BWC Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
BLACK WIDOW COMPANY ETHOS, VALUES, AND SOP
We are a military-style gaming Company with a lengthy, unbroken history. This community is defined as military-style because it has a rigid support infrastructure patterned after a military unit with awards, decorations, ranks, billets, and duty positions. It has a hard-coded and stable Chain of Command with a dedicated corps of leaders, officers, and NCOs (Sergeants) at all levels. More than that, we pride ourselves on teamwork and community. We espouse an ethos encompassing unity, respect, brotherhood, and family.
We recognise that BWC members will come from all walks of life. Different cultures, different societies, different beliefs. This can cause problems because there may be varying definitions of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Whilst we respect that and make provisions for potential conflict due to widely divergent beliefs, the only thing that matters to BWC as a whole is *OUR ORGANISATION* and the code of conduct which governs our organisation: the SOP. Most of this can be summed up with one word: respect.
The SOP is both a code of conduct and a set of rules. This document is required reading for all members of BWC -- all members are expected to read this document and adhere to its expectations. You will post a reply in the SOP forum thread with a simple "/sign" should you accept the terms we put forth.
BWC ETHOS: One Team, One Fight
This mantra is the ethos of team spirit and camaraderie. It is the concept of mutual support. This mantra symbolises that Black Widow Company is not a disparate assembly of members who play one or two games. Regardless of what game you are here to play, you are now part of our community. Our community is not a collective of gamers, it is a community of friends and family. You are not just here for PS2 or SWTOR or MWO or Hello Kitty Online. You are here for Gaming Excellence, and you are here to be part of a community that transcends the average multi-game "guild" mentality. Because we are a brotherhood, we do not turn our back on our brothers. Regardless of what game division within BWC that you belong to, you are a BWC member first and foremost. You are not a BWC member of Planetside 2 [for example]; you are a BWC member, period.
BWC CORE VALUES: LDRSHIP
The BWC Core Values are included in the SOP because all BWC members are expected to read and /sign the SOP. The BWC Core Values are the core foundations of what we expect our members to exemplify and we believe that all of our members should try to live up to them. These are the guiding principles upon which we model our behaviour, and thus they are the guiding principle behind the BWC SOP. Our Core Values are the bedrock upon which policy should be based. Our Core Values are not up for discussion or modification. All of BWC's policies, procedures, and SOP amendments should be written with the Core Values in mind. These are not exactly rules, but rather they represent the characteristics that embody BWC members -- they are what being a member of Black Widow Company is all about. The core BWC Values can be summed up with the acronym LDRSHIP, and they are further defined as:
-- Loyalty -- loyalty to Black Widow Company and the factions for which we fight (we are not turncoats, we back each other up, we are brothers and sisters).
-- Dependability -- when a BWC member says "I'll be there", his battle brothers can bank on him being there. A member of BWC can rely upon fellow members to embody the One Team, One Fight ethos. We never fight alone.
-- Respect -- treat all BWC members as you would treat any other beloved member of your family. Treat people as they should be treated. Remember the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
-- Selfless Service -- the standard set by Black Widow Company's Commanding Officer is to put the welfare of the unit and your battle brothers before your own whether they are your peers, subordinates, or upline leaders.
-- Honour -- live up to, and embody, all BWC Core Values. Honour is honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions. It means you are a source of credit or distinction.
-- Integrity -- do what's right, ethically and morally, the first time every time. If you truly believe in your heart that what you are doing is honest and correct, then the worst you can ever be is wrong.
-- Personal Courage -- face fear, danger, or adversity whether it be physical or moral.
The Black Widow Company has been in continuous operation since the earliest days of 2003. We have become a recognized gaming organization across multiple games. Game developers from no less than six studios are keen to work with BWC. Our members are regarded as disciplined, trained, and professional. As such, we expect all of our members to act the part.
BWC Bearing is the practice of discipline, ethics, attitude, appearance, and conduct by a BWC member. It is how you portray yourself. It means that they behave with a certain decorum and discipline. They adhere to the utmost levels of the Core Values and professionalism when in the presence of non-BWC members or when presented with a difficult situation.
Regardless of your age, rank, billeted position or time in BWC you are to uphold the Core Values at all times, BWC prides itself and her members on these.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, always make the right one the first time, remember that whenever you log onto Team Speak or the forums, you never know who what guests are on the forums or on TS.
BWC SOP Section 1 - Recruit and Member Expectations
Subsection A - Recruit Expectations
Clause 1. All members will be required to sign up for and use the BWC Operations Server (OPSERV).
- A. You are required to add your signature code located in your personnel jacket on OPSERV to your forum profile in the signature box.
Clause 2. All prospective members start at the rank of recruit, regardless of past standing with other organizations.
- A. As a member, you are assigned a primary chain of command and should follow that chain starting with your first point of contact. This should be discussed in your recruitment thread welcoming post as well as in Orientation.
Clause 3. Upon joining BWC you will undergo a two-week trial period to see if you are a good fit for BWC and if BWC is a good fit for you.
- A. You are expected to complete your Orientation within your first week of being accepted to BWC. By the end of the two-week trial, you are also required to have completed your chosen primary game’s BTI I as well as 1 operation.
- B. Upon completion of the above requirements you will be evaluated for full membership and promotion to the rank of Private.
- C. Any Recruit who receives a strike will have their trial phase immediately terminated.
Possible disciplinary actions: Violations of the Recruit Expectations policy will result in a warning or immediate termination of the membership trial phase depending on the severity of the violation. Any Recruit who violates a portion of the BWC SOP during their trial phase will be immediately removed and placed on a 6 month cool-down before they can apply for re-entry.
Subsection B - Member Expectations
Clause 1. Members are encouraged to attend all trainings, meetings, and operations that are available to them.
Clause 2. If you join Black Widow Company, you play with BWC. You did not join BWC to be part-time.
- A. If you actively play on the same server as any BWC Regiment you will be required to play with us, with no alternates in other outfits or other factions on that same server.
- B. This policy applies only to the PlanetSide 2 Regiment, MWO Regiment, Star Citizen Regiment, and the SWTOR Regiment.
Clause 3. All BWC members are expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times, regardless of rank. You will be respectful of all members, and you will be afforded that same respect.
Clause 4. BWC conducts real-world (IRL) gatherings and get-togethers, oftentimes at public events or in public places. We expect our members to conduct themselves as they would at any other point during BWC gaming.
- A. When we are guests at a public facility or installation, we will adhere to that facility's rules and regulations. Certain facilities or certain activities may have age/alcohol restrictions. We honor, respect, and enforce those policies.
Clause 5. BWC is primarily a group of adults. We may conduct activities such as Intoxi-Operations that involve the consumption of Alcohol. BWC does not condone the underage consumption of Alcoholic or illegal substances as defined by your place of legal residence.
- A. All Intoxi-OP attendees are required to accept the terms and conditions available via the operation on OPSERV. Any member in attendance who has not accepted the policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
Clause 6. BWC members are expected to conduct themselves with professionalism and respect while in-game.
- A. Members do not Team Kill at all, at any time. The ONLY exception to the rule is when authorised by Regimental or BWC Command, for example a knife or Gun fighting Operation in PlanetSide 2
- B. The drop, squad, platoon lead, raid leader, or op leader is the ultimate authority in game and what they say goes, unless it violates one of the SOPs outlined here.
- C. If you have a suggestion for the unit or op leader, send it via private message on TeamSpeak (TS) or in-game if applicable.
Clause 7. If you use the BWC brand, name, mark, or logo, we reserve the right to use the material in whatever fashion we see fit. Proper credit will be provided where possible.
Possible disciplinary actions: Violations of the Member Expectations Policy will result in a warning and will be followed by a strike for continued violations. Documentation of all actions taken will be placed in your dossier/personal jacket. Any violation of Clauses 4 or 5 will result in immediate levying of a strike and possible dismissal from the Organization depending on the severity of the violation.
Subsection C - Hacking and Exploiting
Clause 1. BWC believes in fair play within the bounds of game mechanics. We differentiate between "fair play" and "honorable conduct".
- A. Hacking, cracking, scripting, botting, and usage of unauthorized (e.g. not approved or sanctioned by the game designer, developer or producer) third-party programs that present an unfair advantage are considered dishonorable and against BWC standards.
- B. Those who unintentionally run across bugs/exploits should do their very best to avoid situations where such bugs/exploits will give them advantage. Strikes may be issued for players who continue to exploit bugs after they have been told of fixes for said bugs. This does not include gameplay mechanics which, during the course of gameplay, are available to all. We define an exploit as anything which provides a player with an unfair advantage over other players.
Clause 2. The Black Widow Company does not encourage, condone or participate in the unsanctioned or unauthorized buying, trading and selling of the intellectual property of any game designer, developer or producer (IP holder), and in fact specifically prohibits it.
- A. Unsanctioned and unauthorized refers specifically to any and all methods not given specific approval to by the IP holder, or the use of any transaction vehicles outside of the direct financial control of the IP holder, such as game currency or item sites operated by 3rd parties.
Clause 3. The spirit and the intent of the SOP are just as important as the letter of the SOP. If a gaming company says "hacking our game is okay", that is developer-sanctioned.
- A. BWC reserves the right to moderate its community to maintain a sterling reputation and it will always reserve the right to disallow all modifications/cracks whether a game developer allows it or not.
Clause 4. Membership in BWC comes with the expectation of being honest, forthright and aboveboard in your personal and professional engagement with the Outfit.
- A. This is a broader net than most, encompassing issues that can range from being honest about award criteria to maintaining a truthful posture in your communications with your fellow BWC members.
Possible disciplinary actions: Violations of the Hacking and Exploiting policy can vary in regards to discipline. Violations of Clause 1 will result in an immediate review of your actions. If you are found to have knowingly and maliciously hacked, cracked, or made use of an exploit to gain an unfair advantage, you will be levied a strike. Violations of Clauses 2, 3, or 4 may result in the issue of a warning or a strike based on severity.
BWC SOP Section 2 - Communication
Subsection A - Forums and Chat
Clause 1. All members will maintain activity on the forums by participating at least once in a 90 day period.
- A. If you are going to be out of contact for an extended period of time you must use the following link to post a LOA
Clause 2. At all times you are to show respect to your fellow members.
- A. Private Messages (PMs) are generally not moderated unless you share them with a member of C&S or someone you are messaging reports the message as inappropriate. In such a case you may be levied with disciplinary action.
Clause 3. Any use of inappropriate language will be edited out by a member of C&S and will be documented in your dossier.
- A. Discussions involving race, religion, sexual slurs, or any other hot button topic as outlined by BWC Command is prohibited.
- B. When involving yourself in conversation on public, non-BWC forums with information linking you to BWC, you are required to abide by all BWC SOPs and expected to conduct yourself as an ambassador of this community.
Clause 4. BWC forbids the trash-talking of game developers on our forums and in our chat box.
Clause 5. All forum signatures will be limited to two banner lines, the first of which shall always be the BWC mandated Fruit Salad available through the OPSERV system with no other images in this line. The Fruit Salad banner must also appear above any text in your signature. The second banner can be of your choosing and may reflect your personality, game of choice or favorite thing in life, so long as it does not violate Section 1 of this policy. The second line is also the only area authorized for supplemental badge/unit tags, not to exceed two tags. The maximum size for any signature banner is 700 pixels wide by 200 pixels high (700x200).
- A. All avatars and forum signatures must be content appropriate for an all ages environment, i.e. must not contain nudity, excessive profanity, nor other material deemed inappropriate according to the standards of BWC as outlined within the SOP.
Possible disciplinary actions: Violations of the Activity policy in Clause 1 will result in removal from BWC after a warning has been PM'd/e-mailed to you. All other violations of these SOPs will be subject to a warning or immediate levying of a strike depending on severity. Documentation will be placed in your dossier/personnel jacket.
Subsection B - TeamSpeak
Clause 1. Members must have a functional microphone, but do not need to use it unless they are in a leadership role or otherwise specified by the game-specific SOP.
Clause 2. When you are playing a supported game with other BWC members in squads, drops, dungeons, or any other BWC Team Play events, you are required to be on TS.
- A. You must be on TeamSpeak if logged into the game during that Game Regiment’s all-hands operations.
- B. Though it is strongly encouraged, you do not need to be on TeamSpeak while farming, solo playing, or grinding.
- C. During a regiment's structured play (all hands) operations you must be on TeamSpeak and in the appropriate channels set aside for said structured play operation if you intend to play the game.
Clause 3. At all times you are to remain respectful and observe proper etiquette when using our TeamSpeak or representing BWC on another TeamSpeak.
- A. Use of sound boards on TeamSpeak is prohibited, as is the unwanted spamming of music.
- B. When joining a channel, wait up to 30 seconds to be acknowledged before speaking. C&S may make exceptions for extenuating circumstances.
Clause 4. Other Games channels are a place to play the games BWC does not support. You must make a note in your name or description of what game you are playing.
- A. It is acceptable for members of BWC Staff to play games in their public rooms if they are doing work for BWC. Staff includes S-1, S-6, PAO, and ORDO.
Clause 5. BWC members are allowed to sponsor friends, family, or individuals who play with us on a regular basis to be guests on TeamSpeak.
- A. Each guest will be given the Trusted Guest user-group and must have their sponsor’s name in their description and their outfit tag before their name (if they have one). Sponsors will be held accountable for their guest’s actions.
- B. The Trusted Guest user-group will allow access to each Regiment’s public lobby and the S-1 Shop. They may be dragged into BWC channels during operation times if approved by the OP lead or Command team.
Clause 6. The Ambassador user-group is reserved for industry contacts and allied organizations who require access to TeamSpeak. This group can only be assigned by a member of Senior C&S and those within the group should be treated as you would treat any BWC member. They do not require a sponsor to be on TeamSpeak and can come and go as they please.
- A. Any observed SOP violations of users within this group should be handled on the spot, including up to a removal of permissions if warranted. Documentation should be sent immediately to your Regimental Team or S-Shop Cadre members.
Possible disciplinary actions: Violations of this SOP section come with an official warning, to be placed in the violator’s dossier. Severe violations and repeated violations will result in the application of a strike to your jacket.
BWC SOP Section 3 - Disciplinary Action and Procedure
Subsection A - Discipline
Clause 1. BWC operates on a three-strike rule for SOP violations. There is a defined process for investigating and issuing a Strike, and this is done at the Regimental (game division) level.
- A. All strikes are documented in the member's OpServ Personnel Jacket. Each member of BWC is afforded the opportunity to appeal any Strike.
- B. To submit an appeal, write up your response to the strike and why you feel your actions did not in fact break the BWC SOP or why you believe they warranted breaking the SOP. Appeals should be sent directly to all 3 members of BWC Command as well as the 3 Regimental members of your primary game. Failure to follow this procedure will result in your appeal being immediately denied.
Clause 2. After a Strike is issued, it remains active on a member's jacket for 6 months.
- A. All Strikes decay in 6 months and remain recorded, but no longer active.
- B. Any instance of a member having 3 active Strikes on the books dated after 01AUG2014 will result in a 6 month separation from BWC.
- C. After 6 months, members may re-apply to BWC. At this point the Game Regiment and BWC Command will review the request and either approve or deny it.