I’m gonna propose something and make a little experiment. I feel that the level of discussion of the games of the comp is very little. I don’t mean to criticism the quality of it, but I feel that the games, the threads are being under-reviewed and under-discussed. And I have a theory: it is because the nature of the thread. Every review is lost in the pages of long threads that are difficult to discover. Of course there are others factors, like people unwilling to discuss openly about works during the comp, etc. But I will like to propose that we put each game reviewed in his own thread. To see it the discussion level improves a little.
I will start this me myself, but unfortunately in the author’s private forum. So feel free, if you like, to start this idea here in the public discussion.
This is worthy, but it seems like it is a bit beyond the abilities of a standard message board. We might need something else, or to add some features, for it to work. As-is, since we only have 25 topics per page, that means that at least half the comp games get bumped down.
That might not be so bad. Some games will get discussed more than others. And if even one thread catches fire, that’s an overall plus. But is it worthwhile for the message board dev(s)? Could there be a discussion box maybe even on the IFcomp.org site(again, a lot of work)? I’d love to see a place for centralized discussion. Twitter seems a bit too freeform aside from the 140 character description. Maybe we haven’t found the right platform.
Even with the multiple-page issue, I think sorting by game would be an improvement. I know that I would be much more likely to read and interact with others’ reviews if I could go to a single thread for the game I just played and read all of the discussion (and maybe add to it). The thought of going through every reviewer’s thread to see whether each one has a review just feels like work.
IFDB is not a forum for discussing games in a group; it’s a place where individuals post “reviews,” and other folks can post “comments” on reviews, where the comments are subordinated to the reviews themselves (indeed, the comments are hidden by default behind a “View Comments” link).
Yes, and a while back I went through the SpringThing entries and linked to a bunch of external reviews. I don’t think I’ll have the energy to do it for IF Comp, though, plus I don’t think it’s quite as appropriate to link to forum reviews as blog posts.
Dan, point taken about IFDB not being a great venue for actual discussion. I was mostly just solving the “it’s hard to find all the reviews for a game to compare them” problem.
For your curiosity, the French-speaking gamebooks community (yes, it exists… hey, don’t laugh, it somehow gave birth to quite interesting CYOA graphic novels) does the one thread per game thing for its own annual contest, and discussions are far easier that way. Authors and readers interact with each other freely, and often new ideas are born from the conversation. Of course the community is far smaller (if only because far less people speak French than English), so it doesn’t really have the leniency to split itself among several blogs and forums if it hopes to survive, but it’s still a good example I think.
The English-speaking Visual Novel community also does the same, but actually structured and interesting reviews often end in blogs and video games websites nonetheless.
I guess there is no perfect solution. If you want exposures, you need reviews on more visited websites, but they are no place for practical discussions.
A compromise could be to do a one review by thread here AND to list in it all external reviews (perhaps one review or link to a review per message). That would be far more easy to use that this damn spreadsheet.
I’d certainly be more likely to post my own thoughts and mini reviews in per-game threads. I’m very limited for time to play IF Comp games, so only get through a fraction of games each year (22/58 so far in 2016). And after I’ve played each one, and scored it, I like to look for reviews to see what other people thought. And that is really hard work right now! Googling helps, for external sites, and the site search for here, and of course the reviews spreadsheet. But I’d find per-game threads much easier to use personally. They would also prompt me to respond with my own thoughts, picking up on things that others have posted. As it is at the moment I won’t start my own thread, because I think I’ll write so little for so few games. But if I could post in per-game threads one game at a time I probably would.
A review is like the answers to a set of questions.
What type of work is it?
What is the main character like?
What happens in the plot?
Do you recommend it?
To unpack a review into a conversation, you can write down the questions and post each question to the thread allowing time for people to discuss it. This is interactive or social reviewing. You can post your brief thoughts before each question to seed discussion.