It's a little hard to believe that almost nine months have passed since I became Justicar. I've only put out a single formal report in that time, but that's the nature of this job -- a lot happens behind the scenes, only rarely (thankfully) finding its way onto the news page in the form of verdicts and Justicar Opinions. The primary purpose of this report is to open applications for both Hands of Justice positions as well as the Appeals Panel. I’m also going to introduce and explain a new DB Website Content Policy.
First, though, I'd like to take some time to pull back the curtain a bit and give you all a better sense of what exactly it is that my staff and I do around here.
This is a constant process. Aside from prosecuting violations of the Covenant, one the Justicar’s roles is as an advisor to the Grand Master and Dark Council and interpreter of the Covenant. The Hands of Justice often assist me with this. When a difficult question arises, I like to discuss with the Hands and seek their interpretations of the Covenant. Arden and Alaris have been very helpful in this capacity, and although we have not always agreed on those interpretations, their critical analyses have helped me shore up or adapt the advice that I give.
One of the first things I did as Justicar was propose Covenant amendments to bring the club into compliance with the EU’s wide-reaching new privacy regulation known as the GDPR. The two primary changes were the implementation of an absolute right to have a dossier deleted and raising the club’s minimum age to 16.
I want to reiterate that, although any member may now ask for and receive a dossier deletion at any time, no member has a right to rejoin without MAA and JST permission. Perhaps more importantly, the Covenant prohibits the restoration of a deleted dossier. On more than one occasion, a member has requested deletion in anger or frustration, only to later regret the decision and ask for restoration. Unfortunately, those requests must always be denied. If you find yourself thinking about asking for a dossier deletion, I recommend taking some time to think about it before rushing to make the request. There are alternatives, like going rogue or having your dossier made invisible, that don’t result in the permanent loss of your hard-earned honors.
I don’t currently anticipate proposing any additional substantive Covenant amendments, but I am considering whether some technical amendments (that is, amendments that clarify the existing rule without changing its substance) may be appropriate -- more on that below.
The closest thing that the Chamber of Justice has to a routine administrative task is keeping an eye out for potential clone accounts. Our fancy website is very good at flagging suspicious activity, and the CoJ and Dark Council have quite a bit of experience with spotting what Jac liked to call the "Badges of Cloning." Specifically, we look at the following:
When we have reason to believe two dossiers may belong to a single person, the Right Hand of Justice contacts the dossiers, describes what we think is happening, and asks for an explanation. Most of the time, these cases turn out to be the result of friends, family members, roommates, or coworkers sharing a computer or network connection. What that happens, we make a note of it in our tracking system and everyone can move on. Other times, a new member will share an email address or account name with an old dossier (usually a long-dormant dossier). When this happens, it's usually because someone forgot their old login info or even that they had signed up in the past, and we work with them to select a single dossier so that the other can be deleted in line with our cloning policies.
Finally, there is the unusual case of malicious cloning. These include the cases you've seen news posts about, the ones you can find archived on the wiki. These also include the rare case of an expelled member attempting to rejoin without permission. It happens very infrequently and we have an excellent track record when it comes to identifying and removing those accounts. We do not publicize these events, as they are considered enforcement of an expulsion rather than new cases in their own right.
What does a demotion entail? It doesn’t just change the rank displayed on a dossier; it changes what accessories, weapons, robes, and warbanners a member has access to. It also now has implications for possessions.
The possessions system has been with us for a couple of years now, but its impact on sentences imposed by the CoJ has only been tested in two cases, the first of which immediately followed its launch. Specifically, possessions added a new layer of “honors” that attach to rank, in the form of credits and rank-locked items. In the most recent CoJ verdict, DB v. Kromtal, DB 060, the sentence included a one-rank Equite demotion. While implementing the sentence, which included deducting the promotion bonus for the removed rank from Kromtal’s credit account, I realized that in the single previous demotion case following the launch of possessions, DB 059, we had failed to deduct promotion bonuses.
I discussed the issue with the Grand Master and the Hands and ultimately determined that, although nearly two years had passed since the demotion and overlooked credit bonuses, the excess credits had to be removed for two reasons. First, as a matter of fairness to all members and to protect the integrity of the credit system, no one should be able to receive bonus credits for a given rank promotion more than once. If a member earns a 10,000 credit promotion bonus and is then demoted one rank, that member would re-earn the 10,000 bonus when re-attaining his or her previous rank. In that case, the member should retain only 10,000 credits rather than 20,000 for being promoted to the same rank twice.
Second, a demotion is a punishment and no one should benefit from a windfall arising from a punishment. The Covenant imposes general time restrictions on bringing charges or issuing penalties outside of trial, but it imposes no time restriction on enforcing a sentence imposed at trial. As such, despite the long period of time that had elapsed since the original sentencing in DB 059, I decided that the punishment should be fully enforced and the windfall erased.
As I mentioned above, I am considering whether some small technical amendments to the Covenant might be valuable. At the top of the list would be clarifying what a demotion entails -- making it clear that everything attached to a rank is stripped when a demotion is imposed.
The DB has a longstanding practice of controlling what members publish to our website for offensive or inappropriate content. In some instances, those rules exist in defined policies, such as the MAA’s prohibition on offensive names; in other cases, it has been handled on an ad hoc basis without a clear policy backing, like when warbanner images have been rejected as offensive.
Today, we are implementing a new DB Website Content Policy that authorizes Dark Council members to exercise a degree of discretion in reviewing all content published to the DB website and its various subdomains, including the wiki. The policy has been published to the Wiki and is in effect as of this report. I am including the policy in full below, for reference:
The Dark Jedi Brotherhood is a Star Wars fanclub with a diverse membership that includes minors. Although the Covenant grants members the right of free speech, it also cautions that exercise of the right must be tempered by respect for the rights and protection of members under 18. The Covenant further clarifies that the public image of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood is a matter of concern for the club as a whole.
Therefore, the Dark Council reserves the right to deny, remand, edit, or remove content from the Dark Jedi Brotherhood website that it determines is inappropriate for the Star Wars setting and/or for the consumption of our minor members. This policy is intended to be read and applied narrowly, with a preference for permitting members to revise affected content.
Members affected by a determination that their content will be removed from the Dark Jedi Brotherhood website pursuant to this policy will be notified of the action taken and the reason for it. Objections to the application of this policy may be made to the Grand Master.
Nothing in this policy limits or otherwise restricts members from creating content that is not hosted on the Dark Jedi Brotherhood website.
For purposes of this policy, the Dark Jedi Brotherhood website includes all subdomains and services hosted on the darkjedibrotherhood.com domain.
The intent of the policy is to keep our public-facing content both grounded in the Star Wars universe and appropriate for a club that admits minors as members. Potentially controversial or offensive content that is not based on events or themes from Star Wars may violate the policy. However, as the policy itself notes, it should be applied as narrowly as possible. I also want to be clear that violating this policy will not result in CoJ charges; it is simply meant to put members on notice that not everything belongs on our website.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! I have five staff positions that need filling: two Hands, and three Appeals Panel members. As Jac did in the days of yore, I have decided to accept applications by way of an insightful and irresistible survey. I am accepting applications for two weeks, from now until Monday, Feb. 18. Feel free to apply for all five jobs or for none: the choice is yours! You can find the position descriptions on the CoJ Wiki page -- I won’t repeat them here because this report is already far too long.
There are no rank or experience requirements. I will try to select members from broad range of clans to fill these slots, but, especially for the Hands, my decision will be based on who I think is the best person for each job.
One note I will make is that, aside from the RHoJ serving as prosecutor and LHoJ as defense counsel during trial, the day-to-day administrative work of the jobs differs in one key way: the Right Hand is primarily responsible for processing potential clone notices, including contacting relevant members and keeping our tracking database updated. It’s usually not a heavy lift, but it’s very important and time sensitive.
If you’re at all interested in serving in the Chamber and can commit to holding one of the positions for a year, please apply!
The next time you see something from me on the news page, it should be the announcement of the new Hands and Appeals Panel for 2019. As always, please feel free to email me or message me on Telegram with any comments, questions, or concerns.
Adept Dacien Victae
Justicar of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood
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