We tell stories in a World of Darkness, but on a MUSH these stories are created through the cooperation between player and story-teller.
What does this mean? As staffers, we need to be sensitive to what type of stories in which our players want to participate in, but we also need to be aware of how these stories relate to the setting. Some stories belong in this setting and some do not; it is the responsibility of both sides of the process to be aware of the difference. In the World of Darkness there is no guarantee that the good guys will win or that they will even survive. It is easier to be selfish; it is easier to be apathetic. This is what makes the World of Darkness dark: it takes effort and pain to shine a light upon it.
In practical terms, staffers must never penalize people simply for being selfish or apathetic, and they should never give players the victory because they've decided to act as heroes. This is tough for some players and staff to stomach. Instead, staff must determine the consequences of player's actions. In principle, staff will never restrict the IC choices a player makes with their character. Likewise, players must be ready to face consequences for their characters they may not entirely enjoy.
The only exception is when participants believe that an IC choice arises out of OOC motivations. If staff or players believes that a character is making an IC choice because of a player's frustration, because of a player's grudge against another player, or because of an accident due to the passage of time or the fading of memory, they can question those motivations. However, staff are neither gods nor mind readers, so all they can do is interrogate the motivations of those actions. If a player assures staff that the motivations are completely IC, we must accept that. However, if a player assures staff that the motivations are completely IC, and we find out later that they are not, players may be removed from my sphere.
This also means that if a player has a problem with the IC actions that another character takes, staff are under no obligation to mediate the conflict. If a player is mystified or stymied by another character's actions, staff can only offer possibilities for resolution that a character would know about IC and that their player may not know about, such as appeals to higher authority. These possibilities are suggestions, and there is no guarantee that they will work. Their actions may be doing great harm, but that is an IC conflict, and players will need to resolve it conflict by IC means. Mage NPCs will work only within their stated personalities and abilities, and they may not care.
Finally, this means that staff are under no obligation to tell a player how to accomplish an IC goal if the character (or player) cannot figure it out for themselves. Again, staff can offer suggestions that staff think that the character might know ICly that the player does not, but they don’t have to.
We insure as well as we can that the MUSH is ethically fair for our players in OOC matters, but the World of Darkness is not fair IC. A werewolf who gets the drop on a mage character ICly will most likely kill them. There may be twice as many Sabbat vampires as there are mages. A chantry head can betray a character to the Unseelie Changelings to be used as a sex toy. These are IC inequities, and if a player is screwed over by them, then it has to happen. Staff’s responsibility is to make sure the rules as written and the setting as described is applied fairly and equally. This means that all players who desire it get equal access to staff time. This means staff does not choose to ignore certain types of stories because the majority of players don't like them or staff doesn't like them.
This does not mean staff does not get to bend the rules; there is a difference between being ethically fair and applying all rules with adamantine precision, regardless of the situation. Staff should try to minimize these occurrences by keeping clear distinctions between rules and guidelines, and as said above, staff should interpret the rules with regards to setting. For example, by the rules, a mage with sufficient levels of correspondence, forces, and prime should be able to kill anything on the grid that is not immune to magick without fear of reprisal or any defense, (a.k.a. the Telenuke). However, if this was true, the Technocracy should have eliminated any known supernatural being decades ago, and that's not what the books describe. Thus, staff may discourage this use of mage powers and will most likely not adjudicate in its favor.
This also means that mage staff is player’s advocate with other staff when there is a conflict with another staffer over sphere matters. Note the emphasis. If there is a matter of conflict with another staffer and it has nothing to do with sphere rules, sphere powers, or sphere society, then mage staff is not involved. For example, if the law staffer is ignoring a character’s arcane, then mage staff will become a player’s advocate, and mage staff work with the law staffer to resolve the problem. On the other hand, if a player has a problem with the law staffer about how the police are resolving an investigation, that is not mage staff jurisdiction, and mage staff should not be involved.