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Author Topic: Season 37 - Newsletter: Changes Afoot  (Read 1183 times)

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Season 37 - Newsletter: Changes Afoot
« on: November 25, 2019, 10:43:57 pm »

Hello everyone!

We've now had three town halls, and at the latest, we discussed the biggest changes yet. While most of those changes were not particularly popular, it is still helpful to know where people stand. And in a couple cases, the moderators decided to buck that unpopularity and experiment with the alternative!

Summary of (Rules) Changes
See the Rules and Regulations Changelog (once it's updated) and/or the minutes below for the full details.
  • The strength-of-wins second tiebreaker is now removed for Season 37 on an experimental basis for promotion/demotion determination only. This means that if you and one opponent finish with the same number of wins and a 3-3 result in your head-to-head match, and your position matters for promotion or demotion, you will be invited to play a 2-3 game match to break the tie. (Unlike your regular League matches, you are allowed to forfeit.) We expect this to happen to 1-5 pairs of players this season, and hope it will make the end of the season more exciting.
  • Starting in Season 37, if there are more players seeking to return to a tier than there are positions, we will create one or more 7-player divisions. These flexible division sizes will hopefully make it very rare to be unable to return to the tier that you earned should you take a break of up to 5 seasons.
  • Returning players will have the opportunity to express your degree of time zone flexibility to better assist moderators in balancing division sizes. There will be a post in #announcements in Discord for you to express this flexibility for Season 37; in the future, it will be added via the Returning Form.
  • We will remove the suggested schedules from the opening Discord posts for Season 37 to reduce their bloat.
  • We have spelled out the rules for eligibility and processes for play-in matches for free promotions, which will still prioritize strong 2nd place finishers from the tier below.
  • Dominion League Champions, both current and former, now have their own dedicated Discord roles.
  • Starting in the signups for Season 38, a account will be optional for entering the League, which will be handled via a Google form going directly to the moderators.
  • We are strongly considering the possibility of expanding the number of tiers (adding a G tier and maybe more) by reducing the doubling rate of expansion of the tier sizes. This will hopefully yield more competitive divisions in the lower tiers at the expense of some time zone specificity. We need to work out the details of this proposal and run it by everyone, so we invite you to the next Town Hall, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of January 12th-13th, to do so.

Moderator Churn
None! We are lucky to have the same set of ten moderators for two seasons in a row: alibby1152, Apostolosoruler, crlundy, Gazbag, Lemonspawn, nottoobad, SamE, singletee, volfied and wharf_rat.

Moderator Rules Meeting Minutes
  • Returning Form Questions
    • Top Candidates for Free Promotions
      • Plurality (43%) favored giving free promotions to 2nd place finishers; only 25% favored 5th place finishers. Moderator discretion was advocated for, but we are uninterested in that kind of power, preferring to make good rules and stick to them.      
      • Motion to retain the preference for 2nd place from the lower tier over 5th place from the higher tier when deciding play-in matches (A-C) and free promotions (D-E)
        • Result: YES (1 dissenting)
      • Dissenting opinion (alibby1152): When considering players for free promotion, choosing 5th place demoters over 2nd place finishers from a lower tier falls directly in line with the new seeding rules. In particular, we determine seeding within a tier by the tier a player played in the previous season. A 5th place demoter would be ahead of the 2nd place finisher in that case. Furthermore, the 5th place demoter would be likely to have had a better most recent performance (1st) at the lower tier than any 2nd place finisher being considered.      
      • Motion to rewrite the rules of Section IV in accordance with our policies on play-in matches and time zone divisions.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Match Points Before Game Points
      • This was not a popular change, with a majority (57%) favoring the current total wins-based standings compared to only 21% in favor of match points. The League is not an elimination tournament.      
      • Motion to retain the total wins-based standings (not switching to match points).
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Time Zone-Based Divisions in the D Tier
      • This was the clearest of the polls, albeit with a smaller sample. 30 of the 39 players with a preference favored keeping the time zone regions. However, from reading the comments, we realized that some players might be super flexible and therefore helpful in making the division counts work out, so we will be asking players if this fits them on the Returning Form going forward.      
      • Motion to keep the time zone regions (AM/EU) in D.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
      • Motion to add a question to the returning form asking whether players are super flexible and could play with any time zone division.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
  • Structure Town Hall
    • Emoji Poll #1: 6- vs 7- person divisions
      • 47% preferred 6-player divisions, while 34% preferred 7-player divisions. Given how much this would change the league, we decided it was not worth pursuing given that lack of public support.      
      • Motion to keep a default of 6-player divisions.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #2: Removing Tiebreakers for Promotion/Demotion
      • A 43% plurality preferred keeping both tiebreakers, with 29% of votes for removing the second tiebreaker. This was a surprising result to the moderators. The moderator team expressed a weariness with explaining the second tiebreaker over and over. We tried to simplify the formula to make it more intuitive, to no avail. Its justiification is rather arbitrary as all players have the same schedule. However, we are uncertain whether the tiebreaking matches resulting from its removal will cause too many extra matches which players will have difficulty finding the time to play. Previous seasons suggest this could happen up to 2-3 times a season, but we wanted to see how that would play out before making a permanent change.      
      • Motion to remove the second tiebreaker for Season 37 on an experimental basis and re-evaluate at next season's rules meeting.
        • Result: YES (3 dissenting)
      • Dissenting opinion (crlundy): Removing the second tiebreaker means more ties will now need to be broken by playing a best-of-3 match. Scheduling an additional match during the season may be difficult for players, especially in tiers E and F. This moderator vote also opposes the results of Poll #2 from the League Structure Town Hall.      
    • Emoji Poll #3: Tiebreakers for Seeding Purposes
      • A 48% plurality favored keeping the second tiebreaker around for breaking ties that only affect seeding, essentially elevating the play-in match when promotion or demotion is on the line. We discussed how both of these options would be implemented and determined that both were about equally feasible, so we proceeded to a vote between the two options. However, first, we realized that we needed to handle the seeding of players who were completely tied after all tiebreakers appropriately in the standings, and averaging those positions seemed best.      
      • Motion to seed players who are tied through all tiebreakers (and whose positions didn't affect promotion/demotion) with the average of the positions they would have received (independent of removing 2nd tiebreaker).
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
      • Should we include the second tiebreaker to break ties for seeding purposes?
        • (4) Keep the second tiebreaker (technically make it a hidden column, after the result of a play-off match if applicable)
        • (3) Remove the second tiebreaker (average their finishes for seeding purposes).
      • Majority opinion (): [to be added]      
      • Dissenting opinion (SamE): If we're going to remove the second tiebreaker, let's get rid of it entirely. Also, the seeding outcome of breaking or not breaking the tie is pretty small, so it would be playing an even more diminished role out of proportion with its complexity.      
    • Emoji Poll #4: Opting Out of Discord Tags
      • Allowing players who fall behind to opt out of being tagged by the moderators' minions was not a popular idea. A full 48% preferred no one to have the ability to opt out. Given that players who are sticking to the ideal pace of matches will avoid being tagged, and how many difficulties we've had with players disappearing, we were not very sympathetic to their plight.      
      • Motion to not allow anyone to opt out of being tagged if they are behind on their matches.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #5: Seasons Per Year
      • This poll produced one of the clearest majorities, with 67% of players supporting six seasons per year. This didn't require much discussion among us to agree.      
      • Motion to keep the current 6-seasons-per-year schedule.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #6: Tier Sizes
      • And now, we come to the biggest poll of them all, which sparked lots of discussion later in the town hall. Fortunately, we were pretty unified on our perspective, that this should be a much longer discussion taking place in its own dedicated town hall, complete with many more charts and figures to understand the extent of the problem.      
      • Motion to make the January Town Hall (tentatively January 11th-12th) all about the topic of Emoji Poll #6, i.e. adding more tiers and decreasing the rate at which tier size grows. The expectation is that something will change, but the status quo will be polled against the leading alternative(s). Any changes would not take place until Season 39.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #7: Two promoters / demoters between consecutive tiers of a similar size.
      • This question will naturally be discussed again as part of the next town hall, but we still discussed its applicability to the current E and F tiers. Given that the F tier sometimes features small divisions, we were wary about promoting second place finishers across the board. However, this decision seemed similar to that of Poll #1, and if 2nd place finishers of the lower tier are preferred, that would suggest promoting and demoting two candidates. In the end, we decided that a change for just one season wasn't worth the work.      
      • Motion to retain the 1 promoter / 1 demoter rule for E/F for Season 37, but re-evaluate at the town hall for any future pairs of similarly-sized divisions.-
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #8: Ordering of additional 2nd place candidates for promotion.
      • Another clear poll, with 48% in favor of prioritizing runners-up by winning percentage compared to 13% preferring comparing to how many wins short they were. This is intended as a leveling mechanism to account for the noise in terms of the distribution of opponent performances across divisions.      
      • Motion to maintain the priority of runners-up by winning percentage.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #9: Length of break before the earned tier expires.
      • It seemed that no clear alternative emerged to the default maximum break length of 5 seasons, with 2 seasons getting the most votes at 17% still paling in comparison with the 38% that the status quo received. Given the 6 seasons per year, this means that every player must play at least once per 12-month cycle to stay active, which has some attraction for players who have a seasonal schedule. However, it doesn't much matter as not that many players return after 3-5 seasons of break.      
      • Motion to keep the tier expiration at a 5-season break.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Emoji Poll #10: Champion perks.
      • Giving the current champion a role was nearly unanimous. The channel was more controversial with a plurality opposed to it. We decided that it would mostly invite unnecessary drama.      
      • Motion to give the current League Champion a role with a slightly lighter green color.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
      • Motion to give former Champions a non-colored role.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
      • Motion to not give former champions their own private channel.
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
  • Feedback from the Returning Form
    • Add leaderboard level back into standings
      • A suggestion of Fircoal was to add level information back into the standings as this gave a general sense of the ability of those players. However, this had been a pain to implement successfully, with IMPORTRANGE issues and the leaderboard being as large as it is. We figured it was too much of a hassle.      
      • Motion to keep the level information out of the standings (too technically "expensive").
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
  • Moderator Suggestions
    • Remove the suggested schedule
      • In implementing seven-player divisions, we realized that there is no possible 6-week suggested schedule for a seven-player division with one match per week per player (can't have 3.5 matches each week). Rather than coming up with a more hackneyed schedule, we decided to do away with it for any seven-player divisions. In the process, we looked into whether we could remove it for everyone, as those opening Discord posts are getting quite long.      
      • Should we remove the suggested schedules (you can vote for more than one)?
        • (0) Yes, remove it permanently.
        • (9) Try removing it for a season and see how it goes.
        • (1) Keep it.
      • Majority opinion (SamE): We'll see if people have trouble and ask about who they should play first, particularly newcomers.      
      • Dissenting opinion (Apostolosoruler): [to be added]      
  • Leftover from last season
    • Remove forum requirement
      • A recurring discussion among the moderators. The forum is still used rarely to get in touch with players who go out of contact on Discord; a quick poll of the moderators suggested that half of them had used it in the past season in that way. However, forum communication has become otherwise minimal, and it would be nicer to new players for them to only have to make a Discord account. Given that we've been kicking this can down the road for a long time, we decided to just take care of it now. The proposal is to move to a Google Form signup system starting in Season 38.      
      • Should we delete the forum requirement starting with signups for Season 38?
        • Result: YES (unanimous)
    • Flexible division sizes
      • Finally, we get back to the original topic that led to the first proto-town hall discussion in #league. In between our last moderator meeting and this one, the mods had implemented an example seven-player division and changed all of the associated League components. That hadn't been that difficult, but we were now confident that we could do it. The original discussion in #league had led to a Returning Form poll with a clear plurality (45% to 18%) in favor of the change. From a theoretical perspective, this change will mean that we need fewer play-in matches, as the only times the number of players with a claim on a tier changes are play-in matches, players leaving and not returning within a year, and players failing to have the opportunity to return to a given tier. By reducing the last of these, we will also be reducing the number of play-in matches, with the players who leave providing an eventual forcing function (in addition to the season-to-season fluctuations back towards six players. In B, this means that a 7-player division might last 2-3 seasons, while in C, it will likely be gone after just one. But we'll have to see how this plays out in practice. Note that if we have any 7-player divisions, that means no play-in matches into that tier, so we will be able to announce the divisions as soon as signups close, giving those divisions almost an extra week before the season starts.      
      • Motion to announce that we will implement flexible division sizes if necessary starting in Season 37.
        • Result: YES (2 dissenting)
      • Dissenting opinion (alibby1152): I believe that there are still a few issues that need to be fully addressed before implementing the flexible divisions. First, without a forcing back towards six player divisions (i.e., an additional demotion), I feel like we are on our way to making 7 player divisions the norm. Seven player divisions is a topic with mixed opinions within the community. Second, forcing players to play an additional match in the same amount of time as those in six player divisions poses potential scheduling difficulties. Lastly, imbalanced divisions within a tier puts players on unequal footing when it comes to promotion and demotion.               
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 11:08:33 pm by samath »


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Re: Season 37 - Newsletter: Changes Afoot
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 11:11:31 pm »

Thanks for being great mods!  8)
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