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Subject: Several BGG issues with suggested fixes rss

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Daniel Karp
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First, I love Boardgamegeek, and, as I've said before, even if no further improvements were made to it, I'm sure it would remain my favorite web site. Because I love it so much, though, I'm always wanting it to be even better (and it seems that it always is becoming better!). Anyway, I've noticed some issues, and I thought I'd mention them here, along with suggested ways to fix them. I'm hoping to hear other people's ideas on these as well.

1. The best discussions sometimes happen in places that are hard to find again.

I'm referring to all of the game-specific discussions in the journals. I presume that when we go over to the forum system, this problem will persist to a degree, but I don't know the details of the new system. Anyway, some exmples: An interesting discussion about the forthcoming version of Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation has been going on in the Journals today. The other day, there was another interesting discussion comparing Runebound to Return of the Heroes. But you can't find these discussions on the individual games pages--they will probably scroll off the front pages never to be seen again. I'm not suggesting that they were in the wrong place to begin with--I think these conversation belong in the main forum. But it would be nice if they were linked to the game pages as well.

My proposal: game labels. For those of you who use Gmail, this should be a familiar concept. Labels are sort of like folders, but instead of having each item in only one place, you can have it in as many places as necessary. For example, The Runebound/ Return of the Heroes discussion could have been in the Journals, and also had a label for each game, so that it shows up on the game pages as well. There would need to be a mechanism to prevent abuse, and people would have to be sensible about using them--if you had a discussion about "the best War game" you couldn't have it linked to them all. But this would allow people to have the interesting discussions where they are most useful, and still have them appear on the appropriate game pages when it is done.

2. Not enough people rate things.

It is pretty clear to me that people just aren't rating items. Even pictures get many views with very few ratings. It is only when a picture gets into the rankings that people then rate it in larger numbers, and then it may only be those who care about the rankings doing the rating. This problem will only get worse, I suspect, as more items become rateable, in order to make the content of BGG more useful.

for the purposes of this discussion, I would like to ask people to assume that rating is a good thing. I don't want this to devolve into "why we shouldn't have ratings." Aldie and Derk have decided that they want them and that won't change. I'm just trying to find ways to make sure the ratings are as useful as possible, and for that, more people will have to rate items.

The problem is that there is a disincentive to rate items (the page has to reload, perhaps slowly, depending on your computer), and no incentive at all beyond being an anonymous good citizen. We need some incentive to rate items beyond just a general desire to help other people, since that clearly has not worked. I have a couple of ideas on this, but would love to hear others.

Idea #1: Geekcents. I mentioned this once before without getting much of a reaction but I still think it is a good idea. If users could get a very small quantity of geekgold for rating an item--1/100 or even 1/1000 (although that might be too small) of a geekgold, they would do it, I think. It would have to be a small enough amount so as not to wreck the geekgold economy, and large enough to get people to do it. I don't think it would take much at all, and I think that honest rating can provide as much benefit to BGG as uploading pictures.

Idea #2: Karma. Some sort of Karma system, based on how many items someone rates, perhaps tied to how many items they view, maybe visible along with the avatar and badge. I have no idea how this would work. All I'm looking for is some way to give people credit for doing something good for the other users.

So, any opinions? Please, no discussions of whether the idea of ranking items is good or bad--that is another issue entirely, and has already been discussed elsewhere.

One more thing: For those who liked the "Ask the Geek" column, well, we haven't actually gotten any new questions. If you send in questions, I can promise funnier answers--that was the number one suggestion from the focus group of one I consulted.
 
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Daniel Karp
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I forgot to mention one thing: Micro geekgold payments for rating items could solve another problem. Geekgold is kind of hard to get. This in itself is not a problem, but it leads to people who want geekgold trying to get it in the easiest way. Since the easiest way for many people to get geekgold is by submitting pictures, I'm getting the sense that there has been a glut of pictures, not all of them so useful. Sure, rating will eventually bring the best pictures to the top (assuming people rate them), and editors can weed out the worst of them, but it would be better if these people were doing something more useful for their gold. Also, since a lot of the people who want geekgold are new users, they are likely to have the most popular games, which only increases the problem of more pictures of dubious value coming in. Micro geekgold payments could solve this problem while making the existing (and incoming) pictures more useful, since they will be rated by more users. It could also be the case that users could get more value for rating items which haven't been rated yet by many people, so that it is not just the popular items getting rated by tons of people.
 
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Josh Goodall
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well....
First, let me say I admire your desire to help make the site better, and I think you bring up some valid points.

However, I would like to put in my about GeekCents.... NO!! Sure GG is hard to get, but that's what makes it so rewarding to get. Also, just have more stringent acceptance requirements for submissions, and you will see the quality of material rise. Everyone is capable of submitting quality, as long as that's what's required.

As far as GC for ratings, uh, no. Otherwise I would have an uberbadge today just for going to the "View all GeekLists" and hitting every rating (since my computer is fast). Not everyone even thinks we should have ratings on lists and pics, and giving gold for rating would hurt the integrity of the ratings.
 
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Brian Nelson
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I think these suggestions are right on the money (or bag as it were). Given the meta discussions going on about the proliferation of useless content in a mad dash to acquire gg for avatars, badges, etc. I think encouraging more ratings via micropayments might help aleviate the problem.

I used to wonder if just giving up gg altogether might not be the best idea and let users just have an avatar. The avatars are extremely useful in identifying geeks you know/respect when you're scanning down a thread. I wondered if their usefulness was greater than the cost of database cruft (I must admit I've submitted a couple of stinky session reports just for the gold zombie ... but I'm reformed now). However, I think if the rating system is here to stay then encouraging more of it via micropayments would be a good start.

As far as trades popping up in the journals I think this just indicates that the user base wants greater visability for the trade features, which frankly are somewhat buried here. Perhaps a "Trade" tab similar to the "Market" tab?
 
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Daniel Karp
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Quote:
Sure GG is hard to get, but that's what makes it so rewarding to get. Also, just have more stringent acceptance requirements for submissions, and you will see the quality of material rise.


Thanks for your comment. The problem, as I said, is not the gg is hard to get, but rather that the easiest way to get it is with pictures. And putting more stringent acceptance requirements only increases the burden on the moderators.

Quote:
Otherwise I would have an uberbadge today just for going to the "View all GeekLists" and hitting every rating (since my computer is fast). Not everyone even thinks we should have ratings on lists and pics, and giving gold for rating would hurt the integrity of the ratings.


That problem could be avoided by adjusting the value in geekcents of a rating. At some point, it would be worthless (1/10000 of a geekgold, for example). At the otehr end, it would be too valuable. We'd need to find the right spot in between, and possibly adjust the payoff depending on the number of ratings that have been made on an item already. I also argue that giving gold would HELP the integrity of the ratings, not hurt it. Most of the poeple rating items (for pictures, in particular) now have a stake in the ranking system, I suspect. They are the same people most likely to manipulate ratings. By encouraging everyday geeks to rate items with this small incentive, I think you would get far more honest ratings in general.
 
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Randy Cox
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I don't have a problem with the geekcents idea--in fact, anything to encourage rating of EVERYTHING is a good idea. However, I'd hope that the geekcents were retroactive. Hell, I've probably rated nearly 1000 games, plenty of pictures and geeklists, and several articles and responses. That could add up to, what, 12 gg? So, on second thought, we might need to push the ratings with geekdimes instead.

I disagree that pictures are the easiest way to earn geekgold. Session Reports are, by far, the easiest way. How hard is it to type the following:

Quote:
Tonight, we played a rousing game of Timbuktu. Ronnie got a headache and just randomly moved pieces throughout the game. Roger kept putting his camels on the spaces WITH his commodities because he was thinking backwards. The rest all racked their brains and tried to avoid landmines at all costs, without regard to what commodities would be stolen there.

Final scores: Randy 100, Rachel 95, Roger 80, Ralph 74, Ronnie 62.
 
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Daniel Karp
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Thanks for the comment, Randy. You are right--Session reports are also an easy way to get geekgold.

I see no reason for this to be retroactive--after all, geekgold wasn't retroactive to pictures, reviews, and session reports when it was first introduced, and I suspect that it would be quite a headache to do it that way. Also, I wouldn't favor geekcents for rating games. My purpose in the geekcents is to provide an incentive for people to rate things they wouldn't otherwise rate; people seem inclined to rate games anyway. Besides, I don't want to encourage people to arbitrarily rate games they haven't played. With the other items (pictures, lists), you are reviewing something that you are looking at--not much risk of people rating arbitrarily there.

One thing I have noticed: Rating Geeklists is MUCH faster than rating pictures. I don't know anything about the code, but if the geeklist rating code could be applied to picture pages, that alone might encourage people to rate pictures more often.
 
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Kyle Sasser
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To fix the pictures, there needs to be an easy way to get BACK to the picture index. As in either automatically or through a button. Personally, I would prefer to be dumped back to the Gallery Index than have to click again.
 
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Randy Cox
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Doesn't the "Back" button on the browser work. That's how I usually navigate everything on the 'Geek (back two pages after most every entry screen).
 
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A L D A R O N
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Lables -> Tags?
Quote:
My proposal: game labels.

Are these now implemented? At least for lists?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekjournal.php3?action=viewcom...
 
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Daniel Karp
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I just noticed the tags on geeklists a few minutes ago. This is a great idea--I wish I had thought of implimenting it--but it's not what I was talking about. Geeklists are already linked to the games of interest--they appear on their pages. What I'm talking about is unobtrusively linking journals to one or more games, much like geeklists, but with the emphasis on the discussion, not the list of games itself. In fact, I would like to erase the distinction between articles (on game pages) and journal (or forum) discussions. Articles would appear on the forum, and, if there are related to one or more games, would appear on the game page(s) as well.
 
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