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Practical implementation of GM feedback systems


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

101 to 129 of 129 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Osirion

Chris Mortika wrote:
Try to codify it as you like, but there's one and only one symptom of a session where the players don't have a fun time: the players aren't having a fun time.

+1

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Chris I mostly agree with you. For that reason all that is needed is something simple. Do you think it would be a bad idea to solicit feedback? Or just to do something more complex than that?

Because I imagine there were some GMs who probably would need some help before they were able to make a scenario fun for anyone (though i hope they are rare). And there is nothing right now stopping them from signing up to run 10 slots at Gencon.

That in a nutshell is my only conern. Anything we do should be subtle and simple, or not done at all.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Jason: I don't disagree but direct feedback could be helpful in that regard as well.

If HQ receives complaints about each of a GMs 8 slots that may tell you something about that GM.

If HQ receives complaints about each of 8 tables with different GMs that run a scenario, that may tell you something about that scenario.

Either could be useful information.

On the other hand that info could be secretly ignored and it would still be useful because the players would feel like they had an opportunity to share their feedback.

Andoran ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:

Chris I mostly agree with you. For that reason all that is needed is something simple. Do you think it would be a bad idea to solicit feedback? Or just to do something more complex than that?

Because I imagine there were some GMs who probably would need some help before they were able to make a scenario fun for anyone (though i hope they are rare). And there is nothing right now stopping them from signing up to run 10 slots at Gencon.

That in a nutshell is my only conern. Anything we do should be subtle and simple, or not done at all.

Also you run into this situation: A GM who really needs the feedback, does not desire it, while the GM who desires some amount of Feedback does not need it. I've sat under Chris at cons, does he bend encounters? yep. I had to run one that I played under him about a month later, and some things had been radically changed, some to our detriment, some our benefit. If you asked me today who my favorite GM to play under has been, I'd probably have to tell you that It's Chris. There are other GM's whom I have played under who have a style similar to my own. It can tend to seem very technical, and less involved. There is a lot to be said for a GM creating atmosphere, and it's something that I have been working on in my GM skill set.

There are other GM's who do not feel the need to improve, or have other priorities that take precedent. These GM's do not provide a fun atmosphere all of the time (and shall remain nameless) and I've volunteered to run on days and times while they are running, simply to not sit at their table. A good GM is hard to come by and I would fear that a "Grading System" might frighten some away. I believe that perhaps the best way to implement a Feedback system is simply at the table level. Encourage your players to talk to you about a ruling you made after the game. Take the time to listen to their concerns. Above all remember that the only GM you can really improve is yourself.

Qadira ***

I like this Altus ... "Above all remember that the only GM you can really improve is yourself."
I may have to steal it...

Andoran **

marv wrote:

I suggest a standardized card for the players to fill out while the GM is doing the chronically sheet paperwork at at the end of the session. Importantly, these cards would have the GM# and email addresses of both Mike and the local VC incase something needs to be communicated to them. Otherwise, the cards are given back to the GM for his own edification. GMs would then be encouraged to talk to a VC or post to this board any feedback that they need help with.

To finish my thought, if the player has nothing to say, they just give back the card for the GM to use again later (the even number need not be on the card). If the player is upset and not interested in working directly with the GM then he can just take the card and email the VC.

But the main use case is giving immediate feedback to the GM; as this is by far the most effective approach.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Chris I mostly agree with you. For that reason all that is needed is something simple. Do you think it would be a bad idea to solicit feedback? Or just to do something more complex than that?

Hey there!

I think feedback needs to be detailed, specific, and multi-faceted.

I am also of the opinion that it is very difficult for a session's players to providefeedback useful to the GM.

Better would be another GM who has also prepped, and probably run, the scenario in question, who observed the session from a discrete distance.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

How about honest face to face feedback, if at all possible.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

Chris Bonnet wrote:
How about honest face to face feedback, if at all possible.

If the player is prepared to give it, and the GM is prepared to receive it, that is the best solution. But that's possible today, and yet there seems to be at least a perceived lack of feedback.

Others have mentioned that anonymity is sometimes important. And there is a fear that GMs who are not prepared to handle criticism may not be the best conduit for players to get their concerns to event staff.


If it comes down to a card you fill out, then there should also be a space to include how much time passed between your upsetting event and the report. Boons awarded for time taken to unpucker and recall that you are an adult, or at least in the company of adults.

Qadira ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Again, I feel like my values and viewpoints are so far removed from the majority of this board. It's weird.

See, I don't want Brock to put his time and energies into doing any sort of system. There are a myriad of other things that I would consider to be much more valuable to PFS (fixing the reporting system, flushing out a meaningful storyline/NPCs/purpose to the Society, etc.), especially with limited technical resources.

I don't think a GM review process (however implemented) is a bad idea...but it's clearly going to be much more expensive (in terms of time/effort/continual energies) than just helping create better GMs from the start.

However, I believe that we have the ability to design and manage a system ourselves, as a community, that would be better and quicker than what Paizo would do.

Even moreso, we could do a better online GM teaching and training tool within a few months if we put our minds to it.

Tell you what, let's get 5 sections (I think someone suggested the same above) of 10 questions/important points each together. Each answer will be multiple guess and should cover a variety of basics. The point of each question will be to discuss, teach, and train important PFS skills.

Pulled-out-of-my-butt sample question:

Section = Social

1) As a GM, why is it important to ensure you introduce yourself to your players and your players are introduced to each other?

a) Because PFS is a social game that relies on social interaction;
b) To facilitate easy interactions between players, aka breaking the ice;
c) Both of the above;
d) So that they can complain about one another on the boards.

At the end of the 'test', the GM will get a printout of their score and relevant links to items that they missed. They can choose to print this out or share with their local coordinator/GM.

Oh hecks yes, some people will 'cheat' or whatever (but then again some people will ignore feedback and whatnot too), but I won't let those fringe players decide how we do things.

What will the test show?
1) That they have, at least, opened the PFS Guide (a section) and are aware of the basics of PFS.
2) That they have at least tried to learn the basics of PF.
3) That they are willing to put in a bit of off time to get ready to GM.
4) And, most importantly, give those people too worried about their experience a chance to test themselves and eliminate the "I'm not ready yet?" excuse. ("Sure you are, you scored 45 out of 50 on the GM thing, right?")
5) People can print out their test scores (retaking the test as often as they want) to show their local leadership.

I'd be willing to put some time and effort into helping make this happen. I did the PFS Community Survey on a program called Lime Survey. I bet I could configure it for this test. Or one of you out there might have skills to make this happen.

My 2 coppers.

-Pain

p.s. If you want to help or see this happen, add this post to your favorites.

**

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Do I buy each scenario out of my own pockets ? Yep.
Do I take the time to prep for my games ahead of time ? Yep.
Do I try to make the game fun to everyone at the table, including myself ? Yep.
Do I want to be quizzed or evaluated on all that stuff I do for free ?
HELL NO!

The day I'm evaluated on a hobby that I'm not paid to do is the day I'll look for a new hobby.

That is all I have to say.

EDIT: ... not quite: The fact that people are actually asking me to DM games for them is all the "evaluation" I need.

Silver Crusade **

Painlord, that is a great idea, I am not tech savvy at all. But I think that would be a great idea. Even if you did poorly on the test, you would learn the right answers and that is what it important.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

There are two problems here.

One (and the one Painlord is addressing) is how we can help GMs do a better job. But that only works if the GM wants to be helped.

So what can we do to help the players who have had a bad experience, and to ensure it won't happen again?


Teach them to sit at a different table next time. If enough people agree then problem solved, message sent, minus paperwork.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Thank you John. I agree these are two separate issues, both important.

Most of the bad experiences out there are not the kind of thing that can be fixed with a quiz. I hire enough people in my job to know that there is only so much that can be learned from interviews and pre-screening, and not everyone is aware or will accept that they need to improve. The perfect GM on paper can still not know how to make a table fun for the players.

We need some controls on the back end for when things go wrong.

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Painlord wrote:
See, I don't want Brock to put his time and energies into doing any sort of system.

OK, I agree with you here. A GM feedback system would be nice, but there are probably better things M+M could be spending their time on.

It's also debatable what we'd do with that information anyway, given the lack of GMs. Local people will know the strengths and weaknesses of their GMs better than any feedback system will allow. How does that information get to convention organizers, I'm not sure, but if you had that info would you turn down a GM unless he's really really bad? I'm not sure.

Maybe the simplest thing would be to have a feedback card after each session and you have to hand the card in to get a roll for a boon. (So you'd use them instead of chips). Or maybe we continue to use the chip system but a feedback card gets you a re-roll.

----
With bad GM feedback, I'm not really sure that a lack of rules knowledge is the problem though. The GMs that are a problem are either inexperienced (only experience can help there) or they just don't care, so questionnaires won't help. Some kind of GM PFS guide might be nice though! I think your GMing and player threads also help.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Chris Mortika: I was only answering a question someone asked me. Why those are the top reasons I see people give for not having a good time is another topic altogether, as is whether each of those reasons is valid.

Andoran **

Daniel Mayrand wrote:

Do I buy each scenario out of my own pockets ? Yep.

Do I take the time to prep for my games ahead of time ? Yep.
Do I try to make the game fun to everyone at the table, including myself ? Yep.
Do I want to be quizzed or evaluated on all that stuff I do for free ?
HELL NO!

The day I'm evaluated on a hobby that I'm not paid to do is the day I'll look for a new hobby.

That is all I have to say.

EDIT: ... not quite: The fact that people are actually asking me to DM games for them is all the "evaluation" I need.

Home run response! Evaluation cards should be optional but somehow encouraged.

I personally love the idea of my players evaluating how it went. However, I would certainly defend Daniel's point. GMs in general and PFS GMs in particular give a greate deal of their free time and money to this hobby. Without them, we'd all be playing video games (yuck!). There is a limit to what can be 'required' of them to make it an official PFS session.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Fair enough, Jiggy.

--+--+--

One of the aspects of this system we haven't talked about is the level of familiarity between the GM and the players.

In my home group, doesn't matter who's GMing, we'll be free to offer advice, because we know that we all like each other, and we're all cool with that. If somebody new came into that group and was a more-bad-than-good GM the first time out, we'd all gang up and mentor him.

At a local convention, I may have seen some of these people around here and there, and probably joined in conversations about whether the Synthesist is broken or the comparative benefits of orange sode vs. Mountain Dew. If I sit down and have a bad session under one of those guys, I don't want the GM to know what I think; I want the local Venture Officer to know. Then, it's up to him to observe, collect other poeple's opinions, maybe approach the guy with some suggestions, or maybe just remove him from the list of GMs.

Incidentally, yes, I do this for good GMs, too. (I had volunteered to GM PFS at Paizo-Con III. My table didn't get enough players, so I was watching the guy next to me, who was doing a terrific job. He was engaging, enthusiastic, and on top of things. I let Josh Frost know that I thought he had a keeper there.

Spoiler:
As it turned out, he already knew that Doug Miles was a good GM.
)

At Gen-Con or some other mega-convention, I have no idea who my GM is, but I'm pretty sure I won't see her again. If I have a terrible expereince with a GM, I'd want to let the campaign coordinator know, but that's impractical. And even if it weren't, Mike's got more serious problems than a GM who shows up, on time even, and runs her scenario to my less-than-utter satisfaction.

Qadira *

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
J. Christopher Harris wrote:
Teach them to sit at a different table next time. If enough people agree then problem solved, message sent, minus paperwork.

When was the last time you went to a big convention and knew who your GM was, or had the opportunity to change GMs? Seriously, even at the Medium sized conventions I have been to I get who I get.

Second point, when I go to an event I want to play, not have to walk away because the GM I get assigned to sucks. Not saying I won't do it. Just saying I shouldn't have to. Note that I have been lucky so far and I have no real complaints about any of the PFS sessions I have played in before.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

I think Jason's idea that the feedback cards be used instead of wooden disks for the boon roll is the best idea to come out of this thread. I hope the powers that be use this suggestion!

Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
That's more-or-less how I see it, paul: just simple cards with a few canned questions and a comment space. I would add that a box to drop it in would be good, for an increased sense of anonymity.

Since Jiggy has essentially boiled down what has been most of the back and forth here, I have a suggestion to make for those that find this idea solid.

Go ahead and make up some of these cards and grab a shoebox. Head to your next game night or local con and implement the idea. It'd be a good way to test it out, and see what kind of feedback you're getting in your local area. In fact, I'll probably do this tonight at my FLGS.

How did it work?

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Coraith wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
That's more-or-less how I see it, paul: just simple cards with a few canned questions and a comment space. I would add that a box to drop it in would be good, for an increased sense of anonymity.

Since Jiggy has essentially boiled down what has been most of the back and forth here, I have a suggestion to make for those that find this idea solid.

Go ahead and make up some of these cards and grab a shoebox. Head to your next game night or local con and implement the idea. It'd be a good way to test it out, and see what kind of feedback you're getting in your local area. In fact, I'll probably do this tonight at my FLGS.

How did it work?

I ran out of hours in the day and didn't make cards, so I just asked my table after the fact how the game was. Got some useful information out of it. Apparently I am both amazing and fabulous... who knew?

Cheliax **** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Leg o' Lamb

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Coraith wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
That's more-or-less how I see it, paul: just simple cards with a few canned questions and a comment space. I would add that a box to drop it in would be good, for an increased sense of anonymity.

Since Jiggy has essentially boiled down what has been most of the back and forth here, I have a suggestion to make for those that find this idea solid.

Go ahead and make up some of these cards and grab a shoebox. Head to your next game night or local con and implement the idea. It'd be a good way to test it out, and see what kind of feedback you're getting in your local area. In fact, I'll probably do this tonight at my FLGS.

How did it work?
I ran out of hours in the day and didn't make cards, so I just asked my table after the fact how the game was. Got some useful information out of it. Apparently I am both amazing and fabulous... who knew?

I also ran out of time when I attempted my questionnaire. People looked interested in the idea of giving feedback, but since I killed two PCs and ran out of time I do not expect a flood of feedback. I discovered what a large earth elemental does to a non-combat oriented group. DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. I knew it was going to be a long night when the TWF rogue determined he was the front line meat-shield.

I think I will include the email handle of my local VC so peeps can send their feedback to him and he can forward it to me. Removes the trepidation of telling someone telling me I am a horrible person. Which I am.

Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

Walter Sheppard wrote:


I ran out of hours in the day and didn't make cards, so I just asked my table after the fact how the game was. Got some useful information out of it. Apparently I am both amazing and fabulous... who knew?

Sounds Fishy... both amazing and fabulous... Screenshot or it didn't happen! lol

*

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
I discovered what a large earth elemental does to a non-combat oriented group. DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. I knew it was going to be a long night when the TWF rogue determined he was the front line meat-shield.

Earth elementals are OP for their CR. They basically rip apart any group that doesn't have a 2H martial PC or heavy magic. Running is a good option.

Silver Crusade ***

I think The system you might be looking for is a online questionaire maybe 12 questions with a rating of 1-10 with ten being best or most satified and 1 being one of the worst session in my life. You then add the questions like how satified are you with the amount of time it took to run the session (before you flame this imagine if players mostly talk about outside scenario stuff and sessions drags out insanely past the normal time it takes for the scenario to be run...yes it can happen). Some other questions might be how knowledged was the gm on the rules, did they listen to you if you qouted from the rulesor did they just say they doing it the gms way and only his way (yes it can be a low rating for new gms but if they have so many stars it makes you wonder specially the ones with 100 stars under them already). How fast did they post the scenario on paizo or how fast did you receive your chronicle sheet (by the way these two should be easy scores for any gm to get 9-10 on. How well laid out was the scenario (basically is the gm winging it or did it show he made the table and got stuff together; read the scenario before letting you guys play so hes familiar with it). I know alot of people will flame over this but even paizo checks on the gms getting their 5th star so why do the players have to wait that long before doing a rating on a gm, remember anyone can rack up 150 games but they still get checked by a paizo rep to get that 5th star. I also think the only people who should be able to fill out one of these on a gm should be the ones who were at that event number under that gm so maybe put it in the system the event number, gm's pfs# and all the pfs# who played under that event number so the system only lets those pfs players be able to post on that gm.

Silver Crusade ***

Did anything even come out of this discussion?

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