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.