Removing the SPL mid-season altogether

TonyFlygon

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Hey,

In light of yesterday's Sceptross sellback I think it's finally time to pull the trigger on this touchy subject. This is something we've discussed among the TDs before, but we couldn't come to a consensus and we were fearing that the player base wouldn't support removing an element of SPL that's been part of the tournament forever. However, given the response to the recent WCoP format thread I am instilled with a renewed sense of optimism, so I might as well try for this change as well.

As it stands we already have a very much devalued mid-season stage compared to previous years. The week off has been removed, there are no All-Star type of activities and you can't sign up for the mid-season auction if you didn't also sign up for the original auction (and this change is permanent, so please don't argue going back to the old system), which leaves the pool of options extremely limited. The current system allows managers to sell back cancerous or inactive players on their team in order to replace them with one of the undrafted players from the original auction. This change would remove sellbacks as a whole, but still leaves managers with the option to report players for cancerous behavior or excessive inactivity with the same consequences being attached to it as are now to sellbacks; perhaps a tournament ban could even be considered.

Speaking as Sceptross' manager, he'd never be reported if there wasn't 3k to gain. He's been an incredibly nice team mate throughout the first few weeks of the tournament that got dealt a rough hand irl. He himself reached out to me notifying me of his future inactivity and incredibly even recommended me to sell him back instead. I know the sellback itself isn't in question, but I'd argue that the managers don't need the protection of a mid-season and that they can draft accordingly in the auction to ensure their team has the depth for a full SPL season, as well as perhaps steering away from known activity/ban risks during the draft. This is what substitutes are for, right? It worked fine for SSD this year, too. Not to mention the fact that if one of your big guns goes awol you're fucked regardless of there being a mid-season draft. The current system is messy and crammed into two weeks that are already exciting and filled up as is.

Changing the sellback rules to a case-by-case basis with regards to infractions and such is a slippery slope as well, because that's something the hosts would have to take the players' word for. Let's keep it simple and remove the mid-season altogether. Should someone need to be reported, then the hosts can check the respective team's server for a player's activity and behavior for a ban with a set punishment. No excuses. What are we really protecting still?
 

Finchinator

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I agree with the OP.

While mid-season pickups have been a staple of SPL for many years, the system surrounding it has been largely imperfect. In the earlier iterations of the tournament, big names who did not sign up initially could sign up at mid-season, making mid-season money much more valuable (or less, if they elect to not sign up due to not liking teams with the most money left) than regular auction money and making it impossible to prepare evenly from the start. This was fixed in recent years, which was a big step in the right direction, but there are still issues (the OP outlines some of them well) that really prevent a perfect solution from being found. Removing mid-season altogether will eliminate the problems of course. On top of this, it also adds another element of strategy to the initial auction, which cannot hurt either.
 
Terrible idea. As a manager whose team benefited from mids two years in a row (and a 4-0 record post mids last year), I feel like this decision negatively disciplines users who work their ass off for a chance to play SPL but aren’t quite known within the correct social circle. Not to mention, half of the BIGS roster is mid picks. Just because you don’t see talent in the current mids pool doesn’t mean the talent isn’t there.

I know the community likes to define players by good and bad, but I have always stood by the standpoint that anyone can win, and this becomes even more true with every new gen.

Currently the BIGS are 2-2, it’s clear we wouldn’t be there without the opportunity to take advantage of the mids pool. Let’s take a look at some ways that the BIGS used the mids pool to their advantage:

1) because of mids credits, we were able to orchestrate two trades. This wouldn’t of happened without the credits.

2) one trade involved not only 6k, but jytcampbell, an undrafted user who was placed in the mids pool.

3) The BIGS currently have Sage, Leftiez, Jacob, and Charmflash In the starting lineup. That’s 4 players who wouldn’t be starting had mids not been present.

not to mention that Sage has been a very impressive SS OU player in her own right. And she was undrafted. She just needed a team to take a shot on her. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few players out there with similar potential. (I do think that it is easier to find success in current gen compared to older gens and that argument can be made. You won’t find premier old gen talent, but the potential for hitting on a SS/Sm Slot is definitely out there)

I do think managers could benefit from being more open minded about users. And it’s an injustice to take away a players opportunity to make an SPL team. If someone makes waves during SPL by winning a tournament and they catch your eye, you should be rewarded for noticing them and picking them up.

I’ll be glad to play devils advocate for this subject because the BIGS used their use of credits and the undrafted pool of players as a way to make our team as strong as possible.

tldr: old mids broken. Current mids can still give teams opportunity to turn their season around.
 
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My personal experience absolutely doesn't jive with the statement that Snake was fine without mids. Out of our 14-man roster, Shake got kicked off the team after leaking logs of our prep, sorry was never active, and Tom Holland just fucking dipped at some point in the season. When you add in players who tried hard and were good teammates but just couldn't pull it together for some reason, the Lindworms at the end of the season were in a situation where we had about 7 viable starters and 10 spots to fill. We had to sub in LC mainer tko over sorry in week 7 in OU, and with playoffs on the line in week 9 we started doubles mainer Croven in PU. We started shake three fucking times AFTER banning him from our discord for leaking. If Snake had a mids our team still sucked but at least we could have sold back Shake and sorry for new players which would have made it a bit less of a disaster.

Now obviously you can argue that this is the fault of the managers for drafting poorly and they're just getting their just desserts, and things are working as the should. I guess that's true if you think the goal of these team tournaments is for the best team to win but like, is it really? Team tours have always been more of a spectacle and exhibition thing to me. I would think we want teams to be as viable as possible. And while you could say that the managers are being justly punished for drafting mistakes, that doesn't apply to the players, who are just getting screwed and wasting a season on a team that doesn't even think they can win.

This is in addition to points Stone has made about how Mids is a great place for new players to make a name. Crust often gets preferred in the preseason SPL draft but when teams are looking for players to fill holes in mids, that's where new players get to shine. Off the top of my head, Tesung started as a rando 3k mids pickup, and I'm sure he's not the only one. Mids isn't perfect, but I don't want to scrap it.
 

Hipmonlee

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Changing the sellback rules to a case-by-case basis with regards to infractions and such is a slippery slope as well, because that's something the hosts would have to take the players' word for.
I think we should be able to expect the hosts of one of our premiere tournaments to be capable of listening to multiple sides of an issue and making a decision based on the circumstances rather than just banning people regardless.

Because I dont think anyone is arguing that this punishment for Sceptross stands up on its own merits. I have only seen people defend it based on how if we dont ban him, then some other hypothetical jerk might get out of a tournament that they didnt want to play.

If a player gives warning that, due to unforeseen circumstances, they are not going to be able to maintain the level of activity necessary (and they dont conspicuously sign up for a bunch of tournaments immediately afterward) would it really be so bad if we didnt punish them? Even if they were lying because they just didnt like their teammates, I dont think this is such a terrible outcome it justifies throwing innocent people under a bus. It might even incentivise managers to make sure their team environments are welcoming.

Weighing up the costs and benefits here I cant see how anyone thinks that is worth it.
 

Adaam

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What is actually to be gained by removing mids? Speaking as someone who got picked up during mids last year, it allowed me and other on-the-cusp players to have a chance to finally play. Dave has already mentioned how much he has benefited from mids.

it seems like we are trying to fix a non-existing problem. Just because it’s less valuable now than in previous years is no reason to nuke the whole thing.
 
I think we should be able to expect the hosts of one of our premiere tournaments to be capable of listening to multiple sides of an issue and making a decision based on the circumstances rather than just banning people regardless.

Because I dont think anyone is arguing that this punishment for Sceptross stands up on its own merits. I have only seen people defend it based on how if we dont ban him, then some other hypothetical jerk might get out of a tournament that they didnt want to play.

If a player gives warning that, due to unforeseen circumstances, they are not going to be able to maintain the level of activity necessary (and they dont conspicuously sign up for a bunch of tournaments immediately afterward) would it really be so bad if we didnt punish them? Even if they were lying because they just didnt like their teammates, I dont think this is such a terrible outcome it justifies throwing innocent people under a bus. It might even incentivise managers to make sure their team environments are welcoming.

Weighing up the costs and benefits here I cant see how anyone thinks that is worth it.
This is all well and good until you're in that position. The community isn't particularly kind to those making decisions when they are able to perceive some (real or imaginary) bias. My lived experience is that you will be getting tons of PMs, complaints, from time to time threats, etc. It's best to just make things consistent.
 

Andy Snype

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i'm well-removed from tours, but infracting someone that came forward in good faith that everyone acknowledging is through what appears to be no individual fault of their own and got dealt a bad hand is mental. what they did within their control is that they came forward and tried to come with a constructive solution with their managers and they're being disciplined for it. slippery slope fears should not be worth that.
 

Hipmonlee

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This is all well and good until you're in that position. The community isn't particularly kind to those making decisions when they are able to perceive some (real or imaginary) bias. My lived experience is that you will be getting tons of PMs, complaints, from time to time threats, etc. It's best to just make things consistent.
Is your experience that everyone will just be happy with bans being handed down when there is no fault whatsoever?

I was a mod here for like 10 years. My lived experience is people will harass you whatever the fuck you do.

And I think that creating an unaccountable dehumanising bureaucracy as a way to protect your moderators is bound to have worse side effects than benefits.
 

Coconut

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Just wanted to throw out that an infraction isn't really the end of the world for 95% of Smogon users, especially if you're being sold back because you need time away from the website. And the only other punishment for being sold back is being barred from the next edition of the tournament, which in this specific case could probably be appealed and rescinded. I agree with the concept of consistency, because I perceive the signups to be a contract. And good people sometimes can't meet the terms of a contract, that happens, but that doesn't mean the contract wasn't broken.
 
This is all well and good until you're in that position. The community isn't particularly kind to those making decisions when they are able to perceive some (real or imaginary) bias. My lived experience is that you will be getting tons of PMs, complaints, from time to time threats, etc. It's best to just make things consistent.
Yeah and what ends up happening is making a new rule "that will now last forever" for every specific case, again and again and again, because apparently 6 or 7, or how many TDs there are, are not enough to make a case to case decision (or maybe there are too many so everyone can dodge responsibility in the big mass....).

Removing something that has worked well forever and now causes a bit of trouble (which could be evaded by making a decision that seems not only appropriate but also very easy and generally accepted) just to "make it easier" does not make any sense to me and is yet another attempt to dodge responsibility in the place the community needs it the most and which should be one of the main jobs of the TD team.
 

Hikari

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I think we should be able to expect the hosts of one of our premiere tournaments to be capable of listening to multiple sides of an issue and making a decision based on the circumstances rather than just banning people regardless.

Because I dont think anyone is arguing that this punishment for Sceptross stands up on its own merits. I have only seen people defend it based on how if we dont ban him, then some other hypothetical jerk might get out of a tournament that they didnt want to play.

If a player gives warning that, due to unforeseen circumstances, they are not going to be able to maintain the level of activity necessary (and they dont conspicuously sign up for a bunch of tournaments immediately afterward) would it really be so bad if we didnt punish them? Even if they were lying because they just didnt like their teammates, I dont think this is such a terrible outcome it justifies throwing innocent people under a bus. It might even incentivise managers to make sure their team environments are welcoming.

Weighing up the costs and benefits here I cant see how anyone thinks that is worth it.
Would you have preferred:

- The hosts unilaterally and without warnings changing the rules 10 minutes before the mid season auction in a way that clearly benefits a team with two TDs

- Telling an entire team that even if the current rules are in their favor, they'll be forced to keep a dead player slot for the rest of the season

- Put the entire tour on hold for days so we can have a proper discussion about updating the rules

- Follow the rules as they are written and discuss changes before next SPL starts

It's very easy to post condescending bullshit, but you should at least try listening to multiple sides instead of telling others to do so. Let me give you a hand

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"The host of one of our premier tournaments" had 4 hours to deal with an unprecedented situation, was unavailable for 3+ of them and had to deal with mid auction logistics. The other two co-host were told from day 1 to follow the rules and that changes to them would need to be done by the TD team. The announcement I made clearly said Sceptross wasn't malicious but that a rule was broken, and if my pms you can see I am not a fan of the ruling and that I want to rewrite SPL rules. I don't think I need to explain what this implies.

But by all means go back to talking about "listening to multiple sides", "throwing people under the bus" and "dehumanizing". You are obviously the paragon of niceness and morality. I'll go back to ignoring posts like this and hosting the nearly 3 months long tour, with 150+ participants that should be treated as fairly as possible, and has strict schedule that can't be touched.
 

ABR

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Yeah and what ends up happening is making a new rule "that will now last forever" for every specific case, again and again and again, because apparently 6 or 7, or how many TDs there are, are not enough to make a case to case decision (or maybe there are too many so everyone can dodge responsibility in the big mass....).

Removing something that has worked well forever and now causes a bit of trouble (which could be evaded by making a decision that seems not only appropriate but also very easy and generally accepted) just to "make it easier" does not make any sense to me and is yet another attempt to dodge responsibility in the place the community needs it the most and which should be one of the main jobs of the TD team.
OR...

Tony, a participant and manager in SPL, is giving his individual take on what would overall improve the tournament he cares about. Not everything is a systemic issue and a larger trend of malpractice that you seem very eager to illustrate. If the TDs wanted to act in that manner we wouldn’t make threads before making decisions.

More on topic, I think our current midseason is just (necessarily) watered down but subsequently unnecessary. It’s good that we got rid of the midseason half price earthworms and blunders. But now, if everyone is coming from the initial pool of players anyway, we could just draft these players in the draft instead. Someone like Sage or whoever could just be bought with extra cash in the initial draft - there’s no downsizing of opportunity here. Every team has 140k to start regardless.

Regarding sellbacks, I consider them a handholding mechanism for managers. Good drafting, which factors in activity / flight risks as well as suitable backups, covers all cases already. The Tyrants getting Nat sold back when they could have seen this coming from a mile away, as well as the leaving coming from the 0-3 itself, is the midseason covering their mistakes. For cases like Sceptross, sympathy only exists because he shared personal info. Like WCoP eligibility, it’s ideal to avoid any sort of tournament “rewards” for giving out real life info.
 
OR...

Tony, a participant and manager in SPL, is giving his individual take on what would overall improve the tournament he cares about. Not everything is a systemic issue and a larger trend of malpractice that you seem very eager to illustrate. If the TDs wanted to act in that manner we wouldn’t make threads before making decisions.

More on topic, I think our current midseason is just (necessarily) watered down but subsequently unnecessary. It’s good that we got rid of the midseason half price earthworms and blunders. But now, if everyone is coming from the initial pool of players anyway, we could just draft these players in the draft instead. Someone like Sage or whoever could just be bought with extra cash in the initial draft - there’s no downsizing of opportunity here. Every team has 140k to start regardless.

Regarding sellbacks, I consider them a handholding mechanism for managers. Good drafting, which factors in activity / flight risks as well as suitable backups, covers all cases already. The Tyrants getting Nat sold back when they could have seen this coming from a mile away, as well as the leaving coming from the 0-3 itself, is the midseason covering their mistakes. For cases like Sceptross, sympathy only exists because he shared personal info. Like WCoP eligibility, it’s ideal to avoid any sort of tournament “rewards” for giving out real life info.
OR...

this is a consequence of the poor administration of the tournament scene, which i am indeed very eager to illustrate. The frequency in which threads like these pop up is absurd, especially considering that the discussions turn out to look like arguments between conflicting interests, when there should be an objective goal we want to aim at. But we have absolutely no idea what we want? Do we want to keep the tournament run smoothly and ban someone who was very communicative about his problem? Do we want to punish the team for something nobody participating had influence on? Or do we just make a simple decision to give them a chance to replace the player? If you make this discussion publicly available people find the wildest arguments to write down to have a chance to benefit themselves. Whats the point?

Then in the wcop discussion you can hear voices talking about inclusivness to reach more, new, other players. And now? We forgot about that and encourage the managers to NOT take a risk with new players, because if they fail there wont even be a chance to find a replacement at mids.

These threads and their consequences are generally very impulsive and therefore oftentimes very shortsighted. They probably mostly cause more harm than good. Thats why im asking you to not "randomly" change rules with whatever new "precedent" comes up. Instead go through the rules as a team and rewrite or cancel out or even add paragraphs that might be unclear or can become problematic. Also give yourself some more freedom to decide based on a general guideline you have to keep tournaments going as good as you can make them. You wont ever be able to cover all situations that can happen and have the correct action ready, so just use the common sense god has given (and now has roughly doubled with the addition of Eo) to keep these tournaments running, so we can all have fun without jumping from one endless discussion to the next and so we can appreciate the work of the people that are putting effort in. :blobthumbsup:
 

Hipmonlee

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Would you have preferred:

- The hosts unilaterally and without warnings changing the rules 10 minutes before the mid season auction in a way that clearly benefits a team with two TDs
This is what I am arguing for. The rule is clearly not fit for purpose, it needs to be changed. And note that the only difference in outcome benefits Sceptross and not his team.

It's very easy to post condescending bullshit, but you should at least try listening to multiple sides instead of telling others to do so. Let me give you a hand
FWIW I have spoken to people about this decision before this. And this forum is the place to have these sorts of discussions isnt it?

But now you've had your say, still no one has argued that Sceptross's actions warrant this punishment.

"The host of one of our premier tournaments" had 4 hours to deal with an unprecedented situation, was unavailable for 3+ of them and had to deal with mid auction logistics. The other two co-host were told from day 1 to follow the rules and that changes to them would need to be done by the TD team. The announcement I made clearly said Sceptross wasn't malicious but that a rule was broken
This is what I am objecting to. You have created a system where nobody has the authority to actually make a sensible decision when one needs to be made. With the exception of yourself the TDs are all interested parties due to their participation in the tournament, you had non-Pokemon commitments that meant you were unable to have complete involvement (as you may be able to tell, I am in favour of people being given leeway when they have non-Pokemon commitments). The two co-hosts are perfectly sensible people but are under instructions to never use that sense.

What I propose is we trust the hosts to make decisions about when rules should be enforced to the letter and when they are clearly not appropriate.

Then you can have a system for appealing judgements for when there is perceived bias.

and if my pms you can see I am not a fan of the ruling and that I want to rewrite SPL rules. I don't think I need to explain what this implies.
Nice. But it was pretty concerning for me that we have a thread about solving this problem by abandoning midseason and not by treating people as human beings. Does this imply you are going to overturn Sceptross's punishment?

But by all means go back to talking about "listening to multiple sides", "throwing people under the bus" and "dehumanizing". You are obviously the paragon of niceness and morality. I'll go back to ignoring posts like this and hosting the nearly 3 months long tour, with 150+ participants that should be treated as fairly as possible, and has strict schedule that can't be touched.
"Throwing people under the bus" and "dehumanising" are just accurate descriptions of what's happened here. Dehumanising because Sceptross is being used as a mechanism by which to discourage hypothetical behaviour rather than being judged on his own actions. These terms may not be nice, but this isnt a nice thing that has happened.
 
In all games I play, there is a Mid-Season or a "free market" time (i'm talking about fantasy game as Fantasy Baseball/Rotisserie where you have the injuries players problem, so you have to do some substitutions to keep squad sufficiently competitive). If there's somethings is not working well, I think the right spirit is correct that, do not delete the chance to strengthen and/or drop an inactive (he/she could be justified) player.

If there is a rule problem, I have a duty to correct the role. But will not delete that, if in its being, is right.
 

TonyFlygon

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Thank you all for responding so far. I want to propose a compromise given that the feedback on removing the mid-season altogether has mostly been negative, which is fair enough. I'm aware it's a significant change to propose and that's why I felt a thread was warranted before pulling the trigger one way or another. The Nat example ABR brought up in his post is the kind of protection I don't think managers should have. However, the downside of removing sellbacks altogether is that there is no way to 'recover' at least somewhat from having ended up with a cancerous or hugely inactive player on your team.

What about giving each team one free pick from the mid-season pool during mids instead? This way the mid-season auction becomes a lot more relevant because at least 10 players are going to get picked guaranteed. Each team would have a layer of protection against unexpected inactivity or cancerous behavior without the headache of sellbacks. Mid-season funds are used up first and once everyone's out of money the lowest ranked team after week 4 would be allowed to pick first, then the 9th ranked team, then the 8th, etc. The auction would run alongside week 5 just like it does now and all newly picked players would be eligible for the week 6 lineups.

If one of your players does turn out to be outright cancerous, then reporting them for a ban would still be on the table, but without the monetary reward attached to it. This way the mid-season benefits outlined by Stone_Cold and others are protected, while the problematic component of sellbacks is taken care of. How do you guys feel about this?
 

Nails

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I think reserving some of your credits for later is a valid strategy. You lose half a tournament of potential contributions but you gain knowledge of which elements of your team work well together, which need reinforcement, and you might learn things about up and coming players who went under the radar originally. To what degree credits should be saved is an important managerial decision, and I don't think spoonfeeding every team an extra 3k is a good way to go about a midseason. I like the current system, it doesn't need to be changed.
 
I don't understand this insistence on changing mids in some shape or form. There is no need to "compromise" - clearly very few people want to see any sort of change to our current mids. To be frank, I barely understand your logic for wanting to change things up here - you want mids gone because you don't want managers to do what you did and sell back a "nice guy" for money? If you really think there's an issue with that, then that's a problem with sellbacks, not mids. To me though, there's only two ways of looking at it: either he cancered and deserved it, or he didn't and the sellback was not justified. The player in this scenario even offered to be sold back so I really don't see the issue here. I understand that shit happens in life but if you've been active up to mids and you want to avoid a sellback, it's not difficult to just put in the minimum activity from the point that you get busy and your manager won't really have a case to sell you back. The vast majority of sellbacks are genuinely cancerous or completely inactive players. This was an extremely rare case of a player who perhaps felt bad and was willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of the team, and if there are any players that want to do that in the future then sure, go ahead, I don't really foresee this becoming a problem at any point.

Personally, I view the fact that sellbacks give managers an incentive to report inactive or cancerous players to be a good one. Otherwise, certain players might get away with it, maybe because they were friends with the manager, or just because the manager was too nice to get someone tourbanned when there's no personal benefit to be gained.

Other arguments for why current mids is a good thing have been posted so I won't delve too much into that. I agree with nails though re: your latest suggestion, savings credits is a legitimate strategy, and I really hate the idea of giving everyone a free mids pick. It bails out managers who think that their drafting is oh-so-good and that they don't need to save any money for mids just in case any slots are failing. You have gone from protecting managers from things that are out of their control (cancering/dead players) to something that is in their control (saving money for mids).

Tl;dr nearly everyone here is fine with current mids, no one wants a "compromise". Do yourself a favour and just close this thread.
 
What is even the problem of selling back players without cancer issues+punishments? Managers abusing with sellbacks of good active guys? I mean most of the players don't even make it in spl, why do we care of people's feeling just now? There will always be someone unhappy as a result.
The manager does his best to improve the team as much as he can, if it's selling back a player that isn't performing or being useful from his standpoint to get a new guy is that really a problem? Why is it "unfair" to sellback an active guy and at the same time not unfair to take away some other active guy's chance to be in spl?

Of course it turns the discussion into a stallmate to pursue both, in the end you can't make everyone happy, that's a truth you can't really change. My suggestion is to keep mids as it is now and just make sellbacks available in any form or shape if the manager desires without punishments (those may be added if the reason of sellback includes cancer). Because again, every sad sold back player is an happy new guy joining, and the opposite is true, every non sold back happy player is a sad mids guy who wanted to be in. If you are on the losing side of the thing, tough luck man that's life.
 
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ABR

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What is even the problem of selling back players without cancer issues+punishments? Managers abusing with sellbacks of good active guys? I mean most of the players don't even make it in spl, why do we care of people's feeling just now? There will always be someone unhappy as a result.
The manager does his best to improve the team as much as he can, if it's selling back a player that isn't performing or being useful from his standpoint to get a new guy is that really a problem? Why is it "unfair" to sellback an active guy and at the same time not unfair to take away some other active guy's chance to be in spl?

Of course it turns the discussion into a stallmate to pursue both, in the end you can't make everyone happy, that's a truth you can't really change. My suggestion is to keep mids as it is now and just make sellbacks available in any form or shape if the manager desires without punishments (those may be added if the reason of sellback includes cancer). Because again, every sad sold back player is an happy new guy joining, and the opposite is true, every non sold back happy player is a sad mids guy who wanted to be in. If you are on the losing side of the thing, tough luck man that's life.
It’s different because the people already on the team already contributed weeks of their time to the team - there should be good and valid reasoning for them to just be removed from SPL.

More importantly though, the issue with your scenario is that it handholds managers too much. If you make a bid and the player doesn’t pan out, it’s on you as a manager to suffer the consequences of that buy if you don’t buy suitable backups.

Regarding specific cases, I don’t think there really is one where a team deserves 3k from selling back a player, at least after games are played. The sellbacks this year were Nat and Sceptross. Nat wasn’t “ah shucks what a great part of the team, unfortunately she got really busy!” She played 3 games, lost them, and quit. The Tyrants got to try out / utilize the slot and it didn’t pay off, so why should they get to correct their mistakes?

As for Sceptross, we (Wolfpack) also tried him out and it didn’t work too well either. He made a selfless decision to “quit” from being busy and get us the 3k (which I think is undeserved overall but fair within the current setup). If he wanted to stick around he could’ve put in an hour (if that) per week and been fine. Not one human on earth is too busy to put in the bare minimum activity if they actually care. He conveniently prioritized irl in some fashion and I respect the selfnessness but let’s not act like he was trying his hardest to remain in SPL and all of a sudden this terrible storm of IRL consequences came to be.

If you wanna say within the current setup he should have his ban from next SPL removed then that’s one argument but there really shouldn’t be many justifiable future cases of a team deserving sellback credit. The only situation I can think of is stuff like spl7 gr8astard where he literally quit upon being drafted. If someone plays even 1 game though, a sellback should be out of the question.

Anyway, I don’t mind keeping mids “buys” as they are and letting managers prioritize how much they want to save.
 

Eo Ut Mortus

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The problem this thread is trying to solve should be stated more explicitly. I don't think it's that helpful to contextualize the primary issue using Sceptross's sellback. Its relevance is dependent on your reading of why he quit, whether you take his words at face value or the explanation ABR posed in the post above mine. Nat's sellback is a better example, as her exit was on the back of three played games, and she explicitly stated her motivation for quitting was to provide her team a means to recoup some value from her sellback. While she was more upfront about this, she has not been the only one to do this in the past. A case I was personally involved in was Ginku during SPL9, who floundered in his debut game and was sold back at midseason. He was inactive in our team chat, but still available online and consented to being sold back when asked by managers. You can look other cases from that SPL9: ifm, badabing, and Braverius, all of whom quit or consented to sellback off the back of negative performances. In fact, beyond the anomalous case of SPL5 Soul Chef, whom I don't think even went completely inactive, I cannot recall an instance of someone going positive into being sold back, suggesting that the sellback system isn't being used for its original purpose, providing teams a failsafe for emergencies, and instead is enabling people to quit their teams due to a lack of motivation.

Should those cases be supported? Accommodating them does not come without drawbacks. Culture and team environment are becoming larger and larger factors in team tournaments, and under the current system, there is less of an incentive for managers to support unhappy underperformers, knowing that the sellback system is there to save them. As a consequence of the current rules, it may be in a manager's best interest to neglect increasingly inactive or tilting players knowing that they can be replaced at midseason, and I acknowledge there is a difference between actively excluding and failing to provide support / providing inadequate support, the latter of which is probably what tends to happen, but both are detrimental in the same way and counterintuitive of what one would typically expect of a good manager. We want to enact policy that eliminates these avenues for potential abuse.

The existence of the midseason auction also raises the unanswered question of sufficient contribution. Using Nat as an example again, permitting her sellback effectively deems her contribution of three games played insufficient for a trophy should the Tyrants win SPL. Having to establish this threshold when every team and player is different, and players with fewer contributions have certainly won SPL in the past is an inconsistency. As we have seen with the SPLX menci situation, things aren't so clear-cut when a player doesn't actually feel they have quit a team. As long as the sellback system exists and the door remains open for such cases, we need to be prepared to answer several questions: How much responsibility does a manager have to maintain a good working relationship with a player? How much is a player, especially a benched one, obligated to do for their team to continue to remain on it? Due to the differences across teams and the cultural evolution of the community, I believe these questions impossible to answer with any long-lived policy; not to mention a host's limited access to a team makes it difficult to fairly assess whether players and managers are meeting these requirements.

This brings me to Sceptross, and I'd like to echo ABR's point raised earlier: "Like WCoP eligibility, it’s ideal to avoid any sort of tournament 'rewards' for giving out real life info." I also want to add that at our current scale, it is impossible for the parties making these decisions to be able to make equally fair judgments about all the tournament's participants. Handling these situations on a case-by-case basis rewards players who have formed closer relationships to the parties making these decisions; in Sceptross's case, this is by virtue of being established within the Smogon community as opposed to a newer, unknown player. As long as we support conditional sellbacks (sellbacks given reasoning we deem sufficient), we opt into this type of case-by-case decision making, and while I appreciate teal's sentiment, avoiding complaints isn't the reason we want to avoid having to make these seemingly biased decisions; it's because they're actually biased if we can't offer the same recourse for those less integrated within the community. Which we simply can't--we lack the resources to do so. The alternative is permitting all sellbacks of this nature, which plays into the problems I mentioned earlier. It's not so much about making tough or controversial decisions. The current sellback system simply forces us to regular make decisions that cannot be made completely fairly.
 

Hipmonlee

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I am not sure how the requirement to punish a player who gets sold back affects players treatment by managers. Managers will be incentivised to replace rather than support players whenever the option to replace a player exists. A punishment for the player is hardly any form of incentive for the Manager.

As for the question of bias, again, the punishment for the player doesnt affect the tournament itself. And outside of the tournament, obviously people who are better integrated into the community will be treated differently in infraction decisions. A past record of behaviour is a perfectly reasonable thing to consider when deciding how to punish someone.

The handholding issue seems completely pointless to me. It's a level playing field however you split it. I dont see why it's so important to punish teams when they take a punt on someone. But whatever.. Cause there is an obvious mechanism for fixing this, which is just put the decision in the hands of the player.

Allow any player to pull out, and their team can have 3k of buyback credits. Or for half of their purchase price or whatever. There's still a cost for bidding on a flaky player who drops out, if something unforeseeable does come up people dont have to chose between screwing over their team or getting banned from the next tournament, players are still protected from getting dumped when theyve done nothing wrong, and managers are still incentivised to support players because they have no power over the decision. In fact managers may be more incentivised to support players, lest their team decides to leg it.

Also, given that mids players have to have signed up at the start of the tournament, why not allow buying players at any time? You can have it so you initially bid 3k and then other managers have 24 hours to outbid you if they like.
 

marilli

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Allow any player to pull out, and their team can have 3k of buyback credits. Or for half of their purchase price or whatever. There's still a cost for bidding on a flaky player who drops out, if something unforeseeable does come up people dont have to chose between screwing over their team or getting banned from the next tournament, players are still protected from getting dumped when theyve done nothing wrong, and managers are still incentivised to support players because they have no power over the decision. In fact managers may be more incentivised to support players, lest their team decides to leg it.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this basically how it already works? Your management can't make you stop posting (unless they start twisting your arm with leverage from other stuff, but this possibility is still true for this new proposal), your decision to stop posting and go completely inactive / make a quitpost is completely under your control.

Only difference is that the current mids has a bit of defensive mechanism in place to stop people from randomly flaking "just because" with a tourban punishment when appropriate - which I see as a (necessary) improvement to the system in your suggestion.
 

Hipmonlee

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this basically how it already works? Your management can't make you stop posting (unless they start twisting your arm with leverage from other stuff, but this possibility is still true for this new proposal), your decision to stop posting and go completely inactive / make a quitpost is completely under your control.
Yeah, except at the moment it is explicitly not allowed.

Only difference is that the current mids has a bit of defensive mechanism in place to stop people from randomly flaking "just because" with a tourban punishment when appropriate - which I see as a (necessary) improvement to the system in your suggestion.
Yeah, the question is whether you want to allow Ojama to just drop out whenever he ends up on a team he doesnt like or not. Personally I dont think its a problem.
 

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