on 04-04-2012 12:02 AM
on 04-04-2012 12:17 AM
04-04-2012 02:50 AM - edited 04-04-2012 02:51 AM
I had a very long post typed out and the damn "authentication ticket failed" error resulted in it al being deleted so I'm begrudgingly going to try to type it all out once more.
Anyway, I must say that while I understand but Domiiinatrix and scarycharacter's points regarding how the forums should be run, I think it should be somewhere in the middle. First and foremost regarding Dom's point that
People will always banter and it's the mod's job to see that threads stay on track, discussions always wander (ever talked to someone and only talked about one subject, never digressing or straying from the point, even to crack a joke or two?) that's the way of things, it's natural.
I can understand that but at the same time I disagree. The problem that currently exists on these forums, in my opinion, is that almost every single thread is interrupted by one or two people who post something completely unrelated to the thread and then multiple other users begin to talk to them, completely ignoring the topic of the thread and creating a thread within a thread if you will (yes, Inception before somebody points it out), one half of people talking about what the thread is actually about and then the other users talking about the colour of their mittens or their opinion on a specific font or something equally as irrelevant (presuming of course the thread isn't actually about thoes things). This ends up stifling the actual discussion of the thread and it becomes difficult to have any form of insightful or interesting, persuasive conversation as the majority of the thread is no long about said issue, it's just something random completely unrelated. I am not suggesting banter should be forbidden. I am also not suggesting that witty comments should not be made. I don't have a problem with those things. What I do have a problem with is when otherwise interesting threads become completely and utterly derailed, people's on-topic posts ignored for what is otherwise unnecessary and out of place comments that add absolutely nothing to the thread itself but end up as detrimental to it. Now, in saying that there is some threads which are so ridiculous and stupid that a derailment is almost certain and in such cases I really don't mind, it adds to the humour of an abhorrent thread being used as a chat room mocking it's stupidity. But when such threads become normal and on topic threads are the minority, it simply is not natural. There is a way to blend banter into an on topic conversation and that is not beginning to talk about something completely irrelevant but instead to start talking about something relevant yet not directly related.
In saying that though I also disagree with scary's point that he believes bans should be thrown out like confetti.The problem if this happens has already been touched upon but first of all it would dissuade people from posting at all. If the moderators were to begin banning people left, right and center tomorrow people would hesitate to post. They would be unsure whether or not the post would get them banned and may instead to refrain from posting just in case. Likewise if the bans were for what would now be considered minor issues you risk having people view the mods as unlikable, unfriendly and almost robotic creatures. They would make users uneasy about posting in the forums and it would strongly damage any sense of community that would be felt within it. You also would then have a more serious issue. Users who would feel that they were unfairly banned could end up using proxy servers and sites such as hidemyass in conjunction with fake emails to continue posting on the site anyway. Then the mods have to concern themselves with finding and banning new users who have returned after receiving a ban. If stricter rules were to be placed there would need to be a very gradual adaption to these rules it simply could not be something sudden. At the very least there would need to be a forum announcement regarding it, an update to the rules, warnings to users and a slowly but steady increase in the severity of punishments for breaking the rules to ensure it catches nobody by surprise.
However the biggest problem that would occur with this is that the forums could become extremely stagnant and lifeless. There was a period on these forums when stricter rules were enforced and they ended up relatively unused with little activity or posts. If you look through General Discussion now the number of unique posters compared to the actual amount of posts, I would imagine, is quite small. The forum is more or less sustained by ten or twenty regular posters. If half of those were to be banned the forum would almost certainly grind to a halt. Although the quality of posts would undoubtedly improve as users hesitate to post material that may get them banned and focus on the actual topic, the increase in quality means absolutely nothing when there is barely anybody to post. This would very likely rip apart the sense of community that would be felt as well known users, who post often are banned and there is a lack of many new posts in the forums. Then you also face the problem that because of this some people may simply abandon these forums, deciding it's either not worth the risk to be banned and to go for another or to choose to simply lurk the forums as opposed to post. All of of this I feel is a symptom of a much bigger problem within these forums and that is the complete lack of users posting regularly as it currently stands. Although many forums have quite a large number of posts, one only needs to go into the Playstation 3 General Discussion to see this, the vast majority of them are completely desolate. The forums have never been as busy after the switch to Lithium as they were beforehand but comparably it is still rather empty here. There just isn't enough users, based upon what I can see here, within this forum to increase severity of punishments without adversly decreasing the active users below any acceptable level.
That in itself however I feel is all a symptom of just how many forums there is on the website itself, something I touched upon towards the end of that paragraph. If you glance through this board there is so many desolate unused boards that it is almost bewildering. While some are still busy, some are stagnant, more or less dead and forgotten with so little posters that there is no need for a forum. New users may sign up to ask a question and that question goes unanswered for an extended period of time as no users are simply viewing it. The amount of users is spread far too thin between each forum, many of which are made redundant due to either overlapping or being completely empty/pointless. A good example of this is PS3 General Discussion and the various category game forums. Although there has been an increased effort to generate more traffic to these forums and make them more relevant, either through moving threads or posting competitions within them, most users still post game related queries and questions in the PS3 General Discussion forum and they are unsurprisingly the most active threads. Once they are moved they are more or less killed and posts cease. The amount of boards on the forum is completely and utterly unnecessary. There is simply no need for such a wide variety of forums which spread both users too thin and moderators too thin. As far as I'm concerned, a culling of forums should occur, a complete restructing almost necessary.
I do not know if the person reading this will have ever gone on Neogaf but if not it would make the following much easier to understand so I advise you to atleast view the homepage to make compassing the description much easier (also, I'm not affiliated with the site with the exception that I have an account in case this is perceived as advertising. I'll try to describe the situation with as much clarity as I can if you don't wish to go there however). The forum has four different boards, a gaming forum, a gaming community forum (for game threads which have mostly become dominated by off-topic chat yet with the game as the central focus), an off topic one and a new (a few days ago it was added) off topic community one (which in truth I still don't understand the purpose). Because there is so few forums all traffic is diverted to the same areas. Each area remains very active all the time with almost every thread receiving atleast thirty posts. The quality of posts is also extremely high, mainly due to the well renowned strictness that exists with bans being commonly handeed out and even going so far as to need a private email to sign up. I strongly feel that many problems this forum currently has could be solved, or at the very least lessened by adopting a similar approach (perhaps not to the harsh punishments but I am referring to the minimal forums) to generate a large amount of traffic in each forum to give each area a breath of life, even if it's only adopted on a trial basis or as an experiment. Honestly, all that is really needed is a Game forum, a Playstation Forum (for questions regarding the consoles, articles about the consoles, news about them or speculation), an Announcement and Event forum, a General Discussion forum and a PSN forum (for Home, PSN and the store), perhaps one or two more if it's absolutely essential.
This would serve many purposes. First, it would ensure that each forum gets a huge burst in activity. In addition, it would break up the cliques that form in each section that may discourage users from asking a question as rather than them "controlling" (said loosely) a forum the clique would be in a thread and thus making it more accessible. Also, when interest in a specific game died, there would no longer be an empty forum left behind which clutters the forum but instead you'd be left with a dead thread which would them be swept away by new and active threads. Introducing stricter rules would also be easier to introduce at this stage too due to a specific forum no longer relying upon a few users for posts and as such it would be easier to try an be stricter (yet still fair) for disobeying the rules. The moderator's task would shift slightly, they'd probably have to be more vigilant for threads in either the wrong area or duplicated threads (within a certain period of time, perhaps a month) to ensure as much threads as possible remain active at any one time. User reporting would become more important too as there would be so many active posts it would be impossible to observe every single one. Finally the forum would need to be slightly changed, the default number of threads per page drastically increased and the number of posts per page increased in order to accomodate for increased activity, a background may be needed for each forum and more stickied threads (the most used threads) but other than those I wouldn't see any significant changes necessary with the exception of the initial restructuring. And if you've made it to the end of the post, congratulations! You've surpassed my expectations.
on 04-04-2012 03:12 AM
on 04-04-2012 07:42 AM
Alright, I'm fairly new to these forums (January) and I dont post that often but thought I'd chip in.
First up, gotta say I love the GD section, and the relaxed way the mods handle it and the banter is one of the things that make me check in so often. The idea of getting stricter with the rules and even banning some of the regular posters would put me off. I like the fact that the conversations wander and although once or twice its annoyed me, (usually when the thread flys off-topic instantly, DOA) on balance, the section is all the better for allowing a little more freedom with the topics and the humour.
So why dont I contribute more? Lots of reasons.
1- I'm an angry sweary man and by the time I figure out a way to get a point across without the use of bad language most of the time the urge to reply has gone.
2- The few times I've gone to start a thread or ask a question I'm stopped in my tracks trying to figure out which board it belongs on. There are too many. And they overlap and conflict with each other. And to echo the previous posters, most of them seem to be like ghost-towns
3- Not being on here 24-7, a lot of times a thread has moved on from a subject and it just feels too late to remark on a point everyone moved on from 3 pages earlier.
4- My point has already been expressed by someone else and I dont see any use in repeating it.
5- I tend to make a point and leave, and I don't want to come across as a bit of a d**k if I didn't reply to any response.
As for GD being preceived as the domain of a certain "clique", yes, that is the view that comes across when you look in as a newbie. You only have to look at the volume of posts they generate. But thats something I see as a good thing. All the boards on this forum would be better with such a dedicated group of users. Only ocassionaly does a thread come up where the "clique" thing becomes a reason that would stop me involving myself if I were so inclined. But thats always going to be the case when you're a newcomer into a group who've known each other for quite a while.
The moderation seems to be pretty much on the money. The fact that the mods seem to chip in and give a "calm down" warning rather than wading in throwinging bans about is one of the things that bring me back to this fourum.
Oh, reason 6- I don't half witter on ...and miss the point....and answer slowly ...and I always seem to lose track of the point I originally wanted to make. Excuse the dementia.
on 04-04-2012 10:50 AM
04-04-2012 01:33 PM - edited 04-04-2012 01:36 PM
I really don't understand the "clique" thing. Yes, there are some in-jokes but there's certainly no clique. Alot of the members posting in GD also post in other sections of the board and get involved in the comps and events and from what I've seen everyone gets on with everyone else minus the very few exceptions.
Serious discussions get serious replies (this is proof of such) but many times once someone has posted their view there isn't much more left to be said and a bit of banter breaking out keeps that thread on page 1 longer than if no further replies were posted.
As I said, if the banter takes over it's the mod's job to get it back on track and for me the modding on here has been spot on and the mods have a high level of respect from most members, certainly the ones I've talked to and no-one wants to damage that relationship. I've had a friendly slap from some of the mods, deservedly so in most cases, but if they got too heavy handed I certainly wouldn't be back.
Sneaky knew he'd get banned, everyone who posted said so and yet he left the links and the avatar in. He wanted to get banned, pure and simple. All members know where the line is and we don't cross it.
Edit - As to too many sections, definitely agree. The guess who comp would have gotten more replies/interest if it wasn't in the heavy rain section....I rarely go down that far so I find Hawky's GD spam sessions useful more than a bind. I don't know why some games don't have a section when so many old games do.
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