Paizo staff request to limit product discussion


Website Feedback

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James Sutter wrote:

Hey everybody! I'm really glad folks are excited about the book. I'm just as excited to finally have it out in the world. :)

One request: In the future, please don't post your own previews from our books on the boards. We try really hard to make our books the sort of things you'd buy even if you already knew every detail from them, but the truth is that the excitement of the unknown is part of what drives our sales. We're selling you the answers to things like "What's the Green Mother's obedience? What's the secret history of the gnomes?" And if folks get a bunch of that on the messageboards, it can dampen the excitement, the same way reading a plot synopsis on wikipedia might dampen your excitement to see a movie. And that excitement translated into sales is what keeps us at Paizo eating food, sleeping indoors, and maintaining messageboard servers. :)

Anyway, no harm, no foul, I just wanted to put that perspective out there. Thanks again, everyone!

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Hey folks, let's take the discussion of previews in our product threads to Website Feedback. This particular thread revolves around The First World, Realm of the Fey, and isn't an appropriate venue for this topic.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Questions about acceptable sharing of information from a product are better addressed to the Website Feedback forum. Ultimately, it is a fuzzy line, and thus everyone benefits from more clarity around what is and isn't acceptable or even preferred. Rather than rehash this in every product thread where someone requests readers to not spill all the details in a book, let's discuss it on its own thread. Moving the discussion elsewhere has been requested above; please honor this request.

Per request from the 3 staff member's above, creating a new thread for discussing this.

Silver Crusade Contributor

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Thank you. ^_^


A general synopsis of the book, something like what donato did on the Qadira thread, is both interesting and helpful in the discussion without being a cut and paste of the mechanics from the book. I'd personally rather get a feeling of all parts of the book than the mechanics, in any case, as well as what someone thinks about the book.

The mechanics will come very shortly after the book is widely available. If that is the selling point for some customers you only have to wait. It won't change anything in the book if you don't have the exact mechanics for a week or two and it leaves room in the various threads for discussion of the book from people that have them. Piling on with requests for every bit of minutia robs some patrons from experiencing the book when they get it.


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No you can't have their books for free. If you don't want to buy a book for its content, then wait for it to hit the PRD. d20pfsrd or Archives of Nethys.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My thoughts from another thread. Now would be a good time for me to bow out, I think.

-Skeld

Skeld wrote:
Artificial 20 wrote:
Lanitril wrote:
Also, does anybody else completely support Skeld in spite of thinking they took it wrong? Like, feel free to not talk about it. That's very much a freedom they have, and as much as it feels like it, it's not required for them to reveal every detail of the book for us? As much as I like getting all the info early.
I dunno about Skeld myself, probably just trying to be courteous.

I'm not interested in revealing anything Paizo doesn't want revealed before they want it revealed. I'd rather err on the side of being respectful of Paizo's wishes and being courteous to the people who write/develop/edit the books.

In about 2 weeks, every bit of game mechanics from these books is going to end up (almost) word-for-word on an OGL website anyway.

-Skeld


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Brother Fen wrote:
No you can't have their books for free.

Illegal use of a strawman argument?

I've literally never seen a single post in any of these threads that even comes close to duplicating the book. Even the most detailed ones usually lack clarifying detail that would be necessary to even use part of it in a campaign. Nor do I think I've ever seen anyone asking for such.

Paizo reps can decide what they want on this issue. It's their forums after all. But personally, I'm not here for a free book; I'm trying to decide if I'm even interested in the book. I only even started buying some of these side companions as a result of the product threads. There's a better than nothing chance I'm not a unicorn in this regard. It's possible that Paizo has some data showing that overall product sales are somehow negatively correlated to post volume on the product threads. I'd be surprised, but it's possible.

Quote:
The mechanics will come very shortly after the book is widely available. If that is the selling point for some customers you only have to wait. It won't change anything in the book if you don't have the exact mechanics for a week or two and it leaves room in the various threads for discussion of the book from people that have them. Piling on with requests for every bit of minutia robs some patrons from experiencing the book when they get it.

Do you understand how condescending it is to tell people who are also trying to purchase the book that they shouldn't be privileged enough to ask and talk about said book? That they need to go to the back of the line while the real fans enjoy their elite club? Because that's what your post sounded like. I could just as easily ask you why you couldn't stay off the product threads until you got your copy?

I get that early access is a subscriber benefit; and maybe that's all Paizo's trying to maintain -- or some illusion of it. But that doesn't change the fact that censoring discussion seems to run counter to building any kind of positive buzz around a product. I'm lucky enough in life that I could be a subscriber if I wanted to be. I've considered it lately; but I'm also not so naive as to believe that model is even remotely sustainable for a lot of Paizo's other loyal customers -- many of which I game with in my local area. And I'm almost certainly not going to do it if this is the line in the sand they want to draw.

[Edit] It strikes me that if this is the route Paizo wants to take, they'd be better served just not posting product threads until they're open to the public, or hiding them from all users except those who have a subscriber benefit and received the product until after that.


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cavernshark wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
No you can't have their books for free.

Illegal use of a strawman argument?

I've literally never seen a single post in any of these threads that even comes close to duplicating the book. Even the most detailed ones usually lack clarifying detail that would be necessary to even use part of it in a campaign. Nor do I think I've ever seen anyone asking for such.

Paizo reps can decide what they want on this issue. It's their forums after all. But personally, I'm not here for a free book; I'm trying to decide if I'm even interested in the book. I only even started buying some of these side companions as a result of the product threads. There's a better than nothing chance I'm not a unicorn in this regard. It's possible that Paizo has some data showing that overall product sales are somehow negatively correlated to post volume on the product threads. I'd be surprised, but it's possible.

Quote:
The mechanics will come very shortly after the book is widely available. If that is the selling point for some customers you only have to wait. It won't change anything in the book if you don't have the exact mechanics for a week or two and it leaves room in the various threads for discussion of the book from people that have them. Piling on with requests for every bit of minutia robs some patrons from experiencing the book when they get it.

Do you understand how condescending it is to tell people who are also trying to purchase the book that they shouldn't be privileged enough to ask and talk about said book? That they need to go to the back of the line while the real fans enjoy their elite club? Because that's what your post sounded like. I could just as easily ask you why you couldn't stay off the product threads until you got your copy?

I get that early access is a subscriber benefit; and maybe that's all Paizo's trying to maintain -- or some illusion of it. But that doesn't change the fact that censoring discussion seems to run counter to building any kind of positive buzz around a product. I'm lucky enough in life that I could be a subscriber if I wanted to be. I've considered it lately; but I'm also not so naive as to believe that model is even remotely sustainable for a lot of Paizo's other loyal customers -- many of which I game with in my local area. And I'm almost certainly not going to do it if this is the line in the sand they want to draw.

[Edit] It strikes me that if this is the route Paizo wants to take, they'd be better served just not posting product threads until they're open to the public, or hiding them from all users except those who have a subscriber benefit and received the product until after that.

There is a vast difference between asking about the book and asking for every detail to be spelled out. I've seen requests for the table of contents, for the mechanics of most feats, a complete breakdown of what each archetype does and so on.

This isn't about "some elite fans" or whatever other label you can put to it. Rather, it is likely an attempt not to have the entirety of the book spilled out onto the thread.

I'm often confused by the argument that people need X amount of information to purchase the book -- as if the blurb given in the product description as well as blog posts aren't enough. Do we need every feat, monster, item, spell, archetype and so on put forth before someone can make an educated decision?

Why am I on the threads? Because occasionally the developers chime in with interesting information about the books. That tends to get drowned out, however, the closer the book comes to being released by constant requests (or even begging) to have every bit of information released ahead of time.

As far as I've seen, the staff aren't asking for people not to talk about the book in general terms. They're asking to not cut and paste sections and/or to leave out every detail. That doesn't seem to much to ask, nor should it impact whether or not someone can make an informed decision.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

There is balance to be had between subscribers creating buzz and them coldly laying out every dispassionate detail.

I'd much prefer those with early access shared what excites them about a book and how they envision using the contents in their games.


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knightnday wrote:
Do we need every feat, monster, item, spell, archetype and so on put forth before someone can make an educated decision?

Considering the overall slipshod nature of a lot of these splatbooks? Yes. If it's good, and I can know it's good, I'll spend my money on it.

Otherwise, they won't see me pay for it at all. Learned that lesson with Unchained and Advanced Class Guide, and those supposedly have MORE oversight and proper editing than these softcovers.


I think this is all a case of making a mountain-out-of-a-molehill. I didn't get the impression that anything particularly drastic had happened. It seems to me paizo are quite happy for things to be as they always have, they're just concerned that recently some posts may have edged a little to far over the blurry, subjective, hard-to-define line between informative discussion and spoiler. So they've asked us to watch ourselves.

I agree with you that seeking detailed information about a book you might buy is not looking to steal, nor entitled. I did want to tangentially comment on this:

cavernshark wrote:
I get that early access is a subscriber benefit; and maybe that's all Paizo's trying to maintain -- or some illusion of it...

Just to point out that Paizo have consistently stressed that early access is not one of the promised subscriber perks. In a perfect world, subscribers would all receive their books and PDFs on the street date - but given volume, distance and other such logistics that's impossible so some of us do get books early each month.

It's not a big deal, but I thought I'd mention it. The request to moderate the completeness of discussion of a books content prior to release is not motivated by boosting the value of a subscription.


knightnday, you're literally asking a crowd they've gathered not to crowd source. This is the logical consequence of even having these threads, a waiting period, and early access.

With very minor exceptions, I've never seen anyone ask for the elephant. What I have seen is a lot of people asking independently about the trunk, the feet, the tusks, the tail, the eyes, etc. The fact that we can tell it's an elephant after the fact is incidental is something we'd know soon enough anyway as you yourself have pointed out.

You're making a lot of normative arguments about how people should or shouldn't feel about this whole thing, or about what we should or shouldn't need to make a decision about purchasing. I'll reiterate that in my personal experience, reading the product thread was the only reason I even bought several books. Case in point, I had zero interest in Blood of the Beast specifically because of the product description. But people posted details, that while not functional in a game sense, were enough to make me change my mind. I am positing that -- your opinion to the contrary -- I'm probably not the only case of that.

It may turn out we're a small group and, if that's the case, I'll gladly be on my merry way so you can enjoy your talking around actual substance on the thread. I'll just buy fewer titles in the meantime.


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KingOfAnything wrote:

There is balance to be had between subscribers creating buzz and them coldly laying out every dispassionate detail.

I'd much prefer those with early access shared what excites them about a book and how they envision using the contents in their games.

This. I bought Divine Anthology recently specifically because it had information about paladin codes for two deities I am currently playing paladins for. I didn't need the exact information ahead of time, but knowing information was in the book that I wanted is what made me buy the book. Similarly, if a book came out with things that would be very useful to (for example) bloodragers of certain bloodlines or witches with certain patrons, mentioning something like that would make players of those characters likely to look into buying the book.


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Sundakan wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Do we need every feat, monster, item, spell, archetype and so on put forth before someone can make an educated decision?

Considering the overall slipshod nature of a lot of these splatbooks? Yes. If it's good, and I can know it's good, I'll spend my money on it.

Otherwise, they won't see me pay for it at all. Learned that lesson with Unchained and Advanced Class Guide, and those supposedly have MORE oversight and proper editing than these softcovers.

This is where I'd insert the eyeroll emoji if such a thing existed here. How does one measure "if it is good?"

cavernshark wrote:

knightnday, you're literally asking a crowd they've gathered not to crowd source. This is the logical consequence of even having these threads, a waiting period, and early access.

With very minor exceptions, I've never seen anyone ask for the elephant. What I have seen is a lot of people asking independently about the trunk, the feet, the tusks, the tail, the eyes, etc. The fact that we can tell it's an elephant after the fact is incidental is something we'd know soon enough anyway as you yourself have pointed out.

You're making a lot of normative arguments about how people should or shouldn't feel about this whole thing, or about what we should or shouldn't need to make a decision about purchasing. I'll reiterate that in my personal experience, reading the product thread was the only reason I even bought several books. Case in point, I had zero interest in Blood of the Beast specifically because of the product description. But people posted details, that while not functional in a game sense, were enough to make me change my mind. I am positing that -- your opinion to the contrary -- I'm probably not the only case of that.

It may turn out we're a small group and, if that's the case, I'll gladly be on my merry way so you can enjoy your talking around actual substance on the thread. I'll just buy fewer titles in the meantime.

A note: It looks like my original post was worded to appear that I meant for only the people who had the book to talk about it. It was meant to reflect that I'd like to hear from the people who have it about what they like and not like without the cacophony of "could you please spell it all out for me?"

That said, we have different opinions about what is necessary to purchase a book. i don't need to read a sample chapter in order to buy a novel, especially from an author I've read before. I don't need the mechanics spelled out for a book from Paizo; I know pretty much how their books go and if I'll like it or not.

As for your elephant bit -- yes, people ask about the different parts. And with enough people on the thread doing that, you get the whole elephant in no time. In any case, if that is what it takes for people to make a decision on the books, then that is what it takes.

You are speaking from your experience, and I from mine, which is where the disconnect comes from. I literally do not understand the necessity -- much as I do not understand the posts that start 4-6 months out asking for constant updates on the material -- for all the data. But to each their own, no skin off my noise. What I'd prefer is clearly, if I am understanding you and others, in the minority so I am content to lurk and watch the festivities.


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How does one measure if it is good?

By seeing the material and making a judgment for yourself whether it's a good product for you.

Funny how that ties in.


I'm sad to see product "spoilers" being restricted, but I'm not going to pretend that they're the primary way I work out if a product is worth buying (for that I usually have to find it in store, take a look at some of the non-OGL content, wrestle internally about spending money, and then decide whether I want a PDF or physical copy).

The product threads (particularly the monthly ones) are some of my favorite threads on the forums to lurk in. New info coming out, the excitement of users asking questions, speculation and predictions, all that comes together to make for a really fun thread to follow in the first few days of PDFs going out. For those that play MMOs, its like when developers provide a patch preview. Enough solid detail that your imagination can run wild with potential builds and ideas, but not quite enough to see how things will truly shake out.

The Healer's Handbook thread is still interesting, but not the "patch day Christmas presents excitement" of past threads. A shame, but I can understand Paizo's reasoning and can't fault them for it.

Liberty's Edge

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The more positive excerpts I hear, the more likely I am to buy the book. It directly benefits both me and Paizo. Having said that, I *have* noticed people just asking and asking and asking and people answering and answering and answering until the product thread has so much stuff I wonder if there's even anything left in the book that hasn't been mentioned yet. So I 100% understand and support Paizo's request to tone it down a bit.


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Sundakan wrote:

How does one measure if it is good?

By seeing the material and making a judgment for yourself whether it's a good product for you.

Funny how that ties in.

presumably you can still browse the book...you just have to browse in a store on its street date, or check one of the online SRD style sites. It's not like its physically impossible to EVER find out what is in a book before you buy it.


Just a thought... to use options in PFS, you need to own the book they appear in. So, this ought to create a desire to buy a book for the specific details of option X, which is quite different from the desire to buy the book because you like its theme Y. These two groups would think rather differently about this.

Silver Crusade Contributor

PFS players will still need to wait for Leadership to review the book and add it to Additional Resources. I suspect more than a few such players would rather wait for that process to be completed anyway.


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TimD wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Questions about acceptable sharing of information from a product are better addressed to the Website Feedback forum. Ultimately, it is a fuzzy line

Maybe it should stop being a fuzzy line. I guess it's some effort to decide on the exact borderline and make it public, but on the long run it should actually save time and also avoid confusion and frustration.


I'll add myself to the list of those who have only bought particular books because of thread disclosure. Ultimate Intrigue was going to be a pass until I heard about the archetypes. Weapon Master Handbook wasn't even on my radar until I heard the details of advanced weapon training. Heroes of the streets again got me on archetypes.


Sissyl wrote:
Just a thought... to use options in PFS, you need to own the book they appear in. So, this ought to create a desire to buy a book for the specific details of option X, which is quite different from the desire to buy the book because you like its theme Y. These two groups would think rather differently about this.

^-- this

At this point, I only buy for PFS or to support high-level play options, so knowing some of the mechanics which were posted in the product threads have caused me to buy several books sight unseen. This change means I will no longer be doing so and it will likely cause my softcover purchases to diminish even more than my hardcover purchases have, especially given that more and more of the local FLGS in my area are stocking fewer Paizo softcovers.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You guys realise that you can just wait few weeks and check out the entire rules content of every Paizo book on d20pfsrd, right? :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Are you going to cancel your subs to do that?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Are you going to cancel your subs to do that?

I BUY BOOKS BECAUSE I LOVE PRETTY ARTWORK OF MONSTERS THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE NOTHING ELSE IS

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Besides, d20pfsrd has gotten shoddy lately now that it's more a store for 3PP PDFs with the database as a side project ;-)


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I agree with Gorbacz for once, the PFSRD's rate of adding books has slowed a lot, and suffers from really bad indexing, with little indication of where a lot of the content actually is. It's still a pain in the ass finding the Weapon mastery feats because they're on their own little separate page instead of mixed in with the regular Combat feats.

They seem to have been taking less and less care of the database the more they've pushed their store.

MMCJawa wrote:
Sundakan wrote:

How does one measure if it is good?

By seeing the material and making a judgment for yourself whether it's a good product for you.

Funny how that ties in.

presumably you can still browse the book...you just have to browse in a store on its street date, or check one of the online SRD style sites. It's not like its physically impossible to EVER find out what is in a book before you buy it.

Ever? Yes. Quickly? No.

Generally the turn around on me buying a new book from hearing about people talk about it in the discussion thread or around the boards is 1-2 days. The turn around for when it appears on the SRD and I finally stumble across it is more like 1-2 months. And then I usually feel no need to snap up the book anyway since I can see everything in it. I don't go to game stores, partly because the one nearest to me before I moved had asinine hours (Open from 5-9 PM 4 days a week) and I was working nights, but mostly because I prefer the PDFs and have no desire to drive to the store.

At least in my case, it is slightly more profitable for Paizo to let me hear about stuff in the book piecemeal first. Not sure how that correlates to market trends, but it doesn't logically seem like hearing bits of a book that will go up for free anyway is going to REDUCE their sales. Early access is one of the main draws of their subscriber system, after all, and from what I've heard most of their revenue comes from subscribers.

Liberty's Edge

I think greater clarity will come from a Paizonian posting here.

I hope we will get something to work with rather than another conflict between customers with differing opinions

Community & Digital Content Director

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Hey folks, I've been completely buried by Humble Bundle/live stream/personal illness madness, so apologies on the delay in a response.

The guidelines for the Product Discussion forum have not really ever been specifically laid out in our Community Guidelines. I think that there's been some confusion and conflicting messaging in terms of how Paizo prefers that those threads should go. We are reading this thread, we do want your feedback on this, and will be regrouping internally to suss out some "house rules" to possibly add to our guidelines page so that they are readily available.

Silver Crusade

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Hey folks, I've been completely buried by Humble Bundle/live stream/personal illness madness, so apologies on the delay in a response.

O.O

*offers hugs*


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I second the offer of hugs. Been sick myself. Seems like lots of people have been sick everywhere lately. I guess it's just that time of year.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Rysky wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Hey folks, I've been completely buried by Humble Bundle/live stream/personal illness madness, so apologies on the delay in a response.

O.O

*offers hugs*

Ack, that came out wrong! It's just a horrible cold D:


How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!


That's bad enough TBH. Hopefully we haven't made too much work for you.


Yeah, horrible colds are no fun at all.


Brigadier General Yesterday wrote:
How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!

We blame you.

Silver Crusade

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Hey folks, I've been completely buried by Humble Bundle/live stream/personal illness madness, so apologies on the delay in a response.

O.O

*offers hugs*

Ack, that came out wrong! It's just a horrible cold D:

*phew*

*still offers hugs*


Because that's how germs are spread.

... or was that booger swapping...


4 Out of 10 Doctors wrote:
Brigadier General Yesterday wrote:
How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!
We blame you.

And I'm blaming the Kobold.


Brigadier General Yesterday wrote:
How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!

Damn it Jim, I'm a Doctor not a warden!


A good doctor would pretend to be both.


On a side note....I'm pretty sure Personal Illness Madness should be a 5th level divine spell granted to clerics of Lamashtu. I think it's something like Phantasmal Killer but if the target fails it's save the effect jumps to another random creature within 100'.

The Exchange

Dr. McCoy wrote:
Brigadier General Yesterday wrote:
How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!
Damn it Jim, I'm a Doctor not a warden!

Ive been watching the origonal star trek lately...the amount of times someone dangerous gets out of sick bay seems to be 100% so far.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've done a lot of spoilers/reveals and I have some thoughts on the subject based on my personal experience.

knightnday wrote:
The mechanics will come very shortly after the book is widely available. If that is the selling point for some customers you only have to wait. It won't change anything in the book if you don't have the exact mechanics for a week or two and it leaves room in the various threads for discussion of the book from people that have them. Piling on with requests for every bit of minutia robs some patrons from experiencing the book when they get it.

"The mechanics will be available in an OGL website in a couple weeks" is a double-sided argument. The argument on one hand is, why can't people be patient and wait a couple weeks? The argument on the other hand is, if the mechanics are going to be freely available in a couple weeks, what's the point of waiting?

My opinion is that the argument for discussing things once PDFs become available is the stronger argument for a few reasons. The OGL sites (at lest the ones I'm familiar with)aren't organized so that it's easy to find only the contents of a particular book. Even the PRD doesn't include things like Companions; it only includes RPG line hardcovers. So if you want to know what the content of a particular softcover, the product thread becomes the best place to find it (and has the advantage of driving traffic to the publisher's website instead of a third party website).

Another big one (for me) is that all that beautiful artwork and delicious, flavorful fluff isn't available on an OGL website. If you want to know if there are a few paragraphs about Hellknights in that book or which Iconics appear in the art, you really have to ask. For some people, those are reasons to buy the book.

Some people don't have a local game shop that stocks every new book so you can peruse them. Big box bookstores are hit and miss on whether or not they'll have a particular thing on the shelf and it might take months before they do. "Just flip through be book and decide" becomes problematic when you can't easily get a physical copy to flip through.

Regarding robbing some patrons of the experience of discovery, that's why the spoiler button should be used (but more on that later). Even if the spoiler button doesn't get used, these aren't novels or movies where knowing that a certain feat provides a +1 bonus to sneak attacks made by worshipers of Norgorber is going to spoil the while thing.

knightnday wrote:
A general synopsis of the book, something like what donato did on the Qadira thread, is both interesting and helpful in the discussion without being a cut and paste of the mechanics from the book. I'd personally rather get a feeling of all parts of the book than the mechanics, in any case, as well as what someone thinks about the book.

On the topic of vagueness, an example was used recently about bastard swords and saying that something like "characters that use bastard swords will find this book useful" was ok, while saying something like "there's a feat called [some feat] that grants a +2 to attacks with a bastard sword" is too much. This is a detail oriented game with a heavy emphasis on character-building. Saying a book has some options for bastard sword characters is almost useless because whether or not something is useful is completely dependent on the details of the character and the thing in question. There are a lot of players who derive most of their enjoyment of this game from the character-building aspects instead of the fluffy world-building stuff. Some people only care about mechanics, others only care about fluff, and everyone else probably falls somewhere in the middle.

Another thing to keep in mind, along these lines, is PFS. A lot of people play PFS exclusively and they need to own the book in order to use the option. Whether or not their character can use a mechanical option from a book might be the sole driving force behind whether or not they buy the book. As PFS is a more tightly controlled environment than a home campaign (where you can just ask your GM if you can change your character to accommodate a new option), these kinds of details can become very important to those customers. There's a timeliness factor too; getting the details earlier rather than later can mean buying a book earlier rather than later and using the option now instead of months from now.

Brother Fen wrote:
No you can't have their books for free. If you don't want to buy a book for its content, then wait for it to hit the PRD. d20pfsrd or Archives of Nethys.

I don't think I've seen anyone advocate for getting all the content for free. The mechanical options are going to show up on those websites anyway, so that much is already going to be free.

PRD - Only the content from RPG line hardcovers is in the PRD. If you want to look up something from a Campaign Setting or Companion, you won't find it.
d20pfsrd - Isn't organized in a way to make it useful for seeing what is included in an individual book. Also, mechanical things with proper names or Paizo IP can't be referenced.
Archives of Nethys - This one I don't know much about because it's blocked where I do most of OGL hunting. Maybe all the information is available and well-organized, but I've heard Archives is a little slow on adding material.

Chris Lambertz wrote:
The guidelines for the Product Discussion forum have not really ever been specifically laid out in our Community Guidelines. I think that there's been some confusion and conflicting messaging in terms of how Paizo prefers that those threads should go. We are reading this thread, we do want your feedback on this, and will be regrouping internally to suss out some "house rules" to possibly add to our guidelines page so that they are readily available.

This is the case. I've had PMs from Paizo employees saying "good job on the spoilers" and recently there have been posts like those in the OP, so the messaging (from my POV) has been conflicting. "More rules" isn't really my favorite answer, but it will depend on what the actual rules are before I'll judge them.

On that note, I've sort of evolved some personal guidelines on product spoilers/reveals over the time I've been doing them. I've never put them into words, but I'll give it a shot below (spoilered for length):

Spoiler:

1) The spoiler button - When I answer a question, I try to hide the answer behind a spoiler button. This way, people that want to know can click on it and find out and people that don't aren't assaulted with info they'd rather not know. Also, I try to quote the question I'm answering so that people can find the answers they want and skip the ones they don't.

2) Don't copy-paste - I try paraphrase or summarize. This one is especially egregious if people are copying-pasting non-mechanical, fluffy stuff. The exception I make to this is...

3) The Table of Contents - This is the only thing I think is ok to copy-paste because it's nothing more than a list of broad topics and pages numbers. There are no details to give away and nothing to paraphrase, but people always want to see the ToC, I guess, so they know how many pages are dedicated to "Feats" or whatever.

4) Don't give away everything - To me this is all about giving out some information to people who've been waiting months for it and generating excitement about whatever book just came out. Through the act of paraphrasing/summarizing, I don't put all the details in there. I might leave out things like the type of bonus something grants, some prerequisites, etc. After all, it's much easier to boil a feat down to "grants a +2 bonus to Diplomacy in certain situations." I realize this is in conflict with my statements above about how some people might only be interested in detailed mechanics, but that was a discussion on what some people are looking for and this is about how I like to approach disseminating information (ie. not all of it).

5) I generally don't spoil the fluff by giving detailed answers to it. Fluff is the thing Paizo does best and fluff is the stuff that's not going to show up on OGL sites because it's IP and not covered by the OGL.

6) Be positive - I'm not always a fan of something (like Kitsune in the recent Beast book) and I don't always answer questions about things (see Kitsune above). However, I try to be positive about the answers. I try not answer, "what does [feat] do," with something like, "[feat] is dumb/suboptimal/poorly-designed." Not all options are for me, but they might be a good option for someone (except Kitsune; I'm not participating in your Fox-tailed-lady fantasies*).

* - I'm mostly kidding.

One more thing I want to mention: mechanics versus fluff:
The majority of questions I've fielded are about game mechanics. Mechanics seem to be what people have the most questions about (again, details that affect all the +'s of you character). It's also the stuff that's going to end up on a website in a few weeks. The fluff tends to be along the lines of, "is [organization] mentioned in this book?" instead of being highly detailed questions. I've had instances, mostly recently in the Fey book, where I refused to answer a fluffy question because I thought it be more fun for people to find out on their own.

People ask questions and talk about these books because the books have been on the schedule for months and the same people have been discussing them, speculating on them, and (in some cases) obsessing. All that excitement comes to a boil when PDFs start going out. People, many of whom are already buying the book anyway and are just waiting for PDFs to go live, are just really excited. A non-trivial number of people in product threads have said "I wasn't going to buy this until I found out [something] is in it, so now I'll get it." After months of speculation and hype, I hate to see a big, wet blanket get thrown on the people that are most interested in a product by putting a moratorium of sorts on discussion from the time subscribers start getting PDFs until it goes on sale to non-subscribers. That suck a lot of air out of the room.

There's probably more I could say, but I think these are the major points I wanted to hit. regardless of how Paizo wants to handle this going forward, I'll respect their wishes.

-Skeld

EDIT: I'm not hear to argue, call people out, hurt feelings, or cause any drama. I'm just here to have fun, talk about this game, the setting, my game, and the occasional movie/show/book, etc. When it comes to product releases, I like to see people excited and join in with them. I hope that makes sense.

Dark Archive

I tend to think product discusion even discusiion of game mechanics is a good thing.

A recent example would be Games workshops traitor legions book were most of the crunch contents was spoiled pretty early on and frankly it was the most hype I had seen from a Gamesworkshop book in some time contrast that with the imperial agents book that released a week later and with sevearly cut back prievews for it and there wasent much if any excitement at all.


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GeneticDrift wrote:
Dr. McCoy wrote:
Brigadier General Yesterday wrote:
How do these people keep getting out of sick bay!!
Damn it Jim, I'm a Doctor not a warden!

Ive been watching the origonal star trek lately...the amount of times someone dangerous gets out of sick bay seems to be 100% so far.

You may die any of a thousand things in McCoy's sickbay, but most of them in the process will give you enough super strength to snap the restraints of his beds.


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Skeld wrote:
Stuff

Ya know, I'm not sure I've ever actually agreed with Skeld before, but...all of this is awesome. Everything Skeld just said is exactly why I read the product discussion threads.

And for the record, I thing Skeld is one of the best people at answering questions about a just-released book without just copying the entire book.


I don't work for Paizo and I don't represent their interests in any way. I am a long time gamer that appreciates the love and care they put into their product and have no desire to see them go out of business. If anyone wants to help Paizo or assist their fans in learning about their products, then write a REVIEW.

Discuss it in the review.

Posting tables of contents and discussing which pictures are in a book are one thing, but there is a fine line that has to be walked when discussing the story or mechanical elements of a book. A discussion is one thing, but out and out giving away content is another thing.

Who is to judge how much is enough and what is acceptable? Paizo makes that decision. When you have developers begging you to not give their content away, then it's time to start listening.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I believe the line is between describing the content and copy/pasting it. It's fine to say 'there is X that does this', as long as you aren't going page by page giving away everything. Requests for specific topics are okay in moderation, and describing what you love is too. Like plagiarism, rephrasing is key.


Overall, I agree with most if not all of what Skeld wrote. I've enjoyed many of their reviews.

That said, for me it is sort of like movie trailers, you know? Some, like the original Batman movie with Michael Keaton were short and gave you enough to interest you, while most of the modern ones are nothing short of the Cliff's Notes of the movie, with all the best jokes and whatnot shown.

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