As requested, today I'll be going into some detail of how the OceanMaster support tools and petition system works. Hopefully this article will also address some of the common questions that I get asked, so pass this information around to your crews and flags and whomever else you think might find it useful or interesting!
When an OceanMaster comes onto an ocean to work, he signs on duty. This is what causes his name to appear at the top of the screen if a pirate does a /who query, whereas an OceanMaster that is online, but not on duty, will not appear in that list.
The petitions and complaints that you send in are sent to a queue, which is ordered by the time and date that it was sent in. OceanMasters access the queue through a website, and we toggle which oceans we are working on. Please note that blackspots do not appear in the queue of pending events, so if you feel you were wrongfully blackspotted, please either petition us or send in a complaint so that we can look up your full account history, which will include blackspots.
Sometimes when an OceanMaster calls in sick and no one can be found to cover his shift, you may notice that there is no OceanMaster on active duty on your ocean. While there may not be an OceanMaster present on the ocean, an OM will have toggled on your ocean's queue in his web browser to answer petitions and address complaints that you send in.
You may also notice that if you send OceanMasters tells, they will often not respond to you. This is because we spend a lot of time looking at the queue in our web browsers, and if there are a lot of petitions and complaints flying in, there is little to no time to check who is chatting with us in the clients.
To give you an idea, during my shift, which is 2pm-6pm game time most days, I'll get around 30-35 petitions an hour, and between 40-100 complaints per hour. Some of these complaints are quickly dismissed of course, such as "he said the word stupid", but some are thefts that involve multiple ships or the theft of a large number of items, and then the transactions of those characters have to be tracked, we have to look up to see if he tried to pass the money or items off onto another account, and so on. This takes quite a bit of time and attention to detail.
When we click on a petition, we see the name of the person that sent it, and the name of that person's login, like so: Hypnos (Hypnos_Account). That is all. What we don't see is your crew, your rank, your stats, what you own, whether your are a subscriber/doublooner/trial user, or any of that information. That's why for things like ship renames and thefts, you are asked to include your crew and the names of the vessels or what stall the theft took place in and where it is located so we know where to go and if the ship or island we are on is the right one. The more information you include, the less time the OceanMaster has to spend asking you for more details or looking them up.
Once we answer a petition, we can set it to resolved or request more information. Both of these options send an alert back to the player in his game client. Once either a player or an OceanMaster closes a petition, it is removed from the queue. If your petition needs to be looked into and an OceanMaster asks you to leave it open, realize that closing it removes it from the queue, and no one will know it is there unless somebody looks up your account and petition history!
Clicking on a person's account allows us to check his petition and complaint history in chronological order. Resolved and closed petitions are all listed here. This is why it is handy to have people petition for ship renames; if there is ever a problem with the shanghai points that were charged, the spelling of the name, or anything like that, a person's petition history can be pulled up, and the exact petition and response can be reviewed. I also find it handy in the cases of complaints; we sometimes get e-mails saying that a pirate has been repeatedly complained for harassment and nothing was done. When this happens, we check that person's history and review the complaints against him. (In almost all cases, there is nothing in the chat log that would be in itself considered harassment. One example I can think of is a person saying, "hello there" and getting complained for stalking.)
When petitioning an OceanMaster, it is always a good idea to include as much relevant information as you can. This way we don't have to keep asking for more information from you and sending you back into the queue of open events.
I hope that this has been informative and helpful in letting you all know what tools we use to work our shifts, and hopefully to let you know why it is that when you send me a friendly hello, I may not ever see your message! Take care, and petition wisely. O.O