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Salvidian
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Salvidian
4,229 posts
Blacksmith

INTRODUCTION

Thread Background
Coming from a long-time lurker born in 2008, I have noticed that Armor Games is facing a recent "slump" of activity. In other terms, Armor Games is becoming inactive. In my quest for answers, I've contacted several Armor Games users, ranging from new users to veterans. Thinking that I gave people something to think about for the day, Ernie15 gave me a bold idea to convert these ideas into a thread where one can give his/her ideas on the matter instead of letting this issue be small-talk. In many's minds, this is an issue that needs to be addressed to immediately. There have been threads like this, but this is the central HUB of what we view of Armor Games today.

Armor Games, I give you The User's View.

Armor Games Background
AG3, a major update to the Armor Games world, has been in development for around 2 years. There are tons of beta testers for the website. Prior to and starting at the development of AG3, Armor Games was once a bustling "city," if you will, of ideas traveling by means of public forum posting to comments to one another, or "small talk." Many of these users have left for reasons we will discuss and are being replaced by users we will later discuss.

Staff Changes
Late 2011, Cormyn, a very popular admin, resigned from his duties and became a regular user. He was somewhat replaced with Justin Royster, aka username jroyster22.

Part 1: Cormyn
Cormyn was undoubtedly known for his ability to be publicly active within the community and was often described as strict. As strict as he was, he kept the trash out and helped shape our modern-day Armor Games. He wrote code for the community, laid down a lot of the rules, appointed moderators alongside the moderation team, and, short and sweet, held Armor Games together. In many people's opinions, he was the administrator's community face of Armor Games. Once Cormyn left, jroyster22, alongside his duties with AG3, became the one to contact if you needed help. Justin Royster had big shoes to fill, and so far, he's done a moderate job. He prefers to contact via email, taking away from that on-site communication charm. In my opinion, Justin Royster has been a little vague with his duties. I and others have complained that Armor Games needs a new head, and if Justin Royster was a little more open, we'd have that strong, great leader. I am not criticizing his work- I understand he's busy. I'm just asking that he showed a little more of his face.

Part 2: Inactivity
Sadly, many of Armor Games' moderators have been caught up with daily life to successfully fulfill their duties on a daily basis. Similarly, admins are busy preparing AG3 for its release and have a lot to do. I understand they have lives as well. Many other new members have complained that it is impossible to get in touch with anyone on the staff team. Cormyn had written moderator-selection software, and many are thinking, if it is still available after Cormyn's resignation, perhaps it could be used to find another addition to the moderator team. Freakenstein has been a fantastic addition, but I feel as though we need more. I'm not going to name names because I respect what our moderators do; I feel as though we need more. Maybe it's time we eliminated the "small staff team" tradition for the time being until we recover. As for admins, we don't need a lot, but just one public face to get contact with would be fantastic.

Migration
I know AG3 is going to be very different. I know forum activity has sunk. I know your friends have left. Because of multiple things, many users, newbies and veterans alike, have moved on to different websites. This is not going to help our inactivity problem. It will only make it worse. I am not only asking you all to stay, but I am asking you to help out. We can't sit around and let our users leave. Part of it is our problem; we can make things interesting again. We can make people want to spend all of their time here. We can show people Armor Games is the best darn website out there!

Generation Transition
Jeol brought this to my attention and it struck me. What if the reason so many people are leaving is because they are older? Now, some people will never change, but others will grow and move on. And, who replaces them?

Part 1: Veterans
It's summer. You've finished school and want to enjoy the outdoors. You've finished school and have to work. You've finished school and want to try something new. Whatever it is, whether you've gotten too old for Armor Games, or have something else taking up your time, you can't visit your favorite website in the world. You know what? That's quite OK. Just remember to drop by once in a while and talk to your old friends. Many users are finding that they are having difficulties connecting with new people if they leave right away. Sadly, this leaves many users bored and craving for a good conversation.

Part 2: New Users
The size of Armor Games' user list is rising exponentially- it's skyrocketing! Most would think this would create more activity, wouldn't it? Frankly, no. Many games require an account for online saving to work, and the new generation replacing the previous one seems to be filled with people who join, stay active for a day, and quit dealing with the forums, leaving a large gap to be filled by no one.

Armor Games v3
As mentioned earlier, AG3 is being developed. By my count, there are currently 5 admins developing it. Unfortunately, users are complaining because there is little or no status updates on what's going on. Not to sound demanding, but more frequent updates could make the waiting all the easier. Also, the new achievement system may scare veterans who are used to and have gained recognition by the current AP system. AG3 will also result in a clean slate for the forums... By deleting all of the material there. Of course, much of the material is repeatable, but many veterans have good memories of posting here.

Conclusion
We've lost the face of the admins, Cormyn, and would like to have another public face again. Many moderators are busy with their lives and some more help would be fantastic. A lot of people have given up on Armor Games and have outright quit. Old faces are being replaced with people who aren't as devoted the site. AG3 is coming with big changes, but has gone very quiet recently.

~Salvidian

Those who contributed to this information in some way, shape, or form
-jeol
-Ernie15
-daleks
-Skeleton_Pilot
-Cenere
-GhostOfMatrix
-MrDayCee
-johnmerz

  • 339 Replies
daleks
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daleks
3,787 posts
Lord

Like I promised here is what Joey said when I asked him if he had told Dan:

I did mention it. Like I said, don't get your hopes up. He wasn't against the idea, but he also wasn't as gung-ho about it as I was.
Salvidian
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Salvidian
4,229 posts
Blacksmith

I thought I heard that he wasn't going to hire a community manager unless one of the developers they hired felt inspired to deal with the community additionally, like Cormyn did.


I haven't heard that. Where/when did you hear this?

I did mention it. Like I said, don't get your hopes up. He wasn't against the idea, but he also wasn't as gung-ho about it as I was


I expected this. Dan won't consider anything here unless it proves to be a major issue.

I'd_post_more_but_my_keyboard_is_giving_me_problems._That_explains_the_underscore_usage.
Skeleton_Pilot
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Skeleton_Pilot
1,366 posts
Jester

Alright... let's forget about the forums for just a moment here and turn our attention to the game comments. Being the avid gamer that I am, I tend to read through game comments almost every day for the fun of it because that's just the way I am. What I notice when I sift through these comments is that almost all of the ones from the past year or so are very short, 1 or 2-word comments! What I also notice is that a lot of these comments are posted by users who have between 5,000 and 10,000 AP, and the reason why the have so many AP in the first place is because they've posted so many of these short comments that don't relate specifically to the game!

This wouldn't bother me so much, but it appears that literally nothing is being done about it... this lack of supervision over game comments is telling point-hungry users that they can get away with posting ridiculously short comments and keep every point they've "earned" from posting them!

The game comments... all of them... are in need of a thorough cleansing. If the current moderation doesn't want to step up and handle this ongoing problem, the team needs to be expanded to find people who will take on the spam!

Patrick2011
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Patrick2011
12,358 posts
Templar

The game comments... all of them... are in need of a thorough cleansing. If the current moderation doesn't want to step up and handle this ongoing problem, the team needs to be expanded to find people who will take on the spam!


It would also be helpful if the admins had the activity to make the flag useful since those spam comments will invariably be flagged. With enough activity, the admins should be able to mass delete flagged comments, which would remove spam. The problem is that the spam is self-protecting since it is common enough that it will be impossible to show that the comments are being deleted because new spam will simply replace the old spam. Therefore, it is impossible to teach the spammers that spam is not OK.

Therefore, stop worrying about the spam and focus on making non-spam comments. The mods and admins can clear spam all they want, but it will always be there. Also:

users who have between 5,000 and 10,000 AP, and the reason why the have so many AP in the first place is because they've posted so many of these short comments that don't relate specifically to the game!


These users are called AP farmers.
thaboss
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thaboss
1,654 posts
Peasant

This issue is close to thaboss's heart, and he will respond fully once he gets to his computer, which is in three days. He has a lot to say. This thread is important to AG.

Skeleton_Pilot
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Skeleton_Pilot
1,366 posts
Jester

The problem is that the spam is self-protecting since it is common enough that it will be impossible to show that the comments are being deleted because new spam will simply replace the old spam.


That's not a problem if you have people cleaning the comments out fairly frequently, and it's a much better solution than just ignoring the situation entirely! AP farmers will be discouraged against AP farming if their comments all end up deleted, but if nothing is done, they're going to keep AP-farming and they're going to continue to get away with it.

This is blatant rule-breaking on a mass-scale. It's only going to get worse if something is not done about it soon!

These users are called AP farmers.


Good to know.
Patrick2011
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Patrick2011
12,358 posts
Templar

That's not a problem if you have people cleaning the comments out fairly frequently, and it's a much better solution than just ignoring the situation entirely! AP farmers will be discouraged against AP farming if their comments all end up deleted, but if nothing is done, they're going to keep AP-farming and they're going to continue to get away with it.


I meant that there is enough spam to render regular cleanouts useless. I think the best solution would be to block submission of any comments that are below a certain number of words. This would prevent all the 1 and 2 word comments. As for AP farmers, regular cleanouts will get rid of old ones, but the site is well-known enough that new AP farmers will be created, and we would have the same problem all over again. Therefore, we can force AP farmers to cycle, but we cannot eliminate them completely.

This is blatant rule-breaking on a mass-scale. It's only going to get worse if something is not done about it soon!


I think something is being done about it, but the site is popular enough to protect the idea of AP farming, if not the farmers themselves.
Patrick2011
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Patrick2011
12,358 posts
Templar

Also, AG has just shown a sign of activity. A new MMO category has been added to AG. The previous sentence is made of two links. One is to the MMO category, and the other is to a thread I made about it.

Skeleton_Pilot
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Skeleton_Pilot
1,366 posts
Jester

I think the best solution would be to block submission of any comments that are below a certain number of words. This would prevent all the 1 and 2 word comments.


That would be a much better solution, but it would also take much more of the admins' time and soon enough the AP farmers would find a way around it.

As for the regular cleanouts, they would not be useless... if AP farmers lose enough points, a lot of the ones that are still active will be discouraged from AP farming if they discover how useless that point-gaining process really is!

And the ones that cycle can be threatened with bans... after all, they are spammers and therefore rule-breakers!
daleks
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daleks
3,787 posts
Lord

This would prevent all the 1 and 2 word comments.

So they would just spam with three words. It would be pointless.
soccerdude2
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soccerdude2
1,684 posts
Farmer

About the comments, maybe a better solution would be to make it seem like all the [insert low number here] are going through with just a thing saying "your comment has been submitted" but then just not having them being submitted. So then the farmer wouldn't notice that they need to make their spammy comments longer to gain AP.

Except I think the real problem with the comments is that I think a lot of user don't understand that making short comments like that is spam, because they haven't read the rules or anything. I mean, even when I just made my account I thought you were supposed to comment saying what you rated the game and didnt even read the terms and whatever else until later once I found the forums D:

Thankfully I didn't make too may of those though.

Now starting to think that the inactivity is becoming a chain reaction, users don't see much in the forums so they'll go somewhere else because of this inactivity, hurting the site all the more.

Skeleton_Pilot
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Skeleton_Pilot
1,366 posts
Jester

About the comments, maybe a better solution would be to make it seem like all the [insert low number here] are going through with just a thing saying "your comment has been submitted" but then just not having them being submitted.


That would work... for a little while... but then people would once again find ways of circumventing it, like copying and pasting the same comment onto every game purely for the AP!

Except I think the real problem with the comments is that I think a lot of user don't understand that making short comments like that is spam


Which is why I don't believe that first-offenders should be punished aside from their comments being deleted... yes, they should definitely lose all the AP they've accumulated from farming comments, but unless they continue to farm after they've been told not to and their comments have been removed, I don't see what banning an innocent fool would solve!

Now starting to think that the inactivity is becoming a chain reaction, users don't see much in the forums so they'll go somewhere else because of this inactivity, hurting the site all the more.


Expanding the moderation team could solve both problems... hell, it might not, but at this point who could it hurt to try?
nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,609 posts
Regent

That's not a problem if you have people cleaning the comments out fairly frequently, and it's a much better solution than just ignoring the situation entirely! AP farmers will be discouraged against AP farming if their comments all end up deleted, but if nothing is done, they're going to keep AP-farming and they're going to continue to get away with it.


Mods do clean up a lot, that's what most of their time on AG is spent at any rate.

No real solution for the spam except to get more clean ups if possible. Integrating a system of 7 words and up is useless because AP farmers can still copy/paste useless 8 word and up comments.
Cenere
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Cenere
13,734 posts
Scribe

I don't see what banning an innocent fool would solve!

It's pretty effective to make sure they actually know about the rules. If they get a simple warning on their profile, they might not actually read it, because they don't visit their profile at all, and mods can barely make an impact on the points, if they are cleaning one game at a time.

As for cleaning games, it's a crap job, if we had a hundred mods, it would still be a crap job, and people would still complain about it. Because it's a crap job and no one is going to thank you for using hours of your time to clean out games.
Not to mention, if there somehow is an impact on the comments, people are going to start complaining about the spam posts on the forum as well, round goes the wheel.
Laughable97
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Laughable97
125 posts
Peasant

Perhaps a warning when they visit the site next.

Eg. You have been given your first infraction for "Spamming game comments", if you continue to "Spam game comments" your account will be banned.

It does nothing but it basically makes them feel like someone is watching what they post.

Personally, if I was an admin, I'd shut down game comments for 1-3 days and have a massive clean up of all spam comments. I know that new spam will always be posted but if everyone time a moderator deletes a comment it could send the infraction message as well I think it would be reduced.

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