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Essays and House Requirements

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  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorPosts: 537Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Yeah ... I've tried going the interactive route on sermons before because, well, being a trained teacher, that's what proper pedagogy tells you works best. Interactive lectures just don't work in Achaea. There's too much that can go wrong, people all type at about the same speed, resulting in 20 questions being flung at once, and it is difficult to enforce a speaking order.

    I have found that one-on-ones, with perhaps observers, go extremely well. This is how Nizaris gets all of his conversions, and is the method used with his umpteen proteges.
    image
    WynedereShirszae
  • JurixeJurixe Where you least expect itPosts: 1,642Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I think that quite a few people have made some good points in this thread, and I do actually agree that the word 'essay' probably induces thoughts of hellish hours spent staring at screens/notebooks and your assignment question, trying desperately to churn out however many words before deadline the next morning on a subject you will probably never need to know about ever again, which doesn't make it immediately identifiable as something 'fun' and probably scares a lot of people off.

    In an ideal world you would only ever do the things you like in the game the way you like to do them, but certain things are simply unavoidable if you want to gain access to certain organisations or positions. It's a rather difficult subject to balance because in the end, what is 'fun' for people is so very subjective. A good number of people won't find having to write on Achaean topics for a requirement fun. But I'd also wager a great deal of people won't find having to spend hours learning bits and pieces of coding, timing, strategy, and endless tests and spars to even get any sort of basic grasp on combat 'fun', either. 

    I think the core difference between the two is that there is an actual practical point to slaving away at getting good at combat in the game (being able to fight and defend yourself etc), as opposed to writing essays that, as many people have said, are forgotten right after and serve no long-term purpose. I've always strongly believed that if people think that what they are doing is making a difference, then they'll be excited and enthusiastic to do it rather than thinking 'what's the point of all this'.

    I will freely admit that I probably should give newbies more attention than I currently do, and a large part of that is due to burnout as @Tvistor mentioned earlier. I know I'm not the only one either, as a bit of derailing in the Rants thread earlier will attest, but that's a topic for another day. When I do shift my focus to my newbies, I always try to give them tasks that will make them feel like they're actually contributing - killing a Mhun spy and retrieving a secret document, trying to convert a heathen, profiling a target, such and such. 

    Even for minor things like exploring - which Tvistor has mentioned he dislikes - I explain that a Naga should have a good idea of the lay of the land because they may need to traverse it quickly in the future and knowledge will help with that, etc etc. It can be made more interesting, admittedly, with interaction, and I do regret that I don't always have the time or motivation to spare in that regard. It doesn't help that there's so few of us, either, and that most of those active in my House are fairly isolationist as it is.

    I think I went on somewhat of a tangent. The main points I'm trying to make are:
    a) Requirements should ideally exist in more creative forms than essays, which give off the impression of being pointless
    b) If essay requirements do exist, then they should be treated with equal importance so that they don't feel like their effort is wasted - and perhaps you could even make the process of writing the work interesting, ie talking to them, going exploring with them (if relevant)
    c) Practicality. Always try to give a practical reason for the requirement - you must be able to answer the question 'what is the point of me doing this?'

    Hope that wasn't tl;dr, I get a little carried away sometimes.
    If you like my stories, you can find them here:
    Stories by Jurixe and Stories by Jurixe 2 

    NellaundraJhaeliHalos
  • IdelisaIdelisa Posts: 385Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    What I don't understand is why it isn't more of a Mentor's responsibility to get a lot of this done?  I mean when a kid goes to school you don't give him a list of things and say, here figure this out for yourself.  You teach them, and it's your responsibility to make sure that he or she knows the materials.

    Doesn't it make more sense to focus the pressure on the Mentors rather than the novices that are still trying to find their place in the world?
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    AyodeleArilles
  • IdelisaIdelisa Posts: 385Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    While I understand what you're saying about Mentors, HOWEVER... there are more than one, and someone else in my house could just as easily help my protege with a task as I could theirs.  

    If the Mentors -as a whole- worked together to help novices complete tasks, rather than just leaving them to their own devices, wouldn't things be a lot more interesting?

    I see that Novice A and B both need to complete task X and I get together with them to help them get it done.  They don't have to be MY proteges for me to help them, in fact I think I help other people's proteges more than they do. :P

    In any event, I can see your point just the same.
    image
  • TvistorTvistor Posts: 2,885Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Mentors -on the whole- fall into the aforementioned novice aide trap. Everyone is capable of being helpful, but if they can't be fun they aren't going to be helping that much.

    One of the greatest strengths of the Occultist House, in my opinion, is the fact the leadership core is exactly that -- immensely fun to hang around with. Plus Flair is so attractive.
    I'm a postgraduate machine learning/cognitive psychology nerd now and am open to neato Achaea-based statistics/programming projects. PM me if you have any ideas.

    I'm currently working on an implementation of a pathfinding algorithm for blind sailors trying to navigate chops and dock at ports.
    Wynedere
  • JhaeliJhaeli Posts: 541Member @ - Epic Achaean

    I don't have issues with essays as requirements - but I believe that, like any tool, they need to be used properly.

    The reason the Wardens ask for essays during Pagehood is, frankly, because a Knight is supposed to be more than "just a warrior" and our Ethos is a huge part of our roleplay, so time spent on them in Pagehood allows us to get creative in our Squirehood requirements. (For example, one Squirehood Rite involves a Squire running from the Gates of Cyrene to NoT and back with a number of falcons chasing and attacking them as a demonstration of the importance of our falcon companions. This one seems to be fairly well-known already and is always a lot of fun.) But all of the essays are intended to be followed up with extended Knightmaster/Page interaction, which is when a small secondary requirement is revealed and usually carried out on the spot. When I had Pages, I didn't reject essays based on grammar or length and I always did my best to follow-up with extensive discussion, which resulted in some really amazing interactions.

    I've found that it isn't really the essays that are the problem (unless people are expecting academic-quality essays - which is a problem - but that doesn't negate essays themselves as a decent requirement tool), it's any sort of "Here, do this." requirement that doesn't involve any sort of interaction or roleplay as lead-up or follow-up. It bugs me to hear that there are essays assigned that mentors don't read, for example. It isn't difficult to do a bit of research and write a number of sentences just to show that you actually did the research (which is the whole damn point in the first place), but it's probably annoying when you do it and your mentor just doesn't care.

    On the other hand, regarding @Idelisa's note about "Doesn't it make more sense to focus the pressure on the Mentors rather than the novices that are still trying to find their place in the world?", I did want to point out that the bulk of those who work with lower-ranked Housemembers tend to also be those who do the bulk of the "Housework" in general. I know I did a fair bit of it while also the Houseleader, the latter of which involved a major share of my playing time. So you have a player who may have spent eight to ten hours working during the day, signs on in their free time, and is finding themselves swamped with little administrative tasks to complete on top of any mentoring work. Assigning something like a simple essay gives us a chance to ensure that the protege is learning while still having the opportunity to complete our own work - and, y'know, possibly finding something fun to do too. (People wonder why Jhaeli has never hit level 80.)

    tl;dr - It's about finding a balance - there needs to be some independence on the part of the protege and there needs to be significant interaction on the part of the mentor. Essays are great tools for Houses, done properly.

    Tvistor made some great points in this regard.

    "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that [everlasting] life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man." 

    AyodeleArillesHalos
  • IdelisaIdelisa Posts: 385Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Jhaeli, you make a great point about the RP leading up to an essay / requirement / assignment.  It occurs to me that there was a single essay that I enjoyed doing as a part of my requirements and I enjoyed it as a result of events that lead up to it.  It was something silly, like write an essay on one of the Divine of my choosing.  Well I chose Kastalia because 1. The first Ritual I saw was of her realm done by @Wysteria which interested me, and 2. @Anatral had been studying her for some competition and then 3. She visited, so it was interesting to learn more about her after those things happened.  

    This leads me to believe that if a task were directly assigned due to some particular of interaction it would be more enjoyable overall.
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    AyodeleArilles
  • JhaeliJhaeli Posts: 541Member @ - Epic Achaean
    I think that's the point where both sides of this argument meet - whatever the House reqs, they should be fostering the roleplay environment of the House, not just busywork for the sake of busywork.

    "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that [everlasting] life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man." 

    JiraishinAyodeleIdelisaArilles
  • AyodeleAyodele Posts: 8Member
    I like essays. What I don't like is when essays are assigned and people pretty much ignore them/just check that they're completed or they get archived in a library somewhere that no one ever reads. (By the way, when a house elder tells me to read books about shit, I actually read the books. So, you know, someone's out there appreciating all those essays people wrote as newbies. It is a crapton of reading, though.) I think a lot of essays end up regurgitating the same crap over and over and over again because they don't scratch the surface of the philosophy or really require people to put thought into what they're writing. I joined Mojushai this time around BECAUSE the Mojushaine philosophy is complex and kick-ass (in my opinion). But an idea can only take one so far. If you're going to assign essays, it would be awesome if they actually meant something and people actually read them.

    I do find it frustrating that there are some requirements that it seems like it takes forever to complete. Like the lessons in the Mojushai - maybe it's just that I'm not on at the right times (or I need to request them more) but I'm not used to spending a year at HR1 because I finished all but two requirements within 24 hours and the last two are taking a long ass time. I've had this problem previously on a lot of characters I've played on Achaea and Lusternia, because sometimes there just aren't enough people around (or you always catch people at a bad time). I did really appreciate that the Mojushai relaxed the Jaguar testing requirements recently so that people could actually pass those tests in a timely manner. But overall I'm caught between liking that requirements should encourage interaction and absolutely hating it when my ability to advance usually depends on making sure the right person is in the realms at the same time I am. I get that it's a multiplayer game. But people have lives. Having the option of working independently or being self-directed can be nice.

    Overall I hate combat way more than I hate essay writing, and I think it sucks that it's easier nowadays IG to get out of essay writing than it is to get out of learning combat. It feels like almost every house I've tried now has way stricter combat requirements than they used to. Some people just really naturally suck at combat and want to avoid it. Some people just really naturally suck at essay writing and want to avoid it. Flexibility is awesome.
    JhaeliArilles
  • KaevanKaevan Posts: 152Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Tvistor said:
    Today that point was undermined somewhat by Kaevan giving me chocolate and the novice boiled eggs, but I guess it was a sweet gesture.

    Oh. Whoops. Sorry about that. There aren't many Mhaldorian-friendly public recipes. 

    On the subject of House essays, most of them are not required to be all that long and generally are meant to show that the novice has a decent foundation in some of the IG tenets that make a city-state or faction tick. So long as the novice in question shows that they grasp the concept, I see no point in assigning them so many paragraphs or, to take from the Harry Potter series, ten feet and four inches of a handwritten essay. In my experience, the only time essays become rather long is when people are trying to create cultural submissions for the House/city library. I'm not sure what other experiences are outside of Mhaldor, but I don't see a huge problem with them at this time. 

    Besides that, I don't see a huge reason to assign a whole lot of essays unless someone is going down the equivalent of a House's scholarship path. If you end up writing them, I generally end up having to grade them. 
    AyodeleJhaeliTvistorArilles
  • WysteriaWysteria Posts: 1,826Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Idelisa: Why can't I remember that ritual...was it the Fontis one? I was going through some weird shiz when I did that ghosts-down-the-river thing.

    In regards to mentors and proteges again, there's a lot of cases where people who ask stuff over HNT actually get responded by me spamming them tells and how to clear a task etc. I just don't ramble on HNT anymore. Well, I try not to anyway. It's why I take so long to reply to some people as I could have the voiced of +4 people in me head. I'm sure a lot of the novice aides can attest to that sort of thing too.

    In general, I am quite enjoying the amount of conversation going on in this particular thread. I don't think I've seen @Tvistor write so seriously before, not to mention everyone giving some amazingly valid and well-developed opinions. We'll just have to see how the senior players make it for the newbies in time. It really is just what you make of it, use the House reqs as a guideline and change it if need be (with seniors' permissions of course).
    "Faded away like the stars in the morning,
     Losing their light in the glorious sun,
     Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling,
     Only remembered for what we have done."

    Exelethril
  • TvistorTvistor Posts: 2,885Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    But mine were the most valid and most well-developed.

    And humble.
    I'm a postgraduate machine learning/cognitive psychology nerd now and am open to neato Achaea-based statistics/programming projects. PM me if you have any ideas.

    I'm currently working on an implementation of a pathfinding algorithm for blind sailors trying to navigate chops and dock at ports.
    WysteriaIdelisa
  • MelodieMelodie Port Saint Lucie, FloridaPosts: 4,809Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tvistor said:

    But mine were the most valid and most well-developed.


    And humble.
    You'd make a -great- Mojushai.

    Just sayin'.

    "You have had an extraordinary adventure, my dear. Extraordinary! One that few people could ever imagine. Treasure it. Keep it safe and secure, tucked away in some special place in your heart. 

    But... don't spend the rest of your days chasing a ghost."
    Tvistor
  • LucineLucine UtahPosts: 202Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited November 2012
    Zeon said:
    ...emoting a handjob for a cityfavour...
    So that's why I don't get city favours.  Huh.


    As far as Essays and House Requirements go, I understand the issue of balancing things to make it both fun and to also promote learning.  While I would love to do away with the requirements completely, make it all fun and rainbows, the fact is that the Sylvans are a scholarly house.  I would not be opposed to trying to give people more options than just essays.

    I know I'm one of the few, but I really enjoyed the essays.  They helped me get better at them for college, and I've started getting better grades because of it. 

    Achaea: Because it helps you get better grades.
    Wysteria
  • AntoniusAntonius Posts: 4,550Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Ayodele: Achaea is built around conflict, and most characters have ties to organisations that will at some point require defending. Ensuring that your House members have at least a basic ability to protect themselves is pretty essential. Considering how easily and cheaply you can acquire a curing system these days a lot of the hard work has already been done for you. The requirements themselves have gotten harder because the minimum standard has increased.
    Jhaeli
  • LiancaLianca Fire and SpicePosts: 428Member
    I avoid the term essay as much as possible, it is not what most written works in Achaea are, and the mere mention makes me cringe inside after twenty years of schooling.

    It's rare I set written work in game, and only for those HR3or above who have learned the basics and proven themself to be genuinely invested in the game. Most recently I guided one of my HR3's through a small personal ritual, which led to a discussion on the possibilities of the 'power' she'd used. I asked her to write a bit on what she considered the origins of this power and to then scribble out how she'd go through using it to achieve a certain end. While this isn't an essay, it can certainly become far more than 3 paragraphs, but it's on her to explore an aspect that she came to me with the interest in. Just as an extra fear factor, or possibly motivation, I told her that if the work was good enough, I would share it with the elder ritualists of the House.

    Another, (Lia being a great mother) I set was asking for a medical report on the affects of snowblossom poisoning and to assess any possibilities for use as a meditation/thought altering tool. It was slightly hilarious to poison a protege and daughter, but it was a Logosmas gift and no Occultist work is complete without a good deal of unfortunate side effects.

    There's no time limit on this sort of thing, it won't affect possible promotion or lead to dismissal if it doesn't get done, it just gets people thinking about the culture of the House and abilities of the class beyond "ooh shiny class skill."

    Words like report, study, opinion, brainstorm are infinitely better than the dreaded E word.

    The sweltering heat of the forge spills out across the land as the rumbling voice of Phaestus booms, "I want you to know, the Garden reaction to that one is: What?"
    The voice of Melantha, Goddess of the Seasons, echoes amid the rustle of leaves, "That's the censored version."
    AyodeleJhaeliWynedereHalos
  • RaielRaiel Posts: 4Member
    Having been a member of various scholarly (supposedly) Houses across at least five different characters and completing requirements up to HR3, I've written essays for a slew of ideologies and practices across the various cities and concepts that there are in Achaea. I don't mind it so much personally, but the attitude towards it differs dramatically between houses. I found for instance, that the Arcane Kindred actually have writing a fully fledged essay on a particular area as an actual stage requirement, and funnily enough, that stage tends to be the exact one that most people stop at. The one after that is to construct a ritual to perform with the House which while being slightly more interesting than an essay, feels more like a dilapidated jab at the tradition of the House rather than anything inexorably linked to its current culture and state.

    This general premise resonates throughout a lot of Achaea's Houses actually, which is a little bit sad. As a consequence, I feel like people are put off from actually publishing their own works at a later date and we all suffer from the lack of IC knowledge to hoard as a consequence. In a time where books and scrolls are readily available (albeit expensive!), filling a library with meaningful content should not be so damned hard to do.

    The solution to this is to not make them requirements, but alternatives. If a person is more comfortable with writing a prolonged script on something then by all means, let them. If they'd rather have a verbal one-on-one describing whatever it is they need to describe, then let them do that instead. Let the people that want to write write, and the people that don't should not be forced into the envelope as well.
    JonathinTaleithaLodiShirszae
  • PrythePrythe Posts: 468Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Idelisa said:
    @Iocun and there are ways to do that without having to write essays.  Discussions groups, lectures, and things that actually involve interaction are much more interesting and generally more educational than just throwing together a bunch of words.  Practical doesn't simply mean making a house a training center.  Discussing the physical and metaphysical attributes of the elements is very practical for Sylvans or Magi and can be done much more effectively with a group of people than on a piece of e-paper, while actually stressing it's importance and making it fun rather than making it a chore.
    I agree with Idelisa 100%. I always offer my kidlets alternate methods of showing what they have learned and/or will want to be able to contribute to the House.

    - To love another person is to see the face of G/d
    - Let me get my hat and my knife
    - It's your apple, take a bite
    - Don't dream it ... be it


  • PrythePrythe Posts: 468Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    >.>

    I write eight paragraph essays minimum.  College length.

    If I'm doing something, I'm doing it god damn right.

    Since when is eight paragraphs an acceptable college level essay? (No tone here, sincerely curious.)

    - To love another person is to see the face of G/d
    - Let me get my hat and my knife
    - It's your apple, take a bite
    - Don't dream it ... be it


    Sylvance
  • JonathinJonathin Retirement hole.Posts: 3,296Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    Things can certainly turn into essays. I know that there have been a few times where I've set out to write a short post and it's turned into something akin to a novel. There are other times however where I've wanted to write a novel, but only been able to write a paragraph, maybe two before everything is covered. 

    Written requirements aren't bad, but as I've said, I think they should be choices. Even in a scholarly House there are other ways to demonstrate knowledge than writing. 

    The only reason I'm so adamant for essays being or having alternatives is because of what Raiel said. In fact, it's exactly the reason. People, new players and alts alike, just stop at essays and quit or don't do them, to varying degrees depending on length.

    Edit: I noticed it in the Warlocks almost daily. We had one of the highest newcomer rates while I was a novice aide/HoN and we had a fair number of people just stop playing when we asked them to even write their background in a journal. Didn't have to be long, just long enough to adequately describe where they came from. I can't remember the rest of the reqs because I didn't have to check nearly as many HR2+.

    My site will remain up, but will not be maintained. The repository will continue to have scripts added to it if I decide to play another game. Maybe I'll see you around in Starmourn!
    Tutorials and scripts  The Repository

    TvistorArilles
  • PrythePrythe Posts: 468Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Idelisa said:
    While I understand what you're saying about Mentors, HOWEVER... there are more than one, and someone else in my house could just as easily help my protege with a task as I could theirs.  

    If the Mentors -as a whole- worked together to help novices complete tasks, rather than just leaving them to their own devices, wouldn't things be a lot more interesting?

    I see that Novice A and B both need to complete task X and I get together with them to help them get it done.  They don't have to be MY proteges for me to help them, in fact I think I help other people's proteges more than they do. :P

    In any event, I can see your point just the same.
    When I have more than one Protege (and I do not just accept anybody who wants me, we talk first and make sure there is a fit) I let them know that we are a form of "family" and they are responsible to and for each other. "Back in the Day" there was a group of people who were pretty close to unbreakable because of this, and while it has not recreated itself, I think my people all tend to watch out for each other.

    Like Idelisa I try to help everybody. I have gone on so many Blademaster "Let's look here!" runs I have lost track, and I will always look at our Novices and tattoo them if they need it. Coddling? Nah. It's what being a House is all about well into this past-Guild era.

    Are there times I am too busy or too distracted or just plain don't feel like it? You betcha. But I'd like to think that doing it when I am willing and able is better than not doing it at all.

    - To love another person is to see the face of G/d
    - Let me get my hat and my knife
    - It's your apple, take a bite
    - Don't dream it ... be it


  • ChryenthChryenth Posts: 1,323Member @ - Epic Achaean
    'Kidlet' is certainly strange. 'Family' is ok, but I suspect that's an OOC influence on my part.

    /notrelevent

    Nevermind me.
  • IdelisaIdelisa Posts: 385Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Have I mentioned I hate essays?   *goes off to write an essay about the purpose of Houses*
    image
  • MannimarMannimar Posts: 973Member
    I hate asking and being asked my background as a novice (many times when I'm alting I haven't fleshed out the character that much beforehand). However, I do ask and expect to be asked "Why did you join this House?", and one of my biggest pet-peeves is being told "Because it's the only house that took my class." 

    Give me something cliché, I don't care... just not that. Please. Roleplay, thats the name of the game.
    DelphinusLodiArilles
  • DelphinusDelphinus Posts: 896Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Mannimar: You really can't expect more than that. If you receive more, great, but don't expect it.

    Achaea taught me how to play a role. Just recognise that when a person doesn't know how to RP, you could be dealing with a true newbie -- which is great.
    SilasOceana
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