LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

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Blue Lemma
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LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#1 Post by Blue Lemma » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:42 am

Lemma's Post Summary wrote:Be nice to each other on the forum Image
Once upon a time, back in June 2003, I started a little website for my hobby games. The first game on this site was "Tales of Lemma 1" (I wish I had chosen a different name now!) which was a free little visual novel about a guy and a girl who get lost on a camping trip. Along with this mini-novel, I started a small forum for people to talk with me about the games I made. It didn't get much traffic, but it was a nice place. People were polite, encouraging, and the community was close-knit.

Things glided along nicely, and in February of the next year, PyTom emailed me asking for permission to use the ToL1 heroine, Miko, in a demo of his new visual novel engine.
PyTom way back when wrote:For the past week or so, I've been working on a Ren'Ai engine, written in Python using the PyGame libraries. (My working name for it is Ren'Py.)

It's intended to make developing Ren'Ai games easier by separating the coding of the engine from the game logic, in the same way interpreters like TADS, INFORM, and ADRIFT made writing interactive fiction easier. Ideally, an artistic person would be able to write a game without worrying much about the details of the implementation.

Anyway, I'm almost ready to release the engine, so that other people can look at it and evaluate it. I'd like permission to use the graphics found at:

http://www.lemmasoft.net/renai/Ren%27ai_Development_Downloads.html

to make a demo of the engine. I'd also like your permission to use the name "Miko" for the images of Miko, if it's okay with you.

Let me just take this opportunity to thank you for providing those images on your web site, in standard formats. Having some nice data to use was really motivating.
I gave him permission plus my IM name, and we started talking. It turned out my short little game had helped to get him interested in visual novels, and little did I know what this would all turn into!

Ren'Py didn't have nearly the feature set back then that it has now, but it took care of all the core elements of a visual novel: text screens, menus, picture display, music, and sound effects. PyTom's engine was gaining popularity, and so we made a dedicated Ren'Py section on the forum. People had already been discussing visual novels on the Lemma Soft Forum, so this cemented it as a place for people to talk not just about playing VNs, but now also about making them.

LSF life continued on, and more people joined. The main place to discuss visual novels before this had been Megatokyo, but it had a reputation for having some harsh critics and very opinionated regulars. Many people found comfort in a smaller forum that was devoted to original English-language amateur/doujin works.

Word spread, and hundreds of people joined. Then thousands. It was exciting to watch, but I couldn't help but notice the encouraging atmosphere and closeness of the community had been dwindling with the community's size. Such is the inevitable fate of a growing community - people don't know each other as well and don't care about each other as much. I'm not talking "care" like "oh, I feel as you feel, my brother on the internet that I have never met or seen writings from before this post!" No, I'm talking about caring about each other's feelings and generally being positive. Kindness and politeness are virtues in real life. Why not in cyberspace?

Still, I got busy with other things in life. Grad school, jobs, other game projects... you name it. I dropped by the forum once in a while to participate and make sure nothing blew up, but I didn't spend as much time encouraging the same warm welcoming atmosphere that the forum originally had. I chalked much of this up to the forum's size, but there really should have been more promotion of positivity and politeness. Free speech is great, and so are diverse opinions. But that doesn't mean people need to be jerks about things, and more often than before, people were being jerks. It's sort of like a 4chan or Megatokyo syndrome, like a big metropolis versus a small town. People feel anonymous and impersonal, and manners tend to go out the window.

Lately I've been re-engaging with things here, and I've heard so many things about people's experiences behind the scenes. The forum is still a very friendly place compared to many forums of this size (129,000+ posts!) However, there is much room for improvement. It starts with each of us doing something we (should have!) learned as kids: Be kind to others.

Crazy thought, right? On a big internet community! Be polite! This is how LSF started, and this is how I would like it to continue. We have visual novel beginners, players, creators, professionals, and everything in between! Let's encourage the beginners and give helpful feedback to creators. A pro can take a different level of bluntness and criticism than a beginner. Think of the forum as a conversation. Yes, it's a giant public conversation, but it's still a conversation with real live people, and when you direct something at someone, to them it can be like you're saying it to their face. What's the big difference? Location, that's all. The words, tone, and message still matter.

I don't mean for this to sound like a scolding of the community or anything like that. Again, compare this board to Yahoo! News, Something Awful, Megatokyo, or just about any other forum with a ton of activity. Most of the people here are awesome and kind. I like where we are. I like more where we can be :wink:

Try to have understanding, courtesy, and forgiveness for our fellow forumites (people!) With more of this, the original Lemma Soft Forum spirit can return in full force. The other mods and I are planning some improvements for the forum that should help give it a more friendly, inclusive feel, where members can take more ownership and be more involved. Please help us out as we get back to the original LSF spirit!
“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte


I've retired from forum administration. I do not add people to the "adult" group, deactivate accounts, nor any other administrative task. Please direct admin/mod issues to PyTom or the other mods : )

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#2 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:19 am

Word!
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman
Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming
Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year
Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift
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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#3 Post by lordcloudx » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:09 am

Then perhaps I can re-call some attention to this old post of mine. Food for thought, though the discussions that follow apply to a different time period and demographic. http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 87&start=0
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#4 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:13 am

Awwww, that sounds like a love story. Someone should make a VN of that.

And I agree with it. I enjoy the closeness of this community, and when I was really new, it was nice not to be totally disregarded by the regulars. I have had people give me better feedback here than I have received in most places. Even though I don't know much about actual programming or the actual computer side of VNs, the shared love of art and stories have allowed me to connect to a lot of people here. It has a 'home' feel for me.

So, in that spirit, I will personally do my best to welcome, help and respect others. I will do my best not to bare my teeth or temper as I sometimes do. I will be active and try to improve the community in my own small way. I want this place to continue to be one of my favourite places after all.

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#5 Post by pondrthis » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:45 am

I gotta say, this community is a lot better than the last VN community I was a part of.

Those people *coughTLWikicough* had a lot of preconceived notions about things which they stuck to. Now, they weren't as bad as some of the other groups out there (Amaterasu TLs, 4chan), but they still had a negative view of things like the Ren'Py engine and EVNs. (They were, however, open-minded about the possibility of future highly-regarded EVNs.) Lo and behold I come here and realize Ren'Py is phenomenal and there have been seemingly awesome games already released... for free, no less.

DISCLAIMER: I use KiriKiri, but only because I have more experience with it than Ren'Py.

(EDIT/PS: With the new avatar, I won't be the only person to call Auro-Cyanide "AuCN"... I don't know if I feel special or worthless now T.T)

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#6 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:06 am

Yeah, some communities are better than others. My main other hang out place is DA, and while it is amazing and I am fond of the user interface, there are so many people on there that you often feel like you are drowning. That was one of the main reasons I was both surprised and happy to find a smaller community that I liked so much. Size does have so much to do with it, but I don't know how you could fix it. You do want a community to grow because it brings more talent and opinion to the table, but you will inadvertently have people know each other less and have randoms drift through all the time, some of whom stay and some of whom move on. You move from a neighbourhood, to a town, to a city. The question being how to maintain a community feel? I'm not sure it is something you can force or fix. How to promote a positive progression of the community may be more appropriate? You can probably never reclaim what it was because there are more people, but there may be new ways to promote a different, yet still positive, community.

(@pondrthis, Awww, you will still be special to me. You are the only person who has actually mentioned they had knowledge of the reference of my name.)

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#7 Post by Wolfzau » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:06 pm

Blue Lemma wrote:
Crazy thought, right? On a big internet community! Be polite! This is how LSF started, and this is how I would like it to continue. We have visual novel beginners, players, creators, professionals, and everything in between! Let's encourage the beginners and give helpful feedback to creators. A pro can take a different level of bluntness and criticism than a beginner. Think of the forum as a conversation. Yes, it's a giant public conversation, but it's still a conversation with real live people, and when you direct something at someone, to them it can be like you're saying it to their face. What's the big difference? Location, that's all. The words, tone, and message still matter.]
Well said.

Although I myself haven't been an active part of this community for very long and have never found anybody to be impolite/harsh it is interesting to watch the forum at work.

One thing I have noticed is that if you are new people tend to disregard you. I don't think this is done out of malice, it's just that a lot of people do drift through the forum posting once or twice before disappearing into the ether. I imagine it can get frustrating when you actually spend your time giving people encouragment only to see it being a gigantic waste when they vanish. However, I was raised to believe that everybody deserves a chance and yes, even some encouragment, even if it is a big waste of time. But kindness doesn't cost you anything, and you'd be surprised how much it means to the person on the other end of the screen.

To end, bravo for making this post, it shows that you are not only an extremely talented individual, but an extremely good person.

Most moderators only care about the size of their community, you care about the people in it.

I'll shut up now.

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#8 Post by Elenakiara » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:40 pm

Me, I feel really accepted by the forum dwellers. :3 <3

I love seeing people help each other and LSF gives off a good warm vibe most of the time. Frankly, even when small 'fights' happen, it's like a family thing. It calms down and I feel like things continue on like if nothing happened. xD This is all from my perspective of course, but I really appreciate being a member! :)

A big thank you to everyone here! <3
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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#9 Post by J. Datie » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:58 pm

Taleweaver wrote:Word!
I agree, Blue Lemma really excels at putting a lot of power into his points, all in one note, even! I think we should follow his example, and have a positive outlook on things.
This post was brought to you by Microsoft and the number 7.

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#10 Post by fleet » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:31 pm

I suspect the anonymity of the Internet contributes to lack of civility in forums. A critique with statements such as "your writing is bad" is rude. Would you say it face to face to a stranger?
Some of the criticisms I’ve seen here are so scathing that I’m very surprised that a new author would submit more than one visual novel, or even bother to post.
Reading the site rules I see if a critique is not civil, it should be reported. Perhaps if more 'uncivil' posts were reported, and moderators notified the perpetrators directly, the offenders would get the message.
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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#11 Post by Elenakiara » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:39 pm

fleet wrote:I suspect the anonymity of the Internet contributes to lack of civility in forums. A critique with statements such as "your writing is bad" is rude. Would you say it face to face to a stranger?
Some of the criticisms I’ve seen here are so scathing that I’m very surprised that a new author would submit more than one visual novel, or even bother to post.
Reading the site rules I see if a critique is not civil, it should be reported. Perhaps if more 'uncivil' posts were reported, and moderators notified the perpetrators directly, the offenders would get the message.
Yes, I've gotten a few scathing reviews. I didn't like them, but I've learned
(1) to get beyond the nastiness, and read/implement the constructive comments, and
(2) to not ask for comments.
Frankly, I feel like the criticisms I've seen have sometimes been blunt, but as long as they are backed up and explained, they will help the writer improve if he or she takes it to heart. Some of the comments about my VN's idea have been a little hurtful for me, but I knew that those issues would need to be dealt with as I write. Any negative(but not bad) feedback is always hurtful to some extent. We can't simply sugarcoat everything and have the person keep on making mistakes.

Many times, I gave myself a small break after the comments that weren't all that positive and I came back with a smile, knowing where to improve next. :3
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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#12 Post by jack_norton » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:53 pm

I don't read the forums often/too much but I think as the community grows, is pretty inevitable that less polite/nice people will join and post. I've seen this happening to many other forums I used to browse in the past.
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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#13 Post by pondrthis » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:14 pm

J. Datie wrote:This post was brought to you by Microsoft and the number 7.

For some reason that made me think of the Halo character (Gravemind, was it?) that always spoke in iambic septameter couplets.

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#14 Post by Blue Lemma » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:57 pm

J. Datie wrote:I agree, Blue Lemma really excels at putting a lot of power into his points, all in one note, even! I think we should follow his example, and have a positive outlook on things.
This post was brought to you by Microsoft and the number 7.
Well, it's important that the forum feels accessible :wink:

Thanks to everyone for the support on this. I agree with the general sentiment that this is a relatively nice and encouraging place. Still, it's gotten noticeably less so since its early days. I chalked it up to the whole "bigger community, what can you do?" thing, but the fact is we CAN do something to get some of that small community warmth back :) Some suggestions for all of us:

* read more posts with 0 replies and see if we can help
* don't post if you're angry, and take a moment to cool off instead
* consider the creator's experience level and pro/amateur status when giving feedback

Any other ideas?
“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.”
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I've retired from forum administration. I do not add people to the "adult" group, deactivate accounts, nor any other administrative task. Please direct admin/mod issues to PyTom or the other mods : )

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Re: LSF Spirit (or "Dude, where's my forum?")

#15 Post by Elenakiara » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:15 pm

This is kind of already stated in those three options, but maybe appreciate people a little more at times? xD Kind of like with friends and families, we can be happy with them and proud even, but we don't always take the time to tell them that. <3
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