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More Staff

0x1mm brought up some Ideas in the thread about OOC Communication that weren't specific to OOC communication.

I am moving them over here to facilitate discussion about them.

0x1mm wrote

...there needs to be some discussion of what can be done to make the game deserving of such a high bar.... I don't believe the game in its current state gives back anything like enough of an experience to both players and staff to warrant such restrictions on them[OOC communications]

I think this begins with at least doubling or tripling the current junior staff, along with some major discussions about empowering active staff in general to tell bigger and newer stories that shape and re-shape the world

This can be a good conversation with clarifications.

(I hesitate to start with this one given that it's adversarial, but unfortunately it's first on the list.)

What is the "high bar"? The expectation that players will follow the rules and not communicate OOCly?

High implies hard to reach. It's not hard to not communicate OOCly. It's not hard to not do something. It's literally the easiest thing to accomplish. Right now I am doing an amazing job of not being a doctor. I can do nothing else for the rest of my life and I will never be a doctor. Similarly anyone can play here and never communicate with another player OOCly.

What specific elements would raise the bar on the Sindome gaming experience?

Doubling or tripling the staff

Do we know how many staff are currently in the game?

Approximately how many staff would there be if the current number was doubled, or tripled?

More staff is always* good. Similarly, every* M* game, ever has always wanted / needed more staff.

With that caveat out of the way, my only concern with doubling or tripling the staff is the staff / player ratio. Not just staff to player, but staff / active players. In this context I am using active players to denote players who log on daily, or near daily.

It isn't hard to imagine a situation where nearly every regularly active player is a staffer, or a character who has a close IC relationship with a staffer. That quickly becomes a challenge due to staffers having to recuse themselves from plots and other activities due to conflicts of interest with their characters, or close associates of their characters.

I'm not saying that will happen here. It just something to think about when considering increasing the number of staffers by orders of magnitude.

Empowering staff to tell bigger stories

In so far as staff are currently limited by how large or impactful the plots that they are allowed to run, this is worth considering. I have noticed the occasional complaint that players do not feel like they can meaningfully impact the game world in any significant way. Allowing characters to be involved in plots that bring them together with other characters and result in a "permanent"-ish impact to the world could be cool.

Bigger is not necessarily always better, or successful. There was a recent discussion about riot RP and riot plots. Those seem fairly big, but players failed to jump on them. There is also a bit of limitation on how big a plot can be, given the size of the player base.

Given the past distrust between players and staffers, there is the consideration of whether allowing JUNIOR / new staff to make big waves with their plots could have bad results. A compromise could be allowing junior staff to propose big plots, subject to senior approval and oversight.

One suggestion is that senior staff could write the broad stroke outlines of a big plot. Then junior staffers could be given responsibility for moving along one of the factions or groups involved in the larger plot. Weekly or bi-monthly plot check ins could be conducted among staff to re-align and adjust course as necessary.

empowering active staff in general to tell ... newer stories

One of the things that I feel is unique about Sindome is just how player / character centric the narrative is. More so than other games I have played, it feels like Sindome staff are primarily enabling active characters to further their own goals, while at the same time providing push back, creating obstacles and otherwise challenging those characters.

The new stories come from new characters, or established characters deciding to do new things. Every once in a while the staff will make some changes to the game world to freshen things up, like closing down NeoTrans and opening up PRI.

There is a delicate balancing act between creating incentives for players to create RP, and providing RP via staff plots and actions. It is very hard to cultivate a player base of driven players who will create RP. The "norm" is for staff to drive theme. There is nothing wrong with staff driving theme. There are lots of benefits.

There are a few major challenges with staff driven theme.

Staffer burn out / turn over. RL happens. People get over playing the game. When it happens to a staffer with an active plot, things get awkward. When it happens to a staffer with >1 active plots, things get really problematic. On the flip side, when players are driving plots with the support of staff, there is some cushion there if the staffer vanishes.

Plot expectation / entitlement. When players come to expect plots and look forward to plots, they are less incentivized to run their own plots. When those plots inevitably dry up, players get disaffected and leave. The converse is that sometimes staff plots spark creativity in players to take subsequent, plot like actions on their own. This can be great, so long as the actions can be sustained at the player level.

@TalonCzar added,

Fresh faces, the ability for seasoned staff to step back and be in answer questions mode and not have to feel like they're obligated to engage given the current state of things

This is a really good benefit.

There does seem to be a pretty significant amount of ... yuck... directed at some current staffers. (I'm assuming that this is what TalonCzar is referring to by "the current state of things")

In so far as that yuck is based on perceptions of actions or actions that they have taken in the past to benefit their characters, it would be great to put those staffers on the bench for a while. Get them out of the business of running plots for 6-12 months. Show the wider M* community that Sindome does provide room for "new / fresh" ideas to grow or wither based on their merits, not the whims of a few long standing staffers.

Anyone who can see who is current staff by checking https://www.sindome.org/staff/.

In no way is 'putting those staffers on the bench for a while' after being lied about on a different forum good for the game. We've already had multiple staff run off by people who think they're in a James Bond movie rather than playing a video game no one forced them to join.

If you want to increase staff, it isn't by discarding good staff that've been targeted by lies. I promise you that'll do nothing to stop burnout.

Two times today Hek, you have "re-iterated" what I've written but mangled it into something derailing, inappropriate or obstructionist; not to mention far afield of any argument I made. Considering my thread on player privacy and security was also derailed by you making inappropriate sexual insinuations, I can only assume this pattern of behaviour is deliberate.

I'll thank you not to speak for me in any regard. Your opinions and actions are very much your own.

@0x1mm

I brought the details of your comments over here to discuss them.

I did that because I did not want to fill what was effectively a staff thread about OOC Communication with Ideas / Game Problems & Complaints about increasing staff.

As for speaking for you, I am not speaking for you.

I quoted you verbatim with the accepted used of "..." to indicate where I truncated your original thoughts."

I also asked you for clarifications.

I made one assumption about "high bar" being equal to no "OOC communication" which I inferred from the fact that you wrote your original comments in the post about OOC communication.

If that inference was incorrect, you are more than welcome to clarify.

If you want to further discuss your ideas about how more staff will improve the game, I am sure that you have some good ideas that are worth discussing. If I did not, I would not have created this thread to discuss them.

@crashdown

I agree that putting staffers on the bench is a pretty drastic step.

It would be great if @TalonCzar could chime in with some more context about his statement, and perhaps further elaborate what he meant.

Personally, I could give two shits about what people on reddit and wherever else people congregate to whine about Sindome care.

That said, some people who post here on BgBB seem to let it affect them and have written things that give me the indication that (some of) their gripes might have merit.

If that's what @TalonCzar was alluding to with the "current state of things" comment, then maybe it's worth discussing.

I think I'm in alignment with your thoughts on the subject. Benching staff based on lies, distortions or any other remarks by people who no longer play here is not a good move.

My suggestion wasn't to bench staffers or put them in the time out room.

My suggestion was that there's probably staff burn out going on, and them having the option to take a breather and not have to feel like they're obligated to log hours to bring life to the community that they clearly love, just so that the game can continue to function.

That's what I said, and that's what I mean, there's no doublespeak going on here.

Passion projects stop being passion projects the exact moment you come to the conclusion that you have to keep doing them. At that moment, it becomes a job, a responsibility, or an obligation.

I haven't the faintest clue if staff feel this way or not. I'm just saying that providing people more options and choices in life is generally a good thing.

@TalonCzar

I completely agree with what you wrote about passion projects and staff burn out. You might or might not have been on OOC-Chat on the occasions when I advised Mirage and other coders who were on major coding sprees to take a break and not burn out. I did the same for Slither recently when it seemed like he was spending a considerable amount of his PTO time fixing code here in the game.

Given that the original comments were made in the thread about OOC Communication, and that thread came out of a bunch of toxicity, I assumed that anything not explicitly clarified was in reference to that.

I wish I didn't have to sift through these posts to pull out the important info from among streams of back and forth attacks on people.

That said, it looks like the argument here is that there are players who are looking for more plot pushing from staff? Something like that? And that we need more staff to do that?

https://imgur.com/LTDdjcF

This is the income/expense chart that the Withmore Hope community was shown during the last Town Hall. It looks like our reserves are just a bit over 9500 dollars.

I haven't run any hard numbers, but how's this for an idea? Hire an intern on a freelance commission basis. Someone that wants to build a portfolio and has interest in taking temp work. I know we're playing a hypercapitalist dystopia here, but I'm not a fan of unpaid internship in our real world dystopia.

*Sings a little Bo Burnham tune* Barely people, somehow legal, unpaid intern.

Anyway, pay em something? I dont know. Just a thought. Use some of that surplus to take the load off of staff so they can jump into the fray and do the things they enjoy doing (not that you don't enjoy coding, fam. but you get it). I know coders don't come cheap after schooling is done, and I know ten grand isn't a huge surplus when you start doling out money for this kind of thing, but it's just a thought.

If people can't refrain from pointless and random attacks, maybe we should save these discussions for Guided Discussions or Town Hall. As of right now, 90% of the posts are useless dross.