Architecture and Products - read-only: temporary or permanent?

Rys

Graphics @ AMD
Moderator
Veteran
Supporter
Before anything else, I'm so very sorry to read about your brother, @Shifty Geezer. Sending lots of love and I hope you're as OK as can be.

As for the forums, we're still working out what to do before we allow architecture and product threads to happen again. It's clear some changes need to be made.

While working out what input to give BRiT and the other mods for that, I keep thinking about what made me join Beyond3D in the first place 17 odd years ago. I now owe my career to this forum, as do many many others sprinkled far and wide across the GPU and game dev industry, so as both steward of this place, and beneficiary of its past influence, I feel a particular way about it. I also feel somewhat responsible for letting it get to this point. Here goes from that perspective.

I joined in the 00s because I love talking about graphics and wanted to learn about how GPUs work, to write about them for a website, and the people that literally made them posted here. What better place to be, right? Discussion was sometimes robust, but because the industry was tiny it was still very collegial, friendly and encouraging. The companies in play were tiny, rather than worth billions of dollars, so legal teams and politics and not much money was at stake. The inventors could talk about their inventions. Total newcomers like me could soak it up and learn immense amounts, ask questions, and even fit in after a while.

Folks that make the things we all come here to talk about are still here, but they're few, and often hide. If, like me, they're known to work somewhere that makes anything in this space, it's hard (and often completely impossible) to have a discussion the way it used to happen. Discussion isn't friendly, collegial and encouraging any more, to allow that to happen more often. It's often polarised, hard, unpleasant and completely exhausting.

Threads are brigaded. We can all see it. I can barely bring myself to read a product or architecture thread on something I had a tiny hand in helping to make in the weeks before and after a launch. The hot takes, antagonistic language, know-it-all posturing and arrogance...why would someone like me come and discuss what they made here? Those that have the guts to still do, regardless of vendor, often completely hide where they work and what they did to make something.

This is not a bitter AMDer's take either, however much anyone might want to twist it as such; I've got friends across the industry at every vendor and tons of gamedevs, and most feel the same.

Then there's the console vs PC aspect, or console vs console, or myriad other flavours of pointless tribalism that have taken root here. Why must it matter so much that anyone's favourite thing, whatever it is, be rammed down everyone else's throat to try and make it everyone else's favourite thing too?

The forums have some rules (guidelines really) which I think we could all be reminded of. We'll be reiterating these (and maybe others, or maybe reworded) before things open up again:
  • Have a good time! The Beyond3D forums are an excellent place to discuss graphics technologies, games, consoles, handheld devices and more. Have a great time posting.
  • Keep your bias in check. Bias and preference are unavoidable in a lot of cases, but rarely do they help move a discussion forwards. Talk about what you like and don't like positively, not derisively.
  • If you're a shill, go away. Seriously, if you're acting on behalf of a company to overtly promote its products or rubbish the competition, please leave and find another forum to subvert.
You can point out a product or company's issues constructively, in good faith, and even with positivity. You can keep any preference or bias in check while doing so. You can make it friendly and fun during any discussion. You can celebrate the achievements and good points wherever they come from, regardless of preference. My friends and colleagues at other vendors all make amazing GPU products and I'm happy to say so, to make that point.

What it really takes to get a GPU to market successfully, warts and all, imperfect and flawed as they all are in some way, is truly amazing. I can't help but believe that if you're on the outside, as most are, that you'd have a lot more awe and wonder that they ever work at all if you knew what it took, and there'd be a lot more friendly curiosity and discussion about what they are, what they can do, and how they were made. A GPU working well, after working at all, is honestly a small miracle. That goes for games too.

GPUs are some of the most complex machines human beings have ever made, hardware and software together. They're at the heart of everything every Beyond3Der is here to discuss. These days they take high hundreds/low thousands of people working together for many years to make, end-to-end. Each one is brimmed with the hard work and passion of all kinds of people doing all kinds of jobs, big and small. It's a huge team effort for every vendor, tiny GPU or huge. We all try our level best for those years to get what we make out of the door, as best we can, for folks to enjoy as much as possible and make amazing new things with.

Back in the day you could help make something in this space and come here and discuss it, even if it didn't hit the mark, without it either being horrible to do so or having to hide while you do it. To repeat myself again, it was fun, collegial, positive and encouraging for the most part. Today it's usually not, whether it's PC GPUs, games consoles, games, or whatever else we congregate to discuss here.

I'm also very conscious that the world broadly sucks right now, and that finding positivity and fun and excitement elsewhere is hard. That makes it very hard to bring it here. The whole world is tribal and you vs them in so many ways. It makes some sense it's like that here then, and it might be hard to turn around as a result.

We've got to try though. I'm hoping everyone can think about doing their bit to try and make this a fun, welcoming, positive place to discuss graphics and graphics-adjacent aspects in all of their forms again.

Anyway, this is my personal take as long-time steward, and also as someone who now helps make some of the things that get discussed as a direct result of signing up to talk all those moons ago. Hope it's a helpful viewpoint as we discuss what happens next.

Love you all to bits 💕
 
To throw in my 2 cents about worsening attitudes on forums, even one such as this.

I think as access to the internet got easier for less tech savvy people it also meant that more "types of people" got access and eventually find their way to forums that they find interesting that are of a more technical bent rather than being mostly entertainment.

Additionally if many people's first entrance into the world of the internet is via social media (probably most people today unlike say the late 90's or early 2000's) ... well, that just tends to not encourage courteous and respectful conversations that attempt to understand views that conflict with their own.

This doesn't really help with trying to get the type of contributing audience that can partake in relatively rational, courteous and impartial discussions, but it's what I've observed over the past 40+ years of contributing to forums online (from single line BBSes to multiline BBSes and university limited internet to publicly accessible internet).

And it doesn't help when social media influenced antagonistic posting styles and "I'm right, you're wrong" talking points drive the more rational posters into hiding, but at the same time you need new blood to keep things going and to keep bringing in fresh view points so you can't just "block out" new contributors.

All I can think of is perhaps limiting some subforums to people that are known or have proven to be capable of holding a conversation without resorting to antagonistic or accusatory posting styles and or ones that can control themselves enough to limit their more accusatory and inflammatory language to subforums that allow more ... let's say ... flamboyant posting styles. IE - a user can be promoted (or even demoted) from forums requiring some level of decorum and courtesy if they show through posting in less regulated subforums (or posting incorrectly in more regulated subforums) that they can be trusted to be a rational contributor (or not) in more serious subforums.

Basically, IMO, there should be some vetting process that allows new users on the forum without having them be a potential disruption to serious discussions which then drives away the actual good contributing members.

Of course, the problem always arises in ensuring that the whole process is as fair as is possible without devolving into some sort of Lord of the Flies style tribalism where one faction wins out and then forevermore controls access.

Regards,
SB
 

trinibwoy

Meh
Legend
Supporter
Another thing that’s changed is that the content that we discuss is far less technical today than it was back in the day. When the topic itself is more cerebral the resulting discussion tends to be more constructive. We don’t get those Anandtech or B3D articles anymore talking about the nitty gritty details of T&L, AA, texture filtering methods, shader architecture etc. The vast majority of content nowadays consists of fps graphs and hot takes from YouTubers. The most interesting B3D discussions tend to stem from patents or developer presentations but those are unfortunately rare. The GPU scene overall has become more pedestrian compared to the early 2000’s.
 

homerdog

donator of the year
Legend
Supporter
Another thing that’s changed is that the content that we discuss is far less technical today than it was back in the day. When the topic itself is more cerebral the resulting discussion tends to be more constructive. We don’t get those Anandtech or B3D articles anymore talking about the nitty gritty details of T&L, AA, texture filtering methods, shader architecture etc. The vast majority of content nowadays consists of fps graphs and hot takes from YouTubers. The most interesting B3D discussions tend to stem from patents or developer presentations but those are unfortunately rare. The GPU scene overall has become more pedestrian compared to the early 2000’s.
The reason I don’t participate in the technical discussions as much is because I no longer understand the technology. In the earlier days of 3D I could at least grasp it at a conceptual level. Rendering techniques have become so galaxy-brain that I’ve lost the plot. It probably doesn’t help that all of the sites I used to learn about this stuff on (including the B3D articles) are gone. :confused:
 
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function

None functional
Legend
If the reactor is going super critical, and there isn't enough moderation immediately available to handle the exponentially rising heat and reaction, it's logical to hit the SCRAM button.

Always thought it'd be the console forum that got shutdown first. PCMR win again. ;)

I love this place. Keep the faith!
 

yoowul

Newcomer
Whoa, it's been a while since I visited here and I see it's been a major s***storm 😮, one I really haven't seen here often if ever. B3D was always my go-to place to avoid internet toxicity. It's saddening to see things go down that route. I've been mostly frequenting the console forums, but even there I remember very little platform warring compared to everywhere else throughout the years... it seems to me things maybe started to decline around the time of the current generation's launch (or is it my rose-tinted glasses?). As for PC I haven't built one in years so I was out of the loop, but catching up with the current generation of GPUs I see the same platform warring.. or vendor warring I guess 🤔 (not to mention the perennial PC vs console, but that's a different topic).

It would be sad if B3D lost the thing that makes this place special, i.e. being a place where a noob like me could learn stuff from people who are really knowledgeable about tech or even read a post from an actual dev without toxicity present elsewhere. I hope the community can somehow pull through.

My condolences for your loss, @Shifty Geezer. Long ago, I lost someone during Christmas as well, and I know it hurts.
 

eastmen

Legend
Supporter
I decided before the holiday that I would start putting people that I don't get along with on ignore. It seems to be working at least for me. I tend to find those are the ones I'm most toxic with and I don't think its their fault or my fault. We just don't mix.

Aside from that I also try not attack the poster as much as possible. If I find myself doing so I will just stop typing and walk away.


@Shifty Geezer - I am sorry for your loss
 
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