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 The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)

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Balladeer
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PostSubject: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 8:04

"Got an opinion piece...", sub-forum description?  Why yes I have.  I'm posting this partly so that Mas can have somewhere to respond to my locking his Gamescom thread, but mostly because this is something that has been kicking around in my head for a while.  If Mas is feeling victimised by this, which I hope he isn't, he should know that he was not the first person I had in mind when thinking about this.


Without further ado, Balladeer's Forum Theorem: a forum should be used for conversation first, entertainment second, and information a distant third.

The order of the first two may vary, but the third is definitely third.  And yes, all three are useful, but there's an order.

The difference

To me, the conversation possibilities are what separate a forum from, say, Twitter.  I know that you can "retweet", but the social media site is obviously foremost for informing people about what's happened to you, or posting things that you feel might interest your followers.  With its lack of character limit and the natural layout of one post below another, not to mention the quote option, the forum is obviously (and I do feel like I'm stating the obvious here) better for conversation.

News posts, on the other hand, are amply covered by other sites.  Other sites that do it professionally.  To think that we, rank amateurs when it comes to writing ( Balladeer included), can relay the news better than the people who are paid to do it, seems misinformed.  

Mas made the argument that he gets news earlier than some other sites, but I don't buy that.  I don't think I'm alone in saying that I'd rather wait a few hours for a journalist who has made a profession out of writing and presenting news to give me the story.  And no, not every news site writer is great, but are we really saying that we clumsy wordsmiths can do a better job than most or all games journalists out there?  Pull the other one!

A counterargument

"But Balladeer, I posted a news item, and now people are talking about it.  Shove that up your arse, eh?"  To which I say: well done, you've inspired a conversation.  A forum would die without things to talk about, conversation starters.  But that's still making conversation!  

To me (and a reminder that this is all personal opinion), by far the best way to present news is to give the essentials of the story, maybe a picture (presentation helps!), link to the professionally written article if people need more detail, and then give your own personal opinion on the matter.  That personal take, if well-expressed, is your best bet of getting people talking about it.  Not all articles need this approach to make people talk about them, natch, which is where the rather nebulous "personal judgement" comes in.

Also, we don't need as many conversation starters as we do people continuing on someone else's conversation.  Again, stating the obvious, but one good conversation starter can and should inspire conversation that will consist of several posts.  A ratio of one conversation starter post to several participation posts is ideal.  Do you post more informative or conversation-starting posts than you do posts about other people's topics?  If so, you're using the forum wrong.

A final point

You can't comment about other people's posts without reading them.  If there's one thing that's more important than conversing with people, it's reading their posts in the first place.  I'm sorry to pick out an example, but Axis' post near the top of this page was a news item that Beemoh had already posted in the Wii U news thread.  And fair enough, it was more a general Nintendo post than a Wii U-specific one; but it showed that Axis, a man who loves his news and the posting thereof, didn't read other people's news posts before making his own.  It was a day or two prior, Beemoh's a good writer, and Axis is interested in Nintendo news.  It really shouldn't have happened.

But if you just read people's posts, you get the Mas effect (ho ho ho).  Did many of you read his Gamescom thread, and were grateful for the information?  If you don't respond to him, it looks like you didn't, and then it gets locked.  Even an increase in thread-views can be interpreted as flicking in and out of the thread without properly reading, maybe to mark it read Andyman-style.  And I'm sure that Mas, like all of us, would have appreciated any comments that were there to be had on what he posted.

Conclusion

I'm not saying "don't post news".  I'm saying that, on a forum, news is only as good as the conversation it generates.  Twitter, a blog, or news sites can give us the raw news.  Here on GNamer, we should be trying to promote discussion, and (more importantly) partaking in it ourselves.  And if we post a hilarious article or amusing video along the way, or deliver a killer one-liner that makes people smile/groan/post boothisman reaction .gifs, so much the better.  People will comment on those too.



Please do tell me that I'm completely wrong and have misunderstood the way a forum works, or that I shouldn't be so mean to people (I'm really not trying to be), or that I'm a massive hypocrite.  Wouldn't be a point in posting this if nobody commented on it! Smile
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JayMoyles
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 15:35

No, I'd agree with what you're saying Balla.

Whilst I do appreciate the odd news post here and there, I don't come to GNamer to get caught up on gaming news. I visit Reddit, or Twitter or dedicated gaming news sites like CVG or Rock Paper Shotgun to get caught up. I come to GNamer to either discuss that news with you lot or to talk about what I've been playing with all you as well. I can't appreciate screeds and screeds of news that doesn't interest me, but I certainly can appreciate someone sharing their opinion on something they've been playing lately.

Don't get me wrong now - I like checking Mas's gaming news thread and hell, I've posted a couple of news items in there. But yeah, threads like the Gamescom one should have been scrapped earlier as the only person to reply to Mas's reporting was Jaster saying he should maybe let the thread die a death. Just my two cents, in any case.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 18:23

I also agree with both of you, I go to IGN, NL, PS, CVG like us all but as Jay points out I like to come on here and talk to you guys about what ever news.

And we have had decent discussion in the news thread's as we are now on number two & have seemed popular and a better way to talk about it all, compared to the one point we had 6 news threads there's even be one recently that could of gone in general news but the thread is now being used in a meaningful way even though the biggest remake (on here) has it's own thread.

I agree with the news as well where I can I post links to IGN or whom ever and ad my two cent's which normally starts the whole thing off like Nintendo making a hybrid.

The gamesom one was a weird one as last years had a few replies & seeing how popular E3 thread was this year, only seemed to make sense to have it's own thread instead of spamming the general news thread, unfortunately it was only me posting. I kept posting due to news keep coming out and would of liked someone to reply with something like all these indie games urghh what a load of shite then I would reply back & keep the ball rolling.

Will I do a gamescom 2015 thread unlikely but will I still post about it yeah, now in the general thread if anything really big happens or just one post just edited or something but that's 12 months away. But does give me thoughts about TGS next month.

So take the good with the bad in some ways with news and hope the good or bad in your point of view of the actual news and talk about it
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 20:10

*marks topic as read*  Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 21:42

I'd rather see the generic news threads disappear. As masofdas mentioned himself, discussing the news is great, but I think there would be more clarity to the whole act of doing so if people were to post individual topics relating to the news in the first place, just like how we did things in the old days.

For example, the Dan Adelman news could have easily made its own topic with plenty of possibilities for discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 21:49

Only problem of that is what's worthy of its own topic, and originally we were posting lots of topics but we decided to have one place unless wii u or 3ds news which can go in there on respective threads. It's one of the reasons I change the thread header, so you know what the news is about posted like if it had its on topic.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 7:49

Twitter can be good for one-on-one conversations (it almost feels like an instant messenger sometimes) but it's utter pants at group conversations, as the more people get involved, the less space you have for your message!

Also, fronky's brought up something I agree with: the generic news threads. For me, they get so crammed with multiple strands of news that they're hard to follow (I am old, remember). Now, not every piece of news should be spun off into its own thread, of course, and it's hard to pick out what could generate good conversation... in short, whilst I feel there is a problem, I'm not sure what the solution could be. Aww!
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 9:34

I honestly feel the news threads could be given a rest a bit unless something big/major happens, as Jay pointed out most of us don't come here for that as we already follow it by default. There are plenty of game specific threads that deserve to have more discussion that they have, not saying everyone should do this but that's where I'm going to try to put most of my focus.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 10:30

I'm still a fan of the news threads. I'm fine with them so long as they drive conversation: there are several stories that come under the "weird and wonderful" banner that don't quite deserve their own topic (debatably), but are still worth talking about.

I will agree that we don't need multi-article round-ups, though. Keep it to one story announced per post. That way the problem that ZJ mentioned vanishes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 11:20

I come on here for the news. Putting up with all of you bellends is just the price I pay to know what's afoot.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 11:27

Thanks Drunka hey what.

I disagree a bit balla as we've had 48 pages of news and no issue apart from on page 1 where you advice about where some news should be which you've brought up with Axis & Beemoh posting the same thing in different places and that maybe I or whom ever puts a bit about in there opinion.

So personally I think keep it how it is and lessons be learnt from the gamescom thread.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 12:47

Death to the news threads.


Last edited by The Cappuccino Kid on Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 11:22; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 18:02

It's just one unless Nintendo and if you don't like it don't use it but some of us might want to discuss something happening in the industry that might not be about a certain game, it could be a studio closure for instance
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 19:47

Regarding three posts up, as I said in the OP, it's all about generating conversation. Putting one issue across that you feel passionately about is much more likely to do that than posting three because you want to communicate the news. May as well just link to a news site in that case.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 20:29

Aye, that's pretty much my view on it too - only post a bit of news if it's something you genuinely find interesting. Nobody gives a toss about sales figures really, but a new game announcement? I'll talk about that, sure.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 21:55

I try to post stuff I find interesting or what I think you will find interesting. Sales figures is a weird one as Axis quite often posts something about shares which are normally hilarious and I only post the NPD's which is once a month and the occasional UK Top 10 when something happens such as when mario kart 8 came out which we might find interesting. Even balla has posted sells numbers like the time the Wii U sales went up 666% the only other relevant thing I could see me or some else posting is when Wii U hit's 10million for instance.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 22:40

I'm against calling out people what sort of news they are allowed to put up. It just has to be worthy of a its own thread. I think intuition would help us figure it out.

Few would discuss the announcement of NFC payments in Japan for Wii U, but the announcement of that GameCube controller add-on for Smash could have sparked a whole discussion about its possibilities (GC VC? I'd say it's still not going to happen, you might argue otherwise) for example.

And no, sales figures aren't boring, they are directly linked to what sort of games we'll be seeing in the future. Even Nintendo isn't immune to this sort of thinking, as Fire Emblem Awakening was going to be the last in the series if it didn't hit a sales target of around 250k. Put two and two together and it may explain the absence of other Nintendo series elsewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sat 16 Aug 2014 - 22:42

fronkhead wrote:
And no, sales figures aren't boring, they are directly linked to what sort of games we'll be seeing in the future. Even Nintendo isn't immune to this sort of thinking, as Fire Emblem Awakening was going to be the last in the series if it didn't hit a sales target of around 250k. Put two and two together and it may explain the absence of other Nintendo series elsewhere.

*posts his sing-when-you're-winning post again*
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 10:02

fronkhead wrote:
I'm against calling out people what sort of news they are allowed to put up. It just has to be worthy of a its own thread. I think intuition would help us figure it out.

I think I agree with this. If one posts something that they've just read because they think that it's going to generate a discussion (imagines Butters from South Park saying "Fellas? Hey, fellas!"), then they shouldn't be discouraged from doing so. If someone else doesn't have anything to say about the news, then just leave it. If it ends up that no-one responds... oh well, never mind.
What probably should happen by the poster is - 1 - sensible editing - if news is a massive list of things, and then a subsequent post of another list of things, it just won't get read. (or maybe that's just me). And - 2 - knowing when to stop; if one reposts a few times without any response, it might be time to jump out of that topic.

Uncle Tin


P.S. sales figures are boring
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 12:45

Sales figureZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Yeah. I went there.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 12:53

Sales figures are important (Fronkhead says why) but dull.  I thing NGamer had a section called "Boring Financial Stuff", where they tacked a picture on the end of each one to try and lighten the mood.

Perhaps financial news should get its own thread, and each news post has to be below two lines and accompanied by an interesting picture or .gif?
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 13:10

Yeah but if use some of Axis share's news there more then two lines and some of it is boring yeah but then some of it will be likes of thye guy that wanted buses or something.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 13:57

fronkhead wrote:
And no, sales figures aren't boring, they are directly linked to what sort of games we'll be seeing in the future.

I see what you're saying but I just think its not our place to care about them as we don't own a part in that business. (businesses?) I personally don't have any interest if a game sold X amount of copies, I'd just rather know if it was any good. (Sales figures don't always show that)

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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 14:42

Sales figures are like everything else: interesting when they're interesting, not when they're not.

Like Mas pointed out, it's Mr. Sales-Figures-Are-Boring-Always-And-Without-Exception-And-We-Should-Never-Mention-That-So-Much-As-The-Concept-Thereof-Exists himself, Balla, who posted the news that Wii U sales jumped 666% when they did.

It does come down to context- there's a reason we've been hearing so much about The Inbetweeners 2 doing so well at the box office, and that's because it's breaking the records set by its record-breaking prequel, itself an adaptation of a record-breaking television series. (And, of course, it's fun to giggle at the opposite situation too)

The concern is when the context only seems to be it's fine when it validates our opinion- there's been plenty of complaint-free chat around sales performance where, say, this indie game makes more money on eShop than it does on Steam, and it's fine to pull up that spreadsheet with Nintendo's Massive Cash Reserves in it, but then someone alludes to PS4 outselling Wii U and a chorus of 'Boring!' rings out and patronising suggestions along the lines of 'two lines and a .gif' pop up.
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PostSubject: Re: The Purpose of a Forum (Opinion Piece)   Sun 17 Aug 2014 - 16:59

....have I been guilty of that? (possibly)

but..

Wii U Sales figures =  Sleep 

ps4 sales figures =  Sleep 

Xbox one sales figures =  Sleep 

Movie/Music sales figures =  Sleep 
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