eav missions faqsEAv has published a new Missions FAQs document in which the EAv team provides answers to 18 frequently asked questions about missions.

The long awaited FAQs arrive after months of debates and complaints in the community discussion area about mission thieves and feedback ratings.

So, what do the Missions FAQs tell us?

The most significant part of the FAQs state:

From the perspective of Empire Avenue, Missions where one must visit a location is completed once the green “Complete Mission” button is clicked and the web page or link is visited and the reward will be provided at that time.

Other tasks that a Mission Creator may attach to a Mission Description are at the discretion of the Completer to do and are not monitored or rewarded by Empire Avenue. We provide a mechanism for both Mission Creator and Mission Completer to give feedback on how each are performed, whether in the specific completion or in the secondary tasks as set out by the Creator.

While we do not endorse any specific secondary task or types of tasks, there is a non-binding social agreement between individuals if you choose to accept and complete a Mission. Your reputation online may suffer (as will your scores on Empire Avenue) should you take Missions and not complete them. While Empire Avenue does not punish people for not completing any secondary requirements set out in a Mission by a Mission Creator, as reputation is gathered from Feedback in Missions as well as throughout your Empire Avenue experience, your ability to see and participate in Missions, your dividend payments or other services on Empire Avenue may be impacted positively and negatively depending on the Feedback. It is also important to remember that a failure to complete the tasks requested by the creator may also result in the creator blocking you from future interactions and missions that they post.

What are we to take away from this?

Missions are completed with a click

First, EAv says that a mission is complete when a person clicks the button on the mission and visits whatever it links to. Even if the person doesn’t do what was requested in the mission description, EAv still considers the mission to be completed.

That means in EAv’s eyes there is no such thing as a mission thief. So, don’t expect them to do anything to monitor or enforce the requests made in the mission descriptions.

They are washing their hands of any responsibility for what happens after a person clicks the “Complete Mission” button.

Non-binding social agreement for secondary tasks

However, EAv also realizes missions are much more valuable (and so is EAv as a platform), if people do what the Mission Creator requests in the mission description. So, they encourage Mission Completers to do the “secondary tasks” by emphasizing when a mission completer clicks the mission button they are entering into a “non-binding social agreement” to do them.

EAv is taking a hands-off approach to the secondary tasks, and leaving it up to the Mission Creator to decide how they want to handle people who don’t do them.

Missions Feedback

The FAQs stress the option of giving negative feedback as a way for handling people who don’t do the secondary tasks. However, they also state that feedback data is not made public and currently has no impact at all, though, it may in the future.

Other Remedies?

That leaves blocking (AKA the nuclear option), as the only real systemic remedy a mission creator has for dealing with a mission completer who doesn’t do the secondary tasks.  (There are non-systemic remedies, such as trashing a person in communities, but let’s not go there.)

Clarity?

So, the bottom line is that EAv has made it clear that it’s up to the Mission Completer and his/her conscience to do the secondary tasks in the mission description, and it’s up to the Mission Creators to do their own enforcement in whatever way they want to.

My fear is that everyone’s conscience is a different and everyone’s enforcement will be different, so we’ll be left in a virtual wild west with a vigilante justice system.

In EAv’s Defense…

I give EAv kudos for “going on record” and trying to clarify missions issues with the FAQs.  I know a lot of people will not be happy with EAv’s approach, but in EAv’s Defense, I don’t see much else they could do. They can’t police the secondary tasks in the mission descriptions because

  • a) it would take too much time and effort,
  • b) many mission descriptions are poorly written with unclear expectations,
  • c) many mission descriptions actually violate the TOS of other social networks,
  • d) it’s difficult to verify whether a person has done the secondary tasks, and
  • e) there could be legal issues

The only suggestion I have is in the few cases where there may be other types of missions which could be reliably technically verified and not in violation of a social networks TOS, they should introduce them. For example, if there’s a way to verify a person has liked a Facebook page and creating an incentive to like a FB page is not in violation of FBs TOS, EAv should create a new mission type to facilitate that.

What are your thoughts?

Do the new missions FAQs clear things up for you?  What are your take-aways?

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