation, and because there was a prior complaint from
3 _years_ ago. To my knowledge the fur who lodged the prior complaint
has had no problem with me since. Is it really just to ban someone from
a muck for a year for a prior situation that has never been repeated,
and then for a situation that occurred in the span of under 2 hours
under _highly_ questionable circumstances? I don't believe so. I would
be able to accept being banned for a day, a week, a month, or somewhat
more than that. Stictly speaking, maybe I should have instantly shut up
at the ignore and made no attempts to be friends. But instead I tried
to make things better, and got banned for a year because of it. At this
point I have already been away from the muck for several weeks, and I
would ask that you reconsider whether it is fair to ban someone for one
year for actions that had no lasting effect and that weren't even
intentional, nor would ever be repeated.
I feel I've probably spoken for long enough, so I'll let this e-mail end
here. I will happily speak further on this matter if any of you have
further questions or comments.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
For weeks after I submitted my appeal the staff on FurryMUCK showed what I'd consider an utter lack of courtesy. Not only did I not receive any comments regarding my appeal, but I did not even receive any indication that my e-mail had been received. Approximately once per week I would connect as a guest and ask a wiz what the situation was regarding my appeal. Every single time I was told that I would be e-mailed, yet never did I in fact receive an e-mail. In fact, in a move that I cannot even begin to comprehend, I was told that Frang would be handling my appeal. It seems that my concerns regarding him being responsible for this matter fell on deaf ears.
Well, for starters, while I still think FurryMuck itself is fairly cool, and there are a number of nifty people there, I'm forced to conclude based on these events that the majority of the staff are neither nifty nor cool. I consider this decision illogical, hypocritical, and ultimately unfair and unjust. If you have a perspective you'd be willing to discuss, I'd be quite open to hearing about it.
For the record, I don't consider 'they own the place, they can do what they want' acceptable. If they had no policy system, then fine. It's hard to say you were treated unfairly when you don't have any rules to fall back on. However, the staff had a codified system that specifically detailed what they considered harassment to be, and by punishing me this way they showed that this system meant nothing in terms of enforcement.
My view is that my avenues of challenging this decision have been exhausted. I would welcome suggestions, but as I stated, I've already appealled this decision and had my appeal rejected. What I can do is encourage anyone who wants to see my access to FurryMUCK restored, or who simply feels strongly about this, to contact the wizzes themselves. They can be reached via e-mail or by connecting directly to FurryMUCK.
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, I've thus far received a whole lot of verbal support, but very little support beyond that. It seems that (pardon my cynicism) few people are ultimately willing to put their money where their mouths are. At least one person has expressed trepidation about going to the wizzes, which only, to me, validates my concern about them. I don't believe a MUCK where you can't question the wizzes about matters without fear of reprisal is a MUCK that people should want to populate.
Whelp, a few weeks ago now, Furrymuck Sucks generously decided to post my story to their site, along with some commentary of their own. I think this is cool. If you don't...um...why're you reading this? I will point out that FMS is not designed to flame FurryMuck per se. They feel, much as I do, that the administration is not behaving responsibly. If you go to their site you will note that while they severely criticize the wizzes, the muck itself is not a subject of criticism. They wish, as I do, to make the muck a better place. Unfortunately, FurryMuck in specific, and mucks in general, are not democracies.
A cautionary note- I'm taking this entire situation very personally. I would ask how else I could take it under the circumstances, as almost everyone who has read my appeal seemed to feel that my opinions were justified. To be blunt, I can't consider someone who is on FurryMUCK, and who would read this and claim to support me to be much of a friend if, ultimately, all they will give me is verbal support. I've always believed that anything worth believing in was also worth fighting for, especially if it was affecting someone you claimed to care about. I don't want to lose friends because they will read this and not support me, but I'd be lying if I claimed that I could believe in someone who could read this and not feel motivated to do something.
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