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Jazeki

Transparency in DC

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Permission from @LadyLyzar was granted for this thread as long as we keep it civil.

 

 

As we have seen within the past few days (and with previous holidays/large site changes/other recent events), transparency in DC is a concern among users. As such, this topic is for solutions to the issue that are a little more in-depth than asking TJ to tell us stuff.  Since this is meant to be a suggestion topic, general discussion of transparency should probably be relegated to another thread in site discussion. (Feel free to make one and I will link it here.)


Edit as per TJ: 

Quote

 

I guess while I'm here I should also caution: This thread should not become "Sweetling Discussion 2.0." I understand the other thread was closed before all of the pent-up steam has been vented, but straying too far off topic is going to distract from actual discussion about improving communication in DC on mutliple-fronts.

 

 

 

 

 

(I'll update the OP as needed.)

 

The following is a list of things that users think would help (in no particular order):

  • State of the Cave/frequent update or newsletter on potential changes, etc.
  • cave wide polls or surveys
  • more communication from TJ with users/more input into site threads
  • more communication between TJ and mods
  • addition of more mods/global mods/site coders/mediator between TJ and users
  • advance warning about changes-mostly big changes (not itty bitty updates)
  • less deletion of posts/censorship
  • more openness about the site
  • more power to mods
  • more communication from mods 
  • extended communication within threads after TJ "vetoes" a suggestion/topic instead of sudden closures
  • 2-week feedback after the implementation of a change
  • mods compiling a list of suggested changes for TJ to review, which result in him weighing in on the topic
  • tell people in advance/request feedback about sprite changes
  • have a mod (s)/designated person look over news posts to make sure that TJ is as clear as possible
  • TJ adding more details to avoid sounding so "technical"
  • have additional work delegated to mods instead of just falling on TJ
  • more openness between mods and users about the site
  • more communication about suggestions/requests that have been around for years
  • team work
  • having TJ be clear about why he makes certain decisions
  • mutual respect between staff and regular users
  • valuing the userbase's opinion
  • less exclusivity
  •  users being aware if the decision is supported/denied/opposed by the spriter
  • a common ground and  forthright discussion concerning sprite changes(drastic or small updates), breeding mechanics (limiting or changes).

 

 

Quick links to all of TJ's replies for those who are interested:

 

Regarding art on DC:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jazeki

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I'll try to be as well-spoken as I can be.

 

I think there needs to be better communication between TJ and the users. Someone mentioned State of the Cave in the other thread. Anything like that, where maybe once a month TJ responds to the most popular suggestions on the site, and runs any potential changes by users before he implements them, would be helpful?

It is clear by what has gone down the last few days, that nobody was notified beforehand about what was to happen- and when it was received negatively, it was mostly reverted. It would save both his time, and drama, if there was a newsletter, or forum thread, or just general update notices where he ran possible changes by the community before doing anything.

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I have always thought that Dragon Cave needed a better form of communication with its users. We all know that many people who play Dragon Cave do not use the forums so that means that any form of discussion formed only on the forums would not reach all users. I believe one way Dragon Cave could be more transparent with accessing a much broader range of opinions than just that of people who use the forums would be a Dragon Cave wide poll or survey. This could be accessed like events for Valentines, Halloween, and Christmas, where there is an evident banner or notice that explains what it is, such as a survey asking for one's opinion on improvements DC could make, any comments the user has, etc. To make these notices not annoying the banner would leave if you did not want to partake in the 'survey/discussion' or after you had finished it.

 

In short, the site of DC could be used to gain a much broader perspective on people's opinions and decisions than what the forum does.

 

I also strongly belive that TJ should communicate with people more than just the occasional News post. Why not a general newsletter, or even asking before making extreme changes (i.e the Sweetling alt drama) before doing something. Why not get the opinion of your users on your site about certain issues?

Edited by Dorchet

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My thoughts on the issue:

Transparency is needed as we have had numerous instances of "drama" that could have been avoided if TJ had just told us why a decision was made or explained that certain things were meant to be limited (like upside down mints) or that spriters had other plans for dragons (like blue solstices or mistletoes or hollies being reworked).

 

Some possible solutions:

 

-Return of state of the cave news posts  on a monthly or bi-monthly basis where TJ informs us of major changes or things he is considering. (We have them. They existed.)

 

-The addition of more mods or more transparency between mods/admins/artists and regular users beyond warnings or stepping in only when things get out of hand, which tends to happen. I also made a topic that was met with "I don't know how much I can share" and there it sits. Please make it clear what can and cannot be shared in terms of site changes. 

 

-More user interaction. We used to have polls and TJ occasionally makes suggestion threads to check user interest. I know they're meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but anything that reaches out to users on the site and the forums is better than nothing. 

 

-Advance warning of changes involving limited sprites. It was frustrating when the prizes suddenly disappeared and the forum exploded when solstices turned blue. If you are in talks about a known sprite change, please tell us before the day that it happens. You can do it after all of the dragons grow up.

 

-Please don't just delete things. I would have liked it better if all of the civil transparency posts had been moved to their own thread (instead of me needing to ask and then finally make this one).

 

-Maybe a specific thread where TJ posts about weekly updates or something. 

 

And that's all I have for right now. 

 

 

 

Edited by Jazeki

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I agree fully. I have always found issue with the fact that there is so little interaction of TJ with his userbase and the mods here with people. I know one can only have so much time to talk with people on the forums and site, but why not be a little more open to talking with your userbase on both TJ and the mods side? I'm sure one can step in to a forum discussion and discuss with the people of the forum more openly. I see most mod interactions has delayed reactions to situations instead of actions before something gets to out of hand. 

 

I just would like to see more openness with the users and the mods/TJ about this site. Let us know stuff, please?

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I have seen so many threads like the most recent one where the players were asking, begging even pleading for some input from TJ that he never responded to. Some of them went on for a long time with no response or resolution.

 

I "know" that in some ways TJ's view of the game differs from some of the players'. In game things like inbreeding, CB vs multi-gen or messy lineages and others are not a thing - those things are forum based perceptions, and not shared even by all on the forum, but in some ways they can influence those of us on the forums even when we don't personally care about them.

 

For some things that we really want input from TJ on, it would be so helpful and even comforting if he would just make a comment. Even if the comment were just "Because I said so!" would be more helpful than the way it is now. When we want something and feel we may have worked out all the kinks or come up with all possible manners of introducing changes for him to at least say "Never gonna happen" or "It's interesting...gonna think about it." or just anything to let us know we aren't shouting into a black hole would go a long way to smoothing ruffled feathers and make things run smoother, at least from my perspective.

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I very, very much would like some sort of 'state of dragoncave' monthly or bi-monthly update. On another site I'm on the staff sends out a monthly 'state of' email explaining any new features and anything big that's currently in development. I definitely think that would be a wonderful addition to DC.

 

The on-site polls... While I get that that could be a way to get non-forum members' opinions heard, in the past when TJ *has* tried on-site polls they really weren't very successful in general. I can't remember the exact circumstances because it's been so long, but I do remember that they weren't really helping the way some thought they would. 

 

I *very* much agree with Jazeki's 'please don't just delete things'. It's very concerning, and a little insulting honestly, when posts just totally up and disappear. It feels way too much like blatant censorship rather then an attempt to keep things civil. If a post is 100% harassment or against site rules or whatever, go in and *delete content*, not the entire post. I see that done sometimes, when mods will edit a user's post to take out a link to an egg or something, so that's definitely something that's possible. 

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I do have to agree with this. This whole Sweetling fiasco didn't affect me in any way, but it could've been handled so much better if TJ would have just said why, or at the very least warned us in advance.

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7 minutes ago, Jazeki said:

-The addition of more mods or more transparency between mods/admins/artists and regular users beyond warnings or stepping in only when things get out of hand, which tends to happen. I also made a topic that was met with "I don't know how much I can share" and there it sits. Please make it clear what can and cannot be shared in terms of site changes. 

 

I've mentioned this in other threads, but since I don't feel like digging through the search tool I'll reiterate here that the addition of more mods is on our radar and being actively discussed. Even though we mods are privy to information members aren't, we're also bound by what we can share. The most we can do is say "we can't talk about this" which only adds to the lack of transparency that people feel. I'm open to discussing what we're allowed to say if that will help with this, but it's not something I can decide unilaterally.

 

5 minutes ago, Dorchet said:

I agree fully. I have always found issue with the fact that there is so little interaction of TJ with his userbase and the mods here with people. I know one can only have so much time to talk with people on the forums and site, but why not be a little more open to talking with your userbase on both TJ and the mods side? I'm sure one can step in to a forum discussion and discuss with the people of the forum more openly. I see most mod interactions has delayed reactions to situations instead of actions before something gets to out of hand. 

 

I just would like to see more openness with the users and the mods/TJ about this site. Let us know stuff, please?

 

want there to be more communication between the mods and members, what else can I/we do? Besides our Ask A Mod threads, which don't get much traffic, and posting in threads what would you like to see? 

 

Much of this transparency will have to come from TJ himself, as well. Mods can only do so much, and more mods won't solve that problem.

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1 minute ago, purpledragonclaw said:

 

I've mentioned this in other threads, but since I don't feel like digging through the search tool I'll reiterate here that the addition of more mods is on our radar and being actively discussed. Even though we mods are privy to information members aren't, we're also bound by what we can share. The most we can do is say "we can't talk about this" which only adds to the lack of transparency that people feel. I'm open to discussing what we're allowed to say if that will help with this, but it's not something I can decide unilaterally.

 

Thank you for weighing in. In my eyes, this is a general suggestion thread for mods/admins/TJ. I do think a lot of it falls on TJ, but it would be great if we had a sticky or something that lets us know ahead of time where the line is drawn between what is able to be shared and what isn't. As I said in my other post that got deleted, you guys don't have to share every little thing. Just keep us in the loop. :) 

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I believe that maybe, if mods had the ability to, that an improvement in the discussion between users and mods could be a little more open. I am much more of a stalker on the forums for the many years I have used Dragon cave and, in those times, I have noticed many times that mods will close a topic and leave a somewhat vague reasoning to the topics closure or deletion. I think that maybe, instead of deleting a thread or closing it so suddenly and leaving a vague-ish reasoning, maybe the mods could leave a little more a discussion to what the issue with the thread is for people to understand why these actions are taken? Maybe mods would be willing to give a more understandable reason to closing a topic (or editing posts in the topic) by discussing their reasonings/beliefs politely on the thread, or even joining in the discussion before measures have to be taken against the thread and those that commented on it. 

 

I think what I am trying to say is, would mods be willing to discuss with people on threads before having to take dire actions such as warning points, closing the topic or post deletion, about the issues they see with the way the thread is headed before it gets to a point where a mod will close the thread and delete posts. Why delete posts when a mod could edit bits of it instead? I do not like censorship and complete post deletion is censorship in a sense and more often than not (from what I have observed) angers the people in the thread more than a simple edit or more often input from a mod would.

 

And thanks for adding in purpledragonclaw! Sorry about the long post though, I'm not the best at getting my point across, lol.

Edited by Dorchet

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The complete post deletion is censorship, considering that many of the deleted posts were at least partially on topic... which has actually happen before, iirc.

 

 

I don't think a forum-only solution would solve the problem, considering how few users actually use the forums, but it would at least be better than what we have now. 
 

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so i'm still relatively new  here but i been reading the  forums or at least skimming  some of theme. the Sweetling Drama lama didn't really affect me as im just starting out, but  from reading throw post to day  i see a common undertone. Players  want to hear  from the  sights  owner  about change like the Sweetling stuff that i have  no idea  full about.  i believe that is  the  crust  of the problem right  now  if i'm wrong then im sorry  for  putting my 2 cents  in. 

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The major issues with the site seem to fall into 4 categories, I'd like to deal with each seperatly:

- Changes to the site

- Quality of life changes that are needed but not happening

- Sprite changes

- General communication

 

 

Site Changes

For the first..... Most of the major *site* changes incurred drama before they were put into effect, and for a week or so after, but were quickly adapted to (I remember the screaming about Teleport, which I thought was a great idea. No one is screaming now....). Other changes weren't adapted to, and good reasons were put forward for it (I seem to vaughly remember a few lineages changes that I've blocked out of memory.....). How I'd like these changes to be dealt with: 

- When change happens, the announcement thread says that another feedback thread will be started 2 weeks from that day, to get feedback on what users think. Something that is genuinely a problem / not an improvement will draw lots of negative feedback, things that were just change won't draw much at all. At this point, tweaks and minor issues would be best fixed. 

 

 

Quality of Life changes

For Quality of Life changes that are desperately needed but aren't happening, I think Mods could help with this one by compiling a list of suggestions of major issues users are having, and getting feedback (for the users) from TJ on this. For instance.... In breeding, breed dominance..... it is much faster to breed a 5th gen Gold from Magma than a 5th gen Albino x Olive, this is a major quality of life problem MANY seemingly viable solutions, that has had no response and no sign of being fixed. Of course, then the problem needs to actually be FIXED or TJ needs to tell users why it won't be fixed. 

 

 

Sprite Changes

There is always and always WILL BE a lot of drama around Sprite Changes and Changing Sprites, but TJ needs to be as upfront as possible with reasons and open to changes. And he needs to remember that people put a lot of work into lineages, whether he works on them or not. With regards to changing sprites: If a dragon has a different behavior when bred, TELL US up front! Or at least tell us when something WILL be different. The Drama with the Solstices, and Mistletoes, could have easily been avoided if we were let know, at the start, that we had a surprise coming. For Sweetlings, I'm still not sure why the change was made. I'm.... baffled, why it would be necessary to retire one of two sprites, which was guaranteed to infuriate most people (see lineages combined with a drastic change in behavior of already existing dragons). If TJ had posted a thread a week before the Holiday laying out his reasoning and asked for user feedback, the whole mess could have been avoided. Though why he thought it would pass without Drama is... something I have to wonder about. As for replacing existing sprites on the site? Please tell users when there's an issue or potential issue with artistic work! Whenever we see a sprite change that is basically a complete over-haul, my first thought is always artist problems. But I'm a bit cynical. 

 

 

General Communication

Simply put... TJ is terrible at it. Even his posts that seem to be trying to be clear have ended up with many confused users trying to parse what he's saying. So having people look over important posts / proposed changes to try to clarify questions before letting the Userbase at it is probably a good idea. Also, I don't know if he does this already but I wish he'd run more past the mods before putting it into play. There are mods who play this game many different ways, I'm sure some of the..... poorly thought out ideas could have been. 

 

 

Lastly, as just a general suggestion.... having a mod designated to collect serious concerns / problems of the users, and any proposed solutions (and give users feedback on said solutions) would be greatly appreciated. There are a number of issues that I think TJ doesn't really realize is causing serious issues. Such as with newer blockers dominating even 1 month older blockers in breeding. 

 

Cheers!
C4. 

Edited by cyradis4

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Definitely agree. I know that TJ has a lot on his hands, but I also feel that part of managing a growing site like Dragon Cave includes communicating with the players. Otherwise they'll leave out of frustration and the site will gradually fall apart. And, to be honest, there have been very few instances where I've seen TJ answer questions or ask for input on changes. Unless he posts a new topic, he tends to stay out of direct discussion, even when he is called into it by multiple people. More recently, the entire Sweetling debacle could have been avoided or at least less of a shock to the community if we had all been warned or asked for our thoughts. Rushed, unsettling decisions have become the norm here in the last few months. I say rash because a few of these changes have been revised after being put into play on the site due to complaints. Whereas if we had just been asked...

 

I would like to see a weekly/monthly news update posted on the main site with polls on controversial topics (ex. Sweetling variants). I think the mods do a pretty good job of answering questions, being friendly, and keeping the air clear, so the transparency issue rests with TJ in my opinion.

 

I appreciate TJ's work on the site and all. I just want to see that wall separating players and admin lowered.

 

Edit to say that yes, I really wish TJ would give some input on suggestion threads other than "nope, closed" as C4 mentioned.

 

 

Edited by The Dragoness

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@cyradis4- I definitely agree that there should be a designated mod liaison or all mods should be in the loop as to what is happening. It's pretty bad when even mods are surprised by sudden changes. I know that the site is TJ's baby, but mods are kind of like delegates. And it makes it hard to take authority figures here seriously if no one but TJ has a handle on what's happening or going to happen with the site. 

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That actually reminds me of something. I know it's a weird comparison to make, but the Minecraft team has assigned one of their staff to go through the most popular suggestions for fixes and additions to the game. They're going to be addressing a lot of fan feedback in the 1.13 and 1.14 upcoming updates.

If DC had even a little of that care and attention, we'd be better off for it.

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Every other complaint/suggestion aside, the biggest problem I see is TJ himself. As long as TJ is the big, bad wolf and the only person making decisions, it's always going to be TJ's way or the highway.. regardless of what any of the rest of us think. I've been here almost from the beginning and TJ spends less and less time with the site.. and since he got a real job it's been even worse. But until he realizes that the game is bigger than one person, nothing is going to change.

 

So if TJ would just allow someone else to handle the day to day stuff, with full powers, maybe we'd have a better game.

 

Until then, I'll just ignore almost everything, like I have for the last several months..

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I agree that we NEED to hear more from TJ. A LOT more. Not least about his reasoning. But I also think that would easily be made possible, even though I realise he has a "proper job", if significantly more were delegated to the mods. They do a great job, but it appears that he ties their hands where they could defuse a lot more if they were allowed to.

 

As to warnings, by the way - whenever I have received one, I have been told what it was for, with a note that I can PM for more info. Mods do that and do it well. So can we not worry about that ? The issues here that need addressing are far bigger. (Sorry to those who worry so much about them - but...)

Edited by Fuzzbucket

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Do all mods do that now with warnings? I know it *used* to not be that way, some mods would always PM the user with an explanation but some mods usually wouldn't. Is that actually something that all mods do now? 

 

I definitely agree that if mods had a bit more power and a bit more insight into what's going on, it would help a bunch. I'm sure TJ is busy and such, but that's exactly why it would be so much better if mods were actually able to answer the kinds of things we often clammer for feedback from TJ about. I also think it'd very much help if mods could possibly gather a summary of topics/suggestions that the userbase has been vocal about in the past month and show that to TJ (and then TJ *actually responds* to them)... That way the mods would be much more able to accurately respond to suggestions and such *and* TJ wouldn't need to personally post on many different threads.

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When I warn members, I include the reason for the warn, the post, and the rules. I don't mention that members are welcome to PM me, though they are, and I have revoked warns after discussing it with the member in question (can't promise that will always happen, though!)

 

We would need the approval from TJ to discuss things more openly, but I'm for it (within reason, of course).

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I know that Lady Lyzar, PDC, thuban and _Z_ do so.

 

:) Don't bother asking how I know this :) You KNOW how. :lol:

 

Sock did too.

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Communication is extremely frustrating - I wish it was better.

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Really approve of this thread. Newsletters seem like a great idea, and proposing possible changes instead of just dropping them one day and it causing uproar seems great. Polls on the website so non-forum users can see them also an awesome idea :)

 

One thing that kinda irks me at the moment is how occasionally on a suggestion thread, many users can be in total agreement and be working out a way to make said suggestion work, and then TJ just comes in and says no and closes the thread. I've seen it a couple of times and it's honestly frustrating, because while he does give a reason, I feel discussion around said reason would be so helpful and could help please so many users, but the thread is just closed and can never be touched upon again. Really sad sometimes.

 

Also really agree with the point @Cinnamin Draconna made - that someone to handle the day-to-day stuff would be absolutely awesome [really miss Socky rn]. Like someone, or some people, who actually really address issues that are bothering the user - whether they had full-TJ powers or not, at least someone who could report back to him and show the stuff that needs addressing. Idk, it'd just be nice. I do feel a little bad because everyone has a life, and he has a job, and this little website is not his entire world, but it is a site that a lot of people use and are really invested in, and I understand many do feel a little neglected at the lack of closure on many issues. This is why having a more hands-on TJ - whether someone with similar powers or the Bossman himself - would be really handy and appreciated.

Edited by RealWilliamShakespeare

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Hands-on communication from TJ and/or equipping us mods with more complete powers to communicate with you all would solve 90% of these issues.

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