Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

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What should we do with the SDNW game?

Poll ended at 2012-01-05 08:47pm

Continue SDNW4, without changing the map or anything else.
4
15%
Continue SDNW4, but with a map change and retcons.
11
42%
Begin a reboot as SDNW5, with similar rules and an option on using the same countries, and try to recruit some new players.
11
42%
 
Total votes: 26

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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2012-03-13 09:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote:We could try it, Comrade Omega. Have a natter thread and an analysis/plotting thread. Trying to keep the two threads segregated would be difficult and possibly pointless, but as an experiment, I don't see how it would do any harm.

What do you think, Siege? You're doing well as devil's advocate and gadfly so far here.


That said...
Siege wrote:We should be focusing on making #5 a fun game that lasts. Not on irrelevant matters like the Wiki.
Siege, please don't be exclusionist. If someone has an idea that can be acted on in a straightforward way, let them say it. You, personally, might not care whether the suggestion is implemented or not, but other people do, and it's their game too. It's only when we get bogged down in bickering over details of the rules ("will we let psychics do X?") that any real time or energy is wasted.

If every time anyone wants to talk about the game someone yells at them for wasting time, SDNW5 will be neither fun nor long-lived.
Let me be blunt. A huge part of the reason why some of the last few games failed is because morons spent too much time fiddling with stats and "my axe is bigger than yours" nonsense (and the idiots know who they are) than actually contributing to the game. The end result is that they spend time fiddling with the wiki than doing anything else.

I will go as far as say that some users should not be allowed to play the game unless they have proved that they can contribute meaningfully to the game and if they so much as not contribute or start crap, they should be given the bloody boot. This applies to new users and so long as the moderators cannot show the bloody mindedness to do that, the next game will die as quickly as the last. And I will not participate in another sham of a game again and I tell you some of us share that sentiment.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-13 10:05pm

OK, Fin.

SDNW4 lasted over a year; if the next game runs that long, I'll be fairly happy. I don't think SDNW4 actually ended 'prematurely' by the standards of an STGOD- it could have gone longer, but we got over 2000 story posts out of the thing before the end. You can only ask so much.

Perhaps you have forgotten, but there was a substantial period of rules debating and map drawing before SDNW4 began. I didn't choose to start the renewed conversation in this thread at this particular moment- I take it as a sign that interest is building, and I may well try to get the preliminary discussions going weeks sooner than I would have done otherwise. But I have no intention of screwing around too much with the rules.

Nation creation just doesn't take that much time; people dicking around with equipment is another problem, and one I'll deal with as it comes.


And I do agree, there are certain players who, if they start crap, should be given the bloody boot. The idiots know who they are...
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu » 2012-03-13 10:13pm

I freely admit that I'm guilty of fiddling with stats and indulging in "my axe is bigger than yours" nonsense, but at least I made meaningful contributions to the greater narrative. For all my fretting over ship tonnage compared to the rest of the K-Zone and spending far more time than I should have writing up rifle and machine gun descriptions in the wiki, when push came to shove, I pulled a few good stories out of my ass.

In any case, Fin does have every right to be concerned about story quantity and quality. Life kicking you in the nads is understandable. Dropping out of the actual game just so you can play Spreadsheets of Iron with your order of battle isn't.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Tanasinn » 2012-03-13 10:50pm

Personally, I turned to the wiki because I was, by my join time, an outsider in a relatively dead part of the map. I spent most of that time tweaking the politics and history - not the stats - of my faction in anticipation of a plotline I could sink my teeth into. Hence why I want to hold onto that work - because I want to revise it and reapply it.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-13 10:58pm

Right.

Look, I can't think of a single player I'd even consider in a new game who did play Spreadsheets of Iron. It simply was not that serious of a problem. There were people who played out entire storylines without even specifying an order of battle, and that was perfectly fine.

The SDNW4 rules simply didn't allow a player to spend that kind of time and energy on it, unless he was utterly, utterly insane about it. The SDNW5 rules won't either, being essentially the same in all respects that could possibly take more than five minutes to do.

Wiki-fiddling, now that can consume arbitrary amounts of time, but by and large the people who wasted a lot of energy on it were either also doing plenty of normal writing, or weren't critical to the breakdown of the game. It's just not worth worrying that next time, someone will do it.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Siege » 2012-03-14 04:20am

Simon_Jester wrote:If every time anyone wants to talk about the game someone yells at them for wasting time, SDNW5 will be neither fun nor long-lived.
If every time we touch upon matters of game function, storytelling and player interaction we get distracted by pointless stuff like 'what'll happen to the current wiki' - a question that has absolutely no relevance right now - then I have strong doubts the stuff that actually matters at this point will get sorted out.

This is a matter of priorities. Half of everyone that's expressed an apparent interest here hasn't even weighed in on the stuff that actually will be fundamental to the next game, in favor of talk about the wiki. But you can't make a proper decision about a wiki if you haven't first worked out what channels of off-site communication are even desirable. That does not fill me with confidence that people have their priorities straight, or even understand the importance of laying a proper foundation.

Far be it from me to say what people can and cannot chat about, but if nobody is even bothering to weigh in on the stuff that matters right now, then frankly I believe we're on the road to repeating the same mistakes we made before.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-14 10:03am

OK, I see your point.

Although honestly, there were half a dozen posts about the wiki, in the first round (before anyone was defending themselves against criticism for talking about the wiki) and the people who weighed in... let's see, OmegaChief, who has talked about other things like the OOC thread, Akhlut who's been participating all along in goodish ways, Ryan and Tanasinn who yes, don't seem to have had much else to say, and Beowulf, who I can't remember if he'd said anything earlier in this thread or not.

But arguing over whether to talk about the wiki, when really all that happened was someone said "I move that we not erase the SDNW4 wiki" and a bunch of other people said "OK" is wasting more time than the original "I move blah" "OK" conversation did in the first place.
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Anyway.

More generally, it probably is worth trying to settle the plan for OOC communication. I don't have time to say much.

I like the idea of having separate OOC natter and 'serious' threads, it may not work but it's worth a try, what do you think?

I don't think we can or should ban instant-message chats on the side. They have good sides and bad sides, but ultimately, trying to agree not to do them is impossible because they are by definition private. I'll try not to go out of my way to encourage them, and will actively discourage them from turning into forums for bitching and sourness and bad ideas.

Let me just say that I think we should still have a wiki, but we need to de-emphasize those silly "infantry weapons of the galaxy" pages. Unless there's something really funny and distinctive about an infantry weapon, it just doesn't matter all that much, and I know a few people (like Shinn) wasted a LOT of time and energy coming up with the M24571EOMGWTFBBQ Slightly Modified Pulse Rifle or whatever for that page. Its very existence seems to have been an invitation to pedantry, so I move that we not waste time or energy on things like that. Any weapon not worth describing in a normal story thread post isn't worth describing at all.

Some of the other "X of the galaxy" pages were less of a pointless waste of time- "wildlife of the galaxy" took up less of people's energy and was at least a potential source for weird one-liners ("HOFFMAN YOU DUMBFUCKING SON OF A SHITWOLF!"). But even those- yeah.

I think the wiki is good because it gives us a place to put information that helps other people understand where we're coming from with our nations (which you've considered a priority too), but the catalog pages are bad because they make it too easy to burn umpty minutes creating a thing no one will ever care about, at the expense of spending any time on things people will care about.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Darkevilme » 2012-03-14 10:23am

Okay then Siege: You want people to weigh in on off site communications, I'll weigh in on off site communications, just don't be disappointed if i don't have anything insightful to say.

We definitely need offsite communications of a sort. However yes the club-house thing definitely had its downsides mainly concerning the discussion of the actions of players who weren't in said club-house to defend themselves or provide a counterweight of some sort.

To give full disclosure on one particular event I kinda got influenced by group nudging in the aftermath of the Eye Of Sasha incident into that whole active pursuit of the Byzantines thing. Otherwise I would probably have left it at 'they blew up a planet with voodoo, we shot at them for it, we'll send an angry letter later and the imperials wont care or will send us a bill for getting the dings out of their hull plating'. This is sort of why I scaled things back so rapidly after having talked to Fin.

So yes, partly through my own danged vulnerability to influence the club house thing led to an incident I'm not entirely pleased about.

Still. We need off site communications because using the forum for everything is just too danged slow. As Simon once said he can work out an entire issue in an hour's IM chat that would take two days worth of forum posts. Additionally I don't even want to consider how cumbersome collaboration would be without Ims and google docs.

Honestly I'll go with we can keep the club house so long as it's used responsibly and if there is discussion of those not present and there's a contentious issue someone takes the high road and displaces said discussion into the main discussion thread on the forums.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Siege » 2012-03-14 12:14pm

Darkevilme wrote:Okay then Siege: You want people to weigh in on off site communications, I'll weigh in on off site communications, just don't be disappointed if i don't have anything insightful to say.
Thanks, but let me be clear: I don't want people to just weigh in on this particular matter, it so happens that it is the issue that came up. I believe we need to have a proper discussion about the dynamics of these games and communication, on-site and off-site happens to be a major component in that. And I'm not convinced people are really getting how the way lines of communication are established is important to the way the game functions.

Take for example 'I move that we not erase the SDNW4 wiki'. Innocuous enough question, no? Except there's an assumption inherent to that, namely that a wiki is a good thing to have for the next game. Is that really so? Surely I can't be the only one that's noticed how a great many players (including, arguably, myself) invested vast amounts of time and energy writing crap on the wiki that never was seen in-game and, therefore, pointless? I think it's worth pondering on if players (and the game) aren't better off with that effort spent writing actual IC posts. If you want to show off your stuff, why aren't you doing it in-game?

Now, I'm not necessarily saying we shouldn't have a wiki - I'm probably more amenable to Simon's position of not bothering with the really pointless shit - but I don't want to make ad-hoc assumptions that could come to bite us in the ass later either. It's not just a website with a bunch of articles on it, it's also a time-sink. And the last game demonstrated amply what happens if too much time is sunk: the game dies on you. So there.
Darkevilme wrote:We definitely need offsite communications of a sort.
Okay, but how do you propose to guarantee that it won't devolve into the same 'let's all whine about designated meanie X and see if we can't "humiliate" him' as before? Is a thread for designated 'what the fuck, dude' posts enough? I specifically want the opinion of the people who were incensed at Fin (you know who you are) on this: would, in their opinion, a thread where they could ask clarification and air their grievances have been sufficient to put a stop to the griefing?

Because it's real easy to say now that sure, it will, but if folks are fully convinced that the target of their grievances isn't going to be reasonable in response, as I suspect some believed, then would it have really? And if not, then how would you prevent the situation from escalating that way next time we have a player perceived to be unreasonable or whatever?

PS: And make no mistake, I want your opinion only on the mechanics of the situation. I don't give a wooden nickel about who did what when or why, because that's water under the bridge, and if you come at me with accusations over the way the whole clusterfuck went down I will personally reach through the Internet and beat you with a dead camel.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Darkevilme » 2012-03-14 12:53pm

Siege wrote: Take for example 'I move that we not erase the SDNW4 wiki'. Innocuous enough question, no? Except there's an assumption inherent to that, namely that a wiki is a good thing to have for the next game. Is that really so? Surely I can't be the only one that's noticed how a great many players (including, arguably, myself) invested vast amounts of time and energy writing crap on the wiki that never was seen in-game and, therefore, pointless? I think it's worth pondering on if players (and the game) aren't better off with that effort spent writing actual IC posts. If you want to show off your stuff, why aren't you doing it in-game?

Now, I'm not necessarily saying we shouldn't have a wiki - I'm probably more amenable to Simon's position of not bothering with the really pointless shit - but I don't want to make ad-hoc assumptions that could come to bite us in the ass later either. It's not just a website with a bunch of articles on it, it's also a time-sink. And the last game demonstrated amply what happens if too much time is sunk: the game dies on you. So there.
I think there's an assumption here that a desire to world build(Which writing to the wiki is) is the same sort of mindset that leads to IC posts. Now I'm not saying it isn't for anyone in particular (Hell even myself, I suck at introspections) but I think I may as well play cthulu's advocate for the devil's advocate and ask whether we can know this for sure.

If so then great, reducing time spent on the wiki would directly correlate to increased amounts of IC posts and all is prosperity and sunshine due to them being the same type of mental energy. If not then people who want to fiddle with wikis and aren't able to will go do something else.

And the question is how does one limit the use of the wiki short of excluding it. Sure we could cut down on galactic listing pages..that's a good start. But if someone really wants to focus on world building won't they just move their stuff into their own national order of battle?

We can't exactly police these things no one has the time. An ideal procedure would be to give someone a smack if they go silent for a few weeks in the IC thread while producing dozens of wiki commits. But how the hell does one spot this beyond use of ridiculously exhaustive policing?
Siege wrote: Okay, but how do you propose to guarantee that it won't devolve into the same 'let's all whine about designated meanie X and see if we can't "humiliate" him' as before?
I can't really. A chatroom is a tool, it can be used for good or evil. The question is whether the extra communication it can cultivate is worth the drama it can create. And unless everybody is involved in it then yes we're going to run into people making assumptions in chat about people who aren't there. If everyone can abide by a rule of thumb though where, regardless of their beliefs about the person in question giving a shit what they think, they move contention about people who aren't present to the discussion thread. So that said person in question can defend themselves.. Maybe we can at least defuse drama before it explodes? I don't know though. Maybe it wouldn't work and I am a little cynical how likely people are to follow such a rule, it's easy to lose track of such things when you're on a roll.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Akhlut » 2012-03-14 01:10pm

For the Wiki: I think it'd be nice to have an active moderator going about locking/deleting pages about worthless shit like specific gun models or what have you as opposed to the real meat-and-potatoes stuff that will help other players make informed narrative decisions regarding other nations (for instance, knowing that Nation X was an expansionist state led by a totalitarian dickhead up until 50 years ago might affect current diplomatic relations from Republic Y, even if the totalitarian dickhead isn't mentioned much in current storylines). I think the Wiki would thus be useful, as long as there is a moderator(s) there willing to look at it on a regular and frequent basis who is also willing to lock shit without remorse and try to keep people from expending time and energy on shit no one cares about.

I think if people are so wrapped up in the Wiki that they would drop the game entirely if they aren't allowed to write about their hundreds of pistol variants, well, I'm not sure how much they would contribute to the game anyway. I think we should all follow that old horse of writer's advice: show, don't tell. If someone really wants to include some pieces of esoterica from their worldbuilding, use it in the narratives, not the wiki. Have Detective Smith complain about his Walther PPZ being less accurate than his old Walther PPY, since they decided to build it with cheaper materials, and then segue into things more important for the sake of the story.

After all, if someone really wants to go crazy with worldbuilding but not really write in the game, well, they can make their own original fiction as a solo author and not create problematic expectations of cooperative fiction writing/role-playing here.


Also, to help with the bitching: I'm not entirely sure how, but we should try to cultivate an environment that allows for venting and bringing up complaints that don't end with the messenger being shot. I don't think we necessarily had a "kill-the-messenger" sort of policy for 4, but we should have something in place for players to bring up complaints and have them reasonably dealt with so we don't have any sort of bad blood or anger between players (which I recall being a problem with 3).
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-14 01:12pm

I like Akhlut's idea about the wiki, although I do not think it strictly necessary.

Also, Akhlut, it is my sincere belief that I do not shoot messengers- can anyone think of an exception to that rule? So all I can promise is that I personally will do my best to make airing grievances safe, and I seem to have migrated into primary mod position more or less by default.
Darkevilme wrote:We can't exactly police these things no one has the time. An ideal procedure would be to give someone a smack if they go silent for a few weeks in the IC thread while producing dozens of wiki commits. But how the hell does one spot this beyond use of ridiculously exhaustive policing?
In extreme cases (Shinn, by his own admission, is probably the most extreme case), it would quickly become obvious what was going on, and we could apply pressure easily.

In borderline cases, it honestly doesn't matter, in my opinion.

The "waste time on wiki" problem is fairly easy to solve, now that we have decided we need to solve it.
Siege wrote:Now, I'm not necessarily saying we shouldn't have a wiki - I'm probably more amenable to Simon's position of not bothering with the really pointless shit - but I don't want to make ad-hoc assumptions that could come to bite us in the ass later either. It's not just a website with a bunch of articles on it, it's also a time-sink. And the last game demonstrated amply what happens if too much time is sunk: the game dies on you. So there.
I think the answer is: have a wiki, avoid creating or tolerating the creation of pointless encyclopedia pages, avoid excessive duplication of information, and have the mods poke, prod, or possibly hammer people who really do waste some meaningful amount of time and energy on the wiki, without contributing.

I spent a lot of time writing an over-elaborate page for my own navy at one point, but it hardly kept me from being a decent participant in the game. Shroom did a massive amount of wiki material for the Bragulans, but he did an even more massive amount of game material in them, so that didn't do any harm. And so on.

We're just going to have to trust each other and rely on the moderators to watch out for stupid behavior. If you want to join the Stupidity Police and criticize people for wasting time on useless things fine, but ultimately you cannot force people to be good players if they don't want to play. All you can do is exert moral pressure on them to up their game.

And to be equally frank as you, I think that being constantly on high alert about how other people are being "BAD PLAYERS!!!" will kill the fun of the game even faster than time-wasting wiki articles. If we keep harassing people about their bad habits as players, before we know it we'll have driven away everyone who dislikes being shouted at while playing games. The only ones who'll be left are the perfectionists and the masochists.

You've got to trust people eventually; otherwise, what's the point?
Darkevilme wrote:We definitely need offsite communications of a sort.
Okay, but how do you propose to guarantee that it won't devolve into the same 'let's all whine about designated meanie X and see if we can't "humiliate" him' as before?
We can't.

Human beings talk to each other. Sometimes they badmouth each other. This is the Internet, so we all have a lot of privacy and freedom to decide which of us will talk to each other, and where, and when.

We can't make it physically impossible to abuse private communications. That's an infinitely harder problem than preventing anyone from trying to game the rules to 'win' the game. The closest we could come would be some stupidly draconian policy of "if you talk about the game outside the forum, you're banned," which I will not be a party to because it would utterly kill the game, probably before it even started, and you know it as well as I do.

As long as conversation about the game is possible, people will grouse sometimes. I, personally, can undertake to keep it civil and productive to the limits of my abilities. You, personally, can do the same. I'm sure we can find other people who will undertake more of the same. But there are limits: you cannot make people get along with each other without their consent, it's as simple as that. We're just going to have to trust each other and do our best not to let our own conversations lead us in stupid directions.
Is a thread for designated 'what the fuck, dude' posts enough? I specifically want the opinion of the people who were incensed at Fin (you know who you are) on this: would, in their opinion, a thread where they could ask clarification and air their grievances have been sufficient to put a stop to the griefing?
Would you be willing to hear my opinion on this? I was not one of the people with a primary grievance, but I was at least peripherally involved in events.

If you don't want my opinion, I shall withhold it for the time being, of course. I suspect you don't want it, and if you don't, I dcan't blame you.

...Anyway. That said, a dedicated "what the fuck, dude" thread would probably be overspecialized. BUT these things should definitely be said to a player's face, not their back. I'll say the same to anyone who says them privately in my presence.
Because it's real easy to say now that sure, it will, but if folks are fully convinced that the target of their grievances isn't going to be reasonable in response, as I suspect some believed, then would it have really? And if not, then how would you prevent the situation from escalating that way next time we have a player perceived to be unreasonable or whatever?
Take it into the open in OOC. Get some discussion about it. If no amicable or grudging resolution can be reached, it becomes a mod problem.

Simple as that, really. That's how we should have done the SDNW4 stuff all along; the main reasons it didn't work were:

1) There were too many mods. A 'council' of five or six people acts to diffuse responsibility and makes any one mod reluctant to act on their own initiative, which makes coming in to mediate a dispute much harder. Though that wasn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem was...

2) Both of the main disputants in the original round of griefing were technically mods, and two other mods were involved at least peripherally. The only intellectually honest thing we could have done would be to recuse the entire damn mod council and throw it into the hands of whoever wasn't involved... and the only players who weren't involved were the ones who almost never showed up in the game anyway.

Those are easy problems to fix- fewer mods, and a clearer line of responsibility when a mod has to recuse themselves from an issue that directly involves them and that they've got their temper fired up about.
PS: And make no mistake, I want your opinion only on the mechanics of the situation. I don't give a wooden nickel about who did what when or why, because that's water under the bridge, and if you come at me with accusations over the way the whole clusterfuck went down I will personally reach through the Internet and beat you with a dead camel.
OK. I feel much the same way about the details, myself.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Akhlut » 2012-03-14 01:17pm

Additionally: I think having 3 or 5 moderators would be helpful for arbitration purposes, with a majority-rules, no-appeal sort of thing. Once the mods decide on a course of action, everyone abides by it. That might help to make reasonable decisions and resolve situations that some people think are unfair.

Or does that sound too draconian and/or unworkable for everyone?
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Tanasinn » 2012-03-14 02:31pm

I seriously don't think more regulation on wiki use will translate into more productive players. You may alienate players that like going on about pistol variants or the seasonal temperature variations on one of their colony moons hosting a supermax prison, though. As Simon pointed out, both he and Shroom were extremely prolific both on the wiki and in-game.

I don't see how this has become such a big detail. I just didn't want to check in on the wiki once the game approaches launch and find the materiels I'd developed for the nation I intended to continue on with had been blanked.

Anyway, all of that aside, re: keeping communications from becoming clannish clubs - it'll probably help to use a highly accessible chat client and have it named and visible at the top of important threads like the rules thread. That won't stop people from spinning off their own private chats from there, but it'll make chat more inclusive overall and probably result in less butthurt over imaginary space ships.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2012-03-14 02:48pm

Simon_Jester wrote:And to be equally frank as you, I think that being constantly on high alert about how other people are being "BAD PLAYERS!!!" will kill the fun of the game even faster than time-wasting wiki articles. If we keep harassing people about their bad habits as players, before we know it we'll have driven away everyone who dislikes being shouted at while playing games. The only ones who'll be left are the perfectionists and the masochists.

You've got to trust people eventually; otherwise, what's the point?
Meh. I have a personal list of people from the last game I am loathe to play with again.

And yes, I would rather have perfectionists and masochists than feckless vermin. They can get the boot for all I care. They are the ones who killed the fun, they should fuck off.

Tanasinn wrote:Anyway, all of that aside, re: keeping communications from becoming clannish clubs - it'll probably help to use a highly accessible chat client and have it named and visible at the top of important threads like the rules thread. That won't stop people from spinning off their own private chats from there, but it'll make chat more inclusive overall and probably result in less butthurt over imaginary space ships.
The problem with the chat was that it was turned into an old boy's privileged club. There were clannish clubs before, but none of them descended to the same level as the chat thread. Why? Because people joined the game for the wrong reasons. They wanted an "in" in the club. This was why we had Bluewolf and why we had to boot him off the game, though it took too damn long for that to happen.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-14 03:30pm

Akhlut wrote:Additionally: I think having 3 or 5 moderators would be helpful for arbitration purposes, with a majority-rules, no-appeal sort of thing. Once the mods decide on a course of action, everyone abides by it. That might help to make reasonable decisions and resolve situations that some people think are unfair.

Or does that sound too draconian and/or unworkable for everyone?
Personally, I favor having one mod who's actually responsible for keeping track of shit (didn't SDNW2 start out that way, with Duchess being the one who got the job?), with one or two other on-call people who can provide a ruling if the primary mod's gone off the rails, or needs to recuse themselves from a situation that directly involves them.

"Moderator councils" are more trouble than they're worth. Three might be manageable. Five mods is too many because it diffuses responsibility, and means there's a lot of potential for conflicts between moderator-owned nations. We do not want situations like that. Nor do we want situations where a player who was chosen as a mod himself decides to engage in griefing or harassment of other players, and the more mods there are, the greater the risk of that.


Tanasinn wrote:I seriously don't think more regulation on wiki use will translate into more productive players. You may alienate players that like going on about pistol variants or the seasonal temperature variations on one of their colony moons hosting a supermax prison, though. As Simon pointed out, both he and Shroom were extremely prolific both on the wiki and in-game.
Well, I don't think I was extremely prolific on the wiki, but I know Shroomy was.
I don't see how this has become such a big detail. I just didn't want to check in on the wiki once the game approaches launch and find the materiels I'd developed for the nation I intended to continue on with had been blanked.
Agreed.
Anyway, all of that aside, re: keeping communications from becoming clannish clubs - it'll probably help to use a highly accessible chat client and have it named and visible at the top of important threads like the rules thread. That won't stop people from spinning off their own private chats from there, but it'll make chat more inclusive overall and probably result in less butthurt over imaginary space ships.
AIM is pretty darn accessible, and the chat name for the last game was sdnw4. I will take your suggestions under advisement.

Again, I can promise that I will try to avoid letting internal communications from becoming clannish clubs that harm the game, insofar as I'm a party to those communications. But that's about the best I can do.


Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Meh. I have a personal list of people from the last game I am loathe to play with again.
Yes. Other people have lists too, and you're not living in a privileged frame of reference. If I tell the people you don't like that they can't play because it would make Fin get huffy, I have to be able to say the same to those who are disliked by anyone else.

Care to guess where that ends?
And yes, I would rather have perfectionists and masochists than feckless vermin. They can get the boot for all I care. They are the ones who killed the fun, they should fuck off.
Personal rancor does not make for good decisions on that score.

All in favor of Fingolfin_Noldor getting to decide who plays in SDNW5, and who gets kicked out for [insert perceived infraction here], could you please raise your hand?


Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:
Tanasinn wrote:Anyway, all of that aside, re: keeping communications from becoming clannish clubs - it'll probably help to use a highly accessible chat client and have it named and visible at the top of important threads like the rules thread. That won't stop people from spinning off their own private chats from there, but it'll make chat more inclusive overall and probably result in less butthurt over imaginary space ships.
The problem with the chat was that it was turned into an old boy's privileged club. There were clannish clubs before, but none of them descended to the same level as the chat thread. Why? Because people joined the game for the wrong reasons. They wanted an "in" in the club. This was why we had Bluewolf and why we had to boot him off the game, though it took too damn long for that to happen.
I think Bluewolf saw the whole game as a club he wanted "into," but frankly, Bluewolf is such a weird and rare problem child that trying to design the rules specifically to keep him or someone like him from becoming a problem is stupid.

Actually, I think that's a general statement. Any attempt to set policies specifically because of some offensive thing one person did in a previous game is stupid. We don't need a special "Shep, no blowing up the world" rule, we don't need a special "Thanas, no conquering Europe" rule, we don't need a special "Bluewolf, no pestering and harassing and whining about how you're not being let into the game when you never actually do anything given the opportunity" rule.

All these rules should collapse into a single rule, or two closely related rules:

DON'T BE AN IDIOT, AND DON'T BE A PRICK.

Anyone who cannot follow those two rules will find some way to make themselves unwelcome. It doesn't matter exactly how they do it. Trying to design the game to stop idiots and pricks, by filling it with endless mother-may-I rules about what players are and aren't allowed to do is just utterly, utterly foolish. We're all supposed to be grown-ups, or at least reasonably mature adolescents, here. We should be able to do normal things like talk to each other and make notes on our in-game countries without permission from the teacher.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by White Haven » 2012-03-14 03:37pm

...What do you mean, too long? Bluewolf was never in the game. That puts his 'time to boot' at precisely zero posts, a number which it is not yet possible to descend beneath. I understand Troll scientists are currently working on that problem, but barring successful mass-production of the Antipost, it's unlikely to be seen in our lifetimes. :lol:

As far as the wiki, a bad/absent player and a bad/absent player who posts a shitload of things no one will ever read on the wiki are functionally the same thing, so in my eyes it's a non-issue. Deal with him for his actions in the game itself, and that's that. Storm, teacup, etcetera.

Moving on to the issue of out-of-game comms, they're going to happen whether they're officially condoned or not. Personally, I found the AIM chat a great place to hang out, relax, talk about the game and non-game things, frankly get to know people from the game at all (and it's hella easier to collaborate with someone who's more than just a name and a nation tag). I originally got in it because the OOC thread was a slow method of communication, and something faster was warranted for...something that escapes me, but must have seemed important at the time. And frankly, a 'clique' those membership includes 'everyone who can be arsed to install AIM and join a chatroom' is a pretty bloody loose clique.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by OmegaChief » 2012-03-14 04:28pm

Perhaps it'd feel less cliquish if we made it a big 'Offical SDNW5 OOC Chatroom" in bold and put the details of it atop the first post in every OOC thread?

Making it very public and easily known about like that might combat the clquishness a little? Beyond that I can't really see much that we really can do about off-site communciation, it's going to happen, we're only human after all.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Akhlut » 2012-03-14 06:19pm

I was just throwing a suggestion out; seems to be that the wiki mod idea doesn't hold much water with other people. Fair enough, I'm not particularly attached to the idea of policing the wiki, especially since the mod(s) would have to spend time doing that instead of writing story stuff anyway.

But, as I said, I think one of the better things we can do is try to make it so that people can air grievances with one another and have the problems settled without it boiling over into crazy internet drama. After all, even though we're dumping a lot of time, effort, and energy into this, we must keep in mind we're dealing with settings where hyper-Stalinist spacefaring bears are considered humdrum. And we're all nominally adults, too. So, hopefully if we can keep that in mind, we can adjudicate our shit without too many hassles between each other, as we're just trying to have fun with some fairly silly shit and it's not going to actually hurt us to compromise on some problems we have with one another.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-14 06:37pm

Me, I'm neither for nor against policing the wiki. I simply don't care; I don't think it will have any appreciable impact on the game to actively dick around with the wiki instead of just talking to people who burn too much energy in the wiki.

The idea of talking to people one at a time like adults, instead of inventing mod policies to bully them into being model players, seems so obviously important that I can't imagine not do it that way.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Ryan Thunder » 2012-03-14 07:00pm

Simon_Jester wrote:OK, I see your point.

Although honestly, there were half a dozen posts about the wiki, in the first round (before anyone was defending themselves against criticism for talking about the wiki) and the people who weighed in... let's see, OmegaChief, who has talked about other things like the OOC thread, Akhlut who's been participating all along in goodish ways, Ryan and Tanasinn who yes, don't seem to have had much else to say, and Beowulf, who I can't remember if he'd said anything earlier in this thread or not.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Agent Sorchus » 2012-03-14 08:26pm

Okay, I think the Wiki is in general a handicap. It is good for OoB and some basic info on a nation so that others can write about you, but if they really want to they can always ask. Also the wiki is the cheapest form of telling instead of showing, so while world building is good the specific way it is used on a wiki is bad.

As for chatrooms... I tried having a general IRC chatroom for SDNW4. It died cause most of the people went back over to the AIMchat which is a shame because AIM is the devil and IRC is purity and light in comparison. (Not the least that you don't need an invite to join an IRC channel, unlike using the actual AIMclient.) A general chat is a bad idea mostly because it will go from general SDNW.X chat to, well, general chat that most people don't care about. I know that the chat can be useful though, but mostly when you have a specific issue that needs to be resolved. And then only if it is time sensitive. A lot of the initial OMINOUS and Inhumanist discussion was lost because it was done on chat rather than a post on here (IE what the hell did OMINOUS stand for?)

You know how the thought of having two comment threads have come up? I think we should do two story threads. One is the real story thread and the other is an TL:DR/ overview of events thread. Think of it as the headlines of the news from in universe. It would help for all those times people fall behind, or an event is distant in memory and we don't have the time to find it and read it in the main thread.



I still don't want to do the flat 2D map. Mostly for this same reason.
Tanasinn wrote:Personally, I turned to the wiki because I was, by my join time, an outsider in a relatively dead part of the map...
But I can understand that people might be confused. (Not the least cause of the fact that there is Simon's idea of what it will be like, and my less than well stating of what I hope it will be like.)

So simpler. Each Cluster is a section of nations that conspire to craft a coherent neighborhood. Each cluster is linked in such a way (Natural wormholes or whatever) that travel from one cluster to another is always at the same speed(not speed but time, as in it takes eight days from any jump point to reach any other). IN ADDITION if people are interested in it that speed could be set to the needs of the story, but this is not totally necessary to the idea. (I like it a lot though.)

There are a couple of good things about the simple form of this. It gets rid of the squeeze my nation into a little hole if I want to be in a specific zone. All nations would be no further than maybe a dozen days from all others. People can be added to a neighborhood easier since the size of the neighborhood has no exterior borders. Groups of nations would be created somewhat more organically like Siege wants.



And now for a more radical thought. No military growth. Yes rebuilding is allowed, but no constant growth. In all the SDNW games so far (and including the farce that was SDNWars) growth simply didn't matter. There is no reason for a bunch of peacetime nations to constantly automatically be adding ships to the roster without need.

Need is easy to understand. I need to rebuild after that fiasco in the Tionness nebula. I need (in universe, less so in game) to update my retiring cruiser lines. A war is coming, so I need to start a build up and thus need to raise taxes.

Oh yessss, I know how much this will probably be disliked. But to me it felt like an artificial and limited peoples willingness to do anything with their military, parradoxically as it may seem, but since people don't have maxxxxx military strength they don't want to attack. It wasn't totally that people didn't do rash things, but that was usually they didn't set out to do rash things, but they came up a little short sighted.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-03-14 09:56pm

Agent Sorchus wrote:Okay, I think the Wiki is in general a handicap. It is good for OoB and some basic info on a nation so that others can write about you, but if they really want to they can always ask. Also the wiki is the cheapest form of telling instead of showing, so while world building is good the specific way it is used on a wiki is bad.
I found the wiki somewhat helpful for storing my own ideas for later reference, so that I would remember them rather than losing track. I honestly do not think it causes a handicap to anyone; if the wiki can handicap you, you were probably already handicapped by your own brain.
As for chatrooms... I tried having a general IRC chatroom for SDNW4. It died cause most of the people went back over to the AIMchat which is a shame because AIM is the devil and IRC is purity and light in comparison. (Not the least that you don't need an invite to join an IRC channel, unlike using the actual AIMclient.) A general chat is a bad idea mostly because it will go from general SDNW.X chat to, well, general chat that most people don't care about. I know that the chat can be useful though, but mostly when you have a specific issue that needs to be resolved. And then only if it is time sensitive. A lot of the initial OMINOUS and Inhumanist discussion was lost because it was done on chat rather than a post on here (IE what the hell did OMINOUS stand for?)
Well, I find AIM reasonably reliable, log all my chats anyway, and my client lets me join whatever chatroom I want, but that's me.

The sdnw4 chats evolved from the fact that several of the participants in the game, including me and Steve, were members of a pre-existing group that chatted with each other almost every night. I was recruited through that group in the first place.

It would have been nearly impossible for us to avoid discussing SDNW4 in our own chats anyway, since we were already friends talking about everything under the sun, and we actually started the separate chats so that we could talk about game issues without making it impossible to talk about things not involving the game over in the original chat.

Speaking for my immediate circle of friends today, some of whom are in the game again, the same is still true- we would end up talking to each other about the game, among other things, on a regular basis anyway. It would take a concerted and somewhat unnatural effort to keep all our SDNW5 talk segregated to an IRC chat, or the OOC threads, since that isn't the normal means by which I talk to people like White Haven, KlavoHunter, and so on.
You know how the thought of having two comment threads have come up? I think we should do two story threads. One is the real story thread and the other is an TL:DR/ overview of events thread. Think of it as the headlines of the news from in universe. It would help for all those times people fall behind, or an event is distant in memory and we don't have the time to find it and read it in the main thread.
That is a fairly good idea, yes. Although from the sound of it we may end up with an awful lot of threads, if we've got two OOCs and two game threads at the same time... maybe we'd better make a sticky and just post every few days to recount what has happened. I might undertake that myself.
I still don't want to do the flat 2D map. Mostly for this same reason.
Tanasinn wrote:Personally, I turned to the wiki because I was, by my join time, an outsider in a relatively dead part of the map...
But I can understand that people might be confused. (Not the least cause of the fact that there is Simon's idea of what it will be like, and my less than well stating of what I hope it will be like.)

So simpler. Each Cluster is a section of nations that conspire to craft a coherent neighborhood. Each cluster is linked in such a way (Natural wormholes or whatever) that travel from one cluster to another is always at the same speed(not speed but time, as in it takes eight days from any jump point to reach any other). IN ADDITION if people are interested in it that speed could be set to the needs of the story, but this is not totally necessary to the idea. (I like it a lot though.)

There are a couple of good things about the simple form of this. It gets rid of the squeeze my nation into a little hole if I want to be in a specific zone. All nations would be no further than maybe a dozen days from all others. People can be added to a neighborhood easier since the size of the neighborhood has no exterior borders. Groups of nations would be created somewhat more organically like Siege wants.
It might be possible. I actually understood the idea of what you had in mind rather well- except that I overestimated the importance of trip time between clusters being 'negotiable' in your mind, which I really don't like.

The problem with the cluster idea is twofold. One is that it makes 'neighbors' more arbitrary: if I form a cluster with four other nations, then we five nations are close to each other, and no other nation is close to any of us. On a 2D, or even 3D, map, nations' strategic interests form overlapping spheres- for example, the Bragulans' sphere includes the Sovereignty but not the Haruhiists, the Haruhiists' sphere includes the Sovereignty and the Chamarrans, the Klavostanis' also contains the Chamarrans but not really the Haruhiists, and so on.

The big advantage of this is that it gives you a huge incentive to talk to, specifically, the nations on the other side of your own neighbors. Because they're in a great position to pose a threat on the opposite side of a rival, and it's very reassuring to have a friend who can jump your enemy from behind if he comes to attack you.

In a cluster universe, my list of countries consists of my neighbors (A, B, C, D) and "everybody else." No nation among "everybody else" is any more or less relevant to my interests than any other. I am no more or less relevant to any of the "everybody else" nations than any other nation. I have no obvious reason to contact one of them instead of another, I don't need to ask anyone else's permission to let my ships move through their territory en route to anything, and in general a lot of potential catalysts for interaction that do depend on things like proximity and territory and trade routes and so on just evaporate.

I mean, imagine taking this to the logical extreme of putting everyone in their own cluster and having all trip times be equal. Would that tend to foster more, or less interaction? Would isolating the Koprulu Zone from short-range interactions with second-order neighbors like the Haruhiists, the Pfhor, and the Refuge have done them a favor? I mean, in real life most of the serious groups in the game formed clusters of a few nations, but that was because people dropped out. Cluster-mapping wouldn't be an antidote to dropouts, if anything it'd make them worse.
And now for a more radical thought. No military growth. Yes rebuilding is allowed, but no constant growth. In all the SDNW games so far (and including the farce that was SDNWars) growth simply didn't matter. There is no reason for a bunch of peacetime nations to constantly automatically be adding ships to the roster without need.

Need is easy to understand. I need to rebuild after that fiasco in the Tionness nebula. I need (in universe, less so in game) to update my retiring cruiser lines. A war is coming, so I need to start a build up and thus need to raise taxes.

Oh yessss, I know how much this will probably be disliked. But to me it felt like an artificial and limited peoples willingness to do anything with their military, parradoxically as it may seem, but since people don't have maxxxxx military strength they don't want to attack. It wasn't totally that people didn't do rash things, but that was usually they didn't set out to do rash things, but they came up a little short sighted.
Hm. Interesting. Then again...

1) I did not perceive the "not at max military strength" as the reason why people did not attack. I did not attack because I never had any intention of starting a war with anyone, although at one point I did attempt to prod LoC9 to see if he could be goaded into war. He didn't rise to the bait. I assume other nations felt much the same way, or were deterred from attacking anyone because they might end up in a fight with people who had them badly outnumbered.

2) I don't actually disagree with this, I don't think it would be inherently a bad idea, but there are catches. One is that yes, this will probably be unpopular. The other is that most nations will probably be able to think of very logical reasons to be building weapons- if not at game start, then very shortly thereafter. Some nations will actually be warlike, and will ask me for permission to start a military buildup immediately, and unless I arbitrarily say "no," they'll do it, which in turn gives everyone else an incentive to start building almost immediately. Arms races just seem to be one of the natural conditions of existence in STGODs.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Esquire » 2012-03-14 11:32pm

While I have no experience with these games, and very little on the board at all, I'd like to vote for the idea of having one main and a couple supporting moderators enforcing a general 'don't be a dick' rule. As far as I can gather the previous game worked on more-or-less this system for its best times, and the previous ones had elements of it.

I'd also support any kind of (free) chat service, so long as it doesn't become effectively mandatory to have any idea of what's going on. Brand isn't especially important to me; I don't use any just now so no matter which one becomes standard, it'll be an adjustment.
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Re: Poll Thread Re: SDNW4/4.5/5

Post by Agent Sorchus » 2012-03-15 01:46am

Simon_Jester wrote:That is a fairly good idea, yes. Although from the sound of it we may end up with an awful lot of threads, if we've got two OOCs and two game threads at the same time... maybe we'd better make a sticky and just post every few days to recount what has happened. I might undertake that myself.
I'm less certain we need two OOC threads. Why can't both critic and chatter go together? But either way it is something to think about and discuss.
...spheres of influence...

The big advantage of this is that it gives you a huge incentive to talk to, specifically, the nations on the other side of your own neighbors. Because they're in a great position to pose a threat on the opposite side of a rival, and it's very reassuring to have a friend who can jump your enemy from behind if he comes to attack you.

...potential catalysts for interaction that do depend on things like proximity and territory and trade routes and so on just evaporate.

Slippery slope fallacy and strawman, hidden by calling it a "logical" extreme.
I don't see spheres of influence as very important because that is why you have a home neighborhood, so what if all nations in the home cluster share an almost similar . Also your second point makes me think you still don't get it (which is why it is un cut down.) What back are you talking about? As for those supposed catalysts of interaction they were rarely used if it all. There was enough dead space around nations that there was no need to ask permission to go through them, trade was irrelevant since scope made each person guaranteed to be nearly self sufficient and the idea of territory is still territory in the cluster verse.

As for your Fallacious every nation is independent there are still stories that can be told in that sort of universe, not that is what
2) I don't actually disagree with this, I don't think it would be inherently a bad idea, but there are catches. One is that yes, this will probably be unpopular. The other is that most nations will probably be able to think of very logical reasons to be building weapons- if not at game start, then very shortly thereafter. Some nations will actually be warlike, and will ask me for permission to start a military buildup immediately, and unless I arbitrarily say "no," they'll do it, which in turn gives everyone else an incentive to start building almost immediately. Arms races just seem to be one of the natural conditions of existence in STGODs.
Simon fuck off. You aren't mod yet. This is important cause I have tried to say it more subtly, but as of yet there isn't even a game or a consensus of players to have a Mod come from. Everything needs to be more organic than you want mister dictator.

So that is my challenge, I want to hear from players who aren't SJester. More discussion rather than a conversation with a brick wall.
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