Given recent discussions I have a lot of concerns about the IFDB being repackaged and repurposed, I’ll admit these are possibly unfounded. But it’s existed for years just as it is, this gigantic, sometimes unwieldly and awkward but unique thing spanning a vast and varied community. Before the absence of anyone at the helm meant it felt like it was everyone’s, and now it belongs to specific people, and it’s hard for me not to speculate on the direction it might go and what things are going to look like a few years down the road.
I am wary in particular of it being used as a promotional tool, but I should make it clearer that I absolutely don’t think there’s any reason anything should change with Mathbrush’s reviews. We all know he would just keep reviewing regardless of anything else so I’m not questioning his motives at all.
From the numbers on people currently active and using the site at all it may not matter at all right now, but again I’m thinking ahead on this. Do the new owners feel any feedback on games should be accepted much like it would be in an app store or Steam or anywhere else, or only on certain games, or reviews meeting certain standards or what? Are monetized games held to a different standard? And the fate of mature games and reviews on mature games obviously was enough to spawn this entire thread.
More importantly, who is the judge of this? Popular mobile games have listings on the IFDB, a dev linking that from Twitter is going to be sending people in our direction. Is this good or bad? I know we have certain ideas about what an acceptable use of the site is coming from the fact it was a archive of free niche games for many many years, but that’s not the case anymore and I’m not sure newer game devs and their fans would understand it that way.
I’m mentioning this in part specifically because I know a listing of the Untold RPG was created, a couple of detailed reviews were posted and then linked for the writers to see in a discord of about a thousand fans. Then shortly later the reviews were deleted by the mods. Whatever the reasons for that, it’s not a great look as the IFDB’s introduction to a large and enthusiastic IF community that had a chance to be welcomed to our side of it.
But at the same time I can obviously see the potential downside of such a situation. There might really be a very limited number of people the IFDB is prepared to handle at a time when a couple hundred votes puts a game in the all time top 10. The mix of classic IF that’s venerable and beloved (but not enough for most people to click on some stars one time) and newer IF with mass appeal, commercial ones include, just makes for a strange mix, and I’m just wondering how it’s going to be handled when this early on there’s already clashes happening.
Having these huge grey areas just leaves room open for abuse on all sides and allegations and complaints, it’s just something it would be better to have clearly established policy on now. The IFTF has to realize that with the more hands on approach being taken they’ve potentially placed themselves in a position where they have to be aware of what all authors are doing anywhere on the internet, where reviewers are coming from and what their motivations are. That seems impossible, so I hope there’s a plan.
(Much of this I was writing in response to the Content Warning thread before the split)