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How to Improve Destructoid: New Year's Resolutions for Editors and Community Members


That's an unreleased picture. Savor it, ladies.


1. Venture outside your comfort zone.
I think that, with a few exceptions, we're all guilty of this to a certain degree. One year ago, I was heavily active pretty much everywhere on Destructoid except the forums, which I attempted to get to when I could. Now, I end up sticking rather closely to the IRC, only reading the cblogs if a friend has written one and commenting on posts everywhere much less than I used to, even on stories that I find interesting. I think I have only made forum posts last year in the completed games thread. My point here is that we speak of the dangers of cliques on Destructoid, of how we're supposed to welcome new users, but if we're stuck in the same place we always go, the community is only going to segregate itself. It's hard to maintain a family feel if people stick to what they know.

So this is a message to all the different pieces of Destructoid: the front page commenters, the cbloggers, the forum users, the IRCartel, the people in Vent, the readers on the community emailer, and the Cblog Mafia: go outside your comfort zone. Personally, I plan on visiting the forums more often this year. I met some great people at PAX that I miss because they're mainly forum users and our paths never cross. Try commenting more on front page posts and cblogs to get dialogue going. Consider that other friends of yours on Dtoid may have drifted to other parts of the community, and that maybe you should make the effort to go find them and talk to them some more. I guarantee that if you stop talking to these people because they're not on your section of the site, you will continue to lose that extended family feel that draws many users back to Dtoid.

2. Write a cblog. Or two. Or twenty.
People constantly say that the reason they don't blog as much anymore is because the cblogs aren't that good anymore. And frankly, I don't think they are either. They pale in comparison to what they were a year ago, where they were an eclectic mix of news, reviews, editorials, videos, and random shit, with a touch of fail in there to keep you on your toes. It used to be that if you posted a blog mid-day, within an hour there would be at least 10-15 comments on it (with more on the way) and the post would have been pushed 3/4 of the way down the page to make room for even more blogs. Stuff went down in there, friendships were formed from constant interaction, and I read a lot of interesting articles. Now, content moves so slow that your blog could be posted early in the morning and still be on the front page of the cblogs by the end of the night with 10 comments if you're lucky. The posts themselves are far too tepid and not of the same quality produced by such a frenzied atmosphere. I don't mean to insult some of the Dtoiders who are trying their best in there, because it's not all hopeless, but it's hard to sift through and find what's really worth reading. And when new users come in and think that this is the way things should be, I just can't see them wanting to expand the cblogs back to what they were.

And who do we have to blame for this? Ourselves. Sure, as I noted up in the editors' resolutions, I think there was a bit of a cooling effect caused by uncertainty about how far users could take certain comments, but ultimately, the editors are not responsible for making great cblogs - we are. We're the ones who gradually stopped excitedly posting our news before it ever showed up on the front page. We're the ones who stopped posting long editorials that weren't prompted to us by Anthony every month. We're the ones who stopped reading each other's work and giving feedback on what was good and what was fail. So we're the ones to ultimately blame if we don't like the cblogs. And I'm right there along with you.

How do we fix it? It's practically zen: start posting again. I already made a personal resolution to start posting more frequently once I go back to college next week to flex my writing some more. I'll be in there posting news and trying to come up with some stupid editorials to entertain people with. But I can't resuscitate the cblogs alone. If we want the cblogs to be strong again, we need the community on board with this. So if you're reading this, pay special attention to this resolution. I find it funny that the Cblog Mafia, a group friendship forged by the cblogs, rarely steps foot in there - start writing again, all of you, you're just what we need to inspire others to come out of the woodwork and create their own unique content.

3. Flame constructively.
Before either the community or the editors think I'm advocating calling someone a faggot and telling them to die in a fire, let me explain myself. I touched on this a bit in one of the editors' resolutions already, but basically flaming doesn't have to be all bad. Look, I get a thrill out of flaming a fail cblog just as much as you do. It's often fun. And no one's saying you can't call someone out on how much a post sucks. However, that is not going to help them learn from their mistakes, it's just going to tell them they're wrong and that you don't like it.

As I was writing this, I checked in the cblogs and found this fail post. This is a horrible post and not the kind of thing any of us want to see on Destructoid. There is no reason to be nice to what is essentially spam, and I don't see why a couple of people said "Hey, that's great, welcome to Destructoid!" Activate your flames and tell him it sucks...but then again, that's where some commenters stopped. One comment just says "you have sucked already," which is pure flaming with no positive benefit. It makes the poster feel good but doesn't contribute to Dtoid at all.

Now, look at the comment I left. "This is a horrible post. In the future, put some actual content in here - paragraphs, thoughts, not just random pictures." Note that I did not feel the need to back down my criticism, because it was a horrible post. However, I also told him how he could avoid such criticism in the future. Many people who fail just need someone to kick them in the head a few times and let them know how to do it, and "flaming constructively" can be the way to do this. I've seen hundreds of Dtoiders come in over the years who started off with sub-standard posts, cultured by a tenure at IGN or Gamespot, who grew into great community members after they got told how things run around here.

We the community can be an essential part of growing new members who matter by telling people not just that they suck, not just that they shouldn't suck, but how not to suck.

(As I'm not a frequent forum-goer, I don't feel I'm qualified enough to comment on matters of flaming and suck that go on in there, but I hear Technophile and the old members are doing a good job so far.)

4. Play in Friday Night Fights.
Again, remember the good old days? Friday Night Fights were fucking awesome - over a hundred people who managed to network their names together through front page and cblog posts would play tons of games across 360, PS3, and PC. (Back then, there were no real online Wii games. And there still aren't! Haha, flamebait.) I tried looking into FNF a little while ago, and it just seemed like no one was playing anything except for a hardcore few, and their games were all locked up. During the summer, a real-life friend of mine who had been trying to connect better with the Dtoid community attempted to start some games up with people, but no one was biting, which made him feel really discouraged about interacting with people.

We're gamers! We've all got our info available in our cblogs and profiles! Many of us are already friends with tons of other Dtoiders! Why are we not playing together? Why am I not playing more with you? I'm going to try to participate in many more FNFs this semester, so I'm hoping to see many more Dtoiders jumping back into the fray to beat me down. We need to get some epic Bomberman Live drinking games going again for old times' sake.

5. Listen to Failcast.
LOL no one listens to Failcast

6. Get into IRC and Vent.
I'm not gonna debate about which one is better for you, but sometimes it's nice to have an actual conversation with people. Forums and cblogs are the foundation of the site's community, but sometimes you need to be able to have a conversation with people directly. Unless you happen to have their email or Gtalk, joining the group chat is a good way to communicate directly with other members of the community. To me, talking with each other one a frequent basis is an extremely important part to keeping the family feel we all want for Destructoid. Plus, at least for IRC, this is a great chance to reach out to newbies who are checking out the channel through Destructoid's "live chat" link and help them become awesome members of the community.

7. Talk to the editors.
If you have some problem with Destructoid, I guarantee you that just bitching to your fellow community members is not going to help. I know from personal experience that all the editors are extremely approachable and willing to talk about plenty. The thing is, they're not going to know you have a problem with the site unless you tell them - they can't read minds. So don't be intimidated by them (this is mostly directed at newer users, not really old users who are good friends with editors) and just try talking to them. Maybe you'll even talk to them more often.


That more or less sums up what I wanted to say. Sorry for the giant walls of text with no pictures in-between. Again, I'm not trying to force anyone to follow these resolutions, be they editor or community member. However, seeing as no one else has come up with any real constructive solutions to the bad feelings people are having about Dtoid lately, I would hope that both sides at least consider the resolutions I'm attempting to put forward here. And now, if I may make one slightly off-topic resolution I think is important...


1. Get cblogs working on Japanator this year.
Seriously, man. I know I've made my position on the importance of Tomopop's cblogs compared to Japanator's non-existent cblogs clear to some people in the community via Failcast in the past, but I feel that with a new year, I wanted to bring up this matter. Japanator really needs cblogs. There is so much for us weeaboos to talk about when it comes to animu, and they could become just as big as Dtoid's cblogs. They just need to be put in. I'm really, really hoping something like this is possible for 2009. :)
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About Bob Muirone of us since 2:15 AM on 01.08.2007

Bob has been hanging around ModernMethod for years and and somehow writes almost everywhere, including Japanator and Flixist. He was once lit on fire, but it's not as cool as you'd think.

I remember being in here a lot:

R.I.P. Failcast

Rantoid - An editorial column that updates on Sunday
The Zen of Yaris
Conditions of a Review
Longevity - seven years, to be exact
Stop talking about HD-DVD
What is wrong with Japanese developers?
Are achievements beneficial?
Random topic for New Year's
Gaming changed my Christmas
Dreamcast 2 would fail
Buy more special editions
Game Length and You
Reexamining Twilight Princess
Thank you, Mr. Thompson, for being our nemesis
Do games need to be respectable?
Startgame Syndrome's dark secrets
Pre-hype is a big let-down
Why can't games have bad endings?
Why would you want a Resident Evil film to begin with?

Illustrated Review - A picture-focused analysis of gaming stuff, to save you the trouble of trying it
Fallout 3 Survival Edition (and Collector's Edition)
Fable II Limited Collector's Edition
Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition
SoulCalibur IV Premium Edition
Grand Theft Auto IV: Special Edition
Devil May Cry 4: Collector's Edition
Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect: Limited Editions
Check Mii Out Channel

Systems Owned: 3DS, Dreamcast, DS, DS Lite, DSi XL, GCN, GBA, GBA SP, GB Micro, GBC, N64, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360

Email/Gtalk: necrosterminus [at] gmail.com
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