I signed up when Russ introduced the welcome games + greeter idea.
I was only set to play a couple of games. I know some people are set up to play many. I run my welcome games unrated.
I wondered if you would like to share your experience now that its been running a while and whether there are any improvements to be made
Here are my observations:
1. There is a reasonable proportion (maybe half) that either never move or leave within 4-5 moves. It looks like they always leave the site (you can check their profile for last move)
2. There are a proportion that will play moves and never reply to any messages.
3. The remainder (maybe 20% or less?) exchange a few messages
I am not sure what can be done about the first lot - make it more obvious what the site is about before letting them register?
The second set - maybe they don't understand that they are in a "Welcome" game, and that the opponent is there to assist them.
Maybe they did not want a welcome game anyway - could they get an option at registration.
Maybe they wanted a welcome game against an easier opponent - could they get an option by rating?
Maybe English is not their native language - could they get an option by country?
The third group is the most rewarding to play against as it feels like you are adding value. I would like to play more of these games if i continue to do greeter games. Funny enough i have met some old returning members of RHP who have to rejoin as new members.
I have set my games to zero for a while as i was thinking its a bit of a waste of time.
I could have written the above post myself, as it reflects my own experience.
Not being able to view the actual welcome page, I don't know if newcomers are able to choose not to have a welcome started. I had assumed it was a selected choice and was surprised at the dropout rate. Of course it should be optional, and the option offer should state that messaging will be involved and allow a non-English preference to be input.
I play rated games, so that if they win their rating gets a positive start, and at my playing standard they usually win if they play out the game. If they make three moves and disappear I get a few points, so it's swings and roundabouts for me.
At times I worry that my rating deters them (RHP ratings are inflated compared to USCF OTB ratings, but an outsider would not know that). Sometimes I get resignations with zero moves simply because they did not know they could delete the game instead.
I'm guessing maybe 20% of my assignments turn into actual games.
I have left the setup in place, as the time involved is minimal, and I usually let stillborn games sit until time expires.
I have signed on as a greeter and cancelled several times because of the frustration of it.
My experience has been about the same as others here have already stated.
The majority of my greeter games die without a move ever being made.
I don't know if a "welcome" game is automatic or optional for a new member
I don't know what a new member sees when they join.
Do they get an explanation of the purpose of the greeter "welcome" game?
I suspect some have no idea that this is a correspondence chess site.
They may get frustrated when an opponent doesn't move immediately.
Usually there is no communication from them.
Not all have been a poor experience, but most have.
I don't mind someone not chatting - i mean a lot of people don't say much in my tournament or ladder games, but at least we both know why we are there.
I am just not sure if the welcome game opponent (the new comer) knows why they are playing me. Maybe they just joined to play their friends or something. I think there needs to be an option (and make it opt-in) to say whether they want a welcome game
The welcome games are suggested as a good first game. They are not mandatory, but I expect most users take them. I can get some hard stats on this at some point
The non-movers I can't explain. I would love to sit down and speak to a sample and ask "what went wrong, why did you not proceed to...?". Unfortunately, even emails out go unanswered when I have tried to find this out.
This kind of behaviour is not unique to this site though, people who sign up and then fail to use a service appear to be quite a common phenomenon.
Better tools to manage Welcome Games might help everyone. Perhaps we can auto-delete all non-moving welcome games after 7 days. Or even default conditional moves for all greeter games to get a couple of moves in.
Oh, and a big thank you to everyone who does (and has) helped out with the greeter games. I excepted it would cause some frustration for this reason. The greeter games are an effort to resolve this problem of non-movers, but it isn't the whole solution.
I don't know about most people, but in my case, I applied to this site and then turned around and forgot totally about the site for 2 years. When I finally stumbled across it again, I started posting and stayed.
People come to a site out of habit I think, and whether they like being here or not. Both have to be earned. The question is how to grab their attention and keep them coming back? It's a difficult question to answer. How many web sites have you visited in the past year? Did you become a frequent re-visitor to all of them? Probably not. It's the nature of the web.
My experience mirrors most others. Signed up and got no games for a week, though others who joined on same date got several, so gave up. Today thought I'd give it another go and got two greeter games in the space of a few minutes. Being online when they made their opening moves, they got immediate replies. Both showed their enthusiasm by immediately logging off. I'll be very surprised if either of them ever appear again. Still, they may as well take up a line each of my inbox until the skulls appear.