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Old 09-01-2015, 06:14 PM   #44
Concept
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Disclaimer; I haven't read through the rest of this thread and am also not nearly as in touch with ASB as I once was. The summary version of this long post is in my experience the times I was super motivated to ref and did it quickly weren't about SP incentives or being penalised if I didn't, they were the times I was genuinely enjoying it. ASB is a game. Fun is our ultimate goal and that has to go for the reffing part as much as it does for the battling part.

First off, there are going to be troughs and peaks in ref availability and motivation. The vast majority of the league is in some form of education which means that certain times of the year (exam season, start of the academic year) are just going to be worse than others. Not much we can do about that. Public perception is I feel the main issue with reffing motivation. Reffing can be as much fun as battling. I've really enjoyed reffing a few cracking matches and did it efficiently when I did so despite being one of the most notoriously unreliable refs around. Dave was just talking in TO about how he reffed so much back in the day because of how much he enjoyed it. The fact that we've had successful GM's with all the benefits they've bought - something that a few years ago I never thought I'd see - is down in a large part fo how much Kuno loves reffing. The issue is most people don't see it that way. We gripe about "crap I have to ref this".

I think a big part of this is how one-sided the ref-battler relationship is. We're much more lenient on people missing DQ times than waiting for ages on refs - that is, much more wiling to replace a ref than DQ. If a ref is being slow battlers can chase them up, but refs chasing up tardy battlers almost isn't a thing. Battlers challenge refs excessively - and I'll stand up and say that back around the time I first became an LO and GL I set a very bad example on this front - and there's no traffic the other way. Our culture empowers battlers much more than refs which in turn makes it much more fun to be the former. Battling and reffing are two equally important pillars of ASB and we should strive to make sure they're both as enjoyable as the other.

The other main issue in my view is that reffing has a higher entry barrier than battling. Whilst the league is unique in many ways the basic elements of pokemon tactics - type advantage, status, etc - translate over from the games which we're all familiar with. Reffing is entirely novel to new faces. I know that Jeri, Kush, Dave and I talked abouit writing a "Battling 101" and "Reffing 101" around the time I did the Getting Started thread but lack of motivation and a laundry list of other priorities won out. Reffing 101 would make it much easier for new refs to get started. The coaching program is a step in the right direction but it needs more of a concerted drive to get it going, lead by the goldnbolds and our other A grade refs in Slash and Sneaze, plus some of our better B grades like Emi. Refs need to feel more self-confident. That way they'll enjoy it much more and be much more motivated to do it.

Spitballing potential ways to address these issues:
  • A challenge system like tennis where each battler has a certain limited number of challenges to reffings, maybe dependent on match size. Reduces the burden of being constantly second guessed.
  • LOs need to be more vocal and open about backing up refs discretion when stuff gets challenged.
  • Reffing 101. Consult with newers refs (anyone graded in the last year or so), find out things they wish they'd known starting out. Get some of our stronger non-LO refs like Slash, Sneaze and Emi to help out writing it.
  • A real push on the coaching front. Stuff often sits in that thread for too long. Connor, Dave and Jeri can lead be example here but again this is something where we want to explicitly invite say half a dozen of our best non-LO refs to help out.
  • Slightly stricter DQ times so there's less of a double standard between battling and reffing. This is one where the goldnbolds and a few other senior members of the community - our GL team mostly - need to lead by example by ordering on time and being more willing to DQ. If that means kicking some GLs who battle like me with orders every month from their gyms, so be it.
  • Some sort of system whereby refs can walk away with some SP if battlers are being consistently slow and refusing to DQ each other. Doesn't need to be too specific - we're not explicit on the cut-off for replacing a slow ref, I think we can rely on community balance in the same vein here if the LOs make a point of getting some of our more active refs together and getting them to start setting the example. Let people walk away with SP as if the match had finished at the point they stopped reffing at so long as the battlers are being slow. Helps alleviate the issue of peoples ref caps being tied up in slow matches. LOs must be willing to step in if people start abusing it, at the LOs discrection.
  • Refs should be more willing to chase up slow battlers - again lead by example. I know Connor is good at this.
  • Allowing A grades to ref GMs was a great idea and more benefits in this vein would be great. Make sure to spread legend match reffings around outside of the LO circle. Invite higher grade non-LO refs to judge on contests, that kind of thing. Not only does getting these cool jobs provide motivation for refs it also frees up LO time to focus on rulings, game design and community moderation.
  • A grade refs know their stuff well enough to do some of the work on ref evaluations. No need to keep that to goldnbolds. Makes it easier to keep them regular. I would consider it worth allowing A grade refs to conduct ref tests as well, so long as they get shown how to do it before they start and are supervised initially.
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Last edited by Concept; 09-01-2015 at 07:15 PM.
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