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Welcoming problems?

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/20/2015

I have concerns over the message and spirit of the welcoming messages people are getting when posting. The thoughts here are mine and I very well could be the only one but I wanted to share them anyways.

It seems that when people post here or introduce themselves they are getting one of two responses. The first response is hey games make no money and to abandon all hope of ever getting anything. This message gets reinforced by several posts and strangely most of those first posters do not post again.

The second response is the one that bothers me the most, which is if you "Really" want to feel welcomed you must contribute to others. On one hand that does not seem like a bad request abut again it gets hammered home by several posters. If this happened one or two times I would be OK but the wording on the posts seem to be getting more pointed.

To me at least the post come off as very much "if you want any of us to post or comment or make you feel welcomed you Must post to others". There seems to be a feeling here that if a person does not post to others then they are not worthy of time here. It, again to me, feels like the people who post the most see themselves as better than others who do not post a lot.

It could be that people are shy are not good at speaking, they could have taken all the strength they have to make the first post. Some people may b working 2 or 3 jobs and do not have time to post except for their own stuff. Some people may not have expertise in a given topic. It seems that every one who does not post a lot is being lumped in as no good people who are not "Helping". I can see this side of things and everyone only has a limited amount of time to post.

I would remind people that most people are not professionals in the game field and maybe a little more understanding would go a long way. Laying the hammer down on new comers without even figuring out what they want goes a great way to have people not come back.

I am disturbed by the growing trend among the very people who should be setting the best example and creating a safe spot for designers of all stripes to hang out. This might not matter since I am among those who do not post often. If you want to require people to post X amount to be fully "Welcomed" then that should be stated somewhere.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
I'm yet to see a regular

I'm yet to see a regular welcome message to be met with the two reactions you've described.

Reaction #1 about "there's no money in boardgames" (which is also, incidentally, true) is usually in response to a first post describing an over-optimistic plan of the first-time game designer to publish his or her revolutionary first board-game and instantly make a living out of it.

I'm one of those nasty people who post those dream-crushing responses. I do it because I've seen it first-hand. And I personally know people who've lost thousands in cash because they got into self-publishing without having a clue and thinking it's easy. This is why I post comments like this and will continue to do so as long as it's not against the rules of this community, because I think it's the right thing to do.

Reaction #2 about "no contribution" is usually to a first-time post advertising an ongoing Kick-starter campaign. I believe it is rather obvious that such a post has no other purpose except for advertising, which might annoy some people. You see, most people are here to discuss the board games they are designing. An advertisement post doesn't contribute much in this regard. Moreover, it's not that effective at getting you new backers either for that same reason (judging from personal experience, so might be wrong here).

Personally, I'd say the best solution to this would be to have a separate sub-forum called "Shameless self-advertising" (or something along those lines) for the posts like that. At least the intent will be obvious and clear that way and hence "ok" in my book.

Just my 2 cents.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I agree with Arty

I have seen no threads in which anyone is offering advice that there is "no money in boardgames". But to clarify, it would be best if people designed for the hobby itself - rather than focusing on remuneration. I think the best advice is to focus on designing a "real good game - if not a GREAT one." Put out a great product and let the gamers decide if they like it or not...

As far as "contributions" are concerned... Well we do get a LOT of designers that have a "finished" design and want to promote their KS campaign... So they have come to these fora at bit late in the process. And as we like to point out - MANY (not all - but MOST) do not post about anything else but their KS. And I understand the "bad" reaction that may occur with the other designers: "I'm not going to back your game - you just arrived on BGDF - and posted about your KS... I know nothing about you, your game or your background - you are a complete stranger..." And the worst part as some other designer pointed out - 21 weeks and all you manage to do is post about your KS after that time?

It's not a coincidence... Do you think this person will contribute to BGDF and it's other designers??? Odds are - probably not. He/she may post updates about their KS - it being live - but will probably not contribute towards other efforts from their fellow designers.

And maybe this is a FAULT of our "Welcome Pitch". We suggest you start with a thread explaining about yourself and what brings you to BGDF. We should follow this up with - "get involved in BGDF and share your thoughts, comments, feedback, advice, suggestions, etc. with the other designers...!"

That's personally more representative of what we should encourage new members to "get involved" with...


radioactivemouse's picture
Joined: 07/08/2013
Hard work

I always say that it takes hard work to make it in this business. The fact is that many people come into these forums think that board games are an "easy button" or that by posting 1 thread about their Kickstarter game that they'll immediately get the support of the community.

That's just not good in ANY forum.

People here are generally welcoming, personal attacks are dealt with by the mod, but everyone here has something to say and as a community we should try and learn from the members.

Joined: 09/12/2016
I'm new here and feel pretty

I'm new here and feel pretty welcomed.
I have had only good responses, no personal attacks, no nastiness or anything...

One downside with anything written is you can't always convey the tone in which it is written. So even compliments can be taken the wrong way if read wrong.

Joined: 02/05/2016
I see lots of first posts met

I see lots of first posts met with a warm welcome. The ones that come across as advertising without any intent to engage in discussion obviously annoy some people, but that's understandable.

Only a couple of posts have inspired a dream-puncturing response. In those threads, I have felt that the tone was measured, respectful, and realistic. People should be designing because they enjoy it. If they want to take steps to make a profit from their hobby, fine - they will get good advice here.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Welcome texts and community

Hi John - I want to acknowledge your concerns, and see if they can be addressed in a way that solves a root problem.

As I am interpreting it, you're concerned that:

  • Some members who (for whatever reason) don't contribute to other discussions are encouraged to contribute in order to feel part of the community.
  • Since they can't/don't contribute, they feel "lesser than" the members that can/do contribute.
  • This is because the welcoming comments of current - contributing - members, encourage newcomers to also contribute, and that by doing so the newcomers would be fuller, better community members.
  • Since some newcomers can't contribute, they feel their situation isn't being recognised and they are discriminated against.

If I'm misrepresenting, I'm sorry - please correct me and we'll try again. Barring that, I have some thoughts on the description above.

  • Negatively toned welcomes are of course not a good thing. This is likely why the above comments are wondering where the negative-bent welcomes are, because then we can action those directly. However, if the messages in question are more in the 'reality-check' category, then the effect may be disheartening but had no malignance in intent. I'd argue these types of posts are actually helpful to newcomers, in that they help set the expectations of the industry. There are a few new members I've seen with little exposure to games in general, and think the only option is Trivial Pursuit-esque success. Caveats the welcomes may give are to help the person avoid the failures of the 1970s-1990s where too many people have lost tens of thousands of dollars on failed games.
  • There's a difference between those who can't/don't contribute much at all, and those who only ask for others to contribute. I think this is what the above comments are also hinting at when they say that some people are just here to post their kickstarter link and then leave. This does reduce the overall quality of the boards, as an increase in those posts on the daily feed gives the impression that discussion isn't happening as often, and BGDF is rife with adverts and shills.
  • We do welcome members to post kickstarter links, and in particular links to kickstarters that they themselves are backing. However, these members can increase their click and backing rate if they've already proven they are members of the community. It's to their advantage to contribute, as I'm more likely to back you if I "know" rather than back a random new-member that posts a link and disappears until their next campaign.

I want to quote the original post a bit -

It, again to me, feels like the people who post the most see themselves as better than others who do not post a lot.


Laying the hammer down on new comers without even figuring out what they want goes a great way to have people not come back.

The first part of this I can't completely agree with - not because it's not true - but because it's presumptive in its own right. Naturally, we can't say what others are feeling unless they express it themselves, so I hesitate to assume that the posters "see themselves as better than others who do not post a lot." It is possible that telling people to post and contribute can create feelings of inadequacies resulting in a feeling of power imbalance, but ascribing intent to create that assumes malignance - which is often not the case. It is worth a conversation with those individuals to clear that up and restore the balance.

The second part - about the hammer - I agree with. It's almost structurally encouraged on internet forums, and something I see people struggle with in-person conversations as well.

Imagine a new-comer to a party; no one knows the person except the one friend who invited him along. That new-comer, if they're not naturally extrovert, will probably have a crappy time unless the friend and guests go out of their way to ask questions and purposefully involve the new-comer in their conversations to find common ground. That would be a welcoming group of people - but it doesn't always happen. Add in the impersonal nature of online forums, and it's compounded.

Ideally, members would go out of their way to ask all those questions and get to know the newcomers. But I also understand the reaction older members may have when the 80th newcomer comes in. It's hard to hold probing conversations with 80 people. Or sometimes, the new members that say the familiar "Hey I have an amazing game that is totally unique and going to make tons of money and I already have a patent so I don't want to share it but I wanted you all to know that it's the best and I want to know what the best way to sell it is can you all help me."


I'd like to change the structure of BGDF - from as simple as changing the welcome text to incentivising contributions in other ways (like BGG thumbs and coins, with a BGDF spin).

Joined: 09/20/2015
In the minority and that is OK

It seems that I am in the minority here and that is OK. I have a unique way at looking at things and sometimes it does not align well with how things really work.

What I worry about most is the people we do not see or who never post or who walk away. I am worried about perception and tone more than anything. I get that most of the time the negative responses are coming to KS posts or people that do not seem to contribute in any useful way. However how many people have taken a look at the responses and decided this is not the place to find help? The truth is there is no real way to know and that can rabbit hole downwards very quickly.

We have several very vocal people here on the site that like to dispense the truth and that is not a bad thing at all. I think it is good to have reality checks from time to time. Is the truth still useful after the second poster or the third or the fourth? When do the posts deviate from useful to harmful?

Every post, every single post is not just for the person who created the thread or the person you are responding too. Every post is also seen by people who are thinking about joining or have their first awesome idea they want to share. They come here and browse before posting and see what could be seen as negativity and walk away. Now there is no way to avoid what a person thinks or how they take something, I am not silly enough to think that there is a way to please everyone.

What I would suggest is sometimes try to limit the amount of truth posts or reality checks. Being told once or twice can really bring home the idea to rethink an idea but 4 or 5 or 6 posts may not be useful.

I would also suggest to tone down the wording on getting involved or even suggesting they need to post more to be taken seriously.

I agree that after X amounts of welcomes it becomes boring or someone has heard it all before but for the person posting this may be brand new. They are just starting on the road. For them this is exciting and they want to share that. Of course, a lot of the new ideas will be similar to other ideas people have seen but to me, that is not the point. Sometimes we need to take a step back and see things through the new posters eyes and not the experienced eyes, we were all there at one point too.

The last bit of advice I could leave is that this is a small community and there are a lot of guest posters. This means a number of people come here and look around. Every post and every interaction is being watched, every poster represents the forum. If the tone is overly negative you will often never know because the very people we are trying to help may not want to join. The welcome board is one of the most important boards I feel as it could very well be one of the first places people see what the community is like.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

I think leaving the advice there is enough. It's difficult to balance specific "stop this, do this" advice against only targeting symptoms. I'll add some text to the welcome message, but as with all text reminders I don't expect the behavioural impact to be high.

Thank you, John, for the thoughtful input.

Joined: 02/05/2016
What about a simple rule

What about a simple rule that bans new members from posting Kickstarter links until they have responded to 5 threads? This might be enough to get rid the the fly-by-night advertisers.

I'm not sure that it means much to say that people who contribute feel they are better than non-contributers. Non-contributers aren't being judged as human-beings or even as designers, but it is simply a truism that an online community can only be built and sustained by contributers.

If we culled the obvious advertisers, then there would be no real reason to state the obvious fact that contributions are needed to build a community, and first posts would not need to be met with this reminder.

The problem is not at all unique to this site. Everywhere I have looked, the number of people wanting playtests and rule critiques massively outnumbers the few who are prepared to give playtests and rule critiques. This is the first law of game design. Those who mention this first law are not necessarily being negative. In response, I set up a group that uses points to keep track of critiques and playtest-hours. If this site did the same, I would be happy to close my own group and use this one.

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