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Telegram Recruitment

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United Calanworie
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Founded: Dec 12, 2018
Democratic Socialists

Telegram Recruitment

Postby United Calanworie » Wed Oct 05, 2022 10:42 pm

Hello everyone,

A few months ago, [v] brought up the fact that the scripting rules were going to be revised to combat URL-parameter insertion of text on the telegram page. This change was wildly unpopular in the RFC thread, and largely fell by the wayside. However, we are revisiting this discussion now internally, and as the gameside comms development manager, it's in my wheelhouse to bring up the public discussion. Please note this post, I am disinclined to continue with this line of discussion without compelling reason. (10/8/22)

Here's what I want to know:
  1. How large is the impact to your recruitment workflow if this change is implemented?
  2. What reasons do you have for using this method?

Ideally, for the first item, I'd like to see time data. I have some data that I've produced myself, but I would like to see yours as well.

I know that this change is likely to continue to be unpopular, so I would also like to know, what can we do to lessen the blow? Is a queue rebalance sufficient to offset the impact? Can we offer a better API endpoint for finding new nations? Let me know in this thread.

↓ READ BEFORE POSTING ↓

  • The Bad Faith standard applies in this thread.
  • Please do not comment without reading this post in its entirety.
  • Comments simply along the lines of "recruitment sucks, I don't like it without this" are valid feelings to have, but please expand more, low effort posts aren't super helpful when we're looking for community input on how we can mitigate impact.
Last edited by United Calanworie on Sat Oct 08, 2022 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Refuge Isle
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Refuge Isle » Thu Oct 06, 2022 12:13 am

Here's what I want to know:
  1. How large is the impact to your recruitment workflow if this change is implemented?
  2. What reasons do you have for using this method?


This would be pretty odd and unscientific because the data in question that would be used here would be a stopwatch on my phone, longtapping a name on a moving screen, struggling to expand the cursor over the name, tapping copy, tabbing out to the tg window, pasting in the name, pasting in the template, and either clicking send or continuing to copy. You can make up whatever number you'd like, since the time it takes to do that is heavily subjective, based the user's proficiency with a phone, the size of their screen, and their particular eyesight. My unaided eyesight is scarcely one human handspan, my phone is old and small, and my proficiency with using something that's hard for me to see places this, optimistically, at 20-30 seconds per name.

This is with your barbaric recruitment methods that you describe as working as intended. With the same method, a desktop user, straining at the screen and giving themselves a migraine for the sake of growing their browser-based web community, can accomplish the task in easily one tenth the time, without tools. The reason that I use URL-based assistance methods and the reason that I programmed it into my Discord utility is that it provides all users, desktop and not, the ability, anytime and anywhere, to recruit for their regions without regard to their IRL circumstance.

The only requirement is that they are present and can dedicate the attention to doing the job.

For NationStates servers where I am in an administrative capacity, at least one third of the user base is mobile-only, per Discord's metrics that they report to us for those users. Some of these users are people with time and energy to work on the community, but without the best means or access. Refactoring tools to a copy-paste method still leaves users disadvantaged, as discord's mobile client on android has different effects than on iOS, has different effects than using an offside web app. You can change it to be one way, but users on different systems will find one or more system broken, or even more inefficient than trying to copy by hand.

The same universal ease of access is not available as mobile users are disproportionately affected, and recruitment is practically cut off from them (one addressee every 20-30 seconds is not competitive against users, even with zero tools let alone stamps, despite whatever decade-old anecdote Sedge has). As mobile users are becoming a larger share of your userbase every day, it is unpractical and punitive to expect the same recruitment paradigm to be the only one you allow.

What can YOU do, you are asking? Well, most easily, you could possible stop looking at custom URLs as the unfathomable evil they have been made out to be so far, they are by no means new. As shown in the last thread, URLs that paste in recipients are used by a vast array of regions, even outside of recruitment. Custom URLs have allowed the card community to grow into the angry powerhouse it has always wanted to be. It allows for the functionality of dozens of tools around NationStates as a direct consequence of a poor user-interface and poor load times.

My perspective as an admin is that we don't want to take activity and just axe it, dead. Jesus Christ himself is clearly personally intervening to get every person onto the site and continue logging in, and NationStates needs all the help it can get. We don't want that user activity to just die, It must be diverted to more preferable areas to avoid long-term damage. If you don't want card scripts making 1.8 billion requests, probably change the mechanics to where it's not needed. Take out the NEED for the activity you don't like, instead of trying to clamp down on the crutch people made for your poor system. If you want people to not have tools that help them form telegrams for some odd reason, build manual recruitment systems into NationStates itself.

What?

Yes, why not? You're keen enough to disrupt what little progress has been made to make the system less shit, so IMO the only way for you to proceed at this point is to overhaul the entire thing from scratch. Because restricting custom URLs "that are made by bots" is unenforcable and open season to shoot more rule-abiding people than Reliant.

Make a page, onsite, that is specifically designed for manual recruitment. On this page, place a telegram sending interface, and have some way to fetch nations directly. This should not be a feed that's constantly in motion, but should allow the user to press a button and pop addressees into the address field, and send a persistent message body. This would solve your hypothetical problem of only people who use Dot being advantaged, and it would take out the need for any URL based recruitment method to exist, because people would naturally prefer to be on-site if doing what they want is not unduly reasonable. Here is my feature, I have no formal education in coding, so I am absolutely certain that one of you can come up with something equivalent, on-site, in a single-page system that mobile users can easily use.

Luca, you say, this makes recruitment too easy! On the contrary, recruitment for a browser game should never be more complicated or inconvenient than this. New player's expectations do not allow for the current system to be viable, and we want people to engage with the site for god sake. It's my view that people who are able to personally dedicate their time to their region are able to show that the region is active and engaged with region-builders. We ideally want new players to experience those types of regions for long-term retention, and not experience the regions that are dead. In that regard, were it up to me, I'd axe API recruitment entirely, because they're automated spam that guarantees nothing except the owner is able to run the message-sending equivalent of an autologger, but their region may be dead and the people who visit them may presume the entire site is that way and drop out of here, never to be seen again.

Offsite tech is always developed as a necessity for the on-site environment's lacking infrastructure and support. The situation with recruitment is a solution generated by external developers who still care about their user's quality of life experience, and that's why Dot can be used on any region and not just mine. Your two options are to leave in place the solutions that external developers have come up with to band-aid this problem, or you can choose to incorporate the best of their designs into the base of NS and increase the quality of all users' experience to a permanent end.

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Quebecshire
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Quebecshire » Thu Oct 06, 2022 12:15 am

I believe that this change would ultimately detrimental if implemented and will touch on several things to that end.

As a preface, I admit that I am not a technical expert so I will leave proposing specific mitigating solutions to other players, but as a founder and community manager I think this is a poor idea without a strong solution/rectification in place, lest community growth and development on NationStates becomes much more difficult.

Data and Introduction

    As for data, I can provide that in contexts such as how much time (and effort) is invested into our (The League and Concord's) recruitment program. From August 21 - September 20 of this year, our recruitment team conducted ~528 hours of recruiting between the two regions (source). I do not separate stats by region as we do it as a unified community. Since September 21, as of this moment (02:14 eastern American time), our recruitment team has conducted ~291 and counting hours of recruitment (source - in spreadsheet screenshot form as our current recruitment month/cycle does not end until October 20).

    You will notice a few things about this data, chiefly,
    • The completed month of 528 hours involved recruitment being performed by 25 unique individuals, and the ongoing 291+ hours this month has been completed by 21 individuals thus far. This is by no means a small group of people.
    • Contribution is not equally spread among individuals, there is a substantial disparity between top/persistent recruiters and more casual ones.

    So there are a few conclusions to be drawn from this,
    • Recruitment, under this system requires a lot of work and effort. In addition to the 819 total hours members of my community have spent on it since August 21, the sheer amount of individuals involved to complete that is not easy to assemble, teach recruitment to, and so on.
    • Commitment and ability to recruit is still varied. It still requires your attention when you are doing it, and those players performing it are actively interacting with the site throughout it, even with the assistance of tools.

    As a reminder, all of this data is from recruitment for two regions.

    I would like to also provide a few additional notes/arguments as to why the auto-fill allowing system is not unbalanced nor unreasonable:

    • Autofill recruitment as it is still requires intense infrastructure and effort on an organizational level. Even under the current system, I keep comprehensive spreadsheets of recruitment data and time, monitor and record the relevant channels being used, maintain dispatches, and recruit people from within the community to do regional recruiting. These are all the things I do as someone who is merely running a recruitment program, so this is without even touching on the issues of technical support and development for the tool(s) in question.
    • While most scripts are criticized for dis-advantaging groups like mobile users, this is a case where it gives mobile users abilities on par with computer users. They can easily access their recipient nations and templates without having to switch between tabs and pages multiple times for copy and pasting template and recipient data.

"How large is the impact to your recruitment workflow if this change is implemented?"

    Severe. Not only will this make recruitment more tedious and difficult than it already can be, but it will first require a full overhaul of all program infrastructure (I imagine this is the case for any region in a similar situation). Second, it will necessitate complete re-teaching of manual recruitment to those who remain interested, which will likely be a substantially lesser number of individuals than before.

    Those which recruit frequently and for longer periods of time will likely be discouraged from continuing that, and those who do it for smaller periods, less frequently, or more casually (especially more novice or newer NS players) will likely find it less manageable, or even be disinterested from learning the new process.

"What reasons do you have for using this method?"

    People like to be able to help the communities they are a member of and enjoy. Recruitment advances such as these tools make it realistic for the average and newer player to do it at a level and frequency that is comfortable to them, and this is suitable for many people who do not have time for other aspects of gameplay. It still requires their effort and attention, but in a practical way that they can pursue on their own time/schedule. It is a concrete way to encourage community growth and development and to focus on those things without complex and hard-to-follow recruitment methods that newer or more casual players cannot or are less likely to latch on to as easily.

    In short, I use this method for my community because it is innovative, teachable, and helpful. It levels the playing field for potential contribution and enjoyment between all types of players - mobile or computer, novice or experienced.

I sincerely hope these concerns will be heard and taken into account and that we can find a solution that works for both site staff and the communities that have been/are being built on this game.

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Chacapoya
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Chacapoya » Thu Oct 06, 2022 1:22 am

Adding an additional perspective. Scripts that provide URLs also ease recruitment for folks with disabilities. For someone with neurological damage such as myself, the difference between clicking a series of buttons to generate and send a telegram versus having to locate, select, copy, and paste a series of nation names into a telegram box is night and day. With the former, I deal with some strain clicking the buttons, but nothing I'm not willing to deal with. Whereas having to manually recruit nations from happenings or the new nations page can take several minutes just to send a single telegram, what with the amount of tabbing, careful selection, copying and pasting necessary. This also results in a great deal of physical stress and pain in my hands, and such endeavors can be nearly impossible to achieve on a bad day. And I know for a fact that I'm far from the only person with disabilities on this site, and far from the only one who participates in recruitment. Scripts that streamline recruitment can be a lifesaver not only for disabled folks, but beneficial to anyone who doesn't want to develop an RSI.

Requested Data and Estimated Impact.
  • With a custom recruitment script, it takes me approximately 20 seconds to send a recruitment telegram to 8 recipients. Repeating the process twice gave me 23 seconds and 19 seconds, respectively.
  • Going by hand, I spent 20:32 manually copying and pasting 8 nations as well as my recruitment template. Repeating the process a second time took me an additional 17:57.

And while my numbers skew slower than probably the majority of manual recruiters, it goes to show how badly my ability to recruit would suffer. One can imagine that other folks who need scripts would see similar degradation.

What reasons do I have for using this method?

I'm disabled, and it causes me too much physical stress to attempt to manually recruit with no assistance for more than a couple batches of telegrams.

Fundamentally, were the tools that we currently have access to unavailable, a not insignificant portion of the site would effectively lose the ability to participate in recruitment. I agree with Refuge Isle's proposal to officially streamline manual recruitment if nothing else, because anything would be better than being forced to return to solely-manual recruitment.
Last edited by Chacapoya on Thu Oct 06, 2022 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Thu Oct 06, 2022 2:19 am

I still maintain that the most useful feature to add would be putting a "disable recruitment telegrams" checkbox directly on the nation creation form, so players who don't like recruitment telegrams don't have to rush to their settings page to disable them as the first thing they do (automated recruitment telegrams mean you're likely to receive at least one just in the seconds it takes to do so, plus newbies may not realize recruitment telegrams are a thing until they've already been spammed with a bunch if they're not warned in advance). If that is implemented, then players who don't like recruitment telegrams don't have to worry about them, and you can make sending recruitment telegrams as easy as you want for everyone else with no harm done.

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Guess and Check
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Postby Guess and Check » Thu Oct 06, 2022 4:00 am

How large is the impact to your recruitment workflow if this change is implemented? A lot. I've had experience recruiting with these kinda scripts and scripts without it. It's personally not impossible for me to recruit with custom-url scripts (so long as I have any script), but it does make my life easier as Im able to recruit in more situations.

What reasons do you have for using this method? Makes recruiting not as difficult and soul-leeching. Especially mentally.

As it is I pretty much agree with Refuge Isle. And as your average irrelevant player, it's disappointing that this change keeps being brought up with a obstinate refusal to address the underlying problem.
Last edited by Guess and Check on Thu Oct 06, 2022 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Comfed
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Postby Comfed » Thu Oct 06, 2022 9:30 am

Trotterdam wrote:I still maintain that the most useful feature to add would be putting a "disable recruitment telegrams" checkbox directly on the nation creation form, so players who don't like recruitment telegrams don't have to rush to their settings page to disable them as the first thing they do (automated recruitment telegrams mean you're likely to receive at least one just in the seconds it takes to do so, plus newbies may not realize recruitment telegrams are a thing until they've already been spammed with a bunch if they're not warned in advance). If that is implemented, then players who don't like recruitment telegrams don't have to worry about them, and you can make sending recruitment telegrams as easy as you want for everyone else with no harm done.

This is a bad idea as it will cause many nations to be cut off from basically the only means by which they will find out and join user-created regions early on in the game.
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Sandaoguo
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Postby Sandaoguo » Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:29 am

While some of the suggestions above, like a dedicated recruitment UI, are good and could implemented to solve an immediate problem… I think we’re ignoring the elephant in the room. There’s no possible successful telegram-based recruitment paradigm for 27k thousands regions. Not even for 1% of that. TG recruitment was a player-created phenomenon, but unlike R/D it’s very sub-optimal and creates way more negative externalities.

Long term, TG recruitment needs to go away entirely. In what other large online multiplayer game is guild recruitment done through PM spam? NS needs to research how other games handle this and mimic the best.

In the meantime, NS needs to deal with the flawed system we have. Accessibility issues are real, sure. But so is spam. So is the race-to-the-bottom of so many regions vying to get in front of eyeballs the fastest. Script-enhanced recruitment *should* be banned. Manual recruitment should, as well. The impact to recruitment system changes *should* be severe and disruptive, because the thing you’re trying to solve is the severe disruption that TG recruitment does to player inboxes. The best of all bad options is funneling *all* recruitment into the stamps-driven program. Yes, that means an element of pay-to-win. But sometimes you can’t please everybody and the popular preference is just wrong.

Of course people want to maintain script-assisted recruitment and not have to pay anything. Why wouldn’t they? That doesn’t mean their preference is good for the game. It’s a classic tragedy of the commons. NS needs to do what’s best for the game as a whole, not what a small group of 3rd party developers prefers. This is one area where what we want is actively detrimental to the game, but we want to individually benefit as much as possible. The stamps-based program acts as a “tax” on a negative externality. It’s not the best solution to recruitment altogether, but it’s the most optimal solution to the immediate problems posed by TG recruitment.
Last edited by Sandaoguo on Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Peacockastan
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Postby Peacockastan » Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:43 am

United Calanworie wrote:URL-parameter insertion of text on the telegram page.


What exactly will this change? Will this just be the insertion of the text so that you will have to paste your template into the box before hitting send or will it disable the ability to produce a link that includes 8 individual nations entirely?

If this disables the ability to produce the "compose_telegram?tgto=nation1,nation2,nation3 etc." link then this change will seriously impact manual recruiting and making it that much harder for UCRs to gain new members. So if your plan is to give UCRs an even bigger handicap than they already have, go for it.

However if this is just about the "message=TEMPLATE" part of the generated link then I honestly don't see much of a point in changing it. This change would make the task slightly more tedious than it already is but in the end the only extra step is having your template in your clipboard and pressing control+v before hitting send. This is not a game changer so I will not expect recruitment to be hit very hard by this however I also don't see how this helps on y'alls end either. If you think 2 extra steps is really worth pissing off a bunch of recruiters, go for it. I will not be angry if this is implemented but it will leave me scratching my head as to why this already time consuming task needs to be that much more mind-numbing.
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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:54 am

Sandaoguo wrote:While some of the suggestions above, like a dedicated recruitment UI, are good and could implemented to solve an immediate problem… I think we’re ignoring the elephant in the room. There’s no possible successful telegram-based recruitment paradigm for 27k thousands regions. Not even for 1% of that. TG recruitment was a player-created phenomenon, but unlike R/D it’s very sub-optimal and creates way more negative externalities.

Long term, TG recruitment needs to go away entirely. In what other large online multiplayer game is guild recruitment done through PM spam? NS needs to research how other games handle this and mimic the best.

In the meantime, NS needs to deal with the flawed system we have. Accessibility issues are real, sure. But so is spam. So is the race-to-the-bottom of so many regions vying to get in front of eyeballs the fastest. Script-enhanced recruitment *should* be banned. Manual recruitment should, as well. The impact to recruitment system changes *should* be severe and disruptive, because the thing you’re trying to solve is the severe disruption that TG recruitment does to player inboxes. The best of all bad options is funneling *all* recruitment into the stamps-driven program. Yes, that means an element of pay-to-win. But sometimes you can’t please everybody and the popular preference is just wrong.

Of course people want to maintain script-assisted recruitment and not have to pay anything. Why wouldn’t they? That doesn’t mean their preference is good for the game. It’s a classic tragedy of the commons. NS needs to do what’s best for the game as a whole, not what a small group of 3rd party developers prefers. This is one area where what we want is actively detrimental to the game, but we want to individually benefit as much as possible. The stamps-based program acts as a “tax” on a negative externality. It’s not the best solution to recruitment altogether, but it’s the most optimal solution to the immediate problems posed by TG recruitment.


Mmmn, I agree with the first part of this post at least.

A game of this size relying on a email-like spam system for growth is bonkers in my opinion, and incongruent with how other games of this size deal with stuff. I think what admin might not understand is that when players first arrive in an alien world, they're wanting to know where to go, where they would fit, what they would like. And that's why I had pushed my region-finder idea. But the furthest that got was Elu saying "we already have a change region page", which. Yes? Correct? And it doesn't work at all like what I'm suggesting.

But the solution is not to double-down on pay2win methods that are already overly bloated. We should be reducing barriers to meaningful contributions by all players, regardless of their accessibility/tech/handicap levels, and not pushing to drive them all to have to spend money or get left out. Especially in a system like NationStates, which provides the most bare-bones framework, the perpetuation of the site relies on its wealth of content-creators, innovators, and community-builders to provide the actual intrigue and substance of the game that it needs to survive. Other large multiplayer games have, too, realised this and the dangers of pay2win, and that's why free to play games have shifted into non-impactful cosmetics and customisation options to drive their revenue stream.

We do not want to gate people out of creating or supporting their regions simply because of their disabilities or financial means, for we want every capable person with energy and a vision to keep creating material for NationStates and perpetuating the site. This is why I have written the tools that I have, and I will continue to advocate for changes that admin can make, gameside, that will give users those powers and more as stock features.

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New Astri
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Postby New Astri » Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:57 am

Refuge Isle wrote:My perspective as an admin is that we don't want to take activity and just axe it, dead. Jesus Christ himself is clearly personally intervening to get every person onto the site and continue logging in, and NationStates needs all the help it can get. We don't want that user activity to just die, It must be diverted to more preferable areas to avoid long-term damage. If you don't want card scripts making 1.8 billion requests, probably change the mechanics to where it's not needed. Take out the NEED for the activity you don't like, instead of trying to clamp down on the crutch people made for your poor system. If you want people to not have tools that help them form telegrams for some odd reason, build manual recruitment systems into NationStates itself.


i don't have the technical knowledge to contribute anything particularly original + relevant to this discussion, but i wanted to say that i think this is pretty much spot on. i've always been kind of confused when i see site admins looking into coming down on features the players have created to keep activity going. this game is literally an absolute relic and the only reason it's still alive is that the playerbase for it has built numerous innovative methods for enticing and keeping new players, from the communities within regions to the recruitment tools used to get new players there. avoiding changes that would lessen the appeal and effectiveness of recruitment seems like it should, logically speaking, be the foremost priority of any site staff invested in keeping the game active. if site staff comes up with a way to make game-supported methods of recruitment and card farming feel good, then cool. if they don't, then i would love if they please did not entirely kill the methods players have devised to make recruitment and card farming feel good.

Sandaoguo wrote:Yes, that means an element of pay-to-win. But sometimes you can’t please everybody and the popular preference is just wrong.


also this is a terrible idea whatever you do don't listen to the dude who thinks making recruitment solely pay-to-win is a good idea. top ten ways to make regionbuilding for the world's most esoteric outdated internet game even harder and worse feeling and exclusionary
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Creeperopolis
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Postby Creeperopolis » Thu Oct 06, 2022 4:01 pm

I have been a player of NationStates since 7 September 2015, and its only been recently that I've really found something I 100% fully enjoy about the gameside aspect of NS: manual recruiting. I was first introduced to manual recruiting sometime in early-2022 when it was much more tedious and draining, and I didn't like it, found it difficult and impractical, quit after like 5 minutes, and never recruited again. I recently came back to recruiting 45 days ago, and since then, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. In that time, I've completed 210 hours of manual recruitment, logging over 10,000 telegrams sent and over have recruited over 200 nations (albeit, most of them have CTE'd, never been active since, or have since left, though this just goes to show the amount of effort that goes into recruitment and retention, and how it needs to be continuous).

Despite how much easier the current manual recruitment system is, I still have to put more effort into maintaining those recruits so they do not CTE, go inactive, or leave. Manual recruitment makes me focus more on introducing new comers, helping get them set up to participate in regional affairs, and encouraging them to join the World Assembly and endorse me as the World Assembly Delegate.. All this effort increases the interaction with newcomers, and the positive reception they are given by us who are recruiting will help integrate them into NS and, hopefully, retain them as future contributors to the site as a whole.

How large is the impact to your recruitment workflow if this change is implemented?

As I have mentioned in my introduction, I have found manual recruitment to be something I genuinely enjoy doing. I thought it would be something I would not enjoy and rarely do, but as of posting his message, I have completing 210 hours of manual recruitment over the course of 45 days. Not only does it help the region overall with new members, and not only does it help me focus on integrating new members to our community, but it also helps me multitask efficiently, which is extremely important as I am a full-time student who wants to put the time and effort into helping my region grow.

If autofills were to be banned, it would be a detriment to not only my enjoyment of the manual recruitment process, but also the overall efficiency and effectiveness of it. Having to manually copy and paste the telegram template and the nations I am sending the telegram to will waste my time and productiveness on something which can easily and fairly be autofilled, and will unnecessarily make the overall process more difficult by preventing me from focusing more on integrating newcomers. Additionally, having to manually copy and paste the telegram recipients during large surges in spawns (as is happening right now) would make sending telegrams more difficult as well. Banning autofills would completely drain not only my motivation and enjoyment of manual recruitment, but also that of the other members of my community.

What reasons do you have for using this method?

Aside from my enjoyment of it, I personally do manual recruiting because my laptop has trouble with running API scripts, which are less effective than manual recruitment either way. Stamps are also not something I can afford to spend a lot of money on, and because of that, manual recruitment was my only option to do any sort of recruiting.
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United Calanworie
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Postby United Calanworie » Thu Oct 06, 2022 6:05 pm

Thank you all for the feedback on this proposed change so far -- it has not gone unnoticed. I will bring forward a few more discussion items in a little while.
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United Calanworie
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Democratic Socialists

Postby United Calanworie » Sat Oct 08, 2022 8:21 pm

By "a little while" I meant to mean that same day. Oops. Anyway, discussion topics.

  1. Short of a "change region" page, what changes to recruitment would provide benefit to recruiters while not wildly imbalancing the recruitment meta?
  2. Should we be considering increasing stamp prices, like [v] talked about briefly?
  3. If so, where would you see a fair price per 1,000 stamps falling at?
  4. If we were to adjust API ratelimits, what would be a fair number?

EDIT: And a few other things.

I was expecting a strong reaction from the community about this. I was not disappointed. Thank you all for your feedback, it is deeply appreciated. I would like to take the time to call out a few points that I found especially useful:
- Increasing numbers of players are mobile only (thank you, Luca, for your data on mobile populations.)
- Accessibility issues with the telegram system overall that make buttons easier than copy/paste (thank you, Chacapoya)
- Time investment in manual recruitment programs (thank you, Quebecshire)

It was brought up to me backstage that form-filling with URL parameters is a browser-native feature. We do have a precedent of ruling such features legal. (1), (2). As such, unless there are compelling reasons discussed here/elsewhere to move forward with this change, I am disinclined to push forward the URL parameter change in light of hopefully soon:tm: scripting rules updates. (Please bug Roavin about those, not me :P)

I would still like to gather feedback about these four discussion points, however, and will edit the OP to reflect this.
Last edited by United Calanworie on Sat Oct 08, 2022 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Flanderlion
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Postby Flanderlion » Sat Oct 08, 2022 9:52 pm

Firstly, Refuge Isle's post was perfect, I had nothing to respond to it when I saw it as it summed up everything.

Mostly posting because of stamp prices. I personally think the price of stamps should be reviewed each year (or month if they were so inclined but I don't see that happening) by admin, and go up/down depending on how full the stamp queue is. I'd be happy with it being 1 USD for 100 stamps instead of the 1000 rn. Stamp prices since implementation have actually gone down effectively with inflation and refunds of stamps now being a thing.

Or better, keep stamp prices the same, just make it require a variable number of stamps to send a TG depending on a regions retention rate etc.

Change recruitment based on merit and increase stamp costs (and API TG time)
Track, and change cost per TG in stamps/API TG between sends based on how well a region does. Good regions that send good messages, and the nations click them, move, join the WA and stick around should be rewarded, while those that are worse than average in these should pay more.
Base rate * ((0.25 x rate of opening TG/average rate of opening TG)+(0.25 x rate of moving/average rate of moving) + ( 0.25 x rate of joining WA/average rate of joining WA) + (0.25 x existing in 60 days / average rate of existing over 60 days)


Manual recruitment (putting in RL effort) should be the default best option to recruit.

API rate limit shouldn't be adjusted, as it's not players contributing to the site by participating (manual) or contributing financially to the site (stamps).
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United Calanworie
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Postby United Calanworie » Sat Oct 08, 2022 9:58 pm

Flanderlion wrote:Firstly, Refuge Isle's post was perfect, I had nothing to respond to it when I saw it as it summed up everything.

Mostly posting because of stamp prices. I personally think the price of stamps should be reviewed each year (or month if they were so inclined but I don't see that happening) by admin, and go up/down depending on how full the stamp queue is. I'd be happy with it being 1 USD for 100 stamps instead of the 1000 rn. Stamp prices since implementation have actually gone down effectively with inflation and refunds of stamps now being a thing.

Or better, keep stamp prices the same, just make it require a variable number of stamps to send a TG depending on a regions retention rate etc.

Change recruitment based on merit and increase stamp costs (and API TG time)
Track, and change cost per TG in stamps/API TG between sends based on how well a region does. Good regions that send good messages, and the nations click them, move, join the WA and stick around should be rewarded, while those that are worse than average in these should pay more.
Base rate * ((0.25 x rate of opening TG/average rate of opening TG)+(0.25 x rate of moving/average rate of moving) + ( 0.25 x rate of joining WA/average rate of joining WA) + (0.25 x existing in 60 days / average rate of existing over 60 days)


Manual recruitment (putting in RL effort) should be the default best option to recruit.

API rate limit shouldn't be adjusted, as it's not players contributing to the site by participating (manual) or contributing financially to the site (stamps).

So I've seen you bring up the bolded part a lot over various recruitment threads. Why do you believe this? Should it not be a viable option to recruit with in your mind?
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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Sat Oct 08, 2022 10:00 pm

United Calanworie wrote:By "a little while" I meant to mean that same day. Oops. Anyway, discussion topics.

  1. Short of a "change region" page, what changes to recruitment would provide benefit to recruiters while not wildly imbalancing the recruitment meta?
  2. Should we be considering increasing stamp prices, like [v] talked about briefly?
  3. If so, where would you see a fair price per 1,000 stamps falling at?
  4. If we were to adjust API ratelimits, what would be a fair number?


I think that the mindset with this question is flawed because it places everything in a box whose contents cannot be fundamentally changed. You are shedding light on small symptoms of what seems like a much bigger issue that you're not disclosing. And in my own experience, when there's a situation like that, probably it's time to start tilling the soil and planting something else, rather than spending the next three years watching issues come in faster than you can fix them. I would much rather spend time daring to do those overhauls that impact the "meta", and come up with a better experience to the operator.

Your post alludes to my region finder idea, but it seems to pass entirely over my suggestion to make manual recruitment stock, so I'll reiterate it and expand:

While it's very nice that many people are using my tech to grow their regions, there are some discomforts that I have regarding it. The first is that I'm effectively administrating recruitment for a sizeable number of UCRs (a dozen major ones and over three dozen smaller ones), in part because there is a dearth of choice when it comes to quality alternatives, as two major competitors seem to have gone out of service recently. The second is that admin is keen the drop threads like these every now and then which threaten a comfortable and working system for me and the people who use my tools. That compels me to be both attentive and stressed in order to defend that quality of life and keep my code working in, let's face it, hostile development conditions.

So let's solve both issues by making my method native, allowing admin to:

A) universally increase the quality of life for manual recruiters
B) expand stock-manual capability to mobile-only players and players who need greater accessibility than what is currently provided
C) allow players to remain more directly on the site, which is what they would prefer if third party services weren't better
D) lower the risk level that UCRs face by not threatening to pull the rug out from under them every six months
E) take an existing idea and call it "development"

Create a manual recruitment page where a player has a telegram interface on one side of the screen, and a panel to transfer in nations from the other.

I think what I would do is have a box where you can tap in each nation individually, since (being somewhat active in technical, players have brought up wanting more control like this with stamps). Then, also, give them the ability to transfer in a batch of eight at once, if they please. Consider an ability to one-tap-delete nations from the recipient box on the off chance they want to remove something doesn't pass the vibe check when eight are transferred in.

Have a persistent message body able to be set. This could be a regular message, this could be a template. For players that set a template, consider the option to pipe in the delivery stats directly to the manual recruitment pages, so our little buddies can watch their deliveries and conversions tick up in real time, provided the site doesn't crash. The delivery statistics would ideally go below the section containing the "telegram" and "transfer in" blocks mentioned earlier. Make prett.

To your question about stamps, the answer you're not going to want to hear but absolutely need to is: If you're broke as hell, raise the price of stamps. If you are not broke as hell but think that stamp-based recruitment is oversaturated, then the answer is once again, opening up other routes of recruitment that do not rely on an antiquated-email like system. And though it may be outside the scope of this thread, that *is* one of two major reasons why I made the suggestion to the region finder. It is intended to not only open up alternate paths of recruitment than *just* stamps by appealing to preferences that younger (than boomers) players are using, but it also allows for players who are disillusioned with their current region to get matched with something else instead of dropping off the site forever. There are *even* some suggestions of how to monetize in non-P2W ways if you think my suggestions here would break the bank.

"Actually it's both of those things" -- then do both.

To your question of API rate limits, it's my view that new players should get matched to regions that are active and able to demonstrate their activity, either through manual recruitment or stamp recruitment. I think you're going to run into a Chicken Overlords-like issue with API, if it isn't already, where telegrams are being spammed out by people with functioning servers but dead regions, filling up the queue with junk and killing player retention. API recruitment makes no sense.
Last edited by Refuge Isle on Sat Oct 08, 2022 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Flanderlion
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Postby Flanderlion » Sat Oct 08, 2022 11:12 pm

United Calanworie wrote:
Flanderlion wrote:Firstly, Refuge Isle's post was perfect, I had nothing to respond to it when I saw it as it summed up everything.

Mostly posting because of stamp prices. I personally think the price of stamps should be reviewed each year (or month if they were so inclined but I don't see that happening) by admin, and go up/down depending on how full the stamp queue is. I'd be happy with it being 1 USD for 100 stamps instead of the 1000 rn. Stamp prices since implementation have actually gone down effectively with inflation and refunds of stamps now being a thing.

Or better, keep stamp prices the same, just make it require a variable number of stamps to send a TG depending on a regions retention rate etc.



Manual recruitment (putting in RL effort) should be the default best option to recruit.

API rate limit shouldn't be adjusted, as it's not players contributing to the site by participating (manual) or contributing financially to the site (stamps).

So I've seen you bring up the bolded part a lot over various recruitment threads. Why do you believe this? Should it not be a viable option to recruit with in your mind?

Nope. It was originally intended from [v] as three different ways to recruit, each rewarding one different metric. Manual was to reward hard work/time, API was to reward innovation/thinking, and Stamps was to reward financially contributing to the site/keeping the lights on.

Despite API initially being innovative, and occasional innovations happening in that space, the vast majority of API TGs aren't sent by people who worked hard coding/crafting their own tools, and are constantly improving them. There are innovations that happen there, and honestly, some of them are honestly great when first thought of (recruiting nations who joined the WA/re-recruiting nations that just left), but they aren't the bulk of API recruiters, but instead often just code copied and shared between regions. I don't think API recruiters are living up to the vision when the category was made, so I don't think they should be given more advantages without contributing something. RI covered the activity/players just running an autoscript and logging in every 28 days/doing the bare minimum already so I won't relitigate.

The game should be rewarding the regions that look after players the most, and penalising those that don't. Players should get what they give. With the API players are investing almost nothing into it, they shouldn't be getting equal rewards to those who invest their time or money into NS.
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Onionist Randosia
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Postby Onionist Randosia » Sun Oct 09, 2022 12:31 am

One thing that could work might be similar to Politics and War, where the primary recruitment means is player-created advertisements that show up at the top of (I think) every page. I don’t have stats for how effective they are or know exactly how they work, but I could probably get them.

Also, regarding the API - saying that players who use API get the same awards as those who use stamps is kinda untrue. API is not as rewarding as stamps, because of the ratelimit and that it’s somewhat impractical to run an API 24 hours a day, which would be more effective. One person with, say, five dollars to spare can send more TGs in a day than someone who was somehow sending API TGs 24/7 can in a week. This applies regardless of whether you write your own script or use a public one.
Last edited by Onionist Randosia on Sun Oct 09, 2022 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Sun Oct 09, 2022 8:42 am

Onionist Randosia wrote:Also, regarding the API - saying that players who use API get the same awards as those who use stamps is kinda untrue.

No one has said this.

The argument thus far against API is that:
1) regions which live and die keep recruiting because all you need is a working server to keep auto-sending spam
2) people will use the best code available and some of us still believe in supplying free tools to people who need them, so people have more access to tools than was apparently expected

We are well aware of the average conversion rates for each queue.

Sylh Alanor wrote:They'll put on tiny glasses and pull out a ledger so they can point to me voting against their GA resolution on the relative sizes of salad spoons in 2020 and tell me that was the moment I was dead to them.

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United Calanworie
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Democratic Socialists

Postby United Calanworie » Sun Oct 09, 2022 8:50 am

Flanderlion wrote:
United Calanworie wrote:So I've seen you bring up the bolded part a lot over various recruitment threads. Why do you believe this? Should it not be a viable option to recruit with in your mind?

Nope. It was originally intended from [v] as three different ways to recruit, each rewarding one different metric. Manual was to reward hard work/time, API was to reward innovation/thinking, and Stamps was to reward financially contributing to the site/keeping the lights on.

Despite API initially being innovative, and occasional innovations happening in that space, the vast majority of API TGs aren't sent by people who worked hard coding/crafting their own tools, and are constantly improving them. There are innovations that happen there, and honestly, some of them are honestly great when first thought of (recruiting nations who joined the WA/re-recruiting nations that just left), but they aren't the bulk of API recruiters, but instead often just code copied and shared between regions. I don't think API recruiters are living up to the vision when the category was made, so I don't think they should be given more advantages without contributing something. RI covered the activity/players just running an autoscript and logging in every 28 days/doing the bare minimum already so I won't relitigate.

The game should be rewarding the regions that look after players the most, and penalising those that don't. Players should get what they give. With the API players are investing almost nothing into it, they shouldn't be getting equal rewards to those who invest their time or money into NS.

I see your point. Personally, I have spent the better part of a few months developing a novel API recruitment script, but I would agree that this is likely one of the first endeavors in a while to produce one that isn’t off the shelf. Perhaps (not a subject entirely for this thread) we should be looking at some policy changes to discourage the usage of API alone by regions. I suppose your stamps-for-speed idea that you suggested recently should at least *change* the way it’s done. Part of my concern about API is that it *is* the only way to do custom targeting automatically — there is no mechanism for it with stamps, and we should be encouraging more custom targeting, rather than message spam to every single new player. But your idea about paying stamps to increase the ratelimit would solve that.
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Klaus Devestatorie
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Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Mon Oct 10, 2022 4:34 am

Onionist Randosia wrote:One thing that could work might be similar to Politics and War, where the primary recruitment means is player-created advertisements that show up at the top of (I think) every page. I don’t have stats for how effective they are or know exactly how they work, but I could probably get them.

I've run banner ads for multiple PnW alliances over some years, and I can authoritatively tell you that banner ads are irrelevant- even the high quality animated ones are getting less than 3 clicks per 1000 views. The alliances of any significant size are getting members the same way we are- scripts sending targeted messages at newly created accounts. Sending messages to new users has been the primary source of recruitment in almost every single remotely equivalent browser based nation simulation game going back to even pre-NS titles. You can mess with nation spawning all you want, but telegrams will remain the most effective method until they're eliminated outright.

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Haganham
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Postby Haganham » Mon Oct 10, 2022 4:37 am

United Calanworie wrote:Part of my concern about API is that it *is* the only way to do custom targeting automatically — there is no mechanism for it with stamps, and we should be encouraging more custom targeting, rather than message spam to every single new player. But your idea about paying stamps to increase the ratelimit would solve that.

Wouldn't that further encourage people to use API? If you want to have people use API less and stamps more it would be better to make stamps more powerful, by giving them the same targeting recruitment capability as API while increasing the rate limit on API.
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Haganham
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Postby Haganham » Tue Oct 18, 2022 3:25 pm

Flanderlion wrote:Mostly posting because of stamp prices. I personally think the price of stamps should be reviewed each year (or month if they were so inclined but I don't see that happening) by admin, and go up/down depending on how full the stamp queue is. I'd be happy with it being 1 USD for 100 stamps instead of the 1000 rn. Stamp prices since implementation have actually gone down effectively with inflation and refunds of stamps now being a thing.

The current cost of running a stamp campaign on tag:new is about $45 a month. I suspect that the reduced cost of stamps is significantly offset by the increase in puppet creation. Without some attempt to prevent puppets from burning stamps increasing prices like that is a nonstarter. People will just stop buying them.
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Flanderlion
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Postby Flanderlion » Tue Oct 18, 2022 4:06 pm

Haganham wrote:
Flanderlion wrote:Mostly posting because of stamp prices. I personally think the price of stamps should be reviewed each year (or month if they were so inclined but I don't see that happening) by admin, and go up/down depending on how full the stamp queue is. I'd be happy with it being 1 USD for 100 stamps instead of the 1000 rn. Stamp prices since implementation have actually gone down effectively with inflation and refunds of stamps now being a thing.

The current cost of running a stamp campaign on tag:new is about $45 a month. I suspect that the reduced cost of stamps is significantly offset by the increase in puppet creation. Without some attempt to prevent puppets from burning stamps increasing prices like that is a nonstarter. People will just stop buying them.

That's the intention. Increase site revenue, provide more incentive to manually recruit, and decrease the number of people buying them so the stamp queue isn't so flooded.
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