Sunday, January 31, 2016

chat lobbies at world of card games

Each game now has its own Chat Lobby at World of Card Games. The lobby is a way for players to meet up, and leave messages for each other. Note: All messages are public!

To get to the Chat Lobby, click on the Menu button at the lower left corner of the game of your choice. In the screenshot below, the Menu button for Double Deck Pinochle is encircled in green. It's where the old Tutorial button used to be (tutorials are now accessed by clicking on the Menu button).
Menu button replaces the Tutorial button
When you click the Menu button, the Menu panel opens. You will see several links displayed. This next screenshot shows the Menu panel for Hearts. There's a link to the Chat Lobby, the Tutorial, a link to play with bots, one to play with people, and one to play ranked Hearts games. Currently only Hearts has ranked games, but some other games will get rankings soon.

If you want to close the Menu panel without clicking any links, click the red/white x in the upper right corner, as shown below.
Menu panel has links to Chat Lobby, Tutorial, etc
You must be a registered player, and logged in, to use the Chat Lobby. As you can see in the next screenshot, leaving a chat in the lobby is very simple. Just make sure your mouse cursor is focused in the long text input near the bottom of the page - this should happen by default. Then, type in your text, and hit the Return (or Enter) key on your keyboard.
How to use the Chat Lobby
Chat lobbies persist for 30 minutes after the last person has left them, and the lobby holds a total of 200 chat messages. Because likes and dislikes apply in lobbies, just like at regular game tables, there may be more than one lobby for your game. If you don't see the person you are looking for in the first lobby where you go, you can click the "next" link at the bottom of the screen to get to any other lobbies for that game. If there are no more, you will get an error message.

Chat lobbies are completely new, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements or additional features, or if you see any problems with them. I hope this new feature helps people more easily find each other at the site.


Anonymous said...

thumbs up

Anonymous said...

good one

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marya.
3 suggestions: 1. Leave the posts for at least 48 hours. It will be discouraging to see a blank lobby. People should have an opportunity to join a discussion even if it is a day or two after it was posted. 2. It's seems unnecessary to post "logged in" and "logged out", since the names and ratings (great idea, btw) are in view on the lobby. 3. Having too many lobbies created because of the dislikes is going to create disjointed discussions and will be confusing. I would rather the dislikes not apply to the lobby or at the very least, mute them for the person who disliked them. Constance

Anonymous said...

I went to the Hearts lobby several times today. Only once did I see a conversation and when I went back later to read it, even that was gone. Why erase it quickly?

Marya said...

Thanks for the suggestions!

1) I didn't think it would be discouraging to see a blank lobby... or at least no more discouraging than seeing hours-old posts. I'll think about this.

2) Names and ratings are not shown in the lobby once you leave. The "[name] joined" and "[name] left" messages are there to leave a trace of the person who was in the lobby but left. That way, if you are supposed to meet someone in the lobby but they just left, you can see it.

3. I will see if this becomes a problem.

Anonymous said...

It IS discouraging to see a blank lobby. That's a no-brainer. It will also, very obviously, discourage anyone from writing there knowing that you will delete what they write after a mere 30 minutes of inactivity. Any serious dialog, about strategy for example, or issues with your site, will not happen. What is the problem with seeing "old posts"? Why will anyone find it discouraging? Is it discouraging to read your BLOG because it contains old posts?

It is a good idea to have a lobby, but yours will remain virtually unused and useless until you correct this obvious flaw. Old entries should disappear only when they are replaced by new ones (and I don't mean the needless announcements about people entering and leaving).

Anonymous said...

1. It will be MUCH more discouraging seeing a blank lobby - it gives the appearance that the lobby is inactive. How many people want to be the person to start the conversation knowing that it will disappear in 30 minutes? It will only work for those who decide to meet at a certain time - but then, they may already be communicating another way.

2. I see your point about needing a logged in and out record. But it seems to clutter up the communication page. How about just having the logged in/out time stamp next to the name/rating list? It also seems cluttered with the time stamp next to each comment. I don't have any suggestions as to how to clean that up, but as a programmer, you may have workable ideas.

3. If I have disliked 5 people and 5 others have disliked me, there could conceivably be 10 in-progress lobbies I could not join.

Another thought: is not the purpose of a lobby to be a gathering place - an anteroom where discussion can take place while awaiting games or after the game conclusion? It should be where everyone begins and ends a game. If so, then the list of tables will need to be in the lobby - tables in which you have no dislikes or in which no one has disliked you - same as on the homepage. Everyone, liked and disliked, must be allowed to gather in a single foyer. Same as you have in the games, a mute button could be next to the name/rating so you don't have to communicate with that person.

Long-winded, thanks for listening - Constance

Anonymous said...

Today, I cleared a lobby message board by entering single characters repeatedly, and was banned from your site for life. I had a good reason to do this and no one was actually harmed. The only message that was not mine was one line from a player wishing to start a ranked Hearts game, a line that I did not notice and that could have been easily re-entered. You banned my IP address, then the IP address associated with my cell phone's mobile wi-fi hotspot. You lifted the ban because of the intervention of a third party.

Is it really your policy, then, to ban for life any users who engage in such mildly abusive activity? If so, you should issue a very loud warning to your members.

My opinion is that such a penalty is quite excessive, and my suggestion is that you take a cue from Yahoo's former card-playing site and impose a simple 24-hour ban from posting to the board... more fitting and less draconian, and it worked very well. If you doubt this, you could always increase the penalty for repeat offenders.

If this penalty applies only to me, something that I do consider possible as I have been very critical of certain aspects of your site (spoiled by Yahoo, I guess), please say so.

- Godzilla

"Life is too important to be taken seriously."

Anonymous said...


Marya said...

I have not banned anyone for being critical of me, or for talking about me in any way.

I do ban players who abuse the chat feature, and this includes the chat lobby. The chat lobby was put in place for people to leave messages for each other. There is no good reason to clear messages by repeatedly entering nonsense characters. Your behavior made me think that you were intending to keep attacking the chat lobby to prove some point, hence the ban.

Anyone who thinks there is something wrong with the site can report it to me. I hope everyone knows this. There is no need to demonstrate problems by causing them yourself.

Yes, bans are usually for life. I have lifted bans in the past, when there was reason to do so. I did so in this case once it was explained that you were not planning to keep doing this and were, in some strange way that I do not understand, trying to be helpful.


Anonymous said...

It is hyerbolic to say that I 'attacked' the chat lobby, and the point was not to 'demonstrate problems'. I cleared the board of messages to delete my own, as you know, and there is nothing 'strange' about it, as you also know... need I repeat our email conversation here? If you truly assumed, without reason (name one) that it was my intention to make a habit of clearing the board, which I doubt, why did you not contact me for clarification? Is it fair to penalize someone based on an assumption?

The sequence of events is suspicious. I criticize your site in the lobby. I play a game with someone who had read the criticism. I go to the site to delete my statements, thinking them, in hindsight, to be overly harsh. The player who objected to my statements then informs you of my scrolling and you immediately ban me for life from WoCG. Coincidence, that my statements were, admittedly, overly harsh? Possible, but unlikely.

In any case, my actions yesterday were essentially harmless. Yours were not, and I was not the only person harmed.

But it is your site and no one can require you to be fair or reasonable.

Marya said...

I did not know that you cleared the board to delete your own messages.

I don't think my assumptions were unreasonable.

I saw your critical comments in the lobby and I left them there.

If you had wanted them deleted, why didn't you write to me and ask me to do so? Any site admin who saw what you did would interpret it as an attack on the site, and that is what I did.

The sequence of events is suspicious

You can think whatever you want, but your suspicions are unfounded.

I will say that I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, or anyone else's. Everything I do is to help the site. I have no intentions of attacking people, and have no reason to do so.

If you wish to contact me for any reason, please do so via blog comments.

Anonymous said...

Well, since I’ve blocked your email address, as you well know unless you did not read my email yesterday, I don’t how else WOULD we communicate except here, in a lobby or during a game.

I don't think my assumptions were unreasonable. <<

Nonetheless they WERE. How do you reasonably get from “he scrolled messages off the board” to “he will ALWAYS scroll messages off the board”.

The sequence of events is suspicious<<

You can think whatever you want, but your suspicions are unfounded. <<

The same player who objected, during a game, to my criticism of your site rushes to the lobby and complains to you that I have scrolled [my criticism] off the message board. Then you immediately issue a lifetime ban against me. You say it’s a coincidence. I don’t believe that. Do you also deny that your emails have been unfriendly? That much I can document.

What would have happened if that player, or any other player, had happened upon those messages and, finding them objectionable, had scrolled them off the screen? Would you have immediately, without conversation, permanently banned them from WoCG? Of course not. Think about it and admit it, at least to yourself. Very likely, and appropriately, you would have merely told them that such behavior was considered abusive and that any further such abuse would result in a penalty.

I will say that I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, or anyone else's. <<

You did not hurt my feelings. And an apology without an admission that you made a mistake is not an apology at all.

It was wrong for you to behave as if I were a THREAT to your site, even if I do, admittedly, have a sharp tongue and a short fuse. We have a long history of conversation, dating back to June 2014. It is impossible that you do not know me better than that by now.

You intended to harm me yesterday, to strike back at someone whose words offended you. Admit it.

Apologize for THAT, if you have it in you, not for how you imagine I feel about it.

Anonymous said...

- Godzilla aka Drdammit

sent from my spaceship orbiting the earth in search of intelligent life

Anonymous said...

booted from a ranked game after ten seconds... no time outs, no connection problem

74 pt drop in Elo, banned from ranked games for four hours

Hell hath no fury like...

Anonymous said...

Marya, your intentions are well but may be fruitless. No one uses the chat lobby. If anyone wishes to communicate with another player they would have already had their email address. Discussing strategy etc. only becomes a debate that doesn't end. Trying to appease the minor few is just a waste of your time.

Anonymous said...

Actually, a lobby is an excellent idea, for several reasons. The problem now is with the design of the lobby, as was discussed earlier in this thread, a discussion that will continue. It is a work in progress.

That you have no use for it or for things like discussing strategy is irrelevant. All you need to do is not go there.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marya.

Great feature, thanks for working on it.

I have to say, I got a little confused at first because I was was expecting to see some tables or a way to play the game from the lobby. Is this something you might work on in the future? (Having individual lobbies for rooms where friends can be together and play that way)?

Thank you!

Marya said...

Hi! I have thought about making it possible to get to a table from the lobby... I don't have the time for this right now, but may eventually do this.