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Oct 01 2008 -
Typical Misconceptions about Tutors
any Tibia players have explained in a poll and in two feedback forms that they are not satisfied with tutors. We would like to thank you all very much for your feedback. After evaluating your comments, we have found out that not everything, but a large part of the criticism about tutors is based on misunderstandings, or rests on a one time experience you have had with a single tutor. Many of your comments have also shown us several aspects of the tutor system that we should work on. With this article we would like to try to clear up a couple of the prevalent misunderstandings.

Tutors are a really important asset of Tibia's community. They are regular Tibia players, members of the community, who enjoy helping other players. For example, they answer questions of players in the help channel and on the support boards, they try to give advice and help newcomers to find their way around in Tibia. For more detailed information on the several tasks of tutors, please have a look at our tutor guide.

Being a tutor is fun, however, tutors have to face several difficulties ingame that most of them did not expect when they decided to become a tutor.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about tutors is that they are responsible for criminal record entries such as banishments and namelocks. This is not true. Only voluntary gamemasters and members of the customer support team can impose punishments. It is correct that tutors report illegal names, and it is correct as well, that senior tutors report statements including rule violations from the public channels and from the boards. However, CipSoft's customer support checks every single report made by a tutor or senior tutor, and then decides if a banishment should be applied or not. Tutors can only suggest punishments, but they cannot apply any punishments.
For example, if a player gets banished after a statement report, the tutors often get the full blast of the player's anger. But - let's not forget, the reported player had actually broken a rule in one way or another. The punished player might even inform his friends about this incident, claiming that he was treated unfairly, that he was "reported for nothing" and that he hasn't done anything wrong. If he had not broken any rule, though, the customer support would have cancelled the report of the tutor. After all, a tutor can only report a statement, all punishments for statement reports are handed out by customer support.

Another misunderstanding is that senior tutors report statements without regarding the entire context of the conversation. However, every statement report automatically includes a chatlog file, so the context is always attached to the report.
The senior tutor has to choose a single statement of the player for his report. This sentence will be displayed in the player's criminal record. It is possible that this is not the most offensive statement that was used, maybe it was a simple "yes", but when customer support checks the report, the context and several other statements of the player are displayed. Let's imagine the following conversation:

Player A: I hate it when somebody cheats.
Player B: I don't.
Player A: It's unfair! Have you ever cheated in Tibia?
Player B: Yes, of course.

Now the senior tutor would choose Yes, of course. for his report. The customer support member would see the entire conversation and would apply a banishment for cheating. The sentence Yes, of course. would be displayed in the criminal record of the player. This might indeed be a bit confusing for the player as he might think now that he was banished for saying Yes, of course. That, however, is not the banishment reason. Players can see the cause for a punishment listed under "Reason" in their criminal record.

Tutors are also often confronted with the accusation of only reporting statements made by their ingame enemies. Unfortunately, some might actually act that way. There are many tutors though, and the friends of one tutor might be the enemies of another. Also please do not forget that the reported player has indeed broken the rules. If he had not done so, he would not have been reported at all.

Another difficulty that tutors face is that they have to act and report according to the Tibia Rules, and not according to their own opinions. For example, the name rules have received lots of negative feedback in the past, and also the new name rules are sometimes criticised. When it comes to character names, there are many different opinions on what would be a good name. The Tibia Rules try to reflect a consensus about character names, however, not everybody likes them, which means that not all tutors like them, either. Still, they can only report names that the Tibia Rules define to be illegal. Let's have a look at a typical situation in the help channel:

Player A: lol - there's a player called "Britney Spears", report him tutor.
Tutor: I'm sorry, but that name is legal, I cannot report this name.
Player A: But it's bad, "Britney Spears" is not a Tibia name. Why do you always reject my reports?
Player B: Let the player be called "Britney Spears", what's the problem, doesn't hurt anybody...
Player A: It sucks, it's a bad name. It just doesn't get namelocked because I reported the name and the tutor doesn't like me.
Player B: The name is ok.

Now a discussion about the name starts in the help channel, and the tutor has the difficult task to end this discussion, because the help channel should be a place for everybody to ask questions. Not many people would interrupt an ongoing discussion to ask for example: How can I rent a house?
So the tutor says:

Tutor: Please, if you want to discuss about the name, do it in private, this is not the right place for this discussion.

In this situation, the tutor has not done anything wrong, however, there are now two players who might have the following thoughts about him, or even about tutors in general:

Player A: the tutor is stupid, because he will not report the name "Britney Spears".
Player A: the tutor doesn't like me, he only reports what his friends ask him to report.
Player B: the tutor is impolite, I was even backing him up in the discussion, still I get thrown out of the channel.
Tutor: I don't like that name either, but I simply cannot report it, it's not illegal.

Even though the community tends to think otherwise, tutors don't have much power. Their main task is to help others by answering questions or helping new players to find their way around. Of course, not all tutors are angels, some might really be impolite and not interested in helping, but usually these tutors do not keep their tutorship for very long. If a tutor submits a wrong report, he receives a "bad report" from customer support. After the third "bad report", the tutor will be dismissed.

Many Tibia players get their knowledge about Tibia from other players. Not everybody reads the manual, or looks at the FAQ. Many get introduced to Tibia by their friends who teach them how to play. Tutors are similar to those friends, they just use a more official way to share their knowledge.

Prior to this article, we have asked tutors about their feelings. We would like to let some of them speak for themselves:

Being a Tutor is the best thing ever happened to me, I think. I'm not much of a hunter, I dislike skilling, etc. I'm best at helping others and being a general friend-for-all. This is hard, but it feels great when I know I've done something really good.

I always get happy when the person I helped says "Thank you", it's two small and simple words but they mean a lot! Also some people that I have helped become friends after a while.

The majority does not really know what it's really about being a Tutor. They expect us to help them in any circumstance, they expect us to ban botters, they lift us in spheres where only CMs and GMs are allowed to reside. Many Tibians make the Tutors reliable for their faults and punishments.

People tend to remember bad things rather than good things, doesn't matter how many we help each day, people will only remember our mistakes. Also as someone stated before me, people think that we can do more than we really can... Also they expect us to have knowledge about everything, but that's not the case... Some tutors are specialized at technical support, some are not and I've seen tutors getting yelled at because they can't solve a problem with a player's Tibia client...

We are also aware of the fact that there are many rotten apples within the Tutors, but those will be sorted out. The Tutor Exam was changed and is now harder to pass. Those bad Tutors will hardly pass the first months in tutorship and in the end only the most dedicated Tutors will be around. We also know that some bad Tutors even pass this time, but then they either learned how to behave and act as a Tutor or they are sorted out at a later time.

The tutoring community as a whole is great to be a part of. Though the hot topic these days seems to be the poor tutors that are in it for the wrong reasons, the tutors I have met from other servers are very pleasant folks that enjoy helping others.

Despite the negative feedback that tutors often have to face, they are a fun crowd. Not everything about being a tutor is bad. Very often it is possible for a tutor to help another player, and this is actually the main reason why most of them became tutors. Further, being a tutor is not only work, either. Tutors also have a private fun board on which they can discuss all kinds of topics. There, they can exchange their opinions on real life matters, can get to know each other, or just have fun.
Tutor colleagues are very valuable when you are a tutor and they sometimes even become friends. Like some tutors have stated, when a player needs help, he often expects the tutor to solve all his problems. Often enough, the tutor cannot do this though. The tutor can only guide the player by directing him to the right source of information or by explaining things. So sometimes, a tutor can get discouraged. In such a situation, most tutors turn to colleagues who have most likely already experienced similar situations. They offer comfort, share experiences, and motivate each other.

We hope that with this article, a couple of misunderstandings about tutors were cleared up. It was not our goal to discourage anybody from becoming a tutor. The most important message is that tutors are regular Tibia players, they are part of the same community you belong to. They do not have any super powers and they do not work against you. If you are interested in helping other people, we would like to invite you to join the tutor ranks yourself, so you can see what it is all about.

Helping others can be fun!
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