Stendhal Helper Role

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Peer-directed helper role in Stendhal

The "helper" role is critical to Stendhal and an essential building block of the community. No one is required to be a helper, but the players who perform this role ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the community.

The game world can be confusing for new players. Helpers are likely to be knowledgeable about the game and can answer basic questions on how to start playing and how to continue to enjoy game features. Helpers respect the role playing nature of the game and do not provide spoilers or help other players gain an unfair advantage. This includes not giving away items freely (though donation to the community chest is always appreciated.)

Internet based communication does not automatically produce a stable culture of cooperative effort. Even in cases where cooperation is intended, misunderstandings and personality incompatibilities can result in an extremely chaotic and hostile environment. Helpers help prevent and resolve misunderstanding, calm the waters when users have difficulties dealing with each other and provide examples of constructive behavior in environments where such behavior might not otherwise be the norm.

Helpers try to resolve problems, not through the use of authority and special privilege, but by fostering consensus, gently nudging participants in the direction of more appropriate behavior and by generally reducing the level of confrontation rather than confronting users with problems.

An important characteristic of successful helpers is the infrequency with which they wear authority or invoke special privilege.

Cooperation with admin

Please direct any support queries directly to /support. Trying to deal with them yourself is potentially damaging. Remember, admins do not need to be online to read and answer support queries. The vast majority of genuine support queries are answered promptly and we also have a facility to answer support queries via the postman.

You may like to read the Guide for admin to help you understand the admin role.

For non-support queries which get asked to support, we have some standard responses which you are encouraged to also use so that we deliver a consistent message. The command /gmhelp support lists the standard templates. As a helper you don't have access to those commands but you should be using the same or similar messages.

An effective helper is:

  • Relaxed. To keep things calm, you yourself must be calm. Learn the skills of staying genuinely relaxed. Know your limitations; when you can't handle a problem situation calmly, get calmer heads involved.
  • Open-minded. It's easy to make assumptions about other people's motivations. When you decide someone is behaving maliciously, you've made an assumption about their motivation which may be difficult to disprove. Try to make your assumptions about other people's motivations as positive as possible.
  • Responsible. Peer-directed projects are a group activity with a strong need for responsible individual behavior. Rumors, innuendo and gossip can derail projects and ruin reputations. If everybody knows something is true, who is "everybody?" Did the person you're talking to get their information from documented, factual sources, or is it hearsay? If you can't be sure of the answer to those questions, should you be passing on what they've said?
  • Unobtrusive. It's not necessary to invoke authority to help solve a problem, and far better if you don't. Look for an opportunity to nudge the situation into a more productive track. Don't critique the user if a quiet change of subject, or a private conversation on a completely different topic, can help make the problem fade away.
  • Realistic. Accept the personalities of your peers and concentrate on problem resolution. Don't expect people to suddenly change their personalities to make problem resolution easier.
  • Careful. Everything you say will be interpreted by the users with whom you interact. Consider how your remarks will be interpreted before you make them. Make sure the message you convey is the one you intend.
  • Attentive. Understand the situation you have walked into before you act. Question your assumptions. Look for signs you have misinterpreted the situation, in order to avoid causing difficulties for a user who did not create the problem.
  • Minimalist. Don't do more than you need to in order to resolve a problem. A problem scene is often the wrong time and place to set policy. Concentrate on the resolution, and on collecting information you can think about later.
  • Courteous. Even under time pressure, courtesy costs little and impresses people a lot. It's not about whether working with the person is easy or difficult; it's about setting the right tone.
  • Cooperative. Look for opportunities to get people involved in the resolution of their own and others' problems.
  • Someone with an internal locus of control. Helpers concentrate on solving problems, not bestowing blame. Treat the situation as the problem, accept the players for who they are and try to figure out how best to help resolve the difficulty.
  • A player. Remember that you're not in charge. Everybody runs their own little corner of the world. Let them do the job they're capable of. Just help the process along as unobtrusively as possible. Other helpers are players as well, and nobody is perfect. We're all just here to do our best to keep things running well.