MakeGamesSA, 2016 and beyond.

Comments

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    VLPR - Very Long Please Read.

    I have been reading everything everyone has said and this is one of the more constructive threads I have seen in a while. I also spent a good portion of my day debating whether or not to post but this is too important not to.

    My problem is this we are back where we started 5 years ago with communities fractured but still honestly targeting the same thing, building games in South Africa. Right now we are only separated by differences of opinion, which should be more than tolerated it should be supported.

    I remember Game.Dev and SAGD forums and the political fights that were had and it kind of seems as though we are heading to a similar place. I have no issue with multiple communities existing, the existence of them in themselves is an indication that one group of people is not getting what they need out of an existing one. Maybe I have a utopian view of a world where we can all get a long but thus far based on what I have experienced since MGSA has started this is not to be.

    I have heard from various people in the community as well as experienced myself @dislekcia is a valuable part of the community who always adds value from his experience and his understanding of the industry, (and here comes the bit you may not like) but his approach to new people as well as old has been caustic at best. I will say that over time things have improved but not to a point where all people feel welcome in a community which they intrinsically a part of.

    I will also state that the state of affairs cannot be placed on the shoulders of one person, after all we are a community not a "Monarchy" as suggested. Community exists purely for community sake and not for a single individual. People take positions of power because the community allows it and the issues that arise exist purely because the community does nothing to address the situations. When people join a community they are looking for a place of common interest where they can engage with others in a constructive manner which is where this has all fallen apart. We are all to blame for the current state of affairs, including myself.

    @dammit raised a huge concern for me in that women don't feel that this is a good space for them to interact with fellow game developers. Why is this? Maybe because of the way we conduct ourselves. One thing we have all missed is that people will judge you based on the way you act on these forums, and frankly due to Google your messages are recorded forever. Are these engagements what you want for others to read in the future? Some I would think hells yes but there are quite a few I would think would be better left off of a digital medium. Remember just because you use an alias people still know who you are in real life and will label you and the community by its actions and the way it conducts itself.

    This is a serious matter if the MGSA forum wishes to be the place for all game developers to meet and discuss all things game development, regardless of gender, game development ideals, or focus areas. In order for us to have this we would all need to be active participants in moderating our peers in a mature manner that is not a form of attack. We have seen this before where someone had a great piece of feedback but was worded in such a way that it became a personal attack.

    To sum up my rather all over the show points, I still believe MGSA can be a place where developers, audio engineers, designers, artists, writers, and just curious folk of all skill levels can come to share a love for all things game development. For us to do this we need to think about community and not ourselves. We need to think of the way we conduct ourselves and realise that this stuff is set in stone for others to view for eternity (or as long as the internet exists). It's a concerted effort from every member to engage each other in a mature manner and also assist others to stay in check. We need to all understand that all people have positive intent but may possibly be failing in execution and may need some guidance on how to possibly rephrase something to make it less of a personal attack.

    We can make this work but only if we all have the same goal:

    - A common place for all game developers regardless of skill and other physicallities in South Africa to interact in a manner which is constructive and enjoyable.
  • @Nandrew: This post by you was pretty useful in helping me understand what is meant by conflict resolution, thanks! <3
    Tuism said:
    @dammit: I think it's laughable that removing @dislekcia will somehow solve all the issues.
    I don't understand why you think @dammit said "all" the issues, and that removing "all" the issues were somehow the only desirable outcome. This emphasis on "all" confounds me?
    She didn't say anything about all and I don't think she did. That was my clarification of what I meant in an earlier comment as requested by her, and the emphasis is just to try better explain myself. Maybe you missed her question?
    Tuism said:
    That said, I personally think that the future of MGSA needs to include @dislekcia to a large degree to ensure it has the experience and support to continue and prosper, but I can also understand that not everyone feels this way and I wasn't trying to make that point in my original comment.
    Was there any suggestions to remove him from the future of MGSA? I don't see that either. I think he's great as a part of MGSA. The problems being outlined are his behaviour, especially pertaining to the moderation and engagement with people in a public forum such as this.

    Danny is a cool guy, I've stated and restated that many times over. I don't think he comes from any place of ill intent. That thing and the thing that his behaviour has been cited as a source of dissatisfaction on the forum self are two separate matters. We're dealing with the latter. We're not kicking people out, or claiming anyone shouldn't be involved in the future of MGSA, etc.

    I don't understand where all these other things come up out of when they haven't been stated here.
    Cool, I'm happy you've stated you opinion clearly like this. I don't think that's been the case across the board. I also don't think this needs to be a major discussion point now, it seems like the discussion has moved on to things other than a focus on @dislekcia, just trying to respond to you so you know I'm seeing what you're saying, as this was mostly directed at me I think :)


    @Nandrew: I like how my living arrangements are seen as an obstacle that needs skills in conflict resolution ;P
    Thanked by 1Nandrew
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    @DaveRussellSA
    Very well put :)
    Reading your post felt like experiencing a calm at the centre of a storm.

    Thanked by 2FanieG mattbenic
  • I would like to apologize... I have written a long thread here... Read it don't read it...as yo said , most members are already in my Facebook Group... However I would like to let you all know that IESA and political discussions are allowed on ZAGD website and in ZAGD Group... I was wrong t go at the MGSA leaders. You can thank my admins for setting me straighthttp://southafricangamedevelopers.com/forums/topic/my-appology-to-the-community/
    Thanked by 2garethf mattbenic
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    Apologies in advance. This is a long post. Skip down to where I "list the actions that seem to me to be the most called for" to get to the most crucial bit.

    I think @DaveRusselSA put very well what it is I think we want.

    And his point about us all having to be "active participants in moderating our peers in a mature manner that is not a form of attack" I think echoes a lot of what @Nandrew has been saying. I think the consensus is that we want this, but that it's going to take some work, and that the leaders in this community need to embrace it for this to happen, like @Tuism pointed out.

    Of course we can simultaneously effect the changes that are immediately actionable, like restructuring this website so that it doesn't display meta discussions prominently. Please if there are more suggestions about this post here: http://makegamessa.com/discussion/3248/mgsa-website

    Regarding the committee and the potential for AGM's:

    I think another thing we could start planning immediately, should this community want it, is an AGM where members can vote for MakeGamesSA leadership/moderators. @Elyaradine specifically stated a desire for this. I think @dammit's posts suggest a dissatisfaction with the current state of the MakeGamesSA committee (please correct me if I'm misunderstanding). And @Zaphire stated a desire for there to be at least one other admin who could be in charge of issues where @dislekcia's approach is too forceful.

    I expect we could organize a simultaneous meetup in Johannesburg and Cape Town (and Durban?), and whomever attends can vote for a new committee members / moderators.

    Though I have a question, do we need an AGM to make changes to the moderators on this forum? (if that's a thing we want to achieve)? Or is this something @dislekcia and @LexAquillia can do immediately? (should there be some kind of consensus)

    That said, I think the behaviour that has been most cited as hurting these forums has NOT been that of moderation. In the cases in this thread where @dislekcia has been cited as contributing towards hostility on the forums it has NOT been in the capacity of a moderator (although @dislekcia himself has mentioned that he has received vehemence in reaction to moderation). Changing the committee might still be something we want to pursue, but @DaveRuseelSA's point about us all needing to be mature still stands. (If the actual moderation HAS been one of the problems please correct me).

    Regarding understanding and identifying the problems that are causing the perception of hostility (and actual hostility) on these forums.

    Unless I'm mistaken, there haven't been any new issues that have come to light in the last few days. There has been some reiteration of already mentioned problems, and there have been some appeals for people to work together to solve this problem (and there have been some discussions already about the merits of solutions).

    Which I think puts us at @garethf's "Step 2", which would be reaching some consensus about solutions (although I realize some solutions are already progressing while other solutions are being discussed still, the steps are kind of messy).

    So I'm going to list the actions that seem to me to be the most called for:

    * I think we've all agreed that this website can present the community better through a new landing page (or even just some backend forum-hacks that @Elyradine suggested). I personally think if we are making changes to the forums we can at the same time create some spaces specifically for developers who aren't game designers (this has been suggested by others from off the forums).

    ** I'm not sure if we've agreed that there needs to be a vote for the MakeGamesSA committee / moderators. This is definitely long overdue in any case if we were to still be following the rules that were set out when MakeGamesSA was founded.

    *** There have been complaints about game designers being very discouraging (and destructive) towards users who want to talk about game technology. I think a lot of the same lessons @Nandrew is suggesting about effective conflict resolution will mitigate this, as well as admissions on the part of game designers (including myself) that they have been hostile in this way in the past. I'm not entirely sure if there is disagreement about this?

    **** I think we've all agreed that the community as a whole could conduct itself better online. Like @Nandrew has been suggesting, that we all become better at online conversations, that we teach each other, and, like @DaveRusselSA suggests, that we work to moderate each other in a mature way that is not a form of attack. This might be a long term goal, but one that we can be taking steps towards.

    ***** From what I've seen, there hasn't been a unanimous call to remove @dislekcia as a moderator or member of this community. But that @dislekcia needs to behave differently has been overwhelmingly stated, and there have been suggestions for either removal from moderation or for an intervention by senior members of the community.

    This last point seems to me to be the most difficult. As it requires confrontation with @dislekcia, and the very problem itself is that confrontation with @dislekcia has been historically shown to have poor outcomes. Or maybe I'm just not relishing the idea because the responsibility seems to fall to me personally and maybe a couple other people from Cape Town.

    I personally think the reconciliation thread that @AngryMoose started would be helpful. However @dislekcia within this thread has shown himself to feel more like a matyr than someone with regrets for his part in this. Neither for that matter, has he shown an inclination to apologize for his actions or participate in a process that could lead to him being forgiven.

    If this last point is incorrect, I'm happy to be corrected. I know I'm inferring intentions from actions in this thread, I'd rather not be doing this.

    There were some objections to the current role of social justice on the forums. I don't think anyone knows how to make everyone happy about this. As far as I am aware there has been no suggested sweet spot where everyone makes compromises they are comfortable with.

    (Of course please let me know what I'm leaving out, or if I'm misrepresenting anyone or any argument).

    Thankfully not a single person in this thread has said that in real life anyone in this community behaves in a way that demands reproach. It seems that the hostility is just about the online behavior, and this means there is something we haven't collectively mastered about online communication that isn't an issue in real life. Which means in turn, that we should all be able to get along, but we need to learn how to.

    It's maybe worth mentioning that recently, while in Berlin, @Sugboerie gave a talk about "Indie Love". The conclusion of the talk was that the independent games community has been the most welcoming community @Sugboerie has ever encountered. I can attest to this as well, and I think it's true of game development in general. I believe we have no problem with camaraderie in real life, but some of us have been exhibiting toxic behavior online (and I include myself in this).

    In any case, I believe we can all learn to be the awesome people online that we already are in real life (for those of us that aren't already awesome online :) )

  • Thanks @EvanGreenwood, I think your post summarises a lot of things in this thread.

    If you don't particularly care about my opinion, just skip past this post, it's very subjective. This feels like a much-of-much nothing post that doesn't contribute (and it largely is), but people have asked for my opinion and I think I might have been a bit unclear on this in some discussions and it's easier to be sure of things when you've typed them out and read them over.


    So, I'd like to state my personal opinion on a few points that don't seem to be shared by everyone:

    1. I think that @dislekcia has been doing a good job of running this community. He has devoted an uncountable amount of time and almost single-handedly created a community that is something of an anomaly in terms of most online communities, which are generally not very pleasant.
    2. I think @dislekcia (and everyone) is not without fault; I think he makes mistakes and could do some things better.
    3. I don't think my opinion on point 1 is shared by most of the people that are impacting decisions.
    4. I think that sometimes @dislekcia is attacked for the tiniest of mistakes and some things that are simple false, like controversial statements that I make being attributed to him (this has happened a couple times at least).
    5. I think that improvements shown by @dislekcia are often ignored for point 4.
    6. I think that @dislekcia has many discussions/arguments where he does not receive much support from the community, even if they generally agree with him.
    7. I'm terrible at trying to be less involved in an online discussion like this ;)

    So having said all of that, my opinion is that the community is making a mistake with @dislekcia, but I just don't have the time to personally fight that fight. This is largely stemming from point 6, which I think is rather important - I personally don't have the time to do something that I think the community should do as a group. I will still vote for @dislekcia (if that matters). However, I feel like it kind of doesn't matter what I think and what reality is (from my perspective) - if a large enough portion of the community feels like it's dysfunctional, then it seems like change must happen, even if that portion is wrong IMHO. So... I do intend to stick around and be involved with the community, but if you're wondering why I seem to have changed my opinion, this is just my reasoning.
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    Hi all,

    This might be late to the game, but I wanted to add my 2 cents since we're one of the many developers who find MakeGamesSA a terrible place to hang out. I know there are details in the above, and forgive me if I rehash anything, but I feel they sometimes miss a bigger point and so wanted to share in case it might help.

    To me there are a few issues:

    1) This isn't a professional environment.
    2) This isn't a place which is focussed on making successful games.
    3) This isn't a place which encourages and promotes job opportunities in gaming and surrounding industries.
    4) There isn't a positive culture.

    Please know that all of the above sounds harsh, but I'm trying to make each point as honestly as I can and without malice.

    This isn't a professional environment
    There are too many people in the clique and you're not seeing the bigger issue. Changing a website layout, or the way posts are organised won't change the fact that when new people post here they're mostly ridiculed, told they're doing something wrong, or disregarded for not being as clever as everyone else. Trust me, this happens.

    Everyone needs to start acting like adults. It's really simple - if someone posts something and you don't have anything positive to add, then just ignore it. I can't imagine you argue with everyone in real life when you disagree, so why do it here?

    Stop being so eager to find perceived injustices - yes sexism happens, yes there are trolls, yes there are lots of other things. But is it really that hard to have simply rules like, "don't be a dick, if you are the post will be deleted, if you keep being a dick then your account will be suspended". I think there are too many issues people want to take up when it should really just be simple and should encourage positive behaviour above all else. I can't imagine anyone does this on purpose but it happens, so everyone should self-reflect and see how you can just be a normal, nice person. I have met so many of you in real life and have always enjoyed your company, so why can't that start to come through here?

    This don't have to be rules and regulations. This should just be the culture.

    This is a great post of what is happening: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/04/closing-the-gate.html
    So lets make the group culture "professional and welcoming".

    This isn't a place which is focussed on making successful games.
    I know everyone here enjoys making prototypes and yes they are critical to a games success, but I feel this group misses the bigger picture. Without proper production values a great prototype will simply never succeed. So there should be less focus on critiquing game prototypes and more advice on every aspect like: project management tools and structure, localisation, qa, pr, marketing, digital growth hacking, analytics, advertising, monetisation, finding developers, choosing art styles, audio requirements, release strategies....I'm rambling now but there is way more than just demos. Lets focus on those a bit as well.

    Right now if you come here and you don't have a prototype then you're shunned. Imagine Nick Hall took this to heart? He doesn't make games, but do you think he's any less worthy than a single one of us? Without Nick we would be a shambles of a community.

    When we started Fuzzy Logic we were nearly done with Soccer Moves and we jumped on the forum to share it. Instead of this being a professional community of supportive peers, we instead got told not to promote the game as it was too late for feedback to make a difference. What a joke. Instead of people looking to celebrate something, find info or ever help with opportunities, there was just nonsense related to it not being a prototype. These posts should be highlighted and pushed more than anything as it's a win for our industry and something to celebrate.

    This has happened a few times in a few different ways. When Etienne (our tech lead) moved back from the UK he was super excited to try help the community, as I was at the beginning. After a couple of months however his enthusiasm has completely drained as it's a waste of time. Anyone that has ever met Etienne would know this is the opposite of the type of guy he is, as he loves helping people grow, learning from people and simply wants SA to be a success. I can recount this story for a few of the other team at Fuzzy Logic as well as many other game dev's I've met.

    MakeGamesSA needs to see the bigger picture.

    This isn't a place which encourages and promotes job opportunities in gaming and surrounding industries.
    I know there is a board posting area but what I really mean here is people actively trying to promote job roles to others that they worked or studied with. Does everyone realise that we're not actively competing with each other, but in reality the more people work in games, the bigger and better it gets for everyone? People need to open their eyes to the fact that we're all in this together and really help push more people to get into the industry. The more people than do that now, the bigger it will be in 10 years. When I worked with Black Rock there were 120 in the team roughly and when it got shut down there were 8-10 companies formed from that. From those 1 has been a super success (Boss Alien) and 3/4 others are doing very well. That doesn't just happen if you don't have a big pool of talent and if there isn't a community which pushes/helps and guides people. Lets start pushing and helping people to be included.

    Please also stop discounting anything that isn't pure prototype games. We previously posted a role for a programmer to work on a architectural visualiser tool and were shouted down as this wasn't a game. This was incredibly naive as its very much like a game plus it is built in Unity3D, has 3D assets and audio plus some nifty 'learnt from games tricks'. Instead of seeing that there is a great job opportunity for someone to learn all the skill set involved in games, we were told to go away.

    So stop critiquing, stop chasing people away and start encouraging people to work in games. Actively help them and the industry. This will make it better for all of us.

    There isn't a positive culture.
    This to me is the biggest problem and the biggest thing that should be fixed. A positive culture should be defined and practised and I believe a lot of the problems will go away. We don't need a million rules and regulations, just a way to behave.

    Sadly a positive and welcoming culture isn't something that you can learn and is difficult to create. Thankfully if you have the right attitude and it's something you aspire to then it should be achievable over time.

    It can be as simple as "We love games and we want everyone in SA experience how it can change our lives. We'll make that happen by being friendly, helpful and will actively do our very best to give everyone the chance to be part of it".

    I hope that adds something to the debate.

    I know this was a long post and after the fact, but I spent a week deciding if I was even bothered, which is sad. I genuinely want this to be a place everyone bookmarks and visits. I genuinely want this to be a welcoming group of friends, much like the games industry in Europe.

    Have a great evening.

  • @Jason: Thank you for joining in and posting! I know you've had sour experiences here in the past, but I really hope we get to improve things, and create an environment where you, Etienne and others in your studio can be enthusiastic about contributing with your experience, and where you in turn also benefit from these interactions.
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    @Jason Thanks for posting! You're not alone in these feelings. I think you've echoed some of the points made by previous posters, but added detail and specifics that will be helpful in addressing these issues.

    The point about the lack of welcome and support that Soccer Moves (and other non-prototypes) experience hadn't been brought up before, or not with a specific example. Sorry I haven't been more supportive in this regard myself.

    And I think the call for more positivity can't be made too often :)
  • edited
    Jason's Post and my Experience:
    I too have refrained from commenting until now, but I think @Jason has hit the nail on the head. I have been lurking on this post and watching it progress. Thank you @Jason, you have pretty much summarised my experiences (and my colleague's experiences) on these forums.

    Just like Etienne, I went through the same set of emotions and eventually gave up ... now I am probably not that important to the whole forum and me just walking away probably means nothing ... but other people who are critical and add value are probably doing the same.

    TL;DR; People like @Jason, @dammit, @Tuism, and @garethf have been able to more eloquently put down their experiences than I ever could ... so I will leave it at that.


    Rules and Regulations:
    As for the rules and regulations, some of you may know that I am a moderator over at the Unreal Engine Forums ... there are about 20 of us and we manage a community of thousands of users. We are overseen by a few Epic staff members and this is all done under a simple set of 12 rules ... yep ... 12.

    Now I shared this in the past and was pretty much ridiculed ... but here is the rub ... if an International Company worth Millions of Dollars can trust their public facing forums to these 12 simple rules ... why can't we?

    Unreal Engine Forum Rules/Code of Conduct

    There are a few Moderator Guidelines that go in with this, but they are more specific to the Forum Engine being used. I personally don't think Vanilla Forums is the way to go ... there are much better solutions out there that are FREE and are more capable ... but this is a minor issue and not a complete train smash.

    TL;DR; I just want to add that right now that the Unreal Engine community pretty much self-moderates and we rarely have to go in to diffuse situations ... our time is spent approving posts for new users and removing spam. To put that in perspective ... one of the threads has been read by over 17 000 unique users ... you do the math.


    My Skillset:
    I am more then willing to offer my skillset to assist this community and add value where I can. I have been in the IT Industry for 20 years (sine 1996) and I have been developing professionally since 1997. My current job heading up R&D and Rapid Development for Hollywoodbets means I use C#, C++, Java, Linux, Windows, OSX, IOS, Android on a daily basis.

    I am skilled in PHP, HTML, CSS, JS and ashamed to say Python and Perl as well ... not too mention Bash Scripting. I pretty much write Enterprise and Cloud enabled applications and systems every day of my life using the best tools for the job.

    Wow, what do we care? Well you don't have to care or be impressed ... what I am trying to say is that I am willing to offer whatever development skills you need including moderation for the low-low price of ... NOTHING ... FREE ... call me your friendly OPEN SOURCE developer.

    TL;DR; I want to help in whatever way I can but I am only going to help if this becomes a community and addresses some of the issues that need to be addressed ... I want to be enthusiastic to post here and share things and learn things.


    Conclusion:
    I don't want to take over any role or take charge or hell even be nominated to be in charge ... the future of this community and whether it includes me or not is not going to stop me doing what I do ... I will go on with or without it.

    I am merely offering my advice and technical skills to the community if they wish to use it ... I will gladly send an updated CV to anyone who wants to vet me. 8-p

    So I have rambled on for too long ... some of you have switched off already. I would like to thank @Jason for his post and @dammit, @Tuism, and @garethf for making some points that I was not able to get across eloquently enough. Good luck to you all and hope to see you around ... maybe on here ... maybe in real life. 8-}

    TL;DR; I am not trying to take over or push my own agenda, I just want to help without fragmenting the community. If it means I need to stay a lurker to be the most help ... than I am cool with that.


    P.S. I am a member of The Chaos Engine and have been a member since early 2008, so sometimes the things I read here are a bit surprising ... but anyway ... I guess the local South African scene is different to the international scene. *shrug*


    P.S.S. I have nothing to do with the current Hollywoodbets Website and Mobisite ... that was before my time and they are busy working on a new version.
  • Thanks the great posts, @Jason and @Quintond, I think it's really important for people to hear these things directly (not just second hand), so we can all understand the problems and work to make positive changes.

    And definitely agree, the most important issue is to get the culture right, not come up with the perfect set of forum rules.

    As to how to do that, in my experience it flows outward from the leadership and core users. The most prominent, respected and active members (not just designated moderators) set the tone that others naturally emulate. So if each of us tries to act more professionally, be more welcoming, open and supportive, and gives each other (and especially newbies) the benefit of the doubt, hopefully the culture will change organically. Without the need for a cumbersome set of guidelines for every behavior.
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    What I get from this thread, is that there seems to be a tension between indie game development and commercial game development. I believe @EvanGreenwood was highlighting this aspect with the "game designers" vs "game programmers" theme. I also see this reflected in the "clique" criticisms that have been raised. In my overseas experiences, the games industry is large enough for each of these domains to have their own spaces that speak to their individual priorities.

    Perhaps the sensitivity this thread is advocating starts with acknowledging that we're a small industry, and that we have to share. Additionally we could do well to not assume by default that newcomers share our own priorities, even if it's our experience that they "probably do and just don't know it yet".
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • @Jason: thanks for posting. I'm hoping you can maybe help me understand some of your points. Are you referring to this thread about Soccer Moves: http://makegamessa.com/discussion/1202/soccer-moves-a-new-game-from-fuzzy-logic ?

    The reason I ask is, I don't quite follow how that thread is an example of the community reacting badly or unprofessionally (also, that thread is 2.5 years old). I've been scratching my head since I read your post, which seems to have quite a bit of agreement from others, but I really can't see how you can make most of the claims you do. Can someone please try help me figure this out? It doesn't have to be @Jason. I'm really not trying to be facetious or argumentative here, but I just can't figure out how those conclusions can be drawn.

    @TheFuntastic: if I read your experiences from overseas, my logical conclusion would be that we should also try have more than one community. Personally I don't necessarily want that, but that seems to be the route they've gone overseas. Am I wrong? Do you think things here are different in some important way? Can we somehow leverage those differences to help us?
  • @Jason: thanks for posting. I'm hoping you can maybe help me understand some of your points. Are you referring to this thread about Soccer Moves: http://makegamessa.com/discussion/1202/soccer-moves-a-new-game-from-fuzzy-logic ?
    Yip I was referring to this post, and yes this is old so time might have clouded my opinion but it seems Dislekcia caused most of my frustration as he kept on trying to push the post into his way of thinking how things should be done. Email/posts don't help in this regard as it's possible that he was trying to be helpful and this didn't come across. Having met Danny in person I found him an extremely likeable and caring guy and to be honest I was surprised his forums posts often come across badly (the danger of static text perhaps).

    So I think maybe the summary here is to let people do what they want and just ignore it if it doesn't work within your guidelines. Trying to fit everything into a box of how things should be done never works - so lets just be flexible on these posts and ignore the ones you can't add to.

    I'd also like this to not be a focus on Dislekcia as it's not, the post above was my reflection on how to make things better. In a way this can only happen if we all forget the past and reset expectations, provided we all aim for the same culture.
    Thanked by 1quintond
  • Jason said:
    When we started Fuzzy Logic we were nearly done with Soccer Moves and we jumped on the forum to share it. Instead of this being a professional community of supportive peers, we instead got told not to promote the game as it was too late for feedback to make a difference. What a joke. Instead of people looking to celebrate something, find info or ever help with opportunities, there was just nonsense related to it not being a prototype. These posts should be highlighted and pushed more than anything as it's a win for our industry and something to celebrate.
    Jason said:
    So I think maybe the summary here is to let people do what they want and just ignore it if it doesn't work within your guidelines. Trying to fit everything into a box of how things should be done never works - so lets just be flexible on these posts and ignore the ones you can't add to.
    @Jason: Thanks for the reply. You say that the community was not supportive or professional. I don't quite follow how ignoring your post would have been supportive. I'm also not sure how recommending that you utilize the community for feedback and advice, instead of a devlog/marketing thing, is unprofessional.

    This was used as justification for the point "This isn't a place which is focussed on making successful games." I'm not sure how this all leads to that point. Would it be more correct to say this is justification for you other point "This isn't a professional environment"? Once again, sorry if this sounds argumentative, I'm really just trying to understand your line of reasoning.
  • I think it's fairly clear reading that thread that Jason's experience on posting was less "Hey, that's awesome man, well done! Tell us about it!" and more "Why are you doing this? What's the point? This isn't the place for that. Do this different thing instead."

    Which, I imagine, is fairly aggravating.
  • Ok... so do people want things to be superficially supportive, but not really offer any constructive feedback? My interpretation of a "supportive" community was one that helps in "making successful games". If the community doesn't agree with someone's approach, why aren't they allowed to raise their disagreement? I'm struggling to see how a community can be a constructive, supportive and useful place while at the same time just offering platitudes and not being allowed to ask questions.

    if the argument is that the tone of the disagreement or questions isn't positive enough, then sure, let's discuss how we can improve that, but it feels a bit like you're advocating we shouldn't be interacting with any level of disagreement. If the information that is needed to give feedback is not forthcoming, doesn't it make sense to ask for that information?
  • Regarding constructive feedback versus supportiveness:

    image

    We've seen communities diseased by both extremes, and I think that a lot of us are talking about one approach while actively dismissing the other, instead of leaving room for them to play side-by-side.
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood Tuism
  • @Nandrew: I agree. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. In fact, I think offering feedback is one way of being supportive. I think there are many ways of being supportive and we should strive to do as many as possible. I can understand that asking questions might not be viewed as being supportive by all, but it seems like asking questions is viewed as somehow inherently negative. Could some of those posts be phrased a bit better? Sure, but that doesn't seem to be the only complaint (or even the main issue @Jason was raising with that thread). The reason I'm still following this train of thought is cause I honestly feel like that thread is an example of how more than one person is trying to give the poster as much support as possible, by really trying to figure out what the need and responding with useful info. If I'm going to be continuing to interact with this community (I'd like to and no body has said they don't want me to), then I'd like to know how I can avoid the issues that the thread in question highlights.
    Thanked by 1Nandrew
  • but it feels a bit like you're advocating we shouldn't be interacting with any level of disagreement.
    I...don't see how you arrive at that conclusion.

    I'm sorry to make this personal, but you seem to be jumping to some pretty extreme conclusions in this thread, @francoisvn. People say "@dislekcia's behavior is problematic", you leap to assuming we all want to see him excluded from the community. It's pointed out that saying "what's the point of posting this?" when someone announces their game release excitedly on the forums doesn't come across as particularly supportive, and you interpret that as us suggesting that no one can ever disagree.

    No one is saying these things.
  • What I get from this thread, is that there seems to be a tension between indie game development and commercial game development.
    That's not really the heart of the issue, IMO. I know students who've washed their hands of MGSA, too. Their reasons were similar to the pros I've talked to.
    Thanked by 2quintond mattbenic
  • I've generally found that it works best to get to know someone a bit better before simply offering critique (regardless of how well it is meant). This unfortunately does not work well here because there isn't really room for the social bits of community outside of meetups. Between the particular brand of sjw culture found here and the unclear rules around posting only "game dev/design or prototyping" related content (knowledge sharing), there is little defense or comfort for newcomers.
  • garethf said:
    People say "@dislekcia's behavior is problematic", you leap to assuming we all want to see him excluded from the community.
    I very much don't think everyone wants to exclude him. I didn't say that. Sorry if it somehow seems like I did say that, but I think you're also making a bit of a leap there. I do think some people have said they want to see him excluded from the community. To quote @dammit: [Referring to @dislekcia]: "removing someone who has been identified as super problematic *is* actually a good solution." It's also super easy to counter my potential assumption and say you think @dislekcia shouldn't be excluded. Is that what you're saying?
    garethf said:
    It's pointed out that saying "what's the point of posting this?" when someone announces their game release excitedly on the forums doesn't come across as particularly supportive, and you interpret that as us suggesting that no one can ever disagree.
    Ok, but no one actually said those words either. The first response is recommending that the OP is updated with more info (that seems helpful to me and seems like it had an impact). The next post comes close to what you're saying with:
    If you guys are this far along in development, what do you expect from feedback? I worry that a lot of the typical feedback style people give here will be dismissed because you're already done working on the game...
    I can agree that this could have been phrased better. In case you think I'm just saying that, here's a suggestion for an alternative:
    These forums are great at giving feedback. What feedback are you looking for? It seems like the usual feedback here might not be suitable for your needs.
    Notice that the tone changes drastically when you remove the 1st sentence of my alternative. Is that what the main issue is? Does it come down to the manner in which things are said? If so, can you agree the the original post was in fact a helpful post, trying to get useful information, but you think it was phrased badly? I'd like to continue this train of thought, but I'll wait for confirmation before making more assumptions.


    However, to continue with the direction I was going, that doesn't seem like what @Jason was saying. I quote the relevant piece from him again:
    Jason said:
    When we started Fuzzy Logic we were nearly done with Soccer Moves and we jumped on the forum to share it. Instead of this being a professional community of supportive peers, we instead got told not to promote the game as it was too late for feedback to make a difference. What a joke. Instead of people looking to celebrate something, find info or ever help with opportunities, there was just nonsense related to it not being a prototype. These posts should be highlighted and pushed more than anything as it's a win for our industry and something to celebrate.
    I tried to focus on the positive outlook of being professional and supportive, but if you look at the issues presented by @Jason, "we instead got told not to promote the game as it was too late for feedback to make a difference" and "nonsense related to it not being a prototype". I'm not sure how that's true.
  • Quick note - Anyone else noticed that since @dislekcia has stopped adding to this thread, that the entire thread tone shifted and we're no longer having unnecessary petty arguments here? #justsaying

    Also, @franciosvn, I think you're missing the bigger point. The overall response that Fuzzy Logic got in that thread was not positive, not supportive and, quite frankly, was patronising. A big thing missing from this forum is general respect. Fuzzy Logic have been running their own company successfully for quite some time and Soccer Moves actually turned out to be incredibly successful and yet, here on MGSA, the response was "why did you bother posting it here?". No one asked questions where *they* could learn from Fuzzy Logic; instead the focus was on showing Fuzzy Logic where they "apparently" missed the ball (hah! fun with puns!).

    I don't see the same kinds of responses to posts of prototypes or full games given to those that are in the Cape Town "clique" - which is what people are pointing out. An imbalance in the way we treat people, and respect is apparently given more to friends of certain people than to people who've made an impact in the industry.
  • edited
    I completely understand where @Jason and others are coming from. I personally buy into the critique support culture, but not everyone always does. It's often good to share something that makes one happy and get positive reinforcement for it. "Support" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone, and it's not right to disallow or edge out the form of support that someone else wants because you don't like it. Like @Nandrew said, Why Not Both?? (Perhaps it's something we can address in the setup for the forum, have a prototypes section and a release section to un-subtly distinguish between the two, heck maybe even a label that's "GIVE ME BRUTALLY HONEST FEEDBACK" or "COME CELEBRATE MY LAUNCH!" or "I'M A NOOB BE GENTLE")
    dammit said:
    I don't see the same kinds of responses to posts of prototypes or full games given to those that are in the Cape Town "clique" - which is what people are pointing out. An imbalance in the way we treat people, and respect is apparently given more to friends of certain people than to people who've made an impact in the industry.
    One example of what @dammit is talking about would be of the Broforce thread. It's been ages down the line, and it's a stupendous success. The thread gets a few updates every now and again, and noone answers with "hey why do you bother posting this here". And so... I do feel that the distinction by cliques does exist, as @dammit mentions.

    Maybe this distinction is because the CT group has groupthink going for them, such that:
    1. None of them would post anything outside of that groupthink paradigm (prototypes asking for feedback)
    2. If they had anything outside of that they would have face-to-face talked about those things before they got onto the digital medium here, because they're all down the road from each other, as opposed to the rest of the country (except @francoisvn of course)
    3. The clique knows each other so well that they know each others' motivations without asking. So Broforce thread getting an update doesn't mean that they're asking for feedback, DUH, and so whoever isn't interested doesn't bother asking. They know. New guy shares something? LET'S HELP THE SHIT OUT OF THEM! MURRICA!

    Though these are only reason for why things happen the way they do, not justifications for why everyone who doesn't conform to one sort of posting pattern should be treated with what looks like unfriendliness.

    I say "what looks like unfriendliness" because I firmly believe that there aren't anyone who intentionally is unfriendly to anyone, but the way they engage has time and again turned a lot of people away, thus it's a behavioural issue that needed to be addressed, not an intention issue. It's like other systematically ingrained form of othering, we have to ask those who feel aggrieved for how they feel they are being aggrieved, instead of asking everyone else who sees no problem with the status quo. And to that end, thanks @Jason and @quintond and everyone for adding their voice to this conversation instead of just jumping off the ship.
  • dammit said:
    Quick note - Anyone else noticed that since @dislekcia has stopped adding to this thread, that the entire thread tone shifted and we're no longer having unnecessary petty arguments here? #justsaying
    There's an appealing simplicity to that, but with universal cultural improvement in mind, I think it's important to remember that petty arguments can't be had unless both sides are sucked into such a dynamic. We're most vulnerable to making mistakes, and picking fights ourselves, when we view difficult people as a problem instead of a test of our own character.

    Or to put it another way: I think this thread is going well because we're currently in agreement. We can continue generating positivity from here, I think, but only if we keep an eye on our own demons. ;)

    Excuse the buddha-talk, but this past week has seen me reading tonnes of Brene Brown. :P
    Thanked by 2mattbenic francoisvn
  • dammit said:
    Quick note - Anyone else noticed that since @dislekcia has stopped adding to this thread, that the entire thread tone shifted and we're no longer having unnecessary petty arguments here? #justsaying
    I don't think that is fair, or true.
    I'll leave this here :- ) http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • @roguecode, that's a bit of a false equivalence. Comparing the difference of the conversation in this thread pre and post criticisms (on the behaviour of a person) being attacked and summarily dismissed (by that same person) is not the same as finding false correlations between unrelated topics
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • dammit said:

    Also, @franciosvn, I think you're missing the bigger point. The overall response that Fuzzy Logic got in that thread was not positive, not supportive and, quite frankly, was patronising. A big thing missing from this forum is general respect. Fuzzy Logic have been running their own company successfully for quite some time and Soccer Moves actually turned out to be incredibly successful and yet, here on MGSA, the response was "why did you bother posting it here?". No one asked questions where *they* could learn from Fuzzy Logic; instead the focus was on showing Fuzzy Logic where they "apparently" missed the ball (hah! fun with puns!).
    I'm not exactly a regular here nor anything more than a hobbyist so I've stayed out of this thread but I don't understand this having read and re read that thread 3 times, so I'm posting to ask for a more in depth explanation from those involved.

    I don't see the implied "Why did you bother posting it here?" all I see is the valid question of "what do you want to get out of this forum post" followed by "this forum makes a bad marketing platform" and that the users here are used to critting prototypes so they may not be able to give usefull feedback on a complete game launch. oh and a "grats the game looks cool but we can't say much from just a poster" followed by a "gratz game is cool now that we can play it"

    so other than saying that if the aim of posting was marketing this is not a great place for it, the overall thread felt supportive and like people enjoyed the game and looked forward to showing it to others, and not that the devs had dropped the ball.

    this is just my perspective though and I was not involved in the thread so I can see that perhaps as a third party I don't understand, hence this post.
  • There's an appealing simplicity to that, but with universal cultural improvement in mind, I think it's important to remember that petty arguments can't be had unless both sides are sucked into such a dynamic.
    The problem with the idea that "petty arguments can't be had unless both sides are sucked into such a dynamic" is that one party choosing not to engage if the other goes to that level basically leaves that other party to assert control over the conversation. You either look like you can't answer their petty accusations, or you won't because you're being obstructive and refusing to engage their earnest attempts.

    It's a losing proposition, either way. And yes, I know what you're going to say here, it isn't about winning or losing. But if you're discussing whether some behavior is harmful or some issue is incorrect, it negates our ability to arrive at truth if someone can just heap petty arguments on you until you either give up in frustration or ignore them and give them the opportunity to accuse you of failing to engage in good faith.

    It's a variant of the "keep arguing until everyone else gives up and you win by default" school of debate.
  • I'm afraid that I am no longer able to accept the impact that this forum has on my personal life and happiness. As such, I have stepped down as acting forum admin.

    I have discussed this with the chairperson, @LexAquillia, and he supports my decision. I will remain on the MGSA committee in order to facilitate the coming AGM and any handover requirements arising from that, but I will not be accepting any nominations or running for the new committee, should the dissolution vote fail.

    I must apologise to the entire forum, you deserved a better admin. I apologise for making people feel unwelcome or unsupported. I apologise for my role in any arguments that caused discomfort and for anything that felt unheard. I apologise for failing in my mandate since the 29th of April 2015 to produce a more positive, less combative forum that the organisation could be proud of. I must doubly apologise to the people contacting me to offer support and encouragement, if I were a better admin, you would have felt comfortable airing your voices in public.

    This forum and community has always been driven by participation, it is my hope that by removing the barrier that I represent to goodwill and positivity, more people will be able to participate in building solutions to the problems and grievances faced by all.

    It appears that the best thing I can do is to get out of the way. I am sorry for having been in it for years.
  • @dislekcia: Thank you, Danny.

    For my part I want to extend you a heartfelt apology for not being able to voice my concerns as eloquently as some of the other members, and any time where I could have dealt with arguments or misunderstandings in a better way, or where the way I tend to word things have not come across as intended and caused you offence or hurt.

    I don't think anyone ever wanted you to leave, or expected you to, but were maybe just looking for a better way to get along. I sincerely hope that the community continues to grow and prove that we can all be better, and I hope that over time all wounds will heal and that you will feel proud about making this decision. I also hope that your participation does not have to be mutually exclusive and we get to see some comp entries and prototypes from you for a change :P

    It's hard to come across as sincere on the internet, so I'll just say that if our paths ever cross some day; the beer is on me.

    -Francois Bergh
  • Wtf. People thanking Danny for this move? Hearting it? I call bulls*#t. People are saying martyr. All I see is a patsy. Shame on all of us. This is terrible!!!
  • I only speak for myself. But this is definitely not the outcome I was hoping for. I don't want to put words into anyone's mouth, but @dislekcia quitting seemed like a thing only one or maybe two people on these forums wanted at all (and even then I hope they could have imagined better outcomes).

    But of course I can see how the past two weeks (since this thread went up) have been excruciating for @dislekcia. I know I've had a hard time swallowing the critiques aimed at me (even when it isn't directly at me, but at a Cape Town clique), and what I've experienced has been only a tiny fraction of the critique aimed at @dislekcia

    (In case it isn't clear, I'm not saying the Cape Town clique criticisms are invalid, just that hearing one has behaved in a way that has made others feel marginalized is difficult, and I've done some soul searching as a result).

    And if these forums no longer bring @dislekcia pleasure, of course I wish for him to stay away until such time as MGSA can add value to him again. I hope that time comes to pass in the future, and we can be of service to him the way he has been of service to MGSA for so long, and ultimately, quite thanklessly.

    I know some people on these forums have found issue with @dislekcia. But it's indisputable that he poured an incredible amount of work into MGSA, and his intentions were good.

    And I'm sorry for my part in this. This didn't have to be the result, and I know some of this is on me.
  • This wasn't what I wanted to see happen. I'm sad that it has come to this, and I can see why it might, but it was never what I thought needed to happen.

    I had always put the emphasis on behaviour and not the person, and I always believed and categorically stated over and over that @dislekcia was a valuable member, that he had both given and still has plenty to give to the community, and that I knew that he meant no ill, in fact the very opposite. He meant well.

    @dislekcia has always thought I was "having a go at him", and I wasn't, but intentions seldom match perceptions, and I apologise for my part in this outcome.

    The community (I'm sure I speak for everyone) still welcomes his presence in the forums. Stepping down as mod only means that, no more.
  • edited
    garethf said:
    The problem with the idea that "petty arguments can't be had unless both sides are sucked into such a dynamic" is that one party choosing not to engage if the other goes to that level basically leaves that other party to assert control over the conversation. You either look like you can't answer their petty accusations, or you won't because you're being obstructive and refusing to engage their earnest attempts.

    It's a losing proposition, either way. And yes, I know what you're going to say here, it isn't about winning or losing.
    Hehe, it's totally about win/lose. I think getting "sucked into" pettiness is a lose/lose, and I also believe that there's a difference I could have highlighted between getting sucked into a dynamic and engaging with a person properly.

    Wrt dammit's statement, I think that this was an odd time in the thread to take a break from constructive discussion and say what was said. It brought the problem back into focus when the general discussion had already acknowledged and moved onto a solution-focused think space. I am not sure how useful this is in context: its a backwards step in the conversation space and comes across to me as being "sucked into" pettiness as I define it.

    Not that I want to say it singlehandedly derailed the conversation or anything, and it's always unfortunate to highlight examples through Quote Block Of Doom (on reflection, it's a shame that I had to specify dammit at all, because there's a lot to manage in this thread), but I want us to be ever-vigilant of finding ourselves doing the things we dislike and I believe it's helpful to point out if we want to live closer to our values.

    ---

    I'm aware that I may have a lot to prove about my possibly hippie-esque approach to the conflict. ;) I think we automatically distrust feelgood solutions because they often translate to "poorly thought out". Your replies and questions are the fire which fuels my philosophy, so thanks for the engagement and I hope I've tested your mind too :p
    Thanked by 1garethf
  • edited
    @Nandrew Regarding getting "sucked into" pettiness.

    In a situation where one party in a conversation chooses to make a "petty" argument as @garethf puts it. Of course responding with an equally "petty" argument doesn't get the responder anywhere. And like @garethf asserts, there is a desire not to allow the other person to control the conversation.

    So what can a person do to respond to a "petty" argument?

    And what, if anything, can senior members of this community do to get the conversation back on track?

    Just regarding what a "petty" argument is. @garethf would have a better idea of what he's referring to. But could this be a case (for example) where the second person responds entirely negatively and only responds to points of the first person's post that could be false in some situation that the first person was not exactly talking about. And this results in a situation where both posters are arguing assuming different variables (and so keep talking past each other, instead of agreeing that both could be true but in different situations or with different values).

    I guess I'm asking if this is what "petty" is. I'm not sure if I've got it right, but that seems to me to be one of the patterns that hit these forums quite often.
    Thanked by 1garethf
  • edited
    @Nandrew: If Dammit's comment seemed odd, remember this simple rule of human nature - Frustration eventually boils over. And it doesn't subside very quickly. ;)

    @EvanGreenwood:

    Right, pettiness. I can't speak for what Dammit meant by that, but let me give you my opinion of a type of pettiness demonstrated throughout this thread, and across MGSA in general.

    Are you all familiar with the concept of the Rules Lawyer archetype in roleplaying? Normally, a roleplaying game is done with one player being the gamesmaster and the rest of the players play their characters, reacting to the scenarios the gamemaster sets up.

    But the gamesmaster always has the final say. In theory.

    A rules lawyer attempts to "lawyer" (apologies to @NickHallSA) the gamesmaster, always bringing up minitia of the rules to get their way, always arguing with the GM's decisions etc. The game gets bogged down FOR EVERYONE by the one player not acting in the spirit of the thing and always arguing with the GM over everything.

    Something like that happens here on these forums quite often. Let's call it "discussion lawyering".

    Someone makes a point, or expresses a frustration, and certain people then basically pick apart that person's posts, attempting to prove that they were in the wrong or that their frustration is mistaken, continuing to argue until the first person either gives up in total frustration, or gives in to their anger (and maybe gets a warning).

    Now, the problem here is that sometimes people ARE wrong and they SHOULD be challenged. We can't make a rule that you can't EVER argue a position someone has taken.

    Questioning and disagreeing, in the general sense, is a valid activity. In the same way that, in roleplaying, it is valid to sometimes check a point in the rulesbook, or let the GM know if they've made a mistake.

    It's when it becomes pathological that it's a problem. When it happens SO often, when so many conversations that SHOULD be easy, SO many points that seem clear as day get bogged down in pages of debate...it looks less like genuine attempts to understand and more like willful obstructiveness.

    Three examples from this thread:

    1) When I brought up the gambling thread (I cut the debate short with a pointed comment, though, because I've danced that dance before and refuse to get drawn again. But there's examples in the gambling thread in question).
    2) Steven's debate with @dislekcia on page 2.
    3) @Jason's post about his Soccer Moves thread. Though some people took the point, others started debating whether it was a valid one.

    Now note, no one who engages in "discussion lawyering" ever does so with overt hostility. It's always phrased as an attempt to understand. But there comes a point where you're exhausted from the sheer volume of words you've posted trying to make your point as clear as possible, and even though it seems like it can't be more obvious, the other person is still claiming that they don't see it and you start to want to gnaw on the table.

    I'm sure the people who did it in this thread will protest that it was innocent, and like I said, you can't draw a hard line on what is innocent and what is "discussion lawyering", so I'll grant you that maybe some of it was!

    But MGSA is always like this. It's not once off, it's a consistent pattern of behavior. Not everyone, but enough people. It's enough to make you feel tired just CONTEMPLATING engaging in discussion here.

    Right, that's enough time away from Doom! Back to Pew Pew! :D
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood Tuism
  • edited
    @garethf Thanks for the clarification!

    Now I'm wondering what we can do about this to lessen this kind of behavior in future (without stopping arguments from happening at all, because obviously we need to be able to discuss disagreements like you point out @garethf).

    It does seem to be a bit ingrained in the culture, and maybe (I hope) we are making some progress now (finally) to remedy it.

    I know I phrased the original questions at @Nandrew (i.e. how can a person respond to this kind of argument to not end up in an endless lawyering debate, and what can the rest of the community do to help resolve the conflict amicably). I think these are questions the whole community could ponder, and ideally the majority of the community needs to support the solutions.

    Obviously the end goal is these sorts of "discussion lawyering" posts don't happen at all (or at least not in a destructive way). And that's on the poster to make sure they aren't "discussion lawyering" in the sense @garethf is using. But when it does happen, we need a way to resolve the disagreement better than in the past, and help the poster behave better in the future.
  • edited
    It is actually quite simple:

    1. You are not always right, be prepared to say I am sorry when you make a mistake ... it shows a sign of maturity.

    2. You don't always known everything, be prepared to say that you don't know ... it shows a sign of being level headed.

    3. You might know the experience of the person you are dealing with, be prepared to learn more about them and take their input as valuable input ... it shows a sign of being open to new ideas.


    The bottom line is that the internet is impersonal and a lot of people forget there is a real person on the other side of the screen. If you write something, read it over and ask yourself: "if this person was sitting across the table from me in real life, would I still want to say this?"

    If the answer is yes, then post it ... 99% of the time you will not offend anyone or upset them.

    Also never post when you are angry ... the rule above will normally catch that, because as you read your post and review it ... you will hopefully calm down ... if you are not calm ... don't post.
  • edited
    To avoid petty arguments, participants would need to, essentially, let go of any need for perfection in communication and arguments and rather respond to the overall message the person is trying to get across.

    In practice - someone might be making a logical fallacy in their argument. This may mean that it is technically logically invalid. But that doesn't actually invalidate the argument. So, arguing around their fallacy rather than simply trying to understand what they're trying to communicate is petty.

    Another example is essentially the "not all men" and "not all white people" responses. Someone makes a statement and someone else beings a petty argument to point out that, technically, "not all men". The original communicator was not suggesting all men, and the conversation is actually derailed from it's original tangent.

    Petty arguments, in my mind, are arguments about things that really don't matter in the greater scheme of things. It doesn't matter if someone hasn't studied philosophy 101 and is making a mistake (that probably 90% of the human population makes every day because of fallacious human thinking). What's much more important is what they're trying to communicate. Petty arguments hinder the communication process.


    I also feel like this whole thread has veered off topic. What was the question you were actually trying to get answered @evangreenwood ? Because, I feel like we've waffled into very high level meta discussions without any decisions having been made which will - like most of these threads - end up in nothing actually happening and no real change having been made.
  • edited
    @dammit To answer your question about what is the question that we are actually trying to answer:

    This is where we got to (in my mind)
    EvanGreenwood said:
    So I'm going to list the actions that seem to me to be the most called for:

    * I think we've all agreed that this website can present the community better through a new landing page (or even just some backend forum-hacks that @Elyradine suggested). I personally think if we are making changes to the forums we can at the same time create some spaces specifically for developers who aren't game designers (this has been suggested by others from off the forums).

    ** I'm not sure if we've agreed that there needs to be a vote for the MakeGamesSA committee / moderators. This is definitely long overdue in any case if we were to still be following the rules that were set out when MakeGamesSA was founded.

    *** There have been complaints about game designers being very discouraging (and destructive) towards users who want to talk about game technology. I think a lot of the same lessons @Nandrew is suggesting about effective conflict resolution will mitigate this, as well as admissions on the part of game designers (including myself) that they have been hostile in this way in the past. I'm not entirely sure if there is disagreement about this?

    **** I think we've all agreed that the community as a whole could conduct itself better online. Like @Nandrew has been suggesting, that we all become better at online conversations, that we teach each other, and, like @DaveRusselSA suggests, that we work to moderate each other in a mature way that is not a form of attack. This might be a long term goal, but one that we can be taking steps towards.

    ***** From what I've seen, there hasn't been a unanimous call to remove @dislekcia as a moderator or member of this community. But that @dislekcia needs to behave differently has been overwhelmingly stated, and there have been suggestions for either removal from moderation or for an intervention by senior members of the community.
    The AGM is going to happen, and moderators will change. @dislekcia has stepped down. We're discussing the website improvements in that thread about it (and at the very latest the website is likely to change significantly in June).

    We're left with discussing cliques, the emphasis on game design which has shown to discourage non-designers, and forum culture (hence the discussion about what actions we can take to deal with "petty" arguments which in my mind, if something comes of it, could help avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Of course, if this avenue of discussion seems to be no longer an issue, or has already been solved, or is unsolvable, please say so, and we could look past it).

    Maybe this sort of discussion should be moved over to a "writing the rules" thread. Although I don't think this is exactly about rules... ?

    Of course if there are further actions, or already suggested actions I omitted, that could reduce the hostility on these forums please suggest!!

    (Should we resurrect @Angrymoose's truth and reconcilliation thread? )

    (Should we be formalizing some of the suggestions @Tuism has made about not offering harsh criticism by default, or not expecting that developers should be asking for critique, or even implementing a way of distinguishing between threads that want critique and threads that just want to display their work? )
    Thanked by 3garethf Nandrew Tuism
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    I think a way of specifying "Wants Critique" would be good. Maybe a subforum or a tag people can put in their thread title.

    Throwing an idea out there:

    One of the things that might work, if we're creating spaces for different types of developers, is to appoint a community leader to each sub-section - Programming, Design, Art, Writing, Audio, Business, WhatHaveYou.

    This person isn't just a moderator (although that's part of it). They're a community leader for their domain. We appoint them because they have experience and passion for that domain. They're in tune with what that community is about, what motivates those people, what they're interested in, how they look at things. They should be someone who will be (at least to a degree) interested in nurturing their space by posting interesting links (like to that Homegrown Hero coding page, or links to new music tools for musos) and engaging in discussion.

    They will be responsible for representing their sub-community's views to whoever runs the forums at the highest level. They will also be responsible for moderation in their domain. If mods from other domains see a problem, they can inform them. if there's disagreement, get the mod group to vote.

    Individuals can be mods of more than one domain, if needs be.

    Now, some might argue that some of these domain spaces might end up small and relatively quiet. That's fine. The point isn't that Writers can ONLY post in the writing section. It's just a space specifically for like-minded people interested in that area.

    If I were dividing the forum, I would probably divide it into the discipline domains, General, Events, Projects, Help Wanted/Jobs and Critique Corner.

    An off-topic board might also be good, goofy playing around and general chatter might help foster community and make people kinder to each other. That might be some of what's missing here, a way to connect more as people.
  • Thanks for everyone's understanding and consideration. :) I heart the idea of crowdsourcing solutions, I hope to detach from the idea that I'm an answers guy before I inevitably get trapped too deep in a self-aggrandising bullshit spiral. :D I'm glad that we're vigilant about keeping on-topic. To avoid being cumbersome, this is what I'll limit myself to on pettiness-as-derailment:

    - The first response is brevity. If I have the energy, my best reply to something like "notallmen" is simplest acknowledgement, then moving on. I echo, don't spend unnecessary energy explaining why it's unimportant, and just move forward.

    - If/when pettiness persists, and we find ourselves forced to engage more deeply, we can keep our focus on rebutting the pettiness rather than the argument. Restating the discussion goal is good.

    - Rebuking the points of the argument is our last resort -- because we're sending the message that we're now invested in their avenue of conversation, which legitimises them and makes the derailment more complete. We try not to get to this point.

    I do think that we enact some variations of this already here, but if we keep it conscious we can do it more consistently. I was going to cite this document's tips on handling difficult group members, but it and other approaches are more effort-intensive. I think the only bulletproof plans for resisting pettiness require considerable presence and emotional labour, which I understand can't be realistic all the time.

    ----

    That said, I think "pettiness" can constitute any statement which impedes the conversation while offering some satisfaction to the sayer, and this doesn't necessarily have to involve a change of topic.
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • I'd just like to second @garethf's suggestion about the new moderators/committee being representative of all the domains here at MGSA (and dividing up the responsibilities in a sensible way).

    When the AGM comes round, perhaps we can emphasize this? (just stating that we'd like moderators who, as a group, have affinity in each domain)

    Thanks for the advice @Nandrew. Is there a way to convey this kind of information (and the other information here about how to post constructively) to the community at large? (can we be setting up knowledge repository thread(s), or should we be doing talks at meetups, or just talking about it when the time arises).

    (Sorry if I'm harping on this one point. If this is resolved I'm happy to move on).
    Thanked by 2garethf mattbenic
  • I think in terms of representation if would also be great if there were a way to properly represent different regions as well as non "white male" candidates. Just throwing it out there.
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    @farsicon Good point! I feel silly having missed that and just talking in terms of domains being represented.

    Riot Games did some experiments in their game League of Legends with priming players with different coloured texts.

    The results are small, but statistically significant (and have been posted on these forums before, I think by @dammit). Perhaps we could try changing the main colour on these forums from the current red to something closer to blue?

    I'd suggest a colour somewhere around teal, as blue might have some masculine connotations (though I don't know the science behind blue and website branding)

    image

    (Also, teal compliments the red-pink of the MGSA heart quite nicely I think)
    Thanked by 1farsicon
  • The results are small, but statistically significant (and have been posted on these forums before, I think by @dammit).
    Were you *that* sleepy still at lunch that you forgot all about Leon talking to us about this? :P
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
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    lol! I remembered that, but I thought that someone posting on these forums might be a better reference than Leon's lunch banter :) (It was actually posted in 2014, but by @Tuism, though in my defense @dammit joined in the conversation and made a serious claim to the subject)
    Thanked by 1AngryMoose
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    @Nitrogen made a "Meta Discussions" category for us!

    Can a moderator stick this discussion under Meta? (I'm not certain who has admin access right now, but several people have complained about feeling disheartened that a thread like this has 150 comments compared to actual game development threads with far fewer).

    I think it is already set up so that "Meta Discussions" don't appear on the front page (thanks to @Nitrogen )
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