Season 43 - Newsletter Part 1

Recognizing Moderators' Hard Work

November 26, 2020 / by SamE

Hello everyone!

Earlier this month, we held our Scheduling Town Hall, in which players identified a few ways that we can help make everyone’s lives easier with scheduling. We’ve taken these suggestions to heart, and will be adding the following:

  • The Check-In Form will now also require you to describe your schedule for your divisionmates.
  • A message at the halfway point with the matches remaining (without tagging) will help everyone keep track of what they have left.
  • Players will now be automatically removed if they do not manage to complete even a single match by the end of Week 4, already two-thirds way through the season.

These are, of course, small changes, but hopefully they can add up to a slighlty more pleasant scheduling experience for all.

Another small, somewhat related change is on the horizon: Now that we have our moderator e-mail up and running, starting in Season 44, instead of offering a Dominion Strategy Forum user account, players will have the option of sharing their e-mail address for us to use as a backup contact information should they fall off the map on Discord. We’ll also give returning players the chance to give us their e-mail address in the Returning Form. Either way, we won’t be sharing these e-mail addresses anywhere outside the moderator team, and won’t really use them unless we get no response for a period of time on Discord.

Otherwise, we also made some additional small clarifications around tiebreaker rules. Normally, we only break true ties (same number of wins and an even head-to-head) when they matter for promotions, but this ignores the fact that in some particular circumstances those exact placements do end up mattering: Eligibilty for free promotions / play-in matches, superpromotions from tiers with two promoters, and the possibility of a transition scheme to a different number of tiers. In all of these cases, we’ve decided that such ties will simply be interpreted favorably for all parties. In other words, if you tie for 3rd, you’ll both be considered to have gotten 3rd.

Finally, with the welcoming of two more moderators — Sharur and sweetjohn33 — we are now up to a team of 19. To make everyone’s lives easier, we’ve explicitly designated 10 moderator committee chairs, revolving around ten different components to the League:

  • Admin: Facilitating meetings, managing communication, and funcitoning as the ultimate backup.
  • Bot: Management of League-related functions on DomBot and friends.
  • Feedback: Overseeing collection and action from feedback via returning forms and town halls.
  • Issues: Advising moderators on how to deal with problematic situations in their divisions.
  • Onboarding: Bringing new players into the League.
  • Rules: Maintaining an accurate, up-to-date and accessible rules set.
  • Recruiting: Bringing new moderators into the moderation team and up to speed.
  • Setup: Managing the details of the division setup process.
  • Sheets: Maintaining and upgrading the Google Sheets / Google Apps Script League system.
  • Website: Maintaining and updating the League website.

Chairs can potentially turn over once per season, and you can find the current chairs on the moderators page.

For full explanations and to see various even more minor changes I haven’t listed, see the minutes below.

Rules Meeting Minutes

  1. Chairs
    1. Add a tenth chair to the League Mod structure of responsibilities.
      • Motion to add a 10th chair, the Bot Chair.
        • YES (unanimous)
    2. Nomination of Cave-o-sapien to fill the role of Bot Chair
      • Motion to nominate Cave-o-sapien for the Bot Chair.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: Our Chair system is intended to recognize components of the moderation system that individual moderators are reponsible for. As we add more League-related bot features, it's time to recognize the work that Cave-o-sapien has done and is continuing to do.
    3. Make the chairs of the various subcommittees public knowledge via an announcment or the League website
      • Should we announce the chairs in the newsletter and include them on the moderators portion of the website?
        • YES (4 dissenting)
      • SamE: Now that we've figured out our internal organization system, it would be nice to let everyone else know from a perspective of transparency.
      • Sharur: I also wanted to provide some recognition to league mods who are going above and beyond in ways that players may not be aware of.
      • DISSENT (catmom): I just don't think it's super important to let people know about this. I think it's fine to post it, but I dissented because I don't think the community will really care.
      • DISSENT (Cave-o-sapien): I worry about the "issues" chair having a target on their back. Mostly I'm just not sure it's worth the admittedly minimal effort to keep this updated.
      • DISSENT (tracer): I prefer to show a unified front, so that people feel like they can go to any moderator with anything. It seems potentially confusing.
      • DISSENT (wharf_rat): I dissented because I thought this was more in the weeds than most people likely even want to know. Won't hurt to have it though.
  2. Town Hall: Scheduling
    1. Evaluating the efficacy and usage of when2meets for divisions that are signifcantly behind schedule
      • Motion to audit Season 42's when2meets, get the distribution of # players using it, and decide at the Season 43 Setup meeting.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: For now, we see no issue with continuing to use the when2meets as the players wanted, but we have the sense that players aren't even using them, and would prefer not to spend the time to make them if they aren't being used widely enough.
    2. Adding a question about general availability to the Check-In Form for the season
      • Motion to add a required free-text question to the check-in form asking about availability, and to post what they say into the channel along with "X has checked in."
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: Players were interested in this, and it seems like a good way to break the ice.
    3. Determining an objective way for moderators to identify players who are falling behind schedule and suggesting matches for them to play in a given week
      • Vote: Should we find some algorithm to, on Weeks 2-4 Mondays, for each player who is behind, suggest a match that they haven't completed to play?
        • NO (5 dissenting)
      • SamE: While the players were interested in this idea, the implementation and potential for interaction with the suggested schedule adds a lot of complications. We will also be adding other proposals that should pass and will help with that, and maybe the need will be lessened by that.
      • tracer: suggesting matches does very little to address the issues that poor schedulers have, and only suggesting one per week to a behind player does not catch them up
      • DISSENT (catmom): I voted yes on this.
      • DISSENT (Rozyroz): When players are behind, we should tell them specifacilly which player(s) are behind, not just generally say that the division is behind. Suggesting a match for them to schedule would encourage the players to schedule at match and help them catch up.
      • DISSENT (volfied): I think this would be a huge improvement. It's complicated, but done right, it's just the sort of prod that slow schedulers need.
    4. Reiterate to players how to turn on Discord notifications so that it is easier for them to receive important League messages
      • Motion to automate Rozyroz's message (here:
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: This seems useful. By automate, we mean that there will be an automated reminder for a moderator to post this.
    5. Moving the automatic minion posts of matches remaining to an earlier point in the season
      • For the "here are all the matches remaining posts", motion to add these, without tagging, to either Week 3 and 4 or Week 4 only.
        3) Weeks 3 and 4
        4) Week 4
        0) Don't add them.
        • 3) 5 votes
          4) 11 votes
          0) 1 vote
      • SamE: In Week 3, the lists will often be too long to be useful. Week 4 serves as a nice warning for Week 5's tagging.
      • DISSENT (catmom): I think it'd be great to do this every week. I think it's helpful to see the entire divisions progress and the tag is a good reminder.
      • DISSENT (Sharur, tracee): This is a good change. I think it would also be useful to extend it to Week 3, but I don't hold that opinion strongly.
      • DISSENT (volfied): They seem like they'd be too long even in week 4.
    6. Make the messaging of when a player will be removed for not playing matches more explicit
      • Motion to change language in various messages to make it clear that moderators should remove any players with no games reported or calendar-scheduled at all after 4 weeks.
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • SamE: We have various thresholds, but this one is super generous and we should be clearer about it.
      • DISSENT (nottoobad): In 99.8% of cases, removing a player with no played or calendar-scheduled games after week 4 is the right move. I believe there should still be moderator discretion to deal with the 0.2% of cases involving extenuating circumstances.
    7. Add text at the end of the Check-In Form to explicitly encourage people to post availability/schedule a match after filling out the form
      • Current confirmation message:
        Thank you for checking in! Now go to Discord and schedule your matches. :)
        Motion to add more explicit encouragement to schedule your first match for this week or explain why you won't be able to play.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: We're slightly concerned about players who check in and then don't do anything, so we want to make the 1 match per week standard slightly more common.
  3. Moderator Suggested Changes
    1. Restrict the early opening of channels and Week 0 matches to A Tier only
      • Motion to remove Week 0 channel opening for non-A. (We can revisit another season if there's tons of demand.)
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: We aren't seeing many games played in Week 0 outside of A. And we made some mistakes last season that we'd prefer to avoid.
    2. Select the A Division Moderator prior to the Setup meeting
      • Motion to decide the A division moderator at the Rules meeting, in general.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: It's bad not to have a moderator while games are being played. So we'll declare the A1 moderator by taking nominations at the rules meeting.
    3. Elimination of the 2nd tiebreaker from League entirely
      • Motion to fully eliminate the second tiebreaker from the sheets.
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • SamE: This is the old "mathy" tiebreaker that rewarded wins against strong players. We aren't using it anymore, so we can safely delete it, and it'll simplify the spreadsheets.
      • DISSENT (volfied): We'll need it again one day. Mark my words.
    4. Are players who tie for promotion eligible for Superpromotions?
      • Should a super-promoter have to place outright first or can they tie (including the head to head) for first?
        • They can tie (6 dissenting)
      • tracer: Superpromotions are important for keeping divisions balanced in lower tiers as people go through rapid improvement. A tie for first is sufficiently indicative of their ability to outperform their tier that we can look to leaderboard level for guidance as to whether a rapid improvement has taken place.
      • DISSENT (nottoobad): Superpromotions should be rare cases of players who are significantly misplaced in their current tier. Tying for first does not show significant misplacement.
      • DISSENT (Rozyroz): Super-promoting is currently hard and it should stay that way as it's something we only do when players can prove that they were placed incorrectly. Super-promoting should only be for players who can stand out and tying for first isn't standing out.
      • DISSENT (SamE, Sharur, volfied): It seems like a superpromoter should easily be able to distinguish themselves from all other players.
    5. When players are tied at the end of a season, should they be eligible for play-in matches?
      • Should a candidate for a play-in match who ties another player (including head to head, for 2nd or 5th) be eligible for that play-in match?
        • YES (3 dissenting)
      • Rozyroz: Sometimes, we have to offer free-promotions to players in higher tiers because we don't have enough canidates for a play-in match. I don't think we should be doing that and not declaring players inelgible is a step in that direction. The motion doesn't say that we have to offer them a play-match, just that we have the option to.
      • Earl: We're talking about very fine gradations of skill and luck between players who placed second with a tie and players who placed second without a tie. Plus, more candidates having a shot at more play-in matches is more fun for the community!
      • DISSENT (SamE): It seems more consistent to assign them to the average of the positions that they could have gotten (so 2.5th for 2nd/3rd).
      • DISSENT (truffles): Consider Division A, where there are two players tied for "second place" at 67%. Consider Division B where there is a singular player who placed second at 65%. I don't believe that the tiebreaker match should solely go to players from one division. Comparing win % between divisions are often meaningless but in this case having two players "tied" for second devalues the meaning of second place.
      • DISSENT (volfied): A tie is less of an accomplishment than an outright win. As such, other players should be picked ahead.
    6. When players are tied at the of the season, how should they be compared to non-tied players when determining play-in matches?
      • What should we do for "potential promotion/demotion boundaries", e.g. between 2nd and 3rd when a play-in match might be added? (Approval voting.)
        1) Break the tie favorably (e.g. give them both 2nd place)
        2) Break the tie unfavorably (e.g. give them both 3rd place)
        3) Tiebreak using their League tier history (similar to seeding, details TBD)
        4) Make them play a tiebreaker match pre-emptively
        • 1) 10 votes
          2) 8 votes
          3) 3 votes
          4) 1 vote
      • tracer: favorable tiebreaking is the only reasonable option here. Pre-emptive tiebreaker would mean playing every week with no break, which for some reason is okay for A Division but really isn't okay in any division. History based is no good because we shouldn't be making placements based on anything except the current season - looking 6 months ago to determine who can play now is weird. Unfavorable tiebreaking has potential to create situations where we take less qualified candidates from other divisions.
      • Earl: preemptive tie breaker matches seem like too much for the already-busy season end. To avoid that, lifting all the boats seems like the friendliest way to proceed.
      • DISSENT (Rozyroz): I think that we should make add some history into league standings. Currently, once you're in a tier, how you got to that tier is irrelevant. I think that league history would both be a good way to break ties now that the mathy second tiebreaker has been removed, and it would be cool if leage history had an impact on the standings.
      • DISSENT (SamE): In general, it would be cool if there were never any ties in cases where we wouldn't add a tiebreaker match, and we could use history for that. The mechanism would be similar to the now-defunct seeding, so it wouldn't be hard to write.
      • DISSENT (volfied): I'm in favor of less movement between tiers. This just lowers the bar further.
    7. When considering play-in matches, should 3rd place finishers from double promotion tiers below be considered along with 5th place demoters from that tier?
      • Currently, the top priority for play-in matches are the following:
        - For doubling tier boundaries, 2nd place finishers in the lower tier.
        - For non-doubling tier boundaries, 5th place finishers in the higher tier.
        The next potential priority for play-in matches would be the next finishers in each:
        - For doubling tier boundaries, 5th place finishers in the higher tier.
        - For non-doubling tier boundaries, 3rd place finishers in the lower tier.
        Which players should we consider when assigning play-in matches? (Approval voting.)
        1) Only the players of the top priority should be considered.
        2) The players of the top priority should all be given priority over players of the next priority.
        3) The moderators should get to pick and choose from the entire set of players at their own discretion.
        4) No preference.
        • 1) 6 votes
          2) 8 votes
          3) 1 vote
      • SamE: More candidates for play-in matches makes for more fun matches. We should try to make it as close to an algorithm as possible for consistency and to avoid favoritism.
      • DISSENT (Sharur, volfied): I don't think we should be looking to add play-in matches for their own sake.
      • DISSENT (tracer): We should be attempting to take the players most worthy of a match. Since play-in matches are already individually approved, giving full flexibility for special cases (for example, a third place finisher in D at 19 wins or a 5th place finisher in E with 15.5 wins) allows us to meet that goal while still enforcing fairness.
    8. Evaluate if the system for determining a player's flexibilty for time zone placement needs an overhaul
      • Motion to collect complete proposals + algorithms for flexibility and vote on them at the setup meeting.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: There's a lot of interest among the moderators to change the way the flexibility question is phrased. We need both the proposed replacements for the question and a clearly-specified algorithm for we're going to use the results.
    9. Add oversight of Moderators to the task list of the League Admin to ensure tasks are getting done in a timely manner and divisions are being well served
      • Motion to add to the admin moderator's task load to check in on the moderators on a regular basis and/or if they "fall behind" on a task they were supposed to do a while ago.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: The Admin moderator is the ultimate backup, so should check in on all the moderators regularly.
    10. Change the timing of weekly bot messages at the end of the season to post on Thursday rather than Friday
      • Motion to move the Week 5 and Week 6 bot messages, which list the remaining matches and tag the players, from Fridays to Thursdays.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: They were previously on Friday to give players time to plan a match for the weekend. But since that's Friday night in Europe, it's not a lot of time for a conversation before the weekend, so we'll move it back a day.
    11. Adjust when bot messages congratulating division winners are sent out
      • When should the congratulations messages go out?
        1) Both messages should go out as soon as someone has mathematically (via forecasts) clinched.
        2) The #congratulations message should go out when they clinch, but the division channel message should go out when the division is complete.
        3) Both messages should go out only once the division is complete.
        • 1) 0 votes
          2) 7 votes
          3) 11 votes
      • SamE: Some players feel that after the winner has been announced, even if it's mathematically determined, that their games don't matter. It's also nice to have the announcement of the winner paired with the finality of the division wrapping up.
      • DISSENT (truffles): Having it only go out when a division completes will shorten the period when congratulation messages start. That is sad because I want to know asap about the accomplishments of divisions. It makes sense not to post it in division channels until the season is over (as a wrap-up message), but I'd like to keep congratulations updating.
    12. Should congratulations messages be posted on a rolling basis or continue to be once per day?
      • If #congratulations / division channels messages go out after divisions finish, should they also go out only at a specific time of day, as is currently the case?
        • NO (2 dissenting)
      • SamE: We currently release them once a day because they're dependent on markus's predictions, which are updated only once a day. But if we wait for completion, we could post them as soon as the division finishes (or within an hour, say).
      • DISSENT (nottoobad, Cave-o-sapien): Keeping the messages as once per day would allow time for us to correct errant results submissions before congratulatory messages are mistakenly sent.
    13. Give players the option to provide an e-mail address in lieu of a forum ID during the Signup process as a backup means of being contacted for Onboarding
      • Motion to, starting in Season 44, replace the forum with e-mail address as our optional backup contact information, which would include disclaimers that we will only contact them from the moderator e-mail and not share their information with anyone outside the moderator team.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • SamE: We've previously used the forum as our backup contact means, but e-mails are much more likely to work effectively. We've been reticent in the past because we don't want any moderators to have to give out their personal e-mail or be responsible for reading all of the mail coming from our dedicated moderator e-mail. But we've now rigged up a system where those e-mails are forwarded to Discord, which we can all see in order to follow up.