My thoughts on Online Communities, Groups and Forums such as this one

Discussion in 'General Lounge' started by jamalMV, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. jamalMV

    jamalMV Villager Member

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    HI Everyone,


    So i did a live stream on my channel last night on the topic of Online Communities, Groups and Forums such as this one because i feel that Forums such as this don't really give anyone in it a chance to express themselves or can often be quite closed and dismissive to newcomers. Please feel free to have a look at it and share your thoughts as i'd love to hear if others feel the same way. Thank you for your time.
     
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  2. BigToastie

    BigToastie Veteran Veteran

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    I haven't watched the video, but when you post that in bold, I know you haven't really used this forum all that much.


    This forum is very helpful to newcomers, and people can express themselves quite freely, the main thing that happens are if topics are steered off an OPs topic or in the wrong area, they get closed / moved.


    In general I agree forums can be quite bad for newcomers, I know a few game forums like this, but with regards to this forum its incredibly helpful to newcomers and veterans alike.
     
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  3. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    Most forums I've been a member of have been bloody terrible at actually welcoming new members. They've always got this strange form of elitism, almost tribalism, which makes older members look at new members as foreigners or drifters. This shouldn't be the case, of course, because online forums are not tribes, nor are they worthy of loyalty in the same way an actual working community (in the real world) is.


    Even this forum has, or had, its group of veterans who never really mingled with the new members.
     
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  4. BigToastie

    BigToastie Veteran Veteran

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    You will never get a place where it never happens which sucks, but I have found that the majority of people have been willing to help anyone who asks questions or they get pointed to the direction that will assist them.


    I get the veteran mentality as they may see as "we help them, but they'll never help me" but I came here a newbie and got so much help, even if I didnt use rpg maker anymore I'd still come on here to help people as I know the situation of starting it all can get a tad overwhelming.


    :)
     
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  5. Arcmagik

    Arcmagik Game Developer Veteran

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    Kind of an inflammatory post but with that being said it has been my experience that most forums do not suffer ignorance lightly and I don't believe that they should. It might just be human nature to think that others should accomplish the same things that you have accomplished through the methods which you were forced to use in the case of this forum... that would often be related to people buying the engine and going "I am going to make the next big epic! How do I do that?"


    Using the basic engine before posting and asking questions that you could figure out on your own with basic knowledge is a sure-fire way to get pointed response. Beyond the basics there are literally hundreds of tutorials and YouTube video dedicated to game making... I've literally watched hundreds of hours YouTube channels and tutorials for every RPG Maker despite the fact that I only you MV. I even created a complete dueling system based off a RPG Maker 2003 tutorial for making a dueling system.


    So when people come in here asking basic questions without taking the time to invest in learning basic knowledge it can be rather frustrating and I imagine the responses from that frustration are pointed. Especially more so because the moderators have been around the block and have seen the same thing countless times before.


    I doubt this is a unique experience for this forum. This is repeated over countless forums and people don't respond kindly to it.
     
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  6. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    @BigToastie Mate, keep on doing what you're doing. Helping others, without being a capital C about it, should be the whole point of an online forum - communicating with one another, sharing ideas, discussing things. Even if it means re-treading old ground.
     
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  7. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    You would usually find both good and bad people on forums like these. I've met some very nice people in this community, and some not so nice ones. It is good to see people working together and helping one another. My main concern though is usually with censorship of criticism that this community gets. I am sure I brought this up many times before, so I'll try not to flog a dead horse, but sometimes it's difficult to post genuine criticism here out of fear of hurting someone's feelings and then to be treated as a bad guy. This means you can't have open discussions about everything, which in turn can also discourage any other people (particularly newcomers and lurkers) from offering their own points of view and solutions to problems, because they feel that if they say one thing wrong, they'll get ganged up on by a mob of sycophants.
     


    @Arcmagik: I am pretty sure the OP's statement was concerning online forums in general and not this forum in particular. I've been on many other forums on the internet, as well as Facebook groups, and other online communities, and you get a wide range of attitudes and vibes from one to another. I have been in some very mature communities and I have also been on some very toxic ones.
     
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  8. Arcmagik

    Arcmagik Game Developer Veteran

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    @Matseb2611 Yes and no. He specifically calls out this forum too... but my message also references to this forum as well as others.
     
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  9. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    He states "online communities and forums such as this one". He doesn't call this forum out specifically and doesn't single it out from the others.
     
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  10. Arcmagik

    Arcmagik Game Developer Veteran

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    We will have to agree to disagree as I feel that is splitting hairs when he clearly states "such as this one" twice as the example which implies that this forum as well as other ones are this particular way.
     
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  11. mlogan

    mlogan Global Moderators Global Mod

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    First off, I would highly recommend that you add some of the finer points of your video, which could add to the discussion here, in your original post. I’m sorry but very few people have an hour or more of their time to sit and watch this in its entirety.


    Second, I have found over the years that with any community, for the most part, you get back what you put into it. I will concede that there are likely online forums that will just be hateful to anyone. However, I would have to ask myself, why then, would I want to try to “fit in” or be a part of that community. But mostly, if you are kind and helpful in a community, online or not, it will be returned to you. If you are rude, impatient and demanding, rudeness will be returned to you.


    Third, everywhere will have “cliques”, “tribes”, “groups”, etc. It is an inevitable part of life. It does not mean that those people are necessarily “elitist” or any such thing. It does not mean that those people are not open to welcoming new members. It most likely means that those people have spent months or years interacting and getting to know one another before you came along.


    I understand how that can be hard on people new to a community. I’ve been there many, many times over in my life. Before this forum, I was nothing more than a lurker in the RM community. I didn’t come into this forum with any friends. Pretty much my first year here, I lurked. That was after the first thing I ever tried to post got locked. It happens. I took almost a year break from RM and this forum, due to life. When I got back into it (also because of life, lol), and came back to the forum, I realized I wanted to try to be more active.


    I did this in two ways – interacting positively with people in their status updates and determining to help in whatever ways I could, which given that I have little artistic talent and no music composing abilities, meant answering questions when I could. I interacted in the community and gave back what I could. It didn’t feel like much, but before I knew it, I was getting to know people here.


    And you know what, in the last two years, it’s been amazing. I’ve made some of the best friends that I will ever have by getting to know people here, by being involved, by giving back. I know many could look at me and say, “Oh, she’s a mod, she’s part of the elite, she doesn’t understand.” But I want people to realize, it’s not the case.


    I think it’s also important to remember that people are people. Even those who are usually nice and positive have their moments. I’ve had to apologize to people for snapping at them when I’ve been tired, grumpy or irritable. It’s through those moments that I’ve realized when I’m feeling that way, I need to step away from the forums.


    Also, I only have so much energy to spend. Between being an introvert, being a mom, teaching two children all day and taking care of my duties here on the forum, I sometimes don’t have the emotional energy to even talk to my close friends online, much less making a bunch of new ones. I think most people are that way. I know the "elite" of this forum are - the staff and admins have so much going on behind the scenes that most here don't know about, and that doesn't even take into account their personal lives.


    I’ve seen people on here complain about not feeling welcome, yet when I look at their activity, they have less than 20 posts. People cannot get to know you that way. To an introvert, 20 posts might seem like a lot, but it’s not. You can slip through the cracks that way. Either that or the only posts they have are “take, take, take” from the community without ever giving back in return.


    The only ones here I’ve seen cry about being censored are not those who want to criticize or discuss something “unpleasant” but those who do so without regard to how they are saying it, those who resort to name calling and insults. It’s rarely not about what you say but about how you say it.


    So, I encourage anyone in this community or elsewhere, if you are feeling unwelcome, if you are feeling censored, stop and focus on yourself for a minute. Take some time to self-evaluate and see if there is some action of yours that can be changed, not if someone else needs to change to suit you.


    At any rate, I feel as if I have rambled enough. Just some early morning thoughts as I drink my coffee…
     
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  12. Ms Littlefish

    Ms Littlefish Dangerously Caffeinated Global Mod

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    The most frequent reason I see our community called "cold" or unwelcoming to new comers is for directing new members to a compilation of tutorials or a thread nearly identical to their issue, as opposed to a unique response. On one hand; it might be information overload for a new member. I get that. On the other hand, this community is very receptive to putting in effort and one investing time into their own learning experience. This community is also highly receptive to reciprocation and actually pretty social with one another in the status feed.


    I almost never posted to this forum because I know how they can be. That said, I obviously posted. I've been on forums ever since I had access to the internet and I've found this community to be one of the more welcoming and that relative to the rest of the internet, generally positive. You know how some areas of the internet make you feel like you need a shower? I very rarely get that here. 


    But, we're not all perfectly, perfect amazing saints vomiting rainbows and friendship. There's always bad with the good. We're not completely immune to group think, but I people might be surprised at the actual diversity of not only ideas and aesthetics here. But, the people here too. I see the exchange of ideas and viewpoints debated somewhat frequently, and usually civilly. It gets heated at times and sometimes we need to remind each other to take it down a notch. People get passionate but as long as it doesn't devolve into name-calling we're pretty a'ight.
     
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  13. Galenmereth

    Galenmereth I thought what I'd do was Veteran

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    Without having seen/listened to more than a few minutes of your video I will just say that delivering your opinions in this format demands an inordinate amount of time on my part to listen to you ramble on at your own pace. It is not a good way to get in touch with a community or new people in general. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with the written form, but the benefit of writing is that others can consume your opinions as quickly or slowly as they like. It also comes off as far less preachy.
     
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  14. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    See, directing someone to a set of tutorials, or identical\similar threads, would be more helpful if it was done so in a less robotic way. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen members simply tell newbies to follow some links without any reason why or a friendly tone. It's even worse when you get people that command others to use the search bar, because we all know how appropriate the titles are for those dead and buried topics; most are simply variations of "Help! I need to do this". This isn't good when you're trying to find something specific, or if you don't know the correct terminology.


    I agree with you. Tutorials are a good idea. However, not all of them are easy to understand or to follow.
     
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  15. mlogan

    mlogan Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I understand that sentiment, but I think part of the problem is that everyone reads tone differently on the internet. I've been accused of being "cold and unhelpful" on a post where I thought I was using a perfectly reasonable tone in asking someone to provide more information so that I could better help. Aside from accompanying every post with pictures of rainbows and kittens and 3 dozen smiley faces, I'm not sure how to convey my tone or mood any better. For example, I'm sure there will be plenty reading my responses here who think I'm being rude or cold. I'm not.


    Also, I think as far as searching goes, most people here understand that some things can be difficult to search for. However, I've literally seen people state that they did not want to be bothered to take the time to search for an answer. And while I'm not crazy about the forum's own search system, if I can't find what I need using it, going to Google and typing in "RPG Maker whateverIwanttoknow" almost always turns up results. So, it can be frustrating when it seems apparent that someone has made no effort in trying to find the information on their own.


    It's not about not wanting to help, it's about not wanting to spoon feed people who don't want to properly put in the time and effort to learn and make their game.
     
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  16. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    @mlogan: In the first instance you say that we have to be responsible for our tone. In the second you say how we can't always predict how our tone comes across to others on the internet. So which is it? What makes it acceptable for some people to slip up and use harsh tone and to be excused for it and not for others? What about if your criticism is not intended to be offensive, but the other person saw it as offensive. What then? Who is in the right?
     
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  17. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    @mlogan Ha-ha! End every post with a kitty face. =^.^=


    I fully understand where you're coming from with the whole Google thing. Personally, that's what I do. I don't think I've made a single thread since I joined this forum. However, a lot of people buy RPG Maker to have fun with, not to become a serious game developer - it's a hobby for a lot of people. Should we make finding useful information a chore just to make the whole process feel more challenging? I guess that's something you and I have different opinions on.


    Game making is difficult. This is something I have a lot of first hand experience with. However, we, as a community, can strive to make it not as tedious for those new to this hobby. I answer a fair few people - though I do so mainly via PM. I enjoy helping others, even if the task seems trivial to others here.


    That's my two cents on the matter, anyway.
     
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  18. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    Most of what people call "cold" probably evolves around a single fact:


    We can't make a game for the people asking for help, they have to make their own game.


    Developing a game (even a short one) usually takes months of time, and everyone around here has his/her own projects and helps others in their (limited) free time for free (absolutely no one gets paid for forum work, we're all volunteers).


    And while the RMs are the most simplest possible for a packet of their vasility, that does not mean they are absolutely simple or can be learned in a day or two. Any game creation engine that could be learned in a few days has a lot of limitations on what could be done with it.


    So we have to expect from the users at minimum the will to put in time for both learning and making their own games - which will take months.


    That is what the referrals to the tutorials mostly are about - just a single week spent on the official tutorials will give any user enough background to move past the basic questions. And if the user is not willing to spend even a week on tutorials, then most likely he'll be unable to spend the months needed for game development.


    That is a filter in itself - but people who are calling that cold haven't really understand how much work it is to make a game.


    And if someone is willing (and showing) that he can place in that time and learn how to use the engines, then you'll find that specific questions (those that go beyond the basics) are usually answered fast.
     
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  19. Arcmagik

    Arcmagik Game Developer Veteran

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    One thing is for certain... the OP has sparked the conversation as intended! 


    As someone that is less than a year old to these forums (came at the end of VX Ace's cycle and did most my current tenure in MV) I remember what it is like to be new here. And I never felt unwelcomed if I did I wouldn't still be here... but I also put in over a year of studying tutorials and the engine to get to the point that I have started to post regularly and feel like I can help in someway. I feel even more welcomed and exchange thoughts with people regularly now.


    As to second something said... We can't make their games for them. They have to learn themselves.


    The old proverb comes to mind: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he can eat for his lifetime."
     
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  20. mlogan

    mlogan Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Why can it not be both? I try to be careful with my words and not be rude to people. When I have been short tempered and snapped at people, I've gone back and apologized for it. By the same token however, you can't necessarily read someone's "robotic" response as cold and heartless. There may be plenty of reasons they reply the way they do, including the fact that they've answered that same question countless times, so they have the same response every time.


    Here, I am mainly talking about answering people's questions and the like, I've not even delved into giving criticism, as that's a whole other ball game. However, my personal opinion is, if someone gives criticism, not meaning offense, but someone is offended by it, both parties would do well to take a moment and step into the other person's shoes and try to see it from their perspective and try to talk it out or move on.


    I get it. I really do. I'm a sensitive person. I've cried before because of feedback on my game. But it doesn't mean that I'm going to sit here and blast the community as a whole because something one person on here said hurt my feelings. Yes it hurt, whether it was intended to or not (and in hindsight, it most definitely wasn't). But how I move on from there is my choice.



    When did I ever say that I encourage people to find answers on their own in order to make it more challenging for them? More times than I can count, I've gone out of my way to help people solve problems. I've taken time to make maps to show people how to improve their mapping techniques. I keep MV and Ace projects called "Test It Out" which are solely throwaway projects that I can go in and try to test things to figure out answers for people. I have spent time in pm's and off-forum chat groups trying to help people problem solve or giving feedback. I am more than willing to help people, but when I see people who are not willing to at least try a bit to find answers, then yes, I will encourage them to do so. And I understand that that can be a subjective thing, as no, I'm not clocking someone's time and efforts on searching. However, sometimes, it is painfully obvious.


    I'm going to come back and add a TLDR that sums up my feelings: Be responsible for your own words and don't assume the worst about others.
     
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