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Real Talk: Community Discussion v.2
Let's talk about how we feel!

12209
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Eden Aekyr Kelly Staff
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Hi guys!

This is our second REAL TALK thread and we want to hear from YOU in total transparency. Please don’t misunderstand this for a platform to bring negativity in because we all know that can snowball fast.

But we want to hear from our member base what we as a staff team can do to make you feel more included, more in the loop, more engaged on the site. How staff can be more helpful to you or easier to approach. What we as a SITE can work on to make things feel more like home, more fun, more safe.

If you have suggestions, we’d love them! If you have questions, we’re here to answer them as best we can, as normal people and as staff. And if you have concerns, this is certainly the place to floor them. Just please be mindful of tone because we want this to be a safe place to voice yourself, not an environment that fosters underhanded negativity.

That said, please feel free to PM any of the staff team with any concerns that you feel might not be best suited here. We want to hear everything, so if it’s better left private, you have that option as well.

We love you all and we love Horizon, so we just want to make sure today, tomorrow, five years from now, that we’re doing our best to make this a place you look forward to logging into.

As some people feel that things were not addressed from the last thread, I’d like to bring to light all of the issues brought up, if they were fixed, if they weren’t, why they weren’t, etc.

So without further ado,
Things addressed last time:

FIXED
Community events - YES (Another Skype party coming soon!)
Weather - YES
Transparency - YES
Featured threads/Tumblr highlights - YES
Offscreen Assumptions Wiki - YES
Change Gender to Sex - YES

NOT FIXED
Achievements - Unfortunately only Chels can add more
Fight Reworked - Staff has agreed collectively that we will not be changing the fight system
Clarify liquid time - NOT DONE
OOC planning - NOT DONE
Guidelines on dealing with MIA wolves who aren’t labeled Inactive yet (add to offscreen) - NOT DONE
Clarify fur patterns/colors - WIP

COMMUNITY RUN
Newspaper - WIP between staff and members
Scavenger hunt - NOT DONE
Movie/game nights - NOT DONE (member who wanted to run this is no longer on the site)

That said, what staff can work on, we will be addressing from the NOT FIXED section. If you have new concerns, new questions, or want to address the above, let’s do this.

Best,
The Horizon Staff Team


Mar 08, 2018 05:26 PM

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[ Edited: Jun 18, 2018 11:28 AM by Eden ]
198112
Name Player
Cassian Dingo
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Since I already sent most of my suggestions over via that doc, this is going to be shore. I’ll continue to comment here if I think of anything else!

For the same reason I suggested some stuff about IC in the cbox be changed, I want to suggest a change for pack news as well. Lately it looks stagnant because threads can take a while to finish. So it’s also usually providing old news. Maybe instead of threads being completed before they can make plot news, change it to when a thread can be considered advanced enough for SP claim (10 posts in.). This could bring back use for the plot news section because as of now it’s only getting updated every week or so, and the updates are old.

Also unsure if possible, but am emailing list? It could be used to notify players of their characters are going inactive/been marked inactive (via the periodic check and not due to deaths/requests, of course.). It could also be used to send out event reminders, Skype call reminders, or other things fit for notification.


Mar 08, 2018 07:32 PM — Post #1

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[ Edited: Mar 08, 2018 07:38 PM by Cassian ]
198114
Name Player
Bucky Rangers Chris Staff
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Dingo I’m so glad you noticed that, because I had sorta realized plot news was slow but it hadn’t registered fully with me until you pointed it out! And it’s kinda restricting because some people who aren’t always fast roleplayers might feel they and their characters are excluded from the plot news.

As for me… well. I feel like a bit of a parrot (Probably an African grey for anyone wondering) just saying that… I’m still here. I’m always going to be here, and I want to reiterate that if anyone, for any reason, needs an ear, I’ll listen. Not just about staff stuff or stuff they want to see change, though please do hit me up with that if you have thoughts.

If you just want to vent, or if there’s crappy stuff in your life you want to talk about, I’m here. I know my timezone means I don’t always catch all of you online during your peak times, but I promise I will get back to anyone and everyone.

It really warms my heart to see people joining in lonelys, looking at adoptables, branching out to roleplay in a new situation. There’s threads in Horizon talk I stalk, even if I don’t feel up to commenting on the threads myself, and there’s still so many amazing characters here I love to read about.

For the movie game nights I am SUPER on board with those. I’ve only used the rabbit platform a couple of times but I’m sure I could figure it out (Read: get Jea to show me how to use it) for anyone keen to use that for movie nights?


Mar 08, 2018 07:46 PM — Post #2

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198115
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Shade Dingo
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I am so down for movie nights it’s not even funny. Or even just game nights. I am sure there’s some sort of online monopoly game.


Mar 08, 2018 07:51 PM — Post #3

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198261
Name Player
Eden Aekyr Kelly Staff
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Dingo, yes totally have that doc and will bring it up with staff. If you want to bullet list some of the key points, it might be helpful for the rest of the community to elaborate or agree or not agree on some.


Mar 09, 2018 11:38 AM — Post #4

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198293
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Shade Dingo
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Can do!

Alright, my first suggestion was a change to the chat box and what’s allowed to be discussed there. A while back a rule was implemented that prohibited ongoing threads to be discussed in the chatbox. Often times it could pressure people into doing things their character wouldn’t or bring notice to fight threads which could in turn uneven the odds for one side of the fight. The rule definitely had a purpose, but I feel it’s done more harm than good because ever since, I’ve seen much less activity in the cbox. When new players come online, the first thing they mention is the cbox’s activity in a lot of cases. It’s an attractive thing and I believe that rule put a huge damper on cbox activity.

I’ve been seeing a lot of new members go unaccepted for long periods of time recently (I believe it was Poe who had about a two day wait. CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG THERE.) and I believe this doesn’t have to do with a shortage of staff, but a lack of staff versatility. It’s good to have assigned roles in a management setting, and I applaud Horizon for organization, but I think some jobs should be universal. Accepting new members/characters is certainly one of those. Sam has done amazing keeping members activated, but we have to remember she has a life too and can’t be on all the time. If each staff member had the ability to handle new characters, I think things may go smoother in the future.

I’m also suggesting more community events, like skype calls, more threads in HRZN Talk, and just general stuff like that. It seems that’s been addressed though. :)

SUGGESTION. I was thinking a real-time event that happened maybe weekly or bi-weekly. A scheduled time for people to get on and thread together or just hang out in cbox and discuss whatever pleases. If we had a specific time, I think it would let members meet members they otherwise would not OOC.

I also suggested fights be handled differently, but as mentioned above, there won’t be any changes to how that functions on-site.

Adoptables should be promoted harder. Some members may not know there is an adoptable page. It’s getting pretty full and it can be frustrating to the player who put the wolf up if that wolf never gets played. Adopting should never be forced on members, but I think it should get promoted more. Maybe an adoptable of the month which spotlights a specific adoptable character? Something like that.

My last point was better communication between staff and members about general site related things. This thread is most definitely a step in the right direction there.


Mar 09, 2018 05:01 PM — Post #5

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198301

Scarce

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Atlas Stormborn Jade
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I might be able to think of more things later, but I figured I would chime in with what I thought about some of the things raised so far~


Cbox Rule
I have to agree with Dingo that not being able to discuss ongoing threads in the cbox kills the potential for a lot of conversation there. I know I enjoy chatting about in-character happenings (whenever I do get to use the cbox), and it’s disappointing to not be able to mention something just because it’s something that’s still in progress. Would it be possible to alter this rule so that “intentionally attempting to pressure/persuade players into making a character act a certain way” is the no-no? Because I think we can all agree that that’s not cool, and if someone seems to be doing that, they can just be reminded that, hey, maybe don’t try to sway someone’s mind via peer-pressure or whatever.

AND, as Dingo mentioned, cbox activity is a big draw for potential members. Allowing players to chat about ongoing IC threads would open things up for more activity there.

Plot News
I also agree that limiting the plot news to complete threads has caused that site feature to stagnate quite a bit. For those of us who take a while to finish threads (read: me, lmao), by the time you’re finally done with a thread, it might be a month old — or more! At that point it’s not really “news” anymore, yanno?

Adoptables
I know someone (I forget who) mentioned this a little while ago, but I feel like moving the Adoptables to an actual sub-forum instead of a Wiki-type page would make the whole process run smoother. Players would be able to create a thread for their adoptable character (One thread per “family” if they have multiple adoptables who are related — which would help with the issue we see when someone submits their big-ass family of wolves xD), and the thread could be edited/updated it as needed by the player. Other players could ask questions there and so-on. When an adoptable gets adopted, the player could edit the title to reflect that and/or ask staff to take care of the thread.

This would also allow potential adopters to see how long an adoptable has been available. As some people have said, that’s a factor for many. Someone might take an adoptable that’s been waiting a long time for a player over one that’s just recently been added.

Liquid Time/OOC Planning Rules
Since they’re both listed as “not done” I figured I’d ask what players wanted added/clarified on those subjects. I know we had the “Off-screen Interactions” page made a little while back that seemed to cover a lot on that front (I felt like it was super helpful, at least), but I’m assuming I must be out of the loop on more changes needing to be made? :O


Mar 09, 2018 06:50 PM — Post #6

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[ Edited: Mar 09, 2018 06:53 PM by Atlas ]
198316
Name Player
Kaete Mekani
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2mos profile
 

I’m curious why it was decided to not change the fight system, since it causes so many problems and stress… Not even small tweaks to the fighting rules? Are people still not allowed to optionally use outside fighting systems/outcome generators (like the one Dingo made, or rolling dice or however else they want to decide it)?

I agree about the plot news. I don’t see why it can’t go back to the way it was before—if I recall, the reason it was changed was so that a bunch of people don’t pile up in every interesting thread that’s in plot news due to ooc influence, but that can and does still happen anyway even if they’re not in plot news. (current example: Marzena’s death thread, no one even howled or anything but the whole pack piled up in one place, lol. it probably still happens with some fights too but I can’t think of a specific example)

I haven’t even heard of a rule about not discussing ongoing threads?? I thought it was that we can’t “advertise” lonely threads? The cbox has definitely been slower lately but I thought it was just due to all the absences / people being busy right now..

I might think of more later, but last thing for now is that having this list of things that are being worked on or already got fixed is really helpful! Sometimes it’s easy to get that “nothing ever gets done” feeling, or think that things got forgotten about, but looking at the list, there actually have been a lot of nice changes and things in progress, so thanks staff for all the hard work :)


Mar 09, 2018 08:22 PM — Post #7

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198319
Name Player
Eden Aekyr Kelly Staff
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I can answer the fight system. Ultimately, we decided that it leaned too OOC planning. While it did strive for fairness, it could be taken advantage of and used for cheating. There was simply no way for anyone to moderate the use of this system. Because of its ability to determine a winner/loser, it fell under OOC planning. Also, allowing the players to determine whether the loser lives or dies from the fight is OOC planning and against our rules.

We are working on a document to help make the culture around fights less stressful and to clarify a few things. So keep an eye out.

But keep this discussion going! I love some of these points and definitely agree with a handful, though I’ll keep that private until it’s discussed with staff.


Mar 09, 2018 08:38 PM — Post #8

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198327
Petal is currently Inactive. Activate? Inactive
Name Player
Petal armadillo
 

my horizon career is still in its infancy so everything i mention should probably be taken with a grain (LARGE AMOUNT) of salt. i appreciate the discussion and this site is an every day dose of joy (especially at work c:)

adoptables

i feel like i’m gonna be repeating a lot of what jade and dingo have already wonderfully contributed to this topic but i guess that’s what a discussion is sometimes? i feel like the wiki page is just a lot to read (especially for someone new) and that may throw some potential adopters out just for the fact of the layout. i also believe in a forum based solution. i think that horizon is pretty pro-adoptables (from what i have seen) so i don’t imagine it should pile up too much.

i also enjoy the adoptable spotlight and if it’s an issue of too much stop going on at the header of the page - it may be something that can be added to the wip newspaper (i would be so down to volunteer to contribute to something like that)

real-time events

piggey-backing off of dingo, i agree i agree i agree. i’ve noticed when random events happen (most recently the fog) there is an uptick in activity. i think we can all agree that meet and great threads are wonderful but can get a little stale so it’s nice to have a prompt to go off of. if we could keep that going that’d be great (thank you staff for your cool ideas!) maybe we could do some area-centric ones? rare prey in an area, good herbs that pop up, a cool that may be a way of pulling some wolves together that may never really meet (due to being on opposite sides of the map) while avoiding ooc planning.

there was something i had seen waaaay back ago on a few sites (four or five years probably), an account used by staff or members like a random event generator that would cause a prey animal to appear in a thread or a sudden downpour or something similar. not saying that’s what’s needing to be implemented or anything, but i think diversifying people’s threading experiences (without ooc planning) is something

/rambling

personally, i’m going to be holding myself accountable of being a visible member of this wonderful community. posting in ooc threads and games and just generally trying to be present <3

 

 


Mar 09, 2018 09:10 PM — Post #9

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198347
Harlow is currently Inactive. Activate? Inactive
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Harlow Gail Bamsy
 

So I know it was stated up top that staff has already made its decisions about fight mechanics, but I was speaking to Kelly about it yesterday and she encouraged me to talk about it here.  I have other thoughts about other aspects of Horizon, but this is the big one for me.

Multiple people, since the last Real Talk thread at least and I assume before that as well, have brought up issues with the current fight system and I have never seen any staff response or reasoning to that.  Kelly, I appreciate you now laying out how you approached the user-made fight simulator, and I do agree, having something off-site is too easy to lie about, and ultimately that model takes too much out of the hands of players to write things out play by play.  I think you agree that it would have meant a lot more to post that response publicly since from player perspective all we saw was that staff shut down a player attempt to try and make fighting less painful.

That being said.

My personal experience in trying to use the fight mechanics has been awful.  Things didn’t make sense ICly.  I had to ask a mod to step in and correct opponent moves at every turn because they were trying to get away with as much as possible.  I got stuck in a nightmare fight where two people where trying to make sure their wolves took a fair amount of damage but also not lose, and was told to come up with a solution by deciding with the other player what should happen, which was somehow not OOC planning.

“Player discretion” is the system being used, but when player discretion does not allow the fight to run smoothly, we have no other options.  Player discretion allowed for a year of bad blood to follow a character who always managed to do just the right thing to get out of trouble, who always managed to avoid summons if the wolf on the other end had it out for them.  Player discretion got me stuck in a fight thread that dragged on for a month, allowing my wolf’s adopted children to escape and be transported across the valley while she was ICly engaged in, maybe, a 20 minute fight.

Ultimately, if staff thinks all this is fine, and my experiences are due to my own bad handling or my own bad fit, okay.  But I can’t do it anymore.  Player departures have been like bombs going off in my characters’ lives, and it’s just not workable to me to play this game if I don’t know that this specific thing is going to change.  The way I see it, you can be a site where anything can happen, where wolves can die, but you can’t just leave it to the players to sort out on their own.  There needs to be some aspect of impartiality, some aspect of randomness to take the greater burden of choice out of player hands.  Hit-or-miss dice rolls would be great.  Post limits to fights would be great.  I bet other folks have good ideas too, and other sites successfully use all kinds of RNG-based mechanics to keep things from getting personal.

I don’t know what it is about posting shit publicly that makes me sound 100x more combative, but man.  It’s been a rough few months here.  I’m not gonna pretend this hasn’t majorly impacted my ability to be happy here.  Ultimately, I guess the question I’m left with is, if there is nothing wrong with the fight system, then what did I do wrong here?  How was it supposed to go?  Why is this the best option for the players who are in here using it every day?  THAT is what I have never received an answer to.

I am sorry if anyone is stressed out by reading this, but you know what, I’ve had really strong emotions having to deal with this shit in roleplay, I’m okay with some of those emotions coming through here.  Pretending it did not have a big effect on my time at this site minimizes my experience and makes it easier to brush aside.  Conflict resolution and communication can involve feelings and still be healthy, I promise.


Mar 10, 2018 12:02 AM — Post #10

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198351
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Shade Dingo
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I can agree here with Bamsy, and I’d like to give a little more insight to what was imagined with the fight simulator. Of course, I realize you guys stand pretty hard with the player discretion mechanic, but I personally believe that makes wolves act less in character than they would if something else were to be in place. This is just my personal opinion and I don’t expect (or want) to really change anyone else’s, just give more detail on the fight sim.

So, initially Fen came to me with the idea and sort of left all of the stat comparisons and stuff like that in my hands. She presented the idea and I worked out a battle program. It’s not perfect, and the stats should be tweaked if you ask me, which is why I posted it in that thread.

I never intended for the program to be used by players on-site. It was supposed to be a staff tool used to keep fights from dragging out (because dragging fight threads are sort of a problem and can screw up events in ways they shouldn’t be). What I imagined was that the program would give an ultimate outcome based on physical aspects of a wolf and a lot of RNG (like dice applied to a character’s stats) and this outcome would be relayed to the players in fights. This keeps the decision final and true. From this point, the players already know a fight outcome (I can include death as a potential outcome as well). This would let both characters move on and not be thread-locked for large amounts of time. It also keeps players from doing everything in their power to win. For that reason, I’d like to propose that it’s not OOC planning. What I do consider OOC planning is a player playing towards a win and doing everything they can to achieve that, often neglecting their character’s power and stamina. As someone who’s fought in threads before, I highly understand this mindset. No one wants their character to die. And that’s where OOC feelings come in to play.

That’s just my take on the fight system and a little more about how the program should be wielded. Again, I’m not trying to persuade anyone to change their minds, just giving some food for thought.


Mar 10, 2018 01:47 AM — Post #11

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198354
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Kaete Mekani
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I applaud you for speaking your mind Bamsy, I wanted to say some similar things but ehhh I couldn’t put it into words. It’s just… people aren’t leaving (or thinking of leaving) because we don’t have movie/game nights or things like that, they’re leaving because of more major issues and the fight system is one of them.

Even though personally my characters have pretty much never been in any real fights, I see how some fights go and how they affect people both OOC and IC, and it’s a problem. There’s these multiple month-long fights lately that stall plots to death and mess up characters and relationships and make no IC sense, there’s the fights that are such a mess that they don’t even end properly, and yes I’ve noticed a few characters that always seem to get out of trouble—hopefully not intentional, but it’s possible to take advantage of the super long fights (among other things like inactivity) to “protect” characters.

I can understand not wanting to use a system to decide the whole outcome of the fight, I had my doubts about that when it first came up too, especially if it’s used at the beginning of the fight to decide how it will end, which personally does feel like OOC planning and not really in the spirit of the site, to me, because one of the main points in Horizon is that you never know what will happen in advance. (Though I agree I don’t see how letting the players OOCly decide what happens when they come to a stalemate isn’t OOC planning either, and there’s already a lot of OOC influence in fights the way they are.)

But I think that after a fight has already been going for a while and isn’t going anywhere, that’s when something could be done to help end it, either using a simulator or dice rolls or just having staff judge a winner based on what happened so far, and also having a limit on posts could help. The long fights cause so many problems that I almost wanted to suggest just closing fights after a certain period of time (like how “the chase thread” was ended) or having a limit on how many times you can “partially dodge” attacks (when does anyone ever not dodge a bite to the throat?), and I know both of those would cause other problems and would be kinda lame, but that’s how much I think we need a solution :p


Mar 10, 2018 03:15 AM — Post #12

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198356
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Eden Aekyr Kelly Staff
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Hi again.

Jumping back in to add that part of our discussion regarding the system was that staff did not want to have to be a part of this system. We already have to monitor pretty much every fight thread, and it’s a drain on us wholly. So having something that would likely be forced on us for every fight did not settle well. It’s not that we don’t’ want to help you guys; it’s that the current system, used properly, should be hands off for staff. And we ARE working on clarifying that for you all. Horizon is meant to be a simple site, so adding a complex system that would involve a heavy staff hand just doesn’t line up. I know to a lot of you this probably sounds like a lazy staff move, but you guys don’t see how much we work behind the scenes already, another thing we’re working on making more transparent. Anyway. That’s all!

Best,
Kelly


Mar 10, 2018 04:45 AM — Post #13

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198357
Harlow is currently Inactive. Activate? Inactive
Name Player
Harlow Gail Bamsy
 

I am 0% surprised that fights suck for staff as much as they suck for us.  Making you moderate them doesn’t address why users can’t work them out in the first place, I agree with you there.

Honestly, my fear is that you’re going to make a guide and call the situation handled, and we will have all or most of the same issues that got us here in the first place.  The rules that worked in the beginning may not be a good fit for the user base we have here. 

In the last thread, monthly/bi-monthly staff updates or staff chat was floated, and I think that would benefit both staff and players.  Staff get to show all the shit they’re doing that we wouldn’t know about, and players get to see how the site is developing and ask questions.  You also get to know what players have as their biggest concerns/priorities.


Mar 10, 2018 05:15 AM — Post #14

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198358
Name Player
Eden Aekyr Kelly Staff
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If we make a guide and it doesn’t work for you or for anyone, we will absolutely want your feedback. This is and will probably always be a WIP.


Mar 10, 2018 05:24 AM — Post #15

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