Posts by Salix

    Hi there.

    This pop-up was informing you about the special Login-Bonus of the Festival Server. You will find 36 vouchers and the Red Kite on your account.

    We are sorry for the message being sent in the wrong language. This happened due to a bug in the language settings of the IGMs. We deactivated any further IGMs to prevent this from happening.

    I was asked to take part in this, so here we go:

    How long have you played Rail Nation?

    A few months.

    Favorite goods to transport?

    Hm...not sure.

    Favorite Rail Nation scenario?


    Strangest / Coolest place I’ve ever played Rail Nation?

    On an airplane (still on the ground of course)

    Favorite Rail Nation era?

    Era one. So much to do and it's kind of like the basis of everything that follows.

    Favorite endgame snack or treat?

    Coffee. Definitely coffee. Black, strong and without sugar, please.

    Any other railway themed hobbies?

    Not really, I think.

    Pick local goods from your home country, that you would like to see in Rail Nation?

    Beer. Not the Cologne stuff they call beer, the real thing, Bavarian (or rather Franconian) beer.

    Favorite railway-related movie?

    Technically not a movie, but I really like that Doctor Who episode with the Space Orient Express

    Favorite railway-related song?

    "Railroad Track" by Willy Moon

    What a coincidence, this is not just my favorite railway-related song, it's also one of my favorite songs in general :)

    Bonus: Caption this image

    Does this thumb look weird to you? Look at it! Why are you walking away? Hey, it's a perfectly normal question....hey!

    So I opened a new topic for discussing this cardinal new idea.

    The biggest problem. Majority!

    I will certainly have a look at that discussion later.

    The main objective of the owner of the game to send out observers

    I think the observer idea was, in this case, meant as a system where players watch players. That's what my reply was referring to.

    About employees playing: We already do and several people in our team can definitely be consideres "pros" in this game. I'm not one of them though :P

    I would be interested to read about the scientific article that proves that.

    Just to be clear here: I am talking about a very specific kind of troll. The word "troll" is nowadays often used very broadly for just everyone who misbehaves, which is not really correct. Trolls are a very specific kind of disruptive users. They do not misbehave because they are angry or because they don't know better or something like that. They do it out of sadistic joy. I just want to be clear about that, because what I (and the study) say about trolls only applies to this very special kind of disruptive user.
    The study I mostly think about is "Trolls just want to have fun" from BUCKELS, PAULHUS & TRAPNELL.
    It is not direct empirical evidence that ignoring works against trolls, but it explains typical personality traits of trolls, the "dark triad": Narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
    Especially the narcissism part of it is what supports the "Don't feed the troll" method.

    In addition to that, this is also based on the experience of moderators around the world. As a moderator, you sometimes encounter users who do not adapt their behavior, regardless of how you punish them. Quite the opposite, they often seem to enjoy it and are even proud of their moderation history and all the accounts that got banned and they proudly present that to the public. Those users cannot be dealt with with conventional methods. You can not punish them, you need to bore them. Deny them an audience and attention, that's the only thing that works.

    I also have to add that I don't think we have many of those players in our community. I think most of the misbehavior in RN comes from misguided anger or revenge.

    A lot of interesting stuff here, I apologize in advance for the lengthy post.

    Perhaps one of the most elegant solutions is AI.

    I tend to agree. It's is foreseeable that this is the imminent future, but we are not quite there yet. The biggest problem right now is rather boring: It's expensive. AI is interesting for extremely big communities (for example Facebook would need ~200.000 payed moderators if they wouldn't use AI), but for smaller communities it's not worth it...yet. I expect this to change in the next few years, especially because there are a few companies that compete with each other right now, which will hopefully drive development and reduce costs.

    1) Troll Prohibition

    Above all, this behavior should be forbidden (Troll).

    And let everyone know there are sanctions for offenders.

    Trolls want attention. Making a big fuzz about trolls and threatening them with punishments tends to increase the problem instead of reducing it. Trolls are a rather unique problem because, in a way, they want to be punished, since punishment is a form of attention. Even today the best weapon against trolls is still to ignore them. "Don't feed the troll" is probably the wisest of all internet wisdom and it's actually backed up scientifically.

    Broken Majority Log and Counter

    Interesting idea. Probably not as easy to do as it sounds, but might be worth to check how much effort it would be to do something like that. I'll look into it.

    Allow each player to choose another player and declare "Probable troll"

    So basically a report function in the game. To be honest, I don't think this is necessary. Overall, the Rail Nation community is incredibly reasonable and peaceful, if you compare it to other games. While disruptive behvaior exists in RN too of coures, it's not generally a major problem if you compare it other problems (like everyones darling, performance). It doesn't really justify the development of an entire new system in the game, especially if it's partly redundant to what the customer support can already do. Keep in mind that working on A always means that you are not working on B. While a report feature is probably not a bad idea, there are simple other things that have higher priority.

    The list of possible trolls must be visible to all players on the server.

    On this one I strongly disagree and I agree with hilti2 . There is a reason why pillories have not been used anymore since the dark ages. The goal of all punishment is to change the behavior of the punished person. Public shaming doesn't do that, for several reasons. Firstly, due to its cruelty, it destroys the relation between punished and punisher. Punishments are most effective if they are accepted by the punished and if a punishment is considered too harsh or unfair, it can have the opposite effect and lead to deviant behavior to distance yourself from the punisher. Secondly, public shaming ruins your reputation. And if your reputation is already ruined, why even bother to change? It's easier to just enjoy your new role as villain/outcast.

    And, last but not least: The deterrence effect is usually overestimated. Fear of punishment does not work as well as one would intuitively think it does.

    Many trolls will deny such actions or reduce them considerably.

    Just because they know they're being watched.

    Not for actual trolls. They would love it, they feed of attention.

    5) You play with us (and secret police).

    I think the advice you play with us is very good. (For the reasons given above comment)

    But to have a deterrent effect it must be visible.

    As mentioned before, the deterrence effect is not as strong as one would think. In addition, actual trolls can also be encouraged by the presence of "authorities", because mocking and harassing authority is even more fun for them than just harassing anyone.

    6) Observers

    There are a few other games that tried that and it's not inherently a bad ide (in fact it worked quite well), but it comes along with a surprisingly big amount of work to keep it running, mostly due the "Who watches the watchers?" problem. Similar to AI, this is a method that is viable for massively big communities that have a huge problem with disruptive behavior.
    But in general I am a big fan of using this method and creating systems that allow a community to govern themselves. I'll keep it in mind.

    Even if the subclause is totally incorrect, the main clause (ev1 knows) can be correct

    True. Perception matters, of course.

    Nerisrath That's a valuable insight, thank you.

    If such function is implemented is kind of automated and does not involve any moderators, admins or company workers to spend time on checking claims to ban whoever. Using mechanism similar to voting, which is already in-game, should be not that hard to develop it.

    I can guarantee you, if I would go to our developers and suggest this, they would strongly disagree that this is not hard to develop ;)
    It always looks easier from the outside and new features can be A LOT of work if they were not intended from the start.
    But I also think that your general approach to the problem is a good one. The best way to fight disruptive behavior is not to set up strict rules, punish bad behavior or reward good behavior. The game itself should encourage good behavior by design and not even allow bad behavior...if it's possible to do that. Strongly depends on the game and the game mechanic of course.

    I absolutely agree with pretty much everything you wrote.

    The main problem I see is the challenge to identify the "real trolls" (i.e. those who ruin the game on purpose and with sadist motivation) reliably and not mix them up with players who do it by accident or due to lack of knowledge.

    I was new to the game not too long ago and, for example, I stole majorities, since I didn't know better. I had no idea that this is all organized and that there are unwritten rules not to do that.

    Obviously players like that should not be punished.

    So the crucial part is to notice the difference....reliably. This is a problem that doesn't just exist in Rail Nation, but in many games. Intentionally ruining the game is very hard to identify and prove, especially if you want to avoid punishing innocent players...which, obviously, you should avoid.

    Do you think there would be a reliable way to identify the trolls in Rail Nation?

    Hello there,

    I have a favour to ask you: Could you describe as detailed as possible what exactly this problematic behavior is? Assume you have to explain it to someone who has no idea what you are talking about.

    There must be strict sanctions for this!

    I'm afraid it's not that easy. First of all, punishments are not every effective way to shape behavior in general. They have some use of course, but rewards generally work way better.
    The second problem is that, contrary to the common opinion and intuitive logic, strict punishments are actually not more effective than soft ones. The opposite is true. Scaling up punishments until the unwanted behavior is gone generally doesn't work.

    But even with knowing that it's still not simple. The most important thing is to understand where the behavior is coming from and trying to do something against the causes for this behavior instead of fighting the behavior directly.

    That's why I asked you to provide some details about the behavior you consider problematic. Understanding the behavior is the first and necessary step.

    PS: In case you wonder why I comment on this although I am usually mostly active behind the scenes....Player Behavior is sort of my area of expertise and a topic I am generally interested in, both at work and in my free time.

    Don't worry, you have no reason to feel guilty about this. It was not an exploit and whatever you achieved in this event, you earned it. Sure, we did not intend this kind of absurd profits to be made, but we did intend the method that was used for it, so it's absolutely okay that you used it.

    While we do not have any specific plans right now, we would also very much like to repeat meta events like this one...of course with less extreme results ;)

    Kind regards,

    Salix (Community Communications Manager)