Good news, everyone!
This will be a short report. Mostly I just want to bring in some awareness on a new approach we will be taking within the ACC on the judging side of things, so that you all aren't super confused and such when you start seeing it. Other than that, we're just getting ready for the next judge selection, so now is the time if you ever wanted to help contribute in match judgements and the mechanics of the character sheets themselves. Send me your applications to [Log in to view e-mail addresses] with the header "[ACC:J App]" and make this a hard choice for me!
Once this upcoming GJW is complete, we'll be hitting the ground running on addressing some long standing needs for the ACC. These include finishing up the Venue Review, working out the final approach to Scenario Halls, and something something armor. The day for those things is not this day, however, so let's move on to the actual content of this report.
Alright, alright, alriiiiiight! So, there were a few takeaways I personally had from the long marathon that was the GJW Phase I competition. Mostly, it was the time investment currently being made on each and every judgement, regardless of who is performing it. Beyond that, it was the kind of feedback we give. Mostly, what I resolved to investigate from that point was two-fold. How do we grade faster, while maintaining quality feedback that is unique to the ACC? And, how do we present our feedback so it is more than a list of red inked sections?
So, I took it to the brainstorming group that is my excellent judging staff! We hummed and hawed. Tinkered and sighed. Mixed and matched! From there, we came to a trial run where a member that was competing against one of the judges volunteered to be part of an experimental grading. Alethia was the judge that performed that experiment.
From both a judge and member perspective, the response was favourable. Lucine gave us a positive review of the approach, while Alethia felt that it was a good balance of the type of feedback being given and the ease of approach. So, enough teasing, eh? What's this new feedback method?
Well, this won't affect the rationale sections or the general comments. This change only influences our per-post comments. So, here's a visual example:
This is what we're calling the "give and take" approach. We "give feedback" and "provide takeaways" to the member. The focus is on positive comments as well as the negative. Typically, the judges will use a format similar to the following:
### Positive Takeaways --- Highlight and outline the things they did well in this post ### Can Be Improved --- Highlight and outline the things they had issues with and how to fix it in the future.
So, how does this benefit a judge? We don't have to highlight every instance of something we come across. We can give you more high level feedback while providing those specific examples as needed. The judge is not supposed to act as a surrogate proofreader when we look over these posts. We evaluate and assign a score based on the rubric. It takes entirely too much time to comb through and pinpoint every example of every Syntax based issue we run into. Plus, that can't feel good to the end-user when they see a wall of block quotes on their post comments.
Beyond that, the judge now has a visual "scale" on how they are balancing their positive and negative feedback. They can see if they are being too heavy handed and look for areas where the member is doing well if they have a block of takeaways but not much positives.
We feel this will lead to a nice and fair balance between judge effort and member experience. That's the goal, and nothing is ever set in stone. We'll see how this goes, but early thoughts are good.
Otherwise known as "avoiding timeouts", this is a topic I have hit on before. However, I want to bring it back around and discuss it again with a different aim in mind. This is still an ongoing issue. In fact, it ties into another issue called "infinite extensions" which, due to its prevalence, is something we're gonna have to look at as a staff. Just letting a match extend forever during "recreational" use isn't doing anyone any favors when it comes to the actual competitions.
So, let's run through the scenario. You have a match with 7 days between posts. It's your turn to post. It's cool, you have 7 days. Let's take our time and—HOLY HELL WHERE DID THE TIME GO? Extension please!
Yeah, that's not desirable now is it? Having a "cushion" creates a situation where you have a false sense of security. You think you have more time and you end up with less time. How does that work? You procrastinate. Put it off to the last few days. So, what was once 7 days is now 24 hours. That's no fair to you, not fair to your proofers, and doesn't end well for anyone. How to avoid it? Time management!
Give yourself a time limit within the post time. You have 7 days to get it up? Have your post done within 3. That gives you time for revisions and gathering a decent proofreader or two to help you out. This maximises your effort and theirs. The first draft is rarely ever the best draft, so last minute doesn't help you at all. It only hurts you. Write your posts up front. Not at the end of the time. Better to get your post in early than to get it in with a few minutes to spare.
Self-imposed limits really are the key to handling your posts. Give yourself 2 hours to write your post. Literally kick off a timer. Don't do anything else in that time period and just get it done. At the very worst, you'll have a solid base to work on and guess what? You'll have more time to work on it because you did it in the first day or two! It changes the entire experience when you do the work at the beginning of your timer instead of at the end. You can always spend more time when you start right away...you can't get time back at the end.
Avoid using extensions if you can help it. Break that habit hard and fast! It doesn't help you as a writer or within the ACC. That's the real moral I can give: set limits and work within them. An extension should be viewed as an "emergency" button when life happens. It shouldn't be a crutch because you aren't managing your time. That's part of the challenge of writing for competitions and the ACC. You have time limits to manage alongside your actual writing.
I'm a master at procrastination, mostly because I have developed the ability to do things really fast at the last minute without succumbing to timer panic. But I know this isn't my best work. I know I can't rely on it. I'll burn out and I won't get the results I'm hoping for, and I'll be doing a disservice to my opponents. So, this advice is what I follow as well. I'm practicing what I preach, and I hope you all can find your own methods for using your time wisely.
What kind of venues do you most want to see? More bars, surely?
I would really like to see some more clan-centric venues. I'm more than willing to help with the structure and writing of these, but I need something to work with! These have to come from the Consuls, but they don't need to be written by them. Just has to be approved by and passed through them. This way you get more relevant locales for friendly matches, rather than going to the same darn temple for the upteenth time.
Could one use Force Concealment and other mundane precautions to hide like Snoke or Kenobi did, or to hide from the purge by Vader? How successful could one be by just camping in the outer rim for the rest of their life?
Sure can. The Outer Rim is a rather large swath of galactic real estate. Pretty easy to get lost and not be found if that's your aim. Worked for Yoda, Obi-wan, and Ahsoka. Can work for you. However, you're not going to be able to hold a Concealment 24/7. What worked for Yoda is that he found a font of Dark Side power and used it to mask his own so he wouldn't have to. There are ways, so to speak, to hide for life. Just need to make it a priority!
Gavriel Kadesh asks:
Are there any changes/revamps planned for character sheets in the near future?
Not the sheets themselves, as far as I know. The mechanics of them are fairly set in stone right now. I am, however, making a few changes to things we noted during the Phase I event which will only affect skills and feats, so nothing too major.
Are there any plans to allow us to design NPC sheets for scenario mode?
There are no plans currently, as there wasn't an intent to rely on "sheets" for the scenario mode. The system is fine for personal units and Voice ones, but creating "Scenario sheets" wasn't on the list of things we wanted to do, exactly. There'd need to be a way of grouping NPC's into categories so that they don't become bloated for those of us looking at them from a management perspective. It's a fine idea, but one that needs some groundwork done first.
Kelly Mendes asks:
If you have one, what would you say your favourite venue to write in is?
Honest answer is that I don't have a favourite. They are all just window dressing (living and breathing dressing, mind you) to the story I'm going to be telling with these characters. There came a time where I would groan about being at the Massassi Temple for the upteenth time, but that's decidedly in the opposite direction of "favourite".
If there is one, who is your favourite opponent to write?
Again, this is a case where it's easier to throw answers for the opposite side of the spectrum. Some characters just don't click in my head and are a chore to write. There aren't any that really jump out at me as a joy to write, mostly because I have bias towards my own brain children. I'll always feel "limited" to what I mentally define as the desires and wants of the other character's creator. I don't want to step on their toes or take it in the wrong direction. It lacks the freedom of writing my own creations.
Kelly Mendes asks:
What would you say is your favourite part of your role as Combat Master?
Being able to provide direct and measurable feedback to members about their writing. I feel there is no other avenue that goes into the detail we can and has the potential to help out. Sure, there is the feedback box for Fiction submissions, but how often is that used? Rarely. So, here I feel like my role is making a difference in the club. On top of that, I get to be very loud about the mechanics and balancing of the system, making an impact big and small.
Looking back at your service, what have you learned from this job?
I learned not to take anything to heart. Whether that be something you have worked on or poured time into, or the wide range of feedback you're going to get about your own performance or that of the things you are working in. Thick skin is definitely needed, and it's good not to look at things as a personal attack. People are emotional beings. They don't like coming up short of their own expectations, and beyond that...they don't like being told why. So, being prepared for negative responses and being able to measure them objectively so you can add to the ever changing environment of the ACC.
What would happen if you and co. ran an event with an set NPC that is required to be written in creatively as either a cameo or more? How would judges tackle the potential 2v1 or 1v1v1 scenario? What would the special new award be called that is given for the most creative use of npc?
Some zany stuff would happen, that's what. Mostly, this would be typically end up being a Cooperative scenario, or a themed standard match. The issue really, is that the grading rubric doesn't allow for us to tackle "creative integration of NPC". We try to keep the grading scheme standardized, so that would form a deviation. Perhaps it could be a modification to "Story". Anyhow, there would be no reward, but I'd say that the "Hello there" award would be given out in honour of Obi-wan.
Will the ACC event that was held a couple months ago still count towards GJW participation?
Yes. The phase I event remains a portion of the GJW participation. The upcoming Phase II event will include the winner from that event as well as the clan representatives.
Can droids be sensed through the Force?
At least within the system, and from what we've seen in Star Wars, only living beings can be sensed within the Force. Droids, while lively little buggers, lack the organic components to be felt as a presence within the Force. They don't touch it and it doesn't flow through them. As Obi-wan said, "It's an energy field created by all living things." Droids aren't living, even if some of our characters have delusions as to otherwise.
Remember, any questions on ACC mechanics, the CSs, or features, email [Log in to view e-mail addresses]. We do check this email, and often. Best way to get a proper response with all the staff on the same page.
Thanks for reading,
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