By Hamz 46 Comments
Hey all its your friendly neighbourhood moderator here, just felt like writing up a little open letter style blog to you all. The community here is the lifeblood and pulse of the site, its what keeps it running and going forward. Its probably the most important aspect of the site because without you, us, all we wouldn't have a place to call GiantBomb. So i guess i felt like writing a blog to share a few things with you all, mainly how the site and community from my perspective has changed into what it is now....
On July 21st 2008 the internet witnessed the birth of GiantBomb. A one of a kind and truly unique website for video game enthusiasts where they could all contribute to amassing a vast and varied amount of knowledge on video games and gaming culture. From Hamburgers, Princess Debut, Tea-Bagging and Mario to Double Jumps and Sega and much much more. In a Wikipedia style the site offers users the chance to really contribute to its development by submitting content in the form of images or details to a page of the Wiki. Attracting users from all over the globe and from other gaming related websites, GiantBomb became a new home for many.
In its initial days of launch the site was crazy, chaotic and full of such a positive energy. Everyone was psyched for what this place would have to offer and what its community would be like. The first thing everyone seemed to notice was a big lack of moderators on the forums as excitement soon faded to trolling and posting of images that made you wish you were blind so you could not see such horrors. But a few choice users from the community were chosen as the first Mods on the site, these guys are the current Forum Mods with the exception of TheBeast who we later had added to our small organised group. We were the first line of defense in trying to control the massive community on the forums and site in general.
As the site picked up pace so did the level of submissions coming in for the Wiki and our attention soon turned from focusing on the forums to helping the Staff deal with submissions in the queue. I remember they were crazy stressed out with the work load so we brought on some more users who are now the people you see as Wiki Mods. Even with the extra hands the submissions queue refused to decrease, it seemed at times as if every single submission we had to deal with had another five take its place. The main attraction of GiantBomb was begining to expand, take shape and become popular amongst the community.
All the while Jeff, Vinny, Ryan and Brad were trying to get editorial content up on the site while keeping us Modlings as we were back then under check, making sure they were there when we needed them. And i have to say they really did a great job in keeping us feel supported when things got tough with the Wiki queue. They really have done a great amount for GiantBomb and its community in both the quality of their reviews and the coverage and content they post in the form of news, bombcasts and videos. I came to GiantBomb after following the fantastic four, as i call them, from Gamespot, it was awesome to be asked to Moderate on their site and even more amazing to actually get to chit chat with them and see them build this place up to what we have today. So to these fine chaps i say thanks, thanks for the awesome content you provide.
The dev team who helped create the site also deserve a lot of praise as without them the site would just not exist or be of such a high quality as it is now. These guys really do put a lot of work and long hours into thinking about how they can improve every minor detail and fix every little bug you, the community, come across. Without their dedicated work we wouldn't have a working GiantBomb like we have now and i think its great that even now months after launch they are still working on new features, still tweaking and playing around with things like the forum layout to improve it and still fixing every bug as it creeps up. I tip my hat to these fine gents who work mostly behind the scenes!
Praise also needs to be given to you guys and girls, the people and users who make this site what it is. Without you all we wouldn't have such a great site as we have now. We wouldn't have a Wiki where every slight detail, however small, of a game is recorded, posted and appears within this massive database of knowledge. Its you guys that make this site worth coming back to time and time again and its why i continue to take part in the community, moderate the forums and interact with you all. There is such a great community here, a community that is ever expanding and evolving to greater heights.
However things haven't always been so smooth as some of you may remember. When the site first launch it was both energetic and yet chaotic. No moderators mean't anarchy on the forums and people generally acting like dicks as they trolled them. This was largely down to our focus being on the 90,000+ submissions in the queue and spending every moment of our time fixed on the task of reducing the turn around for submissions to twenty four hours and below. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into moderating that queue and at times a lot of sleepless nights were had just dreading how much the queue would have increased by the time we got up in the morning.
But with all of our attention focused on the queue we, the Forum Mods, had let things slip on the forums. We all remember the fantastic four saying they wanted the site to have a very relaxed and chilled out approach to moderaiton and that was a cool feeling for a lot of people coming from more stricter websites. But some felt that was a nod towards posting and acting how they wanted on the forums. Some decided to abuse that privilege of freedom we granted the community and in part it was our fault for focusing a little too long on the Wiki queue. A lot of things went on in the forums for too long unchecked and we should of put a stop to them earlier but we were otherwise preoccupied and i won't make any excuses, it was largely our fault certain activities went on when they shouldn't have.
After weeks of reviewing the forums carefully we decided to put an end to said activites and we struck hard with the moderations. It caused an uproar with accusations of power abuse, fascism and the phrase "nazi mods!". With the closing of a certain topic it seemed a small group of the community was livid with the Forum Mods and specifically a select few of us. And it seemd a day didn't go by where a new topic, private message or wall post was sent by that small group sharing and showing their dislike and hate for us. It became pretty difficult to feel motivated enough to take part in the community when all we got was negative vibes from them.
We half expected such a feeling but not for so long or so strong. And it came to a point where, for me personally, i just got really angry at the way people reacted in such a negative and in some cases rather volatile manner. It became hard to really feel motivated to actually take part in anything as it seemed every second comment somehow turned into an argument about the same old subject. And then Jeff popped in one day into the Mod IRC channel and had these inspirational words to say....
"Being a moderator is just like being a video game reviewer. People will always criticise your work and say they can do a better job. The trick is to just accept you'll get such responses and don't dwell on it"Wise words indeed and words that seemed to cause a spark of motivation in the Forum Mod team. We began to take a more active role again in the community as it seemed the community had began to accept a specific topic would not be returning, anytime soon atleast. And the communication breakdown between Mods, Staff and Users seemed to pick up again as everyone become more well informed amongst the community as to what was going on. Things were perking up and have done ever since, the community here at GiantBomb has just gone from strength to strength.
Its great to see how the forums have turned from a somewhat spam orientated place for trolls to a more "quality over quantity" style of posting topics and replying to them. The quality of the forums in general has increased, discussion that takes place is more mature, more organised and all round better than it once was. And i put that down to a combination of cutting out the, for lack of a better word and because its dramatic, cancer that had infected the forums in the form of trolls and users with the sole purpose of being dicks on the forums for no reason other than "lulz" according to them. And the fact that through better Mod and User interaction through the community IRC and regular stickies regarding issues and such like things have been made clearer for everyone.
Overall i guess what i'm trying to say is i love the GiantBomb site, i love its content and most of all i love the community here. Its all just really bloody awesome and i look forward to seeing what the future holds for us all. And god knows i've moderated a number of you in the past and you still speak to me so really i have to say thanks for being awesome about that, its always difficult to moderate someone you know or are friendly with. But its made easier if the other person understands, so GiantBomb community give yourself a pat on the back, you've all done a fine job. Whether your a User, Moderator or member of the Staff, congratulations to all for making this place awesome!
Community made stuff you MUST take a look at!
- The Community is still a threat - A topic dedicated to many community features, originally started by the community manifesto topic created by Lies, MattBodega, TokyoChicken and DualReaver.
- Bomb Should Have a Face aka BSHAF - The official second best podcast here on GiantBomb. Started by MattBodega, TokyoChicken, Jensonb and Disgaeamad. Its continually improved every episode and had such famous faces from around the site on as guests like Dave Snider, MB, Sweep, Jayge, Lies and myself to name a few! I strongly suggest if you haven't listened to this podcast yet then you totally should because otherwise....your so 12, or just a big derelict!
- Bombing Run - A Community game night originally started by MattBodega but has since been passed onto the hands of Systech to organise and handle. If your interested in playing some awesome games alongside your fellow users here at GiantBomb then i recommend you keep an eye out for the weekly topic relating to the next Bombing Run and get your details posted in there if you want to take part. Great fun to take part in for sure!
- List of GiantBomb users Spore Tags - Created by SuperMooseman to provide users here who are fans and players of Spore the chance to share each others content and have general chit chat regarding Spore and such like. Worth looking into if your a fan of Spore.
- 360 Gamertag Topic - A place for all Xbox360 users here on GiantBomb to share their gamertags and get added to each others friend list so you can all chill out and play some games together. If you own a 360 then i strongly suggest you look into this topic, always some friends to be found here. Started up by Kindgalaxy.
- Gamerscore Leaderboard - This topic contains the gamerscore of GiantBomb users on the Xbox360, chuck in your details and see where you rank compared to your fellow users here on the site! Created by Gorillawhat.
- Playstation Networkd ID's - Just like the Gamertag topic this one focuses on users sharing their PSN ID's to others within the community so people can hit each other up online and have some fun. Created by Flam3Thr0w3r.
- Beta Code Topic - Created by fellow Forum Mod, BoG, this topic is for users to post requests for beta codes for games or to share extra codes they may have recieved so more of the community can get in on some beta action. Worth a look if your having a hard time finding a code for a games beta.
- Defusing the Bomb - The Forum Mod's very own community sticky where we provide a link to the recent and brand new yet still shiney Forum FAQ. Plans are also to include news, announcements and a thought of the week to it aswell. A FAQ for the Wiki section of the site is in the works aswell and will hopefully be added once its finished so keep an eye on this sticky. Also we would seriously appreciate some feedback from you guys and girls on the Forum FAQ, either leave the feedback as a comment to this blog or send me a PM, either way all criticism and such like is appreciated. But i strongly recommend you read that FAQ, if only so you know some of the basic rules we have here.
- Community IRC Channel - An IRC channel set up by the community for the community, suggest you go check it out. Lots of friendly people in there plus some of us Mods make a venture in on a regular basis. And guess what? Its not moderated by the Moderators on the site so feel free to chat to us in there without worrying about anything!
- The Force Unleashed Mega Guide - A mega guide for the game TFU created by Lies, Systech, Pyromaniac and SpikeDelight. Proof that this community can achieve great things with a little effort. Just utterly amazing, if ever you needed a guide for this game then this is the one to use!
- Trivia - Another great feature on the site is the trivia quiz which has user submitted questions. Can be a helluva lot of fun if you find yourself bored, also a great way to make use of the Wiki feature on the site and improve your gaming knowledge. Definately worth checking out.
- Guides - Aswell as having a highly detailed and devleoped Wikipedia of gaming related knowldge on the site we also have an awesome feature for users to write up and create their own guides for games or aspects within a game. Got a tip on how to beat that final boss in a game? Then write a guide on how to do it, publish it and let the community rate and respond to it!
- Lets Play! - Play a free game, come back, discuss and rate. The new revamped version, worth checking out and having a look at!
- GiantBomb Caption Contest - Something thats just started up, and something worth taking a look at for a few laughs and some fun. Pictures, captions, contests, nuff said! Created by SuperMooseman
- Friend Codes Topic - Much like the PSN ID's and 360 Gamertags we also have a Wii Friends Code topic for all you Ninty fans out there to share and hook up and play some games people. Created by Arkthemaniac
- GiantBomb Staff Photo Edit Topic - A topic created by the much loved and now less active BiffMcBlumpkin for users to show off their photoshops using pictures of the Staff. Sort of creepy yet mildly entertaining none the less.
Big thanks goes to TokyoChicken for providing me most of the links and usernames for the creators of the various Community topics and projects, even if he laughs like a little 12 year old girl. Also a thanks to Virago for thinking it would be a good blog to post, just sorry i didn't get that picture onto my PC like i said i would. Anyway i hope you all have some fun reading this and realise your all apart of something epic here, so enjoy it!
EDIT! - Totally forgot to thank everyone who has left a wall comment or sent me a PM supporting my new attempt to give up smoking. Cheers for all the support people, i shall hopefully overcome the nicotine!