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Old 08-14-2004, 01:21 PM   #1
Valg
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(The Armageddon thread was starting to go off-topic, so I'm starting a new thread to blunt that.)

Some recent opinions on player reviews from people that dislike them:
"Why don't they bother letting every bitter, immature, 12 year old nimrod with internet access have an easy, free method to libel them?  Do you actually have to ask this?" - Threshold

Regarding rating reviews: "Or you could just ignore them given that they have no value as reviews."- the_logos

"Player reviews are almost never helpful and are generally either libelous or obsequious. Both types are worthless." - Threshold

Regarding follow-up content: "Unlike here where there ARE many posts, but they're largely noise. I mean, I learned more from one of Bartle's posts on Mind's Eye than I ever have here"- the_logos

"Player reviews are absolute garbage."- Threshold

I'm not sure what their experience is with reviews, but I've often found ours to be well-written and useful to someone who has not played our game before.  Part of this might be that Carrion Fields tends to draw an older and more mature playerbase than many places- it's a complex game run by a staff that probably has an average age of 30+, and our style draws a certain demographic.  But lots of games get these kinds of reviews, sprinkled in with the less useful ones.

Some examples from our own:
Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
Example 4
Example 5

All of these give specific points about the game that they like.  In other words, why they play.  Some also identify negative points (e.g. it's a difficult game, can be too big to get a grip on, etc.).  All of this is useful.

Now, not all reviews are all that useful.  We have some reviews (positive and negative) that don't tell you much at all about the game:

Example 6
Example 7

I suppose we could ask to have the negative kind removed as per TMS policy, but I think any player who is going to appreciate our game will see these types of reviews for what they are, and keep moving.  We have close to 50 reviews anyway, and there are plenty of informative ones to balance out the less useful ones.

Why are these useful?

Positive reviews have utility as advertising.  People like our product and want to tell others.  That much is obvious.  But they also tell us why we're successful.  We keep track of what people cite as our best points, and use that when planning future developments.

Conversely, when a negative review comes in, it's usually more than "This mud suxxors!".  The reviewer generally has specific things they didn't like.  These aren't necessarily weak points of the game (like the guy who didn't like the mandatory RP... that's just a niche we've chosen, and we advertise it openly so people know before trying), but sometimes they are, and that also tells us where to focus our efforts.

Most importantly, none of this has to effect your game.   You can turn them off for your game, not read what people post about other games, and go back to making forum posts about how wonderful you are, or however else you as a TMS reader spend your spare time.  That's your decision, and a courtesy extended to you by the site ownership.  (One could argue a courtesy that is not necessarily expected, since the reviewer may not wish to be silent, and then it's a question of who has the authority.)  You can also allow reviews, and request the removal of anything libelous, per the site policies.

But it's not really your business whether or not we want reviews, so please stop campaigning to stop us from doing so.
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Aug. 14 2004,13:21)
But it's not really your business whether or not we want reviews, so please stop campaigning to stop us from doing so.
Similarly, of course, it's not your business how we choose to promote ourselves, yet that's not stopped you from launching into personal attacks.
--matt
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Old 08-14-2004, 04:09 PM   #3
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Similarly, of course, it's not your business how we choose to promote ourselves

Sure it is. We share promotional space.

If, for example, we use "free" to mean two different things, and if I think the common-sense definition of it ("You can't buy anything inside our game, period.") is being misused, I'm obligated to point out the misleading language used by others. You have your own definition, which you're welcome to put it out there, but its existence requires that we clarify what we mean by "free". Otherwise, the impact of our own promotional material is diluted by these claims.

Reviews aren't promotional material. We don't control their content, they can be good or bad, and it's just customer word-of-mouth. You can suppress that for your own game, but not ours.
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Old 08-14-2004, 05:46 PM   #4
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Valg wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Reviews aren't promotional material.
Valg wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Positive reviews have utility as advertising.
Advertising = a form of promotion.

So which is it?

--matt
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:17 PM   #5
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Semantics.

1) We don't write reviews.
2) Sometimes other people write positive ones, and that reflects well on us. This complements our advertising.
3) Sometimes other people write negative ones, and that doesn't reflect well on us. This helps us improve by identifying problem spots.

If you think everyone on this forum is a drooling idiot (I can start citing if you dispute this generalization of your previous statements), why stoop to converse with us?
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Aug. 14 2004,22:17)
Semantics.

1) We don't write reviews.
2) Sometimes other people write positive ones, and that reflects well on us.  This complements our advertising.
3) Sometimes other people write negative ones, and that doesn't reflect well on us.  This helps us improve by identifying problem spots.

If you think everyone on this forum is a drooling idiot (I can start citing if you dispute this generalization of your previous statements), why stoop to converse with us?
Semantics? You made directly contradictory statements within two posts of each other regarding the nature of player reviews. I appreciate the clarification of your intent.

I'm sorry if you believe I think you're a drooling idiot, but that's really your problem to deal with, not mine.

--matt
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Aug. 14 2004,12:34)
Why should that option be removed from me? Because you don't like them?
Because they cause an ungodly amount of flame wars here. There are frequently times where more than 50% of the active topics are people arguing about whether a review is libelous, butt kissing, or wrong in some other way.

It isn't because I "don't like them" that I believe the site would be improved if the option was totally removed. It is because their existence pollutes the site with an enormous amount of unnecessary vitiriol and irreparably damages the discussion forum.
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:34 PM   #8
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A few recent threads from a SINGLE forum (folks spread them all over the place, but I only felt like checking one forum) with flame wars about reviews:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

Example 6

Example 7
This one was started by you, Valg.

Example 8

Example 9

Example 10

Example 11

Example 12

Example 13

Example 14

Example 15
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
You made directly contradictory statements within two posts of each other regarding the nature of player reviews. I appreciate the clarification of your intent.
I see nothing contradictory between his statements, when read within the context that they were posted.  Obviously once taken out of context (like you've done) they are not as clear as they could be, but that's hardly Valg's fault.

What he's saying is that, while mud reviews can act as a form of advertising (and thus be of use to muds), their content cannot be controlled, and so the results may be positive or negative.  This is obviously very different from official promotional material like the banners and full adverts posted by the mud adminstration.

He is also correct is pointing out that the way you choose to promote your mud is everyone else's business when it impacts on their own promotion (for example, if a mud were to start posting an advert on the promotions thread once per hour it would spam off a lot of other peoples posts).
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:47 AM   #10
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I leave reviews on for several reasons. Yes, you have to glean out the "I was multiplaying and they caught me, so here's the multitude of reasons why they suck" review, but much in life comes with accompaying tribulation.

One: Sometimes they're fun to read.  We had one written as a Shakespearean soliloquy - others have been exercises in creativity that were a blast to read.  

Two: It's useful for me to see both what people love and what people hate.  People mention the facets of the game that they think are particularly wow-worthy, and I like to know what they are because I'd like to continue adding more.

Three: A lot of the times they provide great quotes that I can use in publicity.  Lines like "the China White of muds" or "My life revolves around this game in ways my therapist and I are only starting to understand." are better than anything I'd come up with.

Four: Any publicity is good publicity, and part of being a good MUD admin is (imo) finding ways to get buzz going about your mud.  I've shut up reviews on occasion when there's been problems with the same person posting the same review over and over, or using a review for us to tout their own mud, but for the most part, it stays on.

We do have an active and engaged player base and I apologize if that has added to the flame wars that do spring up on here.  Generally they're careful about identifying themselves as not affiliated with the staff, and personally I'd rather have an enthusiastic and sometimes overeager crowd than a bunch of jaded, hip, apathists.
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Old 08-15-2004, 11:45 AM   #11
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It seems a bit weird to me why some mudowners, who have already disabled reviews for their own games, now are trying so hard to get ALL reviews banned from the site. Obviously several other mudowners, most likely a large majority, think the reviews are useful and want them kept.

What business is that of yours? Who do you think you are, to force your own personal preferences on every one else on the board? In most societies majority rules. And even if this site is not a democratic society, the decision is definitely not yours to take, it's Synozeer's, and I assume he will go with the majority on this, also because the reviews generate  traffic to the site.

You have already disabled revies for your own muds, so there is no risk  for you of getting any  - (God forbid :-P ) - bad reviews.  That is your prerogative. Other mudowners prefer to take their chances and accept the good with the bad. That should be their prerogative.

If you don't like to read the flame threads that a minority of the reviews generate, just avoid those threads. Other people may find them quite funny, and I am one of those. I usually find them a lot more entertaining  - and in some cases informative - than the promotional stuff people post about their muds. Also it's not like the discussions lately have been so vivid that these few threads are pushing something unforfeitable from the list.

The arrogance of certain people never ceases to boggle me.
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:50 PM   #12
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In a perfect world, people would be able to write comments about a review and then people wouldn't have to start these flame wars that bother some people

If that's not an option (and since people have asked for this before, it probably won't be), then I agree with the people who would rather keep reviews on this site. As a game implementor, I can just turn them off, and as a player I can just ignore reviews and any threads that are in response to them.
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Old 08-15-2004, 03:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
It seems a bit weird to me why some mudowners, who have already disabled reviews for their own games, now are trying so hard to get ALL reviews banned from the site. Obviously several other mudowners, most likely a large majority, think the reviews are useful and want them kept.
I'm curious who these mud owners (plural, as you used it) are who are trying so hard to get all reviews banned from the site? I believe I've seen one mud owner (Threshold) advocate that. I, personally, don't care if reviews are there. They are useless and puerile as "reviews" but they do generate a bit of extra traffic for the site, and thus send more people to our muds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
What business is that of yours? Who do you think you are, to force your own personal preferences on every one else on the board? In most societies majority rules. And even if this site is not a democratic society, the decision is definitely not yours to take, it's Synozeer's, and I assume he will go with the majority on this, also because the reviews generate  traffic to the site.
The majority? This site gets about 65,000 uniques a month. Have you ascertained that 33,000 people would prefer reviews stay? Perhaps they might, perhaps not. In any case, a handful of forum posters represents an extremely small minority of opinion, no matter what issue you're talking about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by
You have already disabled revies for your own muds, so there is no risk  for you of getting any  - (God forbid :-P ) - bad reviews.  That is your prerogative. Other mudowners prefer to take their chances and accept the good with the bad. That should be their prerogative.
It should be their prerogative if Synozeer decides it is. There is no "should" besides his will as this site is lead by a single leader with an unchallenged fist of steel (alright, perhaps nothing that dramatic).


Quote:
Originally Posted by
The arrogance of certain people never ceases to boggle me.
Yeah, I feel the same way about the sophomoric behavior of some people on this site.
--matt
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Molly O'Hara @ Aug. 15 2004,11:45)
What business is that of yours?
Molly, there you go again.

I see you're out of the woodwork again to make personal attacks against me when yet again my "crime" is simply expressing my opinion.

The "business" of mine is that I am a reader of these forums and the constant flame wars caused by the player reviews is a major reason these forums are crap. Frequently, arguments about player reviews make up 50% or more of the total forum traffic. They drown out any possible hope of VALUABLE discussions.

If you actually read what I wrote instead of just jumping to your own conclusions, you'd know that was my point. Thus, as a reader of the forum it is just as much "my business" as it is the business of any other reader.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
You have already disabled revies for your own muds, so there is no risk for you of getting any - (God forbid :-P ) - bad reviews.
Again, I invite you to actually read what I wrote. I didn't say a single thing about whether it is good or bad when someone gets a bad review.

The problem I discussed was the fact that the worthless player reviews spill over into the forums and make the forums worthless as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
If you don't like to read the flame threads that a minority of the reviews generate, just avoid those threads.
Guess what. I do ignore the threads. So do tons of other people. Ignoring threads becomes contagious. Once you're in the habit of ignoring threads, you start ignoring the whole forum. What's the end result of that? A totally dead forum. Congratulations, I hope you're happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
The arrogance of certain people never ceases to boggle me.
Try looking in the mirror Molly.

You're the one arguing that I shouldn't even be allowed to post my suggestion for what would make the site better.

If you understood anything about marketing, you'd know that what I am arguing for is not something that would benefit me.

Threshold is an advertiser and is always in the top 4. Thus, every person who pops over to TMS to either post a review or read a review sees Threshold mentioned at least once, and most likely more than once. That increases the odds that they'll try it out, even if they had no intention of trying a new mud.

To an advertiser and to muds in the top slots, traffic = potential sales.

The only reason I have raised the suggestion of getting rid of player reviews entirely is because I feel it would improve the quality of the forum. I suggest this despite the fact that the current status quo is actually better for me personally.

You'd do well to stop and think (and read) before you go attacking people. Perhaps your assumptions about their motives are completely off the mark.
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:54 PM   #15
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The majority? This site gets about 65,000 uniques a month. Have you ascertained that 33,000 people would prefer reviews stay?

In other news, American political polls are valid, even though they do not get definitive opinions from more than half of the estimated 294,011,562 Americans. If you want, you can call Gallup and ask if they ascertained that 147,005,782 people agreed with the majority opinion given by their last poll.

Several hundred people have posted reviews. Threshold thinks their opinions "pollute" the site and need to be removed. You find the contributions of these several hundred people universally "useless and puerile". Everyone else who has voiced an opinion agrees they're a mixed bag, but that some have value, and that it's worth keeping. It's logical that the several hundred people who wrote reviews think that the site should have reviews, and that Synozeer thinks the site should have reviews, since he coded a resource to display and categorize them.

So if you don't like them, don't read them. Let the rest of the community have the "sophomoric" discussions that you loathe, and continue discussing the oh-so-important topics you want to discuss as well.
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:57 PM   #16
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Valg, please do us all a favor and go study up on how a scientific poll is conducted.

Here's a hint: The respondents don't get to choose to be part of the poll.

Also, like Molly I highly suggest you read more carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Several hundred people have posted reviews. Threshold thinks their opinions "pollute" the site and need to be removed.
I said the pointless flamewars that result from the reviews pollute the forums. Big difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
So if you don't like them, don't read them.
I don't think you understand.

2-3 years ago this forum was extremely vibrant with tons of substantive discussion about coding, game design, game management, and all sorts of other issues.

Now the site is 25% player promotions, 25% staff recruitment, and 50% complaining about player reviews.

People have already voted with their feet. The people left behind (whom you say don't mind the reviews) are all that is left in the carnage of a once good forum.

The exact advice you are giving has already been followed and the dead forum you see before you is the result. Thus, the need for some serious changes is in order if the forum is to be restored to any sort of value.
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Old 08-15-2004, 05:09 PM   #17
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Question: How many posts are hitting the forum the_logos runs?

Answer: 7 this month, and 5 are from you and the_logos. One of the other two is a joke about lawyers. None of the 7 are longer than 6 lines. There's certainly nothing on there I didn't already know.

If you and he are the patron saints of "extremely vibrant" content, and you are being held back by the "polluters", how do you explain the failure of that site to generate anything worth reading over a period of two weeks?
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:54 PM   #18
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Valg, what relevance does any other discussion forum have to the fact that this forum has decayed badly over the last 2-3 years?

Now you're just trolling and should be ashamed of yourself.
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:57 PM   #19
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The relevance is that perhaps you and the_logos do not understand how to run a successful discussion forum about MUDs, and should perhaps avoid dictating to others how to do the same.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:40 PM   #20
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Lets look at the two things you are comparing:

One is a private forum, with 30 members, with a very specific purpose, and it has been operating for a few months.

The other is a public forum, with 2,175 members, and it has been operating for many years.

Are you even capable of posting without flaming Matt in one way or another? And why you'd group me in with your drive-by is mildly confusing. I'm just a user of The Mind's Eye, like yourself, not a moderator.

And you keep ignoring the simple fact that this USED TO BE an excellent discussion forum. Now a very significant portion of its total traffic is nothing more than people arguing about player reviews. Even if you disagree that there is a connection, surely you can at least see the POSSIBILITY of a connection.
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