It seems like this is happening out of the blue. Why didn't you tell us how bad things were? We are so very sorry to take many of you by surprise, and we wish we could change that. This will be the fourth time the mods have made a public call for help. The last time, mentioned in our closing announcement, was in November. While the first draft of that post was more blunt, it was generally agreed upon by the mods that it might be taken the wrong way, and so it was edited down to put more emphasis on our hope that with new volunteers we wouldn't have to close the game.
The State of the Game was posted only four hours after the original announcement. If you were going to flip-flop, couldn't you have done that first and spared everyone the shock and upset? This is an extremely valid point. To answer fairly, we'll tell you how things went down. The closing announcement came out of a conversation which included all of the mods, and which lasted several hours. The team came to the decision together, and before it was posted the mods who were left reviewed the draft and approved it. The state of the game, which followed a few hours later, was only written by two of the mods and a player, and it along with the poll were posted without the rest of the mod team's knowledge. The rest of the team later found out when players started contacting Gabby with complaints and concerns, assuming since she had posted the closing announcement she had also posted the follow-up. That's when the first edit to the state of the game was made, in deference to the players who had complained and in an effort to explain the confusion. Not all members of the mod team even knew the state of the game had been posted until as late as yesterday evening.
Was the closing announcement just meant to scare/upset us? Absolutely not. Closing the game was the result of a lot of discussion. The state of the game post was the result of one mod taking the initial reaction on Plurk and trying to help. Once more players and the rest of the team were looped in it was already a committed post, and all we could do was damage control. It was positively not our intention to upset the game more than it already was, or make anyone feel like the game was taking a step backward or not listening to them.
I didn't even see the closing statement until after the state of the game had already gone up, and I felt like the decision had already been made so why should I bother to contribute? Overwhelmingly, some players have called out the state of the game for going up without giving the whole game time to see the closing statement, process it, or contribute their thoughts. In addition to feeling like it was in poor taste, some of these players felt like their opinions were being ignored or that they missed out because they weren't available before the poll went up. We absolutely assure you all that this was not our intention, and we cannot apologize enough for the way you were made to feel. We agree that the taste level and the tone set was poor, and it could have been done better to avoid all this needless upset. Unfortunately wishes aren't horses, things happened the way they did, and all we can do is listen now and try to make it up to you.
It's obvious the majority of players want more plots not less, so why are you suggesting we get rid of our IC mixers and all mod plots? and Activity is one of Ten Forward's biggest complaints, doesn't getting rid of AC seem like it will make the problem worse? The four suggested changes outlined in the state of the game post were thought up by the two mods involved, and influenced by some of the feedback received on Plurk. Our playerbase has always been a little divided on these two issues, and up to this point we have tried to toe the line to find a happy medium for everybody. Because things happened so fast and without input from a large majority, there is no one answer to these questions. Instead we'll provide some information. The post, including all suggestions, were written from the viewpoint that Ten Forward would definitely be changed to a semi-sandbox format, and as a sandbox it would no longer need AC or a complicated app. The post originally stated that mod-run game plots would continue as normal, but the mod who has been in charge of all game plots was not consulted first, and later reminded the two that continuing to run game plots was one of the reasons the team decided to close the game. When asking the two if anything had changed they said no, and rather than mislead the playerbase into thinking the current mod team could continue plots into a sandbox format, a correction was posted to inform the players of the mistake until definite provisions for mod-run plots were made. Ultimately the outcome of all these things will rely on majority vote in the polls as well as how many volunteers step forward.
So many people have volunteered to help keep the game open, why aren't you listening to them? We are absolutely listening to every single one of you. Because things went down poorly and it left a majority confused and upset, we needed to allow time for everyone to see what was happening and come to us with their thoughts. Ultimately the confusion needed to be addressed so players knew exactly what was going on, and would therefore know what they would be voting for or volunteering for. The way the state of the game was worded did make it sound like we had already decided what was happening, and that just wasn't true. We wanted everyone to feel like they were being listened to before we made any action that may potentially alienate or upset someone. We care about the game and all of its players, and if it can continue on in some form we are happy to see it do so.
At 5pm EDT (GMT-4) we closed the original poll posted in our state of the game. Of our 61 current active players, 35 participated in addition to 3 non-player guests. The results ended up breaking down like this:
27 players - No Comment
21 players - Keep the game open and implement the new semi-sandbox structure with the stated changes
8 players - Close the game as it is
5 players - No Preference or Other
It's worth noting that the 3 non-player guests all voted to keep the game open implementing the new changes, which shows that there is still interest in Ten Forward even with non-members. So in the end 34.43% of members voted to keep Ten Forward open, with a cumulative percent of 46.15% total participants voting not to close it.
Although it shows that there is no one runaway leading opinion about the future of Ten Forward, there is definitely more than enough players and interested parties that we mods are not going to leave high and dry. You have all expressed a variety of suggestions in addition to your concerns, and so it's clear that before an ultimate decision is made you should all be given the opportunity to vote again this time with all the information at your disposal. So here we go.
Mods. First and foremost, there is a lot of misinformation flying around. We'll have a little more to say at the very end of this post, but since the point is seeing if anything can be done to keep Ten Forward going, knowing what's happening with your mod team is going to affect everyone's opinions. What everyone knows by now is that there are five mods and one volunteer mod helper, and that the six of us agreed to close the game. What you may not know is how this has all come to pass. Two members of the mod team stepped down, one completely and the other to a very small role, before the posts were made. Following the posts, some people have requested that Gabby step down, which she has agreed to do. Following that, two more members of your mod team have decided to likewise step down, which has left the math at one mod — Kippur — remaining with the game. This in part was why closing seemed like the best option, but there are at least two players who have volunteered to step up to full mod positions, and if they are committed to that then there shouldn't be any reason your suggestions can't be entertained. If, however, this does change your opinion of continuing, scroll down to the end of the post.
Volunteers. Over the weekend we have received a total of 8 volunteers: 6 for Research/Plots; 5 for Organizing; 1 for NPCing; 3 for Coding; 2 for Apps Processing. That covers a wide enough array that if these volunteers did want to step up, potentially the game could stay running in its current format. Ultimately that would be up to what the game as a whole decides, though. It's certainly enough to support a sandbox comm. Bear in mind, all but one volunteer stepped up for small, part-time jobs, but the state of the game wasn't written to express the need for a full-time mod team. So we didn't want to deflate anyone before finding out if full-time volunteers were a possibility.
Plots. Now that the whole game has more information on what's happening, hopefully this will clear up the remaining confusion on the status of plots. The mod who was in charge of the game's plots was asked to step down, which is why the announcement there would be no mod-run plots needed to be made. Obviously prior to the closing announcement, more plots and activity were one of our biggest player requests. Should the game continue in any format, we are completely aware that the majority of players want more plots, but if there are no mods we cannot promise mod plots. The correction to say that all plots would be player run is because at present the players are the ones volunteering to head up game plots. If some of those players become mods, then Gabby would be completely happy to hand over all of her notes and the queue of player-requested plots for a new mod to handle, in which event a new mod might have a different take on running plots for Ten Forward. Ultimately, it depends on our volunteers.
NPCs. In addendum to the above, since all TNG chiefs of staff (crewman) characters save one will no longer be player-run, they will have to exist as NPCs until/unless another player apps that character to the game. Since there was only one NPC volunteer, this will likely mean that having NPCs to interact with characters as has been the process to this point will be done away with or changed to facilitate plots only. For players currently in threads with an NPC/crew character played by Gabby, the offer to bring all of these threads to a happy resolution so no one is left hanging is on the table.
1st Suggestion: Keeping the game open as a sandbox, as proposed. Many people voted for this option, but there were also many who felt it was their only option other than closing the game. With the current administrative status, it is our leading option. But if a new mod team steps up then their ideas and others should still be entertained. Of those who commented, they were pro abolishing AC and the application period, but there were "no" votes for: changing the application, getting rid of our IC mixers, and getting rid of reserves. If a team steps up to take over, voting on keeping/removing these items will likely happen again to get an idea of where everyone stands. If no administrative team steps up, then the sandbox's original proposal will move forward with minimal admin and all plots being player run.
2nd Suggestion: Keeping the game as is with a new mod team to take over. Many were concerned that the four proposed changes in the state of the game ran contrary to what players had been giving input on up to that point: namely that activity and encouraging tagging out are two things Ten Forward needs more of, not less. Some changes obviously do need to be made to address everyone's concerns. This would be contingent on if a new mod team does step up.
3rd Suggestion: Replacing AC and Check-Ins with "What Has Your Character Been Up To?" posts. Rather than having to either submit a specific activity count OR have no representation of activity at all, a suggestion was made to instead have a "what has your character been up to?" check-in where players comment to show they are active while linking us to what their characters may have done in the game during that time. This would double as proof of activity and also give the game an idea of what's happening IC, without the stress of meeting a specific requirement.
4th Suggestion: Replacing all IC mixers with [multiple choice]. If the game continues and the mixers are done away with or changed, the following suggestions were made: 1) make rooming & sickbay part of the app process so it's done on an individual player basis; 2) have players switch off on posting sickbay/rooming/counselling logs, remaining at a once-a-month schedule; 3) combine sickbay/rooming/counselling, or leave them as sticky posts in an area where they can be indefinitely tagged.
5th Suggestion: Closing the game for at least one month, before re-opening it with the decided changes. If the game does change hands and re-open under new rules/perimeters, allow players who may not want to continue in the new style time to bring their CR to a desired resolution first, acting as if the game is closing, and then reopen it as a sandbox/etc. for players who will be continuing on. As mentioned above, NPC work can still be threaded out at this time for anybody who wants to take advantage of that. It will also allow time for people outside the comm to see that the game has changed, and refresh themselves on what the new rules might be.
6th Suggestion: Close the game as originally planned. Since this wasn't the popular vote it's not the likely outcome, but given we had many impassioned opinions shared with us as to why this would be the best course of action, we are not ignoring those of you who have said so. Additionally, some players who originally voted for the sandbox have since dropped, and with the confusion and misinformation it bears bringing up again so that foremost if and when a new team takes over they are going into it knowing what the game as a whole has to say, and secondmost that if players have changed their mind now that they know all the details they have the option to say so.
There were a number of other comments that are not represented above simply because they fell under the umbrella of one of the above, or might have been drastically affected by one of the above. We do hope we got everybody's questions and comments, however, as it was not our intention to leave anyone out. If you feel like you were overlooked, please do bring your comments to our attention again so that they can be counted with the final results.
Speaking of which, below is a newly revised poll to take all of the above into consideration. There will also be a "MODS AND VOLUNTEERS" top-level in the comments section, so that those who are still interested in continuing on can be re-counted and a plan of action hatched from there. Thank you all for your patience, and we hope this has helped at least a little. We are, again, so sorry for all of the confusion.
Of the above suggestions, check all that you agree with.
Yes, I want Ten Forward to stay open, and I'll volunteer to help!
Yes, I want Ten Forward to stay open, but I can't volunteer to help.
Yes, I want Ten Forward to stay open, but only if it stays the same
Yes, I want Ten Forward to stay open as a semi-sandbox community but only if there are game plots
Yes, I want Ten Forward to stay open as a semi-sandbox community no matter what
No, close Ten Forward, but only for a little while so current players can resolve their CR before reopening the game as something else
No, close Ten Forward permanently
If Ten Forward stays open, I am for getting rid of AC
I would like AC to stay the same, if Ten Forward stays open
I think replacing AC with a "What Has Your Character Been Up To" post is a great idea!
If Ten Forward stays open, I am for the proposed changes to IC mixers
I would like the IC mixers to stay the same, if Ten Forward stays open
Yes, change the reserve/apps process as proposed!
No, keep the reserve/apps process the way it is
I have another preference (option to tell us in the comments)
Before we brought this post to a close, we did want to acknowledge the way this has all been handled and those of you who were upset by it. We know that it hasn't been ideal for anybody, and as such we wanted to do all our players — past, present, and future — the respect of addressing that.
Many of you expressed frustrations that the team hadn't been more open with you regarding how bad things were. We understand that in being too gentle and not trying to cause undue panic prematurely, we left you, and by extension ourselves, unprepared for everything that went down this weekend. Really all we can do at this point is apologize. We over-censored ourselves to the point that most of you didn't know what was happening, and while from our perspective this is the fourth time we've been in this position, for many of our new players it seemed very out of the blue. Gabby especially apologizes, given many of the most recent updates came from a place of trying to reorganize, update, and soldier on, and that only leant itself to the overall shock of Thursday's announcement.
We understand that in the time since, many things have been said. Several players have alluded to conversations on Plurk, anon comms, and otherwise in private where the game's problems and the cause of those problems have been discussed in some detail. Some of these rumors may be true. Some may not. We don't feel that the game deserves any further drama from taking these point by point, so instead we simply want to thank everyone who has made Ten Forward the wonderful game it was and hopefully will continue to be, and apologize for the stress and upset the past four days has caused on everyone. We assure you that the mod team cares about all of the players on an individual, personal level, and any rumors to the contrary are regrettable, but we understand how things looked.
The past few days have been filled with tears for all of us and wishes that things had turned out differently; in our efforts to close the game with the least amount of drama possible, we only exacerbated it, and are ashamed that it happened the way it did with the effect it had on the playerbase and the game's reputation. Anger was a justified response, and the requests that you've made to the administrative aspects of the game likewise so. Just know that none of us are stepping away in anger or defiance. We absolutely want what's best for the players here, and as always since day 1 of Ten Forward, we want the players to ultimately decide what that is. It has been an absolute honor and pleasure being your mods, and no matter what happens that won't change for us.
Hopefully the bitter won't overshadow the sweet, and good times will continue to roll. We will support however the game's future goes in whatever ways we can, and always wish this community all the best.
Make it so.
- The Mods