Mentoring and Positive Interactions

With all the discussion about what we dislike about house requirements, essays, etc., I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the things that do actually work.

What things do YOU do to make a difference (that seem to work) in the Novice / House / City experience?  I'm especially interested in hearing about missions, and the sort. Particularly from @Tvistor just to force him to write more productive posts and make his head explode.

I am still -very- young in game and extremely new to mentoring / house leadership, so share your tips!

- Since I'm in a forestal house, I try to have engaging discussions about what Nature means, and ask probing questions to help them look at things from different perspectives so that when they go to write their novice piece (ESSAY YUCK) about Nature, they've already had the time to really contemplate it without realizing they have.

- I try to trick them into completing tasks without realizing it.  If I could feed the requirements to them one at a time, I would.  

- I get them ready for "exams" by playing related games with them ahead of time.  Firedrills, for example, to help them feel comfortable about referencing certain scrolls, so rather than just having them read them, I make them USE them.


  • Giving novices individual tasks and drills that aren't part of their reqs and train more than their class skills.

    Making sure that they know I remember them, and furthermore that I am watching them.

    I've also found that telling novices their work is inadequate or their answer is incorrect and telling them to do it right this time works better than any kind of sympathy. Maybe that's just Mhaldor. Not talking about cases where the newbie is truly confused on what to do, more cases where they wrote sloppy reports or couldn't remember who founded the Naga.

    I think more than anything it's helpful to make the novices feel they're playing trainees in an organization rather than newbies in an extended tutorial.
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
  • I only really mentor novices if no-one else is around at the time, so setting tasks and whatever isn't something I can really opine on.

    I certainly agree with *talking* to novices rather than making them write things. I use conversational techniques such as illusioning everything catching alight, which is entertaining, especially when another older housemate is there to call my bluff and 'make' me explain what I'm doing. 

    Another approach I use is inviting them to rituals, which I try and do pretty regularly. Which keeps them around for a little while longer, I hope.
  • VayneVayne Rhode Island
    You really need to invest in them despite the fear that once they qq you will never see them again. If I was a newbie and I started the game and had some random person telling me read this, read that, do this command, etc, etc. I would be bored out of mind and probably never come back either. You need to immerse them in the world. Houses really need to work on their culture, many are dull chatrooms that get downplayed compared to Orders/Cities.

    I was hooked when I got my newbies intro to the SL all those years ago. I cannot remember who it was but he talked about the Serpentlords fighting some war, running along back alleys and rooftops with their deadly darkbows. I was sold. I try to infuse some pride into them regarding the house, give them a feel for the history, and try to make them feel like they are part of something bigger.

  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of Mhaldor
    edited November 2012
    The Blood Congregation has a system designed to set a bare minimum of what mentors and proteges are expected to do together. It's been through a couple of revisions already, and will likely see more (I think, with special attention paid this round to seeing to the problem of less-active mentors, and striving toward that ever-elusive goal of balance).

    Since the HHELP MENTORTASKS scroll is readable by any newbie (read: alt) straight off of the Trial, I'll go ahead and post it here for anyone who cares to take the time to read. Hopefully, other houses will implement something similar, or make suggestions for improvement.

    A few matters to note. Number one, these mentor tasks are not provided in the context of the other tasks that are meant to be conducted alone. Two, in reading the tasks, there are crazy abbreviations:

    P -- Pentacle, for HR1s
    H -- Heptacle, for HR3s
    # -- "Point" of the Pentacle/Heptacle the task is in relation to.
    Letter (A-E) -- Index of mentor task for that particular point.

    Here we go:

    Rant: And of course, it's too long to post directly here. Sigh. Click the link.

  • @Nizaris, thanks for posting that, I'm going to really look over it and see if at the very least I can't set something up with my own proteges.  Reading over those, I could see how many of our requirements could be turned into something of the sort, but in regards to less-active mentors, would a novice be able to approach another house mentor to complete some of those tasks?
  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of Mhaldor
    edited November 2012
    Idelisa said:
    @Nizaris, thanks for posting that, I'm going to really look over it and see if at the very least I can't set something up with my own proteges.  Reading over those, I could see how many of our requirements could be turned into something of the sort, but in regards to less-active mentors, would a novice be able to approach another house mentor to complete some of those tasks?
    @Idelisa: That is a great question, and is the one that I am presently struggling with.

    A little background on myself, OOC. My bachelors is in teaching chemistry. And, one of the things that I look at as a teacher is that it is less important what students know, and more important what students do in terms of classroom management. From a classroom management perspective alone, I don't give a damn about knowledge, I care about behaviour. If behaviour is in check, then knowledge will come about much more naturally.

    So, let's talk about the behaviour that I'm trying to elicit. I want every newcomer to the Congregation to have at least one person that they know of more than a passing basis. Why? Retention. I can't induce them to stay with rewards, because if they leave, then no reward I can give them in-game will have value; they don't play anymore. I can't threaten them to stay with punishment; they'll just leave to avoid it. So, what can I offer them that has value beyond the game? Relationship. That's it; the only thing of value that I have to offer. Fun can be had in other games, but it is damned hard to develop meaningful relationships in games like WoW.

    So, let's take a look at the worst case scenarios, in terms of behaviour, from our two options: mentor tasks only with mentors, and mentor tasks with any mentor.

    1) Mentor tasks only with mentors. This is our current system, and it's weakness is obvious. What happens when a mentor doesn't show up for a while? For a few days even? The value of relationship is lost.

    2) Mentor tasks with any mentor. The other extreme. It's weakness is more subtle, and perhaps not as dire as this paragraph might have you believe. But, hear me out. This option's weakness turns these tasks into nothing more than another checkmark to hit. If the tasks can be done with anyone, then the person doesn't matter. It says, "This task is just something else that you have to do. You will get nothing out of this, besides scaffolding and assistance in completing your tasks." It obliviates, to a degree, the rationale behind having mentors in the first place.

    As I write this, I am thinking that the way I am going to turn with the next iteration is to allow proteges to request review of mentor tasks from any novice aide. That way, we gain the flexibility that we want, but also retain a degree of the exclusivity that leads to strong relationships.

    EDIT: Ok, so, totally just thought that you said any "member" as in house member. I guess that kinda eliminates the need for most of what I just said. Maybe. I'm tired, and I'm going to leave this up just in case it makes sense to me later.
  • The idea that I had is based on the idea of group mentoring. Or teams, if you will. I try to make sure my protégés work together, help each other and develop relationships with each other so that if I am not around they feel like they have someone they feel comfortable going to.

    Granted most just message me still and I am a -very- new mentor so I may be completely naive about my thoughts on this, but why not have a group of mentors that work together that keep an eye on each others protégés. Is this not realistic? Clearly this assumes that there are enough mentors but it may reduce individual "burden" in the case of someone that is particularly difficult or even particularly enthusiastic?
  • When I was a lot more crazy active, and actually had proteges that didn't just suicide or cry/quit/whatevs, I would take them out exploring and hunting. From there I'd actually point things out you'd only notice through LOOK and teach them about the lands, little tidbits of info to look out for and how it would eventually help pass their reqs. As many may or may not know, I'm one of the harder interviewers to get past just to reach HR2. If they pass, they suddenly see my point in why I'm so strict with them come raids later and such.

    I RP out the whole what Nature means to them and I'd probe on what they did in their life and how it affected them at that present time. You probably already know I had a bizarre situation of running so many tests and having people complain that I was too hard on them for not getting the right Zone Leader right, after hinting them the answer for like the 5th time. A lot of the q's I give re exploring and whatnot are meant to help them come body-collecting for rezzes and of course fighting fires (Fontis 1 yeah).

    Maybe it's because I was rather self-sufficient and independent when I started out (rogue), but I remember a neat thing Dobbes had me do that got me hooked on exploring and questing. Literally on the first three hours he accepted to be my mentor, he took me out to Falaq'tor, dropped me off, and told me to work my own way back home. When you're new to MUDs, with a character that's only 19, and didn't know how MAP worked, it was a brilliant learning curve.

    I did this to Silvalum, and he turned out perfectly fine as a protege…least I think the boy did. I also kept up the interactions by dumping my spare herbs on the proteges or any novices I ran into during my patrol runs—it's little things like that which make the novices go, "Yeah, I'm not alone in this, there's always someone around."

    If all else fails, bring out the whip…or the sharpened staff and wave it about threateningly like an angry Asian teacher mentor. Power to Exurio, really.
    "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."

  • edited November 2012

    In the interest of not repeating things from this already-long topic, I'll add just one item. It's stupid, but people forget: ask about them. People LOVE talking about themselves. 

    I'll ask my novices where they grew up, what brought them to where they are, their opinion on other worldviews like Good/Evil/Darkness/Chaos. In addition to feeling cared about, it also allows them to develop their character a little bit, and encourages putting effort into RP. You can always fall back on "oh, did you lose those memories in the Flame?" if they balk, which adds a little Sapience-specific flavor as well. 
    Mathonwy said:
    dactylic hexameter is
    way more interesting than the inside of anyone's vagina.
  • I won't lie, I was hoping to sway at least a few of you into newbie abuse.

    I am such a failure. =(
  • If it is any consolation I am still considering ways to abuse my protégés that won't get me in trouble. All is not lost.
  • @Tvistor: Need I remind you again how many protégés I've had suicide or quit House? Surely that counts? No love for Tvistor.
    "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."

  • edited November 2012
    @Mishgul it is not their fault you are such a cute little snuggleumpkins. How could they resist?
  • Mishgul said:

    I cant' seem to get the damn things off me. Proteges? More like barnacles.

    Blame Nizaris. When a prospective house member mentions combat as a major focus, he automatically goes into 'suggest Carmain' mode. :D

  • It is way easier as serpent. They tell you how eager they are, then you say "Do you have an artefact dirk?", they say "No." then you ruthlessly crush their dreams underfoot.

    Also please do not call the Dreadlord a cute little snuggleumpkins. Only Shaitan can call him that.
  • MishgulMishgul Trondheim, Norway
    He calls me crispy usually.


    One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important

    As drawn by Shayde
    hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae
  • Tvistor said:
    It is way easier as serpent. They tell you how eager they are, then you say "Do you have an artefact dirk?", they say "No." then you ruthlessly crush their dreams underfoot.
    I recently started to spar using a normal dirk and was disappointed to learn that it doesn't really change that much after all. Of course, I still have all sorts of other arties.
  • Really? I've just started becoming seriously involved and whenever I run through an idea, the speed on the unartied dirk seems to make a pretty big difference. I suppose it might be because I'm not counting for latency to affect herb balance, but I hate doing that ever since fighting Cepheuss. Dude had everything happen near instantly. Do you mind if I talk to you OOCly about it via some messages?
  • DaslinDaslin The place with the oxygen
    Tvistor said:
    Oh my god I hate you. I will post tomorrow, it's so late here. Nevermind, sleep is for the weak. ( @Jiraishin , 2012)

    Okay, I will state first that, as a proud Mhaldorian IRL, my understanding of Nature is 'Trees and green stuff.' No amount of arguing will sway my mind on this. It is trees and green stuff. I just needed to get that off my chest.

    I'm also aware that outside of Mhaldor abusing your novices is not encouraged. While I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense (*cough* wimps *cough*) there's absolutely nothing wrong with flexing a bit of muscle, even if you aren't going to be directing it at the newbie. Showing them class skills is incentive to hang around.

    I understand perfectly how reasoned discourse has a place in every House, but what will really drive a novice is a sense of purpose. If you can think of something that is actually going to help your faction, slap a time limit on it and tell them to get it done. Cities outside of Mhaldor don't have to be militaristic, but that doesn't mean you can't be strict in your own ways. A little urgency turns a chore into an adventure. If they fail catastrophically, show them what they should have done and drop some praise, even if it's just "I guess you aren't a complete maggot."

    Games and the like are fine too, though the last time I ran a game it was "Every man here is going to be executed, save the one that manages to rob a citymate."

    I won so I killed them all, but the point still stands. "That time my mentor fed me to the Leviathan." is a lot more memorable than "That time my mentor told me what the Leviathan is.". Expose them to danger in your games, and they'll realize they aren't playing at being green-stuff-defenders, they're out in the real world with all that entails.

    Coming up with a pretext to speak to them OOCly about how to emote is a good way to open up a small channel of OOC communication. I sincerely believe a true novice is very likely to be completely drowned in Achaea's complexity without a little help from another player, not another character.

    If anyone actually wants to run a small IG event for novices, you can really just shoot me an OOC message and I'm sure we can think something up. Something else I believe in is that the antagonist's greatest goal is to make things interesting for the protagonists, and that extends to newbies too. You can't have good heroes with a good villain. There's something spectacularly invigorating about dealing with a wanted criminal. I'm a wanted criminal everywhere, so this applies to everyone. 

    Lastly, and I can't stress this enough, never treat them like tiny kids. People do this all the time. Just because the average Achaean is probably 150 doesn't mean he gets treated like a toddler. In Mhaldor, I treat them like worthless wretches unfit to scrub my boots and I think they appreciate that.

    *head explodes*
    Exactly what he said. Also, lead your protege on a raid five minutes after the Trial. It'll get them accustomed to your style... Oh wait, you said forestal.... Ignore that, it only works with Houses/Cities that actually do damage. :P. Also, just bring them out into the world, expose them, have them learn the world.
  • Here's another handy tip - when someone gets inducted, make banter with them over the HNT to get other people involved. It's nice to feel welcome places.
    "Trust in me, Universe, I will deliver / the promise that no-one shall ever / set their mind to games or play / for Serious Order is the way. I will not rest until it is done; / rules will be made for everyone. / They will know Order and its graces - and just like me, all shall be Greyfaces." - The Heroes of Sapience, Act 5, Greyface.
  • I'm not a mentor, but when I interact with true newbies, I give them a mixture of helpful directions/commands and inane requests to call me Dr. Pickletoes. I find one helps to cement the other in their memory.

    But seriously, I just do it to f with them.
    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
  • Next time I see you I'll start calling you Dr Pickletoes.
    "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."

  • When I do orientations... I interact with denizens... Pester Khystra for not having my latest ritual item in yet. Complain about the house shop not having any rum because Xadzia drank it all on the sail back from Zanzi.  All in all, I play a little weird while tying it all into how basic commands work and what is expected of them.

    Wait... that wasn't playing...
  • What @Delphinus said about the Druids. Yes. These people are not eight. Their characters are not eight. They should not be treated as if they were eight. PLEASE stop giving people cookies and hoping that you get the cute ones as your protege. Please.

    I have made alts in a few different houses to get an idea of what mentors are meant to be like, and most people stink at it.

    I don't like to mentor very often, and only ever take a maximum of one protege per five-ish years, including very long gaps between when I'm working on something myself. Then, to make it even less likely I'll get proteges I have a very unfriendly profile on the HHELP MENTORS scroll, which basically says if you're lazy, wilfully ignorant, or disrespectful I don't want to know you.

    Like @Nizaris I have a deal of experience in didactics, and have come to believe that self-teaching is vastly more effective than lecturing. Asking the big question, and then waiting for the protege to figure it out is much more interesting to me than just telling someone something. So, my job as a mentor is to provide the tools for someone to learn about Achaea themselves, and to survive in Achaea on their own.

    I've learned a lot from this discussion and look forward to more posts on the topic.
    Tvistor said:
    Achievement Unlocked : Made A God Feel Guilty.
  • On a slightly separate point, self-teaching works WAY better in groups. If a team of novices all work together to figure something out, all of them get it much more clearly. Basically they teach each other.
    Tvistor said:
    Achievement Unlocked : Made A God Feel Guilty.
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