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Poll poll

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Mod Ash

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Poll poll


Ever since Old School RuneScape re-emerged from the mists of time, we've been running polls to let you tell us how the game should - or shouldn't - change. Now we've acquired some new features under the hood that allow us, for the first time, to offer updates to the poll system itself. In particular, we'd like to offer you a menu for voting within the game.

The plan is to list a few ways that in-game polls could work. We're running a survey to see how you feel about these options.

Once it's finished, we'll use the results to write a more detailed blog of our plans, and offer it to you in a formal poll, where you'll get the chance to vote Yes or No on whether we should proceed.

Accessible polls

At the moment, our polls are almost completely hidden! Although we mention them in our newsposts and dev blogs, they're very easily missed. Furthermore, many players prefer bookmarking the game worlds directly or using a client so - assuming they even know there's a poll running - it can be quite laborious navigating to the poll page to log in and vote.

We'd hope that voting in polls can be a far less frustrating experience for you once there's the option of doing it within the game itself.

The existing message of the week can be used to let everyone know when a poll's running without otherwise disrupting your 'scaping. The in-game polls shouldn't be intrusive.

We'd be able to show old poll results within the game too, so you'd be able to browse the poll archive without needing to navigate the website.

Clearer polls

It won't have escaped your notice that the poll form is quite bare-bones. The website's poll system doesn't support browser links, or illustrations, or even text formatting. The dense blocks of text are hard to read, and it's been a real pain when we've been polling graphical updates to items without any convenient way for you to see what the item looks like!

Within the game, we've now got the ability to post clickable browser links. On an in-game poll form, this means we could provide convenient links to extracts from the dev blogs, or to illustrations, or whatever is needed to help people see what they're voting on.

Poll requirements

The requirement to vote in polls is currently a skill total of 280 on a member account. The website poll system knows your membership status, and it knows your skill total, but it doesn't know anything else. Players have often suggested that we change the requirements to include other data; suggestions included combinations of skill total, quest points, recent in-game time, variety of items in the bank, and more besides. However we've always had to say no, since the website didn't support any of these things. But the game does.

If we were to launch in-game polls, and players were then willing for us to remove the website poll system, it would become possible to apply requirements like this sort of thing to the in-game poll menu. Naturally we wouldn't go changing the requirements unless you asked us to, but at the moment we can't even offer you the option.


In-game... somewhere!

There are quite a few ways we could offer in-game polls...

  • Polling booths in towns
    We could add polling stations to major towns, maybe putting them in places like the centres of Varrock and Falador, maybe decorated with official-looking flags, or maybe discreetly blended into the scenery.

  • Polling booths in banks
    An alternative would be to put polling booths in bank buildings. Most people visit banks often enough that they'd be able to vote without disrupting their 'scaping.

  • Town Criers
    A few towns have Town Criers wandering around. On a day-to-day basis, players generally don't need to use them for anything. If you didn't want additional scenery to be added for the in-game polls, we could put the poll menu options on the Town Criers themselves.

  • Varrock Herald...
    One of the more useless items in RuneScape is the Varrock Herald, a newspaper with no news. We could turn that into an item that opens the poll menu. That way, if you kept one in your bank, you could get it out to use when you want to vote. So long as you haven't already filled up all the new bankspace we gave you this summer, anyway.
     

  • ... or some other item
    If in-game polls were to be accessed via an item, it wouldn't necessarily have to be the Varrock Herald. We could create some new item, maybe calling it the Orb of Suffrage, which would offer the poll menu instead.

  • New buttons
    If we put the poll menu on a piece of scenery or a Town Crier, you'd have to go there to vote. If we put the poll menu on an item, you'd maybe end up using a bank space to store the item. It might be more convenient for you if we simply added a button to the game that you could click without having to go to a specific place. We could even make it disappear or grey itself out after you've voted.
    There's a bit of space on the gameframe by the minimap, or we could shrink the Report Abuse button to get some space there, or we could add it to a side-panel such as the Options panel.

While we'd have ideally liked to let you vote via a lobby screen, after entering your password but before you appear in the game world, Old School RuneScape hasn't got a lobby system and we're not likely to be able to offer one in the near future.

What happens now?

Use the survey tell us how you feel about in-game voting, and how you might like it to work. The survey will run until next week.

We'll use the results to write a more detailed blog of our plans. Then we'll offer it to you in a formal poll, where you'll get the chance to vote Yes or No on whether we should proceed.

Mods Alfred, Ash, John C, Mat K, Reach, Ronan & Weath
The Old School Team

28-Jul-2014 14:11:40

Mod Ash

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Bowjob said:
There still needs to be an option to not select either option if it doesn't concern you in the poll

If it doesn't concern you because you don't want in-game polls to happen at all, I recommend you go with "I don't like it" for all the options. And, of course, if this gets to the formal 75%-or-bust poll, you'll get to vote No then.

If it doesn't concern you because you honestly don't mind what happens, I recommend you go with "I'd accept it" for all the options.

28-Jul-2014 14:26:30

Mod Ash

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Vwx said:
With the new poll there is now 3 options...
Since the 75% still stands will that mean that option 1 & 2 are now combined?

This is just an informal survey to see how people feel.
I'll be using the results to guide me when I write a more detailed blog, but there's no threshold for "pass" or "fail" here.

The 75% rule does apply to the formal Yes/No polls. And when I've written the more detailed blog, you'll get to vote Yes/No on it.

Basically, I had no idea whether people would be more supportive of a new button or of a new bit of scenery, so I thought I'd ask first. :)

28-Jul-2014 14:35:37 - Last edited on 28-Jul-2014 14:36:31 by Mod Ash

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Saxo said:
the 75% poll will come later, the current survey is just to give Ash feedback on how it should be polled on a larger scale

I'm mildly amused to see that this needs to be explained, considering it's pretty much written twice in the blog, and again at the top of the poll form itself :)

Saxo said:
^ With in game polls they can make it so you can skip questions if people want that.

If we offered Yes / No / Abstain, I'd want the 75% calculation to be based off the Yes/No calculations, ignoring all the Abstain votes.
The website poll system doesn't offer that feature.
But if the polls were in-game, I can code the interface to show it.

28-Jul-2014 14:39:18

Mod Ash

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Saxo said:
Btw Ash if the in game polls come out will there be a poll history still? RS3 doesn't have one but I like that we do on the website so I'd want that to be carried over.

Yes, there will.
Mod Ash said:
We'd be able to show old poll results within the game too, so you'd be able to browse the poll archive without needing to navigate the website.

28-Jul-2014 14:40:47

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Joy said:
I will add my 2 pennies to this thread again...

I had a read through your comments on the first page.

If in-game polls happen - and I reckon they will, even if there's support for keeping the website poll form available too - I think they'll be a good opportunity to fix some of the problems.

By posting links in the questions to relevant bits of the blogs, we can (hopefully) get more people to understand what they're voting about. Plus we could link to pictures, etc.

We may even be able to let people go back to change their votes while the poll's still open. I'm not guaranteeing that for now, but I'm hoping it'll prove possible. That'd solve the frequent complaints from people who change their opinions but can't do anything about it. (Of course, we might also want to poll that before enabling it.)

If the 75% threshold is coming up for debate, I think it'd warrant its own blog and a much wider consultation, so I'm not going to try addressing it here.

Joy said:
Lately, I have noticed every content piece be overly hyped in an attempt to create a interest among the community. Dev Blogs, Hyped up twitter, Twitch streams and Q&A's, multiple Surveys and Polls! This may be because of how harsh we bash every piece of content.

I wouldn't call it "overly hyped".

We run surveys and polls to find out what we should be working on.
We write blogs to tell you what we're doing.
We run Q&As to answer questions about what we did, and what we're doing next.

This isn't hype. This is the bare minimum required to operate a community-driven game.

28-Jul-2014 15:20:31 - Last edited on 28-Jul-2014 15:21:13 by Mod Ash

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FriskyDingo said:
Disgusting... I'm appalled that you've even listened to the ideas of the group of players in this game who want more restrictions on voting because they somehow believe it will lead to certain poll questions going in their favor.
Disgusting.

Mmhmm. If you make a list of all the players whose opinions we can listen to, do post it. Then all the other customers will know their opinions don't matter, so they can save themselves the hassle of posting.

Meanwhile, we have a 280 skill total requirement on the polls.
Maybe, if we had more flexibility about what the requirements were, we could remove the skill total requirement altogether, and replace it with a check for who's been spending time playing OSRS. Which is a lot closer to what you described in your post, where everyone who plays OSRS gets to vote, regardless of whether they get their levels up.
Or maybe you feel that the 280 requirement is perfect, and it's disgusting that I'd even be willing to admit I'd heard an alternative suggestion.

LV2 said:
Would we be able to possibly feature more polls with this, rather than having a large dev blog for small QOL updates that often don't get any explanation in the dev blog.

I assume we'd have the polling booths based on the polls current outcome, and if they had something to show that there were polls we hadn't voted on yet - or when we login it tells us there are new polls for us to vote on.

I think we'll still be locked to 1 poll running at a time. However, there's no rule saying they have to be very long ones with lots of questions. It's just a sight easier for us to coordinate polls - and to set aside some dev-time for offering bigger projects - if we don't have the polls running non-stop into each other.

There'll definitely be something to tell a player "There's a poll open in which you have not voted". I'd initially been thinking of using the MOTW for this, since it seldom shows anything very important. But we can do other things as well, or instead. If it's a poll booth, I'd be tempted to make it light up somehow for players who need to vote.

The one thing I'd like to avoid is a notification that looks like a pop-up advert.

28-Jul-2014 18:32:01 - Last edited on 28-Jul-2014 18:42:37 by Mod Ash

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Bhaskar said:
If in game poll passes a poll at 75%, when would it come out?

Not sure. I gather the RS3 team were working on this sort of thing for weeks, going back and forth to the Engine team to get stuff tweaked. But it should be much easier for us - most of the tech issues got ironed out by the RS3 team.

Maybe 2-3 weeks after it's had its 75%-or-bust poll, depending on how much other stuff I'm busy doing first.

28-Jul-2014 18:49:03

Mod Ash

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FriskyDingo said:
Any OSRS account (meaning they've created their profile and gone through tutorial island) older than 3 months can vote. Similar to being 18 to vote (in USA atleast), that way you're getting people who've played the game for a good amount of time and not forcing anyone into getting a 280 total level.

The web team's previously told us they can't check account creation dates or login history. Just the skill total, and your F2P/member status.

In the blog, I've proposed that if we had in-game polls, we'd potentially be able to check other things instead. Account creation date currently isn't one of them, but it's something we'd like to get enabled anyway (because many people would like to know their account ages) so we could use it to run the checks you're describing, and then remove the 280 skill total requirement.

(Perhaps when you called the blog "disgusting" you were under the impression that we would obviously change the requirements upwards. But we'd need the exact same flexibility to be able to change them downwards.)

Now, I suspect there'll be a lot of people who'd oppose such a change, or who'd prefer us to change it in a different direction altogether.

We've actually got no plans whatsoever, at the moment, and unless there's a strong consensus about changing the poll rules, I'd be more inclined to leave them alone.

28-Jul-2014 19:06:49 - Last edited on 28-Jul-2014 19:08:24 by Mod Ash

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Thanks :)

Paladine said:
Anyway, I really like the poll booths. Always nice to have something 'real', sort of like GE NPCs in RS3. They give the GE an authentic feel. But as people are on the go, I think bank pollers would be the best idea.

It looks, so far, like the bank thing will be the most popular.

28-Jul-2014 19:29:17

Mod Ash

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DemonSlongHo said:
i still wanna know what happened to our trading soloution!?! did it not pass?? are you working on it?!?

A simple trading post passed, yes. It'll need a fair bit of work from the Engine team, who are currently busy on other projects. When they've given us their side of the job, we'll have a better idea of when we can expect to finish our side of the job.

Kyler Moss said:
The only concern I have with this is that people who don't read the dev blogs will be voting on issues. If their not voting on the website, then its more than likely their not on the forums reading in-depth.

Could be, yeah. On the other hand, from the conversations we've seen on the forums, that's been happening already. There's currently no way for us to post links from the poll webpages to the dev blogs to encourage people to read the blogs, whereas if we can get a poll form inside the game applet, we'll be able to post links. So it might cut both ways.

Shhakezula1 said:
This is called Old School Runescape for a reason right? I think we should leave as many aspects of it the way they originally were, the more in-game features we add in every poll the more it'll all be cluttered up like RS3 is...

I don't recall there being guaranteed content polls every few weeks back in 2007. In fact most of the polls in the early days were more like trivia surveys - there'd have been no use for in-game polls back then. So I don't agree that we should avoid in-game polls now just because they didn't exist in 2007; it's not like we're going to stop doing polled updates just because the community wasn't consulted in 2007.

Darkhemming said:
I'm so glad you didn't post a question offering to lower the percent needed to pass - I feel that 75% is already too low for changes to the game to be made.

It's a high-profile topic... but not one for this blog :)

30-Jul-2014 21:53:09

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Kyle 2007 said:
I meant with you guys, a discussion that could actually change the number.

Just on principle, I wouldn't go into a discussion with you (or any individual player) and come out with a decision about changing the number. No matter how strongly you (or that individual player) argued their case, I'd expect more people to be consulted before we rewrote the poll rules to such an extent.

31-Jul-2014 19:43:09

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Kyle 2007 said:
Oh no I didn't mean based on a discussion with just me or another player, I meant a thread dedicated to it much like Reach's corp thread. That's all I was wondering about.

Phew!
I reckon it's inevitable.

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Never thought about voters only being 10%! Wonder how polls would turn out with incentives. Vote points offering a cosmetic rewards wouldn't be awful imo.
Nice idea. I'd support.
Maybe even include recolours like the whip recolour that failed the poll. I think people would be more accepting to say yes to it if it was through something accessible by all (a poll system) rather than a dead minigame that you're gonna struggle to get a game going.

It'd certainly be possible. That said, if someone can't be bothered to vote, and is just ticking boxes to get a reward, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

01-Aug-2014 12:08:18 - Last edited on 01-Aug-2014 12:08:31 by Mod Ash

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Saxo said:
I agree it's not good if people just vote for whatever without really reading the questions just to get some rewards, but then on the other hand it would get more people to vote who will actually read the questions and think about it before voting and it's no different to people who just vote for whatever on some questions because they have to as it is.

Getting the polls into the game will hopefully encourage people to use them. If more turns out to be required, we can offer it in a poll and launch it then, but I'm not inclined to hold up the in-game poll project while we design a new reward system to be launched alongside it.

There's an ongoing debate about whether polls should be more restricted than they currently are, or less restricted, or restricted differently, etc. I think poll incentives will run into a lot of opposition from the - fairly numerous - players who argue in favour of more restrictions.

01-Aug-2014 12:23:57 - Last edited on 01-Aug-2014 12:24:19 by Mod Ash

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As long as people are able to vote through the website, we can only use requirements that the website understands. That's skill total and membership. Hence the current requirement for members with 280 skill total.

If we stopped letting people vote through the website, we'd be able to use the game's superior access to your data to write different requirements like Saxo's describing.

However, looking at the current results of the survey, a lot of people would prefer us to keep the website voting form available. Their opinions may change in future, but for now we should assume that the voting requirement is still going to be a skill total threshold.

01-Aug-2014 13:12:30

Mod Ash

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I've asked Mod Ronan to list in-game polls on the next poll, Poll 23. He's blogging about it now.

Based on the results of the survey so far, it looks like poll booths are the most popular way to offer the poll menus in-game. I'm proposing we put them in cities and towns, generally near the banks, somewhere accessible but not too obtrusive so they don't clutter up the game world.

The survey's staying open for the weekend, and it's possible that suddenly there'll be a rush of voters who all want it put on the Varrock Herald instead. (Unlikely, but possible.) Anyway, Poll 23 just exists as a blog so far, and won't be open for voting until next week. If this survey's showing radically different results by then, we'll have time to change Poll 23 before voting begins.

Hugopluks13 said:
^ Maybe very specific questions where you'd really like additional voting requirements could be in-game only, with everything else being polled on the website as well?

The technology would support that, although people might find it a bit harder to keep track of what's being polled and where they need to go to vote. And, indeed, there might well be some controversy about what questions have what requirements!

01-Aug-2014 17:08:52

Mod Ash

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Thanks, everyone. It looks like the best way to offer in-game polls will be via poll booths, so we don't clutter up your menus with new buttons.
We'll move ahead with the formal 75%-or-bust poll momentarily.

06-Aug-2014 10:43:05

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