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Thread: Banning politics & religion threads, and closing Off Topic

  1. #1
    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Default Banning politics & religion threads, and closing Off Topic

    I think it's time the site got rid of the Off Topic section and instituted a ban on politics and religion threads. Reasons:

    1) P&R threads are divisive, attract crazies and trolls, drive away regulars who contribute, and make the site look toxic to outsiders (I've had multiple people decline my invitation to join Sega-16 and cite those threads as their reason). There are plenty of other places to discuss these things, and the traffic they generate isn't worth the drama and bad blood.

    2) More generally, the site would benefit from a renewed focus on its core mission. Just about everyone seems in agreement about that.

    (And note that -- as far as I recall -- I've never advocated for expanding into Dreamcast, Saturn, et al. It's fine that we've done it, I've got a few games I might enjoy reviewing, but I don't want to be met with a counterargument about how "people demanded X". I'm not "people".)

    3) The site would benefit from weeding out people who aren't here to talk about video games, but instead for a platform to pontificate about their pet subjects. No one here needs to know about your personal political or religious beliefs and, again, it only creates bad blood. There are things I now know about otherwise-decent-seeming people here that I'd rather never have known.

    4) I've seen "the decline of forums" repeatedly cited as a reason for things changing here, but those forums that are still going strong generally institute a ban on these topics. AtariAge is one example, and -- to cite another site -- the Steve Hoffman forums are another. Yes, forums are generally in decline, but the sites I mention have a lively and engaged userbase. Maybe that's part of what they're doing right.

    5) If we still need a forum to talk about things like TV, anime, books, etc., then a subforum for "Game-Related Media" could suffice.

    Thoughts?

    P.S. If you're gearing up to go First Amendment, note that "free speech" is a canard here -- doesn't apply to privately-owned forums. Melf can decide that he wants us all to wear tutus before being allowed to post if he so chooses.

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    Isolated Warrior Master of Shinobi Dirt Ball Gamer's Avatar
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    I'd be in favor of a ban on threads about politics/religion, but I might pull up just short of nuking the off topic section completely. I think if you eliminate those two topics what's left is pretty benign and the off topic section could be useful for keeping the numbers of members and posts from dipping too low. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater basically, although I can certainly understand why some would like to get rid of it.

  3. #3
    Hero of Algol
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    I think it's time the site got rid of the Off Topic section and instituted a ban on politics and religion threads. Reasons:
    Thanks for the thread and for the summarization.

    I certainly support the whole thing, even the ban on what's supposed to be the "positive" Off Topic as it would also get rid of most of the dedicated shitposters.

    I'll reinforce your experiences with people leaving/avoiding Sega-16 due to the content coming mostly from this section.
    Some former members that are now active on AtariAge, have pointed to nasty comments and trolling in these topics as the reason why they have no intention to come back.
    That's also one of the reasons why developers rarely if ever want to post anything here, they measure the expected moderation by these topics and just stay away.
    Repeatedly on discord I've been told by MD programmers that they would only come to the Genesis Does section if they had a game to promote and solely for the traffic they could get from a handful of hardcore fans but otherwise they really don't want any part of it.

    Also, I'll remember you that we had one of the Burnout developers and then Nintendo Europe executive explicitly leave the forum due to political/ideology discussions in this "Off Topic" section.
    Just to cite an example.

    These are some recent quotes from the politics thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by sull56ivan2010 View Post
    Between you and the Greg2600 idiot, I don't know which one of you is an even worse psychopath.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatthews View Post
    Eww, youíre bringing up COVID? Does anyone still care about that?
    Edit: *Besides politicians, I mean.
    Quote Originally Posted by sull56ivan2010 View Post
    Leynos is insane and retarded.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    As much as Trump tries to be the 2nd coming of Hitler, he fails at that as well. Hitler was at least intelligent.
    Quote Originally Posted by sull56ivan2010 View Post
    That it shows Leynos is an attention whore and a miserable loser.
    Quote Originally Posted by sull56ivan2010 View Post
    Yeah, I'm not buying Leynos has depression. I feel he's more of a schizophrenic than depression.

    If you guys think that shit like this goes unnoticed and/or doesn't hurt the forum, you're very mistaken.
    Not only you scare people that would be willing to come here to discuss about actual Sega 16-bit and 8-bit games, but you also end up deviating the traffic from other more positive discussions to stuff like this.
    I see some members engaged in such discussions, as Zz_Badnusty, for an example, which have a lot of valuable knowledge about gaming but all/most of their time are now dedicated to discussions which at end of the day will amount to more hate and division.


    Another thing I'd like to highlight is the lack of basic prioritization with the way things are structured nowadays:
    - Any new post in the Politics thread will bump it to front page of the main Forum view.
    - Far more positive stuff such as all of the Record Breakers threads and all of the Developer's Den threads are buried in subforums whose new posts and threads will never reach the front page of the main Forum view.

    That doesn't help either and several complaints by homebrew developers of lack of visibility have been made recently due to this kind of organization.
    Last edited by Barone; 11-11-2020 at 08:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingOutrunner
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    I agree

  5. #5
    Nameless One Zeus's Avatar
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    Agreed.

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    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    It seems that whenever politics and religion are discussed on the forum, it quickly devolves into fighting and insults. I don't think those threads add anything positive to the site.

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    Death Bringer ESWAT Veteran Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    I agree with everything goldenband and Barone said.

    The Developer Den was the worst thing to happen to homebrew on here. If the site gets streamlined to a few sections, a homebrew/development section should be one of them.

    16-bit Sega including 32X could be its own section, but all other Sega should fall under a single section. Then all other gaming, but preferably <Dreamcast era only should have a single section.

    Other than that there should just be site news , Tech Aid and marketplace sections.
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Spendle's Avatar
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    Got my vote...

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    Pirate King Phantar's Avatar
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    I would support the ban on religion & politics, but stop short of cutting the Off-Topic section entirely; When I started visiting the Forums most of my post were in that particular section, and even though I've (mostly) moved on from that habit, it would seem hypocritical to cut off any possibility of a "watercooler chat" section. For me, Off-Topic is a convenient storage siding where you can divert discussions that have gone off-topic without having to abruptly close off the original thread or forcing to stop people to dwell on a side notion any further.

    However, religion & politics have a lot of toxic potential, and it seems these discussions have grown increasingly toxic throughout the years. goldenband and Barone have made good points in that regard, and I'd have no qualms of shutting those down kind of discussions entirely.
    The funny thing about an oxymoron is, even if you remove the ox, there'll always be a moron. The Question Remains: Y?

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingSports Talker peido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    I think it's time the site got rid of the Off Topic section and instituted a ban on politics and religion threads.

    (...)

    Thoughts?

    P.S. If you're gearing up to go First Amendment, note that "free speech" is a canard here -- doesn't apply to privately-owned forums. Melf can decide that he wants us all to wear tutus before being allowed to post if he so chooses.
    Agree. Got my vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Ball Gamer View Post
    I'd be in favor of a ban on threads about politics/religion, but I might pull up just short of nuking the off topic section completely. I think if you eliminate those two topics what's left is pretty benign and the off topic section could be useful for keeping the numbers of members and posts from dipping too low. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater basically, although I can certainly understand why some would like to get rid of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantar View Post
    I would support the ban on religion & politics, but stop short of cutting the Off-Topic section entirely; When I started visiting the Forums most of my post were in that particular section, and even though I've (mostly) moved on from that habit, it would seem hypocritical to cut off any possibility of a "watercooler chat" section. For me, Off-Topic is a convenient storage siding where you can divert discussions that have gone off-topic without having to abruptly close off the original thread or forcing to stop people to dwell on a side notion any further.

    However, religion & politics have a lot of toxic potential, and it seems these discussions have grown increasingly toxic throughout the years. goldenband and Barone have made good points in that regard, and I'd have no qualms of shutting those down kind of discussions entirely.
    Also agree.

  11. #11
    Rebel scum Shining Hero MrMatthews's Avatar
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    Hmm... well, as someone who was specifically singled out, I might as well weigh in on this.

    I have no attachment to the political thread. I didnít miss it at all last time it was closed down and Iím pretty sure I was part of the group of people who openly mocked Leynos/SegataS for starting up a new one. Its presence in the forum is a flashing neon invitation for argument, and for many members here (including myself, I wonít lie) thatís pretty difficult to ignore, especially on ďbig newsĒ days when everyone wants to whip out their keyboards and make sure the world knows what they think.

    Close down that thread if you want, but you canít erase whatís been said in the thread or in the other political threads. Sega-16 has been divided for years and as long as people are not okay with other people having beliefs that differ from their own, thatís not going to change. No offense to Goldenband, heís still one of my favorite dudes on here, but this whole topic kind of stinks of that awful mindset of ďI donít like it, so it shouldnít exist.Ē

    I donít think thatís right.

    But for what itís worth, Iím okay with permanently locking up the politics and religion threads.

    Off-topic discussion, on the other hand? Thatís going too far. Thatís basically saying that if you donít have anything to say SPECIFICALLY about Sega consoles, you donít belong here.

    If thatís the message you want to promote, then go ahead and nuke it.

  12. #12
    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatthews View Post
    Its presence in the forum is a flashing neon invitation for argument
    I think that's really the key point: that it doesn't help to build the site, serve its core mission, or build a community here. It makes people who could be friends -- at least in a loose, Internet-y sort of way -- instead seethe with anger at each other, or see each other as non-persons.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatthews View Post
    No offense to Goldenband, heís still one of my favorite dudes on here, but this whole topic kind of stinks of that awful mindset of ďI donít like it, so it shouldnít exist.Ē
    None taken, but I do want to emphasize that I sincerely think political stuff is destructive to the site, and that's my main priority here. I have my own beliefs, they are what they are, but I think there are people with whom I agree (more or less) who are being every bit as destructive as people with whom I disagree.

    While I think certain things should be non-negotiable (e.g. treating people with basic respect, no racist stuff, no talking about women like they only exist to be sex receptacles, etc.), I don't want to emulate Neo-Geo.com or Reset Era -- neither possibility is desirable.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatthews View Post
    But for what itís worth, Iím okay with permanently locking up the politics and religion threads.
    Cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatthews View Post
    Off-topic discussion, on the other hand? Thatís going too far. Thatís basically saying that if you donít have anything to say SPECIFICALLY about Sega consoles, you donít belong here.
    I think "off-topic" is meant in the sense of "having nothing whatsoever to do with video games", not exclusive to Sega. I'm personally open to the idea of having a forum for discussion of game-related media, but if we get into things like current events, it'll take some aggressive moderation to enforce that.

    That said, if there are people who are 100% uninterested in all things Sega...well, I would question why they're here. Even the slightest bit of interest would be enough, but if someone really only plays modern video games and comes here mostly to post about politics or anime girls or whatever, I don't really see how that serves the site. Plenty of other forums pretty much rule out participation if you're not interested in the primary forum topic; it's OK for not everyone to be included, you know?

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Tiger View Post
    The Developer Den was the worst thing to happen to homebrew on here. If the site gets streamlined to a few sections, a homebrew/development section should be one of them.

    16-bit Sega including 32X could be its own section, but all other Sega should fall under a single section. Then all other gaming, but preferably <Dreamcast era only should have a single section.

    Other than that there should just be site news , Tech Aid and marketplace sections.
    The reason the forum is organized the current way is because that's the way forum users wanted it. For years, I kept getting emails and people kept posting about how they wanted a forum for developers because "those threads get lost in the Genesis Does!/Master System/Insert Coin forums." "We need a dedicated forum for each console!" "We should have a separate forum for X and Y." So, I expanded them to give the users what they want. Now, I'm being told that that very expansion is what's causing people to leave? Now everyone wants the forum to be smaller? There's no way to win...

    I'm also surprised at how many people supposedly don't want to post on the forum because of one thread or how things are organized. The site has a contact form, but no one uses it. Where are all the users who email me for registration? For every 10 I activate, 1 actually posts. Most only post to advertise their game, sell their wares, and then they disappear.

    And no one really even cares if the main site lives or dies anymore. Aside from 1 or 2 contributors, there have been practically zero submissions for the past several years. People hardly comment on the site content, if ever, and no one even cares enough to contribute to the Reader Roundtable anymore. I guarantee you that I could eliminate the entire Off Topic forum, and people still wouldn't participate. Everyone is running to YouTube today and don't even read the site.

    Frankly, it's becoming very hard to even keep the forum going. It eats up a chunk of the server, and no matter what I do, no one is happy.

    If I do redo the forum, I'd probably leave the site content section (though I don't know why, since no gives a shit about it), leave one general console forum, on tech forum, and one marketplace forum.

  14. #14
    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Melf, I understand that you're frustrated. You've got users who care enough about the site and its forums to want to help it recover and grow. If finances are an issue, let us know how we can help.

    But that has to start with the premise that you actually want the site to recover and grow -- and your posts don't make it sound like you want that at all.

    (Frankly, you sound depressed as hell -- and when you're in that state, everything seems impossible and everyone seems like they're against you...)

    Bottom line: what do you want? And what do you want us to do?

    EDIT: Just saw that you locked the Politics thread. Thank you for that -- it's a step in the right direction.
    Last edited by goldenband; 11-12-2020 at 02:43 PM.

  15. #15
    Hero of Algol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melf View Post
    The reason the forum is organized the current way is because that's the way forum users wanted it. For years, I kept getting emails and people kept posting about how they wanted a forum for developers because "those threads get lost in the Genesis Does!/Master System/Insert Coin forums." "We need a dedicated forum for each console!" "We should have a separate forum for X and Y." So, I expanded them to give the users what they want. Now, I'm being told that that very expansion is what's causing people to leave? Now everyone wants the forum to be smaller? There's no way to win...

    I'm also surprised at how many people supposedly don't want to post on the forum because of one thread or how things are organized. The site has a contact form, but no one uses it. Where are all the users who email me for registration? For every 10 I activate, 1 actually posts. Most only post to advertise their game, sell their wares, and then they disappear.

    And no one really even cares if the main site lives or dies anymore. Aside from 1 or 2 contributors, there have been practically zero submissions for the past several years. People hardly comment on the site content, if ever, and no one even cares enough to contribute to the Reader Roundtable anymore. I guarantee you that I could eliminate the entire Off Topic forum, and people still wouldn't participate. Everyone is running to YouTube today and don't even read the site.

    Frankly, it's becoming very hard to even keep the forum going. It eats up a chunk of the server, and no matter what I do, no one is happy.

    If I do redo the forum, I'd probably leave the site content section (though I don't know why, since no gives a shit about it), leave one general console forum, on tech forum, and one marketplace forum.
    We still love Sega-16, Ken. We wouldn't be writing anything with the intention to improve it if we didn't.
    And others still love it too.

    But the landscape we "live in" has changed a lot and I think you'd agree with that too.

    A lot of people asked for the Saturn section and coverage for years. I remember those days, I remember people pestering you about it (among other things).
    And I thought it was great when you created all these new dedicated forums (SG-1000 included).
    But there's very little going on there; I think we were trying to come up with propositions to increase the activity; by grouping the two guys who post about SG-1000 with the two guys who post about the Master System we would hope to have more discussions going on between them. And if that section has recent posts more often, it's likely to attract more clicks and so on.

    In the same vein, we thought it would be good to attract less clicks to political wars.


    Regarding your complaints about people not caring about the content of the main site or not caring enough to comment on the articles and reviews; I echo the feeling but I'm far less active in all my other life activities than I was 10 years ago.
    And I'm not a Twitch or Youtube reviews guy.
    I read a lot of the articles you write, but I rarely comment these days. I don't know why; the articles are still great and interesting, but I feel lazy and without the motivation to write about them most of the time.
    I don't know about the other members, but this is my own sad portion in it.

    Even so, we probably have the hope that less hate between each other and less focus on off topic and current gen discussions could drive more interest to the new Sega-16 articles, to write more reviews, etc.

    I don't have any final answers or magical fixes to all this, but just like you I want to see it going well, stronger and to see it stay online for many years.
    Whatever I write or wrote here is with that intention.

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