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have you written about your mechanics for scheduling games? I’d love to see that! Always a challenge to get people together.
They’re kinda complicated.
We have “main day” and “extra days”. I’m gonna start how we determine “main days”.
So first of all we use a fork of dudle.rb, which in turn was an unofficial clone of the “Doodle” scheduling software. It’s a grid: proposed dates along the X axis, people along the Y axis. You put in your name on a row and for each column you check “yes”, “maybe”, or “no.”
The polls come up (through the life-changing magic of
cron jobs) every Monday morning at 1000. The polls cover seven days, stretching from Wednesday to Tuesday (this is confusing af, why oh why did I start the weeks at Wednesday, not a day go by when I don’t regret that choice. And we have three players who hate the Wednesday start and one who insists on it. Changing would be a very big hassle at this point too); that means each poll come up 9 days before the first available day and 16 days before the last available day.
Then there are two deadlines. First deadline is Saturday evening at 2200. So people have over five days available to vote.
Then the preliminary date is selected using this kinda weird algo:
✔: 1 point
+0.01 points for each ✔ on the same horizontal line
+0.001 point for each cell (regardless of symbol) directly vertically below it, and for each ? on the same horizontal line
✘: 0 points (or minus a thousand points if DM)
?: 0.1 points
I’m gonna explain that exact same thing using other words, here:
Let’s use an example where Alice proposed Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and Bob only proposed Tuesday.
First we look at which day has the most ✔. If there’s a tie for most, the first tiebreaker is most ?. This means that in the “Alice/Bob” example, did any of the other people (Carol & Ted for example) disambiguate which day to select? If they didn’t, let’s say that counting up ✔ and ? it’s between Monday and Tuesday. Then we look at the second tiebreaker. Who has been most generous? In this case, clearly Alice. So it’s gonna be Monday.
The fourth tiebreaker lends equal weight to voting early, and to being generous with ?. In other words, it values generosity with ✔ much more.
Then as a fifth tiebreaker (not using that point system), it’s Sandra’s favorite days! Which are Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday in that order. (Here’s how I came up with that order: I like playing on weekends over weekdays, so Sat & Sun are first, and I think scheduling the mainday earlier is better than later (helps wrt getting a lot of extra days in). And polls start on Wednesday which is why I value them higher than Thursdays.)
So a bot does that calculation for us on Saturday evening and reports his or her findings. (The bots post on our website using names cribbed randomly from a list of prominent NPCs the players have rescued/killed/been killed by/met/sassed.)
Then people whine and moan and complain and pester each other all through Sunday. I’m usually in bed reading a book and/or dropping acid while this is going; it used to be worst day of week but now my robot overlord does it all♥
Then on Monday morning, at 1000 (same time as the next poll go up), the robot calls it.
The robot now has two “grids” to work from. As it stood on Saturday evening, and as it stood on Monday morning.
Often the one on Monday morning has more voters (which the proposebot snarkily refers to as “late contributors”), people who came in on Sunday and kinda drunkenly voted. (Sorry, not sorry, Alice!)
But the Saturday votes carry a heck of a lot more weight. Vote on time next time, Alice!
If Saturday voters (people who voted on time) were convinced during The Great Sunday of Pleading to show mercy, and open up their votes, that can change the outcome significantly. Because the Monday vote uses a ternary IOR mask of the Saturday people’s votes on Saturday and their votes on Monday. That means that if you have turned a ✘ into a ? or ✔, or if they have turned a ? into a ✔, that is taken into account. If you have changed votes in the other direction, tough titties, that is ignored. The proposebot appreciated your original Saturday generosity and chooses to look the other way for your temporary stinginess in the Great Sunday War&Quarrel.
However, the Monday schedule as a whole does serve one purpose. It changes the fifth tiebreaker (Sandra’s ranked list of favorite days) to instead be “What would the day have been if everyone voted in time?” (Also the late votes are great because it gives something clear & visual for the Sunday Arguments to be about.)
So the main day is selected (by bot) on Monday morning at 1000, two days before the first possible day for that poll.
I def need those two days so I can hook up with hot guys in jeans the rest of the week! Wouldn’t want any empty slots in the calendar where I would have to “read” or “knit” or “edition war”.
Then we select extra days during a method that’s kinda more complicated, called “talking to each other”, and I’m hoping to streamline it in the future. It’s error prone and weird things come up in the last minute. But the bots ensure that we play at least once per week and it’s usually two or three extra days on top of that.