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Thread: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

  1. #1
    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontifex Maximus View Post
    In an era where even long term staffers, tribunes, moderators, administrators, magistrates, censors, librarians, and you name it may go inactive for long periods of time, I think we should move towards further melding staff and the Curia. As TWC becomes smaller, I think we should all move closer together. This site is still, as ever, staffed by volunteers. Regardless of our various conflicting views, personalities, politics, etc, we are all bound together by one thing: we kinda like it here. TWC may end up looking like some sort of anachronistic club house at some point, but if we're going to pull up the ladder let's at least do it before any members are excluded from it.

    What is the alternative? What we have today is a bit of a soft civil war between active users and staff as I see it. The OP here confirms it. This proposal is a curt dismissal of the Curia as an awards committee while confirming the absolute authority of people who have been in absolute authority here for what, nearly a decade? What does anyone here stand to gain by this? Continue like this and soon there won't be anyone to moderate, and appeals, any content work being done, or any other posts. Other than the mudpit, geez, where are people posting? I can't even maintain a discussion about how bad the latest episode of Better Call Saul was. But the subreddit for it certainly provides endless responses.

    As for SND, or any other policy, if adhering to it measurably contributes to the decline of TWC (which is indisputable at this point), why even have it? The Curia, ironically, has adapted for the times. Non-citizens can propose things, comment on things, etc. Staff, however, seems to have barricaded itself behind a wall of outmoded policies and an increasingly apparent good ol boys club - whether real or imagined. An infusion of true "old blood" in Garb and Soren has been seen by perhaps less experienced members as an extension of bad policies. I disagree. Soren and Garb hail from an era where people with severe ideological and strategic disagreements were forced to work together and compromise in service of advancing TWC. I am hopeful this is the beginning of a turn around.

    In short, I am very pleased at the results of the staffing of the tribunal. My proposals may or may not have had anything to do with it, I will probably never know - but even if they didn't I don't regret them. I was willing to accept bad or mediocre tribunes so long as the tribunal survived, so I am very pleased we acquired exceptional tribunes instead. Let's continue to increase mutual trust. Let's continue to increase transparency. Let's continue to increase working towards keeping TWC relevant and renewing what we all love about this website.

    Let me be the first one to say it: I was very cynical regarding the tribunal situation. Hex fixed it. I did not give them the benefit of the doubt for this issue. For the next issue which may arise, I think I will.

    Now all those constitutional issues having been laid out, Flinn, what are your opinions? I have utmost respect for you and would like to hear what you have to say.

    edit: holy , 60,000.
    I think it's better try to separate this discussion form the other one, for the sake of clarity.

    I'm particularly interested in the first part of this thread, I think it's a good moment to repost this (coming for the valuation of Citizenship thread)

    Since everything else has been tried, let's go back to the basics.

    Staff awards Citizenship. (there could be also a vetting of existing citizens)
    Citizens get a forum (1-one) to play with. They get a badge.
    The apple is that this (new) citizenship that we award is the minimum requirement for any staff position. Any.
    The stick is that we take it back whenever we like by a simple in staff vote.
    Staff (being citizens) uses this forum as well for discussion of policy. [the purpose]
    [insert whatever] Everything else will be incremental. For example, are the Citizens behaving? If yes, give them a Tribune of the plebs (the right to take part in the vote -with staff- for one of the judges)
    Etc
    That's a bit drastic, but surprisingly when I posted this it hasn't been received in the negative way I supposed. That's from Garbarsadar, btw, and it's inspired on how things worked in the past.

    Is the other way around possible? I mean the Curia electing Staffers? I don't think so, unless GED comes back and decides to flip his mind over the Curia and to revolutionize how TWC works.

    Can the Curia and the Hex duo decide to revolutionize together how TWC works? Sure they can, but they have to find a way to meet in the middle, talk.. and it will take time and a lot of patience from both sides.. much trust has been lost in the process, again, from both sides, so anyone really interested in this process should left behind any grudges and prejudice and work in small steps to rebuild mutual trust and confidence. It's gonna be a slow and painful process, and if left pending at some point it will do more damage to the site than any good it could have done if successfully completed.
    Last edited by Flinn; August 12, 2022 at 04:49 AM.
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  2. #2
    Dismounted Feudal Knight's Avatar 🦀¯\_(ツ)_/¯🦀
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Perhaps some of the problem is the image of a binary; you are staff, or you aren't. By extension you can affect the site, or you just can't. And that's a shame, because there's a lot that users could do just as regulars that help site and staff workflow. Perhaps expanding on this, even blurring the line slightly would help. People could help the site without being bound to the semantics of being staff, demonstrate willingness that opens the door for them, work with staff so they don't seem isolated from groups of members.

    An existing example is the wiki where users have a huge range to contribute without being wiki team; discussing how it works, how it's organized, adding content. Most of what I did there was without being in blue and my sole badge is pretty much what that is from. It's a lonely badge to hold. An unadvertised example would be to report threads which are clearly maintained (or should be maintained) by staff that contain inaccurate or outdated information which can be seen when people are looking things up. Finding the wrong info naturally only hinders the appearance of the site, so it's in our best interests to keep these things lively. It's harder for say, mod forums with their own mods that do their own things, but there are plenty of more open areas this can be done with. I know all publications accept articles/submissions and would likely benefit from irregular editors who aren't staff per se, but just share their thoughts through an avenue like The Gamer's Gazette, with articles resembling this one. Your review is publicized and given better traffic through the articles feature while your contribution makes an aspect of the site more lively.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontifex Maximus View Post
    I have the ability and willingness to move in to fill any vacant staff/janitorial/curial (non elected) position with not only the willingness to do the job, but competency to do the same since there is not a single staff position on TWC I have not filled. Put me to work.
    Not being Hex I can't really respond to this or offer any position, but perhaps the above is a start or even the way to go, until we see more options or initiative. Given the partial absence of the top management (total absence of the technical management) we need to get creative either way.

    In turn, Staff can reform some of how it works to be more editors, facilitators, people to approve and finalize than needing to be the only people who can do the above things as a process. Perhaps a work thread with ideas like the above can be created which lists what people can do and encourages contribution. Naturally bling would follow, be it rep, section-specific awards, and if those are absent or the need becomes clear we could consider new ones or dedicate specialty awards. The Hex would likely be giving to someone who covers ground. This could be coordinated within the Q&S, but perhaps the Curia can be where it begins and be given purpose as a funnel for volunteering work where we meet up more regularly and discuss what we're doing, all as citizens of the site and not just as a Hex member, a Tribune, a modder, whatever.

    Citizen wise I was thinking of, well, really the opposite of the path quoted in the OP, which would be to simplify our expectations further and offer citizenship to anyone who's stuck around on the site, meets the minimum, does something or other even if they aren't a great modder, philosophical poster or whatnot. We're too small to keep raising the bar and I don't want to say lower it exactly, but I do want citizenship itself to be something where nobody has a reason to refuse it just because someone with views they despise is also a citizen, any more than you'd refuse to be a member on the website for the same reason.

    I know bits of the above have been tried before, but I'm not sure we have ever gone far enough in recent years. We need something to do here and we've already found reasons to show up this far/this long, so one more go and in one package surely wouldn't hurt.

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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dismounted Feudal Knight View Post
    Perhaps some of the problem is the image of a binary; you are staff, or you aren't. By extension you can affect the site, or you just can't. And that's a shame, because there's a lot that users could do just as regulars that help site and staff workflow.
    I agree, and I think the Curia could fill this role and is massively under-utilized.

    Not being Hex I can't really respond to this or offer any position, but perhaps the above is a start or even the way to go, until we see more options or initiative.
    My point is that the site is not hurting for lack of volunteers, and I think it is a real shame to simply delete parts of this site instead of letting volunteers work those areas.

    In turn, Staff can reform some of how it works to be more editors, facilitators, people to approve and finalize than needing to be the only people who can do the above things as a process. Perhaps a work thread with ideas like the above can be created which lists what people can do and encourages contribution.
    That sounds like a great idea to me. I'm not particularly motivated by the "bling" any more, having worn basically every badge available (unless we return to the M2TW theme, in which case I demand access to the librarian badge), but bling/awards have definitely been good motivating factors in the past.

    edit: also forgot to mention, I very much appreciate the tenor and temperature of the OP, and I agree with its sentiment entirely.
    Last edited by Pontifex Maximus; August 12, 2022 at 08:39 PM.

  4. #4
    Søren's Avatar ܁
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    In general, although I've mostly been on the staff side of the storied relationship between Hex and the Curia, it's fair to say that while the Curia hasn't always played the most productive role in the site, it's still been a great asset in getting people involved. I imagine quite a few of us wouldn't have had that initial investment here without being recognised as citizens, and being included in running the site, even in small ways.

    On another note, the decline of the Total War sections is probably mainly due to forces and trends outside of our control, but in retrospect I do think we made mistakes handling the discussion areas. In the early days the quality of discussion was really high, but this declined. There was a very strong free speech ethos then, which is partly admirable, but also meant we didn't really do enough to promote higher quality content and discussion. The debating forums were increasingly lost to nationalist flame wars from a certain region, general extremism and conspiracy theory. This discouraged the better posters from engaging, which was a big loss. Some of the higher quality well-moderated subreddits now, e.g. AskHistorians and PoliticalDiscussion, are good examples of what TWC used to be closer to. Ironically the ToS is actually quite restrictive in terms of general conduct and things like swear words, but we didn't put the same focus into carving out areas for higher quality conversation that could have retained some of our more interesting posters.

    Think revitalising citizenship could be part of putting more emphasis on quality, and Garb's suggestions look sensible to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontifex Maximus
    Soren and Garb hail from an era where people with severe ideological and strategic disagreements were forced to work together and compromise in service of advancing TWC. I am hopeful this is the beginning of a turn around.
    Well, don't take this as adding to any criticism of the current situation, which I'm not in a position to comment on anyway, but you and I are a good example of this sentiment. We fairly often disagreed on moderation policy, and in general probably had as much agreement as a British social democrat and an enthusiastic Republican are likely to. But I think we usually worked well together to help the site.

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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Quote Originally Posted by Søren View Post
    Well, don't take this as adding to any criticism of the current situation, which I'm not in a position to comment on anyway, but you and I are a good example of this sentiment. We fairly often disagreed on moderation policy, and in general probably had as much agreement as a British social democrat and an enthusiastic Republican are likely to. But I think we usually worked well together to help the site.
    We certainly did not agree on most things as I recall. That did not stop you from patronizing me nor indeed us from collaborating on staff not only in moderation but in content as I recall. "Agreement" or "Consensus" in most cases matters far less than mutual respect as far as I'm concerned. I was certainly never worried that you had any bad intentions about anything. If I had an opportunity to do things differently I certainly would in some cases. Back then it seems we did have a far more developed sense of the back and forth.

  6. #6
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontifex Maximus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dismounted Feudal Knight View Post
    Perhaps some of the problem is the image of a binary; you are staff, or you aren't. By extension you can affect the site, or you just can't. And that's a shame, because there's a lot that users could do just as regulars that help site and staff workflow.
    I agree, and I think the Curia could fill this role and is massively under-utilized.
    I also agree that it would be great to get the site membership more involved in some of the things Content Staff work on, and the Curia could certainly be part of this. Here, expanding on dfk's comments about this, are some things people can already do.


    As dfk has already mentioned, the TWC Wiki is (and as far as I know always has been) set up so that any site member can contribute. You don't need to be a staff member, you just need a Wiki account. If you don't have a Wiki account but would like to help with anything on the Wiki, please post on the 'Request a Wiki Account HERE' thread to request an account. Anyone who's a member of TWC can have an account. Well, almost anyone - the OP of the linked thread does list one exception. That OP also has some other useful information for anyone who's interested.

    For other ways to help with the Wiki, you could discuss any ideas you have either in the thread we have for that, or in the appropriate section of the TWC Discord. Or you could take part in the current site poll.


    Regarding other things Content does, dfk is of course right to say we sometimes post articles written by site members who aren't staff. (He's already given an example, but I know that's not the only one.) We'd be happy to do more of that, if people have suitable articles to offer us. If anyone would like to write an article for one of Content's publications (or if people have questions about the publications, or want to talk about your idea for an article you'd like to write or discuss whether something you've already written is suitable for a Content publication - basically, if you have any questions about this at all ), please do feel free to PM either me or Alwyn.


    To help me in News, you can always PM me with suggestions for items to announce. (We check with modders before posting mod-related announcements, of course, so modders shouldn't worry that an announcement will be posted at a time when they don't want that to happen.) Even better, modders can PM me (or use one of the links in this post, which is kept up to date to reflect any changes in News staff) to request announcements. Some modders already do this; thank you to those of you who do.


    I don't want to assume people will only help out for a reward - I'm sure that's not the case - but since it's been mentioned, the current situation is that anyone who writes an article receives a rep reward and people who make a significant effort to help out on the Wiki can already earn Wiki contributor medals.


    The more help we have for the Wiki, the more offers we have of articles, and the more people help us spot things we can announce, the more Content can act in the way suggested by dfk, helping site members to get their content published and noticed.






  7. #7

    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    I'd be interested in reviews of shows. A sort of viewer's guide for streaming services, perhaps. I often find myself binging some lesser known shows like this and this - shows worth promoting versus shows not worth promoting. I have also spent a lot of my time trying to watch just unwatchable shows on streaming services. The google reviews don't even necessarily warn you about a waste of time show versus something that may be entertaining for hours on end.

  8. #8
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    I don't think I should go into too much detail here, because I suspect we're starting to be at risk of wandering too far from the thread topic, but:

    Thank you; that's a generous offer (and I hope it will encourage other people as well as being helpful in itself!) If you want to discuss your thoughts in more detail, please do PM me or Alwyn, so that we don't clutter up this thread and find our posts being deleted by Curial staff. Or, of course, if you prefer, you can write a review and send that to us by PM for us to discuss the draft with you.

    I know that in recent years, TV/film reviews published by the Helios have all had a connection to history, to fit with the site's focus on the Total War games, but I'm sure we'll accept reviews of things without a connection to history!






  9. #9
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    In regards to this

    Since everything else has been tried, let's go back to the basics.

    Staff awards Citizenship. (there could be also a vetting of existing citizens)
    Citizens get a forum (1-one) to play with. They get a badge.
    The apple is that this (new) citizenship that we award is the minimum requirement for any staff position. Any.
    The stick is that we take it back whenever we like by a simple in staff vote.
    Staff (being citizens) uses this forum as well for discussion of policy. [the purpose]
    [insert whatever] Everything else will be incremental. For example, are the Citizens behaving? If yes, give them a Tribune of the plebs (the right to take part in the vote -with staff- for one of the judges)
    Etc
    This system worked for a reason and was dumped for a reason. It's an excellent system when the site is small enough for staff to be able to look at a majority of members but it is also growing rapidly, so that new blood comes in. This system is untenable once the number of users grows too large and when the site starts losing more members then it gains this system simply becomes a worse version of the CdeC era Curia. Right now staff suffers from a severe problem of under-staffing, and this is without that extra user tier limiting the recruiting pool so this idea is stillborn.


    The only way for the TWC to survive and for the Curia and Staff to remain relevant is to completely innovate and rebrand the site's image (ideally under new ownership, but not necessarily). Rehashing old ideas that worked 10-20 years ago simply will not do.


    From where I stand I see that TWC used to be heavily focused on making mods and both staff and the Curia grew around that idea, but we have permanently lost that battle when Steamworks became popular. We have also lost the main community hub status when the official reddit became popular.

    Instead of trying to think look inward let us instead look outward, at what Steam and reddit do not do all that well and try to cover that niche. We have many skilled Artifexii, we have a history of good modding publications, we have the Scriptorium, we have a wiki, we have the gaming staff infrastructure. Let's use those to rebrand TWC into a place where you come to learn how to mod, where you come to find modding teams for your project, where you come to set-up multiplayer tournaments.

    Then, when the site is growing again, we can implement Garb's idea.
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  10. #10
    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Curia and Staff/Hex relations and interactions

    Archived as per the usual procedure
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