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The forums need some changes.

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  • Nub:

    - lame excuse or not, the site redesign has made the site less appealing than it once was. My big gripe is the confusion of groups and "official" threads. At some point, we're going to have to come to some kind of consensus on this, as a community. If we create a "group" for every major game that comes along, why bother posting threads about them in the general forums? It's redundant.

    - the mods got nerfed, and everyone knows it. Half the stuff we could previously do with little effort is now either MIA or so complicated it's rendered ineffective. Chf is just more stubborn than the rest of us. I hate to say it, but it may take a period of chaos before the staff sees the problem and addresses it, and no, it's not the people they appointed that they should be looking at.



    For the first part, that has been my feeling from day one, that the site is too splintered.  The design seems a little odd to have forums in groups that are about the same things as threads in the forums (that are not in groups)...  It's wonky.  But the idea and plan is sound, and I'd like to see it work eventually.

    The "official" threads were all user created, since the groups for those forums already exist.  My feeling is to not allow for "official" forum threads on specific games.  Q&A and discussions are welcome, of course, but calling anything  "official" is very redundant.  It's a new kind of layout and one that most people aren't used to.  Groups are instantly created whenever we add a new game to our site, through review, preview, feature, etc..  The problem is, it is so different and so new, that most people are on the "official" threads in the forums and not participating in the groups.

    We've created a catch 22, and the real problem is we couldn't predict how the community would react until there actually was one (a community).

    That's one of the big reasons we're doing a gameinformer.com/help section on the next update (2.1, sometime in Feb. hopefully).  Maybe through education and agreed-upon procedure, we can organize the masses a little bit.  The more organized we are, the more efficient we are.

    ----

    For nerfed mods, we are just as upset as you guys are since we had no idea simple things (like banning someone, even if temporarily) would be out of your hands.  Or things like moving/locking threads would involve so much work, and still not work like we all want it to.  A big part of 2.1 is resolving these issues.  Moderator-only threads and an entire hidden group just for moderators with all of your tools in one place (also maybe having them directly on the forums), and make them simpler to use.  We now have more control than ever before to modify this web site, so we're going to be making a lot of changes all through 2010 and beyond.  

    You guys are integral in getting this site to work correctly, so we're in turn going to do our best to make your jobs as easy (and hopefully a little fun) as possible.

    If you guys ever have any needs or ideas, just do like Angel did and send me some messages on my profile here (starting a conversation works best).  I'll make sure your ideas get proper attention.

  • Sean Lowery:

    For the first part, that has been my feeling from day one, that the site is too splintered.  The design seems a little odd to have forums in groups that are about the same things as threads in the forums (that are not in groups)...  It's wonky.  But the idea and plan is sound, and I'd like to see it work eventually.

    The "official" threads were all user created, since the groups for those forums already exist.  My feeling is to not allow for "official" forum threads on specific games.  Q&A and discussions are welcome, of course, but calling anything  "official" is very redundant.  It's a new kind of layout and one that most people aren't used to.  Groups are instantly created whenever we add a new game to our site, through review, preview, feature, etc..  The problem is, it is so different and so new, that most people are on the "official" threads in the forums and not participating in the groups.

    We've created a catch 22, and the real problem is we couldn't predict how the community would react until there actually was one (a community).

    That's one of the big reasons we're doing a gameinformer.com/help section on the next update (2.1, sometime in Feb. hopefully).  Maybe through education and agreed-upon procedure, we can organize the masses a little bit.  The more organized we are, the more efficient we are.

    See, this is where I debate the purpose for having both groups and the main forums.  If there's a group for every console and game/game series on god's green earth, then what's the point in the Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, PC, and General Gaming boards in the main forums? 

    If we shouldn't make "Official" threads in the main forums but defer to groups with broad categories and limited subcategories (or at least until silver members are able to create subcategories of our own anyways), then why bother with the main gaming boards in the forums at all? 

    You say discussion and Q&As are welcome in the main forums, but if there's a group for a given game that everyone should treat as the "official" discussion area for said game anyways, then what's the point of throwing out a Q&A or discussion in the main forums?  As you said, it's redundant.  But you take away the gaming boards on the main forums, and all you're left with is Gear & Media, Off Topic, Subscribers, and Announcements, since everything else should theoretically have it's own group with it's own "official" discussions.

    Honestly, a choice needs to be made, either keep the gaming oriented boards in the main forums and get rid of groups, or keep the groups and get rid of the gaming oriented boards in the main forums, because both existing simultaneously is inevitably redundant.

  • Well there needs to be a place we can put threads like "What game are you currently playing", "last game you beat", "what 360 game should i get" and so on. That's what the Sony, Xbox, Nintendo, General Gaming boards are there for. You take away those boards and you take away a lot of interesting discussions.

    It would be nice if everyone would put specific game discussions in their respected groups and leave other general discussions in the main boards. However, it may be asking a little much, but we can always try and get everyone use to posting that way.

    I guess I'm more of an old fart because I wouldn't mind not having groups like on the old forum. However, if it works right then it will make things around here so much more organized. Which is a huge goal here.

  • I would think that "What <insert console here> game should I get could get placed in that console's respective group forum.  Then you could have "What game on <insert console here> are you currently playing" and "What's the last <insert console here> game you beat " in each console's respective group forums.  

    I can't think of any video game oriented topic that couldn't be implemented into the different groups, especially if say there was a general gaming group that exclusively had threads along the lines of "the last game you beat" or "what are you currently playing."

    Point is, if the video game boards stay in the main forums, some people are going to post about specific games in those forums rather than taking it to that game's respective group, which will of course cause redundancy.

    That said, I'd much rather see the groups get eliminated than the forum boards.  The forum boards are much easier to navigate than having to alternate through literally dozens of groups and subgroups to talk about everything you want to.  People are used to using the layout of the main forums, people aren't used to navigating through tons of groups and subgroups to talk about something.

    Plus, the groups wouldn't reduce duplicate threads at all I don't think.  For instance you'd likely still have people creating MW2 threads in the Microsoft, Sony, Action, and Shooter group forums as well as some "official" MW2 group  IMO, having groups over forums solves nothing, and it's even more irritating to navigate.

    How about in the future, we allow two threads for each game to appear in their respective forum boards, where one thread is a "official discussion thread" and the other is a "official Q&A thread."  I think that would work better than dealing with 100's of groups/subgroups.

  • The Supersnake method is actually what we are going for (specific game discussions in groups, broad discussions in forums).

    My honest feeling is to move all of the threads and have the links and info on the Forums page link to group forums anyway.  Kind of a large undertaking, but regardless, that is what I feel makes the most sense.

  • In my opinion it would be better to just have Sony, MS, and Nintendo boards than make groups for each individual game. That just makes it harder to find things.

    I can understand wanting to make everything go in a specific area but that only makes it harder on mods to keep things under control. Not to mention that it's not very user friendly which could cause new users to shy away from joining the forums.

  • Im withdbull. I'd rather keep the forums than the groups by far. Most people around here are already used to the forums and the way they are organized. Groups, on the other hand, just have way too many divisions and subdivisions and will, as I see it, not cut down at all on clutter. I can see there being several groups and discussions for a single game within that could have easily been fit into one, but they will likely be overlooked due to the mess that the group system is in.

    My really big issue, though, is the fact that you need to join a group before you can partake in discussions. It's not a big deal in theory, but in practice it can get annoying. Everyone may as well go ahead now and joing any group they ever believe they may eventually participate in. That kind of ruins the whole idea of community for me. The point of groups is semi-exclusivity, yet the forums embrace open discussion. Nothing very major, it just bug me.

  • I'll also say that I'd rather have general forum boards than groups, as most will probably agree with. Mainly because it's easier to use (not as much as the old one, but still) and everyone is already used / getting used to them.

    Personally, I don't think we need groups at all, but if we absolutely need them, I have a suggestion. What if we only have groups for things like music, movies, comics, etc. I say this because eventually each "Official" game thread will only be used for a certain amount of time until there's nothing to talk about anymore, whereas topics like music and movies take up a lot of space and a group would be best.

    I really don't see many other users agreeing with the 'no making official threads' thing. That would make things more confusing to find. Plus, don't we have a Helpline board in the forums? Shouldn't Q&A's go there?

    To be honest Sean, things would only become a lot more confusing if that happens. Forums should be simple and easy to use, and that doesn't sound simple or easy.

  • We can't remove the groups, there is no way around that.  I'm open for a creative solution, though, that can have the groups and forums co-exist in an organized, enjoyable, understandable way.

  • So far, I love this site. It has probably the best sense of community of any site I've ever been to. Keep up the great work and I may just lend one of you my Wonderous Glove of Spanking +3....

  • If things are gonna stay the way they are now I think removing subforums in the main boards would help a little with organization.

  • Sean Lowery:

    We can't remove the groups, there is no way around that.  I'm open for a creative solution, though, that can have the groups and forums co-exist in an organized, enjoyable, understandable way.

    Well, here's the big thing, and I'm going to use the Final Fantasy group as an example.  I'm already following the Final Fantasy XIII thread in the main forums, but there's a ton of additional discussion about Final Fantasy XIII going on in the Final Fantasy group, so if I want to see what everyone is saying I have to follow both the Final Fantasy XIII forum thread and the Final Fantasy XIII forum within the Final Fantasy group. 

    It makes no sense for me to have to look in two different places to see all of the discussions, which is the pretty much the exact reason why our moderators lock duplicate threads in the main forums.  To that end, I don't see how groups and forums can both coexist and stay organized, as duplication causes disorganization. 

    Also, keeping track of a group and a main forum thread in order to see all the feedback isn't enjoyable, it's a chore.  As far as the understanding goes, well let's put it this way, if I was a new user joining the site and someone had to explain to me what goes into a group and what goes into the main forums, I'm pretty sure I would get very confused.  Heck, even as a veteran member I don't think I really understand what's going on.

    I guess what I'm really getting at is that I don't understand the meaning of adding groups to the new site in the first place.  Coming from the old forums and having seen how a few other video game sites are run, I honestly can't find a meaning for the existence of the groups.  I couldn't find a meaning for them when the site first relaunched, and now 2 months later I still don't see the point in their existence.

    And now we're expected to coexist with something that I believe a number of us (especially the veterans) think serves no real purpose other than to inadvertently cause disorganization, make things more difficult to navigate, and splinter/divide the community as a whole, all because getting rid of groups altogether apparently isn't an option?

    If groups and the main forums absolutely have to coexist, then what exactly are the guidelines that determine what belongs in a group and what belongs in the main forums, and how are we going to make this easy for everyone (especially newcomers) to understand?  I feel like groups have done nothing but needlessly complicate the way the community interacts with each other.

    Meet me halfway here Sean, because honestly right now I'm very confused.  Can you at least tell us the reasoning/logic behind the addition of groups to the site in the first place, because right now in my eyes it looks like groups was just a cool idea on paper that wasn't thought all the way through since no one in the GI staff seems to already have a viable solution to this issue.  Give me the GI staff's perspective so I can see the whole picture, because right now I feel like I'm unintentionally coming off as an ungrateful jerk.

  • I actually lean towards the side of groups.  Speaking on my own behalf, not GI or as a site developer.  Like Sean said groups are an essential part of the site, the question is does each group need a forum.  I submit to y'all that it make sense for them to.  Here's a scenario:

    (This is a proposal, not how it currently works.)

    Let's say I'm come to GI.com to read some article about this cool new upcoming game (FFXIII).  I read the article and I see that there is a link to a specific part of the site dedicated to that game.  This links to the group (public and open).  Now, I want to follow stuff that happens with this game so I join this group, possibly adding it as a favorite.  Now, any time that there is new content for this group, it shows up in my activity stream (Site Activity).  If I want to talk with other members about this specific game, I click on the discussions (tab) and I have basically a whole subforum dedicated to this game.  There can be a thread about the magic system, a thread about which character you're gonna play, whatever.  And it's all located in one place.

    With just one main forum, I have no clue where the FFXIII threads are.  I can search for FFXIII but that'll return all content from the site, not just forum threads.  Also, what game system do I look at?  (This doesn't matter for FFXIII, but Borderlands was released on 360, PS3, and PC.)  If I'm wanting to chat about which skill is best, I don't care what system it is on.

    So, I can see getting rid of the Groups page and merging all of those groups with the current (joinless) group dedicated to each game.

    The idea of groups isn't to splitter one large community, although that can happen.  Instead, it's to enable each user to have their own unique community experience.  If I'm a member of 10 game groups and the Site Feedback group, I now have a collective community of gamers that care about what I care about.  Yes, I lose contact with Suzy Snodgrass who doesn't share any common gaming interests with me.  But if want to talk to each other (conversations), we can.  If we want to talk about specific games with each other and others (in the game's group discussions), we can.  If wanna rock the What If? game, we can.  But if I don't want to do any of those things, then Suzy means nothing to me (in the context of this website).

    I hope that makes sense.

  • Is there any way we can take out some of the groups? Such as taking out groups in the Platform, Style and maybe even the groups in the Culture section. I think it would be better if there was just user created groups. Is there also any way we could stop automatically making a forum every time a game is added to the site?

    I would rather have most of the discussions in the main forum, but that's just my preference. If someone can't find a certain thread in the main forum they can use the search box at the top of the page. If a certain game is multiplatform then isn't that what the General Gaming board is for, they can just search for threads in there.

    This method could work. Keep discussions in the forum and have mostly user created groups. I've seen other sites do it this way and it seems like a fair trade to me.

  • I think I might have an answer. What if all threads created in a group were also visible on the main forum pages? Allow everyone to be able to post on it. This would reduce thread redundancy and allow anyone interested to leave a comment. Also, have it work the opposite way as well. If it's created in the Main forums first, allow a thread concerning a specific game to be visible in its respective group.

    Suppose I was interested in a Final Fantasy game. Whether or not I've played it yet, I wouldn't join the Final Fantasy Group because I'm not really a fan. I just want to talk about it, maybe ask some questions. Having a thread from the group visible in the main forums would mean that I could talk about it without having to make a redundant thread.

    Joining a group would be a way of showing that you're a fan of a particular game. It could also be a place where all threads relating to a particular game could be organized.

    Suppose I'm a Halo fan, and I want to talk about Halo. I don't want to use the search bar and have to sift through thousands of posts to find a thread I want to talk in. I could just join the Halo group and have every single thread concerning Halo organized/visible in one place. Also, anyone visiting your profile would know instantly what games you like because of the groups you are in.

    Would this work?

    I'm back. (Original Username: TheDarkKnigh7

    Want to play League of Legends?

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