Because of this topic, I've made a few changes to my Lets Play recently. Refer to this post to find out more.
Let's Play Forum Rule Changes
Posted 30 December 2016 - 11:23 AM
Alright, it's been a few weeks since this was put into effect, and for me, it's been a few years since I got truly argumentative over a purely-internet thing. I try to keep out of such drama because it's usually just goofy. But this has been eating away at the back of my head, especially when I look at the effect this change had on the LP forum, so I really wanted to get my two cents in here.
I also was hesitant to post this at all, and spent quite a while thinking it over- longer than I probably should've. Frankly, the fact that I would feel worried about posting something like this- worried I'll get in trouble, or that speaking out might cause things to become more broken instead of less- is part of the problem, and thus exactly why I should go ahead and say this stuff: because I think challenging this is the right thing to do.
----- Regarding this specific change:
Speaking as someone who has never posted in the LP forum: The more I think about this rule change, the madder I get at the staff. It seems like an incredibly petty and pointless way to discourage LPers from posting at all unless it's in their nature to give long-winded redundant descriptions, because apparently that constitutes 'good conversation' whereas short, snappy descriptions supposedly don't.
MeleeWizard, in particular, was giving descriptions that were just fine before this rule change. They were short, but they described the video very slightly. But this rule change says that's not good enough and tells him he's not wanted here. Was it tailor made for this? SCKnuckles, too, has been discouraged from participating in the community at all. What trouble were these two causing that was worth alienating them altogether? How many people actually minded their old posts, besides the staff members personally?
This is a terrible rule change as it stands, in practice. I understand the idea was to reduce the disorganized clutter of a bunch of separate random posts that were like "Here's a video! [link]" without anything else going on... but this doesn't make it any better organized, it just blames the LPers for doing it 'wrong' and practically tells them to go away!
If you had passed a rule that was sort of like this for the LP forum, or even gotten rid of the whole forum, but did so by promoting LPers better by giving them new, more organized ways to show their stuff like the project page thing, that could've been constructive. Instead, this is a purely destructive change, basically amounting to the staff threatening LPers for not rambling well enough in their posts, and making too many short posts.
----- Regarding the ugly precedent of this sort of change:
Worse yet though, this change was decided without much input from the community, before polling anybody to see if people actually wanted this change. And when you got negative feedback about it in this thread, and a lot of "Well, I guess we'll have to make do" types of responses from people who don't want to fight about it (but, obviously, don't actually like the change), you mostly just defended the decision and stuck to your guns. So you just arbitrarily decided these people were a problem and you didn't like them, and put all the blame on them, demanding they get more creative and use more words, instead of giving them a better way to arrange their stuff to fix something that was a problem in your eyes, but not theirs, nor necessarily a problem with readers such as myself, and various others who have complained in this thread.
I'm just one random person here, and I apologize if I'm being too bitter or angry here. But I would really ask you to consider being more constructive for the LPers, instead of just telling them to screw off if they don't describe things exactly the way you like. It's overbearing censorship, trying to micromanage the way people talk to the point where you'd rather scare them off if they're too quiet or taciturn to suit your preferences.
In other words: I think you should allow 'megathreads' where the LPer posts a bunch of links with short descriptions in one single thread, or else you should give them their own project-style pages where they can do that. Or even if you required a LPer to put all of their different LPs into one single topic, that would still be okay. But instead you're basically demanding they ramble the way I am here (except without disagreeing with you, I take it?), even if they have nothing to say. You're demanding they get elaborate and write a fancy letter for each update, when they're already presenting creative content.
All this kind of thing is doing is discouraging people from participating, when your community is already kind of small and slow-paced.
This entire kind of rule change behavior, on your part, should be re-evaluated, or else this trend of declining activity will surely continue. It's a bad way to run things, to just arbitrarily start punishing people over not having 'good enough' content without offering them anything in return, without actually asking or polling people before you put it into practice... you're censoring people to the point where they feel less and less comfortable participating at all. And you're doing it with an air of "Well good, if they couldn't do it right, then they should leave", which is insulting and divisive.
I understand that illegal content needs to be shut down (obviously). I understand that inflammatory content, within reason, may need to be shut down, like if people are being bigots or stuff like that. I understand that actual spam, such as phishing, advertisements for commercial products, and random automated garbage produced by bots, needs to be shut down. But since when does a person presenting something they made, something almost akin to fan art of your own fan art, alongside a very short description, constitute any of those problems?
This is only a so-called "tricky issue" because you made an issue out of something that wasn't a serious problem to begin with. You're trying to micromanage people's way of thinking and presenting themselves, telling them they should go away if they can't do it "right". You're outright blaming quiet people for "not even trying"... from your high horse of what you think constitutes good dialogue. You're judging them for the way they talk; which is actually very hostile of you!
If you truly want the community to improve, adding extra limits because you don't like how people are doing things, without polling around to see if the community agrees with you, will only discourage the community. Ad-hoc decisions over "tricky issues" is basically the same structure as dictatorship; even if it's politely worded, and even if you accept complaints (but continue to made ad-hoc decisions about how to respond to the complaints).
Therefore, I say it is YOU, the staff members who made this decision, that are not being constructive enough, rather than the LPers who would "link dump". This change rule change isn't being nice, and it isn't tidying things up, and it's not even really encouraging more participation; instead, you're just shutting down activity you dislike, without offering a viable counteroffer besides "Be more creative! Talk Better!"- a threatening, vague demand that puts all the burden of fixing the problem you perceive, onto the LPer.
----- Regarding other possible concerns about the LP forum:
If you're worried about the youtube links containing inappropriate content, and having to moderate each one... why not just have a "You are leaving PureZC, there may be inappropriate content on this other site that we do not control, are you sure you want to go there?"-type slash page, like almost every Wiki in the past ten years does? Then you wouldn't even need to worry about it. Alternatively, you could promote additional moderators, by going around checking who seems trustworthy and who watches what LP series to make sure that the busiest posters are covered.
(Also, if moderation is the problem, if everybody really did participate with longer, ramblier, Navi-esque posts- that's more work for the moderators anyway, isn't it?)
Is it that you're thinking of it as some kind of commercial thing, like an advertisement? Because most of these LPers don't even make any money doing this. They aren't getting that many views to begin with- they're doing these for love of the games. If you're thinking of them as leeching off of you, then frankly, you're being stupid, because they're giving PureZC and the very existence of ZC more exposure... I only even got interested in ZC again because I saw what scripted quests could do by watching let's plays. Let's Plays made by people who this rule change is now alienating. Frankly, if this is the precedent for how you intend to run the community (...into the ground), it's alienating to a lot of people, myself included.
This shouldn't need to be asked, but: the goal isn't to gradually kill off the LP forum altogether... right?
----- Trying to be constructive:
Being constructive isn't telling people "Don't do X, and do Y better". Being constructive is giving specific suggestions. So here are my suggestions:
- Poll the community about a rule change before you implement one, like a democracy. (this is my main suggestion.) Continue accepting votes afterwards to see if the community changed it's afterwards mind, too.
- Reconsider this particular rule change, so as to allow LPers to make single mega-threads with short descriptions again.
- Expand or replace the LP forum with a site feature formatted similar to the Project Pages, where a LPer can post all their videos on a single page, and people who are interested can follow that LPer's project page for notifications, while anyone who doesn't care about them can blissfully ignore that page.
- If need be, reduce the moderation needs for the LP forum by adding a "now leaving PureZC" splash page, or by adding more moderators who are willing to follow the LPs. Preferably just the splash page thing though, that should be much simpler and less censorship-y.
- In general, please consider dialing back the censorship/quality policing/judgemental attitude towards the elaborateness of people's posts. It adds nothing but bitter discouragement to a community that was already playing nice, and reshapes PureZC into a smaller, Orwellian sort of place that alienates anyone who disagrees.
----- Conclusion, and trying to soften the blow of my own words:
PureZC does have a lot of good things going for it, and it is the most thriving ZC community there is. I love the gender selector on the profiles, and thehigh customizability of user accounts. I like the friendliness of PureZC, compared to what AGN once was (though AGN has gotten better too- but it's also kind of a ghost town). The Project Page formatting is great, and the actual ZC development community is just wonderful. I really like this place! I even like the staff members I've just been ranting at- I mean, just look at the beautiful quests and collaborations you guys have made, like Forbidden Ascent, Yuurei, ITLKotBBG, and so many others!
When I wrote the above rant, and went over it three times rewording it, and spent an hour deciding whether to post it, it wasn't because I think you guys suck or anything- it's because I think you guys are actually pretty great, but, just that you've been going down a bad path with this particular kind of issue. I write because the community is good enough for me to care, and to want to see it actually improve, instead of... withering like this. Mostly, I feel like the impilcations (and, despite your good intentions, the hostile tone) of your actions weren't fully thought through.
Basically, I think this has previously been and should always be a welcoming place for people who are enthusiastic about ZC... regardless of how few words they can think of to type when they've already spoken their piece in video form.
I got upset here because I think you shouldn't be alienating people like MeleeWizard, SCKnuckles, PixCalibur123... people whose LP videos played an important part in getting me re-interested in this place to begin with. And even NJF, who's being super cooperative here, got a little paranoid about the quality of his posts because of the way this was presented.
I just think there are better ways to handle this sort of thing; so I would ask you to be a bit more democratic with the community before implementing rule changes, and to try to make sure you're not just shutting people down and discouraging them. I'd like to see you guys working together with the community, instead of handing down politely-phrased summary judgements from above, which is what this really seems like.
Edited by Mitsukara, 30 December 2016 - 11:25 AM.
- Anthus likes this
Posted 30 December 2016 - 02:34 PM
Thanks for your input. We'll definitely keep your suggestions in mind, but we've already reached a decision on this matter.
Posted 30 December 2016 - 04:26 PM
When the LP forum does ultimately dry up completely in the next few months, they may be forced to reevaluate their approach to this.
I still think we have reached a compromise in the rule, but the way that they went about it in the first place is what people have a problem with. They're not obligated to run the site like a democracy, unfortunately, but we're not obligated to keep posting here either. A stance which is also flawed, elitist, and counter-intuitive to the site.
The sad part is I'm still not 100% sure if I'll continue to share my LPs once I quit being super busy with rl stuff. I don't think many people watched mine to begin with, and I'm just really on the fence about it because of the micromanaging aspect. I hate feeling unneeded pressure over something that's supposed to be fun.
We must also remember that there were five admins, and now, there are only three. That's less staff to discuss stuff, and sucks for them too, cause they have to do more stuff, like deal with this trainwreck of a rule change.
- ywkls likes this
Posted 30 December 2016 - 04:41 PM
Alright, this has gone far enough.
This thread was intended as an announcement and discussion regarding the rule change. It's been announced. It's been discussed thoroughly. We've even adjusted our way of approaching this in the interest of compromise. Several LP'ers have changed their approach accordingly. They haven't stopped posting, and their posts are more in line with our expectations. They're doing fine. The forum is doing fine.
Now, while we do appreciate community suggestions, one of the roles of the staff is to make and enforce rules. Doing this here isn't setting a "dangerous precedent." It's the way it's always worked. While we're interested in the feedback and in some cases are willing to make adjustments, we do not require community approval to enact rule changes.
We like leaving "controversial" threads open, because we're interested in hearing community feedback, suggestions, and opinions. We do care about that sort of thing, regardless of how certain members tend to make us out. However, I'm not going to stand by and watch a thread that's already reached its logical conclusion serve only to further criticize the staff and the site. You can cry censorship if you like, but this thread has served its purpose, and so I'm closing it.
If anyone has further thoughts on this they'd like us to consider, you're welcome to contact us through the Dropbox.
- Orithan likes this
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