Proposals to Help out staff retention and help server relations
#1
At the time of writing, as most of you may know, I am no like never part of staff. Witnesses and I may say I’ve quit my job, but let's put it straight through and simple, I was fired. No sugarcoating it. I was fired from my job due to a MULTITUDE of factors include but are not limited to having fun with my powers at the expense of the community, idling on the server due to too being lazy to just click disconnect, and not reading Discord chats except for calladmin.

While this is not an apology for the things I have done, I can certainly explain how I and some of the other people that have quit have trodden down this path. In short, we get bored.

Hear me out, this might sound like some made up excuse as to the explanation of this behavior, but I can offer why this boredom came about. I've been on NGS since the beginning, when Xeon had disputes with the previous owners of rawr trade and moved us to his new server (Its why we have the rawr map). I've seen people love this server to death and catastrophically burn out and leave. These include people not limited to Pib, angelberry, deermeat, huezee, glitchbit, and so many more. This isn't new and I don't think we've found the solution to fix it yet.

How does this tie with the events of my firing? From what I can tell as what happened, I strongly believe that after being in staff in general for 2 years, I got lazy. Although I do understand why we have certain policies and procedures, my laziness and frustration got in the way.

Let's start by explaining laziness first. I believe it’s more of a personal problem than something of an issue the server can fix. You see, with the same procedures having to follow over and over (such as reading discord, refraining from using recreational powers , escalation punishment, responding to calladmin, etc) it gets old over time. I got so used to the procedure that I myself became too lazy to do it. Gauging staff based on activity? (Looking at you Venom who almost scraped by getting fired from staff for being inactive) Ill just idle and say I was on the server . While I never saw it as that during my time as Mod, I certainly see now that it definitely seems that way with a certain frame of mind. Yada yada yada, there's separate “excuses” for these things but I'd rather coin them as “explanations” or “insight” as to the reasoning behind this behavior.

Frustration. Face it, the current staff system in place is under an All Drain, No Gain system. There's multiple reasons why certain staff has resigned/been fired, but I believe this current system may be to blame. Essentially, staff get nothing in return for what they do. Sure, some could argue that one gets a gratifying feeling for helping out the community , or this server is just a server (we volunteer here out of our love for NGS). That's definitely true! I joined staff with these two very same goals in mind, but I've noticed a troubling trend. These two goals fade out over time. Eventually this gratifying feeling ceases to exist, doing procedure is just part of a job. Eventually, there is no soul in doing what you want to do. As for me personally, I eventually lost the reverence I used to have towards the responsibilities of being admin. I still love the community and server, but the importance of being admin has faded away except for one.
Fun. The core goal of what makes this server and community work. All our rules are in place in an subconscious effort to keep this goal in place whether it be muting slurs that make others uncomfortable, stopping arguments in a calmly manner, or even banning people we seem to ruin the atmosphere of the server. As staff and a player, I have never felt this goal fade away from me. It's the reason I have been and will be here for so long. If there's THE NUMBER ONE biggest reason as to the misuse of power, it would be letting this goal get in the way over here two others. As the other two goals faded away, the pull of this one grows stronger. Let's go back to my frame of thinking when I was moderator. “Hmm, Im back on my desk and not idling for once” “Laugh with the people who make videos and memes about this issue and move into moderating the server.” Two hours in… “This is getting kind of boring , Im just muting and warning people etc. How do I spice this up?” “Oh those people showing off their nice unusual taunts, I'll use the +grab command to interrupt their taunt just for shits and giggles” While this is just one sliver of an example, it's a good explanation on the slippery slope of having recreational powers in hand. As a new moderator in October 2017, would I dare do this? Fuck no, moderator is an important job for the community. As a bored moderator in June 2018? Fuck it, I'm bored and want to do something new. Looking back, it's disgustingly selfish of me (as others have pointed out) for me to have fun in the expense of other people. This example isn't a justification of what I've done, but insight and an explanation as to why I did it.

Solutions. As a server, we look to fix problems so I will try and make use of my two years of being general staff and my firing into this.

Fixing boredom. There's nothing much the server can do. Eventually, people will get bored and leave the server. This is a fact for almost anything in life and is much more of a human nature problem than a server one.

Fixing frustration. Remember the All Drain, No Gain system? I've noticed that people drain considerably faster without positive reinforcement to keep it up. It's usually always negative reinforcement (community complaints, co-owner complaints)that staff members receive. A cup filled to the brim with water and a hole at the bottom will drain faster if the hole gets larger (negative reinforcement). It will drain slower with more water added in (incentives and positive reinforcement).

Here's my proposal to add in the Gain into the current system. Compensation and Staff of the Month Awards.

Compensation will be nothing huge, half a key or even less per month towards every staff member. Not enough to financially support/justify being staff, but something like a small “Thanks You” for helping out the server! Doing this will make staff members feel that their work is appreciated, and have the potential to guilt them to doing better since they are essentially working on the server's dime. Critics might say that NGS is a volunteer service (but this leads to considerably faster burnout rate) or that funds should be used towards server costs (it really costs around $40-60 a month, easily covered by as revenue). As horrid as this might sound to others in the community, it really isn't anything bad. Think about it this way, with zero compensation as part of the current server administration, we are and have been experiencing a pretty large influx of burnouts. There is no denying it. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but the general trend is the same. We need compensation as a means to feel that we are getting something back for giving our all towards the server. Another side effect of compensation is that it gives procedure more weight. I now feel obligated to follow procedure more closely than if I had no real “financial” consequences of not. As of now, getting reprimanded by higher authority feels like a joke with no compensation to back it up. In summary, compensation leads to higher retaining rate and more accountability at the small financial cost to the server (something that can be remedied easily)

Staff of the Month/Year is also an amazing supplement to adding Gain into our current system. Essentially, every month a duck journal (can be changed) is given to one staff member per month/year with a Custom name tag on it stating SOTM August 2014, custom description stating “Congrats for being staff of the month of August 2014, a gift tag by Xeon/head staff to verify the token, and a custom in-game chat tag stating “SOTM Aug 2014”. This might sound unnecessary to nonstaff members, but as a staff member I always felt so happy whenever someone complimented the way I was helping the community! With SOTM/SOTY awards, this will help us out as a boost to helping the server better! The community could be tied into this process as well with a month long voting website put up (with steam login to deter multiple votes [could be put on NGS forums/steam group]. If funds are too hard to come by for this, no worries! Have community members donate a duck journal to sponsor the next SOTM award. A special addition to the description would be added to the Duck, “Sponsored by Insertnamehere!” Now any staff that receives the award can see that they have made someone so happy that their willing to sponsor their award! Additional positive reinforcement could be given to the community itself by giving them tags for Sponsoring (Sponsor tag for 1 Sponsor, MegaSponsor for 5 Sponsors, etc.) I would really enjoy seeing the community and staff being together over something as seemingly trivial as a 1 key duck journal. It gives staff the feeling from the community that “You mean something to us!” And gives the community a feeling that “Hey look, I'm doing something towards the staff!”

As a staff who has recently been booted off the server after being here since the beginning, I sincerely hope we take these proposals into consideration and do this!

-HoovyBoard
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#2
Oof, I am sorry. "You were good son real good, maybe even the best."
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#3
Big fat RIP! : )
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