While reading another thread (and I please ask people to keep that SPECIFIC conversation there), I got to thinking about the purpose of logs, receipts, proof, what have you.
I think it’s really easy to conflate the two things, and in fact sometimes people may be doing so in bad faith.
If I, as someone running a game, ask Alice for logs after Alice complaints to me about Bob, it’s not because I need “proof.” Logs aren’t proof. Logs are testimony, carrying no more weight than the accuser typing “p polk=Bob harassed me.”
The reason to ask for logs, is to know what actually happened. “Do you have logs?” from someone like me isn’t “Do you have proof?” It’s “Can you show me exactly what happened so I know what to do about this?”
I want to see what happened, what was said, and the context before I do things. Misreadings happen. Misunderstandings happen. Friendships are lost over such things.
But in the case of “Bob is pressuring me for sex RP,” that’s never going to be what you’re trying to do. Not at all. That’s an entirely different situation. Even if Alice is mis-reading Bob, you’re not going to try to get them to be friendly again. No.
Some folks are so used to the “due process” of “Do you have logs?” that they believe it’s proper to ask for them before dealing with ANY complaint. But that’s not the point!
Asking for logs isn’t about proof, evidence, due process, and all that. It’s about being a cool-headed third party to mediate a dispute.
In the case of an accusation of sexual harassment, that’s not the time or the place to be the cool-headed third party to mediate a dispute. That’s the time to separate the two at once, and to keep an eye on the accused.
Watch the accused. Does the accused’s behavior fit the pattern? Are there other complaints? Are you ready to take action to protect players from this player if there is a problem?
Getting the logs might help with that, but it’s certainly not required or even necessary to start the process.
In practice, sexual harassers in games do so serially. It won’t take long to get a few red flags and boot 'em.
I think logs are a red herring in most of these discussions.