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  1. Subscriber Russ
    RHP Code Monkey
    31 Mar '04 09:13 / 1 edit
    We have a problem at RHP central at the moment, and I shall share it with you here. Someone may have some good suggestions.

    After loads of effort, we are now well placed on Google – higher than ever. (Target phrase ‘online chess’ – placed 6th as of yesterday.) Getting a good Google position was one of my main targets (it is not easy), but it hasn’t reaped any reward – in fact our situation has worsened. This was not expected.

    After some analysis, the cause is quite clear. For sometime, this site has tried to get people up and running as quickly as possible – so after registration, a couple of prospective opponents are picked for you, and you are taken straight to the board view to make your first move. It is now very easy, and most people manage to makes their first moves

    But then nothing. It appears they were never really committed to playing a complete game at all. So, when someone who is very interested registers at the site, and then gets paired against someone who only wants to play a couple of moves, I lose them both. This appears to be what is happening.

    Previously, I guess only the committed could work out how to take/create a game – and the problem never really existed. It appears it may be just too easy at the moment to get started. (Please just take my word for this, don’t go creating dummy accounts to see what it is like, that will only make the problem worse.)

    Solving this problem is my priority at the moment (sorry, anything else promised previously will need to be delayed – including the work on the clan leagues.)

    So, a few things are going to change –

    1) Email verification is going in. This will weed out time wasters from the start.
    2) My current ‘wizard’ mechanism of assigning games to new people will be improved to match more parameters – such as estimated move frequency.
    3) There will be more encouragement to invite friends –and the wizard will be just one of a number of options for getting started.

    But there is one other idea I want to trial. And that is a mentoring programme. I propose that anyone can sign up to be a mentor if they have played over 50 moves.

    When someone registers, one way to get started will be by selecting a game with a mentor. (Where they could almost be guaranteed an active game.) The problem here is obviously the ratio of new users to mentors. So I propose that any non-subscriber can go over the 6 game limit, IF the extra games are mentor games. These extra games would be beneficial to the site, as they would be bringing people on board.

    So, there you have it. A lot to read, sorry about that, but would anyone be interested in becoming a mentor? Any further ideas?

  2. Standard member NicolaiS
    31 Mar '04 09:53

    I think a mentor system will be a good addition to offer some fair games to newcomers. I have seen this on other sites as well. I will gladly volenteer to be a "mentor" to new members or non-subscribers. But don't expect me to teach them much chessskills 😉

  3. Standard member Toe
    31 Mar '04 11:26
    sounds fine to me: though the number of mentor games for a non-subscriber should be limited to say 4 max.

    You could also consider an automatic invite to a new-entrant only tournament. No doubt there would be lots of bys per round as folks don't turn up or drop out, but if quick enough, it should keep the interest levels up. A fast weekly 3/7 tourney or something like that. Compition often keeps people playing when just a game just wouldn't.

    Another might be "fun" tourneys: all games non-ranked, with some suitable daft difference. e.g. bishop/knight positions swapped, unique playing pieces for the tourney, no double pawn move or en passent (more traditional pre-frech changes chess) , all timebank fast-and-furious, and many many more (what ever did happen to K-Tel?).

    Alas the current problem with subscribers simply refusing to play provisionals is also probably partly to blame. Perhaps we should revert to the slower but less risky previous system without provisional rankings?
  4. Donation mwmiller
    RHP Member No.16
    31 Mar '04 11:39
    One possible source for good mentors might be those on the 'most active' list who also have a consistent rating above 1200. (I'm not talking about those who are actively competing to be MAP of the month, but rather those who just happen to be there because they play often and regularly.)

    Selecting players from this group would likely give you mentors who play well, and more importantly, would play regularly and keep their games moving forward.

    regards, Marc
  5. Standard member Toe
    31 Mar '04 11:55
    I think it was mentioned in another thread, but more control over open invites might have a benificial impact on the number of open invites (a.k.a. new games?) around.

    Consider also strongly advising people as they join to put something into their profile. Empty profiles do not an attractive opponent make.

  6. Subscriber Russ
    RHP Code Monkey
    31 Mar '04 11:57

    Control over open invites would get bundled into the same release.

    I'm away for a few days soon, so this will all be about 2 weeks away.

  7. Standard member thire
    31 Mar '04 12:18
    mentor? a very good idea!
    I'd be the frist volonteer! 😀

    You make all thet for newcomers. so if you allow them to play maore then 6 games just newcomers should have this right. after that they know how it works, how to send reminders and how to invite subscribers and how to... so I'd restrict the "more than 6 games"-rule to players with less then 200 moves (6 completed games?).
    And perhaps a mentor should be s.o. really experienced (100.000 moeves 😉 ) , so let's say 100 moves! But you know better when people leave RHP (the distrubution of moves made until left RHP could be something like an exponantially distributed random variable 🙄 ähääh just something like e^(-lamda*x).)
    mentors - here I am! 🙂
  8. Standard member thire
    31 Mar '04 12:48
    I think that you don't want to send mails if somebody turned off the email notification. perhaps you could improve reminders (autosendig?) to keep people in contact with the site: they should not forget RHP in their first week just because they turned off the emailnotification....
  9. 31 Mar '04 12:56 / 1 edit
    I think 50 moves to become a mentor is very little. I know some people who sign up, move for about three weeks, a month maybe and then quit. The minimum should be at least 500 moves OR the volunteer should be a subscriber.
  10. Standard member turtlex
    Picard Is My Captain
    31 Mar '04 13:39
    Hey Russ - I'm not good enough to be a mentor, but I am a frequent player. Could there maybe be a catagory for that - those who would welcome new games from new players?

    Regard, turtlex
  11. Standard member Exy
    Damn fine Clan!
    31 Mar '04 13:44 / 2 edits
    The 6 concurrent game restriction is the biggest turn off. If all 6 of those games are in stasis for more than a day or two I can see how a casual newcomer will quickly get fed up, I know I almost did. I used to resign game after game to try and get one with someone willing to play on a regular basis.

    I think unlimited number of games but limited number of moves, say 1000 free moves, may well be the solution. Also, maybe allowing non members to join clans so they get to know the regular fast movers quickly would be good too.
  12. Subscriber Russ
    RHP Code Monkey
    31 Mar '04 13:47
    I guess mentor is not a good term to use. Ability is not important - just someone who can play a game and get new people settled on the site, and I guess, into the community.

    I'm pleased people are fairly keen to do this – I think it will help enormously.

  13. Standard member turtlex
    Picard Is My Captain
    31 Mar '04 13:59
    Well, if you're making a list - count me in. I'd love to help out, and I love to play.

  14. Standard member flexmore
    Quack Quack Quack !
    31 Mar '04 14:11

    some people fear playing p1200 players because their rating may suffer when they lose to a very strong player in disguise.
    making p1200 players affect our ratings less would help this.


    i like the nonpawnstar-mentor idea.
    perhaps when a player reaches 50 moves they are sent a message like:
    "Now that we see you are a serious chess player, your game limit is increased to 20. All but 6 of these must be against p1200 players. Some of these p1200 players are unreliable, become a pawnstar and play as many other serious and reliable players as you like."
  15. Standard member Phlabibit
    Mystic Meg
    31 Mar '04 14:45 / 1 edit
    Russ, I will mentor.... but I was thinking.

    How about making it not-rated for mentors, and provisional-rated forumula game for newbie. I can't imagine any one here at the site would mentor and just throw a game out to boost a newbie rating.

    I like around 20 or 25 games.
    I have about 30....
    I'll take more games for the site, but I don't want 1200 rated newbies kicking the crap out of me.

    What do you think???


    Edit! I also think there should be a new icon like Clan Game or Tourney or Set position for these Mentor games... a nice red apple as in you might give to a teacher?????? Or a graduation cap????????