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CavemanJoe
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 06:32 PM UTC (Read 10692 times)  
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Hey, all!

Tangentially related to the new commentary system, I'd like to draw your attention to a troubling statistic:

Out of ten players, only one will ever say hello.

Now, we have three problems. The first problem is that people feel more connected to a game if they say things, are responded to, make friends - being more connected to a game means that they stick around, means that they eventually gain the rare status of Donating Player, means that they keep the site alive and put food on my table.

The second problem is that if all the players in our game started talking at once, rather than just ten per cent of them, there'd be bedlam. Having a civilized conversation in chat areas would become very difficult, and roleplaying would be pretty complicated.

The third problem is that I'm more concerned with problem one, and you as a player are probably more concerned with problem two. Fixing problem one leads to problem two. Our aims are at odds with each other.

I think that out of the nine of ten players who never say anything, at least one or two must be keeping quiet because they're looking at the commentary areas and thinking "Well, that all looks like Very Serious Roleplaying going on, there. I don't really know enough about the world to stick my nose in and say hello. What if I do something wrong?"

To some extent, with things like the Roleplaying Guide in the wiki and the handful of brave and dedicated souls hanging around in NewHome to welcome the rookies (thank you!), we've been doing the best we can, socially. But I think it's time to throw some technology at the problem as well. Smile

I'm not sure, honestly, whether Location Four has done more harm than good. It sort of feels like any casual chatting is confined to that area, and there's really not a lot going on in there.

I propose a dual-channel chat system. We have the technology to do this properly, now; I thought about doing this in the past for different reasons, but the technical outcome wasn't satisfying. Things have changed. Smile

A dual-channel chat system basically means two chat areas where there once was one, with roleplay on the left and casual chat on the right, in all Outposts. Both can be hidden or shown at the player's discretion. Rookies can dip their toes in the casual chat areas and get to know people before they venture into the roleplaying areas; I think it'll help overcome the nine-out-of-ten shyness factor, at least a little bit. Common Ground remains roleplaying-only, Location Four remains OOC-only, Dwellings remain as they are for now (I might do an opt-in thing later).

Thoughts?


 
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Joseph Kemys
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 07:00 PM UTC  
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Hm. Well, let's see, on/off by checklist and/or Preferences.

One for "Hey guys what going on in this chat?" and another for srs bsns, right? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Ordinarily I'd go say something like, 'But won't that separate the playerbase? To an extent, I mean, some of the 'Sup guys' might not feel "in" with the 'Hello m'good sir, may I get you a glass of tea,' both might feel confined to one chat unless casually or formally (in respective order) invited over to the other one.'

(Even then, it might get awkward to be wearing a tux in a crowd of bacon suits. Metaphorically, and literally.)

But then I realized,

I highly look forward to it, CMJ. Good idea/show!
...


May I get you a glass of tea, m'good sir?


 
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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 07:51 PM UTC  


I think that's a great idea! When I was new, it took me a while to get the hang of joining in. I didn't know if people were really roleplaying or just kind of screwing around, or if anything was going on that I might be noobishly interrupting... And once I had made some acquaintances and gotten Ebenezer to join up, it was a lot easier for me to jump in and play. I'm just thinking that a more active and easily-accessible OOC area would be especially great for integrating rookies.

I figure that'd also do plenty of good for more experienced players to join in, by being able to ask "hey, you mind if we come play too?" or such. It's still awkward for me to just wander in sometimes. As for the options to hide/display either channel, how about having the default display both, and then adding two little buttons at the top to switch either of them on or off whenever you like. Or maybe three buttons, one for displaying each individual channel, and a third to display both?

EDIT: Easier than two checkboxes to switch on and off might be defining in your profile which channel you want to be your default, and then adding a button to show the other channel alongside it. Maybe I should shut up and leave the idea's mechanics to CMJ for a minute.


 
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Reverb
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 08:12 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Escemfer

I think that's a great idea! When I was new, it took me a while to get the hang of joining in. I didn't know if people were really roleplaying or just kind of screwing around, p]



There is a difference?


@CMJ sounds like a plan to me. I'm not sure how it'll end up being used, but i think its most definately worth trying. We can always use more people to talk to, right?


"Censure acquits the Raven, but pursues the Dove." "So, that means i'm -always- innocent, right?"
 
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Ebenezer
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 08:30 PM UTC  
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YES PLEASE!

There are so many times in NewHome that Rookies will ask questions that I can't answer because I refuse to break character. And I find myself Distracting them or trying to encourage them to go to Location Four so I can tell them... A second chat would solve THAT problem RIGHT UP! Big Grin

Also, it would help a lot with planning out scenes in chatspaces or knowing when it's okay to come in and play...

And it might encourage people to do the "hanging out" OOC instead of IC -- and write actual stories with their characters! (Which... I admit is probably not the point of the game for everyone. But it would be a nice perk to see more story, in my humble opinion).
And when there are issues (maybe a problem within a clan), this sort of feature would make them much easier to solve. Sometimes, a problem is an OOC problem and needs an OOC solution.

A very good idea, I think!


 
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Cousjava
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 08:35 PM UTC  
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I use a special colour to write OOC, so that I can use that without breaking character. Mind you, my charcter is generally helpful anyway.


A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a trombone; what else does a man need to be happy?
 
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Skidge
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 09:14 PM UTC  
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Oh, yes please. Please yes. Yes. And yes. Annnnnd..........yes. It would, um. Well. It's already been said, really. Ebenezer really hit the nail on the head re: planning and storytelling.

I think anything that encourages our newbies to come be unshelled is a good thing. It will make it so very much easier!


 
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Reverb
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 09:21 PM UTC  
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*hands Skidge a potato peeler*


"Censure acquits the Raven, but pursues the Dove." "So, that means i'm -always- innocent, right?"
 
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Binjali
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 09:26 PM UTC  
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I don't have anything more to add that Esc and Eb haven't already said, but I'd love to see this happen. I think the concerns brought up by Joseph can easily be overcome by the overall friendly and welcoming player base we've got.

In addition, as a person who pulls and edits so very many logs, on a regular basis- having the idle chitchat separated from the roleplaying stuff would make my life so much easier. I'm looking for words to describe how much easier it would make it to have the two genres pre-sorted for me... A whole new world is opening in my mind. A world where I look back on old me, sorting logs line by line to find the information I want, and laugh gently, then go back to sipping my mixed drink as I recline in my deck chair out in the sun...


 
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talkydoor
 Friday, May 28 2010 @ 11:51 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Binjali

A whole new world is opening in my mind. A world where I look back on old me, sorting logs line by line to find the information I want, and laugh gently, then go back to sipping my mixed drink as I recline in my deck chair out in the sun...



Binjali needs a tan. I think this should be a good enough reason. Big Grin

This sounds like a pretty amazing idea, and would make doing proper scenes easier. I suppose my only worry is that people would come to dominate the OOC chat and it would end up bearing no relation to the IC stuff, or even get used in preference to the actual roleplay. (This is pretty much the voice in my head going: noooo, not change! things are so nice...)

But yes, people far better at using their words than me have said all I wanted to say already. So, just... yay!


 
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Count Sessine
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 12:53 AM UTC  
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I don't want to interfere with your dreams of mixed drinks, Binjali, but I don't think this is going to make your editing job any easier. You aren't really editing out "idle chitchat" so much as "not part of this story."

Here's a random snippet taken from NewHome just now:

(4m43s) Level 2 Joker Duk_of_Doom rides in on his invisible bicycle
(4m20s) Carpen Tyr claps a friendly hand on Voodoo's shoulder. "Might be safer."
(3m37s) Level 2 Joker Duk_of_Doom is plagued by Lag gremlins
(3m11s) Rookie Voodoo tilts her head and says quietly, "Oh my, familiar faces seem to abound today..."
(1m58s) Rookie Darling looks to Voodoo. "Do have some tea dear. You really should calm your nerves. It is not healthy to get worked up."
(1m56s) Adventurer LadyRavenSkye frowns at Voodoo, "I am sorry for scaring you... I'm possessed by ghost worms, and they said you would have liked the plushie...I can show them too you if you don't believe me..."
(1m46s) Rookie Voodoo shoulders sag at Tyr's comment. "...Indeed..."
(1m22s) Carpen Tyr is fairly solid. Good to hide behind. He glances curiously at Voodoo.
There's a little story going on here involving Rookie Voodoo. People are interacting with her, in character. Duk of Doom arrives -- also in character. He may get involved in Voodoo's plight, he may not. If he doesn't, and you're later trying to capture Voodoo's story, you'll want to edit him and his invisible bicycle out of the log entirely even though the only line here that even verges upon OOC is the "Lag gremlin."

Stories interweave -- accidentally, or because of crowding, or inattention, or impatience, or many other reasons. A separate OOC chat channel is not going to solve this. It may be good for other reasons, I think it will... but it won't do the sorting for you.

The thing to remember is that the lightweight chatter we see a great deal of is mostly NOT out of character. People have been pretty good about keeping OOC stuff to L4. These are characters, not players, interacting socially. And the conversation can turn dramatic, can become a story, can be a turning point in a character's life... at a moment's notice.


 
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Binjali
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 01:34 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine

I don't want to interfere with your dreams of mixed drinks, Binjali, but I don't think this is going to make your editing job any easier. You aren't really editing out "idle chitchat" so much as "not part of this story."

Stories interweave -- accidentally, or because of crowding, or inattention, or impatience, or many other reasons. A separate OOC chat channel is not going to solve this. It may be good for other reasons, I think it will... but it won't do the sorting for you.

The thing to remember is that the lightweight chatter we see a great deal of is mostly NOT out of character. People have been pretty good about keeping OOC stuff to L4. These are characters, not players, interacting socially. And the conversation can turn dramatic, can become a story, can be a turning point in a character's life... at a moment's notice.



This is certainly all true. I hadn't taken into account, in my fantasy, how people's lives- and thus the Island- actually operates. LIfe is messy, and therefore so are the stories. I'll just have to sip that drink while sitting at my computer then. Alas.

I am still for the dual chat. If it turns out to not be useful enough, I'm sure CMJ and the community at large will continue to search for ways to handle our chat problems.


 
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Ashtu
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 01:41 AM UTC  
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I will happily support anything that will curb the "omg 4th wall" and "player's narrator says...." clutter in the public areas.


Thank you.
 
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Anonymous: Harbin
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 02:58 AM UTC  


I would like to advise for a chat to be made. If there is a chat with active players in it, willing to help, it would be a lot more accessible to other players. There is post by post roleplay, but the chat would make more users able to communicate on a second to second basis at a faster speed.


 
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Azhron
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 03:13 AM UTC  
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Is there any chance that the chat could also be made live rather than a refresh-based system? I always tend to miss a lot between reloads.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 04:00 AM UTC  
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From a personal selfish point of view, yes I'd really like this.

Now from the perspective of the main aim of it, drawing people out of their shells and into the game.
This sort of ties in with location 4. Just recently I was trawling through old forum entries, and I found the thread where the idea of location four was first suggested. The idea back then was to have a place where we could all chat OOC. What actually happens is that 99% of it is people (usually fairly new people, but not always) asking questions.

Now even if this wasn't it's intended function, I think that it's doing a really good job. First of all it's helping people who haven't found the wiki and the Newbie advisory page. But beyond that, there's a difference between reading the advisory and asking in location 4. That difference is, that someone's noticed you and tried to answer your question in a friendly way. They've been friendly, towards the asker. I think that for the shy, that can be quite a powerful thing, the feeling that they personally have been noticed and welcomed.

Some people find it quite hard to just jut into a conversation, and we can't draw anyone in until they say something, because we don't have a clue that they're there until they say something. Having a question to ask in an area which is full of people asking similar questions, so you're not going to stand out as a complete idiot, is a very easy way to say something and be noticed.

Now I suspect that what will happen with the above system is that the OOC areas in Newhome especially, and IC and Kittiania, will take over this role. This is a Good Thing. Instead of being something they'll notice at some point, once they've already decided to ask a question, rookies will have it right in front of them at all times right from the word go.

This means that Location 4 will start moving towards it's original purpose of being a place where people just chat and hang out. Which is no bad thing.

Will this happen on the failboat as well? That wouldn't harm matters any. In fact a link to location 4 from the failboat wouldn't go amiss either.

Also, would it be possible to automatically start the OOC pages in emote mode? People are talking as themselves here rather than describing the actions of characters.


 
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Kash
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 04:50 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Also, would it be possible to automatically start the OOC pages in emote mode? People are talking as themselves here rather than describing the actions of characters.



Why, then, would you want OOC to start in emote mode? I would think in an out-of-character conversation there would be far less action than speech. In my experience, OOC actions are generally kind of just for fun, not a vital part of conversation, since what the player is doing is less important than what their character is doing.


 
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Anonymous: Guessed
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 10:50 AM UTC  


Bear in mind that the majority of the silent majority will always be silent.

No ...I'm just not being silly. It's the nature of the beast .. no matter what you do you will always have a large chunk of your populace hanging back. (I'm usually a perpetual lurker myself, and not just on the Island.)

This is not to say that it's not worth trying to bring them out of the shadows. Just advising against expecting a huge transformation. But even if only brings your figure down (up?) to 4/10 or whatever, I agree it's still worth the attempt.

I can't help wondering if the co-relation of being a donor and being more willing to chat has been canvassed adequately. Maybe (and I'm winging it here) 'we' are more likely to become more willing to chat because we have donated? Perhaps it instils a sense of "Dammit, I've paid my way ... I'm entitled to have my say". And that is not going to be the sole causal affect. Even after I've donated (which I have) I still often just prefer to be ... unseen. If I don't feel that I have anything of value to add, I just ... spectate. This may not be a bad thing.

So it may be a matter of finding more incentives (that are effective) to donate would have a corollary of greater participation.

And stuff ... like that.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 02:50 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Kash

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Also, would it be possible to automatically start the OOC pages in emote mode? People are talking as themselves here rather than describing the actions of characters.



Why, then, would you want OOC to start in emote mode? I would think in an out-of-character conversation there would be far less action than speech. In my experience, OOC actions are generally kind of just for fun, not a vital part of conversation, since what the player is doing is less important than what their character is doing.



Well I was thinking that you don't need to have "Fred Bloggs says..." at the beginning of every line, just the name and then they can launch straight in and say what they want to say. Maybe it would just lead to confusion though if the two spaces worked in different ways.

A situation that might arise. Player A and player B role playing away. A has to suddenly leave, so they leave a quick note in OOC area saying "whoops got to go, should be back in an hour" or some such. B has the OOC turned off, or just isn't paying any attention to it and doesn't notice. So we'll still end up with fourth wall references and so on in the IC area, although probably less of them.
That's obviously no sort of argument against the having of them, and I can't think of any way to stop this happening, so I don't expect this comment to make any difference to anyone's actions*. It's still a big step forward. We'll probably end up working out etiquette and methods to deal with this as players.

CMJ's original post also mentioned the potential problem of crowded outposts. I'd say that this is only likely to cause problems in what I think of as the "inner outposts" (ie. NewHome, Improbable Central and Kittiania). The "outer outposts" (all the rest) could still comfortably fit more people in without too much hassle. In particular, if people want to play out scenes, then there's still plenty of space for them to find to do it in.

Now, the inner ouposts. NewHome is pretty close to critical mass already, and that of course is where all the rookies arrive. I'm not sure quite what to do about this. As a suggestion, I believe that in season 3**, we'll have a new and much bigger map. Perhaps have two starting outposts, and players get randomly selected for one or the other? Fairly close to each other? Perhaps give new players the option of choosing one or the other in case they want to start in the same place as a friend? Just an idea.

I really don't know what's likely to happen in Kittiania or IC, I don't spend much time in either of these places really.

* OK, I never expect that from any of my posts, but even if everyone reads this and agrees, then it still won't change anything.

** As an aside, when abouts is season three going to be launched? Is there a ballpark ETA?


 
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Hairy Mary
 Saturday, May 29 2010 @ 02:59 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Guessed

I can't help wondering if the co-relation of being a donor and being more willing to chat has been canvassed adequately. Maybe (and I'm winging it here) 'we' are more likely to become more willing to chat because we have donated? Perhaps it instils a sense of "Dammit, I've paid my way ... I'm entitled to have my say".



Turning that on it's head, if people are feeling nervous about chatting because they haven't donated and don't feel entitled, is that a potential problem do you think? Of course they're equally entitled to chat irrespective of how much they've donated. That might be worth thinking about as well. Don't have any real ideas about it.

As for the rest of what you say, well, if people don't want to socialise, then they don't have to. If they just want to mostly sit and watch, then good for them, let them get on with it. But I suspect that there's at least a small percentage that would enjoy it, but are nervous about starting.


 
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