Problems with the Scummies

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RadiantCowbells
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Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:29 pm

I remember when I started taking this site seriously in 2015 the scummies were like a big thing to me. I have also been told from the vast majority of people who were around before that time that the scummies were taken even more seriously before then but everyone gradually stopped caring in the years leading up to that. This year, the prevailing attitude towards them that I've seen is that, barring Mastina and a small contingent of newer players who aren't jaded about them yet, no one cares. The scummies have had judging delayed for two months waiting for Zoraster and the SSC (several of whom are inactive on site and the remainder of whom either play mafia or influence the meta extremely rarely) but no one really cares about the delay... because no one cares about the outcome. I've heard it described as a popularity contest, poorly modded/judged in general, the nominations are bad, all manner of complaints, but I haven't heard anyone say that they're happy about the way scummies are run.

And that includes backstage, for the record: The Plottin Kittehs win, from people who were actually engaged in the judging few people in the judging had actually engaged the material in finalists beyond "I like Plotinus they're good let's give the win to them". As an armchair judge I was floored at the win because I personally thought it was just about the worst nom: the game involved a modkill on town's only +equity PR that made the game ridiculously scumsided from the end of day 2. With no offense whatsoever meant to Plotinus or Mala both of whom I like and have a great deal of respect for I think that win only happened because the people who have the competence and who care enough to do a good job judging are too disillusioned with the system as a whole to bother being a part of it. I've heard bitching about the scummies from the judges since the year that I got here.

First and foremost, and I think that regardless of opinions on the further changes which I admit are subjective based on my own vision of the scummies:

Understand that while we certainly value input, ultimately the Scummies Steering Committee has to make the call that it believes is in the best interest of the Scummies and MS. It is not a democracy.


Democracy or otherwise: who is the Scummies Steering Committee right now and what specifically qualifies them to this position besides them always having been there?

The fact that the SSC aren't engaged with the mafia playing community anymore hurts the scummies in several ways. First off, given that the judges and recipients are heavily skewed towards newer players, it means that the people making the decisions aren't actually the people who the scummies are for. This manifests itself in both the clear reduced interest that they have shown and the lack of representation causes the people being represented to lose interest as well and these both feedback into each other. Furthermore, it means that the SSC has less influence among the modern players of the site: if the SSC were well connected well respected people who play right now they would be a lot more able to both get more judges and get higher quality judging to happen. Finally, it hurts the credibility of the entire system when there's decisions from on high being thrust upon the system: as an example in the current year's judging there was a game that no one picked to be a finalist that Zoraster independently decided should be a finalist despite literally no one on the judging committee thinking that they should make finalists over at least one nom that did have support. That kind of partiality from the moderation undermines faith in the system and if Zoraster feels that the judging isn't being done well enough then he should change the judging or act as a judge rather than use his administrator status to force things through against the will of the actual judges.

I think that with newer blood that has more connections among the mafia community of 2018 on the scummies steering committee would be more engaged, be able to run it in a manner more suited to what the community currently wants, and be more able to rally more invested people to put enough of an effort into taking the scummies seriously. I think that the current image that it has as a popularity contest squarely stems from quality standards and investment slipping due to the people in charge no longer being immersed enough in the community to encourage judges and put the time in, and given that Zoraster and the SSC have now held everything up with the judging complete to finalist stage for two months now, I think something really needs to be changed. Possibly like individuals in the SSC can stay but the setup as a whole is clearly not working and I think that it ought to be handed off to a new set of people.

To follow are some of the ideas that I personally have for improving the scummies.
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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:30 pm

Now, as an example of something that I think should be changed from within the system, I think that the current system of having ONE town nom and ONE scum nom is stupid. There's armies of moderation noms for a small part of the site but the mafia playing experience only having two noms is rather silly. Here's what I would propose

3 scum play awards:
1) Body of Work
2) Best Individual Game
3) Best Scum Team

3 town play awards:
1) Best Scumhunter
2) Best Town Leader
3) Best Mechanical Play

Then from the awards, the scummy judges would then pick which of the three they think most represented either Don Corleone or Paragon and they would get that title while the other two would get the smaller titles.
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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:40 pm

Paragon would have to be renemed of we're keeping it as the catch-all town award, probably to Paragon of Town Play
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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:54 pm

The issue with the scummies is I haven't won anything yet

I agree that there needs to be more categories.
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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:58 pm

also I feel like Kodak Moment really should be seeing more love given it's not one based on skill but humor/notoriety
what's up with that
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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:59 pm

you motivate me rc
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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:00 pm

I agree with well... All of this. And like, I kind of feel like Zor just doesn't care to get it done in a timely manor?
Like, (and I think this is safe to say), I have never once gotten a pm from Zor after the intial "you're a judge" saying
"Hurry up, you have X days to do this in" or like constant reminders to actually get things done.
Hell I even remember asking him "when is this all due by" and him saying "oh yeah...I need to set a deadline...huh..." And like, even then the deadlines were kind of longer then they needed to be?
So like, (and now this is a kinda of a rough area to talk about) where topics have barely been touched, and only contain like, 1 or 2 posts.
And all of this could have been dealt with if Zor sent out a pm telling people that they need to actually judge things.
But instead, every now and then on my steam friends list, and pretty frequently too, I see this.

Zoraster
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PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS.

And like, I bet if he wanted to, he could work on this.
But instead, the subforum dies for a month without any new progress what so ever
and most of this is maybe understandable since Zor had trouble accessing his account
But like A. Any SSC member could have taken care of it and
B. When he got it back he could have worked on moving it forward SURPRISE, NOTHING HAPPENED. WOW what a BIG SHOCKER.
(Okay well we got marathon weekend and that was fun)

Also like, there are people who are currently "judges" who
A. Haven't been "judging" and
B. Probably don't even play mafia

and like, there are probably some on the mish mash side that have to be in the group, thats fine.
But if you don't plan on actually judging or you don't even play mafia now, then why are you judging?
Like, I don't get it?

Somethings I PERSONALLY want to see is This thread moved to MD and the new nominations threads should be globalized. I feel like that would give it more exposure and there is nothing wrong with that.

But this is the biggest thing I am fed up with atm, and thinking about it makes me so angry.
Like, if you're going to try to make sure this gets done, then do it right and do it timely and follow deadlines when you set them, because I feel like the way Zoraster has approached this has been a huge slap in the face to me and anyone who cares.
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Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:29 pm

think it's sort of uncalled for to complain that zor isn't doing enough
he's already doing a lot
advise you instead focus on ways you would volunteer to cover his load
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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:31 pm

I mean
I would love to cover his load for him!
But I don't know if he would ever let me or anyone else for that matter

besides that yeah, I agree, Zor is doing a lot, I just feel disrespected :/
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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:14 am

In post 0, Scummies wrote:This thread has been created to allow community members to make suggestions, discuss ideas, and to comment on the current Scummies procedures.

Please keep it civil. This is for productive discussion, not snarky takedowns.

Understand that while we certainly value input, ultimately the Scummies Steering Committee has to make the call that it believes is in the best interest of the Scummies and MS. It is not a democracy.

If you don't wish to be included in the Ceremonies, please PM this account.

This thread is not for nominations. Go here to make a nomination of a player.
Hell this isn't even linked to the new nominations thread.
Its not like anyone even SEEs this anyways because guess where its hidden?
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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:14 am

I am sorry but I cannot get anything but angry when I think about this :(
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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:15 am

No one sees it and the feedback given there is largely ignored in favor of a we know best attitude.
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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:22 am

plottin kittehs were awarded their award by merit of their performance and not their personality, please do not be stupid about this, thank you

i am going to be blunt and hurtful

the rest of your post is nonsense

the scummies are garbage because the playerbase is garbage

ms is one big fat popularity contest. the scummies did nothing to cause this

i don't really feel like saying anything else
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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:37 am

the scummies have been getting worse ever since I won an award, that is the only time they were worthwhile
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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:34 am

the "scummies are a popularity contest" isn't a new thing. It seems like I've been hearing that since 2011-2012.

I'm not all that sure how we improve/fix them though. I suggested that we have a specific group of players to make noms (like the Oscars) but someone said that was just as bias as the current "rando player noms rando person. (who is likely their friend)" And it's likely too much work anyways.
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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:44 am

i wonder if its because there's simply no active players good enough to deserve an award like best townie or best scum
"Ima need to buy at least Josh a fucking tarot card reading because this dude is scary at picking up on scum before they even post what the fuck type of Ms. Cleo ass psychic ass mothafucka did yall allow to sign up for this site"

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Post Post #16  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:52 am

Was going to make a post on this but naturally decided fuck it, but the gist of it was that a big thing I think for having people get or remain interested is also exposure.
Notably reducing the number of scummies means there's less banners floating around which kills almost all of the exposure. I think I recall back as a newbie in 2015 you'd see the banners very often, mostly I guess because of the best town/scum team awards, but even if they're low hanging fruit or just dubious as a reward I know that having them dotted around was something very noticeable and as a new player you'd see it and wonder. I think seeing it around in games and being reminded they exist like that is something more likely to make someone interested than later hearing about it months after you join or stumbling on one of the threads for it.
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Post Post #17  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:13 am

The scum winners don't play much so yeah

Plus with the teams gone. I agree.
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Post Post #18  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:48 am

I'm skimming at work but I like RC's #1.

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Post Post #19  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:45 pm

There is a wall post that I want - and will - read.

..... later
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Post Post #20  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:03 pm

In post 3, beeboy wrote:I agree that there needs to be more categories.
This has always been something I've been in favor of, for what it's worth. The more and more you reduce the number of categories, the less and less you are stating is worthy of Scummies, more or less. Which is the opposite of the culture I feel we should be encouraging.

I maintain, even having been a judge, that more categories is NOT a problem for judging, and not significantly more a work load. (Admittedly, though, I have to confess that I didn't judge as well as I would have preferred, but that wasn't a consequence of the number of categories. You could have literally only one category and I'd still be saying I didn't judge as well as I'd prefer. Having literally ten extra categories wouldn't have overwhelmed me any more, is what I'm stating, more or less.)

YES, I realize it is possible to go the other way--having too many categories devalues the Scummies themselves and makes them trivial. But I feel like having too few categories means you are stating that there is far less worthy for a Scummie. These two ideas might work in opposition, yet I feel we can have a happy medium which right now we don't have because we are heavily tilted to the "too few categories" side.

Then again, RC is right in that I'm not jaded, so. :P
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Post Post #21  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:09 pm

In post 4, Gamma Emerald wrote:also I feel like Kodak Moment really should be seeing more love given it's not one based on skill but humor/notoriety
The problem with Kodak is that it ISN'T humor/notoriety, it's a catch-all category. It's literally the "Well this was a Scummie-worthy moment, but doesn't have any existing Scummie" category. Towns which roflstomp scum used to have a Best Town Scummie, but explicitly from the people in charge at the time of removing said scummie, they said to just nominate towns that roflstomp scum for Kodak Moments.

Towns who pull impressive posts/gambits which basically singlehandedly change the course of the game and lead to a town win where before the game was headed towards a scum win? If I recall correctly, that had a Scummie too, but it was rolled into Kodak Moment. This is not a humorous moment, and yet it is also part of the award now.

Scum who manage to turn the game from a town win into a scum win from a single post would theoretically be included in the above, too.
Scum who singlehandedly manage to turn the game from a scum win into a town win and in some rare instances town who singlehandedly manage to make a spectacular fuckup that hands the scum the win tend to be more humorous moments that would qualify under humor, but there's also humorous moments that are specific posts that don't necessarily change the course of the game, just make people laugh.

All of those are in the Kodak Moment category right now.
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Post Post #22  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:20 pm

In post 1, RadiantCowbells wrote:3 scum play awards:
1) Body of Work

won't work, judges won't get through the sheer volume of games needed to judge it properly - so it'll be judged half assed and poorly.

the biggest problem with the scummies has always been a lack of volunteers to judge who then follow through and judge properly.

i haven't been on the scummies steering commitee in years, there were years none of us wanted to judge the games - to try and bring new perspectives but we could never find sufficent amount of judges.
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Post Post #23  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:23 pm

although i think the year we managed to rank games for single game awards as they came in was a good idea, and would work if there could theoretically be found a bunch of people commited to judging year round.

In post 8, Alisae wrote:I mean
I would love to cover his load for him!
But I don't know if he would ever let me or anyone else for that matter

besides that yeah, I agree, Zor is doing a lot, I just feel disrespected :/

have you tried pm'ing him? it's not very hard to get added to the scummies steering commitee.

fake edit: and looking at the usergroup there's like no active players in there which is kinda bad, zor used to never really need to be involved in the judging - we'd put up the threads and do all that shit and pass the ceremony on.
:]

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Post Post #24  (ISO)  » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:34 pm

In post 21, mastina wrote:Towns who pull impressive posts/gambits which basically singlehandedly change the course of the game and lead to a town win where before the game was headed towards a scum win? If I recall correctly, that had a Scummie too, but it was rolled into Kodak Moment. This is not a humorous moment, and yet it is also part of the award now.

Scum who manage to turn the game from a town win into a scum win from a single post would theoretically be included in the above, too.
Tangent to this, btw. A common manifestation of this is, obviously, a replacement who changes the course of the game. We used to have a 'Best Replacement' Scummie which got dropped.

On the one hand, I can understand the reasons for having dropped it (I can't quite vocalize this but I do understand the decision and why it was made), but on the other hand, I feel like the existence of that Scummie was a way to encourage players to replace in and try their utmost.

For instance, a replacement replacing into a slot which is screwed, managing to salvage it, or even replacing into a slot which is guaranteed to lose and yet being a good sport and trying their damnedest to still win in spite of it being literally impossible to do so. That kind of attitude is the sort of one I'd want encouraged in replacements. Where someone replacing in gives their all and manages to make the most of a slot, regardless of circumstances surrounding it.

Yet as things are now, aside from players/the moderator in postgame showering the player with praise, that type of performance would go entirely unnoted. Nobody would think anything of it in any future time/event, aside from perhaps the moderator/players encountering said player at a later date and remembering their performance.


Scummies serve the base purpose to award people who were deemed to be outstanding in some way, e.g. an outstanding moderator, an outstanding scum player, an outstanding town player, a player who had an outstanding moment in a game. (This is probably not the best of wording, but you get the idea. Their description on the wiki is, "The Scummies is an annual event run by volunteers on MafiaScum which awards Scummers of exceptional talent, luck, or misfortune." and this is what I am talking about them being, essentially.)

But I also feel that--whether they are meant to serve this purpose or not--the Scummies serve to be an inspiration, specifically, as an example encouraging the behaviors we as the community on mafiascum, decide we most want to encourage players to be. Paragon inspires players to be the best town player; Don Corelone inspires players to be the best scum player; Modfather inspires mods to be the best moderator; other modding awards inspire people to be creative and innovative when designing their setup; Kodak moment inspires people to be memorable.

And beyond that, by awarding it to a specific person, we are stating, more or less, whether we intend to or not: "Go look at what this person has done. And that is the quality you should aspire to have".

Are Scummies meant to act that way? No, not really. But I know that when I was a newer player, that's the perspective I took on them. And over the years, I have seen many generations of newer players ALSO view them that way. Players who have passing familiarity with the Scummies more or less have that mindset, "Oh, this is what's the best in that way", and in theory serve to inspire them to be of that quality.

So I feel like having more Scummies covering different aspects of the site/game currently uncovered by the Scummies would help to serve as a method of revitalizing mafiascum. "Best Replacement" being a theoretical example of one such Scummie we could use to hypothetically help inspire people to replace more often and to deliver a higher-quality performance when replacing.
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