About descriptions and such

Oy… I think these MobyGames forums are killing me. Any kind of active community generates a lot of discussion, and right now I’m at the point where I feel compelled to follow and think about a lot of it. But unfortunately I’m also not very good at handling forums and message boards. Never have been. I just finished reading through 252 different posts on the subject of Not having game descriptions on gamesheets. This is something that a lot of the regulars seem very passionate about… and it shows in a lot of the postings which get a big heated.

Big deal right? How big an issue is it? I’m not sure. I have been following conversations about this topic outside the forums, and I’m not entirely sure that the idea proposed by the admins is a bad one. But one thing I am certain of, after reading all those posts, they’re doing a lousy job in describing what would be happening. I see Corn Popper and Trixter trying to describe the same things again and again and it’s obvious there’s a lack of understanding about how this “new system” will work.

The problem of this seems to be something that reverberates through all the major upgrades to the site and indeed, even the feature contributions that come from all our users… just the inability to properly describe what’s going on or what’s being planned. I think that the majority of the people arguing would be a lot happier if maybe they were trading screenshots of “how it should work” back and forth or maybe even conceptual doodles scanned from a napkin (or MS Paint). It’s the creative process… the the problem here is letting others know what exactly the end result of a brand new way to handle things will be.

Of course there are good reasons for not wanting to show off concepts. They’re the same ones that every game developer gets into when the Marketing departments would like to have materials to show off to the press and gamers: We’re not sure how close to being done some of this stuff actually is… and we don’t want to promise something that can’t be delivered or that is so hyped (anticipated is probably a better word in the context of MG) that nobody will accept anything less. Now the reasons for that to be an issue is simple logistics: Mobygames is facing a problem with resources. The number of people engaged in programming, the number of people engaged in administration tasks, the number of people planning the future direction of the site. It’s all hard work, and we’re seeing a lot of bottlenecks in this area with no immediate solution to fix them up.

Anything worthwhile always comes with it’s own bumpy ride unfortunately. But hey, at least nobody’s in panic mode over a lot of ASAP issues (for instance, the server move from last year).

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