In this tutorial, we’re going to talk about how to deal with interactions that make you feel uncomfortable.
Occasionally feeling uncomfortable about your interactions with other people is a totally normal part of being in a community. We are a global community with a diverse array of members who are many different ages, nationalities, sexual & gender orientations, and religions – we can expect that, at times, our communication styles and language barriers may lead to some awkward moments.
We’re not here to tell you what makes you uncomfortable. How you feel about your interactions is okay.
But, as a community, we have decided some general guidelines about what’s appropriate for our community. There’s a difference between what makes you uncomfortable and what our community rules deem as inappropriate. As above, your emotions are perfectly valid. But how the community responds to those interactions depends on the shared agreements we have about what’s inappropriate.
To see those guidelines, check out this documentation:
- On the Discord chat server, check the #information channel – it’s the first channel at the top of the list.
- On the forums, check the “REQUIRED READING: Guidelines for participation” thread.
- More generally, see our Terms of Service in the “Requirements of Behavior” section.
- The UFOP Constitution, in Article VIII, Section 5, also contains a list of behaviors that can lead to disciplinary action.
Let’s look at what you can do if someone does something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you encounter an interaction with another member that makes you feel uncomfortable, we encourage you to respond to that interaction in a way that makes your feelings clear. Setting personal boundaries clearly helps others understand what’s appropriate in the context of your relationship, and often just taking this quick action will end the problem and stop it from happening again.
Your response should be polite, but firm about how you feel. And it’s okay if your response doesn’t happen at the very moment of the interaction, as long as it does happen within a reasonable amount of time.
Here’s an example of an immediate response to an off-color joke made on Discord:
That kind of joke makes me uncomfortable. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t joke that way around me.
There’s no need to apologize for your feelings, explain why it makes you feel that way, or demand a certain kind of response from the other person. Allow your statement to stand and wait for them to react.
We always recommend that if you encounter something in our community that makes you uncomfortable, that you report that to someone who can take note, or maybe even take further action. We want to do everything we can to make our community welcoming and safe for our members, which includes moderating behavior that violates our guidelines. Our staff have the power to moderate members, as well as potentially remove members from the game if they continue to demonstrate inappropriate behavior.
Regardless of where you encounter the interaction that makes you feel uncomfortable, please screenshot it (these instructions explain how on nearly any device) and share the screenshot with a member of our community staff via email or Direct Message. (If the conversation happened via email, or it’s hard to screenshot because it’s so long, talk to a member of the staff and they can guide you on how to provide documentation.)
Our staff will decide how best to proceed, on the basis of our community guidelines, and take action if necessary to help protect you from abuse.
If the other person is a staff member on your ship
It’s possible that your ship’s Commanding Officer, First Officer, or other staff member may be the one who’s said something that makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to approach a different member of our community staff to talk about that.
If that’s the case, be sure to ask the other staff member if you can talk to them about something confidentially, and ask specifically that it not be shared until you both agree on how to do that.
IF NECESSARY, BLOCK
If you don’t feel like responding (as directed above) has made the situation better, or the other person appears to escalate the situation as a result, we encourage you to take action to protect yourself from further interactions:
- On our Discord chat server, you can always block anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable, which will prevent them from direct messaging you again and will keep their chat room messages out of your view. Detailed instructions on how to do that are included in this tutorial.
- If someone emails you something that makes you uncomfortable, you can use your email client to send those emails to your trash automatically.
- A member of our community staff can help you find other ways to temporarily or permanently block players if necessary.