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World of Darkness: Attrition - Issues and Resolutions

Sarah Dead-Wolf

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Hi folks. smile

OK, as is pretty apparent from the general OOC Table Talk thread, things aren't exactly hunky-dory in WoD:A these days on the OOC level. There are some problems... and those problems have gotten to point where posting has dropped off to a trickle.

That's not healthy for WoD:A. And as perhaps the biggest fan of this little corner of crazy, I don't want to see WoD:A die. I can and will go pretty damned far to try and fix things. And that's what this thread is about: fixing things.

The general idea here is that folks - players or STs - can present their issues, and the corresponding folks can help to address those issues in a productive and positive fashion. Being the mildly insane person that I am, I am happy to step up and help mediate this effort (which may wind up activating my medical plan).

I'd like to lay down some ground rules for this little effort.

1. Keep it to WoD:A. Yes, I'm distantly aware that there are some other forums out there. Yes, I'm aware that some very ugly things happened OOC'ly in those forums. Yes, I'm aware that many of the folks who were on opposing sides of those ugly affairs are members of WoD:A. I don't care. This isn't about what happened to Jimmy in Dead Gate or Jenni in Star Rising; it's about what happens in WoD:A. So I'm going ask - beg, plead even - for people to check their international baggage at the incinerator.

2. Keep it civil. I'd prefer friendly, but I'll settle for civil. This means avoiding terms like "asshat", "jerkwad" and "dickhead". It also means expressly avoiding telling someone to do improbable and possibly illegal things with various portions of their anatomy. It very much means trying to remember that everyone involved here is a person, that the person does indeed have a fully functional mind and a fair span of feelings, and trying not to jab either mind or feelings with red-hot branding irons.

3. Keep it positive. An example here might work best. The following is a non-positive engagement:

Player: "You keep dicking my character over for no reason! Why do you hate me?"

ST: "Maybe I wouldn't hate you as much if you weren't a sniveling whinger with a persecution complex!"

Here's a positive engagement:

Player: "It seems like my character gets the short end of the stick with regard to plot complications and such. Is there a reason this is happening?"

ST: "I've been concerned that your approach to portraying the character hasn't really taken into account the difficulties of its situation, and am trying to help you to explore those more fully."

So yeah... positive engagement, please. If absolutely necessary, I'll serve as an interpreter; I'm fluent in blunt and crass, with tact as a recently-learned second language.

OK, so there's the start of it. We have a thread, we have ground rules, and we even have a mediator (until someone kills me in my sleep). So let's get this going. I need to go to a city government meeting in a few minutes, so please please please don't burn the place down while I'm gone.

- Jess

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I'm chugging along just fine, though I don't tend to interact with the moderation that often. I'm not against moderation, I just don't find the need for it in the little vampire sideshow I'm working on. I'm happy that way, being the ONLY vampire on the board. wink

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Well... almost the only one... the problem of course is getting Sarah to admit it. smile

OK, let me see if I can get this started by tossing out one of my own.

We seem to have a disconnect of some sort with regard to plotliness; responsiveness on such can be somewhat lackluster, and occasionally it seems like the plot is just sort of dropped without any good way of continuing it along. I seem to recall something like this happening with the Crimson plot that Ariel was chasing. And with my own stuff, I know that we've had trouble moving the Topanga-testing plot forward at times. If I'm reading it right, it's just a matter of Real Life occasionally knocking the STs for a loop and pulling them away from STing.

Now that said, I'm going to put up an idea for a resolution. We have a number of plots ongoing with WoDA - the Hhunters, the Bale Hounds, Crimson, and various other things - and that when the board is running fast and hard (hey, wasn't so long ago it was doing that), that's got to be hard for the two STs to keep up with as well as the Real Life complications. It's also hard for someone else to pick up and help run though, due to lack of info. So would it be possible to put together some actual written plotkits, stuff that you could hand off to other members who say, "You know, I'll be happy to run these folks through this chunk of the plot"?

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I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but I did want to make this point.

If people want to follow plot leads and whatnot on their own (to use the Ariel/Crimson example), we're fine with that. What we need is some sort of nudge from the players involved. Even if it's only Max sending us a PM saying, "Hey, guys? Since Ariel's a cop, and we've got this Crimson sub-plot going, I'd like to have her take a more active role in pursuing it." I understand that beginning a fic in that vein might seem self-evident, but it would be an enormous help to us as Les Mods if you let us know that you're not just writing fics- you actually want your current actions to help shape the over-arching story. A flashing PM notice is much more visible than a single post that may or may not get swallowed up in the volumes of other things going on.

We're more than happy to work with you guys, but, yes. Real-Life is a bit of a bear right now, general forum feelings notwithstanding, and previous attempts at just turning things over to someone have unfortunately not gone very well. I admit to some reluctance when it comes to trying that again, after the whole Bug Hunt debacle.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, as the green (I'm told it's green, anyway) hue of my name indicates, I'm now a mod out here, joining Dave and Vivi. Which means that folks can bring problems to me too.

Before anyone tries it: don't try to "mommy-daddy" us; it won't work. smile But if you figure that you may be able to communicate better with one of us than another, go for it.

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I see the issue of communication as one of the largest on this forum. My comments are general and not meant as attacks, but as problems. The mods tend to speak in ways that come across as combative or adversarial, but to them is just being forward and frank. This is seen as hostile by the players. I think that the only way to combat this is for both sides to remember this change their words or point of view slightly.

Something that I was told on the phone by Dave and repeated in chat bears repeating here. Plots started by the mods are supposed to be open for the characters to mess with within reason until the resolution, which the mods will run. That is my understanding of how this should have worked from beginning.

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I'm pretty blunttastic myself, but I think that part of this is something else that Dave and I talked about on the phone: that the written word does a poor job of conveying joking/sardonic subtext, and that can cause confusion and hard feelings at times. If everyone will try to keep that in mind - and maybe make use of the occasional emoticon (or "j/k" or whatever) - things may go smoother.

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Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
I see the issue of communication as one of the largest on this forum. My comments are general and not meant as attacks, but as problems. The mods tend to speak in ways that come across as combative or adversarial, but to them is just being forward and frank.

People also immediately think that if it comes from me it's an attack. Myself and another person on this forum could say the same exact thing, the same, thing. What I say will be perceived as an attack, the other person's message will be accepted and considered. I say this because I've seen it happen and it boggled my mind (myself and the other also had a good laugh over it).

It's no secret that you all think I'm an asshole, in ways you're right, I am. But I'm not one 24/7 and I can guarantee anyone, not just the players in WoD:A that if you sit around and dissect everything I post looking for an argument... you'll find one every time. People who go looking for trouble, always find it.

I'm here to help. I personally don't think a single person can stand up and say that WoD:A has had any of the problems that some of the other forums have, like flame wars, rules arguments, or any of the other assorted drama. This is because you guys are pretty much allowed to do as you please (within reason) and anyone who has a problem with it (or you) has to come to me or Vivi (and now Sarah) with their gripes, bitches, or whining, and it has happened once or twice. Each time they've been informed that unless it specifically fucks their PC over or hasn't ruffled our feathers the wrong way, to STFU and get over it and quit being a Drama Llama. Frankly, it's not their place to complain over what some other PC is doing or not doing, unless it directly affects them in someway or screws up the continuity of the world (like Amber becoming the Pope without informing the moderators, or running roughshod over NPCs). Players who have a legitimate gripe with another player (or us) quickly find a channel of communication open between the moderators and the players in question to resolve the problem as fairly as possible.

I've never once told a player they must do something, with the exception of a storyline that went a bit too deep into the city's politics. I firmly believe that this is your world. Yes, Vivi and I conceived it and we kinda run the show in terms of authority, but personally as a mod I feel that I should not have to log on with this account unless I'm playing 'ST' for a bit or checking a few PMs, I'm actually rather honored to have a player base that does a fine job of policing itself. We're not here to tell you how to play your PC. We're here to facilitate communications and put an end to hostilities.

Which brings me to communication... people, I have a life like all of you. Name one of you right now that has, in all their RPG-Post careers, not had to have someone light a fire under your ass for a post, a PM, input on an idea, etc... Well, newsflash kiddies, I'm just like you!

Communication works like this...

1. Communicate with the person with whom you want your message to be received. This is important because if we don't know you have a (message, problem, issue, idea, etc...) then we sure can't go much farther in the process, now can we?

2. Follow-up. After you have sent your message, follow up on it! Sometimes a work schedule can keep us (all of us) away from our fantasy lives for days. We're human, like you, and sometimes need to be reminded that people are waiting on us. Give us the same courtesy you expect from us: If you want us to communicate more with you, you have to communicate more with us.

Something that I was told on the phone by Dave and repeated in chat bears repeating here. Plots started by the mods are supposed to be open for the characters to mess with within reason until the resolution, which the mods will run. That is my understanding of how this should have worked from beginning.

Talk about lost in the cracks somewhere. Ladies and Germs, I know I told everyone this in the chat room at least twice already. But aha! That may have been where I goofed, I should have been more clear with a post or something more permanent where individuals could be reminded. Not an issue, I dropped the ball on that one so we'll work on getting something up as a permanent reminder.

But yes, the plots are more or less ideas you ladies and gentleman can run with. If you need assistance communicate. If you plan on investigating a plot line communicate.

The basis was a simple one: sometimes we end up in a lull and can't think of anything for our PCs to do... so writing slows down. To combat this we slid in plot hooks that the PCs could sink their teeth into and actually affect the world in which they write, and hopefully, never be bored. Great in theory, a lil sloppy in execution... we haven't failed, just found one way that didn't work very well. I'm open to ideas if you all have em.

I think I've talked you're ear off long enough.

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