Staff Guide

Information for the staff team

As members of staff, all of us are doing our part to volunteer for our beloved community at Canis. This document outlines the basics of what the expectations are for us as staff members and serves as a reference for the team.

Roles & Tasks

Each member of the team has one or many tasks. These are reviewed at least once every six months. There are also two roles for staff members.


Moderators can choose from a variety of tasks that include day-to-day board moderation and character acceptance. They can participate in staff meetings but aren't required to be present for them.

General Staff

General staff members can choose from any of the large set of tasks available. General staff members make larger decisions as a team by discussion and discourse. Decisions are made by the general staff members reaching a consensus. If a consensus cannot be made, it is the Overall Admin's task to make a decision.


  • General staff members serve 3 month terms. At the end of the term, the staff team can renew the term.
  • Moderators serve 3 month terms. Optionally, at the end of the term the moderator can renew their term.
  • In order to remain a staff member, each member must be part of the Canis community. Exiting both the IC and OOC community is considered a resignation from the staff's term.


Staff respect the privacy of all users except in cases where there is an active investigation of a user. In such cases, private information should only be looked at on a need to know basis.

Example: A user was reported for abuse in private messages toward another user - a staff member may read private messages for this scenario only. The staff member may not read private messages sent to other users unless there are explicit requests to do so.

Member Discussions

Staff members should avoid participation in member-oriented polls and discussions except to direct conversation, answer questions, or clarify meaning. The purpose of these discussions is to give all users a voice. Because staff members already have a voice during staff discussions, we need to avoid oversteering member discussions.

Bias Mitigation

All people possess internal biases to some extent. It is up to us as staff members to recognize when we have biases that interfere with our duties and take a step back. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe your internal biases might cloud your judgment, ask another staff member to step in for you and handle things.

Capacity Recognition and Burnout

All of us have other commitments outside of Canis. Things in our lives change and we will not always have the same amount of time or interest as we have today. As staff members, we have a special role in the community and are relied on to make sure the game runs smoothly. If you sense that your capacity is limited for any reason, we strongly encourage you to step back and notify the rest of staff.

Secondary staff roles are in place especially for this. If something comes up, there is absolutely never any shame in mentioning your capacity has changed. This gives other staff members the opportunity to jump in and help out!

There is also never any shame in stepping away from the staff team for any amount of time. Unless the staff team is at full capacity, you’ll always be welcomed back if you have more time to commit in the future.

Future Proofing

To ensure that there are never things actively preventing a person from stepping away from staff, all staff members need to identify when there are actions only they are capable of performing and come up with a strategy to either:

  • Create training for other staff to perform those actions (how-to documents)
  • Automate the process so performing the action is not necessary
If you had to step away, for any reason, tomorrow, would someone else be able to fulfill your role? Always aim to make the answer to this question a yes!

Staff Team Size

The team should always have enough staff members to make sure every task has at least one primary member. In addition, each task should have at least one secondary, preferably more in both cases. It’s up to the team to recognize when there is a need and fill those needs appropriately. On the same point, to avoid the “too many cooks” problem, there should always be fewer than ten staff members at one time.

If there is ever a need for ten or more members, splitting the team into multiple sub-teams might be a good solution.

Handling Specific Issues


Theft includes use of writing and visual art that does not follow the license restrictions of the source. It is up to the users of works that are not original to follow these restrictions. Often, theft results as a misunderstanding of licensing and the use of works from fellow creators.

If theft is brought to the staff team’s attention, use the following metrics to determine handling the scenario:

  1. If there is solid evidence that the questioned work is not a coincidence, the staff team should handle the scenario. Without this evidence, we should do nothing to avoid over-policing and wrongful accusations.
  2. Works that have evidence of being copied from elsewhere should have a staff member reach out and ask the member about it. If they do not have evidence to support their fair use, they should have the problem with their usage explained and likely should be asked to change the copied work.

    It’s very important when we reach out to explain why this is a problem. Many people don’t understand what constitutes theft. Go in with the assumption of positive intent for these cases and explain that the copied work is potentially harmful.

  3. Members who show a pattern of theft with no or limited attempts to change their behaviour should receive a fair consequence for their actions, including a temporary or permanent removal from Canis.

Conflict Management

Historically, the staff team has attempted to be very present for conflict management. This proved both difficult to manage and even ineffective given staff capacity. Because of this, we have reduced conflict management to making decisions about temporary and permanent bans, including whether they are necessary and their length.

Processes are still being explored as we discover what works and what is sustainable.

Extreme Conflict Cases

If an issue is particularly bad, for cases like hate, sexual assault, etc., it is advisable to speak with local authorities.

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