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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Just a bit of common sense by the moderators is far superior to any detailed set of rules.

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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:08 pm 
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bcressey wrote:
I would rather newcomers know up front that this is a community that frequently goes for the throat, instead of letting them spend months or years crafting an imperfect IF game and being devastated when bitter critics rip their work to shreds. I don't support that culture, I don't share that attitude, but I think it's dishonest and deceptive to hide it behind a veil of superficial pleasantries.


Do people really perceive this to be the case?


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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:17 pm 
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There is such a thing as passionate disagreement. Ideally, it doesn't preclude respect. But you don't get there by starting up a punctilious list of what to ban.


I'm not saying that anything should be banned, or that anything goes. I just think there's a weird disconnect between the help and support that developers like you offer, and the fault-finding inclination of many if not most critics.

A first-time author can expect a lot of hand-holding up until the point that he releases a game, at which point he gets thrown to the wolves. Keeping the nastier comments out of sight may foster the illusion that there are no bad apples around, but I'm not convinced that is a kindness.

I may be wrong; IFDB may have policies that allow it to delete an offensive or egregious review. That's certainly not my sense, and absent such a policy, I don't see why this board should hold its members to a higher standard.


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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:22 pm 
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bcressey wrote:
Pacian wrote:
When used well, editing posts removes the amount of kruft on forums. It allows the first post in a thread to be updated with relevant information, allows you to swap out dead links, removes the need for double posting.
That's fine for topics that get stickied and used as a FAQ substitute, but generally that works best for the first post at the cost of making followup discussion incoherent or incomprehensible.

I've actually very rarely seen it used for FAQs. More often for things like: calls for collaborators (where obviously it's nice to update the request when the roles are filled), long-lasting threads for posting news/submissions of a certain type (where there might be clarifications or changes as to what should be posted, or submissions might be closed while discussion is allowed to continue), or feedback posts on games (where you don't want people reporting bugs from the version in the first post, when there's a new version on page 4 of 6).

It's all very well to say that the latest additions to the thread should be at the end, but it's quite another when something important to the very nature of the discussion gets buried in the middle somewhere.


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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:35 pm 
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Mick wrote:
Do people really perceive this to be the case?


I am thinking specifically of Conrad Cook and the critical response to LAIR of the Cybercow. These days he's off in Cambodia or some such faraway land, but he struck me as a thoughtful and promising IF newcomer who was traumatized by the reaction to his IFComp entry. Thereafter his blog postings and commentary on RAIF were marred by a reflexive defensiveness that served no real purpose.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be nice to each other or that respect is an outmoded concept. I'm saying that there are a lot of players and critics who are in it for themselves, and who will angrily skewer any work that falls short of their lofty standards. I don't think it's fair for someone to spend a significant chunk of his life working on an IF game, only to learn the hard way that an appreciable measure of the community feedback will be nasty, brutish, and short-tempered.


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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:53 pm 
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bcressey wrote:
They strike me as promoting the sort of bland, passionless discussion that gets tiresome after a while. Seriously, no emotion or controversy?


I guess I was strictly talking about flame-bait topic titles, but you're right; one could easily devine a topic title that's offensive to some and simply controversial to others. I still think there's a type of topic, like the "racist" one, that we should strongly disuade.

bcressey wrote:
I can see how these rules would be appropriate if you intended to promote this forum to folks interested in IF by way of Textfyre.


I've already made it clear that my Textfyre and business stuff will be done through my blog and not here nor on usenet. These rules have nothing to do with Textfyre. Maybe they have to do with the fact that I'm 46 years old and I expect people to behave a certain way. I've turned into an old fogey. I have kids and I am constantly on them about speaking clearly, asking well-thought-out questions, and listening respectfully. My question is, why is this unattainable in a discussion forum? Here's my rule. If you're writing your post, imagine that your boss, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your favorite high school teacher, and Mr. Rogers are all reading it afterwards. How would you wordsmith your posts if that were the case? Is it impossible to express yourself clearly without inflaming the situation?

bcressey wrote:
A strict interpretation of your rules would mean that I couldn't speak my mind about Textfyre, since just about anything unflattering I might say about your business could be interpreted as a personal attack.


I have no problem with people expressing themselves about my business and my goals. I've never once attacked anyone in retaliation for saying anything about Textfyre. I believe I've always responded to the harsher posts with complete diplomacy. If you find otherwise, please point it out.

bcressey wrote:
I would echo other sentiments and suggest that the best way to get more interesting discussion is to initiate more interesting discussion. Not by grounding the passionate posters under the heel of an authoritarian jackboot, in service to some misguided ideal of user-friendliness.


I agree on the first part. More posts about IF will generate less static like this.

On the second part, in a perfect world, sure, this is great. But a lot of people growing up with the Internet or that are new to text-based conversations seem to not have a reasonable set of filters. They seem not to have any filters at all. I guess we used to call this netiquette. So in my mind the best way to help people without filters integrate is to lead. Leadership is hard. It sometimes requires a jackboot, but most of the time it simply requires a reasonable set of rules and someone to back those rules up. It's not authoritarian. It's just leadership. Here's a metaphor. If you go golfing and find yourself with seasoned golfers, you're going to get tasked almost immediately on golf ettiquette. Where to stand, which clubs to keep in hand, when it's your turn, when you can drop your ball without a penalty, etc. Without ever having played golf, you're highly unlikely to know any of these rules. If no one said anything, you'd probably break at least one of these rules without even knowing it. So the answer to me is, if we're the seasoned IF folk, we should lead. We should show the new people how we think its best to communicate and that unfiltered diatribe is unwelcome.

bcressey wrote:
I would rather newcomers know up front that this is a community that frequently goes for the throat...


I would rather we train ourselves to criticize constructively and do away with throat-cutting. There's a very common saying. "We agree to disagree." It's short, sweet, and it makes a point. If people would use that instead a profanity laced rant, we would be better off. If you want to add why you disagree, that's fine too. But if it's very clear that your disagreement isn't actually going to change anything, simply saying "We agree to disagree" is probably the best ending to the discussion.


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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:26 pm 
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DavidC wrote:
I have no problem with people expressing themselves about my business and my goals. I've never once attacked anyone in retaliation for saying anything about Textfyre. I believe I've always responded to the harsher posts with complete diplomacy. If you find otherwise, please point it out.


Suggesting that the rules you propose would serve your interests as a purveyor of commercial IF is not the same as suggesting that you are a hypocrite. I agree that you are diplomatic and reserved in dealing with your critics. To the best of my knowledge, you have always adhered to the rules you propose.

I did not say that you intended this forum to be a vehicle for promoting Textfyre. I only meant that a forum that followed your rules would be one that you could promote to customers and players without embarrassment. I can see the value in that from a business perspective, I just don't approach IF with that perspective and I'm not persuaded that it is valuable as a hard and fast guideline.

DavidC wrote:
We should show the new people how we think its best to communicate and that unfiltered diatribe is unwelcome.


I agree that leading by example is a good practice. But I would like to be able to tell newcomers that a certain person is a known troll, and that his remarks should be taken with a heap of salt, even if that amounts to a personal attack and even if the troll's conduct hews to a strict interpretation of the rules. It seems far more straightforward to say "so and so is a jerk, just ignore him" then to try to stifle or ban the jerks outright.

That just drives them to the blogs where they can say what they please. I can see why that outcome would seem preferable but ultimately it can cause more damage to the community. On the forum we can apply social pressure and identify repeat offenders. On a private blog, we can only say what the owner allows, which is not likely to be anything that calls his powers of discernment into question.


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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 11:02 am 
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Merk wrote:
Thanks all. Some good ideas there. I haven't written anything up "officially" but here's what I'm thinking.

...


I recommend to make it official (instead of inofficial) and to update your Terms of Use if you want people to follow your new set of rules. Otherwise why should anyone, including me, follow them if they are not officially stated? We certainly don't have to be bound to double standards where some users are being sent warning by the administrator/moderator that they should follow rules which hasn't been officially stated in the terms yet.

For the record, the Terms of Use of this forum which we, as users, have all agreed on when registering to this forum:

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I agree with these Terms (marked in bold letters), as I have agreed upon when registering an account to this forum.

I disagree with any set of rules or terms which are not explicitly stated or updated in these Terms, because they are regarded as "ideas" or "not official" by the administrator and/or moderator of this forum.

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Last edited by Retro on Sat May 15, 2010 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 11:13 am 
We're still in the ideas-throwing stage (or maybe the decision stage). None of the terms proposed here are yet in effect, which is fairly obvious from pretty much every post in this thread. When Merk makes a final decision, I'm pretty sure he'll update the Terms. Until then it's only *suggestions* and *ideas*.

Also, chill out some. :) You're talking as though everyone's decided these new rules have been accepted and should be followed despite the original Terms not having been updated. Which is not the case. Merk's still feeling around.


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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 11:26 am 
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Peter Pears wrote:
We're still in the ideas-throwing stage (or maybe the decision stage). None of the terms proposed here are yet in effect, which is fairly obvious from pretty much every post in this thread. When Merk makes a final decision, I'm pretty sure he'll update the Terms. Until then it's only *suggestions* and *ideas*.


Merk has sent me a warning that I should follow these "inofficial" set of rules. I ignore these rules, as long as they are not officially stated in the Terms of this forum.

Quote:
Also, chill out some. :)


I agree. It would be wise for some hyprocrites to chill out and not to make this "Aina Grey event" an international scandal. As I wrote before, I do not see any sense why this topic exists in the first place. This topic should be closed, because the issue has already been solved: Aina Grey violated the Terms of this forum by posting something abusive and his/her post was deleted by the board administrator. Period.

Now let us go with our usual business and not make an elephant out of a One Dollar Bill... In other words: Get a life. :roll:

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