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Out of the Blue

A pair of .plan updates by 3D Realms' Joe Siegler and id Software's Jim Dosť, who formerly worked at 3D Realms himself, have the sad news that former 3D Realms programmer William Scarboro recently died of a severe asthma attack (also the cause of the untimely demise of Doug Myres last year). His obituary, which Joe points out is generally accurate (but has the date of death wrong), has details on the services that were held yesterday, and both updates offer thoughts on working with William, and other personal reminiscences. Update: There have also been subsequent .plan updates on this from 3D Realms' Scott Miller and Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to William's friends and family.

Play Time: Alien Hominid (Flash required). Thanks [MC-2]:DOoZeR.
Link of the Day: American Lung Association's Asthma Attacks Page. For asthmatics (like MrsBlue) and those of us who love them.
Story of the Day: Judo students foil carjacking. Thanks Travy-trav and Lurch.
Tombstone ATM Doles Out Inheritance. Thanks Brett.
Explosive Catch. Thanks Core114.
Wild Science: Fertile Imaginations. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Weird Science: India calls in X-Files agents to unmask face-scratching alien. Thanks EvilToast.

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114 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 5.
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34. Re: Anon posting Aug 20, 2002, 15:23 anon@216.23
 
Absolutely. All human societies segregate themselves -- it's a survival instinct that must be purposefully repressed.

However, there is a definite difference between a society that segregates itself by united choice (for example, here, registered people hiding unregistered posts), and one which is artifically segregated, as is an example in regards to Blue turning off anon posting. The difference between these societies, and the quality of connection and morale is what is important here.

You are absolutely right about the newcomer issue though. Newcomers who must immediately begin a drawn out process (and regardless of how drawn-out this may appear would vary obviously -- but the point is that it is additional requirements that simply posting as an anon) would be intimidating and daunting towards a newcoming, and could elicit an image of "This is an elitist news site for the priviledged". Whether we want to do this or not is of course, of importance.

 
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33. Quick observation Aug 20, 2002, 15:22 JHMirage
 
Without getting too involved with the whole ethical debate over removing Anon postings, I'd like to point out just how cogent, linear (for a message board) and (mostly) civil this discussion is... even after two full pages.

You'd never, EVER see anything even close to this with Anon postings enabled.

Blue- it was the right thing to do, regardless of the ultimate "last straw" cause. This thread should demonstrate it.

Seriously- this message right here is the most off-topic yet, and that's impressive. Most of the messages don't even contain any d00ds or suxxors or the letters 'u' and 'r' used as full english words.

I'm so happy I feel like phoning my H.S. English teacher, just to say, "hi!"

Jeff

 
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Computer over?
Virus = very yes?
That's not a good prize!
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32. Re: Anon posting Aug 20, 2002, 15:14 Wazootyman
 
I would argue that many communities that have no forms of segregation and no clubs or cliques exist in such a state simply by virtue of their small size. I believe that larger human societies naturally "segregate" themselves by means of organizations and social groupings. Though an "all-accepting" board would definitely be ideal, I don't believe it is feasible with such a large group of people.

As for establishing a psychological attachment to the site purely through social camaraderie... well I suppose it is possible, but even that takes time. Newcomers, if required to register for membership before being allowed to even intermingle with the rest of the community, may be reluctant to establish the connection in the first place, which was my initial point.

 
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31. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 15:10 anon@216.23
 
Because the benefactor's interest is in the community.

This is why he runs a website, yes? I can't honestly assume he's putting this much work into a website that he intended for his own private use.

 
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30. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 15:06 Atomic
 
My gripe with this (and really, whether it's the best solution or not, is irrelevant to the point) is that it was suddenly instated without much concensus or discussion from the community

Explain to me why a democratic process should be part of a website provided to you for free courtesy of the generosity and entertainment of its benefactor.

 
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
-George Bernard Shaw
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29. Re: Anon posting Aug 20, 2002, 14:54 anon@216.23
 
Psychologically (actually, socially) speaking, can this attachment be attained as well by opening everyone with welcome arms?

To put it another way -- would you assume that a society in which clubs and cliques don't form, but which an all-accepting modus operendi is practiced, would be less connecting than one which selectively raises one person's status over another? Think very carefully about this, especially in societies and communities that are more primative, in how they engage their day to day lives, and what role the community plays.

For another observation, observe societies in history that actively practice segregation of their members, through class (as would seem most appropriate here), sex, or gender, and ask yourself about the quality (and the visible social result after the segregation) of the connections which result.

I agree that this is not in and of itself a argument for or against anon posting, but it's lesson can be extrapolated into the realm of anon/registered posting.

 
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28. Anon posting Aug 20, 2002, 14:40 Wazootyman
 
I think the real difference in allowing/disallowing anon posting is one of atmosphere. When anonymous users are allowed to post, the board has the feel of a public forum. When they are banned, it has a feel closer to that of a club. Granted, the club is hardly exclusive, but still, the overall atmosphere is different.
Over the years I have read Blue's News, I have become more comfortable with the idea of directly associating myself with the site. Now that I am required to, I have registered. However, those that are unfamiliar with the site or don't feel that they are a part of the community will hesitate to take the somewhat symbolic step of attaching themselves, in a semi-permanent way, to Blue's.
When you are not a member, the only association you have with the site is when you log in. On registering, a connection has been established. Even when you are not on the site, there is a server, somewhere, with your nickname and email address. Psychologically, I believe that this is a lot more important than it appears to be on the surface.

This is not an argument for or against anon posting. It is just on observation.

 
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27. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 14:07 anon@216.23
 
There are two solutions I would offer.

If Blue and the other people here are banning because they are overly sensitive to some comments that anon posters make, I would allow anon posting, encourage registered posters to only view registered comments if they want to (which is also interesting, since I believe that the majority of registered posters view unregistered comments by choice -- otherwise, they wouldn't be complaining about the boards since they aren't seeing unregistered posts), and perhaps introduce a more robust messageboard system that allows for rating (hiding and unhiding) of comments by the community themselves.

Otherwise, if everyone here is mature enough to deal with having to read things they don't like, just reinstate anon posting, and ignore the stuff that's offensive.

My gripe with this (and really, whether it's the best solution or not, is irrelevant to the point) is that it was suddenly instated without much concensus or discussion from the community (aside from uninsightful comments like "YES I AGREE" and "STUPID N00BIES ON OUR BOARDS"). As I said before, I encourage people to go around to different websites that have community forums, and look at which ones are all signal, no noise. You simply won't find them.

Realizing this, it immediately becomes apparent that Blue's action isn't actually solving the problem -- it's like putting a Band-Aid on an arterial wound, or the circus clown who is hired to juggle and make balloon animals for the kids, while the medics carry the victims away from a tragic Ferris Wheel accident.

The problem isn't that anons are being dumb, because the same argument is made that many anons are actually posting useful information. The problem is two fold: that people aren't willing to read things that they don't like, and that the community, as a whole, does not have any sort of democratic regulation as to what they want passed or not. The closest thing we have is the option to view or hide anon postings. By forcing everyone to be registered, we've removed that -- now we have to read everything, even comments that a troll posts out of spite, and which Blue then later would have to delete (which he said he hates doing).

So what's happened is that a decision was made that certainly appeals to a knee-jerk reaction that has instant gratification, but in the long run, at best, simply won't add anything of use to the site because it's too easily circumvented, and at worst, is going to make the site's messageboards more unpleasant to visit because of spiteful trolls hell-bent on revenge.

The solution here is more options, and to allow customization from the people. Why not allow a "do not display posts by 'x'" list? Or a Friends list? Comment ratings, to hide garbage posts? These are all things that add more options, add more of a democratic community feel, and enhance the experience for everyone to use the messageboard, not just the registered elite.

Blue's hesitation is, understandably, that he doesn't want to deal with so a robust system like this, and that it's simply easier to just patch on solution after solution after solution. Unfortunently, as we've seen in the software world, this isn't a solution at all, and in the real world, it's a very bad execution of policy.

 
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26. No subject Aug 20, 2002, 14:00 Xombie
 
Blue and Frans have both been in consideration of diabling anon posts for quite some time (I should know, I've led a campaign in favor of it for quite a few months now).
Insulting someone's death or even taking it lightly while doing it under the veil of anonymity is something that would certainly quialify as "the last straw".

Anon posting isn't a revolution, it's not a lifestyle, it's simply either laziness or paranoia. While neither of these things are atrocities when it comes to something as simple as a bulletin board, laziness isn't ever something to be catered to, and nothing at Blue's has ever warranted the paranoia.

In any case, you'd be surprised what people would do under complete anonymity that they would not dare consider with even a semi-permanent tag.

It's most certainly not the end of the world.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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25. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 13:53 Atomic
 
Are you saying that I am in the wrong for trying to understand and potentially help this site?

If that is your motivation, no. But I do question your argument if you think that the state of the boards lately is a good thing, and many feel that it is due to abuse of anon posting. If you don't agree, that's fine, but don't question the integrity of the site's owner. If you know of a better solution, offer it, but I think Blue's decision is a sound one, and long over due.

 
Avatar 2718
 
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
-George Bernard Shaw
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24. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 13:33 Rudy
 
I still don't see why you care. What difference does it make what reasons Blue uses to come to a decision?

IT'S HIS WEBSITE.

I don't understand why you cannot grasp that concept.

What I don't understand, is when folks get a little worked up over someone playing Devil's Advocate - it's a role I've always found neccessary to the proper functioning of any community group, as to not charge blindly in one direction or the other.

Whew, had to dig out that username/password that I haven't used in ages.

--Rudy
"Let's Gekiga in!"
 
--Rudy
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23. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 13:20 anon@216.23
 
Well, I'm trying to understand why, as someone who admittedly runs a gaming news site for the community, he's purposely impeding the community-aspect of the site -- at the least, making anons have to register (as I have), at worst, purposely dissuading non-registered people from voicing their opinions, as being restricted if you're unregistered is a fairly clear sign that your opinion is not welcome.

The justification he's using is that too many anons were making purposely poor comments on the messageboard, which I would certainly agree with. But what hasn't been addressed yet is what happens when those anons decide to register and cause problems out of spite for Blue. As I was getting to before, there really isn't a difference between an anon and a registered user except that your name is underlined.

In light of this, I'm trying to understand exactly what the problem is, so I can suggest a better way to approach the problem. As much as Blue hates deleting posts, I think in the future, this is going to be a much more frequent occurrance.

In the future, the messageboards are either going to be full of deleted messages, or everyone's just going to have to grow some thicker skin. Neither of these outcomes is what the action was intended to create. If you can name me a website that bans anon posting, and has no noise and all signal (to coin a Slashdot term), I'm all ears for it. But you'll never find one, because there is no good solution for the main problem, which is "sometimes, people will say things that you just don't agree with". No amount of banning or censoring will solve that.

Are you saying that I am in the wrong for trying to understand and potentially help this site?

 
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22. Asthma and programmers Aug 20, 2002, 13:13 KillSwitch
 
This is so strange, I recently read about another game programmer from canada, Dave Pridie http://www.bretz.ca/dave/ who also died of a sudden asthma attack last year. Thats 3 people that I know of now who have died suddenly from this. Is this a common problem?! It just really sucks.

 
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21. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 13:12 Atomic
 
I still don't see why you care. What difference does it make what reasons Blue uses to come to a decision?

IT'S HIS WEBSITE.

I don't understand why you cannot grasp that concept.

 
Avatar 2718
 
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
-George Bernard Shaw
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20. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 13:06 anon@216.23
 
No, not at all. I don't see how I'm tossing a fit either, but that might just be me.

I'm not talking about Blue's website. Blue can do what he wants with his website, as I told him before. I'm talking about how Blue deals with himself. I find it somewhat suspicious that suddenly, after a joke is made that Blue associates with his asthmatic wife, anon posting gets turned off, and Blue starts becoming extremely vocal about the problem. As I eluded in a previous post, had MsBlue lost her arm from a failed suicide attempt in a crocodile pit, we'd be getting Crocodile Saftey links, and at the first joke by an anon, Blue would turn off anon posting.

Search through the archives and messageboard for any jokes about asthma. Then search through them for jokes about suicide, death, or other misfortunes. The latter gets repeated over and over, ad nauseum. The former gets said once, and the hammer falls. Whether or not this is truely why Blue disabled anon posting is unknown to me (and anyone else, except Blue), but this sounds very suspicious.

I'm not making demands at all. I'm not saying "turn anon posting on!" or nonsense like that, because it's his website. I'm simply trying to figure out what code of ethics that Blue is running, because it seems leaky.

 
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19. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 12:53  Blue 
 
Because of a few bad posters ("thanks to the concerted efforts of a few"), you're going to overreact ("Truth is that I may be overreacting to that post in particular...") and turn off anon posting...

No, that is not a valid summary of my points. It would be more like:

Because of an OVERWHELMING number of bad posts, regardless of how many posters were responsible for them, I am reacting in what I think is a perfectly reasonable manner, after waiting longer to make this decision than I imagine most others in my position would.

...which you admit resulted in useful posts ("the many folks out there who provided valuable opinions and insights anonymously...")?

Yes, you got that part right, I am indeed sorry that the valuable anonymous posts are being lost in this process, but we are also losing valuable registered posts because users who have bothered to register are disappointed in the signal-to-noise ratio cause by incessant trolling.

I can't believe this is so shocking... most messageboards do not allow anon posting for the obvious reasons we've been discussing here (I wish we had the programming resources to implement a Slashdot-style karma system, but we do not). We used to have surprisingly little trouble from anon posters way back when, but it's a situation that's gotten worse over time. I'm sorry you disagree with my judgment here, but it is a decision solely based on my ideas of what's best for the site.
 
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Stephen "Blue" Heaslip
Blue's News Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, El Presidente for Life
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18. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 12:53 Atomic
 
Anon@216.23;

Exactly what is your problem with this? Did you use to toss a fit when you had to play football by your neighbor's rules when you were in his yard?

This is Stephen's website. He can do what he wants. Period. You don't pay to use it. If you did, as a customer, you'd have a right to make demands. Since its free, you do not.

 
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
-George Bernard Shaw
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17. Re: Give it a try... Aug 20, 2002, 12:49 jalon
 
I seen this coming for awhile. First the game site starts sounding like I am at the relatives. Now censorship.

I hate to break it to you blue, you are old. You are acting old.

Seems like bluesnews was great as long as you were a young gamer. Now that it paid for your home it is a job. Now that you are old you don't even talk about games anymore. Now you act and sound like an old guy, father figure kinda.
Updates used to appear 5 or 6 in the morning western time. Now they seem to straggle in whenever someone gets out of bed.

I don't go to game sites for conservative father figure conversation who sleep in. I like the sites that are run by rabid fans of video games. I want infectious enthusiasm for FPS, not cat sneezes on hamburgers.

Oh well, it's been coming for months. Everything has it's prime and then it's decline. ;(

 
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16. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 12:40 anon@216.23
 
So to summarize:

Because of a few bad posters ("thanks to the concerted efforts of a few"), you're going to overreact ("Truth is that I may be overreacting to that post in particular...") and turn off anon posting, which you admit resulted in useful posts ("the many folks out there who provided valuable opinions and insights anonymously...")?

There's really no better way to handle this? Seems like knee-jerk "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" to me.

 
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15. Re: Duke Nukem Guy Aug 20, 2002, 12:32  Blue 
 
Your website, your rules. That's fine, and why shouldn't it be? But...

Ah, we were doing so great until the "but."

...it does seem fairly hypocritical to take a holier-than-thou stance at this, when things in the past have warranted just as much, if not more of a response. Just because something is close to home doesn't ethically make it more deserving of judgement.

Clearly I have not made it apparent enough that this is something that's been contemplated for some time now, because as you say, other past events have warranted such a move, so acting like this was a reaction to a single post is completely losing track of the issue.

Further, just to set the record straight, that MrsBlue is an asthma sufferer has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was not amused at trying to turn this all into another DNF flame war. Truth is that I may be overreacting to that post in particular, but that too has to do with the fact that I'd basically already decided anon posters were starting to do more harm than good, and it was just a matter of time now before anon posting ceased here.

More importantly, though this subject came up in this thread, this was not actually even the post that broke the camel's back on anon posting, it was actually the homophobe that was posting multiple giant troll posts with his attempts at HTML to every QuakeCon thread.

Okay, "hypocritical," "holier-than-thou," and "ethically" have all now come up... now guess I just have to wait for references to "Nazi," "censorship," and "the first amendment."

And yes Ray, this is at least "until further notice." Sorry to the many folks out there who provided valuable opinions and insights anonymously who will no longer be able to do so thanks ot the concerted efforts of a few.


This comment was edited on Aug 20, 12:36.
 
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Stephen "Blue" Heaslip
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114 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 5.
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