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Should players be allowed to AFK?
Yes
 65%  [ 13 ]
No (for lag concerns)
 20%  [ 4 ]
No (for balance concerns)
 0%  [ 0 ]
No (both reasons / other)
 15%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 20

Brief note added after typing the below post out:
For those unaware, AFKing is the process of leaving the game running while Away From Keyboard while a process like mob spawning or a farm runs in the background. If used in conjunction with a well designed farm, it can replace grinding by automatically collecting resources during the night.

(Sorry for the wall of text)
I have always been against the server rule against AFKing. I have tried to explain my reasoning about it in game before but the chat format proved limiting. Recently, I have been keeping up with the technical Minecraft community, talking in the Discords for servers like Scicraft. One thing that I noticed about many of the contraptions shown off in these communities is that most require a player to hold down one or more buttons while AFK to perform functions like placing or breaking blocks, or just to stand in one optimal space that allows mobs to spawn and despawn. This isn’t totally necessary in some cases, especially for farms for minor items like shrubs or mushroom blocks you won’t need to farm overnight, but most farms either stop working entirely or take an extreme performance hit without the player being in a specific position at all times the farm is running. There are many other reasons to remove the restriction. Here are a few that I thought affected our players the most.

AFKing can be used to remove the grind from certain parts of the game, freeing more time to do something enjoyable. The reason that I was given when I asked about AFKing being disallowed is that the staff want “players to actually play” rather than spending all of their time getting more items automatically. However, allowing players to gather resources automatically can free up more time from player’s schedules to actually play the game rather than spend many hours collecting materials for a large projects. For example, a player might enjoy building large, complex mansions that require a large amount of materials like wood which cannot be farmed without player interaction as is the case with items like sugarcane or pumpkins, but dislike mining and cutting down trees. If a build requires a double chest of logs, which isn’t too unreasonable for a large project, under the current rules the player would be required to spend hours and hours chopping down trees just to be able to do something enjoyable to them like building a mansion. However, if AFKing was allowed, the player could build a fully automatic tree farm in forty minutes, then leave the computer on overnight to collect all the resources for the build, then come back in the morning and start doing what they enjoy right away. If this player only has a certain amount of time they are able to play each week, they would not spend any less time playing the game than if they were required to grind for hours to make progress, and what time they do have to play the game would be made more pleasant because they are doing what they enjoy while playing. In fact, many players might even play more because their time on the server is more enjoyable.

Designing and building AFK machines can also provide a new mechanic to challenge technical players who like to design things with redstone. AFK players are the only things in the game that can automatically place and harvest blocks like trees, chorus fruit, decorative blocks, vines/bushes and other things that require shears or silk touch, and lava (to make a movable cobblestone generator) using something heavy and a mouse. This lets technical players design redstone that use players to directly interact with the world, which opens a realm of possibilities for unique contraptions.
AFK contraptions also allow for a large number of building projects that would normally be infeasible to complete. One example would be a project that I wanted to do which involved covering all of the lava in the nether with orange glass so people would be less likely to die while in the nether. Normally this requires holding shift and walking backwards slowly with glass in your hand until you hit a wall. However, I could design a flying machine that moved me back and forth allowing me to place glass over the lava lakes in the entire nether. This is probably faster than the original method and requires absolutely no human interaction if the angle is correct. With the rules the way they are now, I could build this machine and hold down right click myself for several hours, but not perform the functional equivalent by putting a book on my mouse and walking away for a bit.

In conclusion, I think it would be beneficial to the gameplay of all members of the server to allow AFKing. Due to resource concerns it might be wise to limit this to only during the night when not as many players are online. An alternative solution for lag might be to add redstone components using plugins that can detect the number of non-AFKing players and kick the AFK player who placed the block to shut down farms and save server resources. I am interested to see what everyone else thinks about this suggestion; please feel free to share your thoughts.

TLDR: I think that allowing players to AFK would give them the opportunity to eliminate some of the grind of the game and spend more time actually playing.
I disagree with your argument against the anti-afk rule.

I like interaction between players; it’s what keeps me online, more than the enjoyment of the game itself.

AFK’ing decreases the interaction between players. Sure, there might be nine people online, but seven are AFK’ing at their massive ______ auto-farm

There’s also the issue of lag. Although Cemetech-MC is hosted on a capable server, entity lag and block updates will make the game unplayable.

We also have a limited amount of playing area. If most of this is taken up by people’s large farms, then how will they play?

Zeman and I, for example, have built a large conglomerate of buildings in an area. We are limited to just the edge of the area, causing us to build a good portion of it in/on the water. This was tedious, and we almost didn’t build the BM because of it.

Additionally, less efficient farms can fill up mob cap, which makes it less fun for newer players trying to get a hold of the wilderness.

As LMB told me, “If you are going to play, play.”
_iPhoenix_ wrote:
I like interaction between players; it’s what keeps me online, more than the enjoyment of the game itself.

AFK’ing decreases the interaction between players. Sure, there might be nine people online, but seven are AFK’ing at their massive ______ auto-farm

Right, but if only 2 players were going to be online anyway, then there is no difference. In my experience, most players will only AFK overnight, after they would have gotten off if they did not decide to AFK. They will not decide to AFK when they want to actually play the game.

_iPhoenix_ wrote:
There’s also the issue of lag. Although Cemetech-MC is hosted on a capable server, entity lag and block updates will make the game unplayable.

Lag is probably the biggest issue with AFKing. I could write a plugin that unloads chunks around AFK players whenever TPS drops below 20 and a non-AFK player is online.

_iPhoenix_ wrote:
We also have a limited amount of playing area. If most of this is taken up by people’s large farms, then how will they play?

Zeman and I, for example, have built a large conglomerate of buildings in an area. We are limited to just the edge of the area, causing us to build a good portion of it in/on the water. This was tedious, and we almost didn’t build the BM because of it.

Besides mob farms, which require a very large perimeter to function, most farms are actually no larger than the average build. They can be hidden underground or built around the edges of the map outside of a densely populated area.

_iPhoenix_ wrote:
Additionally, less efficient farms can fill up mob cap, which makes it less fun for newer players trying to get a hold of the wilderness.

This only affects spawner based farms, which spawn mobs slowly enough that this isn't an issue for well-designed farms (ones that won't crash the server is used for a while), and pigmen farms, which require a lot of obsidian and are unlikely to get built on the server. All other mob farms actively attempt to leave room in the mob cap and will shut down once the cap is filled. The mob cap also doubles when another player is online, meaning it is unlikely that mob spawning for players will be affected.
Just FYI guys, I see that there are votes but no corresponding arguments for those votes. I'm going to wait a few more days to hear more arguments from both sides then engage in these discussions.
AFK per se should not be banned. There are people who AFK for legitimate reasons, like they really have to do something and will return to their computers shortly but don't want to disconnect for whatever reason, such as loading times.

Intentional AFK to run your super-duper-hyper 5 stacks/min mob grinder? Yeah, that shouldn't have to be a thing.

(I don't play on the MC server, so don't take my opinion.)
There are points where I wish I could (legally) afk on the server, like with my guardian farm since our resident monument owner isn't available to play often, and getting those things can be difficult.

But I also agree that if you are on the server, you should be at your keyboard. If you're stepping away for 5 minutes, we of course are not going to say anything. But trying to afk for multiple hours? No. Please log out and let others play with better TPS.

As to most of my farms, they are activated when I'm in town, so they can run while I work on other projects.

Your concern on wanting tons of wood to build a thing. Well, gathering the materials is part of the Minecraft experience. There's also jobbing it out to someone else to help gather resources. That's part of why we have various shops on the server. Or you can barter things for services, it's really up to the players.
I find that afking allows players to focus more on the technical and building aspects of the game without the grinding. Both of these are points of main focus on the server. People afk because it allows them to progress and make cool things without spending too much time doing so. Gathering resources is indeed part of the game but so is making farms so that you do not have to gather them by hand. o2b_blockbusting and I have a self assembling iron farm at our base; it requires at least a few hours of afking to be profitable as you have to reset it every time. Not all farms run passively while you do stuff at your base, this being an example of one.
tifreak8x wrote:
Your concern on wanting tons of wood to build a thing. Well, gathering the materials is part of the Minecraft experience. There's also jobbing it out to someone else to help gather resources. That's part of why we have various shops on the server. Or you can barter things for services, it's really up to the players.

There are many different playstyles for this game. There is no one "Minecraft Experience." Some players enjoy the challenges of survival mode but not the amount of time required to obtain items in large enough quantities to build something impressive. Many other aspects of the server, like the ability to change spawners with EggCatcher eggs and easily get items like emeralds, prismarine, and gold without grinding, /home and /spawn, chest shops, and the dragon elytra drop are in place to reduce the grind and give players more time to design and build. AFKing makes a relatively small difference in balance compared to the spawners in particular, which are allowed specifically to reduce grind and allow players to build. AFK farms are not unbalanced because they take time to designe and build. It might take a player five hours to build a basic AFK wood farm, to get a large amount of wood. This also requires an input of a large amount of bonemeal and things like a beacon with regeneration to keep the farm running. If a player wants to put in the large amount of interesting work required to design and build a fast tree farm rather than put in a similar amount of tedious work to cut down a lot of trees, they should be allowed to do so.

As far as lag is concerned, it is unusual that most public servers drop below 20 TPS with only a few people on. I'm sure that myself and other players would be willing to donate for better hardware or hosting if we continue to experience issues. As mentioned before, we could also prevent the lag caused by AFK players by unloading chunks around them when there are non-AFK players on and the TPS drops below 20.
I'm glad to see a few more posts.

commandblockguy wrote:
I have always been against the server rule against AFKing. I have tried to explain my reasoning about it in game before but the chat format proved limiting.


I concur, chat is incredibly limiting. Posting in the forum allows everyone to read and form complete thoughts. It's also easier for those who wish to participate to follow along. The last two days I wasn't online all that much, the posts allow me to read and get caught up on opinions of others.

Quote:
There are many different playstyles for this game. There is no one "Minecraft Experience." Some players enjoy the challenges of survival mode but not the amount of time required to obtain items in large enough quantities to build something impressive.


You pretty much answered your own topic here. The Cemetech Server is a no-AFK play style. In fact, we're pretty generous when it comes to actually allowing AFK. We let players idle for 20 minutes before they're kicked off. Which should be plenty of time to cover "legitimate reasons":

oldmud0 wrote:
There are people who AFK for legitimate reasons, like they really have to do something and will return to their computers shortly


When we set up the Cemetech Server we wanted to have challenges for our players to face. Technical players will work around them, such as when we removed Player to Player teleportation and removed the farmable currency.

That said, the AFK timer has been around since around 1.6? 1.5? I'm not sure, but we find that to be a good mix between inactivity and playing. As I quoted above, 20 minutes is enough time to go to the bathroom, prep some food and place it in the oven, etc etc. That limit is unlikely to change. It used to be 10 minutes but we bumped it back to 20 minutes for 1.9.

Another challenge we impose on our players is the server. To match the server hardware we have now, we'd have to pay an additional $30 or more a month. I don't know about you, but I can't quite justify that expense without spamming "Donate Now!" or offering rewards for donations. There's stuff in the EULA where we can't charge for certain things (such as access to areas). The mods, Kerm, and I have certainly entertained the idea but we've put it on the back burner for now.
Sorry for the late reply, I somehow was not notified of the reply until I checked the Minecraft section of the forum.
Alex wrote:
Quote:
There are many different playstyles for this game. There is no one "Minecraft Experience." Some players enjoy the challenges of survival mode but not the amount of time required to obtain items in large enough quantities to build something impressive.

You pretty much answered your own topic here. The Cemetech Server is a no-AFK play style.

Which is what I am suggesting be changed in order to be more accommodating for players with different playstyles.
Alex wrote:
When we set up the Cemetech Server we wanted to have challenges for our players to face. Technical players will work around them, such as when we removed Player to Player teleportation and removed the farmable currency.

There is a difference between these challenges and the ability to AFK. First off, both of those were unbalanced. They let you perform a task that usually takes a while to complete almost instantly with no setup beforehand. On the other hand, AFK devices require an upfront cost of designing and building them. Second, both of these had alternatives, which you could design around. You could use elytra or minecarts to move around, it just takes longer. And you could mine for lapis yourself, or make a tunnel bore to get lapis automatically. However, the only way to place blocks, spawn mobs, and break blocks without bedrock or TNT duping is to use a player. There is no way to get around this restriction.
There is no mechanical difference in game if AFKing is allowed or not. It makes no difference to the server whether it is my hand or a brick on my mouse as I use the fastest possible method to build a flat platform or farm trees or kill hoards of wither skeletons with a looting sword.
I can't simply design a way to make a farm less tedious. For most types of farms it's impossible to get any less tedious than having a fake player do stuff for me while I do something else. And the reason I made the farm or contraption in the first place was to make it less tedious. So, in that way this restriction is demotivating technical players from designing things, if I can't get any better than just sitting there holding buttons and watching Netflix anyways.
I realize this might be a bit confusing without an example. So, let's go back to the example I gave earlier about placing glass in the nether. In singleplayer, I would have a couple options. I could stare at my screen and click the mouse button thousands of times for hours or until I no longer feel motivated to work on the project. I could fill my inventory with glass, hold shift and right click, and walk backwards while watching Netflix. Every so often, I need to refill the glass, and every so often I need to turn around. Both of those options are tedious as I am doing the same thing for hours.
However, I could make a flying machine which automates the process of turning around and refilling glass. Now, this is obviously the best strategy as I no longer have to interact with the mouse and keyboard besides holding right click, and it takes the same amount of time to place the same amount of blocks. However, I can now walk away from my keyboard and leave a brick on the mouse. It makes no difference mechanically, as it still takes the same amount of time to finish the task, but I don't need to actually do anything. It's totally purposeless for me to sit there for hours holding down my mouse. I could have spent that time doing something else.

Mechanically, the result is the same whether I AFK or not, but allowing AFKing encourages design by giving opportunities to reduce tedium.
I voted yes, to allow AFK. I think that there should be limits on it, though. As I'm assuming the main purpose of disallowing AFK is to stop players from running massive farms and bogging down the server. A time-limited AFK is a decent method of preventing this, but it's not the most effective. You'd be surprised how fast you can take the server to the crash point... it doesn't take 20 minutes if you have a very fast farm.

I propose... and this may require something we don't have, like a plugin... that AFK kicking be based on chunk server load or entity count rather than time. Thus, if a player runs a massive farm that starts to lag, they get kicked faster. However, if a player builds a farm that minimizes lag and keeps entity count down, they do not get kicked. In this case, the AFK time limit could be expanded to allow players to idle farms for supplies *within reason*.
Pfft, I could take the server to the crash point in like ten seconds with about ten minutes of setup beforehand. With about two hours and a bit of redstone I could also make it dupe a full shulker box in the process.

I could definitely write a plugin addressing lag concerns for AFK players. As I mentioned before, it could unload chunks around AFK players whenever actual live players or the forum should get priority, and kick them if there are real issues. It's hard to see how much each chunk contributes to the total lag, since every tick is processed in multiple passes each checking every loaded chunk. We could just make it based on global lag or local entity count, though.
commandblockguy wrote:
Pfft, I could take the server to the crash point in like ten seconds with about ten minutes of setup beforehand.


On most servers, it's extremely easy, and you have several options (DON'T USE THESE, I AM POSTING THIS FOR "SCIENTIFIC" REASONS)

Dig a decent-sized hole (deeper=better), with one block preventing sky access.

Use a piston to repeatedly move that block back and forth.

RIP server, due to lighting updates.

Another favorite of server-crashes is using a short-ish line of pistons being activated and deactivated several times per second. This kills the server quite quickly, too.

Additionally, having a large grid of Redstone wires and repeatedly activating and deactivating that can cause some problems Evil or Very Mad

Neither of these will work on large servers, which have custom-written plugins the defend against this. It's not too hard to determine of someone is attempting to crash the server via a plugin. It's hard to determine exactly who is crashing and how to stop the server itself from crashing.
  
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