Medi

Major Rework: Internal Affairs

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In theory: The IAA or HR is suppose to be an impartial watch-dog for the station that has the ability to investigate and report on matters of SOP, Space Law, and other affairs as they go on the station that wouldn't otherwise fall under Security. This office is suppose to be the one-stop area where you take all your complaints, claims, and considerations for it to be compiled into a detailed report and given to the applicable head or CC itself.

In practice: The IAA or HR is free access for any would-be antag who wants to get into security without much of a fuss. More often then not, it's easy to find an IAA or HR because if you manage to catch them before the SSD from boredom, they're usually anywhere other then the brig area doing their best impression of greytide. If you actually have a complaint you're more then likely to take it to your relevant head and if they're not listening you go and bug the Captain or NT-Rep maybe. IAA are usually cannon fodder for all intents and purposes and serve little to no purpose when the vast majority of issues can be handled on a local level that otherwise excludes them entirely. Most of these players who jump into this role are absolutely new and wanted to be a "lawyer" or a psudo-sec member at least (since I have already proven that new people love to flock to Security regardless of if it's a good idea).


How do we address the issue?
First and foremost, this is something that the community is going to have to chip in with as well. Currently, if someone threatens to speak with IA/HR it's a statement that will likely get you laughed. IA/HR derive all of their power from two sources: Heads and CC.
The issue with the heads is that they are not obligated to listen to IA in anyway. This is both a good and bad thing, but it does ultimately mean that IA/HR doesn't have a lot of "teeth" to it. On top of that, most people will likely just complain about something or someone to their respective head or to the captain rather then bringing it to IA in the first place. This is because it's usually a lot faster and easier then actually going to IA which, more then likely, won't get anything done anyway.
The issue with CC is that if the heads aren't listening then you have to pray that the almighty fax manages to not only reach CC but that someone has the time and want to read your report. In my experience, very few of either IA/HR/or even NTRep reports actually get enacted upon, despite the severity of their content. This can be for a variety of reasons but it's literally the highest degree that IA can report something to and if that doesn't work- then you're literally just out of luck.

One way to assist this matter might be to simply change the direction that IA/HR is pointed. Rather then be a departmental faction that has no teeth and no one cares about, give them more of a role as attorneys. This change would prompt IA to take a better interest in focusing on appeals, proper prosecutions, and ensuring that players are being dealt with in a timely manner. This would also allow the rarely used and rarely tested trial system to be a bit more useful as players can more willfully sue or appeal before the magistrate on their cases  provided their time in jail is sufficient (over 30 minutes would be worthy of an appeal and investigation in some cases).

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https://nanotrasen.se/wiki/index.php/Internal_Affairs

The IAA's job includes:

  • Conduct investigations and write reports
  • Ensure SOP is followed
  • Ensure Space Law is upheld

This means:

  • For them to be able to conduct an investigation, either they have to witness a problem, or someone has to come to them with a complaint
  • For them to ensure SOP is followed, they have to work with the department heads, who in practice have more authority and knowledge than they do, which makes them largely redundant
  • For them to ensure Space Law is upheld, they need to work with Security.

Problems:

  • Few people bring complaints to the IAA, for various reasons.
  • The IAA rarely work with the heads of department. If there's a problem and the head is willing/able to fix it, no reason for the IAA to be involved. If they're willing but not able, IAA involvement is pointless. If they're able but not willing, that's when the NT Rep gets involved.
  • The IAA usually don't work with Security effectively. For example, they usually don't check on processing enough to notice when someone is in there longer than they should be.
  • The IAA is generally considered a joke role. I've lost count of the number of butt faxes I've got from IAAs who don't take their role with even an ounce of seriousness.

Solutions:

  • IAAs need to take the job more seriously. This really is the fundamental requirement. If they won't take the job seriously, nobody else will take them seriously either. This means I shouldn't be seeing cases of IAAs buttfaxing centcom as much as I do. Every time you buttfax CentCom as the IAA, you make even admins less willing to take IAAs seriously.
  • IAAs need to remind heads that they exist, and are available to help with investigations. For example, they could adopt a policy of faxing a short note to every head, or sending them it via PDA, at the start of each shift. Simply to remind the heads that they exist, and they're here to serve, by assisting the heads with investigating potential violations of SOP and/or Space Law. For example, the head can contact them to ask about the status of members of their department who have been convicted of crimes. The head can contact them to ask for help in investigating members of their department for doing stupid things. Etc.
  • IAAs need to actively put in the time to monitor Security. This means paying special attention to them in the hallways and reminding them not to run around with tasers out. This means paying attention to brig timer notices and double-checking that the time given matches space law. This means checking on processing often and making sure nobody sits there forever. And so forth.
  • Above all else, IAAs need to ensure they aren't sending pointless faxes to CentCom. CentCom doesn't give a flying hoot if a single officer hits a prisoner with a baton once. That is NOT CentCom worthy. That's the sort of thing the HoS is expected to sort out themselves, assuming it wasn't an accidental misclick. Just about the only time the IAA should be sending faxes to CentCom is if there's a serious problem with the Captain, Magistrate, Blueshield, HoS, or similar high-ranked position.

If we want to actually change the game to make the IAA's job easier:

  • Add a timer in processing which generates an alert over sec radio when someone is held in there with no charges for more than 10 minutes.
  • Improve the documentation available to IAAs, to make writing GOOD faxes easier, and to discourage bad faxes.
  • Make it easier for heads to work with IAAs. For example, create a 'private radio kit' which has 5 radio keys all set to the same, random frequency. Have the IAAs start with this kit. The IAAs could then hand out these keys to heads or other informants who want to work with them, giving the IAA eyes and ears throughout the station and a much better chance of detecting problems they can then investigate. Another example would be making it easier for IAAs to be granted access to departments. Usually when I see IAAs in a department now, its because the Captain or HoP gave them the access without even asking the head... which tends to annoy the head and make their co-operation much less likely.
  • Heck, just move their office right next to prisoner processing (separated by shutters) so they can always see who is being processed.
  • Make their boss the NT Rep, rather than the magistrate. The NT Rep can manage them and advocate for them better than the Magistrate can, anyway.
  • Create a new crime "obstructing an investigation", which can be applied to people who completely ignore the IAA while they're trying to ask them about the subject of an investigation.
  • Allow IAAs access to records that allow them to check that SOP is being upheld. E.g. HoP's records of job transfers, Coroners records of who is in morgue trays, Science's records of R&D levels, Cargo's records of what is being ordered, etc. Basically make them record central - bring the information to them.
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17 minutes ago, Kyet said:

If we want to actually change the game to make the IAA's job easier:

  • Add a timer in processing which generates an alert over sec radio when someone is held in there with no charges for more than 10 minutes.
    Takes a bit of coding and will be a bit difficult to keep track on.
  • Improve the documentation available to IAAs, to make writing GOOD faxes easier, and to discourage bad faxes.
    Doable by providing them pre-filled out forms at the beginning of the shift in an "approved format". Given the fact that so many new players like to jump into this role, it would be a good idea to also provide them a book that kinda outlines not only paperwork but those basic requirements of being a good RPer and not ass-faxing. Like you already pointed out, people have to take the role seriously and unfortunately the number of veterans who would touch the position is low due to the ineffective nature of the position, leaving it usually within the grip of players who are new and just want to have a "sec job".
  • Make it easier for heads to work with IAAs. For example, create a 'private radio kit' which has 5 radio keys all set to the same, random frequency. Have the IAAs start with this kit. The IAAs could then hand out these keys to heads or other informants who want to work with them, giving the IAA eyes and ears throughout the station and a much better chance of detecting problems they can then investigate. Another example would be making it easier for IAAs to be granted access to departments. Usually when I see IAAs in a department now, its because the Captain or HoP gave them the access without even asking the head... which tends to annoy the head and make their co-operation much less likely.
    Giving them access can assist with this matter, as long as its just general access. As already mentioned, the current level and quality of players who take this role would more then likely abuse the access then put it to good use at first. I also think that simply going up to the heads and making sure they know you exist via PDA is a very easy means since everyone seems to forget we have PDAs until they get blown up.
  • Heck, just move their office right next to prisoner processing (separated by shutters) so they can always see who is being processed.
    I foresee that even if someone has been held for over ten minutes, security isn't going to want to listen to IA since they've got very little in the way of holding Security accountable aside from hoping that the HOS / Captain cares. As already mentioned there is an issue with bringing things to Central Command for being "too low of a concern" and unfortunately this is likely to be one of those cases despite how often it is.
  • Make their boss the NT Rep, rather than the magistrate. The NT Rep can manage them and advocate for them better than the Magistrate can, anyway.
    The only reasons why they're with the magistrate to begin with is because they have some legal concerns and they can be psudo-lawyers. Being under the NT Rep really won't make too much of a difference. I always tried to make the distinction that the NT Rep cares about the Heads, the Overall direction of the shift, as well as BIG departmental matters while the IAAs handle the individual stuff on a smaller scale.
    Either way, them working with the NT Rep can't hurt but at least when they complain to the Magistrate about sec doing something wrong- the Magistrate can lay down the Law. The NT Rep doesn't have that sorta teeth. I've been THOROUGHLY reminded that they're there as an advisor to the station on behalf of NT, thus muddying the waters a tad.
  • Create a new crime "obstructing an investigation", which can be applied to people who completely ignore the IAA while they're trying to ask them about the subject of an investigation.
    Should make this applicable to Sec and IAA for the purposes of investigation.
  • Allow IAAs access to records that allow them to check that SOP is being upheld. E.g. HoP's records of job transfers, Coroners records of who is in morgue trays, Science's records of R&D levels, Cargo's records of what is being ordered, etc. Basically make them record central - bring the information to them.
    Yes, however, with newer players they likely won't know what most of this data means little less whether it is correct or not. There has to be some additional training that goes into this prior to sending the IAAs out if that's the case. Most players likely don't know all the smaller nuances of departmental SOP and best practices, so to assume that the usually newer, inexperienced players would be familiar with this stuff makes it a nice thing to have but debatable.

 

Edited by Medi
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Well maybe some hosses and wardens should be fired by cc for ignoring legal sop as an examole? This may give iaas more power in other peoples eyes. Actually, if you play the role as intended, you will find people who are willing to talk to you and help with investigations.

Problem as always with low effort players, newbies and glorified greytiders. I am not sure if it can be fixed at all.

I totally support the idea of records access though, if you are investigating comdom hop, its quiet hard to get their records from them. And access to records would give no power to people who just abuse the access and tools iaa has. Absolute win.

Nt rep doesnt really need to be boss of iaas, they can and do work in tandem easily without it. As well as with magistrate. Thy dont really need "boss"

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4 hours ago, McRamon said:

Actually, if you play the role as intended, you will find people who are willing to talk to you and help with investigations. Problem as always with low effort players, newbies and glorified greytiders. I am not sure if it can be fixed at all.

I totally support the idea of records access though, if you are investigating comdom hop, its quiet hard to get their records from them. And access to records would give no power to people who just abuse the access and tools iaa has. Absolute win.

I've found IAA's very useful as a HoS - when they do the job like it's meant to be done. With full roster of sec, it's often difficult, due to the flow of events, to spot and correct badly doing officers or investigate more questionable sentences, as of the participiants in those kind of cases happen to have completely opposite opinions on what's the case - so that you'll need time to interrogate the persons in question and seek witnesses to find out what has actually been taking place. If I had a good IAA, I could just ask them to investigate, then they come back after some time with a report and suggestion of sanction to be taken, saving me the precious time that gaining grounds for an action would take.

Problem is that, indeed, able IAA's are quite rare.

Which is a kind of result of the loop mentioned: IAA's being disregarded -> people willing to make effort won't take the job -> low effort IAA's that are to be disregarded -> IAA's being disregarded. So, fixing the situation would be about giving IAA's more tools for doing their job and little more authority. Kyet's idea list seems great to me.

Reassigning IAA's to be under the NTRep could be beneficial, as of Rep and IAA's have more in common than magistrate and IAA's. So it could lead to teamwork, if the rep and say both IAA's are present - more people driving the same thing has more chances to success. f there was a case about sentencing and-or reading the space law, the IAA team would then work with magistrate, if present, like they should do now. Tandem-work doesn't need boss though, it isn't necessary, but just having "a boss" assigned has a significance in it, a significance to work together more, as of you response directly to somebody. Presently the magistrate is just a supervisor for IAA's in cases regarding to space law and sentencing, rather than a boss.

Edited by Regular Joe

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IAA already have basic access to all departments.

Also I've played quite a bit and no antag ever stole my shit, so the loot aspect is being a bit overplayed i guess.

I quite like playing IAA going from department to department, checking on how they're doing, seeing if they need something. I think the role has some problems but is not that bad. It works well for that and heads (if not crew) usually listen to me well enough on the weight of my title and because I usually try to help them too. 

Like if I see eng is skimping on the project, I don't just shit on CE, I let him know, and ask if they need some help. Maybe they are understaffed, and I could try to talk to HoP, maybe cargo or science are not delivering, and I can go talk to them, and save the CE the trouble, as he's frequently quite busy. 

I find that when playing this way, the role is quite satisfactory, as you can make meaningful improvements to the station, and RP focused, as you basically are just running around talking to people and heads to solve problems. 

Being under NT Rep would really suit my playstyle better. I guess IAA is in a strange place being both a SoP and Space Law supervisor.

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You can't fix the most evident issue of IAAs - lack of time. Most rounds last less than 2h 30min. A complaint filed in before 30 minutes into the shift is basically completely unheard of. More often than not, these happen after the first hour. That would leave you with a reasonable amount of time, but "the shift is over" mentality grows as we approach 2h mark.
You are effectively left with 30-45 minutes before all investigations and decisions are overruled by "the shift is over".
It's enough to interview one, maybe two people, provided they are willing. However, if the issue is larger and you have an appropriately larger group to investigate, you are forced to do your job half-assedly. You don't have time to confront all points of view with each other, so you just end up taking a bunch of guesses on who is wrong or lied, which isn't particularly impartial and plainly against your job description.
My point is: IAAs would work much better if the rounds were longer. It's unreasonable to change it just for IAAs, so it will stay like this.

 

Regarding "obstructing an investigation", I'm afraid it would lead to further corruption of both IA and Security.
Firstly, Security doesn't care about IAAs reporting crimes. I have been repeatedly assaulted as one and Security always ignored me. Once I even brought a body scan proving someone tried to stab my eyes out with a fork. They weren't even set to arrest.
Secondly, if it applies to Security Officers, we will see people enforcing police state. "Let me in, I'm investigating. No, you can't know what or why. Just do it. You won't do it? Fine, then you're under arrest." It's assault of an officer, but far easier to abuse.

 

That being said, perhaps we are (or is it just me?) a bit too afraid of giving IAAs some power.
Maybe, rather than being abused by bored players, it will attract those who want to put said power to good use?

 

And regarding moving them under NT Rep, I would say no. There's already a lot of positive energy between IAAs and Reps, which I've experienced from both sides. They can make an awesome team without making it official.
So why not? Because, frankly speaking, Magistrate needs IAAs more. I know I've just said IAAs usually don't have enough time to investigate, but they are still doing a stellar job in comparison to Security Officers or your average Detective when it comes to proving guilt or innocence.
Call me crazy, but as a Magistrate, I rely on IAAs. They can be foolish, overzealous, incompetent and all imaginable flavours. However, the most common thing is being bored and when you address it, they honestly try. I feel like Magistrate does much better job at finding tasks for IAAs than NT Rep ever will.

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On 10/5/2019 at 9:09 PM, Kyet said:

Heck, just move their office right next to prisoner processing (separated by shutters) so they can always see who is being processed.

Question/suggestion on that, even. Possibly applicable in other spaces as well. Is one-way glass possible? IE able to see out, but not in? Shutters could come in that flavor in multiple places, instead of blocking all visual ability, simply limiting the ability to see into an area, while those within can observe without being seen in turn. (Police lineups/interrogation rooms come to mind here) placing these on the IAA/Processing room, or Instead of moving the office, create a smaller side room for people to observe from...allowing IAA's/HoS/Curious Sec to watch and see without being seen themselves...Also more interesting places to commit crimes in of course, if elsewhere, and even in sec itself but...is an idea spawned from there.

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That's a good start.
In this case, IC response from admins is de-facto a gratifying experience for the player, even if the character is punished. Many may dislike this change, but rewarding people for being plainly bad IAAs wasn't doing the job any good.
Sure, this may make the job less popular, but who will miss these missing IAAs? The crew, who never saw them, because they were BSA'd 1 minute into the round? Admins, who don't have to check and respond to another buttfax?

I believe if all admins follow suit, IAA situation will improve. Maybe not immediately, maybe not noticeably, but forcing IA to become a more respectable office is a push in what I believe to be a good direction.

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I think giving the IAA department under NT Rep would be more usefull.

Every time NT Rep receives a complaint from the crew, he could send his "minions" to investigate said matters.

Could do like Genetics right now is and share the department between two heads.
SoP/complaints = NT Rep
Lawyering/spesslaw=Magistrate

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As a legal worker myself, why not have two Lawyers, a Magistrate, and maybe some 'Paralegals' taking up the IAA's old duties - running around, getting reports, solving disputes. The Lawyers can hang more around the brig, the Mag is the top dog watching everything, stuff like that. Could ease up assistant-tides.

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Seems like I'm quite late to the party, but I'd like to pitch in my two cents since I have some experience playing IAA.

As pretty much everyone has said, IAA as a role is having an identity crisis. Magistrates(although I have very seldom seen the Magistrate doing anything more than deciding how to punish perma prisoners), representing the Security and Legal Departments, seem to enjoy having control over IAAs, even though in my experience very little has actually come from this relationship, the IAA perhaps being asked to corroborate a report or serve as a placeholder until the Magistrate is avaliable, but no actual "legal" activity, per se. At the very best, the IAA is designated to deal with events deemed to minor for Security to handle(and knowing Security, that's an incredibly small number of incidents)and the Magistrate is busy. The idea of a civilian authority over Security too, seems great, but from my experience, IAAs are ignored, occasionally even actively disregarded, by the whole department, the Detective being the notable exception as they can relate in being in a somewhat sidelined, and very situational position.

On the other hand, though I do not often directly interact with the NT Rep, my play-style(and that of the majority of others that I've observed)follows very closely to the HR Complaints/SOP Investigations that the NT Rep is assigned to facilitate. Anything from paperwork to SOP check-ups seem to me more of a fit for the role, essentially the resident bureaucrat rather than some random arbiter. To me, conducting small-scale check-ups on the different departments is much more beneficial than being involved in legal affairs, as it could prevent an entire Security Team having to be sent down to Mining, or the like. The middle ground that is investigating Security would, rather than half-hearted suggestions over the Security Comms, take the form of a fax to CC, or a meaningful complaint to the HoP, Captain or NT Rep(though any sort of CC intervention would probably get redundant, given how often the Security team takes liberties in their position).

In my opinion, doing away with IA's obligations to the Security Department would be optimal. They'd still be on the same Comms, and would investigate Security as they would any other department, but all the(ill-defined)baggage that comes with being pushed into the very non-existent legal scene would no longer prevent the IAA from pro-actively conducting investigations out of fear that they might be called up to deal with some legal issue. Going a step further, for IAAs to have a greater impact on the round, ensuring SOP is being followed, I'd encourage they be given some(obviously non-violent)leverage over the Security Department, as it's quite, quite impossible for the IAA(and pretty much any other civilian force on the station)to regulate the officers when they have power in the form of weapons. At the very least, those who play IAA have to break through the mentality of being part of the Security Department, as Security is just as, if not more, liable to SOP violations when compared to other departments.

Edited by Display Name
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So since there's something of an agreament on the dual nature of the IAA role right now, i guess we could just split the role. 

Give one IAA slot for general SoP enforcement under the NT rep, and one lawyer slot under magi to defende crews right and enforce SoP in sec. 

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