The Arbitration Committee is a group of five members and two alternates nominated and elected yearly at the EHC that seeks to resolve issues by speaking or meeting with the affected individuals and, in the case where actions are detrimental to the community, levy penalties against individuals.

When individuals are found responsible for breaking rules by a simple majority of the Arbitration Committee, the committee may levy punishment consistent with both the charge and a goal of working to resolve the issue in the future.

At an emergency meeting of the EHC a 2/3 vote of the council can overturn or amend the actions of the Arbitration Committee.

2018 Omnibus of the Realms

The above statement is the current wording from the Omnibus referencing the Arbitration Committee. The following is expanded information on the committee’s scope and processes developed by the current committee member. This is shared with the intention of providing transparency and preventing misunderstandings.

Role & Responsibilities

The Arbitration Committee primarily investigates and takes action on rules violations, inclusive of violations of game rules, site rules, code of conduct, and event holder ethics. In addition, issues that have a major negative impact to the community may be considered actionable even if they don’t expressly fall under one of the items above.

The Arbitration Committee is not responsible for investigating or judging the legality of events. Questions on the validity of an event must be submitted to the organizer(s) of the Event Holders' Council (see the Omnibus).

Event holders may opt to notify the Arbitration Committee of any rule violations, as doing so will help the Committee identify patterns. However, the Committee will only take action on formal charges that are, in the judgement of the majority of committee members, significant or repeated. Follow up will not occur on minor isolated infractions that were already handled by Event Holders or their staff.

Individual Committee Members have the following responsibilities when performing Committee work

  • To act in the best interest of the community
  • To recuse themselves from participating in investigations or judgement's if they have a conflict of interest that would jeopardize their objectivity.
  • To devote time needed for Committee work
  • To respect confidentiality of involved parties
  • To strive to be objective, respectful, and considerate

Individual members may only act on the Committee’s behalf when authorized by the group to do so.

Submitting Concerns to the Committee

Arbitration Committee members are also community members, as such they frequently informally become aware of issues and concerns. They will not take individual reports as a report to the committee. The committee can be reached by email at arbitration@lists.realmsnet.net. A formal complaint form can be found here and may also be provided by any committee member.

Barring exceptional circumstances, the committee will generally only take action on complaints filed within 30 days.

Complaints can be filed by those who have been directly impacted by or directly witnessed rules violations. Individuals cannot file a complaint against themselves.

In instances where the complaint is related to harassment, discrimination, or assault only those directly impacted or event holders who have received complaints may file a complaint.

In addition, Event Holders who have received complaints at their event they feel warrant more significant consequences than they can impose may file a complaint with the Committee, whether or not they’ve taken individual action on them.

Event Holders may also report rule violations that occurred at their event, that they do not feel require additional action, for the purpose of ensuring that behavioral patterns that might not warrant action when taken as an isolated incident are recognized. An event report form can be found here to help facilitate them doing so.

If patterns of rule violations occur in these reports, the committee will notify all event holders via the Event Holders list, so that individual event holders can take them into account when deciding how to handle future violations.

Process

All decisions are made by majority vote. Individual committee members will not engage in external discussion or debate on issues being investigated.

Upon receiving a complaint, the committee will acknowledge receipt.

They then will determine if any members need to recuse themselves. If a member is either the victim or accuser, they are required to recuse themselves. If a member recuses themselves, they will not be involved in any other action or discussion related to the complaint.

While recusal may potentially happen when the complaint is initiated, members may recuse themselves at any time if they feel their ability to be objective has been compromised. For this reason, alternates are invo lved in the process, despite not having a vote unless activated.

Initial review will be to determine if further immediate action is needed on the complaint. Factors that will be taken into account are if the report meets the outlined criteria, if further action seems warranted, and previous information reported to the committee.

When investigating issues rules will be reviewed, relevant individuals will be interviewed, and related evidence will be considered.

Interviews will be limited to the number needed to gain a consistent picture of what occurred. If the victim and accuser accounts are factually consistent, witnesses may not be interviewed. Interviews will be conducted by designated committee members utilizing electronic communication or direct conversations. Any information shared with a committee member will be shared with the committee as a whole. When electronic communication is utilized screenshots of the conversations will be shared. If in-person/phone/skype interviews occur the content will be summarized by the committee member and shared with the group and the individual interviewed.

The committee will aim to be as efficient and timely as possible. Those who refuse to speak with committee members in a timely manner will forfeit their right to give evidence.

Findings

Findings will include what the votes were, which way each committee member voted, and information on reasoning. At minimal, the findings will be shared with the event holders list. Names will only be released if the committee feels it is necessary to prevent potential re-occurrences.

Review

This document will be reviewed annually by Committee Members and revised as needed. Players may send feedback and suggestions to arbitration@lists.realmsnet.net.