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Subject: "Known Issues" tag rss

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Troy Winfrey
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Consider adding a "Known Issues" field to games in the database. This tag or pinned thread (?) would allow users to report "known issues" with their games. For example: printing errors (recent Antiquity reprint, Ora et Labora), mold (Container), fragile or missing pieces on purchase (Titan reprint), frequently incomplete when found used (Magic Realm) etc.

This change would have several beneficial effects:
1) Allow experts in a particular title to share their knowledge for the benefit of less-specialized users, increasing site interaction and site usefulness for all.
2) Warn users about low-quality game production, possibly helping to increase the overall quality of game production in the industry.
3) Help users to make purchase decisions about particular games, a core function of the BGG site.
4) Increase the robustness and general overall value/quality of the entries in the BGG database.
5) Increase the visibility and usability of what many users would probably feel to be important information (instead of burying it in a forum thread somewhere).
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Kim Williams
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The danger with such a scheme would be that potential purchasers get put off, when actually the 'known issue' may only have affected a tiny percentage of purchasers. That tiny minority may also be disproportionately likely to report their problem; people who are happy with their copies are unlikely to actively report that they had no problems.

People who come looking on the Geek to help make decisions about game purchases are likely to already read reviews, where production issues come up in either the reviews themselves, or in the comments afterwards, so I feel the site already does a great job on this front, without needing to add a concrete label of 'known issues' that could put people off before they've had an opportunity to read the full details.

The 'issues' with Ora et Labora, put me off purchasing it,and it was only thanks to my husband deciding to buy me a birthday copy that I now have it in my collection. My copy had no problems, and has become one of my favourite games so I'm really glad he went ahead. If he'd had to stare down a 'known issues' tag would he have felt OK to buy it for me?




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Troy Winfrey
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Your points are all well-taken, Kim, and I'd thought about them before making the suggestion.

I suppose like everything else the tag could be taken with a grain of salt. In other words--much like rankings for very new games--I'd see the tag as the starting point for an investigation, e.g. diving deep into the forums to make up your own mind, or feeling enabled to ask.

And it might do someone a favor. I opened my copy of Ora et Labora (normally I don't open games until I'm ready to play them...it's a few months sometimes, and why not leave them in shrink just in case?) after stumbling across the appropriate forum post...which would have been pretty unlikely in the normal course of events, and I'm a fairly heavy BGG user. It was fine, turns out, but if it hadn't been I would have been glad of the chance to do something about it in time.

I've also had two other experiences in the past couple of months that made me wish for a "Known Issues" tag. A lot of this knowledge is out there...it's just tacit. It reminds me of a lot of stuff I used to know when working as a rare bookseller...certain desirable British first editions are printed on notoriously fragile paper, etc. Why not put it out there, is all?
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Kim Williams
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VanVeen wrote:
Your points are all well-taken, Kim, and I'd thought about them before making the suggestion.

I suppose like everything else the tag could be taken with a grain of salt. In other words--much like rankings for very new games--I'd see the tag as the starting point for an investigation, e.g. diving deep into the forums to make up your own mind, or feeling enabled to ask.

And it might do someone a favor. I opened my copy of Ora et Labora (normally I don't open games until I'm ready to play them...it's a few months sometimes, and why not leave them in shrink just in case?) after stumbling across the appropriate forum post...which would have been pretty unlikely in the normal course of events, and I'm a fairly heavy BGG user. It was fine, turns out, but if it hadn't been I would have been glad of the chance to do something about it in time.

I've also had two other experiences in the past couple of months that made me wish for a "Known Issues" tag. A lot of this knowledge is out there...it's just tacit. It reminds me of a lot of stuff I used to know when working as a rare bookseller...certain desirable British first editions are printed on notoriously fragile paper, etc. Why not put it out there, is all?



How would you see the tag working? Would it require a certain number of people/certain proportion of people tagging a game before the tag appeared as part of its database entry? I don't think it would be fair if just a single person having a problem could bring about a game having a 'known issue' tag -if you did wouldn't every game just end up tagged, rendering it all meaningless. Would you have to own a copy in order to tag it - if not everyone might tag games on the basis that they'd heard someone had had a problem, and in fact many people could end up tagging a game just because of one person having a problem that they had widely publicized.

I also worry that light BGG users rather than 'taking the label with a pinch of salt' might just stop looking at a game if they see such a tag. There are just so many games out there, that you have to make some quick decisions as to what to spend your time looking at.

I'm also really surprised that you hadn't heard of the Ora issues before purchasing it. When I was reading reviews it didn't just come up in a single post - some people seemed to post about their problems in every single thread about the game! In fact when I wrote my own review about the game recently (Wonderful Ora), I went out of my way to point out that my copy had been fine, yet still in the replies there are people saying stuff like 'how was your copy, I hear that other people have had component issues?'.

I'm sorry that you've had difficulties with recent purchases that have led to you desiring such a change, I just really fear that a 'known issue' label in the database entry could be both misused and misinterpreted.

I might feel a little more positive if instead of a 'known issue' label, there was a 'owner has reported a problem with their copy' tag, but I think it would be important to set it in context such as showing a percentage of registered owners e.g 0.2% of owners have reported issues with their copy. That way people could dismiss problems if the percentage shown was too low, or else read further if they were concerned. I think if it was limited to those who had registered themselves as 'owners' then it would avoid double-counting of the same problems.









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Jeffrey McC
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I think this is a good idea and worth exploring. Some games include those types of notes in the editions section (example: Through the Ages) but I think your idea is more focused.

This would help when people are putting their games up for sale or trade. My copy of Mall of Horror is missing a zombie piece, which I didn't realize until I was verifying the contents for a math trade. After digging in the forums, I learned that some copies of the game did indeed ship from the publisher with a varying number of zombies, a problem that the publisher had satisfactorily addressed shortly after release.

A "known issues" tag would have been convenient at several points in that story. It could have helped me notice and solve my problem a long time ago before it was too late. It could have saved me time digging through old forums, wondering if anyone else only got 29/30 zombies. If I wasn't already the type of seller that counts all my components, it would have alerted me to a specific problem to look out for before listing. Finally, it alerts potential buyers and traders so I can't pass my incomplete game along, inadvertently or otherwise.

It might help if you brainstorm some alternate names. Known Issues sounds a bit too absolute, like a buglist for software that will never be patched. Maybe "Possible Issues"?
 
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Troy Winfrey
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"Possible Issues" is good. "Reported Issues," perhaps.

It's possible to quantify the tag a lot--have a threshold of complaints, provide statistics, etc. But I think that's overkill. I do user experience and system design, and I'm a big fan of fuzzy indicators--that is, a flag instead of a hard, calculated metric. (The equivalent of "This title is hot!" rather than "Rated 8.9 on a scale of 10 with a confidence interval of .05.")

In other words, if users are committed to time investment with a system, (ONLY if), a good design will enable them to decide whether to invest resources in finding out more information. Given the generally involved nature of many BGG users, and the higher degree of involvement demonstrated by (one-time, casual, or serious) collectors, traders, and/or sellers, I think the simple tag would be a good design pattern to use for the situation.

The corollary in UX is to minimize negative user experiences. In this case, making the tag minimal/"fuzzy" will make it less obtrusive to folks who don't care about it. While one CAN engineer just about anything, that doesn't mean one SHOULD (a lesson the rest of the site, ahem, might want to think about ).

In other words, it's not about strict truth, which is probably unknowable in this case. (As it so often is.) Instead it's about alerting people they may need to make a decision, and making it a bit easier for them to do so.
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