steelsmiter
 member, 1624 posts
 GURPS, BESM, Fate, Indies
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Wed 24 Aug 2016
at 13:49
Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
Skald:
Perhaps Discussion as a genre should be relabelled "RPG Discussion" and be open to GMs to set themselves ... if someone would like to start us off in RPoL Development, I'd vote for that.  ;>


Done! Or more specifically, I would not mind seeing RPG Discussion among the categories that GMs could pick. There was also a suggestion posed in another thread of like a parenthetical greyed out note that you should talk to the moderators about adding Discussion to your categories. I think they both have benefits and drawbacks

RPG Discussion as a checkbox by default:
  • You can click it immediately, and not have to bother anyone
  • It would be annoying if games were labelled as RPG discussion and they weren't really discussing RPGs.


A greyed out notice that Discussion needs to be added by the moderators:
  • It informs players what they need to do to get their game listed as something besides a game.
  • Mods have to change the layout of the Game Details page, which I'm not sure is all that major, but I thought I'd mention it in any case.


Status Quo:
  • Sometimes you get players like me who have to randomly stumble on a Mod letting them know that Discussion has to be added by the Mods.


I just thought of an alternate possibility where both RPG Discussion as a player editable category and regular Discussion as a Mod made category coexist. Not really sure how it would work out.
icosahedron152
 member, 626 posts
Thu 25 Aug 2016
at 07:27
Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
+1 from me.

There are a number of potentially useful discussion groups on Rpol, but it's almost impossible to find them, because most are hidden amongst hundreds of other games. Very few are listed as 'Discussion', because Discussion doesn't show up as an option for listing.

If I want to find a discussion group about the relative merits of different D&D versions, for example, I can't click 'Fantasy' and 'Discussion' and up it comes, because the GM didn't have an option to list under 'Discussion'. Instead, I have to trawl through hundreds of pages of Fantasy games in the hope that I might stumble across the one I want - if it exists at all.

As another example, it would be great if the various groups that discuss portrait identities were listed under 'Discussion', where you would logically expect to find them, rather than 'Contemporary' or 'Historical' or whatever else the originator contrived for a label when the obvious one (apparently) wasn't available.

I suspect a lot of worthwhile discussion/information groups die because nobody can find them.

Having said that, I agree that this site is for gaming, and I would not like the site to be inundated with discussion groups about politics, cars, knitting patterns, etc.

Discussions should be limited to RPG relevant stuff, but we need a better way to list and search them. I'm not sure how that could best be done, but maybe we can discuss the possibilities here?

If you want your Discussion groups to be found and used, add your +1 here.
steelsmiter
 member, 1625 posts
 GURPS, BESM, Fate, Indies
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Thu 25 Aug 2016
at 07:45
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
icosahedron152:
If I want to find a discussion group about the relative merits of different D&D versions, for example, I can't click 'Fantasy' and 'Discussion' and up it comes, because the GM didn't have an option to list under 'Discussion'. Instead, I have to trawl through hundreds of pages of Fantasy games in the hope that I might stumble across the one I want - if it exists at all.

here's a pro tip in that regard, it may not work some of the time because of naming conventions I've not thought of, but all the discussion groups I'm aware of either have something like "Community Lounge", "Discussion", "Design", "Guildhall" or "Chat" in them. Like I said, probably missing some, but I suppose that's the trouble of not naming specific names.

quote:
As another example, it would be great if the various groups that discuss portrait identities

There's more than one? I suppose the fact that I didn't know that proves your point.

quote:
I suspect a lot of worthwhile discussion/information groups die because nobody can find them.

I know mine are slow, but they seem to pick up in waves. I wonder if there's been times the Mods haven't deleted them just because they're nice.

quote:
Having said that, I agree that this site is for gaming, and I would not like the site to be inundated with discussion groups about politics, cars, knitting patterns, etc.

I could do without any of that as far as devoting a group's whole purpose to it goes, but I understand they're probably there because of some need for them.

quote:
If you want your Discussion groups to be found and used, add your +1 here.

Also with the current stance on discussion groups, you should PM the Mods of its/their existence.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 07:46, Thu 25 Aug 2016.

Veritas11
 member, 20 posts
Thu 25 Aug 2016
at 14:33
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
+1!

Definitely think this is a good idea.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15160 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 28 Aug 2016
at 03:58
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
-1 for letting GMs place boards in the Discussion category themselves.

Part of the idea behind the current system was to actually limit the number of forums that end up in the Discussion category.  The GMs have to operate their forum as a regular game for a while as a sort of "proof of concept".

If the forum can run as a regular game, with plenty of activity, and without the GM getting bored and abandoning it, then they can approach us and request a transfer to the Discussion category.  We then decide whether or not to transfer it, based on activity level, and whether or not we already have fifty forums about the new flavour of the month game system.

Changing that runs the risk of GMs setting up a discussion forum that hardly anybody is actually interested in, then wandering off and leaving it to clutter up the category with a forum that nobody is using.


+1 for publicising the current system a bit better.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:59, Sun 28 Aug 2016.

Skald
 moderator, 724 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Sun 28 Aug 2016
at 05:56
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
Lucky we have bigbadron, cos I'd completely overlooked that.  The other problem (thanks again, bigbadron) is that we could very easily end up with duplicate discussion forums all on the same topic, which is also something we'd very much want to avoid.  So I'm going to have to temper my initial enthusiasm.  ;<

What we need is most definitely a better way of linking potential players with both established and probationary discussion forums.  We have a thread in Heaven - Gaming Resources, which allows us to spot duplicates, but I don't know that users will automatically think to go there.  We also have a few links in the Games Systems Forum Notice on Forum Rules, and while that could easily link to the Heaven thread with a "see here for a list of existing discussion forums" link, so we don't have to maintain two separate lists, I don't know that potential players would think to look there either ?

Currently almost all discussion forums have got Discussion as Game System, which helps to identify them ... but of course precludes listing an actual game system which might be the whole point of the forum, depending on how narrow the focus is - eg you might want a discussion group for Superhero games which crosses several systems or a discussion group for just one particular system.

To me ... specific system would come under Game System, while crossing several systems would come under Genre (aka Category) ... but while they're both searchable, you'd have to search both separately, which I don't see as ideal.

As things are now, we have several distinct ways of doing it (feel free to suggest more if I've missed any):

  • Discussion as Game System (set by GM)
  • Discussion as [part of] Game Title (set by GM)
  • Discussion as Genre (set by Mods)
  • Discussion as Forum (set by Mods)

The first three are normal games - players have to be added by GM in order to post.  Converting a game to a forum means that anyone can post without being added.  In all cases the game or forum owner is responsible for the posts in the game or forum (one of the reasons that it has thus far been very rare for games to be converted to forums as we have to be sure that the GM will stick around for the long haul, as it's much more responsibility to monitor an open forum where it's not just your players but the whole user base posting.

I'd suggest as a workable framework we could:

  • Allow any GM to add their game to Discussion Genre, to create a Private Discussion game.  Only Private Discussion games would be able to advertise in Players Wanted.
  • GM can apply to have Private Discussion game made into a Public Discussion game once it has proved viable (per criteria in bigbadron's post above).  There would be no obligation to do this - some GMs may wish to keep their Private Discussion game invitation only.  Note that GM still has to add players to the Public Discussion game.  Public Discussion game would be added to listings under new RPG Discussions heading (see proposal for that below)
  • GM can apply to have Public Discussion game converted to a forum once the Public Discussion proves viable (similar to criteria to qualify as Public Discussion bigbadron outlined, but over a longer timeframe)

Then in order to connect players with discussions:

  • Create new heading on main screen for RPG Discussions and list Public Discussion games and forums (but not Private RPG Discussions) under that as users add them to their lists
  • Have direct search for RPG Discussion games/forums under search (ie same as "RPoL forums click here").  Private discussions would be found by selecting Genre (note to be added to that effect on search and/or results screen).

Just a thought.  Feel free to point out the obvious flaws. :>
icosahedron152
 member, 628 posts
Sun 28 Aug 2016
at 10:56
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
I’ve been wondering what the problem was, and I think it may be that we’re imagining different things.

I suspect that Ron is thinking more of what Skald is calling ‘Public Forums’ or ‘Public Discussions’. Sure, if your Discussion is open to all site members, there have to be restrictions both about the content and who runs it. But then, what we have already seems to work for that (if we publicize the option a little more). I don’t really see the requirement to differentiate between ‘Public Discussion’ and ‘Public Forum’.

What I was imagining was what Skald calls ‘Private Discussions’, and to be honest, that’s all that really interests me - Discussion Games, if you like.

I don’t see any reason why Moderators need concern themselves with the contents of a Private Discussion. It doesn’t matter if there are twenty Discussions about D&D Character Classes - just as it doesn’t matter if there are twenty or two hundred games of Shadowrun. Punters join what they find interesting. (But you could restrict them to ‘RPG related’ to save server space from Cars and Dogs).

My difficulty is that GMs can’t label their game as a ‘Discussion Game’, except by Game System (which pretty much excludes them from listing what the discussion is about). Nor can anyone find it easily, making the requirement that:

quote:
The GMs have to operate their forum as a regular game for a while as a sort of "proof of concept".

Difficult to implement.

In all probability, too many discussions die too quickly because they can’t be listed readily and can’t be found easily.

What we need is:
a)
An option for GMs to freely list their ‘game’ under the Discussion Genre, in exactly the same way that they list it as Fantasy and/or Comedy, then they can list the nature of the discussion under Game System, and people can find it easily just by choosing the Discussion Genre on the search screen.

and
b)
There needs to be a flag somewhere that tells the GM that if the discussion generates sufficient interest over a sufficient time, s/he can apply to the Mods to have the Game turned into a Forum, with public access and greater responsibility. Such a GM effectively becomes a mini-moderator with responsibility for management and first-line moderation of his/her own Public Forum, and will need to be vetted carefully by the Mods.

Item a) will allow for more Private Discussion Games and for those discussions to be found and joined more easily. It will also keep them more in one place and hence make it easier to moderate them for RPG relevance, etc.

Item b) will ensure that only suitable GMs and topics will be allowed into the public arena, retaining the status quo, but that GMs will be more aware of the option to ‘go public’, so that more really useful material supplied by reliable people becomes publicly available.

Win-win, I reckon. :)
bigbadron
 moderator, 15161 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 28 Aug 2016
at 11:56
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
quote:
I don’t see any reason why Moderators need concern themselves with the contents of a Private Discussion.

We don't.  For that matter, we don't need to concern ourselves with the privately-created public forums either (except for things like keeping an eye out for content and copyright violations, just as we would for any other game on the site).  They are not official RPoL forums, and are run and moderated by the people who create them.

quote:
It doesn’t matter if there are twenty Discussions about D&D Character Classes

Apart from all the duplicated effort that goes into them.  Twenty different forums on the same topic potentially means twenty different people posting similar material, and reduces the usefulness of those forums ("Okay, I want to use this variant class, but I can't remember which forum it was posted in.").
Utsukushi
 member, 1385 posts
 I should really stay out
 of this, I know...but...
Sun 28 Aug 2016
at 15:52
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
What's wrong with just naming it "Discussion: D&D Character Classes", or "D&D Character Classes Discussion", or "Twisty Discussion of D&D Classes for Characters, All Different"?

Then if people just pop "Discuss" into their Search under "Game Name", they'll get a full list of all Discussion-type games.

Is this really not working?
steelsmiter
 member, 1629 posts
 AWE, BESM, Fate, Indies
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Mon 29 Aug 2016
at 03:45
Re: Suggestion: Change the way Discussions are dealt with
Utsukushi:
What's wrong with just naming it "Discussion: D&D Character Classes", or "D&D Character Classes Discussion", or "Twisty Discussion of D&D Classes for Characters, All Different"?

Then if people just pop "Discuss" into their Search under "Game Name", they'll get a full list of all Discussion-type games. 

This was my initial response, but then I was made to realize that sometimes people don't just automatically knee jerk those words (which can also include community, chat, lounge, and guildhall from my personal experience) into the game names. It's why I think it would be cool to have a tick box by the game system list that identifies the game as a discussion about the (other) game system you pick.