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  1. #1
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    A little grumble back at you

    Right, so here's a thing.

    A repeated refrain on these forums is to claim that RPS is not, in some form, As Good As It Used To Be. Generally these claims tend to centre around our no longer posting as much of X as we used to, instead focusing too much on Y. Invariably these protests aren't based in fact, as we post more of everything than we ever have before. However, it would also give the impression that there would be a louder voice of interest when we *do* post things that don't fall into the grumble zones. But quite the reverse is true.

    So if we post about Diablo III, as we jolly well should, discussion threads go hundreds of comments long, with all the regulars mixed up with passersby and occasionals, often having excellent chats and arguments. If we say that DRM is bad, which we should and always will, we can expect a lively/rude/repetitive thread of much chatter.

    But when we so frequently post the subjects people like to imagine we don't any more, obscure indie games, peculiar obscura, general silliness, invariably the comments are few and lacklustre. The regulars go quiet, and the post appears mostly ignored by our community.

    As the most recent example, two hours ago I posted about one of the most impressive games I've seen this year - Gateways - and it's so far had a grand total of six comments, most of which aren't primarily about the game.

    I think, if the NAGAIUTB threads are going to be so frequent and vociferous, it only makes sense that those grumbling act as if they mean it. Clearly people can comment on anything they wish, and if a post goes un-commented-upon, then that's absolutely fine. But it's not so fine, I don't think, that there should be what I can only perceive as a confusing hypocrisy from those who moan.

    Honestly, I despair that a game as fantastic as Gateways isn't getting people chatting, excited, or arguing. There's not even a suggestion for how to get past that bastard puzzle I described. Just the appearance of complete disinterest from readers. Fortunately we're too stubborn to back down on posting about these unknown and fantastic games, but you know what - I'd really find it a lot less galling if I weren't so frequently being told I'm not doing it in the first place.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ian's Avatar
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    I'm not part of the NAGAIUTB brigade but I probably post much, much less than I used to on RPS articles having been a regular replier for a couple of years I'd guess. I still read nearly all of them (exceptions being the odd regular feature which don't do much for me and ones about games I know I'm not interested in), but I post less. I suspect this is because the site is much busier these days and the big long comment threads led me to feel I was just one posting amongst dozens or even hundreds of replies, which reduced the odds of anybody bothering to read it (I assume) and therefore not seeing the point in bothering to comment at all.

    I find it a small shame that this is the case as when it was a smaller group of mostly-regular readers you'd usually get the same few folks discussing stuff in article comments. But that's not something that makes the site NAGAIUTB, quite the opposite. It's a sign that one of the few sites I still visit every day and a site whose articles I read a much higher percentage of than any other is doing brilliantly. I think I'm now just out of the habit of posting comments.

    For what it's worth, Gateways looks bloody excellent. I just haven't said so as once I would have.

    EDIT: Bit of a mindvomit there. Hopefully what I'm saying makes sense.
    Last edited by Ian; 29-05-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    I read to the end of the Gateways piece and realised that I have absolutely nothing to say until I've played it, and despite the fact that this is the internet, when I have nothing to say, I say nothing. Unless saying something would be funny. Or I'm in one of my weird moods.

    I haven't played Diablo 3, and I'm not sure I even intend to, but I can still contribute to discussions about that (at least in broad theoretical terms). There really is nothing I can say about Gateways until I've played it, except that I intend to play it, and no-one cares whether or not I intend to play it, so that'd be a pretty non-contributing comment. I guess my point is that Diablo 3 got more comments not only because it is popular, but also because it is easier to talk about. So I'm not sure how meaningful the number of comments is as a measure of anything.

    Then again, I've never been a NAGAIUTB either.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    I suspect a great part of that isn't so much that nobody's reading the articles about indies and esoterica but that since there's nothing to argue over or complain about, comments are few. All boards reinforce themselves negatively.
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  5. #5
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    Nalano is probably right. I'm much more likely to comment if there is something to argue or rant about. For instance if you look at my contributions on the Sunday Papers threads it is probably 70% "This article is dreadful and wrong!", 25% "This article is great because it says how last week's article was dreadful and wrong!" and about 5% "Quite liked this article."

    I'm too new to think this place is not as good as it used to be.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Johnwalker, on posts that have no controversy to fuel the comments machine, here is what you must do to foster discussion:

    You must reply personally to the first, second, and perhaps third comment that is even partially worth replying to. The joy on a child's face when he gets a red comment under his post, is a lesser motivator than venting/inducing rage, but still significant! When we see that if we post a comment on this particular half-buried golden nugget of a thread -- that our comment has a chance of being read or even (gasp) replied to by Johnwalkerhimself -- I think it will infuse the discussion with a horrible, artifical animation! Or maybe it's just that the red background is pretty and shiny and people want their words to be associated with it.

    Obviously not possible for every thread, but for super-special ones, a bit of biased TLC may give the necessary boost. Right now all you have is a comment by that Adam Smith guy and he doesn't even have a red background so his comments are basically garbage.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I skim read most of RPS these days, I used to read it all, take care from that what you will. Other indie games get about 50 posts. But gateway looked really crap.. Maybe you could not post ugly screen shots?
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  8. #8
    Activated Node celt's Avatar
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    RPS is, in my opinion, the best it's ever been and getting better. I'm subscribed to the RPS RSS feed and reading each article followed by checking out forum threads is a central part of each day. I read nearly everything and comment on almost nothing. Any reduction in the coverage of indie games would change RPS' identity for me and be significantly disappointing.

    You guys are the heart of the art of games. I hope you don't get discouraged. If you're determined to get a response from someone like me to a particular article, I'm thinking you could ask an emphasized question at the bottom of the article. Something like "Question for discussion: Will this game sell?" Or "Discuss below: Is this a new idea?" Or whatever. I'd respond if I felt it was important to you.

    I can say that I often hesitate to state a negative opinion because I know that many game creators pay attention, and even respond, in the threads below the article about their game. I understand that constructive criticism can be vital, but I often defer to silence rather than to risk hurting someone.

    You've been doing this long enough to know that people in general, myself included, are rabble. We liberally grouse and complain and can rarely find a positive thing to say. So to repeat: RPS is the best it's ever been and getting better.

  9. #9
    I think I just feel your views have drifted far from mine now. It's probably just that my tastes have changed, probably in part because of your recommendations.

    Massive coverage of Diablo III. As you say, you probably should cover it I suppose. Although it doesn't need the attention, all of your readers know about it (psst! write about RO2!). I guess I was just expecting a few articles on it in the negative too. An alternate viewpoint as to why it's mindless crap. It's fair enough that you guys like it, I'm just a bit disappointed.

    This was the place I came to for alternative things. But now a huge amount of it is about the latest and greatest. Which again is fair enough, but with so many articles posted now it's very difficult to find the other stuff, it gets lost in the spam.

    Everything isn't as good as it used to be though, because of nostalgia. Because RPS isn't omg-have-you-read-this-site-it's-great! good any more as it's been around for years. But I'm pretty sure the writing has only got better as you've gone along.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousOrange View Post
    Massive coverage of Diablo III. As you say, you probably should cover it I suppose. Although it doesn't need the attention, all of your readers know about it (psst! write about RO2!). I guess I was just expecting a few articles on it in the negative too.
    You're aware of this:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...a-hollow-game/

    and this:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...o-isnt-diablo/

    and this:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...-results-vary/

    right?


    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousOrange View Post
    This was the place I came to for alternative things. But now a huge amount of it is about the latest and greatest. Which again is fair enough, but with so many articles posted now it's very difficult to find the other stuff, it gets lost in the spam.
    I can assure you there is more alternative content being posted than at any point in our history. The proportions of alternative to mainstream have remained mostly constant. I mean, just look at the site today. I assure you, this refrain, as I said in the top post, is entirely in your imagination.

  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    John, I think the odds, sods, indie and quirky coverage (and end results of that coverage for the developer) is better and stronger than ever and I appreciate it a great deal. Not just the games but running Brendy's stuff on the scratchierware end of the spectrum is valuable. I've got first hand experience of the difference RPS makes from the game coverage, the ability to nudge platform holders with that coverage if you need to and, ultimately, how even a bargain bucket post can reignite some interest in a game. So yeah, I'll thank you for that now and point out that you do make a difference. Still. And more so with the larger readership.

    It's sometimes incredibly hard to sit through the amount of negativity in the comments sections over a lot of indie games (and other games) without wanting to just shoot yourself though. When you've got people banging on about "hipsters", "neckbeards" or whatever else, it's fucking draining to read after a while even in the slender amounts it appears on site.

    I appreciate your call out but fairly often, I actually appreciate the lack of comments on posts also because it invariably means there'll be comments about the game in there not about whoever having said this to whatever on a Tuesday, the bastard. It's odd because it doesn't really get to me anywhere else but then anywhere else isn't somewhere I care about that much, I suppose.

    But of course, there's also the fact that if you want a more positive voice on a site, you have to be part of that positive voice. So, yeah. That does mean commenting on stuff like this and point taken and acknowledged.
    Last edited by RobF; 29-05-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Thoughts:

    More people play the big games so can comment usefully on them.

    With something like D3, threads about the DRM, etc, can be contributed to by people who haven't, or even have no intention, of playing it.

    With an obscure indie game, most of us aren't in a position to just give it a go right away. We're at work, or have other things to do. And it's hard to contribute meaningfully to the discussion without having played it in that case.

    Are people on the forum really complaining that RPS isn't what it used to be? I've see it in the comment threads but not so much here anymore.

    The nature of niche is that it's niche. People don't want you posting about obscure indie games because they want to try every single one. They want you to post about more obscure indie games because one out of five of those will be interesting to them, and one out of ten will be one of the greatest things they've ever played. And everyone's one in ten will be different.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    I only recently became a regular reader of RPS, and this is strictly because it seems to me to focus on obscure games. I have seen all the Diablo coverage, and wish my browser could filter it out, but at least there is plenty of stuff about indie games.

    I read the Gateway article but didn't comment. Strangely I considered it because of the Primer fanfare going on... love the movie. Also I thought of maybe mentioning it was cool they have a Dark Side of the Moon poster in one of the screenshots, but decided I really didn't have anything to say about the game...which doesn't really interest me at this stage.

    I don't have anything to say about Diablo III except I wish it wasn't any good at all so it would disappear.

    But basically RPS, to me, seems to slide more toward the indie and obscure games than the AAA titles I can read about all over the place. And the "vibes" I get from RPS staff is that they seem more interested in these smaller titles anyway. Which is why I prefer RPS over any other PC gaming site... though there seem to be very few with regular updates.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    The nature of niche is that it's niche. People don't want you posting about obscure indie games because they want to try every single one. They want you to post about more obscure indie games because one out of five of those will be interesting to them, and one out of ten will be one of the greatest things they've ever played. And everyone's one in ten will be different.
    This is a point worth emphasising.

    Incidentally the reason I don't comment much if at all these days is that I read articles via RSS and so don't even get the comments unless I specifically load them up for the lulz. But I still love you RPS people and all the RPSing that you do.

    xoxo
    Last edited by Rii; 29-05-2012 at 10:53 PM.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celt View Post
    RPS is, in my opinion, the best it's ever been and getting better.
    I second this comment so much I want to highlight it.
    Free speech don't mean unchallengeable speech.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Walker View Post
    Right, so here's a thing.

    A repeated refrain on these forums is to claim that RPS is not, in some form, As Good As It Used To Be. Generally these claims tend to centre around our no longer posting as much of X as we used to, instead focusing too much on Y. Invariably these protests aren't based in fact, as we post more of everything than we ever have before. However, it would also give the impression that there would be a louder voice of interest when we *do* post things that don't fall into the grumble zones. But quite the reverse is true.
    I honestly don't think RPS is as good as it used to be. The main reason for me is this; RPS post quite a lot of articles on the same game/mod on a regular basis. Take that Day Z mod for instance. How many articles has RPS posted on it? RPS do this too often for certain games/mods in my opinion. As for bloody Diablo III? Here's another from tonight - http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...ct-diablo-iii/

    Edit:
    Just read your article on Gateways. I read about it on Indie Games 2 days ago. Maybe others did too? - http://indiegames.com/2012/05/smudge...beta_for_.html
    Last edited by Heister; 29-05-2012 at 11:43 PM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'd rather more game report style writing and less previews/news/review pieces . But writing opinion pieces is easier than exploring the narrative potential of a game, so maybe I expect too much.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heister View Post
    I honestly don't think RPS is as good as it used to be. The main reason for me is this; RPS post quite a lot of articles on the same game/mod on a regular basis.
    Translation: RPS doesn't cater exclusively to my tastes and the RSI from the scroll wheel is killing me.

    Take that Day Z mod for instance. How many articles has RPS posted on it? RPS do this too often for certain games/mods in my opinion.
    You mean that they do it for games you don't like.

    As for bloody Diablo III? Here's another from tonight - http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...ct-diablo-iii/
    I'm sure John Walker is shocked and appalled to discover this article featuring the contributions of John Walker sullying the abode of John Walker.
    Last edited by Rii; 30-05-2012 at 12:02 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    Translation: RPS doesn't cater exclusively to my tastes and the RSI from the scroll wheel is killing me.

    I'm not saying they should. But enough with all the articles on the same bloody game. Ok, we know you like Game X. But I get your point Rii and that's what I find myself doing more and more. Just scrolling past another article on a game that was mentioned yesterday.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heister View Post
    I'm not saying they should. But enough with all the articles on the same bloody game. Ok, we know you like Game X. But I get your point Rii and that's what I find myself doing more and more. Just scrolling past another article on a game that was mentioned yesterday.
    As someone who was never terribly interested in Minecraft, I feel your pain. Incidentally, I have in the past complained about a particular subset of the "the articles, they are burying me" phenomenon: compliance with drip-feed marketing with articles in succession for a screenshot and then a trailer and then some artwork and then another screenshot and then a photograph of the apartment building wherein unnamed sources claim one of the character artists lived for six weeks in 1993. But I haven't noticed that sort of thing in a while.
    Last edited by Rii; 30-05-2012 at 12:35 AM.

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