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"Serious Discussion" subforum for GTA Online section.

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Azarael
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#1

Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:30 AM Edited by Azarael, 11 June 2016 - 10:47 AM.

I strongly believe that the GTA Online subforum either needs a subforum for serious discussions or an officially accepted means of marking a particular topic as a Debate/Discussion within the GTA Online section and thus subject to stricter moderational rules. Here is why:

 

As it is a multiplayer PvP game, the userbase of GTA Online are going to hold very strong and contrary opinions on some controversial topics. This leads to undesirable behaviour in threads on these subjects, because emotions run high. It is impossible to open a discussion on a hotly contested issue regarding GTA Online without having it plagued by the following problems:

 

  • Direct attacks and trolling (you suck / you're whining / you're crying / get good / crybaby / gonna wreck noobs like you with my X / etc)
  • Opinions without argument (X is fine/bad/overpowered with no reason given)
  • Misrepresentation of your argument (someone quotes it and acts as if you said something else or support something that you clearly don't)
  • Ignoring counterarguments like so:

Poster A makes point X,

Poster B rebuts X with counterpoint Y,

either Poster A or another Poster C then restates point X without addressing counterpoint Y

which forces a looping discussion as B or D have to repeatedly address X without being able to progress the discussion

and the topic risks being closed for flame war if A or C repeatedly posts the same thing and B or D keep responding to it

  • Drive-by (failing to read the thread or reading the first and last posts and making a post based only on those)
  • Assuming what the developers intended and relying upon this as an argument (none of us know what they think) - especially when this is irrelevant to the discussion (f.ex "Is X ruining Y?")

 

For a good example of a difficult topic that was subject to all of the above, please see http://gtaforums.com...-new-vip-stuff/

 

As a result of the above problems, it's not currently possible to advance a serious discussion in the GTA Online subforum without it being trolled, derailed, regressed and brought down. Some posters probably don't know better, but others certainly do and are trolling both to block the discussion and pollute the forum so that R* are even less likely to read it, if they do already. This is why I implore you to give those of us who would like to seriously discuss and debate issues related to GTA Online a means of doing so - one that exists within the actual GTA Online subforum.

 

I do not think it is practical for the moderation team to step up moderation of the entire GTA Online subforum, as its post rate is probably quite high, but I believe it would be feasible for a subforum with a much lower thread creation rate and better moderation to exist without burdening the moderation staff, even more so if rules to prevent the above problems are codified and staff can then rely upon the Report function to deal with any issues within such a subforum.

 

It ultimately needs to be understood that a purpose of a debate/serious discussion is NOT as a voting system or a dumping ground for peoples' opinions, it's for raising and countering points in order to come closer to the truth.

 

Thank you for reading.


uNi
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#2

Posted 11 June 2016 - 01:54 PM

A more restric area has been suggested before, e.g a board for gtao but only selected users can post, but it's seen as elitism.
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Azarael
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#3

Posted 11 June 2016 - 02:05 PM Edited by Azarael, 11 June 2016 - 02:11 PM.

I don't believe my proposition to be elitist, though I agree that the example you gave of a forum in which only selected members could post is elitist. The purpose of a discussion forum is to foster discussion and debate, and there are people who are bringing discussion down, thus contravening that purpose. Exclusion in and of itself is not in my view elitism (as you already exclude trolls, flamers and other miscellaneous rulebreakers from the forum), only the belief that there is a certain elite group of people who are uniquely allowed to have influence. I don't think "is able to post in a reasoned manner in a discussion" is something that would be elitist as I believe the vast majority of people on both your forum and in the wider world are capable of contributing to such a standard, and it is one that is enforced more generally on a lot of forums on the Internet as well as in real-life politics.

 

A forum in which only selected people can post to begin with is elitism because you're selecting members to be allowed to take part, and the default is that a member cannot take part. I oppose that myself. However, a board or subforum in which everyone can post by default (and is removed if they contravene the board or subforum's rules) is exactly what GTAForums already is.


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#4

Posted 12 June 2016 - 02:12 AM

In the 2 1/2 years since GTAOnline has been out i have yet to see one single thread where there has been a hint of serious discussions where the OP and/or the person making the rebuttal didn't turn into a sh*tfest.

 

So even if you managed to do this you won't be able to stop of the crap flinging even in the most serious of discussions


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#5

Posted 12 June 2016 - 06:07 AM

I guess the discussions in the Online Section are like a reflection of the Average User Base of the actual Game.

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Uncle Sikee Atric
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#6

Posted 12 June 2016 - 09:40 AM

It is a shame the Online Sectipn seems incapable of hosting a serious discussion right now, there is a lot to discuss about issues, but I gave up weeks ago. Now I make a blunt point, then leave in the current climate.

Policing and moderating the current area must be a 24 hour nightmare, creating a serious section will invalidate the current section as a joke and a lost cause, doubly so if it is a public area and policing that would be even worse.

Besides, if it was allowed to be select members only, who would qualify? Elitist or not?
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Azarael
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#7

Posted 12 June 2016 - 10:24 AM Edited by Azarael, 12 June 2016 - 10:30 AM.

In the 2 1/2 years since GTAOnline has been out i have yet to see one single thread where there has been a hint of serious discussions where the OP and/or the person making the rebuttal didn't turn into a sh*tfest.

 

So even if you managed to do this you won't be able to stop of the crap flinging even in the most serious of discussions

 

We as users can't. We would have to rely upon moderation to do that. I brought this topic up because I saw that there was already a Debate and Discussion subforum with at least one moderator (sivispacem) who seems to have as low an opinion of the kind of tactics trolls and blockers are using in these discussion threads as I do. I was half-hoping that he would be able to lend a hand.

 

I guess the discussions in the Online Section are like a reflection of the Average User Base of the actual Game.

 

Not sure about that. Within the thread I linked, I had to ignore 8 people, for the sake of not getting a topic lock or post deletions for flame war or going round in circles. While I'm sure there are more similar people out there in the userbase, you also have to consider the effect that the GTA:Online forum's current state may have caused on those who are interested in having a civil discussion. They've probably stopped posting here, or know better than to try to get into discussions that get trolled. I freely admit that I considered giving up completely a number of times. This leads to a bias in which such threads are filled with people who hold two extreme positions, and the result is a powder keg.

 

It is a shame the Online Sectipn seems incapable of hosting a serious discussion right now, there is a lot to discuss about issues, but I gave up weeks ago. Now I make a blunt point, then leave in the current climate.

Policing and moderating the current area must be a 24 hour nightmare, creating a serious section will invalidate the current section as a joke and a lost cause, doubly so if it is a public area and policing that would be even worse.

Besides, if it was allowed to be select members only, who would qualify? Elitist or not?

 

I agree that moderation of that subforum must be a nightmare, and I have sympathy for those charged with the activity.

 

I don't agree however that designating a subforum as heavily moderated and setting up clear rules will invalidate the current section. People go to forums for different reasons. There is clearly a base for relaxed discussions about the game, and that is fine. However, catering to that base shouldn't come at the exclusion of being able to have ANY kind of serious discussion on the game at all. I don't really care if people want to fling mud at each other as long as there's somewhere on the forum that I can go to avoid that and other base-level tactics.

 

What I've observed in cases where serious discussion subforums are posted is that if you do it right and set a good example in the beginning of the subforum's life, the kinds of posters who are not suitable for participation naturally avoid the subforum as their threads and posts don't stay up for very long. This means that the number of topics made in the subforum is low, and it becomes easy to moderate. The post rate is also lower because it's a discussion, and posters cannot simply repeat themselves and ignore your arguments.

 

Posters not able to conform to those rules without being moderated could make a mirror topic in the main GTA Online subforum if they so desire, as is their right, but the Serious Discussions topic would be the one which would end up advancing the debate/discussion to a resolution.

 

Regarding "select members only": this isn't a part of my proposition and I would not agree with doing something like this. GTAForums is an open forum and it should remain an open forum.


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#8

Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:40 AM

Personally, I think it's a worthwhile idea. One of the most common suggestions I've seen for the Online section is some way for people to discuss the game without having threads flooded by throwaway remarks, people fishing for likes and people who just complain endlessly without adding anything.

The way Azarael's describing it is similar to how Debates & Discussions is treated compared to Gen Chat - an overlap of content, but content is heavily moderated in the discussion forum - which seems pretty feasible, considering the lower levels of activity in the Online subforums compared to the main Online area.

Uncle Sikee Atric
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#9

Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:16 PM Edited by Sikee Atric, 12 June 2016 - 12:25 PM.

Personally, I think it's a worthwhile idea. One of the most common suggestions I've seen for the Online section is some way for people to discuss the game without having threads flooded by throwaway remarks, people fishing for likes and people who just complain endlessly without adding anything.

The way Azarael's describing it is similar to how Debates & Discussions is treated compared to Gen Chat - an overlap of content, but content is heavily moderated in the discussion forum - which seems pretty feasible, considering the lower levels of activity in the Online subforums compared to the main Online area.


How would you choose suitable participants and how would people be promoted and added to the group as it grows? I actually would value the extra addition of such an area, especially since some of the non-pipped members are the most knowledgeable about Online and they cannot access the Safehouse, but I fear it would alienate those that are not welcomed into the discussion area and a rift would form over the long term, especially if those knowledgeable people stopped posting in the General Online section....

One possible solution is to create dual threads with both sharing OP's in and out of the serious discussion area, then the General online post can have (multi)quotes from the serious area to allow the sharing of information and receive the Moderation it requires at the right time.

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#10

Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:32 PM

Everyone would be free to post since it would just be a normal subforum, but like D&D and as Azarael said, if moderated sufficiently the people who can't participate properly won't visit the section. Ideally, one could get the regulars of the section to report all lower-effort posts.

Uncle Sikee Atric
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#11

Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:43 PM Edited by Sikee Atric, 12 June 2016 - 12:44 PM.

Dry0z3S.png

 

I guess it would work in the long run though, but how long would you be willing to run it as an experiment?


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#12

Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:55 PM

That's a good question, though since Admins are the ones who create sections 'n that it's pretty much up to them if it's created as an intended subforum, or as an experiment and for how long.

Personally I think the demand is there to be created as just a normal subforum like the vehicles one, but I'm just a guy who hides posts :p
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Uncle Sikee Atric
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#13

Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:40 PM Edited by Sikee Atric, 12 June 2016 - 01:41 PM.

That's a good question, though since Admins are the ones who create sections 'n that it's pretty much up to them if it's created as an intended subforum, or as an experiment and for how long.

Personally I think the demand is there to be created as just a normal subforum like the vehicles one, but I'm just a guy who hides posts :p

 

...moves and locks threads, stop underselling yourself Red!  :)

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Azarael
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#14

Posted 14 June 2016 - 12:27 PM Edited by Azarael, 14 June 2016 - 10:05 PM.

I'd like to ask if there's any further word on this from the staff.

 

I created a poll and literally the first response is the kind of drivel I'm talking about in my first post: http://gtaforums.com...tandard-rounds/

 

Additionally, the topic linked in the OP has (quite rightly, I might add) been locked for flame wars, which leaves us out in the cold.


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#15

Posted 14 June 2016 - 10:44 PM

The problem is, who decides what a "serious" discussion is? One example I've seen today; jets > member thinks its worth discussing > people spam it and go off-topic because they think OP is whining > topic gets locked > discussion is over until the next duplicate topic is made and the reports flood in again. It's all subjective really, labelling a section "serious discussion only" isn't going to stop people posting what they feel is serious, getting heated over an opinion or complaining a topic isn't worth discussing, it will likely result in a lot of targeted spam over time. Debates and Discussion might be a good comparison for your suggestion, but imagine all those topics were about GTA Online, what exactly would it achieve? D&D is actually just as infuriating to read at times and while the moderation is much more strict in there, it's probably because it doesn't receive a fraction of the traffic GTA Online does and mainly compromises of general regular members and not just people who click here from Google to read the latest leak.

 

So overall I'm not against promoting good discussion, but I'm not sure I see a positive in dividing our most active subforum into two. Do we really want one area to be a complete sh*tfest (I know some people think it already is, but humour me) and the other a gleeming success but more hidden from incoming traffic glossed over with growing elitist attitudes? If spam and trolling is a problem and the reputation of the area is at zero right now, why aren't we working to improve the main section itself with tighter moderation and a crack-down on trolls? We dish out a lot of warnings in that area and there are several ledbys who are constantly cleaning up shop, so you can appreciate it's very hard to achieve a balance amongst a fanbase that are largely impatient, rude and self-entitled because they are unsatisified with the game itself. We'll never be short of people who are just plain idiots because this is the Internet, and the good guys like yourself just stay in the background without getting a word in edgeways.

 

Perhaps try a "serious discussion" topic for now, and if we can manage to keep that on track, it'll show us what the potential is.

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Azarael
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#16

Posted 15 June 2016 - 12:20 AM Edited by Azarael, 15 June 2016 - 12:36 AM.

Thanks for your response.

 

I'd view "serious discussion" as a marker for any thread to indicate that it's a debate and not a vote / bring your opinion thread, and that trolling, flaming and poor debate tactics would be moderated against within that topic. In this sense, we could replace "serious discussion" with "debate". I take your point that such a marker would not on its own repel the kinds of people we're talking about, but it would serve as fair warning that they would not be welcome within.

 

You're correct that a topic can be maddening to read in places even with strict rules, but that's mostly dealt with if the rules are strict enough. There are a limited number of methods to kill a discussion topic - circular argument, ignoring counterpoints and trolling/flaming are the main ones, and I think they can all be killed with sufficient moderation.

 

I think the main problem here is the one you stated, the difficulty of moderation. As the rules become more strict, the number of moderators required to police the forum effectively increases. Additionally, as you stated, GTA Online has a larger userbase than Debates & Discussion, which further increases the pressure. You mention that the main section's reputation is poor and that an ideal response would be to improve the quality of its moderation, but this has the following issues:

 

  • Massive amounts of moderation required to control the entire forum compared to a split solution
  • If applied effectively, alienates the users who are not capable of engaging in a proper manner, but if applied ineffectively, still allows those users to disrupt topics. A split solution allows both these users and users desiring a more structured discussion to coexist with the minimum of moderation and discontent.

 

You and I likely both accept that if the hammer of moderation were to come down hard on the entire GTA:O subforum, there would be an exodus of users and a number of complaints across the forum of heavy-handed moderation from the users affected. It is something like this that I think needs to be avoided at all costs as it would put additional strain upon the moderation team.

 

What I'd be hoping to accomplish in the end would be to have these discussions give a space for members of the community to try to convince other people of the legitimacy of their position, and through this, unify the community towards certain stances or beliefs which could then lead to positive change for the game. A secondary purpose would be to prevent the need for repeated topics on the same subject, by ensuring that for certain topics, a debate thread exists, which constantly progresses towards a solution or solutions without being set back or locked.

 

If we are to try a serious discussion topic, how will that be handled by the moderation team? Will we need to set out guidelines within the OP for what is and is not considered to be acceptable content within the topic? Should it be marked in the title with a particular tag? And is it permitted to create a serious topic based on a topic that was recently locked for being pulled into a flame war?

 

(Also, for the record, I think anyone showing an elitist attitude is just as much of a horrible person as the people I've been outlining as a problem within this topic. I would be happy to see anyone displaying a superior attitude over those not choosing to post in serious discussions crushed as well. There would be no need to make reference to those users/topics and that would only be a provocative action.)

 

Thanks again for your time.


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#17

Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:07 AM

I guess the framework for suitable posting has to be there, but also what's the subject for a 'test thread?'

 

It must be something specific, yet able to generate the right sort of discussion and fact so it cannot be a speculation thread.  Only once a test has been run could you expand to that sort of discussion.


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#18

Posted 15 June 2016 - 08:26 AM

The only way I see this could work, would be a board where only selected members could post freely, all the rest would have their post waiting on approval.
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#19

Posted 15 June 2016 - 08:48 AM

The only way I see this could work, would be a board where only selected members could post freely, all the rest would have their post waiting on approval.

Who and what would qualify as 'Selected Members'? Secondly, for the others, how long would time elapse for until their post was Approved?


Azarael
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#20

Posted 15 June 2016 - 10:44 AM Edited by Azarael, 15 June 2016 - 10:45 AM.

I guess the framework for suitable posting has to be there, but also what's the subject for a 'test thread?'

 

It must be something specific, yet able to generate the right sort of discussion and fact so it cannot be a speculation thread.  Only once a test has been run could you expand to that sort of discussion.

 

I think the discussions most in need of this mind of moderation are discussions regarding problems with the game and what should be done about them as well as criticism of additions to the game - both Rockstar's and community suggestions. I believe these comprise the vast majority of topics that get locked within the GTA:O subforum for rule infractions because they're inherently divisive and very vulnerable to disruption tactics.

 

The only way I see this could work, would be a board where only selected members could post freely, all the rest would have their post waiting on approval.

 

I agree completely. That allows every forum member the right to post in the forum but also keeps disruptive people out. The last thing a troll wants to do is put his post into a moderation queue where he knows that there's no hope of it ever seeing the light of day.

 

 

The only way I see this could work, would be a board where only selected members could post freely, all the rest would have their post waiting on approval.

Who and what would qualify as 'Selected Members'? Secondly, for the others, how long would time elapse for until their post was Approved?

 

 

How I'd have run this is as follows:

 

  • By default, all members are subject to the moderation queue.
  • After a set number of posts or otherwise having displayed fitness for use of the discussion forum in the opinion of the staff, a member comes off the moderation queue.

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#21

Posted 15 June 2016 - 12:51 PM

people fishing for likes and people who just complain endlessly without adding anything.

 

Well, imo, this is the Forum in a nutshell.  Instead of people "liking" useful and helpful information, information that can be used for years down the road in a form of a Guide, for example.  Topics that people took time to make and put some dedication into making them, yet something like this won't be looked at as being valuable.  What is more valuable, apparently, is posting some pathetic .gif of some nonsense that is completely off topic and usually trying to make fun of someone.  Yet, that is what gets like 56 "likes" and what is used in making up most discussions on the Forum in some sections these days.

 

Like seriously, what if the like system was removed?  Some people on this Forum might have a mental breakdown cuz nobody can like their pathetic comment anymore.  Some people clearly "live" for likes and do anything in their power to comment in Topics that might not even interest them, just to get a like from someone.

 

Then people ask me why I don't go to many Sections on this Forum and discuss.  There is no point since we all know what those Discussions turn into.  There is a reason why GTA is called "Mature."  Too bad half the people playing it aren't Mature and quite frankly, aren't even Mature enough to be on this Forum since all they want to do is go fishing for likes and/or stir the pot in some good Discussions throwing them off topic.

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#22

Posted 15 June 2016 - 09:37 PM

 

people fishing for likes and people who just complain endlessly without adding anything.

 

Like seriously, what if the like system was removed?  Some people on this Forum might have a mental breakdown cuz nobody can like their pathetic comment anymore.  Some people clearly "live" for likes and do anything in their power to comment in Topics that might not even interest them, just to get a like from someone.

 

 

Yet you used to ask me to like your topics..


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#23

Posted 15 June 2016 - 09:57 PM

Aren't you HeroBrineR007/gangster2332 and the other 10 User Names you made that are banned?  Just saying.

 

Also, it's funny how I make a comment about fishing for likes and/or immature people who like to stir the pot.  So what do you do?  Reply, and stir the pot.  Need I say more?  This is exactly my point...

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#24

Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:16 AM

Likes are an unfortunate side effect of social media, but do help validate one's own opinion. Whilst I don't personally give two knobs of goat sh*t whether somebody likes my content, I can understand why it's addictive and how it can detract from the real reason people contribute.

 

As many people have said, the main problem is how to distinguish what is a "serious" discussion, and who would even qualify to take part. Just as there's going to be people with vastly different opinions, there are going to be people who have different degrees of what they even consider to be serious in the first place. If this is an idea people want, the only thing I can think of are tagged topics which are heavily moderated, more so than the others. An entire section is only going to tear holes in the place and breed a smug group of people who click their tongues, fill their pipe and once again remind us how this game is superior to that game. With topics, tags are easy enough to see but they're still kept in the appropriate forum. Think of D&D in the Expression section - yes, many of the topics in there could be talked about in General Chat but the very nature of the place implies it's for people wanting to actually talk about the subject and not share memes until they develop carpal tunnel. That isn't to say D&D is completely free of fault, but it's a distinctly different vibe. While such a split might not work for general GTA discussion, I don't think tagged topics are a bad idea.

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#25

Posted 16 June 2016 - 10:59 AM

Tagged topics with heavy moderation would work just fine for the purpose as well. I think for any given patch cycle for GTA:O, there would only need to be 2 or 3 of these topics running at once. so it shouldn't be too difficult to handle.


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#26

Posted 19 June 2016 - 01:31 PM Edited by MetalMilitia89, 19 June 2016 - 01:32 PM.

 

people fishing for likes and people who just complain endlessly without adding anything.

 

Well, imo, this is the Forum in a nutshell.  Instead of people "liking" useful and helpful information, information that can be used for years down the road in a form of a Guide, for example.  Topics that people took time to make and put some dedication into making them, yet something like this won't be looked at as being valuable.  What is more valuable, apparently, is posting some pathetic .gif of some nonsense that is completely off topic and usually trying to make fun of someone.

 

Comment 80

 

Need I say more?  I see this every single day.  Quite frankly, it's getting annoying and redundant.  Reporting is only temporary.  I could of reported it, it probably would of been removed...For now.  Until he or the next guy does it again.  Like, isn't there something MORE PERMANENT that can be done with these people who just post .gifs not related to the Topics at hand and just make fun of someone.  I mean, I thought it was against the Rules.  But maybe it's like littering.  Illegal, yet not very enforced at all.  Just like some of the Rules here.  There is so much of this on a daily basis, but no warnings, temp bans, probation, perm bans given out.  People think they can do and say what they want and continue to be on this Forum.  I don't get it.


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#27

Posted 19 June 2016 - 02:10 PM

This is a forum, you're going to get replies you agree with, you're going to get replies you disagree with. Such is life. If a reply breaks the rules feel free to report it and if need be we will take appropriate action, the one you used as an example however does not conflict with the forum rules, and would not have been removed. GIF only posts are frowned upon yes, but no one is going to get their posting privileges suspended, much less banned for posting a GIF to react to something every now and again, that'd be just silly. That being said, of course if you go overboard you will be dealt with accordingly, plenty here can tell you all about that. Reminders, warnings, temps happen on a daily basis, you just can't see it unless the offending member opts to share or they get adorned with busted stars.

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