Forums » The Lounge

The Skyrim Blog - Criticism

    • 33 posts
    March 12, 2014 11:46 AM EDT

    TLDR - The grounds of how the community grows and of how the website develops to me are flawed as they are the result of a subjective group decision, where the group ideas are "traditional" and not likely to adopt new views. In defense of this group, the NING platform doesn't help much.

    One might take the following as flaming, as ranting, or generally speaking, as trolling. One should probably take it as constructive criticism.

    I can't say how happy I was when I became a member of the community here. It's true, it took several tries from my side and several days until it happened, in August 2013, but I was happy. And probably like most people here, I had been lured in by the Character Building group. This is why this post will refer mainly to matters related to the Character Building group. Not because the other groups are less important, but because it's not the other groups that were the spark for the community, and because most new members want to be part of the community because of the Character Building group. A character build is a product of creativity. Like all such products, it appeals people in different ways. Just like some people prefer fiction to non-fiction in literature (or Pepsi versus Coca-Cola, iPhone versus Android and so on). People are bound to form groups based on shared opinions. The problem appears when there is no room for self-criticism or criticism in general. Fundamentalism and dictatorship, anyone? Archer would probably say "Danger zone!" right about now...

    During the time on the site I have come to respect many people here. Naming them would be like either taking sides or singling them out so they will not be named. Obviously, many of them are part of the group I am speaking of. Because these people are active. Being active and adhering to the group's ideas (probably incorrectly tagged by most as the "community's ideas") is what made them stand out and be co-opted. I respect these people for things they wrote on the site, at one time or another. Having joined the chat event twice, I can't say the respect grew. It always seemed a mindless, racist, bigoted, chauvinist, off-topic chaos (if it lasts for too long, it stops being funny, just like shaking it more than three times is playing with it). Maybe both times this only lasted for the time I was on the chat. Or maybe not.

    The idea of this post came after reading the Character Building post Character Build: WTF? And the post hinted to this group having developed a tradition, a set of rules, some of which rules are now questionable. But as much as I would applaud the minor breakthrough, at this point it is just a drop in the ocean. It will not make any difference.

    Please consider if this difference has to be made. Please consider how many of the new members of the community become faithful to the community. In my opinion, most new members post a bad character build within their first days on the site. They get all the "traditional" criticism which comes in many silly forms, like even "you need to write <<Character Build:>> before the name of your character build". The bad thing being that this criticism doesn't necessarily come from this group's members but also from new members. New members who want to "respect the rules". Who want to conform, thus to adhere to the group themselves.

    And this is the main theme of this post. Conformity. "Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, unsaid rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide interactions with others. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure." If you don't see it yet, try reading about groupthink. "Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences."

    Do not justify the rules by saying they are there to separate childish from adult behaviour. If you want this separation, you can make it via a system of membership based on donation. You want a serious community? Then one can only become a member after one has made a donation. The difference is that, if one makes a donation and then one gets on chat and sees the racism/ bigotry mentioned above, they might want their donation back.

    In connection to character builds, if any of the members needs guidance, explanations, directions, do not promote stopping to criticize without offering a justification. If one bothers to comment, one should explain why. Nobody asked anybody to stop what they were doing and to comment. Whomever did it, did it on their own accord. If one took the time to do it then one has to also have the time to explain why they did it. How could this logic be implemented as a rule?

    Again, in connection to character builds, if one wants to promote innovation, one should not promote the logic behind an answer like "it's been done before. look for it". This is just another version of TLDR; it's narrow-minded, ignorant and subjective. If whomever said the above wants more, then they should explain why and should understand that after saying that, the discussion became all about THEM and WHAT THEY WANT.

    The "like" system that NING offers promotes subjectivity. It's similar to the system on Facebook. Any dumbdumb can click on the "like" button. People can click on it just because they fancy clicking on buttons. As in... clicking on the button can be completely unrelated to any decision based on intellectual thought. Some people might struggle in an attempt to set criteria for this kind of evaluation. But criteria can also set limits and drive people away. If one wants to create a Bast character, or even a Batman character, they cannot be evaluated with such a strict set of criteria. A good plot/ setting can mean just a couple of lines. Good writing can turn a bad story into a very pleasant reading. As such, a pleasant reading can make a bad character build look good. The skillset, the equipment, the leveling choices, all of these can be part of the criteria. It's not MARIO, it's SKYRIM. The game has depth. Oh, how much I like character build X from character build Y? I "liked" them both... Oh, so much depth...

    Some of the problems come from the NING platform. Want to see what NING is capable of? Try it for free. But what if the community's requirements have outgrown the capabilities of the platform? Sadly, at the moment I cannot propose a more adequate platform. But I don't see how is it so different from a blog. A blog on a platform on which you can use extensions. Extensions that will enhance your blogging experience. Extensions that will add new features/ functionalities which might not only be welcomed but also needed. Again, Archer would probably start saying "Phrasing!" right about now...

    • 1483 posts
    March 12, 2014 12:06 PM EDT

    I'm not sure what this is about. You mention problems that are bound to happen because of how large the community is. There will be people who just bash builds or other poor posts in any community but you have to agree that it is pronounced here much less than in a large majority of other online communities. I won't address the prefix issue because it was already worked out, I believe. About making it a paid community, I highly disagree. New members are what keeps this site alive and we will lose them (and some old members as well) if we make it a paid community. As for the chat, it's always chaotic when so many people talk at the same time. One thing that chat does is that it gives you a brief overview of who's on this site. 

    • 194 posts
    March 12, 2014 12:22 PM EDT

    Need more concrete examples. As for naming... That's not a big deal. The site needs organization and names provide organization. It doesn't matter who tells you to rename your post, it will have to be done eventually.

    Likes are definitely pretty stupid but its the easiest way to give the builds the attention they deserve. Of course this site turns into a circle jerk like every other website with a similar system and some highly rated builds are basic at best. But I wouldn't know what I would replace it with. I don't know what would be better. tl;dr it's a problem with humans, not website functionality

    • 661 posts
    March 12, 2014 12:28 PM EDT

    I get the impression, you're just not impressed.

    By the way, did you donate? :p
  • March 12, 2014 12:29 PM EDT

    Call this a rant or constructive critiscism or whatever you want, this is precisely about the CB group and you should take this to the CB group rather than the general discussion forum.

  • March 12, 2014 12:42 PM EDT

    Reading again, this frankly isn't constructive critiscism, this is mostly an opinion which you flagged as "constructive critiscism" right at the start so as to catch our attention. I'm going to close this before some of the more opinionated members show up and start bashing it.