2021-03-31 21:40:45 (edited by aaron77 2021-03-31 21:45:12)

Introduction

Hi all.
As somebody who has participated on this forum primarily as a lurker, I've been fascinated by the interactions I've seen over the last few years.
I wanted to share some of my thoughts, especially following the controversial asset policy discussion on the general games forum.
I'm hoping others can weigh in with their thoughts / opinions and I'd love it if this turned into an introspective moment for the community where we can all civilly discuss what's going on here.
To be clear, this is *not* a place to discuss forum policy or how much we love or hate it.  This is a place to discuss the community and where it's headed with as little finger pointing as possible.
Finally, before I kick us off, I'm not good at writing this kind of thing in an organized way, so apologies for the disorganized nature of this post in advance.

Round 1: Fight!

One of the first things that often crosses my mind when I come on here is the intensity of reactions to anything that happens.
Somebody announces an upcoming game? the forum collectively loses its mind and pesters whoever announced the game for details.
A developer disappoints the community because a new game isn't accessible at launch?  "kill!  Kill them all!" Case in point, how the Crafting Kingdom dev was basically chased off the forum.
Mods implement unpopular new policies?  "our basic human rights are being violated!  Chaaaaaaaaaaaarge!"
I could go on, but I think you all get the point.
To be fair, the internet brings this behavior out in a lot of people.  We like to create perceived injustices where there are none because it feels good to fight the good fight, and the internet allows us to fight the good fight without ever leaving the comfort of our home.
Why do we bring this on ourselves though?  we're all gamers here, and most of us are blind.  We all have to navigate this arena we're in where we have to fight tooth and nail for access to the best content, so why are we repeatedly taking it out on each other?
I get that many people on here live in environments where they have no agency.  Whether they're teenagers with restrictive / overbearing parents or young adults trying to navigate the real world and the struggles of finding employment.  Either way, I get that it's easy to feel like you have little power over your circumstances.  From that angle, I could see why some might come on the forum to stir shit up;  it's empowering, and being empowered feels amazing.  having people hit thumbs up on your posts is only a plus!
Instead of fighting these perceived injustices which aren't really there, why can't we focus our energy on fighting the real injustices which are these destructive behaviors that are destroying the forum?  Better yet, can we just go back to talking about games?

gaming forum or social network?

Part of the problem seems to be that this forum is serving too many needs.  People come here to talk about everything from gaming to politics to issues blind people face to literally everything under the sun.  It's easy how this forum could become the center of a person's universe, so in that instance, riding in guns blazing almost makes sense.
If you find yourself feeling that way, you should seriously consider stepping back from the forum and invest yourself in more things.  Mark Manson has a fantastic article on diversifying your identity which explains what I'm trying to say more eloquently.  I'd also suggest checking out some of his other articles and books.  He's the only self-help person I will probably ever read / listen to.

What about the mods?

I think people forget that a mod is basically a forum member with 10 times the responsibilities.  Being a moderator doesn't grant people a fancy uniform with lots of stripes and a name badge.  You can't go to Walmart and say 'hey, I'm a moderator of a forum!  give me a discount!"
Similarly, mods can't go to audio game devs and say 'Hey, give me your game for free because I'm a moderator!"
People have this idea in their minds that the mods are on a power trip, and who knows, maybe some are.  I don't know any of them, but it seems incredibly unlikely given that becoming a mod on this forum is basically the equivalent of sticking a "kick me" sign on your ass.
were some mod decisions of late a good idea or not?  I don't know... I'm just a gamer.  I feel like we have a bit too much legislation on here, but I think that's just as much a consequence of what I've already brought up as much as it is the nature of the mods we happen to have at the moment.

Let's make a new forum!

Okay.  go make a new forum.  who's going to run it?  Who's going to host it?  What are we going to do to prevent it from becoming this forum with new software and a new name?
Most of the problems we're experiencing now are not a consequence of the ancient forum technology we're using.  They're problems brought on by the community and its members.  There'd be a honeymoon period of sorts where everyone would be happy and get along, but in time, we'd be exactly where we are now, though presumably we would have new evil villains pretending to be moderators.

Finish Them!

This has been a long and admittedly a little frustrated post that's been sitting in the back of my mind for a while.  I came on this morning to see if anyone knew anything about sonar Islands then got caught up reading that stupid thread, and yes, I know, that is my own damn fault.
I know people on this forum are really intelligent and who knows, that might be part of the problem!  I know most of us read a lot, and when we're constantly reading about evil regimes or the world's problems, we start seeing them everywhere in our lives and want to fight them!
Damn.  I kinda wish I had had a section just for that.
Anyway, my point was supposed to be that I know we have intelligent, level-headed people on this forum, and I hope I've started a positive discussion that allows us to sort some of this stuff out.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this! smile
I'm terrible at keeping up with forum threads, but I will do my best with this one and really want to hear what people think.
Take care!

I'm probably gonna get banned for this, but...

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2021-03-31 22:21:36 (edited by Dan_Gero 2021-03-31 22:23:04)

Here's the thing, right? I think we'd be a lot better off if we didn't have a forum, or at least, not one forum at any rate. I believe audiogames.net should be a hub that hosts other people's communities as well as the games. Mainstream communities don't have one single forum where everyone gathers, so why should we be any different? I have always thought of audiogames.net as a one stop hub for blind gamers to find information about games and communities dedicated to gaming, and having a single forum where everyone gathers and posts about everything under the sun flies in the face of that. What we need is a community database that works similarly to the game database. You can get an entire list of gaming communities, the platforms they're on (e.g. Discord, Skype group, PunBB Forum) and a maintainers list to filter by, just like the developers list. Of course, there will always be toxicity just like every community, but it won't be as bad because it won't fester in one place. Plus, we won't have to worry as much about administration and get back to what we do best... Promoting games for the blind and visually impaired.

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-03-31 22:27:10

See I completely agree with that.
My issue is people pull out the "Let's make a new forum" talking point whenever something's going wrong on this one for the purposes of attacking this one.   Not only is that not productive, but we also never get new forums.
I think a resource that linked people to all the other gaming related resources and communities would be amazing, but we don't have that many communities in the first place, which I also agree is part of the problem.

I'm probably gonna get banned for this, but...

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2021-03-31 22:33:33

We just aren't htat big a community to have more than a half a dozen communities at a time. ONce upon a time, a game developer wold have their own community and such, but that era has come and gone, for better or for worse. Now all we have is this forum and audyssey. And yes, while we have more creator communities than ever before on Discord, and while a database would be nice, we,
1. Don't have the webmasters to implement that, and
2. Still benefit from a centralized forum just as the mainstream community benefits from having Gamefaqs/Gamespot still around.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2021-03-31 22:36:13

Yeah, I concur. The reason we don't have a lot of communities though is because this forum is the main hang out place. Honestly the audiogames.net forum is too big for it's own good and the wellbeing of the blind community as a whole. When people want to see how blind gamers behave, they come here and see all the problems we have and it scares them away. If we broke it up into smaller communities, it'd make things easier. Don't like a community? Find another one, there's plenty. Don't like the rules people came up with? You can start your own and try to get it added to the database, and you may actually have a chance of getting it recognized.

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-03-31 22:40:42

BTW, I'm not totally against the audiogames.net forum; as it happens I think it's good for yawl to have your own thing. What I don't agree with is this community being the main one that everyone goes to because it's really the only community that's promoted on here. Sure, there's Audyssey, but it's not really promoted that heavily. A community DB would really benefit us. Also, I agree the lack of web masters is an issue, but who says we couldn't just ditch audiogames.net and start something new?

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-03-31 22:48:15

I'm inclined to agree with Jack in that we don't have enough people for multiple communities.
Anyone can start a one on Discord or whatever but they will eventually become populated by the same people because there aren't many people to begin with.

I'm probably gonna get banned for this, but...

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2021-03-31 22:55:27

The difference there is that the moderators for each community are different and thus would be run in different ways. Plus, we used to have a lot more members, but quite a few of them have left because this community became too much for them. We have a lot more people in the blind community than we see here on this forum because a good majority of them don't like this forum.

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-03-31 23:01:49

You still don't have enough for more than half a dozen communities, give or take. IT isn't like you're going to have each community with all different people the way you would a discord server or mastodon instance.
Also, we aren't ditching audiogames.net. We're not ready ot dump 20 years of history. Think about it. For all our problems, we've been around longer than any other social networking site, and despite our issues we're still going pretty strong. not to mention the fact we're still the most complete resource for udio games around. We aren't going anywhere at least not without the database (which we are able to retreive) and the php code that controls it. Your community database idea is a good one though, but it does depend on someone having the keys to the site.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2021-03-31 23:08:57

As you just pointed out though, we have the database, and we also have all the archives. It's a team effort for sure, but couldn't we just take audiogames.net and push it somewhere else (reference fully intended)?

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-03-31 23:11:19

That's true. Lots of people left here because they saw too much drama for too many days in a row, for health reasons, ETC.

Also, when some people say we need to get a new forum, I think some of them mean something like this, but where the Webmasters exist often and where the site can be updated.
Sure, post history, DB entries should be archived. But I think that retiring this poor software after so many years might be a good thing. We should move forward, after all it's a new decade with new ideas and new software.

"They say money can't buy happiness... But I'd rather cry in a Ferrari."
-Scrubby

Discord: MatthewSmithYT #4496

2021-03-31 23:27:35

@Dan_Gero: NO. Not unless we wanted to completely rewrite the whole codebase. Which is easier to do on a database you are familiar with, i.e. one you constructed.
Keep in mind we will need a funding jumpstart for something like this, this site has to be more than 40GB worth of content. $15 on QS only get you like 20GB, and while yes you can get custom plans through them, that should give you an idea of how much it would cost. As far as I"m aware, the webmasters are at least giftwrapping the cost issue for us, as they either have their autopay on, or are consciously paying for the website. This is why we can't just up and leave.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2021-03-31 23:52:20

If that's the case, we'll either need to keep trying to get in touch with them or, if all else fails, we'll eventually have to port things over to a new website regardless of how difficult it is. I'm not saying it would be easy, but things are falling apart and we can't wait forever. Do we really want to keep holding onto false hope that maybe the web masters will come back and fix things until everything just implodes on itself and we're forced to do things the hard way and rush ourselves because we are now on a time crunch? We're already on a time crunch, Jack. It's only a matter of time before everything just fails, and I personally don't want to wait around until it does.

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-04-01 00:13:17

Ok, do you have something to contribute, or some sales pitch for a kickstarter project? If not, then there isn't much we can do other than do what has already been done, i.e. make a database downloader, and kep trying to get in touch for the codebase.
We aren't just waiting around. Look at the dev room. There are numerous efforts being made. We just don't have access to what's off limits to us, i.e. the entire php codebase.  Additionally, if anyone's moving the site, we are moving a new site to audiogames.net. We are not switching tld's, as that's a huge logistical nightmare waiting to happen.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2021-04-01 00:21:05

Jack, I'm sorry if it looks like I'm blaming yawl for any of this or if it seems like I'm accusing you of lazing around, as I can assure you that is absolutely not my intention. I'm just trying to give the best ideas I can give with the little information I have. I'm just a normal user, after all. I'm just trying my best to help whereever I can. I apologize if it seems like I'm attacking you guys. I don't really know what's going on behind the scenes.

Friend me on Discord: Garrett#0750

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2021-04-01 01:30:00

@Jack: Just gonna spitball here but I'll raise this point...

People have left due to drama and the perceived/real toxicity here. The problem is by not changing the domain you're not really braking away from that, even if there's a shiny, nice, new forum with fair admins and active webmasters, people will see the address and nope the fuck out because they'll see the address, and think oh, it's the same site, it's the same deal as befor, even with a new forum.


What I'm saying is changing TLDs can both be a blessing and a curse. I mean. I'll expand on Dan's audiogame hub idea. That to me is what audiogames.net should be. The forum could/should be somewhere else as well for redundancy, i.e. if the .net site goes down it won't pull the forum down with it as well, if the forum goes down, the hub site would still be operating.

Gotta love pipe dreams...

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2021-04-01 01:51:52

@JaceK: You're absolutely right re: impressions. The problem is really the logistical nightmare that is replacing all current domain url references (all of them) with a proposed new site were we to move the forum yet keep the history. That includes post text that contians links to forum posts, as those url's are going to still point to forum.audiogames.net. Oof.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2021-04-01 05:40:01

But even if we move all the data to something completely new, with a new name and all, that would not fix anything either. Sure, the software might make everything easier to manage and administrate and all that, but we would see all the same people with all the same conflicts bleed over, and we would just end up pooring a cheap wine into an expensive bottle. Now that I think about it, that saying doesn't sound as good in English, but it get's the point across.
I think, if something new was to be created, it should be from a completely blank page. Just some crystal clear rules and the attitude, if ya don't like it, ya can hold down control and press the W key and get outta here. That way, nobody could complain about "old treasures being cancelled" or what ever. Of course all this would have to be stored somewhere for people to find it, but we can't just take all this and wrap it up in fancy paper and expect things to change.
I don't really have any clue about any of this, so you might be able to find many faults with my thinking, but I still think my point about not just moving all our problems somewhere else should be taken into consideration.

One of the big questions in the climate change debate: Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won't jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.
Jeff Goodell

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2021-04-01 14:16:04

I mean, of the people that want to move, I think that it's a safe assumption that a majority of them mean a move to a new site with new leadership with no one on the old staff team.

Join me in eliminating BGT from the forum.
It's very easy, if you see a topic about BGT, simply don't reply to it.
If you're thinking about creating a topic about BGT, just don't.
Doing these things will cause all such topics to sink to oblivion.

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2021-04-01 15:13:02

Also, let's not forget that the webmasters own the current domain. If they don't give it up, we can't have it. Period.

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2021-04-01 15:34:59

Just a question, what happened to the Colonies game?

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2021-04-01 19:46:33

@19: The mods may have a heavy-handed moderation style on here, and I imagine the many free spirits on this forum don't take to it well, but at least from my perspective, the community is just as much responsible for that.
If we migrated to a new forum without the current mods, how do you know the new community elected mods wouldn't become frustrated with things and develop a similar style?  They'd be moderating the same community after all, with the same problems.

I'm probably gonna get banned for this, but...

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2021-04-01 20:22:32

@20
We'd just get a new domain instead of audiogames.net.
Yeah, IDK about the mods situation. I don't mind any of them, and I don't have any real issues with them at all. I mean, our ideas of how things should and do work are a bit different, but that doesn't mean much to be honest.
I'd be fine with the current mods, and I'd be fine with other ones.
Let's talk about this though. If we got other mods and admins, who would they be?

"They say money can't buy happiness... But I'd rather cry in a Ferrari."
-Scrubby

Discord: MatthewSmithYT #4496

2021-04-01 20:44:42

@23, probably mods who would turn a blind eye to any lawbreaking. After all, we're gamers, and therefore we should be immune from legal prosecution... Right?

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.
My Github

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2021-04-03 00:34:40

@1 the short answer? Because people are not good at dealing with diversity in thought. There're so many people with radically different mindsets that makes you go wtf they're stupid. When we deal face to face, we try to avoid people we disagree with, but that doesn't mean we're less toxic. Social games, backstabbing, character assassination - it's always been there. Online if you say something, it doesn't turn into a screaming match, and you calmly type what you want until you're ready to submit it. Well perahsp not calmly but less so than if there's spit flying. You also won't get a slap in the face or get attacked otherwise.
As someone who sucks at confrontation in real life, text is a better format to type what I want to get across.

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