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So....for consideration....


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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With the release of UW....I have noticed an underlying (and unrelated) current in many of the criticisms/conversations, that have been expressed....that revolve around the current hesitation from Paizo to offer public playtests.

There have been a lot of views expressed, all of which have validity, and all of which we as a community should maybe give some thought and discussion to.

First off, it's pretty clear that many people are upset about the current/recent choice to not do playtests....I'm right in agreement with that....as I found the choice to do public playtests to be one of the most novel and egalitarian choices I had seen any RPG company make.......and I have been doing this since the early "black and white Gygax days".... It very much cemented my decision that Paizo cared about the communities opinion, and was dedicated to actually working with a community as opposed to just making a buck (an opinion that I had already come to in the early D&D 4E day's....and why I switched to Paizo after years of supporting Wizards).

At the same time....no one can argue that some people (especially on line) are simply incapable of acting like civil adult's. I'm not talking about bending over backwards to not offend....we have way to many people on line who are hunting for an excuse to take offense as well....both are equally a problem in on line communication.

There have been some suggestions as to how Paizo could handle problems....but the reality is, they have neither the time or man power to police all of the silly rubbish we almost effortlessly throw at them.

So my question is this....what can we, as a community, do to help police ourselves ?

What can we do to handle both the toxic people, and the squishys who can't handle criticism/bluntness of any type, so that they can participate in our community....without making Paizo staff solely responsible for handling everyone's behavior ?

Maybe if we can come to some agreement on that, and demonstrate that we can act on it in a respectful/responsible manner....playtests will become a viable option again in the future.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is a danger that one touches on with the opening post here.

Everyone is different, and the tolerances for one given thing may be thick and weathered, but on other things micron-thin.

Calling someone a 'squishy' is kind of demeaning, and could arguably be viewed as a toxic mindset, legitimately.

The more important question is: How can we bring the community back together, to be exactly that?

Whether for Playtests or some iteration of SuperStar or contributions to organized play or whatnot, cohesive community effort is what brought me over to Paizo after years of toiling with other systems and organizations.

I'd really rather not see it dissolve into tribalism over differences when it could be strengthened by not only acknowledging said differences, but learning from them.


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I don't think the current iteration of Pathfinder will see many, if any more Base Classes. So the playtesting could be moot. Happy to be proved wrong.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

There is a danger that one touches on with the opening post here.

Everyone is different, and the tolerances for one given thing may be thick and weathered, but on other things micron-thin.

Calling someone a 'squishy' is kind of demeaning, and could arguably be viewed as a toxic mindset, legitimately.

The more important question is: How can we bring the community back together, to be exactly that?

Whether for Playtests or some iteration of SuperStar or contributions to organized play or whatnot, cohesive community effort is what brought me over to Paizo after years of toiling with other systems and organizations.

I'd really rather not see it dissolve into tribalism over differences when it could be strengthened by not only acknowledging said differences, but learning from them.

True.

Bringing the community together means in part that all portions need to make allowances. Which means all parts need to be less reactive.

And it may be moot...we may be at the end of new classes.....in which case there may be no reason to improve upon things as they are now. I am actually of a tribal mindset in general....so I don't see that as a "dissolving"...but an evolution....BYMMV.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
I don't think the current iteration of Pathfinder will see many, if any more Base Classes. So the playtesting could be moot. Happy to be proved wrong.

So again....is there no reason to discuss a better way to interact ?

If the general consensus is to leave things as they are....then that's how it will be.

I was just curious if we might have a better way to move foreword.


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From what I've seen around here over the years, things have gotten progressively worse. It appears that there are those that are very critical of the system itself and take great pleasure in consistently and loudly condemning most anything that is put out in order to "help fix things".

And yes, there are those that are resistant to any criticism of the product as well, although much of that seems to spring from the near constant criticism from some quarters.

Is there a way to fix it? I am unsure that there is. The online communities here and elsewhere seem to be toxic in a more widespread way; it used to be just certain areas that you had to avoid. Now you are just as likely to see a giant kerfuffle on Twitter over someone not getting their fries at McDonalds as you are over the latest video game issue, or politics, or a football game.

I'd like to believe that it could get better here. But as long as there are people here and elsewhere that take pleasure in causing mischief it seems unlikely that things are going to change in any meaningful way.


knightnday wrote:

From what I've seen around here over the years, things have gotten progressively worse. It appears that there are those that are very critical of the system itself and take great pleasure in consistently and loudly condemning most anything that is put out in order to "help fix things".

And yes, there are those that are resistant to any criticism of the product as well, although much of that seems to spring from the near constant criticism from some quarters.

Is there a way to fix it? I am unsure that there is. The online communities here and elsewhere seem to be toxic in a more widespread way; it used to be just certain areas that you had to avoid. Now you are just as likely to see a giant kerfuffle on Twitter over someone not getting their fries at McDonalds as you are over the latest video game issue, or politics, or a football game.

I'd like to believe that it could get better here. But as long as there are people here and elsewhere that take pleasure in causing mischief it seems unlikely that things are going to change in any meaningful way.

Agreed.

This may just be a victim of the evolution of online communication....which is toxic in and of itself. So there may be no fix. That said.....are we willing to give it a try ?.....and what are peoples opinions as to what that would entail ?


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I think that a lot of vitriol came about because during the last major playtest the there was an obvious refusal by Paizo to respond to criticism over the kineticist. Specifically constructive criticism regarding its wonky numbers by people who really liked the class.


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See now your post is making me think they made the right decision cause the kinetcist turned out great.

Frankly My general distrust of humanity makes me understand why they didn't want to do a play test.

Grand Lodge

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I really don't think the community has gotten any worse personally. It's just gotten larger as time has gone on and people are always more vocal about what they dislike than what they like.


I will say this. it is definitely one of the tamest internet communities I've ever been part of. I've been in other forums and been like WTF where is a moderator and like Oh this isn't the paizo forum.

...I am still a little upset about the political ban it shows some immaturity on peoples part for not being able to handle that without flame wars.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While public play test have their problems, in many cases it improved the classes after words, in some cases greatly. But in some cases it seem to do nothing or very little though that might depend on the designer and the people play testing. Also it doesn't help if the people play testing can't agree on wich direction to take the class or at least some specific aspect of the class itself.


3rd party devs struggle to get people to care enough for criticisms/play
test. Paizo throwing such opportunities away is a great waste.

All criticisms are useful for design. Especially inflammatory s&$~posting. Real people won't share their irrational dislikes. They just don't buy the product. Being able handle/accept criticisms always improves a design even if you reject most the of the criticisms.

Shadow Lodge

MR. H wrote:

3rd party devs struggle to get people to care enough for criticisms/play

test. Paizo throwing such opportunities away is a great waste.

All criticisms are useful for design. Especially inflammatory s@+*posting. Real people won't share their irrational dislikes. They just don't buy the product. Being able handle/accept criticisms always improves a design even if you reject most the of the criticisms.

Considering how amazing 3rd party products are... Where can I sign up? :)


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Vidmaster7 wrote:

See now your post is making me think they made the right decision cause the kinetcist turned out great.

Frankly My general distrust of humanity makes me understand why they didn't want to do a play test.

But the kineticist did have a playtest. OA and the vigilante both did and both turned out better than their original conception because of it.

UW didn't and we got the shifter. Do you think the Shifter is better in terms of overall design than the Kineticist? If not your conclusion seems backwards.


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swoosh wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

See now your post is making me think they made the right decision cause the kinetcist turned out great.

Frankly My general distrust of humanity makes me understand why they didn't want to do a play test.

But the kineticist did have a playtest. OA and the vigilante both did and both turned out better than their original conception because of it. .

The shifter had a playtest. We don’t know what the original concept of the shifter was, so have no idea if we would have preferred the original or the final version.


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Dragon78 wrote:
While public play test have their problems, in many cases it improved the classes after words, in some cases greatly. But in some cases it seem to do nothing or very little though that might depend on the designer and the people play testing. Also it doesn't help if the people play testing can't agree on wich direction to take the class or at least some specific aspect of the class itself.

I suspect that one downside of public playtests (as they’ve traditionally played out on the Paizo forums) is that many consider them invitations to submit alternate design concepts. I expect what the designers want to hear are reports on how “feature X” plays at the table but they instead have to wade through a whole bunch of posts outlining things playtesters would have done differently, which isn’t the same thing.

I wonder if they’d have more luck with the multiple choice survey format WotC have been using in 5E.


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MR. H wrote:
All criticisms are useful for design.

This is incredibly naive to the point of being a flat out falsehood. In fact, an overwhelming majority of opinions masquerading as criticisms are a waste of time. Time that is better spend designing/creating/etc.


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I feel like given the general atmosphere of fandom on the internet in this day and age* I cannot fault any developer who wants to minimize direct contact with the unvarnished opinions of their "fans".

*I am old enough to remember when people liked the things they were fans of.


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Elorebaen wrote:
MR. H wrote:
All criticisms are useful for design.

This is incredibly naive to the point of being a flat out falsehood. In fact, an overwhelming majority of opinions masquerading as criticisms are a waste of time. Time that is better spend designing/creating/etc.

I would have to disagree with that.

Like you (obviously)...I find a lot of opinions to be a waste of time.

Doesn't mean they actually are....just means that's my initial take on them.

And that mindset is a big part of the problem ;)


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I suspect that one downside of public playtests (as they’ve traditionally played out on the Paizo forums) is that many consider them invitations to submit alternate design concepts. I expect what the designers want to hear are reports on how “feature X” plays at the table but they instead have to wade through a whole bunch of posts outlining things playtesters would have done differently, which isn’t the same thing.

I wonder if they’d have more luck with the multiple choice survey format WotC have been using in 5E.

I think that really hit's the nail on the head.

Some people approach playtests as an excuse to interject their perception of what the class concept should be....rather than how to improve the mechanic of the class as presented.

I know I have done this from time to time in the past, although I always tried to throw it out as an idea....and not a demand.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
The shifter had a playtest. We don’t know what the original concept of the shifter was, so have no idea if we would have preferred the original or the final version.

I personally don't consider a hand picked group of individuals a playtest. So I thinks it's actually fair to say the Shifter didn't have a playtest.

In all honesty, I think it would have turned out much better if it had....but it didn't, and that's just how it is.


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nighttree wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
The shifter had a playtest. We don’t know what the original concept of the shifter was, so have no idea if we would have preferred the original or the final version.
I personally don't consider a hand picked group of individuals a playtest. So I thinks it's actually fair to say the Shifter didn't have a playtest.

It’s clearly a semantic difference (I’d phrase the desire as being for an open playtest rather than an invitation-only playtest) but it’s worth being clear, in my opinion.

What’s gained by objecting that there was no playtesting done when in reality there was, you’d just preferred it to have been a larger group? If you keep using the term differently from how the industry does people will misunderstand your objection.

Best to air one’s concerns as clearly and unambiguously as possible, in my view. I see no advantage in restricting the meaning of playtest to only include open playtests when that’s not the industry standard. I DO see a lot of potential confusion.


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Elorebaen wrote:
MR. H wrote:
All criticisms are useful for design.
This is incredibly naive to the point of being a flat out falsehood. In fact, an overwhelming majority of opinions masquerading as criticisms are a waste of time. Time that is better spend designing/creating/etc.

Even the most inane criticisms give you insight into ways of looking at your class that you couldn't think of. Mainly because you think the opinions are too dumb.

And sometimes, what you first think is inflammatory s*#$posting, actually is biting criticism once you've had a chance to think it over and cool off.

As the Creator, you are in the role where it is up to you to parse the signal from the noise. People don't have to like your concept or even pretend to entertain your exact methods. What they want when they read your material's name is important information.

Obviously Paizo's method with the shifter was flawed, the class is a Trainwreck. Having a small group of people you respect review your stuff can also make your design intellectually insular.

Silver Crusade

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Not really, if someone drops by to call the thing you made a pile of garbage... there’s nothing useful to be gained from that, cause it’s not criticism, it’s an insult. The only thing learnt from that statement is that the poster doesn’t like the thing, it gives no direction or feedback on why they don’t like the thing. So it’s an insult that has no use, especially in a playtest.

The designers aren’t going to pry into the post to figure out exactly why the person didn’t like it, when they have hundreds of other posts to sort through, whether in discussion or playtest the person had a chance to leave feedback and isntead they chose to leave an insult. Being abusive is not valuable or insightful, and an insult is not criticism.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
MR. H wrote:

3rd party devs struggle to get people to care enough for criticisms/play

test. Paizo throwing such opportunities away is a great waste.

All criticisms are useful for design. Especially inflammatory s@+*posting. Real people won't share their irrational dislikes. They just don't buy the product. Being able handle/accept criticisms always improves a design even if you reject most the of the criticisms.

Considering how amazing 3rd party products are... Where can I sign up? :)

N.Jolly is holding the Legendary Shifter playtest in the Third Party subforum right now.


Hows that looking?


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Hows that looking?

I actually haven't read shifter in detail yet, and this is still very similar. Only thing I immediately noticed is that wild shape goes to beast shape 4. Link to the playtest thread.


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MR. H wrote:
Elorebaen wrote:
MR. H wrote:
All criticisms are useful for design.
This is incredibly naive to the point of being a flat out falsehood. In fact, an overwhelming majority of opinions masquerading as criticisms are a waste of time. Time that is better spend designing/creating/etc.

Even the most inane criticisms give you insight into ways of looking at your class that you couldn't think of. Mainly because you think the opinions are too dumb.

And sometimes, what you first think is inflammatory s&&~posting, actually is biting criticism once you've had a chance to think it over and cool off.

As the Creator, you are in the role where it is up to you to parse the signal from the noise. People don't have to like your concept or even pretend to entertain your exact methods. What they want when they read your material's name is important information.

Obviously Paizo's method with the shifter was flawed, the class is a Trainwreck. Having a small group of people you respect review your stuff can also make your design intellectually insular.

Perhaps there is too much noise and not nearly enough signal.

From what I've seen across these boards and others, people tend to believe that their criticism is valid and only helpful and other people's are trash. Obviously the company doesn't know as much as the poster and is just making mistakes and if they'd only listen they'd do better and roll in money and accolades.

Multiply that by a thousand or so and that tends to reflect many of the threads regarding how the product(s) are flawed. What I always wonder at those times are why aren't these individuals working for a company and churning out excellent material? (and yes, some are. But FAR too few.)


Rysky wrote:

Not really, if someone drops by to call the thing you made a pile of garbage... there’s nothing useful to be gained from that, cause it’s not criticism, it’s an insult. The only thing learnt from that statement is that the poster doesn’t like the thing, it gives no direction or feedback on why they don’t like the thing. So it’s an insult that has no use, especially in a playtest.

The designers aren’t going to pry into the post to figure out exactly why the person didn’t like it, when they have hundreds of other posts to sort through, whether in discussion or playtest the person had a chance to leave feedback and isntead they chose to leave an insult. Being abusive is not valuable or insightful, and an insult is not criticism.

As a Creator it behooves you not to be insulted and to not be abused. As in, you shouldn't be looking at criticism that way.

But yes, that would be noise if an appropriate follow-up question is "why though?".

Don't be insulted, just treat the comment as unparsable noise. Not every person who looks through your stuff is a great writer.

"The shifter doesn't feel cool." "This class is underpowered garbage." "I would rather play a warrior." "Why is this the worst shifter in the game?" Ect.

None of those comments are perfectly constructive, but they all give insight into problems with the class that your select group of PFS players wouldn't notice. Mainly that the class entirely falls apart at high levels and lacks many basic tools at low levels (like range combat) or that the whole class seems built around abusing certain obscure item combos (really only PFS players build around specific item builds).

But I'm sure no one felt insulted in that closed playtest.

Sovereign Court

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MR. H wrote:

"The shifter doesn't feel cool." "This class is underpowered garbage." "I would rather play a warrior." "Why is this the worst shifter in the game?" Ect.

None of those comments are perfectly constructive, but they all give insight into problems with the class that your select group of PFS players wouldn't notice. Mainly that the class entirely falls apart at high levels and lacks many basic tools at low levels (like range combat) or that the whole class seems built around abusing certain obscure item combos (really only PFS players build around specific item builds).

I'm... having some difficulty determining how any of the comments in the first paragraph connect to any of the specific insights mentioned in the second paragraph.

Dark Archive

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Courtesy.

Dignity.

Respect.

It is a two-way street, and there are ways for one to convey one's points without resorting to insults.

There are also ways to respect the criticisms and/or critiques of those who have posted without demeaning either.

A bit of humor doesn't hurt, but folks still need to hit the first three items and keep it within community guidelines.

...shudders at recollections of two pen and paper play-tests they were a part of in the past, and one major MMO play-test... all three of which turned into excuses to 'play the new stuff' rather than actually 'play-testing' the stuff.

Play-testing is not the glamorous fantasy some folks might think.

It might help when crowd-sourcing it. It's hard work, and why it seems to fall flat on it's face as often as not is because people want to be heard and it turns into a 'shouting match' where the important information (such as raw data, solid play information, etc) gets lost in the 'noise'.

Silver Crusade

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MR. H wrote:
As a Creator it behooves you not to be insulted and to not be abused. As in, you shouldn't be looking at criticism that way.
Insults and abuse are not criticism, there's not a "I need to look at this from a different angle" at play.
MR. H wrote:
But yes, that would be noise if an appropriate follow-up question is "why though?".
And when you have hundreds to thousands of comments of varying length, ranging from abuse to actual criticism and offerings, to sort through each one and plead and debate to get a "but why?" out of every abusive comment is not only not feasible to do so, it's not mentally healthy.
MR. H wrote:
Don't be insulted, just treat the comment as unparsable noise. Not every person who looks through your stuff is a great writer.If it is just one person that's one thing, but even then that one is hard to ignore, words have a weight, and when you have whole groups out spewing grar over actual criticims it's crushing.
MR. H wrote:

[snipped insults]

None of those comments are perfectly constructive, but they all give insight into problems
[snipped insults]

No they don't, all those comments do is tell us the poster doesn't like the Shifter, they give absolutely zero insight and criticism on which to think and build on.


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Much like in real life, I think your perception of the state of things is based on what you read. If you primarily follow the "Solarians are underpowered", "Why Wizards are not tier 1", "My paladin fell for toppling cattle" and "If you don't understand alignment you're dumb@$$" threads, then sure - the Paizo boards seem pretty antagonistic. In reality I find it's usually a fairly small group of frustrated posters that'll happily go 20 rounds on the same topic over and over again, with a few newcomers that drift in and out.

If you spend your time reading the Advice, General Chat, Adventure Path or the assorted "Ask XX about YY" threads then you'll realize that the paizo boards are (in my opinion) one of the most helpful and genuinely nice places on the internet. Even the dreaded Rules Questions forum is about 95% threads where new players post asking "How does Mithril work" and more experienced players players take time out of their day to explain what's going on for nothing more than a "thank you" and maybe a +1.

If you want to see a truly toxic posting environment I suggest checking out something like the WOW PVP boards or Star Wars Battlefront 2 forums. Stock up on antitoxin first though.


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As far as the playtests go... I've only been on the boards since 2012 and I've only extensively participated in one playtest, but I think public playtests are a good idea - provided you have the time to take in the feedback and ideally someone willing to actively engage with and direct the players doing the testing. The first Warpriest feedback thread had ~800 posts (ie the vast majority of the thread) discussing one class feature that was clearly badly designed (Warpriests were essentially shackled to their deity's favored weapons, meaning all archer Warpriests had to worship a deity that favored the longbow), and was subsequently changed in the revised playtest. If the Warpriest designer had entered that first thread and said something like "That's a valid point, this class feature will be changed. Now how about those blessings?" after the first 300 posts, that topic could have been put to rest and people could have spent more time testing and analyzing other aspects of the class.

All that said, I do think social interaction is a two-way street for a company - you set the example you want others to follow. When people ask me what makes Paizo different from Wizards (or any other company) I can post to the creative director's "AMA" thread going on its 7th year with 70 000 posts, and he's still replying within the day to just about any question related to his setting, no matter how inane. I'd consider the overwhelming majority of posts directed at James JAcobs (in that thread and elsewhere) to be positive and polite, and you'll notice that very, very few people badmouth JJ or any of the creative writers on this forum.

In contrast to that "the design team" takes a fair few lumps whenever there's new content out that for whatever reason (legitimate or otherwise) is considered subpar. Jason Bulmahn, the director of game design, has posted seven times in the last two years. It's certainly possible that he's quietly reading the boards, actively chooses not to engage but passively takes in feedback (or posts under an alias), but some design decisions (like unchaining the barbarian but leaving the fighter with cement shoes back in 2015) have made me worry that he may be letting his class design plans be unduly influenced by Paizo's class questionnaires instead of direct interaction with the fans.

I can't help but wonder if Jason was willing to engage with people on the shifter, what he sees as the class's strengths and drawbacks and explain why the design turned out the way it did, maybe people would be more willing to consider the class on its own merits rather than trying to make it do whatever they thought "Shifter" was meant to be, and then being disappointed when it doesn't measure up. By all means, ignore the "zomg this class sucks" posts but there are plenty of well-argued posts out there as well.

I definitely think the Shifter's reception would have been different if Paizo had done a better job of communicating how they envisioned the Shifter as a class, and what the Shifter was suppose to be. A playtest is definitely one way to do that, but not the only one.


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I mean... If you screen a movie to 100 people and then have them fill out comment cards, and 90% of the comment cards read things like "this film sucks", "the movie was free and I still want my money back" and "don't quit your day job" then odds are there are some issues with the movie. You don't necessarily know what they are, but you know that it might be a good idea to do a few more test screenings and ask some more questions before releasing it.

It's certainly not as useful as if those cards read "I didn't like the part where they threw the dog in a blender for no reason", "why is there a flying bicycle in a movie about baseball?" or "Idris Elba is an odd choice of actor to portray Winston Churchill in The Crown" but it's still feedback.

Don't get me wrong, dealing with negative feedback, in any form is hard. Dealing with an overwhelming amount of negative feedback at once can be soul-destroying. Many artists refuse to read reviews of their own work and I absolutely get that - you've created something delicate and brought it into this world, the last thing you want is some literary hooligans tearing it to shreds for laughs.

If you do decide to brave the feedback, and that feedback is negative or even harsh, try to be happy that your work inspires passion. Even negative feedback means that people care enough about what you're doing to tell you what they think. The worst feedback I can imagine is to create something, release it into the world, and have nobody care. The worst feedback is no feedback at all.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
MR. H wrote:

3rd party devs struggle to get people to care enough for criticisms/play

test. Paizo throwing such opportunities away is a great waste.

All criticisms are useful for design. Especially inflammatory s@+*posting. Real people won't share their irrational dislikes. They just don't buy the product. Being able handle/accept criticisms always improves a design even if you reject most the of the criticisms.

Considering how amazing 3rd party products are... Where can I sign up? :)

Giantitp.com's forums are pretty good for these.

.

Trying to express yourself with courtesy and clarity does help. The line defining what the designer/forum staff will accept will often be in different places for those agreeing with the designer as opposed to those disagreeing, and ignoring that is asking to bash your head against a brick wall.


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I feel there's a strong trend of DEVs talking to the boards less and the boards getting more "toxic".
Personally I feel that the lack of dev communication is what's driving the increase of grar. Which is interesting because the DEV's approach is that since there is GRAR we'll talk less which increases grar which causes the devs to talk even less. Now it's faster for the DEV's to just ignore the boards than to engage in communication with them, and that's more reason for them to decide to just leave rather than deal with the forums so there is less anger in them.


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I mean, any given dev probably has more important things to do than post on a messageboard for their product. So you can't fault anybody from pulling back from the boards if they don't have a positive experience there. That might be a vicious circle- devs don't post on the boards because it's not fun for them, which drives increasing toxicity, which makes it even less fun, and so on.


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Chess Pwn wrote:

I feel there's a strong trend of DEVs talking to the boards less and the boards getting more "toxic".

Personally I feel that the lack of dev communication is what's driving the increase of grar. Which is interesting because the DEV's approach is that since there is GRAR we'll talk less which increases grar which causes the devs to talk even less. Now it's faster for the DEV's to just ignore the boards than to engage in communication with them, and that's more reason for them to decide to just leave rather than deal with the forums so there is less anger in them.

This is definitely a concern of mine. If a frustrated fan base feel like lighting the boards on fire is the only way to get the design team to errata a problematic feat (like the original Divine Protection), revert a FAQ (free actions anyone?), or communicate with the fans in general, that's what they're going to do. Having to deal with the proverbial mob with torches and pitchforks makes it much less tempting for already overworked designers to weigh in, which makes the circle of frustration continue.

You don't necessarily have to make any changes (or even agree with the arguments presented) but swinging by and acknowledging legitimate concern before people reach full pitchfork-mode can go a long way.

Shadow Lodge

Makes you wonder if they'd ever consider just having to bite the bullet and see if they can pour antitoxin all over the place. :)


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Makes you wonder if they'd ever consider just having to bite the bullet and see if they can pour antitoxin all over the place. :)

The thing about community management is that it's absolutely possible, but it requires hard work and actual humans who take this seriously doing the job- so it's not free. I hope that Paizo is in a good place, but I'm not sure they're in such a good place that hiring like six more people would be NBD.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They've done this.

It's why the team is busy putting out a hundred little fires because toxic individuals come to this community and start tossing around Molotov cocktails.

It's why we can't have political discussions any more, because folks couldn't be trusted to be respectful.

My formerly hidden conspiracy theory was that the *goal* of these toxic individuals is to completely destroy the community by forcing the community to police itself too proactively.

The 'tinfoil hat' tier is that foreign entities that despise everything Paizo supports have taken an active interest in such and are funding it.

And the problem is acknowledging this thing enables them.


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I just realized I sounded entirely negative when I talk about the design team's communication skills earlier and that's really unfair of me. While I'd like to see Jason and Stephen actively engage a bit more on the boards I think Mark is doing a fantastic job - not afraid to post in the more "grar" threads, unfailingly polite, ever insightful, and always willing to explain a feature, outline his train of thought or help someone out. :)


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I mean, to an extent the toxicity that you find on the Paizo boards is sort of inherited from the broader tabletop gaming community. There are so many creeps in this and related hobbies that it's really hard to reliably keep them out of any given convention, message board, or even table.

It may take a broader cultural shift that permeates through all sorts of "geek" hobbies to really fix this, but considering how many people are really mad about Star Wars now I don't know if that's likely any time soon.


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@Wei Ji: you can check your conspiracy theory by going to the other forums where 'toxic' (I hate that term) people hang out when they're not aiming at Paizo. There you can see that they are just opinionated people with limited social skills.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What does "grar" mean?


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The boards did not get more toxic. People have gotten more sensitive.

Go back and read a few 3.5 tier list threads. Or even go through someone's post history like Treantmonk. People would call him toxic now-a-days too. (Probably why Wotc deleted their forums)

As people start dipping into megathreads and get more invested in the community, they think it's more toxic. No, inflammatory topics and discussion just have more energy than a thread with a dozen post where everyone civilly agrees or disagrees but doesn't have the energy to really argue/shout the point.

What I have seen is a rise in concern trolling, where people pretend to be offended by the tone of someone who disagrees with them in the hope that a mod can swing by and just delete anything that disagrees with them.


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You say "sensitive" when I think "aware" would be more apt. It's not so much that people are behaving worse than they had previously, it's that we are more aware of which actions have a negative impact on games, communities, and individuals and as such aren't to be tolerated.

Like, sure people have been yelling at each other and using slurs and what have you in tabletop spaces on the internet for decades, but who knows how many people that we'd be better off having in this hobby were driven away by this sort of thing? I'd certainly rather play with those people than with the people that drove them off.

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