Planned Changes: Newbie Game Deadlines

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Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:21 am

For the past three months, we have been soliciting feedback from Newbies at the conclusion of their games specifically focusing on their overall experience, IC/Mod quality, speed to start, and length of deadlines. Based on the feedback received so far (including some anecdotal rationale from Newbies who replaced out prior to the conclusion of their game), and after discussion with the Admin team during our quarterly staff meeting, I am planning to reduce the day phase for Newbie games from 14 days to 7 days. Night length will remain the same at 48 hours.

This thread is an opportunity for the everyone to publicly comment on the planned changes. Please keep all feedback constructive and on topic. If you just want to gripe about something related to the Newbie Queue, feel free to shoot me a PM directly.
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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:33 am

(Disclaimer: I don’t play newbies)

Interesting change. I thought part of the reasons of newbies are to familiarise them with the rest of the site, and most places use 14 days.

Prod timers will probably have to be amended with this change.
Last edited by BulletNLynchproof on Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:52 am

Hm, I'm not sure I would appreciate this if it had happened in my first game. When I first signed up I was always v/la on weekends and so were like two or three other players, it would've been unfortunate for a game to start on a Monday and none of us post anywhere near day end. Maybe D1 should stay somewhat longer, and the other days shorter? idk

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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:16 pm

This change will make me entirely unable to play Newbie games, for the reasoning that I am always V/LA over weekends (instantly eating up 2-4 days), in addition to having frequent "busy weeks" where I am severely restricted off of real life. When I have a deadline longer than a week, this is never a problem, because I have the extra time beit before or after the busy time to either do prep-work or 'catch up', as it were.

I think a time of seven days is just arbitrarily setting it to be one week, but that if a shorter deadline is required, 8-10 days is better. (Yes, I realize an eighth day doesn't seem like much of a difference; what does an extra 24 hours give? Well the answer is, in fact...quite a lot. I can comfortably play in a game with an 8-day deadline, but 7 days is not enough time for me to play well, least of all in a newbie game which demands a higher quality of play.)

As BulletNLynchproof mentioned, this is also not the site standard, not even remotely close to it. 14 days is the most common metric, but the second-most-common metric is 10 days, and thus an 8-10 day deadline is more in line with site norms than a 7-day deadline; almost no mods at all actually run one-week-deadline games. (They exist, but so do mods that run Blitz games--in that they exist in theory but in practice are few and far between.)

While I know this change caters to newbies, my concern is that the tradeoff is too high; it will lead to a couple of nasty side-effects.

One, the quality of play in newbies is likely to drop--if not from newbies themselves, then from veteran players who need/are used to the extra time. Many ICs are going to find themselves suddenly having it be ten times harder to do their job. Even SEs who have been around long enough are going to struggle; with this change, their play is going to be notably lower than it should be given the game type. (In a newbie, we are meant to show off the best of mafiascum play, and the best of mafiascum play does not work well on a tight budget.)

That, not going into how some people who would otherwise gladly IC/SE, with this change, will instead of going in and performing poorly, opt to simply not IC/SE at all because they know the above would happen if they did. (Such as myself.) Leading to less ICs/SEs signing up.

Two, while initial newbie retention rate may be higher, this change I'd expect would simply shift when the newbies flake--instead of flaking when they are playing the newbie game, they flake once they try out a different game type and find out that literally the entirety of our site uses an entirely different format than the newbie games. If newbie games are meant to introduce newbies to site norms, that'd be the literal opposite of the intended goal.
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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:39 pm

I can't find the last time you played a newbie game.

This is feedback from people who are actively playing the games. Therefore, their feedback is valuable and worth acting on.

Please can we stop being so negative about every single change we try to introduce. Give it a trial. See how it goes.
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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:42 pm

I’m in a newbie game and have played a couple recently (I’m a newbie) - I would prefer 10 days over 7

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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:44 pm

From a personal point of view, 10 days for Day 1 and 2 would be ideal, and then 7 days for days 3 onwards.

However, I'm willing to take a chance on 7/2.
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Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:46 pm

i personally think 14 day phases are overly long and aren't really necessary; days that go on that long tend to drag. it's not like people usually use all that time to come to a decision. I think that 7 days is long enough to think/deliberate/discuss without being rushed or making the day slog.

i do share the concern about the weekend thing; i'm v/la on weekends but i feel like there's a lot of people who are *more* active on weekends? maybe make weekends count as 24 hours? (which i suppose is equivalent to having an 8-day-long phase tho)

also i think newbie games sometimes have a not-insignificant amount of lurking/spells of low activity as newbies try to figure out what the heck they're supposed to be doing, and i think that super long dayphases don't help with that; there's little sense of urgency when you have literally two weeks to figure out what to do.

tldr: i like the change to shorter deadlines, but would prefer perhaps 8 days instead of 7 to accommodate for players who are v/la on weekends.

p-edit: 10 days for day1, and 7 days for later days would be cool too.

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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:50 pm

To clarify - days should not begin until the full player list has posted. Then the first day should be 10 days or so, and then get shorter as time goes on.
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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:53 pm

you'd wait to start the clock till everyone posts?

sometimes people flake before/as they get their role PM and it can take a few days to get a replacement. i think i actually played a newbie game where that would have made the dayphase *longer* than 14 days iirc

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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:59 pm

In post 6, Nexus wrote:From a personal point of view, 10 days for Day 1 and 2 would be ideal, and then 7 days for days 3 onwards.

However, I'm willing to take a chance on 7/2.


I agree with this, or maybe 10 just for day one, which was my initial thought at seeing the title

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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:02 pm

In post 2, Irrelephant11 wrote:Hm, I'm not sure I would appreciate this if it had happened in my first game. When I first signed up I was always v/la on weekends and so were like two or three other players, it would've been unfortunate for a game to start on a Monday and none of us post anywhere near day end. Maybe D1 should stay somewhat longer, and the other days shorter? idk

This is a thing in multiple other games, I'm seconding this
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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:04 pm

In post 9, skitter30 wrote:you'd wait to start the clock till everyone posts?

sometimes people flake before/as they get their role PM and it can take a few days to get a replacement. i think i actually played a newbie game where that would have made the dayphase *longer* than 14 days iirc


My issue is that you could also have a day phase where one slot might not post.
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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:12 pm

Confirmation phases are a thing in other games as well: if I remember correct I saw Ircher mod a newbie where he had one
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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:13 pm

You know deadline is something you could let the moderator decide, and only restrict it with a minimum and maximum deadline. Just an idea. Dunno why all newbie games need to have exactly the same deadline.

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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:14 pm

I think uniform 8-day and 10-day d1 7-day d2+ are both good.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that site culture has shifted toward shorter deadlines over the years; keep in mind that 3 weeks used to be normal. While it is good for newbie games to reflect the rest of the site, deadlines between 1-2 weeks are becoming more common, and if the tradeoff is in favor of newbie retention then it's almost always a tradeoff that is worth it. A 7 or 8 day deadline could be good for people who are used to 2-3 day deadlines to transition into what we consider more typical deadlines.

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Post Post #16  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:17 pm

In post 15, implosion wrote:I think uniform 8-day and 10-day d1 7-day d2+ are both good.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that site culture has shifted toward shorter deadlines over the years; keep in mind that 3 weeks used to be normal. While it is good for newbie games to reflect the rest of the site, deadlines between 1-2 weeks are becoming more common, and if the tradeoff is in favor of newbie retention then it's almost always a tradeoff that is worth it. A 7 or 8 day deadline could be good for people who are used to 2-3 day deadlines to transition into what we consider more typical deadlines.


Also needs to be considered that site culture will shift toward whatever the newbie deadlines are. We've fallen from 3 weeks to 2 when the newbie deadline changed last time. (Where do you think the idea for what deadline to use comes from?) That's also why I think allowing the mods some range with deadlines is a good idea. It discourages a standard deadline across the entire site.

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Post Post #17  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:31 pm

Good change. I've been using 10 days in my games because I feel like 14 days just ends up a slog.
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Post Post #18  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:10 pm

7-day days and 24-hour nights and 24-hour prods is fine I think, if it's adjustable by common sense. Like if a player says they are v/la on weekends but the day started on a sunday, the mod could just make the day a few days longer so that it ends on a tuesday and the next day starts on a wednesday.
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Post Post #19  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:23 pm

/support

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Post Post #20  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:46 pm

I like Nexus' idea of a 7 day timer that doesn't start until all slots have posted. Also agree with 10 days for day 1.

I haven't played in a while and it will probably be a while before I play again, but I'm not sure I could do 7 day dayphases as a player. But it's worth trying anyway. As a mod I don't think this change would make things any harder.

I'd handle weekend V/LA in a few ways (basically the way I already handle it but shrunk down a little):

  • if you're not V/LA then saturday and sunday already count as one day towards the prod timer, so with a 48 hour timer if you post at noon on friday you'll get prodded at noon on monday and replaced at noon on tuesday.
  • With a 24 hour prod timer if you post at noon on friday you get prodded when i woke up on sunday and have until noon monday to respond to the prod before replacement.
  • If you are V/LA then you get nudged instead, which counts as half a prod and you don't get replaced if you don't respond to a nudge.
  • I currently do prods at 2 days and nudges at 3 days. I guess if I were doing prods at 1 day I'd do nudges at 36 hours.
  • If you would be nudged a second (fourth, sixth) time, you're prodded for real instead. This is what "half a prod" means.
  • If you haven't posted game advancing content in 7 days (on 14 day deadlines) or say 4 days (7 day deadlines) you get replaced, even if V/LA.
  • The bar for game advancing content is only a little bit higher than "sorry i'll read this later." a naked vote or a half sentence waffle will do.
  • If you haven't posted in the last 24 hours (14 day deadlines) / 12 hours (7 day deadlines) before a deadline, you need to reply to the nightstart PM so I know you're still here.
Last edited by Plotinus on Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Post #21  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:46 pm

Speaking as someone who doesn’t play newbies much theses days but hosts quite a bit...
I’d suggest having a consistent deadline structure, in part because it’d be uncomfortable having different deadline needs potentially incentivizing people to swap out of games they think are too short/long post role pm (too many sub outs are already a major issue in newbie queue imo, and this happening by SEs without any consequence is ALSO a big problem imo)

Personally I’d say 10 days d1 is a good change, and then whatever for later das as long as it’s consistent.
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Post Post #22  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:55 pm

Yeah, I was thinking of the 10-day timer for day 1, and maybe 7 for days 2 and beyond. Certainly by the time it gets to day 3 or 4 we barely even need seven days to get a lynch.

But day 1 is always hard -- you need more time to (1) get everyone out there, (2) respond to RVS, (3) respond to those responses, (4) start getting attitude reads, (5) come to a serious lynch consideration, (6) reconsider, and (7) finally come to a lynch. With only seven players and thirty pages of content, a lot of that gets much easier.
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Post Post #23  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:10 pm

In post 20, Plotinus wrote:If you haven't posted game advancing content in 7 days (on 14 day deadlines) or say 4 days (7 day deadlines) you get replaced, even if V/LA.


I have an issue (in general) with this idea. I think that it's not the game moderator's job to say if you're posting game advancing content, because that's overstepping the bounds. If a player wants to just prod dodge then it's a valid tactic and it's up to the rest of the players to decide what to do with that.
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Post Post #24  (ISO)  » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:17 pm

Please keep in mind that this change is informed by feedback Penguin has been collecting for a long time, and the major complaint he gets from newbies is 'deadlines are too long'. If newbies think that deadlines are too long, and are not sticking around as a result...then who exactly are we catering to as a site?

We are not imposing this limit in other queues. Yes, it is likely that deadline averages will drop as a result. But, it does not prevent moderators from setting deadlines they prefer in other queues. There may even be solutions we can implement in other queues to preserve the longer deadline average the site currently has.
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