Apparently there’s a bot that regularly adds new games from textadventures.co.uk into IFDB, which is actually quite neat.
But very very very many games released are quite bad. The authors of a lot of them don’t much care about the quality, or if they do they have their own internal compass which points to a magnetic SSE. What’s more, most of them release their games to that website and that website alone, wanting only to share it with that particular community. It’s doubtful they’d even want to publish their games on IFDB.
I’m all for keeping IFDB complete, but there are games being churned out and released at TextAdventures that… well, I feel IFDB is being flooded with crappiness.
I could have PMd Alex about this, but that would have been rather one-sided - I’d much rather create some discussion, since it IS a relevant point: what constitutes an entry to IFDB? I’d normally say “Everything that’s released and is IF”. But the result is the occasional flood of games, some of them quite bad. A lot of them are Gamebooks (with a propensity for arriving at passages with no way forward OR way back), dilluting the IF of the DB.
Thoughts, please. I’d very much like that by the time Alex sees this thread, there’ll be a few opinions here for him to chew over.
It’s a tricky one. The sheer amount of crappy Quest entries can be frustrating, and the fact they all come at once puts IF in a bad light for any newcomers to IFDB. Its equally unfortunate that they make Quest itself look bad, when the only reason there are so many bad games made for the platform is its astonishing ease of use.
There’s no perfect solution, is there? I suppose you could say there’s no automatic submission for any other system, so there shouldn’t be one for Quest (or rather textadventures.co.uk, which doesn’t just accept Quest games, and I think is also partly responsible for the increased Twine presence on IFDB). Or you could have a tick box when submitting to textadventures.co.uk that asks if you want your game to be added to IFDB, perhaps with a text box making it clear there are no strict submission rules but that it would generally be advised to make sure your game is complete, spell checked and reasonably competent to avoid harsh reviews, etc.
I don’t mind the entries for Quest games so much as I mind that a whole lot of them come at once, which wipes rarer and more sporadic updates off the front page.
I’d suggest perhaps that a Quest game should be auto-entered to IFDB if it gains three ratings of three or more stars from the Quest community. Of course, they should also have an “opt-in” when they post their game (“Leave this box blank unless you would like your game to be automatically submitted to IFDB if it is highly rated.”)
I, too, am a fan of making IFDB submissions opt-in. A lot of what comes in through textadventures.co.uk are obviously by high/middle schoolers, and I don’t think exposing their work to wider ridicule without their express consent is a good idea.
The thing is, almost every Quest game receives multiple high ratings, whether it’s any good or not. Seriously, just check out some of the ratings and reviews. I get the feeling some people rate everything 5 out of 5 even if they personally can’t stand the game.
Alex, I’d find your metaphor stronger if every time any kid learning the ropes published a new, public YouTube video for their friends, a script generated a new IMDB entry for it.
I would like to add my voice in support of Dan’s suggestion to keep the script active (it’s certainly a cool idea), but to add an “Add this game to IFDB” opt-in option that defaults to “no”.
Give your authors a chance to share their game with the world and open it up to public scrutiny if they feel it’s ready for it, because that is awesome! But please, make sure they know what they’re getting into – a simple checkbox may indeed suffice – and don’t surprise them by training a world-visible spotlight on their after-school learning project when they don’t know what the IFDB entails, because that’s not very awesome.
I know there has been a lot of discussion over the years on the Quest forum about some kind of moderation being put in place to either prevent or cut down on the amount of bad games, but I don’t recall if anything’s ever been done about it. Considering the amount of bad Quest games added to IFDB, I’m guessing not.
Of course, one of the big problems is that most of the Quest users seem to consider their games to be great and that anyone who offers the slightest bit of criticism is being unfairly harsh. Want me to link the thread where I mentioned that there was a crate in a game that you couldn’t examine or take or interact with at all, and the author then quoted a Wikipedia entry as to the definition of a crate because clearly I was too simple to know what a crate was, and then someone else stepped in and started flaming me for daring to criticise such a thing? Until such time as Quest users start trying to improve their games and stop just giving each other 5 out of 5 for the most unplayable messes imaginanable, nothing is likely to improve.
Having a chance to make bad-quality stuff, and having a supportive community to make it for, can both act as ingredients towards making good stuff eventually. I don’t think the concern initially voiced in this thread involves modifying the Quest community’s internal tools or workspaces.
Rather, it’s the perception that a lot of work from within the Quest community that isn’t always ready for the IFDB’s level of global presentation (and implied calls for criticism) has started to show up on the IFDB by automated means, and that it’s this uncurated crossover specifically that may be proving detrimental for both IFDB as a service and Quest as a platform – and may not be doing many favors for the authors of these works either, who I suspect in many cases are in the earliest stages of learning a cool new tool.
I absolutely support Quest authors’ having a space to play and explore and share without fear of rejection, which it seems like the Quest community’s own website already gives them. (See also Playfic, for Inform.) I do fear that then announcing all this exploratory work on the IFDB may be a step too far. (See also what Playfic does not do, for Inform.)
Usually when there’s a lot of entries, you implement a simple rating system, along with a search filter that defaults to 4-5 stars out of 5. If you played all of those, you can always lower the setting to 3 stars and play those. That ensures that you’ll never ever have to even know how much crap there is.
Internal compass? The last flash game I played, a few hours ago, involved me jumping out windows, having beep with a man with two beeps for hands (to make up for me stealing his mouth), and then spending five minutes trying to collect the protagonists pee into a bottle, and let me tell you, that woman does not know how to pee steadily, and toward the end she was purposely avoiding the bottle, so I had to chase pee all over the place.
…but I liked it. I like odd games there the “inner compass” is set to a strange new direction. I like to explore exotic brains.
…so please don’t filter stuff just because it’s weird. Weird is cool.
For me, the problem has to do with IFDB’s news feed. It used to be that I could pop over to the front page of IFDB every couple of days and see what had happened recently in the front-page news feed. But the news feed only displays six front-page news posts at a time, and there were (for instance) 21 items posted Jan. 7: something like 14 games from textadventures.co.uk, 4 reviews of games from textadventures.co.uk, 1 (obviously awful) game not from textadventures.co.uk, and 2 reviews of games not from textadventures.co.uk. With the feed flushing more than three times a day, it’s just not useful.
I don’t see it as a problem if a lot of bad games are on IFDB; there’s no space limitation for web pages. There is a space limitation for front-page news, though. (Declaring my interest: I dutifully made a news post, as people had been encouraging me to, when I updated my EctoComp entry on New Year’s Eve, and it was off the front page by New Year’s Day so anyone looking at the front page wouldn’t have seen it – though now that I look at it, I think it was pushed off mostly by Twine games and reviews of Twine games, so that’s not textadventures’ problem.)
I suppose this means that, by Alex’s standard that the group with the problem ought to implement the solution, perhaps IFDB ought to implement something such that you have to check a box or something to have your game/review posted on the news feed. Or better yet, there could be a separate feed for announcements, such that in order to push your game/review/update to that feed you actually had to write a little something in a box. So the announcement thread wouldn’t be curated – I don’t think that would be workable – but wouldn’t be flooded by a lot of automatic stuff either. In fact there’s already a separate category for news posts so IFDB would just need to give them a separate feed.
Or perhaps the people who are really interested in keeping up with new stuff just look at the complete news feed and it isn’t a problem.