Okay everyone, weekend's over so we've got some responses. Since there are a lot of separate (but sometimes related) questions, this reply will be long, sorry in advance. I'm paraphrasing your questions to help somewhat, but if we've had a misunderstanding, please let us know.
a) "if we aren't able to use complete-children until the branch is done, won't this give people a lot of boring corner cubes to play"?
Not necessarily. There is also the weight cap to consider. People may notice a slight increase, but those cubes can still only be assigned so many times. Also bear in mind that using complete-parents is what the majority of admins have done in the past, so when we were doing more real-time completing it would have been a similar scenario.
b) "must we finish a whole branch after starting it?"
Yes, please. Because we have insufficient tools right now for showing where people are, and because the communication methods we have are also limited, reapgrowing/SCing will currently work best if everyone can generally trust that when a person says they're starting work on a given branch, they'll be there for a bit.
c) "can I still review branches from the children to the parent?"
The GMs have to request that this not continue. One reason that the majority of GMs have always avoided such a practice is that you may start completing a merger branch before you've realized it's a merger; it's wasted effort. The other reason is that if some majority of people are already reviewing from parent to children, and people are zoomed in a lot in overview, they may also wind up on the same branch together and not know until they've met in the middle.
d) "who claims missed extensions?"
The discoverer claims it. Since there's a chance that the misser would not be online for hours or even days, there's no reason to wait around for them to fix it.
e) "can people be disallowed from Fort activity when they're on /silence?"
We have no ability at HQ to see what cell people are actively working on, either, and we also have no ability to see who's on /silence, so if we made this a hard and fast rule, it would be completely unenforceable and anyone suspected of breaking it could just claim they didn't see people's messages. All that said, we do highly advise against performing any Scythe activities on /silence, because communication is crucial.
f) "in bipolar fields, should Scythes claim branches or cells?"
Let's go with whole cells for fields. They are indeed small and, though time consuming, sometimes they don't even have "branches" per se.
g) "can the 'don't use complete-children' rule apply to Forts only?"
We've seen the problems resulting from complete-children in all cells, so unfortunately we have to apply our expectations to all cells. Just to reiterate, though, you can use complete-children once the branch has already been fully grown, reviewed, and otherwise SC'd. That way Scythes still don't have to complete corner cubes individually, but Scythe A doesn't scoop up a bunch of SCs from Scythe B just because A used complete-children to claim the branch.
@rinda (and others):
h) "invisible mode?"
Because this concept seems to keep coming up in various discussions/e-mails, let me state clearly that an "invisible mode" for chat is not currently in the development pipeline. We've simply received requests for it from various people. The requestees' concern seems to center around receiving PMs once it is known that they are online because of the chat reports about their gameplay. Sometimes these players would like to "get in the zone" and be attentive to pertinent discussion without feeling social pressure to participate. Or we've also had players who receive unwanted messages from specific people and don't want those specific people to harass them. There are various ways to approach this problem and an "invisible mode" is only one of them, so HQ has not decided yet on the solution. In any case, we would like to keep this thread focused on reapgrowing and SCing, so we will not discuss such a concept further right here.
i) "can Forts be released later in the day?"
Just as a general reference, GMs are usually in the office somewhere from 10:30 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday to Friday. Sometimes one of us will be online at home later than that, or on the weekend, but that time window is the best bet for expecting a Fort or for that matter any new cell. Unfortunately, we do not have automation tools for queuing up cells to launch at times when none of us can be online. Because we know that Forts, new Relics, etc. can get eaten up fast, we can try to monitor the time of day when we most often release such things and try to spread them out a little more, but we're cautious about guaranteeing anything. Sincere apologies!
j) "can we/can we not bounce around from branch to branch?"
We understand that spawner slowness can sometimes happen or that it can be frustrating to just sit there waiting. However, bouncing around is precisely one of the ways that people can inadvertently do redundant work. Again, the whole reapgrowing experience will work smoothest for the time being if people explicitly claim specific branches and stay on them until there's nothing else to do on them. If you are experiencing obvious slowness or you think the spawner's having a problem producing children for a given cube, you can go ahead and change the branch you're on, but please declare the fact that you intend to do so.
k) "can anyone claim multiple branches at a time?"
Well... yes and no. I mean, "branches" is a loose concept because one branch will usually split into several more before it nubs, depending on the cell's morphology. So if you claim one branch you are implicitly claiming its child branches. At the same time, please do not claim simultaneous multiple branches in the sense of branches that all originate at the CB.
l) dust conversation
This is unfortunately not on topic. We will open a separate thread soon for discussing individuals' processes for log entries and what the admin position is on making entries for dust.
That might cover everything? We're happy to clarify as much as necessary so that things go smoother from this point forward. And just to reiterate again, these are the current guidelines based on the fact that we know we don't have automated/visualized ways for doing some of this more experimental gameplay. One reason that basic tracing might feel "happier" or less stressful is that we've had a years-long schema in place that's much more automated than other aspects of the game. Even that schema is not perfect, but it's not as inclined to growing pains as our newer gameplay features. Hopefully over the next year we'll have some major Fort/reapgrowing/SCing improvements!