Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Background Noise

This isn't about the actual Q&A. It is about the background work so that people know what I've been up to the last week. Why? Because this type of thing took an enormous amount of work from several people. It is a new expierence for me and thats what I write about.

That was an experience. I'm not really thrilled with how it went. An hour before the Jump Fatigue talk, I opened the server with the teamspeak details. Around fifteen minutes till we had about twenty people and there was a moment when we wondered if this would be a small talk where we could have an open floor.

Nope. Turns out that is not what happened.

This talk was planned about two weeks ago. It came up during a talk with CCP that they were ready to look at jump fatigue again and would like to have a soundboard. However, for a topic like jump fatigue it was too big to have the normal type soundboard that Corbexx and I have been holding.

What we came up with was a date and time and a forum post of questions. We'd work in a Q&A format from the question and try to open the floor to discussions. Mike collected all of the questions into a document. He spent every day combing the thread. I then spent the weekend turning it from a random mass of questions into a organized list with subsections. The raw collection was about twelve pages and then we received trickle questions into Monday and then questions from the Russian community. I was running out of actual time.

A few months ago, I asked my husband if I could have a teamspeak server. He looked at the specs, chuckled, and said that it wasn't a problem. He set up the server, I applied for a non-profit license, and in a few days I had a teamspeak server with a maximum capacity of 512. One problem we have experienced as a CSM is having a type of neutral ground that we controlled. We've leaned heavily on Eve Uni over the years and they have been great with assisting and having moderators. However, I feel that we should be the ones in control of the process. My server does not belong to a corp or alliance so its very neutral.



I am pleased with how the server handled the traffic.

The hard part is how do you have any type of reasonable discussion where there may be several hundred people attending? It means that it will have to be heavily moderated. There is often a lot of energy and emotion tied into these things. People get aggressive, they get angry, and they start to rant. I do not want to dismiss the impact a change has had on people but communication does not occur under conditions of extreme emotion.

I also thought I had the channels fully set up. I would learn about 10 minutes in when we hit 100 people that I had missed a permission. I got it fixed but it is unfortunate that it happened. I'm pleased I got it fixed and accept the ridicule that came with my mistake.

The server details had been sent to the people on the thread who had poised questions. The idea was to have them enter the discussion and have additional questions in an in game channel. Instead the server details were shared and a lot of people arrived. I had anticipated this so once I fixed the channel setting it went smoothly. However this is also when it got a bit rough.

It is a lot of people to manage. I had this grand idea of starting with a bunch of the basic introduction questions and then moving in order down the question list. This didn't happen. Trying to get people to talk and get them to talk on topic turned out to be challenging. I also wanted to include the chatroom. On retrospect I should probably lock things down a bit more and stop trying to be so utterly inclusive.

Jayne was broadcasting to twitch and unfortunately had some technical difficulties off and on.

Once the questions and discussion started it had the side effect of answering other questions. I started to move around the question list to connect the follow up questions with the discussion and make sure major points we had marked out were reached.I also tried not to have the same handful of speakers always talking but that is something I have found happens. Some are more comfortable than others in the public forum.

At this point we've covered a lot of ground and the reactions that I can occasionally glimpse are all over the place. I tried to keep the topic on jump fatigue and not Aegis Sov. I tried the ask the challenging questions I was given to ask. If I look at the feedback I was glimpsing in game, I'd say that things did not go well.

I apologize. Those of us that participated will sit down and try to find a smoother process. Many people have told me that they did not like the structure.

I'm torn if I should have moderated further. I did not want it to be me having a discussion with CCP. I'm going to spend a while debating if I should have kept it to that instead of trying to have a more open format. I know that I won't make everyone happy with whatever is done. The player base is passionate and people wanted to be heard. I want people to be able to speak. I did cut off one person who was going into a full blown rant against CCP early on. That was taken poorly by some. It was because the question had been asked and I was trying to move on. Later, I simply removed talk privileges after a question was asked. It wasn't about "what CCP wanted to hear" it was about me trying to managed several hundred people.

So, for the rest of tonight, I'm pretty tired. I'm sorry to those that thought this was a waste of time. I'm going to keep trying to do things that will bridge communication gaps. I'm going to keep pushing for the player to get into the discussion early. I'm going to have to accept the ugly times with the good because the outcome is what I believe in.

I am glad that I was not DDoSed. Unfortunately, it was one of the first things people said to me as I planned this. My response was that if it happened, I'd take my ball and go home. If it happened I'd have been deeply disappointed. It was a concern but it was one that I decided to accept.

The people involved:

We scheduled this with CCP Larrikin as he is leading the review. We also had CCP Fozzie, CCP Delegate Zero, CCP Mimic, and CCP Nullarbor decide to attend. On the CSM we had Thoric, Jayne, Sort, Sugar, Corbexx, Mike, and towards the end Endie and Manifred.

I handled most of the voice moderation with Sort backing me up. Mike was in the chat channels, and Corbexx was helping with technical stuff. Jayne was working twitch and Thoric was discussing question order with me in another channel. I handed moderation off to Sort at an hour and a half. I had a dentist appointment that I was unable to reschedule.

Now all that is left is the fall out about how it should have been handled and what should have happened. It may be that this is something that is not done again if people did not find it to have done anything for them. We'll be watching the feedback across various places.

I've been questioning myself if I should have cut the person off insulting the devs from the get go with his question. I gave it a moment to see if a question happened and it didn't. That is one of my major regrets coming out of this, that I let that happen and for that I apologize to all of you. I functioned under a belief of basic civility from participants and I should have acted sooner even with the scorn and derision coming from the various chat mediums over moderation and not letting people speak. This is a flaw in my personality. I am polite and I believe others will be polite. I should know better and again, I am deeply sorry.

11 comments:

  1. What had happened was unfortunate but I hope that you know how much people appreciate your work. You, Jayne and Corbexx are imho the most present CSM reps.

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  2. Sugar,

    While I can’t speak to the specifics of this particular situation, I would dispute that being polite and believing others will be polite is a personality flaw. “First Be Polite” is actually pretty good policy and I heartily suggest you continue in such manner. I know in my case, your tendency towards polite has managed to civilize me a bit and we’re all the better for it as Dire rants, as fun as they are, can get a little old. So rather than kicking yourself for failing to foresee that this soundboard would proceed differently than all your previous soundboards, just incorporate the education in your future endeavors. Wisdom comes out of experience. An education is what one receives when they didn’t get what they wanted. Naiveté switches to acumen through practice. Etc. Etc. Etc. Blah. Blah. Blah. Yet still, it is the way of things and there really are few shortcuts.

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  3. Keep it up Sugar. Things rarely go smoothly the first time you try something new. Just leaves room for improvement. Your hard work trying to help us engage with CCP better is very appreciated.

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  4. I don't thing voice format is a good way of discussing public matters. I know that it's done in real politics, but I only see it as a relic from the past, mostly attended by elderly people who are not on internet.

    It's much easier to have a written questions - written answers online, with a moderator team clearing the incoming question list. This is why Reddit AMAs are/were so popular.

    I keep getting podcast, stream, TS-interview and whatnot requests and my answer is always the same "send written questions and you'll have your answers".

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    1. One of my goals is to provide multiple platforms. No single type of perfect. I love words but a lot of people complain about it and never read it. If I can cover many different venues I can hopefully reach a larger audience.

      What I like as an individual and what I feel I should make an effort to provide as a member of the CSM are different things. I know it isn't perfect. I know this venue is hard when this many people join. I still have to try.

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    2. No, you don't have to. You already did more for the EVE community than anyone before. If you just do what "I like as an individual" is more than enough.

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    3. Sometimes written communication can be misunderstood. Just the day before, I had a conversation about a topic and my words got totally misinterpreted in my native language. It is even harder in an international community, when for most people, english is a second language.

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    4. You can get a lot more from voice comms though. For starters you get the immediacy of it, where people cant write it out then decide to go back and edit, that's quite often very telling. You also get tone so you can better understand how someone feels about an answer and a better grasp of emphasis.

      With this session id definitely have cut people off quick if they were insulting or ranting and removed them from the server if it were the former. I think the biggest problem people had though was with CCPs reluctance to answer questions. Sugar, for next time the biggest change id make is getting a better idea of what the devs are willing to answer and pushing questions for that. If they are going to just say "this isn't the venue" for every question, there's no point.

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    5. Personally, I hate voice comms. I'll listen to other people speak for podcasts and stuff, but I don't use them. I have problems speaking, not a lisp or anything, but stringing words together in a manner fast enough to evoke a specific meaning without people moving to another speaker during my pause to assemble a statement.

      I don't think in quick sentences or soundbites. I think in paragraphs. And it's hard to have a conversation in paragraphs.

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    6. I have found a kindred spirit! I'm so glad to hear that there's someone else who shares my frustration.

      Thanks, Halcyon. o7

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  5. Looking retrospectively, I'd like to apologise for the doom and gloom I was spreading in your chatroom. Though at the time I felt it was very much a failure, listening again, there were good questions and answers I didn't hear through the amount of rubbish being spread in the channel.

    Now, I think the main problem here was that it tried to do too many things in a single session. The initial questions from the thread were all well responded to, and CCP (to my mind) seemed pleased with these questions.

    Where and when it broke down was trying to get player responses to questions raised in the thread. Now, some of this was due to a lack of moderation. Giving players an opportunity to speak was good, but it fell down when you didn't take the soapbox away.

    The other part of the problem was the players. I don't know how you can fix this. Rudeness and hostility is what CCP got, and if I were them, I'd not want to do that kinda of thing again.

    For next time (because I sincerely hope there will be a next time), I would break the 'Roundtable cum Q&A' into two separate occasions.

    Questions by players for CCP should be submitted in advance. CCP should consider what metrics they're willing to show players, and get them ready in advance. There should be no live player input . It should be a conversation between CCP and CSM. I would remove the chat-box from mumble, and all talking and typing rights.

    As for questions by CCP for players, I'm not sure how to do this. I personally feel that a 'describe your problems currently' is way too open to ranting and moaning. Therefore, I'd try and focus on a 'Describe your ideal day' solution.

    Focussing on how they'd like things to be is going to make it easier for CCP to compare where problems are now, and the differences between players' ideal version of the game and CCP's.

    A forum thread that was 'submit your opinions only' and 'post constructively with no discussion' would be a good way of starting this.

    Rob K.

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