Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

General discussions of games, players, ideas, and Pern canon.
kylara
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:53 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby kylara » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:38 am

Harbinger wrote:Sorry, kylara, I'd prefer not to go into it! I didn't want to name you originally, and the contradictory approach taken here is disappointing. It's not a discussion I think would be beneficial in this format. Like I said, it's too easy for things to devolve into personal attacks. That said: thank you for apologizing.


I'm not out to make people feel shitty. At the same time, I have absolutely no stakes here anymore and see no point in couching my words or making allusions when I can say things right out. I can understand why people want to do that when they have somewhere to play, but it's been made obvious to me more than once over the years (by practically the same group of people!) than I'm not wanted or necessary, so why should I care what my rep is? It's not a matter of being confrontational. It's a matter of just saying what everyone wants to say, but won't.

Do keep in mind tho: I'm apologizing for not knowing things were wrong with you or anyone else, and not fixing it. I'm not saying I did anything bad or wrong. All I do is RP the best I can, involve people as much as I can, and help out where I can. I don't owe anyone any more than staff or any other player.

Whatever the case, this is not a thread about Azaylia and Aishani's interactions. I'm… really not seeing where SunAndIMoon's presumptions arose from. However, anything further in the vein presented above should probably be taken to Rants/Flames. It's not productive or helpful.

The point continues to be how admin have allowed these kinds of situations to fester and how to move on from there.


Well... TBH, if you claim I was so much of a problem that admin should have removed me because I was wrecking the game, it IS sort of the point. But I'm not gonna make you talk about it either.
"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend." - William Blake

heysparky
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:34 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby heysparky » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:36 pm

willow wrote:
lilac wrote:... SW@HT in this as well. I don't want this to turn into a rants/vents/flames sort of thing because I put this post on this part of the forum for a reason.


Maybe wrong place to reply, but I'm not sure how Southern gets lumped in there. The only plots going on right now are ones that are player suggested? Maybe I'm missing something though.


I'll second that, Re: SW@HT not belonging in this discussion. (because I don't want to just +1 that, more below)

In addition to the two active player driven TPs (grabby-handed-entitled young Bloods invading the un-Holder-ed new Hold and a Winter Festival at said Hold), the most recent staff-run TP (Homicidal maniac shanking people) that SW staff put together was a sort of Build-Your-Own adventure framework where there are parameters rolled out in rounds for folks to latch onto as things escalate and evolve. I think it was very successful, but had suggestions and feedback on how it felt from the outside as a player. I felt my feedback was listened to and appreciated and am looking forward to see what the next BYO adventure will be.

A possible contributing factor to SW@HT's staff feeling tight regarding TPs is that the area theme is mystery and secrets. I think this by its nature makes the staff run TPs FEEL secretive and guarded and un-involving, because mysteries and riddles are only interesting most when you DON'T know what'll happen and things unfold.

BILBO: Um... What have I got in my pocket? (so many inappropriate answers)
GOLLUM: Preciousss! Precioussss is in your pocketses! (/attacks)
BILBO: Crap. (/bleeds)

I've found staff in both areas, SW@HT and Igen@HT, to be very supportive of player run/suggested TPs in different ways. I think the new Build-Your-Own framework will only get better too. Looking forward to what's next.

Oh, yeah. DUH. This:
I had an idea that I wanted to do for a personal TP for my main and ran it by staff and not only did they not shoot it down -- they added to it and really made it something special, NPCing bad guys for the finale and everything. For a personal TP.

YMMV. But I'm driving a daggum Prius over here.

My hope is always to find the 'yes' in a given situation and I really believe that the middle ground isn't an area of compromise where both parties are a little sad, but that the middle ground can be better than what someone might have come up with in isolation and given what they asked for.

We don't write vignettes all the time because serendipity and collaboration are what really make this hobby shine. When folks can be clear about what it is they want and identify the possibility space together -- sometimes the results are not just surprising, but better. Clarity. Honesty. And 'Where is the 'Yes.' I've found staff in both areas at HT open to this.

HEYSPARKY: Ohai soapbox. >_> Where did you come from?
SOAPBOX: (picking at ear) Uh, what?
HEYSPARKY: That'll do, soapbox. That'll do.

lilac
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:05 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby lilac » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:45 am

If everyone is happy where they are, great, but that isn't to say there aren't issues with the where. I personally haven't had the same success with SW@HT or IGW@HT for various reasons, so obviously someone who has had a lot of good experiences there would say that that's not possible... except that it is, because it already happened.

My reason for asking for opinions about this was to be constructive, which was why I posted to this specific board. I appreciate everyone's opinions and feedback! The best solution I've come up with since originally posting is just to RP casually with people I'm close to without getting involved much further than that, and that's worked out really well so far.

lifeiscolorful
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:37 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby lifeiscolorful » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:46 am

It does happen. Staff is just human, and will always be made of just humans. I think that there will always be the problem where it feels like staff is too controlling, but I think HeySparky hit it right on the head when they said that the feeling from SW@HT has more to do with the flavor of the area then the staff. If there is a mystery, well, someone has to control it, or the clues don't add up. It means that staff does play the big bad guys. They do have major characters.

Having said that, I have found SWS usually willing to come back with me with a compromise, so long as I'm not being a total dick in my response to their feedback. (Having done it where I am a dick-not fun, I logged and cried for a while, and where I give myself to me to process BEFORE responding (okay, still heat broken, but the rp after? Worth it! ), I'll totally take the latter.)

I think every area staff, regardless of the game in question, responds the same way to people being knee-jerk docks dicks though- by shutting them down. I think the mentality is that if that kind of poison is allowed to spread that it will spread to other areas. So the staff may be rude, abrupt, and/or harsh. Is it right? No, but sometimes it is called for.

Is that the purpose of this thread? Do I know the context of the original post? Nah.

I think all in all area staffs try to look after their players and keep out influences they would think might keep the game from being fun for the most people. If that means that some few have to go... well. There are other games that will fit their personalities better. There is totally a place for all of us with all the different flavors and spices of Pern RP out there.

Fallen Caryatid
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Location: HT

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby Fallen Caryatid » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:41 am

So the staff may be rude, abrupt, and/or harsh. Is it right? No, but sometimes it is called for.


No. This is wrong. Staff have a higher than baseline responsibility to represent their areas. If they are being rude, they're doing it wrong. In the context of the original question in this discussion, if staff is being rude, abrupt or harsh, they are getting in the way and preventing players from investing in their area.

If their intent is to prevent players from hooking in, how in the world can that be considered called for? If you don't think someone is a good fit for an area, politely tell them to move on. Being rude, abrupt, harsh, acting like someone with size ten balls squeezed into size two underwear, just makes you look like a dick.

Dick staff tend to breed more dicks and/or sycophants in their area, instead of some harmonic utopia.

There are other games that will fit their personalities better. There is totally a place for all of us with all the different flavors and spices of Pern RP out there.


Also not true. The number of available games are dwindling. We've reached a point where you have to either make do with the few available (not ideal in many cases but most realistic), start your own game (better but rarely realistic for the average player) or quit Pern.

To answer the original question:

If staff is behaving in a way that keeps players from jumping in, there are two options:

1) Bring attention to it in a calm and clear manner. In the ideal world, people would not realize they were behaving this way; they would welcome feedback or constructive criticism, and take steps to be more inclusive.

2) Find your own group and do your own thing. Since we don't live in an ideal world, this is usually what happens. It has the disadvantage of not correcting the underlying issue though. That means it will continue to happen. Whether you can live with that is an individual question.
Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil
Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am
Geek Social Fallacy #3: Friendship Before All
Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive
Geek Social Fallacy #5: Friends Do Everything Together

SunAndIMoon
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:12 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby SunAndIMoon » Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:07 am

Fallen Caryatid wrote:To answer the original question:

If staff is behaving in a way that keeps players from jumping in, there are two options:

1) Bring attention to it in a calm and clear manner. In the ideal world, people would not realize they were behaving this way; they would welcome feedback or constructive criticism, and take steps to be more inclusive.

2) Find your own group and do your own thing. Since we don't live in an ideal world, this is usually what happens. It has the disadvantage of not correcting the underlying issue though. That means it will continue to happen. Whether you can live with that is an individual question.


This.

But adding a third: It may not seem fair, but if you are a player who historically does not play but acts entitled to everything from plots to Impressing gold and getting clutches, then gets angry about it, your opinion will probably be taken with a grain of salt. Constructive criticism is more accepted as constructive criticism when the players who offer it are actually playing, or a part of the community, and not being entitled assholes.

lifeiscolorful
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:37 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby lifeiscolorful » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:21 pm

At the same time - IS there a way, using a text based medium, to tell someone they need to move on without coming across rude, abrupt and/or harsh?

Fallen Caryatid
Posts: 17
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Location: HT

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby Fallen Caryatid » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:52 pm

One can be direct without rudeness, clear without abruptness, and concise without harshness.

Example: "After consideration and discussion among staff, we feel that Named Area is a poor fit for you. The reasons for this are Reason, Reason and Reason (1). This is not a decision we come to lightly but in the interests of your enjoyment and the vision we have for Named Area, we feel it best to part ways. To that end, we are giving you until Set A Date to move on to Other Named Area (or leave the game)."

If you're encouraging them to another area, help them make that transition.

If you're encouraging them off your game, make sure they have a @decomp of their character and anything else they might need before moving on.

Stay calm. Stay civil. Stay polite. People might get upset. That's on them. People might disagree with you. Don't take it personally. If you cannot maintain a polite facade while acting in an official capacity, you do not belong in that role.

(1) And don't BS here. Seriously. If they have been disruptive on channel, name this. If they're being a toxic influence by talking smack about people to others, and playing the drama manipulative game, name it. If they're a constant source of negativity and complaining, name it. If there is a conflict of personality between the player and staff, say so! Own the shit you want to see them gone for. It is not rude to communicate, people fear "hurting feelings" or "looking like the bad guy" by speaking up. So long as you remain polite and calm (and are not actually, you know, trying to railroad someone you just don't like out of an area), you are not the bad guy.
Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil
Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am
Geek Social Fallacy #3: Friendship Before All
Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive
Geek Social Fallacy #5: Friends Do Everything Together

heysparky
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:34 pm

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby heysparky » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:42 pm

A NOTE: This got long. My apologies in advance. It wanders. I tried use white space effectively to make it at least readable.

lilac wrote:If everyone is happy where they are, great, but that isn't to say there aren't issues with the where. I personally haven't had the same success with SW@HT or IGW@HT for various reasons, so obviously someone who has had a lot of good experiences there would say that that's not possible... except that it is, because it already happened.


I've had all SORTS of experiences @HT. I didn't mean to imply in any way that there wasn't room for improvement. Or to suggest you haven't had your own difficulties. Without knowing specifics, it's hard to BE constructive to you or to the staffers that handled the situation(s).

There's ALWAYS room for improvement. I am DEDICATED to improvement. Hell, I pester staff for lots of things from the minute -- this door is bork -- to the big -- Hey, let's do moar Thread stuffs.

I've had plenty of ideas shut down, pin-cushioned -- always with reasons that seemed fine to me. ** Actually, Thread is a good example. As a new player, I want to see MOAR Thread. There are staff run Threadfalls, sure, but by and large, though HT has moved into a Pass, the player base seems more or less content to have Thread as a backdrop. Particularly SW@HT. It has been pointed out to me (by staff and other players) that folks RP what they want to RP. So, I've taken your tack of just doing it on my own with a few people periodically, and you're right -- it works out great. Which is also to say: Staff is not in the way.

Do I wish the community at large were more interested in Thread: Yes. Am I willing to run Falls and host events: No. Would I love it if staff did this: Yes. Do I expect them to when most folks are indifferent or uninterested: No.

I'm just listing this as an example of something that hasn't gone how I would like. If they wanted to, staff could do CRAZY badass Thread stuff. But they are choosing to spend their time and energy on stuff they and are interested in and that they think the player base will be interested in.

Oh! Oh! Here's another example. The Southern Barrier Hold. (Hi, SW@HT Staff, sorry you're hearing about this here, but I don't ACTUALLY tell you every thought that pops into my head, it just seems that way and feel free to skip the next couple sentences, please) HOLY CRAP. I hate the cold. I don't like the setting. It never gets above freezing. I hate it. I wasn't asked about it. I'm not particularly interested in playing down there. It's a hellish place that shouldn't exist. BUT (and this is where you can start reading again, SW@HT Staff) when I read the room descriptions, I can feel the love. The are events down there. And, though it boggles my MIND, people make ALTS to play down there and have scenes and ... seem to enjoy it. Madness. I would really rather RP almost anywhere else. And so, I do.

Would I have liked to have been involved in talking about something as big as a new area: Yes.

Do I care that staff and other players are (inexplicably) excited about it: No.

Not sure what things staff were in the way of for you and I do like your idea of monthly post-mortems, but really, I just do that sort of thing on my own. 'Hey, staff-person, I like the new log format thing, but (screenshot attached) can you make this THIS way? I think it'd be boss because X, Y and Z.' Poof. DONE. 'Hey, staff-person, can the form do this?' No. Because X and Y. 'Oh. Nuts. Ah, well. Thanks.' 'Hey, staff-person, I like the new TP structure, but X and Y were frustrating. Can we Z instead?' Thanks for your feedback, we're making improvements and will roll something out soon.

Feedback is incredibly important.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

If there is any accord I have reached with SW@HT staff, it's probably because I've just flat worn them down over the last year and a half by being around a lot, being reasonable and pretty low-maintenance. (Shut it, Bails)

None of which is to say that any of those things are required of players for staff to do their jobs, or that you yourself are not around, unreasonable or high-maintenance, but that those reasons may also be contributing factors to my good experiences. You have clearly had different experiences, and I don't mean to take away from that, but I feel pretty strongly that SW@HT staff doesn't belong in any bucket labeled 'in the way.'

ALL THAT SAID: If there's anything you want to bounce around, let me know! (T'ral@SW / F'in@Igen) I love batting around ideas and I might even be able to help!

Fallen Caryatid wrote:One can be direct without rudeness, clear without abruptness, and concise without harshness.

Example: "After consideration and discussion among staff, we feel that Named Area is a poor fit for you. The reasons for this are Reason, Reason and Reason (1). This is not a decision we come to lightly but in the interests of your enjoyment and the vision we have for Named Area, we feel it best to part ways. To that end, we are giving you until Set A Date to move on to Other Named Area (or leave the game)."

Don't take it personally. If you cannot maintain a polite facade while acting in an official capacity, you do not belong in that role.


I think this goes both ways and because there are more of us, there is a not insignificant burden on players to be at least decent. Because I like examples, here's one:

Some time early in 2014, I don't recall when exactly, I snarked at a SW@HT staffer and was, frankly, a big jerk for no reason about something I wanted done or ... jeeze, I don't really recall, but she, very politely, suggested we table the conversation. Some days later I paged an apology to her and we discussed the issue. It still didn't go down like I wanted it to, but that's not what I want to mention. What stuck out to me was, rather, that later she and I talked about how rare it was that someone acknowledged and apologized for jerky behavior. That seemed BEYOND ludicrous to me. She was... grateful. Because I said 'sorry I was a jerk.'

I'm STILL flabbergasted.

The more I thought about that the more it really upset me. Like... an apology was so rare that I got THANKED for it. That was a nasty little peek into what being on staff can be like. So being polite and respectful definitely goes both ways. And we outnumber them, so. BE NICE FOLKS.

DISCLAIMER: This is not to say anyone in the posts above has been a jerk and not apologized for it. But if you have, you know who you are.

As Fallen Caryatid says, "Own that shit." (awesome name, by the way)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

TL;DR -- If you're having a problem, communicate. Politely, clearly. If you can't do that, you're probably the problem. Own that shit. If you can do that (communicate politely and clearly) and the problem remains, it's not your problem. Don't own that shit. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Quicksilver
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Location: Pern - current player

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 am

Fallen Caryatid wrote: "No. This is wrong. Staff have a higher than baseline responsibility to represent their areas. If they are being rude, they're doing it wrong."


While I agree, there are times where bluntness (not rudeness) is required. There's nothing to stop the unsatisfied party from perceiving the encounter as unpleasant and judging the staff member as rude, however patient and calm the staff member presents themselves and the decisions involved. How sad. Violins play. People need to grow up and understand that "not now", "not this time" or "not this way" doesn't mean "never".

heysparky wrote "...an apology was so rare that I got THANKED for it. That was a nasty little peek into what being on staff can be like. So being polite and respectful definitely goes both ways. And we outnumber them, so. BE NICE FOLKS."


SO much of what heysparky said is right on - and I do get the player frustration and disappointment when things do not go their way - BUT as heysparky notes, involvement, feedback and communication is key.

Staff is neither PAID nor TRAINED before stepping up. Without staff areas basically shut down. Staff tries - hard - to serve (sometimes efficiently, sometimes awkwardly) to keep an area going. Player involvement, communication, feedback is always appreciated, especially hearing what has worked, what you enjoyed. Staff are like all players - we want to play too!

This is co-operative story-writing. But it's so much more than that! We're here for the social connection. We want to like you. We'd like to make friends and enjoy people and broaden our circle of friends. We also want to do our best to help an area thrive and grow... and enjoy people.

Fallen Caryatid
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Location: HT

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby Fallen Caryatid » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:34 am

Here's the thing. I've been at this for a very long time. Early-90s long. I've held numerous staff positions across multiple games, multiple genres. I have opened Pern games and run Pern games. I've been on both sides of this particular fence,

100% of the time, in every case but one of my stepping down from staff, it has been in large part due to other staffers.

Yes, there have been problem players. Sure, there have been players who have made me grind my teeth in frustration and left me shaking my head in wonder. These have been blips. Instants, moments of game time that were quickly resolved. But the majority of the time, I have never, ever, evvvvvver seen bad attitude, arrogance or a sense of entitlement such as I've seen from staff. I have seen people that I know and respect as people step into a staff position and watched them slowly transform from calm, reasonable individuals into frothing at the mouth beasts who deployed every "I'm a volunteer!" and "I deserve my fun too!" and "this is MY game!" excuse known to man to maintain the pedestal they'd built for themselves. I've seen ethics violations, manipulations, dramamongering and just plain nastiness.

I've also seen people going above and beyond to make a fun playtime experience but these have sadly been the exception rather than the rule.

Staffing creates a sense of ownership. Staffing creates a sense of possessed territory. Staffing creates a sense of being above others.

This discussion is about when those things create difficulties for the majority of people on a game: the players who populate it, who truly keep it running by achieving critical mass of activity, and who should be the reason people open games at all, those who should have their own sense of investment and ownership of a game. Staffing is a service industry and should be approached as such. They are not your audience, they are your clients. You may grouse about your clients but you also need to be serving them. Yes, with clear communication, with consistency, with transparency.

Bluntness fine. Rude bad. Expecting admiration just because you're staffing? Wrong.
Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil
Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am
Geek Social Fallacy #3: Friendship Before All
Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive
Geek Social Fallacy #5: Friends Do Everything Together

RightMeow
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Location: HT

Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby RightMeow » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:34 am

TL;DR -- If you're having a problem, communicate. Politely, clearly. If you can't do that, you're probably the problem. Own that shit. If you can do that (communicate politely and clearly) and the problem remains, it's not your problem. Don't own that shit. Ain't nobody got time for that.
heysparky


Unfortunately there are situations where a player does have the ability, wants to communicate and they encounter a staff that simply doesn't like them. I've been at this MUSH/MOOing thing a long time, 10+ years at this point. I have absolutely seen this happen. On other communities I'm a part of they call it BEC or Bitch Eating Crackers. That person will piss you off regardless of whatever the supposed infraction was, even if it was eating crackers. Some players hit this wall and they could communicate until they're blue in the face. So while attempting to communicate is always the preferable way to go and in a perfect world it would work, it doesn't always.

Also, heysparky, I realize that you've had some really positive experiences at SW@HT I think for myself, at least, I would really appreciate it if you didn't derail this thread into being completely a defense of that area. It wasn't the only one brought up, HRW@NC and FTW@NC were as well. In fact, I'd say they're actually way worse for it by far. But Southern has had its problems as well. You've made some great points but I feel as if they're getting muddled by your cheerleader stance for SW@HT.

lilac
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby lilac » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:37 am

But adding a third: It may not seem fair, but if you are a player who historically does not play but acts entitled to everything from plots to Impressing gold and getting clutches, then gets angry about it, your opinion will probably be taken with a grain of salt. Constructive criticism is more accepted as constructive criticism when the players who offer it are actually playing, or a part of the community, and not being entitled assholes.


I'm not sure who this is supposed to be for but I'm always open to discussion about what specifically I've experienced in the games I've brought up. I haven't pointed anything out because I didn't want to pin anyone to a wall publicly, because a) I don't think that's fair b) this isn't the RVF forum.

I definitely get that communication is key, which is why I started this topic. I am one of those people RightMeow has brought up, I have tried to communicate with staff. I'm sure the other side to that story is that I was too this or not enough that when I did try but the point is I've tried to get involved one way or another, I've tried to offer up feedback and I was rebuffed, it turned me off of gaming and now I just kind of hang out and do my own thing, which is, yes, a solution and it's fine, I've been having fun just kicking stuff around casually. The summary I've gotten from this thread is that that is the best solution unless you're already having a great time, and if you are then I'm happy for you.

If anyone would like to RP and brainstorm and all of that I'm always open to a PM and I'd love to see some of you guys around IC!

lifeiscolorful
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby lifeiscolorful » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:04 pm

Honestly, the last time I was a jerk at a staff my feedback wasn't positive. Some of the staff members, my closet friends who knew me before all of the nonsense, took my apology at face value and went with it.

But the staffers who didn't know me? I ended up getting lectured about how I was a problem and I needed to back away from things for a while. Two conversations were enough to absolutely destroy my ability to even play in the area for a while. I still haven't quite established my place back in that area and it //sucks// because two of my favorites ever are there. I wish more than anything else that I //hadn't// apologized to the staff now and just... let it go. Because then I never would have had to sit through that personality-destroying critique I was subjected to by two people who don't know me from Adam over what was ultimately a really tiny issue.

scarlett
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby scarlett » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:22 am

lifeiscolorful wrote:I think every area staff, regardless of the game in question, responds the same way to people being knee-jerk docks dicks though- by shutting them down. I think the mentality is that if that kind of poison is allowed to spread that it will spread to other areas. So the staff may be rude, abrupt, and/or harsh. Is it right? No, but sometimes it is called for.


Emphasis is mine.

I think this is actually closer to the core of the problem: the notion that anyone who is unhappy is just a dick. Is it possible that people are not actually being 'knee-jerk dock dicks' and are actually just... players with interest who want to do something new and are tired of facing staff that refuse to evolve? If someone really has no clue how things work, I could see this being more of a butthurt reaction -- at least until the staff takes a moment to explain some of the more convoluted realities of adminning. Not a harsh, concise, NO. Just a bit of time to say 'I like that you're thinking of things, but that kind of plot is hard to manage for these reasons.'

But that's not what this thread is about. I think that this 'knee jerk reaction' is coming from experienced players who know before they even bring up their idea that staff have their own plans in mind, that they don't want to make changes and they already consider the person a problem child. Because really, how many people here have felt like they're a problem child to staff? I'm willing to bet almost everyone here has felt that way. And isn't it kind of bewildering that some of the most invested and experienced people on a game are the 'problem'?

Ultimately, it is easier to just shut people down than to let them do their thing. It's less scary than handing over some freedom. It's less work to manage people who are just going through the motions and keeping to themselves. I know that when I was staffing, there were plenty of times that people were just shut down because we just didn't want to deal with them. And once upon a time, staff could get away with that because there were more people, there were more games for them to go to, and the playerbase was, overall, made up of people who had no idea how to admin an area.

Which gets us into another part of the issue: staffing is a lot harder now than it used to be. It used to be giving someone permission to have a party and approving characters whose big concept idea was that they were shy and liked horses. Now staff are dealing with a lot more players who have been at this for a long time, people who have been staffers themselves. They all have different preferences about how things are run. They have specific ideas, they have concepts for complicated character backgrounds and goals, they have ideas for long, sweeping plot arcs, how those plots are run and even the general feel of an area. And those things feel much more daunting to staff when they're coming from an external source. They're also much more threatening to that notion of staff being 'in control' of things.

And this just brings us back around to the problem: the way current staff tend to look at their players -- not as peers and collaborators, but as an audience who should either applaud or leave.

skywaterblue
Posts: 75
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby skywaterblue » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:52 pm

scarlett wrote:Which gets us into another part of the issue: staffing is a lot harder now than it used to be. It used to be giving someone permission to have a party and approving characters whose big concept idea was that they were shy and liked horses. Now staff are dealing with a lot more players who have been at this for a long time, people who have been staffers themselves. They all have different preferences about how things are run. They have specific ideas, they have concepts for complicated character backgrounds and goals, they have ideas for long, sweeping plot arcs, how those plots are run and even the general feel of an area. And those things feel much more daunting to staff when they're coming from an external source. They're also much more threatening to that notion of staff being 'in control' of things.

And this just brings us back around to the problem: the way current staff tend to look at their players -- not as peers and collaborators, but as an audience who should either applaud or leave.


Wise observations. In general, I think Pern MU*'s culture of freeform pretend-time is long overdue to be rehauled with some kind of formal GMing system with stats. It would be easier to have conflict resolution if the conflicts on PernMU*s were over numbers and not two people disagreeing on whether their pants were mauve or maroon.

Wyborne
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby Wyborne » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:34 am

skywaterblue wrote: Wise observations. In general, I think Pern MU*'s culture of freeform pretend-time is long overdue to be rehauled with some kind of formal GMing system with stats. It would be easier to have conflict resolution if the conflicts on PernMU*s were over numbers and not two people disagreeing on whether their pants were mauve or maroon.


This is an interesting concept actually, in theory you could adapt the stats from any one of several tabletop options out there, though when stats become involved you can run into the issue of ''whose winning'' verses shared storytelling. I would like to see someone experiment with it.

skywaterblue
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby skywaterblue » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:01 pm

With a bunch of tabletop systems going settingless and having more support for social based metrics, I think it's possible though previous efforts to lead Pern gamers to statted systems have gone about as well as herding cats. Still, it's the only practical solution I can see to this eternal he said/she said conflict on games. Let the dice decide.

dragonethos
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby dragonethos » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:40 pm

I’m not sure that I believe that more stats is the answer, and I say this as someone who has been wrongfunned for my effusive enjoyment of numbers. ;)

I’ve been attracted to the games with stats (TF in the incarnation I joined, as well as 2P), and I think that it does confer some advantage in that it provides a clear framework for everyone playing to evaluate the characters and the world by the same metrics.

Which gets back to…

skywaterblue wrote:the only practical solution I can see to this eternal he said/she said conflict on games


I think that, while stats may reduce conflict, that it is impossible to completely avoid conflicting ideas. This makes me think of something lilac said earlier:

lilac wrote:There's no reason why we can't all collaborate and work together, and I think it would be easy to get back to that, but it would mean potentially drastic changes and that's where I'm just not sure.


I posit that collaboration isn’t, actually, all that easy. We all come from different places and experiences, and we all have slightly different views of How Things Are when it comes to the shared reality. The more complex the attempted storytelling, and as scarlett observed -- the trend seems to be towards greater complexity, the more difficult it is to align all the pieces. And…

scarlett wrote:Ultimately, it is easier to just shut people down than to let them do their thing.


But that leads to...

lilac wrote:this is just something that maybe we need to work around by coming up with another way of making sure a game is set up/run without suffocating the player base?


I don’t think the question should be: how do you manufacture an environment with no conflict? I think it should be: how do you deal with conflict in a healthy, productive way?

Stats and dice rolls are one way, but no matter how much you quantify and make rules, I suspect that there will always be that situation that falls outside of them. And then what?

In the mean time, I think stat systems may feed into one of two negative issues that seem to be historically interwoven with the PernMU* community: competition and secrecy.

When I read that an answer to this thread’s topic question is to sequester into smaller and smaller groups in quiet corners, it makes me a little sad. I don’t know if there is a better answer, but I want a better answer than that. I think that there’s a lot of value in being part of a bigger collaborative community, and while I am inclined to think it’s unnecessary that we all overlap perfectly and absolutely, it seems like it would be nice to have some meeting ground which we can all enjoy together.

For me, for a long time 2P felt like that kind of community (and in many respects so did its predecessor game, Settlers of Pern). There, perhaps more than other “games” I’ve been a part of, it seemed like staff was very consciously creating a community and was proactive in engaging the community. That kind of open discussion between staff and players isn’t something I’ve really seen elsewhere, and while I’m sure we could go into its cons, I think it’s an actual-example of something that can be done to allow players to feel actively involved instead of suffocated.

For another positive example, I’ll touch on a plot arc that has already been mentioned on this thread: The autumn ‘14 murder mystery done by SW@HT.

I would contend that the success (at least, I perceive it as a success!) of this plot was not primarily a factor of staff being secretive and controlling major PCs. Rather, my perception is that this was an amazing plot that generated a whole host of wonderful scenes because staff:
  • OOCly provided a very clear and accessible outline of what was happening, and when, so that everyone was playing from common assumptions
  • Said go for it! and meant it, letting players spin off their stories in their favorite flavor without further interference
  • Provided a universal IC risk element, so that there was something for any character to easily hook into to catalyze character development (conflict - it’s the kernel of story!)


It’s scary to let go. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Especially when many of us have a decade’s or more worth of dings and nicks from bouncing off each other. It’s hard to trust. But those are the things collaboration and creativity are made of.

Anyway -- I appreciate this thread. It is nice to have open discussion, and to see so many coming to share their constructive thoughts.

Image

skywaterblue
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Re: Game admin/area staff getting in the way?

Postby skywaterblue » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:34 pm

You know I love you much, dragonethos but I can honestly say as one of the designers of 2P's homebrew XP system that I think it's a poor halfway-point to an actual stats system. I think the TF attempt was closer, but less used than 2P's system, which I don't really consider a stats system at all. Some of the later Thread code came closer.

Game design influences how players later play; combat systems beget combat between players, especially automatic systems like WoD MU* where the players are given laxity to use the combat powers against one another. The 2P system was designed to encourage cooperative play by making it so you could only advance through actual roleplaying, but it was heavily weighted towards the type of soft-social RP that Pern players already engage in and rewards it by quantifying how much RP was worth in-game IC status, rather than attempting to use a stats system to change the dynamics of the way we play.

That soft-social style of RP, I think, engenders the very conservative elements of Pern RP that I think breed the lack of conflict and later secrecy and competition. The lack of conflict resolution in story bleeds over to conflict out of story, but more importantly, I think the way we're glued into one type of play - the soft-social cooperative - limits what kind of stories we're capable of telling.


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