Implemented Reforming the TD role

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Amaranth

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Good morning Smogtours.

This is something I have believed needed to happen for a long time in one way or another, and I'd laid out some work towards this when I was TD but never managed to finalize this (see this thread or even this thread, or maybe someone will be happy to dig up conversations from channels I no longer have access to).
In light of recent events, I believe this work needs to be brought to completion.

I think the current Tournament Director role is extremely overworked to a point of inefficiency. I have seen this first hand from both sides. I believe relieving responsibilities from the TD team has been an urgent need of the community for years, but it takes a lot of momentum to change the status quo. I suppose there is momentum now, so it's a good time to bring this up again.

I believe there to be a significant difference between Tournament Directing and Tournament Organizing. I do not believe these tasks need to be assigned to the same people. Directing is making decisions about the formats that best serve the community, and Organizing is actually running the tournaments.
Unifying the role causes all sorts of issues - it makes the role way more demanding, which (1) scares otherwise valid candidates away from volunteering for the position, and (2) means that people who are good at only Directing or only Organizing do not end up getting promoted because they are lacking in the other department, which contributes to the lack of resources available to the TD team as a whole.
I also think the "Organizing Mains" get a lot of vitriol from the community. The source of this vitriol is simple - the community does not like when outsiders come in and make decisions for them. I predict these people would get way less hate and be way happier with the position if they were only running tournaments without having this pressure. Not to mention that usually the Organizing Mains aren't very active Policy Review participants, and they are usually not the best candidates for the actual Directing part of the job.

Now incidentally, I believe I have a pretty unique perspective on this. I recently left head TD somewhat suddenly, and wanted to try and make sure the team knew exactly what they needed to do to replace me, so late last August, before leaving, I spent some time writing down every TD duty for the entire team. This can help us break down duties of TDing vs duties of TOing. Obviously some of this is marginally outdated due to changes since the end of August (and there's likely a couple things I forgot about at the time), but the generalities of it hold up.

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^ note that this page gets constantly updated as discussions happen in Tournament Policy, and items in this list are getting added and removed as issues are brought up or solved, which is quite a lot of work even if it is not directly visually reflected here


With this in mind; I don't think the TOing part of things needs a reform. I think the current team does a good job. I haven't really heard many big complaints with quality of hosting, and most of the ones that I do hear are usually in the form of "this guy didn't give me an actwin I hate him so much! awful host!" which, yeah, ok buddy. I think the current team is great at TOing and no changes are necessary in that sense.

I do think policy decisions need a reform. They have needed a reform for a long time. I think the Smogtours community as a whole would be shocked to see how little discussion was behind many huge policy decisions that were taken. This is a problem the team suffered during my time, but I think it became most evident any time I searched back through the server for reasoning behind decisions that were taken before I was there. The answer is: stunningly often, one person within the team has a strong opinion, they push for that opinion, everyone else generally shrugs and says "yep that sounds good you take charge of that I'll continue on with my day", which is extremely reasonable given that they are volunteers, but it is not an effective way of making good policy decisions. It never has been, and it continues not to be.
I'm not saying that this always happens to be clear; if the TD team happens to have multiple strongly opinionated people, usually the discussions are very constructive, and the decisions end up good. But this is not reliable whatsoever, and it is strongly not helped by the fact that the "TDs" are actually investing so many energies on TOing instead, which leaves them unavailable to volunteer as much energy to policy discussions as would be necessary.

Quoting Isa from the other thread:

The decision making process displayed here showed to me that there is a clear need for change, but not just at an individual level. Complaints about TD teams being out of touch with the playerbase have always existed on Smogon, perhaps maybe never so loudly as now, but it still points towards a systemic issue that does not begin or end with any one individual. The current system is simply not sustainable. Public outrage might have prevented a poor decision for now, but it comes at a cost - trust between leadership and general public is damaged, and morale is down across the board. Again, this is not a unique occurence, I've been at the other side of this as well.
My proposal is simple: split TD team into TO and TD, with the current team defaulting to TOs. That part is working great.

Rebuild the TD team from scratch. The 'how exactly' is something that can be workshopped. Something I believe could work:

A small permanent council heads the discussions and draws the conclusions, and representatives of all subcommunities make up the rest. About ~5 people making up a head council, then something like (4 CGOU reps, 1 rep for each SCL tier, 1 rep for each oldgen OU) - with many more voices from much different subsections of the community, the chances of every viewpoint being represented in discussions go up significantly, which generally should result in better decisions. With no direct decision making power in the hands of any individual representative, the team can feel a lot more comfortable accepting contributions from otherwise potentially controversial people, and likewise, people who want to contribute to policy making can do so without having the full pressure of a TD position.
Additionally I believe this system would introduce easy ways for both sides to hold each other accountable; the head council would have the ability to remove any problematic representatives and bring in replacements, and the representatives could hold some kind of vote of confidence on members of the head council. Do this, say, once a year, and I believe you can ensure everyone involved in discussions is staying active and doing a good job, or at least enough people to end up with correct decisions.


That's just an idea though, and I don't want that exact proposal to take away from my main point: TDing and TOing is not the same job. We need to stop asking overworked unpaid volunteers to take on both duties and reform the way we operate this community. The current system is not fair to them, and it results in bad policy decisions way too often. Thanks for reading
 
i don't think any major overhaul is necessary, because the right decision gets made eventually. situations like the bo1 rby one are exactly why i pushed for the tournament policy subforum to be created back then. everyone, whether you're badged or not, can influence tournament policy and to an extent be a TD. policy makers will inevitably make a mistake or read the room wrong every now and then, and that's fine so long as the people can then say their piece and influence change. the current team listened to the complaints and overturned their original decision, which is exactly what we want, right?

as for hosting, that should be fine as is. it's a great way to be involved in the scene without actually playing in the tournaments, which is a fantastic opportunity for many of our validation deprived contributors. newly promoted TDs have largely been hosts in recent times and i don't think there's anything wrong with that. whether it's TO or TD, so long as hosts have a goal to work towards there should always be new contributors next in line. i don't think it'll take away too much from the policy side of things either. ideally the oopsies are prevented rather than resolved, but that's a pipe dream regardless of workload distribution, in my opinion. people are generally stupid and confident while uninformed, so it's on the community to keep them in check sometimes. so long as we help each other get to the right call, that's what ultimately matters.

if there's a strong community wide motivation to rework the system, by all means go for it. i personally don't think it's as big of a shitshow as people make it out to be, so long as the people continue to have the final say. happy holidays everyone. don't forget to tell your loved ones you love them.
 

shnowshner

You've Gotta Try
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I had been planning to make a post in IS about this but wasn't sure about timing, so thanks for opening up discussion here. The whole situation was essentially the worst public relations failure imaginable, and I concluded early on that the only way this could have happened was due to zero dialogue between the TD team and the RBY playerbase. I could paraphrase my thoughts from there but it's honestly just easier to just copy-paste the bulk of what I drafted:

The root cause of this situation was the lack of any conference with the RBY playerbase, even though the decision directly affected their metagame in the site's tournaments (namely, SPL, which is right around the corner). I am not labeling it as an RBY-specific issue, although some may see it as such, because it's really a communication issue. Tournaments like SPL are made up of various metagames each with their own community, and those communities aren't going to be congruent in how they operate. Case in point, RBY prefers Bo3 while the rest of the generations stick with Bo1. Those in charge of tournaments that consolidate these distinct communities into a single event need to ensure each one is properly accommodated for. This cannot happen when there is no connection between the Tournament Directors and the communities.

I find it baffling that the conditions in which a community engages with their metagame in Smogon tournaments, not just SPL, can seemingly be made independently from what said community desires. A metagame should be representative of what that community has developed over time, and is molded towards the experience that they best enjoy. When the conditions of play can be altered by an outside source which potentially lacks insight to how a metagame is enjoyed, anything that doesn't appeal to that playerbase only serves to drive them away. If we can agree that part of a tournament host/director's job is to ensure the energy around their tournament is as full of competitive spirit and excitement as possible, the last thing you want is to alienate prospective users from getting involved, and mandating those who do end up joining to play on terms they disagree with. Thus I beg the question, why are we operating on a system that allows exactly this to happen, among the most prestigious tournaments on the site?

I'm certainly not the only one who wants to see changes with how the TD team functions post-RBYBo1, but rather than an exchange of power, we should implement a system that lets the TDs better ascertain what their metagame communities want out of the tournaments they'll be involved in. This would help prevent situations like this where a community finds itself blindsided by a decision they don't agree with, and keeps TDs from having their holiday seasoned completely fucking obliterated (or just the headache from dozens of angry users flaming them). I believe that at bare minimum, the TDs need to be consulting with a metagame's leaders prior to enacting policy that would effect the tier in question. This doesn't 100% reflect the whole of a community, but it does parse any decisions through people who are familiar with the metagame and its respective playerbase.
Understandably I am a big supporter of the "metagame representatives" system you outlined, but I am confused on who exactly is labeled as a TD proper, versus those who are present solely for feedback and discussion. You could probably get away with keeping TDs as TDs, and simply strengthen the communication lines between them and any relevant metagame councils; from there, all you'd need is additional headcount on the TD team to better coordinate policy discussions.

Tangentially related, the Tournament Host badge idea could be reworked to encompass both those who host tournaments, and anyone that serves as mediators between the TD team and a metagame's playerbase. Perhaps like, Tournament Contributor?? Probably a better name to distinct it from Tiering Contributor but you get the idea. Ultimately there needs to be better connections between tournament leadership and metagame leadership if we have any desire to prevent another RBY Bo1 fiasco from happening again.
 

Rezzo

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I agree with Amaranth that some kind of change is quite long due for the way that the TD role is approached. Earlier this year, I stumbled my way through hosting a PL tournament mostly by emulating bits and pieces of other PL tournaments around the site and incorporating the rules and regs that seemed to fit. I only mention this as it is really appreciated that you've produced a list of duties involved in the TD role - I have spent some time in the past trying to figure out what exactly it is that these members do for tournaments to no avail (which to me indicates that a huge proportion of members on this site have no convenient way to understand what on Earth it is that goes on behind closed doors). At a bare minimum, it seems like the TD role and its duties would massively benefit from being codified to some extent (and if it has been, where? Why is it so hard to find?).

Isa's post in the RBY best of 3 policy thread does a very good job of trying to reduce the opacity that currently exists between TDs and the playerbase. I implore the TD members to respond to Isa's questions, ideally in non-PR-y language (this is a community of hobbyists, and I think a casual attitude would benefit your image rather than harm it). I would also like to extend Isa's questions in this post with some more questions, as below, with reference to the incident(s) behind the RBY best of 1 decision.

After internal deliberation, the TD team will be implementing best-of-one for all official team tournament matches.

This decision was reached by unanimous vote, citing the desire for consistency between all format slots. Additionally, the fact that all games are already contained within a larger series makes bo3’s potential to lessen the impact of factors such as hax & matchup luck difficult to justify relative to the additional commitment.

Furthermore, we will not be upholding any form of gentleman's agreement or selective submission of games. Players may not retroactively determine whether or not a game is official. Attempts to circumvent this rule will result in the game in question being invalidated, with the players involved being infracted. Subsequent attempts will result in a tourban.
Did the TD team realise, before making this announcement, that communication with the RBY playerbase prior would have been a sensible idea?

At the time, did the TD team realise that making huge decisions like this, so close to SPL, makes the intent appear malicious?

It's abundantly clear that we did not adequately communicate our decision-making process. This post is an attempt to rectify that mistake and clarify how we came to the decision we made.
Were the TD team not aware that there was no decision-making required to be made for the outcome of the DPP Best of 3 thread?

Are you able to explain to us the reasons behind acting in such a self-destructive manner?

Following significant discussions with the TD team, we will be implementing the following:

All matchups during SPL will be by default a bo1 series.

For RBY only, considering its historical status, players may agree to have it be a best-of-three series prior to the game beginning. This must be confirmed by both players by challenging in the format "[Gen 1] Best of 3 OU" (or similar) which will display an automated message to denote the series as a best-of-three.

This agreement will be enforced. Attempts to renege on these agreements will be ruled the same as falsifying results.
Did the TD team consult any of the RBY playerbase about whether this change would resolve the issue at hand?

Had the team properly considered that creating a bespoke ruleset for a tier may have unintended consequences like the ones that Tobes highlighted here?

I've intentionally listed these as close-ended questions so that the TD team can intentionally raise a discussion with us about anything answered with a 'Yes'. Talk to the community please. We are certainly not a big enough group to be treated with this corporate PR-like distance.
 

Lily

wouldn't that be fine, dear
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Hey so, TDs and SS are working together to take a look into the role of TDs and see what can be done to improve the current way the position works.

Around this time last year, a thread was posted in the TD forum:


...that had a similar premise to this one & was another joint venture with SS. In short: the TD role has a lot of responsibilities, and finding people that can fill all of them is really difficult. The proposed solution was to create separate divisions of the TD team that'd focus on different parts of tournament policy & hosting; there was a lot of agreement in the thread at the time, but it unfortunately fell through the cracks, so our apologies for that.

From here we do intend to restructure the team in some way, likely similar to what's being outlined in the OP of this thread. We can't provide many details for now as talks between SS and TDs have just restarted, but the TD team is aiming to have this covered in the next two weeks, so they can give you an update then. In the meantime, ideas are still appreciated, but please keep the thread civil. We know that recent events have been stressful, but the TDs do want the best for the community and are human too.

Thanks for opening the discussion & we ask that you're patient with us and the TD team over the next short while. This restructuring will be high priority for all of us.
 

Finchinator

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It would make the most sense if tournament direction was more specialized.

There will always need to be some type of lead (head TD like Merrit) tying everything together, but realistically the TD team could (and probably should) be fragmented towards a group focused primarily on policy (I.e: format threads, Bo1/3 matters, activity and scheduling etiquette, and many other topics within this subforum) and a group primarily focused on hosting/logistics (organizers, hosts, and people enacting the policy the other group decides upon). There can (and probably should) be overlap between the groups, but the current configuration overworks the TD team, setting them up for failure and the community up for frustration, disconnects, etc.

This also allows for more people to be involved at a micro level, meaning we can have greater representation of communities (such as RBY) for more precise and appropriate handling of situations, too. Representation is huge as it allows for specific situations to be decided with greater insight and precision. This overarching idea was my vision, which other TDs supported, last December.
Around this time last year, a thread was posted in the TD forum:
but it unfortunately fell through the cracks
A year+ ago when I was a TD of decent tenure, I grew frustrated with dynamic surrounding the position and our team. I wasn’t mad at the people so much as I was at our situation. We were overworked and while I never had a situation like the RBY one recently, it still wasn’t a walk in the park. (Side note: I feel a great deal of sympathy for every current TD. You can say whatever you want about their placement or competency and I have no interest in arguing that, but they are still all people behind the screen). We deserved better, the community deserved better, and so on. Infrastructure cracks formed and some can argue they reared their ugly heads recently at one point or another.

Trying to find a way to get more people involved (especially at the hosting and logistics levels) so that the core of the team could focus more on hard-hitting policy topics and people could be more appropriately placed within their areas of expertise, I made a thread in an area all TDs and SS have access to. Nothing hit the public at that point because nothing was close to official or decided, but what Lily posted was the thread that had the beginning of the vision. I also want to note that I don’t deserve full credit or recognition — this isn’t about that, others very much played a role, and it’s more about things just being better for everyone.

Some progress was made initially and a lot of people seemed open minded/excited, but ultimately SPL came in January and between the PR and the season itself, it was understood that this would be deprioritized. I didn’t have time and I was already having a really hard time IRL, so taking on extra things that weren’t as time sensitive didn’t make sense for me (or numerous others on our team, which already had a lot of turnover around then).

By the time SPL ended and the dust had settled from the fallout, I already knew my time as a TD was mostly over as I no longer enjoyed my time with the team, shifting my remaining focuses to running Grand Slam and the creation of Smogon Masters. Once those things were handled, I stepped away entirely and the topic did not get attention during my last stretch on the team. I am not sorry for abandoning it as I did what was best for myself, but I implore upper staff and the TD team to keep going.

Smogon has so many talented and motivated contributors. If they’re used properly and we configure things optimally, everyone can have a better experience.
 

imperfectluck

Banned deucer.
So I was a TD 10+ years ago and maybe hosted a few tournaments or approved/denied a few tournament submissions, maybe made some signup brackets and prodded some people for inactivity.

I didn't even host for the bigger tournaments cause I was playing in them myself, I hear there's a bracket maker now?

If anyone is curious what it was like 10+ years ago (hint: much easier) feel free to ask me any questions

PS: it's a little scary to be posting here when everyone else in this thread has like ten million badges lol
 

Oglemi

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I like the ideas proposed by Amaranth in the OP; these are things that still hold true even from when I was a TD a decade ago. The issue has always been the role requires both talkers and doers, with the head TD ideally being someone capable of being both. Defining the role into two distinct positions is something that was always loosely done, as part of a team you always play to your strengths once you get to know your teammates. I don't think the community at large necessarily needs to be privy as to who is a TO and who is a TD on the team should this proposal go through (the staff role should come with the same weight in regards to decisions (otherwise you'll get shit like "oh you're just a TO, I'm not gonna take your call on this bring in a TD")), but onboarding people for those specific positions and running the team in that way is probably a step in the right direction. I don't have an opinion on the council idea, councils always seem like a better idea than they are in practice to me, especially when you have a revolving door of people coming and going in activity and relevancy, but it's a sound idea either way.

One of the major problems is that the position of the TD has always been too much work, even when you're only responsible for 1 of the major tournaments in the year, that tournament is incredibly taxing mentally and logistically (re: work-life balance). You're also suddenly responsible for much more than what I think some people realize; you're now a rules historian, rules interpreter, community negotiator, scheduling mediator, good cop and bad cop, cheating investigator, interrogator, bracket maker, policy dictation, and the list goes on. And then, when problems do arise in the tournament you're running, it can feel like you're alone in the world because more than half the team is playing in said tournament and therefore potentially are conflicts of interest, or you get situations like the following from the OP:

I do think policy decisions need a reform. They have needed a reform for a long time. I think the Smogtours community as a whole would be shocked to see how little discussion was behind many huge policy decisions that were taken. This is a problem the team suffered during my time, but I think it became most evident any time I searched back through the server for reasoning behind decisions that were taken before I was there. The answer is: stunningly often, one person within the team has a strong opinion, they push for that opinion, everyone else generally shrugs and says "yep that sounds good you take charge of that I'll continue on with my day", which is extremely reasonable given that they are volunteers, but it is not an effective way of making good policy decisions. It never has been, and it continues not to be.
Which made me lol because ya, that hasn't changed.

I'm also gonna disagree with Tony a little bit on the "well the right decision was made in the end anyway." Like, yes, but it shouldn't be at the cost of people literally calling for your resignation, especially one where it was apparently a unanimous decision among the staff, (and ostensibly not a bad decision in a vacuum). The fact that the thread was made here and not in IS is honestly of little difference aside from optics. Maybe it is a pipe dream to prevent "bad" decisions from going through, but there are definitely some things to still try to as evidenced by the OP. Honestly anything is worth a try; the position hasn't been "restructured" in any meaningful way in over a decade, and with the size of some of our tournaments, an ever expanding playerbase, and waning interest in taking up the mantle, it's probably time that a change was made regardless of any recent decisions affecting this or the other thread.

However, one thing that I do want to bring up to the current TD team, as words of wisdom from someone that's been there, done that, is to highlight that part of the role too as a TD is community engagement. The fact that I didn't see any of the TDs participate in the other thread (or this one for that matter) is more than a little concerning. Whether you have strong feelings about the actual decisions being made, you should have a vested interest when you have members from the community figuratively shitting on you, if not for yourself but for your teammates. Something from the RBY thread made your blood boil, because it sure as fuck made mine. Silence is not the high road, it's the path of least resistance. Don't let people take your position for granted, make it known what you feel.
 

teal6

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The TD team need a community liaison that isn't directly responsible for decision making to interface with the broader playerbase. And (I know this will be taken as a joke, but it isn't meant to be one) it should be me.

It is not the easiest task in the world to be Generally Cool with most segments of our tournament community and we have also sort of ran into a cul-de-sac where we need Host TDs that are happy to do admin work and be available that might not have the comfort level required (for now, at least) to directly talk to and, in some cases, argue with, the broader playerbase.
 

Ren

fuck it if i cant have him
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so im obviously not involved directly in this community but i've been friends w/ two-three people who have filled the td role and i've seen them get insanely burned out and upset. so this is something i feel sorta passionate about lol

feel like something that isn't brought up enough in this thread is how easy it is to replace someone who's responsible for a lot less if they end up doing problematic shit while also making it a lot easier to add a new person to the team as they'd be responsible for a lot less. would also allow for people to choose what they wanna be responsible for -- nothing that says everyone on every team has to be separate. anyone who plays this game knows the closest thing there is to an unstoppable force is someone with too much time on their hands, and if they want to use that time to contribute to all aspects of tournaments i don't really see an issue with that (although personally even with all the time in the world you couldn't pay me to deal with some of the people on this website).

i just think that restructuring it so there's smaller, more moving parts is probably a net benefit. td rn is probably one of the most thankless positions on this website and it's super hard to expect constant professionalism for such a public facing volunteer role that's responsible for what pretty much is the competitive backbone of this website and everything that comes with it. i can name plenty of instances where i've seen a td act in a way that they (sometimes justifiably, more often unjustifiably) got flamed for and very few people want to deal with that possibility while also filling in all the responsibilities the role currently entails.

i feel as if splitting teams boosts potential candidate quality by virtue of making the role more approachable, efficiency when it comes to restructuring and probably makes everything so much less stressful for both the community and the people on the team. this site is supposed to be fun, not tiring - and this imo goes doubly for the people in the td role as they do so much for the website for so little. making this change would be so good for them and i think they deserve more control over their responsibilities, it's only beneficial for the site

i'm glad to see users in positions of authority also being in favor of this change. makes me feel good about the direction this website is going
 

Melt Gibson

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I think that the restructuring of the TD team in a way similar to what's outlined in OP is a great idea. I personally don't have a ton of experience as far as organizing tournaments - just a few unofficial forum tours here or there - but what I do know is that running a tournament takes a fair bit of work if you want to keep things moving along. Therefore, I think that it makes perfect sense to add as many qualified people as we can to the TD team (within reason) and restructure it so that each member has less overall responsibility.

Adding representatives for each meta is also something that I'm a huge advocate for and quite honestly am surprised hasn't been done already. If the RBY situation recently has shown us anything, it's that open and productive discussion between the people making tournament policy and the people playing in the tours is absolutely required. Yes, the right decision was made in the end, but we wouldn't have had to go through three entire threads of debate over it right before SPL if the tours team had just talked to the RBY community about it.

I'd also like to make a note of Oglemi's point about TDs and community engagement and how it specifically relates to lessening the amount of responsibility that we're giving people. While being able to go up to bat for your decisions is part of being in a leadership position, I also can't exactly blame someone for not wanting to wade into an environment like the threads about RBY recently. Speaking as someone who thought that decision was the blunder of the year and that the TDs definitely did deserve an earful, it gets to a certain point where you've heard how badly you've fucked up about a billion times, and you're certainly not in the mood to go out there, rustle up the crowd's attention, and then get bashed some more. I don't think that saying nothing was the right decision, but I am saying I can see where it came from. They're all human and at the end of the day, even if they did botch the job, sometimes that happens. And this is where my point comes in: Less individual responsibility on each member of the team means that they feel less pressure when they come out to make a statement about a situation that's going on. Not being in a do-or-die situation where you and a cabal of a few others are entirely responsible for managing things means that you'll feel a lot less shame and exhaustion when you inevitably slip and fuck up. This means that they can stop using less corporate PR language too! Community feels more engaged, TD team is less stressed, therefore SHOULD drop the ball less often, everyone wins.
 

chimp

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Yes yes reform the way policy decisions are made, very cool and epic indeed

However, I am not sure I see how OP’s proposal would make things easier for the current TD team? You said it yourself that the team barely commits any time to policy decisions in the first place. Stripping a group of overworked volunteers of a task they don’t already really prioritize still leaves you with a group of overworked volunteers.

I say that as a mod of a different group of overworked volunteers (OU QC)… this seems akin to like, if someone told me that they would create a team to decide the EVs spreads for all the sets needed for OU analyses…. Great, but I still have like 98% of the work to do still. (Writing, quality checking, uploading, etc…)

That said perhaps I am totally wrong. Seems like previous members of the TD team think it would help and it seems like a good start. Idk, I just dont see this change suddenly giving us an epic influx of people who feel like being a TD. Feel free to prove me wrong on that, though- just my two cents.
 
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Irpachuza

You didn't get this far by giving up, did you?
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However, I am not sure I see how OP’s proposal would make things easier for the current TD team? You said it yourself that the team barely commits any time to policy decisions in the first place. Stripping a group of overworked volunteers of a task they don’t already really prioritize still leaves you with a group of overworked volunteers.

I say that as a mod of a different group of overworked volunteers (OU QC)… this seems akin to like, if someone told me that they would create a team to decide the EVs spreads for all the sets needed for OU analyses…. Great, but I still have like 98% of the work to do still. (Writing, quality checking, uploading, etc…)
1. The second paragraph is a false equivalence, policy discussions are obviously more than 2% of the work, specially the mental work. Hosting takes a lot of time but it doesn't entail heavy discussions daily; deciding if SPL will have VGC, or what timezones will be included on official live tours do. Picking EVs for a set is hardly similar in stress and time.
2. With that in mind, remember the important concept of mental load. You might not be "in charge" of making something happen, but if you still have certain responsibility in supervising that said activity happens, or even if you have your work environment loaded by heavy discussions that affect your own job position, then that activity will still affect negatively your own work experience, and therefore your performance. If there is a path to relieve the current overworked team from the responsibility of getting something done, it's better to do so, even if they weren't really paying full attention to it.
 
I strongly considered making no further contribution to these discussions; my concerns seem to have been satisfactorily addressed and I didn’t want to kick anyone while they were down, so I didn’t believe I had anything left that warranted being said. With further consideration, as someone who vocally has been calling for resignations, I feel I owe at least some clarification on my current stance to the people I have been declaring should be ousted.

To start with, I didn’t make those statements lightly. I understand the commitment it takes to reach and maintain a position like that, and the pride that can be instilled from that achievement. Stripping that away is no insignificant matter. In this case, though I did outline early on in the prior thread why I felt calls for resignation had ground to stand on, I was willing to see what the TDs would do before joining in on those calls myself. If an earnest mistake had been made and was as earnestly rectified, I would have been somewhat leery moving forward but ultimately have forgiven the (serious) lapse in judgment.

What instead occurred was a doubling-down, a non-answer that only served to reiterate the unconvincing points of the initial announcement and ignore legitimate grievances in the thread. At this point, I concluded that the TD team had failed their executive function due to notions that were arbitrary both in conception and execution. I thus became convinced that no change would occur without a corresponding change in leadership, for no discourse was being courted by those making the decisions. I began to openly call for resignations, first in my typical shithead fashion, and then afterward with attempts at measured response. If I was overzealous in seeking resignations at this stage, then I would thereafter be thoroughly vindicated by what came next.

I called the “gentleman’s agreement” ruling the most absurd verdict I have ever seen on this site. That statement might have been hyperbolic, but only by the slimmest of margins; it would be hard to argue that it’s not in at least the top five. In addition to the logistical flaws I highlighted and the disastrous optics of it all, others noted that the ruling was completely contradictory with the TDs’ most prominent aim in their initial ruling—they were creating an unprecedented asymmetry to “fix” an enshrined and supported asymmetry. It’s at this point that sympathy for the TDs becomes difficult to maintain, because it’s nearly impossible to argue in good faith that this decision was created in the interest of strong and serviceable policy, rather than a need to maintain the last word—there is no world where doubling down again in this fashion was preferable to reverting an abrupt and uncalled for ruling and opening the floor to discussion at a later date.

I am of two minds at present. On the one hand, the ongoing reformations to the TD role are more than I expected to gain from all this, so a part of me is content to step back and allow the process play out with no further involvement. In particular, if this egregious mistake was precipitated by systemic failings, especially stress and overwork, then the culpability of the TDs could plausibly be viewed as lessened enough to merit leniency. On the other, I thoroughly disagree with Tony’s assessment that “all’s well that ends well”. This incident has created a gaping breach in trust for the TD team, and one that even a procedural reform will not be enough to remedy on its own. The TD team, if they wish to retain their roles without this shadow perpetually looming over them, must be willing to work to rebuild the public’s faith in not just the institution, but each of them individually as actors within it.

For this reason I recommend as much transparency on the issue as possible. I haven’t always agreed with Oglemi in the past, but he gives excellent advice in this thread that is well worth listening to. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s presently difficult to extend good faith assumptions to the TD team, as the sum of available evidence speaks poorly of their collective decision-making. As for the unavailable details such as logs of the discussions that led to all this, the longer they are withheld, the more likely it seems that they are damning rather than exculpatory. I understand that internal affairs might be limiting what the TDs can share at this time, but it’s still my recommendation that you each try to individually engage with the public in how this event played out and where to move forward from it, especially through a lens of personal accountability—at the very least, I can’t imagine the effort leaving you in a worse-off position than you’re in now.

As for my personal opinion, I still believe that resignations are due, if not solely as a matter of responsibility, then to lessen the already weighty baggage the TD team is struggling under. I don’t apologize for the bluntness with which I’ve spoken, but I also don’t have any interest in carrying ill will forward. The TDs have the opportunity to reestablish their worthiness, and I’d like for them to have that chance if they’re willing to strive for it. It’s idyllic, but a compromise of “we get a better working system and no one loses their volunteer jobs” certainly sounds agreeable to me—it’s just a matter if the people who are actually relevant in this conversation are on the same wavelength.
 

Nyx

Anyways - so then I cursed her.
is a Site Content Manageris a Programmeris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
The TD team need a community liaison that isn't directly responsible for decision making to interface with the broader playerbase. And (I know this will be taken as a joke, but it isn't meant to be one) it should be me.

It is not the easiest task in the world to be Generally Cool with most segments of our tournament community and we have also sort of ran into a cul-de-sac where we need Host TDs that are happy to do admin work and be available that might not have the comfort level required (for now, at least) to directly talk to and, in some cases, argue with, the broader playerbase.
Not gonna comment on the rest of this thread but jokes aside, having a dedicated member of the TD team for handling the PR side of matters could help. Very rarely are the best hosts/decision makers also the best public speakers and it could genuinely benefit the tours community. As far as I understand, this is a duty that usually falls on the Head TD, but I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a bad idea to introduce, having someone who’s willing and able to communicate with the public seems worthwhile.

I’ve no vested interest in how the TD role itself should be reformed (if at all), but having more public clarity always seems like a net positive.

EDIT: Small comment on the rest of this thread, regardless of what happens to the TD role, I believe it to be in everyone's best interest that we don't end up with too many chefs in the kitchen so to speak. Having too many people in the TD role/Amaranth's proposed council/whatever ends up happening will lead to worse quality decisions overall as it'll be harder and harder to find a common consensus between members of the team. Not sure how many people is too many but
About ~5 people making up a head council, then something like (4 CGOU reps, 1 rep for each SCL tier, 1 rep for each oldgen OU)
this is still 5+4+7+8, 20 people at a minimum, while representing everyone is ideal in a perfect world, you'll end up with too many voices with differing opinions and no way to find a common ground. Not sure where or how I'd draw the line though but 20 people (plus any others as mentioned further in the post) does feel excessive.
 
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Eledyr

Le vilain petit Wooloo
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Translations Leader
I will back up what I told in the post Amaranth quoted—creating a separate badge / a separate category among the TD team for tournament hosts specifically would be useful, especially to relief the sheer amount of work hosts have with officials. I think specializing the people among the TD team will help it, as mentioned by other people in the thread not every TD can singlehandedly be good at tournament hosting, be an active contributor at policies, AND be a good orator to communicate with the playerbase.

Speaking of which, it's also important to notice the situation the TD team faced with the RBY case is something that was expected to happen—simply because it takes time for a decision to be made, so firstly the decision of bo3 vs bo1 shouldn't have been a thing at all so close from the sign-ups. That was one of the major error the TD team did in my opinion, and even though there were other mistakes in the process, to take time for a decision is a mandatory step which was taken each time it was possible, and the TD team can't be blamed for it.

Meanwhile, to answer the problem of too much work, wouldn't it be better for the TD team to simply... Expand? I know it may sound trivial, but if the problem is that the TD team is burned out, maybe having more members might help mitigate the feeling of overwork. It will definitely not solve everything at once, but it may at least be productive to some extent.
 
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Merritt

no comment
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Head TD
The restructuring of the TD team is now live. For details, please read the announcement post.

A quick summary - the TD team is being split into three sections, one for community management, one for running tournaments, and one for policy decisions. We're going to be expanding the team accordingly for each section - if you're interested there's an updated td application at the bottom of the post (it's also here) - and are undergoing active recruitment. There's also a few new td noms that should be going up within the hour.

This has been an ongoing process, and I want to thank the people who have provided feedback to me through this over the past couple weeks.
 
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