- The Charter codifies all of the unwritten conventions that in the past have dictated how Beyond Skyrim is run. It should still be run in pretty much the same way, but now it’s going to be out in the open and have a method of due process. This will make the leadership in particular much more accountable and transparent. Difficult issues such as collective decision-making and sanctions for misbehavior can now be solved by applying a standard procedure, rather than making it up as we go along, as we have in the past. It should be emphasized that such decision-making will not take place without either formally or informally consulting the membership first, and sanctions are a last resort where informal mediation has failed.
- All members are assumed to have read AT LEAST the Condensed Version of the Charter and agreed to be bound by its contents. They are also assumed to know where the Full Version can be found, and to know that they should refer to it as a final authority for interpretation if they are uncertain about any of the points that are covered in the Condensed Version. Because of this, ignorance of the rules is not a defense if you are caught ignoring or breaking them. If you are ever in any doubt, ASK!
- Beyond Skyrim is defined in the Charter as a single, collectively authored mod, made by several autonomous teams. It has no central authority, but it does have a centralized leadership, embodied in the Council of Team Leads. Beyond Skyrim membership does not replace Project membership, but is a supplement to it. The actions of the Council are governed by the Principle of Subsidiarity (it only exists to perform tasks that individual teams cannot alone). The creative freedom of Beyond Skyrim knows only two constraints – lore and compatibility. Publicity for Beyond Skyrim is a matter for the whole community, not for individuals. Beyond Skyrim is an integral part of Dark Creations, but is not and never has been subordinate to it.
- There is now a Code of Conduct (CoC) for members, with an extended version for team leads and admins. Beyond Skyrim is starting to become better known on the net, and the way our members behave is going to have a big impact on what sort of reputation we get. The CoC applies not only on the DC forums, but anywhere else on the web that you are identifiable as, or represent yourself as, a member of Beyond Skyrim. In short, don’t be rude or inconsiderate, either to other BS Members or to members of other projects, teams or sites; don’t flame, don’t steal, and write clearly, using correct spelling and grammar (either English, or your own language). There will be warnings and possibly even sanctions as a result of violating the CoC. Above all else, assume that everybody is here to have fun just like you are, so make a default assumption of good faith on their part.
- The rights and responsibilities of Beyond Skyrim Members are now properly defined and laid out in the Charter. You can refer to it if you are ever in any doubt about joining teams, or your rights in claiming work. Importantly, if you are in a dispute with another member, or even with your team lead, you now have the right to appeal to Beyond Skyrim’s management, who now have a duty to launch a formal mediation and, if necessary, disciplinary process. As a last resort, you also have the right to appeal to the DC Admins.
- The powers and duties of Team Leads are now codified in this Charter. It is now possible use the full document to look up what a team lead can and cannot do when controlling a project. This serves two purposes – it helps team leads when they are in any doubt about what their powers allow; and it allows regular team members some form of redress in the unlikely scenario that a team lead oversteps the bounds of their authority. Overall, it should result in a more consistent and harmonious family of projects at Beyond Skyrim.
- The management of Beyond Skyrim has been overhauled to make it much more transparent. Whereas before, many decisions were taken by groups of Team Leads on Skype or via PM thread, now a dedicated public forum will be created where these discussions can be carried out in the open, and formal decision-making votes be taken by the team leads. Regular members will be able to read and “like” discussions in this forum, but not place their own posts. A separate discussion forum will be created for regular members to vote in polls present petitions, discuss issues, or critique the team leads’ discussions in the decision-making forum.
- The DC Admins have devolved their administrative and disciplinary powers to Beyond Skyrim, where they will be administered by a Council of all the team leads. In practice, Beyond Skyrim had always been largely autonomous in this area, but the Charter formalizes this relationship. Beyond Skyrim is now fully responsible for its own administration, moderation, and conduct of its own members. The role of the DC Admins now is primarily to act as a “court of appeal” when mediating disputes between members, or reviewing the decisions of the Council of team leads.
On Behalf of the Team Leads of Beyond Skyrim
Nobody could dispute that Beyond Skyrim has changed greatly since its inauguration in November 2011. We started out as a discussion group to ensure compatibility between fundamentally separate mods, and since then, via the common heightmap, shared hosting, and increasing collaboration, we have become much more closely integrated. We have not merged into a single team, but it would be foolish to deny that we have de facto become more centralized in some respects, even as we have remained autonomous in others.
These changes did not occur without protest. To cut a long story short, the reason for our divorce from Team Northpoint (now Team Beyond) was that they still believed in the original, minimal conception of Beyond Skyrim, whereas the rest of us defended a much more robustly integrated final product. Our dispute was fundamentally about what Beyond Skyrim actually was. It’s a subject that, as Team Leads and Admins, we often get questions about from new members, who are confused about some aspects of our organization. And it has proven especially difficult to explain to outside groups or individuals, such as the journalist in that Game Informer interview.
Ever since the separation from Team Beyond, there have been suggestions that we need some kind of minimal Charter that describes as briefly as possible how Beyond Skyrim works. What we think is needed is just a public (or at least, public within the teams), written statement of the mostly unwritten conventions which determine how our community is run. Those of us who have been here since the beginning are familiar with all of these from personal experience, but for a newcomer, the apparent lack of central organization or chains of command could easily be confusing. In reality, much like a country without a codified constitution, we have a very definite and distinct way of running things, even if we don’t have a central rule-book that explains them all.
Therefore, we submit for your approval the consultation draft of the Beyond Skyrim Charter, which aims to explain the fundamental principles by which we work. Everything here is either based on the precedents about how we have done things in the past, or a logical inference from the way issues have been decided previously. Your comments, feedback and suggested changes are welcome.
Addendum to Preamble:
On Behalf of the Team Leads of Beyond Skyrim
The Beyond Skyrim Charter was submitted to a vote of all team members and leads and was formally ratified with a majority of 88.5% of voting members on 06/04/2014.
From that date forward, it is therefore binding on all members, leads and administrators of Beyond Skyrim.
The few areas of the Charter which do involve changes to the way Beyond Skyrim operates (such as the ban on alternate accounts), shall not be applied retrospectively from that date.
S1 Fundamental Principles
S2 Code of Conduct
- Ss2.1 Members
- Ss2.2 Team Leads
- Ss2.3 Administrators
- Ss2.4 Enforcement
S3 Rights and Duties of Members
S4 Rights, Powers and Duties of Team Leads
- Ss4.1 Within their own teams
- Ss4.2 As part of the Council of Team Leads
- Ss5.1 Creation of new projects
- Ss5.2 Closure of inactive projects
- Ss5.3 Reactivation of sequestered projects
- Ss5.4 Removal of inactive members
- Ss5.5 Removal of inactive team leads
- Ss5.6 Expulsion on grounds of:
- 5.6.1 Breach of Hosting Regulations
- 5.6.2 Illegality
- 5.6.3 Breach of trust
- 5.6.4 Bringing Beyond Skyrim into disrepute
- Ss5.7 Replacement of inactive or expelled team leads
S1: Fundamental Principles
Beyond Skyrim is a single mod, made by several teams
The ultimate goal of all of our teams is to create a single end user experience allowing players to travel around Tamriel in as immersive and seamless a manner as possible. This is the guiding philosophy behind everything which we do. We must always consider the final experience first and foremost, ensuring that all of our products are completely compatible with each other, both in terms of technical and gameplay matters, as well as the lore that we’ve developed for our projects, so that they all add up together into a single cohesive world.
Beyond Skyrim is collectively authored
All completed work by Beyond Skyrim is to be released in the name of the community. When members submit any art, literary works, or any other original content not governed by Bethesda Softworks’ End User License Agreement, to be incorporated into Beyond Skyrim, they automatically grant the Beyond Skyrim community an irrevocable and perpetual license to use that work for the specific purposes of creating Beyond Skyrim only. This does not affect any other copyright they may have over their own work. Moral rights to be identified as the author of the work in question are of course reserved by the author, and must be acknowledged in the Credits of any Beyond Skyrim releases. However, moral rights to integrity of the work must be partially waived by the authors, for the limited purposes of editing or re-purposing their work to produce variants, or ensure software/lore compatibility. When third parties submit content, this is subject to negotiation.
Beyond Skyrim has no centralized authority, but it does have a centralized leadership
For historical reasons, Beyond Skyrim has never had an overall leader or formal chain of command. We’ve got used to working that way, and it’s all worked out pretty well so far. However, as the projects have grown ever bigger, more integrated and more complex, we’ve grown to the point at which some kind of ability to make central, binding decisions is a necessity. Therefore, we have formalized what we were already doing anyway on an ad hoc basis – creating a Council of Team Leads whose job is to represent their team members and make decisions on their behalf, when these affect the whole community. This will not mean the creation of some higher clique, but rather will add transparency and due process to what’s already been happening for many months based on informal agreements and PMs. Beyond Skyrim’s members will have better access to and ability to contribute to the decision-making process than they currently do.
The Council of Team Leads is governed by the principle of subsidiarity
Much like Beyond Skyrim exists to allow modders to do things they could not complete alone, the only purpose of the Council is to perform those tasks which cannot be performed at the level of individual teams. This naturally includes decisions which affect the whole of Beyond Skyrim, such as heightmap revisions or the incorporation of some particularly startling new piece of lore with far-reaching implications, as well as more mundane matters like the exact cell borders between provinces and general policies on submission of work. The only time that a Council will intervene in a team’s internal affairs is if that team is unable or unwilling to solve problems itself – in other words, it has become dysfunctional, and the team leads are not doing their jobs properly. In the first instance, the Council will always attempt mediation in disputes, and will only consider disciplinary or overriding administrative action in particularly serious or intractable circumstances.
Beyond Skyrim membership does not replace Project membership, but is a supplement to it
By joining a team associated with Beyond Skyrim, each member automatically becomes a member of Beyond Skyrim also, with all of the rights, duties and responsibilities contained within this Charter. Although in some individual circumstances, there may be members of Beyond Skyrim who are not affiliated with any one project, vice versa is not possible. This is necessary for consistency between projects, but also, in the unlikely event that a team ceases to work as it should, necessary so that members and team leads will have some kind of method of redress by appealing to an external adjudicator (in the first case, the Council of Team Leads, and, as a last resort, the DC Admins). All members of Beyond Skyrim are assumed to know of the existence of this Charter and where it can be found, so that they can go and read the relevant section if they are in any doubt about their rights and responsibilities. At a minimum, all members are also assumed to have read at least the Condensed Version of the Charter and agreed to the principles contained in it. They should expect to be referred to this full version of the Charter as a final authority if there is any dispute.
Beyond Skyrim’s creative freedom knows only two constraints: lore and internal compatibility
We have always prided ourselves on the creative freedom we offer our members. Our goal is that, where possible, people can work on what they want, when they want. Top-down management and hard deadlines has never been the way we’ve done things – what governance we do have is what’s necessary for keeping everything functioning as a whole, and compatible with preexisting ES lore. Aside from these constraints, we are free to invent and work as we please, provided, of course, that it ultimately produces something that’s both fun to play and fits seamlessly into the wider ES universe. We’re here to have fun, but not at the expense of our end users.
Beyond Skyrim’s decision-making is determined by deeds, not titles
Basically, the more that you contribute to the community, the more people will listen to you. The named team leads have special responsibilities to manage their projects, but they do not “rule” their projects, and have a duty to consult with their members. Even if someone has never been a lead, but has a consistent track record of good advice and/or technical expertise, they can naturally expect their opinion to carry more influence. Conversely, if someone is a project lead in name only and does not actually contribute, people will rightly consider their advice to weight less than that of other people.
Publicity for Beyond Skyrim is a matter for the whole community, not individuals
Whilst members are welcome to link to, re-tweet or otherwise advertise Beyond Skyrim in their personal capacity (provided these do not infringe the CoC), all official publicity (Youtube channels, blogs, webpages, social media accounts) must be approved by the relevant Team Leads (for Project-specific publicity) or the Council (for general BS publicity) in advance. Any relevant login/admin details must at a minimum also be given to at least one member of the Council of Team Leads, so that others can take over in the absence of the person setting them up originally. Use of official publicity venues for personal or irrelevant purposes, or Code of Conduct breaches, will be treated as Bringing Beyond Skyrim into Disrepute, and as such the offending administrator may be removed by changing the password.
Beyond Skyrim is an integral part of Dark Creations, but is not subordinate to it
This is something that the DC Admins are at pains to stress. Some people conflate Beyond Skyrim and Dark Creations, because although DC is a general modding website, BS is by far the largest project hosted on it. Additionally, for historical reasons, the founding of DC and Beyond Skyrim were closely connected with one another. However, Beyond Skyrim has always had, and always will have, administrative independence. Creative, operational or policy decisions (where these go beyond DC’s hosting policy) are made exclusively by Beyond Skyrim’s members. The only time that the DC Admins will intervene in its operation is to avert serious harm to the community, or acting in their capacity as an independent court of appeal for disciplinary sanctions.
S2: Code of Conduct
As Beyond Skyrim is hosted on DC, members are expected at a minimum to comply with all of the forum rules. However, owing the importance of achieving a good public reputation for Beyond Skyrim, it is reasonable to expect our members to adhere to a higher standard.
On any other relevant sites on which you use the same online identity, or where you use a different identity, but identify yourself as a member of Beyond Skyrim, then de facto, you are representing us to the public, and the code of conduct will apply.
- Members are expected to always act courteously and respectfully towards each other at all times. This includes making a default presumption of good faith on each others’ behalf, in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary.
- Additionally, members are expected to take particular care when communicating with members of other projects. No matter what our differences might be with rival teams, BS members must always treat their members respectfully and courteously.
- Flaming, personal insults, accusations of bad faith and/or conduct without clear documentary evidence, will not be tolerated, no matter the justification, anywhere on the internet that you are identifiable as, or represent yourself as, a member of Beyond Skyrim. Members who disregard this will face disciplinary action from the Council of Team Leads, and if the incident took place on DC itself, they may face further action from the DC Admins.
- Members should always communicate clearly and concisely, using correct spelling and grammar, so that it is easy for others to understand them (reasonable allowances will of course be made for members who are speaking a language they are not fluent in).
- Members should regularly back up and upload to DC (GitLab, Joomla, DC Downloads Section, or other methods explicitly approved by your Team Lead are all acceptable) any work that they have done for Beyond Skyrim, to prevent it being lost through accidents.
- Members should realize that Beyond Skyrim is a collaborative endeavor, and as such they cannot and should not expect their own vision to dominate the project. Rigorous debate is encouraged, but it must never degenerate into attacking the other person, or resentment if their own ideas are not adopted.
- Discussion of real-world politics and religion is strictly forbidden on the Beyond Skyrim forums, unless it is for the express purpose of drawing historical and/or current analogies as part of the game design process. Dark Creations has a dedicated Discussion forum for those who want to take part in wider discussions and debates on such topics.
- Alternate accounts are banned, unless express permission is granted by application to the DC Admins. Use of multiple accounts without good reason may constitute misconduct. Abuse of multiple accounts (e.g. to obtain information from other members or breach the Code of Conduct using a sock-puppet) is severe misconduct and will trigger sanctions from the Council.
2.2 Team leads
Leads are expected to follow in full the Code of Conduct for ordinary members, but in addition they also have the following responsibilities arising from their position:
- Team leads are expected to act always in their interests of (a) Beyond Skyrim as a whole; and (b) their own members; rather than their own. They should view their role as that of a steward looking after the project on behalf of the membership and community.
- Team leads should always attempt to facilitate the smooth running of their project, by proactively managing disputes between members and initiating co-ordination with other Beyond Skyrim projects.
- Leads should always exercise fairness when dealing with disputes between team members. This is not to say that all members’ opinions must be treated as equal, only that the weight their opinion is given should always be proportional to their knowledge and experience.
- “Administrator” is not a rank within BS in its own right, but a term for the situation when somebody is both a team lead and a DC Admin.
- Administrators should always seek to represent and act in the interests of Beyond Skyrim as a whole, both when they are dealing with other DC Admins and the staff of other sites.
- Administrators should bring any issues of concern to BS members (where these fall within the remit of the site Admins) to the attention of the Admins promptly and accurately.
- When a dispute has been referred from the Council of Team Leads to the DC Admins for adjudication, any BS Administrators who took part in the initial debate at the Council are not permitted to subsequently take part in the DC Admins’ inquiry, in order to avoid prejudicing its result, except in their capacity as a team lead like any other.
- The community is expected to hold itself to these standards, and as such, minor violations, such as moments of anger or poorly-judged posts are expected to be self-moderated by peers.
- In the first instance, individuals should be referred to this Charter for an explanation of our rules.
- Additionally, team leads are expected to take a proactive approach to defusing tensions and investigating sources of unhappiness and/or misconduct among their own teams. Serious or repeated issues of concern must be reported to the Council of Team Leads and/or DC Admins where applicable.
- Serious incidents are expected to be referred in the first instance to a team lead, who then has a duty to report it to the Council of Team Leads, who then have a duty to investigate the incident. This will include asking any necessary questions of the person making the accusation, as well as allowing the accused to defend themselves. The Council has the power to impose sanctions in extreme cases. For details and procedures, please see S4, ss4.2 and S5, ss5.6.
- In all cases, the burden of proof is on the one who alleges, not the one who denies.
S3: Rights and Duties of Members
- Anyone has the right to apply to become a member, provided that they are above the age limit at which Skyrim can be purchased in their home country (in general, if you shouldn’t be playing the game, you can’t be a member of BS).
- Beyond Skyrim will assume good faith when members register their age. The age requirement may be waived in individual cases on their merits at the discretion of the DC Admins.
- Members have the right to apply to join as many Beyond Skyrim teams as they want to. However, there is no automatic right to join, because teams can select their own entry requirements, as long as these are reasonable and proportionate.
- Furthermore, if members become inactive in any project without giving fair notice (such as posting in the relevant thread or PM to team lead), they can be removed by their team leads (see S5 ss5.5) and must then reapply if they wish to return.
- Within reason, members have the right to take as many open claims as they can handle. However, this is a qualified right, because if they bite off more than they can chew, team leaders affected have the right to revoke claims.
- Members have a right to voice their opinion on any topic affecting Beyond Skyrim. However, other members do not have a duty to listen to them, provided they do not unreasonably ignore it. All arguments and opinions must stand or fall on their own merits.
- Members have a duty to help the community self-police minor infractions of the Code of Conduct, as well as report any serious infractions to the proper administrators.
- Members have the right to appeal against any disciplinary measures taken by their own team leads, or by the Council of Team Leads, for reconsideration by the independent DC Admins.
S4: Rights, Powers and Duties of Team Leads
4.1 Within their own teams
- Team leads have the power to make binding decisions in the interests of their own team as a whole.
- When doing so, they have a corresponding duty to take the opinions of their team members and co-leads into account.
- Team leads have the power to promote co-leads. When appointing a new Co-Lead, Team Leads must:
- Provide evidence that the member has made a real, substantial and ongoing contribution to Beyond Skyrim and/or has a high degree of technical or administrative expertise/experience which makes them particularly useful to the project;
- Provide evidence that the member has a good track record of regularly checking the forums, responding to posts when required, and informing of their absences;
- Consult with the whole of their own team about the suitability of the candidate (this can be either on a formal or informal basis, as long as there is some kind of permanent record).
- Team leads have the right to create, cancel, merge, grant, refuse to grant (for good cause) and (if the member cannot complete it) revoke claims.
- Team leads have the power to moderate their own team’s forums. (See DC moderation guidelines for full details – link only accessible to moderators).
- Team leads have the power to appoint and remove Deputy Leads, and define the responsibilities of each new subordinate position they promote.
- Team leads have the power to create local rules for their own teams. These cannot revoke any aspects of the Beyond Skyrim Charter, but they may supplement them (for example, they can create additional membership requirements, but cannot revoke members’ right of appeal to the Council).
- Team leads have the right to temporarily suspend recruitment of new members, provided that they specify (a.) reasonable cause (lack of time to train recruits, major reorganization, etc.), and (b.) an end-date when the suspension will expire. The Council reserves the right to challenge this if they believe it is disproportionate or harmful to the project.
- Team leads have the power to remove inactive members from their teams (see S5 ss5.4 for correct procedure for doing this).
- Team leads have a duty not to exercise their powers in an arbitrary or self-interested manner.
- Team leads have a duty to always inform their team and the Council of Team Leads of their absence in advance, and make arrangements for how their project will be administered while they are away.
- Team leads have a duty to make arrangements for their successor(s) should they be unable to continue in their position.
- Failure to do any of the above may result in the removal of a team lead and the appointment of a replacement by the Council of Team Leads (see S5 ss5.7 for details and procedure).
- Team leads have a duty to investigate and if necessary report any complaints or abuses by their team members.
- Team leads’ administrative and disciplinary powers are subject to review by the Council of Team Leads.
4.2 As part of the Council of Team Leads
All team leads are members of the Council of Team Leads, and carry one vote in the decisions that it has the power to make. All team leads also have collective responsibility for any decisions that it does make.
- The Council has the power to make binding decisions in the interests of Beyond Skyrim as a whole when those decisions affect all projects (such as heightmap issues, use of DLC, etc.).
- Decisions affecting all projects must be made unanimously by the Council.
- Decisions affecting a group of projects must be made unanimously by the team leads of the projects affected.
- When making decisions, the Council has a duty to consult with as broad a section of the BS community as is reasonable under the circumstances (the more important the decision, the more effort that must be made to consult).
- Meetings of the Council should ideally be held openly in the Beyond Skyrim Private Discussion forum so that all members can see the decision-making process.
- Meetings of the Council which are held elsewhere, such as Skype or via PM, should, where this is reasonable, be made available as minutes on request.
- The Council has the power to elect a Spokesperson, a Secretary, and a PR Officer, who have the duties of representing Beyond Skyrim officially, recording the minutes of its meetings, and coordinating the projects’ PR activities, respectively.
- The Council has the power to close and reopen failing projects, and approve the admission of new ones to Beyond Skyrim (see S5 ss5.1-3 for details and correct procedures).
- The Council has a duty to mediate in disputes between team members, where said members’ team leads have tried and been unable to, or do not believe themselves qualified or impartial enough to, resolve themselves.
- The Council also has additional extraordinary powers, which can potentially involve taking overriding administrative or disciplinary action against team members or team leads, which are only triggered in the following situations:
- A team becomes locked into a dispute divisive and intractable enough that it seriously endangers the progress of the project;
- A team lead begins behaving in an autocratic, irresponsible or abusive manner, leading to numerous complaints from the Co-Leads or regular Members;
- Co-leads within a team are no longer capable of working together, and this seriously affects the progress of a project (for example, “edit wars” between rival moderators);
- All team leads of a project become inactive for longer than 3 calender months without notice, or unable to continue their duties due to illness, having made no provision as to their successor(s);
- A project makes a decision which poses a serious threat to the integrity and compatibility of Beyond Skyrim as a whole (such as a heightmap change or far-reaching lore decision);
- A member, team lead, or administrator is accused of violating the Code of Conduct in a manner which cannot be resolved within their own team (usually, this is when a member appeals against disciplinary action taken by a team lead).
- These emergency powers are as follows:
- In the first instance, the Council has the power to order a review of the actions of a member, a group of members, an entire team, or a team leader. If a member of the Council is themselves the subject of a review, they are not allowed to participate in the inquiry into their own actions. In conducting this review, the Council has the collective duty to ask all of the parties in question to justify their actions and, if necessary, defend themselves. Third-party members of BS may also be required to give opinions or evidence. It is permissible for this review to be conducted in private, if this is necessary to protect the privacy of the members concerned. However, the Council must always justify any actions it takes to BS as a whole, even if personal details need to be redacted.
- Once all relevant information has been accumulated, the Council must, in the first instance, attempt to mediate between the parties in question. Only if this fails, or if the matter is so serious that no other action is appropriate, do the following emergency powers become available to the Council:
- The Council may overrule a decision taken by a team member, or team leader, if doing so is necessary and proportionate to safeguard the interests of their team as a whole, or of Beyond Skyrim as a whole;
- The Council may temporarily suspend team members, or team leads, from Beyond Skyrim; for serious or repeated breaches of the Code of Conduct, for a period of time proportional to the seriousness of their actions;
- The Council may demote a team lead to a regular team member, on a temporary or semi-permanent basis; if they have grossly or repeatedly abused their powers and privileges, and make provisions for their team to select a replacement (see S5 ss5.7 for details and correct procedure);
- As a last resort, to be invoked only when all other measures (including external mediation by independent DC Admins) have failed, the Council has the power to expel a member or team leader of Beyond Skyrim (see S5 ss 5.5-6 for details and correct procedure).
- In the case that all team leads of a project become inactive for longer than 3 calender months without notice, or are unable to continue their duties due to illness, having made no provision as to their successor(s), the Council has the power to appoint a caretaker team lead (or as many caretaker team leads as are judged to be necessary to keep the project functioning), who will administer that project until such time as the team members are able to agree among themselves on a new leader or leaders (which may include, if they so choose, retaining the caretaker lead(s) on a permanent basis – see S5 ss5.7 for details and procedure).
- When exercising its disciplinary powers, the Council has a duty to act fairly and impartially, making decisions based on objective evidence and the moral standards of the community.
- It also owes complaining or accused members a duty to investigate thoroughly and promptly.
- In all cases, the burden of proof is on the one who alleges, not the one who denies.
- The Council’s disciplinary (but not administrative) powers are subject to review by the DC Admins on appeal by the individuals affected.
S5: Administrative Procedures
5.1 Creation of new projects
Until further notice, the creation of new Beyond Skyrim projects by existing team members are held under a moratorium, to prevent the dilution of manpower across too many projects. This moratorium may later be removed at the discretion of the Council of Team Leads, if it is decided that the new project would not significantly detract from the progress of the already-existing projects (taking into account all the circumstances, including the size and difficulty of the proposed new project and amount of outside recruitment it has attracted).
External teams, who come to Beyond Skyrim with a credible proposal to start a project in an area of Tamriel not currently being worked on, can be approved as an official Beyond Skyrim team by a unanimous vote of the Council of Team Leads.
5.2 Closure of inactive projects
Any project which has not uploaded, posted or otherwise informed the community of any concrete progress, and/or which has not had any active members, without giving reasonable notice of their inactivity in advance, for a period exceeding three calendar months will enter sequestration. All inactive members and leads will be removed from that group, and all forums except for the general discussion forum shall be locked, and be made publicly visible. Any files or images which have been uploaded will become accessible to the main Beyond Skyrim group. In this way any key decisions, ideas, records and resources may be used as required by the other, active projects.
5.3 Reactivation of sequestered projects
Sequestered projects can be reactivated, either by a joining external team, or, (if the moratorium is lifted) by a group of BS members. Groups wishing to reactivate must submit a credible plan for development to the Council of Team Leads and answer any and all questions made to them by the Council and ordinary BS members in a public forum. After this, a unanimous vote of the Council must approve their request. If successful, the group must nominate its own team leaders, who will then become members of the Council.
5.4 Removal of inactive members
Members who are inactive for a period exceeding three calendar months (or shorter at the discretion of the relevant team leads, though if they exercise this right they must give notice to all team members), without giving reasonable notice of their absence (posting in an appropriate thread or PM to a team lead) can be removed on grounds of inactivity.
Members have the right to appeal against this to the Council of Team Leads. Past inactivity in itself is not a bar to a member later being readmitted to a team – however, team leads are entitled to take this into account when deciding which claims that member can be granted.
5.5 Removal of inactive leads
Team leads who are inactive for a period exceeding three calendar months (or shorter at the discretion of themselves, though if they exercise this right they must give notice to their own team and the Council of Team Leads), without giving reasonable notice of their absence (public announcement AND PM to the Council) can be removed on grounds of inactivity. This requires a unanimous vote by the rest of the Council.
Additionally, team leads must make provision for the maintenance of their teams during their absence and/or their replacement. If they fail to do so they can be removed for dereliction of duty.
Team leads have the right to appeal against this to the DC Admins for independent adjudication. Past inactivity in itself is not a bar to a leader later being reappointed to lead a team – however, the Council of Team Leads is entitled to take this into account when making its decision.
5.6 Expulsion on grounds of …
In cases of very severe or repeat misconduct by a team member or lead, the Council of Team Leads has an extraordinary (that is, rarely exercised) power to expel members or team leads.
Expulsion does not necessarily equate to a ban from DC as a whole, depending on the nature of the offense. It must be emphasized that expulsion only exists as a last resort, where all other options have been tried and failed. In all cases, members have the right to appeal a decision to the Dark Creations admin team.
It must be emphasized that this is a reactive policy, not a proactive one. Members and leads have no duty to look for wrongdoing among their fellow members. Indeed, excessive zeal in hunting out prohibited activity, or unreasonable suspicion, may themselves constitute examples of serious misconduct.
In all cases, the burden of proof is on the one who alleges, not the one who denies.
5.6.1 Breach of Hosting Regulations
For so long as Beyond Skyrim remains hosted on Dark Creations, its Members, Team Leads and Administrators must adhere to the Terms of Service and Hosting Regulations of that website (please refer to DC official documents for further details). If an affiliate of BS breaches these severely enough that the Admins of DC judge it necessary to ban their account completely, then that person will, de facto, also be automatically expelled from Beyond Skyrim.
In addition to the requirements of subsection 5.6.1, Beyond Skyrim will not tolerate its members performing any illegal acts (civil or criminal):
a. If these are done in the course of their activities as Members, Team Leads or Administrators of Beyond Skyrim, as such activities are described in this Charter.
b. If these are done in the course of representing Beyond Skyrim to any external group.
This applies in particular to violations of the End User License Agreements (EULA) of software required to contribute to Beyond Skyrim (including but not limited to TES5: Skyrim itself), as well as intellectual property infringement (software piracy), distribution of illegal pornography, illegitimate discrimination against individuals or groups of individuals, incitement to violence and threats, although it may also be extended to other criminal or civil offenses which are deemed by the Council to fall within the scope of criteria (a) and (b) above.
Such actions, if proven, will automatically be considered “bringing Beyond Skyrim into disrepute” (subsection 5.6.4), and therefore potentially constitute grounds for expulsion, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
Beyond Skyrim does not take any official stance on the morality or otherwise of domestic and international laws. We are a modding collective, not a political advocacy organization. It is merely our intention to comply with all relevant laws governing the production and distribution of derivative works such as the Beyond Skyrim end product mods. If any activity required for participating in Beyond Skyrim is illegal in that associate’s home territory, they must do so at their own risk.
5.6.3 Breach of trust
Several other offences are not in themselves illegal but nevertheless should be regarded as very severe misconduct for which expulsion may be a proper sanction. These include, but are not limited to:
- Breaching the trust of a fellow member where information was offered confidentially (for example when mediating disputes between team members). Note, however, that team leads are allowed the defences of acting in the interests of the parties in question, or of averting serious harm to Beyond Skyrim as a whole
- Willfully defying the attribution requirements and/or permissions of a third party modder or deliberately misleading the rest of the community as to such, may, if proven, be considered evidence of dishonest behavior, and as such constitute grounds for expulsion
5.6.4 Bringing Beyond Skyrim into disrepute
Acting in such a way so as to damage the reputation of Beyond Skryim, including but not limited to spreading malicious rumors, deliberately misleading information, character assassination, and repeatedly acting in a rude or disrespectful way to fellow members on public forums, or to members of other communities and/or projects, may be considered grounds for expulsion.
5.7 Replacement of inactive or expelled team leads
If a team finds itself without leadership for any reason (as defined in earlier sections of the Charter) he Council of Team Leads reserves the right to appoint as many caretaker team leads as are necessary to ensure that a project can keep going. All active teams must have at least one active team lead at any time, so that their members’ interests can be properly represented on the Council. However, if for administrative or other reasons a single caretaker lead would not be sufficient, the Council may appoint more. Division of labor between caretakers who would otherwise not have enough time to administer the team is an acceptable reason for appointing more.
New leads must, however, be suitably qualified for the position, which shall be chiefly determined by organizational skills and modding experience. As a result, new leads must either have a proven track record at DC, or elsewhere in the wider modding community. The Council of Team Leads also has a duty to consult the wider Beyond Skyrim community, ideally by posting notice in the Private Discussion forum so that suitable candidates may declare an interest.
As explained in other sections of the Charter, a caretaker leadership will remain until such time as the Team in question has elected a new leader. However, in the event that none of a Team’s members wishes to, or feels able to, take over as lead:
- The caretaker lead may continue in their position (or transfer by election to full lead), if both they and the Team in question agree to this;
- The Team will be required to elect a Spokesperson who will take the leads’ place on the Council and represent their team until such time as a new lead is elected. If they do so, they are also required to nominate (an)other member(s) who will perform the roles of merging, uploading, moderating, granting claims and any other roles which are critical to the team’s functioning.