Staff’s Job?



  • Splitting off from the other recent discussions, what in general is staff’s job? Besides the access rights, what makes someone a staffer and not just a player?

    Is a staffer a kind of player?



  • @Thenomain said in Staff’s Job?:

    Is a staffer a kind of player?

    Yes, unless it is me: I am a robot-cat.


  • Admin

    The best staff, in my opinion, is someone who doesn't want the job but is able to to do it.

    People who want to become staff for the wrong reasons - prestige, authority - are very rarely any good at it in the long run.

    The best players do not necessarily make the best staff members. There is a skillset required - managerial ability, communication, decision-making, time management - that's not necessarily present in an excellent roleplayer's bag of tricks, but it's essential for administrating games.

    On the other hand staff does absolutely need to understand their own game and to be respected by its potential community. They have to be well aware of how certain things work - the balance between plot and 'unscripted' play, the challenges of being new to the MU*, spotting up when RP becomes hard to find... all or all of which require experience at actually having been players first, and probably decent ones at that.


  • Pitcrew

    What KIND of staff? There are several different roles that staff might fill, and while some can do them all, or some combination of them, it's not neccessary, I think. For me, staff has:

    • Administrative role - This is the bookkeeping sort of stuff, like clearing jobs, record keeping, approvals, etc. Routine tasks that keep the game running.
    • Story role - Developing and maintaining theme, creating plots, changing the IC world in response to character action or inaction.
    • Authoritative role - Mediation, moderation, and evaluation of players to deal with inevitable interpersonal disputes, behavior that makes the game less fun, and being the 'last word' on rules disputes.

    A lot of times, we see the last two roles held by the same people, but they don't necessarily have to be. Back when a lot of MU*s had a 'player relations' staff, that person usually took on the last role and may or may not have any input into the other two roles.

    Different people excel in each of those roles. You can have a single person with the traits that make them good at two or three at the same time, but that's a lot more rare.



  • While I'm currently player only, I've always viewed myself as player first, staffer second. As in, I came there to play. Playing is the fun part. Joining the staff is something you do so you can spread that fun to even more people, and give them reason to come around, hang out, and play in your sandbox. In a manner of speaking, what goes around comes around.

    Staff unfortunately also comes with dull work and occasionally, extremely frustrating situations. I've always been an enthusiastic player, busy builder, and very reluctant admin because I fucking hate having to deal with admin stuff.



  • @Thenomain said in Staff’s Job?:

    Is a staffer a kind of player?

    Technically yes. In the same vein that a manager is a kind of employee.

    Along a similar train of thought, that's generally how I view staff - not including owners/head staff. They're the managers. They're responsible for understanding and interpreting the owner/head staff's vision and direction and making it manifest. Be that disciplinary, narratively, or otherwise.


  • Pitcrew

    I really really really really really prefer people who run games to actually WANT to run games.

    Why would I want someone who doesnt want the job to take that role? Why would reluctance to do the job qualify someone to take on that role?

    Why should someone excited and enthusiastic about running or helping to run a game be looked at with suspicion? In my experience the worst people to do any job are the ones that feel like they are a martyr or that "nobody else could do it."

    Nobody is going to love all aspects of any job all of the time most likely. It's really dismaying to me when people devalue both skill and willingness to undertake something because they think only people who do not want to can do it well. That's been many the downfall of a volunteer organization or team almost certainly mushes, imo.



  • @mietze said in Staff’s Job?:

    Why would I want someone who doesnt want the job to take that role? Why would reluctance to do the job qualify someone to take on that role?

    I'm not sure it's reluctance so much as...

    I think the answer might lie somewhere in the middle.

    I love running SGM because I have stories to tell there and it's a game I've wanted to see for a while. It's been fun to experiment, to learn even more what's under the hood with Ares, etc.

    But I recall something I often ran into when I was considering a Magicians game:
    I had a few people come to me expressing an interest in Staffing. They really really wanted to Staff!

    And my first question was always: 'Will you ST? At least once a month? Staffing (approving apps, answering +jobs, etc.) is pretty easy on Ares. Unless the game gets really big, it can reasonably be done by a single person (as Faraday has proven). What I really need are STs.'

    Every single person, to the last, ducked out.

    What that told me was: they wanted to staff for the sake of staffing more than actively contributing to the needs of the game.

    And I think that may be where Arkandel is coming from. And I get it, 100%. I want people who are enthusiastic for the game and what it needs... not people who are enthusiastic just for the staff title. The latter often end up hanging out just to hang out and don't even do the busy work, causing the rest of staff to end up shouldering the burden anyway.

    Now, does every game need all Staff to ST? Heck no. WoD games, for example, need job monkeys, app staff, etc. (ETA: and again, unless the person coming in cares about what they're hired to do, they often just sit around. I see a lot of 'job monkey' people who will touch a couple jobs a month but spend the rest of their time just hanging out in the staff lounge chatting).

    My game concept didn't need 'job monkeys;' most Ares games start out a lot smaller than WoD games.


  • Pitcrew

    I think that @Pyrephox has a good point that each member of Staff can have a different role and a different purpose. I think that Staff as a coherent whole has a couple of jobs:

    1. Stay enthused about the game. If Staff isn't enthusiastic, it shows, and that'll kill player enthusiasm too. Usually, this comes down to actually playing the game you run, but different people get enthused by different things--maybe someone really likes completing jobs and that keeps their enthusiasm up.
    2. Make the game fun for the majority of players. Note, not every player (that's impossible), not just their friends (that's exclusionary), but the majority of players. This includes making it as safe a place as possible by getting rid of creepers, but it also includes keeping control of theme so it doesn't drift wildly away from the game's mission statement--from the game that the majority of players (should have) come to play.
    3. Ensure that the world reacts to the actions of the PCs. This touches on points 1 (hopefully) and 2 (definitely) as well, but if the world only acts on PCs, never reacts to them, a lot of players (myself included) are going to get bored.
    4. Respond to player issues. This might be disputes between players, this might be rules questions, this might be theme inquiries... it's all the OOC stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
    5. Keep the lights on. Do server maintenance, pay for space, add/tweak code/stats as needed.


  • I dunno. I recognize not wanting somebody who is overeager for "power" over other players in a staff position, but enthusiasm for the work is different from enthusiasm for the position. If you don't want to staff, though, for god's sake don't staff.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice So you did not hire people who did not want to perform the tasks required for the role that you wanted filled. By definition that is not hiring the most reluctant or people who do not want the job--you are hiring only people who wish to fulfill the expectations of that job.

    That is a very far cry from having a prime qualifier for the role of staff be a reluctance to doing the work.

    I think the problem comes when people do NOT have specifics as to what they are hiring for and then dont ger what they want because they havent bothered to tell anyone or expect people to know due to common sense. I have seen head wiz make that mistake a lot, and invariable blame the people for not being good staffers when in fact they didn't communicate they expectations and avoided until they could not do so anymore firing anyone who could not meet expectations once explained.



  • @saosmash said in Staff’s Job?:

    I dunno. I recognize not wanting somebody who is overeager for "power" over other players in a staff position, but enthusiasm for the work is different from enthusiasm for the position. If you don't want to staff, though, for god's sake don't staff.

    This. This is what I meant, @mietze , by feeling the point lay somewhere in the middle.

    You want enthusiasm for the game, not for the position. It's not just 'hiring the right person' (which is very important, I wholeheartedly agree!), but also being aware of the right type of person as well.

    How many times did (man I hate invoking her name, BUT) VASpider get hired for the enthusiasm for the work when she shouldn't have been due to her enthusiasm for the power? That's where, I think, Arkandel's reasoning factors in.


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash I would rather have people acknowledge the power that comes with that position than either be unaware or unprepared for some of the things that come with it. Some people have better skill than others in dealing with that, and they tend to be people who gravitate towards enjoying the responsibility on some level.

    I guess I just have a knee jerk yuck reaction to the idea of the best suited person being someone who does not want it. I see that (imo) somewhat romantic view lead to some really shitty things. Especially when it edges into martyrdom. My experience is that reluctance can turn quickly into resentment and that quickly can lead to martyrdom even with otherwise good people. Which is why I love defined roles as well, and wish that was an intrinsic part of setting up/reassessing staffing models on games. On games where I have seen that happen, things seem to stay healthy and more even keeled for a hell of a lot longer.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in Staff’s Job?:

    But I recall something I often ran into when I was considering a Magicians game:
    I had a few people come to me expressing an interest in Staffing. They really really wanted to Staff!

    And my first question was always: 'Will you ST? At least once a month? Staffing (approving apps, answering +jobs, etc.) is pretty easy on Ares. Unless the game gets really big, it can reasonably be done by a single person (as Faraday has proven). What I really need are STs.'

    Every single person, to the last, ducked out.

    What that told me was: they wanted to staff for the sake of staffing more than actively contributing to the needs of the game.

    It sounds more like it told you that people were volunteering for areas of staffing that you were not looking for. I am not an ST staffer when I staff, but I can and will do lots of other things.

    Someone not wanting to ST does not mean they were more interested in authority or whatever. It doesn't mean they don't want to actively contribute to the game. It means that they're not an ST.



  • @mietze said in Staff’s Job?:

    I really really really really really prefer people who run games to actually WANT to run games.

    There's a distinction I'd like to draw between people that run the game, and people that work for the game. Sometimes these are one and the same, but on larger games it's often not the case.

    @mietze said in Staff’s Job?:

    I guess I just have a knee jerk yuck reaction to the idea of the best suited person being someone who does not want it.

    Again, another distinction is needed. The best actors are those that can act, not those that want to be famous. The best staffers are those that can staff, but don't want to be "A Staffer™".


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice having staffed with her? Sometimes she got hired and stayed hired because she actually could be a great administrator when she was in the good part of the cycle. Sometimes she played the part of reluctant staffer too. I have seen plenty of people play folks with that shit too.

    Nice people make for shitty admin sometimes. Not so nice people can do a great job. Some of the most destructive awful game wrecking people I have personally experienced come across as reasonable, mellow, competent people...until they don't.

    Perhaps defined expectations, reevaluated on a somewhat consistent basis, and hiring people with the skills and desires to meet those expectations, and letting people go no matter how great they may have been at some point when it is clear they can/will not continue to uphold the standards desired is a much better way to look at it rather than what they do or don't say that they want.


  • Pitcrew

    @Roz yep. I do love it when wiz staff has very clear and concise expectations that are shared when they're looking to hire though. Always a major major plus when I see that!



  • @mietze said in Staff’s Job?:

    @Roz yep. I do love it when wiz staff has very clear and concise expectations that are shared when they're looking to hire though. Always a major major plus when I see that!

    Just setting a clear 'this shit is your job and this other shit is not your job' line goes so, so far as a sanity maintainer.


  • Pitcrew

    So here's the three important things about staffing.

    1. Clear communications between headstaff and new staff as to what the job entails; whether that's admin work, player management, code, building, plotrunning, etc.
    2. Clear communications to the playerbase as to what the job of a specific staffmember is. If you have Smithson the Coder, Bookend the Admin and Dramateuse the plotstaffer; the players should be able to quickly figure out whether or not that quick question they have about some plot related stuff will be something that Smithson can answer.
    3. Don't pile jobs on staff that aren't about what they signed on to do without good reason and the communication about it. Sure, maybe Bookend the admin is a tax accountant and it's tax season and they don't have time to do admin work until that's over; and ,maybe that means you'll need to ask Dramateuse to help with admin for that time. But ask and explain, don't just dump it on them.

  • Pitcrew

    @mietze said in Staff’s Job?:

    @Roz yep. I do love it when wiz staff has very clear and concise expectations that are shared when they're looking to hire though. Always a major major plus when I see that!

    Yeah, absolutely. I was moreso objecting to the idea that, because someone is not volunteering for the specific staff role you're looking for, it means they're not interested in helping the game and/or they were interested in it for the sake of power or something. (I mean, the individuals may very well have been! Idk these people. Just that not being up for being a story-focused staffer doesn't mean you're not up for contributing.)


Log in to reply