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Subject: Don't foul one's nest! rss

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Dan Rosewater
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This is a report of concern about an article I read today on BGN (not BGG)
It's an article of BGG member and BGN columnist Scott Tepper:
http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comment...

Between the lines and also more explicit I can learn that Scott Temper doesn't like BGG anymore.
I feel sorry for Aldie who is doing a great job. He and BGG does not deserve to be criticised that negative.

What annoys me most is the following argumentation about the decline of usefulness of BGG:

"Let’s use the game, Taj Mahal, as an example. Maybe you like the game, and want to find more like it. You have to hit the “forward” button 50 times to see all the Geeklists that Taj Mahal appears on. Who has the time to slog through 50 pages to see if there might be something informative there? All this non-game related stuff just becomes a huge mass of white noise that occludes pertinent information."


While I agree that Geeklists are somehow the "You Tube" section of BGG, looking for information about a specific game is not done by Geeklist research.
You go onto the game's mainpage, see the rating, read the reviews and session reports and you browse through members opinions or uploaded files. But you don't look for serious information for a specific game by browsing all geeklists it appears on.
So why ranting about BGG when you're not using it properly?

Are "funny" Geeklists diluting the value of the site, as Scott concludes?
BGG was never meant to be a humorous free zone, so what?
Any mature reader sees on first sight if a geeklist was meant as a player aid or meant to be fun. There are also tags which point that out.
I don't see a problem to be fixed. If you don't like such geeklists, just ignore them.

I am not against the discussion about content quality on BGG, but I like to read about here. If I have to read about it on another website this makes me sad.

Dan (just my 2 cents)





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Isaac Citrom
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I tend to agree with everything you said, Dan. I find BGG really useful, especially the reviews by other players.

That said, his article seems to me quite specious. I have never had to wade through GeekLists in order to get to a review or a session report. I very simply click on the "Review" or "Session" link for a game. Without BGG actually reading my mind via Internet Explorer, I can't imagine a simpler way of accomplishing the same thing.

Over and above this, I love GeekLists. Yeah, some of them don't interest me just like many forum threads don't interest me. So, I skip over them just like I do with articles in my local newspaper that do not interest me or dishes on a menu I do not care for.

I think Scott has a point such that if the ratio of information--in any format--that interests me is far outweighed by information that does not iterest me, I may come to the conclusion that BGG is not worth my time. I have not at all come to that conclusion as of yet, nor has the thought even entered my mind.

I'll now take a closer look at BGN to see what Scott is so enamoured with. I really like BGG for the wealth and breadth of information about games in various media. I like a lot that there are many reviews, session reports, files, and especially photographs of each game.

As for the fora, in my experience to date, the only real way to weed out the nonsense is to regulate and moderate the thread contents. I have found that the stricter the moderation the less interesting are the threads that are left over. Likewise, no moderation at all I have found leads to a lot of nonsense and offensive material. I like just a little moderation that weeds out the obviously offensive and profoundly irrelavent. However, I have not noticed or felt much at all of offensive or irrelavent material on BGG. I'm not sure what Scott is talking about.

I sense there may be something else under the covers here. Other than that, from his letter it might seem he could use a book like "Windows for Dummies" or some similar title. I am being half facetious at least. I don't know Scott and I am sure he is no idiot. But, his GeekList issue is more than just a little contrived.

 
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Mikko Saari
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Then again, I think finding useful information on GeekLists is fairly hard on popular games. Separating the informative and funny GeekLists somehow could be useful.

I found Scott's column quite reasonable and friendly.
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CHAPEL
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I wouldn't worry what the 20 or so paying members of BGN have to say about BGG. They are a hugely tiny minority voice that mostly think that something is missing from the "good old days". Even though I think that is selective memory at best by those who think there was some "glory days"of bgg. BGG still has the same level of information it "always" has, and is hand over fist over what you get at BGN.

BGN is great for getting news on upcoming releases. And that's what I read it for, but as for the columnists, I hardly ever even read those. As usually they are a bit on the dull side. IMHO. For me getting the same perspective from the same six or seven active writers on BGN just doesn't make a clear picture.

Most of those writers are close friends with each other, and value each others opinions over everyone else. I can understand that, as I value my game groups opinions pretty high. But I think it's makes an artificial microcosm when it comes to creating the perception that they speak for the gaming community as a whole.

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Lajos
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MWChapel wrote:
BGN is great for getting news on upcoming releases. And that's what I read it for, but as for the columnists, I hardly ever even read those. As usually they are a bit on the dull side.

I agree. BGN is a great news service, but the rest of it is not particularly interesting. (Except for B2P of course!)
 
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Dave Lartigue
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BGG is, to me, like a good boardgame. It's interesting, it's entertaining, and it's fun.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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goodsound wrote:
Between the lines and also more explicit I can learn that Scott Temper doesn't like BGG anymore.
I feel sorry for Aldie who is doing a great job. He and BGG does not deserve to be criticised that negative.


What was so negative about it? He offered his opinion and the resaons for his opinion in a fairly balanced way. Like Mikko, I found the article to be reasonable and friendly. I personally have never found GeekLists to be useful as a way of finding information about a game, and so don't mourn their dilution. I would agree that, in general, the signal-to-noise ratio is decreasing here, but I still find the site enjoyable, useful and will continue to support it in the future. I would, however, like to see the trend reversed.
 
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Chaddyboy
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Heck, if BGG was just a big information database, I probably wouldn't spend any time here! While all the information is the meat of the site, it's the message boards and the Geeklists that keep me sticking around.
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Dan Rosewater
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Joe Casadonte wrote:
What was so negative about it?

Emphasizing on a bad relationship between useful information and pointless stuff (white noise example). BGG is not only a database but also a community. And like in every social community there are some that contribute useful things and others don't. It's not a development BGG (Aldie) is to blame for.
Joe Casadonte wrote:

He offered his opinion and the resaons for his opinion in a fairly balanced way. Like Mikko, I found the article to be reasonable and friendly.

I am sure Scott had best intentions trying to motivate Aldie to make BGG a better website the way Scott thinks BGG should be.
It's not the words which I consider that unfriendly it is the fact that this rant was published on BGN instead of here on BGG.
 
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Scott Alden
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I didn't find the post too negative. Scott is a friend and his criticism is very constructive.

One of the biggest problems we've had over the years is creating structure for all of the "stuff."

I think we've got it down pretty good, but once you fix something - something else pops up.
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CHAPEL
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Aldie wrote:
I didn't find the post too negative. Scott is a friend and his criticism is very constructive.

One of the biggest problems we've had over the years is creating structure for all of the "stuff."

I think we've got it down pretty good, but once you fix something - something else pops up.


I think you're doing an awesome job! The site has so much more to offer today since it's early beginnings. Nothing beats it.

I think if you did a moderated "breaking news" section where you gave some GG for each news item, I bet you will find it far exceeds even that of BGN today.
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Rick Holzgrafe
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I have no comment to make about the BGN article -- I haven't read it -- but I'll say that I find BGG to be hugely useful. It is the very foundation of my family's gaming activity. An experienced gamer once visited our home, looked over our game collection, and commented that we'd done a really good job of acquiring top-quality games... but it was easy. We just had to read BGG to know what to buy.

It's true that the signal-to-noise ratio is poor, but this is true on any site or forum where the public can make essentially unmoderated contributions. BGG is organized in a way that makes it possible -- and once you know how, not too difficult -- to mine it for the gems. It just takes a while to learn your way around.

Mad props to Aldie, not just for creating and hosting the site, but for his continuing work (and that of all the other moderators) to keep it organized and accessible. Obviously improvements can always be made, but you guys are doing a great job.
 
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Alexius Exfalso
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It didn't strike me as particularly negative, either.

This quote, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head:

Quote:
If I had to take a stab at it, I would guess that these people want to contribute something to BGG, but they don’t have anything original, game-related, to say. They want people to pay attention to them, or maybe they just want “thumbs up’s”. So they post anything, not realizing that it is diluting the value of the site.


Yes, it is a community as well as a database of stuff on games; however, maybe it would be as well to acknowledge that a surfeit of frat boy high jinks, innuendo and spite makes the site look lame and do something about it. Easy enough - if it is confined the off-topic areas, everybody is happy (or as happy as is possible).

Except the spite, of course, which should be jumped on from a great height and stamped on til it stops squeaking.

Here's an emoticon the sweeten that: meeple
 
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Chaddyboy
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Quote:
If I had to take a stab at it, I would guess that these people want to contribute something to BGG, but they don’t have anything original, game-related, to say. They want people to pay attention to them, or maybe they just want “thumbs up’s”. So they post anything, not realizing that it is diluting the value of the site.


Or, perhaps those people just like having fun?
 
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Alexius Exfalso
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Quote:
Or, perhaps those people just like having fun?


Dare say they do. So what objection would there be to their having that kind of fun on a certain part of the board, retaining the option to have another kind of fun on the main bit?

I'm into Wittgenstein, me: talking about Wittgenstein is one kind of fun I dig. However, if I were to interject my commentary on the Tractatus Logico Philosphicus into the main body of the board I would be deemed a collossal bore, and rightly so. On the other hand, if I were to post it to the BGG Twentieth Century Philosophy forum, I would be beyond rebuke.

Likewise running gags about men touching other men's bottoms. Except you can't take an MA in that.

Is there any reason why BGG can't be like a party in a great big house, each of its many rooms having a different mood? Beer keg in the kitchen, subdued lighting and ambiant jazz in the living room, cocaine in the bathroom? Everyone is happy. Occasionally someone streaks through the chill out room with a traffic cone on their head and no trousers, but otherwise everyone gets to enjoy it in their own way without having someone else's idea of fun forced on them.

 
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Rick B
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I enjoy the "noise." Admittedly, most of what I create falls in that category. Generally though, the most useful game-related content is separate from the noise, and quite easy to find under files, reviews, sessions, rules, etc.

The great thing about this community is that if I have a specific game-related question and am unable to find an answer, I can post my question and someone will will provide a thoughtful answer, usually within minutes.
 
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Christophe Sancy
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Alexiusexfalso wrote:
Quote:
Or, perhaps those people just like having fun?


I'm into Wittgenstein



Wittgenstein or Wallenstein, that's the question.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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I have to add my agreement to Chad's (and others') comments regarding BGG over and above the purely informational database. I spend a lot of time here because it is enjoyable and fun. Otherwise, when I have an urge to buy something I would just pop in quickly, grab the information, and be on my way. Likewise, I pop into CNN.com to grab the headlines but I don't spend any time there.

More to the particular issue, personally I like the really bizarre GeekLists in addition to the more conventional ones. They are a hoot to read.

It is a personal character trait of mine that I really get ticked off by naysayers who gripe about successful people and endeavours; who feel obliged to point out every imperfection in gross detail. It is my firm belief that it is part of general human nature to despise that which outclasses oneself, as opposed to striving to raise oneself to a higher standard. I earnestly expect that the better job Aldie does and the better BGG becomes, the more negativity we shall see.

As another poster mentioned, I would have had more respect for Scott's opinion had he expressed it here in the form of a constructive suggestion.
 
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I like the way the writer says that the site has too much frivolity, but that we should love it or leave it -- after it's been changed back to the way he likes it.
 
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Dave Dawn
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Long live BGG. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Aldie!
 
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
Quote:
If I had to take a stab at it, I would guess that these people want to contribute something to BGG, but they don’t have anything original, game-related, to say. They want people to pay attention to them, or maybe they just want “thumbs up’s”. So they post anything, not realizing that it is diluting the value of the site.


Or, perhaps those people just like having fun?


/rant mode on

Does "having fun" include posting geeklists with 0 or 1 items on it in the hopes that the community will do the research for them? Because those p|$$ me off.

It's lazy, and the equivalent of the guy whose thought process goes "Somebody needs to do that - just not me" or "Hey, you should invent this thing I came up with. I'll give you partial credit and provide minimal input except to tell you when you're doing it wrong."

/rant mode off
 
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Alexiusexfalso wrote:
I'm into Wittgenstein, me: talking about Wittgenstein is one kind of fun I dig. However, if I were to interject my commentary on the Tractatus Logico Philosphicus into the main body of the board I would be deemed a collossal bore, and rightly so.

Not by me, you wouldn't. I think the Philosophische Untersüchungen are, however, generally more interesting source material for game-related quotes. (The concept of family resemblances, which is introduced by Wittgenstein in an attempt to define the concept of "game", is a very useful one, when talking about game classification, for example.) Let's have more Wittgenstein and less thrift store lists. Those are really boring.

The idea of having separate parts for game-related and off-topic geeklists is a good one by the way.

Back to Wittgenstein: please make a geeklist on the relevance of Wittgenstein (include quotes) to games and everything game related. You'll get my recommendation and I'm pretty sure there are some other geeks who would love to participate in such a tongue-in-cheek semi-philosophical discussion.
 
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Todd Derscheid
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Lajos wrote:
Alexiusexfalso wrote:
I'm into Wittgenstein, me: talking about Wittgenstein is one kind of fun I dig. However, if I were to interject my commentary on the Tractatus Logico Philosphicus into the main body of the board I would be deemed a collossal bore, and rightly so.

Not by me, you wouldn't. I think the Philosophische Untersüchungen are, however, generally more interesting source material for game-related quotes. (The concept of family resemblances, which is introduced by Wittgenstein in an attempt to define the concept of "game", is a very useful one, when talking about game classification, for example.) Let's have more Wittgenstein and less thrift store lists. Those are really boring.

The idea of having separate parts for game-related and off-topic geeklists is a good one by the way.

Back to Wittgenstein: please make a geeklist on the relevance of Wittgenstein (include quotes) to games and everything game related. You'll get my recommendation and I'm pretty sure there are some other geeks who would love to participate in such a tongue-in-cheek semi-philosophical discussion.


I think the creation of week-by-week thrift store finds helped condense this quite a bit. While I don't check them every week right now, I do occasionally geek out and read them all.

I am against the division of geeklists into on-topic and off-topic. 1. it's artificial, 2. I predict that approach would quickly self-select into boring lists and nightmarishly-wacky lists, 3. it reduces the cross-pollination effect and makes it tougher to switch between fun and serious modes.
 
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Alexander B.
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Lajos wrote:
..Back to Wittgenstein: please make a geeklist on the relevance of Wittgenstein (include quotes) to games and everything game related. You'll get my recommendation and I'm pretty sure there are some other geeks who would love to participate in such a tongue-in-cheek semi-philosophical discussion.


Another big Witty fan here! I believe he was never able to define "game" because he claimed that absolutely everything that can happen can be seen as a game! Whadda guy

Get that geeklist going!
 
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Alexius Exfalso
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Quote:
I am against the division of geeklists into on-topic and off-topic. 1. it's artificial, 2. I predict that approach would quickly self-select into boring lists and nightmarishly-wacky lists, 3. it reduces the cross-pollination effect and makes it tougher to switch between fun and serious modes.


Good point.

The alternative would be a gentleman's (and indeed gentlewoman's)agreement to respect the tenor of a thread or list. That would require the BGG mod team being willing to politely intervene should some 'a'hole start ranting on about Gödel on the 'I like cats, me' list.

I can't promise I won't.

Witters list....now, let me see.....
 
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