Greedy Goblin

Friday, June 3, 2011

The broken lolling theory

The broken windows theory tells that people constantly look around for clues to figure out what is allowed and what is not. It is obvious that the same person is more likely to make noise as a visitor of a football field than a visitor of a cathedral.

The theory says that by creating the signals of an ordered and policed sector, the people there will behave better, assuming that the sector is actually policed and they couldn't get away with being disorderly. On the other hand if they see signals of disorder, they will assume that here such behavior is allowed or at least tolerated and they more likely to act that way. This idea led the "zero tolerance" police approach in New York City that significantly decreased crime.

I introduced the "no lol", "no gz" and no "offtopic chit chat" rules in the guild, assuming that they are social activities, making the person more likely to defend his "image front of peers" instead of improving. The rules obviously work as alone were able to create a top 10% guild. However I was maybe wrong for the reason why they work.

Social chit chat may serve as a signal that this place is a laid-back, social place where the focus is on "having fun". In such environment people may feel appropriate or even encouraged to slack. On the other hand here, where such activities are instantly corrected and reprimanded by the people online, the people believe that they are in a professional environment where acting unprofessionally is not allowed and do their best. They actually improve because they want to have a positive image (being professionals) front of peers.

I don't have enough data to figure out which one is the underlying system. But either way: social fun and performance are negatively correlated.

The Pug update:

3 tanks, 3 healers 4 DD, lot of dead, and out second hard mode, placing us to #12700 position, higher than ever. And of course permanently recruiting, just read the rules.

Voice chat update: noting to update. Voice chat creates more problems that it solves. It allows us to down bosses by telling the weakest link players how to play. Currently such players wipe the raid, their mistake is pinpointed and then fixed or they are removed. If such players could be carried, soon there would be way too many of them to handle, the good players would burn out and stop playing. Same applies to rated BGs. The "no voice chat" is a crucial rule of the guild, if you don't like it, don't come.


Grim said...

If you don't want to use voice chat for handholding, then just don't. Or do the PuGers have so little self control that they must start yelling "X get out of fire!" as soon as they have a mic in their faces?

Use it to discuss strategy, to have tanks call switches, to call rebuffs on battlerez, to call unexpected events etc.

So just make THAT a policy - not to handhold people over voicechat.

Disclaimer: I have not been in any PuG raids and don't really know exactly how and if would voice chat improve their game. All my statements are general.

Otter said...

Would you approve the use of voicechat for rated BGs? It seems to me that while a boss fight strat should be learned well in advance, rated BG's are a little less predictable.

Wouldn't your team be at a disadvantage if you play rated BG's without voice chat?

For instance, a priest might mind vision the enemy flag carrier and call out over voice chat that there is a resto druid and DK defending the flag carrier. This is vital information that can give your team the edge and to have to type all such communication would be a hinderance.

chewy said...

I'm inclined to believe that the broken window theory explains some of your success. However, how much of a contribution it makes is inconclusive. I'm not sure how you're ever going to correlate it's effectiveness.

Regarding voice chat: You are aware that most voice chat clients have mute and deafen capabilities ? You can control who is heard, what they hear and when.

Gevlon said...

@Grim: yes, I wouldn't trust even MYSELF, that if we are finally at 5% on a new hard mode boss after days of wiping, I wouldn't shout on someone that he is in the fire.

Bosskill is a strong motivator.

Anonymous said...

Grim, perhaps it is time to transfer an alt, roll a new char, and try out some runs with The PuG. I know I am going to. From what I read, I am impressed. Todays post is just one of the many examples.

Otter, PvE is more predictable. Where to draw line with voice chat? Not all raid leaders have a fluent English accent to say the least. Unlike written English that is harder to tackle.

Frezza said...

The no voice chat is the biggest selling point of your guild to me.

I just hate to talk a microphone unless it's strictly needed (no I don't have language issues), in my previous guild where we raided with good success into hard modes, people barely knew my voice and joked about that.

I'm amazed by the atmosphere in the guild, it's by far more welcoming and respectful than any guild I've ever been.

With some teamwork and the right comp you could get to 2k arena rating without voice chat with relative ease.

Péter Zoltán said...

What the hell did the 3rd tank do on Maloriak? :)

Uranax said...

The kill is uploaded to World of Logs if someone is intrested.

Gevlon said...

@Péter Zoltán: split the adds, decreasing damage taken significantly and pick up lose adds fast.

Grim said...

Ah, yes, I forgot... you are suppressing your wish to progress in order to prove a point.

That's fine of course, just don't go proclaiming that "Voice chat creates more problems that it solves.", while readily admitting that it would improve your progress ("bosskill is a strong motivator [to use voicechat for handholding]" implies that).

Also, I don't really see how is it better to wipe for an hour and then kick someone out of the raid for standing in fire too much, instead of yelling at him in Vent and then, when boss is down, kicking him from the raid because of the very fact that you had to yell at him in Vent.
In a social environment it would create a bunch of "But we got the boss! Its all that matters! QQ!", but surely the PuG can recognize when a player was boosted and should be replaced asap, right?

P.S. @Anon
I did have a char in The PuG and got him up to like lvl 30 before Cata, but limited playtime means I focus on raiding on my main with a bunch of fun friendly dudes atm. Its more fun n stuff.

Sten Düring said...

Voice chat in PvP fills the same role as green goo on the floor in PvE.

You may decide to stand in green goo, and you may decide not to act on communicated intelligence data. You may also decide to fill the dta channel with white noise (babbling about your sister's wedding in the middle of a BG).

The superior tool is not the problem. The officers being so incompetent they can't utilise it is.

You're avoiding voice chat in PvP because you prefer your officers slacking.

While raising the acceptable lowest capacity of every participant will indeed increase overall performance it's still not good enough.

Basing performance on the lowest common denominator makes for average results at best.

It's a little like comparing the Soviet Union 1925 with the Soviet Union 1985. Overall performance increased, which appears like a proof of a good system -- until you compare with the western world of 1925 and 1985.

Gevlon said...

* "we wiped because X was in the fire": fact
* "we had to shout at X": moderately opinionated ("I was running on my own already")
* "we killed but we were boosting X: completely opinionated

Wherever opinions can exist, socialism rises its head (X is nice so my opinion is that he was not boosted just unlucky).

ardoRic said...

Is that YOU turned into a wolf and dancing?

It almost looks like... you're having ... fun.


Anyways, about voice chat, I totally agree with you on it being more of a clutch than anything else. I can see the benefits in fast paced small group PvP and how it can't be turned into a handholding device so easily. But on large group PvP it would probably end up having too much noise or end up as somewhat another clutch.

I always refuse to call out stuff on my guild's vent, specially when we are already using DeadlyBossMods, and I feel pretty annoyed that there are some bosses on which there is an overwhelming improvement when one of our officers is calling stuff out on vent ("Defile soon - spread out", "defile and valkyrs soon - wait a bit then spread out").

Maybe you could try this approach: use it for local small-group coordination in Rated Battlegrounds. Have each group of 3-4 people who might benefit from coordination (a group deffending or attacking a base) in different ventrillo channels and leverage the extra coordination without turning it into a clutch.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the guild, and the no voice chat in PVE seems to me, but the no voice chat in RBG is enough to ensure that I won't join them with the PUG at all as I want to be competitive in that field, not just 'keep losing until we find teams more horrible than us', which is what it seems to be at present.

Like I said last time, you will never be anything better than 'quite bad' at RBGs and Arena without voice comms.

Anonymous said...

Seriously though to all the people saying you need voice comm how many encounters can you think of where you actually need it beyond the point of terrible tunnel vision.

Let's say your playing a node control game. Generally groups are broken into teams of 5. Simply macroing in Group 1 to BS would work for assaults. For defending you just need degrees of the assault. Weak Assault, Moderate Assault, Zerg at GM would work.

For CTF it's pretty much the same macros for defending a flag in your base. For assaulting as long as the addon "Healers Have to Die" works the only other info of relevence is how many stealthers are at the base which you won't know until you attack. Knowing beforehand means you jumped in without the other people of your assaulting team.

The only point in which I see it as a valid use beyond macros is for during battles of correcting tunnel vision of people of not pulling other people off of your own healers. Though if I remember correctly there is an addon called "Save your Healbot" which will mark the people damaging your healer.

Pvp is a fixed dance. There are only so many ways to assault a base and only so many ways to take a flag. The only real random is "current target" and "team composition". Most people think no voice chat means no information which is completely wrong. You just adjust accordingly.

Anonymous said...

the broken window theory theory while interesting is flawed as it is based on correlation, and a fundamental principal of science is correlation does not equal causation.

with your guild you state that the reason why it is successful is essentially due to the fact people are not encourage to slack. I could say that your rules appealed to raiders who are good but had trouble finding a guild that either was not filled with lol idiots while also having no required attendance.

I could say that the reason this correlates with success is that you have acquired people who are intelligent but cant put a reliable amount amount of time in.

However, time is only need if your racing for world firsts, otherwise just figuring out an effective strategy and pulling it off is all that needed, which you proved by using 3 tanks for maloriak.

Anonymous said...


"Also, I don't really see how is it better to wipe for an hour and then kick someone out of the raid for standing in fire too much, instead of yelling at him in Vent and then, when boss is down, kicking him from the raid because of the very fact that you had to yell at him in Vent."

If you're asking this it's because you don't understand The Pug's underlying philosophy: they're not going to rush anybody (for free).

Voice comm in PVP:
This is what I don't understand. Voice chat in PVE is for rushing, for solving other people's problem with the game's environment for free. It's carrying some jerk's ass. Fine. How is this translated to PVP world? You can have a planed strat for a RBG or some special composition in Arenas but anything else is pretty unpredictable, you can't expect people behave in a certain way when you don't know what is going to happen in the next 15 seconds.

My point is, Gevlon can you demostrate that Voice-chat in PVP environment has the same negative outputs as in PVE?

Lyxi said...

@Frezza With some teamwork and the right comp you could get to 2k arena rating without voice chat with relative ease.

2k Isn't a particularily high rating. In fact, last season, I paid my way to 2k by asking a resto druid to boost me.

2k Is not by far 'the top'. It is highly above average, true, but by no means the top, or 'world class' what Gevlon wants.

I'm well aware that we can improve to well above average. Maybe even top 10%. But that is not 'world class'.

This is the point he's trying to make, and this is the point he'll fail at. And I don't really care about it either. No voice rule sonds perfectly fine to me.

Jumina said...

To the "voice chat theme". Have you ever considered an option that shouting at people can improve their performance?

Well, I don't do it very often because I am basically "a nice person" type but sometimes I had to criticize fellow raiders. And it seems to me critics improves and helps people often. And its much more direct through voice chat. Of course there are sometimes drama queens but most of the times it works if you don't abuse it.

Strutt said...

What happend to the "Any one can lead there own raids/RBG and use there own rules"

Is voice chat banned from the guild as a whole using or just in your groups?

Strutt said...

@ anon & Gev
"Most people think no voice chat means no information which is completely wrong. You just adjust accordingly"

Then so are addons, like your Healers Have to Die. no Addons doesnt mean no information, you just have to adjust accordingly.

chewy said...

@Anon 12:55

You don't need voice communication in the same way you don't need a car to travel anywhere, it's just a tool.

Yes it could be used to spoon feed other players in the same way that a car can be used for ram raiding but it doesn't have to be.

To continue the car analogy - Cars cause accidents and people have been killed so ban the use of the car they cause more problems than they solve.

I know this is a slightly extreme comparison and if Gevlon doesn't want to use voice then that's his choice. I can't help but feel though that there is more behind this dogmatic attitude than has been presented on this blog.

chewy said...

You don't even try it. How can you assume that's it's going to be worse? That's not scientific.

Trelocke said...

Wait, wait, write a huge article about the difference between "play-for-fun" and "play-to-win" and then refuse to acknowledge the clear advantage voice chat provides while stubbornly refusing to use it because it *might* have an effect on your version of fun?

You have this illusion that voice chat's main purpose is for hand-holding even though every top guild and RBG group in existence uses it. Even good players make mistakes. They are still human beings. Voice chat makes correcting mistakes nearly instant, giving people the opportunity to correct a mistake before it becomes fatal (for the person or for the group).

How is it that you can't see that not doing something for your own asocial reasons is exactly the same thing as a "play-for-fun" player not doing something because it's "cheap"? Aren't you playing to win? Voice chat is something that obviously provides value, yet you condemn it as a "cheap" hand-holding instrument despite its proven usefulness. It's not like you don't understand the need for communication so why would you cripple your guild's progression in raiding and RBGs just because you don't like the form of communication? Sounds like a social reaction to me.

Gevlon said...

@Trelocke: where is the "fun" in my point? And it's funny that you write "it's not for hand holding" in the same line where you write "it's for correcting mistakes" (obviously not your own as you don't have to yell to yourself).

It's a tool for hand holding. It allows bosskills with people who are unable to do it without being told what to do. Result: you get more of them. Soon you'll be drowning in morons.

@Chevy: I don't have to try it to know that it's impossible to talk without transferring emotions. In an a-social guild where emoticons are banned, it's more than enough.

The Standing Dragon said...

Heh. You know, I don't fully agree with Gev on much, but on the voice chat thing? I'm right there with him.

Voice chat only provides an advantage (in PVE) when your people aren't executing or need reminders about how to execute. It also serves as an absolutely needless distraction - in most guilds, it isn't used as a functional tool; it's used as a crutch and as a chat channel that allows snarky commentary without typing.

... good lord, why do I keep referencing Planetside? But I am - I've got a good, solid team I play with in Planetside, which is completely PvP. In that game, voice chat is actually slower than using the in-game VV chat ("V-W-A" - Voice-Warn-Air, your character shouts "Incoming enemy aircraft!" and flashes his platoon number on the minimap).

Does using VOIP make us better? Meh. Not really. Most of what we use it for is to jabber at each other. Does it occasionally come in handy? Sure - but when we pop up a chat that says "Drop on BD, crash to spawns, crash to hack" - we know what we're doing and we execute - in a fully PvP (though objective-based!) game, we don't even require our platoons be on Voice.

Now. WoW-style Arenas WOULD offer a distinct advantage to players using voice, especially at the smaller comp sizes. I can see that. But general objective-based play? Most of the advantage is illusiary.

The Standing Dragon said...


"Criticism" does not equal "MOAR DOTZ."

Yelling at people doesn't motivate them, and, frankly, if you're using voice chat to yell, you really will tear a group apart rather than form it into a cohesive team.

The PUG works because they have known consequences and motivations not to fail, and the penalties for a moment's inattention exist, but aren't so harsh as to make people walk.

Hell, look at it this way: in the PUG, if you fail, you know what it'll cost you. If you get frustrated to the point that you get sloppy, they'll replace you - NO HARD FEELINGS! You'll not lose your raid spot next week. In fact, you could probably ask "what the hell did I do wrong?" and get an intelligent, non-accusitory answer!

Nobody yells at you. Nobody treats you like trash. It's just, "hey, you screwed up. It cost you. No worries - read up and come back next time."

If I were still playing WoW for raiding? I'd be there in a /heartbeat/ for that kind of attitude. Yelling at me - a 30+-year-old professional in Vent? That'll end badly for all concerned, even if I am at fault.

See the difference?

Sthenno said...

The argument that voice chat creates a problem of officer burnout because they get tired of hand-holding is at least more sensible then the "good players perform better the less information they have available to them" thing.

That being said, the idea that officers handhold out of selflessness is wrong. The world is full of people who, after leading a ragtag group of mediocre players to victory, will feel a sense of personal accomplishment, instead of becoming angry that those undeserving people were able to succeed.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for voice chat to become handholding. If it does then that is the fault of those using voice chat, not of voice chat itself.

Take Chimaeron heroic for example. There is a certain amount of RNG in that fight. Without going into specifics, you could try the fight 5 times and each time things happen in a slightly different order, with different timing. There is no handholding involved when 3 healers and 2 tanks are updating one another through voice chat as to who has CDs available and who does not. It is a big ask to ask people to not only keep track of their own CDs but keep track of those of 4 other people. Voice chat updates on this swiftly and succinctly. It does not hand hold but merely updates people to important information that it is nigh on impossible for them to know of their own accord without seeing half a dozen raid warnings every minute.
In my opinion it is the same as /gchat. Use it but do not abuse it and put penalties in place for thise that do abuse it.

IrOn TuRtLe said...

"The rules obviously work as alone were able to create a top 10% guild."

Well, your guild has had respectable raiding success. However, I did some searching and found three guilds on US servers which specifically said they use your rules. None of them exist anymore, which suggests failure. The (rather limited) evidence is that the rules are fairly irrelevant as far as raiding success goes, not preventing it but clearly not guaranteeing it either.

Trelocke said...

@Gevlon- Obviously you enjoy your guild environment. You find it "fun". It's your version of fun.

And you completely missed the point. Can voice chat be used for hand-holding? Absolutely. I've seen it used that way many times. But that's only because those using it *chose* to use it that way.

Stating voice chat is for hand-holding is no different than stating guild chat is for "gz". Voice chat, guild chat, whispers; they are all forms of communication. How they are used is completely up to you. I have rules for my voice chat server and they are followed or you get removed.

My point is simply this: voice chat is a tool that, used correctly, helps you win. Only when used incorrectly will it help you coddle and carry those you'd otherwise dismiss from your group. Believe it or not, it's not any harder to spot those people while using voice chat than it is without.

What do you think about addons like Deadly Boss Mods? It uses all kinds of flashing warnings and timers to hand hold people through an encounter and I bet you don't even think twice about whether a person is or is not using it despite the fact that it allows many people to kill bosses they otherwise would never be able to.

Voice chat, DBM, healers have to die, they are all just tools. Those who play to win use all the tools they can find to make them better; those who play for fun find reasons not to use tools they find threatening to their social environment.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, while I agree with a lot of what you say, I strongly disagree with the no-voicechat rule. It certainly can be used to coddle poor players and stunt their improvement but it can also be used to rapidly impart information which good players can use to react more quickly to unusual situations, especially in PvP.

It all comes down to rules, the same as the no social stuff in guild chat. If you would make a system of rules around voice chat so that it was simply used to impart information during a raid or rated battleground I think you'd find it a very positive tool. One tip though, make sure that only a small number of people are actually permitted to talk at one time.

Anonymous said...

Presumably you allow text communication, so with the fact that there are no rules as to what is said in voice comm (you don't have to hand hold if you don't want to, you're not forced to speak), how do you justify one being acceptable, while the other not? It's just as easy to spam a "/rw GET OUT OF THE FIRE" macro as it is to press a button and speak it, yet I presume your raids don't use /rw macros.

Do you also require the use of boss mod addons? If so, they are essentially holding hands for your raiders, screaming to run away and blaring loud noises when they stand in the fire. How is that any different?

Grim said...

DBM screaming "get out of fire" is different from RL shouting it in Vent or /rw in that DBM does not require any effort at all from anyone else.

The whole point of a pick-up-group is that random people just come together to kill some bosses. And none of them have to give two shits about how the others manage their roles. If DBM is holding their hand, or if they have a team of coaches and tutors standing behind their backs barking orders, it doesn't matter to anyone else in the raid.

As soon as its an actual person holding someone's hand, it starts to matter for that person. Think about it - you like to raid, but odds are you don't really like to organize raids and look after everyone. A true pug has no raid leader sacrificing his time and nerves, which is what The PuG are trying to achieve.

P.S. Even a true PuG can work better via voice chat if they are actually equal. I'm just explaining why DBM handholding =/= voice chat handholding.

Xenxu said...

boss mods are different because that's something I do as an individual player. It's not something another player is required to do for me to play well.

Anonymous said...

Voice chat is no more social or asocial than guild chat, UI addons, or anything else. It's a tool that allows you a specific function. Certainly it can be used to promote social nonsense or allow poor players to win fights, but that's not what it inherently does. If you're going to ban voice chat you might as well ban guild chat, because people can chat in it, or UI addons because they allow poor players to play better.

Instead of banning it outright (which is, by the way, not enforceable at all) you would do better to simple apply some ground rules to its use. Really all the rule itself does is say 'I won't use voice chat and if you're going to do it, don't tell me'

Stubborn said...

I do like the no-voice chat rule. I totally agree that people are more likely to act like jerks verbally than if they have to type and have even a second to think before they hit enter. I know I've edited down a lot of nasty things because I had that time and in a voice environment I might have said something too harsh or not said anything at all.

However, I'm shocked that no one has gone at you for your "social fun and performance are negatively correlated" statement. That's what stuck out most to me. I can neither agree or disagree; I need you to define both for me first.

However, if I assume that "performance" means "successfully downing raid bosses" and "social fun" means - hell, that's the problem. I really don't know. Is saying "congratulations" (no gz rule) social fun? Is dancing in spirit wolf form after downing a boss social fun? Where are the limits?

I assume you feel that Ms&Ss and socials are both pursuing social fun instead of performance (though they may not know it), but then does that suggest that enjoying WoW with your friends - a social activity that is fun - is contrary to performance?

Does that mean that people can't have fun at work without negatively affecting their performance? When I teach, I have a lot of fun (and the students frequently do, too). Does that mean they're being cheated out of a good education?

Once again, I feel I need more definition here, like of the categories of players. It's hard to feel one way or the other about amorphous lumps.

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