Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal cri

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Sapient
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Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal cri

Post by Sapient »

[edit: this thread was split from "Formal critique against Khalifate faction."]


Trying to get the thread locked by drifting into a People of Color debate? I see why some devs hate reading the forums. It seems to be the perfect medium for flamewars :roll:

I'd like to thank the users who are staying positive with their comments. It is exciting to see Khalifate opening up both a new area for Wesnoth lore and a whole new playstyle for MP.
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Re: Formal critique against Khalifate faction.

Post by iceiceice »

Offtopic: To be honest in my experience mailing lists are much more fertile ground for flame wars. Hard to search, no possibillity to edit what you wrote, and email being fairly impersonal. When I was in college my student house (70 people) once during winterbreak had a >100 email flamewar which began as a heated discussion of holocaust denial, most exchanged in 72 hours. To me the forum seems relatively friendly in that people have friendly pictures, tend to use lots of smileys, there is explicit rules and moderators, you can edit your post if you think better of it, and it is easy to search and quote people. Then again, you've been around longer... but the dev list is also a different community whih probably has more to do with it than the medium.
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Re: Formal critique against Khalifate faction.

Post by Telchin »

Trying to get the thread locked by drifting into a People of Color debate?
I apologize if my comment came out as thread derailing. I didn't intend to promote racism or start flamewars. :oops: (Though you're right that threads about people of color tend to get locked.) I was more trying to refute taptap's fear that renaming the Khalifate "Southerners" would imply that they are equally savage as the Northerners (i.e. orcs). That said of the names suggested in this thread I liked "Emirate" (suggested by tr0ll on the 2nd page) the best, as it's distinctly Arabic, but with less religious connotations than Khalifate/Caliphate.
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Re: Formal critique against Khalifate faction.

Post by pyrophorus »

Sapient wrote:...I see why some devs hate reading the forums. It seems to be the perfect medium for flamewars :roll:
So why not doing like them ? I think no one will miss your patronizing comments.
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Re: Formal critique against Khalifate faction.

Post by Velensk »

Well I would miss Sapient, he gives plenty of good feedback.

And in this case, he has a point. Although there may be some valid points on both sides of this thread/argument, some of the dialogue in this thread has made it so that I don't anticipate anything good when I read it. I read it anyway just in case. There are other similar topics that pop up occasionally.

EDIT: Similar in that I don't anticipate anything good when I see them but read them anyway just in case. Like anyone complaining about RNG or suggesting off the wall changes to mainline, or super excited about their idea for a new elf faction (or elf-like faction), ect.
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Re: Formal critique against Khalifate faction.

Post by Sapient »

Ha, thanks Velensk.

But it's true that sometimes especially in the past I have been overly critical and focused on the negative rather than the positive. That's a character flaw that I'm working on.

So rather than giving a "patronizing" lecture about starting a new topic for forum atmosphere discussion. I'll just split this one off.
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by doofus-01 »

Oh goody, a flamewar about flamewars? I'm in!
Velensk wrote:And in this case, he has a point. Although there may be some valid points on both sides of this thread/argument, some of the dialogue in this thread has made it so that I don't anticipate anything good when I read it. I read it anyway just in case. There are other similar topics that pop up occasionally.
And pyrophorus has a point. Looking over the forums doesn't force one to be dragged into a flame war, or even read one. I don't see how anything that goes on in a flaming hot thread makes another thread in Tech Support so unbearable to read. The forums are kind of noisy because that's what happens when the unwashed masses are allowed in, and if the devs don't like that... well, bless their hearts. After all, no one should be forced to deal with something they despise, when it's just part of an unpaid volunteer effort for a computer game.
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by pyrophorus »

Just my two cents on the subject: IMO, IRC is much better to run flamewars than forums.

Furthermore, are the Wesnoth forums running so badly ?
Maybe I'm going too far, but I have the feeling many people in the management team have a very bad opinion on forums in general: they're noisy, nothing serious can be discussed there, they're a perfect medium for flamewar and so on.
Why running official forums then, if they're so stupid and useless ? Let the users create their own forums anywhere else and have their noisy and childish discussions there.

IMO, I don't think the now locked thread deserved to be named a flamewar. It was still a discussion, and the way it has been closed don't seems very clever to me. It looks a little too much like "You children should not discuss matters you understand not, and let serious people deal with it".
But, behind the faction name debate, there is another one, more general: Wesnoth is a game and not a realistic one. This is why we can, without moral scruples, have fun in this manichean world where the main activity (if not the only one) is murdering other people. Because, it's not really murdering people, but exercising tactics and strategy. But in a less abstract way than chess or go, and that's why, regularly, someone complain.
The problem arises when anything evokes too clearly something in the real world. Nobody will complain about orcs or ulkian factions because they exist not anywhere, but most people here would strongly object on a faction named for instance Al Qaida. But between the two, there's no clear boundary, and IMO, this is why the locked thread was useful: how to deal with borderline cases like this one, how to deal with temptations to drag Wesnoth into real life considerations and of course, conflicts. It's not an easy question.

Now, that's why IMO, a user forum is really useful, even if discussions can be rather hot. Members of the dev team are obviously competent in programming and servers administration, but does this give them automatically a superior ability over any user to deal with such moral or philosophical topics ?
Yes, they have the power to enforce their decisions, but it's not the same.

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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by Pentarctagon »

pyrophorus wrote:Furthermore, are the Wesnoth forums running so badly ?
Maybe I'm going too far, but I have the feeling many people in the management team have a very bad opinion on forums in general: they're noisy, nothing serious can be discussed there, they're a perfect medium for flamewar and so on.
Why running official forums then, if they're so stupid and useless ? Let the users create their own forums anywhere else and have their noisy and childish discussions there.
To me at least, there seems to be a rather fundamental disconnect between what the users want and what the developers want.

The users want a place not only to discuss the game/get WML help/get feedback, they also want to give feedback and opinions on the game and initiate meaningful changes even if they are unable to contribute themselves.

The developers on the other hand are (for the most part) unpaid volunteers who do this in their free time because they choose to and so feel that they have no obligation to interact with the user-base. Their time is their own and they'll use it however they choose to, which I think is perfectly reasonable. And while this is very true, and is even enshrined in the FAQ for all to see, it is often taken so literally that threads are locked condescendingly or somewhat arbitrarily.

This results in the users feeling somewhat marginalized while the devs feel that the forums are just a distraction since people start injecting their own ideas into stuff.
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by zookeeper »

Developers don't need to engage in flamewars, they ought to have better things to do. Ignoring a troublemaker is much more productive than trying to teach them a lesson because the latter will always fail.

Also, in context of what Pentarctagon said about developers being able to do what they want: it's worth noting that developers aren't one single-minded entity, and in many cases such as this particular one it's not a case of "developers want X, users want Y" situation at all. Some users and developers like the idea and some users and developers dislike the idea. However, developers are mostly reasonable people and reasonable people don't like to side with a noisy troublemaker with bad manners, so if a user wants to have their criticism have any effect, they should voice it in a manner which reasonable people could agree with. Now, I'm not saying that all "user vs developers" flamewars happen because a user is intentionally acting obnoxiously, but that seems a whole lot more common than developers and/or moderators being the instigators.
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by ChaosRider »

To all in this tread:
Spoiler:
If this higher is not enought then i will have to use better one below:
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by Sapient »

ChaosRider wrote: If this higher is not enought then i will have to use better one below:
Very cute :lol:
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by pyrophorus »

zookeeper wrote:However, developers are mostly reasonable people ... if a user wants...
developers are mostly reasonable people... so users must...
As one can easily see, obligations and rules are only on user side. Does this means users are not mostly reasonable people too ? Does this means devs need no rules and policies and can do what they want ?
To give an example more on topic, what exactly is a flamewar ? OK, everyone can give a definition, her/his definition. But as Pentarctagon showed in examples, every team member can decide by himself some thread is a flamewar or a useless discussion and lock it.
I certainly will not say all these decisions were wrong. I only say they're arbitrary in the plain sense of the term. And it's really easy to stamp 'flamewar' on quite anything, only when there's no unanimous agreement (as our friend ChaosRider did himself right here).

This remind me a lot of situations in organisations run by unpaid volunteers (including me). The managing team is very often tempted to behave like a group of wise people, clearly separated from the others members (who all are not very reasonable, always whining, not willing to help, in other words, spoilt children). Because their strong implication in running the project, the "wises" may think they will always make better decisions than ordinary members, and even the best possible decisions, so it's not very useful to worry about their opinions. Decisions are made in little committees, far from the ignorant and noisy crowd, who would only spoil and slow the debate. And any protestation will be replied in the same way: "How can you criticise ? Haven't you any respect and gratitude for all the work we/I did ? If you're not happy, you can go elsewhere !".
The real problem is not it's offending to ordinary members. The problem is these organisations run into trouble and may even die.

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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by zookeeper »

pyrophorus wrote:
zookeeper wrote:However, developers are mostly reasonable people ... if a user wants...
developers are mostly reasonable people... so users must...
As one can easily see, obligations and rules are only on user side.
No, it was not an obligation or a rule, it was a suggestion for how a user who has a problem with the decisions of a developer can (possibly) affect change; by presenting their case in a non-confrontational and nice manner, so that other developers might actually (publicly) take their side.
pyrophorus wrote:Does this means users are not mostly reasonable people too ? Does this means devs need no rules and policies and can do what they want ?
I don't know. This discussion was about or at least was started by unreasonable criticism.
pyrophorus wrote:This remind me a lot of situations in organisations run by unpaid volunteers (including me). The managing team is very often tempted to behave like a group of wise people, clearly separated from the others members (who all are not very reasonable, always whining, not willing to help, in other words, spoilt children). Because their strong implication in running the project, the "wises" may think they will always make better decisions than ordinary members, and even the best possible decisions, so it's not very useful to worry about their opinions. Decisions are made in little committees, far from the ignorant and noisy crowd, who would only spoil and slow the debate. And any protestation will be replied in the same way: "How can you criticise ? Haven't you any respect and gratitude for all the work we/I did ? If you're not happy, you can go elsewhere !".
Yes, some people use cookie-cutter responses like that one, which tends to be annoying.
pyrophorus wrote:The real problem is not it's offending to ordinary members. The problem is these organisations run into trouble and may even die.
Indeed.
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Re: Are forums a "perfect medium for flamewars"? (Re: Formal

Post by pauline »

Since "flaming" is a phenomenon of online conversation and internet forums in general,
the question is surely : Are the BfW-forums a perfect medium for flame-wars ?

@ pyro: what exactly is a flamewar
Reflecting on this question before answering:
"Flame-wars" are frequently the result of a grievance or a legitimate debate.
Unfortunately, RL humans – all of them, not only the "unwashed masses" – are not blessed with the telepathy-ability.
Our brilliant mind is not adapted to understanding correctly a different thinking,
but can so much the better jump to arbitrary assumptions and wrong implications.
Frustration or the perception of unfairness turn into a heated crosstalk,
online anonymity and the lack of non-verbal cues limit concerns about other people's feelings and encourages hostility,
hell is breaking loose ... what might be solved without too many words and explanations in a healthy face-to-face encounter
turns into a NOT illegal "flame-war". Nothing new, nothing surprising ...
So, my response would be:
YES, a forum is a meeting point where multiple users can hold conversations, ask for answers or opinions,
discuss conflicting ideas, briefly: make "noise ", in our case apparently predominantly "useless noise". :?
And YES, simply posting a contrary opinion may be enough to be labeled a "flamer".

As to the "perfect medium" in BfW for such commonplace occurrences:
Well, IMNSHO: neither the IRC-channel nor ML.
Shall the hordes invade and violate the shrines of more reasonable and well-mannered people ?
Cow serious developers into migration to secret temples or even abandon our friendly community ?
As far as I'm concerned: I appreciate the fruits of their voluntary dedication far too much :D
and won´t take responsibility for such "exceptionally bad outcome" !

However, there are 3 real-world issues that trigger flame-wars: politics, religion, philosophy.
In my understanding they are taboo on the honorable BfW-forums.
Nevertheless, the latest "discussion" about one single, careless chosen name drifted to ALL the above mentioned issues.
When it comes to unproductive mud fights in the "realm of the primates"
the intervention of "blade runners" is obviously necessary to maintain law and order :oops: (Sapient, don´t give up on us !)
(I don't know to what extent the debates of the major league require such interference, but wouldn´t entirely rule out the possibility.)

@ pyro: If you're not happy, you can go elsewhere
:hmm: ... specially considering that there ARE ways to approach a "bashing"...
(taking the bait and open communication, ignoring the subject so it might quickly be forgotten, or cutting everyone short ...
as it just happened regarding that"So what ? It´s just for fun in a phantasy game !"-name thing)


@ pyro: decisions are made in little committees
Well, this actually suggests another rephrasing of the topic, something like:
"Do discussions (or "flame-wars") on the BfW-forums have ANY reasonable chance of success ?"
(This, of course, with respect and appreciation for the general administration of this project !)

pauline

PS
Still optimistic about communication and compromises between the social ranks:
Is there still a chance to post concerns regarding a topic that "will be discussed internally" ?
Express embarrassment when "wiser people" shrug off justified objections ?
A pointer to unfavorable publicity due to ethico-political wrongdoing in terms of BfW-policy (and even the cyber law) ?
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