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Player Reportcards
A way for players to get and give staff feedback

Good afternoon! Or evening. Or Morning.

I want to float an idea out there that may be familiar to anyone who has ever LARPed. Player Reportcards. Player report cards at LARPs are done as post-game things. They ask questions and opinions about the theme, the RP, the NPCs, and give a constructive outlet for bringing up IC/OOC issues as well as offering praise and other feedback.

This would be something we did between 1-4 times a year.

Some examples questions:

1. How would you rate (1-5) the theme of the game.

2. How would you rate (1-5) the NPC realism

3. How would you rate (1-5) staff helpfulness.

4. Please write a 1-2 paragraph feedback on your general opinion of what could be improved ICly.

5. Please write a 1-2 paragraph feedback on your general opinion of what could be improved OOCly.

6. Is there a staff member that is a stand out in terms of RP excellence?

7. Is there a fellow player that is a stand out in terms of RP excellence?

8. Are you a new player? If so please give us some feedback on the newbie experience and what you feel could be improved?

9. Best RP memory since the last report card?

10. Most frustrating RP memory since last report card?

11. Any issues / gripes you were told to bring up on the next report card?

These are just examples. The real report card would possibly be more refined and include more questions. Report cards would be optional. It's possible we incentivize report cards.

That leads me to the next idea.

Generally, we leave notes with 'Gold Star' in the subject for players that have done something ICly or OOCly great that we want other admin to be able to see at a glance.

We also track generally negative interactions but not in any pre-defined way.

I would like to propose giving admin the ability to @goldstar / @blackmark a player based on interactions. These would be visible at a glance and help admin generally acknowledge excellence in RP and OOC interactions and also log the other side of it, the negative interactions. Perhaps each goldstar / blackmark would be accompanied by a short description of what happened.

'spent an hour helping a new player learn the city'

'helped write a ton of descriptions and asked for nothing in return'

'was argumentative on xhelp'

'@quit in the middle of combat'.

This would be quantifying in a straight forward way, something we already do with notes.

For those that wanted it, we could make your goldstar/blackmarks for the season / quarter / semester / whatever visible, after you have filled out the player reportcard / feedback form.

This would be a NON-FLAME way to get a general idea of where you stand with the admin, the game, RP, etc. It would be against the rules / not in the spirit of what it's used for, to xhelp like "WTF WHY BLACKMARKS."

Hence why it would be optional and not something we force on players. Same with the report card. Not everyone will have to or will want to be involved.

However, it would be 100% acceptable to xhelp and say, "Hey, I didn't realize I'd gotten blackmarks and I would like feedback on what I can do to both become a better RPer and a bigger part of the RP community without causing issues for anyone, especially admin."

I've discussed these ideas with admin and with a couple players. I would like to hear some feedback about it. I recognize that the Player Reportcards are probably going to be #1 a popular idea and #2 definitely something we are going to do. The real discussion should focus around how we implement it, what questions we ask, how we keep it positive and constructive, etc.

Goldstar / Blackmarks are an OPT-IN thing. We may, as admins, track this stuff but it would be for admin and YOU. No one else would have access to that information and you would only get access to it #1 after filling out a report card and #2 if you -want- it.

In general, the report card + mark feedback would create a circle of feedback that occurs on a semi-regular basis and allows everyone in the community to grow, both admin, gms, players, and even NPCs.

It can also be a great way for players to offer constructive feedback. I believe it would decrease angry xhelps because players will know that they have a real way of expressing any gripes they have on a regular basis. A lot of angry xhelps happen because players feel like they aren't going to be heard. If you knew you would have a chance to offer feedback about a specific plot or RP-- it may be easier to not xhelp right away. Plus, the bonus of this method is that usually an hour or day or week later you recognize that what you were upset about was not as big a deal, so it would reduce the FLAME + Apology cycle that we sometimes see.

Anyway-- let the discussion begin!

--Slither

I think this is a great idea. I know personally, I've said before I would like a way to comment on great RP, plots, interactions, etc in the game and I think it would be great to get constructive criticism on any RP flaws I might have or perhaps scenarios that I could have better reacted CP/SD-wise. This is my first game in this style or genre, so I know personally I don't always respond as I know my character should.

Is there a way that players can have a @goldstar/@blackmark given to another player? Not as a flame, but as either a kudo from Player A to Player B or again, the constructive criticism (No Flaming).

Organized constructive criticism is always something I support.

I like the idea of these things, however, I'd like to bring one important thing to attention and that's the @goldstars/blackmarks. Short description would be required but, the people that would tend to have @blackmarks may get combative anyways on xhelp.

Par example:

@blackmark: Arguing with GMs on xhelp.

Xhelp from blackmarked player: Wtf! I was not arguing!

@blackmark: @quit during combat

Xhelp from player: I had to go do something!

Tada. Continued argument anyways.

The people who would tend to have blackmarks for negative xhelp and some IC interactions are the same people who would tend to get upset about them and want to argue anyways. Kind of like when you call customer service and some negative note gets logged in your customer service profile (yes, companies do do this.) Ends up creating customer arguments like, "I never said/did that." "Nuh uh!"

I would love to see @goldstar/@blackmark comments GMs (and players) have about my RP. There have been a number of times I've walked away from RP sessions wondering what others thought about the interaction or if there was anything I could have done to improve the RP. I completely agree that recognizing positive behavior and bringing attention to negative actions is essential for growing as a cooperative RP community. Without feedback like this, players could be completely oblivious to how some of the things they do affect others.

It may not be justified but the only concern I have with receiving feedback from other players is that it could potentially leak immersion breaking IC information that would be hard not to act meta on. (ex. @goldstar Thank you for letting your character walk into an obvious trap. @blackmark I was trying to get you to ask about my scar but you ignored all my poses.) One solution to avoid this would be for GMs to review and approve of player submitted feedback before it is visible to the targeted player. Then again, we 'ought to be able to trust players to police their own feedback.

Oh, I completely agree SpecialK. I would assume any Player remarks would need to be filtered through Staff. I just know, for me personally and I would imagine for other players, after a big IC plot or such, I've wanted to give a shout out of kudos to another player(s) for great RP and there really hasn't been an outlet to do that...

I imagine blackmarks/goldstars visible to players ONLY upon their request and ONLY after completing a reportcard (participating in feedback).

And keeping it simple might be best...only see 'X # black marks and Y # goldstars given this period'...with no description of what they were for. You might balk at first, but think...don't you think you would know what you got blackmarked for, probably?

As a player, I would use this reportcard feedback solely to see if I am contributing positively or negatively to the game, on the whole. This would give me more satisfaction/reflect to me that perhaps it is time to go take a break and recharge.

Not a fan of player-generated blackmarks or goldstars. Would like to see the feedback be GM-to-individual player only. Too complicated otherwise....perhaps put it on the list of things to try much further down the line, if ever.

I like the report card idea in the sense of feedback about the game but I don't think RP should be graded, since for me is something that is subjective.

To what may be good RP for player A may be terrible RP for B and so on.

I really like the idea of a direct line of feedback between the staff and the players that's carried out this way - when feedback is given over forums, the discussion tends to be dominated by a few prominent voices. People also tend to take complaints or feedback on the forums as an opportunity to curry favor with the staff by insisting things are fine how they are (this really does happen - more than one person has admitted doing this to me). So, a direct line between players and GMs that isn't visible to other players is an excellent idea! Not only will it give players an opportunity to feel that can be completely open with their feedback, but it'll be a better chance to see what problems the game actually has if it's brought up by multiple people outside a group discussion.

I do have a few suggestions as to how it can be improved, though - while I think that feedback on player behavior is important, I think that the system of 'gold stars' and 'black marks' is a bit too juvenile. It feels less like honest feedback and more like a reward / punishment. I know that I, for one, would be absolutely receptive to any feedback to how I've behaved as a player, positive or negative, but I'd perceive a "black mark" as condescending. Even a "gold star" in certain contexts can feel condescending! The players aren't kindergartners, after all. I feel like you could keep this 'gold star' / 'black mark' system how it is, but just remove the distinction between them entirely and have it just be 'feedback' - itemized notes of instances of player behavior that are notable one way or the other. This also allows for a bit of gray area between whether a notable event requiring feedback is a 'good' or 'bad' thing. Taking away the idea of 'gold stars' and 'black marks' also takes the sting off of receiving some 'negative' feedback since it's not framed as an admonishment. We're all adults, here!

Another thing I'd like to see is a bit more engagement with the players over what kind of play they are interested and what they can expect from the game. It seems like Sindome is definitely geared towards a very specific kind of play style, the "right" way to play, with the game mechanics and GM activity always skewed towards engaging players who play "right" and ignoring/discouraging players who play "wrong", when there are lots of different ways of playing a role playing game like Sindome that aren't necessarily more or less correct. Even "fluffy bunnies" are contributing to the game in their own way, even if they don't actively engage in conflict-based roleplay, and a lot of them might be itching to get themselves involved in something dangerous, even if the actions of their characters say otherwise.

I suggest adding a few more questions to the survey:

1) What aspects of the game interest you as a player?

Here, the players will be able to tell you if they're more interested in creating new content for the game (there are a lot of tailors around, after all), interacting with other players socially without as much emphasis on conflict adventure, duking it out with other players in combat, or what have you. This way, players with similar interests can be paired together in GM plots based on their interests, or given a position in the game where they can engage with the aspects of the game that interest them.

2) Is there anything you'd like your character to be more involved in?

Here, players will be able to say something if they want to get involved in another aspect of the game. A character playing a corpie might want to get involved in industrial espionage and shady dealings, for example, while another corpie character might just want more opportunities to do their IC job and get recognition for it.

3) What are your goals for your character?

Note the phrasing here - not "what are your character's goals", but "what are your goals for your character". If we are to take the players to be truly separate from their characters, then the characters' actions can't necessarily be taken to be in line with their players' desires for them. Maybe the player behind a gruff and violent mixer that always gets into fights wants their character to find love and redemption and live a peaceful life - maybe the player behind a timid but talented corpie wants the opportunity for their character to snap and become a menace to the city.

Those are my suggestions! Even though I'm taking a break from the game for a while, I'm really excited to see more lines of feedback open between the GMs and the players, especially since the GMs seem to be more actively soliciting the player base for constructive feedback.

curry favor with the staff by insisting things are fine how they are (this really does happen - more than one person has admitted doing this to me)

I don't doubt that people have attempted this, but I'm not aware of there being any actual opportunity here.

If someone claims to have earned favoritism by asskissing like this, they're either misperceiving the situation or bullshitting you.

The feedback system we're talking about isn't about "currying favor" either. It's about all participants on all poles helping each other improve their game on a personal level.

I did mean attempted, rather than succeeded. Also, did you read the rest of my post? I think this system is a wonderful idea.

It's hard to focus on the positive aspects of someones post when they accuse other players of succeeded in gaining favoritism from staff members and accusing staff members broadly of participating in favoritism.

I wasn't trying to make any kind of accusation, nor imply that player / staff favoritism was rampant or that attempts to curry favor with staff are successful. I admit that I worded that part of my post badly.

F.

F plus.

Show players the number of goldstars they have, and never their blackmarks. Instead of being upset about their four blackmarks, they'll be content with their one goldstar and want to try and earn more.

I personally like the idea of the goldstar, blackmark feedback system and think player reportcards are a great idea. I also like battlejenkins idea on checking character goals and such although if I am honest I have used @notes for this. My character is (without naming him/her) probably percieved as a "fluffy bunny" however ultimately his/her goals aren't necassarily fluffy or, even if they were, have the potential to cause a lot of less fluffy collateral. Anyways. Back to reportcards/feedback.

I think the goldstar and blackmark system is a clear, concise way to show positive and negative rp actions. Coming into this rp as my first moo, an rp enforced one no less, I know that some of what I have done ic/ooc was not favoured. In the instance I am referring to I was xhelp contacted and the behaviour stopped. I do however wonder if I ever contribute well to the moo so seeing what is considered helpful would be great. Equally I would like to see what I am doing baddly so I can fix that behaviour.

To summarise. I love the idea.

In the interim - if you want to pass on that you had a positive roleplay experience with someone that simply blew your mind - especially if it involved your character getting fucked over in some way. Feel free to note or email help@sindome.org about it. I love seeing that kind of feedback come through about other players.

I hand props to any player who provides such a solid roleplaying experience through their character that it leaves other players happy at the end of the day, because it shows they're probably thinking of the rest of the player base with how they conduct their roleplay, which can only be a good thing for everyone involved.