Forum Reorganization and New VP Congress

Recursive

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Hello everyone! Major announcement today!

For some time now the VP devs have heard feedback that the current player-led balance change process is unsatisfactory in several ways. Some problems that have been discussed here include:
  • There is a general lack of communication between devs and players, for a number of reasons (lack of free time and organization being among them).
  • There is no clear process for players to suggest specific changes to the mod that end up getting implemented, and suggestions that are made often get lost in a maze of threads.
  • Requirements for an idea to be implemented into VP can be unclear. (from the player side)
  • Changes that are suggested are often too broad or vague to be actionable. (from the dev side)
  • Changes tend to be proposed all over the place instead of in an organized way.
  • There is little to no process for reviewing changes after they have been implemented and playtested.
  • It's not always clear in which forum something should be posted.
Today, we're implementing some major changes to address these problems. Special thanks to @Stalker0 for his proposal for a formal change management system (which was the foundation of this system), to @leif erikson for setting up the subforums, and to the Civ V designers who added the World Congress to the game, which I took some inspiration from.

The goals of this rework are to provide a highly structured and clear process for making changes to Vox Populi from now on; to empower the community by giving you a greater say in decision-making, as this is a community project at heart; to prevent poll fatigue / ideas getting lost; and to prevent the debate in balance threads from becoming out of hand, as has happened from time to time.


First I'll go over the forum reorganization. Here is the new structure:
  • Community Patch Project (main forum)- Includes the Quick Questions/Quick Answers thread, the main sticky tutorials for installing and contributing to the mod, the FAQ, the newest release thread, and proposals for change which have made it to the Voting or Ratification Phases. In addition, any questions or feedback/discussion threads (including about balance) can go here from now on.
    • Vox Populi Congress - Detailed proposals for balance changes should be posted in this subforum from now on. You can start posting proposals now, actually! For details, read about the Vox Populi Congress below.
      • Ratified Proposals - Changes which were previously approved and then confirmed by the community will be moved here.
      • Passed Proposals - Changes which were approved by the community (but have not yet been confirmed) will be moved here.
      • Failed Proposals - Changes which have been rejected by the community (or proposals which don't follow the VP Congress rules) will be moved here.
    • Strategy and Tutorials - The Strategy section has been renamed to include tutorials. All tutorials on how to play Civ V effectively should be posted here from now on and will be stickied. All threads related to strategic advice (whether asking or requesting) can continue to go here.

    • Mods Repository - Unchanged!

    • Playthroughs and Photojournals - Unchanged!

    • Archive - All threads in Leader Balance, General Balance and the main forum which were created prior to this reorganization will be moved here. Many of them are greatly outdated, and doing this one-time tidying up will make things orderly for our new system.
      • Previous Releases- Old version threads (since 1.0) will be moved here.
        • Legacy - Old version threads (before 1.0) will be moved here.
We hope this will make things more structured and clear from now on.


Now for the bigger announcement: the Vox Populi Congress! :band:

This will be a formal system to propose changes to the mod which will be run by me on a monthly basis beginning on October 1, 2022. I shall now explain how it'll work below in great detail.


VP Congress Phases
Anyone who wishes to propose a change to the mod (even if they're just a player and not a coder!) can go through the following process.

First 15 days of the month: Proposal Phase
Days 16 – 18 of the month: Sponsorship Phase
Remainder of the month: Voting Phase
30 days after a new change was released: Ratification of Changes (once the next Voting Phase occurs)

Each of these phases will be explained just below.

No Polls Outside of VP Congress
Because we now have a formal system for proposing changes to the mod, it shall be forbidden to post polls on the Community Patch Project forums outside of the VP Congress Process.

This new rule will serve several purposes:
  • It forces anyone who wants to poll the community about a change to propose a specific solution. Vague polls are frustrating, and a poll result of “this mechanic is not balanced” does not really help the devs solve the problem.

  • A regular, predictable schedule will prevent poll fatigue.

  • Everyone who is active in the community will know when they need to be present to vote: the last 10-13 days of the month. This will make voting more representative.
Posting discussion/feedback threads is still okay as long as a poll is not included.


Proposal Phase
Anyone can post a proposal for a change they’d like to see in Vox Populi in the Vox Populi Congress subforum. They must meet the requirements below:
  • The proposal must be specific. Explain exactly what change you want to see and use exact numbers if possible. “Make Culture Victory less easy to achieve” will be rejected, while “Reduce the base Tourism on Great Works to 1” is a valid suggestion.

  • The proposal must explain its reasoning; the intended effect(s) of the change. This doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be present, so the community understands your goal.

  • The proposal must be in scope for the mod. This will be generously interpreted given that this process is intended to empower the voices of the players, but if you’re asking for something which is impossible, would completely upend the game, or requires an infeasible amount of work, your proposal will be rejected. For example, a proposal for a 64-bit version of Vox Populi would be rejected.

  • The proposal must not be a bugfix. All bugs should be reported on GitHub and nowhere else!

  • The proposal must be about game balance or other mechanics visible to the player. Proposals about internal changes such as performance improvements, modmod compatibility or database restructuring should not be made here – open an issue or submit a pull request on GitHub instead.

  • The proposal must not be identical to one that someone else has already made during this Proposal Phase.

  • The proposal must not be identical (or very similar to) a proposal that was rejected by the community in last month’s Voting Phase, or which was overturned during ratification within the past 30 days. A substantially changed proposal on the same topic is allowed.

  • The proposal must be safe for work and must not violate any CivFanatics site rules or applicable laws.

  • The proposal thread title should have the following format: “Proposal: Title”. In the case of a counterproposal (see below), use the format “Counterproposal: Title”.

  • The proposal must be posted between the start of the previous month’s Voting Phase and the start of the current month’s Sponsorship Phase.

Primary Developer Veto
@Gazebo, @ilteroi, @Recursive, and any other “primary developers” selected by Gazebo can veto a proposal if it does not meet the above requirements, with an explanation as to what requirements the proposal has failed to meet.

If you’re unsure of whether your proposal is acceptable, you can always consult Recursive or else submit the proposal well ahead of time to give yourself time to edit it in the case of a rejection.


Multiple Proposals by Same Person
There is no limit to the number of proposals a single person can make during the Proposal Phase. However, the Proposal Phase should be treated seriously – spamming or trolling with your proposals will lead to your proposal proposing privileges being propositionally pillaged.


Counterproposals
Proposals which conflict with each other (e.g., increase base Trade Route Gold to 2, increase base Trade Route Gold to 3) are allowed. During the Voting Phase, these will be displayed as separate options.

If you are submitting a proposal which conflicts with another proposal, it should be labeled as a “Counterproposal”, and you should link to the first proposal that was made on this subject.


Proposals Cannot Be Revoked
By making a proposal, you are providing an idea to the community and forfeit any kind of copyright-type claim to the idea. You may not revoke the proposal once it has been made, you accept that the community may propose the idea again in the future, and you accept that your preferred implementation of the idea may not be the one that ends up being added to the mod.

However, if you wish, you may revoke your support for your proposal, and this will be noted if the proposal makes it to the Voting Phase despite your objections.


Discussion and Debate
Discussion, debate and amendment of the proposals, as well as the submission of counterproposals, can begin right away once a proposal thread is made in the VP Congress subforum. Discussion must remain civil; avoid personal attacks and accusations.


Making an Amendment
To make an amendment, the original proposer should:
  • Edit the original post of their thread to change the proposal.
  • Make a note in the original post to indicate that the proposal was amended and explaining how it was amended.
  • Make a new post in the thread to say that their proposal was amended (this alerts anyone watching the thread, so they can provide feedback or act accordingly).
There is no limit to how many times a proposal can be amended, but no further amendments can be made once the Sponsorship Phase begins.

If a proposal is amended, anyone who doesn't like the amended version can make a counterproposal with the pre-amended version of the proposal.


Sponsorship Phase
To advance to the Voting Phase, at least one coder must “sponsor” the proposal by making a post in the proposal thread. The proposer can sponsor their own proposal if they have the coding skills for it, and multiple coders can sponsor the same proposal. The main purpose of this phase is to ensure that the community does not vote on changes that have no chance of getting implemented due to lack of modder availability. Side purposes are to encourage communication between modders and players, to improve awareness of the development process, and to give anyone new who wants to contribute to the project opportunities to do so.

Anyone with the necessary skills, even if they have never previously contributed to Vox Populi, can sponsor a proposal.

By sponsoring the proposal, a coder confirms that they are able and willing to do the necessary coding changes should the community approve the proposal.

The coder does not necessarily need to agree with the proposal, they only need to be capable and willing to do the work required to add it to the mod if the vote is Aye.

Sponsoring of a proposal can be done during the Proposal Phase. However, if the proposal was amended since a coder sponsored the proposal, they will be asked to confirm their sponsorship of the proposal during the Sponsorship Phase, which gives them several days to review any changes and back out if they are no longer able or willing to perform the work necessary.

If the coder does not respond, their sponsorship of the proposal is assumed to be voided. As such, before amending your proposal, it is advised to ensure at least one coder will support the changes. Coders can declare their support for an amended version before the Sponsorship Phase, of course.

Proposals and Amendments
No proposals or amendments may be made during the Sponsorship Phase. When the Sponsorship Phase is over and the proposals have been moved to the main forum, new proposals for the following month can be made.



Voting Phase
At the start of the Voting Phase, Recursive will lock all valid proposal threads and create a new poll thread in the main forum for each proposal. If the proposal has counterproposals, they will be included as separate options in the poll.

The proposal threads in the main forum can be used for discussion, and a link to the old thread(s) will be provided for anyone who wants to look at the previous discussion.

All members of the community have one vote on each proposal thread. Voting will be publicly visible, and votes can be changed until the end of the month.

At the end of the month, the polls and threads will be closed and moved to the Passed or Failed Proposals subforums depending on the outcome.

Approval Voting
A voting poll will include the main proposal and all counterproposals as options, as well as an option for no changes. Everyone votes for all options they would be happy with, including contradictory options. This method is known as approval voting.

If an option receives at least 10 votes in favor and more votes than any other option, it will be selected. If "no changes" got the most votes, nothing happens. If an option for changes got the most votes, it will be added to the next release of Vox Populi once the coding work for it is complete. Ties will be broken by Recursive.

Voting Thread Title Prefixes
Unique thread title prefixes will be added to Voting Phase and Ratification threads to highlight them to anyone reading the forum thread list.



Ratification of Changes
Once a new release is made including an approved change, a 30 day timer starts. After the players have had 30 days to playtest the changes, a review poll will be made during the next Voting Phase (whenever that is), where players will be asked to ratify (confirm) the changes.

An approval vote in favor (with at least 10 people voting in favor) confirms the changes. If the changes are not approved, they will be removed from the mod in the next release and cannot be proposed again for another 30 days.

Approved changes will be moved from the Passed Proposals subforum to the Ratified Proposals subforum, while unapproved changes will be moved to the Failed Proposals subforum.

There is one big exception to this rule, and that is if the original implementation of the changes is bugged. In this case, the 30 day timer starts after a hotfix is released which fixes the changes. Small problems such as a minor UI issue for a major overhaul do not count for this, as long as the bulk of the changes were able to be adequately playtested by the community.

Proposals Which Modify Changes To Be Ratified
If a valid proposal makes it to the Voting Phase which presents a modified version of the changes to be ratified, it will be presented as an alternate option in the ratification vote. These proposals are not subject to ratification if confirmed, provided they are reasonably germane to the original changes (i.e., if the original proposal was to change the Hotel building with the goal of modifying its Tourism output, a different amount of Tourism from the Hotel would count as an alternate ratification option, but a revision of all buildings' Production cost which happens to change the Production cost of the Hotel would not).



Balance Changes Outside the VP Congress
The VP Congress is intended to give the community more control over the changes they’d like to see in the mod, so it is ideal to run balance changes through the VP Congress process.

However, with the approval of a primary developer, a balance change can be made outside the VP Congress process by submitting a pull request to GitHub. In this case, however, the changes will be ratified by the community after 30 days like a proposal, and the community can approve or reject the changes.

Primary developers do not have to give this approval if they don’t think the community will appreciate the change, instead directing the proposer to the VP Congress process.

This retains the ability for seasoned developers to contribute to the mod on their own time and schedule (which is necessary for us devs) but gives the community more power over whether they want to accept changes into the mod.

Changes Prior To October 1 Release
The VP Congress’s first session shall begin after the new release on October 1, 2022. All changes made prior to that date will not be subject to ratification, as they are part of the mod’s “base state”. They can still be changed through proposals, though!



Management of the VP Congress
Recursive shall be in charge of managing the VP Congress using his moderator abilities, enforcing the rules for it and ensuring the entire process runs smoothly.

Please note that making mistakes about this new process will not lead to you getting in any trouble, I will simply explain/correct the error. Feel free to contribute as many suggestions as you'd like!

You can start making proposals now!
 
Last edited:

KlHannibal2

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Good way to bring more structure to the handling of proposals. I think this rule-set should be sticky (here or in the VP congress).

One question: if I have a suggestion for change, can I post it on the second half of a month (to be discussed within the next month's first 15 days), or should it only be posted in the next month?
 

azum4roll

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What if a proposal is passed but it's found to be unbalanced and needs a number tweak? Do we need to start a new proposal in the next month for the rebalance?
 

Recursive

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Good way to bring more structure to the handling of proposals. I think this rule-set should be sticky (here or in the VP congress).

One question: if I have a suggestion for change, can I post it on the second half of a month (to be discussed within the next month's first 15 days), or should it only be posted in the next month?
It is stickied in the VP Congress subforum.

You can post a proposal anytime between the 18th day of the previous month and the 15th day of the current month (anytime except the Sponsorship Phase).

What if a proposal is passed but it's found to be unbalanced and needs a number tweak? Do we need to start a new proposal in the next month for the rebalance?
No current process for this. Any suggestions?
 

Rekk

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Yes, it will be quite annoying for the initial numbers tweak to not be ratified, so we have to revert it then propose a new number.
 

Gazebo

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What if a proposal is passed but it's found to be unbalanced and needs a number tweak? Do we need to start a new proposal in the next month for the rebalance?
The shadow government/security council/illuminaughty will take care of it, don't worry. :)

G
 

Gazebo

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It is stickied in the VP Congress subforum.

You can post a proposal anytime between the 18th day of the previous month and the 15th day of the current month (anytime except the Sponsorship Phase).


No current process for this. Any suggestions?
Once a proposal is 'adopted' and implemented I think it loses its 'proposal' status and becomes a part of VP akin to anything else in the core mod, so the next proposal should just have to propose a new change, with no mention of the prior proposal needed.

G
 

Stalker0

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Once a proposal is 'adopted' and implemented I think it loses its 'proposal' status and becomes a part of VP akin to anything else in the core mod, so the next proposal should just have to propose a new change, with no mention of the prior proposal needed.

G
The issue comes during the "Ratification" phase.

In the current version of the congress, after a change is implemented, there is 1 month testing phase. We then vote on the proposal again, and if it passes a second time it now truly official.

I think the question is, what if during the testing its obvious there is a balance issue. Do we need to wait for ratification to fail, roll back, and then propose something new?. Or can a proposal still be made on something that is in the mod but technically not ratified yet?
 

nekokon

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I think we can have a proposal directly to the one which is currently being ratified (since after passing and going into ratification they're already considered part of VP and open for changes) to speed up the process. Mods just need to group them together when making the new poll (multi choice for keeping or making certain changes to it)

Very cool.
Can I buy other people's votes with GPT? :D

No, you have to spend influence.
Wait wrong game :hammer:
 

Gazebo

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The issue comes during the "Ratification" phase.

In the current version of the congress, after a change is implemented, there is 1 month testing phase. We then vote on the proposal again, and if it passes a second time it now truly official.

I think the question is, what if during the testing its obvious there is a balance issue. Do we need to wait for ratification to fail, roll back, and then propose something new?. Or can a proposal still be made on something that is in the mod but technically not ratified yet?
Good point, I think we just amend during ratification.

G
 

Recursive

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Good point, I think we just amend during ratification.

G
I'm cool with this. Will edit later today to reflect it.
 

looorg

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No current process for this. Any suggestions?

I guess not everything have to be implemented into the core at once, keep it in some beta or testing modmod while it is evaluated. If it passes evaluation it can later, like next patch, be incorporated into the main core branch?
 

ma_kuh

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Will there be a voting phase for September, or are all the current proposals slated for voting in October?
 
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