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The basic principle is put your name down early if you want to play in the popular games. If the places fill up before then, there are lots of other games to choose from.
I am not inclined to increase the number of places in a game just to accommodate more players, as it may adversely affect the enjoyment of those who put their names down early. If necessary, the number of places will be decided by a poll.
Once the maximum number is reached, anyone else can only be in reserve.
On the other hand, please don't just put your name down for a popular game just to reserve a place for yourself without knowing whether you can play. Anyone who frequently withdraws, especially at a very late stage, or worse, fails to turn up, for a popular game, may be prevented from putting their name down for that game for a period of time.
After the debacle of one registered member putting 14 names down in the first hour after the scheduling thread for this Sunday's game was put up, with immediate effect, no one can put more than 3 names (including his own) down for a game in the first 24 hours after the scheduling thread for that game is put up.
If more than 3 names are put up, the first three will be included in the list, while the remainder will be moved to reserve. If there are still places left after 24 hours, those in reserve will be moved up to fill those places.
This will continue to apply until a more comprehensive solution for overly-popular games can be implemented.
Beyond this Sunday and the next couple of weeks, I will use the introduction of prepayment to deter registered members from putting names down for too many others. Pricing may also be used to encourage players to switch from more popular games to less popular games.
After today's complications, I will not put names down for anyone other than myself in the first 24 hours after the scheduling thread for a popular game is put up. I encourage all registered members to do the same.
If it continues to be an issue, it may have to be that no one can put names down for others in the first 24 or 48 hours.
I've started a separate thread on prepayment. Until prepayment is fully introduced, I don't think the systems proposed above will work for more popular games, and will hinder less popular games.
Instead, until prepayment comes into effect:
* Popular games will be specifically designated as a popular game on the scheduling thread. * From the time the scheduling thread is put up until 18 hours before the game, registered members can only put their own name down for a popular game. In the last 48 hours before the game, the game will be opened up to anyone else. If the places are already full, any one else can only be in reserve. * The scheduling thread for popular games will be put up 5 days before the game as usual, but at about 11 pm instead of earlier in the day, so that those who cannot access the message board can access it from home.
To start with, the Sunday 5 to 6 pm game at the Premier Pitch and the Tuesday 9 to 10 pm game at Sports Planet will be designated as popular games.
However, if the places for these games are very slow to fill up, the restriction may be relaxed.
In order to accommodate those who want to be sure of playing with their friends, I have tried to get extra pitches at the popular times or the popular venues for extra games. However, as it is not possible to get an extra big pitch between 4 and 7 pm at the Premier Pitch on Sundays (with the 6 to 7 pm booking being used for the women's game), I have taken a big pitch from 5 to 6 pm at Sports Planet for this Sunday.
For weeknights, 9 to 10 pm on the big pitch at Sports Planet, I have an extra booking for next Wednesday (1 December 2010) on the big pitch.
There will be no restrictions at present on putting names down for the Thursday game, the Saturday game and the above extra games.
For the weekend, as more players have gotten used to playing on Saturday, and some of the Sunday regulars are not as regular as before, numbers between Saturday and Sunday on the big pitch at the Premier Pitch have also become more even.
There doesn't appear to be any overly popular games anymore, which is a good thing. Hopefully, having lots of reserves for overly popular games, and lack of players for other games, is a thing of the past.
For now, no more restrictions or requirements specifically to deal with more popular games or to get players to switch from more popular games to less popular games.
Before the game, Julius informed me that David M had informed him that he couldn't make the game as he was on call, and that he had asked David to inform me, but he hadn't. Anyway, David M didn't turn up.
Not the first time something like this has happened:
... Erik called me shortly before the game was due to start yesterday to say Ken was overseas, and he thought Ken's name had been removed. Unfortunately, Ken's name had not been removed (probably a miscommunication between Erik and Ken), and it was far too late to find a replacement.
Erik put Ken's name down for him last Monday. Ken registered as a member on Tuesday, presumably in order to remove his name. Unfortunately, neither of them removed Ken's name.
I hope that guests who have played more than 3 games over the past 6 months will consider registering.
I think anyone who has played more than 10 games over the past 6 months should register.
Putting names down for others really should be limited to the following:
* For a friend who is playing as a guest or who hasn't registered yet. * For a player who doesn't have access to the message board for a significant period of time after the schedule thread is put up. * For one or two friends if the two or three of you really want to play in the same game, and on the same team.
Both the person putting the name down for another, and the person whose name is put down, are both responsible for ensuring the latter turns up, or withdraws once he realises he can't make the game, more so the former.
Alex F SMSed me. I've reminded him that I try not to put anyone's names down for them until after the 48-hour cut-off. Anyway, it's quite close to the cut-off, and since Uday will play too, and he isn't as familiar with the system, I'll put both their names down for them this time.
This is especially so for prepayment games, as it gives priority to those who both put their own names down and prepay, but it also applies to all regular games. Again, those who put their own names down should have priority.
One exception, where I'll put a name down for another player before the 48 hour cut-off:
In the end, one of the reserves withdrew, so there were only 3 reserves. On the other hand, there might have been other players who didn't put their names down for tonight's game as there were already reserves early on.
There were also 4 reserves for the game last Thursday night (although we were short by one the Thursday before). The weeknight games this week are all full now, with 1 reserve for Thursday as well.
If the three weeknight 7-a-side games consistently fill up on the message board, I will start an additional weeknight 7-a-side game sooner rather than later.
However, players need to be flexible enough to switch to the additional game.
A new player might get to play in a popular game if his introducer puts his name down for the game. I would hope the introducer would only put the name of a new player down for a popular game if he himself is playing in that game.
I would prefer to avoid any mismatch in the expectations of a new player and the regulars who play in the more popular games.
I will try to keep the Monday night game at The Cage going, if for no reason other than to have a regular 5-a-side game.
The Wednesday night game has been switched to the Premier Pitch @ Khalsa. The first game there was a fortnight ago. Although the game last week was cancelled due to the Cricket World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan, tomorrow's game is on.
Jamie, who is relatively, new, put four names down for Tuesday's game, stating he would pay for all four. Jamie and one other of the four (Kelvin Koh) have played before, and the other two are completely new.
I e-mailed him to inform him the limit was two names other than his own, and whether Kelvin could register and put his own name down, or one of their mutual friends (Bryan F or Rai) could put Kelvin's name down for him. In the end, Bryan put Kelvin's name down for him.
Jamie made prepayment for all four soon after I e-mailed him. In hindsight, as prepayment was made early enough, I should have allowed Jamie to put four names.
In future, a member can put more names down provided prepayment is made early enough. Even then, I would not want one member to fill up all the places in a game, so even where prepayment is made, there will be a limit of four.