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Subject: What Sets BGG apart from all other sites: a thought which truly fascinates me rss

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Jonathan Hersey
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Just wanted to share a thought with all of you.

I was talking with someone the other day about BGG and it hit me that while BGG doesn't flaunt this or even openly talk about this, it does a superior job in creating an online community compared to Facebook, MySpace, or any other social networking site for that matter.

I am fascinated how the fact all of us like games creates such a strong common ground that we are able to overcome differences in our political and religious ideas, overcome ethnic/racial, cultural, and physical/location barriers. No matter who you are or where you live, are all brought together in mutual consent at this site.

Almost everyone on this site is very nice and helpful. You could virtually send a GM to anyone on this site and they would be more than happy to help you, answer your question, or just chat.

The fact that BGG relies on us, the members to both submit and approve all material on this site creates a strong sense of ownership for all of us that is absent from all other social networking sites. I want the quality of images, reviews, session reports, all of it to be of good quality and I have a say in that. Not to mention this is further affirmed with the thumbs up feature

BGG's virtual economy is solid and works well. It's not easy to come by GG and its exciting when you do get it. This further affirms working together to make BGG a better place.

It truly is a great place to connect with other people. But we don't just talk, many people actually seek to meet in person a game con or wherever. Another element other social networking sites don't accomplish as well.

So what's fascinating is that BGG isn't promoting they are a social networking site, it's a site to learn about board games. Yet, BGG beats the social networking sites at their own game.

Very fascinating indeed

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree?
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Richard S
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Jonathan68 wrote:


I am fascinated how the fact all of us like games creates such a strong common ground that we are able to overcome differences in our political and religious ideas, overcome ethnic/racial, cultural, and physical/location barriers. No matter who you are or where you live, are all brought together in mutual consent at this site.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree?


You haven't spent much time in RSP, have you?
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Jonathan Hersey
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thorndor wrote:
Jonathan68 wrote:


I am fascinated how the fact all of us like games creates such a strong common ground that we are able to overcome differences in our political and religious ideas, overcome ethnic/racial, cultural, and physical/location barriers. No matter who you are or where you live, are all brought together in mutual consent at this site.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree?


You haven't spent much time in RSP, have you?


haha Yeah you're right.

I was looking into thoughts on a recent forum that started out in the main forums but then got moved to RSP. Once it got to RSP things got ugly fast! So maybe RSP is BGG skeleton's in the closet if you will. But even some of the people who visciously engage in RSP are for the most part kind in the main parts of the site.
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We are united by a common geeky love. Many of us know what it is like to be rejected for our geekiness so it makes us value each other all the more.
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David Debien
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As an agnostic libertarian who believes in drug legalization and an end to the death penalty, there arent many places where I can feel a part of the group. BGG makes me feel like I actually belong to a group. Due to this, I avoid the RSP forum like the plague. I dont want to shit where I eat, if you get my meaning...
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Daniel
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Well, I don't care about RSP, just for the sunnier places on the geek, of which there are plenty.

And from my experiences I've made here so far, BGG is one of the best social, friendly and helpful communities I know. At least for me. Just like in real life, there are jerks. But they are outnumbered by friendly, kind and awesome people. Which makes it so wonderful.

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Paul Agapow
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You may think that I'm being a terrible smartarse, but that is not my intent. Anyway:

All those other sites? They say exactly the same things about themselves there.
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Gabe Alvaro
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The term "community" gets bandied about a lot, especially in my industry (scholarly publishing). It's really one of my pet peeves too. You can't just call any web site, forum, or blog, that is accessed by a more or less regular group of people a "community".

BGG, more than any other site I have participated in, does manage to create about as communal a community as you are going to see in the Web medium. As you state, there are a number of foundational keys to this: thumbs, GeekGold, forums, GeekLists, ratings, comments, etc. But the strongest, in my opinion, is quite simply the focus on users and attribution of user created content.

I believe that this is accomplished in very large part by the graphical design (which many often criticize) of how users are presented as avatars and how their contributions can be easily followed and tracked. And not so much for tracking others contributions, but simply for tracking one's own contributions.

It is absolutely amazing that I can click that little down-arrow below your name

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and interact with a user and their contributions in dozens of different ways. Is not a community about the myriad connections between its members and the fabric that is woven from the breadth and strength of those connections?
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casualgod wrote:
As an agnostic libertarian who believes in drug legalization and an end to the death penalty, there arent many places where I can feel a part of the group.


I live in San Francisco. You've just described nearly everyone I know. Weather's better too. Join us.
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cferejohn wrote:
I live in San Francisco.


I am so sorry to hear that. shake My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Winter in the northern Midwest is a sacrament.
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I guess, it is because the niche hobby we all share. Other "social networks" are about - anything. Everything. So - nothing. Everybody is babbling, giving silly comments to - something, and so on. And they don`t really depend on the submissions of a small amount of people. Facebook is there, if you participate or not. It doesn`t care at all about you as a person.

Here, we have a focus. And we know, that we are in a niche. Making this global niche main site a very important, valuable and vulnerable thing for us.

Thus we care.

I don`t know about other niche sites for - say, collecting polynesian stamps, but probably, it is the same there.

Plus, one more thing: Boardgamers are friendly people. They don`t share an interst like "Music by xy", but their hobby is: meeting people and have fun together.
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duchamp wrote:
Thus we care.

You've made an important point: we really care. About our hobby, but also about the place where we can find others to share our enthusiasm about it and and find other people to enjoy it together.
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Jonathan Hersey
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Engoduun wrote:
duchamp wrote:
Thus we care.

You've made an important point: we really care. About our hobby, but also about the place where we can find others to share our enthusiasm about it and and find other people to enjoy it together.


I agree; good point.

Comming back to the "Fascination" thing, board games could easily be percieved (and often are) as mere triviality. "just things" "toys", fill in the blank. But as has been pointed out, the underlying reason of why we like board games in the first place comes back to our enjoyment and love for others. When channeled through board games this not only becomes a powerful medium we can use within our own lives, but it also creates a powerful bond/connection with others who feel the same way.
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Jonathan68 wrote:
Engoduun wrote:
duchamp wrote:
Thus we care.

You've made an important point: we really care. About our hobby, but also about the place where we can find others to share our enthusiasm about it and and find other people to enjoy it together.


I agree; good point.

Comming back to the "Fascination" thing, board games could easily be percieved (and often are) as mere triviality. "just things" "toys", fill in the blank. But as has been pointed out, the underlying reason of why we like board games in the first place comes back to our enjoyment and love for others. When channeled through board games this not only becomes a powerful medium we can use within our own lives, but it also creates a powerful bond/connection with others who feel the same way.

Aye! Though I think it's not the games that are important, but the people with who we play, interact, talk and have a good time. We could do this without games, but the games give us focus, a starting point (especially with new / unknown people), and spawn creative interest.

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Jonathan Hersey
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Engoduun wrote:
Jonathan68 wrote:
Engoduun wrote:
duchamp wrote:
Thus we care.

You've made an important point: we really care. About our hobby, but also about the place where we can find others to share our enthusiasm about it and and find other people to enjoy it together.


I agree; good point.

Comming back to the "Fascination" thing, board games could easily be percieved (and often are) as mere triviality. "just things" "toys", fill in the blank. But as has been pointed out, the underlying reason of why we like board games in the first place comes back to our enjoyment and love for others. When channeled through board games this not only becomes a powerful medium we can use within our own lives, but it also creates a powerful bond/connection with others who feel the same way.

Aye! Though I think it's not the games that are important, but the people with who we play, interact, talk and have a good time. We could do this without games, but the games give us focus, a starting point (especially with new / unknown people), and spawn creative interest.



Absolutely. What really started getting me into games was the following thought process: when hanging out with new people, movies are non-intimidating and don't put people out of their comfort zones. However, games provide that same level of comfort, but allow much more interaction.

This very principle was put into practice last night. Met someone who was visiting our church Sunday. Invited him to board game night last night and he came. I got to talk with him for a couple of hours as well as introduce him to some of my other friends. He had a great time and will be comming back soon!
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Re: What PUTS BGG apart from all other sites: a thought which truly fascinates me
and then there's 'moi'! "yadda-yadda-yadda" whistle
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There's definitely more community here than in social networking sites, but the same is true for almost any given forum. The closeness of the community is similar to other special-interest forums I read.

Not to downplay how great BGG is This place is one of the more civil on the web.
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Jonathan68 wrote:
I was talking with someone the other day about BGG and it hit me that while BGG doesn't flaunt this or even openly talk about this, it does a superior job in creating an online community compared to Facebook, MySpace, or any other social networking site for that matter.


People on Facebook have nothing in common. People here have gaming in common.

Quote:
I am fascinated how the fact all of us like games creates such a strong common ground that we are able to overcome differences in our political and religious ideas, overcome ethnic/racial, cultural, and physical/location barriers.


I only manage to avoid hating about 30% of the entire user base by diligently, willfully, seriously, and scrupulously avoiding at all costs any discussion of political ideas. I am way, way, way too serious about politics, therefore it must remain completely separated from gaming to avoid a train wreck of epic proportions.

I don't call that a success. I call that avoiding failure.

Quote:
So what's fascinating is that BGG isn't promoting they are a social networking site, it's a site to learn about board games.


Because it isn't. Social networking is lame. Just as boring and pointless as standing on a street corner saying hello to passers by. BGG works because it is about something. Social networking is generally a failure because it is about nothing.
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Sorry to hear that. I also look around on F:AT sometimes and agree, that this might be even "nicer" because still m ore personal, because it is smaller. Maybe many of us here stayed already for a rather long time and remember the times, when this was "smaller", too. And try to keep the good civility upright.

And of course, the "assholes" only attack new users, so many of us "veterans" don`t see this issue.

BTW, you can always contact an admin, who will take care for problems like the one you mentioned. And he WILL care. Or post a thread in the BGG related forum about some nasty Geekmail you`ve got. Support is guaranteed.
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I've never engaged with traditional social networking sites so my opinions may be invalid but I see two major distinctions -

d10-1 Most social networking sites are about status and driven by 'look at me' motives. The Geek is driven by our love of a common hobby and that gives us something to talk about rather than ourselves.

d10-2 The majority of people on the Geek are educated (and I don't mean that in a toffee way). This may be a contentious issue but our hobby by its very nature requires a certain level of 'work' and commitment and relies on literacy skills and social interaction.

As such we are more likely to be thoughtful and generally respectful individuals. Of course exceptions always abound.

This is a stark contrast to social networking sites where any buffoon with the ability to type in a username and password can jump online and pick a fight or post inane comments for the purpose of trying to attract some attention.
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JonJacob wrote:
I mainly post on F:AT now, which I know is disliked by a lot of people here but it IS more of a community. I know pretty much every poster there because it is small enough to be a community.

I've visited F:AT occasionally and often find that there is negativity (sometimes seeming rather aggressive to me) there, but it's directed outward (at fans of other game genres, who aren't members of F:AT, especially eurogames and abstract strategy games) rather than at each other.

Perhaps the more narrow a niche a community defines itself by, the easier it is for its members to agree and get along. (Though maybe not, thinking of plenty of counterexamples, heh...)

I do wonder, though, at the idea that a group must be small for it to be a real "community". I guess it's just a question of definition (there are many definitions of "community" - it sounds like you're using it more in a sense of "close-knit group of friends" or "virtual family" or some such, as I'd describe it), so please don't take this as nitpicking or disputing, but merely as thinking out loud about what "community" might be. As I've always understood it, "community" is defined by stuff like:

* Shared sense of identity (we all think of ourselves as gamers)
* Conscious choice to identify as part of the group
* Shared experiences and values (enjoying gaming, remembering our first "real" game, our first con, similar interests in science fiction or RPGs or history, similar experiences getting friends or SOs interested in playing games with us, etc)
* Common background knowledge and jargon (meeples, jokes like "wood for sheep", labels like "euro"/"AT"/"wargame", etc)
* Social connections with some other members of the group
* A shared language (though that can be fuzzy for large geographically dispersed communities, e.g. "the Christian community")
* Shared traditions (the fun of opening a new game, teaching and playing it; too many unplayed games on the shelf; going to cons; BGG Secret Santa; etc)

Whether the size of the group is small or large, and whether all its members know each other or not, has nothing to do with whether it's a "community", for me. Most examples of "community" as I see it used don't assume it's a small group where everyone knows everyone. Many commonly perceived "communities" consist of millions of people, e.g. "the gaming community", "the Christian community", "the gay community", "the Hispanic community", "the Esperanto-speaking community", "the astronomy community", "the science fiction community", whatever. To me, "community" can be much bigger than a group of people small enough that they all know each other. When I go to a gaming con, I normally don't know the majority of the people there, yet it seems fair to say we're all part of "the gaming community", and our shared interest in gaming and sense of identity as part of that community often makes it easier to make new friends, as opposed to meeting random strangers on the street and trying to find something in common to enjoy spending time together.

Of course the idea of a "community" is also a bit of an illusion, in the sense that the borders are always fuzzy, and just because people are in the same community doesn't guarantee they will feel much in common or even be able to get along. But as a practical concept, "community" works. All else being equal, I find myself more comfortable and able to easily enjoy time with and get to know people who consider themselves to be boardgamers, or Esperantists, or vegans, for example, than with people who consider themselves to be in communities that I feel no particular connection to.

Quote:
Why do I still frequent BGG?

It's the best fucking data base for BG's I've ever seen and that is a cool and usefull feature, there are some people here I like too. Plus, I pay my dues, I deserve a voice, thumbed or not.

But it is hardly the best community on the web. That's some heavy competition.

Yes indeed. BGG is a fantastic site with an incredible amount of useful data about boardgames. Yet as someone commented earlier, pretty much every online community perceives itself to be special. And for the person saying that, it's true! I have no doubt that if I were passionately interested in stamp collecting or Christian environmentalist politics or learning French or whatever, I could find websites where I'd form an attachment and spend a lot of my time and they might have become my "default online community" that feels special to me. As it happens, BGG fulfills that role for me - my obsessive gaming interest coincides well with what BGG has to offer.

It is perhaps somewhat analogous to the notion that people feel like their own SO/children/friends etc are special and the best in the world (at least, when they are satisfied with the relationships), even though they know logically that of course that's not true.

Still, I've found that there is a lot of technical support here at BGG which seems to actively encourage and support a positive community feeling, various technical features which I often find myself missing at other sites. (Thumbs, subscriptions, full Unicode support, individual dedicated game forums, geekgold, etc etc.) In that sense, BGG is a bit special, and I admire what Aldie's created from that "sociological engineering" point of view.
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duchamp wrote:
They don`t share an interst like "Music by xy", but their hobby is: meeting people and have fun together.


I consider that an improtant point. Why do we like to play boardgames? Isn't an important aspect that we like social interaction? Don't we prefer multiplayer games over solo play?
So what internet site do you get for people who jointly have a socializing hobby?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
GeekDo BGG

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I think most of the points have been mentioned, we care, we have something in common, this site supports quality contributions. Yes, there is always some bickering and the ocasional trolling, but all in all we keep a civil tounge around here.

Why hasn´t somebody mentioned the maturity and intelligence of the users, something which is a rare thing in the world wide web.
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Cate108 wrote:
Winter in the northern Midwest is a sacrament.


Funny, because I have a few different words for the winter in New England. A couple of them do start with S, tho
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I think a very valid underlying thought has been presented here

russ wrote:
Yes indeed. BGG is a fantastic site with an incredible amount of useful data about boardgames. Yet as someone commented earlier, pretty much every online community perceives itself to be special. And for the person saying that, it's true! I have no doubt that if I were passionately interested in stamp collecting or Christian environmentalist politics or learning French or whatever, I could find websites where I'd form an attachment and spend a lot of my time and they might have become my "default online community" that feels special to me. As it happens, BGG fulfills that role for me - my obsessive gaming interest coincides well with what BGG has to offer.

It is perhaps somewhat analogous to the notion that people feel like their own SO/children/friends etc are special and the best in the world (at least, when they are satisfied with the relationships), even though they know logically that of course that's not true.



and also

JonJacob wrote:
You have a different experience then me.

My first post was attacked in rather rude fashion.

Within a week of sigining up I received a Private Mail, my first... I was excited, clicked on it and it was some dude making fun of me for liking games that he didn't like.

I constantly found trolls hanging around the games I liked just waiting to make fun of me.. did they subscribe or something? I don't even know.

I met some nice people too but it was kind of like life. Assholes and good people no different proportion then anywhere else. Just another internet site (I don't think of it as being a community though, it's far too large and unwieldly for that).

I mainly post on F:AT now, which I know is disliked by a lot of people here but it IS more of a community. I know pretty much every poster there because it is small enough to be a community.


While my personal perception has lead me to believe that the inherent nature of BGG encourages and facilitates a community atmosphere more so than other sites, I cannot discredit nor argue against someone who feels different. A common thought that keeps emerging here is our "experience" in these different sites.

I have had an account on Facebook for some time now and I’ve always felt that like everything I was a part of on there: the various “groups”, the competitive online games, wall posts and IM, all of it felt superfluous to me. This has now especially been ingrained now that I have the BGG community to compare it to. However, that is by and large my experience of both Facebook and BGG. I know people who love Facebook, who feel like they really connect with people there and are accepted and loved. That’s great they feel that way and I can’t discredit that.

Jake, that’s unfortunate you were harassed by jerks on this site. I don’t blame you for your perspective. Furthermore I think it’s great you like F:AT more than BGG and feel a part of that community.

While having a strong sense of community can happen anywhere, I think my main point was that BGG has some inherent differences that encourage community more than anything else I have “experienced.” I won’t reiterate these points a whole lot, but the fact that by and large all of us have made BGG what it is makes a huge difference.

All the same: “to each his own” and its of no big deal to me if others disagree.
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