RFC: Improving The Mana Drain
Or, Better Living through Stricter Posting Standards
Why I’m posting this
Or, Something is rotten in The Mana Drain
In the past months, I have noticed a marked decrease in the overall post quality on this forum. This decrease has taken the form of low effort posts, poorly reasoned arguments, and, personal attacks.
These personal attacks are by far the most alarming. I worry that we have lost sight of why we are here. The person who introduced me to gaming, Will Pagani, founder of Asgard Games and developer at Privateer Press frequently remarks,
Remember: The object of the game is to win. But the point of the game is to have fun.
I believe that all of us play Vintage primarily to have fun. While winning certainly is fun, it is not our primary goal. Vintage has a dramatically higher cost of entry and dramatically lower prize pool. This means that, even if one wanted to, one could never “live the dream” or “go infinite” by playing Vintage. I believe that Vintage is special in this respect as the need to win is therefore diminished.
How I’ve come up with these proposed rules
I’ve looked over the rules from The Source and the TMD archive. I’ve added in some observations of the application of unwritten rules (ie, mod actions that occur when a post doesn’t explicitly violate any written rule). And I’ve added a bit of my own opinion both about the problems I observe here on TMD and what my ideal Magic forum might look like.
Or, I came to The Mana Drain to post deliberately.
...the main goal of TMD is to be that "medical journal" of Vintage where ideas and decks are thought-out and criticized at the highest level.
- Dante, on the old TMD
A. Posting decks
- No post shall consist of only a decklist.
- An exception shall be made for posts made in response to a request for a decklist that has been previously discussed. IE, In a thread about a particular deck or card, a user may post a decklist without further comment if that user has previously discussed the deck without posting the list and the list has been requested by another user.
- A deck’s thread may be locked and directed to a new thread if a suitably high quality primer has been written for that deck.
- Rules regarding primers TBD
- Card choices shall be addressed.
- Any non-obvious card choice shall have reasons listed for choosing that card, including other cards considered for that slot.
- Obvious card choices may be grouped together. But a decklist shall not be expressed solely through obvious choices. EG, Moxen and mana-producing lands may be listed as "Mana producers." But Oath of Druids, Forbidden Orchard, Griselbrand, Yawgmoth's Will, and Memory's Journey may not be listed as one large "Oath Combo" grouping.
- Any post containing a decklist for a deck not already present in the metagame must answer the following:
- Why play this deck over alternatives?
- How does this deck match up against other decks present in the metagame?
- An exception to this rule is made when the context of the decklist is an illustration of an idea.
- EG: A spoiler post may include a potential decklist for that card.
- EG: A discussion of a potential changes to the banned and restricted list may include a decklist to illustrate how a deck may change post-restriction.
B. Single Card Discussion (SCD)
- An SCD thread shall begin with an English-language image of the card and the card's full oracle text.
- If multiple printings of a card exist, the image used shall be of a printing whose text most closely matches the current oracle text of the card.
- The resolution of the image shall meet or exceed the resolution of the scan/picture available on Gatherer.
- At the time of this writing, that resolution is 233 x 310 pixels.
- Users are encouraged to use the scans from MagicCards.info, which have a resolution of 312 x 445, a 92% increase.
- For recently spoiled cards, a best effort shall be made. The original poster shall be expected to update their post when a suitably high-quality image becomes available.
- SCD opening posts shall answer at minimum the following:
- What deck or archetype is this card being considered for?
- If this card creates a new deck or archetype, a decklist shall be included.
- What card(s) does this card replace and why is this card better than the card(s) it is replacing?
- What changes to the metagame have made this card an option?
- In the case of spoilers, this may be omitted as the change may be assumed to be, "This card was printed."
C. Respect Each Other
Or, Don't be a dick.
- Debate means you are trying to win; dialectic means you are using disagreement to discover what is true.
- Users shall be honest.
- This includes intellectual honesty.
- Users shall not flame other users.
- Flame baiting shall be considered the same as flaming.
- Users shall not reply to baiting or flaming with more flaming.
- Users shall report flaming.
- Users shall not make ad hominem attacks. Criticize plays, analysis, or logic but not each other.
- Users shall not state anything as a fact unless they truly believe it to be so.
- This includes opinions. A fact is something that is demonstrably true.
- Users shall not be criticized stating that they are unsure of whether something is a fact.
- Users are encouraged to reference the Comprehensive Rules, the Magic Tournament Rules, the Infraction Procedure Guide, and the Magic Rules Chat before making statements regarding rules or policies.
- The most current version of those documents may be found at http://wpn.wizards.com/en/resources/rules-documents .
- A hyperlinked version of the Comprehensive Rules may be found at Yawgatog.com.
- Users shall not encourage violence of any kind against any person or group.
- Users shall refrain from obscene, graphic, or otherwise offensive topics or words. This includes but is not limited to the following. Whether something violates this rule is not up for debate or discussion with moderators and/or admins. Only the I know it when I see it test is required for a moderator or admin to determine that something violates this rule.
- Profane or vulgar language
- Anything related to any individual or group's sexual orientation or gender identity
D. General Posting Quality
- Users shall make a best-effort attempt to use proper English grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Users shall use paragraph breaks to to separate thoughts and avoid run-on sentences.
- Users are also encouraged to review the Markdown syntax and Markdown Cheatsheet to further enhance the organization and readability of their posts.
- Users shall not derail threads with off topic posts.
- Shorthand card names reduce readability and increase confusion, especially for newer players. Shorthand card names shall be used sparingly. Shorthand card names shall not be used if the card being referred to is not immediately obvious.
- An exception shall be made in cases where only one card that could match that abbreviation is relevant to the current discussion.
- Example: A decklist contains Jace, the Mind Sculptor and no other Jace planeswalker cards. "Jace" shall be assumed to be referring Jace, the Mind Sculptor as it is the only Jace being discussed.
- Examples of acceptable shorthand: Ruby, Sea, Workshop, Snapcaster, Chalice, "5 Moxen" for Mox Ruby, Underground Sea, Mishra's Workshop, Snapcaster Mage, Chalice of the Void, and all five Alpha/Beta/Unlimited Moxen
- Examples of unacceptable shorthand: Jace, Lili, Jace 2.0, Seal, Lighting Bolt Machine
E. Reserved thread content
Users shall not discuss the following outside of threads specifically intended for their dicussion:
- Reprints, including The Official Reprint Policy aka "The Reserved List"
- This includes discussion regarding satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a reprint or lack of reprint of a non-reserved card.
- The Banned and Restricted List, except as it relates to:
- Recent changes and how they affect the topic at hand
- Preparing for possible future changes EG, If an update is scheduled shortly before a tournament, players may wish to discuss and practice with possible post-restriction decks.
- Proxies, playtest cards, counterfeits, and related matters
- Prices or availability of cards, except as it affects the likelihood of a card or deck being played.
- Problems or complaints about Magic: The Gathering Online, except as it affects the likelihood of a card or deck being played.
- Any other document or action taken by Wizards of the Coast or another group unless directly relevant to the conversation at hand. This includes, but is not limited to:
- The Vintage Super League
- Policies of Tournament Organizers