How to handle game comparison discussion?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Shifty Geezer, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Referring to this thread, one of many discussions surrounding The Order 1886 on PS4...

    https://forum.beyond3d.com/threads/...d-for-the-order-1886-beard-split.56566/page-5

    We have a situation in game threads, especially platform exclusives, where someone posts the subjective, "This is the best looking game EVAR!" and others feel the need to correct them, leading to a massive derailment of the game discussion. We used to ban comparisons for this reason but that stifled discussion.

    I feel we need an official stance on this, and propose that subjective claims of good looking cannot be challenged, while claims of technology can be and should be taken to a technical thread.

    examples:

    Blue is in the wrong because Green didn't make a technical observation.

    Green is in the wrong because they should have made that assertion in a separate technical thread.

    All is good.

    Red is in the wrong because Blue was only making a statement of preference and this is the wrong place to enter into a technical discussion.

    In fact, any argument of "this game looks best because it uses this tech" appears to be immediately worthless because it's subjective whether one likes the look of a tech or not. 'Inferior' tech can still result in prettier games.

    However, although this should in theory contain discussion to polite relevancy in the game discussion threads, it would require understanding and implementation by the B3D populace, many of whom would rather carry on with their existing patterns of behaviour. Maybe the increased focus by the mod team to manage content wouldn't even be appreciated, and we'd be better off just closing threads when things get out of hand and damning some games as too controversial to be allowed to be discussed in public?
     
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  2. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    I think it is fair to call out people who feel the need to champion a specific opinion and then cannot properly separate the objective from the subjective. So I think the main thing to go for here is some basic etiquette of:

    1. dispute only facts with facts
    2. feel free to share your opinion, but don't state it as fact
    3. respect the opinion of others

    I've thought about how to do this with www.techingames.net, and here I think I managed to separate everything quite neatly:

    1. each game version has features with specific values (e.g. supports multiplayer, vsync with 30fps target, etc.)
    2. you can review/rate how well you like that value in cases where hard data isn't immediately possible to provide (e.g. this game has the most stable framerate ever would need full framerate analysis of every game ever made), or in cases where appreciation is fully subjective (this game has the most stylish style of this generation)
    3. you can review a game overall (and soon also upvote other people's reviews)
     
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  3. L. Scofield

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    There's a big difference between "I like it the best" and "it is the best". The first is a matter of personal preference, the second is a factual statement. The biggest problem to me are the hyperbolic comments used as attempts to legitimize the latter which only serve to unfairly undermine the competition.
     
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  4. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    I fail to see how people would know whether it really is better since they likely don't have access to source code...

    It's just taste, period.
     
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  5. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    'Is the best' means 'my favourite'. It can't be construed any other way and is conventional language. People will readily call their favourite movie the best movie of all time. Something cannot be the best unless measured against specific criteria, and given the criteria for 'best game' are almost all highly subjective, there can't ever be anything technical about it. Only 'the best tech yet' can be discussed, and that's what I address - move tech talk to a tech thread where it can be handled appropriately.

    As for hyperbolic comments, there's nothing wrong with it when people are being positive. "Best game ever" is people being enthusiastic, and as long as we don't see humanity's ideal as Vulcan, enthusiasm is a Good Thing. It's only when people say a game is bad that it needs to be curtailed. Not censored, as criticism is part of healthy discussion and growth, but plain bad-mouthing doesn't serve much purpose. We already have a policy to curtail trollish criticisms (simple removal of comments). We just need something to enable people to talk about games in the ways they want (sharing views or discussing pros and cons) without getting in each others' ways while doing this, and in a way that spans people's different POVs. The fact you regard "It is the best" in an informal discussion forum as a factual statement shows it's very easy to have a different POV to someone else!
     
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  6. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    I feel like the game there are enough forums that do the game comparing, so I'd like to see things stay technical. The game thread should be about the game, gameplay etc, and if you want to discuss technical aspects of the game. Games will continually be bested each year graphically so I'm left to wonder if there is any point in anyone saying 'best graphics ever!', it's really going to come down to taste. And if we are forced to champion a thread particularly for the best looking game of the year, current leader in graphics compromises, there should be a thread about it with specific rules for engagement and how the thread should carry out. Whatever is in that thread should not invade the other threads, especially not one about the game's individual thread.

    tl;dr moderation should occur when within the games own thread people are writing best graphics ever - those posts should be instantly purged or moved to the 'current leader thread'.
     
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  7. L. Scofield

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    That just goes to show the poor grasp of the English language so many people possess. If what they mean is "it's my favorite" then that's what they should say. Also, if by "best" they meant "favorite" then those comments would not be accompanied by statements such as this: "The asset quality, post processing effects, particles, skin shaders and cloth material are way better in The Order" or "...simply can't compete in the frame by frame pixel quality..."

    That's not necessarily positive. By saying "best ever" your diminishing the competition.
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    But with a different population and different standards. I don't think it fair to say game discussion can be enjoyed the same at EG forums or NeoGAF or anywhere else.

    That's contemporary vernacular language. You can't ask people to change that unless you enforce a subset of language which is what we do in our tech threads. The game discussions are always too informal to warrant such language control.

    Those are in response to VFX_Veteran saying AC:U is better and listing technical reasons. Ultragpu went into an uncorroborated 'technical' spiel to counter, what might well have just been a gut reaction from him on his preference. That shouldn't have occurred in the game thread. Had VFX_Veteran held his discourse in a tech thread in the tech forum, Ultragpu could have responded there and the discussion of his technical opinions continued without derailing the game discussion thread for people wanting to talk about the game.

    No. It's a personal preference. Me saying Champions of Norrath is the greatest game ever made doesn't insult developers of other games. Someone else saying Demon Souls is the best game ever doesn't insult Champions of Norrath.
     
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  9. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Have fun with it then Shifty. Try something radical. Set a new thread with different award winners like the Oscars or something.
    Best overall Title for a fixed platform
    Best overall title for a open platform
    Best shadows
    Best AO
    Best Texturing
    Best modelling
    etc

    Let people post in that thread with very specific rules ie. I'd like to nominate The Order 1886 for best lighting for these specific reasons. etc I want to nominate Ac:U for best skin shaders..

    Anyway, I think it's doable, but it would be best for the moderation team to ultimately decide the rules and the categories. You will be able to find a way to curate the discussion that would do both (have fun comparing games) and match the audience and maturity here at b3d.
     
  10. L. Scofield

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    Ambiguous language leads to ambiguous understanding.

    And VFX's post was a reply to a statement related to the quality compared to PC gaming. That's how it started.

    It already happened in TO thread. I asked how TO pushed the boundries graphics wise and what I got was people shitting on ACU instead.
     
  11. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    How many of those people were shitting on AC:U saying, "I like TO 1886"? How many were shitting on it saying, "AC:U is crap"? Again, saying you like something doesn't mean you dislike something else. And disliking something isn't a crime either! A lot comes down to subjectivity. Someone can think the lighting in a game looks 'crap' (colourful language, kinda insulting but not particularly offensive) while someone else loves it. Someone can think the post effects of a game look like crap while others love it. We have that language all over the forum (discussions of framerate, resolution, gameplay) and it's generally not a problem so long as people don't try challenging subjective opinions with counterarguments. I have no problem with someone posting in a game thread, "honestly, this game looks like crap to me. Lousy lighting, animation, yada yada," as long as they leave their opinion there and don't keep repeating it. Opinions aren't to be censored. Moderation is only about keeping the discussions active and useful.
     
  12. L. Scofield

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    So basically, disagreements regarding proclamations of superiority aren't allowed. Is that it?
     
  13. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    this is way over my head.. do i understand this correctly?
    the underlying problem is that technical facts discussion creeping into game opinion discussion?

    now im confused because technical advanced fact stuff can looks better or worse depending on person's opinion. (for example CA and blur, some love em some hate em).
     
  14. FarticusMaximus

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    Personally I'd like B3D to be as dry as possible or it will just become another source of 'incompatible opinion' noise, of which there are thousands of worthless forums already.

    Maybe it's just my imagination, but recently discussions seem to be less about technical aspects of games as a subject in their own right, and more about how certain technologies make certain games better than others.

    Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts.
     
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  15. Billy Idol

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    But there is nothing factual about what game looks good to a person or not. I like the look of The Order, because of e.g. post processing. L.Scofield doesn't like the look of The Order because of the post processing.

    I fully agree with Shifty here. Game discussion is to state certain opinions. Or do you also want a dry discussion about gameplay and story? Theses are again super subjective.

    But at least I understand why L.Scofield reacts always so aggressive when someone states 'best looking game ever'...but it is really what Shifty says in this regard and shouldn't be taken so serious. It is especially not stated to insult other games. It is to praise this specific game and show enthusiasm about something the person likes.

    Dry and technical discussions are for the tech threads (maybe that is why these parts of the forum are called like that?!?)

    +1 for Shifty's proposal.
     
  16. L. Scofield

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    If you mean something different than what you say then you should learn to communicate better.

    Also, if the statement "best game ever" (or something like that) is not only allowed but also protected from disagreement by being considered a purely preferential opinion then naturally the same standard should be applied to statements such as "this game is garbage".
     
  17. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Yes, that's already been covered. We have people in game discussions saying, "I think this game sucks," and it's allowed, until they repeat themselves ad nauseam. There's nothing wrong with expressing a POV. However, a blanket, "I think it sucks," without valid reasoning could be an act of trolling. I'm happy to include general rules of engagement for positive and negative expressions in game threads - if the board agrees on them, they'll make moderation easier because they'll be consensus on the standards employed.

    I also point to the FAQ:
    The Game forums are for talking more about the games as things we play/enjoy, in a less formal setting than the rest of the board. I think allowing people to get excited over a game and let their language relax into something more natural than engineering speak is precisely what that forum is for. We have a Game Technology forum for engineering speak and analysis.
     
  18. L. Scofield

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    So there's a double standard. In order to say "best game ever" you don't need a valid reasoning, but you do in the case of "this game sucks".

    The text you quoted says the console games forum is to discuss gameplay not to make hyperbolic unsubstantiated claims. Also it's inevitable that some technical discussion will arise in that subforum's threads because that's where the discussion is happening in the first place.
     
  19. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    No, I said that the same standard can be extended to criticisms.
    It depends on the consensus.

    Option 1: Everyone's allowed to express themselves without being told they're wrong and entering into protracted discussions except where the opinion is based on an observable/quantifiable/technical aspect for which a technical discussion supported with meaningful evidence can be entered into, which would be held outside the game discussion thread so as not to weigh it down (the idea here). Only repeated posting of the same criticism would be dealt with as trolling.

    Option 2: Every opinion can be contested including subjective and personal ones being held to objective criticism, leading to ongoing, unresolvable arguments (the status quo), half of which ends up being telling people how to argue (post evidence, the onus is on the person making the claim/refutation, yada yada).

    Hyperbolic, unsubstantiated claims are part of informal human language, especially when dealing with subjective content; even more-so where that content is met with excitement.

    There's no attempt to inhibit technical discussion. Comparing games and tech is fine. The aim here is to separate non-technical enthusiasm (and criticism - any non-technical subjective opinion) from being held to technical criticism, which serves no useful purpose. There has never yet been a case where a long discussion about what is or isn't a good looking game has led someone to retract their statement that "Game X is the best looking game ever" on account of learning they were wrong.
     
  20. L. Scofield

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    Option 3: Treat factual statements as factual statements instead of passing them off as subjective when convenient.
     
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