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Author Topic: Why It’s Urgent to Change the HL-Council-Situation NOW (please read, no rant)    (Read 7544 times)
berlinballz
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« on: 01-04-2016, 01:43:22 PM »

I have always defended the Highlander Council, but within the last months I have fundamentally changed my mind.
I think it’s time for the current council to step down and make way for something new and better. Urgently. Here’s why:

This is not about the bans. This about the format Highlander. A format with a rich history in Europe that deserves to be cherished and held up high by people willing and able to represent the community. We have seen Canadian Highlander grow popular in no time. It has opened my eyes.

I’m sorry to say it, but the current council has basically done NOTHING for Highlander in a very long time and by this i don’t mean weeks, I mean years. The only person in the council that has really done anything in the real world recently to push the format is one of its newest members Dr. Opossum (Tabris honorable mention for MGM coverage).

Why is this a problem? It is a problem, because it’s the council who the community still looks to, hoping for improvement and progress. The current members seemingly are burned out, have no time, drive or ability to do this and by their passiveness are setting a horrible example. It seems like bans and unbans lately are happening solely to justify the existence of the council. They don’t.

It might not even be the job of the council to do things like Benjamin Wheeler is doing for Canadian Highlander and who also happens to be in their council because he is deeply respected by the community for all he does. 

BUT: The current european Highlander Council is justified by nothing. It has caused nothing positive for such a long time, only arguing and weird bans, with no transparency whatsoever that I believe it is actively damaging our format. The members of the council in no way mirror the large communities of Highlander, they have either been in the council forever or are selected by the council itself making it more and more defunct and disliked by the community.

As a founder of metagamemasters.eu (new website, check it out maybe)and the corresponding tournament series I have tried my best to make stuff happen for the community, so please don’t look at this post as just another rant. Please don’t think that I am trying to take over the council either, I am not. I simply believe that we do not need the council. We need people who have fun pushing the format with content, tournaments and positivity and not bans and I am inviting anyone to join in on the organizing and content making if you have the time and energy.

I can picture a future where the communities with relevantly sized playgroups, as well as the online community as a whole have a structured public exchange about possible bans once in a while. This is 2016. The information age. Suggestions could be made by a representative selected by each community, a quick and public discussion happens and the representatives (the more scattered crowd represents itself via an online vote) can vote if a card gets the necessary mentions to be considered for a ban or unban before and after the discussion period. Of course this needs organisation and someone like Dr. Opossum might be the right person to moderate, someone who has shown positive activity and willingness.

Look, I am not saying this is exactly what should happen. It needs structure and thought.

But now I SINCERELY ask the council to step down. You guys have held down the fort for a long time, I thank you for that, but please be honest. You haven’t been active in a positive way for so long, it won’t change anymore. Make way for something new. Let’s get this great format on the right track again.
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berlinballz
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« Reply #1 on: 01-04-2016, 04:41:06 PM »

I have been asked many things on facebook since I made this post and I would like to thank everyone for the feedback. The discussion has been lively and respectful.

The democratic issue is one that regularly pops up, so I feel I should clarify what I think about this. As I found out there is currently one council member that was voted in by a community. Which is a good start. And which is honestly, what I think should be the basis of the ban decisions. I would not call the resulting group a council, because it makes the thing bigger than it should be.

I have been asked for practical suggestions, so here is mine:

This is what I imagine, it’s for sure not thought through all the way, but a basis for discussion maybe. I would like each community with regular tournament activity and a minimum number of say … 10 participants to be represented directly by a chosen representative at the ban decisions.
This might be stupid, maybe 20 participants or more would be better, than we could have regions decide on a representative.

Lets say we end up with ten regional representatives for now. We should then give maybe 2 votes to the internet community as some people might have been left out by the regional representation.

The 10 representatives can propose up to three cards (0 to 3) each for ban or unban, as a result of their community’s feedback maybe 3 times a year. No cards is fine too!!!! If a card shows up in the propositions say 4 out of 10 possible times at one point it will be considered for a voting. If it shows up 7 or more times the decision will just happen without a vote. In case of 4/10+ the proposing communities together can voice, why they think a ban/unban is justified. There is an open discussion for say a week regarding this in the forum. After that the cards are voted on by the 10 + the 2 internet ones. Done.

Of course somebody needs to manage this process, but it’s not rocket science. From what I have heard the discussions of the council have been stressful as well, so this actually seems like less work to me.

Feel free to discuss this idea. I still believe change, transparency and a represenation of active communities are very much needed after years of stagnation. I do not mean to attack anyone personally. I simply believe that a flawed system has developed and should be changed. A stiff council as it is is not a solution anymore in my opinion.
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Kenshin
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« Reply #2 on: 02-04-2016, 12:25:35 AM »

My opinion on the matter is that I see no need to seek the improvement of the player base by overthrowing the council.

I am not completely sure how serious your post is, given that it is the 1st of April and that you had pretty much the opposite opinion about a democratically elected council last year. I will still honor your thoughts with an honest response.

First I would like to mention that I think the main reason why the player base is stagnating/shrinking is for various reasons of which the council is one of the least or none at all. The main problems in my opinion are:
  • Completely outdated, impractical, visually unappealing web presence frequented only by the hardcore players.
  • One of the most absurd initial investments for a competitive deck. A few years back you could still play "budget" decks with acceptable success. Nowadays it is 2000€ pile vs 2000€ pile if you want to have a shot. This makes it risky to build a brew from scratch and also close to impossible for newer players - considering the exploded prices for eternal cards - to have a second or god beware third deck option.
  • With competition like commander, which has "intro decks" released every two years or so and that is catering a lot more to the casual crowd, only the semi-competitive players with a huge bank roll are left as the target audience.

As for the decline of some tournament series I can only guess. For Karlsruhe, which was never particularly large, it is the lack of a store backing it up. Having it in a pub after work hours is convenient for the adults already involved but will not in any way acquire new blood.
For Berlin I suppose it is the oversaturation two tournaments a week bring. If you skip one, the next is around the corner. You have a hard time having a larger tournament when people have not enough time to participate in multiples. And at some point there will not be enough players for one tournament at which point people will lose faith that their travel time pays off and will stay at home. The Berlin metagame seems to be among the most casual of all the metagames. To me, as an uninvolved onlooker, it seems that a few very strong players and deckbuilders dominate a group of players that either do not have the card pool or the playskill to compete. Instead of trying to see the underlying causalities, there is a witch hunt going on against cards that are not the slightest problem in any other metagame so far. Maybe the cards have not caught on and we will see them taking over other metagames as well. That remains to be seen. But seeing this crazy alarmism about the banned list is, to me, one of the best arguments against direct votes. This obviously is the least serious of my arguments. I do not want to offend anyone too much and I might very well be wrong about it.

This reminds me so much of people lobbying against counterspells, instant card draw and land destruction for three mana. It was not the cards that were the problem. They were strong, no question, but it mostly was poor deck building and weak play skills that made people lose to them. But wizards listened and nerfed them into oblivion. Now we do not have a more diverse metagame but a mix of goodstuff midrange decks. Still, because people never understand, now they got out the pitch forks again and we will probably not see 4 mana wraths, one mana discard or two mana instant removal with acceptable conditions anymore. Is the meta more diverse? No. Do the same better players still beat the crying bunch of worse players with the new cards? Yes.

That being said I think what you state as the main reason - the perceived inactivity of the council - is not the underlying problem.

As for your actual plan, I see multiple flaws:
  • First and foremost the council is not a political party, it is a lot more like a club. Likeminded people around a founding father try to cultivate an idea. The ones that want to help and seem to pull weight and actually contribute are appointed as leaders. The founding father steps down and the club tries to work towards the goals without him. I would compare it to the culture club my parents founded in my hometown. They organise it, found a friend who is interested in music and is scouting for suitable bands. They then decide on which comedians/bands/artists to book. None of the people attending those concerts get to elect the people organising the clubs or what artists are invited. That would be pretty absurd. If you want a voice in it, you should start by doing the footwork, talking to the leaders of said club, and when you have proven yourself, you might get rewarded with influence.
  • Direct democracy, in my opinion, is one of the scariest ideas ever. If I wanted every hype, fad or unfounded fear to rule without the least shred of actual responsibility, I would suggest a direct democracy. And let us be frank, the discussions in this forum have, time and time againg, shown that we totally misjudged a lot of things and it was correct to let patience and expert opinions guide us.
  • You confuse actual contribution with community visibility. Having a seat on the council is a bona fide thing. The council members from my communities are actually present at almost every tournament in that area, discuss with the players about their opinions and sacrifice their spare time to organise things. Could some maybe do more or do it better? Possibly. Is it ungrateful and extremely unfair of you to call them out just because you do not see their actual work? Absolutely.
  • With a community as volatile and decentral as highlander, how on earth do you set up representative votes? How do you get enough people to vote? How many are even necessary to be "legitimated"? Do you hold campaigns before such a banlist referendum? How do you communicate the voting dates with the players without a working website and with such high fluctiation? What is a person, who attends two highlander tournaments per year even worth?
  • You use the word "democratic", but I do not think you really understood it. The model you suggest is undemocratic. Communities with too few members get no vote. Communities of any size get one seat. You ignore the small groups and you defang the large groups. Then you appoint people for an indeterminate time. You also turn something where no one is compensated in any way for his involvement into a huge hassle.

To sum it up I thing that having a few people who know the format, care about it and have shown merit and dedication enough to be elevated into the ranks of that bona fide club by the other members decide on things as crucial as bans and unbans is totally fine.

What always strikes me is that it is mostly people with - rightfully - unpopular or downright absurd opinions declare themselves as the voices of reason and/or the community and demand direct democracy. I do not know you, so you might do it for other reasons but usually it is extremists that want to damage the reputation of a leading group and that hope to get instant influence without having to do the necessary work to earn it first. I have seen this too often in politics to not recognise a distinct pattern. Democracy is a great thing. But letting every uninformed peasant have a vote instead of trusting in informed experts is silly. Especially since there are no lobbies or other things that threaten to taint the councilmens and -womans judgment.

I think it is okay to start a discussion, even though I think your tone was rather harsh and you ruffled some feathers that should have been left unruffled. There are problems with the format and the council might not be the most effective tool. But in my opinion the council is doing good work and is not the fundamental cause of said problems.
« Last Edit: 02-04-2016, 03:17:57 AM by Kenshin » Logged
Vazdru
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« Reply #3 on: 02-04-2016, 09:50:57 AM »

Kenshin summed it up nicely in my opinion- i agree with his conclusions

the system you described berlinballz still need some process managers as you already pointed out, guys with responsibilities and rights, anyone who defines deadlines and so on...just someone who cares that the process is running or it will just collapse somehow at any point – but i don’t come to your conclusion the system would just „float“ and thus lead to less work for everyone.

I would be glad if you answer a few simple questions for me:
Should anyone control the system you described and if so, which instance?
Who decides if there is some misuse of it and anyone thinks there could be any?
Who is the one who judge if there are different opinions? Another committee?
Or will you fill out all this functions in one person? Or maybe your community arround you?
My conclusion: this would just create a bureaucratic monster which opens its misuse with floodgates which do not make the process necessarily more democratic or better but just different!

Just suppose you won’t cover all necessary functions. What can you offer as trade-off anyone will do this jobs for you?
My answer on this question is that you need some guys with -let me call it- some kind of dedication for our format no matter where they come from, the only thing you can offer them is to mix responsibilities with rights (or money) - that's the trade-off! - this won't be different in your system as well imo.
« Last Edit: 02-04-2016, 10:39:55 AM by Vazdru » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 02-04-2016, 10:06:28 AM »

but as you can find here http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=1192.msg12534#new
I agree that there should be some representatives for every bigger hl-playgroup.
I agree that there doesn't need to be a maximum headcount for the council.
 
So our opinions may not differ as much as it sounds at first glance - just think about it.
In fact some of your principles can be found in the council policy as well.
We are trying to implement democratic processes whereever it seems necessary and the process stays manageable.
We are trying to add members to the council so as many communities as possible feel represented and heard.
« Last Edit: 02-04-2016, 11:05:44 AM by Vazdru » Logged

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ChristophO
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« Reply #5 on: 02-04-2016, 01:17:14 PM »


Just a short comment from my point of view:
I am sad I still have to write on this forum because it does not work on mobile phones. I strongly believe there is a big community disconnect because the community is split across a lot of platforms. Facebook is problemtic because I am unable to read content there since Facebook blocks even reading acess so that people are enforced to register there. The non germans also have their own respective peer groups. I would very much like to see HL have a fancy new website that enables people with Facebook accounts to browse the site as well as they can on Facebook from their mobile devices so that the community discussions can be brought back together - there are two threads in this forum right nwo where people are commenting here about comments on Facebook which is really a stupid situation for everyone involved. Due to outdated technology we actively exclude mobile browsing on this site and people not using facebook are excluded there.

I personally have not helped with a new webpage because I lack the necessary skills. This work had been delegated to Dr. Oppossum. I personally would be very happy if the maker(s) of http://metagamemasters.eu/ would work for the community by offering collaberation. It sure seems the community would benefit from it.   
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berlinballz
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« Reply #6 on: 02-04-2016, 08:16:10 PM »

Hi. Thanks for the feedback and reactions. Especially from the council members. I will try to keep my response as short and focussed as possible, as I tried with my initial post. This is also why my post wasn’t super friendly and this one won’t be either, because my goal is to cut the crap, hopefully cause some things to change for the better and get to the point without wasting too much of everybody’s time. I have watched the endless drag on this page for years, now I am hoping for a little bit of modernizing tempo.

This is one of the reasons why I apologize Kenshin, but I cannot answer to all your stuff, as it’s also apparent that you didn’t read what I wrote exactly. Telling me about your personal ideas about what meta games and communities exist, reasons for decline of the format, single cards etc. wasn’t enlightening for me at all. I do sincerely hope that you are not a member of the council (couldn’t find a list of who’s in the council right now anywhere) because in my opinion you are making the council look much worse than I did. Replying to you talking about being „elevated into the ranks of that bona fide club“ (the council) would force me to get into a big rant about FIFA, Sepp Blatter, feeling entitled and arrogance that I just don’t wanna do. Jesus, talk about being disconnected from the community. I will also just assume that Vazdru did not mean that when he said you „summed up“ (isn’t summing up short?) things nicely.

So …
Direct Democracy: I never asked for direct democracy, I also believe it doesn’t work. I asked for representatives. There is a HUGE difference. I ask for legitimation because this „bona fide club thing“ (sorry it’s so hard to get over this) is the opposite of the basis of an open and prospering community. This might have been helpful 10+ years ago, when Highlander was tiny, to keep it going. But it’s loved by many people in many cities and countries for years now and it won’t just disappear if we move on from the communication stone age to somewhere closer to 2016.

Commitment/Skill = Council-Member? This logic also absolutely flawed in my opinion. You don’t have to be a top 10 player to find out whether a card that might need banning is a problem in your metagame (+the communities won’t send morons anyways and one bad apple wouldnt destroy Highlander either). The goal should be to ban less cards anyways. If you do stuff and invest time into the community to then go into the council does also not make sense, because then your time and energy get consumed by endless discussions in secret forums and you can’t do as much for the community anymore as it seems now.

This website vs. metagamemasters.eu: I structure and conceptualize websites as one part of my job, so yeah I am willing to give you my opinion on this website and the difference to why making metagamemasters.eu took us „only“ two weeks of intense work. It’s because T-No built it from scratch using mostly wordpress and it has one a clear purpose (as every website should): To be an easy to maneuver blog with cool content that shares our passion for Highlander and makes more people play. Fixing magicplayer.org (and the confusing sub domains) would imho require to delete 90% of it. This website group is an outdated catastrophy that hurts and also based on complicated programing as it seems. The only valuable thing is this forum and it’s probably a beast to move it. Finding the rules and banned list is not always guaranteed, which are the only other two useful informations. Where to play would be the fourth information that could stay. And that's it. That's enough. highlandermagic.xy is the better domain name also by the way. And there should be probably also be ONE european FB-group to create a forum-shortcut to people who don’t have to be anonymous (and still are protected with their hobby in a secret fb-group) and don't want to have to visit this lovely forum everytime to look for info, lets face it … 2016.

To move on constructively: I am very happy about the emotional reactions from council members who seem to really care about Highlander, which I do too. Although Vazdru confused me on FB (sorry ChristophO) with some very confusing rethorical questions I believe you guys are really into this with your hearts.

So to try to achieve progress, forget my plan, it’s not helpful to overthrow you good people completely.

Please REALLY consider doing the following things and to do them fast. Because I really don’t want to have to buckle down to Canadian Highlander, because they communicate better. PLEASE!!!

1) Make the council representative: There is no point in having 2 people from Mannheim, 2 from Berlin and 2 from Finnland in the council, sorry. Each meta game 1 representative is enough. I believe it should be Vazdru (Mannheim) and Jonny (Berlin) as their contributions to Highlander are probably on legendary level right now. One in Finnland unless they have two large metas, don’t know this. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT against Dr. Opossum and Mannheim 2(I know him and his real name etc. but don’t know his forum name, jesus, so complicated). I REALLY love especially what Dr. Opossum does for the community, but honestly you don’t need to be in the council for that. Me and the MGM dudes don’t need to be in the council either. Some applause here and there and happy faces and maybe people contributing must do. Bona Fida Social Club … please lets not make that the motivation. I hope I get this half-secret council situation right. The Slovak president is elected and should obviously stay, same with Christoph O (unless Hamburg overthrows him, which I doubt). Erfurt needs to be in the council, Frankfurt I would say? What’s with Halle/Leipzig? What about the Czechs? No reasonable people there? I am sure I forgot other cities. We need more tournament results from them.

2) Make the ban process transparent: If you did all your discussions in public I sincerely hope they would be shorter. What is the system of how bans and unbans are suggested? There should be a simple one. Who suggests what? Who votes what? We (the community) can’t even really give you guys credit, because it’s all such a big fucking secret. WHY GOD WHY?

3) Give the community 1 decision vote: This would be far from direct democracy, but it would help people feel included. It’s not hard and it won’t hurt. Ban yes/no. Super easy.

4) Lets make this website ... the forum, run by the council (with rules, ban list, locations to play and links to stuff like mgm) and please lets delete the rest. It makes me so sad. It feels like an … ANCIENT TOMB.

Fuck this got long. Guys … please lets work on this together, you seem like you care. We need to get Highlander going as it deserves. The council is important, but it’s in a very bad spot right now and it makes everything heavy and it shouldn’t be. Positive energy.
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Kenshin
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« Reply #7 on: 02-04-2016, 09:31:46 PM »

No, I am not a member of the council. I did not know you wanted to argue alone against the council.
Maybe we are kind of losing ourselves in semantics at some points too and I probably went a little bit overboard with some expressions.
I am arguing with/against what I thought your ideas were. I thoroughly red and reread your posts. Of course I am bound to get some stuff wrong, as is always the case.

I agree that there needs to be change, but the change first and foremost has to come in the form of a new website that gets groomed well, if you ask me. In the same way I got "triggered" by your arguments to assume you wanted to build some weird direct democracy, I think you got triggered by the club metaphor. The FIFA is about money. The highlander council is pretty much not.

I see this as kind of a club, still. But the club is not open to anyone at this point and its intransparency is hurting it's perception in the community. Since you said you are good at making websites, what I just do not understand is, if you love the format as much as you claim, why you did not just offer to make a new one. You probably would have had a lot of freedom. The MGM site looks great (not perfect, but really well structured and acessible, which is important above everything else).

The council probably is open to any help it gets. It won't get you a vote for the bannings, probably just pats on the back, the good feeling of having achieved something and some recognition in the scene.

Look, I know I am not a council member. I have my qualms with the system as well. That is why I participate in that discussion. That is also why I said that I think, despite your agressive way of arguing, that getting it going is important.
« Last Edit: 02-04-2016, 09:33:46 PM by Kenshin » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: 03-04-2016, 01:02:55 PM »

Thanks, there are some good points mentioned in your post. Lets pick up that one first:  
 
3) Give the community 1 decision vote: This would be far from direct democracy, but it would help people feel included. It’s not hard and it won’t hurt. Ban yes/no. Super easy.

Yeah, I like this idea too. Please present the process leading to this community decision vote a bit more precise. Thanks in advance. I would be happy if we could adopt your approach. Super easy.

2) Make the ban process transparent: If you did all your discussions in public I sincerely hope they would be shorter. What is the system of how bans and unbans are suggested? There should be a simple one. Who suggests what? Who votes what? We (the community) can’t even really give you guys credit, because it’s all such a big fucking secret. WHY GOD WHY?
As already explained the HL Council had a different function in its beginning. The main idea was to discuss the needed changes internal and then make the decisions as transparent as possible for the community – that was the interpretation of transparency. The purpose was to safe the unity of the council, so it couldn’t splitted in different fractions. The council should act as one team having the same principles and each member feel responsible for the decisions made by the council entirely. The controversial debates should not have to become public – analog to a football club or political party where public controverses within members of one team often do not leed to something good.
This maybe partly failed and become more difficult recently, because it is obvioulsy hard to identify with a democratic decision of the council which is in big contrast to the own ideas of a single member.
Furthermore we recognized transparency means much to he community we have already started to change something: http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=1192.0
We will work on this making the process feel better for everyone.

But there are also some of your statements I don’t understand or like:
4) Lets make this website ... the forum, run by the council (with rules, ban list, locations to play and links to stuff like mgm) and please lets delete the rest. It makes me so sad. It feels like an … ANCIENT TOMB.
Our webpage is outdated – that are no big news.
You use this weak point for blaming us – perfectly ok.
You know that we are working on it … there is no progress for a long time, frustration comes up for everyone involved and the community – fair enough and understandable.
But you use your new webpage for separating the community not to unify it. One of multiple examples, which can be found on this new site:
„Currently the banned list is maintained and updated by a Highlander council whose members are supposed to represent the opinions of the communities playing the format.“
http://metagamemasters.eu/

So you don’t try to help us in any way, what it is perfectly ok for me, but even using your website – which looking good btw – as kind of weapon against us, which is a bit shabby in my eyes. Instead of contributing anything for the community as a whole you use it for your own interests trying to strengthen your position in this discussion, by blaming us being outdated and while you are looking great. Bravo!
There was even an appeal helping us somehow to create a new site, but I don’t want to reveal the whole story behind … that could be a long story with quite different interpretations, which can partly recaptured if you are visiting the HL-FB-Group Berlin. In respect of your privacy issue I don’t c&p the corresponding passages out of it.
Instead of critize the Status Quo it could be more positive answering to following suggestions:
I personally would be very happy if the maker(s) of http://metagamemasters.eu/ would work for the community by offering collaberation. It sure seems the community would benefit from it.  
Looking forward to!

To move on constructively: I am very happy about the emotional reactions from council members who seem to really care about Highlander, which I do too. Although Vazdru confused me on FB (sorry ChristophO) with some very confusing rethorical questions I believe you guys are really into this with your hearts.

As you refer to our facebook interchange and the confusion it created for you I just c&p some parts which is necessary either to understand your post above and my further explanations what I don’t like!
Vazdru:
„Unschön finde ich, wenn aus Unwissenheit heraus Behauptungen aufgestellt und vehement vertreten werden - einen Umstand nicht zu kennen bedeutet nicht unbedingt, dass dieser nicht existiert. Meinen Kollegen hier und den Kommentaren in anderen HL-Gruppen teilweise das Engagement für das Format abzusprechen finde ich eigentlich schon ziemlich dreist. Wer hat sich von denjenigen vorher die Mühe gemacht, über seinen Tellerrand hinauszuschauen? ….Einfach mit geschlossenen Augen Behauptungen aufzustellen und ins Blaue rein zu schießen, mit der Hoffnung, jemand damit zu treffen ist meines Erachtens nicht gentlemen-like, aber da hat ja jeder andere Ansprüche an sich und an den Umgang mit Mitmenschen. Worauf die Behauptung begründet wird, dass kein Ratsmitglied in irgendeiner Form durch demokratische Prozesse legitimiert sei, ist mir zumindest nicht ganz zugänglich - klar, hätte das so sein können, aber zumindest bei einer Person (Dalibor) wurde das in Teilen bereits wieder revidiert (http://www.mtg.sk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=201791#201791).“
Englisch version:
„What I do not like is when arguments come up and brought forward not based on knowing anything about the actual situation – not knowing a fact doesn’t mean automatically it doesn’t exist. To deny the engagement of my collegues for the format in diverse fb-commentations is a bit rude in my opinion. Who of those guys made the effort to look beyond his own nose? (rhetorical question)… Just fire into the mass with eyes wide shut. just to harm anyone around by accident isn’t gentle-men like in my opinion, but everyone is free to have its own standards to behave. At least I haven’t found out whereon the arguments based on, that no council member is legitimized upon democratical processes – sure, this could have happened, but at least for one person (Dalibor) this statement had to be revised already (see link above)
Berlinballz
„Danke für die Antwort. Trotz der durchaus interessanten Entstehungsgeschichte bin ich jetzt noch verwirrter als vorher. Ich verstehe auch nicht die vielen rhetorischen Fragen. Ich freue mich auf die Antwort im Forum, damit ich bald nicht mehr "ins Blaue" schießen muss.“
(My) English version:
„Thanks for answering. Although you gave some interessiting insights of highlander-history I now even more confused than before. I also do not understand that many rhetorical questions. Looking forward for your answers in the forum, so I do not have to „shoot with closed eyes“ anymore.“

Now to this passage:
1) Make the council representative: There is no point in having 2 people from Mannheim, 2 from Berlin and 2 from Finnland in the council, sorry. Each meta game 1 representative is enough. I believe it should be Vazdru (Mannheim) and Jonny (Berlin) as their contributions to Highlander are probably on legendary level right now. One in Finnland unless they have two large metas, don’t know this. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT against Dr. Opossum and Mannheim 2(I know him and his real name etc. but don’t know his forum name, jesus, so complicated). I REALLY love especially what Dr. Opossum does for the community, but honestly you don’t need to be in the council for that. Me and the MGM dudes don’t need to be in the council either. Some applause here and there and happy faces and maybe people contributing must do. Bona Fida Social Club … please lets not make that the motivation. I hope I get this half-secret council situation right. The Slovak president is elected and should obviously stay, same with Christoph O (unless Hamburg overthrows him, which I doubt). Erfurt needs to be in the council, Frankfurt I would say? What’s with Halle/Leipzig? What about the Czechs? No reasonable people there? I am sure I forgot other cities. We need more tournament results from them.
I’ve already pointed out that there are some conformity:
I agree that there should be some representatives for every bigger hl-playgroup.
I agree that there doesn't need to be a maximum headcount for the council.

OK – so whats your point? (Sorry rhetorical question again).
So you asked me to communicate more simply and easier to understand and to sum up things shortly:
The rest is just a big scad of bullshit!

Why?
I've already pointed out I do not like much when arguments based on half knowledge. Sorry dude, that passage looking that arrogant in my eyes I can’t even give words for. Sorry for this „emotional“ outbreak. I know there can be quite different views on what you’ve written and I probably misinterpret something, it is just the message I received while reading. You even escalated the point I've mentioned with "shooting with eyes wide shut" to a higher level imo or at least exemplyfied perfectly what I've could have meant with.
I don’t want to explain any further which passages are plain nonsense to me or which mistakes your statements are including but give you the chance to think about it twice – fair enough.

To move on constructively:
I have „identified“ following
German regional communities:
•   Berlin
•   Erfurt
•   Mannheim
•   Frankfurt
•   Würzburg
•   Leipzig/Halle
•   Bielefeld
•   Braunschweig
•   Hamburg
•   Karlsruhe/Pforzheim
•   Rostock

Furthermore Slovakia.
•   Banská Bystrica
•   Bratislava

Finland:
•   Turku
•   Helsinki

Czech:
•   Prague

@ all
Please add/correct! That are just assumptions based on the database I have access to and therefore far away being perfect. Maybe we can combine communities to one as I already did with Karlsruhe/Pforzheim and Leipzig/Halle – this just as suggestion. Maybe we have to delete any because they vanished completly. I don’t wanna create benchmarks which must be reached. So if there is another community playing highlander regularly, not listed above and want to take part in its development please get in touch with me.

Thanks in advance!

@ Berlinballz
I will vote for giving all of those communities one vote in a larger hl council.
« Last Edit: 03-04-2016, 01:13:27 PM by Vazdru » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: 04-04-2016, 11:29:20 AM »

Vazdru, thanks for continuing to deal with me and my urgent demand for improvements.

As for the metagamemaster.eu „issue“: I don’t think and sure did not mean for it to be the focal point of all this. Just two more things on this:

Quote
But you use your new webpage for separating the community not to unify it.


I must strongly disagree. This is just a website by people who love Highlander. I wish there was 10 pages like this one. If anything it diversifies the community. The underlying negativity from the council towards it (although you say it looks nice) is highly unreasonable, troubling to me even, sorry. Our motivation was not making anyone look bad, but to make Highlander look good. Fixing mp.org and creating MGM from scratch are two INCREDIBLY different things workflow and programming wise, I can only repeat this again. Just because they are both websites regarding Highlander doesn’t mean they are the same thing. We will still help if we can!!!

Quote
One of multiple examples, which can be found on this new site:
Currently the banned list is maintained and updated by a Highlander council whose members are supposed to represent the opinions of the communities playing the format.

Please send me the „multiple examples“ in a pm if you like, I have no idea what you mean honestly. That sentence we can take out. It was just meant to explain the situation adequately, I still think it does, but just tell me what wording you would prefer and we fix it.

The part where you called me arrogant I will just let go. Just one thing regarding my half-knowledge: I used half-knowledge regarding some stuff, because I have no time to research everything and as we agreed there is no full knowledge made easily available to the community.

Now. Back to the future. I think A LOT of the things you proposed to change SOUND REALLY PROMISING. All those communities you named deserve a voice in my opinion, if they still exist, thank you for naming them. If I can help you to contact them, let me know. Please get them into the council and hopefully get rid of the pointless overpowering of Berlin and Mannheim with two members each.

As for your start to make the voting transparent, I like this, it shows that you actually mean to change something now. I really hope that there is no outcry now, regarding some interesting voting behaviour, but even if there was, it's in the past anyways and Highlander still works Smiley I tried yesterday.

Again, anything that improves the transparency and accurate representation the community gets from the council will help to unify and engergize the format imho. I really hope we can ban less cards in the future, Canada technically has  no banned cards (point list of course does some of the same).


I sincerely hope we can start working on a more positive vibe next, but first I just really hope that these things actually do change quickly and we can feel like we are all working together instead of locking each other out as the council did in the past.
« Last Edit: 04-04-2016, 12:27:59 PM by berlinballz » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: 04-04-2016, 11:02:27 PM »

Quote
One of multiple examples, which can be found on this new site:
Currently the banned list is maintained and updated by a Highlander council whose members are supposed to represent the opinions of the communities playing the format.

It was just meant to explain the situation adequately, I still think it does, but just tell me what wording you would prefer and we fix it.

Sorry for this one. I have to confess you are right.
Sure, i would have been more happy if you would have referred at least to margicplayer.org while speaking of "a Highlander Council" or call it European Highlander Council like in your first post.
Sure, I would have been more happy if you would have added any connection to us with any word.
Sure, I would have been more happy if you contacted Dr. Opposum first as you know she working hard on this web-project before you've launched the site.
But the website is nice and fair, nothing I should blame you for - my bad.
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« Reply #11 on: 04-04-2016, 11:16:40 PM »


Furthermore

Slovakia:
•   Banská Bystrica
•   Bratislava

Finland:
•   Turku
•   Helsinki
•   Kuopio
•   Joensuu


Thanks for the feedback I've received already!
I've got an "ok" from Slovakia and added Kuopio, Finland (regularly 10 players +) and Joensuu, Finland (smaller group of player with a few bigger tournaments a year)
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« Reply #12 on: 05-04-2016, 12:05:44 AM »

Representation:

I also see myself as a representative. A representative of the format Highlander. And even if I come from Berlin, it would be irresponsible to only take care of the players from this place. I have never made my votes and ideas only depending on Berlin, but each decision oriented, whether I do them with good conscience and if they hopefully are the best for the whole community.

It is completely understandable that you give precedence to Tabris, according to your ideals of a structure of a council. He surely will represent your personal views on the format better and therefore is your representative. But as you certainly have realized, there are again and again passionate discussions on tournament days or on Facebook. Berlin is very divided in their views. Player A says, Fastbond is a problem for him and the solution should not be doing changes to his/ her deck, but the ban. Player B says, Fastbond is indeed a strong card, but the games he/ she has lost against it are countable and often the reasons simply lie in his/ her own skill level, that the match was lost.
How should a representative decide now? Should he/ she bow to the pressure of the loudest? How does he/ she ensure now, that also less extroverted players are heard?

Therefore I always orientated my votes on a fictive player C. The player, that primarily wants to play the format. The player, that visited place x, y  and z and therefore doesn’t feel affiliated to a community, but feels connected to the total interest. The player, that knows that Fastbond has a lot of potential and is aware of the cards possibility to make games one-sided. But that also sees, that the majority can live very well with the card, elsewhere is no problem and its presence and performance therefore is inconspicuous.
If this makes me a bad representative, I’m of course sorry about that. I can only say, that also your opinion is always part of my decision process. Even if the result is not always liked by you.


Activity and cut off of single Council members:

It’s a pity that my contribution is not “legendary” enough for you to keep me in the Council. It’s correct, you don’t have to be in the Council to do something for your favorite format. But it also doesn’t hurt to do something for the format, if you are in the Council. I admit, my area of responsibility has grown significantly, since I entered the Council. Additionally the position encourage me every day to give my best and keep it rolling. I experience support from my colleagues. Get input from other communities. Recognize different views. As representative of a community it is much harder to get involved with counter arguments, since they might collide with the views of the own people, instead of supplement them.

Personally for me the current activity on the format is very important. I know, that Vazdru works hard for the preservation of Highlander and is perceived very productive by this community. Every now and then he visits other communities and seeks talks with their players. I maybe not always agree on his views, but he always formulate them politely and understandable. And sometimes he convinces me. Additionally he regularly endeavor to deal with the format and therefore has acquired extensive knowledge about the meta, the single cards and the views of the different communities. So in my opinion he is a clear pillar of the format and is position in the Council legit. I can ensure the same for Christoph, pyyhttu, Dalibor, Maqi (the names can be seen on the main page and in the announcement section!) etc. I don’t care, if Vazdru (comes btw from Karlsruhe) and Ma Qi (it is the only member from Mannheim) share a location.  I don’t care, if Tabris and I share a location. As long as a single person is actively dedicated for the format, fights for its preservation, willing for a respectful and productive tone to get along with each other and want the best for the members of their format, I’m happy to know every one of them in the Council and thankful for their input. I don’t give up the hope, that everyone of us 8 someday meet your requirements of “legendary contribution” and Meta knowledge, to have earned his/ her place in the Council, berlinballz.


Transparency:

I was against a disclosure of the votes. I’m quite aware, that certain results of our voting satisfy everyone and partly are felt as random. Don’t worry, they are not. We bother ourselves a lot about our votes, discuss extensively and try to convince the other members or become convinced. Which card can be potentially affected – for this there is the Watch list. With that our players have a huge advantage over the WotC bannings/ unbannings, because the cards which change they have to expect, finds their place here.

Many of us have a direct link to the members of the community. This can be a big advantage. However, everyone likes to be heard and is maybe disappointed, if a card from their deck was banned. It’s the same for us in the Council. Unfortunately, not every member of the community can handle Banned and Watch list changes respectfully and understandingly. So from time to time it could easily happen, that members of the Council are exposed to personal attacks (on social networks and also privately). Especially persons form bigger communities, that are very often in contact with players, are exposed to a special pressure. These problems are unknown to WotC-employees.

We don’t have this pressure in the Council area. We can discuss freely and informally about arguments, introduce our own views. We can possibly change our views, if a member from another community change our mind with better arguments.
The decision of the Council might not always reflect the opinion of a single Council member, but it is a total product. Means: even if the result doesn’t match my vote, I still back up the decision, which was generated by the Council as a whole. Because then I also have to accept, that my arguments weren’t strong enough to convince my team mates and I can live with that. I therefore supposed to leave it up to every Council member, to post their thoughts and votes. Some of them used this already. With that the community has much more background information about the decision finding and the voting process than a player of an official format. Nevertheless every Council member decides on his/ her own whether he/ she wants to impart something and to what extent. I also will gladly explain my votes to some cards, but keep the possibility, whether I do this every time or not. I’m sure you understand this.


Website:

Quarrels between certain communities, between Council members or between members of the same community, doesn’t help a small overall community. The opposite is true. In fact, I think your website is nice. Nevertheless, like Vazdru, I perceived the homepage as splitting attempt, because of backgrounds, which I don’t want to explain here in more detail and the very disparaging tone (in the FB group, on the website and also here). If this was really the wish? I can't say by sure.

However, overall because of this quite quick-tempered formulated situation some members of the community messaged me and offered help. As you know, Berlinballz, I’m working on the website by myself for over a year now. As you also know, because of personal conversations,  I don’t have knowledge in the areas of HTML, PHP or graphic design. Now I maybe come faster to an urgently needed graphic designer. At least for this I have to thank you.


Good night everyone!
« Last Edit: 05-04-2016, 12:22:26 AM by Dr. Opossum » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: 05-04-2016, 10:17:54 AM »

And there it is. The thing I specifically didn’t want to get into and still don’t. The part where it gets personal. The drama between the lines. I REALLY don’t want to participate in this! It’s the part where Tabris is suddenly „my representative“. Because I like talking to him (in person even) and I referred to him as „legendary“? The dude has done so much for this format over so many years, I seriously don’t know a better word. It’s the part where later when all the members of the council are positively mentioned his name is left out. It’s the part where it starts sounding again like this is all about "being on the council". Like it’s a medal of honor or something. It’s also the part where a group of people say they know what’s up with the community because they just do and also talk to people, like that’s an amazing feature. They can make all the decisions because they are somehow fit to do it and have a lot of positive character features. Especially compared to the non-council-people: „Unfortunately, not every member of the community can handle Banned and Watch list changes respectfully and understandingly“. I will repeat my initial problem again: Are you at least considering that this might have to do something with the way the council does things?

Like the fact that you thought and apparently still do that there needs to be no transparency to the voting and ban-proposals?! Like the fact that the council doesn't seem to push the format much in the shape of actual tangibles? Like the council doesn’t need to try to at least present/acquire some tournament results from many different communities to back their decisions with anything other than feelings? Like the fact that some members of the council don’t really play Highlander? Like it’s okay that some communities are left out completely? Like it’s okay that some council members are invisible? Have you ever considered that you guys are actually pretty horrible at communicating? You don’t think this might have to do anything with people not accepting the stuff?

It’s this kind of behavior that makes the whole thing feel heavy and secret and patronizing. And I feel that WE the Highlander community deserve better. So that is why I asked for change and I still do. This is why I hope that you guys can clear up this weird dramatic situation and make some of the changes happen that at least Vazdru seemed to think make sense.

What I will do now is go back to happy collaborating to make cool shit happen for the Highlander community (and by that for me as well, call me selfish). It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fast and I sincerely hope there will be no more negative and disliking side blows from council members when we invest our time to do stuff to push Highlander in a positive and open way.
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« Reply #14 on: 05-04-2016, 12:19:36 PM »

Just my couple of points.

First thanks to all council members which took the time to make their votes public.
I think this helps to understand the current voting process and people have a better feeling for the why's, how's and who's.

As said before one big problem is that there are several platforms in the meantime where discussions are happening.
This is kind of difficult to track and there should be a central one.
We should probably try to speed this up so help from everyone would be nice.
By the way I have some experience with the tech stuff and if there are some tasks I can help with I'm happy to support this.

I like the aspect of more participation of the different local groups, ideally it would be participation in terms of desicion making but also in collecting data.

A lot of the time I see things like deck A is totally busted there is player X who dominates everything. Where there might be a player spending a lot time into a similar deck in another meta / area but there it's no problem because meta A is lot of control and meta B is lot of aggro.

We don't have any threads where people are discussing decks that they see as problematic constuctively and thinking about possibly good strategies / cards against those decks, it's more a this deck wins a lot so let's ban something.

What would be good as well is to get a common banning philosophy which I don't think there is at the moment.
There are people who like to see all busted cards banned, there are people who want to see max. diversity.

I'm happy with the current ban list in fact for me the current format is super healthy in terms of the weighting of aggro-combo-control which I really like.
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