Planned Changes: Newbie Game Deadlines

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Post Post #125  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:37 am

On a personal note, boo to 7 day deadlines for D1; wouldn't IC for games anymore if early game was that shortened.

Day 1 in newbie games is awkward because we get a lot of players who are not a good fit for mafiascum and there is no way we are able to cater to them without changing forum mafia period; players who are expecting something close to a town of salem/telegram experience/playing with a bunch of people who also have no idea how to play experience. Sometimes these players recognize it immediately and flake, but usually they make three posts in a three day period and then take two days to flake out. There's also a slower start a lot of times because there are 3 people who know how to start the game and 6 people who don't; in that time, if one or two of those three people are inactive or don't help things get rolling then the game drags. I do understand that extensions will probably be given for replaceouts/until everyone posted in thread, but if we end up having two week deadlines Day 1 anyways then this change will do more harm than good.

I also don't think that newbies want shorter deadlines. They want faster paced games - maybe shorter deadlines will get us there, but I don't think that solves the problem that we have.
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Post Post #126  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:51 am

To be fair (if the above point is true), MS games can go at a faster pace but only if multiple people are engaged at a time. It's just the time between those engagement moments are the ones that make people perceive the game as dragging on.
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Post Post #127  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:56 am

And to that end, I think a shorter prod timer would help. I think that following through with the IC review group (but making each review less in depth) would help. I think holding experienced players (SEs and ICs both) to a higher standard would help.

Like, look at what ruru's saying here. She's frustrated with her IC flaking and getting policy lynched for no activity. Will a shorter deadline help that? I don't think so, but if the IC had to post once every 24 hours and didn't, it's possible that the moderator would be able to replace them quicker and someone would be able to contribute and turn around the game instead of the most experienced slot in the game getting policy lynched. If the IC review group noticed that this person was obscenely flaky in general, sent them a PM, and then they were obscenely flaky in the future then they're not ICing for the next group of newbies. If the SE group has a better set of standards, maybe they're more able to drive the game on their own.

I don't really think that it's about punishing people (everyone has crappy games and someone shouldn't be banned from ICing forever just because they had a crappy game), but I think that if we want to improve newbie games then we can't be afraid of holding people to a higher standard even if the bench is a bit thin.
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Post Post #128  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:01 am

"I also don't think that newbies want shorter deadlines. They want faster paced games - maybe shorter deadlines will get us there, but I don't think that solves the problem that we have."
This makes me wonder, are the 2 mutually exclusive? Or do deadlines and faster pace relate?

"I don't really think that it's about punishing people (everyone has crappy games and someone shouldn't be banned from ICing forever just because they had a crappy game), but I think that if we want to improve newbie games then we can't be afraid of holding people to a higher standard even if the bench is a bit thin."
I err on the side of higher standards instead of punishment, as well. I think punishment like banning could work, but I think it's too risky if implemented - as in, we could lose people.
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Post Post #129  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:03 am

In post 127, Nachomamma8 wrote:we can't be afraid of holding people to a higher standard even if the bench is a bit thin.


It's entirely possible that having higher standards would create a stronger bench, as well, since meeting those standards would instill a different sort of of pride in players that would inspire others to join them.
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Post Post #130  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:54 pm

I think a shorter deadline would lead to shorter prod timers.

We still have rules/setups from an era when everybody played on a laptop or personal computer and would sit down and write out these incredible posts.

That's not the case anymore. For context: since 2014, we've gone from 76% desktop traffic to just above 50% desktop traffic.
Meanwhile, the average session duration has gone UP.

This means that less people are coming from desktop, so more people are coming from mobile, but they're spending more or the same amount time on the site when they come on mobile.

Our site is not optimized for mobile. Our games aren't optimized for mobile, as we still have long deadlines & prod timers that support a game that grows and evolves at a much faster pace.

I don't think we need to make this a spam site. I've been talking about planning out a chat-style mafia option for the site in the future to allow marathon-style, fast-paced, non-competitive games to happen on a more regular basis (of course, I have no skills that can do this, so it's just an idea). But I think the longer deadlines can be a big shellshock for newbies, at the very least. I am more willing to have veterans get shellshocked by newbie games than have newbies get shellshocked by newbie games and never come back.
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Post Post #131  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:49 pm

I think we hsould shorten prod timers but not deadlines.
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Post Post #132  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:24 pm

On a side note, the coding team is working to make the site more mobile friendly...so we don't need to derail this topic talking about that.
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Post Post #133  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:30 pm

Basically done I think? At least so far as 3.2 is more mobile friendly than 3.0 (which is a lot) its perhaps still not ideal, I'd need to use the site exclusively by phone for some period to figure out additional improvements.
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Post Post #134  (ISO)  » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:24 pm

I replaced into a game for my first game on the site. I will speak for myself as a newbie that while 14 days does feel long, I could not imagine having a productive Day 1 in only 7 days. As many have said, weekends do tend to be desynchronized. I'm someone who will have more time on weekends, while others will be V/LA. I agree with others who are saying that a good reason not to make this change is that the rest of the site doesn't use that short deadline. I feel that if you must make a change, leaving a long Day 1 would be greatly beneficial to new players like myself. I feel that much of the frustration comes from having long deadlines when there isn't much of a difficult decision to make. (5 players left with plenty of content to sift through.)

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Post Post #135  (ISO)  » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:18 pm

I’ve seen D1 deadlines with only 12 hours and there is definitely something productive happening in those 12 hours.
There could definitely be something productive in 7 days
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Post Post #136  (ISO)  » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:07 am

In post 135, Alisae wrote:I’ve seen D1 deadlines with only 12 hours and there is definitely something productive happening in those 12 hours.
There could definitely be something productive in 7 days

But those are not Newbie Games. Newbie Games:
  • feature at least 5/9 players who may not know how to scumhunt/generate discussion
  • will always have a high rate of replacements due to players signing up but immediately forgetting about the site, or quickly realizing they don't like the game, or other similar reasons - and replacements take time to recognize, trigger, and fill
  • can contain players who come from places with a different D1 meta (such as "always no-lynch"), which needs a long enough deadline for experienced players to phase away without it getting piled on by anxious newbies rushing to participate
This should be required reading for...everyone for anything, really.

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Post Post #137  (ISO)  » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:48 pm

Like just based off of personal experience I don't think the deadline matters much but I do think that people (especially SEs) disappearing for 3 or so days does

Think a 36 hours or even 24 hour prod timer for newbies would be a good idea, at least for the SEs and ICs?
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Post Post #138  (ISO)  » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:55 pm

Should the SEs and ICs have a different prod timer length than the newbies in the Newbie Queue? If there's a problem in SEs and ICs flaking (and that's an 'if' I'm not sure about), then implement something like mhsmith suggested:

In post 94, mhsmith0 wrote:Queue bans.

Replace out as an SE without good reason and yiure queue banned for 2 months
Do it again, 4
Etc.

Maybe start at 1 instead of 2 idk, maybe give a single free pass

But the SE replace out rate is awful and a terrible example to set for newbies, and is in partuclar a thing which deserves attention.
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Post Post #139  (ISO)  » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:55 pm

In post 118, chamber wrote:
In post 116, mastina wrote:If you assume the task requires the same amount of effort no matter what
Weren't you just talking about how games took significantly less posts in the far past earlier? I think that disproves this point.
I don't see how, when I also specified (albeit indirectly) that the amount of time/effort needed in a game has increased over the years--just having more or less leveled out more recently.

A game in 2018 takes a significantly much longer time/effort than a game in 2008, but not much more time/effort (if any) than a game from 2015.

That having been said, 36-hour prod timers for Newbie games is something I can potentially get behind.

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Post Post #140  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:07 am

In post 136, Toomai wrote:
In post 135, Alisae wrote:I’ve seen D1 deadlines with only 12 hours and there is definitely something productive happening in those 12 hours.
There could definitely be something productive in 7 days

But those are not Newbie Games. Newbie Games:
  • feature at least 5/9 players who may not know how to scumhunt/generate discussion
  • will always have a high rate of replacements due to players signing up but immediately forgetting about the site, or quickly realizing they don't like the game, or other similar reasons - and replacements take time to recognize, trigger, and fill
  • can contain players who come from places with a different D1 meta (such as "always no-lynch"), which needs a long enough deadline for experienced players to phase away without it getting piled on by anxious newbies rushing to participate
Someone said that a productive day could not happen in 7 days.
I provided an example where it has happened in even less amount of time.
Not anywhere in my post was I talking about newbie games.
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Post Post #141  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:08 am

In post 131, RadiantCowbells wrote:I think we hsould shorten prod timers but not deadlines.

After reading this topic, I came to the conclusion that the prod timer was the main culprit, too.

The problem with long deadlines isn't that you get bored waiting for day to end. It's that you get bored waiting for other people to post. Shorter deadlines won't make people post more content; it'll just give them fewer opportunities. It's faster prods that force people to post more content. (That said, lowering the deadline may well be a good idea simply to help manage expectations; it just won't fix the problem on its own.)

Newbies are Micro-sized, and keeping Micros going is a lot of effort (see: Callforjudgement's Micro Deadlines). This isn't a new problem; it was a problem even back when I was a newbie. Of course, the "1-shot deadline extension" mechanism is probably too complex for a Newbie, so you'd probably want to fix the deadline to 7-10 days (which is where it tends to be under my deadline system). However, the 32-hour prods are likely the important part of this. (24 is too short. It's been tested, including by me, and active players really dislike how many prods they receive even if there are no consequences for them.) You can (and probably should) combine the shorter prods with lower consequences for being prodded (e.g. allowing a lot of time to pick up the prod, and a lot of prods in the game).

I also strongly recommend forcing players to post content when prodded. The whole reason you prod (at least in a smaller game) is that the whole game can be waiting on one particular player to provide content, so it's no fun for anyone if they stall. It's easy enough to implement an objective rule for this:

Callforjudgement's Standard Rules wrote:Simple "I've been prodded, I'll post later" posts don't stop the prod timer, because players have a habit of making them and then not posting. A prod response post must: a) express at least one read on a living player; b) ask a question of a player; and/or c) answer a question asked by another player, in order to count.


(I remind players of this rule in the prod PM.)
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Post Post #142  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:12 am

In post 141, callforjudgement wrote:The problem with long deadlines isn't that you get bored waiting for day to end. It's that you get bored waiting for other people to post. Shorter deadlines won't make people post more content; it'll just give them fewer opportunities.


I agree with this analysis.
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Post Post #143  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:11 am

Callforjudgement's Standard Rules wrote:Simple "I've been prodded, I'll post later" posts don't stop the prod timer, because players have a habit of making them and then not posting. A prod response post must: a) express at least one read on a living player; b) ask a question of a player; and/or c) answer a question asked by another player, in order to count.

That's not fast food-y enough for mafiascum, I don't think.

Probably no one is going to understand what I mean by that but I can't be bothered explaining.

Why did you choose 32 and not 30?
Last edited by nancy on Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Post #144  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:12 am

I remember prodding players every 36 hours when I was modding on ms
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Post Post #145  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:20 am

I actually don't think reducing game deadlines gonna help newbie games. Having this culture of lynching when people come to a conclusion - to majority lynch and move forward and to keep the games lively and interesting is my suggestion instead

Also replacing out as SE or IC sucks for new players I think.

I think 7 days day phases is actually good and might help to keep this lively
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Post Post #146  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:21 am

The thing with inactive players is that shorter prods are probably only really going to help with getting a replacement sooner. (That 48-hour wait plus the time for someone to sub in is hell.) When you have SEs who are just lurking, getting prodded doesn't really get them more active and engaged in the game in my experience, it just makes them post a few times and then go back to lurking until their next prod. The same thing is pretty much true of newbies. Figuring out how to fix prod timers will be great but it only deals with a fairly specific set of activity problems I think, and doesn't take care of the real problem.

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Post Post #147  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:59 am

In post 143, nancy wrote:Why did you choose 32 and not 30?

I don't have a strong reason for preferring 32 over 30. I'd established via experiment that the correct time was "a bit more than 24 hours", but not how much more, and 32 was the next value I tried. It seems to work; it's quite likely that both 30 and 32 work.

nancy wrote:The thing with inactive players is that shorter prods are probably only really going to help with getting a replacement sooner. (That 48-hour wait plus the time for someone to sub in is hell.) When you have SEs who are just lurking, getting prodded doesn't really get them more active and engaged in the game in my experience, it just makes them post a few times and then go back to lurking until their next prod.

That's the whole point of the fast prod timers: so that people who post only when prodded make more posts.

If the player has actually flaked and needs replacing, faster prods typically only help in one specific situation (players realising they don't have the time to play upon being prodded), because the actual time to replacement isn't all that much faster (running 24+48 prods is no different from running 48+24 prods if a player has actually disappeared). I guess you could lower both the prod time and the prod response time, but then you're running the risk of replacing normally-active players who've had an emergency and haven't had the chance to tell the thread about it.

(Now I'm wondering if something like the "progressive prod response timers" I use, where prod response time lowers each time you're prodded, should be combined with some mechanism that increases prod response time for active players, starting it initially shorter. But my activity rules are complex enough as they are…)
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Post Post #148  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:53 am

In post 147, callforjudgement wrote:I don't have a strong reason for preferring 32 over 30. I'd established via experiment that the correct time was "a bit more than 24 hours", but not how much more, and 32 was the next value I tried. It seems to work; it's quite likely that both 30 and 32 work.

Well half of 48 is 24 and half of 24 is 12 and half of 12 is 6 and 48-12 is 36 and 36-6 is 30 and 24+6 is 30 so :V
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Post Post #149  (ISO)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:53 pm

In post 147, callforjudgement wrote:but then you're running the risk of replacing normally-active players who've had an emergency and haven't had the chance to tell the thread about it.


I agree that lower prod/replacement times makes more sense than shortening the day phase.

However, in regards to the specific quote above: I don't think that's enough of a risk to shy away from making this change. I think it would be more beneficial to occasionally replace a normally active player than it is to let games stagnate waiting for people to return. This is especially true if the replaced player is given an opportunity to explain themselves in dead thread/endgame so they don't get mauled in the court of public opinion for something outside their control.


I also wonder if it wouldn't make sense to put an active games limit on SEs and ICs. It doesn't have to be crazy tight, just...hey. You're committing to help newbies. Please actually commit to doing that. It's also a proactive, rather than reactive (i.e. queue ban) way to help up the expectation on SE/IC participation.
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