Miles Jacobson

These forums

4,397 posts in this topic

As some of you have noticed, the majority of normal posters from SI haven't been on the forums much recently.

I can't talk for anyone else at SI (unless I'm doing PR icon_wink.gif), and whilst it's true that we've all been really busy with FM08, FMH08 and FML and that is part of the reason, from my own point of view, it's because the forums seem to have been changing a lot over the last 18 months, and it's got to the point where I don't think they're very nice anymore.

The purpose of these forums is for people to be able to talk about the game, a bit of speculation about what the future holds, coming up with ideas, and discussing them with likeminded people - people who play Football Manager.

What they aren't a place for is to sling around personal insults, not listening to other people or destructive criticism. Constructive criticism is fine, and always welcome, whether it be directly about the game and aimed at us, or whether it's debating someone elses idea.

We're currently thinking about changing the rules and terms and conditions of the forums so that this bullying behaviour is stopped, and the forums become a vibrant place again. So this thread is for suggestions of how to do that - I'm not planning on revealing what I'm thinking of at the moment, just want to get ideas from the regular users of the forums.

Stupid comments and insults (which I've seen on a lot of threads today whilst looking at a few things) will be dealt with accordingly in anyway I see fit. So please behave, and type nicely.

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I fully agree.. I've also noticed myself being a bit more aggressive against some, although I'm quite a nice person in general. icon_smile.gif - It's like I automatically adapt to the "normal tone" in the forums.

One start is to have more moderators and have more strict rules. Perhaps there should be more temporary short bans (1-4 weeks).

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Brilliant, Hail Hail on this. I have noticed this a lot and i don't really come on here as much as i used to as well. But, Please do change the rules to stamp out this bullying. Well Done SI>

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I think a larger moderating team could do a bit of help. That way, there'd be a greater chance of a mod stopping by when another one isn't around, thus allowing quicker diffusion of all those roasts that start when mods aren't around(you know, those threads that start really stupid and pointless, and then go to about 10 pages of nothing but insults before any mod comes back to break it up).

*For example: TBL has quite a large mod team, and the forums are very well kept and disciplined.

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Originally posted by Herter:

One start is to have more moderators and have more strict rules. Perhaps there should be more temporary short bans (1-4 weeks).

Perhaps even day bans?

For "bad" behavior rather than "banning" behavior, an exponential system works well. 1 day first time, then 2, then 4, then 8...

Perhaps after a period of weeks equal to the last ban amount (1 week to clear a 1 day ban, 2 weeks to get rid of a 2 day, etc.) their "counter" could be reset?

Or am i over complicating?

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Originally posted by MixitupMixitdictator:

random time too bring this up!

It's been long over due though. More mods is maybe the best way to go on this. Not having a go but the mods just now don't seem to be around a lot these days.

The £Sin Bin£ idea could work as well as that would give the person/people arguing time to cool off.

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Totally agree and I am glad you have raised the issue Miles icon14.gif

Unfortunately at the moment it seems to be that every discussion turns into an argument (wouldn't be surprised if this did aswell)

which stops the forumum from beng as enjoyable as it possibly could be. I have also noticed that it is putting of a lot of newcomers aswell.

Unfortunately I can't think of a perfect solution to the problem.

I think more mods would be a start as at the monetn there can be long periods of time when there are no mods about.

Maybe the introduction of the abilty to complain about general rude behaviour by a member over a period of time rather than just a single post aswell. This can then be noted and if others also complain the mods can review his post history to see if they are of the same opinion. I just don't think that being able to complain about a single post can always point out a person's behaviour.

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thank god you're taking this seriously miles. i think we do need more mods. and to be frank, ban everyone, who starts to "misbehave" immediately and for a long ban. pointless posts should be removed or closed quicker and spammers should be excluded

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Mixitup - see, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. A destructive, completely pointless comment.

Have a yellow card for your troubles.

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As I see it, the last two editions of FM (and especially FM07) have split the forums in two. There are those that love the game and offer advice on how to play and there are those who can't get to grips with its ever increasing complexity and blame the game for these problems. The two sides are unable to agree which caused some hot disputes. Now, I'm all for discussion but both sides are wont to become arrogant if they aren't listened to.

The common two arguments are:

1) The game sucks + evidence + you must be cheating if this doesn't happen to you

2) The game is fine + advice + you aren't really very good at it once the argument gets heated

Once these binary positions have crystallized there is little constructive commentary between them. It is a dilemma for the forums because human nature is such that very few of us will be able to see both perspectives and appreciate comment from these competing positions. How to stop this?

I'm not really sure. As FM continues to develop it will more accurately reflect the ambiguity, randomness and sheer frustration of management. In doing so it will appeal to one section of player and not to the other. I see the two camps growing further apart. As they do antagonism is likely to grow.

I moderate for FM-Britain and we don't have these problems anywhere near so badly. It is an easier job because there are less members. However, we are much tougher on anyone who turns what was a criticism of the game into a criticism of the person. 1-2 week bans are commonplace for that kind of behaviour. If there were a no tolerance policy for personal criticism with an automatic two week ban for name-calling then we should rapidly make the forums more friendly.

Just rambling really, but that is how (in my just woken up in Sydney mode) I understand the reasons for the nastiness with a possible solution for good measure.

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Originally posted by wwfan:

As I see it, the last two editions of FM (and especially FM07) have split the forums in two. There are those that love the game and offer advice on how to play and there are those who can't get to grips with its ever increasing complexity and blame the game for these problems. The two sides are unable to agree which caused some hot disputes. Now, I'm all for discussion but both sides are wont to become arrogant if they aren't listened to.

The common two arguments are:

1) The game sucks + evidence + you must be cheating if this doesn't happen to you

2) The game is fine + advice + you aren't really very good at it once the argument gets heated

Once these binary positions have crystallized there is little constructive commentary between them. It is a dilemma for the forums because human nature is such that very few of us will be able to see both perspectives and appreciate comment from these competing positions. How to stop this?

I'm not really sure. As FM continues to develop it will more accurately reflect the ambiguity, randomness and sheer frustration of management. In doing so it will appeal to one section of player and not to the other. I see the two camps growing further apart. As they do antagonism is likely to grow.

I moderate for FM-Britain and we don't have these problems anywhere near so badly. It is an easier job because there are less members. However, we are much tougher on anyone who turns what was a criticism of the game into a criticism of the person. 1-2 week bans are commonplace for that kind of behaviour. If there were a no tolerance policy for personal criticism with an automatic two week ban for name-calling then we should rapidly make the forums more friendly.

Just rambling really, but that is how (in my just woken up in Sydney mode) I understand the reasons for the nastiness with a possible solution for good measure.

Totally agree with wwfan here. This seems to be what is going on and the fact that the new game is just around the corner and new members are asking things like when the demo will be out and being shot down. I have even seen members being picked on by more than ten so called members who have been here long enough to know this. I am webmaster at fmglive and as with fm-britian we do not tolerate this at all. Automatic bans is what we hand out but for bullying we hand out much tougher bans. Maybe there could be a small section for new members, Say they get out of there after so many posts or say after a sort of time spent to get to grips with the rules etc. (Maybe this is a bad idea though) Need to think more on this one.

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LFC Lloydy & wwfan - I don't have a problem with heated discussions, as long as both sides respects the others opinion, and, if they don't, they should just not comment.

Making a point is fine. Making a point in a condescending way is not. Making a sniping post is also not.

We know that some people are finding the game too complex. It was one of the reasons behind our decision to make Football Manager Handheld. We'll also be trying to provide better guides for people on playing the game this year on this site, and with some of the features on footballmanager.net

By having these forums, and coming to them ourselves, we're also an easy target for people hiding behind their computer screens to have a go. It's something that isn't seen as much on the unofficial forums because it's not as obvious that we're looking at those. One of the options we have is to have them controlled by outside forces, so not come into them at all, which is what a lot of games developers do nowadays (and most bands/authors/films/other entertainment industries) but we really don't want to go down that route, as we think direct contact with our community and the people who play our game, and come up with such great ideas for future versions, is really important.

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wwfan, i agree with you but i think it does go deeper in that, i feel that there certain members of this forum that are on constant power trips, and instead of offering advice the first thing they say is read the rules

i think there needs to ways of rewarding good posting from members, maybe a post increase by a moderator if he/she feels that the a poster has made a good post to help a newbie

you guys could probably come up with a better reward system but that was the first thing that came to mind

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I agree about the more mods suggestion, the fast the silly threads that get opened can be shut the less time the people who want to make pointless / insulting posts have to make them

I think the main problem on the forums at times is sadly one that I find on many forums, people just waiting for a chance to jump on somebody elses back whenever they make a slight error or give a sarcastic answer when somebody asks a question or maybe post in the wrong forum, maybe some sort of section where basic questions like how to take a screenshot etc are ansewrd and would maybe cut down on this threads which lead to stuipd answers, also if it was created if somebody did make a thread about one of the answerd question a quick linking to the answer would do the job

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Frankie 7 - and one of the outcomes of this bullying is that those users don't come back. And that's one of the main reasons that it has to stop!

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Mallen - so the addition of more stuff in sibase then? Any more suggestions for what should be added?

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Even though I have much less time on here these days, it's still disapointing that there's nothing I really want to get involved in when I'm here.

I think a seperate Suggestions forum would be a good thing.

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Originally posted by Miles Jacobson:

Mallen - so the addition of more stuff in sibase then?

I'll admitt until you just posted this I didn't even know sibase existed, people who find the forums without going through the SI site are likely not to know it exists

Maybe putting thoe questions as threads in their own locked forum

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Ackter - the problem with it when we used to have it seperate is that few people saw the suggestions. Certainly something we can look into though.

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Originally posted by Miles Jacobson:

Ackter - the problem with it when we used to have it seperate is that few people saw the suggestions. Certainly something we can look into though.

To be honest that's no different from now.

Any good idea is immediately shunted off the first page and burried under all the usual threads - especially at this time of year with the release thread deluge.

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miles i think he was maybe referring to a QA thread at the top of the topic list.

And ackter, i do agree with you here, i feel that there are less interesting debates regarding the games future at present but i feel that a separate forum for that will just make the place more and fragmented

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Unless I'm mistaken, on gamefaqs.com they use a system where you can only make so many posts per day depending on your 'karma' rating.

So maybe employing a similar system where we limit the amount of posts/threads a user can post will help. That should stop people coming online specifically to complain, and will cut any arguements down when someone runs out of posts.

A second idea could be for users to give 'kudos points' to other users depending on the quality of the post/thread. For a condescending, pointless post they would lsoe kudos and for a friendly, helpful post they would gain kudos. Then the user could post more replies/threads depending on their overall kudos level.

They were just some idea off the top of my head. Feel free to shoot them down

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Whilst I haven't been on the forums as long as some of the other guys, it seems pretty obvious that most of the arguments / heated debates occur from the semi-unrelevant threads that are started, most of which are started by people who are very new to the forums (ie: signed up within the last couple of months).

When I first joined the forums, in the challenge / sign-up forum when you started a thread it had to be approved by a mod. This doesn't happen anymore and it is noticeable than there has been an upsurge in poorly thought out threads. In the GQ section, there's always been people starting semi-pointless threads.

Therefore, I know it would require a fairly large uptake in new mods to carry it out, but all new people to the forums could have their posts modded early on, more specifically if starting a topic, so that the number of situations for heated debate are minimalised.

Also, quite alot of the sniping starts from sometimes minor things, like txt speak or capitals, which mainly occurs because people have never read the forum rules. Now I know people can just go and look at them, but would / could SI come up with something so that as a one off when people signed in one day they were faced with a page clearly stating the forum rules in short sharp terms which had to be accepted before continuing. Now I know most people could say that that is pointless as most people will do what they want, but I'm sure a gentle reminder every now and again would cut quite a bit those incidents out.

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Originally posted by Miles Jacobson:

LFC Lloydy & wwfan - I don't have a problem with heated discussions, as long as both sides respects the others opinion, and, if they don't, they should just not comment.

Making a point is fine. Making a point in a condescending way is not. Making a sniping post is also not.

We know that some people are finding the game too complex. It was one of the reasons behind our decision to make Football Manager Handheld. We'll also be trying to provide better guides for people on playing the game this year on this site, and with some of the features on footballmanager.net

By having these forums, and coming to them ourselves, we're also an easy target for people hiding behind their computer screens to have a go. It's something that isn't seen as much on the unofficial forums because it's not as obvious that we're looking at those. One of the options we have is to have them controlled by outside forces, so not come into them at all, which is what a lot of games developers do nowadays (and most bands/authors/films/other entertainment industries) but we really don't want to go down that route, as we think direct contact with our community and the people who play our game, and come up with such great ideas for future versions, is really important.

I absolutely agree that going down the route of an 'outsourced' forum would be a bad idea. Equally, the pre-game (manual) and in-game (Assistant Manager?) feedback should be improved. However, and here's the rub, improving it to the extent that what is currently an excellent simulation of the management experience (obfuscation, ambiguity et al) becomes a 'follow this script to win' will alienate many fans and make the forums somewhat redundant. I'm not suggestion you are ever going to go down this route, rather pointing out the paradox any company producing management-simulations-as-fun is going to face.

We all want to win and all get frustrated when we can't. For FM to remain a state-of-the-art simulation, a large degree of that winning has to be user generated. Otherwise, why bother to play it. If SI tells us how to win through perfect information guides it isn't a game any more. The forums should be a place that can discuss the hows and whys of winning without following a prescribed SI-given pattern. Finding the balance between too much and too little information is the key.

There are three types of forum abuser:

1: The arrogant 'you can't play the game. you're an idiot' type

2: The 'the game is flawed. You're an idiot and a cheat' type

3: The obnoxious 'I'm going to whine at everybody' type

Each requires a different strategy to manage. Types one and two do provide valuable feedback and need to be encouraged to post without the power trips. Type three should just be banned.

Maybe a few more of the good threads should be pinned than currently. Each mod could choose to pin the best posts (to a maximum of 10) in each forum. That way we get to see where the best discussions are at a glance. If any fails to muster much comment it could be removed and replaced with another contender. Does require an increased mod presence of course.

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would that not frighten new users away though?

surely if you made something limiting like that you will only appeal to those that are hardcore enough to post regularly and it would make the users less varied

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Originally posted by amack1n:

Unless I'm mistaken, on gamefaqs.com they use a system where you can only make so many posts per day depending on your 'karma' rating.

So maybe employing a similar system where we limit the amount of posts/threads a user can post will help. That should stop people coming online specifically to complain, and will cut any arguements down when someone runs out of posts.

A second idea could be for users to give 'kudos points' to other users depending on the quality of the post/thread. For a condescending, pointless post they would lsoe kudos and for a friendly, helpful post they would gain kudos. Then the user could post more replies/threads depending on their overall kudos level.

They were just some idea off the top of my head. Feel free to shoot them down

I think the karma idea is unfair and would simply segregate the community creating some sort of hierarchy. Someone who has been registered for years can be just as offensive and annoying as someone who registered a couple of days ago so it wouldn't really solve anything IMO.

I personally wouldn't like any system brought in that created some sort of popularity contest like the second idea seems to be. I also think it would be inaccurate and open to abuse.

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Originally posted by amack1n:

Unless I'm mistaken, on gamefaqs.com they use a system where you can only make so many posts per day depending on your 'karma' rating.

So maybe employing a similar system where we limit the amount of posts/threads a user can post will help. That should stop people coming online specifically to complain, and will cut any arguements down when someone runs out of posts.

A second idea could be for users to give 'kudos points' to other users depending on the quality of the post/thread. For a condescending, pointless post they would lsoe kudos and for a friendly, helpful post they would gain kudos. Then the user could post more replies/threads depending on their overall kudos level.

They were just some idea off the top of my head. Feel free to shoot them down

i'm liking that idea. i for one think the kudos is a very good idea. it could also help see if someone online is a person to ignore or to listen to.

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What about zeroising peoples karma as a possible means of punishments? Although to be honest alot of the culprits are new to the forum, but this would certainly eliminate the older users from pretending to be mods. (which I assume is something you want to crack down on too).

For the abusive stuff flung about, why not have a zero tolerance attitude and make abuse an instant yellow, followed by red. Be less forgiving about it and eventually people will get the message.

In the rules explain this zero tolerance policy so that people understand that abuse is being stamped down on. Ignorance should not be an excuse either.

Finally for pointless threads I think locking them is working at the moment, though obviously the mods aren't always on here so sometimes they run a little while before mods see them. As was said above, perhaps one or two more mods on at crossover times to the other mods normal times.

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I used to be a member on a website where they asked you a set of questions about the rules on registering. That meant you had to read the rules. That worked pretty well as then they had no chance of saying they didn't know the rules etc.

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Originally posted by Frankie 7:

I used to be a member on a website where they asked you a set of questions about the rules on registering. That meant you had to read the rules. That worked pretty well as then they had no chance of saying they didn't know the rules etc.

I reallly like that idea. From what I can tell many (if not most) newcomers don't bother looking at the rules at all. Perhaps it could also be used for people who have broke the rules, i.e. the mod makes it so they cannot post again until they have passed the test therefore making sure they have brought themselves up to date with the rules.

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Originally posted by Frankie 7:

I used to be a member on a website where they asked you a set of questions about the rules on registering. That meant you had to read the rules. That worked pretty well as then they had no chance of saying they didn't know the rules etc.

also along these lines:

how many of us have read the rules in the time since you first read them? having them come up when you click into the forums would be an idea. or similar to in the game... random rules come up everytime you go to a new post/forum. just shooting them out there

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Ok then after the people caught bullying, When they come back from a ban, They have to either re-register and start again as well as reading the rules, answering questions, Or just getting them to answer the questions before they get let back again.

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Originally posted by Miles Jacobson:

To be honest, it's not mainly newcomers who are guilty of bullying.

then zeroising peoples karma would be a huge deterrant.

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Offenders could be put under Mod supervision in their posting. That could work.

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Originally posted by LFC Lloydy:

I think the karma idea is unfair and would simply segregate the community creating some sort of hierarchy. Someone who has been registered for years can be just as offensive and annoying as someone who registered a couple of days ago so it wouldn't really solve anything IMO.

My point there was that if someone has been registered for years and still uses the forums would be very unlikely to start posting threads in capital letters or whinging etc, whereas a new user could have registered on these forums specifcally to let of some steam to SI themselves.

I personally wouldn't like any system brought in that created some sort of popularity contest like the second idea seems to be. I also think it would be inaccurate and open to abuse.

I see where you're coming from. In all honesty, any type of system which limits your posts can be extremely frustrating. Going back to the gamefaqs.com example, I was incredible annoyed that I could only post 10 messages a day at first. I was giving a few people helpful advice and then suddenly had to wait another 24 hours to help someone else or ask a question.

Having said that, there a no threads saying 'OMG, this doesn't work' or something like that, and there are almost no negative replies.

Also, I don't really think it'll become a popularity contest so to speak. In practice, I thought someone would ask a question in the forums, someone would then answer and the person who asked the question would be more than happy to give him a 'kudos' for his time. Conversley, if there's s post which was never intended to help, he'd lose a kudos point. Over time, this would ensure the people who post friendly, helpful replies can continue to do so whilst to people who post negative replies would have to stop.

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I really doubt anyone cares too much over karma.

It's a shame that post-modding is such a chore for mods as that's quite a good deterrent.

Maybe short-term bans (3 days, 1 week etc) are the way to go?

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Agreed on more short term bans. Say a yellow card = 3 day ban/week ban. Think the current system of only really banning someone for 3 months doesn't really work as lots will never return to the site.

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How about 'helpers' who, instead of Mods, can answer questions on the demo etc, just people who are here and who can help those who might happen to get over excited and ask the wrong thing (it happens, hell I probably ask dumb stuff!)

Maybe a forum dedicated to a demo pre-demo launch could be created, perhaps an FAQ section, something people should see before they hit the forum and then can't be bothered to read through a 28 page thread (I can understand where they are coming from and so this would be my solution)

More Mods, perhaps this would help stop the bullying.

But I think the top two would help bucket-loads.

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One thought I have is maybe set up one forum for new users to fm games that want general help in all areas.

New user comes to forum struggling with joe bloggs united asks who should buy gets abused gets told go to good player forum.

The same guy needs a bit of help with tactics i know from i started some the posts are on tactics are more advanced and in depth then someone who is new to the game may require.

It also helps some of the new members to the forum get used to the community and the type of forum we would all like. Getting to know other users in similar postions to themselves and the experienced users prepared to offer advice and help in the new users forum.

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Matthew - and I blame posts like the one you've just made, for the bullying aspect. And both the bullying and the destructive pointless points have been going on for a couple of years now, getting worse and worse.

I really don't understand why people think making pithy, pointless comments is clever.

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Originally posted by Matthew Le God:

i blame the summer holidays

It has been going on for a lot longer than this summer and tbh I expect many of the culprits are far too old to be mistaken for a child. IMO it is more a matter of arrogance rather than childishness.

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What everyone forgets is that SI will end up taking the forums away. Just daft when you think about it.

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Frankie - that's exactly what I'm trying to stop from happening, and why I need the input of the people who are also wanting it to stop. It's going to be very tough to let others know (who don't come here anymore) that we've sorted the problems though, but we'll work out how to do that after we've worked out how to fix the issues...

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Originally posted by Miles Jacobson:

Frankie - that's exactly what I'm trying to stop from happening, and why I need the input of the people who are also wanting it to stop. It's going to be very tough to let others know (who don't come here anymore) that we've sorted the problems though, but we'll work out how to do that after we've worked out how to fix the issues...

Well i am sure some of the old members still hang around other sites so maybe a charm offensive once everything is in order. Word of mouth as well will soon get them back. But if everyone helps out rather than just SI, then this can be stopped and stopped quickly. This will take everyone helping.

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Matthew Le God - you've obviously missed the point about what is wrong with these forums. Or do I have to add "pointless, pithy comments" to the terms and conditions, alongside bullying and the other stuff above.

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