Thursday, 30 April 2009

CPP: On the nature of the relationship

I'm delighted to see other bloggers have started to discuss this:
Spinks: 3 ways to encourage or discourage active players
Larissa: Once a leader, not always a leader

In response to their initial comments I'd now like to discuss the most important and ground-breaking aspect of CPP.

Both roles are positive.

Let me introduce myself a little more. I am a lbrarian working for the public library service of a London borough. It is a customer service job. It is a wonderful and highly fulfilling job that varies from customer to customer. My role is to educate, entertain and empower.

In a queue of people I might have to help a homeless person figure out how to google a charity he wants to contact, to find a copy of a Horrid Henry dvd for a seven year old, and then to help someone whose roof is leaking find emergency help as well as an idea of where to start legal process for damages.

These are my customers. I don't shout at them, I don't deduct fifty dkp, I don't make them sit through long boring explanations, I don't in fact behave anything at all like a traditional WoW raid leader.

The customers in turn have a profound enthusiasm for the library service. Each library has a network of local volunteers called Friends of ____ Library who actively arrange events, perform fundraising and agitate if there is any threat of closure.

That relationship is something that is central to CPP. You are, if a producer, trying to produce a service you are proud of, if a consumer you hope to be educated, entertained and empowered.

This is already happening in many raid guilds.

However in some there is an us and them attitude. Cliquiness. Elitism.

Gevlon famously views underperforming raid members as morons and slackers who are carried by soft-hearted guilds. This is a self-defeating attitude, the opposite of CPP.

Spinks views raid members as either active or passive with a neutral slant. It's descriptive and doesn't relate to whether they are a good player.

With CPP what I'm trying for is a paradigm that is win-win. Both roles are positive. Each role help the other role. It's not fun to be a chief without indians.

CPP is a broad brush approach, a piece of game sociology. There will be many individuals who don't really fit into either category. But that's true of any sociological generalisation and doesn't devalue it.

It's possible to make an observation that eighty-year olds generally don't have mobile phones and twenty-year olds generally do. Someone will then generally point to someone they know who is twenty or eighty who doesn't fit the generalisation.

But that misses the point. Such a generalisation isn't an attempt to label every person in the world. It's a method of being able to tell whether you should stick your phone ad in Mature Times or Face.

If you apply CPP principles to your raid it creates a win-win resonance. People can simply turn up to raids shoot stuff then leave without having to feel guilty about not helping enough. People can energetically research and organise raids without feeling like they're being put upon.

The generally accepted paradigm is we're all players we're all equal which is why seeing a handful of players work much harder than most others for a common goal feels wrong at quite a basic level to many people. CPP's main function is to provide an alternative model that lets people look at the raid process without feeling either guilty or resentful.


  1. Your library examples are interesting because the first and third could be viewed as producers. The homeless guy is contacting the charity, not the other way around. In this situation you're wowwiki and he's someone looking up strats. He's a P and while waiting for him to come to you needing help, you're a C; and yet you're the one with the knowledge and are leading him somewhat, does that make you a P and him a C? I love when there's no easy answer.

    P.S. Make your capchas easier, I somehow fail them.

  2. Dumb question I know but what is a capcha? (Edit: I've now googled the term so I have a vague idea of what it is, how do I fix it?).

    Regarding the rest, yes of course these things are in flux. In fact quite possibly it may work best when people know there are producer-types and consumer-types but don't actually know which type they are.

    The value of the paradigm mainly lies in dispelling the notion that all players are equal and ought to be contributing equally. It doesn't actually matter who contributes just so long as people stop benchmarking themselves against their neighbours and thinking I'm working harder than that guy. Because once you start doing that Gevlon's M&S philosophy is the logical outcome.

  3. mogresh of moon guard.30 April 2009 at 23:37

    I think there is an important caveat to Gevlon's philosophy. If a player is underperforming, and doing nothing about it, just showing up to raids and not pulling his weight, then yes, he's M&S. If that player is doing what he can to research his class, and doing the best he can to improve, then he's not M&S.

    The improving players are an asset to the guild, but the M&S is going to hold your guild back. It's easy enough to pull the people who just show up and not improve upon themselves thru Naxx, but they are going to be the reason a guild breaks up in Ulduar. If only 75% of your raid are performing at 100% of THEIR ability, you are going to fail 100% of the time in Ulduar. That underperforming 25% are the M&S and they will start to breed resentment from the 75% who do give it their best.

    TL;DR: M&S doesn't mean underperforming compared to a group, it means giving it less than your best in any situation.

  4. Hey Stabs. Started some discussion on my blog briefly today about CPP. Been discussing the concept lately amongst my officers. I plan on addressing it further soon, but I posted a rough draft of the basic theory I use for designating members.

  5. I think that Gevlon brings up a good point about the flaw in your librarian analogy.

    You are paid to be there by taxpayers, raid leaders are not. Therefore, you are neither a producer, or a consumer in the sense you outline. You are a middle man that the taxpayer (producer) uses to reach the homeless man (consumer).

    Clearly, you would quit your job as a librarian if you stopped being paid, i.e. you would quit if you truly were called to be a producer.

    Thus, it seems the only reason to be a producer to be a producer is because it makes them feel good. And very few people need more than a small amount of this feeling per week. (Sure, I volunteer at the homeless shelter... for 2 hours a month. I work for 120 hours a month).

  6. Faux, you're missing the point. It's not an economic relationship.