Author Topic: stopping ForumMaster from destroying BattleMaster  (Read 25382 times)

Tom

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It's clear to me that there are two games, Battlemaster, and Forummaster.
This is from a long-time player, and I have received quite a few similar comments recently.

This is a very serious and honest topic, and I want this to be a constructive discussion despite the obvious potential for degeneration into a flamewar. Destructive and insulting postings will be deleted, even if they contain constructive parts as well.


Those players are right. The forum has 3000-4000 postings a month. That is about the same as most game worlds have player-written messages in a month. It is a considerable volume. The impact on the game is judged differently by different people. Many welcome the forum, others abhor it. One thing is indisputable, though: Only a part of the game community participates in the forum. Only 500 people have ever posted anything, and a couple of those are probably not playing anymore. About 100 posters have 90% of the postings between them. Maybe 200 people can be considered active participants.

The forum does inflate the presence of its most active participants far beyond their in-game presence. If you read the forums, you can easily get the impression that maybe 20 people are running the show. There is also a certain in-crowd phenomenon - the forum crowd is different from the general player base, with different priorities and considerations.


Most of you know that I was very reluctant to open the forums and have always believed that forums are dangerous beasts. While I have come to appreciate the forums as well, I still believe that for every good they bring, they also bring ill and they do damage the game. And more importantly, many players and former players believe the same thing, which is a damage in itself.


I want to keep the forums around. At the same time, we must go back to a world where people can play the game without participating in the forum and feel ok about it. The importantance of the forums - real or imagined - has to decrease dramatically. Stuff that is important needs to find its way to the players who don't participate in the forums. And the negative mood and hostility on the forum needs to drop a lot.

I'm sure that many will violently oppose my assessment. Do so, in a constructive manner. After you've done so, visit this link and find yourself on that list. If you are on the first 2 pages, I believe it is fair to say that you are involved deeply enough that is is difficult for you to understand how an outsider, a player who is not a forum regular, feels.

If you are not a forum regular, I am especially interested in your view and suggestions. And you have my word that any posting that attacks you for posting your opinion will be mercilessly deleted with warning points to the offender. Please do speak your mind, even if - especially if - it is an unpopular opinion.


This is an experiment in community self-policing. My goals are outlined above. If the community can find a way to solve these, I will be thrilled and very happy. If not, I will have a go at it, benevolent dictator style.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 05:31:45 PM by Tom »

Chenier

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It's worth mentioning that the d-list had the same effect, though probably reached even less people. Only a tiny fraction of the player base contributed there. Discussions were not always courteous over there, either.

I'm not saying things are perfect here, but the only significant difference I see between the the d-list and the forums are that the latter managed to attract a lot more of the player base than the former had. More rude and unacceptable behavior, sure, but also more constructive and friendly behavior. More of it all. Was the ratio of bad behavior to good behavior better before the forums? Maybe. I can't reject it outright, it's been a while... But I do not believe the difference was all that significant, and I do believe that bad behavior is encouraged first and foremost by the number of participants, and not by the medium of communication used. The more people that listen to what anyone has to say, the more likely one of them is to be offended, and thus the more likely a negative reply is to occur. Keeping things civil between 10 people and between 100 is not the same game at all.

Zakilevo

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How about getting rid of 'Locals' since it seems to cause more trouble than its worth?

To be honest, I think the forum only needs helpline and general discussion. A lot of people can't really separate in game stuff and ooc stuff. They take offense to in game actions and try to get back at people through ooc sometimes and I think that Locals subforum is only making things worse.

Indirik

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One quick comment for now: what you are saying about the forums is exactly what a lot of people say about IRC as well. Make of that what you will.

For any OOG medium, there will be those that will say that it destroys the game. It probably is true that the forum has a stronger effect than most because of the more permanent nature of what is posted. And perhaps for that reason it needs a more stringent and aggressive moderation policy, and perhaps some rules about what kind of postings are permitted.
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Fleugs

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I agree with what the anonymous long-time player has said. I was in BM before the forum came to life and I have witnessed how it changed the game. It has brought better things, like enhancing a community-feeling and enabling players to get to meet the player behind the character. While the latter should in a perfect world only lead to friendship between players, I have the distinct feeling that the forum often achieves the opposite.

While I am on the second page of those who posted most - and this entirely a surprise to me as I don't think I'm that active on the forum - I still do not feel like one who frequents the forum very much. My activity here often has a hiatus of more than a month, something my ingame activity does not have. Why? I believe many are frustrated because the forum enables conflicts between players rather than between characters. I have that same feeling. I will not state that I am innocent, but I do dislike it. In the past half year I have grown to dislike the forum more and more. Whereas forumposts should have remained written from a casual perspective I believe way too many people take the game too serious now. I read things here with which I totally disagree but I neglect replying because discussion on the internet is a tricky thing. This has lead me to actually start to dislike some people who are active on the forum. People who I now actively avoid ingame because I now know what they represent, and more importantly, because I now know they often operate in groups of same-minded people, meaning that whatever realm they play in is often not subject to change. These groups are too strong.

I was trying to make a list of things I do not like posted on the forum, but I realized that most of what I do not like comes from the "Local" message board. Threads like "Luria" or "Sanguis Astroism" are way too long. And to be frank, it's the same people constantly circlejerking about ingame events and spewing their own thoughts on it. That is what keeps people from feeling involved. Heck, I'm Luria's general and I don't even really feel involved in that realm because of the sheer amount of people posting and defining what Luria is on the forum. For not being a member of Sanguis Astroism I was once the naive believer that the forum thread would enlighten me with what that religion is all about. It's not. It just beautifully summarizes who gets to play a role in that religion and at the same times it sends out an underlying yet clear message that everyone who is not properly involved on the forum has a much smaller chance of getting involved, even if that is not what is actually happening. Do not assume though that I read the entire SA thread - it's so horribly long, soon you can mail it to a progressive-art printer and hope for a new trend in literature to get started.

The worst part is that when you get to know someone's opinion, you realize for yourself that you think person X is a total [email protected]#$%^&. In fact, there is a certain person X in the BM community of who I know most people just entirely hate/dislike him/her.  Don't be fooled, I don't like that person either. Yet the dislike for me only came after the forumposts. Before I barely had any idea who person X was, so I couldn't care less. After all the odds of running into person X at random in the game is so much smaller than running into him on the forums where he actually is himself. I'm not saying this person must change, I'm just giving a clear example of how the forum can poison how you think about someone because you get to read too much of him.

I have been playing this game for over 10 years now, and if you ask me, the forums in their current form are not an improvement or a worthy addition to the game. I will even outright say I believe it contributed to the deterioration of the player base, even though I have no numbers or anything factual to back up my opinion. Just my gut feeling.
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Bael

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I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say Fleugs. The forum reveals the people behind the masks of the characters. I have one person from the forums muted.

Also, I try to avoid threads that discuss some matters, because I feel it becomes OOC gossip, to a certain degree.

jaune

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I have wanted this forum from the beginning when i started to play..., BUT, recently... i really feel that this forum is the s*it.

There is a LOT good things, i admit... but all this palyer vs. player or realm vs. realm (i admit, i'm kind of guilty for that too) set up which gets annoying and causes "flames" and bad blood... ofcourse same poop was happening at dlist as well.

As much i luv to read some news from other realm and continents where i dont play, mayby this forum should be strictly out of game and NOTHING ig information should not be posted.

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Telrunya

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I agree with the assessment made. While I loved the forums when it started, I've come to dislike them more and more. While I'm not innocent from it either, I agree with the comment made about there being two games. I feel like the discussions about ingame events, especially current ones, influence players in the game, even if just unconsciously. You get pulled into it. I believe it's not doing the game good and lately I've been trying to tone down on participating in ingame discussions. The focus should be ingame, but anything that happens ingame usually gets a shadow-topic on the forums where everything is discussed.

What the forums are great is for communicating with Devs (Feature Requests, Announcements etc.) and to ask help in regards to how things work (To be fair, I believe the latter can be done as easily ingame as well). Or basically anything that isn't ingame.

I believe the forums bring more bad then good. I would have no problem at all just getting rid of them. Otherwise, throw out the 'Locals' subforum and don't use the forums for ingame discussions. I believe that would fix a lot already.

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Well I'm not a big fan of the forum I believe too many people still have a issue separating IG and OOC information. I generally think most of the community struggles with it and has for years. I even have trouble once in awhile. I think it's odd people recruit others to their realm via forum I never heard of such until I came to the forum.

What I have grown to realize since coming back OOC is coming into the game more and more and it usually starts in forum and comes to the game. The aggressive nature of certain people gets to them and it breaches on forum and eventually manifest itself into the game. Some I can't blame some I can, EX: Darka and CE players have been at it on forum. I mean the atmosphere is different I enjoy talking to the players OOC messages once in awhile, but forum it just different. I do enjoy parts, but not all of it.

Don't get me wrong but I take nothing from this game personal, its a game and well were on the internet, people are not always friendly and well it parts of being here. We have our VIPs AllStars and so forth, the forum really makes that more obvious.

Forum = just another popularity contest
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LilWolf

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I used to post a lot more. Don't really do it any more. Don't really read much besides things relating to game development. I don't even bother checking the thread I made about the Atamara war because it's nothing but pointless bickering. Nothing of value is said there any more.

One of the biggest issues I see in using the forum for is the magistrates. Every case I've seen there has been nothing but a horrible argument [email protected]#$. Having the cases out in the open does nothing good for the game in my opinion and certainly do not help in keeping the forum(or the game) a pleasant place to visit. You know your accuser, you know the accused, bad blood is bound to happen, and everyone gets to see it. Players get their reputations ruined. It simply does more harm than good to everyone involved. Remove it from the forum 'cause sometimes it's better to be ignorant of what's going on behind the scenes.

The moderation needs to get more aggressive. The people reading the forum need to make use of that report button. The mods can't be everywhere so if you see a message you think is crossing the line, report it. That needs to be encouraged.

The big difference between the forum and the discussion list is that the discussion list was nearly 100% about game development; new features, bugs etc. Maybe the forum needs to go that way too and remove some of the incentives to discuss in-game matters(say, remove locals and if there's a big important even on some island, they can start a thread about in the General Discussion about BM).
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Perth

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I think a rule that in-game events can only be discussed once they are [X amount of time] in the past would be very helpful. It is fun to discuss events as they develop, but I do think most of the flaming or damage from OOC influencing IC comes from the OOC discussion of IG events and developments in essential real time.

Maybe things should have to be two weeks in the past before they can be discussed in the "Locals."


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Shizzle

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I wouldn't mind seeing the local boards disappear, and seeing the forum stripped down to a resource for announcements, help with the game and the Magistrates court.

Then again those functions could probably performed by the Wiki as well...

Also we might want to gather some opinions of people who aren't actually on the forums and why.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 08:16:19 PM by Shizzle »

Swiftblade

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The Magistrates cases need to be made private. Whats the point in having dedicated volunteers, if everyone gets a say. May as well not have a council about it and put it up to a vote. From what I have seen the Magistrates have enough trouble being professional and decisive with their decisions anyway, without others muddying the waters.

Its not hard for someone to state their case, and if the magistrates want more info they can contact the defendant in game via the OOC and allow them to post their side of the story. Once both sides are presented the Magistrates can circlejerk about it all they want, without all the outside input, decide what is and isn't breaking the social contract etc and be done with it. Having every man and his grandma involved in a case, having a say, just muddies the water and makes bad blood.

The local forums can all go, it just brings up [email protected]#$ about who started what war and why, and half the cases are because someone seemed to mix OOC from the forums and IRC and bring it ingame or vice versa. Roleplaying is about separating yourself from the character, not using it as a persona.

The helpline, Dev forums and roleplay forums could all be left, a long with anything that doesn't impact on Battlemaster, such as the other games forum. As long as those are moderated correctly then all is good.

The other thing about the forum is that the Dev's/Moderators/Magistrates are all volunteers (i believe) and they are not always professional. In all the times I have been a forum moderator/admin, there has always been one rule, no in-fighting. I understand people are all equal and what not, but when you see the Dev's openly disagreeing, either debatingly or almost aggressively with tom or another dev, it's a bad image. I don't know how the inner team mechanics work but from an outside observer it looks really bad, as if all the Battlemaster team does if fight with each other and circlejerk around issues. Its the same issue as with the magistrates. People can disagree, but its like a couple fighting about their bad sex life in front of their friends and family, its awkward and in bad taste.

Anyway thats my two cents.

Gustav Kuriga

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Tom, I think you're going to get a LOT of confirmation bias from this thread, because anyone and everyone who has an issue with the forum and the way things are run/effects it has are going to comment here, while those who are neutral or feel differently likely aren't.

Wolfang

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Hmmm, I find in the relatively short time I have been playing, I have found a lot more disagreable people on irc than on this forum. I find it's pretty easy to just avoid having a conversation with someone you don't like on a forum.