From the Omnibus:
The Complaint Review Board (henceforth referred to as the CRB) is a group of five primary members and three alternate members tasked with receiving Complaints of potential violations of Realms rules (including the Code of Conduct and the Rules for Event Holders) and investigating their validity. Following the investigation, they will present the matter to the Event Holders of the Realms.
The contents of this page describe the policies and procedures for the Complaint Review Board.
Submitting and Receiving Cases
Formal Complaints are the primary Cases submitted to the CRB. Any member of the Realms community may submit a Complaint to the CRB by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The party submitting the Complaint (henceforth referred to as the Complainant) must, at a minimum, include the following information:
- The name of the Complainant.
- The name(s) of the individual(s) who the Complainant believes to have violated one or more rules (henceforth referred to as the Defendant(s)).
- A description of the alleged violation.
- If the alleged violation(s) occurred at a Realms event, the name of that event.
If the CRB receives a Complaint which contains some but not all of the required information, they will attempt to contact the Complainant and collect the remaining information.
The Complainant may also include additional information with their Complaint, such as:
- A timeline of events that describes the alleged violation(s).
- The names of other individuals who were involved in and/or affected by the alleged violation(s), including witnesses and/or individuals who have intimate knowledge related to the incident.
- Any other information which the Complainant feels is related to the Case.
If the Complainant does not include any of this optional information when they initially submit the Complaint, or if the Complainant later realizes they have more of this information they have not yet submitted, they may still choose to provide such information at any time during an investigation.
The CRB will address Complaints submitted within one year from the incident in question. The CRB may, at their discretion, address Complaints submitted more than one year from the incident in question.
Infraction Reports are more minor Cases submitted to the CRB. Similar to a Complaint, any member of the Realms community may submit an Infraction Report to the CRB. This report must contain the same details that a Complaint would contain. For ease of language throughout this document, the names “Complainant” and “Defendant” will be used for Infraction Reports, despite these reports not being Complaints. The primary difference between a Complaint and an Infraction Report is that an Infraction Report will not lead to an adjudication, but a Complaint will.
When the CRB receives an Infraction Report, they will notify the Complainant of any similar Infraction Reports they have records of. The CRB has the sole discretion to determine what counts as “similar”, and the decision will be guided by whether they believe they have evidence of a pattern of behavior. The information the CRB will provide for such Infraction Reports will be limited to the dates the Infraction Reports were received, the names of the Defendants, and the nature of the alleged violations.
At any point during or after the investigation, the Complainant may choose to upgrade the Infraction Report to a Complaint, if time or new information makes them decide they want to see an adjudication. For the purposes of reporting deadlines, the date of this upgrade will be used as the date the Complaint was received. Within 48 hours of this upgrade, the CRB will contact the Defendant(s) to let them know the Infraction Report has been upgraded into a Complaint.
As above, the CRB will address as Complaints any Infraction Reports that are upgraded within one year from the incident in question and may, at their discretion, address ones that were upgraded more than one year from the incident.
Though the CRB normally does not need to report the details of Infraction Reports to the Event Holders’ List, a 2/3 vote at an Emergency EH Meeting or at the EHC can compel the CRB to send information on all Infraction Reports submitted within the past year. If this happens, the CRB will need to assemble a report for each Infraction Report similar to what they would put together for a Complaint. Each of these reports must be sent to the Event Holders’ List within 30 days of the vote. If the CRB is unable to meet this deadline, they will immediately (and every 7 days thereafter until the reports have been sent) contact the Event Holders’ List to provide a date on which they expect to finish.
Protection of Privacy
Any time the CRB asks an individual if they would like to be anonymous, the individual will be given at least 48 hours to respond. If the individual does not explicitly request or decline anonymity within that time, the CRB will proceed as if the individual requested anonymity. The CRB will not conduct any business with an individual before they’ve received a response to this question.
The CRB must, to the greatest reasonable extent, protect the privacy of all parties involved in Cases even if they do not request anonymity. Outside of internal communications, the CRB will only refer to involved individuals by name when necessary; otherwise, they will refer to involved individuals via designations such as “the Complainant”, “the Defendant(s)”, “person 1”, “person 2”, etc. Additionally, outside of internal communications, any circumstances related to the Case will only be described with the minimum necessary detail, so as to prevent compromising individuals’ anonymity.
In the course of their normal business, the CRB may conduct interviews with individuals. The CRB cannot decline to interview a party solely because they have requested anonymity. Additionally, the CRB cannot decline to interview a party solely because conducting the interview would create a conflict of interest for a member of the CRB. If the CRB must interview a party to the Case and doing so would create a conflict of interest for a member of the CRB, that member must recuse themself.
General Decision Making Process
The CRB makes decisions by majority vote. While certain policies in this document require a vote to be called, the Chairperson also has the authority to call for a vote on any matter. Votes are decided by simple majority, excluding abstentions. The Chairperson may cast a vote even if they called for the vote, but their vote is not considered to be more important than that of any other member.
If at any point a member of the CRB finds that they have a conflict of interest with a vote, they must recuse themself from that vote. If the conflict of interest will persist through the course of a CRB process, the member must recuse themself from that process. Whenever a member is recused, they must be replaced by an alternate for the duration of the recusal.
The CRB must always have at least five members available to conduct its business. If at any time fewer than five members are available, the CRB must halt the current process and call for an Emergency EH Meeting. A meeting called for this reason bypasses the requirement that a certain number of EHs need to agree to hold the meeting and must either elect enough temporary members to the CRB to reach the required five members or require that the Case shall be addressed by all present EHs not involved in the Case, rather than the CRB.
The CRB communicates with several parties as it conducts its business. Unless otherwise specified, the CRB will allow 48 hours for individuals to respond to CRB communication. Similarly, the CRB will respond to members of the Realms community within 48 hours. In either case, if the respondent(s) require more than 48 hours to respond, they must acknowledge receipt of the communication to its sender within 48 hours and provide an estimated timeline in which they expect to provide a full response.
Modification of Policies
The CRB is granted the authority to set and modify policies for itself which are not already established in the Omnibus or this webpage. Whenever the CRB utilizes or modifies a policy which is not established in the Omnibus or this webpage, they must inform the relevant parties.
An Emergency EH Meeting has the power to modify CRB policy in any way.
Challenging CRB Decisions and Policies
If a party to a Case is subjected to a CRB policy not explicitly established by the Omnibus or this webpage which they feel is unfair or inappropriate, they may call for an Emergency EH Meeting to attempt to modify or overrule the policy. If an Emergency EH Meeting is convened for this reason, the attendees of that meeting have the authority to force the CRB to make changes to its policies which are not explicitly governed by the Omnibus.
Upon receiving a Complaint or an Infraction Report, the CRB will contact the Complainant to acknowledge receipt within 48 hours. At the same time, they will ask the Complainant if they would like to remain anonymous. At any point during the Investigative Process, the Complainant may withdraw their Case, at which point the CRB shall cease their investigation and inform anyone they had interviewed that the investigation has ended.
After acknowledging receipt of the Case, the CRB will begin their investigative process by communicating with the Complainant, the Defendant(s), and any other relevant or necessary parties to provide each of them with the following information:
- The name of the Complainant, if the Complainant declines anonymity.
- The name of the Defendant(s).
- The nature of the alleged violation(s).
- An outline of the investigative process, including any anticipated modifications, exceptions, and/or relevant internal policies.
- An estimated timeline for the investigation.
The CRB will investigate all Cases regardless of perceived triviality.
Relevant notifications must be made within seven days of the CRB acknowledging receipt of the Case. If the CRB is unable to meet this deadline, they will immediately contact the Complainant and provide an expected timeline along with a justification for such.
After notifying the relevant parties, they will begin an investigation of the alleged violation(s). The CRB will interview the Complainant, the Defendant(s), and other parties and/or witnesses to the Case. At any point during the investigation, the Complainant, the Defendant(s), or the CRB itself may identify other additional parties who are related to the Case.
If, during the course of the investigation, the CRB modifies an existing policy or enacts a previously unmentioned policy, they must contact the Complainant, the Defendant(s), and any other relevant or necessary parties to inform them of the changes.
The CRB will make reasonable efforts to contact and interview parties named by the Complainant and Defendant(s), however, the CRB may decline to interview an individual who is found to be unresponsive or uncooperative. The CRB will allow individuals at least 48 hours to respond to requests for interviews, although the actual interview may take place outside of that 48 hour period. Interviews can be conducted over any mutually agreeable platform (the CRB should take reasonable measures to accommodate the preferences of a party to be interviewed) and must be recorded in some way.
The CRB may determine that the nature of the Case and the alleged violation is consistent with a pattern of behavior on the part of the Complainant and/or Defendant(s). In making such a determination, the CRB may consider (among other things): previous Cases received by the CRB, previous actions and investigations conducted by Realms administrative bodies, personal observation, and witness testimony. If the CRB is investigating a possible pattern of behavior, they may interview individuals who were not originally named in the Case in order to gather additional evidence.
The CRB should, to the greatest reasonable extent, strive to conclude their investigation within the 30 days which follow the CRB notifying parties that an investigation is underway. If the CRB is unable to meet this deadline, they will immediately (and every 7 days thereafter until the investigation is complete) contact the Complainant, the Defendant(s), and the Event Holders’ List to provide the following information:
- The date on which the CRB initiated the investigation.
- The reason for which the CRB has not yet been able to conclude the investigation.
- The date on which the CRB expects to conclude the investigation.
As soon as the CRB concludes an investigation, they will notify all parties who are eligible to receive the investigation report of this status and present an estimated timeline for the creation and distribution of the report.
Reporting on Investigations
Upon concluding their investigation of a Complaint, the CRB will generate a report describing the investigation. This is not required for Infraction Reports. The report will, at a minimum, contain the following information:
- The date on which the Complaint was received.
- The dates on which the investigation was started and ended.
- The name of any CRB member who recused themself, the date on which the recusal took place, and the name of the alternate member who replaced them.
- The name of the Complainant, if the Complainant declines anonymity.
- The name of the Defendant(s).
- The nature of the alleged violation(s).
- An outline of the investigative process, including any modifications, exceptions, and/or relevant internal policies.
- The number of anonymous individuals interviewed as part of the investigation, the names of any individuals who were interviewed and declined anonymity, and the date(s) of the interview(s) and the associated record(s).
- The name of every individual who was identified as a party to the Case but who was not interviewed, along with justification for why the individual was not interviewed and the date(s) on which the individual was contacted by the CRB with a request for an interview.
- Any other evidence associated with the Case.
- The result of every vote called by the CRB, along with the date on which the vote was called, the options being voted upon, and the way in which each member of the CRB voted.
The report will be created according to the Protection of Privacy guidelines.
The CRB will then contact every individual who is named in the report and ask each of them if they would like their name to be redacted in the report. The CRB must allow individuals at least 48 hours to respond to this inquiry. Any individual who fails to respond in a timely manner is assumed to have asked for their name to be redacted. All requests for redaction must be honored, with the following exceptions:
- The CRB can refuse a request for redaction if they determine that such redaction would have a serious negative impact on the comprehension of the report. This exception can only be used if a majority of the members of the CRB vote to approve it. A vote must be called for each instance in which this exception is to be used, regardless of the individual involved.
- The names of the members of the CRB who performed any part of the investigation cannot be redacted.
No individual may ask for their name to be redacted from the report for the sole reason of being allowed to participate and/or vote in the related adjudication meeting. Any person believed to be pursuing this intent may be barred or ejected from the adjudication meeting at the determination of the CRB. They may also be subject to further action.
Interview records may be transcribed to make them more accessible. The CRB may also modify interview records to remove elements that they deem entirely irrelevant to the investigation.
The CRB may also redact evidence collected during the course of the investigation as they deem applicable, particularly as it might relate to the Protection of Privacy. Records of interviews with individuals who request anonymity or whose names have been redacted from the report will be modified in such a way to remove or sanitize personally identifying characteristics (e.g. tone, pitch, appearance, vocabulary, etc.). Modifications for this purpose cannot substantially change the evidence presented by the record.
The report will, to the greatest reasonable extent, indicate what evidence has been modified and the nature of the modification.
Prior to distributing the complete report, the CRB will contact each individual (named or unnamed) who provided evidence included in the report to confirm that the applicable sections of the report satisfy the individual’s requests for privacy and accurately portrays the evidence which they provided. The section of the report shared with each party will be limited only to the testimony or evidence that they provided. If an individual feels that the report does not meet their requested level of privacy or that any evidence which they provided has been modified in such a way that it misrepresents what was originally provided, they should inform the CRB of the deficiency and provide recommendations to correct it. In the case of a disagreement over modification of evidence, if the individual and CRB cannot reach an agreement on the manner in which the evidence is presented, the individual may demand that some or all of the evidence which they provided be included in the report without modification (and in so doing waive their right to privacy as it applies to the evidence in question). The CRB will comply with such a demand so long as doing so does not compromise the anonymity or integrity of other evidence in the report. Once these parties approve of the report, the CRB will next repeat this confirmation process with the Defendant(s), affiliated parties, and other parties included in the report. The report will not be more broadly distributed until all involved parties explicitly approve of it.
Within one week of the completion of the investigation of a Complaint, the CRB will distribute the report (with applicable redactions) to all named and unnamed parties to the Complaint (including the Complainant and the Defendant(s)), as well as the Event Holders’ List. If the CRB is unable to meet this deadline, they will immediately (and every 7 days thereafter until the report is distributed) contact everyone to whom the report is to be distributed and provide the following information:
- The date on which the CRB concluded the investigation.
- The reason for which the CRB has not yet been able to distribute the report.
- The date on which the CRB expects to distribute the report.
Community Status Updates
Every quarter the CRB must provide the following information in writing to the Realms community:
- The total number of Complaints submitted in the past quarter (not including upgraded Infraction Reports).
- The number of Complaints withdrawn in this quarter.
- The total number of Infraction Reports submitted in the past quarter.
- The number of Infraction Reports upgraded to Complaints in the past quarter.
- The number of investigations started in the past quarter.
- The number of investigations completed in the past quarter and the amount of time required to complete each of them.
- The number of investigations which were closed due to a Complaint being withdrawn.
- The number of investigations which remain incomplete.
This information will be made publicly available on RealmsNet within 15 days of the end of each quarter and will remain available for a minimum of ten years.
For the purposes of this policy, “quarters” are further defined as such:
- First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
- Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
- Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30
- Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31
Adjudication of Complaints
After receiving an investigation report from the CRB, the EHs will decide if the matter is serious enough to warrant an Emergency EH Meeting. No sooner than 48 hours and no later than two weeks after the report has been distributed, the Administrative Meeting Organizers will solicit support for an Emergency EH Meeting. The purpose of this delay is to allow the EHs time to fully process the investigation report. If this results in an Emergency EH Meeting, then the Complaint will be adjudicated at that meeting. Otherwise, the Complaint will be adjudicated at the next regular session of the EHC.
If the CRB releases its investigation report within 6 weeks leading up to the next EHC, the options will be an Emergency EH Meeting or the following year’s EHC. If a report is released more than 6 weeks and no more than 12 weeks before the next EHC, there will be no vote, and the Complaint will be adjudicated at the upcoming EHC.
Prior to the adjudication meeting, the Administrative Meeting Organizers (with the help of the CRB) will appoint an Adjudication Moderator. The Adjudication Moderator is responsible for counting votes and managing the flow of discussion.
At any point before the meeting, the Complainant may contact the CRB to withdraw their Complaint. If this happens, the CRB must let the EHs and all involved parties know that the Complaint has been withdrawn, and the Complaint will no longer be discussed at the meeting. If the meeting was an Emergency EH Meeting with no other topics, that meeting is canceled.
Regardless of whether it happens at an Emergency EH Meeting or a regular EHC, adjudication of Complaints investigated by the CRB is governed by the policies and procedures which follow.
Special Permissions and Restrictions
Any party named in the investigation report may attend the adjudication portion of the meeting, regardless of any other eligibility requirements. The Administrative Meeting Organizers (with the help of the CRB Chairperson or Vice Chairperson) are responsible for informing these relevant parties of their eligibility to attend the meeting.
Following the guidelines established above in the Protection of Privacy section, all participants (regardless of their eligibility to vote) should only refer to a party by name if they appear in the report. Redacted names should be referred to by abstract designators. Any person who, through direct statement or implication, reveals the identity of a redacted or anonymous party or reveals aspects of other evidence which are redacted without first securing permission to do so from the applicable party/parties will be promptly ejected from the adjudication proceedings and may be subject to further action. The Adjudication Moderator has the sole authority to enforce this policy, but may do so with input from the CRB. An individual who is anonymous or redacted from the report may voluntarily identify themself, as they are assumed to have given themself permission. Neither the CRB nor any other meeting attendee has the authority to compel an anonymous individual to identify themself.
Neither the Complainant nor the Defendant(s) may participate in votes which are related to the adjudication of their Case. The CRB may determine that other individuals have an exceptionally close relationship to the Case and are thus also barred from casting votes. Any determination of this nature can be overruled with a vote by the EHs.
Any other meeting attendee who is named as a party to the Case is prohibited from talking during the meeting unless they are responding to a question which has been addressed to them. They are not prohibited from casting votes. If the CRB or the Adjudication Moderator feel it would be a valuable contribution to the discussion, they may allow specific attendees named as parties to the Case to make statements.
Any other meeting attendee may choose to recuse themself from discussion and voting if they feel that they have a conflict of interest with the Case.
Unless otherwise specified, all votes called during the adjudication process are decided by a 2/3 majority of eligible votes cast, excluding abstentions.
To start the adjudication meeting, the member of the CRB who is serving as Chairperson for the investigation revisits the contents of the investigation report and highlights elements which they feel are particularly important to the Case.
Following the statement by the CRB, the meeting participants will discuss the Case. During this time, they may pose questions to the members of the CRB who conducted the investigation to clarify aspects of the Case. They may also pose questions to individuals in attendance who are named as parties to the Complaint for the same reason. The Adjudication Moderator should manage the flow of discussion in such a way that prioritizes the ability of the CRB and named parties to the Complaint to answer questions directed at them.
Any participant may call for a vote to end the discussion period. A result in favor of ending discussion moves the adjudication process to the next stage.
Following the discussion period, the meeting participants will consider what (if any) action is warranted by the Case. Participants may propose actions that they feel are appropriate for the situation; the proposal must then be seconded by another participant before it will be taken under consideration. The Adjudication Moderator will keep a record of actions that are under consideration. For the sake of the language in this section, “taking no further action” is considered to be an action. A participant who had proposed an action that is under consideration may choose to remove their proposal from consideration. This does not prevent another participant from later proposing the same thing.
As before, the meeting participants may ask the CRB or named parties to clarify elements of the Case. However, the Adjudication Moderator is responsible for keeping the questions relevant to the current stage of the adjudication process.
Any participant may call for a vote to end this stage of adjudication if at least one action is under consideration. A result in favor of ending discussion moves the adjudication process to the next stage.
After considering possible courses of action, the meeting participants pursue a particular action in response to the Case. First, they use Approval Voting to identify the most popular course of action. Then there will be a confirmation vote on whether to proceed with that course of action. If the confirmation vote for a course of action fails, the meeting participants will have discussion to identify why the vote failed and to pick a new course of action. Once a new course of action has been chosen, a new confirmation vote will be held.
Finally, once a course of action has been adopted, the CRB determines what (if anything) needs to be done in order to enforce the action. Within 48 hours of the conclusion of the adjudication meeting, the CRB will notify all relevant parties (which may potentially include the Event Holders’ List) of the results of the meeting. If the CRB determines that enforcement is required, then the notification must also include all of the information that is necessary for enforcement, which can include: the nature of the action, its effective duration, conditions under which the action can be relieved, and/or the player(s) to whom the action applies.