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 Post subject: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:51 pm
Posts: 31
I posted the following in the regular forum:

"We have a FAQ that hasn't been updated in ages. I think it needs a bit of an overall. Perhaps even a more prominent position on the site. What do you think should be added to the list?
Things like Mod email lists or common rules questions (like recent: where can I retreat or can Spain move to North Africa) need to be put in there. I'm willing to write it myself, but I think a collaboration, especially of things people didn't realise at first, would be really helpful. As I community we can whip something together with very little effort.

Unfortunately I don't know how to code it in, but I can certainly provide the necessary text. I apologise if this belongs in the developers forums, but I wanted to access the larger community."

I think that is jist. I received some ideas from players such as better definition of meta-gaming, multi-accounting, forum etiquette rules etc.

I can write the entire thing myself from scratch, drawing on the current FAQ as a base. I don't have any idea how to implement it though, so I'm hoping someone can do that for me. Once I have completed a template I can post it on this forum for review. Is this something you would be interested in Kestas or do you already have something in the works?

 Post subject: Re: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:47 pm
Posts: 726
The most useful thing would be to get the wanted data together in a list certainly. Indeed, even just using this forums style options you would end up writing an FAQ page that could be copied almost directly over.
From my post in the forum thread:

What terms mean, such as multi-accounting, which i define as "accounts operated by the same player or in such a way that to any other player this would be indistinguishable."

Forum Etiquette:
->Check to see if there is already a thread on the same topic before making one.
->No spamming/trolling
->Be respectful
->If you have a complaint or accusation to make, don't make it in the first post. This is because some people just glance at the forum, and so even if the issue is sorted out (such as someone found innocent of a multi-accusation) the thread still hangs around proclaiming that you are suspicious, which is unfair on them.

As a side point, it would be nice to put a link to the FAQ in the signup process, or indeed make it so the last stage of joining sends a player onto the FAQ itself.

 Post subject: Re: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:36 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:51 pm
Posts: 31
Interestingly enough about half of the things people suggested be put on the FAQ were actually already there.

This leads me to think that FAQ should have its own seperate tab next to help or atleast a little line at the top of the Forum page saying "Got a question? Check the FAQ!"

 Post subject: Re: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:03 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:51 pm
Posts: 31
Well unfortunately this forum won't let the FAQ form its nice format. If you want the nice version just email me and I'll attach it for you. Let me knwo what you think, I basically built on the existing version, updated it a little and added alot more stuff. I also put a larger emphasis on the mods (sorry guys).

Who are the moderators and how do I contact them?
Our moderators are a group of dedicated individuals who help keep the site as clean and game environment friendly as possible. If you have a question about the site, accusation to make, or need help that you don’t want to ask the forum, email a moderator.
The moderators are:
Chrispminis ( Figlesquidge (
Dangermouse ( Wonderllama (
Email whichever one you like.
General Answers
What is this site about?
The easiest way to understand is to look at an in-game screenshot. If the concept is still strange read the intro to phpDiplomacy.
How do I play?
The gameplay is quite self explanatory, but if you're unsure about something read the intro to phpDiplomacy, and feel free to ask for help or clarification in the public forum.
What's the software license?
The GNU Affero General License (Open Source Initiative approved), which basically says you can download and change the code as you like, and put it up on your own website, but you can't claim you wrote it, and you have to give any changes you make back to the community.

See the credits for information about the small elements which are under different licenses.
Can we get this game paused?
To pause a game all surviving players have to enter '/pause' into the chatbox's Global tab. Once every surviving player has done this the game will be paused.
To remove your pause vote after you've entered '/pause' type '/unpause', and the '/pause' will be cancelled.

When everyone is ready to continue all surviving players enter '/unpause'; once all surviving players have entered '/unpause' the game will continue.
One of the players in my game refuses/hasn’t voted to pause
E-mail a moderator and ask for help. In some cases moderators will pause the games for you, but don’t be surprised if they are hesitant, especially if it is for a long period.
If you can’t get it paused post in the forum and ask for a sitter. One of our experienced community members will be only too happy to look after your account while you are away. You can even send them your evil plans.
Can we end our game with a draw?
To draw a game all surviving players have to enter '/draw' into the chatbox's Global tab. Once every surviving player has done this the game will be drawn.
To remove your draw vote after you've entered '/draw' type '/undraw', and the '/draw' will be cancelled.
Who gets included in a draw?
All survivors are included in a draw and get an equal share of the pot. Although there are other systems out there that involve majority rules, or opt-out draws, phpdiplomacy requires unanimous consent.
Can a stalemate be reached, and if so what happens?
Stalemate lines are an important part of advanced diplomacy. Typically, if further advance is impossible, allies will either turn on each other or accept a draw.
I have established a stalemate line but my opponent refuses to draw
Sometimes this happens. The game is going nowhere and one side is hoping the other will attack their allies or even miss a move. Generally the former is acceptable while the latter is unsportsmanlike. If you feel the game will never end, email a mod and they will use their judgment on a case-by-case basis.
How can I remove myself from a game?
Playing a game is a commitment. If you quit the game it will ruin it for everyone else. Technically players who don’t move for a while go into Civil Disorder, but doing this on purpose is strongly discouraged.
What is Civil Disorder?
Civil disorder is a state of anarchy a country falls into if it doesn’t have proper leadership for a period of time. During civil disorder all units automatically hold.
A country goes into civil disorder if it misses two consecutive moves. In addition, if the country has just one Supply Centre left then it will go into CD after missing just one move.
When a country goes into civil disorder another player can take over that country by buying it for points. If you finish the game in CD you receive a “left” statistic on your profile and most players want to avoid those.
If someone has to destroy a unit, but doesn't enter destroy orders, what unit is destroyed?
It's done as the DATC recommends: It's the furthest from your home supply centers. Distance is defined as the smallest number of moves to get from the unit's position to a home supply center. When calculating the smallest number of moves armies can move across seas, but fleets can only move across seas and coasts. If there are two units both the same distance from a home supply center the territory which is first alphabetically is removed first.
Someone is communicating offensively to me in one of my games
Hopefully this will never happen. However, if it does try to calm them down and email a mod. Racism, sexism and general disruptive behaviour won’t be tolerated. Although the moderator will deal with it on a case by case basis it may result in a ban.
I didn't enter those orders!
Occasionally we get this complaint, but every time we have checked the input logs to see what order was actually entered it turns out to be the mistaken order. Also the mistaken orders are often the 'Bulgaria'/'Budapest' sort of mistake which are easier to imagine human error than a bug.

Try finalizing your orders and then checking them over, so you can be sure of what you entered.
My orders gave the wrong results!
Before reporting this as a bug double check that you entered your orders correctly and you're not misunderstanding the rules. 95% of the time adjudicator bugs turn out to be a player mistake.
If you're still positive there's a problem let us know in the forum.
Why did the game start with only 5/6 players?
Germany and Italy are set to civil disorder when there are only 5/6 players, as the official rules state. You can always pause the game and wait for a player or two to take over the civil disorder placeholders, but a 5/6 player game is still playable.
What is that dot next to the other player’s name?
The dot signifies that they are currently on the site somewhere. The last logged in statistic denotes when they were last on the that game.
What happens when I run out?
You can't run out: Your total number of points include the number of points which you have 'bet' into games you're currently playing in, as well as the points you have in your account. Your total number of points never falls below 100; whenever it does you're given your points back.

To put it another way; any player who isn't currently playing in any games will always have at least 100 points, so you won't run out!
How are the points split in a draw?
In a draw the points are split evenly among all the survivors still in the game, regardless of the number of supply centers each player has.
Read the points guide for more info about the points system.
It says Points-Per-Supply-Centre, but it wasn’t divided properly
To be precise it is points-per-controlled-supply centre. Although in almost all cases your winnings will be your scs/34 multiplied by the game pot, neutral supply centres aren’t included. This means if a game ended without anyone ever taking Sweden the dividing number would be 33, etc.
Can you draw a Winner-Takes-All Game?
You sure can. In fact WTA games are more likely to get drawn because everyone is so protective of their precious points.
I have an idea for a better system
We constantly get new ideas for the points system, but usually they're either missing out in some aspect (the points system serves multiple functions), or they improve in one area but are worse in another.

The points system does the job fine, so it's unlikely to be replaced.

There's no real way to express how good a player really is in a single number, the points system as it is is probably good enough for now, and there's definitely no agreement on what would replace it.
Is the points system the only ranking system?
No, points don’t really demonstrate skill as much as they do experience. Many players value their ratio of wins/draws/losses very highly. Members of the community also run alternate ranking systems such as an Elo rating system, like in chess. Still other members run in-site competitions for players to prove their prowess.
Can you draw the game, but give 2/3rds of the points to this player and ...
Draws can only be given one way; an even split to all survivors.
Feature Requests
Shorter turns
Once everyone has finalized their orders the game moves forward to the next turn immediately; so a game can go as fast as the people playing it want it to go. This is the effectively the same way the game works face-to-face, and it doesn't work well when you don't know the people you're playing with since they may have to leave.

In general you can get a good fast game online with friends who finalize quickly, but fast games with strangers can be problematic. That being said, you can have phase lengths ranging from one hour to 72 hours, but be warned.
Better forum
A better forum would be good, but getting it to fit in and appear as part of phpDiplomacy, rather than just a separate site, is difficult.
Variants would also be good, but there's not enough willpower to add them on at the moment. Unless you're interested in adding them yourself (see the Help subsection below) you'll have to wait.
Why was my request rejected?
phpDiplomacy has a software development philosophy that less is more, and unless a feature is going to benefit a lot of people it shouldn't be added. Things should be kept as simple as possible, and features shouldn't be added just because they would be easy to add.
Can I donate?
Sure; all donations are very welcome, and will go directly towards the server fees.

Can I help develop the software?
You sure can! If you're an HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP 5/MySQL/Silverlight/Flash developer, or want to learn, check out the dev info, and if you get lost you can get help/discuss ideas in the developer forums.
Can I suggest a feature?
Feature suggestions are best made in the developer forums, elsewhere they're likely to be missed. Remember that unless you can back-up your suggestion with code even good ideas may not get far.
How else can I help?
Tell your friends about phpDiplomacy, put links on your website, help people out in the forums, and play well and help new players.
Why are some orders missing from the map?
Not all orders are drawn on the small map. Below the small map there is a set of icons; the one in the middle opens up the large map, which contains all orders.
Also at the bottom of the board page is a link to open up a textual list of all the orders entered in the game, if you can't see something in the map.
I can't tell the difference between Germany and Austria
Color-blind people may have trouble distinguishing Germany and Austria's colors. We hope to fix this problem in the future.
What am I allowed to post on the forum?
Just about anything. Diplomacy related topics are encouraged but discussions on things like current events are perfectly acceptable as well. Topics to avoid include anything offensive or accusatory towards other players.
What is the forum etiquette?
Again avoid anything offensive and try not to swear as well. Hold back from getting involved in “flame-wars” or insulting people over the internet. You aren’t impressing anyone and we are all friends here. Some users might become annoyed if you post something they believe to be “pointless”. Don’t spam the forum, try to keep your topics to a minimum, everyone deserves a chance. You should never go over three topics at any one time. Use your discretion. Check and make sure your topic doesn’t exist already. On top of everything: be respectful.
Common Rules Questions
Can I move here?
There are a couple of confusing connections (or lack thereof). The most common are as follows: You can move between: Denmark and Sweden, St.Petersburg (nc) and Norway, Piedmont and Tyrolia, Kiel and the Baltic Sea, Sweden and Norway (even with fleets). You can NOT move between Spain and North Africa or Skaggerack and the Baltic Sea.
Kiel and Constantinople have canals and channels that allow fleets to move through them and out the other side.
What are these coasts?
Bulgaria, Spain and St. Petersburg have multiple coasts. This is important for fleet movement so be careful to designate which coast your fleet lands on because different coasts can move to different territories.
You can’t rotate coasts. For example, some players try to move north coast Spain to Portugal and Portugal to south coast. This will result in a bounce.
Coasts have no bearing on armies whatsoever.
Where can I retreat?
A unit can retreat to any adjacent empty territory where there was no conflict that turn except the space where the attack actually came from. This means that a unit can retreat into an enemy supply centre and capture it. A unit will always have the option to disband itself. If two units retreat to the same square they will disband eachother.
If I attack a convoy will it stop transporting troops?
No, you need to dislodge a convoy to stop it from delivering its payload.
Does the convoying fleet lend its support to the attack?
No, a unit can only do one thing at a time.
Can I convoy through canals like in Kiel?
No, you will need to hoof it on land like the rest of us.
How do you cut support?
You attack the supporting unit. It is important to remember that you don’t need to dislodge the supporting unit, like in a convoy. In addition, you can’t cut the support on an attack on yourself. For example, if Serbia is supporting an attack on Greece from Bulgaria and Greece moves to Serbia the attack still succeeds. However, if Rumania moves to Serbia the attack fails. If Rumania supports Greece to Serbia, Serbia is dislodged but Bulgaria takes Greece uncontested.
Can I dislodge my own units?
No, but if you enlist the help of an ally you can arrange for one of your units to be dislodged.
Why can’t I build here?
Fleets can only be built in ports. Units can only be built in home supply centres as they are home-grown troops. Units can’t be built in home supply centres that already have units on them. You can’t build a unit in a home supply centre that is occupied by a foreign power.
What is a multi-accounter
Someone who has more than one account (this is banned). It is blatant cheating to have more than one account. Phpdiplomacy has a tracking system to ensure you will eventually be caught. Note: even maintaining a second account that doesn’t come in contact with the other account is a bannable offence as it violates the points system.
Is that like a meta-gamer?
A meta-gamer is someone in more than one game who lets one of his games influence how he plays in another one. The classic example is threatening a stronger player in a weak game with a country in a different game where the tables are turned. Also, allowing a friendship with a player outside phpdiplomacy influence your actions inside the game is generally frowned upon. If you can’t play with good sportsmanship you should not play at all. If you know someone in your game and feel like it might influence your behaviour you should announce it to all players affected. Another good idea is to get permission or advise from a moderator before hand.
The worst form of meta-gaming is entering a game with an unbreakable alliance because you “trust eachother” or are “too good of friends”. If someone is found to have consistently done this, they will be banned as it ruins the fun for others.
What action is taken against multi-accounters
Data is logged which makes it possible to spot multi-accounters. Eventually they're spotted and banned, and their points are removed. Because of this the players with the most points are the least likely to be multi-accounters.
I think someone is a multi-accounter
Double-check and try and get lots of good reasons for your suspicion, talk to the alleged multi-accounter or meta-gamer. If you still have suspicions email a site moderator. Do NOT post your suspicions in the forum. Many more people have been accused of being multi-accounters than actually are multi-accounters. It's actually very rare and we want to avoid good reputations being ruined with evidence. The mod will investigate and they are usually very prompt.
I play on the same computer as someone else, I don’t want to get banned
The data used to tell whether someone is a multi-accounter is a lot more thorough than just IPs. More evidence than just having the same IP is needed for a ban.
However if you know the other player well you may want to avoid playing in games with them, or you'll have an unfair advantage. You should at least let the other players in the game know that you know the other player in real life.

 Post subject: Re: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:47 pm
Posts: 726
Lots of that looks directly copied from the old version - is it?
Also, have a look around this forum first - some of the comments in there are being dealt with anyway.
Perhaps it would be best to wait a bit and see what comes up after the new release?

Last edited by figlesquidge on Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: Updating the FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:51 pm
Posts: 31
Yeah, I tried not to overwrite any of Kestas' explanations or decisions so I tried to keep anything he wrote generally intact. However, there has been tons added and a couple things changed like emailing a mod about an accusation before posting in the forum.

I can definately understand holding off for the update, especially if it is just in one month.

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