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 Greetings and first offence

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darwin.the.gamer
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PostSubject: Greetings and first offence   Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:40 pm

Hi.


I'm Darwin, and I'm a gamer. In fact, I'm Darwin the gamer.
Said so, I'll like to introduce myself as a programer which loves game-design and concept/brain work.

I know after this I should go here and post my suggestions, but I can't. Something about "special access", if I remember properly.
And that's what I would like to talk about (here), and hence the offence.

I just discovered the game, have a lot of comments, suggestions and a lot of energy to offer...and seems to be quite hard to do it. It's frustrating.
IMHO, the wiki is quite poor, the forum is a caothic mess (sorted in a anti-human way) and seems to be easier to resign than to collaborate.

Have you guys planned to move to a better platform? (table*)
*Another unfriendly example: here was a link to wikipedia's "Comparison of open source software hosting facilities", but I can't link it until 7 days passed...

Apart of this, I have a bunch of ideas for the game I'll happily discuss with you in the near future.

Regards.
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amymist
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:07 pm

I'm having the same issue with the Misc. Bugs and Questions thread, which is kind of weird, considering I've posted there before. I PMed a mod to no avail. Hopefully whatever is going on there is fixed soon!

Other than that, welcome to the forums!
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:19 pm

There's been some changes to the permissions recently but whether they're supposed to affect the misc bugs and questions thread I'm not sure. I'll get more information and post back.

Edit: Here is a little more information: http://thrivegame.canadaboard.net/t1363-permissions-restructuring#29328

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:56 am

Hello Darwin, and welcome to Thrive!

It's good to see a programmer on board  :D . If you weren't able to post on the Misc. thread, that's probably because of the permissions changes. The last devblog here explains it. Basically new users now need to apply and get accepted to be able to post on the forums.

However, the Misc thread and the subforum its in should be open, and since they're not I'll fix that now (done).

The wiki does need overhaul, yes, but I personally cannot devote time to it yet for the next several days. Soon enough I'll be free to start work on improving the wiki and improving the forum.

The forum can be messy in places, but the free forum host is actually quite powerful (from what I've seen), and it's merely how much the mods know to use it that effects how well structured the forum is.

However, do you have any specific suggestions for improvement for the forum? They are always welcome, and in a couple days when I get back I would be glad to work on them.

The linking restriction can be annoying, but it is easy to overcome by just putting spaces in the link, and is useful at stopping spambots and advertisers (from what I've seen).

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darwin.the.gamer
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:50 pm

amymist, crovea: Thanks for your replies.

NickTheNick wrote:

Hello Darwin, and welcome to Thrive!
It's good to see a programmer on board  :D . If you weren't able to post on the Misc. thread, that's probably because of the permissions changes. The last devblog here explains it. Basically new users now need to apply and get accepted to be able to post on the forums.

However, the Misc thread and the subforum its in should be open, and since they're not I'll fix that now (done).

Hi!.
I noticed the devblog, but found it too restrictive (not being able to suggest). Thanks a lot for fixing it.
If you don't mind, I'll like to discuss about forum structure here, before posting any other proposal elsewhere.

NickTheNick wrote:

The wiki does need overhaul, yes, but I personally cannot devote time to it yet for the next several days. Soon enough I'll be free to start work on improving the wiki and improving the forum.

The forum can be messy in places, but the free forum host is actually quite powerful (from what I've seen), and it's merely how much the mods know to use it that effects how well structured the forum is.

However, do you have any specific suggestions for improvement for the forum? They are always welcome, and in a couple days when I get back I would be glad to work on them.

In my experience, a wiki can be a great tool to help arrange and sort information, and sadly, sometimes it becomes "another TODO task". ie: Using confluence makes life easier, using docuwiki helps if you don't need layouts, using tiddly is boring.

Forums are places where people can discuss about topics, but most of the times, a "conclusion" is needed. First up-to-date/revised post helps a lot with this issues.
It's also good to merge/sum up topics to have less messages but with better quality. ie: Don't have two topics about the same subject, but archiving older messages once the conclusions are obtained.
Two principles: Keep it simple stupid & Less is more.


This is more or less my proposal (regarding forums/wiki):

Use the wiki as the main information tool
, where the game is introduced, detailed and designed. It should divide information in little pieces to make reading faster and easier (less is more).
A division of contents based on game stages could work, apart of other sections like development pages.

Ideas or concepts used on the game that were discussed (on the forums) can be linked to the forum thread where they were discussed, as an archive, including rejected ideas, so helping people having the full picture. To help with this, each suggestion could have a suggestion id.
The forums, hence, will need a better division: the "Misc. Bugs and Questions thread" It's a no-go.

Of course, collaboration should be made easier to help the game improve.

If you want to give it a try, I could edit an internal page on the wiki to start discussion. You move.


NickTheNick wrote:

The linking restriction can be annoying, but it is easy to overcome by just putting spaces in the link, and is useful at stopping spambots and advertisers (from what I've seen).

Whitelisting URLs could be usefull to let people link sites like wikipedia...spambots should be stopped with the Captcha, and advertisers...well, thats another battle. Keywords maybe?

Anyhow, I understand a forum implies lot of work, and I'm here to help, so I'll love to post other game-related suggestions on the proper thread.
Regards.
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:43 pm

Welcome!  :D 

I'm probably not adding much to what's already been said, but the purpose of the forum permissions restructuring was to cut down on posts which make no contribution and encourage those with skills to join and post while discouraging those without. We understand that it's annoying not to be able to add to anything, but the alternative comes with the cost of letting anyone post anywhere - be it old topics, irrelevant topics or completely new topics about ideas which have been decided upon many times before.

The problem with the Wiki at the moment is that only a few people have been around long enough and know enough about the game to actually write sufficiently detailed Wiki articles (I've done a few, but most of the more important concepts I'm lacking knowledge of). The idea that it should be the main repository of information has for its entire existence been the goal, but it's clear to see that's a difficult thing to do. Linking to forum threads is a very good idea, but it doesn't necessitate the breaking down of the Misc thread - you can link to specific posts or pages of threads you want (for instance, http://thrivegame.canadaboard.net/t933p60-population-dynamics will link to the page of the Population Dynamics thread which was one place Auto-Evo was finally wrapped up, and http://thrivegame.canadaboard.net/t1327-introductory-article-about-version-control#29400 will take you to Crovea's recent post on the Version Control thread).

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darwin.the.gamer
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:29 pm

Hi.
I sincerely appreciate your contribution to the discussion.
I would like to hightlight two aspects:

Oliveriver wrote:

...
but the purpose of the forum permissions restructuring was to cut down on posts which make no contribution and encourage those with skills to join and post while discouraging those without. We understand that it's annoying not to be able to add to anything,
I'll like to note you admited you made harder to collaborate in order to avoid unworthy posts.
Said so, if you want information to be sorted, don't use a forum. Forums (as the word say) are for discussions, like maillists.

Oliveriver wrote:

...
but the alternative comes with the cost of letting anyone post anywhere - be it old topics, irrelevant topics or completely new topics about ideas which have been decided upon many times before.
The way the forum is structured doens't help much to find things easily.
Apart of this, users should search but they never do it (myself included).
Have you considered an option "are you sure your message is not one of these similar questions" as stackoverflow does?
Anyhow, IMHO it's much better "mark as answered/duplicate and move to archive" but letting the users collaborate rather than locking.



Oliveriver wrote:

The problem with the Wiki at the moment is that only a few people have been around long enough and know enough about the game to actually write sufficiently detailed Wiki articles (I've done a few, but most of the more important concepts I'm lacking knowledge of). The idea that it should be the main repository of information has for its entire existence been the goal, but it's clear to see that's a difficult thing to do.
You showed a good point, and there are two big issues about it.
First: "If it's not written, it doesn't exists".
Second: The wiki can be -not only a tool to describe the game- but a source of knowledge about what has been discussed on the forums, hence helping improve project documentation.

Apart of this, have you considered using different permissions for different pages/namespaces?
I could edit an internal page and, when reviewed, be submitted to production environment.
Please, again, consider this a proposal for the forum/wiki part.


Oliveriver wrote:

Linking to forum threads is a very good idea, but it doesn't necessitate the breaking down of the Misc thread - you can link to specific posts or pages of threads you want (for instance, http://thrivegame.canadaboard.net/t933p60-population-dynamics will link to the page of the Population Dynamics thread which was one place Auto-Evo was finally wrapped up, and http://thrivegame.canadaboard.net/t1327-introductory-article-about-version-control#29400 will take you to Crovea's recent post on the Version Control thread).
I know you can link to specific post on a thread, even pages...but the goal is to separate different issues/conversations.
It doesn't have any sense to have a proposal about using .wav/.mp3 toghether with a request about being able to play as an aquatic lifeform.
I'm sure you will agree.


Regards.
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Seregon
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:38 pm

Welcome to the forums darwin. It seems you've become the unwilling test subject of the recent restructure - as the others have explained, we've removed the posting permission of new users in an attempt to reduce the amount of unproductive posts taking place, and allow the productive members to get on with working on the game.

Unfortunately, as you say, this may discourage those who do genuinely want to contribute by requiring them to post an application thread before being allowed to post elsewhere. We want to minimize this as much as possible, so if you could suggest any way of making this process easier that would be appreciated. For the time being we won't be switching back to completely open access, as we want to give it enough time to see if the new system is really better or worse.

On a few of your other points:
- I agree the wiki needs to be kept up to date, and that's probably the biggest issue we need to deal with to make information more easily accessible, which should also make the forums easier to use for newer users, as previously finalized information will be available in one place, rather than spread across multiple discussion threads. Having had a quick look at confluence and docuwiki, they both look nice, but would require us to host them on our own server, which we don't have.

- The wiki should link to significant threads and posts that contributed to the final decision on that subject. I don't think adding tags is necessary, as their only real use is for searching, and you'd need to keep a list of tags to search for, which may as well be a list of links instead.

- The Misc. thread needs to go, I've said for a while that it is no longer fit for purpose. It was intended for questions which needed only a one post response (where creating a new thread really would be a waste), but now contains over 60 pages of random discussions which will probably never be read again. Allowing threads to be posted in the Forum Support & Suggestions, with much stricter moderation than we've done before, might be a workable alternative.

- Regarding moderation, this is the main reason we moved to the new permission settings, as several of the more experienced users were spending most of their time on the forum replying to repeated questions or moderating them, rather than being able to work on something useful. This isn't an ideal solution, but its certainly a lot better than what we had before.

- While it would be nice to point users to similar questions when they post a new one, or easily mark new threads as duplicates of existing ones, this forum software doesn't allow us to do that. Our only real options for unwanted threads are to delete them, or lock them with a quick reply as to why.
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darwin.the.gamer
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:39 am

Seregon wrote:

Welcome to the forums darwin.  It seems you've become the unwilling test subject
...
Admin: name me Guinea pig.

Seregon wrote:

Unfortunately, as you say, this may discourage those who do genuinely want to contribute by requiring them to post an application thread before being allowed to post elsewhere.  We want to minimize this as much as possible, so if you could suggest any way of making this process easier that would be appreciated.  For the time being we won't be switching back to completely open access, as we want to give it enough time to see if the new system is really better or worse.
Altough it probably need some discussion, this could be an option:
General forum
...
Ideas/Suggestions Forum
...
Dev Forum
...

On the ideas/suggestion forum EVERYONE (even unregistered but using captcha) can create a topic, but encouraged to read instructions:
-Read the wiki and search
-Search in the forum before posting
-One topic/idea/suggestion per thread
+If possible, a "already asked?" feature like stackoverflow.
+Unregistered posts could be moderated

If already asked/proposed/discussed, and not giving a new point of view/argument, anyone could "mark as duplicate" and moderators could close and move to archive, linking to the thread where it was discussed.
If already asked, but giving a new argument, it should be moved as a thread reply (in the thread were discussion takes place)

Each idea/suggestion could be identified and linked in the proper place within our wiki, on its proper location.
Ideas for awakening stage go on awakening, if they were accepted, as a feature (linking forum) and if they were rejected on a rejected proposals appendix.


Seregon wrote:

On a few of your other points:
- I agree the wiki needs to be kept up to date, and that's probably the biggest issue we need to deal with to make information more easily accessible, which should also make the forums easier to use for newer users, as previously finalized information will be available in one place, rather than spread across multiple discussion threads.  Having had a quick look at confluence and docuwiki, they both look nice, but would require us to host them on our own server, which we don't have.
Confluence kills dokuwiki by far. It's possible to have an online free version (for JIRA too):
https :// www . atlassian . com/es/software/views/open-source-license-request
Have you played with Confluence demo? (Once done, you'll never look back)
Have you played with JIRA demo?
What about github (sourceforge :P) wiki?


Seregon wrote:

- The wiki should link to significant threads and posts that contributed to the final decision on that subject.  I don't think adding tags is necessary, as their only real use is for searching, and you'd need to keep a list of tags to search for, which may as well be a list of links instead.
Tags are very usefull to search, and having an id on each feature, help developers.
Summarizing the conclusions of a discussion on the first thread's post seems to be a good way.

Seregon wrote:

- The Misc. thread needs to go, I've said for a while that it is no longer fit for purpose.  It was intended for questions which needed only a one post response (where creating a new thread really would be a waste), but now contains over 60 pages of random discussions which will probably never be read again.  Allowing threads to be posted in the Forum Support & Suggestions, with much stricter moderation than we've done before, might be a workable alternative.
Aleluyah!

Seregon wrote:

- Regarding moderation, this is the main reason we moved to the new permission settings, as several of the more experienced users were spending most of their time on the forum replying to repeated questions or moderating them, rather than being able to work on something useful.  This isn't an ideal solution, but its certainly a lot better than what we had before.
Here, IMHO, you made a big mistake: Moderating ITS useful work.
There are people to love graphic design, other love coding, and others love forums, moderation and so.
Of course your reasons are still valid, but this proves a few things:
-People is interested in the game
-The people never reads
-The people should find information and they are not.
So: clean and hard work.

Seregon wrote:

- While it would be nice to point users to similar questions when they post a new one, or easily mark new threads as duplicates of existing ones, this forum software doesn't allow us to do that.  Our only real options for unwanted threads are to delete them, or lock them with a quick reply as to why.
Thats more than enough:
Close, add a text on user post: mark as duplicate, link to previous discussion.
Github issues could work for this too!
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:27 pm

I think having a suggestion forum open to non-developers is a reasonable option, and having checked the admin controls, we can prompt people posting there to check if their idea/question has been posted before. What I'm not sure about is how much moderation time that will require to maintain. I don't see any advantage to allowing unregistered users to post.

darwin.the.gamer wrote:
Here, IMHO, you made a big mistake: Moderating ITS useful work.
I'm not saying moderation isn't useful, but that for most of the people doing it, their time would be much better spent elsewhere.

darwin.the.gamer wrote:
Tags are very usefull to search, and having an id on each feature, help developers.
Summarizing the conclusions of a discussion on the first thread's post seems to be a good way.
I'm still not entirely convinced by this, and in any case, if we did use tags, they should be added after a discussion to highlight key posts, not added to every new post or thread by default.

I hadn't noticed that confluence on demand was also freely available. While I agree that it looks very nice, and it's the sort of thing I'd choose if we were starting from scratch, I don't see us moving over now.

Overall, there seem to be two main issues your getting at. First, it's difficult for newer players to find info on whats already been discussed or decided. Second, it's difficult for new members to post their own questions.

I would hope that an up to date wiki would solve the first issue, and a few tweaks to the suggestions forum would fix the second, I don't see the need to do anything more extreme (e.g.: move to a new platform).
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Again...brief day!:


  • I definetively vote yes for an open forum for suggestions, one suggestion/idea per thread, following brief and simple instructions described earlier (mark as duplicate, sum-up on first post). Can we make a test using github issues?. I hate to register on sites.
  • I haven't played with github wiki, but JIRA and Confluence are great tools. Probably they are oversized for current ptoject state.



Seregon wrote:

Overall, there seem to be two main issues your getting at.  First, it's difficult for newer players to find info on whats already been discussed or decided.  Second, it's difficult for new members to post their own questions.

I would hope that an up to date wiki would solve the first issue, and a few tweaks to the suggestions forum would fix the second, I don't see the need to do anything more extreme (e.g.: move to a new platform).

Reviewing the documents on the wiki and writing them into github wiki could help to sort the information.
Doing something similar with the forum and moving suggestions to issues (as discussions) could help a lot also.
Finally, about the messy suggestion forum, I think we all agree that it doesn't work anymore (on page 66).

Again: could you have a look at github issues, as an alternative to this forum?

EDIT:
I have tested github issues and fits like a charm for both, dev and ideas (using labels).


Last edited by darwin.the.gamer on Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Github issues fits perfectly for this!)
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:12 am

It would be misusing github, users would be confused they have to create an account for, agree to terms for and use a programming website for design ideas and it certainly wouldn't be viable for the entire forum, so it would just be one more place for people to sign up.
I'd be more open to using a website dedicated to suggestions or use the existing or a new subreddit!

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:07 pm

I agree with Crovea that using github issues as a forum is abusing what they're meant to be used for. It would also significantly confuse the discussions between the programmers that are going on there now.

On a separate note - if you'd like to join the team and get access to post on the rest of the forums, could you please post an introduction with some more information about yourself, your experience, skills, and anything else you think could contribute to the team. Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings and first offence   Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:18 pm

Seregon wrote:
I agree with Crovea that using github issues as a forum is abusing what they're meant to be used for.
I disagree, even more considering default github issues have a "question" tag.
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