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[Discussion - mania] Relax spread requirements

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abraker

Nao Tomori wrote:

Let's take for a fact that currently, a large amount of mania mappers are unwilling to make low diffs to rank their maps. Given that they are unwilling to create low diffs even at the cost of precluding their maps from attaining ranked status, we can safely assume that no widespread change of heart will occur and those mappers will continue to not map low diffs as they aren't even needed for ranking a set.
Here is a list of recent ranked mania mapsets that have diffs composed out of low skill maps. If there were no spread requirements what would have those mapsets become? I have a hard time believing they would have been maps a new player could not pass. Even less believable is that there wouldn't be a BN to nominate them.

beatmapsets/1110188#mania/2319892
https://osu.ppy.sh/beatmapsets/1465254#mania/3035623
beatmapsets/773502#mania/2458855
https://osu.ppy.sh/beatmapsets/1386044#mania/2863218
beatmapsets/1382018#mania/2855453
https://osu.ppy.sh/beatmapsets/998152#mania/2087790
beatmapsets/1391279#mania/2872780
https://osu.ppy.sh/beatmapsets/1137177#mania/2374714
beatmapsets/1173757#mania/2832659
https://osu.ppy.sh/beatmapsets/1376799#mania/2845539
beatmapsets/1356104#mania/2806609

Also something about difficulty naming. Take this mapset beatmapsets/1376799. It has an insane difficulty. Yea technically it's insane according to how RC defines it, but I wouldn't consider it "insane" relative from an experienced player's perspective. I consider this to be a low diff.

These examples contradict what you believe will happen. Mappers already create full spread of low diff maps. They are not going away.
clayton

Nao Tomori wrote:

To the points about bad low diffs - I posit that the goal of a low diff is not to be a good map. The goal of a low diff is very simple - provide *something* that a new player can tap along with alongside their favorite song. Put simply, as long as the low diff meets the absolute bare minimum standards of rankability, it serves its purpose of letting more players play songs they want to, because new players can't and don't evaluate the subjective quality of low diffs, only whether or not they exist.
I don't agree with that goal at all, to me having "something"s ranked is the result of a very poorly designed experience, and it should really be the opposite of the goal. maximizing the chance that a new player gets to play thought-out and properly crafted low diffs is the goal I have in mind to align more with "accessibility". I don't think having everyone's "favorite song" is relevant to accessibility, at most I could get behind that variety is good but I think all four of osu!'s modes have long since had enough variety for this to not be a concern at all.

also, new players don't have to "evaluate" maps to benefit from design that helps them learn to play the game.

Nao Tomori wrote:

I don't quite understand how spread requirements *don't* aid accessibility for new players, since the spread requirements are responsible for most low diffs existing in the first place.
I'm sayin most of the diffs made solely for spread requirements do more harm than good by drowning out those created with more care. and like said above I'm not a subscriber to more maps = accessibility

Nao Tomori wrote:

Regarding the "forcing mappers to do extra work" - the point of the RC is to create a bare minimum standard for long-term quality that the ranked section aims for. Every point can be boiled down to "appalling" extra work. It's just a tradeoff between the burden on mappers and the accessibility for new players, as mentioned before.
well for one my argument is that this makes accessibility (among other things) worse, so there is no "tradeoff".

for the rest, UberFazz shares my view, but I'll explain in my own words too: I use the word "appalling" for this issue because it makes people contributing maps to ranked responsible for also creating unrelated work. other RC rules are there to (ideally) promote a quality standard and technical requirements for the maps going into ranked, and I would consider none of them, no matter how strict, "forcing extra work", because that work is supposed to do something to the map. this rule has nothing to do with the maps the mapper actually wants to put into ranked. it abuses mappers' dedication to the game and their work to source extra low diffs out of people that otherwise wouldn't want to make them.
IcyWorld

Penguinosity wrote:

Can we:
A. Significantly tolerize the numbers currently in place
B. Allow BNs the discretion to decide whether a map does or doesn't require more than one difficulty, based on its structure or history
C. Remove the parameters entirely (obviously the most unrealistic of the three)


If you have any other suggestions or incites then let's definitely talk about them. I'm only one person!
One suggestion that is always curb sided is the proposal of a secondary ranked category that could solve a lot of issues and opens the freedom of allowing a completely new set of criteria that more closely aligns with what both mappers and players want. I wish this suggestion would receive more consideration as it falls in line with everyone's interest, ranked criteria can stay as it is now, or ranked criteria can change, but ranked criteria I feel will never fully encompass what everyone wants as everyone has an opinion that falls somewhere on a spectrum of what ranked really is or isn't.

If we could get a definitive explanation of what ranked really is, this would be a fantastic starting point in what we can use ranked for, and what we can evolve it in to.

That being said I do like the suggestion of giving BN's the option to select maps that don't fall strictly in to current guidelines, as this will allow for more diversity and inclusion for more maps that are fun or popular. After all if the community likes a map, even if it doesn't have spreads, it's still going to be well received.

My suggestion on the other thread to allow verifiable reliable mappers to opt maps in to ranked at will is probably the most extreme opinion in this thread that I've seen so far, but I was serious about it. In StepMania there are 2 primary ways of producing and distributing content, the first would be community led projects with certain requirements that eventually achieve a unified goal. Often times this process is established with a forum listing outlining the pack requirements, such as song choice, difficulty, style of chart, number of charts and deadline. The thread creator may often times be partnered with other judges that they know personally, others who have volunteered as judge, or solely on their own. This is how I view ranked, it's a community led project with guidelines to achieve an outcome, being ranked content, but not necessarily with a deadline for completion as ranked is always ongoing.

The 2nd primary way would be for an individual to be the sole arbiter of this entire process from beginning to end. Success by this method can wildly vary, but I believe that the commitment mappers have to their own quality speaks for itself. Those who have proven that they have an interest in providing good content that is well received could be considered for this special type of status. I'm not saying that I'm someone who would deserve this type of role, but I'm certain there are plenty of mappers out there that could be given this type of consideration. This type of roll could be bestowed by those in power, or left to community vote, or there could be a more inclusive criteria and guidelines to allow for this type of roll.

One additional proposal could be to implement flashflashrevolution.com's ranking process, where they open batches for submissions, such as a tournament batch, easy batch, or standard batch, then release that content to the game over time.

AncuL wrote:

i want to reply to more of these, but i think i need some time. i guess i can ask two questions right now though:
1. can we guarantee that with these requirements relaxed, we can see significant increase of (good) ranked maps?
2. can we guarantee that with these requirements relaxed, it wouldn't be abused to the point where new players are completely alienated?
To 1, yes it is possible to guarantee with relaxed requirements that good ranked maps will still be created, and considering the gating that ranked criteria currently is, it will draw an audience of mappers that desire to be more involved in ranked as ranked will become more in line with a larger mapper audience. So yes you would see an increase, possibly overwhelmingly so of good content. By not requiring mappers to dilute their attention from their main effort, it may actually help to improve ranked maps.

To 2, a lot of responses in this thread thus far are in consideration of new players and concern of alienating them. I feel that this will not alienate new players based on experience. There will always be an audience of mappers that desire to create easier maps, and new players will generally always seek content that meets their needs as any player of any skill would. Combining the fact that there is already a lot of content in ranked for newer players to enjoy, and the fact that there will be more to come, the focus should be in delivering existing and new content to them easily, which osumania does a fantastic job already. This however is always an opportunity for another discussion.
Referencing the experience I spoke of, filter packs by difficulty showing easy stuff first here https://etternaonline.com/packs and you will find easy content that is old as farts, all the way to present day.

Komirin wrote:

So to link back to the previous thread in a sense, why rank something on osu!mania when you can rank it on another game with less effort?
It is mutually beneficial to do so. OsuMania acquires more quality content, and other games acquire more publicity for their content or other personal reasons. Additionally players of osumania who do not wish to play other vsrg can have a more centralized and flourishing experience by having access to content from other games. One more thing, would you prefer to push mappers away from ranking content in osumania to other games?
In fact I'd actually recommend archiving OsuMania's Graveyard content on another platform since Graveyard is not considered permanent storage. That's a whole other topic entirely, but since there is a lot community overlap in VSRG, it just makes sense that there would be content migration to osumania including ranked.


Nao Tomori wrote:

dunno why you are framing it like low diffs will still exist if you remove these guidelines. this situation exists because people don't even make low diffs for the express purpose of ranking their sets, you expect them to make them after they aren't needed? that's why your bns and nats are suggesting to loosen the criteria rather than remove them entirely.
Low difficulties will still exist if you remove or alter the guidelines, no one to my knowledge is going to go through and retroactively remove lower difficulty maps that currently exist, and for people that want to create lower difficulty maps those maps will shine more brightly as a result of their desired existence. It's really bad to speak in absolutes like this. What I will give credit to is this however, under the current ranked criteria, it is incentivized to create lower difficulties, as a result of that incentive, more lower difficulties exist than if it were not incentivized.

MCPXiaoBai wrote:

Many replies have mentioned how the current rules are restricting mappers from ranking their maps and I’m surprised that there’re actually voices for removing spread requirement completely. I think the discussion seemed to forget the true purpose of ranking a map. The map being famous in other VSRG game or being approved as a good map isn’t enough for it to go for rank, the map have to also fulfil the basic coverage of players at different level so it can truly “serves for the community”. Ranked section shouldn’t be a stage for mappers to show off their mapping skill or to freely express their thoughts through mapping. Ranked section should be prioritised for players but not for mappers.

Loved section is already designed for maps that are created and widely approved in other VSRG game by the community but haven’t satisfied with the current requirements for rank. And there are mappers who don’t aim for ranked but loved as they wanted to map maps that are “unique/fun/outstanding” instead of “perfect” fitting the rules.

For lower diffs being relatively bad in quality because mappers may just copy and paste everything. I think we as modders should take the responsibility of avoiding these low-effort lower diffs going toward the ranked section. However I observed there are plenty of modders that are just willing to mod a map that reached certain difficulty, if that’s how the trend goes for the modding community, it well explained why some lower diffs goes unchecked.

Spread requirements had brought us many amazing mapsets, and it also indirectly encouraged GDing with I think greatly help with binding and strengthening the mappers community. Uncountable newcomers may choose to stay longer here simply because there’s new things also for them to play.

I’m fine with relaxing the time range by a bit, maybe let the cut off be 3:00/3:00-4:00/4:00-5:00, but I’m always against completely removing the spread requirements.
Sorry I hadn't taken the time to properly reply to this initially, but I hope Peppy's word of what ranked is intended for helped provide insight that ranked is at the very least, not something set in stone. I understand that you are coming from the best of intentions in what ranked should be and can see that you are devoted to upholding what ranked should be. I definitely agree, that if ranked is intended to be as you described, to be for players and not for mappers, and to provide spreads for newcomers, that the rules and guidelines should support this notion; and as they stand now it appears to lend to this notion. However based on the following "Rule proposals as well as suggestions are discussed in the Ranking Criteria Subforum. Any rule that went through a discussion and community approval process is listed here as it has been agreed on in the respective discussion thread." from here wiki/en/Ranking_Criteria/osu%21mania it would be best to to keep a more open mind towards suggestions and improvements to ranked. I believe ranked is something that Peppy determines it to be, solid and enjoyable maps provided a permanently engraved state, and if he desires the community to pitch in, as it appears he wishes us to do so, that means ranked is for everyone, not just for players, and not just for newcomers, but for mappers, and experienced players as well. I am suggesting with this that ranked is not fulfilling its desired outcome if it excludes any aspect of the community which wants to contribute to providing ranked with solid and enjoyable maps.





MCPXiaoBai wrote:

I don’t know whether peppy is hinting that the existence of RC is unnecessary, I’ll express my concern in case he is.

The reason why ranking a map became stringent is because of the growing mapping community: the increase of maps going for ranked, while the current BNs are holding limited amount of nominations.

Also since BNs don’t want the maps they nominated got DQed, so they’re more willing to pick maps that are more followed with the RC, or by other words, less creative and more standard patterning. (P.S. I’m not saying that BNs are wrong, that’s what BNs should do to ensure the maps are eligible for rank) So I do agree that rank became more stringent. But should we remove those rules just to avoid the ranking scene being stringent? Without word-written rules and guidelines, how can we clearly define whether a map is solid/enjoyable?

Back to spread requirements, the reason why the whole thing exists is because mappers won’t make lower diffs voluntarily. I think relying on mapper’s self-discipline to create lower spreads is too idealistic. I also wanted to add a point that spread requirements are encouraging mappers to map longer songs as they have less spread requirements. (as well as hitsound requirements) If these requirements are no longer existing, it will very likely lead to mappers spamming TV size maps towards ranked section. With the limited amount of nominations per month, will the rank scene become more diversified? Or being dominated by TV sizes?
RC actually is unnecessary, but is too valuable of a tool to simply disregard. Since it is valuable, and likely isn't going to go away anytime soon we should definitely look at ways to improve it so that we can get even greater usage out of it. I've mentioned that I think BN's should have more say so in what can get ranked and your input of BN's having limited amount of nominations this may actually be something we should address as well. Perhaps BN's should acquire more slots for what they can nominate respective to the size of the community they are supporting, I'd like to see personally a grand quantity increase in quality content in ranked and if this is an obvious path forward with minimal or no drawbacks, can it be done? If not let's try to make it happen!

As for defining solid and enjoyable content, everything is in the eye of the beholder. This will be the hardest question to address in this thread in its entirety, due to the subjective nature behind our craft. Correct me if I'm wrong but variety is the spice of life right? This old proverb holds true through the test of time and can help guide us in our vision of obtaining solid and enjoyable content. We can give consideration to one or more or all aspects of osumania mapping, such as the map being fun, unique, famous, infamous, thoughtful, technical, challenging, long, short, expressive, restrictive, creative, original, clever, innovative, cool, inspired, passionate, influential, easy, amusing, entertaining, pleasant, gratifying, or any other adjective that could help describe a generally desirable map.

If we restrict any aspect of the game, we will miss out on what potential there could have been to iterate, develop, and improve the map, the player, the mapper, the game.
You miss every shot you don't take. The world will go by without you noticing if you don't look.

Regarding mappers not making lower difficulties voluntarily, this is false as it is an absolute statement. Currently ranked incentivizes mappers to make lower difficulties if they want to be ranked. By removing that incentive there will be a decrease in map spreads as expected, but there will still be those who create lower difficulties. Conversely, there is not a further incentive to have tv size maps created, so there won't be a drastic increase in this type of map, as for them being ranked I suppose that is up to the BN's. I can tell you I personally enjoy making maps that are 5, 10, 15, even 20min long frequently. People will make whatever they want to make.


clayton wrote:

Shoegazer wrote:

The concern of people making half-assed lower difficulties to me is more of a ranking criteria problem than a spread problem, personally. In theory, I really don't think blatantly copy-pasted, tacked on difficulties should be permitted in spreads to begin with. A mapset that is curated for an official section of the game should have the most care put into the most relevant parts of it as possible, which includes the lower difficulties. Considering that the lower difficulties are going to make the bulk of the mapset's plays, I think that it's inexcusable to have abysmal lower difficulties in a mapset. I also don't think that removing the lower difficulties to increase the quality of the mapset at the expense of accessibility is a good idea either.
to me the problem of "tacked on", "abysmal" lower diffs is mostly a direct result of requiring lower diffs via RC. low quality work is completely unsurprising coming from mappers who are simply not interested in creating those diffs, but must put in a minimum effort to rank the rest of their set. setting a higher bar for low diff mapping may help in that respect but would also further defeat how Ranked is intended to be used, with (presumably) even more charters abandoning Ranked.

of course there are many other related problems too, like what you mentioned with RC being interpreted as more strict than necessary, etc.

---

my general opinion is close to Penguinosity's from the original thread:

Penguinosity wrote:

A preference of difficulty spread should be left up to the mappers discretion, and not up to whether the song they chart fits within a predetermined time and difficulty range.
but I'm surprised nobody has added this yet:

throughout all these conversations, accessibility is cited as the main reason that we need spread requirements. has there been any study done to show that the spread requirements aid accessibility, or is this just something we all assume is true because it seems like a relevant consequence of having more Ranked maps of all difficulties?

I think it is really glossed over how much harm is done to accessibility, especially to new players, by requiring mappers to create diffs without interest, inspiration, or care for how they will be played. having more maps does not make the game more accessible if those maps aren't providing engaging gameplay, and it certainly doesn't help new players get introduced to more of the game's mechanics if they end up playing lots of these maps that are designed only to meet RC.

I think osu! would be greatly more accessible at all levels if Ranked were not polluted by uninspired crap that originated from spread requirements. the spread requirements produce more difficulties for some under-mapped diff levels at the cost of drowning out maps that are legitimately well constructed for players at those levels

also, apparently this is a more extreme view than most have, but I find the idea of making mappers do significant extra work to immortalize their otherwise enjoyable maps appalling. osu! is a game, for the creators too, and the fact that many people enjoying mapping avoid Ranked for a reason like this shows that something important has been lost along the way.
I wanted to quote this because there is a question in there, but also because I agree absolutely with everything you've said.
New players will seek and play maps that are relevant to their skill level, but that's as far as having spreads does any benefit. They will play the uninspired maps that don't provide an engaging experience, and it's entirely possible that their level of enjoyment with the game is directly affected as well. Everyone is going to enjoy different things, but if I were to create a map with a lower difficulty, I would want it to be something I personally would enjoy. And if I were to share that content with someone, or a community overall, I would want to know that I put in my best effort to that lower difficulty, and that the enjoyment another player gains from that map is warranted. I would hate to have my stuff looked at merely as a "stepping stone" of sorts, that if I were a new player "I need to improve passed to get to the good stuff. "

I actually had no idea until this thread that ranked spreads were treated this way, and it is actually supportive to the reason I do not create multiple difficulties. I will not put something out there that I did not put my soul in to. I feel bad for the newcomers that have to experience something that could have been so much better. Let mappers who want to create easy maps create easy maps, rank those maps. Let mappers who want to create hard maps make hard maps, rank those maps. Let mappers who want to make spreads make spreads, rank those spreads. That is my proposed solution, we can have it all especially if we look for it, but should not force it all.

Nao Tomori wrote:

I see some really strange leaps in logic. To begin, my propensity for ranking unneeded diffs is not particularly relevant as I don't map mania nor copy my maps from other platforms. Anyway, this is why I think non-required low diffs will disappear from mania if the spread requirements are removed, and I believe you should argue from a position acknowledging that (and argue the benefits outweighing that loss) rather than pretending they will still exist if those rules are removed.

Let's take for a fact that currently, a large amount of mania mappers are unwilling to make low diffs to rank their maps. Given that they are unwilling to create low diffs even at the cost of precluding their maps from attaining ranked status, we can safely assume that no widespread change of heart will occur and those mappers will continue to not map low diffs as they aren't even needed for ranking a set.

BNs broadly will fall into two camps - either they will agree with the removal of low diffs and nominate these higher diff maps, or they won't agree and refuse to nominate those maps. The BNs that refuse will run out of maps to nominate as mappers by and large will do the minimum and not create unneeded low diffs. Therefore, the population will change to align with the ranking criteria - more selective BNs will be less active and represent a smaller portion and absolute number of maps being nominated, and therefore the incidence of spreads will be lower.

To the points about bad low diffs - I posit that the goal of a low diff is not to be a good map. The goal of a low diff is very simple - provide *something* that a new player can tap along with alongside their favorite song. Put simply, as long as the low diff meets the absolute bare minimum standards of rankability, it serves its purpose of letting more players play songs they want to, because new players can't and don't evaluate the subjective quality of low diffs, only whether or not they exist.

I don't quite understand how spread requirements *don't* aid accessibility for new players, since the spread requirements are responsible for most low diffs existing in the first place. The fact that higher difficulties remain unranked is irrelevant to accessibility, so spread reqs preventing sets from being ranked has no effect on accessibility.

Regarding the "forcing mappers to do extra work" - the point of the RC is to create a bare minimum standard for long-term quality that the ranked section aims for. Every point can be boiled down to "appalling" extra work. It's just a tradeoff between the burden on mappers and the accessibility for new players, as mentioned before.

In sum, my argument is that low difficulties are important, and that they should be required *to the extent that most mappers will comply with the requirements rather than dropping out of the system.* Therefore, since mania seems to have less tolerance for these compliance difficulties, the mode should first reduce the requirements to see whether enough mappers decide to compromise on spreads, then proceed as necessary, instead of - as I previously said - chucking everything out of the window.
This last post I've quote is the one I wanted to respond to the most. I've covered a lot of the topics in my replies to other posts however. Apologies ahead of time if you're reading and I reiterate my sentiments.

Ranked incentivizes spreads by being a gate to ranked. It does not gate low difficulty content, medium, or challenging content. There will still be mappers who create content for every skill level. This is basically Murphy's law, anything that can happen will happen or if it has a positive probability of happening it certainly will happen. Were the incentive to discontinue spreads overall be implemented, there will still be those who create spreads. However I'd like to direct this at the creation and implementation of lower difficulties as that appears to be a focal point of concern. Right now requiring spreads, lower difficulties, for mappers dilutes focus and inspiration to create maps, as a result anything additionally required to be ranked will have a higher probability of being less enjoyable than it could have been. Should that difficulty have been the focal point of the mappers interest, it would naturally be higher quality.
The benefit to not requiring spreads will be 2 fold, mappers who want to create 1 single map will give it their all to that single map and it will result in a greater singular experience for that map. Mappers who create lower difficulty content with this same intent will provide new players with a more enjoyable experience. If your focus is on new player perception and enjoyment of the game, this is absolutely beneficial to them.

Although a large number of mappers are unwilling to make lower difficulties for their maps, it's not a bad thing that they are unwilling to do so. It should be the case that mappers who create their maps, create them with their intended recipient in mind. If I were to create a low difficulty map, my primary objective would be my personal enjoyment of the map first, if I deem it to be noteworthy I would then share it with the community if I desired to do so. I believe that pooling low difficulty in to the category of not needing to be a good map is one of the most frustrating opinions I've seen in this thread. I've actually played 7k and 4k maps that were auto converts, that were ranked, in multiplayer lobbies and they were so bad that I just quit because they were completely not enjoyable. These were 1, 2, and 3 star maps, but it was so obvious that no care was put in to those difficulties, and they shouldn't have any place in a rhythm game, even if they are going to good songs. There's an obvious line to draw somewhere with that example, I hope you can see it.

Ranked can be more than just a bare minimum requirement, I believe it can be reflective of our shared experiences in the game, that it can be more thoughtful and inclusive to the community, and especially for providing inspired and engaging content for our newer players. They deserve respect, they are the future of this this game, and we can help them to stay by making ranked the best experience, from beginning to end. As is the same for more experienced players, instead of having a majority of content we play all be graveyarded, and eventually purged, I think there is a lot of content in graveyard that deserves to be immortalized in ranked, because it is Solid and enjoyable content, this should be the goal of ranked as Peppy stated.

If my wording to why I won't create spreads made it sound like I'm lazy, or comply with ranked criteria to go for ranked sounded lazy too, that's not the reason. When I finish a map, I feel it's done, it's the way I want it, it's the inspiration I had in the moment. To anyone that thinks that is not good enough for ranked, I respect your opinion, but maybe you're wrong.
Shoegazer

clayton wrote:

to me the problem of "tacked on", "abysmal" lower diffs is mostly a direct result of requiring lower diffs via RC. low quality work is completely unsurprising coming from mappers who are simply not interested in creating those diffs, but must put in a minimum effort to rank the rest of their set. setting a higher bar for low diff mapping may help in that respect but would also further defeat how Ranked is intended to be used, with (presumably) even more charters abandoning Ranked.
That is fair and I think that's more or less the same perspective that I have minus what we think the solution is. In hindsight, I do think that it's probably just better to remove a spread requirement completely than to force a stricter RC requirement for lower difficulties in particular. It makes even more sense given that ranking criteria for all levels have been at best, minimum quality standards, and optimistically, just arbitrary rules to conform to that don't correspond to what makes for an acceptable map. I certainly wouldn't stop making lower difficulties if I were to get something ranked because I think it's important to ensure a large degree of accessibility for others, but it probably shouldn't be a requirement. Either way, my opinion on this is more or less neutral because I understand the need for catering towards mapper's intentions and how people would just half-ass something if they don't like the requirement, while also ensuring some level of accessibility to newer players.

What you've said about lower-level difficulties being atrocious and them being unacceptable resonates with me, and I alluded to it in my post as well. Players who are new can still distinguish between accurate rhythm and non-accurate rhythm. They can still develop favourites for which patterns fit a song more through appropriate breaks between rhythms and proper attention given to the main rhythms of the song even if the rhythms are quite simple. Song choice is a large contributor to what makes maps appealing to people (especially newer players), but it's patronising to say that they don't care about anything but song choice.

That said, and this is more targeted towards abraker, but I'm generally a bit worried that the maps that are targeted towards lower-level players would be homogeneous (80% of the maps you've linked have a rice to LN ratio of about 2:1 or 3:1, and the song choices aren't really the biggest variety either), but this is more of a community issue more than anything. It's something that I would like to see tested over a month or two to see what the lower-level content that's pushed for rank would be like under non-mandatory spread rules.

I'll make one section specifically to Icy's post because there is a lot to dissect and there are a lot of things that I want to break down as someone else who has contributed a lot to the osu!mania mapping scene and someone who has been in various VSRG communities with different judging systems (and as a former FFR judge). I'm also spoilering this because I don't think it's really necessary to the topic:
One of my biggest concerns when it comes to the Ranked section, like you said, is its general lack of definition of what it's supposed to be. If the ranked section is basically a section for mapsets that are "solid and enjoyable" as peppy said, then I believe that the spread criteria should go. You yourself have mentioned how much you would refuse to get something ranked if you personally "didn't put your soul into the map", and I think the spread criteria absolutely force you to put in effort into something that you don't want to invest your time into and you would not feel satisfied with it.

That said, I also agree with you in that ranking criteria is also strictly unnecessary for things like this and it would be up to the discretion of the BNs themselves to judge whether the map would be appealing to players and potentially other mappers. In that sense, I think ranking criteria does what it does fine, because it is codified in a way that only enforces minimal standards of quality. There might be a few small rules that are arbitrary, but it's something that we, as a community, would have to look at in the future if spread criteria were removed. Most of the nitpicky rules are currently in spread guidelines if anything. I really do believe that nothing can ever be codified about charting because it's so intersubjective and abstract to begin with, and any attempt at it without a million disclaimers that it is merely one perspective of how charting should be is overreaching its boundaries and fails as an all-encompassing mapping codex.

My only concern is that I feel that it is never good practice to tell people to get easy content from packs or mapsets that are extremely old or are meant for a different rhythm game. Charting styles greatly evolve over time, and even in a rhythm game with 4 columns, there are many different approaches to creating lower-level content. Charts made in 2007 will be very different from ones that are made in 2021, even if they are the same difficulty: charts like Reach's Blade or Cynic will be a rarity from a modern charter today. I feel that it is necessary to give newer players proper exposure to up-and-coming charting styles rather than have them get good enough to play newer content. I have a very slight concern about how most lower-level content would be made in a certain style if no spread requirement is necessary, but again this is something that I would like to see with my eyes if the spread criteria are lifted. And I'll obviously be participating in creating lower-level content myself.

Regarding your suggestions about the ranked section though:
- I generally disagree with having specific individuals being the sole arbiter of the entire process from beginning to end. This is also why I disagree with a batch system. I don't think that there should be a system with singular judges or even a small set of judges because I think the nomination/judging process will always possess some sort of luck or bias when it comes to a mapset going in or not. On FFR at least, there have been many occasions where files have to be resubmitted because one judge thought that a chart was unacceptable (because of personal charting convictions) but the other judges think that it is completely acceptable as is. You can argue that this is due to a judge being incompetent, or that this would be avoided through a multi-judge system, but I think that judge assessment is never impartial and that a multiple-judge system is avoiding the root of the problem.

This is also coming from someone who would fall under this role, and I am more than willing to say that I have specific biases against certain mapping styles to the point where I don't think I can judge them in good conscience.

- I do believe that the BN system is probably the best way of curating maps to the ranked section at the moment, and I think your first suggestion is basically this but cutting out the middleperson of just asking a few people to nominate maps. My main concerns with the first suggestion being that it is much harder to verify mappers that could opt content into the ranked section than BNs and that I do think that some quality threshold still has to be met and there should be some third party verifier that the threshold has been met. The latter, of course, you can say that you can just strip a mapper's ability to opt ranked maps in if they no longer put in maps into the ranked section, but it's difficult to track that from an administrative standpoint.

The BN system currently allows you to send your maps to specific BNs, who themselves will have certain preferences and in turn represent a specific mapping circle in the community. The BNs will then nominate maps if they like them, but their preferences are molded by the communities that they are in. The main thing that contrasts this system from FFR's judging system is that, instead of avoiding bias, the current BN ecosystem embraces bias. This is also how pack organisers organise packs; even down to the action of modding/going through a chart if the chart has potential to be accepted into a pack/be put into the ranked section and rejecting it outright with no further comments if they don't believe that the set/chart is satisfactory.

There is, of course, an issue with allowing BNs to embrace that much bias in the ranked section, which is that it leads to a higher representation of maps from circles in which BNs are abundant. BNs can, of course, be asked to be less biased, but this would have to be codified in ranking criteria (which is very difficult, FFR doesn't have acceptability criteria for this reason) and that I don't think that it's ever a good idea to reduce bias in an uncontrolled environment. I do think that the better solution to this would be to have a more pluralistic idea of who can be a BN for the community by understanding what makes maps valuable to various communities and seeing if certain people can meet those criteria to nominate maps in the interests of those circles, but that's a different thread for a different time and is much easier said than done. Despite all of this, I prefer osu!'s system of nomination compared to any other rhythm game with an assessment system.
Penguinosity
I don't believe there's anything to be lost in giving a change in spread rules a go. My opinion is that the these current timing parameters in place should be permanently loosened. However the main thing I would like to pull back to is a potential "trial period".

Let's come to a consensus on whether this trial period would be either:

1. The spread guideline times will be loosened for a period of time
2. The spread guidelines are removed for a period of time


Again, I think the former should be permanent, and what we really should be testing is a complete removal but I digress. We can spin in circles on this for a while, but I think enough people have given their two cents that a decision can be made. Also, I should reiterate that I am personally suggesting these changes only to Mania. Considering Mania players are what make up the majority of this thread, I think if changes are to be made for other modes then discussions need to be had for those respective communities.
Topic Starter
abraker
I'm all for removing spreads for a period of time as an experiment. I have no reason to believe the concerns people raised against spread removal are valid.

Biggest concern is that people think mappers won't rank lower diffs. We see full spreads consisting of purely lower diffs being ranked with the spread requirement, so there should be no reason to believe lower difficulty diffs won't be ranked without spreads.
UberFazz
I agree with removing spread rules for a "trial period" as well for reasons already mentioned, but I disagree that it should happen only to mania. The rules are for all gamemodes and the mindset/reasoning for everything applies to all gamemodes, even if to a lesser extent. We don't need discussions for each specific mode but instead need people from different gamemodes participating in this thread.

I see no reason to only apply it to one gamemode when every gamemode can benefit from this (especially if it's only as a trial).
clayton
I also want all modes but seeing as this was made in context of mania-specific situation (mappers avoiding ranked & lots of influences from other vsrg) and shared/discussed mostly among mania players , i think it should be forked to another all-modes thread first and decided separately
Penguinosity

clayton wrote:

I also want all modes but seeing as this was made in context of mania-specific situation (mappers avoiding ranked & lots of influences from other vsrg) and shared/discussed mostly among mania players , i think it should be forked to another all-modes thread first and decided separately
Clayton shares my sentiment on it too. I without a doubt believe it's beneficial for all modes to let go of the restraints, but given a lot of the discussion here stems from Mania I think it's really only comfortable for changes to be made there.

UberFazz wrote:

We don't need discussions for each specific mode but instead need people from different gamemodes participating in this thread
I do kinda agree there, though that's up to preference. Abraker can change the topic name if that's possible to remove the mania subtag, but I think it makes more sense to just mirror the topic for respective modes. peppy mentioned in discussions regarding these recent RC change proposals that he wants things to be generalized among all gamemodes which I would agree, but I think more needs to be said from all sides before we can do that. I also don't want to postpone changes happening for Mania until we can possibly do it for all modes so, I dunno just my two cents.

If this all makes sense though then two things need to happen, for one this start and end time frame for this trial period needs to be established, and two new threads need to either be created for this topic for the respective modes or this one needs to be generalized and shared amongst the communities.
Topic Starter
abraker

Penguinosity wrote:

I do kinda agree there, though that's up to preference. Abraker can change the topic name if that's possible to remove the mania subtag, but I think it makes more sense to just mirror the topic for respective modes. peppy mentioned in discussions regarding these recent RC change proposals that he wants things to be generalized among all gamemodes which I would agree, but I think more needs to be said from all sides before we can do that. I also don't want to postpone changes happening for Mania until we can possibly do it for all modes so, I dunno just my two cents.

Penguinosity wrote:

two new threads need to either be created for this topic for the respective modes or this one needs to be generalized and shared amongst the communities.
It's easier to make arguments why spreads do more harm than good in mania than in standard. Absolutely no idea how this applies to catch and taiko. As much as desire for homogeneity across gamemodes is, the communities surrounding different gamemodes have different takes on this situation.

Penguinosity wrote:

two things need to happen, for one this start and end time frame for this trial period needs to be established
Trial duration is what we want to figure out. Start time is as soon as the RC change is merged.
Topic Starter
abraker
All, I made a complementary thread to discuss how to go forward with this in other gamemodes community/forums/topics/1427768

Whatever consensus is for other gamemodes, I'd preferably still want to see a trial period for mania.
_underjoy
Also it kinda speaks volumes that a vast majority of influential/well-known mania people support this change. It's just a thing we as a community would love to have. Unfortunately the workloads on BNs would be bigger then so more BNs would be needed
loafusofbread
I would support either relaxing or removing all spread requirements, as weakening or removing this barrier is a necessary step if we want to populate the ranked section with higher quality maps. I find the notion that every single set needs to cater to weaker players quite asinine, seeing as 1. most players will graduate from easy, normal and hard difficulties relatively quickly, and 2. even players who stay at that level for their entire career will naturally not be playing the game as much; more experienced players are the ones who contribute the most toward and invest the most time into the game, and so their experience shouldn't be dragged down by those who contribute less and are less invested. (This argument might not hold water in the other game modes because mania is generally enjoyed more competitively than standard)

Of course, it's important to think about the experience of new players, because even the best players have to start from somewhere. However, new players already have an immense library of content far surpassing that of other rhythm games at their disposal. Even in the graveyard, where mappers aren't concerned about spread requirements, there are plenty of maps below 3* by experienced mappers and inexperienced mappers alike. Making it easier to search ranked beatmaps under a certain star rating, allowing players to share their collections (of easy maps), or even rewarding mappers for creating beginner maps with kudosu! or something would function to supplement the removal of spread requirements.

Nao Tomori wrote:

dunno why you are framing it like low diffs will still exist if you remove these guidelines. this situation exists because people don't even make low diffs for the express purpose of ranking their sets, you expect them to make them after they aren't needed? that's why your bns and nats are suggesting to loosen the criteria rather than remove them entirely.
Easy diffs for sets with higher upper bounds will almost certainly decrease (to what extent is debatable), but the main effect of removing spread requirements is allowing maps that would otherwise be left in the graveyard into ranked. It's not about removing what is already there, but rather adding more. Many mappers push sets with spreads that cap out below insane difficulty into ranked just because they want to get a map ranked regardless of difficulty or clout, or because the song doesn't support anything harder, and there are some mappers who are dedicated to creating full sets for songs from Sound Voltex and whatnot. (It's hard to imagine Fresh Chicken and Murmoo suddenly not mapping lower diffs in their sets, for example.) Furthermore, improving the ranking criteria and process further would allow for sets that cap out below insane difficulty that are currently graveyarded to make it to ranked.

UberFazz wrote:

There's a huge difference between forcing people to comply with rules to increase the quality of a map, as you yourself say, and forcing people to create more content to cater to a specific audience.

I agree that the RC exists to uphold quality; anyone can agree on that. However, mapping more diffs DOES NOT increase quality.
Big agree, sums things up really concisely. Ranked section quality does not benefit from spread requirements.

_underjoy wrote:

Also it kinda speaks volumes that a vast majority of influential/well-known mania people support this change. It's just a thing we as a community would love to have.
If the substantial majority of respected mania players/mappers support this change (as we do, from what I can see) then there's no basis for not testing this out ASAP. I'll be pretty disappointed if fringe arguments and baseless conjecture hold back actual action that people want to see.

Penguinosity wrote:

Let's come to a consensus on whether this trial period would be either:

1. The spread guideline times will be loosened for a period of time
2. The spread guidelines are removed for a period of time


Again, I think the former should be permanent, and what we really should be testing is a complete removal but I digress.
I agree, I don't see any reason not to go all in on this. Simply testing loosening spread requirements won't give enough evidence to support or oppose the change, since leaving room for speculation permits both sides to just adhere to their previous belief. This is a change many people want; there's nothing to lose and everything to be gained.
Kawawa
considering why do people map a marathon i'm pretty sure most of high contents are them. marathon is usually used as a reasonable way to avoid spread rule, and it creating a tendency to make marathons for high content and i think it will still have the same situation that mappers preferring a full-spread instead of following these cut-off rules, or insane 4K single diff and expert 7K marathon (sort of) it will eventually biased as two cases i guess.

and it's very valid to bring up mapper's guild what guden said but we can still leave it as an option. or keep the spread rule only for guild mapset but it is personally fine because BNs usually encouraging FA mapsets, so still merit.

yeah i do agree to remove the rule for a trial period.

I don't think mappers won't rank lower diffs, it's really simple. see the lots of low level mapsets in this year. do you think it is a result because they can't make a high content by the spread rule? also not all high content maps can be ranked it depends on the BNs and their criteria, and i'm sure BN will still prefer a full spread mapset. so removal is just an extension of the choice.
[LS]Ham
In my opinion (bad takes possibly incoming), the worry that mania won't have enough low difficulty maps to go around if we remove spread requirements (ignoring the possibility of relaxing instead of completely removing) is illogical, given the general ranked meta at the moment. It could change possibly, but let's just look at the recent ranked for some statistics.

September 2021 has had 27 ranked maps so far. In this pool of maps :
17 (62%) have difficulties that are under 2 stars. (Any distinction under 2 stars is negligible given that I doubt anyone exists who couldn't play a 2 star within an hour of practice.)
14 (51%) have a top difficulty which is less than 4 stars.
Only 4 (15%) have any difficulty over 5 stars.

(Yes, I know SR is broken and a bad metric, if you have a better metric though I'm all ears)

Now, this is a small sample size due to me having to manually count it and I didn't want to be counting that many maps, but I'm sure you will find somewhat similar results as you get more data. It's fairly clear that mania has a surplus of easy maps and a shortage of hard maps. I'd be willing to bet that a lot, maybe even a majority of the graveyarded maps that could've been ranked if not for spread criteria are maps on the harder end of the spectrum.

Basically, I think that for mania at least, we should be worried about getting more hard maps ranked, not easy maps, and I feel like changing spread criteria to a guideline, relaxing spread criteria, or doing something of that sort would be a good step in the right direction.
Ventilo le vrai

[LS]Ham wrote:

It's fairly clear that mania has a surplus of easy maps and a shortage of hard maps.
Well mania also have a surplus of new players right ? I agree with most of the thing you said but there isn't too many easy maps in the ranked section atm. They're just overwhelming harder maps that are lacking. And removing/relaxing spreads req is a good help to make this more balanced I think.

In my opinion I'm more into removing spread reqs if relaxing means shorten the necessary drain time, because I think that arbitrary time values aren't related to the need for a song to have easier diffs or not. I'm for relaxing if it means Idk, making it up to bns if the song would need a full spread or not, like a 2 minutes death metal song would definitely not need a full spread but a 2 minutes oral cigarettes song or similar would need a full spread.
WitherMite
hey, seems alot of people here forgot or never knew the reason these proposals came about: community/forums/topics/1388182

charters from other games CANT upload all their charts in any reasonable amount of time, and getting the amount of upload slots they need to do that means they would have to add to projects they've long considered completed.

which is why the proposals happened, to let these charts:

1. Become ranked quicker and easier

2. and this is the important one, exist in the game at all.

There isn't anything inherently wrong with not going for ranked, but people aren't even able to get much of their stuff into the graveyard without putting in a ton of extra effort (and/or money) they weren't intending to, just for all that to get wiped at some point in the future.

personally I think the hitsounds proposal was the more practical one, since even though I dont agree with the idea that getting GD's is just super easy (not everyone is good at being social). It is a fact that there are more people willing to map GD's than there are who will do mania HS.
Topic Starter
abraker
It doesn't look like mania spread abolishment proposal is going to pass.

Another proposal will be made to lower spread drain times instead. I would like to see 1:45 / 2:45 / 3:30, but most people I've talked to say 2:30 / 3:15 / 4:00 is more realistic to pass. While it will be a step in the good direction, unfortunately I think it does little to fix the root cause that spawned this discussion because majority of maps that are stuck in graveyard will still require spreads.


Stats from 4 years ago from this thread community/forums/topics/631455

Also for those who are not content with using drain times to determine spreads, if anyone has ideas of what to use instead, please do share.

edit:

Topic Starter
abraker
Results are out https://sites.google.com/view/mania-spread-changes

Topic Starter
abraker
Topic Starter
abraker
That proposal has been merged

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