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Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for change.

 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:38 am 
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So. I decided to try a new idea on how I think the development/managment of lists should work.

The Idea.

The current one with a 4 (or is it 5?) man rules council and a AC thats almighty didn't seem to push things forward really.
So instead of having endless discussions on this forums about every theoretical problem and possibility i decided to try it out. So i invited a bunch of people into the committee to try it out with me. The committe had a sat standard how the process would work. But only the first time, since I'm open to change anything after we know how this went. But If we'd started by trying to figure out how we would to the work we would never have gotten started. Again, I wanted to avoid heated debates and actually get something going to see if it's a better or worse sollution for developing/managing lists in NetEA.
I advertised for participants on here, by PM and on a couple of national forums. We got around 20 people signing up, alot of them very active tournament players, Lists AC:s and even most of the ERC. I can't speak for them all but I'm pretty sure they're in for the same reason as me: To see if this is a better or worse sollution to managment.

What people seem to miss over and over is that this is not a official experiment sanctioned by the ERC. This is me starting an experiment, getting some good minds involved in the process and when it's done we'll evaluate the result. I don't know why this is so hard to grasp for people.

I've decided from the get go that the focus for me would be on actually playtesting and pushing the process forward. I don't want to get stuck in debates here because that leads to nothing. The problem is that after 12+ pages of text the Baneblade wasn't about to change. So I wanted to try out another sollution.


The format.

While i did state that i wanted a MORE democratic process than the current one, i never said that i wanted a total open and free for all process. Why? Because i think it would end up going nowhere. Like most discussions on this forum.
The idea was to bring together active and involved players/AC:s (judging from this forum and their own recommendations) from different countries (which all have their own slightly different metas to the game). Each country got 5 spaces so no gaming community could dominate any vote by sheer number of participants.
The result so far is a group of very knowledgeable people that brings very interesting views. Is it elitist? Sure. But it's a step towards bigger involvment than the previous one where one AC has absolute power over a list (the problems of that was nicely outlined by GrimDarkBits) And it's no different from any other focus group or our council where people with good knowledge and experience over on a subject comes together and tries to solve problems regardiingthat subject. I'm pretty sure most of you have theese groups at your workplace.

The process.

To stop the playtesting from being 500 different suggestions we're voting on which ones to even try out. Yes, some suggestions are far out there, but they'll probably not make it thru the vote. And if they do, they'll be put under the looking glass in playtests and then evaluated. This is the first time we've tried this so i was expecting a ton of suggestions. I even held back on 4-5 of my own beacuse i rather have a managable number of things to try out.
The second vote is pretty harsh. 75% of the committees have to agree on that a suggestion is a good and balanced thing. And yes, I trust on everyones ability to judge that good considering the experience most in the committee have with this game.
So i'm pretty confident that you want see any far out and clearly unbalanced suggestions making it thru this process.
And to answer your question about quality control Ginger: I put my trust in the participants of the committe and their knowledge and experience with this game. They're some of the most active AC:s, players and organizers that I've encountered on Taccoms and thats enough for me to trust them to make good calls.

The result.

Yeah, this is the very unclear part of this experiment. What do we do with the results? I'm not completly sure right now. If it shows that we got alot of work done maybe the format can be adopted into the official NetEA governing body, partially of wholly.
If it turns out to have worked bad then we can use that for future reference when someone else comes up with a "bright" idea of doing things differently.
All that is not very important to me right now. I just want to get some organized playtesting of ideas that has been floating around for years done! And i want really knowledgeable and experienced players picking thoose ideas apart. And Taccoms is not the place where that can be achieved IMO. And I base that assumption on being on here for a couple of years and seeing where most discussions lead...

Regarding community involment in this process.

After the step one vote is done we'll publish what suggestions the committee will try out here. Then it's open for anyone to try them out with their gaming communities and writing up battle reports here and giving your thoughts on the suggested changes for each list! I've already had one game with a non-member of the commitee with a few ork changes that has been suggested. and then i wrote a battle report and posted it here. Very easy to do!
My fellow gaming community that are not a part of the committee is happily helping me out to try out theese suggestions. Why? Because they also feel that it's a good thing to actually get the ball rolling on trying stuff out instead of just discussing them in endless theoryhammer debates on this forum.

And EVERYONE else is very welcome to do the same! Try our post-Step 1 vote suggetions out, give your feedback on them here and we'll take thoose views with us when we go to the Step 3 vote.
If you don't want to help out because you're not in the committe, then fine. Find another way of helping out that you fell is better/faster/more democratic/more fun. Just DO something.

This is my personal view on the matter. I do not speak for the committee, only for myself. This is also the very last post I'll do on the subject.
I'll rather spend my time and energy playtesting suggestions (IRL or by VASSAL/Tabletop simulator) than keep on arguing about whats good or bad about this expermiment.

And before you decide to post the next angry piece of text telling me how unfair/stupid/wrong/ineffective this initiative is, please think about what YOU have done to try and help out with the problems you've seen with this game during theese past years. What did you do about them?

I love this game and this is my contribution to keeping it alive and healthy. And it's gonna be very interesting to see where this leads i think.

Peace and prosperity.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:09 am 
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GrimDarkBits wrote:
I have to echo some other concerns here. I've been worried about lack of player involvement for a while too, but I don't like the look of this at all.

Just take one issue for example, the Baneblade issue.

In the IG forum there is a very long thread where issues with the Baneblade were discussed extensively, many ideas were proposed, a ton of mathhammer was done to evaluate them, and a possible change was settled on (two shots on the main cannon) based on some sound logic and compromise. Some play testing was even done. The thread died down recently, due in large part to an almost total lack of feedback from the AC.

Now, I see that proposed change on there as one option. I also see a lot of very radical proposed changes to the Baneblade that make no sense or were eventually rejected in the Baneblade thread for good reason. Some of the suggestions would dramatically alter the role of the vehicle.

And worse, some of those suggestions I have never seen before. Where the heck did they come from? Are they the pet idea of one person on this new committee? How knowledgeable or invested are the committee members in this specific problem? How much math have they done to evaluate any of these proposals? How much personal play testing? How much discussion was there on this problem?

What happens if the committee votes and a wacky idea wins out over 12+ pages of discussion and debate and math and play testing by the community? Now we have to publicly re-litigate why their idea is crap? Or do we have no choice but to play test something we already agreed wasn't good?

We have a process in place for dealing with these things. It's slow and messy but it can work when the forum is active. The two main impediments are lack of player interest and inactive or unresponsive ACs. Solving the latter would help with the former. We need more ACs who don't ignore the problem. We need ACs who set clear goals, guide debate, encourage play testing, and give feedback on where we are in the process. I realize this burns people out. Maybe it's time for fresh blood in some cases.

Instead it looks like we're going to get some strange idea forced on us by a small secretive group. Maybe not on this issue, but eventually on some issue. The arbitrary or absentee AC can be debated, or can be replaced if we raise a stink or they get tired. But now we'll have a secret cabal voting on more lists than they can possibly intimately keep up with, and who we cannot communicate with or challenge.

I am not saying everything needs to be in the open or everything needs to be put to a public vote. I am saying if you are going to get a new committee together, the first thing the committee should do is vote on what is really an issue. Look to see where things are bogged down or stuck. Once you decide that, then you should kick the ass of whichever AC is ignoring the problem to try to jump-start the normal way of doing things.

If you think Baneblades or Stompas or whatever need changes and you want to increase community involvement, don't crap on the work we've been trying to do for months. Empower the people who care enough to get involved on a topic and make sure it doesn't die before something useful comes of it.

I think Ginger and Mordoten have covered most of this but I'd just like to comment on ACs. For sure ACs are instrumental in driving lists forward and currently we have several absentee ACs but where are the players to replace them or badgering the current ACs?
Look at the last 3 roles opened
SM AC - 2 volunteers (1 with zero posts)
Tau AC - 2 volunteers
NetERC chairman - nobody
If people want to revitalise the current system then volunteer for roles or ask to replace people. Don't just whinge when sonebody tries something different

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:25 pm 
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So in summary:
  • Bad and Crazy ideas should get rejected in the brainstorming vote
  • Poor ideas should be revealed through testing by the committee (and wider community) and not pass the 75% point needed to gain acceptance
  • Even at that point, I suggest the AC might put forward really good reasons why he prefers to continue testing under different situations or using different stats to produce a more desirable result (and refer back to the committee).

The whole point of this process is to try to get global traction within the community,
- to identify some items to test,
- speed up that testing, hopefully encouraging the wider community to join in
- publish the results and views of the committee.
- rinse and repeat.


And to echo Steve, seriously if anyone really wants to make a difference, please step up and put your name forward as an AC or Sub-AC, and try your hand at energising and coordinating the EA community.

Ok??


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 Post subject: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for change.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:19 pm 
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As someone who's (quite frankly) an interested outsider to EA (though interested in the rules, and one day maybe playing with other people :O), I think some of the recent posts really highlight the problems the NDC movement wants to solve.

Essentially, the NDC is a bunch of people making their own houserules. They are really already a splinter group in the same way that EpicUK, EpicFR, EpicAU (and so on) are: they're not trying to usurp the NetEA process but they do hope that some of their ideas might be good and therefore adopted by other people outside the NDC (much like how EpicUK has seen rules adopted by NetEA).

I can understand the frustrations that led to this initiative: often, Taccoms is not the place to go where you have a nifty idea you'd like experienced players to look at, have a fiddle with, and give useful feedback on. What usually happens (in my experience, at least) is a lot of people commenting that 'the game doesn't really need this change' or that 'the change is too complicated and would cause too many problems with other lists'—even if the idea is completely unrelated to keeping the current lists tournament-balanced! It is hard to innovate when people keep confusing your innovation as some change to the established system (which it was only ever intended to be at some distant future point, if it works and people like it).

These are, of course, not ideas targeting any person, and I hope they aren't misinterpreted as such (and it can be hard on the internet to take people in good faith sometimes!). But I think they are a reflection of two different cultures that live on Taccoms: a 'stewardship' group, who are interested in preserving the balance of lists; and an 'innovative' group, who are interested in progressing the game rules and doing something new. Both are important: without good stewardship, the new stuff will never fit in with the old, and we would lose the solid, balanced foundation of well-maintained lists. Without the innovation, the rules increasingly become relegated to caretaker mode and there is nothing exciting happening, or any problems to be fixed. You can see this sort of thing with NetEpic Gold for Epic 2E: certain impressive collectors of 6 mm miniatures wanted to improve things in the rules, or streamline things, but much of the community wanted to keep NetEpic Gold the way it was, with all of its perceived warts and bogies. So, the innovative rules-smith realised that his efforts would be better placed tinkering outside of the established standard, and the NetEpic Gold discussions (at least as far as I can see) became a little quieter and continued with small tweaks.

Hopefully, this can be some food for thought on a phenomenon I've observed here and in other community wargaming fora. I, for one, am glad that some passionate players have decided to do some new things, and channel their passion in a helpful, considerate way. I'm also glad that we have such a dedicated community of people who care for the rules we've been given. But one final note: perhaps there would be one more EA player if Taccoms users fostered the spirit of innovation a little more often instead of mistaking it for unregulated changes to the standards that few want to change. (That, and if there were more convenient people to play with and a source of miniatures easy to get a hold of...).

Edit: I'd also like to say that some of Blip's, Kyrt's, and Jimmy's posts earlier resonated particularly with me, so thank ye for posting them!


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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:43 pm 
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I've held of commenting on this - as i say I've decided building more and more NetEA tournament lists just isn't my area of interest so not my place. TS seems to sum it up nicely above.

I would just say I was surprised when it was announced that the discussions and playtesting would be held off tacccoms (though this stance seems to be softening). Taccoms used to be the focus of everything epic in all its forms - hiving off aspects (not just rules development, but hobby, painting product announcements etc to facebook) is only going to dilute community engagement further. The NDC might be be what is needed to save NetEA, but it might also be what finally starves taccoms to death. And if you don't have a place for new people to come to discover the game(s) and community then you don't have a game or community.


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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:23 pm 
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I could be wrong but I believe many of the recent playtests we've seen were NDC based.

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 Post subject: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for change.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:06 am 
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Sadly, @Blip, I think Taccoms's decline has been occurring for many years, just as (good) internet chatrooms, hobby fora of other types, and many small blogs have been declining. I'm a relative newcomer to this sort of thing, but even since I started floating around, things have become much quieter.

I think much of it is to do with the convenience of Facebook for such things: you've one site to do everything and catch-up with all your interests (and one place to procrastinate, that even has mechanisms to help you procrastinate longer!), and it works in pretty much the same way as a forum but with easy picture support. Beyond the convenience, I don't think many people ever consider the other advantages that fora have (independence from Facebook, secure data, anonymity, etc.).

Although it would take some managing, perhaps Taccoms should spread onto Facebook officially? The difficulty would be in helping the non-Facebook crowd to interface with the Facebook one without making it so cumbersome as to put off the Facebook users.


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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:24 am 
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Posted the results of the Step 1 vote in a new thread.

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