Case in Point / The Problem: Tonight I was playing on Bravo. I was doing arty and was happy as a result. Despite some difficulty getting in contact with command over the radio, we were eventually able to fire some flare rounds and some HE on coordinates given by command. I have in my notes 2 fire missions. Coordinates 03950605, altitude 9, Illumination rounds requested, and 03750605, altitude 9, HE requested, with the note “blind fire” indicating the Commander/FO was taking a rough guess on enemy location.

The mission had been going for about an hour and 40 minutes. Suddenly and without warning the mission was over. As far as I know, although some casualties had been sustained, they had been evacuated. I was not aware of deaths or reaching ticket counts. It had been ended by an admin, or something. The first words I heard as the ACRE chat filters dropped off were about “night vision for squad leaders,” and “good mission for event night.” When I asked why the mission had been scrubbed, I was told “basically because no one was having any fun.” That was it. I presume from those statements the following: the mission was not fun/too difficult because of the dark night and the lack of night vision equipment and/or lighting made navigation, coordination, and effective engagement difficult. I could further extrapolate the following: perhaps a greater number of GPS and maps might have made navigation easier. I still don’t know why exactly the mission was scrubbed. It certainly seemed fun to me, and I heard no complaints from the two guys doing arty with me. Nor any over the radio from the medevac pilot.

I want to note something, I do not post this as an attack on the players or leadership in that mission. I played the same mission as a tank driver the previous night, and indeed it was quite dark. While this did not seem a hardship to me at the time, I can hardly talk, I was in a tank that had night vision. So indeed the map might have been quite dark for infantry. I understand that while some people may feel we ought to finish every mission we start, others can rightfully argue “it's a game, and if a mission is not fun I don’t want to play it for an hour just to finish it!”

Personally I know I felt bewildered. I didn’t know what just happened or why, and it bothered me.

This raises a larger point about how we should make decisions.

Process / The Solution: In my opinion, before backing out on a mission for sheer difficulty, lack of fun, or some similar reason, the players should be allowed to vote on if they want the mission scrubbed. (At least when it is not a formal scheduled event, which I concede should be run under tighter controls.) The Admin or Commander should pose a vote, ideally in the blue SIDE CHAT text, (so that it reaches everyone all across the different radio areas of ACRE). The vote should list the reasons given for abandoning the mission (“large number of JIPs means population now high enough for a higher population mission.” “player count now too low due to recent drop outs” etc. Allow “1 continue or 2 stop.” This prevents some players feeling like “Huh? What was that? Everything was fine and then… What happened?” Even if a player is out voted it at least gives a chance for everyone to say their piece and feel consulted and know what happened.
For instance in an earlier mission, just previous to the night mission where I was doing arty, we were on patrol ops and I was in command (with a lot of help from Bl1ip and Adept and others). After a BMP wiped out our land force, many of us wanted to go to a new mission. I was commander and called a vote. We voted, and the votes were for going to a new mission. But just then our recon guy Chochte (sorry probably misspelling it) who was still alive and way outside of all radio range, but saw the blue chat voting, said something like “maybe we stop now and stop every time its hard.” We all (back at base fresh from slaughter and respawn) thought about it discussed and reconsidered our previous votes. We decided to try a new method of completing the mission, and pulled it off fairly easily.

The point here is not the result, the point is that we talked about it and decided as a group. That way I think we reached a result that was more legitimate and everyone at least understood. It would have been, at least in my mind, equally fine to stand on democracy and say “the change mission supporters win the vote” (which they did win) and immediately changed the map despite some objections. As long as there was some process to it, some discussion or something.
Some members that pay for the server may object to my reasoning here, saying “this is my server, I paid money in, and I should have a greater say about what maps are played.” Or even “I am an administrator, and I have a greater wisdom in choosing missions than the common trollers, and so with that wisdom and the responsibility of being an admin, comes greater power.”

Ok, both of those arguments have some merit. Contributing members votes could count twice, and admins 5X. Some weight could be given. But even if we assume these arguments are completely 100% right, such that non admins and nonsubscribers should NOT be allowed to decide maps at all, these arguments only counter the idea the vote should decide the outcome, they don’t mean there should not be a vote at all.

Even if the vote is not determinative (does not decide the outcome) it is still worth doing a vote so everyone gets a chance to tell the rest of the players their thoughts.
After the vote if the admin says “forget what the masses want, we are doing X because I say so and I am an admin,” well ok, he or she is the admin. But at least the person who made the decision could take into account what the players actually wanted. I believe all the admins on TG are good people who want to make the servers fun environments to play on. (Provided you play tactically of course.) I think that a vote is a good way of gauging what the players believe would be more fun. Often when decisions are made ad hoc, there is a tendency (in any institution) to overvalue certain votes and presume they speak for everyone. For instance the command squad may all be saying “forget this mission! Let’s do something else!” or saying “this is great, lets push on.” If the admin is the commander, he or she may actually think that the rest of the platoon feels the same way as the people near them. But it could be that the main fireteams who are outside of 343 range from command are griping constanrly saying “this is terrible, change it now” or conversely “this is great!” Why not at least let the decision maker know definitively what the majority wants?

In short, I feel like at least having a vote, even if it does not decide the outcome and is only informational for the decision maker (an admin), is still a good exercise. Even if you disagree with my solution, hopefully you see the issues I am trying to address, and maybe you have a better idea about the solutions.

Disclaimer: These are my own ramblings, and do not speak for anyone else. My hope is that this has not offended anyone, and I repeat a second time it is not my intent to attack anyone . My intent is to make TG even more fun to play on then it currently is, and this is merely a suggestion and my thoughts on one way to do that. I have left all the names in the mission in question out intentionally.