Monthly archives: May 2020


Announcing the Infrastructure Staff Meeting

As we announced at the May 2020 GSM, we will be trying out a change to the monthly General Staff Meeting cycle that we hope will shorten the monthly GSMs and provide for quicker turnaround of most projects and events. Specifically, we will hold short staff meetings in between the monthly GSMs. These shorter meetings have been colloquially called “mini-GSMs” in the past, but their official name is the Infrastructure Staff Meeting or ISM.

ISMs work just like GSMs in most aspects, but they have some special considerations:

  • ISMs only consist of GSM sections 7, 8, 9, and 10. These sections are the non-MRT transport projects, event funding, inactive asset transfer, and other project sections, respectively. MRT lines, “Section 5” community issues, and private topics (Premier city reviews and moderator nominations) are not discussed at ISMs.
  • ISMs have a hard time limit of 1 hour. Anything that isn’t decided within the hour will be forwarded to the following GSM. Of course, if we can handle everything within the hour and adjourn sooner, that’s even better. Event hosts wishing to have an event on the same day as an ISM can safely have the event begin at 8:00 PM UTC without a conflict.
  • ISMs have full decision-making authority, and a decision made at an ISM carries just as much weight as a decision at a GSM.
  • ISMs are generally scheduled 14 days prior to a GSM. There are exceptions, usually for the July, December, and January GSMs (June, November, and December ISMs) due to holidays. We will announce any modifications to the schedule well in advance.
  • We generally will handle all items in the usual order (transport projects, then events, then IATs, then other items). We may change this order if necessary; for instance, the June ISM may prioritize events due to the anniversary. Final decisions will be made when the ISM agenda closes.
  • ISMs will be public, and WorldEdits will not be permitted during the meetings. GSM Town construction will be permitted during an ISM.

The first two ISMs will be Sunday, May 31 and Saturday, June 27, both from 7:00 to 8:00 pm UTC. Please note that the July GSM is on July 18, not the 11th.

As a reminder, agenda items are due 48 hours prior to the start of the meeting. This means that any ISM-eligible items that are submitted by 7:00 pm UTC on Friday, May 29 will be considered at the ISM. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about when your proposals will be considered – once they are added to an agenda, you’ll be told which one.

We hope this process allows for much more efficient GSMs, and that projects and events can get started quicker. We certainly don’t expect the first two to go perfectly, and we’re open to suggestions for improvement. If you have any, or any questions about the process, please let us know.

<3, Chief


May 2020 GSM Results

It’s May, which means it’s time for some more GSM results! Special thanks to both MBS and MBN for streaming this month’s meeting. You can find stream archives of the meeting here (MBS) and here (MBN).

Moderator promotions

Or, to be more accurate, lack thereof. This time around we decided not to extend any offers for a Trial Moderator position, even though we discussed several candidates. Two candidates will be automatically reconsidered at GSMs in the near future.

We went into a lot of detail at the GSM about why we made this decision (it’s at about the 1 hour, 5 minute mark – right at the beginning of item 4B). In short:

  • We recognize that there are some concerns about staff presence in the Asia/Pacific time zones. Our priority is to find and offer moderator positions to quality candidates, regardless of where in the world they live. Time zones occasionally factor in if we’re promoting multiple people, or in the case of admin promotions where G Suite seats are limited, but they are not a primary factor in our consideration process for moderators.
  • We list the qualities we’re looking for (and not looking for) in potential moderators on the Ranks page. The overwhelming majority of our decision-making process is tied to these qualities. If a candidate has served on the staff team in the past, their previous service is taken into consideration as a part of our process.
  • If a candidate is not recommended for promotion and offered a position, that doesn’t mean they are a bad person, or that they are forever banned from receiving the position. It does mean that we don’t think the position is a good fit for them at that moment in time.
  • We believe that one candidate was explicitly asking community members to submit nominations. This goes against the spirit of General Rule 4 (“Do not ask to become a staff member”). Our policy going forward is that candidates who request nominations will be automatically denied promotion at the GSM involved, and repeat offenders will receive formal warnings under General Rule 4. Candidates should earn their nominations through their actions in the community.

Additionally, we want to make some clarifications regarding the nomination process itself:

  • Moderator nominations do not roll over to subsequent GSMs. If you submit a nomination but your candidate does not become a trial moderator, you can send in a new nomination if you think the candidate is still qualified for the position and want us to reconsider them. You need to send in a brand-new nomination, you can’t just resend your old one. This also applies to deferred candidates: because we won’t release candidate names, if you want us to be sure to reconsider someone, please send in a new nomination.
  • We expect nominations to be of high quality and to provide enough information for us to understand your viewpoint on why you are nominating a candidate for the position, along with how they have demonstrated their maturity and leadership. Nominations that lack specific examples, are overly broad and generalized, or are too short will be rejected and will not count towards the two-nomination requirement. (Nominations will generally be rejected if they’re less than a paragraph long.) All staff members are empowered to reject low-quality submissions, and if in doubt any staff member can use our existing communication channels to consult with other staff, or can escalate to an admin.

Above all, we want to encourage everyone to continue looking out for worthy candidates and sending them our way. We really appreciate all of the nominations that came in this time, and we had some really productive and thoughtful conversations about each candidate on our list. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations.

To clarify some of the things that nominators and candidates can and can’t do related to this process (which has been in place since 2012):

  • If you nominate someone, you can choose to privately tell them that you have submitted a nomination. We would discourage you from sharing your nomination publicly.
  • If you want to nominate someone, you can privately consult with other players or staff about your thoughts. Nominations, however, must be sent from only one person; we don’t allow joint nominations.
  • If a candidate receives an offer but chooses to decline it, they can choose to come forward and identify themselves publicly if they wish.
  • Candidates may not ask community members for nominations, or for information about a pending nomination.
  • If we announce that a candidate has declined an offer, we ask that community members refrain from trying to identify the candidate. The candidate has the choice of if they wish to identify themselves or not.
  • Staff will not confirm the authenticity or accuracy of any information regarding nominations, candidates under consideration, or candidates who decline an offer, except for non-identifying counts (for example, we can confirm how many nominations have been submitted overall, or how many candidates declined an offer, but we will not confirm how many nominations a specific candidate has).

Other private topics

  • We reviewed the cities of Chan Bay (by ManuF_moj) and Titsensaki (by frogggggg) for Premier. Neither passed the 80% majority vote required for promotion. Feedback is in the usual folder, http://bit.ly/AllBatches.
  • Yoshi has been working on some cosmetic updates to the Rules page, as well as a new “Policies” page that outlines some of the non-rule policies that we have in place. These should be going live soon.
  • We discussed the potential for having a “Mini GSM” in between “Full” GSMs to clear some of the road, event, and other proposals that are less involved and easier to process. More information will be forthcoming on how this will work and when the first one is.

Road ownership and proposal threshold changes

Effective at this GSM:

  • All A-roads, including existing A-roads, are publicly owned.
  • All B-roads, including existing B-roads, are publicly owned, except within the borders of a town where they are owned by that town’s mayor. Ownership of the appropriate road segment transfers with the town in the event of an IAT.
  • B-roads are exempt from GSM approval requirements if they are less than 500 blocks long (an increase from 300). Road builders are still encouraged to contact staff to reserve the road number and get it added to the master road spreadsheet.

Our intention with these changes is to make it easier for players to build roads and connect towns together. We view these as being fundamentally different from rails, for reasons including the fact that roads are almost always built at ground level (as opposed to rails, which are frequently built underground). If you have questions about what kinds of changes you can make to a particular road segment, please ask your nearest friendly staff member.

Other community issues

  • The uCars plugin is being removed at 05:00 UTC Monday, May 11. While the plugin has been beloved throughout its period of installation, it has become increasingly incompatible with minecart-based rail systems, especially trams and anything that uses a uCar-drivable block (think quartz) as its track base. Additionally, the plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time, and it’s unlikely it will be in the near future. We are looking into options to issue refunds for any purchased uFuel. As of right now this is a permanent removal, though if the plugin or a fork of it comes back, we could reconsider it at a later date.
  • We are considering implementing a ticketing system for requesting staff assistance during busy times. This stems from a (valid!) complaint that staff tend to forget or ignore some requests when it’s busy. While we’re still working out the details, please use /helpop to request something when it’s busy. You might not see its message, but staff certainly do, and it’s a bright red and orange message that’s much harder to miss than a typical chat message.
  • We are leaving /skull as a supporter perk. There was a proposal to allow all players to use it, however we believe it is still a valuable perk for anyone who supports us financially. Players who are not supporters can always access custom skulls either by collaborating with a supporter, by importing them from the Minecraft saved hotbar feature, or by importing them through a schematic file.
  • The July GSM is being rescheduled to Saturday, July 18 at 19:00 UTC. This means if you want to receive a funding grant for an anniversary weekend event, you need to get your request in for the June GSM.
  • Helicopters with active warps only count against a town’s limit if the warps go outside of the town. This means that once a town reaches Councillor, there is no limit to the number of helicopters that can be used for local (single-town) transit.
  • MinecraftYoshi26 will assume the majority of the responsibility of managing PVP arenas. The existing arenas (1-18 and Laclede) will be updated to use names, rather than numbers or abbreviations, and Yoshi will be the primary point of contact for building and setting up new arenas.
  • We have clarified some rules on building canals. All canals outside of a town need staff approval, and all canals within a town do not. Staff will determine on a case-by-case basis if a canal needs GSM approval or if it can be handled over email. Generally, short and simple canals will be more likely to receive approval over email, while longer canal systems will be more likely to require a GSM discussion.
  • Lake 46 from this map has been renamed Lake Gunto.
  • ModernArt sent something in about the ownership structure of NW26-T50 Stations. This didn’t ask a question, so we weren’t sure what to do with it. It’s technically eligible for an IAT if anyone wants it.

With that out of the way, here’s the whirlwind of stamps we handed out on everyone’s other projects!

MRT Lines

Four MRT line extensions were approved. As per usual, please don’t build new towns along these lines until they open.

  • The Plains Line Extension 4 runs from Richville to Hannibal.
  • The Mesa Line Extension 3 runs from Heampstead to Tembok.
  • The Taiga Line Extension 2 runs due north from its current terminus, stopping short of the Zeta border.
  • The Northern West Extension runs from its current terminus to Carnoustie.

Maps of all four routes (PLX4, MLX3, TLX2, and NWX1) are all below.

Roads

The following roads were approved:

  • The A62 from Deadbush to Savannah, by Yellowitcher
  • The B243 from Litore to Metamesa, by Foote_Chicken
  • The B365 from Richville to the A4, by _Kastle
  • The B808 Extension / B809 by autobus22

Canals

Y’all really seem to like boats, so here are some canal projects:

  • We have held approval on a pair of canals between Gray Cloud Lake and Lake Gunto (Lakes 14 and 46), pending some details from i____7d.
  • We have denied a project from FredTheTimeLord to build a series of narrow canals in the southwest, primarily due to permission issues.
  • We have approved a canal between the Estival Sea and Lake 49, though “49connect” really is a bit of a missed opportunity, given that the Estival Sea is lake 20.

Other transport projects

  • We have approved a series of inactive town bypasses by IntraRail in the northwest corner of the map.
  • We have approved an inactive town bypass for BluRail in Chestwick (A18).
  • The tunnel project proposed by i____7d to run between Harton Bay and Forest Bay has been held, because the proposal didn’t include information on whether this tunnel connects to a larger network, and whether it’s a road or rail tunnel. (Yes, this is important.)
  • The canal from Eden to Lake Takachsin proposed by shadowboarder is approved in full.

IATs

We approved two inactive asset transfers:

  • The town of Amberville, to ManuF_moj
  • The Phoenix Tail Hotel franchise, to EliteNeon

The town of Hathnes was pulled by its owner before the meeting, and so was not transferred.

Events

We’ve got some exciting events coming up:

  • The Summer Olympics, organized by airplane320, were approved with reduced funding.
  • Big Brother 5, organized by MinecraftYoshi26, was approved with full funding.
  • The MGA New Amsterdam Tournament, organized by Red_Ray and London150, was approved with split funding (as agreed, we’ll fund the first $500, with any extras coming from sponsorships).
  • The Pride Month Float Building Contest, organized by daltdisneyland to occur in Central City, has been approved with full funding. Look for signups and location information soon!

That should be everything. Wash your hands and stay home, everyone – and let us know if you have questions or if we missed something.

<3, Chief