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Caelum

How do we fix the mod requests forum?

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So I'm in the process of reading through survey submissions. I haven't read them all yet, and I haven't posted them to the rest of the staff yet, but I will soon, now that submissions have sort of slowed down.

 

One of the recurring themes I'm reading about are variations on this frustration:

(Paraphrasing here, not an actual quote)

The forum is too flooded with bad & lazy mod requests which nobody has any interest in, or reasons for fulfilling. Modding is time consuming, and a lot of the requests make you want to tell people to learn modding themselves. Many of these requests come from the same couple of people, and some of them annoyingly misuse notifications (i.e. '@Caelum') to try to get specific modders' attention. At the same time, and probably because of this, a lot of the replies to mod requests are not very high quality or helpful to the original poster (such as a "you could learn to do this yourself" without links to specific resources or how to do it, or no reply at all)

I'm seeing this frustration being repeated a bunch of times, and it seems like a real issue, so please don't think I'm trying to downplay it here. That said, I don't know how to fix it effectively, since:

  • Some mod requests are entirely legitimate things a whole bunch of people want, or which do get fulfilled. Cool ideas do happen.
  • We can't really stop people from asking for mods. I'm not suggesting - and I don't think anyone else is suggesting - that mod requests are a bad thing.
  • Both our current software and the software for JKHub 2.0 doesn't allow an upvote/downvote system that'd let people vote on mod requests (which would be my first go-to solution in a perfect world).
  • I don't read many of the posts on here, haven't experienced this myself, and as a result didn't realize it was an issue until now (although I do believe it legitimately is)

Now, on a related note, I'm seeing a lot of requests for more tutorials (and a better tutorial system), which I think does relate, but is never going to make the problem go away. So I'd like some feedback:

 

How do we improve the signal:noise ratio of the mod requests forum without outrageous overmoderation?

  • Should we have specific requirements or posting guidelines for mod requests? What should they be?
  • Limit posts in mod request forums? Like, one thread per person per month or something? This might (or might not?) solve the "too many" aspect, but not necessarily the "low quality" aspect.
  • Make it impossible to notify members ('@Caelum') in mod request forums?
  • Something different entirely? Clever ideas very much welcome. Reinvigorating tutorials is planned and should help, but I don't think it'll solve the problem by itself.

Any thoughts? Anybody? Would really like some ideas and feedback.

 

(Disclaimer: I'm not trying to accuse anyone specifically or point fingers here. Again: mod requests themselves are a totally legitimate thing. The issue is with the type of requests, and the amount of them.)

Odeyseis and Darth Futuza like this

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As one of the (apparently several) folks who mentioned this in the survey, I would say my preferred options would be:

 

- Either disabling the notifications feature in the Mod Requests forum or at least limiting the number of notifications a user can make. This is probably the more frustrating part for me - receiving a notification that I've been tagged, being taken to a request thread and finding  I've just been bundled in with a long list of @'s at the end of the post. Once or twice is easy to ignore, but when it happens repeatedly it just becomes tantamount to spam.

 

and/or

 

- Limit the amount of requests a user can make in a month AND the amount of requests in a single topic (to avoid abusing the 'one thread' limit). The exact numbers are flexible, so for example it could be: 1 thread a month, 3 requests per thread or 3 threads a month, 1 request per thread, etc.

 

Now, as annoying as the problem is, I do want to clarify that I don't think it is a systemic problem across the Hub. The issue is generally perpetrated by a small minority of users - and in turns only really affects another small minority of users (those being bugged to take up the requests). As great as it is to see the staff taking on board the feedback and opening a dialogue on addressing it, I wouldn't want to see a disproportionate amount of your time and efforts going into the matter. It's annoying, but it's not going to cause me to leave the community or anything drastic - and I imagine the same applies to everyone else annoyed by it.

 

It's also a pretty recent occurrence, which is probably why you've not noticed it before @@Caelum . The last year or two has seen a lot of the entry-level barriers to things like kitbashing and weapon modelling break down, so there's a larger number of people making content. One of our more established community modders (I think it was @@Psyk0Sith but I may be misremembering - corrections welcome) recently commented on how the increase in quantity - although leading to a dilution in quality - has also led to an increase in requests. Basically, the more people have, the more people want more. 

 

Overall, I think the best way to combat the issue is just to try and communicate to people that they need to use a bit of common sense. Nobody likes getting spammed with notifications for something generic and unrelated to them personally.

 

EDIT: Just wanted to add one more point:

 

Although I'm generally happy to offer help and advice to those who want to learn to mod themselves, I don't believe in blanket 'do it yourself' responses to mod requests. Requesting mods because you have no inclination or knowledge (or desire to learn) to do it yourself is perfectly legitimate. BUT the counter-balance to that is that it's important to accept there is no obligation or entitlement on behalf of those who do/can mod to fulfill requests.

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Like I said on JAWS' status, I believe the request forum is essential and posting "do it yourself or gtfo" comments are uncalled for. If someone isn't interested in modding, they don't have to be. They posted a request for a reason. However, I do like when people post resources and teach them how to do it. Especially easy things like NPC's or SP menu mods, etc.

 

The whole "quantity of quality" thing is not a new thing in JKA. Go search for "reborn" on mrwonko's JK3files mirror and take a gander at the plethora of reborn reskins that were made over the years. At least one a week since 2002. At the start of JKHub, you didn't see it as much because this place consisted mostly of veteran modders. Now that new modders are around, we're seeing it again. People have to start somewhere.

 

Anyway, I think that an upvote system could be nice but I'm not sure if you can only have such a thing for just one subforum.

 

So restrictions might be best, but again, not sure we can do that in just one forum.

AuriusPheonix likes this

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I'll consider a request if it's posted by the user and it interests me. But if your posting 6 requests a day across various forums, then I just ignore all of them, I'm just saying if you want a request to be done then

-Post it once

-Be considerate of time

-Be appreciate

 

I think those making the requests don't realize the amount of time it takes, and the fact that most people who can do this stuff get PM's, called out in forum posts, etc more than they realize.

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I think it's too much dude. I think that while there's a looooad of content the requesting is gettin outta hand. If it's a simple skin job- why don't people step out pf their comfort zone and give it a shot? It would be one thing if skinning was super tough but with a little practice and advice from people this shit is CAKE and I think more tutorials would benefit us. Hopefully, it would result in less people requesting so many things just because "it would look cool in JK."

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If tutorials are to be written they have to be really good tutorials. Step by Step, no shortcuts in explanations or assuming the person knows information. The tutorials should reference program versions as well as use examples relevant to JKA or JO. I don't think this is an area where we can really skimp or do half assed. I do think this would greatly help out the situation. Telling people there are Blender tutorials all over the internet doesn't really help as much as a tutorial that walks you through making a lightsaber hilt or blaster.

 

 

Outside of that maybe limiting posts per month would be a good idea. I also think there should be special cases for those of us building projects ( documented  with WIP posts ) regarding posting in the request forum. 

 

 

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Perhaps I am naive for suggesting this, but why not just a stickied thread? Something that says something along the lines of this:

 

 


Want to request something? Read this thread first.

 

Due to a recent influx of low-effort requests, this thread has been created to guide you, dear requester, on the path to ensuring that your request gets some attention.

 

The first are some hard-and-fast rules that should be adhered to.

1. Do not harass people. The following things are prohibited in this forum: using @ mentions, private messaging unrelated people, or stalking on social media. Doing any of these may result in a deleted message at minimum, temporary ban at max!

2. Respect the modmakers. They are quite busy people and often don't have time to take up requests.

3. Do not bump your topic or request the same thing over and over. There are a lot of people who want to see their request fulfilled. Please respect them by allowing ample opportunity to see their posts.

4. Limit the number of requests. Please don't post more than one request per week if you can help it. This goes with the above.

5. Request something that hasn't been made. If you haven't bothered to search for something before requesting it, don't request it. That being said, if there's a major mistake with a current existing model, that's definitely a reasonable request for improvement.

 

While these rules may seem harsh, understand that these have been put in place to curtail low-effort posts. The following, while not hard and fast rules, are general guidelines that should be adhered to in order to make this forum a better place, and increase the likelihood that your request gets taken up.

1. Ask yourself: is this something everyone can enjoy? If you're looking for a clan specific skin, or a personal model, there's a very low likelihood that anyone else other than yourself will enjoy it. Modders generally need to be passionate about a project to see it through.

2. Ask yourself: do I really need help with this? Even if your skin is not something everyone can enjoy, perhaps you could do it yourself! There are many tutorials on JKHub that might help you.

3. Ask yourself: will I still be interested in this skin a week from now? A year from now? Five years from now? Tastes change. Likewise, many characters become fads that die off.

4. Ask yourself: will I be using this skin often? or would it just be cool to see it done? While most people can probably agree that it would be cool to see Harambe in JKA, it's not going to see frequent use.

5. Have you answered yes to all of the above? Request it!

Kualan, Smoo, Odeyseis and 8 others like this

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One thing that really happens when normal users see somebody post one of these offending threads, is rather then saying there are lots of tutorials on how to do this, link to specific tutorials that help with their specific issue. 

 

 

So...I take it with the number of likes the above post has garnered, that it's a good idea? :P

I'm not sure banning @ requests is completely warranted, but other than that it seems legitimate.  Maybe have the message pop up before a new request topic can be made? (eg: user clicks on new topic button > message pops  up > user says "okay" > as normal).  Also you say "there are many tutorials on JKHub that might help you", I suggest you put a list of links to the most commonly abused requests and the related tutorials.  For example, skinning tutorials, modelling saber hilt tutorial, adding new weapons to code tutorial, etc.

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One thing that really happens when normal users see somebody post one of these offending threads, is rather then saying there are lots of tutorials on how to do this, link to specific tutorials that help with their specific issue.

 

 

I'm not sure banning @ requests is completely warranted, but other than that it seems legitimate. Maybe have the message pop up before a new request topic can be made? (eg: user clicks on new topic button > message pops up > user says "okay" > as normal). Also you say "there are many tutorials on JKHub that might help you", I suggest you put a list of links to the most commonly abused requests and the related tutorials. For example, skinning tutorials, modelling saber hilt tutorial, adding new weapons to code tutorial, etc.

@ in Mod Requests should absolutely be limited. It's one thing to get maybe one @ request in a week, it's another to be constantly barraged with ten or more a day.

 

That being said, I agree that people should post specific tutorials instead of saying there are tutorials (because this is lazy), but at the same time, if a request can be solved by an existing tutorial then they shouldn't post (because this is also lazy).

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@ in Mod Requests should absolutely be limited. It's one thing to get maybe one @ request in a week, it's another to be constantly barraged with ten or more a day.

 

That being said, I agree that people should post specific tutorials instead of saying there are tutorials (because this is lazy), but at the same time, if a request can be solved by an existing tutorial then they shouldn't post (because this is also lazy).

 

We should probably add a link to the tutorials on the requests forum page, some form of way to defer them to a way to do it themselves. I know they could also just click on the tutorial tab but they are already there, being lazy as you mentioned. (Slightly off topic) we should also shift through existing tutorials and sticky the ones that answer the most common questions. Tutorials are another topic that can be discussed, such as finding ways to inspire people to make tutorials, or kudo-ing people who have made some quality tutorials (So many good tutorials 0.0 it makes making my own intimidating as all hell). Honestly, the request forum has been cancerous due to oversaturated requests or dirtbag responses, perhaps as well as implementing the above ideas (the one literally everyone loves) we can have a mod specifically promoted to deal with the request thread (If there is not one already, I don't yet know the caste of this site that well). We also need a specific format for requesting things using @. Format the requests so that they give the modeller/texture artist/kitbasher all relevant information as well as reference shots. Otherwise it drags out the process needlessly. 

JAWSFreelao likes this

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I'm reading all of  your posts in here, I swear, I just didn't reply for a while.

 

What I'm doing for now:

  • I just made it impossible to tag users with @@Username in the mod requests forum. I don't know if it works by refusing to post the thread or just doesn't notify tagged people, but either way, this should solve notification abuse in the mod requests forum.
  • I'm about to post a sticky thread as per Eezstreet's suggestion

Future plans:

  • As part of JKHub 2.0 I'd really like to make the tutorial system more user friendly and functional, and encourage the posting of way more tutorials once the functional changes are finished. It only indirectly relates to this issue, but still seems relevant to mention.
  • I'm playing with the idea of requiring a minimum of X posts before posting a request, but I'm not sure if that will actually help anything or not. Feedback on that would be very welcome.

EDIT: Wait, someone actually uses the username @@Username? That is hysterical.

eezstreet and Cerez like this

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I don't know if having a postcount requirement is the best way to deal with it. We had a postcount requirement to vote in the last contest and it resulted in someone making five sockpuppet accounts that spammed other forums with low quality content to reach the required amount. You could in theory curtail this with a high enough requirement (not five, but say 50 or 100), but there are many people who don't even reach that many posts.

Caelum likes this

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Perhaps you could consider some sort of request favor system?  You fulfill a request and it allows the requester to provide you some sort of Hub Point, these increase your status and reputation and flatter your vanity (tie some sort of achievement system to it to produce extra vanity eg: see any other large website for examples) .  In addition perhaps in order to make a new thread in the request forum you have to have at least one of these Hub Points?  You can also post in the forum if you have at least 15 "liked" posts.  Meaning that you haven't just posted garbage spam no one else on the forum here appreciates, but that you are a valuable contributing member of JKHub.  Maybe if you have enough Hub Points (say 25) Caelum might give you something, a free 3 day trial of JKA server etc.

 

Problems: Sock puppet accounts might just like each other 15 times, I believe the limit is 10 every 24 hours though, so this should hopefully give our moderators time to find the sock puppets and ban them and hopefully their controller.  New users who just simply want to request something, will never do so and may never visit the site again when they find out they can't make requests without currying favor with the rest of the users.  As this basically introduces a form of currency, it will develop social classes among users and eventually degrade into a corrupt point monopoly wherein users will persecute less favored for not being star-bellied sneeches.

Cerez and swegmaster like this

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What kind of tutorials are people looking for?

 

I was thinking of making a animating tutorial, like how to make a walk cycle. It's hard for most people to want to make tutorials though when most things like modeling workflow, substance workflow, animation/rigging workflow are all over youtube for just about any software. The only thing that really needs to be covered is 2d/3d software to game.

 

We live in a world of special snowflakes that have been given participation trophies all their lives that don't want to really do anything. I don't have a problem helping someone but I'm not going to do it for them. When people PM me for advice or to even help them by looking at their scene file to find out why it isn't working in game properly I help them but I ignore requests to make things.

 

Catch a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for life.

AshuraDX and Jeff like this

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I was worried the sticky thread would go largely ignored, I feel like that's more or less what happened. I don't really pay much attention to the forum section though, so I may be wrong.

 

I've been thinking about a better way to handle it, but I won't be able to implement it until JKH 2.0 is a thing. Basically: I'll be able to set up custom post fields for threads. That would allow mod request posts to not just have a message body, but fields like "links to screenshots, videos & other media", "why should this specific thing be created", etc. I feel like that may slightly raise post quality just by forcing users to answer questions like that. Thoughts?

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I was worried the sticky thread would go largely ignored, I feel like that's more or less what happened. I don't really pay much attention to the forum section though, so I may be wrong.

 

I've been thinking about a better way to handle it, but I won't be able to implement it until JKH 2.0 is a thing. Basically: I'll be able to set up custom post fields for threads. That would allow mod request posts to not just have a message body, but fields like "links to screenshots, videos & other media", "why should this specific thing be created", etc. I feel like that may slightly raise post quality just by forcing users to answer questions like that. Thoughts?

Personally I like it. I do think request limits per user should exist however

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Personally I like it. I do think request limits per user should exist however

OK, but how do you limit it in a meaningful way?

Limit to 5 requests total, and then you'd be excluding veterans who have had accounts here for a long time. Limit it to 5 per month, and the requests list will have loads of obscure stuff that doesn't get fulfilled.

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Limit it to 5 per month, and the requests list will have loads of obscure stuff that doesn't get fulfilled.

Well personally, I'd say each user gets three a month. If the request isn't picked up, the thread is deleted after said month. That way the request thread is cleaned up each month.

Just my guess though.

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Well personally, I'd say each user gets three a month. If the request isn't picked up, the thread is deleted after said month. That way the request thread is cleaned up each month.

Just my guess though.

But if their request is deleted every month, wouldn't that prompt them to recreate their request every month? That's even worse.

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But if their request is deleted every month, wouldn't that prompt them to recreate their request every month? That's even worse.

I think it would prompt the annoying ones to do so, fair point.

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