I wanna lay out some fundamental issues I have with the culture of sG, why it's an issue, and my solutions.
1. Staff Culture
This one is a pretty glaring issue and I don't know how it's been going for so long. Staff have absolutely no customer service. Now I know what you're going to say, because it's said every time I bring this up, "Destin, sG isn't a business lol."
However, sG at it's core, is a business. Every single player that plays on our servers is a customer. I have an analogy I like to use, let's say sG is a retail store. We have CSGO and GMOD products, and we have foot traffic in our store. The best part about this scenario is that every player is a customer, they either pay with time or time and money. They visit our store all the time and eventually they apply for our Membership Program (which is currently a giant pain in the ass to do and should be reverted.) With hopes that the more they spend in our store they will be rewarded, in this case it's with free admin that gets better after time or exclusive events.
Now our store gains the benefit of this customer coming back to our store whenever they want to play CSGO or GMOD, but we could be getting more on our end of the deal. Members of our program have to wear sG | in their name which will advertise us and gain us more foot traffic. I think this alone would help a ton, and it's not outrageous other stores do this for their Membership program.
Now let's keep this analogy going into the actual issue with our staff culture, customer service. This is something that is an huge issue but it's only evidence is sprinkled throughout in events that are considered inconsequential on their own. For example let's look at this thread:
Our store hosted an event where you could come into the store complete challenges and get entered into a raffle to win prizes. Somehow one way or another, these customers were told that if they won a raffle they would receive an exclusive badge. However it turned out this was an internal communication error. Now in our analogy, these are all real people inside our store who were told and/or it wasn't clear that they would be receiving something they paid for (they came in our store, they told their friends you can read the thread some people said they were told by someone to sign up, they paid with time and effort.) In any normal store or other business they would apologize for the confusion and give them the badge anyways. Our store however had the CSR in charge of the event essentially tell them "Yea I made a mistake, but it's not my problem, screw off." This is completely unacceptable, especially in this situation where it costs literally nothing to give these customers what they were originally told they would get, and it would benefit our store by making them satisfied. However the CULTURE is the real issue in this situation. Our store and it's staff feel entitled about the prizes quoting "i may have not posted that in the thread, which was a mistake" "i dont think 3rd, 4th, and 5th "runner-ups" in a raffle should receive a badge" as if fixing this mistake would de-value the badge for the other 2 customers.
There also this culture that the staff of our store seem to think the customers need the store, and not the other way around. If there are no customers, there is no store. Let's look at specific departments of our store and see what they're doing right in terms of customer service. War3 and bhop are two departments that in my mind are doing really well in customer service. I'm going to use war3 for this example.
War3 is constantly receiving feedback and bug reports and applying that feedback into the department constructively, through race balancing and adding/removing maps. Customer satisfaction is doing so well in this department that they even have their own Subscription Program. These customers have seen the efforts put in and actually care enough to pay $4.99 a month, and they are even internally asked for feedback and get to have direct influence on the department. This also correlates with the fact that this department generates a large % of our foot traffic. If you think customer service is just a correlation and not a causation I direct you to the foot traffic statistics during the time period when @Face was not on staff and feedback was not being implemented as often if not at all. It was empty.
If the staff of our store simply had better customer service on the forums and on discord, I think we'd see a lot of older members return and we'd see more new people signing up for our Membership Program.
The solution to this is to get rid of toxic staff members and have consequences for egregious actions, which brings me to the 2nd issue in staff culture.
It is way too hard to get demoted from staff. Straight up. You have to do something super fucked up or just do literally nothing for months get demoted. Staff is also not punished for mediocrity. I'm not saying demote people cause they have a shitty event or because they handled something wrong, but someone needs to be there to say "Hey, x was wrong, this is where you could've improved or done better." A good example of this is how SO's are currently being handled. The work has been compartmentalized into only being handled 2 or 3 days a month. I've said this before in the SO forums and I'm saying it again, SO's are the driving force behind foot traffic on the servers. Because of how important they are the role needs to be more competitive and more fluid. Changes NEED to be happening here frequently, I mean like weekly. I absolutely do not agree with the way SO's are being handled, by making it more competitive and easy to get demoted/promoted I believe we will see more active and caring SO's who actually make the servers fun to play on and will help tremendously with our dead servers.
Also there's a pretty big lack of direction. I'm talking to @Mimic or @Moose or @bulletford for this one, Managers and JCS should actually have ideas for servers or things they want done and have them presented at weekly and/or monthly staff meetings to be completed by other staff members. Even something as simple as a goal, for instance: 1 new forum sign up for every RO and ADV, or "our goal for this month is to have jb consistently populated for at least 14 days, let's prioritize this." Or, "I'm working on xxx plugin for x server can x help me knock this out I'll get with you on a couple functions I wanna delegate down so we can do this faster."
2. Community Culture
This one is a bit of a doozie in the sense that it's gunna take a lot of work in this section. Community Culture is currently dictated by the members who have been here longer and have a clique. Right now it's really toxic and doesn't support and environment for a growth of new players. From the outside it looks uninclusive and not worth it to join the membership program. First off the actual process of being accepted into the community is a straight dumpster fire. It should not and does not take an entire month for someone to join. You could easily take the exact system we have now, cut the number of refs down to like 7 or 8 and have applications open every Monday and close every Saturday night.
Then there's the issue of our ranking system and older players being able to get away with things. If someone is being a shitty member we only have 2 routes atm, banning them or JP'ing them. There's no system in place for simply demoting members a rank or two as punishment. A good example of this is this exchange here:
if some L1 or new person was going around targeting people cause "they have a funny reaction" they would be flamed by the entire community, and rightly so. However in our culture this is just tolerated cause we've circle jerked ourselves into these toxic cliques and uninclusive groups. This is why I'm filing this under "Community Culture" cause maybe we need to stop being "eks dee le trolls" and get rid of this roasting culture we've got going on, because from the outside looking in, I wouldn't wanna join this. Any member can help against this, if you see one of your friends or someone in your clique being an asshat just tell them "Hey dude, fr chill lol." If not then maybe staff needs to step up in this regard and just start demoting people or restricting discord/forum access.
Overall this downward trend we're in is just going to continue spiraling until all we've got left is oldfags and new members who are just here to try and get staff, war3, bhop, and gmod will be the only servers and then eventually we'll just be a discord and forum clan.
Staff has no customer service and seems to think players need sG, not the other way around.
There are no consequences for staff who do nothing and no system in place to counsel staff who are not doing things as good as they could be.
Staff has no higher up direction
Community is uninclusive and toxic, new players don't want to be a part of it.
sG is not getting proper advertisement and should require all members wear sG | tags
Membership process is too long
No system in place to punish members with tenure
If you want the solutions then just read the whole thing. Imma go get a milkshake from Sonic now.