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Subject: Changing SNR via GeekList Classification --> transferred from GeekList rss

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Jordan Pratt
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Note: SNR == Signal to Noise Ratio

This thread is a conversion of the List Comments of this GeekList:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

I've transferred all List Comments over here, and hope that further discussion can continue in a more appropriate venue.

Thanks.
 
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NOTE: I had to edit because I had skipped the first 4 comments - forgot that the original GeekList posting had been thread-capped! Sorry!

List Comment #1
blunxy wrote:
A fairly important question: how many categories before we hit the "too many" mark? Anyone familiar with user interfaces out there who can address this?


List Comment #2
Chris R wrote:
Trades
Advice (what should I buy, I suggest these, overrated)
Data (calculated averages based on age and height of players of these games after accounting for the exponential growth of ratings)
Other (games that fit up your nose)


List Comment #3
sos1 wrote:
Ultimately, I only want two categories: lists I'm interested in and lists I'm not interested in. So what I'd really like is a way for me to drag lists into one of those two tabs myself!


List Comment #4
slapdash wrote:
i think there should be two major categories personally.

1. lists that help you find other related games

2. entertainment/trade lists

I havent been around long enough to really know what the lists were designed for, but to me, it seems that lists were designed to allow people to find games somehow related to other games those people like.

For example, this list will do nothing for someone looking for a game related to any of the games in the list because the games are in this list because of the title only.

On the other hand, if someone likes Carcassonne because it is a fun, light, 2 player game, there are numerous lists that can be a crossreference to carcassonne for finding other related games.


List Comment #5
blunxy wrote:
Chris R wrote:
....Other (games that fit up your nose)

I like where you're going with most of your categories, Chris, but I would worry that the Other category would be too much of a catch-all as it stands.



List Comment #6
blunxy wrote:
The suggestions given so far emphasize the need for some sort of classification system - it is easy to see that we all come here for our own reasons. Some use the Geek in a practical fashion, others for entertainment purposes. We all fill the spectrum in our own unique location. As time goes by, our position in the spectrum may shift, and shift again.

We need a system that is flexible enough to accommodate this spectrum, but not so complex that it is impossible to use or implement.
 
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List Comment #7
divisionbyzorro wrote:
Personally, I see no restrictions on what a list is, and I think it's rather snobbish of any member of the geek to want to restrict what lists are valid and aren't. So I really like this idea; this way members of the 'geek can only read lists that they would find interesting and will stop wasting my time and the author's time by posting useless comments complaining about how useless the Geeklist they just read is.

I would suggest a max of four categories:

a) Geeklists made to advise. A list that grouped two-player games with similar mechanics together might go here. This is a place for geeklists that, while additional input is accepted or even perhaps valued, the list is completely valid by itself without any more items being added (more on that in category c).

b) Geeklists made to entertain. Obviously, this would include intentionally humourous lists and puzzle lists. Less obviously, this would need to include lists along the lines of "We played these games last week!" or "I got these games at a garage sale last week!"

c) Geeklists made to inquire (about other games). The way this differs from the first category is that the author of this list does not know the answer to the topic of the list. This would include lists such as "What is a good 2-player card game?" or "Which of these games should I buy?"

d) Meta-lists. This would include lists where the games listed have no bearing on the content of the list, but the purpose of the list is to inform and not to entertain. This list is a good example, and obviously the traditional list that lists other lists would go here too.

Obviously, these are broad categories, but I don't think you should get too specific. I think a few, broad categories is the best way to go. But that's just one geek's humble opinion; ultimately, it's up to Aldie, isn't it.
 
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List Comment #8
Gecko23 wrote:
NOTE 2 says it all doesn't it?

If geeklists were categorized, then everyone would argue about the categories. And then argue about whether or not a list fit a category. And then argue about people arguing about lists and categories. And then....come to think of it, it'd be just like it is now, just with a lot more tabs.
 
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List Comment #9
blunxy wrote:
divisionbyzorro wrote:
...b) Geeklists made to entertain.... ...Less obviously, this would need to include lists along the lines of "We played these games last week!" or "I got these games at a garage sale last week!"

Though I strongly feel that the number of categories needs to be kept down, I think this is one location where a split is needed: the main thrust of the joke/puzzle lists is typically to provide the reader with an amusing (and sometimes memorably so) few minutes where they can laugh or scratch their noggin a bit. The other lists you mention are to my mind very blog-y in nature, and should probably be in their own category, as I mentioned in item #4.

Also, I wonder whether it might be helpful to combine parts of your a) and c) into a "giving/asking for advice" section? (Yet again flogging the newspaper analogy to death, this would be similar to a Dear Abby column.)
 
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List Comment #10
dkeisen wrote:
Don't know what category it is, but something along the lines of "Games Played at Event XYZ." I organize some largish public gaming events and like to give a listing here so those who missed it know what is going on and those considering coming to one of these events has an idea of what is being played.
 
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List Comment #11
blunxy wrote:
Gecko23 wrote:
...it'd be just like it is now, just with a lot more tabs

I agree tabs would not be the way to go, considering their potential number. Perhaps a sort of personalized filter that is part of your profile, so that you could check the categories of GeekLists you wish to see?


Your main point (thought I should get around to that eventually!) about bickering over categories is quite valid as well. I think with a well-considered list of categories, the ability to have a list belong to multiple categories, and some self-policing (Geeks are by and large a fine slice of humanity), it *might* not be a huge issue.

Of course, one question would be "is it worth the effort?". I honestly don't know. But I'm glad people are talking about it.
 
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List Comment #12
Odat wrote:
Frankly, I think if there was a category for "Which of these games should I buy" and a category for "Here are some games that I bought", we'd be about 92.689% of the way to geeklist nirvana.

Although arguably there is already a category for "Here are some games that I bought"
 
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Comments #13,14,15, and 16 have been snipped, as they address issues in another part of the GeekList.
 
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List Comment #17
galfridus wrote:
I like the idea of using tags -- people can use as many as they like, and over time they will tend to converge. Flickr has a great setup where tags are presented visually with more-used ones emphasized, here:

http://flickr.com/photos/tags/
 
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List Comment #18
elywilson wrote:
thumbsdown I don't think categorizing geeklists is worth the trip. My reasons include those above, as well as a desire to keep things simple and flexible. There are several good suggestions above for making it easier to find the geeklists you want.

The best suggestion I can think of for curbing the glut of geeklists is to give each member an allowance of, say, 3-5 geeklists. Geeklists that achieve a certain rating wouldn't count toward your allowance. If you want to make another list but you're over your quota, you just have to delete one.
 
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List Comment #19
mrskeletor wrote:
I vote leave things as they are.
I enjoy reading recommendation lists as well as "Look what I brought" lists.
If you are getting that annoyed with them maybe you should take a few weeks off from the site 'till the magic comes back?
 
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List comments #20 and 21 have been snipped. (They deal with the title of the original GeekList.)
 
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List Comment #22
blunxy wrote:
I'm very grateful for all the feedback this is getting...it's certainly getting my mind working in odd ways.

------------------

Just to make sure we're all visualizing something similar here, I've hacked together how I've imagined a categorization system (if such a thing were ever to be implemented) would look like:

PROFILE --> http://www.ekneads.ca/bgg/profile.htm

The addition to this page is at the bottom of the right hand side of the main page. Naturally, the given categories are nowhere near finalized, nor is the formatting.

Notice that users have the option to have no filters whatsoever; this would be the default, so that you wouldn't need to worry about it if you didn't want to.

Also notice that the number of options if mercifully small - I would think that 7 + 1 for "show everything" would be about the comfort limit.


CREATE(&EDIT) GEEKLIST --> http://www.ekneads.ca/bgg/create.htm

Again, notice the addition of a category section here. Users would have the option of choosing None of the Above, but such lists would not show up if another user has certain filters on. Which leads to...


THE MAIN PAGE --> http://www.ekneads.ca/bgg/index.htm

*If* a user has chosen the "show me everything" button in their profile, the users wouldn't see the Filtered tab at all - the page would look exactly like it does now.

If there *are* filters in place, then a FILTERED tab will appear as shown, and only those lists that fit those category filters would appear in this tab. All other tabs would be exactly as they are now.

-------------

Comments:

> I have to repeat that I am not finding fault with certain types of lists. But it's a fact that our needs as individual Geeks morph over time: lists that a fledgling Geek reads greedily when they first come here often no longer hold interest as they develop as a gamer; others that they skimmed over (or were confused as hell by!) when they first arrived here become fascinating. Am I mistaken in believing this?

> I fully understand that there are those who want to relax and browse through it all. The system proposed will not change your ability to do this at all - in fact, you would notice no change in the Geek whatsoever, except for the fact that you have a few more checkboxes on a few pages which you can safely ignore.

But for me, browsing is much more enjoyable when it's done in a library-like setting, where you can browse through shelves of books that all share a common category. I'm still browsing, mind you - it's just that I can take my time looking through the History section and skip the Industrial Design shelves if I want to.

Potential Hitch #1: what should the categories be? Well, that's what I'm trying to address here.

Potential Hitch #2: who makes the final decision as to what the categories will be? Obviously, the HeadGeeks - but we can help them make a decision by having discussions like we are here.

There are obviously other issues (what if people don't categorize the GLists they make? or do so "improperly"? what is "improperly"? won't tags accomplish the same end? would Aldie be even willing to implement such a system? is all of this really necessary?), but I need to sleep.

If you've gotten this far, I thank you for taking the time to do so. Geek on.
 
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List Comment #23
The Maverick wrote:
Quote:
i think there should be two major categories personally.

1. lists that help you find other related games

2. entertainment/trade lists

GREAT SUGGESTION!

Although I would phrase the difference as "lists about games" and "lists not about games"...

Being able to view only the lists about games would help restore some of the simple usefulness which attracted me to the site in the first place.
 
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List Comment #24
gamesbook wrote:
Quote:
I like the idea of using tags -- people can use as many as they like, and over time they will tend to converge. Flickr has a great setup where tags are presented visually with more-used ones emphasized, here:
http://flickr.com/photos/tags/

One user on the Flickr site wrote that Flickr:

1* does one thing and does it well
2* provides a clean and simple UI
3* has clear and helpful documentation
4* exposes core functionality with a documented API
5* account sign up is brain-dead simple
6* makes extensive and intuitive use of RSS
7* like http://del.icio.us/ [see this too!], uses tags to help organize
8* doesn't spam me with graphical/animated/flash ads or pop ups

I think that BGG does well in most of these categories too... (not sure about 4 or 3?) but the use of tags is definitely an area that can help with finding lists you want to read. I'm not sure that they are really being used effectively as a site navigation tool yet, though; we still just see a date-based set of lists on the front page with tags as an "optional add-on" -- whereas sites like Flickr and del.icio.us use tags as primary navigation mechanisms.

I am not saying we should not have author-driven categories - but community-driven, self-organizing tags are having great success elsewhere and it seems worthwhile to pursue this approach first (or as well).
 
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List Comment #25
blunxy wrote:
The Maverick wrote:
..."lists about games" and "lists not about games"...

While I am usually a big fan of simplicity as well, I wonder whether a binary system like this might be too simple. For example, where would you put the "blog-style" lists (my garage sale finds, things I bought last week, my latest order)? Dedication-style lists? Metalists?

By adding just a few (and again, keeping it simple is important) more categories, you can have a bit more flexibility without losing the simplicity.

----------
galfridus wrote:
...I like the idea of using tags -- people can use as many as they like, and over time they will tend to converge....

My lack of experience with tags might make me smack my forehead later for saying this, but I don't see how they can provide the filtering simplicity that I've mentioned 2 posts up. A list of 7 or 8 checkboxes on your profile screen seems much simpler than a long list of (admittedly useful) tags, even if some of them are highlighted somehow. I think tags scratch a slightly different itch than the one being discussed here - I for one am starting to use them more for searching purposes here on the Geek, and am pleasantly surprised with how well they work.

------------------
MrSkeletor wrote:
...maybe you should take a few weeks off from the site 'till the magic comes back?

There is a difference between complaining about something and making suggestions for improvement...in the latter, you're trying to make something even more magical. Of course, "improvement" is in the eye of the beholder!
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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What's SNR?
 
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Chris R wrote:
Quote:
I've transferred all List Comments over here


Where's mine?


Sorry Chris - forgot that the comments section had a thread-cap, so the first few comments weren't showing when I transferred over. I've gone back and cleaned things up.

Thanks for bringing the problem to my attention, and thank you for participating.
 
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sos1 wrote:
What's SNR?


Sorry - I'm a comp.sci. geek, so tend to use far too many three letter acronyms.

SNR = Signal to Noise Ratio

 
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Ah, thanks.

I still like my suggestion best, so I'll elaborate it a bit.

Some websites have "personalized" pages: things I'm known to be interested in. So I think you can accomplish your goals by just adding one tab, if the programming is possible.

So this would look like:

TABS:
-----
Recent
Active
Hot
Trade
Personalized

Each list currently has a little thumb to click if you want to recommend it. Simply add another little icon that means the list shows up on your personalized tab. It won't show up on anyone else's personalized tab unless they click it themselves.

This way, you can simply monitor Recent or Active lists occasionally, and add them to your personalized tab, which you read regularly.
 
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Nice idea, Steffan. I think using it together with the categorization would be highly useful, yet simple to use.
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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I worked nine years in libraries, Jordan. I assure you: categorization is a very complex subject that arouses some intense emotion. Best to minimize it if you can.
 
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The basic snag with any kind of list-creator based categorization is that you're dependant on every list-creator picking the right category.

Since some members are still having problems with the "trade" category, this doesn't bode well for more complex or subtle categorization. Lets be honest with ourselves, this is never going to work.

There really aren't that many "new" lists at any time. At present, any list that I might want to return to I make it a favourite.

Steffan's idea of a "personalized" tab sounds fine (its essentially a short-term favourite), though you would also presumably need some way to remove a list from your personalized tab.

One no-brainer change would be to add a single tab which showed only lists that I'd recommended - the "recommended" now also means "I want to get back here in a hurry without the hassle of adding it to my favourites".

[edited to remove reference to non-existent "subscribe to list" feature ]
 
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sos1 wrote:
I worked nine years in libraries, Jordan. I assure you: categorization is a very complex subject that arouses some intense emotion....

I hear you (I worked for 3 in a College library)...man, there's nothing scarier than a fired-up librarian. (And for those of you who think I'm joking - I'm not.)

I've (obviously) been thinking about this whole subject a lot...and I'm very grateful to hear all the opinions that have been put forward - some of them have really opened up some new doors.
 
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