IFDB and entries from TextAdventure.co.uk

IFDB is a database for works of Interactive Fiction. The problem with the games from Quest is that many of them are more like doodles in the back of a book. Not everything on IFDB has to be world class literature, and many speed-IF games are about the same quality. But all of those were individually added because someone thought they were worthy of it. A bot can’t make a decision of worth.

This would be great for me, if it’s not much trouble for the IFDB people.

It’s possible to design your own CSS theme for IFDB and for other people to use your theme. I haven’t looked into it but that may be a way to work this out for people who care. ifdb.tads.org/styles

However on the subject at hand I agree that the Quest bot is not doing those games, their authors, or Quest itself any favors. I like Quest a lot and think it’s an incredibly underrated platform, but just imagine if there was a bot that added every Playfic.com game to IFDB, it’d be kind of silly.

I’ve reviewed tons of random Quest games put up by the bot. I avoid reviewing ones where the game is either half-finished or I strongly suspect from the outset that it may be half-baked. But I feel like the distinction about what the problem with the bot is doesn’t even involve value judgments.

Alex asked what is IFDB. Well, I see IFDB as a site that’s been built by a series of individuals who have looked at the content on the site, said ‘I want game X to be a part of this particular site,’ and who then added game X. Usually they knew all about game X themselves, whether they made it or someone else made it. Exceptions are commercial games or old games that were established in gaming culture, which are often added without the adder playing them - but still out of the adder’s specific interest in adding them.

Individual Quest authors aren’t having any kind of relationship with IFDB or making a decision about whether to add their game in light of what IFDB is currently like.

So yeah, I’d include myself amongst those who’ve felt spammed by too many unfinished games appearing on IFDB, which has intefered with the way I’d normally use it, even though I have reviewed a decent number of these games. I don’t feel the value of games being added where no individual has necessarily vetted the game or expressed interest in adding it to this particular site after considering the nature of this site.

Anyone can try changing what IFDB is like. Twine authors have changed it a lot recently by becoming present, but they still add games one at a time out of specific interest, so that’s been compatible with the way the site’s always worked. The bot is throwing up incompatibilities.


Let me just point out something, and because I started this thread, I should also be the one to bring this up, in all fairness:

A while ago, tons of spectrum games were methodically added to IFDB. It was huge loads at a time. I don’t think it was a bot, but it was also a time when if you wanted to make an announcement, chances are it would soon be buried under an avalanche of Spectrum games.

It was very inconvenient, but no one said anything about it. I think the difference between that and the current situation is:

  • Spectrum games are practically finite (some people still make them, but not at a rate that’d spam IFDB). Eventually the deluge would stop. And it did.
  • Someone cared enough to add these entries to the database one by one. It was even themed, of a sort - I recall it came in batches arranged by language. Power to the guy.
  • Spectrum games are a part of IF history, and sure, lots of them are crappy, for different reasons (almost all of them the old troupes: guess the verb, guess the noun, mazes, hunger/light limits, inane solutions to puzzles), but most were even released commercially. It’s easier to see them fit into a database.

That’s not quite true.

I don’t see any real issue with banning the textadventure bot if all it’s doing is flooding IFDB with bad games. If Quest authors want to add their games to IFDB, and I’m sure some have in the past, they can still do so. Alex doesn’t seem to have any intention of disabling the bot himself, or even listening to any suggestions, so if anything is going to be done to stop bad Quest games flooding IFDB, it needs to be done on the IFDB side.

Ok, then - no one said anything negative about it.

Ironically, now the textadventures page has been spammed with older Twine games, and the “Latest” page doesn’t have “next/previous” buttons.

Eerm… if those games get into IFDB there’ll be duplicate entries, I hope the bot can spot that,

According to the Quest forum yesterday, Alex has disabled the bot so some good has come of this thread.

forum.textadventures.co.uk/viewt … =10&t=3416

The discussion does prove interesting to follow. Thanks for the link.


Maybe the whole problem with this issue is how Alex took it. His point of view as expressed here is at odds with everything else in this thread, as I should not have to explicitly point out that the games per se are not unwelcome at IFDB. The rest of the post is just bitterness.

In a sense, I am sorry about it - I did not wish for it to happen this way, I realised this was tricky ground and tried to make it obejctive, sensible, and not hurt the person who’s maintaining Quest and trying to keep it visible.

But to put it bluntly, that person made that very difficult. Which is why I’m not as sorry as I would have been.

Yeah, I didn’t want the take-away to be that, either. It’s just that there are a lot of student games on textadventures.co.ok, and I’m not sure they’d be a good fit for IFDB, or even if the authors would want them on IFDB.

So who decides what games are good and what games are bad, then? Being “bad” doesn’t seem like a very objective criterion to be excluded from a database, especially when it already has star ratings and the user can filter to find games with good ratings.

If the IFDB is not supposed to contain bad games, what are the low star ratings for then?

I think the main problem (at least for me) was the fact that textadventures.co.uk authors were unable to opt out of IFDB, and it should be up to the author or community whether a game is, well, enough of a game to be catalogued. No one (I hope) is suggesting that Quest games are bad per se, and you’ll see from the thread linked above that members of the Quest community are happy with the bot going down, as would members of the community of any other authoring tool.

Also, if every IF system/venue autodumped all of its games on IFDB, no one would bat an eyelid at Quest doing it too. But IFDB would be pretty damn useless for someone looking for games, and not a million iterations of ‘Hey, this system is cool, and look what I can make in an hour!’

I’d go as far as to say, in all honesty, that most Quest games are bad. You only have to look at what’s highly rated on the Quest site to see that Quest users slap ratings of 5 out of 5 on the worst games imaginable. Saying that, there are some good Quest games out there - I’ve only played one really great game myself, but I’ve played a few others that were definitely above average and, with a bit of effort, could have been turned into great games.

So there’s certainly no problem, as far as I’m concerned, with adding Quest games to IFDB. The problem arises when every Quest game is added - including the ones that are clearly not finished and the ones that are very basic first attempts never intended to be released properly and simply added to IFDB by the bot - and they end up drowning out the games written with other systems. Being perfectly serious, if your first foray into the world of IF is seeing a dozen Quest games on IFDB, you’re not going to be impressed.

Removing the bot means that if Quest authors want their games on IFDB, and from what I gather a good few of them don’t, they can still be added in the same way games written with different systems can be added.

My take on the community consensus as expressed in this thread boils down to something like this:

An IFDB entry should represent a work which at least one person felt deserved an IFDB entry.

Seems self-evident enough that nobody gave it much thought, until The Case of the Diligent Robot (who was Not a Person Alas) forced the issue.

Don’t want to bring up the issue again, but in regards to:

…I just saw something even more baffling.

Yeah. That was intended to be the XYZZY-eligibility standard, in fact, and I just assumed that it was and would continue to be true of IFDB.

I wish I hadn’t read this thread from beginning to end.

Until I read through this topic, I was genuinely intrigued by Quest. Quest looked like a good place to start exploring game design and programming knowledge. A very simple, yet powerful tool it is.

Heck, I’ve considered Quest to be the underdog among the more popular design systems for interactive fiction such as Inform 7, Hugo, and TADs. Quest is a powerful design system that does not deserve the negative public image forced upon it by the hefty amount of awful games that Quest users pump out.
I felt that Quest was underrated. Quest should be seen as the fantastic tool that it is; it should not be judged based upon its community and the community’s endeavors.

I wished Alex the best in his journey to bring about his vision of introducing interactive fiction to the masses, where everyone would enjoy writing stories and creating games that would be shared among all people.
I wished him the best in his attempts to turn textadventures.co.uk and Quest into his living.

I felt for the man when ActiveLit failed to secure a place in Emerge Education '14.
Alex’s future seemed to depend upon the success of ActiveLit receiving funding, and Alex’s decision to set aside interactive fiction as his hobby following the rejection of his product reinforces that idea.
The man struggled long and hard to achieve his goals, only to fall short of completing his objective at arguably the end of his arduous journey.

But, I read this and my compassion for Alex falters. I have a sour taste in my mouth as well.
I’ve come to know that Alex is a bit blunt in his speech, focusing mainly on the intellectual side of a conversation as opposed to the euphematic part, but I have a bit of difficulty swallowing his demeanor in this thread, despite the notion that I rarely allow myself to be bothered by words alone.

Y’know, there’s a saying that goes: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
If I had created a product that I wanted everyone to use, and I wanted everyone to tell their friends about it so that my product would gain popularity, I wouldn’t be going around trying to gain the ire of potential consumers.

All of his superb intellect and brilliance…
It’s a shame…

But hey, I don’t condemn people on a whim.
Alex, I wish ya the best, man. You’ve accomplished a great deal and your accomplishments are worthy of praise.
I do, however, hope that you will realize that seeking companionship in disagreement is far better than establishing enemies over trivial issues.

Well, nothing in this thread should reflect negatively on Quest itself. It still has all the great qualities you mentioned. And this is only one incident, he may have taken it too much to heart (understandably - he thought we were attacking his baby) but overall he’s a nice, reasonable guy. Please don’t judge him OR quest (especially Quest) by this thread.