Solutions for the increasing number of incorrect /shop residences.

Discussion in 'The Suggestion Box' started by Carduus_Benedict, Jan 15, 2024.

  1. It's not a secret to say we're smaller in size than we were 9 years ago when I first joined.

    But one issue I've found with the shrinking playerbase is a large increase in noise-to-signal entries in /shop, /store, and /mall, to the point that it sometimes becomes tedious to spam /shop to actually find real shops.

    Why does this happen?

    There's the usual issue of user error or someone meaning to put in a store and forgot, or a million other things. This will always exist, and is just something we have to live with, but there are also two more issues that I think we *can* address.

    1. Residences retaining their tags after reset. While I can't 100% for-sure confirm this is the reason without seeing the code, obviously, it really seems like there are a lot of /shop, /store, /mall entries that have been reclaimed by the system, have the introductory-text signs up, but have no evidence of the player actually trying to do anything. Anecdotally/logically, I would think someone would actually start building something before adding res tags to their property. Maybe I'm way off-base, and there are a lot of brand-new people adding res tags. I don't know.

    2. Residences that were most certainly a shop/mall at one point in time, but there's a huge sign saying the mall is closed and will be back by 2020, or /p shows the owner hasn't been on in many years, or just two seconds looking at the shop signs showing they don't have the green/red of buy and sell values of a sign placed recently.

    Both of these examples make /shop less valuable as a resource. With fewer people, there's less chance of you being on at the right time to see some active shop owner advertising on the market channel, meaning /shop will eventually be the primary way we find some place to buy/sell, if it isn't already.

    Solution ideas:

    1. Not knowing the system, I can't say how to fix the first issue for certain. From the outside, it seems like someone could create a fix to the res reclaiming system that effectively wipes the tags. If this isn't the problem, then both can be addressed by my solution below.

    2. Set up some rules for the minimum stuff necessary for a res to be a shop or mall (at least one outsider-accessible chest with a buyable item in it? Res owner logged in in the last year? Res isn't in foreclosure?), and create a command where players can flag residences that don't meet the minimum requirements. Quality control could consist of admins double-checking entries before deletion, but given our reduced staff, that's just creating work that nobody has time for. So another idea for quality control could require a certain number (3? 5?) of different players to flag the residence as not-a-shop, and then the system itself would remove the flag.

    If we want to fix things quickly, a 5 token or rupee reward for an accepted flag (built into the flagging system itself once accepted) would motivate people to do this to earn money, and we could fix this problem in a few weeks. Otherwise, it would just be those players who want to help, and may take months.

    607, BlockHead_56 and Egeau like this.
  2. I rarely bother with tags for the reasons you've given.

    Rather than actively trying to determine whether Residence Tags are active or legitimate each tag could be given a limited amount of time before it expires when it is added. Tags could be examined and removed when the server reclaims derelict Residences. Once per month sounds like a reasonable amount of time and perhaps could be tied to voting or logging in.

    If someone wants to use the tag: mall on an ongoing basis, they would need to periodically renew it, like a domain name, a DBA, or license. Adding/Renewing a tag that hasn't yet expired would update the expiration date. If someone forgets to renew, they add the tag the next time they log in. If they leave or lose interest, the problem fixes itself.

    Although I don't know the details of how things are currently setup, it seems likely that this could be backstitched into Residence code so everyone's Residence Tags get a new Date attribute which is initialized to the current date. One month later, all the delinquent tags would be removed.

    Possibly there could be a charge. I have often thought that the lack of entropy here is a weakness. Nothing decays and there is no rent. It seems to me that maintaining a tag that draws customers to my shop would make it more interesting if it came at a cost.
    607, BlockHead_56 and Hellsend like this.
  3. Aye, this is the unforeseen consequence when the community shrinks to the point that nobody is doing any "cleanup" on their behalf because people have moved on with their lives. If I'm not mistaken, shops are spread "word of mouth" nowadays to find the active ones, rather than the OG ones carrying the server like they did in the old days.
    607 and BlockHead_56 like this.
  4. Another solution would be to make the shop and mall tags inactive when the owner of the residence has not been online in over 30 days -- to be part of the derelict system. It would be automatic, and when the owner logs in again, the tags are reactivated.
  5. I agree it's a problem. It makes /v +shop unusable. It was even quite a problem years ago. I remember back then staff agreed to us using /report so they could check and remove tags. But even back then that made a lot of work for them and now it would not be a reasonable option I'm guessing.

    It could be that we agree on a tag in forums/discord so that regular and active players have something usable?
    Nickblockmaster and BlockHead_56 like this.
  6. BlockHead_56 and Fred_TWK like this.
  7. To whom are you referring? The original post, or Linden?
    BlockHead_56 likes this.
  8. Yes. To you or anyone who reads this. It has been an issue and no solution has been brought forward. There has been a list of current shops/malls kept in the forums for 2 years now. There is a link to it on the Public farm & resource listing. It is somewhat advertised in chat.
  9. I'd agree that there is a problem here. I'd much rather these systems work, especially as the server *feeling* abandoned can be a substantial part of new player retention, too.

    I quite like the separate part of the derelict system myself, but I'd fear that stuff getting removed might confuse people when they did keep their reses, "people" here would have included myself.

    Another option, here, is simple moderation. There aren't that many reses with tags on it in the grand scheme of things, and someone with the power to remove them would probably be able to wipe it all on some criteria (e.g. "owner has to have been logged on in 30 days, shop signs need to be findable.") in an hour or so (I remember going trough all reses on servers with shop tags to find competitor's prices multiple times, and it never took long). If a wipe like this is done every 6 months, it would probably already eliminate most of the problem. At that point, just use `/mailsend` to send the res owner a notification about it being removed and deal with it that way.
    The amount of effort it would take to program (and test!) an automatic derlict system for this would probably be higher than to give normal mods rights to remove res tags (if they don't already for offensive naming,) and have someone go trough it twice a year or so.

    I can tell you the cobblestone shop at 1070 and the wool shop at 963 are still being kept in stock, despite those signs being placed in 2020!

    I can update them if you'd want me to, but the price still seems competitive, and it'd be an hour or two of work to place all of them, and then another hour with someone else to make sure all of them have the correct amounts. It's close to 600 signs to update. :P
    Nickblockmaster, 607 and BlockHead_56 like this.
  10. That's just an at-a-glance way I tell new from old. Obviously it doesn't fit every use-case.
    BlockHead_56 likes this.
  11. you can "touch" them with an /editsign if you would want to. much faster than what you propose.
  12. Lots of good suggestions here, I think!

    One question to be raised is whether to do this to all tags, or a list of commonly used tags, and, if the latter, which tags to do it to. Some people might rarely log in but still have their residence accessed using a tag only they use. In this case deactivation of the tag would do no good and some bad.
    There is nothing special about '+shop' and '+mall', in principle. The most common tags for shops could just as well have been '+qwerty' and '+piwi', although that doesn't make much sense etymologically.
    Nickblockmaster likes this.
  13. I'd say only the +shop and +mall tags should be removed, if that is the decided action.

    There are other tags that help players find unique builds. One in particular I use often is +pumpkin. I don't know the res number but I know where to go when I need pumpkins.
    607 and Carduus_Benedict like this.
  14. Yeah, I'm not looking to penalize people, as a long-time perk of getting supportership is setting multiple tags while a supporter and those tags get to stay until the player wants to change them. I'm only looking to change the stuff that directly hurts active players.
  15. The only solution to this is to keep a copy of the active shop list, I don't have it to share but I am sure someone does.

    My mall is still well stocked and always available /v 13131 smp6

    if that helps

    Nickblockmaster likes this.
  16. You don't mean this?
    Carduus_Benedict and Fred_TWK like this.
  17. At the very least I don't think that having those tags on the new player signs is useful/good for the new players. At least not with the current state of those tags, as has been discussed here.
    Fred_TWK likes this.