GiantBomb has a great premise. Users make edits, moderators approve or reject those edits case by case, only the best submissions make it through. That's the idea, anyway. In practice, I'm not finding that to be the case...
About a week ago, I made several edits, most notably blurbs for games I like. I like blurbs a lot. A little one or two sentence that summarizes a game. It's a challenge to fit a 50+ hour game into two sentences, but it feels good to pull it off. It feels terrible when your efforts go to waste though.
Case in point, I wrote up my own blurb for Eternal Darkness, one of my all time favorite games. I thought about the blurb for a long time, finally coming up with a 50 word description of it. I felt the description was true to the spirit of the game. I was proud of it, to be honest. I'm rarely proud of anything I write, but I took pride in my blurb. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but it had something to do with the main character, the 1000 year struggle for humanity's fate, and the game's main object, the Tome of Eternal Darkness.
Several days later, my submission was finally approved. The system works! And then a day later, someone else's submission was accepted, completely replacing mine. Had their submission been better, the system would have worked as designed. The cream of the crop would have risen to the surface. Only the best blurb would have survived, and I'd have been happy about it, although I'd have been sad to see my blurb vanish. But no... the new blurb was worse than mine. Much worse. Worse both in context and in grammar.
It basically said "this is a zombie game where you can loose your sanity through insanity effects."
That's wonderful. A blurb about this game that's much more refined than "that insanity game," and yet that's the blurb we wind up with. THAT is insanity.
So anyway, I'm done making edits. If the moderators are just approving anything that's in their queue and aren't bothering to research or at least read the thing they're approving, then the site just plain doesn't work. There's no reason to have moderators. I don't envy them and all of the submissions they have to look at, but the site is fundamentally flawed if they don't put real effort into what they're doing.
Maybe it's just one moderator who's slacking, maybe it's the whole team, I have no way of knowing. All I know is that what I wrote is gone forever (where's the undo button?). I'm not sore about it. It's simply a big sign that says "don't bother."
I noticed today that I'm now number #518 out of the 14,000+ users on the site. Once more of my submissions get approved, I'll probably move up even further. I'm starting to feel the Xbox "Achievement game" effect. The number was originally meaningless, when I was just one in a sea of people. Now that I'm actually within reach of the top 500 users, it's starting to feel like a competition.
Do I keep making submissions in the hopes that they'll be approved and I'll get ever closer to the number 1 spot, or do I ignore the ranking and just make submissions whenever I notice something is missing or wrong on the site? --- I wonder if this is what other users (GiantBombers?) think about when they come to the site.
Ultimately, I think the whole point behind the rank is to encourage people to make submissions. Whether you're trying to boost yourself higher up the list, or if you're making meaningful submissions for the sake of helping build the site up and could care less about your rank, the end result is the same: the site benefits from our work. For people who care about numbers and rank, it gives them incentive to keep going. If you don't care about your rank, it's just as easy to ignore it.
Right now, I feel good about being #518. All of my contributions have been made for the sake of filling in the gaps for the games I care most about. It won't bother me if I drop in rank. That'll just mean that everyone else is working that much harder, which means we all win.
GiantBomb is addictive! I never thought I'd care about doing wiki-style updates, but I can't stop myself from spending my free time here, updating the games I love and writing about them in the forums. I see this site, if all goes well, becoming the de facto source of game information on the Internet a year from now, much more so than Gamefaqs, Gamespot, 1up, pick your poison.
The only problem so far is that there's too damn many of us submitting content to the site. I don't think they realized just how many people would be generating content as soon as the flood gates opened (maybe having this be a closed beta would have been a better way to go). I made some game edits on the first day, and had them approved within 24 hours. The edits I made since day 2 have yet to be approved, and that was 3 days ago as of right now. I don't see how they can possibly keep up with all of us. We outnumber the moderators probably 10,000 to 1. Even so, I can't resist the lure of updating the games I care most about. I'd like to give them a chance to approve my previous edits, but I can't stop from making new ones!
If they can somehow dig themselves out of the hole and get back to approving updates in a timely manner, this site will be the IMDB/Wikipedia of videogames, only even better.