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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:24 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:47 pm 
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@OHB – THERE.com’s greeter system that you describe is a company organized greeter system. In general all the stats say that type of orientation/new-player-help system works less well than what players will provide on their own. There.com is out of business. We don’t have the stats to study to know what the greeter system contributed or didn’t. Nor can we know how many people were in favor of it or had problems with it. All we can do is speculate. I’ll point out that THERE.com had greeters and is out of business. Uru had greeters and is essentially out of business. SL used greeters and lost 95+% of new signups… So, there appears to be a pattern that this empirical evidence, studies, and stats support. While that is technically accurate, it projects the unfounded concept that company organized greeters don’t work, when we actually lack facts in two of the three examples.

As to what I think of THERE’s system… I don’t have enough information to form an intelligent opinion. I doubt even participants in the THERE Greeters have enough information to go past an ‘I enjoyed it’ or an ‘I think it worked’ personal testimony. That doesn’t really provide the factual information needed to make decisions about game design.

I’ll point out that the comments in this thread are now pointing out that the Greeters, individuals, are doing fine and the GoG organization is failing to support its members. It seems that is the pattern we see in most games. People have problems with the ‘greeter’ organizations and repeatedly try to make a better organization. But, people appreciate the individuals that help them. So, why do we keep trying to make a better organization?

@Tweek, my question was in a paragraph about IP property… it wasn’t about how the organization was run.

@Tai'lahr, I appreciate your point. But, the idea that this is about what the GoG organization can do… I can’t see how that can help when the ‘organization’ is for practical purposes unconscious. If you are looking for creative ideas for the GoG members to act on… we may be able to help.

Your opinion, “…guilds exist to support their members whatever their mission may be.” fits with mine. I don’t see the organization as a real thing. Those that want to help, whatever their motivation, organize their information, tasks, training, and guidelines and call it an organization, after which people then seem to focus on the organization and try to figure out how to make its organization of the members better… which I see as completely upside down.

@ghaelen, I’ll point out that the comments about the greeters are really about the people participating in helping others while wearing the ‘Greeter’ label. I don’t see the positive comments here and in your reference as being about the leadership, by-laws, guidelines, and other stuff that make up the organization. As you point out old time guilds were about controlling authority to the benefit of the leaders, or at least they devolved to that.

What I am trying to get across by writing, “Guilds DO NOT exist to…” is that it is not the collection of rules, leaders, bureaucratic activity, positions, and other stuff that make up a guild that does the work nor is it an organization’s mission statement to help others that creates or provides the service.

While it is the members that do the helping… I have to wonder why the memebers always want to do so in a frame work that repeatedly turns out to be the problem that prevents the goal from being achieved and is what people argue about?

That the current guilds have no control or authority and apparently no way to ever gain such control or authority, it seems certain that most guild models from RL history will not work. If one wants to be of service to others, it seems their goal would be to remain free to do that without interference. So, why does everyone seem to want to create an organization to control their activity in moving to be of service?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:06 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:46 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:24 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:26 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:33 am 
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Just to add a few comments of my own here.

The Greeters never went away, even before the reopening of the cavern. While the traffic and postings slowed down, both on this forum and the GoG forum, several of us were still actively posting and helping out when we could, in addition to making further improvements and revisions to the website.

In the cavern, the number of active Greeters in the cavern did fall to a handful after the initial rush and jubilation at the return, but we were still there when we could be. Personally, I've always found it difficult to take a "regular shift" in the GoG Bevin. On the other hand, rather than stand around an empty GoG Bevin, I would try to wait in the newest of the DRC Bevins to meet as many of the first-time explorers as I could. This can be the most difficult and repetitive of the greeting jobs, but I think it's the most important and the most rewarding. The other thing I was doing was every time I came in, I'd have to go through the Nexus and bump the GoG link back to the top to keep it from falling too far down the list, or dropping off it completely. Thankfully, that task is no longer required.

But since there were too few of us, I came up with an alternative to try to help the new explorers when we couldn't be there. I would create a new avatar that would (usually) automatically become a member of the newest DRC Bevin so I could post a detailed message on the hood imager. This message is carefully crafted to help the new explorers realize the importance of getting their KI so they would be able to reach the city where they will have a better chance to meet others and get help or have their questions answered. This is done without giving any spoilers. I also suggest visiting the Guild of Greeters Bevin for the information posted there, as well as the GoG website for even more information and help. (I'm making an assumption that they already know about the MOUL website, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten this far.)

The results were a lot more traffic through the GoG Bevin, which I could directly track, so I know they were at least finding their KI now. While I had this new avatar as a hood member, I was also able to give more direct help if they showed up while I was there, either with the KI or by chasing them down if they first wandered into the "instanced" version of the city. And for some of those DRC Bevins I've missed, sometimes I've been lucky enough to find a new explorer there who can help me post the message while I'm giving them a lesson on how to use their KI. Every one I've asked has been happy to help.

The message I've been posting works, even if it's a poor substitute for having someone there to meet the newcomers as they arrive. Some others of you have already realized how important it is to meet these new explorers, and I'd like to encourage you to continue!

Everyone can greet, T-shirt or not! That's just part of being in this community. What some may not realize is that those who wear the shirt have to adhere to a fairly strict set of standards and decorum, and not everyone is suited to work within those limitations. Fun as it may be, it is also a very serious job, and can be quite a burden and frustrating at times. We are not compensated in any way for this, except for the satisfaction derived from helping others, and the occasional thanks we get for doing so.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:12 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:52 pm 
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I’m not getting the concepts across…

OHB and Martin were still talking about what the guild should do and what it is. Fortunately DaVinci puts the solution in simple concrete terms. There seems a load of confusion about people structuring their activities to get something done and turning that into an entity that can then slow or even block their efforts. Very quickly the discussion and thinking is off the subject of ‘how can I help’ to what a guild is and the abstract ideas of how to run it and whether it can be fixed. It’s like trying to understand why a house is cracking and settling and not understanding what a foundation is and how it is designed. Let’s see if I can rearrange words so concepts come through.

OHB is right, people come together and decide who handles which tasks to make more efficient use of time and avoid reinventing wheels. When that is done well it is very effective. When it is done poorly… it is usually a political drama.

The purpose for Greeters is to help people and creating structure is just to allow more help to be provided. Spending some amount of time building a structure and preserving the structure is reasonable. When less effort is spent greeting than is spent creating-maintaining structure and methods, why is one participating? When the experience is about drama, politics, and frustration and efforts to help, why bother?

At some point people seem to start to think of the structure as an entity that actually controls and enables the helping. It is not. It is the association of people they submit to and assist in a cooperative effort to hopefully enhance their helping effort. The label GoG is simply and easy way to say Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice are into such and such. As soon as one realizes the association of people is hindering their effort and like the BCTA characters will never reach their goal, I would think one would reconsider their participation. The complexity of BCTA's problems and the effort needed to change the behavior of those involved is such few would even consider trying to fix them. In RL the like minded people fragment and form a new association to provide help. In the BCTA analogy people realize BCTA are enamored with an exciting idea they can’t realize because of all their hang-ups. It seems GoG management is too hung-up.

Statistics suggest individuals within in a community can do a better job than organized organizations of helpers. But organizations fill a need for those that need structure, instructions, and those that need to exert control. In a gaming community there is little need pay rent, handle money, keep records, or all the other tasks RL charities and service organizations must deal with. So, there is considerably less need for a centralized authority or structure.

So, rather than trying to figure out what the imaginary entity can do, which is sort of like trying to figure out how a file cabinet will lead, the focus should be on each individual member. What does a specific person want, whether the current structure helps them or hinders them, do the people in the association help or hinder them, and identify the individuals choices to reach their goal. Otherwise everyone is working on or figuring out how to get around or fix the file cabinet and no one is out helping. One seriously needs to ask, are they interested in helping new players or messing with the politics of a group of people whose current beliefs will never let them move ahead?

DaVinci, does a nice job of expressing the solution that works now. I believe he is right that Cyan stickied the GoG bevin/neighborhood more as a convenience than an endorsement. Also, if one has a concern about losing the wealth of information on the GoG site, download a copy of the web site and archive it. (HTTrack can be used to easily capture a site.)

Robin is an example of a Greeter just getting it done.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:13 am 
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I think most of the previous posters have hit most of the points I'd make on this, but here goes my view:

We need to establish some facts.

1. The GoG, as it is today, cannot continue. Why? I argue that the GoG does not meet the needs of the new players who need help. They do not meet this need because new players tell me that they cannot find Greeters in any public area. I argue that the GoG does not meet the needs of those interested in volunteering for them. They do not meet this need because the Guild is no longer accepting people to these positions and, once they are in those positions, the Guild takes too much control over them.
2. The leadership is the issue. Why? If what I outlined in my first point is correct, the problem is a lack of Greeters in the public areas and the lack of Greeters is caused by the "hiatus." Since those in power today are the ones who put this unofficial hiatus in place, continue it, and would oversee future volunteer applications, I argue that it logically follows that they are to blame for the present situation.

Now to my views.

The GoG needs changes to its leadership, its relationship with the public, its structure, and its organization.

The leadership needs to change because they are the reason there are so few Greeters. Moreover, the present leadership is made up of people who display to me a lack of understanding when it comes to how a Guild should interact with the community. If the Guild is not open to new ideas, it cannot anticipate new challenges and thus it cannot adapt.

This leads to the GoG's PR. JWPlatt is right (can't believe I said that!) that the GoG needs to conduct its business in the open. This doesn't mean that the decision making process (voting on resolutions, etc.) must be open to all (though I personally feel this has worked at the GoW by way of the Representatives). Instead it means that proposals should be placed in the open and honest and frank discussions should be allowed (perhaps even allow a "Steam Room" where people can vent freely to keep from repressing tension).

The GoG's structure needs to change because the game has changed to the point where that structure is obsolete. I have said many times that I admire the GoW's lack of a rigid hierarchy and that rules are almost always made by the Guild as a whole. Regardless of that, I think the formal "training" time for Greeters needs to be replaced with something more flexible. The Guild's Cyan sanction has long meant more strict requirements in order to keep troublemakers from becoming part of the Guild (why do I think I would never become a Greeter?). In contrast with that, the Cyan sanction has also made the GoG a major draw for new players who want to help out. This creates a very bad mix... a strong desire and a strict test. Those that succeed are likely to either sign with relief or feel superior to others. Those that fail are likely to sigh with resignation, get dejected and leave, or become violently opposed to the Guild itself. I believe the Guild needs to embrace all people and promote people based on positive feedback. No test administered by anyone can weed out all the "bad apples" the first time around. The only reasonable solution is to let the people a Greeter interacts with rate them and leave comments. You could keep a running tally of the "Five Star Greeters" if you'd like. People who felt they had a bad experience or worse those who were abused by a Greeter could have an outlet for their frustration. It certainly isn't perfect, but I consider it better than one run through a "gauntlet."

Finally, the organization of Greeters needs to change. There is, from what I've heard, a timetable that Greeters sign up on and register their time. While arguably necessary to keep the cavern full of Greeters, I'm not convinced this could not be similarly addressed by using observations (or OH's stats? Not sure) to determine "busy times" and encourage would-be Greeters to help out at those times. The present system sounds to me like the whole "clocking into work" routine.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:02 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:13 pm 
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I may have missed some things throughout this discussion, and being a newbie relative to the GoG I may have no room to talk. But the issue seems awfully simple to me. The Guild of Greeters simply doesn't have enough active members. There's nothing wrong with structure or politics, there is just an absence of anyone doing anything.

As for the Guild being "closed" to new membership, I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure there is still an inexhaustable box of Guild t-shirts in Kirel. I have seen nothing in the Cavern restricting membership, so what is to stop myself an others from putting on a shirt and hanging out in the GoG Hood? If the current members have lost interest or no longer have the time to devote to it, it is time for new members.


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