Problems only Augur Can Fix

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Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

I want a dedicated thread in the GM forum or the ACO where we can post lists such as this one, of problems we think you need to solve that will get your attention and your efforts, quickly. No arguments.
Done.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

First order of business:
There are at least 2-3 groups in your dimension actively looking for a GM, and I do not think that situation is sustainable. I want you to keep working on this problem until it is solved, one way or the other.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Sum of All Fears »

Augur wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:13 am If you're one of the groups mentioned, please post reply to the thread and what you think needs to be done to correct the problem.
So. The simple answer is we need more GMs.

The complicated question is; Why can't we keep GMs or Why can't we seem to get new GMs.

- I am currently the GM for three different Rifts Earths groups. One of them I would like another GM to take. I have found that running three groups has been detrimental to the content and experience I have been able to give to the players. I also know there are several others running more then two groups.

- I get that real life comes up. That's why we have the AGM system in place. However All of my Groups no longer have an AGM due to real life issues.

- So what can we do to generate more interest in being a GM? I personally don't have a good answer for this issue and it's not one I have spent much time on. I do remember a conversation about this topic a year or so ago and remember that nothing really changed. I do remember that the conversation focused on rewards for GMs something to keep current GMs and entice new ones. However I do think that being a GM here can be intimidating. Especially if a new GM is handed players who have been on the site for many years.

- Again I have no idea of how to fix this, these are just things I have observed and experienced.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

Sum of All Fears wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 5:17 pmSo. The simple answer is we need more GMs.
The complicated question is; Why can't we keep GMs or Why can't we seem to get new GMs.
Yeah, there's no getting around that, and it's always been the chokepoint on site.

I have been thinking about this problem this weekend. We significantly increased the possible EP rewards for being a GM, and that didn't help. So I think what we have here isn't a pricing problem on GMs, but a pricing problem on characters. Attracting new GMs is even more difficult than attracting new players cuz the work required is potentially 10x as much, and the standards MUST be higher than what we allow for regarding players. The higher standards weed out a lot of eager, but lackluster or incapable people. The required work load weeds out those who have very busy lives or who cannot manage their time well.

"We have too few GMs" may be an incorrect or incomplete assessment.
"Players have too many characters" might be the correct formulation of the problem.

To really know if what I think is true, I think we'd need to know the average character to player ratio. If it's higher than 2.0, we've probably underpriced player slots on the EP menu, and might need to raise the prices on such...even retroactively. If we did that (admittedly kind of a dick move), it might be good to allow folks to purge inactive character accounts, and so free up space in their ledgers, thereby enabling them greater flexibility in choosing which characters they REALLY want to keep playing without necessarily having to shitcan as many.
Another angle is paying GMs for their service each quad. I've broached this possibility before, but it was poo-pooed, and some folks actually take offense at the idea of being paid to render a service to others...that they all enjoy. Why? I don't know, but it's a VERY COMMON prejudice. I can't pay in dollars (otherwise the government will definitely step into the mix), but I think I could get around that with something like Drivethrurpg gift cards or something. I'm open to ideas if people don't puke en masse at this notion. Alternatively, GMs could get free Diamond Tier supporter status...which would be far less likely to involve the feds.
So far as actually getting more players' eyeballs on the opportunity of becoming an EU GM, I've been working on that non-stop by attracting new players to EU via Discord & Roll20. These are platforms I know well now. I do not know of all the other platforms out there, and I have zero social media accounts (cuz I cannot healthily manage my time on such), so it would likely help if folks who use social media promote EU & GMing on EU there. Also, it would help if folks who know of other platforms with target-rich environments (places online with lots of RPG nerds like ourselves) share those sites so we can get a list together and actually coordinate a promotion plan.
Nikki brought this up, and I think it's also a point worth considering. What about capping the number of Rifts groups? If there's too much player demand & insufficient GM supply...the solution seems obvious. This would not be the first time we've merged or disbanded groups.
As should be obvious by now, this is not a task I can accomplish alone.

So, tl;dr recap:
  • Let's find out what the player>character ratio is, and change the EP price of character slots accordingly.
  • Coordinate together as a community a list of sites where we can advertise. (The Facebook ads angle addresses this as well, if inefficiently, but might be a part of our overall strategy.)
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Sum of All Fears »

Interesting ideas.

I will say I disagree with a character cap and or making it harder for current players to have more characters. An action like that would have the opposite effect of what you are wanting. In my opinion I think that any move in that direction would lose you a large amount of the player base. Limiting and reducing groups would also not allow for the new players to come in. They would have no where to go.

I get the GM issue seems to be a long standing one. I believe that we should reach out for not just players but for people to be GMs. I think most of our efforts have been growing the player base and that GMs would naturally rise from the new players. That hasn't really held true. I think dedicated GM recruitment would be beneficial. As in the account the person is starting with is a gm account for them to run a group.

Anyway just my feelings on what you said.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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One likely issue I see with trying to recruit GMs straight from the public is that we've had zero luck doing so previously that wasn't generally disastrous. (Not that we shouldn't give it a shot anyway.) All the best, most reliable GMs we've ever had have been "home-grown." Ask yourselves this: Were any of you current GMs recruited straight from the internet, or did you arise from the player base? I understand the reluctance to try new approaches, and I'm certainly not asserting that all are great ideas, but I don't hear any better ideas in response, nor any reasoning for the doom-saying. Banking all our hopes on COLD CALLING THE INTERNET FOR NEW GMS seems a bad idea. Let's get some more ideas out there--and "show our work"; Why do we think X is a good idea? I think I've done my part in putting forward a bunch of ideas (huge props to Nikki for the many assists in this), and now leave it to y'all to come up with some as well, and/or shoot down the ones I put forward. Ultimately...

I don't make unilateral decisions anymore; there's a process for that now. Just putting that out there as a general reminder for everyone when taking all the (likely copious) back and forth we'll do here into account.

OH! I nearly forgot another suggestion Nikki had: waiting lists to get into groups. That way there's no glut of players with characters lingering around in the recruitment forum waiting for a spot to open up, or similar situations.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

Promoted EU on the Palladium forums.

Where else can we promote EU?
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by CHIMERA »

Before we look to other venues for advertising, we might want to improve the message. Instead of starting with the fact that GM's burn out, why not start by promoting EU as a site? Any ad should open with what EU is and why it's an exciting community to join (not just that it has a democratic structure). Likewise, why not promote the groups with a blurb about some of the ongoing adventures? In particular, you can bring up the teams that are looking for GM's, and hype them as the type of games that someone would want to be a part of.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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CHIMERA wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:40 am Before we look to other venues for advertising, we might want to improve the message. Instead of starting with the fact that GM's burn out, why not start by promoting EU as a site? Any ad should open with what EU is and why it's an exciting community to join (not just that it has a democratic structure). Likewise, why not promote the groups with a blurb about some of the ongoing adventures? In particular, you can bring up the teams that are looking for GM's, and hype them as the type of games that someone would want to be a part of.
100%.gif
"Think before you speak" (as it were) is always solid advice.

There's the "death by powerpoint" problem though, too much text tends to drown out the message of an ad, but lets assume the format of the venues are receptive to text-intensive ads...I'd need GMs to send me blurbs about their ongoing adventures for me to promote them as such. Very concise blurbs.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Servo »

Okay, so a few hot takes before going for the meat of my feedback. Spoiler alert -- some of this may sound harsh, but I promise this is all being typed in the spirit of giving constructive criticism because I genuinely give a damn about this site.

I.) I've been a GM on here three times. I do not see a fourth in my future. Yes, some players have been an absolute pain in the ass over the years for various reasons but ultimately it's because I know my limitations -- I'm good at setting things up and getting things going (or at least I like to think so, my former players may hold different opinions), but I struggle with keeping things going for extended lengths of time. I also have many other activities also vying for attention, so time is an issue as well. Anything and everything we can do in order to make the GM's job easier/less odious/more enticing should be considered. Maybe this means more rewards. Maybe this means relaxing some house rules. Maybe this means making more resources available. The point is that all options should be on the table and nothing should be taken off just because ‘it doesn’t work.’

II.) "'Players have too many characters' might be the correct formulation of the problem." Not going to lie, this made me bristle as it strikes me as an unnecessarily punitive approach to the issue. I’m squarely agreed with SoaF in that it’s a really bad idea that would only have the opposite effect from intended. Nobody is going to invest time and effort (let alone EP) into playing a character they don't want to play as a matter of general principle. To even propose the idea of forcing players to weed out and trash some of them to fit under some arbitrary cap is borderline insulting. If we as a whole feel that EP costs for new slots are too low and decide to raise them going forward, that's one thing... but you can’t just punish players who followed the rules at the time by saying “nope, sorry, we changed the rules for back then too.” If this were to be put into effect retroactively then both my patronage and my participation in this site will end immediately as it’s more than just "kind of" a dick move by far.

III.) Merging/disbanding groups that have gone without a GM for extended periods of time can definitely be an option. There’s quite a list of groups/settings that have been eliminated over the years. The PFRPG groups just did exactly that by merging down from two groups into one. That’s pretty much a no-brainer as it’s not fair to GMs or PCs to prolong that kind of situation. I also have zero issues with putting a cap on the number of groups with a waiting list in place for any additional groups to ensure there’s enough interest to justify its creation. I would encourage though that any such efforts leave some open slots available in remaining groups so that new players could still have options.

Now… on to my main thoughts.
CHIMERA wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:40 am Before we look to other venues for advertising, we might want to improve the message. Instead of starting with the fact that GM's burn out, why not start by promoting EU as a site? Any ad should open with what EU is and why it's an exciting community to join (not just that it has a democratic structure). Likewise, why not promote the groups with a blurb about some of the ongoing adventures? In particular, you can bring up the teams that are looking for GM's, and hype them as the type of games that someone would want to be a part of.
This. So much this. All day this. It’s not just what you say but how you say it. If I’m browsing somewhere online and I see an ad for something, I ask the following questions: “What (or who) is this?” and “Why should I care?” I don’t see either of those questions answered in this post to the extent where I’d want to click on any of the links to learn more. Honestly, it doesn’t even make me want to scroll up in the thread for more context. And that’s a pity as this post a little on up the thread is actually a lot stronger and is closer to what I personally would like to see in EU promotion posts.

Specific Suggestions:

• Don’t tell me you’ve got ‘nine great, active groups’ without saying anything about them. “Show your work” and tell me why they’re great. The strength of EU is the stories that we all play a part in telling. That is the content that we collectively create and what the unenlightened masses need to get a taste of in order to whet their appetite.
o It doesn’t have to be much; it can be blurbs as simple as "the Galactic Adventurers survived being subjected to multiple time loops by an evil priestess wielding a relic of incredible power -- but with the relic now bonded to a deevil haunting a suit of power armor, is the danger only just beginning?" or "The Templar are carrying a mysterious artifact across the Pecos Empire to a place of safekeeping. But is their client more than what he appears? Who can they really trust?"
o Yes, it’s going to mean GMs/AGMs are going to have to submit blurbs on a regular basis (perhaps monthly? And perhaps in a dedicated GM’s forum thread?) but I’m pretty sure the promise of some shameless plugging would be worth it.
o Occasional spotlights in forums like this would be great. “October spotlight on Heroes for Hire” or something like that. Not just the blurb but things like how long the group’s been around, current roster, biggest adventure, etc. Possibly even something fun like Q&A surveys from PCs in their characters -- which could help convey the notion that these are not just game mechanics for us.
o If wordiness is a concern, the simple solution would be to put blurbs in OOC/Spoiler tags so that people don’t see all the text unless they want to.

• If you’re fishing for fresh meat, you gotta have the bait as alluring as possible. Saying “but only six GMs at present and running multiple groups/games is burning some of those GMs out” is technically not wrong, of course, but you’re basically saying “this site is being a pain in the ass and people are walking away” when you say it like that. Try something like, “but we need 3 more GMs to keep the stories flowing at the level of quality you’ve come to expect from Explorers Unlimited… and additional campaign settings that only need a GM with vision to bring them to life.”

• “The GM's Cabal runs the community in democratic fashion of sorts--I'm just its founder & promoter!” Even if it’s true, it’s TMI. Stay on brand. Stay on target.

• Explorers Unlimited is equal parts Roll20, PbP, Discord, and Hangouts (now Google Chat). If the overall site is to succeed, all four need equal billing. Ignoring any of the four only weakens the overall branding. Period.

• EUCON could -- and probably should -- be a separate promotion. Perhaps a blog post or an announcement thread in the OOC forum on the site, with links to said thread used in promotions.
o For that matter, group/player character spotlights could be threads of their own as well and treated similarly in promotion posts.

I think I'll end it here as I've probably done enough pissing people off for today (at least here, anyway). Looking back though, I guess one of the big takeaways from my rambling is that we may need a branding/marketing guide for EU to make our reach more effective. If that's the case I'm more than happy to start putting some ideas together.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

1) I'm not for repeating mistakes. Agree to the rest.
2) "To really know if what I think is true..." You're bristling in response to a HYPOTHESIS and the possible logical consequences of such...instead of considering whether the hypothesis is valid or not. Why not just find out the answer? Even if the hypothesis is valid, it does not necessarily follow that WE MUST DO X. Just because you've identified the problem doesn't mean there's only ONE solution.
3) Yeah, all that is common sense stuff we've been doing for years. I'm already seeing if there's an opportunity for consolidation or something with Spook Squad, Roughnecks, and GIRLS...some way to minimize the groups' impact on GMs.

I don't know how any of that would piss anyone off. The second half is just a critique of a quick post I put up on the USELESS Pally boards. Everything under specific suggestions is valid, but that post isn't an example of what we're wanting to do. It's just GETTING SOMETHING UP while we plan to do something better and broader.

Good to hear from you, Servo, hope you mom is doing well, and seeing Ben Dixon as "Servo" makes for a lol.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Servo »

Just shooting straight here, chief... even if I may be a little off target sometimes. :)

That post may be a throwaway post on the 'useless' Pally boards (not that I'm in total disagreement as there are reasons I don't haunt that board like I used to), but it's still a good opportunity to refine the message. Our strength is in the stories we collaboratively tell -- it's what differentiates us from other sites and that's gotta be at the heart of every EU promotion regardless of where it's posted.

I've been thinking on this all day (I guess my recent online course in library marketing stuck with me more than I expected) and I'm more convinced than ever that a branding guide for EU would be a good idea. Not here in this thread, of course, but I'm willing to help put something together for reference.

And thanks for asking about Momma Servo. She's doing better but it's still gonna be a ways to go.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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Servo wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:08 pmI've been thinking on this all day (I guess my recent online course in library marketing stuck with me more than I expected) and I'm more convinced than ever that a branding guide for EU would be a good idea. Not here in this thread, of course, but I'm willing to help put something together for reference.
I'm barely aware of what those two words mean strung together like that, but if you think it will be helpful, you've got my blessings--if that means anything to you. :P
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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Augur wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:08 pm
Servo wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:08 pmI've been thinking on this all day (I guess my recent online course in library marketing stuck with me more than I expected) and I'm more convinced than ever that a branding guide for EU would be a good idea. Not here in this thread, of course, but I'm willing to help put something together for reference.
I'm barely aware of what those two words mean strung together like that, but if you think it will be helpful, you've got my blessings--if that means anything to you. :P
Think of it as a sourcebook for the Marketing and Promoting RPG. :D
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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We need someone to tabulate the EP from last quad and post to the marketplace.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

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Dark Lord wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:14 am We need someone to tabulate the EP from last quad and post to the marketplace.
https://www.explorersunlimited.com/eu/v ... 8#p1384748
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Augur »

I've received a "group blurb" from Ronan of the Spook Squad (top notch overview), but have heard zilch from any other group in need.

I've yet to see any suggestions/shares regarding where else to promote such specific things other than the Palladium board & Discord server.
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Re: Problems only Augur Can Fix

Post by Dark Lord »

Other message boards related to tabletop RPGs. rpg.net comes to mind but I'm sure there are others.
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