User:Tash/grad testplay2 doc

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

Test Play: 02 May 2019

Location: Wijnhaven 61, 4th floor
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Players: Artemis, Paloma, Rita, Angeliki, Alice, Bohye, Shayan, Maartje

Game rounds:
Level 1 (using cards)
1. Trolling (Grammar Nazi)
2. Trolling (questions)
3. Astroturfing

Level 2 (using cards)
4. Profile Jacking
5. Shitposting

Bonus round (using tactical handbook)
6. Snitch-tagging
7. Meme-making



Team 1: The Political Paladin Team 2: Original character, Britney Davis Team 3: The Manosphere Ranger

Round 1: Trolling (Grammar Nazi)

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Round 2: Trolling (Questions)

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Round 3: Astroturfing

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Round 4: Profile Jacking

See profile screenshots above.

Round 5: Shitposting

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Round 6: Snitch-tagging

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Round 7: Meme-making

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Feedback from players

Hardest action to perform
& why?
Easiest action to perform
& why?
What surprised / was new to you? Feedback on characters
& format
Team #1: Maartje In general, it was hard to find the right posts and responses that serve the goals. They are very specific. Also, it goes against my nature to troll (in general), and especially trolling people I’d normally support. Shitposting. Because it is done with humour, and doesn't have to make sense It can be fun to troll, though it takes time to be part of this community, get the right followers, maintain a conversation. On characters: In the beginning it was a bit hard to get into the role of the character we chose. We thought we might not have enough knowledge of politics. But It turned out not to be a problem for the exercises. (Which is interesting to me! Looking back I do feel this was the right approach (as opposed to setting up a character based on my own - depending on your target audience: adapt the description of the characters so that they’re easily/quickly understood.

On the format: To me, as a newbie to trolling, it's interesting to use the cards in order to be challenged in understanding different sides/points of view. It reminds me of a debate exercise: You get a stance appointed instead of only looking at it from personal perspective. This helped me to get out of my own bubble and comfort-zone: I got to do things I’d normally not choose to do.

As a second round the booklet was a nice addition because that’s when you do get to choose the exercise. Also, it provided an overview which was informative. My designer feedback is: add something visual and/or examples so players can quickly scan the pages during the game. Both methods work! If you want to focus on one of them it depends on the goal of your game.
Team #1: Shayan Sometimes I didn't know the best words/language to use. We imagine the memes' tone and think in a humorous way. It was easier to find not so relevant accounts, with less followers and likes, through hashtags (or explore page, etc) then to find actual accounts that our character should follow. It gets easier. I wonder how I could do this if it weren't a game. Would like to practice to see how I would take it more seriously. I would like to try it again and I'm curious about how the account is doing. The strategies are so interesting, surprising that its real. Gets us thinking, and is relatable because we've all witnessed it before.

It's difficult to start a discussion if I don't really understand what's going on in the posts and news. and to try to do this on purpose is new to me. I usually don't get involved and just observe. Im not used to it but maybe after playing more I would be more brave.
It helps that there were some character choices already made, and also the option to create your own. Good, clear start. Since it was the first time playing, thinking of details for a new character would have taken too long (we thought). First a little shaky getting to know our character because didn't know much about political subjects, and doing things for the first time (create an account, posting comments like that, a new approach, etc). So I think we played it safe during most of the rounds, keeping the target and actions simple and within the time frame. Of course, after a few rounds, it got easier, could move quicker and had more fun with it. If we played a few more times I think we would definitely get the hang of it and challenge ourselves more. We would probably be more curious to find new tricks, hacks to get what we want. I think that would be interesting. That way the game would be more dynamic I guess with more challenges on the way.

By the way, the introduction, instructions and build up to the game were very clear and brought us into it. I don't know much about the bots and such but was it was very interesting and I could understand the idea.Design is clear and communicates the 'game'. I think the combination of cards and handbook works well together. And at the same time, I think the medium could be more playful too. The research and subject of the game are very relevant, maybe you can include Instagram and have such icons in the design. And include the examples of the characters illustrated in the handbook.
Team #2: Rita, Artemis Artemis: I don't really feel comfortable with Profile Jacking, it feels wrong. Instead, picking a fictional character seems easier.

Rita: Same, because we chose someone at random, and the person didn't do anything wrong to us. So it seemed morally wrong.

Artemis: I think Shitposting was super easy and fast to perform.

Rita: Something to think about: maybe engaging with people we don't like is still engaging, and giving them attention.

Artemis: As a female character, we got a message which was advertisement for skin whitening from an Indonesian company. And after some time on the same profile, Instagram doesn't let you post comments any more. Don't know if there is a limit or so.

Rita: The amount of direct messages surprised me, we didn't have any pics, or followers but we got DM's. The more I posted the better I was feeling, not thinking so much about posting important content or funny things. Also, we were blocked from Flat Tummy CO after commenting. We were banned very fast, after seconds even. Some scamming; four accounts DM'ed us.

Team #3: Alice, Paloma We would say astroturfing because I think it requires more preparation beforehand in order to have a good strategy. Grammar-nazi, because it's the most basic and easy to find examples of gramatical mistakes Getting messages from bots (very similar to each other) even though we had a very new account. I think the card system is easier than the booklet for the game purposes, but it's still nice to have the booklet as a separate item (because it takes longer to read through but it's nice as documentation).
Collective notes Finding target accounts seemed to be the most difficult part of every action. For newbies especially, it's hard to find interesting, responsive accounts to engage with.

Set-up still takes slightly too long. Perhaps I need to set up the instagram accounts as well as the email addresses, and then just let people customize them as they wish... Already with follows maybe?

Time pressure makes things a little bit stressful at the beginning. 5 minutes is too short to play an action, 8-10 mins is better.

Actions for the LULZ are always easier to perform. These are good to break the ice, but also can become repetitive and trivial. It's important to also keep a sense of purpose and ideology in check. Most were surprised that trolling could be a fun activity. For some, the game was also a space to try out different personalities or voices (e.g. male voice, impulsive, angry). For most people, trolling (or using social media with any agenda at all) was a first. Only 2/8 had previous experience engaging with online fights / trolls. Also surprising: the amount of bots, spam accounts, and sexual advances received - especially when using male accounts. Almost all say that the role-playing and anonymity factor is a key aspect. They would never perform these actions, in this way, using their personal accounts.

More urgency and personal connection should be created. Mainly to avoid a descent into senseless shitposting. This could be remedied by giving more attention to the character making stage, and more time getting to know each player in the workshop setting. Also: during gameplay, more room for self-directed quests, on subjects that each player really cares about and wants to participate in.

Would be good to add: screenshots or other visual examples of trolling on the wiki or on the cards. For newbies, it's very important to give more clues on how each tactic looks like in practice.

All agree that both formats (handbook and cards) work stronger together. So perhaps it's not a question of picking one 'format', but about creating different game modes, which emphasize slightly different goals and strategies. E.g. Adventure mode (using the cards, more focussed on chance), Creative mode (picking from tactical handbook, more focussed on choice), Campaign mode (freeform, allowing each team to spend time on a self-directed quest)