Reviewing Community Feedback — Clarity League Season 2

Foreword

Three seasons of Clarity League have now come to pass, and as we gear up for a fourth, we stay committed to the idea of making incremental changes to improve the league. As with previous seasons, we prompted the community on (this time an admittedly smaller number of) issues and topics that arose throughout Season 2 or otherwise felt necessary to discuss.

Before we get started, we’d like to thank all of the community members who took the time to respond to the feedback form. We harp on this often, but a good turnout for the survey is incredibly important to us — we try our best to keep up with community members’ concerns, but the post-season feedback form is the one single thing that allows us to gather community-wide feedback on issues and get a clearer idea of what people actually think and want.

Overall, the form garnered 41 responses; this is less than the previous season, and while we also had less to discuss this time around, we’d definitely like to see an increase in community involvement. The results of the feedback form — which is to say, the changes we make in response to it — affect all participants in Clarity League.

Unsurprisingly, engagement was generally higher from community members who participated in season 2, but we were pleasantly surprised by the number of members who responded despite not having played this last season — as well as the reduced number of joke responses.

Registration Feedback | Questions

The important bit: The registration form now asks participants if their ping to Europe West is higher than 130ms.

We started off by asking whether participants should be asked about ping on the sign-up form.

We opted to go with the majority here; the season 3 registration process asks participants whether their ping to Europe West is high (above ~130ms). The idea behind this is fairly simple; participants can use this to indicate to captains that they have somewhat higher ping. It’s a small change, but extra information is always useful. Do note though that we won’t be verifying responses to this from an administration perspective.

Registration Feedback | Free Comments

No real issues with registration, only issue I see is the lack of low MMRs, which sometimes makes for unbalanced teams/games

This is something we can’t exactly control. The decision to not advertise Clarity League much (and thus increase the player pool and the spread of participant MMR) is a conscious one — we talk a lot about the efforts to take things slow and improve the league incrementally, bit by bit, and there are still things to work on and streamline. Since Clarity launched, we’ve taken steps to somewhat control the size of the league and community in order to allow for these changes to come about naturally; when we feel satisfied with how things are going, we’ll look towards advertising the league more publicly. Until then, remember that the league is open to all, and you can invite friends using the link in the Discord’s #information channel.

I think the ping thing is discriminating in some way, but it’s also important information for captains as ping can drastically increase or decrease team’s performance

While we can see where this notion comes from, it’s realistically not much different from any of the other information we ask for in the sign-up. It’s also worth noting that the initial idea for this topic came from the suggestion of a community member who has to deal with high ping.

As someone who suffered a lot of shit ping […] the results can vary a lot and maybe it should instead be required to state how stable the ping is

The difficulty with this is how subjective stability of ping is; asking for ping (or average ping) is quite nice as it’s a singular number which you can get quite quickly via the main menu, but anything more than that is both subjective and hard to put down succinctly. In general though, if you have concerns like this that you think would be important to potential captains, the player comment part of the registration process lets you detail them.

Had a blast of a season, I would like to see though some more casting and like post match analyzes etc I know this is probably hard to fix as it is something people often do out of their own choose but would be willing to donate to make it happen

This is another one of those matters that falls outside of the (current) scope of the staff’s focus. We make some attempts at incentivizing content creators (for example by tracking casts and giving members who cast a lot first dibs on important games, as well as giving out special Discord roles), but past that, it’s entirely in the community’s hands. This isn’t to say that pushing to improve things on this front isn’t something we want to do, but it’s simply not a priority at this time — and when you’re working with limited free time, prioritizing becomes important.

As far as donating goes — it’s not something we’re keen to do. Never say never and all that, but at least for the foreseeable future, organizing any kind of monetization isn’t something we’re willing to do.

Time zones of the player!! Having a player that has to play at 2:00 AM is very big disadvantage!

This is already where things become a bit tricky. When players sign up to Clarity, they are by default accepting the obligation of showing up for games. As far as we’re concerned, if they do, that’s all there is to it. That said, we’d hope that ping to EUW should give a good indication of this.

The activity check should be very lenient with response times. If someone has already indicated they want to play already, its very likely that will not change. If someone does not ready up in time, when the season isn't due to start very soon, they should not be immediately kicked from the sign ups. Not everyone opens discord every day/has notifications turned on.

This is something we’d already had feedback on during the previous season, and have in turn already addressed — notably, the dates when the activity check starts and closes are now listed well ahead of time, and is a bit longer than previously (now 10 days). This should be more than enough to ensure that everyone who will pass it does so.

How many ranked games last 3 months ?

This is an idea (among other similar ones) that’s been thrown around a bit; the inclusion of even more info on the signup sheet is something that we’re fairly likely to discuss in the future (specifically in terms of pulling information from platforms like Opendota/Stratz), but weren’t looking to include this time around. That being said, we’re still somewhat vary of overcrowding the draft sheet with info that may not be consistently useful, and is therefore something that we want to be a bit careful about.

Why is the comment field required? If you look at season2 signups there's a decent amount of just smiles and irrelevant comments because the field is obligatory

The field isn’t obligatory/required; if the question is about removing it entirely, it comes in handy a lot (for example, in the case of above to highlight the stability of ping, or more commonly simply signalling how you intend to approach a season to captains). Irrelevant / funny comments aren’t something we intend to push against too — after all, it could be considered as a way of expressing yourself to captains who don’t know you.

Clarity Divisions Ruling Feedback | Questions

The important bit: If 20 or more players would otherwise be cut off, we will now look to implement one or more 6-team (30 player) divisions in Clarity Divisions. Which divisions are downsized will be based on MMR variance.

In this section, we looked to prompt the community on how Clarity Divisions is set up — in particular the titular divisions. To begin with, we asked about the implementation of 6-team divisions.

The responses here were fairly split. Overall, though, we’re able to split up the responses as about 27% indicating no preference on the matter, about 15% expressing that 6-team divisions should not be used, and over 50% of total respondents indicating that 6-team divisions should be used — albeit in slightly different ways. This makes it fairly simple to go with the majority and decide to actively use 6-team divisions (as was the case in Seasons 0 and 1).

From there the question is whether we only look towards a maximum of 1 6-team division or multiple. To illustrate what this difference implies, let’s look at two scenarios- keeping in mind that the default size of a division is 8 teams, or 40 players- and calling the scenario in which we only look to implement one 6-team division (if there are 30 or more cut off participants) scenario A, and the one where we actively look to implement multiple (if there are 20 or more cut off participants) scenario B.

  • There are 100 registered participants who have completed activity check. In scenario A, this will result in two full (8-team) divisions, and 20 players cut off. In scenario B, this would lead to three divisions, one full (8-team) and two smaller ones (6-team).
  • With 110, both scenarios lead to 3 divisions (40/40/30 players — or 8/8/6 teams).
  • With 130, both scenarios lead to 3 divisions (40/40/40, 8/8/8) with 10 players cut off. However, this player count also allows for 4 divisions (40/30/30/30) — and this applies to a lot of other potential player counts.

It should be noted at this point that the reason why this topic considers only a minimum of 20+ cut off players for changes in division formation (as opposed to say 10+ cut off players) is two-fold:

  1. Firstly, we want a balance between giving many players the opportunity to play and the ability to retain the format we want to have — which is the default 8-team/40-player on. This is the format that Divisions is advertised as, and it’s effectively what participants register for. This is also why we’d generally always be looking to prioritize that size, particularly when it doesn’t affect the number of participants who get to play (for example, with 150 players you could host 4 divisions, three of which are 8-team — or you could host 5, all of which are 6-team).
  2. Secondly — and admittedly less importantly — allowing less than 20 players to be cut off means we likely instantly have a pool of potential Free Agents and standins for the oncoming season, which is fairly useful from an administration perspective (and is something we’ve struggled with a bit in past seasons — particularly the amount of Free Agents).

In any case, to finally arrive at the conclusion, we’ll go with the majority again — we’ll be looking to implement two or more 6-team divisions when 20 or more players would otherwise be cut off. This is something we’re definitely going to want to gather more feedback on after the season.

To follow up on this, we asked which divisions should be first in line to be downsized:

This was quite clear-cut; as such, we’ll be choosing the 30 player (6-team) divisions as to minimise MMR variance over them. It should be noted though that this does mean the choice will be at the discretion of the admin team, so in the case that there are a number of similar alternatives the mathematical ‘winner’ may not be the one we go with. For transparency’s sake, it’s most likely that we’ll look to downsize a lower division in the case that the alternatives are close enough.

Clarity Divisions Ruling Feedback | Free Comments

Use 30 player divisions when 10+ players are cut off, highest and lowest divs first in that order

This has been touched on in the previous section.

Generally lowest and highest div30 players due to extreme MMR differences

It should be determined by average MMR spread i.e. depends on sign ups

For divisions the least MMR variance is the best way to host events. It’s very much the point of signing up. Obviously the extremes of MMR will always have some but smaller division for this section of the playerbase is very fine

I hope you mean min variance within divisions if not that is what I meant but maybe I don’t understand the question well enough.

Our ‘variance’ in this situation will be subjective (rather being tied to a singular mathematical calculation), but generally the min/average/max MMR in each division will be selected to make them as close together as possible.

I would like almost 8 teams per division as it feels like immortal can be matched with divine 1s that are like 4000 MMR apart maybe a solo division for 6000 MMR+?

Creating predetermined division limits and requirements isn’t super viable at the moment (particularly due to the still fairly small size of the player base), but it’s also not something we’re particularly likely to look into. The preference is largely to just let things run their course and adjust as and when needed.

[…] maybe communicate to everyone the different options that can arise in terms of division cutoffs in the announcement of the new season.

The possibility of variations and alterations to formats are covered fairly transparently through much of the process. While we strive to give people the experience that they specifically signed up for, it’s made abundantly clear to anyone who reads the announcements or schedules that the format and duration of a season are liable to change.

Additionally, this is quite difficult to announce in more definitive terms, as there are many variations that may occur that it’d probably be quite confusing to state all of them — we’d much rather go with a more general comment and update the community when and if changes are made.

Penalty Ruling Feedback | Questions

The important bit: All lateness penalties now kick in 10 minutes earlier. No significant changes will be made to penalties for incorrect lobby settings. We may implement harsher penalties for repeat offenders.

Likely the part most of you are here for — lateness penalties.

This was very clear, and as such we’ll be moving all penalties to begin 10 minutes earlier from Season 3 onwards. Hopefully this will stop people waiting for so long, but also does involve captains applying penalties (which we’d encourage).

This is particularly important as the application of given penalties are, in practice, one of the very few ‘punishments’ that can be dealt (more on this in a bit). We’d also say that we will be asking for feedback on this at the end of Season 3, to make sure that the penalties have worked as expected (and as, notably, some members have expressed that they think the penalties should start even earlier).

The next question was around penalties for incorrect lobby settings:

Somewhat surprisingly, almost ⅔ of participants were happy with the status quo or had no real preference, so we’ll not be making any changes here. That being said, the idea of alternative penalties (i.e., group stage point deductions and playoff stage loss of side/pick choosing rights) are something we’re very likely to revisit, as they are penalties that are applied by administrators, rather than captains.

It is worth noting that a significant part of why draft penalties may feel lackluster is simply that the onus is on captains to administer them; this is something we generally strive to minimize in Clarity, as it presents additional obligations in a role that already seems like it’s required to do more than it does. On top of that, a lot of players simply feel somewhat uncomfortable applying penalties. Adding additional forms of penalties may give the staff alternatives to disincentivize negative behaviors where draft penalties don’t do a good enough job — and, if the need arises, we may exercise admin discretion in implementing these measures.

Penalty Ruling Feedback | Free Comments

[…] I’m fine with where the penalties are currently, but wouldn’t be opposed to harsher penalties (i.e. point deduction in group stages etc.) for repeat-offenders.

players who are consistently late […] should be punished

Incorrect lobby settings should be penalized a little harsher, and people should be penalized on the first time it happens.

We already do scale draft penalties — if a team continues to flout the rules, then escalating penalties apply. The main reason why this hasn’t happened much is that teams tend to start doing things correctly after the first penalty (which is a good sign).

That being said, as stated in the previous section, if — during season 3 — the staff feels that existing penalties simply aren’t effective, we’re open to applying harsher penalties (if only to repeat offenders).

1st penalty should be after 5 mins and scaled accordingly. Needs to be taken seriously by 10 minutes and lv 1 draft penalty isn't enough for that.

Wouldn’t mind penalties to kick in after 5 minutes, but 10 is okay.

For now, we’ll go with a 10m starting point- as mentioned though, we’ll ask for feedback on this after Season 3 and see if it needs to be amended at all (such as penalties starting from 5 minutes).

Draft penalties are very meh, and not really enforced by other captains. . . . Better punishments might actually start improving the useless captains a bit

We touch on this in the previous section; while the results of the community feedback suggest no changes to penalties, we’re still keen to potentially implement alternative penalties.

Other Feedback

You may notice that the Staff Feedback section that we included in the last two surveys was cut — we did this due to lack of actionable feedback that stemmed from it (and lengthening the survey), but we do value your feedback about any decisions / actions we are taking that you don’t like. This is also the kind of feedback that it’s worth highlighting mid-season (as we can do something about it sooner).

Questions for Staff

“If you had a chance to talk to God for 10 minutes but knew you would die immediately after, would you do it?”

Dazza: Nope. Make it 10 years, and I’d consider it.

Madsen: Depends. Do I get time to prep questions beforehand?

“how do i get good?”

Dazza: Sign up for Clarity Season 3, and both learn from others and practise in a competitive environment!

Madsen: put on good phonk n ghoul it up (also idk read and watch a fuckload about the game then grind that shit out, make conscious efforts to improve rather than autopiloting and be extremely self-critical. focus on like 2–3 heroes in 1 role max, you’ll learn more about the rest of the game when you don’t have to think about your hero)

“When will Clarity branch out to Rocket League”

Dazza: When our Pokemon Unite branch becomes successful.

Madsen: If you ever see an announcement that the Clarity admin team is now STJ, Chucklemouse and Nyk, it’s probably happening soon.

“Please can you get more people so that there is a full 3 divisions, furthermore advertising in other discords i.e. doghouse to engage with a wider audience could be good since it gets fresh blood in and helps revive inhouse”

If you know people that you’d like to play in Clarity (and are a good fit), then we’d encourage you to invite them along— this is normally much more successful than creating an advertisement post somewhere.

At some point we’ll advertise Clarity more publicly, but that’s definitely down the line. Collaborations with adjacent communities like Doghouse are definitely on the table, but at the end of the day the overlap is already massive — easily big enough that the gap can be bridged fairly easily simply through word of mouth.

I would like to apply to moderation team. I want this community to grow and would gladly be a part of making it a better place.

While we appreciate the interest, at least for the time being, we’re likely to stick to recruitment being an in-house effort (which is to say, if we’re keen on expanding, we’re likelier to reach out to people we think would be a good fit, rather than putting out applications).

Can we change the @everyone ping to an opt-in (or opt-out) ping? seeing an unread message in the announcement channel is enough for me to look, i don’t wished to be pinged about any little thing that happens

Yes, this is something we want to do. It just falls into the same category as a lot of other similar things (i.e. changes to the server, implementation of new features on it, content creation, scrim server, etc) where it’s not a massive priority. We’ll look into this soon; ideally, we want to make this an opt-out, and fix up some other role/notification related matters alongside it.

The Dazza Section | Pineapple on Pizza

We had a mix of different answers on this. We then trained a biological neural net to look through the answers, assigning them over sentiment- i.e.,

  • Positive: Pineapple on Pizza = Good
  • Neutral: Pineapple on Pizza = Neither good nor bad
  • Negative: Pineapple on Pizza = Bad
  • N/A: No comment/irrelevant answer

With this, the results were as follows:

The main thing to take away from this was that 39% of people are wrong, and seriously need help.

Closing Thoughts

When we did this last time, Clarity was gearing up for the big public launch. While this time around we have less pressing future matters to address, we still wanted to talk a bit about what’s going to happen going forward.

Clarity League has always been a project with lofty ambitions. Our first blog on this platform went over our priorities for the first couple of seasons: an inhouse league, additional formats, side events, content like showmatches and detailed archives (on that note — the Clarity Hall of Fame and Clarity Archive are now live! See the Information channel), and regular community feedback. We’re happy to have met all those goals — but that barely scratches the surface.

In the months of planning and preparation that lead to the creation of Clarity League, we talked about a LOT of ideas, and many more have come up since. In many ways, the total amount of work that’s been put into Clarity thus far is probably less than what’s remaining.

However, a year is a long time. Clarity, like any other amateur Dota league, takes a lot of time and effort to run, and real life takes priority. To do as much as has already been done took a fair bit of prioritizing Clarity over other things, and as time goes on, it becomes unreasonable to keep doing so. All of this isn’t to say that anything is going to significantly change in Clarity, but rather that our focus for the next while is going to be on streamlining and documenting the processes that go into the day to day logistics, rather than into implementing as many new things.

Thank you for reading and participating in the survey. Hope to see you all playing in Season 3!

Your Clarity League Admin Team

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