So you want to get help and feedback with that project you’re working on and are at a level where you’re ready to show it to someone. That’s great!
While you will find a community here with a collective truck-load of knowledge who are eager to help, please consider how you go about showing your fledgeling project - which you are likely very partial to - in an state still unproven, potentially with some wet paint and some awkward things about it which is why you need personal feedback.
Realize that players and creators here know how it is done, and the best testing you can receive will be honest and therefore might at times feel brutal. Like someone attacking your baby that you’ve nurtured for months or possibly years - how dare they point out the misshapen features you didn’t even ask about. How could they miss the artistic point you’re making? The worst thing you can do is begin to take that personally. Ideally, your testers are wanting to help you make your project better.
Anything your testers say is what the wider audience is going to say - that’s the point. You’re getting a sampling of reaction before final release. Good testers know what to ask that will strike right at the heart of your endeavors. You might feel embarrassment. You might want to lash out to defend your baby and by proxy yourself from these people. If you take their advice that creates more work! They’re not even asking the right questions!
Consider that you might want to solicit volunteers for feedback and beta-testing here publicly, but actually carry it out in private.
For extended long-term testing that isn’t just a one-off question for the masses, take it to private messages here or personal emails, or use a private cloud workspace. That way any blunt feedback doesn’t get seen by everyone and won’t publicly embarrass you and will hopefully sting less. Find people you trust who have experience doing your thing and know exactly what you’re doing and with whom you can talk personally. And don’t be rude to them in private either or they’ll never agree to help you again.
If you do indeed decide to make your testing public access, be aware you’ll get feedback from everyone who takes a passing interest. People who might not understand the gears under the hood in the language you’re using or the tropes of your specific genre. The forum topics are archived so you may get notified five years from now about a typo that was long corrected after your V.3 release.
- If you ask for public help, take (or don’t take) all feedback you get as constructively as possible. Some feedback you receive may not be valid but that’s okay. That’s still good data for the parking lot if someone didn’t understand what was happening. Don’t argue with the note - file it away and see if it’s a fluke or a pattern in other feedback you get.
- It’s one thing to ask follow up questions for clarification. It’s another to deride someone’s honest opinion or advice they spent time to give you for free.
- Instead of attacking someone for feedback you feel is invalid, say “thanks” and never think about it again. Or say nothing. They are not attacking you by expressing an opinion about your project that you are asking for people to express by posting it publicly.
- Public forum threads do not belong to anyone exclusively. Everyone gets to participate and conversation will drift. That’s normal. In some cases, we can split a thread that veers too far away, but people will get ideas and discuss potential new things that were inspired by your work. Don’t take that as an affront and try to police “your” thread when people occasionally aren’t talking about your thing.
- You can invite multiple people to a private message, and that is a private thread that belongs to the OP and they can run it how they like. As always, Staff and Moderators can intervene if if things get out of hand. But best not let that happen!
Be kind to each other.
We all want to help, and we all want to get along.
If, at the end, you feel someone is actually attacking you or violating the Code of Conduct, don’t waste time responding. Flag the post and let Staff sort it out.