10 January 2013

State of the Forums - Comradery, Discussion, and Trolling

Looking in from the outside on the forums I carefully pick and choose my words because what I say definitely has in impact on the community as a whole. However, more and more I see there are voices among us without that restraint. It has brought on a toxic feel in our happy community. It needs to stop.

I, like a lot of the respected voices among our community have been here a long time. I've seen the fluctuation in attitude and tone over a fair number of years. On the whole, the Trollblood forums have been haven of kind, introspective voices eager to help people and further the knowledge of the faction. I've seen eagerness to help newer players just starting out despite the constant inability to recognize we have a sticky thread that's designed exactly for them.  (Sorry newbies, we love you but, L2R) I've seen teamwork during leagues and an open discussion about ways to make models and the faction work in new and different ways.  These things I have seen have endeared me to these forums and this community much like many of our players. So the point I am making, rather longwindedly, is that seeing all this I cannot help but wonder WTF is going on in our forums right now. This is a place to nurture ideas and conversations, not tear one another down constantly. So, I hope you can understand what I am going to talk about here does not come without a bit of perspective.

I think that the main problem we are having right now outside of blatant Trolls poisoning our boards, is there is a broad lack of respect happening. The forums are there for us to put up ideas and discuss them without fear of someone yelling, "Hey, ur ideas r stupid! I'm right and ur not, blah blah blah...." But, it's deeper then that. It feels like a large number of people don't want to have that conversation at all.  They don't want to defend their points and have reasonable arguments. They just want to be right. This is not terribly unreasonable. Everyone wants to be secure in their ideas and have reinforcement. The problem here is that doesn't take into account that someone else might also be right. The problem is there is a blatant lack of respect for other people's opinions. The Mountain King thread is a perfect example of this.  Especially the pandering we have seen on a very specifically divided topic. And, while this can be a great open conversation we have instead seen a number of people who simply cannot let it go.  They cannot respect the opinions of others and cling to their own ideas or those of others and just shut their eyes and cover their ears whenever the conversation go against them. This is just not healthy for the community.

As and example, Petegrrr and I often disagree on points regarding a numbers of things and yet we can still keep that conversation open and rib one another about topics without truly getting on one another nerves or being to hard nosed about our opinions. This is because I respect Pete's opinion, much like a do a great number of other Trolls.  I respect his opinion because I acknowledge that I may be wrong or if not wrong that I can at least have a different tilt on what we are discussing. But the core of this is respect. A little goes a long way to having some good will in conversations.

New players are the heart of our game. Not us veterans.  We've bought into it already.  New players are what will keep this game fresh and moving forward and supporting our new players, as oblivious as they may be, is important. So when you look at a person asking questions or expressing and opinion and the first thing you look at is their post count and are dismissive, you are no better then any other Troll plaguing our boards. Just causeless you have 1000+ posts on the boards doesn't make you any more right or important than a guy starting out or who doesn't post much.  Use your tenure properly and help foster a good relationship with new players to keep the community strong.

There is no way to impart a tone of voice on what you are writing on the internet and it is very easy for someone to take what you are saying the wrong way. Whether is be sarcastic, rude or condescending tone can be a persons worst enemy in discussions on the boards. So take a moment to try and be civil in arguments.  Read what you are trying to say and see if it can be misconstrued in any way. If there's a grey area where it may sound rude, just change it, even if you have to edit afterwards. Civility is the first step to respect in this area. It's common manners when speaking in the real world. It shouldn't be a stretch to apply it here.

These principles are going to be the core of what's going to keep our boards the best place to voice your opinions in the PP boards. They aren't hard to understand but, so many people seem to just forget and fall into the bad habits that cause so many unnecessary arguments. I think Wil Wheaton said it best. "Don't be a dick." Learn it, Live it.

- Goris


  1. When I have posted on the forums as a new player I was often redirected to the stickies, which I found frustrating as I had already read them, battle college and the books. I find the stickies are an awesome resource but sometimes feel they lead to group think and decrease innovation. I got frustrated with the pp forums about a year ago after playing for just the year before that. In my opinion most gaming forums are whiney, filled with fanboys and generally distract from the enjoyment of the game. The war room discussion was fun to read sometimes. (I didn't even want to post this but thought a lurkers opinion may show that your observations weren't baseless.) I enjoy the scrum, keep it up! Edit- I also observed a lot of redirect to stickies while browsing the troll forums.

  2. I understand your frustration, but when the question being asked is answered very clearly in the stickies it becomes frustruating to re-iterate what some of us have spent a lot of time on to help new people get into the faction.

    As far as groupthink is concerned my Toolbox thread is pretty broad allowing for players to get the gist of how our faction runs along with a few suggestions of what can fill each role. It seems to me that sometimes what many players want is a direct response because it feels more personal that does the automated message.

    Before the sticky the same response was cut and paste (literally) as a response every time the same question was asked. We also revist much of that information to ensure wheter or not it still applies... even if it has been updated in a while most of them are checked for accuracy.

  3. I hear ya Seamoose. While a good portion of the stickied material is quite good, a significant portion of it just references battlecollege. Now...I'm not dissing battlecollege...that site is quite awesome for noobs like myself...but it isn't exactly what I consider to be thorough either. Basically...its nice to talk to someone who you perceive to have tons of experience. Instead...we're told to reference a sticky..that references a site that I've read a dozen times over already. In fact...this article actually seems to contradict itself. Here is an example...

    "I've seen eagerness to help newer players just starting out despite the constant inability to recognize we have a sticky thread that's designed exactly for them. (Sorry newbies, we love you but, L2R) I've seen teamwork during leagues and an open discussion about ways to make models and the faction work in new and different ways."

    While the stickied material offers a solid base...and players should definitely read them before asking questions...I think that the material actually generates more questions. Some of the tactica found within this site addresses these issues...but there's still plenty to talk/ask about. In addition, being a new player...perhaps that person doesn't have enough experience/know how to actually digest the stickied material...thus the questions. Imagine a player that never played a tabletop game...ever. Keep in mind that I'm not saying that there isn't any lazy people about in the forum...who just refuse to read the stickied topics.

    I've even seen this sentiment expressed in this site's podcast...something along the lines of "If I see someone else post this ______ idea again, I'm going to ______."

    Please excuse the poor quote...I can't remember it verbatim, but it seems to further propose the idea that new people should just shut up, read the sticky, accept that wisdom as the only true source of anything to do with trolldom, and not ask questions. The thing is...forums are going to recycle ideas over and over. If they didn't, well...what would you talk about? The ideas are going to run out sometime. Maybe...though...just maybe...someone puts forth an idea the doesn't conform to a mold. And maybe...that idea might actually work.

    Now...I already professed to being a noob to I don't know this game in and out. I do know other table top games...and I've seen advice given about certain armies...telling players to play Army A with tactic A...and army B with tactic B. If you don't follow these archetypes...then you'll fail. Well...I would then play that player...making a list that defied his said show the new player that he didn't have to pigeon hole himself with a certain type of list. It never ceased to amaze me that people believed that other tactics weren't viable or competitive.

    Also...keep in mind that I love this site. If I offer a criticism...its only with the best intent. I just like the idea of encouraging new players to ask questions...even if they've been answered before. You never know who might come out with a cool new idea. If you don't want to help this player...then simply click back...and move on to the next thread.