Hello, and welcome to the 39th issue of Weekly Interviews! Beginning with this issue, the Interviews Weekly will continue as a separate issue from GTAF Weekly. The Weekly Interviews will now be moved to Saturday timeslot, giving me and the interviewee(s) sufficient time to complete.
This week's guest is the well known Global Moderator Matty, sharing his experience about his time at GTAForums.
Arrow: You've been a member of the community for almost 9 years and counting, but what brought you to GTAF initially?
Matty: 9 years, it's been that long? It seems like only yesterday that I actually joined this place. I'm actually not sure what precisely brought me to GTAForums, but I stayed around in the lead up to GTA V's release.
What's the history / context regarding your username?
My current username, which I changed around the time I became a Moderator, is derivative from my real name. My friends in real life often call me 'Matty'. My original username, "DTUMan", was literally just me closing my eyes and hitting some random letters on my keyboard in place of my lack of creativity when it comes to display names. There is really nothing special about it beyond that.
Is there anything that you love or hate about the forum?
I don't hate anything about the forum. What I do like though is that people can ask for assistance and for the most part, they will get a useful, helpful response relatively quickly. People can post an idea or suggestion and get, most of the time, feedback that is relevant. That rings true whether it's about GTA or about anything covered in the Off Topic or Expression subforums.
What has your experience been like in regards to you being a Moderator of GTAForums?
I started out as a forum leader/led-by for the GTA V forum and from memory, I was effectively thrown right into the deep end as it happened right around the time that a new trailer was announced and it was all pretty hectic, which didn't really let up until after GTA V was released.
I became a Moderator in early 2014. My experience of being a Moderator (or forum leader for that matter) really doesn't feel much different to if I were a normal member. I browse around the forums, read topics and if I feel I have something to contribute, I'll post. That really doesn't change just because my name is blue. The only difference is that I can get rid of posts that don't contribute anything and warn, temp or ban if necessary. If I were a regular member, I'd only be able to report and wait for action to be taken.
What would you like to change the most regarding GTAF?
I honestly can't really think of anything that I'd change. It's all pretty good the way it currently is.
Which forum member(s) do you feel closest to?
Honestly, I don't feel close to anybody on the forums. That's not to say that most of the regulars here are awesome people, because most of the regulars are, it is just a difficult question to answer when I haven't actually met anybody on the forums in a real life setting. However, with that being said, in terms of forum members I feel closest to - I probably feel closest to most of the rest of the forum staff.
What's your favorite thing about the forums?
I think the community is pretty awesome. As mentioned above, people can come here, ask questions, seek feedback and get responses pretty quickly from a wide range of people, which doesn't happen in smaller communities. With that being said, despite it being big, GTAForums still has that human community feel to it, as opposed to the--if you will--the corporate robotic feel you get from some of the larger gaming forums out there.
How does it feel to be a member of The Connection?
My currently being a member of The Connection is probably more symbolic then not at this time, hence I haven't really kept up with their goings-on lately.
How has this community changed since you first joined?
The staff are probably a lot more lenient today then they were 9 or 10 years ago while at the same time still being able to hold the community to a good standard. We have, also, in recent times, been more willing to try out new ideas; i.e foreign language forums for discussion of GTA and the inclusion of forums covering discussion of other Rockstar titles such as Red Dead Redemption. Ideas that would have actually been shot down when I first joined if someone were to suggest them (I encourage you to take a look back through the pages of the Site Suggestions forum and see for yourself for examples) of the forum software, from memory, just before GTA V's initial release.
Another key difference that affected GTAForums when I first joined was the broader fan site landscape. Back then, there were several active GTA communities around the web. Since then, those other sites have gradually lost steam and have died, while GTAForums and GTANet have only continued to grow, really becoming the monopoly, if you will, of GTA and possibly even Rockstar Games fan sites and communities, and we actually have some of the people who were active in the development of those rival fan sites back then active again here at GTAForums today. It really adds weight to the argument that there is really nothing else out there like GTANet, and that this community will eventually pull you back in, in one way or another, if you choose leave.
With that said, GTAForums has always been hugely active for as long as I've been around here. This is true even back when this activity was divided among the numerous other communities on the web and when we didn't have GTA Online. Comparing the periods in between GTA releases, however, currently GTAForums is more active now then it has ever been. This is largely in part because it doesn't have any other major fan site competition and because of GTA Online's massive and sustained popularity bringing scores of new people in.
What's your favorite Rockstar Games series or title?
Aside from the GTA series, most definitely Red Dead Redemption, and I'm really looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2. My favourite GTA title is GTA IV.
Do you have any other interests, hobbies, favorite music, and so on? Tell us more about the person behind your alias.
My favourite type of music is definitely metal and rock (fun fact: my avatar is actually taken from a music video of a song by my friends band). I also enjoy doing photography, drawing, graphic design and playing video games.
Any final comments? Do you have anything to say to our readers & the GTAF community?
Thanks for the interview!
Arrow - Interviewer
slohbur - Graphics Assistant