Department of Leadership, Law, and Communication: Chamber of Justice 101: A Primer on Member Conduct

Introduction

This course is designed to teach new members the basic expectations of member conduct within the Brotherhood. The ultimate goal is to give new members clear guidance on what conduct to avoid and to keep them on the right path to enjoy themselves and prosper in this club. The detail of this course is mostly derived from Section 7.06 of the Covenant relating to the Conduct of Members.

Rules of the Brotherhood: The Covenant and Policies

Rules for member conduct in the Brotherhood arise primarily from two sources. First and foremost is the Covenant, which is the constitution of the Brotherhood. Section 1 of the Covenant describes its purpose as establishing the club’s “basic organization, the powers and limits of its leaders, and the rights of its members. The rules set forth in the Covenant ensure that the Dark Jedi Brotherhood remains a respectable, enjoyable organization that maintains a high standard of integrity, intellect, and achievement.”

All of the Brotherhood’s institutions and rules ultimately derive from the authority of the Covenant, and any changes to the Covenant must follow specific procedures including a three-fourths vote of the Dark Council and Clan Consuls. Specific rules on the conduct of members can be found in Section 7.06.

The second source of member conduct rules can be found in Dark Brotherhood Policies. Whereas the Covenant governs the basic functioning of the Brotherhood and is difficult to alter, Policies are established as-needed to guide the day-to-day operations of the club. Policies are issued pursuant to the authority of the Grand Master, which itself is detailed (and limited) in the Covenant. Policies are generally valid so long as they are publicly announced and documented, do not conflict with provisions of the Covenant, and are fairly applied to all similarly-situated members and units.

Active Brotherhood Policies can be found in the Policy category of the DB Wiki. Example of key Policies related to member conduct include the Rites of Combat and the DB Chat Policies.

Enforcement and Penalties

Rules in the Brotherhood are enforced in various ways. Peer influence is the most common and least formal method of ensuring that the Brotherhood’s rules are followed. Peer members often call out bad behavior in public or in private and serve as an informal moral compass when people start to veer off course. Members who have questions about appropriate conduct can and should ask other trustworthy members, who are often able to provide good advice, direct the asking member to the appropriate Covenant section or Policy, or point them to a unit leader or Dark Councilor who can assist them in understanding what conduct is expected in a given situation.

The next most common method of enforcement is through the formal chain of command. This ranges from a Battleteam Leader up through House and Clan summits and the Dark Council. Part of leadership is knowing the rules and helping members to conduct themselves accordingly. Members should never be afraid to ask their leaders for help in understanding the rules. However, unlike with peer influence, there can be direct consequences for failing to behave appropriately after being warned by a leader. For example, if a member violates the DB Chat Policy that prohibits spamming chat with images and continues to violate the rule after being warned by a leader, that member will likely him or herself temporarily banned from the chat.

The final, and by far the rarest, form of rule enforcement is through formal Chamber of Justice proceedings. The Chamber, commonly known as the CoJ, is charged with enforcing the rules of the Covenant and is empowered to impose a wide range of penalties against members who are found guilty, after due process, of violating the Brotherhood’s most important rules. Covenant Section 7.07 describes some of the possible penalties for Covenant violations, including demotion, loss of medals, probation, disqualification from competitions, temporary bans from activities such as the Shadow Academy and gaming, and even -- in the most extreme cases -- expulsion from the club.

The Chamber of Justice intervenes only when members have violated specific prohibitions of the Covenant with an intent to benefit themselves or to harm other members. When appropriate, the Chamber engages in mediation to resolve interpersonal disputes rather than resorting to a formal trial procedure. Most enforcement of Brotherhood rules on a day-to-day basis is handled informally, as described above.

Common Conduct Problems

The most common Covenant violations fall into three broad categories: cheating, harassment, and cloning.

Cheating Offenses

The Covenant prohibits a variety of cheating offenses, described below. The prohibitions on Cheating and Plagiarism cover submissions to fiction, graphics, and gaming competitions, answers on Shadow Academy exams, and any other form of written or visual product submitted by a member to the Brotherhood, such as entries in the DB Wiki.

The Brotherhood website has robust anti-cheating and plagiarism protections, and plagiarized Shadow Academy exam answers and fiction competition entries are usually discovered quickly through automated processes. Cheating in gaming is typically caught during review of screenshots submitted for competitions, or through confession of one or more members involved in the cheating. For graphics competitions, organizers can conduct reverse-image searches on widely-used search engines to easily identify graphics submitted without proper attribution to their true creators. Cheating in Brotherhood activities is almost always brought to light and is never worth it.

Cheating and Exploitation, Section 7.06(d)
Members must not willfully or knowingly exploit, abuse, or otherwise tamper with official game play or official activity in the form of competitions, tests, or other activities. Exploitation means the unsanctioned use of bugs or loopholes in gameplay for the purpose of gaining an obviously unfair advantage. Cheating means the use of any dishonest or unfair act for the purpose of gaining an advantage.

Unauthorized use of the same submission in two separate competitions is a form of cheating.

Plagiarism, Section 7.06(o)
Plagiarism is attempting to pass off the work of another as your own. Work of others may be used in a member’s work provided that appropriate credit is given to the real author or the sections of the work that are not original are identified and disclosed.

Harassment Offenses

There are four harassment-related offenses. Harassing and abusive conduct may fall under one or more of the following offenses. It is important to note that the Covenant protects members’ rights to free speech; as such, only egregious and sustained harassing or abusive speech will rise to the level of a punishable violation. However, the same is not true for non-speech conduct, including real-world behavior.

Crude Behavior, Section 7.06(g)

Crude Behavior involves the excessive use of swear words; provocative speech; excessive sexual discussions; use of inappropriate graphics; and unabated insults toward another’s real-life political affiliation, nationality, gender, race, color, age, disability, military service, creed, heritage, or sexual orientation.

It applies to any form of communication, written, verbal, or visual. Crude Behavior does not have to be targeted against a specific member: repeatedly spamming chat with excessively vulgar speech or graphics can be Crude Behavior.

Disreputable Behavior, Section 7.06(i)

Disreputable Behavior can apply to misconduct both inside and outside the Brotherhood that calls the club itself into disrepute. An example of such conduct includes the vandalization of other organizations’ wikis or websites by a Brotherhood member that is in some way connected to that person’s Brotherhood membership.

Harassment, Section 7.06(l)

Harassment includes persistent tormenting, outrageous attacks on any other member, or actions that are deliberately and maliciously meant to harm other members’ enjoyment of the Brotherhood. As with Crude Behavior, this includes statements and actions taken to attack a member’s real-life political affiliation, family or significant other, gender, race, color, age, disability, creed, heritage, military service, nationality or sexual orientation.

Examples of Harassment include the distribution of personal information, the creation of groups or modes of communication for the purpose of attacking the member, and unwanted contact with the member through non-internet means of communication, whether or not related to official Brotherhood communications. As with all similar Covenant offenses, mere mocking does not qualify as harassment.

Because harassment is so broadly defined, it can cover conduct ranging from persistent but relatively inoffensive unwanted contact, to disturbing written / verbal attacks, and even to serious real-world conduct such as stalking another member. The seriousness of the conduct plays a significant role in the severity of sentencing by the Chamber.

Verbal Abuse, Section 7.06(r)

Verbal Abuse is very similar to Harassment and Crude Behavior. Whereas Crude Behavior punishes excessively vulgar behavior generally and Harassment punishes tormenting and outrageous behavior targeted at a specific member, Verbal Abuse focuses more on punishing defamatory and insulting behavior. In other words, attacking a member’s character, spreading defamatory lies about a member, or insulting a member on the basis of real-world characteristics like race, gender, and creed.

Cloning

Cloning, prohibited by Section 7.06(e), is the creation of multiple dossiers by a single person. Cloning is a serious offense that harms the integrity of all Brotherhood systems, including the roster, competitions, and member awards and promotions. Among other things, it potentially allows a single member to self-deal by creating competitions with one dossier and winning them with another.

The Brotherhood website automatically detects suspected cases of cloning. When that occurs, the Chamber of Justice contacts the identified member(s) to determine whether each affected dossier in fact belongs to a distinct person. This often comes up when multiple members from the same household or office computer or connection join the club. As long as the contacted members provide plausible explanations for the suspected cloning, the Chamber does not pursue cloning charges absent some other indication of misconduct.

More Serious but Less Common Offenses

Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power, as defined in Section 7.06(c), occurs when a member with a leadership position uses that position to improperly threaten or impose some sort of detrimental action to a subordinate or create a benefit to themselves. This can also occur when a leader retaliates against a subordinate for exercising their rights under the covenant. The most common example of Abuse of Power is a leader threatening a subordinate with dismissal or withholding of awards if they don’t engage in an inappropriate action.

Discrimination

Section 7.06(h) prohibits discriminating against any member in regards to awards, promotions, praise and acknowledgement, or position appointments on the basis of traits such as real-life political affiliation, gender, race, color, age, disability, creed, heritage, military service, nationality or sexual orientation.

False Statements

False Statements, defined in Section 7.06(j), involves a member knowingly making a false statement with the intent to change the outcome of a Brotherhood proceeding. This most often arises when a member is suspected of cheating or cloning and lies to a member of the Chamber of Justice about it during an investigation. It can also apply in circumstances where a member falsely accuses another of an offense with the malicious intent to have that member charged with acts he or she did not commit.

Hacking

The Hacking provision of Section 7.06(k) covers unauthorized access to or misappropriation of any digital asset of the Brotherhood (such as the website, voice and text chat channels, and DJB guild assets) or the personal accounts and information of other members. Any such action by a member, whether inside of or outside the context of the Brotherhood, against another member is covered. Hacking is perhaps the most serious offense a member can commit, as it potentially endangers the basic integrity of the club’s systems. Punishment for hacking is invariably severe.

How to avoid getting in trouble: who to talk to for help and what to do if you are tempted to cheat.

There are, inevitably, times you’re going to be tempted to possibly break the rules. Whether it’s because you’re being pressured by friends or subordinates or you’re in a tense competition where other people might be skirting the rules, it will come up. The temptation can be strong, but it’s never worth it in the long run. Here are some tips to avoid falling prey to this temptation.

  • If it feels wrong, don’t do it - This probably sounds much easier than it is, but it is also the most simple way to handle these issues. If you think something you’re doing might violate the rules, step back and ask people. No one is going to fault you for making sure something is OK before you do it.

  • Talk to people - Sometimes you might not realize an action is going to run afoul of the rules. If you think it might, ask someone. The first line is obviously your House or Clan leadership, though certain situations might demand attention from other people. If something relates to an issue in the purview of a Dark Council office, go to them or their staff. For example, if you’re concerned something might violate the rules relating to gaming, contact the Fist Staff. If you can’t get an acceptable resolution at those levels, bring the matter to the Chamber of Justice.

  • It isn’t worth it - In the grand scheme of things, there’s very little benefit that comes from cheating. A few extra awards or a minor advantage in an event is not worth the permanent damage to your reputation.

  • If you do violate rule, it’s always better to turn yourself in - When determining the appropriate punishment for a violation, the Chamber of Justice always considers whether the guilty member admitted fault and accepted responsibility for the misconduct. Confessing to an offense is treated as a mitigating factor that can result in a lesser penalty.

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