I bet this year is going to be like every year. Authors just upload some shit for fun, not even thinking about winning. And IFComp reviewers go all serious and bitch about everything, just to have something to write on their blogs. BAH!
Even the mean IF reviews can be good, and here I’m especially thinking of meanifreviews.blogspot.com/ “A blog dedicated to bringing you the most mean-spirited reviews of Interactive Fiction games, to once and for all show that ANYONE can make an IF game.”
Those bastards! Having fun making games and having fun writing about them!
. . . wait, actually that seems fine. I mean, as a player I would like to campaign for more player friendliness, so that playing the games is more fun, but that’s going to be a goal no matter how good the average game is. I don’t know that cutthroat desire to win IFComp is that healthy or even desirable. I don’t mind if people have it, but I don’t really care if every author is instilled with the desire to win.
Now that I’ve thought about it more, I think it’s a really good idea for all the authors entering the comp to try not to win, because I end up entering it’d be more author-friendly if I didn’t have much competition.
dfabulich, I think that (if you are a fan of webcomics anyway) you would very much enjoy the critical analyses of the world’s best webcomic reviewer, Sonty Mick.
I suppose this is satirical? If not: if you don’t want your game to be subjected to serious criticism, do not enter a competition.
(That being said, there are of course limits to what constitutes serious criticism. Poster recently linked on his blog to a review that stated “author, go kill yourself”. That is obviously unacceptable, and not the kind of treatment you sign up for or should have to endure when you enter a competition.)
You say “obviously unacceptable,” but right now there’s nothing discouraging that kind of behavior, not even social pressure. Anyone who posts a game publicly, in a competition or not, is currently signing up for that kind of treatment.
Well, in past centuries certain societies expected people to commit suicide in case of misbehaviour or lack of success in certain fields. I haven’t heard though that this applies for creators of bad IF.
Me? I’m just commenting, not suggesting. The only IF author I want to see dead is Jeff O’Neill for costing me about 50% of my brain cells and three smashed keyboards in total when I tried to solve Nord & Bert with my limited school English way back when.
It would be hard to apply active social pressure here, and I’m not certain it would be productive. After all, what do you do? Post criticism of the comment of the blog of the guy who wrote it – a blog he himself moderates (if it accepts comments at all)? Doesn’t sound like a great idea. Post about it on your own blog? Generally, I wouldn’t do that, because it would just bring attention (and higher ranks in Google) to a blog I would probably like to languish in obscurity. And even then the guy would probably just laugh at it.
The problem with social pressure is that it can only be applied in a community where people already care about each others’ opinions; this means that outsiders are generally immune to it. If random guy X writes a blog post that I think is unacceptable and I tell him so, the impact is probably 0. If (to take a random name) Sam Kabo Ashwell writes a blog post that I think is unacceptable and I tell him so, that might have an effect: we’ve seen each other around in the community for a pretty long time now, I’ve met him – his opinion means something to me, and I guess my opinion would mean something to him. You need that meaning before you can have social pressure.
So, yes, you are signing up for any kind of treatment when you post a game publicly, because there are always ways in which random guy X can post whatever he wants about you and nobody can do anything about it. But no, you are not signing up for it in the sense that you can expect it or ought to expect it. You ought to expect critical judgements, but you ought not to expect death threats, gross profanity, and so on. (Speaking of profanity: another instance of how difficult this kind of thing is. What is unacceptable cursing for random guy Y is usual boys-at-the-bar talk for random guy Z. Lack of shared social context makes the internet an easy place to misunderstand each other, an easy place to meet assholes, and an easy place to perceive nice people as assholes because you misinterpret their meanings or intentions.)
People could stop linking to them, in the first place.
Am I really the only person who finds Mean IF Reviews to be unacceptable? Seriously, no one else finds anything objectionable about having a stated purpose of being mean to other people? Everyone else thinks that whining about everything, descriptors like “faggotry” and “narcissistic jerk-off”, and giving them all ratings of less than zero constitute constructive criticism?
I don’t find the Mean IF Reviews especially funny, and I too could live without the “faggotry” (and the complaining about perfectly ordinary words like “despondency”). Now, Pissy Little Sausages: that’s quality snark, and usually constructive, too.