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 Post subject: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Thanks DonnieTheGuy!
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Introduction

I’ve been a member of this community for more than 5 years at this point, and I first discovered MFGG 7 years ago. That’s a very long time, even though there are a lot of people who have been around much longer than me. And in this 5 years, I slowly watched MFGG evolve, and eventually go downhill and struggle, while the staff couldn’t manage to do much about it.

Okay, first of all, MFGG is one of the first communities I've ever joined. I've made a lot of friends during the time I spent here, and I owe a lot to this site for not only letting me realize my passion for game development but also for the fun times I've had. So yeah, MFGG means a lot to me, which is why I’m writing this. I simply don’t want to see a site that’s so important to me to die while there are things we can do to Make MFGG Great Again.

I might be a bit harsh and criticize the staff, but I still love most of them. And as you guys know, I’m from Turkey, and I’ve never written anything this long in my life, even in my native language. I rushed this a bit as well since it's boring to write stuff lol, so I’m sorry for the bad grammar, repetitiveness, and whatnot.


Criticizing the Staff and Communication Issues

A while ago, there was some drama in Hotel Delfino. Basically, Mit gave the idea of making an official MFGG Discord, but Vinny stated that he didn't like the idea, so Mit, others and I tried to prove the staff that it was a good idea by creating a testing one for discussing stuff and testing the channel layout and such.

But apparently, Cruise also made one before, one that wasn't meant for anyone else to be seen. But then, rest of the staff turned it into a testing Discord while being fully aware of Mit's one. This ended up offending some of the members (mainly Mit, some of the -w folk and I) and making them think that the staff doesn't really trust the members and listen to them. Not only that but also none of the staff could tell us when Cruise made the server or with what purpose, resulting in everyone being really confused.

This is really similar to what happened with the whole The Lockening incident. People criticized the staff for their decisions, and the staff responded with just locking those topics, without giving a proper explanation, and this made people mad. Heck, even some of the staff members simply ran away. The chaos ended when Cruise decided to explain that they were indeed listening to the criticism. That was it, after that everyone calmed down.

The problem with both incidents is that the staff is simply unable to communicate well with the members, especially when things get tense. Like how the staff couldn’t figure out to tell the members that they were indeed listening to the criticism? How couldn’t they realize that continuing doing something that angers the members wouldn’t make them shut up? (in this case, locking topics for no apparent reasons) Or how they couldn’t realize that doing stuff behind the members wouldn’t make them feel ignored? These should be obvious.

What should be done then? Well, in my opinion, the staff should be more open to the members and hide less stuff from them. Right now, it seems like every decision is being done behind closed doors. The Discord server was suggested in the suggestion forums, then we got a reply from Vinny about him being skeptical, and that’s it. Days passed after that, and the staff was dead silent about it. So, it was safe to assume that there wasn’t anything done by it, that’s why Mit opened his testing server, which caused the problems I mentioned above. If the staff discussed this in that suggestion topic, rather than a hidden forum, none of this would happen. Since the staff discussed that in public we would know that something was being done about it. And if Cruse posted that testing server structure in public we wouldn’t try to make our own.

Of course, I’m not saying that everything should be discussed in public, I’m obviously aware that this can’t be done with everything, like member warnings and stuff like that. But in my opinion, if the staff is talking about something that deals with most of the members, then the members should have the right to hear it too, especially if that’s something they would want to hear. But this doesn’t mean the staff shouldn’t learn how to handle tense situations, running away when things get chaotic is still unacceptable, even if they decide to be more open about staff discussion.

That’s not the only thing we can do to increase the communication between the staff and the members. I think it would be great if mods always stated a reason when they locked a topic because I remember that being a huge issue during The Lockening. Deleting threads should also be avoided too, as that leaves a lot of confusion. Just edit and remove the contents of the main post and lock the topic, unless it’s a spambot or something. Same for removing individual posts, just remove the content of it and give a reason why the post got removed, except for the spambots, again. I also think that having a monthly banlist again would be neat.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, can we talk about Nite Shadow being promoted to be a moderator and then admin silently, hidden from everyone? If it wasn’t for Q-Nova most of us wouldn’t be aware of it, and you know that Q-Nova is super good at noticing things. If I remember correctly this was one of the reasons why that drama with Nite Shadow happened.

And speaking of staff promotions, I’m also kinda confused about how the staff are being chosen. I mean don’t get me wrong, I think sending applications is a great idea, but it really doesn’t feel like the staff members are chosen based on them. What I noticed is that the staff members are (most of the times) being chosen solely based on how close they are to the current staff members and how nice they seem to be. It really doesn’t look like the staff considers all factors, factors such as how much they will fit the job based on their past experiences or how much of a positive (and negative) impact they will have on the site.

This is probably the main reason why the staff really doesn’t want to make Mit a staff member as he tends to disagree with them a lot and get involved in a lot with arguments, even though he proved himself to be good at moderating, at least better than most current moderators, with Hotel Delfino. He also seems to be the only one who wants to make big changes to the site (other than me). I’m aware that the things aren’t that simple, and I know that there are other reasons why the staff wouldn’t want to promote him, but still.

By the way, I’m not saying that the staff members are terrible at their jobs, or something like that. I’m only criticizing the staff for their poor decisions, so they can realize their mistakes and the same stuff won’t happen again in the future. No bad intentions here.


“Quality” Control

At this point, I’m pretty sure Quality Control team does not exist and is just a hoax, just like World 5 Castle. Joking aside, there are several terrible submissions on the main site and this puzzles me as every submission needs more than 1 vote to get accepted. I will just post links to some of the terrible submissions from 2017 and 2016 that wouldn’t get accepted if QC team actually looked at them.


And they took me less then 10 minutes to find lol

The staff also seemed to forget the actual purpose of sprites section of the main site. It is NOT a sprite showcase, nor an archive. It’s simply a bunch of resources for fangame creators. Yet we are seeing a lot of sprite sheets that have no use in fangames get accepted. This includes conversion of old Clickteam libs that are terrible by today’s standards or mediocre sprites in weird styles. Granted, this is far from the biggest problem of the site, but I felt like I had to address it since no one really talks about it.


DMCA

MFGG is… uhhh… not doing well compared to other sites such as SMWC and SFGHQ, and there are several reasons behind this. The most obvious one is Nintendo and them shutting down fangames.

They obviously don’t shut down all fangames. If that was the case, they would shut down MFGG as well. But people are not aware of this fact. Rightfully so, the media tends to cover very popular fangames, or the ones that get shut down, because that’s where the clicks at. And the popular fangames tend to be the ones Nintendo likes to shut down most. Don’t believe me? Well 90% of the feedback my fangame gets is related to DMCA or C&D in some form.
Quote:
how many time before Big N comes and take this down ?
Quote:
Too bad this is not gonna make it like the games killed by nintendo
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y'all really out here expecting nintendo not to protect its copyright despite being legally required to do so?

These are the most recent 3 comments I got about the game at the time I wrote this part. It has come to a point where I’m actually getting stressed about it since people only talk about it and not the game itself. And Flashback is much much more popular outside MFGG, as only 2 people from MFGG commented on the last demo, while I got like a hundred of them on Discord, Twitter etc.

So what kind of fangames they shut down? Well there are 3 types of those games:

  1. Remakes: AM2R, Super Mario 64 HD, Super Mario Remaker, Zelda Maker, Zelda 30th Year Tribute, Full Screen Mario
  2. Fangames that make profit: All the fangames in Game Jolt as it’s possible to make profit there.
  3. Pokemon fangames: Pokemon Uranium, PokeNet

Only fangame they took down that doesn’t fit these categories is No Mario’s Sky. They probably didn’t Mario to get accosiated with No Man’s Sky and played it safe, so yeah. Some of these fangames weren’t taken down by Nintendo too, but by creators themselves or by bots in Mediafire. This video explains the deal with Mediafire and Jason Allen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_gnwn535eM

And the saddest thing is that even though this has been going on for over a year by now, MFGG staff is doing absolutely nothing about it! They pretty much watched all of this to happen from a distance. So, what’s the solution then? Informing the people of course! Let them know that there’s no risk of making fangames as long as you follow the guidelines. Put this information to the somewhere visible in the main site, as a page or something. Use the social media accounts to promote that page too so more people can learn about it. Just do something about it!


The Difficulty of Fangame Creation

However, MFGG’s downfall didn’t start with Nintendo deciding to be aggressive towards fangames. It only made things worse. It all started with MFGG failing at keeping up with the times. See, people aren’t really interested in small minigames anymore. People want to see bigger, more ambitious and flashier fangames. As a result, those who want to make fangames want to make those kind of fangames too, instead of smaller minigames or stuff like that. But that ends up with people either giving up or starting to make fangames that are way too ambitious for them. I’ve seen several examples of this, I’ve warned several people who wanted to start making fangames with something as big as Flashback, and by telling them to start smaller I either got ignored or killed all of their motivation. Minigame competitions are also a good example of this trend, because no one joins them anymore. Everyone is working on a big project, or wanting to work on a big project.

It’s like this for Mario fangames, but when you look at Sonic, things are a bit different. All fangames in Sonic fangaming community are also equally ambitious, yet they do get new members who actually make fangames. Look at SAGE 2017, a lot of people will say it sucked because the games weren’t good. Why? Because most of them were made by beginners. In contrast we hardly get anyone new who’s interested in making fangames these days. And to fix that I think we can get some help from premade engines.

I know, I know, a lot of you guys are prejudged towards engines, but they can be incredibly helpful for our community. Like, simply don't want to spend 3 years to make a fangame, and with engines they don’t really have to waste time by reinventing the wheel. If we had an MFGG Engine that has the essentials needed to make a fangame, we would get a lot more people to make games. And I’m not talking about something bloated, it would only have the basics. It would have the physics, collisions, a basic moveset, some blocks, some items, simple enemies, and ultra-customizable parents for easy enemy, block and other object creation. So, it would be simple enough to prevent clones. This is exactly what Sonic fangaming community did. They made Sonic Worlds, which got the Sonic’s physics etc. perfectly, and a lot of fangames used it. It doesn’t have a full main menu, tilesets, or a lot of example levels, it’s pretty simple. It’s not perfect however, it has some unnecessary stuff which leaded to a lot of fangames using them just because they are there, but it’s nowhere as bad as Hello Engine’s useless shite.

A lot of great and unique fangames were based on premade engines. Power Star Frenzy, Super Mario Dimensions, Super Mario Dimensions 2, Super Mario Bros. Odyssey, Revenge of the Walrus, Luigi's Quest for Nothing, A Typical Mario Game etc. So, if you’re going to say something like: “All you can make with premade engines are fangame clones. I want to see more unique and wacky fangames, not recreations of official games!” please don’t.

Oh yeah, we can have some tutorials too I guess, but YouTube is full of them, so I don't think they are that necessary.

I’m pretty sure some of you are also moaning like grumpy old man, saying stuff like “I miss the old days of fangames when you made simple fangames just for fun!” or something similar. I can’t blame you, because I kinda agree, but that’s not what people are interested anymore. Remember, MFGG is failing because it’s still stuck at 2011’s. It’s time to move on.


Shifting the Focus

While not having a lot of fangames is one of MFGG’s problems, the biggest one is the lack of new members. For the last 2 years or so we’ve been struggling with getting new members, and making engines would simply encourage those who already visit MFGG to make fangames. We have to do much more than that.
We have to shift MFGG’s focus.

There were some suggestions for this before, like expanding into other forms of fan creations, such as fan art, ROM hacks, etc., and focusing more on general fan content rather than only fangames. It was discussed here, but I don’t think this would be a really smart move. First of all, pulling off something like this would be very difficult. We would need to restructure the entire site and make the artists interested in MFGG again. And after that, we would get a bunch of members that aren’t too into Mario fangames. The last time we had a lot of members that aren’t interested in fangames the forums split into two. And sure, this would fix the member shortage in the short run, but not the lack of fangames. And yeah, we can make some of them interested in fangames, but this whole thing is simply not worth the effort and risks in my opinion.

Another similar suggestion I remember is expanding into and focusing on Nintendo fangames, rather than just Mario. I think I was the first one to make this suggestion, waaaaay back during the Skype days. This is also not a good idea for similar reasons, and it most certainly doesn’t solve our new member shortage.
And here’s my Epic™ suggestion that will solve both problems at once in the most efficient way. Focusing on the players.

Most people come to MFGG to play fangames, and let’s say we are also one of them. We open the home page, and what do we see? Staff members trying to be funny and a big list of newly added sprites. To be able to find some games we need to scroll down a bit to find updates with games. At the time of me writing this, the first game I see is “Yoshi’s Clicker DEMO”. It has no scores, the very first comment is:
my real irl mom wrote:
It won't run on my PC but I'm sure its absolutely great!

And the second comment is someone giving the creator advice. The screenshot doesn’t tell much about the game, and the description isn’t very clear. So, we download the game, and it’s the basic tutorial in GM8, with some graphics replaced a terrible MIDI music playing. I’m not making this up, this is an incredibly bad first impression.

The second game is “Made In MFGG - Wario's Mouse Training DEMO”. The screenshot and the description are even less clear this time, but the comments are pretty positive. Aaand it’s an okay WarioWare clone. Opening the games list doesn’t help either as a lot of the games are missing scores and some of those scores are very misleading. Like, there’s a 10/10 review for “9-Volt vs. 18-Volt”, but the actual game is pretty terrible.

I hope you guys see my problem here, it’s simply too hard to find good games. And in my opinion, the only way to fix this issue is redesigning some of the main site in a player friendly way.

First, let’s get rid of the updates. That page might be good for very frequent visitors, but it’s terrible for those who just visit MFGG to play games. Instead, have a proper main page that shows the stuff players want to see. Like first have a section that shows “Staff Picks”, “GOTM Winners”, or just good games that are released somewhat recently, then have a section with the highest rated games ever or something, and lastly just have a list of a list of latest games, sprites and other types of submissions. We don’t have to have the sprites as the main focus since those who are interested in them will open the sprites page anyways. If you guys don’t want to add the best games ever to the main page that can be its own page too, like a “Hall of Fame” or something. But the updates page definitely has to be gone, and there must be an easy way to find the best fangames.

Also, can’t we allow everyone to rate the games simply by commenting? A lot of people don’t bother to review games, so there are a lot of games without scores. This would fix that problem, and people would have a basic idea about the quality of a certain game. We can add a recommendation system like Steam for the reviews too, or idk.

But you might be saying “But MFGG isn’t a site for playing fangames, it’s a site for making fangames!”. And you’re right, but we can’t keep MFGG like this anymore. We are failing to get some fresh blood, and making the site friendlier for those who just want to play fangames is the best way to do that. That’s how SFGHQ built most of its current community, people visited SAGE to play fangames, joined SFGHQ’s Discord to discuss those fangames, and eventually started to make their own fangames. And as I mentioned before, a lot of the games in SAGE 2017 were made by beginners, and these beginners discovered SFGHQ from SAGE 2016.

So yeah, that’s my suggestion. If we do this we will most certainly get new forum users who want to just discuss fangames, and they will eventually start making fangames too, seeing how it’s safe and not that hard to make fangames (assuming my previous suggestions were followed to some extent). Believe me, a lot of people who play fangames are also into the idea of making fangames. That’s certainly the case for several people in Flashback’s Discord server.

We can go even further with this idea and add game subforums. Each game would have its own subforum people can post in. The game pages would be special topics inside the said subforums and all the comments would be actual replies to that special topic. So certain games could build a small subcommunity there. I’d most certainly make use of that system, but this is not something I see as necessary, just a neat idea I got.

But I’m not going to dismiss first 2 ideas completely because there are some parts we can take from them. For an example, I like the idea of accepting rom hacks alongside regular fangames. And as long as we don’t make them MFGG’s secondary focus, there’s no harm in accepting non-Mario fangames too, or heck even non-Nintendo fangames! We need new fangames desperately and these would be some great temporary solutions to get some.


Scaring Away the Fangame Developers

What I don’t really understand is that both the community and the staff doesn’t do anything not to lose the fangame developers who somehow happen to stumble upon MFGG. For an example, there was a topic for this really cool fangame “Battle Cross FEVER”. It’s a Smash Bros clone, a pretty interesting one. But unfortunately, I’m the only one who seemed to care enough to reply, and the thread has barely any views. Just, why? It’s one of the most impressive fangames I’ve ever seen on MFGG, and not even any of the staff members decided to reply to its topic. I mean, we can’t force people to actively look for new fangame topics or something, but the staff definitely should do that to get the attention on the said fangame and prevent the fangame from being overlooked. When this happens to me on other forums guess what I do? I just stop posting updates or new releases there since no one really cares about the game. But that’s just a small issue I suppose.

It goes worse from here. Well, I’m talking about that whole thing Nick caused. For those who don’t know, Yoshin uploaded rips of Mario Maker 3DS tilesets that look exactly like Random Talking Bush’s rips in Spriter’s Resource. So, Nick just assumed that Yoshin stole that rip and made this comment.

It’s kind of rude, and it’s jumping into conclusions way too early. But after that most replies were like “How dare you claim that without an evidence?! She used the same software as Random Talking Bush!”, and everyone was very mad at him. People gave Nick literally no opportunity to defend himself. I mean, how was he supposed to know? If I saw that rip and didn’t know Yoshin as a person, I’d think the same too. I wouldn’t blindly accuse her of course, I’d rather say something like “Did you get this from Spriter’s Resource or is this how the sprites are stored in the game?”, but my point still stands. Oh, and she deleted the submission after RTB suddenly appeared, so sorry if I misremembered things.

And look, I’m not blaming Yoshin here, obviously. But it’s not fair not to allow a regular user to defend themselves, while not even questioning a staff member just because they are a staff member. That’s my problem, it’s unfair. And Nick is actually one of the more well known fangame developers out there. His fangame Power Star Frenzy is quite popular, so maybe he deserves at least some degree of respect too considering that MFGG really needs fangames these days. Obviously, every member deserves it but especially those who contribute MFGG’s most lacking field most.

Then we also get another more well known fangame developer getting accused for making toxic comments and harassing them emotionally by a staff member, just because the said staff member can’t take a small criticism. And everyone else just watches it or even supports said staff member, but I digress.

I kind of like what SFGHQ does for this. They have some kind of a curator role or something on Discord, and they give it to those who made cool fangames and shite. It has a cool color and those who have it can access to a hidden channel and such. It connects those people more to the community, as in “Yeah, we appreciate your cool work.”, and they don’t make their biggest fangame developers leave the community after them disagreeing with the staff. I’m not going to suggest this role thing, because elitism is a thing, but it shows that other fangame communities actually respect the developers, unlike MFGG.


Closing Statements

As I said in the beginning MFGG means to me a lot, so it makes me sad to see the community struggling. MFGG is what made me get into fangames, so I want the best for it. This was supposed to be almost twice as long, but I kinda lost my motivation, which is why it took me so long to write.

And lately, I’m feeling like I’ve outstayed my welcome here. At this point instead of enjoying my time on MFGG I’m just getting stressed, especially after an argument I’ve had here a while ago. So, I think I’m going to have a break from MFGG for a while. I will keep working on my fangame Super Mario Flashback though if anyone still cares about that. So yeah thanks for all the stuff.

now discuss

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:30 pm 
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Some quick responses, detailed response perhaps later.

-Staff Communication Issues
I agree entirely with this section and would like to add that I think there's inactive mods that are just kept in the role for the sake of it such as Gato (despite being impossible to reach by other staff's own admission) and Techokami (who has requested we leave him specifically out of community problems).

-Blaming Nintendo for DMCAing content.
This is a misguided point of view that doesn't take into account at least two important factors that led to the DMCA:
*Media attention. (Pokemon Uranium and AM2R)
*Too closely emulates a property they're trying to sell (AM2R).
Fangaming at large is not a legal target. I hope people will stop saying that it is.

-Preaches about elitism when it comes to copy/paste Mario engines but then talks about other submissions that made it through Quality Control like they're garbage.
I guess encouraging creativity only matters when you're passed the engine design and are at the level design stage.

-Remove the updates from the site and only show the games to shift the focus away from a fangame resource for Mario fangame development into playing fangames.
...That's a great way to kill the site entirely. We don't get enough game submissions to sustain the website.


Last edited by Pedigree on Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:35 pm 
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i'm pretty tired of the whole song and dance by now but from what ive heard 3.0 is going to enable users to have more personal "galleries" for their content, which imo is better for user improvement and development on more individual levels. i'm gonna stick behind expanding to other mediums of fan works- especially if we have individual user "galleries"- because then, again, the individual users can upload whatever they want but then have their "real" submissions for the resource go through some degree of QC.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:44 pm 
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I agree with a lot of what you said, but I'm not sure about your examples in the QC section. Yoshi Clicker is pretty bad and I agree on that one, but the sprites you linked to were kind of just mediocre. I think having submissions like those sprites be declined that aren't great but aren't terrible could really discourage people from submitting at all, so I could see that being a reason why submissions of mediocre quality are being accepted. I do understand though if MFGG wants to be taken more seriously it would have to crack down on quality a bit harder, and it seems like that is where you think MFGG should go. I agree with that - though a bit sadly - since people seem less content with the fangames that used to be made and want things much more polished and professional. I do miss the old fangame community though, as it always seemed more inviting and, because of the lower standard of quality, more active, but if that's not what people want to do anymore then for MFGGs sake we will have to move along with the times.

EDIT: I just saw Mit's post above and if I'm understanding the concept of the user galleries correctly, then that should help with this issue.

As for the example about Nick, I think that's kind of just the nature of this type of communication. We aren't sitting down together conversing or even instant messaging. Saying nobody gave him a chance to defend himself seems like people were interrupting him and not letting him speak, when he was really just away from the site and saw the comments when he came back. I'm not really sure there's much you can do about that kind of thing.

I definitely agree with what you said about making an effort to comment on project-related topics, especially from the staff. It can be discouraging to get little or no replies on your topic, especially if you're new to the forum, so receiving a warm welcome and good reception to your ideas makes it much more likely you'll stay.

EDIT: Agree with Pedigree, if we only show games on the updates we will look dead. We only get a handful of games a year now, so while that may have worked back in the early 2000s, that wouldn't work now.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:51 pm 
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I have some thoughts, I suppose, but I don't feel up to making a big post atm, so I'll just post some brief notes:

-When I do QC, I try to take into account quality, but I feel my MAIN purpose is to assure a functioning game. The reviews are what determines if it's any good.

-I definitely think you're right about the ambition thing. The issue is that a lot of people (myself included, admittedly) want to create full experiences, which takes time and unfortunately slows down game submissions tremendously.

-The thing about the official Discord was really just an unfortunate coincidence, iirc. Would it have been prevented if we had talked about it publicly? Perhaps. But iirc, Cruise wasn't even sure it was gonna be a thing and was just toying with the layout.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:07 am 
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I don't have much to say, but I agree, there needs to be some fresh blood and it's difficult to track the best fangames in the games section of the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:17 am 
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It's late, and I must slumber soon. I'm working all day tomorrow, so I won't be able to type a proper response for a while, but I wanted to note that I did indeed read your post.

Being a staff member is a difficult job, because with many decisions, it's impossible to please everyone - one decision will upset somebody, while the alternative course of action will make another group of people unhappy. I won't deny that some recent staff decisions could've been communicated better, though.

If you'd like for MFGG to begin broadening its scope (whether to non-Mario fangames, fanart, or ROM hacks), you can start by contributing such content or by inviting other people who enjoy producing such things. I'd be totally OK with broadening our scope, but we probably won't add a dedicated mainsite section for things unrelated to Mario fangaming unless you can prove there's an audience for such content. For example, when we officially started accepting DKC sprites and games a few years ago, hardly anyone submitted DKC things. We're not going to become Nintendo Fan Games Galaxy and start accepting Metroid or Zelda stuff unless we know people are committed to making such content.

Some of the suggestions you've mentioned aren't going to be possible until lumaSMS launches - which I hope will be sooner rather than later. The MyBB forums will be launching by the end of the month, and I hope that the improved forum system will help reverse the recent decline in activity. Things aren't perfect on MFGG, but we are committed to making it a better place, and we're doing everything we can to bring MFGG to a new age of awesomeness.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:18 am 
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Adding on to what I said before, I think the way we present ourselves in comments on the main site is very important (I consider the thing with Nick a different issue because of the circumstances). I know the issue of niceness in the comments, especially on someone's first submission, has been brought up time and time again and it definitely is an issue, but I think just making an effort to comment on a lot of submissions for the sake of encouraging the submitter to continue and making the site look more alive is very important, just like commenting on topics on the forums. The main site is really dead in terms of commenting. I think if we just try to go around and leave generally nice comments on peoples submissions, members will feel more encouraged to stay and the site will look less dead. This doesn't mean you can't critique of course, but being warm and welcoming with new members will probably benefit. I joined the main site in 2011 (I was lurking since 2009 though, so I saw what things were like from then onward on the main site), and back then commenting on someone's submission wasn't all that important because there were a lot more people leaving comments. Now we're down to a small number and every new member counts, so it'll take more effort. The main site is also the first impression for most people (I waited almost 2 years between joining the main site and joining the forums), so we have to make it a good one.
I'd love for this place to feel like it did back when I discovered it. As long as we do all that we can to bring in members and make this place fun I'll be satisfied, even if it does end up dead because of a lack of interest in fan games that we can't control.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:57 am 
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if i'm gonna be perfectly honest i legitimately think we should rebrand. completely. it's a last ditch idea but honestly i don't think it's a bad one.

like, we've got so much stupid and arbitrary history that i don't want to think about. absolutely everyone's dabbled in doing SOMETHING stupid here that's been logged and reiterated at least one time before and if we open up a brand new site we can completely put it behind us and start from scratch.

i think the only people here who truly value the site's history to such a great extent are oldbies- i think it's time to completely put it behind us and get some fresh eyes seeing what we do. if you wanna scrapbook, do it on your own time.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:21 am 
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I don't see that it makes any difference to have things recorded into history. You think new members are coming here and immediately hitting up the wiki to find out what's gone down in the last X years?

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:27 am 
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While I wouldn't die if it happened, I don't see much purpose to a complete rebrand at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:30 am 
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Kritter wrote:
I don't see that it makes any difference to have things recorded into history. You think new members are coming here and immediately hitting up the wiki to find out what's gone down in the last X years?

no. i think the users that are already here are too hung up with past dealings and a full rebrand would help keep the past in the past

EDIT: to elaborate on why i think this is a good idea going forward

1. no more user legacies
everyone has a "legacy" to them on MFGG whether it be good or bad. with a rebrand everyone starts on equal footing as this past would have nothing to do with the new site. that book will have closed and bringing it up in any capacity instantly becomes an outside dispute

2. no "obligations" for staff regarding who to mod/demod/etc
new site, potentially new staff. if someone's inactive on MFGG, then they've missed the train for the new site. other users can be promoted as staff sees fit for as long as they're doing a good job as there would and should be less fear in promoting people with the automatic assumption that each promotion will be long term. mors brought this problem up and here's the solution

3. rebuild affiliates purely by having an appealing website
i've heard countless times when (usually new) users criticize MFGG that MFGG has a lot of problems that are unique purely to MFGG and nowhere else. i'm not the person to ask to elaborate, but i do think it's unmistakable that compared to a lot of other sites we deal with a lot of stupid in-community drama that's based around a variety of things. it makes it hard to invite people when you know every day could be a potential rollercoaster and when it's not it's a slog. again, a new site means blank slates and absolutely zero reason to perpetuate drama. we could even affiliate with cake's 1-up world discord server (which already has its fair share of MFGGers) to bring in a lot of new users through that community overlap alone

4. it's honestly extremely refreshing
we'd have no lasting community obligations. we could just experiment and see what sticks and not have to worry about the usual "MFGG problems" going awry as they usually would because we'd be looking at something with a completely open mind without being tethered to the name "MFGG". there's so much obtuse drama that's happened in just the span of 7 years that should be reason enough for some degree of a change to happen, because as it is now a lot of what we're doing we could've done long ago had we made the right choices. so why not just... start over and make all the right choices right out the gate?


Last edited by Mit on Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:06 am 
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A bit late to the party here but I'm also generally in favour of heavy renovation. It's long overdue and while it does seem like MFGG is going in that direction, it also seems less like a true "upgrade" and more like a spiffy new coat of paint. There's nothing necessarily wrong with giving the site a new look (lord knows that's one of the better things you could do), but I think it's finally time to reconstruct MFGG's entire mode of operation - not just how it's coded, but how it's meant to work in the first place.

Gonna go ahead and agree with Mors here, I think putting more focus on the player would do wonders in bringing in newer people. While it's nice to have a place to get resources to make fangames and share them, I don't think it's very smart to have that be the primary focus. You want more people making fangames? You have to hook more people on fangames in general. Not to say that comments and reviews aren't a thing (because they are), but there are so many other ways you could make MFGG more geared towards playing the fangames. At this rate, with how few people are commenting and the lackluster turnout on fangames entirely this year, MFGG is falling down the slippery slope of becoming little more than a game resource repository. Even one of the most well known game resource repositories on the internet (VG Resource, for those of you playing at home) has an artist subculture surrounding it encouraging other things right from the get go.

The problem with the MFGG of the past wasn't that it was losing its focus: it was that the member base had grown accustomed to the site and their history and became its own sub-community. This normally on its own isn't a bad thing, but MFGG also has a rather... colourful history regarding drama (believe me, if anyone should know that, it's me) Hell, even if you don't include anything post-2012, that still means you have all of the garbage from the mid-2000s. We have an absurd amount of wiki articles dedicated to members who got banned pre-2007. That was over 10 years ago! Do you know how utterly bizarre that is? Nobody cares about those people anymore here. Perhaps Black Squirrel was right when he warned me a few years back that the Wiki was largely just MySpace-esque autobiographies consisting of people who haven't visited the site in well over a decade. I have to agree with Mit here and suggest that you cut the useless baggage - not even just because the wiki houses (more than) a few articles surrounding ancient internet goers who aren't really relevant to the current community, but because this cycle will just continue to repeat itself endlessly as long as we'll allow it. It's important to acknowledge the contributions of members on the site, but these articles can sometimes literally be about forum events that have literally zero relevance to fangaming.

Ultimately, I agree with an overhaul. It's insanely long overdue. MFGG turned 16 years old this year, and for a large part of that time it's stagnated and remained the same. Maybe not the forums, but the more important part: the actual main site.

 
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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:57 am 
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Mit wrote:
The words of Mit


None of that would happen with a rebrand of the website. We'll still be MFGG, only with a new name, I'll still be Kritter with the same history taped to my ass wherever I go. On that note, what's wrong with a bit of history? Nobody cares about 99.9% of what's on Wikipedia but it's still there if you want to know. History is a GOOD thing, it hurts nobody and doesn't affect anything here.

But enough talk, if you want to make those changes then you probably be the one to do something about it, everyone has ideas for what makes MFGG a better place (or what might be "wrong" with it) but it usually ends up as "this is my idea, now someone else... go make it happen".

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:06 am 
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I'm going to give the entire post a read and respond to more issues, but I'd just like to put this here:

Mors wrote:
This is really similar to what happened with the whole The Lockening incident. People criticized the staff for their decisions, and the staff responded with just locking those topics, without giving a proper explanation, and this made people mad. Heck, even some of the staff members simply ran away. The chaos ended when Cruise decided to explain that they were indeed listening to the criticism. That was it, after that everyone calmed down.

The problem with both incidents is that the staff is simply unable to communicate well with the members, especially when things get tense. Like how the staff couldn’t figure out to tell the members that they were indeed listening to the criticism?

Quote:
[10:25 PM] C-SPAN: I'm fine with listening to my members. After this is over we'll probably poll the people who are active here for what they should do
[10:25 PM] C-SPAN: This is a problem
[10:25 PM] StirlADrei: You won't poll,
[10:25 PM] StirlADrei: We know this.
[10:25 PM] StirlADrei: The admins said.

June 10th, day of. I'd hate to bring up old quotes from a series of nasty conversations in which nobody looked good, but from the time it happened the staff was saying that we would listen to criticism.

It took more than saying we'd listen to criticism to change things; it took every single individual on both sides calming down and not getting riled up again for it to be over.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:59 am 
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Mors wrote:
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, can we talk about Nite Shadow being promoted to be a moderator and then admin silently, hidden from everyone? If it wasn’t for Q-Nova most of us wouldn’t be aware of it, and you know that Q-Nova is super good at noticing things. If I remember correctly this was one of the reasons why that drama with Nite Shadow happened.

Nite's promotion was probably something about handing out badges maybe. On phpBB you have to be an admin to do that. But I don't 100% remember myself, that was quite a while ago. It's been nearly a year since he quit MFGG. There was nothing insidious about it, but yeah we did get lazy there by not even announcing it.

A better way to do it may have been to give him a more specific role; perhaps a "badge hander-outer" rank that had admin powers.

Mors wrote:
And speaking of staff promotions, I’m also kinda confused about how the staff are being chosen. I mean don’t get me wrong, I think sending applications is a great idea, but it really doesn’t feel like the staff members are chosen based on them. What I noticed is that the staff members are (most of the times) being chosen solely based on how close they are to the current staff members and how nice they seem to be. It really doesn’t look like the staff considers all factors, factors such as how much they will fit the job based on their past experiences or how much of a positive (and negative) impact they will have on the site.

Truth be told, the applications' content doesn't have a great deal of importance. I suppose if someone sent in an app that just said "lol" that would look bad, but if you're a member who has a negative history (especially a negative recent history) or isn't very active or motivated, there's not a lot you can say to convince us to pick you.

What we do is we have a topic in the Mod/Staff Super Forum where, after all applications are in, we each write out three lists: Yes, No, and Maybe. This isn't really a standard we established I don't think but it usually goes that way. Then, we discuss it some, maybe do some list averaging, and try to find the person or people who are most favorable to us.

Is it possible that people who are friends with us get promoted mostly? Definitely. Is it likely? Yeah I suppose. Is it purposeful? No. We've definitely never ever done anything like "hey let's promote this guy so he can have fun with us in the secret staff chat". I feel like we've pretty much always promoted the best people we could, and only denied the role from people that I think would do less good of a job, though I guess I could be biased.

We do tend to pick the nicest, least argumentative people (I'm definitely not the least argumentative but I looked back in the mod forum at the topic where they discussed me and the words "maybe even too passionate" were used). Some people have great ideas and motivation but don't get picked because we want the staff to be more friendly than that. (If you think I'm calling out anyone here, I promise I have nobody in particular in mind when writing this, and it could fit several users).

Mors wrote:
This is probably the main reason why the staff really doesn’t want to make Mit a staff member as he tends to disagree with them a lot and get involved in a lot with arguments, even though he proved himself to be good at moderating, at least better than most current moderators, with Hotel Delfino. He also seems to be the only one who wants to make big changes to the site (other than me). I’m aware that the things aren’t that simple, and I know that there are other reasons why the staff wouldn’t want to promote him, but still.

This needs to be said: there are cliques on MFGG. It's definitely not this simple but for the sake of this argument I'll simplify and say that there's a clique that loves Mit and the clique that isn't so fond of Mit. I, myself, do not belong to either of these. I like Mit, and I realize that he's got good ideas and that he does good work both for the community and with his art.

There are people that really like the idea of Mit being staff, and there are people that really don't like the idea. I'm shaky about the idea. If I thought that Mit was the best person who applied on any of the given times, then I would've picked him.

Mit's qualities would probably be lost on moderation to an extent anyway, since other people can mod (preferably somewhat nicer people, I'm going to be honest). I don't know if Mit himself is especially gifted at locking the occasional spam topic.

He's helped organize a community-driven event or two, he's made excellent assets for MFGG on several occasions, he's been involved with more than one community project this year, etc. Maybe MFGG should broaden its staff horizons and, instead of just having people on the staff for doing groundwork on rule enforcement, we should have more positions like Pedigree's social media management.

Mors wrote:
“Quality” Control

I'm with you there buddy.

Mors wrote:
I know, I know, a lot of you guys are prejudged towards engines, but they can be incredibly helpful for our community. Like, simply don't want to spend 3 years to make a fangame, and with engines they don’t really have to waste time by reinventing the wheel

I agree with this as well.

Mors wrote:
Then we also get another more well known fangame developer getting accused for making toxic comments and harassing them emotionally by a staff member, just because the said staff member can’t take a small criticism. And everyone else just watches it or even supports said staff member, but I digress.

Who are you talking about here?

And finally...

Mors wrote:
Shifting the Focus

This will be very brief: shifting to focusing more on people PLAYING fangames is a great idea imo. When I go to a site and it still has an "updates" page, I always skip it. I don't read it. I go straight to whatever content I want to see.

About reviews, we should probably make that easier to do in some way, but maybe not TOO easy. Idk we'll talk about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Don't get me wrong, these are good points that you are bringing up, but you've had a tendency of making your arguments sound very one-sided. Even right now I honestly can't help but feel like you forgot one half of the equation, specifically for the very first section of your post.

The community has had more of a recent tendency to express their distaste towards certain staff decisions in...colorful ways. A lot of the time I do think that people can raise valid concerns for how we run things, but those reasons should not be at the expense of the community yelling it over the mountain top, especially when the response (at least from what I've seen) is something along the lines of "how staff handles problems" followed with an image similar to these:

Spoiler:


I mean, come on. That's just a lose-lose scenario for everyone. It makes the community more riled up and eager to post more of this, and it makes the staff more annoyed and take you less seriously. Some would argue that they're sending out a "wake up call," but I see this method as immature.

I never want to give off the impression that the only way we'll ever listen is through an internet fist fight, and I hope that we can resolve these issues peacefully in the future. I absolutely have to give you credit for making this topic without a particular argument tipping you off, but as I said, you ignored another side of the story entirely.

I am definitely not trying to instigate some kind of "us vs. them" mentality for the nth time, but the issues brought up here can't be entirely pinned on the people running the show. After all, it takes two to tango.

I was gonna comment on some of the other stuff but HylianDev beat me to it :V. I'll probably make another post later.

mors pls dont kick me off the flashback team for this

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:25 pm 
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Kritter wrote:
None of that would happen with a rebrand of the website. We'll still be MFGG, only with a new name, I'll still be Kritter with the same history taped to my ass wherever I go. On that note, what's wrong with a bit of history? Nobody cares about 99.9% of what's on Wikipedia but it's still there if you want to know. History is a GOOD thing, it hurts nobody and doesn't affect anything here.

But enough talk, if you want to make those changes then you probably be the one to do something about it, everyone has ideas for what makes MFGG a better place (or what might be "wrong" with it) but it usually ends up as "this is my idea, now someone else... go make it happen".

basically every point here i've countered already in some capacity i'm pretty sure so i'll just go down the list again.

Kritter wrote:
None of that would happen with a rebrand of the website. We'll still be MFGG, only with a new name,

if everything is kept the same, yes.
if the opportunity is taken to change a lot of things, then no.
will it be the same people? yea, mostly. but the problem herein lays with oldbies who reference back to past happenings of upwards of 10 years ago to perpetuate a stigma. virtually no oldbie is innocent, neither i nor you, and it's gotten pretty ridiculous at this point. like i said in my post,

Quote:
with a rebrand everyone starts on equal footing as this past would have nothing to do with the new site. that book will have closed and bringing it up in any capacity instantly becomes an outside dispute


Kritter wrote:
I'll still be Kritter with the same history taped to my ass wherever I go.

funny thing about this one- i don't think a lot of people besides oldbies who know about your "history" bring this stigma up and perpetuate it- i know i certainly don't because i've never cared enough to check. if you still have that same history following you then there's probably a reason, and that reason being you probably continue to do the things you're "famous" here for which thus keeps the history relevant because it means nothing's changed. if you want this to not be the case, it would probably be best to make a change in the now because there's certainly no way to change the past. to avoid spiraling into a personal criticism, it's always really nice to see you helping out in suggestions, but you still have a knack of having an attitude which is very off-putting at times.

Kritter wrote:
On that note, what's wrong with a bit of history? Nobody cares about 99.9% of what's on Wikipedia but it's still there if you want to know. History is a GOOD thing, it hurts nobody and doesn't affect anything here.

yes and no. you're right in that it's nice to have history backlogged for our site, but ultimately it's entirely unimportant and as far as i can tell having drama and user biases logged in a readable wiki actively does more harm than it helps. newbies most likely won't ever bother reading through a lot of it, but my problem isn't with them, it's with the oldbies that perpetuate it for one reason or another which creates biases that never end. nixing this aspect means everyone starts fresh, no more baggage, i see no reason why everyone WOULDN'T be happy about this.


Kritter wrote:
But enough talk, if you want to make those changes then you probably be the one to do something about it, everyone has ideas for what makes MFGG a better place (or what might be "wrong" with it) but it usually ends up as "this is my idea, now someone else... go make it happen".

you and i both know that no user here can simply snap their fingers and cause some controversial idea they may have to spring to life. that's what this forum is for in the first place. if we all agree on such a notion, then i'd love to help! but we're talking about it because that's all we can do.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:38 pm 
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I disagree with pretty much everything you've said. Your idea is just to take MFGG, throw it to the side, make a new site and say "hey it's a clean slate, MFGG doesn't and never did exist, everything is fine now, come new members and be amazed at how new we are!" and that's totally pie in the sky to me. One minute you say "everyone keeps referencing the past" and the next "nobody knows the past anyway" and it's all a bit stupid and pointless because from my point of view NONE of this has happened at all.... on the FORUMS.

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 Post subject: Re: Mors Rambling About MFGG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:40 pm 
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i mean, if you wanna leave out key points of what i'm saying that debunks a lot of your criticism then be my guest...!

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