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The QAT Gazette: December 2017

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An update to the Beatmap Nominator applications process and more clarity on the Beatmap Nominator probation phase, adjustments to beatmap Hype, as well as how to apply and contribute as a Metadata Team Helper - all in store for this month's issue of the QAT Gazette!

Seasons Greetings!

I mentioned last month that I was looking forward to the progression and development of the newly introduced Beatmap Discussions system, and thanks to numerous contributions from our front-line Beatmap Nominators and modders, we've seen a number of quality of life improvements. These include the addition of line breaks in suggestions, more visibility for pending discussions per difficulty, and perhaps most importantly, the ability for Beatmap Nominators to counter (or "veto") a nomination by posting a Problem stamp.

Anyone can follow or take part in these discussions by joining the osu!dev Discord and stopping by the #osu-web-modding channel. I strongly encourage it if you're invested in the mapping and/or modding communities and want to help develop the system!

With that being said, let's continue on to more specific recent developments in the Beatmap Nominators and Quality Assurance Team.

Within the Beatmap Nominators

Changes to Beatmap Nominator applications

The Beatmap Discussions system threw a slight spanner into the works for us with regards to how we evaluate new applications to the Beatmap Nominators, primarily due to the scaling of kudosu. In the current system, each applicant undergoes an initial check to entry based on their recent activity, and is required to pass a certain "Modding Score" threshold. This helps to filter out people who would be considered inactive in recent months, or not experienced enough.

With kudosu being much easier to obtain under the Beatmap Discussions system (1-3 kudosu are available per suggestion depending on the number of upvotes provided by the mapper or other community members), the "Modding Score" threshold could easily be reached, in some extreme cases with only one or two mods. To avoid punishing people who had mostly used the previous forum modding system (with much less kudosu on offer, only 1-2 per mapset), we decided to be more lenient this cycle with the cutoff threshold. We're currently still working on ways to balance this for the next round of applicants!

Additionally, we received criticism that feedback from previous Beatmap Nominator applications was unspecific, and that the lack of context provided by anonymised mods did not fairly reflect on some modders' proficiency. Therefore, in the most recent application cycle, we removed the anonymisation aspect to better understand the context of the presented mods, as well as ensured that more detailed feedback is provided in three main categories:

  • General Attitude (tone of delivery and other behavioural expectations from the Code of Conduct for Mapping and Modding)
  • Modding Abilities (knowledge of the general/specific Ranking Criteria, further abilities e.g. metadata, timing, etc.)
  • Deliberation (overall suitability and readiness to join the Beatmap Nominators)

As with previous cycles, all applicants will be granted feedback and suggestions for improvement on request. Additionally, applicants who were rejected for any reason will be given the opportunity to appeal this decision if they feel it to be unjustified.

New Beatmap Nominator Promotions

In conjunction with the above changes, it is my great pleasure to once again welcome new Beatmap Nominators for osu!taiko, osu!catch and osu!mania.

For osu!taiko: Aloda

For osu!catch: Hareimu, Nokashi and Sorcerer

For osu!mania: Garalulu, Tofu1222 and the returning Kamikaze

I'm sure they are eager to deliver us all more quality content, so please offer them all your congratulations and support through their probation period and beyond! I look forward to working with you all in the near future!

Additionally, congratulations to celerih and Sinnoh in adding proficiency in osu!catch to their existing osu! Beatmap Nominator memberships! As a former osu! Beatmap Nominator who branched into osu!catch in late 2015 myself, it's always great to see people continuing to expand their knowledge and tackling new challenges!

Within the Quality Assurance Team

In addition to developing the Beatmap Nominator team and moderating the new features of Beatmap Discussions, the QAT will be seeking to grow existing features, ensuring that current modding systems keep pace, and that a future full transition over to new system is as smooth as possible.

Call for Metadata Helpers

I mentioned last month that we opened a Discord server to discuss and catalogue metadata across newly Qualified maps. The idea behind this was to provide some assistance to the many of us who are not particularly experienced with metadata, but also to allow mappers and modders to assist each other. Users can additionally browse the existing catalogue, to see if their song/map has already been discussed and metadata confirmed before.

Anyone is welcome to join the Metadata Heap server if the above seems useful to you, but we're especially interested in recruiting some dedicated and knowledgeable Helpers to assist our current team of experts. More details can be found on the server's #announcements channel, but if you're already involved there, head straight on over to the application form and show your interest!

Modifications to the beatmap Hype system

Anyone who has participated in the Beatmap Discussions system will have noticed the "Hype Train" feature - billed as a replacement for kudosu star shooting from the previous forum modding system. Since it's not tied to kudosu, however, Hype offers an opportunity for players to get involved in the promotion of beatmaps, without the need to necessarily mod them.

However, the current implementation allows users to freely "Hype" any maps of their choosing, which devalued the system somewhat. With no limitation on what maps could be Hyped, mappers were not seeing the real reward of the system, instead finding it just another obstacle to Ranking, requiring asking friends and acquaintances to simply press a button with no real restrictions.

After recent discussion with developers, a modified Hype system is being trialled with the following restrictions:

  • Users will be required to play through at least one difficulty before being able to Hype a mapset.
  • Users will be limited to a certain (as yet undecided) number of Hype per month, making each one feel more valuable
  • Total number of Hype required for a beatmap to be nominated for Ranking will be reduced to 5 (to account for the increased worth of each).

The details of these modifications are subject to change based on community reception, of course. Be sure to give them a try and leave feedback for future development!

Quality Assurance Team changes

To coincide with the recent Beatmap Nominator promotions, I am pleased to welcome the newest member of the Quality Assurance Team, Protastic101! After a year of impressive growth in the Beatmap Nominator team and with maturity beyond her years, she will be soon be assisting with the checking of Qualified maps and assisting new Beatmap Nominators in osu!mania. Please offer her your congratulations and wish her the best of luck with her new responsibilities!

In sadder news however, this month marks the end of an era for the osu!taiko community and the QAT, as one of our longest-serving and highest-contributing stalwarts, OnosakiHito, has retired from the team after a more than four-year tenure. His tireless work encompassing the BAT, GMT, QAT and Spotlights team among other roles, coupled with his his passion and no-nonsense approach, has helped shape the community in a massive way. His contributions to osu! have been truly enormous, and his loss will be felt by all of us who remain.

Nardoxyribonucleic and Raiden will continue supervising the osu!taiko Beatmap Nominators, whilst Mao will be stepping into OnosakiHito's former role as Beatmap Spotlights organizer alongside Kurokami.

Summary

Well, that brings to a close what turned out to be a rather important month! That said, there is always more work to be done and more progress to be made, so I expect next month to be no different. Thank you to all those who have read and contributed over the course of the past year! All that remains is for myself, on behalf of the Quality Assurance Team, to wish you all the best over the Christmas and New Year period.

Happy Holidays!

—JBHyperion