Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

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Tom Bombadil
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#61 Post by Tom Bombadil » Wed May 16, 2018 1:48 am

Porphyry wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:24 am
I am grateful to the mods for trying to improve the site, but I preferred the older arrangement regarding anonymous games. I see the case for more thorough anonymity in tournaments, but I never play in those. I use the site mostly for anonymous non-tournament games. As people have noted upthread, NMRs are a fact of life in online games. I would never email a moderator about that, and just accept it as something that means I may have to change my orders at the last minute. Indeed, it can sometimes add a touch a drama as the clock counts down, wondering if someone will submit orders and whether I should change mine or not.

People upthread have already mentioned other advantages of the old arrangement. Like them, I also like being able to see at a glance who had to retreat; being able to name and shame someone who is dallying putting in their orders; and being able to ask someone to press "Ready" in order to hasten along the next turn.

I get that not everyone feels the same way about managing NMRs and other preferences I have mentioned here. I am wondering though, rather than require people who preferred the old arrangement to always play in non-anon games, whether it would be possible to make anonymity a customizable feature. So someone could chose how anonymous they wanted the game to be when they set it up. That would accommodate the widest range of user preferences, perhaps especially if strict anonymity were enforced for tournaments.

I strongly dislike the argument that people like seeing a country about to CD so they can change their orders last second. This obviously directly punishes players not on at the deadline which is unfair as they’ve done nothing wrong. It directly makes the game less balanced. Being on the receiving end of “oh I changed my orders because I saw they were about to NMR” is the worst

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#62 Post by Kremmen » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 am

Porphyry wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:24 am
As people have noted upthread, NMRs are a fact of life in online games. I would never email a moderator about that, and just accept it as something that means I may have to change my orders at the last minute. Indeed, it can sometimes add a touch a drama as the clock counts down, wondering if someone will submit orders and whether I should change mine or not.
Porphyry put the whole situation very well. The super-stealthy tournament option would have been much nicer as an option.

I understand that some people like that NMRs are completely unknown to all and a totally understand that tournament anonymity is a big issue and takes precedence anyhow (hence, have a tourney option!), but here's my point about it in normal games: Diplomacy's whole concept is based around removal of luck. What made it so special when it first appeared was the lack of dice, cards and other randomisers. Diplomacy gives you as complete information as possible about your situation. If you were in a real-life game and someone wandered off and didn't enter orders, you'd know. That same principle of maximum knowledge should ideally apply to online games.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#63 Post by Kremmen » Wed May 16, 2018 2:09 am

Tom Bombadil wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 7:47 pm
I also do not think this will cause an uptick in people not readying.
That is absolutely false. We have all experienced players readying because they have been explicitly asked/reminded. Now that won't happen, because we won't know who it is.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#64 Post by Tom Bombadil » Wed May 16, 2018 2:39 am

Kremmen wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:09 am
Tom Bombadil wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 7:47 pm
I also do not think this will cause an uptick in people not readying.
That is absolutely false. We have all experienced players readying because they have been explicitly asked/reminded. Now that won't happen, because we won't know who it is.
I still disagree. But even better. I also hate being targeted for using deadlines everyone agreed to before the game started.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#65 Post by Tom Bombadil » Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 am

Kremmen wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 am
Porphyry wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:24 am
As people have noted upthread, NMRs are a fact of life in online games. I would never email a moderator about that, and just accept it as something that means I may have to change my orders at the last minute. Indeed, it can sometimes add a touch a drama as the clock counts down, wondering if someone will submit orders and whether I should change mine or not.
Porphyry put the whole situation very well. The super-stealthy tournament option would have been much nicer as an option.

I understand that some people like that NMRs are completely unknown to all and a totally understand that tournament anonymity is a big issue and takes precedence anyhow (hence, have a tourney option!), but here's my point about it in normal games: Diplomacy's whole concept is based around removal of luck. What made it so special when it first appeared was the lack of dice, cards and other randomisers. Diplomacy gives you as complete information as possible about your situation. If you were in a real-life game and someone wandered off and didn't enter orders, you'd know. That same principle of maximum knowledge should ideally apply to online games.
You are making my point for me! This is not like sitting at a table at an in person game because previously only the players who were on at a deadline knew about the impending NMR by a certain player. If it was 3am and I was sleeping, I was shit out of luck while someone else uses the information. That is creating less balance and more luck, no?

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#66 Post by jmo1121109 » Wed May 16, 2018 3:08 am

Tom Bombadil wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 am
Kremmen wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 am
Porphyry wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:24 am
As people have noted upthread, NMRs are a fact of life in online games. I would never email a moderator about that, and just accept it as something that means I may have to change my orders at the last minute. Indeed, it can sometimes add a touch a drama as the clock counts down, wondering if someone will submit orders and whether I should change mine or not.
Porphyry put the whole situation very well. The super-stealthy tournament option would have been much nicer as an option.

I understand that some people like that NMRs are completely unknown to all and a totally understand that tournament anonymity is a big issue and takes precedence anyhow (hence, have a tourney option!), but here's my point about it in normal games: Diplomacy's whole concept is based around removal of luck. What made it so special when it first appeared was the lack of dice, cards and other randomisers. Diplomacy gives you as complete information as possible about your situation. If you were in a real-life game and someone wandered off and didn't enter orders, you'd know. That same principle of maximum knowledge should ideally apply to online games.
You are making my point for me! This is not like sitting at a table at an in person game because previously only the players who were on at a deadline knew about the impending NMR by a certain player. If it was 3am and I was sleeping, I was shit out of luck while someone else uses the information. That is creating less balance and more luck, no?
There have been 2 main concerns from what I have seen. The first is that it is now harder in anonymous games to see who has retreats or builds to enter during a phase, specifically on larger maps. This seems like a fair point to me, though I'd still argue you should be reviewing the orders. So we'll see what we can do to remove this added hardship. The second is that it is now harder to stalk a game as it nears the turn end to take advantage of someone who's about to miss entering orders. I am telling you, not offering an opinion, that the site moderation team prefers you to email them to help avoid potentially game ruining NMR's. This is why the new method tells you if a NMR is going to happen, but not who is at risk. It also evens the playing field for people in various time zones, or with various life responsibilities that make it harder to stalk the timer countdown on every game. I do not consider this an issue, and it will not be addressed beyond this post. You of course, can still choose to play non-anon games if you feel you need the help of taking advantage of an NMR to win your games.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#67 Post by CommanderByron » Wed May 16, 2018 5:07 am

Positive Changes, not everyone will like them or agree, but you can never please everyone. By not applying this to non-anon games the team has given, as realistically as it can, an option.

A: Not being able to see when retreats are necessary. (Legitimate)
B: Not being able to predict and take advantage of an NMR. (Illegitimate)
B1: This is illegitimate because it breaks the spirit of the metagaming rule in a way that doesn’t quite break the rule. If I can alter my play based on information gained about a player other than what is given via press or past orders, then I am in a way metagaming. Before it was unavoidable, now it Isn’t.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#68 Post by Porphyry » Wed May 16, 2018 5:09 am

There have been 2 main concerns from what I have seen. The first is that it is now harder in anonymous games to see who has retreats or builds to enter during a phase, specifically on larger maps. This seems like a fair point to me, though I'd still argue you should be reviewing the orders. So we'll see what we can do to remove this added hardship.
I am grateful that the mods are taking our feedback on board and are open to this change. The mods probably don't get enough thanks in general for making the site possible. So thanks on both counts.
The second is that it is now harder to stalk a game as it nears the turn end to take advantage of someone who's about to miss entering orders. I am telling you, not offering an opinion, that the site moderation team prefers you to email them to help avoid potentially game ruining NMR's. This is why the new method tells you if a NMR is going to happen, but not who is at risk.
It's nice that the mods are willing to do this, but speaking for myself, having to email about this would take a lot of the fun out of the game. I'd rather just keep playing on the assumption that someone is going to NMR. If the deep anonymity feature were customizable, people who liked emailing the mods and people who preferred to play through without having to abandon anonymity could both maximally enjoy the site. It is not clear to me why one way of enjoying the site has to make the other impossible.
It also evens the playing field for people in various time zones, or with various life responsibilities that make it harder to stalk the timer countdown on every game. I do not consider this an issue, and it will not be addressed beyond this post. You of course, can still choose to play non-anon games if you feel you need the help of taking advantage of an NMR to win your games.
In my experience the unfairness factor is not that big a deal. Under the old arrangement people would often submit orders before the deadline, so the deadline would not always fall at the same time of day. So I sometimes would be able to stalk the deadline, but on other turns it would fall in the middle of the night where I am. In short it has never been my experience that only one person could stalk a deadline in a given game. Usually that would be possible for all players, albeit I concede not always to the same degree. It is not clear to me though that the "unfairness" of being able to stalk the deadline a bit more than other players is such a big problem as to justify the deep anonymity requirement. Again, why can't people with different views on this customize games to their preference?

The idea that anyone needs to stalk the deadline to win makes it sound like one side in this debate is somehow composed of inferior players. Surely it is obvious that that is not true. Rather our debate is between people with different preferences about how to enjoy this amazing site.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#69 Post by CommanderByron » Wed May 16, 2018 5:30 am

More options does add more customization but it also makes finding games more difficult as many players will try to get their own game with their exact preferences started before joining someone else’s game with one or two preferences mismatched.

Right now you have the option to:
Select a Variant
Select a Press Style
Select a level of anonymity
Select a Win Condition
Select a RR% Gate
Select a pot size
Select if a game is Public or Private
Select how draws will be displayed.

That’s already 8 option brackets each with between 2 and infinite options.

If we add options every time we want to make a change then this list will grow and eventually we will be a caricature of an overly complex system that could accomplish the same end result better with a simpler system.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#70 Post by Kremmen » Wed May 16, 2018 6:42 am

CommanderByron wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:30 am
That’s already 8 option brackets each with between 2 and infinite options.

If we add options every time we want to make a change then this list will grow and eventually we will be a caricature of an overly complex system that could accomplish the same end result better with a simpler system.
Fair enough aim, but making this change configurable would have just taken "Select a level of anonymity" from 2 options to 3. A very marginal level of complexity increase. Call the new level "Super Secret Secret Squirrel" (or something boring like "Tournament"). Done.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#71 Post by CommanderByron » Wed May 16, 2018 1:08 pm

“Hey anyone up for a Classic FP Non-Anon, 70% RR, 25 *point* , with HDV and SoS?”

“Sure but can we change it to 65% RR?”

“Okay”

“YEA! I can join but I’d prefer I higher pot size. Maybe 50 *point*?”

“Me Too, but can we also not make it HDV?”

- Options don’t make starting games easier.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#72 Post by Tom Bombadil » Wed May 16, 2018 1:19 pm

Porphyry wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:09 am
The second is that it is now harder to stalk a game as it nears the turn end to take advantage of someone who's about to miss entering orders. I am telling you, not offering an opinion, that the site moderation team prefers you to email them to help avoid potentially game ruining NMR's. This is why the new method tells you if a NMR is going to happen, but not who is at risk.
It's nice that the mods are willing to do this, but speaking for myself, having to email about this would take a lot of the fun out of the game. I'd rather just keep playing on the assumption that someone is going to NMR. If the deep anonymity feature were customizable, people who liked emailing the mods and people who preferred to play through without having to abandon anonymity could both maximally enjoy the site. It is not clear to me why one way of enjoying the site has to make the other impossible.

I understand this side of the coin in that sometimes getting a game paused because of an NMR does more harm than good because then its hard to get it unpaused, and people lose interest etc. So I definitely get that - but its a choice to keep going still - you don't have to email the mods. You will still be able to see that there is an impending NMR and choose what to do, you just will no longer be able to see which country it is. I guess my main question is why do you prefer to know what country it is? It seems to only serve a purpose of helping the players online at the deadline and hurting the players who are not online and cannot adjust. You can still play through the NMR - it just allows all players to be be reactive to the NMR rather than only select players online being proactive before the NMR.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#73 Post by JECE » Wed May 16, 2018 10:53 pm

To be honest, despite the intent of these changes, I find it very hard to believe that players won't know who is about to NMR anyway based on who hasn't replied to their press. Of course I'm talking about games of Diplomacy with actual diplomacy, not no press games. But even in no press games, past NMR history in the same game is often a pretty good indicator of who will NMR next – who will NMR again, rather.

If lessening opportunities to capitalize on NMR's is supposed to be a motivation for these changes, I question the logic behind that reasoning. (I also question whether the changes actually meaningfully protect anonymity in games and took the mods up on their invitation to e-mail them with potential weaknesses. I haven't heard back yet, but it was a lengthy analysis.)

I don't feel strongly one way or the other about the changes, but I can't help but scratch my head at their effectiveness as regards the stated goals.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#74 Post by CommanderByron » Wed May 16, 2018 11:47 pm

I think what’s happening here is a confusion on the goal and what the team expects from these changes. The goal is always to ELIMINATE NMRS and Metagaming. However that’s an unrealistic goal. Instead the changes made are meant to limit or reduce the number of instances of either, or reduce their impact. Which these changes will do acrosss the board to varying degrees.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#75 Post by jmo1121109 » Thu May 17, 2018 1:11 am

To be perfectly honest, you just can't ensure anonymity if have changing indicators by country. It just happens the removal will help make it harder to abuse NMR's, and when paired with upcoming changes that are specifically targeted at reducing NMR's, there should be a noticeable impact. But since parts are being done by me, and parts by Kestas and because we wanted to get anon ready in time for the gunboat tournament, we just did it piecemeal. Hopefully as we get more of the changes rolled out everything will come together nicely in addressing the NMR issue we have.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#76 Post by jmo1121109 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:43 am

Point payouts as promised for people who submitted a potential way to break anon that we deemed valid.

JECE: 250 (difficult to to)
MadMarx: 500 (critical issue)

Thanks to both. One issue has been addressed and one will be shortly.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#77 Post by JECE » Thu May 17, 2018 3:57 am

Looking forward to the details.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#78 Post by dargorygel » Thu May 17, 2018 4:24 am

I keep seeing this thread and wondering, "Who is making anonymous changes? HOW can they make anonymous changes? Don't they want credit for the changes???"

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#79 Post by ghug » Thu May 17, 2018 4:26 am

And then you read the thread and realize that there's nothing jmo would like more.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#80 Post by Kremmen » Thu May 17, 2018 12:45 pm

Tom Bombadil wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:39 am
I still disagree. But even better. I also hate being targeted for using deadlines everyone agreed to before the game started.
The point of having a certain period for turns is to have time for the turn planning itself and the press. The deadline is a longest-case scenario and while players have the right to use the whole time if they wish, there's nothing good about players delaying for the sake of delaying. (esp. in retreat and build) The whole point of the rules excluding press in retreat and build is to speed the game up, which clearly doesn't happen if some players then just arbitrarily wait anyhow. Wanting anonymity for game reasons is fine. Wanting anonymity so that you can get away with anti-social behaviour and not be spotted, not so much.

(I have long wished for a game-creation option for retreat/build phases to be a proportion of the standard phase length -- e.g. 1/2 or 1/4 -- but most players are decent and don't drag out turns anyhow.)

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