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The Magic Number and Word

Posted July 20, 2011 at 03:06 PM by Straylor Leonard
Updated July 20, 2011 at 03:08 PM by Straylor Leonard

Eight years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of forgoing threads. Saying "No" to threads? Preposterous!

But I guess getting older (and indirectly wiser? ) led me to realize that I have limits. Even when it comes to something I love, like writing.

Maybe I'm just burned out; or maybe it's because of RL; even a combination of everything above. But when I returned to moderating, I gave myself a few limits:
  1. Ten threads max at any given time. No exceptions.
  2. No more GF'd threads, unless it's almost done.
  3. No extra projects.

And so far, I've loved every second of it. I can post a few times a week and have everything posted to and running smoothly. No more two, three, four week old threads sitting at the bottom of my subscription list leering at me. Those who know me best understand that I'm not the kind of mod that sets a schedule.

I post based on: A) the response that I got, B) the mood that I'm in, and C) the pressure that I'm under.

So if you keep poking me, yeah, I'll post to your thread. If you annoy me and put me in a bad mood? No, I won't post to your thread. If we happen to be online together and we're power posting? We might finish your transaction or training thread very quickly.

I guess all I'm saying is that GMs really, really need to set boundaries so that they are not overworked. I'm reading this book right now with the other youth workers in my church called "The Inside Out Youth Worker" by Kent Julian. It basically gives a metaphor for ministry. It goes a little like this:
"Ever waited tables in a restaurant? This isn't too difficult either. Sure, you keep track of multiple orders, refill water glasses, and plaster a small on your face; but again, with a good trainer, a bit of practice, you'll be capable of waiting on four or five tables simultaneously. Now imagine a juggling waiter! Can you envision him picking up an order in the kitchen? Instead of balancing four or five dishes on a tray, he flips on some circus music, picks up each plate, and begins tossing them five or six feet into the air. Since he's an excellent juggler, the plates arrive at the correct tables unbroken, but broccoli stalks land in people's drinks and a rack of ribs almost takes a kid's head off. The customers are served, but they are not served well. The reason? The waiter was never in control. While one or two plates were in his hands, the others were soaring through the air."
While the rest of the chapter focused on balancing your family life, work schedule, and church activities, I immediately thought about Aelyria.

I was only in control of a handful of threads whenever I was GM (even co-GM). These were the major threads and quests that I personally planned and saw through the end. But when an AGM quit or disappeared, I found myself given threads that I had no inkling about or space for in my head. Or when a new PC entered town and wanted to become a guard, or a cook, or an alchemist, and there was no one else to moderate them - I took the thread, of course. Those bogged me down, forcing me to "juggle" as it were while serving my tables. I have to admit. It sucked. Not for me as much as those I moderated. They suffered while I had to pull things straight out of my .... shoes.

But Nimh served as an example about saying "No". She was, quite honestly, the only other person outside of Maddyn who I knew to actively tell players "NO, I am too busy" or "NO, I don't want that thread sorry." I found that a little insulting at first, to be honest, but only because I envied their ability.

I think we all have a "magic number" of threads we can successfully subscribe to and not drown (Mine is ten! ). But the "magic word" for all GMs especially should be "No". Not because you don't care; not because you're a bad person or a lazy mod. But because you want those already in your sub list to be moderated well.

(I'm almost done here).

This is why I've always pushed for a moderator thread exchange system. Some threads eventually get boring and some mod requests in a GM's city might not be their cup of tea. Why not allow A/GMs to help each other more freely? For instance, I happen to love hack and slash / magic free for all / kill all the grunts then the boss threads Another mod might enjoy political intrigue and the subtle art of conversing / dialogue. Other mods like everything under the sun and can't seem to get enough threads to fill their spare time (I'm looking you, my dear Aglet ).

We shouldn't be confine to our cities. Aelyria is our playground. Let's play together.
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  1. Old Comment
    Charybdis's Avatar
    I can't say no; gotta be honest.

    My worst trait though is the projects (oh, the projects!) that I take on...I have a big drive to see things to completion, so I will not stop until they're done...which is bad.

    But yes. No is good.
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 03:29 PM by Charybdis Charybdis is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nimh's Avatar
    I try to tell people, when I've said NO, that it's really nothing personal. It's hard not to take "no" personal. But you're right and I'm glad you've realized that boundaries are superb when it comes to maintaining your sanity. It's a game, right? We should be having fun. While I understand everyone wants moderated and omg please I NEED A GM, the GM's really no use to you at all if they burn out because they don't know how to say no.

    So. Please. Mods. Read the above blog and realize that you do have limits and that you can set them. It might hurt people to be turned away, but ultimately it's for the best. The game suffers when it loses A/GMs. We'd rather retain people who have boundaries and know them than lose people who don't set boundaries and become overwhelmed/burdened and don't say 'when' as they're flailing into the deep abyss of despair!
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 03:37 PM by Nimh Nimh is offline
  3. Old Comment
    You do love your projects, Chary

    *nods at Nimh* I hate that abyss of despair .... >_>
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 03:40 PM by Crimson Crimson is offline
  4. Old Comment
    I like this blogpost! Go Marwin!
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 04:19 PM by Roscarnis de Lylles Roscarnis de Lylles is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Tiyribi Andares's Avatar
    Psssh. On occasion, my projects are needed.

    EDIT: Eff. First time I posted on the wrong account. >.>
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 04:20 PM by Tiyribi Andares Tiyribi Andares is offline
    Updated July 20, 2011 at 05:21 PM by Tiyribi Andares
  6. Old Comment
    I can and will tell people no if I feel I need to.

    Not only does this include picking up threads, it includes PC's trying to do things in their threads if it's something I don't feel comfortable with, or is how the NPC would react, etc.
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 06:54 PM by Khaine Khaine is offline
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