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The "What the Heck Are You People On??" Dept.:
MailBag for Issue #7

Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman


Subject:GameKillaz

loonyboi: just look at the Quake 3: Arena shots that were scanned. Is anyone going to call that a killer new page?

Redwood: nope

H, Nach0KinG, GK writer here. A few points :

We don't get paid for what we do. We don't get sponsor revenue. 3 of our 4 are doing exams. With all due respect (your site is very good) we REALLY don't need told how badly we're doing. I don't think any of us set out to prove anything, like we're a killer news site, we never really intended it. In fact, it was originally a small RPG and Gaming website for the UK... but when we got Quake3 scans we decided to tell the world", as it were. This doesn't mean we consider ourselves "on par" with PQ, Redwood etc. (at the moment anyway =)

So I hope that clears a few things up...flame away m'bro =)

Nach0KinG / G0ldRu5h

Apologies, not flames.

I think it's pretty safe to say that the intention with that exchange was not to knock your site, more to use your site as an example of the short term memory people have for websites...everybody's brother looked at your page when those scans were posted, and now nobody could remember the name. For all we knew, it was an awesome site.

It's a shame, and it's something we all suffer from. We went there once, (some twice, I went back to see the 'they were pulled' message :)) and then forgot about it. But definately no intent to slam your site, and I wish it the best of luck. :)

Subject: The Community Summit

Very interesting article. What was most interesting to me were Joost Shuur's assertation that the community was "elitist", since he most certainly is not. I'm one of the 100,000 "Joe Shmoe" Quake webmasters someone mentioned. A couple of "online buddies" who read my page (and I theirs) hosted a "slipgate's down for six months" IRC party on March 9th, invited me and asked for help promoting their party. I had quite a bit of fun with it, and was surprised by an email from Joost that asked, "can i come?"

Perhaps it was a shot at Blue, I don't know. I also don't know how anyone could read all the mail Blue's page must generate.

I hadn't seen your page before tonight, good job! I'm adding it to the "Links" section of the Springfield Fragfest under "Other shooter sites". I ran across your page from Evil Avatar's page.

-Steve McGrew

Thanks for the link!

Not to specifically target Joost, but I think the argument can by made that by calling the community elitist, he must consider himself that way.

(I thought the idea of your party for Slipgate Central was hysterical, btw) :)

Subject: RE: Community Summit

You talk about the community being elitist and yet in the very presumption and topic of the article, the elitist attitude emerges to once again make me very sick and disturbed at the state of the Gaming Community.

For introductions, my name is Javier Heredia, known to many as Dukrous, and have been a very active participant in the Doom Community for about three years now. In my three years, I've seen a change in the Doom Community from a rag-tag bunch of level-makers and players to actual definable groups. At the core of this, for the past year has been a website I co-ran (with my longtime friend Andrew Stine AKA Linguica) called Functional Entropy, which has long since gone away. It's reason for begin retired as the opening of Doomworld, the first (and, during it's opening first few months, only) second-level domain site dedicated Doom and all things related to Doom. Doomworld is a part of the Telefragged network of games, and we would like to think that we serve some sort of purpose in keeping the Father of 3D shooters (Wolfenstein 3D being the Grandfather) alive and in the minds of current and future gamers.

Doomworld opened March 13, 1998, and since then we have been summarily ignored (and in some cases ridiculed) for having the site. Yet we were the first. The second site to compete with us is the newly minted Doomnation, which is part of the Frag-dot-Com network with Hanif at the helm. Yet, on it's first day, it has gotten mentions on Blue's and PlanetQuake's news page whereas Doomworld finally got it's first mention as a blurb on Blue's nearly three weeks ago in the Misc. section.

You want to talk about being hard to get into the community or the community being elitist? We've been asking for at least two months to be included in QBS2 with the firm belief that Doomworld qualifies as a site worthy to be put on the list, yet we have received no answers. Blue's News has a links page dedicated to all games, except Doom, despite repeated requests that he give us some space. And now, in what you propose is a Community Summit, a meeting of the most 'powerful' people in the community you have, like those before you, summarily ignored our community, which has continued to grow and thrive alongside the current crop of 3D shooters.

You wish to see elitism in action, review your actions and ask yourself 'Why wasn't members of the Doom Community invited?' If you answer is 'I do not know anyone from the Doom Community' then find out why you don't. For what you have dubbed as 'the best damn gaming magazine online', it appears you seem to be out of touch with the oldest and still thriving Gaming Community, the Doom Community.

Javier Heredia

Actually, Joost Schuur ran a Doom site of his own (at http://hp11.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de:2611/), as well as being on the staff of Doomgate. So we did, in fact, have a representative from the Doom community at this chat. That he is also considered a member of the Quake community, was just killing two birds with one stone.

There are communities we ignored...Ultima Online being a huge one that comes to mind. But I think the fps community is a separate entity in itself, and that's the one this chat focused on.

As for the websites not posting about your site, I think they all explained very well how they choose what news they post. Read it, and maybe you'll have a better understanding of why they sometimes can't always do what you request.

Subject:Roundtable Feedback

I read the round table discussion concerning whether or not our community has become elitist and it made me appreciate the success that my site (http://www.planetquake.com/picpage) had when I started. I, you see, am and was a nobody in the community, so when I started my site and got my 1st 100 hits I was overjoyed. Through some friends, I got a space on Stomped and advertised through all the news sites I could find. Most of the news sites, like Blue's and Redwood's, have supported me by posting news about all my various projects from LAN parties to web site updates to just general thanks. Knowing these guys get upwards of 500 e-mails a day made me excited to know that they'd post my little tidbit. If they didn't, it wasn't a big deal, but 80 - 90% of the time, they did.

The hits started rolling in and it was great. After a while, I moved from Stomped to Planetquake. Many people asked me what PQ had offered me to move, how they managed to "steal" me away, but to be honest, Stomped no longer satisfied the needs my site had to maintain itself. I've never met anyone else who's been "stolen" from one provider to another. Most, like me, left their previous provider because it no longer met their needs.

I think that while your round table provided a lot of insight into how providers and "the big guys" feel about the success rate of starting websites, it may have suited your purpose more to hear of the experience of someone who actually went through the process.

- Amy "Siren" Brown
Pic Page

And the winner of the loonygames t-shirt this week is....

Subject: Community Summit Feedback

Greetings!

My name is David Hebbe, known online as Chrome Tiger...and I have the unique privledge of being the Director of Operations at 3D: The Bodyshop, a Telefragged hosted site mentioned by Joost Schuur and Idoru in your 'Community Summit' (we're one of the 300+MB repositories).

I must say, I found the Summit very informative...it's great to get that kind of insight from the people who make most of what we do as a community possible.

If I might add my own personal views to the amalgam, I think I can provide a look at the same issues from the viewpoint of a hosted site, rather than a host.

Bobbi: Has the community become elitist? Is this a clique?

Yes & No...in ANY grouping surrounding a common interest, there are going to be 'splinter' groups, that tend to stick together, and eschew the other splinters. Such is the nature of the human spirit...we want to feel that we are better than those around us, at least at SOMETHING. However, I feel that the website community as a WHOLE is still very open and helpful to newcomers...as long as the newcomers have something refreshing to offer, either being a totally new concept, or a new way of ! looking at established concepts. So, is it a clique? Yes, any grouping based on a common interest is a clique. Is it elitist? No...we've just become accustomed to a standard of quality, and don't want to see that standard blemished by sites that are just trying to get on the bandwagon and be noticed for 2 weeks, rather than actually contribute to the overall community development.

Bobbi: People are starting to call the community elitist, and impossible to break into...Is that true?

In regards to elitist, see above. Impossible to break into? No way! If you've got a great idea for something, and have enough clarity of language to detail it to someone, you CAN break in...I'm proof. I'm a nobody who just happens to love the 3D gaming arena. Bodyshop was about to lose it's staff and webspace, and I came in with a set of detailed ideas, and ways for the site to grow and evolve. Because I showed dedication, persistence, and at least a LITTLE talent, I was brought in...and now I'm r! unning the site, with great relationships with the Bodyshop staff and MANY of the 'personalities' in the community (including QuakeGod and Joost), and a site which is well-traffiked and well-known. I know I wouldn't be in the position I am in if it were an elitist community.

Bobbi: How do you get noticed?

The same way you get noticed in any other endeavour: Hard work, and dedication to a quality product. The burden of 'getting noticed' lies on the site crew, not the big hosts...if you put quality into your site, it WILL eventually get the notice and recognition it deserves.

Bobbi: So how does Joe Schmo's Quake page get the scoops?

I can answer that one from experience: You ASK. Bodyshop has garnered several exclusives since I came on board...because we've been going to the hot properties and asking to arrange interviews and such. Again, it's a matter of putting in the time and effort to get what you want, as well as being polite and professional in asking for it. Mailing John Romero and saying "Dude, I run a site, can I interview you?" is a good way to get ignored...but a professional and intelligent email will most likely get a resp! onse, and quite possibly the interview you're after.

Bobbi: Has the possiblities of money being made from fan-based websites ruined the 'fun' in running a site? When does money need to be considered, no site can run forever without financial backing? And how would a 'good' person handle it?

For the narrow-minded, yes it has. But I think it's mostly the younger fan crowd that gets bent out of shape over the hosts making money. Those with more 'real-world' experience know that nothing comes cheap, and the hosting providers NEED to make revenue to continue to offer existing services, as well as expand to offer more and better services. I support Telefragged's efforts to raise revenue simply because if THEY continue to exist, so does our site. The service & support offered by the big hosting sites doesn't c! ost we, the site producers, a dime...and it very well COULD cost us a small fortune if we had to pay for the same space & services. Money ALWAYS has to be a consideration, even for the sites themselves...how much time can you put into a site, which would possibly take away from time at a paying job? Again, from personal experience: I put in approx. 25-30hrs./week dealing with Bodyshop-related issues, sometimes more. Bodyshop is a second full-time job for me, with NO paycheck to show for it...just personal satisfactio! n with every compliment the site recieves...and at the moment, that's enough.

ChrisDay: what about the ethics of "stealing" sites though? does anyone truly believe this is a common problem?

I HAVE to comment on this one. Site 'stealing' is an over-hyped problem, IMHO. If a site is truly happy where it is, it's not gonna move, regardless. If another host comes to a site with an offer of greater services, or a financial offer, then yes, that's going to cause the site to consider its options...obviously, the host would have to see some benefit from hosting the site in question, but that's the nature of the game, especially with the larger hosts...by hosting well-known, established sites, they draw more attention to the host themselves, and enhance their own prospects, either financially (more advertising revenue), image-wise (good sites = good host), or both. If the sites were sharing in the profits a host makes, then I could see reason for a 'non- compete' type arrangement between site/host...but as long as the sites operate without financial gain, it's pretty much an open scouting run for the hosts to try and attract the high-quality sites. But on the same token, these offers should be up-front and honest, and the current host should be made aware of the intent to make the site a better offer...

Bobbi: And that throws us back to the initial question of Joe Schmo...how does he do it without the domain?

Same answer I gave before: Persistence, and dedication to a quality work...the domain is a nice plus, because it makes the whole site seem a bit more 'established', but it's NOT a necessity. I ran a VERY successful and respected X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter site for some time on GeoCities, when the space limit was 3MB...and the content and quality of the site got links put up elsewhere. Real simple: Build a good site with the space you have, and eventually someone will come to you with a better offer...which could include a domain.

Bobbi: Would you all say something about what they think this community of our is, and where we're going?

The community is growing rapidly...perhaps a bit too rapidly for everything to keep up at the moment. But if we keep the thought in our minds that we're all doing this because we love doing it, and we want to contribute something TO it, then I think we can maintain a sense of proportion. This isn't about competition, or site rivalries, or anything like that...it's about expressing the dedication to the games we enjoy, and sharing that enjoyment with others...the hosts provide us with that opportunity, which we might ! otherwise not have...so we should support and thank ALL of them, wether we are hosted by them or not, becuause they are a large factor in making this community happen.

Where is the community going? Forward, ever forward...with more sites, more hosts (I'm sure), and more games to enjoy and share with others...working together, it can be a beautiful thing. Working against each other, all we'll do is ruin the online experience a little bit for all of us...

--***---

Thanks for the opportunity to let me express my own viewpoints on some of these matters, and thanks again for the Community Summit...a very good idea, I look forward to the 6-month followup!

Sincerely,

David J. Hebbe
aka Chrome Tiger
Director of Operations
3D: The Bodyshop

Thank you!

One of the most common criticisms I've been getting about this summit is that we should have included the 'little guys,' the tc/mod authors, or some of the actual hosted sites. It's nice to see you've taken the time to write such an elaborate letter and made your opinion known.

I, for one, am very inspired by your response, I have a very negative view of the community these days, and would have expected a much more angry reply from you than this above. It's great to see such a positive outlook, from such a positive experience.

By the way, this is probably as good of a place to say it as any, as anybody who read the article saw, we are doing this again in 6 months. I am very open to suggestions about how to make this a better, more open forum next time. Anybody with any constructive suggestions (not, 'invite anybody who wants to come'..that's impossible for practical reasons), feel free to e-mail me with them.

 

Single player dead?

Why can't they keep their mouths shut?!

More on Duke...

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Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.