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Dark Immolation
PostPosted: Thu, Dec 12 2019, 19:38 PM 

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Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Location: The downeaster "Alexa"

This had been on my mind for a while. In short, I think we need a better/standardized convention for signaling when a player is open to suggestions or not.

Currently our policy is to not post in request threads that are not your own, unless you are given permission by the poster. This is, to my knowledge, done for the ease of the DMs as to not have to have players who are not involved in the request clutter it up. Empirically, decisions regarding requests do boil down to an agreement between the DM team and the player making the request. So it makes sense to not have to not have to debate with a third party who has no "skin in the game" to speak. But it often benefits players to have outside input many times. A player can of course always PM a peer making a request.

How it often works:

>"Hey, the DMs probably think that your request for a Spell Widget isn't tenable because your PC lacks a caster class. But you're asking for a spell already available from in game items; perhaps try requesting it as an item.
>"Yo, it's not exactly what you requested, but I recall 4 years ago this custom feat/spell was made. Maybe you could request this and save the devs time and yourself some DCs.
>"I think they're more concerned about where a PC like the one you're requesting would 'fit' into the setting. There was a PC run faction that had dealings with these guys a while back. Try using that as a background; using established groups and locations will help manage expectations for both of you."

And that's great. It works, trust me. A lot of times DMs are(often rightfully) slow to suggest alternatives to avoid influencing a player's request. You should--in a perfect world--be asking for something because it fits your roleplay/gameplay and it's what you want. Not because you believe it is what the DM team would want. That's where players who may have experience or insight can give a helping hand. They've got no influence over whether your request is approved or not, so there's little pressure to take a suggestion you don't feel is in line with your goals.

The problems with this method are:

>Sending a suggestion via PM and/or asking to have permission to post are an extra step when the thread is right there.
>A majority of the time when DMs get on people for posting in a request that isn't theirs, the OP just comes in and says it's fine for them to continue posting anyway.
>DMs cannot see these helpful nudges unless they get reposted.
>Often a player commenting was involved in the crafting or development RP and simply wants to vouch for or contribute information, but the OP has not specifically stated for them to comment.

The policy stems from 2014, a time when we were admittedly going through some changes as a server. Before then, request threads were as open as any other for the most part. This is not to say that we should "go back," but that policy often changes to reflect the needs of our playerbase. We've seen it regarding DC sharing, public DC funds, freebie requests, and so on. Maybe after the better half of a decade, it's time to reevaluate if this policy is suiting us as best it can. To be candid, people generally aren't breaking this rule with bad intent or to the OPs detriment and it seems, more often, a sort of prescriptive wrist-slap. We didn't have the rule pre-2014 because we didn't need it. We had the rule post-2014 because we needed it. Now, it may be fair to revisit the need for it.


A humble suggestion re: er... suggestions, in the meanwhile.


Open To Player Suggestion and Open To Player Comment. Two tags that players can use either in the title of their request or in the body of the thread to let both players and DMs know what's up.

OTPS is just what it says on the tin. Open to player suggestions. Not grandstanding. Not speaking against the request. Not railing against current standards for requests or saying "you guys woulda approved this in 201X"(... I'm including this mainly for myself, mind you). But a suggestion. The player has an idea of what they want, but they are open to finagling with it to make it work. A player is therefor invited to make a single(1), concise suggestion regarding the request. I.E. Drow is a good substitute race for representing a Yaun-Ti Pureblood. Here's how their stats compare.

OTPC is a bit more involved. Maybe this is a thread involving an entire faction or party of PCs. Maybe OP is genuinely looking for feedback on their idea from more than just the DM team. In any case, this tag is to signal that the OP is fine with people commenting because they may still be in the earlier stages of formulating a the request. The thread therefore serves as an easier medium to communicate through than endless PMs or Discord where the discussion would have to be screenshotted over or something to be in the record of the request. To that end, comments should still be on topic, concise, and ideally not outnumber the OP's posts. It is still their request, afterall.

Both OTPS and OTPC can be further modified with shorthand to let everyone know what's up. I.E. [OTPC: Riptides], saying hey, anyone from the Riptides is invited to comment here. Or [OTPS: Devs], because you're not familiar with the game engine and what is or isn't possible. The default ruling remains the same: if you see neither OTPS or OTPC in either the title or body of a thread that isn't yours, assume no help is needed. Even so, you still have PMs if you really want to tell the player something and they can always come in and add either tag to the body of the thread later, if they want the help.

You think Magic is your ally... but you merely adopted the Art. He was born in it. Molded by it.
Sometimes, an angel is simply a devil with better intentions.

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