In my last post that went up about 8 minutes ago I talked about attending PAX and gave some info on myself as I feel any first post should do, I mean how can judge someone if you don't know what qualities they have, and which qualities you should make fun of.
This post is what I really wanted to talk about from PAX. I attended the "How to make gaming communities suck less" panel because I thought it sounded like something that would be entertaining. Mind you I don't really read a lot of the information that is presented to me and I skimmed over the part that said who would be attending. I didn't know it was just going to be the guys from DToid. I was impressed by most of the content that was covered in the panel and thought that the open questions were what was really useful, even the stuff that I would normally bash on because it's not holding to topic. This would include the impromptu Happy Birthday celebration.
What I wanted to talk about in the post and what I wanted to ask in my question, which was not asked in front of the audience because of time restrictions is this:
How do you bring gamers into your community who are jaded from other communities and the typical bullshit that goes on in those worlds?
How do you bring those same people into a community that is already established?
To be honest the internet is a scary place to go out into alone. Trolls, smacktards, douche bags, viral marketing that isn't viral, and those goddamn Envoy ads. Personally I have visited destructoid a few times, normally for HAWP stuff but DToid is one of those websites that keeps coming back into the limited communities that I am in. I visit can't find anything that really interests me without fully joining the community and then leave. A cycle which repeats itself on many websites. Mainly it revolves around the fact of: Why should I waste my time with this group and how is that going to be any different than the last forum that I was on.
I don't really have any solutions on the first question, that something that almost has to be driven by the community in my opinion and it has to come from a mature enough community, to foster the outreach to the shunned masses.
The second question is a little bit more interesting for me personally. Even when you get into a forum/community and you want to participate how do you do that when everyone already knows each other and already has set implied rules. If you have a really great community it can be self aware enough to know that it has to shelter these new people and get them up to speed. Some form of mentoring or just not a focus on keeping the group a clique.
I can understand how this happens, believe me. To over generalize though, and mind you I include myself in this group, most nerds want to feel included in a group. What we need to do is to remember that there are those that are out there that were like us and find them and bring them in. To this point I would suggest some kind of mentoring program for older community members to guide newer community members. They would show them the limits of what to talk about and maybe some stuff to shy away from and explain some of the insider things that go on, so that when someone makes an inside joke as a response to a new persons question the new person isn't totally lost.
Just my opinions those, would like to hear what you all have to say.
So I attended PAX this year for the first time, this is my first gaming convention of any real size and I am amazed by it. It is a controlled kind of chaos that would shock and awe the media and can only disprove many of the stereotypes that I hear about people who enjoy the same things I do.
First let me give some background on myself so that my stereotypes and ranting will make sense. I have been a PC gamer since '97. I cut my teeth on Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries and Command and Conquer. My first shooter was Unreal Tournament the demo, which was also my first experience with a LAN. Which after playing to death I quickly progressed to Half-Life, then to Team Fortress Classic and finally Counter-Strike. I work for a insurance company as a Java developer which thankfully allows me the money to play a lot of games.
For my hardware I use a custom-made ATI/AMD machine, which is normally a step behind the current generation of hardware, I also own a Wii (who doesn't) and a XBox360, which admittedly get used more as a vehicle for NetFlix than anything else.
So back to PAX. I attended two panels yesterday, Friday, at PAX. The first was the Hey Ash Whacha filmin' panel, which was awesome. The cast is funny and the fans that were there were great to be around. I wish more people could see this side of video games, the side where a whole bunch of people come together to have fun and not the side that everyone think exists with kids plotting to kill each other and overweight 35 year olds in their parents basement.