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Post 11 Feb 2013, 12:02 pm

the "occasional kibitz" is always welcome!!!!
...from PriceScribe certainly but ANY of you who have ideas!
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Post 12 Feb 2013, 6:41 am

Tom, et al.,
I've been going through the messages in this topic, trying to collate and categorize all of the suggestions into a more coherent structure to make it easy to see what we've been tossing around. Right now it's in an Access database. But I'm sure most people do not have that app, so I may export it into Excel or just post the text here in a message. I may be able to post the data here sometime tonight (central time).

As for building a private forum, that is an Administrative task in PhPbb when a forum is set up. I believe you can set the Visible permission to No. You should be able to create a special group and assign that group the right to view and post messages. Then assign us to that group. At least, that seems to be the case with phpbb version 3x.
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Post 12 Feb 2013, 8:31 pm

Well, I'm not sure how much good this compilation will do. I built a simple Access db just to organize it. I reckon I could put it into some kind of web site, but I think our discussion should remain here at Redscape. But here is a simple text version of what I have. I created some categories to help organize ideas.

[list=]ADVISORY: Assemble a core group (e.g. advisory council) of dedicated players with varied game/forum interests to help with our redesign
COMMUNITY: Develop some basic standards of behavior in forums? Do not avoid conflict, but avoid personal attacks
COMMUNITY: Help newbies (especially) understand how Dip can affect personal feelings and how to cope
COMMUNITY: Promote the "redscape community" idea that used to be here. A sense of shared belonging
COMMUNITY: Should we have a GM Advisory Board to handle disputes between players/GMs for regular games?
DESIGN: Archive all OLD games/tournies. How about inactive topics?
DESIGN: Can we regain the old avatars or similar ones?
DESIGN: Get rid of non-used or questionable features: Priv msgs, friends list
DESIGN: How about a main Welcome page, with links to separate pages for forums, Sports Games, Dip Games, Fantasy, etc.
DESIGN: Return to a more "historical" theme in keeping with Diplomacy.
DESIGN: Scrap the current Steampunk-macabre look. Too dark and sinister.
DESIGN: Should page design also reflect other games (Dip variants, fantasy, sports,etc)?
FORUMS: "Welcome" and/or "About Redscape" forum?
FORUMS: Have a private forum for these and other behind-the-scenes discussions. See Advisory category
FORUMS: How about a Strategy forum for posting play notes on Dip and other games Redscape supports
FORUMS: How about a Suggestion forum where members could propose games, site questions, etc.
FORUMS: Prioritize forums for emphasis: Openings, Strategy, Variant Lab, Active Games, Tournaments, etc
FORUMS: Promote our non-game forums as important parts of Redscape identity/community
FORUMS: There should be a code of conduct for opinion forums to help reduce personal attacks
GAMES: Game names used in Redscape have been an interesting feature of the site
GAMES: How about a game queue to help expedite joining games?
GAMES: How about doing something different like Serrenisima? Not done anywhere else
GAMES: Maybe game queue for each type of game?
GAMES: New game openings should be at first level in separate folders; not under a subfolder
GAMES: Regularly have newbie games that do not require membership (how?), but require it for regular games? We do WANT members!
GMs: Create a culture where GMs are "gods" or at least "saints".
GMs: GM prefix is okay as long as that name not also used as player account
GMs: GM prefix with user name not liked - thought to be confusing.
GMs: GM should not be used for an "Admin" account. How about MOD or ADMIN prefix?
GMs: GMs are not "gods" and should not be thought of that way. Saint is more applicable.
GMs: How do we designate a GM without the prefix? And should GMs have two accounts?
GMs: See if we can get some of the old GMs back
GMs: TO support this culture, there could be a basic GM Code of Conduct - what to expect of your GM, in other words
OTTO: Remove it
OTTO: Reprogram Redscape to handle logins w/o Otto
RANKS: "Reliability" for earning ranks may not be the best measure of value, but it seemed to be popular
RANKS: Award points for performance, not seniority.
RANKS: Get rid of the military rank designations. Diplomacy is negotiation, not simply battles
RANKS: Have a players page showing # games, wins, draws, elims, etc.
RANKS: Have page listing player rankings
RANKS: Keep military ranks. They are more recognizable and probably more "attractive"
ROLES: Members should have different accounts for different site roles (GM, Admin, player)
SITE LAUNCH: Avoid "page under construction"!
SITE LAUNCH: Do not send out invitations before we are ready (image, forum, active games, etc.)
SITE LAUNCH: Have several games already in progress (not just Dip!)
SITE LAUNCH: Have some new games open and ready for players
SITE LAUNCH: Have some t-shirts, hats to sell
SITE LAUNCH: Mass email to existing Redscape membership list to try and get them participating again
SITE LAUNCH:: Have a mission statement for Redscape
TOURNAMENT: Be sure to have a theme - seems to generate more interest
TOURNAMENT: Could be Standard or a popular Variant.
TOURNAMENT: Could have more than one kind going for grand reopening
TOURNAMENT: Do not require membership right now in order to make it easy and welcoming
TOURNAMENT: Host a Dip Intersite-Team Tournament to promote overall Dip Community, but our site, too. Each site also provides a GM to offset fairness issues. Help promote our innovativeness. Post results
TOURNAMENT: Invite players from other Dip sites to participate.
TOURNAMENT: Maybe exclude Redscape from tournament name in order to not appear elitest or them-against-us
TOURNAMENT: Maybe Gunboat? Seems to be popular
TOURNAMENT: Maybe tournaments can be flighted for newbies and experienced
TOURNAMENT: Some people think Redscape in name is okay
TOURNAMENT: Start up a non-team tournament. Tournaments are popular.
TOURNAMENT: There should be some kind of overseer to manage, but let game GMs have control. Avoid too much management
VISIBILITY: Redscape does not show up in Google searches![/list]

I'm sure we'll have more ideas. But, we have to start moving on to prioritizing our ideas in terms of acceptability and do-ability. Obviously, we don't have to have everything up and running, but there has to be enough here to make the site look as appealing and thriving as possible.

I will even volunteer time to help with site administration, if that is at all helpful. I figure I can learn the site's administrative tasks easily enough. - george
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Post 13 Feb 2013, 9:25 am

Some more ideas:

PRIVATE FORUM
I believe Brad or Neal can create a "security group" and add our names to it, then give it rights to view and edit the messages of this forum. Then they can change the Visible attribute of the folder to Invisible for anybody who is not in the new group or who is not an Admin, for example. This forum will then exist in the format that Tom has requested. People
who are not in this new group would have to request membership, of course.

SITE DESIGN
I've been thinking about the overall design and (as I suggested in my prior post), I was thinking about having a master switchboard page people see when they go to the site. It would have act as the focal point and display links to other pages. We could have a page dedicated to DIP games; one dedicated to sports games; one dedicated to "Fantasy" games; one dedicated to Discussion forums; and one for Redscape features ("about", "history", "membership", etc.). This way, people can jump right to the area they are interested in. Pages could be designed to accentuate the specific content. There would be navigation aids to jump to any other page, of course, making navigation simple.

ABANDONMENTS
One issue Diplomacy suffers from is abandoned positions. And the game does not make it easy for losing positions, either. Abandoned positions go into CD. We tend to penalize players who abandon positions by demotions or other aspersions. One idea I've been tossing around is to have offer a "Surrender" option in all games. This would allow a player to leave without penalty. The remaining center(s) would be surrendered over to whichever power the surrendering player chooses. Of course, the player has to formally announce this to the GM before abandoning the position. Otherwise it follows the usual CD rules. THERE WOULD BE PRE-REQUITIES, OF COURSE, such as a) no surrender in the first 5 game years; b) no surrender with more than 3 centers. Well, it's just a thought! :)

Addendum: The idea behind the Surrender is multi-fold: First, it can speed up games where there is a clear leader and remaining players must patiently wait either to be eliminated or to watch the leader finally accumulate the needed centers. No fun, there. Of course, all players could vote to Concede to the Leader, instead. Second, it might attract players who get dismayed being stuck in poor positions and either wait it out or abandon the game and maybe abandon ever playing another game. We could foster the idea of the Honorable Surrender. On the other hand, I admit I am conflicted, because I do not want to foster the notion that quitting is a good thing, itself, or should be the first thought, rather than trying harder to come back to a strong position.
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Post 13 Feb 2013, 12:06 pm

I dislike that surrender suggestion.

I would rather we make a good case for people to not abandon, and I have my own thoughts on that - the ranking system did help, but not as much as having a reasonably responsible community with a long history, which takes a while to build.

The main thing is perhaps to explain to players why staying in a 'lost' position is in their interests.
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Post 13 Feb 2013, 6:19 pm

I appreciate all the information and boiling it down George. Great job!
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Post 14 Feb 2013, 6:59 am

Thanks, Brad. Hey, I thought you were going to remove the old games and tourneys from the site.
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Post 15 Feb 2013, 11:13 am

Hey, I didn't mean to stifle further discussion!
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Post 15 Feb 2013, 6:43 pm

George,

Thanks for the summary! In the "Ranks" section, though, it seemed a little confusing. We're currently using diplomatic ranks, and Tom was suggesting a change to military ones. I prefer the diplomatic ones, but after all, that's just a minor detail.

In general, I liked the system Redscape used before the "Resurrection". The ranks reflected reliability, and there was a medal awarded for each victory, so that the medal count provided some feedback about a player's skill. But it was all based on hand-updated databases, so it was quite labor-intensive.

Bob
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Post 16 Feb 2013, 8:06 pm

Bob,
Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't trying to editorialize, just list the suggestions/opinions of various players. That's why you might be confused: People had different suggestions. As you said, Tom favors the military kind, but others do not, or had thoughts about what the ranks were for. As I noted myself in an earlier post, over the years we've traveled down several paths looking for a proper ranking system. In any event, I'm not sure the ranks are our most important issue at the moment. What matters more right now is reinventing this place into an inviting, active site that fosters a healthy gaming community!

Speaking of which, did you sign up for the Aberration V game?
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Post 17 Feb 2013, 1:06 pm

George,

Indeed I did. Looks like we just need 4 more players for it.

Everybody,

C'mon, folks, don't be shy. If you're reading this topic, you presumably care about Redscape and its future. Getting new games going will be a great way to help the site become more vital again. Aberration V seems like a quite interesting variant. Why not give it a try?

Bob
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 7:16 am

lets keep this going...

as far as ranks, I myself prefer more military style ranks (this is a war game after all) and the current ranks are somewhat sissy sounding to my ear. I have also heard this from countless others in the past and are we not aiming at appealing to the masses? But the rank names mean almost nothing to me, it's simply "one of those things" that can be discussed. Another simple idea would be to have even more simple ranks of 1,2,3,4 etc stars (very simple, very easily understood, very easy to recognize).

also, I don't know if I'm a big fan of the suggestion to have "master switchboard page" as George mentioned. It sounded good at first but I was thinking about it and feel you may have a problem there if it were done this way? If done this way you would have a great many simply save the games page ONLY (or fantasy page, or politics page, whatever) and they would never navigate away from that one page. The way it is now, we can clearly see what is going on in the other sections, isn't it a smart idea to have the gaming people notice a discussion is going on about a new variant? Discussions on tactics? and would it hurt a politics guy to notice a new game was forming? The way it is currently allows us to easily see what is going on in those other areas, I do think it should be cleaned up and rearranged a bit this master switchboard page is a really bad idea I think! (though I understand the reasoning behind it and am not trying to tear apart your ideas!)

on the abandonments, I see the need for a change but I don't think this suggestion is "quite" right yet either, Too early to think about that for me right now...
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 7:33 am

I wouldn't change the structure of the boards. It is very user friendly and Tom, you make a great point about browsing other topics. If you don't see them you'll never drop in. Keeping them clean is imperative, though. Dead topics need to be deleted or archived somewhere, otherwise the site looks half dead. Well, ok, it is half dead but the perception needs to change.

On abandonments: I don't think the rules should be changed. Abandonments have never been a huge problem here unlike the auto-judges. In my experience it wasn't too hard to find replacements either.

I like the diplomatic titles (I view it as a game of negotiation, not war) but whatever. The more important question is what system to use for rank determination.
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 8:09 am

and for ranking/rewards a formula (the simpler the better) that rewards wins, rewards survival (but to a lesser degree), penalizes NMR's, rewards non-NMR's, rewards hosting a game.
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 8:39 am

and for ranking/rewards a formula (the simpler the better) that rewards wins, rewards survival (but to a lesser degree), penalizes NMR's, rewards non-NMR's, rewards hosting a game.


I agree with Tom's basis for ranking posted this morning. But as to the ranks, I'm wondering if we should scratch all existing ranks and start over. It might be more in keeping with our desire to recreate the site in the eyes of old and new players and maybe increase the sense of good competition once again. One thing I do like about the judge sites is that they have levels based on points, rather than arbitrary ranks, which avoids the whole issue of military vs non-military ranking systems. Second, every game you enter forces you to invest some of your ranking points, thus creating the potential for descending in the point total as well as rising. As many of you know, this is more or less how chess and other board game associations (go, shogi) handle things. Yes, they have ranking titles (master, grand-master, etc.), but they are based on accumulated and maintained point totals. So, total points would create a relativistic ranking system that is easy to understand.

Tom also suggested a star-rating, similar to how we rank movies. On the surface, it makes sense. But like the labels (genera, adjutant, master, etc), the issue is where we set those levels. How many wins/survivals does it take to make a new rank? Or the next one? It might be intellectually fun to argue over this, but it would suffer from exclusivity and lack of comparability. That is to say, it means nothing outside of Redscape. If we're not concerned about that, fair enough. The same could be said for a basic point system, such as I suggested. But the difference is that there are no arbitrary levels, as such. It is accumulated points. So, for example, a solo nets 8 points; a 2nd place (based on centers) nets 4 pts, and the other survivors get 1 pt. A DIAS results in all survivors getting 4 points (or something like that). NMRs would be -5. We could have a sidebar that displays the top 100 players by points.

I reckon it could be possible to make arbitrary slices in a point ranking to assign some kind of label (master, diplomat, general, etc). For example, if we slice the point continuum into quarters, the top %25 would have the highest named rank. Thus, players have the opportunity to rise and fall in the ranks over time. Just because you made "dignitary" or "general" does not mean you get to keep it forever, like some honorary badge. Your rank must be earned and defended.