I have thought a fair bit recently about the server and it’s ‘performance’ if you can call it that. What is a good indicator how well this server is run? What makes people stay? How to measure how good we are?
One part is how many new users we get. And that made me think about the settler test and the application process. While, in the past as well as today, we always had a steady number of users trying to connect to the server, we used the whitelist as well as the settler test to weed out the jerks and griefers. This principle is however nothing else but a bouncer. Instead, we would rather need to have a membership manager at the door. Not someone who kicks out the obvious jerks and possibly also offends some nice people in the process. But someone who kicks out the obvious jerks and helps the others to overcome the obstacles as easily as possible, while being still strict enough.
This is why I have been changing the layout of the settler application recently, and will probably continue to work on it in the future. There are two ways to go: Either we make it so hard that users have to learn all rules by heart before they can even set foot into the server, but then having hardly anybody join, or make it so easy that we get to ban a large percentage of those who join. It will be a challenge to find the right middle.
In order to measure the success of the application process, I added a new chart to the bottom of the Users page. There you can see on a monthly average how many % of users that registered in the respective month converted to Settlers. So the higher the number, the better it is. At the same time it shows how many % of registered users (Settler or Guest) were banned. The less, the better of course. It is a good indicator to see that the Settler ratio climbed in February from 30% to 40%, I attribute this in part to the changes in the settler application.
If anyone has ideas how to make the settler test better to understand while still teaching users the basics about the server, so that they need to read as little as possible and ask as few questions as possible to get their desired lot and not violate and rules, I am always open for suggestions.
[Update] I would love to always hear what new users ask the most so we can add better help for that. I now for example added a message to each settler when they vote that tells them how to do /withdraw @lottery. We can always improve help in-game that allows people to ask fewer questions.[/Update]