Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Vermilion » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:21 pm

Drumstick wrote:Aside from one all of the SONM folks that made the transition have been welcome additions to the forum and it's a great shame that some of them appear have fallen away, but that's life innit. There's every chance they might come back later in time.


I think overall, the SONM merger went pretty well, especially considering that the board had a number of underlying negative issues which dated back to the days of the original ONM forums (OR did his best with SONM, but relations between some members (including myself) were broken beyond repair, and had been for years, hence the flashpoints and flare ups which would happen with depressing predictability).

In hindsight, i probably should have moved here sooner.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:14 pm

Karl_ wrote:Re: larger "trending posts": Yeah, that's a good idea! Agreed 100%.

Re: subcategories: the problem with "more subforums" is that (sad to say it) we barely have enough activity for two subforums at the moment. It's Friday today, and the bottom of the first page of Stuff are threads last posted in on Monday. Games is even worse, it goes back to Sunday. Nothing says "dead community, not worth joining" to potential newbies like being able to see last week's chat on the main listing and that would be even worse the more boards we add. I think tags & filters would be a better way to achieve what you're suggesting.


Perhaps this is a stupid idea, but my first thought there is to half the number of topics visible in the first page in order to make the place look a little more active? Maybe 10-15 rather than 25 or whatever it is right now.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:57 pm

Corazon de Leon wrote:
Karl_ wrote:Re: larger "trending posts": Yeah, that's a good idea! Agreed 100%.

Re: subcategories: the problem with "more subforums" is that (sad to say it) we barely have enough activity for two subforums at the moment. It's Friday today, and the bottom of the first page of Stuff are threads last posted in on Monday. Games is even worse, it goes back to Sunday. Nothing says "dead community, not worth joining" to potential newbies like being able to see last week's chat on the main listing and that would be even worse the more boards we add. I think tags & filters would be a better way to achieve what you're suggesting.


Perhaps this is a stupid idea, but my first thought there is to half the number of topics visible in the first page in order to make the place look a little more active? Maybe 10-15 rather than 25 or whatever it is right now.

It's 45 at the moment, not including pinned/announcements. That does seem rather a lot, although I wouldn't reduce it as drastically as you suggest, Cora.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:13 pm

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
Corazon de Leon wrote:
Karl_ wrote:Re: larger "trending posts": Yeah, that's a good idea! Agreed 100%.

Re: subcategories: the problem with "more subforums" is that (sad to say it) we barely have enough activity for two subforums at the moment. It's Friday today, and the bottom of the first page of Stuff are threads last posted in on Monday. Games is even worse, it goes back to Sunday. Nothing says "dead community, not worth joining" to potential newbies like being able to see last week's chat on the main listing and that would be even worse the more boards we add. I think tags & filters would be a better way to achieve what you're suggesting.


Perhaps this is a stupid idea, but my first thought there is to half the number of topics visible in the first page in order to make the place look a little more active? Maybe 10-15 rather than 25 or whatever it is right now.

It's 45 at the moment, not including pinned/announcements. That does seem rather a lot, although I wouldn't reduce it as drastically as you suggest, Cora.


I didn't count tbf - I'd suggest halving what it currently is, so if it's 45, drop it to 20-25.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:15 pm

Corazon de Leon wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
Corazon de Leon wrote:
Karl_ wrote:Re: larger "trending posts": Yeah, that's a good idea! Agreed 100%.

Re: subcategories: the problem with "more subforums" is that (sad to say it) we barely have enough activity for two subforums at the moment. It's Friday today, and the bottom of the first page of Stuff are threads last posted in on Monday. Games is even worse, it goes back to Sunday. Nothing says "dead community, not worth joining" to potential newbies like being able to see last week's chat on the main listing and that would be even worse the more boards we add. I think tags & filters would be a better way to achieve what you're suggesting.


Perhaps this is a stupid idea, but my first thought there is to half the number of topics visible in the first page in order to make the place look a little more active? Maybe 10-15 rather than 25 or whatever it is right now.

It's 45 at the moment, not including pinned/announcements. That does seem rather a lot, although I wouldn't reduce it as drastically as you suggest, Cora.


I didn't count tbf - I'd suggest halving what it currently is, so if it's 45, drop it to 20-25.

25 feels like a decent number to me... any thoughts, Karl?

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:29 pm

Karl_ wrote:Just to chime in briefly a few points, in no particular order:

1. I honestly believe everyone's who ever been involved with GRcade has done it all in good faith. No-one wants an idea to fail, but we're busy adults so projects fizzle out.

2. It's made worse by a lot of our projects having a single point of failure. Maybe only I can edit the site's HTML code, or only Gecko can take donations, or only so-and-so can upload to such-and-such. That's asking for trouble. We can fix that.

3. We do suffer from a lack of leadership. Steve only pops in a few times a year; Gecko is busy and has disabilities to worry about; Garth's gone blue as he's busy; I've gone purple because I'm busy and mentally ill; Head Moderator Mockmaster, BLADEFORCE's sword of justice, took an oath of silence and swore to only return when we need him most. So we're down to only a few active greenhats, and they are great and this isn't a dig at them at all, I'm just saying the team could be bigger & more active.

4. I think treating GRcade as some kind of entity/business is a red herring, beyond the minimum legal formality we need to run ads (whatever that is). It's just my opinion, I'm not a business guy, but I don't feel like it's had (or is looking to have) many positives for us. (This isn't a dig at anyone, happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.)

5. For what it's worth Gecko has been a good formal point of contact for the site. We have actually had legal enquiries of various sorts over the years, and he's dealt with them well. Just wanted to mention that.

6. Politics is a solid 10% of what we talk about and politics is increasingly vicious IRL, so those discussions are only going to get nastier. This seems to drive a wedge between people and force them away. (This is part of the reason I can't be a yellowhat again -- I get into too many spirited discussions!) But restricting politics chat will drive even more people away. We've been trying to work around for this for years, but maybe it's worth having another think. All ideas welcome obviously.


tl;dr I'm not an admin any more but I think anyone with an idea should get as much power to make it happen as possible. Winckle, Andrew Mills, Errkal, OrangeRKN, and Pedz have all had "project leader" Mod access at some point or another but maybe we need to do more, maybe some subset of those people (or someone that wants to step up) should partly take over. The flip side of that any new ideas need to be designed pessimistically, with the realistic assumption most of us will be flakey most of the time.


How can we address those points? Let's chat about it.


A lot of these points are really just statements. I'll answer them with my own thoughts:

1. Agreed. It's difficult to ask people to give up what little free time they have to contribute heavily to the site.

2. We can fix that, by expanding the team. Obviously I can't help with any technical aspects of the site, but am happy to jump in and help out with anything else that's required. And I'm sure others who contribute regularly would be more than happy to do the same.

3. We've had a small influx of members with the addition of ONM and the other website - adding a couple of greenhats in to replenish and refresh the "staff" presence might not be the worst thing in the world.

4. Agreed. There is obviously a business dimension to the site and we need a source of revenue, but I don't think it should be front and centre of what we do.

5. GG's been great and is due a massive thank you from everyone who uses the site for his efforts. He's been, and continues to be, absolutely brilliant.

6. It's OK for you to get into spirited discussions and have a point of view as a yellow, purple, green or blue hat. I think people need to recognise the fact that everyone on this site is here for the discussion first, and to lend technical expertise second, and you're entitled to express that point of view in whatever way you want. For example, you're way further left than I am, but I think it's a very good thing because reading your posts, among others, has helped me to go away and research, refine and refresh my own thoughts on various different subjects. As I say, it's part of the discourse and I'm glad you're involved more nowadays.

I didn't get involved in the discussion about separating political game threads from general chat because honestly, the thread was a disaster and a couple of members absolutely shamed themselves with their behaviour in it.

However, for my two cents we need to decide what kind of forum we're going to be, and stick with it. What I mean by this is, are we a forum that will incorporate politics and the political dimensions of our subject matter, or are we a forum that wants to "keep it light," so to speak and stay away from the heavier aspects of, for example, trans-representation in the Cyberpunk game? There's no wrong answer, and clearly there are proponents of both styles on the forum already. Ultimately the way we're going risks alienating both sides, so I personally think there should be some kind of guideline, created by the community, for what we want to talk about and how we want to talk about it.

With that said, I do see the counter-argument to that, which is that people should be able to talk about whatever they feel like on the forum, and I also agree. But it clearly isn't working - some people are getting tired of regular political discussion, and others are getting angry that they're being criticised for bringing up what they feel are valid points. I don't know that there's a compromise situation that will leave both groups happy.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by jawafour » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:49 pm

I'm someone who has been a bit frustrated because - in my opinion - it feels as if the frequency of "political discussions causing major disagreements" has increased in the past couple of years. Even so, I'm not suggesting that there should be "no go" areas of discussion and maybe my thinking is a part of the problem; the chat is often just reflecting people's frustration with the issues of the wider world.

My personal reason for visiting GRcade is to chill and relax and I'm not sure that I often feel that way now. I totally appreciate that everybody is free to pick and choose as to what threads they participate in and what ones they don't; and free to choose who they communicate with and who they don't. Rather than making changes to the forum, I suspect it's down to individuals to manage their own approach to interacting here.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Errkal » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:51 pm

I like that you can do a thread for anything and I think that needs to be pushed more. We have a tendency to mega thread stuff which I personally hate.

I would rather a thread for every tv show and every game instead of all us tv being in one thread so joining or starting a convo about show you watch is a bitch.

Ustv for example should be a tag so you start your thread under that tag (with tags being a little like subreddits) so you can go to a tag and find talk on that subject or start talk on that subject.

It is something that will never happen on its own so it would need moderation to enforce the “this is a tangent topic, go make a thread” thing which will prevent arguments as the splinter topics aren’t happening in the main thread of a game or show or film or whatever.

It also works to generate more content as there is more threads and more discussions going on.

Lots of little threads talking about more specific stuff is better than a few massive general topic threads in my opinion.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:57 pm

Errkal wrote:I like that you can do a thread for anything and I think that needs to be pushed more. We have a tendency to mega thread stuff which I personally hate.

I would rather a thread for every tv show and every game instead of all us tv being in one thread so joining or starting a convo about show you watch is a bitch.

Ustv for example should be a tag so you start your thread under that tag (with tags being a little like subreddits) so you can go to a tag and find talk on that subject or start talk on that subject.

It is something that will never happen on its own so it would need moderation to enforce the “this is a tangent topic, go make a thread” thing which will prevent arguments as the splinter topics aren’t happening in the main thread of a game or show or film or whatever.

It also works to generate more content as there is more threads and more discussions going on.

Lots of little threads talking about more specific stuff is better than a few massive general topic threads in my opinion.


A good point. Even if mods can pro-actively separate potentially topic-worthy posts out of the larger threads like USTV, that might be something to consider?

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Moggy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:11 pm

jawafour wrote:I'm someone who has been a bit frustrated because - in my opinion - it feels as if the frequency of "political discussions causing major disagreements" has increased in the past couple of years. Even so, I'm not suggesting that there should be "no go" areas of discussion and maybe my thinking is a part of the problem; the chat is often just reflecting people's frustration with the issues of the wider world.

My personal reason for visiting GRcade is to chill and relax and I'm not sure that I often feel that way now. I totally appreciate that everybody is free to pick and choose as to what threads they participate in and what ones they don't; and free to choose who they communicate with and who they don't. Rather than making changes to the forum, I suspect it's down to individuals to manage their own approach to interacting here.


I think the solution is to have more than one thread. As Errkal says there is no reason why we can’t have multiple threads.

If a new Mario game comes out, why not have a thread just for the game and a thread for discussing the evil capitalism practiced by Bowser who refuses to pay minimum wage to his minions?

A Zelda game can be discussed in a thread for gameplay and a thread to discuss the Mogmas made climate change.

That way people can avoid politics if they want.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Pedz » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:29 pm

Wasn't that what was tried by OR and people were kicking off about it?

Then again, OR wanted to seperate it not because of the topic itself, but more because he believed there were two topics being discussed and wanted to trial the thread being spilt so both topics had their focuses on each subject.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Moggy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:41 pm

Pedz wrote:Wasn't that what was tried by OR and people were kicking off about it?

Then again, OR wanted to seperate it not because of the topic itself, but more because he believed there were two topics being discussed and wanted to trial the thread being spilt so both topics had their focuses on each subject.


People kick off over everything.

There will be some games where it’s impossible to not talk about political stuff - the new Watchdogs being set post Brexit for instance - but with most games if people just want to chat about gameplay then it’s beyond me why there can’t just be a gameplay thread.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Pedz » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:17 pm

Because if people make separate threads with politics separate to the game it's "silencing" people, or some shite.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Moggy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:24 pm

Pedz wrote:Because if people make separate threads with politics separate to the game it's "silencing" people, or some shite.


:lol:

Careful mate, you’re sounding a little political there.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Pedz » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:30 pm

The only reason why I personally would rather the politics and gameplay chat be separate as I come here to avoid all that. BUT, I do on occasion go into the political chats, ask questions, learn and grow etc. The biggest problem is political chat seems to cause massive rifts between people and people leave as well, and that's not good for the forum. It's a shame, really. Hopefully, a good compromise will come into place so everyone can enjoy the place and discuss things without the heated debates.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Errkal » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:41 pm

It can't be done by a person in that way because people cry.

It needs to be a hard and fast rule that says a thread covers the initial topic and any splinter conversations need to be a separate thread with a link back to the seed thread in the OP.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:53 pm

I think if you’re gonna split out various threads of conversation in an overarching topic to several topics then it’s fine. I think splitting out *only* political discussions is the wrong thing to do, because it others the subject matter, makes it more niche and hides it away. If the overarching principle, however, becomes about creating as much content as possible, then it changes the ethos and mindset in my view. So using Cyberpunk as an example, instead of this:

- Cyberpunk 2077 Politics thread
- Cyberpunk 2077 Everything Else thread

You have:

- Cyberpunk 2077 Politics Thread
- Cyberpunk 2077 E3 Fallout Thread
- KEEAAANNNUUUU
- Cyberpunk 2077 aesthetics
- The History of Cyberpunk
- Cyberpunk Breaking News
- CD Projekt Red press gaffes
- What is Twitter saying about Cyberpunk?
- Cyberpunk will have crap gunplay mechanics. Discuss.

Now, I appreciate that some of those strands will overlap, and that’s absolutely fine because it’s all about the content being generated, a little similarity in content is absolutely fine. It also eliminates the feeling of certain topics being “othered,” because several major themes of Cyberpunk have their own place now and if you think one thread is becoming too political you can jump into another. Some are also inherently more or less political than others.

Also, because all major threads will be splintered in this way, you won’t be engulfed in content for one thing because there will be half a dozen threads for, say, Mario Maker or the possibility of a new F-Zero.

Obviously this isn’t perfect and I’m happy to hear any possibilities for refining this further, but these are a few of my thoughts to get us started.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by OrangeRKN » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:36 pm

They're practically the same approaches, it's the volume of discussion gives rise roughly to the former split. A sub-topic within general discussion of a game is only worth splitting out into a new thread if it has the interest and volume of conversation to support a separate conversation. Here on GRcade that tends to happen with "political" subjects, be it representation in Cyberpunk or working conditions at Rockstar.

So yes, we should take the latter approach, as advocated. The practical implementation of that is probably to have a lot of in-depth "political" discussions sitting alongside more general game threads because we have a bias towards discussing those topics more than others. That's not a top-down othering of those topics, it's a bottom-up trend of what people want to talk about. Of course that doesn't make that an exclusive split, if there is lots of discussion specifically about The History of Cyberpunk than definitely spin it out into a new thread, that'd be interesting!

People need to be proactive in creating new threads, because if the splitting of popular discussion is left to reactive moderation, then it is going to be biased towards what is already getting lots of discussion - which is those "political" subjects. Currently those subjects tend to take over the general game threads, while other discussion points choke out with little debate - so it should be no surprise that those are the ones we want to split out into separate threads.

tl;dr more threads, less megathreads

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Errkal » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:37 pm

That’s how I see it work Cora, as convo happens in a thread if a splinter occurs that needs to go off and be it’s own thread, I’d put a link in the original thread to say “his convo continues here” and a link in the op of the new thread to seed thread.

It would mean lots of little conversations but means you can engage more with those convos and not miss out because he thread has moved on.

As you say it is a different mind set and way of working but I think given a shot it could work really well from a new content perspective and an allowing people to engage with conversation more perspective, instead of the usual people discussing it is more likely you will see input from less common faces as they can now join in with something as it hasn’t passed by in a flash.

The threads would move slower, but there would be more threads.

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PostRe: Meta-discussion: what are our issues and how do we better structure solutions?
by Corazon de Leon » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:31 pm

OrangeRKN wrote:They're practically the same approaches, it's the volume of discussion gives rise roughly to the former split. A sub-topic within general discussion of a game is only worth splitting out into a new thread if it has the interest and volume of conversation to support a separate conversation. Here on GRcade that tends to happen with "political" subjects, be it representation in Cyberpunk or working conditions at Rockstar.

So yes, we should take the latter approach, as advocated. The practical implementation of that is probably to have a lot of in-depth "political" discussions sitting alongside more general game threads because we have a bias towards discussing those topics more than others. That's not a top-down othering of those topics, it's a bottom-up trend of what people want to talk about. Of course that doesn't make that an exclusive split, if there is lots of discussion specifically about The History of Cyberpunk than definitely spin it out into a new thread, that'd be interesting!

People need to be proactive in creating new threads, because if the splitting of popular discussion is left to reactive moderation, then it is going to be biased towards what is already getting lots of discussion - which is those "political" subjects. Currently those subjects tend to take over the general game threads, while other discussion points choke out with little debate - so it should be no surprise that those are the ones we want to split out into separate threads.

tl;dr more threads, less megathreads


I could see from your posting in the other thread that you saw the situation similarly to how I presented it there and I have no doubt that there's no "top-down othering" intended in any decision that the staff team make(Karl's propensity to get involved in politics chat dispenses with that theory from the get go), but the way that the "two thread solution" was kind of shown to the forum was a bit more like this:

Karl wrote:There's clearly a tension between people who want to analyse games as culture in a deep discussion, and people who want to experience hype in a more light-hearted chat. If this two-thread solution resolves that tension by letting people choose which crowd to hang with, then we'll use it again.


Which gives of the impression of "politics chatting over here, normal people over there," to me at least. And I say that as someone who generally tries to stay away from politics chat.

I think it was this line of thinking that a few people took exception to and it led to what I'd describe as a bit of a debacle. I should note that this isn't a criticism of Karl in any way, shape or form, his was simply the first post I found in the thread. I'd also note that it's not a criticism of the way that the idea was rolled out; in the circumstances I completely understand what you guys were going for.

With that said, the reaction to that thread is why I think that while it is absolutely the best thing the forum can do to maximise content, discussion and give the aura of "business" to any passing internet denizen, going down the "more content" route needs to be presented in the right way.

But yeah, overall I do agree with you. What we need is a top-down effort to create content - maybe go through a few of the larger active threads and split out conversations into three or four new topics to show everyone what this would look like and kind of push it in threads going forward. "Yeah, great thought mate, why not make a topic" kind of thing, or even just split interesting posts out yourselves.

Some "megathreads" don't really lend themselves to being split out, I would say. The football thread comes to mind as one that's already probably stretched across two threads and doesn't have the membership required to go any further(a Scottish football thread, for example, would die on it's arse), so it does need to be done on a case by case basis.

Make me admin for a day, I'll sort you all out. :shifty:

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