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MSWL UNITED - Participation Bonus?
Posted by Allan Sellers on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 1:22 AM

Hi All,

First off, there are some other points in the "Terms and Conditions" that I asked everyone to review/agree to, but the one that stands out for me is:

    The objective of this game is to create an enjoyable environment and community spirit.


Secondly, let's provide some perspective.  At the top of the menu you'll see links to other games that use a similar method of "team money for participation".  So while the notion appears foreign to some folks, its an idea that's been in play for a while in those leagues and quite frankly virtually every league I run.  Originally it was in the form of "team press releases" which, when it was a postal game back in the early 90s, helped to increase the fun.

The reality is though, for me, I'm often the one that is on the low end of getting these bonuses.  I'm often coding/adding new functionality/web pages to the point that I don't have enough time to contribute and lose out in some cash.  Does it bother me? No.  In fact, I really don't think about it much other than I know its there and if I want to spend more time on it to get a little extra k I can. 

Thus, I was surprised at the response.  But its clear from the response that my initial thoughts (2 postings per week get a 10k bonus...nice...simple...easy to track) were off the mark and had the ring of too much online time for some.

That's fine and I'm certainly willing to reconsider that. 

At the same time, if you are in the following mindset:
a) This is the 15th league I'm in and I'm just here to put in lineups and that's all; I'm not here to interact with anyone, or
b) I'm never going to post on that darn blog/forum and no one can make me, or
c) You know what? I'm not going to post anything AND I'm going to be angry and complain when others get money for posting things...

Then this league is not for you.  

So moving forward:
a) Is it an absolute requirement that we have a bonus for rewarding teams for participating in Blog/Forum/etc?  No.  If the majority of folks think this is unnecessary and we'll get PLENTY of participation/interaction in its absence we'll put that on the shelf.

b) If you think we should have one, how should it work? 
  i) Bonus for those participating over a 2-week or 5-week cycle (so there's no feeling of "I'm forced to put two paragraphs in each week to keep up").  Perhaps there are times when there's more conversation than others (forum topics for instance)? 
  ii) Three awards every two weeks for the best postings/contributions?
  iii) I'm sure there are plenty of other permutations.

If we go with b, someone (or some people) have to manage it...it won't be me.  So I don't want anything too complicated (hence the original proposal).  However, again I'm willing to listen and hear what folks think.

So for next steps, everyone interested in this topic should respond with their "choices" for how we do this.  It can be one of the above or something different.  I will gather them and we'll put them through a couple of rounds of voting to 1) reduce them to just a few (less than 5) and 2) take a final vote.  That vote will stand (majority rules) and we'll re-evaluate it as needed going forward.

To recap:
    The objective of this game is to create an enjoyable environment and community spirit.

I/We can't do that without hearing from folks on a semi-regular basis.

Thanks,
Al
 

Readers Comments

I am strongly in favor.  MSWL is the only other league I am in, and I really like how it runs there.  That is, a Participation Czar (the esteemed Phil) looks things over on a regular basis, then issues rewards at his own discretion.  There are no hard and fast rules as to X posts = Y rewards, as far as I know, but there's an inherent trust that the Czar knows what he is doing and is fair. 

It all seems to run very smoothly.  Everyone seems appropriately rewarded, yet the rewards are never so great (max appears to be 25 per period) that they don't really sway things a whole lot.  This is my first season, but I haven't seen a single complaint yet (that wasn't obviously a joke).  I am busy as the next guy (3 kids, busy job, etc), but I also think the rewards, and the participation they promote, are a valauble part of the game.

Mike Cabral on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 1:46 AM
 

(b)(iii) Yes we should definitely have Participation Bonus. There are plenty of PBM/PBEM games that have minimal or NO interaction/participation via press & blogs.This is an online interactive 24/7 version of United & the blogs/journals etc are an intricate part of the game. If you have time to enter your orders & view matches & stats then surely you have an extra few minutes to just post a few lines about your teams performance or have a dig at a rival. It does not have to be an in depth report or study of the stats (Rob or Kevin).

I would like to make a  proposal of 10k for 1 post. 20k for two posts & 30k for 3 posts or more. (not just 1 liners though)

I have volunteered to be Als press officer.

Dave Dowson on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 1:52 AM
 

Mostly in agreement with Dave (by saying that ,can I be credited with saying all the stuff Dave said - for participation purposes?)    

I don't like the hard and fast 10k per insertion - sometimes a response to an article could be minimal, yet both the inserter and responder get the same money - no!  Prefer an elected member to view and use discretion at the end of a week - there are only 10/11 sessions in the game - basically pocket money and should not be enough to buy a player with! 

I would second Dave - he has the time! 

David Blair on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 9:49 AM
 

Right now, the only way to get money in this league is through playing matches and end of season rewards.  Every team gets 80k per session.  For most teams, that is all we are going to see.  Al's proposal of 10k per session (or perhaps 20k every other session) over the course of the 10 sessions will net a team 100k if they get max press points.  Very few, if any, of us will tally that simply due to life's constant intrusions into our rec time.  Realistically, most people getting a press bonus will see around 70-80k, or the equivalent of just one session.

Those managers that do not want to contribute press can easily earn 4-5 times that much through placing bonuses in Cups and League finishes.  See the rules for exact award bonuses as I won't re-list them here.  When there are a dozen ways to get more cash than press can generate, I do not see a small bonus creating a noticeable competitive disadvantage for any teams.

So having stated my reasoning, I am in favor of the press bonus.  I like Al's original suggestion of 10k per session for a monetary cap.  Since we're taking suggestions here I'd move that total to 20k per fortnight, with a 2-post minimum on the blogs and forums to get 10k for the two weeks.  Quality matters over quantity, so any more than two only gets more at the discretion of the press editor for insightful or analytical posts, or for posts that are scathingly taunting and/or just plain funny to keep that "enjoyable" part at the front of everyone's minds as we play a GAME together.  Showing up weekly to input things in a computer and butt heads against people I don't particularly care for with as little conversation as possible sounds an awful lot like... hide your eyes, Robin! Dirty word ahead.................. work.

If the league as a majority votes against the bonus, that won't stop me from posting.  So if the real reason for a "no" vote is to get me to shut up and go away you'll be disappointed!

Kevin Martin on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 4:08 PM
 

Spot on Kevin (round of applause)

Dave Dowson on Thursday, Mar. 12th, 2009 at 9:28 PM
 

Kevin, shut up and go away.

Darn, he wasn't bluffing :-)

Only kidding, Kevin. Please don't take that comment seriously.

Now the more serious (slightly) stuff.

I play in several leagues now and, since the-manager has made its' transition, they are all run under Olmec goodness and I try and make some sort of contribution to all of them.

I know I don't manage an exactly equal amount of press/journals in each league but part of that is due to having less other managers to react with in some leagues. It seems to tie in a little bit with season length. The shorter the season, the less press I seem to manage. I'm guessing it's sometimes a little bit harder to put together friendly rivalries and so on when the league has finished before you really get started.

Even though I may not participate as much as some people, I get genuine enjoyment from redin other managers' comments and theories and often complexes as to why Olmec doesn't ever give their own particular team an even break.

It does contribute to the leagues and I wouldn't enjoy them as much without some sort of press and parti.

As to the cash incentive? I would keep it fairly low.

We had a slight problem in one league where the average cash at end of season was about 1700k or so. For those managers who had done press all season though, they had a consistently higher amount to the tune of an additional 800k which had a slight unbalancing effect on the game.

I hope all the managers involved here will be happy to write in a couple of comments every so often to help with the atmosphere.

Some of you may be happily surprised at how much accidental participation you find yourself involved in when you get caught up in a discussion where you KNOW that you've got the correct strategy/opinion/stats/information.

The season is relatively short for this game and perhaps an agreement to put in betwen 3 and 5 bits of press for the season might be a compromise for those of us who have a lot on our plates??

You realise this comprises my entire output for the season now?

You won't hear from me again. Nope, no sir, no way.

:-)

 

David King on Friday, Mar. 13th, 2009 at 2:31 AM
 

Hmm, looks like this game isn't going to be for me.

Contributing towards a game already confers an advantage - you're far less likely to miss things in the rules if you are active in the game, as well as picking up hints and tips.

When I signed up for the game I knew that I wasn't going to have much time to spend on it other than submitting orders.  I accepted that I could miss out on some of the finer details of the rules by doing so.

Now it appears that my team is to be penalised monetarily for my not having time to participate in the community element of the game.  Sorry, count me out of that.  I could go on and post crap each week, ignoring everyone else's posts entirely, and apparently that would make me a good citizen and earn my team some money.  What rot!

 

Andy Bate on Friday, Mar. 13th, 2009 at 9:52 PM
 

The way I see it, is that I will post something when I feel I need to. Not to get the bonus of 10k. I will probably won't make a 100% score and will be happy to get a score of 50%. I am also a stats freak like Kevin and Rob, but I don't post them. I've got some ideas about them and if that get's me a bonus, that's fine with me, if not it's no problem. Concerning other posts I will try to be as active as I can.

Rene Wilkens on Friday, Mar. 13th, 2009 at 11:36 PM
 

Hi All,

I think we'll just postpone doing any participation bonus for this season.  We'll re-evaluate it in seasons 2 or 3. 

Al

Allan Sellers on Friday, Mar. 13th, 2009 at 11:59 PM
 

Sorry, count me out of that.  I could go on and post crap each week, ignoring everyone else's posts entirely, and apparently that would make me a good citizen and earn my team some money.  What rot!     (Andy)    

I just feel with only 100k being at stake for a whole season's postings (10 sessions @ 10k) - and you would need to be pretty busy to earn all that, I perhaps think Andy is right - this game is not for him.

A pity the majority of us who enjoy contributing - and earning a bit of bread to be honest - won't get a chance now. 

OOppss!!  I just noticed this subject is closed - sorry!  

David Blair on Saturday, Mar. 14th, 2009 at 9:54 AM
 
 
 
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