Fact: I just don’t get many specific compliments, either while playing or facilitating. My players at home are pretty good about being appreciative. I don’t feel unappreciated, not at all. And I’ve gotten consistently high marks at conventions that have feedback forms (BigBadCon, NewMexicon specifically). So it might be that I just kind of breathe that air all the time, and I don’t really hear specific compliments because everyone’s already high-fiving me and everyone else. /humblebrag
In my perfect world, facilitators and players would get a hell of a lot more recognition, particularly on the con circuit. And maybe this is more of a thing in bigger con play communities, like Pathfinder and D&D. I wouldn’t know. I’m as guilty as anyone else: I’ll look for specific personalities at whose table I want to play, even signing up for things I kind of don’t care about just because I know they do care about it (say, Morgan Ellis running WHFRP, which is completely not my jam but Morgan is fun at any table so, sure, let’s see what he coughs up). But I won’t tell them that. I just show up and take the fun.
Good players, too, although at least in my own head I tend to conflate the two: If I know you’re a good facilitator I know you’re a good player. The reverse isn’t always true but it isn’t always not true, either. I mean, yeah, I’ve run into some rock star players who I’m pretty sure run games too, but I haven’t gotten to sit at one of their tables.
One of the best things I ever learned about the indie scene is that designers, the 1%ers who get 90% of the social credit, are frequently kind of crappy players and facilitators. No I’m not gonna name names, but they’re big names. I mean they’re never, like, socially toxic or total scene hogs. I mean they don’t have a lot to put on the table. They’re up in their own heads, particularly if they’re playing in their own game. I see tables instantly fill up when one of these big names is seen, but pro-tip for the noobs: you’re probably not gonna get as good an experience as you thought.
I do love to give unexpected compliments in games. There’s a truism about relationship maintenance that I learned at some point: don’t compliment someone about something they already know is good. Don’t tell the smart girl how smart she is. Don’t tell the strong guy how strong he is. Whatever. Gosh that’s proven true when I do a drive-by compliment in a game, too. If they’re doing a consistent accent, they probably know their accent is good so don’t just reiterate that. Compliment their, I dunno, commitment to principled characterization. Their clever combo. Their recontextualization skills.
I used to feel kind of bummed that I wasn’t getting compliments. Now the fact that I can fill a table at any event at any time to play literally anything I’ve brought is its own reward.