OSI Updates Harassment Policy
In August of 2001, the problem of "Grief" players had increased in UO. Players who's sole purpose was to harass and/or kill other players just to upset them, close player run towns or force players to quit games was at an all time high. The situation came to a head on Europa shard where OSI made a statement that grief killing wouldnt be tolerated and they went on to outline the steps to be taken in that case.

On Atlantic, grief pkillers were attacking players, vendor operators and customers in the Syndicates city of Arx Draconis. GMs were paged under the new policy and GM Spitfire arrived one day to warn the pks. The pks spoke to the GM and when all was done the GM left them with a warning but they felt sure they were allowed to pkill. They were wrong.

The Syndicate, unbeknost to the griefers, opened an issue with OSI as well as a public discussion on the OSI boards to which OSI replied to their specific situation. GM Canyon issued the following statement about OSIs policy on those actions in public:

I just sent out a reminder to our entire support team stating how these types of issues should be handled. We do take these things very seriously, and the team does try to track these carefully. Here's the actual email sent out, only slightly edited.

Please remember that we do not tolerate players targeting certain groups for harassment. We have been receiving an increase in customer contacts reporting harassment of Player-Run towns. When we get these reports, we need to be thorough in handling these incidents. Document in [the database] reports of repeated harassment directed towards players or a player-run town. Take the time to talk to the caller, and see if this is a developing pattern. We need to stamp out this type of conduct, because the longer it continues, the more likely we are to lose customers, and be faced with multiple complaints.

From the manual:

An isolated incident may not be considered harassment, but a pattern of antisocial behavior may be considered harassment. Pking another player is not harassment. However, if the pk targets a person, day after day, simply to ruin their UO experience, it would be considered harassment. It is often hard to make this distinction, but if the harasser returns day after day to the same place for the expressed purpose of ruining a gamerís experience, this is most likely harassment.

GM Canyon then later commented, to make sure people knew this was policy and not his interpretation of it by saying: Rest assured, that is the official policy. While a GM will evaluate each situation on a case by case basis, this is the policy and expectations set for them in handling this type of call.

It is great to see OSI taking a stance on harassment and grief players. Players affected by it need to realize it takes time to show the pattern of harassment. Any one act of pkilling isnt harassment but the same person or group of people reporting the same pkiller or group of pkillers in the same area over time does denote harassment and will be punished. When a player pages under harassment it sends their active, in game journal to the GMs via email which is reviewed by a special offline team each day. This journal will clearly show who attacked first. The record will often show the attackees doing things like shopping or stocking vendors or just being present (i.e. no hostile activity taken).

In terms of the griefers at the city of Arx Draconis, by the time this history article was released, each one has had many harassment calls logged clearly showing them attacking customers and vendor operators, unprovoked. The calls show the same players attacking the same groups in the same spot every day and a pattern is being shown quite clearly. That pattern will continue to be shown until its sufficient for OSI to act upon.

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