PbF Plus External Messaging (Either Cisco Spark or Slack)

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PbF Plus External Messaging (Either Cisco Spark or Slack)

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 06 Jul 2017, 17:06

The Problem, As I See It
I'm growing to really love PbF as a format for posting adjudication and recruiting new players to games, particularly as we have a pretty vibrant and variant-friendly community here. However, where our php-bb forums still lack, considerably, is person-to-person messaging. It's frankly a hassle. The interface that comes with php-bb private messaging wasn't really built to support robust conversations. It's like using email, except that it's not mobile-friendly and lacks many of the conveniences that come with modern email clients.

Now I run Play-by-Email games as well, and what I've found there is that it's a bit better for person-to-person messages, but primarily when it's long messages back and forth (like letters in old play-by-mail games). Both email and PM's are pretty bad for handling fast, interactive conversations.

The Proposal
Would players be amenable to running a sort of hybrid-communication game? Official orders submissions would still be submitted via PM, so that there's a full record of them (should an admin ever be needed to investigate a dispute). However, player-to-player conversations would be handled through Cisco Spark, a robust messaging client that has been pretty widely adopted by the face-to-face community, particularly when they play online games in-between tournaments.

From a standpoint of anonymity, Spark allows you to subdivide your messaging into Teams, which basically means that you'd have a unique identity that only your fellow players and GM's would have access to. You'd also be able to maintain anonymity similar to how you do on the forum; you might have to give the GM your email* initially, but that's it.

*Even that might not be mandatory for much longer, per talking to Chris Martin, who works for Cisco and has become the chief evangelist for this platform within the F2F community.

Feedback
What do you think? Would you welcome an alternate messaging system like Spark or Slack, or do you prefer forum-based PM's?

Edit:
Changed the title to note that I'm investigating the use of Slack as an alternative to Spark, since it may provide more of the features that would be useful to PbF setups.
Last edited by NoPunIn10Did on 10 Jul 2017, 16:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby The SHIV » 06 Jul 2017, 18:10

Huh? Chisel and tablet Still works great for me!

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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby The SHIV » 06 Jul 2017, 18:12

Of course the hardest thing is finding oxen and cart / driver to deliver back and forth.

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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby EpicDim » 06 Jul 2017, 22:23

The SHIV wrote:Of course the hardest thing is finding oxen and cart / driver to deliver back and forth.


Have you tried Uber-orders?
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby ColonelApricot » 07 Jul 2017, 07:20

nopunin10did wrote:
You'd also be able to maintain anonymity similar to how you do on the forum; you might have to give the GM your email* initially, but that's it.

This is unclear. Currently on the forum you are anon only if you use Dolph Shtoss. In PBF games there is no anonymity that I'm aware of.

nopunin10did wrote:Feedback
What do you think? Would you welcome an alternate messaging system like Spark or Slack, or do you prefer forum-based PM's?

Strongly in favour of anything better than the current set up - both the Forum and the standard game messaging.

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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 07 Jul 2017, 14:30

I think he means anonymous with regards to your real, given name, which presumably is not ColonelApricot all as one word!
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 07 Jul 2017, 17:30

nanooktheeskimo wrote:I think he means anonymous with regards to your real, given name, which presumably is not ColonelApricot all as one word!


Nanook has the right of it. I'm not referring to making any changes to how the forum itself operates, and I mean anonymity in the sense of not having to reveal more identity than just your PD forum handle to other players.

What I mean is that the GM (presumably me) would need some manner of inviting each forum player to Spark's "Team" for that game. That invitation typically requires an email address*, but that would only be seen by the GM. Once invited, your visible presence within the Team could be customized to resemble your forum presence.

So, had we done this for Dissolution, we'd have a single Dissolution Team in Spark. You would have told me your email address at the start of the game, and I would have sent you an invite to the Dissolution Team. You might use Spark in a browser, or maybe you'd install the standalone application; your pick. I believe that, at that point, you would show up as ColonelApricot - Ethiopia (or similar) from within the Team itself, with your email hidden. Within that team, you'd see others like pjkon - Poland and NoPunIn10Did - GM.

When players are replaced, new users would be invited (like Warsmith - Pakistan). We'd have at least one general chatroom, and you could make new private chats between yourself and other players in the Team.

Spark is pretty easy to work with from an end-user point of view, though there are a few hoops for me to jump through for doing initial group setup. I'll need to check with Chris Martin on the details for setting up all of what I've proposed, possibly also making Team-visible names editable only by the GM to avoid fraudulent communication** within the app.

*I think they're actually working on making invitations even more anonymous than this, but I don't know what the specifics are or when that might be available
**an espionage-oriented style of play which can occasionally be interesting, but is a bit too similar to online fraud for my tastes
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 07 Jul 2017, 17:34

ColonelApricot wrote:Strongly in favour of anything better than the current set up - both the Forum and the standard game messaging.

..CA


Are you referring to how PD games handle messaging on the regular website? If so, I agree that needs an upgrade too, but for the time being it's worth remembering that external inter-player communications are banned by PD for games that are not specifically listed as Friends or Schools.
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 08 Jul 2017, 14:05

So, per Chris, some of what I'm describing here isn't quite available yet. But I'm still interested in running a game where we can use a better chat client for interpersonal messaging.
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Re: PbF Plus External Messaging (Cisco Spark)

Postby ColonelApricot » 10 Jul 2017, 01:17

nopunin10did wrote:
nanooktheeskimo wrote:I think he means anonymous with regards to your real, given name, which presumably is not ColonelApricot all as one word!

Nanook has the right of it. I'm not referring to making any changes to how the forum itself operates, and I mean anonymity in the sense of not having to reveal more identity than just your PD forum handle to other players.

Understood. The anonymity I was referring to was when your forum handle is concealed as in "Anonymous players" variant games.

WRT messaging in standard games the limitations are well-known - lack of richness in filtering, bad behavior on mobile devices, inconsistency between private and public press, etc. No need to go into it here, just to note that in a new method these would preferably be avoided.

I have not experienced Spark but certainly would be willing to try it.

And yes my name does have more than 1 word (was it Prince the last one to have got away with that?).

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