Monday, 9 August 2010

Emperor's Clothes

One of the main problems with the ETC is the opacity of the decision making process.

As mentioned yesterday the official website, Rankings HQ, for the tournament, singularly failed in it's declared task of providing live scores, or indeed any information.

But don't worry, because today there was an announcement that far from failing in it's task - they had actually succeeded, because their primary role at the event all along was to provide an historical record.

Which is frankly bizarre. Given that Ranking HQ exists to do this anyway, and no doubt would have fed the ETC results into it's database - unless we are expected to believe that garage players orgnising tournaments with friends, are on the database, but they were not going to enter the ETC result without official recognition.

Apologists for Ranking HQ point out that had the tournament organisers changed to using Overlord then the results issue would have been sorted (ignoring that RHQ only require the results in a spreadsheet format, and don't require the use of their Overlord product).

Which maybe true, except as was pointed out in another discussion - that for no apparent reason was locked (with the ominous warning that constructive criticism only would be accepted - more on that in a while) - there exist other software systems that are free and widely used, and appear to have been used in the tournament.

The issue that the apologists, for the lack of coverage, overlook - even allowing for there being no explaination of what measures RHQ had put in place to provide the coverage they claimed they would - is that by having an official website discourages enthusiastic amateurs from covering the event.

Without two rules judges and some German enthusiasts deciding to ignore the official channels no one outside the hall would have had a clue what was going on.

The response of the ETC Chairman?

"There are advantages and disadvantages to having been as loosely organized as the ETC has been and still is. It is not a huge enterprise with lots and lots of people attached, it is a relatively small number of people that make a huge effort for everyone else. I think that is very important to remember when there are bumps in the road and there has been and will be in the future. You can rest assured that it will be evaluated though, both by the ETC Chairmen, likely the Captains and undoubtedly RHQ itself. In many ways it is still a learning experience for all the parties involved, and if you stop and take a look at the bigger picture just have a quick think about how far we have come with what is a community event in just five years :D

The real naivety, as far as I see it, is expecting the ETC to be more than it is. Having said that critique is more than welcome, constructive critique obviously preferred. And we are not naive enough to expect all critique to be constructive so we have learnt to ignore the non-constructive part of the posts and take what we can use, and do with it what we can with the limited resources (human and financial) available"

Back to the weasel words about constructive criticism.

But more surprising is the idea that people expect the ETC to be more than it is.

Hang on - five years, or so, ago it didn't exist - and now suddenly hundreds of people are coming from all around the world to take part. That's a pretty remarkable achievement. All of it done on a non-profit making basis by people not seeking financial gain.

Suddenly commerical interests become involved and the whole thing falls apart.

And while it is true that a small number of people may be doing all the hard work, it doesn't give them a free pass when things go wrong. And they also have to recognise that unless they can excite a wider public then an event that is growing, is going to go the way of all flesh. And it would also be interesting to know what efforts had been made to expand this limited pool of human resources? Can it really be that only those playing in the event are interested in attending? (Which seems to be the implication of making RHQ the official website and Bad Dice the official podcast)

Which is the point about the current opacity.

Yeah fine, it's all very well to ask for constructive criticism - but there is also a point when such a demand is actually a request to only hear want you want to hear.


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