Suggestions Forum

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by IceFrog, May 28, 2009.

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  1. IceFrog

    IceFrog Administrator

    The new suggestion forum is not ready yet. We are going to be doing a new structure for how suggestions work moving forward. There isn't an exact schedule yet for when it will be available, but I'd like to say a little about the objectives here so you guys can give your thoughts.

    The primary goal is to have a system that focuses more on the debates and discussions of ideas. Various factors need to be considered when evaluating what to implement: things like development time, how it affects all players and not just one segment of the playerbase, what the short term and long term gameplay ramifications would be, how it affects player enjoyment levels, game depth, etc. Another goal is to shift away from a very high quantity suggestions to fewer but more manageable quality ideas. A healthy discussion oriented system that takes a variety of different game design evaluation metrics into account has the potential to be both an interesting experience for the people who enjoy suggesting ideas but also more useful to me personally as a developer.

    If you have any ideas about how to setup the new system, post in this thread. In the meantime, you can post suggestions in whatever manner you are used to. Use labels like [Gameplay] or [Cosmetic] before your thread title.

    Update: I thought Polls were disabled before, they are now disabled. Until we come up with the new system we are going to use (which will take a bit of time), I'd prefer if people focused on the discussion and debate of a feature rather than on a simple vote that usually ends up ignoring the most important aspect of the suggestions process. We lose very valuable information about whats good and whats not good for the game if people are just encouraged to do a vote without explaining, it also leads to people misvoting because they feel bad to TD. So for the meantime, focus on just explaining why something is good or isn't good and analyzing what effects it would have both on development time and on gameplay depth and quality.
  2. Euquila

    Euquila Well-Known Member

    In order to move away from having lots of suggestions--most of low quality--to having a smaller pool of suggestions of high quality, there has to be a mechanism that quickly and effectively moves low quality threads to an "unsuccessful" bin. Here, the suggestions can still be viewed and edited upon, and the thread starter may even request for a review--which would move the thread back to suggestions forum.

    Such a mechanism would undoubtedly involve mods. Perhaps if X-number of mods disapprove then the suggestions is immediately moved to the "unsuccessful" bin? This would help keep things tidy in the suggestions forum so that visitors have a more enjoyable experience.

    I do agree that too many suggestions at one time makes the whole system ineffective. It's better the have a few that everyone can focus/debate upon and really get down to the nitty-gritties (ex: gameplay ramifications).
  3. neb_thims

    neb_thims Moderator

    vBulletin has a "Moderation" queue - if you set the main suggestion forums to force all new threads to be approved by mods first, and had a separate "suggestions in progress" forum where people can get feedback, the mods could use the moderation queue to weed out ones that don't meet a certain standard - they could use a rubric, or a straight +/- vote.
  4. Otter

    Otter Moderator

    I don't think that we should "preapprove" threads, I think people would interpret that as a sort of nazi-style moderation. We'd hear a ton of "omg the mods wouldn't even let me present my idea wtf?" However, I think that liberal use of the lock function would go a long ways. If it quickly becomes clear that there are lot of reasons why an idea is infeasible, it should be locked and laid to rest.
  5. Jenova-

    Jenova- Moderator

    Also, with that method we are assuming that moderators have the definitive truth and knowledge when it comes to judge the quality of a suggestion, which isn't always true (in fact, it's hardly ever true). I don't think we should put excessive powers in the hands of the moderators when it comes to deciding the outcome of a suggestion, as that generates problems of objetivity. Also, we have to consider that probably not all moderators will have a good insight of how a good suggestion should be (I've had a lot of colleagues in the suggs forum of D-A that had a lot of common sense and were very smart, but that couldn't really tell when a suggestion was "those special ones" that really deserve to be highlighted).

    I say we should let the community work freely, with us only guiding them (and obviously participating).
  6. CvP

    CvP Forum Manager

    how about requesting peoples from top teams around the world to take suggestion moderation position?

    ice can invite may be 30 to 50 people. say, 20 accepts.
    then we create a group of those 20 ppl.

    they will initially review the suggestions, and cast vote.
    say 65% needs to give yes for a suggestion to initially pass.

    then it can be placed in "potential suggestions" and so on.
  7. Otter

    Otter Moderator

    Definitely not. There are very few high-skill players who are also good at analyzing the game itself. Ice talks to most of them directly and a few are in beta, so there is no need to seek out more of them. Choosing moderators for suggestions should be an extremely careful selection process, almost entirely based on ability to understand proper game design. Playskill is pretty much irrelevant, the game needs to accomodate players of all skill levels, so some diversity in this regard is important.
  8. disrup3

    disrup3 Moderator

    I think for a successful suggestions forum the beta team somehow has to be involved. Whatever system we come up with will most likely not be very successful if this community and the beta team are working independant from each other.

    And just telling the beta testers to "come here and read the suggestions" is not a solution or an involvement ;)
  9. mDREAMm

    mDREAMm Well-Known Member

    The only thing which seems the most proper one to me atm is to take the concept from both ideas-some people disapprove of having moderators to decide whether their suggestion should pass on and be reviewed by all members.On the other hand,letting everyone to post their suggestions is a very risky move since the whole meaning of the section will be lost due to flooding with "unsuccessful" suggs.Thus,why don't we do the following thing:

    -All members will be allowed to post their suggestions.
    -To avoid having the section overflooded,the will be a "bin" as Euquila said,but I insist that we don't name it "unsuccessful".Mods of the section must be of greater number compared to others such as Mech,Random Chat,etc to ensure that there will be at least one to do the job.

    The result is that everyone will post their suggestions but if poor,they will be removed in a short period of time by mods to a "Secondary suggestion place",where people will still be able to review them to avoid complains.Thus we'll have our few nice suggs to discuss of, and a place where the other ones can be observed as well.
  10. Eleventh

    Eleventh Well-Known Member

    My advice would be to reward good responses/feedback. This can be done through a reputation system or some other means. If the goal is a system focused on debate and discussion, such reinforcement is truly essential. Otherwise, debate degenerates into conflict and discussion into thoughtlessness.

    Also, if the number of people who are allowed to vote on/provide feedback on suggestions is ever limited (to moderators or some group of voters/responders), make sure the criteria for entry into such a group captures what makes someone a good voter/responder. Otherwise, you run into problems of objectivity and elitism (as mentioned by Jenova- and Otter).

    A quantified response reputation (as mentioned above) is one such criteria option. The problem with this would be the work of maintaining a reputation system and preventing its abuse. However, I believe these issues to be addressable.

    An alternate/additional option would be to have people apply to the voter/responder position, citing thoughtful posts they made in some open 'in progress' forum. Such an application process might also capture what Otter says is most important: the "ability to understand proper game design". However, it also creates the extra work of evaluating applications and possibly leads to problems of objectivity/elitism.
  11. Euquila

    Euquila Well-Known Member

    So at one end we face problems of objectivity/elitism and the other we face poor maintainability/effectiveness. After reading all your posts, I'm leaning towards the later: a more liberal framework = more community participation which is (imo) the most important thing.

    Also, yes, naming the bin "unsuccessful" would be fail in the name of promoting participation. I take it back! :)
  12. Otter

    Otter Moderator

    Lots of community participation is cute, but certainly not the most important thing. The priority has to be making sure the discussion is useful, not that it comes in large quantities. If it's not going to be useful, we might as well delete the section right now. With that said, yes, the framework should be somewhat open with lots of room for discussion in any direction. However, don't expect it to be productive without highly involved moderators.
  13. Malice

    Malice Well-Known Member

    I think once there is a set method for writing up the suggestion which forces members to think before they post, it would eliminate some suggestions that are just though of on the spot with no clear deep thought about the matter. For example If to create a suggestion thread the user MUST follow the proper format


    Thats not the format i'm proposing, just an example of the need for one. This will force users to think more about what they type, filtering out extrememly low-level quality posts.

    The next step is to have a chosen team of moderators go through and comment on the suggestions so to eliminate more low-level posts.
    But what i think will be great is that if Icefrog or an admin can give each thread a comment on whether or not it is feasible. This way the admins don't have to go through every single suggestions thread. But it will eliminate the argument of opinion and objectivity between moderators and users.

    Lets say for argument sake, three moderators comment on a suggestion, one thinks it's feasable, one thinks it's awesome and one thinks it's rubbish. To completely eradicate opinionated objections, an admin should give his expert explanation as to why or why not it just isn't feasable. In the end, the sole decission really is Icefrogs and i know we're going to run into a lot of instances where suggestions will be on both sides of praise and disregard.

    Imo, the admins have to play a big role in managing this section
  14. jmesch04

    jmesch04 Active Member

    Some things that I would like to see, and even more so think would help the community are as follows.

    1. I think that we need to be more open and close less topics. Having strict rules like [teir 4] and what not are only going to hold us back. Sometimes an item with an interesting mechanic or an interesting aura is held back because people make the item or ability to specific to start with.

    2. We need to avoid to many niche sections...
    2a. I would suggest (Modifications to Current Game) (New content) (Gameplay) (Heroes) I would only keep heroes because that's something that people can do on the whole much better than part of an adding into new content section.

    3. We should avoid a poll type system... That is soooooo bad for this community and destroyed suggestions at other communities

    4. Within each section topics that become quickly heated should be moved into a general section called or something like (shows promise or interest section) So if the community is really liking the idea or a mechanism people can start throwing ideas around in there.

    5. Rules for each sections should be different, in the main 4 they should be more loose but with enough structure that people have to follow and not let in crap.
    5a. they should make sure to cover these things in the OP, what is it, how is it different, target audience (heroes/gameplay), target goal or result.
    [this way people can decide if the suggestion is not only interesting and something we want but if it is in fact doing what the OP wants it to do. Often times people make and item they think is great for a certain class but it's really better for another group.]​

    I think something like this or loosly based on this would look great. Moderation needs to be done well though but not closing everything right away, but letting the community chose what to close. We need to also be warn heavy for things like "+1" in these sections.
  15. china_white

    china_white Well-Known Member

    I agree with most of what jmesch has said. In addition to the 4th point, we have to make sure we don't turn it into something like a "potentials" system, because I think that the way that works is just crap. We also want to encourage actual feedback, so is it possible to filter out short spam replies?
  16. Cigaro

    Cigaro Moderator

    Throwing in my idea for an ascension system.

    We need to differ between our sections.
    Cosmetics can be handled by the public alone: Whether something looks good needn't to be decided by an expert. Give Ice half a dozen ideas per new version to pick from, so there's no pressure.


    Hero/Item/Remake/Gameflow Suggestions:
    Make a new ascension system, with 3 different stages. New threads start in the 'basic'/stage I section.
    Threads will have polls - to vote between 1 (don't like it) and 5 (I fully agree), but they're not binding in any way, and we could even make vote options more liberal. It's become obvious that forumers don't dare to vote T-Down - because it reads 0% agreement. Voting rather in favor will please them, and leave us the option to differ between excellent and good threads.

    Potential voters (see below for explanation) can push threads to the popular stage (-> II).
    It's upon the individual PV's decision whether something is suitable or not. Threads for the popular stage haven't got to be absolutely brilliant, yet they should be thought-out, or at least be backed up by large public interest.
    If a thread has received many 3-4 votes, that's a reason to leave it where it is. Other reasons can be: already suggested, uncodeable, ...
    A short comment should be given as well.
    There's gonna be a sticky where people can nominate their threads, even multiple times.
    Said stage II is still open to public, people can comment freely and cast more votes to show their support. Most important: The reduced number of threads in this "potential section" will get them a lot more attention. I expect no thread there to have less than 1 page of replies at long term.

    Now comes Stage III. It's kind of a final niveau suggestions want to reach. If a potential voters considers a popular thread for implementation, he posts about it in Potential Voters Discussion. Given that 3, 4 others strongly agree (templates would be recommended, but they aren't a must), the suggestion is moved to potential suggestions. Only ~1% of all suggestions (10% of popular suggs) should reach that level (from my calculations, that's about 2 threads per week). As of then, only potential voters can post in those threads, and by looking up the last few posts, it'll be easy to find out what their hopes/concerns/verdicts are.

    Note: We don't create copies of those topics. One suggestion, one thread.

    Potential voters are:
    -People we recruit amongst the beta team and outstanding forum members
    Hard to estimate total number of staff required, but since they don't get tags anyway, it wouldn't be all too problematic.

    -we actually sieve (aimed-at-1%-standard)
    -the public can only give recommendations with their votes
    -no more pointless 50/50 cosm. votes

    -it's entirely arbitrary (TDA, anyone?)
    -struggles amongst the potential voters (unless we behave like non-internet-people)

    Here's what the structure would look like:

    (forum rules)
    -Core Suggestions ("post your ideas here!")
    --Stage II (popular ideas)
    ---Stage III (potential ideas)
    --Hero Suggestions
    ---Ability Suggestions (now subforum of hero suggs)
    --Item Suggestions
    --Remake Suggestions
    --Gameflow Suggestions
    --Cosmetic Suggestions
    -Discussion (same function as before)
    -Any contests we might have in the future
    -Guides & Lists (placing them under discussions was not the smartest thing ever I suppose)
    -Potential Voters Discussion (hidden)
    -Staff Conference (hidden)

    (Colors have been added for better overview only)


    Users post their ideas in Core Suggestions (better name to be found). From there, moderators move them to the according categories. This is by far more user-friendly than letting them search for the right section (especially newbies), and in case we still have multi-mods, more than possible by logistic means. Just an idea though.


    Possible addition:
    Abilities are free to use by default, unless user has placed a red warning at the top of his thread.
    Not sure if ability suggestions should be given the possibility to become potential? It seems somewhat pointless - rather encourage hero suggestors to use the ideas.


    I left balance suggestions aside, as they're not relevant here (and pointless anyway).


    I am strongly opposed to a "trash can" for unsuccessful threads, or closing them. Even an archive would be bad!
  17. PS2MAN

    PS2MAN Banned

    Two ways to go about this.

    First is the way described above, however there could be a better way to get things across. Premise is like when Puck was made, and we can still have the first system along side it.

    IE Post in suggestion forums that you want some ideas on a Remake of XYZ or you want to add Hero mode XYZ. Then create a forum for those ideas alone while you work on the version, putting the good ones in their own section. It would allow the community to focus on suggestions that "Need" implanting rather than "want" implanting, which is better for both sides. However you'd need some pretty good staff to arrange and maintain such a method of suggestion.
  18. Diceman

    Diceman Well-Known Member

    I like Cigaro's idea. I can see it working.
  19. Jeity

    Jeity Well-Known Member

    A suggestion forum tends to be extremely diverse, and thus moderators are naturally a must. The thing I realized about the moderators on the old forums was that while there were indeed some quality figures, there were also too many who didn't have a thorough enough understanding of the game, or who played moderator partly for their own means. Moderators need to do just that, moderate. Moderators should become less involved in the actual judging, therefore having more time to oversee the judging process. It will however, be necessary to participate in the beginning as the forum is just starting out.

    In terms of organization, the previous forum wasn't too poorly designed, although the subforums do need to be changed up a bit. Cigaro's idea isn't too far off from what I'm thinking; mainly it's just necessary to make sure good ideas don't fade into oblivion just because they don't make it to the highest tier of "potential".

    By this, I'm suggesting that for each suggestion category, there are 3 sub-forums, possibly a 4th archive sub-forum for suggestions that don't pass the first sub-forum.

    1. The first sub-forum is the biggest one, used to control the huge influx of topics, and applying the classic Thumbs Up Thumbs Down system to gain a vague idea about the quality of the suggestion. It's quick, easy, and most importantly unavoidable. It's important to make sure the vote ratio is not too easy to obtain, so that the next subforum is not flooded.

    2. After having received enough positive votes, the suggestion will move on to this next sub-forum. On this forum, there will once again be a voting process, but this time voters MUST post a relevant comment for the vote to count. It is at this stage where it is imperative that the moderators are able to sit back and objectively determine which posts qualify as votes. The job of moderators will primarily be in this forum.

    3. The last sub-forum holds the highest quality suggestions. To have your suggestion reach this level, designated judges have to follow a specific judging rubric. However that rubric is designed, suggestions that pass will enter this forum while those that fail will be closed and stay in the previous one.

    The system is aimed at better separating those in power from their suggestions, and making sure good ideas are not forgotten but GREAT ideas are still recognized. The previous forums also had a problem with suggestions reaching the necessary votes and ratio, getting on the waitlist, and then getting a bunch of negative votes while it's on hold. With this setup, suggestions that are publicly recognized can be immediately bumped up to the next phase of judging without having to constantly battle it out.

    For example the Hero Suggestion forum would look like this.

    Hero Suggestions
    ===> Hero Suggestions - Public
    ===> Hero Suggestions - Potential
    ===> Hero Suggestions - Priority

    The 3-tier division makes the transition smoother, and the process more thorough. This is of course the basic outline. Things like the actual rubrics, designated judges, and whatnot would still need alot of work.
  20. Deathlust_

    Deathlust_ Well-Known Member

    I think that something regarding moderators would be beneficial, but instead of having a negative approach to it (rating it negatively), they should be rated positively instead. (Sort of like Moderator's Choice on

    The approvals shouldn't be handed out lightly, but if a trusted group of individuals are able to help point out the more quality suggestions (in their view), it won't work as a perfect system, but it will help sort out things with a high accuracy rate.
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