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Upcoming Circus Maximus Changes

Discussion in 'Circus Maximus' started by Mekkah, Feb 24, 2010.

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  1. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    This is about Circus Maximus, the mafia part of it. It's not going the exact way I like, so I want to change the way things work one way or another. I'm posting this not because I need help or permission, but because I would like input. I'm aware that the mafia players that have access to this forum can be counted on maybe two or three hands, and among the ones that do play, there's very few upper ranked members.

    However, since this is partially about moderation ethics and elitism, I invite anyone to read this post and give their input. There's a lot of smart people here who I would appreciate the opinion of even if they never layed eyes upon the forum in their e-life. In fact, of all the people I've had a talk about this with already, the one who probably gave me the most new insights was Doug, and he definitely never played.

    For convenience, the rules as they are now, updated pretty recently with help from Earthworm, the only other person here who I would call an active Circus Maximus moderator. I don't really want to explain them now since it'd be superfluous, but for this post to make sense you will probably want to read them.

    Funnily enough, Circus has some problems that shouldn't be unfamiliar for you if you moderate either Firebot or Tournaments. What it all comes down to is: the quality and quantity of games and players. I'll talk about the games first since it's shorter.

    At the moment, there's a bunch of games on the waiting list that want to start, but cannot because there can only be three small games going on at once. Like with Tournaments, you don't want too many of them to be going on at the same time. It takes away some of the excitement of mafia, makes it all harder to manage, etc. However, there's waaaaay more demand for games than there's spots. A small game generally only has 25 spots, but often enough they reach 70+ sign-ups, and some people wouldn't mind playing 2 or more games at once. I think the best solution might be to simply up the amount of games going on regardless...I haven't actually talked that one over with Earthworm yet.

    But now, about the players. They have the Firebot problem: new users, usually originating from Wi-Fi or at least the Pokémon region. They're generally bad at mafia. Some of them have been given countless chances to redeem themselves but remain first class idiots (Raverist, AlphaBravo), but some of them just need to learn. Which is cool with me, I'm all for giving people a chance, perhaps even a second or a third one. But on the other hand, you want good players in the game you designed to use those cool roles with potential. Hell, even if you leave out the role aspect, a game with skilled players is much more fun to watch and host than one with people fucking up.

    The system right now pretty much forces you to let in some new players, though it's also giving you ways to tweak your list such as the reserve system, the recently added handpicking rule, and we have no rules on substitutions yet which means hosts can sneak in whoever they want if they're sneaky enough about it. I think this system is overall pretty fair to new players, but that brings us the dilemma: I want even more games with high-quality player lists. That might sound extremely greedy, but it's also a desire shared by many, many other players. My most recent game had one team ruined by a newer player because he told someone else his last team mate without even telling his own team mates. Very frustrating.


    So, that's the situation and why I don't like it. Now here's some ideas I thought up to improve it.

    At first, I was planning on making a forum somewhere else. I already use shaym.in (jumpluff's website) for hosting external forum software that's more convenient for mafia hosting (though I still keep the games on Smogon), which is going cool, and I could easily just build a new empire on it. Even if I wasn't an administrator heavily involved with Smogon mafia, I would still have the freedom to do this. But I think it's a dickhead move in a way. Most of the people I talked to about this idea liked it, except Hipmonlee, who thought it was elitist and was against it (most other opinions were neutral or in favor, iirc). This idea does put me in full control of everything, but I also feel it would leech people from Smogon's userbase, and it would perhaps desert Circus Maximus to a large extent. You never know until you try, of course. If I'd do this (I still think there's merit to the idea), I would heavily encourage people to also stay to play on Smogon.

    Then I talked to Doug, and he brought up the idea of instead making a new forum outside of Smogon, making a new subforum ON Smogon. Some sort of "advanced player" place with limited, handpicked access, both for playing and for hosting. It's not as convenient in the software aspect, though.

    In both cases, I also want to have some more accessible place for discussing mafia ideas and strategies on a forum without being in a game. The Mafia usergroup isn't on the forum index which means nobody is going to notice a new post was made unless they deliberately check it.


    I think I'll leave it at this for now, though I don't think I'm done talking yet. Again, I'm fully aware I could just as well get things going without talking it over with anyone, but I like it when others let me know when they're about to make a huge change, so I figured I'd do the same for others.
  2. jumpluff

    jumpluff princess
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    I really prefer the second idea: Doug's. Circus Maximus, and mainly mafia (as nobody cares about the chess tourney that's been going on for about 30593053 months) is now a big part of Smogon's culture, whether people want to admit or not. :P Though having an elitist host forum (of course it's elitist, elitism is sort of inherent to any sort of online community) might seem rude to other users, it gives new players something to strive for, and a sense of recognition for the good players. It also allows us to play better games, which is the primary concern. There are actually a lot of people who want to make games, and they could perhaps be encouraged to host newbie-friendly games (not mandatory, of course).

    Discussion would be nice, too, especially with Mekkah's Smog articles and all. Maybe we could have a publicly available discussion subforum (a single thread would become a clusterfuck).

    You know I'd be willing to help set up an empire if we are kicked to the streets...
  3. Shiv

    Shiv mostly harmless
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    Interesting post. Even though I haven't been the most active off late, I still try to keep abreast of whats happening in mafia and all that and I completely understand where you're coming from. That said, I don't know if an external forum is the best idea. I just feel like it takes mafia away from Smogon which is not a pleasant idea in my mind. I do think though that Doug's idea seems pretty great, it helps achieve everything a separate website would be able to while maintaining mafia's link with Smogon.

    In a nutshell, love Doug's idea, lets go with that.
  4. Jackal

    Jackal I'm not retarded I'm Canadian it's different
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    Part of the reason I don't really ever play in small mafias is because of the fact that they are mostly new users, and I can definitely see where you are coming from with all the problems listed.

    The problem is im just not sure everyone is cut out to be good at mafia... Mekkah I know we have had this conversation before and its really hard to name more than 20-30 or so truly quality players, and its definitely not a skill you can teach or get better with by practicing...so it is tough. If you aren't a good liar, dont have long term thinking skills and can't manipulate people, you won't ever be good at mafia... you dont even need all of them you just need one (see: brain who hardly ever lies).

    So as a "vet", I would definitely be all for having games with all "good" players (i would play in these), and I don't see why this is even a big deal as long as you still have games for new players to play in. No one will get mad if you have a few invite only games.

    As for a whole new forum, I am not sure there would be enough substance in it. That said, you could still have a "League of Good Mafia Players" or whatever and keep a list of the people in it in a sticky (although this could get really ugly).

    And finally as for the place where mafia can be talked about legitimately, I dont see why circus maximus cant be the place. The only thing would be if you want to make discussions private among higher ups, but I don't think that is necessary.

    I really dont think anyone who doesn't play mafia reads CM at all, so if we clutter the mafia game threads with a few discussion threads it shouldn't be too bad.
  5. Mekkah

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    Keep 'em coming.

    Not everybody can become a genius at mafia, but I think people can get pretty far even when starting from zero. There's several former no-names playing right now that became above average at the very least. Obviously you can't set the bar at Brain-level performance, but the top-25 from 50 sign-ups already creates a very good list usually.

    Yeah, an approach like this is going to get people butthurt. I think it might need a ladybug-like approach: easy come, easy go. If you know how to play decently (eg you're not a big fuck-up), you can gain access on invitation. If it becomes clear you suck, you lose access again.

    You're overlooking that it's much more tidy if you spread it over multiple forums.
  6. tennisace

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    So then why not have a couple of "Beginner Mafia" games and a few "Advanced Mafia" games? Having played in a few mafia games myself, it's pretty intimidating to be thrown in with the bigger players and expected to both think on your own and not fuck up. Having a couple sets of games could help the deer in the headlights problem kinda. Once you play X number of Beginner games, you could join advanced small + big mafia games. People who play in the advanced games cannot sign up for the beginners games.
  7. monkfish

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    tennisace has the right idea imo, most successful interactive sites that involve a learning curve tend to have beginner/practice sessions that you 'graduate' from into the advanced competitions

    i'd add that it strikes me as odd that smogon the competitive pokemon website would have a subforum devoted to discussing advanced strategies of a game completely unrelated to pokemon. have you considered actually setting up an equivalent website to smogon for web mafia?
  8. jumpluff

    jumpluff princess
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    There are many mafia sites on the internet, such as mafiascum, but Smogon mafia is highly unique.
  9. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    Yes, I did, and I stated so in the OP:

  10. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    Yeah, I sort of want to start Mafia but am intimidated by the players who have been playing for a long time. I used to play "Werewolf" on a forum over 5 years ago but stopped because of some people taking it too seriously rather than seriously.
  11. Mekkah

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    Okay, so far it seems there's mostly a demand for a split between Beginner and Advanced games, but in the same forum. Fine with me, it does already do a great job at increasing the amount of games (we can easily increase to 2-3 of each game running at a time).

    If we go that route, I think beginner's games should be randomized with the old priority system, while advanced games can have handpicked. The hosts for advanced games would be the more trusted, experienced kind, so I'd prolly give them that freedom assuming they are going to be considerate with who they let in.

    Still gotta figure out where the strategy discussion would go...I really don't want it on the forum itself if there's going to be like 5 games on at a time. Speaking of clutter, I think it's fair to make a rule that tells people to put their postgames in their games' threads instead of making a new thread.
  12. jumpluff

    jumpluff princess
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    { 09:51:47 AM } <~jumpluff> Mekkah
    { 09:51:48 AM } <~jumpluff> i disagree
    { 09:51:52 AM } <~jumpluff> i think there should be beginner games
    { 09:52:01 AM } <~jumpluff> but i think we need a permission only advanced game forum
    { 09:52:18 AM } <~jumpluff> the people wanting beginner games are people who want to get into it, but that doesn't solve the problem so much for players who are better than the average

    /lazy
  13. Shiv

    Shiv mostly harmless
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    huh? if there are advanced games where the host can pick whoever they want, how does it not solve the problem for players who are 'better than average'?
  14. jumpluff

    jumpluff princess
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    I was saying, if there are beginner games but no advanced games, then advanced players are still kind of screwed.
  15. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    I think the idea is to have both. Also, to solve the problem of clutter, couldn't each game have a temporary sub-forum? And as they finish, the topics are mass moved to an archive and then the sub-forum is deleted?
  16. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    That's a lot of management work though, and games generally only need one thread.

    Anyway, if you class people as either beginner or advanced, and allow 2-3 games of each type, then what's the problem?
  17. Jackal

    Jackal I'm not retarded I'm Canadian it's different
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    rather than having just those two types of games id rather have three.

    Beginner
    Standard
    Expert

    Beginner is for people like Firestorm aka beginners
    Standard is what we have now basically
    Expert is invite only/host picked

    We could run 1 beginner game / 3 standard games / 1 expert game at once

    This is better imo that just having the two types of games as I feel that 75% of mafia players fall into "i know the rules/how to not fuck up but im not amazing".

    this also means the expert games mean more.
  18. Mekkah

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    I like that, Jackal. Especially because it keeps "standard", which means games currently in line don't have to adapt.
  19. jumpluff

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    that's good imo

    my one niggling worry is hosts can pick fucktards because they like them, but it's the host's prerogative anyway.
  20. Mekkah

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    Not just everybody would be allowed to host expert games, obviously. I am thinking about the consequences this would have for standard play...should we keep the handpicking rule for standard (now that expert is handpicked by default) or not?
  21. jumpluff

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    absolutely, some players are better than others.
  22. Shiv

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    I hope the expert is not including the big mafia.

    Also, I actually think we should do tags in the game names. [Beginner] / [Intermediate] / [Expert] sounds fine. This serves a variety of purposes:

    a) It kinda adds value to the game, like what level you can be good at and stuff.
    b) You'll actually be seeing people going through good progression, which is awesome.
    c) It'll be easy for people new but interested to mafia to join in if they just see [Beginner] out there rather than keep debating on whether they should.

    Just a thought.
  23. Mekkah

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    Tags are a logical addition. Obviously it should be clear to everyone what kind of game they're looking at.

    And big mafia is entirely different from small mafia. I'd say big mafia should remain pretty much unchanged from the system we have now.
  24. Mekkah

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    If nobody has a significant problem with this, I think it's about time we decide on a course of action. I think this is the best one:

    1. Circus Maximus gets a subforum for strategic talk.

    2. Big games remain the same.

    3. Small games are split into three categories: Beginner, Standard and Expert.

    Beginner is for people who are new to Smogon mafia. They shouldn't really be more difficult than this one. I think almost everyone should be able to host a beginner's mafia after it has been approved. Beginner should probably count against priority like normal...

    Standard is pretty much what we have now. Handpicking rule is probably to be kept. I *think* Anyone is eligible to join or host one of these, but beginner is recommended if you're new to either.

    Expert is the exclusive part. People who want to host an expert game should come to me. I think handpicking rights alone pretty much solves the problem of the player pool here.

    1 Beginner, 3 Standard, 1 Expert sounds good to me.
  25. Shiv

    Shiv mostly harmless
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    Prefer Intermediate over Standard, fits the theme better but I like it otherwise :)
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