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Old 08-26-2017, 06:55 PM
Zoe Zoe is offline
 
Default Hogwarts RPG Feedback Follow-Up


Hogwarts RPG Feedback Follow-Up
At the end of each term, the staff and I provide every member the opportunity to share their thoughts about an array of topics regarding the Hogwarts RPG. From the plot to lessons to staff performance, we ask that YOUR opinions be shared in a respectful and constructive manner. We all know and understand that not everything about the Hogwarts RPG is perfect (sadly it can't be perfect, but we can certainly strive for it). Nonetheless, it is your feedback that helps us make decisions on what to do in the future and work toward making the experience more enjoyable for everyone on SS.

In the past, the feedback submitted in the Hogwarts RPG member surveys was addressed in a number of ways. Some received individual PMs, on occasion the SSRPG community was addressed as a whole, or suggestions made were simply implemented without there being a huge announcement about it. While the mentioned methods of responding to the feedback provided will continue, from now and in the terms to come, I wish to be consistent with giving all members a response to the feedback that was given, whether you yourself completed the survey or not. This is being done for one primary reason: 100% transparency. It allows me to inform you of what is going on behind-the-scenes; it allows me to explain why things are or are not happening; it allows you to have answers to your questions, concerns, and suggestions; and it allows all of us to be on the same page when it comes to certain topics. In the end know that decisions are being made for the betterment of the Hogwarts RPG with EVERY member -- past, present, and future -- in mind, not just a small group of people.

With that said, this thread will be used as a vessel of communication in regards to the feedback given in the Hogwarts RPG survey and the decisions the staff as a unified team have made based on that feedback and what we have observed in the term prior. Please take note of a few things: 1) there is going to be a lot to read, so read carefully and let the information properly sink in before reacting; 2) posting in response to the feedback follow-up in this thread is not required, but you are welcome to do so if you wish; and 3) though things may change or not be happening this very moment, know that does not mean it will last forever or never happen in the future -- it simply means that now is not the proper time, so simply enjoy and take advantage of what we currently do have.

Should you not want to post in this thread but wish to directly speak with me, the Hogwarts RPG Admin, about what was said in the feedback follow-up, you are welcome to PM me -- my inbox is always open.
Old 08-26-2017, 06:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Term 46 Follow-Up
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I would like to preface this by saying that this was written before we asked you all to submit your surveys. Nevertheless, this update underwent several drafts, each getting longer and longer, in response to the 24 of submissions we received. Thank you to those who sent in feedback!

After speaking with the staff about a variety of topics (mentioned and not mentioned in the surveys) and reviewing individual member surveys, I would like to be transparent with everyone about the changes that will be present in the upcoming term and make some clarifications on how certain matters will be taken care of for the foreseeable future. These changes are happening for a number of reasons. We wish to make a few adjustments based on your feedback; we have noticed a decline in activity and are responding to it accordingly; and we feel that there are some matters that need to be addressed.
Lessons: The staff will continue to host two lessons for their subject areas, though this term we want to try having lessons be open for 10 days at a time -- at most 3-4 lessons will be open at once (this has been the norm for YEARS, just so you know), though this will depend on when they are scheduled and there may be a brief period of 5 lessons being open at once.

In the past, there have been many comments about lessons going too quickly, so we are adding on 3 days to the original 7. This is being done to slow things down a notch and allow everyone to enjoy the lesson and better explore our characters as they progress through the lesson components. The extra time will primarily be used for the parts of the lesson that are worth more points (i.e., when your character isn't answering questions). We encourage characters to ask for help, make mistakes, interact with others, etc. We have extended the number of days so you can be involved and have plenty of time to do so. You are a big part in what makes our lessons successful; without you, there is no point in planning and hosting our lessons.

If activity does not improve in all of the available subjects, then we will try other alternatives that the staff and I considered. If a change needs to be made, then we will adapt accordingly. Either way, please be patient and work with us as any change with lessons need to be done on a trial-and-error basis.

Seminars: A few of you mentioned in your surveys this time around (and last time as well) that you would like to see seminars come back again. In spite of this, I feel that right now our focus needs to be on the actual lessons that the staff work so hard to put together -- this is one reason why they haven't been done for several terms now (other reasons that put an end to seminars and have been keeping them at bay: accusations of "favourites" being picked and drama being caused when certain topics were chosen over others). There are a number of subjects that do not get the love they deserve, especially when a lot of effort is put into them. If we see an increase in lessons across the board, then the staff and I will discuss possibly bringing seminars back in the future. Until then, we hope to see you playing in and enjoying the lessons held throughout the term as well as participating in the plot and interacting with each other through your characters.

Extra-Curriculars: For over a year now, the staff and I have been working very hard behind-the-scenes to bring extra-curricular classes, games/sports, and organisations to the Hogwarts RPG as they are part of the HP and/or SSRPG canon. Because we already work hard on our lessons and activity often fluctuates, it has been decided that we will provide an IC reference of extra-curriculars -- once the school opens, there will be a reference thread that will contain a listing of all the available extra-curriculars and a staff-approved Google Spreadsheet for you to sign your characters up. The purpose of providing this list is simply to provide a listing of who is doing what IC, and from there members can create their own role-play opportunities and interactions in the school. The classes and organisations to be listed on the spreadsheet are not required to meet officially on-site like with subject lessons (Flying will be the exception) unless the staff member "in charge" of that class/organisation wishes to go above and beyond their current duties to provide the additional RP experience.
  • Duelling Club: Based on the turnout in Duelling Club that has been decreasing over the past few terms (i.e. a large number of members signing up for it, though the number of posts in actual duels lacking in general to justify the amount of work put into preparing everything), it has been decided that the duelling tournament and club meetings will not be present in the Hogwarts RPG next term until committed interest in it returns and activity in general increases. For now, the club will remain in the IC extra-curricular reference list.

  • Gobstones: A few terms ago, Gobstones was removed from the school forums. It was noted that few participated in the game and many members did not seem to enjoy it because of the slow trivia aspect and so few people playing it. Since being removed, the game has been under revamp. Though we have a completely revised Gobstones ready for launch that has nothing to do with trivia, we will not be bringing it back this term as we want lessons and the plot to be everyone's focus. For now, the game will remain in the IC extra-curricular reference list.

  • Quidditch: It has been 3 years/10 terms since Quidditch was removed from the SSRPG both IC and OOC. For many terms, a lot of us have wanted Quidditch back IC -- a number of us (myself included) actually pretend it's been back because it makes no sense for Quidditch to be disbanded from Hogwarts for so long because of a threat that was never resolved IC. Quidditch will be on this extra-curricular reference list, but it will not be coming back in the form of an OOC trivia game -- we have not forgotten the drama that was caused over it and are not going down that path again. We know that there are several members out there who will not like this, but a decision has been made and will remain so until something better comes along.

    With the intent of bringing Quidditch back for Term 48, captains and team players will be chosen based on one's activity in the Hogwarts RPG. Captains will be appointed by the Flying instructor and Hogwarts RPG Admin based on activity and maturity in the Hogwarts RPG and across SS in general; the selected member for each House will be responsible for being present IC as the captain -- they will host RPed tryouts, hold at least one RPed team practice, can team up with another captain for a friendly scrimmage/unofficial practice match, etc. If you have further suggestions on captain responsibilities, feel free to PM the Flying instructor AND the Hogwarts RPG Admin.

    Team players will be selected by the Flying instructor and Hogwarts RPG Admin based on the completion of an OOC survey about your character and their interest and experience with Quidditch. From there, they will select who makes the cut based on one's activity in the Hogwarts RPG and what their team position is based on the contents of the survey. This survey will need to be completed each term, within the allotted timeframe given, as team spots are not guaranteed.

    When it comes to who is winning matches and by how many points, the Flying instructor and Hogwarts RPG Admin will use a similar process to the Ministry and how they figure out the Quidditch League standings. Again, this is for IC purposes.
Detention: The Dungeon Five forum used in the past for detentions is no more. Two terms ago, we played with the idea of allowing a member to post their character in other areas of the RP even if they were serving detention because prohibiting someone from participating in other areas of the RP whilst in detention is more of an OOC punishment rather than strictly IC. Now we are going one step further. When a student needs to serve detention for breaking a school rule, the staff member that puts your character in detention will make a personalized thread and scenario for your character (polishing the school trophies, writing I must not tell lies lines, scooping up dung in the creature barn, etc.). We do not want detention to be seen as a bad thing that should be avoided; instead we wish for more RP opportunities to be created through it.

Hogsmeade: Hogsmeade will continue to be open twice throughout the term at the discretion of the Hogwarts RPG Admin. Rather than staying open at one-week intervals, Hogsmeade will now remain open for two OOC weeks at a time with an IC weekend date being posted in the common rooms ahead of time.

From this term until decided otherwise, however, Hogsmeade will be limited to ONLY Hogwarts characters that are played on and off-site (off-site characters need to be listed in your profile) as well as the Hogsmeade shopkeepers. I understand that there will be a number of you that will not like or agree with this, but Hogsmeade is a Hogwarts RPG extension -- the reason why we have a forum for Hogsmeade is because of our students, so we're going back to those roots. Doing so will 1) make it less confusing with everyone playing a student (it was confusing in the past because many people did not update their profile information, which resulted in it being difficult to monitor and differentiate between student vs. graduated/adult characters) and 2) allows for us to easily carry some aspects of the Hogwarts RPG plot over to Hogsmeade if we wish to do so. You can still play your non-Hogwarts characters in Diagon Alley, in the Ministry, and in the Knockturn Alley forum at any time during the term -- those places need your love too.

Inclusiveness: There were a number of complaints concerning inclusiveness last term. Many felt that the spotlight had been put on those that were selected to compete and everyone else was left to their own devices. While I am sorry that some of you felt this way, I would like to point a few things out to you:
  1. A magical competition IS going to spotlight certain characters. That is inevitable and is something we all just need to accept. As for those who were selected, they were chosen based on their activity in the Hogwarts RPG -- we did not pick "favourites" and never will. I am the one who made the IMPS competitor selections, so please retract any "the staff picked their favourites" accusations because they didn't. If you wish to do so, you can express further comments about this directly to me by PM or simply let it go.

  2. Just because you/your character aren't front and centre does not mean there are no other ways for you to be involved in the plot -- the title of the term's plot was Guests from Ilvermorny, not The International Magical Pupil Standoff. This term you were allowed to play an Ilvermorny student (note roughly 50 of you posted a biography, though only a handful actually played the Ilvermorny student regularly); you were able to interact with each other throughout the term, explore both your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny characters through a limitless combination of interactions, react to what was going on, etc. The RP experience is what YOU make of it. The staff doesn't always force things to happen; we wanted YOU to have creative liberties beyond the basic plot that was planned (this past term: the competition and a very subtle thing on the side involving certain professors that purposefully was meant to leave you OOC wondering what was going on as all good story-telling does; we're not done with this narrative arc) and we will continue to do so. If you didn't/don't take advantage of that, then that is your loss.

  3. The staff and I played various Other Character accounts throughout the term (the magical creatures, the ghosts, Peeves, Hogsmeade shopkeepers, etc.). A lot of the time those opportunities are not snagged or quickly died because no follow-up response was given -- I can provide several examples, but I won't because directly calling people out is not the way to go about this. This also applies to members in general; they provide the opportunity for interaction, but that opportunity is not seized for whatever reason. At the end of the day, it is important to realize that this happens ALL of us because we forget, are busy with RL, etc. It is not just a staff thing. The staff also makes conscious efforts to post our professors about outside of lessons, whether they involve crashing your RPs or being left as open posts. Some more than others, but the opportunities are there nonetheless. It is something we are willing to put more effort into if you are willing to take advantage of the opportunities that are being thrown out there.
Two Hogwarts Characters: There is always at least one person each term who suggests allowing everyone to have a second character in the Hogwarts RPG, and it has been considered on numerous occasions as it has been requested for many terms. It has been mentioned that it worked for the Ministry, but it is important to remember that Hogwarts is NOT the Ministry. It works well for the Ministry as employees are placed in one collective user group and do not have a point system to worry about. Logistically for Hogwarts, allowing two students would involve a lot of work when it comes to House user groups and forum permissions, making who's in what House easy for everyone to differentiate, reworking and figuring out how to award House points when a member is playing two students, etc.

Furthermore, last term we played with the secondary character idea by allowing everyone to play an Ilvermorny student. It was observed that, out of the 50-some members that posted a biography for an Ilvermorny student, few played both characters consistently; most members played one over the other the majority of the time because it was difficult keeping up with two characters, they weren't sure what to do with the second character, they lost interest in the other character, people did not claim open posts with their other character, etc. The most significant observation that was made was that interaction with each other did not increase when this temporary second character was allowed. We fear that, at the present time, this pattern would be the same with two Hogwarts characters. With all of this said, we will continue having ONE Hogwarts character played on SS for the foreseeable future.

Extending the Term: Another common request is that the term length be extended. This will not be happening for a number of reasons: 1) extending the length of the term (i.e. slowing down the SSRPG timeline) means extending it throughout all SSRPG areas and is a decision that all three Wizarding World Admins have to agree on -- it is all or nothing; 2) changing the RP timeline means that sortings, placements, etc. will happen less frequently and unsorted members will have to wait longer for these occurrences -- making our new members wait longer for these already limited opportunities is not something we want to do; and 3) activity is low or ends up dropping in places with the terms already lasting for roughly 3.5 months -- it would be a different story entirely if that were the complete opposite.

Twitter Drama: There is and has been a lot of Twitter drama going on, something that is, to be frank, immature and incredibly disappointing. At the end of the day, if you are causing or being involved in drama, then that is your choice and is something only you are responsible for. The staff and I cannot do anything about it, especially when most of the drama is happening through private Twitter character accounts, which ironically consist of primarily OOC comments. Just know that we do hear about it one way or another. If you can't be nice off SS, know that we do take that into consideration when it comes to selecting people to be involved in key components of the plot, when we ask people to join the Hogwarts staff, etc.

My message to those of you that brought it up in your survey and to all members in general is this: ignore the rude or stupid thing someone said and don't get involved. I understand that bullying is not okay, but there isn't much I can do about what you or someone else does on Twitter. Know that you aren't being forced to speak with or follow certain people that you know push your buttons or make you uncomfortable. It is a very simple thing to ignore, unfollow, block, or report someone -- not doing so is your problem. Also, check yourself before pointing fingers at others (many of you, whether or not you mentioned the Twitter drama and the people involved in your survey, are not innocent of the drama that is happening on Twitter either -- most of the time it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black). You being involved in any way isn't making matters any better either. Be the bigger and better person by not getting sucked into the very Mean Girls world that exists there.

Moral of the story here: Just. Be. Nice. Treat others how you want to be treated. You're only hurting yourself by starting and/or being involved in drama.

Complaints: It has become very present to staff and members alike that Twitter and various instant messaging platforms have become a safe haven for a handful of members to complain about what is happening or should be happening in the Hogwarts RPG -- the plot, whether there is enough/too much going on, decisions that were made as a staff team, something that a staff member or non-staff member posted in the RP, etc. The staff and I will NOT be making changes in regards to the Hogwarts RPG based on complaints being made off-site, even though we do hear about it one way or another and know exactly who it is coming from.

If you have something to say that you actually want considered or resolved, then simply mention it in your member survey at the end of each term or, if it cannot wait that long, bring it up directly to the Hogwarts RPG Admin by PM in a respectful way. If a complaint is not brought to our attention in the two ways described, then there is nothing we can or will do about it. End of discussion.

Questions and Concerns: In the event that you have a question or concern about something -- such as wanting general clarification about a lesson/something going on in the plot or questioning a post that may potentially break a site rule -- there is a proper way to go about expressing your question or concern that involves more efficient and accurate results. Sending out your questions or concerns through Twitter, etc. is not the way to go. Your non-staff friends (even ones that were once on staff but are not anymore) don't 100% know the answers and cannot do anything about it whereas a staff member would and are more up-to-date about what's going on and how to take care of things behind-the-scenes.

If you wish to seek clarification for something that a staff member posted in their lesson, please contact that staff member directly by PM (or IM if you know their handle). For questions or concerns about non-lesson/non-subject specific matters, PMing the Hogwarts RPG Admin would be the best course of action. If you come across something in the Hogwarts RPG that (potentially) breaks a site rule, then contact an available staff member and/or the Hogwarts RPG Admin immediately by PM.

Suggestions: If you have suggestions for the Hogwarts RPG, there are many ways in which you can share your ideas with the staff. Whether about a potential plot, the layout of the Hogwarts forums, etc., we can guarantee that you will be listened to (otherwise we wouldn't have provided you with numerous opportunities to do so). If you have something you wish to share, there are sections in the member survey available at the end of every term that would be perfect for communicating your ideas. If you cannot wait that long, you can always directly PM the Hogwarts RPG Admin or even leave a post in the Hogwarts RPG suggestions thread that has been open since 2006. We are not mind readers and are not going to hunt for suggestions on Twitter. There is no excuse why you cannot share your suggestions with all of the opportunities available to you on SS. So, whenever you have a suggestion related to the Hogwarts RPG, simply speak up in the methods described or forever hold your peace.

Be Appreciative: At the end of the day, it is important to be appreciative of what the Hogwarts RPG staff does and what we all currently have in this RP experience. This is not something we get paid to do; this is a volunteer job that requires a lot of time and effort on top of everything else going on in our lives outside of SS. Nevertheless, we do it anyway because it is fun for us and we do it for you. Complaints about how things are or the way things should be, low activity, etc. are discouraging, but we know that it is inevitable. However, it means so much knowing that our efforts are appreciated through your involvement in our lessons and the plot, wanting to RP with us OOC and our staff characters IC, and interacting with others simply for the joy of RPing. There are many things being planned behind-the-scenes that we, specifically to the Hogwarts RPG and throughout all SSRPG areas as a whole, would love to launch, but that relies on activity levels and member attitudes. So, with that said, make the most of everything and have fun with each other.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would like to begin this by showing my appreciation for the creation of this thread. As someone who has felt there wasnít enough transparency within the Hogwarts RPG, I feel like it is a good step forward; hopefully it generates constructive discussions and helps us all improve our experience here. However, a few things about it bothered me. I debated with myself on whether or not to reply but ultimately decided that nothing would be gained in keeping my concerns to myself.

My main issue is, frankly, how the members of the Hogwarts RPG are addressed, not just in the text above but also in multiple circumstances across the site. It reads like a patronising lecture, assigning the blame for the low activity/cutting down on activities solely on the members roleplaying students. I donít get why blame needs to be assigned to anyone or why thinly veiled threats are needed. None of us have fun roleplaying into a vacuum, but there are a number of reasons that can explain why someone didnít post their character at a certain event/place/lesson (which go from real life circumstances to IC explanations). I donít think any of us doubt the work and effort that goes into preparing a lesson/event/plot, but it feels very ironic to be constantly told that we arenít being active enough when the same isnít asked of everyone. Leaders, after all, should lead by example. Itís also not particularly encouraging to see that all criticism to the plot seems to get taken personally. Itís normal for people to get defensive about something theyíve worked hard on, but surely thereís a better response to criticism than basically accusing RPers of confusing plot involvement with their character being in the spotlight.

Then there is the issue of what is and isnít canon in the RPG weíre all a part of. I understand some RPers are of the opinion that details weigh down the RP experience but, while giving RPers room to be creative with their own canon is incredibly important, some things do need to be established for the sake of consistency. This is all a game, but we strive to be as realistic as possible and having a guideline of whatís happening is essential for that realism. Ultimately, it is on the Hogwarts RPG Staff and Admin to tell us what exactly is happening, what exists or what has been disbanded, etc. When I returned to SS, not yet a year ago, I eventually stumbled my way into the Quidditch thread and, ever since, Iíve been operating on the knowledge that Quidditch was gone from Hogwarts -- because thatís the information I could find and there wasnít anything from a Staff member or the Admin (IC or OOC) contradicting that. We are all world-building together, so some discrepancies are to be expected but I was surprised to discover the Hogwarts RPG Admin has been pretending that Quidditch has been back IC without officially stating it somewhere so that the rest of us could follow their lead. Quidditch here is only an example; Iíve seen this over and over in the months Iíve returned, with an array of issues.

Lastly, I agree that things that happen off site donít concern the Hogwarts RPG staff, since their positions exist only on SS. At the same time, Iím confused by the notion that those things donít matter, yet can be used against people at certain times.

These might seem like petty issues but, in my opinion, they are all symptoms of the same thing: a badly-run Hogwarts RPG, that blames members for every single issue crippling the RPG, labels those who speak up as problematic and/or dramatic and discourages activity.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:57 AM   #4 (permalink)


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SPOILER!!: *applause emoji*
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayola View Post
I would like to begin this by showing my appreciation for the creation of this thread. As someone who has felt there wasnít enough transparency within the Hogwarts RPG, I feel like it is a good step forward; hopefully it generates constructive discussions and helps us all improve our experience here. However, a few things about it bothered me. I debated with myself on whether or not to reply but ultimately decided that nothing would be gained in keeping my concerns to myself.

My main issue is, frankly, how the members of the Hogwarts RPG are addressed, not just in the text above but also in multiple circumstances across the site. It reads like a patronising lecture, assigning the blame for the low activity/cutting down on activities solely on the members roleplaying students. I donít get why blame needs to be assigned to anyone or why thinly veiled threats are needed. None of us have fun roleplaying into a vacuum, but there are a number of reasons that can explain why someone didnít post their character at a certain event/place/lesson (which go from real life circumstances to IC explanations). I donít think any of us doubt the work and effort that goes into preparing a lesson/event/plot, but it feels very ironic to be constantly told that we arenít being active enough when the same isnít asked of everyone. Leaders, after all, should lead by example. Itís also not particularly encouraging to see that all criticism to the plot seems to get taken personally. Itís normal for people to get defensive about something theyíve worked hard on, but surely thereís a better response to criticism than basically accusing RPers of confusing plot involvement with their character being in the spotlight.

Then there is the issue of what is and isnít canon in the RPG weíre all a part of. I understand some RPers are of the opinion that details weigh down the RP experience but, while giving RPers room to be creative with their own canon is incredibly important, some things do need to be established for the sake of consistency. This is all a game, but we strive to be as realistic as possible and having a guideline of whatís happening is essential for that realism. Ultimately, it is on the Hogwarts RPG Staff and Admin to tell us what exactly is happening, what exists or what has been disbanded, etc. When I returned to SS, not yet a year ago, I eventually stumbled my way into the Quidditch thread and, ever since, Iíve been operating on the knowledge that Quidditch was gone from Hogwarts -- because thatís the information I could find and there wasnít anything from a Staff member or the Admin (IC or OOC) contradicting that. We are all world-building together, so some discrepancies are to be expected but I was surprised to discover the Hogwarts RPG Admin has been pretending that Quidditch has been back IC without officially stating it somewhere so that the rest of us could follow their lead. Quidditch here is only an example; Iíve seen this over and over in the months Iíve returned, with an array of issues.

Lastly, I agree that things that happen off site donít concern the Hogwarts RPG staff, since their positions exist only on SS. At the same time, Iím confused by the notion that those things donít matter, yet can be used against people at certain times.

These might seem like petty issues but, in my opinion, they are all symptoms of the same thing: a badly-run Hogwarts RPG, that blames members for every single issue crippling the RPG, labels those who speak up as problematic and/or dramatic and discourages activity.


THANK YOU! I've been sitting here since I first read this on Wednesday trying to figure out how to express these very feelings or even if responding would do any good. This isn't the first time I've run into this patronizing type of speech either, mostly from one Admin in specific, which has made it very hard to find any excitement for RPing at all. People do have lives outside of this site and crap happens all the time which might pull one away (for example: themselves/a family member being ill/injured, a change in job/hours, school work pileing up, sleep problems, etc.). It's usually not done with malicious intent nor is it because we not appreciative of the work that goes into a plot. Crap just happens.

The canon thing. It also surprised me to find out that the Hogwarts RPG Admin had been pretending that Quidditch has been back all this time IC without stating it somewhere prominently so that others could as well (and if you're not concerning yourself with our Twitter stuff, then it's only fair that your Twitter isn't counted for this either). And I'm just going to leave this topic there, because everything has been said already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayola View Post
Lastly, I agree that things that happen off site donít concern the Hogwarts RPG staff, since their positions exist only on SS. At the same time, Iím confused by the notion that those things donít matter, yet can be used against people at certain times.

These might seem like petty issues but, in my opinion, they are all symptoms of the same thing: a badly-run Hogwarts RPG, that blames members for every single issue crippling the RPG, labels those who speak up as problematic and/or dramatic and discourages activity.
I've requoted, bolded, and underlined and mentally added SEVERAL applause emojis to this last bit because it's something that I've personally run into a few times. If someone speaks out, it's usually because they are trying to help make things better or help you Admins see an issue/potential issue. And honestly, it's because of this labeling of being problematic/dramatic that has, at points, made me feel quite unwelcome/unwanted in the RP. No person should ever have to feel that way. It actually got to the point to where I was questioning whether I wanted to RP again or not. Sorry to get so personal here but...anyway.

__________________________________________________ _______

Something else too, my mom has this saying 'where there's smoke, there's fire'. Basically what it means is that if a rumor/issue/etc. is brought up many different times by many different people, there's usually some truth to it. So, if you're hearing from a lot of different people that there maybe some favoritism going on, there probably is, whether it's consciously or subconsciously. I know I'm putting myself at risk (again) for being labeled problematic/trying to start something or even getting banned, but I feel that it is something that needs to be said.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
Zoe
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I appreciate your responses. There are some things said that I do agree with, and there are some things that I think need some clarification is needed on my part concerning what I posted above in response to last term's feedback.

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My main issue is, frankly, how the members of the Hogwarts RPG are addressed, not just in the text above but also in multiple circumstances across the site. It reads like a patronising lecture, assigning the blame for the low activity/cutting down on activities solely on the members roleplaying students.
To be fair, this is how the staff are often addressed in the Hogwarts RPG surveys. This does not apply to everyone that submitted a survey, but several of them blamed the staff for the low activity, being the reason why activities are being cut (which is true, but we base it on member activity, overall interest, and other contributing factors), making the wrong decisions with staff selection, plot decisions, how we handled things, etc.

Obviously things go both ways. I know this; I am not perfect. The staff knows this; they are not perfect. Rest assured that the staff gets their own time with me and get a "lecture" on the things I see with them/us and from there we discuss what we need to work on in the future. The issues that we noticed and were brought up to us are discussed in our designated area behind-the-scenes and we move forward from there. We are in the positions we are in and still sticking around because we enjoy what we do and understand that there is room for growth from all of us.

It was not my intent to put the blame entirely on non-staff members. It may only appear like I am because this thread is for the members, to inform you all of what the staff and I see collectively, the decisions that the staff team have made, and what we hope to see from all of you as a result so we can give back.

With some topics, however, it is important to realize that some things happened not because of the staff but because of members (eg: the removal of seminars, Duelling Club, Gobstones, Quidditch). We cannot continue having these things if drama (eg: accusing staff of picking favourites and not doing things the "right" way) and/or a lack of interest (eg: members expressed they weren't into Gobstones; posts in duels declined and left the person managing feeling like their time was wasted on setting things up for the majority who did not show up in the end and let the partner dueller down) is going to be the end result.

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I don’t get [...] why thinly veiled threats are needed.
These "threats" that you alluded to are not threats. They are reality, and we are simply being completely transparent and communicating that with you all. There were a number of lessons last term that we had to pull teeth to get responses. It is difficult to run lessons when the response is limited. It is discouraging to put in a lot of time into planning our lessons, only to receive minimal participation. Duelling Club and Gobstones are not enjoyable running if proper participation is lacking. If the right amount of interest isn't there, then we are wasting out efforts to run those things until we know interest is back to where it originally was and many are ready to be committed participants again. It is something that the staff thinks about often, and we are thinking about alternative options should we need to adjust accordingly.

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None of us have fun roleplaying into a vacuum, but there are a number of reasons that can explain why someone didn’t post their character at a certain event/place/lesson (which go from real life circumstances to IC explanations).
In no way was I intending to accuse anyone for not being active because of legitimate OOC or IC reasons. I was not intending to point figures at people who had real life to deal with or having IC reasons for not participating in a certain event/place/lesson -- the staff and I go through this as well. Nonetheless, there were periods in the term when activity died down drastically (it's been a pattern for a number of terms now). There were a number of people that did not play their Ilvermorny students. Activity in lessons isn't at its prime for many subject areas. These are just general observations that were taken into consideration while making the decisions we made as a team.

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I don’t think any of us doubt the work and effort that goes into preparing a lesson/event/plot, but it feels very ironic to be constantly told that we aren’t being active enough when the same isn’t asked of everyone. Leaders, after all, should lead by example.
For the most part (and I do keep tabs on this as a Hogwarts RPG Admin), the staff are active and do lead by example. There are many ways for the staff to show that they are active. They can be present in the Hogwarts RPG and do behind-the-scenes work. I can see the mod logs; I know who's doing what on SS; I can confirm that the staff team is doing their job.

There were also a number of staff that did lead by example last term. They posted around with their professors. They posted around with red accounts. They posted around with their Ilvermorny students. The posts are there. Overall, I am pleased with our activity last term, even amidst all of the things that came up with many of us outside of SS and then with all of the moving parts we had to take care of behind-the-scenes.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. We know that. Each term we make it a goal to improve overall on our interaction. We have done this for the upcoming term and will in the terms to come so long you guys are sticking around with us and are going all #carpediem on the opportunities we make available.

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It’s normal for people to get defensive about something they’ve worked hard on, but surely there’s a better response to criticism than basically accusing RPers of confusing plot involvement with their character being in the spotlight.
I will be honest here, the staff and I are very proud about the plots we work on. We spend numerous hours planning it all out and executing it. We have fun doing it and feel that we do a fair job at it and that we're improving with each term. We can take criticism to the plots we run. The only time we get defensive is when people present their dislike of something in a way that is patronising and gives off the vibe that we failed miserably at what we did and shouldn't be in the positions we are in because other ways of doing things were "overlooked" or "not how I would have done it if I were in your shoes."

There may be some confusion here, but the "accusing RPers of confusing plot involvement with their character being in the spotlight" is not coming 100% from the staff. It was literally stated in a number of members surveys that they felt the plot revolved around certain characters, that they were left wondering how they were supposed to even be involved, and that staff provided minimal interaction opportunities. The inclusiveness section was clumped together and written in response to those specific survey comments -- some mentioned one of those, others mentioned all three areas, etc. In a nutshell, there was an event serving as a device in a more open-ended plot where you guys were, more or less, the driving force in what happened outside of the competition (relying on interactions with each other) while something else subtly happened on the side to purposefully stir some confusion/old-school theorizing.

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Then there is the issue of what is and isn’t canon in the RPG we’re all a part of. I understand some RPers are of the opinion that details weigh down the RP experience but, while giving RPers room to be creative with their own canon is incredibly important, some things do need to be established for the sake of consistency. This is all a game, but we strive to be as realistic as possible and having a guideline of what’s happening is essential for that realism. Ultimately, it is on the Hogwarts RPG Staff and Admin to tell us what exactly is happening, what exists or what has been disbanded, etc.
This is something I agree with 100%. When we decided to let you all have the option of playing an Ilvermorny student in the Hogwarts RPG, we knew that there would be a lot of questions about Ilvermorny and its status in the 2090's. We took those questions and suggestions brought up to us on site into account and included those world-building details here. This is one of a few examples that I can provide, but I can vouch for how this type of process was incredibly smooth and those that came to me with the questions/suggestions were taken into account. Should moments like that happen in the future, this process is the way to go as it properly formalises and brings consistency to our RP universe. There are a million ideas out there, but some do clash with others so a decision has to be made and things finalised when it matters. We also encourage members to make stuff part of our canon on site, add to admin/staff-approved/controlled spreadsheets (like the extra-curricular spreadsheet that will be available to you all soon), and even make pages on the SSRPG Wiki, as that is where we, in my opinion, should be pooling our major canon components from because they are approved and acknowledged as SnitchSeeker's HP canon.

On a similar train of thought when it comes to communication, there is also a reason why in the final sections above it has been asked that complaints, questions, and suggestions be directed to the appropriate people in a respectful manner through specific mediums. Furthermore, we understand that there are sometimes inconsistencies in relaying information -- both from the staff and member perspective. Sometimes staff members relay the wrong information or aren't specific enough. Sometimes non-staff members relay the wrong information or aren't specific enough. We are hoping that addressing the correct people on site about any complaints, questions, suggestions, etc. on site will bring forth more consistency and accuracy with responses.

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When I returned to SS, not yet a year ago, I eventually stumbled my way into the Quidditch thread and, ever since, I’ve been operating on the knowledge that Quidditch was gone from Hogwarts -- because that’s the information I could find and there wasn’t anything from a Staff member or the Admin (IC or OOC) contradicting that. We are all world-building together, so some discrepancies are to be expected but I was surprised to discover the Hogwarts RPG Admin has been pretending that Quidditch has been back IC without officially stating it somewhere so that the rest of us could follow their lead.
In regards to Quidditch, the whole thing about me and others pretending that Quidditch has been around Hogwarts has just been a private ordeal and is what pushed us toward finding a solution to the lack of Quidditch on site ever since I officially took over the Hogwarts RPG only a few terms ago. Before talk about Quidditch had been at a stalemate for the longest time. The stalemate is over, and we came up with a solution and are now ready to share it publicly. It also needs to be understood that the leadership torch had been passed around a few times since Quidditch was disbanded and that we all had different visions for the Hogwarts RPG. So something is being done about Quidditch now. It took a lot of time to talk it over and flesh the basics out, but it is finally happening.

To me and others, it made no sense for Quidditch to not be present at Hogwarts after 10 IC years because of a threat that was never resolved IC when it would have a long time ago in theory. To me and others, it made no sense for literally the most popular game in the wizarding world to still not be played at Hogwarts after so many years yet be present everywhere else. These thoughts have been around (it's even been in a number of member surveys in the past) but were not addressed at all IC because this was behind-the-scenes OOC talk. We didn't want to say it was officially back until we had a solution in place for it that wasn't "so-and-so just says what team wins and we don't bother with captains/teams" but rather one that involved member interaction in some way. The point of mentioning Quidditch above was to share this with you all and inform you of how it will look in the future.

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Lastly, I agree that things that happen off site don’t concern the Hogwarts RPG staff, since their positions exist only on SS. At the same time, I’m confused by the notion that those things don’t matter, yet can be used against people at certain times.
As you said above, leaders need to lead by example. We cannot allow people to be leaders in the Hogwarts RPG if they themselves cannot act appropriately on or off SS -- this is imbedded in the site rules and has been since before I started off as a member here. Actions off SS speak volumes about a person and how they will treat certain people on site (even if it isn't as extreme/obvious on SS as it is off site). There are only two times when off-site actions can be used against them: when certain site rules are broken (eg: public/private harassment on site; public harassment off site) and when it comes to being hired as a staff member.

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These might seem like petty issues but, in my opinion, they are all symptoms of the same thing: a badly-run Hogwarts RPG, that blames members for every single issue crippling the RPG, labels those who speak up as problematic and/or dramatic and discourages activity.
Constructive, respectful feedback is always welcome regardless of how anyone feels. There may be some things going on that you and others might not like, but in general decisions are being made with all members in mind. Some things are on a trial-and-error process. Nothing is set in stone forever, but current decisions are being made based on member feedback through the surveys, our own observations, etc. Our goal as a staff is the think of the masses and what will reasonably work in the current state of things on SS.

Not once did I label those who spoke up about last term on site as problematic or dramatic as long as those speaking up did so respectfully. Twitter/other social platforms, however, is a different matter entirely. It is very evident that there are a number of problematic and dramatic people there, and there are many who will agree on this. Speaking up is very different from pushing peoples' buttons or making them feel uncomfortable, attacked, bullied, etc. The screenshots that are sent to me show that, more often than not, there are people who start the drama and others that only add fuel to the fire.

Activity is also not being discouraged. A big message here is that changes are being made because we want everyone to be as active as possible. We're seeing in the upcoming term how extending our lesson timeframe will work for that reason and to accommodate for those who can't be on SS all the time, among other things. We're changing how we do our detentions so people with mischievous characters can have that RP opportunity. We will be posting our professors and red accounts to interact with you all. We're also providing the extra-curricular list to provide that avenue for member interaction between professors and students alike across the board. We have and always encourage people to interact with friends as well as people they wouldn't play with normally.

I do not believe that these are petty issues. They may be smaller than some matters, but they all add up in the end and are important. Again, I invite anyone to share their opinions to me in this thread or privately by PM. In order for us all to do better, we have to be upfront about everything in a respectful manner rather than holding things back and work with the solutions that are made.

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(and if you're not concerning yourself with our Twitter stuff, then it's only fair that your Twitter isn't counted for this either).
I only have one Twitter account, my personal one. Feel free to search through it. It is public, and there isn't much going on there. I don't have any character accounts on Twitter as that just isn't my thing and the things I see going on there are solidifying my decision to not jump on the Twitter character account bandwagon. Twitter is a great tool to interact with each other. The problem with it occurs when people cause trouble or act like they're in charge when they really aren't.

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Basically what it means is that if a rumor/issue/etc. is brought up many different times by many different people, there's usually some truth to it. So, if you're hearing from a lot of different people that there maybe some favoritism going on, there probably is, whether it's consciously or subconsciously.
I don't know about others, but I can speak about what I do when a rumour, issue, etc. is brought up. Whenever something goes down, I do ask multiple people who were involved with what was going on because their are multiple perspectives to consider. Eventually all sides and options overlap, revealing the root of the conflict. From there I make a conscious decision based on the things that do add up from what those involved share with me. Just because certain people say the same thing doesn't mean that it is necessarily. That can only be verified if every single person is saying the same thing. When there are differing viewpoints/opinions, a silver lining has to be found.

As for favouritism, I cannot speak to the past. Regardless, I support the decisions made by those before me who selected members to do certain things for the Hogwarts RPG -- they had their reasons. As for the terms I've been the Hogwarts RPG Admin and, more specifically, the last term, there are only a handful of members that have brought favourtism up (the same ones who always bring it up). I am still waiting on the evidence that proves favourites are being picked when it it has been consistently stated that members, most of whom I rarely talk to on a regular basis, were chosen based on their activity.

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I know I'm putting myself at risk (again) for being labeled problematic/trying to start something or even getting banned, but I feel that it is something that needs to be said.
You did not put yourself at risk. Your feelings were expressed respectfully, which doesn't equate to being labelled a certain way or being a reason for banning.
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Last edited by Zoe; 08-31-2017 at 09:04 AM. Reason: It's late. Please forgive me for typos and awkward wording.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:26 AM   #6 (permalink)


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This is a very interesting thread. I didn't know there was drama happening on Twitter, but that's probably because Kitty only follows two other characters there. Though I have been on many different websites, and Snitchseeker has definitely been the nicest one I've ever been a member of. On other sites I've witnessed people being insulted in the most evil ways possible, and I've also been insulted and occasionally have even been on the receiving end of death threats. So it's nice to see the contrast Snitshceeker has, where we are much respectful with one another. Personally I don't have any complaints, but it's nice to see that even when there are disagreements (or Twitter drama) it can be addressed peacefully and we still like each other.

Last edited by Goblinfrog; 09-01-2017 at 04:31 AM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:58 AM   #7 (permalink)


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welp... i just wanted to say that Zoe's post didnt come across to me as a "lecture". i guess in my work its standard to have memos like these, where talking points are addressed methodically and in a most comprehensive manner that doesnt turn into a novel (believe me i've had to make those from time to time and its NOT easy to balance length with completeness ). im just HIGHLY appreciative that some of the most common issues are addressed and not ignored or swept under the rug. true, some of the response to those issues werent exactly good news, but i believe these are just challenges that we should continue to find good, working solutions for, just as it is for anything in life.

thank you for this Zoe and Staffers. i hope the mixed response doesnt put you off to making these regularly. its very important, keeps everyone on the same page
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:16 AM   #8 (permalink)

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Hello! I thought I'd just throw my two cents into this discussion for what it's worth. I'm generally silent when it comes to OOC discussions and whatnot but I'd like to my express my opinion too. It's interesting to see a variety of opinions already in the thread. And to mention Goblinfrog above, I agree that it's very nice to see a forum for such a discussion to be held. To Steelesheen's point, I also didn't think it was a lecture but that just be my way of interpreting the text. Sheesh. Sometimes its SO difficult to understand what people are saying in words-- I think it's a lot easier to talk it out in person but maybe that's just me

I think to run and participate in an RPG you need to have patience, time, willingness to try new things (even if they are scary), and a lot of creativity... like a LOT of creativity. We are a community of people who love Harry Potter, enjoy creative writing, and exploring the magical Wizarding World. We all come from a variety backgrounds yet we share this common passion which is AMAZING. I think the SSRPG community is truly a magical place.

I agree with Crayola's point that this feedback thread is a great stepping stone. It's an awesome step in shaping the SSRPG further and I'd like to thank the Moderators and Admins not only for their hard work (it TAKES a lot to run an RPG- I tried to run one before with a couple others on another site but it just took a lot out of me) but also for bringing up some important issues to discuss that haven't been discussed over the course of the past few terms. I'd also like to thank the members who were willing to share their opinions in this thread (and those who may not have). I almost didn't share my opinion to be honest but I decided at the last minute basically-- why not! While I'm sad to see some things change, I think it will honestly be for the best (though I am an eternal optimist after all) and if we can continue such a discussion (such as this one) up throughout the next few terms, then I think that'd be awesome and help keep everyone in the loop

I'm excited for the upcoming term and for many more terms!
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
Zoe
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it's nice to see that even when there are disagreements (or Twitter drama) it can be addressed peacefully and we still like each other.
Indeed. We all can have our own opinions, and sometimes we may have to agree to disagree. Regardless of what happens by the end of the day, decisions have to be made and we all can help be part of the solution no matter what.

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welp... i just wanted to say that Zoe's post didnt come across to me as a "lecture". i guess in my work its standard to have memos like these, where talking points are addressed methodically and in a most comprehensive manner that doesnt turn into a novel (believe me i've had to make those from time to time and its NOT easy to balance length with completeness )
#PREACH

There's a reason why my initial post underwent so many drafts. It is difficult trying to explain things fully without it being a hundred pages long. I did my best to keep it short while still saying what all needed to be said.

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im just HIGHLY appreciative that some of the most common issues are addressed and not ignored or swept under the rug. true, some of the response to those issues werent exactly good news, but i believe these are just challenges that we should continue to find good, working solutions for, just as it is for anything in life.
This is exactly why this thread is now here. We all (whether we will admit it or not) that these issues are present. We all want to fix that. This thread just gets the discussion going and also provides a way to communicate with all of you about what's going on with the Hogwarts RPG in a translucent manner that doesn't leave anyone in the dark or feeling that feedback given in the past was ignored.

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I also didn't think it was a lecture but that just be my way of interpreting the text
Thank you for saying this because it is very true. Sometimes text just doesn't translate. Had I recorded this, my tone definitely would not have been like a parent reprimanding a small child. It simply would have had that "here's what's been said; here's what we've noticed; and here's what we're going to go about it" vibe.

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I think to run and participate in an RPG you need to have patience, time, willingness to try new things (even if they are scary), and a lot of creativity... like a LOT of creativity.
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While I'm sad to see some things change, I think it will honestly be for the best
This right here says it all! Change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean things will be like that forever. Some things just aren't working right now, and we just need to accept and adapt accordingly until we can bring some of those things back.

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I'd also like to thank the members who were willing to share their opinions in this thread (and those who may not have). I almost didn't share my opinion to be honest but I decided at the last minute basically-- why not!
I also appreciate the responses that I've received thus far, either in this thread or by PM. A lot of PMs have come my way (for various reasons), and I am so appreciative of the passion that is imbedded in the responses I have received thus far and that the discussions taking place are being done respectfully and with ALL members at heart. Please keep this up and share your voice, whether that happens here or in our inboxes.

Thank you for your support!
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:46 AM   #10 (permalink)



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I originally wanted to reply to this thread when it was first posted but got too busy at the time. I DO highly appreciate the fact that this thread exists however (and have been "lobbying" for its existence for a while now) so thank you for that. By now, other people said most of the things that I wanted to say and so eventually I felt like I'd just be repeating what other people had said which was why I was hesitant to post until now. But there is something that's been rubbing me the wrong way and I didn't want to just leave it uncommented.

As you've pointed out, Zoe, you took your time and drafted and redrafted your post (and I can only assume your reply/replies as well) to make sure it said what you wanted to say. Now, that some people have interpreted it as condescending (and others haven't) may have a great variety of reasons (including prior conversations and other context). I'm not here to comment on other people's feelings on the matter and neither should anybody else because these feelings are personal and should thus be respected and acknowledged.

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In no way was I intending to accuse anyone for not being active because of legitimate OOC or IC reasons.
This comment however is something that I couldn't just leave like this. Like I said in the beginning i can only assume that you've thought about your wording beforehand and therefore have CHOSEN to put the word "legitimate" in there. This is not your place. This implies that their are reasons why people haven't been rping on site that are not legitimate. Again, this is not your place to judge. These reasons may range from real life obligations (like Carla has mentioned) to simply...not feeling like rping. This is still a valid reason. And the fact that you felt the need to add "legitimate" means that you've thought of reasons that you deem are not "legitimate". AGAIN, this is not your place.

I understand that it might be frustrating for staffers (both in school and elsewhere around the site) if they put a lot of effort into something and then to have activity be low/non-existent. I understand this 100%. Which is why I also understand if those in charge of these activities might decide that it's not worth the effort anymore (such as Dueling etc.). This might be sad and disappointing for those who were STILL playing/enjoyed being active but I completely understand and it's the staffer's choice to organize something or stop organizing it. I also appreciate the work staffers put into plots/lessons/other activities/etc. I do. But making people feel bad for not posting is NOT the way to go. There are multiple reasons why people aren't as active on site as they used to be. And it's nobody's place to judge why someone else is not playing on site.

So please, refrain from differentiating between "legitimate" and not legitimate reasons why someone isn't rping on site. That is up to each and everyone of us to decide and while those reasons might be frustrating for other people they are still legitimate. This shouldn't be an obligation. This should be fun. And right now, with implications (and I would almost call it guilt-tripping occasionally) such as this, it is simply not.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
This comment however is something that I couldn't just leave like this. Like I said in the beginning i can only assume that you've thought about your wording beforehand and therefore have CHOSEN to put the word "legitimate" in there. This is not your place. This implies that their are reasons why people haven't been rping on site that are not legitimate. Again, this is not your place to judge. These reasons may range from real life obligations (like Carla has mentioned) to simply...not feeling like rping. This is still a valid reason. And the fact that you felt the need to add "legitimate" means that you've thought of reasons that you deem are not "legitimate". AGAIN, this is not your place.

I understand that it might be frustrating for staffers (both in school and elsewhere around the site) if they put a lot of effort into something and then to have activity be low/non-existent. I understand this 100%. Which is why I also understand if those in charge of these activities might decide that it's not worth the effort anymore (such as Dueling etc.). This might be sad and disappointing for those who were STILL playing/enjoyed being active but I completely understand and it's the staffer's choice to organize something or stop organizing it. I also appreciate the work staffers put into plots/lessons/other activities/etc. I do. But making people feel bad for not posting is NOT the way to go. There are multiple reasons why people aren't as active on site as they used to be. And it's nobody's place to judge why someone else is not playing on site.

So please, refrain from differentiating between "legitimate" and not legitimate reasons why someone isn't rping on site. That is up to each and everyone of us to decide and while those reasons might be frustrating for other people they are still legitimate. This shouldn't be an obligation. This should be fun. And right now, with implications (and I would almost call it guilt-tripping occasionally) such as this, it is simply not.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I totally understand what you are saying and value your contribution to this discussion. And, because of what was said, I would like to clarify and clear a few things up.

In no way was I implying that I had made a choice about what was or was not a valid reason for not posting or participating -- I have not done so, nor will I. Using "legitimate" probably wasn't the best choice of wordage, but the implications made about me because of that usage are not accurate. From my perspective, if you have a reason for not posting/participating/whatever, no matter what it is, it is legitimate to me. So, please do not assume I've made a decision about what is/isn't legitimate when I most certainly have not. I am not here to judge the reasons why people post/don't post on SS. It also is not my goal to make people feel bad about not posting or guilt-trip anyone. Everyone has a reason for not posting today, tomorrow, a month from now, etc., whether it comes down to a RL matter, IC explanation, etc.

I am, though, trying to relay the message that some things do end up being cut (such as Duelling Club, since you highlighted that one -- if anyone is curious as to why that is on hold at the moment, simply look at how interest was when it was started terms ago and last term) because of a lack of posts and/or interest -- this is a RP experience that, at the end of the day, does rely on that while also balancing it out with the element of fun. We simply cannot keep on running all of the extra things if interest in it is not there. Believe me: the staff greatly enjoys going above and beyond and working with what we get. However, when the turnout we hope for isn't there, it sometimes can make certain things difficult to run and leaves us sometimes wondering if the work we put into it was even worth the effort and time. Call it guilt-tripping if you want, but that is the reality for us on our end. It is valid for us to make cuts/put things on a temporary hold. It allows us to reflect on what isn't working as desired/think of ways to trouble-shoot/improve while we put time and effort toward something else (our plots, lessons, and general interactions). As I said, the things that have been/end up being cut doesn't mean it will be gone forever; we're just waiting interest in certain extras to return again and/or are discussing/finding solutions before we give what was cut another try.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:05 PM   #12 (permalink)



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I totally understand what you are saying and value your contribution to this discussion. And, because of what was said, I would like to clarify and clear a few things up.

In no way was I implying that I had made a choice about what was or was not a valid reason for not posting or participating -- I have not done so, nor will I. Using "legitimate" probably wasn't the best choice of wordage, but the implications made about me because of that usage are not accurate. From my perspective, if you have a reason for not posting/participating/whatever, no matter what it is, it is legitimate to me. So, please do not assume I've made a decision about what is/isn't legitimate when I most certainly have not. I am not here to judge the reasons why people post/don't post on SS. It also is not my goal to make people feel bad about not posting or guilt-trip anyone. Everyone has a reason for not posting today, tomorrow, a month from now, etc., whether it comes down to a RL matter, IC explanation, etc.

I am, though, trying to relay the message that some things do end up being cut (such as Duelling Club, since you highlighted that one -- if anyone is curious as to why that is on hold at the moment, simply look at how interest was when it was started terms ago and last term) because of a lack of posts and/or interest -- this is a RP experience that, at the end of the day, does rely on that while also balancing it out with the element of fun. We simply cannot keep on running all of the extra things if interest in it is not there. Believe me: the staff greatly enjoys going above and beyond and working with what we get. However, when the turnout we hope for isn't there, it sometimes can make certain things difficult to run and leaves us sometimes wondering if the work we put into it was even worth the effort and time. Call it guilt-tripping if you want, but that is the reality for us on our end. It is valid for us to make cuts/put things on a temporary hold. It allows us to reflect on what isn't working as desired/think of ways to trouble-shoot/improve while we put time and effort toward something else (our plots, lessons, and general interactions). As I said, the things that have been/end up being cut doesn't mean it will be gone forever; we're just waiting interest in certain extras to return again and/or are discussing/finding solutions before we give what was cut another try.
Thank you for replying and elaborating. I was merely posting to say that the word "legitimate" made me uneasy and wanted to explain why. When you say, you didn't put it there on purpose and, hence, any associations or assumptions on your thought processes I made are wrong, I believe you. I'm glad you apparently see what the issue with the word was though and it was, in my opinion, easy to make said assumptions. I'm glad to hear they were wrong.

To clarify, my post was 100% about the issue of saying "legitimate reasons". Like I said, I completely understand that staffers - as disappointing as that may be for some of us - decide not to offer certain things anymore (again, such as the Dueling Club) due to lack of activity. When you don't feel like it's a) appreciated and b) the effort you put into it isn't really leading anywhere then I completely understand this. Hopefully, putting them on hold/not offering them for a term or two means that people are trying to come up with a way to INCREASE activity again, i.e. make people want to post and participate in said activities. Because clearly right now (again, e.g. the Dueling Club) does not work the way it was set up and isn't getting enough rpers to actively want to participate. ALSO to stay with the Dueling Club example, I truly understand how frustrating it is for people to be signing up for something (or to agree to take on certain responsibilities on site) and then basically not keep up their end by not posting/participating. This isn't fair to anyone, I agree with you there.

So essentially what I wanted to clarify here is that I did NOT mean to imply that saying "we had to cancel/put on hold this and that activity due to the low number of active participants" is guilt-tripping at all. That's just a decision and a reason for said decision. While disappointing maybe I'm sure the reason is understandable for everyone even if they might not agree with it.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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To be fair, this is how the staff are often addressed in the Hogwarts RPG surveys
Hi everyone reading this. First off, I want to apologize in advance if my tone comes across as being patronizing. For the staff & admin’s reading this I want to let you know that this, the tone I am striving for is not of a lecturing or patronizing manor. I am simply trying to be as clear and to the point as I can be. Which, honestly is a bit of an issue for me as I tend to be long winded in both my manor of speech and writing.

Now I’m going to address some of Zoe’s original points first.

Lessons |
While I do find that the extended time could be helpful for lessons as a whole I don’t feel like this will be a cure-all for declining activity in lessons. The extra time while good won’t (in my opinion) fix the overwhelming feeling when classes end up scheduled at the same time. This is something I know sometimes cannot be helped however I do feel that the lessons could become overwhelming with the added aspects of events, hogsmeade weekends, and scheduled events/timelines that drop at the same time.

I do understand and completely support that you and the current staff are working on a trial-and-error basis with the activity issues with classes. I feel this is a good path to go with and wish you all the best.

Seminars |
I completely understand the fact that seminars are a touchy subject. While they were fun I do see where you are coming from with people feeling that the subjects were based on favoritism. As a former seminar-host understand that it comes with a lot of work and feel the favoritism and topic subject idea could be worked with in a sort of fair way?

SPOILER!!: seminar idea

The idea:
  • Have a forum/topic set up like that of gobstones with moderator approved posts - so only the admins and mods can see the seminar ideas submitted.
  • Use a poll system later in the same thread so people can vote on the topics for the seminars alone and only on the completion of the seminar poll are the people who came up with the topic revealed (ect) this could remove favoritism as it would only be topic based. Similar to how with the WWoHP graphics competition things are typically art-based and not favoritism based.



Extra-Curricular(s) |

I feel partially responsible for the decline in dueling club as I had been quite busy this summer with rl work (dog sitting). Anyhow, I want to say ahead of time that this was an entirely fun club sand I loved every minute of it and commend Kita for all of the work she has done with it.

Detention |

I love this idea and I feel like this will bring so many new opportunities with this and I welcome them wholeheartedly.

Hogsmeade |

Two weeks *_______* seriously, I am loving this and I completely support the idea of limiting this area to students and off-site characters that are listed in profiles. This was at times confusing to me in the past and I feel this clarification would be a good thing.

Inclusiveness |

I never felt that my characters and myself not being in the “spotlight” made the rp less inclusive. Inclusiveness to me isn’t about being the center of attention in the plots – I personally at times didn’t interact with certain plot points last term because of previous discussions with what was being planned while I was still on staff. I felt like myself knowing things could be seen as unfair by others even though they didn’t know that I knew (its neurotic I know, but I wanted others to have the opportunity to react before I did). I do find that the confusion with the visiting students idea and the IMPS competition can be understood. Many people (myself included) simply didn’t have the time to really actively play my other character – this however, was more because her voice died off of me halfway through the term.

Open posts in general can be a problem as people can be hurt when they are not taken for various reasons.

I also want to say like Steele, I never felt that this was meant in any way was a “lecture”.

I want to again, clarify that everything I have said above and that was stated in my survey is simply done with a tone that is meant to come off as "clean and precise" as possible and not with a patronizing tone.
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Old 12-22-2017, 05:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Before the term came to an end and the member survey was available to you all, the staff and I spent some time discussing a variety of topics concerning the Hogwarts RPG. Like we have done in the past, what we would like to do was detailed out and we would adjust anything based on the feedback provided to us. At this time, before diving right in, I would like to thank the 14 of you who submitted the survey. Many of our decisions were finalised because of your thoughts.
Lessons: Once again, the staff and I discussed lessons and how we do them. This last term we added on a few days to our lessons, but found that keeping up with them when there were more than four lessons opened at once could be quite difficult. We also took note that we cannot do lessons the same way anymore with activity not being what it once was. In response to this, staff members will now have the following options to select from (some options with limited spots) before a new term begins:
  • Option 1: The staff member will host two standard lessons on their own. (Up to 20 points can be earned in each standard lesson.)
  • Option 2: The staff member will host one standard lesson on their own in addition to a joint lesson with another staff member. (Up to 20 points can be earned in both the standard and joint lessons.)
  • Option 3: The staff member will host one standard lesson on their own and design a “long-term” assignment that connects to the lesson. (Up to 20 points can be earned in both the standard and the “long term” assignment.)
  • Option 4: The staff member will host one standard lesson on their own and encourage an interaction opportunity through one of the extra-curricular classes/organisations via group meeting, field trip, etc. (Up to 20 points can be earned in the standard lesson, and points can be earned during the extra-curricular meeting depending on what is done IC.)
Ultimately, having these options will decrease the amount of lessons; however, they will add some flavour to the Hogwarts RPG and provide a little bit of everything (lessons, assignments, extra-curriculars, etc.) without it being too much to keep up on.

Furthermore, staff will have some leeway with how long their lessons will run. Standard lessons can run between 8-10 days, whereas joint lessons can run between 8-14 days. How long a lesson lasts will be up to staff discretion.

The maximum amount of lessons that should be opened at a time has changed from four to three. There may be some overlap as we schedule lessons around what is going on in our RL, but we will, as we always have, try our best to stick to the maximum limit.

Forum Layout: When asked about getting a new forum layout for the Hogwarts RPG, the results of the member surveys were 50-50. When discussing the layout with just the staff before the survey was open, the majority wanted to have a new layout. Based on what was said as staff and the results of the member survey, the Hogwarts RPG will be looking a little different in the upcoming term. We know that it is going to be a huge adjustment to make (especially for us dinosaurs, lol) and that there will be a number of people who will not like it, but all we ask is that everyone give it a try and regroup after the upcoming term.

Common Rooms: When asked about allowing common rooms to be viewable by all Houses (though still only House members can post in their respective common room), the results in the member survey were also 50-50. When discussing this with the staff, a fair amount wanted common rooms to be viewable to all and a few were indifferent. Based on this, all common rooms will be viewable to all next term for OOC purposes; if your character is a Gryffindor, IC they still would not know what’s going on in the Hufflepuff common room unless a Hufflepuff told them IC. If you are not a supporter of being able to see all of the common rooms, then simply pretend the other common room forums are not there.

OWLs/NEWTs: When asked about OWL/NEWT exams on site, the majority of those who took the survey said no, but some made the comment that maybe they could be done in a different way. In the end, the staff team needs extra things like this to be done as simply as it possibly can. We realized that many just make up their own scores for their characters and the small amount of members who did take OWLs/NEWTs did not justify the amount of time and effort we put into them. At the moment, we will not be managing OWLs/NEWTs the way they are currently being handled. Nevertheless, we are looking into options that will allow you to take the exams at your own leisure and give you the results the moment you finish the exam (something similar to a Buzzfeed quiz) -- the less moving parts for us, the better. If you know of any ways we can do this, please PM me.

Quidditch: Quidditch is coming back this term! While it is great seeing the old captain badges (for those of us who have been here long enough), please know that this is NOT the Quidditch of the past. We will be doing Quidditch very differently. It is not a speed-race trivia game, but rather an additional layer of IC interaction to the Hogwarts RPG. In short, here is the rundown:
  1. The Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will select captains before the beginning of each term.
  2. When the Hogwarts RPG opens, tryouts will begin (these will last roughly 14-20 days). Threads for each House will be provided for those who have characters who are interested in joining the team (this is ONLY for characters played on the site). Within this thread are:
    • A 10-question survey that you are to complete about your character.
    • An IC tryout to be played with guidance from the House captain.
  3. After the time for tryouts has come to an end, the Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will select which characters make the team and what position they have. Any spots that are empty will be filled in with NPCs; we will NOT be filling in spots with the names of characters who are not played on SS.
  4. Each House will have an opportunity for one IC practice with their teammates. This practice will be led by the House captain and will last roughly 2 weeks. The Quidditch Pitch thread will be utilized for this practice, and others who wish to watch (or spy) can view the practice in The Stands thread.
  5. Throughout the term, the Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will be determining the results of Quidditch matches for IC purposes. We will be using the same process the Ministry uses to determine who wins and loses the League matches (a combination of coin tosses and usage of a random number generator).
Overall, Quidditch is on a trail-and-error grace period. This process is as new to us as it is to you, so we are all in this together. We will be looking at what is/isn’t working and improve as time goes on.

Activity: In several of the surveys, it was mentioned that activity from the staff was low or we were not as involved as we should have been this past term. I would like to apologise for this, but also gently remind everyone that we also have our moments when RL takes over and that this time of the year takes us all for a spin. I was not overly concerned about this as most staff members still fulfilled their staff duties and everyone, staff or not, had to pull away from SS to some capacity. Regardless, a new year and a new term is upon us and we are ready to go!

Interaction: Stemming off of the activity bit, I wanted to briefly discuss interaction with each other. It was brought up to me that, overall, some would like to see less “this post is for X” and more open role-plays (mostly because it is more inviting, especially for those who aren’t as comfortable crashing role-plays or are new). While I know we all want to have a grand old time role-playing with our friends, we, both staff and non-staff, need to also remember that the role-play is also for us to interact with those we normally don’t on the regular. With that said, let’s all make it a goal to go bananas with playing with those we normally don’t in the upcoming term or snag an open post whenever we see one – who knows what will come of it! ;]
If there are any questions or concerns, please, as always, feel free to post in this thread or privately PM me.
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Last edited by Zoe; 12-22-2017 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:25 PM   #15 (permalink)

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There are just two I'd like to have a comment with, but not really a question..


Quote:
Activity: In several of the surveys, it was mentioned that activity from the staff was low or we were not as involved as we should have been this past term. I would like to apologise for this, but also gently remind everyone that we also have our moments when RL takes over and that this time of the year takes us all for a spin. I was not overly concerned about this as most staff members still fulfilled their staff duties and everyone, staff or not, had to pull away from SS to some capacity. Regardless, a new year and a new term is upon us and we are ready to go!
I'm glad you brought this up because I think many on both sides do have to remember that, but also anywhere on SS member, staff, DH, DA, anyone that RL can happen to anyone. I know I personally have been discouraged a lot lately on the lack of activity and being on an end of planning things you start to feel not sure if it's even worth the effort, but we all have to remember that RL can get busy, but before anyone says this person or that isn't around enough we should really look at ourselves and say are we around enough, am I myself doing what I can to help this activity issue.


Quote:
Interaction: Stemming off of the activity bit, I wanted to briefly discuss interaction with each other. It was brought up to me that, overall, some would like to see less “this post is for X” and more open role-plays (mostly because it is more inviting, especially for those who aren’t as comfortable crashing role-plays or are new). While I know we all want to have a grand old time role-playing with our friends, we, both staff and non-staff, need to also remember that the role-play is also for us to interact with those we normally don’t on the regular. With that said, let’s all make it a goal to go bananas with playing with those we normally don’t in the upcoming term or snag an open post whenever we see one – who knows what will come of it! ;]
I truly do love this idea and hope many take this on. I will RP with anyone who wants to RP with me, but in the past and I know I'm not the only one will put open RP's everywhere for anyone to grab and no one does, so it just lays there empty and you feel like no one really does want to play with you or your not important enough, so it sometimes is easier to ask in the school chat or just ask one of your friends to play. That being said I do love this and hope everyone does try it. Plus if you do see someone says anyone in their title please doesn't do the next post as anyone too, I see that more times than just a specific name. Then you get two or three saying anyone and no one taking each other.

I think it will be interesting to see Quidditch back and see how that works as well as viewing all common rooms, though that isn't anything new since we have had that in the past before. I'll admit I was one of the dinosaurs that said a big no to changing the school forum, so I'll be interested in how that goes too.

Thank you, staff and Zoe, for all you do at the school to continue everything and working on making things fun for us.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi Zoe, appreciate the transparency and your feedback. There's just one thing I'd like to comment on and I want to preface by saying that I am in no way trying to start anything or trying to be argumentative because I really do appreciate the work that you and the rest of the staff do. Instead, I would like like to address something so that it can be kept in mind when these issues are being addressed in the future. Because I 100% am on your side and WANT to see this place continue to blossom and thrive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
Activity: In several of the surveys, it was mentioned that activity from the staff was low or we were not as involved as we should have been this past term. I would like to apologise for this, but also gently remind everyone that we also have our moments when RL takes over and that this time of the year takes us all for a spin. I was not overly concerned about this as most staff members still fulfilled their staff duties and everyone, staff or not, had to pull away from SS to some capacity. Regardless, a new year and a new term is upon us and we are ready to go!
I believe that I was one of those that commented on lack of activity seen from staff. While I do agree with your sentiment entirely (everyone has a life outside of SS and as SS is meant for FUN, it shouldn't be the number one priority), it feels as though these same sentiments are not kept consistent when addressing student members and that is what bothered me.

Personally, I believe that if we are holding this standard for one group, then it should be something we keep in mind with every group. And I while this time of the year is rough for many (I agree with you), we should be keeping all of these sentiments in mind for EVERY time of the year, as often circumstances fall out of our control. And everyone is allowed to do whatever they need, whether that means leaving, taking a break, or opposite that.

My main point here being that if we are being understanding of staff (as we should be), we should also be understanding of everyone else. And I'm not going to point fingers and say that the environment has been intentionally hostile regarding this matter, but there have been several instances where I have personally (as SS user and individual, ArianaBlack) felt like I've had a finger wagged at me. It may be more effective for us all (students and staff) to encourage activity, rather than discourage lack of it. And I would really appreciate it if in the future, we can try to keep all of this in mind. Whether or not anything has been said in the past with the intention of discouraging a particular behavior (because again, intentions are never truly understood from the outside), now that we are aware that it can come off this way let's just try to be intentional with the way we address each other and come from a place of compassion and empathy for everyone. Which I'm sure is something you and the rest of staff agree with, but just for the sake of formality I wanted to put this out there to make sure that we can all be on the same page at the end of the day.

And personally, I think that if we can all come together to agree to move forward with empathy for all, then more people will feel encouraged to be active in the first place. two fwoopers, one stone
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Old 12-23-2017, 10:51 AM   #17 (permalink)


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Quote:
Common Rooms: When asked about allowing common rooms to be viewable by all Houses (though still only House members can post in their respective common room), the results in the member survey were also 50-50. When discussing this with the staff, a fair amount wanted common rooms to be viewable to all and a few were indifferent. Based on this, all common rooms will be viewable to all next term for OOC purposes; if your character is a Gryffindor, IC they still would not know whatís going on in the Hufflepuff common room unless a Hufflepuff told them IC. If you are not a supporter of being able to see all of the common rooms, then simply pretend the other common room forums are not there.
I really like that all of the Common Rooms will be visible. I think that it will aid in plotlines and general interaction.

Quote:
Quidditch: Quidditch is coming back this term! While it is great seeing the old captain badges (for those of us who have been here long enough), please know that this is NOT the Quidditch of the past. We will be doing Quidditch very differently. It is not a speed-race trivia game, but rather an additional layer of IC interaction to the Hogwarts RPG. In short, here is the rundown:
  1. The Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will select captains before the beginning of each term.
  2. When the Hogwarts RPG opens, tryouts will begin (these will last roughly 14-20 days). Threads for each House will be provided for those who have characters who are interested in joining the team (this is ONLY for characters played on the site). Within this thread are:
    • A 10-question survey that you are to complete about your character.
    • An IC tryout to be played with guidance from the House captain.
  3. After the time for tryouts has come to an end, the Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will select which characters make the team and what position they have. Any spots that are empty will be filled in with NPCs; we will NOT be filling in spots with the names of characters who are not played on SS.
  4. Each House will have an opportunity for one IC practice with their teammates. This practice will be led by the House captain and will last roughly 2 weeks. The Quidditch Pitch thread will be utilized for this practice, and others who wish to watch (or spy) can view the practice in The Stands thread.
  5. Throughout the term, the Hogwarts RPG Admin and the Flying instructor will be determining the results of Quidditch matches for IC purposes. We will be using the same process the Ministry uses to determine who wins and loses the League matches (a combination of coin tosses and usage of a random number generator).
Overall, Quidditch is on a trail-and-error grace period. This process is as new to us as it is to you, so we are all in this together. We will be looking at what is/isnít working and improve as time goes on.

Having never been involved in a Hogwarts term while Quidditch was been played, I'm thrilled about this news. I love the whole tryout quiz idea. I look forward to hopefully being involved however possible.

Quote:
Interaction: Stemming off of the activity bit, I wanted to briefly discuss interaction with each other. It was brought up to me that, overall, some would like to see less ďthis post is for XĒ and more open role-plays (mostly because it is more inviting, especially for those who arenít as comfortable crashing role-plays or are new). While I know we all want to have a grand old time role-playing with our friends, we, both staff and non-staff, need to also remember that the role-play is also for us to interact with those we normally donít on the regular. With that said, letís all make it a goal to go bananas with playing with those we normally donít in the upcoming term or snag an open post whenever we see one Ė who knows what will come of it! ;
I am determined to have my charrie interact with those from every house. Daisy is going to go through a bit of a character change. I plan to focus on the fun of the RPG, not the task of doing lessons which I think has caused me some issues in the past.
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Old 12-24-2017, 02:35 AM   #18 (permalink)



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Originally Posted by ArianaBlack View Post
Hi Zoe, appreciate the transparency and your feedback. There's just one thing I'd like to comment on and I want to preface by saying that I am in no way trying to start anything or trying to be argumentative because I really do appreciate the work that you and the rest of the staff do. Instead, I would like like to address something so that it can be kept in mind when these issues are being addressed in the future. Because I 100% am on your side and WANT to see this place continue to blossom and thrive.


I believe that I was one of those that commented on lack of activity seen from staff. While I do agree with your sentiment entirely (everyone has a life outside of SS and as SS is meant for FUN, it shouldn't be the number one priority), it feels as though these same sentiments are not kept consistent when addressing student members and that is what bothered me.

Personally, I believe that if we are holding this standard for one group, then it should be something we keep in mind with every group. And I while this time of the year is rough for many (I agree with you), we should be keeping all of these sentiments in mind for EVERY time of the year, as often circumstances fall out of our control. And everyone is allowed to do whatever they need, whether that means leaving, taking a break, or opposite that.

My main point here being that if we are being understanding of staff (as we should be), we should also be understanding of everyone else. And I'm not going to point fingers and say that the environment has been intentionally hostile regarding this matter, but there have been several instances where I have personally (as SS user and individual, ArianaBlack) felt like I've had a finger wagged at me. It may be more effective for us all (students and staff) to encourage activity, rather than discourage lack of it. And I would really appreciate it if in the future, we can try to keep all of this in mind. Whether or not anything has been said in the past with the intention of discouraging a particular behavior (because again, intentions are never truly understood from the outside), now that we are aware that it can come off this way let's just try to be intentional with the way we address each other and come from a place of compassion and empathy for everyone. Which I'm sure is something you and the rest of staff agree with, but just for the sake of formality I wanted to put this out there to make sure that we can all be on the same page at the end of the day.

And personally, I think that if we can all come together to agree to move forward with empathy for all, then more people will feel encouraged to be active in the first place. two fwoopers, one stone
I just want to second all of what she has said here. She brings up a really good point and I agree with her 100%.

Second, thank you for all the work you are putting into the RP. I know it must be hard. SS isn't what it used to be and it has to change with the times. You're doing a great job and I think it's great that you are being open to suggestions and to our ideas. It's one thing to ask the staff members, but it's another to ask the whole site and it's great that you did.
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