Season 42 - Newsletter Part 1

October 10, 2020 / by crlundy

Thank you to everyone who attended our two town halls during the long break for the Shuffle iT Championship, and to everyone who provided feedback on the Returning Form. All your suggestions and input have lead to several rules changes. You can see the exact rules changes and rewordings in our Rules Changelog, but I’ll also summarize them here.

  • Snake seeding was replaced with random seeding, as presented at the second Town Hall.
  • 5th place will never demote from a 7-player flex division.
  • Returning players are also eligible for superpromotions.
  • Player cannot superpromote to a tier above E.
  • As an experiment in the Practice Tier, players will use the expansion restriction that we polled in the Returning Form.
  • We will use the systematic algorithm presented at the second Town Hall to give consideration to match results that were previously voided when one of the players dropped.
  • Ties for 2nd place in Division A1 will be broken by a 2-game match.
  • A tie in the championship match will be broken by a 1-game match (so they just play a 7th game), and if there’s still a tie, P2 wins.

We also have several other, more minor changes to make:

  • Moderators will be allowed to take single-season breaks while maintaining their status as a moderator.
  • The selection process for new moderators will be longer, so that more people may apply, and more consideration may be given to the applications.
  • The congratulatory messages (the ones with the clapping emoji in the #results channel) will now be sent in a dedicated #congratulations channel, as well as in the division channels.
  • We will have a dedicated “stenographer” at Town Halls (as we did for the most recent one) to make sure that they are accessible to text-only participants.

Moderator churn

Returning: alibby1152, amoffett11, catmom, Cave-o-sapien, crlundy, Earl, eh1414, Gazbag, Lemonspawn, nottoobad, Rozyroz, SamE, singletee, tracer, truffles, volfied, wharf_rat

Leaving: apostolosoruler — thank you for your 7 seasons of service as a moderator!

Rules meeting minutes

  1. Town Hall: Smorgasbord
    1. Suggested schedules
      • Add back suggested schedules to tiers A–E.
        • NO (4 dissenting)
      • The suggested schedules are rarely used in tiers A–E, so they often just take up space in the channel and distract from the other important information there. The schedules can also dissuade players from trying to schedule more than one match per week to stay ahead.
      • Dissent (eh1414): Suggested schedules provide a good guide for new players and players that are stuck for who to try to message. It seems that a number of divisions, even in A-E, don't have much activity in the division channel compared to DMs, so suggested schedules can be a good guide to ensure a steady pace of play in this situation.
      • Dissent (SamE): I'm an upper-tier player, and I would use one. I don't really see the downside; it's not like the channel is kept super pristine without it.
    2. Flex divisions
      • 6th and 7th demote from every 7-player division always and never 5th.
        • YES (6 dissenting)
      • Demoting 3 out of 7 players is a large percentage. It creates more turnover, and can make 7th place quickly feel hopeless to avoid demotion. Only demoting 2 players is more intuitively consistent.
      • Dissent (crlundy): Demoting 5th place could help push divisions back to being 6 players.
      • Dissent (truffles): I don't like 7 players divisions as it creates stress on division sizes and gives less flexibility. There is an reasonable alternative of demoting 5th, 6th and 7th, while allowing 5th place players to stay should there be space.
    3. Season scheduling
      • Change the length of seasons and/or breaks.
        • NO (unanimous)
      • The season and break length have worked comfortably for nearly 7 years.
    4. Seeding
      • Adopt alibby1152's random seeding proposal as originally presented at the town hall.
        • YES (2 dissenting)
      • In the most recent Town Hall, there were two polls that addressed seeding. Of those who had an opinion, it was very close to a 50/50 preference on the proposal as written and maintaining the snake. When a random seeding with subdivision was paired against the snake, there was a clear preference for randomization. This signaled a preference for some sort of randomized seeding. When discussing ways to implement further subdivision, a random algorithm with more subdivisions began to break down. Given the desire to implement a randomized algorithm, we kept the proposal as written.
      • Dissent (Rozyroz): I think that a league this big should do everything in a systematic way. If we had random seeding, that could make it easier for players to complain about their division assignment because our rules don't say exactly who will be in what division which is also just wrong.
      • Adopt SamE's random snake seeding proposal. (If this passes, it supersedes the previous motion.)
        • NO (3 dissenting)
      • The random seeding proposal from the preceding motion was vetted at the town hall, and polling showed that a majority of players supported that system instead.
      • Dissent (SamE): Town Hall participants clearly wanted positioning to matter, and this is a way to deliver it to them. My modified snake would randomize order within previous season tier/positions, and (starting from the top) skip divisions that already had someone of that type, except if that was not possible.
    5. Timers
      • Ask Stef to implement a timer.
        • NO (1 dissenting)
      • The League will respond to any official timers implemented in Dominion Online, but the League is not responsible for lobbying on behalf of any new features.
      • Dissent (Lemonspawn): A timer is a feature that has been requested for a long time, and in the long run it's something that could benefit league. Before it would ever be incorporated in league, it would have to be well-tested and widely used, and client integration would be instrumental in making this happen.
    6. Town hall accessibility
      • Have no voice chat at town halls.
        • NO (3 dissenting)
      • While a majority of players indicated they would prefer no voice chat at town halls, we believe we can still make town hall accessible to text-only participants while still getting the benefits of voice. Moderators can more quickly respond to a flood of questions verbally.
      • Dissent (tracer): Any amount of voice chat at all makes things unfollowable for those unable to listen, which is a majority of participants. Also, many people vote after the main section of the town hall - having a written record of all arguments made is necessary to properly inform their votes.
      • Have a "stenographer" at town halls to help transcribe important audio for text-only participants.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • Since some players are unable to listen to voice chat, recording all important information in the text channel promotes accessibility.
  2. Returning form questions
    1. Expansions
      • Make the expansions restriction (as explained on the returning form) the default for tier J.
        • NO (unanimous)
      • In the returning form, players of all tiers overwhelmingly indicated that they prefer the current rules of using all expansions in games.
      • Make the expansions restriction (as explained on the returning form) the default for the practice tier.
        • YES (2 dissenting)
      • Limiting the number of new cards and mechanics is a great way to help players who are new to Dominion ease into learning the game. The practice tier is meant to introduce you to the format of the League, but doesn't need to require full expertise with all expansions.
      • Dissent (nottoobad): The purpose of the practice tier is to prepare players to play in the League at large. As such, I believe it should have all of the same rules as the rest of the League, including using all expansions either player owns as the default in all games.
    2. Matches
      • Keep matches as 6 games for all tiers (including the practice tier).
        • YES (unanimous)
      • In the returning form, players of all tiers overwhelmingly indicated that they prefer the current match length.
    3. VP counter
      • Keep the VP counter on for all tiers (including the practice tier).
        • YES (unanimous)
      • In the returning form, players of all tiers overwhelmingly indicated that they prefer the current rules of using the VP counter.
  3. Returning form feedback
    1. General
      • Move congratulations messages from #results to a new #promotions channel.
        • YES (7 dissenting)
      • Moving the congratulations messages helps keep the #results channel readable and focused on match results.
      • Dissent (crlundy): The congratulations messages usually come in batches, and are easy to scroll past. Adding another channel is bloat, especially when that channel will have so few messages.
      • Dissent (truffles): There is usually an inflection point where game results decline and promotion messages begin to appear, so it seems unnecessary to have an additional channel.
      • Also include congratulations messages in the division channels.
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • Including the congratulations in the divisions channel makes the standings clear to players in that division, and gives them the opportunity to recognize and congratulate the winner.
      • Dissent (truffles): Historically, we've had issues with incorrect promotion messages. It would be awkward to post them in the channel when they are erroneous. Until we have a higher accuracy, I would not like them to appear in division channels.
  4. Suggestions from moderators
    1. Drop rules
      • Adopt SamE's proposal for scenarios involving dropped players, and poll/reevaluate it at the rules meeting following Season 43.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE's proposal for handling partial results and dropped players was workshopped at the town hall and is systematic and thorough. It is a fair and automated solution to the issue.
    2. League moderation
      • Allow moderators to take 1-season breaks, during with they still follow #league-mod and retain moderator privileges like voting. (If more moderators want breaks than we can afford, we choose moderators that have least recently taken breaks.)
        • YES (unanimous)
      • tracer proposed this option, which can allow moderators to take a break for personal reasons without risking their moderator status. This prevents moderators staying on when they may actually be too busy, just so they don't have to reapply as a moderator.
      • Call for new moderator applications during week 2 and discuss the applicants during week 3 (with the intent of beginning moderator onboarding week 4).
        • YES (unanimous)
      • Lengthening the moderator application process ensures that all players have the chance to apply if they wish. Lengthing the moderator training process means that we can be more thorough in explaining our many processes and spreadsheets. Allowing for a shadowing period means moderators will be more prepared before moderating their first division.
    3. Superpromotions
      • Limit superpromotions such that you can only superpromote to tiers E or lower
        • YES (2 dissenting)
      • Remove new player eligibility restriction for superpromotions
        • YES (7 dissenting)
      • All players, including players returning from breaks, can show marked improvement and should be entitled to superpromotions as well.
      • Dissent (Cave-o-sapien): I would like a compromise where the player must be within their first 3 seasons of league to be eligible for superpromoting. Tier restrictions seem messy given how much those change. League should be League, and ladder should be ladder.
      • Dissent (nottoobad): Consider this situation: a player has a ladder rating of 53 or greater and is in G (there are 5 such players this season). They have a bad season and demote to H. Next season, they win their H division. Should they automatically promote to F? To me the clear answer is no. This rule as proposed can lead to some situations like this with unfair results.
    4. A1 Championship Tiebreakers
      • Abolish the second tiebreaker (Summation of wins * opponent's total wins across matches) for deciding second place in A1 Division. Note that the player placing second advances to the championship match.
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • Dissent (volfied): By this point in the season, players have played enough. With the prospect of a championship match to look forward to, it makes more sense to use the data we have to determine advancement.
      • Abolish the second tiebreaker for deciding the championship winner, should two players in the championship tie after the championship.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • Replace the second tiebreaker for deciding second place with a two-game match, where a tie is decided by an armageddon game 3 (with p2 winning the tie).
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • Dissent (tracer): the championship match is already an extra burden on A players and there is often less than one week to play a longer tiebreaker. Only having 1 game means that is much easier to fit into a schedule, possibly even right before the championship match itself.
      • Replace the second tiebreaker for deciding the championship winner with a one-game match with random start (tie goes to player 2).
        • YES (unanimous)