Reducing Noise

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by svero, Aug 3, 2004.

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  1. Jim Buck

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    I'm with others on this thread in thinking that the noise on here isn't high at all. Same on Dexterity. Though admittedly, I wasn't here for the whole time it existed (Dexterity, I mean), so it may have been zero noise earlier. But I'm ok with what's here now if it means total freedom.

    Also, others metioned repeating of certain questions to be "noise". I completely disagree. Everything in the indie world is contantly changing. A question asked even 1 month ago will garner different answers if asked today. I, for one, am totally cool with seeing the same questions as I will be able to read more updated and current answers. (Good examples of this are threads about "what's the best affiliate?", "what's the best way of selling - reg code or download?", etc.. even "what's the best engine to use?" will get useful new information each time it's asked.)

    I would suggest keeping it as is until it gets really bad rather than being proactive.
     
  2. Wayward

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    #include <players.h>

    GameStudioD, your suggestion that we attract a wider audience that includes marketing, web designers, and especially players interests me. It frightens me a bit too because it's quite a big change, but the idea of mingling with our players appeals to me. A lot of indies already host their own forums for this purpose. Of course, we sometimes discuss matters publicly here that we wouldn't want our customers to read.
     
  3. Hamumu

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    I knew that locked topic would be brought up as an example of noise... so can someone explain why it's noise? This one really baffles me. Looks like someone made what they thought was a serious offer towards indies, in the indie business forum, then people complained about the website, to which the original author explicitly said "okay, what other suggestions do you have?", and a bunch of people added suggestions (not just to the website but to the business itself. Then it got locked. I actually don't even know why it's locked! I think it's something worthy of more discussion, and I don't see a single bit of noise in it. I don't want to turn into a certain type of element that's always bucking the majority, but if that's noise, you're cutting out a lot of legitimate talk! Why is it noise to discuss an indie publisher's website?

    I've been to the ASP forums on many occasions... THAT is full of noise! Pointless garbage abounds, and the same questions are asked time after time (haven't visited in probably a year, so that may have changed, but I seriously doubt it). Guess what, you get a lot of people in one place, you get stuff you may not be interested to read, because they all have different things to discuss, and more importantly, you get repeated questions and more. You simply CANNOT grow a community to a large size, which is what everyone here is talking about, and keep it from being filled with more newbie than oldbie posts. It's just a fact that those who are new will have more to say and be more eager and have questions they want to learn about. And those who have been around will drift away. Most people sign up to a forum like this *because* they have a question or comment! If you really want a trade organization, go invite-only (or enforced rules on who can join) and handpick those who you think are really serious. Otherwise, you WILL be inundated with newbies. Even if you charge $100 a year. We've seen it in action at the ASP.

    In reference to not everybody having time to visit every day, I want to clarify what I meant by my every day visit: I meant that there's so little noise that even though I visit often, I always find tons of things to read, and very few things to ignore. So if someone visits less often, they'll find far more still! Truly, I just DON'T see the noise! If it's being deleted, okay, then it's entirely possible there's a noise problem, but it doesn't sound like much gets deleted from how svero described it.

    I look forward to seeing this line in the sand, because to me this is all an extreme mystery. I obviously just don't know what the word noise means in forum terms. In fact... could someone truly elaborate in very clear terms exactly the problem we are facing? Some of it's rather unknown to those of us who aren't mods. I think that might be a step forward and some common ground between the inclusionistas and exclusionistas.

    PS - Every time I post one of these giant diatribes, by the time I have it written, more really good thoughts have been posted, so let me add I second Jim Buck and GameStudioD on these issues.
     
  4. princec

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    Repeating threads aren't noise. And FAQs go out of date faster than milk that's left out of the fridge. And I once had a rant on JGO about people who respond with a google link instead of bothering to reply.

    Cas :)
     
  5. Wayward

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    Agreed

    Try Google for more on this. :)

    Yes, it's very bad manners. I hate that one too.

    </banter>
     
  6. Bluecat

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    ggambett and BongPig.

    I appreciate that you were just generalising and that no offence was meant. I hope that's not how I sounded, I've been around long enough to develop a pretty thick skin... or is that a pretty thick head? I can never remember. ;)

    In the end, I reckon that all we need here is some sensible moderation by the mods, and a little wisdom shown by the resident indies, and we shouldn't have too many problems with noise.
     
  7. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'd just like to make a comment that a few of the previous posts should be considered as noise. j/k :)

    Nice comments, Hamumu
     
  8. Wayward

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    Poll for a poll

    Perhaps a poll on 'noise-to-worry' levels is needed. Can this thread be converted into a poll to save us creating another very similar thread?
     
  9. Dan MacDonald

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    You are correct Ham, it's difficult to draw a "line in the sand" for what is "noise" and what isn't. A large determinant in drawing that line is determining what the target audience is. For instance, to draw an extreme example, if someone started asking questions about some weird engine knock they were hearing when their car was going up hills, that would probably be considered noise. But on a forum dedicated to auto mechanics or maybe that particular brand of car, it would be right on topic. Visa versa could be said as well, if one of us went to that forum as asked about sales numbers of various indie games.

    The problem we face here is one of shades of gray. These forums cater to indie developers. When the forums first started out they were mainly indie business forums frequented by people with published titles, or very serious indies who's main priority was becoming a full time indie developer. Since then the forums have grown to include novice programmers, skilled hobbyist programmers, and of course the requisite amount of wanna-be's.

    Most of the threads, like the one you cite, would be noise to the old audience of these forums. With regards to the thread you mention, the poster obviously had a LOT to learn about the downloadable games business, and especially publishing in it. This is one of those debates that people feel very strongly about one way or the other.

    Basically there are two camps, forget about the old, you can't preserve it, let's move forward and just accept that things will be more about teaching newbies and learning from experienced members. The other camp is, what we had before was valuable, it set it apart from every other community that has allowed itself to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

    The fact is, it is much harder to preserved the old "quality" then it is to just let inexperienced members who post too much to dictate the tone / quality of the forums.

    When I moderate threads, I personally lean a little to the side of trying to preserve the audience of the old forums. However there is only so much wiggle room before people generally start getting ticked off, and accusing the mods of being elitist bastards. There’s only so much you can do.

    One thing I think might be interesting to try, Is setting up a private forum here, for “professionalâ€￾ indies. A “professionalâ€￾ indie would be someone with a finished game/app and has published it on some site. I know indie’s who fall into this category have argued the merits of such a private forum in the past. On the Dexterity forums, they stated that they would be more willing to post numbers and business practices if they knew it was a secure environment.

    One benefit of having such a forum here would mean the more experienced Indies’ who have stop posting as of late would be visiting the forums a little more often, including the public forums that we now enjoy.
     
  10. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    And more willing to post anti-piracy measures :) No complaints about "hey you posted a link to a warez site"
     
  11. Wayward

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    Hurray for Diversity!

    One of the great things about the Dexterity forums were their diversity. SteveP in particular posted on a wide range of topics, some not related to the indie business at all, but interesting and useful nonetheless. I recall buying a blender after reading a thread about food.

    The best way to get a diversity of posts it to get a diversity of posters. Perhaps we should actually be encouraging and educating newbies and thickies to grow into valuable members of our community. Without a constant influx of new blood this board is sure to wither and die.

    The appreciate the mods want to proactively keep these boards as good as they are. I just worry that the 'control approach' excludes diversity.

    I considered starting a 'Pets cure cabin fever' thread but I've got all self-conscious about this noise business. It's me isn't it? I'm the noise.
     
  12. svero

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    @Hamumu - I don't see what the problem is having a forum for people like us to discuss the issues that affect us and our businesses, while not having it have to be a forum for every kid that likes his sony playstation and had a nifty idea once. There's probably a happier medium than "free for all and slowly degrading". By doing something to encourage posts by people who are serious about game development and discourage posts by people who aren't I believe we will be increasing the value of the forums for everyone including new people that are just starting out.

    The ASP forums are a good example of a forum that was once useful and no longer is. Maybe because no serious steps were taken to ensure a level of quality? My point with regards to saying I wanted to be more of a trade organization is that I want the forums to be focused more on topics of interest to indie developers. People making and selling games.

    As someone who makes games you're no doubt aware how often you get an "idea" man coming around to get your help on the little details like art, programming, and gameplay, for their great game. We all get that. I really believe that in the end, if you allow free reign to those kinds of people, they will chase away the real indies leaving us only with the 2nd group. And that's not good for us OR the new people who are serious about making games and starting a business.
     
  13. Dan MacDonald

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    :rolleyes:

    When I post, I try to make sure that I am adding something that is relevant to other indies, weather it's an idea that I've been thinking over for a while, or something interesting I learned from talking to other Indie's that I don't think everyone knows.

    While this isn't how I moderate, personally I would prefer if the "community" type chit chat, joke making, fun poll posting, would really just be left for another forum or instant messaging. These forums support adding your various Instant Messaging details and I would encourage people to get linked up with other indies outside of these forums and do the chit chat there. Again, this isn't a rule for the forum, because it really isn't practically enforceable, but I think it would contribute to the forums being a better "Resource" overall.

    There aren’t any other sites out there where you can get good information about indie development, at least not like what was here and on dex. There are a million sites for chit-chat with other developers though...
     
  14. Hamumu

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    I for one would very much enjoy a private arena, and would be very open to sharing extensive information in such a place. The best talks I have are with the indies who are going places. I can even soak up ideas without having to ask stupid questions, it's nice (usually though, I CHOOSE to ask stupid questions, to maintain my classic Hamumu style). I'd vastly prefer that to visit than these forums for myself if I had to pick one. But PLEASE don't turn these forums into that. Creating it additionally is wonderful, and I want to be in on that ASAP, but this forum is an open resource and a way for indies to congregate. There's a lot of power in that, and in the free flow of information. When I hear of on-topic posts by people who have a lot to learn being called noise, I worry just how free that flow is. By all means, chop out what actually doesn't belong, and if necessary, seek steps to keep it out, but if you don't allow people-who-have-a-lot-to-learn to ... learn, then the species of People Who Have Learned A Lot will eventually die out! How's that for a sentence?

    My cat agrees: vbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    So sign me up for the Top Secret Grand Collusion Uber Indie No Homers Club right away! That's something I have great interest in.

    (but it's worth noting that Dan MacDonald is ineligible for membership)
     
  15. Chris Evans

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    I think we really need a mission statement for these forums.

    But I agree with Wayward. In the old Dex board, it wasn't JUST about business. The Indie Life and General Chat forums discussed a variety of topics, many of which SteveP started himself. That's why I said earlier I thought these forums were for people who shared a common interest in the whole Indie lifestyle. Not just to discuss how to increase their Adwords CR.
     
    #55 Chris Evans, Aug 3, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2004
  16. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Actually his game little soldiers will be out in a few days so we can probably cut him some slack...
     
  17. Hamumu

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    But that's been my contention from the beginning... there was no degrading! I was at dex from beginning to end, and I never saw anything wrong with it at all! There were a FEW posts of "I have an idea!", and frankly, those are amusing to me. But the fact is they were extremely rare. It had less noise than a vinyl record, and people STILL listen to those. And by the way, I definitely agree that having a forum for good talk is great - I want what Dan said. There's a real danger of a boy's club mentality overall in this sort of thing that has to be watched out for. By having a private forum, you need not watch out for it - you have a boy's club! But outside the club, that's a big concern, and I noticed some of it going on on dex as well, without going into specifics. [ed. note: no gender bias intended]

    I agree - it should be disallowed for people to post those "I have an idea!" posts. Those aren't good (even though I enjoy them). But I am against paid subs or anything that pushes away newbies in general. Just kick them in the ass with some rules, moderate them, ban them, delete them, and that's thatl (I do all that by the dozen daily on my own forum). I think the enforced lurking rule would accomplish this to an admirable degree. But again, my more prominent issue is why are we even discussing it? Things are peachy! We are not spiraling into a black pit of despair! Tom Ridge is lying to you! The dex forums never went downhill... that's my take on the matter. The mythical Golden Age Of Dexterity was just the short period when the only people who knew about it were an elite few, and that's just a recipe for inbreeding.
     
  18. Nemesis

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    I'll risk repeating .. but wouldn't a sticky thread with some basic rules help out a lot? For instance, it could have a note asking users to search the threads for any questsions.

    Some basic articles and faqs, perhaps implemented as locked threads would help a lot too.

    This would give newbies (I being one) the opportunity to learn from knowledge commonly established by the veterans while at the same time participate as the newbies gain experiences.

    After all, I think we all started out as newbies right?
     
  19. Mark Fassett

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    As I think about it, I have to agree with Hamumu. When you compare it to the miasma that is gamedev.net, these forums just don't compare. And that's why I come here. The suggestion about creating a private "only those who've got a game for sale" forum in addition to the public forums sounds like a great plan to me.
     
  20. Gilzu

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    umm, thanks... :eek:

    I've read all of the forum member's comments presented both here, the old forums and from the other mods and I believe we will come up with a new set of FAQs for these forums.
     
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