As long as I can remember, the rules of RuneScape have always been vague. Jagex has stated their purpose in doing so is to allow the rules to be all inclusive and make sure players do not bend their way around a rule. For example, if the rules were specific on what exactly the macro detection system was looking for, a player could find a loophole in the system and avoid detection. That is understandable and a valid reason for how vague the rules are. However, some of the rules needed to be explained from time to time so Jagex created a forum for rule questions in 2008 called the Reporting Academy. This forum was taken down eventually, but from being an active user within it, I was able to compile a list of specifics of many of the rules. However, this applied to the then current rules, which were adjusted slightly in May 2009 to their current standing. On the other hand, the basis of the rules is the same and the explanations of the rules can be applied. Also, with consistent recent forum browsing, I was able to adjust the list to the current set of rules. With this in mind, I will attempt to shed some light on the rule subsection of honor.
Furthermore, why have explanations to the rules been limited to an extinct forum and threads that end up vanishing on the RuneScape forums? Why must Jagex limit how available information about their own rules is to their players? Not to mention, the secrecy shrouded around their own volunteer moderators, even involving the most basic things. For instance, most players don't know that all moderators must register their real life information via mail before even becoming a moderator with powers. However, this information is on the Official Forums for everyone to see, as long as they are at the right place at the right time. This correlates with Mod Mark Gerhard's clan chat when it first started; he released teasers about future updates and after a couple months of doing so, Andrew asked him to stop because some updates experienced unexpected delays. Why can’t one or two Jagex moderators enlighten players, but it not become official by Jagex?
NOTE: Jagex does not have to follow these guidelines, these are merely explanations from certain Jagex moderators, and could have been adjusted. Remember to follow all the rules mentioned on the RuneScape website.
-Macroing: Macroing is divided into two categories: autotyping and all other forms of macroing. I will address autotyping first. -Autotyping is the act of using third party software to repeatedly type a message into the chat box. Jagex has stated it offers an unfair advantage over legitimate players and is against the rules. However, until the rule changes in 2009, it was only reportable under Macroing and was taken lightly as an offense. Also, moderators were not allowed to mute autotypers until the introduction of the Disruptive Behavior rule in 2009 (there are more specifics to this rule, which will be explained in a later article). In fine, it is now muteable but does not usually result in an immediate ban if reported for. Only after repeat offenses will a ban be issued.
--To be more specific on the moderators ability to mute autotypers, that privilege was not introduced until late March 2010-April 2010 (not sure on the exact date). Why did it take so long for moderators to be allowed this ability? This is one of the moderator policy changes that are positive for the community. On another note, this change came after an article regarding the lack of power for player moderators was written by one of our very own Times members! Power of the times, perhaps?
-Macroing is defined as using third party software to gain an unfair advantage over other players. With the reintroduction of free trade and the wilderness, Jagex stated they would have a ZERO tolerance policy regarding ALL macros. However, after the first few months they adjusted this policy. They changed it to be more lenient with the introduction of first giving a 14 day ban, then a 28 day ban depending on the severity of the second offense and then finally a permanent ban. However, the possibility of reoccurring 14-day bans is available if the severity is low. Furthermore, all a macro report does is send a notice to the detection system, which will look over that certain player’s account specifically and make a judgement then. Player moderator reports for macroing do not achieve a higher place in the queue and a moderator cannot mute under macroing. I did not address AFK training as, to my knowledge, no one has been banned for it and Jagex has stated that forum browsing, watching TV, etc are all ok while playing RuneScape.
-- Moreover, why weren't player moderators even allowed to report under macroing until the rule adjustments took place?
-Real world trading: With the former set of rules and report screen, this could be reported for. However, with the new report screen, players and moderators cannot report someone whom they suspect of RWTing, even if they admit to it. Jagex has stated that it is hard for players to know when a RWT transaction is taking place, so they took away this report category. However, they have a system to monitor all suspicious and unbalanced trades, and will investigate the players based on that.
--It's understandable that players cannot know when someone is RWTing, but some players are stupid enough to admit to RWTing (HellSlayer_H). If that is the case, why can players not report someone that admits to it anymore? Even player moderators cannot report and mute for it anymore. On the other hand, it is understandable that the volume of reports under RWT specifically were merely hunch based and therefore more likely to not be valid.
-Buying, selling or sharing an account: The rule on this has not changed with the recent rule changes. Basically, no one else can use your account, ever. Moderators and players have the ability to report someone IF they admit to doing so or are advertising to trade an account, and moderators can issue a mute for anyone advertising to buy and or sell an account.
--No real changes to this rule for obvious reasons. For some reason Jagex is very strict about this rule and frequently mute and ban accounts for breaching it.
-Multiple logging-in: The rule basically states that more than one of YOUR accounts cannot be logged in at the same time. Players and moderators can no longer report for this category even with a confession. Therefore, one cannot be muted for admitting multiple logins. Jagex states that they have a system to detect this activity and have created many road blocks to stop players from logging onto the same world from the same computer.
--Same as above. However, the ability to report for this rule being removed still confuses many players and moderators.
-Knowingly exploiting a bug: The rule is explained as one must not use or attempt to use any cheats or errors, which one finds in the software. This rule has not changed since the introduction of the rule and can still be reported for if a player or moderator suspects someone of abusing a bug or someone admits to it. A report of the player's game activity is sent to Jagex to review and a technical report is sent to the Bug Team. No mute can be issued for this offense.
--Another rule which Jagex strictly enforces. When someone is caught for this breach, a permanent ban is usually issued and repeated offenses result in an IP ban. However, most major bugs remain in game for months on end because they are not made public. This is a fact that Jagex does not wish for players to know. I'm sure one of our own forum users can vouch for this fact, however.
-Jagex staff impersonation: This rule has also remained the same through the 2009 changes and states that one should not attempt to impersonate Jagex staff in any way, for any reason. This is reportable and has always been reportable. If the staff impression is in regards of a scam, Jagex advises their players and moderators to report under the appropriate scam, as it has a degree of higher discipline. Also, moderators can mute someone who is impersonating staff if they pose a threat. Furthermore, if someone has a name that is staff impression, they should be reported under Offensive Name instead.
--Odd that staff impersonation is a lesser punishment than password and item scamming. Staff impersonation usually results in a short mute, while scamming results in a temporary ban in moderate cases.
-Password, account, bank PIN or item scamming: Asking or trying to persuade another player to give you their password or bank PIN for any reason is against the rules and will not be tolerated. You must not scam or deceive other players. Lying to other players for your own personal gain is not in the spirit of fair play. Players and moderators can report password and or item scammers through the report interface and moderators will mute someone trying to do so. Again, someone attempting to scam by impersonating staff should be reported under this category. Scamming includes duplicating items, trust trades, lying about an item's abilities in order to deceive players, and tricking a player to give an item away. On the other hand, games such as dicing and the flower game are discouraged by Jagex, but are allowed to continue. This is the exact sentiment they had in regards to price manipulation.
--Jagex takes this relatively seriously as it actually harms the player base. Moderate scamming results in temporary bans, while small cases result in lengthy mutes. This rule is one of the most punished. The mindset towards the gambling games, which have risen due to the return of free trade, signals the more relaxed stance of Jagex in regards to very popular and questionable ways of making money.
-Advert blocking: You must not deliberately block or hide the adverts, which appear above the free version of our game. If you have advert blocking software please prevent it from blocking adverts on our website. The adverts above the free game are what enable us to keep it free, after all! This rule never has been reportable and does not result in any action taken against your account. It is merely an honor-based rule to generate revenue, which helps maintain F2P RuneScape.
-Encouraging others to break the rules: The rule is as simple as it's name. Both players and moderators can report for it and one can be muted by a moderator for it. This rule includes attempting to get players to use offensive language (trolling), making 3rd party software, and hosting an offensive chat channel.
--Another rule which Jagex actively enforces. Again, breaches of this rule will directly harm the player base, resulting in unhappy users.
Some of the rules are basic and have stayed the same, while others have changed drastically and contain different sections than they used to. Some actually contain much different perimeters than the Knowledge Base infers. Moreover, the removal of the ability to report some of the rules is an interesting shift towards Jagex monitoring player activity more and more. It is also interesting to see that Jagex will actively enforce rules that will negatively affect other players, but rules that were major like RWT and macroing are lesser enforced than they were before. Overall, the rule adjustments seem like a change to lessening the amount of reports sent in to Jagex and a shift towards more actively pursuing those who harm players directly.