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Welcome back! Can you believe this is my 29th Bliki post this year? And I only have 6 to go. 2017 was short, huh?
First of all, sorry for not responding to the comments on last week's post, I was very busy and even this seemingly small task was too much for me. In fact, today's entry is also going to be shorter, just a brief update on the railway I've been mapping and a quick remark on users who think OGF is an online game.
Progress on railway line 020
- Current length: 86 km in Hrubětice, Drabantian Egalia Region
From Násedly, where we left off last time, the tracks continue via two tunnels in the total length of 1.3 km into the river Lituje valley. Then they reach Hořice nad Litují, a town of 9,500 known for Vega, the hygiene and laundry product producer. The terrain gets flat and the railroad continues through the Lituje reeds, a small nature reserve protected under the Edeantea Convention on Wetlands.
The current provisional terminus is the town of Hrubětice. Hrubětice has almost 40,000 residents and is the industrial center of the region - there's for example the ZEST plant, where agriculture machinery is made. Hrubětice is also an important railway hub, there's a large cargo station, a depot and also a 'train cemetery' where obsolete vehicles wait for scrapping. Hrubětice can be reached from Odrava in 55 minutes by an Intercity train or in 69 by a regular express train.
Please note that the mapped area is a mere schematic description of itself - I in no way consider it finished, but I do think this amount of detail is sufficient for now.
Divide et impera
Oh, the user diaries. An endless source of drama, but also Bliki inspiration.
So, what's this gamer approach to OGF we've seen recently? Yes, there's many unskilled users out there, but is 'noob' a fitting word to describe them?
I think this is generally the youngest users I'm talking about. They often join OGF because they want to have full control over a piece of territory, like in Age of Empires or similar games, not because they're genuinely interested in geofiction. And I mean, I don't think I can really judge them, age 12 is where you start wanting to be independent and in control of yourself, right? (When I was 12, I wanted the western part of the Czech Republic to break off, so I could become president. I wish I were joking)
But the consequence of such users joining our website is shabby, unrealistic mapping, sometimes flooding a continent or two after not reading the rules.
Can anyone really be angry with kids 12-13 years old? Do they even know what they're doing? This has been subject to many long discussions before. We can't ban them altogether, but there should be stricter rules for new users claiming a territory and on realism (seeing all these socialist or capitalist utopias isn't exactly pleasing either). If they're really interested, they'll improve over time and maybe try again.
Everyone takes time to master geofiction: the mapping style, backstories, everything; yet I think we could save a lot of time (and arguments in the user diaries) by filtering out users with zero potential right at the start.
Comments are v welcome
Nice work! I enjoy seeing the progress made. Looking forward to seeing what some of these areas look like when their fully completed!
On the note about noobs: see the thing is I feel like there are two different groups of quote on quote "noobs" who want full control- those who want full Age of Empire style control, which doesn't fit with OGF, and those who want like a Sim City/Cities Skylines type of control, with an interest in geofiction in the sense of creating a culture and a background that goes deeper than games like that allow. Obviously the former is a major problem, but I can't help but feel like we're (not you, Eklas, just the broader community) being too harsh on the latter. Maybe if we asked a question when people are creating an account in like a poll like "Which of the following best describes the experience you're looking for in OGF?" and if someone chooses something that doesn't fit with the OGF model it just takes them to a page that explains how OGF is not that type of site with hyperlinks to programs or other sites that might be a better match. That way it's turning them not so much away from OGF but towards something that might be more what they're looking for. --Ernestpcosby (talk) 17:19, 14 November 2017 (CET)
- Thank you! The poll is a good idea in my opinion. I think while obviously there are some extremes (ignorant users who skip the rules, users who can't take constructive criticism), many of the less skilled users mean well and it could be helpful for them to be presented with some advice or outright pointed to a different website that would suit them better. --Eklas (talk) 23:12, 14 November 2017 (CET)
I used to be quite active on a music forum called Young Composers, which had the now-familiar mix of a minority of older, serious members who were interested in constructive criticism and exchange of ideas to advance their craft, and a much larger subculture of kids who would slap together a few minutes of derivative, amateurish and technically inept dross, post it up for review and then get offended when they weren't hailed as the next Mozart within five minutes. As time went on they were just ignored as the more mature users realised it simply wasn't worth wasting their time on trying to offer good suggestions for improvement because these fly-by-night users were not remotely interested in being educated, and so the site gradually died for lack of activity. Based on comparing the situation there with here, we are more healthy in that the mapping work stays up forever and we can always have something to show for ourselves. However, the problem with these type of kids comes from exactly the same issues: instant gratification, entitlement, laziness and a determined refusal to defer to the wisdom of the more experienced. There are predictable behaviour patterns on show in the User Diaries such as: asking questions that have been clearly addressed in the Wiki or diaries before; attention-seeking posts touting after praise for minimal work; ignoring repeated advice to avoid certain approaches, such as starting mapping with the biggest and most complex capital city; questions about or demands for obscure, unnecessary or irrelevant technical features or sub-projects that should wait until the map is complete, and so on and so forth. A percentage of these are asked in good faith or from naivety but some are simply from laziness or the mistaken perception that we have a 24h help team who will cater instantly to these kids' every whim. Some will listen, learn and make genuine efforts to improve their skills, but unfortunately, in my opinion we are not only up against human nature but human nature on the Internet, with everything that entails. Perhaps we should be grateful we've not yet had an army of alt-right bigots or 4chan trolls here. I think people are at the present time coming to the realisation that the idealistic 'good kind of anarchy' that the Internet was founded in the spirit of simply doesn't work, and all the rules and moral pressures that stop real society from imploding need to be applied here too. Sarepava (talk) 23:52, 14 November 2017 (CET)
- I think this page is too small and niche for a 4chan raid or something similar right now, but I can see how it could happen one day, OSM gets andalized all the time. I don't even think the unskilled kids are a majority - they're just very visible (e.g. in the diaries.) That's why we should make some precautions now before it's too late. --Eklas (talk) 17:21, 15 November 2017 (CET)
Nice job on the railway by the way. I am planning a similar style of future railways in the north of Singkangia myself. It is a nice reference for railways in natural landscapes. Just adding a few quarry or factories then there will be a sense of purpose for creating stations on the line.
Concerning young and immature users, the discussion have been discussed by Myrcia before here. It is really frustrating when such users were spamming user diaries asking 'redundant' questions which can be found on the FAQ page or in the wiki. There should be a 'Please read the FAQ properly to have a pleasant experience in OGF. Thanks!' sign on FAQ pages, but depending on whether they want to read the sign. Haha
But seriously, these kids needs also disciplining not pampering them. Harsh criticism is needed to progress in mapping, not sweet talking. If these kids think of just encouragement to motivate them, then they are in the wrong page.
Probably, for every new user, there should be some sort of 'screening test' like their quality of mapping in the blue country before they were granted their own territory. I think there is one, but I hope it could have been stricter. The new users should share what their country will be like, then the admins can also tell them that some of the plans needs to be changed (if the plans were about creating socialist or capitalist utopias). Maybe there should be a part on the wiki on encouraging more 'chaotic' or 'war-torn' countries by new users, maybe saying that it will create a more 'realistic' world or something.
There should also be an emphasis on OGF About page that OGF focuses on mapping style and geofiction, not just creating maps or cities like Age of Empires or Sim City. I agree with Ernestpcosby's views on diverting users to other sites which suits them, so that they will not continue having a negative experience on OGF.
There is no way we can stop such users from entering, but we must try to discipline (and also encourage them), teach them the ropes in OGF. If they don't feel welcome, then sadly they cannot be accepted into the OGF community.
Another problem, however, is when there will be many such users who will quit after their 'unpleasant experience' in OGF. The number of 'Lost Countries' will rise and I don't wish that will happen as that will create some inconvenience when that country does not exits anymore. But that will not create a huge impact if they only own splinters of the world, unless the owner has spent lots of effort on collaboration with other nations and it failed.
Well, I will be back to a 'full mapping experience' as my 'O' Levels finishes tomorrow. I will then ask the admins about my wiki block after mapping more on natural features in Singkangia (and creating more railways to transport people and cargo!). Then I can reply straight on blikis instead of replying through PMs. (I will also appreciate if you can also post this comment on your bliki, and replying there)
May the peace of God be with you.
- Thank you and good luck with the finals and the railways and everything. I remember the discussion you mentioned, I just don't know if it changed anything. I think the best we can do right now is be patient, not get frustrated and come up with ways to improve the mapping quality and filter out the users who don't contribute to it. --Eklas (talk) 20:32, 15 November 2017 (CET)