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posted at 2017-06-24 11:49 by kurumim

As another step towards making rules more up to date, I'd suggest a reduction of 12 hours in each contact deadline i.e., the first contact deadline would be Thursday 10:00 h server time (when currently an automated reminder is sent to absent players) and the second contact deadline would be Friday 10:00 h (when currently a second reminder is sent). The reminders could be sent 24 and 48 hours after the pairings for the given round are posted, i.e., Wednesday 22:00 h server time and Thursday 22:00 h. Justifications for this change include:

i) every round invariably starts on the same day (Tuesday) at the same time (22:00 h server time) and every player is aware of that;
ii) obviously every player has internet access, plus texting is something very trivial nowadays and dropping a line to your opponent shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes,
iii) some players seem prone to misuse the time they have at their disposal, leaving their opponents in a limbo in the Game Forum. Whilst this behaviour can't be totally prevented, this change should hurry such players and make the situation less uncomfortable for those who always try to make prompt contact. As I understand it, the amount of time we have for negotiations includes a margin of safety that should be used in case of need, it's not supposed to be a means to make opponents wait and wait until a response is enforced by a deadline.

In short, I believe that in this day and age 60 hours is more than enough time for a player to contact his/her opponent before being at risk of forfeiting the game and this change is solely intended to make game scheduling (at least a bit) easier and faster for everybody. I don't think it will result in more forfeits, otherwise I wouldn't suggest it.

Cheers and good season break to all,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-06-24 13:01 by joshuar

Agreed, players showing up late to a set date is rarer than people waiting until Thursday to start negotiations and the last minute on Friday to confirm a time... when I would preferably like to plan my weekend in advance.

I support the suggestion.

posted at 2017-06-25 03:51 by herrahuu

I agree with Robertos suggestion. Dragging on negotiations is wasting the time when the game could be actually played.

posted at 2017-06-26 09:48 by alexmontes

I personally do not like this. First of all, I do not think a 12-hour change in the deadlines is going to dramatically improve the scheduling process. Second, because of the different time zones 2.5 days is somehow different for people for whom that means (simply put) two days and three nights than for those meaning three days and two nights.

posted at 2017-06-26 11:08 by kurumim

Alex, I had considered this timezone issue, but then thought that a reduction of 24 hours would be asking for too much... Also, given that people have quite varied schedules (e.g., some work at night) and how easy and quick texting is nowadays, I don't see it as a real problem.

I named this thread "Time for negotiations" because of the suggestion I made, but actually any idea on how to improve game scheduling is more than welcome. Same as with the suggestions for the grace period, the point here is to find ways to prevent abuse (or at least discourage it) and make the experience nicer for everybody.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-06-26 15:51 by joshuar

Well the pairings post at 10p server Tues. First contact currently isn't until Thursday 10p server, a full 48 hours later. Do we really need 48 hours to post "hello?" 72 hours to post something to ensure you don't forfeit?

No matter what time zone you're in, you're going to see the pairings within 24 hours on any schedule, and more likely within 12hrs. If you really have such an opposite schedule as your opponent, it makes sense to start negotiations as early as possible to actually have more games played. If you're out of contact for the first part of the week, surely you will have told your captain who can relay that info on the game forum.

That said, I wouldn't want to find new ways to punish players if people feel this isn't a problem. For me, though, the most likely reason a game isn't played is because the opponent doesn't start communicating with me until the weekend, and then we have to find a time to play a week later, potentially affecting my ability to play in the following round because I wasn't actually able to play in the scheduled round. Obviously sometimes captains have no choice but to have a busy player in the lineup when it's most likely not going to work out for that player to play that week, and I don't mind playing in the following week for those occasions. It's just annoying when we COULD HAVE played, if my opponent had started communicating with me earlier.

posted at 2017-06-27 11:28 by herrahuu

Joshua put it exactly as it is. :)

posted at 2017-06-27 12:33 by kurumim

Agreed, Joshua described the whole situation really well. :) And I'd say that a reduction of 24 hours would be best, but I don't know how open to change the community is. Now, considering that many voted to reduce the grace period, it'd be surprising if they don't find it annoying to wait two or three entire days for a simple reply in the Game Forum.

Joshua also mentioned the fact of players having to play in a busier week. Well, no team in TL67 had less than 5 players in their rosters, which is the first measure to avoid that problem. The second measure is timely and good communication between players and their captains and/or deputy captains. And in any case the sooner a player informs his/her opponent about his/her availability/schedule, the more chances for them to play their game.

posted at 2017-06-27 13:13 by schachbjm

Hi, just to show my experiences:

I had a very busy week in TL twice, so I asked the opponents captain to schedule the game prior to the pairings, in order to get the game played. For instance, once I was on vacation starting on Friday, due to the early scheduling I was able to play my game Wednesday 15:00.

Best regards
schachbjm

posted at 2017-06-28 05:11 by PankracyRozumek

I like Roberto's idea, and I like the 24 hours reduction, simply to have all deadlines happening at the same time of the day.

I understand that a player might be offline on a Wednesday to start the negotiations promptly, but they can instruct their captain what to post.

Michal

posted at 2017-06-29 09:01 by alexmontes

For me personally, reducing the deadlines by 12 hours or by 24 would make no difference, in either case I would have to post Wed/Thu before going to bed. This is why I do not like the 12 hour reduction, as stated in my first post. But this is just my opinion/my life.

As for a 24 h reduction, that would mean that a player who does not post anything in 24 hours may be forced to accept any of his opponent's offers. And by posting something it is in principle meant to make three offers, not just to say "hello" or "sorry, I am very busy now but I will make some offers as soon as possible".
In my opinion, such a constraining rule is excessive. You may say that people are here to play and most people would still be open to discuss offers from an opponent who missed the first contact deadline, but it makes no sense to write rules that then you do not want to enforce.

Maybe one option would be to move the whole TL program one day ahead so that there is more time for negotiations before the first weekend, but I am sure that the TL staff had some reasons for having things start on Tuesday, possibly related to the requests for changes in a team among other things.

Something that could be useful would be for each player to have a kind of published orientative preferred/forbidden playing times in his profile/finger notes. This information would not be binding, but it would help seeing quickly if there are chances that the game can be played during the week or if it looks as if it will only be possible to play during the weekend, as it is often the case with people from different continents. However, I think that such a demand could only be a recommendation for all players, not something compulsory.

Alex.

posted at 2017-06-29 14:36 by kurumim

Thank you for your feedback, Alex.

The main reason I started all this is that most delays in negotiations seem to occur not because players are too busy or out of reach, but because they simply can make you wait or don’t care that much. As with the grace period, the extra time is supposed to cover accidents/mishaps, but some people misuse it. Furthermore, internet and electronic devices have evolved a lot over the past decade, making virtual communication incredibly easy and fast.

You referred to the content of posts in the Game Forum. Well, besides greeting your opponent, you just need to type two or three dates and times, so it probably takes 2-3 minutes. If your opoonent has already offered a time that fits you, it’s all even faster.

Thinking of what you said about forcing an opponent to agree to an offer, maybe we could get rid of that ‘potential punishment’ and make the first contact deadline (which would be on Wednesday at 22:00 h server time with the reduction of 24 hours) only a reminder.

Regarding timezones: for those in Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa it will be Wednesday night way before the first contact deadline, so some quick texting before bed will suffice; and those in the Americas may have the chance to post right after the pairings are up on Tuesday night. And there’s still Thursday if you really need it. And, as Michal aptly pointed out, players can also ask their captains and deputy captains to post.

Your idea of notes with preferred and forbidden times is interesting, but it also needs prompt communication to work, and that's what I'm trying to promote.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-06-29 17:43 by joshuar

I don't feel strongly one way or the other that the change should be enacted. I feel it would be helpful for me and getting games played on time (as would moving the entire round earlier, say to Monday, as an altogether additional/radical idea that I'd like even better). The vast majority of my games are played on the weekend, and more time to communicate prior to the weekend is always nice. And if we're free during the week, more time to communicate during the week is still nice.

I will state I've never seen nor punished someone myself for early contact by someone that states "Sorry I don't yet have a time yet and may have to play next week," in the case of someone not wanting to post until they can state three solid times. However, you are correct that the rules as-stated could allow punishment for content-less contact.

posted at 2017-06-29 22:31 by smallblackcat

Roberto's original suggestion to shift the deadlines forward is interesting, and very reasonable. However, I'm not convinced that it would lead to a net increase in games being played. Seems like we might lose as many through increased missed deadlines than we would gain from more prompt scheduling.

In general I see the purpose of the scheduling rules as creating a framework within which people can negotiate in good faith. Some people might take advantage of how lax the rules are, but unfortunately those some people would probably be inclined to take advantage of stricter rules too. This is just my personal opinion, and should not be seen as representing staff views as a whole. I don't want to end debate on this subject, or to block changes from happening if the community as a whole thinks they are a good idea.

Regarding Joshua's point about first contact: players are expected to provide legitimate offers before the initial contact deadline. Simply saying "hello" is not acceptable (years ago a player got into trouble for doing exactly this). For this reason, missing the initial deadline is highly inadvisable.

posted at 2017-07-02 02:42 by kurumim

Stephen, I like your balanced view, but why the risk of more forfeits wasn’t a barrier to the reduction of the grace period and should be a barrier to the reduction of deadlines? Doesn’t it seem like applying a double standard to very similar matters? Both proposals are time-related and intended to combat abuse, and, even though I can’t give any guarantees, I’d bet the farm that the reduction of deadlines is much less likely to result in more forfeits. As I explained before, evidence suggests most delays in negotiations result from bad habits, not real problems, plus the effect of any accident or mishap is more manageable during the negotiation period than, say, a few minutes or one or two hours before the start of a game.

In short, I agree that stricter rules don’t eliminate abuse, but they can mitigate it, and that’s the point of proposals like this.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-07-02 06:10 by smallblackcat

Let me start by saying that I'm not trying to shoot down this proposal. I am simply giving my reasons for not being enthusiastic about such changes, but I will not stand in the way if enough people disagree with me.

The thing is that the rules about negotiating times are really very relaxed. If people adhere to the minimum 3-time offers, it isn't that helpful to setting a time either, so you could argue that we should ask for more than that too. The rules vaguely indicate that not offering weekend times is discouraged, but as a practical matter this isn't enforced (and can't be really, if for no other reason than not everyone's weekend coincides, due to timezone differences).

My concern is that if we tighten this one aspect of negotiations, it will be hard to argue against other similar changes (as evidenced by the fact that the grace period change is being used to argue for this change). I'm perfectly happy to examine these suggestions individually, on their own merits (and as I've said, I don't think this is a bad proposal at all), but I am concerned about moving from a relaxed, open-ended approach to a more strict approach, for the reasons I outlined above.

posted at 2017-07-02 10:51 by kurumim

I know you haven't dismissed the proposal and I really appreciate your feedback and explanation, I just wanted to raise a question on a point that I consider critical for this discussion. :) Forfeits are a major concern for me too (ideally I'd love to see none in a season) and therefore I'd take that risk into account when assessing any changes to the rules. That was the basis for the comparison with the grace period proposal.

I may be wrong, but I guess most players understand that the more times they have available and can offer, the easier to come to an agreement. Even if offers are restricted to the weekend, the dialogue starting as soon as possible can only be beneficial to both sides.

Alright, my arguments on this are well known by now and I don't wanna bore anyone to death. :) I thank everybody for the arguments for and against the proposal and I leave it for other players to share their views on the matter.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-07-03 08:35 by KayVee

The original post is talking of two points
a) encouraging players to engage in timely game forum discussions, and
b) using threat of forfeit by not sticking to contact deadlines, as a means of such encouragement

In my few sessions as a TD, I've seen many reasons for a lack of timely discussion. None of them are related to deadlines. Someone that will engage in a timely discussion will do so regardless of the deadlines, others will not.

posted at 2017-07-03 14:37 by kurumim

I'm sorry, KayVee, but item b of your summary doesn't do justice to my proposal (or my subsequent comments). If there's this 'threat of forfeit', it's simply posed by the final contact deadline itself, which already exists, and it exists for the simple reason that you've got to set limits to things, otherwise they're likely to become an utter mess. So, I'm not using or creating any threat, I'm suggesting that deadlines be shifted forward to make the whole process of game scheduling more dynamic. Simple as that.

The original proposal also makes a clear point that, by today's technological standards, 72 hours for the first contact in Game Forum is just excessive and unnecessary.

Don't quite remember seeing players presenting reasons or justifications for being late in negotiations. Actually, sometimes they don't even greet their opponents, they simply set the time. And Joshua is not alone in noticing players rushing to post right before the first or second contact deadline.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-07-03 16:22 by KayVee

@Roberto, first off, apologies for possibly misconstruing the thoughts in this thread. I do understand the intent of the proposal i.e., to promote timely game scheduling. That said, sensible people don't need deadlines - they post early and check often and make every effort to play the game. Others just ignore deadlines and/or post silly comments to meet them - I'm not convinced that changes to contact deadlines will change their behavior.

posted at 2017-07-03 17:55 by kurumim

Thanks, KayVee, I see your point better now. That's it, it seems some players simply don't care and don't want to make negotiations fast and easy — and the big question is: how to deal with that behaviour? Of course one could suggest that such players should be punished somehow, but I don't fancy that and thought shortening the deadlines could be a less harsh and more effective solution. Maybe somebody will come up with another idea to promote timely game scheduling.

Cheers,
Roberto.

posted at 2017-07-04 09:45 by tseltzer

I strongly support Roberto's well-thought out and reasonable original suggestion, but with the deadlines moved up by a full 24 hours. What reason is there for someone to need more time than that? Why do the rules indicate that back-and-forth negotiations should occur within a 24-hour window, but that doesn't include the notice of a new game, happening every Tuesday evening at the same time? And, whatever rules there are should be enforced.

Too many participants don't consider their opponent and simply wait until Thursday or Friday (some, even later) to post anything in the Game Forum. This behavior should be strongly discouraged by the league, in my opinion, as it also results in games which don't get played (just like forfeits), because by the time of a response, several offered times may have expired, the 24 hour acceptance window has narrowed the weekend to effectively Sunday for many players, and players may not be available the next weekend, since we are now running into the next round.

The difference is that the person who misbehaved would be held accountable and discouraged from such behavior in the future. I have found that it is the same people who abuse the "lax" deadlines (i.e. not "deadlines" at all). They would either need to change their habits or be assessed forfeits and penalties. Repeatedly engaging in such behavior will get you disqualified from the league. That is not a bad thing, but a good thing!

posted at 2017-07-04 11:31 by tseltzer

I strongly support Roberto's well-thought out and reasonable original suggestion, but with the deadlines moved up by a full 24 hours. What reason is there for someone to need more time than that? Why do the rules indicate that back-and-forth negotiations should occur within a 24-hour window, but that doesn't include the notice of a new game, happening every Tuesday evening at the same time? And, whatever rules there are should be enforced.

Too many participants don't consider their opponent and simply wait until Thursday or Friday (some, even later) to post anything in the Game Forum. This behavior should be strongly discouraged by the league, in my opinion, as it also results in games which don't get played (just like forfeits), because by the time of a response, several offered times may have expired, the 24 hour acceptance window has narrowed the weekend to effectively Sunday for many players, and players may not be available the next weekend, since we are now running into the next round.

The difference is that the person who misbehaved would be held accountable and discouraged from such behavior in the future. I have found that it is the same people who abuse the "lax" deadlines (i.e. not "deadlines" at all). They would either need to change their habits or be assessed forfeits and penalties. Repeatedly engaging in such behavior will get you disqualified from the league. That is not a bad thing, but a good thing!

posted at 2017-07-05 14:56 by JoshuaR

Right, I believe the issue we need to address: Do more games get played by "encouraging" players to start negotiations earlier, or will moving the deadline forward by 24 hours increase the number of forfeits (fewer games played)?

I personally favor moving the deadlines forward by one day, or even the "radical" proposal of posting pairings Monday instead of Tuesday, but I can understand the concerns and especially the fact that the "tradition" has been established for so long that this and the grace period change may result in forfeits from people not keeping up with the rules. I imagine this is negated quite easily the same way the TDs remind everyone about any changes, with repeat spam postings in the negotiations threads. :P