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 The new emote warning in Banter and "the snugglepiles"
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Matthew
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 01:48 PM UTC  
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Not quite what I'm getting at. If it's an issue of "CMJ doesn't like this and doesn't want it in this game" then that's one thing. Just remove emotes entirely and call it done. Won't fix anything, though!

If it's an issue of "some people have vehemently complained about banter and CMJ is trying to fix it for them" then, yeah, catering to those people at the expense of literally everyone else is just not a good idea.


 
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Docenspiel
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 02:55 PM UTC  
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From the last time Joe tried to nudge people about the problem (because, ya know, he's a nice guy that doesn't like taking away toys from people because a few people can't use them correctly):

Quote by: Count Sessine

Any system that relies on everyone remembering a non-obvious convention all the time is bound to fail.

And fail it did. Banter was right out there as the first thing new players would see -- and what was it full of? You all know. Even at its most benign, there were a lot of people acting like cats. Glomping, nomming, licking, cuddling, lying on top of each other in a big furry kittypile. This is lovely for you if you're into that sort of thing. Oddly enough, though, a very large number of people aren't, and seeing that all the time is not at all lovely for them. And then there were always a few players coming along who interpreted this as license to do anything they wanted.

CMJ hated it. This was not how he wanted his world to present itself to newcomers.


So yeah, the problem exists. It's not just Joe catering to "a few whiners".

And the "just take out emotes" idea is ridiculous. Why would he punish the many for the actions of the few on such a big level if the problem with the current situation is punishing the many for the actions of the few on a much smaller level? The response to "people are misusing emotes" shouldn't be "BURN IT ALL".


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Trowa
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 05:43 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Docenspiel

And the "just take out emotes" idea is ridiculous. Why would he punish the many for the actions of the few on such a big level if the problem with the current situation is punishing the many for the actions of the few on a much smaller level? The response to "people are misusing emotes" shouldn't be "BURN IT ALL".


At this point? I think it's a perfectly viable solution. I'm willing to accept that the problem of "snugglepiles" still exists, even if I, personally, haven't observed it. Clearly it must if the pop-up message was employed - that we have to keep telling people what Banter is for in so many places it's making our eyes bleed and giving the older players concussions with how often we beat it into everyone's heads. I don't spend enough time actually logged in to the game to observe Banter and decide for myself, so I have to rely on the anecdotes of others as proof.

But the pop-up is distracting as all hell, and clearly annoys enough people that this thread has gotten as long as it has. Ignoring the fact that this is still a punishment on everyone, period, I don't agree that it's a "smaller level" punishment - I think it's a big level punishment poorly executed. So yes, finish the job and kill emotes if they're really that much of a problem in Banter.

I mean, the snuggle-people are ignoring all the other solutions that have been implemented thus far, and this latest iteration is still just as easily ignore-able in the sense that it doesn't actually stop you from emoting, so what's the point of having emotes in Banter anymore if they're just going to be routinely abused? I guarantee it won't solve the behavioral problem, though - people will probably just start using other methods to denote emotes, like asterisks or double-colons (hell, years ago when I started online RP, your emote brackets were like your signature!).

But, since I don't want this post to be purely a rant, I'll offer a compromise. Here's my solution:

  • Keep the message under Global Banter permanently, static. Bright blue letters are fine so long as they're not flashing on my screen when I type something. Then alter the wording. Here's my interpretation:
    The Banter Channel is for Out-Of-Character (OOC) chat. Things you say in here, you say as yourself, not as your character. Please use emotes constructively.

Likewise, another note could be stickied under the Story channel with a similar message explaining how to use Story - I know I have seen plenty of new players mistakenly use Story as an OOC channel when looking for help. Maybe it could say something like "Please use emotes liberally!" My personal opinion is people don't emote enough in Story! Nothing but speech becomes just a bunch of talking heads standing around perfectly still doing absolutely nothing - ever have a conversation like that in real life? No gestures, no fidgeting, just deadpan eye-to-eye staring conversations about love, life, and the latest tech gadget or sports team blunder? ...I digress.

I still think it's a dumb idea in general, but that's because I know what Banter is for, and it was one of the reasons I fell in love with this game when I started. I had a long history of online roleplaying before joining the Island, but no other chat-based game I played before this had dual chat-channels. OOC solutions were either to type in parenthesis in the 'RP' channel (which got just as cluttered with random snuggle-crap when other people where trying to write seriously), or hosting a completely separate OOC channel on a different page, forcing people to flip back and forth between the two. Now that I've settled into this system, I can't imagine how I'd survive without it!

And yes, I'm aware from other anecdotes that Banter itself was met with huge criticism when it was first introduced in this game. Anyone want to argue the vets had it right?

What're some other solutions we can come up with? Give Kittania its own Banter again and let people snuggle it out over there? Give NewHome its own Banter and police it for over-amorous activity?


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Docenspiel
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 09:18 PM UTC  
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Something cannot be a viable solution if you admit that it won't solve the problem. If it doesn't solve the problem, it's not a solution.

If your arm is bleeding, you stem the bleeding by applying pressure. The warning, like the 's player addition before it, is an attempt at applying pressure. The warning just applies pressure to the wrong areas. That needs to be fixed, yes. What absolutely shouldn't be done is cut off your entire arm. Because you longer have an arm and you're still bleeding.





So, fixing the message. I don't think having it stick around permanently for everyone is going to do anything. As you spend more and more time on the Island, ignoring text is something you just naturally do. New players are going to be the ones actually reading it, so they should be the ones it pops up for. Altering the behavior of those already here is going to require something more than a few sentences. Like maybe the character/account split that's supposed to be coming in S3.

As for rewording it, I like constructively. It implies that emoting is something that can be used positively and negatively. Liberally makes it seem that using them frequently is using them negatively.


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Trowa
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 10:59 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Docenspiel

Something cannot be a viable solution if you admit that it won't solve the problem. If it doesn't solve the problem, it's not a solution.


I believe we're addressing two different issues, and that partly stems from the lack of any response in this thread from the moderation team.

If the problem is people abusing emotes in Banter too much: take it away entirely and enforce it. Emotes without the colon would make people look absolutely ridiculous in Banter, and would be far easier for the Mod team to wag their finger at.

If the problem is just people cuddle-snugging too much, then you're absolutely right, we'd be cutting off our nose to spite our face. That's why I admit it wouldn't curb bad behavior. In fact, that's exactly why I think this pop-up message isn't very good, either, because we're not far off.

I have to assume the issue is cuddle-snugging because all of us in here seem to agree that's the problem, but I don't really know! I don't know why the message has appeared, I don't know what prompted the reaction, I don't know why it was just decided everybody in the game needs to be beaten over the head about keeping ooc and story separate, and I don't know why there hasn't been a MoTD or some official response where everyone can see it to explain the situation instead of the general "you're all naughty" message we're receiving. (Important Point for the Admin - This is the kind of stuff that gives players like myself paranoia about approaching the moderation team! I am immediately being told via an automated system that I'm guilty of something, so what's to make me think the mods won't have the same view towards me if I approach them? In fact, this is why I have specifically avoided talking to any of the mods on my GChat list so far regarding this matter!)

Quote by: Docenspiel

So, fixing the message. I don't think having it stick around permanently for everyone is going to do anything. As you spend more and more time on the Island, ignoring text is something you just naturally do. New players are going to be the ones actually reading it, so they should be the ones it pops up for. Altering the behavior of those already here is going to require something more than a few sentences. Like maybe the character/account split that's supposed to be coming in S3.


I can comfortably accept these arguments.

Quote by: Docenspiel

As for rewording it, I like constructively. It implies that emoting is something that can be used positively and negatively. Liberally makes it seem that using them frequently is using them negatively.


I chose 'constructively' for exactly those reasons. I did not put as much thought into 'liberally' as that idea was an after-thought and not entirely serious. CMJ seems to like it when people offer concrete suggestions rather than vague notions, and segregating my main suggestion from the pile had that goal in mind.


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Twosocks Monkey
 Thursday, October 09 2014 @ 11:18 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Trowa

(Important Point for the Admin - This is the kind of stuff that gives players like myself paranoia about approaching the moderation team! I am immediately being told via an automated system that I'm guilty of something, so what's to make me think the mods won't have the same view towards me if I approach them? In fact, this is why I have specifically avoided talking to any of the mods on my GChat list so far regarding this matter!)



This concerns me more than anything else in this thread, and reminds me of the thread Fish started.

Frown

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Lain
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 12:15 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Trowa


I have to assume the issue is cuddle-snugging because all of us in here seem to agree that's the problem, but I don't really know! I don't know why the message has appeared, I don't know what prompted the reaction, I don't know why it was just decided everybody in the game needs to be beaten over the head about keeping ooc and story separate, and I don't know why there hasn't been a MoTD or some official response where everyone can see it to explain the situation instead of the general "you're all naughty" message we're receiving.



I'd like to know, too...and if that's it, is the problem that it puts people off seeing people virtually hug each other, or is it that people who don't want to be "hugged" avoid Banter because it happens to them without warning? Is it that people with questions don't want to break into that sort of thing, or maybe can't because Banter moves too fast?

Those would have different solutions, I think. Because, look--everyone knows that all of us are getting the message. No one is singled out. If I'm getting the same message as the other 80+ people logged in, why would I think that what I'm doing isn't okay? Hell, I'd like to think that using emoting for waving or saying "Lain's player thinks that the foebots are out to get her" are fine. But I'm getting warned that maybe it's not fine. Meanwhile, someone else who might be hugpiling, pulling ears, or whatever is probably thinking the same thing. It's not what I'm doing...

So yeah. Be specific about what's not okay or ditch emotes. Actually, tell us what is okay. Is there an atmosphere in Banter you're striving for?


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 12:25 AM UTC  
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Well, I was gonna wait a little longer, see if maybe more people cared enough to give their opinions either way. In the meantime:

Hell, I'd like to think that using emoting for waving or saying "Lain's player thinks that the foebots are out to get her" are fine.


Of course that's fine. Why wouldn't that be fine? That's an out-of-character emote, which is precisely why emoting was enabled in Banter in the first place. This is why we're not just removing emoting from Banter entirely.

But I'm getting warned that maybe it's not fine.


It did surprise me that people were referring to the notice as a "Warning," given that it doesn't warn you about anything, or prevent you in any way from posting whatever you want. All it does is ask if you're sure, and tell you why it's asking if you're sure. I'll look into making the text friendlier, although honestly, it already seems pretty non-threatening to me.


 
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Docenspiel
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 12:53 AM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe


It did surprise me that people were referring to the notice as a "Warning," given that it doesn't warn you about anything, or prevent you in any way from posting whatever you want. All it does is ask if you're sure, and tell you why it's asking if you're sure. I'll look into making the text friendlier, although honestly, it already seems pretty non-threatening to me.


That's due to us knowing what it's for. We know that we want to emote. That's why we pressed the shift key and the semicolon at the same time. To be asked if that's what you meant to do when it's pretty hard to imagine why we'd put a colon if we didn't makes you ask yourself "Does it not want me to emote?" When you know of the problem, the question becomes accusatory; it becomes "Are you going to use emotes correctly?"


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Lain
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 01:57 AM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe


It did surprise me that people were referring to the notice as a "Warning," given that it doesn't warn you about anything, or prevent you in any way from posting whatever you want. All it does is ask if you're sure, and tell you why it's asking if you're sure. I'll look into making the text friendlier, although honestly, it already seems pretty non-threatening to me.



It's not threatening, per se, but the "are you sure?" implies that you're making a judgement call about what you're going to post. As Docenspiel said, I already knew I wanted to emote, so the judgement call must be on the content, rather than that I'm doing it at all. Therefore, some amount/type of emoting might be the wrong type or amount of emoting. Apparently we're reading too much into it, but I still wonder what the original problem was--too much emoting in general, or something specific?


 
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Denealus
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 03:00 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Trowa


But, since I don't want this post to be purely a rant, I'll offer a compromise. Here's my solution:

  • Keep the message under Global Banter permanently, static. Bright blue letters are fine so long as they're not flashing on my screen when I type something. Then alter the wording. Here's my interpretation:
    The Banter Channel is for Out-Of-Character (OOC) chat. Things you say in here, you say as yourself, not as your character. Please use emotes constructively.

Likewise, another note could be stickied under the Story channel with a similar message explaining how to use Story - I know I have seen plenty of new players mistakenly use Story as an OOC channel when looking for help. Maybe it could say something like "Please use emotes liberally!" My personal opinion is people don't emote enough in Story! Nothing but speech becomes just a bunch of talking heads standing around perfectly still doing absolutely nothing - ever have a conversation like that in real life? No gestures, no fidgeting, just deadpan eye-to-eye staring conversations about love, life, and the latest tech gadget or sports team blunder? ...I digress.



I fully agree with this as a compromise. Keeping it up would be less of an eyesore and less distracting and serve as a friendly reminder. Coming up when I type : (for all the reasons stated later too as far as intent to emote) has actively stopped me from posting. Frozen me midpost. Made me even delete some posts in frustration just because my eyes couldn't focus on the text I was responding to. And I agree. "Are you sure?" is accusatory, or can come across as such. Also thank you Joe for considering our comments and putting up with our bitching about your otherwise wonderful game! It's little things like commenting on this thread that let us know you care about the player voice.

Quote by: Trowa

(Important Point for the Admin - This is the kind of stuff that gives players like myself paranoia about approaching the moderation team! I am immediately being told via an automated system that I'm guilty of something, so what's to make me think the mods won't have the same view towards me if I approach them? In fact, this is why I have specifically avoided talking to any of the mods on my GChat list so far regarding this matter!)



It doesn't make me majorly paranoid, per se, but I have tried to talk to people about this and I'm glad that you mentioned it. Being banned isn't the only concern people have with concern to mods (and I'm speaking mods in general in games, not necessarily our particular mods, who I must love because I do talk to all of them pretty regularly!) No one likes to be made to feel that they did something wrong.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, October 10 2014 @ 12:44 PM UTC  
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I think we really need to talk about Mod Fear, and get to the root of the problem (long story short: I'm starting to think that someone's trolling us), but that's a topic for another thread.


 
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Rowley
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 01:38 AM UTC  
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It's a seriously annoying way to deal with the snugglepile problem.


 
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Rowley
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 02:20 AM UTC  
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And, yes, let's do talk, somewhere, about Mod Fear.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 03:35 AM UTC  
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Go ahead and start, dude.


 
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Makiwa
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 12:38 PM UTC  
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Hello All,

FWIW;

Straight up I haven't been around much lately and only ventured into story once recently.

No first hand experience of this pop-up message, snuggle piles or other unwanted stuff in banter.

The recent foray into story? I tuned banter out (hid it) 'cos I found it distracting and confusing - that's just me.

I have never been a fan of global banter. I lament the passing of outpost specific banter but understood it had to go because of server load or some such. The 'Natter Space' was also brilliant and much RP and shenanigans used to happen there. Maybe it went for the same reason - can't remember. Anyway, natter is OT for this I suspect.

If I understand the issue here correctly it boils down to this; Rookies get scared away from the island because they get overwhelmed by the goings in banter.

Would it help/be possible for NH to have it's own banter back? Rookies would then effectively have 'their own' banter. It presumably would be less cluttered so Rookies helpers/Vets could operate more effectively. NH unwritten rules (be nice to rookies etc.) would be easier to "enforce". And you know, I always found it easier to entice/be enticed from banter into story if you can actually see the story in the outpost from banter.

Just a thought.


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MalJustMal
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 02:23 PM UTC  
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CMJ, this is going to go from opening a can of worms to opening a can of... did you ever see the movie "Tremors"? I have personally looked long and hard twice at the Character deletion button due to the behavior of moderators.

Permission to speak freely, sir?


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 03:27 PM UTC  
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Permission to speak freely, sir?


I don't know if you know me well enough to know this, but I dislike when people talk to me this way. Please don't call me sir, or ask for my permission to speak freely. Just go ahead with whatever you have to say, and if it's got more to do with Mod Fear than it has to do with the emote reminder, make a new thread for it so that we can keep that discussion separate.

If you have a problem with my moderators, please, please give specific names and details. A few players have been telling me lately that they're scared of my mods, but when I ask them why, I never get a straight answer.

If you're uncomfortable giving me details in public, you can email me at cavemanjoe@gmail.com.


 
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MalJustMal
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 04:00 PM UTC  
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All right, I'll do just that.


 
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Denealus
 Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 04:21 PM UTC  
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...well I didn't (wish I didn't) expect the thread to go down this track.


It's a hard balance. I'm going to speak more overall cause me personally I think it has little to do with individual mods and more about culture. But I obviously can't speak for everyone.

What I've seen lately (and the emote reminder is part of it, as Trowa said) is that some of these things come out and it seems to focus more on what the players are doing wrong than they are doing right. The emote warning is kind of part of this. It's obviously put in place to fix a problem, but if it's a problem that a lot of players don't see as pervasive, then a lot of players are going to be asking why because it feels the community as a whole is being admonished. I've heard the argument that "no one is being banned for this" as a response, but really that's like saying being expelled is the only punishment that exists in school. Losing recess, having extra homework, being talked to sternly by the teacher and having your parents called are punishments too. This emote warning, as it stands, seems like the teacher standing up in front of a class of politely sitting students and going "Now class, are you really sure you want to be doing this?"

Another thing is the "go to a mod for everything if you need help" mentality. That's come up a couple of times. But I would want to know guidelines for this. I've talked a lot with mods and understand the frustration is of some problem players not being logged (and thus mods not knowing they're a problem player), but I think as a community we're pretty good at redirecting and admonishing someone for not reporting when they're trying to do the right thing simply increases fear that we're "not doing enough good in the community." Also going back to the school analogy, mods, by their very nature, feel like going up and calling out "Teacher! Teacher!" I think most people are only going to go to them for the most extreme stuff, no matter how kindly you ask people to report. I know you don't intend to be that bad cop, but I think that's just the nature of moderation and anyone put in the moderator seat would feel that. So that's not a problem with any individual mods.

So! I don't want this to be a gripe. I want to offer some ways to solve it and the main ways is being open to communication. And being open to criticism. I think this goes both ways, players and moderators. Moderators aren't perfect, they're going to slip. Their job and decisions to make is stressful.

I also think as players we need some more open discussion on what is seen as a community problem. Sometimes problems are assumed to impact the community majorly when it may only seem minor. If something's major enough to need a major game change such as a pop-up coming out of seemingly nowhere, I think it'd be good for us to know about why this is seen as a big enough problem to warrant that action. It came up earlier in the thread by Harris and that's a question that still hasn't been answered or responded to. We don't see what you mods and admin see. Sometimes we need help seeing that to understand why some things that are problems are seen as problems. I think everyone would be a bit more understanding with that.

Thirdly, I think players need to be told more or encouraged when they handle a situation well. I've been getting some of this and I'm not saying "There are no mods who do this" but I think there's something to be said about letting some conversations run its course to see if the players themselves can redirect it. It'd certainly eliminate stress on the mods, I think. Flies and honey, man. Flies and honey.

(P.S. Incidently, I think I understand a little more of the issues in general simply because I'm able to talk to so many of the mods about it. They're people too!)

(P.P.S. I hope you don't mind me saying so, Joe, but I had a little less mod fear and a little more ADMIN Fear overall. XD A little bit of the "Joe's mind can't be changed once he's set to something" I think this thread and you being willing to work with us as players through the discussion has done a lot to help alleviate that for me, so thank you! I like being able to see you as more of a human being who can be talked to rather than an administrator robot with lasers shooting out of your eyes, sitting upon his throne of chronospheres looking down upon us on high.)

...and now I should probably sit back a little more and not blurt out every little thing that comes into my head again. That's also a major part of the ADHD. Fun fun stuff.


 
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