Saturday, July 08, 2006

Call Me A Content Cop

Call me a whiner. Whatever.

The new GeekMod system for reviews--which I am partly responsible for advocating--has become a haven for GeekGold whores. New users can now spend about 20 minutes typing random sentences and acquire 30 GG virtually overnight.

What is GeekGold for?

It is an incentive for users to submit content. Period. Before GeekMod, the admins had to approve all content of this nature. They were the sole authority on the value of submissions. Now the users are, and as a consequence, the threshold of quality has gone way down.

What is quality anyways?

A quality review can be written from many different angles. Most users put in a rule synopsis, a component overview, and thoughts on play. However, I've seen other types of equivalent value. For example: a review comparing one game to another, or a new version to an older one.

So where do we draw the line? I think a review should show some minimal amount of effort. I don't care what game it is. Ten sentences is not sufficient. If a review would fit better as game comments, then that is where it belongs. It has more value and use there than as a thread in game reviews. Furthermore there is no acceptance subjectivity.

Personally, if I'm not willing to spend a thoughtful hour on a review, I would be too embarrassed to submit it.

What's the root problem?

The first problem is that the default reward for a review is 3 GG. I think too many GeekModders just blindly click ACCEPT without thinking much. This makes any review, no matter how short, tend to get close to 3 GG. The other related issue here is that GeekModders are allowing too many reviews through--ones that would not have made it through when the admins had control.

The second problem is that votes to decline a review do not count as a vote for 0 GG (I confirmed this with Aldie). If 50 people vote 3 GG for a review, and 50 vote to decline it, the reviewer gets 3 GG. This is absurd. This is why I suggested that we be able to accept a review for 0 GG. So now when I see a really pitiful review, I know it's going to be accepted. My best option is to accept it for 1 GG. The current system is seriously flawed.

The third problem is that users now know they can submit crap and that its chance of being accepted is very high. This promotes abuse, which creates GG inflation. If you are thinking, "So what? It's only fake money," then you can stop reading now.

Why do I care?

As the GeekMod system starts to lower its standards, the quality of submissions goes down. It becomes harder to find reasonable reviews in the noise. Every user will have an UberGeekBadge and disable ads using GG. I've spent 100's of hours on my contributions to get my badges. To see a user with a similar reward and virtually no effort is insulting.

It's not pride or ego. I suppose to some degree I am trying to assert my own levels of quality on others. I feel embarrassed on their behalf because they seem to have no shame. I'd like to at least see every submission up to the old standards of the admins. The group-think mentality of GeekMod is eroding this.

Some examples

Sorry to pick on specific users, but I want to make my point.

This review was submitted twice. It got 2.5 GG each time. GeekModders wake up! The second one was deleted, but the author still has 5 GG total for the two reviews.

This ridiculous review was accepted for 1.78 GG! Not only that, but an admin is defending it!

Other sample non-reviews: here and here.

Check out this review thread in which it is suggested that "nice guys" be allowed to submit crap. Ignore the usual thread-trolling pedantics [sic] of David desJardins.

What does a good review look like? Check this one out. I'm not suggesting that every user put in this much work. This is just an example of something that makes BGG a great place.

In summary

I call upon the powers that be at BGG to keep quality in check, and upon the users who submit content to have some self-respect. If you are only going to spend 1 minute typing a "review", please put it in your game comments.

[Edit: Excellent post by Eli Smith.]

Vote for Pedro


At 7:14 PM, Blogger Coldfoot said...

I read a couple of your indicated reviews. Ninja Galaxy was bad.

Mesopotamia needs work.

Alexander was a fine brief review. Exactly the kind of review I look for when researching games to buy.

It's a shame there aren't more good brief reviews.

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Said.

At 3:33 AM, Anonymous UniversalHead said...

I completely agree with you ekted. I've brought this subject up in regards to two reviews lately: and - where 'first impressions' are masquerading as reviews. Bizarrely however, we seem to be in the minority. Most people on these threads seem to think these 'first impressions' are completely valid as reviews - even the second one, where the user got a crucial rule wrong, and misinterpreted the whole style of the game.

Man, if I wrote a review for every game I've played once, Boardgamegeek would be swimming in them. But I, like you, would never consider writing a review for a game I hadn't played quite a few times, knew well, and could write an informed critique about.

But as I said, we're in the minority. In the second thread one guy thinks that 'the more reviews the better'. Quality not quantity, I say.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous UniversalHead said...

Another one. And I really wish people would bother to spell properly, and construct their sentences correctly, before posting a review.

You're right ekted, the 'Geek is really going downhill. Soon you'll have to wade through miles of dreck to find one decent review.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger ekted said...

"the 'Geek is really going downhill"

BGG is a fantastic site. It's just this one area that needs adjustment.

At 1:09 AM, Anonymous UniversalHead said...

Sorry, I meant to clarify that with 'in the reviews department.' I love the Geek. I spend way too much time there when I should be working.

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Hey Jim, watch out for a review of Pubcrawling. I just rejected it but I betcha it gets approved.

It's ... well, if you need any more examples, there's one for you.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger ekted said...

And there it is. 2 GG for that junk.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Jason Little said...

I wish I would have seen this earlier. Your comments here perfectly mirror my own:

"Personally, if I'm not willing to spend a thoughtful hour on a review, I would be too embarrassed to submit it."

"I suppose to some degree I am trying to assert my own levels of quality on others. I feel embarrassed on their behalf because they seem to have no shame."

It's almost reached the point where I can't afford to spend time checking out a review from an unknown source, and have started to rely almost solely on my GeekBuddies to guarantee I'm going to read quality content. So my GeekBuddy list has exploded -- nearly doubling in the last 2-3 months as the quality of rewared content continues to plummet.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger ekted said...

"I wish I would have seen this earlier."

Jason, you need to use feeds. :)


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