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Amaltea
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:53 pm    Post subject: Hosts Program Reply with quote

It's been 6 months since we removed the Host program. How do you feel about it? Would you want to see hosts back in some other fashion? How do you think the lack of hosts has impacted chat?

I am looking for comments from the players, not a simple yes/no answer.
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Delahada
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, I haven't even noticed, and that's a good thing. I would not like to see them returned in any capacity. I don't think the lack of them has impacted the chat at all, except to make it better. I, for one, am pleased there is no longer a Host program and am more inclined to play in the rooms now than I was before.
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Pharlen
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Half and half for me. On the one hand, I did enjoy seeing the more gregarious and people oriented hosts on hand. I had a lot of fun with those who always came in with a theme for the evening -- like real bartenders who are hustling to get tips in their jar.

On the other hand, it's pretty much as ever was, uncomplicated with everyone agreeing on a few points. It works just fine without a host, and always has.

So the suggestion I would make would be not 'hire' known characters as hosts, but for people that are really into playing a tender ... play a tender. And their aim is, of course, to pour the drinks and get the tips. This position should have absolutely no power whatsoever, just like a real tender.

...Really, I suppose it'd be "Bartender Candy" from RhyDin High, half dragon/princess/demon/vampire with two different color eyes, rainbow hair and generic tragic past (you know, a typical RhyDiner) who has a job working at the inn slinging beer.
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Sira
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are benefits to having characters who are bartending, but I agree with Pharlen, not people who are "in charge" so to speak.

It's nice to have an anchor point in play. It gives new and quiet characters a was to integrate into play. There is a benefit to having some sort of organization within the chaos of utter free form.

So maybe something more informal than formal.
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Quill
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Joined: 24 Dec 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm quite new to the site still. And I've heard that some of the official bartenders did a marvelous job. I got a chance to see that happen a few times, but more often, I encountered those that were busy playing with a few select individuals, or who didn't seem to be paying attention at all. After an hour or so of trying to get an order filled, I generally just had my handle get their drink them self from then on. I like Pharlen's idea; let the people who want to tend bar, make characters who come in to work, with a bartender handle they've created, rather than an official representative scheduled at a set time.
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Mallory
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to see the host program return in a different mode: limiting their responsibilities to reaching out to new players and in-character engagement.

We already have the chat filter in place to enforce DM's language policy, so if the hosts are only there to interact with whoever comes in, maybe that won't drive away players in our community who have become wary of hosts, and bring in players who know that they will have someone who will take an active interest in their RP and engage with them.

I know it's the holidays, but there are still too many empty rooms at night and too many times no one steps forward from lurking for me to be comfortable with the status quo here. I think people (especially newer players) will be drawn to the RDI by knowing that there are guaranteed times where there will be something for them to do.

I have a couple of caveats. If there are players in our community who just won't play in a hosted room regardless of a host's responsibilities, then re-implementing the host program isn't worth driving them out of the room -- our active community's already small as it is. And I don't support the host program returning to an enforcement role. Getting called out for language that the filter catches or for other IC behavior like confronting other player-characters is never a good feeling, and it sucks to see people driven out of a hosted room because a character is being crass or there's a potential for argument or conflict. Hosting has to be about getting the ball rolling above all else, without regard for whether characters are being nice.

And I know being able to interact with a host has been a problem on some occasions, Ciar. There are always bound to be some missed drinks, but hopefully paring back a host's responsibilities from enforcement to interaction alone will help hosts be able to keep up with the room and include the players who reach out to them.

I'm open to the idea of this being less formal in other ways. Setting a schedule and having some kind of tag or icon will let people know when they can show up and who they can count on to engage with them and help them get acclimated; but if doing without those things helps get a new host program off the ground, then okay.

((I edited this post at 11:32 am est to use more constructive language.))
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Canaan
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amaltea wrote:
It's been 6 months since we removed the Host program. How do you feel about it? Would you want to see hosts back in some other fashion? How do you think the lack of hosts has impacted chat?


To answer you directly, Amal, I feel things have been fine without a Host. I have no particular desire to see the Hosts return. And Iíd say the lack of Hosts has not impacted the chat in any way, excepting those instances where there are people whoíve previously avoided a Hosted chat room are now able to play more freely. Though Iím sure the same could be said conversely -- we may be missing some faces due to the lack of a Host. Itís true what they say: you canít please everybody.


There are a few comments others have made that I feel led to touch on, however.


Ciar wrote:
I like Pharlen's idea; let the people who want to tend bar, make characters who come in to work, with a bartender handle they've created, rather than an official representative scheduled at a set time.


This is already an option. Thereís no need to allow folks to do anything. Literally anyone has the freedom to park their character behind the bar and offer to make drinks for people. Back when I was a Host, Lirssa used to join Ethan behind the bar to help him out. No Host name necessary!


Mallory wrote:
I'd love to see the host program return in a different mode: limiting their responsibilities to reaching out to new players and in-character engagement.


Sira wrote:
It's nice to have an anchor point in play. It gives new and quiet characters a was to integrate into play.



As I mentioned above, I used to be a Host. Iíve actually been through the training cycle twice -- once about 10 years ago (maybe a little less?) and then more recently when I Hosted for however long as Ethan Kaiser. There was a huge difference between being trained the first time around and the second. There was a bigger, more active player base a decade ago, so the focus then was rule enforcement and whatnot. Now? You may be surprised to know that that actually is no longer the case. Yes, I was trained how and when to enforce the rules, because there are certainly instances in which people need to be toned down a bit. But that was not the main focus.

What was stressed? Engagement and interaction, letting drama happen because itís a bar for god sake and only gentle IC suggestion to move said drama elsewhere if it begins to completely overrun and become chaotically disruptive -- to be clear: not an OOC PM, a gentle IC request.

So. To get to the meat of the argument Iím seeing being made: Making it the requirement for Hosts to engage and interact meaningfully with everyone.

Let me just tell you right off the bat: That right there is half the reason I quit. Itís exhausting and it isnít fun.

Mister Purple People Eater comes in to regale you with the story of why his first wife left him and how his dog now has cancer, but you also have to pay attention and respond to the pretend theater production the three baby-talking goldfish are putting on at the other end of the bar, donít forget those 5 drink orders and saying hello to each and every person, thereís a Bad Guyô attempting to kill half the room so he can raise them as a zombie horde, the chatterbox with a crush on your character demanding validation every three seconds, and thereís also that sweet but silent wallflower sitting by the window who narrates feeling ignored by everyone but when approached, sheís too shy to interact, forcing you to spend an hour drawing her out of her turtle shell.

And thatís just the first two hour shift. God forbid you accidentally missed one person who asked for a drink. Or that you didnít play into the advances of whatever character was trying to hump your leg. Or that you didnít try a fourth time to involve that one guy who keeps narrating how much he hates people. No, because then youíre branded Ďmeaní or Ďterribleí or whatever else has been said.

Itís just tiresome. Honestly. Itís impossible to keep up with everyone. Having done it, I would never, ever wish that position on anyone. And if you think itís so easy, or that itís necessary to start drawing people in? Then you do it! You, the general and collective you. Make a new, outgoing and bubbly character who will approach anyone and everyone -- make sure you engage every single person meaningfully for the entire two hour chunk of time you set aside from your own free time. Go on. Please. By all means. Do it night after night. Or even just a couple times a week. Hell, once a week.

Be the change you're asking for. You donít need a Host tag to be able to do those things. Just do it!

Tell me how that goes.

Iím not the only person who feels this way, but I donít mind speaking up for those who arenít comfortable doing so for themselves. And so, there are my feelings on the subject! Looking forward to hearing more opinions from the community.
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Lucy Mitford
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there's something missing from the in-character setting without played bartenders. The existence of a hosting program meant that non-shift times were generally considered self-service. In the absence of the hosting program (or even just the diminishing number of hosted shifts), it seems to have reverted to self-service all the time. It's as if it was just a silent collective decision that customers would now go behind the bar and serve themselves all the time, rather than imagining an NPC standing there making drinks and making sure that people actually put money in the till.

Self-service is fine, but it doesn't feel particularly real as a place to me. And speaking for myself, it didn't occur to me that I could just create a character and state unilaterally that the character works for the bar. I wouldn't mind seeing people do that more often.

I have no doubt that hosting is as hard as Canaan says it is. That does not sound like a fun way to spend a night.

But in answering the question "How do you think the lack of hosts has impacted the chat?" my answer is that I think we've lost a sense of place, and that's unfortunate.
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Jochin Nagadari
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still have a problem viewing the cessation of the Host program as a positive step forward or necessary for growth. I don't think the community has outgrown the program. If anything it needs it more than ever.

I understand some Hosts have had not so positive experiences with being hosts. I'm sorry if you were disrespected. I'm sorry if RP became more of a job because you didn't enjoy hosting. But there should have been open lines of communication when this started to happen. There should have been a frank or not so frank discussion on DM on this before it got to the point that the program was axed before anyone knew it was in jeopardy.

I would have been one of the first people to raise my voice and tell people they needed to knock off being mean to the Hosts for enforcing the site filter rules or doing what was asked of them. I understand not everyone is as ready to cause conflict or disrupt their status quo.

But there is give and take here. No one is going to 100% agree with someone who enforces rules on them. This is just a fact of life. Take any position in the working world where you have to be a supervisor or enforce rules, regulations, and policies and your direct reports are never going to 100% agree with their corrective actions 100% of the time. Its just a part of the job of being a rule enforcer.

I've also realized that when I stepped outside of the rules receiving a warning isn't a personal attack. It's a warning. There was a lot of ill will from the community on the filter and when it was enforced. But the community can't see the enforcement of the filter as being attacked or singled out. It's just a part of the Host's job at that point in time.

For the people who didn't have such a great experience hosting: I'm sorry your experience as a Host wasn't great. But that doesn't mean that is how everyone experienced being a Host. I'm friends with someone who was a host very recently who only dropped out due to life circumstances. They never said they had a negative experience with hosting their shifts in the SEB. In fact I found attending those nights to be pretty enjoyable. They managed to interact with the crowd at large while simultaneously interacting with their RP partners and furthering their SLs.

Maybe those people who did not have such a great time being a Host, or aren't cut out for the idea that they should encourage interaction should simply not Host. There's nothing wrong with admitting you're not cut out for a job.

Call me nostalgic but the Host program I was witness to during my long time on the site and many bouts of inactivity and activity was never an overall negative. Recently people have not had positive experiences with Hosting, being Hosts, interacting with Hosts, etc. But I'll give you a good example. Not so long ago Sid used to run a regular weekend shift where she was able to weave multiple characters into the flow of what was happening in the Inn, provide drinks, give a subtle nod to people who were only interacting in their small crowd, and simultaneously interact with her RP partners to speak about their more insular SLs. Rekah as a host successfully ran a variety of large events that were actually tolerable. And if anyone who knows me knows anything, I hate attending large events where the room roll is fast and its hard to pay attention to whats actually going on. RDI Cherub was another I witnessed who used hosting as her opportunity to interact with all the characters she wanted to but could never find a reason or opening to do so and would often encourage cross play between characters who would never have a reason to cross paths. Eless was also a maestro at room wide interactions, introducing characters, and encouraging them to interact.

In the past Hosts encouraged play and were well known characters and players. Maybe we can go back to that. From what I understand a recent rule was that people were required to create a brand new character to host instead of using a pre-established one. A few were grandfathered in as exceptions to this rule. But wouldn't it be easier to be a Host if your character's friends could walk in and say "You work here now?" then go from there?

We haven't outgrown the Host program. We gave up on it. People weren't enjoying their experiences being Hosts but that doesn't mean the Host program should have just been axed completely. From what I understand from hearing complaints, there are a lot of people out there who don't exactly enjoy being Duel Callers 100% of the time. Are we going to dump the Duel Caller system and give up on it too?

Maybe the discussion should be how we could make the Host program more enjoyable for the Hosts. And instead of waiting until it turned into an overwhelmingly negative doo doo storm of ill will and negative feelings, had hard discussions on why it stopped being enjoyable to the people who volunteered their time.

The spirit of the program at its core is an overwhelming positive for this community. It existed first on AOL and then on DM for what I understand to be two decades before it was killed.

Maybe we can do the adult thing and start discussing things instead of believing them to be terrible and negative.
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Delahada
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea of an NPC bartender Lucy presented. Someone suggested "hiring" Bess from the MT. lol! That's not a bad idea, honestly. Everybody seems to forget the NPC bouncer Guido, even me! Maybe we could, as a community, come up with a small handful of regular NPC staff to add to the setting descriptions and agree to use them in play. I like that over the idea of a glorified babysitter being required to interact with everybody at all times while they're on the clock.
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Ebon Ilnaren
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delahada wrote:
I like the idea of an NPC bartender Lucy presented. Someone suggested "hiring" Bess from the MT. lol! That's not a bad idea, honestly. Everybody seems to forget the NPC bouncer Guido, even me! Maybe we could, as a community, come up with a small handful of regular NPC staff to add to the setting descriptions and agree to use them in play. I like that over the idea of a glorified babysitter being required to interact with everybody at all times while they're on the clock.


I like this idea and fully support it! We a;ready have Guido as you mentioned (who does get name-dropped now and then) but adding Bess (why not? Smile ) and a few others would work. Of course some characters would still go behind the bar themselves, but that happened with Hosts too.
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been a Host for two different stretches of time during two very different periods for this community.

I agree with Jochin that we likely need a program like this more than ever. The smaller the community gets, the harder it is to break in and find engagement. Without engagement quickly, how many people are likely to stick around?

Not everyone needs the Hosts, but if there are people who still do, and I think there are, then I think we need them.

I do want to address this problem though:
Quote:
I understand some Hosts have had not so positive experiences with being hosts. I'm sorry if you were disrespected. I'm sorry if RP became more of a job because you didn't enjoy hosting. But there should have been open lines of communication when this started to happen. There should have been a frank or not so frank discussion on DM on this before it got to the point that the program was axed before anyone knew it was in jeopardy.


You're absolutely right. We should have had that discussion.

I had some poor experiences as a Host. Plenty of players missed, what I thought was, the point of having a Host in the room: engaging people in play. If my character missed a drink order from someone currently engaged with a group of people (you know, while I was busy interacting with someone who didn't have a group of friends hovering around them already), I got flack for it OOC. As if the most important purpose for a Host being there was to serve a drink IC.

If the Hosts come back? I think their purpose, their role, needs to be very clear to everyone. And if people complain that the Hosts aren't doing something they think they should be doing (but that action is not outlined in the Host Role Description) than they probably should be told flat out to quit their bitching by whoever they complain to.

On the topic of the role of Hosts, I agree with Mallory:
Quote:
I'd love to see the host program return in a different mode: limiting their responsibilities to reaching out to new players and in-character engagement.


Maybe I'm wrong, but we seem to be existing well enough without Hosts "policing" the community. (I really do mean I might be wrong on this one. Maybe I just haven't been in the Inn enough to see any problems?).

What we do need are people spearheading interactions. Making new people feel welcome. Helping to foster engagement. This could even extend outside of the chat. The Hosts on DM were the original event planners! I don't mean to restrict event planning just to the Hosts by any means (our community of players does an awesome job on their own), but if their goal is fostering play and engagement, there are several avenues to make that work.

The suggestion of having an NPC bartender (or several!) is great. I think it'd work even better along with a resurrected Host program. It would fill in the gaps for when the Hosts aren't there or even when there is a Host but they're very busy.
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Delahada
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question to all of you saying you would like to see a resurrected/revised Host program is this:

Are you willing to volunteer the time and energy into being that person?

Because frankly I don't know a whole lot of people wanting to take on the job. I also don't think it's at all necessary for it to be something as formal as a person with a specifically restricted nametag. "Host Barbara" or whatever. Not everybody wants to be the event planner. I sure don't. Not on this (haha certainly not) or any character of mine. I just don't have the energy, nor the time. I'd rather just play, and I really don't care too much about engaging new people and fostering play with strangers, to be honest. If it happens, it happens, but I'm not going to force things or go out of my way to make it happen.

If you want to make the community more welcoming and see "new" players better engaged, then you need to be that person and step up. I don't think the implementation of any kind of new or used Host program is really going to change much of anything in that regard. But I don't know. I haven't actually personally witnessed people "being driven away" like I hear about. I know people got real lives that take them away from RP, for certain. But... That's just my perspective.
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Amaltea
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jochin Nagadari wrote:
Maybe the discussion should be how we could make the Host program more enjoyable for the Hosts. And instead of waiting until it turned into an overwhelmingly negative doo doo storm of ill will and negative feelings, had hard discussions on why it stopped being enjoyable to the people who volunteered their time.


I agree that the job of bartender can be a bit stressful, I also agree that when we decided to end the program we did not ask for player's opinions before doing so.

I asked this question because I've noticed that there are fewer people in the chat, and when there is a crowd they are all in the Lobby. As I'm writing this, there are only 16 people in chat and 6 of them in the Lobby, only 6 in the Inn, the rest in different rooms. I also looked at the schedule and there is nothing. We had a new player recently and he's had a couple of community events (he could have used the help of an older player to guide him on how to do this better). I don't want new players to feel discouraged and stop promoting play like he has.

I've also read emails of new players having a bad reception when they play. This could have probably been avoided with a Host in the room.

My intention is to bring some sort of Host program. Not to enforce rules or like someone else put it, be a glorified babysitter, but to create some sort of open RP and/or activity in the room that will promote more RP for people not involved in a story, and for new players. We need players to give part of their time and help other players. Once a week? Once every 2 weeks? Once a month? It's all up to them.

I'm quoting Jochin because what he said goes along the way I've been thinking and I would like more opinions on this.
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amaltea wrote:

We had a new player recently and he's had a couple of community events (he could have used the help of an older player to guide him on how to do this better). I don't want new players to feel discouraged and stop promoting play like he has.

I've also read emails of new players having a bad reception when they play. This could have probably been avoided with a Host in the room.


I'm sad to hear this but glad you mentioned it! It certainly reinforces my belief that Hosts are something we need.

Amaltea wrote:

My intention is to bring some sort of Host program. Not to enforce rules or like someone else put it, be a glorified babysitter, but to create some sort of open RP and/or activity in the room that will promote more RP for people not involved in a story, and for new players. We need players to give part of their time and help other players. Once a week? Once every 2 weeks? Once a month? It's all up to them.


One of the things I was discussing with a friend is a night or two a week when a Host (or multiple Hosts working together--I always loved nights Hosting with Wyheree) could be in the room.

If people don't want to play with a Hosted room? There are other rooms. But it would be a good way to test the waters and see if we can engage some of these newer players and make them feel more welcome. If it works? Add more nights.
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