Planned Changes: Newbie Game Deadlines

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callforjudgement
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Post Post #141  (isolation #0)  » 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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callforjudgement
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Post Post #147  (isolation #1)  » 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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callforjudgement
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Post Post #150  (isolation #2)  » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:16 pm

In general I'd prefer to not have to replace an active player if I can help it, as that tends to disrupt games much more than a player disappearing for a bit then coming back (unless they do it too often, obviously).
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callforjudgement
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Post Post #200  (isolation #3)  » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:33 pm

Instant Night is logistically difficult to set up, especially if the players don't know what they're doing. The Newbie Queue thus seems like the worst possible place for it.
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