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Old 07-26-2007, 10:42 AM   #1
Lasher
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Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Here's a few reasons to consider promoting / discussing your MUD in the TMS forums:
  • While MUD traffic is down in general, the site still gets 4,000 - 6,000 unique visitors per day.
  • The new forum is heavily optimized for search engines. Every night we generate a sitemap of all new posts which is uploaded to Google and Yahoo.
  • Using the pingback/linkback system, you can link between articles/blogs in your own website and TMS discussions, helping search optimization for both sites.
  • All new posts are displayed on the front page for as long as it takes them to be replaced by other new posts.
  • vBulletin supports RSS feeds of all new posts. They are actively available right now, but I haven't put up the RSS links that makes them easy to find yet.
Although it received great feedback on release, the new forum is getting very little use. I'd love to hear feedback on why, if only to discover whether further investment in time on this site has any value to the MUD community.

I think you will like the new MUD database and review system, fully integrated with the forum and its permission system, but if nobody cares one way or another that would also be good to know
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

I think the main issue is the fact that it is hard to attract new users because of the nature of the MUDs(text only)
When you have games such as 2Moons(Acclaim), Quake Wars and other being released, it is hard to bring new users to MUDs.Especially since the learning curve is so high.
Just take me for example. I have been trying to get into Muds for the past 2 years or so and I have had almost no success.
It is just hard to get into text only games
However I am waiting with excitement the new graphic MMO by IRE
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Although it received great feedback on release, the new forum is getting very little use. I'd love to hear feedback on why, if only to discover whether further investment in time on this site has any value to the MUD community.
I don't think it has anything to do with the forum really. Of the major mud sites, it seems like TMC has the most active forums (NIC the server-specific forums out there), TMS has the most prominent top 100 mud list, etc....Perhaps if the forum posts were front-paged a little more prominently you would suck more people into the site. Though I don't know how many of your uniques come in through the front page versus coming in through a voting page. I suspect the latter.

One thing I've noticed over the years is that the community at TMC seems to be made up mostly of developers and aspiring developers. In fact you see this across platforms (MUSH, DIKU-clones, etc.). I don't know how true this is for LP, the CWG site, and so on, but my guess is it holds true. Who else would want to talk about all these mud issues but developers? If you could find a reason to draw players to the forums, perhaps you would see more use.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:42 PM   #4
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Cool Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

I have read these boards for a number of years now and I have noticed two things. The time when most of the action occurs is when there is some sort of controversy going on, be it the Unshackling of Medievia, Policy changes regarding voting, the (ab)Use of the review system, etc. New topics turn up very often when there are people who seemingly naturally dislike each other giving opinions on issues (theLogos vs Molly comes to mind, but again, check I used the word "seemingly".)

Other issue is that basic topics have been discussed before and older forum users might not feel inclined to revisit them (been there, done that, kind of thing). It is my opinion that if people (developers) were more prone to discuss their games and their approach to games, it would both be beneficial to them (if they are interesting at least :P) and it would let the random visitor know there is something to be learned on the site (I will put KaVir here as someone who frequently and openly discusses game mechanics and others, at least more noticeably than most.)

Finally, I believe the graphic games are a big threat to text games, but given that now cell-phones are starting to be internet able and have a computing power greater than the computers many of us started playing MUDs in, I think cell-phone mudding is not something that is that far away (I have seen a few people who already sort-of do this). This means to me that even as new technology comes out, the allure of text games may be reignited.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:08 PM   #5
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

I don't think graphical MMOs are a threat to text-based MUDs at all. As Spoke said, there's definitely a good prospect for a resurgence of interest in these games, which cross platforms and computer capabilities with ease. Particularly with the growing mainstream awareness of World of Warcraft (love it or hate it), we may see people discovering freebie games that encourage more imagination and lower computer power requirements.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:38 PM   #6
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

I think the issue here is that due to the publicity and marketing budgets of the large games, most MUD players have been exposed to World of Warcraft and other MMO platforms. It was inevitable that the MMOs would appeal to a certain percentage of MUD players and we've all seen people migrate away from MUDs towards those games.

I also believe that a number of new MMO players would be interested in checking out MUDs and some would migrate the other way if they only knew about MUDs and got some exposure to them.

It is like having people who only ever watch movies because they don't know that books exist. Most would continue to just watch movies after learning about books, but some would prefer the "intimacy" and imagination that comes with a good read. Just in 1 in a thousand MMO players coming to MUDs would be a huge influx. The catch of course is how to generate that exposure and publicity for MUDs ....
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:45 PM   #7
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Well, I've been trying an experiment called a MU*Volucion, using Craigslist. Essentially, I pitch the idea of an "online storytelling club" using the free advertising at craigslist.org. Goes something like this:

If you've got a few minutes to spare, visit your local craigslist.org page and make a new posting under the Groups category. Title it:

Free: Online storytelling club

And use the following text for the ad:


Join creative writers from around the world and share epic sagas that evolve in real time at :: Wes Platt's OtherVerse :: Join the Saga ::

Online since 1998, the only requirements for membership are:

* A basic Internet connection.
* Telnet or downloadable free client software. We recommend SimpleMU: SimpleMU Home Page
* Good attitude.
* Vivid imagination.

You can interact with other imaginative participants in our storytelling environments, which include the space opera universe of OtherSpace and the fantasy world of Chiaroscuro.

And it's free!

Check out the main website at :: Wes Platt's OtherVerse :: Join the Saga :: and learn more about multi-user online role-playing games at the MU*Wiki, http://mu.wikia.com



***

So, anyone who wants can feel free to take this idea and run with it, substituting jointhesaga.com stuff for their own sites - and, of course, adding Top MUD Sites and the MUD Connector to the places to learn more about these games.

From small acorns do big trees grow!
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:58 PM   #8
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

I know what your saying about introducing new players to MUDS being difficult.
I discovered muds in november last year I didnt know such a thing existed & when I first saw it & thought what no graphics? But then I realised most graphics games lack any depth at all because it takes so much for the computer to generate the graphics that there is little memory left for game features.

However it is difficult as a newcomer to find a home within mudding as most people have been playing for many years and it seems they are on a level you cant reach. When I fight in my MUD Im seriously rubbish at it as im the newest player even though ive played daily for 6 months now. Thats because most players know everything like the back of their hand because theyve been there for years. It is a nice community in the world of mudding but you have to be able to cope with being a lousey fighter & at a low place in the hierarchy if your new.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladygrace_of_elysium View Post
But then I realised most graphics games lack any depth at all because it takes so much for the computer to generate the graphics that there is little memory left for game features.
I'm sorry?
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Here's a few reasons to consider promoting / discussing your MUD in the TMS forums
I think the issue might be that there is too much reasoning what the admins/devs want from TMS. The question is also what players would like to see. At the moment the website is mainly a place to find a game to play. Once you have found it you use that games forum/mail system. You don't use the TMS forums.

To a player there is very little reason to use the forum, and a way to lure them here would be needed. It is similar with the review system. It is there to attract players to a game, but that doesn't mean it would build a player community on TMS. The goal is after all to build a community on some specific MUD.

TMS could provide:
  1. Sub forums for all MUDs on the list.
  2. Sub guild-forums for those MUD forums.
  3. Specific MUD resources. E.g maps, quest information, guides. MUD player vs MUD owner interest in such a feature can vary :-). Check UO Stratics - News - Main, Lineage 2 Stratics - Your Lineage 2 Community Resource, World of Warcraft News, Trailers, Screenshots, Previews, Reviews, Guides -- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Vault to get an idea what I mean.
It is very complicated though. Some MUDs use ingame message boards a lot so players might not want to use a web forum. In other cases the MUD might already have a web forum and have no interest in supporting TMS forums, e.g Achaea. It is a bit like when designing a MUD client. You need to offer something that isn't included in the MUD that people need(but don't necessarily know they need).

I know of another MUD list that recently opened free forums for every MUD on the list. It sounded like a very good idea yet there are barely any posts in those forums . Maybe adding some more modern terms such as mmrpg/mmorpg as meta tags could help to get some newbies find the website?
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:50 PM   #11
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

That's a pretty damned good approach, Aeran. Maybe it'd help, Lasher, to look at sites like tentonhammer.com and mmorpg.com for cues in what they've been doing to cater to the MMO fans.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:28 PM   #12
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

You know I actually considered an MMO section in the new forums and making the site a little more attractive to MMORPG players. Not to migrate TMS towards that market, but to try to migrate some of that market towards MUDs.

I didn't go ahead with it because there is already massive competition in that area with full time staff creating content non stop, but mainly because I figured it would offend some of the die-hard "MUDders". The only small concession nobody even noticed was the title text "Discuss, Build, Play MUDS & RPGs".

As for specific MUD forums, quite happy to create a forum for any MUD with it's own banner and/or subdomain such as mymud.topmudsites.com with moderation left to the admins of that MUD (with the exception of content that could make TMS a legal target). Just don't think there's much demand for it...
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:00 PM   #13
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovechiefs View Post
Just take me for example. I have been trying to get into Muds for the past 2 years or so and I have had almost no success.
Why? I don't question the value of text MUDs of course but if you've spent 2 years trying to like them and don't, what makes you continue? What's your motivation in other words?

Quote:
However I am waiting with excitement the new graphic MMO by IRE
Thanks!
--matt
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:02 AM   #14
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

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Originally Posted by Brody View Post
Essentially, I pitch the idea of an "online storytelling club" using the free advertising at craigslist.org.
I tried advertising our MUD in the "activities partners" section of Craigslist on several different occasions. I didn't notice that it resulted in any traffic to our website. Since it's not easy to spam craigslist by posting the same advertisement to different cities simultaneously, it becomes a time-consuming process.

I hope it works for you though; anything that introduces MU*s to someone who was previously unfamiliar with them is a good thing for all of us.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:36 AM   #15
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ide View Post
Of the major mud sites, it seems like TMC has the most active forums (NIC the server-specific forums out there), TMS has the most prominent top 100 mud list, etc...
I can see a couple of explanations to the problems with activating the Forum.

Of course, I left this Forum a couple of years ago, due to some irritating circumstances, and I've only just returned, when an e-mail about the Forum update made me realize that my account hadn't been deleted, as I thought. So I'm not sure if my observation is correct, but my initial impression is that this Forum seems to be pretty dead nowadays. Possible a number of other active posters left at the same time that I did and drained it of content, but that's just a guess on my side. In any case, the Forum could now experience the same problem that a new Mud has in getting starting up. If there aren't any interesting threads, people soon stop checking. My guess would be that Ide has a point - people come here mainly to vote, not to discuss, so the vast majority of the hits you get are just people clicking the vote button for their Muds, possibly even using a script to close the window immediately after.
So the first thing needed is to get some interesting discussions running, to make people actually start checking the boards and coming back.

Another problem along the same lines is that there are way too many Text Mud based Forums around nowadays, and that there are only so many that you can follow, so people tend to choose the most active ones. And further, as Ide also pointed out, the different Websites specialize in different topics, and you tend to patronize the ones that have the most topics that interests you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ide View Post
One thing I've noticed over the years is that the community at TMC seems to be made up mostly of developers and aspiring developers. In fact you see this across platforms (MUSH, DIKU-clones, etc.). I don't know how true this is for LP, the CWG site, and so on, but my guess is it holds true. Who else would want to talk about all these mud issues but developers? If you could find a reason to draw players to the forums, perhaps you would see more use.
It's true that most of the active posters on most boards are Mud developers, and it is also true that the more experienced, 'professional' and specialized you become as a developer, the more you are picking out the type of content that really interests you. For instance, I am a Builder, 'Designer' and Scriptor myself, so I generally skip the coding boards, because coderish is Chinese to me. But even building questions have to be pretty advanced to really interest me nowadays, and I guess that it is the same for most long-term developers. Also the different codebases have developed so far in different directions that they are no longer generally applicable. So my own favourite hang-out when it comes to advanced building and scripting nowadays has become the CWG project, in particular the Builder Lounge there, where you can get some really interesting discussions and concrete suggestions about advanced scripting. But my guess would be that those examples are only interesting for Circle developers that use the DG_scripts code, because the mob_prog syntax is totally different.

Less specialized Forums, like this one, are best for discussing 'general' issues, like for instance ethical questions. But I totally agree with Spoke's observation that the most interest is generated whenever there is a flame-festival running. Sadly but true, flame threads may be negative from many aspects, but a fact is that even the most immature ones are usually quite entertaining.
However, if you want any serious discussions to develop, you need an environment where the posters actually respect one another. And this atmosphere must be based on REAL respect. Just censoring any inflammatory posts never works, it just festers more resentment, especially if certain parties are allowed more freedom to censor others. Respect has to be earned, it cannot be forced down people's throats.

But you want to attract PLAYERS here rather than developers, and I can understand that, because players are a much larger potential target group.
So far the best suggestion I've seen for attracting more players to the website has been Lasher's idea to provide serious reviews - not the kind of useless fanboy-praise/flamethrowing that generally passes as reviews. If you could achieve THAT, you would really have the potential of attracting a pretty large audience, since most players - AND developers - would appreciate reading serious reviews.
The main problem with THAT is of course to get hold of some serious reviewers, with the time and inclination to actually keep at the task and not fade out after a month.

Another problem is that it means a change of the present policy, where some games are allowed to refuse reviews. If 'qualified' reviews will ever work, they need to be global, and no Admin should be allowed to block out a review because it contains some criticism. No game is ever perfect, so to me the hallmark of a 'good' review is that it highlights both the good and the bad points of a game.

I can see this becoming a controversial issue, but then again that might be a good thing, since controversial generates interest.

Last edited by Molly : 07-30-2007 at 12:28 PM. Reason: remove double signature
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:23 AM   #16
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

One player-friendly move I've advocated for a long time is to allow reviews on all MUDs, not just a subset. TMS is a third-party site, and it's not clear to me why a MUD owner has the right to arbitrarily prohibit discussion of their game.

Now, not all reviews are useful. We have a few dozen up (I remember we had more from pre-2004, but it looks like the database no longer includes them.), and there's certainly a few that I think are useless, either from the "fanboy" or "flame" perspective. Some contain factual mistakes. But in between all of that is a lot of good information. You could say the same about many forum threads.

I think the review system could guide feedback a bit by asking some questions, instead of presenting a blank slate. Threaded replies and moderation could allow other people familiar with the game (administrators or players) to discuss the review, while reminding people that you aren't there to have a "This is awesome./No, this is terrible!!!/Well, you're too dumb to understand it." playground spat. Even something as crude as a minimum character count (with the caveat that spam will just get the review removed) would likely boost the median quality.

A final important thing to keep in mind about fanboy/flame reviews is that for the most part, they're written in such a way that an intelligent reader can see through them. One review might be useless, but if you accumulate a body of a couple dozen, your game's style will come through.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:02 PM   #17
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoozer View Post
I tried advertising our MUD in the "activities partners" section of Craigslist on several different occasions. I didn't notice that it resulted in any traffic to our website. Since it's not easy to spam craigslist by posting the same advertisement to different cities simultaneously, it becomes a time-consuming process.

I hope it works for you though; anything that introduces MU*s to someone who was previously unfamiliar with them is a good thing for all of us.
Well, I haven't seen anyone jump onto my games yet and say "I saw you on craigslist." But it creates the opportunity to be seen. Also, there IS a workaround to the same post in different cities - it just can't always come from *you*. That's why I enlisted players on my games to help target craigslist sites all over the world. Give other players a stake in the success of the marketing endeavor, let them share in building the buzz, and maybe it'll pay off at some point.

It may not generate an immediate hit for your game short-term, but it can't hurt and, long-term, it helps build solidarity and camaraderie among your current playerbase.
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:07 PM   #18
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valg View Post
One player-friendly move I've advocated for a long time is to allow reviews on all MUDs, not just a subset. TMS is a third-party site, and it's not clear to me why a MUD owner has the right to arbitrarily prohibit discussion of their game.

Now, not all reviews are useful. We have a few dozen up (I remember we had more from pre-2004, but it looks like the database no longer includes them.), and there's certainly a few that I think are useless, either from the "fanboy" or "flame" perspective. Some contain factual mistakes. But in between all of that is a lot of good information. You could say the same about many forum threads.

I think the review system could guide feedback a bit by asking some questions, instead of presenting a blank slate. Threaded replies and moderation could allow other people familiar with the game (administrators or players) to discuss the review, while reminding people that you aren't there to have a "This is awesome./No, this is terrible!!!/Well, you're too dumb to understand it." playground spat. Even something as crude as a minimum character count (with the caveat that spam will just get the review removed) would likely boost the median quality.

A final important thing to keep in mind about fanboy/flame reviews is that for the most part, they're written in such a way that an intelligent reader can see through them. One review might be useless, but if you accumulate a body of a couple dozen, your game's style will come through.
Maybe if there was some sort of moderator(specific mods that volunteer to be unbiased and chosen by Lasher) review BEFORE a review is posted could work. I can understand certain MUDs not wanting any random person to be able to do a "review" on their game, because most of the reviews I have read haven't been a review. Most of them are either fanboys raving or someone who doesn't like the game/admin/methods(for example the ever popular pay-for-perks/pay-to-play/DIKUs taking donations/etc) ranting about it.
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:45 PM   #19
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

The new reviews will be built into the forum. I couldn't find an add-on for VB that quite does what I want so it's being written from scratch. The reviews will require a moderator to approve before they are posted. You will also need a forum user ID to post a review which means email confirmation. These combined should encourage a higher quality review (that actually makes it through to the public list). Obviously they will need to be moderated based on having some real content and information about the MUD in question and not whether the moderator agrees.

The reviews will also have comments (basically a forum thread) giving others a chance to add feedback to a review. I guess with this we run the risk of a bunch of "fanboys" or "griefers" mass posting to a review, but people see through that kind of stuff quickly enough. The old reviews will be imported but pruned to remove the spam and the "This mud rocks play it! / This mud sucks don't play it!" one-liners.
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:57 PM   #20
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Re: Reasons to promote/discuss your MUD on TMS.

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The new reviews will be built into the forum. I couldn't find an add-on for VB that quite does what I want so it's being written from scratch. The reviews will require a moderator to approve before they are posted. You will also need a forum user ID to post a review which means email confirmation. These combined should encourage a higher quality review (that actually makes it through to the public list). Obviously they will need to be moderated based on having some real content and information about the MUD in question and not whether the moderator agrees.

The reviews will also have comments (basically a forum thread) giving others a chance to add feedback to a review. I guess with this we run the risk of a bunch of "fanboys" or "griefers" mass posting to a review, but people see through that kind of stuff quickly enough. The old reviews will be imported but pruned to remove the spam and the "This mud rocks play it! / This mud sucks don't play it!" one-liners.
I prefer to be able to just keep reviews off but if you’re going to allow them, have you considered the implications of requiring moderator approval? By doing so the site is essentially endorsing that review and the facts within and almost surely opens itself to libel charges if anything in the review is false. I heard about a lawsuit recently on NPR where a restaurant was suing a food reviewer and the newspaper that published the review simply because the reviewer said she had gotten a strip steak and in fact it was a porterhouse.

It’s probably not a huge deal but by approving them before they’re posted TMS is essentially endorsing them (as opposed to removing them after the fact if someone legitimately complains) and that's got potential consequences that you may want to factor into how you implement your new system.

--matt
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