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Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

Y'know what I miss? Causing trouble.

Being a moderator is great, and I love working for one of the best websites on the internet, but at some point I stopped feeling comfortable about sharing my opinions regarding the site. It's understandable I guess, when you spend most of your time clearing up other people's arguments that you are increasingly hesitant to begin them yourself.

Remember back in the day when I made this blog? And then, not long afterwards, this happened? You're welcome.

I used to enjoy throwing crazy ideas at and then watching him sigh as he explained why they weren't practical. I understand why, in retrospect: A lot of our suggestions genuinely weren't practical. I didn't mind. It was just a nice feeling to be even slightly involved in the direction of the site that I love so much, that there were members of staff even slightly receptive to the suggestion of change. The problem is that stuff was happening back when the site was still young, there was still room to expand and experiment. The scope and direction of Giant Bomb has changed dramatically since then - again, understandable - but there should be still room to discuss what we like and what we don't.

Please do not misinterpret the intention of this blog; This is not an attack. This is not written in anger, or frustration. This is a reflection on the state of blogs on the site which I have used for many years and intend to continue using. As someone with the 3rd highest blog count here (on the entire damn site), I'm in a pretty unique position to do so. The fact that I'm a moderator doesn't even factor into it.

For a long time I was "The blog guy" or more specifically "That idiot hamburger who writes shit down" and even sometimes "What the fuck are you doing, stop touching my sister!". I still am, to some degree. Those 360+ blogs are still there, if you want to go read them. I wouldn't recommend it, though, for aforementioned idiocy. I used to badger Dave that the blog community on the site needed more publicity, that they needed to be featured more, that bloggers weren't getting enough recognition. That was a long time ago, years ago, before blogs could be linked to the forums. After the new system dropped, and I became a moderator, I kinda stopped whining. The new system works to a degree: You can write a blog, post it to the forums, and people will read it. Having used this system for over a year I will agree that it does allow fresh blogs a large amount of attention. Where it fails is that the entire community is now completely focused on one aspect of the site: The forums.

Our forums aren't too bad, I think.

We keep them fairly tidy. Anyone who thinks otherwise should go check out some alternatives for a bit of healthy perspective. All things considered, we have a nice bunch of people here and I am, for the most part, happy to be associated with them. However in merging the blog and forum communities, I feel like something was taken from the bloggers. The emphasis was clearly placed on the forums being the central hub for the site and, as a result, the blog scene was diluted. We have a lot of great writers here, a lot, and I think we would have even more if people felt that their effort would be appreciated - but with nothing to distinguish a personal, heartfelt blog from a standard forum post, the enthusiasm for extensive and articulate writing floundered. A blog should be something that you follow for context - for the opinions of someone you have familiarised yourself with and trust. That's why people come to Giant Bomb, right? For Jeff and Ryan, and all the other guys you know and love. How many people pick which forum threads they read based entirely on the OP (unless it's someone you dislike and deliberately want to laugh at or troll)? That sense of context doesn't exist on forums, and I truly believe that the quality of posts made on Giant Bomb has suffered as a result.

This is the bit where shit gets constructive:

If you want people to write good blogs you need to reward them for writing good blogs. You need a structured environment where people feel confident that their work will be seen and appreciated regardless of how many followers they have - a page on the site where new content is easy to find and distinguished from the rest of what I'm going to disparagingly refer to as "clutter" that is normally associated with the forums. You need a layout which not only displays the content well, but highlights the writer and gives the reader the opportunity to find more of their work. The Community Hub does this to some extent, but it's not enough. It's not enough to simply point to a single blog and say "This is a good blog" because that doesn't do anything to further the sense of community that the site needs. A lone blog solves nothing. That might sound cliquey or elitist but it's true.

Think of a page with 3 columns:

  • Popular Blogs - Blogs with most comments from the past 24 hours
  • Followed Blogs - A feed of blogs written be people you follow
  • Newest Blogs - A general feed of all blogs written on the site

Then at the top a section for a featured blog, selected by the mods and staff, that gets a banner at the top of the page similar to the articles on the frontpage. The potential for finding and reading new community content is instantly made so much easier. Much as I hate to admit it, this idea is stolen from IGN who have been doing this shit much better than us for years. That's fucking depressing. I have complete confidence that we can do it better.

I'm going to end by pointing out that I fully appreciate the timing of this seems slightly fucked. I know the Top Men have been working tirelessly on the imminent site redesign, and it's looking fucking incredible by the way, but as Lucille Ball once said:

"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."

Just like old times, eh, Dave?

Thanks For Reading,

Love Sweep

Moderator
#1 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

Y'know what I miss? Causing trouble.

Being a moderator is great, and I love working for one of the best websites on the internet, but at some point I stopped feeling comfortable about sharing my opinions regarding the site. It's understandable I guess, when you spend most of your time clearing up other people's arguments that you are increasingly hesitant to begin them yourself.

Remember back in the day when I made this blog? And then, not long afterwards, this happened? You're welcome.

I used to enjoy throwing crazy ideas at and then watching him sigh as he explained why they weren't practical. I understand why, in retrospect: A lot of our suggestions genuinely weren't practical. I didn't mind. It was just a nice feeling to be even slightly involved in the direction of the site that I love so much, that there were members of staff even slightly receptive to the suggestion of change. The problem is that stuff was happening back when the site was still young, there was still room to expand and experiment. The scope and direction of Giant Bomb has changed dramatically since then - again, understandable - but there should be still room to discuss what we like and what we don't.

Please do not misinterpret the intention of this blog; This is not an attack. This is not written in anger, or frustration. This is a reflection on the state of blogs on the site which I have used for many years and intend to continue using. As someone with the 3rd highest blog count here (on the entire damn site), I'm in a pretty unique position to do so. The fact that I'm a moderator doesn't even factor into it.

For a long time I was "The blog guy" or more specifically "That idiot hamburger who writes shit down" and even sometimes "What the fuck are you doing, stop touching my sister!". I still am, to some degree. Those 360+ blogs are still there, if you want to go read them. I wouldn't recommend it, though, for aforementioned idiocy. I used to badger Dave that the blog community on the site needed more publicity, that they needed to be featured more, that bloggers weren't getting enough recognition. That was a long time ago, years ago, before blogs could be linked to the forums. After the new system dropped, and I became a moderator, I kinda stopped whining. The new system works to a degree: You can write a blog, post it to the forums, and people will read it. Having used this system for over a year I will agree that it does allow fresh blogs a large amount of attention. Where it fails is that the entire community is now completely focused on one aspect of the site: The forums.

Our forums aren't too bad, I think.

We keep them fairly tidy. Anyone who thinks otherwise should go check out some alternatives for a bit of healthy perspective. All things considered, we have a nice bunch of people here and I am, for the most part, happy to be associated with them. However in merging the blog and forum communities, I feel like something was taken from the bloggers. The emphasis was clearly placed on the forums being the central hub for the site and, as a result, the blog scene was diluted. We have a lot of great writers here, a lot, and I think we would have even more if people felt that their effort would be appreciated - but with nothing to distinguish a personal, heartfelt blog from a standard forum post, the enthusiasm for extensive and articulate writing floundered. A blog should be something that you follow for context - for the opinions of someone you have familiarised yourself with and trust. That's why people come to Giant Bomb, right? For Jeff and Ryan, and all the other guys you know and love. How many people pick which forum threads they read based entirely on the OP (unless it's someone you dislike and deliberately want to laugh at or troll)? That sense of context doesn't exist on forums, and I truly believe that the quality of posts made on Giant Bomb has suffered as a result.

This is the bit where shit gets constructive:

If you want people to write good blogs you need to reward them for writing good blogs. You need a structured environment where people feel confident that their work will be seen and appreciated regardless of how many followers they have - a page on the site where new content is easy to find and distinguished from the rest of what I'm going to disparagingly refer to as "clutter" that is normally associated with the forums. You need a layout which not only displays the content well, but highlights the writer and gives the reader the opportunity to find more of their work. The Community Hub does this to some extent, but it's not enough. It's not enough to simply point to a single blog and say "This is a good blog" because that doesn't do anything to further the sense of community that the site needs. A lone blog solves nothing. That might sound cliquey or elitist but it's true.

Think of a page with 3 columns:

  • Popular Blogs - Blogs with most comments from the past 24 hours
  • Followed Blogs - A feed of blogs written be people you follow
  • Newest Blogs - A general feed of all blogs written on the site

Then at the top a section for a featured blog, selected by the mods and staff, that gets a banner at the top of the page similar to the articles on the frontpage. The potential for finding and reading new community content is instantly made so much easier. Much as I hate to admit it, this idea is stolen from IGN who have been doing this shit much better than us for years. That's fucking depressing. I have complete confidence that we can do it better.

I'm going to end by pointing out that I fully appreciate the timing of this seems slightly fucked. I know the Top Men have been working tirelessly on the imminent site redesign, and it's looking fucking incredible by the way, but as Lucille Ball once said:

"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."

Just like old times, eh, Dave?

Thanks For Reading,

Love Sweep

Moderator
#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Sweep said:

A lone blog solves nothing.

I don't know, man. The Blog Initiative was pretty damn fun, even if it was a short-term solution.

#3 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Sweep said:

A lone blog solves nothing.

I don't know, man. The Blog Initiative was pretty damn fun, even if it was a short-term solution.

Yeah! That was awesome. Imagine if there was a page specifically structured from the ground up for that sort of community push. That would be incredible :D

Moderator
#4 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

BLOGS.

Yes, IGN doing something better than us for years is the very concept of definition condensed.

Good point, well made, if only I good blogs anymore.

#5 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

Blogs on here do need more recognition. Hell, I wrote blogs for IGN and some of them made it to the front page and were given a lot of attention. There are some great blog writers here and they should be given more recognition. So I say go for it Sweepy.

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
#7 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

Seriously, you should stop touching my sister. She's married and like twice your age, it's highly inappropriate.

If blogs were set up in that way it might trick me into giving it a shot and then abandoning the idea after I realize, yet again, that I have nothing worthwhile or interesting to say...

#8 Posted by Daneian (1228 posts) -

I agree and thanks for talking about this. I know for me personally, it's frustrating to spend days trying to articulate an idea or argument concisely and directly only to watch it get immediately drowned out by more topical forum posts and polls. It could be argued that the more analytic blogs some people write don't generate that much discussion and so don't stay near the top of the queue but its disheartening nonetheless.

#9 Posted by FLStyle (4665 posts) -

Personally I thought my EVO 2012 and other fighting game event stuff got a lot of support, at least from the mods and Marino's ability to put things on that little community section of the front page, long may it continue.

But I would love to have a whole page for the blog stuff like IGN does.

#10 Posted by Mento (2509 posts) -

There are times where I don't publish blogs to the forum for a reason, but I like what you're throwing down here. We probably could use a different system than being able to publish one's blog on a single forum and turn it into a thread - which, as you say, isn't always the intent of a blog; often it's intended to be read and not so much a means to spur a discussion, like forum topics are.

I like the idea of a front page feed that people can add to by selecting a "make public" option when they post their blog. If they feel as if it's a worthwhile read, they can send it somewhere were people will see it and hopefully get it the attention they believe it deserves. Or they can continue to choose to keep it incognito and only let people who follow them, who clearly don't give a fig to quality and consistency, have a gander. Ditto for lists and reviews, for that matter. It could also be available for blogs that have already been posted incognito once already; if they require some touch-up or a few peer-recommended changes before its author is confident enough to make it public, that option ought to exist.

Anyway, I tend to defer to the senior bloggers of this site when it comes to this stuff. I don't have nearly enough sway. I'm probably only known anecdotally by the guys in charge as the reason they needed to have a quiet discussion with Marino about losing those ugly stickfigure things from the community section in order to keep the front page looking halfway professional.

Moderator
#11 Posted by AdzPearson (201 posts) -

I think it's a great idea. While it's good you can post blogs to the forums, it's not really ideal. I appreciate every single comment I get on my blogs, but I find it's very rare that I get the same people commenting on it. I think they usually get treated as regular forum topics (even though they're clearly branded). It kind of undermines my style of blogging, as I'll often refer back to previous entries. With a dedicated hub for blogs, I don't think it'd be a problem.

#12 Posted by LikeaSsur (1513 posts) -

As long as we have the option to keep our blogs from appearing on the "Newest Blogs" list, I'm all for it.

#13 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I'm all for this. There are great blogs that are easy to miss and I only see them because of the community spotlight on friday. Even there I bet some make it through the cracks.

#14 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

I would probably read a lot more blogs if they were presented to me. But as it is now, I pretty much never do unless they're linked to the forums, which as you said is not suitable for a lot of material.

An issue for me is I have a strict "no follow" policy, so I am not given this information in any way other than the forums or some severe digging of some of my friends profiles.

I approve of this message and would like to see stuff happen...about things.

#15 Posted by IzzyGraze (850 posts) -

Get on it Dave. I mean it can't be that hard. Some 1s and 0s then you throw some cookies into the business and you're done?

#16 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

That's one thing I've kind of felt lacking in blogs: a sense of distinctiveness. I've been kind of trying my hand at blogging (because I want to improve my writing skills, and practice makes perfect), but I've either thought "Well, why don't I just make a forum post?" or "Well, if I don't post this to the forums, I won't get any feedback, so what's the point?", which are both kind of unhealthy ways to look at it.

So yeah, I'd love to have a space where blogs are king, and have a big presence. It'd be cool for them to be detached from the forums and all the difficulties that come with that. Plus, it'd be way easier to parse them out from all of the crap that can occasionally turn up in the forums.

Good ideas here, Mr. Sweep.

#17 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@RPGee said:

I've been kind of trying my hand at blogging (because I want to improve my writing skills, and practice makes perfect)

Depends on what you mean by perfect, because I wrote a ton of blogs on GameSpot, and every single one was horrible.

blogs are king

Of course they are. Have you seen how many blogs I write?

#18 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:


Have you seen how many blogs I write?

Yep. 286. That must put you at an easy 4th, right?

Moderator
#19 Posted by MattyFTM (14368 posts) -

@Sweep: As much as I love your suggestion, you do realize you've picked literally the worst time in the site's entire history to be suggesting it, right?

Moderator
#20 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4339 posts) -

Great read and those are some good suggestions. And I agree about the GB forums. I notice a lot of people who like to talk shit about how bad these forums have gotten but honestly I still can't find another game forum out there that has a friendly dedicated group of users like here at GB. It's just easier to become more familiar with users here than other places maybe because of things being smaller scale here or that a lot of the users here frequent the site all the time.

(Also I wonder how long till this blog drifts away into the countless general discussion pages and is forgotten)

#21 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@MattyFTM said:

@Sweep: As much as I love your suggestion, you do realize you've picked literally the worst time in the site's entire history to be suggesting it, right?

Realise*

And yes. Great, isn't it?

Moderator
#22 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

Also I just realised that the Guides tab on the site is, though somewhat ignored by most of the users, pretty much exactly what I want for the blogs. Imagine having a slighty more fleshed-out page like that but for blogs, that still included the functionality to link to the forums. That's all I want!

This technology already exists you guys.

Moderator
#23 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

Last time the Hamburger was right something new got added to Giant Bomb. 
This seems like a cool idea to at least look at after the redesign of the site because it is once again, coming from a Hamburger

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Sweep said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Have you seen how many blogs I write?

Yep. 286. That must put you at an easy 4th, right?

At least in terms of the ones I've published to the site. I passed 300 written total a little while ago. Soon, I shall have the honor of being third!

#25 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: OK well Bruce is on 900 so you still have a while to go before you hit number one. He's been slacking pretty bad though, so you could probably catch up in... well... like 3 years? If you posted every day?

Good luck with that, by the way.

Moderator
#26 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Sweep:

Given my screenshot-taking tendencies, I could probably just do four screenshot LPs of some PC games and I'd be well ahead of him :P.

#27 Posted by Mento (2509 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: You'd think that would be the fast track to a bajillion blogs, but nope.

I mean, unless you don't just quit after posting the first 25 screenshots like Mr Lazy over here.

Moderator
#28 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Video_Game_King:

I merely meant it as the saying goes, but I would want to be able to write at a decent quality, at least according to my standards. I'd like to look back on my "work" and think "I still find this legitimately interesting and well-thought-out to me." Right now, I don't think I'm hitting that often enough for my liking, and so I'd like to keep practising and improve.

And part of that is getting feedback, I suppose. Ultimately, my blog is for me, but I'm always interested in the outside opinion of it. So a good place for blogs here, what with the relatively non-caustic community, would give me good motivation to keep some consistency, plus provide some feedback (hopefully constructive) that will be useful. If nothing else, I like that I can go back and assess mine right now. That's pretty cool, and useful I find.

#29 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@RPGee said:

Ultimately, my blog is for me

#30 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Video_Game_King:

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." - Bill Cosby

So I'll start off with pleasing myself, hmm? Keep in mind, I'm not 300+ blogs in like some people. I also don't play as many obscure and, frankly, poor games as some people (remember MLP?).

#31 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@RPGee said:

So I'll start off with pleasing myself, hmm?

OK, that's a definite no-no. I can't name many people who start their blogs with masturbation.

#32 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@RPGee said:

So I'll start off with pleasing myself, hmm?

OK, that's a definite no-no. I can't name many people who start their blogs with masturbation.

A salient point. Shall I save that for when I want to learn to draw, then?

#33 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@RPGee:

I'm no artist. You may wish to ask....any artists on the site?

#34 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@RPGee:

I'm no artist. You may wish to ask....any artists on the site?

I'll leave is to another day, perhaps. Aurahack and all the other talented artistic people may take offence.

#35 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@RPGee said:

So I'll start off with pleasing myself, hmm?

OK, that's a definite no-no. I can't name many people who start their blogs with masturbation.

Is that because most people don't start their blogs with masturbation, or because you just aren't asking if they do? I wonder...

#36 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@pyromagnestir:

It's because it's counter-productive to good blog writing. It's the reason why I'll never blog about Rez. (That, and the mods would stomp such sexual writing out almost immediately.)

#37 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@Video_Game_King:

Well that's a shame. Rez, eh?

#38 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@pyromagnestir:

The vibrating add-on thing?

#39 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@Video_Game_King:

Oh. The only version of that game I've ever played is the XBLA one, which didn't have that.

#40 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -

I read this blog one time. It was awesome.

#41 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Why is it that whenever you comment on someone else's blog you always end up talking about your own blog? Stop hijacking my blogs you sociopath!

Moderator
#42 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Sweep said:

Why is it that whenever you comment on someone else's blog you always end up talking about your own blog?

It's all in the name.
#43 Posted by Fattony12000 (7301 posts) -

Oh, you mean a Fatbomb?

But yes, that's a damn fine idea for beatifying the process of finding beautiful blogs.

#44 Posted by Sweep (8844 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Sweep said:

Why is it that whenever you comment on someone else's blog you always end up talking about your own blog?

It's all in the name.

You're doing it again! Did you see that everyone? He's a blog hijacker!

Just think though, we could have that banner plastered at the top of a "featured blog" section. You would be in ego heaven!

Moderator
#45 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Sweep said:

You're doing it again! Did you see that everyone? He's a blog hijacker!

It's kind of hard to call it another hijacking when you're the one steering the conversation toward my blog. Or whatever.

Just think though, we could have that banner plastered at the top of a "featured blog" section. You would be in ego heaven!

That is an interesting proposition...

#46 Posted by Tireyo (6409 posts) -

You was quite the trouble maker, but you have toned down a lot since... but still cause trouble though! =-P

#47 Posted by Trainer_Red (314 posts) -

@Sweep: You're an inspiration and I kind of love you.

#48 Posted by Athadam (687 posts) -

Can't the same argument be made about user reviews?

#49 Posted by Slag (4250 posts) -

Good suggestions. Not really sure how well comments are going to be a good gauge for popularity but unless gb has some behind the scenes stuff that tracks pageviews or institutes a voting system I can think of no better.

I'd use the heck out the New Blog functionality if added.

Hope they listen to you.

#50 Posted by ZombiePie (5642 posts) -

I write a blog.

Moderator