Placement Policy Review: Introduction and Summary

Posted Feb. 18, 2020, 7:10 p.m. by Vice Admiral Daniel Lerner (Personnel Director) (Daniel Lerner)

I am starting a review of the PDept’s placement policies and procedures. This is essentially a “request for comment” situation as they haven’t been updated in… a very, very long time. The club has changed a lot since we put these polices and procedures, and the PDept staff have started to notice over time that some areas might need at least a review, if not an actual change.

This review is not premised on any one single issue or problem with polices or procedures, but is instead meant to give the club an opportunity to comment and make suggestions for areas that need to be fixed or improved. We’ll then use this feedback to see where we can make improvements.

Because of the unrestrained nature of this review, the nature of our threads on the board, and my own sanity as the moderator, I’ve developed the following format:

1) This post will serve as an introduction post, and is not meant to be the beginning of a discussion itself.
2) I will start a new thread of each issue I think needs some review or comment, or I anticipate there is a need for comment. So each discussion thread will focus on a different topic. Contributors to this review can respond or comment in one more discussion topics.
3) If you think a discussion topic is missing, please let me know first. I will either suggest including that issue in an existing discussion topic, or I’ll start a new discussion topic thread for that issue.

I hope to wrap this up by March 3rd, depending on how the discussions are going.


This discussion is focused on the procedures and placements used by the Personnel Department in assigning a member to a new ship. (This discussion is not focused on the process of approval of a new member application - it assumes that the new member and their character have been approved by the PDept, and now a ship needs to be found for them.) The primary purpose of these procedures is for placing a brand new member on their first ship. We will also use these procedures when a returning member requests the PDept places the returning member on a ship. They are also technically used for when a current member asks the PDept to find them a second ship, but those requests have never been made in my current tenure as Personnel Director.

There are two steps to finding a ship:

Step one: Eliminate ships that cannot accept a new member in the requested department at the requested speed. There are a number of criteria used, which I’ll summarize below. If there is only one available ship for that speed and department, then that’s the ship the member is placed on. If all ships have been eliminated, we move on the second department choice, and then the third department choice. If there are multiple available ships (which is normal these days outside of the Academy), we move to step two.

Step two: We use “tie-breakers” to keep reducing ships until we are left with one. Those tie-breakers are summarized below, and are applied in a specific order. If after applying all tie-breakers, we are left with multiple ships, the PDept staff will either flip a coin or use their best judgment to determine a suitable ship.

It’s not a robotic process. Occasionally, as the tie-breakers are applied, it becomes obvious that one ship is best for the specific member over another. The PDept staff may discuss it, and apply that ship. But in 99% of cases, the tie-breakers are followed to ensure fairness to everyone.

It’s the tie-breakers that primarily may need some changing due to changes in the club’s size, etc. (both in what tie-breakers we use or don’t use, and in what priority). However, there’s some need to look at elimination rules, such as the exact role of ship speeds.

Elimination of ships

The following factors will eliminate a ship from consideration:

-Both the CO and XO are vacant, AWOL, or LOA of any length

-The DH for the requested department is vacant, AWOL, or (a) in the Academy, on an LOA that still has at least three days or (b) outside of the Academy, on an LOA that still has at least 30 days. (The difference there is because Academy DHs are required to be the cadet’s mentor.)

-For Academy placements, they are not stating that they may post less than once every seven days. (All other posting frequencies are placed on the regular Academy ships.)

-For non-Academy placements, infrequent posters will only be placed on slow speed ships; slow posters will only be placed on slow or medium speed ships, with priority to the slow ships if possible; average and regular posters will be placed on a ship of any speed, with priority for medium speed ships if possible; frequent posters will only be placed on medium or fast ships, with priority for fast ships if possible

-The department is full. For the Academy, that is three cadets, subject to the ACmdt’s permission to allow more. Outside of the Academy, that is two JOs. All rostered cadets and JOs in the department count, regardless of whether they are AWOL or on an LOA.

-Outside of the Academy, the majority of the crew is AWOL or LOA, or the ship is unhealthy in some other way. The Personnel Director makes the final decision on whether a ship is unhealthy and shall advise the FComm in question. Generally, this is a rare occurrence.


When more the member can be placed in more than one ship, the following tie-breakers are applied in order:

(1) Preference to the ship with the fewest cadets/JOs in the department in question. (All rostered characters count, regardless of AWOL or LOA status.)

(2) Outside of the Academy, preference to the Fleet with the fewest placements in that calendar month.

(3) Academy: preference to the ship with the fewest cadets in total; Non-Academy: preference to the fewest crew members in total, not counting GM/GMM/GMT. (The PDept currently determines this based on rostered players, not rostered characters; all rostered players count, regardless of AWOL or LOA status.)

(4) Preference to the ship with the fewest placements in that calendar month.

(5) Preference to the ship that has gone the longest without received a placement.

Example 1

Rand says he wants to be placed in the Academy. He says he will be posting infrequently. His department choices are, in order: Security, Engineering, Medical. There is one Academy ship. The CO is on an LOA, but the XO is active The CSO is on an LOA for another five days, and all other DHs are active. There are two active Security cadets and one AWOL but still rostered Security cadet. The are no medical cadets. There is one engineering cadet..

In this scenario, the PDept would first contact the new member to advise they they cannot post infrequently in the Academy, and ask them if they sill want an Academy placement or a non-Academy placement with a mentor. Assuming the new member still wants the Academy, we know we can place in the ship because the XO is active. The first choice, security, is eliminated because that department is full. The second choice, engineering, has room and an active DH, so the new member will be placed in Engineering. The fact that the medical department has fewer cadets than engineering is irrelevant.

Example 2

Egwene has requested a non-Academy ship. After applying the elimination rules, there are five ships she can be on.

Since there are five ships, we look to see which one of them have the fewest JOs in the department.

Of the five ships, three of the ships have no JOs in the department. The fourth ship has one AWOL JO in the department, but none active. The fifth ship has one active JO in the department.

We eliminate the last two ships,as the first three have zero JOs in the department. The fact that the fourth ship’s JO is still rostered means it counts, regardless of being AWOL.

This is the first non-Academy placement in the last 5 weeks.

That means tie-breaker #2 (and #4) won’t help.

Ship two hasn’t had a received a placement in 18 months, but has 10 players (not including GM/GMT/GMM). Ship one recieved the last non-Academy placement, but has 9 players. Ship three has only 8 active players, but has 2 AWOL players that are still rostered.

Therefore, the tie-breaker results in Ship One receiving the placement. Ship Two has gone much longer without a new placement, but the priority of the tie-breakers favours the ship’s size before length of time without a placement. And Ship Three has even fewer active players, but the AWOLs still count.

So that’s it for an introduction. The new few posts will be the discussion threads.

Daniel Lerner
Personnel Director

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