Staff Bulletin - December 30

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Staff Bulletin - December 30

Post by Syron on Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:23 am


STAFF BULLETIN




Multiple Chars per Account
From now on, that wretched rule of only one char per account is gone! Yes, just like that! Go pick your favorite account from the ones you have, copy your character sheets over, and pick whatever name you like, with whatever avatar you like! As long as it isn't insulting or something of the likes, of course. The old accounts will be deactivated over time, not all at once. Unfortunately we can't transfer posts, or at least I currently don't know how, and deleting an account seems to set the author of the posts to "Guest", so all accounts will be kept. For now, at least. Maybe we find a solution at some point.

But, this is only small news compared to today's main topic:


New Site Management System - Big Staff Changes

I've been told that there is a growing discontent about the current staff in the community... Something I figured and thought about before I've been told that. We all realize that we've become too inactive, for different reasons. Partly lacking motivation, partly lacking time, or possibly some other reasons. Normally, the reaction to that would be to simply get new staff... But I don't think that will cut it. I think the exact same thing will happen again and again, and there's hardly any way to change that. The new staff will probably at some point drop into inactivity, and drag the whole site along, as it's happened before. So I've proposed a complete overhaul of our staff and ranking system that is designed to monitor staff activity efficiently and allow for fast paced changes should somebody be unable/unwilling to fulfill the given duties.

Since it is a completely new system, I won't tell you want will change. Instead, I will introduce it from the ground up. Forget what we have so far, this is what we will have:

Member:
Brief: The average person registering on the forum. The responsibilities, rights and restrictions of other ranks are based on those of members.

Responsibilities: Knowing and following the rules, which are admittedly too many to list here, but here's a summarization of the most important thing: Be nice!

Rights:

  • Create and play characters (duh!) approved by senators
  • Registering special items/artifacts and using them after approval
  • Create and execute minor story lines, influencing a limited set of characters
  • Suggest major story lines and lore
  • Suggest rule changes that haven't already been discussed (but please keep it reasonable)
  • Participate in public discussions and polls
  • Try to have fun!


Restrictions:

  • No characters in controll of a major faction/organization (see VIC Player)
  • No spontaneous introduction of unapproved major lore
  • No controlling of foreign characters


Activity Requirements: None

Trust Requirements: None

Desired Numbers: As many as possible!

Estimated Durability: As long as possible!

Moderator:
Brief: Moderators monitor what is actually going on in the forum and deal with minor problems directly, as well as thread management.

Responsibilities:

  • Monitor threads for

    • Interesting events in RP and finished threads, report to RP Resource Manager
    • Minor rule violations like forgotten date/summary, deal with it directly
    • Major/debatable rule violations, report to senators

  • Make sure the personal timelines are up to date
  • Thread management work: Moving, closing, splitting, whatever can be done via the moderator control panel
  • Moderate public discussions
  • Settle minor disputes between members


Rights: Admittedly there isn't much I would call a right that doesn't purely stem from their responsibilities.

  • Acess to moderator panel
  • Acess to moderator forum


Restrictions: None, they are free to do whatever a normal member is allowed to do.

Activity Requirements: Medium. They need to keep um with new posts, but mostly they only have to read them. With some organization, this hardly requires any time at all, but must not be neglected. My expectation is, that a new threads is picked by a moderator within three days after it has been started. Once they find something they have to act on, moderators should be able to act on it quickly.

Trust Requirements: Low to medium. The worst thing they can do is deleting posts and threads (and banning users, but that can be undone). Should a moderator show misbehavior, it's not all that much different to a normal member showing misbehavior.

Desired Numbers: Depending on activity. At the moment I'd say it can be handled by 3 to 5 people.

Estimated Durability: Medium. The fluctuation shouldn't be too high to avoid moderators regularly dropping out in the midsts of long threads that they are monitoring, which would require the next moderator to read up on the whole thing again (and THAT is often an annoying work, compared to reading daily updates to a thread). But if a moderator turns out to be unsuitable for the job, he will be quickly dismissed and replaced.

Administrator:
Brief: Administrators manage the technical side of the forum. Generally, they do what the Admin Panel is needed for. Administrators have no position of power, but are purely executive. They do what they are told to.

Responsibilities:

  • Member account management
  • Forum structure and appearance (technical side)
  • Feature implementation
  • I could continue, but really: everything in the admin panel, appart from managing staff groups (that's the job of the Counselors)


Rights: Actually similar to moderators. They have what they need for their job, and not much else.

  • Acess to administrator and moderator panel
  • Acess to administrator forum and chatroom


Restrictions: None, they are free to do whatever a normal member is allowed to do.

Activity Requirements: Low to medium, since it doesn't happen too often that there's stuff to be done in the admin panel. However, once a bigger project is incoming, they are supposed to see it through in reasonable time.

Trust Requirements: High, since they have access to the admin panel after all. While they can't take over the site completely (no access to owner account), they can wreak havoc. Their actions should be under close observation by the counselors.

Desired Numbers: Most of the time (until the forum grows and we decide to start some big projects), one should actually be enough. Make it two, just to be sure.

Estimated Durability: Long. It's not a strenuous job, but one that needs some proficiency. As such, an admin not as easy to replace as others.

Senator:
Brief: The senators are the big decision makers of the site, and practically the bosses. Their work consists of approvals most of the time.

Responsibilities:

  • Keep track of the general status of the site, its members and the RP
  • Approval (or rejection) of submitted lore/major story lines/characters/artifacts

    • In case of rejection: Explain why, and what would be necessary for approval

  • Start and moderate public discussions
  • Settle disputes between players
  • Generally make the decisions on the site (if they involve the community is for them to decide)


Rights:

  • Access to the senate, admin and moderator forums and chatrooms
  • That's already everything there is. No special executive rights (unless they have another job as well)


Restrictions: Mostly they can do what every member can do, but there's one thing I like to point out. Everything suggested by a senator, needs to be approved by another senator. They can't approve their own stuff.

Activity Requirements: Medium to high, since they have to stay up to date with what happens on the site, and approvals should be done quickly. The same goes for every kind of emergency that might come up that can't be dealt with by moderators.

Trust Requirements: Medium. The job of a senator doesn't give access to any management tools the forum offers, so the only damage they can do is by giving stupid orders and approving stuff that shouldn't find its way into RP.

Desired Numbers: Three to four I'd say. Enough to do solid discussions, but not so much that decision making becomes troublesom.

Estimated Durability: Medium. Some fluctuation doesn't hurt, as long as past decisions are respected and only reconsidered if there are substantial reasons, and a new mind brings new ideas. Still, it's of little worth to constantly have a completely new senate.

RP Resource Manager:
Brief: Responsible for the RP Archive and Resources, as the name says.

Responsibilities:

  • Keep track of the RP in its entirety, with the help of the moderators
  • Advertise interesting events and story lines to the community
  • Provide helpful resources like the weather schedule and the shops and services list
  • Archivate the RPs
  • Think of other helpful services for the RP


Rights:

  • Full access to the RP Archive and Resources subforum, including moderating rights. However, they only have their own posts there to moderate. It's their playground where they can do whatever they think is best.


Restrictions: None

Activity Requirements: Medium to high, depending on overall RP speed. They need to be able to keep up, and in an active community that can be quite a bit of work. Once they start to slack, work will pile up. Apart from that... Part of their job is providing news, that's not much worth if it doesn't happen quickly.

Trust Requirements: Low to medium. They could destroy the archive, but otherwise they can't do anything special. It wouldn't kill the site.

Desired Numbers: As many as needed. I've tried to do it on my own, which would work with ongoing activity. Ongoing being the keyword. A team of two or three might be better.

Estimated Durability: Medium, but long would be better. Whoever does that job needs to build up good knowledge of what is happening and what has recently happened, and that needs some time. Probably another argument to have several people for the job, to introduce new workers.

Counselor:
Brief: Counselors are a mixture of advisors and watch dogs. They monitor other staff and step in should any problems become apparent (for example a lack of activity), but have no controling power otherwise. Mediators between staff and community.

Responsibilities:

  • Monitoring staff for activity and general capability of doing a good job
  • Appointing and dismissing staff
  • Participation in major discussions, advising other staff (but no voting rights)
  • Go-to person for members regarding staff questions (complains/suggestions/whatever), mediation betwen community and staff


Rights:

  • Access to Owner Account (already renamed to Counselor Account)
  • Appointing and dismissing staff
  • Access to each and every subforum, and every official GK Chatroom
  • Participation in every discussion regarding major site topics (lore/rules/whatever, but no voting rights)


Restrictions:

  • No other staff position (except semi-official VIC player)
  • No permanently binding characters, only such that can be easily deintroduced or given to another player, temporary roles and NPCs
  • No voting or veto rights in staff decisions (even though they participate in discussions), except regarding their specific responsibilities (who gets to be staff). They can still vote like a normal member can.


Activity Requirements: Low, since the job is designed to be non-blocking. If a counselor is gone for days, the site will hardly notice. However, since they have to check the activity of other staff, counselors should be able to take a look at the forum every day and see who is posting.

Trust Requirements: High, since they have access to the owner account, which gives them the ability to do everything. Which is part of the reason why they aren't allowed to do anything. If they do something anyway, it will be relatively easy to notice, and the counselor in question will quickly be removed (by another counselor).

Desired Numbers: At least 2, and not too many, maybe up to 4 when the site grows.

Estimated Durability: As long as possible, as it will be hard to find people who are fine with the restrictions placed on the job (reminder: no major chars, they're hardly doing RP)

What exactly do those RP restrictions mean? Why would I want to be Counselor?:
Some discussion with my sister made me feel like I should spend a few words on this. Since RP is everything the people want to do when they come here, restrictions on it probably are a strong deterrent, but it's actually not that bad!

There's one thing you can't do as counselor: Playing a vital character all on your own. You have to be sure that whenever you might want to drop out of RP with a character, it won't leave a big hole in an important story and block the site. That means that either you have other players willing to play that character (similar to a VIC), or that character is not majorly involved in stories that affect whole organizations/factions. If only a small group of players is affected... well, it would be unfortunate if you dropped out without replacement, but at least it's not the whole site suffering from it.

As example: I have two commonly known characters. Shadowstrike is only involved with a small circle of other characters, and not playing her anymore would leave some players heavily disappointed, but the site would go on. The other character, Silvern Gleam, is member of Rebellion High Command. If I stop RP with her without replacement and without properly removing her from that position, the rebellion is suddenly blocked. So I'm forced to continue playing her, even if I might have lost interest in her (which I haven't), which would be a major blow to my general motivation on the site.

That brings me to the reason of this restriction. The big job of the counselors is to actively check how active the other staffers are (generally, how well they are doing their job). But who checks the counselors? The answer is: nobody. Of course we could appoint somebody, but then who checks that person? Instead of starting an endless chain or a circular relation, I've tried to make sure that it's unlikely that counselors don't do their job anymore. That means: Low activity requirement and avoiding motivation killers. One of the biggest motivation killers I can think of is being forced to do something you don't want to do. That leads to staying away from the site in an attempt to ignore the responsibility. By making sure the counselors can drop in and out at any point, I'm hoping to make that problem as small as possible.

TL;DR: As counselor, you can skim through as many roles as you like, even play VICs if the respective players have nothing against it. You just have to make sure you won't be forced to continue playing a character you've grown tired of, in whichever way you like. That's everything. I hope Counselor now sounds a bit more interesting to you.


Apart from these mostly permanent staff roles, there are two possible positions focusing purely on RP. They won't be appointed with the main staff in the upcoming vote, because they are highly temporary (Story Master) or already are filled and won't change now (VIC Players)

VIC Player:
Brief: Players of very important characters like the leaders of the big factions. Every VIC has several players who work as a team

Responsibilities:

  • Make sure everybody in the team plays the VIC the same
  • Discuss what you're planning to do with the rest of the team
  • Management of the respective organization/faction
  • Provide information about the organization/faction to other players, find members
  • Come up with story lines, should no ideas come from outside


Rights:

  • Play very powerful chars in command of a lot of characters (PC and NPC alike)
  • Shape the organization/faction to your liking
  • Access to a private subforum for the respective organization/faction to store non-public information and discuss stuff with the team


Activity Requirements: High. Normally here goes the rule that you should be capable of at least one post per day in average. Combined with the requirement of 3 players per VIC, this should ensure a decent posting speed.

Trust Requirements: Medium. You can't break the site, and if you do something in RP that you shouldn't, it can be retconned (as long as the moderators notice quickly enough). But of course, it's better if there is no need for a retcon.

Desired Numbers: 3 or mor per VIC

Estimated Durability: Medium. I don't expect anybody to show constant high activity over months, but at the same time it takes some time to get into a character. Should the activity drop, it can happen quickly that a player is replaced, but it's easy to get in once the activity rises again.

Story Master:
Brief: Players who provide a big story line (affecting not only a few players but possibly whole factions and more), responsible for seeing that story line through.

Responsibilities:

  • Create a public and a private outline of the story that needs to be approved by the senate
  • Build up a team if the story is too big to handle on your own
  • Find players for the story (mind their activity!)
  • Make sure the story comes to a successful end


Rights:

  • Shape the story of GK and leave a big footprint!
  • Controll of special characters for the story
  • Access to a temporary forum for your team, if you have one


Activity Requirements: High. At least one post per day in average, preferably more (or you get others to help you)

Trust Requirements: Medium. You can't break the site, and if you do something in RP that you shouldn't, it can be retconned (as long as the moderators notice quickly enough). But of course, it's better if there is no need for a retcon.

Desired Numbers: Variable, depending on how big the story is

Estimated Durability: Short, appointed only for the duration of their story.

So, these are the new roles. First question:

Why do I think it will work any better?

Answer:

  • By clearly splitting staff into these roles instead of just having "staff", as it is at the moment (there isn't even a sensical differentiation between mods and admins!), we make better use of the capacities we have. One person might live for doing technical administration work, but finds approvals absolutely tiresome. By essentially being forced to do both, motivation is lost much more quickly. And while that person might still do the technical stuff (which often isn't a lot to do), he is eventually removed from staff because otherwise he didn't do much. Now we'll be assigning the people we have to the stuff they like to do and are good at, and that will be everything they'll be measured at.
  • More importantly: Our main problem so far was that the realization that a staffer wasn't doing a good job anymore came way after the time it had become a problem. Motivation slowly trickles away, work is done more sloppy before it ceases to be done at all. And then, there's already been damage. That's where the counselors come in, the only actually new role I've introduced. Their main task is to observe staff and spot problems before they become one. Should they spot one, and the reason for that problem isn't short lived, the staffer is replaced, or at least backed up. By denying the counselors any decision making rights in staff matters, I'm hoping to get especially those interested in the job who can stay on neutral and objective ground. Those who like to see their opinion being cast down in a vote in staff discussions... Counselor isn't a job for you. Only those who are fine with their voice being ignored (though I hope it won't be ignored if it's actually good advice) should take it up. Counselors are not the ones leading the site.
  • Finally, there is the thing some of you (or many?) might find odd: Counselors are to stay out of big RP roles that bind them for a long time. This stems from a realization about myself. RP quickly tires me out. I'm highly motivated at first, discussing endless possibilities and doing fun threads. But the RP goes much slower than the ideas do. At some point I have fantasized so much about it that it becomes stale, and my RP activity drops. Which only means that the story would take even longer to be completed and I can finally do a new one that I haven't thought over to death yet. And all the while, all the things related to said RP suffer as well, which includes staff work. The restrictions on the RP activity of counselors are twofold in purpose: For one, they are supposed to ensure further neutrality by keeping them out of ingame groups and organizations, as well as ensure that they can completely drop out of RP any time without harming the site. They can switch in and out as they want, participate actively in discussions about the RP without being able to block them (because in the end, their vote doesn't count) and simply enjoy the development that is happening. A lightweight job that is designed to not wear out the one doing it.


So, to make it a bit shorter: We have a neutral watch dog who has little else to do than to supervise staff and skim through different RP roles for entertainment. Yes, I believe that might work.

That leaves the final quesion...

Who's gonna take all those roles?

Well... we do have favorites for one or the other position, and those people will be asked if they have interest. However, most positions are entirely free. That's why we'll simply ask all of you at once: Who of you would like to take staff position, and which one? I'll start with a completely empty list, even though I theoretically already know a few names, so that everybody is forced to think once again about what they want to do. Here are the numbers we want to reach:

Moderator: 5 (less if the job is really taken seriously)
Administrator: 2
Senator: 4
RP Resource Manager: 2
Counselor: 2

VIC Players and Story Masters are handled differently.

ALso, keep in mind that you can take several roles, excluding counselors.

After the volunteers are in, and there are more than two volunteers for Counselor, there'll be a vote for that position. Once the Counselors are in place, they'll take over the process. It's their job after all.

If you want to volunteer or discuss all this, please head here.

That's it from my side. Hopefully we get a fruitful discussion with a good staff coming out of it.


Last edited by Syron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Staff Bulletin - December 30

Post by Syron on Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:53 pm

Update Staff Reformation - Voting begins on Fr, 1/3/14, 5 P.M. GMT

Anybody who wants to volunteer for a staff position, be quick. On Saturday the voting for Counselor position will begin. In case that there are no more volunteers for this position, it will be a simple yes or no vote. Should there be another volunteer, you'll have the possibility to vote for two of them. The vote will go for two days, so please make sure you give your vote in time. Once the Counselors are chosen, the old staff will be dismissed and voting for a Senate will begin, which will also go over two days. Afterwards, it's up to the counselors and the senate to do the next steps, it will all be under their control then.

That's it, have a nice day!


Last edited by Syron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Staff Bulletin - December 30

Post by Syron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:02 am

Update Staff Reformation - Voting Procedure

We haven't reached the deadline yet, but you should still know how the voting will work before it actually starts. There won't be a poll, because there are many people with multiple accounts on the site who could easily abuse that by voting several times, so instead you'll have to send in your vote per PM to our newly appointed Election Helper, Fire Ruby (Grayscale). If you want to object to this, please do so quickly with an explanation why.

At the moment, we still have only two volunteers for Counselor, and two Counselor positions to fill. If no other volunteer shows up before the deadline, you will have the possibility to vote either "yes" or "no" for each of those volunteers (me and Mirror Lone (Void)). Whoever gets at least twice as many "yes" as "no" will get the job.

The situation for the Senate is very similar: It's planned to have four Senators in the end, and we have four volunteers. Should there be no other volunteer for the position, we will apply the same system. Those volunteers who have two thirds of their votes being "yes" will get the position.

Should we get additional volunteers for Counselor or Senator, the voting system will change, and instead you'll get votes according to the number of positions to be filled: Two for Counselor, four for Senator. The volunteers with the most votes will then get the position, until all positions are filled up.
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