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Mass Debating

Day 1,849, 11:34 by Blue And Evil


One topic of conversation amongst congress members this term - arguably, the biggest topic - is what is the best method for communication en masse within parliament.

That’s right, we’re debating about debating. What a world.

The current MoLA, Sage Goku, has been focusing exclusively on setting up debates for parliament via in-game mass messages. This is something I tried to organise myself two months ago when I was in his shoes as MoLA. It didn’t succeed back then, partly because I didn’t have a plan for it, partly because of the limitations of such messages (which I discuss below) and partly because there were quite a few people who made a point of making things more difficult than they need to be - a trait we still see today, and I fear may forever remain in this game. But that’s a depressing thought, so lets not press it.



However, Goku has learnt from my mistakes, and come up with a better system, better organised and better at bringing information to our congress members in-game, which should always be the first point of contact for communication with our players. And for announcements and summaries, the mass message system is great, however when it gets used for debates, the system runs into that infamous wall called Game Engine Limitations.

A mass message can only be sent to 30 people, which is where we hit the first obstacle, since we have 40 congress members. Add to this the Country President and Ministers who all have their input and advice to offer, the number approaches 50, so you can’t have a discussion between the whole of congress in-game. As such, congress is split in half, and since the initial split of congress members was along party lines (although as of this evening this is no longer the case) there was never any chance for real discussion as the “Them and Us” camps were kept mostly to themselves.

As well as this, they’re a pain to navigate. The biggest discussion mass mail this term reached 75 replies in 3 days, which when you open it simply becomes a wall of text, and finding one specific message for reference becomes near impossible. Speaking of reference, these discussions don’t get saved for future parliaments, where seeing what your predecessors were thinking when they came to their decisions can be an invaluable tool.

And finally, there’s the issue of spam, which we were all subject to when Kamoris decided to make a lot of noise about his terribad war plans. When other methods of discussion are used, moderators can easilly remove the offending posts, and even the offender if needs dictate.



This is where external forums, like the eUK forums come in. When a discussion takes place on a forum, it has no limits on how many people can join in. When a discussion takes place on a forum, posts are easily sorted and paged, and if you want to find a specific post, there’s a search function for that, instead of rooting through your inbox. When a discussion takes place on a forum, spammers can be removed, for great justice.

I love the fact we now have a quick and easy method for getting information out to our congress members in game, and I thank Sage Goku for the work he’s put in to provide and maintain it. However, when the same system is used for discussion, it hits the limitations of the system pretty fast, and we shouldn’t be limiting ourselves to just one form of communication when better ones exist for the task.

We should use all the tools available to us.

~Blue And Evil
Congress Member who just wants to make his own job easier.
 

Comments

Mr Sherlock Holmes
Mr Sherlock Holmes Day 1,849, 11:42

Nice article! Voted!

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 11:55

In game messages has closly related positives and negatives which I will list in the following comments.

You are not mentioning any of the negatives for forums, so this article is biased.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 11:56

1)
Postive: All Congressmen Reached
Negative: Some choose to Boycott.

As this system continues less Congressmen will boycott it, they are only hurting themselves and their own party.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 11:57

2)
Negative: Have to split Congress in two
Postive: Less messages to read, Congressmen have to write better arguments when can be more easily cross posted.

We will start to see the quality of debate and cros posting increase as congressmen adjust which will increase the positives and decrease the negatives aspects.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 11:58

3)
Negative: Public can't see the debate until I compile it into a googledoc
Positive: Congressmen will start to take more discussion into Articles which reach newbies fast and make the game look more active.

We will see more and more in game articles disucssion policy to overcome this barrier, which is only good for the game.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 12:02

There are more but basically every + has a - , as we use this more the - will get less bothersome and the + will get even better.

It may be that congressmen say to me in a week or two: "Look It's not working". If a majority do then we will look at forums again - nothing wrong with trying something new, testing it and reaching a conclusion either way. We need more of this kind of behaviour imo.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 12:05

However you can see that I am being fair here and posting both sides of the argument and what I think will happen. I'm making changes based on what I see and what people raise as problems, only today I mixed the groups up based on feedback.

There is no negoation like this with the Kumnaa Forums so I don't see a future for it in it's current form. 90% of Congressmen are reached by my messages but far less than that choose to use the forums, 42% is an estimate I've seen for next month.

Blue And Evil
Blue And Evil Day 1,849, 12:05

It's not biased, it's my opinion.

If congress members are boycotting the forums, it's their own fault for not engaging in discussion, not anyone else's. Personally, I'd never vote for congress candidates who never engage, and I'd encourage others not to do so either, but since congress elections are sadly now a contest of party size, it's not really feasible to pick and chose your congress members anymore

Blue And Evil
Blue And Evil Day 1,849, 12:08

The same principles of a need for quality debate also apply to forum based debates, and always have.

Some people (like my good self) usually write articles anyway. Again, this stems form a better time when we supported people, not parties.

I agree, forums are not perfect, but in my opinion they are better than using a mass message, for the reasons I outlined above.

BigAnt
BigAnt Day 1,849, 12:09

50% of TUP congress are boycotting the in game congress mail....

The in game method has been a roaring success so far, its actually gone a lot better then I first thought.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 12:10

No, we have citizens banned from the forums and others scared to contribute in case the same happens to them. This goes for Congress too.

I've been elected (PP and Minister via BigAnt) I have a mandate. I am accountable to BigAnt and Congress (via Impeach) and the people (via Elections).

The people running the forums are not elected or accountable yet they choose what is and isn't acceptable to debate and who can or can't say certain things.

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 12:11

If this discussion was held ont he forums about the forums, it would have been locked and you banned for backseat moderating.

I like seeing articles like this so I'll stay in game thank you!

Bohemond4
Bohemond4 Day 1,849, 12:43

Goku, people are afraid because of scaremongering tactics led by a few members of certain political parties,

WayneKerr
WayneKerr Day 1,849, 12:46

'scaremongering tactics led by a few members of certain political parties'

oh the irony...

Alfagrem
Alfagrem Day 1,849, 12:52

The funny part is that he probably doesn't recognise why it's ironic!

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,849, 12:55

You can't know that with your join date Bohemond4, things used to be alot worse there.

The lack of forum activity started before I came back - with UKPP. They didn't get banned but got enough locked threads and warnings to stay away and make their own froums.

People make their own choices and only last month a Congressman got banned for reporting a racist + homophobicmoderator. You can't belive that 2 people have caused this.

Alfagrem
Alfagrem Day 1,849, 12:56

As one of the 80-90% who don't use the forums........I thank B&E for his article.

Whilst it's only a week in, it hs been refreshing to see our elected ministers reaching out to the community at large to make their points.

Dr Hugh Jardon
Dr Hugh Jardon Day 1,849, 13:00

'scaremongering tactics led by a few members of certain political parties'

oh the irony...

x2

Frerk
Frerk Day 1,849, 13:42

Say what you wish, I'm just glad some people still give their honest opinion without trying to score political points.

lancer450
lancer450 Day 1,849, 14:56

Voted. There are obviously some drawbacks & I tend to agree that we should be using all of the tools at our disposal, however, given all that I've heard about Sage Goku's success, I'd say that this is the best thing to do atm. There might be a few negatives, but overall I like the idea of bringing more things in-game.

Cont...

lancer450
lancer450 Day 1,849, 14:57

Cont... BTW Much of the negatives would cease to exists if Plato & his cohorts actually tried to do something to improve game play (e.g. Make it so that you can send pm's to 50 people or so).

Alphabethis
Alphabethis Day 1,849, 15:02

ok, I'm with BigAnt, he's a sensible man... I think forums are inevitable for congress discussion, as a matter of fact that was the only part unmoderated, I think. I imagine crossposting messages and it must be the hell on earth. On the other hand announcements and the like are good in game. There's yet another alternative that is using newspapers for discussions, for OPEN discussions, and leaving the closed ones for crossposting or even the forums.

Alphabethis
Alphabethis Day 1,849, 15:04

BlueAndEvil, I did mean.

Alphabethis
Alphabethis Day 1,849, 15:05

consider the idea of public discussions being held as COMMENT OF ARTICLES and the article itself would be the description of the issue to be debated. That would work.

Alphabethis
Alphabethis Day 1,849, 15:12

Of course, you can't have banned congressmen, that's a principle. I guess there's no good solution. Try the newspaper thing,...

Danie Fox
Danie Fox Day 1,849, 16:30

People aren't using the forums because they don't want to be banned from them? What circular logic.

You haven't included me in the latest congress message either, I guess that's what happens when you make a PP the sole moderator. Then again, I guess that means that I'm one of the 98% of the population of the UK who can't post in them.

Dr Hugh Jardon
Dr Hugh Jardon Day 1,849, 20:32

If congress members are boycotting the forums, it's their own fault for not engaging in discussion, not anyone else's. -

Surely that applies to the Congress mass messages as well? You get a PM notification, you click on it and it takes you to the first unread message...how hard is that? Yes some spam (deserving of a forum ban in your twisted opinion) but what do you do when you get New Alerts? Panic? Scream? No you click, briefly look or ignore them...

Dr Hugh Jardon
Dr Hugh Jardon Day 1,849, 20:34

Fact of the matter you cant attack those that choose not to use the forums as an extension of the game then want to ignore mass messaging which are used HAND IN HAND AS WELL AS the forums as...an extension of the game. Debate has not ended on the forums, people still use them but whats wrong with allowing them to participate via PM's in game AS WELL?

Lord Lewis Cromwell
Lord Lewis Cromwell Day 1,850, 23:51

Can't we just use everything and stop dicking about?

There's like one person actually "banned" from the forums and no matter what's said mass PM's are a hideous abomination when compared side-by-side with a simple forum thread for discussion. Moderation seems to be the only thing anyone's complained about and even that's a bit out of proportion, likewise it's so convenient to just log into eRep and see a message if there's something important to discuss. We should use tools not be them!

lancer450
lancer450 Day 1,850, 00:28

We should use tools not be them! x2

Commander Dapper
Commander Dapper Day 1,850, 02:15

The forums are run by the old guard and are used for bitching take a real look and it the same group of maybe 10-15 people that write on there only really TUP some ESO and a few old old UKRP players, no one new really join that forum and if they do they don't take part after seeing the trolling and the whole ethos of the forum members , for real change we need new forums and new ops in eUK, these people have no god divine right to control any of these medias which they do right now ,

Commander Dapper
Commander Dapper Day 1,850, 02:16

This is the problem and until these people are removed the eUK will carry on the same old way , maybe it time to start a petition to remove these people as I know many people are not happy with how they act !

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,850, 05:48

It's LCC!

Lord Lewis Cromwell
Lord Lewis Cromwell Day 1,850, 10:15

Hi!

Don, man, you seem to have been heavily indoctrinated into that view - essentially what you're saying is you don't like someone/few in a community so instead of becoming more involved and making a difference, you just want to kill, move or divide. This course of action and logic will repeat itself forever, fix nothing and leave you bitter. It's your choice but I know who would ultimately be happier between you and I.

Alfagrem
Alfagrem Day 1,850, 15:57

>"....you don't like someone/few in a community"

and then you get some congressmembers from some parties refusing to take part in the new system because they don't want to have the MoLA on their friends list!

Lord Lewis Cromwell
Lord Lewis Cromwell Day 1,850, 21:45

Aye Alfa, it's a bit petty - not denying that at all. It's a balanced comparison where on one hand people don't want to take part in discussions on the forums because of X moderating, and on the other people don't want to take part in discussion in PM's because of Y "friend". Both clauses can equally and easily be dropped by both sides for wider acceptance of all methods for a massively functional national team.

lancer450
lancer450 Day 1,850, 22:57

Hmmmm I just said the title of this article out loud and realised it sounds exactly like I'm saying "masturb@ting." : P

Goku Jones
Goku Jones Day 1,851, 00:18

LLC I think that having an icon on a list accessed from your profile which nobody ever looks at is a bit different to someone being able to stop your discussions and stop you from discussing?

 
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