Proposal: Status Column Description Change

Posted Feb. 22, 2020, 1:59 p.m. by Admiral Joe P (Librarian / TECH Chairman) (Joe P)

We on TECH have received multiple feature requests for the status column on MOTDs and the Master Roster from a number of different people. Usually, that would mean we’d just implement them and not really give it that much second though, but this is an area that would affect absolutely everyone in the club and the social expectations around posting, so we wanted to check with everyone first before we did anything to make sure everyone is OK with what we’re thinking about doing.

Problem: The status column currently displays the following values depending on how many days have passed since a roster character has posted and what the AWOL limit for a position is. Currently the possible values are:

  • OK: Character posted within the same number of days as the limit value. Green on the Master Roster.
  • Late: Character is over the limit. Yellow on the Master Roster.
  • AWOL: Character is more than two days over the limit. Red on the Master Roster.
  • LOA: The user for this character has a declared LOA, regardless of when they last posted. No color on the Master Roster

The complaint that we’ve gotten is that the “Late” and “AWOL” categories are misleading, because a character who is “Late” is in reality AWOL. Which, is correct according to every written rule. Apparently many users don’t realize this, and assume that someone who is “Late” is not actually AWOL. The reason the statuses are implemented this way in Exodus was because that’s how the colors on the Master Roster was implemented under WeBBSpace, and our approach has been to do whatever is least surprising whenever we’re not sure of what to do, which usually means preserving something confusing if users are used to it. I don’t know why the colors on the Master Roster were set up this way but they’ve been this way for at least 8 or 9 years (we’d have to ask Jack Dipper, who actually has been hovering around Discord lately, but I haven’t had a chance to poke him about this).

Another complaint is that, if a user has exceeded their LOA end date, the status column does not reflect this, so some people just stay marked LOA forever instead of actually posting in limits normally.

Proposal: The requests we’ve received would essentially add up to change the possible status values to the following (changes are in bold):

  • OK: Character posted within the same number of days as the limit value. Green on the Master Roster.
  • AWOL: Character is over the limit, or is still marked LOA with a definite end date in the past and has not posted within the limit value. Red on the Master Roster.
  • LOA: The user for this character has a declared LOA with a definite end date in the future.
  • iLOA: This user has a declared LOA with no definite end date.
  • There would no longer be a “Late” or “Yellow” status on the Master Roster.

This would be a change in software behavior only. All rules regarding AWOL limits and LOAs would remain completely unchanged.

Discussion: The benefits of this proposal would be that the Status column and Master Roster would reflect AWOL status more correctly according to written club rules, and that the people who have complained about the lack of clarity with regard to whether or not someone really is AWOL or really is LOA would now be provided with that clarity that they’re seeking. I think it’s pretty straight forward.

I don’t know that there are downsides to the proposal, other than that we may have people who might have certain expectations about what “Late” means and that they don’t want that overturned. I say “might” because, I’ve never actually heard anyone say anything like this to me directly, so I probably can’t do their opinion justice. I guess I’m floating this as a proposal instead of just doing it largely because I want to make sure there actually are no downsides, or that those downsides are ones we’ve chosen to consciously accept.

If nobody strongly opposes this, then we will make the changes appear on the site sometime toward the end of March. If anybody strongly opposes this, then we won’t do anything. The effort to change this is fairly low, so the costs to the club in terms of effort to implement are not a consideration here one way or the other.

Thanks for your attention and feedback,

Joe


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