This wasn't half as bad as I thought it was going to be. I am going to just finger vomit for a little and see where it takes me. You will forgive me if I meander or if this sounds a bit self serving before getting to any substantial point? Skip to the last paragraph if you are easily bored.
Most know I am in the military and have been since 92. I was lucky enough to have RP groups through 2000 but that is where live RPing really ended for me but I still loved the culture and the fun in seeing new worlds. When I didn't have the group, I missed it bad!!! Because I still loved the creative side of role playing and the fantasy genre I needed this outlet. I wanted to share my ideas and read others. I like being creative and I like reading other's ideas as well. I wanted, or needed, a role playing fix after I lost my game.
I love the creativity that comes out, not that there is a kobold sword +3. What the hell does that mean? I want to know where it came from, why it was made, who used it and why it is now available. It isn't so much the immediacy of the submission's useability, it is the ideas that can be generated from it. That one kobold sword +3 could spawn an entire session or campaign if written well. THAT is what I love. A creative GM could take any idea, pull it out of context and use it in any number of ways. That is the true beauty of it all, at least in my idealistic mind. For me, it happens in almost every solid post. In the “old days” ™ we shared these ideas in the forum and built on each other, it was fun and sometimes very silly.
So that was a bunch of crap, so here is my point.
I am 100% about the idea or just the seed of an idea. That is my focus and my care and my love. If I could, I would kick grammar right in the nuts because wurd spelings and odd sentices dont bother me as much when there is a sweet idea cooking in there. Sure, fix that crap because it is annoying to read and often detracts, but when there is a good idea in there, you can spel like crap and I will luvz it!!!!
Not the elegant or utilitarian prose, not the grammar or sentence structure, not my taste or my expectation but the core idea and its usability. If you can take that idea and spin it your own way and enjoy it, then throw the rest of the crap that you don't like out. That core idea is what I am looking for and what should be getting the vote.
That says nothing about the comments though. Sure request it to be fixed and maybe point out some grammar if you feel you must, but give the idea the credit it deserves.
I loved RGTraynor's metaphor with the potluck,,,but will spin it this way. Each individual sub is a potluck spread to me. Each person reading it may take something different off the table and rearrange, collect other things to combine with it or simply salt it to their taste. The author/cook didn't make it that way but those eating it are enjoying it and making something they love to eat regardless.
The “Add an Idea” portion that we tend to use only for lists and such was supposed to be for this. But either we are too chicken or too self-conscious about our ideas to share them in such an intimate space. I know I am. I made the damn thing but don't know how and am too intimidated to use it correctly. How is it for the rest?
So what do I see?
I see that the main Citadel has become more formalized, maybe too formalized. The loose freedom of sharing ideas that we used to have in the forum has deteriorated quite a bit. It seems that, once a sub is presented, it is like the great reveal. The expectation is that it is done and should be as close to perfect as humanly possible and it is, in turn, critiqued that way. We seem to be looking for that Golden Standard every time now. The full package, not just the idea. Because of these high expectation we are often very unforgiving in comments/votes. We are also more hesitant to reveal what we have written. We don' t have that honeymoon of idea mode that often anymore, we go straight to critique.
Are we now food critics? Did we lose the carefree fun and celebration of the potluck atmosphere? It might be a chicken with a lot of greens, vegetables and seasoning on it or maybe it is just BBQed, but there is still chicken in the middle. People are missing some good eating by not wiping off some of the greens or adding salt to their liking.
Have we become even more elitist over time? We have always acknowledged that it is difficult or intimidating for newbies to join. The site gets 8-10K unique visitors (not page views) a month. There is a reason we only have a small core of authors, what is it I wonder? The quality could be daunting as could be the comments. I like to try and blame the system and think design could fix something but there are some shitty ass sites out there that bring in people by the 1,000s. I think it is simply intimidating to the new folks to post and/or comment. Everything is free as mentioned, easier to just grab something and run. I don't blame them at all. When we had the freedom of the forums we had a great many different folk come in, many annoying, but they brought in a light side...and we drove them off and now the forums are basically dead. I think we need some of that back.
The votes and comments are here to stay. I just can't see being without them. I have seriously toyed with dumping them but my week off has brought me back to keeping them. Realistically people like to get them and give them and they serve an important part of the Citadel. People simply like ratings, I like ratings. Despite the issues, and RGTraynor hit a few of them as we have in the past, I think we would be worse off if they were missing. We have done a lot of experimenting with them, show votes, show who voted what, no votes showing etc. but we keep going back to show that somebody voted but not their vote. Not like it is a mystery in many cases. We could do more experimenting there if we want, you all know I am not scared of changing things if it is what the majority want.
XP and leveling. Another debate that has gone on for a bit. Most ignore XP after they have been here a little bit and get the HoH. They have just enough purpose to have a reason for being but not enough that they really do matter. They allow HoHs and Golden votes at the proper time and there are a few other automated allowances for the higher level that assist in my job. Anyway, it is the core of RPing, how could we not do XP?
I think my biggest lament right now is more towards what Mourn mentioned about the forum part of the site missing. I very much miss the forum and all the action that we used to have. We could be loose and have fun there without worrying about anything. I think I regret having the Request Advice put in the main Citadel. That feature has always languished despite our attempts. Same with the In work honestly. They all might as well be private with all the action they get. I am thinking about removing that feature and pushing that back to the forum. Advice Requested and Public – In Work = gone. I think anything in work that you want to share or have help on should be in the forum. Private – In Work still works for me though and I think that is a handy feature for many.
So, all that and I guess I have no point. Will bounce a few things around but basically wanted to get some thoughts down. There will probably be more as I play with a few things based on feedback I am hoping to get on that last paragraph.
For what it's worth...