Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cheaters Never Prosper…unless they steal a lot of eaves!

thiefSeems to be a growing concern that thieves are loose on Empire Avenue. Evidently lots of  folks are taking the eaves from missions without doing the requested tasks.  I am relatively new; so I can’t say if the problem is truly worse or if mission creators are just whinier. The infrequent checking I do for my missions shows me a completion rate that ranges from 100% to 25% with somewhere between 75% to 80% as my norm.  I suspect that the low rate of completion was mostly my fault.  By the way I set up a mission and when I launch it, I believe that I can get a reasonable completion rate.

At 75% completion, I really was not all that concerned about folks stealing missions. I trusted God or Karma to punish the sinners with the help of a few blocks from me & my friends.   A few days ago it seemed like every mission had a “don’t steal my eaves” warning, and I was slightly annoyed.  That seemed like a waste to me; so  I ran a quick sort of snotty mission ranting about folks ranting about mission thieves.  I had to set a target for the mission; so I sent folks to this G+ post.

My intended point was that I didn’t think telling cheaters not to cheat was all that effective a strategy.  My mission title,  “Steal my Eaves,” was intended to be a bit of a satirical poke at all the “don’t steal my eaves” warnings.  Much to my surprise a ton of folks actually went to the post, commented, and shared.  That left me feeling a bit guilty about my smart mouthed attitude and the obvious pain around this issue.  As the discussion continued, I promised to try to bring the Avenue’s management into the discussion if there were any good ideas to solve the problem.  An elegant solution for my semi-jerky behavior.

To my surprise, a number of excellent ideas surfaced.  I wanted to highlight the better ones:

  • Mission  Block-Although you can block someone today on EAv, that involves breaking all contact and mutual disinvestment.  The problem is that a large investment lets you steal with impunity.  The penalty is very high if you block a large investor.  Most folks do not want their price to go down that much.
  • Gated Mission-Some folks call it a two step mission.  In order to get paid for a mission, the mission creator would have to approve the payment or allow some time limit would expire.  That would give the opportunity to check the task completion.
  • Undo or un-accept mission button-Sometimes folks can’t complete a mission for technical, ethical or simply fit reasons.  Since there is no way to ‘back out’ in the current mission structure, decent folks end up stealing a mission.
  • Reputation Rating-An ‘Ebay-ish’ type system where there could be some public way to identify folks who struggle with ethical lapses completing missions.

I also notice a possible additional issue that might need a bit of attention from the EAv management.  Some folks are selling eaves for actual currency.  You may have noticed some odd, high reward, private community missions.  With no evidence, I suspect that there may be a new incentive for mission theft called cash. There are a lot of games in this game!

I wanted to thank everyone who posted, tweeted, shared, & thought about this issue.  Even Dups weighed in with a couple of tweets.   Lynn O’Connell articulated most of these ideas for reducing mission theft.

With all this said, I do think that mission creators can help themselves with well designed missions launched at optimal times.  I guess that I will leave that for my next post.  In Texas, we call that baiting the hook!


Decoration Danger

Not really Mom & Dad...but...

Not really Mom & Dad…but…

The season has changed in Angleton this week.  I helped take down the Christmas decorations.  This might sound like a small afternoon project if you didn’t know the Gardners.

Several small communities inhabit the Gardner Christmas village.  Wooden Aggie angels are gathered around an Aggie Christmas tree.  Of course the mandatory Nativity scene is in another part of the yard.  A few other especially cute figures fill out the other part of the yard.  Organization was provided by a few hundred maroon & white lollipops holding huge strings of lights.  Appropriate flood lights focused attention on the scenes.  The backdrop was framed by the icicle  lights strung around the house.  All in all a dazzling enough show attract traffic to a normally quiet neighborhood.

Xmas santaYou might suspect that taking this down was a big job.  It did take a day to get the outside Christmas stuff put away, but that was not the challenge.  The frightening task awaited inside the Gardner manse. Through the years, my parents have amassed a significant collection of Christmas…I hesitate searching for the right descriptor here…let’s just call it stuff.  Counting the number of Santa Clauses would not be achievable.  They range from tiny figurines of an inch or two to a life size…yes life size Mr. & Mrs. Claus.  The Santa’s are easily outnumbered by the nutcrackers.  I noticed with a bit of anxiety that they received even more as gifts this year.  As a faithful family we of course have a creche or two…hundred.     China cabinets and shelves are emptied to make room for the various Nativity sets.  We have Eskimo & Polynesian, Mexican & Native American, Asian & African, and all sort of other themes made from wood & stone & porcelain & ceramic & glass & plastic & metal & really strange materials that are  tough to figure out.  I almost forgot the Christmas trees.  There was at least one for every room…yes EVERY room…yes even the bathrooms.  I stopped counting at 9 trees because I was  exhausted.  Even the porte-cochere (that was the breezeway when I was a kid) had a tree!

Everything must be disassembled, carefully wrapped and placed into coffins…I mean large plastic containers; then carried to the garage for final disposal…I mean for putting into the garage attic until next year.  Most of the coffins…sorry…I mean storage containers came pre-filled with the stuff that had to be relocated to make room for the Christmas stuff.  Virtually everything is fragile, precious, and has a story.  The risk for a klutzy guy in assisting with this is high.   Fortunately I was able to hide all the evidence.

Well it really only took a few days to get everything packed and stored.  I was feeling pretty satisfied about the entire operation; when Mom discovered a couple of items that we had missed.  My suggestion to throw them away seemed reasonable.  If we get rid of the offending items, we don’t have to put them up or take them down next year.  My idea was met with an icy stare that meant I was back up in the attic locating the least filled coffin…storage box…carting it down…adding the items and taking them back up into the attic.  I am actually starting to get good at this routine after the eighth time.

xmas treeMy favorite moment of the season came when we were watching a TV news program one evening that featured a family that did what the reporter called extreme Christmas decorating.  Their light show was set to music and the house was tough to walk through because of the Christmas…stuff.  Mom declared after the report was done, “Those folks are just crazy!  They went way overboard!”  Then,  Mom & Dad went to the computer to see exactly how those folks got the soundtrack to sync up with the light show. As I left, Mom shouted, “You will be back to help us get decorated for Valentine’s day…right?”

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

%d bloggers like this: