On topic and a good idea. Sir, I salute you.
Once upon a time RPS did work that way, with the tied-together comments and forum threads. Comment nesting made it a bit too confusing though, and it was disabled. That was also back when RPS was using a WP-based forum, so it could communicate with the blog quite easily. I am not sure whether it's possible to tie a WP blog and a VB forum togother in that way.a system where the comment thread on each article became a matching forum thread.
Interesting -- I thought it must have been on the radar (the technology behind the issue is, of course, indistinguishable from magic as far as I'm concerned).
Personally, I would happily forgo comment nesting in favour of greater thread longevity. It seems a shame that people have interesting discussions in the comments that are then lost in the mists of time within 24 hours. Anyway, RPS is generally very excellent so I'm not complaining.
I haven't read all 10 pages, so apologies if this has been pointed out already in some way.
There is a saying in France, "c'est la ton qui fait la musique". It's the tone that makes the music.
You can't control what people do on your website, but you can influence it. What articles you write, and in what way, influence what sort of discussion will follow in the discussion in the comments. After all, you're making the first impression and the comments are, as is their nature, comments on what you write.
There are several mechanisms at work here, these are not scientific terms, just stuff I just made up at 4am:
Certain subjects attract certain types of discussion. As a simple example, if you don't want half the front page to be Diablo 3 flamefests, don't make half your front page Diablo 3 posts. I'm not very impressed by the 'But it's news' argument, since posts like that tend to be relatively lacking in content and effort, including research*.
Negative discussions can easily infect other posts as well. To continue the theme above, any post about a Diablo-alike runs the risk of Diablo comparisons followed by further derails in that direction. This can be partially prevented by not making such comparisons in the post itself in the first place. I'm sure a comment thread would have a much more positive tone if the article invited comparisons between Torchlight, Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, etc. than when you release the 800 lb gorilla in the room from the start.
- Find games with interesting angles, or make them up yourself.
On today's front page the article named 'I Shall Remain Is A Game You Can Play', about a zombie shooter, has attracted 28 comments so far. Right below that, 'Freudian Quips: Polymorpheus Perversity' is at 60. Over twice as many. I know it's hard to find something truly interesting in an age when quirkiness has become its own cliche, but writing about games that are conceptually interesting or have a relevance outside itself (or even gaming!) keeps the attitude of the commenters fresh and less blase as well.
I hope that helps a bit. :)
Edit: I just noticed I'm overlapping a lot with the subject in the 'Please RPS tell me what's wrong with everything' thread. I'll just leave it here but feel free to move it if you like.
*I'll try writing a seperate post about that sort of thing elsewhere later
Last edited by BjolkeDeBjeer; 05-07-2012 at 03:26 AM.
If a game looks good, it looks good, and we'll wait and see. But if you post an article about a massively popular and divisive game, there are bound to be more comments and arguments.
I come to RPS because of the obscure indie stuff, and the general writing style. It's actually kind of irritating that comments are being used as the metric for my enjoyment. Perhaps I should start commenting "I read and appreciated this article." on every post.
I love reading all the indie news, all the interesting opinion pieces and all of the other random brilliance that I have come to love from RPS.
But you know what? I love reading about Diablo 3 too.
I don't read a lot of gaming sites these days. I have been spoiled by the quality of writing here at RPS, and what's more, I find that RPS does an excellent job of covering all of the major news in an interesting way, in addition to covering all of the lovely gems and opinions that it is famed for.
I have literally no idea why people get upset about seeing posts about big games.
Keep up the great work RPS. You know you know what you're doing, and I love you for it.
I've been reading for years and started being somewhat active in the forums about two years ago. I visit once or twice a day to see if something new has shown up, and a lot of that interest is driven by the community in the forums. There is no other website that I visit as often, barring Google.
We are now living in a world where RPS has been around for some time (since 1873, actually), digital distribution has increased the number of players releasing "indie" or small games... I'm sure John and the krew are getting 50x as many requests nowadays to cover this or that game.
Going back to John's example of Gateways, I can't remember if I'd read that post or not. Think I skimmed past it. I know that 5 years ago the game would have seemed more unique, when there were fewer puzzling retro platformers. Whether or not the game is unique, it's playing in a crowded marketplace at this point. And also in a world where more of the mainstream gaming news sites are covering smaller games as well. So I blame the times for things feeling less special, not the site for being less quality.
RPS still stands out for its features and wry personality, though there's less of a sense of who some of the newer contributors are than there was for Kieron and Quinns. Is Adam Smith part of the Hivemind?
Ever since reading this, I haven't been able to stop taking notice of the comment post counts on varying threads.
As a point of interest, are the number of article reads in rough proportion to the comment post counts?
Here is another vote for a redesign that keeps stories on the front page or even more findable.
That being said, I do have to comment that I think the quality of RPS is different without KG and Quin. I think those two were different enough (Especially Quin) that meaningful debate often emerged. I found myself questioning the use of the word hivemind before, but accepted it as a joke because clearly RPS was made up of different types of gamers. I don't find that to be the case anymore. Either the core writers all agree, or the work is outsourced because they can't be bothered to step outside their groupthinking ideals to explore. (The TF2 Wot I think is a good example. It was a great chance to look at the game and think about the lauded Valve support and what it has done to a game over a course of years. To actually review it now as an FPS having reached the end of its expected content with meet the pyro. Instead it was a fanboy discussion of his favorite class).
I still read RPS, but I have to restrain myself from commenting on some of the utterly poor articles covering FPS games I am interested in. It is just very obvious that no one here actually care about that genre beyond the STALKER-alikes and Quake alikes. Not saying it doesn't get covered, it just doesn't get covered well. The MOH: Warfighter coverage is a perfect example of someone RPS knee jerk responses to something they don't care for. Failing to even recognize that the name of the game was derived from a U.S. department of defense term before going all silly. The number of errors like this seem to have risen quite a bit with the number of posts, maybe that is inevitable, but RPS seems to be following the internet trend of "react first...figure it out later."
Plus, the majority of "comments" in the big stories are just memes. RPS has gotten very repetitive. If you are wondering why interesting games don't get high comment counts, maybe you should look at the number of memes that make up the comment counts on the other threads. There is actually getting to be less and less discussion on this site and far more "WARFACE," "What a shame," "hipster," COD kids, "neckbeard," puns thread, and other space fillers.
I think that is why I enjoy the Sunday Papers so much, nearly none of that.
Last edited by Misnomer; 12-07-2012 at 03:28 PM.