Honest Critique

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Re: Honest Critique

#46 Post by Roxie » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:55 pm

This is an awesome idea :) *added*
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Re: Honest Critique

#47 Post by Aileo » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:25 pm

Hmm, I haven't made anything yet, but I can't see why I shouldn't use this. I think even negative feedback can be positive, if you don't take it the wrong way and actually use it to improve.

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Re: Honest Critique

#48 Post by PyTom » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:19 pm

As a question: 3 weeks in, has this changed anyone's behavior?
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Re: Honest Critique

#49 Post by Tempus » Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:03 am

I was wondering that myself. I've noticed the green badge and text over the forum quite a bit.

I have a half written response to Elmiwisa's post on the previous page, but I never posted it. Mostly because it's just me meandering about and thinking out loud.

--------------------------
Elmiwisa wrote:I just dig a bit around and it turns out this is the issue that had come up multiple times in the past already :shock: such as this (note: old and long thread). That might be why PyTom sounds excited about this one. I hope this movement gain more momentum.
Good find. I wasn't aware of that thread. I've read the first couple of pages but I don't feel inclined to read the next fifteen. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what's being said, despite it being 5 years old.

I wanted to keep things focused in my initial post so I didn't go into my full thoughts on the matter. And perhaps it almost feels a little taboo to do so. A point was made that outside of LSF its reputation isn't one of a forum where you go to receive honest feedback so much as ego stroking. In the wider gaming community there's also a perception of visual novels as always being anime styled, high school (or high school surrogate) dating sims. While that's not entirely true (and not necessarily bad in the cases where it is), that's some truth in both those opinions.

I can think of some experienced developers who don't participate in discussion here or even frequent these boards. My thoughts here (which I did sort of touch on in my original post before I edited it) are that we want to retain and attract talented developers. If they leave or don't join then a lot of the experience needed to nurture potential on these forums is lost. And those with potential will decide these forums don't serve their needs and leave too and return only for recruitment and Ren'Py support (that's if they don't just bypass the forums entirely and go to #renpy). It's not just about their needs being served either; a lot of experienced people like helping others, but if said experienced people feel their advice falls on deaf ears, expect that advice to dry up.

In fact, that's been exactly my experience on previous projects. I'm far less inclined to help others now than I used to be simply because so often it seems as though it's in one ear and out the other. It's frankly demoralising for me. And I think part of it comes from this mentality of projects being "just" a hobby. What do you mean, "just"?! Hobbies require more effort than (or at least as much as) jobs and education precisely because you have to divert time to hobbies from the things that do earn you money to live on. It's all the more reason to structure your time better, to get more efficient with the programs you use, streamline workflow, take the initiative to research game development and accept constructive criticism. And guess what? You don't mind because you like development. (Right? After all, why would you have a hobby you dislike?)

Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to force my way of doing things onto others. But that's where I'm coming from in making this thread, I guess. How can we possibly have a community that thrives from a quality standpoint if there's no mentors? I'd also suggest that while there's really no other comparable VN development forum, Lemmasoft only represents a portion of the VN dev community. I don't want to speculate on what that portion is, but I will say that for all its geographic, age, gender and orientation diversity there's a lot of same-y ness to a majority of the VNs I see being made.

Part of what I'd like to see is more talented VN devs contribute to the community. As it is, I see their needs being served elsewhere, and they remain isolated in their own smaller communites of dev teams by choice. The other part is more diverse projects. The diverse community is already there, but where are their stories?

They continue to tell other people's stories. Even many of the experienced devs just do same thing with better execution. Better writing. Better (anime) art. Better music. Better better better. But not different. A slightly more fuel efficient car. A quicker computer. A comfier seat. These are all improvements on existing things, not innovations. I'm not saying I don't enjoy anything that isn't totally off the wall; I like derivative content just as much as the next person and recognise that all creation uses parts that previously existed.

So here's the end of this post. No idea what I'm talking about any more. I'll finish with an open parenthesis to make us all feel uncomfortable.

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Re: Honest Critique

#50 Post by Katta » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:47 pm

I'm curious what results it was supposed to have...
It seems to me that Art and probably other subforums offered critique when requested even without badges and maybe it's more helpful this way, because f.ex. I've got some feedback on my own project (not here) and I couldn't even understand what this person was talking about because I'm not an artist, nor a musician myself, so though I'm grateful to this person for his opinion, I'm most likely not going to change anything, because I can't ask my commissioned artist to change something I don't understand what it is and I use creative commons music, so how am I supposed to change something at ...sec of the song, I can react only on feedback like "I hate this song, don't use it". Talking about deaf ears...

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Re: Honest Critique

#51 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:33 pm

Tempus wrote: I wanted to keep things focused in my initial post so I didn't go into my full thoughts on the matter. And perhaps it almost feels a little taboo to do so. A point was made that outside of LSF its reputation isn't one of a forum where you go to receive honest feedback so much as ego stroking.
That's true, and it has certainly been brought up before.

I think part of the reason is that initially, in the early days of this board, English language visual novels were RARE. Like unicorn-rare. You basically had whatever games JAST decided to localize and a few homebrew efforts cobbled together. And before Ren'Py came along, making any kind of visual novel was just as difficult as making a full game - storytellers and artists that weren't programmers were completely shut out. So any creators that appeared were nurtured and encouraged, regardless of the results of their labor. Which was necessary for the community to grow at the time.

But yes, now Ren'Py is here and it is easier than ever to get a working VN together, which is a great thing, but the old habits of not criticizing too harshly or letting quality slide for quantity seems to have held on in the forums as standard operating procedure.

Other places like Polycount, or ConceptArt.org have no problem giving hard but honest criticism of works, but then, there has never been a shortage of artists, so if they manage to discourage an artist enough for them to completely quit the "game", it isn't going to damage their community much, if at all. Other fish in the sea and all that.

But the English VN community (and probably the VN community as a whole) is still small and niche enough that it is terrified of losing contributing members, regardless of what those contributions may be. But yes, it becomes a problem in precisely the event you speak of - when a member becomes accomplished as a developer and finds the community feedback is no longer useful for them, in the same way my family members stopped being useful for feedback on my art years ago. They then move on to other developer boards, focused perhaps more on game development in general, and less on VNs in particular.

So the movement to promote honest critiques is always a good one, and can only help the community retain talent better, and nurture new talent to be better. Overall, the quality of work on the boards here has increased every year, so it is trending in that direction.
PyTom wrote:As a question: 3 weeks in, has this changed anyone's behavior?
There have been several cases where someone has been asking for feedback, and I look, then decide they probably aren't at a level to take honest feedback well, so I exit the thread. But then I go BACK in once I remember the Honest Critique button and look for it, deciding I'll give feedback anyway if they have it. (Not that any of the ones I've gone back into have had the button....)

So it has altered my behavior, in that during cases where I normally would move on with no comment, I'm rethinking that action and looking for permission to give feedback.

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Re: Honest Critique

#52 Post by Obscura » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:21 am

Just a couple of points:

- I believe several of the more experienced devs and artists who used to hang out at LSF are quite busy with a bunch of projects right now. This might just be the natural progression of how things work? The prolific posters I recall from a year ago no longer frequent this forum much. But with a few exceptions, I'm guessing that's been true every year?
- If anyone wants honest feedback, it might help to put "honest feedback requested"* in the title of your WIP Thread, whether or not you've got a green button in your sig. It may help draw more serious critiquers to your project, and they'll be able to spot your project more easily.

* edit: maybe just "crit. req.", or something less wordy perhaps, due to text length limitations
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Re: Honest Critique

#53 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:31 am

Obscura wrote: - I believe several of the more experienced devs and artists who used to hang out at LSF are quite busy with a bunch of projects right now. This might just be the natural progression of how things work? The prolific posters I recall from a year ago no longer frequent this forum much. But with a few exceptions, I'm guessing that's been true every year?
Some are probably busy working on projects, yes. But some never come back. The most prominent creators on the boards from when I first started lurking here (6+ years ago) are mostly gone. Some may have gotten out of the hobby entirely, true, or just made the games they dreamed of and moved on. But it is worrying when it seems success brings an exit. In other communities, such people stay on and become mentors. On Lemmasoft, with a few prominent exceptions, it appears they drift away. Maybe we're confusing cause and effect and they get tired of anime, have life reasons, etc.
Obscura wrote: - If anyone wants honest feedback, it might help to put "honest feedback requested"* in the title of your WIP Thread, whether or not you've got a green button in your sig. It may help draw more serious critiquers to your project, and they'll be able to spot your project more easily.

* edit: maybe just "crit. req.", or something less wordy perhaps, due to text length limitations
The Honest Critique button is supposed to formalize that request - and most importantly, make sure everyone knows the definition of that request. As has been stated, often people request feedback and don't really mean it. The button kind of lets you know the exact way they mean it, and that it isn't a vanity request. But yeah, it may help to put something like the "Crit. Req." tag on your topic header.

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Re: Honest Critique

#54 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:27 am

The mentor topic in particular is very interesting, and perhaps worthy of its own thread.
There was talk of group mentoring a while ago. To the best of my knowledge this is still planned, but the timeframe is up in the air.

A lot of people would be extremely grateful for a mentor, and a lot of people would make fantastic mentors. But there are many complications that may need to be figured out.
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Re: Honest Critique

#55 Post by Mad_Scientist » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:05 pm

Been seeing the "Honest Critique" button/link in a lot of signatures, decided to check it out and see what it was all about. After reading over the initial (though apparently much updated) post, I'm in.
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Re: Honest Critique

#56 Post by Chrizine » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:19 pm

This sounds like a great idea. I just hope I really am ready for this, but I will give it a try :)
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Re: Honest Critique

#57 Post by cesullivan » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:49 pm

So if I don't use the honest feedback button, am I asking people to either ignore me or lie to me?! @_@ But I guess what you're saying is that was what was going to happen anyway, if you saw my newbie status and didn't think I was ready for real feedback.

Well, if that's the case, I guess I'd better use it. I'm a bit apprehensive about it, since I'm only working on my first visual novel. But I'm an adult, and I can take constructive criticism. I think ^_^;;

The one thing I'm worried about is this: by showing the button, am I just inviting honest critique when I've actually asked for critique? Or is this like saying "please critique on any aspect of any material I post, even when I haven't asked"?
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Re: Honest Critique

#58 Post by Tempus » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:01 pm

cesullivan wrote:So if I don't use the honest feedback button, am I asking people to either ignore me or lie to me?! @_@ But I guess what you're saying is that was what was going to happen anyway, if you saw my newbie status and didn't think I was ready for real feedback.
The absence of the honest critique button doesn't mean anything. The presence of it assures any potential critic that you desire critique that's honest (and hence useful) and that you won't simply ignore it or lash out over it. But again, the absence of the button doesn't necessarily mean people are lying to you or that you're asking them to do such. I'm sure there's plenty of folks who don't look for one of these buttons or an explicit indication from the poster to give their honest thoughts.

I've been meaning to reply to the other posts in this thread but haven't gotten around to it...
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Re: Honest Critique

#59 Post by Dream » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:39 pm

Included the honest critique button on the possibility it might improve the forum.

I'm kind of surprised this is a thing though. To be honest the idea that some people might not want critique or react so negatively to it is extremely baffling to me.

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Re: Honest Critique

#60 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:02 pm

It happens though.

Sometimes people just want to enjoy turning their ideas into shareable media. They are not looking for people to criticize it, even if it's with the best intentions.
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