FAQ Suppliment - VG's purpose, goals, and solutions.

A place to try out characters other than the ones you currently have.

Re: FAQ Suppliment - VG's purpose, goals, and solutions.

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 23 Dec 2012 02:00

Foreword

For clarity's sake, henceforth, 'VG' will be used to refer to Visionary Gensokyo explicitly and 'PoIR' will be used to refer to the rest of the forums, namely, the IC section.

VG has had an interesting start so far. It's gotten a decent amount of attention from players and mods alike, and reception has been lukewarm, if not positive. However, it has become clear that many are still confused about VG's purpose, how it may be used, and what its future is. Additionally, both moderators and players have expressed a number of legitimate concerns pertaining to potential misuse and abuse of VG.

The goal of this thread is to remedy these concerns and dispel uncertainty by clarifying VG's goals, detailing the working theories behind potential problems and providing a list of possible solutions to be enacted upon actualization of problems.
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Kogasa Tatara
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Re: FAQ Suppliment - VG's purpose, goals, and solutions.

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 23 Dec 2012 02:11

Timeline and tentative list of pending policy changes.

December 22, 2012
Revisions to VG's faq and rules posted, this document is posted. VG policy changes to be enacted on New Years Day are announced.

Changes to policy and structure are as follows:

Only one active thread per player at a time.
Players in good activity standing with PoIR may enter one VG thread at a time. If a player wishes to start another thread, they must first conclude their current one. Please notify Kogasa via pm anytime a thread is finished so that it can be archived.

Forum structure
VG will have its own archive just like PoIR IC sections do. In addition, the separate areas that mirror those from PoIR will be removed. All posts will either be in the one VG forum section, or the one VG archive subsection.

Applications
Players may enter their first VG thread without an application. Henceforth, applications will be required for any character the player does not currently control on PoIR. Once an application for VG is approved, that player will not need to apply again, even if they change to a different character in-between threads.

However, posts will be monitored for quality and adherence to valid concept and theme. Warnings will be issued as necessary and require that the player correct any problems by their next post. Failing adequate revision, a player may be virtually recast from the character in VG, and will be required to reapply the character should they desire to pursue them again.

The application form can be found here.

January 1, 2013
Policy changes to the rules announced on December 22, 2012 go into effect.

The following measures will be employed to bring current VG participants in line with the new policies for January 1st, 2013:

Current participants who are in more than one thread may continue their current threads until completion. Henceforth, no one may participate in more than one VG thread at a time. After current participants conclude threads created prior to December 22, 2012, they may only have one active thread at a time, the same as everyone else.

While everyone is allowed only one 'freebie' entry to VG without application, we are satisfied with the accuracy and quality of character portrayals from current participants that we will consider all active characters prior to December 22, 2012 'freebies' to their respective players.
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Kogasa Tatara
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Re: FAQ Suppliment - VG's purpose, goals, and solutions.

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 23 Dec 2012 02:14

VG's goals and purpose.

From the start, the primary goal of VG is to provide PoIR with an interesting new feature for otherwise burnt out players to get excited about. To understand how VG hopes to accomplish this, we first need to understand the theory at work.

PoIR has been dealing with stagnation for a while now. Over time, there has been a noticeable decline in player activity and overall enthusiasm. VG considers 3 things primarily contributing to this fact.

Firstly, it has been a while since PoIR has seen a successful event or new feature, be it an initiative organized by players or moderators. In the players' eyes, the transparency of moderation may be concerning and interpreted as an overall lack of enthusiasm within even the organizers of PoIR. Members who lack confidence in the enthusiasm of their leaders will tend to lack interest in the community themselves. After a while, participation may become more of a chore. When it comes to leisure, people will tend to participate less in something that becomes more of a duty than a pleasure.

Secondly, PoIR's policy of character exclusivity, something core to the heart of its community, presents its own challenges. Because dropping a character may very well mean losing that character forever, players may be reluctant to change characters when they are in a slump for inspiration. They aren't necessarily finished with the character, but they've gotten stuck in a rut. At this point, posts tend to become obligatory, done purely to retain rights to a character; post frequency and quality tends to drop significantly as a result.

Thirdly, it is entirely possible for any given character to be permanently locked out. So long as a player can meet expectations and keep up their obligations, they may retain a given character indefinitely. While this is more the exception, and it is a great thing to have someone get into a character so well and maintain enthusiasm over time, this presents a tricky situation for those desiring a chance they may never get. It may create a barrier of entry for potential new players, thus inhibiting PoIR's growth. It can also create rifts between players of related characters where one player would like to involve their character with another in a different way than the other player interprets their character.

An additional problem arises out of the added strain alts can put on underprepared players. Even in cases where a player can handle controlling two characters on the same forum and give both acceptable levels of activity, players sometimes overestimate their flexibility and enthusiasm for a character and/or misjudge other player's character interpretations. The second problem outlined above often plays a part in this when players become reluctant to drop an alt due to feelings of obligation.

VG aims to address these problems in the following way:

1) VG represents an organized effort behind a new feature, arguably one unlike anything PoIR has seen before. VG has come about from lengthy discussions between moderators and players alike, and it is the result of equal contributions from all involved parties. VG will adapt to meet the community's needs by taking into account feedback received, meeting valid concerns and suggestions with active policy change.

2) We do feel that character exclusivity is central to the heart of PoIR's identity. This in of itself is not the root cause of problems, but problems do eventually arise from what this policy allows. VG does not intend to change PoIR policy. Instead, by employing free character choice and existing as a separate function from PoIR, VG offers a way for players to work past burn out without risking the loss of their character(s). It also does this without interfering with PoIR's status quo.

3) Additionally, VG allows players the chance to finally try out a locked down character; it also presents the opportunity to test out different interpretations and roleplay with different player interpretations of a given character. Ideally, this will allow players both inspiration and insight that was previously out of reach, and this would be reflected in renewed enthusiasm for PoIR. New players might be more willing to consider adapting a less desired character at the prospect of being able to try out their most desired character in some fashion. Players falling in love with a second choice character over time is not without precedence on PoIR. In this way, VG could help widen the door for valuable new additions to the community.

Lastly, VG allows players to test the waters for a potential PoIR alt before committing to one. This can cut down on alts being a drag; players can better prepare themselves to take on the role of an alt and reach a confident decision to apply for one after testing out their concept within actual roleplay with the same players they will be addressing in PoIR.
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Re: FAQ Suppliment - VG's purpose, goals, and solutions.

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 23 Dec 2012 02:17

Concerns, potential problems, and proposed solutions.

VG may overtake PoIR's activity.
VG will not overtake PoIR's activity level. This will be ensured by strictly enforced, clear restrictions on VG character adoption and allowed thread counts.

Free character choice is too loose for PoIR and might create tension.
Following up from the previous concern, 'restrictions on VG character adoption' means character applications. VG will require the submission of a simplified character application for any character portrayed in VG. Notable exceptions are made for characters currently controlled in PoIR and a player's first entry to VG. VG posts will be monitored for character portrayal and measures will be taken to correct any problems using a 'warn first, lose the character next' policy.

VG may compete with PoIR, not supplement it.
Many have expressed worry that VG is on the fast track to becoming a second PoIR IC. Second IC meaning, VG is simply an alternate version of PoIR, with equal allowance for participation and like (or more) amounts of freedom to work within a world following Zun's canon.

Part of this is due to what was contained in the initial publication of the FAQ and rules posts, and another part is the overall lack of restriction in VG's guidelines. VG started initially vague so that we could get the feedback we have received. As we continue to attain a better idea of what the community wants over time, restrictions and clarifications will continue to follow.

Currently, one of the restrictions set to be put into place on January 1, 2013 will limit the number of allowed, simultaneous VG threads per player to 1. Those not in good activity standing with PoIR may not post in VG at all until they clear their obligations up with PoIR. In this way, and in addition to differences in allowable character choice, it is impossible for VG to viably compete with PoIR.

VG is too similar to non-canon
VG has been described in past conversations as 'Touhou themed, non-canon with standards'. Differentiating VG from the existing non-canon section has been an issue from the start. The idea of repurposing non-canon came up during the initial forming of VG. The cons of doing so were as follows:

Non-canon rarely gets used.
No one pays attention to non-canon, instead focusing on PoIR IC and Touhou, the main forum interests.
Enforcing stricter standards on free for all section could be difficult, and it would add an unnecessary complication to our goals as we'd need to combat a long pre-existing identity of 'it doesn't count for anything.'

Since it's important that something time and energy is spent on actually sees use, we decided against repurposing non-canon; the changes would be too easily ignored, unseen, and/or forgotten. By making a new section at the forum's base, the new feature benefits from obvious visibility. Also, if players actually did still have plans to use non-canon, we wouldn't be taking it away without warning.

In addition, we would prefer Touhou centric RP over 'anything and everything'. Considering this and how little use non-canon has ever seen, we may do away with non-canon. There are plenty of other places to RP non-Touhou and/or non-Zun canon if players so desire. VG maintains PoIR's stance that Zun canon Touhou is what has made our community stand out from others, and has done so in a good way.

VG may force unwanted changes on PoIR
VG will not dictate any policy changes for PoIR unless the decision to make such a change is completely unanimous across all players and mods alike. VG doesn't aim to challenge or supplant PoIR, it exists solely for the purpose of complimenting PoIR in a way that facilitates community growth. If VG becomes unpopular, and/or a VG policy poses a threat to PoIR wide policy, it is obviously not meeting its intended goals. If it becomes clear that the community does not want or need VG, VG will be removed from PoIR.

Players may build on any character across several threads with no restrictions to ensure they understand the character and are investing their time in a valid, well thought out portrayal.
PoIR handles this by requiring applications, VG will also do the same by instating its own application process. Said process is currently detailed here.

Players may utilize VG to take an unofficial, additional alternate character and effectively circumvent PoIR's policy on alts.
Part of the reason players were eventually limited to one alternate character in PoIR was that some players tended to take on far too much at once in the past. The risk of burnout from the lack of focus became dangerously high, not to mention the large amount of aimless, poor quality threads.

Beyond requiring applications, discretion will be used to determine if a player is flipping around characters so much that it isn't constructive. Players can be required to stick to one or a few characters or even disallowed from VG altogether if problems persist.
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